Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gun Control: Always Making the Wrong Arguments Regarding the Law

In this post, I am not referring to the lawyers who are representing the Forces of Evil.[1] I am presuming that they are all competent, even if they are almost always on the losing side. I am referring, instead, to the public arguments.[2]

The most common argument that the gun-control advocates make is that firearms ownership should at least be as controlled by the sate as motor vehicle ownership. This is a false argument because nobody has ever successfully argued (so far as I know) that anyone has a right to drive or own a car. States are usually very clear about this: The license to drive a car is a privilege that is granted by the state and, when the state so desires, can be revoked.[3]

Any discussion about gun control has to start by acknowledging this truth: In the United States (and in most individual states), citizens have a constitutionally guaranteed right to possess firearms. It it not a collective right, it is an individual right. It is a right that appears in the Bill of Rights. You have the right to publish a newsletter and you have the right to own a gun. Period.

When a government seeks to restrict the expression of a constitutional right, it has to come up with a pretty good reason. For example, you have the right to speak your mind, but if you do it by mounting a set of speakers on your car and driving through, you're probably going to end up sitting in the back of a police road car. In First Amendment jargon, those are known as "time manner and place" restrictions.

The problem, of course, is that there is a lengthy history of First Amendment litigation that has fleshed out what the government can and cannot restrict.[4] Second Amendment cases are a modern development. So what the governments, Federal and state, can do to regulate the right of the people to possess weapons will be filled out over the next few decades

It is worth noting that the Bill of Rights is largely concerned with what the Founders thought was necessary to preserve a free republic. That is why they wrote guarantees against the restriction of speech, the promotion of a state religion, searches without a judge's OK, forced interrogations, confinement without trial, trial without counsel, cruel and unusual punishment and the quartering of soldiers in private homes into the Bill of Rights.[5]

If we are going to have a meaningful discussion on gun control, the advocates of gun confiscation and banning control are going to have to confront the reality that possession of a firearm is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. And, to be blunt, they are going to have to come up with an argument more cogent than "zOMG!!!1!! Oh, the Humanity, Shootingz!!!!1!!!"[6]

Which they really haven't been doing. Their lies and fear-mongering are on full display in every debate on concealed carry laws, they've been spreading the same bilge for over 25 years and they've been proven wrong time and again.[7]

And so, they keep on losing the argument. Which is fine with me.
_________________________
[1] The Brady Campaign, The D.C. Government, the City of Chicago and the mayors Against All Guns, for starters.
[2] I am also not referring to the idiots who argue that the NRA, an organization with over four million members, represents the gun industry. They don't have to, gun makers have their own organizations.
[3] This is different from a right to travel, which seems to be generally accepted. That right does not extend to the means, which is why the lovable thugs at the DBP
[4] Which is why you get "money equals speech" rulings from the Supremes.
[5] As far as I know, there are no cases on the scope of the Third Amendment.
[6] Especially since it is easy to find cases of mass slaughter in countries that have banned firearms. The killers just resort to more primitive weaponry.
[7] If you follow the gun-banners' logic, the streets of Vermont, which has allowed carrying concealed weapons without permits for almost forever, should be running with blood.

4 comments:

Eck! said...

The biggest Issue I have with the gun banners is they as a general whole seem to lack critical thinking. They want it fixed having no idea that
crime is committed by criminals who by definition
ignore or flaunt law and civil conventions.

I can apply that same argument to booze and cars.
We banned one once and the other is a privilege
yet we have drunks who are many time DUI visitors
to the courts still on the street, DUI and often
killing or maiming. So with the same irrational
logic we needs to keep high powered cars from
getting into the hands of drunks, after all who
needs a car with more than four cylinders or 50 horsepower. After all you don't need more than that to commute to work with!

If that sounds silly.. its because it is.


Eck!

CenterPuke88 said...

I have quite mixed feelings these days on the whole thing. There really is little "need" for an AR-15 and a 100-round magazine...but I am lothe to let any government start banning things. Not I said little need, I understand it's fun to shot, etc...I liked my SKS, but I got tired of it and sold it off to a co-worker.

On the flip side, the whole armed people in the theater would have prevented this is likely a crock of shit. If there had been more than one armed citizen in the theater, I suspect that some citizens would have ended up shooting it out with each other in the confusion.

Lets look at the problems:

1) Dark and smokey, with likely tear gas to fight. Thus you really need a gun with night sights (for the dark), and are still gonna have a bitch of a time aiming through the tears.

2) Muzzle flashes and confusion, where to shoot? Shoot at the muzzle flashes, and you might just take out armed citizen Baker instead of masked gunman.

3) Has citizen Able been trained to consider penetration? Where is the shooter and who is behind him. If you shoot and miss, are your bullets going into the next theater. Lets remember that Good Samartian Laws don't cover you shooting the 5-year old kid one theater over because you either missed the target or were carrying an overpowered load.


I think both sides of this debate are being silly...there has to be a way of stopping more (not all, you can never stop all) nut-jobs from getting so heavily armed without threatening gun ownership. I think the University is in hot water for ignoring the counselor report of danger because he wasn't their problem anymore. I know, moderate is a bad word now...to both sides. But EBM is very correct in that if the gun grabbing crowd was willing to compromise and give up that goal and instead try for safety, it would cripple the NRA opposition to some meaningful safety action.

Evil Brad said...

Up here in Canada, gun owners don't have recourse to the "constitutional freedom" argument to defend our pastimes from the anti-gun lobby. Registering one's gun very much is the equivalent of registering one's car. Not an onerous burden. But the key difference is that the people who want me to register my car don't have a long-term agenda to ban all cars.
Our only defence against the hoplophobes is to rationally point out the costs of any particular restriction on firearms ownership, and hope for the best on the legislative side. Theirs is the emotional side of the argument, not ours.
We seem to have had some success this year, with the dismantling of our idiotic long-gun registry.

Earl said...

The Constitution added the Bill of Rights to limit the power of the government to RULE against what were at that time Rights from the Creator, which never was the Congress. That whole concept is alien to current thought. What always works for me is that Murder, assault and injury to persons or property remain an crime that everyone, except lawyers, can agree on. Now if you have someone that wants to break those laws, there will never be enough notice to stop them or their choice of weapons. Look at all our success in suppressing terrorist Bombers.