One of the biggest benefits I’ve taken from my TTAG readership has been my improved philosophical understanding of the right to bear arms. I’ve always believed in the Second Amendment, but on a very superficial level. I used to think that there were no problems with universal background checks, for instance, and didn’t think that anybody really needed an assault weapon. My beliefs were based, as many anti-gun advocates’ beliefs are, on ignorance. Thanks to the posts of writers such as Dean Weingarten, Bruce Krafft, and Mike McDaniel, (not to mention Robert, Dan, Nick, and all the rest!) I’ve been able to refine and solidify my understanding of why the right to keep and bear arms is so important, and to become much more fluent in explaining this to others . . .
I’ve decided to showcase this by providing an example from that shining star of reasoned debate, Facebook. As a professional musician, many (perhaps most) of my friends, on and off Facebook, are far to the left of me when it comes to firearms. Much of the firearms related articles that scroll down my newsfeed are terribly negative, and most of the comments are likewise disparaging of the RKBA. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, but often I see something that I just can’t let go.
Here is one of the highlights of my last year of attempting to provide some balance to the force. It is a rather lengthy discussion under a post about the San Bernadino killings. The original post was the photo meme below. I think “JP” does a good job in highlighting just how far those who are against guns will go to avoid examining their own biases. (Note, the post is edited for spelling and to remove extraneous posts from other commenters, but content is unchanged for all parties. I also apologize for the length, but I think it’s worth the read.)
ninjaTED*** A few things. We don’t let ‘just anyone’ buy guns. There is a background check system in place, especially in California, where the guns were purchased. People who break laws, however, don’t care about that. AR-15’s in California are also mandated to have fixed magazines which require a tool to remove. Again, killers don’t care. 1,400 rounds is not, for many, a lot of ammunition to have on hand. I shoot trap and steel target matches, and have way more ammunition in my store. Last, all centerfire rifle ammunition will pierce standard bulletproof vests. Tacking that qualifier on is like saying “I can’t believe they sold him that loud-sound-making bullet.”
The meme was correct in saying that wackos will always be with us. When they show up, I know I’d rather have the means to try to defend myself and my loved ones than have to rely on the police, who are, best case, minutes away, and aren’t required to protect me if they are there.
KW*** I honestly wonder why a “good person” would want a gun. Guns=violence and death. By all means, let’s spread more of that around.
NT*** Well, I’m a gun owner. I’m a classically trained violinist, play in my church’s handbell choir, and sell real estate. I give to charity, not as much as I’d like to , but what I can afford. I love my family and friends, and I care about others. The last is why I became a gun owner in the first place. Because I care, I feel a need to be able to protect those I love should the unthinkable happen. Should that arise, I pray that those intent on harming my loved ones take the warning at face value, because the very last thing I would want to do is to have to shoot someone. There are millions of good people who own firearms in America, and now you know one.
JP*** I am suspicious of anyone who tells me how good he is.
NT*** Would it help if I had told you that I can be a shit? I have my bad points. I have little patience for willful stupidity and can be abrasive about it. I don’t cultivate personal and familial relationships (outside my immediate family) as much as I probably should. I sometimes lose my temper, especially when it comes to utterly self-centered, rude behavior in public. But I’ll stand by my statement that on the balance I’m a good person, as I’m sure you are.
JP*** The thing is, terrorists believe that they are good people. They believe that they are sacrificing themselves for what is right, and for their families’ well-being. They are willing to kill for their loved ones, as are you. So that kind of goodness worries me. Furthermore, even a “very good” person can be driven to an impulsive act when he loses his temper. Say for instance he loses his job, on which his family depends, and he feels that his life is no longer worth anything. If there’s a gun in his hands, and he impulsively shoots up his boss and all his co-workers, then is he still a good guy with a gun, or did he suddenly transform into a bad guy with a gun? What’s to keep you from doing that under the right circumstances, with the addition of some alcohol and fear, and the subtraction of some sleep and food?
NT*** Well, I deeply resent the comparison between me and a terrorist. Perhaps I should say, between my worldview and a terrorist’s. There is a huge difference between sacrificing oneself by standing between your loved ones and an evildoer bent on mayhem, and sacrificing yourself by strapping on explosives and murdering random innocents. Perhaps what you’re saying is that we need to fight against the kind of ideology that advocates for mass murder in the hopes of killing enough infidels to gain paradise? (As an aside, if you really think that people who do that kind of thing are good people due to some kind of cultural relativism, I’m not sure that further discussion is going to be productive, because we’re speaking totally different languages.)
To your other point, have you ever lost your temper at someone? And if so, did you pick up a nearby chair and beat that person to death, or go to the kitchen and get a carving knife and stab them, or run them over with your car? Me neither. Having a firearm doesn’t make a person any more likely to commit violence. In fact, if you talk to many gun owners, they will tell you that it makes them less likely to engage in arguments, road rage, etc., since they know what the consequences may be.
JP*** I do NOT believe that terrorists are good people. I said that that they believe that they are good people. How do you know for sure that you are right about yourself and they are wrong about themselves?
NT*** Thank you for clarifying that. I can only judge by comparing my actions with theirs. I won’t know for sure until the afterlife, but I can say that I’d be shocked if the people who saw off the heads of unbelievers, throw gays from tall buildings, and set heretics on fire were the “good guys.” I didn’t really anticipate this turning into a theological debate, but I consider my views on this to be somewhat inclusivist. C.S. Lewis said it better in “The Last Battle,” where the young Calormene soldier Emeth, who has worshiped the false god Tash, but who is otherwise righteous, finds himself in the heaven of Aslan, who says:
‘Son, thou are welcome.’ But I said, ‘Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.’ He answered, ‘Child, all the service thou has done to Tash, I account as service done to me.’ Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, ‘Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one?’ The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, ‘It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites – I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore, if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted.
JP*** So you are saying that you refuse to do cruelty in the name of the a good God, right?
NT*** Well, I try to refuse to do cruelty in anybody’s name, but ok, go on…
JP*** So you agree with the commandment not to kill?
NT*** Ah, I see where this is going. The original Hebrew was more akin to “Thou shalt not commit murder.” Other kinds of manslaughter, including killing in war or as self-defense, are specifically excluded elsewhere in the Old Testament. For example, see Exodus 22:2-3 “If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed.”
JP*** Wait. Didn’t the New Testament make all that stuff obsolete?
NT*** Now I’m starting to wonder if you’re just trolling! No, it’s not obsolete, but some of it is dated. For instance, dietary laws from the Pentateuch were included at a time when eating pork would give you trichinosis and kill you. Nowadays we know how to raise and cook pigs so as not to die. However, we still have people who may break into your house and try to kill you.
JP*** How do you know which parts of the Bible to follow?
NT*** How do you construct your personal moral code? I suspect in the same way I do, by following the dictates of upbringing, cultural norms and mores, and conscience.
JP*** So your belief that self-defensive murder is allowed is culturally relative?
NT*** Nope. I believe that the right to self-defense is a universal human right. Killing in self defense is not murder.
JP*** You believe that it is a universal human right, but not everybody believes it.
NT*** Two things. First, some believe that free speech and the right to be secure in one’s property and papers aren’t human rights, but they’re wrong, too.
Second, do you really think that if you are attacked, you don’t have the right to defend yourself?
JP*** I’m not talking about what I believe. You admitted above that one constructs one’s personal moral code, one interprets one’s holy scriptures, through the “dictates of upbringing, cultural norms and mores, and conscience.” You’re saying that the interpretation of scripture is culturally relative. I’m not sure what I believe, and I don’t know what I would do if attacked. I believe that the chances of my being attacked are quite low.
NT*** That’s what everyone thinks, until it happens. But I’ve answered several of your questions, and I’m curious; do you think you have the right to defend yourself from attack? As a corollary, do you think there are any universal human rights? And btw, it’s a separate question from “what would you do…”
JP*** I don’t know. It’s hard to define “rights.” Are they things with which our creator endows us? Or are they things that we have a social contract to respect? Until I do more research, I am not able to give an opinion on the question of whether there are universal rights. If I were attacked, things would be happening fast, and there would be a lot of detailed circumstances which would come together to make a fast decision that would use my brainstem probably more than my cortex. I hope I would have the presence of mind to turn things around. I have had at least one friend who adroitly turned a mugging into a harmless encounter. I take that as a role model. I can’t promise anybody, including myself, that I would be capable of the same thing. I am working towards it.
NT*** Well, again, it’s not what would you do. And you’re making it much more complicated than it is. If attacked, do you have the right, whatever that means to you, to defend yourself? Call it god given,naturally endowed, universally innate, or whatever, do you have that right?
JP*** I don’t know. I hope I never need to know.
NT*** Okay, make it someone else. Does any random person, attacked without provocation, have the right to try to defend himself? And take guns out of it. Both people are unarmed and of equal size.
JP*** Thank you for asking me. I hope I will be able to clarify my thinking on this. There is no way to take guns out of it. It’s not arithmetic; it’s music-making or baking bread. There is a reagent here. If we weren’t in a situation now with easy availability ot assault weapons to every extremist of every color and size, then we would not need to have this conversation. My thinking is that we all, deep down, want to meet an adversarial situation with the least possible force to neutralize it. This was my self-defense training. Nuance; don’t go from zero to sixty and escalate the thing. If you have to break his kneecaps to get away, fine, but don’t kill him unless you were realistically in fear for your life. Problem is, some people’s amygdala’s get triggered more easily than others’. So they’ll be shooting some harmless beggar who gets too close to them when crazed with hunger and fatigue. They’ll be buying multiple assault rifles when one handgun maybe would do. They’ll be running in to prevent millions of fictional baby-parts-sales when the clinic doesn’t provide abortions. They’ll be shooting up their postal co-workers when they lose their job because they fear for their financial future. Do you believe that the right to gun-ownership is unlimited? Do you adhere to a black-and-white reading of only the words “not be infringed”? Or do you agree that a militia needs to be “well-regulated”?
NT*** I apologize in advance for the length of this; you are still trying very hard not to answer my question, while simultaneously introducing several new issues. I’ll deal with them all, but it will take a minute.
Since I’m tired of trying to draw out what should be a simple yes or no on the question of “Does a person have the right to defend himself,” here is the answer. If you believe that right exists, then thinking it through to the end inevitably leads to accepting the need for armed self-defense. Otherwise, you’re paying lip service to having the right, while denying the ability. I am a big, reasonably fit person who has trained in martial arts, and can expect to defend myself from most people my size or smaller. But as part of my training, I’ve become VERY aware of how much of an advantage a weapon, ANY weapon, gives to an attacker. I’m also pushing forty, and an athletic 19 year old might eat my lunch simply due to youth. Plus, I’m not four people, and my assailants might be. And this is just me. My mother is in her late sixties. (Sorry to out you, mom.) She has shoulder problems, and would be easy pickings for anyone. Why should she be denied the most effective means of self-defense, i.e. a handgun?
If you don’t believe that right exists, I weep for the world. People who think that are giving society over to those who will not scruple to commit any violence to take what they want, when they want it. It is a cowardly and self-serving position, and I unashamedly condemn those who hold it.
“My thinking is that we all, deep down, want to meet an adversarial situation with the least possible force to neutralize it. This was my self-defense training.” That’s one way to go. I’ve been trained to stop an attack as quickly and effectively as possible, and when the attacker stops, so do I. In the moment, however, I’m not particularly worried about the health and well-being of the person who made the decision to risk my life for whatever money I may have (or whatever his reason for attack.) If he didn’t want to me to defend myself, the simple solution would have been not to attack.
“If you have to break his kneecaps to get away, fine, but don’t kill him unless you were realistically in fear for your life.” Here’s the problem with that. When you put your hands on someone in a violent manner, you’ve already endangered his life. People are killed, much more often than you’d think, by being punched in the face. Using a firearm in self-defense isn’t trying to kill someone, it’s trying to stop them from killing you, and that’s a huge difference. By saying you should wait until you’re “realistically” in fear of your life is also problematic. If a young woman is surrounded by an aggressive group of young men, who are displaying all the classic signs of a pack working itself into an attack, she’s realistically in danger of being raped and murdered. Should she have to wait until she’s already been physically attacked before defending herself?
“Problem is, some people’s amygdala’s get triggered more easily than others’. So they’ll be shooting some harmless beggar who gets too close to them when crazed with hunger and fatigue.” Perhaps, and if someone shoots a beggar who approaches and asks for change, that person should go to jail for murder, because that’s what that is.
“They’ll be buying multiple assault rifles when one handgun maybe would do.” Would do for what? Do you have more than one knife in your kitchen? Knives are dangerous, you should only have one. The thing is, different knives have different jobs, and so do guns. Handguns are what people carry for self-defense because they can’t carry long guns, which are much more effective. I have a shotgun in my closet in the bedroom because, God forbid, if someone breaks into my house, it gives me A) a great audible deterrent, because nothing says “Get out of my house” like the sound of a pump shotgun action, B) the best possibility of a one-shot stop if they ignore the shotgun scary sound, (and if they do, I can be certain they’re not there to sell me magazine subscriptions) and C) with various ammunition choices available for said shotgun, I can be reasonably sure that the shot, should I miss, won’t go through the wall of my house and endanger the rest of my closely packed neighborhood. People have so-called assault rifles (the preferred term is modern sporting rifle, btw) because: They’re fun and easy to shoot; they’re great to practice marksmanship; they’re great hunting rifles; they’re good for shooting sports; home defense; etc. etc.
“They’ll be running in to prevent millions of fictional baby-parts-sales when the clinic doesn’t provide abortions. They’ll be shooting up their postal co-workers when they lose their job because they fear for their financial future.” Well, yes, sometimes a crazy dude will get a bug up his ass and want to go murder people. This happens. It’s a thing. But I challenge anyone to give me any gun control proposal that would stop crazy dudes from getting bugs up their asses and wanting to go murder people, or would have any impact on their ability to do so. China has virtually no private ownership of firearms, but they do have mass stabbings. The largest school massacre in US history was in Bath, Michigan, and was carried out by explosive. Virginia Tech didn’t involve assault rifles, and is #2 on that terrible list. In Germany, 8 kids and 2 teachers were killed, and many more terribly disfigured, when a c.d.w.a.b.u.h.a. attacked them, no lie, with a lance and a flamethrower that he built in his garage. Firearms are tools, nothing more, and blaming the tool for the hand that wields it is poor logic.
As far as your last set of questions, no, rights are not unlimited, but they must be very carefully and minimally limited, and only when two rights come into conflict. For instance, people have the right of both not being killed and of self-defense, but when one person violently attacks another without provocation, the victim’s right to self-defense becomes predominant. Most people would consider me a second amendment absolutist. Before you ask, no, tanks and surface-to-air missiles are not okay. Any arms in common usage that can be borne by a person are. This would include modern sporting rifles, handguns, etc., but also (and everyone forgets that these are also arms,) knives, cudgels, staves, etc. I think that anyone not a danger to society should be able to carry arms without restriction, and anyone who is dangerous enough that they can’t be trusted with arms shouldn’t be trusted without a custodian.
The second amendment text is a long discussion, but briefly;
1) The prefatory clause has no power over the operant clause.
2) In the parlance of the times, militia meant every able-bodied adult, i.e., the general population.
3) Well-regulated meant well-trained or in good working order. A trained body of troops or a well built watch could be said to be “well-regulated.
4) Taken together, then, the prefatory clause, (which, btw, we remember as having no power over the operant clause anyways,) could be rephrased as “A populace well-trained in arms, being necessary to the security of a free state,” etc.
Again, sorry for taking so long, hope it helps.
JP*** I don’t accept the premise of the question, so I feel no obligation to answer it as you phrase it. It’s like the question, “when did you stop beating your wife?”
You can give me YOUR answer, but it is strange that to offer to give me THE answer. If you think that your answer is the only answer, that in itself raises other questions.
If you were a lawyer and this were a court of law, then you could compel me to answer yes or no. I don’t see this issue with that kind of black-and-white thinking, because life is not a zero-sum game, nor a simplistic equation. As a teacher, when I design a strategy to improve a child’s behavior, I take into account numerous factors: child’s age, cause of the misbehavior, child’s verbal abilities, child’s physical size, child’s temperament, child’s classmates’ needs. . . Surely you have similar nuanced decisions to make in your work?
Why do you imagine assailants and intruders at all times? Sounds, forgive me, kinda paranoid. I just don’t feel that most people hate me enough to attack me. I don’t bother to own enough expensive things that they should want to break and enter my home. If I did, I would still value my life, AND the intruder’s life, more than I value a few paltry objects. Isn’t that what we are called to do? If we claim to be good people. . . and remember, you do claim that, although I don’t make that claim about myself. Aren’t good people in favor of LIFE?
Your contention about frequent deaths from facial trauma is a red herring, but if it were relevant, where do you get the statistics on it? And if you believe those statistics, will you believe the statistics about women dead of domestic violence exacerbated by guns; children killed by other children who find the parent’s badly stored gun; a car-jacking victim now hospitalized by a “good guy” who was aiming at the thieves.
It’s strange that you consider a jail sentence to be a satisfactory result when some harmless hypothetical beggar gets erroneously shot to death. From the perspective of the beggar, if he can reflect on it from the grave, doesn’t it seem a pretty raw deal? Oh, great, my killer gets to sit in jail, to be paroled in a few years, and I don’t get to do anything ever again. Don’t you believe in prevention? I am SURE you are willing to live preventively when it comes to your health, by eating right and exercising, and making music. Can’t we do the same as a society?
About the Second Amendment.
1. Scalia is the source of your idea that the prefatory clause has no power over the operant clause. Burger, Bader-Ginsburg disagree, and so do others, as evidenced by the small step in the right direction last week here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/b562678e-96fb-11e5…. I also find it very strange that Scalia, and you, contend that there are words in our country’s Constitution that serve no purpose. Are there any other places in the Constitution where you think somebody was just writing to fill up space on the page?
2. Yes, militia meant every able-bodied adult. Given that we have a professional military, the amendment CANNOT be read the same way any more. EITHER arm the whole populace after background checks and intensive combat training, and use that popular army, OR pay for a professional military, but don’t encourage half the populace to take on a shoddily-trained vigilante role.
3. Well-regulated: gun users nowadays are not well enough regulated or we wouldn’t be having all the accidental shootings. A real soldier doesn’t leave his gun lying around for a toddler to kill a sibling with. A real police officer would never use his service revolver to kill his wife. Right? So obviously there is something NOT well-trained and not well-regulated about the gun owners of today.
No gun control proposal can reduce the number of crazy, lonely extremists who shoot up schools and churches in the absence of a better mental health system. We have to wage peace from every angle. Mental health proposals—if we could ever get them passed anyways—are only half-useful without background checks for gun sales. I’m not going to go into every strategy that we need to implement. That’s for Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign to do. Yet, let’s you and me start by refusing guns to those on the no-fly list. . . do you support that idea? You imply that you do when you say “anyone not a danger to society should be able to carry arms without restriction. . . “ So will you lobby for it and encourage all your friends to do the same?
NT*** Thanks for taking the time to write back! Your answer was fairly lengthy, so to keep it organized, I’m going to take it bit by bit.
“I don’t accept the premise of the question, so I feel no obligation to answer it as you phrase it. It’s like the question, “when did you stop beating your wife?””
I disagree with the comparison. My question isn’t designed to make you look bad simply by asking it, but to help you realize that there are such things as basic rights, and that self-defense is one of them.
“You can give me YOUR answer, but it is strange that to offer to give me THE answer.”
In this case, it is. If people have the right to life, then they also, as a corollary, have the right to stop those who might take life away.
“Surely you have similar nuanced decisions to make in your work?”
If the problem is that my questions were too vague, consider the story at the link. We’ll be returning to it later as well.
Here is a real-world, concrete example. Did the victim in this unprovoked, violent attack have the right to defend himself? Just to be clear, I am asking for a simple yes or no. The victim was an elderly man, much weaker than his young, vicious assailant. The attack was completely unprovoked, the victim chosen at random, as were at least two other victims attacked by the same assailant earlier. It ended with the death of the victim. I can’t think of any other factors that would possibly matter. So, yes or no?
“Why do you imagine assailants and intruders at all times?”
Well, I don’t, really. We’re having a conversation about self-defense, and so assailants are part of the subject matter. Since we last spoke, I haven’t really given it much thought at all. In much the same way, I don’t think often about my house burning down, but I do own a fire extinguisher.
“I just don’t feel that most people hate me enough to attack me.”
See the above link.
“I don’t bother to own enough expensive things that they should want to break and enter my home. If I did, I would still value my life, AND the intruder’s life, more than I value a few paltry objects.”
Do you have a sign in front of your house that says “No valuables?” And why would you think that the intruder, who has already broken several laws and is showing his contempt for your well-being, would have the same respect for life as you do?
“Isn’t that what we are called to do? If we claim to be good people. . . and remember, you do claim that, although I don’t make that claim about myself. Aren’t good people in favor of LIFE?”
Yes, absolutely. The very last thing I ever want is to be put into a situation where I have to defend myself with possibly lethal force. But, and it may sound arrogant, the lives of my loved ones and myself are more valuable than the criminal who has put our lives in jeopardy. Perhaps you’re not comfortable making those kind of moral judgements, but I certainly am.
“Your contention about frequent deaths from facial trauma is a red herring, but if it were relevant, where do you get the statistics on it? And if you believe those statistics, will you believe the statistics about women dead of domestic violence exacerbated by guns; children killed by other children who find the parent’s badly stored gun; a car-jacking victim now hospitalized by a “good guy” who was aiming at the thieves.”
Okay, let’s talk about statistics. I must admit that on the punch to the face thing, I don’t have numbers, but I did google “Killed by punch to the head.” Try it, it’s enlightening. I also don’t have statistics on how many women are shot to death by domestic abusers, but consider: Most men are bigger, stronger, and more violent than most women. They don’t need guns. If I could, I’d give a gun to every women who’s ever been beat up by a man just to even it out. The one about the carjacker isn’t a statistic, it’s an anecdote, and I’m not going to play the anecdotal-one-upped game, because we’d be here till the end of time. Where I do have statistics, however, is on accidental shootings of children. I posted this yesterday in the main comment thread:
“…in 2013 605 kids <14 died by drowning. 39 kids age 10-14 were shot accidentally; age 1-9 the numbers were too low to be included but were certainly less than 50. Six times more children drown every year, so where is the outrage directed against swimming pool owners as unfeeling psychos, and against the APSP (Association of Pool and Spa Professionals) as merchants of death?”
Those numbers are from the CDC. You can look up causes of death broken down by category and age. It’s really fascinating. For instance, Motor Vehicle Traffic deaths outnumber gun homicides by over 3-1. If you really want to save lives in America, start there.
“It’s strange that you consider a jail sentence to be a satisfactory result when some harmless hypothetical beggar gets erroneously shot to death.”
Well, I’m sure the situation was more nuanced than you reported. For second-degree murder, sentences are usually in the 15 years-life range. That’s more than “a few years in jail.” Would you suggest the death penalty might be appropriate?
About the Second Amendment. There’s no polite way to say it, but your understanding of it is very poor.
“1. Scalia is the source of your idea that the prefatory clause has no power over the operant clause.”
Nope, junior year English taught me that.
“Burger, Bader-Ginsburg disagree, and so do others, as evidenced by the small step in the right direction last week here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/b562678e-96fb-11e5…. “
I read the article, and there was no mention of the militia clause. In the last two SC rulings on the 2A, both the prevailing AND dissenting opinions stated that the militia clause had no power over the rights clause. See Heller v. DC and McDonald v. Chicago.
“I also find it very strange that Scalia, and you, contend that there are words in our country’s Constitution that serve no purpose. Are there any other places in the Constitution where you think somebody was just writing to fill up space on the page?”
Another term for what the militia clause is is a ‘justifications clause.’ The first half of the Second Amendment is called the “justification clause”. Justification clauses appear in many state constitutions, and cover liberties including right to trial, freedom of the press, free speech, and more. For example, here is a contemporaneous example from Rhode Island’s Constitution: “The liberty of the press being essential to the security of freedom in a state, any person may publish sentiments on any subject…” Thus, while the militia clause is a reason, it is not the ONLY reason, and the right stands independent.
“2. Yes, militia meant every able-bodied adult. Given that we have a professional military, the amendment CANNOT be read the same way any more. EITHER arm the whole populace after background checks and intensive combat training, and use that popular army, OR pay for a professional military, but don’t encourage half the populace to take on a shoddily-trained vigilante role.”
The founding fathers had huge misgivings about standing armies, and by definition, the militia is NOT part of any professional standing army. They are separate institutions.
“3. Well-regulated: gun users nowadays are not well enough regulated or we wouldn’t be having all the accidental shootings. A real soldier doesn’t leave his gun lying around for a toddler to kill a sibling with. A real police officer would never use his service revolver to kill his wife. Right? So obviously there is something NOT well-trained and not well-regulated about the gun owners of today.”
In 2013, (the last year available,) out of a population of 316,128,839, there were 505 unintentional firearm deaths, for a rate of .16/100,000. For comparison, 3,391 drowned, 2,354 died in residential fires, and 30,208 died in falls. Accidental shootings are a very well-publicized blip. In any human endeavor, a .00016% failure rate is usually acceptable.
For more second amendment information, try www.guncite.com. I’m sure you’ll think I’m trying to steer you to some ultra-gun-nutty page, but a careful reading will show several pages on the site that debunk some of the dumber pro-gun tropes. (The Nazis used gun control! AAAAARGHGHGH! …no, not really, and you can read why that’s a stretcher at guncite.) If you’re still mad that I’m using biased websites, remember that you pulled your info from Mothers Demand Action and the Brady Campaign, which we on the pro-gun side view in much the same way as you do the NRA. That’s why I haven’t linked to any NRA sites or stats, and kept all numbers quoted to the CDC.
“Yet, let’s you and me start by refusing guns to those on the no-fly list. . . do you support that idea? You imply that you do when you say “anyone not a danger to society should be able to carry arms without restriction. . . “ So will you lobby for it and encourage all your friends to do the same?”
Nope, sorry. Here’s why not.
1) The no fly list is an unconstitutional violation or the 4th and 5th amendments.
2) Being placed on the no-fly list is often a matter of error, confusion, or outright bigotry, and we don’t deny civil rights for those reasons, or at least we shouldn’t.
3) We just found out that there are 72 homeland security employees, including TSA screeners, on the list. That right there should tell you the value of it. Senator Kennedy, God rest his leftist soul, was on it.
JP*** You actually don’t trust the facts that Moms Demand Action brings?
NT*** If I cited stats provided by the NRA, would you perhaps take them with a grain of salt? MDA is an activist organization with an agenda that does not include protecting the rights of Americans. While their stated goal of reducing so-called ‘gun violence’ is laudable, their outright fear of firearms blinds them to any possible good that firearms can provide. I’ve tried very hard thus far to make sure that any numbers I provide are free of source bias. You’ll never hear me quote from the NRA, Gun Owners of America, The Truth About Guns .com, The Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners Action League, or the National Shooting Sports Federation without sourcing their statistics. MDA commonly gets their numbers from such sources as the Brady Campaign, Violence Prevention Center, Mayors Against illegal Guns, (which I find hilariously named,) etc. It’s like getting smoking info from Philip-Morris, who got their numbers from R.J. Reynolds.
JP*** With the difference being the money behind Philip-Morris and R.J. Reynolds and the NRA, and not behind the Moms Demanding Action, who are indeed trying to protect the rights of Americans to life as well as to gun ownership. I think it’s a triumph that we’ve kept the conversation civil for so long. I think we should quit while we are ahead. For me, if you don’t listen to moms who have lost their children, I don’t know what I can say.
NT*** Well, then, I’ll try to keep this brief. If by “the money behind… the NRA,” you mean the dues and donations of it’s over five million members, I’m not sure what the problem is. Groups like the NRA and, indeed, MDA are formed to provide a platform for their members to push for societal and legislative change that they wouldn’t be able to individually. The NRA has a dues-paying membership of around five million. MDA claims anybody who has liked their facebook page as a member, which as of today was 466,000. If money is so bad, why did a “Donate Now” window pop up on my screen when I went to the MDA website looking for membership numbers?
To your last point, losing your child is the most awful thing I can imagine. Any mother who has had to bury her child for whatever reason has my sincere sympathy. But losing a child doesn’t make someone an expert on any given subject, it only provides a totally understandable, but also totally unshakeable bias. If a mother of a child run over by a car formed a group called “Mothers Demand Action for Car Sense in America,” and began trying to ban cars that could go faster than 30 mph as Assault Cars, and vilifying the owners of such cars, and referring to the AAA as a terrorist organization, I’d say she didn’t know what she was talking about. And that’s what the gun community feels like when we hear calls to ban bullets with “incendiary tips, which are heat seeking devices” or the “shoulder thing that goes up,” or the dreaded “.30-caliber clip to disperse with 30 bullets within half a second. Thirty magazine clip in half a second.” (All actual quotes by legislators trying to pass gun-control legislation.) I see a lot of the same ignorance on the MDA page. Let me re-iterate. Anyone who has lost their child, for whatever reason, has my profound and sincere sympathy, but that does not also confer my willingness to let them dictate policy on firearms.
So there it is. For those of you who read through to the end, thanks. For the rest of you, no problem, I know it was lengthy. I think it provides a good snapshot of how a discussion can range from Second Amendment interpretation, to self-defense philosophy, to gun-control tropes, and everywhere in between. Before I found TTAG, I wouldn’t have had the philosophical ammo (so to speak,) that I was able to bring to bear. Thanks, guys, and keep on telling The Truth About Guns.