Hey Officer: Confiscate This!
September 24, 2005 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Katrina Victims Win Against Gun-grabbing NO Superintendent of Police. The United States District Court for the Eastern District in Louisiana today sided with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and issued a restraining order to bar further gun confiscations from peaceable and law-abiding victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
posted by ZenMasterThis (97 comments total)

 
[Via]
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:27 PM on September 24, 2005


Nothing like a SLOE gin fizz.
posted by klangklangston at 12:28 PM on September 24, 2005


More guns is good. Right? Right??
posted by basicchannel at 12:29 PM on September 24, 2005


Also, yea. One link to an NRA press release. Good game, nextmap.
posted by basicchannel at 12:30 PM on September 24, 2005


Well, I'm not gun-totin' NRA nutjob, but this is a good thing. If they want to remove guns from the citizens, then they certainly need to do it in a legal way, which this was not.

The same reasons apply to -any- personal property...seizure without reasonable cause.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:32 PM on September 24, 2005


Guns don't kill people, hurricanes do.
posted by ColdChef at 12:36 PM on September 24, 2005


Oh, and also people in hurricanes with guns. They also kill people.
posted by ColdChef at 12:37 PM on September 24, 2005


More guns is good. Right? Right??

Self-defense as a fundamental human right is good; guns are merely a means.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:37 PM on September 24, 2005


Good news for Blackwater.
posted by Rothko at 12:39 PM on September 24, 2005


Actually, blackwater kills people.
posted by stenseng at 12:40 PM on September 24, 2005


Also: brown water.
posted by ColdChef at 12:50 PM on September 24, 2005


George Bush doesn't care about killing people.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 12:56 PM on September 24, 2005


How exactly do guns help you pump water out of swamps? I am confused.
posted by meehawl at 1:06 PM on September 24, 2005


meehawl, you aim the gun at someone and tell them to start pumping. :)
posted by Malor at 1:08 PM on September 24, 2005


George Bush doesn't care about Blackwater.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:18 PM on September 24, 2005


Guns don't kill people, George Bush does that.
posted by Goofyy at 1:23 PM on September 24, 2005


Self-defense as a fundamental human right is good; guns are merely a means.

That's exactly why I have those shoulder-launched anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles and other shit in the basement. I of course take no pleasure in collecting and firing them, and I would give them up in a minute if they were not absolutely required for my self-defense.
posted by pracowity at 1:26 PM on September 24, 2005


Well, obviously the police should not be able to just run around and confiscate whatever they feel like.
posted by delmoi at 1:37 PM on September 24, 2005


I was worried, when I first saw the article in the NYT, that the NRA would be tepid in their response. My reasoning was that the hurricane mess was bad for the president, and they might feel that, even though he was not responsible for the seizure of weapons (as far as I know), highlighting this issue would further damage him (implicit was the assumption that the NRA is very pro-Bush and pro-Republican).

I am glad that they stuck to their... principles... on this one.
posted by Tullius at 1:42 PM on September 24, 2005


Well, obviously the police should not be able to just run around and confiscate whatever they feel like.

Not whatever they feel like, but maybe they should be able to impound dangerous weapons in dangerous times in dangerous areas if the police are willing and able to provide sufficient defense for the owners of those weapons.
posted by pracowity at 1:45 PM on September 24, 2005


pracowity, the problem there is, who decides how much defense is 'sufficient'? Police can't be held liable for failing to protect you in ordinary times, and it seems unlikely a court would give them LESS benefit of the doubt in a disaster. I'd argue that the only person who can decide how much defense is sufficient is you, and it's up to you to provide it. (which is unfortunate, but resources are limited.)

As someone here was commenting, after Katrina, suddenly the whole survivalist schtick doesn't seem quite as ludicrous. Stashing food, water ,and a weapon for emergencies is pretty cheap insurance. Hopefully this idea of them taking your weapons as soon as you actually NEED them will go away.
posted by Malor at 1:56 PM on September 24, 2005


The police are never responsible for your personal well-being, pracowity. The fact that they were seizing lawfully owned weapons from law-abiding citizens is just wrong. The last time I checked the Bill of Rights hadn't been completely eroded.

Even if the police were charged with the safety of all citizens of the US, in a disaster area, where many police officers are no longer on duty, having abandoned their posts, or having been injured, they need some way to protect themselves.

Think about it, a lot of people were expecting the government to be able to help them in the hurricane struck area. Yet, how many stories have we heard about people being stranded for days, or even in the government run shelters being injured or starving or even dying? Yeah, let's leave our safety to the government or agents of the government.
posted by SuzySmith at 2:01 PM on September 24, 2005


Actually, I think this is bad for Blackwater. Now the citizens of NOLA can fire back.
posted by teece at 2:09 PM on September 24, 2005


the problem there is, who decides how much defense is 'sufficient'?

It doesn't take a lot to secure a place like New Orleans if you are quick to respond (if the president or his deputies have any sense). The US is full of soldiers (active and reserve) doing pretty much nothing soldierly most of the time. There are something like 450,000 army and air guard reservists and they aren't all in Iraq. When a disaster comes, send a lot of them (send too many) immediately to the area with instructions to help the locals recover while making sure the place is secure.

A city would be safer with ten thousand soldiers working together to protect the city according to a good plan than with ten thousand unknown, untrained citizens sitting on caches of weapons and doing whatever comes into their heads when something spooks them.
posted by pracowity at 2:22 PM on September 24, 2005




thank you suzy!!!

Forget what they were confiscating. the important part is they were taking personal property from LAW ABIDING citizens with out any legal standing and the federal court recognized this and did the right thing.

Case law is pretty clear on this too, prawcowity. There is no mandate for police to protect you in an emergency. Why should we deprive LAW ABIDING people of their only means to protect themselves?

Make an argument for that please.
posted by CCK at 2:24 PM on September 24, 2005


uhh, in a situation in which thousands of drug addicts are no longer getting their fix and are comming down hard with a hand gun and no law, wouldn't taking guns away from the law abiding citizens be exactly the wrong thing to do?

I dont have a gun, but if i were in that situation i would certainly obtain one.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:26 PM on September 24, 2005


Oh, and also people in hurricanes with guns. They also kill people.

Yes, but what about monkeys in hurricanes with guns? What's Blackwater gonna do about them?
posted by kosher_jenny at 2:30 PM on September 24, 2005


Why should we deprive LAW ABIDING people of their only means to protect themselves?

Owning a gun is not your only means of protecting yourself. You could, for example, own hand grenades and flame throwers and land mines and rocket launchers.
posted by pracowity at 2:42 PM on September 24, 2005


The last time I checked the Bill of Rights hadn't been completely eroded.

Well, the assumption there is that the Second Amendment gives you a personal federal right to own a firearm. That is by no means certain. It's unclear from the history (well, Akil Amar doesn't think so, but whatever). What is odd to me, however, is that those who agitate for broad, personal gun rights, tend to argue vigorously against broad (or even any) personal rights in the context of Amendments 1 through 8. The logic carrying you to a personal gun right, carries you to a very strong Church/State separation, right to trial and effective counsel, etc. Inconsistency much? Also, the "so called right to privacy" could be an effective weapon for the gun lobby...but it would force them into an unholy alliance with pro-choicers. In other words this is a tough issue on which to thump the Constitution. And I say this as a Constitution thumping lefty.

"The court�s ruling is instant relief for the victims who now have an effective means of defending themselves from the robbers and rapists that seek to further exploit the remnants of their shattered lives."

I wonder who the NRA is talking about? Who do paranoid Southern gun owners think are going to rob and rape them? I wonder if there's some kind of history at work here? Nah, probably not.
posted by kosem at 2:47 PM on September 24, 2005



Yes you can. Isn't America great!!!! But that's not the point. The Superintendant of police is TAKING BY FORCE the lawfully aquired property of law abiding citizens. and if he's taking 9mm handguns I guarantee he's not leaving any RPG's behind.

So are you trying to say you don't have a right to protect yourself Pracowity?
posted by CCK at 2:48 PM on September 24, 2005


i'm glad to see that this has been brought to court ... if they can take your guns away, they can take anything away ... including your right to be snarky on webboards
posted by pyramid termite at 4:02 PM on September 24, 2005


from my cold dead hands.
posted by techgnollogic at 4:16 PM on September 24, 2005


"uhh, in a situation in which thousands of drug addicts are no longer getting their fix and are comming down hard with a hand gun and no law, wouldn't taking guns away from the law abiding citizens be exactly the wrong thing to do?"
OH NOES TEH NEGROS ARE COMING!

Wouldn't disarming people who were up-until-then law abiding be reasonable in the face of violent looting and mobs?

Just taking a moment to point out that the Wild West was an armed and impolite society.
posted by klangklangston at 4:16 PM on September 24, 2005


Does anyone know what percentage of the NRA is African-American? Is it significantly above or below the national US average? How about regionally, for example, in Lousiana?

I am curious because it seems what is really being debated in cases like this is the Right of the "right" sort of people to carry guns and to use them "for protection" against the "wrong" sort of people.
posted by meehawl at 4:36 PM on September 24, 2005


"Also, the "so called right to privacy" could be an effective weapon for the gun lobby...but it would force them into an unholy alliance with pro-choicers."

i won't speak for anyone else, but i can assure you that there are plenty of us out there that love the guns very much and are outspoken with regard to our pro-choice views.

i dearly love the MeFi, but i really wish that some people here would realize that not every gun owner is a drooling right wing sincophant. Nor are all gun owners members of the NRA. Some of us just like guns. Not for security or some John Wayne ideal, but because we like guns. We like to shoot them, we enjoy their mechanics.

i suspect it may have something to do with our perception, everyone that i know who shares my view on guns thinks of them as an object; not inherently good or evil. Just something to have and enjoy. But the extremes on both sides of the gun argument seem to find them to be a symbol. This is where i think the problem comes from.
posted by quin at 4:37 PM on September 24, 2005


From today Blackwater front page link

They congregated on the corner of St. James and Bourbon in front of a bar called 711, where Blackwater was establishing a makeshift headquarters. From the balcony above the bar, several Blackwater guys cleared out what had apparently been someone's apartment. They threw mattresses, clothes, shoes and other household items from the balcony to the street below. They draped an American flag from the balcony's railing. More than a dozen troops from the 82nd Airborne Division stood in formation on the street watching the action.

What the ...! Flag wrapping gun toting mercenary hypocrites wrap flag and disregarding private property rights of ordinary Joes.

It's one of the few occasion in which I would have liked to have a gun, even if I know that in reality the mercs have would outgunned and killed me in a second.

Days in which NRA's 'defending from wild elephants threatening your apartment in new york ' _ just appear_ to make some twisted sense...
posted by elpapacito at 4:51 PM on September 24, 2005


You know, in most cases I'm not so much anti-gun as think they're too easy to get (gun show loopholes) and dangerous to the kids who live in gun-owning households. Which is why I don't have one.

But if I did have one, I sure as hell would want to hold on to it in a Katrina situation.
posted by emjaybee at 5:45 PM on September 24, 2005


quin writes "i won't speak for anyone else, but i can assure you that there are plenty of us out there that love the guns very much and are outspoken with regard to our pro-choice views. "

Yep, I'm Canadian so you know I'm practically a communist and I still support private gun ownership.
posted by Mitheral at 5:48 PM on September 24, 2005


those who agitate for broad, personal gun rights, tend to argue vigorously against broad (or even any) personal rights in the context of Amendments 1 through 8.

Likewise, those who agitate for Amendments 1 through 8 tend to argue vigorously against gun rights. The folks who really have it all together are the ones who advocate for all the rights. Yours truly, for instance.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:57 PM on September 24, 2005


Agitate. Damn.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:07 PM on September 24, 2005


I'm more worried about 13, 14, and 15 these days.
posted by bardic at 6:22 PM on September 24, 2005



For myself color me an individual rights absolutist.
And fuck all of you who want to bring race into this.
This is about two things,
1. Does the government (in this case the city of New Orleans) have the right to confiscate any property they see fit in "times of emergency" (oh noes!!!)?
2. When it is a widely known FACT that the police have no obligation to protect you, and you are required to protect yourself, should guns be taken away from those who lawfullly obtained them. (in fact I think the point could be made that even the unlawfully attained guns could not be ceased without due process.)

This is all it boils down to. There are rights. Some are innumerated, some are not. The rights not innumerated are no less valid. Our government is founded to protect these rights. To ensure that it does so a system was put in place in which it must act. Should it be forced to continue to act with in that system?
posted by CCK at 6:43 PM on September 24, 2005


make that siezed above
posted by CCK at 6:55 PM on September 24, 2005


color me an individual rights absolutist.

It is impossible for you to claim absolute rights without denying others some rights. This really is a zero sum game. What's probably more productive is to look at the distinction between positive and negative rights - for myself I hold that such distinctions exist, and can indeed be made a useful component of a well functioning polity.

The act of declaring a belief in the nonexistence of a positive/negative rights duality is itself a political act that can only be supported by the presumptive application of force.
posted by meehawl at 7:26 PM on September 24, 2005




I'm not sure I know what you mean by your last paragraph meehawl, care to expound?
posted by CCK at 7:58 PM on September 24, 2005


Wasn't a state of emergency declared in NOLA? Individual rights go out the window, quite legally if unadvisedly, when that happens.
posted by bardic at 8:11 PM on September 24, 2005


Individual rights go out the window about the same time as bullets ... and at high speed too. There is no damned law in the land that can suspend the second amendment or any other. None, notta, zip. Now federal declarations of Martial law can suspend the Constitution, with the legal proviso that those responsible will have to answer to leagl authorities (the courts) when all is done. Funny, I don't 'member martial law being declared. Do you?
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:23 PM on September 24, 2005


thank you wulfgar
posted by CCK at 8:27 PM on September 24, 2005


Theory vs. practice. Guess which usually wins, especially in states of emergency.
posted by bardic at 8:32 PM on September 24, 2005


Uhmm, the one with the largest calibre? bardic, you completely missed the point of factual truth: the courts have ruled and the correct side won. No one has the right to take away your guns, your property, against established law, not at all.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:36 PM on September 24, 2005


I'm pretty tired of liberals who like everything in the Bill of Rights except for the goddamn Second Amendment. You don't like guns? You think people shouldn't own guns? Fine: grab your representatives and amend the fucking Constitution. Until that day, the Second Amendment is law, and law-abiding citizens have every right to own guns guns guns guns guns.

And when the police come and take weapons from law abiding citizens, it is as just as much an affront to liberty as when they take any other piece of property without due process, or when they arrest you for speaking your mind, or when they decide you don't get to vote because you're black or you're a woman.

Looking the other way at a stark violation of Constitutional rights because you don't like guns is fucking cowardly and disgusting.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:43 PM on September 24, 2005


Well, the assumption there is that the Second Amendment gives you a personal federal right to own a firearm. That is by no means certain. It's unclear from the history (well, Akil Amar doesn't think so, but whatever). What is odd to me, however, is that those who agitate for broad, personal gun rights, tend to argue vigorously against broad (or even any) personal rights in the context of Amendments 1 through 8. The logic carrying you to a personal gun right, carries you to a very strong Church/State separation, right to trial and effective counsel, etc. Inconsistency much? .

Assume much?

I'm a far left liberal, who just happens to believe in all of the Bill of Rights, not just those I pick and choose. That includes gun rights, right to privacy, freedom from illegal search and seizure, etc. I also believe in the seperation of Church and State. Now, tell me again, why citizens of the USA who can legally own a firearm should have them seized from them?

And, just to knock your other assumptions. I am not a member of the NRA, I am not 100% white, I don't drive a pickup truck, nor have a Confederate flag anywhere in my home or vehicle. I own firearms because I enjoy shooting, as well as, the protection factor.

I'm also female, so it isn't to compensate for lack of penis size. Any other assumptions I need to clear up?
posted by SuzySmith at 8:47 PM on September 24, 2005


Wulfgar! and CCK, you guys don't get out much, do you (Kelo)?

I don't have a problem with this individual ruling in NO, but I'm bemused by rhetorical arm-pumping over the Bill of Rights and ensuing Amendments. I'm glad they exist, believe me, but it's naive to think they have some metaphysical truth-power that trumps the immediate interests of the government at a given time. Honestly, I'm more on your side than you think, I just think the bluster is annoying.

But I'm glad to hear you guys are willing to stick up for Jose Padilla. Rock on.
posted by bardic at 9:03 PM on September 24, 2005


You can get all fired up about the 2nd Amendment if you choose, but I highly doubt it was brought up at all in this decision. The Supreme Court, after all, has never ruled a state or local law or action unconstitutional on 2nd Amendment grounds.
posted by raysmj at 9:33 PM on September 24, 2005


This lefty liberal near-communist says the government doesn't take away the people's legally owned guns. Ever. Any more than they should be allowed to unlawfully seize any other property.

This was properly ruled.

They wouldn't have gotten my gun, as I don't have one, but that's neither here nor there.

Unfortunately, race is a factor in NOLA in a broader sense, though, CCK. Your position doesn't have to do anything with race, but a lot of folks want their guns to protect themselves from the scary black folks. That's just reality in America.
posted by teece at 9:33 PM on September 24, 2005


teece: You're a near-commie who cares about property rights? Does this explain the "near" part?
posted by raysmj at 9:42 PM on September 24, 2005


Strange that this is going on at the same time as this.
Considering that those Blackwater folks are roaming NO, I sure as hell would want to keep at least one gun handy.

Count me in as another liberal who thinks that the Second Amendment is really rather important.
posted by Jon-o at 9:43 PM on September 24, 2005


Yup, that would explain the "near" part, raysmj. Mostly I was just joking. But I care about all fundamental rights, and it's hard to dream up a non-utopian society without some fashion of property rights.
posted by teece at 10:09 PM on September 24, 2005


i am a left-leaning liberal who hates guns. but over the past 5 years or so i'm beginning to see how important it is to be able to legally own guns simply because the government is getting way, way too powerful. the citizens must have the ways and means to protect themselves.
posted by brandz at 10:58 PM on September 24, 2005


At what point are you gun-happy Americans going to do the right thing and overthrow your corrupt government? Jesus, wasn't that the whole point?
posted by Hildegarde at 11:25 PM on September 24, 2005


At what point are you gun-happy Americans going to do the right thing and overthrow your corrupt government? Jesus, wasn't that the whole point?

Actually, yes. That was the point. The 2nd Amendment was designed to arm the populace so they could protect themselves from the government. It sounds tin-foil-hatty, but think of the times the Constitutional framers lived in.
posted by ryoshu at 12:34 AM on September 25, 2005


The 2nd Amendment was designed to arm the populace so they could protect themselves from the government.

To be cop killers.

But that just brings in the army. And then they really would need the hand grenades and flame throwers and land mines and rocket launchers I joked about earlier.

Or they could just rebel peacefully. No weapons. Just don't do what the government tells you to do.

Bleh. Remove the "I sure do like shootin' guns" factor from gun ownership and 99 percent of US gun owners would happily trade their guns and their various amendment speeches in for flat-screen televisions.
posted by pracowity at 1:27 AM on September 25, 2005


Yet another non-gun-owning but pro-second-amendment leftist over here. In a situation like Katrina, buying bottled water would have been my first stop. A gun shop would've been my second.

You know the cliche that goes "if guns are criminalized, then only criminals will own guns?" It's actually true in this case. Until I was dead certain that order had been restored, I'd want the shortest-barreled shotgun I could find in the house.

But that just brings in the army. And then they really would need the hand grenades and flame throwers and land mines and rocket launchers I joked about earlier.

Hypothetically speaking, in an actual mass-movement citizens-on-government situation such as will never happen in America except in videogame plots, that's not really what you'd be using.

.50 cal sniper rifles are among the easiest firearms to create if you have some decent machinist tools. They are not terribly complex, and people can and do make their own.

They're pretty useless for crime (good luck robbing a convenience store with a bolt-action, 30 pound unconcealable rifle), but they're good for defeating point targets wearing ballistic vests (ie corrupt politicians) at extremely long ranges.

For more urban combat, WW2-era British Sten guns are incredibly easy to manufacture while providing 'sufficient' range.

IEDs (crude landmines) are also very easy to create in your basement, as the insurgents in Iraq have demonstrated.

You're right about the RPGs, though.
posted by Ryvar at 4:00 AM on September 25, 2005


"I dont have a gun, but if i were in that situation i would certainly obtain one."

Why's that, Tryptophan-5ht? Are you sitting on a big stash of heroin? Because all the money in the world doesn't seem likely to get you a bag of dope in New Orleans at the moment.

Personally, I'm sorry this attempt was knocked down though. I was really looking forward to the forthcoming Texas gun-grab.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:14 AM on September 25, 2005


I'm very happy to hear this.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:23 AM on September 25, 2005


Ryvar: Please do tell us where you would've been able to buy a gun in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. You could have stolen one from Wal-Mart or a closed pawn shop or something. But you think you could've gone into a gun shop and bought one? I also hope you're a good shot and trained in firearms use. Otherwise, if you had somehow managed to secure a weapon, you probably would have posed a threat to your neighbors.
posted by raysmj at 7:23 AM on September 25, 2005


raysmj: I'm not sure how one can pose a threat to one's neighbors by simply having a shotgun and being prepared to use it only when you've heard the sound of someone trying to kick in your boarded-over door or windows - but you're right about guns being dangerous to the wrong people in the hands of the untrained.

As for acquiring - I definitely would've tried to get purchase one on Friday night or Saturday morning based on what the news said, and failing that I would've tried to grab one, yeah. Survival generally trumps ethics.
posted by Ryvar at 7:47 AM on September 25, 2005


Why not get one in the near future Ryvar? Selection would be better, prices lower, you won't have to worry about any kind of waiting period. It would seem most people have a good chance of being involved in some kind of civil emergency at some point in their lives and you could become practised with the weapon in the interm.
posted by Mitheral at 9:33 AM on September 25, 2005


I appreciate the suggestion, but I simply don't trust myself enough to have a gun around the house until it becomes a life-or-death situation.
posted by Ryvar at 10:34 AM on September 25, 2005


Bleh. Remove the "I sure do like shootin' guns" factor from gun ownership and 99 percent of US gun owners would happily trade their guns and their various amendment speeches in for flat-screen televisions.
posted by pracowity at 1:27 AM PST on September 25


Some of us don't like guns, don't like shooting guns, yet still value the right of individual citizens to be armed. How does that jive with your "all pro-gun Americans are dumb racist rednecks" philosophy?

Because it sounds to me like a lazy stereotype so you don't have to think too hard about the issue at hand.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:57 AM on September 25, 2005


Optimus Chyme: You quote me without reading me. I don't say all, but you do. I don't say dumb racist rednecks, but you do. If that's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of gun owners, fine, but don't pretend that I said it.

Also, the word you want is gibe, or even jibe, but not jive.
posted by pracowity at 11:48 AM on September 25, 2005


Our leadership - the GOP administration - has proved itself far to irresponsible to allow them to govern over an armed population. Can you imagine this type of criminal anarchy - or the mercenary response - happening in Canada, Japan, or France? Calling in Blackwater only fuels the paranoid militiastyle mentality that feeds on images of anarchy, an anarchy that stems from the easy availabilty of guns in the hands of those who least know when to use them.

It ain't the America I grew up in.
posted by zaelic at 11:49 AM on September 25, 2005


Optimus Chyme: You quote me without reading me. I don't say all, but you do. I don't say dumb racist rednecks, but you do. If that's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of gun owners, fine, but don't pretend that I said it.

Oh, I'm so, so sorry. You were only generalizing about 99% of gun owners; that's much better than 100%. And certainly the phrase "I sure do like shootin' guns" that you used doesn't conjure the image of the uneducated.

But hey, since we're going to disingenuously pretend that we're not stereotyping when we are, why don't we add this: just because you and your kind are such chickenshits that you need a big daddy government to ask permission from before you wipe your ass doesn't mean that there aren't millions of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.

The police are incapable of protecting you in times of civil unrest. If you want to risk your family's safety on pie-in-the-sky promises of an indefatigable and uncorruptable police force, that's your choice, but don't think that it's your business to force that choice on the rest of us.

I don't own a gun. I made that choice of my own free will. I like that the have the freedom to buy one should I determine that the benefits outweigh the risks. I like that you have the freedom to never have one in your home. But when you decide that law-abiding people shouldn't be capable of defending themselves, you're no different from the people who want to take away other civil liberties. Would you want the police to come in and take your books because someone like you decided that they contaied subversive material? What gives anyone that right to make that decision?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:42 PM on September 25, 2005


suzysmith-Not assuming anything about you or your politics or you. I'm also not so anti-gun. I was just pointing out that the plain text of the Second Amendment does not go so far in explaining how it has been incorporated into the body of American Law. I was also not making a general point about the pro gun folks as a whole. Certainly, lefties (like myself) with libertarian leanings, can mix their way into sympathy with arguments posited by the gun lobby. What I meant, and I should have been more clear, is that the NRA for one, and the conservative leaning 2nd Amendment absolutists for another who argue for a broad based federal gun right, are on the opposite side of the aisle when it comes to strengthening other federal civil liberties. Far be it from me, however, to demand perfect consistency when making Constitutional Arguments...it's extraordinarily difficult.

The fact remains, however, that the right to own arms has never been held to be a fundamental individual right by the Supreme Court, and is, as a matter of Constitutional Law, not on the same level as the other Amendments, which protect rights which have been held to be personal and "fundamental" by the Supreme Court. Whether it should or should not be that way is another matter entirely.
posted by kosem at 1:46 PM on September 25, 2005


Optimus Chyme wins!

And to add - civil unrest or no, the only people who will hand in guns when ordered are the law abiding folks. Duh.

Um? Who's left? Golly, that's right: The naughty people.

You have a population of unarmed people even MORE vulnerable to bad folks who ARE armed. Add that to a law enforcement structure demonstrably weak and ineffective to protect them. And, as some people already pointed out, said weakened LEO's have ZERO legal obligation to protect you under the best of circumstances.

So this would be the absolute WORST time to confiscate guns and the in most egregious an unconstitutional manner to do so.

And whoever keeps spazing-out about flamethrowers and rockets and shit. Just shut up, ok. It's a stupid argument and you know it. It's like me saying we should enact prohibition because if you drink beer you'll want to deal smack to toddlers next.
posted by tkchrist at 1:58 PM on September 25, 2005


(Should have mentioned that I am wildly opposed to the processless confiscation of firearms and am certain that this case was correctly decided.)
posted by kosem at 2:20 PM on September 25, 2005


Have to say I'm happy about the way this thread turned out. Gun issues seem to be one of the few major points where a fair fraction of MeFi (in some threads even a majority) veers off from the standard far-left talking point into a much more civil-rights-oriented viewpoing. Right or wrong, it's a good demonstration that people are thinking for themselves on both sides of this issue.
posted by Ryvar at 2:57 PM on September 25, 2005


Thanks for your approval Ryvar.
posted by bardic at 3:09 PM on September 25, 2005


It was a compliment to the participants, jackass.
posted by Ryvar at 3:52 PM on September 25, 2005


But - the problem isn't necessarily the guns - it's people shooting each other.
We seem to have an issue with that in this country.

Nothing makes my blood boil like pro-gun Canadians chiming in on U.S. gun rights. Last time I checked there wasn't a fucking all-out land war going on in your country with tens of thousands of people dying ever year from getting shot. With guns.

I support the second amendment - but only in a sane world where we aren't killing each other at an impressive rate. Until then - take all the guns away.
This idea that as soon as they confiscated the NOLA guns the entire city would transform into some sort of Hitlerian death camp with the police executing us poor Americans - give me a break. That's tin-foil hattery.

Go ahead and post your links about third reich gun registries and about how important it is that we're armed and ready to shoot the police and take out the government at a moment's notice.
It's all bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.
The only thing our massive stockpile of privately held firearms has preserved is an ungodly death count that makes U.S. soldier deaths in Iraq look like a cakewalk.

Here are your guns.

posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:02 PM on September 25, 2005


The NRA gladly supports Democrats who support the right to keep and bear arms. Nothing signals the arrogance and ham-handedness of the majority of Democrats more than their continued insistence on restricting gun ownership of law abiding citizens. There are millions of people who won't even consider voting for Democrats because of that, despite having few other reasons to vote Republican.
posted by MattD at 8:21 PM on September 25, 2005


I am not a big fan of guns but if you want one legally then what do I care? But let me tell you this: I live in New Orleans and even though I evacuated I would not hesitate to shoot a looter trying to break into my house if I was home at the time all the chaos was occurring in the city. I am now back home (I live in Algiers) and even though there are patrols of state police and the National Guard driving by my house every few hours I would still not hesitate to shoot someone trying to break into my house. In addition, because there are still not many people on my street the ones that are here pay attention to people who come driving or walking through our neighborhood. I never thought it would come to this and I never thought I would even become this way but until things are back to "normal" this feeling is going to be around for a long time and that is sad.
posted by govtdrone at 8:37 PM on September 25, 2005


Optimus Chyme: The police are incapable of protecting you [if you live in America] in times of civil unrest.

Because too many people have guns.
posted by pracowity at 11:48 PM on September 25, 2005


Because too many people have guns.

You are ridiculous. There are plenty of times and places when the local police force have been unable to control rioters armed with rocks.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:37 AM on September 26, 2005


> You are ridiculous.

Ah, a resort to argumentum ad hominem.
posted by pracowity at 11:47 AM on September 26, 2005



no you actually are rediculous, Pracowity. In england there is talk of banning long kitchen knives. Guns are illegal there, and yet crime still exists. And the police are incapable of protecting everyone.
posted by CCK at 12:52 PM on September 26, 2005


Yes, CCK - but gun deaths are a fraction of what they are here.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:09 PM on September 26, 2005


You know what - this is all bullshit, anyway. I've had a gun pointed at me. My best friend was shot three times in the stomach. His life was changed in a horrible, horrible way. You gun-loving bastards are turning this country into a warzone and I'm so, so sick of it.
The police have never come to my house - never tried to take away my private property.
I hate the police just as much as the next lefty - but I hate gun violence even more.
It's torn holes in my life.

And I dare any of you violent assholes to come back with the classic, "If you'd have had a gun, none of those bad things would have happened to you, or your friend!"
He would have taken my gun and killed me with it. And probably killed my girlfriend for watching.

If I leave this country - it will be BECAUSE of the guns. And I WILL find a country that isn't engaged in civil war - somewhere violent fetishes are treated like the social disease they really are.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:14 PM on September 26, 2005


CCK: no you actually are rediculous [sic]

Ah, gun fanciers. It's always such a pleasure to discuss things with them.

Either you don't understand what ad hominem means or you don't care about logic.

Guns are illegal there, and yet crime still exists.

Of course it exists. Crime exists everywhere, but to different degrees. High rates of gun ownership generally correlate with high rates of gun crime.

the police are incapable of protecting everyone.

That, too, is obvious. No one living a normal life can expect to be 100 percent safe from all crime. And you will not be 100 percent safe (or anything close to it) with a gun.

The problem with gun ownership is that it makes your (the gun owner's) life and the lives of your neighbors more dangerous, not less. You and millions like you have the illusion that you're going to bed safe with pistols by your sides, but your guns are used more often for suicide and household killings (accidental or intentional), or they are taken from you by the guys you think you're protecting yourselves from, than they are used by the owners for self-protection.
posted by pracowity at 2:30 PM on September 26, 2005


You gun-loving bastards are turning this country into a warzone and I'm so, so sick of it. ... I hate the police just as much as the next lefty - but I hate gun violence even more.

I'm sorry to hear about your horrible experiences. However, my experiences have been a little bit different. I have used a gun twice in self-defense, and fired it once. I was very fortunate that I didn't actually have to shoot anyone in either case.

That said, why do you hate "gun violence?" Why not just hate violence? Would it have been any better if your friend had been beaten to death? I don't think so.

And on an unrelated topic, I don't see why hatred of police is necessary for being a lefty. I don't hate the police. I do, however, have very limited expectations about getting their help the moment my life is threatened. Police don't generally prevent crime, they clean up the mess afterwards.

The problem with gun ownership is that it makes your (the gun owner's) life and the lives of your neighbors more dangerous, not less.

The same is true for car ownership. There are plenty of people who just shouldn't be behind the wheel of a 1-ton vehicle. That, by itself, probably isn't a sufficient argument against allowing private citizens to own cars.

No one living a normal life can expect to be 100 percent safe from all crime. And you will not be 100 percent safe (or anything close to it) with a gun.

No, there are no guarantees in this world. However, you may well be safer with a gun than without one. I know I was. And I'd prefer to make my own decisions about keeping myself safe.

If you are going to bear the burden of responsibility that corresponds with gun ownership, you should learn how to use it - and how and when not to use it - just like you would with a car.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:17 PM on September 26, 2005


If I leave this country - it will be BECAUSE of the guns. And I WILL find a country that isn't engaged in civil war - somewhere violent fetishes are treated like the social disease they really are.

Yes, do go find a country somewhere where only the enlightened government elites and their loyal forces can be armed or direct the use of force, not the little people or the minorities, be they ethnic or religious or political. Gee, that strategy's gone over real well throughout history...

Or does war and genocide by armed governments against their unarmed citizens and neighbor countries not count as gun deaths? I'm asking seriously. Because just about every major genocide in the past century was immediately preceeded by the seizing of legal arms from citizens by their government. Jews in Germany, Muslims in Bosnia, Armenians in Turkey, Christians in Uganda, Native Indians in Guatemala, Tutsis in Rwanda... Heck, one of the very first gun control measures in American history was enacted to strip African-Americans in the post-Reconstruction era South of their right to own guns.

But it's so much easier to think that everyone in favor of self-defense rights is really just a violent asshole who likes making things go bang.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:39 PM on September 26, 2005


"Because just about every major genocide in the past century was immediately preceeded by the seizing of legal arms from citizens by their government."
Ah, Post hoc ergo propter hoc!
posted by klangklangston at 12:19 AM on September 27, 2005


But it's so much easier to think that everyone in favor of self-defense rights is really just a violent asshole who likes making things go bang.

You speak of self-defense rights only in terms of yourself, but you need to widen your vision at least to everyone who lives within range of your gun. They have the right not to be shot by you.

If you live in an apartment building, for example, and your gun can shoot through the walls, floor, and ceiling, then you endanger the lives of people living upstairs, downstairs, on both sides, and across the hall, maybe five families or more. In terms of household danger from that gun, those people live with you. Surely they have as much or more right not to be shot as you have a right to own a gun. If someone tries to take your stereo for crack money, your neighbors don't want to die because you decide to defend it with deadly force just one thin wall away from their bedrooms.

If someone has to adapt in this conflict of rights, don't you think it should be the gun owner? Maybe the owner should have to bulletproof his or her home. That, or maybe make sure the gun does not have the power to penetrate neighboring homes. Your neighbors might also have the right to ensure that you are responsible with that 357 in your night table, which might include you having to submit to regular mental checkups, reviews of your police record, regular interviews with neighbors and coworkers concerning your recent behavior, checks of people who might gain access to your gun, and surprise walk-in inspections to see how exactly you store your gun.
posted by pracowity at 6:23 AM on September 27, 2005


You gun-loving bastards are turning this country into a warzone and I'm so, so sick of it.

There's the door. Oh. Your still here? Then shut up and listen.

My cousin Derek drown in a swimming pool. Oh. My god. You know how many kids drown in swimming pools every year? Oh. The humanity! We should ban swimming pools. My friend Stuart was killed by a drunk driver. You know how many people die in car wrecks? Waaay more than are shot. So. We should ban cars. Oh. And drinking.

So we reach an impasse. Where everything dangerous is banned.

It's none of my business if you want to own a swimming pool. or a car. Or drink. Unless you fuck up with those things.

It's none of your business if I want to own a gun. Even if it's just feel tough. Or use as a goddamned nut cracker. It's none of your fucking business. Ok. Unless I shoot somebody.

Your friend was killed by a criminal. Or maybe he was an asshole or a rapist. I dunno. You didn't give any context. But I know one thing.

He was NOT killed by me. Get that.

So if I want to own a gun to use as damned suppository and cram it up my ass - IT'S NONE OF YOUR GODDAMNED BUSINESS.

As far as self-defense. Yes. Guns are valid. Especially for the weak and defenseless. They ain't JUST for rednecks and thugs.

I got MORE sob stories. You wanna hear them?

My wife's 105lb sister (now diseased) was raped.

If she'd of had a firearm - she could have gotten away because she was locked in her bedroom for a few minutes before he bashed the door down. And she called 9-1-1. And they never showed. She had Pepper spray. And it didn't do shit. 105lbs against 200-220lb amped up dude who beat the shit out of her for three hours and raped her over and over - and got away to do it again to another woman who he killed.

I taught women's self defense. Unfortunately I got more if you want 'em. Will they change your mind? How about this one fact: Banning all guns in this country will NOT stop people killing eachother. The bad people will still have guns. And everybody else will be bludgeoning eachother with iPods.
posted by tkchrist at 3:46 PM on September 27, 2005 [1 favorite]


(now diseased) Er. Deceased - though technically that was due to a disease.
posted by tkchrist at 4:09 PM on September 27, 2005


exactly tk,
thanks for framing the argument for me. IT doesn't matter what anyone does with it, until it interferes directly with some one elses rights. its no of anyone elses god damn business.

And that's what freedom means.
posted by CCK at 12:12 PM on September 29, 2005


care to expound?

Sorry, I was away.

The last individual in the West to enjoy absolute liberty was probably Louis 14th of France. That we serfs have now managed to carve out a modicum of liberty has come at the expense of the absolute liberties of the King/State and its ruling family members. "Liberty" is not infinitely divisible and expansive. The spread of "Liberty" has usually not been especially enhanced through the revolution of an armed citizenry, as the record of many of Europe's people's revolutions demonstrated.

I think US exceptionalism is at work here... you get one little successful revolution against an occupier thousands of miles away and you think that's the way it always works: an armed militia as a precondition for success. Ignoring, for a moment, the massive deployment of European mercenaries on both sides, the naval blockades by foreign powers, and the horse trading of sovereign spheres of influence that occurred at the time.

The idea of a fully armed society as an enabler of liberty flies in the face of historical evidence. If we look at cultures where arms have become paramount identifiers of liberty and independence, then we see Feudalism. A modern day analogy might be, say, Afghanistan, where due to a massive arms build up engineered during the 1970s pretty much every citizen who wanted could become their own personal army. The State disintegrated and transformed to a stage of modern Feudalism, with the strongest and most ruthless carving out their own local fiefdoms wherein they, and their followers, could enjoy almost complete "Liberty" backed up by superior firepower.
posted by meehawl at 8:01 AM on October 1, 2005


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