I would love to post a Comment of the Day by a full-throated and honest advocate of new gun control measures that will “stop gun violence,” but have yet to read one that isn’t a poorly-veiled attack on the Second Amendment. On the other side, we have Rusty Rebar, one of many Second Amendment advocates on various post-Las Vegas Strip massacre threads here, who registered a tough indictment of the “do something!” anti-gun lobby.
Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/3/2017: In the Wake Of Las Vegas…
“Hell, the NRA used to support background checks, although they no longer do. What’s changed? Why is there that disconnect?”
I think this is attributable to the gun control crowd. The NRA used to be more conciliatory when it came to “common sense” laws. But the gun control crowd kept pushing and pushing, and the NRA has basically said “not one more inch”. So now, even something that is considered “common sense” to everyone will get no traction, because the gun control crowd kept pushing things.
I have said this before, and will recap here. There is a way to do background checks that will be acceptable, and even preferable, to everyone, but the gun control crowd would never allow it.
First, we need to understand the purpose of a background check is to determine if the person buying the gun is legally eligible to do so, nothing more, nothing less. That is not what gun control proponents want though, they want more, they want a registry of all purchases. That is beyond the scope of a background check.
So, my easy solution: Make available a system when someone who wishes to purchase a firearm can request a background check (via the web, or phone). Once that has cleared, they get a confirmation code. When you go to then buy a firearm, the seller can call in, enter the confirmation code, and look at the identification of the buyer. They system would say, they are eligible (or not), they ID would match.. boom they are checked. Make the check good for 30/60/90 days — whatever. A private seller could use this system as well, currently a private seller does not even have the ability to check even if they wanted. There is no need to talk about the actual firearm being purchased, this is a background check, not a registry (currently you need to put the serial number and description of the firearm on that form — why?). I think this solves what people are concerned about, at least on the pro gun side. It also solves what the anti-gun side “says” they want… but not what they actually want.
“Gun proponents don’t believe control advocates when they say “We aren’t coming for your guns” when they knee jerk the same chorus to every tragedy…”
With good reason. They say “we aren’t coming for your guns” with one breath, and with the next give you a list of banned guns. Tell that to the SKS owners in California. Tell that to AR owners in California, or New York. “We don’t want to ban your guns” — then they put up legislation to ban all center-fire semi-automatics. “We will not come door to door looking for your guns” — we will just ban something, then when we come out on a noise complaint in 3 years and search your house without a warrant we will find it and throw you in prison — even if you are law-abiding otherwise.
Give me a break. There is no credibility from these people.
Cartoon graphic: Truth Revolt
30 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/3/2017: In the Wake Of Las Vegas…””
Well done, Rusty. Well done, indeed.
Great post Rusty, it inspires critical thinking about a difficult issue!
The only problem with this proposal is that you would have to enter some sensitive personal data on a website that might wind up being hacked. God if this system ever goes thought, please don’t let Equafax, Yahoo, or some other corporation with a bad track record have anything to do with the website!
The current NICS system is just as vulnerable to hacks. Consider the fact that we use Square and other portable devices to transact business with mobile merchants. Applying in advance for a code that can be matched makes considerable sense.
Unless you’re a luddite, your information is going to be subject to being hacked — witness the hacks at Equifax and Yahoo. It’s just a fact of life today, and we have to learn to cope, it seems to me.
Easy to get paranoid about this, but no one ever said life was safe. I just know that bus on the corner is itching to run me down……
Excellent comment Rusty. I’ll add one point: Not only are the anti-gun folks failing to succeed in getting new laws passed, they are also driving an unprecedented 10 year run on “scary” guns and ammunition. Obama ran as an unapologetic hard line anti-gun crusader. They day after his election, a run on semi-auto guns and all forms of ammunition has started and hasn’t abated to this day. Every tragedy is met with two things: anti-gun folks calling for regulations, and a new wave of shortages of guns and ammunition. If Obama had his way, he would have banned the guns but was thwarted by Senate filibuster for 2 years before he lost both houses of congress and any gun legislation was a non-starter. He was all talk and no action. The anti-gun folks just can’t grasp that their talk is counterproductive to their cause.
Any future attempt at banning those guns will only prove harder as there are so many semi-auto guns on the street today. Extending what Rusty said, pro-gun folks are convinced that any form of registration is only prelude to confiscation, because the pro gun folks openly admit they want to confiscate guns. Connecticut passed a “assault weapon” registration, and I’ve heard that the non-compliance rate is very high.
California did ban certain guns – I do wonder about the compliance there as I haven’t heard much? I similarly expect the non-compliance there is high.
Progressives change their tune so often, they have a hard time remembering what they said.
Conservatives were listening, we remember, and we believed them.
A very good article regarding gun control by Larry Correia author, former gun store owner, and concealed weapons instructor. A brief quote supporting a point Matthew made:
“Gun and magazine sales skyrocket every time a democrat politician starts to vulture in on a tragedy. I don’t know if many of you realize this, but Barack Obama is personally responsible for more gun sales, and especially first time gun purchases, than anyone in history. When I owned my gun store, we had a picture of him on the wall and a caption beneath it which said SALESMAN OF THE YEAR.”
If you are referring to the recent Assault Weapon (redefinition) — the one that basically made bullet button guns assault weapons, the registration has just opened, and is not required until July of next year (2018) , and as always there are several ways to cosmetically alter the firearm to prevent having to register.
I suspect that the rate will be rather low, but maybe some people will do it to prevent issues with future bans… if it is already a registered assault weapon, they will likely not come for that, and just aim at semi-autos.
If you mean the one before that, the rate was not that high, if you mean the one before that… I think you see where I am going here.
Of course, we should note the increase of skepticism of law enforcement due to the #BlackLivesMatter and #TakeAKnee movements.
What? these same brutal, racist cops are supposed to enforce gun control laws in an even-handed manner?
That is a self-refuting statement if I ever read one.
Good thing no one makes that statement, then.
Kamala Harris is apparently no one.
“Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine
who can carry a concealed weapon”
” Today, we remember #MikeBrown and recommit to ensuring truth,
transparency, and trust in our criminal justice system. #BlackLivesMatter “
Neither of those quotes claim that all cops are racist and brutal. Try again.
The idea behind police having discretion on which private citizens may get to carry a concealed weapon is that private persons are to be presumed untrustworthy in the context of not misusing firearms, and the police must judge whether or not such private persons have good cause. This is despite the fact that over 99.9% of them do not misuse firearms.
Why then, should the police be trusted to have this power? Why should they be presumed trustworthy to decide which private persons can carry a concealed weapon despite the actions of a tiny minority of them, if the actions of a tiny minority of private persons justifies presuming private persons to be presumed untrustworthy pf carrying a concealed weapon?
Wonderful comment, Rusty! Great suggestion for a system.
Great comment. Such a system could work… if gun owners trusted that the government did not track the checks. If I buy a gun from a private citizen, I don’t want the government knowing since I do not trust them. My actions are legal and ethical. Also prudent, given those in power today.
If that’s not enough I saw in the MSM that Equifax planned or is planning to roll out a consumer service to detect fraud to compete with Lifelock and others. What gaul.
This topic fatigues me everytime it arises. Watching the videos of the concert goers simultaneously brought out two emotions, one of compassion and sympathy for the victims of the crime and one of sheer “pre-exhaustion” knowing I’d be called upon to rehash all the same, solid arguments to counteract the emotion driven “do-something-ism”. I’ve resisted wading into the debates because it is all so tiresome, though I have chimed in on occasion. But that doesn’t mean my mind hasn’t been wrestling with this crime, the 2nd Amendment, and the deeper philosphy behind it.
There are a handful of questions this debate must always boil down to. I will dispense with any notions that the 2nd Amendment exists for hunting or for fun, though those topics will arise shortly. No, we’ll start off on the honest premise that the 2nd Amendment exists as a democratization of force, where the Constitution, in a sideways manner, supplements the three branched checks-and-balances division of power, with a three tiered “balance of force”, where the National level retained control over the standing army, the States retained control over the Militias (when called out), and the People, armed, represented the lowest rung. And I am of the firm belief that the 2nd Amendment is STILL *ultimately* essential to liberty.
But that is really the first set of questions that the debate boils down to: Can good modern governments still go bad or can we trust modern republics to not go bad? How does one fix a bad government or a government on the way to becoming bad? Can the citizenry oppose and correct those governments without force or threat of force?
I think that a perusal of the modern history of Western Civilization would tend to show us that yes, governments can most certainly go bad. The blood letting of Europe from 1917-1945 and the follow on competition that ended in the early 90s is proof that democracies and repuplics can flip rapidly into tyrannies. I think a simple survey of contemporary nations will show us that a large number of people are subjugated beneath the yokes of dictatorships. But what of the “good” nations that have disarmed their citizens? They don’t seem to be tyrannical, they seem quite free without a mass of armed citizens forever poised to check them. I can easily concede that they are relying on the benevolence of their current leadership. It is working fine. For them. Right now.
But that’s the essential check on malevolent people with force: benevolent people with force. So the European nations currently have generally benevolent people above them. But we already know that that can change and can change rapidly, and the people’s of those nations when they changed thought they too lived in modern enlightened times where tyrannies couldn’t happen to them. I’m moving to this segue because I think checks on forces aren’t merely internal, but external as well. When the European central powers slipped into malevolent rulership, it was EXTERNAL forces of good that came and broke the dictatorships apart and restored the bad actors to republicanism.
I think a certain amount of “momentum” is maintaining that check on the rise of tyrannies in these disarmed nations with “benevolent” governments. That is, I think there’s still an aura of protection provided by the United States that deters any truly awful government from rising in Europe. But then again, that the presence of a benevolent people willing to use force to check the rise of a bad government. What then if the United States or other good actors stopped being good? I would submit, that, disarmed, the people of Europe would have not one bit of ability to stop the rise of tyranny in their own nations.
So why does the United States seem to keep a government that is mostly good? (and it does, you naysayers) Again, I’d submit, because it has a perpetual check against it getting out of hand, in the form of its armed populace.
But does this political checking absolutely require violent force or the threat of violent force? What about merely electing good actors to replace bad? What about protesting tyrants when they arise? What about petitioning the government for redress of grievances? What about speaking out freely against the dictators when they rise?
Those are all good *steps* to take when a citizenry must ensure it is in the right before past a point it cannot return from, but all those steps also rely on a generally benevolent government that will take pause and consider the grievances listed by its people. A rising dictatorship simply will not care, meaning the people would need to be a bit more forceful in their demands than mere words.
So yes, governments, regardless of the advancement of the culture they preside over can still go bad. Yes, there are steps before a government goes bad to rectify the government without violence. No, if the government goes too far, the citizenry cannot fix the problem without violence or threat of violence. And if that the fix cannot come from benevolent outsiders, such as France aiding the colonists in 1776 or the United States & other Allies in World War 2, then the citizenry is on it’s own. And sans firearms, the citizenry is going to be out of luck as dictators don’t care about protests.
Which does lead to other questions, such as: are some cultures content with domineering governments that we would consider overbearing at the cost of our security against tyranny? If so, would it be a solution to our “gun problems” to become more like those cultures? Are some cultures more vibrant and energetic and assertive, in such away that all the positives that derive from that vibrancy and assertiveness are inherently accompanied by a set of negatives such as violence and discontent? If it is necessary to solve the violence and discontent by also throwing out the vibrancy and assertiveness worth the trade off?
I don’t think I want to dive into this to deeply. It just seems that our culture promotes assertiveness and vibrancy, which generally inculcates an attitude in its people that the government needs to primarily keep out of our business. That attitude, taken to the extreme, is ultimately manifest in a people that must be armed to check the government, as per the opening paragraphs of this essay. Is the violence we see more often in this nation than in others a negative by-product of assertiveness, ambition or individualism? Now, before our resident Europhiles complain, yes, many Europeans are similar, but in general, (and I’ve been to Europe), I’m not impressed. Make no mistake, they enjoy their culture, I’m not expecting them to change it, I just don’t think it’s a culture we want to adopt here, and it’s certainly not one that is any position to oppose a government that decided to overstep its bounds.
That being said, the violence in our nation, though on average is still decreasing, still produces (at a possibly increasing amount) extremely violent acts.
To be clear, I’m speaking of American culture as those values it has traditionally held to, not the “objective” culture that vast swathes of progressives would love us to morph into (which is essentially European in flavor).
So where these two lines of questions collide: that is, the necessity of the 2nd Amendment and the mass killings that occur at disturbing frequency, it probably is worth revisiting the concept of “Arms” and the right to bear them. There can be no question, that the ability of the citizenry to check the government is worth the gun violence in America. But can any real steps be taken to alleviate the scope of the violence when it occurs? Because make no mistake, that’s really all we’re discussing when we discuss disarmament: “Fewer people are killed by a mass murderer with a knife than with a machine gun”. Got it. Dude’s still a mass murderer, you are only trying to keep the kill count down.
But, there is something to that logic. Yet, even though preservation of life is BUT ONE value among many that our Republic perpetually balances, it really doesn’t possess trump-card power over other values. So, if we are to seek “minimization” of casualties as a goal, it can ONLY be found within a solution that preserves the 2nd Amendment’s goals.
Before proceeding, I’m going to take a moment to rehash an essay that I wrote a while back, which discusses the 2nd Amendment (bolded line was not bolded in original):
Ok, back on track. I’m loathe to mention any compromises as the Left has demonstrated, that a compromise today will merely be the next point to begin compromising tomorrow, but I think that we can seek some fair solutions to minimizing the casualties wrought by bad actors while still preserving the 2nd Amendment. I won’t call these “common sense” regulations, as I think the term is a dirty trick of the Left to avoid having to make an argument. And fellow Libertarians, follow with me here and don’t get angry, as I’m stifling a certain amount of anger merely pondering this.
But, let’s assume a premise, that yes, as Americans we shouldn’t have to be told what we can do with our possessions nor should we have to be told we can’t have something we want. I get it. I get that firearms have traditionally fallen into that category, but I also think that modern generations look at firearms much more differently than the Founders did. I feel it, your already bristling that I’m about to suggest that indeed, within the category of firearms, there may be more than just machine guns that the government can tell us we don’t need to have.
Our modern culture has increased the “recreational” aspect of firearms to probably a level that the Founders would have found somewhat…troubling…? I personally don’t think it’s troubling, because MOST people can be trusted to shoot recreationally. But then again, Firearms at their essence are TOOLS of VIOLENCE, originally for sustenance and defense (against Criminals of all types). We have, as a consequence of our material and territorial success, been able to increasingly spend time shooting for fun, such as targetry or hunting, than we have needed to spend on defense or actually necessary sustenance. But you can’t divorce the modern luxury of shooting from its essential purpose, and any sport and recreation derived from them stems from practicing the skills necessary to utilize firearms as a TOOL of VIOLENCE. Though they are “fun”, this does mean they are in a different class of “possession” than, say, your car, or your house, or your laptop. It does mean that maybe, they fall into a category that doesn’t get the automatic Liberty pass of “I don’t need the government telling me what I can and cannot have”.
Because, though the firearms are private possessions and are…kind of fun…but we recognize that there is a limit of firepower and potential destruction that we just don’t consider allowable in the hands of individuals (at least not without expensive permits and registry). Crew served machine guns…rockets…missiles…grenades… etc. So perhaps even these kinds of “potential casualty” considerations can apply to our small arms as well.
Now that I’ve lost most of my libertarian friends, the few hangers-on can possibly let out a sigh of relief, because the compromises I’m going to suggest are going to be seen partly as grossly stupid by the Left and partly as something that may be workable. Because there must be a balance between the 2nd Amendment and the casualties that can come from misuse of firearms.
Let’s start with magazines. You don’t need a 100 round drum…you don’t need a belt fed bullet backpack. Yes, they are fun. Yes, they support recreationally blazing away a lot of bullets without a reload. And I get it, I know you don’t need someone telling you what you don’t need. But, no, you don’t need them as part of the armed citizenry checking the power of an increasingly tyrannical government, which is the goal of the 2nd Amendment. In fact, I’d submit, you only *need* what an average infantryman carries: which is 7-10 x 30 round magazines. This will probably cause vapors amongst the left who wouldn’t be content with anything more than a 3 or 5 round magazine while simultaneously causing vapors amongst libertarians who don’t want any limitations in this regard. Tough…it means neither of you are considering the purpose of the 2nd Amendment. How does one actually enforce a limitation, not merely on magazine capacity, but on total magazines owned? I’m not sure yet. But maybe it’s possible. I’m more certain that magazine capacity CAN be easily limited to 30 rounds, while I don’t think total magazines owned could ever be limited due to the ubiquity of them across the community. But that may be made moot by a later suggestion.
How about rate of fire modifications? Much has been discussed of “bump firing” or “bump stocks” after the Las Vegas massacre. Yes, they are fun. Yes, they support recreationally blazing away a lot of bullets. And it’s crazy fun. Yes, I know you don’t need someone telling you what you don’t need. But, no, you don’t need modifications that replicate fully automatic firing as part of the armed citizenry checking the power of an increasingly tyrannical government. The primary infantry weapon carried has 2 firing modes: single shot and three round burst (and I only ever heard leaders telling their men to use single shot mode and to make every shot count). If the day ever came that armed insurrection is necessary, it will not consist of Johnny Rambo and his machine gun blazing down uniformed lines of cops…it will consist of many citizens likely with the backing of local or state governments. Those groups of rebels will operate effectively enough with weapons firing at a rate typical of semi-automatic weapons. This will probably piss off the Left, who would rather us be limited to bolt action weapons, this will probably annoy libertarians. But I submit that you aren’t considering the purpose of the 2nd Amendment balanced against bad people killing alot of innocent people. I think this would be noticeably easier to enforce than the 1st suggestion, certainly there will be ingenious people who will make their own modifications, but it isn’t that simple.
Time to really piss off some people: ammunition possession. Could there be a way to limit the total amount of ammunition possessed at any one time? Without the burdensome “barcoded” ammunition that has been proposed? I don’t know. I do know that you don’t need 10,000 rounds of ammunition stockpiled. Yes, it’s fun. Yes, it supports the recreational ability to burn off rounds all day long without pause. Yes, I know you don’t need someone telling you what you don’t need. But, no, you don’t need enough ammunition to replenish a battalion through several firefights at any one time. I think, during the Founder’s era, anyone, as a member of the militia, would have been expected to have an ample amount of ammunition *for themselves* to last through a sustained firefight. I don’t know the numbers, but my guess is that would range anywhere from 30-60 rounds of ammunition. But those were different weapons and different standards of “firefight”. I could see a modern argument being made that the average soldier would need about 2-3 “battle loads” available…with a battle load being about 210 rounds of ammunition. Could there be a way to limit citizens to possessing at any one time 500-600 rounds of ammunition, without imposing onerous and invasive regulations? If so, then I could support that limitation. So far, I haven’t envisioned such a scheme. If that makes you angry, I don’t think you understand the purpose of the 2nd Amendment.
I do know this much, whatever schemes are in place, I would NEVER support them if they didn’t support anonymity of individual gun owners. With the rabidity of the Left, I would never trust a list of gun-owners to be collected anywhere. But, for example, if a limitation were placed on ammunition possession such that individual’s purchases were tracked and summed up, I would expect some sort of system would be in place to protect the identity of the purchaser unless the limit was reached. Maybe every gun owner has a type of license, with a unique identification number, such that, when an ammunition purchase is made, the unique identification number along with quantity of ammunition is passed on to the regulators, but no names are passed on. Unless at some point the unique ID number has associated with it, MORE ammunition that permitted, then that may trigger going down to the ammo supplier and getting the name of the individual (which would be on any receipts) and determining if there is reason to pursue legal measures. Of course, I have no way of figuring out how the ammo purchaser would reduce the number of rounds on their account based on firing them off so that they stay below or at the permitted amount when they purchase new. Probably completely unworkable.
Those are a handful of random brain stormed ideas regarding the hardware of the 2nd Amendment that *might* work that fulfill the purpose of the 2nd Amendment while minimizing the potential casualties of bad actors. But Even then, I think the compromises still fall on the side of us just having to accept a certain level of killing as beinng the price of our freedom. They’re probably all really unworkable, in which case, I’ll always default closer to the absolutist 2nd Amendment side of the debate every time…because checking the government in the world’s last great hope is WORTH IT.
But, what about the behavioral side of the 2nd Amendment?
As much as “mental health checks” prior to gun ownership sounds good, I don’t think I could get on board. I can foresee a future in which all manner of questions could be asked specifically to deny the maximum amount of people the ability to own firearms. It’s too easy to abuse and too easy to make the questions politically (or even religiously) flavored.
“Do you think the 2nd Amendment’s purpose is for the possible overthrow of the government?”
“You’re a nutjob, license denied”
“Ok, then you don’t need a firearm. Next!”
I think responsible exposure and education to firearms from an early age IS a key component of people respecting the role of guns in society, that they aren’t some sexy way to go out in a blaze of glory. Would mandatory firearms classes in middle school and high school be so bad? I don’t think so. In fact, I don’t think you can be a responsible and complete citizen if you aren’t at least familiar with the function and employment of firearms.
Should gun owners periodically demonstrate safe handling, possession, and use of firearms? Yes. But I can only back such a requirement if anonymity is maintained at the lowest level possible. That is to say, the only people who know you are due for a “firearms test” are the locals. I cannot support this is aggregated lists of gun owners went higher.
Ok. I’m rambling now, and I’ve gotten to a point where I really don’t think many solutions are enforceable without becoming a police state, and so it probably will boil down to just having to live with casualties.
Feel free to fillet the suggested “compromises” I made above. I’m not even satisfied by them, too difficult to enforce or too easy to become tomorrow’s benchmark for the next round of “common sense” compromises even closer to total confiscation.
A really superb effort, tex. Commment of the Day, but I’d like to post it as as guest post (which I owe you anyway). Do you have a title?
Title? I have no idea… “Pipe Dreams” … “Ramblings of an idealist”? Can you make a title?
texagg04 wrote, “Can you make a title?”
Lone Star Critical Thinking
I’ve been wanting to post this for a few days. I’ve had it in my head. I had a hard time organizing it, and I think that it shows. Feel free to clean it up as much as possible. I really should take a writing class.
Jack: I’m sure Tex’s comment is COTD worthy – haven’t read it yet.
But I did copy and paste it into my copy of Word – over 4,000 words.
So Tex has my recent COTD beat on length – was his spammed?
No. See, YOU broke the mold, so they are punishing YOU. That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.
He’s got my 3423 word long one beat too. Man we’re some really wordy guys. 😉
Best I have ever seen on the topic!
I’ll hold my related comments until it is posted later.