# Question of the Day: Objective Measure Edition

If owning many types of military grade weapons can be prohibited, then we can infer the existence of a legal limit on the destructive power available to citizens, beyond which the Second Amendment affords no protection. Current gun laws like the NFA cite arbitrary measures like barrel length and caliber size, but that’s an indirect measure that can create bizarre restrictions on some types of firearms but not others. A better approach would be a logical and explicit description of the threshold between legal and illegal arms . . .

For example, the limits of a weapon’s stopping power might be determined relative to a select sample of material (eg. kevlar, steel, unreinforced masonry) at fixed distances (point blank, 10 meters, 100 meters, 1000 meters). The maximum permitted values might then be set to the capabilities of, say, a modern .50 rifle.

Similarly, the limits of a weapon’s spread could be determined by the average impact energy of an individual projectile and the total impact energy of all projectiles at fixed radii (1 meter, 10 meters, 100 meters). As for semi-automatic and automatic weapons, the same methods of measurement would be used but with limits focused on the aggregate penetration and/or impact energy that could be delivered in given time intervals ( 1 second, 10 seconds, and 100 seconds).

This would avoid ad-hoc amendments to gun control laws, provide a rational framework for manufacturers to experiment with new products, and better accommodate future advances that may not use traditional chemical propellants and/or delivery systems. But in talking to some gun enthusiasts, I’ve found a genuine reluctance in a straight-forward approach to regulation. If the federal government should “reasonably regulate” firearms (and that pertains to all matter of weaponry), then what ought to be the operational principle?

1. Matt in MT says:

Guns should be regulated based upon how scary looking they might be and how many cop killer bullets can fit into the clip.

1. TTACer says:

And if they have that shoulder thingy that goes up.

1. Blinky Pete says:

Don’t forget the ability to spray from the hip!

2. Sam Wright says:

What about firing speed? A Gatling gun is legal (not in NYC) and can throw a lot of lead in a hurry. Can’t we all agree on “common sense” gun laws? What if I hunt big game in Africa and want more than a modern .50 cal rifle? What if I have an otherwise legal gun, but put cop killer or armor piercing rounds in it, does it become an illegal gun? Why should the government or anyone else have a bigger gun than me if I feel the need to compensate?

3. Jack says:

Right now the two bright lines for civilian ownership of military weapons are machine guns and high explosive munitions. Curiously, the hand-cranked Gatling gun is not classified as a machine gun.

1. Guywithagun says:

26 USC § 5845
“(b) Machinegun:
The term “machinegun” means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger”.

Turning a Gatling crank does not shoot “more that one shot… by the single function of the trigger”. Instead, the crank rapidly actuates the trigger multiple times resulting in the firing of only a single shot per activation and this process stops as soon as you do. Thus, it is not a machine gun by definition. You can perform the same function with your trigger finger and a semi-automatic firearm.

A fast trigger finger or a crank does not a machine gun make (it rhymed enough for me anyway).

4. ST says:

In an academic sense this means well, but in the real world we live under a Federal government which is dedicated to turning us into Great Britain. Were it up to Holder and his cronies we puny serfs would need a permit to own a baseball bat.

The only mathematical formula the government would use for civil arms regulation, is if it fires a bullet= police & military only.

5. tdiinva says:

The only restriction on firearms allowed should be those not protectec by the Second Amendment. In 1787 arms meant infantry rifiles and pistols. All other weapons were classed as Ordinance, provided by the government, and not protected by the Constitution. If I wanted to be snarky I would say the weapons that a civillian could own are military weapons. M-16/M-4 for everyone!

1. twency says:

“In 1787 arms meant infantry rifiles and pistols.” Citation needed.

The Constitution recognizes the legitimacy of letters of marque and reprisal, indicating private ownership of warships.

6. Moonshine7102 says:

How about “no”? How about we trust the common man to decide what he buys, where he buys it, and when he carries it? Allow the government to dictate what civvies can have based on “stopping power” or “impact energy”? I’m certain we can trust our elected officials to set and maintain “reasonable” limits on that! You, sir, must be out of your FLAME DELETED mind.

1. Mikeb302000 says:

What about a chemical weapon delivery system, you know like the ones they never found in Sadaam’s Iraq. If you wanted one of those and could afford it, would that be OK?

What about a suitcase nuke? That could even pass the one-man-handling-it test.

I’m not just breakin’ balls. I’m seriously asking.

Do you have no line beyond which civilians should not be allowed to own a particular weapon?

1. Moonshine7102 says:

Anyone with the resources to buy a weapon of mass destruction and the compulsion to use it will not respect any law you could make, Michael.

As a side note, chemical weapons and simple (fission-only) nukes are ridiculously easy to manufacture.

2. tdiinva says:

Mikey, while my comment above was all snark, there is an underlying linguistic truth. When Madison wrote the Second Amendment the term arms meant personal weapons and ordinance meant things like cannon. The classes of weapons you keep jammering about would be classified as ordinance and not arms.

1. Mikeb302000 says:

Does that mean you draw the line between arms and ordnance? Why didn’t you just say that?

2. Henry Bowman says:

All humans have the natural, inherent right to property. If you obtain your property through licit means, then you can own and use your property for licit purposes. That’s my line.

3. tdiinva says:

Because I already said that in my snarky postg above. Like I said in the flame mikey thread above you have been mailing it in.

4. mikeb302000 says:

I don’t know what you mean by “mailing it in” but I do know that you earned the double-talking crown of achievement with that nonsense about arms / ordinance. And you said it as if it were an accepted way of delineating between the various types of weapons.

3. Henry Bowman says:

Since governments are responsible for over 100 million deaths in the 20th century alone, I would ask you “Do you have no line beyond which THE STATE should not be allowed to own a particular weapon?”

4. Tarrou says:

Mike, let me get this straight. A 15.5 inch barreled rifle is qualitatively different from a 16 inch barrel because NUKES? Good one buddy, you keep up the stellar anti-gun thought process. With opponents like this, we can’t possibly lose.

7. Sam says:

I was at the range yesterday laughing to myself about the NFA laws, specifically SBRs. There was a guy with a registered SBR AR who paid the \$200 bribe right next to a guy with a bull pup AUG. the weapons were basically the same overall lenght, but the AUG had a 16 inch barrel and the AR had a 10.5.

Silly laws need to be repealed. Think of the money we as a country could save on hearing aids if we made supressors more accessible 😉

8. Tarrou says:

The author makes a strong, if expired horse-beating, argument about the silliness of current bureaucratic rules. That said, any implementation of his standards would likely produce the same effect, only on different terms. What one must always remember when making policy suggestions (in the US) is that any law will involve compromise with people who oppose it for a variety of reasons, and it will be implemented by the same people who run the DMV and TSA, career bureaucrats. I foresee the end-state of these regulations involving a certain unnamed group lobbying for the material all bullets are tested against be changed from concrete to cement, thence to talcum. The number of tests would be increased arbitrarily to increase “reliability”, and no firearm could be marketed and sold until it passed a decades-long process set up by the ATF. On top of this, I can guarantee that passing a new set of regulations would in no way necessitate the repeal of current ones. We’d have a whole new bureaucracy in place on top of our current onerous one.

I appreciate the effort, Rich. In a theoretical nation with no gun laws and a class of superhuman altruistic cyborg bureaucrats, this might work. In the US, this fails the real-world test.

1. bontai Joe says:

Even if a law could be crafted with say 1″ dia bullets or smaller are ok, and 20,000 ft/lb of muzzle energy is ok, and an effective range of 2 miles is ok, 5000 rounds a minute is ok, once you have established ANY numbers as a limit, THEN the nibbling begins. Opps! 1″ dia bullets are cop killers! Best to reduce it to .9mm. Opps! 20,000 ft lb of energy can shoot thru a school (the children! the children!), Opps! 2 miles is too far, must cut effective fatal range to 100 feet. Opps! 5000 rounds a minute? Best to reduce that to 500, no wait, let’s reduce that to 50, no wait, let’s mandate that guns have a time lock installed that allows them to be fired only once per minute. Ask anyone that lives in a state with a sales tax! Once established, it lives and grows, the debt it was originally proposed to pay is long gone, but the money is still collected and increased periodically to feed the “beast”. NJ sales tax was originally 3% and not to be on “essentials” like food, books, medicine and clothing. Now it’s 7% and the list of exempt things gets smaller. It’s bad enough that numbers have been established on barrel length and caliber, no way do I want to ever allow the gubment to establish bullet energy, bullet speed limits, or any other numbers as restrictions on firearms or ammunition. Shame on you for even suggesting it.

2. Accur81 says:

Well said. I was warming up to type roughly the same sentiment. Lots not encourage more operational room for bureaucrats, liberals, and Murphy’s Law.

9. Vigilantis says:

Self defense is not the purpose of the second amendment. The purpose of the second amendment is to guarantee armed insurrection in the event of an usurpation of power by a dictatorial president. Restrictions on what is and is not allowable for civilian use do not further that end. Restrictions on what is allowable for police and military use would do more to guarantee the liberty of the people.

1. virtualjohn says:

The idea of a Federal police force was an anathema to the Founders and everyone in the US prior to the 1920’s and 30’s. It was felt by most to be unconstitutional. This was a time when folks paid attention to the Constitution. The camel’s nose was formation of the FBI powered by the Lindbergh kidnapping and the rise of the mobs during Prohibition. Prior to then there were actually very few Federal criminal statutes, most dealing with currency or import taxes. Criminal statutes were mainly state with local ordinances on the misdemeanor level.
The growth of militarized police forces at all levels of government may be the greatest threat to liberty in the US. For these agencies are and will be charged with the enforcement of laws of at least questionable constitutionality and validity.

10. nonnamous says:

So you’re talking about making govt gun control more efficient? uh, screw that.

11. GS650G says:

Vehicles could be considered object delivery systems much like firearms, would they also be classified according to how much energy can be delivered to a target or person?

12. girlswithguns aka captain obvious says:

This is what happens when you let people with no understanding of a particular issue make the rules for that issue.

Sort of explains the current state of the U.S., doesn’t it?

13. virtualjohn says:

What is so unclear in this simple sentence, “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.” as to have created the mess we have now? Any law that infringes on a US citizen’s God-given and unalienable right to keep and bear any arm is unconstitutional. Any attempt to define or limit the type of arm is infringement.

14. Matt in FL says:

I’m going to grant the point that regulation is necessary for the purposes of shooting down this entire, convoluted testing and regulation method with two words:

Prohibitively expensive.

15. Henry Bowman says:

16. Silver says:

As I always said, anything the military has, the civilian should be able to own as well. Tyranny is defined as that which is illegal for citizen but legal for the government.

Invariably though, someone always takes this argument to ludicrous extremes and claims I want everyone to own a nuke or some such.

1. Moonshine7102 says:

Mike wants us all to believe that there are a whole bunch of people who are persistent enough to find a supplier willing to sell 52 kilos of 99% pure U-235, wealthy enough to pay for it, knowledgeable enough to build a nuke out of it, and crazy enough to use it.

1. Accur81 says:

+1.

Tony Stark could make one in a single musical montage.

For the rest of us, it would be close to impossible.

2. Mikeb302000 says:

You’re the one making ludicrous statements. Everything the military has civilians should be allowed to own if they can afford it, is that you position?

LUDICROUS.

1. Robert Farago says:

Because . . . ?

2. Moonshine7102 says:

“is that you position?”
—–
Yup. You don’t seem to grasp just how expensive stuff is.

3. bontai Joe says:

The Second Amendment was written so that the people of the USA could repel an invading army as well as over throw a tyranical government. If we want to adhere to that principle, then the people should be able to own weapons as powerful as our AND ANY OTHER government owns. Otherwise the government can whittle away with lists and regulations until our right to keep and bear arms is reduced to slingshots and rocks. (Can’t buy a slingshot in NJ by the way). In other words, the government can insure that the people CAN NOT topple a tyrant, because we would be helpless in the face of vastly superior firepower. Guess what? We are there already. Ok realistically, the situation has changed drastically over the years as we went from a mostly unexplored frontier to what we call “civilization” today. So maybe being able to buy Stinger missles at the local pawn shop would be detrimental to public safety, but the patch work quilt of conflicting laws and regs we currently have is a joke. NJ residents cannot casually buy a BB gun at KMart because NJ classifies BB guns as firearms, but go across the Delaware river into PA, and BB guns are sold the same as other toys. So the state govt. of NJ has heavily infringed on the right of its people to buy firearms to the point of being (your word here) LUDICROUS!

17. Frank says:

Well according to the constitution the NFA is an illegal act. No where in the constitution does it give the federal government permission to invoke such laws without a constitutional amendment. So the government really can’t be the operational principle as far as were firearms re going. If they try they will get sued by all the gorillas in the house. Not just the “800 pound” one.

18. Skyler says:

I don’t like gun control of any kind but it seems to me that at least barrel length is easily measured and anyone can do it themselves. I don’t have any tools to measure “distructiveness.”

It would seem that such vague measurements would be easily abused.

19. Qajaqon says:

My. My. My. My brain keeps frying…..

This Is The United States of America. There is only one(1) “rational… measure”.
That is the Second Amendment (Amendment II to the Constitution of the United States of America, a part of the Bill of Rights, which protects the rights of the people). It was designed/written to protect your rights, not to be piss them away or handed out or watered down versions of ‘protection’ or ‘rational use and responsibilty’.

The Second Amendment is a two part statement of protected birth-right as a human being. It a measure to used by the people(you) to protect your right(s) from the government(you). If either the people or the government act to add ‘measures’ for what ever ‘reason’ it is an ‘infringment’ upon the Second Amendment. In other words, it a ‘taking away your rights’

Your rights are a responsibility, a living equation, that does not come to you by way of something/or somebody. The ‘Constitution’ and the “Bill of Right” were intended to protect you and not to be picked away at for any reason, nor to be handed out to you when someone decides you are ready for some.

All this reasonable shit DrIVeS mE Crazy. Your all smarter than that, OWN YOUR RIGHTS: they shall not be infringed.

1. Guywithagun says:

Wait ’til Ralph reads this. He’s gonna give you some mumbo jumbo about how it’s totally cool for SCOTUS to make any exceptions to any of the amendments they want. He’ll say, “but, but, SCOTUS says none of that matters anymore”. He’ll say, “it’s cool to have your constitutional rights (like free speech and the right to bear arms) infringed because SCOTUS says so”.

Yes, we ARE smarter than that. But even those who want to support gun rights can hurt the cause because they accept what SCOTUS has to say even when it is in violation of the bill of rights. SCOTUS’ responsibility is to defend the constitution and uphold its ORIGINAL meaning, not to make up its own policies based on opinion.

2. mikeb302000 says:

They already are being infringed and, unless you live in a cave in Idaho, you accept that. Now we’re haggling about how far that infringement should go for the Common Good.

20. Don says:

When you step back from all of the details and debate… Doesn’t it seem completely absurd that a shotgun barrel of length 18″ is totally fine but god forbid, 17.9″… FELONY! AOW! Such a huge bifurcation in legality for effectively zero change in utility. This same absurdity is reflected in all “threshold laws”, or laws based on some instantaneous position on a continuous variable.

I think a new formal logical fallacy should be introduced, called the “Discontinuity Fallacy” characterized by arguments made of the form “If x is a continuous variable and the relationship between x and y is continuous and an argument follows from the assumption that that the y has a discontinuity then the argument is invalid by form.”

In this example, the relationship between barrel length (x) and shotgun utility for “gangsterness” (y) is continuous. Each inch of barrel cut off makes it better for drive-bys or whatever (lol, tongue firmly in cheek). The law however assumes a massive discontinuity in gangsterness (y) at barrel length (x) = 18″. Since length (x) is a continuous variable and the the relationship between length (x) and gangsterness (y) is continuous, the assumption behind the argument is false, and the law is fallacious by form (without having to examine content).

21. Qajaqon says:

Oh, and by the way: any thing and every thing is a weapon and can be used against you, wether it be a hard object or a soft object, words or ideas. You and your life measure the results. “Own it”. Or they will…..

22. JohnO says:

Chain-saw chaps (pronounced “shaps,” by the way) aren’t built the way Kevlar armor is. The chaps are simply quilted, with Kevlar yarn inside. When the chain hits the chaps it pulls the yarn out and (hopefully) jams the saw’s drive sprocket. Concept has worked great a couple of time for me, when I would otherwise have had the bar down to my fermur. Anyhow, the video’s “test” was meaningless. Kevlar yarn would no more stop a bullet than wool would.

23. Jay says:

Laws are created to direct human action, in other words, to manipulate. If I make a “law” that bans any barrel that is under 20″ you are more unlikely to buy any modern semi-auto rifle, instead would purchase a bolt gun or very outdated battle rifle. If I make a “law” to ban lead usage in ammunition and certain diameter bullets you will likely only be able to buy weak cartridges or rare (expensive) rounds.

Effectively those types of laws will indirectly ban firearms and their ammunition. At the very least it will make it hard to acquire and expensive to own. Additionally, when you need to use arms in defense of freedom you will bring a 20″ .22 LR bolt gun to go up against a belt fed .50 BMG.

The current laws passed and the future ones are a way to incrementally, indirectly, subtly ban arms (directed towards the most effective). This is why they make no sense to most undiscerning individuals. Most Americans are generally non-confrontational, very passive and self-preserving. This is how these laws get passed (never really repealed) and will continue to be.

People will say that these type of statements are from the hyper sensitive or delusional. How about a more detailed explanation? In regards to non-confrontational, passive and self-preserving – this is how the NRA came into existence (I argue) and how it thrives irregardless of success or failure. As it pertains to incremental, indirect and subtle – an example is when other say that “reasonable regulations” are for modern times, they are prudent for “public safety” and there is no plausible reason for a human to have such tools of “mass destruction”.

Majority of the current day Americans are of two groups: one consisting of the fearful and the other of the dishonest. The fearful have two subgroups: the non alpha (not leaders) and the prey (the unarmed). The dishonest group seek positions that allow (becoming a politician for example) them to manipulate the two fearful subgroups. The dishonest group know that the minority, that can threaten their position, can easily be done away with if they do not have any tools of defense.

A perfect example for all of this is the state of California.

Should we have gun laws that remove the right to own shorter barreled “long” guns, calibers used by military and police, bullets of certain materials, select fire, modern firearms, muzzle devices, importation of cheap firearms or ammunition, importation of firearms that meet military standards? Of course we should NOT have such laws, ever! It is easier to stop a child from eating the entire box of chocolates if you don’t give it to them in the first place, than it is to give it to them and say you can only eat 1 a day.

Also I do not remember reading a law that said the federal government can make such laws and enforce them on the states. The states did sign a contract to uphold the Bill of Rights, so they cannot pass law abridging or infringing human rights irregardless of their state constitution unless they leave the union. Am I wrong?

What about the silly response about owning biological or nuclear arms? We could wait to speak about that after I can buy a black short barreled, select fire, loaded with so called AP rounds, Chinese SMG and can conceal it on my person while in a car without having to pay a bribe and get a permission slip. Realistically though. Who is going to sell you that stuff? How many people could afford those things? Isn’t bio and nuclear arms a government funded creation? Buying a cheap Chinese select fire AK, in the color black, isn’t going to be a “gateway” to buying a nuclear bomb. Ownership of those types of arms are more philosophical than practical or realistic.

24. Steve says:

Your post presupposes that the politicians in charge of making laws are:
– Capable of understanding High School physics and their application.
– Able to make objective, rational decisions in a scientific, logical and orderly way.

I haven’t yet seen evidence to make me believe either one of those things is the case.

They often don’t read the legislation that they vote on.

25. twency says:

“If owning many types of military grade weapons can be prohibited…”

The problem with your post starts with this phrase. We should not be willing to enter a debate with the gun-banners under such a premise.

26. Nathan says:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

You seem to be implying that these gun regulations could ever make sense. If so, I know a Nigerian prince who wants your help getting his money out of the country.

27. R Hampton says:

I do realize that some favor allowing citizens to own any type of weapon they so choose, and that the NFA and other gun control legislation ought to be ruled unconstitutional.

But for those who do favor some type of federal regulation, it seems to me that most gun owners prefer the status quo then to reform the laws to provide a more rational system. Now that may be because they do not trust congress to enact reforms, or perhaps because they do not believe any other system, for practical purposes, would be better.

However I would like to point out that by default, a system like the one I proposed is already in effect. For example, you could plot the attributes of a particular legal fire arm, with one axis for distance and the other for penetration depth for a given material. The result would be in the shape of a slope. Then, if we layered these plots on top of one another, we could see the default maximum power allowed by law as combination of all slopes. Hypothetically, any and all firearms restricted for military/police use only, would have slopes outside the legal maximum (we’ll assume these plots are colored differently for legibility). Now it’s not necessarily the intention of existing laws to create a legal threshold for destructive capability, none the less that is what has been produced.

So, humor me, please. IF (and I realize that’s a big if) the federal government can and ought to restrict military firearms, how would you construct a rational law that describes that distinction?

1. Moonshine7102 says:

“So, humor me, please. IF (and I realize that’s a big if) the federal government can and ought to restrict military firearms, how would you construct a rational law that describes that distinction?”
—–
I’m sorry, Rich, but I do not intend to allow the discussion to be framed like that. Doing so presupposes that infringements on RKBA are alright, which is not something I am prepared to admit. On to your “plot” contention. Do you mean to say that a Barrett and a 10/22 will have similar plots? How about a .950 JDJ? I don’t think the math works out the way you think it does.

1. R Hampton says:

No, the plots will be different for individual firearms, but the legal threshold will be the largest slope generated by the combination of all the individual firearms.

28. R Hampton says:

If you prefer to think in terms of specific weapons, what criteria ought to be used to determine the legal status of weapons like the Neopup PAW-20, the XM25 CDTE, the AA-12, or the prototype 28-gauge Raging Judge revolver?

1. Moonshine7102 says:

“Is it a weapon?”
“Yes.”
“Then you can have it if you can afford it.”

1. R Hampton says:

I understand that you, and others, do not accept any kind of restrictions on firearms. But my question is directed for those who do support the Second Amendment AND a federal restriction on some type of arms – and yes, there are many such gun owners.

1. Moonshine7102 says:

At one time there were many citizens who did not own slaves but who accepted, even advocated for, restrictions based on race. Deference would not be shown to them today.

2. Mikeb302000 says:

Even those that are considered “ordinance?” Tell us exactly how extreme you really are?

1. Kevin Highland says:

Perhaps you meant “ordnance”?

If the 2nd amendment is truly meant to allow the citizenry to be the last line of defense against enemies including a tyrannical government then Yes.

2. Moonshine7102 says:

Well, Big “M”, let’s approach that question from a rational point of view. And by that I mean from a point of view that doesn’t equate ownership of an object with misuse of an object. Quite simply, the prohibitive cost of ordnance will price the wackos and nutjobs out of the market. Barrett’s M82A1 starts at around \$7k. Unit cost for the US Army’s M119 105mm howitzer is around \$1M, not including the shells. A nuke? Don’t make me laugh.

3. Matt in FL says:

This is a valid point. Outlawing a Barrett .50 will make virtually no difference, since anyone who wants one can get one now, and you don’t see them everywhere. The bar to ownership is the price, and that won’t change based on their legal status. You can hardly use one to hold up a bank or carjack someone, so what’s the point of banning them again?

4. mikeb302000 says:

You’re makin’ me laugh, man. You think wackos and nut jobs don’t have money and only responsible citizens do.

29. bontai Joe says:

“……. directed for those who do support the Second Amendment AND a federal restriction on some type of arms – and yes, there are many such gun owners.”

Hmmmmmm….. support a right guaranteed to not be infringed by it’s very wording, and also support some infringements at the same time……. interesting topic for discussion.

30. Matt G. says:

Or we could just have;
“as long as the projectile does not contain explosives, it is not a Destructive Device” and “and that’s it because none of this barrel length or caliber size shit matters.”

The government does not need to be concerned with how many hands I hold my gun with regardless of length. Nor do they need to decide what calibers are too large firmme to handle.

1. R Hampton says:

That works as long as you intend to allow citizens to own rifles like the Anzio Ironworks 20mm, auto cannons like the M242 Bushmaster (M791 Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot with Tracer), or anything larger that can fire a non-explosive projectile.

That’s why I suggested a limit based on penetrating power regardless of type of ammo.

1. Matt G. says:

I have no problem with people owning those things. You cannot cause more devastaion with a 20mm cannon than you can with ANFO explosives.

Why exactly is the government supposed to be able to tell us we are not good enough to own anything?

1. R Hampton says:

Obviously you disagree, but many gun owners agree that there ought to be some type of federal regulation of (some) arms common to the military, like grenade launchers, shoulder-fired missiles, or anti-aircraft guns. They can be quite effective in asymmetric warfare as we have seen in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, or in converting governments into narco-states as we see in Mexico. Then again, you could argue that citizens need to be equally armed. If so, then is there no limit?

That’s why I asked the question, “by what principle should we categorize some weapons beyond the protection of the second amendment?”

2. Jay says:

Why would anyone spend time arguing about extremely expensive arms. The kind that are unlikely to be owned by any average individual.

Doesn’t shoulder fired missiles cost \$250,000 a piece? Which doesn’t include the firing system. Doesn’t anti-aircraft guns cost \$500,000+?

Price alone will preclude most people from ownership. Then the practicality of storage. Plus the manufacturer can decide to only sell it to the governments of the world. As they do with NV, armor, thermal, etc.

This philosophical argument can be made when we can own any type of long gun, handgun, ammunition, muzzle devices, select fire and can buy them from outside manufactures of any country. Also when we have recover the right to bear them openly or concealed in every state of the union without permission slips.

Right now it is just a waste of time. There are other priorities.

3. R Hampton says:

All of those weapons can be bought for significantly less if they were legal and the market was open for foreign manufactures/nations to sell their goods. I’m sure that Chinese versions would cost less, and I’m equally certain that cheap, used arms from Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. would be exported to U.S. gun stores tomorrow if it was legal.

Besides, cost doesn’t address the real issue – what is/are the characteristics of weapons that ought to be federally regulated?

4. Moonshine7102 says:

“All of those weapons can be bought for significantly less if they were legal and the market was open for foreign manufactures/nations to sell their goods.”
—–
Not necessarily. If such weapons were legal to purchase/import, it is not inconceivable that the demand for such would increase. Increases in demand rarely correlate with decreases in price.

“weapons that ought to be federally regulated”
—–
Sorry, Rich. You’re the one missing the real issue. The animal you describe does not exist.

2. twency says:

“That works as long as you intend to allow citizens to own rifles like..”

Or, rather, to not infringe the right of citizens to own rifles like…

1. R Hampton says:

True. It is a limitation of a right.

31. Ben says:

There is no rational system. Even debating this is terribly counter to progress in removing all of this complete nonsense (yes, NFA, 1986, all of it). The only logical, rational gun control is none at all.

Just posting this on this blog makes me like this blog *vastly* less.

32. Grant says:

Re-open the MG registry.
Regulate ownership of explosives/DD’s, select-fire weapons, and projectiles specifically designed to defeat body armor.
Legalize everything else.

33. Mike V. says:

NFA? Really? I just got a love note from NYPD advising me that rifles that can hold more than 5 rounds are illegal in NYC and I must either permanently alter them, surrender them or remove them from the city. The rifles in question are tubular fed lever actions. I guess a Winchester 94 in 30-30 and a Marlin 39 lever action in 22RF are just too much gun in Bloombag’s Amerika.

34. Scott Henrichs says:

The right to keep and bear shall not be infringed. Why is that so hard for people to understand? You either support our Constitution or you are part of the infringement crowd. Pick a side. Trying to walk the top rail of the fence will just lead to a painful fall.

1. Mikeb302000 says:

I’m on the infringement side, no doubt, but in a passive kinda way, so are you. You alread lay down for all kinds of infringements. We’re just arguing about where to draw the line.