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Justice Department's Revised View of 2nd Amendment Is Cited as Defense in Gun Cases.
July 23, 2002 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Justice Department's Revised View of 2nd Amendment Is Cited as Defense in Gun Cases. If anyone has the right to own a gun, then committing a crime while carrying one shouldn't be an added charge, right? Now dozens of criminal defendants are asking the courts to dismiss gun charges against them. Maybe Ashcroft didn't think this one all the way through, especially considering the way his edict came out of left field the way it did.
posted by crunchland (51 comments total)

 
The 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. Doesn't say anything about being allowed to use them.
posted by UnReality at 4:23 PM on July 23, 2002


The answer to gun violence is more guns. When every citizen is packing won't nobody get outta line.

All hail Ashcroft! Better than Zod, even.
posted by owillis at 4:25 PM on July 23, 2002


Don't you mean right field?
posted by Ty Webb at 4:35 PM on July 23, 2002


yes, this is why every justice department for the last several decades, including very conservative ones, has supported the view that the 2nd amendment does not protect an individual right to bear arms. A change in the Supreme Court's jurisprudence on the 2nd amendmnet would be disasterous for federal, state and local gun policies (not to mention hypocritical for those justices who claim to be textualists) and would limit the ability of prosecutors to increase sentences for particularly dangerous offenders.

Lets face it, the only people that would want to pack heat on a day-to-day basis are probably not people that we as society want to have packing heat. Those people that could be trusted to carry a gun responsibility probably would feel no need to carry on in the first place.
posted by boltman at 4:56 PM on July 23, 2002


It's a bit of a mess, isn't it? On the one hand, nice to see the current DOJ interpretation swing this way - I always was of the opinion that the basic justification for this amendment being in the BOR was that it ensured the people always had the ability to overthrow a vastly unjust government. That way, no matter what else happened, America would always remain a democracy of some sort. The problem is that the founding fathers could not have foreseen the widespread collapse of the morality their era was saturated with (and I say this as an acutely amoral person), nor could they have seen past their era of the citizen-soldier to the current height of US military power. No percentage of citizens revolting in the modern US would be sufficient to counter the strength of our military. Which leaves us worse than where we left off: it's all a completely moot point whether the 2nd Amendment was intended for militias or for a fourth angle to government checks & balances - the people themselves - there is no chance of the people directly asserting themselves any longer.

Regardless of your beliefs (and make no mistake I'd throw in with those against our government if I thought serious results were possible), it should be clear at this point that the 2nd Amendment is something of an anachronism at best.

Not only is it a moot point to allow citizens to pretend they can directly remove a tyrannical government, but it's actively assisting violent offenders in getting off the hook.

And yet, and yet . . . it's worth pointing out where a nation gets when it goes to the extreme of removing individual rights to gun ownership. Namely that it faces a pretty grisly plight regardless of success in implementing of the police state model (the UK you'll recall has millions of public surveillance cameras, and the wiretapping laws MI5 gets to play with are the stuff of the FBI's dreams).

What's the solution then? I really can't say I've heard of a good one - I do know that I'm for greater regulation of handguns (which aid petty crime - violations with 9mm weapons overwhelmingly constitute the bulk of current US firearms-related violent crime) and am strongly against greater regulation of weapons which have little to offer the common criminal (the Barrett M82A1 .50cal semi-automatic sniper rifle which weighs 32.5 lbs and has for this reason seen use in all of one criminal act despite its overwhelming power and precision). Outside of those general rules of thumb I can't really see an endpoint to the situation that I'm happy with.

But I am reminded of an oft-quoted phrase from Benjamin Franklin.
posted by Ryvar at 5:01 PM on July 23, 2002


The big problem is all those damn commas. Damn it. Is it:

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. source.

or

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. [1 | 2]

The difference is that one allows only a well regulated militia the right to bear arms and the other allows every citizen. Damn it. As a liberal [or libertarian...what day is it?] I think the government should not interfere with our daily life, but I think that [illegal] guns are a very bad thing TM. So how much do we infringe on the rights of man to protect humanity? I see no reason for me to own guns, but one of my friends owns a few and hunts with them and eats his catch.

The thing that depresses me, is that debates like this dissolve into name 2 camps [a la I/P P/I] and no rational discussion can be made. Well lets try. I am liberal, and I want the right to have guns. I think that the regulation of guns need to be tightened up so that it is finally harder to buy guns than getting a driver's license. I think concealed carry laws are ludicrous, and any amount of statistics won't change my mind. I think that not every gun should be on the market. But I do believe that people should have the right to own and operate them legally. So there! Conflicted enough?

I don't like guns at all. Sure I fired the .22 at Boy Scout camp, and that was fun, but seeing gunshot victoms is not fun. But 'tis a slippery slope. So if we turn this into a debate about abortion, I would say the same thing: I don't think abortions are good, but I can't restrict them to others. The same goes with marijuana, or alcohol.

Lets face it, the only people that would want to pack heat on a day-to-day basis are probably not people that we as society want to have packing heat.

Right on.
posted by plemeljr at 5:04 PM on July 23, 2002


If anyone has the right to own a gun, then committing a crime while carrying one shouldn't be an added charge, right?

The next time I hear a complaint that people stereotype lawyers as money-grubbing jackals - I'll just quote this bit of rubbish. Fine. I have the right to drink alcohol and the right to drive - so how can I be convicted of drunken driving since both activities are legal?

The point of the added charges in BOTH cases is that the accused conciously took steps which escalated the severity of the crime. Being a gun collector and licensed to carry a concealed weapon legally, I have a very, very low opinion of those who use weapons in furtherance of a criminal act...they should be punished to the limits of the law.
posted by RevGreg at 5:04 PM on July 23, 2002


The difference is that one allows only a well regulated militia the right to bear arms and the other allows every citizen.

Here are three short quotes from the Constitution:

"the right of the people"
"the right of the people"
"the right of the people"

Which one refers only to members of a well-regulated militia, and how is it different from the other two?
posted by jaek at 5:19 PM on July 23, 2002


"The people" is a collective entity which is served or directly represented by the militia, the membership of which comes from its own ranks. There's your answer. Not sure if you're post was meant to be snarky or not.
posted by raysmj at 5:43 PM on July 23, 2002


i'm just waiting for real life to catch up to science fiction, i want a "civilian personal defense weapon". Some sort of weapon with both non-lethal and lethal firing capabilities, which once activated 1-notifies law enforcement officials of location and also sends digital pics and identification, 2-establishes a line of communication with a dispatcher 3-notifies the holder of the weapon of the legal obligations and liabilities of firing the weapon. by firing this weapon you agree to the terms of its use and will be liable for any damages you incur that are not needed to defend your life, liberty or property.

i know. i read to much sci-fi. Even better would be a Weapon Shop gun, see The Weapon Shops of Isher
posted by th3ph17 at 6:16 PM on July 23, 2002


"The people" is a collective entity

So does that mean that "the people" have freedom of speech but an individual does not? Isn't it better said that that the phrase "the people" refers to all individuals given protection under the Constitution? Take this excerpt from the Constitution for example:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause

Now, are we protecting the right of a collective enitity to be secure or the right of individuals to be secure? If we're protecting the right of a collective entity, the concept of "unreasonable" becomes increasingly moot - for what makes it "unreasonable" to search the house of one family if it may save the lives of 100, 1,000 or more? If we define the 4th Amendment as protecting the security of the whole, the right of the individual becomes very unimportant.

Now read the entire Constitution and think very hard about how the document changes when you redefine who "the people" are to mean something other than individuals...it's shocking. Which way do you prefer it?
posted by RevGreg at 6:18 PM on July 23, 2002


The "collective entity" argument doesn't make sense to me. No one argues that individual people don't have the right to peaceably assemble. No one argues that individual people don't have the right to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures. What makes the Second Amendment different?

On preview, what RevGreg said. Especially about the 4th Amendment.
posted by jaek at 6:29 PM on July 23, 2002


Ok, look, why don't you people just compromise? Sure, you can carry guns. It's just that they have to be fake guns. Plastic guns, water guns, you know....maybe you can fill water guns with grape juice and threaten to stain people's clothing unless they surrender. It would work in some suburbs.

I am reminded of a traffic incident in Vancouver. We had a frustrated driver filled with road rage. The vehicle he was driving was a dairy truck. So he started throwing yogurt cups at the other cars - one woman needed medical attention as she was so upset at the incident.

Having yogurt here isn't illegal, but throwing yogurt at other cars, apparently, is. There's a parallel in there somewhere.
posted by Salmonberry at 6:40 PM on July 23, 2002


jaek: The 4th amendment specifically mentions that the government, after showing probably cause, has to name the places and persons or things it plans to search. It uses, in short, individualist language. (Also, an individual doesn't assemble. You can't receive a permit for a Parade of One from your local government. Groups of the people as a whole can, though, and can sue the government is a permit isn't granted.)

Here's the entire bit:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In any case, it's my understanding, through reading over the years, that the Founders meant for the militias to be something akin to community or state-controlled juries. Everyone (or, at least at this time, all male property holders) would have to serve, and receive proper training, etc. This never happened.
posted by raysmj at 6:48 PM on July 23, 2002


*toe enters water*

I think it's clear that our government is not a constitutional government, nor is it a pure democracy. So any arguments as to whether or not this is constitutional or in the best interests of the people are just this side of completely moot.

It may have at one time been a government indivisible from the people, but now it is very clearly separate from the people. It's also, even disregarding decades if not centuries of vote tampering and election gymnastics, not a pure democracy.

People are free to do as they wish regardless of the law, although it may include unwanted attention and repercussions from the ruling body. Gun control doesn't work just like all the other attempts at controlling society instead of enabling it to "do right by itself" have not worked. This is not to say that gun control hasn't had an impact, it most certainly has, but it hasn't solve the problem. The problem has not even been identified.
posted by ex.pr.ni at 6:54 PM on July 23, 2002


If anyone has the right to own a gun, then committing a crime while carrying one shouldn't be an added charge, right?

Of course that's right. I don't really see the dilemma here. I get that there are people that would rather people not have guns at all, but leaving that aside for a minute as immaterial to the question at hand, why should having a gun while committing a crime effect anything at all?

Now, threatening me with a gun...well, we already have laws covering assault and the like, so using a gun in the commitment of a crime could certainly raise the penalties. In fact, if I'm a victim and I see your gun, I may well feel threatened which (I think) is all you really need to get to assault. I'll give you that it may not be possible in that context to even have a gun without assaulting somebody, unless you are in an area that allows for concealed carry. But, it's absurd that simply having a gun raises the penalties.
posted by willnot at 7:08 PM on July 23, 2002


Well lets try. I am liberal, and I want the right to have guns.

I'd agree with you, but state that only people showing a real need and purpose for guns would get them. Security or police? Fine. Hunting or working on a farm? Feel free. Playing around at a gun range? Go right ahead.

Want to keep one under your driver's seat for "protection?" No way. Keep one around the house for the hell of it? Nope. Carry one in your purse just in case? No way, no how.

Plain and simple, guns are devices that serve no other purpose than killing or wounding animals and/or people. If you want one, you should have a good reason for it, and it should be registered and tracked.

Sure, there will always be a black market, you're never going to stop it entirely. But having an unlicensed gun should be a serious offense and stop all but the most hardened criminals from obtaining firearms.
posted by mathowie at 7:12 PM on July 23, 2002


I should add that I'm big on citizen rights in almost every other regard, but the ownership and use of something that does nothing but kill or maim is deserving of some control (especially semi-automatic weapons designed to injure solders in war, why the heck would you want to hunt with one?)
posted by mathowie at 7:15 PM on July 23, 2002


Not only is it a moot point to allow citizens to pretend they can directly remove a tyrannical government

How can you say that? Look at the impact that a few dedicated foreigners did with box cutters and a few plane tickets were able to bring about (not advocating that action - merely pointing that it impacted the country in several measurable ways)

Now, assume a tyrannical government that a large portion of the indigenous people oppose. Are you seriously going to suggest that these people couldn't bring off a coup if they were committed enough to do whatever it took? It would be ugly before it was over with, but I don't know that the outcome is pre-ordained.
posted by willnot at 7:20 PM on July 23, 2002


But by the arguments used against the Second Amendment, the language about particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized is clearly about issuing warrants and has nothing to do with the reasonableness of a given search or seizure.

It seems to me that people go through rather dramatic contortions to get the Second Amendment to mean something other than "people can have guns" that would provoke screams of outrage if applied to other parts of the Constitution.

Plain and simple, guns are devices that serve no other purpose than killing or wounding animals and/or people.

Wrong. Guns are very useful at credibly threating harm to someone who would mug, rape, or kill you. This activity is perfectly legal.
posted by jaek at 7:37 PM on July 23, 2002


But I am reminded of an oft-quoted phrase from Benjamin Franklin.

"Beer is proof that God truly loves us"?
posted by nath at 8:08 PM on July 23, 2002


jaek: Seems to me that people go through rather extreme contortions to get around that "well-regulated militia" bit, including the fact that you can't regulate yourself very well.
posted by raysmj at 8:12 PM on July 23, 2002


The "right of the people" phrase, and its meaning to the Founders as contrasted with current understanding of the phrase, is discussed in some detail in a 1998 book by Akhil Reed Amar.
posted by raysmj at 8:37 PM on July 23, 2002


Don't you think that if the people drafting the Second Amendment thought that the right of the people to form a well-regulated militia shouldn't be infringed they would have said something like "A well regulated militia being neccessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to form such a militia will not be infringed." It's no more complicated or wordy, and a hell of a lot clearer.
posted by jaek at 8:47 PM on July 23, 2002


Considering the fact that they lived in a time when loading a gun took 30 seconds even for the fastest marksman, and involved pouring powder down the barrel, and ramming the wadding and the lead ball with a ramrod, and probably never imagined the advent of the rapid-fire semi-automatic, what they thought or didn't think is completely and wholly irrelevant.
posted by crunchland at 9:02 PM on July 23, 2002


(ignoring the arguments from the hoplophobes...)

Regarding the original comments:

If I yell "fire" in a crowded theater - creating a panic for a diversion - and then proceed to rob the theater during the panic, is it ok that I exercised my 1st amendment rights? Or will I be charged for creating a large danger to the public?

Oh, yeah, there's this to add to the myth of how "dangerous" the gun-toting US is...
posted by hadashi at 9:16 PM on July 23, 2002


hadashi: Might try looking at reports regarding the 1996 U.N. report, which turned out about the same. The exception there? The murder rate in the United States was vastly higher, and firearms were used in a majority of murders here, unlike in the United Kingdom. Otherwise, you're talking about matters involving such variables as incarceration and conviction rates, economics, etc.
posted by raysmj at 9:54 PM on July 23, 2002


"(Those) who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the Constitution by claiming it's not an individual right (are) courting disaster by encouraging others to use the same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don't like. " -- Alan Dershowitz

"Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of arms." --Aristotle

I don't buy the argument that the govn't will protect me either...

".. a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen... -- Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App.181)
posted by revbrian at 2:28 AM on July 24, 2002


from the article: The new position, that the Constitution broadly protects the rights of individuals to own guns, replaced the view, endorsed by the great majority of courts, that the amendment protects a collective right of the states to maintain militias.

Is this really an accurate description of what the traditional "view" is/was? If so, how were the "majority of courts" defining state militias? What sorts of militias were allowed to form, and what was their connection to the state supposed to be, and in what cases has this idea even been manifested?

mathowie: Want to keep one under your driver's seat for "protection?" No way...Carry one in your purse just in case? No way, no how...Plain and simple, guns are devices that serve no other purpose than killing or wounding animals and/or people.

I disagree with what I infer to be your implicit conviction that advocates of the right to carry concealed weapons are pretending that they would conceal those guns for any other purpose (although jaek's point about the defense-by-intimidation factor is valid, I don't think that most concealed-weapons advocates are unwilling to actually use the weapons in question).

Of course guns are for killing people. I want the right to carry one so that if necessary, I can (legally) kill someone in self-defense. About a year ago, I was mugged outside my apartment at knifepoint. I consider it a great tragedy that I wasn't carrying a gun at the time, so that I could have killed my assailants with it. Of course, if I wasn't properly trained, and if even if I was, I might have fumbled the situation and ended up dead myself, but that is a risk I would be willing to take.

I also agree with willnot's statement above about the power of small arms. It's true that if a horde of citizens with pistols spontaneously tried to engage the entire US military, they would be slaughtered. But that's not the only type of scenario to be concerned with. Suppose we moved more drastically towards a police state, and the federal government considered sending soldiers house-to-house, to jail or summarily execute vaguely-defined "dissidents," to destroy "unpatriotic" documents and sources of information, to break up "unlawful" assemblies convened to discuss dissatisfaction with those in power. I think that if they knew that the success of such endeavors was going to depend on armed conflict, they would consider such a course of action much more carefully than otherwise, even if they knew that in most cases the government forces would win.
posted by bingo at 2:37 AM on July 24, 2002


How about we move the debate from the right to arm bears to which types of arms are legal?

Personally I don't think "Saturday Night Specials" should be legal arms. Neither should military weapons be legal for civilians (or bears.) This doesn't involve violating the Amendments, just defines what weapons are approved for which uses. Hunters may possess rifles, policement may possess handguns, etc. Analogous examples abound for this type of control system.
posted by nofundy at 5:14 AM on July 24, 2002


Briefly to interject from a UK perspective. Virtually all firarms, with the exception of shotguns have been banned in this country since the terrible Dunblane massacre. To even own a shotgun requires a license which requires police approval, secure storage and so on.

And yet gun crime is vastly on the increase throughout the country.

Regulation of itself is not an answer

posted by prentiz at 5:38 AM on July 24, 2002


'Regulation in itself is not the answer'

but it helps.

Gun crime is increasing rapidly in the UK but by banning and controlling usage, gun-culture is confined almost exclusively to inner cities and deprived areas.
posted by niceness at 6:21 AM on July 24, 2002


gun-culture is confined almost exclusively to inner cities and deprived areas.

How nice. I live in 'middle america', where most guns are plentiful and legal. And yet, 90% of the violence is still in these inner cities and deprived area. I'm not sure what this means. Maybe people, drugs, and politics are more responsible for violence rather than a particular inanimate object? But just because someone abuses a particular tool does not mean that I should be deprived of my right of ownership.

I really think the only reasonable solution is to simply ban everything, because technically, you can kill people with just about anything. Looking at my desk, I could jab my pen in your eye, or maybe slice an artery with my car keys. And we better regulate those dangerous computer monitors, you never know, I could be lying in wait atop a high building, and when the right person walks below, I'll let my 19" CRT bring death from above.

Plain and simple, guns are devices that serve no other purpose than killing or wounding animals and/or people.

Clearly, you contradicted yourself earlier in your post when you said that guns could be used for target practice or shooting for sport (trap shooting, for example).
posted by insomnyuk at 7:15 AM on July 24, 2002


But just because someone abuses a particular tool does not mean that I should be deprived of my right of ownership.

In the US that's your prerogative, but in the UK we've chosen not to put the onus of responsibility on people who like to kill things. Law-abiding gun lovers may have been pissed off but over here deprivation of ownership just doesn't cut it as an argument for the parents of murdered children.
posted by niceness at 7:58 AM on July 24, 2002


Sure, there will always be a black market, you're never going to stop it entirely. But having an unlicensed gun should be a serious offense and stop all but the most hardened criminals from obtaining firearms.

Anyone who is even the slightest bit familiar with the "War on Drugs" would laugh this statement right out of the room.

Considering the fact that they lived in a time when loading a gun took 30 seconds even for the fastest marksman, and involved pouring powder down the barrel, and ramming the wadding and the lead ball with a ramrod, and probably never imagined the advent of the rapid-fire semi-automatic, what they thought or didn't think is completely and wholly irrelevant.

This very argument could be used to eliminate the First Amendment's free speech protections applying to the Internet, television, radio, telephones, and practically every other communications technology developed since the mid 1800s. Is that really what you want?
posted by ljromanoff at 8:20 AM on July 24, 2002


In the US that's your prerogative, but in the UK we've chosen not to put the onus of responsibility on people who like to kill things.

Really? We also hold people accountable for murder and assault too. But only if they commit it. (hopefully)

as an argument for the parents of murdered children.

This is the kind of emotional argument which stifles rational debate and makes for terrible policy.

Law-abiding gun lovers may have been pissed off

It's not about loving guns, its about having the right to take the defense of your person and your property into your own hands, plain and simple. Next you'll be telling me I can't hire a private security guard for my neighborhood because the police can protect me just fine.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:27 AM on July 24, 2002


Sure, there will always be a black market, you're never going to stop it entirely. But having an unlicensed gun should be a serious offense and stop all but the most hardened criminals from obtaining firearms.

Anyone who is even the slightest bit familiar with the "War on Drugs" would laugh this statement right out of the room.

Nonsense. We all want drugs but only psychos, criminals and losers get high on guns, oh and Charlton Heston of course.
posted by niceness at 8:28 AM on July 24, 2002


Nonsense. We all want drugs but only psychos, criminals and losers get high on guns, oh and Charlton Heston of course.

Heh, that's a good one. Thanks for the laugh. You were joking, right?
posted by insomnyuk at 8:35 AM on July 24, 2002


Britain isn't the US.

You also have the Official Secrets Act, gatsos scattered throughout the countryside, probably three dollars a gallon tax on gasoline, no separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government, and if Tony Blair has his way, no guaranteed right to trial by jury or protection from double jeopardy.

Not that those are wrong choices, they just reflect the fact that there is more than one way to come to a tradeoff of "freedom" vs. "safety".
posted by jaek at 8:38 AM on July 24, 2002


It's not about loving guns, its about having the right to take the defense of your person and your property into your own hands, plain and simple. Next you'll be telling me I can't hire a private security guard for my neighborhood because the police can protect me just fine.

No that would be stupid (and you're judging me). As I said, we do things differently over here and I (and a sizeable majority in the UK) feel safer not having a gun owner live next door to us.

It may (just may) be why 14.24 people per 100,000 die from guns in the US while 0.41 die in the UK.

Source nb. Not the most un-biased site but I've posted actual figures for 1998
posted by niceness at 8:45 AM on July 24, 2002


I'm sorry if that came out as an ad hominem, niceness. However, you did not respond to the first part-

It's not about loving guns, its about having the right to take the defense of your person and your property into your own hands

Your statistics don't really answer the question, either. There are probably many cultural and population differences between the UK and the US which are not accounted for in the study which may or may not help explain the difference.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:03 AM on July 24, 2002


Your statistics don't really answer the question, either. There are probably many cultural and population differences between the UK and the US which are not accounted for in the study which may or may not help explain the difference.

Furthermore, gun "death" statitstics are always misleading as they include suicides. If someone kills himself, is the method really an issue?

In any event, there are some nations with high private gun ownership and low homicide rates and others with the opposite. There are some nations, like Japan, where there are strict gun laws and a low homicide rate - but there's also a low homicide rate among Japanese-Americans who are not subject to strict gun regulation. Clearly, there are many more factors at work in determining crime rates (or even the amount of crime involving firearms) than simply the amount of gun regulation. Within the U.S., the localities with some of the strictest gun laws are also some of the most dangerous.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:11 AM on July 24, 2002


Clearly, what is needed is not more guns, but more militias.

Who's got the sign-up sheet?
posted by rushmc at 9:12 AM on July 24, 2002


America can be characterized by its pervasive desire for a quick fix. Most of the population is hobbled by short-term thinking. And bullets are a real quick fix. Solves any problem immediately... in the short term.

Guns aren't the problem: the American mindset is the problem. Poor impulse control. American culture is like a teenager: dangerous to itself because it can't see beyond its immediate gratification.

When America grows up, it can be trusted with guns. Until then, they should be locked away in the closet, separate from the ammunition. (The guns, that is, not Americans. Although...)
posted by five fresh fish at 9:18 AM on July 24, 2002


It's not about loving guns, its about having the right to take the defense of your person and your property into your own hands

and it's about having the right to walk the streets without the worry of others shooting you. You don't have that right and you need a gun to protect yourself - fine. We also might be in the same position in the future (Smith & Wesson hope so) but we've a long way further to fall first.

Furthermore, gun "death" statitstics are always misleading as they include suicides. If someone kills himself, is the method really an issue?

I'm not interested in refuting ready-made NRA (or whoever) arguments - I'm sure there are plenty of sites that will do that. But the method is an issue - are there more prepared, simpler and easier ways of topping yourself than a gun? it's what they're made to do. The suicide rate for farmers (who are much more likely to own guns than others) in the UK is far higher than for non-farmers.
posted by niceness at 9:27 AM on July 24, 2002


Clearly, what is needed is not more guns, but more militias.

Who's got the sign-up sheet?


Uh, you're already a member:

"Militias are in fact the people themselves." -- Richard Henry Lee

it's about having the right to walk the streets without the worry of others shooting you.

The essential flaw in your argument is that gun regulations do not guarantee that right. In fact, as I mentioned already, there are numerous examples of places with strong gun laws that are much more dangerous than other places without them.

ready-made NRA (or whoever) arguments

Ad hominem.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:35 AM on July 24, 2002


gun regulations do not guarantee that right

I don't expect it to guarantee me that right but, like the Police in this country I recognise that a lack of guns not a surfeit, helps to keep it that way. We don't want guns but more importantly we don't want a 'gun-culture' - your arguments don't work here.
posted by niceness at 9:42 AM on July 24, 2002


I recognise that a lack of guns not a surfeit, helps to keep it that way.

Perhaps or perhaps not. There is not a direct correlation between private gun ownership and violent crime, and there certainly is no direct correlation between gun regulation and violent crime.
posted by ljromanoff at 10:02 AM on July 24, 2002


and it's about having the right to walk the streets without the worry of others shooting you.

There is no such thing as a "right" not to worry. Worry is self-generated.
posted by rushmc at 11:50 AM on July 24, 2002


and it's about having the right to walk the streets without the worry of others shooting you.

In my case the shooter needs to be very worried about missing me as I will exercise my right to return fire. I suppose it's moot to point out that you would never have to worry about me shooting you unless you were threatening my life?

Now, if you're the sort of person who walks the streets and "worries about being shot", what happens if you succesfully remove every firearm? Then you'll be able to spend more time worrying about blowguns, zipguns, knives, garrotes, baseball bats, etc. ad infinitum. Security will NEVER be attained by "eliminating" a tool of the trade, they'll just find a new way to do their business...
posted by RevGreg at 1:38 PM on July 24, 2002


Gun control - blah blah blah.

So, how 'bout them criminal defendants, wanting to use the Justice department's words as a defense?
posted by crunchland at 2:11 PM on July 24, 2002


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