It’s time to recognize gun worship as a cult which has the second amendment as its holy text


Tony Perkins says that teaching kids about evolution leads to mass shootings.

Perkins said that teaching children about evolution is one cause of mass shootings.

“We’ve taught our kids they come about through chance through primordial slime and then we’re surprised they treat their fellow Americans like dirt!” he exclaimed. “It’s time we talk about the result of the left’s systematic march through our institutions, driving religious expression from the public square.”

Perkins complained that children are not being taught that they are “created in the image of God.”

“We’ve driving religion from our public life and we’re shocked that we no longer have morality and we no longer value human life,” he remarked.

As a totally godless human being who has been teaching about evolution for a few decades, I’ve noticed that I and my fellow biologists and atheists are less casual about taking life than our gun-totin’ Christian brethren in general. Evolution teaches that we’re kin to everything; it doesn’t bring us down, it elevates every living thing on the planet in our eyes. To claim that we have no morality is a lie. We have many of the same values that our fellow citizens do, we live quiet lives finding happiness in our families, our children, in service to others, in simple pleasures. Most Christians are the same way, except when their priorities have been distorted by misplaced fanaticism, which, unfortunately, the kinds of Christians who listen to Tony Perkins are fed constantly.

Take Representative Matt Schaefer of Texas, who has a similarly perverse and horrid idea of the “root of the problem”.

Godless, depraved hearts. That IS the root of the problem. Every person needs a heart transformed by faith in God through Jesus. May God be near to those suffering in Odessa and Midland, and everywhere that evil has struck a blow.

He is quite confident that the solution to everything is conversion to Christianity. Everyone must believe in Jesus to stop the mass shootings! As if no Christian had ever killed anyone senselessly.

The real root of the problem is this: that a fervently Christian legislator has decided that he must oppose all actions to restrict the “god-given” ownership of AR-15s. Apparently, the Christianity he wants us to convert to is the version that has all the followers of Jesus armed to the teeth. He’s going to do nothing but pray, and hand out more guns.

“Do something!” is the statement we keep hearing. As an elected official with a vote in Austin, let me tell you what I am NOT going to do. I am NOT going to use the evil acts of a handful of people to diminish the God-given rights of my fellow Texans. Period. None of these so-called gun-control solutions will work to stop a person with evil intent. I say NO to “red flag” pre-crime laws. NO to universal background checks. NO to bans on AR-15s, or high capacity magazines. NO to mandatory gun buybacks. What can we do? YES to praying for victims. YES to praying for protection. YES to praying that God would transform the hearts of people with evil intent. YES to fathers not leaving their wives and children. YES to discipline in the homes. YES to supporting our public schools. YES to giving every law-abiding single mom the right to carry a handgun to protect her and her kids without permission from the state, and the same for all other law-abiding Texans of age. YES to your God-given, constitutionally protected rights. YES to God, and NO to more government intrusions.

You know, the guy who went on a murder spree in Odessa and Midland doesn’t seem to have been either a vocal Christian or a vocal atheist — just another angry white man who loves guns. Maybe instead of trying to answer everything with stories about which religion they did or did not follow, we should be addressing the gun-worshipping cult that crosses boundaries between believer and non-believer.

One thing for sure, Matt Schaefer won’t be doing anything about that, because he’s a card-carrying member of that cult.

Comments

  1. kingoftown says

    “We’ve taught our kids they come about through chance through primordial slime and then we’re surprised they treat their fellow Americans like dirt!”

    Doesn’t the bible say god made us from dirt?

  2. says

    One answer:
    Czech Republic religious make-up – 1/3 unbelievers, 2/5 don’t bother enough to answer the ballot, 1/20 non-religious believers in “something” and the rest mostly catholics.
    Czech Republic mass shootings over last 30 years – 1 per 10 million people (with legally owned guns, the system failed – he should not have his license renewed, there were clear indicators beforehand that he is unstable but his GP did ignore them).

    USA religiousness – 1/5 non-religious, the rest mostly christians of various flavors, all believing in Jeeeeeebus and many telling it everyone at every turn.
    USA mass shotings – circa 1 per million, each year for last decade.

    Difference in outcome – the much more religious USA has about 300 fold rate of mass shootings.

    So, the data sez the opposite, Mr. Schaefer.

    (Although the real cause of the difference is probably the fact that CZ has restrictive gun laws.)

  3. says

    One of the indications many people worship guns is their belief in the magic power of guns. They think that having guns gives them greater courage, powers of perception, and so on. They also believe that baddies will be scared away at the mere thought of a target having guns.

  4. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I must be weird to see evolution teaching us everyone is essentially the same. To then say that makes me think everyone is as worthless as dirt, means I think I’m as worthless as dirt, Why would someone who thinks they are as worthless as dirt go out and shoot all the other worthless people? I don’t have the brains to understand that reasoning, given I’m dirt </S>
    seriously; the Bibble, being as full of nonsense as it is, has a few sound pieces of advice.
    My preferred one is [treat everyone as you would like them to treat you], ie The Golden Rule.
    I don’t understand why heeding that requires one to believe in Gawd, seems like good advice regardless.

  5. HidariMak says

    @ #3 — Charly, you beat me to it. There’s no shortage of countries which are less religious than the US, which don’t have this problem. There are plenty of countries where the dominant religion isn’t a form of Christianity, which don’t have this problem. Why the best reasoning from public “leaders” such as Tony Perkins and Matt Schaefer (among the many, many others) relies on long debunked arguments stemming from complete ignorance on the rest of the planet, is something that can only be explained by deliberate deceit. And if I’m missing something here, I’m open to learning about it.

  6. blf says

    Mr Carpentersson had guns went he attacked and cleansed those he disagreed with about 2000 years ago in a market known as teh temple. Therefore, both guns and shooting people who are teh other is approved by the magic sky faeries. The 2nd amendment confirms this, so it must be true !

  7. PaulBC says

    I noticed they were a religion when they started defending human sacrifice. The “God-given” right to own an assault weapon for essentially no reason except for fantasizing about defending your home from an onslaught of feral hogs or (somehow) waging rebellion against an obviously better armed state supersedes any considerations of human life. If the numbers show that more innocent people will die, including kids expecting a safe school to attend, then so be it. AR-15s are legos for adults. We need our toys because they are so cool, and we don’t give a fuck who dies.

    The other thing that gives the shootings, particularly the school shootings, the feeling of ritual is the opportunity to honor the sacrificial victims in ceremony. Some, like Kendrick Castillo, are raised to the status of heroes. Most people are not directly affected by these shootings (though people are increasingly afraid of public spaces where shootings might occur). It is just part of the landscape.

    I have trouble seeing the second amendment as anything other than obsolete verbiage that obviously fails when applied to modern weapons, assuming it made any sense at the time. The constitution is not a sacred text, though it’s true that opening it up to tampering may make it a lot worse. There is a process for amending it that has been applied many times in the past. So the second amendment is ultimately a political question. While the courts spent two centuries working around the vague language pragmatically, it was possible to agree to keep it. Since DC v. Heller (2008) that luxury no longer exists, and the violence will only get worse until the second amendment is repealed.

  8. PaulBC says

    HidariMak@7

    There’s no shortage of countries which are less religious than the US, which don’t have this problem.

    B…but… Freedom™!

    Which sounds pretty stupid, but I believe it is the counterargument. The only way those oppressive secular countries manage to keep down gun violence is by restricting the God-given right to own guns. They need Jesus too.

    kingoftown@2

    Doesn’t the bible say god made us from dirt?

    “Remember, O man, that dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return.”
    I don’t know if evangelicals observe Ash Wednesday the same as Catholics, but that is a good point.

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    slithey tove @5: My favourite is still

    Matthew 25:40 (New Intern’l Version)

    The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    where “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine” means the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. That should be put on billboards throughout Trump country.

  10. numerobis says

    I’d like to point out this latest shooting didn’t make the top fold internationally. I only read about it by looking for more news.

    It’s like car bombs in Iraq or blowing up hospitals in Syria: at some point it’s not news anymore, it’s just the normal day-to-day of that country.

  11. says

    The real problem with the gun nuts is that they haven’t learned from Dr King. Or Mr Gandhi. Or the Founders, who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. It’s a fairly simple concept, demanded by the Second Law of Thermodynamics (and nobody has yet delineated a real-world system that violates it, but see below):

    There is a cost, and often a personal one, involved in standing up for “rights” that are not universally accepted… and the only way to actually validate those rights is to be prepared to pay that personal cost.

    Unless, of course, you’re a creationist, denying the Second Law because Handwaving and Faith. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that gun-rights extremists have adopted the same worldview: That they get what they want regardless of cost, but at no cost to themselves. (Which sounds awfully Leninist to me, but that’s for another time.)

  12. Marcelo says

    Rob Grigjanis @11:

    “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine” means the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. That should be put on billboards throughout Trump country.

    I’m certain that they will say, as a MAGA follower in a certain strip in The Atheist Pig webcomic, that the verse is “obviously out of context”.

  13. PaulBC says

    @11 @14

    I would have taken Galatians 3:28 (“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”) as inconsistent with racism, though obviously it didn’t stop “good Christians” in the United States from declaring those of African ancestry to be essentially different and inferior, and to use other biblical passages to attempt to justify kidnapping them and treating them as livestock.

    So I definitely wouldn’t count on even a “good parts” version of the Bible to do much to persuade anyone of anything they don’t want to be persuaded of.

  14. medievalguy says

    Maybe better to say “It’s time to recognize gun worship as a cult which has a carefully edited version of the second amendment as its holy text…”

  15. Akira MacKenzie says

    I think the problem goes a lot deeper than just religion. Just yesterday my far-right-wing father was raving at his computer over Beto O’Rourke’s comments on the last shooting in Texas. He is convinced that, if the Beto had his way, anyone who refuses to give their assault rifles over to the government will be killed. He thinks “they” [e.g. O’Rourke, Democrats anti-gunners] think they know better than he does. He think that without access to firearms he’s and other Real Americans will become the target of the federal Governement, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, the gay agenda, AOC, ISIL, and other “Marxist” forces out to kill him for being a white male, heterosexual Christian.

    A huge part of the problem is that America is steeped in a culture of hyper-individualism and anti-government paranoia. There are vast portions of our population who mistrust any state-action, no matter how well intentioned, and attribute it to some malicious effort to “take away our freedoms.” Also, they find idea of gun control suspicious and insulting. After all, gun-owners like my father have NEVER gone on shooting sprees, or had an accident with their guns. “Why should we be punished for the misdeeds of a few?” they’ll cry right before they brandish their AR-15s and declare the Government can have them when they pry them from their cold dead fingers!

    I don’t think we’re going to enable meaningful gun control passed in this country until we can deal with this culture of paranoia. However, how do you get a group of insular people who think that any form of authority beyond themselves or their local government is tyrannical to get to trust the government? As long as they think “BIG GOVERNMENT” is out to enslave or kill them, how do you change their minds?

  16. medievalguy says

    Yeah, I think Trump is right when he says the real problem is mental illness…but it’s the collective insanity this country has about guns. As long as that persists, we’re pretty much doomed.

  17. DonDueed says

    “The Government can have my guns when they pry them from my cold dead fingers!”

    Okay, it’s a deal. Upon the owner’s death, any guns must be turned in for destruction. No more inheritance of firearms. Weapons of historical interest may be donated to a museum or modified so they can never be fired again.

    It won’t solve the problem, but it’s a start — and no gun owner could possibly object since we’re just following your stated desires.

    Oh, you say you wanted your offspring to have those weapons? But this is the land of the American dream filled with opportunity. The kids can work hard and earn money to buy their own guns. Think how great they’ll feel about pulling themselves up by their own rifle slings!

  18. PaulBC says

    Akira MacKenzie@17

    Did he notice that Barack Obama was president for eight years and nobody came to take his guns away? Also, they fracked so much oil that North Dakota was boomtown USA when Obama was in office. So much for onerous environmental standards. The idea that Obama was anything but mildly left of center or that O’Rourke would be “Marxist” in the unlikely event that he did get elected is completely laughable.

    (And note that I have a lot of respect for Obama, but his presidency was mostly business as usual. Trump’s is a smash and grab.)

  19. John Morales says

    PaulBC,

    (And note that I have a lot of respect for Obama, but his presidency was mostly business as usual. Trump’s is a smash and grab.)

    This was known during the election process. There is no irony.

    (What was Trump’s slogan, again? Oh yeah, “Drain the swamp”)

    PS I’ve been around here for a long time; I recall PZ had his doubts (vindicated) about Obama during that earlier election.

  20. medievalguy says

    Obama’s politics would have been largely in line with an old-school Rockefeller Republican…

  21. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To Akira MacKenzie
    I figure that the gun nuts are better able to dismiss the left people as fools when the people on the left purposefully misuse terms as a point of pride (re “assault rifle”), and when they also lie about their real goals which for most people here is the practical confiscation of all guns, and yet many people would deny it, and yet embrace it in other contexts. I don’t get why our side has to lie about it.

    Will it help that much? Dunno. Probably very little. But I figure anyone would be more receptive to someone who approaches them from a position of informed honesty than otherwise.

  22. KG says

    But I figure anyone would be more receptive to someone who approaches them from a position of informed honesty than otherwise. – GerrardOfTitanServer@24

    That’s comedy gold right there!

  23. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    And almost every time someone mentions assault rifle, they’re not talking about a machine gun, and therefore they’re using the term incorrectly.

  24. lochaber says

    A machine gun is it’s own beast.

    It’s not the same as an assault rifle. We can quibble over the three-round-burst, which may qualify as fully automatic, but it’s still not a machine gun.

  25. consciousness razor says

    GerrardOfTitanServer:

    And almost every time someone mentions assault rifle, they’re not talking about a machine gun, and therefore they’re using the term incorrectly.

    They’re using the term how it’s been used. (wiki):

    Federal Assault Weapons Ban (1994–2004): Banned semiautomatics that looked like assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices. The law expired in 2004.

    That bit links to this page:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban
    And I quote:

    This article is about the U.S. Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 that expired in 2004. For other assault weapons bans in the U.S., see Assault weapons legislation in the United States.
    The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act or Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) was a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a United States federal law which included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms that were defined as assault weapons as well as certain ammunition magazines that were defined as “large capacity”.

    Do you see all of those uses of “assault weapon”? I do.
    You look at all that and want to argue about words.
    Some might hear about that and think “but why the fuck did we let that expire? Why not reinstate the ban on ‘Assault Weapons’ that we used to have?” They are not so worried about giving a precise and detailed description of firing mechanisms and such, because they are not totally fucking obsessed with that shit, like gun nuts are. It is not their fault that they are not totally fucking obsessed with that shit.
    Others might think “or better yet, let’s ban all semiautomatic weapons, no matter how they look.” Or some may want to ban all guns. But not everybody thinks that. They don’t all think like me or like you.
    At any rate, you call them dishonest, for talking about the things which the law itself defined (not so long ago) as “semiautomatic assault weapons.” You can think that’s an inappropriate combination of English words, if that sort of thing matters to you, but that is nonetheless what the law was about. So you cannot deduce somehow that people are (almost every time) “incorrectly” using its terminology, that they’re not allowed to talk about it (not at all or not that way), and so forth. Because it’s simply not true that the only useful or widely-accepted way of talking about it is your way of talking about it.

  26. jefrir says

    The British army does not use “assault rifle” and “machine gun” for the same things, and they would seem to have at least some claim to expertise.
    And just to be clear, civilians don’t need either of them.

  27. says

    I suspect that Jesus would rightly label those who use guns to force strangers to pay them and the people who vote for them as sinners.

  28. PaulBC says

    GerrardOfTitanServer@24

    I figure that the gun nuts are better able to dismiss the left people as fools when the people on the left purposefully misuse terms as a point of pride (re “assault rifle”), and when they also lie about their real goals which for most people here is the practical confiscation of all guns, and yet many people would deny it, and yet embrace it in other contexts. I don’t get why our side has to lie about it.

    I grew up in the exurbs in the 70s around deer hunters, some with sizable arsenals of hunting rifles. There was also a nice old gentleman farmer next door (in the strict sense that he leased his field) who would sometimes use a shotgun to deliver the coup de grâce to a trapped groundhog. People like that can keep their guns. (I have no interest in having one myself.) Even some knucklehead who keeps a handgun by their nightstand doesn’t bother me much.

    I have no ideological urge to confiscate guns and if you think I do, it says more about your fantasy life than mine.

    I think that having an AR-15 as a toy is not only a stupid idea, but we’ve run the experiment. Nations where these things are readily available (basically just the US and failed states) have much higher incidents of gun fatalities than everywhere else. I think that having hundreds of extra deaths every year is too high a price to pay for Freedom™ as stipulated by the all-scared 2nd amendment. If a repeal every comes up, I will vote to ratify it. It is a very, very stupid thing to have in the constitution, though I get that the founders were not psychics.

  29. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To consciousness razor
    You abandoned the last thread that we were having a chat. That made me sad.

    Your response here is exactly what I’m getting at. The question asked, which I tried to answer, is “how do I get through to gun nuts?”. I suggested that the first step is to not insult their intelligence, and not appear like a willfully ignorant fool. I know you don’t care about the differences, but they do, and it makes you look like a fool to defend the assault weapons ban, because it is an incredibly foolish and ignorant thing to do. Machine guns were already heavily regulated under much older laws, and since 1940 approx, the number of crimes committed with legally own machine guns in the US is about 3. Practically zero mass shooting have happened with machine guns. The term “assault weapon” confuses a regular semiauto gun with a machine gun. The person who first spoke above about a family member owning a machine gun is very probably incorrect. It’s unlikely that they own a machine gun. Rather, its likely that they own a normal semiauto rifle, like an AR 15.

    The assault weapons ban, to the extent that it banned so called assault weapons, have basically zero effect on gun violence because there is no real category of thing that is meaningfully called “assault weapon”. What the law did was ban guns haphazardly according to mostly irrelevant cosmetics, like whether it has a bayonet mount.

    Maybe you don’t care if you look like a willfully ignorant and disrespectful fool to gun nuts in conversation. However, someone else asks what they might do in conversation, and I have some honest good faith suggestions.

    To PaulBC
    Yes yes. You would allow very narrow exceptions for people outside of the city with a “real” need for then for farming and agricultural purposes only, and only single shot stuff like pump action or lever action shotguns. You would completely ban open carry and conceal carry, and completely ban all semiauto guns and revolvers, including all handguns, and all applicable rifles and shotguns. You would completely do away with the right, and leave a very narrow exception for rural farmers. Just come out and say it: you don’t want anyone to have a gun except for a very narrow exception for some rural farmers.

    To lochaber
    I am very confident that the person above does it have a rifle with a three round burst setting either. Also, any gun with a three round burst setting is legally a machine gun according to the current legal definition in the United States.

  30. medievalguy says

    Although I would argue that the widespread availability of guns of all kinds in the US isn’t the problem, it’s a symptom. The problem is the fetishization of guns in American culture (or as PZ put it, gun worship as a cult).

  31. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Phone typo. I am very confident that the person does not have a gun with a three round burst setting because such guns are regulated as machine guns in the USA. I mean, it’s possible that the person lives in one of the US States that allows ownership of such a thing, and they’ve gone through the rigorous ATF background check, and they paid the large fee, and the own one of the legal machine guns that was manufactured before the magic grandfathering date of 1984 approx, but it’s much more likely that the speaker here is using the term “assault rifle” without knowing what it means. The real problem here is that many on the left are firmly convinced, deluded, that “assault weapon” is a meaningful category of non-machine guns. What confuses me every time is why the left doesn’t want to know that their murder stick regulations are woefully ineffective.

  32. PaulBC says

    GerrardOfTitanServer@28

    And almost every time someone mentions assault rifle, they’re not talking about a machine gun, and therefore they’re using the term incorrectly.

    And almost every time someone gets hit, they don’t give a rat’s ass if the gun-fondler-approved terminology is being used correctly.

    I can read a glossary as well as anyone else. This is extensive. Is it gun-fondler-approved?

    Assault rifle: A technical term for a selective-fire rifle, usually used by a military or police force, which fires reduced-power ammunition from a detachable magazine. It can fire in either semi-automatic or fully automatic modes. Examples include AK-47s and M16s.

    Assault weapon: A political term, not a technical term, that changes depending on who is using it. Connecticut defines assault weapons as “selective-fire firearms capable of fully automatic, semi-automatic, or burst fire at the options of the user.” Virgina defines it as any weapon with a magazine capacity greater than 20 rounds. The Federal Assault Weapon Ban, which was passed in 1994 but is now expired, had its own complex list of guidelines for defining assault weapons.

    I don’t claim to know… or care if these definitions are accurate. I can state with a great deal of confidence that my knowledge or lack of knowledge, correct or incorrect use of terms will have absolutely no effect on “second amendment advocates.” The only way to fix this problem (after DC v. Heller in 2008) is an amendment to repeal this confusing and ambiguous constitutional amendment and replace it with another to establish the principle that the state can control certain weapons (which is a de facto principle already, but simply ignored for guns).

    Guess what, it is not a “God-given” right or even a “natural right” as enumerated by John Locke or other philosophers. It’s an idea that some guys came up with in a hot room without air conditioning, and it just takes the political will to fix this mistake. Obviously the gun nuts will hate it. Maybe one day enough normal Americans will take action.

  33. PaulBC says

    GerrardOfTitanServer

    You would completely ban open carry and conceal carry

    I would ban open carry, which is primarily an intimidation tactic. I supposed concealed carry could go on with appropriate permits, as it has historically. I am not that interested in details. In fact, I would accept nearly any solution that would bring mass shootings in line with other nations in peacetime. What I care about is outcome.

    I don’t claim to read your mind. Why do you claim to read mine?

    But I will add that “getting through to gun nuts” was never among my goals. This is a problem that needs to be solved with constitutional change, not foolish attempts at persuasion.

  34. PaulBC says

    What confuses me every time is why the left doesn’t want to know that their murder stick regulations are woefully ineffective.

    It’s because the Bill of Rights contains an “ink blot” (to repurpose Robert Bork’s lovely coinage) that has always been ambiguous, but after being interpreted decisively as an individual right (DC v. Heller 2008) is long past its welcome in the constitution, and no “regulations” will suffice until it is repealed.

    What do I win?

  35. blf says

    A Peace Plan for a Safer America:

    […]
    ● A multi-step approval process, overseen by a law enforcement agency, that requires background checks, in-person interviews, personal references, rigorous gun safety training, and a waiting period of 10 days for each gun purchase. […]
    ● Annual licensing fees for anyone who wants to obtain a national gun and ammunition license. […]
    ● [… R]aising the minimum age for gun possession to 21. […]
    ● A limit of one firearm purchase per month.
    ● A prohibition on any and all online firearm and ammunition sales or transfers, including gun parts.
    ● A requirement to safely store firearms, including implementing national standards for locking devices on guns.
    ● A requirement to report guns that are lost or stolen to local law enforcement within 72 hours.
    […]

    This recent (last month) proposal from March for Our Lives (the group formed by the Parkland survivors) does not seem to be getting much attention? There is far more to it than quoted above, I’ve only excerpted and condensed one section.

  36. PaulBC says

    medievalguy@36

    Although I would argue that the widespread availability of guns of all kinds in the US isn’t the problem, it’s a symptom. The problem is the fetishization of guns in American culture (or as PZ put it, gun worship as a cult).

    I agree halfway, but I think people can be deterred or delayed by decreasing availability, regardless of their intent. Nobody is going to halt gun violence. The ability to amass an arsenal without any tracking or accountability is a problem. It doesn’t usually happen anywhere else. Things have also become worse in terms of mass killings, despite the fact that the US has fetishized guns for as long as I can remember.

  37. consciousness razor says

    You abandoned the last thread that we were having a chat. That made me sad.

    If you’re talking about that one (also about gun control) at Crip Dyke’s blog, I just had nothing more to say. You didn’t either, apparently, but I did let you have the last word.

    I know you don’t care about the differences, but they do, and it makes you look like a fool to defend the assault weapons ban, because it is an incredibly foolish and ignorant thing to do. Machine guns were already heavily regulated under much older laws, and since 1940 approx, the number of crimes committed with legally own machine guns in the US is about 3. Practically zero mass shooting have happened with machine guns. The term “assault weapon” confuses a regular semiauto gun with a machine gun.

    I’m happy to defend it, and I’m not confusing one type of gun with another. (You seem to be doing that right now. We’re talking about a variety of guns which are not “machine guns” in the 1994-2004 AWB, remember?) It didn’t do nearly enough, but it was a start. In politics, I’m willing to do lots of things that are barely adequate but are genuinely headed in the right direction, until we can manage to do something much better.
    Look, I’m used to Congress doing absolutely nothing most of the time, so I try to savor every little drip of progress, no matter how small.

    The assault weapons ban, to the extent that it banned so called assault weapons, have basically zero effect on gun violence because there is no real category of thing that is meaningfully called “assault weapon”. What the law did was ban guns haphazardly according to mostly irrelevant cosmetics, like whether it has a bayonet mount.

    Don’t forget the large magazines. Plenty of murderers have put those to use…. I don’t know about you, but much more murder than I wanted. I was hoping for something that was actually close to zero. Didn’t you just say the effect was zero?
    Guess what? I don’t care what you call them. Although you do seem to realize it did in fact ban certain types of guns — thus it is a real category, possibly more real than yours — it makes no difference to me what that collection of things is called.

    Just come out and say it: you don’t want anyone to have a gun except for a very narrow exception for some rural farmers.

    You really do sound sad. I’ll come out and say that I don’t even want narrow exceptions for some rural farmers, because their shit stinks too. Making sure they can have fun with their hunting buddies on the weekends is not up there on my list of priorities, next to preventing murders and so forth.
    And the law, just to reiterate the point from last time, was supposed to be about keeping this country safe, for fuck’s sake, not about some preposterous right to have fun shooting at deer. It says so right there in the text, as I pointed out to you before. But it’s obviously not working as intended. The conservatives fucking broke it, and for some reason you refuse to see that.

  38. lochaber says

    GerrardOfTitanServer@28

    And almost every time someone mentions assault rifle, they’re not talking about a machine gun, and therefore they’re using the term incorrectly.

    GerrardOfTitanServer@35

    To lochaber
    I am very confident that the person above does it have a rifle with a three round burst setting either. Also, any gun with a three round burst setting is legally a machine gun according to the current legal definition in the United States.

    I have no idea which comment you are referencing, but your comment @28 comes across to me that you are confusing assault rifle with machine gun. A machine gun is a fully automatic weapon designed for sustained automatic fire. A machine gun typically has an exchangeable barrel, an open bolt, and is belt fed.

    I will grant that the term “assault rifle” is vague and poorly defined, and that is definitely a problem to be addressed by legislators if/when a law is finally drawn up. Personally, although it’s one of the current defining characteristics, I don’t find “selective fire” to be a requirement for something to be an assault rifle. Although present on military models like the M16 and M4, I don’t believe the military every encourages the use of anything but single fire, and I don’t think being limited to single fire diminishes the lethal ability of such a rifle. Much like having a stock with a thumb hole isn’t legally a pistol-grip, it essentially functions the same as one, and is more of a pedantic difference than a functional one.

    I used to have really mixed feelings about gun control, but as the right has further and further avoided even the most basic responsibilities and precautions, and I leaning more and more towards both gun control and disarmament. I could still be swayed, but right now I’m favoring an outright ban on all semiautomatic firearms, as well as any firearms with a removable magazine (yeah, there is a lot of overlap there, and I don’t really care).

  39. blf says

    Quoting poopyhead, I don’t give a damn about your gun specs:

    […]
    Henceforth, the official name of all guns and rifles and whatever fine distinction in the title you want to give them is irrelevant: they are all called Shooty McShootface. You can announce that their purpose is to shoot clay targets, or Bambi, or to look fine on your mantlepiece — I don’t care about that. Their purpose is to kill people. Got that? They are devices to hurl small pieces of metal at lethal velocities that are intentionally aimed at human beings to do them harm.

    […]

    It’s not about the minutiae of assault rifles or machine gun or whatever. Meanwhile, detailed proposals which generally avoid this derailment and the resulting avoidance of the actual issues — such as A Peace Plan for a Safer America (see @41 for a very short excerpt) — are lost or left to the “N”RA and other Putin trolls to comment on. (I won’t link to it, but their response is entitled Marching Toward Gun Confiscation: Prohibition Advocates Released Unhinged Gun Control Plan, which asserts the agenda is actually a disarmament plan against law-abiding gun owners).

    Shooty McShootfaces kill people, there are far too many (Shooty McShootfaces and deaths implemented by them and incidents involving Shooty McShootfaces) in the States, and it is not relevant whether this or that Shooty McShootface was used, or could be used, in an incident.

  40. PaulBC says

    A pure libertarian nutcase might disagree about regulating any dangerous manufactured goods. But what makes the US especially hypocritical is that we have extensive regulations on everything else. We have the little note at the top of the ladder saying not to use it as a step. That’s fine with me. It increases the cost very little and probably avoids repeating some litigation that led to its use. If I walked down the street brandishing a chainsaw, the police could decide I was “disturbing the peace” and I could not assert a claimed constitutional “right” to “open carry’ because (for reasons I find baffling) the term “arms” in the 2nd amendment is exclusively understood as personal firearms (and not pen knives, Bowie knives, or heavy artillery).

    So I have a pretty simple (and sadly unlikely) goal of simply removing the 2nd amendment and allowing guns to be regulated like any similarly dangerous item. We are hamstrung when it comes to providing public safety, and the numbers all show that contrary to certain fantasies, we are less safe when guns are easier to obtain.

    Eliminating the 2nd amendment is not equivalent to banning gun ownership. We don’t have a “right to salad” amendment, and a good thing. When a small amount of romaine lettuce was found to be contaminated with E coli last year, it was possible to get it out of stores very fast without any crocodile tears spilled over lost liberty. When the scare was over, the lettuce came back. In general, the lack of a constitutional right does not prohibit anything, but it does provide the means to take sensible actions aimed at improved outcomes without a lot of blather about the “founding fathers” spinning in their graves.

  41. PaulBC says

    And for whatever reason, we seem to have virtually no well-funded 4th amendment advocacy, though the right to be secure against unreasonable search is more fundamental. Americans seem to have no problem waiving constitutional rights except in specific cases.

  42. Akira MacKenzie says

    Gerrard of Titan Server:

    1) As other’s have pointed out, pedantry over mechanical nomenclature is utterly pointless. I don’t care what the damn thing is called. A gun is a gun regardless of it’s action. A gunshot victim is still a gunshot victim even if the weapon used was a fucking wheellock.

    2) Assuming gun-control advocates haven’t been “honest” about their goals, would it really help if they were? Would it make anti-government paranoids who make up a significant portion of NRA’s rank-and-file membership less mistrustful of gun control if they knew it meant taking away their precious toys?

    Furthermore, my point isn’t so much “how do we reach the gun nut?” as “How do we reach the right wing paranoids.” The gun nuttery is only a symptom of the paranoia.

  43. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To Akira
    I stand by what I said. Specifically, if you want to reach paranoid people, then it seems to be a bad idea to dismiss their concerns and interests entirely out of hand, and moreso to embrace incorrect use of technical terms because it’s a point of pride that you completely disdain their interests and concerns and you refuse to learn anything about it and you take pride in purposefully misusing terms even when you have been corrected.

    To consciousness razor
    I had a lot more to say. I was hoping that first you would clearly answer that set of simple questions concerning the right to jury trial in the same county as the offense. If we ever engage in this topic again, I’ll just ask those same questions until I get some clear answers.

  44. PaulBC says

    Specifically, if you want to reach paranoid people, then it seems to be a bad idea to dismiss their concerns and interests entirely out of hand, and moreso to embrace incorrect use of technical terms because it’s a point of pride that you completely disdain their interests and concerns and you refuse to learn anything about it and you take pride in purposefully misusing terms even when you have been corrected.

    If someone believes it is their fundamental right to collect weapons with no utility outside a war zone or failed state, and my view is that, no it’s not a fundamental right, and these should be regulated as much as other similiarly dangerous manufactured goods, then what does it matter if I memorize a glossary? How on earth is this supposed to bridge a clear values gap?

    Let’s take Meghan McCain’s statement ‘I’m not living without guns’. I disagree with McCain on many things, but I wouldn’t call her a nut. She has positions that I comprehend and she explains those positions clearly. She says “The AR-15 is by far the most popular gun in America,” by way of supporting its continued availability. The is not even the stuff of “Four boxes of liberty” revolutionary fantasizing. She is explicating a mainstream view: a lot of Americans want to keep these dangerous manufactured goods, and good luck (ha ha) trying to regulate them.

    The idea that I could persuade anyone not already favorable to gun control by memorizing a glossary doesn’t even pass the laugh test. And, yeah, we may be stuck with outlier levels of gun violence in the US for a long time, but it is not because of my failure to insist on the distinction between “assault weapon” and “assault rifle.”

  45. consciousness razor says

    I had a lot more to say.

    And by that, you don’t mean repeating the same things until I submit?

    I was hoping that first you would clearly answer that set of simple questions concerning the right to jury trial in the same county as the offense. If we ever engage in this topic again, I’ll just ask those same questions until I get some clear answers.

    You can ask them all you like, but I have no clue why you think it matters. In fact, I did answer you, more than once, with lots of accompanying discussion and explanation. You apparently didn’t like that and appealed to an authority, but I don’t get why I should think their analysis is correct (or the only good way to think about it). Maybe asking the same question again and again won’t be productive, if your goal is to come to some kind of agreement.
    Also, this thread isn’t about the locations of jury trials, and it isn’t about resurrecting a month-old thread from a different blog.
    But whatever…. If you really need me to very clearly say “no” again, so you can move on, then I’ll say it again: no. I don’t think it implies everything you wanted it to, so now you have to think of a different question. Or you can try responding to the points I was raising. It doesn’t matter.

  46. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To consciousness razor
    I just skimmed the relevant comments again, and you provided many lengthy answers to some questions, but you never did directly answer my questions. I still want to know if you think that judges may take a real historical constitutional protection like
    “In criminal prosecutions, the trial of facts in the vicinity where they happen, is so essential to the security of the life, liberty and estate of the citizen, that no crime or offence ought to be tried in any other county than that in which it is committed […]”
    And decide that the right shall not be enforced because situations have changed to make it less important to achieve the stated purpose. I want a clear answer to this question for this specific example, and thus far you have not provided it. I want a clear answer to the question: would it ever be proper for a judge to issue an opinion along the lines as follows? “Historically, it was valued to have jurors with background knowledge to the case, and perhaps even familiarity with the defendant and victim. However, today, we have laws to the exact opposite, and it’s no longer considered necessary for justice for jury trials to happen in the same county as the offense. Moreover, today we often believe that justice is sometimes best served by moving the trial to a place far away from the offense. Therefore, going forward, where the judge permits it according to the particular needs of the case, trials need not be held in the same county as the offense.”
    This is exactly the move that I think should not be allowed. I am still a little unsure if you think that this move should be allowed. I’m also unsure if you think that it would be proper for a judge to use this like of reasoning for this civil rights guarantee but not the gun rights guarantee, or vice versa, because it seems quite clear to me that the same judicial outcome should be reached in both cases.

  47. consciousness razor says

    This is at least the fourth time: NO.
    If the situation changes (or our thinking about it changes), the legislature can make new legislation to address this. That is their job and their responsibility. You’ve asked about judges doing it, not the legislature, and I’ve been rejecting that.

  48. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To consciousness razor
    I was asking the wrong question. I see that now. Suppose the state legislative body passed a law that created exceptions to the same-county trial guarantee. And what about a law that simply overturned it entirely? Should the state court uphold such a law, or reject it as unconstitutional? It seems like your answer is something like “there would be state laws that violate the same-county trial guarantee which could and should be upheld by the state courts”. Did I get your position right?

  49. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    And also, do you think that this same-county trial constitutional provision is somehow easier to overturn by statute? And is it easier to overturn by statute because of the existence of the explanation / justification clause? In other words, so you think that the explanation / justification clause acts as some sort of sunset provision?

    PS
    In the shower just now, I was thinking about another academic problem. How would I phrase an amendment to guarantee that most criminal accused are free, out of jail, pending trial? I thought about various formulations like “all criminal accused have the right to be free from confinement pending trial except where justified by substantial reason and evidence”. However, I don’t know if that’s good enough. There might be a system, like our system, which believes that there is substantial reason in most cases to hold accused persons pending trial. That got me thinking. What if I added an explanation clause. “Most persons accused of crimes ought to be free from confinement pending trial, and therefore persons accused of crimes shall not be confined pending trial except where justified by substantial evidence and reason that the person poses a substantial risk to others or poses a substantial flight risk.” I think adding the justification / explanation clause makes it much more clear, and less likely to be subverted by later legislatures and courts.

    However, it seems that to people like you, adding the explanation clause actually makes it weaker and easier for the legislature and courts to overturn because you would interpret it as a built-in sunset provision, aka as a means by which the courts could decide that situations on the ground permit abandoning the rule. I think one of our hangups is courts vs legislature. Yes, in our system, a court could likely only make that ruling during a case brought forth by a defendant challenging a statute, and therefore the legislature needs to make the first step, but I am having a conversation about what is proper jurisprudence. Legislatures can legally pass whatever statutes that they want, including blatantly unconstitutional ones. The interesting question is not “what is the legislature permitted to do?”. The interesting question is “what should the courts do?”.

  50. lochaber says

    I still waiting to hear more about how I’m a liar because I use the term “assault rifle”

    I acknowledge that it’s a highly flawed term as far as legal aspects go, but that is a problem with the legal definition. The term “dagger” is wildly inconsistent by legal definitions, yet that doesn’t make it an invalid category of knives.

    How about “gravity knife” or “shuriken”?

  51. Ichthyic says

    ” The real problem here is that many on the left are firmly convinced, deluded, that “assault weapon” is a meaningful category of non-machine guns. ”

    while those on the right constantly toy with red herrings to avoid the fact that gun laws actually work.

    I hope people here recognize your rhetorical what ifs for what they are.

  52. Ichthyic says

    “You abandoned the last thread that we were having a chat. That made me sad.”

    you are a dishonest little shit, ain’t ya.

  53. consciousness razor says

    Gerrard:
    This is mostly repeating myself from the earlier thread, but maybe you’ll find it helpful.

    In other words, so you think that the explanation / justification clause acts as some sort of sunset provision?

    No, that’s not necessary, although I can imagine such a provision being put into the text of a law, if that’s what the people writing the law wanted from it.
    The way we should understand the scope of the law should be guided by the explicit justifications/explanations given in the text (if any are given), which help to charaterize the law’s purpose/intent. That’s one sort of thing you can and should get from reading the text, if it’s there.
    If the legislature decides “the federal government should produce candy canes and distribute them to all US residents every week, in order to fight diabetes,” they can write a law doing that. Suppose that’s what we’ve got. Let me make several points:
    (1) That law would be stupid, because in fact doing this wouldn’t help to fight diabetes, as the law was intended to do.
    (2) Since it’s stupid, you might hope the legislature realizes that one day. They might decide to revoke the law, because they always can do that one way or another (with a constitutional amendment, if necessary).
    (3) But unless that happens, it’s the law, assuming there is no dispute about its constitutionality. So we’d be stuck with it, until the legislature woke up from its dogmatic slumber and did the right thing (morally and politically speaking).
    (4) Some might think that, according to the law, we can’t do anything else to fight diabetes. That is false: it’s not supported by the text. It does depend on false assumptions, it’s a patently stupid law, etc., but that doesn’t mean we can just make up any old thing we want about its actual content, however stupid it may be. (At this point, I should just have to say “take notice, gun nuts,” but I’ll go on, since you still seem to have trouble with what I’m saying.)
    (5) Some might think that these candy canes should be used to pave our roads, according to the law. That claim is also false: it’s not supported by the text. The scope was in fact explicitly limited, so that the government can’t (for example) pave roads with them, but instead has to distribute them to people to further the clearly-stated purpose of fighting diabetes. (I would not, by the way, consider that a type of “sunset provision,” but I don’t know how you’d define that.) If paving roads is what somebody thinks the feds can do with the candy canes, according to that law, their interpretation is simply and flatly and unambiguously wrong.
    (6) We’re not adding this feature later on or taking it out, changing our minds about it somehow, etc. — that shit was simply not there in the unmodified and properly understood text that we had to work with. If people do want to start paving road with the candy canes, they’ll need another law which provides for that, because the original one didn’t do that.
    (7) Very generally, people might claim all manner of different things about what the aim of the law was, how it can be enforced or interpreted, what its scope is, etc., which are not supported by the law. We have to think clearly about that and pay close attention to those features of the law, not act as if it were illegitimate to pay attention to that.
    (8) Nothing in this line of thought implies that we (e.g., judges, governors, etc.) can arbitrarily and extra-legally decide to place limits around the law, or expand on it as the case may be, in ways that weren’t already there in the text. This isn’t a method of stopping the law from working or from being applicable, nor it is to alter its meaning in any way. On the contrary, what I’ve said is just doing what it actually says, not misinterpreting it or reinterpreting it or invalidating it or what have you.
    (9) If that kind of information (which gives some indication of its scope) is explicitly there in the text, it would be improper to ignore that, or to treat it as if such statements were just some irrelevant/meaningless verbal filler that has no bearing on what we should or shouldn’t do according to that law.
    (10) This certainly isn’t specific to the second amendment – that kind of shit in general could get out of hand real fast, if that’s how things work. However, I do submit that you can plainly see it getting wildly out of hand, in the case of the extremely broad interpretations of the second amendment promulgated by conservatives, gun lobbyists, and so forth. It’s very obviously counterproductive, because the state is less secure as a result, not more secure. You shouldn’t be supporting that kind of sophistry, and you should have no trouble understanding why taking that crap seriously cannot work, if we’re going to take our laws seriously.

  54. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To Ichthyic
    The prior assault weapons ban, to the extent that it banned “assault weapons”, did precisely nothing. It did place a limit on capacity of detachable magazines, which had an impact albeit extremely minor.

    Just because these laws are almost useless does not mean all gun laws are useless. I support universal background checks, waiting periods, gun owners licenses and mandatory extensive training to get a license, mandatory safe storage laws especially where minors are present. Those laws would be very useful. I also think that a ban on all semiauto guns and revolvers would have a huge impact – this is what I think many people want when they talk about “military style assault weapons”.

    However, the prior assault weapons ban was almost useless, and if you take away the mag capacity limit, then it was basically completely useless. I am trying to help you by pointing out that the thing that you are fighting for is almost completely useless.

  55. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To consciousness razor
    Again, instead of inventing new questions to answer and giving answers to those questions, could you please address the specific questions that I have been putting to you for a while?

    I don’t see exactly what point you are trying to make candy cane example. I think the same-county trial is a much better example and is much more comparable, and I think answers there would be much more applicable, because there is understandable reasoning between the justication clause and command clause, unlike your candy cane example, and because the same-county example is an example where the guaranteed right is both underinclusive and overinclusive compared to the justification clause, again unlike your candy cane example, and finally mine is a real constitutional provision from history, unlike yours.

  56. consciousness razor says

    I did address your question: I said no. It was the first word in response to your question.
    I feel like I should limit myself to single-word comments for you, until you get tired of listening only to yourself. If the past is any guide, most of them will probably be variations on “no.”

  57. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To consciousness razor
    I asked several wuestions. I don’t know which one you intended to answer with “no”. Instead of talking about candy canes or in addition to talking about candy canes, could you please make yourself clear. it really feels like I’m pulling teeth here. I’m trying to not misrepresent you, and therefore I’m trying to figure wour what you actually believe, and it feels like you’re purposefully dodging.

    (5) Some might think that these candy canes should be used to pave our roads, according to the law. That claim is also false: it’s not supported by the text. The scope was in fact explicitly limited, so that the government can’t (for example) pave roads with them, but instead has to distribute them to people to further the clearly-stated purpose of fighting diabetes. (I would not, by the way, consider that a type of “sunset provision,” but I don’t know how you’d define that.) If paving roads is what somebody thinks the feds can do with the candy canes, according to that law, their interpretation is simply and flatly and unambiguously wrong.

    Could you please explain then the application this has on the second amendment? Specifically, it still seems that you’re trying to reach the conclusion that the justification clause can act as a significant limiter on the rights guarantee, and I don’t see how that relates to the bit I quoted at all, but it seems that you’re trying to draw a connection, and I don’t see it.

    To what practical extent, if any, do you think that the justification clause of the same-county trial guarantee can be used to make exceptions, if any, without constitutional amendment, to the same-county trial constitutional guarantee?

    To what practical extent, if any, do you think that the justification clause of the second amendment can be used to make exceptions, if any, without constitutional amendment, to the guns right guarantee?

    My answers: For the same-county trial guarantee, basically zero exceptions should be granted absent a constitutional amendment. There are probably some hypothetical cases where the justification clause would be useful to understand the law, but none occur to me now.

    For the second amendment, basically zero exceptions should be granted absent a constitutional amendment. The justification clause is also useful in interpreting it today, where gun ownership is unusual, compared to historically where there were other laws that required almost all adult male (white) citizens between the ages of 17 and 45 to own a gun. The justification clause clearly explains that the founders wanted the national population to be armed and ready for war, and they gave a specific means to accomplish that goal (and dare I say other goals too), and that means was protected individual gun rights.

    I must clarify what I mean by exception. I argue that driving a car on a public road is a constitutionally protected right. Even SCOTUS agrees with me to some extent – see Bell v Burson which explains that it does not matter whether the government calls something “a right” or “a privilege” – due process applies. Therefore, the government could not arbitrarily deny a driver’s license from someone without good cause. And that’s for an unwritten civil right. Whereas, the second amendment makes it an explicit written civil right that owning and carrying guns is a civil right, and moreover the justification clause helps make clear the extent of that right, which is that it must include most free adults (to reach the stated goal of a national population that is well equipped for war).

    Finally, it must be said that rights can be licensed where necessary for the public good, like driving a car on a public road can be licensed. Moreover, this is even more well supported by the constitution sans amendments which grants the power to the federal congress to train and discipline the militia, and the second amendment does not change that. It seems quite evidently obvious to me that many onerous requirements could be placed on gun owners, including lengthy training similar to military BASIC training along with lots of additional special instruction for owning and carrying a gun in civilian life.

    However, surely the amendment leaves zero room for outright bans on ownership of conventional semiauto military handguns and rifles. If not that, then what does the amendment do? For an amendment to mean something, it must be possible to invoke it in a court case to sway the outcome of the case? If not this bright line, then what?

  58. says

    Very scary babble to me. I am lost at where we have ended up in the US. I am so glad I am almost 63 and can retire soon and pretend I am not around anymore. SMDH

  59. consciousness razor says

    However, surely the amendment leaves zero room for outright bans on ownership of conventional semiauto military handguns and rifles.

    Your right-wing libertarian source, Volokh, appears not to agree with you. (I’m aware that the article was also cited in Scalia’s opinion in D.C. v. Heller.)

    What arms may be kept and borne? Here Miller might well have been right to consider the justification clause. Miller was indicted for transporting a sawed-off shotgun, in violation of the National Firearms Act of 1934. {60} There was no evidence introduced in any proceeding that this kind of weapon was useful to a citizen-militiaman, {61} and the Court held that such utility wasn’t so well-known that it could be judicially noticed. {62} The Court thus concluded that

    [i]n the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a [sawed-off shotgun] at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.

    So there can be such restrictions, because we shouldn’t merely read the so-called “operative” clause and ignore (i.e., pretend as if it’s “non-operative”) the other half of the text. It doesn’t mean an individual right to any and all guns, without exception. We’ve had various such regulations in the past in this country, and they’re consistent with the 2A. Banning semiautos would also be consistent with it — you certainly can’t claim to see the “semiauto” qualification anywhere in the 2A, so don’t pretend like it’s in there.
    One other thing to notice…. Although he’s quoting U.S. v. Miller above (with approval), in other places, Volokh himself does seem to take the “justification clause” to be about well-regulated militias, as if that were an adequate characterization of the intent/purpose/goal/etc. described in that entire clause. However, all we have to do is read with comprehension: a militia is still just a particular means to an end, and that end is security for the state. Those terms aren’t interchangeable and shouldn’t be confused with one another.
    It’s sort sad to see him assume constantly that the only use for a law is to constrain the government. Like here, for example:

    If the right was only a right to possess arms under the supervision of one’s militia superiors — who might well be under federal command — then the right would impose little constraint on the federal government.

    So what if it does impose little constraint? Why should that suffice as an argument? What if we had other things for the laws to do?

    At the same time, I write from the premise that interpreting a text is not the same enterprise as reading the text to achieve whatever policy result one prefers.

    Except when he assumes the only use for a law is to constrain the government, which is pretty much the entire time. Then it becomes fairly clear how he’s expressing his own glibertarian policy preferences, not just interpreting the text. But those are apparently transparent and unanalyzable to him.

  60. says

    @GerrardofTitanServer:

    Specifically, it still seems that you’re trying to reach the conclusion that the justification clause can act as a significant limiter on the rights guarantee, and I don’t see how that relates to the bit I quoted at all, but it seems that you’re trying to draw a connection, and I don’t see it.

    If you want an honest discussion, would it be wise not to assume without proof that your interlocutors are engaged in motivated (i.e. dishonest) reasoning?

    I mean, it IS possible that someone read with an open mind and came to a different conclusion than you did. Legal scholars have been of different opinions on the nature of the requirements of the 2nd Amendment for more than 200 years now. Why insist that others are attempting to spin a clause instead of just accepting that they disagree with you about the meaning of the clause, and since you’re not a mind-reader you can’t reasonably be certain how they came to that differing opinion?

  61. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To Crip Dyke
    I am unaware of any scholars who wrote that the second amendment was anything but a guarantee of personal gun rights until relatively recently, and definitely not 200 years ago. On what basis do you make that remark? I’ve heard this claim made occasionally, but I’ve never seen it backed up. Do you know of even one academic scholar that made such an argument circa 200 years ago? I would be greatly surprised. Considering that I’ve never seen such a thing, and such a thing would be amazing useful to the anti gun rights side, I tentatively conclude that no such source exists.

    Yes, I know a lot of modern so-called scholars are against me, and while it gives me some pause, I have seen absolutely nothing that makes me think anything other than they are dishonest or so blinded by preconceived conclusions that they cannot reason honestly in this case.

    To consciousness razor
    You are still not answering my direct questions. Please answer them already.

  62. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To Crip Dyke
    You’ve read the sources in my Google doc yes?
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ak6bx8jyDxIlsLuFHHevw-4RQ7R5vJb15RtTNG5d79w/edit?usp=drivesdk

    Remember what they wrote in the federalist papers. They wanted a law that requiered everyone to be armed, and wrote that a great defens against tyranny was when the whole population was individually armed, and compared this to the European tyrannies who were too afraid to let the populations own weapons. Then, a few years later, the federal congress passed that law, the second federal militia act of 1782, that required practically every able bodied adult male between 17 and 45 to own a gun. In light of these simple and undeniable facts, there is not a leg to stand on for the other side. Worse, with the additional volume of evidence that one can bring to bear, it becomes insurmountable. In particular, the notion that the second amendment is there to protect government security forces of any kind, ie police, is a gigantic farce to anyone who knows anything about the criminal justice system of that time – it must be a protection of individual rights, because it cannot be anything else.

    PS
    To consciousness razor,
    The first amendment doesn’t mention tv, phones, or the internet either.

  63. says

    They wanted a law that requiered everyone to be armed

    No. They didn’t. Please stop saying “everyone” when this is clearly false. You say,

    I know a lot of modern so-called scholars are against me, and while it gives me some pause, I have seen absolutely nothing that makes me think anything other than they are dishonest or so blinded by preconceived conclusions that they cannot reason honestly in this case.

    and yet, you’re so deep in your preconceived conclusions that even though I’ve called you on this very word in this very context in a nearly-identical previous discussion, here you are yet again claiming that they wanted to arm “everyone”.

    What does that say about your ability to reason honestly?

    Further:

    I am unaware of any scholars who wrote that the second amendment was anything but a guarantee of personal gun rights

    You would not find a single scholar from 200 years ago who argued even once that the 2nd Amendment prohibited state regulation of firearms in any manner at all. That wasn’t even conceivable until the 14th amendment was passed, and even then it took quite some time – decades IIRC, though I’d have to dig up the case – before the protections of the 2ndA were incorporated upon the states as binding.

    The federal constitution, as imagined by the founders, was never intended to regulate interactions to which the federal government was not a party. It could regulate how the USA interacted with its member states and how power was divided up between state powers & federal powers, It could regulate intra-federal divisions of power, such as granting the House of Reps the exclusive power to originate bills of spending. It could regulate interactions between citizens and the federal government, it could regulate interactions between non-citizen residents of the US (like corporations, or, as originally imagined, indigenous persons, though they were later granted citizenship).

    As imagined by the founders, the federal constitution had no power to regulate interactions between the states and their citizens. None.

    Person/person regulation (including regulating interactions between artificial persons, i.e. corporations as well as so-called “natural persons”) was to be written into statute (and only when exercising a power expressly granted to the federal government) and person/state regulation was left entirely in the hands of the states themselves. This was in no small part the motivation for the inclusion of the 10thA. To quote Madison in Federalist 45:

    The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite

    .

    Whether and how the US federal constitution limits the ability of states to pass regulations limiting rights of gun ownership was a question that did not even exist until the Reconstruction after the civil war and the ratification of the 14thA and 15thA. You’re talking about a maximum of 150 years, not 200.

    I’m not expert in this area of law (hell, I’m not “expert” in any area of US law), but I do know that incorporation doctrine itself was controversial and resisted. Unfortunately for the Southern states the plain language of the 14th & 15th made incorporation inevitable, but even accepting that there have been arguments that continue to this day about which rights individual maintain against the federal government are now enforceable against the states.

    A classic example of how the limits of incorporation doctrine continue to be debated is the recent case of Timbs v. Indiana. For fuller details and discussion, see here.

    In short, it was by no means a foregone conclusion that the passage of the 14th and 15th constrained state powers to regulate private possession of arms.

    But for fuck’s sake, even if you disagree on the substance of 2A rights being enforceable against the states on some basis I haven’t considered and have never heard, PLEASE STOP SAYING THAT THE FOUNDERS WANTED TO ARM EVERYONE.

    You’ve been told this before, and your inability to recognize the inapplicability of the word “everyone” is no less offensive than the first time you made this assertion and much less excusable. To assert this at the same time you assert others are “unable to reason” around this issue because of preconceived (and presumably unjustified or flat out untrue) beliefs is, at this point, creates more tedium at this point even than it creates irony.

  64. lochaber says

    In the third sentence of the very wikipedia page you site, it clearly states that fully automatic fire is not the only criteria for designation of a firearm as a machine gun.

    Several times now you’ve ignored that distinction, and you have called me and other commenters liars over that point.

    Are you ever going to address this, or are you just going to continue to move the goal posts and ignore those that disagree with you?

  65. consciousness razor says

    You are still not answering my direct questions. Please answer them already.

    I don’t know what you want anymore, and you don’t need to control the conversation. We’re having it together, or we’re not having it.

    The first amendment doesn’t mention tv, phones, or the internet either.

    I never said it needed to. The first amendment doesn’t prevent us from writing laws which significantly regulate all of those things, sometimes in ways which have limited the government’s power and sometimes in ways which have expanded it. If you want to claim that any of this infringes on your first amendment rights, then you need to provide a good argument for that. If the argument fails (as it does with the 2A and banning semiautomatics, for example) then it fails. It’s not my fault if your argument sucks.

  66. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To Crip Dyke
    The Federalist 29 did use the words “the People” to describe the group that should be required by law to own a gun. Having said that, yes, most of the militia laws, including the second federal militia act of 1792, included only able-bodied adult white male citizens, but it did place a legal duty to obtain a gun on practically all such persons. It should not be surprising that it was limited as such because women were not seen as full citizens, but if they were, they would be included. Ditto for non-white persons. Finally, what does this have to do with anything? It’s tedious to type the full thing out when “everyone” is close enough IMHO, and even with this correction, I fail to see how it detracts from my argument at all.

    And of course the second amendment like the rest of the bill of rights was a limit only on the federal government until the 14th amendment. I never claimed otherwise. You seem to be moving the goalposts here and attempting to shift the burden of proof onto me by strawmanning an argument to me that I never made. Rather, you said that you have relevant scholarship going back 200 years that supports your side. Do you have it or not?

    In short, it was by no means a foregone conclusion that the passage of the 14th and 15th constrained state powers to regulate private possession of arms;.

    I politely and firmly disagree. It was a foregone conclusion to those at the time.

    Let me quote dicta from the infamous Dred Scott decision. Bolding added by me.
    https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/60/393/

    It cannot be supposed that they intended to secure to them rights, and privileges, and rank, in the new political body throughout the Union, which every one of them denied within the limits of its own dominion. More especially, it cannot be believed that the large slaveholding States regarded them as included in the word citizens, or would have consented to a Constitution which might compel them to receive them in that character from another State. For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police [60 U.S. 393, 417] regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety. It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went. And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both free and slaves, and inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the State.

    Please also look up the Freedman Bureau Bills, passed right after the Civil War during Reconstruction, and one of the primary aims of these bills was to protect the gun rights of the newly freed black Americans.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedmen%27s_Bureau_bills

    On July 16, 1866 Congress received another presidential veto message,[7] which Congress overrode later that day.[8] This congressional action extended the Freedmen’s Bureau, increased antipathy between President Johnson and Radical Republicans in Congress, and was a major factor during Reconstruction.[3] The Freedmen’s Bureau bill that passed in 1866 provided many additional rights to ex-slaves, including the distribution of land, schools for their children, and military courts to ensure these rights. The Freedmen’s Bureau Act gave ex-slaves “any of the civil rights or immunities belonging to white persons, including the right to…..inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold and convey real and personal property, and to have full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and estate, including the constitutional right of bearing arms.” This bill passed both House and Senate and they overrode the president’s veto. This was in response to the Southern Black Codes & the KKK and other groups who were taking guns away from freedmen.

    In July 1868, Congress voted to again extend the Freedmen’s Bureau,[9] but a couple weeks later decided to limit its functions to processing claims and supporting education.[10][11] Four years later, in June 1872, Congress voted to completely shut down the Freedmen’s Bureau by the end of that month.[12]

    Quoting Crip Dyke

    But for fuck’s sake, even if you disagree on the substance of 2A rights being enforceable against the states on some basis I haven’t considered and have never heard, PLEASE STOP SAYING THAT THE FOUNDERS WANTED TO ARM EVERYONE.

    They didn’t just want everyone to be armed (and by everyone I mean all able-bodied wihte male citizens between the ages of 17 and 45) – they went further than that. They required it by law. I keep citing it, and yet you seem to know nothing about it. Why? Have you read the Second Federal Militia Act of 1792? It was a federal law that placed an individual legal obligation on practically every able-bodied adult white male citizens between the ages of 17 and 45 to possession a certain type of gun, and ammunition, and a laundy list of military equipment.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_Acts_of_1792

    You’ve been told this before, and your inability to recognize the inapplicability of the word “everyone”

    And again, this is nitpicking, and in no way detracts from my overall argument. Also, I still don’t understand the huge outrage here. They didn’t consider non-white people and women to be “real people”, and that’s why they were excluded. If the founders had our progressive values today, surely the second federal militia act of 1792 would have included non-white people and women, and all people of all genders and gender-identities.

  67. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To Crip Dyke
    There’s quite a rich but of history around the Freedman’s Bureau bills and the 14th amendment. They were passed around the same time. The information is really fun. It’s just another angle of incredible evidence for my side. Why did you bring up this point when even a modicum of research would show that you are wrong?

    Check out the friend of the court filing from the “National African American Gun Association”. It’s fun reading. I haven’t yet vetted the sources, but it lines up with what I know from other sources, and I’ve never seen this bit of history denied, just like I’ve never seen a scholar from 200 years ago say that the second amendment was about something other than forbidding federal infringement of the common law right to keep and carry weapons.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/18/18-280/99410/20190513100136481_18-280%2520Amicus%2520Brief%2520of%2520National%2520African%2520American%2520Gun%2520Association%2520Inc.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwi5ueakm8bkAhUZ_GEKHfCjCbYQFjAAegQIAhAB&usg=AOvVaw1tKEhGoLrMsxjw6OPnSNGv

  68. KG says

    I see “GerrardOfTitanServer” still has exactly the same “You’re using ‘assault rifle’ wrong” bee buzzing around in his bonnet as “Enlightenment Liberal”. I’d bet all the others are there too.

  69. consciousness razor says

    If the founders had our progressive values today, surely the second federal militia act of 1792 would have included non-white people and women, and all people of all genders and gender-identities.

    But they weren’t so progressive. That’s just your blind faith in “the founders” talking, not reality or the law.
    Still, who would’ve guessed that a “well-regulated militia” meant universal healthcare coverage? (Not Republican/Glibertarian gun nuts, that’s for sure.)

    And be it further enacted, That if any person, whether officer or soldier, belonging to the militia of any state, and called out into the service of the United States, be wounded or disabled while in actual service, he shall be taken care of and provided for at the public expense.

    So where does that leave us? Those in the national guard might get special coverage even today. (I don’t know how special. They just get to enroll in selective insurance plans, with premiums and copays and all that, more or less like the rest of us.)
    But what about all of the other gun-toting people out there?
    Wait, never mind…. Although there may be something magical about having a murder stick, it doesn’t really mean a random citizen with one is “in actual service” for the country. And this was supposed to be “An Act more effectually to provide for the National Defence by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States.” Its provisions weren’t meant for just any random citizen who happens at some time to be armed with a gun, independently of serving in the militia, because its purpose was of course the national defense that the militia so constituted was meant to secure.
    This act is also not the second amendment, which they had apparently decided wasn’t effectual enough. Weren’t we talking about the second amendment?

  70. consciousness razor says

    Its provisions weren’t meant for just any random citizen who happens at some time to be armed with a gun, independently of serving in the militia,

    Like the people who were armed in the Whiskey Rebellion, for instance.

    Before troops could be raised, the Militia Act of 1792 required a justice of the United States Supreme Court to certify that law enforcement was beyond the control of local authorities.

    I guess things have changed a bit since then.

    On August 4, 1794, Justice James Wilson delivered his opinion that western Pennsylvania was in a state of rebellion.[90] On August 7, Washington issued a presidential proclamation announcing, with “the deepest regret”, that the militia would be called out to suppress the rebellion. He commanded insurgents in western Pennsylvania to disperse by September 1.
    […]
    Liberty poles were raised in various places as the militia was recruited, worrying federal officials. A liberty pole was raised in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on September 11, 1794.[98] The federalized militia arrived in that town later that month and rounded up suspected pole-raisers. Two civilians were killed in these operations. On September 29, an unarmed boy was shot by an officer whose pistol accidentally fired. Two days later, an “Itinerant Person” was “Bayoneted” to death by a soldier while resisting arrest (the man had tried to wrest the rifle from the soldier he confronted; it is possible he had been a member of a 500-strong Irish work crew nearby who were “digging, a canal into the Sculkill” [sic]; at least one of that work gang’s members protested the killing so vigorously that he was “put under guard”).[99] President Washington ordered the arrest of the two soldiers and had them turned over to civilian authorities. A state judge determined that the deaths had been accidental, and the soldiers were released.

    Or not. Things haven’t really changed, except that if it were up to President Swamp, the soldiers wouldn’t have been arrested in the first place.

  71. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To consciousness razor

    But they weren’t so progressive. That’s just your blind faith in “the founders” talking, not reality or the law.

    My brain hurts. I don’t know what to make of this. Of course I recognize that the founders did not share our progressive values. That’s why what I wrote was framed as a counter-factual, a hypothetical, e.g. “but if they did”. What you wrote here makes absolutely no sense as a response to what I wrote.

    I don’t understand what sort of argument you are making in the rest of post 77 and in post 78. I simply cited the second federal militia act as clear and compelling evidence that the founders wanted everyone to own a military gun because they passed a law that placed an individual personal legal obligation to own a military gun (and by everyone, I mean practically all able-bodied white adult male citizens between the ages of 17 and 45). I also cited the Federalist Paper which advocates for the creation of this sort of law.

    I can only assume that you believe I fit a particular stereotype, and consequently you’re not really reading what I’m writing and basing your responses appropriately, and instead you are operating on autopilot and writing responses to the stereotype which is not me. Could you please stop that and engage me instead of the stereotype? What you’re doing here is really quite shameful.

    If you could please try again, and explain more carefully and clearly what anything you just said has anything to do with what I just said – that would be a great help to me.

    PS:
    You still haven’t answered my questions about the same-county trial constitutional provision. I’m still waiting.

    KG
    Serious question. Why do you revel in willful incorrectness and ignorance? Why is it a point of pride to be wrong and to shit-talk others to tell you that you’re wrong?

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