Saturday, April 11, 2009

Firearms

In the past I wasn't an ardent supporter of the 2nd Amendment--perhaps that comes from growing up and living in California. However, as my political beliefs have matured, and my understanding of the beliefs of the Founders has improved, I've come around to understanding the vital importance of the 2nd Amendment. I'm not an NRA member yet, but that day may yet come.

I have a relative who is what I used to refer to as a "gun nut". Now I think he's just a bit more zealous than I am on the topic. He sent me the following today, which is no doubt making its rounds about the internet. I like the sentiments expressed:

FIREARMS REFRESHER COURSE

1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.

3. Colt: The original point and click interface.

4. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.

5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?

6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.

7. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.

8. If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.

9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.

10. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights Reserved.

11. What part of 'shall not be infringed' do you not understand?

12. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.

13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.

14. Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians.

15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.

16. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.

17. 911: Government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.

18. Assault is a behavior, not a device.

19. Criminals love gun control; it makes their jobs safer.

20. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.

21. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.

22. You have only the rights you are willing to fight for.

23. Enforce the gun control laws we ALREADY have; don't make more.

24. When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.

25. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.
I really like numbers 1, 4, 6, and 21.

I file this under conservatism for obvious reasons.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Darren,

What do you think about automatic weapons being for sale as well? Any real need for that other than mass murder?

I do support pistols, though.

Darren said...

Numbers 12, 19, 21, and 25 answer your question.

Darren said...

But where do we draw the line? Should we all be allowed to own tanks and artillery pieces, perhaps even nukes? My inclination is to say no, and then try to fashion a justification for that answer. Instead, it would be better to come up with a rationale, and see where that logic leads me.

MikeAT said...

1. I really like 1 & 2. As a cop, I really like 2.

2. As I recall we used to have arguments over the 2nd Amendment when we were both Lieutenants ac at FT Carson. I knew you would come around! :)

3. If I win the lottery, one of my first purchases will be your Life Membership to the NRA!

4. Repeat after me. “From My Cold Dead Hands!”

Mike

Darren said...

Yes, I have come around. Part of that coming around involved my reading history and the words of the Founders, not just picking up my beliefs from (California) society at large.

And I will accept your gift!

Anonymous said...

So where DO we draw the line then? Are you fine with selling AK47's on the streets?

Darren said...

Did you not read my 2nd comment, above? My first reaction is to support your right to own an AK, as no one need fear a law abiding citizen with a firearm. As I said above, though, I haven't fully thought through where, exactly, I would draw a line. That's part of what I have this blog for--I post my thoughts and learn from reader comments, becoming enriched in the process. I don't have everything thought out in advance, and everything I think isn't written in stone. Principles are one thing, application is another.

Anonymous said...

I agree, was just wondering if you had thought of a line yet.

A somewhat related question: To what do you attribute the fact that countries such as France and Canada have abolished gun ownership and have much lower homicide rates/incidences?

I am trying to figure this gun issue out for myself as well, wondering what you think about the above.

Darren said...

Mexico has also outlawed gun ownership. Britain has, too. Clearly, government bans on guns aren't the deciding factor in having high or low murder rates.

Anonymous said...

But they also have lower rates than us?

Darren said...

Do they?

What percentage of their gun violence is from legally registered firearms, vs illegal firearms? :-)

Anonymous said...

Not sure, but assuming it was from registered?

allen (in Michigan) said...

Because registered, i.e. legally owned, automatic weapons - you do know they've been quite closely regulated since 1934 right? - have been used in virtually no crimes since the National Firearms Act was passed in 1934.

If a crime was committed with an illegally owned automatic firearm then what makes you think prohibiting legal ownership of automatic firearms would have the least bit of impact?

MikeAT said...

Anon

1. How do you criminals legally buy machine guns in this country? This may surprise you but they don’t buy them legally. They steal them, buy them black market, and modify semi-automatic rifles to fully automatic.

2.To answer the implied question, to legally purchase an automatic weapon requires a Federal Firearms Permit, which is not cheap. Some details

* You have to live in a state where a fully auto weapon is legal (e.g. New York and the District of Columbia doesn’t allow it…you can see that works!)
* You have to be a US citizen.
* At least 21 yoa.
* Never been convicted of a Felony or Domestic Violence.
* Never been dishonorably discharged from the military.
* Never been adjudicated mentally defective.

3.What part of this will be stopped by the “Assault Weapons Ban”? That piece of Orwellian speaks banned only high capacity magazines (more than ten rounds) but did nothing fully automatic rifles, aka machine guns. They are highly regulated in this country since the 1934 Federal Firearms Act which practically outlawed personal ownership of a fully automatic weapon.

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban did nothing but make a market for older model AK-47s and older high capacity magazines. It was worthless…then again, no surprise, it did come from a Democratic congress!

mazenko said...

The American Revolution would have happened even with gun control because, as the name implies, they were "revolutionaries." They were, according to the powers at the time, criminals - the very type who will pursue guns for their purposes regardless of laws they either feel are unjust, or desire to ignore because they are criminal.

Certainly, there are arguments for and against "control," but as Moore pointed out (love him or hate him he had a point) in his comparisons to Canada, Germany, Japan, etc., that America's problem is more cultural than legal. The same is true of alcohol and drugs.

That said, I'm not for attempting to eliminate private ownership, though there is nothing wrong with "control." Some regulation and even registration is not a bad thing, as I refuse to subscribe to the logical fallacy "slippery slope" that the NRA hangs on that any regulation is an attempt to eliminate private ownership.

That will never happen, and it's a bit hysterical to think so in this nation of hunters and sportsman.

Darren said...

England and Germany used to have a large number of hunters and sportsmen, too.

Anonymous said...

I fear my question has been avoided.

Darren said...

Perhaps in the short term. It's a serious issue, one deserving of more than a cursory answer.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Geez Mike, you're just all over the place.

You're for "some" regulation and control yet you admit that it's useless that being the logical extension of your observation that the American revolution succeeded because criminals, American revolutionaries, ignored the law.

So what's changed? Criminals still ignore the law and thus possess firearms.

It would seem to me that in your desire to conflate the revolutionaries who founded this country with common criminals, in an effort to diminish the importance and legitimacy of the Second Amendment, you've made a convincing although I'm sure unintentional case against regulation and registration of firearms.

As for that "slippery slope" that you claim is a logical fallacy - and how would it be a logical fallacy by the way? - history is replete with examples of that slippery slope being ridden to disaster by whole populations. Your casual, even blithe, dismissal runs up against the public pronouncements of powerful politicians who've made it clear that if they could confiscate all privately owned firearms they'd do it without hesitation.

Micheal Moore, in case you're not aware or choose not to be, is an cynical propagandist who would never let the truth interfere with an opportunity to profit by inflaming his audience's emotions. The man's execrable and recourse to him risks transferring the smell.

By the way, you ought to look into the history of firearms law here in the U.S. You'll find you've fallen in with some pretty disagreeable company.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Anonymous, Canada hasn't outlawed private ownership of firearms and I don't believe France has.

England, and to a lesser extent Australia, have gone down the path of private firearm confiscation. I have some familiarity with Canadian firearms law having participated in pistol competitions in Canada and have spent more then a few hours on the phone discussing the ins, outs and peculiarities of Canadian firearms law with Canadian police officers.

The countries cited by firearms prohibitionists as having lower homicide rates then the U.S., the implication being that that state of affairs was due to severe prohibitions on firearms ownership, have had lower homicide rates then the U.S. for a much longer time then they've had their restrictions on firearms ownership. Conversely, some countries, particularly England and Australia, have seen significant surges in firearms-related violence and crime in general since enacting severe restrictions on the private ownership of firearms.

To any discussion of the outcome of the possession of firearms you have to consider the concealed carry "experiment".

Somewhere in the neighborhood of forty states now have some for of "shall-issue" firearms concealed carry laws on the books. "Shall-issue" means that unless there's some reason to prohibit someone from receiving a concealed carry license the license must be issued.

In each of the states where "shall-issue" has come under consideration the results have been essentially identical.

During the run-up to the vote the opponents of shall-issue painted lurid, blood-drenched pictures of shoot-outs over Blue-light specials at Kmart and city streets ending looking like a scene out of Grand Theft Auto. Where the law was passed the same thing happened ever time.

Nothing.

There were no shoot-outs. There were no blood baths. There were no idiots flashing their firearms to get to the head of the movie ticket line.

Turns out that concealed carry licensees are as boring as a glass of milk and have the lowest rate of criminal misuse of firearms of any group you can think of including cops, prosecutors and priests.

Why, if perfectly ordinary citizens can roam around town with firearms literally within arm's reach and cause no great harm, would firearms in general be seen as a greater danger?

Darren said...

This is *not* a rhetorical question, but one designed to lead to a principle upon which to base a right to keep arms:

What was the original purpose of the 2nd Amendment?

mazenko said...

Allen,

I was merely refuting Darren's #25. The Revolution would have happened.

What you call being "all over the place" is more commonly known as rational and pragmatic.

We still have speed limits and laws against murder or theft, even though we know people will break them. The laws keep many people honest, and they offer ways to punish lawless people.

Thus, regulation is not a bad idea, even if the "bad guys will still get the guns."

Secondly, I know Moore is a nutcase on a lot of things. That doesn't deny the validity of certain claims such as the different culture between here and Canada.

In terms of the slippery slope, I know "some" politicians would like to take every gun "if they could." But they can't. That''s my point. They can't and they never will be able to because there are as many politicians to stop them. That's the magic of our democracy.

We're not Germany or Japan or anywhere else. And while we can regulate guns in some way, they will never be taken away on a large scale, and it takes of follower of conspiracy theories to think they can or will be.

Luke said...

Darren,

The answer to your question is in the statements. Just look a 1 and 12. The original purpose was, and sstill is to keep our Federal government from getting to uppity, and to help to enforce the other 9. The founders wanted an armed citizenry and either no or a very small standing Army. Read the Federalist papers.

Mark,

Two problems with your arguments. 1) *MOST* people break speed limit laws, *AND* most aren't enforced. When traffic accidents increase you don't hear a cry to creater more traffoc laws, but you hear a call to enforce those that already exist. 2) That 'slippery slope' that you deride as impossible, has already happened in right here in the US. The residents of New Orleans still heven't gotten their legally owned firearms back. Also, you may be right that a whoesale firearms confiscation won't happen tin the US as a whole, but that won't prevent from being taxed out of existence. After all, wasn't there a campaign promise to put a 500% tax on ammo?

allen (in Michigan) said...

Laws keep people honest? Mike, do you read what you write?

Of course laws don't keep people honest. If they did there wouldn't be any need for cops, courts and a penal system. Just pass a law and the problem's solved. But you're not looking to provide a rough lesson to those capable of learning the lesson and a means of isolating from society those who can't. But regulation assumes law-breaking as the norm and the only way to prevent that inevitable law-breaking is by vetting each individual to determine their fitness.

To cast it in terms of the First Amendment, you're calling for universal censorship against the possibility that some shmuck might shout "fire" in a crowded theater.

Also, Moore isn't a nut case. He's a very cagey, very cynical manipulator. That doesn't mean he's incapable of recourse to the truth it just means he's indifferent to truth or lies favoring whichever will serve his purposes at the moment.

His claims about Canada and other countries are a case in point.

As I wrote, Canada and the other countries Moore likes to trot out, haven't always enjoyed the doubtful benefits of draconian gun law and even back before they became enlightened enough to engage in wholesale seizure of privately-owned firearms their murder rates were substantially lower then the United States'. Yet you'll heare no such details from Moore who likes to imply and then invite people to draw conclusions from his carefully crafted implications.

Also, it wasn't just "some" politicians but politicians in a position to see their will written into law at the national level.

Yes, they'd probably be reversed ultimately but "ultimately" can take a long while coming and I'd much rather they don't come any closer to accomplishing what they've announced they'd do given the opportunity. As it turns out, mine is a widely shared sentiment since many of the signatories and co-sponsors of the Assault Weapon Ban were turned out by their constituents and it's widely held to be true that the gun issue played a pivotal role in denying Al Gore the Whitehouse.

Darren, I've got my own ideas about the original purpose of the Second Amendment but I'm interested in hearing/reading yours.

Darren said...

The 2nd Amendment was put in place because of #25. Why, exactly, were the British marching on Lexington and Concord? How would there have been a colonial militia if all the law-abiding citizens didn't have access to firearms?

We've established the purpose of the 2nd Amendment. What we haven't established is whether the founders intended individuals to own cannon, and whether by extension we can individually own artillery or nukes.

allen (in Michigan) said...

But the revolution was won by the Continental Army, a conventional, organized military. While the militias were important I don't believe anyone thinks the militias were responsible for the success of the revolution.

After some consideration I think the Second Amendment would've served two distinct purposes.

The first would've been the necessity of reassuring the populace that a distant tyrant wasn't being exchanged for a more local tyrant. A guarantee of the sanctity of personally-owned firearms would've been just such a reassurance.

The second purpose, which I don't hear much talked about, is the concept of the sovereign citizen.

The founders understood that tyrants aren't just individuals. A good deal of the complexity of our form of government is in place to prevent a tyranny of the majority. We were no longer subjects of the King but becoming subjects of the United States, each individual being a subject of the citizenry in general, wasn't much of a step up. So one of the perquisites of the sovereign, the power to deal death, was enshrined in the Second Amendment. A citizen who's sovereign, who doesn't exist for any purposes but their own except were they may choose, conditionally and temporarily, to cede some of that sovereignty.

Darren said...

There would have been no Continental Army had not the militias existed first.

allen (in Michigan) said...

I don't disagree but would there have been an America without the Continental Army? I think not and I don't think that's a distinction that would've been missed by the founders.

Our freedoms are secured by the ballot box not the bullet box and when we choose, if we choose, to throw those freedoms away they won't be recoverable by recourse to violence.

Darren said...

I'm not as concerned about throwing freedoms away as I am about a government which tries to forcibly take them away. *That* is what the 2nd Amendment was created for.

allen (in Michigan) said...

And I have the polar opposite view; I think we have a much greater chance of losing our freedoms one salami slice at a time, since that's exactly what's been occurring arguably since the 1860's and certainly since the 1930's, then we are of losing our freedoms by the whole salami. Against that slow encroachment the Second Amendment provides no direct protection.

In a bass-ackward way though perhaps the Second Amendment does provide protection in that it's the inevitable focus of attempts by those who would dispense with freedom for the ideology du jour and thus draws forth the visceral reaction of those who might not otherwise be so strongly motivated if their personal ownership of firearms wasn't being endangered.

There's an ironic twist to that view that I find I enjoy since it means the bullet box is being protected by the ballot box rather then the other way 'round as many people suppose.

Cosmic Condor said...

HITLER,STALIN,MAO SI TUNG,FIDEL CASTRO,BARACK OBAMA all were supporters of BIG GOVERMENT and GUN CONTROL

hobbitt said...

You might want to read http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/

I ran across the site through the blogosphere. Shooting guns is now a new hobby. Considering the crime rate in a town I go to, buffered by the fact that the morning I was going to the range, our paper had a story of a legal gun carrier (we have concealed carry in my state) who shot a person robbing him and his wife at gun point. Robber survived but he may have literally had his **s shot off. I am going to get my concealed carry permit now.
The gun won't make me wiser. It won't make me more alert. In and of itself it will not protect me. But it gives me a chance to protect myself if I am ever attacked.

rightwingprof said...

"Gun nut" is a moniker I wear with pride. Unfortunately, the range is closed until May because they're doing a controlled burn on the state game lands. )-:

rightwingprof said...

I'll gladly answer your question. What I may or may not need is none of your, or the government's, business. Not with respect to what foods I buy, nor with respect to what firearms I buy.

Question answered, and quite bluntly.

Darren said...

I think there's a valid argument to be made for letting me own whatever I want, with the discussion then switching to what actions I may legally take.

I can own a Ferrari, and I can drive it, but I can't go 130 mph down i-80.