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More thoughts on gun control

I confess I have mixed feelings about gun control. On the one hand you have situations like the recent shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where something clearly needs to be done to protect children against mass murder. That one seems like a no-brainer.

On the other hand, I don’t trust the 1% and I’m increasingly unhappy with the increasing subversion of democracy that is being used to turn our free country into a vast machine piping wealth out of the lower and middle classes and into the bank accounts of the very wealthiest, at the risk of financial disaster for the other 99%. Nor am I pleased with ever-encroaching “State secrets” covering up detention, torture, and assassination of “enemies,” including US citizens.

Is it possible that the Founding Fathers, in protecting the people’s right to keep and bear arms “necessary to the security of a free state,” were showing more foresight than expected? Fortunately, a comment on last Friday’s post gives me an opportunity to dig into this a little more.

The commenter seems to be taking a pro-gun stand, so just for the sake of discussion, I’ll play the role of gun control advocate.

Actually Gun Control has been repeatedly shown to be no more effective at decreasing violence than prayer.

This one has me a bit skeptical. The United States, with its Second Amendment, has a gun homicide rate three to ten times higher than comparable other countries where there is no constitutional right to bear arms. Perhaps the writer means to say that gun control only limits the severity of violent incidents without reducing their number? But if that’s the case, isn’t that still a good thing? I’ve never heard of a drive-by knifing that accidentally killed an innocent bystander.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Militia was expected to be armed with a single shot smooth bore musket, exactly the same weapon the professional soldier was armed with

This I agree with. The original intention of the Second Amendment was to equip civilians with military-grade weapons—at a time when “military-grade” meant “single shot smooth bore musket”—in connection with a well regulated militia organized to protect the security of a free state. (And I think that the word “state” was meant quite literally, in the sense of the 50 states, who wanted to keep their own militias to use against the federal government in case of a major rift.)

What has changed since then is that (a) military weapons today can fire a lot more than one shot, and can fire them much more accurately than a smooth bore musket, and (b) most gun owners are not part of any well-regulated militia, leading to (c) a situation where the proliferation of high-powered, high-capacity military weaponry is arguably one of the more substantial threats to the security of a free State. So maybe it’s time to re-think the Second Amendment. Thomas Jefferson wasn’t God, after all.

Feinstein: ‘The Purpose Is to Dry Up the Supply of These Weapons Over Time’

What part of “We don’t want to take your Guns Away!” do you not understand?


In context, “these weapons” means specifically high-powered, high-volume military grade weaponry whose primary function is to kill lots of people in a very short time. Senator Feinstein is not talking about repealing the Second Amendment, she’s talking about controlling the kinds of weapons that people can access outside of a Second Amendment style well-regulated militia.

But now, let’s think about what this means. This means that, should the need arise, the people will not have advanced military weaponry available with which to rise up against a corrupt and oppressive government. That’s the heart of the argument against gun control. If you need 200 rounds of Teflon-coated armor-piercing bullets to take down Bambi, you shouldn’t be out hunting. Military assault rifles aren’t built for hunting game, they’re for war. And the Second Amendment argument in favor of guns is that we the people might need to have another revolution some day, just like the first time America had a tea party.

Like I said, I have some sympathy for that point of view, because I see all too well how the 1% and their wholly owned and operated media outlets are subverting the system and turning America into their own personal gold mine. I can easily see our government becoming so corrupt and despotic that it’s far worse than the conditions the original colonists revolted against. We have already crossed the line into a government that secretly and without accountability or due process orders the assassination of both foreigners and US citizens.

That said, however, look at Syria. This isn’t the 1700′s any more. If there is a revolution, it won’t be the wealthy despots who suffer. The bombs are going to fall on the poor and middle class, and a few assault rifles aren’t going to be an effective counter. Look at Iraq: they had a whole frickin’ army with tanks and artillery and an air force, for all the good it did against the US military.

Bottom line: I think the Second Amendment has outlived its usefulness. In fact, I think it led directly to the Civil War in the 1800′s, and has been effectively obsolete ever since. It benefits criminals without providing adequate safeguards against a corrupt government. So devil’s advocate arguments aside, I think I’m going to have to come down on the side of restricting gun rights. A 30-90% reduction in gun-related deaths sounds like a big win to me.