November 20, 2007

Let's talk about guns.

The Supreme Court has granted cert. in the Second Amendment case from the D.C. Circuit. This should prove very exciting to those on both sides of the gun control issue and to people like me who are fascinated by constitutional interpretation.

ADDED: From WaPo's Robert Barnes:
For years, legal scholars, historians and grammarians have debated the meaning of the amendment because of its enigmatic wording and odd punctuation:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Gun rights proponents say the words guarantee the right of an individual to possess firearms. Gun-control supporters say it conveys only a civic or "collective" right to own guns as part of service in an organized military organization....

The court rewrote the question to say it would decide whether the relevant provisions of the city's law "violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes."

251 comments:

1 – 200 of 251   Newer›   Newest»
Luckyoldson said...

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Would this not at least imply that being a member of a "militia" is required before this specific wording kicks in: "right of the people to keep and bear Arms" ?

Just wondered...

Ann Althouse said...

That's one side of the debate, but there is a big debate about it and some prominent constitutional scholars who did not begin as gun rights advocates ended up on the other side.

It's a funny text, because of that clause that precedes the statement of the right.

I wonder if you would accept such a narrowing approach to rights that you care more about.

Kevin said...

Eugene Volokh talks about the justification clause in The Commonplace Second Amendment:
http://www.law.ucla.edu/volokh/common.htm

Worth a read.

MadisonMan said...

I've never understood the presence of the comma after Arms.

Maxine Weiss said...

It's not cute anymore.

Would you wear pink to a funeral?, and white to a friend's wedding ???

Cognitive Dissonance is one thing.

But, being offensively blithe, and contrary, during a sacred American Holiday is really beyond the pale.

And, it's a totally non-Religious Holiday at that---Athiest that you are!

If you choose not to partake, at least respect others that are engaging the sacred customs, traditions, and rituals of our American Heritage, which you of all people---Constitutional Law---seem to have a distinct disrespect for, this Thanksgiving.

Am I off-topic?

Kevin said...

I don't fully understand the usage of commas today :-) , but I have heard that the usage of commas was different during the Framing era.

Kevin said...

Maxine, what on earth are you talking about?

The Drill SGT said...

1. It seems to me that if this Article was meant to be about organiization of a State Militia, that it appear in Article I, Section 8, with the rest of the material about Army's and Militia, rather than in the Bill of Rights, which the Framers wrote to protect the individuak rights of the people and protect them from the government

2. The term Militia had a much broader definition 250 years ago. It meant not only the organized State and city forces (e.g. today's National Guard) but also the "unorganized militia" which was considered to be all able bodied free men able to bear and providing their own weapons in defense of their locality.

Maxine Weiss said...

Oh, I get it. There's Althouse Calendar, which is different from everybody else's Calendar.

She'll start celebrating when the spirit moves her, not simply when everybody else is all caught up in the frenzy.

Yeah, I'll look for that.

shake-and-bake said...

Judge Silberman's opinion below is a very persuasive defense of the individual right position.

nick danger said...

In fact, according to U.S. Code - that is, current, valid law - all males of a military age are members of the unorganized militia by law.

Richard said...

Is "grating cert" like grating cheese, or more like grating cabbage?

The Drill SGT said...

following up for Nick:

Title 10, USC:

Section 311. Militia: composition and classes

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are -
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

Luckyoldson said...

drill sgt.
But again, doesn't the phrase indicate one would have to be part of a militia...before they have the "right" to bear arms?

I'm not arguing as much as trying to understand what they were trying to say...

MadisonMan said...

Can an unorganized militia be well-regulated? I think that would be a difficult argument to make successfully.

The Drill SGT said...

But LOS if you look at the USC there, you "HAVE" been part of the militia, assuming that you:

The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and,...under 45 years of age ...

therefore the second amendment grants you the right to bear arms in defense of your life, family and community as part of the militia, unorganized citizens branch :)

The Drill SGT said...

MM, I'll give you two examples.

SWISS: Cantons used to have town meetings. Only the men could vote of course. they voted by raising the family sword. that demonstrated that they were doing their civic duty by maintaining their militia weapon.

US Colonial. Lots of detailed "regulation" on the how individual citizens had to provide their own weapon, powder horn and x ounces of powder and shot.

Gahrie said...

It always amazes me that some people can make the most tortured justifications (a penumbra anyone?) to claim a right not mentioned (abortion), while at the same time deny the plain meaning of the Second Amendment.

At the time of the writing of the Second Amendment it was broadly understood that everyone had the right to own a weapon, and that in fact our success in the Revolutionary War depended on this fact.

Any form of gun control remotely similar to that attempted in Washington D.C would have been net in precisely the same manner as the Intolerable Acts.

Paddy O. said...

I read it as saying there is a right to bear arms so that there might be a well-regulated militia. The people need to bring their own guns to the fight, to protect and serve their community.

The sentence structure is confusing, partially because it's not really good English anymore but hints at someone who was comfortable with inflected languages.

Gahrie said...

"met", not "net"

Michael said...

Ann Althouse said...

I wonder if you would accept such a narrowing approach to rights that you care more about.


That is what I wonder myself. If every other part of the Constitution is interpreted liberally, why would the Second Amendment be any different?

If there is a Right to Privacy in there....

Anthony said...

Take a look at one of the earlier proposals:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.


http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=001/llac001.db&recNum=227

Paddy O. said...

Just thought of the Regulators, a vigilante group.

Luckyoldson said...

Drill Sgt.,
"The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and,...under 45 years of age ..."

Does this mean that is you're under 17 or over 45...you have to give up your guns?

Luckyoldson said...

Micahel,
But as we ALL know..."...a Right to Privacy..." certainly doesn't mean what it used to.

Gahrie said...

The Bill of Rights protects rights, and so should be read expansively.

The Constitution grants enumerated powers, and should be read restrictively.

Article 1, Section 8 grants Congress the power to provide arms to the militia. There is no need to protect a collective right to bear arms as a member of the militia, because congress has already been given the right to arm the militia.

The Second Amendment protects a different, individual right to bear arms.

Luckyoldson said...

Gahrie said..."It always amazes me that some people can make the most tortured justifications (a penumbra anyone?) to claim a right not mentioned (abortion), while at the same time deny the plain meaning of the Second Amendment."

If it's such a "plain meaning"...why is the Supreme Court taking up the case?

And why are we discussing it?

And why can't everybody carry loaded guns around with them?

Ann Althouse said...

And what about females?

nick danger said...

LOS: I believe it is properly read as an explanatory justification, not a limitation.

It was common statutory parlance for a long time to craft text in the mold of:
"WHEREAS X...
WHEREAS Y...
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT Z..."
Where X and Y are explanatory justifications for the law Z, but importantly X and Y are not intended to modify Z, which is to stand on its own.

If you read the Second Amendment as generally following that construction, you can easily construe it as "WHEREAS a well-regulated Militia [is] necessary to the security of a free state, NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Now admittedly this is only a construction, but I think it is a fairly well-grounded and plausible one. Certainly more plausible than constructing it as "A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of ONLY THE MILITIA to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Freder Frederson said...

I think anyone who is expecting the court to definitively settle whether there is an individual right to bear arms granted by the 2nd amendment is going to be sorely disappointed (unless the court just goes crazily activist on us). The issue before the Court rests solely on what limits the Constitution places on the regulation of firearms.

former law student said...

Lucky -- hold on to your hat, but not only did older men own guns at the time of the Constitution, but women as well.

Because we in the US are fond of looking to Western European laws for guidance in the development and interpretation of our own, please note that Swiss men too old to continue serving in the military get to keep their fully automatic assault rifle -- but it must be converted to semi-auto (one trigger pull, one bullet.)

Gahrie said...

LOS:

And why can't everybody carry loaded guns around with them?

You're preaching to the choir on that one Lucky, I think there should be open carry laws nationwide.

former law student said...

Ann Althouse said...

And what about females?


Like the vote, the right of women to keep and bear arms will have to be secured by Constitutional amendment.

sorry, Ann.

Kevin said...

Lucky said: Does this mean that is you're under 17 or over 45...you have to give up your guns?

Do the people have the right to keep and bear arms, and is the government forbidden to infringe on that right?

Anthony said...

>Ann Althouse said...

>And what about females?

As I was breaking up with a girlfriend originally from Arkansas, she reminded me that all women in Arkansas knew how to use guns.

I am still not exactly sure if this was supposed to be a positive reason to continue dating her or if she meant it as a threat.

nick danger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gahrie said...

The issue before the Court rests solely on what limits the Constitution places on the regulation of firearms

Before you can decide on what limits can be placed on the ownership of firearms, you first have to dtermine if there is an individual right to own firearms.

If there is no individual right to own firearms, then the government has the right to regulate their ownership.

If there is any individual right to own a weapon, then any restricttion of that right has to survive strict scrutiny.

Freder Frederson said...

and that in fact our success in the Revolutionary War depended on this fact.

Considering that at the time of the Revolution the country was pretty evenly split between Loyalists to the Crown, Revolutionaries, and Neutrals, and an even smaller proportion ever participated in any actual fighting, this statement is pure hyperbole. Our success was due more to French involvement and the British having more pressing concerns elsewhere.

Luckyoldson said...

Kevin said..."Do the people have the right to keep and bear arms, and is the government forbidden to infringe on that right?"

That's the whole point.

I was referring to Drill Sgt.'s earlier comment: "The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and,...under 45 years of age ..."

AND

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Freder Frederson said...

please note that Swiss men too old to continue serving in the military get to keep their fully automatic assault rifle -- but it must be converted to semi-auto (one trigger pull, one bullet.)

Well then they really don't get to "keep" a fully automatic assault rifle then, do they?

Luckyoldson said...

Gahrie said..."You're preaching to the choir on that one Lucky, I think there should be open carry laws nationwide."

And I bet it's a rather small choir, too.

Do you think if there was a nationwide vote...a majority of Americans would vote for "open carry laws?"

GFL.

former law student said...

I think anyone who is expecting the court to definitively settle whether there is an individual right to bear arms granted by the 2nd amendment is going to be sorely disappointed (unless the court just goes crazily activist on us). The issue before the Court rests solely on what limits the Constitution places on the regulation of firearms.

The key term for the court to define is not "well-regulated" or "militia", but "infringed". The Court has generally fit the rest of the enumerated rights into the fundamental rights framework, subjecting their regulation to strict scrutiny, although Scalia interpreted the right to free exercise of religion to be a backwards stepchild sort of right, requiring the help of another right to trigger strict scrutiny.

Even exercise of a fundamental right can be limited if justified by a compelling state interest. But the government has to prove that the regulation will achieve the desired goal.

Believing that the Constitution grants rights to people turns on its head the notion of the Constitution as a limit on government powers. The framers were influenced by Natural Law advocates such as Locke, not by modern ideas of an all-encompassing state.

Freder Frederson said...

If there is any individual right to own a weapon, then any restricttion of that right has to survive strict scrutiny.

And this is the rule because you have decided it is the rule?

Maxine Weiss said...

"And what about females?"

Completely different. Females simply carry a little itty-bitty, dainty sort of revolver, perhaps.

Just a tiny little thing, dainty and harmless.

Luckyoldson said...

Regardless of what the 2nd Amendment says...it's rather hard to believe that the people who felt it necessary...had any idea of the kind of firepower available today.

Try to imagine someone blasting off a couple of hundred rounds from an AK-47 as the amendment was being fashioned.

Now, that would be a funny YouTube video...

al said...

Regarding what the militia might be:

""I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."
— George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on
Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788"

As for LOS's question:
And why can't everybody carry loaded guns around with them?

In the vast majority of states (Illinois and Cheeseland are the last two holdouts I believe) there is some form of concealed carry available to private citizens ranging from no permit required to highly restricted (celebrities/politicians/etc). See this map for more

Luckyoldson said...

Maxine,
If you're packing I hope it's not loaded...for your sake...and anyone standing within range.

former law student said...

Regardless of what the 1st Amendment says...it's rather hard to believe that the people who felt it necessary...had any idea of the kind of thought-disseminating media and kooky cults available today.

Bruce Hayden said...

If there is any individual right to own a weapon, then any restriction of that right has to survive strict scrutiny.

And this is the rule because you have decided it is the rule?


For the most part, strict scrutiny is applied to fundamental rights. The theory is that if a right is specifically set out in the Constitution, and, in particular, in the Bill of Rights, then it is a fundamental right.

But, no, I don't think that there is a Supreme Court decision requiring that for the 2nd Amdt. But it will be fairly hard for the Supreme Court to try to argue that it doesn't require Strict Scrutiny, given their past precedent.

Luckyoldson said...

al,
Oh, I realize people carry guns around, legal and otherwise...and that may be why we have the highest rate of gunshot killings, injuries and suicides in the entire world.

Makes you kind of proud...

Luckyoldson said...

former law student said..."Regardless of what the 1st Amendment says...it's rather hard to believe that the people who felt it necessary...had any idea of the kind of thought-disseminating media and kooky cults available today."

Yeah, I just read about a media kook talking someone to death.

It was brutal...

Freder Frederson said...

Even exercise of a fundamental right can be limited if justified by a compelling state interest.

Well there are rights and there are fundamental rights. Some are absolutely necessary for the proper functioning of a open, free, democratic society where the rule of law of is respected. Some, like the right to bear arms with absolutely no interference from the state, are not, and may actually hinder the goals of such a society (no matter what the Dave Kopels and John Lotts of the world may believe and no matter how much they distort statistics to support their beliefs). The Constitution explicitly protects both types of rights. Just because a right is in the Bill of Rights does not automatically make it a "Natural Right" granted man by the Creator (e.g., not having soldiers quarter in your house might be an important right but it is hardly on par with freedom of speech or religion).

former law student said...

why we have the highest rate of gunshot killings, injuries and suicides in the entire world.
LOS -- our rate of NON-gunshot killings is higher than that of the other industrialized countries. We are just a violent country. And are you some sort of totalitarian, that you would deny the terminally ill an efficient method to terminate their lives? Increasing gun ownership restrictions in California have meant more people jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, or stepping in front of commuter trains. Surely the right to control one's body includes the right to end one's life.

former law student said...

Yeah, I just read about a media kook talking someone to death.

Hitler was a spell-binding orator, but without the mass media of the radio he would have been unable to influence the entire German-speaking world. If Mein Kampf had had to be printed a single sheet at a time, there would be no way that every home in the Third Reich could have had their own copy.

Surely the mass media and high speed presses are too dangerous to be left uncontrolled, and surely the framers never would have contemplated the power of such things. Sensible countries, like Singapore, license presses and broadcast networks, and either suppress material with harmful thoughts, or censor it.

Freder Frederson said...

our rate of NON-gunshot killings is higher than that of the other industrialized countries.

Even though this is for the most part true, it still doesn't account for the much higher rate of firearms death in this country (e.g., our non-firearms rate might be twice as high but the firearms rate is 5 or 6 times higher). This is also true for suicides (our rate for firearm suicides is much higher than other countries even in some cases when we have an overall lower rate of suicide).

Gahrie said...

But, no, I don't think that there is a Supreme Court decision requiring that for the 2nd Amdt. But it will be fairly hard for the Supreme Court to try to argue that it doesn't require Strict Scrutiny, given their past precedent.

My point was that I expect the Court to use this case to decide whether or not gun regulation requires strict scrutiny.

In other words, is there a fundamental, individual right to own a gun or not.

Luckyoldson said...

former law student,
I don't get your point when you use this as an exmple: "Sensible countries, like Singapore, license presses and broadcast networks, and either suppress material with harmful thoughts, or censor it."

That's "sensible?"

Are you saying we have too much freedom of speech in America?

As for the "media," one of the concerns today is that huge companies own about 90% of the broadcast and newspaper networks.

Gahrie said...

LOS and FF:

You do realize that the rate of violent crime in the UK has shot up dramatically since their already strict gun laws were made draconian in the late 1980's?

former law student said...

it still doesn't account for the much higher rate of firearms death in this country

About five years ago, shocked at the number of homicides in Oakland, the SF Chronicle decided to document each one. I followed their stories as they were written, and learned that three-quarters of the homicides there that year were related to drug trafficking. There is just too much money to be made, and it is completely unregulated. Returning to the law of the caveman, people fight to keep what is theirs, and they fight to take it away from their weaker rivals. I suspect if drug trafficking were brought under the law, the robberies and killings would be reduced.

Gahrie said...

Are you saying we have too much freedom of speech in America?

Why not?

You're saying we have to much freedom to own guns.

Both are fundamental rights protected by the Bill of Rights.

Both are important to me, in fact one of the reasons the Second Amendment is so important to me, is that it helps to protect the rights in the First Amendment.

Anthony said...

former law student --

I have a better idea -- how about we just legalize drugs and treat them like alcohol. You use it and cause no issues, fine. You abuse them such that you put your health and life at risk, we treat it.

Luckyoldson said...

former law student:
In the U.S. for 2001, there were 29,573 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death:
Suicide 16,869
Homicide 11,348
Accident 802
Legal Intervention 323
Undetermined 231.

This makes firearms injuries one of the top ten causes of death in the U.S.

The closest countries to us: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Estonia.

former law student said...

LOS -- if you'd limit the exercise of the enumerated rights to the technologies available at the time of the Constitution, you'd have no M-16s, but also no televangelists, no bloggers, not even Scientology, which relies on a spiritual device akin to an ohmmeter.

Zeb Quinn said...

luckyoldson said:

If it's such a "plain meaning"...why is the Supreme Court taking up the case?

And why are we discussing it?


Because the tendency of all governments is to try to disarm their citizenry, and that tendency is what our government has been increasingly acting out. And the framers were prescient enough to know that much beforehand, which is precisely why they put the 2nd Amendment in there in the first place.

To me the interesting part is not whether the people have the right to bear arms. Clearly they do have that right. The 2nd Amendment plainly says so. And it even more plainly says that the right "shall not be infringed." Those words right there remove any supposed ambiguity introduced by the first 13 words. Total finality. Shall not be infringed. Period.

What's interesting is how they are going to define the term "arms." What's an arm? Zip guns? Saturday Night Specials? .357 Magnums? Street sweeper shotguns? Fully automatic AK-47s? .50 caliber machine guns? Grenade launchers? Intercontinental ballistic missiles? In 1791 it wasn't necessary, but now it seems quite clear that lines need to be drawn in there somewhere. But where? And, what's the reasoning behind where they draw the lines? How are they going to justify the particular places they designate as being outside the lines?

Luckyoldson said...

Gahrie responds to my question: "Are you saying we have too much freedom of speech in America?"

With: "Why not? You're saying we have to much freedom to own guns."

I suggest you NOT use that argument in an future discussions relating to gun control.

*And I didn't say anything about us having too much freedom to own guns. I just think they should be licensed and owned by people who are careful. I also don't think most people should be carrying loaded guns around with them on a regular basis.

Luckyoldson said...

Anthony:

I'm with you.

George said...

“I want to be able to defend myself and my wife from violent criminals, and the Constitution says I have a right to do that by keeping a gun in my home,” Mr. Heller said in a statement. “The police can’t be everywhere, and they can’t protect everyone all the time. Responsible gun ownership is a basic right we have as American citizens.”

From the WP article...

You can't get much more American than that.

When you talk with people from other countries, US gun ownership and fear of the government blows their minds.

It's great fun!

Luckyoldson said...

Zeb Quinn said..."Because the tendency of all governments is to try to disarm their citizenry..."

Really?

This is huge problem throughout the world..."disarming" citizens?

Could you provide some examples of where this is happening?

Oh...and how does this fit into your argument: In the U.S. for 2001, there were 29,573 deaths from firearms. This makes firearms injuries one of the top ten causes of death in the U.S.

former law student said...

Lucky -- do you understand that a "firearms suicide" requires a person pulling a trigger -- it's not like catching pneumonia? And if someone decides to kill you, do you really care if you are stabbed to death or shot? To prevent accidents I suggest mandatory firearms safety training in the schools. We can't do much about legal intervention killing until we disarm the cops, which for the NYPD would seem an excellent idea.

Luckyoldson said...

How many people here have used a gun to protect their family or others from an attack of any sort...and not while serving in the military or a police force.

Just wondered...

Luckyoldson said...

former law student said..."Lucky -- do you understand that a "firearms suicide" requires a person pulling a trigger -- it's not like catching pneumonia? And if someone decides to kill you, do you really care if you are stabbed to death or shot?"

Yes.

Shot.

*I'm a bleeder.

Anthony said...

>George -- When you talk with people from other countries, US gun ownership and fear of the government blows their minds.

The gun ownership thing is funny, though the European press at least misinforms their populace into thinking the US is a free fire zone.

Case in point -- a few years ago I attended a wedding in the Chicago suburbs that had a rehearsal dinner with a Texas theme (the groom's mom was a very rich Texan). A Norwegian guest showed up in full cowboy garb, and had some very real looking toy guns in his holster.

As the Norwegian guy was heading back to his hotel (in downtown Chicago), I suggested to him that he remove the toy guns as they were too real looking. My conern was that a cop ould think they were real, and although the guy spoke very good English, I worried that there might be some langauge difficulties leading to an unfortunate event.

He was very confused as to why made this suggestion, as he believed in the US people ran around with guns everywhere.

former law student -- If I was in control, I would allow people to buy whatever guns they wanted, provided that they took safety AND proficiency courses and passed a test that they knew how to handle the gun safely AND effectively -- few things are more danegrous than someone who has no knowledge of firearms trying to handle and shoot a weapon.

former law student said...

I would allow people to buy whatever guns they wanted, provided that they took safety AND proficiency courses and passed a test that they knew how to handle the gun safely AND effectively -- few things are more danegrous than someone who has no knowledge of firearms trying to handle and shoot a weapon.

So you would support mandatory gun safety and marksmanship training in the schools -- excellent. Because, as your proposal stands you couldn't practice with a gun until you knew how to use it, which necessitates the practice that you couldn't get without having the gun. Which strongly resembles Catch-22.

Gahrie said...

As late as the Civil war, private individuals were buying military arms. Gen. Butler in fact privately purchased the first machine gun, the Gatling(12 of them in fact), when the US Army refused to.

I believe that the volunteer regiments in the Spanish-American War were also armed with privately purchased weapons, including crew served weapons.

Significant restrictions on gun ownership only began in reaction to the use of machine guns by organized crime during the prohibition era.

nick danger said...

it's rather hard to believe that the people who felt it necessary...had any idea of the kind of firepower available today.

Really? That's hard to believe? Why?

Surely, these were not stupid or incurious men. You sincerely believe that their feeble minds were incapable of envisioning a time when repeating rifles or machine guns would exist, even though James Puckle demonstrated such a thing in London in 1718 and revolving repeaters were known of as far back as 1680?

Actually, I find it highly improbable that they would have thought - as you seem to imply they did - that all possible firearms development had been exhausted.

Bender said...

Ask the people who stockpiled arms at Concord, and who subsequently fought the then-government authorities to keep those arms, what the Second Amendment is all about.

Lawgiver said...

Chuck Norris supports the Second Amendment. End of story.

Freder Frederson said...

You do realize that the rate of violent crime in the UK has shot up dramatically since their already strict gun laws were made draconian in the late 1980's?

You do realize that one thing had nothing to do with the other. The rate of private gun ownership and the restrictions on keeping it in your home (it had to be kept unloaded, in a locked case with the ammunition stored in a separate locked case and you were subject to frequent unannounced police visits to ensure you were complying), that using firearms for self-defense was almost unheard of and would have in most cases been completely impractical.

Firearms use by law abiding citizens are, and at least since WWI, have been for one use only--sporting use. Use of them for self-defense (except for that very small minority who loves our gun culture) is a completely alien concept to the British, and indeed most Europeans.

Freder Frederson said...

Ask the people who stockpiled arms at Concord, and who subsequently fought the then-government authorities to keep those arms, what the Second Amendment is all about.

They have been dead for at least one hundred fifty years.

Pogo said...

"Gun control is a moral crusade against a benighted, barbaric citizenry. This is demonstrated not only by the ineffectualness of gun control in preventing crime, and by the fact that it focuses on restricting the behavior of the law-abiding rather than apprehending and punishing the guilty, but also by the execration that gun control proponents heap on gun owners and their evil instrumentality, the NRA. Gun owners are routinely portrayed as uneducated, paranoid rednecks fascinated by and prone to violence, i.e., exactly the type of person who opposes the liberal agenda and whose moral and social "re-education" is the object of liberal social policies. Typical of such bigotry is New York Gov. Mario Cuomo's famous characterization of gun-owners as "hunters who drink beer, don't vote, and lie to their wives about where they were all weekend." Similar vituperation is rained upon the NRA, characterized by Sen. Edward Kennedy as the "pusher's best friend," lampooned in political cartoons as standing for the right of children to carry firearms to school and, in general, portrayed as standing for an individual's God-given right to blow people away at will.

The stereotype is, of course, false. "

A Nation of Cowards
Jeffrey R. Snyder
Public Interest, Fall 1993


via Instapundit, of course.

Freder Frederson said...

Both are important to me, in fact one of the reasons the Second Amendment is so important to me, is that it helps to protect the rights in the First Amendment.

Yep, someone waving a gun around always encourages open debate.

Revenant said...

Oh look, the gun grabbers are out in force again, explaining how the right to keep and bear arms actually means the right to join the Army.

Yeah, ok. Whatever.

Meanwhile, back here in the real world, the news that the Supreme Court will be hearing this case is very promising. I doubt that the current court makeup will be sympathetic to the "collective right" view. If the verdict throwing out DC's gun ban is upheld that would be a significant victory for human rights in the United States -- arguably the greatest such victory in many years.

Luckyoldson said...

Nick, you're in danger of sounding like a frigging idiot.

Oooops!! Too late.

"Actually, I find it highly improbable that they would have thought - as you seem to imply they did - that all possible firearms development had been exhausted."

Nick, the founding fathers weren't stupid, they understood guns, etc. But for you to actually suggest that they were even remotely aware of the possibility that someday, people would be carrying around automatic pistols with clips holding 15 or more rounds or that we would have assault rifles that, at full cyclic rate, fire 600 rounds per minute...I want to buy whatever it is you're smoking.

Good lord...what an argument to make.

Revenant said...

Yep, someone waving a gun around always encourages open debate.

Gosh, I see the light now. Private firearm ownership is dangerous. We'll all be safer when the government owns all the guns. After all, what could be safer for our free speech rights than for every armed person in America to be taking orders from George Bush? :)

former law student said...

When liberals were liberal...

"Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms ... The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard, against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible."
-- Hubert H. Humphrey, Senator, Vice President, 22 October 1959

Luckyoldson said...

Revenant said..."We'll all be safer when the government owns all the guns."

Where did you read this?

Who said that?

What are you talking about?

I think the primary argument is that Americans have proper licensing, training, safety measures and accountability.

Which part are YOU opposed to?

Luckyoldson said...

former law student,
Same question: Who says Americans shouldn't be able to bear arms?

christopher said...

Oh, fuck all this gun shit.

Let's talk about THIS!!!

McClellan, who resigned in April 2006, also writes: “I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."


To quote Michael Kinsley:

Hah. Hah. Hah.

Luckyoldson said...

Christopher,
I already posted that.

Nobody here cares...but the story is not going away.

Revenant said...

Oh, fuck all this gun shit. Let's talk about THIS!!!

Gosh, politicians lie? Thanks for the fascinating update.

And now, back to the gun discussion. :)

former law student said...

I think the current epidemic of childhood obesity and its life-shortening effects, as well as the future increased health care costs for all Americans demand that BEFORE they can reproduce that Americans have proper licensing, training, safety measures and accountability.

Also, to prevent careless or wrong headed voting, before a prospective voter can be registered he must be trained and pass a test, the content of which can be changed at any time. This proposed "voter license" will need to be renewed every five years.

Wait till you hear my 90 day cooling-off period to prevent women from later regretting their rashly deciding to abort their bundle-of-joy-to-be.

Luckyoldson said...

former law student,
I can see why you're now a "former"...something.

Palladian said...

Imagine if the christophers and the Freders (or insert scary "Christianists" of your choice) of the country were able to get a significant grip on the greatly strengthened reins of federal power.

Such grim and frightening scenarios as that necessitated the writing of the 2nd Amendment.

christopher said...


Luckyoldson said...

Christopher,
I already posted that.

Nobody here cares...but the story is not going away.


I know. And it's gonna be hilarious to see some of the regulars here try to weasel on it...

Luckyoldson said...

Revenant said..."Gosh, politicians lie? Thanks for the fascinating update."

Funny, but I remember you posting all kinds of comments relating to the Plame outing and WMD, etc...and saying that Bush and company didn't lie about anything.

Is Scott McClellan lying?

Paddy O. said...

What's interesting is that I'm really not interested in guns, but it seems the Constitution gives that right, so there you go.

As for the suicide argument... I would almost guarantee that freedom of speech causes more suicides each year than guns. If only every parent or loved one was required to say only nice, loving things and was forbidden from saying insulting, mean, degrading things... folks would feel too encouraged to think poorly of themselves. Stop suicides, restrict mean speech.

Then guns could be around and would only be used in emergencies.

former law student said...

LOS - I'm just proposing a few reasonable restrictions and sensible regulations on the exercise of other of our enumerated and unenumerated rights.

Next we're working on the fourth amendment. "Probable cause" will be redefined as "I had a funny feeling" or "something just didn't seem right."

Luckyoldson said...

Palladian said..."Imagine if the christophers and the Freders (or insert scary "Christianists" of your choice) of the country were able to get a significant grip on the greatly strengthened reins of federal power."

So you think those handguns and rifles we own...will offset the United States government, backed by the United States military...will handle things?

And the dumb just keep getting dumber...

Luckyoldson said...

former,
The fourth amendment has already been gutted.

christopher said...

Palladian said...

"Imagine if the christophers and the Freders (or insert scary "Christianists" of your choice) of the country were able to get a significant grip on the greatly strengthened reins of federal power."


Yup. Thank goodness the 2nd Ammendment allows you to own a tank and a surface to air missile.

Let's see the scary Environmental jackbooted thugs stand up to that kind of citizen firepower!!!!

Pogo said...

I grew up spouting the anti-gun mantra as easily as I breathed; I simply seemed to know it without any formal teaching on the matter.

Only when I actually met gun owners did I begin to question this received wisdom.

And later, when I realized that criminals held all the cards, and that I was required to surrender all my goods upon command to any criminal who made a demand, I saw that I was merely a pocket to be picked at will by the thug (and the government). I was not allowed to defend myself against thieves, so I did not even belong to myself, but to whomever threatened me.

Then I understood guns as the great equalizer. Kelo has taken away any meaningful right to property, Without a guarantee to individual gun onership, we will finally no longer citizens, but subjects mere supplicants to the Omnicompetent and omniverous State.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

How many people here have used a gun to protect their family or others from an attack of any sort...and not while serving in the military or a police force

Granted it wasn't attack from another person. I shot at a mountain lion in my yard that was stalking my dog. I didn't try to kill it. The gun worked much better than yelling at the big bad kitty who was going to make lunch of my dog and maybe myself at a later date. I have also used a gun to put a deer out of its misery when accidentally hit by my car. Not a nice job, but better than letting the animal suffer until Fish and Game arrives in a few hours to do the same thing.

I have 2 pump action shot guns one for bird hunting the other for a "house gun", a 22 caliber plinking rifle, a 30 ought 6 deer rifle and small hand gun.

I understood the definition of militia as being a group of ordinary citizens who would form together for emergency protection or law enforcement. That it was not the same as the offical army or guard maintained by the government. As such, the people who would be called upon at a moments notice to form the militia would need to have access to their own weapons.

Revenant said...

As for the suicide argument... I would almost guarantee that freedom of speech causes more suicides each year than guns.

The other amusing aspect to the attempt to blame suicide on guns is that the United States has a pretty low suicide rate. Canada, Japan, and most of Europe are worse, despite their restrictions on firearms ownership. If guns ARE causing suicide, the inescapable conclusion is that the rest of the world must just be extra-suicidal to make up for their lack of guns. :)

christopher said...

Anybody know the difference between the murder rate from firearms in England and here?

I suspect it proves one of two things -- either gun control saves lives, or that the British can't hit the broad side of a barn.

christopher said...

Pogo said...

I grew up spouting the anti-gun mantra as easily as I breathed; I simply seemed to know it without any formal teaching on the matter.

Only when I actually met gun owners did I begin to question this received wisdom.


Typical.

Nobody crazier than a convert...

jeff said...

Owning a gun requires the responsibility to know how they work and when to use them. That being said, if the state wants to require a background check, and a safety class before concealed carry, that's ok with me. Registration? No way.

"Anybody know the difference between the murder rate from firearms in England and here?

I suspect it proves one of two things -- either gun control saves lives, or that the British can't hit the broad side of a barn."

What would it prove if you found the murder rate had gone up since the crackdown on privately owned firearms?

jeff said...

"Typical.

Nobody crazier than a convert..."

True. What kind of idiot makes a decision based on actually meeting the people involved. He should just sit back and make deliverance jokes, secure in his intellectual superiority over those dumb hicks with guns. You know, like you do.

Luckyoldson said...

"How many people here have used a gun to protect their family or others from an attack of any sort...and not while serving in the military or a police force."

*Dust Bunny: Shooting at or killing animals doesn't really come into play here...unless of course a mountain lion is trying to rob you.

If anybody here is attacked by a wild animal...I think you should be able to shoot them.

Okay?

Anthony said...

>christopher said...

>Nobody crazier than a convert...

I have never owned a firearm, have no desire to ever own a firearm, and not not fired anything otehr than a carnival popgun since, maybe 1994 (or was it 1990 -- I forget).

I still think there is an individual right to ownership. I think government can regulate and I would require safety and proficiency tests, but that is all.

christopher said...


What would it prove if you found the murder rate had gone up since the crackdown on privately owned firearms?


Has it?

I'm assuming this is a gotcha question, but I'm not gonna answer until I see the stats...

Luckyoldson said...

jeff said..."What kind of idiot makes a decision based on actually meeting the people involved."

Jeffrey...the people he's referring to, OWN GUNS and feel everybody should OWN GUNS.

If you meet up with someone who sells pot or cocaine, they'd probably think you should give it a shot.

And hey...if you were to actually meet and talk with some Democrats...who are really "involved"...you'd become...a Democrat...right?

Duh.

Revenant said...

I suspect it proves one of two things -- either gun control saves lives, or that the British can't hit the broad side of a barn.

Fire insurance costs you money every year. A person who refuses to buy fire insurance will be better-off than a person who does... until their house burns down.

Our murder rate is our yearly premium on our "conquest and tyranny" insurance policy. :)

jeff said...

"If anybody here is attacked by a wild animal...I think you should be able to shoot them."

What are your feelings on being attacked by a wild person? What options do you think that victim should have?

christopher said...


I still think there is an individual right to ownership. I think government can regulate and I would require safety and proficiency tests, but that is all.
5:17 PM


Well, that would be a sensible and a sane position (even though I disagree). Unfortunately, that sensible and sane position is not exactly what the Everybody Should Be Armed crowd is arguing....

christopher said...


Our murder rate is our yearly premium on our "conquest and tyranny" insurance policy. :)


There are drugs involved in that statement that are clearly potent beyond any I've ever imagined...

Luckyoldson said...

Jefferey,
I've been attacked by "wild" people and never shot any of them.

It's one of the things I still can't understand about security people and even cops...shooting people tey feel threatened by.

Did anybody happen to see the Russian at the airport a few days ago...tasered because he was acting "wild" (he spoke no English and had been at the airport for about 14 hours, waiting for his sister), and he died right there on the floor.

I watched the video, the guy wasn't that big, nor was he that out of control. While he was ranting and raving, obviously distraught via his confusion and language barrier, and he could have been jumped, had a net thrown over him or even punched out...way before being tasered and then dying.

*I mentioned this before, but I did own three bars and we had huge fights, some even with people who were packing guns and knives...and we never shot anybody.

We ganged up on them and threw their asses out the door...some we had arrested...much like every other nightclub in the world does every night of the week.

Revenant said...

What are your feelings on being attacked by a wild person? What options do you think that victim should have?

I don't have many options at the moment. I just own the one gun. :)

jeff said...

"Jeffrey...the people he's referring to, OWN GUNS and feel everybody should OWN GUNS."

No they don't. They own guns and feel others should have the option to own a gun. With the obvious exceptions such as felons, or crazy people.

Revenant said...

There are drugs involved in that statement that are clearly potent beyond any I've ever imagined...

Yeah, our Founding Fathers were all high. How smart of you to notice!

I find it funny that the same people complaining that fears of government tyranny are drug-induced are the same folks who whine that George Bush has "shredded the Constitution" every time he so much as says mean things about Democrats.

jeff said...

"And hey...if you were to actually meet and talk with some Democrats...who are really "involved"...you'd become...a Democrat...right?"

So some good friends and family members hope. But being cursed by logic and reason, it just won't take.

nick danger said...

Unfortunately, that sensible and sane position is not exactly what the Everybody Should Be Armed crowd is arguing....

Which position is a total ban on handgun ownership closer to?

But for you to actually suggest that they were even remotely aware of the possibility that someday, people would be carrying around automatic pistols with clips holding 15 or more rounds or that we would have assault rifles that, at full cyclic rate, fire 600 rounds per minute.

There are only two possibilities here for you to choose from, LOS:
(1) The framers were aware of the possibility of future arms developments (of whatever kind) and decidedly did not limit their amendment to existing technologies, or
(2) They were too stupid to contemplate that possibility and simply omitted that limitation out of ignorance.

Luckyoldson said...

ONE MORE TIME:

How many people here have used a gun to protect their family or others from an attack of any sort...and not while serving in the military or a police force.

I'm going to take a wild guess and say...few...if any.

jeff said...

"I mentioned this before, but I did own three bars and we had huge fights, some even with people who were packing guns and knives...and we never shot anybody."

Your and my definition of wild is different. We had a bar owner here who threw out some gang members. They came back and shot her. Killed her. This would be between the time they were thrown out and when the cops arrived.

Anthony said...

>ONE MORE TIME:

>How many people here have used a gun to protect their family or others from an attack of any sort...and not while serving in the military or a police force.

>I'm going to take a wild guess and say...few...

I never have. I have at least one cousin and a friend who has.

nick danger said...

How many people here have used a gun to protect their family or others from an attack of any sort...and not while serving in the military or a police force.

What is the relevance of this?

How many people here have been shot while not serving in the military or a police force?

christopher said...

I find it funny that the same people complaining that fears of government tyranny are drug-induced are the same folks who whine that George Bush has "shredded the Constitution" every time he so much as says mean things about Democrats.

I find it hilarious that people really think that their having a well stocked gun rack is going to keep them free from people with tanks and fighter planes.

Luckyoldson said...

Nick says: "There are only two possibilities here for you to choose from, LOS:

(1) The framers were aware of the possibility of future arms developments (of whatever kind) and decidedly did not limit their amendment to existing technologies...

Of course they knew there would be inventions, developments, etc. What's your point here...that they sat around and mused over the possibility of rifles that could fire 600 rounds a minute? They had rifls that it took about 30 seconds to load and fire ONE ROUND.

(2) They were too stupid to contemplate that possibility and simply omitted that limitation out of ignorance...

NO...the didn't "limit" or "omit" what they had no idea would ever be available...but considering it was about 200 years ago...HOW COULD THEY?

Do YOU have ANY IDEA of what will be available to humans...200 years from now? Is there anything you would even consider "limiting" or "omitting?"

Stupid argument, Nick.

jeff said...

"How many people here have used a gun to protect their family or others from an attack of any sort...and not while serving in the military or a police force.

I'm going to take a wild guess and say...few...if any."

And polling the very limited number of commentators here tells you.....what, exactly?

How many people in here have made the streets run with the blood of innocent victims by practicing concealed carry?

I'm going to take an equally wild guess and say few...if any.

dbp said...

ONE MORE TIME:

How many people here have used a gun to protect their family or others from an attack of any sort...and not while serving in the military or a police force.

I'm going to take a wild guess and say...few...if any.

I would bet even fewer have published a newspaper, so I guess none of us should care about freedom of the press...

Revenant said...

I find it hilarious that people really think that their having a well stocked gun rack is going to keep them free from people with tanks and fighter planes.

I'm glad to see you admit that our victory in Iraq was both easy and complete, Chris.

After all, the insurgents don't have tanks and fighter planes. How could they possibly have resisted us? :)

Luckyoldson said...

Nick,
The "relevance" is that the discussion centers around whether we have to have guns to protect ourselves from criminals or the government.

Personally, I think we should be able to own guns, under the proper auspices, but not be able to carry them around all the time.

What are you missing?

jeff said...

"I find it hilarious that people really think that their having a well stocked gun rack is going to keep them free from people with tanks and fighter planes."

Funny. You know those people that drive the tanks and fighter planes also come home to a well stocked gun rack. They are our neighbors and relatives. How does that relate as to one of the original intents of drafting the 2nd amendment? If you don't like it, then there is a process to overturn it.

Revenant said...

I would bet even fewer have published a newspaper, so I guess none of us should care about freedom of the press...

I've never had gay sex, had (or cause a need for) an abortion, expressed left-wing views (well, I did as a child but then I grew up), belonged to a religion, collected government support, or exercised my fourth amendment rights.

So really, when you think about it, there's no reason for any of that stuff to be legal. What good is it? :)

Luckyoldson said...

dbp: Yeah, discussing newspapers, magazines or film is about the same as discussing whether Americans should be able to carry loaded guns around...to protect themselves from criminals and the government. (Like owning a fucking rifle is going to offset the U.S. military.)

And the dumb just keep getting dumber...

Luckyoldson said...

dbp & rev,
So...if we don't own one or run one or we aren't one...we shouldn't refer to it during a discussion?

Is that really your point?

*And I don't mean the ones on top of your little heads.

jeff said...

"Yeah, discussing newspapers, magazines or film is about the same as discussing whether Americans should be able to carry loaded guns around...to protect themselves from criminals and the government. (Like owning a fucking rifle is going to offset the U.S. military.)"

In what way do you see it being different? Those who think concealed carry should be lawful do not believe it makes things more dangerous, but rather safer.
Those who are against it think that you will turn the streets into the wild west with shootings over fender benders. Since concealed carry has spread across the country, which side has been more right? Personally, I leave it up to the voters of the particular state. If they want it, then they should have it. If they don't, then they shouldn't. That has not been how this has been historically decided.

And the association of owning a rifle offsetting the US military is part of the justification for including it in the bill of rights. If you feel that isn't applicable, just convince your representative and then convince the majority of the voters and you can have the amendment modified. Just like prohibition.

dbp said...

Having served in the military, my observation is that only very very few would obey orders to attack US. civilians.

Also, if there are around 100 million of us here who are armed, then an army of 1 million could not win without laying waste to pretty much everything.

Trumpit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

There's no end of amusement value with this argument. I particularly like the argument that the founders didn't anticipate destructive technology.

The Founders lived in an era of privately-owned artillery pieces and warships. An assault rifle has a lot of destructive power, but it doesn't hold a candle to a nice solid broadside from a frigate.

jeff said...

"So...if we don't own one or run one or we aren't one...we shouldn't refer to it during a discussion?

Is that really your point?"

Wow. Obtuse even for you.

jeff said...

"How about the infringement of MY constitutional right not to be shot and killed by an unregulated crazed assassin during a discussion of French verb conjugations?"

You will find that right under my constitutional right not to be hit by a crazed driver.

btw, for someone killed by a unregulated crazed assassin you sure type a lot.

Revenant said...

Having served in the military, my observation is that only very very few would obey orders to attack US. civilians. Also, if there are around 100 million of us here who are armed, then an army of 1 million could not win without laying waste to pretty much everything.

You're talking to a group of people who think the principle joy in the life of a US solider is the slaughter of large groups of helpless civilians, dude. You're never going to win them over with a common-sense observation that a guerilla war against a hundred million armed people would be unwinnable. They'll just come back with some hare-brained response like "they'll use bombers and nukes" or something.

jeff said...

"Washington D.C.'s noble attempt to stop the gun madness in their community certainly seems justified if you recognize that the Security of the Free District of Columbia was being threated by anything but a Well-Regulated gun-totting People causing havoc in their midst."

The noble attempt of disarming all the potential victims while doing next to nothing to the predators? That noble attempt? Are you under the mistaken impression that DC was threatened by law abiding people carrying lawful obtained firearms?

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
An Edjamikated Redneck said...

LOS:

The Framers did not have any idea that in the future we would have pistols that would hold 15 shots.

What they did know is that whatever the government was able own, so was the populace.

Jefferson felt that a government should be violently overthrown every thirty years or so, just to keep them honest.

Teddy Rooseveldt became a Colonel in the Rough Riders becaus ehe outfitted the unit, from uniforms to cannon, all purchased privately.

And LOS, I understand your question about personally using a firearm to protect ourselves or a family member, so let me ask you;

Have you ever had the need to defend your self or a family member?

Probably not, because we have not had a general breakdown in civilized society since probably the 1960's.

But, LOS, let me tell you this- a gun, and my right to own it, is my insurance against another societal breakdown, just like my car insurance is in case of a car wreck.

I hope to never need either one.

Revenant said...

How about the infringement of MY constitutional right not to be shot and killed by an unregulated crazed assassin during a discussion of French verb conjugations?

Murder is illegal, last I checked.

Oh, wait, I get it. Your argument is that while an assassin has no problem committing murder, he'll balk at disobeying a law against private firearm ownership. Gotcha. That makes perfect sense... er, no wait that's incredibly stupid.

Gun control doesn't prevent criminals from getting guns, doofus. All you can do is disarm the law-abiding. Guess what: law-abiding people generally don't try to shoot you!

jeff said...

Hey, look at that. Time to go home. Clean my guns. Read gun and ammo.

dbp said...

Rev,

Yeah I know it is kind of pointless, but LOS makes arguments that have such obvious holes in them. I just can't help filling them in.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Trumpit said... How about the infringement of MY constitutional right not to be shot and killed by an unregulated crazed assassin during a discussion of French verb conjugations?

You right is also the 2nd Amendment.

Go to class armed and shoot back.

Trumpit said...

You two clowns (you know who you are) need to be well-regulated off to the firing range where I hope you get hit by a stray bullet in the groin.

cRift said...

Madisonman,

I've never understood the presence of the comma after Arms."

Being an uneducated dolt out here in the boondocks, I tend to used commas to isolate some clarification to what I'm trying to say. Maybe the sentence without clarification is, "A well-regulated Militia shall not be infringed" by the Federal Government. Thus making the other two parts as clarification or givens with respect to the states, "being necessary to the security of a free state." And with respect to the citizens, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms."

Of course this sort takes the 2nd Amendment out of the equation with respect to individuals owning arms. In that the right is assumed to exist even without the Amendment.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Trumpit said...
You two clowns (you know who you are) need to be well-regulated off to the firing range where I hope you get hit by a stray bullet in the groin.


You see Trumpit, this is where the training comes in- once you become familiar with firearms you know better than to stand in front of one, or to point it at something you don't intend to hit.

Palladian said...

"I find it hilarious that people really think that their having a well stocked gun rack is going to keep them free from people with tanks and fighter planes."

What makes you think the people with the tanks and the fighter planes will be on the side of the State?

Hector Owen said...

Someone (christopher?) asked about stats from Britain, so I went looking for some, and came back to find many intervening posts. So, to keep it brief: even this self-serving Home Office press release admits that "the number of overall offences involving firearms has been increasing each year since 1997/98. And crime involving imitation weapons was up 55% in 2004-05 compared to the previous year." (The Dunblane massacre, which provoked the effective outlawing of privately-owned firearms in the UK, took place in 1996.)

I also found this, which says that English doctors are not required to report gunshot wounds. "Police chiefs want doctors to break medical confidentiality and report patients they treat who have suffered knife or gun shot wounds, the Guardian has learned." If many gun victims are not being reported, it throws all your UK stats into a cocked hat.

Palladian said...

Why do "liberals" hate Liberty so much?

Palladian said...

Trumpit hopes people with whom he disagrees will be mortally wounded by bullets.

Palladian said...

Maybe we need a good old-fashioned battle.

Palladian said...

I'm adopting a more liberal commenting style, like our self-styled liberals, by commenting more liberally.

Quantity-wise.

christopher said...

dbp said...

Having served in the military, my observation is that only very very few would obey orders to attack US. civilians.


I was talking about Blackwater.

50,000 heavily armed mercs on American soil.

And they're run by crazy Republicans with ties to the Bush Administration!!

Woo hoo!!! Praetorian guard, dudes!!!!!

cRift said...

palladian said...
"Why do "liberals" hate Liberty so much?"


Why do conservatives believe a person right to keep and bear arms exists over an individual's right to keep and own their own body?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If anybody here is attacked by a wild animal...I think you should be able to shoot them.

I agree.

How do you propose that I am able to do that if I am not allowed to have guns or not allowed to keep a loaded gun (you might has well have a big rock to throw) or have a gun lock on all guns?

If I am robbed or threatened, you can also bet that I WILL use the shotgun. Precision doesn't count and the sound of the pump action is nicely intimidating.

My right isn't just to bear arms, but also to keep them handy in case I need to use them. Being locked in a gun safe or forced to be unloaded isn't handy.

Gun safety IS important. Reponsible gun owners teach their children how to handle and to respect guns. They also keep their guns in a safe but handily accessible place.

Palladian said...

"Why do conservatives believe a person right to keep and bear arms exists over an individual's right to keep and own their own body?"

The world is a dangerous place. Things happen. If it's not a gun, then what? Take cars away? Airplanes? Do you think criminals will stop using guns if guns were illegal?

You don't own your own body? Strange.

I like the idea of the Constitution granting people the right to own their own bodies.

Too bad about those aborted babies. Maybe we should outlaw clamps and dilators.

Hell, why not drag abortion into this? Gay marriage too.

I don't think the government has the right to grant or deny anyone the right to marry.

"Liberals" are not the same as Liberals. One loves Liberty. The other loves themselves.

Luckyoldson said...

An Edjamikated Redneck,
Sooooooooooo, you gotta have you some guns an' bullets...'cause you an' the boys around the swamp is gonna get dem rifles...and hold off the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, CIA, FBI and local police forces...

Be sure to get some good video!!

Hector Owen said...

cRift: If I may help you to ameliorate your status as "an uneducated dolt:" the first part of the Second Amendment, "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," is a nominative absolute. If you don't care to click the link: "The phrase has no grammatical connection with the rest of the sentence." The example given: "The weather being rainy, we decided to postpone the trip."

The world-wide-web being ubiquitous, reading blog comments can be educational!

The Drill SGT said...

DBQ has it right. There is nothing else more intimidating than the sound of a home owner racking back the action of a 12 guage pump.

If a home invader proceeds after that, he is hopped up on drugs or intends violence already.

DBQ, where do you live in Jefferson? I was born in Chico

Palladian said...

"Sooooooooooo, you gotta have you some guns an' bullets...'cause you an' the boys around the swamp is gonna get dem rifles...and hold off the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, CIA, FBI and local police forces..."

Why do you assume that when the cookie crumbles those forces will be on the side of the State?

Trumpit said...

"A WELL-REGULATED Militia..."

Reasonably assuming that "well-regulated" is not referring to regular bowel movements, why is that adjective there at all? Why not just "A militia, being necessary..."?

What is well-regulated about a redneck having the right to own multiple dangerous weapons? What was well-regulated about that insane Virginia Tech student being able to walk into a pawn shop and walk out with 9mm pistols & boxes of ammo? Later he commits mass murder against his fellow students and faculty on campus during a French class. How about the infringement of MY constitutional right not to be shot and killed by an unregulated crazed assassin during a discussion of French verb conjugations?

Washington D.C.'s noble attempt to stop the gun madness in their community certainly seems justified if you recognize that the Security of the Free District of Columbia was being Infringed by anything but a Well-Regulated gun-totting People causing havoc in their midst.

christopher said...

BTW -- did you know that 90 percent of the Blackwater mercs in Iraq aren't Americans?

They're Bosnian Serbs and white South Africans.

You know -- people with a real flair for oppressing and murdering people.

Isn't that wonderful?

Zeb Quinn said...

Regulated meant something else in 1791. Think about it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Drill Sarge. I lived in Paradise for quite a few years. Now I'm near Mount Shasta.

and for LoS... A couple of my friends (ex Marine Corps) have some black powder cannons for Civil War reinactments. It can be more than just entertaining. I'll be sure to take some videos.

Palladian said...

"
Washington D.C.'s noble attempt to stop the gun madness in their community certainly seems justified if you recognize .. blah blah blah"

Only a fucking moron would call the deprivation of individual liberty "noble".

Because of course criminals always get their guns legally! Why, if we just ban guns they will be gone! Then I can stop wetting my bed at night for fear of scary boom sticks!

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Trumpit:

I can tell you what was well regulated at Virginia Tech;

The gun owners with Concealed Carry permits who were forced to lock their legal weapons in their cars.

And LOS read you Revolutionary history; that is EXACTLY what those rednecks did in the 1790's; it was their ability to fight and hide that allowed us tohold out until the French came to help, andis exactly what the Iraqi Al Queda did in Iraq,except we prevented a foreign nation form helping them.

Read George Washiington's War and report back, 'k?

Pogo said...

Declaring gun ownership illegal necessarily limits those weapons to criminals. Self-defense becomes impossible. A woman cannot protect herself against rape, nor her children from the forced entry of an armed thief into her home. An elderly man must not only give up his wallet, but be beaten in the process, for he has nothing to fight back with.

In essence, the left wants the world to belong to the strong who are willing to abuse others.

The Framers correctly saw self-defense, and the means to provide it, as part of natural law. A nation that rejects this right ceases moral authority and is no longer legitimate. At that point, citizens have lost faith in such a government, and must need overthrow it.

Revenant said...

I was talking about Blackwater.

No, you weren't. Blackwater hasn't GOT "tanks and fighter jets".

Revenant said...

Why do conservatives believe a person right to keep and bear arms exists over an individual's right to keep and own their own body?

If you can't defend yourself, crift, you have only those rights which the people who do own weapons allow you to keep. Sure, you can whine "it's not FAIR, I have RIGHTS" while they're loading you into the cattle car, if it makes you feel better. I'm sure the people doing it -- you know, the ones WITH guns -- will get a good chuckle out of that.

You gun-grabbers should stop and consider that the overwhelming majority of all the people who have ever been murdered were unarmed civilians killed by armed agents of a government. And those are the people you think SHOULD be allowed to own guns? Sheesh, stop and think about what you're saying for a minute.

George said...

Just came home from a meeting.....

Dark parking lot...

As I was leaving, college girl came in to the place, saying that three times (!) two different men (!) asked her for money in the parking lot.

Pretty spooky...called the cops...she couldn't describe the men, probably homeless.


Could have been a near thing for her...

jeff said...

So to sum up, George Bush's America is spreading the constitution and will deploy a private army in this country so the best thing to do is disarm it's citizens. That pretty close?

jeff said...

whoops. not spreading. Shredding. My mistake.

Kirk said...

nick danger,

"It was common statutory parlance for a long time"

This is not uncommon even today, is it?


LOS,

"And why can't everybody carry loaded guns around with them?"

We can't? Who says??? Maybe you should move to one of the Free States like Washington (not DC) where, in fact, we can carry loaded guns around with us all the time!

But let me disabuse you of one serious mistake you're making: we don't get to do this because we have "open carry laws" [cough, choke, splutter], we get to do this because we're free people and there aren't any laws against it! Let's see if you can appreciate the difference...

Paul said...

Suppose the Second Amendment said, "A well-stocked public library, being necessary to the education of a free society, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed." To whom would the right to keep and read books belong?

christopher said...


7:02 PM
Revenant said...

I was talking about Blackwater.

No, you weren't. Blackwater hasn't GOT "tanks and fighter jets".


Actually, Blackwater HAS tanks on American soil.

50,000 heavily armed mercs...being run by crazed wingers in bed with the Bush administration.

Pretorian Guard, dudes!!!!

Woo hoo!!!

Anthony said...

>Actually, Blackwater HAS tanks on American soil.

Do they have black helicopters also?

Trumpit said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maguro said...

"50,000 heavily armed mercs...being run by crazed wingers in bed with the Bush administration."

Sounds promising. Where do I sign up?

jeff said...

So what did Art Bell say about this? Or whoever is doing that radio show these days?

Revenant said...

Actually, Blackwater HAS tanks on American soil.

What a fascinating thing to claim.

Daryl said...

PluckyOldSon: people would be carrying around automatic pistols with clips holding 15 or more rounds

The only "automatic pistols with clips" that I know of are cavalry weapons from back in the days when armies had guys who rode horses.

Perhaps you mean semi-automatic pistols with magazines.

Trumpit said...

"Only a fucking moron would call the deprivation of individual liberty "noble"." -Loudmouth


Only a fucking moron would call reasoned, and reasonable gun control a deprivation of individual liberty. If you need a gun to feel free, I feel very sorry for you, and the violently sick society that your right-wing policies helped create.

Revenant said...

Only a fucking moron would call reasoned, and reasonable gun control a deprivation of individual liberty.

A total ban is "reasonable control", is it? Fascinating.

This opens up whole new areas of constitutional law, really. For example, surely nobody would consider reasonable, well-intentioned limits on abortion -- such as a complete ban on the procedure within the United States -- to be a restriction of their freedom or liberty. Why, only a "fucking moron" would think that their rights were violated by that kind of law. :)

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Okay Trumpit; what is reasonable and reasoned gun control?

How do you keep guns away from thise who shouldn't have them without infringing on my right to carry?

Cedarford said...

I'm coming to this debate a little late, but the 1st thing you have to do is recognize this right or non-right to own and use firearms was not magically 1st discussed in the Sacred Parchment of the Holy Founders where, if we only parse and nuance right - their wisdom will be revealed by the High Lawyer Priests dressed in robes.

Why did the Revoluntionaries even HAVE guns to shoot at Redcoats?

1. Well, because that was their right, gained in the English Civil War and codified in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Each man - and not just the old aristocracy and their armies - was given the right to keep and bear arms...to safeguard against the foreign powers, domestic enemies like Papists, and common criminals like livestock thieves, highwaymen and brigands.

2. The 1688 firearm rights were secured outside Englands Borders by the Charters of the Colonies. Which in some cases added requirements for a sword or gun and pistol for each resident in a settlement, a requirement as well to take up arms when commanded or to deal with Indians, criminals since there were no cops back then. They were the ad hoc cops. The Charters and later, Constitutions all affirmed the right to keep and bear firearms.
The also specified that weaponry past small arms - like cannon, gunpowder mines, shot, rocketry, armed river vessels, cost of collective defense fortifications and other defense in attack like primitive firefighting equipment - would be paid for in common, and stored safely in a communal armor or port facility.

3. When The Revolution succeeded, the State Constitutions continued to say the Right to bear for militia, but also for self defense, police duties, and hunting was not to be infringed except in cases of criminality or mental infeeblement. The Articles of COnfederation continued that, and the Federalist Papers and correspondence of some of the key Founders all mentioned that firearms were an indispensible hedge against tyranny. They all had major concerns - they had just stolen the land of Loyalists, the Brits might regroup and attack, they knew more Indian wars awaited...and most of all...they knew there were good odds that the Revolution might not work - that a tyrant might take power - and liberty required overflowing the tyrant by force, spilling his blood if necessary.

4. When the Constitution was drafted, it took all those feelings and traditions into account and created the 2nd Amendment. None of the Founders who had discussed how critical private firearms were to public safety, performing police functions, protecting family miles from the nearest habitation from wild animals or Indians or criminals - as well as a militia for invaders - raised any objection to the 2nd Amendment other than excepting the likes of Quakers from being forced to bear arms. No objections. And if any at the time they had been told that the real meaning was to be twisted by NYC ACLU types to mean only the men under the dreaded future tyrant's control had a right to keep and bear arms to control the Citizenry - they would have never allowed it in the Constitution as written. And hanged the ACLU types.

5. After the War of 1812 when militias had proven to perform terribly against professional soldiers up in Canada, military defense swung more to a professional army with militia and other auxilliaries to supplement. Many militas were disbanded. In no case were disbanding militia told to surrender their firearm to a government agent, unless the agent signed a permit to allow the American to keep a firearm to defend home and family and to hunt....

All the history, laws, Charters, constitutions of early America and going back to Post-Cromwell England confirm it is a right to keep and bear arms given to the People - not the Government.

carlor said...

Goodness, what a lot of comments about nothing. Get a grip people. The decision to grant cert in this case has nothing to do with any alleged 'right' to bear arms. Even more than most of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is concerned with the power of the federal government, and nothing else.

The issue on which cert has been granted has nothing to do (even by implication) with state militias or state and local legislation. The Court has only decided to hear a challenge to a federal law on firearms possession. So its ruling will only tell us whether these DC laws -- federal in nature -- violate the Second Amendment. However the Court rules on that question, its decision will have no implication on the ability, or not, of state and local governments to pass gun laws. The Supreme Court settled this point as far back as Presser v. Illinois in 1886 -- in case clarification ws required, especially in light of the 14th Amendment, by holding that the Second Amendment only restrains Congress (and it's delegees such as, here, DC). It does not restrain State and local governments. End of story.

This is a very limited case about a very limited point of Constitutional law. If the DC laws are struck down, then, yes, some federal firearms legislation will be called into question. But all state and local legislation -- such as the similar city ordinance in Chicago -- will be free from Contitutional challenge.

DAJ Hilton
dajhilton@yahoo.co.uk

carlor said...

Goodness, what a lot of comments about nothing. Get a grip people. The decision to grant cert in this case has nothing to do with any alleged 'right' to bear arms. Even more than most of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is concerned with the power of the federal government, and nothing else.

The issue on which cert has been granted has nothing to do (even by implication) with state militias or state and local legislation. The Court has only decided to hear a challenge to a federal law on firearms possession. So its ruling will only tell us whether these DC laws -- federal in nature -- violate the Second Amendment. However the Court rules on that question, its decision will have no implication on the ability, or not, of state and local governments to pass gun laws. The Supreme Court settled this point as far back as Presser v. Illinois in 1886 -- in case clarification ws required, especially in light of the 14th Amendment, by holding that the Second Amendment only restrains Congress (and it's delegees such as, here, DC). It does not restrain State and local governments. End of story.

This is a very limited case about a very limited point of Constitutional law. If the DC laws are struck down, then, yes, some federal firearms legislation will be called into question. But all state and local legislation -- such as the similar city ordinance in Chicago -- will be free from Contitutional challenge.

DAJ Hilton

jeff said...

I love how people say "end of story" thinking that since they said it, there can be no more discussion. You may not have bothered to notice, but the conversation has evolved to the intent of the second amendment and what it means, or should mean, or what people think it means. But thanks, anyway.

former law student said...

However the Court rules on that question, its decision will have no implication on the ability, or not, of state and local governments to pass gun laws. The Supreme Court settled this point as far back as Presser v. Illinois in 1886

The first sentence is nominally true. However a decision that acknowledges an individual right to bear arms would energize civil rights activists all over the country to have the right incorporated. The split in authority between the fifth and ninth circuits means the issue is appropriate for Supreme Court review.

The second sentence is essentially meaningless. In 1886 it was settled law that NONE of the Bill of Rights protections could be enforced against the states. The first application of the 14th amendment to the states didn't occur till 1899.

The Court hasn't looked at the Second Amendment since Prohibition -- a vastly different world in which Chinese kids could be made to go to the Colored schools, in which doctors could not prescribe contraception to even married women, and the separation of church and state was tissue thin. But the Court had just held that people on trial for their lives should receive legal counsel.

Presser v. Illinois settled the question whether working men could parade with rifles. This was during the time and approximately the place of the martyrdom of the workers at Haymarket, a tragedy memorialized in May 1 Labor Days throughout the world, except in the US of course. The decision favored the plutocrats at the expense of the workers they exploited, so having progressives champion this decision is beyond incongruous.

Daryl said...

Carlor (DAJ Hilton) wrote: Goodness, what a lot of comments about nothing. Get a grip people. The decision to grant cert in this case has nothing to do with any alleged 'right' to bear arms.

Methinks it is you who needs to get a grip, sir.

First, you're probably not even an American, what with your Commonwealth email address. You would be a redcoat, the natural enemy of American civilian gun possession.

Second, the question for review, as drafted by the Supreme Court, asks about "the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia"

Whether or not the Supreme Court will recognize an individual right to firearms ownership premised on the 2nd Amendment is the issue the Court will be deciding.

That's such a British response--to have a stiff upper lip and treat us as if we're getting the vapors. But it's not so. This is big news. You, sir, should dine on some humble pie (authentic British cuisine, or so I am told).

Cedarford said...

Quinn - What's interesting is how they are going to define the term "arms." What's an arm? Zip guns? Saturday Night Specials? .357 Magnums? Street sweeper shotguns? Fully automatic AK-47s? .50 caliber machine guns? Grenade launchers? Intercontinental ballistic missiles? In 1791 it wasn't necessary, but now it seems quite clear that lines need to be drawn in there somewhere. But where?

If we look back at weaponry that went past home defense, but was used by militia and required more than one person to operate it...cannons, gunboats, explosive mines and shells, rocketry - it was a collective weapon paid for by the community, generally stored in an armory or at a port facility. Same with explosive devices, large quantities of gunpowder.
That left small arms available for the individual, and by law and tradition the individual's responsibility to have and maintain.

So if SCOTUS rules in favor of the 2nd being an individual right, the 1939 poorly considered "only those weapons with a valid military use" language should be superceeded...not the least reason being sawed off shotguns have devestating military usages..but are not optimum for home defense, hunting, police work, as a standard militia arm in a company.

And items like nuclear bombs, cluster bombs, MANPADS, C-4 stockpiles, grenades, genade launchers, vats of anthrax spores and nerve gas, artillery - though it all has "valid military use" would fall in the category of what a militia bought and stored in common..not an individual weapon.

Leaving a pistol, a high-powered rifle or accurate shotgun, knives, clubs as personal arms that should only be barred to underage, felons, and mentally disabled.

Machine guns, like sawed off shotguns, are problematic. But nowadays, individual soldiers are trained to use their weapon on semi-auto or tri-burst except in certain circumstances - it is a way of fighting that is more accurate, conserves ammo, and appears to be more lethal than walking a 30-round clip all over the place.

But if a rationale exists for not allowing machine guns, nerve gas and other stuff that could kill a lot of unarmed people. fast...a rationale exists that the small arms private citizens have be semi-auto versions of current weapons, with full magazine capacity, and that body armor be allowed vs. "Cops and other Heroes of Law Enforcement only may have personal armor" thinking which in certain states bars individuals from ownership. Meaning an end to Diane Feinstein and her ban on "scary-looking guns" like M-16 semi auto rifles.

And a follow-up to a favorable 2nd-Amendment ruling that would allow concealed carry, but only with training and a permit. And would allow certain non-firearm weapons states have been trying to ban like pepper spray, nunchucka, batons.

And if we have firearms allowed again, places like DC will have to do something incredibly revolutionary - respect and enforce existing laws on gun abuse. Because with freedom to keep and bear comes responsibility. So any gang-banger caught with a firearm outside any circumstances where a right to bear one exists, at least a year in jail. Or, if the thug actually uses the gun in a crime - minimum 10 years in jail - and we shouldn't care if they are 14 years old or 28. Minimum 10 years. First degree murder with a firearm - life with no parole.

jeff said...

"Even more than most of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is concerned with the power of the federal government, and nothing else."

What sort of restrictions can the state make on the rights granted under the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th amendments?

"The Supreme Court settled this point as far back as Presser v. Illinois in 1886 -- in case clarification ws required, especially in light of the 14th Amendment, by holding that the Second Amendment only restrains Congress (and it's delegees such as, here, DC). It does not restrain State and local governments. End of story."

How many other cases had been settled law until the Supreme Court reversed itself?
In this particular case, didnt the supreme court say in effect the entire bill of rights is a limitation only on the feds and not the state? Something they have changed their minds about over the years in regards to the other amendments. And finally didn't the SC state that states can not disarm their citizens since that would deprive congress of Article 1 power to regulate militia training and to call up the militia? Isn't this whole thing a bit more complicated than you imply for us gun nuts and rubes you see fit to lecture?

Trumpit said...

Cederford,

Are you really Justice Clarence Thomas incognito? Your appeal to ancient history to justify carrying a piece around with you is exactly the type of reasoning that Judge Thomas is fond of. Maybe you can be a law clerk for the judge; I'd support you in that worthy endeavor.

jeff said...

I see I repeated some of what Former Law Student posted. Takes me (a Former Law Breaker) a bit more time to wade thru this stuff.

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