Ethics Alarms Encore: “The Inconvenient Truth About The Second Amendment and Freedom: The Deaths Are Worth It”

[ I wrote this piece in 2012, in response to the reaction at the time from the Second Amendment-hating Left to the shocking murder-suicide of of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Jovan Belcher. Jason Whitlock, then a thoughtful sports columnist iin KC, wrote a much linked and publicized column calling for private ownership of guns to be banned. I was going to update my post, but decided to just put it up again. Some of it is obviously dated (the reference to juvenile Carl in “The Walking Dead,” for example), but I have re-read it, and would not change a word of its substance.]

The shocking murder-suicide of of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Jovan Belcher has once again unleashed the predictable rants against America’s “culture of guns” and renewed calls for tougher firearms laws. Yes, reasonable restrictions on firearms sales make sense, and the ready availability of guns to the unhinged, criminal and crazy in so many communities is indefensible. Nevertheless, the cries for the banning of hand-guns that follow these periodic and inevitable tragedies are essentially attacks on core national values, and they need to be recognized as such, because the day America decides that its citizens should not have access to guns will also be the day that its core liberties will be in serious peril.

Here is Kansas City sportswriter Jason Whitlock, in the wake of Belcher’s demise:

“Our current gun culture ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead. Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it… If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”

I don’t disagree with a single word of this. Yet everything Whitlock writes about guns can be also said about individual freedom itself. The importance of the U.S. “gun culture” is that it is really individual freedom culture, the conviction, rooted in the nation’s founding, traditions, history and values, that each citizen can and should have the freedom, ability and power to protect himself and his family, to solve his or her problems, and to determine his or her fate, without requiring the permission, leave or assistance of the government. Guns are among the most powerful symbols of that freedom. You can object to it, fight it or hate it, but you cannot deny it. Guns are symbols of individual initiative, self-sufficiency and independence, and a culture that values those things will also value guns, and access to guns.

Whitlock’s statement argues for building a counter-America in which safety, security and risk aversion is valued more than individual freedom. There is no doubt in my mind, and the results of the last election confirm this, that public support for such a counter-America is growing. The government, this segment believes, should be the resource for safety, health, financial well-being, food and shelter. It follows that the government alone should have access to firearms. This requires that we have great trust in central government, a trust that the Founders of the nation clearly did not have, but one that a lot of Americans seem ready to embrace. Giving up the right to own guns and entrusting government, through the police and the military, with the sole power to carry firearms represents a symbolic, core abandonment of the nation’s traditional commitment to personal liberty as more essential than security and safety. I would like to see the advocates of banning firearms admit this, to themselves as well as gun advocates, so the debate over firearms can be transparent and honest. Maybe, as a culture, we are now willing to make that choice. If so, we should make it with our eyes open.

The cultural links between personal autonomy and guns are still very strong. One can hardly watch television or movies without seeing a drama in which the protagonist’s access to firearms defines his or her determination to avert danger, achieve justice or defeat evil. In “The Walking Dead,” for example, the fact that human beings have guns is the only thing keeping the world from total destruction and chaos. Carl, a thirteen year-old boy in the show, now wields a pistol like a gunslinger, and this symbolizes his premature entry into adulthood as well as his ability to take care of himself and his family. In the real United States, the one that isn’t over-run with zombies, owning a firearm is rarely essential or wise, which is why it is tempting to accept Whitlock’s conclusion that the freedom to have access to one it is unnecessary. I believe, however, that the right to bear arms is inextricable from the right to personal autonomy and freedom, as inconvenient and occasionally deadly as that fact may be. If we lose one, I believe the other will quickly follow. As with personal freedom itself, the right to own guns will be abused by the anti-social, the criminal, the stupid, the reckless and the irresponsible, and people will die as a result, just as they die from over-eating, driving too fast, drinking too much, sky-diving, bungee-jumping and keeping tigers as pets; just as they may die from playing NFL football, partying too hard or going hunting with Dick Cheney; just as they may die from putting too much carbon into the atmosphere or buying food with too many additives in them.

The right to be free creates the opportunity to be irresponsible, and ethics is the collective cultural effort to teach ourselves, our children and our neighbors not to be irresponsible without having to be forced to be responsible at gunpoint, with the government holding the gun. I know it seems harsh and callous to say so, but I am not willing to give up on ethics—the belief that enough of us can do the right things even when we have the freedom to do the wrong things—to prevent the occasional school massacre or murder-suicide.

I think that is giving up too much.

***

I would change one thing, upon reflection: the last sentence. I would cut the “I think.”

47 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

47 responses to “Ethics Alarms Encore: “The Inconvenient Truth About The Second Amendment and Freedom: The Deaths Are Worth It”

  1. The original post, by the way, only garnered 9 comments, from only five commenters. None of them argued with my post. Two are gone: Alan Rage, and Debby Schwartz. Debby vanished after a nice comment in February. Alan checked out in 2014, no reason given. I hope they are all right. Jeff–the official Ethics Alarms cartoonist, still drops in, and the other two were luckyestman and the indefatigable ( on this issue especially) Michael.Ejercito, whose consistency is admirable.

    I’m going to post the link on Facebook and see how many heads I can get to explode….

  2. Jack’s revision, “That is giving up too much.”

    I agree 100%!

  3. It follows that the government alone should have access to firearms.

    How do you reconcile this with this narrative being pushed by Colin Kaepernick and company who argue that cops are just racist murderers? To believe Kaepernick and Whitlock at the same time, one must necessarily believe that only racist murderers should have a monopoly on the legal means of armed force.

    I also note that many people who were agreeing with Kaepernick now want gun control laws, apparently unaware that these racist, murdering cops are the ones who would enforce the laws that they want- or are they?

    Now, here is something older readers might know about.

    It is fair to say that sundown towns made it more difficult for black people to commit crimes.

    South Africa actually had an internal passport system. that surely made it more difficult for black people to commit crimes like the brutal crimes against Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Christian and Newsom may very well be alive today if pass laws, or even sundown towns, were in effect.

    The thing is, sundown towns and pass laws violate equal protection. But so what? why should we not infringe on equal protection to keep us safe from a tiny minority of blacks?

    Why should we not infringe on the right to keep and bear arms to protect us from a tiny minority of gun owners?

    The thing is, a state willing to violate the right to keep and bear arms will have few to no reservations about violating equal protection.

    A state willing to violate equal protection will have few to no reservations about violating the right to keep and bear arms.

    That is why.

    • Rusty Rebar

      cognitive dissonance.

      On the one hand, only police and military should have these weapons of war, on the other hand, police are racist killers who we should not trust….

      Just like the Obama line… paraphrasing here.. Weapons of war have no place on our streets… oh let me send the extra rifles and assault vehicles to police departments so they can quash protests on our streets….

      • Senator Kamala Harris is an excellent example.

        https://groups.google.com/d/msg/soc.culture.israel/k4OvsDOxGlM/gdo8uXL1BQAJ

        “Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine
        who can carry a concealed weapon,” said Kamala Harris, who was then the
        California Attorney General.

        I have always wondered how #BlackLivesMatter would view this. After all,
        according to their narrative, cops are just Klansmen with badges who
        habitually gun down unarmed black men. How could we trust such people with
        discretion to determine who may carry a concealed weapon?

        And yet, just yesterday, she tweeted this:

        Today, we remember #MikeBrown and recommit to ensuring truth,
        transparency, and trust in our criminal justice system. #BlackLivesMatter

        So I wonder if any reporter from the network broadcast and print media would
        ask her any of the following questions:

        – If the reason that “[l]ocal law enforcement must be able to use their
        discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon” is because they
        are just Klansmen with badges, why shouldn’t the Stormfront White
        Nationalist Community also get to decide who can carry a concealed weapon?

        – If the reason that “[l]ocal law enforcement must be able to use their
        discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon” is because they
        habitually gun down unarmed black men, why shouldn’t the Crips also get to
        decide who can carry a concealed weapon?

        – Is more black men dead or in prison a worthy price to pay to make lawful
        gun ownership more difficult?

        – Is making lawful gun ownership more difficult a worthy price to pay to put
        more black men in prison?

        – Does some magical guardian fairy turn these Klansmen with badges into
        freedom riders whenever they exercise their “discretion to determine who can
        carry a concealed weapon”?

    • Chris

      Can you cite where Colin Kaepernick argued that cops are just racist murderers?

  4. Mrs. Q

    “They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it…”

    I don’t own a gun but I’ve shot them & yearly maintain my safety training/practice. Nothing about firing one has ever made me want to up the ante in an argument or even want them in my house. Guns are not some drug where discharge becomes addictive. Many who have never fired one responsibly don’t understand that. Firearms are a very serious part of what some families need to do the things they do, but to these families they are not a means to get their own way like a group of toddlers.

    I hate to bring race into this but let’s remember blacks and native Americans in this country didn’t fare well when they were disarmed. Neither did the Jews (and non-Jews) in Europe or others when regimes took means of self protection away. I remember reading the book Negros With Guns outside of the library years ago and some white dude freaked out at me for merely reading a book on the topic. Guns are not the problem, trying to pretend we don’t or won’t ever need them is.

    When a government goes too far, when women are increasingly raped in mass like the current condition in Europe, when a Marxist influenced regime takes over, when men in hoods threaten to burn your house, when living alone in the country, when hunting buffalo & elk, when dealing with violent criminals….it’s good to have the OPTION to own a firearm.

    To me they are a last resort after self defense training, mace, conflict de-escalation, etc. But to take them away from people entirely in this country would lead to to worse consequences. Where disarmament happens, true tyranny begins. We simply cannot and should not trust any government to protect us without understanding how corruption of governments work.

    There is no utopia. There never will be. Evil has always been with us and no matter how many guns are taken away from one group (and redistributed to another) darkness will continue. If not guns then knives, if not knives then fists. So instead of blaming gun owners or locking up all crazy people, we have to simply remain responsible. Responsible with our words, actions, and ethics, so that when escalation happens, we don’t think of grabbing a gun first. No gun owner in my life takes having one lightly. They value life, which they know isn’t always pretty. They are aware of evil and know owning a gun requires maturity and sometimes gritted grace, so they don’t have to use one. I know not all gun owners are like that, but I’ll tell you this…

    If shit goes down and with the way things are, they just might, I know whose house I’m going to and how to use what I need to protect myself and family.

    • dragin_dragon

      Ms. Q, as always, I am grateful for your logic and reasoning. Taking guns away from individuals MIGHT prevent another Paddock, but not likely. I live close to San Antonio, in Texas, and I know of at least 4 sources where I COULD, at need by anything up to and including a Ma Deuce (.50 cal air-cooled machine gun. Remarkably powerful.). All four of my guns are legal, and I would not hesitate to use any or all to defend my self or my home. Since my lovely wife passed, I’ll be on my own, and do not realistically expect to survive it, but I’ll at least have someone to serve me my roast pork in Valhalla.

    • Mrs. Q wrote, “There is no utopia. There never will be. Evil has always been with us and no matter how many guns are taken away from one group (and redistributed to another) darkness will continue.”

      Prophetic words!

  5. Andrew Wakeling

    This line of argument from high principles sounds good, but it can be a strength sapping distraction. Yes, individual freedom is important but so is the need for ‘we the people’ to be able to decide on and enforce the rule of law. The calm and sensible debate (unlikely I know) should be about whether the laws should be changed. There are already plenty of laws regulating the use of firearms (as there are regulating the use of cars). No-one seriously suggests a complete ban on the public owning firearms ( or cars). And nobody even vaguely sane could suggest that firearms (or cars) should be regulation free.

    • “…individual freedom is important but…”

      See, only a non-american would include the but. It’s not your fault.

      • Andrew Wakeling

        Classic ad hominem …. but I suppose it’s not your fault.

        • As I have sworn–in the Comments policies, even—to slap down incorrect uses of the accusation of ad hominem, I am bound to do so in this case, especially since calling something that isn’t ad hominem at all CLASSIC ad hominem is especially annoying.

          Ad hominem is when an argument is rebutted by the statement that the arguer is flawed in some respect irrelevant to the argument itself,like “you’re an idiot.” I was not rebutting your argument at all—it’s been rebutted repeatedly—but pointing out that a set of biases you can hardly avoid explain why you make the kinds of trade-offs your argument requires. The US culture does not accept the government quashing personal freedom in certain respects that the British culture does. Thus, while US citizens have no excuse (except ignorance) for seeing nothing wrong with the government banning arms, someone who lives in an anti-gun culture does. It’s not your fault. But as the US balance of values is unique and apparently impossible for foreign citizens to comprehend, your perspective is understandable.

          Unfortunately, that perspective makes it impossible for you to understand what is essentially a cultural concept. In other words, if a fish keeps telling a pig that it’s absurd to live on land, the retort, “Of course you think that: you’re a fish!” is not an “ad hominem” attack, much less a CLASSIC ad hominem attack. (OK, ad piscem.)

      • Everything before a “but” in this kind of assertion is blow-softening pablum that the speaker doesn’t actually believe.

    • Joe Fowler

      Made a few changes for you Andrew, Let me know what you think!

      “This line of argument from high principles sounds good, but it can be a strength sapping distraction. Yes, individual freedom OF SPEECH is important but so is the need for ‘we the people’ to be able to decide on WHAT SPEECH WE WANT and enforce the rule of law. The calm and sensible debate (unlikely I know) should be about whether the laws should be changed. There are already plenty of laws regulating the use of SPEECH (as there are regulating the use of cars). No-one seriously suggests a complete ban on the INDIVIDUAL SPEAKING THEIR MIND ( or cars). And nobody even vaguely sane could suggest that SPEECH (or cars) should be regulation free.”

      There! Just swapped in (part of) the First Amendment for (part of) the Second. Do you think that seems reasonable?

      • Andrew Wakeling

        I sense a trap but here goes! As I’m sure you realise, neither the 1st amendment right to ‘free speech’ nor the 2nd amendment right to ‘keep and bear arms’ are absolute and unfettered. They are continually subject to reinterpretation and new application. There will be and always have been room for differences of views, for instance on how the right to ‘free speech’ should be considered as regards the distribution of pornography and making of threats; or how the right to ‘bear arms’ should apply to bump-stock devices and armour piercing bullets.

        There will always be grey areas and room for differences of views as to new laws and how they may impinge on the Constitution. I don’t support your provocatively Orwellian words above: that we should ‘be able to decide on what speech we want’. But ‘we the people’ should certainly have some say on what regulations (if any) should restrict the circulation of child pornography. Any claim that the first amendment must necessarily protect such activity strikes me as obstructive.

        Similarly I’d hope (without much confidence) that there could be an honest and open review of firearm regulations free of hysterical assertions that ‘they are coming for our guns’, and that 2nd amendment rights are at risk. Sane US citizens are clearly going to continue to be able to ‘keep and bear arms’. But it surely wouldn’t impinge unduly on ‘freedom’ to take $100 bump-stock devices and armour piercing bullets off the internet?

        • Junkmailfolder

          “But it surely wouldn’t impinge unduly on ‘freedom’ to take $100 bump-stock devices and armour piercing bullets off the internet?”

          You’re using it right now, so this may be a silly question, but do you even know how the internet works?

        • Jeff

          The problem with comparing regulations on acceptable speech vs. gun control laws is that speech is almost never regulated in advance. We trust our citizens with the right to say anything they wish, and hold them accountable when they use that right to harm others. With gun control, you are assuming that someone is going to engage in criminal behavior, and then denying them the means of engaging in these hypothetical acts (acts which 99.99% of guns are never engaged in). Holding people responsible for their actions is a mark of a free society. Preventing people from having the liberty to make their own choices (even if some of those choices may be disastrous) is not.

          People always use the “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater” argument to illustrate that speech can be limited. But that argument is flawed – of course you can yell “fire” in a theater, but you will be held liable for any injuries that result. The proper analogy to gun control would be a theater that places ball gags on all patrons before they are allowed in to the theater, on the very small chance that one of the moviegoers might yell “fire”.

          Of course, that would interfere with popcorn and candy sales, which is probably why they don’t do it.

          • Andrew Wakeling

            “Sticks and stones (and guns) may break my bones…”, which is why regulating before the event to prevent abuse might be justifiable : “but words will never hurt me” …… which is why regulating after the event should be generally adequate. Of course there are obvious exceptions : as in efforts to protect secrets.

            Quite rational of course to hold, as Jack does, that the cost of ‘broken bones’ (and deaths) is worth paying for the freedom to use the ‘sticks and stones’ (and guns). Very reasonable also to ponder whether some diminution of freedom might be worth it for a reduction in the costs.

            • Very reasonable also to ponder whether some diminution of freedom might be worth it for a reduction in the costs.

              How very European of you. To paraphrase, ‘those who trade freedom for security shall have neither.’

              • Andrew Wakeling

                We must have been having ‘freedom v. security’ discussions ever since we got round the first campfire and started arguing about who should do the washing-up. And it is important that the discussions continue. There is always and everwhere a trade-off, a need to find tolerable consensus so we can live together. Google tells me your paraphrase originates from Samuel Johnson, who refers to giving up “essential liberty”, in order to “purchase a little temporary safety”. We could easily agree that sounds unwise. We might usefully move on to consider (say in regards to your noisy late night parties or my antisocial corgi) what is “essential liberty”, and no doubt we’d differ – but maybe not by much (?). I would particularly like not to have to take my shoes off to pass airport security, but I admit that is more to do with my lower back pain than any ethics or high principles. I suspect that the hotel security guy who reportedly faced a burst of gunfire (200 shots?) through Stephen Paddock’s door (and was only hit in the leg!) might have some views on whether it was ‘essential’ not to criminalise bump-stock devices.

                • We likely agree more than not, Andrew. Sensible folks usually can, after all. Our cultural differences would be interesting to explore, no doubt.

                  More important would be our different realities regarding population density. Europe in general has less room between people, so more regulation would be needed as a matter of course. I grew up and have mostly lived where you may or may not have a neighbor in line of sight, and that relative isolation was normal and accepted. No issues with my dogs barking, no issues with late night parties, shoot a gun and no one might even hear it, much less care.

            • This issue was noted in McDonald v. Chicago.

              https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1521.pdf

              13–17.
              The right to keep and bear arms, however, is not the
              only constitutional right that has controversial public
              safety implications. All of the constitutional provisions
              that impose restrictions on law enforcement and on the
              prosecution of crimes fall into the same category. See, e.g.,
              Hudson v. Michigan, 547 U. S. 586, 591 (2006) (“The
              exclusionary rule generates ‘substantial social costs,’
              United States v. Leon, 468 U. S. 897, 907 (1984), which
              sometimes include setting the guilty free and the dangerous
              at large”); Barker v. Wingo, 407 U. S. 514, 522 (1972)
              (reflecting on the serious consequences of dismissal for a
              speedy trial violation, which means “a defendant who may
              be guilty of a serious crime will go free”); Miranda v.
              Arizona
              , 384 U. S. 436, 517 (1966) (Harlan, J., dissenting);
              id., at 542 (White, J., dissenting) (objecting that the
              Court’s rule “[i]n some unknown number of cases . . . will
              return a killer, a rapist or other criminal to the streets . . .
              to repeat his crime”); Mapp, 367 U. S., at 659. Municipal
              respondents cite no case in which we have refrained from
              holding that a provision of the Bill of Rights is binding on
              the States on the ground that the e right at issue has disputed
              public safety implications

          • Pennagain

            The proper analogy to gun control would be a theater that places ball gags on all patrons before they are allowed in to the theater, on the very small chance that one of the moviegoers might yell “fire”.

            Of course, that would interfere with popcorn and candy sales, which is probably why they don’t do it.

            Missed the keyboard; drowned the mouse.

        • Andrew,

          Before dealing with the opinion that made me hit ‘reply,’ I want to note that free speech is also far more restricted in Europe, where criticizing a politician can get you jailed. You naturally accept further restrictions on your rights than Americans do. There is nothing wrong with that: it is cultural, and a function of European history as well as population density, I suppose. Europe does not have the vast tracts of uninhabited land found in America, and help is usually much closer than many places in America. Americans, therefore, have tended to become more self reliant over the centuries. This is not good or bad: each culture has points for and against it.

          But it surely wouldn’t impinge unduly on ‘freedom’ to take $100 bump-stock devices and armour piercing bullets off the internet?

          Ah! Here is the rub: who gets to decide what is accessible? What is the definition of an “armour piercing bullet?”

          Recently the Obama Administration attempted to define a common type of ammunition as such. The M855 round for the AR 15 is, indeed, a penetrating round, used by our soldiers where softer (anti personnel) rounds would not be effective. It simply is designed to not ‘flatten out’ but to keep integrity upon impact, much like many civilian target ammunition or big game loads. As such, Obama attempted to classify the round as armor piercing when the rules clearly did not justify that definition. Starting with this ‘ban,’ the next logical step was to restrict ‘ball’ ammunition, used as cheap target rounds for practice. These also are designed to hold together for the purpose of gun training and target practice. This characteristic was not something inherently more dangerous than other rounds on the market, but the camel’s nose in the tent was obvious to knowledgeable Americans. The abuse of authority was roundly (sorry for the pun) rejected and the new restriction was stopped.

          This was NOT a ‘common sense’ restriction, as it was advertised, but an attempt to restrict the practice of Second Amendment rights, making it more expensive and less available. So the question remains: who do you trust to decide what tools I am allowed to own?

          Commonly, it is accepted that ‘no one’ NEEDS a machine gun or an armored vehicle. And those of us who responsibly live our lives ask ‘why not?’ The same argument was used by anti gun proponents about Concealed Carry, in every jurisdiction before it became law. The hysteria about the ‘return of the wild west’ and ‘shootouts in the streets’ failed to come true every time in the decades since this became law, everywhere it has passed. Why should we trust that same crowd to limit our freedoms? Those of us who responsibly own these items are no danger to society, a proven fact.

          Many of these items are simply for entertainment. Shooting a machine gun is, quite simply stated, fun. That does not mean my next step is to stage a massacre. Who are you to obstruct my freedom to pursue happiness in this fashion? This boils down to your lack of trust in the individual responsibility of citizens, a position not supported by logic and fact but by emotion and fear.

          Note that armored vehicles are not uncommon in private hands in Texas, with and without the original weapons, which may or may not function. You can actually drive fully functional tanks (American Sherman, Russian T-34, German Leopard, British Chieftain, and so on) not far from my home, firing all the original weapons. Has there been a rise in such vehicles being used to harm others? Those that have them are responsible. Criminals do not use this type of weapon to commit crimes, and a ‘ban’ would only impact the law abiding.

          Select fire rifles are also not used by criminals, who far prefer handguns. OH! but Las Vegas! you say. ONE instance in which such guns are used, out of the literally trillions of rounds fired responsibly by civilians over a century, and we should ban them? These are heavily restricted, regulated weapons already. Criminals and terrorists use cars to kill: your logic applies there, too. Ready to give up private autos? (If we make cars illegal, would only criminals drive cars? 🙂 )

          But you referred to ‘fire rate enhancers’ like the so called ‘bump stock.’ These are not restricted or regulated, and allow the common man to fire their legal rifle faster. Name an instance where they were used in a crime. We are not even sure what was used in Las Vegas at this point, so that incident is speculative. How many exist? Thousands, if not more. Are they really such a danger? More cars have been driven into crowds, world wide, than such devices used for murder.

          Our freedoms mean the potential for abuse exists. This price can be tragic, but the alternative is a loss of other rights quite quickly one this one is banned, as those allowed to restrict us corruptly erode our rights for political and personal gain. American culture still stands against this, for the estimated ~150 million of us who own guns.

        • But it surely wouldn’t impinge unduly on ‘freedom’ to take $100 bump-stock devices and armour piercing bullets off the internet?

          Maybe not, but it will have some unwanted side effects such as expanded black markets, prison overcrowding…

    • Quick way off topic question Andrew; have you ever spent an extended period of time in the USA?

    • “This line of argument from high principles sounds good, but it can be a strength sapping distraction.”

      That’s the *only* kind of argument to have. Statistics-centered arguments relating to cultural values are purely utilitarian and are the essence of centrally planned and controlled societies. (and inevitably ugly and miserable societies).

      No.

      IF the argument for firearm confiscation IS the right argument, then it CAN (and MUST) be made from “high principles”. And if its high-principle based argument is worse than the high-principle argument FOR the right to bear arms, then the only conclusion is that the occasional losses of life ARE worth the freedom.

      • Jeff

        Well said, Tex. Abridging civil rights based on arguments of expedience and emotion and not “high principles” is how we get things like the PATRIOT Act and the well-documented excesses of the “war on drugs”. There’s a reason the founders made the constitution very difficult to amend. It’s unfortunate that we as citizens have accepted slow encroachment on all of our protected rights from legislatures and courts without insisting that those who wish to curtail freedom actually follow the proper process to change the constitution.

        It’s also saddening to realize that most of those founders would be considered radical nutjobs today, as their stance on liberty is pretty far out on the fringe today.

    • We regulate the use of firearms by making it illegal to use them to commit murder, or vandalism, or reckless endangerment, or robbery, and by making it illegal to be grossly negligent with their use.

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