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.