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March 18, 2008

Comments

Brent Robbins

God bless guns! Let's pray the Supreme Court makes the right decision and does not restrict our "right" (not "privilege") to bear arms.

Foxfier

As a very small, physically weak and un-coordinated woman, guns are the best thing to happen since sliced bread.

I can defend myself, and I don't have to be big, strong or athletic to do so.

RyanHerr

The political and economic posts are all fine and good, but I'm looking forward to the return of the theology posts someday ... we didn't get a single one all Lent!

Eric

Yep. The New World Order is tightening the clamps.

Tim J

I wasn't that sure where I stood on the subject of gun ownership (constitutionally speaking), until I recently read the book "Paul Revere's Ride" by David Hackett Fischer - a scholarly book, meticulously researched and dedicated to looking into the real story of the events around Paul Revere's ride and the battles of Lexington and Concorde.

It was *all* about guns and ammo. The British understood that disarming the populace - who owned guns individually, but were organized into well disciplined ad-hoc militias - was key to controlling the Americans and nipping the growing resistance in the bud. The Colonists understood this, as well.

The British moved to take the stores of powder and shot (and cannon) at Lexington and Concorde. The Colonists got wind of the maneuvers and acted swiftly to resist, successfully protecting the stores of ammunition and cannon and keeping them in American hands... and kicking off the Revolutionary War.

I'm convinced that Paul Revere, John Hancock, Sam Adams (brewer & patriot) and every other one of the founding father's would have crapped a brick at the idea that individuals had no right to own guns, or that the government had any right at all to take them.

The British government had been the legitimate government at one time, but had become illegitimate by ignoring the principle of subsidiarity and by over-reaching and attempting to micromanage colonial affairs.

This is exactly why we need to maintain individual gun ownership rights. Even assuming that the present government is completely competent to handle public safety, is totally trustworthy and would never dream of tyranny and oppression... it may not always be so. Even if it seems a remote possibility *now*, in the event that the government ever becomes the enemy of the people, the people had durn well better have more than sticks and pitchforks with which to defend themselves.

Individual gun rights are a real hedge against the possibility of the government going sour.

Eric

Yep. The New World Order is tightening the clamps.

Pseudomodo

Oh GREAT!!

Very small, physically weak and un-coordinated women pointing guns at us and each other!! That should help in an armed robbery in a crowded convenience store, not to mention the confines of thier own homes!!

Monica

a small, weak, uncoordinated woman has as much right to point a gun at an intruder as Rambo. She might even have the courage to pull the trigger, and is way more likely to succeed in defending herself than if she were to try the Vulcan Grip or whatever.

Curious

Jimmy,

It's great to see some posts! I can't imagine why anyone would want to revoke DC's handgun ban. It seems to be working so well... Without the ban, the murder rate might go even higher than Detroit's.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate

Saint Gabriel Possenti, pray for us!

John F. Kennedy

You want to see a polite society? Require all citizens to openly carry a gun. A rifle would be best. It's not easily concealable and it's not meant for close ranges but could be use as a close combat weapon. It doesn't have to be loaded, but it MIGHT be.

If someone tried to rob someone on a train, do you think 20-30 guns pointing at him might be a deterrent?

Randolph Carter

I can't imagine why anyone would want to revoke DC's handgun ban. It seems to be working so well... Without the ban, the murder rate might go even higher than Detroit's.

Well, seeing as how the webpage you cited lists Detroit's murder rate as 39.3 per 100,000, and D.C.'s murder rate as 35.4 per 100,000, D.C. wouldn't have very far to go to catch up to Detroit, and therefore the ban cannot be said to be working very well, not in comparison to Detroit. Of course, gun ownership is nearly as restricted in Detroit as it is in D.C., and thus most (if not all) of the shooting deaths occurring in these cities are being enacted with illegally owned firearms. If someone wants to get a gun illegally, he can do it, and the people most inclined to break the laws against gun ownership are generally the same people most inclined to use those guns to break other laws. And disarming law-abiding citizens has not only never been shown to decrease violent crime rates (though it has, at times, been shown to increase them), it also prevents law abiding citizens from defending themselves against unlawful assailants -- as well as taking away the possibility that they might be able to resist the edicts of their government.

All these points are moot, however -- our Bill of Rights strictly prohibits any law that might infringe upon the rights of the people to bear arms. If one wishes to pass such laws, then it becomes necessary to first repeal the Second Amendment (which is one of the few good things, might I add, about our Union's otherwise odious foundational document).

c matt

The British government had been the legitimate government at one time, but had become illegitimate by ignoring the principle of subsidiarity and by over-reaching and attempting to micromanage colonial affairs.

The Colonial Brits got nuthin' on the modern monstrosity we today call gubmint.

The point of the Second Amendment is for protection against overreaching government and foreign intruders, not self defense against crime (although that is an additional benefit). Hence the reference to the need for a well regulated militia. Because it is necessary for the government to be armed to repel our enemies, our citizens need to be armed to repel our government. It is the last resort "check and balance".

Of course, since we have been gradually boiled into tyrany over the last hundred and fifty years, it is hard to notice the need for uprising.

BillyHW

Invasion of the Body Snatchers was definitely a great movie.

If any of you want to see what Catholic director Alfred Hitchcock's take on the possession and use of guns was, you might want to see "The Lady Vanishes."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lady_Vanishes_%281938_film%29

Marty

Jimmy, you're becoming at least as good a source for 2nd Amendment posts on my blog as you are for Catholic apologetics.

Pseudomodo

Well....

Rambo was probably a crack shot and would be more than capable of taking out a baddie.

With any luck the SWU (Small, Weak, Uncoordinated) will shoot herself on the foot, drop her snub-nosed .38 down a sewer grate and everyone can just go home.

bill912

Besides, we all know that a woman raped and murdered is morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun in her hand and a dead rapist at her feet!

Helen

we all know that a woman raped and murdered is morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun in her hand and a dead rapist at her feet!

Do "we all know" how many have been canonized by the Church?

labrialumn

The British Crown was violating the Bill of Rights of 1688, which affirmed the pre-existing traditional rights of the Englishry-in-arms to own and practice with infantry weaponry.

To imagine that the framers did not mean that (and it is evident from both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers that they meant exactly that) is disingenuous and a deliberate attempt at oppression and denial of rights which exist ontologically prior to the existence of the civil government.

It is also clear that "well-regulated" means elevation and windage, not government infringement.

Tim J

The militias were indeed well regulated, but rarely armed their members, who ordinarily used their own guns.

The militias - at least in the beginning - did not own weapons or equipment, but existed only as voluntary, grass-roots organizations to coordinate the private citizenry in the defense of their lives, liberty and property.

Bill Q

Clearly, the safest thing for a woman to do when she is about to be raped is to pick up the phone, call the police and try to reason with her attacker until they arrive.

Thomas

I am pro-2nd Amendment. I like the NRA's Rifleman's stories on how peoples lives were saved.

However, is gun ownership a natural right or just a positivist right in the Consitution.

the warrior

the perfidious liberals never seem to get it.

McFly

Bill Q,

Are you using sarcasm in your comment there? Seriously, I can't tell. Please clarify, thanks. One way or the other, I'd like to point out that a woman would likely not have to deal with attackers in the first place, were it made known that she was packing heat.

JohnD

The recognition of the natural right to a robust self-defense is so intuitive, the only opposition arises from an irrational fear of firearms.

Once people see firearms the way they see fire extinguishers, much of the battle is won. In both cases, you hope never to have to use one in an emergency, but in both cases you are very glad that they were around when needed.

Barbara

"in a world without guns, I'm what is known as
prey." ~ Ann Coulter

Memphis Aggie

If guns were allowed on College campuses/High Schools maybe some of the innocents who died at Virgina Tech and other schools would have lived.

Tim J

I'm all for gun rights, but the fire extinguisher analogy doesn't seem very apt. One just doesn't much hear of people holding up convenience stores with fire extinguishers, or beating a friend's brains out with a fire extinguisher over a game of cards.

Hardly anything scary about someone carrying a fire extinguisher down the street.

Guns in schools? I happen to have some very reliable knowledge of the habits and general maturity of teenage boys (Having spent a few years as a teenager, once), and I'm thinking this would have to be in the "Not a Great Idea" column, for me.

Memphis Aggie

Guns for teachers not for students

bill912

I'm not sure Memphis Aggie meant for teenagers to carry guns, but I've noticed that schools that have armed guards don't seem to have these types of shootings. I wouldn't be averse to staff members with carry permits being aloud to carry guns on campus.

Memphis Aggie

Students under 18 don't have full civil rights and can be justly restricted but at least some teachers and administrators should carry.

bill912

I had a feeling we'd cross-post.

Tim J

Oops. Gotcha, Memphis Aggie.

I'm still not 100% on that. I do know someone personally who died from an accidental gunshot last month, so I see the dangers of gun possession to be very real, and something to be considered along with the potential benefits.

Nick

Sorry Jimmy, you're totally off-base here.

While it is admirable for elderly women to find a means to protect themselves, it doesn't take away the string of dead children who discovered their parents' firearms and treated it like a toy, or took it to school to get revenge on those bullies.

Besides, how many bullets would Donald Sutherland have wasted before the entire crowd of podpeople would have taken over?

There is a stupid disconnect between protecting life at all stages, and arguing for gun ownership.

Memphis Aggie

Life is not safe, accidents will happen but either you respect a person and grant them the freedom to make their own decisions or you treat people like children. Worse when the state restricts freedom they implicitly take on the responsibility to protect us, which they frequently fail to do well.

Tim J

"There is a stupid disconnect between protecting life at all stages, and arguing for gun ownership."

What? There are certainly (as I noted above) dangers to be considered, but that goes for a lot of things in life. The problem in our society is a lack of respect for life, not the presence of guns.

If that is the case, then (logically) we had better consider knife control laws, as well. How many people end up in emergency rooms because of knives, and yet we allow people to own as many as they want, without any permit or training in knife safety! Some people even display them on their kitchen counters... right out in the open!

Memphis Aggie

Adding on to Tim's comment. Q. How do police and the military defend our lives? A. with weapons. Sometimes force or the threat of force is all that protects life.

Memphis Aggie

"There is a stupid disconnect between protecting life at all stages, and arguing for gun ownership."

1) Is the insult "stupid" necessary? Do you expect to convince us of your genius by insults?

2) Here we are making an implicit distinction between the lives of innocents and the lives of those few that would kill them.

Memphis Aggie

3) It would be a serious sin of omission if innocents died due to our willful inaction.

Jay D

If I could permanently un-invent fully automatic weapons (so that nobody had them), I would. But I would not un-invent semi-automatic weapons.

Before guns there were swords and such. These took significant atheletic ability, skill, and free time needed to practice with them to be effective. This meant that most people lived at the mercy of a few.

Maureen

The UK does have knife control laws. They pose a significant difficulty to cooks, fencers, and the like.

Pseudomodo, you're a great recruiter for female gun ownership! Keep up your reverse psychology campaign, and we'll all soon be locked and loaded.

Re: women with weapons

Do I really have to point out St. Joan of Arc, who never swung her sword in anger but was given the grace to understand artillery and its placement better than any Frenchman of her day?

I will also point out Countess Matilda of Tuscany, defender of the faith, who is buried in St. Peter's.

It is true that a lot of saints were raped and killed. This scarcely means that it is preferable to be raped and killed, or that all women should aspire to be raped. I don't remember Jesus saying anything like that, but I do seem to remember him putting into the Bible the tale of Deborah and Jael, not to mention the tale of Judith and Holofernes.

Finally, His mother and His Bride are both described fittingly as "terrible as an army in battle". One of Mary's ancient titles is "Vanguard of the Host" -- aka "Point Man". And by St. Barbara of the Guns, there's nothing wrong about that.

Nick

"The problem in our society is a lack of respect for life, not the presence of guns."

And what better way to demonstrate that respect for life than ownership of a semi-automatic weapon, to be used solely to kill people (created in the image of God).

This disconnect has become fodder for stand-up comedians all across the country. It is truly a black mark in consistency when it comes from the same general millieu that vows that every life is sacred.

Earlier this year a local family was terrorized by just-furloughed convicts, where three of the four members were brutally killed. It made all the headlines here, and shortly afterwards there was a panic where gun purchases went way, way up. But the remaining person alive, the father, the one who had lost his entire family, pleaded to not go into revenge mode, and prayed to forgive the perpetrators. This man is a living saint. (Pray for his continual healing in his Job-like trial).

Nick

"It would be a serious sin of omission if innocents died due to our willful inaction."

Investing in a superior security system is not willful inaction, protects the innocents from discovering and abusing the firearms, and it respects lives. There is no contradiction between this approach, and Evangilium Vitae.

Memphis Aggie

Nick

You conveniently ignore the other point about the death of innocents versus the death of would be killers. Guns in the hands of responsible citzens are effective deterrents to crime and thereby save lives "A superior security system" is only "superior" if it includes men (or women) with guns. Cameras only save lives if men with guns see what's going on and arrive to stop it.

Tim J

Nick, I appreciate your conviction, but as others have alluded to, some are called to be pacifists, and some are called to protect life with violent force... or do you see police work and military service as incompatible with Christian faith?

If so, please explain.

If a soldier is permitted under Christian ethical norms to use violent force to defend life, then a citizen may also be permitted to do so.

I'm not saying guns are any kind of answer to life in a violent society, I am saying that your seeming insistence that the use of violent force can never be justified - complete pacifism - can't be consistently supported from a historical Christian perspective, let alone the teaching of the Church.

Are you saying it is unethical to own a handgun?

Nick

Would you consider a father to be a "responsible citizen," even one properly trained in firearms, if his children are not? Enough examples of children misusing these firearms propel me to disagree.

And don't misstate my arguments. I'm not calling for the police to have their guns removed from the beat. That's not what's at stake in this Supreme Court decision, and you know it.

Nick

Tim J...

The police and military are far more properly trained in the use of firearms, far, far more than the child of a layperson. That is not what's at stake with this Supreme Court decision, so therefore it is not pertinent to the discussion here. As a layperson who highly regards the police and military as heroes, and I am aware that they are so properly trained that they use firearms as a last resort, in order to save as many lives as possible, considering the extreme situation at hand. A layperson who steps into those shoes is far more likely to do himself or his family greater lasting damage.

Florentius

I'm really hoping and praying the SCOTUS rules right on this. I'd love to be able to go shooting again without having to worry that I'm breaking some sort of inane gun ownership law that I've never heard about before.

There is absolutely no legitimate reason a person with no criminal record should be prohibited from owning a gun. None. Zero.

The right to self-defense is one granted by God which no state (or unelected judge) can take away.

Tim J

I understand, Nick, but I was not speaking about this case in particular. I was talking about the broader question.

So, would you say then that a lay person who took the trouble to properly train themselves and took reasonable precautions could ethically own a firearm?

I own none myself, but if I do get one, you can bet I will have the whole family take a gun safety course AND have them all out at the firing range.

My kids also take karate lessons.

bill912

The pro-gun control position seems to be largely an emotional one. Hence the ignoring of evidence. We have about 30 states that relaxed their gun control laws over the last 20 years. Gun control advocates predicted that a lot of "wild west" shootouts would occur; ALL of these predictions proved false. Do some people fail to properly safeguard their guns? Yes, including criminals(they have families, too). Is it a crime to fail to properly safeguard a gun? Yes, and those who fail to do so should be prosecuted.

ALL those states that relaxed their gun control laws saw their violent crimes decrease. Florida, in the 1980s, became one of the first "shall issue" states. Over the next years, as the national homicide rate increased 12%, Florida's homicide rate fell 21%.

As someone posted above, some people have an irrational fear of guns. They need to be educated to the fact that their fear *is* irrational and not allow it to control them.

Nick

"Would you say then that a lay person who took the trouble to properly train themselves and took reasonable precautions could ethically own a firearm?"

What does "properly train themselves" mean? A person takes a course (even a comprehensive military-level course) that would allow them to own a firearm for decades, only to have that training forgotten over a period of time? Would the licensee have to undergo a series of rigid exercises to be assured of his competency? And what about the layout of his home? Can he secure a gun at such a place where it is out of reach from his children, out of sight from strangers, and still within easy access when the moment of decision arrives?

Too many gun-owning-parents of now-deceased children thought they had this under control. Too many now-deceased friends/enemies of angry teenage children of gun-owners have become victims.

"I own none myself, but if I do get one, you can bet I will have the whole family take a gun safety course AND have them all out at the firing range."

Are you prepared with the responsibility that your children are so lovingly watched over, that the mere possibility of what happened at Virginia Tech/Columbine/copycat-schools never even becomes a remote possibility? A stupid question to you, perhaps, but then ask that to the same parents of the shooters, who thought they were doing an admirable job, days before the incident. Can the law make a distinction between the two?

Nick

Liam

The "sin of omission" referred to earlier is not necessarily serious. Sins of omission are harder to classify as serious since what the will is fully consenting to is often not the thing the over-eager judges here might think it is....

For some reason that escapes me, our Lord did not command his disciples to carry sidearms all the better to usher in his Polite Kingdom....

bill912

If there were some law-abiding citizens at Virginia Tech or Columbine who had their guns with them, those shooters could have been stopped a lot sooner than they were.

Nick

"If there were some law-abiding citizens at Virginia Tech or Columbine who had their guns with them, those shooters could have been stopped a lot sooner than they were. "

You don't know that. Who's to say that these same law-abiding citizens would have made things a lot worse, accidentally shooting an innocent bystander? Who's to say that these citizens would have been wrestled to the ground, and become disarmed, and killed for their act of heroism? Who's to say that the law-abiding citizen would forget their medication one day, and no longer become a law-abiding citizen (which really WAS the case at Virginia Tech).

bill912

"The pro-gun control position seems to be largely an emotional one."

Nick

Apparently, the central reason why the Columbine/Virginia Tech slayings occurred was also largely an emotional one.

Memphis Aggie

Jesus did say they (the Apostles) could carry swords (recall Peter answers we have two swords etc)- but He also said whoever lives by the sword will die by it and it was not part of the evangelical gear post-resurrection. His message always defies easy classification.

I said serious instead of "grave" concerning sins of omission because I think it deserves to be recognized and avoided but is not clearly mortal. If the term serious means mortal to you then I should probably use a lighter term.

As for Virginia Tech what might have happened is unknowable, but what can be said is that if someone was reasonably well trained and armed on site then fewer people might have died. It's a common sense argument.

Memphis Aggie

Nick,

You're right that in a world of millions there will likely always be emotionally disturbed people who are dangerous and should not have access to guns. However, it does not follow that the vast majority of stable honest folk should be deprived of their rights in a vain attempt to reduce this risk. It's a classic case of punishing the rest of us for the failings of a few.

Nick

If we lived in a police state, then Virginia Tech would never have happened. Really. Our lives continually under suspicion by the authorities, always being subject to private searches, our every move monitorred by Big Brother. That will absolutely guarantee Virginia Tech atrocities from ever occurring again.

Funny thing. I don't see any pro-semi-automatic-gun-ownership-advocates advocating this. I happen to know from statistical analysis that they are emotionally attached to a "free society."

;)

Tim J

Nick, what you appear to be saying in not so many words is that no private citizen should be allowed to own a gun under any circumstances.

But I'll play your game;

"What does "properly train themselves" mean? A person takes a course (even a comprehensive military-level course)"

That's a great idea... in fact I think it should be mandatory in public schools, and yes, I'm serious.

"that would allow them to own a firearm for decades, only to have that training forgotten over a period of time?"

Sounds like mandatory refresher courses would be another great idea... for everyone physically capable of holding a gun.

"Would the licensee have to undergo a series of rigid exercises to be assured of his competency?"

Again, brilliant. I think a bill securing funding for such a program should be introduced with all speed. We'd be a stronger country in almost every conceivable way if every American citizen could execute a close order drill on a moment's notice.

It's an education initiative.

I did actually take a hunter's safety course in high school. Finally, something useful.

Colin Donovan, STL

Great post and comments.

Is self-protection a natural right? Yes, and the positive DUTY of those with responsibility for others (governments, parents).

Does a family need a rocket launcher to protect itself? No. Does a government? Yes. Does a family need a hand gun? In many places in our society, yes. Otherwise, the right to self-defense is meaningless against the criminal element. Is a rifle also legitimate. Yes, I would think, for hunting and potential civil self-defense (as envisioned by the framers).

As to where the individual right ends and the common good (control of arms not necessary for personal or civil self-defense) begins, that is up to political prudence to decide. Let's pray the Supreme Court has plenty of it, when it must decide the issue.

Nick

Memphis Aggie...

The law cannot objectively discern, legally, as to who is mentally-disturbed-enough-to-not-warrant-a-gun-license, and those who are not. Especially if the otherwise-normal person happens to run out of prescription drugs for a day. Especially if the shooters are minors with no previous criminal record.

I find it interesting that the focus is entirely on gun-ownership, and no mention is made on any other weapon that protects the victim from an assailant... one that causes temporary harm, as opposed to the taking of a life. There's more than one way to protect yourself without playing judge, jury, and executioner.

(note to bill... this is where your 'emotional' tag on me falls flat).

Tim J

"I find it interesting that the focus is entirely on gun-ownership, and no mention is made on any other weapon that protects the victim from an assailant... one that causes temporary harm, as opposed to the taking of a life."

Ah! Tazers for Jesus!

Nick

Tim J...

I'm glad you like my suggestions. Only what do you do to a person who refuses to abide by the rules? If a person's gun license is revoked, will he care? He still has the firearms, and it could be nicely hidden away until he has use for it. The problem with your following up on my ideas is that there is no way that they can be enforced, and you know that.

Further, I do not like the idea of Mrs. McGuilicutty who teaches English lit, suddenly going Rambo. I grew up in schools that had properly trained security guards... this is what's needed.

Tim J

"Only what do you do to a person who refuses to abide by the rules?"

The same thing we do to other rule-breakers. Punish them. And do we really give up on the idea of rules based on the possibility that some people will break them?

"The problem with your following up on my ideas is that there is no way that they can be enforced, and you know that."

Well, that's the problem with handgun bans, too.

"I grew up in schools that had properly trained security guards... this is what's needed."

Wow. We didn't need them at my school.

Nick

"Wow. We didn't need them at my school."

Well, apparently you did need them, but you were most fortunate that a mentally-unstable drive-by-trucker with a gun license didn't pay a visit to your elementary school, you know, when you were raised in that small Quaker village.

Tim J

Nick, I think if we had needed security guards we would have had some. I don't think the school board and the parents were that derelict. They made sure we had hot lunches, and so forth.

It was a small school.

I would tell my Gun Control story, but it would be too long for the combox. I'll post it later.

Pseudomodo

Thanks, Maureen!

But my point WAS... that if you are having a gun you had better be ready, willing and able. I think this is more safe for the general public that a gun with a hair trigger in the jiggly hands of an already admittidly small, weak, uncoordinated woman (or man!)

Margarita

>>"Individual gun rights are a real hedge against the possibility of the government going sour."

This is a popular theory but does not stand up to real-world experience. And it becomes somewhat absurd when talking about handguns in particular.

The real hedge against government, from an individual-action perspective, appears to be improvised explosive devices. Few would view the right to possess bombs, however, as a fundamental right, constitutional or God-given.

To the extent the theory is true, however, the 2nd Amendment is part of the federal constitution, which did not purport to limit the power of the state and local governments, which are generally the ones regulating handguns. To the contrary, it was the states that sought to prevent a federal monopoly on military force. (The D.C. aspect of the current case may, in fact, provide a dodge for the Court to avoid addressing the validity of state gun laws, which is what most of us are interested in.)

Since the 14th Amendment arose directly out of the federal suppression of an armed rebellion, moreover, wouldn't it be problematic to interpret it as expanding the right to bear arms as a hedge against the federal government?

I'm not an advocate of gun-control laws, but I do question the idea that the 2nd Amendment does or should limit the states', as opposed to the federal government's, powers to ban handguns. It doesn't seem obvious anyway.

Tom P

I've often bit nails over the way our right to self-defense has been eroded in this country, and over the media's inability or unwillingness to discuss the facts of the governing law, the sociological data, and the evidence of history.

I didn't even know about this case until a few days ago. I've got a short list of the points I most hope the plaintiff got in:

1. In Dred Scott, the Court said that freed slaves would have the right to carry guns with them wherever they went, and that statement was listed in the middle of an enumeration of rights which the Courts have always ruled attain to individual citizens.

2. In U.S. vs Cruikshank, the Court said that the right to keep and bear arms is intrinsic, and does not depend on the existance of the constitution. That means that it's NOT merely a collective right.

3. In U.S. vs Miller, the Court ruled that legislation outlawing sawed-off shotguns was constitutional because there was no evidence before the court that it was a weapon of military usefulness. This is significant on two counts. First, they are of military usefulness, and in fact they had been used in the trenches of WWI to good effect; had that evidence been presented to the court, the ruling may well have gone the other way. Second, Miller was not a member of either the U.S. Armed Forces nor the National Guard; if the Second Amendment was merely a collective right pertaining to military service, the Court could have dispensed with the case on those grounds alone. Implicit in the fact that the Court said nothing about his military status is the position that it is irrelevant to the exercise of the Second Amendment.

I'm going from memory here, and I'm very frustrated about it. Somewhere I have a thick binder with copies of all of the relevant U.S. Supreme court cases and most of the major relevant State Supreme Court cases. I went to a lot of trouble to photocopy them from the bound copies at the University of Michigan Law Library...and now I can't find it. I also had copies of the commonly cited sociological studies (you know, like the one that supposedly proves that you're 50 times more likely to harm a family member with a gun than defend yourself from a criminal - which it doesn't prove at all). So now I gotta tear the house apart until I find it - I haven't looked for it in over ten years.

Randolph Carter

While it is admirable for elderly women to find a means to protect themselves, it doesn't take away the string of dead children who discovered their parents' firearms and treated it like a toy, or took it to school to get revenge on those bullies.

Statistically, the number of children that die from firearm accidents are insignificant. More children have died in car accidents than due to the misuse of firearms. Shall we, then, keep private citizens from owning and operating cars?

Well, you might say, at least one must be certified by the state in order to drive. But does one need state certification in order to own and operate a gas stove? A child left unsupervised in a house with a gas stove, or an incompetent parent, could easily blow himself up, and set his entire neighbourhood on fire. Shall we then regulate who can or can't own a gas stove? Shall we only allowed trained professionals to own and operate stoves? Children can just as easily kill one another with knives, sticks and rocks. Shall we ban those as well? What of electrical appliances? Don't you know how many children an electrocuted to death each year? How many are burnt or mutilated by the mishandling of some kitchen appliance or powertool? Certainly, certainly these must be regulated as well!

And what better way to demonstrate that respect for life than ownership of a semi-automatic weapon, to be used solely to kill people (created in the image of God).

As has already been stated, Jesus told his disciples to go out and buy swords. One owns the weapon to use it if need be; he does not go out of his way to seek out trouble, regardless of whatever falsehoods you anti-gun people invent to the contrary. Your type seems to think that the common man is a trigger-happy lunatic, who is going to wildly draw his weapon at the first imagined sign of provocation, shut his eyes, and start firing willy-nilly in all directions, hoping that he hits something. This is not reality. Neither is it reality to imagine that one needs to take special training and certification courses to use a firearm--as in fact most responsible firearm owners have not, and yet somehow they manage to avoid going on killing sprees.

The idea that one should have to become state-certified in order to own a firearm is, of course, lunacy. People realise that weapons are dangerous things, and they are not inclined to use them lightly. Of course, all of your examples focus on the actions of a small minority of people--and you then turn around and seek to punish the majority of responsible gun owners for the actions of the few. But of course the people who are really dedicated to going on shooting sprees can still get guns. The people who may need guns to defend themselves--the law-abiding citizenry--cannot; at least not so long as they hope to remain law-abiding.

And how many people are raped, mangled, mutilated, and murdered every year, because they were attacked, and cruel laws kept them from being able to own the weapons that would allow them to defend themselves? You, Nick, seem to think that the reality of people owning firearms and using them in self defence will lead to a net gain in violent deaths--a typical leftist talking point that has never actually been borne out wherever gun laws have been liberalised.

All I see from you, Nick, is more of the emotionally-centred drivel of the far-leftist. If you are going to be a troll, then you really do need to try and troll harder.

Kasia

Coming in late on this, but...

Someone waaaayyy above referenced Detroit and said something about guns being about as regulated here as they are in DC. I don't know the laws in DC, but a law was passed here in Michigan about eight or ten years ago saying that anyone who applied for a carry permit, who did not have a criminal record or history of mental illness, and who completed a safety class, was entitled to receive the permit.

There's plenty of bad stuff going on in Detroit, but I don't think you can make much of a case for it being the fault of excessive gun control.

FFT

Press 'ignore' terrorist stopped by armed student
'Yitzak Dadon's apparently well-placed bullets interrupted a rampage' Posted: March 07, 2008

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=58323


Armed students end rampage, prevent further injuries
http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=3117

JohnD

//the fire extinguisher analogy doesn't seem very apt. One just doesn't much hear of people holding up convenience stores with fire extinguishers, or beating a friend's brains out with a fire extinguisher over a game of cards.

Hardly anything scary about someone carrying a fire extinguisher down the street.

Guns in schools? I happen to have some very reliable knowledge of the habits and general maturity of teenage boys (Having spent a few years as a teenager, once), and I'm thinking this would have to be in the "Not a Great Idea" column, for me.//

The fire extinguisher analogy is not intended to cover every parallel. Few analogies, if any, do.

There's nothing scary about people carrying around guns in public. It's done all the time, and has been throughout the history of this country. Even some religious orders had concealed weapons to protect themselves in hostile environments.

Also, youngsters have used weapons responsibly for quite some time. I did when I grew up.

People have used cars, household chemicals, ropes, knifes, etc. for murderous intents. Yet few have an irrational, emotion-based fear of them simply because most people are familiar with them.

Once you are familiar with firearms, you realize that they are inherently safer than cars, power tools, gasoline, and household chemicals.

I have always had great problems with the criminalization of mere possession, as mere possession rarely causes any harm. My concern doubles when it involves weapons, as it is nothing more than victim disarmament. Those with evil intentions aren't following nanny state edicts.

Bill Q

McFly,

Yes, I was being sarcastic. I figured my previous statement was so clearly problematic that it would be obvious.

Foxfier

Oh GREAT!!

Very small, physically weak and un-coordinated women pointing guns at us and each other!! That should help in an armed robbery in a crowded convenience store, not to mention the confines of their own homes!!

Posted by: Pseudomodo | Mar 18, 2008 7:16:11 AM

Pseudomondo, are you trying to be ignorant?

I am un-coordinated. I will never master judo, taikondo or karate.

However, with just a little training, it's quite easy to master "point and click." It's also easy to master "don't shoot at someone when there are unwanted targets around."

If people are properly trained, cars are far more dangerous than guns-- as silly as that may sound.

I would suggest taking one of the five or so years of "sex ed" that I got and put it towards basic gun education-- you'd remove the accidental gun deaths that so many here want to cite.

Mary

Investing in a superior security system is not willful inaction,

"Superior" meaning, perhaps, "capable of administering lethal electric shocks."

'cause if it doesn't -- what on earth is the use of knowing that a crook is breaking into your house? You die just as dead, shot by a man you know is there.

bill912

An excellent security system is a big dog who can keep the intruder occupied while you retrieve your gun from its secure hiding place.

SDG

Statistically, the number of children that die from firearm accidents are insignificant. More children have died in car accidents than due to the misuse of firearms. Shall we, then, keep private citizens from owning and operating cars?

Textbook example of how to misuse statistics, since car ownership and car usage are both orders of magnitude more prevalent than gun ownership and usage.

It's like saying that more people die crossing the road than falling out of airplanes without a parachute -- very likely true, but it would be a big mistake to conclude that falling out of a plane without a parachute is safer than crossing the road.

Here is a statistical question that might be more interesting to pursue. In households with guns, which type of event is more commonplace: accidents in which innocent parties are injured/killed, or incidents in which intruders are deterred/shot/killed? (Of course this wouldn't account for whatever broader level of deterrence might prevent an intruder from even attempting to break in; I'm just saying.)

SDG

This is a popular theory but does not stand up to real-world experience. And it becomes somewhat absurd when talking about handguns in particular.

The real hedge against government, from an individual-action perspective, appears to be improvised explosive devices. Few would view the right to possess bombs, however, as a fundamental right, constitutional or God-given.

Very interesting point. I've often thought, in the 21st century, in any scenario in which American citizens are obliged to resist their own government with force, the idea that private gun ownership is going to be a significant factor seems unpersuasive to say the least. Maybe that had some validity as late as the 19th century, but it sure doesn't seem particularly applicable now.

Bill Q

SDG,

While that's a valid concern, on the other hand, look at how difficult it's been to maintain control over the terrorist cells in Iraq. Sure, the military has better weapons then the general public, but they'd be greatly outnumbered if it came to that.

We'd have our work cut out for us if we ever needed to defend ourselves against our government, but something is better than nothing.

JohnD

SDG,

Armed resisitance of millions would significantly slow down a military round-up and slaughter of sheeple, allowing some degree of escape at the least, or at best overthrow contingent on the sentiments of the armed forces toward the despotic regime.

One of the arguments before the court was that the Framers did not intend for people's arms to become antiquated or inadequate over time. If the court upholds the Framer's intent, you might see wealthier individuals legally owning more advanced weapons, such as was the case at the beginning of this country.

labrialumn

Which part of "shall not be infringed" are people having trouble understanding?

"Who will watch the watchmen?"

A derringer is a girl's best friend.

Foxfier

I had to comment:
http://sailorette.blogspot.com/2008/03/comments-on-gun-control.html
Picture's worth a thousand words, no?

Paul

Alright, I rarely comment (or care that much) about gun control issues that arise. Mostly I avoid it because both sides, usually come across as insane. That said, here are a few thoughts.

The right to bear arms exists, not for personal protection against local thugs, but to maintain the capacity to overthrow the government ("When in the course of human events..."). This means that we ought to have the right to bear arms which would provide us the the capacity to overrun the government.

So while I am hesitant to disagree with Colin, I must respectfully disagree. We do need to the right to bear rocket launchers, large ordnance, maybe even tactical nukes. This isn't about walking around Washington D.C. at night, its about ending tyranny.

That said, it is a federal issue. The federal government has to abide by the bill of rights, not the states and territories. If a state deems it's in the best interest of the state to ban firearms, then it has the constitutional right to do so.

This sits as a parallel to first amendment. While the federal government was restricted from establishing a national religion, the states were free to align themselves with particular churches.

Paul

Alright, I rarely comment (or care that much) about gun control issues that arise. Mostly I avoid it because both sides, usually come across as insane. That said, here are a few thoughts.

The right to bear arms exists, not for personal protection against local thugs, but to maintain the capacity to overthrow the government ("When in the course of human events..."). This means that we ought to have the right to bear arms which would provide us the the capacity to overrun the government.

So while I am hesitant to disagree with Colin, I must respectfully disagree. We do need to the right to bear rocket launchers, large ordnance, maybe even tactical nukes. This isn't about walking around Washington D.C. at night, its about ending tyranny.

That said, it is a federal issue. The federal government has to abide by the bill of rights, not the states and territories. If a state deems it's in the best interest of the state to ban firearms, then it has the constitutional right to do so.

This sits as a parallel to first amendment. While the federal government was restricted from establishing a national religion, the states were free to align themselves with particular churches.

Pseudomodo

Foxfier, are you trying to be arrogant?

I am coordinated. I could master judo, taikondo or karate but I rather like watching it on TV.

I agree that training is a great thing, but dealing with a dangerous situation is quite another - in other words unless you're skill level is exceptional, it's a crap shoot.

I disagree that it is easy to master "don't shoot at someone when there are unwanted targets around." Baddies don't care whether there are other people around and you having a loaded gun pointed in thier general direction is not going to change that unless you are trained as a sniper.

Cars are inherently far safer than guns as cars are not designed, manufactured and operated with the express purpose of killing people whereas handguns are. Only when cars are used by small weak uncoordinated people are they capable of that.

I would take a good sex-ed course any day. As for basic gun education - leave it up to the experts who are larger, stronger and well coordinated.

A good sex-ed course and a whole lot of chastity would remove the 'accidental pregnancies' that plague us.

Pseudomodo

My evidence for how wrong things can go!

http://www.snopes.com/photos/accident/gunsafety.asp

Pseudomodo

A Dog walks into a bar and says: "I'm looking for the guy who shot my PAW."

David

I live in DC, and I'd really like to have the right to own a serviceable rifle.

AE Van Vogt said, in The Weapon Shops of Isher, "The right to own weapons is the right to be free."

bill912

Foxfier, as a police officer for 19 years, I just wanted to say that you are absolutely right.

holy water salt

I was thinking if we made gun ownership part of ones religious duty ....tnen
they'd ban both.
I blog on exorcism, everyday evil, and psychopaths.
Nuns with Guns
http://carcino.gen.nz/images/index.php/00b9a680/6fe5d350

labrialumn

With the Anglo-Saxon folk gerihten, the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights of 1688, as well as Christian political theory, the right to keep and bear arms is ontologically and historically prior to the federal union, or even the Articles of Confederation.


The several States therefore do not have the right to ban ownership of firearms and military ordinance.


However, it always seemed to be about infantry and cavalry ordinance, and not the crew-served variety. I would suggest that artillery belongs in "the court house square" to quote The Music Man. Under the lawful authority of elected county and township officials, not individual families. At least as a practical matter. The Englishry-in-Arms were to practice with the longbow, not the trebuchet. The crew-served ordinance at Lexington and Concord were held in a common magazine, not individually by the farmers and merchants. It was this magazine that the British Regulars were marching to illegally seize.

Bill Q

Paul wrote:
The right to bear arms exists, not for personal protection against local thugs, but to maintain the capacity to overthrow the government ("When in the course of human events..."). This means that we ought to have the right to bear arms which would provide us the the capacity to overrun the government.

Careful, there. The right to bear arms exists is not a right granted by the Constitution. It is a natural right that is specifically protected by the Constitution, and we have that right both to protect ourselves from personal threats and tyranny.

Sleeping Beastly

This sits as a parallel to first amendment. While the federal government was restricted from establishing a national religion, the states were free to align themselves with particular churches.

Paul, you're mistaken. States do not have the right to pass laws that are forbidden by the constitution. If they did, the 14th amendment would have been completely useless.

Generally, gun control laws are passed because of a certain interpretation of the second amendment. The reasoning is that the right to keep and bear arms is contingent on participation in a well-regulated militia, such as the National Guard.

Personally, I think this interpretation is incorrect, and that "well-regulated" does not mean "overseen by the government"; it means "well-trained" in the sense that army "regulars" are "well-regulated" compared with conscripts.

So what does "militia" mean? A militia is a muster of people who are called out when the military is unable to offer necessary protection. That could mean the National Guard, or it could mean the "unorganized militia":

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/10/311.html

Why is a well-regulated militia "necessary to the security of a free State"? Because foreign invaders and domestic tyrants will have a much tougher time imposing their rule on the citizens of a town when most of them are armed and can be called together to the defense of their town. Yes, explosives might be more useful in a military march on the White House or NORAD, but rifles are still plenty effective in fighting off an invading army seeking to impose martial law. They won't help you if an enemy wants to blow you all up from a distance, but they might help you keep your town from falling under an unjust yoke.

Personal protection against individual criminals is an added benefit, but not the primary purpose of the amendment. In any case, I hope the SCOTUS interprets the Constitution the same way I do.

Mary

Paul, you're mistaken. States do not have the right to pass laws that are forbidden by the constitution.

Sleeping Beastly, you're mistaken. The states do have the right to prohibit some things that the feds can't -- or couldn't if we had a Supreme Court with any shame at all.

However, I can't see that guns are one of them. The First Amendment explicitly speaks of what Congress shall not do. The Second says that "shall not be infringed" -- the passive voice would appear to indicate "not by anyone."

Jon

When I talk with ardent gun control/ban advocates at some point I usually ask them if they would be willing to post a large sign at their house declaring that it is a gun free zone. The honest ones usually say they are not willing to do that.

Sleeping Beastly

Sleeping Beastly, you're mistaken. The states do have the right to prohibit some things that the feds can't -- or couldn't if we had a Supreme Court with any shame at all.

I realize that this is off-topic, but I'm curious. I was under the impression that constitutional restrictions on legislation applied to all levels of government in the U.S. I'm having trouble thinking of a counter-example. Contribute to my education?

Evander

I suspect you two may be talking past one another.

Article VI, clause 2 of the United States Constitution, reads: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

But not every law the U.S. Congress passes is "made in Pursuance" of the Constitution, and powers delegated to the Nation are subject to limitations that reserve power to the States.

Tom P

Sleeping Beastly,

As I recall from the notes I still can't find, there's a section of the U.S. Code that defines "militia", and it specifies that every adult male age 45 and under is a member of the militia.

The Masked Chicken

I don't care about guns. I want a good force shield :)

The Chicken

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