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Nap Time!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006
Smirrors

Dan Purnell has a column today bitching about people who believe in freedom. This time it's the NRA. His problem is that the comment "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" is unrelated to the issue that comes up when people talk about gun control, which is that they merely want restrictions and control, not an outright ban.

This argument would be a little easier to swallow if, in our experience, we saw it to be true. People who demand gun control are not merely looking for restrictions. Often, they are looking for bans. You can glance over at San Francisco, where an obviously unconstitutional measure banning guns for residents was thrown out. It really is the case that these people consider guns themselves to be evil. "If only we could get rid of the guns..." people think.

Here's a somewhat out-of-date piece on how wrong folks like Purnell are when they say bans are not the goal, and that the NRA is fighting a ghost that isn't there.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/19/2006 04:48:00 PM #
Comments (8)
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Comments:
A lot of people, such as myself, vigorously defend the Second Amendment like all other parts of the Constitution, but still spport reasonable gun control laws.

You want to own a rifle and hunt ducks? Well and good, that's your right.

Want to buy 20+ guns a month? You're illegally re-selling firearms - no go.
 
How vigorously do you defend any part of the Constitution? When you look at the people who actually have the resources to get engaged in fights, the Second Amendment is always left out by those who are supposedly in favor of our civil rights. The ACLU? Ha!

I'm curious, what level of gun control do you think is reasonable? Keep in mind the analogy to "free press," which has come up. Recently, some folks tried to make bloggers suffer consequences for something they did because they don't deserve journalistic privilege, which should be reserved for "established media" or something. The court rightfully declined to get into the question of determining which media is "press," as that would essentially mean a government-approved media, which is exactly what the First Amendment needs to prevent.

I think a similar issue is raised with government approval of gun-ownership. When the government gets into the question of "what kind of gun can a person own" or "who can own a gun," it is essentially declaring the "right" to bear arms to be subject to government approval.
 
I agree, but letting people buy bazookas and wheelbarrows full of C4 is just silly. As much as I defend the basic principle of gun ownership, the fact that we live in a nation where people just keep getting shot means there has to be some limitation, unfortunately.

Just like how the first amendment gives us the right to free speech, but on an airplane we all agree to waive that right just enough that no ass-hole can stand up and shout "I have a bomb" and then claim it's protected speech.

Everybody agrees that the right to bear arms has some implicit limitations. Not even the NRA thinks that "arms" is defined as nuclear weapons, tactical fighter jets, etc. Thus there is already a basically unanimous consensus that SOME limitation needs to be placed on this right not just for common good but to insure mutual survival. The question then becomes where does this limitation end - and on THAT we all have different responses.
 
Again, you're presupposing that it's up to the government to "let" people do things.

Shouting about bombs on planes requires immediate response from others and puts everyone in danger. Owning a bazooka, on its own, does not. In any case, the "free speech" that is protected is protectede so that the government can't retaliate against criticism and the like. "Snakes/bombs on a plane" don't really fit in.

When you're trying to determine what kinds of weapons the government has the authority to restrict (as opposed to what kinds people are allowed to carry) you similarly have to consider what they're for. If it's for self-defense, most gun restrictions effectively involve preventing the people who need them most from getting them. If it's for being able to fight off a government, as perhaps was in mind when originally written, then yes, private ownership of tactical fighter jets is part of the second amendment.

Americans generally trust their government enough to shrug this off. They're either too rich to worry about needing a gun, or too poor to have the power to do anything about it. But I'm curious about what you think. Where do you want to draw the line?
 
Let's assume that the Bill of Rights protects the unalienable rights that were denied by King George (referring to Britain, of course). The Declaration of Independence states that people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The third point, I believe is irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion. I believe the right to liberty is the source for the unalienable right to bear arms. But as more Americans misuse their right to bear arms, we get into conflict with the right to life. I believe Congress has the right to put reasonable restrictions (how many can be purchased at once, types of guns) on gun ownership if its needed to balance conflicting fundamental rights.
 
But owning guns in itself does not violate anyone's right to life. Killing folks does. But there's a lot of legal crap out there you can kill folks with if you get it in your head to try. Its existence isn't an affront to the right to life, unless you make a presumption of criminality, as people often do when it comes to guns.

Essentially, it's "Your right to liberty ends where it becomes potentially feasible to infringe upon someone else's right to life even when there's no reason to believe you will, unless ending the right here makes life kind of inconvenient for us rich folks, in which case the right to liberty triumphs over all." This way, we can have cars, and hunting rifles, and maybe fireworks or something, but no handguns or automatic weapons for some reason.
 
well of course the NRA has the right to fight back if they feel their interests are being threatened. I just wish they would use a more detailed, more compassionate counter argument. Now that you mention it, both sides could probably use better arguments. But all that aside, "bitching about people who believe in freedom?" What? So you're saying that if I try to point out that guns are dangerous that means I don't believe in freedom? I appreciate and respect your counter argument but that opening statement proves my whole point about mistruth in the first place. This article is not about freedom. It's about actions, intentions, words, safety and security. Disagree with me if you choose, but dont put words in my mouth.
 
I didn't say you didn't believe in freedom, I said the NRA does. You are bitching about the NRA, right?

What I offer isn't a counter-argument, it's a refutation. Your article complained about how the NRA was making an argument unrelated to the issue because the issue wasn't banning guns, but controlling them. I pointed out that, for some, banning is the issue, and hence their approach makes perfect sense. A lot of people do see guns, the objects, as evil. Check out San Francisco's recent attempt at a handgun ban. Their goal is to make people less afraid of guns, so that people can view them with reason, rather than fear. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" is perfect for that, because it slaps you in the face with "Gee, if folks are so busy killing each other with guns, maybe we have a problem with the people."
 
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