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Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

[ 109 ] December 19, 2012 |

When it comes to better gun control legislation, the Second Amendment is really a minor factor. The Second Amendment can be plausibly interpreted to permit a wide range of control legislation, and in a political world where gun control had strong support this view would be represented by the Supreme Court (where it already had 4 votes last time, after all.) To the extent that the Constitution presented a major barrier to change, Articles I and II are much more important than the Second Amendment.

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  1. Murc says:

    The 2nd Amendment pisses me off because it makes me feel, and look, like a hypocrite, and makes it hard for me to adopt a consistent way of looking at the Constitution.

    Basically, I am generally bang-on in favor of expansive readings of the Constitution. Especially of the 1st, 4th through 6th, and 8th Amendments. I want those read as broadly as possible.

    But then I run into the 2nd, where an expansive reading is just horrible public policy, but hot on the heels of that thought is “the Constitution doesn’t give a fuck what your preferred public policy is, and adopting inconsistent rubrics for how you analyze different parts of it is what assholes like Scalia do. Do you really want to join the august company of people who love them some enumerated powers, but suddenly become narrow strict-constructionists when the 14th Amendment or commerce clause comes up?”

    So fuck that amendment. It’s badly worded and badly conceived. That doesn’t mean I won’t stick by it like I will the rest of the Constitution, right up to the second it can be changed, but I sure don’t gotta be happy about it.

    • Speak Truth says:

      Murc,

      A most thoughtful post. As you said, you can love it or hate it, but it’s there.

      There are things about the way the constitution is interpreted that I don’t like, either. But I have to go with it until it’s changed. If you don’t, then it’s worthless.

    • wengler says:

      The Second Amendment is a good one that is simply archaic. It refers to the right of the people to defend themselves against a government attempting to disarm them like at Concord.

      This was at first applied to a militia system which then morphed into the national guard. The national guard’s right to keep and bear arms is Constitutionally protected, with the caveat being of course as long as they are not in rebellion.

      That it is interpreted as meaning to keep and bear arms for individuals in peacetime in a country under civil laws, with nary an Indian threat in site, is ludicrous. It has been said elsewhere by other commentators, but I think the popularity of westerns in the ’50s and ’60s along with the authoritarian employment paths in the industrial and post-industrial world, has caused the gun to become a fetishized symbol of rebellion. It’s the last perceived power that some people have.

    • Bill Murray says:

      It takes a seriously expanded reading of the 2nd amendment to get to individual gun rights from it

      • sibusisodan says:

        I reread the opinion and dissents in Heller last night…because I have an active and totally cool social life…and some of the moves Scalia was trying to pull off had me trying to eat my fist in frustration.

        I kinda admire him for the ability to brazenly unlogic his way to a predetermined conclusion, but it is just a little depressing at times.

      • Speak Truth says:

        It takes a seriously expanded reading of the 2nd amendment to get to individual gun rights from it

        Actually, it makes a lot of sense.

        The bill of rights was in response to the fear that the individual was not protected from the power of the federal government so 10 amendments all in one bill, all pertaining to individual rights, was drafted and passed.

        It’s just silly to hold that the second was the only amendment not an individual right and yet all others were. They were all in the same bill.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      What? No love for the 3rd? Remind me not to come running to you when the government tries to force me to quarter soldiers!

  2. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Clearly, the USSC needs to stop being a “gun-free” zone where Conservative Jeebus is stopped at the door.

    Perhaps it would make the issues more urgent and relevant for the justices.

  3. Reading the Second Amendment as having no individual component is not only historically and logically implausible, but completely unnecessary for the cause of gun regulation.

    Going all the way back to the actual militias being referenced, we can say two undeniable things about them: they consisted of individuals possessing their own, privately-armed firearms; and they were subject to all sorts of government regulation.

    • er, “their own, privately-owned firearms,” that is.

    • Chilly says:

      That’s absurd — show me anywhere in the Second Amendment where it says that the militias ought to be “well-regulated.”

      • The actual argument you see is that “regulated” didn’t mean “regulated” when the amendment was written, but something closer to “standardized.”

        You know, like the Constitution’s authority to standardize interstate commerce. No, I don’t think this makes any sense, either.

        • “Because standardized militias are necessary for the security of a free state, every individual has the right to buy whatever type of guy he wants.”

          That is the standard libertarian reading of the Second Amendment. No, it doesn’t make any sense.

          • greylocks says:

            The modern concept of government regulation simply did not exist then, so trying to claim that this was the intent is just playing the same patronizing word games the gun wackos play.

            “Well-regulated” almost certainly meant “well-disciplined” in the military sense, with at least some recruitment and training standards, equipped with standardized weaponry and munitions, under the command of professional officers, and subject to disciplinary measures for failure to follow orders.

            An objective examination of the performance of the militias during the Revolution would illuminate why the authors of the 2nd Amendment were concerned about “regulated”. The irregular militias were, with only rare exceptions, utterly useless. All of the things listed above as characteristics of a well-regulated militia were almost universally not true of the irregular militias of the war.

            In Gunhugger Fantasy Land, of course, the militias bravely fought and won the whole war and the Continental Army was just for parades.

            • The modern concept of government regulation simply did not exist then

              Oh, really? The governments of the time had laws telling you how you had to restrain your livestock and what type of house you could build. Oh, by the way, they could also tell you what kind of gun and ammunition you had to buy for your militia duty. Your argument rests entirely on the “word game” of putting the meaningless phrase “modern concept of” in front of “government regulation.”

              “Well-regulated” almost certainly meant “well-disciplined” in the military sense

              Sure it did. That’s why the word “regulate” appears elsewhere in the Constitution to mean “regulate.” Because the word “regulate” didn’t really mean “regulate.”

              The concept of the government telling people what they could and could not do existed. Period, full stop. The “word game” being played here is the pretense that regulation does not mean regulation.

            • mark f says:

              According to Garry Wills:

              Well-regulated. One of the modern militia leaders who testified before Congress said, in answer to a question by Representative Patricia Schroeder about his insignia, that the militia movement is informal, spontaneous, and without fixed leadership. No eighteenth-century defender of the militias would have spoken that way. Sensitive to the charge that militias could be mobs, they always stressed that they were talking of a proper militia, a good militia, a correct militia, one well-trained, well-disciplined, well-regulated.

              The use of the last term is especially significant, since the king’s soldiers and sailors were called “regulars” in the eighteenth century. The militias, too, were “regular,” existing under rules (regulae). They did not boast a lesser discipline, just a right to continual upkeep of themselves and their equipment. Adam Smith took regulated to mean, principally, “regimented”—divided into bodies of troops.38

              General discussion of regulation concentrated on three matters: composition of the bands, arming (which included financing) them, and disciplining them. These three concerns are reflected in the Constitution’s militia clause, which speaks of a congressional power “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 16).

    • Murc says:

      The analogy I like to use is that the 2nd Amendment individual rights should, at MINIMUM, be subject to the same restrictions our 1st Amendment rights are; time, place, and manner.

      • Speak Truth says:

        @ Murc

        The second is an enumerated right. However, Roe v Wade is an implied right found by the court in another implied right and yet I’m guessing that you think it’s absolute and cannot be regulated at all.

        Given all of that, how do you square your belief that you can regulate guns, but not abortions?

    • Bill Murray says:

      Reading the Second Amendment as having no individual component is not only historically and logically implausible, but completely unnecessary for the cause of gun regulation.

      The first part of this is pretty clearly wrong, it is pretty much historical fact — the original text of the 2nd Amendment, which was not really challenged in the discussion, but the text was tightened

      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.

      people here is clearly collective. The people’s arms were usually kept in the arsenal when training was not occurring.

      But I do agree that even if one includes an ahistorical individual gun right, that clearly does not preclude gun control legislation

      • greylocks says:

        It doesn’t matter what the draft text said. What matters what the final text said.

        These were highly educated men. They knew what they were writing.

        • It doesn’t matter what the draft text said. What matters what the final text said.

          Nope, not when we’re trying to interpret their meaning.

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          What they were writing was a fudge that the US has had to deal with for over 200 years. Committee findings are like that. Even holy bloody writ is like that, otherwise you wouldn’t have theology.

          • What they were writing was a fudge that the US has had to deal with for over 200 years. Committee findings are like that.

            Seriously. The “original intent” of the framers was to settle on language that could get a supermajority,even if it meant retreating into vagueness.

      • people here is clearly collective. The people’s arms were usually kept in the arsenal when training was not occurring.

        That’s false. Among the early states, laws requiring private ownership and maintenance of arms and ammunition for militia use were common.

        People who say that readings of the Second Amendment other than their own are “clearly” anything are talking out of their asses. It’s about as clear as molasses.

  4. MikeJake says:

    Heller may have left the door open for certain firearms legislation, but the SC sure as hell didn’t give us much guidance on what would be acceptable.

  5. bradP says:

    Volokh has been interesting on this.

    He argues that a lot of the regulation is constitutional because they are not a substantial burden, but then goes on to make the point that factor also makes the regulations as ineffective.

  6. NBarnes says:

    I always thought that Tom Tomorrow said it best. There was a debate. Gun control lost. The Supreme Court’s rulings on the subject are a symptom of that loss, rather than a cause of it. If and/or when the political issue is re-fought, then the SC (slowly, given the sclerotic nature of the SC) will change to reflect the new public policy consensus.

    Until then, like with many terrible ideas in this republic, the problem is with the voters, not with the elected officials. Wayne LaPierre should be held accountable for his public statements, but on the reflection of those statements in the popular politics of gun control, if it weren’t him voicing the desires of millions of gun fetishists, it’d be somebody else.

    • liberal says:

      Until then, like with many terrible ideas in this republic, the problem is with the voters, not with the elected officials.

      No, it’s a classic problem of concentrated interests vs diffuse interests.

      The concentrated interests being gun manufacturers, who simply want to move as much product as possible.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

        This. The key to the politics of the NRA are the companies that produce firearms and ammo. Everything else is just highfalutin’ window dressing.

      • NBarnes says:

        Collective action problems are not the gun lobby’s fault. The gun lobby’s success is the fault of the collective action problem.

      • UserGoogol says:

        Blaming gun manufacturers for America’s stupid gun laws seems like a rather backwardly conspiratorial way of thinking about it. Industries want all sorts of stuff, but they can’t all get what they want, and gun manufacturing isn’t exactly the most lucrative business in the world. The gun lobby is especially influential not because gun companies are especially powerful at manipulating such things, but because of various sociological and ideological reasons, which then happen to benefit the people who make guns. There’s presumably a feedback loop where gun manufacturers can use their fortunate position in society to further support guns, but the ultimate causality goes the other way.

        Businesses are as much a product of their societies as anything else.

  7. Steve says:

    That’s true, there are all sorts of restrictions that can be consistent with the second amendment. And I can’t speak for all gun owners here, just myself and my family and friends, but the reason we resist new gun control isn’t that we necessarily think it’s always a bad idea, but because gun control has a long history of not affecting crime. Period.

    I’ll listen to reasonable, logical proposals. I’ll give them an appropriate amount of consideration. But if the “answers” being proposed are the same old ideas that haven’t reduced crime before, haven’t reduced crime in the places they’re currently in place, and wouldn’t have stopped any of the recent high-profile crimes, I don’t see the point of considering that.

    On the other hand, I’m currently writing all my representatives to remind them that according to MAIG, PA has reported zero mental health records to the NICS. Will such a solution help? I don’t know, but it at doesn’t have a history of failure.

    • RedSquareBear says:

      haven’t reduced crime

      You keep using that word phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means…

      • Steve says:

        Fair point, although you don’t actually know what I think it means.

        Well here’s what I think it means: violent crime rates, homicide rates, and “gun death” rates have been consistently dropping for years while gun ownership increases. It means that the “postmortem” report of the last federal assault weapons ban showed undetectable effects on crime.

        What do you think it means?

        • c u n d gulag says:

          By “gun ownership,” how do you know that the number of people who own guns has inceased, and not just the same number of people keep buying more guns?

          The government, except through licenses, doesn’t track too many other gun statistics.

          Also, we had less MASS gun murders, because large clips were not available to the public.
          Charles Joseph “Texas Tower” Whitman was a statistical outlier when he killed 13 people and wounded 32 others.

          The total number of gun murders may have gone down, but the number of mass gun murders has increased.

          NO ONE want is talking about stopping a hunter from owning a hunting rifle, or even a few of them.
          NO ONE is talking about not allowing a family to have a gun in their home for protection, or even a few of them.

          The things those of us in favor of some gun control want to have under discussion, are:
          -Who should and shouldn’t be allowed to have a gun?
          -How many guns can they have?
          -What types of guns should be allowed (is a military assault weapon necessary or appropriate for home defense or hunting)?
          And how many bullets in a clip should be the max?

          • Speak Truth says:

            -Who should and shouldn’t be allowed to have a gun?

            YES. No one want’s crazies with guns as was this last mass murderer. And I’m OK with closing the gun show loophole as long as it doesn’t restrict qualified buyers in a meaningful way.

            -How many guns can they have?

            How does that affect anything? The CT murderer only used one rifle?

            -What types of guns should be allowed

            No…no…NO!! The second was for political reasons, not for hunting or self defense. They wanted the citizenry who made up the militias, both government and private, to have weapons comparable to government troops, foreign or domestic. It doesn’t make a lick of sense to restrict the individual right as recently affirmed by the SCOTUS to an inferior weapon.

            • Sherm says:

              Fucking A! Nuclear missiles for all!

            • Our drone-armed populace is going to make life in the new century very entertaining.

            • liberal says:

              They wanted the citizenry who made up the militias, both government and private, to have weapons comparable to government troops, foreign or domestic.

              Agreed. Looking forward to the day where people, particularly those who live near busy airports, can own their own MANPADS. Not to mention nukes, as another commenter already pointed out.

            • -How many guns can they have?

              How does that affect anything? The CT murderer only used one rifle?

              This issue comes into effect when you look at the trafficking of guns from less-responsible states to more-responsible ones. If someone is buying twenty of the same pistol in a month, guess what? He, or the person he is working for, is driving them across state lines and selling them illegally.

              • DrDick says:

                Actually, this more an issue of why local and state level gun control laws are less effective. If you look at the experience of Japan, Australia, or other countries that have adopted more stringent gun control laws at the national level, they all show marked drops in homicides and gun violence.

            • The second was for political reasons, not for hunting or self defense. They wanted the citizenry who made up the militias, both government and private, to have weapons comparable to government troops, foreign or domestic.

              The funny thing about this most radical of pro-gun arguments is that it rebuts the claim that the right protected in the Second Amendment is an individual right, as opposed to a collective right, as well as the claim that the right is a fundamental, as opposed to secondary, right.

              An individual owning a gun means absolutely nothing in terms of protecting liberty and being able to restrain tyrannical government. An individual with a gun is a bug splatter to a tyrannical government. It is only the collective, on the level of the People as a whole, that private gun ownership can possibly function as such a restraining force.

              Also, if the purpose of allowing private gun ownership is to prevent tyranny and the violation of rights, then that is the definition of a secondary, non-fundamental right. A fundamental right is something like free speech or worship – something that you must be allowed to engage in to be a free person, the restriction of which by itself prevents you from living as a free person. Arguing that free people must be allowed to hunt, or defend themselves from attack, or defend their property, is an argument about a fundamental right. Arguing that the widespread ownership of guns keeps the government in line, so that people’s rights are protected, is putting the right to bear arms in the same category as the right to a trial by jury, or the right to see the evidence against you – that is, a secondary right.

          • Steve says:

            All good points, and one of the things that makes this debate so difficult to have. And I think our disagreements here are not due to facts or statistics, but on what those facts and statistics mean.

            It’s not well known how many gun owners there are. According to “unbiased” polls the percentage is 40-45% of households and has been increasing. And FBI background check statistics are breaking records all the time. But you’re absolutely right, it’s difficult to know for sure.

            Here’s an example of interpretation: it’s well known how many murders there are and how many used guns (roughly 10k/yr). It’s less well known how many times guns are used defensively although estimates generally range from 1-2.5 million/yr, with 1.4 million being a commonly used statistic from a study by Kleck that supposedly fixed the biases in the previous studies. It’s a very difficult thing to measure though because those statistics just aren’t recorded, so they’re all estimates. So on the one hand you have a very definite number, and on the other hand you have a significantly larger number but it’s less clear what that number actually means. The cost/benefit analysis then becomes very hard if not impossible.

            We could also point out that out of those roughly 10k gun murders every year, roughly half of them are committed by those who are already prohibited from possessing firearms (felons). How should we interpret that? Should we reduce parole rates? Hope that the next law is the one they actually follow?

            And I should also point out that military weapons are already severely regulated and generally unavailable for civilian use. You’re probably referring to modern semiautomatic rifles, which are not weapons of war but merely cosmetically resemble them. And are used in an extremely small percentage (about 2%) of crimes, of which an unfortunate few are recent high-profile examples. I personally find it difficult to support policies that even if they magically start working, would only have a tiny effect.

            Obviously, I’m of the opinion that the second amendment, like the first amendment, provides more benefit than cost.

            • Liam says:

              modern semiautomatic rifles… are used in an extremely small percentage (about 2%) of crimes

              I wonder what percentage of mass killings used semiautomatic weapons with magazines carrying more than 10 rounds? Because a magic policy that eliminated all mass killings in the U.S. forever would, statistically speaking, “only have a tiny effect” on gun deaths overall, most of which are suicides. Regardless, the prevention of further mass killings is why we are in fact all discussing gun control policy right now, so eliding that with other gun crimes is confusing the issue.

            • Hob says:

              I don’t know if you’re trying to muddy the waters, or if you’re just not interested in what people here are discussing and would rather discuss something else.

              The current discussion of gun control is not about a putative increase in gun-related crime in general; no one but you is talking about that. It’s about a recent occurrence of one of those “high-profile examples” you’re referring to so dismissively. The “high-profile examples” are horrific, they are becoming more frequent, and they are facilitated by the kind of pro-gun absolutism you’re embodying.

            • Hob says:

              “According to “unbiased” polls the percentage is 40-45% of households and has been increasing”

              Some citations would be nice, but let’s say you’re referring to this Gallup poll. In that case, it’s awfully misleading to say it “has been increasing”; it spiked sharply in the last year, but had been going up and down since 1996; prior to that, it was north of 50%. So there’s been no correlation, as you claim, between an overall decrease in crime rates and an overall increase in gun ownership.

              There’s also the General Social Survey, which even more sharply contradicts your claims.

            • rea says:

              it’s well known how many murders there are and how many used guns (roughly 10k/yr). It’s less well known how many times guns are used defensively although estimates generally range from 1-2.5 million/yr, with 1.4 million being a commonly used statistic

              Look at those two statistics critically, and you’ll see that one of them has to be nonsense. With only 10,000 gun murders a year, how the hell could their be 1.2 million instances of legitimate defensive use? Bearing in mind that the law requires that guns can only be used defensively in response to a threat of deadly force . . .

            • Speak Truth says:

              It’s less well known how many times guns are used defensively although estimates generally range from 1-2.5 million/yr, with 1.4 million being a commonly used statistic from a study by Kleck that supposedly fixed the biases in the previous studies.

              1.4 million defensive uses of firearms ain’t chump change. This is but one of the societal values of firearm that the left refuses to discuss or recognize. They contend firearms have no value. Just ask Loomis.

        • Murc says:

          That there are other factors besides gun ownership which also affect violent crime?

          Among other things, we radically changed how we approach managing urban areas over the past thirty or so years, and that’s contributed directly to our cities (where most people live and, hence, most crime happens) being safer.

        • djw says:

          while gun ownership increases

          False.

          • wengler says:

            Yeah I was about to say this. Glad I scrolled down first.

          • laura says:

            I think the confusion comes from the fact that guns sales are going up while most available evidence (which to be fair is based on survey responses; the right has been discouraging responding truthfully to surveys for years now) suggests gun ownership rates are going down, i.e. a smaller number of people buying more and more guns.

        • peorgietirebiter says:

          Steve,
          I’m an admitted liberal living in rural N.Texas. I’ve never owned a gun but have no particular aversion to the idea of owning guns. Living here I’m surrounded by guns owned by folks I consider friends and good neighbors. To my mind, banning assualt weapons, specific types of ammo and paraphenalia is just good public health and safety policy. While there are a lot of other components to the discussion, I don’t see the crime rate as being one of them.
          Is there more to your objections o this type of ban?

    • Murc says:

      And I can’t speak for all gun owners here, just myself and my family and friends, but the reason we resist new gun control isn’t that we necessarily think it’s always a bad idea, but because gun control has a long history of not affecting crime. Period.

      So how do you explain the incredibly low levels of gun crime in the nations that have banned guns?

      And don’t bring up Switzerland. Switzerland had mandatory national service. I’m pretty sure if we conscripted everyone who wanted to own a gun and made them serve a year or two in the army, our gun crime levels would plummet as well.

      • djw says:

        Switzerland also has some of the highest rates of gun violence in Europe.

        • Murc says:

          Which are still way lower than ours.

          Switzerland is one of the few scenarios in which you really CAN make a plausible argument that their level of gun violence is offset by the value obtained from their well-trained and educated citizen-soldiers. I would still argue against actually issuing them all weapons to keep at home (that’s a very 19th century way of doing things) but the point is it isn’t an insane way of doing things.

          I’d be much more sanguine about US gun ownership if everyone who owned one had made it through basic training and a tour of duty somewhere. There are always exceptions, but by and large my experience has been that guys with military training do NOT fuck around when it comes to firearms safety.

          • djw says:

            Switzerland is one of the few scenarios in which you really CAN make a plausible argument that their level of gun violence is offset by the value obtained from their well-trained and educated citizen-soldiers.

            Perhaps, but a number of surrounding countries, culturally and demographically similar, have a vastly less gun violence. If Switzerland is the best we can do with widespread gun ownership, that hardly constitutes an argument for it, given the immediate comparables.

          • firefall says:

            Murc, are you aware that while they still keep their guns at home, the ammunition is stored centrally & made available only at need?

      • Speak Truth says:

        So how do you explain the incredibly low levels of gun crime in the nations that have banned guns?

        I think you could eliminate automobile deaths by just banning cars.

        But we both agree that cars have a value to society and we’re both willing to put up with some DWI deaths and some other accidents that kill much more than guns do to keep our cars.

        The framers of the constitution understood what you fail to grasp and that is guns fulfill a political function.

        • Malaclypse says:

          guns fulfill a political function.

          What political function? Be specific, and use examples.

        • liberal says:

          The framers of the constitution understood what you fail to grasp and that is guns fulfill a political function.

          Yawn. If guns are totally banned and there was a “political need” for them, they could be illicitly obtained given effective political organization. Conversely, if you don’t have effective political organization, guns aren’t going to be sufficient to accomplish your goals.

        • liberal says:

          But we both agree that cars have a value to society…

          Certain classes of weapons have no value to society, except as instruments of murder and as sops to men who has sads because their penises are too small.

        • The framers of the constitution understood what you fail to grasp and that is guns fulfill a political function.

          The framers thought that a militia of ordinary citizens could carry out the same military functions as a standing army, too. They seem to have believed this right up until Washington, D.C. was burned.

          I’m not too terribly impressed by the framers’ ideas about militias and gun ownership.

          • wengler says:

            People tend to forget that militia organizing and training served as a big political tool, especially in the South. They were crucial there to combat the ever looming threat of slave rebellion.

            One problem with having a 220-year old Constitution is that parts of it are deeply concerned with issues that haven’t existed in the last 150 years.

          • Speak Truth says:

            I’m not too terribly impressed by the framers’ ideas about militias and gun ownership.

            It’s not your call. SCOTUS has already determined the playing field.

            Thanks for your useless opinion, though.

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          What Jennie doesn’t want to admit is that the political function of guns under the Church of the NRA is to keep their worshippers politically disarmed:

          http://www.nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/newtown

        • Oregon Beer Snob says:

          But we both agree that cars have a value to society and we’re both willing to put up with some DWI deaths and some other accidents that kill much more than guns do to keep our cars.

          I’m glad to hear you’re OK with it and we can go ahead and regulate guns to the same level we regulate vehicles and their drivers. I think mandatory licensing and training, minimum age, significant safety equipment requirements, and mandatory insurance are a nice mild start.

          • Oregon Beer Snob says:

            Note: I own a bunch of guns and would be totally cool with that. Although I’d even be cool with an absolute semi-auto ban (or further) too.

          • Speak Truth says:

            I’m glad to hear you’re OK with it and we can go ahead and regulate guns to the same level we regulate vehicles and their drivers.

            Yeah….NO.

            That pesky constitution getting in the way and protecting me from people like you again.

    • MacCheerful says:

      I am curious what you think about the Australia example. I heard a gun rights advocate on the radio the other day who when that was brought up, switched the subject to suicide rates in Canada. (After gun control the same number of suicides just fewer by gun)

      You could argue the Australian measures are impractical in the U.S. or too expensive, but do you think they were ineffective?

      • Steve says:

        I think comparing the US to Australia (or the UK, or Japan, which are also common comparisons), is like comparing apples to, well, Australia.

        But seriously, it’s all in the interpretation. Australia has a non-gun homicide rate that’s 3.6 times greater than the US (1.63 per 100000 vs 0.45). I interpret that as evidence that guns don’t cause crime, criminals do. Others will disagree and say that our non-gun homicide is only so low because the gun rate is so high. I really have no idea which interpretation is actually correct.

        • Murc says:

          I interpret that as evidence that guns don’t cause crime, criminals do.

          … do we care?

          I mean, yes, obviously, crime is bad, but even if getting rid of guns didn’t reduce the crime rate at all it still might be a good idea, as long as it made people actually safer.

        • MacCheerful says:

          The reason for using Australia is that it provides an interesting test within a population: there were (so I am told) more gun deaths and gun assisted crimes per capita prior to 1996 (the date of the Port Arthur massacre) than after.

          Is there a reason to think that the gun control measures instituted after 1996 were not part of the difference?

          As for whether non gun assisted crimes in the U.S. would rise to meet the demand for crime in the absence of guns I am at least skeptical (fewer innocent bystanders cut in cross-knifings) and there is also the significant number of children would not accidentally knife themselves.

    • Sly says:

      And I can’t speak for all gun owners here, just myself and my family and friends, but the reason we resist new gun control isn’t that we necessarily think it’s always a bad idea, but because gun control has a long history of not affecting crime.

      How many people are killed every year by a Title II weapons (machine guns, short-barreled shotguns and rifles, large bore firearms, firearms that utilize explosive ordnance, etc) compared to other firearm-related homicides? Infinitesimally small. Why? Because Federal regulation has made their acquisition prohibitively expensive and the penalties for violating the registration scheme involved in their transfer and sale prevents any sizable black market from developing.

      And those regulations began not only to curb what was then fairly extensive violent crime with the weapons in question, but was enacted to curb the use of one weapon in particular that had become synonymous with organized crime.

      • Steve says:

        Good point, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see something similar proposed.

        I’m going out on a limb here, but I suspect that a broader application of the same restrictions would be smacked down pretty quickly by the courts. The reasoning would be that such restrictions would dis-proportionally affect those who actually have the greatest need for effective self-defense tools. Just like poll taxes or voter ID laws.

        It’s that same argument which is why, although I think it’s a great idea, I find it hard to support mandatory training for gun purchases, unless cost can be made a non-issue.

        That’s all speculation though.

        • wengler says:

          Voting is a right, owning a gun is not. If it was we’d be issued them at our 18th birthday.

          • Speak Truth says:

            Voting is a right, owning a gun is not.

            Errrrr….SCOTUS says you’re wrong.

            You can say that all day long, but it doesn’t make it true.

            You’re just wrong.

            • Malaclypse says:

              SCOTUS says you’re wrong.

              SCOTUS also says abortion is a right. Just thought I’d point that out, so see your princilpled defense of SCOTUS decisions.

              • Speak Truth says:

                And I honor that decision until they say otherwise. I don’t have to like it, but I honor it.

                I’m also wondering why abortion is absolute and yet you believe the second can be heavily regulated.

        • rea says:

          such restrictions would dis-proportionally affect those who actually have the greatest need for effective self-defense tools.

          Nobody needs this shit for self-defense. It’s all in your heads.

          • DrDick says:

            I have never owned a gun for self-defense, and I lived in downtown Chicago for 12 years. Bunch of fucking wussies scared of their own shadows. Probably shit their pants every time they see a stranger.

        • I don’t see how a law against, for instance, semi-automatic rifles, that leaves shotguns and bolt-action rifles legal, can be said to impose a burden on anyone’s self-defense.

          • RedSquareBear says:

            New breeds of tough, urbanized deer.

            Those fuckers’ll kill you.

          • Oregon Beer Snob says:

            Yes, this.

            I own a few semi autos. Happy to get rid of them if they’re banned, no biggy.

            Although I’m seriously reconsidering gun ownership in general. I never go shooting anymore and they’re just sitting around creating risk, even in the safe.

            And I still think the self defense thing is bunk. I mean how the hell am I safer from say, a burglary in the middle of the night? I’m certainly not sleeping with a loaded pistol by my bed, that’s just fucking nuts. So I hear a burglar, I get up, grab the key to the gun safe, go to the other room where the safe is (who would want a gun safe in the bedroom?), open the safe, get the gun, load it, and then shoot the burglar before he shoots me. All in a one floor house with all the doors open and a large open floor plan.

            Sure, ok.

    • DrDick says:

      It is quite clear that there is very wide latitude for regulation of firearms under the amendment. The major problem is the far right activist judges , like Scalia, on the SCOTUS. Even they would not argue, at least so far, for a private right to own nuclear missiles, machine guns, RPGs, cannon, or tanks, though these clearly fall into the category of “arms.” Once you concede that you can, in fact regulate private ownership of arms, it is simply a matter of debating price.

  8. Joe says:

    The Second Amendment can be plausibly interpreted to permit a wide range of control legislation

    Yes, and Heller listed (noting it wasn’t a comprehensive list) various categories.

    It even cites “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

    So, HELLER can plausibly, more than that, be interpreted too. And, the lower courts consistently have upheld many regulations post-Heller.

  9. mark f says:

    Dan Foster takes to NRO to explain how gun-grabbing liberals fail on Pragmatism (“you’ll take our guns over 300,000,000 dead bodies!”), Empricism (“Chicago! Chicago!”) and Empathy (“won’t anyone think of the gun-toters?”).

    Left uncited among the “liberals always say” is a single liberal.

  10. westie says:

    Actually I support abolishing the US Federal Government’s right to any & all deadly weapons, dismantling the Armed Forces, firing all US bureaucrats and employees including Judges, Senators and Reps and firing all Professor’s and pundits. I also propose eliminating all tax exemptions and all Federal, State and local income taxes. Elect me and I’ll do it!

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