Second Amendment

New York Times Logic: Someone in a Class Did Something Bad with a Gun. No One in that Class Should Have a Gun.


The New York Times yesterday runs a front page story lamenting that on certain occasions states allow felons to own guns, and that on even fewer occasions those

 felons use guns to kill others.

It's certainly an interesting news story, especially so to the Times's presumed readership of worried liberals; certainly, they had a good reason to run it. Of course, it leads with a long narrative account of such a felon with that right restored who killed someone in a crime of irrational passion.

The story goes on to grant that:

This gradual pulling back of what many Americans have unquestioningly assumed was a blanket prohibition has drawn relatively little public notice. Indeed, state law enforcement agencies have scant information, if any, on which felons are getting their gun rights back, let alone how many have gone on to commit new crimes.

and that:

whether the restorations pose a risk to public safety — has received little study, in part because data can be hard to come by.

Still, there's an epic headline front page story dedicated to making you think that it's gotta be a bad idea.

Here are a bunch of anecdotes of rights abused or that they want to make you think just might be abused in the future. One would hope that respect for the right might lead one to not presume that the abuses trump the right. But that only applies when one respects the right to begin with, which the Times does not. See this language:

Studies on the impact of gun restrictions largely support barring felons from possessing firearms.

One study, published in the American Journal of Public Health in 1999, found that denying handgun purchases to felons cut their risk of committing new gun or violent crimes by 20 to 30 percent. A year earlier, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that handgun purchasers with at least one prior misdemeanor — not even a felony — were more than seven times as likely as those with no criminal history to be charged with new offenses over a 15-year period.

It's not sufficient to say that exercising a right has some recognizable risks means the same thing as that right should be denied people. Inherent in the right to self-defense is possessing a tool that can be used to harm. It's not usually the default that a story of someone doing something bad means no one else in that someone's class should be able to exercise a core human right (self-defense) with the greatest efficiency, but it is when it's about weapons possession and you are the New York Times.

Richard Epstein, often good on small-government arguments, also in the Times misunderstands the Second Amendment and seems to think that a tiny percentage of abusers justifies the eternal withholding of a key human right to an entire class.

Reason's Second Amendment-related archives. My book on the Second Amendment's Supreme Court victory in 2008, Gun Control on Trial.


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  1. People who have been convicted of crimes do not not have a right to own firearms.

    1. Non-violent crimes? Drug possession? Those crimes too?

      1. All crimes. The second amendment does not mention any of them. Note that I typed “do not not have”.

        1. My bad. I just thought you typed like a spaz. I get your drift now, and agree.

    2. People who have been charged with a crime do not have any rights.


      1. Appalachian, it’s not “charged” it is CONVICTED.

        1. Once your name is in the system you are screwed. The arrest will show up for the rest of your life, unless you get it removed.

          1. one, I’m pretty sure that’s not true, and two, who cares?

            People aren’t being denied anything because they were arrested but not convicted once in the past.

  2. Wow, Brian. You must have had some serious blog-posting blue balls. You’re churning them out tonight.

    On topic, in these uncertain times, it is comforting to know that some things will always remain constant: the warmth of a mother’s embrace, the beauty of a crisp autumn sky, and the fallacious reasoning of Times editorials masquerading as news stories.

  3. I am not certain I am against denying those convicted of violent crime legal ownership of a firearm. Which is to say, it’s one more thing they can be charged with when they obtain a gun anyway.

    1. The essence of criminal punishment is denial of rights. There’s no reason why all of those denials should be of equal duration. Loss of general freedom (prison) could be limited in duration while loss of arms rights could be permanent until restored.

  4. The “more than X times likely” is one of the more annoying pieces of bullshit the media uses. Seven times more likely than what? If there is a one in 10,000 chance to begin with, seven times more likely is only seven in 10,000. But putting it in multiples makes it sound scary.

    1. You beat me. Is there not a reporter in the world who is not stats challenged?

      1. No. They are just pathetic.

        1. I should have just left out the word ‘stats’ and made it a statement of fact.

          1. There are over 500 million guns in America, over 100 million gun owners. There are roughly 10,000 homicides a year committed with firearms.

            Fact is 99.99% of gun owners didn’t kill anyone last year. That’s not enough for the New York Times? Fuck them. When you’re trying to strip rights away from such an overwhelmingly huge amount of people, when the law abiding gun owners outnumber the criminals by such an enormous margin, the only reason one can have for supporting gun control is for the nefarious purposes of state control and tyranny.

            Or in shorter form: fuck off slaver.

            1. I would add the fear factor to your list of reasons. I’m amazed how often the “I’ve never fired one and have no desire to because I’m afraid of them so therefore no one else should be allowed to have one either” argument is thrown around.

              1. Hoplophobes.

    2. 50% of criminal statistics are wrong 83% of the time. as Casey Stengel said, you could look it up.

  5. I swear, if it wouldn’t harm innocents, I would have no problem watching the writers of the New York times experience the hell that their favored policies will create.

    The sad thing is, they’re not content to give up their guns, invest their retirement savings in poorly performing green energy companies, etc but want to force everyone else to go on the rights.

  6. You know if we just made every felony a life sentence, none of them would ever be recidivist. Allowing felons out of jail makes it infinity times more likely some of them will do something bad.

    1. Probably 7 times or some such.

    2. Considering that the recidivism rate in the United States is almost 50%, these stats are pretty meaningless.

      1. 100% of recidivists are criminals. Therefore, all criminals are recidivists. And should be locked up for life as John astutely notes.


        /NYT logic

    3. Perhaps it’s the Stephenson I’ve been trying to read lately, but we could go back to the days of the Old Bailey and make most felonies capital offenses.

      Tie it together with Niven’s organlegging, and we might even raise life expectancy.

  7. It wouldn’t be as bad if it were only those convicted of violent felonies.

    Having X g of Cannabis != public safety risk.

  8. Indeed, state law enforcement agencies have scant information, if any, on which felons are getting their gun rights back, let alone how many have gone on to commit new crimes.

    Or: We can’t say when, we can’t say who, and we can’t say why, but we know someone, somewhere, is doing bad things with guns.

    The New York Times isn’t fit to be used as toilet paper.

    1. Indeed, state law enforcement agencies have scant information, if any, on which Negros are getting their gun rights back, let alone how many have gone on to commit new crimes.

      That is what the NYT would have been written in 1895. They really haven’t changed much. Just have new targets for the “other”.

      1. NYT: “We’re insufferable pussies, and an 80-year-old granny with back problems in 1776 would have whooped my stupid ass with ease — I don’t like guns because they are tools of power, and we can’t have that, since only the God-State can possess power rightfully! All hail the God-State!”

  9. Did anyone catch the episode of Real Time a week or so ago when one of Bill’s guests (an MSNBC reporter/anchor/host) said that she is in favor of repealing the 2nd Amendment? Bill mostly agreed with her; David Paterson, the other liberal guest, advocated strict gun control. Neither of the right-of-center guests (Bill Engvall and some other dude) expressed an opinion that was the extreme opposite of the MSNBC gal’s viewpoint. Even Engvall said he was in favor of banning automatic/assault weapons because “as any hunter would know, it ruins the meat.”

    I guess this segment taught (or at least re-affirmed) me two things.

    1) Liberals will never understand the reason for enumerating the right to bear arms in the Constitution.

    2) Conservatives might be losing the belief in owning arms as protection from the government tyrants, not only as protection from assailants or as a tool in animal hunting.

    My favorite line from the segment came from Maher when he tried to dismiss the 2nd Amendment’s protection against government tyranny by point out that the government has “fighter jets and nuclear weapons.”

    1. Funny that a boomer like Maher would make the crack about fighter jets. Isn’t the heroic but lightly armed VC defeating the might US military fighter jets and all one of the most treasured boomer myths? I guess everyone but Americans has the right to bear arms.

      1. The fact that the government has such dangerous and needless weaponry as nuclear weapons yet anti-gun liberal believe that the average citizen can’t be trusted with a firearm says something about the intellectual honesty of the Left, doesn’t it?

        1. What it really says a lot about is what, in the struggle between the individual and the collective, the Left thinks is not only trustworthy but worthy of any rights at all.

      2. John,

        Your comment is based on a very incorrect “history”. The VC never won a single battle and ceased to exist as an independent organization after 1968.

        1. I think he knows that, Old Soldier, which is why he called it “a treasured boomer myth.”

          1. Oh – okay. I guess the Boomers would like to believe that. More fun than the truth.

        2. LtCol Harry Summers”You know, you never won a single battle.”
          Vo Nguyen Giap:”That may be true, but it’s irrelevant.”

          1. Giap was NVA not VC.

      3. But the V.C. were better armed, with loads of weaponry from the Soviet Union, than our citizens are. Besides, we couldn’t even fit in our own sewers, let alone build a complicated tunnel system under the White House.

    2. Engvall said he was in favor of banning automatic/assault weapons because “as any hunter would know, it ruins the meat.”

      Is this guy retarded? Seriously. Who would say something so unbelievably stupid?

      Conservatives might be losing the belief in owning arms as protection from the government tyrants


      1. Isn’t Engvall some kind of faux redneck comedian? Why is anyone listening to him in the first place?

        1. because Maher is not interested in having any right-leaning guests with chops. It is much easier to perpetuate left-wing mythology when the “other side” is represented by comics looking for the next punch line or folks who can be caricatured. It’s a bonus when the designated righty fits both check blocks.

          1. Does he still let P.J. on?

            Regardless, Maher’s a libertarian when it comes to coke and hookers, and not much else. Or, to borrow from SugarFree, he’s a libertine, not a libertarian.

            1. Maher will be on Letterman tonight.
              Anyone up for a drinking game?

            2. For god’s sakes, just because someone likes *some* liberties, does not make him a libertarian, even on those issues.

              By that standard of judgment, even Stalin could be called a libertarian if we look for it.

      2. I don’t think conservatives are giving up guns at all. Gun Rights is one of the few things getting a lot better. These guests just suck.

        1. Wasn’t it libertarians who got victories in Washington D.C. and Illinois?

          And wasn’t it the conservative NRA that were pussies initially and opposing the Heller case, until they were convinced it was “safe” to jump on the bandwagon?

          1. yes

          2. The NRA have ceased to be anything but cheerleaders for Team Red a long time ago.

      3. Echoes of Clinton and Kerry claiming to be hunters so that means they are not gun grabbers. It is stupid. Hunting laws are not unconstitutional on their face, even if I generally oppose criminal law altogether, but any law at the federal level with any bearing on fire arms is unconstitutional. Any, as the second amendment makes loud and clear.

    3. I think Engvall’s comment has more to do with his identification as a hunter than anything.

      Just because someone is an avid hunter, doesn’t mean they don’t support gun control in general. In my experience, many are only concerned about being able to do their hobby, not with any self-defense or rights-guarding aspects of guns.

      It seems bizarre, but there are a lot more like that than you probably think.

      1. That’s a good enough explanation for Engvall’s comment and I certainly don’t fault Engvall for talking about what he knows best.

        My only problem with viewing the gun debate from the perspective of hunters is two-fold.

        1) Like it did for Engvall, it tends to weigh hand guns and hunting rifles as more important than “assault weapons” (whatever that term actually means).

        2) It reinforces the liberal narrative of the gun debate, which neglects the anti-government role of the 2nd amendment and views hunting as possibly the only acceptable use for civilian arms.

        1. Engvall’s comment is beyond stupid. It proves ignorance of ammunition, hunting, and firearms in general.

          How would shooting a deer with an HK91 or AR10 .308 “assault rifle” ruin the meat – while shooting it with Dad’s .308 bolt-rifle not ruin it? Same caliber – same hole if you use similar ammo.

          I doubt this douche has ever fired a gun.

      2. Yeah, it sounds like Engvall is a fudd.

      3. Thing is, one guy with a gun doesn’t mean much against the government. That aspect is best defined as the right to live in a society where the general populace is armed to resist invasion or oppression. Which is really a right for everyone, not just gun owners.

        Still, I feel like the best solution to the second amendment question, especially if the health insurance mandate stands, is to make ownership and training in firearms mandatory as a part of the selective service law. Reduces hoplophobia, and ensures that there will be an ample supply of rebels when the time comes.

        1. “one guy with a gun doesn’t mean much against the government.”

          Not the government as a whole, but to the guy the gun is pointed at, it means a lot. Mike Vanderboegh wrote a nice essay on the subject. Look up “What good is a handgun against an army?”

          There is a risk that you’re going to get shot, maybe killed, if you point a gun at a cop or a soldier. Of course, if you’ve gotten to that point, chances are good you’re going to get shot anyway.

          If the alternative to killing is dying and the alternative to dying without killing is a long term of imprisonment, your choice of actions may change.

          “Better to die on your feet than live on your knees.” Emiliano Zapata said that.

    4. Does Maher still laugh at his own jokes?

      1. Those are jokes?

    5. “Did anyone catch the episode of Real Time…”

      Fuck no.

  10. a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that handgun purchasers with at least one prior misdemeanor ? not even a felony ? were more than seven times as likely as those with no criminal history to be charged with new offenses over a 15-year period.


    1. More than seven times as likely. Isn’t that scary? Of course without knowing the base multiple, that statistic is meaningless.

      1. WTF is a study on crime statistics doing in the Journal of the American Medical Association?

        1. Because liberals destroy everything they touch or turn it into a tool for liberal policies. A medical journal can’t be about medicine anymore once liberals get a hold of it. It must be a tool for advocating liberal policies.

          1. Their like The Corruption from DeadSpace…

        2. It’s a wet dream of the left to turn gun ownership into a public health issue. Just imagine how they would gut the Second Amendment if they could give OSHA, CPSC, and others regulatory power over firearms.

        3. They’re against guns because doctors kill more people.

      2. So, this study has proven what? Individuals with a criminal history are more likely to commit crimes than someone with no criminal history?


  11. I hate to threadjack, but Warty needs to see this before it’s too late.

      1. So when someone asks him “is that a metastasized tumor on your penis or are you just happy to see me?” He says yes.

        1. It just adds to the allure.

  12. I hate to threadjack, but Warty needs to see this before it’s too late.

    1. It was too late 5 minutes ago “Hugh”.

    2. You can say that again.

  13. The New York Times yesterday runs a front page story lamenting that on certain occasions state’s allow felons to own guns, and that on even fewer occasions those felons use guns to kill others.

    The apostrophe does not belong there, right?

  14. Pish, posh. Cry me a river. If felons want guns, they can do what I do and hire body guards who are properly credentialed as former police officers as the laws of New York mandate.

  15. hat tip to Radley Balko, the washington post has the counterpoint to the NYT:…..ory_1.html

  16. OTOH, felons don’t have to purchase ObamaCare, right?

    1. Well, that would certainly make me feel like an idiot for not getting caught all of these years. Up to now, it has been a good thing.

  17. People can’t be trusted with sovereignty, including the means of enforcing it. People can’t be trusted. They need mandatory “guidance”. These fundamental premises are wholly inconsistent with the very nature of civilization and the facets of the individual human being himself, and are utter horseshit, but that’s what statists believe, and screw them for it.

    The ever-worsening immorality and the sheer magnitude of the New York Times’ illogic and unreason, along with bullshit that’s just downright incoherent nonsense, should be enough to drive any honest person away from it.

  18. I’ll bet if Bill Maher stopped greasing his hair, the US could end their dependence on foreign oil in one weekend.

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  20. More counterpoint:


  21. I’ve never understood why a felony conviction means you lose constitutional rights.

    Do felons no longer have the right to free speech and habeas corpus?

    1. Do they have the right to walk out of prison?

  22. a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that handgun purchasers with at least one prior misdemeanor ? not even a felony ? were more than seven times as likely as those with no criminal history to be charged with new offenses over a 15-year period.

    There are some major problems with that study:

    We chose to require a conviction as evidence of prior criminal activity and used arrest as a measure of new criminal activity.

    Not only did they assume the gun owners were guilty until proven innocent; they assumed gun owners were guilty regardless of whether or not it was proven.

    Crimes were grouped into the following classes: those involving neither firearms nor violence (eg, petty theft, driving under the influence of alcohol), those involving firearms but not violence (eg, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place), those involving violence (eg, simple assault, robbery) …

    So if someone with a prior misdemeanor purchased a handgun, and then got arrested for unpaid parking tickets, these jackasses concluded that means guns cause crime. As for the non-violent firearms offenses; so, somebody who owns a gun in California, where it’s damn near impossible to get a CCW if you have a misdemeanor, is more likely to be arrested for carry without a CCW. Gee, ya think?

    Our findings of a dose-response relationship and of an increase in risk for new criminal activity among handgun purchasers with relatively minor prior criminal records are similar to those from studies of recurrent criminal behavior in other populations.

    That’s really the most important sentence in the study. Recidivism for misdemeanants is the same regardless of whether or not they purchase a handgun. In that case, they could have written their conclusions a little more honestly:

    Conclusions.?Handgun purchasers [People] with prior misdemeanor convictions are at increased risk for future criminal activity, including violent and [or] firearm-related crimes.

  23. Wow, What happened to do the crime do your time. Laws like this, are just punitive in nature. If the person cannot be redeemed than why did we let them out of prison.

  24. More people have died from the application of knowledge contained in textbooks than all people who have died from being shot. More people die every year from automobiles than bullets.

    But I don’t see the anti-gun whackos rushing to pass laws making literacy a crime or trying to ban cars. Odd, that.

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