The Tyranny of Rights

In an age of nuclear weapons and mass shootings, does it still make sense to uphold an American’s constitutional right to bear arms?

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

I have often said that conservatives are only against regulating two things; business and guns. If some had their way we’d be watching a continuous loop of Little House on the Prairie on TV and reading the Bible in public schools. The Family Research Council would be a Federal agency replacing the Departments of Education, Energy and Environmental Protection. The debate raging now once again pits the constitutional right to bear arms against the rights of all people to live life without fear of losing a loved one to random gun violence.

I am no fan of the Second Amendment but I am a huge fan of the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment in particular and tampering too much with one right leads to an open door for another. I don’t want anyone to tell me what I can watch, read or listen to. I don’t want anyone to tell me how to think or act. If the price for that is letting someone own guns, then so be it. Many argue that the founding fathers never envisioned automatic weapons and cop killer bullets which is true but they also never envisioned internet porn or Howard Stern. The framers were all wealthy landowners and I’m pretty sure they never thought much about a middle class or an America without legal slavery. Still I firmly believe there should be limits to gun ownership that the broad language of the Second Amendment fails to cover. No civilian needs military style semi automatic weapons. No civilian needs cop killer bullets or extended magazines. No civilian needs body armor. According to the National Institute of Justice, in 2006, 68% of all homicides were committed with firearms. There were 11,346 murders committed with guns in 2005 while over 447,000 people were victims of violent crimes using firearms.  The overall violent crime rate has been increasing slightly every year since its low in 1993.

The NRA will fight to the last man to defend a citizen’s right to own as many AR-15’s as they wish as well as extended clips and cop killer bullets, which in my world is insane. I can, though, see where they come from. What they are really defending against is the slippery slope of compromise. If they do nothing and allow a ban on assault weapons and extended clips to pass, what’s to stop the government from going after all guns and ammunition? The NRA often uses the family friendly image of fathers and sons out in the field pursuing their time honored tradition of hunting, but there are scores of gun owners who honestly believe that they need guns to protect themselves from the government.  Wayne LaPierre’s press conference following the Newtown shootings was nothing short of bizarre. Put armed guards in schools and that will solve the problem What about the malls, movie theaters and grocery stores? The gun show loophole was never mentioned but violent video games and TV were. LaPierre cited the movie, Natural Born Killers, a film that is two decades old, as an example of glorified Hollywood violence. In fact a recent study published by Kamy Akhaven of the California based research group ProCon.org reports that 97% of 12 to 17 year old kids play video games, and the overall juvenile crime rate has declined steadily since 1995. No matter what, no discussion of gun control in any form will be tolerated by the gun rights group. Guns are not the problem, according to the NRA: liberal Hollywood is.

This is one of the great problems on the right, no compromise ever, and that is driving our country further and further into crisis. Taxes will never be raised and anyone who wants a gun should get it. The gun show loophole renders any other kind of legislation moot and needs to be closed. Even then, a national registry needs to be implemented to screen out criminals and those with dangerous mental problems. Most of the mass shootings that have occurred over the past several years were perpetrated using legally acquired weapons but the shooters all had something else in common: they all had a history of mental health issues. The Virginia Tech shooter had been declared a danger to himself by his psychiatrist but since he was not considered a danger to others his name never entered the Virginia database. Virginia has been for many years one of the easiest states in which to obtain firearms. A friend of mine once purchased a handgun with his fishing license at a rural gun store. In a recent Washington Post article by David Brown it was reported that those with severe mental health issues such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are ten times more likely to have violent tendencies but still the overall rate is very low. The NRA supports more mental health legislation while, ironically, budget cuts eliminate services every day. The NRA, however, opposes a registry and closing loopholes; they instead want to regulate video games and TV.

I fully support a citizen’s right to own guns and use them responsibly, but what about my right to live in a world where I don’t dread my children going to school or to the movies? Should the price of someone else’s freedom infringe on a person’s right to live without fear of going to the mall? I have to fear some person who feels so marginalized that the only way he can prove his own worth is to take as many innocent people as he can when he checks out of life?

I have lost several friends to gun violence over the years and they all had one thing in common: they came from backgrounds steeped in gun culture. There were always guns in their homes and I remember clearly a friend in junior high saying he pitied the burglar who tried to break into their house. One of my childhood friends had moved back in with his elderly parents and a few years ago his father shot him and his mother to death before turning the gun on himself. No note was ever found and all the neighbors portrayed them as a nice, quiet family. A nice quiet family who I remember had a gun cabinet in the living room. Another guy I was  friends with was sent to prison for life after blowing his roommate away with a shotgun after they got into a drunken argument. The weapons used were all legally obtained but that didn’t prevent them from being used in violent criminal acts. The proximity of guns didn’t guarantee the murders but there’s no doubt that their availability abetted the crimes.

To the point, I don’t believe anyone should be deprived of constitutional rights but I do strongly believe that there needs to be some sort of legislation to protect the rest of society. No one needs an assault weapon to hunt and it’s pretty much impossible to bring down a deer with a 9mm pistol. If you absolutely have to own that AK-47 then keep it locked up at your gun club and away from the hands of a suicidal psychopath. Even in the military, a soldier who is not in combat has his weapon locked away. The military does this to ensure the weapons will not fall into the wrong hands and also to keep track of the weapons at all times. If one goes missing there will almost always be a trail to follow until the weapon turns up. This is nothing more than common sense of which we seem to be lacking more and more every year. We will never be able to stop every single person who is bent on destruction but we can work to limit the damage. Close the loopholes, make sure no one ever buys a gun without a complete background check, publish a national database of people with criminal backgrounds or dangerous mental health issues who have been judged to be a danger to themselves or others.

In the end, keep your guns and I’ll keep Catcher in the Rye on school bookshelves. Go hunting, shoot skeet and take target practice. I’ll watch my HBO and listen to alternative music and read prurient literature.  We can co-exist in a world where no one has to fear leaving their house. We all keep our constitutional rights intact and hopefully live in a somewhat safer world.

 

Read more about Guns on The Good Life.

Image credit: mrwynd/Flickr

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About Steve Jaeger

Steve Jaeger grew up in suburban New York but has lived in the Washington, DC area since his teens. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and worked as a chef for more than thirty years. He is an avid baseball fan, history buff and never misses Curb Your Enthusiasm. He lives in Arlington, VA with three children and a cat.

Comments

  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    Steve.
    The Second envisioned people owning muzzle-loading flintlocks, equivalent to the standard Infantry weapon of the time.
    The AR15 is equivalent–except for full-auto–to the standard Infantry weapon of the time.
    Seems like a wash.
    The second refers to a free state, not successful hunting. It was written in the shadow of the frontier, mostly not more than two hundred miles inland from the tidewater aristocracy, or the New England merchants. In the shadow of Lexington and Concord, where individually owned weapons were the first and the first successful strike against tyranny.
    As Judge Napolitano said, the second is about owning weapons to shoot tyrants. You may disagree about its current application, but that was the point.
    Most comments about hunting, sport shooting and otherwise are, thus, irrelevant to the second.
    Low-cap mags can be swapped out in about two seconds. I was that fast forty plus years ago with the M16 and that was what we required of the troops. The sustained rate of fire hardly changes and when you have twenty minutes, as with Sandy Hook, you can shoot up all you can carry even if you had ten-round mags, and sill have time for a snack.
    As to tyranny, compare Kelo takings, civil asset forfeiture, Waco, and Ruby Ridge to the bill of particulars against the king in the Declaration.
    And anybody who’s spent, say, ten minutes with a bolt-action weapon can do as much damage as Lanza did.
    The reason for keeping weapons in the home mesh with the second. The tyrant knows where the gun clubs are. You may, as I mentioned earlier, disagree with its current application, but that was the original point.
    Also, see the Battle of Athens (TN).
    As to assault weapons, they get the ink, but in 2011, more people were killed with hammers. And 9mm (pistols in general) were designed for personal protection. Thus, their inapplicability to hunting is irrelevant. Homeowners protecting themselves with guns, either by brandishing or shooting the intruder, are such a common occurrence the MSM has a lot of work to do to keep that stuff under the radar.
    As to books in the library, how about “Heather has Two Hunters”?

  2. 1. No such thing as “cop killer” bullets. I don’t even know what you think those are.

    2. No civilian needs body armor? Are you kidding? Apparently you’ve missed this spate of mass shootings we’ve been having. (PS none of these guys were wearing body armor anyway; the Aurora shooter was apparently wearing a Blackhawk Urban Assault Vest.) And I’d point out, further, that body armor might stop you from getting killed by bullets but it doesn’t do much to keep you from being knocked down.

    3. The fact that the Aurora shooter had extended magazines probably saved lives. They are more likely to jam and, indeed, his did. So while he was trying to clear the jam, his victims weren’t being shot. Clearing a jam will typically take longer than changing magazines, which any half-decent shooter can do in less than two seconds. The .5-2 second delay which a magazine change confers is only a problem if you are under attack. If you are just massacring helpless people; it won’t do much to save them. It will certainly do less to save them than the delay will harm law-abiding gun owners defending themselves in their own home.

    4. You don’t have a right to feel a certain way. Your feelings are under your own control. If a couple mass shootings in a year convince you that your children are in real danger, then figure out what you can do in your community to make it safer. Work in mental health care. These guys have all shown signs of crazy. Try to get better security measures at schools, hospitals, etc. They pick low-security areas for a reason. And by doing things which actually promote safety, you will probably feel safer. Want to feel less scared of the fact that other people have guns and love them? Go learn your way around them yourself. Nothing killed my advocacy for gun control as effectively as attending Marine boot camp and actually spending some time with guns.

    5. Do you really believe media are irrelevant in this? That the NRA is wrong to point out the media’s catering to the motivation of psychos? We all make these people famous and hero-worship them by plastering their names and pictures everywhere. Think that doesn’t turn the head of some loser?

    6. As for the military, the only mass shootings on military bases of which I am aware took place in areas where weapons were in short supply. Yet they still happened. They don’t seem to happen in the parts of bases where everyone is walking around strapped.

    7. “The overall violent crime rate has been increasing slightly every year since its low in 1993.” Looking at homicides, this is not even in the ballpark of true.

    • As for learning, hell — if you’re in the South SF Bay Area any time soon, I will happily take you shooting with me. Same offer goes for anyone else who lives near here who is strongly anti-gun. It’s at least good to get a sense for what you’re arguing against.

      • steve jaeger says:

        Rick – teflon coated bullets designed to penetrate body armor are known on the street as “cop killer bullets”. I believe all your arguments against what I’ve written only go to prove the point that I’ve made. In order to protect one right, all rights must be protected but as with the First Amendment, there are societal self imposed limits. Yes, there is pornography and political or artistic expression that are bound to upset and even repel segments of society. Because of that you won’t see hardcore movies at the local multi-plex and anyone who burns a flag, despite repeated rulings by a conservative Supreme Court, that the act is protected by the Bill of Rights, will probably end up in jail or the hospital. In that same vein, there needs to be societal limits on weapons with the potential to cause harm to large numbers of people as those weapons are designed to do.
        BTW – I did quite a bit of shooting in my younger days. As I said, Virginia is one of the easiest states in the Union to purchase any kind of gun. I can’t say I ever got much of a thrill out of it, I sold my last handgun when I became a father. I could never see the sense of having children and firearms in the same house. Thanks for the invite though

        • Those bullets were actually designed to penetrate glass, car doors, etc., with minimal deflection into an unintended target. The teflon existed to protect the barrel of the gun from damage.

          I imagine most companies know that if they’re showing Backdoor Sluts 9 in the theater next to Brave, there will be a major publicity problem.

          If people end up in jail or the hospital for burning a flag, I don’t feel bad for them but whoever put them there ought to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

          I still don’t understand your argument, though. Be responsible with guns? OK, sounds good. But it sounds at points like you’re arguing for the AWB, and sometimes it sounds like you’re not. I’m fine for talking regulation; however, I think that the regulations toward which you seem to be friendly would do little or nothing to prevent mass murder (and essentially nothing to gun crime in general). And, as always, the Second Amendment is not about hunting. It’s about preserving the security of a free state. Criminals, foreign invasion, tyranny? Threats to a free state. White-tailed deer? Threats to the free state’s gardens and highways only.

          • steve jeger says:

            Why would a bullet designed to go through a car door be available to Joe average gun owner? What’s the point?

            • Richard Aubrey says:

              Steve.
              Now that it’s not a “cop-killer”, what’s the problem? Joe average gun-owner may not be shooting through car doors, but, in that case, so what?

            • steve jaeger says:

              This argument has turned into a microcosm of the entire gun control debate. Nothing I say will sway you and vice versa.
              Good luck to all of you.

            • Hey Steve & Rick

              They don’t exist. They were a media legend. Find one for sale…you won’t. They never existed. I’ll say it again…they never existed for civilian use. They were experimental and no longer exist for any use. The media demonized Winchester’s “Black Tallon” ammo as such “cop killer ammo,” but it had NO teflon and no more penetrating power than any other ammo. The box looked mean and arrogant, so they got attention. Winchester pulled the Black Talon from the market as soon as CBS News got its panties in a bunch. They were not up for the lies and distortions that CBS is well practiced in.

              There’s that pesky first amendment again! That piece of crap was written before the internet AND TV. The First Am HAS to be suspended by Executive order.

              Google it baby! You might be enlightened :)

            • KTW stopped making these rounds in the early 90s, according to every source I can find. I don’t personally have a scenario which seems like a plausible reason a civilian would need to shoot through glass or metal (perhaps defending against an attempted carjacking), but I don’t see any reason whatsoever why it should be terrifying that a civilian has one, nor have I heard of them having any effect on crime (since the teflon-coated bullets were discontinued in the 90s).

              Frankly, I think this is a tempest in a teapot. The crusade against teflon bullets is two decades out-of-date, and even at the time didn’t particularly have much to do with the available facts.

            • This is just the liberal version of a moral panic.

  3. Hank Vandeburgh says:

    I have to weigh in as pro second ammendment. We do regulate guns in the US. For example, it’s illegal to own an automatic weapon. In the 20’s, there were multiple incidents of Browning Automatic Rifles (BARs) and Thompson Submachineguns being used. We don’t have that problem now. I support the ability to buy gas-operated rifles. I don’t use the term “assault rifle” because it seems to mean “scary looking weapon,” e.g. M-16s or AK-47s. Ninety-five percent of the problem comes from shorts (pistols.) I’d favor somewhat more stringent licensure for them (which we have in most places.)

    I don’t support gun registries, at least ones that are public. A paper illegitimately published the gunowners of Westchester County and their addresses. This was abusive. The real problem is people who fail to report precursor threats and similar behavior. Before I retired last May, an incident showed me that my own students were well-trained in reporting such threats. A person making such threats was arrested on my college campus, and taken for a mental-health evaluation. A fellow student had reported him.

    Guns are the chimera, but the real path is training the public in general to report pre-cursor behavior. This is not an issue of mental illness/mental patient’s rights. Some threateners are “mentally ill;” some have not been labled as such.

  4. What gunshow loophole is it that everyone loves to cite? There’s a big show running in Manchester NH right now, and every background check is taking three-hours. Ever gun sale requires a background check. This sounds like a well-entrenched urban myth. I never understood what people were talking about till the news reported it this weekend. The reported that “people were present to protest the loophole, and in the next breath, reported that there was a 3-hr delay in the background checks.

    So I’m not buying any of this loophole story.

    • John Weeast says:

      The “loophole” is that private citizens are allowed to sell to each other. And because there’s a usually a larger crowd of people at gun shows, it’s labeled as the “gun show loophole” even though it’s not the case. In NJ, every private sale of a handgun has to go through a FFL for the background check and rifles/shotguns require a specific form. Most states people can sell privately without any check. Forcing the background checks would just give the shops more business, so I’m fine with it. But yeah, they need to stop making it sound like background checks don’t happen at gun shows.

  5. steve jaeger says:

    Collin Goddard, one of the Virginia Tech shooting victims who now works for the Brady Campaign, took a hidden camera into a gun show about one year ago and purchased four semi automatic guns with cash on the spot. One of the vendors never even asked for ID. That was at just one show.

    • That is simply not legally possible. Rather than fall for fraud and lies like a willing Lemming, how about if you actually call the ATF and ask them. You’ll be enlightened :)

      NO GUN DEALER (as in no, none zero) may exchange or transfer ANY firearm to ANY non-dealer or non-law enforcement entity without proper identification and ID.

      Come to NH and try it without being a NH resident. Mayor Bloomy loves to blame NH for NY gun problems. Unless you are a NH resident AND can pass a background check, the dealer will give you will give you no gun. If you have a NON-new Hampshire ID, the gun will have to be shipped to a dealer in your home state, where you’ll have to pass yet another Brady-bill background check.

      Prove me wrong, and I’ll pay you $1000 plus the cost of the gun.

      Offer valid and knowingly made to Steve Jaeger or his agent.

      Now, if you want to buy a gun in a back alley, that’s different. Guess what….back alley sales are ILLEGAL! And OMG! You think those illegal sales will continue after you criminalize all the NRA members and my great aunt with a .45acp, and my son who shoots on a pre-olympic team?

      • Here’s the video Steve was referencing:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baPgr_tw79Q

        It illustrates a common concern for those of us who advocate for gun controls: people don’t follow them. If you ask someone to perform background checks, go through waiting periods, etc. they won’t do it. Since the measures we consider reasonable aren’t being followed, we ask for stronger regulations, or bans placed on certain classes of guns. Our logic is: if we can’t trust vendors to sell assault rifles, for example, to only persons that should be allowed too, perhaps we should prevent everyone from selling or buying them. What I’m saying is, we’re not worrying about the illegal “back alley” sale. We’re worried about the illegal sale that happens right in front of everyone else at the gun show. That no one stops or self polices.

        Also, our goal has never been to “criminalize” the NRA, your great aunt, or your son. Have they shot anyone? Do they buy guns illegally? Do they plan on it?

        • The reason gun advocates are so derisive is because instead of proposing ways to strengthen enforcement of existing laws, you advocate for new laws. Your laws are literally not doing anything (apparently) and, rather than saying, “Wow, we need to get serious about enforcing these laws” you instead say, “Wow we must need more laws (which will also not be enforced).” The point here is that law-abiding people will follow the law, mostly, even if it’s not likely to be enforced. We want to be good citizens, and we don’t want to push our luck. But the people you need to worry about *will* continue to flout existing law. And your response is to punish those of us who already go through the background checks, and waiting periods, and whatever else, with more hurdles? It’s not exactly an incentive to obey the law.

          • wellokaythen says:

            I think this is a good point. Perhaps the big problem is with enforcement of existing laws, not lack of laws.

            But, if gun advocates don’t think new laws will be enforced either, then what’s so scary about new laws? There shouldn’t be such fierce resistance to new laws if they won’t make any difference. New laws must make some difference (good or bad) or else there’s no reason to get worked up about them.

            • It’s not that the laws have no effect. It’s that the laws affect the wrong people. So I, Rick the Responsible Gun Owner, will continue to go through the background checks, and waiting periods, and whatever other hoops I have to, because I don’t intend to commit a crime with my weapons. I’m a law-abiding citizen on principle. So if you put more hoops in front of me, chances are I’ll jump through those as well, if at all possible. But some criminal dirtbag won’t care about laws on principle, so unless you enforce the laws there will be a disproportionate disarmament of law-abiding citizens (who will typically obey unenforced laws anyway), without any serious progress toward disarming criminals. And I resent having to give up my own rights when I know that no one is going to bother making sure the bad guys are being deprived of theirs.

            • Well, for one thing, a few yahoos breaking existing gun laws ought not reflect upon the balance of Americans. Every ligit gun owner I know obeys the laws, so why pull them down to the least-common-denominator? Cocaine laws abound. 100% of the people I know have nothing to do with the drug, but we all have to go without $500 bills, as that’s what drug dealers used. The DEA no longer needs “probable cause.” Now they only need “reasonable suspicion.” We’ve spent a likely trillion dollars on the phony drug war. With that, we could have re-built infrastructure, or educated a ship-load of young Americans.

              Good people ought never be pulled down or lose opportunity because of a minuscule exception…but that’s what the MTV generation and slack-jawed Billy Sixpack respond to.

            • This is what I point out: anyone who is serious about reducing violence in American will vote to *end the drug war.* I’ve read that somewhere around half of all homicides are a consequence of it. This would also, of course, dramatically reduce systemic oppression of American blacks, empty out our prisons, reduce costs, etc etc etc. Then we could have law enforcement resources freed up to focus on actual crime. But instead of taking a 50% bite out of homicide, gun control advocates want to take a 1-2% bite out of it.

        • Interesting video Dan and very relevant. I suggest we put an armed guard at the exits of all these gun shows ensuring no one leaves with a purchase that has not followed the proper route. These armed hires would be paid by the venue organizers.

        • Richard Aubrey says:

          I don’t get this. You can’t criminalize people who haven’t done anything wrong, or, as you say, your great aunt, or son shooting people or buying or selling guns illegally.
          What’s the point? Since these people haven’t done anything wrong.
          In addition, the “we” who aren’t criminalizing or whatever, have made if very clear that they want the ownership of guns by ordinary citizens grossly restricted. But, so far, they’re only interested in the law-abiding, since, as far as I can tell, they’re easier marks than the criminals.

    • Steve — if Goddard purchased the guns from an FFL, then that was a federal crime. It’s already illegal. The problem isn’t the “gun show loophole”; the purchase was unambiguously illegal. So if that’s what happens, what that illustrates is the utter folly of further regulations in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. If this is true (and, again, I am rather skeptical of this), then existing regulations are not being enforced. You should probably tighten up on enforcing those, first.

    • OK…I did some digging. I appears some gun shows allow NON-dealers to have tables and sell “stuff.” It is those NON-dealers that would be the sellers of the non-check firearms.

      The gun show companies that tour the new england states do not allow non-dealer sales of guns at all. In New Hampshire, unless you can prove a substantial pre-existing relationship with the buyer, non-dealerrs may not sell a gun. So laws are being broken all over the place if these sales are actually going on. I’ve still yet to hear of a single arrest or crime with a gun surrounding an actual under-the-table sale. The penalties for such crimes are SO severe, I can’t see why anyone would risk it either.

  6. *** cop killer bullets***

    What are those???

    OH…OH!!! Can we outlaw Psychotropic drugs too? Cuz Each and Every mass-shooting shooter was on significant psycho tropics (all the way back to Columbine).

  7. And OMG! You say the Second Amendment was made a billion years ago by rich white guys with land and whne muskets ruled and no semi-autos and 9mm deer and yada yada.

    But you L O V E the Firts mendment? But OMG!!! That was built by rich white guys with land, before the internet and emails and text and long-haul trucking of printed crap….and cameras that take pictures of naked girls….They never envisioned this….its time for the First to be re-visited and eliminated!!!

    • steve jaeger says:

      I also LOVE grammar.
      Your second paragraph perfectly illustrates what I stated at the beginning of the piece, the only thing conservatives are not interested in regulating are guns and business. I also wrote that eliminating one right opens the door to eliminate another. You should be careful what you wish for. That tyrannical government you guys are so paranoid about could quash your second amendment rights after they’ve eliminated the first amendment.
      At this point we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

      • John Weeast says:

        No one’s against regulating. We’re just stating that the rules are on the books and they aren’t enforced. Just adding more rules and regulations doesn’t help them enforce what they already don’t. It ONLY makes it harder on those that obey the laws, and easier for those that disobey them.

        Buying from a dealer at a show without a background check is illegal. Not enforcing that isn’t a loophole, it’s a crime. Buying from a private citizen is the loophole they’re describing. And trying to regulate citizen to citizen sales is next to impossible. Especially in poorer areas where people are using barter. It’s the same reason illegal gun sales are so hard to crack down on. Unless it’s a legit business, there’s no paperwork. I’d love to see what they come up with to fix that.

        Most of the concerns of the anti-gun crowd are myths. There are no cop-killer bullets. The violent crime rate has steadily been declining since ’91, the AWB in the 90’s didn’t reduce crime, and the gun bans in DC and Chicago made them the deadliest cities in the world.

  8. Steve jaeger says:

    Virginia is gun paradise. State Delegate Dick Black was one of the first proponents of aing teachers after Columbine. I don’t need to go to New Hampshire. There are multiple instances of dealers at gun shows selling weapons cash and carry, no background checks made

  9. Ok. I just watched it. There were MANY laws broken by the non-dealer vendor AND AND the buyer. They BOTH ought to be arrested by the ATF or FBI today!

    Demonstrating illegal transactions does not prove that the laws broken don’t exist. You want me to go out and buy cocaine? Is there any THING as illegal in this nation as cocaine? We spend Billions on the “war on drugs” and yet I can still go our my New Hampshire door and drive through country roads and find cocaine.

    So what does that prove? We need more laws on drugs?

    Having a handgun in Germany can get you prison for a VERY long time. Yet you can still find the back-alley deal. I don’t get what this kid is trying to prove, but he broke the law and the camera does not excuse him. But I’m sure the AG in that state, and certainly the US Atty are liberal pussies and refuse to make the point that bad guys DO in fact break gun laws.

    Anyone got the nards to address this? What does this law breaker prove?

  10. steve jaeger says:

    What it proves is that these illegal transactions take place right under the noses of the people running the show and it has at the very least their tacit approval. The argument being put forth by the NRA leadership is ludicrous, the laws already on the books don’t work so new laws won’t either. As far as Germany goes, compare the rate of murders committed with guns to ours and you see what tighter restrictions do. The USA is far and away first in the developed world in rate of violent crimes perpetrated with guns.
    We can agree on one point. The “War on Drugs” is a sham

    • Yes, MANY fewer gun deaths of all types in Euro. Nearly NO domestic violence deaths with guns, nearly NO accidental shootings and nearly no shooting of home invaders, rapists et al. The UK is nuts-o with knife crime on the citizenry. But the absence of guns keeps the numbers WAY low of ANY gun-play.

      My point with Germany was that I could still get one at certain rest-stops and neighborhoods if I had the $1000 (adjusted). That no matter how illegal an object may be, people will still hunt for and get them as they desire.

      In Italy, the guns were much more plentiful and active, as the culture dictated such.

      I believe there IS a cultural aspect to it all, as well as human nature components.

      As for the gun shows; I’m outraged that things are not being enforced. This NH organiser will simply not allow it, which is good. NOT good is what’s happening in the sates you describe. That crap can end ANY time now. I’m sorry I was not aware of those infractions and exceptions. Yes, i would close that “loophole” but fast!

      BTW: The NRA is doing NOTHING to organize its membership to fight what will surely be over-pitched legislation. They have always been inept for their own chartered cause.

    • “it has at the very least their tacit approval.”

      Or it means that people break the law.

      “The argument being put forth by the NRA leadership is ludicrous, the laws already on the books don’t work so new laws won’t either.”

      How is that ludicrous? You are scoffing at better enforcement as a solution, and then saying more laws we won’t enforce are the real answer. All that means is that you want to restrict the rights of gun owners. If you didn’t, then you would take action which would predominantly affect law-breakers: like **enforcing the law.** You are, instead, refusing to enforce the law and insisting we need new law. As even you have to know, well-meaning people are going to obey the law regardless of enforcement. Violent people are not. Since you’re not concerned with better enforcement, I can only assume that your interest is in restricting the rights of well-meaning people. (See, look at that — just like you, I can psychologize my ideological opponents instead of charitably assuming they’re well-meaning.)

      • steve jaeger says:

        I’m not scoffing at anything. When I was young you could get caught driving drunk and have the charge reduced to reckless driving if you hired an attorney. I knew people who had three and even four DUI’s and never spent more than a night in the slammer. Over the years the laws have become much more stringent in order to protect us all.
        And speaking of psychology, I’m sure Dr Freude could have a filed day with all you gun guys.
        Be safe

        • Indeed. And enforcement was the key. We are pointing to the fact that *the law is not being enforced as it is,* and you are saying the solution is not better enforcement but new laws. Why not try better enforcement first? I’m not even against all new regulations, but I want to see existing regulations enforced such that the burden and inconvenience falls overwhelmingly on law-breakers not law-abiding citizens. I see no plan whatsoever to do that.

        • Hank Vandenburgh says:

          See, Steve, it’s the personal attribution of evil stuff during a discussion that’s a problem with many on the right and the left. Jung called this “projecting the shadow,” by which he meant we tend to get riled about parts of ourselves we don’t like if we see them in others. Guns are great as a symbol of what’s wrong, but I still think the issue is one of identifying threatening behavior before the fact.

          • steve jaeger says:

            Hank – I agree that we should try to identify threats before the fact but if you look at our rates of gun violence compared to the rest of the developed world, there’s no doubt in my mind that we need less guns on the street not more.

            • John Weeast says:

              Yes, we have more gun violence (all concentrated in the areas with the strictest gun laws in the country) but you do realize we’re about 21st in gun violence, not 1st. Also, if you look at Germany and Britain and Australia as well as the rest of the countries that tout strong gun laws, you’d see that their violent crime rates are much higher, especially for countries with far less of a population than us.

              All of that is conveniently left out of the conversations about firearms, as well as the fact that to 9000 murders committed with firearms, there are over 2.5 million cases of people saved by them per year. Since the laws only restrict law-abiding citizens, you’re increasing the chance that some of those 2.5 million saved turn into victims.

              And as to the NRA doing what the general membership wants… they are. They aren’t touting to the manufacturers, because they make money off the military. The membership, which are your everyday voting citizens, are the ones that don’t want changes. Enforce existing laws, make the background checks universal and you’ll see a drop in crime. Force the medical professionals to add all their patients to the national database so we don’t have another Vtech or Aurora and you’ll see a change. I’m still shocked guns are blamed for those when it’s common knowledge they wouldn’t have been able to buy if their doctors only did their jobs. Vtech was held liable in court, but of course that’s never brought up either.

              The “no doubt” in your mind would start seeing doubt if you just looked at the facts, instead of the info the media pushes out about guns.

            • steve jaeger says:

              The USA may be 21st in the world but as I stated, we’re still #1 in the developed world. We’re far behind places like Colombia and El Salvador but when you compare us to countries that have similar economies and lifestyles, we have a rate eight times higher.

    • AnonymousDog says:

      Yeah, well, the District of Columbia ordinance banning private possession of large capacity magazines was violated on national television, and now we are told that the alleged violator(s) will not be prosecuted. What’s your position on that Steve? Do you expect the laws you advocate to be enforced as equally as the ones already on the books in some parts of the US?

      • steve jaeger says:

        Dog – that’s kind of a silly example. David Gregory brought that clip on as a prop. Had he actually been charged under the ordinance it would have been more of an example of a waste of taxpayer money. I live right across the river from DC and I am more than familiar with that dysfunctional government.

        • Selective enforcement of laws is one the single most hideous act a civilization can make. It officially classifies people. Go back to post-civil-war to 1960s American South. horrendous selective enforcement.

          Here in the Northeast, if you are of one of the select privileged categories, its not unusual to find pot, coke and guns in your unregistered car whist driving without a license. The contraband is taken and you are sent home to your momma. If yer a young “suburban” male and you are seen driving through a known drug neighborhood, your life will be forever shredded into food for the least common denominator. No more real college. No more real jobs. No more anything from your world.

          Yeah. Selective enforcement is a bitch. And It ought not be leverage to ruin gun rights for the good people.

        • Richard Aubrey says:

          Steve. The law in DC about mags does not mention intent. At least one guy who had a couple of unregistered rounds in his trunk–no gun, had forgotten they were there, no intent–was prosecuted.
          The lesson from this is that laws are for the little people, and not for those with money and connections.

  11. steve jaeger says:

    Wayne LaPierre is nothing more than a shill for the gun manufacturers and he cares nothing for the rank and file members. If he did, he would follow the wishes of most of the organization and work to craft meaningful legislation to keep us all safer.

    • AnonymousDog says:

      I find it interesting that opponents of the NRA always fall back on anti-capitalist rhetoric claiming that the NRA is a “shill” for gun manufacturers. Why is it that you can’t disagree with the NRA without suggesting that it is a “front” for those bad, self-interested capitalists?
      The fact is that the biggest of the guns and ammo manufacturers are a necessary part of the hated ‘military-industrial complex’ and will be kept alive no matter what kind of restrictions are imposed on ordinary citizens. The biggest gun manufacturers will manage to survive no matter what laws are passed, and will cultivate political influence with or without the NRA.

      My guess is that if a person is inclined to distrust ‘Big Business’, and is also inclined to dislike the NRA, natural intellectual laziness will incline that person to assume that ‘Big Business’ and the NRA are ‘of course’ in cahoots.

      • As I’ve already said, if LaPierre, Keene or any of the other top dogs at NRA really represented the broad membership they would work to solve these problems and not simply say “we need more guns”. As for gross generalizations, you’re not doing so bad yourself.

        • AnonymousDog says:

          Why don’t you join the NRA and run for the Board of Directors, Steve? Then you could represent all those rank-and-file members. If the rank-and-file agrees with you as much as you claim, it should be easy.

          • Richard Aubrey says:

            If you’re looking for shills for the gun industry, Obama and the liberal press have outsold anything LaPierre ever thought of. Last couple of months, the US civilians have legally purchsed enough guns to equip both the Chinese and Indian armies, according to reports. Don’t see LaPierre’s initials on that.
            So what’s the issue? As far as I can see, looking at what people are saying, it’s a combination of fearing a tyrannical government–see Waco, Ruby Ridge, civil asset forfeiture, Kelo takings, and the really fun one, search for “whistling at whales” on the one hand, and potential confiscation on the other. None of which were NRA’s idea.

            • steve jaeger says:

              When you invoke the liberal media it leaves me to believe that you get most of your information from Fox News, not what I would consider a trusted source. Also using Waco and Ruby Ridge will not gain you any points. David Koresh was a megalomanic who used the members of his cult for his own purposes and they paid the price for his sins.. There are plenty of people digging bunkers and stocking up on guns who invoke the Second Amendment as their shield but that only spotlights their paranoia not their patriotism.

            • Richard Aubrey says:

              Steve.
              Ref yr last sentence. None of the bunker digging is said to be a matter of patriotism. So pointing out it isn’t a matter of patriotism means…what?

              Ref Fox. When somebody discovers inconvenient facts, it’s convenient to say something snarky about Fox News. That way, people can feel okay about pretending the facts don’t exist. Old schtick. Nobody’s buying, but some still pretend.
              As I mentioned on another thread, I watch C-Span and that included the Waco/Ruby Ridge hearings. Want to start over?

  12. wellokaythen says:

    “Cop-killer” bullets are something of a bogeyman. It’s a handy phrase useful for generating hysteria.

    But, surely there are some forms of ammunition that are more dangerous for police officers than others, or more dangerous to the people allowed to wear body armor. Are there not bullets that have special properties that allow them to penetrate body armor much better than other bullets do? Perhaps they are not marketed as “cop-killers.” It’s the use of the bullets that are the issue, not the original marketing intent.

  13. I don’t know what you mean by “special properties.” There are rounds (typically for rifles) which will penetrate body armor more easily, because they’re designed for longer-distance shooting. So most ballistic soft armor will not stop a round from a decent hunting rifle, because the hunting rifle is designed to strike targets out to hundreds of meters away. Typical serious defensive gun owners use some variation of hollow points, specifically because they are less likely to over-penetrate.

  14. It bothers me quite a lot that SJ would say that gun crimes have been steadily increasing. He should know better before asserting it. It is so the opposite of the truth.
    Germany never had a lot of gun crime and there is scant evidence from anywhere that adding restrictive gun laws lowers the rates of gun crime. or that liberalizing laws increase it – which, if you think about it, is all that matters – a connection between changing laws then seeing a result in society. Thus the pointlessness of comparing crime stats and gun laws from one country to the next.

  15. steve jaeger says:

    I would like to add one more wrinkle to all of this, I have been shot at and that moment has stayed with me for over forty years. I was walking down an old country road near my home in late 1969. I had long hair which was a dangerous thing in those days in semi-rural Virginia. An old pick up truck drove past and someone in the cab shouted an insult, not at al unusual and without looking up I gave them the finger and kept on walking. The truck drove about two hundred yards and turned around and headed back at a high rate of speed. I heard a muffled crack and a bullet passed within inches of my head. I will never forget the sound it made. I jumped into the trees on the side of the road and shivered in the cold for about thirty minutes until I was sure the truck was gone. I don’t believe that anyone who has had an experience like that, which I would never compare to the explosion of horrific violence we have seen in the past ten years, would ever feel the same about guns. I believe the people who shot at me were just some liquored up good old boys trying to teach a hippie a lesson but came within inches of killing a human being.

    • Those guys were scum, just like most of the other stories you’ve mentioned. Hopefully they did time for something, if not for that. Hopefully, if they didn’t, they live with guilt (though I doubt it).

      The fact that you faced gun violence is still not an argument against gun ownership, though. I appreciate that you have strong personal feelings as a consequence of that crime being committed against you, but I’ve also known people who prevented crimes against themselves by producing a firearm. Their experience is just as valid. Many of the most staunchly pro-gun rights people that I know are Marine veterans of ground combat in Afghanistan and/or Iraq — not just the guys like me who went and walked around but never got into a gunfight. Actual no-kidding combat vets who’ve been shot at with automatic weapons and the like. The difference, psychologically, is that they (I) see a gun and imagine what they (I) can do with it — not what can be done to them (me) with it.

    • John Weeast says:

      And now you know whey there isn’t road rage in the south. So many can carry, no one dares insult or start a fight because the other might carry. It forces politeness. And people wonder why NY/NJ people are so rude. Because gun rights are so strict, we’ve all grown with attitudes that let us get away with any and all actions towards others.

      What happened to you was wrong, but you can’t make the blanket statement that being shot at will make you anti-gun. It made me more pro-self defense. I don’t cower in fear that others will attack me. I’m sorry that your fear make you think they should be removed. Since the majority of states allowed conceal carry, crime like you described has been on a steady decline. There’s more guns now than ever and crime still drops every year. Crime only rises in areas with stricter laws.

  16. Interesting story from the summer of 1969. The Movie “Easy Rider” was made in 1969 and had as its finale an exact copy of that scenario except that both the heroes were killed.
    I have heard bullets go right over my head. I starred at a pistol I was convinced would shortly kill me. It is very strange where your brain goes at such times. I had no idea there was such a place.
    But I blammed the scum bags not the gun. Given the situation, they could have killed me with a knife just as easily.

    • Steve jaeger says:

      In fact I posted a piece about this incident on another blog several years back titled “My Easy Rider Moment”

  17. Revo Luzione says:

    “I am no fan of the Second Amendment but I am a huge fan of the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment..”

    I stopped reading right there, for that single phrase told me all I need to know about the author and his position on guns vis-a-vie freedom. That is to say, I know several middle-school age Boy Scouts who have a much stronger historical knowledge and context of the firearms issue, and how it relates to freedom.

    Ask any one of these exemplary young men, and they will tell you: the second amendment guarantees the first, and all the others. We as Americans have the rights as laid out by our forefathers BECAUSE of guns, not in spite of them. Armed citizens took up the fight against tyranny, and won.

    All the talk about “rampant gun violence” is a canard, a chimera–more than 80% of the gun crime in this country is perpetrated by young men who already have a criminal record against young men who also already have a criminal record. It’s a gang violence problem, not a gun problem. If it were about guns, Chicago would be a very safe place, for it has strict gun control. Instead, Chicago has one of the highest rates of gun violence and gun death.

    Before you come here and talk about your feelings and your fears and how the constitution needs to be amended to make you feel safe, you, dear author, need to get some historical context, and get a grip on your fears. Just because you’re afraid doesn’t give you the right to impinge on the freedoms of the rest of us, or of future generations who may have to take up arms against tyrannical government. Look up democide. It’s the greatest killer on earth, and yes they usually kill with guns, the guns purchased by taxpayers.

    • steve jaeger says:

      Like Boy Scouts do you? Maybe that has something to do with your other issues.

    • You offer fact, after fact, after fact, and all you get in return, in rebuttal is “OMG….you like Boys Scouts.”

      And OMG! The pres is blowing yet another hole in the protective wall of the Second Amendment today.

      “HA HA….Rob said ‘BLOW'”

  18. steve jaeger says:

    We can all argue our own interpretation of the meaning of the Second Amendment but until we are able to sit down with the Founding Fathers and ask them what they meant, we’ll all just have to hold on to our own opinions. In the meanwhile since a well regulated militia is necessary, join the National Guard because that’s exactly what the Guard is.
    Peace.

  19. Maybe a featured comment? I doubt you’ll do it….but I’ll take a shot!

    http://youtu.be/hR3t7j2tUec

    • steve jaeger says:

      Rob – I don’t disagree with some of what the guy says, the media does tend to give way too much coverage to the shooter but I still can not agree that the answer to our problems is more guns

      • Yeah….I figured you would not fully agree, but I thought he articulates my side so darned well. Thank you so much for watching it Steve.

        BTW: I’ve only seen the trailer for “32.” I was happy to see Goddard in the White House today and for him to be called-out by the POTUS.

        I was admiring how DC takes an issue so seriously. I hope they will adopt one more child-issue some time soon.

  20. Revo Luzione says:

    False construct. The founding father’s intent has been made clear in many other documents contemporary to the Constitution.
    Further, a militia is NOT the national guard. Militias are of free association. The national guard is decidedly not.

  21. steve jaeger says:

    The Guard is exactly what the militia is in the eyes of the founders. An army to be called up only in an emergency.

    • Revo Luzione says:

      “The Guard is exactly what the militia is in the eyes of the founders. An army to be called up only in an emergency.”

      This is called “proof by assertion.” You’ll need more evidence than that to convince anyone but other historically illiterate gun-phobes.

      “well-regulated” means well-functioning. Militia at that time meant all able-bodied men. The National Guard cannot possibly be what the founders meant; the guns owned by the national guard are federal property, and are inventoried and only issued when the government says so. Clearly this is not what the founders meant–they didn’t write “the government has the right to keep and bear arms,” but instead wrote “the citizens have a right to keep and bear arms.”

  22. Richard Aubrey says:

    Steve.
    FYI. The Army reserve component is made up of two sub-components. The reserve sub-component reports to, is owned by, the federal government. If you need training units, spec ops folks, medical and medserv units, you go to the reserve sub-component.
    The Guard is owned by the state’s governor. It has the heavy combat units. So if you want a tank battalion, say, from the part-timers, you go to the Guard. Ditto arty, Infantry, combat engineers.
    So the governors own the line units. The combat outfits.
    Just sayin’

  23. Richard Aubrey says:

    Regular soldiers of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries could load and fire their single-shot, muzzle-loading flintlocks about three times a minute.
    Lanza had at least fifteen minutes.
    Do the math.
    Even with the absurd example of single-shot, muzzle-loading flintlocks, magazine size doesn’t matter much except in war or defensive use. When you have a quarter of an hour unimpeded by any resistance, mag size is meaningless. And if you’re in an elementary school, you don’t even need a firerarm.
    Speaking of mag sizes, I had forgotten news footage of Newtown or CT state cops taking an AR15 out of Lanza’s trunk. Interesting proposition here. Did he have two?

    • It has become grist for the conspiracy crowd, but that is exactly what happened. There was much confusion in the reporting though. There was a LOT that did not look right in the live-shots and air-shots, such as no demonstrated urgency by the cops standing outside, milling-about. But dang, if there were ever a day for confused, panicked reporting, it was that day.

  24. hammer bro, toad, boo, and waluigi can do this. and btw toad’s self pass is pretty hard. its a bit higher than boo’s self?
    pass

  25. Steve jaeger says:

    Ok then

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