By data venia

New York Governor Cuomo Jan 2013: “Forget the extremists. It’s very simple. No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer!”

Hardly a sympathetic figure to gun owners, and even the sheriffs of NY had/have issue with the legislation, but that sentiment took off. I heard it on news programs. I heard it in face to face conversations with my mother in law. I read it in virtual discussions with friends from different countries. “Why do you NEED it?” . . .

There were attempts to show why we did need large magazines, but to the honestly unconvinced they rang hollow. It simply seems excessive or paranoid to most people. Our neighbors and friends. Good people whose only crime is ignorance. Not stupidity. Not anything but honest ignorance that we once shared. If your information on guns comes from the media it’s completely reasonable to think that a 30 round magazine translates to 30 seconds of sustained automatic fire, usually wielded by a steroid enhanced and borderline sociopathic ‘hero’. All things considered it’s a compliment that we aren’t lumped alongside him.

However reasonable this question seems on its face, it is ultimately a question based on dangerous reasoning. Not necessarily wrong reasoning, but dangerous reasoning with far reaching implications.

Consider how widely that reasoning can be spread. How widely it MUST be spread if it is as compelling as is argued. Why do we NEED profanity? Why do we NEED to be able to hurt others with our words? Why do we NEED to criticize people and institutions? Why, ultimately, do we NEED freedom of speech? Have not other venerable civilizations existed without freedom of speech?

Further, there’s no reason why it should not be applied to the other amendments in the bill of rights. If you are a law abiding citizen, why would you NEED protection from unreasonable searches? If you are innocent, the search will not incriminate you. Why would you NEED privacy? Particularly when that is not even an explicit right, but is instead a recognized ‘penumbra’ (a half shadow) cast by the bill of rights. Come right down to it, why do you need a vote? Democracy, historically speaking, is a new idea. Millions have lived, and millions continue to live, without a vote.

If the ‘pen is mightier than the sword’ and ‘voting can change the world’, then we must apply this reasoning. These rights are too powerful to be so laxly regulated. The safety of all of us , of our nation as a whole, is at risk. Nor should we stop there. Why do we NEED public libraries? Ideas are dangerous things that can and have caused the deaths of thousands. Do we really NEED to make them so easy to access?

As I said, I’m not a fan of how things play out if that is the reasoning underlying policy decisions.

Now we do have limits on freedom of speech. It’s a crime to falsely yell ‘FIRE’ in a crowded theater. Because, in that case, it poses a direct, clear, and significant threat to others. Thus it is reasonable to warrant limiting the right. It’s my belief that restrictions on firearms have to coincide with that line of reasoning.

So the question then is not “do you need more than 10 rounds?” the question is “Will limiting people to 10 rounds or less get rid of a clear, direct, and significant threat?”

And the answer is “no”. Gary Kleck did an excellent peer review paper called “mass shootings in schools the worst possible case for gun control” in which he argues that if you look at mass shootings-the average length of the shooting and shots fired- the shooters have ample time to reload even if they were not using semi-automatic firearms. The recent Navy Yard shooting tragically proved this point in reality. The navy yard shooter’s pump action shotgun has a standard magazine with a 4 shell capacity + 1 in the chamber. This didn’t hamper him because he was an offensive shooter. He easily reloaded as he went. Banning high capacity magazines then does not remove or even reduce the threat of mass shootings.

The answer is still “no” if you wish to examine individual deaths with firearms. This tack is bit disingenuous as the rhetoric on large capacity magazines has been centered around mass shootings. However, entertaining the question in this context does not change the answer. Jack Levin Ph.D. noted in an interview with BBC that the vast majority of shootings in the US are using handguns and result with “One bullet, one body.” Banning high capacity magazines then won’t affect the vast majority of these shootings either.

We could at this point get into a discussion of Risk and ‘Public Health’. We could ask how much of a risk it is reasonable for individuals to prepare for and the possible risk that their preparedness introduces into the wider population. We could entertain the hypotheticals. We could face the uncomfortable question of “who decides when the risk is high enough?” We could discuss the paradox of the individual and the group.

We could delve and debate these questions. They are important and relevant. Ultimately though, that is not the question we face when thinking about gun policy. We have a rights based society-not unlimited rights- but rights that can only be limited to address direct, clear, and significant threats to others. The question is whether a given limitation on a right meets that burden.

We don’t live in a society where before individuals can act they must justify the need to act in that manner. I don’t think we want to live in that society. But when we use the reasoning “what do you need it for?” we are asking to switch to that society.

I’d rather we didn’t make that change. And I believe you would rather not follow that line of reasoning to where it leads either.

69 Responses to FNS-40 Contest Entry: Rights vs. Needs

  1. The basis of the anti gun movement is rooted in emotion, not on a finding of fact.

    When an anti says “you don’t need magazine X/gun X”,they’re saying a socially correct version of “I don’t think you need a gun at all.”

    • The basis of the anti gun movement is not emotion, but tyranny. You make a tragic mistake if you believe the anti gun movement is just a bunch of misguided moms who only want to protect their children.

      Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Obama are the poster children for gun control, not that coont from Moms Against Guns.

  2. 2A is not and was never about hunting, and will someone tell Cuomo it’s about people like him who want to be the next KING. These people can not sell enough guns…….Man I am getting tired of the ammo and gun shortage……..

    • Yeah, seriously, I think every gun shop in America owe’s Obama, Feinstein, Bloomberg, and Cuomo one fat sales commission check for all the guns and ammo they have inspired people to buy in the last year.

      • YOU ARE SO RIGHT. IVE NEVER SEEN GUN SALES SOAR AS MUCH AS THEY HAVE SINCE OBAMA SIGNED THE NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS ACT.

  3. Maybe you should tell him he doesn’t NEED his huge salary to do his job. Or his car or his house. Or his security. Have him walk through bad neighborhoods to get to his work.

    Then ask him if he feels he needs more or less than 10 bullets to feel safe going about his business.

    Take away his NEEDS and see how well he functions. Sorry but we NEED our firearms so long as criminals and the possibility of tyranny are out there. And last time I checked, there are no guarantees in life. So let me keep my gun and my bullets and you mind your own business. If you’re worried about mass shootings, donate to better mental health reform and better security in schools. Done.

    Get rid of criminals and ensure me the people will guns (police / military) will never turn on me, and sure, that’ll be the day.

    But sorry, the world is full of idiots on both sides. The only person I can trust when the chips are down is myself.

    And that’s a necessity I can’t live without. Self-reliance.

    • Ah, but there’s the rub. How could you possibly even want, let alone need self-reliance? That is how people like him think, and if you think differently you’re obviously wrong.

      For a slightly relevant example, I got into an argument on facespace last night. My “friend” does not understand why I love living up here, close to the woods, why I dislike big cities, why I refuse a desk job, why I love hunting and fishing, et cetera… It’s mind-boggling to her. The only argument she could bring against it, however, was that anybody who has ever been elsewhere and came back here (her exact words) is close-minded. When I asked for an explanation she, after a long bit of hmming and hawing, actually said that anybody who still lives here is close-minded… because she knows people here who didn’t vote for Obama. Again, her… exact… words.

      We weren’t even discussing politics. This was over a celebratory post regarding my new job which was later continued through texting.

      • True enough. That’s the point of over-reaching government, trying to tell people what they need and in turn, have control over people.

        No thank you.

        • Saturday night’s rerun of Star Trek was "I, Mudd" and it was chilling. The androids say, “We will take care of you,” but the humans aren’t allowed to leave.

  4. I’m so tired of the first amendment analogy about yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theatre. Yes, you can in fact yell “fire” any time you want, but it’s illegal to do so under certain circumstances.

    Just like it’s already illegal to shoot a bunch of people in a movie theatre.

    • Thank you for this comment. The author goes to great subjective lengths to argue against the comparison but there is a much clearer and direct argument. To correctly use the comparison you would have to argue for prohibiting speaking in a theater because someone might yell fire. Than the comparison to prohibiting gun ownership because someone might shoot somebody would be analogous. Likewise limiting the number of words legally spoken would be an analogous to limits on magazine capacity.

    • Try this next time someone uses that analogy. Tell them that you CAN shout fire in a theater, but if there isn’t one, you can be civilly and criminally liable for any damages caused, and immune if there is a fire. But they don’t tape your mouth shut or cut your vocal chords to prevent you from speaking–they prosecute you for your acts, not the potential that you might act. So the same should be true for guns. You can prosecute me if I commit an illegal act, find immunity if I acted in self-defense, but you cannot and should not take away my guns just because I might do something illegal.

      • ITS REALLY IN THE HANDS OF THE “NEW PRESS”, WHICH IS SO STARVED FOR ATTENTION THAT ONE CRAZY GUY IN A NAVAL YARD, CAN GET SO MUCH PUBLICITY THAT IT CHANGES THE FEDS HIRING CRITERIA, GETS 10,000 PEOPLE WHO WORK OR CONTRACT TO THE D.O.D., LAID OFF BECAUSE THEY SUDDENLY DO NOT PASS THE MINIMUM “MORAL TERPITUDE” FOR THEIR JOB AND CLEARANCES.
        THE PRESS IS SUPPOSED TO TELL US WHAT HAPPENED, NOT SPEND WEEKS OR MONTHS TELLING US WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN, AND PRESSURE CONGRESS INTO CHANGING PERFECTLY GOOD LAWS,
        FOR FUN AND PROFIT.

    • I agree the “fire” analogy is tired. If you actually did yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater when there was no fire, I think that people would look around and say, “there is no fire, what are you yelling about?”

      It is assumed that mass panic would occur, and that is likely blatant a straw man argument.

      • You could be the Guinea pig and yell FIRE in the theater then let us know how it went.

        I somewhat agree though that most wouldn’t panic if they saw no flames or smoke.
        If the fire alarm and sprinkler system went off they would more than likely panic.

  5. Lots of good stuff…onne thing though, the “shouting fire” statement was wrong when O.W. Holmes penned it, and is still wrong now. One can always be held responsible for falsehoods. As such, it is not “protected” speech. We see it regularly, whether slander, libel, or false advertising suits, false statements are not protected from repercussions.

  6. “If you are a law abiding citizen, why would you NEED protection from unreasonable searches? If you are innocent, the search will not incriminate you. Why would you NEED privacy? Particularly when that is not even an explicit right, but is instead a recognized ‘penumbra’ (a half shadow) cast by the bill of rights.”

    I read this and chills went down my spine. It’s the essence of the Government’s argument on Friday to maintain and expand the NSA’s covert surveillance of all US (and probably the rest of the world’s) data.

    We don’t really need the Bill of Rights and the constitution until we need them. But then we NEED them. Same for any weapon you can name, to secure these and the rights they document for us.

  7. As I recall, we have a Bill of Rights, not a Bill of Needs. Need, as I have pointed out to my better half numerous times (“Why do you need another 1911?”), is not the engine that drives our economy. A communist dictatorship can tell you what you need, and perhaps even supply that need, but it does not result in overall happiness. And being a devout American at heart, I fervently pursue that happiness.

  8. In a free society, rights are not delimited by needs. Technically, the people confined to pods in The Matrix were having all their needs met.

  9. i really liked the point that the navy yard shooters shotgun held 4+1. he had to reload a minimum of 3 times because he killed 12 people. shotguns are very slow to reload. so how would limiting an ar to 10 shots save lives.

    • It won’t, but the antis can’t comprehend that idea. They are fixated on magazine limits like a moth is attracted to a porch light. The navy yard or Newtown shooter could have had an old bolt action rifle with stripper clips and still killed a lot of people. The key factor is they both had enough time to do the shootings. Do you think someone would really want to charge him while reloading? I know I wouldn’t. Everyone has to wait until someone responds with a gun to stop them.

      • I’m especially tickled that the same people who like to accuse gun owners of having “James Bond”-style fantasies also believe that somebody will heroically swoop in and use karate to disarm an active shooter while he reloads.

    • The idea is that there were lives saved because he spent 15 seconds reloading (or whatever) instead of killing people during those moments. And it’s perfectly logical, as far as it goes. Even in the few seconds it takes someone to reload a modern rifle (which can be stretched out if the psycho stole it from his mom, uncle, whatever), there may be lives saved. I can accept that fine, but what I don’t accept is the argument that anything can be legislated “if it saves one life!”

      We could save more lives by forcing pools to be covered at all times when unsupervised for a year than we can be limiting rifles to 10 rounds.

    • It won’t because when they get a limit of 10 rounds, they will then demand a limit of 7, then 5, then 3, then 1, then none. ‘Bout right New York?

    • You have been misinformed, he never reloaded, he killed two guards and took their Colt 45 combat commanders, and used THOSE to shoot everyone else.

  10. The Bill of Rights can be summed up as a collection of “Doomsday Provisions”: you don’t “need” them until the government tries to violate them, let alone some mealy-mouthed schmuck fresh out lock-up after being arrested for the 35TH FUCKING TIME.

  11. It’s simple, really. I don’t NEED any of my guns. I hope I never do. But I absolutely do NEED the freedom to own them. It’s an important part of the social contract.

    People who advocate for citizen disarmament must not be very good with the concept of “opportunity cost.” Eliminating private gun ownership is not free–it comes with a dear cost, and I’m not even talking about the Slippery Slope argument here. Regardless of where it leads, the immediate cost of citizen disarmament is painting every fellow citizen in this country with a veneer of distrust. Or, in terms anyone might understand: the presumption that any ordinary, average citizen cannot be trusted to own and safely handle arms is a direct affront to the concept of Love Thy Neighbor.

  12. 1. New York Governor Cuomo Jan 2013: “Forget the extremists. It’s very simple. No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer!”

    When you read this you have to pronounce it “Dee-aaah”, that douchebaggy NYer way like Marisa Tommi in My Cousin Vinny.

    2. It’s not the Bill of Needs, it’s the Bill of Rights, no one arguably “needs” anything more than air, water, food, and shelter. Someone’s feelings as to what my needs are holds no irrelevance to what my rights are.

  13. These same people don’t need their low mileage battleship sized SUV’s, or their vacations, or their wall sized TV’s etc etc etc. More people are killed every year by cars than by guns and theirs not ond constitutional right even hinting that they have a right to own them. And the author is wrong. The anti gun people are criminally stupid and can even talk rationally. The female office manager where I used to work was raving about how cruel bush was with gitmo violating the terrorists Geneva convention rights and how the buildings didn’t even have walls to protect them from the cold. I asked her what rights because the Geneva Convention didn’t cover them and if she was aware it doesn’t get cold in the Caribbean. She just started throwing things at me and just behaving irrationally. Which has been the reaction I get from most of the liberally insane.

    • Actually, all the Mafia were trying to do was provide products and services for people who wanted them. All that “turf war” crap was because Da Gumint said, “You can’t have that, because we said so.” so customers were worth fighting for. When you paid your protection money, which Da Gubmint calls taxes, you actually got protection, which you don’t get from Da Gubmint, at least not in a timely fashion.
      Harry Browne explains this well in this excerpt from How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.
      Between Da Gubmint and the Mafia, I’d prefer the Mafia, hands down.

  14. Lets just hope 2014 brings about the right changes and some sanity to the Slave States.
    It might take years to go through the courts and if Obslama gets an appointment to the big court………….Oh well.
    Then every one is screwed..

  15. I think I’ve identified the source of the Guv’s strategy.

    WHAT THEY SAY
    From the Violence Policy Center website:

    “The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun— can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons.”

    WHAT THEY MEAN
    The American public is generally ignorant about guns, so we can lie to them very effectively by equating “ugly” rifles like the AR-15 as “the same thing as the Army M-16”, after all they look alike, don’t they? That is enough “proof” for these stupid people. The “confusion” of the public about guns is not to be eliminated by telling the truth. That would ruin our plans to advance our goals for more useless “gun control”. We must cultivate this public ignorance about guns, and exploit this ignorance as much as we can to fool the public into thinking the way we want them to think.
    We can stress the point that these guns are not good for deer hunting, which is what most urban citizens think of as the only “good purpose” for guns. We will ignore the fact that the Armalite Rifle 15 (AR-15) and the Army M-16 both fire a “varmint” cartridge civilian developed for hunting woodchucks before it was adopted by the Military. Of course we will not mention any other “lawful uses”, such as target shooting. Just keep repeating, over and over, “NOBODY NEEDS A MACHINE GUN/ASSAULT RIFLE/10 ROUND MAGAZINE TO HUNT DEER”.

  16. “Why do you need a gun?”
    To secure and protect YOUR Creator-given natural, human, and civil right to Freedom of Speech, no matter how vile, hateful, misguided or just plain idiotic your speech is.

  17. “Why do you need ______ ?”

    Because F— YOU, that’s why.

    I’m not obligated to justify anything to people like Cuomo and Feinstein and all the other weak, cowardly, petty tyrants, with whom I am expected to exist in civil society.

    • I tell people “whether or not I need a gun will be determined at a later date br someone else. If it does happen, it will already be too late to get one and practice with it.”

      • I need a gun to secure and protect your Creator-given, natural, human, civil right to sit there and call me names.

  18. So of coarse all of the above apply intellectually and in accordance to the BOR but then there are the idiots that keep pressing the issue for a tactical reason.

    This usually shuts them up….

    1) If they are in any way honest they have to admit the vast majority of “trained” SWAT teams and police personnel enter a building going after a known bad guy they are near commonly and universally armed with what….yes an AR type rifle with 30 round mags.
    2) Even though the good guys may outnumber the bad guy 10,20, or 30 to 1, these “professionals” have seen the NEED to arm themselves personally with a 30 round AR to maximize their probability of surviving the encounter with the bad guy.
    3) So now, I am surprised at night to sounds of a break in, I have no idea how many bad guys are approaching my family and myself and you feel that I don’t have the NEED to a 30 round magazine and AR? Is there some reason you would think it would be tactically better to have less rounds? Do you think I have the same right to increase my odds of survival like the police?

    • And if the guy/guys breaking in your house are on drugs/etc. you better hope 30 rounds is enough . I seen enemy troops take a lot of hits to go down or die.. FACT 30 rounds is the min. You better have a extra magazine and backup pistol and extra magazines…

      • Yep. As the saying goes……I’m fairly confident that anybody who has won a gun battle has never finished the fight and said “Jeez I wish I would have had less ammo”.

  19. Several people have mentioned that we don’t need our rights until they’re threatened.

    If we really feel that way, why do so many people on this site worry about FOIDs and CHPs and $200 tax stamps? They let the tyrants walk all over them and kowtow to their every unconstitutional demand. If we really, honestly, truly believed in our right to keep and bear arms we would put our money where our mouth is, own anything we want, and fight to the death when the tyrants try to take it.

    Patrick Henry would be ashamed of us.

  20. Hey Cuomo all we really need is water, food, and shelter! Just ban everything else because we only need those three things!

  21. When I have been confronted by folks saying, “You don’t NEED more than 10 rounds”, or “You don’t need an assault rifle” my response has always been, “Rosa Parks didn’t NEED to sit in the front of the bus. It was her right.”

  22. I grow tired of politicians and the like arguing to limit rights based on faulty logic. Limiting what is legal based on what someone might do fails the most basic tests of what the founders intended for this nation.

    What happened to the idea that “you can do whatever you want, just be willing to accept the consequences good or bad”?

    Crazy people will do crazy things. They will find a means. History has taught us this. An outright ban on anything has not proven to deter criminals so the law is ineffective and costly for the citizens who have no ill intention. Prohibition, the war on drugs and the weapons laws that we already have teach us this.

    I don’t expect much from our politicians but I would expect basic reasoning skills in pretty much any adult human. It is sad that I am so often disappointed in this with people who are supposed to be our leaders.

    Good day.

    • “What happened to the idea that “you can do whatever you want, just be willing to accept the consequences good or bad”?”

      I’m not exactly sure what “happened” to it, other than that you’ve omitted the “as long as you don’t hurt anyone or damage anyone else’s property.” part. The consequences can be dealt with by the injured party and/or people who will voluntarily assist her, assuming she’s still alive. And the Constitution does allow police and courts. And even as a Radical Libertarian Loon™ I believe that laws against things like murder and mayhem are OK, as long as the laws are kept within the bounds of the Constitution, or as is said in the “supremacy” clause, “in pursuance thereof.”

      • Then you have missed the point about “consequences”. Doing harm to another is an act that people prove themselves capable of every day. Laws to prevent that don’t really seem to do much, still happens. What the laws do is provide a framework for dealing with people who have done something that we generally consider to be bad.

        My point is that the majority of anti weapons laws only act to punish those whom care about the laws. I don’t think the criminal in NY cares that the government doesn’t want him/her to have a 15 round magazine, but the guy just trying to buy a spare magazine for his legally owned home defense weapon certainly does.

        As I said, you can do just about anything you like. In the realm that it is within your capabilities. The laws should be to hold you accountable if you choose to do terrible things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *