Why The Gun Debate Is Irresponsible, Part 6,798: We’re Not Discussing Gun Laws That Address THIS Kind of Conduct

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There are some strangely missing laws that would prevent many gun deaths, by making the irresponsible handling of guns illegal. They wouldn’t be opposed by the anti-gun lobby, I hope, because they have nothing to do with restricting gun ownership and possession. They are simple, obvious, and consistent with jurisprudence in other areas of the law. Yet nobody is talking about these measures, because the debate has already been pitched at a hysterical level characterized by over-reach, exaggeration, demonization and polarizing rhetoric. When a policy controversy reaches this decibel level, nobody listens, and nobody can think. Everyone adding to the volume—grand-standing politicians, screaming talking heads, phobics on one side (“ARRRRH!!! GUUUUNS!!!) and paranoids (“They want to take our guns and make us their slaves!!”) is responsible for keeping rationality at bay, and contributing to future tragedies like this one:

From The Mail Online…

“A 19-year-old woman accidentally shot dead her brother while posing with a gun for Facebook photos on New Year’s Eve. Manuel Ortiz died instantly after being shot in the head at about 6am on Monday morning….Police said 22-year-old Ortiz and his sister Savannah Ramirez arrived back at the home they shared on New Year’s Eve after spending the night drinking. They were with two other people when someone in the group pulled out the handgun to take photos with it.

“As the 19-year-old posed and played around with the weapon it went off striking Ortiz in the head… He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“It is not known if the group knew the handgun was loaded….

“Police say she has been questioned and released pending further investigation in the case….Phoenix Police Sgt Steve Martos said the victim’s sister would likely be charged with manslaughter if tests conclude she had alcohol in her system.”

What’s wrong with this story?

This: What do you mean, Sgt. Martos, that “the victim’s sister would likely be charged with manslaughter if tests conclude she had alcohol in her system?”  She’s guilty of manslaughter whether she was drunk or not, or should be. She was either playing with a gun, not knowing how to properly use a gun,  while knowing it was loaded and deadly, or without ascertaining whether it was loaded and deadly, which is just as bad. Yes, this is an accident, in the sense that it was not intentional, but it was the result of criminal recklessness, ignorance and stupidity by everyone in the room—conduct, in other words. The gun didn’t kill on its own. Elsewhere in the story, Matos sadly reflects on how she will have to live with the fact that she killed her brother, with the unstated conclusion, “she’s been punished enough.” No, she hasn’t. And if the laws were severe enough on people who do what she did prior to killing her brother, as well as the gun owners and others who allow people to do what she did, her brother might be alive today.

I see no reason why there shouldn’t be tough national laws that decree that:

  • Handling a loaded gun, legal and licensed or not, without proper training is a criminal offense, carries stiff fines and the possibility of jail time;
  • Playing with, fooling around with, or otherwise using a gun, yours or anyone else’s, for any purpose other than its intended and legal purposes is similarly illegal;
  • Anyone who allows a person who is untrained, unlicensed or otherwise unqualified to hold and handle a gun not belonging to them will be fined and/or imprisoned for doing so, whether any harm comes from the incident or not;
  • Anyone who is present when an individual who is untrained, unlicensed or otherwise unqualified to hold and handle a gun does so is required by law to 1) leave the premises and 2) immediately report the incident to the police, with failure to do either constituting a criminal act, make such individual legally co-responsible for any illegal conduct or harm that occurs;
  • Anyone who owns a gun and is negligent in storing, securing, and otherwise preventing the possession, handling or use of that gun is jointly and criminally responsible for any crimes or harm to individuals or property that result from the use of the weapon. Negligence will be defined as “if the wrong person gets a hold of the gun or guns, the owner is negligent, no matter what measures he or she took to prevent it”—that is, strict liability.  If someone gets to use a gun that belongs to you, you are responsible, and it doesn’t matter if you had the gun completely disassembled in a bank safe guarded  by a fire-breathing dragon. This would mean that the gun-owning mother of the Sandy Hook shooter, had she not been shot dead by her deranged son before he went on his murderous rampage, would have faced murder charges for allowing a disturbed young man and her legally acquired guns to be under the same roof.

Too harsh? Hardly. Nobody on either side of the gun divide denies that guns can be deadly, and the obvious first step toward minimizing the frequency with which guns are deadly in unproductive ways is to place appropriate responsibility squarely on the shoulders of gun owners to prevent irresponsible conduct involving their guns. You want your Second Amendment rights? Fine. But nothing in the Second Amendment says that you should not be required, on pain of imprisonment, to avoid letting criminals, madmen, children and fools cause death, tragedy and mayhem with your gun.

Dealing with gun violence in the United States could and should be an exercise in collaborative problem-solving, not hysterical finger-pointing. The combatants who refuse to acknowledge that are getting people killed.

__________________________

Facts and Graphic: Daily Mail

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

59 thoughts on “Why The Gun Debate Is Irresponsible, Part 6,798: We’re Not Discussing Gun Laws That Address THIS Kind of Conduct

  1. How about adding to the list of prohibitions handling a firearm while intoxicated? I’m a big time libertarian, so I believe in a lot of individual rights, but I also believe that with those rights comes a lot of personal responsibility.

  2. I don’t much like these rules.

    The the first rule says you can’t handle a gun without proper training, and the third rule would essentially prohibit all training. Rule 4 invites all kinds of abuses by imposing criminal penalties for failure to act in a situation that is not of your making — as written it would even penalize people who try to stop unsafe gun handling instead of leaving and reporting it. And it applies even if no unsafe handling occurs, yet it does nothing to penalize unsafe gun handling by people who are licensed and trained. And Rule 5’s strict liability has no business in criminal law. It creates crimes that have no mens rea component, punishing people for crimes they have no intent to commit.

    Granted, some of these are drafting issues, and I know what you mean, but gun laws are often not implemented in good faith, so the devil is in the details.

    What I’d like to see in any gun control laws — to encourage good faith interpretation — is to apply them to all civilian government employees. If your city wants to have a “reasonable” permit requirement to own a gun and then another “reasonable” permit requirement to carry a gun, don’t exempt police officers from the requirement. Make them jump through the same hoops as everybody else, and make the permitting process first-come first-served.

    (Would your fourth and fifth rules apply to police departments? Would cops witness other cops mishandling guns face criminal penalties for not reporting them? Or will their having had the training make it OK? If a cop commits a murder with his service weapon, will everyone who put the gun in his hand — his supervisor, the police chief, the mayor — all go to jail?)

    Note that police officers and other civilian government employees who have to drive for their job are required to get the same driver’s licenses as everyone else. This keeps the system honest.

    • Well, but they aren’t rules, they are the objectives of potential laws that aren’t drafted yet. If I was going to draft air-tight laws adressing these issues, I’d be working on the post for a month. Obviously one would draft a law relating to #4 to not apply in training situations; one can always interpret a statement to mean what is obviously not intended, but that’s hardly a fair criticism.

      The point is, make irresponsible gun handling penalties harsh and wide-ranging enough that everyone who owns a gun or sees one is on notice: screw up, or participate in anyone else screwing up, and you’re toast. The fact that laws are not well drafted or written in good faith is an argument for writing better laws, not avoiding laws altogether.

      Why are you so concerned about government workers? That said, sure: I think there should be harsh penalties for allowing police guns to be stolen or used by an unauthorized party.

      Would your fourth and fifth rules apply to police departments? Why not?
      Would cops witness other cops mishandling guns face criminal penalties for not reporting them? Sure.
      If a cop commits a murder with his service weapon, will everyone who put the gun in his hand — his supervisor, the police chief, the mayor — all go to jail? I don’t think this applies to the post, which involves either misuse of weapons by those authorized to have them, or people being allowed to misuse weapons they shouldn’t have access to. If a cop commits murder with his own gun, then I don’t see any of this applying.

      But you don’t think the fools hanging around while the girl was playing with a loaded gun are culpable? I sure do, just as “friends who let friends drive drunk” are culpable. I have no problem with requiring citizens to stop deadly conduct or report it, or share the penalties for what results.

      • I think they’re culpable in a moral sense, but I’m not convinced that should be backed up with criminal penalties. And how are people who aren’t trained in safe gun handling supposed to recognize unsafe handing? How will they know the gun is loaded? In this case it may have been obvious, but there will be a lot of murky cases. Either the prosecution will have a lot to prove about what the defendant should know about gun handling, or the law will have to wave away the requirements for such proof. Either way is troublesome and open to abuse and selective prosecution.

        I feel the same about friends who let friends drive drunk. It’s a bad idea, but I don’t think it should be a criminal offense. And the same knowledge issues arise. I personally drink very little and very rarely, and I don’t spend much time around people who drink a lot, so I have no idea how to judge if someone is too drunk to drive. Obviously, I can spot the staggering drunks, but I have no clue how to spot people just a little over the legal limit. Should I count their drinks? Well, my personal limit if I’m planning to drive is one drink. Should I call the police on anyone who drinks more than that?

        Giving cops and prosecutors the power to punish people in situations like this seems ripe for abuse. My concern about government employees is because the willingness of cops and prosecutors to apply these rules to themselves is a good indication of whether they will act in good faith.

        • My concern about government employees is because the willingness of cops and prosecutors to apply these rules to themselves is a good indication of whether they will act in good faith.

          That is a great idea.

          Suppose that “Anyone who owns a gun and is negligent in storing, securing, and otherwise preventing the possession, handling or use of that gun [was] jointly and criminally responsible for any crimes or harm to individuals or property that result from the use of the weapon” during the Kandahar massacre?

          What sentence should President Barack Obama serve?

  3. There needs to be some kind of punishment in this case. She should serve time in prison for what happened. The leftist want to undermine the second amendment by any means necessary. As their political logic goes all guns are responsible, so therefore all guns need to be banned. It’s never about the culpability of the individual.

    • In Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), the Supreme Court held that “wealth or fee paying has, in [their] view, no
      relation to voting qualifications; the right to vote is too precious,
      too fundamental to be so burdened or conditioned.” 383 U.S. at 370

      Insurance restrictions would unduly burden the right to keep and bear arms. Wealth and fee paying has no relation to arms bearing qualifications.

      • You’re laws are unenforceable. Who is to determine if an act is unsafe? You? Just the act of handling a weapon is inself unsafe. You have to be alert and cautious at all times when handing a weapon.

        As to holding the people around someone liable if that person is doing something unsafe and hurts someone that’s idiotic. Do you expect a group of people to tell the IDIOT with the loaded weapon to stop what he is doing? That’s a good way to get shot.

        How about we just do this.

        All citizens of the republic must take weapons training to purchase a weapon.

        All people who get a concealed carry permit must qualify with that weapon at an approved facility.

        All weapons must be sold with trigger locks.

        Anyone convicted of the killing or wounding of another person while handling a weapon in an unsafe manner will have their trigger fingers removed .

        • Who’s to determine? The laws define it, that’s all. That’s routine. UNSAFE: letting anyone other than the owner hold a gun Letting a child hold a gun. Shooting a gun in the air. Using a gun as a hammer, Brandishing a loaded gun. Owning a gun without knowing how to use it safely. Leaving a gun stored while loaded. Participating in group horseplay involving a gun. Pointing a gun at someone in just. Using a gun while intoxicated. Storing a gun where it is accessible to irresponsible parties.

          How hard is this?

          • Where there is a will, there is a way. I wonder how much of this hand-wringing was done when deciding about bank security, HIPAA, or any other concern that involves adhering to principles? Why does the discussion of gun safety always seem to devolve to someone finding slippery ground? While one can hold out the sign of “common sense” in other areas, such as driving without being drunk, in this one, suddenly, there is no solution because of the crazies, the unlawful, the stupid, the whatever. It seems entirely reasonable that we should be able to find “common sense wording” that will address irresponsible handling of a weapon that does not reach up to the absurd as Michael suggested. However, I also realize that sadly, even when this has been accomplished, there will still be an infinite number of ways a life will be carelessly, unnecessarily snuffed out.

            • Driving while drunk is a good example of why common sense wording is a slippery slope. There was common sense wording for DWIs. When that failed to secure convictions, completely ridiculous language was put in instead. (It’s illegal pretty much everywhere now to have a certain machine extrapolate how much alcohol is in your mouth, no matter if it doesn’t relate to blood alcohol level or impairment.)

          • I grew up handing guns. So my grandfather teaching me to shoot would be against the law? And a weapon that is stored unloaded is a useless weapon for self defence. When you need a loaded weapon you need it NOW not five seconds from now.

            • As I said (and said, and said), I’m not drafting the law. Obviously teaching someone to use a gun is a proper and appropriate use of a gun—supervision. I think storing guns loaded should trigger (har!) strict liability.

              All that said, teaching YOU to use a gun is per se dangerous. What was your grandfather thinking?

              • I think storing guns loaded should trigger (har!) strict liability.

                I have issues with strict liability. Consider this scenario.

                Suppose a gun owned by the Secret Service is stolen and used in a murder. Currently, a showing of at least negligence is required to hold third parties (like the Secret Service agent who had possessed the gun) criminally responsible. Thus, if the Secret Service agent left his loaded service weapon at a crowded bar, he would be liable due to negligence. If the Secret Service agent was struck by an ambusher wielding a tire iron and the weapon stolen, it would not establish criminal liability on the agent’s part.

                If strict liability was in play, and the weapon was “completely disassembled in a bank safe guarded by a fire-breathing dragon”, then the agent in charge of the bank safe, and everyone up the chain of command, including the Director of the Secret Service and the President of the United States, would be criminally liable regardless of whatever measures they took to prevent the theft of Secret Service weapons.

                Strict liability also raises constitutional concerns. It would create risk of legal liability for merely bearing arms, and as such would be an infringement on the Second Amendment. Requiring negligence as an element, by contrast, would not create such risk- a negligent act must be made by the bearer of arms before criminal liability could attach.

              • My grandfather taught me to hunt using a shot gun. Now the Marines taught me how to shoot and to this day I can hit something at 500 yards easily with an open site and no scope.

  4. Negligence will be defined as “if the wrong person gets a hold of the gun or guns, the owner is negligent, no matter what measures he or she took to prevent it”—that is, strict liability.

    Can’t agree. The most I could countenance is the reversal of the burden of proof. You’re assumed negligent unless you can prove beyond reasonable doubt that you’re not.

    Strict liability leads to obvious injustices, and thereby brings the law into disrepute. It is a kludge, a sometimes unfortunate necessity when proof of a mens rea is impossible. It is unethical unless an utterly unimpeachable case can be made for its necessity.

    I don’t see that bar having been reached here.

    Case in point :
    http://www.thisissurreytoday.co.uk/Ex-soldier-faces-jail-handing-gun/story-12659234-detail/story.html

    Note that the public outcry at this was so fierce it forced a change to the law, and quashing of the charge.

    • Strict liability leads to occasional injustices which result from unethical prosecuting practices. None of my suggested principles would apply to someone turning over a gun to authorities, which isn’t “mishandling” a gun. I think strict liability should be used rarely for the reasons you cite, but guns are a perfect use for it. The analogy would be the strict liability that attaches to keeping a wild animal in your home.

      • I think strict liability should be used rarely for the reasons you cite, but guns are a perfect use for it

        I oppose strict liability in criminal law unless such laws can meet strict scrutiny as defined by U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence.

        Mens rea as an element of criminal law is so deeply rooted in our nation’s history and tradition that its protections may very well be a fundamental right under substantive due process, and abrogation of such may require strict scrutiny.

        Wholly apart from constitutional issues, had your idea about strict liability been in place when Amadou Diallo was shot to death, Mayor Rudy Guiliani may very well be in prison. Had it been in place during the Kandahar Massacre, President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta would have been impeached.

    • Can’t agree. The most I could countenance is the reversal of the burden of proof. You’re assumed negligent unless you can prove beyond reasonable doubt that you’re not.

      Which would overturn centuries of American criminal jurisprudence.

      • How so? It’s not “not negligent until proven guilty.” Like all the other elements of a crime, it would have to be proven that the individual, for example, allowed an unauthorized person to get control of a gun, with failure of security being statutorily ruled out as a defense unless it is shown that the measures were reasonable under the circumstances. Example: keeping guns locked in a house where a crazy kid lives is unreasonable.
        Again, I’m not drafting the laws, I’m pointing out that the laws we should be considering ought to focus on conduct, not guns.

        • How so? It’s not “not negligent until proven guilty.” Like all the other elements of a crime, it would have to be proven that the individual, for example, allowed an unauthorized person to get control of a gun, with failure of security being statutorily ruled out as a defense unless it is shown that the measures were reasonable under the circumstances. Example: keeping guns locked in a house where a crazy kid lives is unreasonable.

          So you are backtracking from strict liability, which would mean guilt even if reasonable measures were taken.

          Of course, the prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant failed to take the reasonable measures.

  5. I think you bring some healthy discussion points that deserve more attention. Would these suggested laws also address guns that do not have such clear ownership, or those that have been altered, modified, or which have had serial numbers scratched away?

  6. Interesting approach, but I disagree with it. It still smacks of paternalism. Sure, mishandling guns is a stupid idea that puts people at risk, but stupid people put themselves and others at risk all the time – why is it any different with a gun? The cause of death was stupidity – hers, for pointing the gun at his head, his for allowing her to, the other party goers for pulling out a gun when they were all drunk. But if they couldn’t keep in mind the greater threat of “I could kill someone” at the time, why on earth do you think they would remember the lesser threat of “I could go to jail?”

    No matter how nice it would be, no matter how many lives it would save, no matter how much we want to, we can’t start making stupidity illegal – we’d all be wanted men within a week.

    • Well, law smacks of paternalism. Assuming that we are unsatisfied with “anything goes,” and I know libertarians are, then you either regulate the gun itself, or conduct with the gun. It makes a lot more sense, and steers clear of the 2nd Amendment, to focus on punishing irresponsible behavior.

      “Sure, mishandling guns is a stupid idea that puts people at risk, but stupid people put themselves and others at risk all the time”
      Come on—this is Ethics Alarms, “Everybody does it” is rebuked a thousand times as the ultimate rationalization, and you still write this?

      “– why is it any different with a gun?’
      Uh, because stpid behavior involving ham sandwiches doesn’t kill so many people?

      “The cause of death was stupidity – hers, for pointing the gun at his head, his for allowing her to, the other party goers for pulling out a gun when they were all drunk.’
      Threats of harsh punishment has always been the most effective way of controlling the stupid—look at religion. They might not be able to figure out what conduct is wrong, but they can remember what will happen if they do it.

      “But if they couldn’t keep in mind the greater threat of “I could kill someone” at the time, why on earth do you think they would remember the lesser threat of “I could go to jail?”
      Obviously because they are at risk of going to jail the second they come in contact with the gun. She wasn’t thinking about shooting her brother, if she had been, this wouldn’t have happened. We can make here worry about something else.

      “No matter how nice it would be, no matter how many lives it would save, no matter how much we want to, we can’t start making stupidity illegal – we’d all be wanted men within a week.”

      Most criminal laws are aimed at the very stupid—criminals are overwhelmingly stupid. Stupid is deadly. We aren’t outlawing stupid, we’re outlawing the things stupid people do unless you make it obvious even to them that it’s a bad bet.

      • ” ‘– why is it any different with a gun?’
        Uh, because stupid behavior involving ham sandwiches doesn’t kill so many people?”

        Thank you for my morning’s “laugh out loud” moment!

      • “Everybody does it” is indeed a bad justification for unethical behavior – but you’re discussing law here. When I say “stupid people do stupid things all the time” I am not seeking to justify mishandling a gun simply because everyone else does stupid stuff, but rather that passing laws to prevent this particular brand of stupidity is an exercise in futility at best. If you try to make “the things stupid people do unless you make it obvious even to them it’s a bad bet,” you’ll never run out of things to make illegal. Furthermore, those stupid people will still be three steps ahead of the law, finding new and innovative ways to harm themselves and others. Law can’t fix stupidity.

        And actually, as I look at the statistics from 2010, a person seems to be 13 times more likely to be harmed or killed by some form of poisoning than guns, so that stupidity involving the ham sandwich may well prove to be more dangerous than stupidity involving a gun.

        • “If you try to make “the things stupid people do unless you make it obvious even to them it’s a bad bet,” you’ll never run out of things to make illegal. Furthermore, those stupid people will still be three steps ahead of the law, finding new and innovative ways to harm themselves and others. Law can’t fix stupidity.”

          1. This slippery slope is easily fixed—concentrate on inexcusable stupidity that kills people. Driving drunk is stupid too.
          2-3. Huh? Stupid people CAN’t stay ahead of anything, because they are stupid.

          I don’t know where you are getting that poisoning stat. These are the FBI statistics on deaths. If “being harmed” by “poison” is being used to offset being shot by a gun, I think that’s pretty silly.

          Weapons 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
          Total 14,965 15,087 14,916 14,224 13,636
          Total firearms: 10,158 10,225 10,129 9,528 9,146
          Handguns 7,565 7,836 7,398 6,800 6,452
          Rifles 445 438 453 380 348
          Shotguns 522 490 457 442 418
          Other guns 138 107 116 81 94
          Firearms, type not stated 1,488 1,354 1,705 1,825 1,834
          Knives or cutting instruments 1,920 1,830 1,817 1,888 1,825
          Blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.) 608 618 647 603 611
          Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) 905 841 869 875 801
          Poison 9 12 10 9 6
          Explosives 2 1 1 11 2
          Fire 125 117 131 85 99
          Narcotics 46 48 52 34 45
          Drowning 20 12 12 16 8
          Strangulation 118 137 134 89 121
          Asphyxiation 96 106 109 87 77
          Other weapons or weapons not stated 958 1,140 1,005 999 895

          • Stupid people may not be smart enough to stay ahead of anything, but there are plenty of smart people are out helping them. Witness the ongoing attempts to outlaw the use of “spice” and/or “bath salts” [I mean the drugs–not the flavoring or the items used to relax in luxury immersed in water]. As soon as the legislatures define something and make it illegal, the chemists modify the formula slightly, and, “shazam” (as Gomer Pyke would say), it’s legal again, even though its use might be deadly.

          • Statistics are from the CDC for 2010:

            Deaths from firearms; suicide and homicide: 30,470
            Deaths from poisonings; unintentional and suicide: 39,640

            Click to access 10LCID_Violence_Related_Injury_Deaths_2010-a.pdf

            Non-fatal injuries from firearms: 73,505
            Non-fatal injuries from poisoning: 1,098,880
            http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/nfirates2001.html

            Sorry – that does work out to be about 11 times more dangerous, not 13. I suppose my point is if we really must pass laws punishing dangerous idiocy, shouldn’t we perhaps pass laws punishing the MORE dangerous stupidity first, instead of merely cracking down on the behavior everyone is shouting about loudest this week?

            • I still don’t think non-fatal injuries from poisoning are remotely like getting shot. Ive been non-fatally poisoned several times. I’d be non-fatally poisoned a hundred more times before I’d agree to be non-fatally shot. And you?

  7. I see no reason why there shouldn’t be tough national laws that decree that:

    Article I specifies the powers of Congress, and none of those laws further the Article I powers of Congress.

    States, on the other hand, have plenary powers to enact those laws consistent with their constitutions.

  8. As a “gun advocate”, the only bullet point I agree with above is the final bullet point about owner negligence. In the specific news story above, the friend that pulled out the gun and turned it over loaded should be charged with negligence. If someone wants to see a gun in a gun shop, the shop keeper doesn’t load it up first.

    The first assumption that has to be made is “the person you are handing a weapon to has no idea what they are doing”. Handing them a loaded weapon is idiotic and negligent. The stated purpose was for pictures and ammunition wasn’t required to be in the clip / in the chamber to accomplish this goal.

    For the rest of the bullet points, I either disagree with because it requires “licensing” a person for a right that they have (2nd Amendment) or it infringes on their free speech right (1st Amendment).

    Government laws have always been a “stick” approach, so if we think outside the box, why not a “carrot” approach? Any ideas along that line?

    • Can anyone answer this (I promise I’m not trying to be inflammatory, provocative, precious or simple, but realize I may be perceived as such anyway): To my knowledge (admittedly incomplete), it is illegal to own SAMs, ICBMs, cannons, grenade and rocket launchers, nukes, chemical and bio weapons, drones. If there be no limits on the 2nd Amendment, then why these restrictions? Secondly, if indeed one of the reasons the NRA is so vociferous about the 2nd Amendment is to keep our Government in check against tyranny, a Government that has use of the most well-funded, well-equipped and well-trained military in World History, how do they reconcile the inventory of their comparatively paltry arsenal, regardless? And third, I am certain there are statistics that show most armed in-home invasions are not with AK47s, machine guns or high-capacity clip weapons. Certainly plausible if one does dealings with drug cartels, but to suggest the average American needs these kinds of weapons for protection seems, pardon the obvious, “overkill.” Please, proceed…

      • The one old Supreme Court opinion that permitted the banning of Tommy-guns established that the 2nd didn’t say you could own ALL guns, just that you were guaranteed the right to own A gun.

      • If there be no limits on the 2nd Amendment, then why these restrictions?

        Just because the legislature and judiciary abridge rights all the time does not mean it’s okay for rights to be abridged.

        Your second and third points are inherently inconsistent. Try again.

          • I presume tgt means that point one argues that the NRA isn’t insisting that citizens are armed enough, and the other argues that it wants citizens to be over-armed.

            The 2nd point is poor, I think, because in a battle with a more powerful foe, an adversary doesn’t need equal firepower, but he definitely needs some. The Greeks drove the Nazis nuts, and Hitler’s troops had far superior firepower. The third I dislike even more. Why should I be limited to firepower equal to that of a home invader? If someone breaks down my door and has just a club and a knife, I don’t see why I should mess around—if I could mow the bastard down with an AK47, great. So what if I could maybe fight off someone with pistol using a shotgun? Why chance it? Why shouldn’t I have as much self-defense capacity as I feel I need to be safe? why should anyone tell me what is over-kill to protect my family?

          • Pedantic note:

            You still need the “in-” in “inherently”

            Explanation of my point:

            Point 2 suggests the NRA is wrong because they don’t have enough guns for their stated purpose.

            Point 3 suggests the NRA is wrong because they have too many guns for their stated purpose.

            You can’t logically argue that both are true.

            Dealing with the original points on their own

            Taking each one on it’s own, point 2 fails because the NRA argues that current limitations on ownership are bad. That they are not as well armed as the government is something that they see as a bad thing.

            Point 3 fails because in an attempt to argue against home invasions protection generally, it talks only about a subset of home invasions, and improperly suggests that regular people could never possible be attacked by a drug cartel.

            There’s also the improper assumption in points 2 and 3 that jack handled (That the only proper amount of firepower to have is exactly the amount your opponents have.)

      • Also not to be inflammatory, but I’ve always wondered at the rebuttal that our military is so well equipped that we can’t possibly defend ourselves against them. Surely that would argue that perhaps we need MORE powerful weapons available to the citizenry, not intentionally weakening an already weak arsenal.

        Even if I don’t want to go quite that far, as I look at Syria, Iran, or Egypt in the last few years – yes, their governments are brutal and tyrannical. Yes, they have tanks and bombs while the populace is armed with little more than rocks. That does not mean that a tyrannical government should not be opposed, just that it will be harder to do so. Should the US government get to that point, those who oppose them will face drones and tanks – would it be better to face them with a handgun, or a rock? An AK-47, or a pitchfork?

          • Automatic weapons have not killed anything close to “millions”—what are you referring to? And the “it’s never happened so that proves it can never happen” is one of the most tragic fallacies in the history of mankind.

          • Are you saying that the possibility that a citizen was armed or the action arming of a citizen has never kept a law enforcement officer from infringing on citizen rights?

            I can’t believe that.

  9. On the White House website is states the following: “Vice President Joe Biden is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history.”
    I seriously recommend you email them your list!!!

    • 1. Not advocating policy here, just pointing out aspects of the debate that are being lost because of the uncivil and hysterical tenor set by the anti-gun zealots. It was still an ethics post: message…its irresponsible to go about debating issues this way.
      2. I don’t see what open government has to do with that post.
      3. I wouldn’t trust Joe Biden to buy groceries for me.

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