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

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  •  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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