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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?

http://freebeacon.com/feinstein-the-purpose-is-to-dry-up-the-supply-of-these-weapons-over-time/

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.

Comments

  1. Dunc says

    the Second Amendment argument in favor of guns is that we the people might need to have another revolution some day

    Actually, I’ve been seeing a lot of arguments recently (which appear to have decent historical sourcing, e.g. this) that the “well regulated militia” of the Second Amendment was intended to prevent rebellion against a corrupt and oppressive government – specifically a slave rebellion.

    Nonetheless, the rest of your argument stands anyway… Assault rifles are of little use against cruise missiles, helicopter gunships, and high altitude precision bombing.

  2. Alverant says

    If there wasn’t so little gun responsibility there wouldn’t be a need for gun control. Those other nations with a lot of guns, like Switzerland, also have mandatory training in the use of said weapons. I think that guns need the same kind of licenses as cars. It’s a photo ID, take a test (written and practical) to show you know what you’re doing, and your guns are registered. On top of that, you are responsible for what happens to your gun. No more of this “accidental shooting” garbage. If your gun kills another person and you could have done something reasonable to prevent it (like put it in a lock box when you weren’t using it), it’s murder. It doesn’t matter if you were the one who pulled the trigger or not. Your gun = your responsibility.

  3. says

    No, it’s much simpler than that.

    Just require for all guns to be fitted with an “UNDO” button; the proper functioning of which is to be tested annually by a weapons inspector shooting the gun’s owner and undoing the shooting.

  4. says

    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.

    Yet I don’t see anything about this in the rhetoric of gun advocates. Do they support ending the militarization of local police? Do they advocate dismantling the surveillance state? Do they want to slash our war budget down to a true defense budget? Do they get behind whistleblowers who reveal government and corporate malfeasance?

    From what I see, gun control advocates primarily hate Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, and they hate them because they are socialists who are going to take away their guns. Aside from the fact that both are nonsense, all that says to me is that those most likely to talk about armed rebellion are planning to go after the real source of their ire: the poor and the powerless. The 1% and the DHS have no reason to fear them.

  5. says

    What bothers me the most about the current push for gun-control and the “assault weapons ban” is that the actual laws they’re trying to put into effect have no basis in reality when it comes to how guns operate, and in response to the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook.

    First off, we know that in Sandy Hook, no “assault rifles” (a nebulous term) were used. It was all handguns, multiple handguns in fact, since it’s not hard to carry multiple if you’re limited by magazine size and don’t want to waste time reloading.

    Second, the “assault rifles” they’re looking to ban are all semi-automatic rifles. By and large, civilians can’t just go out and buy automatic rifles. Basically, there’s no “hold down the trigger and shoot a continuous stream of bullets” weapon that we can currently buy without crazy levels of licensing. There also aren’t even “burst-fire” automatic guns where you pull the trigger once and get a burst of 3 rounds.

    Every single gun in the AWB being pushed is a rifle that is one round fired per pull of the trigger. The “semi-automatic” means that the next round is chambered after you pull the trigger.

    It’s basically a “fire as fast as you can pull the trigger” gun, and that’s pretty much every gun that’s made and sold today, including handguns.

    From an actual “working perspective” the guns being banned aren’t any different than other guns that aren’t being banned.

    IMO, this is legislation that will restrict gun rights without actually doing anything to prevent tragedies. It’s the one kind of case where the charges the Republicans make against Democrats actually ring true – it’s passing legislation to make people feel safer, without doing anything.

    Now, if the legislation being proposed wanted to ban all semi-automatic handguns, leaving us with manual “cocking” pistols to purchase – then there’d be something there to argue. If they wanted to leave us with lever action rifles that weren’t semi-automatic, then we’ve got something major going on.

    But we don’t have that, at all, because there’s no way such legislation would get passed. So we get ineffective “feel-good” legislation like this, which risks pissing off moderate gun voters that can flip states from Blue back to Red and put the crazies back in power.

    If we wanted to have a larger conversation about repealing the Second Amendment, then I might be inclined to listen, though I’m undecided if I’d support such a measure. Problem is that certainly won’t ever get passed in the foreseeable future, so it’s not attempted.

    But doing “feel good “measures like this isn’t really going to do anything to prevent major tragedies (no handguns are really restricted here), its going to piss off enough voters in swing states to maybe remove Progressives from political power, and it’s going to restrict the rights currently guaranteed by the constitution in an inconsistent way.

    It just seems like a really bad idea.

    • invivoMark says

      So what sort of regulations WOULD work?

      What bothers me about the gun control debate is that the pro-gun crowd (and I’m not accusing you of being one) spends all their effort railing against any and all proposed regulation that they can’t be bothered coming up with solutions they can live with.

      If the NRA really cared about preventing loss of life, instead of only the profits of gun sellers, they’d be writing their own gun control bills in such a way that they don’t infringe on whatever liberties the pro-gun crowd thinks they’re entitled to.

      • says

        Ban all semi-automatic weapons from private ownership and begin a massive government buy-back of existing weapons.

        It would cost a shit ton of money, but it would work to a significant degree. This still leaves problems with pistols as it means you can get quite a few revolvers on hand and still have some pretty scary damage, so it could be all semi-automatic guns and all handguns period.

        That or UK like laws I think.

        Though IMO I’d be more concerned with metal health services and a single-payer universal health care. Honestly look at Norway, Sweden, etc. They have high gun ownership due to hunting and mandatory military service, but no where near the problems we do per capita.

        I’m not sure if I’m for or against keeping the second amendment. I don’t own guns, and because of the state I live in, I don’t want to own a gun for home defense (we’ve got the exact opposite of the “castle doctrine” here, if I shoot someone in my house, even if they’re threatening me, there’s a good chance I’m going to jail or at least being sued).

        That said, the Bill of Rights has an aura of reverence to it that I’m loathe to see broken. If we go after the second amendment, what stops the authoritarians (of either party) from going after our first amendment rights after some kind of related tragedy (aka Wikileaks style fiasco where actual sensitive data resulted in the death of Americans).

      • invivoMark says

        Somehow, I don’t expect people would go along with that one. :-)

        I also hold ambivalent views on the Second Amendment. I think we have too many guns in the US, and this is reflected in the deaths of thousands of youth each year due to gunfire (accidents, homicides, and suicides are the top three causes of death for ages 1-24, and a significant chunk of that is firearms-related). Yet, I do not feel I’m “anti-gun enough” to want them banned for everyone.

        I think it is very worrying that we give the Second Amendment such reverence when almost all the rest of the Bill of Rights has been eaten away at so thoroughly over the past 12 years. Amendments 4 through 10 are basically all voided by now, and as you mention, #1 has been taking some damage as well.

      • says

        No, that kind of thing is completely unfeasible in our current political climate. That’s the sad reality that gun control advocates face in our country today.

        However, just because that’s unfeasible doesn’t mean that it’s somehow a “good thing” to enact a law that ineffectively bans certain weapons over others and does so on a basis that has absolutely has nothing to do with how potentially lethal each gun is.

        Basically, banning “assault rifles” isn’t the problem because the rifles in these cases are less dangerous than the handguns of equal or greater stopping power (not as easy to conceal, heavier, forced to reload one weapon rather than switch between multiple guns, etc).

        The scary part is that this is exactly the sort of thing that could cost the Democrats huge in the coming elections. Support was sky high after the shooting. A few weeks later support for these measures dropped significantly. What will the support level be in 2014? 2016?

        I may not be with the Democrats on this issue, but the alternative party is fucking insane on every other issue, and thanks to the two party system, shit like this can fuck us over as a country on host of unrelated other issues.

      • invivoMark says

        I was under the impression that the majority of Americans were in favor of stricter gun control. Though, I suppose there are quite a few liberals and Democrats who are strongly against it, and few conservatives would switch their vote on the gun control issue, so maybe it is politically dangerous. Time will tell.

        I can’t really disagree with banning assault weapons. I understand your argument; but it’s an argument for why banning them won’t be effective at reducing homicides, not an argument for why people should be allowed to own assault weapons.

      • says

        I’m not sure how much of a majority of Americans support the specifics in the new proposed bans.

        The issue with “banning assault weapons” is that “assault weapon” is a nebulous term that has no basis in how lethal a gun is. We already ban fully automatic guns and burst fire weapons. So when you say “assault weapons”, you’re really talking about “semi-automatic weapons”.

        All these “assault weapon bans” do is ban semi-automatic guns that “look scary”. The guns that are still allowed to be owned are just as lethal, there’s really no difference in the actual operation of the gun or how many people you can kill with it, should it be used for that purpose.

        The problem here is that the “ban” does pretty much nothing demonstrable. At most it would change what rifles are going to be the best selling, so you’ve effectively pissed off a large segment of the population for literally no appreciable benefit, which can have disastrous follow on effects for a variety of issues.

        In terms of arguing why people should be allowed to own semi-automatic guns, well it’s taken as such in the Second Amendment. I think the best thing that could be done gun-control wise that’s even remotely achievable (it’s a remote possibility) without having to repeal the second amendment, is to make it so folks couldn’t own semi-automatic guns.

        Problem is, the right is there, and it’s taken as a constitutional right. If one side was arguing against it, that’d be one thing. But they’re not arguing that, and what they are arguing for is demonstrably bad policy. :(

    • Alverant says

      How easy is it to turn a semi-auto into a full auto? I heard there are plans on the internet to make the conversion and some gun manufacturers even include such plans with a “don’t do this *wink wink nudge nudge*” warning.

      The reasons why Norway, Sweden, and the like have such low gun deaths despite having many guns are:
      Mandatory training in using guns and gun safety
      Stiffer penalities for breaking the law when using a gun
      The lack of entitlement that you “need” a gun
      More gun regulations

      It’s the first two we need to focus on. As I mentioned earlier, it’s easier to get a gun than a car. The 2nd Ammend. mentions a well regulated militia so any/all gun owners should sign up for militia training which should include gun safety classes. And if they break the safety rules, it’s jail time. That would reduce gun deaths and reduce the need for gun regulations.

      • says

        My understanding is that it’s possible to convert them (hell, given enough time and money, most things like this are possible), but it’s highly impractical.

        The first indicator that this sort of thing isn’t a problem lies in the fact that so few crimes or accidents are because someone had an fully automatic or burst fire weapon, let alone one that was converted from a semi-automatic weapon.

        The main thing is that the gun has to be built as a fully automatic gun in the first place to be able to withstand the recoil and heat that comes with firing that many bullets in a short timespan. Sure, some guns that are designed as automatic rifles that are modified down for private sale can have this done to them, but it generally takes training and equipment to do. You practically have to be a gunsmith if you want it to be reliable when you’re finished.

        Largely, this isn’t a huge problem because if a criminal needs a gun like that for whatever reason, it’s easier and cheaper to get automatic guns from an illegal source or smuggle them in. Secondly it’s largely not necessary for most crimes, which largely use handguns anyway for more practical reasons.

        Finally, it’s already against the law, as in thousands in fines and time in prison. If you’re able to get the parts and have the equipment/know-how to do it, and want to go on that kind of killing spree, you probably can just get the normal version illegally anyway.

        It’s a lot like voter fraud, sure it’s possible, but it’s not likely and it doesn’t happen often.

    • says

      Counter Apologist
      Now, if the legislation being proposed wanted to ban all semi-automatic handguns, leaving us with manual “cocking” pistols to purchase – then there’d be something there to argue. If they wanted to leave us with lever action rifles that weren’t semi-automatic, then we’ve got something major going on.

      This would be a much better plan, but is impossible at this time, since the Heller decision specifically upheld the right to all sorts of handguns, including semi-autos. Until we have a new SCOTUS or a Constitutional amendment, that won’t fly.

  6. pensnest says

    I’ve often wondered why people in the USA who own guns are not required to attend militia training every, oh, say, every month. Perhaps this would infringe upon their constitutional freedoms?

  7. M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati says

    Alverant @ 2 –

    . I think that guns need the same kind of licenses as cars. It’s a photo ID, take a test (written and practical) to show you know what you’re doing, and your guns are registered. On top of that, you are responsible for what happens to your gun.

    You’d think this would be common sense, right? And I think the car comparison is apt. Cars can (and do!) cause significant destruction, injury, and death when used carelessly or inappropriately, so we require training, licensing, and registration. We have regulations (increasingly strict, as they should be) on how much pollution they can spew, how carefully they must be engineered for safety, etc. What’s stopping us from applying the same model to firearms?

    • Alverant says

      Don’t forget about mandatory insurance for cars. You don’t need insurance if you own a gun which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

  8. invivoMark says

    (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.)

    The Militia Acts of 1792 explicitly placed state militias under the leadership of El Presidente, though, so this isn’t accurate. There were no provisions for a national standing army, so state militias were the only national defense at the time. There was no intention for them to be used as a check against the federal government or any such nonsense.

  9. says

    I am impressed; my thoughts started this round of actual discussion.
    _____________________________________________________
    I live in a very low crime area, we rarely even lock our doors; still I do have an accessible shotgun, for which the very best outcome is I never need remove it from its cover.
    ______________________________________________________
    The shooters in Tucson, and Aurora had both been exhibiting signs they were dangerous but no one with any authority took action. The kid at Newtown had documented mental illness and was completely unable to effectively with others, but no one seems to have had concerns he was dangerous. The biggest problem I see in any attempted discussion about mass gun violence is, we don’t know what sets someone off to commit atrocities and despite some warning flags we are rarely able to predict who might actually go off. Since none of us many to see these tragedies repeated, we need to fund detecting and treating mental illness.
    A frustrating search for motive in Newtown shootings
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/a-frustrating-search-for-motive-in-the-madness/2012/12/22/1cbe1cbc-4956-11e2-820e-17eefac2f939_story.html
    ______________________________________________________________________
    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.

    So let’s look at Syria, a populous of 12 million armed with 50,000 civilian firearms resisting a well-paid professional military of approximately 422,000 who have artillery, tanks and aircraft. There have been more than 60,000 civilian deaths so far and the government hasn’t been able to suppress the people’s desire for freedom. Remember also that guerilla armies successfully frustrated our superbly equipped army in Vietnam, and the Taliban in Afghanistan is still active after 11 years of bombing and deployed ground troops.

    So now tell me, because 3 million amazingly well-armed soldiers could suppress a rebellion of say 150 million American Citizens armed with 200 million civilian firearms, that the Second Amendment is out dated.

    List of countries by number of military and paramilitary personnel
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_military_and_paramilitary_personnel
    __________________________________________________________
    Actually Gun Control has been repeatedly shown to be no more effective at decreasing violence than prayer.
    Federal Assault Weapons Ban (1994)
    Expiration and effect on crime
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the “assault weapon” ban and other gun control attempts, and found “insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence,” noting “that insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness.”[8] A 2004 critical review of research on firearms by a National Research Council panel also noted that academic studies of the assault weapon ban “did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence” and noted “due to the fact that the relative rarity with which the banned guns were used in crime before the ban … the maximum potential effect of the ban on gun violence outcomes would be very small….”[9]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban#Expiration_and_effect_on_crime

    • Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

      The biggest problem I see in any attempted discussion about mass gun violence is, we don’t know what sets someone off to commit atrocities and despite some warning flags we are rarely able to predict who might actually go off.

      Quite. That’s why reducing the availability of guns, and particualrly those easily used to kill a lot of people in a short time, is a no-brainer.

      So let’s look at Syria, a populous of 12 million armed with 50,000 civilian firearms resisting a well-paid professional military of approximately 422,000 who have artillery, tanks and aircraft. There have been more than 60,000 civilian deaths so far and the government hasn’t been able to suppress the people’s desire for freedom. Remember also that guerilla armies successfully frustrated our superbly equipped army in Vietnam, and the Taliban in Afghanistan is still active after 11 years of bombing and deployed ground troops.

      In all these cases, there were or are weapons flowing into the country from outside, and in the cases of Vietnam and Syria at least, sovereign states involved in supplying those weapons and other resources. Defections from the armed forces are/were also important in Syria and Afghanistan, and in the latter case, the enemy are the previous governing elite. Without external intervention or large-scale defections from the military, it is hard to think of any civilian uprisings at all in the last century that have defeated a professional military. Bolivia in 1952 is the only one I can think of – and there the (armed) police sided with the civilians; and I doubt the Bolivian army’s 1952 equipment was quite up to what the American armed forces have now.

      So now tell me, because 3 million amazingly well-armed soldiers could suppress a rebellion of say 150 million American Citizens armed with 200 million civilian firearms, that the Second Amendment is out dated.

      Yes, that is indeed so: none of the cases you cite provide a shred of evidence to the contrary, as I’ve shown.

      Actually Gun Control has been repeatedly shown to be no more effective at decreasing violence than prayer.
      Federal Assault Weapons Ban (1994)

      This is obviously false based on your own citations, which merely note that there is insufficient evidence that a single measure made a difference.

  10. TriffidPruner says

    Two random points to consider. One, there have been modern revolutions that came up from the grass-roots and were largely non-violent. The “People Power” revolution in the Philippines for one; the fall of the USSR for another. In both, a vast majority of the governed just said fuck it, we’re tired of this, do it some other way, and it was. Guns didn’t affect the issue either way.

    Second, one important “gun control” issue that hasn’t been raised (that I’ve heard) is that of increasing the liability penalties on the gun OWNER when a gun is used by anyone, accidentally or intentionally, to cause harm. The gun owner who doesn’t secure the weapons, who doesn’t have trigger locks and a gun case, should be held equally liable with the shooter for any result. If a gun stolen from your house is used in a crime, you should automatically be treated as an accomplice. The mother of the Newtown shooter paid an immediate price for not securing the weapons in her house, but it she had not been his first victim, she would not have been legally liable in any way, and that’s wrong. Increased liability both civil and criminal could not be in conflict with the second amendment but would over time reduce gun ownership, crime, and accidental deaths.

    • says

      How about increasing the liability penalties on the CAR OWNER when a CAR is used by anyone, accidentally or intentionally, to cause harm? The CAR OWNER who doesn’t secure the CAR, who doesn’t use DOOR LOCKING, should be held equally liable with the DRIVER for any result. If a CAR stolen from your house is used in a crime, you should automatically be treated as an ACCOMPLICE. Increased liability both civil and criminal could not be in conflict with Fundamental FREEDOM but would over time reduce CAR ownership, crime, and accidental deaths!

  11. says

    Gun control means multiple body guards?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RCC-rEx81PE#!
    ____________________________________________________
    The President’s plan is to ban selected semi-automatic guns (assault weapons) because if you keep pulling the trigger they can be fired repeatedly without reloading. However definition of assault weapon only came about with the 1994 ban and was mostly about some guns looking like fully automatic weapons. The ban was passed largely by scaring people into not thinking. We need to educate people because politicians and main stream media are still cooperating in scare tactics designed to take away freedoms.
    4 Myths About Assault Weapons
    http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2012/12/20/four-myths-about-assault-weapons/
    ______________________________________________________
    If you keep pulling the trigger you can be fire repeatedly without reloading.
    Robert Adams (1809–1880) was a 19th-century British gunsmith who patented the first successful double-action revolver in 1851. His revolvers were used during the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, the U.S. Civil War, and the Anglo-Zulu War.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Adams_(handgun_designer)

  12. davidct says

    The AR-15 is so similar to the M-16 that the conversion involves changing only one part.

    If one is concerned about home defense a 12 gauge is more practical and can be used for hunting a variety of game. It is also legal even in countries with many restrictions. I have to wonder just how much of an armory one would need to stand up to a SWAT team for say up to a half hour.

  13. says

    The AR-15 is so similar to the M-16 that the conversion involves changing only one part.

    To be fair, the part itself tends to cost $10,000 minimum (this was in 2008; probably much higher now), and requires a background check and licensing requirement which is easily ten times as intensive as any other gun requirement (Also, to avoid a 20+ year weapons conviction, the part in question needs to have been made before 1986 and registered with ATF).

    The point of this is that it’s really not practical except for the extremely wealthy; or the well-connected career criminal, who is a member of the one group who will pretty much always have guns, no matter what the law says (e.g. mafia type groups; not your typical lone criminal, as he’ll be pretty easily disarmed by stronger gun laws).

    100% right about the home defense point; people who say they need an AR-15 for home defense are baffling.

  14. says

    You don’t necessarily have to stand up against the federal government. What if you are dealing with the Klan supported by the local cops? Hopefully these days they wouldn’t be able to appeal to higher levels of government.

  15. Brian M says

    I agree that the liberal??? meme that the U.S. army would easily put down a mass rebellion is silly. For one thing, if social conditions devolved to the point that there was a real armed rebellion in the U.S., many elements of the U.S. army might become unreliable.

    There are indeed multiple examples where popular rebellion overcomes professional military. This is another example of LIBERAL authoritarianism and elitism which is almost offensive.

    MY FEAR, is that the elements which are most heavily armed do not represent “liberty” in any meaningful way. They are often rural, authoritarian, and heavily fundamentalist-religious. Cosmopolitan, urban, minorities like me are considered their enemy.

    So the argument that, on the whole, that a heavily armed population represents a liberalizing force or a check on government is hard to believe. I am generalizing, of course, but….the armed fundamentalist compound leader is NOT defending OUR freedoms.

    • mikespeir says

      I’m not really sure I’m on your side in this, but I can imagine an argument in your favor. Perhaps it’s not so much that an armed rebellion would have any chance to succeed. Perhaps it’s that the fact of an armed and potentially discontented populace would tend to make the Powers That be think twice before doing anything really stupid.

      • says

        “Perhaps it’s that the fact of an armed and potentially discontented populace would tend to make the Powers That be think twice before doing anything really stupid.”

        This is EXACLY why we need the Second Amendment.

      • Brian M says

        I don’t disagree necessarily or entirely. Like the O.P., I am no fan of the American Oligarchic State.

        I remain doubtful about the cost of this vigilance, of course.

        How many Newtowns so that armed reactionaries can feel they are safely preventing the government from doing bad things. Especially if “bad things” means taking it upon themselves to make up for (in their eyes) the federal government’s supposed slacking off in killing enough border crossers? Because that has been more frequent than a militia stopping Big Gubmint from doing anything.

        Especially since, to me as a non-gun-owner, I see guns as a fetish object and the people most vocal not very interested in protecting any freedom other than the gun down suspicious brown people. That may be unfair., but I hear the conversations (in my own office)

        Rather than repeat myself, I will quote one of my favorite bloggers (Hammer of the Blogs):

        “Their jabbering might have at least the veneer of legitimacy if they hadn’t already ceded all pretense to rational thought. Where the fuck where these dimbulbs when the Fourth Amendment was thrown out the window, in the name of the War On Some Drugs? Where were they when the banksters monkeyfucked the world economy and threw a party on our graves? Where the hell were these self-styled patriots when warrantless wiretapping, extrajudicial killing, drone-bombing civilians, and torture became part of the landscape? Huh? Where were they when any number of things that actually counted and actually took place went down? Fucking hunting hay bales and pigeons with Uzis, apparently. If they were seriously planning on using their armaments to preserve the country and their precious inalienable rights, they missed that boat a loooong time ago.

        Seriously. I wanna know what the hell they’re yammering about. Their country was taken out from under them years ago, by politicans from both parties. But these brave, mighty Constitutional literalists are butt-hurt over this, and nothing else. Well, excuse me if I call that a total crock of shit, people who wasted twenty times as much time and energy over mindless birtherist bullshit, than the millions of people across this country who lost their homes and jobs for no other reason than Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein don’t have quite enough money.”

    • says

      Yes Brian, regardless of which major party has control of Congress; some subsets of Fundamental Rights are going to be reduced. Then the opposing party goes on the offensive, promising to make everything better. Upon gaining control the new winners just implement their own Rights Reduction Program on a different subset. I’ve observed however that Rights once lost aren’t ever reinstated.

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