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Free Minds & Free Markets

What Gun Control Advocates Get Wrong

The misguided call to “repeal the Second Amendment.”

The idea that gun-control advocates don't want to confiscate your weapons is, of course, laughable. They can't confiscate your weapons, so they support whatever feasible incremental steps inch further toward that goal. Some folks are more considerate and get right to the point.

"I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment," writes The New York Times' new-ish conservative columnist Bret Stephens. Referring as a fetish to an inalienable right that has a longer and deeper history among English-speaking people than the right to free speech or the right to freedom of religion is an excellent indicator that someone probably hasn't given the issue serious thought.

I mean, Stephens isn't contending Americans shouldn't own five AR-15s. He's arguing that the state should be able to come to your house and take away your revolver or your shotgun or even your matchlock musket.

"From a law-and-order standpoint, more guns means more murder," writes Stephens, before pulling a narrowly catered statistic that ignores the vast evidence that the number of guns does not correlate with the murder or the crime rates. What studies often do is conflate gun homicides and suicides. If Stephens wants to argue that confiscation would lead to fewer suicides, he's free to do so. But he's also going to have to explain why countries with the highest suicide rates often have the strictest gun control laws. The fact is that despite a recent uptick in crime, since 1990, the murder rate has precipitously dropped—including in most big urban centers—while there was a big spike in gun ownership.

Then Stephens compares justifiable gun homicides—shooting a felon while protecting one's home, etc.—with unintentional homicides with a gun. After some back-of-the-napkin calculation, Stephens concludes that guns are useless as a means of personal protection. Anyone who's spent 10 minutes thinking about gun control understands there is no way to quantify how many criminals are deterred by the presence of guns, or how many, for that matter, are turned away in the midst of crime. Has anyone calculated how many non-gun-owning families are safer because their neighbors own firearms?

Without getting into the practicality of confiscating more than 300 million guns, it seems odd that someone would let murderers and madmen decide what inalienable rights we should embrace. It is almost humorous to hear someone advising you not to worry about domestic tyranny as he explains why the state should eradicate a constitutional right and confiscate your means of self-defense. But Stephens comes to the likely true conclusion that you can't stop random men from killing.

To his credit, Stephens refrains from comparing random madmen with those who kill in the name of a worldwide ideological movement that relies on terrorism as a political weapon. Though we can often do something to detect the latter, the FBI would not have stopped "Mohammad Paddock," in the same way they didn't stop Syed Rizwan Farook or Tashfeen Malik or Nidal Hasan or Omar Mateen.

But my favorite part of Stephens' column is when he asks: "I wonder what Madison would have to say about that today, when more than twice as many Americans perished last year at the hands of their fellows as died in battle during the entire Revolutionary War."

Setting aside the population scale, Stephens might not know that one of the reasons the Federalists, including Madison, opposed the Second Amendment was that they believed concerns over protections from the federal government were overblown because there were so many guns in private hands that it was unimaginable any tyrannical army could ever be more powerful than the general public. Others, like Noah Webster, reasoned, "The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States."

"Repealing the Amendment may seem like political Mission Impossible today," writes Stephens, "but in the era of same-sex marriage it's worth recalling that most great causes begin as improbable ones."

To troglodytes like myself, the writing of the Constitution and Bill of Rights was perhaps the greatest cause of the nation. Moreover, same-sex marriage was instituted by the courts. Repealing the Second Amendment is going to take a lot more heavy lifting. There are probably too many fetishists around to make it happen.

I'm one, too. As an American and a Jew descended from people who came here escaping both Nazism and communism, I'm OK with fetishizing the Second Amendment. As a person who can read history and contrast the 19th- and 20th-century history of America and Europe—and about anywhere else—I "get" the fetish. And when I read columns like the one Stephens wrote, I definitely get it.

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  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "I have never understood the desire of other people to not be more like me"

    FTFY

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    As I said the other day. Y'all are damn weirdos and only I'm good.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    No, y'all are damned and I'm the only good weirdo.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "Passing the 18th Amendment may seem like a political impossibility today," writes Mrs. Nation, "but in the era of the women's suffrage it's worth recalling that most great causes begin as improbable ones."

    FTFY #2

  • Thomas O.||

    Next thing you know the gun-grabbers are gonna try and put gunpowder on the list of Controlled Substances.

  • esteve7||

    that's literally what Britain did. the spark of the american revolution was when they started seizing our powder houses.

  • esteve7||

    no, the moment they ban firearms is the moment the second american revolution starts.

  • CE||

    Third.

  • SIV||

    103 years

  • CE||

    What's even more amazing is that it took only 13 years to correct the errors of our ways on 18A. The war on drugs has been fought for 50 years or more.

    And somehow they didn't think they needed a Constitutional Amendment for the War on Drugs like they needed one for the misguided War on Alcohol.

  • Finrod||

    That and the Tenth Amendment invalidates all federal drug laws, IMHO.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Alcohol used by: +/- 50% of the population

    Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Marijuana used by: +/- 10% of the population

    Add to that the fact that the war on pot/acid/mushrooms etc. isn't really waged at all unless you happen to be black and poor, and much like the droning of Waziristan Mr. and Mrs. America can pretend it's not happening.

  • BambiB||

    Women's suffrage is the root of all evil - financially, societally, morally.

    As for guns:

    Has anyone calculated how many non-gun-owning families are safer because their neighbors own firearms?


    Not that I know of, but decades back, Wright and Rossi went into prisons and interviewed convicted felons for their views on guns. They basically agreed that a smart criminal would try to find out if their intended victim was armed, and IIRC, ~45% had aborted a crime because they thought their intended victim might be armed. If that's the case, a rough lower bound for the number of people who were not crime victims because they might have been armed is on the order of half of the number of violent criminals.
    Of course, people don't avoid criminal activity just when they see cops. The possibility of being caught expands the effect. So how many have decided not to engage in violent crime for fear of being shot generally? I'd guess the number's upwards of a million a year.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Don't buy that MSM BS about women's suffrage, dude. It is ALL the Irish's fault.

    Think about it: "Paddock"? Paddyock? PADDY-BUMP-STOCK? Open your eyes, brother.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "I wonder what Madison would have to say about that today, when more than twice as many Americans perished in battle during the entire Revolutionary War than died last year at the hands of their fellows."

    FTFY #3

  • BambiB||

    Might say, "You cowards don't deserve your freedom."

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm glad to see very consistent support for gun stuff here after the shooting.

  • JP88||

    Because unlike reactionaries "do something" types, I think most people here have thought about the issue and sorted it out for themselves. A mass shooting does not change my mind about anything, especially when the prescriptions offered would not have stopped anything.

  • ||

    A mass shooting does not change my mind about anything, especially when the prescriptions offered would not have stopped anything.

    Observing the same sort of honesty, I kinda wish they'd give up looking for a motive. It's not like we're going to find a letter saying "If only I and my legion of followers had a legally-protected right to eat deep dish with our hands!" and, tomorrow, every deep dish pizzeria in the world agrees to toss out their knife and fork or "If only hospital walls were primary colors!"... It happens and you can't stop it.

    Tim McVeigh couldn't have made his reasons and motivations any more clear, neither could OBL, Kaczynski wrote a fucking manifesto. As near as I can tell, we took everything they said we shouldn't be doing, plenty of which is between morally abhorrent and pointless, and in the wake of their attention-getting, just do it all one louder.

    Don't discover a motive. It only glorifies his cause and we're going to ignore any actual lessons we could learn from it anyway.

  • Horatio||

    Agreed, but humans - especially Americans it seems - are wired to find the source of any problem and offer solutions. It's comfort we're chasing, no matter how little comfort knowing the motive would actually provide. We cannot process the scale of horror since most of us aren't psycho murderers so we try to fill the gap with knowledge.

    I think the same phenomenon drives movies and shows about serial killers and their backstories. What does it matter, really? It doesn't, but knowing their motives helps maintain the illusion that we have some control over our world.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Americans have some sense of "progress" that must be genetically encoded. We can never accept [much less shirk from] any problem as everything must have a solution, if only we try hard enough.

    [Bangs head on wall repeatedly.]

  • ||

    More like an addiction where you can readily substitute a reasonable facsimile of progress for the real thing.

    It's fine if you don't have any actual actionable facts or evidence, I just need a fix to get me through to the next news/election cycle.

  • CE||

    If we can put a man on the moon....

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    The trump of tropes.

  • CE||

    Yeah, print the note found in the shooter's hotel room. Who is suppressing this information? And why? Don't they work for us?

  • ||

    I'm glad to see very consistent support for gun stuff here after the shooting.

    Agreed. I wouldn't say it's uncharacteristic of Reason but certainly not the norm.

    One thing I'm a bit surprised by, is it at all clear that Paddock actually used a bump stock? I've heard he had a couple dozen weapons and a dozen or so bump stocks and I've seen the photos of the rifles from the hotel room. As near as I can tell, one definitively has a bump stock (as well as "bump-friendly" accessories) but the other two, closest to his body, appear to have unmodified stocks and "bump-averse" accessories.

    Not to sound too conspiratorial but the amount of guns and the fact that he had all of them in the room with him has always had an 'orgy of evidence' feel. If you knew bump stocks were legal and you wanted to get the ball rolling in a different direction on gun control this would be a/the way to do it. Even if you didn't actually stage the shooting if you were an opportunistic LEO or City-level employee (or an investigative bureau insider) with political aspirations and certain views on guns (or even just a group-thinking Civil Servants) it would be tempting to put a feather like 'banned bump stocks' in your cap. A feather that you likely wouldn't get if the shooter had used fully automatic weapons or did most/all of his killing with semi-automatic weapons.

  • ||

    I wouldn't say it's uncharacteristic of Reason but certainly not the norm.

    I should clarify. It's the norm for Reason to refrain from going apeshit because of gun stuff. It's not exactly the norm for Reason to generally refrain from going apeshit.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Probably doesn't matter if he used them or not. Specious reasoning is that he "could" have so "might" have and therefore they need to go. We are in a zero sum win lose scenario, with a premise that all guns are inherently bad just some much more than others and anything that can be banned or restricted is a victory.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    If you knew bump stocks were legal and you wanted to get the ball rolling in a different direction on gun control this would be a/the way to do it. Even if you didn't actually stage the shooting if you were an opportunistic LEO or City-level employee (or an investigative bureau insider) with political aspirations and certain views on guns (or even just a group-thinking Civil Servants) it would be tempting to put a feather like 'banned bump stocks' in your cap.

    Can you hook me up with your dealer?

  • ||

    Can you hook me up with your dealer?

    Uh, Sure. dime bags or the good stuff?

  • ||

    Or were you trying to make the point that LEOs and/or DAs aren't opportunistic? Maybe that our intelligence collection and investigation agencies aren't prone to groupthink?

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    To be clear, what you are suggesting is that someone in law enforcement heard about the shooting and was like, "A-HA! This is our chance to finally do something about the dreaded and much discussed bump stock issue?"

  • ||

    To be clear, what you are suggesting is that someone in law enforcement heard about the shooting and was like, "A-HA! This is our chance to finally do something about the dreaded and much discussed bump stock issue?"

    Ah, this is the stuff you're looking for. Maybe cut it with a little 'ban silencers' and you should be good to go.

    Seriously, I don't think anybody went in with 'ban bump stocks' in mind, but if you've got the FBI, ATF, and a bunch of LEOs sitting around trying to figure out what SOMETHING! to DO! you can practically hear the squeaky bump stocks calling out for some grease.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    It seems more pronounced than usual, especially concerning the less unquestionable issue of bump stocks. I feel like usually it's just Sullum and Doherty on the gun rights beat, but a bunch of writers have commented on it this week.

    That's all I have to say about that.

  • Braunasaurus||

    Withering the second is a larger threat then repeal. They no a repeal is impossible but if they make guns to expensive then they're a rich man toy. Then they have there mob to take them. Then we need the gov to protect us. Then well we all know how that ends.

  • CE||

    Pro-gun people should push the fight to repealing the Second Amendment. Every incremental gun control law infringes the right the Second Amendment bans it from infringing and they should all be thrown out. Make the gun control faction convince 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of the state legislatures that they can get reelected by removing a Constitutional guarantee on the basic human right to armed self defense.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Withering the second is a larger threat then repeal.""

    If only courts will consider this in the way they look at abortion rights. Many of anti-abortion laws are shot down because their only intent is to usurp the ability to get one.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Presumably, the more expensive they make gun ownership the greater a disparate impact it will have on minorities and other 'disadvantaged' groups of people the left loves to fetishize. Then you start calling the left a bunch of racists, bigots, and homophobes.

  • esteve7||

    they will ignore that. sorta like if you are the victim of gun violence but are pro-gun you are ignored, like rep scalise

  • derpules||

    ^THIS

  • Curt||

    i would hardly say he has been ignored. i've seen people blatantly saying that they wished he would have died if he was just going to come back and continue opposing gun control.

  • docwatson55||

    I invite Mr. Stephens to put a large sign in his front yard that reads: "I AM A GUN CONTROL ADVOCATE AND DO NOT HAVE FIREARMS IN MY HOME".

  • mortiscrum||

    The most likely response would be some 2nd Amend. mooks coming to bother him when he's getting in to his car. I have more or less turned the page on gun control - it's not going to happen, and trying to make it happen is nothing but a hindrance to more important causes. However, that change of heart doesn't make the majority of gun advocates' arguments any more persuasive. This article is an example: it uses the lack of data on "prevented crime" to conclude that gun ownership plays a significant roll in stopping crime. That's just nonsense. Lack of data is lack of data; filling it in with favorable conclusions is weaksauce.

  • Steevie||

    I suppose you also must agree with the broken window fallacy then, since "the unseen" or lack of data, regardless of logic, is irrelevant, right?

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Steevie||

    And now people who support the 2A are "mooks"? Go find some jackboots to lick, asshole.

  • mortiscrum||

    Yes, someone who both supports the 2nd amend AND would harass someone at their house is a mook. I stand by that.

  • Steevie||

    So, not a mook as long as they are just harassing someone at their house about something other than the 2A? Figures. You really are quite the self-righteous asshole.

  • mortiscrum||

    False equivalence. Gun owners' argument is based on the idea that since crime could always be higher, than it must be gun ownership that's preventing it from being so. That's a ridiculous leap to make.

  • Steevie||

    Where did the article say that gun owners argue gun ownership is the reason crime isn't higher than it is? The article offered (essentially) two arguments: that more guns DOESN'T mean more crime/murder (not that it's the driver of less crime/murder; just says there isn't a correlation) and that widespread ownership MAY act as a deterrent (which of course there isn't data for, because you can't measure the unseen). What point are you trying to make?

  • mortiscrum||

    RE: Where did the article say that gun owners argue gun ownership is the reason crime isn't higher than it is?

    Right here: "Anyone who's spent 10 minutes thinking about gun control understands there is no way to quantify how many criminals are deterred by the presence of guns, or how many, for that matter, are turned away in the midst of crime. Has anyone calculated how many non-gun-owning families are safer because their neighbors own firearms?"

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Has anyone calculated how many non-gun-owning families are safer because their neighbors own firearms?"

    I understand where he's coming from with that question, but it's irrelevant, really.

    The point isn't whether my ownership of firearms makes my neighbors safer; the point is that I have the right to defend myself and my family with lethal force if necessary. Someone breaks into my house, they're getting smoked like a pack of Marlboros.

  • Cy||

    " they're getting smoked like a pack of Marlboros."

    I really hope you can shoot faster than that.

  • Steevie||

    Hmm...let's see....reading...reading...nope, sorry still don't see where it says that. Try harder...at least move the goal posts or something.

  • ||

    However, that change of heart doesn't make the majority of gun advocates' arguments any more persuasive.

    It is a good thing the onus is not on me to "persuade" anyone about my natural rights. If you don't have any first principles you are not going to be persuaded by anything that conflicts with your statist vision. Fortunately for you the second amendment no more compels you to own a gun that the first amendment requires you to speak.

    I've got a better idea: please present a moral argument for using agents of the state to violently deprive a human of the most effective tool for self-defense.

  • mortiscrum||

    "Natural right" are actually the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, a set of rules created by and defended by government? And I'm the statist?

    Notice that I said I've given up on stricter gun laws? As logical as I find it to do away with all the guns for the greater public good, I've learned to appreciate that 1) my lack of interest in guns doesn't mean everyone else feels the same, and 2) guns are far too embedded in American culture to dislodge now. Do whatever you want, I don't give a shit.

  • ||

    And I'm the statist?

    Yes, you are the statist if you believe the Bill of Rights is an exhaustive list. Yes, you are the statist if you believe natural rights are a set of rules created by government. Yes, you are the statist if you believe the justification for government is "the greater public good".

    Notice that I said I've given up on stricter gun laws?

    What I really noticed is you avoided making any argument, moral or otherwise, for depriving individuals of a tool for self defense.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    He might not be a statist... might just be a moron.

  • mortiscrum||

    RE: What I really noticed is you avoided making any argument, moral or otherwise, for depriving individuals of a tool for self defense.

    Actually, the basis of my argument would be "greater public good," as I said in the very last comment I made. But that's entirely besides the point, because as I've said MULTIPLE times now, I no longer thing it's worth it to even try. People have their guns, they like their guns, and that's the way it should stay. You are trying to corner me in a box of statist asshole who wants to take away gun rights, but Fuck You, I'm don't think that.

  • ||

    You are trying to corner me in a box of statist asshole who wants to take away gun rights, but Fuck You, I'm don't think that.

    No, you just want to morally preen without being bothered to make an argument as to why you feel your position is the morally superior one.

  • Steevie||

    See, what makes you statist is that you are "ok" with people keeping their guns...because it's just too much of an uphill climb to take them away at this point. THAT'S what makes you a statist dirtbag...because, you would if you could...right?

  • Finrod||

    You've never read the Ninth Amendment, have you?

  • searchingmind||

    "Natural right" are actually the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, a set of rules created by and defended by government?
    No, they are defended by government, but not created by it. They are some of Jefferson's self-evident truths, rights that all humans have possessed as long as we have been human. The Amendments identify some of them, and forbid us from limiting them.

  • Muzzle of Bees||

    Even better: Present a moral argument for using agents of the state to violently deprive a human of *inanimate property*.

    This is what is so troublesome about 30-rd mag bans. Is the state suggesting that a person should be locked in jail for possessing a plastic box with a spring in it? I suppose the bump stock ban hits at the same point.

  • CE||

    There is data though. Crime rates have been falling as concealed carry is getting easier and more prevalent in many states.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    No, this article merely points that all datapoints are going to be incomplete due to the impossibility of getting accurate data. Most of the statistics generally offered are either factually wrong or provided completely without context (ie, counting suicides the same as homicides for the sake of bolstering the numbers).

    What's even worse is when you go out of your way to bend these numbers, when using the overly narrow category of "justifiable homicides." Simply having a gun can be sufficient deterrent, as can firing it without hitting anything, or shooting a home invader without killing them.

  • JAQO||

    The natural right to self-defense doesn't require justification or even explanation.

  • Cy||

    BIngo. Modern politics is a bunch of Assholes running around trying to force everyone to do what they think they should. Freedom be damned.

  • esteve7||

    "What Gun Control Advocates Get Wrong"

    Everything. End of article

  • Herodotus||

    "Has anyone calculated how many non-gun-owning families are safer because their neighbors own firearms?". I believe John Lott has, after a fashion.

  • derpules||

    I have, it's all of them.

  • Cy||

    Similar to the "vaccine umbrella" argument?

  • CE||

    If a third of the sheep are really wolves, the mountain lions think twice before attacking the herd.

  • ||

    I read somewhere, maybe here, that Americans possess 'stability privilege'. We've only known a government "of the people, by the people".

    Compared to many other countries around the globe, our government is relatively benign. We have never seen a government devolve into tyranny. Sometimes it takes a while, but our government does usually bend to the will of the people.

    Gun control advocates cannot fathom our government becoming tyrannical. Mostly because, IMHO, they love the coercive power of government and believe government can only do good if "the right people are in charge". And if the "wrong types of people" are in charge? Well, the 1st amendment will protect us. A strongly worded editorial will surely chasten any right thinking person.

  • esteve7||

    just like how they could never fathom someone like Trump. They are so smug they always think they will be in power, never the "wrong" guys.

    I remember an old PBS free to choose roundtable where walter williams said, why would you support the government or court having all this power. What if 50 years in the future you have a conservative majority ---- to which the other person just laughed. See, it's laughable! It can never happen!

  • sarcasmic||

    Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what is for dinner. Gun control fetishists, democracy (mob rule) fetishists, and all those others who favor unlimited government power, simply cannot imagine ever being the sheep. They see themselves as a wolf, always.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Or at least as a righteous sheep. With elocution as his weapon.

  • Johnny B||

    While I have no dispute with the left thinking government will be what they want it to be as long as they are in charge, your comment about the 1st amendment doesn't hold up. They are have for some time been fully engaged in a war on free speech (most recently at William and Mary), free exercise of religion (the baker of wedding cakes), a war on the right to petition government (every campaign law since Buckely).

  • CE||

    It's almost like they didn't study World History of the 1930s and 1940s.
    Germany had elections.
    They also had persecuted minorities who would have appreciated abundant access to firearms.

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    At least he realizes that repeal of the 2A would be required for him to pass the legislation he desires. Good luck with that.

    Oddly, repeal of the 2A would result in the largest increase in gun violence the country has ever seen. Comparisons to the "Wild West' would be woefully inadequate.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The Political Class and the Intellectual Class (there's a lot of overlap there) are both deeply disturbed that the Unwashed (actually we are probably, on balance, cleaner than they are) stubbornly refuse to listen to their 'Betters'. They can't understand. They are quite sure that their benevolent rule would be just peachy for the Common Man, so why do we keep telling them to piss up a rope and stand under it while it dries?

    I'd say 'f*ck 'em', but I wouldn't touch 'em with a barge pole, much less a favored body part.

  • Charles Easterly||

    ... I wouldn't touch 'em with a barge pole....

    You have a barge pole?

  • sarcasmic||

    You don't?

  • Charles Easterly||

    Perhaps I dislike barging in general.

  • sarcasmic||

    There is something seriously wrong with you.

  • Charles Easterly||

    Oops -

    Perhaps I dislike barging in, generally.

    However, if there is an event such as a raging fire where individuals require their lives being saved, I should hope that I would barge in in that specific circumstance and attempt to save their lives.

  • Horatio||

    Is barging anything like docking?

  • Chip Woodier||

    It's like punting, only bigger.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    We are indeed to bitter clingers, deplorables, and all around fly over bumpkins for sure. I suspect they [the chattering class] truly believe in their heart of hearts that they are righteously correct and that with enough shame and sufficient time and effort we will eventually go aw shucks, accept the superiority of their ways, and come around. Much like giving enough monkeys enough typewriters.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Tangent;

    A favorite author of mine (Michael Bowen) once made a lovely comment on that "Monkeys and typewriters" idea;

    "If you put a thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters, in fourteen minutes they would run out of ribbon, and in fifteen you would have a thousand typewriters ready for the scrap heap."

    The character speaking is described as using the kind of voice "That engineers use when speaking to interior decorators"

  • Entelechy||

    Bret Stephens wants to rewrite history along with the Constitution

    The then-Republican N.Y. Times deterred Civil War draft rioters by deploying Gatling guns in its entrance and newsroom

    http://tinyurl.com/y94alcj4

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    As a person who can read history and contrast the 19th- and 20th-century history of America and Europe—and about anywhere else—I "get" the fetish.

    Because you picture yourself on the other side of the power differentials than do gun control enthusiasts.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Notice this asshole calls it a "fetish," as if it's some irrational cargo cult rather than a tradition of respect for the right of self-defense, steeped in long-standing practice in this country over hundreds of years.

  • Murgatroyd||

    I actually think the comparison between the 2nd amendment advocates and the gay rights movement is apt, although not for the reasons provided in Stephens' article. The gay rights movement succeeded because of general cultural shifts regarding perceptions of gays, declining religiosity and increasing pervasiveness of open homosexuality. To some extent, these changes occurred outside of any direct activism by gay rights advocates. Similarly, support for banning firearms and the belief in the efficacy of gun control has been steadily declining since the mid 1990s. At this point, clear majorities of people across all ethic groups believe in an individual right to gun ownership. Firearms ownership is common and, due to social media, people regularly see friends and family members owning or using firearms. This has normalized firearms and decreased general public fear of firearms owners, even in the face of tragedies like Sandy Hook and other mass shootings.

  • Murgatroyd||

    Additionally, I tend to disbelieve surveys showing decreasing gun ownership because the results seem so contrary to all of the other evidence. It is well known that the number background checks and concealed carry permits has exploded, but the typical rejoinder to this from anti-2nd amendment activists is that the number of gun owners has stayed constant, but those individuals are buying more guns. I think this is true to some extent (it is uncommon now for people to own just one gun), but I think it is also clear that more people in general are buying and using guns. A good indicator is the number of firearms ranges that have opened up in recent years. My city used to have only two ranges, but now there are 18 and more are being built. Market reports on firearms ranges have shown tremendous growth in this industry. No matter how many guns a person owns, you can only really shoot one at a time. The increased market demand for shooting ranges and shooting space shows that number of gun owners has been increasing. To me, this seems more reliable than survey data.

  • Murgatroyd||

    At this point, I think we can tentatively say that gun rights are an issue on which libertarians and conservatives have won the culture war.

  • Charles Easterly||

    As an individual who does not identify as either a (L)libertarian or a conservative, I write to you these words of encouragement: "That's the spirit!" - and I do so because I came here for a Monty Python type of argument.

    There is also this - if you argue with me exclusively you will not have waste your time trying to convince other commentators of your anecdotal points and unsubstantiated references.

    There is this as well: If you are new to these unhallowed threads and are therefore unfamiliar with my sort of commentary I can recommend that you ignore my suggestions in this regard - if you are capable.

  • Horatio||

    Excellent points, all.

    I think you're really on to something with the gun range count. Talented statisticians should be able to find good proxies for gun owner numbers via hunting licenses, shooting ranges, and others (I'm not a talented statistician). A rejoinder might be that in the past there was more open land on which to shoot, thereby necessitating more gun ranges in the present, but anecdotally I've seen hunting licenses and new gun ranges explode.

  • sarcasmic||

    How many people respond honestly to surveys? I'm not telling some yahoo calling me from a blocked number that I'm a gun nut. Nope.

  • Charles Easterly||

    Everybody knows, sarc, everybody knows.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Fun Fact. My gun purchases don't go through NICS.

    NICS doesn't capture private party sales or sales to people with carry permits (in many states).

  • Finrod||

    You can shoot two guns at the same time, but as Mythbusters showed, your accuracy goes to hell very quickly.

  • Kivlor||

    I would suggest that the "gay rights" success is actually proof that the 2A supporters will lose. You couldn't even get California to legalize gay marriage legislatively. It was only successful through judicial rewriting of the constitution.

    The same people that influenced the court towards social signalling RE: gay marriage are the same ones opposing your right to own guns. We will lose this fight, it's just going to take a bit.

  • Murgatroyd||

    I take your point, although I was referencing the broader gay rights movement in general and not just marriage equality. Stephen's argument is that liberals can win on the gun issue due to shifting public opinion, which he compares with the cultural shift towards greater acceptance of homosexuality. My point is that he is actually wrong about the way public opinion is trending with regards to gun rights - people are more becoming more accepting of gun ownership rather than less so.

    The courts do have tremendous power, although I would argue that courts have been increasingly in favor of gun rights. This hasn't been universal and some circuits have been less open towards 2A arguments, but in general the trend has been positive. It is hard to convincingly argue that gun rights have less established precedent in the courts than, say, in the 90s. Heller and MacDonald were a huge win for gun rights, and the plethora of lower court rulings they have produced will be difficult to overcome.

  • Kivlor||

    Ah, but this is your mistake. Hollywood made, for 2 decades at least, a full court press on normalizing homosexual degeneracy. If (when) they make the same press on guns it is reasonable to think we will see a similar shift in popularity going forward, and a SCOTUS that is already 1 vote away ruling the 2A doesn't actually grant you a right to own firearms will, even if populated by "right wingers" likely cave and strip this right away through judicial fiat, just like they changed the Constitution to make homosexuals a protected class.

    This is only beginning Murg. We're on the losing side. Heller is a perfect example. 4 justices didn't only rule against the Heller decision, but stated that the 2A guarantees no right to own firearms at all.

  • Horatio||

    Disagree. Hollywood has been uniformly anti-gun for 40+ years yet ownership and popularity have increased. I've watched all of the old SNL's and the Weekend Updates in the late 70's were all "jokes" about evil handgun ownership. (In fact, handguns were the main focus of the anti-gun lobby right up until the Assault Weapon craze, which is strange since handguns are used FAR more often in murders and are therefore the better tactical target for gun grabbers.) With the explosion of new media the normalization of the gun culture will continue.

    Although the Supreme Court is certainly scary the culture of the US has firmly remained pro-gun, and in this century who owns the culture owns the legislation. Doesn't mean we shouldn't stop fighting.

  • Kivlor||

    No. Although they've leaned that direction, they've absolutely not been making a full-court press the way they did with homosexuality, such as devoting entire television shows to normalizing their views.

    When was the last time you watched a movie or television show that took homosexuals and maligned them? Not much in recent memory for me. Conversely, plenty of movies still glorify the "good guy with a gun". When they stop that, and switch to all anti-gun all the time then, you'll be facing the same issue the anti-gay people faced. To try to compare SNL's occasional jabs to that is just incorrect.

    This is still in its infancy. It will take decades of media immersion. And many Americans will turn off the TV when they do. But just like with the push to normalize homosexuals, many Americans won't. And so the inevitable cultural shift will begin.

  • 68W58||

    ...plenty of movies still glorify the "good guy with a gun"...

    Because that's what audiences want (and will pay) to see. Hollywood can't go all in anit-gun without losing those audiences, or at least large parts of those audiences, and the studio moguls have something to lose in this as well, people are already leaving those parts of the media behind in search of higher quality. Hollywood had a role in greater public acceptance of homosexuality but a lot more of that was people knowing gay people in their everyday lives and seeing that they harmed no one-let's not presume that the purveyors of mass media more powerful than they are.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Jesus didn't say anything about gays, but he was very clear that a divorced woman can't remarry.

  • Archibald Baal||

    "I actually think the comparison between the 2nd amendment advocates and the gay rights movement is apt, although not for the reasons provided in Stephens' article."

    I agree with you. Amusingly enough, when a progressive ex-teacher of mine went off on the open carry people, I made the comparison... I'm a gun owner, and I'm not necessarily into freaking people out by carrying my weapons where they are entirely obvious, but that's a matter of my particular feelings on gun ownership in a social setting.

    Much the same way not all gays wear pink or chaps, not all lesbians wear boots and studded collars... but you see quite a few at gay pride marches.

    In both cases, it freaks out your political opposition in a big way, but the message is less "I'm trying to freak out the normals" than it is "I'm out and I'm proud, and fuck you if you don't like it."

    The ex-teacher conceded that he could understand that interpretation. Didn't help much; he's still filled his social media with asinine gun control posts. But I think the point was made.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    I'd shoot a few rounds down her range.

  • Charles Easterly||

    Meet Amy.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Too gauche.

  • sarcasmic||

    Kirsten Joy Weiss is much more appealing.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Thank you for inserting some class into the discussion.

  • Charles Easterly||

    Why Crusty, apparently I was of the incorrect impression, in that my impression was that you were not overly particular.

    Perhaps this will suit you better.

    Being serious, that website, as briefly as I could determine, seems both informative and welcoming to new firearm owners.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    The woman is lovely, but the empty bottles on the mantle are off-putting.

  • Charles Easterly||

    Methinks in various circumstances thou art distracted.

    Where was the 380?

  • ||

    Kirsten Joy Weiss is much more appealing.

    In the bedroom maybe. Carrying your Anschutz down range, setting it in the open dirt and then kicking it? Get off my range!

    Also, shut the hell up that you can't see the eraser. Instructor Zero and all these other trick shot zealots manage to shoot targets they can't see without saying a word.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Yes that'll do just fine.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Seriously, you are too good for that? I'm calling bullshit on that.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    I prefer armed female models to be a little less tacky.

  • ||

    So *this* is beneath you?

  • ||

    I mean if having girls on the range that twerk on command isn't classy, I don't want to be classy.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    So *this* is beneath you?

    Yes, I am not gutter trash.

  • Rebel Scum||

    What Gun Control Advocates Get Wrong

    Everything.

  • Horatio||

    I've think that the gun grabbers out there are so thoroughly frustrated by this issue precisely because those of us who have supported our right to bear arms are so well practiced arguing from principle. That asshat Trevor Noah said something like "I can almost write out how this debate is going to play out", without realizing that gun rights advocates can literally map out how a debate will go since we've won it so often. Personally I can articulate a gun grabber's arguments, stats, etc before they've opened their mouth - and probably argue THEIR side more convincingly than they can.

    They cannot fathom that they've lost the principled argument, and tragedies involving guns do not change those underlying principles. An argument against the heckler's veto does not change with the number of hecklers.

  • Ranter||

    Yeah, exactly.
    I mean their answer to capitalizing on ANY tragedy is "If only we made it harder to use guns by banning X", which will be fine until another shooting and then it'll be trying to ban something else and so on and so on.

    Then when the script is flipped by dumbasses in the GOP on abortion, their minds reset and immediately recognize 'death by 1,000 cuts' to their rights.

    Only philandering GOP politicians can have access to abortions, and only rich, famous celebrities can be protected with firearms.

  • Tony||

    The principle that "The founders said so neener neener!" or the principle "No amount of death is too much as long as I get to play with my toys"?

  • sarcasmic||

    No and no. But thank you for playing.

  • Horatio||

    The few times over the years I've tried to engage you in good faith have ended in farce. But heck, why not?

    If the black population in the US began aborting pregnancies at such a rate that they would go extinct in a generation would you then consider banning the practice? Or would the underlying principles of self-determination and autonomy still apply regardless?

    How many murders committed by Muslims would it take for you to consider banning Muslim immigration?

    How many deaths at the hand of the Imperial Japanese Airforce would you accept before supporting internment of Japanese-American citizens?

    If you respond to the point of my post with a reasoned argument I will further engage you.

  • Tony||

    If the black population in the US began aborting pregnancies at such a rate that they would go extinct in a generation would you then consider banning the practice? Or would the underlying principles of self-determination and autonomy still apply regardless?

    Why specify black? They dealt with this issue in the noted political philosophy text Battlestar Galactica. The ardently pro-choice president was forced by circumstances, political and practical, to ban abortion so that the population would survive. Circumstances matter, sometimes.

    I honestly don't know what you're getting at by comparing guns to specific races and religions. We're talking about the 2nd amendment, not the 5th.

  • Horatio||

    I'm not comparing guns to religions, and I've read enough of your crap to know you're being thick on purpose.

    You know damn well my point is that the underlying principle of an argument is not nullified when something horrific has occurred, particularly when those arguing for violating those principles cannot show how doing so would've prevented the horrific event.

    Circumstances do sometimes become so untenable that violating principles seems the best course, such as your Battlestar example. But, like in the example, those violations would necessarily be temporary until the underlying circumstance is resolved. That's not what gun grabbers are arguing.

  • CE||

    The principle that the government ought to be lawful and follow its own rules, and if some large section of the populace wants to change those rules, they should follow the established rules for making that change.

  • Phos||

    One of the reasons for the 2nd amendment is for when the govenment is not lawful, does not follow its own rules on respect the majority who try to follow the established rule for making changes. [Venezuela anyone.. anyone...]

  • Curt||

    "They cannot fathom that they've lost the principled argument, and tragedies involving guns do not change those underlying principles."

    I don't think that they're interested in the principled argument. The emotional argument covers everything that they feel, believe, and care about. So, fuck your principles... they strongly feel something. And if you disagree with that, it obviously means that you feel it's okay to slaughter innocent people.

  • zazoo||

    I've noticed the word 'fetish' starting to creep in when people want to disparage something.

    Gary Younge in the Guardian today:

    "Americans...fetishize self-reliance"

    That's funny, I just believe in it and encourage it as an alternative to constantly expecting the government to do something. For example a lot of people eat to much and weigh too much, including me. It's not good for your health. I don't think it's the government's responsibility to fix that, it's mine. Not seeing a fetish there.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've noticed the word 'fetish' invariably precedes a straw man argument. Take self-reliance for example. Collectivists who oppose what they call 'rugged individualism' cannot imagine collective action without force. Or at least not the kind of collective action that they support. So they paint individualists as people who oppose any kind of collective action. No cooperation with others is allowed! We're individuals dammit! We do everything by ourselves and expect everyone else to do everything by themselves! Which of course is a bunch of bull.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    You've been interacting with Tony, i see.

  • sarcasmic||

    He's not the only collectivist in this world.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Oh fuck, i summoned him. Sorry, everybody.

  • Bubba Jones||

    No way. Libertarians hate families and communities!

  • Phos||

    Fisting isn't my fet, so I don't understand the national competition between the left and right for finding new objects to be butt-hurt over.

  • Number 7||

    "Americans...fetishize self-reliance"

    That's one of the stupidest but at the same time, most disturbing thing I've heard in a long time. He is saying that if only we would lose our insane and inane preoccupation with self reliance and join the collective, everything would be OK? God that bothers me that someone would think that and say that.

  • Cy||

    "God that bothers me that someone would think that and say that."

    There've always been those people. It bothers me how bold and empowered they've become. Many of them have created massive echo chambers from cradle to grave for this shit.

  • Curt||

    "There've always been those people."

    And usually they are quite easy to identify. They are the people who are incapable of relying on themselves. Who would starve to death if there wasn't a Whole Foods within walking distance of public transportation. Who would be forced to go around naked if there wasn't a locally sourced American Apparel near them. Who would die of a cold if there wasn't a government financed doctor available.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    I believe they call it "American exceptionalism." Michael Moore has "weighed" in on that issue and says "it will be the death of us."

    Actually I'm surprised his diet has not already been the death of him.

  • Cy||

    "Actually I'm surprised his diet has not already been the death of him."

    I'm sure Jabba will die and be reincarnated as Rosie O'donnel 2035 or some other shitty celebrity with a microphone.

  • Tony||

    Matt Taibbi put it well. The Las Vegas shooting renders the self-defense argument nonsense. What are people gonna do, bring rocket launchers to outdoor concerts? So all we're left with is the "we have a right to rise up against a tyrannical government" argument.

    I'd like to point out that unless there is some practical rights-protecting argument beyond "I like guns the way a stamp collector likes stamps," then we're talking about a constitutional protection for a hobby. One among all the others, for no possible rational reason.

    So the point is that the only way 2nd Amendment defenders have any clout is if the apocalypse happens. Otherwise they're just a bunch of fucking nuts hoarding guns and canned goods. This whole debate is about fucking insane people--provided we don't actually witness the apocalypse.

    All you idiots are doing is hiding behind the corpse of James Madison, a person who could not envision modern weaponry. Obviously if the 2nd Amendment protects a right to own an arsenal, it is obsolete and dangerous and needs to go. The courts could have stuck to the original intent and language, but they didn't. The cool thing about blood being on so many hands is that nobody has to take any responsibility for it.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    So only the government should have firearms?

  • creech||

    Let me fix that for you: "Only the Secret Nazi President's administration should have firearms?"

  • sarcasmic||

    The Las Vegas shooting renders the self-defense argument nonsense.

    Yeah! Because that's the most common type of situation where guns are used for self defense! You nailed it!

    Otherwise they're just a bunch of fucking nuts hoarding guns and canned goods.

    Yeah! Because every firearm enthusiast has fully stocked shelter! You nailed it again!

    You are a straw man slayer extraordinaire! I want to be like you when I grow up!

  • Jordan||

    The Las Vegas shooting renders the self-defense argument nonsense.

    *Facepalm*

    Obviously if the 2nd Amendment protects a right to own an arsenal, it is obsolete and dangerous and needs to go.

    I have good news for you: the Founders included a method for amending the Constitution.

  • Cy||

    "I have good news for you: the Founders included a method for amending the Constitution."

    Tony and his ilk aren't really big on things like words, documents or history. It's all about the FEELZ!

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    In the very vast overwhelming majority of incidents, it isn't at all like the Vegas situation.

  • Bubba Jones||

    The 2nd Amendment prohibits the Federal Government from regulating guns that States might wish to use in a militia. The NFA is blatantly unconstitutional, but the States are the ones with standing to challenge it, not The People. I have trouble believing that the States ratified an Amendment intended to restrict the States. I don't think the necessity of such a thing occurred to them.

    Fast forward 90 years.

    The 14th Amendment protects our right to self defense. This came about because States proved themselves willing and able to oppress their own citizens. It is the 14th Amendment that guarantees our rights to the Privileges or Immunities of Citizens.

    So, in my opinion a State could regulate weapons they believe are limited to militia use. California could outlaw bumpstocks and 20 round magazines, but they should be required to issue carry permits (either open or concealed) and Texas should be able to allow select fire weapons.

    The federal government would have no role in gun regulations.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    But the militia!

    I'm mocking liberals "but her Emails" statement.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Well the word infringed seems hard for even SCOTUS to understand. So understanding a phrase like right of the people, might be a bridge too far.

  • Phos||

    If you know what fringe is, infringement becomes very clear.

    Fringe- dangly bits of material made by making small cuts around the perimeter of the material.
    Infringement- making small cuts around the perimeter of the material

  • Tony||

    It means individuals, but in a context completely alien to modern life. And is the first half of the sentence completely irrelevant or what?

  • Ship of Theseus||

    Do you know what the original draft of the amendment said? I suggest you look it up and try to understand the implications.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    Also, read Federalist 46.

    The point of the 2nd amendment is clear to anyone who doesn't already have an agenda.

  • Tony||

    Actually I'm an expert on commas.

  • Finrod||

    If it was possible for you to learn, I'd suggest you read this:

    http://www.grifent.com/docsLin.....esson.html

  • Horatio||

    You're the one ignoring self-determination and basing policy on insane people, dude.

    You just want to paint the millions of law-abiding gun owners in this country as insane murder squads and call it an argument. Please refer to yourself when you wonder why we're paranoid about confiscation.

  • Lawn Darts||

    I realize, even though I rarely comment here, that replying to Mr. Tony is lie going down a rabbit hole of weird, but perhaps it's worth it to lay this tired assertion to rest:

    "All you idiots are doing is hiding behind the corpse of James Madison, a person who could not envision modern weaponry. "

    In the 60s, I used to watch Star Trek. It's funny how we were able to imagine space warp drive, phasers, cloaking devices, a juicy steak assembled from nano-particles at the push of a button...

    James Madison and company were not stupid people. They were the best and brightest, and they were gifted observers of "human nature", which has not changed IMHO since we emerged from the loins of monkeys.

  • Ranter||

    They also didn't mention automobiles, airplanes, computers, YouTube, etc etc. etc.

    We understand that argument, dumbasses. It's just flawed and/or stupid.

  • Lawn Darts||

    ...and to enlarge on my own thought.... the Constitution might be better thought of as a treatise on human nature, rather than a book of law. It exists to amplify our good nature and dis-incentivize our bad nature. So, until our basic urges and tendencies change (crickets...) that document is golden. Change it at your peril.

    BTW, the Nevada state constitution is far less ambiguous about why we have guns. I'm sure other states would also have a thing or two to say about any attempt to repeal.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    And "James Madison, a person who could not envision modern weaponry" - right, because the idea that a multi-shot firearm was so utterly inconceivable to a man of his era, despite the fact that at least one army had a repeater in service before the Bill of Rights was written, and Colt patented his first revolver in Madison's lifetime.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Plainly neither you nor Matt Taibbi knows shit about self-defense. One incident renders all self-defense "nonsense"?

  • Lawn Darts||

    Too many people, have trouble thinking about anything that is not black or white. They live in a mental space where one instance of black makes everything black, instead of grey. It's almost like they have some cognitive problem.

  • Horatio||

    I, for one, am relieved. Thanks to a psycho executing a carefully planned and indefensible murder spree my concerns about protecting my family at home have totally dissipated. Whew!

  • ||

    Matt Taibbi put it well. The Las Vegas shooting renders the self-defense argument nonsense.

    A gunman opens fire on a crowd of 20,000 people enjoying an open-air concert, killing 58 and injuring up to several hundred and Matt Taibbi's well-reasoned response is that the 20,000 people had too many guns? I'm sure a mental giant like Mr. Taibbi is too busy with his cold rocket fusion research to be bothered to find out if the music festival was, in fact, a gun-free zone.

    Serioulsy, Tony, regardless of his intent, Taibbi's stance is in reality about one step away from "These people should've lined up and taken it."

  • Tony||

    His point was there was no way those people could defend themselves even if they had guns. Even if they had big guns. This debate is insane because the pro-gun side has gone insane. Facts don't matter, deaths don't matter, only unrelenting absolutism. It will be your undoing in the end.

  • Horatio||

    Our undoing? What are you going to do to law-abiding gun owners, Tony? Send armed government officials to take us out?

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    It's true that if I were to be engaged at 400 yards by someone with a high-power centerfire rifle, my .45 ACP pistol would be of no practical use.

    But if you talk to someone who actually knows anything about self-defense, they would tell you that this is NOT the typical self-defense scenario. This incident does not, as you imply, completely invalidate the utility of firearms for self-defense.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    This debate is insane because the pro-gun side has gone insane.

    No, this debate is insane because the anti-gun side has no credibility when they claim "we don't want to take away your guns."

  • ||

    His point was there was no way those people could defend themselves even if they had guns. Even if they had big guns.

    As usual, you just keep getting better and better.

    Dear America,

    The crowd of 20,000 people should've just line up and taken it.

    Love,
    Matt Taibbi

    P.S. - Fuck you Jose Campos and LVPD.

    P.P.S. - If you bring up the ammonium nitrate and tannerite I'll prove that those aren't covered by the 2A and shouldn't be allowed in to country music festivals or Vegas hotels either.

  • ||

    His point was there was no way those people could defend themselves even if they had guns. Even if they had big guns.

    Seriously, then his point is between irrelevant and wrong. If they had guns it wouldn't have made a difference. If they had big guns, they wouldn't have been grouped as close together and would've been shielded by large chunks of steel.

    Speculation somewhat aside, you're/he's fundamentally justifying an amoral act or stance on the grounds of woulda/coulda/shoulda which he didn't extrapolate from fact. If we had a law putting a guard, armed or not, in every hotel room in Vegas, we could've prevented this tragedy, therefore, the solution is obvious. It's not that facts don't matter and deaths don't matter it's that you want to conflate the two as though they were interchangeable. "They couldn't have defended themselves with a rocket launcher." isn't a fact and, even if I grant to you that it's an unquestionable fact, you're effectively trying to legislate not against guns (rocket launchers aren't guns) but against the element of surprise.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    His point is pretty much wrong, too. Of course, it suffers from the mistaken idea that the only successful defensive gun use is one that kills or wounds the person being defended against. Maybe you've seen (and probably ridiculed) the pictures of people walking around with their slung rifles. If there had been a half dozen of them in the crowd, given the size of the crowd and the lighting, it would have been tough, if not impossible, for Paddock to identify them as potential threats and single them out for elimination at the beginning of his shooting spree. While it would have been a difficult shot (maybe even impossible, given wind, distance and Paddock's height advantage) for any of them to kill Paddock, returned fire might have been enough to either make him stop shooting entirely, or reduce the accuracy of his attack. That is, of course, assuming they had some willingness to risk bystander deaths in the hotel, but if I were skilled enough that I were willing to carry a rifle around, I'd probably be willing to risk a bystander or ten to reduce the casualty count of the guy shooting from the hotel.

  • TxJack 112||

    This is precisely the type of counter argument which is beyond stupid. The 2nd amendment protects our right to possess "common use firearms" A common use firearm is one that the average person has and uses, such as a rifle, pistol or shotgun. A "rocket launcher" is not a common use weapon. It is true Madison could not have envisioned modern weaponry, Nor could he have envisioned air travel would be routine, we would have the ability to talk to people on the other side of the world, or we would have cars that reduced ground travel to hours from days. He was smart enough to realize that things would progress. Consider this, eliminate the 2nd amendment and the elimination of all the others is much easier. If you think we have nothing to fear and our government would never do anything that could be considered tyrannical, what about Japanese internment camps? FISA courts? Data collection by NSA? By the way, if you want to talk about what Madison could have never envisioned, do you think he ever thought porn would be protected as free speech? or abortion would be a "constitutional right"? Next time before you open your mouth, you might consider opening a book rather than simply puking up all the moronic talking points you have been fed by Democrats and the progressive left.

  • Tony||

    He also notes how none of the gun nuts made a stink when Bush was doing all that scary shit.

    President McBlackerson gets in office and whoo boy did they start getting agitated.

  • Phos||

    wrong, Wrong, WRONG. "Common use firearms" not in the 2nd amendment. What is mentioned, "militia". So it at least protects weapons suitable for use by a militia. That is MILITARY GRADE WEAPONS. I think there was a militia act around 1792 requiring able-bodied men of military age to own a firearm and ammunition comparable to that of an army foot soldier.

    Also in the War of 1812, civilian militias brought some privately owned cannons to the fight. This is the 19th century equivalent to the rocket launcher.

    The Militia Act of 1792
    I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia.....That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder;....

  • Brian||

    It's really not our fault that pussies can't get the votes to repeal 2A.

  • Old Mexican's Speedos||

    Re: Tony,

    [...] then we're talking about a constitutional protection for a hobby.


    You can say the same thing about the 21st Amendment: that it amounts to a Constitutional protection of a vice. That argument is specious and meaningless, of course, just like the one you made about guns, hobbies and constitutional protections.

    Your assertion begs the question, by the way. You WANT to assume rights have a utilitarian foundation when, in fact, they are the logical extensions of your existence. Just because you would be a non-believer, does not mean you do not have the right to worship. You don't need to *prove* you need the right. Same thing with owning the things you worked for, including guns and ammunition.

  • Tony||

    Then rights are whatever you (or I) say they are. We're in a millennium that values empirical reality over chicken guts. Join us!

  • Ship of Theseus||

    Tony has never stopped to think about the implications of his belief system (whatever that is).

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    Then rights are whatever you (or I) say they are. We're in a millennium that values empirical reality over chicken guts.

    Says the guy arguing against 100% of the available data, based on his own* misguided and ignorant emotional beliefs.

    * those given to him by his betters

  • CE||

    What if they wanted to ban books? Books can be dangerous and lead to political and cultural revolutions. Would you defend your absurd book collecting hobby, against the common good?

  • Tony||

    Tedious. We already ban things that are dangerous and nobody but weirdo libertarians care, and even they are probably OK with not putting lead in paint or allowing kindergartners to buy grenades.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    We already ban things that are dangerous

    By this logic, there's nothing wrong with Trump's "Muslim ban".

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    "" The cool thing about blood being on so many hands is that nobody has to take any responsibility for it."'

    The grandfather of stupid comments.

    The only person who has blood on their hands is the shooter.

    If you really believed it as a philosophy, you would understand that YOU have lots of blood on YOUR hands in Libya, Syria, ect, because YOU are helping finance it.

    You have blood on your hands every time a cop kills someone unjustly because you support an armed police force.

  • Curt||

    "The Las Vegas shooting renders the self-defense argument nonsense"

    Yeah! Because a crime happened and a concealed carry pistol couldn't have saved anyone, that clearly renders the entire concept of defending yourself to be nonsense. If it doesn't work in every possible situation, then it doesn't work at all. Facts about crimes and shootings that were stopped by citizens with a gun be damned! If they didn't stop this guy then the entire concept is BS.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    The Las Vegas shooting renders the self-defense argument nonsense.

    The election of Trump renders freedom to express liberal ideas nonsense.

    The storm deaths in Houston and Florida render disaster prevention nonsense.

    The death of Dale Earnhardt rendered seat belts nonsense.

  • Finrod||

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Ranter||

    "Without getting into the practicality of confiscating more than 300 million guns, it seems odd that someone would let murderers and madmen decide what inalienable rights we should embrace."

    Well said, and well reasoned.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: What Gun Control Advocates Get Wrong
    The misguided call to "repeal the Second Amendment."

    The proggies will not satisfied until all the little people are disarmed while their body guards, the police and all federal agencies continue to not only increase their firepower but further militarize law enforcement. "Gun control" is one of the first aspects of enslaving the masses, as history has shown, especially in the 20th century. Some of the proggies deliberately scream, rant and rave for the confiscation of firearms knowing full well this is a major step in controlling the great unwashed. Other proggies and liberals are naive (read stupid) to believe making a "gun-free society" will make them safer. I have never heard a leftist yet tell me how disarming law-abiding citizens make them safer while the criminals, whether the thugs are criminals or government sponsored, make us safer, free or secure.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Peggy Noonan kicked the elitists in the ass for wondering why so many Americans on the right want guns:

    "I think a lot of Americans have guns because they're fearful—and for damn good reason. They fear a coming chaos, and know that when it happens it will be coming to a nation that no longer coheres. They think it's all collapsing—our society, our culture, the baseline competence of our leadership class. They see the cultural infrastructure giving way . . . and, unlike their cultural superiors, they understand the implications.

    . . . .

    Americans have so many guns because drug gangs roam the streets, because they have less trust in their neighbors, because they read Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." . . . because our country's real overlords are in Silicon Valley and appear to be moral Martians who operate on some weird new postmodern ethical wavelength. And they'll be the ones programming the robots that'll soon take all the jobs! Maybe the robots will all look like Mark Zuckerberg, like those eyeless busts of Roman Emperors. Our leaders don't even think about this technological revolution. They're too busy with transgender rights.

    . . . .

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Those who create our culture feel free to lecture normal Americans—on news shows, on late night comedy shows. Why do they have such a propensity for violence? What is their love for guns? Why do they join the National Rifle Association? The influential grind away with their disdain for their fellow Americans, whom they seem less to want to help than to dominate: Give up your gun, bake my cake, free speech isn't free if what you're saying triggers us."

    Peggy Noonan
    Wall Street Journal

    https://tinyurl.com/ya49wv9g

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    I'ts essentially a zero sum game for our chattering class; they are both smarter and righteous in their belief and cause, and being optimistically American they must keep trying to shame is into compliance. Eventually, given enough time and shame, we will collectively say "aw shucks" and come around. Rather like giving enough monkeys enough time and enough typewriters.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, they come after our rights and freedoms--and treat average Americans with contempt for being average Americans, then they wonder why average Americans feel the need to arm themselves?

    While the elitists were coming after average Americans' rights and freedoms and treating them with contempt for being average Americans, did it ever occur to them that average Americans might find that intimidating?

    Now they want to take our guns away?

    Average Americans may be of average intelligence, but they aren't stupid, and if the elitists don't want average Americans to arm themselves so heavily, maybe they should rethink their contempt for average Americans and their attacks on average Americans' rights.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Or, we just say "fuck off" and call it a day!

    Problem is the elite see this issue through the paradigm of civil rights and that seemed to work pretty well [though I doubt most members of BLM or antifa would currently agree with that; the civil rights period of the 60s is now relegated to the time of slavery and was only right such things should have been abolished] so lets just do what worked and cry foul and inhumanity from the rooftops and take every "win" we can get. They know they are right and will win in the end, Einstein's definition of insanity notwithstanding.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The entire purpose of progressives is to use the coercive power of government to force individuals to make sacrifices (often of their rights) for what progressives see as the common good.

    Elitists see average Americans as only worthy of contempt, or, as Noonan put it, "The influential grind away with their disdain for their fellow Americans, whom they seem less to want to help than to dominate".

    The elitist left praises the coercive power of government + contempt for average Americans and then they wonder why average Americans heavily arm themselves.

    That's the paradigm.

    It's interesting that when I talk to progressives about why average Americans think the left is contemptuous of them, the conversation invariably turns to being about why average Americans should be treated with contempt--after all, they're Christian, homophobic, racist, xenophobic, and sexist among other things--and they believe the coercive power of government should be used against them.

    Put that all together, and it's no wonder so many average Americans feel the need to arm themselves. They may not know everything behind what the Red Guard on campus are chanting about, but they know the Red Guard hate them.

    Like I said, they're not stupid. If anyone is stupid, it's the elitists who actively create the conditions that contribute to the problem they're decrying.

  • Tony||

    If society is going to collapse, shouldn't I really be allowed to own grenades, a tank maybe? If my neighbor gets a nuke I want a nuke too. For deterrence.

    So Noonlington from her Park Avenue apartment declares that we have to accept our uniquely high numbers of gun deaths because a lot of Americans are paranoid, pissy pants little girls. Just as Thomas Jefferson said!

  • Brian||

    I encourage you to channel your bitching into election 2018.

    Good luck.

  • Cy||

    "Americans are paranoid, pissy pants little girls."

    Hello irony my old friend....

    I've come to speak to you again...

  • Horatio||

    Yeah, I'd like to return to the good ol days when effeminate gays could be beaten to death by people undeterred by a deadly weapon.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE:
    What Gun Control Advocates Get Wrong

    Gun control advocates will not rest until all the law enforcement and criminals own all the firearms and the law abiding citizens will be the mercy of both the violent criminals and their brothers in arms, The State.

  • Eric||

    Gun control advocates are not one hegemonic group. This strawman makes you and the others sound dishonest.

  • Bubba Jones||

    From here they all look the same. Useful idiots at best.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    I have seen some degree of variation, as with the article by Leah Libresco in the WAPO this week [I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise] that was later featured on this site [therefore no need to post a link]; these are exceptions to a largely us vs. you scenario whereby gun control seeks and gets whatever "victory" it can be it a judicial decision or a State law being passed in a place like CT or CA. This only invokes the ire of the pro gun side who buy guns and join the NRA, NAGR, and similar State organizations in droves. This writer [Libresco] by simply listing the primary forms of gun violence [1. Suicide 2. Criminality and 3. Mass shootings in the order of their prevalence] and proposing that each might require a different solution steps back from this moralistic and unproductive clash of ideologies, and even goes so far to suggest an actual compromise of granting national reciprocity in lieu of bump stocks or legal machine guns; however that will most certainly no play well with the likes of Bloomberg and various Democratic pols it will surely get her banned from the DC or NY cocktail circuit.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Strawman?
    Seriously?
    I have yet to encounter any gun control advocate that doesn't either, a. outlaw all private ownership of firearms completely, or b., make it next to impossible to own a gun, or c. restrict ammunition sales by various methods of government intervention...and every gun control cheerleader I've been has been left of Lenin.

  • Horatio||

    No, they break down into two basic groups: (1) those who are upset and want to have something, anything done to help them cope, regardless of efficacy and unintended consequences and (2) lifelong advocates whose ultimate goal is complete confiscation.

  • Tony||

    3) Those who just want to ban weapons that serve no function other than mass human slaughter.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    That probably falls under #2

  • Cy||

    "ban weapons that serve no function other than mass human slaughter."

    You're right. They should ban any governments from owning weapons. After all, governments historically are the real murderers. Make them run around with wiffle bats and dodge balls!

  • Horatio||

    Fuck the gun grabbers' premise. Regardless of how many law-abiding, peaceful people own AR platform rifles, finding purposes ranging from hunting to self-defense to sport, it will never be good enough for those who think Democrats grant us our rights.

    It's rather like anti-gunners demanding a Certificate of Need - they can get fucked.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    3) Those who just want to ban weapons that serve no function other than mass human slaughter.

    It would be a little redundant to point out that a statement from Tony is entirely based in dishonesty, ignorance or both...but this bullshit is one of the stupidest things hoplophobes say.

    The so-called "assault weapons" at the heart of every gun control proposal are used FAR less often in murders than baseball bats and hammers are. They are a statistical blip - in bigger terms, assault weapons are basically just not used in murder. They are a marginal outlier.

    The second target of nearly every gun control proposal is automatic weapons, because nearly all hoplophobes are idiots who don't understand the terms they are using. Automatic weapons have been used in a half dozen murders in the last 80 years.

    You're lying. None of your concerns has anything whatsoever to do with reducing deaths, as is made empirically undeniable by the content of those concerns.

  • Eric||

    I built my AR-15 and enjoy shooting it. I support the right of the people to own firearms. I also would support some common sense restrictions and regulations on firearm ownership. What those are, I really don't know. And I agree that politicians would likely fuck up any solution. I'm just sick to my core of seeing this shit happen in my country.

  • Bubba Jones||

    There is no such thing. http://reason.com/archives/201.....-get-wrong

    I don't care how you feel.

  • Eric||

    Aspie answers are so fetching. You should be in charge of recruitment for the upcoming libertarian moment.

  • Cy||

    Facts are hard for the FEELZ train.

  • Eric||

    95% of the population is on the FEELZ train on some issue.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Would not make them right.

  • Tony||

    Feelings have no place in opinions.

    *Masturbates to my AR-15*

  • Horatio||

    "I rebuilt my '68 Mustang and enjoy driving it. I support the right of people to own cars and trucks. I would also support additional restrictions and regulations, but don't know what they are, and despite knowing that politicians would fuck up writing and implementing those additional restrictions and regulations. I'm just sick to my core of seeing [vehicle manslaughter] happen in my country."

  • Horatio||

    Saw your reply to Jordan below after posting. I was pointing out your impotent rage, but it seems you are already acknowledging it.

  • Jordan||

    I also would support some common sense restrictions and regulations on firearm ownership.
    What those are, I really don't know

    Um... what? The second sentence renders the first entirely meaningless.

  • Jordan||

    Doh. Meant to click reply.

  • Eric||

    That's kind of my point. There dont seem to be any good answers.

  • Ranter||

    Yeah, unfortunately whether it's guns or drugs or sex or whatever, these dopes and their counterparts in govt only understand one approach: BAN BAN BAN.

    It's never "Set up crisis centers to counsel at-risk individuals" or anything else that doesn't seek to legislate away behavior with a penstroke.

  • Eric||

    Some things should be legislated. Sarin Gas comes to mind. Thankfully most absolutists aren't including WMDs in their interpretation of "arms".

  • Ship of Theseus||

    You don't know what the definition of "arms" is.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    First you would need to define what is is.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    The problem with "common sense" restrictions is that they are promoted by people that have no understanding about gun ownership and use, and have much disrespect for those who do.

    How can there be a common sense discussion on guns when gun owners are hated, and called names?

  • Memory Hole||

    Reason should write something about the fact that conservatives oppose prohibition on guns while championing the fuck out of drug prohibition especially during these moments when conservative voters are tuned in to arguments in favor of freedim.

  • macx||

    Why do so many Americans love guns? It's easy to see why you'd love sex. Or sunsets, skiing, music, nature, art, wine. But GUNS? Why guns?

    Richard DWKINS

  • Tony||

    Because the function of guns is to tear flesh apart and kill living things.

  • Horatio||

    Yes, they would be rather less useful for self defense otherwise.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    Sunsets, sex, skiing, music , nature, art and wine do absolutely nothing to stop the neighboring tribe from raping your wife, enslaving your children, and cutting your head off.

  • CE||

    ...because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States."

    The liberals who say an armed populace could never stand up to a professional army don't understand asymmetrical warfare, or how heavily armed the US populace really is.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    A second civil war would probably look a lot like Missouri during the first one, writ large--militia gangs on both sides seeking out bands of opponents and wiping them out. A rather large plurality of the military is from the South, and I can't see a bunch of good ol' boys willingly marching into their home states to put down local insurgencies.

    Such a conflict would likley be working and lower middle-class whites versus a coalition of minorities on the front line while rich and upper middle-class liberal whites call the shots.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Ask them why we haven't won the war in Afghanistan yet. Though I doubt they will be honest since it doesn't help their argument.

  • jonball52||

    What Stephens gets wrong - among many things - about "repealing the second amendment" is that the right is not "created" or "granted" or "conferred" by the amendment. The right, and all other rights, antedate any constitution or law.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    People hate it when you point that out. Or just pretend you didn't say it.

  • Curt||

    "I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment,"

    Who cares whether or not you understand it. I don't understand why you dearly treasure the right to vote; when you know damn well that your vote will never make any difference. I don't understand why you would support the third amendment; it's not like that's ever an actual threat to happen. Blah blah blah.

    Your understanding is not necessary for my rights.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Your understanding is not necessary for my rights."'

    Yeah, something many gay people say or think when we talk about their rights.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    I want to get a small, sexy, pistol. Concealable and practical. A revolver for the car, something you don't need to worry about the mag springs leaving it in there for years at a time.

  • Hugh520||

    Chief justice Warren Earl Burger famously called the idea of an individual right to bear arms "one of the greatest pieces of fraud - I repeat the word 'fraud' - on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime."}

    As with global warming, so with guns. It takes time to rewrite history and it took even longer to get to Heller. That's because the NRA knew that in court, their individual rights argument amounted to counterfactual lies and counter-originalist misrepresentations.

    But revisionism slowly ground away, and finally, in 2008, in an ironic twist, the Court's most ardent originalist, Antonin Scalia wrote the 5-4 decision.

    [A first principle of constitutional interpretation holds that] {"the Constitution must be read to give effect to every word, and that interpretations that render portions of its text "mere surplusage" must be avoided. No one can deny that [the Court's] interpretation renders the first thirteen words of the Amendment of no effect..."} ~ Cato Unbound Denis Henigan ​

    {"[T]he history of the Second Amendment shows that...putting "well regulated" at the very start of the amendment was no accident.​"} ~ Saul Cornell, Guenther Chair in American History at Fordham University

    So where does that leave us? Well today it's Nevada. Tomorrow, yes, they'll be one of those too, until we rid ourselves of a mountain of lies about individual 2nd Amendment rights, and the guns that have followed.

  • ace_m82||

    10/5/17 at Mises.org shows you're very wrong with your "revisionism". How did the militias equip themselves? With their own weapons!

    mises.org/library/american-militia-and-
    origin-conscription-reassessment-0

    (copy/paste necessary)

    This article will dispell most of your lies. As for your other fallacies, I'll let the rest of the people here do what they do best.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    "" How did the militias equip themselves? With their own weapons!""

    I believe owning a working firearm was a requirement to join the militia.

    So with respects to the reasoning clause of the 2A, a individual right had to be created so you would meet the requirement to join a militia.

  • Hugh520||

    Part 1

    "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."

    Journal of Trauma (August 1998) re: Emory University Study by Center for Injury Control, Rollins School of Public Health

    {"Objective: Determine the relative frequency with which guns in the home are used to injure or kill in self-defense, compared with the number of times these weapons are involved in an unintentional injury, suicide attempt, or criminal assault or homicide.

    Methods: We reviewed the police, medical examiner, emergency medical service, emergency department, and hospital records of all fatal and nonfatal shootings in three U.S. cities: Memphis, Tennessee; Seattle, Washington; and Galveston, Texas.

    Results: During the study interval (12 months in Memphis, 18 months in Seattle, and Galveston) 626 shootings occurred in or around a residence. This total included 54 unintentional shootings, 118 attempted or completed suicides, and 438 assaults/homicides. Thirteen shootings were legally justifiable or an act of self-defense, including three that involved law enforcement officers acting in the line of duty. For every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides."}

    That's one out of twenty-two or 4.55%.

  • Hugh520||

    Part 2

    Where were you when the office of the president lost its rectitude - different age different answer, right? How about Congress? Where would you even begin?

    Now, lets add the highest court in the land - the one that gave us Bush v. Gore - the same court that broke with 70 years of settled jurisprudence, and, in the tortured logic of Antonin Scalia in District of Columbia v. Heller, affirmed the Second Amendment's individual rights clause. Ever heard of it? There's a reason. It doesn't contain one.

    {"Up until the 1980s, there was no "individual-rights" theory of the Second Amendment. Many states had adopted provisions protecting an individual right to own guns, but this tradition was distinct from the Amendment. All that changed when right-wing think tanks undertook a conscious effort to fund new scholarship to rewrite the amendment's history. At first that effort was not well received, even in conservative circles. As late as 1991, former Supreme Court chief justice [and conservative] Warren Earl Burger famously called the idea of an individual right to bear arms "one of the greatest pieces of fraud - I repeat the word 'fraud' - on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime."} ~ Macneil-Lehrer Newshour

  • Hugh520||

    Part 3

    As with global warming, so with guns. It takes time to rewrite history, and more time to gin up the weight of scholarly articles to accomplish it. It took even longer to get to Heller. That's because the NRA knew that in court, their lock on the inalienable, individual rights argument amounted to counterfactual lies and counter-originalist misrepresentations.

    But revisionism slowly ground away, and finally, in 2008, with a conservative majority, the NRA was warily ready for its day in court. And in an ironic twist, the Court's most ardent originalist, Antonin Scalia wrote the 5-4 decision.

    [A first principle of constitutional interpretation holds that] {"the Constitution must be read to give effect to every word, and that interpretations that render portions of its text "mere surplusage" must be avoided. Neither Justice Scalia, [nor the majority] can deny that their interpretation renders the first thirteen words of the Amendment of no effect..."} ~ Cato Unbound Denis Henigan July 2008​

    {"[T]he history of the Second Amendment shows that...putting "well regulated" at the very start of the amendment was no accident.​"} ~ Saul Cornell, Guenther Chair in American History at Fordham University

    So where does that leave us? Well today it's Nevada. Tomorrow, yes, they'll be one of those too, until we rid ourselves of a mountain of lies about individual 2nd Amendment rights, and the guns that have followed.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    When it was common place for individuals to have guns, you didn't need to talk about it as a right for the individual because it is obvious.

    The 2A is clear when it says "the right of the people". Nothing Warren Earl Burger believed, or any other jurist changes that. When there is a right of the people there is no way to exercise that right other than by the individual. The people can not collectively own a gun.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Many states had adopted provisions protecting an individual right to own guns, but this tradition was distinct from the Amendment.

    Hey, idiot, you think that maybe the reason an "individual rights clause" wasn't included in the 2nd was because--wait for it--there were already a multitude of individual gun owners in the country and it was treated as a de facto individual right to begin with?

    There are about 330 million Americans in this country. About 100 million or so own firearms.

    There are about 30,000 deaths by firearm per year in this country, of which about 10,000 are murders.

    In other words, you have about a 0.0001% chance of being killed by someone who owns a firearm. Your irrational fear is infringing on my rights. Fuck off, slaver.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    And even that is overstated.

    The majority of those murders occur in the inner cities, as a direct result of 8 decades of drug war (the exact same premise as drug control), with ALREADY ILLEGAL WEAPONS.

    Your chances of being killed by a legally purchased weapon (and therefore one that can be targeted by legislation) if you don't hang out in drug-heavy inner city neighborhoods? Minuscule. Vanishingly so.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    If I wanted to have an amendment that was a right to prosperity via the right to have a job, and a car is necessary for that job I could say.

    A job being necessary to prosperity, the right of the people to own a car shall not be infringed.

    This doesn't mean only those with jobs would have a right to a car.

  • John B. Egan||

    'vast evidence that the number of guns does not correlate with the murder or the crime rates' .. Really? The only real example of large scale gun control was Australia, which began a buy-back and restriction program after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre. Here's a chart.. Now show me indisputable proof that the gun deaths in Australia haven't been knocked down by 2/3. http://www.abc.net.au/cm/lb/49.....s-data.jpg

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Your bullshit was responded to yesterday, Egan, you dishonest pustule.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    What a lovely chart. Let's take a snapshot of time that makes it look like the data supports our claim, when in actuality, the data shows the continuation of a trend, with no evidence that the legislation we are claiming as important had *any* effect on the trend, either in the direction we are claiming or otherwise. Certainly, you can make the quite reasonable claim that gun deaths have "declined" by 2/3 since 1996, but to say they were "knocked down" implies a causative act that the data doesn't support. But if you think you can prove me wrong, find a similar chart that starts in or around 1968 or so, and show us how the trend line has a sharp (or even shallow) deflection toward zero in 1997 or 1998. But before you go to the trouble of trying to do that, I'll point out that you won't be able to demonstrate a deflection, because it's not there.

  • zombietimeshare||

    "The idea that gun-control advocates don't want to confiscate your weapons is, of course, laughable."

    In lieu of that they would like to license and regulate the Second Amendment out of existence. That way leftists (liberals, progressives, Democrats, whatever) can say you still have a Second Amendment right even though it is impossible to exercise that right.

  • DrZ||

    Who cares what Madison would say, what would Lenin do?

  • Barry Gold||

    Harsanyi makes some of the same points I mention when I discuss guns on Facebook.

    Inevitably, somebody points out that banning or restricting guns _does_ lower suicide rates. But... isn't suicide a right in the same way that freedom of speech and freedom of religion and the right not to incriminate yourself are? The right to control your own body.

    And always ignored are the side-effects. Some of your neighbors choose to own guns. For the most part, this either doesn't affect you at all, or it _benefits_ you by discouraging criminals. Concealed carry, in particular, benefits me as a non-gun-owner because any criminal thinking of robbing me has to consider that I _might_ be armed. But even putting the benefit to me aside, gun control advocates are asking gun owners to give up a cherished right. Is the benefit to us (non-gun-owners) _really_ worth the cost we are inflicting on those who enjoy owning guns, whether for personal protection or simply for the joy of "putting small holes in pieces of paper."

    That's from a song by Joe Bethancourt, now deceased of natural causes, a liberal folksinger and gun owner.
    https://goo.gl/t9S2T2

  • David Nolan||

    I mean, Stephens isn't contending Americans shouldn't own five AR-15s. He's arguing that the state should be able to come to your house and take away your revolver or your shotgun or even your matchlock musket

    Shameful. Is Harsanyi responsible for generating hysteria? That's about all he does.

    Brett Stephens, for those who can handle the truth. He covers both sides better than most. And HAMMERS the left. Excerpt (my emphasis)

    Nor will it do to follow the "Australian model" of a gun buyback program, which has shown poor results in the United States and makes little sense in a country awash with hundreds of millions of weapons. Keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill people is a sensible goal, but due process is still owed to the potentially insane. Background checks for private gun sales are another fine idea, though its effects on homicides will be negligible: guns recovered by police are rarely in the hands of their legal owners, a 2016 study found....

    Repealing the Amendment may seem like political Mission Impossible today, but in the era of same-sex marriage it's worth recalling that most great causes begin as improbable ones. Gun ownership should never be outlawed, just as it isn't outlawed in Britain or Australia

    For me, repeal is too far. What if pro-gun folks realized that NO rights are absolute?

  • AngelaM||

    Get real! The inalienable right arose because the founding fathers had a profound distrust of standing armies. They believed that citizen militias were the true protectors of freedom. The Second Amendment was not about a Constitutional Right to Bear Arms but about the Constitutional rights of states etc. to maintain a well-armed militia. When the amendment was added, the majority of citizens did not own guns. Militias were created privately, armed and trained at the patron's expense. Both the original records of the Revolutionary War period and the debates over the Bill of Rights make this position quite clear. If you are going to assert your right to own an Uzi, you really can't rely on the Second Amendment as justification. Later court interpretations around the 1940's established this right and as the opponents of abortion can testify, what the court giveth, the Congress can taketh away.

  • David Nolan||

    Good on Second Amendment. But missed that the fetal child's unalienable Right to Life is precisely equal to the woman's unalienable Right to Liberty. BOTH of those rights are absolute, so NEITHER can be superior to the other, as both extremes try to FORCE it all THEIR way, and to hell with unalienable rights!

    Precisely like the 2nd Amendment..

  • KBeckman||

    Okay. So you repeal the 2nd amendment.

    That doesn't exactly stop me from owning a defensive weapon because it would still be protected by the 9th.

  • David Nolan||

    OMG Somebody here KNOWS THE NINTH AMENDMENT EXISTS! Who tells Ron Paul?
    But repeal would remove it from the 9th Amendment -- by saying it is NOT a fundamental right protected there. Tricky.

    And Stephens' REAL point (lied about in the article) is to NOT ban gun ownership, citing Britain and Australia..
    And Stephens' column is WAY different from what is "reported" here. I have an excerpt on this page with a link to the entire colmn,.

    http://reason.com/archives/201.....nt_6990775

  • KBeckman||

    I disagree.

    "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

    Nothing about that leads me to believe that removing an enumerated right means it still can't be protected by the 9th. The only way around it would be a constitutional amendment(like the 18th) banning the ownership of weapons. Well legitimately anyways. It's not like the government gives 2 fucks about the 9th.

  • David Nolan||

    Repealing the Ninth Amendment means denying that it is a fundamental right. - yes, unenumerated, but the standard has always been "fundamental" rights -- which is more operable than "unalienable." It's sole purpose for being in the constitution was to escape the threat of shutting down the militia for partisan reasons (Federalists vs Anti-Federalists).

    Repealing the amendment is TOTALLY separate from banning ownership -- as we see in places like Britain and Australia. --- a MAJOR element of Stephens' piece .. despite the shameful bullshit in the article above.
    Harsanyi repeatedly makes an ass of himself (and Reason). I just saw that he calls Stephens' a "newish" NY Times columnist. He's a fucking Pulitzer journalist .. and all this:

    contributing columnist at The New York Times in late April 2017 ... senior political contributor for NBC News in June 2017 ... Wall Street Journal: foreign-affairs columnist and the deputy editorial page editor, responsible for the editorial pages of its European and Asian editions. ... he was editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post. ... Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013.

    I've already given you a link to Stephens' actual column. Have you read it?

  • tacticalguy||

    Very well said, sir!

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