Folks who’ve read some of my prior editorial articles know that I don’t always toe the 2A line as much as some of the other contributors to this site. It’s ironic, some might say, given my post a couple of weeks ago lambasting G&A’s Dick Metcalf for doing pretty much the same thing that I’m about to do. Before I launch into my latest apostasy, though, I do want to offer some context. G&A is an industry publication that supports the gun industry and is for sale – i.e. it’s consumers, us, exchange money to peruse it’s content. It is primarily a guns and gear magazine beholden to its advertisers to always say nice things about the stuff they review. Metcalf and the other writers understand this. They make their living catering to the firearm consumer . . .

TTAG, by its very nature is a much different beast. RF founded this blog to “explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns. ” Our mandate is very broad and, as a result, we are going to cover a lot more ground and have the luxury to explore more philosophical positions than a trade magazine like G&A. If you want 2A orthodoxy, there are plenty of message boards out there that will provide just the echo chamber you’re looking for. If you want a reasonable discussion of differing viewpoints, TTAG is the place.

Furthermore, most of the staff here get exactly diddly-squat in terms of compensation. We don’t make our living from doing this. With the exception of a couple of cleaning kits I reviewed this year (which I got to keep) and the M&P Airsoft gun that was provided as a review sample (and had to be returned), I have paid for every single item I have reviewed on this site with my own hard-earned cash. I haven’t gotten one thin dime for my efforts here. But then, I never saw writing for TTAG as an opportunity to get rich. That’s not why I do it.

I can’t speak for my fellow writers, but I have to confess to somewhat narcissistic motivations in my desire to write for TTAG. I really enjoy the fact that lots of people are going to read my material, be it a review, an opinion or just a post because I’m feeling grouchy about something. Beyond that, I feel that I have something to contribute such as an opinion on a gun or piece of kit, or more importantly to offer a different perspective on gun rights.

It is in that vein that I wish to commit today’s heresy. RF has stated on numerous occasions that he believes that the Second Amendment prohibits any kind of gun control laws. No exceptions. It’s a remarkably simple interpretation and one that is held by many pro-gun people. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with a simple interpretation. Simple is good and easy for average people to understand. Complicated involves lawyers and politicians and no one (other than the aforementioned lawyers and politicians) want that.

Unfortunately, as a country, we don’t all see things the same way. There are people, including sitting members of the Supreme Court of the U.S., who don’t see the Second Amendment the same way. They also take a fairly simple interpretation, but theirs is different. The trick here is that how they, I, (or Robert, or you) choose to view the 2A isn’t what counts under our legal system.

Since we are all going to hold different opinions about different things, there needs to be a “fair” way to sort these things out. We may not all agree with every outcome, but we need to have a consistent process. Our Constitution was elegantly constructed, but unfortunately, the framers didn’t clearly articulate how to referee these sorts of disagreements (maybe all those truths they held to be self-evident aren’t so self-evident after all). One might be tempted to argue that it should be up to the legislature (that ostensibly represents the people) but we know that Congress hasn’t truly represented anything but themselves and the lobbyists for some time now.

So, who to referee these debates? Imperfect as it is, the Supreme Court effectively assumed that role in 1803’s Marbury v Madison during the tenure of a particularly activist chief Justice, John Marshall. While it could be argued that this assumed power is not real, the fact is that in law, if something remains uncontested long enough, it eventually becomes a de facto standard and difficult to change. What should have happened in 1804 was a movement by the legislature to rein in the SCOTUS, but that didn’t happen. So after 200+ years, the concept of the SCOTUS ruling on Constitutional disagreements has become widely accepted.

And this brings us to my fundamental point. As I said earlier, RF’s opinion on the specific meaning of 2A is no more and no less valid than Michael Bloomberg’s opinion. What matters is the SCOTUS’s opinion. Barring a new case and a different crop of judges, SCOTUS’s current guidance (from D.C. v. Heller) is that the 2A is not unlimited and is subject to regulation. How much regulation and what form that takes is open to interpretation, but some degree of regulation is allowable. It’s left to pro-gun and anti-gun people to debate where on the regulation continuum things will fall. That continuum is constantly in flux and varies from state to state.

The United States Declaration of Independence declares life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to be inalienable rights that cannot be denied. While this is an absolute for those who choose to live away from society (in a state of nature so to speak, hence natural rights), those of us who choose to live within a society’s strictures find that these rights can indeed be abridged. This is part of Social Contract Theory. We agree to give up certain rights in exchange for the benefits living in Society affords us. Society has the authority to take your liberty or even your life if you act against the common good. Since the right to keep and bear arms stems from the fundamental right to life (the right to protect one’s life), it seems hard to dispute the fact that if the society has the right to abridge life and liberty, then it certainly can abridge the right to keep and bear arms.

Gun rights can and will be regulated. What remains is for us to set the terms of what that regulation should be. I personally think that a lot of the regulations currently on the books is very bad law. Those who attack “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines are utterly full of crap. I think that the National Firearms Act of 1934 is useful only as a bird cage liner and that had the Miller case been properly litigated, the whole damn thing would have been thrown out.

The Government caught a huge break and they knew it. SCOTUS disgraced themselves by ruling on a case where the defendant never presented an argument. Can you imagine the uproar if something like that happened today involving a civil rights-related case and the wronged minority party could not afford to come to Washington to defend themselves? I also believe that the right to life includes the right to protect life as I see fit which means that if I wish to carry a gun for protection, I should be able to do it just about anywhere I want to go.

Most importantly, I’m with RF in that “pre-crime” laws have no place. Passing a law to prohibit law abiding citizens from being able to posses an AR-15 in order to prevent the incredibly small number of crimes committed with rifles each year makes as much sense as closing all bars and barring alcohol service in restaurants to cut down on the number of drunk driving accidents (which incidentally kill a lot more people – including children – every year than rifles do).

But I don’t think that just anyone should be able to walk around with anything they want whenever they want wherever they want. I’ve taken a fair number of firearm classes and I can’t tell you the number of dumb-ass things people do with guns. The good thing is that after the class is finished, these people are a lot less likely to do something stupid. But let’s face it, lack of training and/or respect for firearms leads to stupid and dangerous incidents committed by both LEOs and ordinary citizens alike.

Training is the best way to improve firearm proficiency and safety across the board for all users.  In a perfect world, citizens would have easy access to quality, affordable training. If such a thing were possible, then that could be set as a prerequisite firearms ownership. Want a gun? Fine, let’s show you how to use it safely first.

Administered correctly, the training would not be a real barrier to ownership. Classes would be offered frequently and if someone had a critical emergency need for a gun (just granted a restraining order for example), the training requirement could be waived for 30 days or so. Training would also cover properly storing weapons so that they would be less likely to find their way into the hands of unauthorized users. The cost of secure gun safes would be largely underwritten by the government so that their price would not be a hurdle for people who wish to own a firearm and to store it securely. I really believe that if such a thing were possible, gun-related deaths would decline by a measurable amount.

I’d also like to see the mental health question get addressed. There are people walking around who simply should not be allowed to own a gun. They are not so “dangerous” that they need to be incarcerated full-time, but instead may have short-term impulse control problems. Having access to a firearm would permit a great deal of mischief during one of these impulse control incidents. Without a gun, they could still do harm, but it would be attenuated.

Please don’t try to tell me that there is no difference between a rifle with a 30-round magazine and a knife. If you really think there is no difference, then I invite you to join me for a force on-force simulation. You take the knife and I’ll take the AR-15 with 30 round mag. We’ll see who can do more damage.

As with the training question, the trick here would be to separate the truly dangerous from the rest. Merely taking depression meds should not be a disqualifier. Furthermore, even if at one point in your life you were barred from gun ownership due to mental state, there has to be an avenue to restore those rights should your mental state improve later in life (which absolutely does happen). Most importantly, we don’t want to discourage people with real mental health issues from seeking the care they need.

The problem is that for a regime such as this to work, society needs to see personal gun ownership in a favorable light and to construct the licensing and training protocols to encourage and support gun owners. In the real world, of course, it doesn’t work that way. Much of our government fears gun owners and opposes gun ownership and many of our citizens are either too stupid, brainwashed or both to understand that guns can be owned and used safely. The simple fact is that there are irrational elements in our society who see guns in a negative light and will use any tool we give them to prevent everyone from exercising their rights, hence conceding to any kind of restrictions on gun ownership is difficult if not impossible.

And so, we are left with two camps. There are those who absolutely hate guns, don’t believe in a gun’s fundamental usefulness in protecting life and want them all gone with no compromises. And there are those who are 2A absolutists who firmly believe that the Second Amendment clearly outlaws any and all restrictions and who seek confrontation with LEOs and other citizens as often as possible.

Oh yeah, there are also a whole bunch of us in the middle who feel that both groups are wrong. The amusing thing is that from where us “middle grounders” sit, both groups come across like raving, unreasonable lunatics. Kinda the same way we look at the assclowns in Congress who have become so polarized that nothing much really happens and when it does, it generally benefits one group and totally sucks for others. Gun laws are kind of like that right now.

But things can change.

Here’s the truly crazy thing – when anti-gunners win a battle, it usually results in no reduction in crime, vast inconvenience to law abiding gun owners and higher state costs to manage the new regulation. If, for example, you think that the new AR registration rules in New York state don’t result in some serious administrative overhead fees, you’re kidding yourself. New York taxpayers are footing the bill for that piece of excrement which will not make the state one iota safer.

On the other hand, when pro-gunners win a battle, there is usually no increase in crime, tax receipts go up because residents are purchasing items in the local economy and many of the citizens are happier. What needs to happen is for the pro-gun people to get this message out to the middle ground folks and show them that the pro-gun crowd really are the sane ones. If you claim that the Second Amendment prevents any regulation, you get written off as a crazy. If you concede that regulation can and will happen, but that the 2A was created specifically to limit the scope and extent of the that regulation, then you have a chance to win the hearts and minds of the vast middle ground and to show the anti-gunners as the true nut jobs they are.

I support the Second Amendment. Period. No buts. What I don’t support is some people’s interpretation of it (on either side).

Okay, now have at me. I’ve got my asbestos suit on.

One more thing – just a reminder that my opinion is my own and does not represent any of the other TTAG writers (or editors) beliefs on the subject. RF does the whole community a service by allowing dissenting opinions and this is merely one example of it.

## 346 Responses to Confessions of a 2A Non-Absolutist

1. ST says:

Regulation is impossible when abuse is certain.

• S.CROCK says:

I think being 18 to buy a shotgun is prety reasonable.

• Danny says:

This. I wouldn’t want someone to vote before that age either.

• MrPredictable says:

Why?

• CA.Ben says:

No, no, and no. While I used to be for age requirements for gun ownership, I have seen this abused here in California, and am staunchly against them now.

Just this year, legislators in this state attempted to ban semi-automatic .22LR rifles, branding them as “assault weapons” and limiting their ownership to people 18+ years old. Like so many others, my first gun was a semi-auto .22. But this type of legislation would have stopped future generations from owning these guns, and potentially prevented younger people from getting into the sport at all.

While there is a difference between general age limits and assault weapon specific ones, the fact is that any type of gun control law can and will be abused.

• William Burke says:

They’ll do it every time. The “urge to ban” is the Liberal Disease. Dis-ease: to be put ill at ease, in this case, by the most mundane of things, like guns. And bullets. Hamburgers. Milk shakes. Big sodas, big beers. If we don’t allow them to buy 40s, they won’t get too drunk!

If it makes them uneasy or queasy, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll pull out the stops to BAN IT.

• Rich Grise says:

That’s the job of the ones who created the 18-year-old, not Big Brother.

And in any case, call me a pig-headed fool if you want, but there can be no discussion about what “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” means. If it doesn’t mean exactly what it says, then it’s all over but the crying.

• ThomasR says:

Yeah, ST, Jim just doesn’t get it; WE ARE AT WAR! The anti’s will accept nothing less than absolute disarmament. Can you look at California and NYC and not see the end game of what these control freak wanna be dictators want from us? absolute submission.

But Jim just shows his true colors, He is saying “I want control by us the betters of all you little people out there because you can’t be trusted with such power outside of government control, I just want to mandate BY LAW, what I think is “reasonable” come on, people:; just bend over; a little bit, and bend one knee; just a little bit, because it will make me FEEL a whole lot better giving you a privilege instead of an inalienable right to practice.

I don’t think so Jim; trying to give us the shaft with some Vaseline and make us feel your just being “reasonable”, still doesn’t make it any thing other than rape of the most basic of human rights.

• John in Ohio says:

+1000

• William Burke says:

+ some more.

• William Burke says:

Way to go, John. I’d be proud to stand at the barricades with you!

• uncommon_sense says:

^ This!

What Mr. Barrett wants has existed for over 80 years … and look at the results!!!

There is a reason that the plain and simple language of the 2nd Amendment says, “shall not be infringed.” Unlike the 4th Amendment that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures but allows “reasonable” searches and seizures, the 2nd Amendment does not allow for “reasonable” infringements or regulations.

The Framers knew it was a bad idea to have a fox guarding the hen house … and that is why they did NOT want government “guarding” the people from firearms.

• John in Ohio says:

There’s the truth!

• William Burke says:

If there’s no one passed out on the sofa, SAY IT LOUD: “SHALL. NOT. BE. INFRINGED!!!”

Happy Thanksgiving.

• Jeff says:

Well written article, Jim.
Thanks for taking the time to compose it and share, and thanks Robert / TTAG for providing a venue for these discussions.

• William Burke says:

BULLOCKS. You’re in the wrong forum. If you don’t know it yet, you will, soon.

• Alex in IL says:

+1 to ya Jim. I for one, do believe that differing opinions have a place here.

*stares pointedly at Burke*

• William Burke says:

If I had ever stated that they didn’t, you would have a point.

Your argument for compulsory training is faulty. Even an idiot has the absolute right and responsibility to defend his own life without your permission.

That said however, no child should ever graduate from high school without having passed at least basic firearms training and NO teacher–NOT A SINGLE ONE–should ever hold that position of trust without holding a firearms certificate and successfully completing annual training.

Defense of yourself, your family, and your neighbors is as much a civil responsibility as serving on juries, etc., if not more so.

• Jonathan - Houston says:

“Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay; and claims a halo for his dishonesty.” – Robert Heinlein

• DrVino says:

I’m gonna use that one.

• JW says:

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
– Heinlein – The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Hmmm… why does this sound appropriate?

• DrVino says:

“Medication time….”

• William Burke says:

That’s a good ‘un, all right. It goes in my massive gun quote email sig, from whence I quote here pertinently, occasionally. Thanks!

• Robert Silvers says:

School shootings are very rare and so requiring training for teachers makes no sense at all. Why not require them to have fire-fighting training also – you know, to be first responders until the Fire Department can arrive?

Lots of people are not “gun people,” have no talent for it, and should leave it to people who have more ability.

• Anonymous says:

“School shootings are very rare and so requiring training for teachers makes no sense at all. Why not require them to have fire-fighting training also – you know, to be first responders until the Fire Department can arrive?

Lots of people are not “gun people,” have no talent for it, and should leave it to people who have more ability.”

School shootings are rare. In fact, if you take the 500 or so killed in the last 10 years it is about on par with being struck by lightning. The simple fact is… school shootings are gold mines for the media – so each and every one is highly publicized. Lightning deaths are not gold mines – and are not highly publicized.

Regarding your first responder statement and teacher’s aren’t gun people statement – I partially agree. I do believe however that if a teacher wants to be trained in firearms, wants to carry a gun, or wants a fire hydrant nearby – they should be able to have them.

• B says:

Legislation mandating padding or railing be placed around the edge of beds would prevent more deaths than an AWB. Legislation providing a free annual cholesterol screening would save more lives. Gun laws have nothing to do with safety or public health.

• William Burke says:

Outlawing swimming pools would probably save more lives. Whoops! Forgot about ponds and lakes!!
Better cement them up.

• Cliff H says:

“I do believe however that if a teacher wants to be trained in firearms, wants to carry a gun…”

While I FIRMLY disagree with any attempt to require training before being ALLOWED to exercise your natural, civil and Constitutionally protected RKBA, I can see some reason to require training in certain disciplines before being licensed to perform certain specialized jobs. In this vein I would say that I could support requiring teachers, as a condition of receiving their teaching certificate, to attend an NRA or similar sponsored firearms training class, including live-fire range time in pistol, rifle and shotgun. They may or may not become POTG. They may or may not ever apply for a CCW or carry a weapon or hunt. But they could NEVER spout lies and trash about guns and gun owners and then claim that they did not know the truth.

3. William Burke says:

Thanks for articulating your considered, full-of-shit opinion. HUMBUG.

Oh, and THIS:

“I support the Second Amendment. Period. No buts.”

LIAR.

• Tim says:

+1. Especially regarding “LIAR”. Please don’t piss on my back and tell me it’s raining.

• Matt Richardson says:

+1

“All this regulation and bureaucracy sucks, because…. stuff.” Yet your solution is to replace it with regulation and bureaucracy more to your liking? Take your social contract horesh*t and stuff it…

I won’t be opening any of Barrett’s articles in the future

• Anonymous says:

– “I won’t be opening any of Barrett’s articles in the future”

Haha… that was funny.

I’ll open Barrett’s articles… possibly to dispute them.

• John in Ohio says:

I don’t mind trying to enlighten the unknowingly ignorant. But, as to the willfully ignorant; I don’t cast pearls before swine. I won’t waste my time on his future articles except perhaps to comment, “I don’t read articles by this author because I don’t have any faith in his basic reasoning nor in his commitment to Liberty.”

• Cliff H says:

“…there are those who are 2A absolutists who firmly believe that the Second Amendment clearly outlaws any and all restrictions and who seek confrontation with LEOs and other citizens as often as possible…”

I have already articulated my position on this matter, so everyone knows where I stand, but I have to take issue with this particular statement. If I were a Liberal I would actually take offense! It is ridiculous to imply, much less state categorically, that Second Amendment absolutists “…seek confrontation with LEOs and other citizens as often as possible.”

What we, by which I mean the majority of Constitutional Carry supporters, want is to be left alone. We would like to have persons engaged in the legal carry of a firearm to be treated as normal citizens, not harassed by law enforcement for exercising their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. SOME individuals may intentionally seek confrontations for narcissistic reasons, other just to make a point about LEO over-reaction. My personal opinion is that if you are going to open carry a long gun in a place where there is no reasonable cause to have a long gun, even though it is technically legal to do so, you are going to cause justifiable alarm and should expect to explain yourself, civilly and frequently, to investigating officers. If you are carrying a pistol in a holster no such situation should ever occur.

The real problem comes when you live in places such as the Seattle/Tacoma area, or any place where local police departments have their own agenda regarding firearms laws. Open Carry is legal in Seattle, but SPD policy is to provide just enough harassment to make you defer from exercising that right. A right you cannot exercise without harassment is a right lost.

Now to the more pertinent question, that I raised in my editorial: The Second Amendment says, “…shall not be infringed.” If and when we agree to give ANY government agency the authority to create a list of requirements before you are PERMITTED to own and/or carry a weapon, or a list of things that disqualifies you from the right to keep and bear arms, we have agreed that this amendment does not mean what it says. If we allow even a little minor “infringement” like training, felons, and mental disease, who will then determine how much training, what level of felon, and how crazy before your RKBA is lost? All it would take is a Liberal majority in the Senate, House and Presidency to piss away ALL of our Second Amendment rights and we all know that we would play holy Hell trying to get them back.

This is the very definition of “Slippery Slope” and I want nothing to do with it.

The solution to felons with guns is for them to be outnumbered by non-criminals with guns. The solution to mental cases with short fuses and guns is for an armed citizen to put out their lights the moment they pose a threat. No abrogation of our rights will stop a criminal from getting a gun, a person who legally owns a gun from becoming a criminal, or from going insane. Giving the government the authority to be “just a little bit tyranny” cannot end well, nor can allowing that even a portion of one of the Bill of Rights may be amended, revise, repealed because THAT will deny the sacrosanct nature of those natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights.

Sorry, this was going to be a short response, but this is too important to allow ANYONE to water down the argument.

• Anonymous says:

I agree to all of that. Especially this statement:

“The solution to felons with guns is for them to be outnumbered by non-criminals with guns. The solution to mental cases with short fuses and guns is for an armed citizen to put out their lights the moment they pose a threat. No abrogation of our rights will stop a criminal from getting a gun, a person who legally owns a gun from becoming a criminal, or from going insane.”

You should get a FNS-40 just for that post alone.

Where is Leonard? Leonard would go ballistic on these carry posts. I’m sure Leonard was out and about harassing cops? Or was it the other way around?

• John in Ohio says:

Except for the ‘Leonard’ part (I’m neutral on what you wrote there), I agree.

• Cliff H says:

Missed the contest entry requirements by “THAT much…” Wouldn’t mind having an FN, but I prefer 9mm (not .9mm).

• John in Ohio says:

+1. Yup!

• John in Ohio says:

Edited:
{Double-ish post so I’ll wish you and others here a Happy Thanksgiving. (Mods can delete this one if they want – browser refresh problems.}

4. Alan Rose says:

I can go with much of what you say. You’ve IDed the problem and proposed a solution along with being “reasonable.” You could probably get the majority of gun proponents to go along with your plan. The antis will never bite.

The good news is that the pros far outweigh the antis. Just check the membership numbers for the big pro and anti groups on facebook. Something like 37:1 the last time I crunched the numbers. So that leaves the middle ground. Some middles sorta care, some don’t. While a large number of Americans own guns, far fewer think it’s important to care about the law and the future. The middles I fear are the true majority. When a newsworthy shooting happens, there is much gnashing of teeth and some anti laws get passed around. When pro legislators feel the heat from he pros, pro laws get passed around. Little happens otherwise.

So what is the real world solution? I don’t know and apparently neither does anyone else. Your opinion, while valid, is destined to fail. It is a reasonable PRO GUN opinion which will never catch on across the board. Or maybe it will?

• Cliff H says:

You’ve IDed the problem and proposed a solution along with being “reasonable.”

Alan, the entire exercise of the American Revolution and the writing of the Constitution to include limited and enumerated powers for the federal government and checks and balances between three branches of government, AND the Bill of Rights, was EXACTLY because our Founding Fathers had no illusions that ANY government not sufficiently hobbled would long act in a “reasonable” fashion. This is also why the Bill of Rights contains so many phrases that are ABSOLUTES: “Congress shall make no law…” “…shall not be infringed…” “No soldier shall…” “…shall not be violated…” “No person shall be held…nor shall be compelled…” and so on.

• Rich Grise says:

Yeah! What he said!

• Anonymous says:

Cliff H is on a roll.

• Alan Rose says:

At the end of the day, I’m more absolutist than compromiser. The problem is, rights ARE subject to regulation. Absolutists are never going to win it all. Would regulations written by absolutists and other progunners be better than regulations written by sheep and antigunners? Surely. But “good” regulations will never be given the proper scrutiny because we can’t get out from under the character smearing of the vocal minority splinter antis to get our message across. I truly believe that is every gun law was stricken from the books, the overall situation would either improve or remain static. Sure there would be isolated cases of problems which would be highly publicized, but the “big picture” would be OK. That being said, are there reasonable (and legal and Coantitutional) regulations that would pass muster among absolutists? I think so. They would be limited of course, far more than today, but some would certainly have to exist to satisfy that segment of society that demands some type of oversight. We should be using the liberal call of “compromise” to get our way. They want a new law? We demand that five be removed, and back up that “compromise” with undisputable facts.

• Cliff H says:

There can be no compromise in war. And this IS a cultural and ideological war in which the denial of our RKBA is only a strategic move on their part.

The end of the First World War was an armistice, a compromise, in order to get the Germans to stop letting the Allied generals massacre their own troops in futile frontal assaults against Maxim machine guns. How did that compromise turn out? I don’t have the statistics at hand but continued compromise with the Germans through the 30’s led eventually to World War Two and the deaths of hundreds of millions of people all around the world.

The end of the Korean war was a truce, a compromise, an agreement to stop shooting at each other or invading territories. How did that compromise turn out? 60 years later there is still no resolution of the original dispute. Constant compromises with the North Korean government have allowed millions of North Korean citizens to live in virtual slavery and many millions to die of starvation or political purges. And now the little bastards have nuclear weapons. Yeah, I guess that compromise worked out pretty good.

Once you have identified your enemy the only course is to stand your ground until defeated or you are victorious. If you are willing to compromise to end the conflict this is very much like being charged with excessive force in the defensive use of your EDC. If you were not actually in fear for your life, why did you use your weapon? If you were in fear for your life why did you carry only blank rounds or why did you only shoot to wound? You cannot compromise in these situations. We are either in fear for our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected RKBA, or we are not. If we are in legitimate fear then we must attack and win. Compromise is NOT an option.

• William Burke says:

You seem to miss the real point: nobody wanted to REALLY end the wars; they agreed armistices to allow time to tool up for the next war, and for the public to forget about the last one.

We are in an era of PERMA-WAR; no doubt about it. War is good for business. “War is good for Israel.” – George Bush

• Cliff H says:

That is a very cynical attitude, Bill. While there are ALWAYS some war profiteers who would like to see people slaughtered just so they can make a buck, I suspect that most people go to war and try to end wars for entirely different, and usually ideological, reasons. If no one wanted to end WW II we would not have dropped those two nukes on Japan. They were sort of a game-changer and definitely NOT used with the intent to continue fighting and enrich the arms manufacturers.

If your premise were the case the arms dealers would have lobbied hard against the use of nukes so that the invasion of Japan would result in more orders, at the cost of up to one million additional deaths and/or casualties.

• William Burke says:

Seeing as Japan had already made surrender propositions, the two explosions can be seen more as chest-thumping directed at the Soviet Union, rather than as something to force Japan to surrender, as they virtually had already.

5. Tom in Oregon says:

Mr. Barrett,
This is an excellent article. Very well written. Once I got past the first 5 seconds, it got me to thinking.
The social contract theory. Where one lives, etc.

When in deep thought on this very issue, I think, then what is allowed? Arms of the common soldier?
I believe this is a good starting point.
I personally am all for unregulated supressors, belt fed machine guns, and the like.
This multi-tiered pricing model currently in effect for say, a Thompson machine gun is just plain stupid.

Again, great article.

• William Burke says:

Gun-banners eat sh*t for breakfast.

I KNOW this will be redacted. BIG FUCKING DEAL.

• rlc2 says:

Thanks, Jim for the article – I don’t agree with much of it, but noted its one of the few lately to approach 300 repllies- so that alone makes it worthwhile to read and consider the feedback.

Thanks Skyler for the comment about the middle, and what we who believe in freedom and self-defense need to remember, and I speak from personal experience- even tho I grew up with more than a passing connection to guns, having done some plinking and duck hunting, served in the military and trained in both pistol and evillll black rifle, I was one of the “reasonable middle”.

I did NOT see the big deal about regulating “assault weapons” because I did not have one- didn’t even have any guns- just wasnt an interest in that point of my life. Only after having kids and thinking about defending them, did I start to do my homework.

And bit by bit, as I read, I learned more- I was influenced by the thoughtful commentary- the give and take, the links to more scholarly writing, the history, the concepts behind the framers intent, and so on.

I visited the “typical” forums ten years ago- and was put off by the flamers, the haters, and the absolutists, and the bitterness within the gun community on things as banal as which gun, which size bullet.

Despite, I was educated and informed, and found books and other reading, including most recently, here on TTAG, that has driven me to consider more carefully the history of the politics, and current afffairs, which has convinced me that liberty was in all our hands, but most profoundly defended by the few- the three percenters that on one website notes are those who actually fought in the Revolution, of the third who believed in liberty, while a third supported the King, and another third did not care and lived their lives.

So heres my point- its not the compromise of the middle ground we fight for here – its the the hearts and minds of those in the middle, who have not yet considered their self-interests, but who are to be educated and persuaded.

And I am reminded of Roberts mention of Heminways description of “a clean and well-lighted space”. You are not going to attract them here by absolutism, nor do we need to- thats preaching to the choir. What works is respectful consideration and engagement, even if they are wrong, by pointing out the facts, and educating them with respect. This takes time and work.

You arent going to attract them by flaming, those who disagree, or one another, for that turns people off, and obstructs the facts. Sometimes that distraction is what people do to try to win an argument, or simply drive others away.

6. Tyler3923 says:

One thing for certain is that individuals who have zero experience with firearms have no place trying to regulate them. For progress to be made there must be more people willing to take the middle ground. With that said, I’d personally like to see the NFA repealed, every state (and D.C) to be shall issue, stand your ground to apply everywhere, and teachers allowed to conceal carry.

• DrVino says:

AMEN!
Feinstein said she studied hundreds and thousands of photographs of firearms when crafting her most recent waste of paper.
Hell, I looked at THOUSANDS of pictures of naked women, OVER AND OVER again before my first skin-on-skin encounter. It did not make me a Casanova, though…

• While I agree in principal, Congress regulates things with which they have no experience, well, all the time. Most are career politicians and/or lawyers with zero “real-world”, productive experience. If we prohibited them from regulating things they don’t know about, they’d have nothing to do. Hey…wait a minute….

7. jwm says:

Here’s my list of what I consider reasonable gun laws.

1) Age limits on the purchase of firearms. You must be 16, with parents or guardians permission to buy a shotgun or rifle. Legal age to vote or sign your own contracts, including enlistment papers, is 18. That’s the legal age for buying a handgun.

2) No violent mental health issues or violent criminal activity in your record.

3) Any firearm that civilian law enforcement, including feds, can have, the citizen can have.

4) explosives, mortars, artillery, grenades, rpgs, etc. Do not come under the heading of firearms and can be regulated for public safety.

That’s really about it. If I can meet the legal requirements to own I should have the automatic right to carry without a permit. OC or CC should be up to the individual.

Somebody more tech savvy than me can figure out how to do a background check to insure these criteria are met without creating a permanent record that can be used to create a registry.

• S.CROCK says:

i agree with you for the most part. if a leo can have it, i should be able to also has been my standard of what the 2A covers. the part about the age limit, well i think you should just be 18 for all guns. (no parents permission) the part about the mental or violent background is my disagreement. who decides if you qualify to own a gun? the government? would a reckless driving charge make you ineligible? what about vehicular manslaughter?

• Bruce L. says:

jwm did say “violent mental health issues or violent criminal activity”. I think the important word was violent.

• Cliff H says:

But who compiles, maintains, and decides the criteria for membership on such a list? The same agency that maintains the “No Fly” list for which we have no access prior to blockage at a gate, no idea what criteria are used for placement on the list, and more importantly, no legal avenue to protest and be removed from a list we don’t even know we are on?

Since the Second Amendment does not require that we need “Permission” from the government in order to exercise this right, how does the creation of any exclusionary list differ from a requirement to get a government issued license and permission to RKBA?

This is not rocket science, folks. Either this is a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected natural right that the government has no authority to infringe, or it is a government required permission slip that can be regulated away at a whim. You cannot have it both ways.

• jwm says:

S. Crock, I’m open to suggestions on the mental health and violence issues. I currently work with severely mentally disabled people as a driver. The thought of one of my clients having the uninfringed right to a firearm is downright scarey.

As for violence. I think a history of wilfull violence and harm to others should suffice. I believe it’s Germany that allows convicted felons the right to buy a firearm once their sentences hae been served. They do not allow violent felons the same right.

• Anonymous says:

So… Scenario:
A man who was once violent in his youth, went to prison, and was released an old man. He no longer can have the right to defend himself – even in his own home? Imagine he is at home, puts his cane aside, and turns on the TV. A man starts pounding on his door. Pounding and pounding. He panics and looks around for something to use and picks up his cane (he can’t have a gun… right??) and the intruder breaks down his door see’s him with his cane hiding in the kitchen and comes over and BANG BANG! And the old man jiggles around on the floor in a pool of blood.

Ok … so why exactly should he (after serving his time) not be allowed to have a firearm? Also, where does one draw the line if he can?

I’m a strong supporter of Cliff H’s statement above:

“The solution to felons with guns is for them to be outnumbered by non-criminals with guns. The solution to mental cases with short fuses and guns is for an armed citizen to put out their lights the moment they pose a threat. No abrogation of our rights will stop a criminal from getting a gun, a person who legally owns a gun from becoming a criminal, or from going insane.”

This seems to be the most fair solution while not infringing on people’s natural inalienable rights. I believe a person should have all their rights restored when they are released from prison and I believe penalties should be severe enough that the person would never consider returning.

• Rich Grise says:

And those who get Darwinized.

• Cliff H says:

Thanks for the support, Anon, but let me adjust the concept just for clarity – A person who is incarcerated must reasonably be inhibited, for the protection of other inmates and prison staff, from the unfettered exercise of their 2A right. The right is NOT lost, it is only inhibited. Once this person is free from incarceration, even if it is only parole or probation, they must no longer be inhibited in their Constitutional RKBA. However, freedom being what it is, any person involved in the sale of firearms should have the ABSOLUTE right to refuse to sell to this person if they are aware of their history. “No shoes, No shirt, Criminal history, No Service.” A businessman should never be legally COMPELLED to provide service to anyone for any reason. He should be absolutely allowed, for whatever reason he deems fit, to say, “Nope, sorry, not doing business with you. Try the guy down the block.” This is NOT a violation of the RKBA.

• William Burke says:

I am AGHAST at the people who cannot separate the 2A from the necessity to prevent the violent prisoners and the mentally defective from the RKBA.

These people KNOW the difference; we ALL do.

Everybody knows the difference. This is the DELIBERATE INTRODUCTION OF A FALSE ARGUMENT.

Right out of the old Alinsky Playbook.

• Cliff H says:

“I am AGHAST at the people who cannot separate the 2A from the necessity to prevent the violent prisoners and the mentally defective from the RKBA.
These people KNOW the difference; we ALL do.
Everybody knows the difference. This is the DELIBERATE INTRODUCTION OF A FALSE ARGUMENT.
Right out of the old Alinsky Playbook.”

Bill, Bill, Bill. We could do worse than adopt some of the very effective tactics Saul Alinsky devised for the destruction of our country and way of life and turn them against the Progressives. This is NOT, however, what I am doing.

The false argument being introduced to this discussion over and over again is that to allow the government, or any government agency, permission to create an exclusionary list that denies any citizen their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms is not EXACTLY the same thing as granting the government permission to infringe on our RKBA. I am frequently aghast that so many people, even here, cannot see the simple fact that the Second Amendment makes absolutely NO PROVISION for any agency to maintain and enforce any list of persons who are not allowed to exercise their RKBA.

We may wish that felons, and even violent criminals who have never been convicted of any felony, and persons who seem to be dangerously mentally defective, should not have access to firearms, but there is no provision in the Constitution or the Second Amendment of any mechanism and there IS in the Second Amendment a direct and succinct prohibition AGAINST the government doing any such thing. If this makes you so uncomfortable that you want to give the government “just a little bit” of a right to infringe on our RKBA, then remember this, by a man a whole bunch smarter than either you or me:

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

The right to keep and bear arms is an essential liberty.

Aghast away, you cannot defend your position on any Constitutional grounds.

• Jonathan - Houston says:

Where are we flash bang grenade, tear gas canister and MRAP-wise? ‘Cause, you know…..

• Cliff H says:

Many people in this country have entire collections of fully restored military armored vehicles, including non-functional cannons and machine guns. Given the appropriate NFA stamp they may (I’m not certain of this) be able to mount functional weapons. SO far as I know there is no law against a civilian buying an MRAP and using it for an everyday commuter. A little expensive, but not illegal.

• Stuck in CA says:

With a Destructive Devices permit, you can have a fully operational gun on a privately-owned armored vehicle. Not sure how hard it is to get one, however. There’s also the issue of acquiring the ammunition.

• Jeff says:

unfortunately many anti-gun folks will simply state that the reason police need to have big guns is because we had them first – though this is obviously debunked by many first-world countries without gun ownership rights who simultaneously equip their police with somw pretty serious tooling just because.

• JW says:

All regulation sound good until they are subjected to the political agendas of the ruling class.

• ZM 1306 says:

“4) explosives, mortars, artillery, grenades, rpgs, etc. Do not come under the heading of firearms and can be regulated for public safety.”

They are not considered by many as “firearms” however they are Arms and it is “the right of the people to keep and bear ARMs shall not be infringed”

The 2A covers all weapons not just the ones that are in the current debate. All knife laws are infringements as all guns laws are.

• g says:

+1

Makes sense to me, jwm.

Here’s the problem, Jim.

Gun rights is not a fight that will be resolved with one decision, it is one that will be fought and either won or lost hundreds of times.

Paper cuts, not artillery shells.

So, sure, the position of ‘pragmatic moderate’ seems perfectly reasonable. After all, shouldn’t there be SOME sort of regulation? Surely we don’t want people running around the streets with full auto MP5K’s, right?

And that’s where it always starts, with equivocation. Come on, who needs a gun that shoots more than one round per trigger pull? Come on, who needs a gun that shoots 30 times before it needs to be reloaded? Come on, who needs a gun that, that, that.

And there will always be those ‘pragmatic moderates’ in the middle of the debate making what they believe to be the rational case for common sense negotiation between the two parties where the side of gun rights always gives up a little, just not as much as the gun control crowd wants. Surely 20 rounds instead of 30 is plausible, right?

That’s what negotiation is, after all. Compromise.

That, Jim, is why people on the side of gun rights will always take after you or others who profess some interest in curbing gun rights, even when you think it makes sense.

Because we all know that’s not where it ends. The next Sandy Hook, the next Columbine, the next whatever… the day that tragedy occurs the same crew of people will be right back out with fresh signs hunting after some new bit of ‘compromise’.

There’s nothing about the absolute border of a nation that makes it somehow more valuable than the next foot inside it, but a country would be insane to allow a neighbor to annex it without fighting for that ground to the fullest extent of it’s power, lives lost over an ostensibly valueless periphery.

Because the land itself isn’t the point, it’s the principal of the thing. Everyone knows if someone can take a foot from you they’ll come back for the yard next. Then the mile. Then the whole thing.

Not an inch, Jim. Not in this, and not even to you.

• DrVino says:

I remember from my theology classes that Judas did not turn Jesus over to the Shanhedrin because he betrayed him, but because he sincerely felt that if only given the chance, Jesus could make his case clear, and thus present an unshakable defense against his accusers…..

• William Burke says:

Hoorah!

• Anonymous says:

Who is Handgun Dad?? Where did this guy come from? I haven’t seen a Handgun Dad post before.

What a great post. Handgun dad should get an FNS-40 just for this.

• Matt in FL says:

First comment here, that I can tell. Hopefully not his last.

• Cliff H says:

An awful lot of good stuff getting posted, and a lot of people willing to give away FNs that RF doesn’t have 😉

Rather than collect money to give George Zimmerman more guns that he obviously doesn’t know what to do with and keeps losing to the police, how about starting a fund for awarding a firearm to the “Post of the Month” or some such? Weapon of choice up to a certain dollar amount?

With 1.5 viewers every month it shouldn’t be difficult to convince them to fund such a project and you wouldn’t have to rely on the generosity of manufacturers willing to give their stuff away.

• William Burke says:

No one here has suggested we give George Zimmerman JACK SH*T. And we won’t. Stop the distraction, Cliff. I know you’re a good guy. For all my failings, I am a superb judge of people, and of human character. It’s a gift, I suppose. Hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving!

• Cliff H says:

By the way, that should have read: With 1.5 MILLION viewers each month…

And Bill, some time ago there was a lot of discussion of different organizations that were either collecting money to replace Zimmerman’s pistol and/or companies offering to give him one for free. I did not contribute to those, but I suspect a lot of people did.

9. Don1974 says:

I’m by and large a positive person. I don’t like to be rude to or overly critical of people. This goes for my posts here and a few other firearms related comment sections and forums. If I don’t agree with the author I’ll just say nothing rather than rip on someone’s work. With all that out of the way, I can say with 100% certainty that this piece is the worse article to ever grace the pages of TTAG. This piece stinks of elitism and it stinks bad! The author rails against things such as the NFA that make it difficult to own fully automatic weapons etc. but then throws those with supposedly any mental health condition under the bus. I suppose this includes war vets with PTSD. Then there is his snobbish idea of mandatory training to exercise a right. Hey dude, some of us poor dumb country folk have been around guns our entire lives and don’t have the money nor the need for your training. I expect a lot more out of TTAG than this garbage!

• This isn’t the first non-orthodox opinion printed here and it won’t be the last. There are plenty of places to go if you need an echo chamber. While we’re staunchly pro-2A here, that doesn’t mean that’s all we’ll print.

• Cliff H says:

This is an excellent point, Dan.

While I object heartily to almost every point in this article, and have given my responses above, we must be aware not only of what our dedicated ant-2A opposition thinks and what their tactics are, but also those who stand in the middle and try to be REASONABLE. The value in this, of course, is that a rational discourse can take place and some misguided souls who may have been on the fence can be exposed to the arguments and make informed decisions.

If you are a Christian or a Jew are you willing to be reasonable about just a little bit of restriction of your religious rights in order to appease Muslims or atheists? No, I didn’t think so. This issue is the same thing – if you give a little they will take a lot. Denying that people we know might be open to “reasonable” compromise does not give us the opportunity to change their minds.

• Rich Grise says:

Well, I’m an absolutist. There is nothing “reasonable” about advocating ANY infringement on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Just like Cliff H said, would you expect a Christian or Jew to agree to a “reasonable compromise” of the very foundation of their Prime Directive to accommodate Islam?

NO!

There can be no compromise; the line must be drawn HERE, to coin a phrase.

• michi says:

Thanks, Dan – That’s actually what keeps TTAG relevant. We’re supposed to be thinking about this stuff and that may mean hearing viewpoints we don’t agree with.

TTAG was what I read on the latter part of my change from anti to pro. If it was just an echo chamber I’m not sure if I would have stuck through it to see reason.

Will “Classes” reduce gun deaths… I don’t really see how. Mandating them is NOT actually mandating the transition of a careless and foolish person into a thoughtful and diligent person. You have to be that to begin with.

Easy access to classes and safes? Sure. Encouragement? Sure. Incentives even? Yup maybe. But these days hearing ‘mandatory’ trips the same ‘eeeeh I don’t know about that’ triggers that the word ‘ban’ does.

As far as mental health goes, well, there’s not always an easy answer. We don’t revoke drivers licenses of the mentally ill (well, there are probably special cases…) , even though they can do (and have done) more carnage with a car than your average shotgun.

The problem I have with the mental health issue is: lots of people have had tough times in their lives, and that’s dynamic. Permanent revocation of anything doesn’t sit right with me. Even with felons and their gun rights and the right to vote. There’s no reason at all that a guy who got caught cheating on his taxes in 1975 should be denied 2A.

As for the other and more extreme scenarios, (which admittedly aren’t common, and are usually huge ‘What if!’ agitation cries) I sure don’t have all of the answers, so I’ll watch here for further discussion.

And TTAG, yeah, don’t change — I don’t want to just hear cheerleading to the point where I’m unaware of what’s going on outside the domicile. I don’t see why anyone would want to be blindsided by the opposing camp because they were too busy rah-rahing. People complain about antis getting ‘too much press’ here, but I think we need to know the arguments, rationale, and tactics. Moderates notwithstanding. I’m thankful for the situational awareness I get from TTAG, and would rather parse it on my own than have it pre-removed for me.

• William Burke says:

May I encourage you to post your dissenting views? I think you should; you seem very intuitive, and very eloquent, as well. Don’t hold back! This is the place to voice what’s in your heart and mind.

• Matt in FL says:

If I was given a choice, I’d prefer a little more mind and a little less heart. We’ve got enough folks around here that rant with great enthusiasm without making a whole lot of sense. No sense in adding to their ranks.

• William Burke says:

No heart? Really? Shall we refer to you as “Mr. Spock”?

• rlc2 says:

Burke,

I’m voting with Matt on this- you ever go camping? You know how when people gather around a fire at the end of the day, theres an opportunity for good conversation, companionship with respect, laughter.

Every so often theres a drunken a$$hole who stands up and thinks its cute to pi$$ in the fire. No one wants to put up with the toxic smoke and goes away.

Don’t be that guy.

10. JasonM says:

The primary reason that reasonable regulation is bad is the definition of reasonable. Who gets to decide?
The statists wish to compromise and meet in the middle. But our current situation is a compromise between the previous one and outright confiscation. The previous one was a compromise. Etc. If we continue to compromise, we’ll asymptotically approach zero–effectively 1/(x^2) for us math geeks.

Your mandatory licensing scheme could easily turn into registration, restriction, and confiscation. History has shown this to be the case.

I find it interesting that in the middle of your argument for some gun-control you admit that the introduction of gun-control has never reduced crime, but has always increased government costs, while the removal of gun-control has always reduced costs and never increased crime. A logical person would look at that and continue to eliminate gun-control until either there was none, or that statement no longer held true.

• michi says:

As for who gets to decide: Right now, yes, its the ‘government’ and our “”representatives””.

To be honest I wish all laws that restricted people or removed rights had a referendum clause. See the AWB “sunset” and how that panned out due to it having no measurable effect.

If it restricts a person’s rights or capabilities, it has to be revisited in n years. A law that expands rights, however, wouldn’t need that.

I’m not only talking 2A. (See example: the law that restricts police scanners from operating in certain frequencies that were once analog cel phone frequencies. This law is still in place, even though those bands are no longer in use for cellular communications. So now we have orgs using those bands just to keep people from legally listening in, sometimes on communications that sure should be publically accessible. But will the ‘ban’ be struck down? I don’t see it. This, is much like the NFA and silencers.)

But something like a required referendum could -just maybe- interrupt the process of continually tightening restrictions and the ‘boiling lobster’ syndrome the people seem to suffer from by acclimating slowly to the ‘status quo’, as their rights are slowly taken away year after year.

11. RKBA says:

Mr Jim Barret:

You clearly do not understand “…shall not be infringed.”

GFO of my country, traitor.

• tfunk says:

Really? I disagree with him, too, but…this might just be a tad bit excessive 🙂

• Matt in FL says:

Yeah, and in so doing they created a monster, because FOAD gets tossed around here more often than just about anything else, including libtard. It’s basically lost all meaning at this point.

There are some folks who I’m not sure they know any other words.

• William Burke says:

• Matt in FL says:

Yeah, but I bet where you grew up, they actually said it to each other, and not very often, and when they said it, they meant it.

Around here FOAD gets tossed around by a bunch of people who can’t come up with something original to say. In one of the recent Shannon Watts posts, there were not less than 11 people who used that term. In one comment thread. Seriously, use some imagination. That’s what I mean by “it’s lost its meaning.”

• William Burke says:

I know, Matt. I understand your point. It’s a matter of judgment, not restraint, so much. I have good judgment, but I sometimes lose restraint.

• Cliff H says:

While FOAD may be a little terse, perhaps a little harsh, I suspect many folks reading here have a strong opinion on a subject but do not have the writing or debating skills necessary to put down a strong counter-argument. (And some unfortunately try anyway.) A simple FOAD is their way of stating, “I vote NO! I’m opposed.”

Yes, it may be overused, but what of the myriad Internet-spawned abbreviations isn’t? OMG, WTF!

At least we know where they stand on the issue.

• Totenglocke says:

Amen. Why Rob keeps him on the staff is beyond me.

• Cliff H says:

Anyway, the “no echo chamber” concept is valid. We need to be exposed to erroneous thinking as much as anything else published here. You cannot counter an incorrect conclusion until you know what that conclusion is and how it was reached. Even persons trained in logic do not always effectively use it to arrive at logical conclusions, and sometimes they arrive at incorrect conclusions based on bad data or misunderstood “I don’t think that word means what you think it means” situations.

I do not wish for him to FOAD, but I do hope he reads and considers carefully the opposing comments below the article. I do not think he was mistaken in assuming this would not be a popular stance on this forum.

• Cliff H says:

I do have one VERY serious issue with Jim, however: When I post an article here (thanks RF) I diligently return to that article and enter the discussion with other commenters to defend my position or acknowledge valid criticisms. I have learned a lot from this and actually modified (slightly) some of my conclusions because of it.

But Jim did a drive-by. He knew, and stated that he knew, that he was going to take return fire for this post and so he drove by, fired off a mag full auto, then sped away. I have not seen a single comment posted here by Jim defending or explaining his conclusions or opinions. That is a shame.

• William Burke says:

If you can’t stand the heat, have someone else cook Thanksgiving Dinner! 😉

• Anonymous says:

I think it is good to have him on the staff.

We need more discussions like this. Middlemen with these ideas need to be discussed and we need to prove to them why our position is the best. Having this discussion makes it a one stop place for other middlemen on the net to examine our discussion and judge for themselves based on our dialogue.

• KeithF says:

Agreed, articles like this should ignite a discussion that those looking for information can read and digest the arguments.

What they see instead is a bunch of “gun-nuts” flaming out about an OPINION piece clearly stated as such and throwing all the stupid attacks the anti’s have said we always do.. it’s comments like those all over this page that unfortunately make me drop my head into my hands for my peer group almost as much as my opponents in the anti’s. We are winning no hearts and minds.. we aren’t displaying logic or reasoning, just the raw emotion that makes us look exactly as the anti’s portray us.

I am, at the end of the day, a 2A absolutest, I also acknowledge that to get their and remove the regulations we have to take them out one at a time and Barrett has presented an IDEAL framework to shoot for. There is nothing saying his solution is where we stop, there is nothing saying once firearm ownership is the normal again that it should be we continue to drop regulations one by one the way we do now, no justifiable logicial necessity.

We should absolutely go for what Jim is arguing for, but why stop when we get there?

12. “And there are those who are 2A absolutists who firmly believe that the Second Amendment clearly outlaws any and all restrictions and who seek confrontation with LEOs and other citizens as often as possible.”

And where are these straw men? I do not see them.

I believe that virtually all second amendment supporters believe that there are some limits. Everyone is not allowed to carry weapons into prisons anytime that they want to.

The fact is we went way past “reasonable regulations” many decades ago, and the discussion should be about how much we roll back, not how much more insane regulation that we add. I bet that at the time of the signing of the constitution, prisoners were not allowed weapons, just as slaves (who also were prisoners) generally were not.

The regulations that we had before 1900 worked fine and they can work again. Current enforcement of the 14th amendment would stop the discrimanatory practices of states against people of coor.

Remember, before 1968, we could order anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns and ammunition through the mail, and there was no crime with it.

I propose a simple test to see if a law makes any sense at all. If peace officers can have it, then so should the general population. If peace officers can carry in that place, then so should any citizen who can legally own a weapon. Peace officers commit homicide about as often as the rest of the population, so why give them special priviledges with weapons.

Police and guards do not carry guns in prisons, either.

• Matt in FL says:

“Peace officers commit homicide about as often as the rest of the population…”

And at about 4x the rate of concealed permit holders, at least in Florida…

And that is just the few caught/charged.
Anybody who says the blue wall doesn’t protect the worst of the worst is either oblivious or a liar.

• Hannibal says:

“I believe that virtually all second amendment supporters believe that there are some limits. ”

Read some of the responses to this article more closely and see if you still think that…

• uncommon_sense says:

Hannibal,

I am about as staunch a supporter of the 2nd Amendment as anyone and I do not support prisoners having firearms in prison. And to be completely honest, I don’t know anyone who does. And that explanation is simple: a person who is convicted of a crime against a citizen through due process is hindered from exercising almost any right while in prison: they cannot go anywhere they want, they cannot acquire any personal property they want, they cannot speak any time they want, they cannot vote, etc. About the only right they have left is their right to life. And to protect society from mistakes in the criminal justice system, they still have the right to due process (to appeal their conviction for example).

But government telling free citizens if, how, when, where, and in what manner free citizens can make, trade, purchase, store, and bear arms — and charging fees and taxes on any of that — is subjugation, pure and simple. That is what “absolutists” object.

• karlb says:

If you were an African American, Hispanic, Asian, or other easily identifiable minority, you might not be so keen on the pre-1900 gun laws.

• Alan Rose says:

This is the conundrum I face whenever I (frequently) pine for the “good ole days.” I wish we could have all the “good” things from way back while still have the “good” things from today. Is that too much to ask?

• William Burke says:

It’s not that it’s “too much to ask”; it isn’t. It’s just that that world is irrevocably gone. We just have to make the very best of what we have left. NO MORE COMPROMISES!

• Cliff H says:

“The fact is we went way past “reasonable regulations” many decades ago, and the discussion should be about how much we roll back, not how much more insane regulation that we add. I bet that at the time of the signing of the constitution, prisoners were not allowed weapons…”

The reason we are “way past ‘reasonable regulations'” is because no one stood up and protested when the government arbitrarily began infringing on the Second Amendment. Now the discussion is about how to roll back those unconstitutional laws.

As for “at the signing”, whether or not prisoners are “allowed” weapons does not change the Second Amendment which only enumerates a natural right to keep and bear arms. While detained, arrested, or incarcerated it is of course necessary that law enforcement do everything they can to ensure their own safety, just as any ordinary citizen would in the same situation, by limiting the access of the person in custody to arms. This is about as reasonable and rational as any control of arms can get because the person in custody has demonstrated a willingness to violate the civil rights of others. What CANNOT be done in this situation is to REMOVE the natural right to keep and bear arms, which the individual WILL find a way to accomplish to the best of his ability in spite of any regulations that may be put in place to prevent it. Unless you are killed in the commission of a crime you CANNOT lose your natural right to defend your own life, even while a prisoner.

13. Excedrine says:

Aside from the whole “I support the Second Amendment but…”, this was a very well thought out piece. It’s also good to know that you recognize the reality of the situation: while the Second Amendment severely limits the circumstances in which the right to keep and bear arms can be curtailed, right or wrong, the currently political climate will lead to regulations that are well outside the scope of those circumstances.

The circumstances in question were quite clearly outlined in the “debunking the yelling fire in a theater” article published here recently, which pointed out that there is only a precious handful of extreme situations where free speech could potentially cause harm to others. It’s not the act itself, but the intended result of the act that matters.

But, what you fail to realize is that the anti’s will never change their minds. The onsies and twosies that come to their senses are the outliers and the extreme exceptions to this rule. They’ll never bite this kind of bait, and the few that do will quickly spit it back in your face and shout you down while all sorts of petty names and expletives before walking off in a huff (mostly because you definitely seem like you could prove them wrong for the most part). Not while there is money to be made off the suffering of others, at least, which has sadly always been a very lucrative business.

• michi says:

eh. Not so sure about that. After my conversion from anti to pro, many of my friends are now gun owners because I showed, talked, related. Not onesies and twosies, probably 20 in my case. And maybe several from each of those down the line.

Really, once you’re a gun owner you start thinking about these things instead of parroting what you’ve heard. And IMO, it all bootstraps from there.

It depends on what type of person we’re talking about. Will SW come around? Hell no. Will Bloomberg? Well, he already has – just you know, for him. Not for you. There’s the people (like I just mentioned) with a grand agenda, and then there are the folks who have just been told ‘it’s this way’ all of their lives and haven’t really had their opinions challenged.

These people can be changed, are often changed, and an effort should be made to engage them. “Wake up your inner gun owner”, or… something not quite as fruity as that. But that’s the idea.

14. tfunk says:

So, what are all the different interpretations of “shall not be infringed”? Just sayin’

If you are not in jail/prison/mental institution after a trial by a jury of your peers, and you have reached the age of 18, which seems to be when we’ve decided you’re a “real” citizen, then you have a right to buy, own, and carry whatever the eff you want. No license, no permit, no required training, no background check.

And what’s funny is, you seem to forget that we DON’T get this right from the Constitution…it is IN the Constitution to PROTECT the right we all have from government.

• Hannibal says:

Why do you hold that being imprisoned is the beginning, middle and end of the justice system? Where in the constitution or anywhere else does it say that one’s sentence must be binary: either jail or not jail?

• tfunk says:

Who said anything about that being the beginning/middle/end of the criminal justice system? All I said was that if you are in jail/prison/mental institution after a trial by a jury of your peers you are not in possession of all your rights. If you are not incarcerated, you have the right to self-defense. If you are a “suitably” violent criminal you should be locked up for good. I said nothing about other things like probation/whatevs.

• Cliff H says:

“All I said was that if you are in jail/prison/mental institution after a trial by a jury of your peers you are not in possession of all your rights. If you are not incarcerated, you have the right to self-defense.”

Please, can we clear this up? What we are discussing are natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected natural rights. If you are in jail/prison/mental institution after a trial by a jury of your peers you ARE still and always in full possession of all of your natural rights. The most any incarceration, for any reason, can do is to inhibit your ability to freely exercise those rights. And you most emphatically DO NOT lose your right to self defense simply by the fact of being incarcerated.

• tfunk says:

Sorry, yes, you do still have the right to self-defense while in prison. However, you do not have the ability to exercise your rights protected by the second amendment. To me that means for that time you basically don’t have that right. 🙂

• Cliff H says:

The only difference here is one of semantics. What I am saying, and I believe you are MEANING, (I hope) is that being in a situation where you cannot EXERCISE a right is not the same as losing that right.

If you are being chased by a bear, come to the edge of a cliff (no pun) and find yourself out of ammunition, you have NOT lost your right to self defense, only your ability to exercise that right has been rather severely inhibited. You still have the right and ability at the last moment to swing your rifle at his head like a club, step aside, and watch that SOB go over the edge.

Being incarcerate is the same situation. The threats of the everyday world do not go away, they are magnified due to the company you are now required to keep. The prison system may more or less effectively inhibit your ability to obtain the best possible weapons for your own defense, but it cannot take away your right to find and use whatever you can get ahold of when the situation demands.

The point is that even if the prison is 100% effective (unlikely) in inhibiting your ability to keep and bear arms, the natural right to do so is NEVER lost.

• William Burke says:

Very good, but don’t blame the bear for being a bear. Just kill him! It’s you vs. him. You are both only being what you must be.

• JSW says:

Furthermore, when one has ‘done their time’ and ‘paid the price for their wrongs’, then their 2A rights should be restored, right along with every other right.
If you don’t want ‘criminals’ to have firearms, then don’t allow them back on the streets.

15. stateisevil says:

Oh my God. This is disappointing and not a little disturbing. Lost all credibility in my book.

16. S_J says:

Yet another “I support the 2A but…” post. I grit my teeth when some arrogant anti is trying to fleece me with one of these but to see this from a TTAG editor is severely disheartening. Their definitions of “reasonable” and ours are not compatible. Never will be. You know this. And your definition of a 2A absolutist is textbook strawman argumentation.

I hold nothing against you as a person Mr. Barrett but this article was best left untyped.

• Just going to point out that Jim is a contributing writer, not an editor, and his opinions are his own. TTAG has in the past published pro gun control articles from those willing to pen such pieces, and will continue to do so. We believe that the unexamined opinion is not worth holding, and offer people on all sides of the argument the ability to make their opinions heard and receive feedback from our community.

• 505markf says:

I am reminded that the beginning of wisdom is not thinking, but listening. I am very happy to hear opposing opinions on TTAG. If we do not listen, we do not know what the vast majority of the people in the middle think about rights that to many of us are fundamental to living, yet may not be to them.

If we do not understand the great middle, how will we ever get them to side with us on votes, etc.

• stateisevil says:

Nick, I won’t be opening any more articles authored by Jim. Hopefully others will follow.

• S_J says:

I won’t be boycotting Jim’s posts but I am disappointed. He’s made good contributions so I don’t want to dismiss him completely, and I’ll get over it. Eventually.

We see plenty of pro-control articles, posts etc. from outside our circle, and deride them as the emotion-poisoned nonsense that they are. This is a lot less objectionable than those, but it still amounts to the same basic thing–make mealy-mouthed concessions to people whose idea of “compromise” is simply not cleaning out our gun safes on the first go. We should be circling the wagons and rolling back bullshit regulations, not surrendering to more of them.

• DK says:

Confirmation bias tends only increase ignorance. Pro-gunners often accuse the anti-gunners of simply parroting the same old rhetoric without careful considering the facts. I think we in the pro-gun camp have to take care not to do the same thing (or we’re just a different flavor of dumb). I applaud TTAG for putting this piece up. I don’t know that I agree 100% with it (but then again, that’s not unusual for something I read online) but it’s a viewpoint that warrants careful and thoughtful consideration. In any policy argument (healthcare, social security, fiscal policy, foreign policy, etc…) only reading what you agree with limits your understanding of the topic and hinders real discussion of the issues at hand. I’m not saying you have to go all in and drink someone else’s kool-aid. I’m saying we need to study and evaluate other viewpoints on the merits of the argument. There may be other considerations you hadn’t thought about before. No merits to a given argument? Fine. Knowing that (and they why of that) makes your argument stronger.

• Well said, but I’d argue a lot of folks/regulars at TTAG have been down this road long ago on these opinions expressed here. They are such an affront to our basic understanding of right and wrong that we just lose it when those close to us, a TTAG staffer and/or Metcalf, are light years off from what we thought most here took for granted.

The responses wouldn’t be as spirited if it was a guest poster, we put them in the ‘know nothing’ crowd and look to educate, but when you are ingrained in ‘gun culture’ and you don’t ‘get it’ yet, many write you off as a lost cause, hence the FOAD mentality toward Dick and now Jim.

• William Burke says:

…Said the former TSA agent.

• At no time have I ever been employed by the Transportation Security Administration.

• Totenglocke says:

He didn’t work for the TSA, he worked for the Department of Homeland Terrorism. The TSA only violates the rights of those who wish to use mass transportation (usually limited to planes). The agency Nick worked for violates the rights of all Americans.

• Totenglocke says:

\$10 this gets picked up by the Brady Campaign Against Gun Ownership, Mayors Against Legal Guns, or Morons Demand Action as an example of “See! Gun owners want gun control too!”. Posting these articles is a disservice to the cause because you’re promoting those who already get non-stop 24/7 media coverage (not to mention the brainwashing done in schools).

• Hannibal says:

I think a good definition of extremist is someone who substitutes “ours” for “mine.”

17. Jonathan - Houston says:

This article is like an entire infield full of tee ball stands: any one of us could knock every one of these ridiculous arguments over the fence and out of the park one after another; but who has the time or gives a crap to do so? Others might, and probably should, because even third rate Fifth Columnists must be fought at every turn, too. I’ll leave that for more energetic others tonight, though, if that’s not too Inside Tee Ball.

• William Burke says:

The entire anti-2A strategem consists of positing one “reasonable” restriction after the other. The aim is total restriction, and guns in the hands of government and the military. As if there’s a difference.

I am sick and tired of your slanted “compromises” and all the others.

NOT ONE MORE INCH.

• Jonathan - Houston says:

Just so we’re clear………..by “your slanted compromises”, you *do* mean the original article writer’s compromises, and not mine, right? Coming in response to my post, your meaning could be misconstrued. We may be on the brink of a major misunderstanding here and I want to be very clear before proceeding.

18. The reasonable thought that instruction and permission means safety – only sounds good. Yes, we do have drivers education classes, yes, the states do license drivers and still the deaths mount up – in spite of all the regulations. For all the regulation and instruction, public and professionally certified, the education levels and performance of the students goes down – in this country. But Home schooling works? How does that happen? You need a better citizen, not better laws to provide something they only think or feel should improve performance.

Now, there is regulation on firearms harmful effects – you cannot shoot someone, even accidentally, without a review by law enforcement. You cannot discharge a firearm and damage property without possible penalty. Those laws do infringe upon absolute right with an arm, but you don’t think that is enough?

• “You need a better citizen, not better laws to provide something they only think or feel should improve performance.”

Amen brother. You cannot regulate a way the transgressions of an immoral and corrupt populace. None of this goes away, the school shootings, the gang murders, or the quest for disarmament until we have an enlightened public that understands what is right, what is just, what is proper, what is moral. If you can get that, everything falls in line.

Politics is an end, not a mean.

19. Sixpack70 says:

Interesting article, but I have one major gripe that I will pull from it and that is mandatory training. If we require mandatory training for being able to defend yourself then it will eventually be used to infringe on the rights of the people.

If we are going to require mandatory training then why not mandatory civics classes on the United States government with a test and licensing fee to vote?(Oh yeah, poll taxes are illegal) Voting, in my opinion, is much more dangerous than firearms ownership. Voting put Hitler into power and we all know how that turned out. Voting got us the patriot act. Voting sent us to war how many times and how many people on both sides died? Voting has effects that last generations. My gun may last generations but it’s affect on society as a whole is infinitesimally small. Voting put people like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Dianne Frankenstein into office…

• Cliff H says:

I’m pretty sure we cannot Constitutionally put such a requirement on the right to vote, much as I would like to see better civic education.

What we could do is place a requirement on the qualification to RUN for political office that the candidate study for, take and PASS a test on The Constitution of the United Sates of America and The Declaration of Independence, preferably not taught by Barack Obama. That way we could at least hold them to their oath to support and defend since they could not argue that they did not know.

20. chris says:

extremely well articulated. thank you.

21. Bob says:

I agree with Jim Barrett.

Yes, even the 2nd Amendment is not completely unlimited. It never was, never will be, and should not be.

However, the current restrictions on the 2nd Amendment are way beyond anything The Framers could have imagined, or would have accepted.

Imagine this conversation between an anti-gunner and me:
Anti: “The people who wrote the 2nd Amendment never intended for it to be unlimited.”
Me: “I agree.
(Strange look on the Anti’s face)
Me: “So the big disagreement between you and me concerns the amount of restrictions we want on the 2nd Amendment, right?”
Anti: “I guess so.”
Me: “So how much can we restrict the 2nd Amendment, without violating it? Where do we draw the line, and say this much is reasonable, but that much is too restrictive? That’s the big question, right?”
Anti: Right. Now we’re starting to get somewhere! Where would you draw ‘the line’?”
Me: “Turn around. Can you see that line way back there, about 90 years back there? That is where I would draw the line.”

I think this encapsulates what Jim was saying, and I agree with that completely.

• Hannibal says:

Seems reasonable to me.

• S.CROCK says:

What was the 90 years ago part.

• William Burke says:

I can supply for you, if you wish, a list of countries where you will be plenty more comfortable… as a SUBJECT.

If you have a wish to be a SUBJECT, and not a CITIZEN, I suggest you would be lots more happy in one of those. Not here, where you are so dissatisfied with your inability to become… a SUBJECT.

• Totenglocke says:

So you’re in the camp of “shall not be infringed” means “shall infringe the living hell out of”, eh?

• Bob says:

I believe that there can be and should be JUST A VERY FEW reasonable restrictions. The “90 years ago” was before the Gun Control Act of 1934. All of the restrictions since 1934, and maybe before that, were not reasonable, because none of them have resulted in any reduction in crime or increase in safety. (I don’t know much of the history of gun control before 1934.)

I know I disagree with some of the die-hard 2A people here, but I believe that we should keep guns out of the hands of convicted violent criminals, young children, and the delusionally mental ill. If you can’t be trusted without a custodian or guardian (and those people can’t), then you shouldn’t be trusted with a gun. I do not believe that you should allow someone to have a gun, when there is a high chance that he will illegally hurt someone with it. Any and every other “pre-crime” gun control law is unreasonable and unconstitutional.

This is my opinion, and I believe that it is completely reasonable. You have every right to disagree with me. (Putting on my Asbestos suit now.)

• Bob says:

Unlike Jim Barrett, I do not believe in mandatory training, but I do approve of a short written test to show that you know how to handle a gun safely, and that you know the basics of your states gun laws and self defense laws. California has one like this. It takes five minutes and just requires simple common sense about gun safety and the law. I passed it as a guns newbie without any studying up.

• William Burke says:

YOU took the mandatory “gun safety” test? Where’s your report card?

• William Burke says:

That “very few” would be you giving me your guns, right?

• John in Ohio says:

‘Reasonable’ doesn’t really play into it; shall not be infringed. The difference is in who is doing the disarming. I am in a bit of a time crunch right now so I’ll only be touching on at large in public. The government cannot infringe but that doesn’t mean that the family can’t take crazy Uncle Joe’s sidearm. A private citizen can also shoot a crazy SOB that’s threatening someone with a weapon. The difference is that government cannot infringe on the public keeping and bearing of arms. (I’m limiting the scope of where for brevity.)

22. Mack Bolan says:

You cant be serious? If so, please turn in your guns, and report to re-education camp as soon as possible. We’ll give them right back as soon as you are done showering.

“As with the training question, the trick here would be to separate the truly dangerous from the rest.” Sounds a lot like what the Nazi’s said as they herded the Jews into cattle cars”

Nice piece of trash you wrote.

• Hannibal says:

Yeah, 6 million jews, pretty much the same thing, right?

You lost the internet.

• William Burke says:

It isn’t trash. It’s SEWAGE.

• Cliff H says:

I am very tempted to pen one of those Nick Leghorn type articles that go on for two or three installments debunking this position point by point, but I think it is just rehashing the same material about the meaning of “…shall not be infringed.” This is so perfectly clear and concise that I find it difficult to believe that even people educated enough to be appointed to the Supreme Court cannot understand it.

23. JSW says:

“…The United States Declaration of Independence declares life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to be inalienable rights that cannot be denied. While this is an absolute for those who choose to live away from society…”
Uh-huh.
Then you go on to decide they are just ‘pretend absolutes’.
To say the DoI ‘allows’ us these rights is using a false premise/straw man argument to reach a conclusion. The DoI simply reinforces what are ‘inalienable rights’ for every person on the planet, not just those in remote wilderness areas. We Americans just happen to live in a country that delineates these rights and tell the government they cannot abbrogate them, which they have been doing since this country was formed while we people slept.
This article is just another attempt to convince gun owners/2nd A supporters that ‘compromise’ will get us farther along the line to ‘world peace’ and ‘safety for the children’ while it really is just a disarmament pogrom.

• It is not a battle between the good of the individual and the good of the collective. What is best for the individual IS best for the collective. They are two seeds in the same pod. It is NOT about the collective good with progressives. Don’t let them have that moral high ground. LIBERTY is about the collective good, not oppression via progression. They sell their tyranny as for the good of the people but it is about the good of themselves, the ruling class, and exploiting the misguided philanthropy of the masses to get it.

Conservatives and Libertarians too often concede the moral high ground in these political debates. LIBERTY always has the moral high ground. What could be better for the people, as individuals and as a collective, than Liberty? How in the world can anything be good for the individual and not also be good for the collective? Ensuring each man and women lies free and with control of their own Liberty is the most moral, principled stance that can ever be made. There is no greater cause of the good of mankind than fighting for Liberty.

http://nogreatercause.org/2013/10/30/i-fight-for-the-collective-good/#more-828

24. Hannibal says:

I appreciate the part about the court and natural law vs. society, though the people who decide that their ‘natural right’ exists outside of society still insist on living within it and subjecting everyone to their strident tautologies nonetheless. Their opinions are worth about as much as mine… 1/131 millionth… but at least I can admit it and don’t call my interpretation out as divinely inspired.

As to the Supreme Court… imperfect, sure, but it makes sense within the checks and balances inherent to the constitution. I’m not sure what a better alternative would be, given the fact that we live in a nation of laws and it is impractical (impossible, really) to just let anyone decide what they consider ‘constitutional’ or not.

I’m willing to consider regulation (background checks, for example) when it is part of an actual compromise. Not the kind of compromise where we just lose half our rights, but one where we gain some. If someone puts national carry reciprocity on the table, I’d listen to what they have to say.

• William Burke says:

Piffle.

• Cliff H says:

Ditto – Piffle.

An agency with the mandate to compile, maintain and administer a “background check” is just an agency with the implied power to infringe on the RKBA. The whole point of the 2A is to demand that the government does not have ANY authority to create such an exclusionary list, for any reason.

• William Burke says:

To everyone to would entertain such ridiculous an opinion: Try the “Shall be Infringed” forum.

25. Nate says:

The idea that there can be no laws trying to stop purchases of guns by those who are violent/been convicted/have past convictions and have shown a pattern, is madness to me. The mental leaps of logic I keep seeing to justify the idea that we should have no laws on the subject are baffling. Yes, a criminal can buy the gun illegally, but that doesn’t mean you just allow him to walk into any gun store and easily buy anything he wants.

So, yeah. I just can’t handle the idea that no laws should exist on the subject. By that logic, no laws should exist for anything because why bother? Murderers will murder, why bother making it illegal?

Tons of gun control measures are garbage, things like restricting magazine size have no evidence to say they work amongst many other stupid laws. Stopping people who WILL abuse the guns is not part of that.

• uncommon_sense says:

Nate,

No one objects to murder laws because murder laws do not tell you what kind of clothing, sports equipment, car, or home you can have. Further, murder laws do not make you jump through a bunch of hoops before you can purchase or even make your own clothing, sports equipment, car, or home.

On the other hand, there are thousands of laws that impede a good citizen’s ability to simply keep and bear arms. If a citizen becomes a criminal and uses a firearm to attack someone, lock them up and throw away the key. Otherwise, it is immoral for government to do anything but leave them alone.

• Punish the crime.

Crime is an affront on the life, liberty, and property of another. Possession of anything is not a crime. Laws that make it such are an affront to liberty and property and an affront to the natural rights of man. Possession laws are oppressive. Possession laws are despotic. Possession laws have no basis in anything moral, just control and exploitation.

• Totenglocke says:

“Yes, a criminal can buy the gun illegally, but that doesn’t mean you just allow him to walk into any gun store and easily buy anything he wants.”

If you believe that an ex-con is so dangerous, WHY IS HE ON THE DAMN STREET? Anyone with a brain knows that there are hundreds of ways to kill a person – so you’re banning them from using one method (well, I should say banning them from legally obtaining the item for one method), but you don’t care about the countless other weapons they could use to murder someone? Either a person who was sent to jail is deemed safe enough to release into society and has all of their rights, or they’re too dangerous and stay locked up. It’s not complicated.

• Cliff H says:

“The idea that there can be no laws trying to stop purchases of guns by those who are violent/been convicted/have past convictions and have shown a pattern, is madness to me. The mental leaps of logic I keep seeing to justify the idea that we should have no laws on the subject are baffling.”

Laws cannot stop a criminal from engaging in criminal behavior. I’m not sure, but I believe THAT is a natural law. Since it is not possible to stop a criminal from obtaining arms any more than it is possible to prevent an addict from getting drugs, what is the value of surrendering your Second Amendment rights to a government decision as to who can or cannot exercise the RKBA, when and where? How will you control this Leviathon once unleashed? The answer is, based on the tens of thousands of gun control (anti-2A) laws already on the books, that you CANNOT.

I fear a government with the authority to arbitrarily repeal my Second Amendment RKBA more than I fear an occasional criminal encounter on the street and I suspect even legally armed criminals would not survive long in a society ready and willing to police them out of existence.

What you CAN control is criminal behavior and that is accomplished by allowing, even encouraging law-abiding citizens to carry arms and protect themselves, their family and their neighbors form criminal depredation.

• Alan Rose says:

Laws that confine criminals to prison for X amount of time are designed for punishment, and maybe sorta in a wishy washy way that doesn’t work, for rehabilitation. They also protect society from these criminals by default. So should the purpose of the courts be to lock up, protect, correct, etc.? Should prison sentences be ended or extended based on the likelihood of the offender being a threat to public safety? These are societal issues far beyond “no guns for felons.” Also I must argue that the bad check felon and the federal environmental regulation violating felon is a lot less dangerous than the gang member murderer felon and the armed robbery felon. As an aside, most people who murder in a crime of passion versus during another crime like robbery would probably never murder again.
Laws that proscribe prison sentences for crimes are in place to provide a deterrent to criminal activity. Obviously that went sideways since they get prosecuted frequently. Wait, if murder was legal, I still would abstain. So maybe laws to prevent crime aren’t effective. So then we move on to laws that stop people from committing crimes, such as “gun control” that stops people from acquiring firearms if they fail to meet certain criteria. Yeah, they don’t work either, as has been stated, because the criminal in search of a gun will find one illegally. Does that mean we throw in the towel and allow the retail of that gun? Not really. What it means is, we will never stop crime. The day may come when the Feds outlaw all guns and ammo, and even then it will be generations before we see an appreciable return on that investment, but we certainly will see a cornucopia of unintended consequences that far outweigh the original goal.
As I see it, gun laws need to be repealed and more strictly defined and scientifically proven minimalist laws passed to replace them, that better respect the 2A while protecting society from gun crime. Will these laws be perfect? Nope. Out of 230 million peoplem somebody, somewhere, will feel infringement. The best we can hope for now is for no MORE control and maybe isolated cases of less control Of course SCOTUS could throw us another big bone but don’t count on it. My greatest fear is that society will accept Big Brother type control which might improve societal safety at the expense of all else. Now here’s a loaded question considering other items in the news of late: If the government embraced 2A absolutism along with the destruction of privacy, would that be a win or a loss?

• William Burke says:

Straw Man.

26. 505markf says:

I think anyone who owns or uses any tool, be it a screwdriver, circular saw, or shotgun, should take steps to be sure they understand how to use it safely. But safety is a slippery thing. People I see advocating for mandatory training as a prerequisite for firearms ownership have probably seen many such people do stupid things. The problem to me is that forcing training is at best a feeble attempt to force something people don’t want to talk about much anymore, which is the concept of personal responsibility.

Mandating training assumes the outcome will be responsible ownership, yet people simply make mistakes sometimes. Does that mean more training? Maybe. No amount of training will ever be a substitute for a keen sense of being personally responsible for the use of a firearm.

I would rather see there be no mandatory training, yet significant training being available for free to all who are interested, and instead that misuse of a firearm is something that is rigorously punished. Such is also a feeble attempt to enforce personal responsibility, but at least it does not assume the lack of such from the beginning.

27. uncommon_sense says:

There are two HUGE fundamental errors in your argument/mindset Mr. Barrett.

(1) The other side wants complete civilian disarmament. They don’t want anything “reasonable”. There is no middle ground. Granted you already touched on that in your article but it bears repeating. Thus we cannot “bargain in good faith” with the gun grabbers.

(2) The primary and most critical use case for firearms is defense of life against criminals, crazies, and governments (foreign and domestic). The stakes are enormous. And the opportunities for abuse of “regulatory power” are already evident. (Try and get a concealed carry license in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York City.) We can never empower nor trust governments with the power to regulate firearms. It may work out well for a while but it eventually ends badly for citizens.

For these two reasons, I do not support “regulation”. I understand what you are saying. And I understand that what you are saying would work in an ideal world. But we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a world where there are a LOT of nasty, evil people who want nothing more than to use, abuse, exploit, manipulate, and consume you and your family. Sadly, those people naturally gravitate to positions of control and power in business, politics, and law enforcement — because those positions present them with the greatest opportunities to use, abuse, exploit, manipulate, and consume you and your family. You are ill advised to empower those types with regulating your “right” to keep and bear arms.

• William Burke says:

+100. Thank you. Have a happy Thanksgiving. I will be giving extra special thanks that people like Barnett do not call the tune in America tomorrow.

[Spits]

• Alan Rose says:

Why do we Keep and Bear? To keep the government in check, to keep criminals at bay, or both? Certainly there are different camp philosophies. I keep a gun at the ready at home and always carry where legal and not prohibited by my employer. Given the low crime nature of my community, I suspect that I may never have the opportunity to draw it (again; I have in the past).

28. Scot says:

Jim,

While interesting, your article doesn’t seem to be well thought out.

You note that gun control laws don’t reduce crime, yet then favor such laws.

You appear to have fallen into the anti-gun trap of believing that a death where a firearm is involved is more consequential than a death where no firearm is involved. At least I get that from your belief that ‘gun deaths’ would be reduced by safe storage laws and mandatory training. Even if it were true, as it most likely is not, that such laws would reduce the firearms related portion of deaths, suicide, the major component of ‘gun deaths’ has been shown to be means independent, those who intend to kill themselves can do so even without access to guns.

29. Jay W. says:

Great thought provoking piece.

30. Shawn says:

No felons or mentally insane allowed to have guns. You commit a crime…you lose the RTBA. As for NFA items…some yes with no paper work and some regulated.

• Jeff says:

Really? What about non-violent felonies? What about after the sentence has been served?
So… maybe it was larceny, maybe 40 years ago, and no 2A for you?

• William Burke says:

REALLY? Would you happily surrender your RKBA is your were pinched for jaywalking or speeding?
[Memorable face palm]

You miserable collaborator. Find another country where you can happily be unfree. Leave this country to Americans.

• Cliff H says:

To state that a part of the penalty for “committing a crime” is to “lose your RTBA”[sic] is to hold the opinion that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA) is dependent on the permission of the government and that they are able and justified to repeal, remove or deny that permission based on any arbitrary legal criteria they care to establish. Since we here mostly agree with the Founding Fathers that the RKBA is a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected natural right that CANNOT be repealed or lost and is NOT granted to us by the government, but protected for us FROM the government, the entire concept of “losing” your RKBA based on a government standard is a false premise.

31. 0351 says:

I have always wanted mandatory training, but I’ve come to see a fundamental problem with it. It can be abused, and will be. I’m not sure we can ever legislate away stupidity. So I can’t support it because I’m sure of where it will head. Good read though. I don’t understand why some of yall can’t respect an opinion while still disagreeing with it…

• Jeff says:

how do you feel about mandatory military service?

• William Burke says:

Wow, does mandatory military service sound FANTASTIC, or WHAT?

• 0351 says:

The same way – it sounds nice at first but quickly turns sour when people are involved. I said I *don’t* want mandatory training because I have a fairly good idea where it would end up. Mandatory military service – I would like it if everyone were willing to do so. It provides some useful perspective on life;yet with people being what they are, I have no interest in serving next to someone who doesn’t want to be there.

• William Burke says:

If it EVER “sounds nice at first”, perhaps you haven’t thought it through long enough.

How’s that for a buncha “ough”, huh?

• Totenglocke says:

Slavery? I believe that was outlawed in the US about 150 years ago.

• Cliff H says:

I believe the draft is a violation of several Constitutionally protected rights and should be abolished.

What I would like to see instead would be a requirement that in order to obtain a high school diploma you MUST attend and pass a basic military training course in the summer between your junior and senior years. In order to obtain a GED you must complete this same course, but with a more flexible schedule.

There should be no college or university admission without this certificate of training.

This is a rough concept and fully fleshed out, but I think it makes sense on a lot of levels.

• William Burke says:

Huh. What if your folks need you on the farm? When I was in school, “we need him at the farm for harvest” (or spring planting) was an excusable absence. Think it through. Your intentions were very good, but ANYTHING “compulsory” should be examined from outside the thought platform from which it sprang.

I had a classmate who didn’t make it to school one day, because he’d gotten shredded by a Combine the previous afternoon. No more school for him.

• Rich Grise says:

No, you’re still missing the point. There is no clause in the Constitution that grants government the power or authority to make anything mandatory.

Zero.

But there’s also nothing keeping you from finding a school that does offer what you seek. Or there won’t be when we get the FedGov out of the education business entirely.

• Cliff H says:

“This is a rough concept and fully fleshed out, but I think it makes sense on a lot of levels.”

This was incorrect due to editing problems with my browser. It should have read: “This is a rough concept and NOT fully fleshed out…” It is actually an idea I was working on for a science fiction story in the outline stages.

As for the “We need him for the harvest”, Who will help with the harvest next year when he is drafted? Who will help finish the harvest after they clean the thresher? (Sorry, rather cold, but illustrative.) I was not proposing that every person was mandated to attend this training, only that it was a requirement to obtain the diploma, or if you needed a more flexible schedule you could choose a later date and get a G.E.D. instead.

I think that a great deal of the Liberal/Progressive crap absorbed by our younger generations could be effectively countered if they were exposed to military training and weapons in their formative years. This concept does not include any mandatory military service following completion of the training.

Like Robert Heinlein I do not believe in conscription:
“No state has an inherent right to survive through conscript troops and in the long run, no state ever has. Roman matrons used to say to their sons: ‘Come home with your shield, or on it.’ Later on this custom declined. So did Rome.”

• Scot says:

Cliff,

At the risk of getting into non-2A tall weeds, are you saying that the US should have foregone conscription during and just prior to WWII, and, if there weren’t enough volunteers watched Germany and Japan win?

• Rich Grise says:

Scot says:
“… WWII, and, if there weren’t enough volunteers watched Germany and Japan win?”

They wouldn’t win. they would have gone broke trying to penetrate our coasts, and if they had broken through, they’d have been up against “a gun behind every blade of grass” and no supply lines.

Don’t you think?

• William Burke says:

I agree. And I don’t think Germany was in any sort of shape to take on a U.S. invasion. Ivan had left Klaus pretty bloodied and woozy, and Japan was extremely disinclined to try any invasion.

In other news:

http://www.krqe.com/news/crime/protesters-to-rally-against-state-police-use-of-force

if anyone feels like making the drive. Lend a hand to the protest.

The State Police HQ is located on the bypass (the route to Angel Fire and Eagle Nest), about 1/4 mile west of the Youth and Family Center (the hockey rink and pool, bankrolled by Julia Roberts.
Go Ice Tigers!

• John in Ohio says:

At the risk of getting into non-2A tall weeds, are you saying that the US should have foregone conscription during and just prior to WWII, and, if there weren’t enough volunteers watched Germany and Japan win?

I’ll butt in with my own opinion if y’all don’t mind. The purpose of government isn’t government. If the People don’t have enough desire to fight in the cause then it is what it is; individuals ought not be forced to do so.

• Cliff H says:

Scott, the basic concept is that it is the government’s job to convince the populace that the cause is worth fighting for. Only when they lose the ability to force citizens into involuntary servitude and send them to die for a cause they do not understand or do not agree with will they choose their battles (and their generals) wisely.

Too many time in history a population has supported their government’s war only because their children had been conscripted to go and fight it, not because they felt the cause was just.

• Scot says:

Cliff,

It’s off topic, so I should let it be, but you didn’t answer my question which was specific to a specific war. General utopian ideas like ‘the world should be like this’ don’t really help in understanding what should be done in specific cases. The idea that government may not use its police powers to force people to do anything that they would not voluntarily do is as much a utopian idea as is the leftist idea that government is authorized to force anyone to do anything.

In the world as it existed in the early 1940s, should the US have been willing to let Japan and Germany win (nations which did conscript) WW II in the event that it was not possible to get sufficient numbers of men to volunteer for the military?

• uncommon_sense says:

I cannot respect an “opinion” that advocates someone (government in this case) infringing my rights.

I saw an interesting example. Someone argued that any man could compel any woman to have sex with him based on the health benefits of sex. (Sex involves activity which burns calories, improves heart health, and reduces stress.) Would you respect such an opinion to compel women to have sex with any man who demands it because it is “good” for the woman? Neither do I respect an opinion that advocates government can rape me with respect to firearms ownership.

• michi says:

I just don’t get how “mandatory training” would actually equate to safety. So you know how to rack a slide without getting pinched? Don’t point the business end at anything you don’t want to perforate?

If someone needs to be told this, a ‘class’ isn’t going to be the medicine they need. Mandating it means… what, there’s a test at the end? Or a certificate you get and your name in a little book so long as you slept through the 4 hours?

“If only I was taught first to not dry fire into my palm I’d still be a piano player today”.

Again, correlation and causation. Let’s say that people who do voluntarily take training tend to be safer. That sure as hell doesn’t mean that to make people safer we should mandate training. It just means that the person who had the initiative to educate themselves is less likely to sweatpants-tuck their hi-point and set a new land speed record for their own genitals.

• Christian says:

Heh. I learned the hard way how to rack the slide on my PT92 without getting pinched. I will never make that mistake again.. xD

Training is good. However, training does not fix stupid.

• Rich Grise says:

<reply withdrawn – it appeared after the wrong post.>

• Alan Rose says:

Despite the author’s assertaions of witnessed poor gun handling safety skills, and despite a national lack of mandated gun safety classes, most Americans continue to NOT accidentally/negligently kill/get killed every day.

Mandated gun training is not necessary, although I would support it in the schools. Education is never a bad thing.

32. FortWorthColtGuy says:

I feel like this is a good article. I may not agree, but can respect and even see where the author is coming from. In fact, I agree with his premise and desire to do good.

However, just like Marxism, it only works in theory. As a pro-gun guy, I know if our movement gives an inch, the anti’s will take a mile. It is too much to risk in this game of chance. Freedom is easily lost, but difficult to regain.

33. Andrew says:

• William Burke says:

34. Nathanael says:

Thank you for publishing this. While I enjoy much of the content on this site, I’m sometimes put off by the absolutism of some contributors and especially by the rudeness of some of the comments (the thread above furnishes plenty of examples). In particular, rhetoric that assumes a crude mash-up of parts of Locke, Mill, and Jefferson is the final word in political theory (and then insults anyone who disagrees) is annoying to me. So again, thank you for publishing an well-spoken alternative.

• Andrew says:

Sorry to of annoyed you while you advocate for infringing our rights.

How can anyone not see the second amendment as an absolute right? “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Where is there any room in that for the government to impose any restrictions (infringements)? A one second waiting period would be an infringement. A one cent tax would be an infringement. A restriction on what you can own is an infringement. The text of the 2nd amendment clearly denies the government the authority to do any of these restrictions (infringements).

Just because the government has been violating our rights for a long time with the approval of the supreme court does not mean that we do not have those rights. And it does not mean that we have to accept this violation of our rights as you have.

• William Burke says:

May I suggest you might feel more at home with a blog entitled “All the Lies You Ever Wanted to Hear About Guns”? You already know you’re out of you depth among real patriots, not Sunday patriots like yourself. I’ll help you find a place more to your liking.

35. FO.

Ditch the Social Contract babble and read and truly learn what liberty and natural rights are and the origin of law in society.

Bastiat, The Law is a good start.

36. Is there a filter to ensure a don’t give Jim any more views to feed his ego on future posts?

37. Skylor says:

Mr. Barrett,

I respect your opinion and I believe you make some very thought provoking points. I work in Government (not a LEO) and am finishing up my Master’s degree including a great deal of public policy study. I agree, to an extent, in your position on the Social Contract. As it pertains to 2A, guns can and will be regulated. Whether we agree or not is moot. Where I respectfully disagree is on your insistence on being a proponent of the middle ground. Our political reality has created a middle ground comprised of the compromise between pro and anti gun advocates. As proponents of the 2A, we must lobby not for the middle ground, but for the fullest exercise of our rights. Otherwise, we struggle against and opponent who will argue against your middle road from the leftist exetreme.

• I hope you have read Bastiat’s ‘The Law’ in your studies. It is hard to argue. Sorry to post this everywhere, but it was an eye-opener and dot-connector for me.

• William Burke says:

This “Social Contract”, where can I find it? I looked and looked in my copy of the Constitution, but couldn’t find it. The U.S. CONSTITUTION is the law of the land, not some half-assed COMMUNITARIAN’s reason-defying “social contract”.

WRONG CONTRACT. WRONG COUNTRY.

• Cliff H says:

I have made only a cursory study of the Social Contract concept, but I seem to recall an important piece of information: The Social Contract is a VOLUNTARY association of individuals for social benefits that they all agree upon. Any person who is willing to agree to the rules, regulations and limitations of the society is welcome to join and participate, and by the same reasoning any person who finds themselves at odds with the society is free to either advocate for change, or in extremis, to depart the society. I believe it could be argued that criminals have departed from participation in our social contract. Government entities and authorities who are not willing to abide by the rules of our Social Contract as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have departed from our Social Contract. They are just unwilling to physically depart because we allow them to continue to reap benefits even though they constantly violate the agreement. Cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, etc., are NOT the arbiters of our Social Contract. That was determined when the Constitution was ratified and each State that joined the Union agreed to abide by the Constitution.

You are a special kind of stupid aren’t you? Drivel like this especially the whiny intro about how you “have to” purchase all the firearms that you review. Getting into the meat of your explanation of the social contract theory is deeply flawed, when stating that Thomas Hobbes’ treatise allows society to take our lifes (which by your reasoning sounds like on a whim) simply as a condition of participating in a civilized society. This completely ignores one of Hobbes’ chief argument against such arbitrary punishment as he explains in “The Prisoner’s Dilemma.” Moving past that this kind of posting just pours gas on the anti-gunner’s fire. This is exactly the kind of stuff they love to see, print out of context and misquote frequently (think 90s studies of limited scope examining gun purchases). In the future if you seek so badly to be compensated for your writing perhaps you could find a nice position writing talking points for Bloomberg or Pelosi, who knows maybe it will pay well enough to pay for all those guns you “have to” purchase to review….

• Cliff H says:

While Hobbes had some interesting philosophical insights, his final conclusions as to the establishment of a proper society are extremely flawed. His was another attempt at Utopia and as such just another veiled form of fascism.

For further reading and an important education into the flaws of Utopian ideals I strongly recommend “Ameritopia” by Mark Levine.

• Rich Grise says:

Under Almost Absolute Liberty (do what you want, just don’t hurt anybody) every person will be able to create her own utopia.

• Cliff H says:

Utopia under any circumstances or any form (or lack of) government is a pipe dream, Rich. I once again recommend Marl Levine’s “Ameritopia”.

• Rich Grise says:

One fundamental truth that the ones who like government more than they like freedom never seem to get. Prosperity is directly porportional to Liberty, and inversely proportional to government.

The entire FedGov that’s defined in the Constitution is 435 Representatives, 100 Senators, 9 Supremes, 1 President, and 1 Vice President.

Then there can be up to 15 Cabinet Members, and 1 Attorney General.

So, the whole freaking Federal Government is supposed to consist of 562 people., but only 537 are elected.

That’s my pie in the sky, and I’m aiming for it. Why not aim high? You might not reach the Moon, but you’ll never reach the Moon if you’re aiming for Keokuk.

• William Burke says:

Prosperity will never be seen again in your lifetime, or mine. Liberty? We must not bend. We must not break.

• Rich Grise says:

Prosperity automatically comes hand-in-hand with Liberty. That has also been demonstrated ad nausam.

• William Burke says:

No prosperity, Rich… how can that be when the global economy tanks? And when I say, “tanks”, I mean like never before. Destitution Row, Rich.

• John in Ohio says:

My opinion is that without individual Liberty there can’t be prosperity for many. I don’t believe that we’ll see real prosperity in our lifetimes due to, in part, global economic depression. But, if we don’t restore individual Liberty here, prosperity for many will never be realized, even in many lifetimes. I do believe wholeheartedly that without individual Liberty, there can be no real prosperity except for those in power.

• Rich Grise says:
39. Soccerchainsaw says:

1. The second amendment is simple and straightforward except to those that would pervert it. To them it needs “interpretation”.

2. The pro-gunner that is willing to compromise his/her principles to appear “reasonable” will find the other side unwilling to ever accept this gesture as enough.

• William Burke says:

Oh, HELL, yeah!

40. Since I got my FO out of the way, let me contribute an unconventional solution for you Jim.

We have a problem of scale in this country. It is too f—ing big and powerful. These conversations cannot be answered ‘fairly’ or happily on a scale that size.

Pretend you lived in a sovereign independent state with a population of say 280,000 (avg in US in 1800) and my state operated a republican form of government. Let’s say the state legislature had 150 – 200 folks in it, 1 for every 1500 citizens or so. And let’s say your sovereign state signed a contract with a few others that included e a standard currency, common defense, free trade, and few other things.

And now let’s imagine this is the construct inhabits all the land mass we now call the USA. Some are higher population, low land mass city states similar to Singapore and others are much larger land wise but on the low population side (read North Colorado or East Montana).

In a world like this, wouldn’t these ‘issues’ be easier to ‘solve’ in your state? You could always leave to one of the others that undoubtedly will have amazing diverse laws and societal norms. I am a 100% 2A absolutist, but heck, you might get me to tolerate your attempted oversteps like elementary training and ‘mental health’ problems much more easily when I can take a 15 minute drive down to my reps house and give a talkin’ too if he gets out of line.

With the enormous scale of this country comes complete un-accountability and corruption. The private reward for bad behavior is just too great for 566 people handling the money and liberty of hundreds of millions of souls. Politicians act in their own self interest, it is only by ensuring that they answer as directly as possible to their constituents and that as many people in society ‘have a say’ as possible.

Each of these sovereign states will obviously have to abide and respect the sovereignty and natural rights of the citizens of the other.

I would argue that you would be hard pressed to find a large number of people that wouldn’t call at least some action of their government oppressive, intrusive, despotic, or usurping.

It is time to throw off the shackles of this government. Discard it’s shackles, and provide anew for our future security and liberty.

Life, Liberty, Property. Mine.

Mesquita and Smith; The Dictator’s Handbook
http://www.amazon.com/The-Dictators-Handbook-Behavior-Politics/dp/1610391845
Bastiat; The Law
http://mises.org/books/thelaw.pdf
Higgs; The Song That Is Irresistible – How the State Leads People to Their Own Destruction
http://youtu.be/b7SA_5WeGZ0?t=9m17s

• John in Ohio says:

It is time to throw off the shackles of this government. Discard it’s shackles, and provide anew for our future security and liberty.

Amen! We’re in a desperate race to restore our Liberty in this lifetime. I fail to see how individual liberty can endure even one more generation. The image of an individual right has been perverted to an almost unrecognizable shadow of its former glory even now.

41. PhoenixNFA says:

well written article, very articulate.

as jim said, you may not agree eye to eye with him, but closing your ears and going “BLAH BLAH BLAH I CANT HEAR YOU BLAH BLAH BLAH” serves exactly 0 purpose.

42. Pete says:

Hey Jim. I too try to live somewhere in the middle. I’m going to laugh at your for a while for “lambasting” a guy whose footsteps you followed in, haha.

Anywho here’s me trying to be thoughtful and disagree with you civilly. 🙂

“those of us who choose to live within a society’s strictures find that these rights can indeed be abridged” I would argue that these rights aren’t really abridged UNTIL they come in conflict. If you try to kill me I can kill you. Our rights have come into conflict and since you are in the wrong I’m okay to off you. That’s the spirit I’d agree to abridging rights. If it’s just “you have to give up your right to privacy because it saves lives” you can have your social contract back. I’m out.

Ya follow me? (I am probably not as articulate as you, haha)

• Evan says:

Social contract theory is BS. The progs basically say, “well you used the government monopolized roads so we can tell you what to do.” it is the equivalent of telling those in concentration camps that because they ate the soup rations they were really consenting to be there.

43. Evan says:

When you mentioned social contract theory, I stopped reading. Sure we live by a system of social norms, but social contract Theory is progressive BS. Look up Tom wood’s explanation on YouTube.

44. Neil Burke says:

I’m going to echo Nathanael here and thank you for publishing another view than just the absolutism. I am saddened to see that there doesn’t seem to be much actual discussion of the post but instead just insults and demands of disarmament because the author is “not worthy” since he believes differently.

That said, I do question the mandatory safety training. While you could do something like Canada, where you can challenge the course requirement and just do the tests, I don’t see how it could be implemented without requiring FOID cards. To do otherwise would allow someone to just make up a certificate on their computer and hit print.

• tfunk says:

Umm…are you reading the same posts I am? While there are some that are sophomoric and rude, there is quite a lot of discussion.

• Neil Burke says:

^ Quite possibly not. I tend to open a bunch of articles at one time and spend a couple of hours reading. I don’t think the comments update live, so that probably doesn’t help matters either. Either way though, it’d still be nice if people could refrain from the personal attacks even if they are commenting on the original post itself.

• Matt in FL says:

The comments do not update live, but only when the page is refreshed.

45. Curiosity has me here…

Which State is home and which were you raised in Jim?

TX now, MI raised for me, to be fair.

46. Totenglocke says:

“RF has stated on numerous occasions that he believes that the Second Amendment prohibits any kind of gun control laws. ”

It’s not a belief, it’s a fact. Try…I dunno…reading the damn Constitution? Seriously, what mental gymnastics are you doing to twist “shall not be infringed” into anything other than “shall not be infringed”?

“As I said earlier, RF’s opinion on the specific meaning of 2A is no more and no less valid than Michael Bloomberg’s opinion.”

Again, read the damn Constitution. Rob’s points are things that actually exist in the text of the Second Amendment. Bloomberg’s delusions do not exist in the document at all.

“But I don’t think that just anyone should be able to walk around with anything they want whenever they want wherever they want. I’ve taken a fair number of firearm classes and I can’t tell you the number of dumb-ass things people do with guns.”

So you approve of licensing to vote, have children, voice political views, etc? I’m going to assume your answer is “no” – which means that you’re full of shit. You do not believe in right to bear arms, you believe in the government granted privilege to bear what politicians decide you can bear.

“Administered correctly, the training would not be a real barrier to ownership.”

Annnnnnnnnnnnd that’s where I stop reading. Seriously, screw you and your disdain for people’s rights. I hope you get a SWAT team smashing down your door in the middle of the night to take away the guns that you’re “privileged” to own and ruin your life in the process.

47. MacBeth51 says:

Your trying to sit on the fence. All you get from setting on the fence is splinters in the butt

48. waif says:

I didn’t read all the comments so I don’t know if this point got made already, but using mental health as a litmus test can be complicated by the politicization of mental health diagnosis. Some liberal rag or another published a serious article about how being conservative is a mental illness some years ago. I wouldn’t want to roll the dice on gun rights in this manner.

49. BillF says:

“Folks who’ve read some of my prior editorial articles know that I don’t always toe the 2A line as much as some of the other contributors to this site. It’s ironic, some might say, given my post a couple of weeks ago lambasting G&A’s Dick Metcalf for doing pretty much the same thing that I’m about to do.”

Words from a very conflicted man.

• John in Ohio says:

When I read his first two sentences, I immediately was reminded of, “Here, hold my beer and watch this!”

• Cliff H says:

You may be referring to Jeff Foxworthy’s comment that, “If you ever had a relative at a family gathering die immediately after shouting, ‘Hey ya’ll, watch THIS!’ you might be a redneck.”

This may be Jim’s “Hey ya’ll!” moment.

• John in Ohio says:

Yes, that’s the idea. The joke has morphed on the interwebs since Foxworthy used it as comedic material. All permutations stem from the same situation. 😀

50. Pat says:

Its all moot since the libtards (democrats) are trying to take our freedom (firearms), sooooo….war it is, with no compromise.

51. Jeff says:

If you aren’t someone who questions everything, everyone, has doubts about absolutes, can change their opinion and demands facts before accepting anything, or gets upset when someone doesn’t share the same opinion or is constantly evaluating where they think they stand, move on down to the next comment…

I must admit that I don’t share the same views as the author above, but not necessarily because I’m an absolutist, I don’t know where I stand, I don’t see any evidence that any regulations perform as originally billed. All seem to be abused and I see something wrong with implementing any legislation that has very little chance of “doing something,” but most certainly threatens liberty.

I can tell you one thing for certain, our founders weren’t absolutists. We wouldn’t have a ratified constitution if they were.

In theory, I could get behind classes, but unsafe people are unsafe even when forcibly shown how to be safe. I just see this issue like I see prohibition, you can’t and shouldn’t force people to do what you think is right. It never works. What if we police our own? I correct people on the range when I see something unsafe, why don’t gun stores educate customers on their own? The last thing I’d want is some knucklehead flagging me, well no, the last thing I’d want is to sell a gun to someone I’m not confident will be safe.

It seems to me that one side is trying to legislate solutions to things that aren’t problems, and present more danger than they will admit, and the other side is pounding their chest and shouting “SHALL NOT INFRINGE” and “MOLON LABE!” We present no solutions, except throwing other liberties and privacy under the bus, like video games and mental health records, and in no way show that we are concerned about the same problems. No wonder, we are hated.

Infringing is the wrongful limitation or restriction of a right. I see preventing people from owning magazines of any capacity as an infringement. Is training really an infringement? Isn’t this an enhancement of their right to keep and bare arms? I’m the last person who thinks state mandated training will reduce crime or even have a measurable effect on crime, but I find it hard to see training as an infringement. My view is subject to change given a compelling argument.

While I don’t agree with Jim about gun safes being effective deterrents to crime, I just don’t see having to lock up your guns as meeting the definition of infringement. An inspection by law enforcement certainly violates our rights.

I think we can agree that in our society, not everyone has the right to keep and bare arms, violent felons for example shouldn’t have guns, these few spree killers shouldn’t have guns. If we screened out the dangerous people, supposing we even can while respecting their rights, or added training, while leaving our rights intact, being able to own what you want in order to be “little, if at all inferior” to the Army, is that still “infringing?” I gotta admit that citizens as skilled or at least as safe with arms as our military doesn’t sound like an infringement to me. The problem seems to be the well earned lack of trust in our legislators and those who oppose gun rights. I also see our chest thumping absolutists and willingness to disown one of our own, Jim is clearly one of our own, as a danger to our liberties too.

• michi says:

Training: The infringement isn’t in the ‘gaining of knowledge’, the infringement is in the gatekeeping. And there will be gatekeeping. How does the training work, does everyone who takes it automatically pass? When is it offered? Is it free? How much time does it take? — Anything can be constructed to be a barrier, and once it’s normalized at first (even if ‘lightly’ restrictive) can later be modified very easily to be highly restrictive.

Locking up: Not an infringement? “Sir, I realize you’re threatening to kill my kid but if you can just wait while I dial in this combination… oh crap now was that 3 then 6 or 3 then 9, I forget…”

• Jeff says:

Training: The infringement isn’t in the ‘gaining of knowledge’, the infringement is in the gatekeeping. And there will be gatekeeping. How does the training work, does everyone who takes it automatically pass? When is it offered? Is it free? How much time does it take? — Anything can be constructed to be a barrier, and once it’s normalized at first (even if ‘lightly’ restrictive) can later be modified very easily to be highly restrictive.

Locking up: Not an infringement? “Sir, I realize you’re threatening to kill my kid but if you can just wait while I dial in this combination… oh crap now was that 3 then 6 or 3 then 9, I forget…”

On using training as a potential barrier we agree, but training itself is not necessarily an infringement, would you agree? If you simply had to attend a class, safety could be taught, practiced and trained. I’ve never been to it, but maybe something like hunters education where you learn, but nobody has a say in whether or not you exercise your right. We all see unsafe behavior at the public ranges and we often correct it ourselves. My only interest is in getting new owners started right because the statistics show room for improvement. Sadly, I know it is a slippery slope, subject to abuse by those who oppose our rights.

As far as locking up your guns, I think you misunderstood me. I know a locked gun is worthless when you need it, hell I hate the fact that AR’s come with external safeties rather than internal like my glocks. The less I have to screw up under pressure, the better. I was talking about locking up guns when an authorized user, your family or whomever you see fit, is not present. I wouldn’t like a law requiring it, but as long as I can use a gun when I need it without any difficulty, ie not locked up when I’m home, I don’t see that as an infringement. It could reduce accidental deaths of kids.

My thought is that there are some “compromises” we can make without compromising our rights one bit. It would go a long way towards smoothing over our reputation for being unreasonable. These are things we know we should do, and probably already are, that could be put on the table in the spirit of compromise and building trust. We’re not trying to win over the Feinsteins and Bloombergs, we can never do that, but we hurt our own liberties by alienating those in the middle, by opposing things that appear to be reasonable to them without providing solutions ourselves. Do you understand what I mean?

I’ll give you an example of what I think is a compromise that does not infringe: Universal background checks are generally considered to be a good idea by regular people. We know that it won’t reduce crime, because private sales are not a significant source of crime guns, and that further legislation would be necessary later because the proposal is not well thought out or even enforceable. Instead of shouting the opposition down cold, we could provide our own solution of voluntary private market background checks without any details about the transaction and untraceable. Simply checking to see if the guy you sell to is a criminal. No new legislation, some appropriations to implement access, no future registry and it shows those we seek to win over we are not unreasonable. I know gun controllers won’t accept it, but we don’t want them to anyway. The fact that we made a counter proposal could go a long way to soften the defeat of universal background check legislation. It would be much harder to paint us as cretons if the public knew we offered a compromise that preserved our liberties and addressed their concerns.

• William Burke says:

I just want to know when the other side agrees to some actual compromises. Never seen one yet.

• Cliff H says:

“Infringing is the wrongful limitation or restriction of a right. I see preventing people from owning magazines of any capacity as an infringement. Is training really an infringement?”

Mandatory training is DEFINTELY an infringement if it is used as a means for the government to deny your exercise of the natural RKBA.

Perhaps your dictionary is out of date? “I do not think this word means what you think it means.”

INFRINGE
[in-frinj] Show IPA verb, in·fringed, in·fring·ing.
verb (used with object)
1. to commit a breach or infraction of; violate or transgress: to infringe a copyright; to infringe a rule.
verb (used without object)
2. to encroach or trespass (usually followed by on or upon ): Don’t infringe on his privacy.
——————————————————————————–
Origin:
1525–35; < Latin infringere to break, weaken, equivalent to in- in-2 + -fringere, combining form of frangere to break
Synonyms
1. break, disobey. 2. poach. See trespass.

"I think we can agree that in our society, not everyone has the right to keep and bare arms, violent felons for example shouldn’t have guns, these few spree killers shouldn’t have guns. If we screened out the dangerous people, supposing we even can while respecting their rights, or added training, while leaving our rights intact, being able to own what you want in order to be “little, if at all inferior” to the Army, is that still 'infringing?'"

Who exactly is this WE in "…if we screened out.." comment and where does the 2A provide for the election or appointment of this WE?

Since you started your comment with an inaccurate, or at least wholly incomplete, definition of "infringe" it is hard to give your conclusions much credence, especially when your conclusion seems to say that government infringement of the RKBA is not government infringement of the RKBA. Huh?

As for your "I think we can all agree…" comment, have you been paying attention at all? The VAST majority of opinion on TTAG and comments on my post a few weeks ago and similar posts to that and to this one since then indicate that what we TEND to agree on is that "…shall not be infringed." means EXACTLY that.

• Jeff says:

“Mandatory training is DEFINTELY an infringement if it is used as a means for the government to deny your exercise of the natural RKBA.”

On this we agree. I know our opposition seeks to abuse anything they can to hurt our rights, but is mandatory safety training an infringement itself?

“Perhaps your dictionary is out of date?”

This is from websters when I googled it yesterday:
in·fringe verb \in-ˈfrinj\
: to do something that does not obey or follow (a rule, law, etc.) ( chiefly US )
: to wrongly limit or restrict (something, such as another person’s rights)

As long as I can own what I wish, without arbitrary limits or restricted to special classes of people, and use it in a lawful manner as I see fit, I don’t consider it an infringement. I currently would not consider a mandatory safety class an infringement, but I do see waiting periods and NFA as infringements. I can see how a mandatory safety class could be USED to infringe.

“Who exactly is this WE in “…if we screened out..” comment and where does the 2A provide for the election or appointment of this WE?”

We the people is the WE I speak of. The second amendment does not provide for the election or appointment, but the constitution does. Our democratically elected legislators have the enumerated powers to write legislation that could screen out violent felons.

“Since you started your comment with an inaccurate, or at least wholly incomplete, definition of “infringe” it is hard to give your conclusions much credence, especially when your conclusion seems to say that government infringement of the RKBA is not government infringement of the RKBA. Huh?”

I’m not sure I understand or agree with your analysis. If that’s how it came across, then I was unclear. I read the definition you provided and did not see anything that leads me to conclude that “Infringe” means to “affect in anyway at all.” Please clarify, because the statement above seems to use circular logic that I don’t think I used at all.

“As for your “I think we can all agree…” comment, have you been paying attention at all? The VAST majority of opinion on TTAG and comments on my post a few weeks ago and similar posts to that and to this one since then indicate that what we TEND to agree on is that “…shall not be infringed.” means EXACTLY that.”

This is a very unpersuasive argument (If you’re even trying to persuade me to agree at all) because you and I don’t agree on the definition of the word “infringe” let alone the law/spirit of that phrase. It’s like telling the anti’s the second amendment clearly means what it says, when they obviously and honestly have a different understanding than we do.

I don’t know how to address this comment because I don’t think you, or anyone else “agree” that violent criminals and mass murderers right to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed. Was this the correct part you were talking about in my comment?

I contend that “Shall not be infringed” is not as clear cut as your apparent definition. You seem to take it to mean “affect in any way at all as I see fit.” “Shall not kill” is a statement that has about as exact a meaning as anything I can think of. “Shall not infringe,” by comparison, is not as exact. To get me on the same page as you, what is not an infringement on the second amendment?

• Rich Grise says:

” would not consider a mandatory safety class an infringement,”

It isn’t the 2A, but other parts of the Constitution cover it. Words like involuntary servitude and conscription come to mind. And if you make the citizen pay for it, that’s just theft.

And if you really think there’s more than one meaning of “Shall not be infringed,” then you’re either evil or ill.

• Cliff H says:

Jeff, I appreciate your return dialogue on this, and I do not want to go to great lengths in a personal back and forth, but I think I see in your statement the logical disconnect that separates us:

“We the people is the WE I speak of. The second amendment does not provide for the election or appointment, but the constitution does. Our democratically elected legislators have the enumerated powers to write legislation that could screen out violent felons.”

As I stated, the Second Amendment does not provided for the election or appointment of persons to create and enforce exclusionary lists of any sort in regards to the Second Amendment RKBA, specifically because the intention of the Founding Fathers was to enumerate this as a NATURAL, civil and Constitutionally protected right that the government was NOT ALLOWED to infringe upon.

Yes, the Constitution gives the exact process by which we can elect representatives to pass laws on our behalf (and look what a shit mess THAT has become), but the very presence of the Second Amendment prohibits those same lawmakers from writing any legislation that infringes: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Yet you seem to believe that the very government this amendment is prohibiting from infringing on this right is the government you/we have a Constitutional right to elect representatives to go to Congress and pass laws infringing on this right. That is why YOUR circular logic confused me.

The only Constitutional provision for infringing on the Second Amendment, or any of the Bill of Rights, is the process of creating and ratifying a new amendment to the Constitution itself which repeals, re-writes, or otherwise modifies the Second Amendment, and I wish you luck with THAT effort! Do you own a bullet-proof vest? (That is a safety tip, not a threat.)

• William Burke says:

I claim the right to “bare arms”, at all times. Just make sure the heat’s on.

52. Anmut says:

53. Ing says:

Jim Barrett, you are an intelligent and well balanced human being. I don’t agree with everything in this post, but I do agree with a lot of it. It’s well thought-out and reasonable, and I’m glad you wrote it.

• William Burke says:

When’s the wedding date?

54. Tom says:

Well written, nicely done.

I tend to be in the group that says there are limits. Granted I tend to place those limits at devices such as missiles, rocket artillery and the like. Usually devices that really don’t serve a role of protection of person, family and home.

I don’t care if you want to own a full auto rifle with a 6 inch barrel. Go for it even though I don’t really see a use beyond the “fun” factor.

The only reason I say “limits” in terms of The 2nd is because it says “arms”. That can pretty much mean any of the nasty things we’ve came up with over the years.

I guess in short I’d say any personal (single man portable) firearm that isn’t firing explosive, radioactive or other such particularly nasty ammunition should be just fine to own. If you have a need for explosives then go for the ATF paperwork.

Good day.

• Andrew says:

You contradict yourself when you say there are limits but then say that the term “arms”…. ..”can pretty much mean any of the nasty things we’ve came up with over the years.” which is it? Either the Constitution means what it says or it doesn’t. Here is the 2nd amendment. Where do you see these limits?

[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.]

You say you would allow machine guns and short barrel rifles but not explosives. This way of thinking is identical to that of the anti gun rights crowd. The only difference between you and them is you think you would be doing us a favor by allowing us a little bit more of what is already our right.

• Alan Rose says:

Battle lines of muskets and primitive rifles, as well as cannon, were pretty lethal in those days, so I do not go along with the “they couldn’t have imagined the carnage of machine guns” argument. But the argument may be more valid if you want to equate everything from nukes to bunker busters to ICBMs in the Constitutional definition of “arms.” Keep that argument up and you really will push the antis into redefining the 2A through a Constitutional Amendment.

• Andrew says:

This argument is based on the definition of the term arms as used in the Constitution. Arms is a term that encompasses all weapons both offensive and defensive. You can confirm this by consulting any dictionary.
The definition of what constitutes arms has not changed since the writing of the Constitution. Here is a link to a dictionary from 1768 which defines arms as “Weapons of offense, or armour of defense.”

And here is a link to Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary which again defines arms as “Weapons of offense, or armor for defense and protection of the body.”

The definition of arms encompasses pistols, rifles,cannons, ships, land mines, grenades, and every other weapon in existence.

• John in Ohio says:

Keep that argument up and you really will push the antis into redefining the 2A through a Constitutional Amendment.

If they thought that they could’ve successfully carried out an amendment then they would’ve done it by now. I say, “Bring it!” At least it is the proper approach to what the antis have been doing. Besides, the fence sitters wouldn’t be sitting for very long, now would they? If we continue to allow these infringements to stand then we ARE setting up for a successful constitutional amendment in coming generations. After a while of general acceptance, it would be much easier for them to convince a majority to ‘ratify’ long standing infringements in a constitutional amendment. Allow things to come to a head BEFORE enough people have embraced the Kool Aide of ‘reasonable gun control’ and an amendment attempt WILL fail. Fritter away too many generations under infringement and the odds of a successful amendment increases greatly. Attack your enemy when they are still unprepared. Don’t wait around for them to gear up.

• Cliff H says:

Neither could they have imagined the carnage of the War Between the States. Between 600,000 and 700,000 DEAD, who knows how many more wounded and maimed, the majority from muzzle-loading muskets (and a few rifles), bayonets, or muzzle loading cannons.

Twice as many American soldiers DIED in the War Between the States as died on all fronts from all causes in the Second World War.

55. JJ Swiontek says:

“I’d also like to see the mental health question get addressed.”

The problem is the Progressive/Socialist/Communist use of psychology. To understand this, one must enter the mind of ‘a liberal’. (Beware, there be dragons.)

Premise: Since civilian gun use is evil, then wanting a gun is indicates a mental illness. Psych evaluation and drugs until the ‘want’ for an evil gun passes.

I hope this helps illuminate the problems of good intentions.

It would be better to eliminate ‘gun free zones’ and allow constitutional carry everywhere.

56. Jared says:

For better or for worse, call government what it is, a monopoly on the use of force and violence in a geographical area. Please do not give me that social contract society crap.

1. I never signed it
2. It’s not written anywhere (can’t read all the laws, it takes 4 lifetimes)
3. It means whatever 5 people in black moo-moo’s say it means (Supreme Court)

4. The black moo-moo’s said themselves that there is no obligation for the government to protect anyone.

Nice try, you may have had some interesting points until I almost vomited when I read that social contract B.S.

57. Rich Grise says:

THERE IS NO APOSTROPHE IN THE POSSESSIVE ITS!!!!!!!!

Rich Grise, Self-Appointed Chief,
Internet Apostrophe Police

58. John Sager says:

Ok. I’m not sure a lot of you actually read his article.

For all of you NOT ONE INCH absolutists out there….If you DON’T think that a mentally ill child should be able to buy an Uzi from a vending machine…YOU’RE FOR RESTRICTING THE SECOND AMENDMENT!!! Sorry to break the news to you.

The man just he’s all for killing the NFA and rolling back lots of the pointless gun control that we all hate.

And don’t put words in his mouth and set up straw man arguments. He said in an ideal world cheap training would be readily available and so forth. That’s a far cry from saying he advocates mandatory training for everyone today. Even if he did say that, so what? It’s his opinion.

It serves no purpose to throw a hissy fit and call the man an anti-gunner libtard or whatever you can think of.

Grow up TTAG readers. Try to live in reality. And stop saying FOAD. You’re embarrassing yourself…

59. B K says:

I think the government scotus, potus, congress should embrace the constitution. If they want to see measureable reductions in crime, they should encourage gun ownership and the benefits of it. Along with that, they should encourage, not mandate training in the safe use handling and storage of firearms. All the paperwork needs to go away. Unfortunately background checks wont but it could be simplified. It could be a yes or no on eligibility with a confirmation #. No info on gun being purchased or if one was even purchased. Just log on and check and its done.
If the people are encouraged by our government I feel people would get more training and more ranges would be built for more people to enjoy the god given rights that are reinforced by yhe 2nd amendment. More people would be safer and more knowledgeable and crime and accidents would go down more than they are. My 2c

60. Matt G says:

Jim – RE: force on force challenge. I get to pick the time and place … And no you will not be informed of either. If I win I’ll keep the AR w/30 round mag. If you win you can keep my brick. Deal?

61. Kyle says:

“Infringing is the wrongful limitation or restriction of a right. I see preventing people from owning magazines of any capacity as an infringement. Is training really an infringement?”

YES, it’s an infringement. Who the HELL is the State to require me to undergo their definition of “training” in order to exercise what is my RIGHT? One could make an argument that if we could implement the controls and require people to undergo training and licensing to have children, that it would result in better parents. Doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a huge infringement on people’s rights.

And I do not buy into any of that social contract theory. The State does NOT have the right to infringe on anybody’s rights in the name of “the common good.” The only time rights can be infringed upon are when someone is violating someone else’s rights. Otherwise, the “common good” is meaningless. We are a society in which the rights of the INDIVIDUAL take precedent, NOT “the common good.”

And what do you mean about natural rights only apply in a state of nature, but can be infringed upon in a society? THE WHOLE POINT OF CREATING A GOVERNMENT IN THE FIRST PLACE IS TO PROTECT NATURAL RIGHTS. That is the CORE purpose of government. To paraphrase Thomas Paine, “We create governments because moral virtue is inadequate by itself to govern a society.”

The idea that living in a society means you give up your natural rights to some degree for the “common good” is a recipe for tyranny.

• Cliff H says:

Well said, sir! Down with Fascists!

• William Burke says:

Down with despots of each and every sort. Despots beware – this is the sound of OUR FREEDOM!!!

Hope you all have an excellent day.

• John in Ohio says:

Aye!

• John in Ohio says:

Outstanding!

62. Kyle says:

Regarding regulations of guns, my honest belief is government can regulate the manufacture of guns to a degree, just as it can regulate the manufacture of computers (tool used for free speech), the construction of churches (tool used for freedom of religion), the construction of homes (tool used for privacy), etc…but it cannot regulate any of those things to the point that it denies people their rights to free speech, privacy, religion, etc…and things like requiring one undergo a background check, fill out paperwork, pay a fee (fine), and obtain a permit, all just to purchase a computer, then register said computer with the government, then go through more paperwork and money to obtain a license in order to use said computer outside their home let’s say (if a laptop), etc…all would be seen as a blatant infringement on the right to free speech.

• Cliff H says:

If you allow that government can regulate the manufacture (or importation) of firearms, what is to prevent them from making the requirements of manufacture, mandatory safety devices, or the taxes/permits required, so outrageous that all such activity ceases as being no longer economically feasible? There is more than one way to infringe upon a right and it may have been Jefferson who said, “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” The same goes for the power to regulate.

63. Not So 1337 says:

• Anonymous says:

“The destruction that weapons like full-autos can bring about is too great for us to just let them fly free. I know people say “Criminals aren’t going to follow the law” but we can’t make it too easy for them to break it. That’s like not locking your car. “Well if someone wanted my car they could just break in.” And they can and they might. But its just one more barrier that they will have to get through to get into your car.”

This statement implies that full-autos can’t be used a legal sporting fashion (like fun at the range and punching paper, etc) and must be regulated. If we want to play the fear game… what about North Korea… they can nuke us at any moment. When you submit to fear… you sign your rights away.

• Cliff H says:

I submit that like Open Carry advocates today who walk down the street with ARs or other long guns specifically because they attract the attention of the populace and as a consequence law enforcement, ANYONE, criminal or not, walking down the street with a slung or port arms SAW is going to attract A LOT of attention unless he is in an actual combat zone.

In a society where each citizen is able to exercise his/her RKBA without government interference such a scenario MIGHT happen, if that person was sufficiently foolish or arrogant. But they would additionally be wearing a big, bright sign saying, “I’m not too bright and may at any moment pose a serious danger to anyone nearby.” I suspect that at the first sign of impending use of said SAW this person would be summarily dealt with by armed persons all around him.

In addition, the presentation of these specious and highly unlikely scenarios as a purported reason to ban ALL citizens from exercising their 2A RKBA to own such a weapon for LEGITIMATE reasons, or even just because they wanted to, is ludicrous.

Once again, repeat after me, “…shall not be infringed.”

• William Burke says:

Cliff: I LOVE ’em! We need to express our liberties, lest some think we don’t “need” ’em.

• William Burke says:

SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS!!!

• William Burke says:

I feel as if I just woke up in a different country.

64. Aharon says:

Great cartoon.

• William Burke says:

Meh… meh people.

65. Anonymous says:

I’m not going to slap Jim with insults or sarcasm (this time) but i’ll address his statements below as best possible.

Point by point:

“As I said earlier, RF’s opinion on the specific meaning of 2A is no more and no less valid than Michael Bloomberg’s opinion. What matters is the SCOTUS’s opinion.”

Yea I disagree. No one’s opinion matters. A right is a right. Question. Does anyone walk around the street with gag’s in their mouths? Is government, state, or local governments or anyone for that matter forcing anyone to practice a religion that they want nothing of? Are there electronic circuits in our computers that automatically delete words we type before they are published? These are rights – and are currently not up for debate – by anyone. They are not up for debate. Period. Everyone has them to call them their own in this country. There are consequences for saying certain things… but you can say them. There are consequences for publishing certain things… but you can publish them. Now we have this right… to keep and bear arms – we should be able to keep and bear arms as we please… but there are consequences if you discharge your arms in certain areas… or point your arms at certain people or things. You are saying that RF, Bloomberg, and the SCOTUS opinion matters, but they should not.

“We agree to give up certain rights in exchange for the benefits living in Society affords us. Society has the authority to take your liberty or even your life if you act against the common good. Since the right to keep and bear arms stems from the fundamental right to life (the right to protect one’s life), it seems hard to dispute the fact that if the society has the right to abridge life and liberty, then it certainly can abridge the right to keep and bear arms.”

“Locke believed that natural rights were inalienable, and that the rule of God therefore superseded government authority; and Rousseau believed that democracy (self-rule) was the best way of ensuring the general welfare while maintaining individual freedom under the rule of law. The Lockean concept of the social contract was invoked in the United States Declaration of Independence.”

This appears to contradict your statement above especially given the text, context, and topics discussed in the “bill of rights” and the “Declaration of Independence.” Maybe not as a philosophical contradiction (given our present reality) – but as a historical one and the basis for which this country was founded.

You stated:
“Most importantly, I’m with RF in that “pre-crime” laws have no place.”

This is a fallacy within itself. Gun control by definition… is pre-crime. That is the purpose of gun control. We control guns, people, people with guns, and people who can and cannot have guns. The entire purpose of gun control is “pre-crime” – the prevention of crime before it happens. The reason moms demanding action everywhere are afraid is because they are afraid of guns, afraid a gun would be discharged and someone would get hurt. Gun control is an attempt to address these “fears.”

“Training is the best way to improve firearm proficiency and safety across the board for all users. In a perfect world, citizens would have easy access to quality, affordable training. If such a thing were possible, then that could be set as a prerequisite firearms ownership. Want a gun? Fine, let’s show you how to use it safely first.”

I disagree. I do agree everyone should be trained and I wish that the US would have a “voluntary” military training of its citizens. I disagree however that a training class should be mandatory. It is a right to keep and bear arms. You are placing “safety” above “rights.” You’ll notice – there is no fundamental right to be safe and there certainly isn’t one in the bill of rights. If everyone had the right to be safe… then there would be no other rights – only the one.

“I’d also like to see the mental health question get addressed. There are people walking around who simply should not be allowed to own a gun. They are not so “dangerous” that they need to be incarcerated full-time, but instead may have short-term impulse control problems. Having access to a firearm would permit a great deal of mischief during one of these impulse control incidents. Without a gun, they could still do harm, but it would be attenuated.”

Cliff H eloquently answered this one above better than I can address:
“The solution to felons with guns is for them to be outnumbered by non-criminals with guns. The solution to mental cases with short fuses and guns is for an armed citizen to put out their lights the moment they pose a threat. No abrogation of our rights will stop a criminal from getting a gun, a person who legally owns a gun from becoming a criminal, or from going insane.”

“Please don’t try to tell me that there is no difference between a rifle with a 30-round magazine and a knife. If you really think there is no difference, then I invite you to join me for a force on-force simulation. You take the knife and I’ll take the AR-15 with 30 round mag. We’ll see who can do more damage.”

No one can debate they are the same. That said, if an insane person or a criminal wishes to obtain a rifle with 30 rounds, or a bomb, or whatever – there are so many means of obtaining a weapon of great destruction – they will obtain it and use it. I will refer to Cliff H’s response above to address this solution. Any attempt to attenuate insane or criminal behavior by outlawing possession of materials is “pre-crime” which you have stated your are against.

“The problem is that for a regime such as this to work, society needs to see personal gun ownership in a favorable light and to construct the licensing and training protocols to encourage and support gun owners. In the real world, of course, it doesn’t work that way. Much of our government fears gun owners and opposes gun ownership and many of our citizens are either too stupid, brainwashed or both to understand that guns can be owned and used safely. The simple fact is that there are irrational elements in our society who see guns in a negative light and will use any tool we give them to prevent everyone from exercising their rights, hence conceding to any kind of restrictions on gun ownership is difficult if not impossible.”

I totally agree with this (except for the licensing and training aspects).

I support the Second Amendment. Period. No buts. What I don’t support is some people’s interpretation of it (on either side).

I guess Jim. I thought the text as listed in the bill of rights was pretty straight forward.

66. Joe Moskal says:

Thanks for the well-written “confession”

It’s important to note the 2A does state a “well-regulated” militia. Well guess what boys and girls – that’s “regulation” of your “right”

Not to mention that while I hear a great deal from one side about the “rights” of gun owners (of which I am one) what I seldom hear about is the concomitant “responsibility” that goes with owning a weapon. Rights and responsibilities MUST be in balance in a functioning society. You want to own an RPG – fine. Show that as part of that militia you are responsible for that weapon – and if/when it is stolen and used in an assassination attempt that you can be held responsible (all the way up to the ultimate penalty) for its misuse should you “mis-place” it or it is stolen or your 2-year-old gets it in his hand.

Unfortunately it is very difficult to legislate individual “responsibility” – pols don’t get many votes that way and for some insane reason or another we find it hard as a society to hold individuals responsible for their decisions and actions. So we end up with a kind of “group” responsibility. We (as gun owners) need to act responsibly ALWAYS, because the less total responsibility shown by gun owners the more regulation of the right to own one you will see – quite correctly, I might add.

• Anmut says:

Don’t you have a DIFI fundraiser to get to?

• Alan Rose says:

You might want to Google “define regulate”:

“Control or maintain the rate or speed of (a machine or process) so that it operates properly.”

Eighteenth Century “regulation” had nothing to do with government regulations. I challenge you to provide us proof of the existence of an 18th Century book of Federal Regulations (authorized by Federal law in 1946 BTW). Back then the law sufficed without bureaucrats writing regulations.

• Cliff H says:

It’s important to note the 2A does state a “well-regulated” militia. Well guess what boys and girls – that’s “regulation” of your “right”

Joe, perhaps you are new here, or maybe you just haven’t been paying attention. Check the comment just above mine, then go to Wikipedia and read the text of the majority opinion for the Heller decision. While I have a general contempt for SCOTUS their legal scholarship (coming mostly form aides and interns) cannot be denied. They very thoroughly cover this concept of “well regulated” as it refers to a militia and it most definitely has NOTHING to do with the government, especially the federal government, controlling/regulating the militias. The whole point of the RKBA and the ability of the people to form and regulate militias was to ensure protection from the federal government should it go out of control and attempt to become a tyranny. See the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

The Founding Fathers knew, with no doubt in their minds, that unless the PEOPLE, individually AND collectively, had the absolute natural, civil and Constitutionally protected RKBA and to form militias, the ability to throw off a despotic government was a pipe dream. This is why they wrote the 2A as an ABSOLUTE, with no equivocation.

67. John in Ohio says:

So, who to referee these debates? Imperfect as it is, the Supreme Court effectively assumed that role in 1803′s Marbury v Madison during the tenure of a particularly activist chief Justice, John Marshall.

The fact that you are okay with the federal government exercising power not delegated to it, in violation of the Constitution, tells me that you don’t understand what the Constitution is all about. The power is not enumerated so the Court cannot do that! If one is to accept it, no matter how long ago, then they can accept, as you have, the blatant violation of the Second Amendment.

While it could be argued that this assumed power is not real, the fact is that in law, if something remains uncontested long enough, it eventually becomes a de facto standard and difficult to change.

This is the concept of estoppel that I wrote about in comments to other articles! See how it even corrupts the thinking of our own gun people? By allowing violations of the Constitution to stand, regardless of how long, we create an estoppel in the mind of government and the People.

We let ourselves get raped once, twice, etc and now even some gun owners say we must continue to allow it!

• Anonymous says:

Excellent… I was waiting for “John In Ohio” to chime in. Good to see you are in on this.

• John in Ohio says:

Happy Thanksgiving! 😀

• Anonymous says:

Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

• Cliff H says:

John, I really like the rape analogy.

The government stance on rape seems to be not to fight back, just lay back and try to enjoy it. Then if you take that advice once or twice they brand you a whore with no more right to resist any rape attempt.

Very well done.

68. Christian says:

Jim;
This is not a flame. I hope you’ll actually read this.
You are taking the “on the fence” position.
You are not helping gun rights – you are contributing to their erosion.
At the same time, you’re not joining the Anti’s – and if you’re not for more gun control, you’re against it. You can dress it up however you like, but you are choosing to abandon both parties and earning the hatred of both.

Worse, you point to the Supreme Court.

The same Supreme Court that ruled on the Dredd Scott case.
That then overturned the Missouri Compromise – The only real shot the US had at avoiding civil war.
So… black people are property, and one of the ONLY real compromises congress ever reached was less important than allowing slavery into new territories. Because people wearing funny robes said so.

The Supreme Court is not infallible. Nine tyrants on a bench is not better than a single Tyrant, or Tyranny of the majority. Given that the Supreme Court now ACTIVELY rewrites laws instead of simply declaring them constitutional/unconstitutional. “Well that’s just the way it is” will seem less palatable when other rights are infringed.

Also…

“Please don’t try to tell me that there is no difference between a rifle with a 30-round magazine and a knife. If you really think there is no difference, then I invite you to join me for a force on-force simulation. You take the knife and I’ll take the AR-15 with 30 round mag. We’ll see who can do more damage.”

I accept. For one week, you carry an Airsoft AR15 with a 30 round mag. I will carry a sharpie. At some point, I will accost you. If you can’t land a headshot on me before I sharpie you, I win.

69. Thomas Flournoy says:

There is no such thing as an absolute right. Anyone who doesn’t agree doesn’t know the first thing about rights.

• Cliff H says:

Tommy, you have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected natural right to communicate (free speech) and to use that right to say, print, or publish foolish pronouncements regarding whether or not natural rights are absolute. Can you show me any living creature who does not have the absolute natural right to communicate in some form, absent the tyranny of some government obstructing that right? (Such as de-barking a dog.) And even a debarked dog still attempts to bark, and if necessary will bite, which is definitely a form of communication.

To absolutely deny that an absolute exists is an absolute rebuttal of an absolute. Please return to your texts and review the section on logic.

• William Burke says:

DAMN. Nice goin’, Cliff!

• John in Ohio says:

+1. Well done, sir!

70. RockOnHellChild says:

The Social Contract Theory should be called the Social Slavery Theory, it’s just one more way to justify treating people like property- the modern day adaptation of indentured servitude.

“I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
-Harriet Tubman

71. John in Ohio says:

One might be tempted to argue that it should be up to the legislature (that ostensibly represents the people) but we know that Congress hasn’t truly represented anything but themselves and the lobbyists for some time now.

If this is absolutely the situation then we are living under actual tyranny and it is the duty of a free people to correct our government or dissolve it and institute a new one. The prescription set forth by the founders of this nation is quite clear on that.

How much regulation and what form that takes is open to interpretation, but some degree of regulation is allowable. It’s left to pro-gun and anti-gun people to debate where on the regulation continuum things will fall.

Shall not be infringed. There’s the line.

We agree to give up certain rights in exchange for the benefits living in Society affords us. Society has the authority to take your liberty or even your life if you act against the common good.

Rights are unalienable and cannot be ‘given up’. They can be loaned. Certain ones are loaned to government under our Constitution. However, that is limited to ONLY those enumerated in the Constitution. Anything beyond that is usurpation of power by government. The ‘common good’ is NOT the determiner, the Constitution is! In order to add power to government, that document MUST be amended through the proper procedure. Your argument ultimately renders the Constitution meaningless… the same thing that rabid liberals assert today. 😉

it seems hard to dispute the fact that if the society has the right to abridge life and liberty, then it certainly can abridge the right to keep and bear arms.

I certainly dispute that. The Constitution determines what the government can do. That same document reads, “shall not be infringed.” Using your reasoning, the Constitution is meaningless and without power. You, sir, are wrong.

Gun rights can and will be regulated. What remains is for us to set the terms of what that regulation should be.

That is false. You are doing Liberty and your nation no favors by peddling that bologna.

72. John in Ohio says:

I support the Second Amendment. Period. No buts. What I don’t support is some people’s interpretation of it (on either side).

No, you don’t support the Second Amendment. You’ve demonstrated that you don’t even understand it or what the Constitution is all about. You have gotten the very basic concept wrong and hung your mistaken opinions upon that erroneous notion. The Constitution lends only specific powers to our government. That is clear beyond a shadow of doubt. It’s documented over and over. Pretend that you understand and accept that fact and then read over your own article again. See how the basic initial error supports all of your other errors?

Okay, now have at me. I’ve got my asbestos suit on.

Good, now understand that I won’t read any future articles with you as the author. Also understand that I will stop reading TTAG all together if articles of this bend become common place. I can read inaccurate crap all day long. Why in the world would I take my time to read more of it here? This article was pathetic and drew false conclusions throughout. I expected better from TTAG.

• Cliff H says:

Thanks John, ya done good. Now I don’t have to write an item by item rebuttal.

I think that this subject needed to be discussed here and the 200+ comments seem to bear that out. I think, however, that just as Guns & Ammo made a poor decision in the manner of presenting the discussion, the presentation of this piece as the supposed beliefs of a (formerly) respected TTAG contributor was perhaps a mistake as it seems to imply that TTAG itself, as a general policy, is okay with this position amongst contributing writers on its staff. While that may not in fact be the case the G&A incident would show that readers WILL make that assumption, just as the comments on this article show TTAG readers have in many cases done.

Were I to have written a this article I would have written it NOT as my personal opinion, but as a comprehensive review of what the opposition’s opinions on the subject are. But that’s just me. It is entirely possible that Jim actually believes what he wrote and that is his true stance and opinion. If so I hope he is in fact wearing his Nomex underwear because he has certainly fried his reputation here just as Metcalf did at G&A.

Brave words, Jim, if true, but either way you have appeared to turn your coat and regaining respect here will be a chore I do not envy you.

• Matt in FL says:

If people have associated their conceptions of the implications of this post with the opinions of TTAG in general, then they are incorrect in that assumption, and not very bright, to boot. It should be very clear (and I think it’s been explicitly stated at least once) that the opinions and comments of the various authors here are solely their own, and hold no sway over the other folks. I’m sure that some of my comments & opinions were not exactly (or not at all) what Robert or Dan or Nick would have said, but they do not insist on a “united front” or “adhering to the message.” It’s just not the way it works. Jim is an author, and an unpaid one, and he is entitled to his opinions just like everyone else is to theirs. If you or anyone else had sent this in, it would likely have been posted by Dan and credited to you. Just because Jim’s name is in red at the top of the page does not give his words the imprimatur of speaking for the “TTAG party line.” It’s simply a sign that he was producing output on a regular basis of good enough quality that it did not necessarily have to go through an editor to make it to the front page. Make sense?

• William Burke says:

Not a lot, Matt. Please do us a favor, and don’t elucidate further. If you want to classify the defense of tyranny as “freedom of expression”, it undeniably IS that. However, expressions favoring tyranny are not generally well-received here.

• Matt in FL says:

What. the. hell. are you talking about? What I got out of that: “Purple, because ice cream doesn’t have any bones.”

Your comment has absolutely nothing to do with what I said.

• Cliff H says:

You are absolutely right, Matt. Maybe I’m getting too tired to keep after this, and some others seem to have been into the Jack Daniels.

The only point I was trying to make is that readers are seeming to have the same reaction to this piece as they had to Metcalf, and in turn blaming the source of the article as TTAG or G&A, not the author himself. As much as I fervently disagree with Jim’s position and logic, I appreciate the chance to debate this subject here. If I were to tackle this topic I certainly would have taken a different angle, but it is entirely possible that this is Jim’s honest opinion and it is obvious, as I said, that many here will now consider him as a “turn-coat” and that will be a hard label to overcome. I certainly hope that those of us who have attempted to address this discussion rationally and logically will have helped quell the outrage just a little, for both TTAG and for Jim.

• John in Ohio says:

TTAG, by its very nature is a much different beast. RF founded this blog to “explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns. ” Our mandate is very broad and, as a result, we are going to cover a lot more ground and have the luxury to explore more philosophical positions than a trade magazine like G&A. If you want 2A orthodoxy, there are plenty of message boards out there that will provide just the echo chamber you’re looking for. If you want a reasonable discussion of differing viewpoints, TTAG is the place.

The author invites people to leave TTAG if they don’t like it and he does so using the pronouns “WE” and “OUR”.

Then there is the one line disclaimer…

One more thing – just a reminder that my opinion is my own and does not represent any of the other TTAG writers (or editors) beliefs on the subject.

I didn’t think, even momentarily, that this author spoke for all of TTAG. However, I will repeat: If articles pushing an anti-2A, anti-RKBA viewpoint become commonplace here at TTAG then I will heed Jim Barrett’s edict and go somewhere else. I won’t waste my time reading facetious garbage here that I can read everywhere else on the internet or in print media as well as see and hear on radio or television. Occasional pieces are good to get arguments against infringement honed and to educate the gun owning public. However, a large flow of them is detrimental to the cause of Liberty and a waste of knowledgeable patriots’ time.

• Matt in FL says:

Thanks, John. I believe we’re pretty much on the same page here. For the record, I’m one of the ones who rallied when I thought mikeb302000’s posts were getting a little too frequent. A little crazy can be a good reality check, but it should be the exception.

As Dilbert said: Stupidity is like nuclear power, it can be used for good or evil. But you still don’t want to get any on you.

• Rich Grise says:

I’d like to see a thing where some anti uses their “why guns should be regulated” argument and some sane person tries to inform him and what kind of responses they have. Y’know, sort of a “I emailed him this ,and he resonded with that” and maybe solicit other followup questions or something. Or do thoae people just sit in their ivory tower refusing to see the facts, but they have sway with the lawmakers? That in itself should be enough to clue the lawmakers that there’s something smelly in Obamastan.

• William Burke says:

Honestly, Rich, I’d rather see a skunk and badger fight.

From a safe distance.

• Jim Barrett says:

What’s fascinating to me as I read many of the rebuttals is how clearly some of my suggested points are being made. First of all, Matt – if you can’t tell the difference between this post and what MikeB used to write, then I suggest you re-read it. Mikey’s take was a proponent of civilian disarmament. I’m not. What I did do was to espouse the idea held by the overwhelming majority of Americans that 2A is simply not a completely unrestricted right. Choose your opinion poll and you will find that while the number of people who think that we need more restrictions has declined since Newton, the number of people pushing for relaxing restrictions is substantially in the minority – it’s not even close.

I. personally think that restrictions are too tight in some states and just about right in others. States that have weaker restrictions have them because they work. If they didn’t work, then there would be tighter restrictions. But I’m in the minority. What I don’t think is that there should be no restrictions. Shall issue permits – no problem with that. No permits required? Well, if it works in a particular state like VT, then so be it, go for it. I doubt you could sell it to California. I’d be happy seeing CA go to statewide shall issue and relax the stupid assault weapon laws, but it is not likely to happen.

If you read my post more closely, you would see that I acknowledge that the measures I suggest only work in a pro-gun environment, which is something we don’t have currently. As a result, I agree that any tools we give to the gun grabbers will be used against us.

I see (and have always seen) that the ultimate way to win this battle is to show the vast numbers of Americans who don’t feel strongly one way or the other is to show them that guns are fun, they are not bad, and when used responsibly make for a better society. The problem is that to get people off of the middle, you need to seem reasonable. Screaming that 2A is all about no restrictions does not appear reasonable any more than the extremists who shut down the government over Obamacare were viewed as reasonable or rational by the majority of the electorate.

Show the other side as the unreasonable loonies. Counter their emotional bullshit with facts and let them espouse the crazy ideas. Don’t give into them or their ideas, but don’t counter them by appearing as crazy as they are.

You can label me anything you want, but doing so simply plays into the hands of those who you wish to defeat. If you toss every single person who doesn’t toe the line of orthodoxy over the side, pretty soon you will find you lack the resources to defeat your foes.. Like many gun owners I do not hold extreme positions other than I will get very extreme if you try to take my guns. I will continue to counter the anti gun extremism with reason and facts. In doing so, I will make converts out of the normal people who don’t have an opinion yet. I will do this by demonstrating my reasonability to them, then getting them to vote to support gun rights, not the other way around.

• William Burke says:

So let me see if I have this right. After all, “first make sure you’re right, then go ahead”, right?

So: you are in favor of “gun restrictions in a pro-gun environment”. Is that essentially correct?

Men are not supposed to consume too much iron – it can make you very sick, in fact. I am assuming that the same is true with IRONY.

• Matt in FL says:

Wait a minute. WAIT A GODDAMN MINUTE.

Do you mean to tell me, that after all the people who lodged (reasonable, in my opinion) objections to what you wrote, you chose MY comment to respond to, and did so by taking me to task for a nonexistent comparison you think I made between you and mikeb30200?

What are you… no, excuse me, let me be clear… what the FUCK are you smoking? My comment was to no end other than to make clear that you speak for yourself, and not for all of TTAG, for those too dense to make that determination for themselves. I did not draw a comparison of any kind between you and mikeb30200. My comment that mentioned him was unrelated to you specifically.

You chose my comment to respond to, and set up a straw man argument that I didn’t make, in order to knock it down, but you chose not to respond to any of the other comments and rebuttals throughout this section? Pretty goddamn weak, if you ask me. But, that’s pretty much par for the course in your posts, in my opinion.

• William Burke says:

If I had posted that, and not you, I’m pretty sure it would at least have earned a warning. I happen to agree with your sentiments, AND the manner in which you expressed them. I just think you should follow any rules you enforce upon us yourself, just the same way.

• Matt in FL says:

It’s entirely possible you’re right. I’ll take it under advisement and I’ll attempt to be more even-handed on both sides of the coin.

• Rich Grise says:

” that 2A is simply not a completely unrestricted right.”

Wrong. If it’s restricted, it’s not a right.

• John in Ohio says:

@Jim Barrett: Like many gun owners I do not hold extreme positions other than I will get very extreme if you try to take my guns. I will continue to counter the anti gun extremism with reason and facts. In doing so, I will make converts out of the normal people who don’t have an opinion yet.

Convert them to what; a flawed position that believes shall not be infringed doesn’t mean exactly that? Continue to not hold extreme positions on that and you may very well find yourself as one of the few people who can legally posses a firearm when they finally try to take your guns one day. History is filled with examples of disarmament that was facilitated by individuals espousing your point of view. You’re dangerously mistaken if you think that we can chip away at government encroachment on the right to keep and bear arms. Keep chipping and government only has to hold out until you, me, and some other fine folks pass from this world to trespass even further upon individual liberty. After all, they will have words from people like you who said that it was okay to violate the Constitution in the name of gun control. “Shall issue” here, a castle doctrine there but we lose our asses with Patriot Acts, Free Speech Zones, DHS, TSA, NSA, etc. You are naive, moronic, or a shill if you think we are more free today. Piecemeal won’t cut it. This is the generation that must turn back the tide of tyranny. We’re living it and we might be all that our Nation and the World has left to defend individual freedom. Don’t pass on to the next generation that our Constitution is able to be ignored by government. That’s precisely what you are telling these generations and the ones that will come after us with your position on the Second Amendment. You’re a sell out with a good sounding excuse. Drop the pretense and fight for it.

BTW: You cannot equate the government privilege of shall issue licenses with the proper right of bearing arms in public. The two are not equal but you are using them interchangeably. They surely are not, sir!

• John in Ohio says:

@Jim Barrett: Samuel Adams stated it best…

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

73. Anmut says:

Not sure why this trash is published here… maybe I should start reading HUFPO for a more realistic view on firearms.

74. ValleyForge77 says:

Isn’t it wonderful to openly “explore more philosophical, in-a-perfect world” positions, Jim?

(By the way, I would defend your 1st Amendment rights to do just that with my life if I had to, as much as it pains me to read your rather untimely theoretical drivel, on my favorite firearm blog none-the-less).

Would I like for all firearm owners to be safety-trained and for truly, violently mentally ill people not to be able to ‘access’ firearms to go on shooting sprees with? Of course, Jim.

Unfortunately, as you note: “In the real world, of course, it doesn’t work that way’.

So why the hell are we even talking about it again????????

In case you haven’t been paying attention (maybe spending too much time with that M&P air gun?) , there is no middle ground anymore, Jim.

You saw what their ‘middle-ground’ proposals were …their ideas of ‘common-sense compromises’.

You know full well you cannot trust Diane Feinstein and Co. to ensure that anything would be “administered correctly”, let alone some brand new mechanism such as a ‘training’ or ‘mental health’ ‘requirement’.

“And so, we ARE left with two camps”, Jim. And when it comes down to it, you’re in our camp – whether you like it or not.

All those little thoughts of “fair” and open “conversations” got wiped away when they felt unafraid enough (after Sandy Hook) to finally reveal their true intentions, their true vision of a ‘middle-ground compromise’….their blindly emotional, completely devoid-of-logic ideas of how we should ‘react’ just to show that we were ‘doing something’ (even though all it would do is punish us law-abiding citizens, strip away our freedoms and result in almost zero effect on reducing gun violence).

And so why exactly again do I (as a realist) have to spend two minutes trying to show YOU that somehow I’M not ‘crazy’ (the whole crux of your dissertation)? Maybe it’s the other way around?

The “middle ground” you speak now more resembles the DMZ along the 38th parallel… strewn with land mines and targeted by snipers and artillery ready to fire for effect…. And you just walked right out into it, whistling and reading flowery poetry.

Suck it up, Jim. Just like in a war, sides form. And on our side are people who are on the far side of the spectrum in the way they interpret “shall not be infringed” – just as there are people who “in a perfect world” would at least like those people to be safety trained.

Boy, I wish we lived in a perfect world Jim. But we don’t. So shut your pie hole and get back in the trench.

• William Burke says:

“So why the hell are we even talking about it again????????”

Precisely.

75. Alan Rose says:

The open discourse and variety of opinions here is more a marketplace of ideas than most universities (claim to be while being bastions of liberalism).

Years ago when Virginia enacted law to start a state lottery, the Governor appointed the most critical opponent of the law as the Chairman of the Commission.

In this spirit, lets suppose that YOU, the 2A absolutist, have been appointed Chairman of the Federal “Reasonable Gun Control” Committee. You have been charged with providing to Congress a list of no less than FIVE model gun laws that may be considered for implementation, at the expense of existing laws to be discarded. Basically you have the opportunity to craft limited and Constitutionally palatable gun control and/or gun safety laws OUT OF A VACUUM. GO!

76. CGinTX says:

Good for you, Jim – I enjoy reading explorations of different viewpoints, and don’t tremble in fear if someone puts something out there that I don’t agree with. All the invitations to “FOAD”, accusations of being a traitor, or my personal favorite used by one poster in particular (get out of our country) aside, frankly, I admire that you’re still willing to write here. It’s one of the things that keeps me reading TTAG, and I want the editors to know it. Frankly, I’m still finding my way to my own philosophy. I’m a recent convert to both Texas and gun ownership, and am still working on skills, training and education. I don’t think where we are today on gun ownership and gun rights is a good place to be in this country, but I also believe that you are correct that there IS and MUST BE a middle ground between the extremes and the extremists on both sides of the debate. I’m also honest enough to say I don’t know what I feel that answer is, as yet, but I’m working on it, and reading TTAG is one of the places that is helping me along.

Thanks, and don’t let the loons on either side get you down.

• William Burke says:

“Loon”. P*ss on you, and all collaborators, too!

• CGinTX says:

Wow, you’re having quite the holiday evening trolling around the interwebs. Well, Happy Thanksgiving, and a deeply sincere, “Back at Ya!”

• Matt in FL says:

Chill out, William.

• William Burke says:

Matt. I didn’t call anyone a “loon”. Maybe I’m not the one who need to “chill out”.

• Matt in FL says:

It seems to me that “the loons on either side” is pretty vague. It also seems that you took offense and responded accordingly. Therefore, it seems that you self-identified.

• William Burke says:

Fine, loon.

• Matt in FL says:

See, there’s the funny part. Unlike the comment above, yours was in no way vague. I know you’re talking to/about me. And it still doesn’t bother me.

• Anmut says:

Since you admit that you are new to your new found liberty we will give you a pass… But for your own sake bookmark this post and come back in a year and read it. Then you might get it. Then you might see why so many of us that have fought this war for so long want to puke every time some assclown brings up compromise…

77. David says:

I’m sure you’ll hear about being an unamerican traitorous piece of crap for this piece. So I’ll say that I think it was well written, and that I agree. Even if I didn’t agree I would still respect your opinion. Thanks for sharing.

• Cliff H says:

“I believes in hearing both sides of any argument, so’s I can tell you where you’re wrong!” – Archie Bunker.

• Cliff H says:

And David, more to the point of your comment, it is perfectly alright to respect a person’s right to HAVE an opinion while totally, completely and without reservation believing that opinion is WRONG.

Respect the right, respect the person, but don’t respect their opinion without qualification. Hitler had an opinion too. So did Lenin. So does Barrack Obama. They had/have that right, I don’t respect their opinions even a little but and if they try TOO hard to force me to respect their opinions then I will no longer respect them or their rights. After all, THEY need to respect MY opinion too, don’t they?

The purpose of the First Amendment is to protect our right to an opinion from government interference. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to guarantee that we have the means to ensure the government respects the First Amendment. (Among other things. See the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.)

• Anonymous says:

In my eye’s there is no opinion. It is a right. Your right. Jim’s Right. Even Shannon Watt’s right. Everyone’s right. The text listed in the bill of rights were very clear. Any regulation currently on the books for the 2A are unconstitutional. See my post above on “opinion’s” for the 2A:

You can call it extremist and lacking moderation and all that crap if you want to, but in the end it is still a right. You wouldn’t be agreeing with you being forced to wear a gag on your mouth or forced to whip out your carpet and point toward mecca and start praying, or whip out your incense and kneel down in front of a buddha statue right? The 2A is the right to protect yourself and your other rights. No compromise for me…no thanks.

78. Hal says:

“I support the Second Amendment. Period. No buts.”

“Simple is good and easy for average people to understand.”

Thanks for writing down to the unwashed masses.

• William Burke says:

Heh heh heh…..

79. Scot says:

Jim,

What’s fascinating to me, is that rather than respond directly to the many on point rebuttals of your initial article, you decided jump on a post that supposedly equated you with a gun banner.

Your latest comment also appears to indicate that you believe that Constitutional rights only exist to the extent that the “overwhelming majority” of Americans agree with them. I’m reasonably certain that I could design a ‘neutral’ poll question that would get the overwhelming majority of Americans to agree that aspects of the 4th and 5th Amendments should be subject to ‘reasonable’ restrictions. Basing the reach of a right on the opinions of people who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant isn’t a good idea.

While I agree that Cali isn’t going to become a Constitutional Carry state any time soon, I’m curious as to why you have a problem with the concept. All such a law does is put the average citizen on par with the criminals, criminals carry when and where they want to, no matter the law. Gun control laws in general only impact the law abiding.

There is no reason why we should be willing to accept as a compromise any law that can be shown to have not had a socially beneficial impact on overall levels of relevant crimes where they have already been implemented — and I can’t think of a single proposed gun control law that hasn’t been implemented, with no impact on overall crime rates, somewhere in the US or in another country.

The status quo is already a series of rather extreme ‘compromises’ with the anti-gun side. You would think that the history of gun control, from the NFA ’34, through the GCA ’68, to the FOPA of ’86, as well as the myriad of local/state laws (starting I believe with the Sullivan Act in NYC in ’13) would have long sense laid to rest the idea that gun control is crime control.

Gun controllers, at least at the national level, almost certainly know that there is no connection between gun control and crime control, they rely on that fact — every time they get a law passed that doesn’t result in lower crime rates they can push for more extreme laws because the ones already enacted were “obviously” not strong enough. They rely on the ignorance of the general public concerning guns, and to the extent that we appear to accept their ideas of compromise we reinforce that ignorance. E.G. universal background checks — the current ‘reasonable compromise’. Such checks have been required in Cali for a couple of decades, and it can’t be shown that the implementation of that requirement resulted in an inflection point in the overall rates of relevant crimes. (It isn’t even clear that there was an inflection point in the rates of firearms related crimes.) So why, exactly, should we agree to implement nationally something that hasn’t worked elsewhere? (Gun controllers like to do comparisons with other states (or other nations), but as with all laws designed to ‘change’ behavior, a proper causal analysis requires a time-series analysis of behavior trends both before and after the implementation of the law in question.)

80. Nordic says:

This is a good example of the futility of discussions or debate with people who argue that they have a “natural right” to one thing or another. It’s a complex issue that touches on issues of constitutional law, public safety, and personal liberty. And I’m all in favor of a good debate on these topics.

But “I have a natural right to own a gun” is an assertion, not an argument. And there’s really no point in continuing the discussion once that card is played. It’s an unfalsifiable claim that can not be proven or disproven.

• Rich Grise says:

Maybe, maybe not, but your argument is irrelevant. The Founding Fathers found them to be self-evident, and wrote the rules of the government game accordingly. So whether you like it or not, the government is forbidden to infringe your unalienable right to self-preservation. They’re violating that prohibition routinely, which is why we have the duty to remove the tyrants from power.

Don’t Comply! Nullify!

• William Burke says:

We are still allowed to argue the notion of “natural rights”, which he hinted at. Actually, more than hinted.

Frankly, I don’t much like the notion of “natural rights”. The only rights we’ve ever had are the ones those who came before us fought, bled and died for. THEY ARE NOT “NATURAL” IN ANY WAY. They are EARNED.

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

• Rich Grise says: