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Now, some anti-gun lefties

Kevin T. Keith over at Lean Left writes:

Gun-rights Web sites are crowing that the GOP is actively working to prevent any extension of the assault weapons ban – currently set to expire – from coming to a vote, even though Bush has pledged his support for the ban. The reason: Bush’s promise was a lie, and they are trying to protect him from being caught between the gun lobby and his own pledge.

The utter stupidity of the assault weapons ban aside, the politics of this thing are going to come into play and it will cost Bush votes and endorsement by the NRA if he signs the bill. The NRA is currently not endorsing Bush due to his support of the ban. They are, however, slamming Kerry constantly. My prediction is that if the ban sunsets, the NRA will endorse Bush.

Kevin continues with:

[the] above comes from a Libertarian candidate who insists that “both of the major parties are, in fact, the same” and that “the NRA is not a gun rights organization, but merely a fund raising operation for those who blindly follow GOP dictates.” Yep – there’s somebody who thinks that both the Republican party and the NRA are too liberal on gun issues! Super-right-wing whackiness aside, we need to support Senator Feinstein in her drive to attach the ban extension as a rider on current legislation.

The Libertarian candidates are incorrect. There is a difference between Bush and Kerry. Bush signed concealed carry into law in Texas and his Justice Department reversed 40 years of policy by recognizing the individual right to arms. Bush also has not actively pursued the AWB. Kerry, who never misses an opportunity to pose with a gun, would never endorse concealed carry and would actively pursue the AWB. In fact, the AWB was one of those rare bills he and Edwards decided to show up to vote for. Kerry has never seen a gun control law he hasn’t liked.

On the NRA, the Libertarians are sort of correct. There has not been a federal gun control law passed since 1934 that did not have the NRA’s blessing or that they weren’t willing to let slide to get another bill. The NRA endorsed the Gun Control Acts of 1968 and 1986. The NRA could have stopped (as the bill could have been filibustered) the 1994 assault weapons ban but chose not to because the NRA wanted the national instant background check system more to get rid of waiting periods. Not bad for an extremist gun lobby.

I am not nor have I ever been a member of the NRA. I have stated that if the ban sunsets, I will join.

Recently, when the gun manufacturer immunity bill was up for debate on the Senate floor, it was (and still is) widely believed that the NRA was willing to sell gun owners out by allowing the ban to pass in exchange for the immunity bill. The NRA, historically, has gone to great lengths to protect manufacturers (see 1968 and 1986 GCAs). They were, rumor has it, inundated with phone calls and other correspondence telling them that the ban was unacceptable and changed their minds about letting it through.

On the ban itself, there are only four reasons to support the ban:

1 – You incorrectly believe that it does actually ban AK47s, Uzis and machine guns. This is likely the case for most folks because it’s what the press constantly tells you. The ban does not.

2 – You are for gun control and think the ban is a symbolic precursor to the confiscation and/or outright ban of arms in the US, which it is. After all, even Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center has stated the ban is ineffective at accomplishing any thing.

3 – You’re an idiot

4 – To play politics and call Bush out on his pledge to sign the bill into law which will surely cost him votes.

I know Kevin’s not an idiot. I think his reason is either number 2 or number 4.

26 Responses to “Now, some anti-gun lefties”

  1. Kevin T. Keith Says:

    Regarding the NRA (for whom I have no love), it sounds like your objection is just that they are willing to engage in practical politics. Arguably, it makes more sense from their perspective to take what they can get than to adopt a “truly principled,” sufficiently “extremist” position and get less or nothing. That’s the way politics is done. If your concern is that they should push individual shooters’ rights ahead of protecting industry, that’s another issue.

    Regarding the reasons for the AWB, I agree with the main thrust of your argument here, to the effect that the ban is an awkward and indirect way to accomplish its goal; by defining categories of weapons in terms of sets of features, it became trivial to circumvent the ban by altering those features, which is what manufacturers did. And since most of the features were merely secondary characteristics of “military-style” guns, and had little to do with the main issues – the guns were absurdly overpowered for legitimate use, and fired too much ammunition too rapidly – the ban did little to reduce the danger they posed. But this is a very weak argument. It merely observes that the ban was ill-crafted. The obvious solution is to tighten the ban, or re-write it so it works. In the meantime, we have to have a ban if we are going to have anything to improve on, and at the very least something is better than nothing. If the ban expires, as you have pointed out in another place, all the banned features – including high-capacity magazines and folding stocks, which do contribute to their use as weapons for urban criminals – will come back, not only for new models but as retrofits for existing guns. Even if the ban is not highly effective, there’s no reason to open the floodgates.

    I know Kevin’s not an idiot.

    Oh. Thanks. I didn’t think you knew that.

    I think his reason is either [2 – You are for gun control and think the ban is a symbolic precursor to the confiscation and/or outright ban of arms in the US, which it is. After all, even Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center has stated the ban is ineffective at accomplishing any thing.] or [4 – To play politics and call Bush out on his pledge to sign the bill into law which will surely cost him votes.]”

    Well, I guess I’d have to say it’s “both.”

    I’m for gun control – though that is not synonymous to me with complete gun bans or confiscation. I think we should have strict limits on what kinds of weapons are available, and when, where, and by whom they can be used. I’d like those limits to be fairly stringent, though I’m slowly warming to the idea of guns as a useful personal defense tool. The statistical fact that they are far more often used as a “kill your spouse, your neighbors, or your children like a drunken asshole and then say you’re sorry when it’s too late” tool, and the high rate of accidental killings they result in, severely constrains my appreciation for this role. “I need my gun for self-defense” sounds much to me like “I don’t wear a seatbelt because it’s safer to be thrown from the car in case it burns” – an idiotic argument from self-indulgent juveniles bent on proving themselves right . . . with the exception that not wearing a seatbelt never results in your 3-year-old taking a bullet through the head. Even granting a liberty right or a self-defense right to guns, the practical consequences of their widespread availability – visible in any jail or emergency ward – demand they be carefully controlled. As for the AWB, it’s not obvious to me that it’s had no effect, and to the extent that it’s had too-limited effect, that’s because it wasn’t strong enough. There’s an easy solution for that.

    Regarding #4, I do want to see Bush’s feet held to the fire on the gun ban. Nobody forced him to make a disingenuous promise; he should be held accountable for his words and actions at the polls. Especially given his unbelievable mendacity in virtually every aspect of his term in office, his two-timing on the gun ban should be brought to public attention in the campaign. If he is finally forced to face the consequences of lying to both his supporters and his opponents, it is far less than the least he deserves.

  2. Thibodeaux Says:

    I admit I’m not a politickin’ expert, but I just can’t grok why Bush would say he would sign an AWB. I can’t see that it would gain him any votes (“Man, I’d vote for Bush in a heartbeat if only he were for MORE GUN CONTROL!”), while it hurts him with some 2nd amendment supporters (regardless of whether or not it really means he’s as bad as Kerry; he’s not, but it’s still a black mark in some people’s books).

  3. tgirsch Says:

    Thibodeaux:

    You’re forgetting about the ever-important suburban soccer mom constituency. These are the type who typically want prayer in schools and evil guns off the streets at the same time. By saying he’ll support a renewal of the AWB, Bush can pretend to be for both of those things, and woo the soccer mom vote.

  4. SayUncle Says:

    There are so many things wrong with your line of thinking:

    the guns were absurdly overpowered for legitimate use, and fired too much ammunition too rapidly

    Many of the banned guns are used in competition shooting. To date, there have been zero casualties. The guns fire ammunition as rapidly as a handgun. The guns fire medium-powered ammunition (like 7.62X39 and 5.56MM). Meanwhile, a semi-automatic hunting rifle typically fires 308, 300WinMag, 30-06 or 270. The hunting rounds are much more powerful.

    Additionally, the supposedly banned weapons were used in less 0.25% of crimes (not deaths) to begin with (the number is as insignificant after the ban). They are not popular among criminals because they are expensive. Criminals historically favor cheap handguns.

    I think we should have strict limits on what kinds of weapons are available

    agreed we just disagree on where those limits are. I don’t want people having nukes, for example.

    The statistical fact that they are far more often used as a “kill your spouse, your neighbors, or your children like a drunken asshole and then say you’re sorry when it’s too late” tool,and the high rate of accidental killings they result in, severely constrains my appreciation for this role.

    That statistic is misleading. Of those cited in the study you’re indirectly referring, 86% were suicide the remaining deaths involved criminal activity (same household criminals). Link

    Additionally, in 2000 there were 774 accidental deaths by firearm. That is a small number when you figure in the US there is roughly 1 gun per citizen and 100M of us own guns. Again, insignificant. link.

    And the number of children killed is also very small by comparison. In 2000, less than 20 were killed by guns whereas 40 drowned in 5 gallon water buckets, 100 died in the tub.

    In terms of saving lives, John Lott’s study (which is under some sever scrutiny but has yet to be disproven) estimates guns are used defensively about 2M times a year. The justice department puts that number at about 700,000.

    And the CDC has concluded gun bans don’t affect crime.link.

  5. DCJ Says:

    Actually I think it was Gary Kleck’s study that got at the 2M defensive uses figure. Lott purposely used more conservative, lower figures in his own study (and follow-up research). But that’s a technicality.

    Kevin Keith really should be following Mark Twain’s advice about how it’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear ignorant . . .

  6. Chris Wage Says:

    I have nothing to add here other than to admonish DCJ for his twain comment. Grow up, dude.

  7. DCJ Says:

    Well, his post is so replete with misinformation and factually wrong (as SayUncle only begins to point out) that I think ignorant was being pretty charitable in this case.

  8. kevin Says:

    I will now just sit back and marvel in the spectacle of someone using Trent Lott as the basis for criticizing the knoweldge of someone else ….

  9. kevin Says:

    I will now marvel at the fact that I typed Trent Lott when I meant John Lott …

  10. SayUncle Says:

    Well, kev, no one i know of has really proven lott’s contention wrong. Tim Lambert has done a fine job of poking him with a stick but only for things that don’t really affect the study.

    You may recall i’ve been critical of lott in the past myself.

  11. Xrlq Says:

    That, plus the fact that it isn’t just Lott. It would take a lot more than the debunking of Lott alone to justify Kevin’s bassackwards seatbelt analogy.

  12. kevin Says:

    “Tim Lambert has done a fine job of poking him with a stick but only for things that don’t really affect the study.”

    What, like the fact that his studies ignmored variables, and didn’t say what he said they said 🙂 and he cannot reproduce his data or has been caught lying about his datasets:

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2078084/
    http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2003/10/we_590_01.html

    And not to mention his misues of statistical methodology:
    http://www.crab.rutgers.edu/~goertzel/mythsofmurder.htm

  13. Publicola Says:

    I am always leary of those who would take away fire simply because it burns.

    Kevin’s conclusions are based on flawed facts. Perhaps if he had accurate information to work with he would reconsider his position.

    But be that as it may, I would be most interested in seeing Kevin explain the moral &/or philosophical reasoning behind (supporting) prohibitions on things I deem are necessary & desirable for myself.

    In other words, we can hash over whose data is correct after Kevin first justifies his (or anyone else’s) authority to take away form me what I have or wish to have.

    That’s the proper starting point, not a debate of facts that presumes he is in a place morally equal to mine.

  14. Thibodeaux Says:

    It’s For The Good Of Society ™.

    No further authorization required.

  15. Kevin T. Keith Says:

    Many of the banned guns are used in competition shooting. To date, there have been zero casualties. . . . the supposedly banned weapons were used in less 0.25% of crimes . . . They are not popular among criminals . . .

    You’re talking here about the guns that actually fall under the ban. But as you have shown, only a small number of guns fall under the ban, because the ban was evaded by manufacturers making trivial changes to the guns’ external appearance. Everyone on this subject has agreed that the ban has been largely ineffective; the question now is whether it provides a useful framework for continued efforts toward its orginal goal (or, more to the immediate point, whether it is better than nothing at all, which is what we’ll get if the ban is not extended).

    The guns that the ban was aimed at are popular with criminals: easily-modified semi-automatic versions of cheap full-auto sub-machine guns or assault rifles. The MAC-9 was the drug dealer status symbol of choice for years; I see no reason to make semi-auto versions of it available for conversion by anyone with “drive by” on his mind, even if it is still possible for them to kill people with all the other guns on the street. Banning large magazines was another obvious common-sense move, though they crippled it by grandfathering in the ones that already existed and encouraging manufacturers to pump out huge runs of them before the deadline. Banning handguns – or even just imposing some meaningful access controls – would have been been better still, but there’s no reason not to ban the worst guns just because we didn’t ban the most common ones.

    The name of the game is to reduce the impact of guns built for, and used for, offensive purposes: to reduce the likelihood of unintended injury, reduce fatalities from irresponsible shootings, reduce the number of people shot. That means reducing the number of bullets flying around, which means reducing ammo capacity and rates of fire; that’s what the AWB aimed at. It was limited in not banning ordinary semi-autos, which, as you point out, can be fired rapidly, but it at least tried to ban weapons that had, or could be modified to have, even higher rates of fire. Personally, I would like to see a complete ban on anything except flintlock muzzleloaders with barrels of at least 18 inches – they’d still be fine for personal defense, but awkward for gang shootings. But if we were not going to intrude on anybody’s Dirty Harry complex by banning semi-autos at all, the best we could do was reduce magazine capacity and try to slow down the maximum rate of fire. By the time it got through the legislative process, the resulting AWB was hardly good for anything, but it was still better than nothing. If it now bans too few guns to make much difference, the obvious solution is to ban more guns.

    Regarding Lott, with his invisible data and flaky, fraudulent antics, he’s become the darling of gun-control advocates. Regarding Kleck and his “2 million” claim, that figure has been widely questioned; it suffers from the limitations of all self-reported data, particularly about contentious issues. (I think Kleck – unlike Lott – did his work conscientiously and as well as he could with a limited project – a single phone interview with a sample population at the limit of statistical significance – but the methodology leaves a lot of questions to be answered.)

    Regarding “power”, I didn’t mean by “powerful” the fps of a given cartridge, but a more general sense of how likely the use of a given gun is to result in human deaths. I’ll retract the word “powerful,” to avoid confusion with technical issues regarding bullets, if you like, and simply observe that there’s a huge difference between firing aimed shots from a single-action revolver and wiping out two generations of a family sitting on their stoop by spraying wildly with a barely-accurate and barely-controllable “street sweeper,” irrespective of the caliber in either case. Some guns are simply more likely to cause death – and more likely to cause accidental death, more likely to cause death to bystanders, more likely to cause multiple deaths in a crowd – than others, and we can reduce the carnage from guns by keeping the most-deadly guns out of hotheads’ hands. (That this is true should be obvious: that’s why gun nuts get into such debates over the best weapon – because some are more effective than others.) The AWB was intended to put those limits in place, and, again, if it failed by banning the wrong guns, or too few guns, the answer is simple: ban more guns.

    Finally, regarding how many deaths by shooting there are, you seem to assume the entire nation should live with your degree of comfort at “only” around 1,000 accidental handgun deaths a year (plus around 15,000 suicides and murders each). Accidental shootings are one of the top 25 or so causes of death in the US (depending on the year and how you lump them together), where most of the others are individual diseases, car crashes, and . . . oh, say! . . . non-accidental shootings. What makes accidental shootings different from all the causes of death that outrank them is this: we’re trying to prevent the other ones. You suggest that they are a “small number” – apparently too small to justify limiting the ready access to weapons that makes them possible. This is a value conclusion – one that rests on a value millions of Americans don’t share, but must suffer being endangered by each year. What makes it worse is that it’s so unnecessary. The gun death rate in the US is higher than all but a few garden spots like South Africa and Colombia; it is 4 to 5 times higher than even the closest other industrialized nations and vastly higher than almost all the rest, including countries that have equally-high rates of gun ownership. It remains among the nations with highest gun death rates even when firearms suicides are subtracted out. It’s the willingness of those other nations to put controls on gun access that makes the difference – controls the US could enact if it chose. The AWB was a minimal, almost comically weak step in that direction. We can’t wait that long again to take another step.

  16. SayUncle Says:

    You’re talking … trivial changes to the guns’ external appearance.

    Nope, it’s a pre-ban stat. After, it’s less but still insignificant. The ban is entirely about trivial changes, weren’t you paying attention? 🙂

    The guns that the ban was aimed at are popular with criminals

    You are wrong again. Read the 19 types listed. AR15 runs high prices as do Steyrs and Fals. Makes fall under the pistol category and not the assault weapon definition. Additionally, the bureau of justice statistics states that handguns are the most commonly used. The ban on regular capacity magazines is arbitrary and meaningless. Most crimes involve few shots fired.

    You also buy this myth that converting them is easy. It’s not. It involves a mill and precise instruments. And most manufacturers actually put obstacles in the way to make it harder (Colt for example fills the hole with solid aluminum).

    And the name of the game is to reduce crime. Criminals by definition don’t obey laws. Restricting the rights of law abiding gun owners accomplishes nothing.

    And all your wants and desires about flintlocks are irrelevant to me. The second amendment says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Period. Banning guns is unconstitutional. Period.

    You just don’t seem to know much about guns. yet you seem to take the brady campaigns talking points to heart (street sweeper?).

    And the number of people killed by firearms is low in general. About 10K, excluding suicides (about 28K with suicides).

  17. Thibodeaux Says:

    Regarding “power”, I didn’t mean by “powerful” the fps of a given cartridge, but a more general sense of how likely the use of a given gun is to result in human deaths.
    By that measure, the .22 is one of the most powerful weapons available.

    I concur with SU: you sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  18. Publicola Says:

    Kevin,

    I’m still waiting with much anticipation for your explanation of what gives you the moral &/or legal authority to decide what I need, or what features make a firearm permissable for me to own.

    After that I’ll be more than happy to discuss your lack of knowledge about the technical aspects of firearms & the best solutions to the problems you seem concerned about.

    But it all starts with you explaining to me why I should give up soemthing I feel suits my purposes & what moral &/or legal authority you ro any9one else has to impose that decision upon me.

  19. Thibodeaux Says:

    The Good Of Society, of course.

  20. Kevin T. Keith Says:

    it all starts with you explaining to me why I should give up soemthing I feel suits my purposes

    You’re kidding, right?

    There is absolutely no limit to what you can do (or what tools you can use to do it with) as long as you “feel it suits your purposes”?

    The restriction on your use of guns comes from the same source as the restriction on your use of nuclear weapons, your distribution of smallpox virus, or your farting in an elevator. You have obligations to act out of regard for the welfare of fellow human beings; those obligations limit, in at least some degree, your freedom to act on your own inclinations (including, shockingly, your freedom to act while waving a gun around). To deny that is to deny that there is such a thing as morality at all, which would make you a libertarian (in the sense of “libertarian” that means “self-righteous asshole”), at which point you’re unsalvageable.

  21. Kevin T. Keith Says:

    SU:

    Your arguments seem consistently to fall into two categories: that the AWB targeted the wrong guns, and that gun deaths are not a problem worth solving.

    [Banned guns are not often used in crimes] [Most] [m]akes fall under the pistol category . . . handguns are the most commonly used. The ban on regular capacity magazines is arbitrary and meaningless. . . . myth that converting them is easy

    the number of people killed by firearms is low in general. About 10K, excluding suicides

    As I’ve said above, the solution to the first problem is easy enough: ban the right guns – apparently being (as you say) semi-automatic handguns. I’m willing to bow to your greater knowledge of guns; now that you’ve identified the source of the problem, all we need to do is start knocking it down.

    As for the second assertion, your charming belief that 10,000 deaths annually, plus close to 1,000 accidental deaths, is a small price to pay for your right to own guns may work for you, but there’s no reason those 11,000 victims should die for it. This is a straightforward clash of values, and I think a greater regard for the safety of others is a more-defendable value than the freedom to shoot things.

  22. RalphieTB Says:

    Kevin, I’m amazed how you can even consider that a reasoned argument when this is a talking point –

    there’s a huge difference between firing aimed shots from a single-action revolver and wiping out two generations of a family sitting on their stoop by spraying wildly with a barely-accurate and barely-controllable “street sweeper,” irrespective of the caliber in either case.

    Right Because those unaimed shots are so great at hitting what you’re aiming at.

    Moron.

    Put down the bong.

  23. SayUncle Says:

    First, you misunderstand. The number of deaths is irrelevant. At the end of the day, there is a constitutional civil liberty of owning guns. Period.

    Second, the point about number of deaths is just to dismiss the notion that there is an epidemic of gun death.

    And third, to quote Archie Bunker, would you feel better if they was pushed out the window?

  24. Xrlq Says:

    SU, I disagree. It’s all well and good to play the libertarian flasher and say “maybe my hobby is a threat to your safety, but I’ve got constitutional right to do it, nyah nyah,” but at the end of the day, it will convince no one. If anything, that kind of bravado will be used as an argument for the Second Amendment’s repeal or, barring that, for a government policy that regulates guns to the full extent allowable by the Second Amendment. Given how little regard many courts hold for the Second Amendment, that would be a very bad thing. Indeed, it would be pretty crappy result even if the courts discovered the Second Amendment, as government would still be free to discourage gun ownership, portray gun owners in a negative light, etc.

    The TOTAL number of gun deaths is irrelevant, as it fails to distinguish those who died because a gun was handy from those who just happened to die that way but would otherwise have been pushed out a window. The net number is relevant, but no more or less so than the larger number of attempted crimes that are thwarted by armed citizens, not to mention the countless others that were never attemted in the first place due to the would-be assailant’s concern that his intended victim might be armed.

    Gun-grabbers often talk as though it were a given that increased gun control would lower the number of gun deaths without similarly impacting the number “gun lifes,” but any serious discussion of the issue will have to account for both. Once the trade off is recognized, it becomes clear that guns are, if anything, a net benefit to society. Contrary to Kevin’s argument, 11,000 people didn’t die for your right, one or two thousand did so many more thousands could live. That fact is highly relevant.

  25. Publicola Says:

    Kevin,
    first of all your confusing possession with actions. You’ll note I enevr claimed that laws prohibiting behavior were violative of my Rights (although in some instances they are). I’m talking about prior restraint based laws. Laws which prevent possession of an object because it may potentially cause harm.

    Cars take around 40,000 lives per year, but I’ve yet to see a liberal statist bastard argue for the prohibition of automibiles, even though the death count from their use is quite high especially when compared to firearms.

    Free speech is perhaps the most dangerous liberty we have. It’s through speech that riots are encouraged, murders are planned, revolutions & rebellions are fomented, yet again the nannyists of the world rarely even contemplate limiting speech in any way.

    There are many thing which have the potential to cause harm but are not open to regulation because they, at least in part, fall under what most consider to be the category of Rights. Now I think we can both agree that we all have a Right to Life. This doesn’t mean it can’t ever be taken away without good cause, but rather that it shouldn’t. An extension of the Right to Life is the Right to Defense, without which the former Right would rely totally on the benevolence of others. After all, if you can’t defend a Right from unjustifiable attack it probably won’t do you much good to consider it a Right at all. & an extension of the Right to Defense is the Right to Arms. That is the philosophical & moral basis behind the 2nd amendment; that we should not be barred from possessing the most effecient means of protecting our Rights.

    What you seem to be arguing is that the common good of society trumps the individuals Right to Arms, & by extension the individuals Right to Defense & therefore the individuals Right to Life. I’m afaraid I’ll need more convincing than a ham handed analogy concerning releasing bodily gas in an elevator & an inference that libertarians are immoral.

    Actually I view it quite the opposite: the immoral proposition is that I should relinquish my Arms for the sake of your ideas about what makes society feel nicer. Should I give up my car because they are used to kill? Should I throw away my kitchen knives because they are used in murder? Should I dispose of my tire iron because they are used as weapons? Should I refuse to use fire because it may burn?

    The ball is & always will be in your court, because it’s your position that I should renounce a natural, inherent Right in order to satisfy your fear. You haven’t done a good job of it so far, but then again the task is damned nigh impossible.

    But to keep the conversation going, tell me, if you could have your wish & ban a large number of firearms exactly how would you go about doing that? I have firearms which I believe I have a Right to own & possess & even use as long as they don’t present an unjustifiable danger to anyone. So how would you go about taking them away since I feel any such law would be immoral & unconstitutional? I’ve always wondered exactly how the statist assholes figured that part of the operation would go.

    Also, just for the helluvit – you wish to ban firearms to prevent 11,000 or so deaths per year. How does that reconcile witht he estimated 80,000 to 2,000,000 defensive uses of firearms per year? Don’t you realize that despite the relatively low number of daths attributed to firearms that the ability to defend yourself from private actors is a much greater benefit to society? & don’t you see any value at all to an armed populace being a deterent to, shall we say, unwarranted government actions? In WW2 the Japanese decide not to invade the U.S. because of our armed civlian population. I’ll grant that right now things are reasonably secure in the U.S. but in 10 or 20 years how can you be certain that civilian arms wouldn’t be useful to stem off a foriegn invasion or prevent a tyranicall government from enacting another genecide? You liberals seem to enjoy equating Bush w/ Hitler but yet you espouse the means that made rounding up the Jews much easier on the Nazi’s. Is there some secret handshake that guarantees the eternal benevolence of our government that I’m unaware of?

    So if the numbers could be turned around would you give up the idea of banning everything except flintlocks? If it could be shown that firearms are much more of a benefit to society than a detriment would it change your mind? I honestly doubt it; mainly because your prejudice would make any objective look at numbers damned difficult if not impossible. “Guns are designed to kill therefore they must be bad” is what we’re fighting against, not just a skewed idea of statistics.

    & if you’re thinking the same of me – you’re half right. Numbers don’t matter to me, because my values & morals are different than yours. I don’t see killing or the ability to kill as a bad thing; I see killing without just cause as a bad thing. & I see the ability to kill as a necessary part of the human existence. A Right in other words – not to murder, but to protect yourself, your loved ones & your community. My Right trumps any stats that would show surrendering that Right would benefit society, mainly because if it’s a detriment to an individual who means no harm to anyone who doesn’t wish to harm him or his loved ones then it cannot benefit society as a whole. It can seem to int he short term, but in the long term it causes much more ahrm than good.

    Still, what’s the moral & legal justification for taking away one of my Rights?

  26. triticale Says:

    Personally, I would like to see a complete ban on anything except flintlock muzzleloaders with barrels of at least 18 inches

    I presume then that you believe that freedom of the press should apply only to hand set type, with the output distributed only by horse drawn vehicles.

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