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Across the United States, gun rights advocate are rolling back restrictive firearms laws. With the exception of Chicago’s post-McDonald anti-gun city ordinances and California’s recent ban on open carry, we’ve seen a consistent move away from the “something must be done!” mindset as applied to gun-related crime. The NRA and other pro-gun folk have consistently argued that “enforcing existing laws” is the key to addressing firearms-related issues; a philosophy at work in the plinking problem above. Which kinda suggests that there is such a thing as a good gun law. Is there? Banning felons from buying and owning guys? Mandatory training for concealed carry licenses? Concealed carry licenses? Full-auto ban? What gun laws do you support?

51 Responses to Question of the Day: Are All Gun Laws Bad?

  1. The only gun laws I support are ones stating that fired bullets must remain on your own property (with exceptions for self-defense and legitimate accidents). If you’re shooting and your bullets are impacting my house then you’re violating my rights and putting me in danger. Other than that, I can’t think of any.

  2. It’s really pretty simple. Shooting at and into people is already illegal unless self defense. That pretty much covers it all.

  3. None. “Shall not be infringed” is rather explicit.

    Felons buying and owning guns? Go for it. They can get them anyway.

    Mandatory training? No more needed than hammer training before you can walk out of Home Depot with an estwing.

    CCW? Should be irrelevant with the actual law of the land being enforced. There’s a reason it’s called “Constitutional Carry”.

    NFA Act? Repeal, shred, burn, frame ashes in the Library of Congress as a warning from history.

    • You know the Texas Constitution is the only constitution that has a provision regarding the open carry of firearms. So in Texas “Constitutional” carry is concealed carry, a law upheld by the 10th Amendment.

      • “a law upheld by the 10th Amendment”

        A prohibition on open carry is, IMO, a clear infringement on the right to bear arms as protected by the 2nd Amendment.

        So, I would argue that a state prohibition on open carry is a power “prohibited by [the US Constitution] to the States”, and so not at all upheld by the 10th Amendment.

        • Sec. 23. RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.

          Straight from state.tx.us

          I personally believe that any laws concerning what or who can own weapons, are reprehensible.

    • “Felons buying and owning guns? Go for it. They can get them anyway.”

      Thank you. It really irks me when otherwise “Pro-Gun” people will throw “felons” under the bus for the sake of appeasing the Gods of Political Correctness. It’s PC mixed with ‘Divide-and-Conquer’.

      Anyway, a felon, by definition, is a former criminal. Someone who commited a crime, was tried by a jury of his peers, sentenced, and served his time. At one point or another, the state said to the criminal “Your punishment is served. You are no longer a criminal. You are fit to rejoin society.” THERE IS NO ARGUING THAT.

      What can be argued is wether or not his punishment was severe/appropriate enough to ensure a low likely-hood of recidivism, to ensure that he was in fact “…fit to rejoin society.” If that’s what you want to argue then you need to take that up with your Congresscritter.

      But to say that someone who once snatched a purse, or dealt some dope (War on Some Drugs being a whole other rant), or got in a bar fight can never, for the rest of their life, ever again be trusted with a firearm is complete B.S.

      Even if a person is a flat out fujitive from justice with open arrest warrants, they still have every right under the sun. 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th. But if someone sold some crack 30 years ago then nope, sorry. ‘We’re admitting that our own ‘correctional’ facilities are such flaming failures that you, who went through it, can’t even be trusted with an inanimate object.’

      *deep breath* [/rant] 😉

      Anyway, guns and custodians and all that.

      • Here, Here Derek.
        This is an area of gun rights in which the majority of gun owners are willing to throw the minority under the bus. For what advantage, I do not see. I think people who are ordinarily 2nd Amendment supporters have been ‘brainwashed’ to some degree by the ‘guns bad’ drumbeat.
        If a person has ‘paid his price’ for a crime why should he not be allowed to enjoy the freedoms endowed to him by his Creator. That is the point of this country: that all men have certain inalienable rights. I would suggest that most Americans either don’t understand or don’t believe that concept.
        It is the basis of the founding of our country as laid out in the Declaration of Independence. After a failed experiment at Confederation it was apparent that a different form of government was desired, hence a Republic.
        That democratic Republic was laid out in our Constitution. It was not going to be accepted by many of the States until our Freedoms were more expressly delineated with clear limitations on government power, therefore we have our Bill of Rights. The Constitution would not have been accepted without the Bill of Rights.
        Back to the question, does the government have the power to take away someone’s Freedom of Speech after he has served his sentence for a crime? Can he no longer attend church? Is he denied the right to go to a friend’s house to watch the Super Bowl? Can he not write a letter to his newspaper or Congressman?
        All of those rights are expressly protected from Government interference by our Bill of Rights. The Government has no power but that derived from the People. ALL POWER starts from the people and under the Constitution is delegated by the People to the Government. The Government is to serve the People, not the other way round.

    • Mr. Lion, should a man who lets his 2-year-old play with a gun not be punished in some way when the kid gets dead?

      Should you be allowed to threaten someone with you gun if you like?

      • My rights stop where yours begin. It’s as simple as that. I should be allowed to do anything so long as it does not affect someone else’s rights. I see no reason I can’t carry a submachine gun or belt fed so long as I’m not violating someone else’s rights.

  4. I agree with Michael B. about the “own property” rules. My taste for restrictions on ownership begins and ends with criminal background checks. I’m OK with NICS, assuming it works, because it’s a basic, low-level bar to firearms acquisition by “bad guys.” I have a real problem when you get into requiring character references and subjective stuff like that. Questions like “have you been convicted of a violent crime or domestic violence?” are OK; questions like “Do you feel that the subject is a good person?” or “Do you think the subject is a danger to himself or others?” are absolutely not OK with me.

    As for the video… Pellet guns? Paintball guns? For pete’s sake, talk to your neighbors. Make it, you know, like a community. If they’re firing pellet/paintball guns toward your property line, and you’re worried they’ll come through the fence and hit you or your house, just friggin’ ask them to shoot the other way! Most people are going to shoot away from other houses by default, anyway. Seriously, not everything has to be handled by a law. Man up, grow a pair, and ask your neighbor (you know, because he’s your neighbor) if he wouldn’t mind pointing that thing the other way. Most people, especially in your upper middle class suburban enclave, are going to say something like, “Shit, sorry, I’ll point it the other way. Want to fire off a few while you’re here? It’s a lot of fun.” And just like that, you made a new friend.

    Example: A few months ago I was in Virginia at a friend’s house, and we were having a range day. We were down in a holler, shooting into a ridge, about 80′ of elevation between us (and point of impact) and the top of the ridge we were using as a backstop. The neighbors came over, said they were playing paintball on the other side of the hill (on their property), had heard us shooting and weren’t comfortable with us shooting in that direction. Although the chances of anything bad happening were infinitesimally small (you’d have to elevate your muzzle about 40 degrees to clear the top of the ridge), we weren’t jerks about it, we just turned our “range” 90 degrees and shot into an adjacent ridgeline. No harm, no foul, and relations with the neighbors were probably improved as a result, because we’re all reasonable people.

  5. “Are All Gun Laws Bad”

    No, however politicians are almost always bad. Politicians have directly and directly written laws and directed actions that have killed err murdered far more innocent people than guns and gun owners ever have and ever will. Short answer: some gun laws are needed. Greater question: which laws are effective in a way that protects the liberty of the people in society?

    Passing the usual gun-phobic gun laws to make society a better place is too often similar to squeezing artificial lime icing on a bad tasting chocolate cake. The two flavors don’t match and the icing doesn’t change the fact that the cake taste like xxxx.

  6. NICS is OK, I’m also OK with some education about CCW laws and DGU, something George Zimmerman might have needed a refresher on. I realize many on this site want no restrictions on anything but if you open everything in a nation of 300 million people as diverse as we are you are asking for trouble.
    Always remember the anti crowd just needs one big enough event to start a nationwide movement against firearms, and the media are currently nominating Trevor Martin as the standard bearer of gun control justification.

    Unlike the Giffords incident, this involved a legitimate gun owner far different from the loon in AZ. It’s also got the salacious racial component and the all important victim groups are involved. If you go with a restriction free environment and these things happen (as they are wont to do) the critics will draw attention to the lack of restrictions and come up with plenty real quick.

  7. Gun laws That I think are ok? Please keep in mind that I grew up in the People’s Demokratik Republik of NJ. I think the NICS system is something I’m ok with. I’m actually ok with shotguns with shorter than 18″ barrels and rifles with barrels shorter than 16″, but full auto weapons make me a little nervous, as do grenade launchers, bazookas, cannons. I think concealed carry should be “shall issue” with the same NICS check, and be good through out ALL of the United States and it’s territories. The permit should be free and good for several years before renuing it is required.

  8. Tyranny is defined by that which is legal for the government and illegal for the citizen.

    Thus, no regulations on firearms and equipment. “Shall not be infringed” is pretty clear.

    No training requirements; that’s how a corrupt government will stonewall people.

    No CC licensing. See above.

    It’s really very simple. People should be treated like independent adults. That’s a very hard concept for leftists to understand since, being the narcissists they are, they see others simply as extensions of their own existence, free radicals to be controlled.

    • +1

      However, I am willing to “reach across the aisle” and agree to “reasonable” laws, as follows: I will support any gun law that is voluntarily followed by all violent criminals and all law enforcement personnel in America.

      Let me know if anyone can name a single law that meets that criteria.

  9. I’m in favor of gun rights. I’m in favor of property rights. I also understand people should be able to live in peace and quiet in the comfort and safety of their own homes. This to me is a natural right, as much as that of armed self defense, and target practice.

    I can shoot in a lot of places. I only have one home. I try to do nothing unnecessary to disturb my neighbors. Sometimes you have to give a little in the name of good citizenship.

    This isn’t a gun law issue. It’s a zoning code issue, a civility issue, and a right to live in the peace, comfort, repose, and safety of your own home issue.

    I also understand they while they should, not everyone likes guns, and nothing is to be gained by invading their space with my noise, especially when I can easily avoid it.

  10. To properly evaluate the merits of a law,first we must ascertain the purpose of a law.

    The stated purpose of the NFA is to deny acess of shortbarreled & automatic weapons to criminals.Because only two documented crimes have ever been committed with a registered NFA item,and criminals don’t use registered full auto weapons to commit felonies,the NFA is a failure and should thus be repealed.

    The NICS background check system shares the same goal.While the idea of convicted gang bangers buying guns doesn’t give me warm fuzzy feelings,neither do the signifigant numbers of texting morons behind the wheel of two ton vehicles.In recognition of the facts that the latter is a bigger threat to my life than the former,and combined with the practical truth that street gangs don’t need an FFL -and its 4473-to buy arms in any instance,the NICS can also be classified as a failure in its goal.It didn’t stop Columbine,and Virginia Tech’s massacre still took place despite the NICS requirement.In Germany,a country with enough gun laws to make a New Jersey career politico green with envy,a kid was still able to get and use a firearm to commit a crime despite the background check,safe storage,and registration laws in place.

  11. I am for “destructive device” bans, but that’s about it. I do not believe that anybody should have access to artillery pieces or High Explosive Rockets.

    Aside from that, I support background checks, but only for criminal history. If, some years back, a man shot up his local school and was just released from prison, I do not believe he should be buying a firearm. I know I’m sounding a bit leftist here, but some people are simply not of the correct mental state to be owning firearms.

    Now, should every ex-con not be able to obtain a firearm? Absolutely not. If one can prove that he or she is responsible and mentally capable enough, then by all means, go get your PDW.

    Perhaps it’s the area I live in (California) that makes me think in this semi-liberal way, but I personally believe that the human race is rather destructive. But I also believe that we are also defensive. So I suppose I’m stuck in the middle. I don’t like “destructive” people obtaining weapons, but I am all for “defensive” people getting their home defense weapon as well as personal defense.

    • “I do not believe that anybody should have access to artillery pieces or High Explosive Rockets.”

      [sarcastic but serious] Then how will I outfit my man of war in pursuit of my Letter of Marque and Reprisal? [/sarcastic but serious]

      The Constitution clearly implies that private citizens will have lawful access to and control of naval warships. It’s hard to square that with a ban on the manufacture of machine guns for private ownership being constitutional.

      • Sorry, meant to say artillery and rockets, not machine guns, since those were your concern. Realized my mistake after the edit window expired.

        • Well, as a revision, let me say this. Some people out there probably shouldn’t have access to weapons like rockets.

          People such as, oh, off the top of my head, a severe mental case who believes that children’s hospitals are actually the house of the devil (or however somebody like that would view the world). In such a case, rockets would be one of the last things I’d want to allow such a person.

  12. Here in NJ the only law that makes sense is the NICS check. The rest:
    1- References for getting a gun permit.

    2- Two individuals must vouch for you in writing.

    3- Wait at least 3 months for a gun permit every time you want to buy another gun and go through “1” and “2” above again. It also expires within 90 days. (by law they should get back to you within 30 days but try saying a word and you will be denied).

    4- One gun per month only (which is impossible anyway because you have to do “1”, “2” , and “3” above).

    5- No suppressors/flash suppressor period.

    6- No more that 15 round mags period.

    8- No CC ( They say they would but they never ever do).

    9- You have to take your gun to the range directly from home and directly back. (No stopping).

    10- No hollow point only at home but if you are caught outside with them you are HOSED.

    11- A bunch of BS rules and regulations when it comes to rifles.

    12- No shooting anything at home (Well maybe BB guns).

    13- If you fart , you get nothing and anything else that gets in the way that I may have missed!

    SO when I hear you guys out there discussing “Range Days” for amusement at home and discussing it with the neighbors, it becomes really mind boggling to me!

  13. Personally, I think that the the 2nd Amendment writers had long guns in mind when they discussed arms. Since long guns, at that time, were by definition open-carry, I think that open carry is exactly what they had in mind.
    Everyone in this country, barring felons, should be able to open-carry without a permit. For concealed carry, you should need a permit. Thats my take…

  14. Concerning laws, I have a question. Does a state constitution trump a U.S. constitution, does it infringe on you federal civil right.

    I understand private property rights and respect them. However restricting carry from certian public lands and buildings I dont get, by crossing some threshold does it make me more dangerous to anyone before I cross it?

    If somehow that a president like Obama is able to rid the constitution of the 2nd amendment, (or the entire civil rights bill) does the state constitution become the peoples civil rights?

    I also understand areas that it would be, could be dangerous to carry. like an oxygen rich enviroment or volitile enviroment like gas wells where a ND could blow up an entire area, kill several people. Really only common sense laws are all thats needed. Not panic laws or laws that are derived from the mistrust of the common people.

    Also, and last question, the difference between citizens arrest and unlawful detainment when you hold someone, with or without a weapon on you untill the police arrive.

    I think and belive that we need a lot fewer but more straight forward laws that have real teeth for the criminal. There are too many feel good type of loop hole laws that really work against the good guy and free the bad guy, especially on technicality crap. Here again, common sense makes great common good laws.

    • we need a lot fewer but more straight forward laws that have real teeth for the criminal

      Agree and agree. The problem is that the definition of a criminal is left to criminals politicians who spend their entire careers criminalizing everything.

  15. I believe armaments ought to be divided into 2 categories: US Military, and civilian.

    I’m ok with, for example, Ford not being able to suppress labor unrest with privately held APCs. Or an A-10.

    But everything civilian is on the table for all. As I’ve stated before: all cops are (or should be!) civilians.

    • Our military is made up of civilians. When attacked, the civilians of this country are the military (or militia). When we divide it up like that, we’re saying that someone else is responsible for our safety and we don’t need to worry about it. The very same argument can be made when someone says that police should have guns, but not civilians. In that case, we are advocating the responsibility for protection away from the individual onto police (who probably aren’t going to be there when you need them).

      Bottom line is that the individual citizen needs to accept responsibility for personal defense and defense of country. They also need access to the tools for doing the job. Government should help organize and be the first line of defense, but never the only line of defense.

      • Ok, good points. The intent is to separate Active Duty personnel from non-active personnel. I respect (and often trust) the US military’s subordination to civilian control.

        The main point of the proposal is not forbid a class of “super-civilian Only Ones” who are better armed than folks not privileged to be a member of a police union.

        Thoughts?

    • Oh heck, Ford, Chrysler and GM used to make all sorts of wonderful weapons.
      Tanks, Machine guns, Bombers, Fighters, even some Warships.

  16. Laws are only for the law-abiding. Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law. Therefore, not only are all gun laws bad, they are pointless.

  17. The ones that say “Shooting people or someone else’s things is illegal.”

    What’s that? Assault, murder, destruction of property are already illegal? Then… why exactly do we have gun laws again???

  18. It’s fun to see the anarchist argument articulated here:

    “Laws are only for the law-abiding. Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law. Therefore, not only are all gun laws bad, they are pointless.”

    Just strike the word “gun” from that second sentence. If people are determined to behave in anti-social ways, it is nearly impossible to stop them, we can only remove them from the tribe after the fact. I think it is true that we’ve substituted a burgeoning police state for a sense of community self-regulation.

    That said, I’m not for people shooting pistols into a small dirt berm their urban back yard (notwithstanding my many pleasant childhood hours with my Daisy in inner city Houston). This is like saying it’s okay to drive 80 in a school zone as long as you don’t hit anybody.

    As far as NICS, I agree that it’s probably not that effective, and the money could be better spent eslewhere. I also think that restrictions on felons owning guns should be revisited. People who commit violent crimes are one thing, but non-violent offenders should not be permanently barred from exercising their constitutional rights. These laws, I would say intentionally, disproportionately affect the poor and non-white, preventing them from voting or defending themselves. Even for violent crimes, I think there should be a mechanism to restore 2A rights – you got in a stupid drunk fight when you were 22 and got an assault rap, but now you’re 32 and a pillar of the community, etc.

    I’m in favor Constutional Carry, but the shall-issue laws here in Oregon aren’t all that onerous . I think if we’re going to have Constutional Carry, we should have basic firearms safety available in high schools (yeah, right) – it could be offered as a two-day class during PE, with maybe an optional range field trip. Like some sex-ed classes, kids could opt out. Hell, we hardly even have civics and government classes, as these were largely purged by the authoritarian conservative movement starting in the Reagan era, when civics education was considered a liberal conspiracy.

  19. The only gun laws that are acceptable are the ones where governments are required to issue weapons to their adult citizens. That’s it. Period.

  20. The NICS check is necessary. However, the system should distinguish between violent offenses, and stop relabeling state misdemeanors as felonies based on maximum length of sentence the judge could have imposed. The states have reasons for those longer sentences, often to enable a longer probation for the person for that person’s good, not because of their danger to anyone. Federal firearm laws are, in my perception, much more intrusive and constitutionally wanting than state laws. That is unsurprising because they are marked up and voted up by three or four state caucuses which have no respect for gun rights or the plight of people living in relatively unpoliced towns and neighborhoods (Cal, NY, NJ, IL).

    • I disagree, NICS isn’t necessary if the justice system is doing it’s job. Either a criminal has been rehabilitated and is safe to be a member of society with full rights or they’re a danger to others and should be behind bars. You don’t let dangerous people out in public and simply make it so that they can’t legally get a gun.

  21. When someone says “There oughta be a law,” the politicians go out and pass one–even though in most cases there already is a law on the books prohibiting whatever it was that caused the brouhaha in the first place. The laws punishing misconduct are more than enough in most cases to deal with issues that arise, rather than laws that seek to “prevent” crimes by outlawing the instrumentalities; these latter simply do not work and will never work, separate and appart from the serious constitutional issues raised. I don’t think the law should presume we are evil rather than punishing us for performing evil deeds.
    Like a lot of others, I have no real issue with NICS, but then again I am not a prohibited person and don’t think it is such a bad idea to keep firearms out of the hands of schizophrenics and violent felons. Yeah, they can still probably score a gun on the street, but that too is a crime for which punishment is imposed; simply because people can do things doesn’t mean we should decriminalize the conduct. For example, people can commit murder–but that doesn’t mean that we should impose no sanction when they do so. I see nothing wrong with puttng barriers in the path of those who would acquire firearms for unlawful purposes. On the other hand, I also think there should be mechanisms to restore gun rights, just as there are for other civil rights. That is a law that needs narrowed and refined.

    Someone commented that the NFA is a failure because only two auto weapons have been used to commit crimes since the law was enacted. Is this really a failure or a fantastic success?

    I am not aware of any laws that limit the ownership of cannons. You can even buy functional replicas through the internet. There’s a mini 1.0 cal that will chuck a golf ball a half amile. I’d have a civil war parrot rifle in my front yard it I could (but the buy in cost is prohibitive).

  22. I think the fact that I have to pay $100 to take a class and then pay the state another $100 to get a plastic card that says I can exercise my constitutional right is absurd.

    Next time I want to go to church I ought to go take a class about Christianity first for a fee to make sure I understand it, and then pay another fee to enter the church

    • the state should required ID to vote and people to pay a fee and demonstrate an understanding of issues being voted upon and the US Constitution . .. . oh wait, I must be a racist Black for thinking this way . . .

  23. “What gun laws do you support?” Almost none. I’m not offended by a requirement that one be an adult to carry firearm, or that one shouldn’t discharge them within city limits (when not defending yourself), but other than that …. it’s a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT! not a privilege. I should be able to carry a firearm anywhere and everywhere that a police officer can carry theirs.

  24. I’d copy the laws of Pennsylvania. I think they’re just about right at the moment. It’s the details of 18 US Code 922 that need cleaning up, among others.

  25. I’m in favor of laws allowing private property owners (restaurants, hotels, stadiums, banks, even apartment complexes) to ban guns if they so choose. Kind of surprised nobody mentioned that. That said, the law shouldn’t be necessary as private property owners should be able to ban whatever they please on their property–guns, bombs, free speech, dogs, nudity, white people, cops (!), children, cell phones, you name it.

    • This is a perfect example of what Mark N. said above:

      When someone says “There oughta be a law,” the politicians go out and pass one–even though in most cases there already is a law on the books prohibiting whatever it was that caused the brouhaha in the first place.

      All those places you listed, property owners CAN already do that. It doesn’t carry force of law, i.e. you can’t get arrested for it, but they can say you’re not allowed, and if they catch you doing it, they can ask you to leave, and if you disobey you can be charged with trespassing.

      So I’m most assuredly NOT in favor of laws like you mentioned, because they’re completely unnecessary.

      • Like I said in my original post, the law SHOULDN’T be necessary. But private property owners have been slowly losing their rights to ban things and people over at least a hundred years. I think that when some anti-gun people get upset about other people carrying guns, it’s because they mistakenly believe that the right to carry a firearm trumps a business owner’s right to ban firearms. And to some regard, it’s true. In Ohio, where I live, a landlord isn’t allowed to ban gun possession by residents or their invited guests. Now that law happens to be in my favor as a gun owner/carrier. But it’s wrong—if the ban is stated in the lease and a resident signed on with understanding of that ban, it should be enforceable. That doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be an arrestable offense, but it should certainly be evictable.

  26. I’m in favor of laws allowing private property owners (restaurants, hotels, stadiums, banks, even apartment complexes) to ban guns if they so choose. Kind of surprised nobody mentioned that. That said, the law shouldn’t be necessary as private property owners should be able to ban whatever they please on their property–guns, bombs, free speech, dogs, nudity, white people, cops (!), children, cell phones, you name it.

  27. Virginia has a law prohibiting firing across roadways and other public rights of way.

    Only “Common Sense” gun law that I’m aware of.

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