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View Diary: The Second Amendment is not a suicide pact (286 comments)

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  •  It's not necessarily JUST (17+ / 0-)

    the anti-"tyranny" nuts who are the problem here. There appear to be quite a few people who want to own (or be able to own if they chose to) military and law enforcement-grade firearms for other reasons, like:

    --Target shooting (or, let's face it, just plain shooting, because it's not like you're doing any sharpshooting with these things)

    --Collecting, for the sheer "pleasure" of it

    --Self-defense (against heavily armed burglers who always come in a group of 10, or those awful Mexican drug gangs with the AK-47s who break into midwestern ranch houses all the time)

    --Shooting varmints on their properties

    --Because they believe the 2nd amendment entitles them to it, period

    Well, taking these one at a time (and agreeing that the anti-tyrant thing is clearly nuts), I can see the "target" shooting thing. Meaning, I can see the fun in going out to a secure range and blowing dozens of holes in a watermelon or junk car or effigy of Osama bin Laden (if you're into that, which I'm not). But do you really need to own your own gun to do that, and do you need to store it at home when you're not doing that? I don't know where these people live but where I live there aren't any places where you can do this safely, sanely or legally. So why not restrict the storage of such guns to actual secure shooting ranges, i.e. the only places they can be safely, sanely or legally used?

    As for collecting, well, if you don't own your own firearm museum or are a licensed and qualified firearm repairer, then you need to start collecting other things. Like maybe antique tea cups or doilies--stuff that can't kill people.

    Self-defense? How about you defend yourself against your paranoia? NO ONE needs or can effectively use these things for self-defense.

    Varmints? I don't know much about those, but seriously, this is the best and safest way to take out the occasional coyote or badger who maybe wants to eat one of your cows? Ever heard of traps, barriers, poison, etc?

    And 2nd Amendment? Sorry, not seeing it. That's no more a justification to own these things than the 1st Amendment is for yelling fire in a theater.

    So I believe that while there are SOME valid reasons for SOME people to own SOME of these things under SOME very tight conditions, for the most part, it's basically just bored rural white men who've got to much time on their hands, and the occasionally genuine nutjob who wants to take out an ATF agent or Jose and his gang of marauding home invaders.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:58:35 PM PST

    •  Military/LE grade? (0+ / 0-)
      There appear to be quite a few people who want to own (or be able to own if they chose to) military and law enforcement-grade firearms for other reasons, like:
      Self-defense? How about you defend yourself against your paranoia? NO ONE needs or can effectively use these things for self-defense.
      What do you think the one of the most important purposes of a police officer's sidearm is? Yep, the officer's self-defense -- "law enforcement grade" weapons seem to be exactly what is in order for self defense.

      Also, what do you mean by "military grade" weapons?

      A weapon goes through a qualification process before being purchased/issued by the U.S. military. Very important aspects of this are reliability (such as, it doesn't jam too often), it's safe (such as, it doesn't fire when dropped), and it is sufficiently accurate for the purpose. Which one of these attributes are inappropriate for a self defense weapon? Do you think there is there some requirement to give the rapist in your home a "fighting chance" by yourself being restricted to an unreliable, inaccurate, and/or unsafe weapon?

      If by "military grade", you mean weapons with the capabilities of "military assault weapons", perhaps you don't understand a couple things. In the U.S., such weapons are highly regulated, very expensive (due to the regulations), rarely in the hands of civilians except LEOs, and used extraordinarily rarely in crimes except by active members of the military authorized to carry/use them by the U.S. military outside of the U.S.. So, these are simply not a very big problem -- current laws cover them and appear to be very effective.

      One example where automatic weapons were used domestically in a crime was the "North Hollywood shootout". In this case, the automatic weapons used were illegally modified and the two criminals appear to have lacked legal authority to own any automatic weapon so all the necessary laws were there to prevent this, all they needed was enforcement.

      •  Not sure what your point is here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WakeUpNeo

        That because LE needs such weapons, they should be allowed to carry them? Which I've never disagreed with, as opposed to civilians, who don't need them (and if you disagree, explain--shooting at melons in the forest is not a "need").

        Or that because I might be getting some technical aspects wrong, my overall point is therefore wrong? Because, again, what NEED does any civilian have for 30 round mags or clips or sniper-level firearms?

        If they're into precision target shooting, well, again, that's not a need, but a want, and that could easily be dealt with by requiring such weapons to be safely stored at approved gun ranges, not in homes.

        You're not going to take us down the silly path of how housewives NEED an AR-15 with 30 round mag to take out a gang of armed marauders, I hope.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:41:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  One point is... (0+ / 0-)

          ...that self defense is a clearly protected (by the Second Amendment) reason for "civilians" to have firearms (vs. "shooting at melons in the forest" which is probably not protected by the Second Amendment). Hence, if police carry a sidearm primarily for self-defense, it's hard to see how any citizen (sans felons and certified mentally deficient individual) shouldn't have easy access (as easy as voting or posting a comment on a blog - also rights enumerated in the Constitution) to those same weapons.

          To my knowledge, we don't have any controlling case law regarding if the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear weapons for the purpose of hunting. If it does, then possession of many "sniper" rifles would be protected and obviously keeping them on a range would be an 'infringement' of that right since I've never seen a live deer at a shooting range. Such an infringement would be as impermissible as requiring that all blog postings must be done at a government certified location after paying a "free speech center usage fee".

          Anyway, the Constitution is not about the government letting people do what they think the people "need" (that's the model in most of the rest of the world). It's about what rights the people have ceded to the government they formed and then elect representatives to manage those ceded rights. You don't "need" to post to DK -- so is it your position that the government can ban your from doing so?

          I don't know where I would draw the line on magazine capacities. Considering the confirmed right to self-defense, one rule of thumb in my mind would be that the capacity would need to be not less than that carried by local LEOs, but I'm not sure that is enough. I'm pretty sure the limit is north of ten rounds, but it is perhaps south of 30 rounds.

          If the people, via some interpretation of the Constitution (one I've not found), have ceded to the Federal government the ability to (perhaps hidden somewhere in Article 1 Section 8) restrict firearm ownership, only then can "need" matter - and even then the government is limited by the Second Amendment. The same logic of course can be applied to all the rights in the First Amendment (free speech, assembly, free press et al) so care should be exercised in over reaching.

          The "technical details" are very important. If one doesn't understand basic technical details one isn't competent to opine on those matters. Obviously they have the right to express their uninformed opinion, but they should generally expect to be ignored (sort of like the KKK has every right to spew their stupid views or creationists have the right to express their misinformed evolution is bunk, but I have no obligation to listen to them, respond to them or call the paramedics or render aid if I run across one of them having  a heart attack).

          •  I would suggest that your reading of the 2nd (0+ / 0-)

            amendment is quite mistaken. Nowhere does it refer to individual self-defense. It mentions only militias, which are official, "well-regulated" collective military groups (against rebel slaves, it turns out, not some armed mugger). So if anything, the individual right to own firearms for anything but service in a militia isn't protected by the 2nd. Of course, the courts have interpreted the 2nd more broadly, so this is all just academic.

            In any case, I've never understood the need for the 2nd. I thought the 9th protects all rights whether or not they're enumerated in the constitution. Otherwise, none of us would have the right to, say, wear hats, eat cheese or ride bicycles. The only rights we don't have, or which the government can limit or regulate, are those where it can demonstrate a valid public interest need to limit or take away those rights, like driving (limited to those with licenses subject to traffic laws) or selling drugs to a minor (not allowed at all).

            Which to me means that you can own and use whatever firearms you want, whether or not you need them, so long as the government doesn't restrict or prohibit them for valid public interest reasons that aren't outweighed by even more valid personal ownership and usage reasons. And to me this means that you can own a handgun for self-defense (or target shooting, or just collection), just not a high-capacity clip, which is a public safety risk that has no good use that justifies that risk. Or, you can own a rifle or shotgun for hunting, shooting, collection, etc., just not one that can be used to kill lots of people quickly.

            We can debate the specifics, but the general principle is that what you can and can't own, carry and use, and when and where, is constitutionally determined by balancing between your general right to own, do and say whatever you want on the one hand, and the public's right to a safe and well-functioning commons. And in my opinion, guns do not represent a special category of rights that doesn't exist for, say, cars, knives or solvents.

            I know that this must strike you as a radical reinterpretation of the 2nd, but it's the only one that makes sense to me, because I view the 2nd as an anachronism in today's world, as well as redundant and unnecessary. It was put in the Bill of Rights for very specific (and, in the instance, immoral) reasons, that are no longer relevant, like the 3rd, and no more give you unlimited rights to own firearms than does the 1st give me to say whatever I like whenever I like (e.g. yelling fire in a theater, which can be as lethal as shooting there).

            As for your claiming that if a cop can carry a certain weapon, so should you be able to, I don't really get the logic there. Cops can carry high-capacity automatic rifles, tasers, batons, handcuffs, stun grenades, pepper spray and compact shot guns. You're saying that you should be able to carry and use these too? For what reason that outweighs the public's right to be safe from people carrying such things, for which you have no real use?

            I can see why a handgun with a 10 round clip would be useful for some people for self-defense (although I'm personally dubious about that in most public situations). How does a 30 round clip make you any more capable of defending yourself, as opposed to shooting a lot of innocents, whether intentionally or accidentally? And should you be able to carry grenades, which SWAT teams do, or dress up in riot gear when you go to the store?

            Basically, 2nd or no 2nd, gun rights are essentially the same as all other rights, subject to legitimate restriction based on demonstrable public interest and safety needs. And since by their very nature no gun is completely safe, where the line is drawn gets fuzzy and even silly, I'd say that it gets drawn at the point where public safety needs exceeds individual needs. E.g. for a handgun to be useful it needs some rounds in the clip. 10 seems reasonable. No one needs more than that for self-defense, and I suppose that for target shooting you could use high-capacity clips, but only at a range (and I'm guessing that fatigue and cost limit their use even there). But in public, no one needs 30 round clips, and they only make the public less safe, for no good reason.

            It's like cars. Most people need them, even though they can be dangerous, so we're allowed to drive them, safely and up to certain speeds. But no one needs to drive them at 150mph, a speed at which they become extremely dangerous, so we're not allowed to, except on tracks.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:59:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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