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Free Minds & Free Markets

Repealing the 2nd Amendment Won’t Make Gun Bans Any Easier

If you strip away legal protections for rights valued by millions of Americans, you’re just going to make them angry to no good end.

It's always been true, as gun restrictionists have repeatedly promised, that "nobody's going to take your guns away." But few gun owners have ever believed that was from lack of intent; it was always from the absence of any practical way of implementing such a taking. That's become increasingly clear in the wake of the truly horrific Mandalay Bay massacre as open calls for repealing the Second Amendment's protection for self-defense, and even for banning privately owned guns, get louder.

And still, the increasingly open prohibitionists haven't come up with a proposal to make their plans stick.

Perhaps most prominent is Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist at the New York Times. He pointed to Stephen Paddock's rampage in Las Vegas, as well as some alleged correlations between firearms ownership and homicide (contradicted by other research), dismissed most gun control efforts as "feckless," and called on America to "Repeal the Second Amendment" or else "Expansive interpretations of the right to bear arms will be the law of the land—until the 'right' itself ceases to be."

And what's the point of stripping way part of the Bill of Rights if you're not going to then pass restrictive laws previously barred by the deleted provision? Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) makes no secret of her long-time desire to outlaw anything made of metal with a hole in it. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) sees every intrusive law as only "a first step on gun control." Progressive documentary filmmaker Michael Moore wants to repeal the Second Amendment, and won't rest until "All automatic and semi-automatic guns are banned" and "guns must be stored at a licensed gun club or government-regulated gun storage facility." The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik wants "no truce with the Second Amendment." And the New Republic's Phoebe Maltz Bovy says "It's Time to Ban Guns. Yes, All of Them."—in a demand originally published in 2015, but reissued by her publication last week. Taking the anti-gun crusade right up to 11, hereditary celebrity Nancy Sinatra thinks "the murderous members of the NRA should face a firing squad."

Well, that should certainly convince gun owners of the desirability of compromise and of surrendering their property.

But, contrary to Stephens' assertions, expansive interpretations of rights don't depend on black-letter protections under the law. People around the world assert a right to free speech even in places where the exercise of the same is harshly punished. The same-sex marriage that the Times columnist rightly cites as a major political accomplishment was fought for by people who considered it their right long before the law recognized it in any way. The idea that rights exist naturally and independently of political protections is a long American tradition, extending well before Thomas Jefferson wrote "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" and through Joe Biden's 2008 assertion that "I believe my rights are not derived from the Constitution. My rights are not derived from any government. My rights are not denied by any majority. My rights are because I exist." Repeal the Second Amendment, and you're not telling gun owners that their right has been eliminated; you're telling them that the legal and political system under which they live is hostile to rights they take as inherent, and that they'll now have to be more vigilant than ever.

That's assuming that a philosophical basis is required to inspire people to acquire and keep weapons. That's not necessarily so.

We don't know whether many Germans, for instance, believe in a natural right to bear arms, but we do know that Germany offers no legal guarantees for such a right. The country's laws are rather restrictive, too. Yet the country's roughly 82 million people own about 5.8 million legal firearms and 20 million illegal ones as of 2016, according to the Sydney School of Public Health's GunPolicy.org. The Geneva-based Small Arms Survey has similar numbers, putting the 2003 figures at 7.2 million legal weapons and 17-20 million illegal ones. For France's 67 million people, GunPolicy.org puts legal firearms at 2.8 million for 2016, and guesstimates 7.2 million illegal ones. Small Arms Survey agrees on the legal figure, but puts illegal firearms in France at 15 to 17 million.

Neither France nor Germany has anything like a Second Amendment, but millions of inhabitants of both countries arm themselves with firearms nevertheless, either because they remain committed to a philosophical right to do so, or because they just think it's a good idea. And they acquire and keep those guns largely in defiance of laws intended to disarm them.

Does anybody really believe that Americans steeped in a culture of natural rights and a history of personal armament will be more compliant than Europeans with no such heritage?

Illegally armed though many Germans may be, they remain remarkably peaceful, with a homicide rate of 0.8 per 100,000 people and a gun homicide rate of 0.05 per 100,000 people, according to GunPolicy.org's latest figures. France has a homicide rate of 0.6 per 100,000 and a gun homicide rate of 0.22 per 100,000. Remember, this is in countries containing millions of guns, most owned illegally. By contrast, the rate of total homicide in the U.S. is 4.96 per 100,000 and gun homicides are 3.43 per 100,000, by GunPolicy.org's numbers.

So, French and Germans are less murderous overall than Americans (even after several decades of general declining violent crime in the U.S.), and remain less murderous despite possessing impressive illegal armories. And those armories are of a size to make the difference in violent crime rates even more stark. Could something else--say cultural factors--be at work here?

The social psychologist Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature, thinks so. He believes that America's frontier experience, with people settling well ahead of a government presence, makes a big difference. "The United States has a higher rate of violence, partly because large parts of the country were in a state of anarchy until the 20th century. People could not count on the government to protect them," he told an interviewer in 2011. "When governments did arrive, people were reluctant to hand over their self-protection. And because the first government in America was a democracy, people were able to impose their wishes. In European countries, first the government disarmed the people and exerted its control many hundred years ago. Then the people democratized the government, but by then the government had already established control."

Which is to say that, relative to our European friends, Americans are a bit feral, violent, and resistant to control. Are we more resistant to control than the French and Germans who peacefully flout their countries' laws? Could be. History doesn't suggest that repealing the Second Amendment and saying "bring 'em in" has much of a path to success.

When in 1990 New Jersey imposed an "assault weapons" ban on the possession of semiautomatic rifles with certain cosmetic features that give them a military look, the response was underwhelming. One year later, the New York Times reported that of the estimated 100,000 to 300,000 affected weapons in the state, "Only four military-style weapons have been turned in to the State Police and another 14 were confiscated. The state knows the whereabouts of fewer than 2,000 other guns."

More recently, after 2008's Heller decision supposedly took the most draconian gun restrictions off the table by reaffirming the Second Amendment's protection of individual right to own weapons, Connecticut passed a comparatively less restrictive registration requirement. Owners responded by telling the state about their possession of "as little as 15 percent of the rifles classified as assault weapons owned by Connecticut residents," according to the Hartford Courant.

"If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don't follow them, then you have a real problem," commented Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford).

New York followed up with a similar law of its own that achieved perhaps 5 percent compliance.

"What these numbers expose is that, if there are people who are wilfully ignoring the law, that means tens of thousands of gun owners are not complying with a law that is supported by New Yorkers," huffed Leah Gunn Barrett of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

Those overwhelming failures of restrictive gun laws came in three of the most gun-unfriendly states in the country. Two of them came after the Supreme Court issued assurances that total bans were off the table. What do Bret Stephens, Feinstein, Maltz Bovy, Moore, and company (the less said of Sinatra, the better) think is going to happen in the unlikely event that they successfully navigate the constitutional requirements to repeal part of the Bill of Rights and its legal protections? Do they expect people in Arizona, Texas, Vermont and other more gun-friendly regions to meekly respond to the removal of the Second Amendment's protections? Or are they likely to dig in their heels?

If it's true that Americans are culturally more violent and less submissive to state power than some overseas cousins, their violent inclination are unlikely to respond easily to legal revisions. And they probably ought not be provoked by politicians and pundits who have no apparent plan, except to antagonize a good many people around them.

Photo Credit: Frances M. Roberts/FRANCES M. ROBERTS/Newscom

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  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "What do Bret Stephens, Feinstein, Maltz Bovy, Moore, and company (the less said of Sinatra, the better) 'think'"

    Imagine a distant antechamber of the heavens, a disused corner of infinity, the halfway point on a celestial highway between the two galaxies that are farthest apart. Starlight glitters in the observer's eye but nothing more, for there is nothing visible to glitter upon; no moon, no meteor, not even the disparate vapor of an interstellar cloud. Nothing, save the rarest and sparsest atom, the most occasional of leptons, and the quanta of the starlight itself disturbs the perfect void of this, the emptiest of all places...

    And then someone turns a tractor beam on and vacuums all the atoms and leptons and quanta up.

  • p3orion||

    Well, we certainly know where you stand on marijuana laws.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Wrong! I use no narcotics ever. Lock up all the druggies and throw away the key, says I. I don't use, so why should I care what happens to them?

    Anyway, weren't you supposed to be replaced by the P-8 Poseidon by now? Is that why you have the spare time to come here?

  • CrustyCurmudgeon||

    Dear J.D. - I'd appreciate a source citation for your statement:

    "Neither France nor Germany has anything like a Second Amendment, but millions of inhabitants of both countries arm themselves with firearms nevertheless, either because they remain committed to a philosophical right to do so, or because they just think it's a good idea. And they acquire and keep those guns largely in defiance of laws intended to disarm them."

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "the country's roughly 82 million people own about 5.8 million legal firearms and 20 million illegal ones as of 2016, according to the Sydney School of Public Health's GunPolicy.org. The Geneva-based Small Arms Survey has similar numbers, putting the 2003 figures at 7.2 million legal weapons and 17-20 million illegal ones. For France's 67 million people, GunPolicy.org puts legal firearms at 2.8 million for 2016, and guesstimates 7.2 million illegal ones. Small Arms Survey agrees on the legal figure, but puts illegal firearms in France at 15 to 17 million."

  • TxJack 112||

    I also love when morons like Michael Moore say we need to repeal the 2nd amendment and mandate all guns be licensed and kept in special facilities. The only reason progressives like Moore want this type of country is it would allow them free reign to use the government to impose their vision of the world on us all. Something these idiots might consider is their constant blathering about the President being a racist, conservative being evil, and libertarians being dangerous might actually be contributing to random acts of violence. Since the election, the majority of all the random violence in the US has been at the hands of those who are part of the "resistance" that Moore and others like him celebrate. Violence is fine as long as it is used as a tool for supporting their ideology.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Try reading the entire article.

  • flyfishnevada||

    Do you even Google, bro? Should they provide direct links or just cut out the middle man, come over to your house and Google it for you?

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    "I believe my rights are not derived from the Constitution. My rights are not derived from any government. My rights are not denied by any majority. My rights are because I exist."

    Man, who knew Joe Biden has such an understanding of the origins of natural rights? Too bad he has always played politics over principles.

  • Longtobefree||

    "However, YOUR rights are subject to my whim"

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Joe Biden has more in common with Louis XIV than you or I. "The State's rights are my rights."

  • Mark22||

    Man, who knew Joe Biden has such an understanding of the origins of natural rights?

    When Biden talks about "his rights", he talks about his right to take away your money and his right to force you to bake cakes for him whenever he likes. That is, he talks about "unnatural rights", not "natural rights".

  • Longtobefree||

    Neither France nor Germany has anything like a Second Amendment, but millions of inhabitants of both countries arm themselves with firearms nevertheless, either because they remain committed to a philosophical right to do so, or because they just think it's a good idea.

    May have to do with the number of times both countries have become battlefields.

    Old joke (before PC police; trigger warning to snowflakes. stop reading now)
    why do the poles pour motor oil on their flower beds?
    To keep the guns from rusting.

  • Rhywun||

    Excellent article. The main point is an important one and completely sails over the head of idiot liberals who think they can just snap their fingers and *poof* the country is disarmed.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    idiot liberals who think they can just snap their fingers and *poof* the country is disarmed.

    I'm not sure if it's that or if they realize full well that disarming the country will require a police state that would make Stalin blush, and just the thought of that is enough to give them a hard-on.

  • BambiB||

    It would take a lot more than a police state. It would take quadrupling the number of cops and military personnel and turning them loose on the entire population. And even at that, the government would ultimately lose.

    A lot of the guys who take this stuff the most seriously don't have that many years left to go. Giving up their lives snuffing out a few dozen anti-liberty politicians probably wouldn't bother them much.

    Personally, I think the model for resistance might turn out to contain a heavy dose of "beltway sniper". Remember when those two queer black muslim losers hid out in the trunk of a car and shot people at shopping malls from 50 yards away? Now imagine that instead of one pair of idiots trying to extort money you had 500 pairs of people who knew what they were doing, shooting from 500 yards out and training their guns on cops and politicians? The government would never recover. 500 sniper teams operating completely independently - maybe attacking 3 times in a week - then doing nothing for months while some other teams hit their targets. how do you even investigate something like that? And who would risk it? Cops are, for the most part, cowards. They're only brave in packs. How many cops are going to stand up, slap a target on their chest and say, "I'm going to stand up for the politicians!"?? My guess is most would not.

    Might be that at the end of a week there aren't enough anti-gun politicians left to even call for a vote.

  • The Iconoclast||

    We have Germany in the prior century as an example of a democracy that devolved into a dictatorship. With so many on the left screaming that Trump is a fascist it is surprising that they haven't embraced the second amendment as a defense against tyranny. Perhaps they don't really mean it.

    Living in the country we need guns, not just for putting down the government if it becomes a tyranny, but for more banal purposes. In the last year I blasted a seven-foot-long water moccasin in my pond (and about two feet from my feet), locked the gate while coyotes howled so close it made the hair stand up on my arms. (I was grateful to be strapped with a .40 cal pistol.)

    The worst rural predator is the tweaker. Meth has cut a wide swath through these country boys. The police are forty minutes away if running with lights and siren. Long enough for them to maybe find our bones stacked in the shower. F that.

  • flyfishnevada||

    You'd think many on the progressive left would embrace guns. The LGBTQ community is probably at more risk of persecution, descrimination and outright violence than most other groups. I doubt that would be the case if as a community they embraced the 2nd Amendment and their right to self defense. Same with the numerous other groups that rely on the government to protect them instead of themselves...including those that also fear the government.

    And to your second point, I agree. I'm much more fearful of a wild animal, feral dog, pot grower or meth addict out in the country than I am of the stereotypical bad guy down the dark alley. I just avoid the dark alley. But on the other hand, that 40 minute response time is better than Detroit, so there's that.

  • searchingmind||

    Re LGBTQ community: The Pink Pistols is the best known, but there are a number of similar gay self-defense groups.

  • The Iconoclast||

    Pinker: "When governments did arrive, people were reluctant to hand over their self-protection."

    Re your remark about Detroit, the government came and left. Hence a resurgent need for self-protection.

    When it's time to get on the cattle car, I'm taking at least one with me. Any more than that is a win.

  • BambiB||

    "And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward."

    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Saving this.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Dear Progressive Liberal Gun Grabbing Swine,

    We don't trust you. We have no reason to trust you because you have broken your word to us too often and showed your contempt for us too many times. We are not going to allow you to repeal the Second Amendment. We are not going to allow you to seize our guns on any other pretext. Just be happy that we have not decided to start hunting you like the traitorous vermin that you are.

    (old SF fandom lapel button) At any time, in any place, our trained snipers can drop you in your tracks. Have a nice day :-)

  • janon||

    Dear psychopath, subhuman, racist, gun worshipping conservative. The fact that people like you gleefully cackle while talking about murdering people is *exactly* why no one is impressed by BS articles like this one claiming that "nothing can ever work!"

    The only people that "trust" psychopathic maniacs like you are your fellow klansmen.

  • TxJack 112||

    And yet you wonder why there is so much anger and tension in this country. The comments you responded to were made for a single purpose, to piss you off. By reacting with equally hateful and incendiary speech, you did nothing to add to the conversation. Maybe if people like you stopped assuming that every gun owner is as you portray in your post, it might actually be possible to have an adult conversation on the issue. However, as long the modus operandi of the progressive left is to engage in childish name-calling and refer to easily refutable "facts" (i.e lies) people such as me will not waste our time.

  • GeorgiaGator||

    Repealing the amendment is at least the honest debate our founders intended. It's the slow chopping away of our rights through the courts and Congress that is really dishonest and dangerous.

  • BambiB||

    I doubt the debate would be honest.

    Bullets are a lot more honest.

    Let's not use words to settle the issue. Let's use bullets instead.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The idea that rights exist naturally and independently of political protections is a long American tradition...

    But a fading one, I fear.

    The Second Amendment ground-givers over at the Fifth Column podcast this past week stated they could not figure out why these kinds of shootings happen in the United States without analog in any other country. The combination of factors that would make it so seem obvious to me, but I may be a gun nut.

  • BYODB||


    The Second Amendment ground-givers over at the Fifth Column podcast this past week stated they could not figure out why these kinds of shootings happen in the United States without analog in any other country.


    They drive trucks into crowds instead, although there are plenty of shootings too. Not to mention bombings.

  • flyfishnevada||

    We should embrace our "gun culture" before nut jobs realize they can do a lot more damage with those trucks and bombs. I fear the death toll in Vegas would have been a lot higher if the shooter just rented a moving truck and plowed through the densely packed crowd.

  • Buddy Bizarre||

    That was Moynihan. I guess he's already forgotten Charlie Hebdo & the Bataclan.

  • Mark22||

    Perhaps most prominent is Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist at the New York Times.

    Your sentence roughly reads like "Perhaps most prominent is Joseph Goebbels, a liberal columnist for the NSDAP party newspaper."

    "Conservative"... I don't think you know what that means.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Maybe a better phrasing would have been "...Bret Stephens, a self described conservative columnist at the New York Times."

    Stephens is allegedly the token "conservative" on the NY Times editorial staff. Although he's clearly not really conservative. Maybe when compared to some of the other "brain trust" on their editorial staff, but that's not saying much. Anyone slightly to the right of Marx would be "conservative" compared to the rest of those asswipes.

  • BYODB||

    This, Bret Stephens is not considered a conservative by actual conservatives. Of course, one would need to actually listen to what conservatives actually say to know this and I suspect the author either does not care or does not read or listen to any conservatives.

    Do we call Bernie Sanders a 'Liberal' when he literally isn't one? No, I wouldn't think so.

  • ace_m82||

    Repeal the Second Amendment

    In the wise words of the respected philosophers Marx and Bugs "Of course, you know this means war!"

    (Groucho and Bunny, respectively)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjIZwv5aENQ

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Taking the anti-gun crusade right up to 11, hereditary celebrity Nancy Sinatra thinks "the murderous members of the NRA should face a firing squad."

    Remember this the next time some far left proggie asshat claims "No one wants to take your guns... No wants to put anyone 'up against a wall'... Stop with the over the top hyperbole... etc."

  • BYODB||

    Well, at least she's pretty up front about her desire to only arm the state so that she can have those she disagrees with killed for their disagreements with the crown. She further admits, tangentially, that this is an explicit reason for her desire to disarm the people.

    I'd prefer honest fascism to the creeping kind, frankly.

  • flyfishnevada||

    The only problem for Sinatra is that I doubt she's high enough on the food chain to avoid becoming a victim of her own fascist fantasy.

  • LifeStrategies||

    How accurate is social psychologist Steven Pinker's assertion above: "The United States has a higher rate of violence, partly because large parts of the country were in a state of anarchy until the 20th century. People could not count on the government to protect them."

    I recall seeing a very interesting calculation: If you discount the high number of murders in cities such as Chicago, New York, Washington et al with very strong gun control, the number of murders per capita in America falls to equal if not lower than Europe. And violent crime is lower.

    Switzerland has automatic rifles above every fireplace yet their violent crime rate is a fraction of the rate in European countries with strong gun control. How about "More Guns, Less Crime" is actually an accurate reflection of crime in America.

  • BYODB||

    Thanks, Chicago, for skewing the stats for the entire United States of America.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Forget it, it's Chiraq.

    The place also skews the stats for racism, Judenhass, police corruption,and police brutality

  • flyfishnevada||

    More guns, less crime? That's just crazy enough to work. The problem in inner cities, gun-wise anyway since they have a multitude of other issues, is that regular, law-abiding citizens generally can't own guns. Only those who prey upon others and ignore laws have them. Gun bans only affect the law-abiding citizen, the very people we shouldn't be worried about, while not affecting criminals whatsoever. By their very definition, criminals break laws. But hey, it's the thought that counts, right? Not positive results necessary when you pass a feel good law.

  • Babylonandon||

    Actually - its Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Memphis with the largest raw numbers of gun homicides.

  • BambiB||

    There's a very (VERY) heavy racial component as well. 51% of all homicides are committed by the 13% of the population that is black. Not too far behind them are the hispanics. When we get compared to a country like Canada, those distinctions aren't made. Too, we have an idiot class in America - the result of decades of social welfare. So as idiots begat idiots, so the tide of idiocy has risen. Seem to recall that the Freakanomics folks found the greatest correlative factor to the decline in crime was abortion-on-demand. Women who didn't want kids aborted them - and didn't pollute the country with their offspring.

  • Bubba Jones||

    That is not obviously the case.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.....s_by_state

  • flyfishnevada||

    The idea of rounding up 300 million weapons, not to mention changing the Constitution, is absolutely nuts. There is no real support for gun bans or repealing the 2nd Amendment. Many states codify the right to bear arms in their own Constitutions. That alone might prohibit more than enough states from legally ratifying any Constitutional amendment. Rounding up guns is all but impossible.

    Without voluntary compliance, the government is left with either allowing millions of Americans to own illegal guns or sending jack-booted thugs door to door on Constitutionally questionable search and seizure missions...unless they want to try and amend all of that at the same time. It's sheer folly on the left's part, and disturbingly the right's too, to believe they can actually ban guns. They see some kind of peaceful utopia but what they would really have on their hand if they were ever able to pave the way is a civil war.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    There may actually be significantly more than 300 million.

    I don't know how to post a link, but you can just google:

    weaponsman blog Total US Firearms: Not 300 Million, but 412-660 Million?

    The guy who ran the blog died this year, but he made a compelling argument.

  • TxJack 112||

    The larger problem is as you point out, who enforces these "laws". Even in NY, law enforcement in areas in the northern part of the estate have said they will not enforce Cuomo's laws because they see them as unconstitutional. Banning guns plays well in large urban areas where the residents have a totally different reality. Urbanites are used to strict government regulation because this is the only way for people to live in such close proximity and it be civilized. For this reason, true freedom terrifies them. They always see freedom as something that is limited by the government. Anyone who advocates for actual freedom is a "lunatic" in their minds. I am sure many of them think repealing the 2nd amendment is a wonderful idea, but only because everyone in their world thinks as they do and they are unable to understand what they have never experienced which is why they always resort to childish name-calling when confronted with facts.

  • uunderstand||

    "What these numbers expose is that, if there are people who are wilfully ignoring the law, that means tens of thousands of gun owners are not complying with a law that is supported by New Yorkers," huffed Leah Gunn Barrett of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

    What that means, Ms. Barrett, is that the law is not supported by New Yorkers.

  • Mad Anthony Wayne||

    To those who would repeal the 2nd Amendment, do so at your peril. Want to take away my guns? Bring body bags. Dozens of body bags. You'll need dozens of body bags, and crowbars to pry my cold dead fingers from around my guns. The British Crown attempted gun confiscation to completely disarm citizens at Lexington and Concord in 1775. It was bloody for the British regulars that attempted it. That is one of several reasons for the 2nd Amendment.

  • janon||

    Another murderous psychopath. You people really are fucking deranged.

  • BambiB||

    Sign me up too! I'm a murderous psychopath too! Haven't killed anyone yet, but give me the right motivation and I'll stand up and take on the government. I may be small potatoes - not more than 2 dozen firearms and less than 12,000 rounds of ammunition - but I can contribute to freedom.

    And I'm not alone. There are millions more just like me who would be willing to shoot a jackbooted thug right between the eyes. Just give me an excuse. And bring body bags. Lots of body bags.

    But to get an idea of the issues, you might want to read "Absolved" first. Get some feel for what you're inviting.
    https://billstclair.com/absolved/absolved.html

    Or "Unintended Consequences".

  • Myk||

    It only takes killing 1:27 gun owners (using conservative numbers) unwilling to give up their guns for you to murder 100 times the yearly gun deaths (which includes 3/5ths suicides). So tell me exactly who is the murderous psychopath here, the person who says "leave me alone" or you who wants to kill over 3,000,000 law abiding people that you pushed into being law breaking?

  • TxJack 112||

    I have to ask, do you even know the actual reason the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution? Do you know what the concerns were of the Anti-federalists, such as George Mason and Noah Webster that prompted the inclusion of the 2nd amendment or do you just accept the nonsense about the term "militia" referring to the National Guard, that it is about hunting or my personal favorite, they were talking about us flint lock rifles? If you do not know the actual reasons for all ten original amendments that is truly sad. You can call me and others deranged but understand we are not murderers. Many here are posting these comments to piss you off and clearly they are doing an excellent job. I am sure that anyone who says the 2nd amendment was intended to give the people the power to stand as a counter to a "standing army" in your mind is deranged as well. Only problem is if you read the words of the men listed above as well as Federalist #29 by Alexander Hamilton you will discover that is precisely the reason for the amendment.

  • Barry Gold||

    There's an implied error in Tucille's reasoning: the difficulty of passing a Constitutional amendment.

    If it were to become possible to repeal the 2nd, it would mean that 2/3 of each house of Congress and a substantial majority in 3/4 of the states were in favor of that. Frankly, I don't see that happening this century.

    But if it _were_ to occur, it would represent such a massive shift in the public opinion about firearms that, yes, it probably would be possible to enforce. At the very least, those who owned guns would be very careful to keep them locked away, because if your gun was ever used to commit a crime you would not only face criminal penalties but also a ruinous lawsuit for your negligence in allowing it to be stolen.

    And in the meantime, even seriously proposing to repeal the 2nd would cause gun owners to turn out in such force that large numbers of Congresspersons would lose their jobs.

    TL;DR: Ain't gonna happen until there's been such a massive shift in public opinion -- including the opinion of gun owners -- that social pressure alone will do the job even without enforcement of the laws.

  • Barry Gold||

    And let me add that I agree 100% with Tuccille's final paragraph:

    "If it's true that Americans are culturally more violent and less submissive to state power than some overseas cousins, their violent inclination are unlikely to respond easily to legal revisions. And they probably ought not be provoked by politicians and pundits who have no apparent plan, except to antagonize a good many people around them."

  • janon||

    yes, it's a toxic, cancerous, culture as seen by most of the comments here.

    MAH GUNS! followed by threats of murder are the response to *everything*. Plus more delusional tilting at the windmill with ranting about "libruhls" fed to them by their overlords. The cackling about "independent thought" is pretty ironic among a completely homogeneous group of regressive thinkers at odds with *literally everyone* that isnt an ultra right wing white male.

    And then of course the old "there's too many to take away!" Cute trick. Whining about "THAR TAKIN AR GUNZ!!!!" for 60 years as the numbers have SKYROCKETED. So now it's "well there's TOO MANY!" And of course the other bullshit strawman about "inner city" gun crime (that's codified dogwhistle racism). As if with 300M guns in a small area strict laws are going to just magically keep them out of the hands of inner city criminals. "Criminals will get them anyway!" yeah... Well if they can drive over to the next county and load a FUCKING TRUCK up at a show with NO goddamn verification required, sure. But the victims are all black so the hee haw "gun enthusiasts" love it.

    What a fucking joke.

    The public opinion *will* shift. The dinosaurs will *age the fuck out*. The new generation of regressive white male racist troglodyte being weaponized by scumbags like Bannon is *not* enough to keep a choke hold on power too much longer.

    Just sad how many more massacres are almost certain to happen before demographic trends take over

  • BambiB||

    Dude. It's

  • BambiB||

    Dude, it's less than 60 dead and 500 injured. Know what that is? It's a week's worth of traffic accidents in California. Go ban cars and when you've finished rounding them all up, get back to me on firearms.

  • Myk||

    Since vehicles are now a popular murder weapon in the UK I'm waiting for them to actually ban them. Considering the population density, size and public transit they don't "need" cars in the hands of everyone who wants one. They need common sense vehicle controls.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "But the victims are *almost* all *gang members of various races* so the hee haw "gun enthusiasts" love it."

    FTFY

    "The public opinion *about temperance* *will* shift. The *alcohol enthusiasts* will *age the fuck out*. The new generation of *drinkers and bartenders* being weaponized by *Big Saloon* is *not* enough to keep *Prohibition at bay* too much longer."

    FTFY #2. Because getting 51% of the "young, woke" crowd to pass the Volstead Act set it on the path to success (and by definition they must've been young and woke to an extent, given that previous generations hadn't done so.)

    "Just sad how many more massacres are almost certain to happen before demographic trends take over"

    Add together Western Europe's mass public shootings and vehicle rammings and compare them to our shootings and rammings, and you might just not like the result you get, Prohie.

  • TxJack 112||

    Wow congrats, I do not think you missed a single progressive talking point in this post. In addition, you managed to include every hate based stereotype gun owners here every day. However, most important, you demonstrated the typical arrogance of the progressive left that is the primary reason for all the anger and polarization in this country. You reality is not the only reality. As far as the racism claim, you like so many on the left are too stupid or too blind to grasp all you are doing is crying wolf. When everything you do not like is attributed to racism, real racism is ignored because the term no longer has any meaning and ordinary people stop listening. Since the election, anyone who disagrees with a progressive has been labeled a racist. For all of us who are not racists and are offended by the characterization, all you have done is ensure we will oppose anything you propose, not matter how "reasonable" it may appear.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Do you find it ironic that the mangina has absolutely no concerns about racism among the law enforcement agencies that would come get the guns?

  • Bubba Jones||

    If you are correct then you can't ban guns now, and you won't need to ban them later.

  • BambiB||

    Sorry, but no, it would not be possible to enforce without many many many deaths.

    I know it sounds hyperbolic in the current age of insincerity - but do you think Patrick Henry was kidding?

  • John B. Egan||

    Undoing the 2nd Amendment if nothing else would remove Constitutional protections that Americans don't grasp anyway. Then perhaps sincere and sensible gun restrictions could be enacted. if people get upset, too bad. Nobody seems to care what the victims think either. Imagine if we could begin with an explanation of why we really have the 2nd (not the NRA nonsense about the citizen protecting himself against our government) that Washington had pushed.Imagine if we comprehended what a 'well regulated militia' meant and why that phrase is included in the 2nd. Imagine if we could, unemcumbered with a vague and undefined term 'arms', discuss which weapons are sensible for home protection and sports and which are simply a threat to everyone, as in the Vegas shooter..... Imagine... Now I feel like breaking into John Lennon's 'Imagine'.... None of that will happen, because 'Muricans are just immature overgrown kids and like their toys too much.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "Well-regulated militia" meant well-trained. Not that it would matter if it meant anything else; the Non-Aggression Principle supercedes all human law. YOU are not even in the SLIGHTEST bit worthy to have any say whatsoever in which weapons are "sensible" for protection or sport, or which ones "simply pose a threat".

    Your ideology is disproven by practice. The worst mass killings in Western history all happened in Norway and France, and the worst, Nice, required no "weaponry" beyond the pistol used to hijack the truck. You cannot prevent mass killers from acquiring the tools they need, regardless of how clever or discerning you think your laws and bans are. "Control" isn't even a piece on the board.

    The immature overgrown kids are the Europeans and Anglospherics who cling to their govs and social religion, desperately hoping, in defiance of all evidence, that one more law, one more ban or one more restriction will overcome the laws of physics and nature and make the killings stop. But they will never stop. Nor will the drug ODs. Nor will the terrorism. Nor will the gambling, or prostitution. Nor will the drinking of alcohol. Surrender the arrogance of the state. Leave others alone.

  • janon||

    The US has more gun deaths per capita than any other first world nation and is up there with Brazil.

    But yeah... to self centered delusional right wing lunatics all that matters is worshipping fear and firearms, living in some action move reel running on repeat in their head, waiting for their Paul Kersey moment. its a cancer

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    The US has more gun *suicides* than any other first world country because our rural older male population- the #1 demographic for suicide in all Anglosphere, EU and Asian countries- has lots of guns. But our OVERALL suicide rate is not higher than the EU or Anglosphere averages, and is lower than the Asian averages, why? Because hanging is only 20% less effective than a gun. Guess what the favorite suicide method of rural older males is in literally every other country? Plus, we have much more large game than any of them, so our rural economy will always need more guns than others.

    Meanwhile, our gun *murders* are only unusual in the parts of the country that AREN'T DEVELOPED. It's funny you bring up Brazil; Baltimore has the same rate, and same *percentage of guns in said rate*, as Rio. You know what that tells you? That there are just as many murderers in Baltimore as in Rio. You know what Rio has that Baltimore (technically) doesn't? GUN CONTROL! The whole goddamn continent has British style gun laws, and the highest gun and overall murder rate on Earth. Clearly there is a "threshold" past which criminals are willing to pay the black market premium for pistols. And clearly Baltimore, St. Louis and New Orleans pass it with flying colors.

    And if you actually manage to get rid of the guns? Say hello to Capetown, South Africa. Knives are almost as effective as pistols in young male (criminal) hands. Whereas in a woman's hands at 3 in the morning? No such luck.

  • BambiB||

    Egan: You talk about, "sincere and sensible gun restrictions" as if there actually is such a thing.

    While you're at it - how about a discussion on Unicorn's and Leprechauns?

    You can't even read: The "well-regulated militia" portion of the Second Amendment is a dependent explanatory clause. The independent clause is, "The Right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".

    The first and highest purpose for the Second Amendment is to shoot government bastards if/when that becomes necessary. You may not like it. You may not believe it. You may try to explain it away. But you'd just be wrong.

  • Myk||

    Tell me what I need for home protection with bifocals that can't focus on pistol sights and a target at the same time. Before I discovered the ghost ring sights of an AR15 I wasn't going to buy another military styled semi-auto because of a Russian design I had earlier. AR15 has become my preferred home defense weapon. Not only can I see the sights and the target, the Mr Potato Head of guns allows me to have a cheap laser in case I don't have my glasses on. Bonus points, I don't have to worry about shooting my neighbor with 223 hollow points like with 357 or 45.

    A well regulated militia would have marksmanship taught in grade schools and everyone who wanted one armed with at least an AR15 if not an M16. Militia was by no means a national guard or any other sort of professional troops. It was the whole of the people.

  • TxJack 112||

    The nonsense the NRA pushed? Seriously? Your comment demonstrates you have no clue as to the history of the 2nd amendment or the Bill of Rights period. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution because the anti-federalists were fearful of a strong centralized government limiting the rights and freedoms of the people. The 2nd Amendment is precisely about the ability of the American people to stand as a counter to a "Standing army". "Disarming the people is the best way to enslave them" - George Mason. "The best way for a standing army to rule is to disarm the people." In Federalist #29, Alexander Hamilton, a federalist, admits the only protection against the actions of a standing arm is guaranteeing the right of the people to keep and bear arms. This is not the "nonsense" from the NRA, but the words of the actual men who were delegates to the Constitutional convention, fought for a bill of rights and ratification of the Constitution. The simple fact is the founders saw self-defense as a natural right and sorry, you do not get to decide what is "sensible" for me to use for self defense. No it does not mean I can own a tank, etc, so please, do start that BS, but it does mean I am allowed to have modern weapons and the government does not get to decide what those weapons are.

  • Bubba Jones||

    The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to prevent the Federal government from undermining state militias by disarming the people.

    To this end, the NFA is unconstitutional. The federal government is prohibited from preventing The People from owning machine guns. State militias might need them, and cannot be dependent upon the federal government. However, it is the States, not The People, that have standing to challenge this law. The People don't have militias, States do.

    The 2nd amendment was not intended to prevent gun regulation by the states themselves. After all, the constitution was ratified by the states. Why would they spend time crafting protections against themselves?

    That is where we turn to the 14th amendment and the history of States oppressing their own residents. States (but not the feds) could regulate militia weapons, but they cannot prevent citizens from defending themselves.

    So, I am not sure it's a violation of my rights for States to regulate bayonet lugs, but it probably is a violation to require me to pays fees and submit to background checks in order to obtain a self defense weapon.

  • ejpoleii||

    The 2nd does not GRANT the right to bear arms. It RECOGNIZES it as a natural right. The 2nd is a specific restriction on the government interfering with that right. The right is still protected by the 9th amendment (although, perhaps, ineffectively.)

  • darrenlobo||

    The article falls short when citing Pinker. Most of the US is safe with a murder rate comparable to western Europe's. There are some, mostly inner city, areas that have a high murder rate that skew the stats. It's not about a frontier mentality it's all about social dynamics affecting different ethnic groups. It also happens in Europe. Ethnic Russians have a high murder rate no matter what eastern European country they live in. Check out Prof Roth's book on the subject "American Homicide"

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    To those who say that prohibition won't happen, Reason kept saying that Obamacare was a dead man walking and a disaster, too. So what.

  • BambiB||

    It is. Obozocare cannot continue without taking down the entire government. But it probably can't be outright repealed until the financial pain gets great enough for the insurance companies. That happens when the government turns off the entitlement spigot - which Trump seems ready to do.

  • Myk||

    I've tried to get the point across to gun banners with the math that if even a small percentage refused to turn them in to the point of death the death toll could take 100 years to equal out to today's gun death numbers. That's only with the unlikely assumption killers can't get guns and don't simply change methods.
    If it kicked off a full scale revolution the death toll could take thousands of years to equal out.
    They don't care because it's not about saving lives, it's about who they get to kill. They think guns=white rednecks so they're all too happy with those deaths. Only a little disconnect there with their lie that gun owners shoot their loved ones, the white rednecks they don't mind the government shooting (proven by BLM supporters shouting to kill the Oregon Militiamen).

  • BambiB||

    Speaking of the Bundy militia - the government backed down in Nevada because they were about to have their collective heads handed to them. Now that some of these cases are making their way into the courts, the juries are generally siding with the Bundys.

    Were I sitting on one of the juries, I'd have to ask, "Could someone please show me the part of the Constitution that authorizes the Federal government to control land other than for, "forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings"? Can't do that? Bundy wins.

  • BambiB||

    The JPFO has long cited 170 MILLION people killed during the 20th Century by their own governments. Even at 5,000 gun-related homicides per year (a rough approximation of the current rate) you're talking 30,000+ years - prehistoric!

    I don't doubt that there have long been those in America who would happily convert it into a version of Stalinist Russia. The one part of the equation they can't handle is somewhere between a third and two-thirds of a BILLION firearms in private hands.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    What is the JPFO? Can't be fucked to Google it.

  • p3orion||

    Repealing the Second Amendment wouldn't take away anyone's right to bear arms, any more than repealing the First would take away their God-given right to free speech. What it would do is remove restraints that prevent the government from violating those rights.

  • Wearenotperfect||

    Like any good experiment, I believe we should test this notion of taking away your second amendment rights on something like, oh I don't know, illegal drugs. We can run sufficient tests and enforcement and gather educated data to see if taking away your guns will work in cosmopolitan society. Oh wait, we've already tried that and spent billions, if not trillions, and it didn't work. My bad! Next topic please.

  • LLizard||

    To the Leftists/Statists, mass shootings (especially at schools) provide the impetus and moral rationale to constrain citizen's rights by repealing the 2nd Amendment.
    Providing the government with the necessary tools to enforce the subsequent disarmament of the citizenry will provide the impetus and moral rationale for the repeal of the 4th and 5th Amendments.

  • TxJack 112||

    Idiotic bans only accomplish one thing, the turn what were law-abiding citizens into criminals because they refuse to surrender their Constitutional rights. I love it when anti gun loons talk about repealing the 2nd amendment. First, to accomplish this task is almost impossible. Second, without the ability to stand as a true check on the government, there is nothing to stop the government from repealing or limiting all the other rights protected in the Constitution. Last, all of the bans have one thing in common, they are focused on the weapon's appearance not its function.

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