That's like a newspaper headline "Dog bites man". Or a criminal advocating for workplace safety regulations.
The article is playing fast and loose with the facts, of course:
There is, of course, a legitimate argument that background checks would not have prevented the Newtown massacre. This is likely true, but it's also equally true that Lanza would have been denied easy access to legal firearms if his mother, the purchaser and owner of the assault weapons he used (and the first one to be murdered by Lanza) had utilized trigger locks and/or a gun safe -- prudent safety features that any good NRA member would wholeheartedly advocate.
So, the argument is that expanded background checks would have stopped Lanza from getting a gun, or at least made it more expensive and risky to get a gun illegally rather than getting one legally. That might make some sort of sense... if Lanza had purchased firearms legally.
His mother did.
He killed his mother -- who did in fact have a gun safe -- and took her guns.
No matter what restrictions were placed on Adam Lanza's ability to buy guns legally, his ability to murder his mother and take her guns is unaffected.
[Oh, and as for the gun safe and trigger lock -- don't you dare speak for NRA members. Every NRA member I know laughs at trigger locks as entirely inadequate and unsafe devices to secure a firearm. A gun safe is more reasonable. Neither should be legally mandated, however, because they would delay the availability of a firearm for self defense. How you secure your firearms is a personal choice, as the Supreme Court affirmed in the Heller case.]
So what does this person -- this convicted felon, who is never going to legally possess a firearm -- suggest that honest men should be subjected to in order to get government permission to exercise their inalienable rights?
Every inmate admitted into the Arizona Department of Corrections is required to take a mandatory psych test. I took it on four separate occasions, one for each time I was sentenced to an Arizona State prison. The test runs about two hours, and was quite proficient at identifying the mentally disturbed?especially those prone to violence. Incoming inmates who failed this test were automatically removed from general population and redirected for further psychological evaluation.
This simple test should be mandatory for any individual who wishes to purchase a firearm.
A two-hour psychological examination before buying a firearm? For everyone? Take a moment to let it sink in: this person, this felon, is recommending that every American who wants to exercise their second-amendment right to own a gun be treated like a convicted criminal going into prison
Putting aside everything else -- buddy, there aren't enough psychologists to administer the test. Look at the NICS check counts
. How many psychologists does it take to run 175,000 2-hour examinations every day? How much does it cost? Do we take these people away from their current work with patients that might actually do some good?
We can get an idea of what it would cost
A quick sample of some individual clinical psychologists' fees shows them to be all over the map. Dr. Jeff Daly practices in Carlsbad, California. His hourly rate is $150 per session and $25 for additional services, such as extensive telephone calls. Legal testimony costs $300 an hour. Dr. Lisa Lombard of Chicago, Illinois, charges an hourly fee ranging from $35 for a 15 minute office consultation to $180 for a 90 minute counseling session. She also has different hourly fees for group and couples therapy and charges $200 an hour for expert testimony. Dr. Claudia Diez works in New York City, and her standard fee is $200 an hour. Dr. Amy D. Rouse of Westerville, Ohio, has an average fee of $130 to $150 per session, according to "Psychology Today."
So we're looking at $300 per examination, roughly. The FBI says it conducted almost 20 million NICS checks in 2012
. (99.5% of those were passed). So we're looking at $6B in direct costs -- before psychologists decide to increase rates in response to demand. No doubt these tests would be funded by fees levied on the person buying the gun -- which would dramatically increase the cost of most firearms, putting them even further out of reach for the people who most need them for self-defense... the poor.
And we've wasted 40 million hours of innocent people's lives by forcing them to undergo a psychological examination for wanting to be able to defend themselves effectively.
Why do I say wasted? Because it's obvious that these tests won't work when applied to the general public. I'm not a statistics expert by any means, but I understand the real issues here pretty well.
First, a bit of background. In order to evaluate the usefulness of this test, we need to know two numbers. We need to know the false positive rate (ie, the test says an individual will be violent, but they are not) and the false negative rate (ie, the test says an individual will be peaceful, but they are not). We don't actually know either of those numbers from the article.
We do know something about the population taking the test currently, though. They are people who have committed a crime serious enough to go to prison. That tells us that we have absolutely no idea
how effective this test will be on the general population. We're not dealing with a random sample; we're dealing with a sample so thoroughly biased that I'm having trouble coming up with an example that would be worse without being a tautology.
The consequences of a false positive on this test as a prisoner are minor. Maybe you get assigned to a different cell block with more security. Maybe the guards watch you more closely. Maybe you aren't eligible for parole as soon. The consequences of failing this test as a free man are much worse: your right to self-defense will be denied, probably for the rest of your life, if you fail to convince a psychologist that you can be trusted with a gun. Do we subject other constitutional rights to this kind of absurd prior restraint without even a hint of due process?
No, we do not: and for good reason.
Having established that false positives on this test are serious business, let's take a look at how many of them we are likely to see.
We know there are a lot of people buying guns -- 20 million per year, roughly. Some of them buy more than one gun over the course of the year, but as a rule of thumb let's start at 20 million gun owners. (That's a lowball estimate, credible studies based on gun ownership not gun purchases per year give numbers around 50-80 million gun owners). Every year we have roughly 9000 gun homicides. Let's wave our hand and say that they all try to buy a gun legally for the sake of our argument.
If the test is accurate, we should expect to see .045% of the people taking it fail. That's less than one in a thousand. We're wasting 2 hours of time from a thousand people to maybe catch one person who might commit a crime. In reality, of course, we'll see much less than that -- because criminals don't buy guns through legal channels. They know they aren't allowed to and their background will be checked. So the people we will be annoying with this test are going to be almost universally honest, significantly less than the one in a thousand rate would suggest.
That's if the test works perfectly, with neither false positives nor false negatives. Which it won't, because nothing ever does.
Let's suppose the test is 95% accurate on the general population. That is, 95% of the time it gives the right answer, and 5% of the time it gives the wrong answer. (Whether this is a standard of accuracy achievable by modern psychology is left as an exercise for the reader).
That's a million honest people being denied their Constitutional rights on the basis of a psychological examination, not their own behavior. Every year.
If failing this examination results in a permanent and retroactive bar to gun ownership, and a typical gun owner buys one gun a year, within 20 years all of those typical gun owners will be barred from gun ownership by a false-positive test result.
Of course, that wouldn't bother the author of this proposal. He can't own firearms, after all. At least, not if he asks permission. He seems remarkably familiar with how to get a gun without asking permission.Hat tip to Ace of Spades for the article
. The rebuttal at the link takes a different approach, and is worth reading.
... and they brought up a recent incident where a two-year-old child was shot by her five-year-old brother. Quite frankly, this infuriates me. It's bad enough when it's the media or a politician; it's much worse coming from someone close to you. The implication of bringing up accidental deaths of children in a gun control debate is obvious: "If you cared about dead children, you would change your position."
I do care about children, and I don't want them dead any more than the next more. But I didn't shoot them. It wasn't one of my guns that was left where a child could find it and shoot their sibling or themselves. I wish that didn't happen, and it's a tragedy when it does.
But I also understand statistics.
The truth is, more kids get killed by swimming pools than guns
by a whole order of magnitude. For children younger than 10 years of age, dying by gunshot is literally more than a one-in-a-million chance. 2/3rds of those are shot by adult criminals, people who are not allowed to legally own guns already.
Being a legal gun owner is remarkably safe, even before you consider the lives saved by firearms used in self-defense. It's not perfectly
safe, because nothing is perfectly safe. Accidents will always happen.
Blaming responsible gun owners for accidents they had nothing to do with is nothing more than emotional blackmail. It offends me to my core, and I won't stand for it.
I'm not a gun nut. I'm a regular nut who owns guns, but only to hunt,
not to defend my home and family, join the militia or fight the forces
So you wouldn't defend your home and family with a gun if they were attacked? I mean, I understand that not being your primary reason for owning guns, especially since we all hope that we never have to -- but surely you can accept that they are useful for that purpose if, in fact, you have to.
As for joining the militia, you don't have to. You are automatically enrolled, being of sound mind and body and between the ages of 18 and 45. Did you register for the draft? Congratulations, you're officially
in the militia.
I don't use the word, "nut," lightly. I mean it as a sincere
compliment -- no different than somebody calling me a "fishing nut" and
making my chest swell. (It might even the best thing I've been called
To me, a nut is a devotee, enthusiast, purist, the top dog in a
cultural niche, a person with the level of passion most of us only see
in our dreams and imagination. So, readers with guns, especially those
with black ones, please do not be offended by what follows. Instead,
just keep polishing your M4 and SIG P210, read on, and be proud.
This is an elaborate justification for his desire to keep calling honest, law-abiding gun owners "nuts". If you want people to listen to you, don't insult them.
There's a bit of the old Markey's Law with that "polishing" comment, too.
Even though gun nuts -- or "Bitter Clingers" as they now call
themselves -- have recently called me a "traitor" and "useful idiot," I've
always been a pro-gun guy. Now, after listening to the gun nuts, I'm
even more pro-gun, but I'm sure, still not pro-gun enough.
About that "Bitter Clingers" thing. Obama called us that. He didn't mean it as a complement.
If all the pro-gun guys you talk to are calling you a traitor or a "useful idiot", you should consider the fact that maybe they are right
. Or, at the very least, not helping.
I consider my right to bear arms one of my basic freedoms, but not the
only one, so buckle up, gun nuts. I happen to think other amendments to
our constitution such as Number 1 (freedom of religion, speech, press,
assembly and petition), 13 (abolishing slavery), 14 (equal protection
under the law), 19 and 26 (right to vote for women and all citizens over
18) and others might actually be more important than Number 2.
I don't disagree about those being important. But here's the thing. Without the 2nd Amendment, we can't enforce any of the others.
Shoot, I wonder if the gun nuts have asked themselves this question. Would the Second Amendment even pass today?
73% of the population supports it. That's well over the 2/3rds majorities required for a Constitutional amendment.
I've learned that gun nuts are scared, and I am, too, but for a
different reason. They're terrified about our new president sending out a
flock of black helicopters to confiscate their guns?or at least make it
harder to buy them.
That would be because people are calling for gun control laws to confiscate firearms.
That's not all that scares me. I could go on, but the point is. Losing
some of my gun rights doesn't make my top twenty concerns. If that makes
me a "traitor," well, we have a pandemic of treason in this country.
If it's just a matter of not being your top concern, well, people disagree. It doesn't make you a traitor, just a "useful idiot" in your own terms. But "traitor" seems more appropriate, since you claim to be a "gun nut" while trying to calm down gun owners who are trying to protect their rights. And your rights, too.
Even after enduring the name-calling, I admire the dedication of gun nuts.
You don't have ANY space to talk about name calling.
Guns, guns, guns -- that's all that matters to these people. They've closed
their minds to compromise. To them, there's no such thing as a common
sense gun law. Because of their single-mindedness, they get it done. Ask
any politician who has proposed a "reasonable gun law."
We have "common sense gun laws", not all of which make much sense, but are the result of over a hundred years of compromise. We are tired of being asked to compromise.
Despite the fear mongering I read in the comment sections and gun blogs,
I believe President Obama is smart enough to keep his party from being
again swept out of power because of the gun issue.
See you in November 2014.
We realize it's not about guns, it's about control
... (now with visual aids
The short version:
Background-check amendment is too vague for law abiding citizens to understand and too easy for criminals to avoid.
He doesn't go into every problem with the legislation, but some of the technical issues about changes to FOPA protection are, frankly, issues that gun rights advocates are more tuned in to than the average voter.
I do have one minor complaint:
The Toomey-Manchin amendment admirably attempted to carve out certain protections for gun owners, but today's carve-outs are tomorrow's loopholes. The current "gun show loophole" was itself once considered a legitimate carve-out that protected certain private sales.
From the scare quotes around "gun show loophole" it's clear that Lee understands the truth: there IS no gun show loophole. There are sales by licensed dealers (background checks required) and private sales (no background checks required by federal law). The same rule applies to gun shows as it does everywhere else.
Lee is correct, but in using the scare quotes without explaining the issue he's reinforcing the impression that such a loophole exists.
Well, it's not so much a fisking as it is labeling each sentence in her article with the logical fallacies it represents.
Amid all the heated, emotional advocacy of gun control, have you ever heard even one person present convincing hard evidence that tighter gun control laws have in fact reduced murders?
No. Of course not. There is no such evidence.Read the whole thing
It's pretty good, too. Worth the read, if only to encourage more like it.
Colion Noir on firearms ignorance in legislators.
If you are going to ban something, for crying out loud, learn a little about it first.
all know that guns can cost lives because the media repeat this message
endlessly, as if we could not figure it out for ourselves. But even
someone who reads newspapers regularly and watches numerous television
newscasts may never learn that guns also save lives ? much less see any
hard facts comparing how many lives are lost and how many are saved.
I don't agree with Sowell on everything, not even everything in this article. ("Pit bulls", for one example). But his larger point is correct: we need to consider the benefits of firearms as well as their costs.
Government buildings are grand, too, even new ones like the Reagan
office building. "It's very much like Versailles before the French
Revolution," says historian John Steele Gordon. Washingtonians have
become like the French nobility, who spent their lives in the palace at
Versailles "and didn't know much about what went on outside that world."
Bubbles pop. Eventually.
Today I've talked with shooters from France, Germany and Italy and they feel if we lose the Assault Rifle thing like we did in 1994 they are toast because it will embolden those in their home countries to push for far more severe legislation and they have little defense in their parliaments or legislature because no European politicians LIKE shooting......for any reason.
There are lots of "free" countries in the world. Few of them allow their citizens to own firearms in the way that the United States does.
You may have heard about it: A lady was hiding in her attic from a
burglar with her two kids and her Saturday night special when he used a
crowbar to bust in on them. So she did what she had to do. Next thing
you know, the creeper with them two feets who came a-creepin' like a
black cat do is on the floor full of .38 holes.
Sounds like the best possible outcome to me. The burglar didn't stay on the floor long -- he got up, ran away, was arrested, brought to a hospital, and last I heard will recover to face charges. The woman and her kids are OK, albeit probably a bit scared.
I will draw attention here to the author's calling the woman's .38 revolver a "Saturday Night Special". First, we have no information about the revolver at all. We don't know if it was expensive or cheap, new or old, large or small. We don't know anything about it besides the operating mechanism and caliber, both of which are very common and used to be the police standard when police carried revolvers. So why use the term saturday night special?
I suspect the author does not that realize that the term is drawn from the racist roots of gun control
and was meant to express a fear of armed blacks. Gun rights supporters believe that self-defense is color-blind, and men should be judged by the content of their character... including whether they break into the homes of women with small children.
Perhaps especially that.
here's an important aspect of this story I need to draw attention to
at this point because it perplexes the hell outta me: He didn't mean to
violently intrude upon this family.
The guy shows up knocking at the door, ostensibly to sell them some encyclopedias or crowbars or something.
No answer. So he rings the doorbell a bunch of times,
and instead of answering the door or somehow asking him what he wants,
they hide and call the cops!
A woman alone with small children is wise not to open her door to an unexpected male knocking on it and carrying a crowbar.
Now that he's satisfied that no one is home, he begins liberating the family's belongings in the name of the proletariat.
I wish I was confident that this was intended as humor.
Like any good burglar, he's thorough, working through every room in the house until he eventually reaches the attic. He opens the door, and suddenly a relatively harmless cat burglary becomes a violent home invasion.
There's no such thing as a "relatively harmless" burglary.
The problematic part of how this scenario played out is not what she
did in the heat of that moment. I just want to know why she didn't, you
know, answer the door in the first place. C'mon, you gotta at least open a window and ask the dude what he wants!
Isn't it obvious? She was scared, and judged that answering her door or opening a window would not have been safe. And she was right, because he then broke into her house.
Obviously I'm not saying she deserved to have her house broken into.
No, but you're coming dangerously close to it.
You can try to justify her in hindsight by saying, "Well, he just got
out of jail in August, and he's been arrested six times since 2008, so
she had a right to be scared of him." But she couldn't have known that!
Whatever she could or couldn't have known, she was right to be scared, because he broke into her house.
What the author isn't quite able to bring himself to say is that he thinks the woman was scared of the man because he was black, thus making her a racist for assuming he was up to no good. But the author can't quite do it, because she was right
Unless the news left out the part where he yelled about his time in
Folsom or the fact that his T-shirt said, "Ask me about jail!" there
wasn't a real reason for her to be scared of him initially, other than
the same reason she bought the gun in the first place. She's been so conditioned by the stories of murders
and home invasions that populate the evening news that she immediately
went into xenophobia-induced panic mode as soon as someone whose
appearance was mildly threatening intruded into her comfort zone.
She felt his actions -- knocking on her door unexpectedly, ringing her doorbell repeatedly, possibly carrying a crowbar -- warranted concerned, and she was right
From all appearances, this guy was trying to find an EMPTY house to
break into. If she had initially responded proactively by confronting
him when he was a random, annoying guy hanging around ringing the
doorbell incessantly, there's a nonzero chance he would've just made up
some excuse and moved on.
And a nonzero chance he would have escalated to immediate rape or murder upon finding a woman alone in the house. Only someone with an insane lack of regard for the woman's safety -- never mind her kids -- would suggest confronting a man behaving threateningly.
Instead she acted in an inexplicably irrational and paranoid way. Now
he's badly wounded, maybe dying, and her kids had to watch their mother
repeatedly shoot a man while he begged her, crying, to stop.
You're not paranoid if they really are out to get you. Whatever the consequences of this situation, the woman is not at fault. She did not break into an occupied house and threaten a mother and her children.
Maybe guns are good, maybe they're bad, but this story should've never gotten to the point where they were involved. Sometimes it's easier to ask someone just what the hell they think they're doing rather than wait for them to do it.
The only possible explanation I can find for this article is that the author has spent some time on the wrong side of a crowbar himself. That's just speculation, of course.
Welcome to a warmer, wilder world! We need to stop
debating and start accepting that climate change is happening. Eugene
Linden on how adaptation and market forces (hint: insurance companies)
might temper the coming catastrophe. There has been no warming for more than a decade.
But this doesn't stop alarmists from peddling their threats to the public. They don't want debate because they lose debates
. They want us to implement their economically destructive solutions to nonexistent problems while shutting down debate about whether the problem even exists, much less how serious it is and what the best response would be.
Clue: In America, we don't shut down debate. Period.
Unfortunately, some of them don't want to admit that they lose the debate
The American Interest blog notes The Economist is backing away from climate change hysteria. That's a good thing, but I figured I would note this (quote from the Economist):
The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising
temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now.
It does not mean global warming is a delusion. Flat though they are,
temperatures in the first decade of the 21st century remain almost 1°C
above their level in the first decade of the 20th. But the puzzle does
It's not really very puzzling. The climate models were built in the '90s using what we understood about the climate at that time. They were then calibrated by looking backward for as far as good data was available, which is less than a century or so, and tweaking the models until they could reproduce the past. The final step was validating the models by predicting the future and checking that the results matched up with reality.
The models validated (at least in the eyes of the authors) because they had been calibrated against a time period that included 20 years of warming records -- 1975-1995, roughly -- and then validated against years when that same trend continued -- 1995-2000, roughly. (UPDATE: Perhaps the modelers forget to calibrate for China
Since then, they have been tweaking the models to try to get better results as new data comes in, but those tweaks are relatively small and are limited by the constraints of the Climate Consensus that thermogeddon is inevitable and human CO2 emissions must have a runaway feedback effect that results in Earth becoming Venus.
Since the models are, in essence, validating by comparing single numbers -- average temperature of the earth to average temperature of the model earth -- because of the obsession with thermogeddon, any model that results in a rise of a few fractions of a degree in global average temperature per year will validate against temperatures in the 1990s fairly well.
You don't have to know anything about the weather to produce a model that does that. High school algebra and a graphing calculator will suffice, and no one would know the difference as long as the model is a black box that other scientists aren't allowed to look inside.
The problem is, in the late 90s and the first two decades of the 21st century, the behavior of the earth's climate system changed. First, it stopped warming and held the same temperature. (You may have noticed this when the hysterical news reports changed from warning of death by "Global Warming" to death by "Climate Change".) Second, though it's too early to be sure, it may have started to cool off.
Now, all those models that predicted global temperature doom are still predicting global temperature doom, but the behavior of the climate doesn't match
. All the models that were based on something other than a real, accurate, functional climate prediction model have been revealed to be no better than a high school student with a graphing calculator plotting a line on a graph with a specified slope and an exponential rise at the end of the graph.
It may be possible to model climate behavior over the long term, if all the variables are reasonably taken into account. (It also may not be -- chaotic systems resist prediction). What's clear is that the climate models we have now do not work. They don't work because many of the prominent climate scientists have been too busy making millions predicting the end of the world to notice that their projections weren't matching up to the data.
That's not a puzzle. That's human nature.
... the Charlie Rangel edition
One reason we win in the long run is that we don't need to lie to make our case, and they do.
There is absolutely no reason for government to have a monopoly on education. Not for kids, and not for adults.
"Wait a minute," you say. "We don't have a government monopoly on education. People can choose to attend -- or send their kids to -- any school they want."
"Aha," I respond, "But they pay for the government school first, and if anything is left over after that, maybe they can afford to send their children to a private school and pay a second time."
In some places, and in some school systems, giving your child a chance at a decent education requires paying twice. Those are usually the same school systems whose parents can least afford to pay for their child's education twice. Learn more about the Blob That Ate Children
Shotguns are not the most effective home defense weapons for everyone. They're often long, heavy, rather unwieldly firearms that kick relatively hard and are slow to take followup shots, particularly with pump action. As the video illustrates, handing a shotgun to a small woman without firearms experience and asking her to shoot it is likely to result in a situation that is dangerous to her and everyone around her.
An AR-15 will have much more manageable recoil, more precise control of shot placement, and is smaller and lighter to carry around the house. While training and practice are still necessary, as with any firearm, starting with a firearm that doesn't knock you on your ass each time you shoot it makes a big difference.
It's not about whether women can handle powerful firearms or not. Some can, just as some men can't handle powerful firearms either. It's a matter of basic physics -- mass, and what the shooter can do to control the recoil with grip and posture.
AR-15 type rifles are popular because they are effective and easy to shoot -- especially for women.
Hat tip to The Ultimate Answer to Kings.
Following the hysteria generated by gun prohibitionists in the wake
of the Sandy Hook tragedy, a nationwide rush on gun stores began as
citizens bought semiautomatic modern sporting rifles, handguns and
ammunition, in effect ?making a political statement? about proposals to
ban such firearms.
Making political statements is what the First Amendment is all about.
At first glance, it's hard to see the relationship. But when you realize that laws designed to restrict the public from owning "assault weapons" are based on cosmetic details -- similar to banning manual-shift cars with rear spoilers or painted an aggressive red color -- it suddenly makes sense.
Buying a "scary-looking" gun is free speech.
At one point, one of the ladies we were speaking to said "Well, handguns
can only carry what, 7 rounds?" I shook my head and said "20." She
looked shocked and disbelieving until her friend spoke up and said
something along the lines of "Yeah, the pistol I was looking at the
other day holds 17!" This was followed by the organizer of the event
admitting that she is getting her CWP next weekend. South Carolina:
where gun control activists are getting CWPs. I can't speak for the
folks I didn't talk to, but most of the ones I did speak with didn't
seem like lost causes. With some polite conversation, education, and
some range time, there's potential there. On the other hand, it
definitely looked like there had been some discussion about which of
their people to send to talk to us, and I'm sure they picked most
polite. Not the person who insulted my intelligence on facebook after
the rally despite not speaking to me. Fun times!
I guess the whole "Fudd" thing goes both ways.
Part 3 of a youtube gun control discussion
I posted the first two parts earlier, and they were pretty good. Part 3 was less so.
He starts the video by basically throwing out any sort of detailed statistical discussion, saying that all the sources are biased and it's impossible to sort out the different definitions of crimes between nations. Fair enough, it's not an easy task even for professional criminologists.
However, having thrown out the hard data, he proceeds to roll with his intuitive feel for what the data means. The problem is, once you've given up on understanding the data, the intuitive impression of the data is worthless.
The conclusion boils down to the idea that firearms don't increase the crime rate, but they do increase the murder rate (that is, a mugging with a knife becomes a mugging with a gun, and what might have been a stabbing becomes a murder). This is the core narrative of the anti-gun crowd, and it is intellectually tempting because it seems obvious when you don't understand the data.
However, there's a huge logical flaw in the idea that by banning guns you can transform murders with guns into non-fatal attacks with knives. The problem is that banning guns will not make criminals give up their guns. Under a gun ban, only law-abiding gun owners give up their guns -- and any who don't are immediately transformed into criminals.
Having established that criminals will keep their guns -- and even on an island like the UK, can still smuggle in more -- the question becomes whether the honest citizen can keep a gun to defend himself, and what happens if he has to use it? If the honest man keeps his gun despite the law, and has to shoot someone attacking him in his home, does he then report the shooting? Well, probably not -- he would get in trouble for having the gun and shooting someone, even if he was defending his life.Hat tip to Weerd
If you yell "fire" in a movie theater, you are exercising your
free-speech rights. Yet you are also causing a panic that will likely
lead to the harm of other people. Therefore, while each of us has a
right to free speech, that right is limited. In his book "On Liberty,"
the famous English philosopher John Stuart Mill referred to this
formulation as the "harm principle" -- that my rights end where
exercising those rights cause another person harm.
Here's the problem. Walking into a movie theater with a mouth and a working set of lungs does not threaten anyone. Neither does walking into a movie theater with a gun. Shouting "Fire" might cause a panic, and people might be trampled in the panic, thus, it's something you can legitimately be punished for -- unless there actually is a fire, of course. Likewise, shooting people in a movie theater -- or anywhere else -- is a criminal act that can be punished. Peacefully enjoying the movie with a concealed firearm on your belt doesn't disturb anyone.
Yet in many states in the United States today, it is perfectly legal to
buy and carry an assault weapon fitted with a multi-round ammunition
magazine -- a killing machine if there ever was one. And, tragically,
over the past year we have seen those weapons carried into a school, a
shopping mall, and, yes, a movie theater.
What creates the problem in those cases is not that the assault weapon was bought, or carried, or that it had a "multi-round ammunition magazine". The problem is that the person who did those things also did something else: he shot people, he committed murder. Murder is illegal, of course. Having already decided to commit murder, would any of those murderers be deterred by rules against buying or carrying an assault weapon?
Here, I'll give you a clue. The theater in Aurora? It was a posted gun-free zone. It wasn't legal to have a gun there. Didn't stop anyone. In fact, there's an argument that the killer chose the theater because it was a posted gun free zone.
Frankly, it's hard to imagine a danger more "clear and present" than
James Eagan Holmes' decision to carry his assault weapon into an Aurora,
Colo., movie theater. Yet until he used it, he had not committed a
crime. By contrast, had he simply yelled fire in that same movie
theater, he could have been arrested for inciting danger in that
theater. Does anyone really believe that yelling the word "fire" is a
danger more clear and present than the possession of a killing machine?
And yet critics of gun-safety regulations point to the Second Amendment --
which the Supreme Court ruled includes a right of individuals to "keep
and bear arms" [McDonald v. Chicago, 561 US 3025 (2010)] -- as
evidence that regulations like an assault-weapons ban are
unconstitutional. They claim that "law abiding citizens" can exercise
their Second Amendment rights by purchasing and carrying an assault
We can, and we do, peacefully exercise our right to keep and bear arms by owning and carrying firearms in 40 shall-issue states. People in those states who carry guns legally do not go on rampages. Blood does not run in the streets. You haven't seen us in the news. You probably have seen us next to you in the grocery store, movie theater, or shopping mall. You just didn't see our firearm, because it was concealed and not being used to commit murder. People carrying firearms lawfully are not the problem.
Yet the Second Amendment is not absolute -- just as the First Amendment
is not absolute. Claiming that limits on the Second Amendment are
unconstitutional is a misunderstanding of the Constitution, and the
Supreme Court's century-old jurisprudence on rights. The fact is every
right has limits. There are limits on the ability of a person to speak,
to worship, to assemble -- all grounded in the fact that some actions
endanger other people, and therefore those actions can be prevented. No
person has a right falsely to yell fire, because it would likely
endanger others. We should apply the same principle to regulate guns.
Having a gun does not endanger anyone. Shooting at them would. So would, say, being drunk while you carry your firearm, or handling it in a negligent manner. There is a difference, and we have laws to handle the cases of malice and negligence. But we don't arrest citizens who are capable of safely carrying firearms for their own protection.
Shall we ban certain brands of typewriters? How about laser printers, because they can produce printed text too fast? Or computers, because gosh, when you combine them with the internet, people, ordinary people!, can publish blogs that interfere with the message the officially sanctioned journalists are supposed to be sending.
There's actually a useful concept in First Amendment law that applies here. That concept is prior restraint
. Under the First Amendment, the government is prohibited from exercising prior restraint on First Amendment rights. It cannot stop you from speaking out. If your speech turns out to be shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater without a fire, they can punish you for creating a panic -- but they can't force you to wear a gag when you are going into a theater.
The same concept applies to firearms rights. We can punish people who misuse firearms criminally. We can't punish them because they "might" misuse a firearm.
The clear and present danger test, or the more recent "imminent lawless action test" -- which the Supreme Court established in Brandenburg v. Ohio,
395 US 444 (1969) -- are possible and appropriate tests for limiting the
right to bear arms. The Supreme Court has established this right as an
individual right -- regardless of the ambiguities found in the amendment
itself. Yet like all rights, the right to bear arms must be limited by
the safety of others.
Merely owning and carrying a firearm is not "imminent lawless action". Carrying a rifle and grenades -- assault weapon or not -- into a movie theater would raise my eyebrows, but let's not get caught up in the fantasy that making it more illegal would have somehow stopped the murderer. He was going into the theater to commit murder. There was no one there with a gun to stop him. Also committing "illegally carrying a weapon into a gun free zone" is going to register to the murderer as "Oh, good, I'll be the only one with a gun."
So, should we institute an assault-weapons ban? Surely yes, because a
person carrying such a killing machine is a clear and present danger for
There are literally millions of so-called "assault weapons" in the hands of honest, law-abiding citizens, police officers, and members of our military forces. Only a tiny fraction of those firearms are ever used in crimes.
The problem is not people carrying firearms. The problem is crazy people who want to commit murder.
Should we limit the number of bullets any magazine can contain? Surely
yes, because no hunter needs more than five rounds before replacing a
magazine. By contrast, such magazines allow mass murders like Adam
Lanza?s massacre in Newtown, Conn.
With a little practice, a magazine can be replaced in a few seconds. Lanza did so frequently -- more frequently than he had to, often discarding magazines that had as many as 15 rounds left. He had 20 uninterrupted minutes to commit his murders before the police arrived to stop him. Claiming that unarmed kindergarteners could have overpowered him while he changed magazines is offensive.
Like most spree killers, Lanza stopped when he encountered armed resistance. The sooner a spree killer faces someone else with a gun, the sooner he stops killing. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
20 minutes, to be exact.
If one of the teachers he killed had had a gun, fewer children would be dead today. If it saves just one life... The Newtown Board of Education wants to hire armed guards
Should we establish a
universal and thorough background check and waiting period? Yes,
because allowing someone with a clear record of dangerous use of weapons
to buy and possess another one is a clear and present danger.
If someone has a clear record of dangerous use of weapons, how will preventing them from buying another one stop anything? That person will just use one of the weapons they already own.The fact is, we already have a background check system in place. It is supposed to prevent criminals and crazy people from buying guns from licensed dealers, but we should not count on it to do so. Why not? Well, many states don't do a good job adding "crazy people" to the list of prohibited persons. More importantly, though, criminals don't obey laws -- including "crazy people planning mass murder". Adam Lanza didn't buy his guns legally -- he killed his mother to take her guns.
Should we ban all rifles and handguns? No, because the presence of a
rifle on a deer hunt does not usually represent a clear and present
danger to other human beings.
Neither does the presence of an AR-15 or a semiautomatic handgun with a standard capacity magazine at a shooting range.
Despite the misguided and ill-informed views of the leaders of the NRA,
can?t the rest of us agree that a person who carries a loaded assault
weapon with a multi-round ammunition magazine ? the purpose of which can
only be construed as attempting to kill other human beings ? is a clear
and present danger? It is time now for our politicians to do something
A person who is carrying a firearm but not shooting at people is not a clear and present danger to anything other than the clean underwear of a so-called journalist and constitutional scholar. The danger comes from the person, not the gun.
, one an hour long with another guest and the other 20 minutes long (within a longer program). He does a good job, but so does the opposition.
I noted a couple very interesting questions from callers.
- One caller asked about the myths spread by Belleseilles' Arming America. Randy pointed out correctly that the research was fraudulent, but that there are people who heard and believed the original claim and did not hear that the research was fraudulent is interesting.
- Another caller asked whether giving up the right to arms for the 99% would make it harder to later regain that right from the 1%. It's interesting because it's a right to arms from a left-wing perspective.
- A third caller pointed out that within living memory, people used their right to arms to defend against their state government calling out the police and national guard to put down labor union strikes. Again, an argument for the right to arms from the left.
The second amendment protects more than just Republicans. It is a civil rights issue for everyone.
<-- Prev Displaying results 0 - 25 of 1259 Next -->
Read this group via RSS or
Enter your email address to receive email updates for new entries in this group: