Oh my goodness . . . a can of worms pointedly opened . . .
Craven de Kere wrote:
- I don't understand the disproportionate (relative to other nations) passion that resonates in the US against gun control.
If one looks at the history of "visits" to the Second Amendment and the provisions in the Constitution, Article One, Section Eight, by Federal Courts up to an including the Supremes, it appears that these issues have only arisen (in legal venues, at least) since the late 19th century. It is my sense of the history of the controversy that the anti-gun control attitude has only been formulated within the last century, and that the first stirrings of a "pro-gun lobby" originally revolved around the concept of "a . . . militia." The lapsus
in that expression in quotes is intentional--members of the anti-gun control lobby don't like to consider the concept of "a well-regulated militia," they only want to raise a controversy over the concept of all citizens being the members of a militia, and CdK later takes up an aspect of their attitudes which relate to it. I have in other threads linked extensively the Federal court decisions (from Find Law-dot-com pages) relative to gun control, and won't reprise them here. The earliest of which i know regarded an Illinois militia statute which was challenged, unsuccessfully, in the late 1880s. The Supremes had two points to make--the first and most important from a juridical point of view is that the Second Amendment only binds the Federal Government, and does not necessarily bind the Several States; the second was that insofaras the Illinois militia statute only regulated participation in a militia, while not prohibiting such participation nor otherwise restricting it to any class of people, it did not infringe anyone's right to a member of a well-regulated militia.
That perhaps explains the mania of gun supporters to fail to mention, or to ignore altogether the first clause of the Second Amendment: A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a Free State . . .
I believe that gun control only works on a macroeconomic scale. Only through starving the market does it result in effective reduction of crime.
I don't quite understand including this remark--it seems to me that gun control legislation has only that intent.
I think culture is a greater control than is mere law. A gun-lovin' nation won't be easily rid of guns through law.
Agreed--and i see no valid constitutional argument to impair the right of the Several States or of the Congress to regulate guns. Article One, Section Eight (the powers of the Congress) reads, in part:
(Congress shall have the right . . . ) To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Althoug a gun-proponent here once denied it when i posted it, i have since found at Find Law-dot-com that the Supremes have indeed stated that they denied an argument from the Second Amendment on the basis of knowing of no provision of the Congress that a certain type of firearm (in that example, a shotgun with a barrel of less than 18" inches--a "sawed-off shotgun") was prescribed for the militia.
I think "protection against tyranny" as a pro-gun argument is bankrupt in the modern realm of weaponry. The destructive power of the most awesome weapons no sane person (except me, I think any legitimate government should have nukes and that I deserve one of my own to play with) wants in the average citizen's hands. The existence of said weapons in the government's hands negates any protection against government tyranny that sidearms may have provided citizens in an age of the gunman.
Very much to the point. The overt agenda of many gun proponents is that they need their weapons as a part of the general citizen militia--but the likelihood that the Congress will call on citizens generally under provisions of Article One, Section Eight ([Congress shall have the power . . .] To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
) is remote, if not actually absurd. I cannot conceive of the Congress calling on citizens in general to enforce the law, suppress insurrections or repel invasions--citizens in general are not equipped or train for the functions, and police and military organizations are.
The covert agenda is what CdK has referred to here, that people need their weapons as a protection against tyrrany. If the Feds come for them, they'll have machine pistols, gas canister launchers, flak jackets, kevlar helmets, armored personnel carriers, helicopters, and a host of other sophisticated and lethal equipment--you ain't gonna stop 'em with your Smith and Wesson.
I think the "if guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns" argument is a worthless rhetorical flourish. The statement is true by definition of the terms (e.g. "if chewing gum is made illegal only criminals will chew gum", "if doing x is made illegal only criminals will do x") involved and is merely wordplay.
That should go without saying, but sadly, it was necessary for your to say it.
I believe guns can be enjoyed responsibly by responsible individuals.
Agreed, and i'd say obvious.
I don't really care what the constitution says about guns, and how people try to interpret it. I don't formulate my opinion after what the constitution says. The only influence the constitution has on me is the furtherance of the realization that gun control is not gonna happen anytime soon due to the majority needed to amend it.
I personally consider it important to the polity to proceed from legal arguments; as i have pointed out, i see no reason to believe that gun control does any violence to the letter or the spirit of the Constitution.
like guns (and all other use of aim and projectiles).[/quote]
Me too . . . and i'm damned good at. I qualified expert with the M14 rifle (84 of 88 targets, using only 88 rounds of the 92 provided me--i used the additional six rounds to knock down targets in the adjoining lane at the rifle range, because that poor sap would never have qualified if i hadn't shot down six of his targets; in retrospect, i don't know that i was really doing him any favor), but i only managed to qualify with the M16, a weapon i don't hold in high regard. I took light infantry weapons to avoid KP, and qualified with the M1911A1A automatic pistol, the .38 calibre revolver, the M60 machine gun and grenade launchers--i even got to fire a LAW once, that was totally cool!
I think that owning guns can be restricted while still allowing for the sporting use of guns (done in many places).
Handguns only have two plausible uses--shooting people with intent to kill, or target shooting. I see no reason to deny hand guns to the populace (necessarily, not by definition), but from a pragmatic point of view, i consider that banning hand guns would be a good thing, and see not reason why the Several States or the Congress cannot do that legally.
The other only plausible reason is target competition. I think it entirely plausible to restrict handgun ownership for that purpose to those who can show participation in target shooting groups, and who are willing to put their firearms in safe deposit, to be withdrawn only on application and only for the purposes of practice or competition.
[quote[I think the notion that guns in the hands of the citizen having much influence on violent crime either way is generally distorted by proponents of either side. No guns won't make violence go away, and armed citizens certainly don't have much effect either.[/quote]
The Big Bird addresses this--hand guns are only effective when properly used by people with training and experience. The notion of hand guns being a weapon of the militia is ludicrous. For military purposes, if you are using a hand gun, you have already let your enemy get too damned close.
I don't get why it's so hotly debated in the US. There's not much of a chance for legitimate gun control happening any time soon. I think gun control can be employed reasonably and think most American arguments against gun control are unconvincing (with the rest of them being devoted to debunking the liberties of evangelism on the other side of the fence) but there's just no way in hell that gun control can effectively be pulled off stateside right now.
I think most of the gun proponent hysteria arises form the "thin end of the wedge" argument--and is silly.
While I'm pro-gun, pretty much, and have owned and been around guns since I was a little kid, I think its absurd motor vehicles and alcoholic beverages effectively are under stricter control in the US than are guns and ammunition. Frankly, I have no problem with firearms registration and licensing, and I strongly favor standardized training with a demonstration of practical competency being a requirement for gun ownership - even to the point of different categories of licensing for blak powder/primitive firearms, pistols, and long guns, much as individual licenses are required to operate motorcycles, automobiles, and commercial vehicles. Guns/gun ownership isn't the problem; the problem is untrained, irresponsible gun users.
Precisely--guns are dangerous when used stupidly and/or without proper training and a due regard for safety. Recently, gun proponents have waxed lyrical over Steven Harper's conservative government in Canada because they eliminated the long gun registry. These folks ignore that the hand gun registry is still in place, and that even long guns are carefully regulated and ownership restricted. (You can't go to a gun show in Canada and fill the back of your pick-up with guns you bought privately from private individuals--but you can in the US.) As i remarked above, hand guns only have two purposes, and most folks ain't lookin' to target shoot. I agree with CdK that meaningful gun control legislation doesn't look like happening anytime soon in the US. I also think that strict hand gun control is reasonable, and a measure of social sanity.
On that basis, 'Mericans are gun crazy.