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Showing posts with label 2nd Amendment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2nd Amendment. Show all posts

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Challenge of One Size Fits All

The biggest challenge facing the gun rights position today is the one size fits all nature of 2nd amendment interpretations over the course of the last few decades. At the heart of this, is the concept of responsibility (individual versus societal) that dogs most issues of the day.

Defenders of gun rights fight for looser government regulations and champion easier access to firearms. By taking this position, they open up the door to a wide range of individuals, some of whom are irresponsible with firearms. Unfortunately, gun rights activists view this action as having a negligible on our society. Given that mass shootings have become the norm and toddlers shooting people  at the rate of one per week, I find this view most troubling and, quite frankly, heartless.

They also view these irresponsible people with firearms as being islands in our culture and any detrimental effect as being exclusively the fault of said person. Of course, this is the problem with the entire liberal versus conservative ideological wave length. Liberals tend to recognize that when you deal with a large group of people (aka the general public), a significant number of them are not intelligent, mature, or responsible. This is why liberals favor regulation and government control on a whole host of issues, not just guns. These irresponsible people are a drag on our society that inhibits progress. Conservatives, on the other hand, would rather leave the issue of responsibility with each person and let “free will” rule the day seemingly not caring about the effects nor our collective responsibility to society.

So, the biggest challenge facing the gun rights position today is the same one facing many of the other issues of the day. By loosening regulation on the financial sector, health care, the energy sector, and guns, people will behave in an irresponsible fashion and destroy lives. Because we live in a society where people are in a constant state of interaction, less regulated people will hurt or kill other people. It’s just that simple.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Good Words

From a question on Quora...

The question isn't to amend or abolish the second amendment, it is to properly apply it.  If the President, Congress and the Courts would focus more fully on what a "well regulated militia" is, I think we'd find compromise.

For example, I would propose:

  1. In order to own anything that is not a hunting-purpose long gun (Shotguns without tactical attachments, centerfire/rimfire rifles without tactical attachments) you must be: a) willing to serve in some sort of reserve unit of the Armed Forces or b) some sort of police / sherrif / state trooper auxillary unit
  2. In order to serve in this well regulated militia, you must a) complete a series of psychological evaluations and b) complete comprehensive training with firearms and other aspects of your job.
  3. This would effectively get you into the VA (or state equivalent systems) regarding mental health.

If you are serving in a militia in good standing (including retired), then you can have whatever guns you wish.

Much like in Australia, you'd have to do some sort gun buyback which would probably go over like a lead balloon.

I'm not sure people have a problem with sensible gun ownership, but instead on whether the mentally unfit / untrained people are using them. 

At least that's my take.

And a great take it is! The Gun Cult chides continually that gun safety advocates have no real plan and or idea what new laws should look like. This is a great example of exactly what it should look like and something I firmly support. I would add that the mental health evaluations be at least three times a year and one hundred hours a year minimum training.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Jefferson on Guns

I think Thomas Jefferson was most illuminating when he wrote...

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. 

 ...I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. 

 ...But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. 

And lastly, let us provide in our constitution for its revision at stated periods. What these periods should be, nature herself indicates.

 (Letter to Samuel Kercheval, Quotations on the Jefferson Memorial)

We are clearly at the point of revision right now when it comes to the 2nd Amendment.

We have 30K deaths a year due to gun violence. There is a mass shooting every single day in this country. Far too many people have guns that shouldn't have them.

So, it's time to reform the 2nd Amendment by focusing first on the "well regulated" part of the right. As in Israel, people should have to demonstrate a valid and rational reason as to why they want to own a gun. There should be universal background checks on EVERY SINGLE gun purchase. The law should require high amounts of liability insurance on every gun purchase. Parents of children who end up accidentally shooting themselves should have as stringent of punishments as we have with zero tolerance drug laws. Anyone with a criminal record or mental health problems should be denied gun ownership.

 As Jefferson noted, we are living under a regimen of our barbarous ancestors. It's time to move on...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gun Cult Dealt Setback

The Supreme Court dealt the Gun Cult a blow this week with the decision on Abramski v. United States. The court ruled 5-4 and affirmed the lower court's decision that regardless of whether the actual buyer could have purchased the gun, a person who buys a gun on someone else’s behalf while falsely claiming that it is for himself makes a material misrepresentation punishable under 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6), which prohibits knowingly making false statements “with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of a sale of a gun.”

In a nutshell, no more straw purchases.

SCOTUS Blog has a great breakdown of the decision with this great pull quote.

Although Congress in recent years has been unable or unwilling to pass new gun-control laws, the elaborate scheme of background checking that was at issue in Monday’s ruling remains fully in force. The decision in Abramski v. United States almost certainly will make that scheme work more reliably to track the movement of guns across the U.S.

“No piece of information is more important under federal law ,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the majority, ”than the identity of a gun’s purchaser — the person who acquires a gun as a result of a transaction with a licensed dealer.” Answering a form that asks about the actual purchase, Kagan added, “is fundamental to the lawfulness of a gun sale.” A sale cannot even occur unless the true buyer is correctly identified, and is at the counter seeking to buy a weapon, the opinion noted.

Why this was legal before today is illustrative of the idiocy of the Gun Cult. Worse, it shows the level of dishonesty to which they will sink when they say they are "responsible" gun owners. What kind of responsible person would support this sort of activity? They claim to want increased law enforcement and crackdowns on criminals but straw purchases essentially gives the bad guys a blank check.

Oh well, that shit is over now and the Supreme Court finally got something right.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

John Paul Stevens v The Gun Cult

Well, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens went and done did it. He has taken on the Gun Cult. Here is how he would change the 2nd Amendment.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the militia shall not be infringed.

Holy SHEEEIT! Look out!!! Here comes that boiling pit of sewage frothed with a fresh set of bowels blown!!!

Props out to him for having the guts to go that far and shine a spotlight on the people in this country who have very serious control and authority issues. The link above should also be noted for this passage.

He recalls a colorful remark on the topic by the late Warren Burger, who served as chief justice from 1969 to 1986. Responding to the NRA’s lobbying campaign opposing gun control laws in the name of Second Amendment rights, Burger, a lifelong conservative, remarked during a television interview in 1991 that the amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud—I repeat, fraud—on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

Completely agree. I would not go as far as to ban private ownership of guns as Stevens suggests but I do think it is way past time in allowing the assholes of the Gun Cult free reign on the 2nd Amendment. Just like Republican Jesus believers, they are not the sole interpreter of the Constitution simply because they act like the biggest dicks.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

No Doubt!

What Is The Second Amendment Coming To When North Dakota Nazi Guy Can’t Even Terrorize His Neighbors With Guns?

I, for one, am outraged. What part of infringed don't they understand?!!?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Working Out Just Fine

Let's see...

Grades too low, so St. Paul dad pulls AK-47, charges say

Authorities: NM teen accused of killing family put rifles in van, planned Wal-Mart shootout

Gunman in Ala. bus shooting holds boy hostage in bunker

And breaking just a few hours ago...

3 shot at Phoenix office building

And these are just highlights of the last week.

Yes, I see it now. Our gun laws are sufficient and seem to be working out just fine. In fact, we need less regulation and more guns in light of these events. That'll solve the problem, George Orwell.

What was I thinking?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Both To Change

With a few days until the release of Vice President Biden's committee recommendations regarding gun violence, I thought we should take a look at the 2nd Amendment and talk about its intent and purpose. There's likely going to be a whole bunch of mouth foaming, chest thumping and downright moonbat nuttery after Tuesday so let's examine the center piece of the right to bear arms. After that, I will offer my recommendations for the path I think we should pursue regarding gun safety.

Here is the 2nd Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Let's talk about the first part ("a well regulated militia"). Alexander Hamilton explains the meaning of this part of the 2nd Amendment quite well in Federalist Paper #29.

This desirable uniformity can only be accomplished by confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority. It is, therefore, with the most evident propriety, that the plan of the convention proposes to empower the Union "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by congress."

"If a well regulated militia be the most natural defence of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security...confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority...(and) reserving to the states...the authority of training the militia"

This first part of the 2nd Amendment establishes the intention to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, and locally enforce the law. Essentially, what Hamilton is describing here is the National Guard, the modern day equivalent of a militia system. He is very careful to point out, however, that the national authority has the power over this organization, not the states themselves. After all, it is the federal government, not the states, that are responsible for providing national security. He concludes this paper by dismissing concerns about tyranny (let's remember that for a little later).

The next part of the 2nd Amendment talks about the right of the people to keep and bear arms and how that shall not be infringed. Some Constitutional scholars have taken this to mean as part of the militia but not as an individual. I disagree. It's clearly the individual and it doesn't matter whether or not they are in the military. This would be the part of the amendment that says that people (as a collective or individuals) have a right to defend themselves. Exactly what they are defending themselves against is where the problems begin.

The chief complaint about the Right is that they must have access to whatever they deem necessary to defend themselves. This includes the weapons of war that a soldier would use. In looking at Hamilton's explanation of the 2nd Amendment above, it's clear that he (and the founding fathers) did not want clusters of mini armies around the United States. He wanted a national army to preside over the local militia and provide the people with basic defense. The key word here is basic.

Justice Antonin Scalia, in writing the majority for DC v Heller, said

Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. ... For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues.(54)

Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our [majority] opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. (54-55)

We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. [Precedent says] that the sorts of weapons protected were those 'in common use at the time' [the Second Amendment was approved]. ... We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of 'dangerous and unusual weapons.  (55)

Scalia reiterated this point on Fox News last summer.

Scalia said exceptions to gun rights were recognized when the Second Amendment was written, including a tort that prohibited people from carrying a “really horrible weapon just to scare people like a head ax or something.” 

Here we see a conservative justice leaving the door wide open for a qualitative analysis of the 2nd Amendment.

With violent crime on the decline, I often wonder why the gun rights folks would be so worried about domestic types of violence that they require the modern day equivalent of a head ax. Why do they need multiple guns and ones with magazines that hold 30 bullets or more if there are less people, not more, that are victims of violent crime? The scenarios they come up with as possibilities are so unlikely that I honestly have to laugh. I mean, they don't all live in Compton or Cabrini Green!

So, we all know now (thanks to Alex Jones' mouth foam on steroids the other day) the real reason why they want their own arsenals: it's because they think our government is tyrannical. They view Democrats and the president as illegitimate holders of office who are just waiting (any day now...) to institute a totalitarian regime  and send us all to re-education camps. Many like Kevin Baker think it's going on right now and their guns are the only things that are preventing a "full" takeover. In short, Barack Obama is King George and 1776 will commence again.

Here's a little hint for them: if the federal government was really the fascist regime they say it is, they'd be hog tied right now, sans guns, and being forced fed, Clockwork Orange style, Karl Marx and gay porn. Because the simple fact is, folks, the government has much bigger and far more numerous weapons than your average gun rights person. Remember, our armed forces have more firepower than the next twenty countries combined.

And many on the Right know this because they support the funding of this every day.

Thus, we come to the ultimate irony that is the gun lobby. They scream loud and hard about tyrannical governments but they shout with equal force about how defense spending is rock solid Constitutional. So, in essence, they are supporting (with gusto) the same "tyrannical government" they fear will come some day to take their guns away...fueling it more and more every year with sophisticated weapons. In essence, they are empowering their "enemies" so their position makes no sense to me.

Now, to be fair, there are a growing number of libertarians (a few who post here like juris) who would like to see the defense department gutted. Many of my present and former students who are of a libertarian bend (there are quite a number of them, btw) want the same thing. At least they aren't hypocrites but they are wrong about the government. Tyranny is not going to happen here for a number of reasons. Our government is not a monolith. We have a brilliant system of checks and balances that will not allow a situation that would require insurrection. This lack of true central power is evident as DC is filled with a whole host of mini power bases who all struggle with one another on a daily basis. The end result is that not much gets done. If anything, the government is sedimentary which is a different kind of danger and one which we feel the consequences of every day. Of course, this is why shootings like Sandy Hook and Aurora have taken place.

So, I'm pleased to see that the plan that the Biden Group is going to release is going to be comprehensive recommendations that bring together all of the elements that are needed to lessen the possibility of this happening again while, at the same time, maintaining the right to bear arms. It's not going to simply be a matter of limiting the type of weapon or having a military grade classification of some weapons. It's going to mean background checks on every single gun purchase in America. No more loopholes for gun shows or internet sales. It's going to mean regular safety checks and mental health exams as well as demonstrating need to own certain types of weapons. Now that we know the profile of these shooters, we can make every effort to ensure that people like Adam Lanza never be allowed to have guns. This is where the mental health element comes in and, folks, it has to be taken seriously with a national effort to remove the stigma of having and seeking treatment for these sorts of problems.

With all of this in mind, here are my action items that would enable us as a nation to take giant steps towards solving this problem.

1. Vastly improve mental health in this country from a federal level all the way down to a community level. Launch a multi-pronged campaign to remove the stigma of talking about this and aggressively encourage young men who fit this profile to seek out help.

2. Universal background checks for every single person buying a gun at any time. Background checks are common in just about everything these days (getting a job, apt, buying a house or car) so there should be no problem requiring everyone to do this. No more gun show or internet loopholes. Private sales are also included here. Stiff penalties for those who break this law.

3. Classify weapons like the Bushmaster as military grade and require those who wish to own it to go through more rigorous screening. This system should be modeled after the Israel paradigm. This will likely cause mouth foaming on the part of gun rights folks. This is when their paranoia, laziness, irresponsibility and insecurity need to be exposed. Their nervousness about showing their moonbat too much in public is evidence enough that they know they are in the very small minority on this one. In short, we need more national interviews with folks like Alex Jones:)

4. A national tracking system for the movement and sale of guns. Few on the right whine about this when it comes to tracking Muslims or how much Sudafed people buy. This can help law enforcement catch criminals in a more timely fashion.

5. Armed police officers in every school. This is already true of many high schools but this should extend to junior high and grade schools as well. Funding, of course, is lacking in this department along with man power so it may have to be, at least at the outset, that increased patrols serve the need for the time being.

6. Make gun trafficking, giving a gun to a minor, and having a gun near or in a school a felony. In short, zero tolerance.

7. Step up prosecution of criminals who try to buy guns and crack down hard on rogue gun dealers.

8. Have regular gun buy back events and offer large amounts of cash for weapons that are military grade and clips above 10 bullets.

Obviously, this is not an all-encompassing list but it's a start. Note the absence of a two items:

1. An assault weapons ban or a ban on high ammunition clips. One of these or both will likely be in Biden's proposal on Tuesday. Not only is not a good idea politically but it won't have any sort of measurable effect other than piss people off who can marginalized and exposed for their nuttery in other ways. It's important to note, as I have above, that such a ban would not be unconstitutional, as Justice Scalia explained above. Further, the notion that all guns (rifles, shotguns, handguns) are going to be taken away after Newton is silly. It's not going to happen.

2. Banning gun free zones. The only people that should have guns in schools are police or trained security personnel. Allowing teachers, staff, or an Alex Jones type parent to carry a gun into a school is not a good idea. My reason for this is that I simply don't trust people. As I always say, it's not the guns, it's the people, specifically Americans. They suck with guns and have proven themselves to be massively irresponsible with them.

At the end of the day, I don't think that all of these ideas are perfect nor will they entirely solve the problem. That's the caricature that the Right uses to paint the left and then when things don't fall together so neatly (as they often do in life), they can play the adolescent blame game and capitalize on people's ignorance and fear. They have nothing themselves and it's far easier to be a critic than actually have the balls to put something forward.

The items on my list are meant to be a beginning down a path that will likely be a long process. Guns are not the reason why our society suffers so much violence. It's the people and our culture.

It's time for both to change.