The Desperate “Gunsplaining” Dodge

The latest tactic of the anti-gun Left is especially bizarre, but it nicely exposes the desperation and the essential dishonesty of the Parkland shooting extension of the Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, which started its long journey of ethics carnage when gun control advocates decided to jettison fair and civil debate as well as any mooring to reality in exchange for demonizing, emotionalism, and hysteria.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post, gun-opponent Adam Weinstein accused pro-Second Amendment defenders and of bullying and deflection by what he called “gunsplaining.” The term was originally coined by Cosmopolitan four days before the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, though Cosmo’s version was that “gunsplaining” is just a sub-set of “mansplaining,” where men, the theory goes, inherently condescend to women by pointing out when they are wrong about anything. Weinstien’s version was a different, and even more foolish, a rationalization for ignorance:

While debating the merits of various gun control proposals, Second Amendment enthusiasts often diminish, or outright dismiss their views if they use imprecise firearms terminology. Perhaps someone tweets about “assault-style” weapons, only to be told that there’s no such thing. Maybe they’re reprimanded that an AR-15 is neither an assault rifle nor “high-powered.” Or they say something about “machine guns” when they really mean semiautomatic rifles. Or they get sucked into an hours-long Facebook exchange over the difference between the terms clip and magazine.”

The Horror. In fact, what Weinstein is complaining about is that mean old gun-ownership supporters point out when a knee-jerk, emotion-filled gun control advocate obviously doesn’t know what he (or she!!!,Cosmo) doesn’t know what the hell they are talking about. Note the Post’s Eric Wemple, in the tweet above, calls this a “bad faith” tactic. It’s funny: pointing out that an opponent is full of malarkey has always been  a valid debate tactic before, and for good reason. It means that that an advocate’s position is based on ignorance and laziness rather than sound research and facts. Why is this suddenly  bad faith. “bullying” and below-the-belt tactics now?

The reason is that the anti-gun Left has bet all its chips on the power of children claiming moral authority  to finally lead the anti-gun army to victory over the Second Amendment, and those children wield passion and anger but little else. Despite proclaiming themselves as “experts” on gun policy, as David Hogg recently did on Bill Maher’s “Real Time,” their expertise extends only as far as “Guns Bad!” Thus the “gunsplaining” dodge: who ever said you actually need to know what you’re talking about to be a respectable advocate?

Well, abortion defenders and feminists, to name one group, except when the topic is guns. Remember the ridicule justly heaped on  Todd Akin, the idiot Republican candidate for U.S. Senator in Missouri, who told a local Missouri radio station in an interview that “legitimate rape” does not lead to pregnancy?  Akin was discredited, mocked, and rejected by all sides of the issue. In the gun deabte, however, pointing out that a vocal advocate is flying on hot air is  unfair. Writes David Harsanyi regarding the casual ignorance of the anti-gun spokespersons, young and old,

How dare Second Amendment advocates expect that those passionately arguing to limit their constitutional rights have some rudimentary knowledge of the devices they want to ban? To point out the constant glaring technical and policy “faux pas” of gun controllers is to engage in “gunsplaining,” a bad-faith argument akin to intimidation.

“If you don’t know what the ‘AR’ in AR-15 stands for, you don’t get to talk,” explains the sarcastic subhead on the piece. If you don’t know what the “AR” in AR-15 stands for, you still get to talk. But if you want to ban or confiscate AR-15s and you haven’t taken the time to learn what the “AR” stands for, then gun owners have every right to call you out.

Not just the right, but the obligation. We are not talking about “gotcha!” debate points, where using general rather than technical parlance is asserted as a material gaffe. “Failing to understand the distinction between a semi-automatic and automatic weapon tells us you’re dishonest, unserious or unprepared for the debate,” as Harsanyi says, and as I say, the public needs to be told when they are being misled. Heaven knows the news media won’t tell them.

At Reason, Christian Britschgi has another cogent justification for “gunsplaining” besides the shocking assertion that half-baked and ignorant arguments shouldn’t prevail

But sloppy language doesn’t just turn up in Facebook debates. It exercises a heavy influence on actual gun control proposals. In that context, pushing back on sloppy terminology isn’t just legitimate; it’s essential to the wider debate about gun ownership.

Take the 1994 assault weapons ban—the last major federal gun control measure, which banned all manner of weaponry because of their style, not their lethality. Modern-day opponents of gun control probably wouldn’t spend so much time railing against invocations of “assault weapons” if such a hazy term were not currently being used as the basis for state and federal legislation.

More recently, there’s the bump stock ban introduced by Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R–Fla.) and Seth Moulton (D– Mass.) after the Las Vegas massacre of October 2017. Their bill was written so hastily, and so vaguely, that it not only retroactively criminalized the possession of bump stocks; it banned “any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle”—which could include anything from binary triggers to heavier recoil springs.

Something similar happened after the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012, when the New York state legislature passed a bill banning non-existent “muzzle breaks” (as opposed to muzzle brakes), semiautomatic pistols that are “semiautomatic version[s] of an automatic rifle, shotgun or firearm” (it was unclear what this was supposed to mean), and loading more than seven rounds in a ten-round capacity magazine. These provisions were later struck down by a U.S. District Court Judge for their incoherence. The difference between “brakes” and “breaks” may be a mere typo on Facebook; in legislation, it’s enough to undo a segment of a law.

Yup. Ignorance Bad. Laziness Bad. Guns not bad, but if you are going to make the case that they are, opponents insisting that you avoid misleading terminology and can demonstrate that you are supported by knowledge rather than outrage alone should force you to sharpen your case, if it can be sharpened. If you bristle at that, its clear that you want to frighten and deceive, not convince. Harsanyi:

In a debate imbued with emotion, gun control advocates rely on this ignorance. When then-President Barack Obama told a crowd that a mass shooter used a “fully automatic weapon,” he wasn’t concerned with the finest taxonomic distinctions of a gun; he was depending on the yawning obliviousness of a cheering crowd. When CNN featured an alleged gun expert explaining that the AR-15 he was about to fire was “full semi-automatic,” he was making the functionality of the firearm sound scarier to those who are ignorant about guns…When you claim that the streets are rife with “high-capacity, rapid-fire magazines” or “jumbo clips,” you’re trying to fool your audience with a veneer of expertise. When you claim that we need to ban “gas-assisted receiver firearms,” you’re trying to make a semi-automatic weapon sound like a machine gun for a reason….All these people use a moralistic fallacy, which is often predicated on the ignorance Weinstein rationalizes.

The gunsplaining dodge is built on a massive foundation of rationalizations, 19, to be precise:

1 The Golden Rationalization, or “Everybody does it”
8. The Trivial Trap (“No harm no foul!”)
10. The Unethical Tree in the Forest, or “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.”
13. The Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause”
13A The Road To Hell, or “I meant well” (“I didn’t mean any harm!”)
19.The Perfection Diversion: “Nobody’s Perfect!” or “Everybody makes mistakes!”
22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”
28. The Revolutionary’s Excuse: “These are not ordinary times.”
33. The Management Shrug: “Don’t sweat the small stuff!”.
38. The Miscreant’s Mulligan or “Give him/her/them/me a break!”
48. Ethics Jiu Jitsu, or “Haters Gonna Hate!”
50. The Apathy Defense, or “Nobody Cares.”
50A Narcissist Ethics , or “I don’t care”
55. The Scooby Doo Deflection, or “I should have gotten away with it!”
57. The Universal Trump, or “Think of the children!”
57A The Utilitarian Cheat or “If it saves just one life”
58. The Golden Rule Mutation, or “I’m all right with it!”
59. The Ironic Rationalization, or “It’s The Right Thing To Do”
63. Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is”

This is what the current anti-gun campaign has sunk to: using rationalizations to defend ignorance. But when the current push fails, it will all be the NRA’s fault.


Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, language, Law & Law Enforcement

63 responses to “The Desperate “Gunsplaining” Dodge

  1. Paul W. Schlecht

    Can GlobalWarmingsplaining be too far off?

  2. Steve-O-in-NJ

    This is simply another variation on the left’s label and silence tactic, which grows out of the shriek “no uterus, no right to talk about it.” A man points out to a woman that some of the third-wave feminist stuff is nonsense, he’s just labeled “mansplaining” and can be ignored. If a white guy points out that some of the Black Lies Matter stuff is just that, lies, he can be labeled “whitesplaining” and his opinions hold no more value than a hill of garbage. Now if a gun owner points out that an anti-gun argument is flawed, he is just “gunsplaining.” Next!

    In essence, if you are on the left, all you have to do to totally discredit your opponents’ argument is tack on “-splaining.” At least that works among the like-minded. The thinking neutrals might not fall for something quite so facile.

    • Junkmailfolder

      Oh stop stevesplaining.

    • Steve-O, you do realize you just engaged in rightsplaining, right?

    • joed68

      My wife gets sucked in to these kinds of debates with the kids, too. She makes the mistake of thinking she can reason with them; that they’re not just employing childish tactics (like wearing you down) and are actually receptive to a cogent argument. They’re not, and neither are the children on the left. When it comes to the kids, I don’t roll around on the floor with them, and let them pull me around by the nose; I tell them “NO!”, and make it perfectly clear that they WILL yield, or I, being the adult, will make them uncomfortable.
      Unfortunately, we can’t smack these shrieking brats on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper, but we can keep it to “NO! The Constitution forbids it for some unassailable reasons, and we will NOT yield; not..another…INCH!” Going beyond that just encourages them, and no matter what you say, they will go around and around, utilizing tactics of all sorts like repeatedly changing the goalpost, and concealing their true intent. Never forget that, deep down, they could give a rats ass about the still-warm bodies of dead children that they shamelessly drag out to make political hay with, and they most certainly have no intention of stopping with any “common sense” gun law that they get enacted by guilt-tripping and holding their breath. This is precisely why they don’t believe it’s necessary to have the slightest clue about which end of a gun the bullets come out of. It’s immaterial when their goal is to do away with gun ownership altogether, despite their derisive protestations to the contrary. No, you don’t argue with them; you keep it succinct and to-the- point. We need to get them used to us being impervious to their utter nonsense, in order to slowly extinguish that hope that we’ve unintentionally kindled in them of realizing this sick dream. Otherwise, you can bet that every time the inevitable tragedy occurs, they will throw everything they’ve got against the 2nd amendment, and those of us that don’t view the world through a plexiglass windshield on our abdomens have to wonder if this time is when the one liberty that puts the “teeth” in all the others is finally going to disappear forever.

  3. I still think the best example of Democratic ignorance towards gun control came from Hillary Clinton in the wake of the 2017 Las Vegas massacre.

    At the time Paul Ryan was attempting to pass a piece of legislation that would make it easier for someone to acquire a suppressor. Armed with nothing but the knowledge that Republicans were passing a bill making it easier to get a gun accessory, Hillary Clinton tweeted the following:

    I can’t believe she hasn’t taken it down, but if she ever does, the text of it is this:

    “The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots.

    Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.”

    Ok, so there’s three specific problems with that, one is kind of a quibble, but two are pretty damn important.

    The first problem is that there’s no such thing as a “silencer”, that’s what they’re called on TV, which apparently not only Donald Trump watches too much of. If Hillary had done more research on the topic than watching an Action Movie, she would know that the device she was referring to was a “suppressor”.

    That’s what might be called a quibble, but the distinction between “silencer” and “suppressor” is actually material, which brings me to my second point: Suppressors don’t silence gunfire. Again… Too many action movies. A suppressor only reduces the decibels involved from that of gunfire to merely that of a jackhammer. Suppressors aren’t meant to be a covert fire device, they’re meant to lower the decibels of rounds fired so that they’re less likely to cause ear damage. That, by the way, might be the reason the bill in question was called The “Hearing Protection Act”.

    And I just want to take a step back after having mentioned those facts and point out that under current legislation, there is a nine month waiting period and a $200 tax stamp attached to the purchase of a suppressor. The ignorance of Democrats over the usage of a safety device has caused so much red tape that it is harder to buy a safety device than it is to buy the gun you would attach it to. But please, do tell me more about how you want to legislate with “common sense”?

    And that brings me to my final point… Which is the functionality of a suppressor: A suppressor reduces the sound and muzzle flash of shots in such a way as to transfer some of the energy of the shot to the suppressor in the form of heat. Not usually enough heat to be a problem in small caliber handguns, but if someone were to actually attach a suppressor to a bump-stocked AR-15, there’d probably be so much heat generated just firing the first magazine that it would warp the barrel. To wit: fewer people would have died in Vegas had the shooter been stupid enough to use a suppressor, because his gun would have damn near melted in his hands.

    So to wrap that all up: The Democrat who was nominated for the 2016 presidential election talked about a subject where she doesn’t even know the name of the device she’s talking about, or what it does. But she spoke authoritatively from ignorance to what she thought it might do, and told millions of Americans not only something that was not true, but was actually the exact opposite of what was true. And we already have historical examples of Democrats using this ignorance laden fear-mongering to push “gun control” legislation that is not only ineffective, but actually made it harder for gun owners to purchase a safety device.

    If you barely know the shootey end of the gun from the grippey end, why the HELL should I listen to ANYTHING you have to say on the topic?

    • Thank you for expressing these facts about suppressors. Three shots in 10 seconds through an 5.56 and you can fry an egg on the barrel.

      • philk57

        That would be a bit of an overstatement, but with a direct impingement gas operated system that has not been tuned for use with a suppressor, that is not too far off. If a piston system is installed, then it is not as big a deal – but whichever system you have, if it is not tuned to operate properly with the”can”, then it will overheat and foul relatively quickly.

        • joed68

          A very long time ago, I had a Thompson submachine gun with a “form 1” can that I designed. It was 2-stage; the rear portion being the expansion chamber that surrounded the barrel, and the front portion being a series of “omega” baffles that brought the 4130 tube another 10″ in front of the muzzle. The blast baffle was stainless, the rest 7075, and you could fire this thing literally all day long. No first round pop, and it never got louder. It sounded like an Airsoft gun!

          • 1. The Thompson does not come close to the speed of sound, meaning isis already much quieter even without the supersonic crack

            2. The range is one third that of most rifles

            3. The energy of the round is so low (and the can you describe so big) you would never heat up

            But that was a cool build! Wish I could have shot it!

            • My 9mm HK Compact with an Omega can attached is very quiet as well, and with ‘low kick’ carry ammo you practically only hear the slide racking and the brass falling. Aimed range is about 50 ft, though, and accuracy beyond about 20 feet is meh, at least for me.

              And if you spray a full magazine, it gets pretty warm too.

              • joed68

                If you want to see some pics of the Rowland project, let me know, and we can figure out a way to exchange email addresses.

              • joed68

                Sorry; last off-topic comment. Are you talking about a can with omega-style baffles? Yeah, they’re fantastic; much better than the K or M for the 9mm or .45. The can I built was, in a sense, a hybrid of the MP5SD and the old Sionics (but with omegas). Yeah, it was massive, but so, so quiet that it was a good tradeoff.

            • joed68

              Yes, but I’m not sure what your point is. I wasn’t comparing this one to any others. I’m a machinist who scratch-built more than a few guns, including a few class III (like the above-mentioned Thompson, patterned after the 1921) and a .460 Rowland built with raw frame and slide castings. Sadly, that’s al long-behind me, but I’ve moved on to what I think is something better: a “Cri-Cri” MC-15 and Cozy Mk-IV planes.

    • joed68

      Not only that, but on a rifle, which fires a bullet that exceeds the speed of sound, you still get the sonic “boom” of the bullet; well, really more of a sharp crack, like a whip cracking. Still quite loud, and at the distance he was firing, the noise would be almost the same, as the muzzle blast at that range would only account for a small fraction of the sound.

  4. Other Bill

    I need to do some research on the origins of “reactionary.” I assume it was coined by Lenin or Trotsky or some other Bolshevik. It’s the mother of all labels used to discredit opposition. It simply means “someone who doesn’t agree with revolutionaries.” It’s so preposterous that someone would attempt to silence someone who doesn’t agree with them by labeling them as someone who doesn’t agree with them.

    The “bad faith argument” scam is definitely going around. We’ve seen it merrily deployed here.

    • I think this is an informative tweet on several levels. First and foremost it’s a bad analogy. Let’s break it down:

      He’s equated “understanding gun terminology” with “understanding biology of a heroin overdose”. So far this is an alright comparison to make. Both require detailed understanding of parts/anatomy of the specific entities in question, both require a detailed understanding of the functions of those parts as well as what happens to those parts when modified or used.

      His next comparison is “to have opinions on gun policy” with “to have an opinion on the drug war”. Here’s where his analogy breaks down. We have the comparison of concrete applicable specific regulations to abstract values-centric generalities. Gun “policy” consists of a distinct set of plans and regulations which must be clear and consistent. Of course any specific set of such comprising gun “policy” derives FROM a larger more abstract set of values regarding the relationship of firearms and society.

      Whatever any individual’s larger more abstract set of values regarding firearms & society is, or to say “to have an opinion on firearms” IS comparable to Beauchamp’s analog: “to have an opinion on the drug war”.

      From the other angle, “to have an opinion on the drug war” consists of general notions of values, rights, duties, community imperatives, and other more abstract notions that govern an individual’s approach to the topic. The drug “war” is a larger topic than any particular set of specific policies pursuing it. To more closely resemble an anlog to “to have opinions on gun policy”, Beauchamp would need to correct the term “to have opinions on drug enforcement policy”.

      Second, as the errors in the analogy are understandable, they show us that there is a continuum on which lie “how society handles problems”. At one end of the continuum, we have abstractions – our values, our goals, and our ethical processes we use to weigh and compare them. At the other end of the continuum, we have detailed and concrete actions – policies, laws, regulations, etc. When our community faces any particular “problem”, consideration of that problem appropriately begins on the abstract end and works its way to the concrete end – and we discover that, even if we agree on our values at the starting point, we may have sharp disagreements at the end point.

      Beauchamp is right in implying we all have a right to have and express opinions on the abstract side, he’s merely errant in applying that principle when we get to expressing opinions about the specific policies that pursue the values from the abstract side. If we want a policy that addresses the effects of “heroin overdoses” as part of the larger “drug war”, we better well understand the biology of heroin overdoses if we want to actually make sure those policies nest consistently with the greater values pursued. That means knowing the parts and processes of biology.

      That being said, any person certainly CAN have a general set of values regarding firearms and whether or not they should be limited, but they better well understand the parts and processes of firearms if they actually want to make sure and specific policies nest consistently with their greater values.

    • Ulrike

      Well, he certainly outwitted himself there – I’d say a more than superficial understanding of the issue you are aguing for or against, is called for and advantageous if you are going to convince anyone of your view of things… ^^

    • Poor Zack had more responding tweets panning both his ignorance and bad analogy than he got in support. My reply was “You can have all the opinions you want. If you also expect people to attach any importance to your opinions, you should know what the hell you’re talking about.”

  5. Ulrike

    At the moment, I could not say wether I am pro or con – I honestly just do not think about firearms that often unless there was a shooting that made world headlines.

    But… I do think that this whole discussion is beside the point. It all boils down to whether this 200-year-old legislation is still appropriate and most important whether it still serves the best interest of its people?

    I looked into some history sites to get a more accurate picture of the era this legislation came to be. I don’t just mean the type of weapons people had at their disposal – which if I understood correctly where muskets that could shoot one round and then had to be restuffed with gunpowder and then the bullet/ball would follow (and good luck with hitting something with great accuracy). But also people would have been helpless – settlers in frontier land had to defend their very lives against the French (depending which side they were on) or Natives (depending which side they! aligned with).
    Also, no police at the other end of 911. Angry/hungry bears in winter – also no meat/food unless you shot it yourself. So an amendment like that really had its value and of course justification.

    227 years onwards:
    (Please correct me if I’m wrong, I am not that familiar with the US constitution)
    I don’t need to point out that the wording of the amendment has not changed, yet the issue they concern has undergone a dramatic change as has the society that has to live by it, and which could not wholly be foreseen by its makers. Not only the quality of firearms but also the quantity in which they are produced has changed beyond anyone’s imagination.
    So all this leads me back to my question from the beginning: is it still serving people’s best interest?

    • “yet the issue they concern has undergone a dramatic change”

      The concern in the Amendment is: what is “necessary to the security of a free State”.

      This has not and will never stop being a concern of healthy societies.

      • Correct. NOT the security of government, but the security of those who have delegated to government the right to rule.

        • Definitely, there’s 4 heavy terms in there that carry so much meaning that I didn’t have time to do a more thorough exposition. But yes, “State” has several meanings, one being the entity better referred to as “government”, another being the whole political system from top to bottom including government, people, courts, people, lawmakers, people. The descriptor “free” before “State” in the context of having just fought a war against an oppressive regime, clearly indicates the Founders were referring to the entire political arrangement…not the government.

          I mean…a “free State” if the term only meant government would be a terrifying tyranny…which the Founders clearly wrote the Constitution against.

      • Ulrike

        But the text says that people should be allowed to bear arms for the expressed purpose of being able to join/form the militia – which certainly made sense with the enemy they facing and military forces needing the support of the local population. But against whom do you propose would armed citizens of today fight to secure the free state? And couldn’t modern military do that much better?

        • dragin_dragon

          Ever see ‘Red Dawn’? I mean the original not the utterly useless remake. And yes, the military (or veterans younger than 72) could do a better job, providing 1) they are available or 2) they aren’t on the opposing side.

        • joed68

          No, that’s NOT the “expressed purpose” that the founders had in mind. After decades of abuse by the Crown, what finally set off the Revolution was British troops marching on Concord to confiscate our guns and powder. We recognized that that was the “now or never” moment, and we acted. As stated numerous times, THAT was precisely what they had in mind with the 2A. Think about it; if it was merely a matter of ensuring everyone had a weapon for national defense, there are a number of ways to accomplish that without putting something in the Bill of (individual) Rights to that effect. No, the purpose of the 2A was, and is, to ensure that “no standing army could ever rule by the sword”.The preamble about the militia was to point out that it is a necessary evil, and the second half is the antidote.Also, in those days, “well-regulated” meant “well-functioning”. It wasn’t a reference to rules and regulations.

        • Ulrike: “But the text says that people should be allowed to bear arms for the expressed purpose of being able to join/form the militia”

          Though it’s clumsy phrasing, the Second is otherwise interpreted to mean that it is suggested that the states take advantage of the presence of an armed citizenry to facilitate the operation of the militias. The genesis of the second was the English common law idea that a person had a natural right to self defense (an idea that had already been abused and chipped away at by the Crown in England, in ways such as prohibiting Catholics from arms). This is better understood in various proposed versions, state constitutions, and founders’ writings, for example:

          Pennsylvania— “…the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves.”
          Massachusetts (Samuel Adams)–“And that the said Constitution be never construed…to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.
          Thomas Jefferson–“No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

          Things might have been clearer if they had adopted (Virginian) George Mason’s version: “That the People have a right to keep and bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, composed of the Body of the People, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe Defence of a free state.

          As to the question of how an armed citizenry would oppose the government today (and, tangentially, to the sometimes argued point that civilians could not oppose tanks, missiles, etc.), there are several considerations there. One is that the U.S. military is not an elite foreign Praetorian Guard; they are the sons and daughters, parents, neighbors, and relatives of the common citizen. Some have made the reasonable proposal that any uprising significant enough to cause those in power to engage widespread use of the military against them would also be popular enough that large portions (a majority?) of that same military, along with various law enforcement, would refuse to engage, or would be on the side of the citizens (some current overreaching gun law are today seeing massive non-enforcement). The militia of the citizens, with a good cause, might well either meet less resistance than expected, and/or be augmented by significant portions of “government” forces.

          Of course,this is not something that anyone should hope to see. I wonder if those on the left ever envision their constant push to suppress and control possibly coming to these ends?

        • Where was the modern military during that shooting in Parkland?

    • philk57

      Ulrike, part of what you said was: “I don’t just mean the type of weapons people had at their disposal – which if I understood correctly where muskets that could shoot one round and then had to be restuffed with gunpowder and then the bullet/ball would follow (and good luck with hitting something with great accuracy).”

      There are a couple of mis-perceptions here as well. Michael and slick dealt with the liberty issues already, but I do often see memes that indicate the 2nd Amendment should only apply to single shot muzzle loading muskets. Well … there were quite a few muzzle loading rifles in those days – many of which were fantastically accurate over relatively long ranges. And a musket (which has no rifling and is therefore less accurate than a rifle) could be loaded three or more times per minute by a well practiced operator.

      Also, the first semi-automatic rifle was invented in the late 1750’s – so the founders and writers of the constitution and the bill of rights were certainly aware of it when speaking of arms.

    • I don’t need to point out that the wording of the amendment has not changed, yet the issue they concern has undergone a dramatic change as has the society that has to live by it, and which could not wholly be foreseen by its makers. Not only the quality of firearms but also the quantity in which they are produced has changed beyond anyone’s imagination.
      So all this leads me back to my question from the beginning: is it still serving people’s best interest?

      Just remember that all amendments, not just the Second, are on the table if we are considering amending the Constitution.

      Could our founders have predicted that criminals would be able to use the Fourth Amendment to get away with murder?

      Could the authors of the 14th Amendment predicted that a subset of black people would commit half of all violent crimes in the U.S.?

      • Jeff

        Not to mention, if the authors of the Constitution had foreknowledge that one day a soul-sucking monster called “Twitter” would exist, they might have reconsidered the whole “free speech” thing in the First Amendment.

    • 1. The Constitution is remarkably abstract in dealing with rights, and the passage of time hasn’t made any of the Bill of Rights anachronistic. I’d say especially the Second Amendment, which didn’t specify a type of weapon, and the weapons being discussed were state of the art by inclusion. I don’t know why you would think that changes over time. It’s a little like arguing that the only freedom of the press now should be when s’s look like F’s. What’s the equivalent of a musket today? An AR-15 wouldn’t be a wrong answer.

      2. The legislative history shows that the Second was not about hunting, but self defense and protection against malign outside forces.

      3. I don’t see how society in relation to the right to bear arms has changed at all. Indeed, the history of rogue totalitarian governments disarming the public is far more frightening than it was in the 18th Century

      4. The right to bear arms led to more arms. The existence of more arms would not suggest the right should be reduced, any more than the proliferation of published speech, which is even more dramatic since Revolutionary times, suggests that we need to take down the freedom of speech. Americans use their rights. Good.

      That was the idea.

      • Ulrike

        1. But I did not argue the freedom of the press neither did I claim that only just because the law was old it lost its justification. I said that its value needs to be discussed/examined because circumstances do change over time which can require legislation to change as well – to consider/encompass new issues that could not be foreseen.

        2. The hunting was mentioned towards the end after the need for self-defense – which I listed first.

        3. There is a major societal difference: you don’t have to different nationalities from Europe fighting over territory and supremacy in the US today.
        One of the major support pillars of totalitarian governments is/was mandatory military service or drafting by force as well as eliminating free speech/press/media. If you think of Hitler – those were major “to do’s” in the consecutives stages of seizing total power.

        4. Again, I did not compare these two nor did I say that if one isn’t relevant/appropriate, it would automatically mean that another from the same era shouldn’t be as well. I also did not say that the right to bear arms led to more arms.
        Technical progress made mass production possible and led to more arms.

        Neither did I say that the existence of more arms is the reason for reducing the right to bear them.

        I had to actually re-read my comment to make sure I wrote what wrote after reading your answers.

        What I did say was that an old legislation should be examined as to whether it still serves people’s best interests.

        • “”What I did say was that an old legislation should be examined as to whether it still serves people’s best interests.

          Who gets to examine and determine what is in ‘the people’s’ best interests?

          There is a mechanism for changing the law in question (AKA ‘The Constitution if the United States’) and it is not being used? I wonder why?

          I suspect that those who would like to ‘examine old legislation’ with an eye to what ‘serves people’s best interests’ realize that those people would not support using the mechanism provided within the legislation itself.

          But you are welcome to try.

        • joed68

          The notion that people have a natural right to armed self-defense is a timeless one; no need to revisit it now, or ever.

    • joed68

      Gee, I wonder if the authors of the first amendment had bullhorns, typewriters, and the internet in mind when they drafted it? Maybe we should limit it to only apply to quill pens and old-fashioned printing presses?

  6. Yo

    Hello. It is imperative that the tactics of the left be clearly listed. When we call out these despicable tactics we show the absurdity of their argument and further reduce their rhetorical effectiveness. Let me list them:

    1.) Standing on the graves of the dead children.- This is done after every school shooting. Most notably by Piers Morgan when the Sandy Hook school shooting occurred, where he suggested that if you don´t agree with guns bans then you don´t care about the dead children. Another most recent example is political pawn, David Hogg, who stated that Dana Loesch doesn’t care about the dead kids because she isn´t on board with his agenda. This is the most immoral of all the left’s arguments, because they play on the emotions of grieving people to push their agendas.

    2.) Just because you are a victim of a tragedy does not make you an expert on public policy. This point is pretty self explanatory, but the left sees it as a means to advance their political agenda. Just because you were impacted by something doesn’t mean you are an expert. Just because you use a public restroom doesn’t mean you are an expert on infrastructure.

    3.) Facts Don´t trump feelings. Although we are emotionally impacted by the recent schools shooting doesn’t mean that our feelings come before facts.

    4.) The false narrative that the left promulgates that “we dont want to take your guns¨ This is one of the most untrue arguments we hear from the Left. and the only reason it exists is to appeal to people who are more politically centered in an attempt to get more people on their side of the narrative.

    If I didn’t include any or you disagree please comment below.

    • FYI: There are Multiple posts on all four on Ethics Alarms.

    • Hello!

      Like Jack said, for most of us, you’re probably preaching to the choir, we’ve talked about this a fair bit, and even our resident lefties are getting better educated on the topic.

      That said… I think you said your number 3 entirely backwards…. Unless you meant to be ironic. Facts do trump feelings, no?

      And as a point of personal interest, are you Canadian, by any chance? The only reason I’m asking is you’re using a French compatible keyboard and hit ctrl-shift. It’s turned your apostrophes into accents (I do this all the time and it infuriates me, another crtl-shift fixes it).

  7. I very gently corrected a lady who was going on about guns this week. I walked her through what ‘high powered’ means and how the AR15 is not that. I explained how a typical deer rifle is many times more powerful, and can shoot just as quickly. I explained that I hunt deer with an AR15 as well, in certain circumstances, as it is the appropriate caliber for those circumstances.

    I told her how the .223 (okay, 5.56 so I don’t get gunsplained) was not developed to kill people, but to wound. “That does not make sense!” “Aha, if a soldier is wounded, how many does it take to carry him off the battlefield?” “-oh.”

    She ended up expressing that she wants a pistol to carry for protection, and I gave her advice on what training, what the steps look like, and who she could trust to help.

    Now, I was a customer, so maybe she listened so as to not lose my business. But she listened, and maybe learned something she did not hear on social media.

    (She also asserted that Obama had ‘never had a scandal’ until I mentioned Fast and Furious, which she had never heard of, and Benghazi, which she knew enough of to realize Obama lied about the video when I pointed it out)

    One person at a time, if the opportunity presents itself. That is how we fix the partisan divide.

    • dragin_dragon

      First, a disclaimer…I’m not really familiar with the AR15, nor its military derivative, the M16 as I have never fired either (when I was in the Army, we were using M14s). However, based on what little I know, I would say that any rifle that fires a round just .003 inches bigger than .22 from a cartridge case of that size, containing that much powder HAS to be considered high-powered. That said, an AR15 CANNOT be considered an assault rifle because it does not have a selector switch. The 1994 bill that banned “assault rifles” defined them as having a flash suppressor, a bayonet lug and a selector switch. It also mentioned a grenade launcher, but I think this is yet another case of ignorance producing stupid legislation, since grenade launchers are already illegal.

      • DD,

        Your comment sent me down a rabbit hole, so it is only fair I drag you with me! First, your comments about ‘assault rifle’ are dead on, if you will excuse the play on words.

        Second, there is a problem is the definition of ‘high powered.’ That is an imprecise term that must be put into perspective. By what do we measure power in a firearm? Energy of a striking bullet? Number of rounds sent downrange over time? Amount of destruction on target?

        I will use muzzle energy as my example of ‘power.’ It is imperfect, but is a good comparison from bullet to bullet.

        Muzzle Energy is the kinetic energy of a bullet as it is expelled from the muzzle of a firearm. For other geeks out there, the general formula is ‘Kinetic Energy is equal to one half of the mass of the bullet times the velocity squared, for all bullets traveling above the speed of sound (980 ft/s)’

        The ME of the smallest rifle round, a .17 Rem 25 grain bullet is about 906 ft lbs. A .45 ACP at around 200 grains ranges from 400 to 571 ft lbs. A .30-30 Win 150 grain bullet (common round from cowboy days) is about 1,902 ft lbs. A .270 Win 130 grain bullet comes in at about 2,702 ft lbs, which is a light deer rifle using a ‘fast’ bullet. A .30-06 Springfield 150 grain rings in around 2,820 ft lbs. (Note this is the rifle and bullet 13 year old slickwilly took his first deer with)

        All of these are very common calibers in civilian hands worldwide. For contrast, let’s look at ‘known’ larger calibers. A .300 Weatherby Magnum 150 grain bullet is 3,605 ft lbs, while a .338 Win Magnum 200 grain is about 3,866 ft lbs.

        Finally, the granddaddy himself, the .50 BMG 750 grain runs 12,592 ft lbs!

        So which of these is ‘high powered?’

        Certainly the Magnums (as the name connotes) and the .50, right? What about the .30-06? The .270?

        A 5.56 (or .223, which is the civilian version) Rem 55 grain bullet comes in at about 1,282 ft lbs. (You can get up to 1,400 ft lbs with special loads, but they are rare and expensive.)

        Most deer rifles are more ‘powerful’ than the AR 15, many by twice as much.

        • Paul W. Schlecht


          Please forgive my ignor…um…lack of knowledge, but your first comment (“I told her how the .223 [okay, 5.56 so I don’t get gunsplained”] was not developed to kill people, but to wound.”) sent me to Mr. Google.

          The results of my search: “Is the AR-15 developed to wound rather than to kill?” were inconclusive.

          The 5.56 (or .223) is ammo developed to “wound” rather than to “kill” and not the firearm itself?

          • joed68

            Our military wants them to kill ,which is why we got away from the 55-grain M-193 ammo; ive seen people shot numerous times with that, keep on trucking, and seen it bounce off windshields. They adopted the MK 262 mod 1, with 77-grain bullets, and they do a much better job of killing (with appropriate 1 in 7″ twist barrels), but they’re still very underpowered for deer-sized game, and not nearly as good at killing things as the 7.62×51 NATO round used in our medium machine guns and the SCAR. Even that, though, is a popgun next to some of the heavy deer/elk/moose medicine out there.

            • Paul W. Schlecht

              ”we got away from the 55-grain M-193 ammo”

              Harry Callahan didn’t have anything to do with it…?

              • dragin_dragon

                OK, here’s a funny story…the local bar I frequent has, as a regular, an artillery first shirt who is convinced that an M16 bullet tumbles on impact. I have tried, several times, to convince him that a rifle that spins a bullet at 1 in 10 will not tumble when it his a target and he will not believe me. This guy was a FIRST SHIRT. What chance do we have against uninformed civilians?

                • I was told in basic training (circa 1987) that combat rounds were ‘shaved’ to be unbalanced and thus would tumble. This was maintained all during my years of service.

                  Is it correct? Dunno, just know that the guys trusted to turn civilians into marksmen preached that very matter-of-factly.

                  They also said that the bullet will strike bone and ‘tumble’ inside the body, causing more damage than a larger round.

                  Again, YMMV

                  • dragin_dragon

                    My guess, a sift-tissue hit is the same with either an M-14 or an M-16. Like you, I don’t know about a bone hit, for no other reason than the small caliber. M-14 just breaks it and keeps going. I never really trusted the M-16 in any case. Three thousands of an inch bigger than a .22? I don’t think it’s my first choice.

            • dragin_dragon

              Well, yeah. A Weatherby or an H&H .400 magnum will drop virtually anything, up to elephants, and I’ve heard some stories…no matter. I would think muzzle velocity determines ‘high powered’ and something over 1200 fps would qualify. My Slabside pistol only makes 999 fps.

          • One of the ‘pros’ I was taught during my Army service is that 5.56 was small enough to carry more rounds into combat, and that it was designed to wound. This was before Gulf I when the last real battles were fought in the jungles of SE Asia. Ranges were short, supply lines were long, and a lighter bullet made some sense.

            Later, a heavier round might make sense, as you needed longer range in open country, or needed to shoot in an urban environment where penetration of concealment was desirable (I am assuming here) Note this is STILL a light round for military use.

            The caliber itself is very light for a mass the size of a human (or deer) except at short range (less than 150 yards) which I think speaks to the desire to wound if possible.

            The AR 15 is a heavy varmint rifle, as my follow up posting on Muzzle Energy shows.

  8. Oh yeah, I’m back in the NRA.
    Thanks, CNN and Mr. Hogg, for your bansplaining.

    • Paul W. Schlecht

      ”Thanks, CNN and Mr. Hogg, for your BANsplaining.”

      Heh! And duly recognized by the Gut Laugh Leader Board!

      Get thee to Urban Dictionary before someone else beats youse to it.

      Any questions? Zoltar Speaks! owns his own wing there and may be of some assistance.

  9. Isaac

    If you feel like everyone is “mansplaining” or “gunsplaining” to you, then the most likely reason is that you just aren’t as knowledgable as the average man and/or gun owner.

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