Guns, crime, and gun control

On the off-chance that not all RBC readers regularly view guns.com (which is exactly what you’d expect it to be) here’s my Q&A on gun policy. The site boldly published my answers – including the snark – unedited. Enjoy!

Sample:

Q: You’ve been critical of the NRA leadership in the past but if you were in Wayne LaPierre’s shoes, how would you handle the current debate on gun control? Would you come to the table prepared to negotiate or would you dig in and prepare for a protracted battle in Congress?

A: If you’re Wayne LaPierre and you want to stand up for the rights of law-abiding gun-owners, you make a deal that sacrifices the non-law-abiding: universal background checks, better record-keeping and data analysis, stronger gun-tracing, tough penalties for scofflaw gun dealers and straw purchasers who knowingly arm criminals. But if you’re Wayne LaPierre and your job is making sure the dollars keep flowing from customers to your gun-manufacturer sponsors and from those sponsors to the NRA’s bank account (and your own), then you mount a national scare campaign to stimulate gun sales.

I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which Wayne LaPierre is actually running the NRA.

Comments

  1. Brett Bellmore says

    “If you’re Wayne LaPierre and you want to stand up for the rights of law-abiding gun-owners, you make a deal that sacrifices the non-law-abiding: (Gun controller wish list of the moment)”

    Nah, you’d do that if you were Charlie Brown. If you were Wayne LaPierre, you’d be aware that you were negotiating with unprincipled skunks who never keep their side of any deal, and who take any concession as the starting point for demanding more, and refuse to make a deal which could not possibly have any benefits, because any part of it which benefited you would be treated as contemptuously as the 2nd amendment itself.

    I don’t know, maybe you recall that the current background check system was a compromise with the NRA, where the NRA agreed to the background checks, in return for an assurance that there would be no record kept of the checks, so as to prevent their being used as back door registration of guns and gun owners? And maybe you recall that, in direct violation of that statutory clause, the Clinton administration none the less began retaining exactly the records they were prohibited from keeping, and had to be forced to stop by a lawsuit? And that, to this day, we are not confident the records aren’t being covertly kept by means of inclusion in data backups before deletion, so that they could be reconstructed any time an administration decided to set up a gun registry?

    Maybe you recall that administration routinely taking the background check system down for ‘unscheduled maintenance’ over the weekends of the big gun shows, so that no firearms could be sold during them?

    Because I assure you Wayne LaPierre recalls these things, and more, and because of them, would never be so stupid as to expect the other side to actually KEEP their side of any bargain.

    Look, I know there’s this assumption that gun owners are amnesiac morons, and so your plans don’t have to be particularly novel or clever, but could you please dispense with it, in the interest of not continually insulting us? We don’t trust you, we have good reason for not trusting you, and our actions are NEVER, EVER, no matter how convenient it might be to you, going to be based on trusting you.

    So forget about bargains, this is a fight between people who have no basis for trust, and bargains are about trust.

    “Nationally, I think we should follow up on James Q. Wilson’s old idea of metal-detectors for street cops to replace stop-and-frisk as a way of discouraging illegal carry.”

    Yay, the 4th amendment goes bye bye, too.

    “Yes, if you add “trained and licensed” to “law-abiding”: i.e., the Texas model, not the Arizona model. There’s no evidence that people who can get a license and who actually go through the training and do get a license commit any substantial number of gun crimes.”

    So, is there any evidence that people who *don’t* actually go through the training and get a license commit any substantial number of gun crimes while carrying legally? Is there evidence that the Arizona model works significantly worse than the Texas model?

    • Freeman says

      And that, to this day, we are not confident the records aren’t being covertly kept by means of inclusion in data backups before deletion, so that they could be reconstructed any time an administration decided to set up a gun registry?

      But we can be confident that concealed-carry permit records are being abused:

      The police also found a BB gun, a shotgun, a rifle, and the handgun they alleged Diotaiuto was holding. All were legal. In fact, Diotaiuto had a valid concealed carry permit in the state of Florida. To get that permit, he had to fill out a variety of paperwork, undergo a criminal background check, allow himself to be fingerprinted, pay a fee, and enroll in a class on gun safety and firearms law. Bizarrely, Sunrise police claimed the permit indicated Diotaiuto was potentially dangerous–thus the SWAT team, flash grenade, and forced entry. It should have indicated precisely the opposite. Hardened criminals generally don’t volunteer for registration and fingerprinting that will tie them to the guns they plan to use in their crimes. It’s more the sort of thing law-abiding gun owners do. Of course, if you’re going to claim that a registered gun owner poses a threat to police, a good way to prove the point would be to send a police team to break down his door at 6 o’clock in the morning–conditions where nearly anyone would quite naturally react against the intruders.

      • Warren Terra says

        You’re nuts. If the police had probable cause to raid the house (and I’m perfectly willing to believe they didn’t, but for the purpose of this thought experiment lets assume they did), then an assessment of the threat to the raiding party would be entirely appropriate. The knowledge that there were guns on the property would quite properly be part of that assessment, and inspire modifications in how the raid was to be executed. Even if you’re correct that licensed guns are less likely to be used in a crime (and strictly for the sake of this argument let’s assume you are), the cops had already decided this was the home of a criminal, and convinced a judge – your argument about the odds is irrelevant. At the very least, I hope houses being raided aren’t typical, and their residents shouldn’t be expected to be reprentative of licensed gun owners any more than they’re representative of other community members.

        • Brett Bellmore says

          If the police have cause to raid a house, they are utter fools if they assume that the owners have no guns just because one of them has a carry permit. Given the stats on the law abiding nature of permit holders, they’re worse than fools if they have a blanket policy of assuming permit holders are dangerous.

    • Ken Rhodes says

      Brett is absolutely right, and his point is a perfect illustration of my truism in my response to Keith’s Quote of the Day.

      In a situation where groups have competing self-interest (or even where they *perceive* their self-interests are competing), and where each side has a dominant row/column in the payoff matrix, then neither side can trust the other side to keep their half of a bargain. So if Side A has a dominant row, then it HAS to choose that row, because Side B will always choose its dominant column (if it has one). Thus, a strategy of cooperation that could result in a better outcome for both sides is not a feasible choice for either side.

      And of course, this truism applies to BOTH sides, not just to the skunks on the gun-control side.

      • Brett Bellmore says

        This, and not only this: Not just theory, but actual history, which people like me and LaPierre lived through, and will not forget just to make Mark happy, proves this point true. Mark’s side in this has an actual history of breaking bargains. We haven’t had the chance to break such bargains, but we’d be justified in it: You can’t bargain away other people’s civil liberties, any such bargain is corrupt from the start, and SHOULD be broken if a chance is seen to restore the liberty. Would abolitionists have been justified in feeling bound by a bargain with slave owners?

        I’d also note that we have no motivation to seek compromise: We are at our strongest, and your side at it’s weakest. Why should we give you what you couldn’t take when you had more strength?

        We will weather this, and you will gain nothing of value, while the exercise provides us with something of great value: An opportunity to identify which politicians have been gaining our support by lying about their actual views. In a few years we will be all the stronger for your having flushed them out of cover for us to politically destroy.

        • Katja says

          Brett: “You can’t bargain away other people’s civil liberties, any such bargain is corrupt from the start, and SHOULD be broken if a chance is seen to restore the liberty.”

          For the record, I would dispute that the RKBA is a civil liberty (let alone a fundamental human right). I have not seen a convincing argument that lays out why it needs to be an inalienable right rather than be subject to majority rule.

          Also, even if it were a civil liberty, it could still be limited or regulated where it infringes on the civil liberties of others (see: shouting “fire” in crowded theaters etc.).

          That said, I’m dubious that (at least right now) you could accomplish much good by regulating it other than picking the low-hanging fruit that Mark listed. Also, the majority of Americans do seem to favor only limited gun control.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “I have not seen a convincing argument that lays out why it needs to be an inalienable right rather than be subject to majority rule.”

            If the fact that it’s in the FREAKING BILL OF RIGHTS isn’t enough for you, I doubt there’s an argument worth bothering with. I’m certainly not going to bother trying to convince you it would be a good idea were it a civil liberty, since it is already one, that is an argument we won over two centuries ago, and which you’re nowhere near winning yourself.

            Or maybe you haven’t realized the implication of all these state constitutions with 2nd amendment analogs, repeal-able by, yes, majority votes, and yet intact?

          • Katja says

            Brett: “If the fact that it’s in the FREAKING BILL OF RIGHTS isn’t enough for you, I doubt there’s an argument worth bothering with.”

            That it’s in the Bill of Rights does not make it a civil liberty (unless you tautologically define civil liberties as exactly what’s written in the Bill of Rights).

            The Founding Fathers weren’t infallible; they lived in the 18th century, not the 21st. Many of them had views of the rights of women and non-whites that would hardly pass muster today.

            The Constitution, as originally written, is a testimony to their ingenuity, as they were essentially creating the world’s first genuine representative democracy with no existing template to fall back on, but it had (and still has) plenty of flaws.

            The Constitution is not a religious document that you can just point to and disavow the need for debate of as a matter of dogma.

            If you cannot make an argument that stands on its own rather than appealing to the infallibility of the original Constitution and the Founding Fathers, I’m afraid you are not convincing anyone.

            Brett: “Or maybe you haven’t realized the implication of all these state constitutions with 2nd amendment analogs, repeal-able by, yes, majority votes, and yet intact?”

            As I pointed out above, a majority of Americans seem to favor at most limited gun control, so that is not surprising. Also, as I told you before, I do not want to take away your guns; I think the country has bigger problems to work on right now than extensive gun control laws.

            I do not, however, base that on any belief that the RKBA is a sacred and inviolable natural right; I base it on pragmatic considerations and the principle of minimizing government interference in the affairs of individuals; I also think that if (hypothetically) the RKBA had to be curtailed to protect the life and liberty of other citizens, I wouldn’t see any principal problems with it. I consider it extremely unlikely, since currently it would require a constitutional amendment that doesn’t have a snowflake’s chance in hell to pass; but I wouldn’t consider abolishing the 2nd Amendment any more of a danger to our liberties than abolishing the 18th was.

            I also do not see any inherent problems with Mark’s suggestions (which largely aim at reducing the size of the black market in guns) being compatible with the 2nd Amendment (post-Heller); even by the most generous interpretation there’s no right to keep and bear untraceable guns.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “That it’s in the Bill of Rights does not make it a civil liberty (unless you tautologically define civil liberties as exactly what’s written in the Bill of Rights).”

            No, that it’s in the Bill of Rights does, precisely, make it a civil liberty. Or what’s the use of having a “bill” of “rights”? So that somebody who doesn’t like a particular right can declare it’s not a civil liberty anyway? The 9th amendment makes clear that the Bill of Rights is not the end of civil liberties, but it damned well is the beginning of them, or we really have nothing to talk about, the rule of law is out the window, and it’s time to fight it out.

            You want me to give a bucket of warm spit about any law you dare to enact, you’d better damned well at least pretend to care what’s in the Bill of Rights.

            That’s why I said there’s no basis for the trust necessary to enter into bargains and compromises: If you won’t be bound by the Bill of Rights, you’re sure as hell not going to let some temporary compromise that doesn’t even have constitutional status slow you down.

            “The Constitution is not a religious document that you can just point to and disavow the need for debate of as a matter of dogma.”

            No, the Constitution isn’t a religious document, written by a Creator who’s not interested in re-writes, and lacking in any formal means for amendment, which can ‘change’ only through pretending the words mean something new. It’s a law, with a formal procedure for amendment, which you’re not using because too many people disagree with the change you want.

          • Warren Terra says

            It’s cute how Brett et al pretend guns are protected under the second amendment. Anyone paying the slightest attention to them can tell it’s the first amendment, free exercise of religion, that more accurately describes their relationship with the subject.

          • Katja says

            Brett: “It’s a law, with a formal procedure for amendment, which you’re not using because too many people disagree with the change you want.”
            Brett: “If you won’t be bound by the Bill of Rights, you’re sure as hell not going to let some temporary compromise that doesn’t even have constitutional status slow you down.”

            Say, no offense, but did you even read what I was writing? E.g.: “I consider it extremely unlikely, since currently it would require a constitutional amendment that doesn’t have a snowflake’s chance in hell to pass”. Or that you tell me that I want something that I specifically disclaimed? Or that you are completely ignoring my acknowledgement of the majority of Americans preferring loose gun control laws (and me respecting that)? It’s not easy to engage in discourse when you consistently ignore (like the last time we were at this) what I’m actually saying and make stuff up from whole cloth.

            Brett: “No, that it’s in the Bill of Rights does, precisely, make it a civil liberty. ”

            No. Civil liberties exist in the absence of their codification as man-made laws. That’s what the Declaration of Independence means when it says: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The understanding here is that civil liberties pre-exist codification as law (and in spite of George III not respecting them). That’s what “unalienable” means. The Bill of Rights is the (often imperfect) codification of these liberties. Were a tyrant to hypothetically abolish the Bill of Rights, we’d still have our civil liberties; it’s just that we could no longer rely on the legislative and executive to respect them and the courts to enforce them.

            And let’s be blunt: The Bill of Rights was a document that a caste of white male slave-owners wrote for themselves. Jefferson, e.g., did not think that women and slaves should share in the right to peacably assemble. And the 2nd Amendment has a particularly notorious and revolting history in this regard.

            As you may know, a major purpose of the “well-regulated militia” was to kill Indians, steal their land, and enforce chattel slavery. See, e.g. the Sand Creek Massacre (where the militia were involved in the mass murder of a village of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho) and putting down the Nat Turner rebellion (where, in addition to the rebelling slaves, about a hundred non-involved slaves were also murdered) as particularly extreme cases. Of course, I call these incidents “murder” by how we feel about them these days: At the time, naturally, the Bill of Rights didn’t extend to the victims and nobody was ever punished for either atrocity.

            The 2nd Amendment gave guns to white men and they used it to keep the natives and the slaves in check. For a supposed “civil liberty”, it has an extremely sordid history of being used to trample on the liberties of others.

            This is why I feel little but derision when gun fetishists seek to ennoble their cause by putting the 2nd Amendment (which included [1], per the above, the right to kill in the name of white supremacy) up there with actual civil liberties, such as freedom of speech or the right to life, not understanding the feet of clay on which their idolization rests.

            Let me stress again that I still think that, however noxious its history, the 2nd Amendment is still the law of the land and should be observed as such; but I do not consider it to be a fundamental natural right that in principle should not or could not be taken away by an amendment process.

            [1] Note that the 2nd Amendment was not exclusively about this; but it was a fairly significant aspect.

          • Anonymous says

            So, your argument is essentially,

            1. Yes, I can’t get this repealed because too many people disagree with me.

            2. Yes, it actually is written down in the Constitution, using words like “right of the people”,

            BUT,

            3. I disapprove of this being a right, so it isn’t.

            I miss anything?

          • Freeman says

            Katja: No. Civil liberties exist in the absence of their codification as man-made laws. That’s what the Declaration of Independence means when it says:…

            It seems you have Civil Liberties confused with Natural Rights. They are not the same thing. Only natural rights are considered to exist (in theory) absent law and organized government. Civil liberties are codified individual legal rights, not necessarily natural ones, though there is often overlap between the two. The natural right to self-defense is supported by the legal right to bear arms (which is a civil liberty protected by the 2nd Amendment) in the U.S.A.

            The 2nd Amendment gave guns to white men and they used it to keep the natives and the slaves in check. For a supposed “civil liberty”, it has an extremely sordid history of being used to trample on the liberties of others.

            Law is commonly abused by those in power throughout history. Abusus non tollit sum.

            This is why I feel little but derision when gun fetishists seek to ennoble their cause by putting the 2nd Amendment (which included [1], per the above, the right to kill in the name of white supremacy) up there with actual civil liberties, such as freedom of speech or the right to life, not understanding the feet of clay on which their idolization rests.

            Derision is often misplaced. This seems like such a case. The 2nd Amendment is not the red-headed step-child lesser-class of right that you seem to assert. Freedom of speech and the right to bear arms are both civil liberties established by the same Bill of Rights. Legally, they are equally “up there” with each other and the rest of the “actual civil liberties” enumerated in the Constitution. They are all amendable and revocable through appropriate due process. They all remain, as always, resting upon feet of the clay of government recognition as practiced. Practically speaking, any of them exist only to the extent the government observes them at any given time, which often varies — witness the changes in observance of the 4th Amendment since 9/11.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            I have to agree with Freeman: You’ve managed to precisely confuse “civil” and “natural” rights. Codification does in fact make something a civil right. That’s why we codify things.

          • Katja says

            Freeman: It depends on what definition you use, but the way I’ve been using the terms are generally both differences and overlap between natural rights, civil liberties, and civil rights.

            What I’ve been going by is that natural rights exist independently of any system of laws or customs; civil liberties are recognized, not granted by a government (i.e. why some of the Founding Fathers were against an explicit Bill of Rights, so as not to create a supposition that the rights may have been granted); civil rights are granted and protected by a government.

            (In constitutional law, you have yet other definitions of civil liberties and civil rights.)

            I am perfectly fine with you preferring a definition that allows civil liberties to be alienable where they are not also natural rights; however, Brett then could then not argue for their inalienability.

            With respect to the 2nd Amendment having been abused and in principle being a good idea, I’m likewise fine with entertaining this argument (though doubtful as to whether someone could make the case convincingly): my point was that you cannot appeal to the Founding Fathers as a source of authority when they fail in that regard. You’d have to explain why the RKBA should be a civil liberty, something that Brett has steadfastly refused to do.

          • Katja says

            Brett: “I miss anything?”

            Yes. You like to paint people who express even the most modest interest in gun control, however limited, as liberty-hating tyrants.

            You base that picture on the assumption that whatever is in the Bill of Rights is axiomatically good, right, and perfect. When I point out that this isn’t the case for the 2nd Amendment, this is an attempt to refute your attempt to paint me as a liberty-hating tyrant (even though I don’t even want to take your stupid guns away).

          • Freeman says

            Katja:

            It depends on what definition you use, but the way I’ve been using the terms are generally both differences and overlap between natural rights, civil liberties, and civil rights.

            Even by your definition (which if I understand it is that civil liberties are recognized natural rights and civil rights (like the right to equality under the law regardless of race, I suppose) are not natural rights, and thus must be granted by government, which makes a huge difference of some sort), the wording of the 2nd Amendment: the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed signifies the recognition of a right already considered to exist, does it not? But that’s beside the point — Why the need to split hairs down to the point where you’re insisting on your own definition of terms? (I linked to Merriam-Webster — I would have thought it sufficiently authoritative for a consensus definition, but whatever) Why so many classes of rights, and why the class warfare between the 1st and 2nd amendments?

            I am perfectly fine with you preferring a definition that allows civil liberties to be alienable where they are not also natural rights

            An “unalienable” civil liberty isn’t quite as unalienable as the law of gravity, is it?. And every bit of the Constitution is subject to amendment, even the part about freedom of speech. The “unalienable rights” enumerated in the Declaration are not specified in the Constitution. The Declaration states that governments are instituted to secure those rights. The 2nd has it’s place in the support of those rights just as the 1st does, like it or not.

            You’d have to explain why the RKBA should be a civil liberty, something that Brett has steadfastly refused to do.

            Not really. It’s already a civil liberty (or if you prefer, civil right. whatever). It’s incumbent upon those who oppose it to convince the rest of us that it should not be. I wish you well.

          • Freeman says

            Katja: You like to paint people who express even the most modest interest in gun control, however limited, as liberty-hating tyrants.

            And haven’t you painted people who express even the most modest interest in gun rights, however limited, as “fetishists”?

            Pardon me, but I think our biases are showing…

          • Katja says

            Freeman: And haven’t you painted people who express even the most modest interest in gun rights, however limited, as “fetishists”?

            No. This is a term I reserve for people who are irrational about the issue and dogmatically refuse to consider any and all possible gun regulation (or, literally, fetishize guns — they seem to often be one and the same, hence my usage of the term). This is not a “modest interest in gun rights”. It’s an absolutist, no-compromise position. If, for example, you just think that you should be able to own a gun for self-defense, sport, etc. without a lot of artificial regulatory hurdles, I don’t have a problem with that position; I may (or may not) disagree as a matter of policy, but I see nothing irrational about it; if I disagreed, I’d be open to be convinced otherwise. But such a position different from drawing a line in the sand at the absolute end of the spectrum of policy options.

            I have plenty of gun owners in my own family (rural Michigan). I’m not much into guns myself, but have enjoyed target shooting for fun, given the opportunity (despite not being particularly good at it). In short, I don’t particularly stress out over gun ownership and never had a reason to. But that doesn’t mean that I think we can’t regulate guns on, say, the same level as cars. That could reasonably protect owning a gun for self-defense or sport, while reducing the size of the black market.

            Of course, that’s assuming that such measures are actually effective. One reason I’m not all that big on extensive gun control in America is that plenty of them don’t do anything good and potentially cause harm. And I’m generally opposed to unnecessary government interference in the personal affairs of individuals without good cause. I think that protecting lives could in principle be such a good cause, but that’s only if that goal is actually accomplished.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            I have, in this very forum, listed gun regulations that I would actually consider reasonable. Backstop requirements for ranges, use of frangible ammo in apartments with thin walls, that sort of thing. These proposals leave most here cold because they are conspicuously NOT aimed at reducing gun ownership, but instead presume a right to gun ownership, and the innocence of gun owners, and simply attend to some potential 3rd party problems. Were we talking cars, they’d be the equivalent of speed limits in residential areas, instead of banning cars from residential areas.

            It is a simple fact that we have been regulating firearms, and firearms ownership, for over two centuries in this country. Most of the reasonable regulations were enacted decades, if not centuries, ago. There’s not really that much left to do which is reasonable. In fact, there are a great many regulations already in place which are flat out insane, such as the near ban on suppressors. Which has caused a great deal of hearing damage by denying people a technology which merely reduces sound levels below the level that causes acute damage to hearing. Rather like banning mufflers on cars out of a fear that back getaways would be more stealthy…

          • Ken Rhodes says

            Katja: “That it’s in the Bill of Rights does not make it a civil liberty (unless you tautologically define civil liberties as exactly what’s written in the Bill of Rights).”

            Katja, on this point you are incorrect.

            “Civil liberty” is not an abstract concept, nor is it synonymous with “natural human right.” Rather, it’s a term-of-art in the legal profession. The definition is not a “tautology,” any more than the definition of “tort” or “contract” is a tautology. Here’s what the FindLaw Legal Dictionary shows for “Civil Liberty”–

            civil liberty n
            : freedom from arbitrary interference in one’s pursuits (as in expressing thoughts, practicing a religion, or pursuing a living) by individuals or esp. by the government and esp. as constitutionally guaranteed usually used in pl. see also civil right

            civil right n
            : any of the civil liberties guaranteed by the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution and by the Civil Rights Acts usually used in pl. see also Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the Important Laws section

            Freedom from interference by the government. That’s what Brett (and the NRA) have been saying all along regarding the 2nd. Not that gun ownership is a natural human right. Rather, that it’s a civil liberty guaranteed, not by the nature of mankind, but by the words of our Constitution. Not that it’s inalienable; rather that if we want to alienate it, we have to start at the root–the 2nd.

            I would, without question, favor that course. Repeal the 2nd and let our legislative processes go where they may on that subject. But also without question, Brett is correct that I am in the minority. And I am unwilling, ever, on any issue, to say “I don’t like what the Constitution says about so-and-so, so let’s just ignore it.”

          • Katja says

            Ken, I’m aware (as I wrote above) that civil liberty is used in a very specific sense in American constitutional law.

            However, this is not the only definition. See, e.g., the Wikipedia page (which, among other things, describes civil liberties for other jurisdictions which are obviously not encompassed by US jurisprudence).

            In any event, my point is not a specific definition. If you want to define, e.g., “civil liberty” = what’s in the Bill of Rights, that’s fine with me. But Brett has been basing his “argument” on the claim that civil liberties = Bill of Rights = non-negotiable/inalienable (in his words, e.g.: “You can’t bargain away other people’s civil liberties, any such bargain is corrupt from the start”).

            As I said, I’m totally fine with rewriting my argument to use different words. I was accommodating what I perceived to be Brett’s usage here.

            The essence of my argument is that the RKBA is not an inalienable right and that repealing the 2nd Amendment through the proper constitutional process would not be an assault on liberty.

          • Katja says

            Brett: “I have, in this very forum, listed gun regulations that I would actually consider reasonable. Backstop requirements for ranges, use of frangible ammo in apartments with thin walls, that sort of thing.”

            Yeah, I understand that. I’m not sure if you realize it, but you pretty much prove my point here.

          • Freeman says

            Katja:

            This is a term I reserve for people who are irrational about the issue and dogmatically refuse to consider any and all possible gun regulation<.

            I’m not sure if you realize it, but you pretty much prove my point here.

            George Carlin sheds some insight on your attitude: Anyone who doesn’t see things your way is irrational and dogmatic, eh? Naturally!

          • Katja says

            Freeman: “Anyone who doesn’t see things your way is irrational and dogmatic, eh? Naturally!”

            This is not what I said, and I’m not sure where you’re getting it from.

            I am quite happy with entertaining a wide variety of opinions; however, if somebody buries themselves at the extreme end of an ideological spectrum with zero willingness to entertain any deviation from their position, even to the point to agreeing to disagree, that is pretty much the textbook definition of dogmatism.

            I find it particularly fascinating how I get the full “enemy of the people” treatment from Brett despite having a relatively laid-back attitude to actual gun control legislation.

        • Phil says

          “You can’t bargain away other people’s civil liberties, any such bargain is corrupt from the start, and SHOULD be broken if a chance is seen to restore the liberty.”

          So you’re once again OFF the voter ID train?

          • Brett Bellmore says

            As I’ve remarked before, the right to vote is rather different from the other civil rights, in that, while I don’t have a right to only one particular religion, or to make only one particular speech, or to own only one particular gun, I DO only have the right to cast one particular vote, in one particular place, which vote nobody else is entitled to cast, while I am not entitled to vote elsewhere. So who the heck I am, and where I reside, IS actually relevant to exercise of the franchise in a way it is not relevant to the exercise of any other civil liberty.

            IOW, if you want to complain about charging people for the ID, you’ve got a valid beef. If you want to complain about having to provide it, not so much.

  2. Freeman says

    Reality check: Why on earth would the NRA see any need to “mount a national scare campaign to stimulate gun sales” when the left is doing such a splendid job with all their calls for blanket bans restricting the rights of all citizens — gun-law-abiding and otherwise?

    Meanwhile in the heartland, those horribly violent gun-loving cretins who grow our food are debating a few gun laws of their own:

    One bill on the House’s debate calendar Wednesday would allow school districts and state colleges to designate employees who could carry concealed firearms inside their buildings, even if such weapons were banned for others.

    The measure also would expand the number of public buildings where people with a state permit could bring concealed weapons. State law now generally bans concealed weapons in courthouses and other public buildings where officials post notices.

    Another bill up for debate declares that the federal government can’t regulate firearms manufactured, sold and kept in Kansas.

    The measures are a reaction to discussions about new gun-control measures by federal officials in the wake of December’s mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

    The second measure is obviously likely DOA in the wake of the Raich decision, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see how the SCOTUS might further twist all semblances of logic and reason to allow the feds to continue punching hippies (we know the vast majority of “medical” marijuana “patients” are frauds — because Venice Beach — so anyone who might actually benefit from a schedule I drug without the benefit of clinical trials and lab tests required of “safe” prescription medicine doesn’t matter, right?) while simultaneously upholding the right of their gun-packing buddies to engage in the same sort of “interstate commerce” as long as they keep it within their own state borders (which we all know they will, right? Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more about cannabis legalization in WA and CO)?

  3. Cathy says

    If I were Wayne LaPierre I would start worrying about 3-D printers. I don’t know how he is going to convince his fan-boys that they have the right to own any weapon they can think of, but they have to buy it from his bosses, not make it in their garage.

    • Brett Bellmore says

      You *might* consider the possibility that, although it makes a handy accusation, the NRA isn’t really a front group for the firearms manufacturers, but instead is an actual membership organization, (With 4-5 million dues paying members.) looking out for the interests of the members as they, not you, understand them. To repeat, as THEY understand them.

      Of course, the NRA has to have some interest in the health of the firearms industry, because to be a gun owner, you need somebody manufacturing them. But the interests do clash at times, like with the boycott of Colt.

    • Freeman says

      I have the right to drink any kind of beer I prefer, and can choose whether to buy it from some large producer which maintains huge advertising and lobbying budgets, or make it in my garage. In fact, I love homebrew and buy microbrews exclusively, but I’m the exception, not the rule. The gun manufacturing industry has little reason to worry about 3-D printers (and the NRA has none).

  4. koreyel says

    For all those suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive 2nd Amendment Disorder
    (Manifested by the insuppressible need to respond to every comment on every gun control thread.)
    Check out this email I got from Organizing for America…
    Ain’t it delish!

    Something big happened in the Senate this week:
    The Judiciary Committee voted to move forward on a bill that would make universal background checks the law for all gun sales. That’s hugely important for one simple reason:
    If Congress goes on to pass this bill, fewer dangerous people will be able to obtain guns. Period.
    It should be a no-brainer. This is something that 92 percent of Americans — and a whopping 74 percent of NRA members — support.
    So let’s get this done. We’re going to need to keep the pressure on our elected officials by raising our voices together and saying “It’s time.”
    Add your name and say that you’re not going to let Congress drag their heels on this one:
    http://my.barackobama.com/Fight-to-Reduce-Gun-Violence.

    I got a thousand that says the OC(2A)Ds will feel absolutely compelled to comment.
    Any takers?

  5. Mark Kleiman says

    Meanwhile, back in primary reality, the universal background check used to be the official NRA position, consistent with the slogan “We don’t need more gun control laws, just better enforcement of the laws we have.”

    • Brett Bellmore says

      Yes, and every time the NRA said that, the membership winced, and sent in angry letters. I’m glad we’ve grown beyond the point where we have to pretend we like the enemy’s victories, to avoid provoking them.

    • Anonymous says

      It’s worth noting that, contrary to common wisdom, the NRA is not necessarily driven by gun manufacturers. In fact, it’s often the other way around: the NRA’s radical membership forces gun manufacturers to support positions they don’t like.

      Just look at Smith and Wesson’s 2000 agreement with the Clinton administration. The NRA boycotted and nearly sent them into bankruptcy.

      I think the gun companies are fairly awful. But I think the constituents of the gun lobby are worse.

      • Brett Bellmore says

        “It’s worth noting that, contrary to common wisdom, the NRA is not necessarily driven by gun manufacturers.”

        It’s worth noting that this isn’t actually common wisdom, save among the NRA’s enemies, who are decidedly a minority of the population.

        • Matt says

          My point. And Anonymous was me. And NRA’s enemies are decidedly a minority of the population? I think the NRA is evil and enables the violent murders of 6 year olds without remorse or self-reflection, but I don’t consider them an enemy. I consider them a nuisance that we’ll eventually get rid of.

          I’ll counter your arbitrary Fox News poll citation (NRA’s enemies….decidedly….population) with a different one: a strong majority of Americans AND a strong majority of NRA members support gun control.

          http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/01/28/strong-majority-of-americans-nra-members-back-gun-control

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “NRA has 54% favorable image in US”

            I didn’t say that most people agreed with every word the NRA says. Just that the NRA is fairly popular, and that your assumption it is a tool of the firearms industry is hardly “common wisdom” outside a rather restricted group of people. Of whom you just happen to be one.

  6. Mark Kleiman says

    I’d be curious about whether any of our Second Amendment fans agree with me about banning weapons possession while under the influence.

    • Brett Bellmore says

      Are we talking actual, in your hand possession? Or “constructive” possession? Because it makes a huge difference.

      Yes, people should not handle firearms while drunk or high. No, I have no problem with drunk or high people owning firearms, or being in a place where they could obtain them.

      After all, we object to drunk driving, not drunk car ownership, right? You don’t nail somebody on a DUI charge because there’s a car in the driveway, and the keys in their pocket. You wait until they get behind the wheel.

      Understanding that guns are the same, I agree that nobody who’s drunk or high should be handling them.

      • Drunk Freeman says

        I agree that nobody who’s drunk or high should be handling them.

        You’ll have to pull my gun from my cold dead drunk hand.

        • Freeman says

          F’n-A Bubba, just like I’ll fight for your right to freely ridicule me in your own beautifully unique way.

          Assert and defend your rights or live like a dog — them’s the choices.

      • Andrew Laurence says

        Actually, in many jurisdictions you can be arrested for having your car keys in your pocket while drunk. I once went to a party in La Jolla where I got pretty drunk, but I wasn’t worried because I was planning to spend the night there. I went out to my car to get my stuff, and there were no cops around, but I’m pretty sure I could have been arrested had a cop shown up and seen me sticking the key into the trunk lid while obviously well over the limit.

        While this might seem far-fetched, people have been arrested (and convicted) of drunk driving for sleeping it off in the driver’s seat of their legally-parked car, which is exactly the RIGHT thing to do to AVOID drunk driving, is it not?

  7. Mark Kleiman says

    So Brett and I agree that being (actually, not constructively) armed while under the influence ought to be a crime, like drunk driving? To my knowledge that’s not the actual law in any state.

    • Brett Bellmore says

      A Review of Legislation Restricting the Intersection of Firearms and Alcohol in the U.S.

      I believe that this is generally, where not explicitly prohibited, handled under “unsafe manner” or “brandishing”; It shouldn’t be thought that handling a gun while drunk is free from legal peril even in states that don’t explicitly outlaw it.

    • Colt 45 says

      Why shouldn’t a drunk man be able to defend himself from bad guys as much as a sober man?

      • Brett Bellmore says

        For essentially the same reason he shouldn’t drive over to the corner store for an asprin while drunk: It’s not that he lacks the right to the aim, but in that state the means are unreasonably risky.

        I would not suggest, however, that it be a strict liablity offense, demonstration of actual need SHOULD be a defense.

  8. Brett Bellmore says

    Anyway, Mark, I’m curious on one point: Why were you remarking about something not being the law in any state “to your knowledge”, when 30 seconds with google would have informed you to the contrary? I’m trying not to be snarky about this, but learning that you were wrong would have literally been that easy, it took me under 30 seconds to turn up documentation of the fact that over half the states DO have such a law. And not from a site you’d suspect, like Guncite, even the Brady Center thought this paper worth quoting.

    I’m genuinely curious about this: Did you have some basis for thinking you were probably right, and it wasn’t worth checking? Something you’d read?