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GOP Senate Candidate Austin Petersen Wants You to Be Able to Legally Buy a Machine Gun

"Let's get the conversation to where people are talking not about limiting gun rights but expanding them."

Austin Petersen, the 2016 runner-up for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination and current contender for the Republican nomination for a Senate seat in Missouri, has always believed in free possession of fully automatic weapons (machine guns) for American citizens. As he reminded me in a phone interview this week, one of his colorful slogans during his L.P. run was, "I believe in a world where gay married couples are free to protect their marijuana fields with fully automatic machine guns."

Austin Petersen TwitterAustin Petersen Twitter

"I've been saying this for years," Petersen notes. But he felt inclined to say it again in the past week because his most prominent rival vying for the GOP Senate nod, current state Attorney General Josh Hawley, "on the day he declared [for the nomination] also declared for banning firearms accessories via executive orders. He's to the left of Obama, and he made it important for me to differentiate myself."

It's one thing for someone from the knowingly radical-for-freedom Libertarian Party to say that sort of thing. But such an attitude is rare among would-be candidates for the major parties. Still, Petersen is confident that doing so in the context of the fight for the GOP nod to run against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill will help, not hurt.

"Not just Republicans, but even Democrats in Missouri are pro-gun," Petersen says. "The Missouri Senate voted to nullify federal gun laws in the state; we have permitless concealed carry as well as open carry."

In "response to Democrats pushing hard left and saying we should repeal the Second Amendment," Petersen says that we should repeal the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA), which among other things placed strong licensing and tax requirements on machine guns, and also repeal the Hughes Amendment to the 1986 Firearms Owner Protection Act, which barred all possession of machine guns made after its passage. Second Amendment advocates "need to stop playing defense, and go on the offense," he tells me. "If they talk about repealing the Second Amendment, let's push in the opposite direction. The best defense is a good offense so let's talk about repealing the NFA and the Hughes Amendments."

Petersen recently got himself into a Twitter squabble with gun control advocate Shannon Watts that dragged in television personality Montel Williams. Petersen thinks Watts made a fool of herself by prodding him about ordnance and nukes, which are matters not relevant to the NFA. Petersen doesn't think NFA repeal is that out-there a position, pointing to a Whitehouse.gov petition to do so with over 285,000 signatures. "It's time to stop placating people having a conversation about how to limit our rights; let's get the conversation to where people are talking not about limiting gun rights but expanding them, and that's what I'm trying to do" by calling for NFA repeal.

He's running Republican, Petersen says, because thousands of phone calls made to past supporters from his L.P. run showed that nearly all of them wanted him to wave the GOP banner. But that doesn't mean his fans don't have a hardcore radical streak when it comes to Second Amendment liberty. "Dollars talk. We had our single greatest fundraising day" after reiterating his support for private machine gun ownership. "We got a lot of 'attaboys' and as far as anger from the left, well, those people weren't going to support me anyway. Missouri is a pro-gun state, we don't have a lot of gun-grabbers."

Petersen pushes back against the idea that advocating private civilian machine gun ownership is unbearably eccentric in the current gun control debate. "I want to bring the conversation back to our rights, rather than being about trying to justify why I need something, why don't you tell me why I can't?"

When challenged about why he can't support "reasonable gun control," Petersen counters cheekily with his belief in reasonable new laws like the "Hearing Protection Act" (to allow for sale of suppressors without a tax stamp, basically treating suppressors the same as long guns when it comes to legal hoops) and national concealed carry reciprocity among states.

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  • Lucius Fergeson||

    If he wins, I know what state I'm moving to

  • ThomasD||

    Most people can legally buy a machine gun (some states do restrict it.) It is just horribly expensive, the process is a royal pain in the ass, and when approved subjects you to unannounced inspections from the BATFE.

  • Ragnarredbeard||

    Owning an NFA article does not subject you to unannounced inspections. I've had two different FFLs and own several NFA items (including a machine gun) and the BATFE has never done an inspection without calling first and making an appointment. They do it that way because they don't want to send down an agent and find out you're not home.

    The only time they'll do unannounced visits is if they have a reason to think you're breaking a law. And even then they'll get a warrant first.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    The "nobody needs" argument is bullshit. People using it are just saying "I don't feel the need to own one myself, therefore nobody else should either." I don't consult the feelings of people I don't even know before deciding what to own.

  • sarcasmic||

    The argument commits the fallacy of switching the burden of proof. The burden of proof is on those who want to restrict liberty. Not on those who support it.

  • Malvolio||

    Is the burden of proof is on those who want to restrict liberty?

    I mean, I would certainly like it to be, but is that some generally accepted principle?

  • ThomasD||

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

  • Devastator||

    That's your opinion. In lieu of recent law maker activities I would posit that your opinion is not held by the majority of people making our laws.

  • John||

    I had that argument with someone a while back. I told them straight up that I really don't need a gun. I don't have or want a conceal and carry. I live in a very safe neighborhood and have a very big dog. So, the chances of me ever actually using one of my guns in self defense during a live break in are very small. I don't hunt and only rarely target shoot. I will freely admit that I don't really have much of a need for the guns I own. But, I still own a fair number of them. And you know what? I don't own them because I need them. I own them because I like them and want to. Asking me why I own guns is like asking me about my sex life. It is none of your business and not a polite question to ask. The fact that I own them is enough. I don't have to show how I need the books I read. Owning a gun is just as much of a right as reading a book of your choice. So, my need to own a gun is not a relevant question to anyone.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Aside from that, I find that if someone couches it that way there really is no justification you can state that they will accept. They're looking at the issue through the prism of their own perceived needs, and they'll always dismiss yours.

  • DJK||

    I think you may be underestimating the chances of needing that gun.

    You're saying that living in an upper or middle-upper class neighborhood makes a break-in unlikely? Why? That's where all the stuff worth stealing is!

    Your big dog will not make a lick of difference if a criminal with any inclination to use a firearm or other weapon breaks into your house.

    Assume a middle ground number of 1 million defensive uses of firearms per year (estimates range from 100,000 to 3,000,000) in the US. Your lifetime chance of needing to use one is thus about 20%.

  • John||

    Maybe so. If I need one, I will have one. But, if I never do, it doesn't lesson my right to own a gun. And if I ever use one defensively, it will only be one. So at most I have a need for one gun not the others I own.

  • Zeb||

    Just look at statistics for home invasions. It's not very likely. Most burglars are smart enough to go to the houses where no one is home. In part, I'm sure, because then they have less chance of being shot.
    I think I heard somewhere that home invasion robberies are much more common in the UK. People are unlikely to be armed and if they are home, they can tell you where the valuables are.

    I agree it's good to keep a gun handy just in case (if you are competent and comfortable with the gun), but odds are pretty good that you will never need it.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "Most burglars are smart enough to go to the houses where no one is home. In part, I'm sure, because then they have less chance of being shot."

    I remember seeing an afternoon talk show, decades ago, when one of the guests was a reformed burgler who was now a security consultant telling people how to make their homes look less attractive to burglers. He had been talking about gunsmfor home defense and was asked what gun would frighten him the most. He said that the weapon he had been most scared by was a hunting bow. He'd broken into a home he thought was empty, crossed the entryway, looked up the stairs, and there was a man with an arrow drawn back to his ear.

    He raised his hands and offerd to call the cops on the phone right there.

    His reasoning was that any gun might have been bought and never used, but a man who picked up a bow was an experienced archer, amd would hit whatever he wanted to.

  • gormadoc||

    Higher class neighborhoods are less likely to have widespread crime because petty criminals target people or places they are somewhat familiar with. Higher class neighborhoods also have fewer thieves living there.

    About your stats, your conclusion is only valid if the people who have used a firearm defensively are a random sampling of the population. I'd be willing to bet a good number are a random sample (ie, quite a few people use a gun only once) but also that a good number of people use a gun multiple times for defense (such as people related to gangs or the justice system, or living in areas with violent crime).

  • DJK||

    100% agreed. That may or may not be true here. I'd need to look into the stats more closely to say for sure. But it's certainly a good zeroth order approximation.

    I make similar arguments about 18-20 year olds' access to guns for self defense. They make up approximately 5% of the over 18 population and would thus be expected to use guns defensively about 50,000 times per year if defensive gun use is evenly distributed across population. It's probably not. In fact, the young are probably more likely to need to use a gun defensively. But again, an even population distribution is a good zeroth order approximation. It shows that we're not talking about marginal differences, but orders of magnitude.

  • Naaman Brown||

    My odds of needing a fire extinguisher is remote, but I have one in the living room, one in the kitchen, and one by my bedside.

  • Longtobefree||

    Did you have to get a state permit first?
    Was it very costly?
    And that is not a constitutional right. You should just run into the freezing night and wait for the fire department.

  • ||

    Asking me why I own guns is like asking me about my sex life. It is none of your business and not a polite question to ask.

    "How many guns do you need to defend yourself from your rapist?" It's about that level of tasteless.

  • DJK||

    Guns to defend yourself from a rapist? I would say an AR-15 (or at least a reasonably short semi-automatic rifle chambered in .223) is the weapon of choice.

    Aside: we've had the argument on handguns being better for defense. I will never believe that I should trade the higher velocity, better accuracy, more manageable recoil, rail-mounted accessories, etc. on the off-chance and extreme tactical error that I find myself trapped in a space too narrow to maneuver a 3 foot long rifle.

  • Longtobefree||

    Rifles are dandy, but pistols are handy.

    Would you carry the weight of an AR-15 everywhere you go?
    How many rapes take place at 100 yard range?
    Odds are your rapist is closer than the length of the rifle.

  • MichaelL||

    And, by comparison, shotguns are much better at delivering a fatal injury! But, it is still longer than a pistol.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Well said, John.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    The "nobody needs" argument is bullshit. People using it are just saying "I don't feel the need to own one myself, therefore nobody else should either."

    My rebellious nature just makes me want to own one even more when others try to force their preference on me.

  • Naaman Brown||

    No body needs a personal library of books when there is a public library available with books approved and paid for by a government entity. As Mao pointed out, the ideas in a book are more dangerous than the bullets in a gun. Only an antigovernment extremist would have a cache of books outside government control.

  • Longtobefree||

    I thought he said political power comes from the barrel of a gun?

  • Hank Phillips||

    In his own handwriting George Orwell pestered the Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista to issue him a machine gun. He took great pains to explain it exactly, and could pronounce "una metralladora" as well as a native of Castille. The guy had wet dreams about how many of Franco's SWAT Team First Responders™ he could mow down if only he were issued a machine gun. None of the Kristallnacht looters ever bring this up.

  • StackOfCoins||

    I don't own a gun, or particularly want to own one. But I want everyone else to be armed to the teeth. Machine guns, rocket launchers, land mines, all good with me. This sort of arsenal in the hands of Americans makes the country a safer, better place to be.

    That paragraph probably makes leftist heads spin.

  • Tony||

    Have you met Americans?

  • StackOfCoins||

    If you're dizzy, just sit down and focus on a stationary object.

  • Longtobefree||

    Leftists have no stable objects.
    Everything is variable.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Typical Tony, generalizing to a group of about 100 million people. Why did I say 100 million and not 300 million? Because when a proggie says "American," he means a Team Red member.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Americans, especially white people, are the worst.

    Not me, of course.

  • Zeb||

    Yes, that's an important point. Few individuals really need to have a gun in any essential sense. Most people will make it through life just fine without one. But we do need to have armed and peaceful citizens. It helps keep the peace and deter crime. It also is essential to keep enough power outside of the government in the hands of ordinary citizens.

  • Tony||

    Do you not realize that's an 18th century fantasy? Or do we have to accept maximum gun proliferation on an obsolete principle? What happens if you start shooting at cops of soldiers? Whom do you think would be on your side? This is a serious issue to a lot of people, so doesn't it pay to have the conversation in the real universe?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    "'What happens if you start shooting at cops of soldiers? Whom do you think would be on your side? "'

    The idea of an armed citizenry isn't about individuals shooting at cops and soldiers.

  • DJK||

    JFC. How many times has it been pointed out that the history of gun control, even in the 20th century, is pretty brutal? 10s of millions murdered by their governments following enactment of gun control. It's not an 18th century fantasy. Monopolizing violence in the form of strong central states is just as much a problem in the present as it always has been.

  • DJK||

    No one is talking about shooting at cops or soldiers in ordinary times. We're talking about having that capability reserved for the event that governments go batshit (which you yourself believe is happening with Trump) and cops and soldiers start wantonly murdering in the same manner that killed 10s of millions of people in the last century alone.

  • DJK||

    There is exactly one place and time where gun control has not led to mass slaughter - rich white nations for the last half century or so. Pardon me if I don't find that to be particularly convincing evidence given the centuries in which governments have committed genocide or near to it.

  • Malvolio||

    > There is exactly one place and time where gun control has not led to mass slaughter - rich white nations for the last half century or so

    So, you mean, since the last time gun control DID lead to mass slaughter in rich white nations?

  • Malvolio||

    > There is exactly one place and time where gun control has not led to mass slaughter - rich white nations for the last half century or so

    So, you mean, since the last time gun control DID lead to mass slaughter in rich white nations?

  • Zeb||

    One person isn't going to decide to fight the man and win. You are right about that. But the argument that the people would definitely lose in a fight against the government so we should just give up on the idea entirely is not a good one. Armed citizens aren't going to win on the battlefield against the US army, that is true. But that's not how it goes. As we've seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, people with small arms and home made bombs can hold their own against the US army for a long time.

  • Brian||

    Tony:
    "Do you not realize that's an 18th century fantasy? Or do we have to accept maximum gun proliferation on an obsolete principle? What happens if you start shooting at cops of soldiers? Whom do you think would be on your side? This is a serious issue to a lot of people, so doesn't it pay to have the conversation in the real universe?"

    It's funny how, on the one hand, progressives can "get" the folly of the Vietnam war, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

    And, then, suddenly, "regime change" is just as simple as "cops and soldiers."

    And these people consider themselves the realistic, "fact-based" people, not a whiff of cognitive
    dissonance to be smelled.

  • DJK||

    We don't even have to go all the way back to Iraq. Progressives claim that the current sitting President is an existential threat to the country. If that's the case, throwing away the 2nd Amendment is a terrible idea.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    "in the real universe?"

    Chortle chortle chortle....

    Tony claiming he lives in the real world is just too funny!! That's RICH, I tells ya!!

  • Hank Phillips||

    Same here. Non-government hardware doesn't trouble me at all. Nor do I feel an urge to buy guns. If a bolide impact were to cause climate change, a compound bow would be much more useful in the long run.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    More fundamentally, the concept of need as a moral and legal foundation is very dangerous to a free society. Accepting "need" as valid justification in any context opens the discussion to an endless litany of real and imagined grievances. Even worse, since needs are often based on emotion, they cannot be logically defined or rebutted. People can claim they need a machine gun, or a campus safe space, or affirmative action (or, more trivially, a new boyfriend or a cheese steak sandwich). I say, these are personal wants that have no useful guidance for legal consideration, just childish rhetoric.

  • silver.||

    Well said. Paul Walker didn't need a crazy-fast, unsafe Porsche track car. He wanted one because they're fun as shit. And he died in a horrifying fiery accident. Which is fine, despite what all the ongoing lawsuits are implying.

    The number of people killed by $80,000+ super cars vs. the number killed by $10,000+ full-autos?

    2 in one 2013 accident vs. 3 since 1934.

    I'm way, way less scared of a guy who wants to blast $300/minute of ammo into a mound of dirt on private property than somebody going 120 on the interstate in a Corvette.

    Nobody needs to go faster than 80, maybe 85. Universal governors would save hundreds, even thousands, of lives per year + massively reduce CO2 output. Wouldn't bother me one bit. I never speed.

  • Occam's Woodchipper||

    You raise an interesting point on the governors. What say you to limiting the cops as well?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The issue isn't 'needs'. The issue is 'shall not be infringed'. Now, I'm sorry if this offends the legal weasels, but the wording is clear nless one abandons English usage. Taxes infringe. Registrations infringe. All the weasel attempts,to keep military grade firearms out of the hands of the citizenry infringe, and are therefore unconstitutional.

    I don't own a gun. I have some desire to own one, and it would be easy where I live, but there are a great many things I wish to own more. But I DO wish to live under a government the powers of which are limited in a consistent and referencable manner.

    It is beyond time we began to take brush-hook and machete to the riotous and toxic overgrowth of regulation and petty fogging law the last few generations of buttinskis have bequeathed us.

    And gun control, in the sense that it is ostentatiously and offensively unconstitutional, would be as good a place to start as any.

  • JP88||

    Nobody needs alcohol or pot or a car or three pairs of sneakers or scarves or cigs

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Second Amendment advocates "need to stop playing defense, and go on the offense," he tells me.

    In a just world, that threat alone would get him arrested!

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    This just further proves the point that libertarianism is the only ideology that will truly protect individual freedom.

    For Christ's sake, you've got "conservative" Republicans like Josh Hawley calling for an overreaching executive branch to ban the sale of certain firearms related devices to individuals. I can't think of a more big government, anti-individual liberty position.

  • Malvolio||

    Does it surprise you that the only ideology that will truly protect individual freedom is the ideology that values individual freedom?

    I mean, you don't always achieve your goals, but you rarely accomplish things without even trying.

  • FlameCCT||

    Hawley is like many so-called "conservative" Republicans; just a closet Progressive and not much different than his Progressive Democrat tovarisch. Unfortunately the LP is starting to see that they too have closet Progressives that are taking over.

  • juris imprudent||

    Another Libertarian Moment (TM) in the making.

  • John||

    Good for this guy. There is no reason why someone should not be able to own a machine gun. I would love to have one. I have no use for one and considering the cost of ammo would probably rarely shoot it, but it would just be a cool thing to have. I am no more likely to do someone harm or commit a crime if I own a machine gun than I am if I don't. I would own it as a hobby and just to have something interesting and cool. I don't see why the government has any right to tell me I can't own one. To say it can is to buy into the magical thinking that the gun has a will of its own such that owning it is always dangerous and like owning a poisonous snake or something. Well, it doesn't have a will of its own.

  • mtrueman||

    "Well, it doesn't have a will of its own."

    You can still fondle it and talk to it.

  • John||

    Go on.

  • Tony||

    Take away the fetishism and it's just another safety regulation. Guns are not merely thug-stoppers. Their mere existence increases people's chance of accidental death, suicide, or homicide. You can be a radical and say everyone should be allowed to own extremely dangerous weapons, but don't play dumb and pretend like it's not traditionally government's job to protect public safety in many ways.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    So just a fetish? Then why does a negative fetish felt by people who fear guns have any more standing than a positive fetish felt by people who like guns?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    but don't play dumb and pretend like it's not traditionally government's job to protect public safety in many ways

    Incorrect, and false assumption that makes you a liberal.

    The governments only job is to protect the rights of the individual. Anything beyond that is tyranny.

  • Tony||

    What about an individual's right to a reasonable amount of safety?

    Just because you can't think beyond slogans doesn't mean slogans are reality.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    LOL!

    In what universe do you live that's safe? You have no more a right to safety than the government could possibly provide it to you.

    1. You have the right to not have aggression initiated against you. 2. You don't get to initiate aggression against others to prevent that.

    And it's the fact that you don't agree with that that makes you an immoral person.

  • sarcasmic||

    You have no more a right to safety than the government could possibly provide it to you.

    1. You have the right to not have aggression initiated against you. 2. You don't get to initiate aggression against others to prevent that.

    And the proper role of government is to provide means of justice when we have aggression initiated against us. It is to be reactive.

    Any time government becomes proactive, for any reason, it becomes the aggressor. It becomes an instrument of injustice.

    And it's the fact that you don't agree with that that makes you an immoral person.

    Yep. Leftists have no use for justice. They want government to be an instrument of injustice to be used to punish people they don't like. That's why they use terms like "social justice" and "economic justice," which are in fact the opposite of justice, because they require the proactive use of force.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Amen, my friend!

  • Earth Skeptic||

    So, Tony, what is a "reasonable" amount of safety? Chances of a student spending a day at school without being murdered by a nut-job with an evil assault rifle is 99.99999999999%. Chances of any person in the US not being killed with a gun on any given day is 99.99999%.

    Or does safety include protecting people from irrational fears, inflated by idiots and politically-motivated sluts?

  • Tony||

    It's an amount to be determined by thoughtful people engaging in the democratic process. Frankly the gun maximalists should be proud of how much they've won despite being on the fringes. Having a true fetish makes you more motivated than people with abstract notions of public safety. That's part of democracy too!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    So when "thoughtful people" in Oklahoma want to ban gay sex, that is ok with you?

  • Malvolio||

    This.

    Either we live in a DEMOCRACY -- which means that the legislature can ban gay sex or abortion or the 10 Commandments or whatever else strikes their fancy -- or we live in a Constitutional republic.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    So it is just all about feelings then, guided by self-appointed moral superiority.

    Good thing you are constructing a nanny state, if people want to think like children.

  • FlameCCT||

    More like constructing a Progressive Plantation (Marxist Utopia) with Elitist Master and Uncle Tom Overseers controlling the Proletariat Serfs!

  • Brian||

    At a certain point, you'll have to come to terms what the fact that, when you're not bragging about the best and most wonderful method of decision-making, you're constantly bitching how fringe groups of minorities and plutocrats have ruined it all.

    Cognitive dissonance is a bitchy lady.

  • sarcasmic||

    What about an individual's right to a reasonable amount of safety?

    That's what the 2A is for.

  • Bongo Supreme||

    You have a reasonable amount of safety. The fact that a gun exists somewhere does not make you unsafe. Guns existing in the hands of maniacs, does. But maniacs kill with fire, knives, bombs, trucks, chemicals, and anything else they can get their hands on.

    Owning a gun yourself makes you far safer from aggression.

  • Lucius Fergeson||

    >What about an individual's right to a reasonable amount of safety?
    Non-existent rights don't have any bearing on actual rights of the people. That's basically on par with saying the rights of the fetus overrides the rights of the mother in the case of abortion because the child's life is endangered by the procedure. If you don't want a gun, fine. Just don't try to be a moralist and tell everyone else they shouldn't have a gun.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    Dude- the Supreme Court says the government has no obligation to protect you.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    If you adopt the principle that anything that increases safety risk should be banned or regulated, you got yourself a totalitarian dictatorship, Tony. Isn't the incidence of HIV higher among gays? Better ban gay sex, then!

  • Tony||

    Everyone, this is what a straw man looks like. Pay attention. It's also the kind of all-or-nothing attitude that makes the gun fetishist team look ridiculous.

    Obviously everything is a give and take, and some scenarios require different approaches than others.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Tony, you are the king of strawmen.

    Also, I wonder what the chances are of someone getting HIV vs. getting shot by a gun.

  • Tony||

    We had a government that ignored the AIDS crisis and helped make it a global pandemic. You want to export school shootings too?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    School shootings are like terrorism. They loom large in the mind because they evoke horror. But statistically, they are a blip. I am much more worried about heart disease and cancer.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Bullshit. We had a government spending disproportionate amounts relative to the risk because morons like Oprah made everyone afeard.

  • Brian||

    Yes, yes, it's Ronald Reagan's fault AIDS happened. I'm sure Jimmy Carter would have cured it himself, if only given the chance.

    This is "reality-based", people.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    "We had a government that ignored the AIDS crisis and helped make it a global pandemic. You want to export school shootings too?"

    Tony you are such an insufferable asshole. But you make a good case for smaller government and it not interfering in our affairs. Good 2A points, Tony!!!

  • dchang0||

    "This is what a straw man looks like" says the guy who sets up a straw man with the pejorative term "gun fetishist."

  • FlameCCT||

    Then gets upset when someone takes a flamethrower to the army of strawmen!

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    None of which changes the fact that the Second Amendment, as interpreted by English grammer instead of political expedience, says that the people's right to keep amd bear arms shall not be infringed. Which means that any and all gun control measure are Unconstitutional.

    Now, there is an argument that that is a bad idea. But the way to fix it is to pass an amendment, not to ignore the limits the Constitution places on the power of the government.

    Unless you LIKE Gulags.

  • Tony||

    That's half of what it says.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    That's half of what it says.

    Your interpretation that it means the militia may keep and bear arms is completely nullified by the word "people". Despite how much you wish that English could be interpreted otherwise.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And controls none of the amendment.

  • Bongo Supreme||

    You are unbelievably dull, and no amount of reasonable discourse and explanation of the intention of the framers, which I'm sure you have heard dozens of times by now, will ever change that.

    You know the argument and that it is correct. You just don't care.

  • Zeb||

    Yes, and the first half is just a statement of the underlying assumptions. It doesn't modify the guarantee of the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It just provides some context and one reason why it should be so.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Reproduction, being essential to the continuation of a nation, the rights of the people to marriage shall not be infringed.

    How would you read that, Tony?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Bravo!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So re-engining the BUFF and retiring the B-1. I still think they should turn them into missileers and add laser defense turrets. Maybe even add some tanking capability so they can extend the legs of some 22's to scout and designate in front of them.

    Battleships in the air.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The plan for the B-1 was to keep it till 2037. Doesn't appear that anything is changed. B-2 is a one-trick pony, so...

    Little surprised by the Buff. I suspect it'll be used strictly as a standoff ALCM platform. They won't be going "downtown" (nor would the Bone in any high treat environment).

    It's damned expensive keeping multiple platforms operational. Better to have the new shit that can survive the new threats and get rid of the shit that can't. Said it about the A-10 and the same holds for my aircraft. I have no such platform loyalties.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I'm not surprised about the 52. It's the cheapest bomb truck out there as long as the airspace is uncontested. The only cost issue is with the geriatric engines.I still don't see the need for the 21 at all. Stand off weapons and drones are the future.

    And that new shit is proving far more expensive than expected (35 is a disaster). The A-10 is still the best platform for what it's doing unless you want to go ahead with a prop buy like the Super Tecano. But the Air Force won't do that because it's all go fast and big. I still think CAS should be moved back into the Army.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Completely disagree about the F-35.

    You want to know about a jet? Ask a man who drives one. My best friend works closely with the active unit at Hill.

    The community has drawn pilots from every other fighter platform, A-10, F-15, 16, 22. When asked which aircraft they'd rather go into combat with, they all say the F-35 (Yes, even the Hog guys). It's an incredible aircraft. Kills everything except the 22 A-A and even the 22 depending on the scenario. It's survivable, unlike the rest of the legacy stuff.

    And having an F-35 in the fight increases the battlespace awareness of all the legacy platforms as well as it shares information with everyone. The US got it's money's worth, this time around, despite what you'll hear from anyone with an agenda.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And what's the availability of the 35? 50% on a good day? The logistics train is a complete fail in spite of the fact that it was sold as an advantage. Neighbor's kid was an A-10 pilot. He wouldn't give it up unless he had to (private delta pilot now).

    A Tomahawk is more survivable than any of those platforms, and the 35 doesn't have legs. It doesn't matter if the sensor suite is perfect if you're not in the battlespace because your vulnerable tankers are staged 500nm out. There's no evidence that the 35 has been worth it. I still expect it to be another F-4: tolerable but never great. Ironically, the B might end up being the star of the show since that allows the gator navy to effectively double the size of the carrier force (with a much lower sortie rate, of course).

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    And what's the availability of the 35? 50% on a good day?

    90%+ mission capable rate. Best, by far, in the USAF

    the 35 doesn't have legs

    A-10 Combat Radius- 250 nm

    F-16 Combat Radius- 500 nm

    F-35 Combat Radius- 590 nm

    You've simply got bad information because your getting your information from sources that either have an axe to grind or are long out of date. I'm getting my information from people who fly them or are directly involved with the program.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    90%???!!!

    Umm, no.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And as to the 16's

    Regardless, you're missing my point. Even if the 35 had a slightly higher combat radius it is still tethered to tankers which have to be kept well out of harms way. So the idea of using 35's as some deep penetrator is foolish. And they are far more expensive to operate in the CAS role than an A-10 (~$17k).

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    1. ALL platforms are tanker dependent. The B-1 is tanker dependent FFS. This is nothing new. It's the way all air components of the US have operated for 40 years. If airspace is contested, you sanitize it a piece at a time to bring your tankers close enough so your strikers can hit their targets.

    2. The A-10 is not survivable in a modern air battle. Nor are the other legacy platforms. PERIOD. It does no one any good if they are cheap to fly if they blow up before they reach their targets.

    Furthermore, to scrap the F-35, would mean that not only do the legacy platforms need to be able to defeat today's threats, which they can't, but would need to be able to defeat the threats 20-30 years into the future, as that's how long it takes to develop a new platform.

    3. The legacy platforms are falling apart. Over a third of the A-10s will be grounded over the next several years because they need to be re-winged. That's just one example, all the legacy platforms are beat to shit.

    4. The F-35 actually saves the taxpayer money over the old paradigm. If we continued to do business as usual, we'd be developing a replacement for the A-10, F-16, F-15E, F-18 and the AV-8B. Each having pretty close to the same development cost of the F-35.

    5. And, it's kicking ass and taking names both a-g and a-a.

    I suggest, instead of relying on bullshit opinions found on the interwebz, you find an F-35 pilot and ask the opinion of the guy most familiar with its capabilities.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Okay, I have bad numbers for the MC rate (I'll beat my source later). Or they do.

    Regardless, it's a parts issue, as described in the article, because the supply chain hasn't caught up yet:

    DOT&E outlines in the report several factors for the high NMC-S rate. These include the program purchasing spares using a 20 percent NMC-S rate estimate, which has proven to be optimistic; the program was late in establishing organic depot capabilities to repair existing parts that failed but can be refurbished instead of being replaced with new parts; and an immature system used to detect failures which cause removal of parts that have not actually failed.

    These so-called defective parts are sent back to the original equipment manufacturer and returned to the supply chain as being "Re-Test OK," which causes additional backlog to an already overloaded system.
  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Here:

    F-35 program manager Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said the jet is doing well, logging availability of about 56 percent, mission capable rates of 66 percent, and mission effectiveness rates of 79-80 percent. "Maturity is getting better," he said. "We are above the growth curves" predicted, he said, asserting that a mission capable (MC) rate of 60 percent is "pretty good" for a jet still in development. USAF's goal at maturity for a jet is an MC rate of 80 percent, but USAF has been turning in MC rates in the 50-60 percent range for mature jets due to reduced readiness funding in recent years.

    Still above AF averages for legacy platforms.

  • Bongo Supreme||

    The mere existence of automobiles also increases people's chance of accidental death, suicide, and homicide, and to a FAR greater degree. We haven't outlawed them.

    It may ostensibly be the government's job to protect public safety, but that doesn't change the fact that they are so unbelievably poor at doing that job. Moreover, they are often the exact cause of public unsafety. As a lefty, you should understand that. Who is Mike Brown? What is the War on Terror?

    Why do you even come to this website, Tony?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I hope his candidacy takes off like machine gun fire. I also hope all gun laws are repealed. I suspect he has better chances at getting elected than the Supreme Court deciding to honor "shall not be infringed".

    I'd probably buy a select fire AR if they were reasonably priced; I know heavier duty barrels cost more. But actually shooting it as a machine gun is too expensive for my taste. I've bump fired, it only takes a few magazines to get the hang of it with just your finger. But it's not as much fun as actually aiming, and it costs a lot more.

  • I can't even||

    Me too. I'd go for the select fire for my next rifle if it was an option - then rarely use it as too expensive and not particularly useful.

  • John||

    True story, my grandfather bought a mail order fully automatic Thomas submachine gun back in the 20s. Used it as an all-purpose coyote and varmint gun for years. It is amazing to think that just a hundred years ago you could order a fully automatic weapon in the mail, no permit or government permission required. All of the Libertarians who claim we are freer today can go get bent. There is more to life than Uber and free porn on the internet.

  • Aloysious||

    That would make quite the family heirloom.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've never met a libertarian who says we have fewer government restrictions on our lives today vs a hundred years ago. So I don't know who you are arguing against.

  • John||

    Reason publishes a "life is better and freer today than ever" article about once a month.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    In many ways it is. In many more ways it isn't.

  • Tony||

    Depends on the color of your skin and your sex to a large degree. Miraculously, white dudes haven't actually lost any meaningful freedom in that time.

  • Jordan||

    The War on Drugs doesn't affect white dudes?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    He has to believe that so it fits his narrative.

    I like the way he adds the word "meaningful" in front of freedom. He thinks he gets to define what meaningful freedoms are.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I really, really don't trust your definition of "meaningful."

  • Zeb||

    And people who aren't white dudes have gained a lot of freedom in that time.

  • Tony||

    See, it's not zero-sum! There, now that we've cleared that up, we can now dispense with the entire Republican party, as it no longer serves a purpose.

  • prolefeed||

    Life is undeniably better on average in the U.S. than in the 1920s. We're much more prosperous, and people who were oppressed then -- black people, gay people, etc. -- are much less oppressed now.

    Yes, some things have gotten worse regarding liberty, especially on gun rights. I'd say a lot more has gotten better, especially with civil rights, the best attempts by statists to do otherwise notwithstanding.

  • John||

    Things are much less free in so many ways, especially in trade and business. We are not freer today and we get less free every day.

  • sarcasmic||

    Things are much less free in so many ways, especially in trade and business.

    No one is going to argue against that.

    We are not freer today and we get less free every day.

    If you define freedom solely by what government restricts, then yes. But there is more to freedom than that. Every day entrepreneurs make our lives more free by giving us choices we didn't have before, despite the efforts of government. They are always one step ahead. For now.

  • sarcasmic||

    We have choices that people couldn't even imagine a hundred years ago. So in that respect we are more free. However that doesn't translate into fewer government restrictions.

  • SIV||

    Yes you are right. Rockefeller,Vanderbilt, and Morgan couldn't facebook on an iPhone and even Escoffier couldn't conceive of the superior choice off eggless "mayo"

  • gormadoc||

    Vanderbilt wasn't even alive 100 years ago. 100 years ago they didn't have commercial radio or widespread AC, the phonographs were bad, and cities were very polluted. Prohibition was normal, though not yet national.

    They certainly couldn't conceive of the internet or shipping cross-continent within a few days. Hell, they couldn't know about 3/4 of the food we have available now. I doubt they'd believe that major nations would not war against each other a century in the future, and hadn't for half a century.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Pollution, especially, was out of control. Soot covered everything in poor neighborhoods, because people used wood for heating, kerosene for light, and burned their garbage.

  • operagost||

    Thompson, maybe?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    If I could have anything I wanted, a Thompson would be high on the list.

  • silver.||

    My mom shot one at a ladies night at the local range. She was not a small woman and said the Thompson was monstrously heavy even with a stick mag. On the other extreme, the ladies started a competition to see who could monogram their first initials with the Uzi at 10yds. Incredible piece of Israeli engineering. If I could have anything I wanted, it'd be an Uzi. Or maybe an MP5.

  • Zeb||

    So, what happened to the Tommy gun?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    It was replaced by the Tony gun, a mostly harmless weapon that sprays leftist bullshit in rapid bursts.

  • sarcasmic||

    lmao!

  • Zeb||

    Good one. But what I really wanted to know was what became of John's grandfather's gun.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I bet it was put to good use during Prohibition.

  • CE||

    The war on alcohol gave the feds an excuse to ban them.

  • TxJack 112||

    I really wish people like this would stop "helping". The last time US citizens could legally own automatic weapons we had a depression and then a crime waves that lasted almost 3 years. Remember the names, Bonnie and Clyde, Babyface Nelson, Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and don't forget, Machine gun Kelly? As polarized and racially divided as this country is now, the last thing we need is idiots with automatic weapons. No mass shooting or other tragedy would prompt the majority of Americans to support repealing the 2nd amendment as much as a repeat of the early 1930s would. If that happened, then we would be at the mercy of the Federal government and we all know that cannot end well.

  • I can't even||

    Gee, let me think what else the government was doing at the time...

    Maybe that crime wave had something to do with nanny-state progressives first big win - outlawing alcohol consumption. FDR effectively keeping the economy depressed for a decade through massive government intervention didn't help either.

  • DJK||

    Maybe? The evidence that it did is pretty indisputable. The same way that the gun violence problem is almost entirely a product of our modern prohibition against drugs other than alcohol, tobacco, and (recently) marijuana.

  • Tony||

    Adam Lanza was pissed he couldn't get weed?

  • Jordan||

    The same way that the gun violence problem is almost entirely a product of our modern prohibition against drugs
  • Tony||

    The current conversation is about mass shootings at suburban schools. I'd love for a conversation that actually exhibited concern for brown people killing each other in ghettos or as part of cartel violence, but nobody seems to care about brown people killing each other.

  • StackOfCoins||

    Would banning guns end school shootings? Not likely, as I don't see many gun owners complying with a gun ban. Enforcement of such a thing is impossible.

    Would a magical gun ban that simply erased guns end school shootings? Sure. It wouldn't end violence in school. Kids would still be beaten, stabbed and even killed by angry, testosterone-fueled morons.

    Ending cartel violence is as simple as ending prohibition. And not like California has "ended" weed prohibition by becoming the new cartel, with onerous rules. I mean just getting out of the way, entirely. When people are free to turn to the law and police because they are not criminals themselves, the need to end disputes with interpersonal violence vanishes.

    But nothing, no ban, no "common-sense" rules with ever end violence entirely. That's fantasy crap for pacifist crybabies.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Well, "they" don't seem to care.

  • Jordan||

    Libertarians have been having that conversation forever, while progressives were busy giving the government all the tools it needed for a War on Drugs (see Wickard v. Filburn and it's horrendous proginy).

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""The current conversation is about mass shootings at suburban schools""

    No it's not.

  • Tony||

    Keep attacking the character, looks, and motivations of the friends of dead schoolchildren, and see if you get to control the subject of the conversation.

  • Bongo Supreme||

    >nobody seems to care about brown people killing each other

    And yet, you're commenting on someone who expressly mentioned it. Are you illiterate, using text-to-speech and speech-to-text or something?

  • DJK||

    I'll have that conversation with you. Mass shootings are statistical noise in gun violence. They kill no more frequently in the US than in countries with significantly more stringent gun control. The US's high murder rate is almost entirely associated with brown people, as you note. And a lot of that has to do with the inner city illegal drug trade, which is engaged in at a higher rate by brown people based at least in part on a variety of historical and continuing oppressions (not least of which is the current prohibition of drugs). Many brown people who kill each other are not legally entitled to purchase weapons (based on previous felony arrests), yet they still somehow get them. It's almost like there's a black market that will always supply those who wish to use guns for violence, no matter how many gun control laws you enact.

  • DenverJ||

    I don't think you're supposed to say "black market". It's "market of color".

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    "but nobody seems to care about brown people "

    No, Tony and you are no exception - or your proggie friends.

  • StackOfCoins||

    These arguments are so laughable. Lanza was one person in a country of 300,000,000, an ignorant lout who was angry for reasons unknown.

  • Tony||

    So the occasional mass slaughter of 3rd graders is the price we just have to pay for freedom. A price no other country has to pay for some reason.

  • Jordan||

  • Bongo Supreme||

    Keep living in a fantasy land, Tony. "Nobody kills lots of people anywhere else but America!!"

    You're a fucking dunce.

  • DJK||

    Dude, seriously? Mass shootings happen everywhere. The US is nowhere near the top. France had more people killed in mass shootings in 2015 alone than during the entire Obama administration, in spite of its repressive gun control laws. And don't forget that France has a population 1/5 that of the US.

  • DJK||

    *than the US did during the entire Obama administration

  • CE||

    Except Norway and France.

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    "This type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency."
    — Barack Obama on Thursday, June 18th, 2015 in remarks at the White House

    Charlie Hebdo Shooting: Date: January 7, 2015

    Bataclan Massacre : Novemeber 13, 2015

    Once again, Tony is proven SPECTACULARLY WRONG!!!

  • Cloudbuster||

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Yes, everything bad that happened in the 1930s was a direct result of civilians having been able to legally purchase machine guns for the preceding 60-odd years. You sure called that one.

  • operagost||

    Is this supposed to be satire?

  • Wizard4169||

    Not sure about the others, but Bonnie and Clyde stole their machine guns from National Guard armories. I'm pretty sure that was illegal, even back then.

  • silver.||

    Tommy guns are still legal, though subject to onerous taxation.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I find his attitude refreshing. What tends to happen, on the national level at least, is that the Democrats try to move in the direction of more gun control when they're in power (if the political atmosphere is right) while the Republicans simply sit still rather than trying to move in the direction of freedom. The Assault Weapons Ban of the '90s only went away because it had a sunset clause, not because the GOP had the balls to repeal that useless law.

    Most of the positive movement on the issue has been at the state level.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Absolutely correct. Compromise almost always results in a move away from liberty. You have people advocating for a repeal of 2A you need the offset out there advocating for the freedom to own nukes. If not, any shift is a loss.

  • silver.||

    That the NRA is such a major scapegoat of the more recent mass shootings is very strange. Many pro-2A advocates are deeply disappointed with the NRA's compromises.

    Most of the actual lobby groups are absolutist, and they are very effective, especially at the state level.

  • Jerryskids||

    I've often said that the Left's negotiations consist of discussing how many times they should be allowed to punch you in the face and if you try to argue that you don't want to be punched in the face at all, well, you're just a stubborn ideologue unwilling to compromise. Instead of playing defense and arguing over what new "reasonable" gun control measures we should be willing to accept, let's point out that the Brady Bill was a reasonable gun control measure and since it's obviously failed to stop gun violence it's time to repeal the Brady Bill. Now let's see who's unwilling to compromise.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    ^This^

  • prolefeed||

    "Well, tell you what, how about I punch you in the face first, just to be fair and make sure everyone is treated equally, and then we can discuss your proposal to punch me in the face as they wheel you into the operating room."

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    D: Your side NEVER compromises and we all know compromise is good. Now drink this glass of poison.

    R: No.

    D: Okay, drink half this glass of poison.

    R: No.

    D: See?

    R: Okay, I'll drink a quarter cup.

  • Brandybuck||

    This is why we can't have nice things. I agree in principle with him, but bringing this up less than month after a major school shooting while everyone is shitting their pants is profoundly tone deaf.

    Tone deaf. Look it up.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Look, a dude who publishes a list of "Libertarian Ladies I Wish Would Let Me Bone Them" is probably not gonna generally class up a situation.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    You can't post a comment like that without a link.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Here's the one i saw a few years ago. Since then Petersen has removed his byline, but his name and face are still all over the comments.

  • silver.||

    Cringy af. I disagree with his taste in women, too.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    It's EXACTLY the time to bring it up. It establishes that no amount of pants-shitting will affect our resolve on this issue.

    "Sorry for your loss, but your solution is diametrically opposed to anything resembling reality."

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Yes, people whose emotions are running high are well known for having positive responses to dispassionate logic contradicting their feelings.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    People...are [not] well known for...logic

    FIFY

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    So you think we should kowtow to the feelings of those who'd strip us of our liberties?

    I don't.

    You can be compassionate without caving to appeals to emotion.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I didn't say anything about caving. I said be more intelligent with your timing.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Like I said, it is EXACTLY that the message doesn't change based upon timing that shows true resolve.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    So getting your message out immediately, thereby showing resolve, is more important than getting your message out effectively by understanding human emotions? This explains so much about the state of libertarianism in this country.

    Note that i've said nothing about changing your message, just understanding your audience.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Emotion's got nuthin to do with it.

    *said in best Clint voice*

    Or shouldn't. Libertarians don't appeal to emotion.

    The opposition deals in emotion, which is why it uses the aftermath of such events to push its agenda. Why? Because it's their best opportunity to drive their opponents to a "little" compromise. And then a little more after the next one.

    Pull a Trump and take away their advantage by simply not kowtowing to their appeals to emotion. We have both reason, the Constitution AND the best interests of the nation on our side. We are quite simply correct.
    Take away their only weapon...fuck their feelz.

  • Tony||

    I don't know what's funnier, the fact that you think emotion has no role to play in policy debates or the fact that you think you're not employing any as you screech hysterically about der terkin er gerns!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Understanding that other people are responding emotionally in the immediate aftermath of a thing is not the same as sacrificing your principles to appeal to those emotions. But let me know how it goes next time someone is upset about a tragedy and you tell them they're wrong.

  • silver.||

    "Understanding that other people are responding emotionally in the immediate aftermath of a thing is not the same as sacrificing your principles to appeal to those emotions."

    I agree with Citizen on this. Stubbornness is going to have the effect of causing people who are mostly on our side to gravitate in the other direction. I do not intend to capitulate, but I can be emotionally supportive without betraying my ideals. I can validate feelings of fear without validating the knee-jerk responses that grow from it. In fact, I think it's especially important that libertarians be more emotionally sensitive during times like these. I can usually make noncommittal statements like, "nobody should have to be afraid to go to school," or, "in the next few months we should really examine the facts and talk about possible solutions."

    The post-crisis gun-grabbers are winning by leveraging fear. We need to intercept them and be reassuring and kind understanding, so that when we've all relaxed, we'll have the rapport to have a rational debate with them.

    "You're with us or against us," is a refrain of the Marchers (and almost all protesters ever), and they truly believe it. Because of this absolutist thinking, we have to be with them in this moment or be against them forever.

  • Brandybuck||

    Libertarians represent perhaps 1% of the population. Deliberately triggering and antagonizing progressives or conservatives is not strategy that leads to a whole lot of success. Progressives shit their pants of the idea of guns. Progressives also control the electoral narrative, like it or not. Scaring even more shit out of progressives by advocating the legalization of fully automatic military weapons isn't going to progress freedom at all. It will just further alienate our 1% from the 99% of the rest of the world.

    It's like marching for heroin legalization. Or protesting for child porn legalization. Or demanding the immediate privatization of all roads. It will assure your extremist libertarian bona fides to other libertarians, but it will do nothing to further freedom.

    There is a real world out there. It's time libertarians understood that.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Compromise is what got us here today. Each small compromise does little to harm liberty in and of itself. Add all the little compromises up over 227 years and it's devastating.

    They'll always tell you, "It's such a small sacrifice."

    You want to be free? Tow the lion.

  • Longtobefree||

    And at what time before or after the shooting at (anywhere) was the second amendment repealed?
    How long would you wait before bringing up freedom of speech after a liberal blasts away at hate speech (an undefined term like assault rifle)?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    John MacAfee wouldn't be arguing that machine guns should be legal. John MacAfee would (probably does) go ahead own a bunch of machine guns regardless. Just sayin'.

  • Just Say'n||

    MacAfee is a bonafide badass.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, it's too bad he's kind of old. He'd be fun to watch try to get more involved in politics.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    He may actually be The Most Interesting Man on Earth from those Dos Equis commercials.

  • StackOfCoins||

    I honestly preferred him as a candidate when I saw him debate Johnson and Peterson. He was maximum liberty, in ways that made Johnson blush. Absolutely a superior choice.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Belize agrees.

  • Just Say'n||

    "knowingly radical-for-freedom Libertarian Party"

    Are we talking about the same party that nominated noted gun-grabber Bill Weld along with Gary "Bake the Cake" Johnson?

  • SIV||

    Gary "Ban the Burqa" Johnson

  • Just Say'n||

    That's actually a good point. A lot of people forget that Johnson went full on 'National Front' after getting push back for his "bake the cake" remarks. He quickly backed away, but still failed to grasp the fact that it is religious liberty that makes a burqa ban illegal in the US

  • Zeb||

    Johnson should have run for Senate or something as a republican. He could do some good there. Instead he just made LP libertarians look silly in a less entertaining way than usual. Running for president requires skills that he just doesn't have.

  • Rebel Scum||

    "It's time to stop placating people having a conversation about how to limit our rights; let's get the conversation to where people are talking not about limiting gun rights but expanding them, and that's what I'm trying to do" by calling for NFA repeal.

    Well, he's got my vote. Or he would if I lived in Missouri.

  • Rebel Scum||

    And on the play offense rather than defense, I have gotten this way as well. Leftists have been showing their true colors as of late and there is no negotiating with them.

  • DJK||

    Cue Tony to talk about nukes and the good Rev. to bring up reasonable gun restrictions that he will never define.

  • Tony||

    So where is the line reasonably drawn? Nobody ever says.

  • gormadoc||

    Clear backpacks, God's own gun control.

  • sarcasmic||

    So where is the line reasonably drawn? Nobody ever says.

    Draw the line with the person's bank account.

    Who the hell can afford a nuke other than government? It's a red herring.

  • Tony||

    In libertopia all the money and de facto power would reside with plutocrats, so they'd get the nukes.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Hasn't that poor strawman suffered enough?

  • sarcasmic||

    Spoken like a true economicus ignoramicus!

  • Cloudbuster||

    Jeff Bezos! "Nice little online retail business you have there. It would be a shame if your warehouse turned into a radioactive crater, wouldn't it?"

  • sarcasmic||

    He would have to sell his wealth in order to have the money to do that, then he wouldn't be running a business anymore.

  • Tony||

    Your pessimism about the ability of nuke tech to get cheaper over time with a robust nuke market is very unlibertarian.

  • Brian||

    In socialtopia, North Korea isn't supposed to have nukes.

    How's that working out?

    If the Norks can do nukes, so can Jeff Bezos.

    To be fact-based, you have to concede that plutocrats don't have nukes because they don't want to, not because they're illegal.

  • Brandybuck||

    People call me a fake libertarian, so take this with a grain of salt. But when it comes to balancing the ideology with reality, I would draw the line at the ability to be use the item for defensive purposes without simultaneously endangering the lives of the innocent. You can't use a nuke to defend yourself from a mugger on the streets of Manhattan without kills tens of thousands of innocent lives. Ditto for nerve gas. Machine guns straddle that line, as it's extremely difficult to use a machine gun for defense that's not also going to kill a bunch of innocents. But a machine gun is ideal for defending property against organized invaders.

    Thus weapons designed specifically for warfare get excluded from private use. Or from ordinary police use (including SWAT). It's not the idea line for a anarchist or strict minarchist, but it's a perfectly cromulent line for a practicalist to draw.

    The problem with gun control isn't that it's trying to ban machine guns. The problem is that it's trying to ban handguns and sporting rifles.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    But a machine gun is ideal for defending property against organized invaders.

    What if it's your tyrannical government (with machine guns) who are the invaders?

  • Tony||

    Then a lot of people are fucked. We didn't buy history's most powerful war machine so that Cliven Bundy could beat it back and install himself emperor or whatever.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The Iraqis/Afghans beat it back.

    Wars are won by the side with the most resolve. Advanced weapons allow the side with the most resolve to win wars faster.

  • Tony||

    Why would the US government and the citizens who back it have less resolve than the band of inbreds who would overthrow it? We did go through that once.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Why would the US British government and the citizens who back it have less resolve than the band of inbreds who would overthrow it?

  • Tony||

    The common thread here seems to be the existence of an ocean between the major power and the rebels.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The common thread here, is the principle of war that's been taught to military officers since Sun Tzu.

    Resolve wins wars. Weapons win battles.

    Unfortunately, they don't teach it to politicians.

  • Zeb||

    The scenario isn't some band of nutty libertarians overthrowing the US government. The scenario is where the government becomes unacceptably oppressive in ways that make even normal people feel the need to do something.
    Having an armed "silent majority" is as much to prevent something like that coming about as it is to discourage it from happening. A government which governs an armed population is less likely to turn tyrannical. It's no coincidence that all of the worst totalitarians have disarmed undesirables in society before really starting to do horrible shit.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    "'The Iraqis/Afghans beat it back."'

    I think everyone since WW2 has beaten it back.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    That myth is tiresome. The US never lost any significant engagement in Vietnam. Iraq I wasn't a real contest, nor was Iraq II. Occupation != war.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    "'The US never lost any significant engagement in Vietnam"'

    Yet we could not win the war.

    An armed citizenry can wear down a army to the point the army gives up, or must commit genocide to win.

    Despite not losing any significant engagement in Afghanistan, the Taliban still rules a good part of the country after about 15 years of us trying to kick them out.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The army didn't give up. You can claim that military force didn't achieve your goals, but that is not the same as saying that they didn't win.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    The military not achieving it's goal is a definition of not winning.

    ""The army didn't give up.""

    We largely withdrew. So what do you want to call it?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The military not achieving it's goal is a definition of not winning.

    Agree

    But I'm not sure there ever was a goal/objective. At least not an achievable one. And it's not the job of the military to define the objective. It's the job of the civilian leadership. SO...the failure lies with the politicians.

  • Tony||

    No movement with any hope of success is trying to ban sporting rifles and handguns. We'd have to have a new supreme court or amend the constitution to do that. Obviously people are trying to take up all the oxygen in the room by equating a desire to regulate semi-automatic weapons with a total gun ban.

    I'm simply making the point I always make: most liberals and conservatives and libertarians don't disagree on anything fundamental. They just draw lines at different places.

  • gormadoc||

    The "line" is based on fundamental disagreements. You shouldn't try the "we're more similar than we appear" line after years of bitching about how "backwards" people who disagree with you are. It seems... disingenuous.

  • Tony||

    My aim is to rid you of the liberty bonus points you award yourself when all you really want is to draw lines at different places and in doing so, in my opinion, actually decrease overall individual liberty immeasurably. You wouldn't need to constantly talk about how God (or nature) ordained your philosophy if it could back itself up on its merits.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And what of your nobility points you award yourself by spending other people's money? By your utilitarian definition chattel slavery would be OK as long as more ppl benefited than were enslaved. But control is your real goal anyway, you just use euphemisms to hide that.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""No movement with any hope of success is trying to ban sporting rifles and handguns."'

    Target shooting is a sport, and people target shoot with AR-15s.

    I think you are right though. The current movement will have about as much success as the last.

  • Tony||

    So dead kids are the price we pay for the liberty of a handful of people who like target shooting. Even the country's most popular sport is starting to at least reflect on its safety issues.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""So dead kids are the price we pay for the liberty of a handful of people.."

    You think you are on to something by repeating to say it. But you are not.

    May that strawman burn.

  • Bongo Supreme||

    Suck a chode, fascist.

  • DJK||

    As pointed out, mass shootings (including of children) happen as frequently in places with strict gun control as they do in the US.

  • Tony||

    Unless something major happened in the last year or two or your definition of mass shooting is extremely convenient for your case, that's just not true.

    You could point out that the frequency of mass shootings (depending on how you define it) in the US hasn't actually gone up in decades. The difference--and why more news coverage is devoted to them--is that they are deadlier than they have ever been before.

    Hence the entire goddamn point of regulating weapons of mass murder.

  • DJK||

    Define "sporting rifle". Tell me how an M1A (an actual military rifle which wouldn't be covered under any proposed so-called assault weapon ban that I've ever seen) is different from an AR-15.

  • Longtobefree||

    It has been said since the founding of the nation.
    You just refuse to read it.
    Shall not be infringed.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Petersen thinks Watts made a fool of herself by prodding him about ordnance and nukes, which are matters not relevant to the NFA.

    WHAT? He doesn't think the average citizen should be able to own nukes?

    NOT LIBERTARIAN ENOUGH!

    When he runs for president in 2020, I'm voting for Trump!

  • Heraclitus||

    This guy is a complete reactionary. The last 50 years have been all about asserting the 2nd amendment. We are at the point where if someone wants to strengthen our background checking system the 2nd amendment folks freak out and get actual traction. The machine gun argument is just a gimmick and he knows it. This is no way to govern.

    I understand that there are reactionaries on the left. But very few people are actually talking about grabbing all your guns. We have been hearing this reactionary crap for years and what rights don't you have? You can, right now, unless you are a felon, go out and buy a trunk full of AR -15s and a crate of ammo. You can fully stock your very own private militia. And so this guy thinks he needs to run on the right to own a machine gun? That's like pro-choice people thinking they need to advocate for the choice of killing newborns just to show pro-lifers that they are not willing to give an inch in the debate. This is not serious governing. He's a political troll.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Ah, i see you're aware of Peterson's career trajectory.

  • gormadoc||

    1) that's not what he's running on, and 2) why shouldn't the right be expanded?

  • Jordan||

    We are at the point where if someone wants to strengthen our background checking system the 2nd amendment folks freak out and get actual traction

    Because - just like with tobacco - every single new gun control measure is always "just let us have this one last law, nobody is coming for your guns".

    Also because gun grabbers in New York, New Jersey, and California aren't content to confine their idiocy to their own states.

  • Jordan||

    Oh, and if you're talking about background checks for private sales, that's a backdoor gun registry.

  • StackOfCoins||

    This. It's death by a thousand cuts. Living in AZ, I cannot sell guns to people with California or New York licenses. That in itself is absurd. It's not a simple matter of letting people own what they want, so long as they don't bring it into the state. Their laws make it so I'm legally not allowed to sell to people for simply having the wrong sort of plastic.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Wow, I had no idea that the subjects of those Peoples' Republics had been screwed to that extent.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Also, they want regulations that do almost nothing in the name of doing something. Then when those fail to produce the results they want, they call for more regulations. It becomes a loop until the right is almost gone.

    It's the same thing some conservatives try to do with abortion. Regulate it out of existence.

  • silver.||

    "It's the same thing some conservatives try to do with abortion. Regulate it out of existence."

    Bingo. That's a good one; I'll have to put it in my pocket. I think that's how it is in Texas. I was surprised to see that they "allow" abortions so late into a pregnancy...

    "We allow abortions later than almost any other state!"
    "Requiring abortion clinics to adhere to the standards of hospitals is just common sense safety regulation!"

  • gormadoc||

    I would love it if you would think through your reasoning again but with respect to gay or minority rights.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Yep.

  • Ron||

    You can't buy AR's in California anymore so gun rights are being diminished and several states have more draconian gun laws being talked about right now.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    And so this guy thinks he needs to run on the right to own a machine gun?

    No, he's running on principle stemming from liberty.

    Do you contend that liberty is bad?

  • sarcasmic||

    Sadly a lot of people do contend that liberty is bad. They believe that people need to be controlled. In a state of liberty people will make wrong choices, and that is bad. Choices need to be made for people by angels in government who give permission and issue orders. Anything else is chaos.

  • Tony||

    You two sound like characters from Idiocracy. Derp, liberty good!

  • sarcasmic||

    Spoken like a true authoritarian.

  • Hank Phillips||

    "Right" is the socialist euphemism for religious National Socialist. Right-Left is Goodthinkful reality control that keeps the entire universe of discourse inside the Socialist circle on a Venn Diagram. Left socialists want to eliminate the First and Second Amendments, while Right socialists seek to eliminate the First, bring back the 18th, and change the 14th to read "All ova fertilized..." This linear approach eliminates the need for complicated and confusing Nolan charts and silly arguments about the initiation of force. It returns politics to the realm of teevee commercials subsidized by the Nixon Anti-Libertarian law so 19th-Century political parties can stay in their comfort zone.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""But very few people are actually talking about grabbing all your guns. "'

    1. I've spoke to many who do want to do that.
    2. Gun grabbers want to grab all your gun THEY think is bad and apply so much obstruction that you will barely make a pass to get the three guns they will allow.

  • DJK||

    I had a conversation this weekend with two friends of friends who took the confiscate guns position. It is not at all uncommon among the left.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    It's pretty easy to get them there too. Just ask what should happen if people don't comply.

  • DJK||

    "That's like pro-choice people thinking they need to advocate for the choice of killing newborns just to show pro-lifers that they are not willing to give an inch in the debate".

    Umm, not exactly. It's much like running on pushing the date at which one can get an abortion out further and further. Which is exactly what a number of progressive candidates campaign on.

  • Longtobefree||

    You can, right now, unless you are a felon, go out and buy a trunk full of AR -15s and a crate of ammo

    Not entirely true.
    There are age restrictions.
    There are taxes implemented solely as a financial obstacle to ownership.
    There are background checks into a known incorrect data base.
    There are in some states volume restrictions on both the number of firearms and on the amount of ammunition.
    If damn near anyone thinks you are a danger, you not only cannot buy one, those you have can be taken by force.
    Etc

  • Alcibiades||

    My desire to own firearms is in direct proportion to the desire of others to prevent me from owning them.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ^^ Firearm sales

  • Davulek||

    Age old story, machine guns were banned due to the actions of criminals and the solution of idiots was to restrict the law abiding.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Someday we'll see the link to the definition of a right and how these adjectives or Michael's mold and morph that definition, I can almost feel the credibility seeping in already...
    In the Defense Caucus the concept of "menacing" was not dismissed, and many laws struggle to transmit some sort of idea of what "menacing" might mean. If we start with a Laffer Curve with a busted flintlock at one end and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons at another point on the horizontal axis, I'd wager most voting libertarians would put "well regulated" between fieldpieces and modern handguns plus whatever minions are issued. Observe that lots of people want to emigrate to where there is a Second Amendment. Close to as many get shot every year under Socialist Brazil's national minions-only Kristallnacht gun law.

  • Bongo Supreme||

    Stop copy-pasting the same shit over and over.

  • Longtobefree||

    He would NOT have to amend the constitution; it says a machine gun (arms) is peachy keen fine.

  • Zeb||

    US = 79.3 mass shootings per year = 39,600% higher (Seventeen school shootings this year)

    By what standard? Are you aware that certain advocacy groups have stretched the definitions of "mass shooting" and "school shooting" to a ridiculous degree to inflate the numbers?

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Oh, Hihn.

    Murders in the US by state, in deaths per 100,000 per year (NHS/NCHS):
    Vermont 0
    New Hampshire 0
    North Dakota 0
    Maine 0
    Wyoming 0
    Idaho 1.9
    Massachusettes 2.1
    Rhode Island 2.3
    Minnesota 2.4
    Utah 2.5

    And 7 out of these 10 have gun ownership rates above the US average (and all are above any UK/Euro average).

    So maybe its not the guns.

    (BTW, if you are worried about your spawn, keep them out of South Carolina, Illinois, New Mexico, Missouri, Maryland, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and, especially, D.C.)

  • CE||

    "Unalienable" means "unable to be taken away from", not "relative".

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    From Merriam-Webster


    unalienable

    adjective

    Definition of unalienable for English Language Learners

    : impossible to take away or give up

  • CE||

    3) if teachers are thought to be armed, who will be shot first?

    I'm guessing not the teachers.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Is that YOUR "sanctity of human life?"""

    How can you have sanctity of human life when you think oppressors should out gun them. Self defense is in concert with the sanctity of life.

    You spoke much about what a right is not. Please tell us what you think a right is.

  • End Child Unemployment||

    Homicide in UK is reported ON CONVICTION of the suspect. Homicide in the US is reported when there is a body and good reason to suspect non-natural cause of death. Good job contrasting apples with oranges.

  • CE||

    Not that good at electoral strategy, is he?

  • 1234||

  • Egypt Steve||

    The Original Intent of the Constitution was that I should be able to have a bazooka if I want one. And once phasers are invented, it will be the Original Intent of the Constitution that I should be able to have one of those, too. With an extra power pack.

  • JeremyR||

    As I am from Missouri I have been following his campaign. This is a big shift from his previous focus, open borders, which didn't exactly go over well.

  • Rockabilly||

    You got my vote there buddy.

    All the best and rock on

  • Robert Crim||

    Actually, there may be a way to challenge the Government's interpretation of the Hughes Amendment by using a more restrictive interpretation of the 2d Amendment and existing state law. In Florida, it is illegal to own a machine gun -- period -- EXCEPT if one has the gun "registered" per the NFA. But, the M-16 (rather than the AR-15) arguably is the standard rifle of the militia, and every male in Florida is in the militia if they are between the ages of 17 and 45. Now, removing the appositives, the 2d Amendment reads, "A well regulated Militia...shall not be infringed." And, what the NFA actually does is impose a tax on the transfer of the machine gun (when you pay the tax, your name goes into a book of "taxpayers," and the gun is "registered"). In other words, what the Government is doing NOW is blocking Florida citizens from legally owning the standard militia arm by simply refusing to collect the tax....

  • Robert Crim||

    The problem, of course, is that this clearly "infringes" the militia by interfering BOTH with the second of those appositives, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms," by which the "militia" is defined AND by denying to FLORIDA its inherent power to prevent militia members from being restricted by a FEDERAL limitation. The legal argument against Hughes then becomes that the federal government is interfering with FLORIDA'S inherent power to declare for itself what constitutes "lawful" machine-gun ownership and Florida's EXCLUSIVE power to limit the terms of use of such devices to insure they will not become instruments of crime.

    Such a lawsuit would force the courts to face what is the MINIMUM meaning of the Amendment, by its plain words, and it does not seem to me that the Hughes Amendment could withstand the confrontation.

  • hardcorps||

    I have always felt that based on Miller vs US, military rifles have to be legal for civilian ownership. Of course, when FDR's packed court decided that case, military rifles were not full auto.

  • Hank Phillips||

    As a Republican candidate the guy does not seem like a lying hypocritical impostor at all.

  • Bill Goode||

    A very interesting debate would be between Austin Petersen and Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI), who is introducing legislation to confiscate all guns. God only knows how she plans to accomplish that. But the debate would be very entertaining.

  • hardcorps||

    I guess from a purely "What's in it for me?" perspective, I would rather have short barrelled rifles and suppressors without a class 3 license than a full auto. I shot full autos plenty in the service and the novelty wore off. But, he has a good point, go on the offensive. I have been saying that for years. We are constantly fighting to hold ground, why not go after more rights? Specifically, I want national reciprocity for CCW. Yes, ideally there would be no CCW licensing requirements ever, but that is not where we are today. And reciprocity no more tramples on states' rights than does letting a person drive from a different state. Frankly, a Pennsylvanian carrying in NJ is far less of a danger than someone from NJ driving in PA.

  • Hank Phillips||

    This just in: Stacy Dash, former Republican candidate in California who feels God is leading her, has just endorsed Austin Petersen.

  • dpbisme||

    Wait???? Can't anyone buy a Machine Gun now? I thought all you needed was a Class III Firearms License... I mean I see them for sale all the time on the Rock Island Auction Site... They are very expensive and you would have to be able to feed those beasties....

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