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The three cases that could determine Second Amendment incorporation:

In this week's Second Amendment podcast on iVoices.org, Jon Caldara and I discuss three different cases which could give the Supreme Court an opportunity to decide whether the Second Amendment is incorporated in the Fourteenth: the Chicago handgun ban; the Alameda County, California, gun show ban on county property; and the New York nunchaku ban. The MP3 is ll minutes.

Last week's podcast discussed the New York Times article which claimed that Heller is "firing blanks." The week before, Caldara was guest-hosting an afternoon radio show, and we talked about whether Colorado should follow the policy of some other states, whereby people with concealed carry permits (which require a fingerprint-based background check) should be required to go through the instant check (a name-based computer check) when buying an additional gun.

In case you missed them the first time, here the two most popular podcasts we've ever done on iVoices. Both of them are still getting hundreds of listens per week: How to Interpret the Constitution. I interview University of Montana Law Professor Rob Natelson. We discuss originalism, and Natelson's recent articles. Nov. 24, 2008. 31 minutes.

Interview with Richard Pearson, Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. Oct. 14, 2008. Pearson has been lobbying on sporting and right to arms issues at the Illinois legislature since 1989. He has more first-hand knowledge of Obama's record on these issues than anyone except Obama himself. In the 20-minutes podcast interview, Pearson suggests that Obama's claim about his supposed record of support for sportsmen is extremely inaccurate.

jim47:
Thanks. I always appreciate the podcast-y type stuff.
4.10.2009 6:12pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Here is the MP3 link.
4.10.2009 6:56pm
RPT (mail):
Does this community really believe that Obama has a stealth plan to confiscate everyone's guns, or is this simply a gun sales stimulus program and a GOP/Beck, Limbaugh, et al talking point (I documented a Beck quote on an earlier thread)? How would it be done? Is every step away from all guns for everyone all the time a thing to fear, as in the pro-choice restrictions on abortion perspective; that is, is every move down a slippery slope? Substantive comments please, based on actions, not intuition.
4.10.2009 8:53pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
RPT,

The problem I see, even if someone doesn't have a concious desire to ban guns (a proposition I find dubious for most of the left in power) they keep pushing for more regulation in a direction that has failed to produce the claimed benefit.

People who are unwilling to study their core beleifs in the face of evidence are not trust worthy. They will keep pushing for one more ban thinking the illusionary payout is just around the corner.
4.10.2009 9:19pm
glangston (mail):
They did confiscate weapons during Katrina. They were later forced to return them. That was Federal, State and local police in a combined effort.

Obama is not hanging his hat on this but Senator Feinstein is still keen to take them all. She will be on 60 Minutes this Sunday, April 12. Judge her intentions yourself or take her at her word that she would "take them all if she could get the votes". That's from another 60 Minutes show in 1995.
4.10.2009 9:38pm
M. Gross (mail):
Wait, a nunchucku ban? Seriously?

One has to wonder what public interest is served by such a thing. They're not much better than a wooden club if you're not relatively familiar with them. A kitchen knife would be of more utility to most people.
4.10.2009 9:50pm
ArthurKirkland:

People who are unwilling to study their core beleifs in the face of evidence are not trust worthy. They will keep pushing for one more ban thinking the illusionary payout is just around the corner.


Averting eyes from evidence is a common weakness that does not respect battle lines in the gun debates.

For example, a gun nut in Pittsburgh, a comprehensive loser and coward, recently ambushed and killed three police officers, one of whom bled to death as the shooter preventing help from reaching the fallen officer by controlled the area with a 300-yard-range AK-47.

That is among the costs of advocacy that goes beyond a firearm for self-defense in the home to push for concealed carry in schoolyards, armor-piercing ammunition, assault weapons, unlicensed weapons, and the like.

Anyone is entitled to advocate that the benefits of a gun free-for-all outweigh the costs. But no-restriction-on-guns advocates are not entitled to deny the costs of the positions they advance. Kim Stolfer, a prominent opponent of gun control, said in response to the recent tragedy that assault weapons can't be blamed for police officer deaths . . . that criminals could switch to other weapons. I am confident the officers prevented from reaching their colleague by an AK-47 would have expressed a preference for facing a pistol or a knife or a hammer or a baseball bat. We can't know the opinion of the officer who bled to death, because he became one of the costs of unrestricted guns. People like Kim Stolfer aren't man enough to admit it.
4.10.2009 10:21pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

A kitchen knife would be of more utility to most people.

First they came for my nunchaku, and I did nothing, because I was not a ninja.

And then they came for my kitchen knife, and there were no ninjas proficient with nunchakus to protect me.
4.10.2009 10:24pm
glangston (mail):
Arthur, the 911 operatorknew the gunman had weapons. His mother related this. The 911 operator failed to tell the Police, who, doubtless would have proceeded much differently.
4.10.2009 10:30pm
ArthurKirkland:
The 911 operator fumbled the call; the mother had indicated that her son (who had abundantly armed himself against Zionist-Obama plots and an invasion of the United States) possessed weapons but that they were "all legal" and that he had not threatened her. The operator typed "no weapons," which could be interpreted as none on site or none being used to threaten the caller.

The mother fumbled everything. She raised this loser, then knew her son had pried himself away from a white supremacist website long enough to put on gun belts and a bulletproof vest as he waited for the police.

The first two officers were dropped nearly immediately, shot with ammunition that tore through their bulletproof vests. The third officer -- driving home after his shift, he heard the original call and figured he would drive a couple of blocks to back up -- didn't know what had occurred a minute before he arrived, and was shot before he could get past the sidewalk. Injured, he called for help but bled in the street for nearly an hour while dozens of other officers watched, unable to help because the killer used his assault weapons (300-yard-range, reportedly) to control the area in front of the house.

The confluence of a number of factors is to be blamed for this incident, but an unregistered assault weapon is at the center of the picture.
4.10.2009 11:00pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

The confluence of a number of factors is to be blamed for this incident, but an unregistered assault weapon is at the center of the picture.

You don't mean to suggest that registration would have prevented this crime, do you? You'd have to have confiscation, correct?
4.10.2009 11:43pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> The first two officers were dropped nearly immediately, shot with ammunition that tore through their bulletproof vests. ... the killer used his assault weapons (300-yard-range, reportedly) to control the area in front of the house.

Is the poster suggesting that things would have been better if the killer had used an ordinary hunting rifle?

I ask because AK-47s shoot a medium weight bullet at a fairly slow velocity, at least by hunting rifle standards. 300 yards is an exaggeration, but if we're going to use that figure, typical hunting guns have >500 yard range.

And no, there's nothing special about the bullets. Ordinary hunting ammo goes through typical bullet resistant vests even easier. (Typical vests are designed to stop medium-power for handguns rounds, which are both larger in diameter and traveling much slower than rifle rounds.) handgun rounds.)

If you're going to argue that certain guns pose an unusual danger, it's good form to know how they're different from other guns.
4.10.2009 11:45pm
Dan M.:
The killer could have easily killed the first two officers with a handgun. He shot them in the head, I believe, and not through their vests.

The third officer could have easily been shot with a hunting rifle, and the killer could have easily held off the rest of the cops with a hunting rifle.

Charles Whitman pulled it all off with a hunting rifle. And it was civilians on the ground, using the rifles from their trucks, who forced Whitman to retreat to cover, and they saved numerous lives that day.
4.11.2009 12:23am
ArthurKirkland:
Why are gun "enthusiasts" so fascinated by (and protective of) AK-47s if a standard hunting rifle is better at killing many people quickly with greater range?

Why didn't this particular gun "enthusiast" use one of his pistols if the AK-47 was not better suited to the job?

A registration system might have correlated this particular assault weapon's association with a kook who was dishonorably discharged, had been on the wrong end of a protection-from-abuse order, and had been arrested several times.

Gun extremists are within their rights to argue that the benefits of unrestricted guns outweight the costs. But it is unbecoming to deny that the costs exist.
4.11.2009 12:24am
Kirk:
Does this community really believe that Obama has a stealth plan to confiscate everyone's guns
No, not at all, not if you mean a literal plan. On the other hand, he's voted in favor of every gun-control measure ever offered, has stated that he is in favor of restricting gun ownership, and appointed an AG whose record of public statements is even more anti-gun than he is.

I truly do believe that, as he said somewhere during the campaign, it's only the lack of the votes that's keeping him from imposing serious new unconstitutional restrictions on firearms ownership.
4.11.2009 12:35am
J. Aldridge:
Incorporating the Second Amendment via the 14th is impossible if the court relies on the text, meaning and history of the 14th's words.

But I guess there is nothing to stop the court from assuming to own and use firearms for personal defense is a privilege or immunity or a liberty of the person (barf).
4.11.2009 12:39am
Dan M.:
Well, they could simply read "shall not be infringed" and realize that it doesn't say "except by the states."
4.11.2009 12:54am
Kevin P. (mail):

ArthurKirkland:
A registration system might have correlated this particular assault weapon's association with a kook who was dishonorably discharged, had been on the wrong end of a protection-from-abuse order, and had been arrested several times.


There are some gun registration systems that exist in the US. You won't mind producing some citations of where a gun registration scheme prevented or solved a crime.

Of course, considering the general lack of understanding of firearms that you just displayed in this thread, you may be unsuccessful.

"Assault weapon" means a gun that looks scary to the uninformed, but functions no different than other firearms.

The Assault Weapons ban was born in deceit - in the words of gun control activist Josh Sugarmann:

Assault weapons - just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms - are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons - anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun - can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

Link: http://www.vpc.org/studies/awaconc.htm

It is amazing how many people have been taken in by this fraud.
4.11.2009 1:17am
Kevin P. (mail):
Barack Obama on Gun Policy

As a state legislator in Illinois, Obama supported banning the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic firearms, increasing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms and requiring manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms.[254]

In 1996, during Obama's run for the Illinois State Senate, he was surveyed by a Chicago nonprofit, Independent Voters of Illinois about criminal justice and other issues. Obama's questionnaire showed that he supported a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns. Subsequently, Obama denied that his writing was on the document and said that he never favored a ban on the sale and possession of handguns.[255][256][257] In 1999, he urged prohibiting the operation of any gun store within five miles of a school or park, which according to gun-rights advocates would eliminate gun stores from most of the inhabited portion of the United States.[258] He sponsored a bill in 2000 limiting handgun purchases to one per month.

As state senator, he voted against a 2004 measure that allowed self-defense as an affirmative defense for those charged with violating local laws making it otherwise unlawful for such persons to possess firearms.[259] He also voted against allowing persons who had obtained domestic violence protective orders to carry handguns for their protection.[258]

From 1994 through 2002, Obama was a board member of the Joyce Foundation, which amongst other non-gun related activities provides funds for gun control organizations in the United States.[260][261]

While in the U.S. Senate, Obama has supported several gun control measures, including restricting the purchase of firearms at gun shows and the reauthorization of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.[262] Obama voted against legislation protecting firearm manufacturers from certain liability suits, which gun-rights advocates say are designed to bankrupt the firearms industry.[263] Obama did vote in favor of the 2006 Vitter Amendment to prohibit the confiscation of lawful firearms during an emergency or major disaster, which passed 84-16.[264]

During a February 15, 2008 press conference, Obama stated, "I think there is an individual right to bear arms, but it's subject to commonsense regulation."[265] Obama has also stated his opposition to allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms[266] and supports a national law outlawing the practice,[267][268] saying on Chicago Public Radio in 2004 "I continue to support a ban on concealed carry laws".[269]

Obama initially voiced support of Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban. Following the Supreme Court decision that the ban was unconstitutional, he revised his position in support of the decision overturning the law, saying, "Today's decision reinforces that if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe."[270] He also said, in response to the ruling, "I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms... The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view."[271]

After being elected as President, Obama announced that he favors measures that respect Second Amendment rights, while at the same time keeping guns away from children and criminals. He further stated that he supports banning private transfers of firearms at gun shows (referred to as "closing the gun show loophole"), "making guns in this country childproof", and permanently reinstating the expired Assault Weapons Ban.[272]
4.11.2009 1:21am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> Why are gun "enthusiasts" so fascinated by (and protective of) AK-47s if a standard hunting rifle is better at killing many people quickly with greater range?

It's unclear what "enthusiast" is supposed to mean.

What makes the poster so sure that AKS-47s are disproportionately used (in comparison to actual ownership) as opposed to disproportionately named in news accounts? (Don't rely on news reports to accurately identify guns.)

I use the name AKS-47s because actual AK-47s are full-autos. The guns in question aren't. The error is like confusing your neighbor's car with a nascar car. (Hint - the only similarity is the outward appearance.)

AKS-47s are very common because they're reasonably inexpensive and well made, ie a good value.

And, to the extent that AKS-47s are disproprotionately used, what of it?

Late model Chevrolet sedans are actually disproportionately used in "drive-bys". Yet, there isn't much that we can do with that information because no one thinks that restricting Chevrolets would matter and the vast majority aren't used for drive-bys. Which of those points don't apply to AK-47s.

> Gun extremists are within their rights to argue that the benefits of unrestricted guns outweight the costs. But it is unbecoming to deny that the costs exist.

That's nice, but irrelevant because no one is actually denying that there are costs.

Then again, factual accuracy doesn't seem to one of Kirkland's concerns. (We've already seen that his position doesn't depend on whether his supporting evidence is actually true.) He's just looking for rhetorical hooks.
4.11.2009 1:28am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> Why are gun "enthusiasts" so fascinated by (and protective of) AK-47s if a standard hunting rifle is better at killing many people quickly with greater range?

If it's actually true, one likely explanation is that the media has said that they're the weapon of choice for kooks.

> A registration system might have correlated this particular assault weapon's association with a kook who was dishonorably discharged, had been on the wrong end of a protection-from-abuse order, and had been arrested several times.

Umm, it sounds like said kook couldn't legally own. If so, existing gun control laws failed, so why the assumption that another law of dubious value (remember that Chevrolet sedans are disproportionately used in drive-bys yet the vast majority are never used in drive-bys and there are readily available substitutes) would have had any value?
4.11.2009 2:02am
Andy Freeman (mail):
As Kopel points out, streaking pretty much disappeared when news coverage of streaking stopped. That's relevant because it's pretty clear that many/most of the kooks that Kirkland is concerned by are driven by a need to be famous.

Since the fame of being a murderous kook comes only from media, the fame-seeking-kook is a cost of freedom of the press. Does Kirkland think that the benefit of allowing coverage of kooks outweighs the costs? (Blood for ratings, as it were, although, as with streaking, the news is not obligated to cover, it just chooses to, or not.)

In any event, since other gun owners are not fame-seeking kooks, it's unclear why we should be subject to measures aimed at fame-seeking kooks.
4.11.2009 2:17am
J. Aldridge:
Well, they could simply read "shall not be infringed" and realize that it doesn't say "except by the states."

They could also read it, as with all ten amendments, as “restrictive and explanatory" and indicative of “jealousy of the federal powers, and an anxiety to multiply securities against a constructive enlargement of them.”
4.11.2009 2:56am
Gene Hoffman (mail) (www):
ArthurKirkland,

Just as you ask those who are against the prohibition of firearms must admit to the costs, those who are for prohibition need to admit to the costs. If rifles and shotguns (just like the ones used in the incidents you discuss) had been prohibited, the KKK may have stopped the civil rights movement cold in Alabama and the US DOJ may have never gotten involved.

I'll trade sporadic acts of violence by mad men for dissuading official violence run amok. In Bogalusa Alabama, the KKK was run by the local sheriff and the mayor - a not unusual state of affairs in the Deep South in the 1960's.

-Gene
4.11.2009 4:37am
Fact Checker:
If rifles and shotguns (just like the ones used in the incidents you discuss) had been prohibited, the KKK may have stopped the civil rights movement cold in Alabama and the US DOJ may have never gotten involved.

And they did for one hundred years.

By what stretch of logic do you do you reach this conclusion? By in large, the civil rights movement succeeded because it was nonviolent and used peaceful protest, the courts, and legislation in the face of often deadly violence. In fact the use of deadly violence by whites against blacks was almost never punished while any use or threatened use of violence by blacks against whites almost insusred harsh reprisals up to and including long prison sentences and extralegal killings.
4.11.2009 4:47am
Avatar (mail):
Kirkland,

It's true. Very occasionally, someone who was previously a legal gun owner is going to flip out and shoot someone. This isn't in dispute. Naturally, it's not something gun owners like to talk about; most steak restaurants don't have a stack of PETA fliers at the door showing people graphic pictures of butchered cows either.

That said, what's your point? People die because other people use their rights irresponsibly; the Second Amendment is not unique in that. A nut reads a website and kills someone - do we need to revoke freedom of speech? A nut goes to church and decides to kill an abortion doctor - should we revoke freedom of religion? A criminal gets off because of an improper search conducted by police and later rapes and kills someone - should the Fourth Amendment be repealed?

Fact is, there's nothing special about an "assault weapon" that makes it deadlier than any other semi-auto rifle, unless you consider a pistol grip or the presence of a bayonet lug to be terrifying. The only difference between the two types of weapons are cosmetic features, and the fact that "assault weapon" gets confused with "assault rifle" (which is a fully-automatic military rifle). To the extent that you use the term as "a class of weapons that should be regulated more heavily", you're either being dishonest or ignorant. The latter is much more likely - like I said, people misuse the term, specifically because it causes confusion and makes people like you want to ban more guns.

It's like agitating against enthusiasts having engines with 1000 horsepower, because they're more likely to speed. Well, yes, the sort of person who has a 1000-horsepower engine is more likely to speed, but a freakin' Civic will go 120. Banning hot-rodders' overpowered engines won't actually help speeding at all; you're just inconveniencing some people to make yourself feel better. (Except, with guns, you're also trampling on a Constitutional right to get there...)
4.11.2009 5:38am
Fact Checker:
Fact is, there's nothing special about an "assault weapon" that makes it deadlier than any other semi-auto rifle, unless you consider a pistol grip or the presence of a bayonet lug to be terrifying. The only difference between the two types of weapons are cosmetic features, and the fact that "assault weapon" gets confused with "assault rifle" (which is a fully-automatic military rifle).

But the fact is that there are things about "assault weapons", however ill-defined the term is, that makes them pretty useless for anything other than killing people--and generally as a offensive, not a defensive weapon. "Assault weapons", at least as us gun confiscators define them, are those semi-automatic weapons that either are simply semi-automatic versions of assault rifles designed specifically for modern warfare or cheap imitations of such rifles. As such, they generally don't have the characteristics that make them much good as hunting rifles as they are designed as relatively short range weapons. In their military configuration their high rate of fire and intended use (as a short range weapon) makes up for their relatively low velocity and not particularly precise accuracy. What use they are as semi automatics, other than looking mean, which you claim doesn't make people want to buy them, is beyond me.
4.11.2009 7:33am
Brett Bellmore:

Incorporating the Second Amendment via the 14th is impossible if the court relies on the text, meaning and history of the 14th's words.


Sometimes I wonder who you think you're fooling.
4.11.2009 7:35am
Brett Bellmore:

But the fact is that there are things about "assault weapons", however ill-defined the term is, that makes them pretty useless for anything other than killing people


Ok, I think you've just demonstrated that you know very little about actual firearms, although you're certainly chock full of gun control talking points. (That "useless for anything but killing people" line is one of their favorites.) I've got a Calico Liberty 100, which is about as "assault rifle"ish as it gets, what with being black from one end to the other, 100 round helical magazine, retractable stock, Kelly grip, you name the '94 banned feature, this baby has it. In fact, I think it was one of the guns they banned by name.

And it's actually a darned fine gun. So perfectly balanced you can fire it from one hand like a pistol, even with a full magazine. Comes apart without any tools for cleaning. 100 round magazines are perfect for an afternoon of plinking in the back yard. Pretty reliable, too, as you'd expect from a modified machine gun; Machine guns have to be able to fire a LOT of shots without trouble, after all.

I wouldn't take it deer hunting, it fires the wrong ammo for that, but it slaughters pop cans just fine, and that's not "killing people" where I come from.

Generally speaking, "assault weapons" are just the civilian versions of military arms, and the government isn't looking to buy lousy firearms. That
4.11.2009 7:48am
Fact Checker:
I wouldn't take it deer hunting, it fires the wrong ammo for that, but it slaughters pop cans just fine, and that's not "killing people" where I come from.

Sorry, I didn't realize that assault weapons were designed for "plinking", and that vast amounts of R&D is spent by firearms manufacturers to ensure that you can take out a lot of cans without reloading. Be careful though, you might shoot your eye out.

Generally speaking, "assault weapons" are just the civilian versions of military arms, and the government isn't looking to buy lousy firearms.

I didn't say the the government looks to buy lousy firearms. But the government buys firearms for one purpose--to kill people. I said that semi-auto civilian versions aren't good for much other than looking cool. You admit as much by confessing yours isn't much good for hunting much of anything other than beer cans.
4.11.2009 8:44am
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

As such, they generally don't have the characteristics that make them much good as hunting rifles as they are designed as relatively short range weapons.

So-called "assault weapons" actually differ quite a bit. The AR-15 has an effective range of at least 600 yards.

You realize you have no idea what you're talking about.

And just so we're clear, you would rather have people hunting than shooting beer cans? Why? What do you have against deer?!?
4.11.2009 8:57am
Dan M.:
Of course they're good for killing people. The best self-defense is a great offense.
4.11.2009 9:02am
cboldt (mail):
-- But the government buys firearms for one purpose--to kill people. --
.
In light of that observation, the government should be the FIRST entity that is banned from possession of firearms.
4.11.2009 9:52am
Kevin P. (mail):

Fact Free Checker:
"Assault weapons", at least as us gun confiscators define them...

Thanks for being honest!
... are those semi-automatic weapons that either are simply semi-automatic versions of assault rifles designed specifically for modern warfare or cheap imitations of such rifles. As such, they generally don't have the characteristics that make them much good as hunting rifles as they are designed as relatively short range weapons.


I have an FN-FAL semi-automatic rifle firing the .308 / 7.62 mm NATO round. It makes a fine deer rifle, accurate up to 600 yards, and it was banned under the 1994 AWB.

You gun confiscators really don't understand or use firearms much. It is like having the Amish write freeway traffic rules (no offense intended to the Amish).

One more time, from the VPC playbook about assault weapons:


Assault weapons - just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms - are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons - anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun - can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

Link: http://www.vpc.org/studies/awaconc.htm
4.11.2009 10:25am
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

I have an FN-FAL semi-automatic rifle firing the .308 / 7.62 mm NATO round. It makes a fine deer rifle, accurate up to 600 yards, and it was banned under the 1994 AWB.

Let me know if you ever want to sell that thing.
4.11.2009 11:00am
AJK:
I'm just curious — in describing the length of the MP3, why did you use two lower-case L's instead of two 1's?
4.11.2009 11:00am
ArthurKirkland:
(1) I believe the Constitution -- although not necessarily the Second Amendment -- entitles a citizen to possess a firearm for self-defense in the home.

(2) I do not believe the Constitution forbids reasonable regulation of firearms. Those who rely on the Second Amendment to argue that such regulation is unconstitutional appear to engage in result-driven gymnastics -- ignoring the "militia" provision, disregarding the record concerning reasonable restrictions of other rights, stretching Heller and other decisions, etc. -- to reach or advocate an unreasonable interpretation.

(3) Registration, restriction of gun attributes, requiring waiting periods, restriction of ammunition attributes, exclusion of guns from public places, prevention of concealed carry, ineligibilty of certain persons to possess firearms, prohibiting trafficking, and similar gun control measures strike me as reasonable and constitutional. I am not familiar with any persuasive argument or controlling authority to the contrary.

(4) I recognize that many advocates of uncontrolled guns feel strongly about their position. However, that, in part, is why some are dangerous. They conclude that violation of law is justifiable. Often, their radical views concerning guns are coupled with other forms of extremism (the Pittsburgh shooter frequented a white supremacist website, expected an invasion of the United States, believed Obama was coming for his guns, argued that Zionists control and are ruining the world, had strange views concerning interpersonal relationships, was expelled from high school and the Marines, etc.). The mixture of intense firepower and extreme views is a bad combination, one society need not tolerate.

(5) It is difficult or perhaps impossible to square the 'aw shucks, it's just another gun' arguments with (a) the fascination many people have with extreme weapons and ammunition, (b) the frequency with which those weapons are involved in particularly ugly incidents, (c) my experience with police officers' opinions regarding extreme weapons, and similar factors.

(6) When elected officials enact restrictions of extreme weapons, they appear to be acting reasonably and in concert with the opinions of their constituents. I see no controlling authority or persuasive argument that overcomes properly legislated restrictions of firearms, including bans of extreme weapons, requirements that every firearm be registered, and establishment of a system that carefully controls every transaction.

(7) Dead police officers are a cost of uncontrolled, extreme weapons. Failure to acknowledge this point reflects poorly on advocates of unrestricted firearms and their arguments.
4.11.2009 11:12am
LarryA (mail) (www):
I was an infantry officer for twenty years, and I’ve been a civilian firearms instructor and master hunter education instructor for longer than that.
"Assault weapons", at least as us gun confiscators define them, are those semi-automatic weapons that either are simply semi-automatic versions of assault rifles designed specifically for modern warfare or cheap imitations of such rifles.
Equipment “designed for modern warfare” tends to be rugged, reliable, easy to maintain, and relatively simple. Those characteristics also make such equipment good for civilian use. Military advances in everything from airplanes to boots have improved products people use every day.

Also note that the “gun confiscators” definition of “assault weapons” tends to expand well beyond your summary. According to the Washington D.C. gun laws any firearm with a removable magazine was included, specifically including almost all semiauto handguns. Current "assault weapon" ban proposals also include the .50 cal Barret, which is about as far as you can go in the other directon.
As such, they generally don't have the characteristics that make them much good as hunting rifles as they are designed as relatively short range weapons.
Depends on what you’re hunting. I wouldn’t recommend an “assault weapon” to hunt whitetail deer or mule deer, and it would be almost useless for pronghorn antelope. However, if feral hogs or javelina are what you’re looking for the AR-15 or AKM are just about perfect. In brush country you aren’t going to get 300-yard shots. Intermediate-caliber cartridges are perfect for game that size. Either species is mean enough and fast enough that a 20 or 30-round magazine is welcome. Did I mention javelina can run in packs?

Then you have ranchers, who deal with packs of feral dogs, coyotes, and so forth.

As a firearm instructor I find the AR-15 to be an excellent first centerfire rifle. It’s lightweight, the .223 Remington generates little recoil, the straight stock (necessitating the pistol grip) makes it easier to control, and it’s a fun rifle to shoot. It’s especially appropriate when you have small students, young, female, or nerdy, who don’t have a lot of upper-body strength. It’s also easy to shoot from a wheelchair, while balanced on crutches or leg braces, or with many upper limb deformities. You don’t have to worry about a fine wood stock getting scratched, the action is utterly reliable, and surplus ammo is inexpensive. Since I start new rifle shooters at 50 yards and work up to 200, intermediate-range accuracy is a feature, not a bug.
4.11.2009 11:26am
pintler:
For some perspective on officer line of duty deaths:

"The number of officers killed by gunfire and in traffic-related incidents both increased in 2007, the latter reaching a record high of 81. So far this year, 69 officers have been shot and killed,..."

Since more officers die on the job from traffic 'accidents' than shootings, shouldn't we be cracking down on drivers? In this country, you can serve your time for vehicular homicide, and the day you are released, you can buy a car no questions asked. If you are found driving without a license, there isn't a 5 year minimum sentence, either. Cracking down on dangerous drivers would also go a long way to save some of the 40K people killed in traffic 'accidents', too - four times as many as are murdered by guns.

I'm actually not being facetious - we go nuts over guns and the war on terror, but don't seem to get particularly excited about traffic deaths, despite traffic accidents being the leading cause of death from ages 3 to 33.
4.11.2009 11:26am
Brett Bellmore:
I don't believe the Constitution prohibits "reasonable" regulation of firearms, although if we're going to take enumerated powers doctrine seriously, it would have to be at the state level.

But a gun controller calling his latest proposal "reasonable" doesn't make it so. D.C. had, and largely still has, the most restrictive gun laws in the country, and you couldn't get gun controllers to say D.C. had gone too far. If that's a measure of what gun controllers think is "reasonable", what would they balk at? Death camps for gun owners? Maybe, but I wouldn't want to bet on it.
4.11.2009 11:26am
J. Aldridge:
Brett Bellmore said: "Sometimes I wonder who you think you're fooling."

And sometimes I wonder if you are capable of comprehending plain english! Bingham: "Fourteenth Amendment of the constitution may be more fully understood, permit me to say that the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, as contradistinguished from citizens of a State..."

Why did he say that? He said, “words ‘citizens of the United States,’ and ‘citizens of the States,’ as employed in the Fourteenth Amendment, did not change or modify the relations of citizens of the State and the nation as they existed under the original Constitution.” That means he isn't addressing state resident citizens, but citizens of one state within another state under the original constitution because the relationship wasn't changed.

He also wrote on January 30, 1871:

The clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” does not, in the opinion of the committee, refer to privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States other than those privileges and immunities embraced in the original text of the Constitution, article four, section two.


Anyone who knows Bingham's mode of legal thinking and speeches know he was talking about Webster's "injunctions and prohibitions" theory in his March 31, 1871 speech. That theory says officers of a state (mainly judges) who through their oath to recognize the U.S. Constitution would never deny to citizens of another state (citizens of the United States) the same privileges or immunities extended to resident citizens of the state.
4.11.2009 11:36am
Fact Checker:
You realize you have no idea what you're talking about.

What did I say that was inaccurate?
4.11.2009 11:49am
LarryA (mail) (www):
By the way, CNN has a new gun control poll, and they are shocked, shocked with the results.
(CNN) -- From Oakland, California, to Binghamton, New York, several mass shootings in recent weeks have killed dozens across the country. But has there been an effect on public opinion?

Yes, and in a surprising way.

Since 2001, most Americans have favored stricter gun laws, though support has slightly dropped in recent years: 54 percent favored stricter laws in 2001, compared with 50 percent in 2007, according to Gallup polling.

Now, a recent poll reveals a sudden drop -- only 39 percent of Americans now favor stricter gun laws, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.


They blame the drop on Obama’s politics, but I doubt that.

To tie into this thread, I think DC v Heller is one of the factors playing into the change. In my experience, lots of people who answer survey questions favoring “stricter gun laws” don’t actually know how much gun control is already out there. This specifically includes folks who don’t own firearms and aren’t particularly pro or anti-gun; the prime demographic for changing attitudes. Last fall I taught a “What Happened to the Second Amendment” class through our community education program. One of the students thought we needed a law mandating a background check before someone could buy a gun from a gun store.

But during Heller they saw the Brady folks, Violence policy Center, the DC city government, anti-gun Congressmembers, et al define “reasonable gun regulation” as DC’s complete ban on handguns, a ban on many models of long guns, restrictive registration of those guns that are permitted, and a “safe storage” law that criminalizes unlocking, assembling, and loading a shotgun even while someone is breaking down the front door.

Those who think Heller “fired blanks” aren’t accounting for its educational value.
4.11.2009 12:10pm
ArthurKirkland:
Gun fetishists who argue for uncontrolled guns aren't that far, in some ways (including with respect to constitutional arguments), from pedophiles who believe that the First Amendment safeguards child pornography.

Both have strong feelings about the subject matter, to the point at which they "need" that which they argue the Constitutional entitles them to possess.

Neither is willing to recognize (or at least to acknowledge) the costs and victims associated with their positions.

Both see things in the Constitution that most people do not.

Both believe they are entitled to violate laws they do not recognize as legitimte.

Both are extremists who embrace the 'what part of shall not be infringed do you not understand?' breed of legal reasoning.

I have no doubt that many feel strongly about guns, to the point of believing that God or natural law or the Constitution or some other source entitles them to own an unregistered, fully automatic, long-range rifle with enhanced ammunition, and to carry it around in the trunk of a car or display it while walking along a public sidewalk. But that desire, like the desire to create or possess depictions of five-year-olds being raped, is one that is to be checked at the door of our civilized society.
4.11.2009 12:27pm
Melancton Smith:
Arthur Kirkland wrote:

(2) I do not believe the Constitution forbids reasonable regulation of firearms. Those who rely on the Second Amendment to argue that such regulation is unconstitutional appear to engage in result-driven gymnastics -- ignoring the "militia" provision, disregarding the record concerning reasonable restrictions of other rights, stretching Heller and other decisions, etc. -- to reach or advocate an unreasonable interpretation.


Yes, let's please quit ignoring the militia clause and quit attempting to ban civilian ownership of militia suitable arms.

Don't you see the contradiction in your talking points? You want to ban military style weapons because they aren't suitable for anything but killing people yet disparage ignoring the militia clause which is exactly about killing people.

---------------------------------------------------

J. Aldridge wrote:

blah blah blah blah...[same old thoroughly debunked position on 14th incorporation].
4.11.2009 12:45pm
AJK:

Gun fetishists who argue for uncontrolled guns aren't that far, in some ways (including with respect to constitutional arguments), from pedophiles who believe that the First Amendment safeguards child pornography.



Regardless of the merits, do you really think this kind of argumentation has any persuasive value?
4.11.2009 1:00pm
ArthurKirkland:
The well-regulated militia clause is relatively opaque; it is part of the reason the Second Amendment does not serve well extremists on either side of debates concerning regulation of guns.

Which is likely the reason those advocating largely unrestricted guns ignore that clause (and several established points of constitutional interpretation) as they loudly proclaim the constitution's role in establishing unqualified "rights."
RWhiteman (a screename Richard Poplawski used on a gun nuts' forum
when he wasn't calling himself "Braced For Fate") summarizes the argument:


Like I mentioned, the first thought running through my mind as a response to the "why do you have a gun" question was "the right of an individual to bear arms in defense of self and state SHALL NOT BE QUESTIONED!"
4.11.2009 1:36pm
seadrive:

Fact Checker: What did I say that was inaccurate?



As such, they generally don't have the characteristics that make them much good as hunting rifles as they are designed as relatively short range weapons.
4.11.2009 1:39pm
seadrive:
Sorry, mis-click.

Fact Checker: What did I say that was inaccurate?


Fact Checker: As such, they generally don't have the characteristics that make them much good as hunting rifles as they are designed as relatively short range weapons.

Larry A: However, if feral hogs or javelina are what you’re looking for the AR-15 or AKM are just about perfect.

'nuff said.
4.11.2009 1:41pm
ArthurKirkland:
Gun advocates who chafe against reasonable restrictions are taking the path of speech absolutists, who would use the First Amendment to shield every form of expression in every context. Child pornography is just one example. Lies or misleading statements in a commercial solicitation. A false "fire!" in a crowded space. Unauthorized use of another's likeness for commercial gain or to support a cause. Publication of surreptitious photographs or video from a public restroom, a changing room or a bedroom.
4.11.2009 1:46pm
Gene Hoffman (mail) (www):
Fact Checker

By what stretch of logic do you do you reach this conclusion? By in large, the civil rights movement succeeded because it was nonviolent and used peaceful protest, the courts, and legislation in the face of often deadly violence. In fact the use of deadly violence by whites against blacks was almost never punished while any use or threatened use of violence by blacks against whites almost insusred harsh reprisals up to and including long prison sentences and extralegal killings.

You probably haven't been exposed to the Deacons for Defense. One of the major reasons that the civil rights movement was able to appear non violent is that NCO's from WWII and Korea were able to provide meaningful armed guardians to CORE and SNIC workers. For obvious reasons NAACP and others didn't want to publicize the night to night reality as it would frighten Northern supporters who have a general distaste for weapons.

A general distaste and ignorance about the import of firearms that is clearly on display here as well.

-Gene
4.11.2009 1:54pm
Gene Hoffman (mail) (www):
ArthurKirkland,

It is amusing that you use the public disclosure of surreptitious video or photography as your speech absolute. The parallels between having an expectation of privacy in my home and an expectation of privacy in my gun safe are ironically parallel.

-Gene
4.11.2009 2:00pm
ArthurKirkland:

Regardless of the merits, do you really think this kind of argumentation has any persuasive value?


That's a good point, because of the disgusting nature of child pornography. In other respects, however, the analogy seems apt.

The stain of child pornography makes me wish that I had found another strain of First Amendment (or other constitutional) absolutism to illustrate the weaknesses, the grave consequences (dead police officers strike me as a severe casualty) and the zealotry of some gun advocates' Second Amendment absolutism.

Can anyone identify another group of First Amendment (or other constitution-related) absolutists whose extremism provides an apt analog to that of the radicals advocating a free-for-all with respect to guns?
4.11.2009 2:06pm
Kevin P. (mail):
ArthurKirkland, your arms must be sore from all the strawmen you have erected. When is the bonfire?

Even the most radical gun owners are willing to accept some restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, particularly where the exercise of the right actually causes harm to others in the real world, as opposed to in your fevered imagination.

I am sure your "arguments" and "apt analogs" cause you to amuse yourself periodically. I doubt that they are particularly persuasive to anybody else. However - please keep at it! Your strawmen, strained analogies and easily refuted misrepresentations become representative of the gun control argument. Keep up the good work; it can only benefit us.
4.11.2009 2:12pm
ArthurKirkland:
I don't see the humor, Gene, or the parallels.

Gun extremists love guns in public as well as in gun safes. They want guns to be under pillows as well as in safes. They don't recognize that the contents of their gun safes are subject to regulation for the reasons my recording and publication of activity on my property is subject to restriction -- because one's conduct with respect to "private" property can generate adverse consequences for others.
4.11.2009 2:14pm
zippypinhead:
"Assault weapons", at least as us gun confiscators define them, are those semi-automatic weapons that either are simply semi-automatic versions of assault rifles designed specifically for modern warfare or cheap imitations of such rifles. As such, they generally don't have the characteristics that make them much good as hunting rifles as they are designed as relatively short range weapons.
Methinks you should become at least minimally informed before opining on these issues. You either (a) have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to firearms technology, and/or (b) have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to current "assault weapons" ban proposals. Please read HR1022, which was Rep. McCarthy's 2007 attempt to expand the 1994 AWB - this is generally cited as the starting point for current AWB proposals. To pick just a few of the many examples of how this bill mindlessly overreaches:

1. It bans all AR-class rifles, either by name, or with the catchall presumption of a ban on any "semiautomatic rifle or shotgun originally designed for military or law enforcement use, or a firearm based on the design of such a firearm." However, the AR-15 is THE rifle of choice used in highpower and service rifle competitive target shooting, including the prestigious National Matches. I'm sure all those endangered paper targets are breathing much easier knowing Rep. McCarthy wants to protect them by banning the dominant competitive target rifle.

2. It bans the Ruger Mini-14 by name. Only Ruger actually calls that mode the "Ranch Rifle." But it's also arguably prohibited by the catchall, since the Mini-14, like some other rifles, uses the feed system perfected a half century ago for the old M-14 battle rifle. The Mini-14/Ranch Rifle, however, is the most popular semiautomatic "varmint" rifle sold today, and is used by farmers to dispatch the sort of large invasive rodents and other vermin that interfere with agriculture, create leg-breaking holes in horse pastures, etc.

3. It bans the M1 Carbine by name, and the M1 Garand under the catchall. Both are, of course, vintage WWII and Korea-era military rifles that are popular with collectors and re-enactors today, and are classified by ATF as "curios and relics" under Federal firearms regulations. Neither are any good for criminal use. The last time an M1 Carbine was reportedly used in a criminal act was 1966. To my knowledge the Garand has never been reported as a crime gun in the last 40 years (leaving aside that model's use by the National Guardsmen at Kent State) - although Clint Eastwood did brandish it to good effect in his most recent movie. Interestingly, the M1 Carbine fires such a low-powered round that it's perhaps the only .30 caliber rifle out there against which a conventional soft Kevlar vest of the sort worn by the police might be effective -- one of the big rips against the M1 Carbine was it wouldn't always stop heavily-dressed Chinese troops during winter fighting in Korea.

As for the dangers of "high powered," "cop-killer" rifles like the AKS-47 (7.62x39mm): the AKS-, and its older cousin the SKS, are intermediate-powered rifles with stopping power no greater than the .30-30 deer rifle round developed in the late 19th century. the 7.62x39 is significantly less powerful than almost any common large game cartridge, including the century-old .30-06. As others have noted, any deer rifle, and even some rifles not powerful enough for most deer hunting such as the .223, can easily penetrate the type of vests worn by police.
4.11.2009 2:17pm
Gene Hoffman (mail) (www):
ArthurKirkland,

You'll note that bear arms does not have an "in public" exception. The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures has a high cost of allowing adverse consequences for others but for good reasons we don't want to allow the state to search us in public without a real reason.

Have you thought that your desire to supposedly limit the externalities of the public carry of firearms means that you are inflicting an external cost on those who are then killed because they had no means to self defense?

You see the world from the perspective that guns only have costs. Your equation has no counter balancing effects of firearms on preventing confrontation or ending confrontation with less, rather than more damage.

If firearms were not on balance effective defensive tools, then why would every municipality, county, state, and federal police force choose to equip their officers with them? Why don't they leave their arms safely at the station?

Which benefits of firearms are you willing to admit to?

-Gene
4.11.2009 2:21pm
ArthurKirkland:
I wish those three dead police officers were illusory, or straw men.

I've never seen sensible arguments for private ownership of an automatic gun or armor-piercing ammunition or unregistered firearms or an anti-tank weapon, let alone such an argument that requires invalidation of a properly enacted law. If that argument exists, one would have expected it to have surfaced in two centuries of constitutional litigation. If it doesn't gain purchase during Justice Scalia's service on the Supreme Court, I don't expect it to become law during my lifetime or a substantial period beyond that. The Heller decision -- with which I agreed, concerning the "individual right" issue -- may be the high-water mark for gun extremists.

I hope it is.
4.11.2009 2:25pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> By in large, the civil rights movement succeeded because it was nonviolent and used peaceful protest, the courts, and legislation in the face of often deadly violence.

That assumes that the civil rights movement started in the 60s when it was basically summer camp for bored white college kids. It didn't. The 60s civil rights movement was possible because the 50s civil rights movement survived. It survived because it defended itself, with guns. The good guys didn't always win, but the fact that they tried incresed the costs that the bad guys had to pay.

Kates has written some good stuff on this.
4.11.2009 2:30pm
Gene Hoffman (mail) (www):
So your answer is that you refuse to admit to any benefits from the private ownership and carrying of firearms?

I'd prefer three dead officers to the costs of allowing mass public shootings to have no risk to the shooter. You'll note that Germany basically has the rules you're advocating, yet there was a mass public shooting there quite recently.

It's not as media worthy because it doesn't have a vilified firearm in it, but in just the past day or so a martial artist killed two and almost a third with his bare hands.

A non violent utopia is noble, but unrealistic.

-Gene
4.11.2009 2:31pm
Kenno (mail):
Gun fetishists who argue for uncontrolled guns aren't that far, in some ways (including with respect to constitutional arguments), from pedophiles who believe that the First Amendment safeguards child pornography.

Yeah, I know you tried to walk back from this. But it illustrates your thoughts. Frankly, if someone took an average gun owner and one of the 3 or 4 gun control activists in the nation, pointed them out to me, and said,"One of these men is a pedophile. Guess which one," I'd pick the one who looked soft and indoorsy. Which one do you think that would be, huh?

Both have strong feelings about the subject matter, to the point at which they "need" that which they argue the Constitutional entitles them to possess.

Actually, the whole point of the 2nd Amendment is that "need" has nothing to do with it. We don't "need" guns. We choose to have them, and you don't have what it takes to stop us.

Neither is willing to recognize (or at least to acknowledge) the costs and victims associated with their positions.

That's because there aren't any. You are aware of this as well; the reason you fight like hell to keep "gun free zones" is that you know that they increase the number of gun deaths--a number you are trying to maximize, so as to get people to support confiscation.

Both see things in the Constitution that most people do not.

Sorry, buddy, even the most left-biased polls say that the overwhelming majority do see an individual 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Both believe they are entitled to violate laws they do not recognize as legitimte.

Yeah, that's why the SAF went through legal channels to get the unconstitutional DC gun ban declared, well, what it was.

Both are extremists who embrace the 'what part of shall not be infringed do you not understand?' breed of legal reasoning.

The difference, of course, being that gun rights supporters want only the right defined in the Constitution--to keep and bear arms--whereas the pedophiles want not only to speak out for child porn, which is their right, but actually to take part in the production of it--even if only in the sense of funding the production--which is not illegal speech, but the illegal activity of child rape.

I have no doubt that many feel strongly about guns, to the point of believing that God or natural law or the Constitution or some other source entitles them to own an unregistered, fully automatic, long-range rifle with enhanced ammunition, and to carry it around in the trunk of a car or display it while walking along a public sidewalk. But that desire, like the desire to create or possess depictions of five-year-olds being raped, is one that is to be checked at the door of our civilized society.

Considering that in the vast majority of states, close to a majority has "unregistered...long-range rifle[s]," and the states in which this is most common seem to have very low crime rates, I fail to see why this "desire" needs to be "checked at the door of our civilized society." Is it because it offends you? Tough.

Just FYI, there are a lot more of us than there are of you. So, frankly, your argument that we're the freaks doesn't hold water. The average "gun nut" has a much more balanced social life than, say, gun control fanatic and ex-cultist Arianna Huffington. They also have personal incomes far closer to the median--and much more honestly (and non-sexually) earned--than she does. It is your side that are the weird obsessive ones.
4.11.2009 2:39pm
Avatar (mail):
Kirkland, you've admitted that you're ignorant on the topic (at the very least, you're failing to see distinctions which are clear to those who are informed on the topic; nor, when confronted with your ignorance, have you elected to change your position one whit. "Don't bother me about the facts, I have my opinion!")

Nobody wants to talk about "uncontrolled arms". Why is that? Because that includes nuclear weapons, privately-owned bombers, and tanks rolling down the highway. Of course such things shouldn't be permitted. Nor are they, of course, along with the kind of fully-automatic military weapon that is employed by armies, paramilitaries, and quite a lot of civilians around the globe. (Technically those weapons aren't banned, but they're thoroughly controlled, with all the registration, tracking, licensing, and whatnot that you could possibly care for. Licenses for "class 3" firearms are vanishingly rare and quite expensive.)

Forget it. You're not qualified to have an opinion on the topic. You're willfully ignorant (or just a damned liar, when it suits you.) Go home, son.
4.11.2009 2:40pm
zippypinhead:
I've never seen sensible arguments for private ownership of an automatic gun or armor-piercing ammunition or unregistered firearms or an anti-tank weapon...
Well, you just exposed yourself as more than slightly uninformed about current firearms law. Taking them one-by-one:

"automatic gun" - civilian ownership of machineguns has been heavily regulated since the 1934 National Firearms Act, and since the 1986 Hughes Amendment, newly-manufactured machineguns cannot be purchased by civilians.

"unregistered firearms" - huh? Only a minority of states require firearms registration at all, and of those that do, most only register handguns. Ironically, there's a fairly strong correlation between jurisdictions that require firearms registration and jurisdictions that have a higher-than-median violent crime rate. Not sure correlation equals causation, but clearly there's no link between registration and reduced crime rates.

"armor-piercing ammunition" - my Remington 700 bolt-action hunting rifle fires "armor-piercing ammunition," at least if you're defining that the way most anti-firearms advocates do, as any round that can penetrate a soft Kevlar "bulletproof" vest. Incidentally, since my Remington 700 has a scope and is accurate beyond 200 yards, it's also a "sniper rifle" as some define that phrase. Of course, since the Army and Marine Corps use the Remington 700 platform (designated as the M24 and M40 respectively), I guess this popular bolt-action hunting rifle really IS a "sniper rifle." Perhaps the millions of hunters who own this model should all be locked up?

-"anti-tank weapons" - whoa... don't know how these got into the conversation, since RPGs, bazookas, landmines, IEDs, and everything else in this general category are defined as "destructive devices" under Federal criminal law and are illegal for civilians to own (at least not without a VERY special NFA permit).
4.11.2009 2:54pm
AJK:
I'm curious: for those of you who keep talking about reasonable regulations, what would be some examples of regulations that you would consider unreasonable?
4.11.2009 2:55pm
Kirk:
...requiring waiting periods, restriction of ammunition attributes, exclusion of guns from public places, ... and similar gun control measures strike me as reasonable and constitutional. I am not familiar with any persuasive argument or controlling authority to the contrary.
It's right there in the 2nd, you silly idealogue, including easy-to-understand phrases like "the right", "of the people", "to ... bear arms", and "shall not be infringed". If banning guns from public places isn't an infringement, then nothing is.
4.11.2009 3:04pm
Kirk:
AJK,

No such animal, the only real answer is "more". Yet Another One-Way Ratchet, I'm afraid.
4.11.2009 3:09pm
zippypinhead:
...privately-owned bombers, and tanks rolling down the highway. Of course such things shouldn't be permitted.
Avatar, I'm on your side on the broader arguments you made, but I can't resist pointing out that there are actually quite a few of these in private hands, even tho we haven't heard of many crooks making bombing runs with their B-25s lately... Google "Confederate Air Force." Or "World War II Federation" (if you're interested in meeting folks with privately-owned tanks).

...for those who would point out that most of the military hardware owned by living history buffs are "antiques" built over a half-century ago or are reproductions thereof - you just inadvertently made a point about the mindless overbreadth of the proposed "assault weapon" bans - so are a lot of the firearms scheduled on the currently-proposed AWBs. IMHO, banning firearms that are designated as "curios &relics" under current Federal law is beyond silly...
4.11.2009 3:33pm
ArthurKirkland:
Gene:

I perceive substantial benefits to gun ownership, and to ordered freedom. That is why I not only believe a person should be free to possess a gun for self-defense in the home, but also conclude that the Constitution entitles a person to possess a gun for self-defense in the home.
4.11.2009 3:47pm
Gene Hoffman (mail) (www):
Arthur,

The Constitutional right to keep and bear arms is not solely restricted to the home. Heller was so restricted because that was all that was before the court.

As my point about police forces above shows vividly, the right to bear arms in public is substantially valuable. The vast majority of states agree by allowing the non-prohibited who are old enough and take basic training to carry firearms in public.

The large number of strawmen you've posted in various posts above don't actually have definitions behind them. Can you define or point out a round that is "armor piercing?"

-Gene
4.11.2009 4:03pm
ArthurKirkland:
Kenno:


Yeah, I know you tried to walk back from this.



I do not acknowledge that I tried to "walk back" from the analogy. I acknowledged that the peculiar repulsiveness of child pornography injected an undesirable element to the analogy, and I continue to hope that a better analogy is available. Each of the substantive points of comparison -- arguments, victims, extremism -- seems apt and illustrative, however.


"You don't have what it takes to stop us"


This is a bizarre argument, one I would have expected more from a cowardly, white supremacist, Obama-fearing, invasion-expecting, gun fetishist such as Richard Poplawski.


Sorry, buddy, even the most left-biased polls say that the overwhelming majority do see an individual 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.


As I have indicated repeatedly, I see a Constitutional right to possess a firearm. I do not perceive -- and I strongly doubt that most Americans perceive -- anything in the Constitution guaranteeing an entitlement to carry an unregistered automatic weapon with enhanced ammunition along a city street. I was referring to those who fund such extreme positions in the Constitution.


Considering that in the vast majority of states, close to a majority has "unregistered...long-range rifle[s]," and the states in which this is most common seem to have very low crime rates, I fail to see why this "desire" needs to be "checked at the door of our civilized society." Is it because it offends you? Tough.

Just FYI, there are a lot more of us than there are of you. So, frankly, your argument that we're the freaks doesn't hold water. The average "gun nut" has a much more balanced social life than, say, gun control fanatic and ex-cultist Arianna Huffington. They also have personal incomes far closer to the median--and much more honestly (and non-sexually) earned--than she does. It is your side that are the weird obsessive ones.



Gun nuts argue that properly enacted laws (ostensibly arranged by citizens, through their representatives) imposing reasonable restrictions are invalidated by the Constitution. If gun nuts constitute the majority, it is difficult to understand why gun control is legislated and why gun absolutism hasn't been recognized during two centuries of constitutional litigation.
4.11.2009 4:03pm
ArthurKirkland:
Avatar

Your dismissive attitude would be easier to take if backed up by an argument contravening my position, which is that those who advocate unregulated trafficking in automatic and semiautomatic weapons, enhanced ammunition, and the like can not rely on the Constitution to invalidate properly enacted laws controlling such weapons. If you have controlling authority -- or even persuasive authority -- supporting your positions, I would welcome a chance to review it.

You apparently weren't around a few weeks ago, when one or two unqualified absolutists showed up. I believe one guy expressly mentioned a tank, or an anti-tank weapon, as being Constitutionally protected.
4.11.2009 4:08pm
ArthurKirkland:
Kirk:

Of which well-regulated militia are you a member?
4.11.2009 4:10pm
zippypinhead:
entitlement to carry an unregistered automatic weapon with enhanced ammunition along a city street
Ah, there you go again... the parade of scary-sounding-horribles...

Possessing an "unregistered automatic weapon" has been a Federal felony since passage of the 1934 National Firearms Act.

Please define "enhanced ammunition," since that isn't a term that's got a generally-recognized legal definition. Please try to concoct a definition that doesn't inadvertently ban JHP or other expanding ammunition used in both hunting and self-defense, or FMJ, which is the preferred competitive target round because of superior ballistics, and which is generally perceived as less devastating precisely because it doesn't fragment or expand immediately on impact with soft tissue.

I'm guessing you can't...
4.11.2009 4:22pm
George Mason Fan:
AK,

Please see 10 USC

§ 311. Militia: composition and classes

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

Also, please refer to various definitions of "well-regulated." A well-regulated clock keeps accurate time. A well-regulated militia could be one that is well-drilled and capable of ably performing a military mission. A militia without arms could hardly be called "well-regulated."

GMF
4.11.2009 4:24pm
PubliusFL:
What exactly do you mean by "enhanced ammunition," Arthur?
4.11.2009 4:51pm
Kirk:
ArthurKirkland,
Of which well-regulated militia are you a member?
Thanks for clarifying that you aren't remotely interested in a serious argument. The collective-rights "interpretation" of the 2nd amendment is currently 0 for 9 at the Supreme Court, and has no serious intellectual support anywhere (yes, that means I've written off Cass Sunstein as a complete ideologue and nothing of a scholar.)
4.11.2009 4:53pm
Glen Alexander (mail):
OK, guys, hasn't "ArthurKirkland" had about enough free press for a day?

He hasn't made a single rational or reasonable claim; his only objective has been to annoy and irritate.

It takes (at least) two to argue...
4.11.2009 5:39pm
Glen Alexander (mail):
Fact Checker:

But the fact is that there are things about "assault weapons", however ill-defined the term is, that makes them pretty useless for anything other than killing people--and generally as a offensive, not a defensive weapon. "Assault weapons", at least as us gun confiscators define them, are those semi-automatic weapons that either are simply semi-automatic versions of assault rifles designed specifically for modern warfare or cheap imitations of such rifles. As such, they generally don't have the characteristics that make them much good as hunting rifles as they are designed as relatively short range weapons.

So what about the Remington R-15-VTR? Or the Bushmaster Predator? Both are "AR-style" hunting rifles. Look 'em up if you don't believe me.

AR-style rifles have become quite popular for hunting because of their extreme modularity and light weight (among other characteristics).
4.11.2009 5:57pm
ArthurKirkland:
If gun control -- automatic weapons, registration, semiautomatic weapons, concealed carry, documented transactions involving authorized dealers, certain ammunition, etc. -- is not rational or reasonable, how has gun control so frequently become American law?

I'm prepared to permit elected officials make calls on the reasonable bounds of gun control. If a municipality or state proposes to forbid possession of a reasonable weapon in the home for self-defense, I believe a Constitution entitlement constitutes trump. Otherwise, unless someone finds something -- which has not been discovered yet, so far as I aware -- in the Constitution that requires invalidation of properly enacted laws controlling guns, the properly enacted law should control guns.

This may mean that a Montana or New Hampshire, or a Casper or a Dallas, approves a free-for-all. It may mean that a California or a Massachusetts, or a Pittsburgh or an Austin, imposes long jail terms for trafficking in unregistered firearms, or for possessing a semiautomatic rifle, or for carrying a rifle in the trunk of a car or an unregistered pistol under a vest.

Rational? Reasonable? Strikes me as the American way.
4.11.2009 5:59pm
cboldt (mail):
On the subject of firearms jurisprudence and public policy, I'm thinking that ArthurKirkland's point of view and Barack Obama's point of view are similar.
4.11.2009 6:25pm
Kirk:
AK, I want no part of the America you wish for.
4.11.2009 6:28pm
zippypinhead:
So ArthurKirkland argues that the boundaries of an Enumerated Federal Constitutional Right should vary depending on the predilections and prejudices of local officials? How... um... unique... and Unconstitutional.

Incidentally, AK's parade of horribles example, "carrying a rifle in the trunk of a car" is specifically authorized for interstate travel by the Federal Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, and even Mayor Bloomberg can't outlaw it.

Glen, you're right. Methinks we've served up enough Purina Troll Chow for one day... DNFTT. Maybe he'll get a more agreeable audience over at Kos. G'night...
4.11.2009 6:48pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
Gun advocates who chafe against reasonable restrictions are taking the path of speech absolutists, who would use the First Amendment to shield every form of expression in every context. Child pornography is just one example. Lies or misleading statements in a commercial solicitation. A false "fire!" in a crowded space. Unauthorized use of another's likeness for commercial gain or to support a cause. Publication of surreptitious photographs or video from a public restroom, a changing room or a bedroom.
When you get around to advocating licensing of and restricting ownership of cameras, printing presses, video cameras, and people’s voices, we can talk about guns. The First Amendment regulations you cite all have to do with illegal use of equipment. We already have laws regulating the illegal use of weapons, and they apply to firearms as well.

In fact, they’re stricter. A person convicted of either child pornography or assault is permanently barred from legally possessing any firearm or ammunition. Neither is under any legal restriction involving cameras, film, or other media.
They don't recognize that the contents of their gun safes are subject to regulation for the reasons my recording and publication of activity on my property is subject to restriction
Once again, apples and oranges. You speak of your “recording and publication of activity.” If I shoot my guns, on or off my property, and somehow cause damage to someone, I will be held criminally and civilly liable, just as you would if you somehow cause damage to someone by taking video with your camera. That doesn’t mean it’s Constitutional, reasonable, or useful to register and license all the hundreds of thousands of guns and video cameras owned by people who don’t use them to break the law.
I wish those three dead police officers were illusory, or straw men.
Which three, the Oakland California shooting, or the Pittsburg, Pennsylvania shooting? I note that on the 2008 Brady Gun Control Report California has the most “reasonable restrictions” of the fifty states, and Pennsylvania comes in tenth highest. Gun control failed again.
4.11.2009 6:54pm
ArthurKirkland:
Kirk, if your concern about guns is so intense, and your disagreement with my 'Constitutional protection for reasonable self-defense in the home but otherwise leave it to the legislature' approach to gun control so severe, that this enables you to form a conclusion that you "want no part of the America . . . [I] wish for," your conclusion is probably correct.

cboldt, I believe your assessment also is correct.
4.11.2009 6:55pm
Fact Checker:
That's because there aren't any. You are aware of this as well; the reason you fight like hell to keep "gun free zones" is that you know that they increase the number of gun deaths--a number you are trying to maximize, so as to get people to support confiscation.

There is absolutely zero evidence that "gun free zones" increase the number of gun deaths, or for that matter that high gun ownership or concealed carry laws reduce violent crime one bit. New York City, with its draconian gun laws, is one of the safest big cities in the country. Chicago also has strict gun control, and it has a crime rate that is similar to Dallas and Houston, in gun loving Texas. New Orleans is the most dangerous city in the country and Louisiana also has very liberal gun and concealed carry laws (and a high overall crime rate). Hawaii, which has strict statewide gun registration laws, is one of the safest states, but so are most of the North Central states, which have no gun laws to speak of.
4.11.2009 6:58pm
Fact Checker:
You are aware of this as well; the reason you fight like hell to keep "gun free zones" is that you know that they increase the number of gun deaths--a number you are trying to maximize, so as to get people to support confiscation.

Such a claim is entirely baseless and frankly sounds slightly paranoid.
4.11.2009 7:00pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> As such, they generally don't have the characteristics that make them much good as hunting rifles

Oh really? What is Fact Checker's actual knowledge of hunting?

> as they are designed as relatively short range weapons.

While there are exceptions, most hunting occurs at relatively short range. And, deer, which are among the most common game, are about human size. (The relevance of that should be obvious.)

> In their military configuration their high rate of fire

Since the guns in question do not have said configuration, that's irrelevant.

Note that the military uses high rate of fire to pin down their oppnents, not to kill them....

And then there's the small fact that rate of fire hasn't been relevant in any of the mass shootings. In every single one of them, the shooter had plenty of time to shoot. To the extent that these shooters rushed, they inflicted LESS damage.

> Which and intended use (as a short range weapon) makes up for their relatively low velocity and not particularly precise accuracy.

While one can buy more accurate guns, they're more accurate than most trained shooters. They're not particularly low velocity (I said that they were lower than many hunting guns), they're low-recoil. That's good for hunting things smaller than people.

One of the facts that Fact Checker doesn't know is that the US military wants reliable wounding, not reliable kill. Hunters want reliable kill. When we're talking about human-size targets....

Okay - I'll spell it out. The guns that bother Fact Checker are less lethal (to humans) than many typical hunting guns. They are quie appropriate for small game.

Which reminds me - the gun banners were talking about banning guns that were too accurate and had too much range. The term-du-jour was "sniper rifles".

Perhaps Fact Checker will describe a gun that he finds acceptable. (This will be tough as he's been quoting gun banners and their universe of "ban that gun" proposals covers everything.)
4.11.2009 7:02pm
Kirk:
AK,

Thank God you're in the minority.
4.11.2009 7:06pm
ArthurKirkland:
zippy

The boundaries of the Enumerated Federal Constitutional Right to free expression vary as established by innumerable time, place and manner restrictions. Some of the controls are effected by elected officials; others by private property owners.

If it is unconstitutional for lawmakers to ban automatic weapons or semiautomatic weapons, or to require that firearms transactions be conducted solely by licensed dealers obligated to document and report the transaction, or to legislate many other gun controls, the required reasoning is not obvious to many people and the decision establishing the point has yet to be announced.
4.11.2009 7:07pm
trad and anon (mail):
From different commenters, but similarly insane:
Gun advocates who chafe against reasonable restrictions are taking the path of speech absolutists, who would use the First Amendment to shield every form of expression in every context. Child pornography is just one example. Lies or misleading statements in a commercial solicitation. A false "fire!" in a crowded space. Unauthorized use of another's likeness for commercial gain or to support a cause. Publication of surreptitious photographs or video from a public restroom, a changing room or a bedroom.
Who are these "free speech absolutists" you cite who go around defending commercial fraud and child porn? I'm sure in a country of 300 million you can find somebody who does this but you can find North Korea apologists and KKK members too. That doesn't make them a significant social movement.
That assumes that the civil rights movement started in the 60s when it was basically summer camp for bored white college kids. It didn't. The 60s civil rights movement was possible because the 50s civil rights movement survived. It survived because it defended itself, with guns. The good guys didn't always win, but the fact that they tried incresed the costs that the bad guys had to pay.
Thurgood Marshall had to fight his way to the Supreme Court to defend Brown? The Montgomery bus boycott was a violent protest? The Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom had to defend itself with guns? The federal government did defend the Little Rock Nine with guns but that's a far cry from them defending themselves.

And your "summer camp for bored white college kids" comment is wholly ahistorical. Look at a picture of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom sometime. Not too many white faces in that crowd. A few whites did get involved late in the game but the movement continued to be dominated by blacks even into the ill-fated desegregation busing period.
4.11.2009 7:08pm
ArthurKirkland:
Kirk,

Which part of my argument(s) do you believe places me in the minority, and what causes you to believe a majority of Americans opposes my view(s)?

I have not myopically focused on researched the issues, but I doubt most Americans believe the Constitution requires Congress to permit automatic weapons, or prevents a state from establishing a system of gun licensing/registration. I doubt most Americans want the police to be outgunned or approve concealed carry on schoolgrounds. I suspect most Americans support gun controls I would consider reasonable and you would consider unreasonable/unconstitutional. If I am wrong about these points, I am open to evidence.
4.11.2009 7:18pm
ArthurKirkland:

Who are these "free speech absolutists" you cite who go around defending commercial fraud and child porn?


I believe a substantial number of reported decisions address First Amendment defenses to child pornograph prosecutions, regulatory actions addressing misleading or false content of commercial solicitations, and the like.
4.11.2009 7:25pm
Kenno (mail):
I do not acknowledge that I tried to "walk back" from the analogy.

Uh, yeah, you did.

[Kenno: "You don't have what it takes to stop us"]

This is a bizarre argument, one I would have expected more from a cowardly, white supremacist, Obama-fearing, invasion-expecting, gun fetishist such as Richard Poplawski.

HCI's head, Pete Shields, has said in the past--before HCI started lying about its own views--that his long-range aim was the confiscation of handguns. VPC still supports this. So it's clear that the major players on your side do want to "stop us." Incidentally, I served in the Marine Corps--and I made it through a full term of enlistment, unlike Richard Poplawski. So do yourself a favor and don't call me a coward. Doing so over the Web strikes me as, well, cowardly.

As I have indicated repeatedly, I see a Constitutional right to possess a firearm. I do not perceive -- and I strongly doubt that most Americans perceive -- anything in the Constitution guaranteeing an entitlement to carry an unregistered automatic weapon with enhanced ammunition along a city street. I was referring to those who fund such extreme positions in the Constitution.

Most states don't have registration, and no registration seems to work just fine. In fact, registration in the UK was used as a precedent for confiscation. Since the gun controllers have made clear that confiscation is their goal, I find it hard to believe that they don't have the same reason for it. As for the rest of your post, you are deliberately creating a straw man, which calls your integrity into question. The topic of this post was incorporation, which has nothing to do with the things you're talking about.

Gun nuts argue that properly enacted laws (ostensibly arranged by citizens, through their representatives) imposing reasonable restrictions are invalidated by the Constitution. If gun nuts constitute the majority, it is difficult to understand why gun control is legislated and why gun absolutism hasn't been recognized during two centuries of constitutional litigation.

Actually, most of the gun control legislation is decades old, outside a very few regressive states. Since it is much harder to enact new legislation--including repeals of old legislation--than to prevent new legislation, it's not surprising that some of these laws are still on the books.
4.11.2009 7:37pm
Kirk:
Arthur,

Try this for starters (but of course with all the usual caveats about opinion polling).

Then there's the recent reluctance of people like Sen Feinstein to touch the subject of gun control. She's not really saying why, but since Ms. "Turn them all in" Feinstein is currently saying to go slow on gun regulation, but she's never once made a single public statement hinting at a retraction of her actual positions, I can only assume that she know something about the popularity of gun control that you don't.

Further research is on your own dime.
4.11.2009 7:42pm
Kenno (mail):
There is absolutely zero evidence that "gun free zones" increase the number of gun deaths

Try these on for size:

Columbine High School. Gun-free zone. New York City pizza shop. Gun-free zone. Pearl (Miss.) High School. Gun-free zone. Luby's Cafeteria. Gun-free zone. The Amish school in Pennsylvania. Gun-free zone.

Virginia Tech University. Gun-free zone.

Anybody see what the evil Sarah Brady and her denial-infested gun-banning cult have created?

I personally have zero tolerance for evil and denial. And America had best wake up real quick to this fact: The brain-dead celebration of unarmed helplessness will get you killed every time. I've about had enough of it.

Conversely, at a Salt Lake City shopping mall, as occurs every day in varying degrees in this country, this happened:

An American citizen with a gun in his belt stopped a man from killing more innocent victims.

Trust in gun owners. In the 1998 school shooting in Springfield, Ore., a high schooler and hunter familiar with firearms was able to know when the student gunman was attempting to reload his .22 rifle.

He made the tactical decision to tackle the shooter and bring the unfolding rampage to an abrupt end.

A few years back, a Pennsylvania teacher retrieved his legally-owned Colt .45 and stopped a Columbine-style wannabe from wreaking havoc and murder at his school.

My hero, Suzanne Gracia Hupp, was not allowed by Texas law to carry her handgun into Luby's Cafeteria that fateful day years ago. Due to bureaucrat-forced unarmed helplessness, she could do nothing to stop satanic George Henard from slaughtering helpless innocents for no other reason than denial-ridden "feel-good" politics.

As a state representative, Hupp led the charge for a concealed weapon upgrade in Texas, where we can now stop evil.
4.11.2009 7:52pm
ArthurKirkland:
Kenno

I was not calling you a coward. I gave you credit for being better than that, and thought you might wish to reconsider.

"Your don't have what it takes to stop us" is a bizarre argument to encounter on a blog centered on legal topics that features law professors (unless you meant "you don't have the brilliant insight and legal arguments to stop us") That is the type of "argument" one would expect to find on a white supremacist website, or a "preparing for the communist invasion" website, or a David Koresh-Timothy McVeigh-Eric Rudolh website.

We [the civilized] haven't had what it takes to stop serial killers, child abusers, wifebeaters, anthrax mailers, healthcare quacks, sex traffickers or innumerable others, either. "You don't have what it takes to stop us" strikes me as an argument so unattractive as to be counterproductive, at least among the sensible.
4.11.2009 8:13pm
ArthurKirkland:
Kirk

That poll indicates that 15 percent of Americans desire less gun control that exists today; 39 percent favor more gun control; and 46 percent are satisfied with the current level of gun control.

Those numbers are from a poll showing a lessening of public support for gun control that seems at last slightly out of synch with most other polls I have seen.

And among that 15 percent are surely some who don't swallow all of the positions advanced by some extremists.

I do not consider my views to be in the minority. Neither, apparently, do most Americans.
4.11.2009 8:22pm
Kenno (mail):
You don't have the public support to stop us.
4.11.2009 8:34pm
cboldt (mail):
-- If it is unconstitutional for lawmakers to ban automatic weapons or semiautomatic weapons, or to require that firearms transactions be conducted solely by licensed dealers obligated to document and report the transaction, or to legislate many other gun controls, the required reasoning is not obvious to many people and the decision establishing the point has yet to be announced. --
.
The Miller case announced the point, and was promptly misconstrued by, as far as I know, 100% of the courts who used it for authority. Certainly, the decision of the court below, which SCOTUS indicated should have been affirmed if a certain evidentiary finding were made, found the NFA unconstitutional in light of the 2nd amendment.
4.11.2009 8:35pm
cboldt (mail):
-- If I am wrong about these points, I am open to evidence. --
.
The Democratic Party has not adopted your proposed regulations as party platform. Only the extremist members, e.g, Obama, Schumer, Feinstein, Durbin, Boxer and a few others are advocating additional regulation. The point of view you have isn't even mainstream to the gun-grabbing-inclined Democratic Party.
4.11.2009 8:44pm
ArthurKirkland:
Kenno

I believe there is public support for gun control (and in particular with respect to licensing, bans of automatic and semiautomatic weapons, anti-trafficking provisions, and the like), just as I believe there is public support for entitlement to possess a gun for self-defense in the home.

Without public support adequate to generate legislated gun control, and enactment of gun restrictions, most of the relevant points of debate would be moot.
4.11.2009 8:49pm
RKV (mail):
Which arms are protected by the 2nd? It's not very hard to figure - see Article 1 Section 8 which defines the missions of the militia.

" To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; "

If an arm can be borne (as per the 2nd) and is suitable for use in any of the three Constitutionally defined militia missions then the arm is protected. Nota bene: this is a fundamental holding of Miller if you bother to actually read the decision, which resulted in a return of the case to a trial court for a finding of fact on the utility of short-barreled shotguns for militia use. A nice proxy for this test is to simply ask what our paid employees (i.e. the police and the military) use to perform the same mission, and then the citizen militia would certainly need them. Why the hell would we want to let our employees have better arms than us, their bosses?
4.11.2009 9:01pm
Gene Hoffman (mail) (www):
I'm really amazed that there remains a desire to attempt to ban the possession of semiautomatic firearms.

If semiautomatic firearms are so horrible, then why do police forces adopt them nearly universally (both handguns and rifles)?

One can not logically maintain that it is OK for the average civilian police officer to have a defensive firearm that is somehow verbotten to everyone else.

We have not yet reached a point where the police are allowed to offensively murder, which is ostensibly what a ban on semiautomatics must be driving at preventing.

-Gene
4.11.2009 9:05pm
Kenno (mail):
Without public support adequate to generate legislated gun control, and enactment of gun restrictions, most of the relevant points of debate would be moot.

Once again, for the uninitiated...

Most of those restrictions are decades old. They are not left in place because of widespread support, but because it is difficult to repeal old laws. Also, the most extreme restrictions tend to drive more pro-gun voters to better climes, so they tend not to be removed from the books. This is why the Sullivan Act managed to survive even the bloody Cuomo era. Of course those pro-gun voters don't leave the country, they just make another state more pro-gun.
4.11.2009 9:20pm
Gray Peterson:

(3) Registration, restriction of gun attributes, requiring waiting periods, restriction of ammunition attributes, exclusion of guns from public places,prevention of concealed carry, ineligibility of certain persons to possess firearms, prohibiting trafficking, and similar gun control measures strike me as reasonable and constitutional. I am not familiar with any persuasive argument or controlling authority to the contrary.


OK, so wait a minute here, just so that I understand this correctly, you support the complete banning of concealed carry, which has been ruled repeatedly to be constitutional in several state supreme courts, the US Supreme Court, and so on. Considering the language in Heller in regards to being able to bear arms in case of confrontation (though Heller's prayer for relief was limited to in one's home and thus the Supreme Court only ordered it for so), you'd rather have open carry of a handgun in a holster instead?

Sources of decisions striking down complete and total carry bans, or stating that concealed carry bans are acceptable as that's not "bearing arms": State v. Kerner (NC Supreme Court, 1921), State v. Nunn (GA Supreme Court, 1846) and Robertson v. Baldwin (1897, US Supreme Court).
4.11.2009 9:28pm
Kenno (mail):
For those of you who think it unreasonably paranoid to believe that the anti-gunners want a police state, read the following. Keep in mind that this guy is not some crack-smoking ACORN thug. This is a retired diplomat. That's about as connected as you can get.

LAST week's tragedy at Virginia Tech in which a mentally disturbed person gunned down 32 of America's finest - intelligent young people with futures ahead of them - once again puts the phenomenon of an armed society into focus for Americans.

The likely underestimate of how many guns are wandering around America runs at 240 million in a population of about 300 million. What was clear last week is that at least two of those guns were in the wrong hands.

When people talk about doing something about guns in America, it often comes down to this: "How could America disarm even if it wanted to? There are so many guns out there."

Because I have little or no power to influence the "if" part of the issue, I will stick with the "how." And before anyone starts to hyperventilate and think I'm a crazed liberal zealot wanting to take his gun from his cold, dead hands, let me share my experience of guns.

As a child I played cowboys and Indians with cap guns. I had a Daisy Red Ryder B-B gun. My father had in his bedside table drawer an old pistol which I examined surreptitiously from time to time. When assigned to the American embassy in Beirut during the war in Lebanon, I sometimes carried a .357 Magnum, which I could fire accurately. I also learned to handle and fire a variety of weapons while I was there, including Uzis and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

I don't have any problem with hunting, although blowing away animals with high-powered weapons seems a pointless, no-contest affair to me. I suppose I would enjoy the fellowship of the experience with other friends who are hunters.
Now, how would one disarm the American population? First of all, federal or state laws would need to make it a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison per weapon to possess a firearm. The population would then be given three months to turn in their guns, without penalty.


Hunters would be able to deposit their hunting weapons in a centrally located arsenal, heavily guarded, from which they would be able to withdraw them each hunting season upon presentation of a valid hunting license. The weapons would be required to be redeposited at the end of the season on pain of arrest. When hunters submit a request for their weapons, federal, state, and local checks would be made to establish that they had not been convicted of a violent crime since the last time they withdrew their weapons. In the process, arsenal staff would take at least a quick look at each hunter to try to affirm that he was not obviously unhinged.

It would have to be the case that the term "hunting weapon" did not include anti-tank ordnance, assault weapons, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, or other weapons of war.

All antique or interesting non-hunting weapons would be required to be delivered to a local or regional museum, also to be under strict 24-hour-a-day guard. There they would be on display, if the owner desired, as part of an interesting exhibit of antique American weapons, as family heirlooms from proud wars past or as part of collections.

Gun dealers could continue their work, selling hunting and antique firearms. They would be required to maintain very tight inventories. Any gun sold would be delivered immediately by the dealer to the nearest arsenal or the museum, not to the buyer.

The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm.

Clearly, since such sweeps could not take place all across the country at the same time. But fairly quickly there would begin to be gun-swept, gun-free areas where there should be no firearms. If there were, those carrying them would be subject to quick confiscation and prosecution. On the streets it would be a question of stop-and-search of anyone, even grandma with her walker, with the same penalties for "carrying."
[emphasis Kenno's]

The "gun lobby" would no doubt try to head off in the courts the new laws and the actions to implement them. They might succeed in doing so, although the new approach would undoubtedly prompt new, vigorous debate on the subject. In any case, some jurisdictions would undoubtedly take the opportunity of the chronic slowness of the courts to begin implementing the new approach.

America's long land and sea borders present another kind of problem. It is easy to imagine mega-gun dealerships installing themselves in Mexico, and perhaps in more remote parts of the Canadian border area, to funnel guns into the United States. That would constitute a problem for American immigration authorities and the U.S. Coast Guard, but not an insurmountable one over time.

There could conceivably also be a rash of score-settling during hunting season as people drew out their weapons, ostensibly to shoot squirrels and deer, and began eliminating various of their perceived two-footed enemies. Given the general nature of hunting weapons and the fact that such killings are frequently time-sensitive, that seems a lesser sort of issue.

That is my idea of how it could be done. The desire to do so on the part of the American people is another question altogether, but one clearly raised again by the Blacksburg tragedy.
4.11.2009 9:39pm
ArthurKirkland:
Kenno

I will refrain from posting the right-wing rantings of Richard Poplawski -- who feared Obama and Zionists, supported McCain and white supremacy, expected an invasion of the United States as well as a plot to take his guns, chafed against gun control requirements and leftists/socialists -- and ascribing those views to every conservative.

I will do so because it is an unworthy, unpersuasive form of argument.

By the way: Who are these "anti-gunners" you speak of?
4.11.2009 10:14pm
Kenno (mail):
Richard Poplawski wasn't a Washington insider. To have the right-wing equivalent of Dan Simpson's fascist plan, you'd need to have Eric Cantor or some other high-level Republican doing a Virginia Tech-type massacre himself.

Dan Simpson isn't just speaking off the cuff here. He's summarizing the ideas he's picked up over many years in Washington. You can bet that he's discussed these things with other high-level bureaucrats. Any bureaucrat who took his job seriously--as a servant of the US Constitution--would have immediately publicized his insane un-American views, and called for him to be fired immediately. (No one with such views should be allowed anywhere near international law). Apparently, none of them did.
4.11.2009 10:33pm
ArthurKirkland:
The high-level Republicans these days are Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. You can find their rantings by searching for "I Hate To Admit This, But We're A Half-Step From Losing America And It May Already Be Too Late To Stop It," "Socialism Is Here, So Get A Gun While You Still Can," or "Obama: The Anti-Christ, Or Merely The End Of Our Way Of Life."

Damning conservatives with those losers makes more sense than using Dan Simpson as the icon of liberal throught . . . and still makes almost no sense.
4.11.2009 10:52pm
Kenno (mail):
Let's see: Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck support reduced spending in Washington.

Simpson supports cordoning off random neighborhoods and searching every house and person in the area for a device that has been ubiquitous for 200 years.

Yeah, they're both exactly the same.
4.11.2009 11:17pm
ArthurKirkland:
If you don't keep your hands up and at least try to protect your head, Kenno, this isn't going to be much of a contest.
4.11.2009 11:48pm
Kirk:
Ah, I've got it: AK is trying to bore us to death. I'm outta here...
4.12.2009 12:23am
Careless:
Reading a number of people argue about, in the context of whether or not a weapon is allowed by the 2nd, whether or not a weapon is designed for/ideal for killing people is really bizarre. Being good at killing people is a feature, not a bug for the Second Amendment.
4.12.2009 12:33am
Mazeman (mail):
AK,

Hannity and Limbaugh rarely talk about gun control. Believe me, I listen to them often, and wish they would. Why, then, bring up their names?

Can you cite any recent gun control statements from them? Or is lumping all this together just part of your muddled concept of conservatism?
4.12.2009 12:34am
Kevin P. (mail):
NPR correspondent Juan Williams has also called for a complete ban on guns for private use.
4.12.2009 12:52am
Kevin P. (mail):
It's interesting to see how the gun banners always advocate that guns be physically confiscated by other people.

If gun bans are ever implemented, Juan Williams and Dan Simpson should be drafted into the gun confiscation squad. They should be given badges, uniforms, and even guns. Then they should be sent out to confiscate guns from citizens, perhaps starting in Alaska and Texas.

But I think they wouldn't want to do that. They would want other people to do the confiscations for them.
4.12.2009 12:55am
J. Aldridge:
Melancton Smith wrote: "Don't you see the contradiction in your talking points? You want to ban military style weapons because they aren't suitable for anything but killing people yet disparage ignoring the militia clause which is exactly about killing people."


Didn't Scalia *claim* the 2A has nothing to do with arms in the service of the militia but you maynot keep and use a M-16 because such a weapon is for use in the service of the militia?? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4.12.2009 1:11am
Melancton Smith:
I wasn't totally pleased with Scalia's ruling. He placed too much emphasis on self-defense though I suppose that was due to the nature of the complaint.

I think self-defense is within the scope of 2A, as the right is clearly not qualified. However, the militia clause highlights a key justification for the broader right. Thus, militia suitable arms are clearly protected.

Self-defense, however, is a much more fundamental right. A natural law, in fact and is unalienable.
4.12.2009 1:26am
J. Aldridge:
I think the scope of the 2A, like all the other amendments adopted in 1791, is exactly as Madison said, "securities against a constructive enlargement" of all powers given. One of the powers of course was over the militia.
4.12.2009 1:54am
Fact Checker:
Perhaps Fact Checker will describe a gun that he finds acceptable. (This will be tough as he's been quoting gun banners and their universe of "ban that gun" proposals covers everything.)

Actually, I think the assault weapons ban (at least as far as the ban on actual weapons( was a pretty pointless piece of legislation. Mere window dressing. Although I do think the ban on high volume magazines was a good idea.

But don't pretend that the vast majority of "assault weapons" aren't sold for exactly the reason that us gun banners (and yes I am being facetious when I call myself that) hate them, and you gun nuts claim are merely cosmetic features. They sell because they look cool and make the buyers feel like Rambo. I doubt if five percent of the assault weapons sold are used to hunt the rather exotic game LarryA mentioned. Heck, Javelinas are pretty much limited to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
4.12.2009 2:32am
AJK:

They sell because they look cool and make the buyers feel like Rambo.


Doesn't that prove that they're cosmetic features?
4.12.2009 8:22am
Fact Checker:
Doesn't that prove that they're cosmetic features?

Well yes it does. But you'll notice that I agreed that the assault weapons ban (except for the part that covered the high capacity magazines) was pointless.
4.12.2009 9:12am
Kenno (mail):
If you don't keep your hands up and at least try to protect your head, Kenno, this isn't going to be much of a contest.

Yeah, because you really knocked me out with that fact-filled comment.

Listen, as far as Rush et al go, I'm not going to play the "condemnation" game that you and Paul “Stroke of the pen, law of the land ,kinda cool” Begala are trying to push. If you don't like Rush, do something yourself about him. I'm not going to knuckle under to your threat to give me coodies.

But if you're going to play "condemnation," how do you like Michael Bellesiles?
4.12.2009 10:06am
Kenno (mail):
They sell because they look cool and make the buyers feel like Rambo.

And for this you hate them? Wow, you need to lighten up. Good thing you guys aren't making the laws.

To be more accurate, though, you don't hate guns. You hate gun owners.
4.12.2009 10:10am
ArthurKirkland:
Rush has nothing to do with this. He was merely a similarly pointless reference, illustrating the vapidity of invoking Dan "Who?" Simpson.

I hope the Easter Bunny was good to everyone.
4.12.2009 11:30am
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

They sell because they look cool and make the buyers feel like Rambo.

Wait, I thought they were "only good for killing people"!
4.12.2009 11:49am
Fact Checker:
To be more accurate, though, you don't hate guns. You hate gun owners.

Do I generally think that the majority of people who shell out the cash to buy a AK-47 are more than a little crazy, slightly dangerous to borderline psychotic, and not at all the type of people I want to associate with? Well then yes, you've got me pegged.

But hey. It's a free country. If you want to waste your money on a gun that shoots a hundred rounds without reloading so you can blast away at beer cans all afternoon, be my guest. Just don't feed me a line of bull that by doing so you are some kind of patriot, advancing the cause of freedom, following in the steps of the founding fathers, or preventing crime. You are just playing with a very dangerous toy.
4.12.2009 12:25pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> Do I generally think that the majority of people who shell out the cash to buy a AK-47 are more than a little crazy, slightly dangerous to borderline psychotic, and not at all the type of people I want to associate with? Well then yes, you've got me pegged.

Based on the numbers of such guns sold, we now know that FC thinks that a huge fraction of gun owners are "borderline psychotic". Or, we know that FC doesn't know the numbers.

> They sell because they look cool and make the buyers feel like Rambo.

As I pointed out, that's a creation of media - it's a cost of the first amendment, not the second.
4.12.2009 2:36pm
therut (mail):
Fact Check may need to be paranoid if he really believes what he wrote. That physician trying to save his life some day may to him seem psychotic as well as alot of other normal people he at times associates with. Must be hard being so paranoid. I thik at least half of my close associates own "assault weapons" and these are college educated person including many physicians,nurses, lawyers, school teachers, dentists , accountants and even old grandmothers.
4.12.2009 4:00pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
I suspect most Americans support gun controls I would consider reasonable and you would consider unreasonable/unconstitutional. If I am wrong about these points, I am open to evidence.
A CNN poll conducted right after the Binghamton shooting showed that support for “stricter gun laws” has dropped to 39% of Americans.

The Brady annual gun control scorecard (PDF) is out for 2008. Compared to 2007 six state legislatures have loosened gun control and not one state tightened it.
"Your don't have what it takes to stop us" is a bizarre argument to encounter on a blog centered on legal topics that features law professors (unless you meant "you don't have the brilliant insight and legal arguments to stop us")
How about, “You don’t have the votes to stop us?”
I doubt if five percent of the assault weapons sold are used to hunt the rather exotic game LarryA mentioned. Heck, Javelinas are pretty much limited to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
Feral hogs are plentiful just about everywhere pigs are raised. Hardly “exotic.” Similar-sized game animals and varmints inhabit different parts of the country, I just listed the ones in my back yard.
But you'll notice that I agreed that the assault weapons ban (except for the part that covered the high capacity magazines) was pointless.
There were two main effects of the ten-round limit for magazines. First, the cost of new standard-capacity magazines for military and law enforcement jumped over 500%, not counting the extra paperwork involved procuring and accounting for them. Second, handgun manufacturers took advantage of the smaller magazines to design smaller handguns using the same ammo and upgrade small semiautos to use larger caliber cartridges. The folks who pressed for the magazine limitation dubbed the new guns “pocket rockets” and called for them to be banned. There’s just no pleasing some folks.
Do I generally think that the majority of people who shell out the cash to buy a AK-47 are more than a little crazy, slightly dangerous to borderline psychotic, and not at all the type of people I want to associate with? Well then yes, you've got me pegged.
“Are you looonesome tonight?”
4.12.2009 4:24pm
mainfloorguy:
20/20 investigated various aspects of gun ownership and use. The segments are available HERE and

http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=7312540.
4.12.2009 6:29pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

Do I generally think that the majority of people who shell out the cash to buy a AK-47 are more than a little crazy, slightly dangerous to borderline psychotic, and not at all the type of people I want to associate with? Well then yes, you've got me pegged.

You really have no idea what you're talking about.

I know at least a dozen people who own AK variants, and the idea that any one of them is "slightly dangerous to borderline psychotic" is, well, psychotic.

How many AK owners do you know? Please state the number. Your sample, in which they are all "borderline psychotic," is unique, and I'd like to figure out why that's so.
4.12.2009 11:36pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :
all = most. preview is my friend.
4.12.2009 11:36pm
Fact Checker:
How many AK owners do you know? Please state the number. Your sample, in which they are all "borderline psychotic," is unique, and I'd like to figure out why that's so.

I know five people people who own AK-47s. All of them are relatives of friends. All of them I consider quite bizarre and obsessive. Without exception they are obsessed with various conspiracy theories and are convinced that the government is plotting to take their guns any day now. One is a full blown member of the Christian Identity movement with everything that entails (for those of you who don't know what Christian Identity is, they make the KKK look downright normal and lovers of racial harmony). So forgive me if I tend to stereotype AK-47 owners.

Based on the numbers of such guns sold, we now know that FC thinks that a huge fraction of gun owners are "borderline psychotic".

What do you consider a "huge fraction". Just how many such guns are sold? A quick google search doesn't reveal any statistics.
4.13.2009 2:28am
Fact Checker:
As I pointed out, that's a creation of media - it's a cost of the first amendment, not the second.

So why are they so popular? Are people using them to hunt coyotes, Javelina and feral dogs as LarryA claims. Is shooting beer cans in your backyard really so much fun that it justifies shelling out upwards of $900 for a rifle?
4.13.2009 2:35am
Fact Checker:
I know at least a dozen people who own AK variants, and the idea that any one of them is "slightly dangerous to borderline psychotic" is, well, psychotic.

You and I might have different ideas of what slightly dangerous is.

You probably think it is completely normal for somebody to obsess day and night about how the government is going to take away their guns. That crime is so rampant that it is unsafe to leave the house without being armed. Or that liberals deliberately propagate gun free zones to raise the murder rate. I think these attitudes belie an unstable personality.
4.13.2009 2:43am
Melancton Smith:
Fact Checker wrote:

You probably think it is completely normal for somebody to obsess day and night about how the government is going to take away their guns. That crime is so rampant that it is unsafe to leave the house without being armed. Or that liberals deliberately propagate gun free zones to raise the murder rate. I think these attitudes belie an unstable personality.


You say we should take away their guns because they are paranoid that their guns will be taken away? Am I getting this argument correctly?
4.13.2009 10:04am
RKV (mail):
As Henry Kissinger said "Even a paranoid can have enemies."

And in context of what some very powerful politicians say about their desire to confiscate firearms, it isn't paranoia.

Sen. Diane Feinstein, said on CBS` "60 Minutes "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in, I would have done it."
4.13.2009 10:31am
Kevin P. (mail):

Fact Checker:
I know five people people who own AK-47s. All of them are relatives of friends. All of them I consider quite bizarre and obsessive. Without exception they are obsessed with various conspiracy theories and are convinced that the government is plotting to take their guns any day now. One is a full blown member of the Christian Identity movement with everything that entails (for those of you who don't know what Christian Identity is, they make the KKK look downright normal and lovers of racial harmony). So forgive me if I tend to stereotype AK-47 owners.


Yes, you know five paranoid people who are convinced that their guns are going to be taken away. But these five paranoid people are also so careless about operational security, that you, by no means their friend, come to know that they have AK-47s.

I live in the gun friendly heartland of Texas, and come to know that people have AK-47s after years of knowing them very well. So forgive me if I call BS on your story.
4.13.2009 10:59am
Kevin P. (mail):

Fact Checker:
So why are they so popular? Are people using them to hunt coyotes, Javelina and feral dogs as LarryA claims. Is shooting beer cans in your backyard really so much fun that it justifies shelling out upwards of $900 for a rifle?


So you're concerned about their budget now?

And almost nobody shoots anything in their backyard unless they live out in the country, since almost all municipalities prohibit the discharge of firearms within city limits. You have very little experience with or understanding of guns and the gun culture, and you keep exhibiting it.
4.13.2009 11:02am
Carl in Chicago (mail):
Fact Checker said:
But the government buys firearms for one purpose--to kill people.


Sir:

That very fact underscores the importance of the second amendment, and the importance of ensuring that the people aren't declawed. Gun control schemes seek to declaw the people under the false pretenses that we can't be trusted with claws. No thanks. We might need those claws one day. To continue my analogy, domestic cats use claws in part for defense. When someone declaws their cat, the typical understanding is that the cat cannot go outside anymore. By removing the cat's defensive arms, the cat's master has made a decision that greatly limits their cat's freedom. Would you advocate removal of claws from free-thinking and autonomous beings? It's foolishness.


But back on topic ...

When is the Nordyke decision due out from the 9th circuit? I understand that Chicago's merit's briefs in the 7th circuit will be filed late this week. It's a good case, and seems that Chicago's been stalling.
4.13.2009 12:59pm
Melancton Smith:

When is the Nordyke decision due out from the 9th circuit? I understand that Chicago's merit's briefs in the 7th circuit will be filed late this week. It's a good case, and seems that Chicago's been stalling.


I'm no expert on how the 9th operates, but I assume there is no "due date" for the decision. I think the justices will issue the decision when it is done.

Perhaps it would be more appropriate to ask when is the 9th expected to issue their decision on Nordyke? Good question.
4.13.2009 1:58pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
So why are they so popular? Are people using them to hunt coyotes, Javelina and feral dogs as LarryA claims. Is shooting beer cans in your backyard really so much fun that it justifies shelling out upwards of $900 for a rifle?
Ask an Olympic shooter what they spend on a shotgun or .22 target rifle. It won’t be just $900.

I noted what ARs are good for hunting, because that’s the question you asked. Some of the people not hunting are probably competing in the National Matches at Camp Perry. Or they may be history buffs. Or they may be firearm instructors, like me. Or they may be looking for a rifle they’re familiar with from their time in the service. Lots of reasons, and lots of people choosing for themselves.

Besides, last time we had an “assault weapon” ban it accomplished nothing positive. Let’s learn from history.
4.13.2009 7:23pm
Kenno (mail):
If you want people who are batshit insane try Dan Simpson, linked in my above post.

Or this guy. (This "institute" is really one man, Ernest McGill). He has stated that the federal government is the sole arbiter of rights and that it has no right to allow private ownership of firearms.

Or Michael Bellesiles, who made up records to allegedly "prove" that firearms were rare in the early US.

Or "Fact Checker," who has to make up a "Christian Identity" identity in order to prove his point.

Compared to the average anti-gunner, most crackheads are rational and sane. Not surprising; most leftist movements have paranoia as a major element, but usually the paranoia is directed at faceless corporations. To buy into the anti-gun paranoia, you have to believe that the 80-year old grandma down the street is one of the Dark Forces.
4.13.2009 9:17pm
Kenno (mail):
It seems to me that most of the anti-gunners are the constitutional equivalent of Gnostics. The rest of the American people have been following the false Constitution, but they are doomed to an eternity in hell. The real, hidden Constitution says that we don't have individual rights, and will now be revealed.
4.13.2009 9:30pm
glangston (mail):
Fact Checker:
As I pointed out, that's a creation of media - it's a cost of the first amendment, not the second.

So why are they so popular? Are people using them to hunt coyotes, Javelina and feral dogs as LarryA claims. Is shooting beer cans in your backyard really so much fun that it justifies shelling out upwards of $900 for a rifle?



You can actually build these guns as kits (from the smallest pins on up. They are like a hot rod to people that like firearms. They are used in Service Rifle competitions, along with M1 Garands. There are action shooting competitions also, similar to IPSC. While technically "high-powered", they are the lowest in recoil of center fire weapons and women and younger competitors can shoot them.

There is an upper (the barrel assembly) and a lower (the actual firearm with the serial # and firing mechanism). Many people build different uppers that will mate (via two pins) with the lower. You can shoot .22lr, 9mm and other pistol ammo, 5.56 (standard AR ammo) and other center fire calibers. AR-10's are similar and shoot .308, another standard NATO round and plentiful at one time.

I'm sure you could watch in amazement as a friend walked you through his multi-thousand dollar hi-fi or home theater setup without too many problems.

When people say they can hunt with them, they can. Most would pick a better caliber than 5.56 for deer and the large magazine capacity is not used as most states limit these to 5 and one in the chamber.
4.13.2009 10:37pm
Benjamin Wolf (mail) (www):
I listened to the interview with great interest after I posed an article by the plaintiff-appellant in the Nunchaku case. My follow up post on this can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/chv6jg
4.14.2009 11:05am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> > As I pointed out, that's a creation of media - it's a cost of the first amendment, not the second.

> So why are they so popular?

Several answers have been given, including the one referenced above. They're all true, for different people.

> Are people using them to hunt coyotes, Javelina and feral dogs as LarryA claims.

Some are.

Some are using them for deer. (Not so much the ar-15 variants, but the AKS/SKS are ballistically 30-30s. Modern preference is for a bit more gun, but 30-30s were the deer gun of choice for decades.)

Some use them for small game.

> Is shooting beer cans in your backyard really so much fun that it justifies shelling out upwards of $900 for a rifle?

They're not all $900. SKSs used to go for under $100. AKSs were headed that way until the restrictions kicked in.

I don't understand why folks pay >$15 for golf clubs or purses or more than I would for cars, but I don't see how that matters.
4.14.2009 7:51pm

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