Rethink Rethinking the Second Amendment

Donald Daw of Chattaroy, WA believes we should rethink the second amendment and actually manages to come up with a surprisingly good metaphor: “Imagine a frightening new drug hitting the streets. The death rate is staggering. Republicans and Democrats make a rare joint effort to pass laws making the drug illegal.” Sigh. Like so many of his anti brethren he is trying to present a cost-benefit analysis without looking at the benefits. The correct presentation of this metaphor would go along the lines of . . .

Imagine a fantastic new drug hitting the hospitals. The number of lives saved is staggering. Although criminals are abusing this drug, its legitimate use is saving more than twice as many lives as are lost through its abuse. Democrats make an effort to pass laws making the drug illegal and call the Republicans heartless monsters who don’t care about children when their attempts at prohibition are blocked.

Sounds kind of silly doesn’t it? But as you have probably guessed (since this is The Truth About Guns) this isn’t really about life-saving drugs.

Instead of a frightening drug, make the new threat military-grade weapons. The rational response to the drug to save Americans becomes collective paralysis when it’s changed to guns.

I don’t know if Don is ignorant or just lying, but “military-grade weapons” actually are already very strictly controlled (whether or not that’s a good thing – or even lawful – is a debate for another day). I imagine he’s actually talking about “military-style weapons.” You know, weapons that look military but aren’t.

So actually the rational response to military-style weapons is to learn how to use them safely and the completely irrational response is to treat them as somehow more dangerous than any other firearm. Indeed, according to the FBI’s numbers (as cited here) in 2010 more than twice as many people were beaten to death with fists than were killed with rifles of any flavor.

Nevertheless, Don continues his descent into irrationality and incoherence.

Shootouts are over in a flash. High-capacity magazines are intended to kill many people, or hold a siege against law officers. These people, who never think there are enough guns or bombs, are more concerned with feeding their paranoia than the security of communities. Someone acquiring assault rifles and huge quantities of ammunition has already become a liability.

What does the length of time shootouts last have to do with anything except training and skill? If so-called “high” capacity mags are only for killing many people, then why are cops exempted from every ban, proposed or expired? What people think there are never enough guns or bombs? I know an awful lot of gunnies and I don’t know of a single one who believes that. Does Don perhaps mean that gun owners don’t think the already onerous restrictions on buying and carrying weapons should be made any stricter? And how does taking responsibility for your own safety and that of your loved ones qualify as paranoia or as anything but investing in the safety of our communities?

As for people acquiring “assault rifles,” we’ve already covered that; he’s actually talking about regular semi-autos. And whyinthehell shouldn’t I stock up on ammo when I find a deal? I’ve been known to buy hamburger, pork loins and chicken breasts by the 60 – 80 pound case because I get about a 20% discount.Why should ammo be any different?

And just what is a “huge quantity” of ammo? And who decides? Right now I’ve got about 3,000 rounds of .40 S&W in the safe, but I also have several weapons that eat .40. So on a single trip to the range I can easily blow through 500 rounds. And the fact that I got it at $0.15/round (instead of the $0.25 – $0.30/round that it’s running now) means I can actually afford to blow through that much. Finally, how does the fact that I own and enjoy shooting guns make me a liability and to whom am I a “hindrance or disadvantage?”

Tell you what Donny, when TEOTWAWKI rolls around we’ll see who is the hindrance; anti-gun pacifists like you or mature, law-abiding gun owners like me. And if TEOTWAKI never does actually roll around, I still will be a non-hindering, mature, law-abiding gun owner.

Charlton Heston’s best acting job was hoisting a Revolutionary War-period musket over his head, and defying anyone to remove it from his “cold, dead hands.” This was the state-of-the-art weapon when our Founding Fathers crafted the Constitution. Had they foreseen the type of firepower available to citizens, the Second Amendment would have been rethought.

No Don, you actually get that fact wrong, too. It’s a shame, really, because you seem to have almost grasped the point. The Kentucky Rifle was actually a significantly better weapon than the Brown Bess used by the British. When the Founders wrote the Second Amendment, they meant it to apply to the “military-grade weaponry” you were so fearful of earlier.

So no, I don’t think they would have “rethought” the Second Amendment, unless it were to make absolutely clear that it really does mean what it says.

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About Bruce W. Krafft

I am a bit of a Johnny-come-lately to the civil rights (firearms flavor) movement, having not really gotten involved until after I hit 40. I am not really a "gun guy"; I can generally hit what I aim at, but I'm not a competitive shooter. I enjoy the craftsmanship of a fine pistol or rifle, but I am not particularly knowledgeable about firearms in general nor am I a Glock guy, or 1911 guy, I'm just a guy. What I am is passionate about civil rights, especially those of the firearm flavor.

42 Responses to Rethink Rethinking the Second Amendment

  1. avatarMr. Lion says:

    Screw “benefits”– to argue this nonsense on its own level is to miss the much more significant point. Firearms are a Constitutionally protected right. Period. The drug metaphor is nothing more than an emotional red herring that has absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter.

    It drives me nuts when otherwise smart people fall for this trap.

    “Guns are bad!”

    “Well, here are some very convincing arguments as to why they’re not.”

    No.

    I don’t care if guns are subjectively “bad” any more than I care if unpopular speech is “bad”. Both are protected by the Constitution. Both are rights. Period.

    • avatarLevi B says:

      Spree shootings could very well be stopped in this country if media outlets didn’t publish the name or likeness of the perpetrator. But if we pushed to outlaw this practice, they’d point to the first amendment in a heartbeat. And they might even be right to. The heartless cowards just won’t think of the children, though!

      • avatarMatt in FL says:

        “…if media outlets didn’t publish the name or likeness of the perpetrator.”

        Or call him “The Joker” over and OVER and OVER. I don’t give a good goddamn if that’s what he called himself. It’s salacious and unnecessary, pure and simple.

        ETA: …and for that matter, every representation I’ve ever seen of The Joker had GREEN hair, not some weird pinkish hue that Holmes had. So with that in mind, it’s even less relevant to give him that stupid name.

  2. avatarjwm says:

    i make no claims to being a scholar so the better educated out there correct me if i’m wrong. a lot of the grabbers talk about rewriting the 2a. it’s my understanding that once you convene a constitutional convention you’re not limited to addressing only 1 amendment. you could rewrite the entire constitution. with the caliber of the pols out there now, this is a scary thought. it’s always been my belief that the grabbers aren’t worried about public safety, but they want to increase their hold on power in this country.

    • avatarWill says:

      SHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Don’t remind them!!!! If they’re so out of touch with The Constitution, as to want what it says destroyed for their own perceived gain, they don’t need to be reminded of that fact. Let them remain ignorant. Those who haven’t forgotten, don’t need reminders.

      IF they were to do it for the honest better of all, clarifying the Constitution to as what the founding fathers meant, and has been recorded in documents of the period, instead of what they want it to mean… by all means let them. However, I suspect they’d have no part of that.

    • avataranonymous says:

      “it’s my understanding that once you convene a constitutional convention you’re not limited to addressing only 1 amendment. you could rewrite the entire constitution.”

      “SHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Don’t remind them!!!!”

      The Jennings & Rall corporation has already planned for that, including eliminating the second amendment because “It’s a lot easier to pacify a country when its citizens can’t shoot back.”

  3. avatarAharon says:

    Therefore the Founding Fathers in their wisdom recognized in the 2A that what helped win America’s freedom was that American colonialists owned, carried, and used a superior firearm than the then ‘federal’ government’s British soldiers.

    I’ve studied (not claiming expertise) the neurology of brain decision making in a sales environment. The most persuasive arguments that can be made is to draw upon literal physical examples of other similar people using your product or service to overcome a problem or meet a goal, and the positive results they achieved. The mass media almost exclusively focuses on reporting the dark tragic side, the failure side, of gun ownership and not on examples of how guns save lives. Donald’s view of reality represents the dark side.

  4. avatartdiinva says:

    While the Kentucky long rifile was superior in range and accuracy to the Brown Bess or similiar muskets its rate of fire was too slow for use by infantry. It was a good weapon for what we now call sniping. I would say that the KLR was the era’s equivalent to the modern Barrett 50 Cal.

    A better example of civilians owning a superior firearm to the military would be the 1870s and 1880s when the public gunned up with Winchester and Henry lever action carbines. Joe citizen had more firepower than the military with their single shot trap door Springfields.

    • avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

      He is simply trying to show that the Kentucky Rifle, being rifled, represented newer and more advance weapons technology. Fire rate is irrelevant to that point.

      • avatartdiinva says:

        The Kentucky Long Rifle was not newer technology than the Brown Bess. The first long rifled muskets were produced as early as 1719 in Lancaster County PA. The Brown Bess was introduced into the British Army in 1722.

  5. avatarGabriel says:

    The argument that the Founding Fathers would have changed or left out the Second Amendment if they had known how powerful weapons would be is ridiculous. People who say the most powerful weapon they thought of was a smooth bore musket have no knowledge of history. At the time of the revolution, and at least through the Civil War, artillery pieces were held by private citizens and were available for purchase to anyone who had the money.

    The most powerful weapons of the day were actually armed sailing ships. Many armed ships, some known as privateers, were held by private citizens at the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. In fact powerful armed ships in the hands of private citizens helped the colonials win the Revolutionary War and the Americans not lose the War of 1812.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      Privateering is a bad example. A privateer received a “Letter of Marque” from the goverment to act on its befalf on the high seas. A private citizen bereft of such authorization was called a Pirate and was dealt with quite severely.

      • avatarGabriel says:

        But private citizens were still free to arm their ships however they wished, whether they engaged in privateering or not.

        • avatartdiinva says:

          You specifically brought up privateers as an example of private citizens being armed with military weapons. Ships carried cannon for self protection against pirates because you couldn’t call for the Navy before the age of wireless communications. When the Navies of the world, primarily the Royal Navy, put down pirates private ships ceased carrying cannon

        • avataruncommon_sense says:

          tdiinva said,
          “Ships carried cannon for self protection against pirates …”

          Okay. So private boats who were simply involved in recreation or business had the firearms they needed to be able to defend themselves from the threats of the day. And those “firearms” included cannons. And no one complained about that then.

        • avatarGreg Camp says:

          Somali pirates would find their jobs much harder to do if the vessels operating in the area were all armed.

        • avatartdiinva says:

          UC:

          Gabriel didn’t say merchantmen he used the example of privateers as citizens arming themselves with the weapons of war. He added merchantmen in his rejoinder. Perhaps you should read the entire exchange before commenting.

        • avatarjwm says:

          not trying to pick nits,tdiinva, i usually agree with your postings. but- are you sure the navies of the world have put down piracy? i think all merchant vessels should have at least sufficient small arms and light automatic weapons to repel fast small craft with pirates or terrorists aboard.

        • avatartdiinva says:

          jw:

          Nit successfully picked. Our oh so proper international legal regime has led to a return to priacy. Time to gun up again.

        • avatarEric says:

          Considering the number of ships that have been captured in the past few years and held for ransom,I think that should rethought.Even Cruise ships should have weapons capable of taking out any pirates.

      • avatarJake says:

        SOME. SOME! SOOOOOOME! For the love of READING COMPREHENSION tdiinva HE SAID SOME. Stop arguing like a grabber and accept that citizens of the day, including merchants, tooled their ships up to prevent attack from whoever or whatever, just as some today hire ex-seal snipers to accompany their boats past somali hot water, regardless of WHICH KIND a SINGLE POSTER chooses to cite as example.

  6. Their finding of the court in supporting the US government’s position was that the weapon would NOT be covered under the second amendment as it was NOT a part of the “ordinary military equipment.” However, assault weapons ARE a part of the normal military equipment and therefore ARE covered under the Second Amendment. We cannot have it both ways.

  7. avatarMike in NC says:

    It amuses me whenever I read one of the anti-2A types argue that the Founders did not intend for the 2A to cover weapons more modern than those in use at the time. The Founders may not have been able to imagine the current state-of-the-art weapons, but they were so certain that advances would happen and needed to happen that they made patent and copyright one of the Federal enumerated powers in the Constitution:

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

    The Founders of this nation did not see the world as something static and unchanging.

    • avatarWill says:

      Unfortunately, we also see the abuse of that too. Many patent and copyright laws have be rewritten to ensure maximum life, and thus lock out others until such a time as either the entity owning/holding said copyright or patent no longer renews it, willingly allows full use for free (aka doesn’t enforce patent or copyright), puts it into the public domain, or in the case of a copyright is deceased for several generations.

      Computer Software is ripe with those who use patents for the sole purpose of snuffing competition, or solely to make money from them (patent trolls). Copyrights expire 75 years AFTER the death of the copyright holder, well beyond the benefit of the holder. All of these are also based upon whomever (or whatever entity) currently “owns” it. Thankfully some of the patents are old enough that the time they were created such greedy hoarding wasn’t an issue. Imagine if it had been… Where would all of our Semi-Auto firearms be right now? Where would TV and Radio be? They’d be held captive to either patent trolls, licensed for exhorbant sums of “royalties” and fees, or making our sources for the products the patents affect extremely limited and expensive.

      Let’s just say I’m glad the way patents were then when firearms made advancements compared to those advancements being made today.

    • avatarboardsnbikes says:

      They have a point. The Founding Fathers also did not explicitly intend the 1st A rights to cover yet unknown technologies: typewriter, teletype, radio, television, high-speed transmissions, internet, et al. Let’s keep the 1st A right to voice, handwritten and printed materials, as was available to the Founding Fathers.

      If it’s fair for the 2A, it should be fair for all other amendments.

    • avatarBill Gray says:

      Note that decisions on giving copyrights and patents do not depend on a finding that the works/products involved clearly advance Science and the Arts. Otherwise, the Slinky and the instructions to the Pet Rock would be outside the scope of the patent and the copyright. Why is that the opening phrase here is NOT limiting while the victim disarmament folks feel that the opening phrase in the 2A IS limiting?

  8. avatarRokurota says:

    Rethink the Second Amendment? Go ahead! Get it voted by two-thirds of Congress and approved by three-fourths of the states. It’s been done before. So take action and stop yer lecturing, all you pundits and columnists.

    • avatarint19h says:

      +1. So long as they actually talk of a real, honest-to-God Constitutional amendment, I’m not concerned. It’s proper procedure as outlined in the Constitution itself, and if that’s followed to the letter and the result would be the removal of 2A, that would be very unfortunate but still legitimate, and would not compromise the Constitution as a whole. It’s when people try to weasel around the Constitution without touching it that’s a real problem.

      I don’t think that would actually happen, however, given that any amendment would need overwhelming support of state legislatures (and not even just the majority of the voters).

  9. avatarmikeinid says:

    We must Act! It’s for the children.

    Huffing gasoline is staggeringly dangerous, yet we don’t talk of revisiting regulations on gas. A socially deviant person will act as they please, consequences be damned. We must outlaw gasoline to prevent huffing?

    Another form of social deviancy is people wishing to interfere in the law abiding actions of other citizens. They do this for some real or imaginary benefit to themselves, and it is obvious that Mr. Daw falls in this catagory.

  10. avatarSilver says:

    He doesn’t want to “rethink” the 2A. Rethinking implies the coming together of many viewpoints to find a beneficial truth. Truth is the antithesis of progressivism. Like any leftist, he wants to impose his own brand of tyranny with an iron fist. Saying “rethink” is just misleading speech to make his support for oppression seem less threatening.

    Sorry, scumbag, you and your projection of cowardice, irresponsibility, and violence can shove it. I’ll continue to be a law-abiding gun owner who contributes more to society than your pathetic existence. And you may want to muster together what brain cells you have left, sit down, and “rethink” the precedence that would be set if we decided to willy-nilly change the Constitution.

  11. avatarChris says:

    I hate to tell you this, but we do ban perfectly good medications because a small number of people abuse them… I wish it weren’t so, but our government will in fact make the majority suffer due to the abuses of a few.

  12. avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

    Rethink the second amendment? OK, how’s this for a revision: “The security of the Nation, States, communities and individuals being of the utmost importance, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Additionally, the people shall have the right to form citizen militias in defense of this constitution.”

  13. avatarBrother Bear says:

    The drug argument is actually a bad example to use. Because if we had a drug that saved 2/3′s but killed 1/3 we would get rid of it. Whether from abuse or from the natural side effect of the drug. Think of the headline, “25 children died after taking new drug XYZ”

    But that’s not what the second amendment is about. Mr. Lion had it right when he said to engage in the good or bad argument is ridiculous. At least on a mass scale.

    Momentum is already moving in a pro-gun direction. I think our time is best spend in one-on-one conversations with people we know. And also to take out as many kids as possible and introduce them to shooting.

  14. avatarFrankInFL says:

    Everybody is welcome to rethink the 2nd amendment to their hearts’ content, but they should also rethink what they expect to happen as a result of their conclusions… say… tinyurl.com/TipgPt, perhaps?

  15. avatarmike camp says:

    spree shootings could be stopped if we immediately took the murderer out and executed them. it is also funny how they are smart enough to plan out a complicated event like a mass killing but as soon as they lawyer up, they sit there staring at the walls pretending to be retarded or something., a good example is the near genius in Co. and he was a genius, that looked retarded as soon as he got to court) I don’t care if they are mentally ill, if they commit a mass killing, put them in a cell for a week then take them out and execute them. if we actually punished these people there would be a lot fewer murders in this country…

    • avataranonymous says:

      > spree shootings could be stopped if we immediately took
      > the murderer out and executed them

      Because the Second Amendment is sacred.

      The Fifth and Sixth, not so much…

  16. The real benefit of guns is not in the paltry number of true DGUs each year, but in allowing you guys to feel like real men. I’m serious.

    Fearful and insecure men who make the crazy decision to own and carry guns and to preach its joys from the rooftops enjoy an empowerment that nothing else can give them. This is a tremendous good, but it’s not good enough or important enough to offset the downside. If you gun owners were honest you’d be the ones fighting for strict gun control, but because you don’t care about what’s right and what’s good, the downside of gun availability is tremendous.

    • avatarjwm says:

      you’re projecting your own weakness and character flaws onto others, again. 2a gives me the right to own and carry a gun. until i cross the line and do something that takes that right away from me. i cannot be blamed or punished for the missdeeds of others, only my own. if your cause is so right you should have no problem getting the votes needed to amend the constitution. good luck with that.

      • “2a gives me the right to own and carry a gun. ”

        Whhaaat? Do you live in your own bubble of reality, whatever you want is what it is?

        Even in the mistaken and distorted Heller and McDonald decisions, the right to carry was not approved. Am I wrong?

        • avatarRobert Farago says:

          Yes and no.

          The right to keep and bear arms is PROTECTED by the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t confer this right. In the same sense, the Supreme Court doesn’t have the power to approve or disapprove of a right per se. It can only approve or disapprove of laws that infringe (or not) on a Constitutionally protected right.

          As Mr. Krafft points out on a regular basis, governments don’t have rights to give. They have powers. In our case, those powers are enumerated by the Constitution. What powers are not granted to the government by the people through the Constitution are not allowed (at least in theory).

          The government’s power to abridge the right to keep and bear arms is clearly and severely limited, at least in theory. In practice, you’re right! The Heller and McDonald decisions did not address the right to bear arms. Just keep them. That bit’s coming.

  17. Because of prohibition era violence, in 1934, the congress passed the National Firearms Act (NFA). What they really wanted to do was simply ban certain kinds of weapons. Of course, they could not impose an outright ban — the second amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms. But imposing taxes is a power constitutionally granted to the congress Article 1, section 8: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes…”). The NFA does not therefore ban any weapons, but it does impose a tax on certain weapons and “destructive devices” which the congress thought to be the primary weapons used by the gangs — machine guns, sawed off shotguns and the like.

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