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State Gun Laws: An Analysis

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In my last article on gun policy, “Does America Have The Safety On?” I discussed how and where the federal government could improve its regulatory controls on firearms, since deficiencies in policy enable proliferation, instead of restricting it. This week’s article focuses on gun control at the state level where laws vary widely, and in many cases are more permissive than federal statutes that regulate the same types of weapon. Few realize that 39 of 50 states require the granting of a weapons permit without consideration of why an applicant wants one or what they plan to use a weapon for. Many allow long-barrel rifles and shotguns to be carried in public places while loaded and without a license, and there are even localities within states that allow firearms to be carried in places expressly prohibited by federal law. As Washington takes to the gun control debate, revising the permissive policies of the states should be at the forefront of any discussion with emphasis on how states grant weapons permits, and amending “shall-Issue” provisions.

Reviewing “Shall-Issue” Jurisdictions

States with “shall-issue” provisions are compelled to grant an applicant a weapons permit so long as the applicant meets the state’s requirements for the permit. In nearly every case, a potential applicant is awarded a permit with no regard to: a) why the applicant wants a permit and b) how the applicant intends to use their firearm. On its face, this process appears a constitutionally protected application of the Second Amendment safeguarded from federal scrutiny, but upon closer examination of the Supreme Court’s definitions of the Second Amendment, there’s a strong case for amending these policies. 

In District of Columbia v. Heller the court affirms the Second Amendment’s protection of an individual’s right to keep and bear arms for “traditionally lawful purposes” under the premise of a “natural right to self defense.” However, the court also explains that the Second Amentment does not protect the ownership of any type of firearm for any reason, and upholds the power of the federal government to regulate firearms under the commerce clause and “general welfare and security” phrasing. Shall-issue policies confer weapons permits to applicants without considering if the applicant intends to or actually can use a firearm for a traditionally lawful purpose as the state does not require an applicant to provide good cause. Without such a requirement the state can’t possibly know if the applicant would use a firearm that’s “in common use” (another condition from District) or for a lawful purpose.

Amending such policies to include items like good cause requirements wouldn’t violate the Second Amendment’s protections, since the court’s rulings limit the amendment’s protections and establish standards that firearms must meet to be protected and exempt from regulatory oversight. Some might argue here that District‘s limitations apply only to the federal government, but a subsequent ruling in McDonald v. Chicago uses the 14th Amendment to apply District’s decision to the states as well. 

I Can Take My Rifle Where?

While the compulsory aspect of shall-issue provisions are troubling, a weapons permit is only as good as what types of weapons the state allows and where it allows a permit holder to carry them. States like Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey pursue stringent regulations on firearms, but they’re largely in the minority, with most states employing very relaxed (if any) controls. Here are a few common themes among states:

  • Most do not require a state-issued weapons permit to actually purchase a firearm

Only four states require a permit to purchase a long-barrel shotgun or rifle. 14 states require a weapons permit to purchase handguns.

  • Often, states do not require the owner to register the firearm(s) that they purchase

The District of Columbia and Hawaii require long gun owners to register their firearms. Those two, alongside California, Maryland, Michigan, New York, and Washington state mandate registration for handguns

  • There are states that don’t require a license to own a firearm

Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts and D.C. require a license to own long guns. Hawaii and Massachusetts are joined by New York  with required licensing to own handguns. 

  • Some states allow firearms to be carried in the open, loaded with ammunition, even in federally prohibited areas

Twenty four states allow long barrel rifles and shotguns to be carried in the open. Of these 24, sixteen allow this without a license of any kind. Thirty five states allow handguns to be carried openly, and of those 35, eleven permit open carry of handguns without a permit. In light of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown CT, there are several counties where the school board permits teachers or staff with weapons permits to keep their weapons on school grounds. 

  • There are few bans on assault versions of permitted firearms

Outside of any federal statute, the states can adopt and enact restrictions on assault weapons. At present only eight states have enacted restrictions of some kind on assault rifles and assault-type shotguns and ten have regulations on assault-style handguns

  • Many states do not offer further restrictions, or honor the federal government restrictions of firearms under the National Firearms Act (NFA)

Nineteen of 50 states follow the government’s regulatory ban on NFA-restricted long barrel firearms and the same number commit to the NFA prohibitions on handguns. 

Drawbacks of State Regulation and Reciprocity

Further complicating lapses in state gun policies is the general practice of reciprocity between the states, where one state recognizes permits issued from another. Reciprocity between the states undermines the tighter control policies in states like Massachusetts or New Jersey, because a person could easily travel to Georgia or Florida (whose laws are significantly more relaxed) and acquire a weapons permit. The Firearm Owners Protection Act allows for the safe passage of firearms across state lines, enabling individuals to acquire firearms in this way and effectively subverting state laws that further restrict how firearms enter and leave the state. 

More broadly, the gun control policies of the majority of states are inadequate to the task of ensuring that gun owners are licensed, responsible individuals with good reason and intent to own and operate firearms. Shall-issue provisions not only encourage, but compel states to grant permits without regard to the standards of protection under the Second Amendment. A preponderance of states allow individuals to own firearms without a permit, carry them without a permit, and even carry loaded, high caliber, firearms in public, also without any type of permit or license. More than three quarters of state governments don’t enforce federal firearm prohibitions, which include restrictions on rifles, shotguns, machine guns, and explosive weapons. Lastly, reciprocity between the states further enables the acquisiton of firearms and undermines states with legitmate regulations on firearms.

Potential Solutions

 So  the question remains, How do we improve gun control without infringing on the Second Amendment?

  • No Federal Assault Weapons Ban unless BATFE is expanded. 

Legally, states do not have to enforce federal regulations on firearms, so a federal assault weapons ban is empty unless BATFE is expanded enough to allow the government to enforce it on it’s own. With only 19 states enforcing standing federal prohibitions and another 19 (between handguns and long guns) with assault weapons regulations, a federal ban is unlikely to gain traction with the states. 

  • Review of Shall-Issue Jurisdictions to include “good cause” from applicants

Here the federal government has some room to maneuver. Based on current case law, there’s a strong case for amending shall-issue provisions considering they compel a state to neglect confirming the applicant’s use of the firearm would meet the standard for protection under the Second Amendment. 

  • New Standards for State Permits, or a revised Federal Permit System

This may take a revision of the perceived relationship between the federal government and the states over gun policy, but is definitely an important piece of the solution. The laws in the majority of states don’t promote responsible gun ownership or distribution, just gun ownership and distribution. Their policies allow for the proliferation of various types or firearms for non-traditional purposes. Should the federal government move to innovate on gun control, creating new standards with requisite registration, licensing, and more restrictions on open carry, would be a good place to start. 

Last Words

In light of four major shootings in the last five years, America’s gun laws need revisions, considering that the acts were perpetrated by individuals with firearms that were legal to possess in their respective states. One could argue that it’s not the guns that kill a person, but the reality is that people kill other people with guns and the law should support responsible gun ownership. The Second Amendment is a critical part of our republic, but its intent is for self defense in your home, not carrying your loaded AR-15 to a public park. Proliferation isn’t by any means, your right. 

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About Alexander J Smith III

  • creek

    I wholeheartedly agree with the comments made by Igor, no one needs more than a 3 round clip for hunting

  • Cindy

    Oh rats. I didn’t want to win. I wanted to discuss, elaborate, collaborate, and stuff. (sigh) Alas, I guess I am not as intriguing as I had hoped.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Or maybe Igor’s saying “you win”. If you’ll recall, it wouldn’t be the first time you won an argument here….

  • Clavitos

    Parting is such sweet sorrow…

  • Cindy

    um..er..you yield? What means that? Were we discussing or was there a slap in the face by a glove I had not noticed?

    So, this means end of subject? You have a headache? You’ve grown tired of me? ???

  • Igor

    Cindy: I yield.

  • Cindy

    Or, perhaps you were addressing Roger’s comment. ???

  • Cindy

    Okay, Igor. But I don’t see where I contradicted that proposal either.

    What is it you think I am saying?

  • Igor

    Seems to me that every person is a mix of organic heritage and learned behaviour.

  • roger nowosielski


    Interesting. So Igor attributes all kinds of ills, social or otherwise, to individual mental defects.

    What an odd theory.

  • Cindy

    Perhaps it would help to reread keeping in mind that I am not speaking in generalizations and ask yourself if you know of any large culture that did not get that way through (what I agree is the scourge) of domination.

  • Cindy


    @124-Cindy: what nonsense. All human organizations start with cooperation. Domination and competition are distortions introduced by mental defects.

    I said nothing at all that is in disagreement with your proposal.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Thanks – that means a lot.

  • Clavitos

    It’s like I keep saying – mix ADD together with CRS (can’t remember stuff) and lump in a heaping helping of I-think-I-know-better-than-everyone-else, and that’s why my reading skills are so infallible.

    Any man who can make fun of himself unashamedly and publicly like that is not all bad.

    Props to you, Glenn.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    I never, ever misread – just ask Clav….

    It’s like I keep saying – mix ADD together with CRS (can’t remember stuff) and lump in a heaping helping of I-think-I-know-better-than-everyone-else, and that’s why my reading skills are so infallible.

  • Igor

    @124-Cindy: what nonsense. All human organizations start with cooperation. Domination and competition are distortions introduced by mental defects.

  • Cindy

    Basically, I am saying that we believe that what we do (compete and dominate) is natural (is the only possible expression of human nature) not because it IS natural merely because it is normative.

    Domination is one expression of the larger potentialities of our human nature. There are higher ones we can aspire to and in so doing, we can change what happens in our culture.

  • Cindy

    “…an interesting [question].”

  • Cindy



    I am not sure if there ever was a culture without murder. I will have a good look at that. I think it’s an interesting. My guess is I really doubt there would be.

    No, I have not seen a large culture based on those things. My understanding is that large cultures by definition got large via domination.

    My proposal is that perhaps we might recognize that while our size has been based in domination, it does not mean domination is the preeminent aspect of human nature.

    Though it seems quite natural for a culture, which is based in domination, to hold it in some honorary place, I think we might stop worshiping and try focusing on some other aspects of human nature which could become as special. And, I suggest, will if we are to survive.

  • clav


    Perhaps you misread? [To Glenn]

    Glenn????? Misread??????

    Whatever gave you that idea?

  • clav

    Of course all societies have had murder…but that’s a simplistic point.

    Perhaps, but I wasn’t making it, you were. I was only asking questions, as I said to Cindy in #119, above.


  • clav

    Are you suggesting that cultural size alone is what creates murderers?

    Not at all, Cindy. Nor was I challenging you in any way; just asking questions is all.

    Have you ever seen a large culture that was based on aspects of human nature which are non-competitive and cooperative, non-objectifying, which elevated non-consumerist values over money and existed within an ethos of equality and non-domination and where if everyone does not count then no one counts?

    Nope. Have you? Again, not a challenge, just a question.

  • Cindy

    Here is a good video of Steven Rose in 5 small parts for those who might be interested. It’s entitled, Steven Rose: Can Genetics Explain Human Nature? 1/5

  • Igor

    But before we judge Doug we must feel the bumps on his head!

  • Cindy


    Why have you placed me in a pro-eugenics camp? Perhaps you misread?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy and Doug –

    However ‘sound’ the science of eugenics may be, it has led people before down a very, very slippery slope to a place where we really don’t want to go.

  • Doug Hunter


    Sounds like it’s worth a read beyond the synopsis. The intertwining of nature and nurture always make for a fiesty debate… it’s the meeting point of not only science, but philosophy and religion as well.

    *Absent god or the supernatural are we all not just doing what the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen bonding and unbonding in our head tell us to? Is ‘life’ nothing more than a complex chemical fire burning up the earth? Chaotic and unpredicable, yes, but bound strictly according the the laws of physics and chemistry acting out what those reactions preordained. Reductionism? Determinism? Those are the foundations of science, everything else tends to sound like mysticism to me.

  • Cindy

    Actually Doug, the reductionist position, which you favor, is very popular.

    You may wish to have a look at someone who dissents, Steven Rose, a neuroscientist who holds that biological determinism is an ideologically, not scientifically, based position.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    To your knowledge, has there ever been a culture which didn’t have murder? If so, how large was its population? Did they have guns? Was it sanctioned or punished? How?

    Of course all societies have had murder…but that’s a simplistic point. The more salient points are, which societies have lower rates of murder, how much lower are those rates, and what factors lead to the lower rates of murder.

    And AFAIK there is no instance of a nation with deregulated gun ownership having a low murder rate. America’s gun laws have more in common with those of some countries in sub-Saharan Africa than with much more peaceful European or Asian nations.

    And the size of the population has very little to do with it. The city of Metro Manila is estimated to have from 12-15 million people – most of whom are in what Americans would call poverty, and many of whom are truly destitute…yet it has a lower homicide rate than Mississippi, which state has less than three million – less than a quarter of the city of Metro Manila – in its entirety.

  • Doug Hunter


    No, I pulled out genetics. The reason we refuse to address the advances in genetics is because of the excesses of Eugenics last century. Eugenics never went away, we just had to do away with the title. Have you heard of prenatal genetic testing (and subsequent abortion) of abnormal fetuses? Did you know that 92% of fetuses who test positive for Down Syndrome are aborted in the US? Freakonomics has an interesting correlation between the rise in abortions and the lowering of crime rate about 18 years later. Eugenics is still alive and well, we’re only allowed to practice it at the unprotected fetal stage with abortion. That’s not the point of my comment at all, I’m not for sterilization or genocide, but to ignore the mountains of scientific evidence that demonstrates the effect our genes have in all spheres of life is a little silly.

    I find it fairly profound that infants adopted from criminals by law abiding citizens have a much greater chance of committing crimes than children of non criminals raised in a criminal household. That shows you what we’re up against when it comes to changing the nature of the population, an entire childhood of nurturing can have less influence than the genes of the parents.

  • Cindy



    Are you suggesting that cultural size alone is what creates murderers?

    Say I were to stipulate, just for sake of argument, that every culture that ever existed has murder. How does that suggest that murder is not culturally (socially) based?

    How about this question. Have you ever seen a large culture that was based on aspects of human nature which are non-competitive and cooperative, non-objectifying, which elevated non-consumerist values over money and existed within an ethos of equality and non-domination and where if everyone does not count then no one counts?

  • Igor


    Doug reaches into the dark recesses of the ignorant past and pulls out eugenics! Discredited, repeatedly, around the world, both in theory and in practice, eugenics was one of the dumbest ideas of man.

    What’s next Doug? Phrenology?

  • Doug Hunter

    Here’s a link to that summarizes the study I mentioned above and more.

    And to spell out in one word the obvious reason we callously ignore sound genetic science these day… eugenics. Hopefully one day we’ll move beyond the demons of our past just as we moved from alchemy to chemistry (we didn’t quit learning because of early mistakes), but for now it’s considered taboo or ‘dangerous’ to look too hard at this stuff… but it’s there… most evidence points to strong genetic components that dictate how we respond to our environment in almost every sphere we care to measure.

  • Doug Hunter

    That is an interesting question, I’d guess the answer is that murder might be exceptionally rare or even unknown with some small and homogenous population groups.

    What no one likes to face (for very obvious reasons) is, like many things, the very large genetic component to antisocial and criminal behavior. For example, a large Danish adoption study of over 14,000 individuals showed that the criminality of the birth parents was a much better indicator than that of the adoptive parents on the outcome of the adoptee… children of non-criminal parents even when growing up in the homes of criminals were less likely (14.7%) to commit crimes than the kids of criminals growing up in the homes of law abiding citizens (20.0%). The numbers ended up showing growing up in a criminal environment only made you 10-20% more likely to become a criminal while having criminal parents up it a full 60%… these were infants adopted out in the first few months unable to be influenced by their parents culture.

  • clav


    To your knowledge, has there ever been a culture which didn’t have murder? If so, how large was its population? Did they have guns? Was it sanctioned or punished? How?

  • Cindy

    It is not laziness that explains the violence inherent with impoverished communities. Those who believe it is are both creating the problem and allowing its replication.

  • Cindy

    I think that murder is cultural. That is, if we do not address the real cause–normative masculine indoctrination combined with how capitalism keeps some communities living substandard lives…we will not address the problem of murder.

    Murder is a part of this culture because both marginalization domination are a part of this culture.

  • The Nazi vision was that the Aryan race would dominate Europe. Tragically, it wasn’t hard to convince the Germans that they really were the Master Race; the Jews, not of that race, were demonized, and disarmed.

    The vision of US foreign policy is that democracy American-style will dominate the world. (Some of the countries just need a little “convincing.”) And tragically, there are Americans who believe this policy all the time, and many who oppose it do so only when the Commander-in-Chief isn’t from their favored political party.

    Those who are consistently protesting against this vision of US world domination threaten it most. Some of them see a link between the chipping away at gun rights, more and more gun-control, (mainly by Democrats) and the chipping away of privacy and legal protection rights (mainly by Republicans.) They notice that “security” is used as the justification for abrogation of citizens’ rights across the board as well as questionable military action abroad. Are those who talk about these connections rightly demonized as “paranoid nuts,” or do the accusers have their heads in the sand?

    (Cindy. I saw the very interesting conclusion in the article in the #101 link. Do you have any ideas about why the gun-control to violence ratio differs so much across cultures?)

  • Glenn, you don’t deny the Jews were specifically targeted to be disarmed – – and neither does the link in your #79. The Jews were targeted for genocide, and they were disarmed. More of them, especially where there was a concentration in the ghettos, might have escaped had they not been.

  • Cindy
  • Costello

    Gun owners need to do a better job making their case in the media and not let the nuts drive the debate. Also they need to consider some minor concessions or they could end up with even greater restrictions down the line

  • Zingzing

    88: Doug, where did all your talk about black helicopters and tyrannical government come from? Why do you ignore your own words? Because bullshit, that’s why.

    And earlier you ascribe greed to every group on the planet, except the rich, which just make other people greedy. Life isn’t that simple and you know it. So why try to fool people?

    So depressing.

  • clav

    Uh well, Glenn, not being without fault in this one, I retract my misdirection as well.

    [Shuffles off, scratching head and muttering to self, “Self…”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    @ Clav #95:

    #75 isn’t mine – it’s Dread’s.

    But the screw-up was mine, as usual (and thanks again for your patience). It should have been directed at Doc Dreadful…at least I think it was directed at him, but I’m honestly not sure, because it doesn’t look like it fits as a reply to his comment either.

    Combine ADD and CRS and include a heaping helping of “well, I really think I know what I’m talking about”, and I’m the result. Time to go to bed….

  • Igor

    @94-Irene: Huh? The link you gave was a deadend.

  • clav

    @ Glenn #75:

    Dunno to whom yer responding, but t’ain’t me…

  • Nice piece of work, Igor, twisting my words around (especially after I said I didn’t have any more time to devote to the thread) and also claiming something that isn’t even intimated in the site I linked to, maintained by members of the military and the police force, active I might add. Keep your derisive “paper patriot” comments to yourself, or spit it in THEIR faces, not mine.

  • no worries, Cindy. You can bet I lol’d, too!

  • Igor

    Irene, Doug:

    Americans aren’t going to rise up against the US government. If ever it had been potentiated it would have been during 2000-2008 with the transgressions against the constitution of the Bush administration. Since those valorous patriots did nothing (even in the face of the ironically named “Patriot Act”) they aren’t going to do anything against the relatively mild transgressions of Obama.

    Forget it. Those guys just want to strut around to the applause of other paper patriots.

  • Doug Hunter

    Nope, #82 at Glenn who claimed I was living in ‘pointless fear’. Thanks for the catch though.

  • Cindy

    oops, sorry, my bad for lol’ing

  • (Doug Hunter, I think you meant to type #68)

  • Doug Hunter


    I don’t know where the fear thing comes in. I don’t own assault weapons but don’t care if others do… not sure how that makes me fearful. The odd thing is, from my perspective it seems the big government supporters are the fearful ones, afraid to live life without a big security blanket, afraid of what someone else might do with their freedom, etc., etc. In a way, being willing to forgo the much touted safety and security in the government’s arms in favor of a little more freedom and self determination could be seen as more brave. Of course, from your perspective it likely just looks ‘stupid’ as someone so eloquently called me earlier, that’s often how it looks when someone is willing to take risks that you yourself are not.

    I understand that the cost of freedom is that sometimes people are free to do stupid shit. To me, it’s worth it… the alternative is less appealing; for other people freedom for security is a great tradeoff.

  • Thanks for your thoughtful answer, AJS3. I agree, these questions certainly don’t have simple answers. The best I can do right now (I’ve spent enough time on this very interesting thread!) is to redirect you to the contemplations on the subject made by those who are currently in the armed forces and police force and have decided what they WON’T do when given orders they consider to be unconstitutional.

  • Dr. Dreadful, having read the link from your #74, I’ve determined it is not my works into which a wrench has been thrown.

    “Approximately 77,000 German citizens were killed for one or another form of resistance by Special Courts, courts-martial, and the civil justice system. Many of these Germans had served in government, the military, or in civil positions, which enabled them to engage in subversion and conspiracy” I think these would have had access to any guns they might have required for resistance purposes.

    You may have read more about the German Resistance than I have, but the impression I’ve gotten from what I have read is that a lot of the resistance was not violent. It concerned hiding Jews, forging food ration cards, spiriting Jewish babies away at the request of their parents to safety, employees of the government releasing a concentration camp-bound trainload of prisoners in a pre-designated safe place. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Christian pastor who encouraged that sort of peaceful resistance for part of the conflict, but in the end was hanged by the Nazis by giving his blessing to young people who were planning to assassinate Hitler. (Hence my reluctance to rate myself myself right up there with Gandhi on the non-violence scale, but I’d like to think I try to be in the ball-park. I won’t stand by and be a cheerleader for the government’s making that decision who feel led to defend in other ways.)

  • Alexander J Smith III

    -Irene, from 71-72

    I agree that citizens have certainly made their voices heard over their disapproval of the Federal Government’s initiation and subsequent handling of events like the Iraq War, but peaceful protest won’t address the underlying concern of Constitutional overreach. The Constitution and it’s protections are only as good as the government that’s willing to enforce and uphold them and it’s clear that in this regard, the U.S. Government has few qualms about monitoring and/or detaining persons it sees fit to.

    So again the question arises, what do the people when faced with a law that’s clearly unconstitutional, but readily enforced by the government and it’s various agents? Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you’re arguing that people should take a peaceful stand and refuse to cooperate, which some might actually do, but would this actually occur in number significant enough to deter the use of such a practice? Especially with the speed and ease which such actions can be carried out? I’m not entirely sure there.

    I do want it to be clear that I believe people have a right to defend themselves in their home or personal area against any invader. However, I also realize that if the government wanted to apprehend, detain, or remove me, that having x number of firearms in my home is not going to do a thing about that. We have to decide exactly what we plan to do in the face of laws like the PATRIOT ACT or NDAA, which have yet to come under fire by any of the bodies that should have already struck them down. Unfortunately for us, none of those questions have simple answers.

  • 73 took hours for me to be able to show my face again. :%o

  • Igor


    I was never a real gun nut, a fetishist. But I enjoyed good ones, for a couple times, then the thrill was over.

    Most people, who are not trained and not reflective, do not realize both the limits of guns and the dangers of guns.

    For example, most people are terrible shots and think that pointing the gun in the general direction will hit the target. That isn’t even true with a scatter gun, let alone a pistol or rifle. Most shots miss. That’s why they have clips. When you decide to shoot that burglar in your bedroom with that fancy .357 Nickel-plated magna-ported Charter Arms revolver that you bought you will probably miss. And miss again (possibly because even with a magna-port it’s hard to bring a sight back on target assuming you ever sighted in the first place). Bang bang. Then the miscreant seizes your gun and kills you, or maybe just knocks you out. He’s better at this than you.

    Ask any duck hunter or pheasant hunter how often he hits with his scatter-gun. And that’s with cooperative targets that just seem to be begging to be shot.

    Most people hesitate to shoot when faced with an intruder, and then, if the crook doesn’t simply take your gun away, they don’t aim well and they shoot hurriedly and miss. Bang, you’re dead.

    And then there’s the other category: people who are killed ‘accidentally’ by unloaded weapons, a huge repository of such stories exists. Here’s one: A gun accident.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –


    You can live in pointless fear if you want, or you can insist on compensating by having the biggest, longest gun on the block, but I see no need to do so.

    I have no gun in my house, and I have no intention of getting one unless my situation radically changes. It is only because of the caveat in that last phrase that I support the Second Amendment, BUT there is simply no need for friggin’ assault weapons among the general public. For home defense, there’s no need for something with a range of two or three football fields, or something with a thirty-round clip. The best weapon for home defense is a .12 gauge pump-action shotgun loaded with double-ought buck – the click-clack sound of it being cocked is by itself probably enough to chase away most crooks, and the need to carefully aim – as one must do with anything other than a shotgun (and is notoriously difficult to do in times of high stress (esp. for women and young men who are literally in fear for their lives)) – is the LAST thing one should have to take the time to do in the close quarters of a house.

    There’s ZERO need for assault weapons by the general public – anyone who thinks otherwise is far less connected with reality than they think.

  • Doug Hunter

    There are no black helicopters… it’s drones now and you’re still a nut whether you’re into guns or not.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    I remember when I was a gun nut, too. Back in my early years in the Navy we were Absolutely Sure the Soviets would launch, and it would be up to us to survive. All I had was a lousy .22 rifle – couldn’t afford anything better – and I was sooooo jealous of my friend’s AR-15.

    The years passed, I no longer needed or wanted guns, and the great fear of a general thermonuclear exchange passed, thank God. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of gun nuts still out there who are still Absolutely Sure that somebody – the bad guy du jour is Obama with black helicopters – is a-comin’ to get them.

    I was able to escape the idiocy. Millions still haven’t.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Don’t buy into the Hitler gun-control myth – the Weimar Republic actually had tougher gun laws which (except for taking gun ownership away from Jews) were actually loosened by Hitler, and his famous “total gun registration” quote

    “probably a fraud and was likely never uttered….This quotation, often seen without any date or citation at all, suffers from several credibility problems, the most significant of which is that the date often given [1935] has no correlation with any legislative effort by the Nazis for gun registration, nor would there have been any need for the Nazis to pass such a law, since gun registration laws passed by the Weimar government were already in effect….”

    Don’t feel bad – before I saw this article, I didn’t know that there was something wrong with the Hitler’s “total gun registration” quote either.

  • Igor

    @57-Irene: this is funny. I guess you didn’t know that the Black Panthers started back in the 60’s by declaring their right to bear arms and carrying loaded guns all over Oakland. Of course, eventually shootings and murders ensued.

  • Igor

    @50-Doug: all the quotes argue for a militia, like Switzerland.

  • Igor

    @49-Irene: even gun nuts sometimes describe themselves as gun nuts. And I believe you yourself called EB a ‘nut’ recently.

    I’m not even anti-gun. When I visit my friends in the rustic community of Gr*ss Valley and Nevada City, I always get treated to a review of their current arsenal: dad, mom and the kids are all gun proficient and own their own weapons, primarily for hunting, but also for self-defense as there are some doubtful characters in the neighborhood, for sure. Pot fields and meth labs are secreted in the woods, and they are (nowadays) manned by desperadoes who live off the land, poaching animals and filching veggies, and they don’t speak english so gun talk prevails.

    As for me, I haven’t owned a weapon in years, but I’m thinking of getting that Bond Arms Snake Slayer for self-defense since I’m fond of walking in the cool night air, sometimes at 2AM, in the lovely environs hereabouts, and I don’t want to be at a disadvantage just because I’m 75 and may look like a pigeon to a crook.

    Maybe that crook is a young meth addict who couldn’t get money from his mom so he killed her and swiped her new AR-15 she bought legally and now he’s looking for a better victim. I intend to win THAT discussion.

    I know guns. I was a bit of a gun nut in my youth (finally abandoning hunting when I discovered that birdwatching had no season and a lot more targets).

    It’s dumb to create a society in which everyone is bristling with anger and hostility and in which everyone is armed, but I’m adaptable, and if that is what you want to create I’ll be ready for it and I WILL survive.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I’ve never seen a 15 inch dildo shoot itself off in public.

    I think we can help you there, Clav. All we have to do is persuade Rush Limbaugh to keep nibbling the correct side of the mushroom until he’s 15 inches tall.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Not sure whose works this throws a wrench into, but there was opposition to Hitler and the Nazis within Germany, both armed and unarmed. To be sure, it was low-key and disjointed for the most part – nothing on the organizational level of the French or Polish resistance movements – but still significant enough for tens of thousands of people to be put to death for insurrection by the regime.

  • Cindy

    lol @ Irene’s inadvertent posting in sync w/clav’s

  • Alexander J. Smith III. #71 continued:
    An encouragement against that kind of defeatism is the existence of an organization describing itself as “a non-partisan association of currently serving military, veterans, peace officers, and firefighters who will fulfill the oath we swore to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God. Our oath is to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and we will not obey unconstitutional (and thus illegal) and immoral orders, such as orders to disarm the American people or to place them under martial law and deprive them of their ancient right to jury trial.”

    Their success is not going to be through a violent over-take of the government. Their success is going to be in building a network of people who refuse to be part of a violent over-take by the government.

  • AJS3 your #65 said:
    : …the Federal Government is overstepping its boundaries with the NDAA and the PATRIOT Act…clear violations of no less than five Constitutional protections…The real question, naturally, is how exactly we will address those laws, and how effective would their removal be?

    Through education, apathy-reduction campaigns, the election process, and other kinds of peaceful political activism, people have been standing up against the US’ active involvement or sponsorship of provocative military action overseas and attendant reduction of domestic rights, for “security” reasons.

    Some have grown weary of the fight, though, for the same reason you cite for the futility of preparing for attempts to physically defend oneself against it. How can one stand in the way of ”a body that has the Armed Forces, CIA, NSA, and FBI at its disposal?

  • You cat-video-watching little nut, you, El Bicho. Disarmament wasn’t all it took to start the Holocaust, and the lack of disarmament wouldn’t have been all that would have been required to prevent it. But of course I never claimed it would, and neither did the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

    I would have liked to see, though, fewer names needing to be put on memorials erected in the US by Jews whose relatives were slaughtered and then thrown into unmarked graves by Nazis with no one to sit sheva. How about you El Bicho?

  • El Bicho – enjoy your cherries.

  • Zingzing

    “zing, why all the anger and namecalling?”


    “Some people are good with that system and roll with it, others, myself included, not so much. I like to captain my own ship as they say.”

    Everyone likes to captain their own ship. Some people just want less guns around so other “captains” stop doing stupid shit.

  • how is “gun folk” an ad hominem? And are we supposed to believe people could have stopped the Holocaust if Germans had guns?

  • Doug Hunter


    I think you’re arguing a separate point. The lawyers on the SCOTUS can twist the words to justify wherever the breeze of then-modern day opinion dictates. The constitution is not infallible, one day a black is worth 3/5th’s of a person the next their not… it goes with the wind. One day the find abortion in there, probably find gay marriage in there too once the winds go far enough. I’m not arguing what’s ‘right’ or what should be or the best policy for guns simply stating what the evidence points to as to original intent. Originally, it appears the right to arms was designed so that citizens could, in a pinch, fight defend themselves not just against bears and home invaders, but also roving armies or a domestic tyrant if he overstepped his bounds. Assault rifles would seem the modern version of the type of arm that would be useful fighting off invading armies in case those dirty redcoats come back for a third try. May not be the best policy (neither was the 3/5ths), but research and an honest assessment should leave you to believe that’s what they originally intended.

  • Alexander J Smith III


    Regulating firearms, and even the outright prohibition of certain classes of firearm doesn’t constitute “disarming a population”. I’ll grant that there are a few politicians in Congress who would like to see all guns removed from civilian hands, but that view is largely in the minority. To regulate the proliferation of firearms and the types of firearms a person can own is good policy making because there are weapons that non-military personnel have no business owning or using, even in the context of self-defense.

    In addition, having firearms in your home isn’t an adequate defense against the world’s largest arms dealer. Owning any type of firearm isn’t about to make you that much harder to approach in the eyes of a body that has the Armed Forces, CIA, NSA, and FBI at it’s disposal.

    Lastly, I do think it’s fair to say that the Federal Government is overstepping it’s boundaries with laws like the NDAA and the PATRIOT Act, which in my view present clear violations of no less than 5 Constitutional protections and those should be addressed. The real question, naturally, is how exactly we will address those laws, and how effective would their removal be?

  • Doug Hunter

    zing, why all the anger and namecalling? It’s a different opinion. News flash: I have different likes and values than you. You’re not ‘stupid’ for liking something different. I realize that I’m ‘not important’ to the government. I also realize they make many decisions about my life for me where I will have no input (or technically 1/300,000,00th or something). Some people are good with that system and roll with it, others, myself included, not so much. I like to captain my own ship as they say.

  • Irene Athena


  • clav

    That’s a relief, Irene…

  • Irene Athena

    And I was writing #51 when clav posted 59.
    The “Oh yes they have” in 60 is a correction to the first sentence in the last paragraph of 57.

  • Irene Athena

    Oh yes they have, sorry, I was writing.
    No zing 51, I haven’t seen that app.

  • clav

    You have a right to guns just as much as you do a 15-inch dildo. But you don’t need those things to live in a free society, and it would worry the rest of us less if those things didn’t shoot themselves off in public,

    Apparently I’ve led a sheltered life: I’ve never seen a 15 inch dildo shoot itself off in public.

  • Alexander J Smith III


    I’m not sure your “context” argument works since the SCOTUS very clearly makes exception for the regulation of firearms that don’t meet it’s standards from Heller for protection under the Second Amendment. The Federal Government, as well as the State governments, have to deal with the modern capabilities of firearms since it’s those abilities that determine whether or not a firearm could be used for a “traditionally lawful purpose” or if said firearm is “in common use” by individuals unconnected with militias.

    Additionally, I think the issue of context works against you. I agree that at the time of the Constitution’s drafting the firearms were different than they are now, but the start contrast between modern firearms and those ca 1790 is the primary reason the Second Amendment’s limitations must be observed and enforced. The capabilities of modern handguns, carbines, rifles, shotguns, and long rifles far exceed their 18th century counterparts and the law should be flexible enough to account for that.

  • Irene Athena

    If I were to put myself on a scale where 10 equals “she wore camo to her prom” and zero equals “Gandhi pacifist,” I would rate myself a four. But reading “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership” has given me a lot to think about in the last few years, and maybe some of you will find something of interest there, too. I can recommend this site because I have vetted this site for Zionist extremism, and I don’t think it’s there. You can find a heightened awareness of the anti-Semitism that is still in the world, but that alertness is understandable for these people.

    I’m interested in the perspectives on the site because what causes my adverse reaction to a government- -ANY government- -dictating what kind of guns its citizens can own is this: mandated relinquishing of firearms preceded the Jewish Holocaust and other instances of genocide later on in the 20th century.

    Disarming a population equates to leaving them defenseless.

    There’s always the reaction “but that could never happen here.” Well maybe.

    Nobody has responded to Doug Hunter’s comments earlier on the thread regarding drone attacks, detention and/or execution of US citizens without trial, increasing frequency of the issuing of special executive orders. I don’t think that pointing that out is Obama-bashing. It’s examining a trend that was growing strong back in the Bush years.

  • Zingzing

    Alright, “minutest points” should be “different schools,” but really, economics is a pseudoscience, so who gives a shit. We suck at it and it takes turns we can’t control.

  • Zingzing

    Doug, you live in one of the richest, most affluent, leisurely countries in the world. Your government is trying to argue over the minutest point of economic theory at the moment while “the whole ship could sink” and you think they’re worried about you? They can’t get their own shit straight. They don’t want to destroy this place, they don’t even want to set it right, they just want to keep it teetering, which is right where they make their money and keep their jobs. They won’t fuck with you, you aren’t that important. Your gun will stay in its cabinet, just where it’s always been. Don’t worry, you won’t have to be a hero, no matter how much you profess to martyrdom.

    Going on from that, what do you think about radical Islam and its ideas of America? Do you ever reflect upon such things and where you fit into it? Not saying you’re a terrorist, but you must be able to empathize at this point. Are they right? You would seem to think so. I’m thinking you’re both stupid.

  • Doug Hunter

    In short, the founding fathers fully expected their protections of the right to keep and bear arms to enable the rank and file citizen to rise up and fight in an armed conflict, to fight against an organized military. At the time it wasn’t even that much of a mismatch. That incidentally is the precise purpose of assault rifles and probably why we’ve so far seen to protect them.

  • Zingzing

    I’d like to see if anyone on the gun side of things can tell anyone the last creative thing guns did for humanity. Not like “it saved us from hitler,” because those were just guns against guns. But there must be some point where human-controlled mechanized objects shooting projectiles aimed toward other humans was good, or else the whole idea of preserving this gun culture has to fall apart. They’re here, yes, but why?

    And yeah, we can get rid of them. They’re difficult to manufacture and to maintain. Stop those two activities, prosecute those that use them, and we’re good within a decade. If the gov’ts goes sour, we know how to make molotovs, which are much more effective.

  • Doug Hunter


    You’ve got to look at context though. Assault rifles did not exist when the constitution was written so any arguments regarding their modern capabilities is outside the scope. These were people who’d just got done fighting a revolution against what was in their opinion tyrannical government partly because they weren’t happy with their share of taxes. They probably had more in common with modern day paranoid right wing gun nuts than most would like to admit. A large part of winning that revolution was an armed populace, organized into militias of citizen soldiers. The individual states were wary of a powerful federal government as well (that would come to a head some time later as well) so they required an amendment ensuring citizens would remain armed, able to protect themselves from any future invading armies (or attempted tyranny from our own federal government that no one really trusted yet).

    Now, the argument can be made that guns are ‘futile’ against the government, but I disagree. Lots of government force, enormous money and resources have been poured into Afghanistan by two separate superpowers and neither of them have been able to control much of the countryside. The US will likely never be Afghanistan, the people running the government are smarter than to move too far at once and risk on outright revolution. You don’t put the frog in boiling water, you put it in cold and slowly turn up the heat. Still, an armed citizenry is a factor in the power struggle.

  • Zingzing

    Irene, maybe you have seen the NRA’s latest ad, or their latest app, wherein they create video game, after blaming video games for all the shootings with guns? Nuts. It’s evangelical. They’re spreading their word.

  • Doug Hunter


    No need to be obtuse, the core of the sentence is that ‘the right of the people to ______ shall not be infringed’, that’s the only complete sentence that can be formed from clauses and the one that makes the most sense in context. In my case, there would certainly be no requirement that everyone be well fed, there would be a protection in place for gardens.

    In historical context there is zero doubt that the founders intended the amendment to mean the population in general could not be disarmed. I’ll provide of few quotes and snippets to demonstrate but entire treatises have been written on the subject and are freely available online.

    To get a feel for the mood of some of the founding players:

    “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword, because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” – Noah Webster, in a pamphlet in support of ratification

    “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them. ” (Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights. )

    “The great object is that every man be armed… Everyone who is able may have a gun. ” (Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution. )

    “The advantage of being armed… the Americans possess over the people of all other nations… Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several Kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in his Federalist Paper No. 26. )

    What did the states asking for the amendents bring to the table (this is where the 2nd amendment language came from)

    Massachusetts, via Sam Adams “That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe… or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms….”

    New Hampshire “Congress shall never disarm any citizen unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion”

    Virginia and North Carolina “”that the people have the right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free state.”

    “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; ” Madison’s original suggestion, says basically the same thing as the finished product.

    *an amendent was put forward to limit keeping and bearing arms ‘for the common defense’ but was rejected further indicating the majority’s intent.

  • Irene Athena

    26 modern gun nut
    34 gun folk
    36 gun fans
    the cycle begins again
    43 gun nuts
    44 gun nuts

    Certainly nothing for the BC editors to blue-pencil, but as ad hominem attacks these phrases don’t do anything to improve the quality of arguments made by gun control…enthusiasts.

  • Zingzing

    To be absolutely clear, I don’t think second amendment rights go to the point where you can own a personal armory. You should, if you choose so, be able to have some ability to defend yourself against home invasion and the like. More often than not, however, guns against guns just means a gun will be fired. It’s fighting fire with fire at that point. But does the regular gun owner need the ability to shoot 5 or 10 people? No he doesn’t. And if he does, he’s fucked anyway. This is real life, not first blood.

    Hunting, sport shooting, all that shit is alright. Although if you think shooting a defenseless animal is cool, you’re a dick. I do love fishing. I’m a hypocrite.

    There has to be some limit though. Between hunting, sportsmanship and defense, and then building up a murder machine arsenal. There is a point between reasonable and not reasonable, and that line is pretty clear. You do not need an AK. You do not need 15 round magazines.

    You have a right to guns just as much as you do a 15-inch dildo. But you don’t need those things to live in a free society, and it would worry the rest of us less if those things didn’t shoot themselves off in public,

    Background checks, limits on magazines, a ban on military-style weapons, tracing of gun ownership, all of these are good things designed to keep weapons out of dangerous hands and to punish those who use weapons to commit crimes.

    I remember that in Washington state, using a gun in whatever crime you committed added 7 years jail time. If we free all the drug users, we could make room for the gun users.

    And there’s my ramble.

  • Igor

    @45-Doug: Clearly the purpose of your amendment is to assure people are well-fed.

    “A well fed population, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and grow gardens, shall not be infringed.”

    The thrust of the proposed amendment is to assure people are well-fed.

    That was too easy. Next!

  • clav

    Great example, Doug!

  • Doug Hunter


    You see what you want to see, zing has a much better grasp of the plain English. If I saw the following clause:

    “A well fed population, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and grow gardens, shall not be infringed.”

    It would take tortured reading to determine that meant that only the well fed could grow gardens. Of course, lawyers can parse anything and and find whatever they want, there’s probably an answer to gay marriage and abortion in there I just haven’t been trained up to see it.

  • Igor

    IMO the Founders didn’t care about guns at all. They never talked about them. But I think they DID care about having some kind of Militia, some kind of citizen posse that could be activated to ward off bears and Redcoats.

    The focus of the 2nd amendment is on the militia, not on guns.

    Gun nuts have the whole thing upside down.

    I remember being in the State National Guard a long time ago and one of the services we performed was to fill sandbags with sand when the local river overflowed. We had a short course in shooting an M-1 carbine and that was the end of guns for us.

  • zingzing

    igor, as much as i hate to admit it, the amendment doesn’t say you have to be in a militia in order to have a gun. it does say that’s the reason (the security of the state provided by an armed populace) why you have a right to bear arms, but it doesn’t say one thing is contingent upon the other. then again, it also doesn’t say you have unlimited rights to whatever arms you want. and hell, if you can bear a fucking bb-gun, your right has not been infringed.

    the gun nuts like to pretend that whole phrases of the amendment just don’t exist, but they’re looking at the wrong one. not that the damn thing forms a coherant thought whatsoever. we’re arguing over a terribly-written sentence (oh what gods they were what wrote it,) when we’ve got a whole reality we could be arguing about. and that’s just how the gun nuts want it.

  • Igor

    It appears that the Roberts court wants to CHANGE the 2nd amendment to read:

    “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    Now THAT is a change to the amendment, not an interpretation. Thus, illegal. (Even if it’s on the side of the NRA building).

  • Igor

    Thus, all that Obama (as Commander In Chief) has to do is proclaim a national Militia, and that thereby gun owners belong to that Militia. Thus, the militia can be called out to fend off an attack by the Redcoats, or a rogue bear, as necessary.

    That’s what the colonials Militia was for.

    The old militias morphed into the State National Guard(s), which then morphed into a federal reserve.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I didn’t think I was putting words in your mouth (or at your fingertips), Igor. A recurring argument of your has been that because of what the 2nd says, anybody who wants to own a gun should go out and join a militia. Since there no longer are any militias (unless you count the rural gentlemen in camouflage fatigues muttering about black helicopters), I take that to mean you believe the right to firearms ownership to be gone as well.

  • Igor

    @33 – Dr Dreadful. I agree with this:

    “My personal position, for clarification, is as follows: Guns are not the problem. The totemic status to which guns have been elevated in American culture is the problem.”

  • Igor

    I don’t think the Founders intended the second to lapse. Why are you putting words in my mouth?

    I notice that the Founders said:

    “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.”

    They did NOT say for example:

    “Because personal security is so important, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    They did NOT say for example:

    “It’s so important for citizens to be able to rebel against the government that the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    They did NOT say for example:

    “It’s important to water the roots of the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants and patriots so the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    They did NOT say for example:

    “It’s important that men be able to swagger through the coffee shop displaying their pistols so the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    They did NOT say for example:

    “Since a guy might be frightened by a stranger in the dark he may need to Stand His Ground so the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

  • Dr Dreadful

    Igor, what in the history and writings of the Founders suggests to you that they intended the Second Amendment protections to lapse in the event that citizen militias were to become obsolete?

  • Igor

    I use “exclude” in the same sense as, IMO, gun fans do: “if the prefatory clause is excluded from all utterances then people will forget about it”.

    It’s thought control.

  • troll

    Igor – as the ‘prefatory clause’ is treated at length grammatically and historically in the majority opinion of Heller I’m not clear on your use of ‘exclude’

  • Igor

    As I said before, it’s not a matter of interpretation. It’s not a contest between my interpretation and SCOTUS’ interpretation.

    The plain language of the 2nd is:

    “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.”

    Now I know, and you know, that for many years the gun folk studiously avoid that qualifying phrase because they dislike it. I suppose they think that by repeatedly leaving it out that eventually other people will forget that phrase exists.

    I suppose that the Roberts SCOTUS sought to favor their clients by ommitting that phrase, thus making it seem that we all were going to forget it. But I haven’t forgotten.

    But to exclude that phrase is not simply to interpret, it is to actually change the 2nd amendment.

    Now that is “strict construction”.

    Furthermore, reviewing the history and writings of the Founders and retaining the qualifying phrase is “originalism” in its purest form.

    My conclusion: SCOTUS is throwing a bone to their political claque by legislating from the bench.

  • Igor, you are equally welcome to interpret constitutional law, but in cases of ambiguity somebody’s interpretation needs to prevail. Your sense that guaranteed gun ownership is conditional on the need for a militia is one interpretation. You feel that the Founder’s intent was quite clear. I also feel that the Founders’ intent was quite clear, yet my interpretation differs from yours, and so apparently does that of SCOTUS. I would also hazard a guess that the members of said august body have almost infinitely more practical experience in interpreting constitutional law than you do.

    My personal position, for clarification, is as follows: Guns are not the problem. The totemic status to which guns have been elevated in American culture is the problem.

  • Igor

    SCOTUS is welcome to interpret constitutional law, but it cannot change the constitution. That requires certain specified actions.

    Where there is doubt, the SCOTUS can step in. But when the language is as clear as the 2nd amendment they cannot unilaterally change that language.

    Thus, we have to refer preferentially to the 2nd as it was cast by The Founders.

    So all that Obama has to do, as Commander In Chief is declare a Continental Militia, and that gun owners have volunteered to join by purchasing a weapon.

    If there’s any problem: Impeach John Roberts.

  • Alexander J Smith III

    -Dr. Dreadful

    To your point about “good cause” reqs, I’m not sure that to require a person to detail said information prior to the issuance of a weapons permit would be a violation of the First Amendment, since that law doesn’t expressly (or even implicitly) grant a right to “privacy”. Really the Fourth Amendment comes closest to implying such a right but again, doesn’t actually say something to that effect.

    I also think using driver’s licenses isn’t a proper parallel for weapons permits considering that firearms and vehicles have two entirely different purposes. A car isn’t , inherently, designed to kill another living thing and in fact most are built to prevent that from happening. Firearms are built for killing living things, whether that be animals or people, they’re made to be efficient at ending life. With this in mind, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to require a person seeking a device meant for killing to explain what they need or want such a device for. I agree that a person would more than likely not divulge a plot to murder, but I think the requirement is important to meet the SCOTUS test of whether or not the applicant intends to use a firearm for a “traditionally lawful purpose”. Without it the State is just blindly issuing a permit without credence to the scope of the Second Amend. protections.

  • Alexander J Smith III


    I’m with Dr. Dreadful and Clavos on this one. SCOTUS has ruled on the issue and much of that ruling isn’t as questionable as some of their other recent decisions. Additionally, you have to consider that the “sporting purpose” addition to what constitutes a “traditionally lawful purpose” when using a firearm is connected with BATFE regulation of firearms under the NFA. As a Federal statute, States are not compelled (nor can they be at present) to also use this standard, no matter how fair or more appropriate it may be.

  • Igor

    Sorry, I displaced from the thread on taxes over at: tax talk.

  • Dr Dreadful

    There’s a difference between the argument from authority (an informal fallacy) and citing an authority in support of an argument.

    In the fallacy, the authority called upon need not have any expertise in the subject under discussion. So, for instance, the statement “Stephen Hawking favours gun control, therefore gun control is justified” is fallacious. (I’ve no idea what the good Professor’s views on guns are: I’m just using him as an illustration.)

    Clav, on the other hand, cites the United States Supreme Court. The fact that these are the nine most senior judges in the country, with several hundred years of collective legal and judicial experience and knowledge under their belts, is germane, as is the fact that the specific decree he cites is their interpretation of the Second Amendment. Since we are discussing the legal scope of efforts to regulate firearms, Clav’s invocation of the Supremes is valid, not fallacious.

  • Igor

    I talked to a few duck hunters this morning at the duckboat launch ramp. I asked if they’d like a 7 shot clip and they laughed: hard enough to bring down a duck or two with the statutory 3 shot clip. But these guys are good shots and generally fill their bags (7 birds) or close to it, in about 5 hours. Even if some are the despised “spoonies” (Northern Shovelers).

    I’ll say it again: no hunter needs a 7 shot clip. Hunting rifles and shotguns are usually designed with 5 shot clips.

  • Igor

    The plain English assertion of a condition in the second amendment is remarkable because the Founders attached no such qualifier to anything else in the Bill Of Rights. For example, they didn’t say that free speech is for townhall meetings, thus implying that newspapers might be censored.

    Also, the founders themselves seem to have had no fondness for guns. There are no paintings of founders brandishing guns (yet it’s common to see modrn gun fans on the internet brandishing their weapons). I don’t even know of a painting of a Founder standing with his rifle and displaying game. I know of no written accounts by a Founder even of hunting or shooting an invading bear.

    I conclude that the Founders had a different mindset from the modern gun nut. Perhaps they thought it would be nice for every adult male to have a weapon in the closet for an emergency. I seem to recall that early governments established standards for ammo so as to promote interchangeability. That’s gun control.

  • clav

    Not recently, Igor.

  • Igor

    Didn’t I just read a dissertation by clav that was against the argument from authority?

  • clav

    @14-clav: it’s not an interpretation, it’s the plain English language of the 2nd amendment.

    It is unless it has the force of constitutional authority behind it, and SCOTUS trumps you on that.

  • clav

    Millions of people thought Lance Armstrong was clean. Doesn’t mean they are right.

    True, but I don’t remember SCOTUS’ stand on Armstrong, do you?

  • Igor

    @17-doug: if the feds are that powerful then resistance is futile.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I think we should be wary of laws requiring applicants for firearms permits to explain what they want a gun for, since to my mind that comes close to infringing one’s First Amendment right to privacy, not to mention that it throws the presumption of innocence right out the window.

    After all, you don’t, when reviewing a citizen’s application for a driver’s license, expect him to prove that he’s not going to ram-raid his local Best Buy.

    And besides, if some berk wants a gun so he can shoot up a school he’s hardly going to tell the state licensing authority that.

    Pursuing my analogy further, there are still a number of legitimate reasons why a state might refuse to issue a driver’s license, for example if the applicant were clinically blind, were under the legal driving age or were a persistent DUI offender.

    Similarly, you’d certainly want the authorities to think very hard about issuing a gun permit if the applicant had a mental health diagnosis that had in the past or potentially could manifest itself in violence, or if he’d ever used a gun in the commission of a crime.

    I’m confident that guns can be safely regulated without infringing the basic right to keep and bear arms, but getting there takes a bit of common sense, which sadly seems to be in short supply when it comes to this particular topic.

  • Igor

    @14-clav: it’s not an interpretation, it’s the plain English language of the 2nd amendment.

    I notice that gun nuts persistently ignore the premise of the 2nd, but their neglect will not erase those words from the Constitution.

    They should be ashamed. Doubly so because so many of them proclaim themselves “strict constructionists” or “originalists”, etc.

    They’re like the little kid with crumbs all over his face who insists he’s not the one that emptied the cookie jar.

  • Alexander J Smith III


    I see what you mean, but I assumed that people already knew (either from their own research or my previous piece) that the Federal Government already issues Federal Firearms Licenses which allow individuals or corporations to engage in either the manufacture, sale, or distribution of firearms. I probably should have explained that better in the article but those permits I was thinking could be revised to include more features.

  • Doug Hunter

    “While you’re claims of the ‘tyranny’ of the Federal Government are tenuous at best,”

    It’s well documented that they can kill, torture, or imprison you without trial or legal recourse…. these things have all happened ‘legally’ to US citizens. They lied about WMD’s to get us into Iraq and they lied openly and repeatedly regarding the Libya conflict saying we were only protecting civilians when we were providing close air support for rebel offensives. The closest thing we have to representation is the congress, but when the president wants to go to war (ahem, conflict) he doesn’t need them, if they don’t act fast enough (see gun control) the president can simply dictate his wishes via almost unlimited authority of executive orders. The government can do (and has done) almost everything, I suppose it must be a matter of scale to you…. as long as they only lie on little wars and kill, torture, and imprison a few enough people (and ones you don’t personally know) it’s really not that big a deal.

    Unfortunately, their success in these abuses has only emboldened them to try more. They can lie to our face and we do nothing, they can kill, torture, and imprison us and we do nothing… limitless power is a very tempting thing to those of a certain mindset, drawn like vultures to the stinking corpse of our republic.

  • troll

    …seems illegitimate to introduce the idea of a “revised Federal Permit System” and then dismiss Doug’s concerns as irrelevant to your topic

  • Millions of people thought Lance Armstrong was clean. Doesn’t mean they are right.

  • clav

    the 2nd amendment clearly states that gun possession is for a militia, which is a government otganization.

    Millions of citizens, including a majority of the SCOTUS, disagree with that interpretation.

  • Alexander J Smith III


    I agree with you for the most part, though the Supreme Court has ruled that individuals have the right to keep and bear arms unconnected with service in a militia.


    While you’re claims of the “tyranny” of the Federal Government are tenuous at best, I don’t really see what that has to do with the topic at hand, since it’s the policies of the individual states that are in the spotlight, which the “tyrannical” government can’t really touch.

  • Igor

    @11-Doug: I think we already have iPhones on our bodies that tell the government and dozens of malevolent businesses all they need to know.

    “I could see a future where we all wear devices so the government could track us 24/7 (think of all the crimes it could solve!).”

  • Doug Hunter

    Terrorists??? lol. I don’t have guns except for the hunting type, it’s nice to know better ones are around if I need to procure them though. There are literally hundreds of thousands of things more likely to kill me or my children than school shootings (Getting in the car and driving them there for starters) , I just don’t get all frothy when the media rings it’s bell. In a nation of 300,000,000 people there’s always going to be one (or a handful) of bad apples spoiling our national barrel… that’s the path to giving away all our rights… every freedom will be abused by at least 1 of 300 million.

    The government has already taken over, they’ve shown they can do anything… execute citizens using drones with no trial or imminent threat… virtual strip searches in order to travel… real strip searches under suspicion of pretty much anything… unlimited detention without trial of citizens… torture… wiretaps, cameras, and soon black boxes on vehicles. With healthcare now the government essentially owns your body, anything you do that may damage their possession costs them money and is therefore regulated (large sodas anyone?). I could see a future where we all wear devices so the government could track us 24/7 (think of all the crimes it could solve!). Having guns is just a deterrent, like nations having nuclear weapons, just something to help at the bargaining table. The government isn’t stupid, it’s not going to risk a hot revolution, it has a longer timeframe. Just indoctrinate the future generation to accept authority using the 17+ years of schooling where the government is raising them. For example, schools are starting to use electronic monitoring devices on students. When those students grow up they will be trained to accept that, and while tracking every movement of every citizen seems a little out there today, future generations will already be accustomed to it. That’s the ‘progress’ in progessive though, the government dictating, tracking, and monitoring every aspect of your life for maximum productivity to the greater good!

  • Zingzing

    So, Doug… The possibility of a future war against our tyrannical government means that you ignore the “exceptionally rare” school shootings which have been happening every two or three months on average over the last decade? Isn’t there some reasonable middle ground where your fears of gov’t takeover and the reality in which we all have to exist can meet and agree on a few things? (By the way, if the gov’t wanted to do what you fear they want to, I doubt your guns would be much deterrent… You’re too unorganized and you’d only think about yourself if push came to shove… They have a word for non-governmental improvised armed forces, but I’m struggling to figure out what it is.)

  • Igor

    Worshippers of the political class deserve whatever misfortune befalls them.

  • Doug Hunter

    Not much of a quail hunter I gather. It’s not uncommon to get three shots in and a bird on each one, although in order to facilitate you need to shoot the first one pretty early which can destroy the meat (absolutely delicious fresh from the field) I’ve never seen a hunting situation requiring more than 3 rounds though.

    Frankly, I place little value on what the constitution says or what Obama says or legal scholars or the pope. I don’t recognize that anyone or anything has authority over me, in my eye we’re all equals. I find it rich that Obama, the man who loves to watch his shock troops assassinate enemies via live video feed while ordering drone murders on citizens and foreigners alike all the while surrounding himself with an mini army of snipers and highly armed guards (and sending his girls to school with the same), sees fit to tell me that I shouldn’t seek my own protection in like kind… the political class has always been made up of hypocrites and frauds though… amazes me why people still worship them.

  • Igor

    The only hunting scenario that requires a multi-load gun around here is boar hunting. And even then the guys carry a pistol because the boar may turn on you and then they’re so close that a long gun is useless. But even the pistol may be useless: I know a guy who was almost gored to death after he emptied both guns into the animal.

  • Igor

    @3-Doug: the 2nd amendment clearly states that gun possession is for a militia, which is a government otganization.

  • Igor

    …(3rd part)

    The easiest bird shooting is pheasants. If you have a good dog it’s easy because the dog will hold the bird until you’re ready then flush him. Better hit him with the first barrel because he’ll be much further away for the second barrel. That’s why your double barrel has an open choke on the first barrel and a tight choke on the second barrel. Pheasants are pretty easy because they’re generally above the corn stalks. Even then you usually only get two shots before they duck back into the corn.

    Grouse and quail are hard to kill because they live in the woods. First of all they give you a heart attack because they get up right underneath your feet! Or so it seems. You fumble your gun to the shoulder and try to get a sight in the instant you have before the barrel of your gun collides with a branch or sapling! Often, while untangling the gun you are treated to a view of the bird for a split second while it locks it’s wings and glides to a landing somewhere in the leaves and disappears! If only! You couldn’t even get one shot off, let alone 7, or whatever fantastic number the gun nuts want.

    Ducks and geese always seem to be at the limits of your range, which means you get one, maybe two, shots. First of all, they get up off the water just before hunting opens at dawn. Maddening when you’ve been sitting in a cold wet blind for 3 hours waiting for opening, to watch your prey get up and fly away. Ducks and geese seem to have hunters calibrated. They know exactly what the season is and what lakes are protected, and what hunting hours are. Duck hunters are generally restricted to a 3 shot magazine and must have a wooden plug to occupy the extra space. You can get a steep fine for not having a plug.

    Big game hunters I know who hunt for the family table go to Colorado for elk and have special guns and loads. They figure to make a kill on the first shot, with maybe a second for a put-away. Anything else is superfluous. The first and second loads may be different, there’s no real plan for a third.

    I know two guys who are Big Game hunters with special licenses. They are the guys who are called in by Fish and Game to kill a rogue bear or cougar, or thin out males in a Big Horn Sheep herd in remote areas. One or two shots, except in the rare case of shooting across a big valley in the Brooks Range, a long distance that may require 3 or 4 shots.

    Nobody except an idiot would go out in the field and spray around 7 shots!

    First of all, your hunting partners would never go out again with you. Second, the game warden would fine you.

  • Igor

    … (2nd part, to beat the censor!)

    Is anyone here a hunter?

    I’ve hunted many things: birds and big game like deer and elk.

    With deer and elk you typically get one shot and then the animal disappears. You better make it count. Sometimes you get a second shot because the animal didn’t react or because it was wounded and surprised, so you get a chance to finish it. That’s it.

  • Doug Hunter

    Government kill way more people with bombs and guns than citizens. Governments commit genocides, not private citizens. Governments fight wars, not private citizens. Governments imprison and torture and take on a whim. Perhaps they should take a gander at the plank in their own eye before picking in the speck in ours… of course, it’s customary to deny arms to the slaves so I suppose there is precedent.

    School shooting, while covered heavily by the media and beamed into everyone’s home making them seem rampant, are exceptionally rare. There are a million more dangerous issues to be concerned with. (bathtubs drown 450 people per year, oh the horror. Perhaps we should ban them by executive order in favor of showers only!)

    And Igor, hunting is not self defense or defense from a tyrannical government (in case you missed it, we have one). For those uses larger magazines would be preferable. I’m sure the masters would rather the sheep not have weapons at all.

  • Alexander J Smith III

    I was reading the story on New York’s new law earlier today and I like definitely like the structure and scope. I do think the limitation on rounds in the magazine from 10 to 7 is excessive most of its other components are reasonable and allows for law abiding citizens to still exercise their 2nd Amend rights

  • Igor

    No hunter needs more than 3 rounds in a clip. New York just passed a 7 round limit and IMO it’s way more than any hunter needs. Unless, of course, you’re one of those fat cats like Cheney who goes to a farm where they release a bird in front of your muzzle! They should just wring the poor birds neck and save everyone the trouble!