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March 12, 2008

Comments

pjfinn

"Ultimately speaking, people should not fear their government. Government should fear the people."

Amen to that. Good post.

jhwygirl

I don't think Pete was bemoaning gun violence. He was complaining about a senseless death that had nothing to do with violence.

Was he suggesting something about the right to own guns? I would agree that he did that, given he mentioned the Second Amendment. But he wasn't talking about gun violence.

Just sayin'.

Tim Huffman

If the authorities are going to storm your house, all your guns are good for is justification for them to kill you. The government is incredibly well armed, and have unlimited time and resources. Have the cops ever just gone away because someone in the house was well armed?
Anyone moaning about the 2nd amendment being the last bulwark of liberty wasn't paying attention as the others fell.

Cece

Ok, I am laughing my ass off. I just saw your page's tag line. SWEET! Did the disc arrive?

Ok this has nothing to do with the thread, I am shutting up.

Doug

There are several points I'd like to raise here, Wulfgar, the first of which was raised by Tim above. If government was determined to remove my weapons, their selection of firepower is much larger than my own, and while I may be able to take out a few of them who skipped class during "how to take cover day", if they wanted it done I would think it would be so. This, of course, is a worst case scenario that I view as highly unlikely, but still...we citizens just don't have access to the hardware that would make any insanely determined government fearful of us.

Second, and you'll probably have to hit me over the head with a brick to get me to understand this one, but I'm one of those who is replying "Argybargle?" to your solution. I'm just not sure what problems registration would solve. We have background checks (as we should) to weed out the stupid criminal who bypasses the black market to obtain their firepower. I suppose some of these may attempt to register their weapons, so we could sort out the really dumb ones with this method. On the other hand, those who are smart enough to avoid the background check by purchasing their wares at the local speakeasy would probably not worry about national registration either.

Finally, and this is my biggest problem with your solution, I just don't think the legal property I choose to own is any of the government's damn business. We have checks on the purchasing and availability side of things, but beyond that, I really dislike the idea that government be granted the authority to know what type of garden gnomes I keep in my garage. In my opinion, legal private property used in a legal manner is not, and should not be, a concern of any government.

Wulfgar

First - Tim's argument is counterproductive to many, if not most, of the arguments used against gun control. Almost invariably such arguments come back to the idea that we need the 2nd to protect us against tyranny. As Tim points out, that's a hollow claim because the tyrants are better armed and organized. I agree with this in part.
a) The government is better armed in total only if one assumes a military role in crushing dissent or quelling armed revolt. It is my belief (possibly naive) that the US military would, for the most part, resist such a governmental power grab on a large scale. Police forces are well armed, and still seriously out-gunned should the citizenry take it upon themselves to fight back.
b) The argument at hand, the one most bandied about, is that registration would lead to confiscation. In the singular instances where that has occurred (Waco, Ruby Ridge) the governmental functionaries reacted with extreme force (overwhelming) and still managed to cock things up. If one imagines 'gun-grabbing' on a large scale, which very many do, the results would be bloody and swift, and not in the government's favor. I've argued before, and maintain still, that very few law-enforcement personnel would be willing to risk such an action ... especially if they know how much danger it would place them in.

Second - The primary argument for registration actually comes from law-enforcement, and the purpose is simple. If they know that bullet X comes from a weapon with serial number 12345, then tracking the weapon and person becomes much easier to perform in solving crimes. What they propose is a database of rifling samples from manufacturers and registered tracking of weapons as they change hands among owners. It also gives them another tool of prosecution, similar to the tax-evasion methods that are being used against drug dealers and racketeers. The other effect that this would have for law-enforcement is that, despite the fantasy that most guns purchased for nefarious purpose are obtained in back alleys, gun shows remain the most unregulated source of weapon provision. No background checks, no serial tracking from hand to hand, no verification that goods sold are even legal (not stolen, not militarily prohibited, not altered.) Registration solves all these ills far better than silly 'waiting periods' would.

Third - the third point is a direct result of the second point. A law abiding citizen already registers what they have in their garage, the car. The reason is simple - crime prevention and settling of property damage. In exactly similar vein, a legally owned car, legally used, is no concern of the government. Despite our libertarian leanings, we accept and endorse this when it comes to our cars, why not our firearms?

Please keep in mind that I am not-so-seriously playing devil's advocate here. There are very sound reasons for favoring gun registration and I've tried to give some of them in this comment. But the main reason I bring it up is to show how silly and hollow most of the fear-based arguments against gun control are, as evidenced by Tim's comment. If we are truly concerned with the 2nd as a defense against tyranny, then why are police allowed fully auto-ARs, and we aren't? Why can police tase 6 year olds they feel are a 'threat' to themselves and others, but we can't?

We seriously do have a growing problem here. And the rabid among supporters of the 2nd Amendment really aren't helping with much of their silly caterwhaling.

DMerriman

My personal opinion is that people should be allowed to buy, and pack around, anything they can afford to buy and carry. If said weapon is used illegally, then stash the offender under the jail.
If the police are under no obligation to protect us as individuals (Warren v. District of Columbia), I don't see how any level of government can think it's okay to take away our right to protect ourselves.
As for the Second Amendment question, I would refer folks to this little item.

Tim Huffman

The authorities certainly did "cock things up" at Ruby Ridge and at Waco, but the end result proves my point. People inside were killed, justifiably, because the authorities knew they had guns. If the law knew that everyone inside was UNarmed they would have taken a different tack. If it's unclear if the occupants are armed then the government must take a wait and see approach. If you don't wave your weapon in the window, it's unlikley that that window will be shot at. Registration would be a useful tool for law enforcement, if for no other reason than it would pre-select which homes would need to be approached with weapons drawn.
Again, the real defence of our liberties lies far from our homes, in the courts and in the congressional halls.

Wulfgar

Tim, I apologize if I've been unclear for the sake of a reductio ad absurdum argument. Simply put, I agree with you.

Doug
If they know that bullet X comes from a weapon with serial number 12345, then tracking the weapon and person becomes much easier to perform in solving crimes.
For whatever reason my brain didn't consider this in my original comment, but it really is the heart of matter. First, will a bullet fired from #12345 consistently and accurately imprint its signature on bullet X? Can that signature be altered? Why a national firearms registration? Would that be more (or too) intrusive as compared to a state registration similar to your automobile analogy? More importantly (and what this really comes down to) how easy do we want it to be for law enforcement? I guess one's answer to my last question would probably depend upon whether you've been shot at, but still...

I've never been one to concern myself much with the tyranny side of the argument, probably because I deem it too far fetched to consider (yes, NRA members, I understand that a concern for tyranny was the reason the amendment was in there to begin with-but you still don't have access to a tank, and an AR isn't going to help you face one down anyway). I understand I probably took this post off that topic when I responded as I did, sorry about that. I guess I don't share your optimism about whether the military would be involved in such an exercise; because I'm assuming the worst case scenario I sort of go all in. Really, if it gets that bad I'll probably be frozen to a log somewhere up in the mountains anyway, a victim of my irritable bowel syndrome.


Wulfgar

Actually, Doug, your comment was right on the money. A few more points. Yes, the rifling signature of most weapons can be altered. Some methods will affect performance but your average criminal likely won't be concerned by such obstacles. Notice that smooth-bores (shotguns and shot pellet inserts) leave no signature. Also, those states and municipalities that do have limited registration law clearly criminalize the alteration of a firearm, regardless of whether it's filing off the serial or changing the rifling.

One final note, as an addendum to Tim's point - most current law-enforcement protocol for home invasion/search and seizure require that the officers respond as if the occupant/suspect *is* armed. I would contend that that's a dangerous situation for both police and citizens.

Widowmaker

Hey Wulfgar!, is it your or your brother with the 308 Panther? Would you (or him) recommend one over say a bolt action .308? Not a political question, curious for a purchase.

Wulfgar

That would be my brother. I'm not cracked about the .308. Too much recoil for impact if you ask me. I prefer 30.06, and I own a .300 WinMag. If I want something that's going to displace my clavicle, then I want it to hit like a brick from a cannon.

Doug

Since you brought it up...what do you think of the short mags?

Wulfgar

Only fired one once. The short is *slightly* lighter on recoil, but the ballistics mark about the same. It's told, in days of yore (hehe) that the short mag is lighter in the gun ... but I didn't notice much difference at all.

Doug

I have one friend who's in love with them, but many others who've responded as you have. They seam to me to be a solution in search of a problem. I have to look at short and stubby in the mirror every day, I don't think I need it in my cartridge.

Tim Huffman

Points, Wulfgar, for use of "reductio ad absurdum". Not often one gets to sneak that one into conversation. Incidentally, I think gun registration is a bad idea precisely because of the "license to kill" aspect.

rolf

"I only need the government to know how much fire power is within 10 square blocks of my house. Trust me, that will get their attention, and they will be afraid."

Dude, they have tanks. I don't think your guns scare them.

dew-r-lite

I knew some guys in Gallatin County that drove around with fake paper license plates. So don't be so sure about that car analogy.

I always liked that .264 Winchester Mag. What a raygun that was! Probably a round only a gun nut could love, though.

R.D. Cook

IGNORANCE, STUPIDITY OR DISHONESTY by the four dissenting Supreme Court Justices on the Second Amendment ruling

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

In The recent five to four Supreme Court ruling affirming the individual right of Americans to keep and bear arms four of the most liberal Supreme Court Justices denied that the American people have that right.

The five justices who affirmed that right are:

Chief Justice John G Roberts Jr.
Justice Antonin Scalia
Justice Samuel E, Alito Jr.
Justice Clarence Thomas
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy

The four dissenting Justices are:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Justice David H. Souter
Justice John Paul Stevens
Justice Steven G. Breyer

In supporting that individual right Justice Scalia stated, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is not limited to state militias, as some historians have argued. Rather, it protects "the inherent right of self-defense,"

This decision closely follows the original intent of the Founding Fathers in writing of the Second Amendment and enforces the absolute need and right of American citizens to defend themselves. In support of that argument here are a few enlightening statistics;
1. In most large metropolitan areas the response time for the police to arrive at the scene of an emergency call (911) ranges from six to over eleven minutes.
2. In some large cities the 911 system is so overloaded that even to actually be connected to an operator entails waits of ten minutes or more during peak hours. Then you need to add the above response times.
3. In rural areas where long distances are involved, response times can be very extended.

The following are some quotes from our Founding Fathers in regard to the people’s right to keep and bear arms:

"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
George Mason
Co-author of the Second Amendment

"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …"
Richard Henry Lee

"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full posession of them."
Zachariah Johnson
Elliot's Debates, vol. 3 "The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution."

"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; …"
Samuel Adams
quoted in the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789, "Propositions submitted to the Convention of this State"

"Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."
George Washington
First President of the United States

"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them."Thomas Paine

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
Richard Henry Lee
American Statesman, 1788

"The great object is that every man be armed." and "Everyone who is able may have a gun."
Patrick Henry

"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?"
Patrick Henry

"Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not."
Thomas Jefferson
Third President of the United States

"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that … it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; … "
Thomas Jefferson

"The best we can help for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
Alexander Hamilton
The Federalist Papers at 184-8

To me it is very obvious that the above dissenting justices are either completely ignorant of the intent of our Founding Fathers in writing the Second Amendment or they are dishonestly ignoring history to advance their own socialistic agendas.

In regards to the term “Militia” in the United States it is defined as “every able bodied man between the ages of 18 and 45” by law.

In every case where “The People” is mentioned in the Constitution it refers to individual rights. Attempts to say that the right to keep and bear arms is limited to state controlled militias is in direct opposition of the intended meaning of the Second Amendment. If a militia is controlled by the state, it has the power to be an arm of the state to oppress the people. The above statements by our Founding Fathers show that this is what they were very concerned about and why the right to keep and bear arms was meant for the individual.

In all fairness I should attempt to give the arguments put forth by those with opposing views.
The below excerpt from The Los Angeles Times gives you the philosophy of Justice Stevens who apparently believes we don’t even have the right to have arms for hunting or self defense. Is he Ignorant, stupid or just dishonest in ignoring all the above beliefs by our Founding Fathers?
.
By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 27, 2008

But in his 46-page dissent, Stevens accused Scalia of misreading the words of the 2nd Amendment and spinning its history to ignore its focus on organized militias.

The 2nd Amendment, ratified more than 200 years ago, says that "a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

It was adopted, Stevens said, to protect the right of the people to maintain well-regulated state militias. That does not involve a right to "use guns for nonmilitary purposes like hunting and personal self-defense," he wrote.

The following is where the liberal side of the gun control issue at least makes an honest statement of their ultimate goal:

"Our main agenda is to have all guns banned. We must use whatever means possible. It doesn't matter if you have to distort the facts or even lie. Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed."
Sara Brady
Chairman, Handgun Control Inc, to Senator Howard Metzenbaum
The National Educator, January 1994, Page 3.

It seems to me that the four Supreme Court justices and especially Justice Stevens who support the dissenting opinion above agree with Mrs. Sara Brady. What if there was one more Liberal on the court?

Background checks are fine but should have some serious restrictions. The application should identify the person wishing to purchase a firearm for a record check but should not describe the firearm as to type, model or serial number. When the application is approved all records of the application should be destroyed at all government levels. Citizens should have access through freedom of information laws to see if any records have been retained and if they have, should be able to sue any agency illegally retaining such records.


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