Tina Dupuy is mighty sure of herself and, oddly enough (since I have never met the woman), awfully sure of me too. She explains in her piece Why you believe in gun control that we bitter clingers are actually in favor of gun control…we’re just too pig-ignorant to realize it. “If you ask the typical hyper-political gun owner (and I have … at Thanksgiving dinner), why it’s important to own a gun, they’ll bark about the Constitution. Yes, the Second Amendment: ‘The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed!'” Tina has a little problem with logic – the Second Amendment isn’t why it’s important to own a gun, the Second Amendment is what protects our pre-existing, God-given, natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, and civil right to own and carry the weapon of our choice . . .
But the irrelevancies and fallacies have only just begun.
This of course is the slogan the National Rifle Association adopted in the 1970s. It was then that owning a gun became an absolute right endowed by God and the Constitution. A blessing passed down by our forefathers to obliterate game and protect our property. The NRA was founded in 1870 and for its first hundred years it was for gun control and didn’t mention the Second Amendment as their cause.
First, the N.R.A. doesn’t really have an official slogan that I am aware of; but I’m more of a Gun Owners of America guy so I could be wrong.
Secondly, owning a gun (or more generally owning effective self-defense tools) didn’t magically appear in the 70s, it has been a G-d-given right since the first person picked up a big stick to fight off a saber-toothed tiger.
Tench Coxe stated back in 1788, “Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier are the birthright of Americans.” And what’s a birthright if not a right you have merely by virtue of being born?
Third, as I pointed out in this piece, the Constitution doesn’t endow anyone with any rights. The First and Fourth Amendments are probably the clearest examples:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech … etc.
You can plainly see that the free exercise of religion and the freedom of speech are all presumed to pre-exist. If people did not already have these rights, then there would be no need to prohibit Congress from infringing them.
Fourth – not to get too nit-picky – hunters in this country do not obliterate game but rather use hunting as a tool to manage the herds, leashes, gangs, flocks, gaggles and teams of beast and bird for health and habitat protection. Not to mention putting meat on the table.
Fifth, arms do more than protect property, they also protect lives. In fact, as I showed in this piece, more than 25,000 lives a year are saved by DGUs which is more than twice the number that are lost to CGUs.
Sixth, the NRA was not formed to promote gun control, it was formed by disgruntled Union generals who had been shocked by the execrable marksmanship displayed by Northern troops.
Seventh, (amazing how many errors she packs into one little paragraph, eh?) the NRA didn’t worry about protecting the Second Amendment for the first hundred years or so of its existence because the Brady Campaign, Illegal Mayors Against All Illegal Guns, Million Murdering Mothers Mom March, Coalition to Stop Gun Ownership Violence, Violence Policy Center et al. were not working feverishly to limit guns and discourage gun ownership.
Likewise it wasn’t until 1968 that the Gun Control Act of ‘68 was enacted; and it was about that same time that governments big and small started blaming guns for crime.
Adam Winkler points out in his delicious book, “Gun Fight,” what we call the “Wild West” had some of the strictest gun control laws we’ve seen as a nation. The shoot-out at the OK Corral took place, after all, because Wyatt Earp was trying to disarm the outlaw cowboys in accordance with a Tombstone ordinance. The KKK was among other things, a gun control organization. They were trying to keep guns out of the hands of newly freed slaves … but still gun control.
While I haven’t had the pleasure of sampling the deliciousness that is Mr. Winkler’s book, I imagine anything can be made tasty by adding butter, garlic and wine. However, Adam and Tina are both correct that parts of the “Wild West” did indeed have extremely strict gun control laws. But given that the WW has become synonymous with rampant crime, murder and mayhem I’m not sure that is a point in Tina’s favor.
Similarly, despite what Tina might think, I don’t find it a point in favor of “gun control” that the KKK (with their legislative and law enforcement allies) used these sorts of laws to keep blacks terrorized and “in their place.”
But it’s time for another demonstration of abysmal ignorance:
The part of the Second Amendment omitted from the NRA’s slogan is: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State …” Yes, well regulated — it’s in the Constitution!
It is, indeed, in the Constitution but what did the term well regulated mean to the Founders? According to GunCite.com, quoting the Oxford English Dictionary:
b. Of troops: Properly disciplined. Obs. rare-1.
1690 Lond. Gaz. No. 2568/3 We hear likewise that the French are in a great Allarm in Dauphine and Bresse, not having at present 1500 Men of regulated Troops on that side.
And what’s that second bit: a properly functioning militia is necessary to maintain our security. So, in fact, when folks like Tina try to limit military style arms, they are actually undermining our security.There’s a word for that sort of thing. *cough* Treason! *cough* [Ed: welcome to the DHS watch list Bruce.]
Now I know I’m going out on a bit of a limb here—treason is, after all, explicitly defined in the Constitution (the only crime to be so distinguished):
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
I’d argue that working to undermine a fundamental right which is declared as being necessary to the security of a free State does indeed constitute giving aid to our enemies.
Ooh! Time for a new bogeyman:
Now, to some, guns are as sacred as Scripture. If you ask, again, this typical hyper-political gun owner why they need to stockpile assault rifles, you will get an answer much like Pat Flynn’s, a recent candidate for a Senate seat in Nebraska. “Really, we have our guns to protect ourselves against the government, number one,” Flynn said in a debate right before the primary. “Hunting’s number two. But protecting us against our government is number one.”
Remember, Flynn was trying to land a job in the government (he didn’t win his party’s nomination, by the way).
Personally I would put self-defense at number two, but that’s just me. As for the horror of a candidate expressing such insurrectionist rhetoric, how about a few counter-examples:
“The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.” – Noah Webster
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.” – A. Lincoln
“Although it is extremely unlikely that the fear of governmental tyranny, which gave rise to the 2nd amendment, will ever be a major danger to our Nation, the amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic military-civilian relationship, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason I believe the 2nd Amendment will always be important.” – J. Kennedy
“Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms…. The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible.” – H. Humphrey
Yeah, Pat Flynn has obviously been hanging out with the wrong crowd and picked up some wacked-out ideas.
As to why one might want to stockpile assault rifles (and remember, there’s a big difference between want and need) the phrase, ‘buy it cheap and stack it deep’ comes to mind. Or maybe I want to have 4 or 5 of each model rifle so if one breaks I can A) grab another or 2) fix it with parts from another.
But Tina didn’t ask why I would want multiple rifles, she asked why I would need multiple rifles. Well, see above about having spare parts, or see here about police confiscations after Katrina, or see here or here or here about what can happen when the cops withdraw from parts of L.A., leaving people on their own to protect their property (here’s a hint, you’re in better shape if you have five friends and five guns than if you have 10 friends and 1 gun).
The idea is that we have to be just as armed as our government in order to be safer or have more liberty (or something).
No Tina, there’s no or something about it. You pretty well nailed it with the first two. The existence of a large number of privately owned guns—at least some of which are in the hands of your typical hyper-political gun owner—has been acting as a deterrent for generations.
The problem is Tina doesn’t realize that the deterrence in question is working because it is working. There are real world examples of what happens when the deterrent fails. Click here to learn the lesson of The Battle of Athens Tennessee (a.k.a. the McMinn County War). In 1946, WWII veterans in Athens took up arms to fight against local law enforcement to ensure a free and fair election.
Google The Deacons for Defense and Justice to read about the blacks who took up arms against racist violence in the South during the heyday of the civil rights movement. Indeed there are some scholars who believe that it was the very real prospect of pitched battles between corrupt local LEOs and the Deacons and their supporters which prompted the Federal Government to finally get involved.
The U.S.government has unmanned drones armed with supersonic laser-guided anti-armor Hellfire missiles, “bunker busters,” and nuclear weapons. Are far-right politicians saying we need civilians to have shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles “for protection?” Of course they’re not. They actually do want limits on ownership.
Speak for yourself, sweetie. I am all in favor of “civilians” having access to ManPADS, RPGs, rifle grenades, and all the other “terrible implements of the soldier.” For years it has been people like Tina who have fought to keep “military-style weapons” out of the hands of the average Joe and then mocked us for “thinking you can fight the government with deer rifles.”
And if you ask the most vehement gun rights advocate why gun owners shouldn’t have nuclear weapons, I’d bet you’d get the same answer as to why we don’t want every country to have the capability: “Because they could get into the wrong hands.”
This is what’s called reductio ad absurbum: “an argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications logically to an absurd consequence.” And it cuts both ways. Which is more credible: gun owners who seek backpack nukes for all or gun grabbers who see nothing wrong with gun confiscation in New Orleans.
Tina is one of those people who believe that governments have “rights” and powers in and of themselves rather than “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Those of us who believe that the founding documents actually mean something are aware that all the government’s powers come from us, “we the people,” the citizens.
Speaking of fissionable material, when Tina’s argument goes nuclear she reveals her view of American governance, setting-up a distinct separation between “gun owner” (citizen) and “government”. It’s almost as if they are antagonists. It’s the exact same antagonism, the same master/slave relationship, envisioned by our Founding Fathers. Especially when they passed the Second Amendment.
So weapons-grade plutonium should be limited. But the ever-handy semi-auto Glock pistol with a 30-round high-capacity magazine is an absolute right?
Okay, playing along with you here, sure let’s limit Pu-239 (and U-235 while we’re at it) but no, that does not mean that you can limit magazine capacities on Glocks (or Para-Ordnances or Baby Eagles or . . .) because no matter how it loosens your bladder, a Glock is still not a WMD.
A recent gun buyback drive in Los Angeles resulted in someone turning in a rocket launcher. Comforting.
This “rocket launcher” sweetie? The one that says TRAINER on the side?
And no, I am not particularly comforted by the fact that A) the LAPD is pissing away money to buy worthless fiberglass tubes and B) Chief Beck is such a 4-star moron.
So we’re not actually talking about limited vs. unlimited. We are talking about degrees of weapon ownership.
Again, we aren’t talking any such thing, Tina, is. But again, even if I were to play along and agree that ManPADS and fissile materials should be off-limits to commoners, I would then have to point out your little bait-and-switch; at the beginning you said I would agree with you about gun control (and neither a rocket launcher (or an empty tube) nor a nuke qualifies as a gun) but now you are talking about degrees of weapon ownership.
But Tina find her way back to guns, though, and how they fall into the wrong hands. Swallow your beverage and buckle up ‘cause when I read this next bit, I spit out my coffee and almost lunged out of my chair.
Guns fall into the wrong hands all the time. More guns and fewer requirements for ownership doesn’t[sic] curb this. George Zimmerman was the wrong hands. Zimmerman, a Florida man now infamous for shooting an unarmed black teenager at close range after a 911 operator told him not to engage the alleged suspect and wait for police to arrive, is now being defended by said hyper-political gun owners.
First of all, as Don Kates points out here, the police have no authority to tell someone they may not observe or follow someone on a public street.
Second, Zimmerman told the operator that he had “lost” Martin; he later stated that he was looking for a house number so he could direct police to the scene.
Third, a 6’3” tall 150-pound man sitting on your chest bashing your head against the concrete may be “unarmed,” but it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the bashee to conclude that he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm thus permitting him to lawfully use deadly force in self-defense.
Fourth, you’re damned straight I’m going to defend his actions.
There’s no reason a Neighborhood Watch captain should be patrolling his block with a criminal record and a pistol.
See Tina, people in this country are still considered innocent until proven guilty. Even when someone has been arrested, if they’ve never been convicted of a crime you don’t get to call them a criminal or say they have a criminal record.
As for ‘no reason to be patrolling his block,’ whatinthehell do you call eight burglaries in the previous 14 months?
Zimmerman was a catastrophe realized. Even in the wake of new evidence about this case, the fact remains if Zimmerman didn’t have a gun, 16-year-old Trayvon Martin would be alive.
And there you have it . . . the perfect summation of the antis’ world-view. If only there hadn’t been a gun, Trayvon would be alive and we’ll stop right there and ignore the fact that if there hadn’t been a gun George Zimmerman might have been dead or a vegetable. People like Tina are all about the cost of defensive gun uses, but never the benefits.
The United States is number one in the world in civilian gun ownership. And since we’re not last in gun violence (we’re the 14th highest in deaths — way higher in just injuries) it’s safe to assume that increasing the number of guns doesn’t decrease the number of gun deaths.
Actually it isn’t “safe to assume” anything of the sort.
The US is way ahead of the UK in firearm related homicides, but we are also way ahead of the UK in non-firearm related homicides. If guns were the cause, then non-gun crime would track much more closely, wouldn’t it? And while the US has distinctly higher homicide rates than the UK, non-homicide violent crime is 2 to 4 times higher in the UK than it is in the US.
Furthermore as I have repeatedly shown, defensive gun uses save more than twice as many lives as are lost through criminal gun uses.
As for the More Guns = Less Crime conundrum which Tina dismisses as a fairy tale, as Dr. Lott states here:
Among peer-reviewed national studies by criminologists and economists, 18 find that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime, 10 claim no effect, and just one claims one type of crime temporarily increases slightly.
Completely supported by data and logic; Q.E.D., empiricism trumps theory. But be warned: the mainstream media spread Tina’s misinformed agit-prop throughout the length and breadth of the American internet. Mine will not make the same journey.
America’s Armed Intelligentsia must confront firearms-related ignorance in person, whenever we encounter it. Politely. Logically. And effectively. We must convince our fellow countrymen that they don’t need gun control. They need a gun.