Thoughts On Gun Rights And Self Defense After the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Vigil

courtesy NBC News

TTAG reader Elaine D. writes:

I am a woman, a racial minority, a liberal, and a gun owner. I am deeply saddened by the events of the last several days, the innocent people being targeted by a hateful person who owned guns. Hate of that type is not a temporary emotion, but a reflection of deeply pathological character and temperament issues that are unlikely to be fixable.

I actually don’t know any liberals who are against guns for self defense. When I ask my fellow liberals, “Do you believe someone like me, a woman of color who endures harassment, should have the right to own firearms to protect myself?” I have never gotten any answer other than YES, even from my most hard left friends.

If targeted people choose to own firearms to protect themselves from random acts of hate and harassment, they are all about it. Targeted people can be of any color or any orientation. The key here is that such people would choose to own firearms primarily as self defense and would not use them to actively take from others.

I do know many liberals who are against guns in the hands of people who beat women, people who molest kids, people who post hate speech and racist rants online, people who are mentally unstable and lack empathy and are prone to paranoid beliefs about others being out to get them. I am also one of those people.

I work in mental health. There are people who should not have guns because their only reason for owning them is to stalk, harass, hurt, exploit and kill others. That is just an ugly truth about humanity and that is not going to change. Many people who hurt others with guns have a history of the type of actions I listed above.

Unfortunately there is not yet a way to write gun policy to screen out such people without also impacting people who are innocent, since not all those who harm others advertise their deviant way of thinking before purchasing guns. Or they do, but then claim that it’s simply their exercise of free speech when it’s actually a published plan for how they intend to harm others. Therein lies the heart of the problem.

I am sure that I will be accused of wanting to take away everyone’s innate rights by making the above statement. However, rights also come with responsibilities in every area of life. Abuse a freedom and it can get taken away: that’s how society works. And what I know as a mental health worker is that there are people who cannot be fixed and that no amount of attempting to explain why they are the way they are, no amount of therapy or treatment, is going to change their aggressive, narcissistic, violent tendencies.

That is reality. That is the ugly side of human nature that has always been there since the beginning, that we are always dealing with, that we will always be dealing with. It is not going to go away.

We need to defend ourselves against such people, which is why I am a gun owner. I am not sure what the answer is as far as making sure that people who take pleasure in harming others can’t get a gun into their hands. There are so many guns in the US at this point that it’s not like a person has to take a legal channel to obtain one.

Those of us who do obtain our guns legally (and concealed carry permit holders in particular) are the least likely to harm others anyway, based on the research I’ve seen. What I think needs to happen is that sane, legally owning, mentally stable gun owners on all sides of the political spectrum need to come together, put aside their differences and really ask, “Is there anything WE can do to address this issue to prevent rights for everyone being eroded?” Being factionalized and abrasive toward one another is not going to help. Being active in working to find creative solutions will.

I recently stopped someone dear to me in the middle of a rant about liberals and how ‘someone needs to get rid of such and such person.’ I pointed out to him that suggesting that someone needs to be physically eliminated simply because they vote differently than you, when they have done you no harm personally, is only a few hairs away from a terroristic threat in the eyes of the law and is a questionable stance in terms of attitude in a country that is supposed to be based on allowing people who are different to live together and challenge one another.

I pointed out to him that in all of our spirited arguments about politics (and we’ve had many), I have never suggested that any Republican be “gotten rid of.” Because, at the end of the day, I might not like someone’s policies, or think they should be in the job they’re in, but this doesn’t mean I think they should be eliminated from the face of the planet.

The thing is, I know my friend doesn’t actually want to harm anyone. He’s a good man. He’s just fallen into the unfortunate habit that so many have of giving in to exaggeration and unnecessarily stoking fires that are already hot enough without further poking. It’s his right, but I’d prefer he not do that around me, especially since I’m a liberal and I know he cares about me deeply. We talked through it and our friendship is fine, which believe it or not, is actually an option that people can take.

I know that such language is close to being considered a terroristic threat because of a stalking case I worked on where the FBI got involved. The person making those statements again and again toward my client was not affiliated with any political party. He was just a nutjob with an extremely toxic and hostile personality and view of the world who had a strong yen for trying to harm people who had done better than he had in life.

That person absolutely should not own a gun. I said it then and I will continue to say it: There are people who should not own guns because all they will do with a gun is hurt others. I know this to be true, and it has nothing to do with how you vote.

My heart goes out to the victims of all of the hate crimes that plague our nation.


  1. avatar GunnyGene says:

    Unfortunately Elaine, people don’t wear signs that identify their proclivities or intent. Are you willing to take a chance that the next person you meet in a restaurant or on the street, school, mall or anywhere else is not going to kill you?

    Pre-Crime was a SciFi movie.

    1. avatar frank space says:

      those on the hard left have always wanted, as their stated aim.. to disarm the populace…never lose sight of that

    2. avatar Elaine D. says:

      In all of the cases that happened last week, the perpetrators had repeatedly posted violent online content or expressed it to others. It was not hidden.

      1. avatar GunnyGene says:

        And? Do you propose then, that the authorities (including the medical profession) monitor everything that gets posted on the net? I suspect that might present a problem.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          What I think, from previous experience working on legislative issues, is that it will take a bipartisan effort with people from both sides who have expertise in firearms, law, psychology and law enforcement working on it.

          I think the problem with making guns a partisan issue is that it makes the right to own guns dependent on who’s in power and that always changes. In order to influence the Democrats to a more moderate position, you need knowledgeable Democrat gun owners to be part of the deal, and to work with them. I am one such and I’m far from the only one. It would help if we weren’t met with hostility just because we are not single issue voters. We don’t want our rights or guns eroded any more than you do, but there needs to be a place for us to be a part of the whole deal instead of getting constantly vilified for our vote.

        2. avatar California Richard says:

          “it will take a bipartisan effort with people from both sides who have expertise in firearms, law, psychology and law enforcement working on it.”

          I’m sorry Elaine D., but that isn’t a solution. It’s outsourcing notional concepts to other people with titles who claim to have expertise for the purpose of “doing something”. We already have laws that prohibit the sale and posession of firearms by crazy people, addicts, felons, subjects of restraining orders, illegal immigrants, etc. It’s the very embodiment of: “Abuse a freedom and it can get taken away: that’s how society works” which you said in the body of your narrative.

          A lot of people here are old enough to remember politicians and expert groupthink tanks promising that “this new law will fix things”, only to be told that we need “just one more law”. We’ve sat back for decades and watched these promises turn to smoke and only hamstring the law abiding. So we have no faith in the bright ideas coming from: firearms experts, law experts, psychology experts, and law enforcement experts when it comes to “finding solutions”.

          “If the lawless abuse a freedom, it will get taken away from the lawful: that’s how society works” – FIFY

        3. avatar Big Bill says:

          Elaine: “In order to influence the Democrats to a more moderate position, you need knowledgeable Democrat gun owners to be part of the deal, and to work with them. I am one such and I’m far from the only one. It would help if we weren’t met with hostility just because we are not single issue voters. We don’t want our rights or guns eroded any more than you do, but there needs to be a place for us to be a part of the whole deal instead of getting constantly vilified for our vote.”

          That’s a really nice position to have.
          Unfortunately, those in power in the Democrat party do not hold that position.
          You, as a gun owner (even one in the Democratic party) are not immune from their stated goal of disarming all gun owners; they refuse to admit that their stated goal can only work on law-abiding gun owners, like you and me. That criminally minded person down the street, in the store, whatever, will not be disarmed, because he (or she) is not law abiding. If you are who you say you are and have experience in both the mental health and legal investigation sectors, then you know that.
          Not wanting your rights eroded is actually mutually exclusive from the Democratic party. They run on eroding your rights. In this particular case, they want to “erode” your right to own a gun in the extreme. They’ve said so openly.
          So, if you say you don’t want your rights eroded, you’re actually not a Democrat, even if you espouse some of their other ideals. Gun control (code for eliminating the second amendment altogether) is a major plank of the Democrat’s platform.

          Later you say, “…and have never had a problem because hey, I’m a law abiding citizen.”
          So basically you’re saying, “If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t mind forfeiting your privacy.”
          Sorry,that’s not only wrong, but I would bet that if someone told you that you (along with everyone else) must undergo a background check to vote, you’d be horrified. Yet, both gun ownership and voting are supposed to enjoy the same constitutional protection.

          Later, you say, “I actually do not know any liberals who are against guns.”
          It makes no difference who you, personally, know, and what they say they want. What makes a difference is what those who want to run the country (or state, or locality) say they want. And they want your guns. And they want to be put in a position where they can get what they want. Someone who says she works in mental health certainly should know this. Your own extremely small circle of friends and acquaintances isn’t representative of those in power on the left; instead it is representative of your ability to become friends with like-minded people, or at least those who tolerate your personality (in a good way). You really should understand the difference between those you know, and those who you say are representative of your views. The Democratic party is not included in the latter group.
          “And if I am an accepted person, then clearly there is room there for things to breathe and be talked about.”
          There should be, but as I listen to the Dems who want to be (re)elected, I am certain they don’t feel that way. Do you ever listen to them?

          This is too long already. I’ll stop now.

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “This is too long already. I’ll stop now.”

          Don’t sell yourself short. Serious subjects require serious thought, thence serious exposition. Trying to reduce complex thought to soundbites results in thoughtless sloganeering for an echo chamber. We shouldn’t be an echo chamber, afraid of intellectual engagement. If that is the goal of this blog, “Shall not be infringed” is the only thought that should be stated.

          Ya’ done did good.

        5. avatar Big Bill says:

          Thank you for the kind words, Sam.

        6. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Thank you for the kind words, Sam.”

          I would like to be gratified, but being already three martinis into it today, I do not remember the context for your gratitude. On the other hand, after you remember it to me, I might need a fourth reinforcer.

      2. avatar What about...? says:

        Elaine D, I have read your posts and replies above and below about you implying that your a pro-2A liberal.

        To help me better understand your position, can you answer the following questions?

        (1) Do you agree that the 2A can be limited by a vote on the ballot, specifically would you be for or against voting to removing the right of 18-20 year olds from purchasing semiautomatic rifles?

        (2) Are you for or against an “assault rifle ban” specifically any rifle that posses the features of an AR-15 or AK style semiautomatic rifle?

        (3) Are you for or against any restriction in the round capacity of a magazine? If yes (for restrictions in magazine capacity), how many rounds to do you consider allowable for a magazine, 10 rounds, 15 rounds, 30 rounds, etc?

        (4) Are you for or against banning bump stocks and/or custom triggers?

        (5) Are you for or against universal background checks?

        Thank you

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          I think that if you are old enough to be sent to war for your country, you are old enough to be considered an adult for other life choices as well. That said, adolescence goes on until 25 and as someone who works with a lot of young people, they have a lot of difficulty making truly good adult decisions without the mentoring and help of more experienced adults, mainly due to a lack of life experience. So that is my intermediate answer so to speak. I do think we have a strong tendency in this country to infantilize ourselves and avoid adulthood, so cultural influences have to be taken into account as well.

          I believe in background checks, yes. I’ve had to pass them many times for various reasons and have never had a problem because hey, I’m a law abiding citizen. I don’t know any serious shooter or POTG who has ever had a problem passing a background check. Maybe I am somewhat unusually fortunate in who I hang out with, who knows.

          I don’t believe in banning particular types of weapons. Good gun ownership is about the person who owns. Bump stocks I can’t comment on because none of the trainers I’ve ever worked with likes or will allow them. To some extent my opinions are limited by the fact that I am a purely defensive shooter and not into a bunch of tricks and toys. But it’s a start.

        2. avatar What about...? says:

          Elaine D, thank you for replying. It is good to hear that you are not against banning semiautomatics, “assault rifles” like AR-15s, magazines based on capacity (high capacity magazines of 30 rounds or more), nor are you against banning 18-20 year olds from purchasing semiautomatic rifles. You are for universal background checks, ok. If unsure about bumpnstocks, what about opening up purchases for newly manufactured select fire weapons if NFA rules are followed?

        3. avatar Big Bill says:

          @What About: “high capacity” magazines aren’t more than 30 rounds, they are more than 10 rounds.
          Probably just a typo on your part.
          Being OK with UBC isn’t right, IMO. If UBCs were demanded for voting, everyone would be extremely upset, yet both enjoy the same protection in the constitution. If UBC (indeed, even nothing more than a picture ID) is racist for one, it’s racist for both, thus absolutely verboten for both.

        4. avatar hoont says:

          @Big Bill: One thing I’d point out is that voting and gun ownership, as far as the activities themselves are concerned, are apples and oranges.

          What’s the worst that someone can get up to with fraudulent ID? Vote twice? Vote once when they shouldn’t have?

          Meanwhile: Guns. What can you do with a gun that’s frowned upon in society? Exactly. Here we are on a message board devoted to discussing the aftermath of one such instance.

          It’s not really fair to equate the two by right and *not* acknowledge the difference in context, essentially; that the laws concerning the two are different *for a reason*.

        5. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “@Big Bill: One thing I’d point out is that voting and gun ownership are apples and oranges. ”

          Really? Voting for rich and powerful people who are hell-bent on disarming the populace is an example of unrelated actions? Let’s follow this through: Dimwitocratic leaders produce legislation that bans all but .22 caliber, single-shot rifles. Dimwitocratic leaders also produce legislation that makes everything a person wants free-of-charge. If you vote for the legislation, they are passed into law, and the effects are manifested . If you vote against the legislation, nothing happens. Do you not see a “cause and effect” dynamic at play?


        6. avatar Big Bill says:

          @hoont: “What’s the worst that someone can get up to with fraudulent ID? Vote twice? Vote once when they shouldn’t have?”
          Taking what the Dems say, voting is extremely important.
          For myself, voting is more dangerous than using a gun.
          Votes can put in charge people who have only themselves in mind. These people can talk a good talk, but when they get power, they can wreak havoc in a lot of different ways, not just gun rights.
          Want higher taxes? Vote Dem.
          Want less choice in health care? Vote Dem.
          Want socialism? Vote Dem. (That right there covers so much territory it is, IMO, more dangerous than the others. Just look at socialist countries around the world. Violence using guns pales in comparison.)
          No, voting is far more dangerous than gun ownership. So I guess you’re right, you just have which one is the more dangerous mixed up.

        7. avatar YuGo HuGo says:

          I can only wonder why you are still a democrat! Or are you just a snake in the grass?

      3. avatar What about...? says:

        Elaine D. This has been a good conversation thanks for posting and writing an article. I have learned a lot about you’re position. Thanks

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          I guess I have a hard time responding to questions about select fire or specific “toys” that none of the trainers I study with use. I’m being trained old school, simple weapons, stock triggers, focus on marksmanship and sight picture, trigger control. There’s a lot of stuff in “gun world” that I don’t even know about because I never use it. Thanks for being open to what I have to say.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I’m being trained old school, simple weapons, stock triggers,…”

          Being allegedly unaware of the all out war against firearms by YOUR party, while training in the “old school” is non-trivial. “Stock triggers” have meaning for YOUR party because they are all about eliminating modifications to guns that make them more shootable, controllable, useful. YOUR party wants to outlaw any modification that increased the rate-of-fire of a “stock” firearm.

          Many guns have crappy triggers. That is the pull is too long, or too heavy, or two unpredictable as to when the hammer/striker impacts the primer. Some people have small hands (shorter finger length), some have arthritis, some want more reliability in the control of the trigger. YOUR party would ban all modifications to meet the needs of these people because the required modifications would make it possible to increase the rate-of-fire (ease of trigger manipulation) of a “stock” firearm.

          In all seriousness, you really should become informed on the anti-gun propaganda and legislation passed and proposed by YOUR party. Once you understand YOUR party, you should be able to make a more intelligent analysis of the politics of firearms.

          BTW, the Second Amendment does not recognize color, culture, privilege, financial or societal status, sex, size or intelligence as exceptions, or unrestricted permission.

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          And by the way, your sex, minority status, or perception of “harassment” also have nothing to do with your RKBA, everybody is born with it, your party wishes to remove it. You seem to believe that is fine, since you perceive that their desire won’t affect you personally. But it will, you are in their sights just as I am. Infringing on a person’s rights should be based on that one person’s actions, not on made-up considerations about what *might* happen. The greatest and most obvious need for prohibiting guns would be prohibiting minorities from owning guns, since they seem to constantly use them to kill each other. That rarely comes up, due to the impossibility of hiding the obvious racism which would be involved, but try looking at the figures for black men killing black men, and subtract that number from national murders overall, the problem just disappeared. Making a statement as you have in this posting, then claiming ignorance and lack of interest as reasons you don’t know the answers begs the question, why did you make the post in the first place?

        4. avatar Matt says:


          I would simply say that they (select fire) are not used because they are not generally available. If I could buy one off the shelf for the same price as any other gun, I’d have a sub gun for home defense and I’m sure many would opt for similar choices.

          Supposedly Tom Clancy had a MP5 for that purpose. There are also cases of people using automatic firearms for self defense (legal and illegally); the two legal onces I can specifically recall were both dealers and machine guns seemed to do the job quite well. The illegal case was a drug dealer, and this was caught on video, he halted the entrance of an entire SWAT team in 10 seconds. The use may have been illegal, but it isn’t much of a stretch to see how that can apply to other situations. So this makes us ask once more; is there so little use of machine guns for defensive purposes because they are inferior for that task or simply because they are not generally available to the common man? I believe it is the later.

        5. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “So this makes us ask once more; is there so little use of machine guns for defensive purposes because they are inferior for that task or simply because they are not generally available to the common man?”

          Dimwitocrats (leftists and statists in general) do not understand your proposition, just as they do not understand that when they tax something they don’t like, the frequency of that something declines, and revenues from the tax decline simultaneously. All the projected revenue is based on the theory that the taxed activity is mandated to continue at previous levels in order for the government to benefit from additional income.

          You made your case quite well, but do not be seduced…you are trying to get a Dimwitocrat to understand act and consequence (otherwise known as logic).

      4. avatar CZJay says:

        A lot of people that want to do harm inform you of that. They might even inform the person they intend to do harm to. Really messed up people are the ones that randomly attack a stranger walking down the street.

        When people plan massacres they know exactly what they are doing and usually have made it clear they are the type of people that will act. It doesn’t have to make sense to us, it just has to make sense to them, that doesn’t necessarily make them crazy. People like to label murderers as crazy so they don’t have to figure out the thought process that lead the criminal to commit violence because they don’t want to allow such darkness into their minds.

        I hear that some homicide detectives have mental and drug problems because they had to experience the things a bad person has done and they have to put themselves in the mind of the criminal in order to find them. This leads to nightmares, depression, marital problems, self medicating, suicide, etc.

        Labeling this synagogue attack just a “hate crime” causes people to ignore the ideology and environment that inspired him. It simply chalks it up to a crazy Jew hater nothing more. I have seen some National Socialists [alt right] downplaying or ignoring the attacker’s motivations/ideology, telling their follows how this is going to be used against them and how to prepare their defenses. The National Socialists do not want to publicly acknowledge they think the attacker is ultimately a “hero” to them, but he was too impatient and hurt their “optics,” they will save that for private conversations.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          It can be very hard when you’re a professional who sees up front, day in and day out, the enormous damage that humans can inflict on one another. It bothers some people more than others. But it’s going to have some kind of effect no matter what.

          I’m a PTSD therapist who sees a lot of people who have been victimized by child abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, crime, manipulative and violent people. One of the things that victims can really fall into is endless ruminating about “why” someone who hurt them hurt them, as though understanding that will somehow ease the pain. But even if they could get those answers, which you usually can’t from someone who would do something like rape a baby and give them a lifetime STD (yep, that’s the kind of case I work on), it actually won’t change what they have to do, which is find a way to move forward and claim their own life, find meaning and goodness in the world and find some kind of way to trust others so they can have functional relationships.

          Knowing why doesn’t always make the difference people think it will. It’s a balancing act.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          The “why” question is because we are all special creatures in our minds, not deserving of what happened to us, and we seek justification for suffering the harm, satisfaction in the answer, and reinforcement that we are victims – imbuing us with a right to demand someone suffer along with us, or agree that because we are victims, we need special handling, and cuddling to make our boo-boo feel better.

          I look at the veterans of WW1 and WW2 as models. Many suffered horrors the following generations can never understand, or have endured. Yet, we did not have thousands and thousands and thousands of “broken” soldiers who needed unending psychological therapy to get on with life and be happy and productive. I knew many of those veterans personally, as did zillions of us children and grand children. Some how the WW1 veterans helped create what became WW2’s greatest generation, but after 1945, we became a nation of wimps through the succeeding generations.

          When life deals crap, no one owes us an explanation. We cannot change what happened, but we can take hold of our lives and move responsible. For that we are solely and personally responsible.

      5. avatar Phil Wilson says:

        While people who end up committing acts of violence often do show signs, and specific threats of violence should always be taken seriously, how many people who did not commit acts of violence were there over the last weeks who posted pictures of themselves with guns?

        It’s easy to see particular signs after the events occur, whereas determining a-priori who will commit acts of violence is much more difficult. This is particularly true for those with mental health issues, the vast, vast majority of whom are not violent. Comes down to the pre-crime argument others have made. Occasional violence (by non-government actors) is a price of freedom (not that any government of which I am aware has ever been able to eliminate random murderers anyway). And historically speaking, those who have allowed the right to keep and bear arms to be infringed have been at the mercy of criminals, both non-government and government. That tends to lead to bloodshed on a far greater scale.

        And no I never thought Obama would be sending out death squads, and I don’t think Trump will either. But we are never more than a generation away from that.

    3. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      “I work in mental health. There are people who should not have guns because their only reason for owning them is to stalk, harass, hurt, exploit and kill others.”

      Forgive me for sounding unkind, but I think the best way to express this is by putting it bluntly: So why I should trust someone like you to make a phone call and deny me a constitutional right?

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        Trust is something built through time, actions, and getting to know a person. That’s also how healing works. It ain’t a quick process.

        1. avatar L says:

          The problem is that having such a law makes it impersonal; it’s the state that has been given the power to deny your rights. Trust goes out the window because any sane person doesn’t put trust in a bureaucracy.

  2. avatar Jeff says:

    So who is the omniscient being that gets to determine who should own guns and who should not? Will there be due process and a trial involved in this decision?

    Will the whole thing be respectful of the entire Bill of Rights, or do gun owners implicitly give up their other rights for the chance to own a gun?

  3. avatar ropingdown says:

    Agree with your comment about liberals. They are anti-gun in the large, but not so much when the context is that of people they know. My carry permit required two references that were not relatives, but who had known me for a period of years. I asked two wives of neighborhood friends. They both agreed to be references, while telling me they were part of Mothers’ March Against Gun Violence. I had no idea. Nonetheless, the point is made that guns in the hands of trusted people are much less frightening than guns in the hands of unknown people with no community connection. Not surprising.

    1. avatar frank space says:

      people who spew endless hate on social media…then begin displaying photos of themselves with weapons bear watching…that was the failing in this most recent outrage

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        “people who spew endless hate on social media…then begin displaying photos of themselves with weapons bear watching…”

        What does that watching entail?
        Some would say it means the police should “keep an eye on” that person. What exactly does that mean? Obviously we can’t afford to put a policeman on a detail to follow that person around, but simply putting such a person on some list somewhere “isn’t enough.”
        Some would say it means the FBI should get involved. But, again ,what does that mean? As above? The same problems arise.

        What I’m saying, exactly, is this: who gets to decide what all these terms mean?
        Who decides who is mentally unstable enough to be declared a Prohibited Person(PS)?
        Who gets to decide which Facebook poster needs to be declared a PS? Twitter? Instagram? Any other social network?

        This isn’t just a case of “We need to do something!” It’s a case of who decides just whose rights we are going to deny. It’s a case of just how far are we willing to erode the definition of “due process.” It’s a case of how far are we willing to allow our fears to rule our lives?
        It’s also a case of are we willing to allow the politicians who happen to be in charge at one particular point in time to decide just which constitutional rights are to be allowed.
        There’s a lot at stake when we decide someone who fits a very broad profile “needs watching.”

        1. avatar Elaine says:

          A friend floated the idea of a national reporting system kind of like CPS. Three warnings and then your firearms are taken away until you can prove up that you are sane and responsible enough to own them and that you understand the impact and consequences of your actions.

          And this person votes red. Go figure. But he doesn’t like criminals, and he wants to keep his guns.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Three warnings and then your firearms are taken away until you can prove up that you are sane and responsible enough to own them and that you understand the impact and consequences of your actions.”

          See? You cannot help yourself. The statement above is pure leftism – guilty and punished for the possibility that a person might do something bad.

          The mere thought that it is permissible under the constitution to force an accused person to prove innocence is bastardizing the entirety of the first principles of the union. If you think a person, after even a dozen supposed actions justifying confiscating property without a court hearing, should be deprived of personal property, nay, deprived of an enumerated right to possess firearms, on the say so of parties with an agenda, then you are a statist, elitist, pure progressive. There is no constitutional provision for “experts” to use a punch list to deprive citizens of their rights. If you want to have a person relieved of their firearms, charge them with a felony, and prove your case. Otherwise, leave people alone.

        3. avatar Big Bill says:

          Three warnings?
          A law should be written clearly enough that everyone should know exactly what behavior is being prohibited. If the behavior isn’t prohibited, why a warning? If the behavior is prohibited, why a warning (given the behavior is serious enough to warrant a removal of civil rights)?
          No, this is ‘progressive’ thinking at its worst. Warn a person without any conviction, then remove his rights because he’s been warned. Due process? Why? “Guns are involved, so due process isn’t necessary, because guns in the hands of people I don’t agree with are bad.”
          Don’t you see the problem there?

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Guns are involved, so due process isn’t necessary, because guns in the hands of people I don’t agree with are bad.”
          “Don’t you see the problem there?”

          No if one is a caring, feeling, sensitive, supportive, swaddling proto-tyrant.

  4. avatar former water walker says:

    Sorry lady but my eyes glaze over with the “I am a liberal”. Enjoying the benifits of the 2A while presumably voting D. That’s a big BUT. You don’t have to like Trump(it took awhile for me) but when so many of you ascribe all the ills of society to him I balk at your “concerns”. How far to the left is TTAG tilting?!?

    1. avatar frank space says:

      ….it helps to know their thinking…

      1. avatar Angry Az says:

        If they were thinking they wouldn’t be drooling Democrats….. Seriously!!! Rights don’t need permission!! Terroristic threat bullshit if you can have red flag laws for thoughts and opinions..we can have red flag laws for voting choices!

    2. TTAG isn’t tilting anywhere. Did you read my post this morning?

      We’re 2A absolutists and always have been.

      We’ve also always been open to readers who can write and make a cogent, intelligent argument. No matter what their politics may be. As frank says above, it’s always good for us to know what those on the other side are thinking and saying. We’ve never been a safe space and don’t intend to be.

      You’re welcome to contribute, too, if you’d like to write something rebutting Elaine’s POV.

      1. avatar former water walker says:

        I’ve already rebutted her point of view. And I’ve done that for years HERE. I’m not some wild eyed right-wing bomb thrower either. My black wife and caramel colored kids would vouch for that.I have no interest in writing articles either. I read your article this morning(I usually glance at EVERYTHING no matter how mundane). Commented on it too. Am I your core audience? Beats me but I doubt it’s those of a “liberal” bent…

      2. avatar SoBe says:

        Mr. Zimmerman, I agree for diversity of opinion, but when the author states early in this article, “I actually don’t know any liberals who are against guns for self defense,” I want to know exactly under which rock she lives. I would gladly introduce her to my last girlfriend (of nearly 10 years) who is completely against any guns for any reason. She should visit Miami Beach, Florida, there are many more like that here, including City Commissioners. Yes, this is the same place where the open carry fishing debacle occurred, and police illegally detain people legally carrying firearms,…, because this is Miami Beach!

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          Sure, it depends on who you know, I guess.

          I think the reason I don’t get blowback is that I am a nonwhite woman living in a mostly white city. I have to think about safety a lot. A whole lot. People on the left completely get and understand that. They also understand that threatening encounters often happen really quickly and that I should count on fending for myself, and a gun is part of that. I do think that the fact that I am a woman influences the reactions I get, but I also think the fact that I’m a stable, helpful, trustworthy person influences it just as much.

        2. Racist rant alert!!!!!
          I live and grew up on the South side of Atlanta. The dark chocolate side of the “chocolate city”, George Clinton’s words…not mine.
          Every single black man I know owns guns and 95% of them vote straight Democrat.
          This isn’t a Liberal vs Conservative discussion at all.
          This is a black vs white liberal elite disputation.
          Elaine being black has everything to do with the contrary understanding we have of liberals. She sees herself as liberal because most of her associates identify as such. The white liberal elites tell her demographic that we conservatives hate blacks. This simply isnt true but peer preasure is a biatch.

        3. avatar Alexander says:

          In general, Liberals do not have a problem with protecting themselves. They do, however, have a problem with allowing others to protect themselves. All Liberal celebrities have armed security, all Liberal politicians have armed security, all Liberal business people have armed security, many of the well to do Liberals carry themselves. Only when it comes to the proletariat being allowed to defend themselves is when the Liberals have a big problem. And upon a deeper analysis, I don’t believe that the issue is really whether anyone gets killed or hurt, rightfully or wrongfully. The number of people killed by guns, from all causes, is trivial compared to other deaths. The real issue is that when a person is armed, he cannot be trampled by the State; he cannot be enslaved. Enslavement of the Individual to the State is an open goal of all flavors of Liberalism/Progressivism/Socialism. National Socialism or Democratic Socialism – doesn’t matter. An individual is a subject of the State.
          Our Liberal friend, Elaine, is a bit confused as to her assumptions. Eventually, she will have to make a choice, for one cannot mix half a glass of sugar with a half glass of crap and expect it to taste good.

      3. avatar Marty says:

        Yes Dan, however it seems Elaine has not been privy to the liberals all over the country who not only try, but succeed in shutting down speech from the conservative side of the isle. A routine event at colleges and universities. Then, look at the lunacy of the liberals trying to shut down the US Senate during the Kavanaugh hearings. I’m sorry, she is either being very selective of the liberals she associates with and knows, or she is not being forthright. Also I have seen mental health folks who think they know it all when it comes to mental health. In one case in particular a child rapist and murder was found to be insane and sentenced to a state institution. The doctor eventually said the murderer was now sane and the court took his recommendation and released him. Less then 48 hours later, the asshole raped and killed another child. Needless to say I have no faith in “mental health professionals”.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          You are right that I am selective as hell. I am selective about *everyone* I hang out with, both liberal and conservative, and I’ve got quite a few of both with a good handful of Libertarians thrown in there too. No Green Partiers yet, but it could happen.

          Look, there are crappy people in every field. Crappy doctors. Crappy cops. Crappy nurses. Crappy teachers. Crappy mental health professionals. It’s just true. I’ve been reading a lot of David Dunning’s book about how mediocrity is kind of the bane of humanity–people who can sort of do their thing, but not really well. It’s just part of the human deal. Nothing’s perfect. As a species, we are both kind of brilliant and really stupid. I try to be and be around the good ones, which helps things a lot.

        2. avatar Marty says:

          Elaine, I would hope most folks would be particular with who they hang out with. I have a few liberal friends whom I hang out with on occasion. One of which is a 2A supporter. My point was your undying support of Liberals. I didn’t read anything about you being against the liberals who are consistently involved with violence and forcibly shutting down the 1A rights of conservatives. I didn’t read read about you not supporting the liberal politicians pushing violence by their followers (Biden “kick them when their down”, or “get in their faces and force them from public locations, restaurants, theaters, grocery stores”. If you are a true moderate, I would think you would be against such actions.

          I love the fact that you are a 2A supporter, but you have to realize it is your party who will be responsible for ending the 2A. I realize there are a few wishy washy R’s (RINO’S) who will help to violate our 2A , and I detest them as much as I do the Dem politicians. Do you support the 2A enough to vote against the rabidly anti gun politicians?

        3. avatar Garrison Hall says:

          ‘Look, there are crappy people in every field. Crappy doctors. Crappy cops. Crappy nurses. Crappy teachers. Crappy mental health professionals.’

          Thank you, Elaine. You’ve just succinctly explained why it’s always—ALWAYS!!—a very bad idea to allow bureaucrats to take away free citizens’ constitutional rights.

      4. avatar Big Bill says:

        “We’re 2A absolutists and always have been. ”

        As I’ve pointed out before, that particular stand means you are for allowing incarcerated criminals to keep loaded, operational guns in their cells.
        Absolutism, if claimed, must be carefully researched to understand what it means.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “…you are for allowing incarcerated criminals to keep loaded, operational guns in their cells.”

          Your problem with that being….?

          People in jails/prisons lose their natural right to self-defense? If so, that makes them “outlaw”, and no punishment can be applied for killing or injuring them. Or is it OK for prisoners to defend themselves with any weapon other than a gun? If so, why is it unreasonable to make it illegal for people outside of prison to use a gun in self-defense? The only difference between the two populations is that people have decided they have power to pick and choose who has natural rights, and under what conditions. That makes denial of natural rights dependent upon popular opinion/political power.

        2. avatar Big Bill says:

          I’ve pointed out before that satire in print is hard to pull off, unless it’s over the top.
          I am only pointing out one problem with being an absolutist on the 2A. There are obviously others. But if one doesn’t think convicted incarcerated criminals shouldn’t be allowed guns, then they aren’t absolutists.
          Hard core maybe, but not absolutists.
          Personally, I’m somewhat hard core.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “But if one doesn’t think convicted incarcerated criminals shouldn’t be allowed guns, then they aren’t absolutists.”


      5. avatar pg2 says:

        @DZ, Rebutting Elaine is pointless. She refuses to answer direct questions, and her viewpoint is the epitome of big government incrementalism. With the amount of clicks here validating her position, our medium to long term future as gun owners is looking bleak.

    3. avatar jwm says:

      TTAG is stuck in a hard place. Had hillary won her election every post here would be generating 500 replies, at least. But with Trump in office and loading the scotus and with the gop in charge in both houses there is no credible federal level threat to gun owners.

      The dems are going to lose big in the mid terms. At which point they will face the harsh reality of trying to wrest control of their party away from the looney left or face being second or third fiddle for the foreseeable future.

      When Trump wins in 2020 and loads the fed courts even further gun control will be a dead issue in this country for at least the next generation.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        “The dems are going to lose big in the mid terms.”

        I’d like to think so, but I have never underestimated the stupidity of the average American and don’t intend to start now.

        1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

          Yeah, JWM, what Ralph said.

          I really would like to see things go our way, but the re-election of Obama cured me of that.

          I could not believe this country would re-elect his sorry ass after the warning we got about his true nature.

          But it happened anyway. The gut-punch that gave me was what the Leftists felt after Trump was elected.

          I’m not assuming anything about next week…

        2. avatar jwm says:

          Bitter clingers, the both of you. 🙂

        3. avatar Just Sayin says:

          “The short memories of American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.”- Will Rogers

          Oh, a post script from Will: “Our constitution protects aliens, drunks, and US senators.”

      2. avatar Rokurota says:

        What world are you living in? The Dems are slated to take the House, and I’m not interested in “polls were wrong in 2016!” Polls are usually pretty reliable, Trump was an anomaly, and he’s not running anyhow. Solid candidates are getting dumped on hard by Soros’s millions and a friendly media. We have got to get out and VOTE.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          The world I live in is the heart of lib territory. The SF bay area, CA. I told folks repeatedly that I saw no enthusiasm for hillary here leading up to the election. Just last week I saw my first hillary sticker on a car that didn’t include ‘for prison’ on it.

          I believe the dem base is gob smacked by the lunatic turn their party has taken. Watch and see. They may not lose huge, but when the smoke clears they will have gained nothing this midterm.

          And now hillary is muddying up the waters and causing more trouble for her side. I see nothing but good for us and the orange haired wonder.

        2. avatar Ing says:

          Wow. There were Bernie and Hillary stickers all over the place in the blue-dot-in-a-sea-of-red college town I live in. More Bernie than Hillary; socialists are cool, Clintons are merely tolerated.

          There were also a lot of Trump stickers and Hillary for Prison stickers, but most of those were students, not townies — which actually gives me a little bit of hope. Universities by and large are run by progressive marxists, but their conversion rate is pretty darn low.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          I saw more support for bernie here than I did hillary. Much more. When she bent him over she pretty much derailed the dems and split them. I guess we should be greatful to her for that.

      3. avatar CZJay says:

        Bro, say hello to California. They are not going anywhere and they will continue with or without the federal government. You don’t need the federal government to pass gun control to get every state to be a gun control paradise. A nuclear bomb is not required to win a war.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          The issue of states bulling ahead without the .gov was settled in 1865. Illinois, as corrupt as any state ever, was forced by the fed court system to start a shall issue permit system.

          CA will fall in line with the scotus orders. And Trump will have 2 terms to load the courts.

          We will have constitutional carry nationwide by the end of Trumps second term, if not sooner.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          While that earns my vote, I’m gonna have to see it to believe it.

  5. avatar CZ Peasy says:

    “I support the 1A but there are limits. The author is abusing her 1A freedoms because what she writes might be controversial. She shouldn’t be allowed to speak. That’s how society works.”

    1. avatar Kroglikepie says:

      Can we apply the same standard to voting? If you vote irresponsibly, you can have that right tajen away…

  6. avatar jwm says:

    Elaine makes a very good point about the numbers of guns already in circulation. At this point in our history it is basically impossible to stop the dangerous folks from being armed. Has the drug war stopped folks from getting high?

    The only humane option is to allow all folk that wish to be armed to be armed. Give us all a fighting chance when the next nutball decides to act out.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      I don’t understand how black people can call for gun control when they are black and complain of systematic oppression. If “your” government is out to get your people, you do not give them your AR-15 or AK-47 you buy another one.

      I don’t feel threatened by black people going to the gun shop. I am more worried about the black people that get their guns from the street. Maybe if good black people were well armed they could get rid of the bad black people, which would benefit all good people. Gun control won’t clean up your neighborhood and the police department are not your guardians.

  7. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Elaine, your liberal friends might not want to take away your guns, but I am a 60+ year old conservative white male. Most of those same people would be happy to take away my guns simply because they view me as the enemy. I must admit I am the political enemy of anyone who supports any kind of additional gun control. In fact if I had my way, much of what is already on the books would be removed.

    I believe in freedom. Gun control supporters do not!

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      This is where I disagree with you.

      I actually do not know any liberals who are against guns. Maybe that surprises you. But I have never had a single person disagree with my right to defend myself as a WOC with a firearm. Nary a single one. And if I am an accepted person, then clearly there is room there for things to breathe and be talked about.

      Many many liberal people talk to me about guns. People who would even self describe as “snowflakes”. It happens much more often than you think but it is not an open conversation because of the political polarization and also their fears of being judged for showing interest. But it is not an uncommon thing.

      Something I have definitely figured out is that who a non owning person first talks to about guns is a huge influence on how that person subsequently sees guns and gun owners. Perhaps I’m in a unique position to make a positive influence since so many things about me are undeniably Left. The value of doing so would not be confined to only liberal gun owners, if so.

      1. avatar Desert Ranger says:


        I think you are being disingenuous in the face of relevant questions. I posit that had you asked these same friends whether the AR15 or high powered rifles should be banned I suspect the answer would be “Of Course! no one needs weapons of war!” If ypu are going to make a statement that your liberal friends donot want to take your guns away you need to expore it further under the tag lines we “bitter clingers and deplorables” know to be the call for confiscation.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          I own two AR platform rifles that I used to train for a five week trip to a remote portion of Africa. I’ve successfully been able to explain to people why the platform is useful and how it helped me build crucial skills in a short period of time. You have to have some understand of how firearms training works in order to “get” the value of the AR, which non owners are not going to have.

        2. avatar Angry Az says:

          Sure Elaine doesn’t know a liberal who wants guns taken away!! She should stop spending so many weekends with the Nigerian prince helping him send his gold bars to old widows!

        3. avatar Desert Ranger says:


          Thank you for your reply. While I can understand your point of view the fact is the majority of leftists who parade around as liberals do want to take all semi auto firearms. Read the comments of the article on “liberal” Mother Jones and see if you can count all the comments decrying the need to ban AR15s and semi autos.
          The fact is most classical liberals who believe in individual liberty walked away from the name liberal because it has become synomous with leftism and socialism.

        4. avatar Desert Ranger says:


          Thank you for your reply. While I can understand your point of view the fact is the majority of leftists who parade around as liberals do want to take all semi auto firearms. Read the comments of the article on “liberal” Mother Jones and see if you can count all the comments decrying the need to ban AR15s and semi autos.
          The fact is most classical liberals who believe in individual liberty walked away from the name liberal because it has become synomous with leftism and socialism.

  8. avatar J.P. says:

    My home state has a training requirement and a universal instant background check system that works without registration of firearms. You have to have either a hunting license or CCW to buy a gun. Those both carry a training requirement. We also have a GVRO process that protects due process & includes an independent appeals process.

    This stuff *can* be done in ways that don’t include bans/gun registration/delays etc.

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      You have my sympathy for your predicament.

      “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 your arms.
      Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
      May your chains set lightly upon you,
      and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

    2. avatar VoxLP says:

      What state is this where one can only buy a gun if in possession of a CCW or a hunting license? It can’t be a state in the United States…

      1. avatar Jeff says:

        Yes, what state requires this?

      2. avatar What about...? says:


        You have to show a hunting license to buy a rifle in California, at least I am aware of several occurrences where a big box FFL required proof of a hunting license before selling a ruger gunsight scout rifle (bolt action) and Mosin nagants to a customer in the last year.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          That is not a state law in CA. There are only roughly 250 thousand hunting licenses sold in CA every year and there are millions of rifle owners here.

    3. avatar GS650G says:

      Seems to me you live under registration, delays and permission from your overlords
      How that golden cage with the wheel and water bottle feel?

    4. avatar LarryinTX says:

      So sorry, but Bullshit. The only thing preventing you from selling a gun to someone without all the falderol is the fact that it is registered to you. Without registration, UBC is completely meaningless, a total waste of paper in the legislative branch. Don’t think so? Buy a gun at a gun show, then sell it to your neighbor without any checks of hunting license or whatever. See what happens.

  9. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    Ok, so if the big hearted, left leaning people are willing to lay aside the differences and show some toleration of people, good law abiding people, like she says, and let us politely do our thing, self defense, and celebrate our differences, then maybe we can just all her along. (I for one like celebrating the differences of gun actions, engineering and technology, war inspired firearms, sub guns and silencers).

    However there is some disconnect or secret plot afoot. Maybe all the liberal voters are for guns but the Democrat politicians and media hoodwinked them! Because I hear nothing but you shouldn’t have guns in such and such place, take away these certain guns (which can be used to hunt and for self defense), they will take a mile if we give an inch, Australian and English confiscation, regulate ammo sale, etc…

    The NRA would go back to just teaching gun safety and marksmanship/hunters training if certain people weren’t, by their actions, if not their words as well, demonstrating their hatred of both guns and fear of lawful gun owners.

    So sure, tolerate, nay, protect gun owners and gun rights like you champion homosexuality, Islamic refugees, and climate change, and we won’t have any arguments on the second amendment.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      That’s a fair argument. I have always believed that if you truly believe in diversity, that has to include everyone. That’s kind of the whole point.

    2. avatar former water walker says:

      Eloquently spoken Unspoken. I wish TTAG had a “like” button!

      1. avatar CZJay says:

        Nah… Like buttons tend to ruin the comment section because they usually have a dislike button too and they sort comments based on likes by default.

  10. avatar Gobi says:

    ‘There are people who should not have guns because their only reason for owning them is to stalk, harass, hurt, exploit and kill others.”

    Their only reason? Really?

    This is where you lost me.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      There are things that mental health cannot fix. One of the things I object to from my own side is the idea that all nasty personality traits can somehow be fixed by mental health treatment or therapy. This is simply not true.

      People who lack empathy often cannot be taught empathy. There are people who do enjoy duping, hurting, and manipulating others. Mental health helps a lot of people but it doesn’t and can’t help everyone. Most people don’t go to violence toward others as a solution for their own suffering. I say this as someone who is a PTSD therapist and has worked with trauma survivors most days a week for more than a decade now. Most people just want to feel better, not hurt or harm others, when they’re in a bad place. When someone is repeatedly posting violent content and/or seems to see that as a solution for their own discomfort, that’s something we need to pay attention to. That’s just my opinion.

      1. avatar GunnyGene says:

        So if I understand you correctly, you want to make people “better”. Good luck with that. Adversarial competition – including lethal violence – is part of the DNA of every life form on this planet, from bacteria to people. It’s fundamental to evolution and is as much a part of the universe as gravity.

        1. avatar Ing says:

          Yes, she does want to make people better…when they *can* be made better. Healed, in other words. You seem to have missed the part where she recognizes that some people just can’t be “made better.”

          The belief that human nature can somehow be changed through politics or simply by caring enough is the liberals’ most harmful fallacy. I don’t get the impression that she’s falling into that trap.

        2. avatar K42inPO says:

          @GunnyGene, I don’t think you understand correctly at all. If you read Elaine D.’s comment, she is saying that you can’t fix everyone. She points it out as one respect where she differs from her “own side.”

          She was describing many of her patients who just want to be “better.” These patients are not those that want to harm anybody, they have PTSD and don’t want to have a break with reality and hurt someone close to themselves. Like most people, these are folks who do not want to harm people.

          Whereas there are definitely other people who are too deeply broken to fix, and she seems to accept that. Some don’t have empathy; sociopaths and psychopaths are often considered to lack empathy, or even have antipathy.

      2. avatar Scoutino says:

        What exactly should we do with those who want to hurt others and can’t be made better? Keep an eye on them? How? Take away their guns and their ability to legally buy new guns and call it good?
        If someone is so dangerous that he can’t be trusted with a firearm, he is too dangerous to roam free. Sick mind can find farrago of ways to hurt and kill without a gun. Simple and cheap ways, like fire.

  11. avatar VoxLP says:

    One enormous difference between the left and everyone else is that the left Is always certain they have all the answers and if someone does not fit their world view, well that’s why the USSR had the GULAGs,. You and your friends may believe that those you trust should have a gun, but you are voting for politicians that want to take them all away from everyone. You have a concealed carry permit because your state allows it, my dark blue state, ruled by leftists, does not, and the rules even for those arms we already own keep getting tighter (never mind the 5th amendment). There are no laws that can be passed that will guarantee safety, and in places where politicians try, they fail, while creating a police state in the process. The best guarantee of safety is if criminals cannot know that an attack they are planning will succeed, which is why most such incidents happen in places where guns are prohibited and there are no guards.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      There are likely liberal gun owners in your state. They are the ones who can come into the discussion and influence the left to take a more moderate stance. But most of us don’t want to be hated on by both left and right so we stay silent. That’s why I think there has to be some kind of bipartisan effort on this instead of the ongoing polarization. Just IMO.

      1. avatar GunnyGene says:

        Effort in what direction? To impose more restrictions on liberty? Or fewer? The 2A guarantees the natural and human right to keep and bear arms. It makes no mention of psychological profiles or other such nonsense.

      2. avatar Ing says:

        I hope there are more out there like you. I’d be willing to have a bipartisan conversation, but given the experience of the past 5 years, I’m not sure that’s actually possible. If it ever was.

        If more people would approach it like you seem to be — asking “Is there anything WE can do to address this issue to prevent rights for everyone being eroded?” — I’d be willing to engage.

        Unfortunately, the conversation always seems to boil down to “Why won’t you admit that your ‘rights’ are the problem?” There’s nothing to be gained from that.

      3. avatar Kroglikepie says:

        ‘More moderate stance’? So what, killing rights slowly instead of swiftly? When the stated objective is to further curb our innate rights, there is no ‘moderation’ of it. Just a different degree with the same eventual goal.

        I can have partial rights no more than I can be partially pregnant.

      4. There are only two kinds of liberal gun owners.
        FUDDS and hypocrites.

  12. avatar anarchyst says:

    Us law-abiding firearms owners and advocates have been “compromising” since 1934. The Second Amendment is the most compromised and “infringed” of all of the Bill of Rights. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

  13. avatar GS650G says:

    It would be great and swell if everyone saw the usefulness of self defense in general and firearms in particular.
    But they don’t.
    They see other countries disarm their people and long for it here. They really don’t care about your safety despite what they tell you face to face. Many believe in 911. A lot believe people are inherently good.

    And they are wrong.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      People don’t tend to understand the need for something until they actually need it themselves. That’s true of a lot of things, not just guns. I had a client who works in a medical cannabis dispensary tell me that once people who were formerly anti-cannabis discover that the extracts help their kids, they’re suddenly all about medical cannabis and it’s the best thing that ever happened to them. That’s just kind of how humans are. I try not to take that kind of thing as a personal slight against me but simply as a reflection of how human beings are generally.

  14. avatar Jon in CO says:

    I get the “with rights comes responsibilities” thing. If we’re going down that rabbit hole, and I’m going to be required to go through screening and all of these other ridiculous things to obtain and keep firearms, I want unlimited access. I want actual cost on everything from belt feds, to grenades, technicals, everything. No inflated NFA pricing, no tax stamps, no bull. If I’ve been screened and I’m good, then I want everything. Full auto Glocks with stocks, sawed off shotguns with 50 rd mags, and every other ridiculous absolute waste of time and energy weapon I can conjure up to look as threatening and dumb as possible. I also want unfettered access to carry anything I want anywhere, whenever I want. Belt fed to the court house? Yeap. Why? Because I’ve been screened and checked and been shown not to be a threat. There’s no longer any reason for me not to.

    Until then, nothing changes, except the other way. No more restrictions. No more responsibilities. No more limits. That’s my bending point, that’s my actual compromise.

    1. avatar Red in CO says:

      I like that. Could also makes for an excellent segue talking with a fence sitter, or a way of exposing deceit. I doubt the author would be on with that, but then the question becomes “why not”. And if the answer is something about screening not being 100% accurate, well, that’s checkmate for them

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      That’s just silly, and way too complicated. Remember, we’re dealing with liberals, here. Now! MY suggestion is very easy to understand, and is an actual compromise! You repeal the NFA in its entirety, and in return we agree to implement a study in 5 years to discover if there have been any adverse impacts from that repeal.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “…an actual compromise! You repeal the NFA in its entirety, and in return we agree to implement a study in 5 years to discover if there have been any adverse impacts from that repeal.”

        Don’t know if your proposition is a “compromise”, but it is an exceedingly fair trade.

  15. avatar Ing says:

    “Is there anything WE can do to address this issue to prevent rights for everyone being eroded?”

    That’s the key. I’d love to have a serious talk about this. If only there were more people like Elaine out there (maybe there are but they don’t dare to speak up?).

    Unfortunately, nearly everyone who wants to have a “conversation” about guns in society doesn’t seem to believe any rights exist in this area at all. “Admit you’re wrong and accept that you’re going to be controlled and restricted” isn’t a conversation, it’s a threat. And that’s where every conversation about guns seems to begin and end.

    There probably are a lot of things we could do to address the problem of violence without eroding rights for everyone. But that would require each side trusting the other…and in this political atmosphere, it ain’t going to happen. Too many people now see trust only as a weakness to be exploited.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      I believe it CAN happen. I think Dan letting me write something for TTAG is part of that. The conversation is possible.

      I think it is a mistake to treat guns as a partisan issue. It’s a safety issue, a public health issue. Personal safety. Public safety. It’s complex and hard to work on because there are so many feelings involved. But I would also say that the hard places are where everyone grows. I say this as someone who has worked previously on helping policy get made in Texas where initially the group that came together was very divisive with lots of turf wars and hard feelings. In the end we figured out how to work together and the results benefited all of us.

      Before writing this piece for Dan I had a long process of deciding whether I wanted to “come out” as a liberal gun owner. I finally decided that I needed to do so in order to create the dialogue I want to see. I have nothing against people who vote differently than I do. What I want is for all of us who do this thing right to retain our rights and be able to have coherent conversations that can then be brought to policy makers to influence the outcome of legislation.

      Big goal that will take a team, but I do believe it is doable.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        There are serious trust and credibility issues to overcome, and I have no idea how anyone would begin to form such a coalition. But if it starts with recognition that there are fundamental rights and freedoms that need to be preserved, I’d be willing to engage.

        BTW, I’m glad you decided to “come out.” The more, the merrier. 🙂

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          Any conversation begins with the willingness to have a conversation. It also begins with the understanding that the point is not for everyone to think exactly the same way but to have a dialogue that reduces acrimony and makes movement toward what everyone wants to see.

          What I’ve seen in my own professional field is that if we don’t come together and influence policy, it’ll be written without us. I prefer to try to influence it and I know how powerful bipartisan coalitions can be. They’re not easy but that doesn’t mean that throwing our hands in the air and saying “fuck it” is a better answer. That’s just my opinion.

      2. avatar Red in CO says:

        It’s a partisan issue because one party openly despises guns in the hands of the masses and is blatantly hostile toward self defense. Oh, and the truly shocking degree of ignorance that is then somehow treated as a moral high ground (“I won’t sully myself by learning basic nomenclature or mechanics! Guns are bad, plain and simple!”). Thirty caliber magazine clip in half a second, shoulder thing that goes up, full semi automatic, chainsaw bayonet, heat seaking bullets, etc

        1. avatar Kroglikepie says:

          ^ This. There can be no conversation when one group prefers ignorance and treats victimhood as a badge of honor.

      3. avatar MarkPA says:

        @Elaine: Thank you for engaging on TTAG. I believe you can make a great contribution to the dialogue. Even so, I fear the “dialogue” will prove futile.

        If closing the gap between the poles were possible then I would expect the Antis to make a gesture by advocating for reforms in a few of the gun-control laws that are obviously defective. E.g., getting one’s name cleared in NICS for a mis-identification; restoring gun-rights without having to go to Federal court. Making the mental-illness Prohibited-Person laws evidence-based. While there is no movement from among the Antis on such points there isn’t going to be movement from PotG on things such as UBC.

        You presume, a priori, that there must be a few new gun-controls that should be effective while not being infringing. If we are ever to make any progress in improving anything we must harbor some blind optimism. Nevertheless, we must also be cognizant of the fact that there are some problems that really are beyond remedy. Gun-control might be one such problem. What if it were really true that there is just about nothing that could be done – that would be cost effective – to better control guns for public safety? If that were true, then we are only debating what could be done to harass and stigmatize gun-owners. (A kind of Jim Crow for gun owners.)

        As an example, take UBC. I can imagine some UBC-sorts-of-measures that wouldn’t be out-of-the-question. Nevertheless, the Antis won’t settle for anything short of a UBC regime that leaves gun-owners vulnerable to prosecution for behavior that is benign (e.g., loaning a gun to a friend; or, selling a gun to a friend who is known to own other guns). Well, then, if there is no room for discussion of what might work and be acceptable then PotG might as well maintain that they will compromise not-at-all.

        Curiously, the one gun-control measure that we ought to be able to agree upon is enforcement of Felon-in-Possession. And yet, the same demographic that insists on gun-control also resists relatively uniform insistence on enforcing Felon-in-Possession.

        I think that the gun-control agenda is driven by men-of-means who have their armed bodyguards. They are perfectly content knowing that they are safe and will be kept safe by armed body guards. The unwashed masses would all be better off if they didn’t have guns. Since there is no way to determine who is perfectly safe with a gun and who might be a risk, the only viable solution is to limit those with guns to those very few who have the wealth to hire private bodyguards. Then, the risk will be contained to the absolute minimum – those few with arms who they decide are absolutely necessary to their personal safety. So long as they have the money to buy political ads and legislators, they will persist in controlling the public debate.

        If there were a litmus test as to who was safe/un-safe then we could resolve the debate in a scientific manner. That not being the case, we must solve it politically. Will guns be the province of the nobility alone? Or, will we live with a society where only the ordinary citizen has the right of self-defense?

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Nice start to a “conversation”. Very interested in your follow up. Good show.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I cannot believe that anyone can manage to convince themselves that UBC could possibly have the slightest effect on crime of any kind, at least if you disregard the unlikely possibility of a surge in arrests of people who ignore it. No, the only actual goal of UBC is a national registry. So that the next mass shooting can mark the beginning of national confiscation. Face it, background checks for 30 years have changed absolutely nothing, to the extent that most people so intent on UBC don’t even realize we already HAVE background checks. They have done nothing except infringe on a natural and Constitutional right and cost money.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I cannot believe that anyone can manage to convince themselves that UBC could possibly have the slightest effect on crime of any kind, ”

          Background checks remind me of a lesson I learned as a new squadron member on my first assignment out of pilot training. We had a 24/7 combat alert mission, and everyday, crews climbed into out warbirds, and went through a series of system checks. Assured the aircraft was still in full working order, we would depart to conduct some sort of training or other for the rest of the day. One morning, as we departed the aircraft, one of the aircraft maintenance super sergeants asked me the purpose of the daily system checks. Proud of my newness in the squadron, and that an old-timer senior sergeant thought I might be knowledgeable, I responded that we did the daily checks to ensure the bird would be ready for combat when we were called. The super sergeant looked away for a moment, than turned and said, “Lieutenant, all you really know is all that fancy equipment was working when you turned it on. You have no way to know it will work the next time.”

          So it is with background checks – all that is known is that a person is not prohibited from owning a firearm at that moment. There is nothing about the NICS that guarantee the owner will never be arrested and convicted for one of the ever-increasing number felonies that hit the books each year. We spend a lot of tax revenue proving that someone is eligible to purchase a firearm at one short moment in time.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I think we’re having a memory failure, here. We have had MANY conversations with reasonable liberals on the subject, which is why for decades we have learned to predict their responses. Remember “No one is coming for your guns!”? “We just want common sense reforms, for the children!”? “You don’t need an assault rifle for hunting!”? Continuous reference to ANY gun as an “illegal” gun? Hell, even FOPA, where the restrictions on rights were all very real, but the supposed benefits never materialized. We should all just get along. Let’s start by repealing all firearm laws and regulations from 1934, 1968, and 1986. Then we’ll examine what may be needed in the future.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “We have had MANY conversations with reasonable liberals on the subject, which is why for decades we have learned to predict their responses.”

        Which is why Elaine should be welcomed as a fellow gun owner, but not taken seriously on any other topic. We can discuss gun types, features, utility, modification, accessory choices, tools ad lubricants, and even tactical gear. Pretty much covers it.

  16. avatar Jeff says:

    Liberals don’t want to take guns away? Who in the hell is trying to do that very thing then?
    Liberal states have the strictest gun laws and the highest crime rates. You don’t want to take my guns away just restrict what I have. No high capacity mags or AR -15s for you because we say. We will decide for you what is good for you.
    I don’t have any liberal friends who are anti gun? Go blow smoke somewhere else as I can’t see through the fog your throwing out now.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      You are treating liberals as though we are a monolithic group where everyone thinks and acts the same. We are not. Obviously I am a gun super owner and serious about my training, and I am posting here. I’m only one of many. We simply tend to stay quiet because of hostility when we do express ourselves.

      1. avatar Jeff says:

        So there would be some hostility towards you from fellow democrats because of your views? Your scared of your own? Peace through silence? All it takes for evil to florish if for good men to say nothing. Seems to me you should stand up for your views. That would be a start to waking up your party to the fact that your not on board with their every agenda.

        1. avatar Jeff says:

          Would a AR-15 or high capacity pistol fit into your definition of a gun for self defense?

        2. avatar Elaine D. says:

          Responsible gun ownership is about the person owning the guns. So a good gun owner is going to be good with all of their guns. That has been my experience thus far. I see no problem with any type of weapon per se. It’s about the person who owns it. Good gun owners do not abuse their weapons or abuse others with their weapons. I have an AR15, an AR 10, and two high capacity pistols, so clearly I’m fine with them. 🙂

        3. avatar Elaine D. says:

          Hostility from both left AND right, actually. As someone said the other day on the one forum I’m a part of for liberal gun owners, “When you’re pro choice and pro gun, no one will have you.”

        4. avatar K42inPO says:

          Also a liberal gun owner, I get tons of flack from friends about my stance on guns. Yes both sides.

          I selectively talk to friends when it may not affect my job, and when they are close enough to talk about it without fear of dissolving a friendship.

          I do have surprisingly many pro-gun yet very left leaning friends. Hopefully enough that I-1639 does not pass.

        5. avatar Porkchop says:

          @Elaine: “As someone said the other day on the one forum I’m a part of for liberal gun owners, ‘When you’re pro choice and pro gun, no one will have you.’ ”

          So, true, Elaine. Will you be my friend? 🙂

    2. avatar CZJay says:

      I think Yankee Marshal and Joe Rogan are “liberals” that don’t want to ban guns. One isn’t for much or any gun control and the other wants some government process to obtain guns.

      There are people like Dave Rubin who have been against many things the right are for then realized his ideas were flawed and decided to become “classical liberal” instead of just “liberal.” There’s other people out there sitting on the fence now that the Democrats took off their mask. Don’t forget many black people are labeled Democrat at birth, but that doesn’t mean they will die as one.

      Come together on things we agree on. We can debate the others things later. We have to welcome people with open arms, we can’t be like the Democrats.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        Absolutely! We must avoid – at all costs – defining ourselves in terms of our opponents. Progressives demand absolute solidarity with all issues; else, you are a heretic.

        This exclusionary attitude must be avoided. First, our “side” consists of rugged individualists. We are not sheep that will be herded. We are goats who will go off on our own. Not always a desirable trait; but, on balance, more innovative. And it is through innovation that progress is made. Should we take an exclusionary attitude we will fragment even more than we have already done so. And, we will be mowed down by the solid ranks of the Progressives.

        Awakening to the merits of being individualists (vs. sheep) is something that is apt to take place gradually. If we admit self-described “liberals” to respectful membership in the PotG they will come to find that some of our other views are meritorious.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “If we admit self-described “liberals” to respectful membership in the PotG they will come to find that some of our other views are meritorious.”

          I seriously doubt your conclusion, however allowing Dimwitocrats into firearm blogs is good for laughs, and nose tweaking.

        2. avatar Elaine D. says:

          I don’t think “sheepiness” (so to speak) is something limited to the left. I see plenty of it on the Right. I think that in general, leaders and individualists tend to be rather rare in our culture. Just my opinion.

        3. avatar Elaine D. says:

          Progressives are not a monolithic group. We don’t all agree on the same things. Guns are one of the biggest areas where you find spirited discussion.

          Actually, I think I am already a POTG, at least in the lenses of the people who train me and train with me. I’m enough of one to write for TTAG. I respect that you may not think so, but again, there’s diversity in this community too, and not everyone agrees. Thanks for your thoughts.

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Actually, I think I am already a POTG”

          Not if you see the Second Amendment as a suggestion to be modified by “common sense gun control”, at the whim of the political mob. The Second Amendment is “common sense”; the entire constitution is “common sense.”

          Still waiting for your unique viewpoint (you do understand the meaning of “unique”, correct?) on guns, self-defense, and shredding of the constitution.

    3. avatar Branwyn says:

      I can totally believe that she doesn’t know any vehemently anti-gun liberals. That’s very location and local culture specific. In my area, both democrats and republicans lean noticibly toward the libertarian and any democrat who wants to have a shot of winning has TV ads of themselves holding and shooting guns and proclaiming their support for 2A and law abiding gun owners. I also don’t know any truly anti-gun liberals. They may support background checks, but not assault weapons bans or confiscation schemes.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Elaine claims to live in Austin, Tx. Home of the University of Texas. A liberal bastion. The only way she could avoid knowing rabid leftists is if she reads nothing, views nothing, hears nothing, attends nothing. But if she is as naive as she claims, she may not have the discernment skills to recognize what she is looking at.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          I could take you through entire neighborhoods in Austin where every house has a gun and also votes blue, Sam. Lots of them.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I could take you through entire neighborhoods in Austin where every house has a gun and also votes blue, Sam.”

          Doesn’t change anything. It is not possible to be ignorant of the radical leftism of all YOUR people/fellow travelers/progressives/liberals. You seem to want to be just a little bit liberal, belong to the leftist tribe, but proclaim that you are not one of “those liberals”. So long as YOUR people insist people who disagree with strangulation of the nation are racists, bigots, homophobes, deplorables, unworthy of full constitutional rights, then we will insist that every person who votes Dimwitocrat is an enemy of the state, bent on creating a nation-wide prison camp where elites rule with impunity.

          So far, you have brought only platitudes to “the conversation”. Not a single, specific proposal for debate (don’t bother, we have heard it all, and it ends with denial of individual rights “for the children”). YOUR people always want to punish the non-lawbreakers because “they might do something”, while offering nothing to stem the murderous chaos of actual criminals.

          Your viewpoint appears all about trying to fix people after they are damaged, but nothing about fixing the social culture that is responsible for the damage.

          Stick to discussing firearms, training, and tactics of self-defense.

      2. avatar Elaine D. says:

        Yep. Depends on who you know. It seems rather silly that anyone would think I would know “all” liberals and what they believe. Are my conservative friends supposed to know “all” conservatives and what they think and believe? Nothing’s a monolith.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:


          Although I find your posts interesting, the fact that you’ve repeatedly said that you don’t think I belong here and that you in no way are interested in my point of view is why I don’t reply to the vast majority of your responses. Why take up time trying to converse with someone who doesn’t want a conversation?

          What I’ve written stands and speaks for itself. It’s an opinion piece, meaning my opinions were offered. It’s not rocket science. If you don’t feel I have written anything that meaningfully contributes to TTAG, you are certainly free to write to Dan and make your complaint. Or you could stop reading what I write – there are a lot of other articles here. Or , best of all, you could write your own articles and send them to Dan. Lots of choices here, and you seem to believe in personal responsibility. That said, it’s too bad you are not interested in dialogue, because you do make some interesting points. But listening is half of a conversation, ya know?

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “… the fact that you’ve repeatedly said that you don’t think I belong here and that you in no way are interested in my point of view.”

          Actually, I welcome you into the ranks of gun owners in most comments. Your progression to owning a gun, seeking training and and being comfortable with the ultimate choice to take a life in defense.

          I dismiss your political views because they are tired, lifeless, uninformative, not unique or different in any way. Why would I want to read recycled anti-gun talking points from someone claiming uniqueness because you are mixed-blood, progeny of a former national enemy, and a woman (a designation fast losing any meaning)?

          There are no “constitutionally valid “common sense” restrictions on constitutionally protected rights of the citizens of this nation. Beyond endorsing more restrictions on freedom and liberty, what do you offer in the political realm that we have not seen and heard before?

          As a welcome gift to you, I recommend a serious look back through the articles already posted to TTAG, then tell us what you propose that would be unique. Just might save you time wasted in discussing “negotiating” away our unaleinable right to bear arms, and receive due judicial process in any procedure that seeks to separate a citizen from their property.

  17. avatar Jeff says:

    I respect your views Elaine. I disagree with your party and don’t understand liberalisms calling but thanks for posting. That took some courage for you so there is always hope.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      I’m actually not that unique. There are a lot of us. We just tend to lay low. Thanks for being welcoming.

      1. avatar Red in CO says:

        The mere fact that you feel you have to lay low among other leftists reveals the degree of bullshit you’re spouting. Clearly there’s enough hostility from the left toward gun owners that even you, a minority woman, feel silence is better. So take your bullshit about how no leftists that you know have a problem with guns somewhere else

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          There’s plenty of hostility from the right, probably even more. Hostility doesn’t particularly bother me. I’m interested in dialogue and have a thick skin and actually I regularly have good conversations with conservatives about these issues. Believe it or not. Nothing’s ever descended into name calling or plate throwing yet.

          As far as my going somewhere else, Dan actually agreed to having me here, so he’s the one you’d have to direct that request to.

      2. avatar VicRattlehead says:

        Well, if is indeed as you say it’s long past time for your fellow (D) 2A supporters (true ones, not ‘I support but this list of things need to be banned’) to, pardon the expression, ‘man up’ and worry a whole lot less about about their tender feelings and worry a whole lot more about doing what’s necessary to TRULY make meaningful progress towards ‘gun reform’, the kind without trampling all over the rights of the enormous majority of gun owners who have done no wrong. That progress, btw, should include repealing a number of heinous infringingments that are currently on the books.

        All that said, I applaud your courage to speak up and encourage you to urge others to do the same.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          Politics is a long process. You have to build alliances with other citizens and decide on a platform. You have to go down to the rep’s offices and visit with them and do it again and again. If they tell you person X is better to talk to or you need to attend X meeting or some such you have to do it. And follow through and follow through and follow through.

          It takes a lot of time and work that you don’t get paid to do. It’s easier to be hostile and disappointed and bitch about the way things are than to do the work of influencing policy. Especially when there’s no guarantee of outcome. Still. That’s the way it happens. I decided I’d rather be part of a potential solution than participate in the ongoing yelling and badgering and polarization. Can’t do it as one person, but that’s the idea. One step at a time.

        2. avatar Marty says:

          Elaine, couldn’t agree with you more. I’m in constant email contact with my senators and rep. I meet with them or their staff monthly. I live in a fairly conservative state, and we mostly, but not always, agree on the subjects we speak about. They know where I stand and I know where they stand. That’s how it should be.

      3. avatar Tom in PA says:

        @ Elaine: While I don’t fully understand how one can support liberalism while simultaneously being pro 2A, I applaud your willingness to have this conversation here. I’m mostly a civil libertarian and 2A absolutist, so I find myself in odd company from time to time. We’ve definitely gone off the map when I found myself agreeing with Alan Dershowitz the other day on due process. It illustrated how far left many liberals have gone, and he took an incredible amount of heat merely suggesting the rule of law apply. The very people who used to be the champion of civili liberties now want to reserve them for only those that join their group think. They call any contrary position Fascism while practicing the very definition.

        Additionally, the Second Amendment was not formulated for the purpose of self defense other than from a hopelessly oppressive government. Personal self defense from the criminal element is a secondary by-product. The intention of the writers is clear from their views expressed outside the text of the Constitution, and is really a straw man for those willing to undertake rudimentary scholarship.

        What unifies many POTG is our value of freedoms, and resisting attempts to diminish them in any way. One reason I think you received questions on the bump stock (something I personally think is only suitable for use by misinformed hillbilly militias, but YMMV) is that banning them simply opens up any firearms accessory for attack. I would never use or own a bump stock, but I don’t want to see them restricted. I don’t personally support the practice of open carry, but I absolutely support the right and don’t want to see it diminished in any way – it’s an attack on my brethren and our freedoms.

        What I think many here want to communicate to you is the depth to which the socialist left vilifies gun owners, and clearly wants total civilian disarmament. That’s what gun control is about – control. Our government is hopelessly corrupt, and it’s only support of firearms ownership is in their hands as they wield power. Whether it’s the marching of the Cherokee out of North Carolina at gunpoint because the elites of the time wanted their land, or the gun control laws of yesteryear that made sure brown people remained unarmed so they would present little threat as victims, is all from the same bucket. When I hear “That won’t happen here” when, in fact, it has already happened, I know I’m dealing with a person living in a contrived reality built of cognitive bias.

        The primary aspect of liberalism that is particularly vexing to me is the socialist agenda, namely because we know that system always devolves into the systematic disarmament, and subsequent starvation and murder of the citizenry by a militarized government. Not sometimes – ALWAYS. That is the inevitable balance point socialist ideology must reach, and there has been quite the sample size through recorded history with zero exceptions.

        Post modern liberalism is now a fabian process of gradualism that provides a fertile incubator for the ideology that’s killed tens of millions of people. Its control of the common folk by the elites, and socialism is the ultimate form of elitism. After control, comes disposal. Hasn’t happened? Please. Happened, and will happen again.

        We know the civilian disarmament crowd wants to consolidate gun ownership in the hands of the elite. That’s why you see such a strong response from people trying to understand how you can reconcile both positions – they see it as a dichotomy at a minimum, or outright duplicitous. I’m sure you mean well, and again, I applaud your engagement here. Maybe further investigation will reveal you’re a civil libertarian or centrist on some other subjects. Best wishes.

        1. avatar MarkPA says:

          “the Second Amendment was not formulated for the purpose of self defense other than from a hopelessly oppressive government. Personal self defense from the criminal element is a secondary by-product.” My understanding is that this is a MISTAKEN description of 18’th Century (and prior) thought.

          At that time there was a distinction between “lawful” vs. “lawless” conduct. The “crown” was expected to conduct its responsibilities in a lawful manner. It was forbidden to descend to lawlessness. Thus, there was no philosophical distinction between lawless behavior by a highwayman or a sheriff. Both were indistinguishably lawless. And so, the right of resistance to unlawful behavior ran to the subject vis a vis the crown and the highwayman indistinguishably.

          So, it is FALSE to think of: “Personal self defense from the criminal element is a secondary by-product.” And so, Heller opined that self-defense is the “core” right contemplated by the 2A.

          Today, we should give serious reconsideration to this old construction. So, the mugger threatens you with lethal violence making the demand: “Your money or your life!” Or, the highway patrolman confronts you with the implicit threat of his service pistol making the demand: “Half your money in civil-forfeiture, or you go to prison!” How is the highway patrolman distinguishable from the highwayman?

          So long as we, the voters, indulge our legislators in funding state spending out of civil-forfeiture of cash, cars or other property without trial by jury, we are MAKING “Personal self defense from the criminal element is a secondary by-product.”

          The “criminal element” was inherent in “a state of nature”; one which might be mitigated by personal self-defense and collective defense (whether by hue and cry or sheriff). We will never completely eliminate the private criminal. Conversely, we entered into civilized society and formed government – by our consent – to fight private criminals. We do ourselves a disservice to indulge criminal behavior as an ORGANIZED part of “civilized” society. We have a duty to insist – by ballot – that our legislators cease and desist from such activities as civil-forfeiture.

          I use civil-forfeiture as merely one clear-cut example of lawlessness by government. There are countless others. And, regrettably, there remains no effective means of calling legislators to account but by retaining the right to arms that are the ultimate means of INSISTING upon the rule-of-law in the hands of a sufficient minority to overrule the oppression of a purported majority in a stuffed ballot-box.

        2. avatar Tom in PA says:

          While the framers of our constitution, and other leaders of political thought in the colonies, brought radical change to the western world, they were still heirs to the constitutional history of England and its heritage. It is in this context we must gain our understanding of their intention for the Second Amendment. To attempt to do so without this background is to ignore their original thoughts, intentions and definitions.

          English political and societal thought was a conglomerate of all the dynasties that came about in the hundreds of years before the American Revolution. This included, at the very least, the cultures of the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, the Norman Conquest, Tudors, The Restoration and the Age of Enlightenment.

          This encompassed the liberties common to Englishmen because they still held English customs and law in high regard, one of which was the right of the lawful citizen to keep and bear arms.

          Chief Justice Howard Taft observed that:

          “[t]he Framers of our Constitution were born and brought up in the atmosphere of the common law, and thought and spoke its vocabulary. They were familiar with other forms of government, recent and ancient, and indicated in their discussions earnest study and consideration of many of them; but, when they came to put their conclusions into the form of fundamental law in a compact draft, they expressed themselves in terms of the common law, confident that they could be shortly and easily understood.”

          Chief Justice Taft clearly illustrates where we get wrapped around the axle in todays world because we’ve taken them out of their 16th-18th century English common law contextual usage. They meant something different then. No wonder we’re all so confused – words mean things.

          Chief Justice Taft further states:

          “The language of the Constitution cannot be interpreted safely except by reference to the common law and to British institutions as they were when the instrument was framed and adopted.”

          Context and framework.

          Thomas Jefferson, who was known as a definitive and precise thinker, commented on how the Constitution should be digested:

          “On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning can be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one which was passed.”

          Context and framework.

          The gun control cooperative attempts to torture the constitutional text of the Second Amendment to suggest that the right is only a collective right, rather than individual, and therefore, only applies to the segment of society that is “well regulated”, usually referring to a military or National Guard organization.

          During this time frame, the term “well regulated” meant “well functioning”, and the term “discipline” would refer to a trained condition. This all simply refers to being familiar with arms and trained in their function and use, so if a sudden emergency arose, they could muster and deploy as needed. Only a statist socialist could twist this to mean all power is resident within, and regulated by, the state.

          Where this gets interesting is in the disagreement between the Federalist and Anti-Federalists on the subject of a standing army. There was a general fear of a standing army by the founders, and the establishment of any select militia was considered tantamount to a standing army by the Anti-Federalists.

          Washington himself was a proponent of a select militia, and interestingly, Hamilton (a staunch Federalist) was a strong advocate for a select militia, and wrote as much in The Federalist Papers. What’s more intriguing, and in spite of his Federalist leanings, his proposal operated under the assumption that the general populace would still remain in full possession of their arms. Full bore Federalist, people still have guns.

          So, without a standing army, how do the people protect themselves against aggression?

          Don Kates, a respected Second Amendment scholar, lays this out very well:

          “The ‘militia’ was the entire adult male citizenry, who were not simply allowed to keep their own arms, but affirmatively required to do so.… With slight variations, the different colonies imposed a duty to keep arms and to muster occasionally for drill upon virtually every able-bodied white man between the age of majority and a designated cut-off age. Moreover, the duty to keep arms applied to every household, not just to those containing persons subject to militia service. Thus the over-aged and seamen, who were exempt from militia service, were required to keep arms for law enforcement and for the defense of their homes.”

          “While none of the Founders liked the idea of a standing army, the majority (Madison strongly included) believed it to be necessary. The Second Amendment was not a response to Anti-federalist criticism of the standing army. All the Bill of Rights were added because of a desire to disarm what Madison and the other Federalists saw as an Anti-federalist quibble, a strawman objection to the lack of a Bill of Rights which was intended to excite the fear and passion of the masses but which statesmen on both sides viewed as negligible. Madison just wrote up a set of principles ― of truisms ― in which everybody believed, and the Congress duly passed it as the Bill of Rights. Two of these truisms that got cobbled into one article were: that there is a natural right to be armed; and that militias are a good thing, a much better thing than a standing army, however necessary it may be.”

          During this time, nearly the entirety of the adult male population was armed. Their purposes could be protection from foreign invaders, attacks while traveling the frontier, protecting livestock or hunting. Also, just like the England they came from, there was no police force. The first police force in England was stood up in 1829, and the first one in America was formed in 1845. During this time, the police forces were forbidden the use of arms, calling up armed citizens should they require aid. And let’s not forget they were acutely familiar with what befell an unarmed populace. Remember, they knew the history of Europe, and all that entailed.

          My prior statement you take issue with: “the Second Amendment was not formulated for the purpose of self defense other than from a hopelessly oppressive government. Personal self defense from the criminal element is a secondary by-product.”

          In closing, I still maintain that the genesis of the Second Amendment was clearly an outpouring of the most significant events of the time.

          On May 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress convened delegates to organize the colonies for war after George III issued the proclamation to suppress “rebellion and sedition” in the colonies, employed approximately 20,000 Hessian solders, whom he promptly sent to discipline the rebels. After that, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Articles of Confederation were adopted on November 15, 1777, and ratified by the thirteen colonies in 1781. Over this entire time, there was armed conflict between the colonists and the British army, which continued until the British surrendered at Yorktown in October of 1781.

          After the Constitutional Convention and ratification process, it was not until June of 1788 that it became fully ratified when the 9th state (New Hampshire) fulfilled the two-thirds majority requirement.

          Based on all that, what was the primary issue of the day? Keeping one’s freedom and sovereignty from an oppressive government via use of arms, or self defense from the local criminal element? The case is overwhelmingly clear what drove the process. No contest in the realm of significant events.

          However, I am concerned that I minimized the significance of self defense as related to the Second Amendment in my previous statement – something I don’t want to do.

          William Blackstone stated that the right of arms was among the foremost of “absolute rights of individuals at common law,”, referring to the right of the individual to have and us arms for “self protection and defence” as it is “the primary law of nature [defined as a state that cannot be rendered ineffectual by the laws of society] – the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions, of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.” That’s a very strong case for self defense.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Well done !

          I don’t think you can find any writings by the founders that self-defense was considered a “by-product” of the Second Amendment. Indeed, related to the thesis you provide, self-defense was not considered a by-product of natural law (or common law).

        4. avatar Tom in PA says:

          Thanks Sam. I went back to some of my readings and notes after pondering Marks comments, and realized I did a bad job of conveying the thought with the term “by product”. I would have been better served by explaining how self defense was integral to the concept even if it wasn’t the primary issue occupying political attentions of the day. How do you say “Just as important, just as purely integral, but probably second to the war for existence that was going on at the time”. I’ll need to think about that one!

        5. avatar Sam I Am says:

          First, just to be picky, “the war” was over by 1783, and the constitution was written in 1787 – but the importance of people having firearms remained a non-trival concept.

          Second, “” How do you say, “Just as important, just as purely integral, but probably second to the war for existence that was going on at the time”.

          You just did. Brevity may be the height of wit, but it often lacks clarity.

    2. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Thanks. I took a long time to think about it before writing to Dan and asking if he’d be interested in my viewpoint. Responses like yours make me glad I did.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        @Elaine: Again, thank you for engaging with us at TTAG.

        I’ve read a half-dozen books about the role of armed self-defense in the Civil Rights era. I’m left with the following impressions.

        The “good men” of America indulged the practice of lynching Black men and their supporters for a good 60 – 70 years following the end of Reconstruction. These “good men” would do nothing; until around 1950 when lynching tapered-off. Still, segregation was the law in many states. Peaceful protest was the velvet glove. Self-defense in the Black neighborhoods and on marches was the iron fist. Were it not for the latter, the former might have remained ineffective. Restraint on the part of armed Black men was incredible; their behavior was exemplary. They taught us a lesson; if we are willing to learn.

        Government, by the consent of the people – is concomitment with a recognition of the essential truth of Mao’s saying: “Political power emanates from the barrel of a gun.” We the People must retain the power necessary to insist upon respect for the civil rights enshrined in our social compact – our Federal and state constitutions. If we will not insist upon such rule, then we will be ruled by tyrants.

        1. avatar Tom in PA says:

          Well said.

    3. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Maybe I can muster some hostility for you. It is not what TTAG is about, but I also have a problem with liberals because of their basic desire to take money (at the point of a gun) from people who earned it in order to buy votes from people who will not work. There is no free stuff. Having taxpayers pay for your health care is NOT “cost control”. Taxpayer funded incentives to have children outside marriage is INCREDIBLY stupid and counterproductive. I only have a few thousand more examples, but you could say I oppose liberals for a lot of reasons, most all of them fiscal. I consider myself a social liberal, as I don’t give a damn what someone does so long as it does not affect others or spend public money. Drugs? Knock yourself out! Get it? Multiple wives and husbands? Why would I care? Gay marriage? Whoopee! Just not with my money. Thus, I *AM* pro choice and pro gun.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “I consider myself a social liberal, as I don’t give a damn what someone does so long as it does not affect others or spend public money. Drugs? Knock yourself out! Get it? Multiple wives and husbands? Why would I care? Gay marriage? Whoopee! Just not with my money. ”

        Sounds alot like a classic (not current) libertarian world view. Not bad.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Exactly. I was introduced to Libertarians 40+ years ago with the explanation that their belief was government should “defend our shores, build our roads, and stay the Hell out of our lives.” I have stayed with that, they have not.

      2. avatar Elaine D. says:

        Sure. Personally, I don’t have kids. And I buy my own healthcare and have for a long time now. So, no kids outside marriage (or inside it) here, even though I pay taxes for schools for kids even though I don’t have kids, and premium prices for insurance that covers pregnancy even though I’ve never gotten and never will get pregnant. I mean, I guess I could go on a crusade about THOSE PEOPLE WITH KIDS I’M PAYING FOR TOO, I just see things a bit differently than you.

  18. avatar DaveL says:

    people who are mentally unstable and lack empathy and are prone to paranoid beliefs about others being out to get them.

    You mean like people who view every policy position with which they disagree, every achievement by anyone outside their little grievance group, literally everything from monogamous marriage to mathematics as part of a system of racist/sexist/religious/ablist/cisheteronormative oppression? That kind of person? Interesting idea. Maybe we shouldn’t let such people make the rules for the rest of us, either.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      There are hardliners on both sides of the debate. My opinion is that these aren’t the people who are in the best position to actually build ties and influence policy. But if we don’t do it, they will.

      You need Democrats to influence Democrats. There’s no way for everybody to agree on everything. Liberal gun owners are not single issue voters and I don’t think we all have to become single issue voters for any reason. Choice is a huge part of freedom and that means a diversity of viewpoints.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        @Elaine: “Liberal gun owners are not single issue voters . . . ” I agree with you; and, I think that this is a point that liberals/Progressives need to take into account.

        Gun-control is merely one plank in the Progressive platform. That platform has a lot of other planks. Adherents to the Progressive platform need to consider whether gun-control contributes – vs. detracts – from success on all the OTHER planks.

        There is nothing like the threat of gun-control to ring the bells that summon conservatives to the polls. We conservatives have difficulty rallying around any particular issue; but, we can usually come out “in arms” when government threatens to take our guns.

        When Progressives push the gun-control plank they are doing that which is MOST effective in raising the consciousness of their opposition. When gun-rights voters find a candidate they will support, that politician is apt to oppose most of the OTHER planks in the Progressive platform.

        How many more voters are Progressives getting to the polls on the pretext of gun-control? That is, voters who wouldn’t be motivated to vote by any of the other planks in the Progressive platform. How many more gun-owners are coming to the polls because of the threat of gun-control?

        Karl Marx – the author of “class warfare” urged: “The whole proletariat must be armed at once with muskets, rifles, cannon and ammunition, and the revival of the old-style citizens’ militia, directed against the workers, must be opposed.” It seems ironic that Progressives would insist on DIS-arming THEMSELVES in favor of arming – EXCLUSIVELY – the state and those men-of-means who can afford armed bodyguards.

        Progressives ought to think seriously about the prospects for disarming: criminals; crazies; or, conservatives. If the prospects for “progress” along any such lines are dim, then gun-control seems to serve ONLY to disarm “the whole proletariat” in favor of the state (which is controlled by men-of-means) and the owners of “the means of production”. From the viewpoint of Progressives, does this really make sense? Or, does it serve – on balance – to perpetuate power in the hands of: criminals; crazies; conservatives; and, the elite?

        In the gun-control debate, WHO is REALLY pulling the strings? Are the string-pullers grass-roots “moms” or “school children”? Or, are these string-pullers really the billionaires who contribute tens-of-millions of dollars to those candidates who will push for gun-control? It may be all very well for billionaires to support public schools, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.; but where does DIS-arming the “proletariat” fit-in with their agenda of keeping the state fully armed with military-grade weapons (and maintaining their private armed bands)?

        Is it at all conceivable – from a “class struggle” viewpoint – that gun-control might just be COUNTER-productive? Or, is the whole point understood to be “buying” financial support from owners of the means-of-production? All the rest of the Progressive agenda is to be purchased from these billionaires by needing to them control over the ultimate means to political power?

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Just wow! Damn, Mark, that was good! Thanks for taking the time.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Liberal gun owners are not single issue voters . . . ”
          “I agree with you;”

          The more you/we press Elaine, the more she reveals she is not offering a unique perspective; only recycling the old memes.

          Progressives absolutely are single issue voters – abortion. Abortion is the single, supreme litmus test. For Progressives (actually, regressives), no matter the virtue of any other issue, a person who does not vote to support unrestricted abortion is an outcast. If you are pro-life, Progressives want you removed from the “big tent”; you become a non-person.

          “An’ dat’s de name of dat tune.”
          – Robert Blake

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Yeah, and if you’re pro choice, your chances of being elected as a Republican stop around the dogcatcher phase. So, what’s your point?

    2. avatar DaveL says:

      I think you miss my point, which was that you are either straying very close to, or else diving straight into, restricting core constitutional rights based on your characterization of somebody else’s political views. There are many ways for that to go wrong. This is why we have involuntary commitment procedures – show that a person is a threat to himself or others, not that you find their politics distasteful.

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        Gun ownership has been restricted from certain populations in this country before. It is not new in the history of this country. The more there is a bipartisan, reasonable voice for policy, the less likely it will happen again.

        1. avatar DaveL says:

          Ah, so it’s to be bipartisan restriction of core civil liberties on the basis of disfavored political beliefs? Has it ever occurred to you there can be more than two parties?

        2. avatar MarkPA says:

          @Elaine: “Gun ownership has been restricted from certain populations in this country before.” Regrettably, that is true. And, it is most clearly seen in restricting persons of color who are identifiable based on the color of their skin.

          That profound history ought to make us acutely sensitive to the “suspect” nature of gun-control in precisely the same manner as we have grown to be suspect of all OTHER forms of social control.

          There are those among gun-rights advocates who will argue – in principle – that there is just about no one who may legitimately be deprived of the right-to-arms. Nevertheless, this is politically a non-starter. A strong majority of the population will insist that there must be at least a few people who ought to be deprived of arms, and righteously so. It is foolish – as a political matter – to dismiss this strong majority based on some heart-felt principle.

          Now that we – as a People – have abandoned the skin-color method of deciding who “shouldn’t have them”, what is the replacement discriminator? THIS is the serious question. It’s not easily solved. Moreover, as a People, we REFUSE to take seriously our duty to solve it!

          The easy place to begin should be clearing the “names” of individuals who are not Prohibited-Person from the FBI’s NICS lists. More than 90% of the DENYs from NICS are NOT P-Ps. Until this figure is reduced to 9% and then to 0.9% we can make no legitimate claim to taking seriously our principle of the rule-of-law as regards gun-rights. If we won’t – or can’t – solve this problem then we are not up to dealing with more serious problems.

          Next easiest, are “felons” (and >2-year misdemeanants and DVs) who are not serious threats of violence. Why do we exempt from the P-P status felons in certain financial crimes (e.g. price-fixing) while subjecting other non-violent “felons” to a life-long loss of 2A rights? Again, we can make no legitimate claim if we don’t figure this one out.

          Most difficult, as you are so very well aware, is the classification of mental-illness. This classification is hopelessly arbitrary. The voters are so terrified of “crazy” people that we won’t touch evidence-based reform in this area. We might just as well restore “spectral evidence” in ex parte hearings. E.g., any registered Democrat can strip any registered Republican of his 2A rights by claiming to have had a dream of the accused flying through the air astride his “assault weapon”.

          None of the foregoing problems will be solved easily; none even with great difficulty. The place to begin is – I respectfully suggest – with a widespread acceptance of the difficulty involved in coming to any conclusions in which we can have confidence.

          It is – I submit – counter-productive to make assertions such as: “Gun ownership has been restricted from certain populations in this country before.” Yes, that is absolutely true! The evidence is indisputable. Native Americans and Blacks “ha[ve] been restricted”; and, since that is absolutely true, we are justified in equally arbitrary restrictions on any “certain populations” at pleasure. It is precisely such rhetoric that aggravates the polarization between gun-control/-rights advocates.

          Progress depends vitally upon the constructive contributions of folks – such as you Elaine – who have a depth of understanding. It is precisely that knowledge of how difficult it will be that is essential to the slightest step in a constructive direction.

          Nonsense permeates both sides of the debate over “those that shouldn’t have them”. Gun-rights advocates have a really hard time thinking of any class of persons who should have their 2A rights revoked. Gun-control advocates have an equally hard time thinking of any class of persons who should have guns. (E.g., Progressives think that only the police should have guns; except, of course, for the BLM advocates who think that the police are precisely the class who should NOT have guns).

          Elaine, WE ALL need YOUR help here! We need YOUR expertise to understand how difficult it really is to translate “those that shouldn’t have them” into the text of a bill that lays a legitimate claim to “the rule of law”. Without such a legitimate claim, we can’t climb out of the pit of “No guns for people of color”.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Moreover, as a People, we REFUSE to take seriously our duty to solve it!”

          This is not true. The solution is simple, and anathema to statists/liberals/authoritarians/leftists/Democrats – leave people the hell alone. Quit creating laws that ultimately make it impossible to not be a lawbreaker. Quit trying to make everyone else change so that one can continue unchanged. Quit forcing people to honor and celebrate social constructs they do not like. Quit trying to perfect human beings through social engineering. Quit using government to re-shape the nation to favor a statistically insignificant number of people. Quit getting into other people’s business. Just leave everyone else alone.

        4. avatar LarryinTX says:

          To me, “those who shouldn’t have them” consists *exclusively* of those who have shown that they should not have them. As in, by their own actions, not by the color of their skin, their gender, or the way they vote. If you are the guy who occasionally fires a random shot at a car passing in front of your house, your firearms should be permanently removed. If you express an interest in someday doing so, there is no grounds to take your guns. Seems contradictory? What if the President declares that “we all know” and goes on to say all gun owners will someday start shooting at random cars? Is that a rational reason to confiscate all guns? Including yours, BTW? NO! You have to be convicted following due process, of acting in a dangerous way. Then, and only then, are you a member of the “shouldn’t have them” class.

  19. avatar Sam I Am says:




  20. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    Democrats used to be about protecting US jobs and preserving human rights. Now they are about forcing their positions on others through threats of force and actual violence. They don’t just hate the 2nd amendment but the 1st as well. Today’s democratic leaders from Chuck Schumer to Nanci Pelosi to Maxine Waters actively promote violence against those whose speech contradicts whatever dogma they espouse on any given day. They’ve promoted violence on republican leaders and on anyone expressing their rights to freely assemble or freely promote their beliefs by unleashing their attack goons (Antifa, BLM) onto innocent civilians attending republican events. Democratic police chiefs From Seattle to Berkley and beyond have restrained their police forces from “protecting and serving”- giving a green light to violent socialists. Rather than learn from their losses at the ballot box, today’s democratic socialists mirror the path of the NAZI party in everything but their nationalism. If you are an average American who works for a living and just wants to live a simple, fulfilling life, then they hate you too. Its not paranoid to take these unbalanced democrats at their word- if you don’t believe as they do, they are coming after you.

    1. avatar Wayne says:

      Thanks to the media.

    2. avatar K42inPO says:

      “Now they are about forcing their positions on others through threats of force and actual violence.”
      As opposed to running over protestors with cars, mailing bombs, and shooting up synagogues?

      “Rather than learn from their losses at the ballot box, today’s democratic socialists mirror the path of the NAZI party in everything but their nationalism.”
      … and racism, and treatment of LGBT folks, and those with disabilities, and their strange desire to not lock up foreigners… (which is not to say that there are not many on the right who also are not racists, bigots, etc.)

      The Dems have a lot wrong. They are internally inconsistent about a lot of things. When it comes to guns, they wind up writing a lot of regressive garbage laws. When it comes to their views of the right, they are quick to judge and as closed minded as can be. They have all sorts of superiority complexes going on, and despite trumpeting empathy and moral high ground, they tend to have tons of trouble putting themselves in the right’s shoes.

      They have flaws, but your comment is way more extreme than reality.

      1. avatar Kroglikepie says:

        Your comment would have more validity if you bothered to learn the difference between the ‘right’ and national socialists. It is easier to paint with a broad brush I suppose…

      2. avatar New Continental Army says:

        Nazis are left wing.

        1. avatar K42inPO says:

          Where did I say that Nazis were one side or another? I pointed out differences. Their party doesn’t really fit in our political system. I’m defending the left, to say, they are not Nazis.

          I know suddenly you’ll be a history buff, and explain that it was all about socialism, as the acronym so readily states, as if socialism is the worst part of the Nazis.

          A little socialized medicine does not a Nazi make. The key difference is not scapegoating and demonizing smaller classes to appeal to a threatened majority to enable power-hungry leaders to take control of the government. That and not rapidly invading neighboring countries, while committing genocide.

          So, thanks for playing, but like squares and rectangles, the Nazis may have been socialists, but not all socialists are Nazis.

        2. avatar MarkPA says:

          I’m beginning to see how the “left-wing”/”right-wing” rhetoric is proving to obfuscate the argument about tyranny. I saw a T-shirt recently: “When the boot is on your neck, does it matter whether it is on the left or right foot?”

          What would we think of a peaceful, prosperous society characterized by individual liberty, if we recognized it as: “leftist”; “rightist”? What would we think of a lawless, impoverished society with little individual liberty, if we recognized it as: “leftist”; “rightist”?

          In the age in which we grew up – infused with the history of communism from the USSR and Russia through to North Korea and Cuba – we are inclined to concentrate on accusing “leftists” of tyranny. We are distracted from other cases of tyranny that should be characterized as “rightest”. We might undertake a study of whether one or the other viewpoint tends toward tyranny; yet, it should be more productive to recognize tyranny as the objective enemy independent of the left/right dimension.

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          A little socialized medicine DOES a socialist make. Including the “really stupid” part of the word socialist.

  21. avatar 7.62x54r says:

    @ Elaine D.

    Elaine, I surmise you live in Texas and you can own a fully functional AR 15 if you so choose. I live in Upstate New York and cannot own one. Or a pistol with a 15 round magazine.

    My last interaction with law enforcement was a speeding ticket 50 years ago.

    In order to get a pistol permit they needed my name, address, telephone number, drivers license number, the names and addressed of my siblings, mandated training, fingerprints, photographs, four references with their names, occupations, addresses and telephone numbers and access to my medical and mental health records. And a four month wait which, because I know the judge, is shorter than most.

    I am going to guess that you may live in an urban environment. If so, I am probably more law abiding than you. By that I mean there are 8 traffic lights in a county the size of Rhode Island so the jaywalking opportunities are limited.

    More regulation is not one of my favorite subjects.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Understood. Yes, I live in a state with a lot of freedoms. I’m also used to passing extensive background check stuff so perhaps it does not bother me that much, and that’s just to work in my field, which doesn’t enable me to take a life. I suppose I am somewhat indifferent to all of that because I am used to it, and also because I quite frankly am pretty sure that if I have ever paid for anything in my life with a credit card, pretty much everything about me is a known deal anyway at this point. Perhaps that’s cynical, but it seems to me that true privacy is just not a real thing anymore, for anyone.

  22. avatar Wayne says:

    Elaine, you need to talk to sneak an interview with CNN/MSNBC and let them know your views. Tell them the type of firearms you own. As bad as I hate to say it, they would go to an emergency commercial or lose your signal if you were sitting in the studio. The media is the problem. Your invited to go to my local range with me any day. Heck, you may be a better shot! That is fine with me. 🙂

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Haha! I do wonder about that. I do think that we liberal gun owners need to speak up a hell of a lot more. In fact, that’s why I wrote this piece. I’m not sure there is really a place for us, though. However, this is a start. Thank you.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Apparently you do not pay attention to the politics. Else, you would understand that your party is the party of limited individual freedom, massive government intrusion into the daily life of the citizenry. There is nothing in the leftist/liberal party that you should take comfort in…even so-called women’s rights (which by and large starts and ends with unrestricted abortions).

        You have a constitutionally protected right to firearms, but YOUR party is opposed to you, and will force you to rely upon your physical strength, and the response times of police should you be facing a physical attack. Democrats with guns are about self-defense (and maybe hunting), but are not about opposing infringement of an absolute right to own firearms. If you attended to the policy pronouncements of the leaders of the leftist/liberal party, you would know that there is no exception from government seizure of your firearm just because you are a liberal. There also is no exception for you in the drive of YOUR leftist/liberal party to limit you to what government believes is a reasonable firearm (and if you own no revolvers, all your semi-automatic guns are considered assault weapons, suitable for banning and confiscating). I hope you would benefit from listening to your leaders, and not your acquaintances who claim to support your ownership of firearms.

        So I ask you…if you had a binary choice between an outright ban on abortion, or an outright ban on firearm ownership, which do you choose? Your answer should tell you something about yourself, your party, and your naivete regarding the political realities of the day.

        BTW, I fully support your right to possess and use any weapon, of any kind, that you can afford – regardless of your politics.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          I have many reasons for being a liberal and voting Democrat. If you’re interested in them, I can list them out, but I’d rather not take the time to do that if it’s not a genuine interest on your part to hear them, which is OK with me too, nothing personal.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I have many reasons for being a liberal and voting Democrat. If you’re interested in them, I can list them out,”

          I appreciate your offer, but whatever the reasons, I have seen and heard them all before. In the end, they amount to government coercion to force individuals to think and act in ways seen as making people “do right”. They are all grounded in the premise that individuals are not competent independent agents of choice, and that someone must either re-educate them, or segregate them so as to not further frustrate “progress”.

          The sad part is that regardless of your ideals, YOUR party is all about using you to gain and extend power to control the public, conform it to a mediocre pastel portrait of a nation, enrich the elites (with money and power). I have no objection to you having all the ideals you wish to have. I strongly object to any notion that you, or any cluster of people like you, have a natural, civil and human right to make me hold and honor those ideals.

          Again, you are self-mesmerizing if you think YOUR party is not about ending the right of citizens to protect themselves, or prevent the people from opposing with arms, as a last resort, a government bent on destruction of individual freedoms and liberty; ending of the constitution (and the nation) as originally written. Your right to possess firearms is safe only so long as we deplorables are willing to fight government to safeguard your rights.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          You did not answer his question, Elaine. It’s simple and does not require a long list of reasons.

        4. avatar LarryinTX says:

          “Women’s rights” absolutely should begin and end with unrestricted abortion rights. That is the only one needed, all other rights should be gender neutral, if a woman needs them then so do I. Somebody find me another right a woman should have which I should not.

          And, BTW, for your silly “choice of rights” question, I choose “none of the above”, and I am armed, and I vote.

        5. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Women’s rights” absolutely should begin and end with unrestricted abortion rights.”

          “Women’s rights” is merely a coverup for abortion, the consequence-free means of killing a human before that human can be allowed to become a “person”. The phrase was created to give the illusion that women are denied a host of “rights”. Using the term “women’s rights” is deceitful, cowardly and duplicitous. Why is it the left simply cannot tell the truth about their intentions? Euphemisms are used to disguise the truth. If a person is proud to support abortion, why hide behind word games. Sing it loud, and sing it proud.

        6. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Sam, I understand. Really! Just like “Conservative” is largely meant to mean “anti-choice”. And “pro life” is deceptive, meant to infer that some people are NOT pro life, although I have never met one. ALL people are pro life, and the large majority are anti abortion, as well. Those with any sense realize they have no authority, either legal or moral, to outlaw such procedures, and so wish to increase sex ed in grade and middle school, and to assure that all females of childbearing age have easy access to birth control, in order to minimize the necessity of abortion. BUT!! Not only do the anti choice forces oppose women having control of their own reproductive systems once they’re pregnant, they also oppose women having such control *before* they are pregnant, as in they want to restrict sex ed, and availability of birth control as well. The best way to express the overall attitude which you have repeatedly expressed (along with others), is that only you and other men should have total control of ALL women’s reproductive systems, they are too stupid to take care of their own business without your fatherly wisdom. I (and millions of others, including SCOTUS) call BS. Mind your own business.

        7. avatar Sam I Am says:

          ” The best way to express the overall attitude which you have repeatedly expressed (along with others), is that only you and other men should have total control of ALL women’s reproductive systems, they are to stupid to take care of their own business without your fatherly wisdom.”

          Never said anything like that. Roe v. Wade was decided based on a presumption that medical science of 40 years ago was permanent, settled, immutable and sacrosanct. Even Justice Sandra Day O’Connor dismissed that arrogant presumption by the SC.

          To hold the belief/opinion that abortion is murder, that murder is the single unifying issue for Dimwitocrats and their fellow-travelers is not to foster or register an opinion on the capability of women (whatever that terms means) that denigrates their reasoning powers. To proclaim that because men cannot become pregnant they have no right to an opinion of the procedure is the same as pronouncing that physicians and surgeons who have never had cancer are not qualified to practice in the field of oncology.

          I do not oppose birth control medications. Never have. I do oppose taxpayer mandates to purchase birth control medication (which at $5 is not a financial burden to anyone, and the abortion mills make enough money to buy birth control medications for every one wanting them ). But abortion is a matter of removing the inconvenience of being fat and sick’ nothing more. People in this country are going widely abroad to adopt babies. No pregnant woman needs fear a newborn will be pressed into the world unwelcomed; adopting parents are standing by.

          You tell me to mind my own business. Interesting. Self-defense laws in this country permit the use of deadly force in defense of self and others. I am defending “others”, especially those “others” who cannot yet speak on their own behalf. Men minding their own business have left the black community at half the percentage of population that would exist if abortions were eliminated. If you think abortion is just routine maintenance, have a look at this review of the movie “Gosnell”. The abortion mythology bursts wide open (the movie is directly from court testimony, not a “based on” production).

  23. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Elaine D.,

    Thank you for sharing an article. I am going to share constructive criticism with you.

    First, you expressed the sentiment that “bad” people should not have firearms. That path is fraught with danger because the ruling class loves to declare that their political enemies are crazy and dangerous people to justify suppressing/eliminating them. Even worse, many in the ruling class and their supporters (e.g. voters) actually believe that their political enemies are quite literally crazy and dangerous people. Reference Hillary Clinton’s comment about the tens of millions of “deplorable” people in our nation. That means the ruling class, if the opportunity presents itself, will swiftly infringe on the rights of tens of millions of people to keep and bear arms for self-defense — as we already see in Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Maryland, and New York.

    Second, you mentioned the desire to stop “bad” people from going on killing sprees. If someone is so dangerous that we do not trust them to be free in society with a firearm, then neither do we trust them to be free in society with gasoline and matches, hammers, knives, and automobiles — all of which a dangerous person can use to murder a lot of people in short order. And if we do not trust them to be free among us in society, we either have to banish them or imprison them. Unfortunately, that brings us back to empowering the ruling class to suppress/eliminate their political enemies.

    I trust that you and many of your peers have good intentions. Sadly, as they say, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      What I wonder about is this: does the ruling class on the right have any more interest in keeping people armed than the ruling class on the left? Because it seems to me that it’s just as possible to get sold out by either side if it’ll make somebody enough money.

      A lot of what I’ve learned in the ongoing discussions I’ve had with people is just that there’s little to no trust in our government period. I get that. At the same time, how else would people propose we get things done around here? And why would anyone who believes that the government overall is corrupt think that one side was magically more invested in protecting rights?

      There are a lot of threads that overlap in these conversations. I’m interested in all of them. I’m not simultaneously a Constitutional scholar, attorney, military historian, psychologist an doctor, so I’m not competent to have all of them. But they do interest me. I’m interested in what you have to say. Thank you.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “And why would anyone who believes that the government overall is corrupt think that one side was magically more invested in protecting rights?”

        Because it is the only game in town; you can’t win, you can’t break even, and you can’t quit the game. So we work with what is available, and align with whichever faction or fractious element we think will do the least harm. I think that is called dealing with reality.

      2. avatar Kroglikepie says:

        Uh, simple answer. The ‘right’ is still somewhat diverse in thought and opinion, ranging from Neo-con (bleh) to libertarian. The DNC will not fund or assist any primary campaign that does not fit all of their demands. As such, the DNC has become a block that votes lock-step to restrict rights and force dependency on the government. Until that changes, voting for the left is voting for your self-annihilation.

        It doesn’t matter what your skin color or sex organs are (honestly, why is that one of the first things you even mention as if they matter?), we are all in this fight together to protect our freedoms. Instead of raising awareness to persuadable people about differing social views, you would rather waste your breath telling people like me that I need to compromise or I will lose everything. Nope. If I’m made a criminal for no reason, then I’ll give the powers that be a reason to fear ‘criminals’ like me.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          I mentioned those things because they matter to me. A lot. They influence how the world works for me. A lot.

          I’m fine with others not wanting to hear my views; I don’t believe I need to be an expert in every nuance politics to dialogue with others; and as a gun owner, I’m one of your people whether you like it or not. If I was so terribly unAmerican I doubt the trainers who train me would take me on as a student or invest in my development in the ways that they do. I’ll leave it at that.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          ” I’m one of your people whether you like it or not.”

          That’s where you become too full of yourself. You are an American citizen. You have a natural, human and civil right to a firearm. We defend your right. We also defend the right to our firearms, government attack notwithstanding. But you are not one of us if you refuse to denounce the violence and threats to our right to speak in public, shout downs of elected officials, unsubstantiated charges of sexual harassment, women who ruined lives of college students because a lie about assault is fair because it causes us to engage in an important conversation, riots in cities caused by people who propagated a fabricated story of police brutality, rationalizing violence as caused by fragile people who just couldn’t help themselves because Trump, incessant pressure from YOUR party to punish law abiding citizens rather than the law breakers, and I get exhausted listing the outrageous efforts by YOUR party to enforce thought control (hate crimes/hate speech, honoring sexually deviant behavior, fascist violent behavior to stop free speech because it defies the intentions of YOUR party to control every element of life). Once you denounce those things, as your opponents have denounced their idiots, then you may become one of us. Until then, you remain a leftist/liberal (sorry for repeating myself) with a gun; an oxymoron.

        3. avatar Kroglikepie says:

          I disagree about your view of the importance of skin color or sex, but I appreciate your contribution nonetheless. That being said, I think you are an idealist who is voting for your own self-destruction. Until the DNC gets off their pro-communist bent, voting for them is akin to blacks voting to reinstate slavery.

          I will never turn away members to the POTG, but I still think you are a fool.

      3. We are the ruling class on the right.
        It’s a Republic!

        1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

          “It’s a Republic!”

          A smart guy many years ago said :

          “If you can keep it…”

      4. avatar MarkPA says:

        @Elaine: “. . . does the ruling class on the right have any more interest in keeping people armed than the ruling class on the left?” If there were any residual doubt in your mind, let me assure you that “the ruling class” on NO side has any interest in keeping people armed.

        The fundamental problem is that ANY concentration of power is exceedingly dangerous. We saw what concentration of power in theologians did; in secular monarchs; in popular majorities. Our only prayer is to strive to keep power defused as broadly as possible.

        There are threads of this thought in the discussion in the Constitutional Convention. Somehow, we ought to strive for different constituencies to form the centers of power. Equal representation of the several states in the Senate was one such example. Gerrymandering is a counter-example. The seniority system in the two chambers of the legislative branches another counter-example.

        From our own history it’s perfectly clear how a well-armed ethnic group can run roughshod over an unarmed ethnic group. Shuffling ethnic groups with the power of arms (or legislation or jurisprudence) isn’t going to change the problems inherent in the lust for power.

        As untidy as reality is, safety for our civilization is more likely to be found in the most equal distribution of the power of real politic as is achievable.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          Yep. That’s why I’m suggesting grass-roots bipartisan work on and ownership of the issues. I admit that I continue to be confused in the blind faith some people place in a President who said six months ago, “Take the guns first, due process later.” I’m not seeing that person as someone who is going to protect our rights.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I admit that I continue to be confused in the blind faith some people place in a President who said six months ago, “Take the guns first, due process later.” ”

          To be skeptical, cautious, wary of a president who makes the statement you cite is not “blindly following”. Your proposition here is that if a political leader is not “pure”, they must be abandoned. That is the hypocritical whining of a leftest loser. YOUR tribe are full of “blind following”, so long as you get what you want. Over here, we soundly trash our politicians when they begin to look like gun-grabber nation. Heck, we soundly trash them when they go squishy on any constitutional issue.

          But, thanks again for revealing your true motivations; which are just as we suspected.

          There is no “grass-roots bipartisan work on and ownership of the issues” when YOUR people constantly insist the “guns are the problem”, the “we must do something” (which always, without exception, results in restricting individual freedom and liberty).

          Do you, did you, really believe you have some insight to offer that hasn’t been propagandized already by YOUR people? If your insight is merely a repetition of the same “punish the law abiding gun owners because….”

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      U_S, that would be “banish, imprison, or kill”. Killing would be the most efficient, and the most dangerous.

  24. avatar Jeffrey Newbold says:

    Our societal justice system leans to letting a bad guy go so that a good guy does not get wrongly convicted. It is called the presumption of innocence. It has proven to be a good approach for more than a hundred years; even though not perfect. It is improving as our technological abilities feel growth (e.g., improved DNA evidence). No matter how we approach this problem, we will not be able to determine the proclivity of a human to commit a heinous crime until we go about enforcement of the laws we have and forcing improvements to our mental health systems structures. Even then, we will not be able to restrain the persons freedoms until we have provided them with the presumption of innocence and the necessary due process to determine other rules must be applied to them (like being constrained from firearm ownership or possession).

    This still does not address one of the largest adverse uses of a firearm, which is suicide. Again, we are talking about needing to improve our mental health systems structures.

    Finally, neither of these two situations justify tampering with the one right that assures the safety and functionality of every other right ascribed in the oldest functional society charter in the world. Furthermore, you will never stop a person of existing bad intent of taking up weapons to harm others (this is why punishment is graduated in severity, some call it a deterrent). Taking away the right of a citizen to defend themselves in any of these three situations could be considered be a deprivation under color of law (see, 18 USC Section 1983).

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “This still does not address one of the largest adverse uses of a firearm, which is suicide. Again, we are talking about needing to improve our mental health systems structures.”

      Not actually. Society/government has no claim on the individual’s choice to stay or go. Neither do the rest of us. A person is competent to decide whether to participate in this life, or try another. I see no reason to interfere with a person’s choice that does no physical harm to others…regardless of alleged mental status. I see no legal or moral imperative to prevent the totally insane from permanently dissolving the bonds that bind them to others.

      Just leave people alone, and demand they do the same.

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        As someone who has helped a lot of people at the end of their lives just as a human being, elderly people, folks with cancer and such, I always find myself thinking that I do not have, no one has, the right to make them live when they don’t want to. They are the ones who are suffering. They are the ones who have to live in that body, which has no chance of healing. It would be pure arrogance to try to take away their choices. Purely as a human being, that’s how I feel about it.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I always find myself thinking that I do not have, no one has, the right to make them live when they don’t want to. ”

          We agree here. My observations are in response to the statement, “This still does not address one of the largest adverse uses of a firearm, which is suicide.”

          If find using a gun to facilitate suicide is not an adverse use of a firearm, but simply a tool in achieving a goal. As such, there is nothing to address at all.

          Should someone I know begin to talk about, or show obvious signs of contemplating suicide, I would gladly offer to help them be sure of their choice, or offer an alternative if that would be effective. A decision to check out of the Hotel California is serious, and should be questioned. But not opposed.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Elder son just was prescribed medication which “may cause depression”. We will keep a close eye (we always do, anyway), paying attention to the possibility while not expecting any crisis. Under those circumstances, standing ready to remind someone that his misery may be due to that medication, don’t make any big decisions until free of those chemicals, makes sense. In the big picture, though, I think guns are a good thing in the suicide question, real scary and messy. You’d have to really want it. A suicide pill should always be illegal, too damn easy, maybe even attractive. A childhood friend had both children attempt suicide in a week, about 40 years back, one successfully and one resulting in permanent coma. Children too young to have actual reasons to be so depressed. But perhaps we are better off without them in the gene pool. The world is overpopulated, after all.

    2. avatar MarkPA says:

      “. . . one of the largest adverse uses of a firearm, which is suicide.” Apart from the use of guns in crimes not ending in homicide, you are correct.

      In this regard, we all need to be thinking much more clearly than the sound-bite. 1/2 of American suicides are by gunshot; what of the other 1/2? Which 1/2 matters? Which 1/2 matters not?

      Depression accounts for 90% of suicide; and, it manyfold more frequent than is suicide. Do we care about root-cause analysis? Does the search for root-cause end at the trigger-pull? Opening of the bottle-cap? Tying of a knot? What is the next step “up-stream”?

      It’s probably depression. If we really cared about human welfare we would be investing in screening, diagnosing and treating depression. This is a very treatable disease. Much of the problem lies in recognizing the disease as such and persuading the patient to undergo its treatment. I have no doubt that a really effective public mental hygiene program directed at depression would pay for itself manyfold in increased productivity by those suffering from this disease. Just the taxes from increased income (from increased productivity) would pay for the program. The reduction in suicide (regardless of means) would be an incidental effect hardly worth measuring.

      Observe that there is no serious discussion of depression or suicide – in general – from the gun-control advocates. They couldn’t care less about suicide by means other-than-gunshot. They couldn’t care less about depression. Nor will they entertain any serious discussion of how many suicides by gunshot would really have been avoided if-only there were no guns. Nope; suicide by gunshot simply doubles the number of deaths by gunshot. Twenty-two thousand gunshot suicides per year are the tragedies needed to advance the agenda.

  25. avatar New Continental Army says:

    “I have never gotten any answer other than YES, even from my most hard left friends.”

    I would like to ask you about this particular part of your article. So, I hope you read this far down. I know it’s been brought up already but I feel the need to express my concern here.

    My concern about what you’ve posted here is simply that history is not on your side when you say things like “most of the liberals or even the hard left” agree with you owning a gun. I’m not saying they’re lying, at that time and place, they may fervently want you to have a gun. However, in every single atrocity throughout all of human history, the group perpetrating the atrocity doesn’t at first support the occurring atrocity. For example, I’m sure if you asked a Nazi German in the 30s, if they supported gassing 6 million Jews, they’d fervently deny that. They’d say “oh well we just want to segragate and deport them. No one wants to kill anybody.”

    Look, I get I’m jumping straight to the holocaust here. But it applies to other examples too. Do you think the early Russian communists thought muderering 10s of millions of their own countrymen was part of the plan? I doubt it. Or the early rebels in France thought the reign of terror was a good idea? I doubt that too.

    Your hard liberal friends say now, they’re ok with you owning a gun. But that’s now. After the ban waves start coming, it’ll be a different tune. Trust me, multiple times, from multiple sources, they’ve openly expressed they want a European system where even the police are disarmed. You will not be excluded when it gets to that level. And it will, eventually. Regardless of who you are or what your friends say, unfettered left wing politics will lead you to having to turn your guns in, and if yu refuse, the police at your door, demanding you hand them over. You are a liberal, so you know first hand that “progress” never stops. It’s a core element to left wing politics, that progress begets progress into infinity.

    As much as I rant about liberals here, I get it. I personally know many. I get why people are liberal, I know why they believe the things they believe. But I do think you should ask yourself some hard questions here. It has gotten to the point now where being left wing and supporting the RKBA really is not compatible. It’s opposite ends of an entrenched spectrum. You should ask yourself which you value more. The right for you to own a weapon, or other left wing causes.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      I am not a hard left liberal. I’m a moderate liberal. I’m not in any more favor of the far left than the far right. Both are extremists. I thought that was clear from my writing but perhaps not. The right to be a member of a party and still disagree with people within that party is something I value. So far no one has tried to disbar me from being or voting Democrat despite disagreeing strongly with some of my own party’s platforms, so it’s still working at least at the moment!

      The right to disagree IS the nature of democracy. The right to disagree not only with another party, but within yours, is precious.

      1. avatar New Continental Army says:

        I got that you weren’t hard left, I was more referring to the hard left people you knew that agreed it was ok for you to own a gun. I guess in shorter way, what I’m trying to say is just because your other left wing friends are seemingly ok with you owning a gun, doesn’t mean they are cool with gun ownership. And that you’ll be facing the same jack boot the rest of us will, if they get their way.

        I don’t think that means you should now become a Limbaugh level conservative. I think you should just be cautious of where this all could be heading.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          Sounds a little bit like the “token Asian person” thing (I’m Asian). “You know, I hate those Asians, and the way they’re ruining our economy, but I actually like you.” That kind of stuff.

          Thing is, it’s actually OK with me to be the token Asian person or the token liberal gun owner. Know why? Relationships are one of the most powerful influences in human life. If a person has a relationship with me and finds me trustworthy, they’re more willing to consider the possibility that the choices I make that they don’t understand might not be completely bad, or nuts, or unreasonable.

          Know why I haven’t had blowback on my ARs? I was going to Africa and I needed to acquire rifle skills quick. No law enforcement out there. No medical care. You are on your own out there in a way that I think is not really possible to experience living here in the States. It’s a damn dangerous environment. Needing to learn those skills as quickly as possible and needing the tool that would help that happen made sense to people. That’s just my situation. If there’s room for me to be understood, there just might be room for others too. No guarantees, but it seems possible, at least.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        No one is hard left or hard right, according to themselves, everyone is a moderate surrounded by extremists. Except they’re not. To me, moderates would wish to leave everyone else alone. If you wish to pass laws restricting the rights of others, who have done nothing to earn such restrictions, then you are not a moderate. Left OR right. According to me.

  26. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Elaine D.,

    Now that I have read all of your comments, the core problem that I see is the unwillingness for many (most?) Progressives to actually have a true conversation. And the two primary traits that prohibit a true conversation:
    (1) People who operate on emotion and Utopian ideals.
    (2) Self-proclaimed elitists who “are never wrong”.

    It sounds like that does not apply to you and many of your peers. Unfortunately for our nation, that does apply to almost half of our population. If you want to build a coalition to protect our rights, you will have to find a way to persuade elitists and people who operate on emotion and Utopian ideals. I honestly wish you the best of luck with that. I am not optimistic as I have had such people quite literally tell me that simple, universal, easily verified and undeniable facts are not true.

    For example, many years ago I had a co-worker tell me that a stationary reinforced concrete wall moves when someone pushes on the wall because a simple physics equation says so. Of course he misunderstood that simple physics equation and it is obvious that a concrete wall does not move when you push on it. That did not matter because he was an elitist. If, after an hour of debate, we could not come to a consensus that a concrete wall does not move when someone pushes on the wall, how can we possibly come to any consensus on our basic rights? As I stated, I have encountered countless Progressive adherents just like that coworker.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      I kind of think that many people in this country operate on emotion and Utopian ideas, regardless of politics. I say this as someone who has family in another country and am multicultural and spent five weeks in yet a different country this summer. There’s something about the United States culture that causes people to be prone to fantasy scenarios that can never happen.

      I’ve found that people in other cultures I’ve visited seem to have a better sense of nuance and the unfixable complexity and bittersweet nature of life than we currently do. The strange thing is, it seems to me that I remember that kind of contemplation being a lot more common when I was a kid here. It seems it’s gone by the wayside. Just my opinion.

  27. avatar TheSophist says:

    ElaineD –

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. I’d love to think, as you claim, that you are far more representative of the Left/Progressive/Democrat thinking on the subject of guns than what we see from actual representatives of the Democrat Party. But I have a few questions, as a person of color who owns guns who actually was very much on the Left for most of my life.

    1. You write:

    “I work in mental health. There are people who should not have guns because their only reason for owning them is to stalk, harass, hurt, exploit and kill others. That is just an ugly truth about humanity and that is not going to change. Many people who hurt others with guns have a history of the type of actions I listed above.”

    Why are these people walking about society, instead of being placed in some sort of custody?

    One of the things I have come to believe strongly is that if I can’t trust you to have a gun, then I can’t trust you to be unsupervised.

    You’ve written eloquently about “Responsible gun ownership is about the person owning the guns” and the converse, where some individuals are so violent, so unstable, that they shouldn’t own guns. For the sake of discussion, let’s say we can come to agreement on the kind of markers/evidence required to decide that yep, Person X should not be allowed to own guns.

    Why is Person X allowed to roam free? Many people who hurt other people with guns have a history of the types of actions you listed above — presumably, markers of “aggressive, narcissistic, violent tendencies”. Why is it okay to risk that aggressive, narcissistic and violent person to stab someone with a knife? Run over kids with a car? Beat others with fist and boot?

    Since none of that is okay, seems to me that the only possible argument is that we need to incarcerate such aggressive violent narcissists who lack empathy. Make the argument about the person, not the gun. I doubt you’ll find a single person in the POTG community who would disagree with you.

    HOWEVER (and of course, there’s a HOWEVER), that kind of removal of personal freedom — locking someone away to protect the public — does require a law legitimately passed through the legislative process *and* due process under our system of government. (And I would argue, under any *just* system of government.)

    So let’s change this up. Leave the gun out of it, since you’re a mental health professional. What kinds of behavior, diagnosis, or tendencies would you want to criminalize (“remove him from society”) and what kinds of due process would you want to put into place to carry out that law?

    2. Do you or your liberal non anti-gun friends believe that 2A rights are uniform and universal across the board, and held by individuals? Or are there variations based on your identity?

    I ask because you write: “When I ask my fellow liberals, “Do you believe someone like me, a woman of color who endures harassment, should have the right to own firearms to protect myself?” I have never gotten any answer other than YES, even from my most hard left friends.”

    You also wrote: “I think the reason I don’t get blowback is that I am a nonwhite woman living in a mostly white city. I have to think about safety a lot. A whole lot. People on the left completely get and understand that. They also understand that threatening encounters often happen really quickly and that I should count on fending for myself, and a gun is part of that. I do think that the fact that I am a woman influences the reactions I get, but I also think the fact that I’m a stable, helpful, trustworthy person influences it just as much.”

    The hint of a suggestion there is that you *would* get blowback if you were a 6’3″ white guy who doesn’t have to think about safety a lot. (Which, we POTG know, is total fantasy… but….)

    Or is this an area where intersectionality of the modern Left also works its magic? So a black transgendered man (born a woman) could have a full-auto AR-15, but as an Asian cisgender hetero, you really don’t need more than a Glock 19. As an Asian hetero male, I should be fine with a 10-rd magazine on my G19. The big white guy with all of his white privilege, however, is just fine with the single shot black-powder hunting rifle.

    You see, as I see it, if you reject intersectionality, then you’re not a Leftist. And your “hard left” friends are not Leftists if they reject intersectionality and group identity politics. If you don’t reject intersectionality, then I’d like to know how that works with the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Does that go up and down based on your membership in “targeted” groups?

    3. Finally, as a self-described Liberal democrat gun owner, what is your position on the different treatment of government employees and the rest of us as it comes to these gun laws?

    Do you believe that your “hard left” friends share your views on the different treatment of CIVILIAN government employees as it comes to gun laws?

    And could you help me understand why so many liberals are eager to have gun restrictions, EXCEPT on the police, prosecutors, judges, elected officials, etc. (who, oddly enough, they also describe as racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic)?

    Thank you so much for your considered responses. It’s great to have you here at TTAG.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Oh, I TOTALLY think that one of the reasons the gun community gets so much blowback is that it’s populated by straight white men for the most part, who according to some people cause all of the evils in the world. Which I don’t agree with, because I’m a multiculturalist. Tribalism and tribe against tribe occur all over the world and occur in nations where everyone is the same color as well. It’s part of the spectrum of our terminal human flaws. So it seems. Meaning, that whatever tribe in power is going to favor people of their own tribe for power, influence, and the exercise of “rights.” That’s how it happens all over the world. Every nation. Every culture, all the way back to the ones we’re descended from, who I actually spent time with this summer. I went back to the beginning and that’s the way it was, so I guess that’s probably the way it is.

      As I’ve said, I think it will take a team of different people working on the issues to answer all of these complex questions. I actually have opted not to diagnose in the practice of my profession (a choice I am allowed to make) so someone who does diagnosis and assessment would have to weigh in, it’s a different line of training. I do think that we can all, just as citizens, do more to take strong notice of violent behavior and intentions and see what can be done about it both by us and on the larger level.

      1. avatar TheSophist says:

        Thank you for the response, Elaine.

        Could you provide an answer to #3? That shouldn’t require diagnosis.

        Also, if by “multicultural” you mean that all cultures are tribal, and whichever tribe is on top will dictate its will to all other tribes, well… that explains why this mythical “we just as citizens” are going to have a really hard time doing anything other than fighting.

        By the way, your description of the modern Democrat Party (“one of the reasons the gun community gets so much blowback is that it’s populated by straight white men for the most part, who according to some people cause all of the evils in the world”) is why it MUST be defeated and crushed. Because that’s straight up racism and sexism and heterophobia.

        At some point, I hope to see a new Liberal movement arise out of the ashes of the modern Democrat Party that puts forth some sort of an alternative vision involving the fundamental unit of our society and system of government: the sovereign individual, with inalienable rights.


        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          You are certainly free to believe as you like. I’d rather work with my own party and try to make changes within it than “crush” it. That’s just my choice, and I respect your choice as yours, too.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I’d rather work with my own party and try to make changes within it…”

          Please open your eyes. People in YOUR party have been working within it, and the party is runaway leftist. If you think you need (or have) generations to alter the rabid leftism of YOUR party, you will be wondering what happened when they come for you.

          On a completely serious note, if you do not see the purpose of the Second Amendment as the guarantor of the right of the people to rise up against government oppression, you are not a 2A supporter, at best a 2A exploiter (which is your protected right). The Second Amendment does not stop at self-defense with a gun.

      2. avatar Sam I Am says:

        ” I do think that we can all, just as citizens, do more to take strong notice of violent behavior and intentions and see what can be done about it both by us and on the larger level.”

        This is the sort of utopian thinking that is the hallmark of the people the leftists/liberals consider “useful idiots”. Regardless of rhetoric, the leaders of the left/liberals all know two things:
        a) humans are not perfectable (but pretending so is valuable politically…not to mention enjoyable)
        b) “…on the larger level” overlooks the fact that we are seeing the fullness of three generations of adults acting like children, and raising children to remain children into their adult years (children are quite selfish and manipulating)

        We spend an inordinate amount of time and resource seeking unicorns.

    2. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “And could you help me understand why so many liberals are eager to have gun restrictions, EXCEPT on the police, prosecutors, judges, elected officials, etc. (who, oddly enough, they also describe as racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic)?”

      I reduced your commentary to a single para, but yours is one of the best presentations I have seen here. Thank you for the effort to produce it.

    3. avatar MarkPA says:

      @Sophist: I get the argument that if you can’t be trusted with a gun you can’t be trusted at large without a custodian.

      The problem with this like of reasoning – though perfectly valid – is that it runs head-long into our society’s value placed on liberty. To the maximum extent possible, we want as many people at possible to remain in full control of their personal liberty. And so, we leave homeless people to remain at a danger to themselves unsheltered, under fed, and untreated with respect to their mental and physical health. We leave drunk drivers at liberty to continue to drive; and so forth.

      Where we are, as a society, today, we can’t change this value for liberty. Over a long period of time – several generations – we could modify it somewhat. I don’t think we WANT to modify it ENOUGH to make a significant dent in the percentage of people at large who are a real threat to society.

      We don’t quite know what to do with the insane who refuse to be treated. We don’t know how to deal with criminals who use prison time to hone their craft. The study of criminology has not been especially successful in discovering how to rehabilitate those with criminal inclinations. We don’t want to interfere with either the genetic nor social aspects of family life that science can identify as having a likely correlation with criminal behavior.

      While we strive for further scientific knowledge and application of what is known, we remain a long way from solving the problem of violence. So, what do we do in the present generation; i.e., so that our children will have safer lives?

      It is politically untenable to suddenly lock-up hundreds of thousands of criminals and crazies in the hope that a large enough net cast widely enough will neutralize a significant fraction of those too dangerous to be allowed at liberty. We – the People – simply WON’T do that, even if it were shown to be economically effective.

      I think it is far more viable to try to persuade society at large to take personal responsibility for their own individual safety. And that includes many who will arm themselves. Today, perhaps 5% carry regularly. Suppose the fraction rose to 15% or 25%. I don’t think it would have to reach 50% before we would recognize a significant reduction in the rates of violent crimes.

      It’s not necessary to insist on arming with firearms to the exclusion of all other types of weapons. Many people – Jamie Caetano being a prime example – did not wish to shoot the father of her child yet she would carry a stun gun. Massachusetts insisted on punishing her for her impudence. But for the Supreme Court of the United States, she would be rotting in a prison cell.

      For the vast majority it is a huge first step simply to become cognizant of one’s personal responsibility to avoid higher-risk places and times. Next, to bear and keep at hand a non-lethal means of self defense. Once at this point, to tolerate the fact that fellow citizens armed with lethal weapons contribute to social safety. Only through such a step by step process will most sheep become aware of the path to public safety.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        The Sophist is simply pointing out that declaring some people should be stripped of constitutionally protected rights because of what might happen (pre-crime custody) actually proves that such people should not be allowed to walk about in public. The underlying thesis is that if “you” don’t want to lock up everyone because of what they might do, it is also invalid to lock up a sub-set of the population because of what they might do (the only difference between “normals” and the mentally is that “normals” are just mentally ill people who haven’t been caught).

        The Sophist’s comment was not a recommendation to lock up all the mentally ill, but to point out the logical disconnect of deciding mentally ill people should be denied access to guns, but permitted free access to a different deadly weapon.

  28. avatar No. Thank you. says:

    To my understanding, you’re a colored/non white woman living in a predominantly white area and your “friends” agrees with your choice to arm yourself for personal protection. I find that statement very disturbing because a right to self defend is not determined by race, gender, nor geography. A white man living a a predominantly “non-white” neighborhood wishing to arm himself for self protection would be labeled a racist, maniacal gun freak as well as a threat to society. Your “friends” are selectively granting approval who they think should be allowed firearm access and that is wrong, wrong, wrong. A true 2A supporter would side with anyone wishing to arm his/herself legally. A Constitutional Right does not need “approvals” from anyone. Also, the ultimate end result of any and all firearms regulations is, in essence, a chipping away at the right that is enabled by the Second Amendment. Today it is sliding stock. Tomorrow is do you really need a stock at all. Yes, I am exaggerating but you get my point. Cars and alcoholic beverage combined killed many many people. I don’t hear demand for softer cars nor lower alcohol content beverage legislation. And driving and drinking is not protected by THE CONSTITUTION.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Agree with you that the right to self defense is important for everyone. What I am saying is that the liberal people I know are much more open about hearing from me about gun ownership because they perceive me as being a member of a threatened class. Does that make sense? The white guy on his farm might be just as threatened as me but I’m seen as more believable. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m saying it’s the way it is.

      There’s paper, and then there’s people and policy, which is ruled a lot by feelings and perceptions that may or may not be true. So you are always stuck with working with things as they are, people as they are, not as you wish they were. It’s always damned imperfect.

      1. avatar DrDKW says:

        The Bill of Rights is not up for negotiation by whatever party or political group happens to be in power at any given time.
        So it shouldn’t really matter if your friends are OK with you owning an AR15, but I can’t have one if I live in New Jersey.
        No party, group or person gets to pick and choose which rights they can deny, depending on which way the wind blows.
        Be it the denial of due process inflicted on thousands of American citizens incarcerated during WWII, to the abuse of civil forfeiture instituted during the Reagan administration’s War on Drugs, to the further Constitutional violations allowed under the Patriot Act, this is why strict adherence to the Bill of Rights must be enforced.

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Elaine D.,

        … the liberal people I know are much more open about hearing from me about gun ownership because they perceive me as being a member of a threatened class.

        Ah, that opens the door for Leftists to actually reconsider their position rather than categorically dismiss you.

        THAT should be your lead-in with people who are staunch supporters of our unalienable right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

      3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Elaine D.,

        I think we may have stumbled upon the best possible strategy moving forward.

        Barrier to positive change:
        Many/most Progressives are elitists and/or they operate on emotion and Utopian ideals. They will categorically dismiss general presentations of facts, data, and reality which conflict with their entrenched positions.

        Overcoming that barrier:
        Members of threatened classes have to present a fairly specific and simple example/case which illustrates the error of entrenched positions.

        Moving forward:
        After a member of a threatened class has reached a Progressive, the presenter then has to illustrate the more general case that applies to all classes, not just threatened classes.

        Extra credit:
        We should remember the “tribalism” tendency of humans. That means members of a threatened class who consider themselves to be Democrats (rather than Independents or Republicans) will have a higher probability of reaching other Democrats.

        Time to roll-up your sleeves Elaine and jump in with both feet! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to recruit Democrats who staunchly believe in our unalienable right to keep and bear arms, educate them on the this simple strategy, and send them forth to their Democrat family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

  29. ” I have never gotten any answer other than YES, even from my most hard left friends”
    That’s the hypocrisy from your group.
    “If targeted people choose to own firearms to protect themselves from random acts of hate and harassment, they are all about it.”
    Too late.
    “I do know many liberals who are against guns in the hands of people who beat women, people who molest kids, people who post hate speech and racist rants online, people who are mentally unstable and lack empathy and are prone to paranoid beliefs about others being out to get them. I am also one of those people.”
    What about women who beat men?
    And nobody defends a pedophile. Liberals can’t take the higher ground here.
    People who post hate speech shouldn’t be able to own guns? What if I hate the king and tell everybody?
    Who determines what is a racist rant or paranoia. Oh yeah…the government does. No conflict of interest there.
    You need to walk away. We need you and you need us.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      I’m not going to vote red. There are issues that the Democratic Party advances that are important to me. There are plenty of problems but they’re still ahead on some of the big things I care about.

      Nothing is perfect, you know? I appreciate that there’s at least a sliver of space here on TTAG for me to contribute. Thanks for your thoughts.

      1. You and I together have a better chance reforming the Republican party more toward Libertarian than we could rescue the Democrats from Statist Socialism.
        You need to realize this and if you can’t, then God help us all if your side gets control. Hint…you get the bullet too.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        I watch a lot of news, try to keep up on political promises from both sides of the fence. For 8 years I heard Obama make proposals and promises which were clearly destructive to our nation’s economy and clearly disruptive to any sense of unity the nation might hope to achieve, and generally perform as I would expect a racist moslem to react. The economy did recover to some extent during those years, but that was in spite of him, not because of him. Trump proposed changes during his campaign and was elected to implement those changes, and our economy began to react that very day, due to millions realizing that the moron community organizer was going to disappear. Now, you tell me there is much in the Dem agenda which you support, but all I can currently see is “hate Trump” and “accomplish nothing, that’ll teach ’em!!” What exactly is so valuable in the constant spewing of irrational hatred which is today’s Democratic Party?

  30. avatar paul says:

    This is something I have been saying for a long time. We can not just be single issue voters. If we think that only Dems want to limit our rights to firearms, we will lose our rights to the Republicans. Let’s face it, Republicans are the face of big business, those that do not think their workers should get middle class incomes. They want to keep the money for themselves. You can bet that most of the people in power behind big business do not want the rabble(that is everyone who isn’t them) being armed and someday overturning them for what they may do to our country.
    9/11 hurt this country – in spite of everything that G.W.Bush tried, the crash happened on his watch. Much of it happened because controls on the stock market, initiated after 1929, were taken down and irresponsible investors(mostly banks) brought on the crash. Just imagine what could have happened to those people in power had the truth been known at the time. People do not like to have their homes taken away from them, their land sold out from under them, their businesses ruined because of a bad economy that was steered in that direction by said big banks.
    Do not think they are your supporters or friends – they will do the same thing next time – just like the croc and rabbit, the croc ate the rabbit because it is his nature.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “We can not just be single issue voters.”

      If there is an issue superior to defense of the constitution (2A, 1A especially), then the constitution is only a tool of convenience. It is the constitution (and we hard core defenders) who make it possible for you to consider other issues at all. Once you equivocate the constitution, then the rest is mere power politics.

    2. avatar Pg2 says:

      Amusing. The Democratic Party is funded by billionaires, not the working class.

    3. avatar MarkPA says:

      “Republicans are the face of big business, those that do not think their workers should get middle class incomes. They want to keep the money for themselves.”

      I will make no defense of Republicans; NONE. Nevertheless, at the moment, the majority of the men-of-means back Democrats. Ironic, isn’t it.

      Regardless of any momentary political situation (where a “moment” may be as long as a century) it is the men-of-means who mean to retrain their firm grip on the reins of power. It matters not one whit what the color of their party’s arm-band might be. Nor the rhetoric of their public policies. Their purposes will always be dressed in noblesse oblige; perhaps even sincerely. Friedrich Engels (Marx’s closest collaborator) was the son of a wealthy industrialist.

      As the “means of production” gradually drift away from labor – long past land – past industrial-production – toward knowledge, wealth becomes more concentrated. (That’s not necessarily a bad thing as the poor grow more wealthy in absolute terms while growing “poorer” relative to the most wealthy of all.) We are not going to win the war of civilization by making it a war of class-struggle.

      We need to recognize that the will-to-power overcomes the most powerful no matter who they might be. A Democrat or Republican politician is equally amenable to taking Bloomberg’s money. And, the billionaire class will be willing to purchase the best Congressmen money can buy to assure that they will remain in control.

      It is the concentration of political power that is the matter of concern. We, the voters, must be on our guard not to sell our votes cheaply to the best advertisers of Madison Avenue that money can buy.

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        This is beautifully written. Thank you.

  31. avatar brian says:

    Hi Elaine. I very much agree with you in wishing gun ownership would be made a non-partisan issue everyone could agree on. My main contention with what you have said is I simply cannot trust a state-run filter on who can or cannot be a gun owner to not eventually devolve into something motivated by partisan, as you say, or racist or some other reason. I cannot trust a potentially partisan beaurocrat or racist cop to make that determination. Almost everyone is guilty, or could so easily be, stalking, “domestic battery,” get a proscription for anti-depressants, see a counselor, fail to show for court appearence for one too many traffic tickets (“fugitive from justice” in some jurisdictions) or any number of other prohibited-person-for-life infractions, all of which VASTLY disproportionally fall on minorities given the way our criminal justice system works, and POOF, your punished for life and the cops can put you away for a good long time at their (potentially bigoted or just classist) discretion for seeking to defend yourself if you find yourself.

    Gun control is simply another way for the authorities, and those that profit from and back them up, to exercise “discretion” over others, same as censorship or arbitrary searches, siezures or arrest, removal of due process etc. While I fully understand your first hand experience with persons who should not have access to guns I cannot shake the feeling that any law ostensibly aimed at them would not fall mostly on yourself as you describe yourself.

    I in no way mean to impune you are unconcerned or unaware of what I have said above, I say them simply to share why I so deeply distrust any talk of state-run filters on people. As for spiteful partisan rhetoric, it is wrong to lump people together in such a way and dismiss them so easily, however if I may say so without sounding apologetic it does come from an understandable frustration with the partisan framing of gun rights which disarmament advocates use to push they’re agenda on a people who would reject it if not blinded by tribalism. Any eliminationist or violent rhetoric is of course unacceptable.

    Again if I may say without seeming apologetic but many on the right feel, and not without justification from some rhetoric on the left, that one of the main unstated reasons some on the left push for gun control is to specifcaly disarm those on the right to create a power imbalance in society. All in all I am glad you shared your thoughts with the readers of TTAG today and have demostrated there is more in common among americans at the grass-roots level that the partisan propagandists would want us to believe.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      I really appreciate your thoughts.

      Sure. The craziest voices are the loudest. And there are people who think the United States should be a white Christian nation, as well. However, the conservatives I know do not believe that, or like that, or like the fact that religiosity gets conflated with conservatism. I had a long dialogue with an up-and-coming conservative scholar who is passionate about the fact that he thinks being pro-choice is a conservative position and that being anti-choice is religiosity, which he regards as two different things.

      I guess what I am saying is that, if we’re not going to outsource running our government to robots, or aliens, or another nation, it’s ours to try to influence if that’s what we think we should try to do. It’s not lost on me that there is simply a faction of people who think our government isn’t worth working with. Still, it’s what we’ve got. I am not in favor of disarmament, and I think there are a lot of ideas thrown about by people who don’t actually understand guns and are afraid of them – which I also understand. After all, the reason guns are effective as a deterrent is that they’re dangerous and scary.

      I suppose I tend to take a multi-lens view because of my own complex family history, which is completely tied into a war involving the US overseas, and the fact that the same thing can be seen completely differently from different lenses. There are advantages to that. And also shortcomings. As there are with everything.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        ” It’s not lost on me that there is simply a faction of people who think our government isn’t worth working with.”

        This is where you go off the rails. Government is our employee. We are not supposed to “work with” government, it is supposed to work for us. There is no provision in the US Constitution for government to be instructing us on anything, nor to be deciding which life decisions are to be made. An employee is not supposed to be the most intrusive force in the life of the employer. Government proves daily it cannot “work with” the citizens, only attempt to control the citizens.

        We must deduce from what you have written and commented that you think government is the source of our wealth, spirit, safety, prosperity. It never has been, and was not designed to be so. The purpose of our form of government was/is to control and discipline government, not the other way around. Where government intrudes, freedom flees.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          No, that is not what I believe about government. However, as someone who has worked on policy in my home state, I know how the process of influencing our ’employee’ works. It requires a lot of participation, and a lot of time, and a lot of work. Casting a vote isn’t enough.

          There are people who seem to be taking the “throw your hands up and screw it” approach. That’s a choice you get to make in this country too. In some other countries, you lose your rights of citizenship if you don’t vote and participate in the political process. It is expected, a necessary requirement of staying a citizen of that nation. We have no such requirement here. People can just walk off and not participate. What a sweet freedom that is.

          I choose otherwise. I choose to participate in something that is huge, unwieldy, flawed, and full of problems, in order to try to make it better. It might be an ugly beast but it’s what we’ve got. So. That’s my choice – to participate in the process of my country. And I’m glad that we don’t all think the same way about it.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Let’s get right down to it, shall we?

          Just what “perspective” do you anticipate offering/adding to the blog? That guns are somehow different in the hands of an oppressed person (female, or whatever)? That being an oppressed person makes your claim on the Second Amendment different, special? That your status as an oppressed person makes armed self-defense better, less effective, more effective, notional,? That you have a unique perspective on restricting gun rights, enacting “common sense gun laws”? Having a “conversation” about how deadly and dangerous guns are in the hands of the masses (especially those who do not have a special perspective?? That we need universal background checks to be conducted using a heavily flawed criminal database? That because of special cases for special people, we need to eliminate private sales and transfers of any kind (even for a few minutes) that do not include background checks? That we need government permission slips to buy guns, buy ammunition, carry our weapons wherever we want? That we need mandatory firearms training approved by governments? That we can implicitly trust government? That somehow the governments are permitted to control the very means by which tyrannical government is to be disciplined? To use a shop-worn phrase, “Been there; done that”.

          I don’t ask these questions to insult you, but to educate you regarding what we POTG have heard so long and so often, and thoroughly rejected.

          The first question remains, “Just what “perspective” do you anticipate offering/adding to the blog?” Not right or wrong answer, here. You will not be kicked out of the blog for your response (but you may be hounded, ridiculed, dismissed, insulted, upbraided, called unseemly names). Inquiring minds want to know.

      2. avatar Eli2016 says:

        Elaine D. Definitely one of the more interesting and coherent posts I’ve read on the TTAG forum in a very long time.

        I consider myself more MOR than an outright conservative (and I am like you a person of color) but I find your views in many respects close to mine. That said, it seems to me as far as I can assess NEITHER side is willing to come to the table and negotiate. There are many reasons for this, but I have absolutely no doubt that one of the main reasons is that the MSM is pushing for an all out ideological war – maybe violent, maybe not – and until the left is willing to stop the calls for violence in the streets I will not abandon the fight to stop them.

        You must be thinking, “well the right also has their violent streak…” Yes the right does. But we’ve never threatened to kill the president while showing pictures of his head cut off. That is extreme and is something that one would see in a third world country.

        I admire and respect your comments. If you could convince people on your side to make that first step, I will make an effort on my side to do the same. Thank you.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          The thing is, those people are not representative of most liberals any more than the people saying you are only an American if you are white and Christian are representative of most conservatives.

          I would sharply rebuke any threat of violence from anyone identifying Left as much as Right. First off, because it’s not a solution. Second, because it sets a bad example for exaggerated, insincere, inflammatory rhetoric that then makes it hard for everyone to see who the real nut cases are who intend to follow through on those threats. Third, and this is the most important thing: It’s poor character.

          I happen to believe that character is important and that the discussion, development and practice of it has fallen too far out of the discourse of our nation. I consider good character to be one of the responsibilities of firearm ownership as well as the practice of my profession. It may not be written down anywhere as a requirement but I think that when you hold power to help or harm others, your own personal character is what supports the appropriate use of that power. All the shouting and yelling and finger pointing on both sides is not in support of good character. Advocating pushing people around is not good character.

          We can do better than this. We just need to want to. I’d be happy to have further conversation with you one on one and generate ideas, absolutely.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I would sharply rebuke any threat of violence from anyone …First off, because it’s not a solution.”

          Your knowledge of history is significantly lacking on that point.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I consider myself more MOR”

          You do realize the people who are MOR get run over by traffic from both sides, right?

  32. avatar JW says:

    “There are people who should not have guns because their only reason for owning them is to stalk, harass, hurt, exploit and kill others. That is just an ugly truth about humanity and that is not going to change.”

    I agree completely, Ms. D – but the only way to keep them from having guns, or other lethal options for harming the innocent, is to keep them in a prison or a secure mental institution (and even that has less than perfect success).

    Any approach that leaves them free but attempts to restrict the general trade and possession of weapons will fall hardest on those trying to defend themselves from the people you mention.

  33. avatar Jeff says:

    The constitution ain’t up for negotiation! Any entity that try’s to change it is a enemy of it. The bill of rights is only as good as those who are willing to defend it. It says these rights were given by our creator. We are a constitutional republic not a democracy. There is a difference. Any entity that wants to change that is the enemy once again. Liberalism like it or not wants to change these things. Example is get rid of the electoral college. All in order to throw their agenda down our throat. Trump will not be in office long folks then we will be back to the same old BS again soon . Beware of these deceived individuals coming in the name of peace, they are sheeple. They will find out soon enough they are pawns. I myself already know I’m being used as a pawn. That’s why I fight the good fight now as apposed to later.

  34. avatar Turd Fergusen says:

    “You are treating liberals as though we are a monolithic group where everyone thinks and acts the same. We are not. Obviously I am a gun super owner and serious about my training, and I am posting here. I’m only one of many. We simply tend to stay quiet because of hostility when we do express ourselves.”

    Dang, Elaine, you nailed it with this and other comments. Thank you.

    I would consider myself a MOR Democrat who does not agree with everything the party espouses and actively engages those who are willing to have conversations about a collective resolution to each side’s concerns. I get beat up regularly by the right side posters here who can’t understand that there are those who actually believe there is an ability to compromise and work together without altering the Constitution. I am a Democrat and a 1A/2A defender.

    Your comments and observations are a breath of fresh air, and along with those, I applaud my fellow TTAG readers who have shown a willingness to engage with thoughtful and productive comments and ideas. THIS is the type of dialogue we should all be having as a nation.

    Sadly, it seems like many in power today are only interested in engaging and enraging the masses by pitting one against the other. We need to return to the days of civil discourse.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Thank you. Yes. It’s this kind of conversation that I would hope a lot of us are actually wanting to have, on both sides, because the current state of things sure as hell isn’t gettin us anywhere.

      I suppose, being born in Texas even as a binational person, I’m still just a fan of the good old talking to as a first step. I think that if you’re posting hate speech and intent to kill online, that should trigger a check for illegal weapons and a good old fashioned talking to by someone. If people know that someone is actually paying attention to their actions, that can go a long way toward deterrence and detection. If we create robots with the stern personality traits of my shooting teacher and send those out to do the job that should take care of it. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of his displeasure.

      I’m joking. But I do want a conversation about it. It’s just damned hard to get any effective action to take place when people are being threatening and being obvious about it. I don’t know if it’s a problem with the social media platforms, law enforcement, making a certain kind of report, or what it is. I don’t think that free speech covers all kinds of speech – you can’t go on and on online about wanting to molest kids, for example, without someone paying you a visit, someone who’s not friendly. I just want dialogue about it and thoughts from EVERYONE about what can be done.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “I don’t think that free speech covers all kinds of speech…”

        SCOTUS tells us what protected speech is. It is not an echo chamber of words, expressions, ideas, thoughts that are comforting to individuals at all times and places.

      2. avatar MarkPA says:

        @Elaine: Please start a blog of your own. I’ll look for an announcement on TTAG.
        Thank you for your consideration of this proposal.

    2. avatar Sam I Am says:

      ” regularly get beat up by the right side posters here who can’t understand that there are those who actually believe there is an ability to compromise and work together without altering the Constitution.”

      Could that be because every compromise YOUR people propose is an infringement on constitutionally protected natural, human and civil rights? Your tribe’s idea of compromise is always, without exception, restriction of personal liberty and freedom. You people live in the land where it is possible to be only a little bit pregnant.

      1. avatar Turd Fergusen says:

        They’re not “my people”. I may agree with some of the tenets of the Democratic party, but that doesn’t mean they’re ‘my people”. That implies a level of relationship far beyond what I engage in. Believe it or not, I also like some of the ideas and concepts that the Republicans espouse as well, but that doesn’t make me one of them.

        Being narrow-minded and attempting to put people in a particular “box” based on which party they identify with is part of the problem. Those who can’t come to grips with the concept that someone can agree with both sides yet seek a resolution in a clear minded and unbiased way are the problem.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          I am very suspicious of people who boast of open minds. They are admitting there is nothing in there.

  35. avatar Racer88 says:

    That’s interesting. Most of my liberal friends and family are categorically opposed to citizens owning any firearms for any reason. They are not shy or coy about it.

  36. avatar Pg2 says:

    Perfect example of Hegelian Dialect. Manufacturing consent. Elaine, there seems to be few people left who understand the US Constitution and the tenets of indivual liberty it was built on, and as those numbers dwindle, the Hegelian Dialect will be used to move this country piece by piece to communist totalitarianism.

  37. avatar Slim says:

    Give me a break with this pandering nonsense… Pro gun democrats that vote on party lines for gun control.

    Now let’s pretend that the bulk of gun violence isn’t committed by minorities in democrat strong holds, but I guess I’m a racist for stating that fact.

    Sure… Let’s beef up background checks and have a universal registration process… Maybe we can bring our full internet browser history and childhood medical records before we take our psych exam…

    And while Joe Schmo is jumping through hoops to exercise a constitutionaly garunteed right the usual suspects will run rough shot on society.

    Sounds like a plan….

  38. avatar Ian in Transit says:

    “It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”
    -Calvin Coolidge

    “Compromise” by abridging the rights of 99.999% of the population is the exact opposite of progress. More government, more laws, more liberties relinquished is always a bad idea. History has proven this with 100% certainty. The only compromise left is to start removing restrictions on natural rights, not adding more. There can be no conversation without that basic understanding.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “The only compromise left is to start removing restrictions on natural rights, not adding more. There can be no conversation without that basic understanding.”

      Uuuhhh, uuuhhhmmm, like, you know, totally, that would be considered a complete defeat and cave-in by leftists/liberals/statists/authoritarians/Dimwitocrats. Not gonna happen.

      1. avatar Ian in Transit says:

        On that we both agree. Just more to the point that the left side of the argument has no interest in an honest discussion.

  39. avatar Craig in IA says:

    “I actually don’t know any liberals who are against guns for self defense. ” Then, my dear, you don’t know ANY liberals…

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “I actually don’t know any liberals who are against guns for self defense. ”

      “Then, my dear, you don’t know ANY liberals…”
      Pahzing !!!

  40. avatar Shaun says:

    Elaine D.,

    Thank you for your time and energy both in writing your article, and in responding to the comments.

    Now that this has happened, how do you feel about the conversation? Are you glad you did it? Are you planning on writing more here at TTAG?

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Yes and yes, absolutely.

      It took me a long time to decide to approach Dan about submitting writing. This was also because I had not made a firm decision about “coming out” as a liberal gun owner, so to speak.

      However, I’d been encouraged to do so by conservative friends, and I finally realized that if I want all the yelling to stop maybe I need to be part of the solution instead of staying silent. Given the reach and influence of TTAG and the fact that they’re a part of my local gun community, this seemed to be the place to start.

      I’m immensely grateful to Dan for taking the chance on me. I do plan to write more articles, some humorous, some contemplative. Hopefully it won’t tank his readership!

      1. avatar Bruce Barber says:

        I welcome your content.

      2. avatar Turd Fergusen says:

        This is great, Elaine. While there will always be the fringe folks who will come out swinging at anyone who doesn’t agree with them, I truly believe that most of the readers and posters here are intelligent human beings who, if given the opportunity, would heartily agree that social discourse conducted in a respectful manner can go a long way in helping everyone come to an agreeable solution.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          Yeah. I mean, it isn’t “fixable” in terms of “we can come up with a nice neatly packaged solution that keeps everyone happy.” It ain’t that kind of thing, just like most social issues aren’t. Basically the reality is that once you get beyond a human tribe of about 150 people, if you want a cooperative process, part of what you have to accept is that EVERYONE is gonna be “kinda unhappy.” Hopefully everyone would also be “mostly satisfied.”

          It’s easy to have lots of individualism and unabridged freedoms in groups of humans up to about 25. In a giant society with so many tribes like ours, people are going to be pushing on each other. And complexity is hard for us. We like things OUR way and to have OUR needs and interests be the ones at the top of the heap. The push and pull is stressful and yet it’s what builds tolerance.

          I was actually thinking about this in terms of a conversation I had with my shooting teacher, who confronted me the other day about why I haven’t been doing his matches. I told him that I thought it was above my skill level and that I was afraid that going for something I couldn’t do, that I thought wasn’t possible for me, would just make everything else worse. That putting pressure on to that level would break down the gains I’m working so hard to make. I wanted to hold on to my little “turf.”

          He told me that in order to grow, I needed to do something that would force me into sucking at it in order to see where the weak points were. I could only acclimate to the stress by going through the stress. I could only become more resilient by letting failure happen. To see it as a teacher, not as some kind of end point.

          Seems to me that this applies here too. I came to shooting as self defense but as I slowly grow, it’s becoming more like a martial art.

          Thanks for your wonderful contributions to this and taking the time to read my writing.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “He told me that in order to grow, I needed to do something that would force me into sucking at it in order to see where the weak points were. I could only acclimate to the stress by going through the stress. I could only become more resilient by letting failure happen. To see it as a teacher, not as some kind of end point.”

          Let me get this straight…as a mental health professional, you needed a firearms instructor to teach you this basic life lesson? Even my jughead phys ed coach in high school knew you can’t grow muscle or endurance by “hanging on to your little piece of turf”.

          Now, not only can I not respect your politics, I cannot respect your professional credentials as a therapist.

          But I do not disrespect your right to possess firearms, nor your right to wrong opinions.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I truly believe that most of the readers and posters here are intelligent human beings who, if given the opportunity, would heartily agree that social discourse conducted in a respectful manner can go a long way in helping everyone come to an agreeable solution.”

          Solution to what? Every solution agreeable to YOUR people/tribe/party regarding firearms is just one more restriction. What has light in common with darkness? How do you find common ground with people who believe the bulk of the populace is incapable of managing their own lives. Which “solution” do you propose, that hasn’t been proposed as a restriction on gun rights? Which “solution” do you submit has not been discussed to stalemate between pro and anti-gun groups?

          Larry In Texas proposed a “solution”, a common sense proposal, a challenge to evaluate the seriousness of people such as Elaine. I note, with complete lack of surprise, Elaine (nor you) agreed it was a rational idea, worthy of serious intellectual inquiry.

          How about this solution: quite trying to control objects. Get at the root of the so-called problem of “gun violence”, and fix that. As an aside, the “root” of the problem is not people who are adult children, but the people who raised them that way. Fix the culture of me, me, me, mine, mine, mine. Reverse the mob mentality that nothing should present a person a difficult moment. It is child abuse to build an environment where children never develop coping skills because they are raised to believe they should never be made uncomfortable by any person, place or thing.

  41. avatar Sian says:

    “I actually don’t know any liberals who are against guns for self defense. ”

    Well lucky you. I know several, and we have plenty of examples of politicians who secretly or not so secretly believe this.

  42. avatar Bruce Barber says:

    Several repetitions of not “knowing” any liberals who are against guns for self defense, etc.

    Ok, but surely you recognize that there are many and vocal liberals who are definitely against private gun ownership. Statements have been made that they would clearly like to be able to confiscate all the guns in private ownership.

    The vilification of opinions and statements takes place from both extremes of the ideological perspective. And yes, a rational dialogue searching for balanced policy that considers our rights and our policy responses to the abuse and irresponsible behaviors of those rights would be a significant step in the direction to appropriate regulatory protocols.

    Thanks for the article, and an interesting dialogue.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Thanks for the article, and an interesting dialogue.”

      When you look closely, you will notice Elaine established herself as the quintessential leftist – a victim of something. What may be interesting is she claims to have decided to not remain a victim. All-in-all, there was no need for her background history to be put on display. All that was necessary was to note that as a woman she recognized the need to improve her personal security, and go from there about training, and gun choices, etc. Instead, we got a litany of leftist/liberal thinking disguised as serious contemplation. However…creating Elaine did provide the vehicle for introducing a semi-permanent voice of the anti-gun constituency. As we go along, the conversation will always come back to how only select people should be armed until guns can be removed from all the law-abiding gun owners.

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        Actually, Sam, I did not identify myself as, nor do I regard myself as, a victim. I chose a way to describe myself that is meaningful to me. It is not the way you might choose to describe yourself. But I have the right to choose it, and it harms no one to do so.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          ” I chose a way to describe myself that is meaningful to me. It is not the way you might choose to describe yourself. But I have the right to choose it,”

          Absolutely you do. No argument.

          And I have the right to decode it properly. You described yourself as a victim, an oppressed minority.

          As I said, there was not illuminating reason to discuss your experience, ethnicity or feelings of oppression. You could have simply stated, “I am a woman who decided she is responsible for her own safety, and took steps to secure it.” The rest of what you wrote was intended to gather concern and sympathy – even a special category of gun owner.

          Next, you informed us that you sought permission from liberals to obtain and carry a firearm. Your constitutionally protected right to bear arms requires no permission from any person or government. You uncover your true identity telling us that you sought peer approval as a prerequisite to gun ownership. However, permission for special people to possess firearms is a hallmark of leftists, liberals and statists – the entire anti-gun movement.

          As noted before, you have a right to own a firearm, to train, to shoot for sport or competition or self-defense. That is where you may find common ground with POTG, but not in political pretensions about “conversations” regarding limits and restrictions of gun ownership.

    2. avatar MarkPA says:

      I think that the left has a spectrum of members who are more-or-less restrictive on guns. Naturally, there are those who would confiscate the guns from the heretofore-armed-forces and police. At the other end of the spectrum are those who are willing to indulge hunters and marksmen (provided that their activities are confined to prescribed spaces).

      In between there are those who can vaguely imagine some – but not very much – private gun ownership. But these haven’t really thought-through what that might really look like.

      Step out of the American culture for a moment. Imagine that of Japan or Singapore. If you have enough patience you really can jump through all the hoops of Japanese gun ownership. Such that there are very few gun owners. That really works for them. A few sportsmen, and their mafia. Very little gun crime. In Singapore, you must be wealthy enough to join a gun club. Very well, if you are rich enough you probably won’t commit much homicide yourself. (You could always hire people for that). Yes, in such countries you really can have private gun ownership – confined to the very determined or the very wealthy.

      Stepping back to America, we have 100 million gun owners, give-or-take a few million. How could society cull-out the wing-nuts among them? Why, we can’t bring ourselves to do much to incarcerate gun criminals; how would we possibly deal with the wing-nuts who have yet to be convicted of a crime? It’s simply not going to happen. No matter how much we might wish-upon-a-star, we – in America – have 2 choices: learn to live with 100 million lawful gun-owners; or, civil war.

      There is no litmus test for responsible gun-ownership. We really can’t tell which first-time gun-buyer will one day commit a violent crime, suicide or have an accident. At best, we could enforce felon-in-possession; but we won’t even do that!

      If the left could awaken to their fantasy – that there might be a way to identify “those who shouldn’t have them” – then we might have a constructive conversation.

  43. avatar Pg2 says:

    So from more than a few of these posts, strongly supporting the 2nd Amendment is an ‘extreme position’…..Hegelian Dialect in action. Well done Elaine.

  44. avatar GaPharmD says:

    Hi Elaine! Thanks for the post. I have a few comments and questions.

    You say “I actually don’t know any liberals who are against guns for self defense.” While this may be the answer they give you to your face, you presented them with a loaded question. “Do you believe someone like me, a woman of color who endures harassment, should have the right to own firearms to protect myself?” No self loving liberal is going to openly deny a woman or person of color anything without fear of being offensive. I think if you want a better gauge of your peers you should ask if the OFWG with the rebel flag hat on should be able o defend himself with a short barrel AR running suppressed with a bumpstock. That may get you at least a true answer.

    My questions are as follows:

    Being in the Healthcare field and knowing that death/sucide rates are among the highest in LBGQT populations, do you think that they should require more strict access to guns than other populations?

    While we may all agree that with rights come responsibilities you say “Abuse a freedom and it can get taken away: that’s how society works” Do you mean to say that collectively or individually?

    You say “Is there anything WE can do to address this issue to prevent rights for everyone being eroded? The simple answer to me and many here on TTAG is we can give up nothing, give no inch, cede no ground. Do you believe that all other rights are justifiably eroded? Or do you believe that our rights are inalienable and firm and should not be infringed?

    Thanks for you time and shoot as much and as often as you can!

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Here is the thing that I think about all of the time: you have the ideal, and you have the real, and you have to figure out how to deal with that.

      You have the ideal of an amendment. Rights for everyone. You have the real that some people are pretty much guaranteed to abuse that right in a way that is going to harm others and that when that happens, the people who got affected are going to clamor for change.

      You have the ideal of freedom. You have the real that when your idea of freedom lands on your neighbor’s lawn, that neighbor might get upset and say, “Well, I have the freedom not to have your crap on my lawn.”

      You have the ideal – no compromise – and you have the real, which is that society doesn’t work without compromise. Another reality is that human beings don’t like compromise. It never satisfies anyone, which is why people have bitched about politicians since the beginning of time, since they’re essentially all in the business of compromise including the good ones.

      So it’s like we’re faced with ideals about freedom and liberty and an unattainably peaceful society, and the reality of human dumbness, human malice, different ideas about where your freedoms end and mine begin, and the reality that any compromise at all, even though it’s the way for everyone to live together, is also going to piss everyone off.

      That’s how I think about it. I actually think that in life often there is not some fixit “solution.” Sometimes what you can do is move “bad” to “less bad.” To me, even having the conversation on this blog is part of that, at least.

      1. avatar Gapharmd says:

        exactly what I thought. Will not answer direct questions and just blabbers on about her opinion and wants everyone else to agree. Worthless

        1. avatar pg2 says:

          Agree 100%.

  45. avatar Adam says:

    “I pointed out to him that suggesting that someone needs to be physically eliminated simply because they vote differently than you, when they have done you no harm personally, is only a few hairs away from a terroristic threat in the eyes of the law and is a questionable stance in terms of attitude in a country that is supposed to be based on allowing people who are different to live together and challenge one another.”

    I agree but I don’t think the author gets to the main center of the argument. Yes, we should not be making threats towards one another just because we differ on opinion. And yes, we are supposed to challenge each other’s idea so that the cream rises to the top.

    The main problem that I see is that our government by and large is too powerful and too dangerous as it currently sits. People are willing to kill their political opponents because they know that if they lose an election they are going to be screwed. We have a government that is capable of stealing “taxing” the vast majority of your money if you fall into some minority category. We have a government that is able to stifle your speech and even jail you if you say the wrong things (hate speech laws). We have a government that can monitor and search you without anything to stop them. We have a government that can completely disarm and even murder you if you are viewed as an “enemy combatant” without any due process of law. We have a government that can disarm and murder you for something as simple as smoking marijuana, which is a completely victimless crime.

    If we could reduce the size, scope, and spending of the government than yes, maybe we could have civil discourse. As it stands right now, there is way too much to lose if your tribe in specific loses. People know that if their tribe loses, there is a very real chance that they will be punished for losing. That the states they live in will be crushed by some sort of revenge regulation or that something they value will be absolutely destroyed be it guns rights, healthcare access, etc. When the stakes are so high it is no wonder that people are willing to kill each other. There is legit fear to go around on both sides and we only have the ever expanding power of the government to blame for all of it.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      I understand your points and they are good ones. I actually think we are having civil discourse right here on this blog, which is pretty awesome. No one has gone into name calling or plate throwing yet. Which just proves: it’s possible.

  46. avatar pod says:

    Just getting to this but I hope you’re still responding…

    1. Yesterday’s mental illness is today’s lifestyle choice and vice-versa. Homosexuality was defined as a mental illness in the DSM until recently. Using the “mental illness” yardstick for denying someone their 2A rights, in theory back in the day gays could have been denied. Conversely, someone who is regarded as eccentric today (say someone who obsessively collects bottle caps) could be deemed mentally ill tomorrow and be denied their 2A rights. Of course the hypotheticals require their mental illness diagnosis to hit the judicial system, at least for now. Note to any interlopers – I don’t consider homosexuality or bottle-cap collecting to be mental illnesses, I’m just citing examples.

    2. Background checks. Youthful indiscretions can lead to being classed as a prohibited person. What the law considers bad and what is actually bad are often two different things. Smoking marijuana or consuming hallucinogens isn’t a bad thing. Actually as a mental health professional you undoubtedly have read studies about how marijuana, LSD, MDMA, and psylocibin can be beneficial to people suffering from PTSD and so on. Now obviously in medical circumstances, the user is exempt from prosecution, but what of the consumer who chooses to smoke on his own?

    What it comes down to is if we’re really going to rely on background checks, we need to really think about what is truly a disqualifying factor. Smoking a joint certainly isn’t a disqualifying factor.

    3. The problem with legislation is that it never stops. Yesterday’s “good idea” with regards to preventing firearms from falling into the hands of bad actors becomes a bad idea with a life of its own. The problem with government is that it only seeks to protect itself.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      All these are great posts. I want to respond specifically to the thing about cannabis, even though it’s not specifically gun related, because this is ALSO a complex area where there’s more than one reality.

      I am actually not in favor of the legalization of cannabis until more research is done on the new, high-THC strains. I’ve seen four cases of cannabis induced psychotic break in the last 12 months, whereas I didn’t in the 9 years previously. I finally called the psychiatrist I refer to to ask her what is going on.

      She confirmed that the psychotic breaks are a new and emerging problem caused by the high THC strains, most of which don’t contain the calming component, the CBD, that counters the psychoactive effect. In addition to this, the oils that people are now vaping in vape pens can be so highly concentrated, to the point that in some cases, one or two puffs off a vape can be equivalent to a full joint of old fashioned swag. What this means is that people are consuming really really high quantities of THC without CBD to balance it; it builds up in their systems, and then they have a psychotic break and end up in the hospital.

      There seems to be some indication that a baby can be born cannabis dependent if the mother smokes. Also that if there is a history of psychotic disorder or bipolar disorder in a person’s family, high amounts of THC can activate those disorders.

      The cannabis of today is not the old fashioned homegrown stuff. It’s a new drug that functions very much like any other drug in terms of addictive potential and changes to the brain if consumed in high enough quantities. I personally feel extremely uneasy about legalizing it until more is known about the new strains. Of course, the old fashioned stuff is still around, but that’s not the stuff that seems to be causing the problems.

      I don’t use cannabis, never have, only seen the issues caused by its heavy use. I’m sure a lot of people can use it safely just like they can take a drink now and then. It’s a developing set of concerns in mental health that we’re all looking at.

      1. avatar pod says:

        Funny you mention the hi-test cannabis. For years, the old-school hippies have been saying exactly what you are talking about, that today’s weed is a nuclear bomb compared to yesterday’s weed. Simply due to more advanced and affordable horticultural techniques. One can fine-tune the crop for the desired effect. While I don’t advocate for legislation restricting even hi-test weed, I’m fine with research being done so the effects are known.

  47. avatar RA-15 says:

    No compromise. Repeal NFA & all restrictions on law abiding gun ownership in the US do not put POTG in the same category as criminals. I want what ever gun’s I am / should be able , to get. Stop debating the 2nd Amendment. It is a permanent part of American history & is going to stay as such in this citizens home. The Right to keep and bear arms is what our founding fathers bled for & shall not be chiseled away by the left or the Lib’s or anyone else for that matter. Conserve the 2nd. Abide our constitution , it is not up for grabs by anyone. My guns will sit well in their cabinet until I die !!

    1. avatar Eli2016 says:

      To Elaine D.

      Normally I would give a cheer for RA-15’s post (see above), but having read the many comments and statements from you, I cannot agree with this type of rhetoric anymore.

      I have been inspired by your post to engage some of my closest shooting buddies on the “politics” of gun control. An issue which rarely if ever comes up at our drinking sessions. At first the push back was brutal. I was called every name in the book and then some but as the night wore on some of the “logic” got through. I’m no big fan of bump stocks and AR-15 type weapons. What I do want is unrestricted National Reciprocity and a major reduction of regulations regarding the purchase and ownership of firearm suppressors. Two issues which I would love to see brought to the bargaining table by the current left wing of the government. After several bottles of beer and shots of whiskey I convinced 2 of my buddies to consider some restrictions on AR-15 type weapons IN EXCHANGE for the aforementioned requests. Alas, we were all called home by our wives and the discussion has now faded – at least for now.

      There must be some common ground in which both sides can at least discuss without threatening to destroy each other. I can only hope that the people posting here will see that ground before it is too late. We as a country have much to lose by promoting the politics of an Alex Jones or a Don Lemon but we have everything to gain IF we can both come to the table.

      1. avatar Pg2 says:

        Compromise your rights away piece by piece. That’s reassuring for our future.

      2. avatar Elaine D. says:

        Wow. That’s great that you initiated that discussion, survived the firestorm, and got into a place where even the possibility of making bargains could be considered. That’s absolutely fantastic, and if what I wrote inspired you to it, that alone to me is worth getting fireballed in other posts.

        See, what a lot of people don’t seem to get is that I am not here to “convert” anyone. Nor am I here to be converted. I also didn’t force my way into this blog by drugging DZ in the dead of night or, alternately, offering him a super secret squirrel hookup with a gorgeous Vietnamese billionairess. I wrote to him asking if he wanted my point of view, sent a few things, he liked them, and here I am. Part of me thinks that some of the objection here is based on the discomfort that TTAG would have even invited someone like me to the discussion. That, however, was TTAG’s decision completely.

        I mean, you have the rigid people on both sides. No guns at all and guns for every idiot no matter whether they can handle them responsibly or not. In the great vast middle in between is most of us.

        Bump stocks, select fire – there are a lot of tricks and toys in gun world that I don’t use, though I do see them at the range and so forth. Some of them seem like they would require a hell of a lot of training to use responsibly, but that kind of shooting isn’t really in my lane. I’m a civilian, defensive shooter, period, not trying to be anyone or anything else. I don’t know everything, and I’m not some super combo quadruple PhD in constitutional law, psychology, national security, and public health. I’m interested in all of us who are law abiding and sane keeping our guns. Hopefully we’d all choose to also behave in a way that can engender trust in those who fear guns.

        Thanks for writing what you did.

        1. avatar MarkPA says:

          I’m not in the “compromise/no-compromise” frame of mind. I’m interested in “winning” the “war”.

          As wars go, there is no win without a hell of a lot of damage: targeted and collateral. The objective is to survive as the victor.

          Now, then, to NOT be the victor means to resign ourselves to the world as described by R.J. Rummel. I.e., one in which democide (death by government) is inevitable. That is too great a price to pay. I’d rather at least America survive as the victor. I.e., the nation-state governed by the consent of the governed and by a body of the People prepared to insist that Constitutional rights are respected.

          It’s hard to imagine an America without any gun-controls whatsoever. There will be some controls. Do I expect them to be effective? Efficient? No. They will be as ineffective and inefficient as almost all our other laws. Yet, we will live with them.

          Our problem – on both sides of the gun debate – is that we are NOT living with one-another on the system of gun-controls we have. Nor are we working toward any rationalization of such laws.

          Silencer regulation is an excellent example. There is no rational discussion on this topic on the part of the gun-controllers. Gun owners have made their case in purely objective terms. There is no legitimate public-safety issue at stake. This example is sufficient for me to conclude bad faith on the part of the gun-controllers. No, they do NOT want “common sense” gun control; instead, they want to harass gun owners.

          Think about this. There is nothing in the legislative history about why silences were added to the NFA’34. NOTHING! We do not know why this artifact is regulated as a “firearm”. It certainly is no-such-thing. It is no more a “firearm” than is a muzzle break or a flash suppressor.

          In 1934 a suppressor probably had a wholesale cost of $2 or $4; and, a $200 stamp tax was slapped on top of this perfectly benign product. That just about killed it’s commercial success for 80+ years. With hearing damage incurred by millions over that time period.

          Well, now, with inflation, we endure the $200 tax begrudgingly. But, we have to wait as much as a year to receive a stamp that lets us take delivery of: a piece of safety equipment! Something sold in many European countries with no regulation whatsoever!

          The science is established by ENT docs. And yet, the gun-controllers in Congress make-up lies to stop moving silencers from the NFA’34 to the GCA’68 where they would be covered by an 11% firearms tax and a 4473 form – but without the 1-year wait.

          What other explanation can there be for this record? I can imagine none; and so, I conclude harassment.

          IF-and-WHEN the gun-control community rises-up with gun-owners and demands that Congress move silencers from the NFA’34 to the GCA’68 then I will begin to entertain the possibility of some good faith. Until then, I don’t see any potential in “compromise”. The gun-controllers will never concede any ground as an acceptable quid pro quo.

          For illustration, could any of us imagine gun-controllers negotiating a National Reciprocity act in exchange for registering bump-stocks under the NFA’34? We get something we really want and which is justified by rational arguments; we give-up something that really scares the pants off hoplophobes and isn’t of particular value for sport, marksmanship or maintenance of a well-regulated militia. So long as there is no trade acceptable to the gun-controllers there can be no trade acceptable to a majority of gun-owners. This is how we are stuck.

          We are really looking at a very inefficient long-term process. Court fights that get appealed to SCOTUS. SCOTUS dictating from the bench decisions that ought to be made in legislative chambers. These outcomes are going to be less satisfying to either side than any that might have been negotiated among knowledgeable parties advising legislative committees.

          How did we get to this place? How do we get out of this spot?

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I mean, you have the rigid people on both sides.”

          Absolutely. I am rigid in opposing anything that increases government intrusion into daily life. I am rigid in believing “progressives” are all about progressively turning individuals into wards of the states; subjects to be ruled over. I am rigid in believing the constitution means what is says. I am rigid in believing that using legislation (or executive orders) to alter the constitution is its own form of tyranny. I am rigid in believing that “compromise” on any subject where leftists, liberals, statists, authoritians or Dimwitocrats are involved is death by a thousand cuts. I am rigid in believing that a person who bases major decisions in their lives based primarily or initially on an emotional response are incapable of being placed in positions of authority.

          And I am rigid in my observation that what passes for the Dimwitocrat party is merely a death cult to be distrusted, and politically defeated at every turn.

          I am rigid in my belief that even leftists/liberals/statists and emotionally ruled citizens of this country have an absolute right to own whatever weapon of war they can afford.

      3. avatar Sam I Am says:

        So, let me make this clear, again, for you….

        There are no justifiable, reasonable restrictions on enumerated rights protected by the constitution. If it were believed that rights could be curtailed through legislation, the founders would have made note in the constitution and the first ten amendments.

        Gun control is about controlling the ability of the populace to throw off tyrannical government. The second amendment, according to the writings of the founders, is about defense against government tyranny, and personal safety. Anyone who believes it is OK to legislate restrictions via non-amendment process renounces the validity, of the constitution, thus the validity of any natural, human and civil right being unalienable.

  48. avatar Pg2 says:

    What a crock of shit. Compromising your rights away by incrementalism is the exact strategy being used by the people that want to disarm you and turn you officially into serfs because they know they can’t get you to accept giving up your rights all at once.

  49. avatar Mad Max says:

    “There are people who should not have guns because their only reason for owning them is to stalk, harass, hurt, exploit and kill others. That is just an ugly truth about humanity and that is not going to change.”

    And that is why the 2nd Amendment protects the unalienable right to keep and bear arms; to protect yourself and your fellow citizens from evil.

    Keeping and bearing arms is part of being a good citizen.

  50. avatar Eli2016 says:

    “IF-and-WHEN the gun-control community rises-up with gun-owners and demands that Congress move silencers from the NFA’34 to the GCA’68 then I will begin to entertain the possibility of some good faith.”

    Seems reasonable to me MarkPA. So just how are you going to get them to show this “good faith”? No one in this world – with the possible exception of your parents – owes anyone anything. We obtain things by purchase or by trade. You’ve taken what is essentially a business transaction and turned it into a personal war, and, if there is one thing I am sure of, it is that Soros and his minions are absolutely prepared for a war. Yes, we may have the guns but they definitely have the money.

    Gun rights people need to understand that making it easier, quicker, and cheaper to obtain a suppressor (a valuable item to many gun enthusiasts as well as hunters) is more than a fair trade for some cheap piece of plastic that will make your firearm “shoot” faster. Unrestricted National Reciprocity is a damn bargain for a few restrictions on who can purchase an AR-15 and/or magazine capacity limits. We are talking about a deal that will benefit gun owners for generations to come. We are talking about changing the laws of this country. If nothing else gives RBG a stroke, I’m sure these changes will. And then, the count will be 6-3.

    So, what will it be? A long drawn out generational war of ideology that further polarizes and disrupts this country, or a business transaction that we can all live with?

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “A long drawn out generational war of ideology that further polarizes and disrupts this country,”

      I just cannot understand any rational person who would cling to first principles as a lifestyle. Resistance is futile. Get on the train. Southern Poland is so nice this time of year.

      P.S. Jacko….libs, leftists, statists, authoritarians, progressives never stop. Each deal (compromise) is good until they demand the next one, usually over the same thing.

    2. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Bingo. There’s no way to avoid the need for bargaining. People can see this as some kind of ideological war and resist it, but doing that isn’t going to keep it from happening. You have to let go of the little stuff to get the big stuff sometimes. You have to go past the petty crap to solve the real issues. Thank you.

      1. avatar pg2 says:

        Elaine, what “petty crap” are you referring to?

      2. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “There’s no way to avoid the need for bargaining. ”

        More liberal pablum. There is no “bargaining” of a constitutionally protected natural, human and civil right. There is a single means for changing what is protected by the constitution. Your people are cowards, knowing you do not have the will of the people behind you, and would lose a contest over a constitutional amendment.

        You cannot hide your leftist proclivities. Because fixing the problem of criminals with guns is too hard, because fixing bent people is too hard, you turn to punishing over 100 million people who have committed no crime. And that makes since to you. Because law-abiding citizens might one day do something criminal, law-abiding people must be monitored and controlled. This is pure leftism; thought crime.

        You already admit that “fixing” the violence and violent crime in this country is not possible. Your real target is so-called “mass shootings”, not reduction in violence and violent crime. You already admit that “fixing” the violence and violent crime in this country is not possible. You cannot dodge the fact that your desire for “conversation”, for “negotiation” is intended to result in denial of due process for people you fear. This is America, freedom and liberty are not pretty little maidens all in a row. If you and YOUR people cannot “fix” the society you created, your preferred solution is to make it worse. Your solutions are all about exercising control over people least likely to be, or become, a danger to others. All so you can control those who might, maybe, possibly someday become bent.

        If the mental health industry was legitimate, capable of actually improving society, we would see greater numbers of people needing mental health treatment, year after year. “Fixing” a problem cannot be considered successful if the need keeps growing…except for leftists who would be rudderless if there were no societal problems needing government intervention.

        Oh…I had three credentialed psychiatrists explain the fraud of mental health to me; no one is “normal”, no one doesn’t suffer from some sort of mental disorder. They told me that every response to a condition can be explained by a mental problem. This, they agreed, is what keeps the industry going.

      3. avatar Pg2 says:

        Was my question too direct Elaine? You only responding to slow speed, softball questions?

  51. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “However, rights also come with responsibilities in every area of life. ”
    Agreed. I would now point out that it is every individual’s PERSONAL responsibility to protect their life from criminals and mentally unbalanced haters. You cannot rely on the government to protect you. It is YOUR responsibility. And a gun is the best way to meet that responsibility.

    And keep in mind that 98% of mass killings in the USA are in “Gun Free Zones” – just like the Pittsburg synagogue.

  52. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Gun ownership by Liberals is not in question. They have an american birthright to arms. But Liberals want acceptance. I say NO. I don’t have to accept the corrosive public policy that Liberal gun owners support. Liberal gun owners are no to be trusted. California is the way its is because of Liberals. If you deny this then you are a Liar. And are incapable of be an honest person. And why do you want acceptance?????
    In the 1960s thru the 1980s they were called Liberals. And in 2018 they are still called Liberals.

    Liberals are as racist as the white southern progressives they complained about in the 1960s.

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      As far as I can tell Liberals still and have always supported the Mulford Act.

  53. avatar David Walters says:


    Thank you for at least expressing both sides of the argument about civilian ownership of guns for self-defense.

    The key phrase in my above thank you is “self-defense”. There are darned few licensed gun owners who own them to harm others.

    Just thought I’d point that out as it’s the critical division between pro and anti-guners.

  54. avatar RustyTheBoyRobot says:

    Thanks for the well-written article. I don’t agree with all of your view points, but you have given me things to think about.

Write a Comment

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

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email