Atheists And The Second Amendment

“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson

Many people are under the assumption that those of us who hold no belief in the existence of deities oppose the private ownership of firearms. While, it is true that gun ownership is often associated with being a god-fearing member of the Republican party, it would come as a surprise to a fairly good portion of American citizens just how many of us are gun owners.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and part of our Bill of Rights states:

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.

A Controlling Interest…

The fact is that many of the sweeping “across-the-board” gun control laws that aim to remove the right to bear arms from United States citizens are blatantly unconstitutional. The second amendment grants an individual’s right to own guns as personal, private property, and that many restrictions on buying and carrying guns unconstitutionally impede individual rights.

As an American, the First Amendment guarantees that I will not to be forced into worshiping any god. The Second Amendment guarantees my right not to be prevented from acting defensively, with extreme prejudice if necessary, to protect life, limb and personal property. Gun ownership has nothing to do with hunting. Many gun owners do not only refrain from hunting, but are against trophy hunting, meaning that if you kill an animal you should be prepared to eat it, unless you shoot it to protect yourself from an imminent attack. The issue is about the right to protection, defense and deterrence.

In spite of the arguments in favor of gun control laws, there are numerous crimes prevented by the deterrence that is provided under the second amendment. Of course, moderation and responsibility come into play, as they do in almost every situation in life and adding certain, very carefully constructed stipulations to gun ownership is a compromise that should be met with open arms. Responsible legislation that prevents or regulates the purchase of assault rifles and machine guns is not unconstitutional, nor are enacting laws that prevent criminals from legally owning guns.

However, for responsible, law-abiding citizens, owning a gun affords the ability of protection against suspicious or threatening people, and to disable those people when they become aggressive. A criminal who chooses to use a gun in the commission of their crime is not going to be affected by whether or not owning a gun is legal or illegal, and restricting the ability for a law-abiding citizen to adequately protect themselves gives the criminal an unfair advantage.

Concealed Carrying…

There are thirty-one states that allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, and each one of those states have lower crime rates than those states who have strict laws against carrying concealed weapons. On average, their violent crime rate is twenty-four percent lower, their murder rate is nineteen percent lower and their robbery rate is thirty-nine percent lower. In fact, in these states, guns are used for self-defense more than two million times a year. This is three to five times the estimated number of violent crimes committed with guns.

What it comes down to is a government that does not trust its honest, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense is not itself worthy of trust. Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim that the government is the master, not the servant, of the people.

“Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.” – John F. Kennedy

Defending the first amendment has become a way of life for many of us who do not believe in a god. The second amendment deserves equal attention, thus preventing our constitution from be mocked by allowing the right to protect ourselves, our families and our possessions and the defenseless to be infringed upon.

  89 comments for “Atheists And The Second Amendment

  1. kittybrat
    November 1, 2011 at 11:12 am

    This is very well presented. Thank you! As an atheist and a person who believes the right to own and carry a gun is protected by the constitution, I would like to thank you for speaking so eloquently.

    I do wish to share this. Can you please tell me your statistical sources so I can include them in the post? Thank you!

  2. kraut
    November 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

    In Canada you are not permitted to carry a concealed weapon. Neither do you have that right in most European nations. The crime rate in Canada and in those countries is however much lower per capita than in the US.

    I think your link between ownership of concealed weapons and lower crime rate might be coincidental.

    • Frommycolddeadhands
      November 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      You bring up an interesting point, however it is not valid. You can not compare two completely different countries and say that Canada has lower crime than the US and they do not allow citizens to carry weapons so there for the carrying of weapons does not reduce crime. You can only draw a conclusion when comparing apples to apples. For example, lets take a look at Texas. After they inn-acted shall issue of CCW(Concealed Carry Permits) their crime rates dropped drastically(you can research it yourself). The problem is that there are too many variables to compare Canada and the US, many factors come into play, social differences etc. Some countries just have lower crime rates than others. It is proven that allowing citizens to defend them-selfs lowers crime for two reasons. 1. Criminals dont know who is armed and who is not, they are far more cautious. and of course 2. With a weapon you can defend yourself. Only 3% of rapes are completed when the a woman is armed(IIRC). Above all else, you can boil it down to this. Police are not in place to protect the individual. They are in place to keep the peace and investigate crimes AFTER they happen. Very rarely do police respond in time to prevent a crime(I think its 5% in the US). The only person that is responsible for your safety IS YOU. Its your job to take care of yourself. If someone comes into my house and wants to do me harm, im not going to hide in a bathroom for 5-6 minutes waiting for some mad man to find me hiding in some sick hide and go seek game, hoping the police will find me first. No, I will stand my ground in full confidence because I know I can defend myself. Same applies on the streets. I carry a firearm every day. Its a like a seatbelt. You dont put your seatbelt on right before you are about to get into an accident, you dont know WHEN you are going to get into an accident so you wear it all the time so you have it when you need it. Same goes for me and my gun. I dont want to use it, I dont think I will ever need to, but im not so ignorant as to think nothing bad can happen to me because I am me, and I am so special.

  3. fastlane
    November 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I was going to make the same point as kraut. Correlation =/= causation. However, if you can show that the crime statistics have gone down since implementing conceal carry laws, and control for other measures, you could at least make that argument.

    I’m not against gun ownership, and think it’s not a bad idea (for some people), but it’s not worth abusing statistics over. And yes, I chastise those people who use gun violence as an argument for banning (as opposed to sensible legislation) as well.

    Also, a citation would have been a good thing to include if you’re going to put such stark statistics out there.

  4. Josh
    November 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    more proof you can be smart about one thing and stupid about another, dymanic humans

    • tdub
      August 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      Don’t call someone stupid based on an opinion.

  5. Joe Blow
    November 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    “The Second Amendment guarantees my right not to be prevented from acting defensively.”

    No it doesn’t. It gives you the right to bear arms but it does not prevent the government from regulating means of defense. You government can prevent you from putting minefields on your house as a defense measure. for example.

    The comparison of the first and second amendment is misguided and a bit of a red herring in this case. While the first amendment uses language like “the congress shall establish no law….” the second amendment contains language like “well regulated” which suggests the founding fathers envisioned some kind of regulation.

  6. anti_supernaturalist
    November 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    ** we still need to kill critters/injuns/slaves like them old days

    As a strict constructionist, I believe that
    gun ownership should be available to all under 2 conditions:

    1. The weapons must identical to those used not later than 1790.

    2. Each weapon owner must join a militia organized by federal, state, or local jurisdiction; among which would be
    a. national guard
    b. state police support groups
    c. local uniformed officers / first responder support groups

    the anti_supernaturalist

    • Rob
      November 1, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      Then I assume you only want the First Amendment to apply to the printed word, as TV and the Internet didn’t exist then either?

      And if you want to go strict constructionist, then maybe you should double check what “militia” meant to the Founding Fathers.

    • rwahrens
      November 1, 2011 at 9:31 pm

      I might also add that the SCOTUS affirmed in two recent decisions that the Second Amendment DOES protect the INDIVIDUAL right to own firearms, quite separate and apart from militias.

      • Sandman
        November 4, 2011 at 8:14 am

        …this would be the self same SCOTUS that decided, in Citizens United case, that a coroporation is the same as a person, its OK to turn democratic elections into popularity campaigns where its not the polcies that matter its the money you can raise behnd closed doors, and that democracy is in fact a whorehouse?

        The SCOTUS whose judges are appointed on party poltical lines and can openly admit they are “Republican Judges” or “Democrat Judges”? Thus turning a supposedly impartial judicial system into a polticised partisan whorehouse as well?

        The SCOTUS that Clarence Thomas, a judge who has been caught lying about his income, his nepotistic fraud and connections with his politcially active Teabagger wife, and sexual harassment offences STILL retains a seat on?

        THAT SCOTUS?????

        • Nomen Nescio
          November 4, 2011 at 11:27 am

          yep, the same SCOTUS. no, i don’t like any of its numerous drawbacks either; yes, i hate some of the things they do and a number of the policies they’ve enacted. but what alternative would you propose — violent revolution? not for me, thank you.

  7. Nomen Nescio
    November 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    i don’t think one can demonstrate any link between loosened concealed carry laws and lowered crime rates. but neither do i think any similar link to increased crime rates can be demonstrated, either.

    the state i live in, Michigan, might perhaps be part of the data set. we recently liberalized our concealed-carry laws (2000), and the state’s crime statistics are fairly well tracked; if any link in either direction can be demonstrated i should think i would have heard of it by now, and i have not.

    (the MI state police separately tracks incidents of crime related to concealed handgun carriers, license revocations, and so forth, with annual reports available online if you google a bit. there’s nothing particularly shocking in them, MI concealed carriers appear to be a fairly ordinary bunch of people.)

    i don’t have time to google for it at the moment, but i vaguely recall a federal-level metastudy a few years ago that basically showed no link in either direction could be deduced from the data available at the time. of course, it’s possible that the highly politicized nature of the subject might be poisoning some statistical wells and making conclusions harder to draw.

  8. judykomorita
    November 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Thank you for that post. Liberal/progressive /= anti-gun. Atheist/freethinker /= anti-gun.

    I was getting tired of seeing other bloggers’ rants on the subject. I’ve seen quoted anywhere from 192 million to 270 million guns privately owned in the U.S. Yes, one accidental gun death is one too many, but the same could be said for cars. Proper training plus the freedom to carry will save the most lives.

    Guns are for protection – of ourselves, our children, our property, other innocent lives.

    The First Amendment and the Second Amendment work together. One without the other makes for a much weaker Constitution and populace.

  9. Chris Habecker
    November 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Since gun-based defense is literally a death penalty, should it not be required that armed citizens take law enforcement training? (If not, why should we bother training law enforcement?) Should it not be required that citizens follow police procedures (calling for backup, engaging in a gunfire-minimizing fashion, properly identifying targets, disengaging when bystanders are endangered, etc.)? You know, the sorts of nitpicky safeguards that vigilantes would rather eliminate, as they did via Colorado’s make-my-day law, which removes all due process on private property.

    If you want this self-defense argument to fly, go to the trouble of explaining how self-defense doesn’t equal “blast indiscriminately whenever the heck I feel like it.”

    • ash
      November 3, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      Well put!

    • ttdub
      September 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      No, they shouldn’t because private property is completely different from public property. If a police officer is home, the same laws apply to him as they do every other citizen.

  10. judykomorita
    November 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    “how self-defense doesn’t equal “blast indiscriminately whenever the heck I feel like it.”

    Why in the world would you think it would? That’s like xians thinking atheism automatically means “destroy all religion.” That’s why we have self-defense laws on the books.

    People who carry for self-defense should *always* know their state’s laws backward and forward. Know when it is legal to draw. Know when it is legal to fire. Know what to do if the worst happens and you *do* have to shoot to protect.

    And, AAMOF, shooting someone is not an automatic death penalty. 4 out of 5 people shot with a firearm survive.

    • November 1, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      Why in the world would you think it would? That’s like xians thinking atheism automatically means “destroy all religion.”

      Good point. Or like atheists thinking Christianity automatically means “Let’s have a theocracy.”

    • Chris Habecker
      November 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      Why in the world would you think [self defense] would [equal blast away]?

      A: As I said in the post, because of the make-my-day law in Colorado. It didn’t teach people to defend themselves effectively and ethically. It did nothing to minimize gunfire. However, it did reflect your meme about “knowing their state’s laws backward and forward” by reducing the law to one easily remembered rule: you can blast away indiscriminately on your property.

      And, AAMOF, shooting someone is not an automatic death penalty. 4 out of 5 people shot with a firearm survive.

      A: Cute. So why train the police to hold their fire? Heck, don’t bother investigating police shootings at all; 20% ain’t bad.

      If citizens’ responsibilities are reduced to make-my-day, then we should let police shoot anyone holding a gun. Oh wait, one of those gun-holding folks was you, defending yourself? Oops. But, hey, you have only a 20% chance of dying.

      Now answer the questions: Why train the police and not the citizens? Why require procedures for police but not citizens?

      • judykomorita
        November 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm

        “A: by reducing the law to one easily remembered rule: you can blast away indiscriminately on your property.”

        And why should you not be able to protect what you own and the lives of your loved ones on your property? If someone breaks into your house, they’re not there to invite you to tea. Ask William Petit. If you have a car or a boat or something in your backyard, why should you not be able to stop people from stealing it? You gonna come out with pepper spray?

        ‘Blast away indiscriminately’ is using hot words instead of talking reasonably. There is no state (that I know of – I’m not an expert) that allows someone to kill an intruder on their property without the shooter at least being indicted, let alone go through a messy and expensive trial.

        There is a quote I like, that goes something like this: “A gun is the only thing that puts an 80-year-old grandmother on an equal footing with a 20-year-old criminal.” And as a grandmother myself, that is a very real issue.

        “Me: And, AAMOF, shooting someone is not an automatic death penalty. 4 out of 5 people shot with a firearm survive.”

        “A: Cute. So why train the police to hold their fire? Heck, don’t bother investigating police shootings at all; 20% ain’t bad.”

        You are being irrational. You mentioned “automatic death penalty” (another set of hot words), and I showed you that you were incorrect. Your “don’t investigate” comment above is a non-sequitur. No one is advocating a wild west gun-slinging state of affairs. We are taught that *every* bullet we fire has a lawyer attached to it, and we should never even draw our gun unless we (or our property) are in imminent danger. And as for me, I will *not* kill another human being for my property. Only the safety of myself and my loved ones will prompt me to pull the trigger.

        If a criminal threatens me, *he* is the one who has chosen to break the law. I shouldn’t have to run from him because you don’t like guns.

        “A: If citizens’ responsibilities are reduced to make-my-day, then we should let police shoot anyone holding a gun.”

        The two halves of your question just don’t make sense together. First, citizens’ responsibilities are not reduced to make-my-day. It’s a catch-phrase. Second, it makes no sense to let police shoot anyone holding a gun, because when you have a Second Amendment, you have a good chance of shooting a good guy.

        Plus, people who care enough to learn how to shoot and when to draw and when not to, learn to NEVER have their gun out of its holster when the police are around. If you have shot someone in self-defense, you lay your gun on the ground or holster it again when the sirens come. If you are pulled over for a traffic stop, and you have a concealed weapon license tied to the police databases, it is usually wisest to let them know you are carrying when you hand over your license. Almost all of them will appreciate your courtesy for their safety concerns.

        There are ways to make sure you don’t get shot by the police. You use your brain.

        “A: Now answer the questions: Why train the police and not the citizens? Why require procedures for police but not citizens?”

        This is off the cuff, but – first, because police have larger responsibilities and are more likely to need to use it. Second, they represent the state. Third, they are required to step into dangerous situations where a citizen will/should run away.

        Plus, there is a significant minority of gun owners who agree with you – that training should be mandatory. Sure, there are plenty of idiots who carry. And there are plenty of idiots who drive recklessly. And there are plenty of idiots who drink and drive. I want to see stiffer DUI penalties, especially if they kill someone while intoxicated.

        But the flip side of the argument is that the 2nd Am does not require licensing, or testing, despite the fact that some states do.

        Plus, where do you draw the line? A woman who has run from an abusive husband needs a gun *now*, not 10 days from now after a waiting period. Don’t dismiss this – it happens. What about a person who took antidepressants 5 years ago, but is coping just fine now, thank you? Should he be forbidden to carry because of some nebulous “mental state”? What about a man in a wheelchair who can’t run, duck, or hide? What kind of test should he be required to pass?

        When you really start talking details, it becomes a morass. And in the meantime, you would be preventing me from taking my grandson’s safety seriously.

        Not your call.

        • Happy Camper
          November 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm

          Could not have said it better myself.

        • Chris Habecker
          November 1, 2011 at 7:26 pm

          I invite everyone to read Judy’s reply.
          Judy, I think that you made my points for me.

          Just one example:

          I shouldn’t have to run from him because you don’t like guns.

          [police] are required to step into dangerous situations where a citizen will/should run away.

          When you make up your mind about running vs shooting, please let us know how you decided. Maybe we can come to a consensus and teach everyone this wisdom in the form of, say, mandatory law enforcement training.

          Re: the abused wife, what she needs is protection from the abuser. To find herself alone with a gun (which, in your scenario, she has just hastily purchased with no training) isn’t a victory for self defense, it’s a failure of society. At a minimum wouldn’t you, the practiced gun owner, offer to take her in until she, too, became proficient with the gun and the law?

          Re: guns and leveled playing fields, I assert that a 20-yr-old armed criminal has the advantage over you because he’s younger; he has the advantage over all law-abiding gun owners because he’s a criminal who abides no laws. Notice that police counter this asymmetry by working in groups. Probably a good idea for citizens, too. Probably would take some practice and protocols. Sort of like law enforcement training.

          • rwahrens
            November 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm

            You are setting an impossible standard.

            “Law enforcement training”, is something that takes weeks to conduct and is geared towards teaching POLICE the ins and outs of how a State Agent can conduct him/her-self in using deadly force – a different set of circumstances from where a citizen may find him/her-self needing to defend against an armed criminal.

            Second, many States, mine, Maryland, included, already require some form of training before purchasing a handgun.

            You can make up all sorts of things a citizen that finds him/her-self in a self-defense situation “should have” done to prevent it, but that doesn’t change the fact that people often find themselves in dangerous situations not of their own making. The Second Amendment was placed in the Constitution by the Founders, not because they wanted to let people own guns as a hobby, or as part of a collection, but because they had very real concerns for people being able to use them as protection.

            A lot of people scoff at the contention that an armed populace can “protect” itself against a government armed with tanks, machine guns and helicopter gunships.

            As a counterpoint to that, I would observe that the police were rather well behaved towards crowds at Tea Party rallies where there were armed participants. I would doubt that their behavior was an accident, but a safeguard to prevent violence of a delay nature from reaching out. A lot of those guys would think nothing of pulling their arms from their holsters if they felt threatened, especially by the police.

            On the other hand, I would note that the Founders most likely did not envision tanks, machine guns nor helicopter gunships, so I have long felt that a re-write of that Amendment is long overdue.

            But that is another conversation.

        • Troglodyke
          November 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm

          Thank you, Judy, for a well-thought-out reply. Chris makes some of the same fallacious arguments (and uses the same hyperbolic, emotional rhetoric) as Christians do in their arguments against nonbelievers.

          I used to despise guns, but I learned to shoot about 10 years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I own a total of 4 guns, and that’s plenty. I have no qualms about protecting my family’s safety should the need arise (and my wife is also a good shot). I have an up-to-date concealed carry permit, and I carry about 25% of the time I go out. I have taken an NRA safety and shooting course. I practice regularly at my local gun range.

          As Judy stated, responsible gun owners are very well-versed in the law, and what it does, and doesn’t cover. The characterization of us as those who would shoot “willy-nilly” or shoot at someone stealing property assumes that we are stupid. I am prepared to fire should the need arise, but I’ll be thrilled if I make it to my deathbed having shot up nothing but paper targets in my life (or an animal that I will use completely to feed my family or someone else’s). I know this to be true of my fellow responsible gun owners, too.

          RGO’s know that you never draw to “scare” someone; you only draw in preparation to fire. You never fire unless you are prepared to deal with any fallout your bullet creates before it comes to a stop. Know your target and what lies behind it, always. Always attempt to flee (in public, anyway) if it’s possible to do so; know safe zones in your home and have a plan for protecting your home.

          It’s very easy to fall into a “gun owners are all nuts who don’t want any regulation and want to shoot at everything,” but that would be wrong. My fellow responsible gun owners know very well the risks.

          • Chris Habecker
            November 2, 2011 at 12:34 am

            Chris makes some of the same fallacious arguments (and uses the same hyperbolic, emotional rhetoric) as Christians do in their arguments against nonbelievers.

            Bull. Back that up with examples and an explanation.

            So far, Judy and Trog, you have explained that you think gun and defense education is very important. So we agree on that. You explained that you are educated, responsible gun owners (RGOs), so you apparently believe that RGO is something one can measure (perhaps with a test?). Judy, you even explained the procedures for handling your gun when the police are on-scene, so you have some reason to believe that the police understand those procedures (training? standards?). Yet you both appear to balk at mandatory training, and that balking seems to be based on feeling insulted at the idea that gun owners can’t handle this themselves.

            To that, I simply observe that Judy said

            why should you not be able to protect what you own

            while Trog said

            The characterization of us as those who would shoot “will nilly” or shoot at someone stealing property assumes that we are stupid.

            It appears that what Judy considers to be a justifiable action is something that Trog considers to be “stupid”. I humbly submit that, perhaps, just maybe, it might possibly be a good idea to hash this all out, write it down, and require that all armed citizens learn and practice it. You know, like law enforcement training.

        • Anat
          November 3, 2011 at 5:16 pm

          judykomorita:

          And why should you not be able to protect what you own and the lives of your loved ones on your property? If someone breaks into your house, they’re not there to invite you to tea. Ask William Petit. If you have a car or a boat or something in your backyard, why should you not be able to stop people from stealing it? You gonna come out with pepper spray?

          Not all of these are on the same level. Protecting lives – yes, if you know how to do it competently and without endangering the people you are attempting to protect worse. But a car or a boat are not worth killing over. They are *things*. If they are worth that much (maybe your livelihood depends on them) insure them.

  11. James
    November 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    “4 out of 5 people shot with a firearm survive.”

    So, most gun owners are incompetent. I feel much better now.

    • rwahrens
      November 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      Your statement assumes all people who fire a firearm at another person intends to kill. Probably not a safe assumption to make. If you want to stop someone, it doesn’t always take a kill to do it – a lot of criminals are not the bravest people – why else do they prey upon those they feel are the most vulnerable?

      For me, it would depend on the situation and how big my opponent is and how threatened I felt. (Assuming I’ve got time to make such observations) I would not want to have another’s death on my hands unless forced into it.

    • Nomen Nescio
      November 2, 2011 at 10:08 am

      moreover, you seem to be assuming that firearms are magic death rays that always and inevitably kill unless their users are incompetent. this just isn’t so — they’re powerful tools, but (especially handguns) not all that powerful.

      big game hunters know this. many species of deer are about the same size and mass as humans, and they’re often hunted with weapons far more powerful than tend to be involved in self defense situations — few handguns are powerful enough to be legal for hunting deer with. yet a mortally wounded whitetail can still run quite a distance before its injuries stop it.

      most humans who get shot stop what they’re doing and fall down because they know they’re wounded and better off giving up. they don’t usually stop because they’re suddenly physiologically incapable of continuing. bullet wounds can do that, as in a hunting scenario they indeed must, but it’s relatively rare.

      • Chris Habecker
        November 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm

        I’m pretty sure that the NRA would not, for a moment, back your contention that firearms are mere knock-down devices.

        • Nomen Nescio
          November 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm

          where do you get the notion i ever claimed they were? getting shot leaves you with a one in five chance of ending up dead, that’s not a “mere” anything.

          however, it also leaves you with four-in-five odds of not dying, not right then of that particular injury. that clearly means they are not, as i stated, magical death machines from which only pure luck might ever save one.

          and why do you think i give a wet fart what the NRA thinks? i’ve nothing to do with them, don’t raise them as a red herring here.

          • Chris Habecker
            November 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm

            Context: The point of the 4 of 5 shootings don’t kill meme was to argue that law enforcement training isn’t necessary for armed citizens because guns aren’t that deadly. I thought you were saying the same thing when you explained how non-lethal guns are, but, as you’ve noted, you didn’t explicitly say that guns weren’t lethal and dangerous. So you think that they are lethal and dangerous, right? I think that they are, so I think that we should require armed citizens to pass some law enforcement training.

            There is an audience here, and I think that they would be interested in comparing the NRA’s every-bullet-can-kill teachings with the data that you presented. The NRA is active about the Second Amendment, which is the topic of the OP. Therefore, my statement was apropos, not a red herring.

  12. November 1, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    This would be more convincing with some citations to back up the statistics; particularly the two million incidents of using guns to prevent crimes. Many of the stats publicized on that rely on self-reporting, which allows for individuals to decide what constitutes “defense against a crime.”
    I don’t like guns, at all, but the second amendment is there and I have to accept it, much like the religious have to (or should have to) abide by the first amendment.

    • November 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      This comment explains my thoughts pretty well. Citations and context would make those statistics a lot more convincing.

      There are thirty-one states that allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, and each one of those states have lower crime rates than those states who have strict laws against carrying concealed weapons. On average, their violent crime rate is twenty-four percent lower, their murder rate is nineteen percent lower and their robbery rate is thirty-nine percent lower.

      This says nothing about how those crimes rates relate to the concealed carry laws, however. Is there evidence that crime rates change when concealed carry laws do? Are those states with stricter laws also states with larger cities, which generally have higher crime rates?

      In fact, in these states, guns are used for self-defense more than two million times a year. This is three to five times the estimated number of violent crimes committed with guns.

      Again, not convinced. Just because someone says they used a gun in self-defense does not mean that a crime was prevented. The fact that this number is higher than the number of violent crimes committed with guns doesn’t even suggest a necessary correlation to me. Are you saying two million additional violent crimes would occur per year were those guns not used in self-defense? I’m not sure that follows, especially if that number is self-reported.

    • Nomen Nescio
      November 2, 2011 at 10:25 am

      estimates of how often guns are used in self-defense vary wildly, about an order of magnitude between the lowest and highest estimates i’ve seen. two million instances per year is the highest estimate i’ve seen of it, and this blog is not the only place that number has cropped up. i believe it originates with an early-1990’s study by Gary Kleck.

      it may be significant that the lowest estimate i’ve seen originated with the Bureau of Justice (the National Crime Survey). however, even that number was still over 100,000 instances annually. i think we could simply substitute that lower figure and the argument would still hold well enough.

  13. Ray Comas
    November 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    What’s this Colorado “make my day” law everyone’s talking about? Is there a link to the text of that legislation?

    I live in Ohio, which has a “Castle Doctrine” law. Basically, it means that people don’t have a “duty to retreat” when they’re in their own homes. Seems perfectly reasonable to me: if someone is breaking in to your house, why should you have to abandon it to the intruders, or alert them to your presence, which may very well endanger you and and your family? If you don’t want to get shot, don’t break into my house. Is the Colorado law somehow different?

    As far as “gun control” goes, for the most part is has very little to do with “guns” and very much to do with “control.” We shouldn’t put up with that to any higher degree than we would put up with “speech control” or “printing press control.”

    • Chris Habecker
      November 2, 2011 at 1:20 am

      Google “make my day law”. Yes, same as castle doctrine.

      • innkeeper
        November 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm

        The key to “make my day” laws and the “castle doctrine” are this: Defense for the safety of myself and those of my family, when I feel an imminent threat to the health/life of myself or of those around me.

        Someone comes into my house uninvited, I have a reasonable expectation that they are there for illegal activities.

        As such, I am still not allowed to shoot someone in the back. When someone is facing away from you, there are almost ZERO times you are justified in applying deadly force, regardless of the above paragraphs.

    • mercurianferret
      November 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

      As far as “gun control” goes, for the most part is has very little to do with “guns” and very much to do with “control.” We shouldn’t put up with that to any higher degree than we would put up with “speech control” or “printing press control.”

      Except for the “well regulated” part of the amendment. Ahh, yea, we don’t need to actually worry about that part of the amendment, though, right? I mean, the “well regulated” language in the second amendment is exactly the same as the “government shall make no rule” language of the first amendment.

      … oh wait.. The meaning of the two is different, and therefore we need to “put up” with laws that ensure the “well regulated” part of the amendment.

      • Nomen Nescio
        November 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

        it’s odd how some self-proclaimed liberals suddenly start paying homage to constitutional originalism as soon as, and only when, the second amendment comes up for debate.

        personally, i’m very much in the “living document” camp. modern supreme court doctrine has pretty much read the first half of the sentence out of existence — and don’t pretend to be outraged by this, they’ve done the same and worse to the entirety of the ninth and tenth amendments, and let’s not get started on what the commerce clause has been somehow taken to imply — meaning that appealing to “well regulated” anything in this day and age is anachronistic at best. that part’s a dead letter.

        in actual practice, Americans have the right to own firearms for personal self-defense. this is what Heller and McDonald established, and that is the reality we live in.

        • Chris Habecker
          November 2, 2011 at 11:58 am

          it’s odd how some self-proclaimed liberals suddenly start paying homage to constitutional originalism as soon as, and only when, the second amendment comes up for debate.

          So you’ve conceded that the well regulated militia clause is of original Constitutional intent. So we agree on that. And you’ve admitted that you ignore it to get even with those who have, in your opinion, ignored other parts of the Constitution. Well, I suppose that’s a reason.

          Do you also have a substantive reason why a living document interpretation should wipe out the well regulated militia clause? (BTW, I think we could use the militia clause to require armed citizens to undergo law enforcement training, as I’ve been arguing up above in this thread.

          • Nomen Nescio
            November 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm

            nothing in that reply of yours had the slightest thing to do with anything i said. try reading my words for content and reconsider.

            fact: i am not a constitutional originalist, on any point of constitutional law, including but not limited to the second amendment. i was not aware this is any sort of crime or ineradicable mark of shame. fact: i do not “ignore” the militia clause to “get even” with anybody; the supreme court of the united states has read it out of their jurisprudence, what some random citizen like myself thinks of it flatly does not matter. fact: that previous fact, and countless more examples of SCOTUS jurisprudence much like it, is supportive evidence of the living document interpretation as a matter of simple empiricism; what that interpretation “should” or “should not” do to any given constitutional clause is irrelevant.

            as a simple matter of fact, we live in a country where the militia clause holds no legal weight. deal with it. if you do not wish to deal with it, don’t waste your time jumping down MY throat about it — Antonin Scalia is the person you need to convince. you have my sympathies for that, best of luck, try not to get any of his moral ugly on you, i can’t stand the man myself. nevertheless, he’s got a LOT more to do with the militia clause than i ever did or will.

        • mercurianferret
          November 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm

          So if we move — for whatever reason — toward Supreme Court decisions that go back to an original reading of this amendment (just as some things this current Supreme Court are supposedly doing with others), then you will do… what?

          Will you decide that the Supreme Court’s decision is no longer valid? Or would you join up with a militia?

          (Also, I don’t subscribe to your definition of liberal and conservative. Having lived most of my life in other countries, I have come to realize that my ideas of conservative and liberal don’t match with the strange definitions used in this my foreign homeland.)

          • Nomen Nescio
            November 3, 2011 at 8:00 am

            So if we move — for whatever reason — toward Supreme Court decisions that go back to an original reading of this amendment (just as some things this current Supreme Court are supposedly doing with others), then you will do… what?

            then i will lobby politicians and support anyone pushing legal action to change things back. that’s what pro-gun groups spent the last twenty or thirty years doing in order to get us to where we are now, and it worked fine for them.

  14. Happy Camper
    November 1, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    A common misnomer is that liberals are all anti gun. I think that this may be because many anti gun laws originate from liberal politicians from large population centers. Most of my friends are social liberals and almost all own firearms and one has a class 3 firearms license(machine guns). I grew up in a rural community where guns were a part of life and received my first rifle at age 8 with my fathers supervision.
    I would say it’s fair to say that the vast majority of gun owners are law abiding and quite responsible. Those of us with concealed weapons permits do not brandish our weapons(an illegal act in my state) and the ONLY reason to pull a weapon is to protect ourselves and others from violent criminal acts and NOT to protect property. The people I worry about is the people who have no business owning a firearm(criminals, the clueless or mentally handicapped) who get them by theft or the illegal market. I used to live in a county where the sheriff’s evening response time was average of 40 minutes and a lot can happen in 40 minutes even if you could even make it to a phone.

    There is mo such thing as too many guns or too much ammo.
    HC

    • Chris Habecker
      November 2, 2011 at 8:18 pm

      Happy, you and the other gun owners who have commented have chosen to mention your self-defense knowledge and responsible nature. So it appears that you all think that training is important. Nevertheless, you balk at making training mandatory.

      Judy, Trog, and I got to this point above, but we ran out of room. Would you have a go at this? As I pointed out in the conclusion of the last comment in that thread, Judy said that she would use a gun to defend property. You just said that

      the ONLY reason to pull a weapon is to protect ourselves and others from violent criminal acts and NOT to protect property.

      I suggested to Trog and Judy that, given the disagreement among responsible gun owners, it would be a good idea to hash out the differences, define the proper behaviors and protocols, and then require armed citizens to learn them like law enforcement officers currently do.

      What do you think?

      • judykomorita
        November 2, 2011 at 9:14 pm

        I balk at it being mandatory because 1) sometimes you need to be able to buy and carry a gun quickly, 2) it isn’t required by the 2A and, 3) because not everyone who can and should carry can pass some standardized test. (see previous posts)

        The issue of shooting someone for a property offense is very personal, as is the idea of shooting someone at all. Every single person who decides to carry has to decide for him/herself — within the laws of the state in which they reside — in what situations they will shoot and in what situations they will not.

        You seem to think there’s something terrible about two pro-carry people disagreeing over this. You’re mistaken.
        If you don’t like guns, go to a no-gun state like Illinois. If you don’t mind people carrying, but want them highly trained, then move to a state that requires that. If you don’t want to move, work to make the changes you want in your state legislature.

        I don’t need to define behaviors and protocols. YOU are the one who seems to need that, so you define them, and you hold to them. I am satisfied with what I have decided.

        And “heaven” help you if someone starts stalking you, or breaks into your house at night. I have been a victim. I have been abused.

        I will never be again.

        • Chris Habecker
          November 3, 2011 at 12:59 am

          Thanks, Judy. Sincerely. I think that you spelled out your positions clearly.

          I have one more question, which is not intended to counter what you just wrote; it’s a new question that came to mind based on your earlier remark about taking your grandson’s safety seriously. I think that two of your positions might conflict, and I’m wondering how you reconciled them. The first is that you want a gun to take your grandson’s safety seriously. The second is that you want quick, no-training-required access to that gun. The scenario that comes to mind is that some untrained, recently armed neighbor of yours starts shooting inappropriately and mistakenly puts a round in your grandson’s head. Or maybe it’s my neighbor and my kid. Do you consider that to be an unlikely possibility that you (and I) live with? Can we really not insist that your neighbor be as good at this as you are?

          • judykomorita
            November 3, 2011 at 10:34 am

            Ok, let me see…. And thank you for being civil in this debate.

            Ideally, sure, I would love any neighbors who carry being well-trained. But, by that standard, that would leave me unarmed, because I am nearing 60, overweight, knees and hips starting to give out, etc. etc., and I would almost certainly not pass any kind of police-type training. I can’t, in honor, require something of my neighbors that I could not also hold myself to.

            I think it’s a matter of being pragmatic, of looking at the real chances we face in life.

            Your scenario of my grandson being shot by an errant bullet someone else fired, are not uncommon in bad neighborhoods. But usually those bullets are fired from a criminal’s gun, not a law-abiding citizen (not always, of course). Criminals aren’t going to worry about concealed-carry tests, so the point is mostly moot.

            Where I live, and with the life I live, I will probably never need to fire my gun, nor will most of my neighbors. Your scenario is possible, but very unlikely. I have to play to the odds, and to my comfort zone, and to my ethics.

            The fact that an untrained neighbor might accidentally shoot my grandson is a risk that must be taken, because of the state I live in, and the Second Amendment. I don’t mean that to sound callous. I take risks putting him in my car and driving somewhere, too. (And FWIW, his father, my son, also carries, and has no training besides paint ball and other non-lethal fun guns.)

            I like the idea of everyone who carries being well-trained. I just don’t see it being realistic in allowing everyone who has a right to carry, to actually carry. One should not be prevented from protecting herself and her loved ones just because she can’t pass some arbitrary test. I feel it’s a more basic right than that.

            Did I answer your question?

          • Chris Habecker
            November 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm

            [This is a reply to Judy’s last comment, above; can’t reply to it directly because it’s at the thread limit.]

            Yes Judy, you answered my question (all of them, actually; you covered the police-vs-citizen thing earlier). I especially appreciate that you spelled out the pros and cons and pragmatic issues that you’ve considered. I now have reason to believe that you, in particular, do not equate self-defense with blasting away indiscriminately whenever the heck you feel like it.

          • judykomorita
            November 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm

            Chris, I really suggest that you go to the ONLY gun forum I recommend, and see what real concealed carry people think and do on a day-to-day basis: defensivecarry.com.

            I am not in the minority in how I reason and act on this subject. AAMOF, I am in the majority, and defensivecarry is where I learned most of it.

            There will always be hotheads and people on the fringes of any social/political/religious issue, but defensivecarry is the sanest and best-run of any gun board I’ve seen. I highly recommend it. The crazies are run out, or drop out of their own accord.

            Your worries are understandable. But on that board you might see many or most of them are baseless.

            Best wishes.

      • rwahrens
        November 3, 2011 at 7:07 am

        I think you should rethink your terms.

        Law enforcement officers are taught some special things about firearms that have to do with their special circumstances as agents of the State.

        Citizens don’t need to know that, because a private citizen’s situation under the law is DIFFERENT!

        Some form of gun SAFETY training, however, is not only a good thing, but in many States, already mandatory.

        • Chris Habecker
          November 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm

          When a responsible citizen takes on the responsibility of self defense or defense of others, she is, in practice, acting as a law enforcer. I’ll grant you that she can’t write a citation, but her bullets are just as problematic as a deputy’s, so where is there any practical difference that would justify training the deputy and not the citizen?

          Judy already brought up the point that, safe or not, a gun owner who doesn’t know police procedures is asking to get shot by the police. Luckily, hitting the pavement is pretty universal. However, as soon as two or more responsible gun owners are involved, a lack of common training becomes a deadly problem (e.g., one good guy nearly shot another when Congress rep Giffords was shot).

          Absent some common and practiced procedures, good-guy behavior often looks like bad-guy behavior (two guns drawn, which is which?). I suspect that you implicitly assume that no one would mistake you for the bad guy.

          As for safety, practice and procedures are paramount. Humans observe, think, and aim poorly the first time that they encounter combat conditions. That’s why every armed service trains under those conditions. (Bit of a tangent, not a scholarly opinion… abuse victims experience real combat conditions; seems to me that those who manage to learn how to think well under those conditions have probably accomplished that aspect of military training.) The point is that, when multiple armed citizens engage in self defense or defense of others, they become a de facto police force, and they’re unlikely to perform well if they haven’t trained like one.

          • judykomorita
            November 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm

            Our bullets *are* just as problematic. But we are not acting as law enforcers. An LEO can stop a crime pretty much anywhere, any time, any type of crime. We citizens are only allowed to shoot where imminent, deadly danger will happen to someone (or in some states, our belongings on our property). That’s a wide gap.

            AFAIK, very few carriers try to be police. And they are ridiculed behind their backs and to their faces as “wanna-be cops.” We do not carry to be the police. That’s their job. My job is to protect myself and my loved ones — only.

            There is even a lot of debate, and a wide variety of lines drawn, where it comes to protecting an innocent third-party. Some will, some won’t, some say it depends.

            As you allude to in your post, one of the things the board I mentioned above cautions, is before you interfere in a third-party situation, you *must* know who the real bad guy is. Over there on the sidewalk is a long-haired dirty guy fighting to get a gun away from a guy in a suit. But the dirty guy may be an undercover cop, and the suit may be a high-level drug dealer. You interfere the wrong way, and you have messed up BIG time.

            You are correct that when two or more gun owners are facing something like a Giffords situation, problems can arise. But they do with police, too. Still, I would rather have to face these rare occasions, and feel like I can go to a gas station at night, than be without both.

            We haven’t gotten to the point where everyday carriers act like cops in groups, or have to fight like that. And unless we have an Argentina-like collapse, we probably never will.

            Your points are well meant, and thoughtful. For my part, I just see them as statistically very unlikely (though not zero), and the right of being able to protect myself should not be infringed because of them.

  15. leftwingfox
    November 1, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I believe the Second Amendment was a mistake on the part of the founding fathers. A noxious legacy of violent revolution, before the collapse of monarchy, dictatorship and colonialism by peaceful means.

    The purpose of a modern democracy is to allow change in government by the people without violent overthrow. There is nothing implicit or explicit in the constitution that allows for individual violence against the state, so how can a gun preserve your rights if you cannot use it against the group taking them away?

    The opposite unfortunately is often the case: oppressive regimes often rely on turning the people against each other, and the use of violence against a group sanctioned by, or quietly allowed by the state. Look at how dictatorial Islamic nations (Taliban Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia especially) use community violence against women and religious infidels. Remember the lynch mobs in America and the power of the Klan as a way of enforcing segregation and oppressing African-Americans after the civil war.

    I’m not necessarily anti-gun, but I disagree that it’s a right that deserves to be enshrined the way the right of speech, the right of assembly, the freedom of the press, freedom from state religion, and equal protection under the law are.

    • judykomorita
      November 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      You have every right to your opinion.

      Mine: The right to defend one’s self against harm is a right that is just as fundamental as one’s right to speak their mind.

      If a hardened criminal with a gun or a knife decides he wants me or mine, I don’t want to face him with a baseball bat or a canister of mace – or worse, empty hands.

      “Stop! Or I’ll shout stop again!”

      The founding fathers knew what they were doing.

      • November 4, 2011 at 1:42 am

        And with the right training, you can defend yourself, your loved ones, and your property WITHOUT A LETHAL WEAPON.

        You took the lazy way out, “herp derp I GOT A GUN.”

        I’m a survivor of abuse, and you know what happens when abused women get guns? The abuser takes the gun and, if she’s lucky, only threatens her with it. We all know what happens if she isn’t lucky.

        I didn’t need an artificial phallus to keep me safe. My community — my friends, my family — kept me safe, without sinking to his level and resorting to violence. And you know what? It’s a hell of a lot healthier than buying a deadly weapon out of fear.

        • judykomorita
          November 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

          Actually, no, I couldn’t defend myself nearly as well without a lethal weapon. As I’ve mentioned several times, I am a middle-aged grandmother with a body that is not going to get better. A can of mace or a baseball bat is not going to cut it. More attackers are going to run toward mace or a bat – ignoring it, and run *from* a gun.

          Do not even tell me whether I am lazy or not. You don’t know me. You are just being insulting.

          As for abuse, 1) I’m sorry you share that unhappy history. 2) An abused person should probably not have a gun on her while she is still with her abuser, because it might get taken and used against her, as you say. But once she is gone, 3) IF SHE IS capable of carrying it safely and pulling the trigger when she needs to, it would be a good to have one.

          For the most part, the people who get their guns taken from them are the people who have not decided they can shoot it when the SHTF. They are still hesitating (debating in their minds) when it’s time to pull the trigger.

          I am not one of those. And my “artificial phallus” has batteries in it, not bullets.

          Believe me, I do not want to “sink to someone else’s level.” I never want to shoot anyone, ever. But I want to be as well-defended as I can. And I do NOT want my friends and family to take a hit for me. The statistics for any one person are low, but the consequences of not being prepared if the stats catch up with you, are extremely high.

          You’ve made your decision and are happy with it. I have made mine and am happy with it.

      • November 6, 2011 at 9:05 am

        the founding fathers knew what they were doing

        So only white landowning men should vote?

    • hillybilly
      November 2, 2011 at 9:34 pm

      All of the rights you listed at the end of your comment aren’t guaranteed if you’ve no means to defend them for others and yourself, and possibly by yourself.
      If all things can be taken from you at will then there are no rights, only rules. Also to the earlier part about the weapons having to be of the same vintage as those used during the days of the revolution: ridiculous, but your point about mandatory civil service to earn civil rights is an idea I’ve considered and do not disagree with.

      • leftwingfox
        November 3, 2011 at 6:46 pm

        If all things can be taken from you at will then there are no rights, only rules.

        And I disagree, on multiple counts.

        1: A lack of a right to bear arms remains in multiple functional and stable democracies. That indicates there are other non-violent means capable of restraining government power.

        2: The prevalence of guns in a society also means that it’s easier for others to take your rights away by their force of arms, including in support of a repressive government which favors the armed group (i.e. the Jim Crow South)

        3: The right itself is toothless, in that there is no explicit or implicit right of revolution; no allowance for using those arms against the state. If you reach the point where the use of violence against the government become necessary, then breaking the law to get a gun is the least of your concerns.

        4: Tactically, the ability to own a gun is no guarantee of being successful against state forces, and the resulting destabilization and devastation from civil war are good reasons to turn the required numerical support and organizational skills into a non-violent campaign.

        The personal protection and tool capabilities of firearms are good reasons to allow their use, but I see no reason from a rights standpoint for the gun to be favored with minimal restrictions compared to, say, the automobile.

        • judykomorita
          November 4, 2011 at 9:37 am

          1) Most of those multiple functional and stable democracies do not have several million guns already there. Most of them do not have the melting pot of cultures and races we do, nor a history of major racism. And the citizens of those countries will have inferior methods of protecting themselves if something changes. Been reading the economic news lately? I suggest zerohedge.com.

          2) And that’s why, in a society that is already armed, that every citizen (i.e. non criminal, non mentally-ill) should be armed – to prevent that very thing.

          3) There may not be a *right* of revolution, but so what? Our country was made using one, and they happen often. Over historical times, it’s almost a certainty. And if the government has forbidden the ownership or use of guns, then mostly only criminals will have ones. When it comes to a revolution, where will us normal people find one? It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.

          4) I, at least, realize that. Non-violent protest is always better, if not always as successful, as armed protest. But I believe we should have the ability to do both, if necessary. No, my little popgun won’t protect me against jack-booted military with helicopters overhead. But it will help protect me in just about any other scenario. I don’t expect the end of our country, but I expect the economic problems to worsen, and individual and mob violence to grow somewhat. Hopefully not too far.

          Again, minimal restrictions is the only thing that allows me to be able to carry. You make the restrictions too high, and the people who need protected most will likely not be able to.

          • Chris Habecker
            November 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm

            Judy,

            Letting you know that you’ve given me something to think about: your concern that you might not be able to pass certain provisions of training. I think that law enforcement training is a good standard because it has been practiced and honed over time. However, that standard has avoided all sorts of issues because there are restrictions on who can be a law officer. E.g., there are no protocols for wheelchair-bound officers. I suspect that there is a training program that would work for everyone, but I don’t know that there is.

  16. dalemacdougall
    November 3, 2011 at 10:21 am

    As a Canadian who has lived in the US for 12 years now I’ve been arguing about this with Americans online for a long time. I agree with anti_supernaturalist in that the writers of the amendment were talking about an organized Militia as the term in still used in Canada to describe the Army Reserve, not Billie Joe and Jim Bob down in the club house. And they certainly couldn’t foresee the day when an individual could have the firepower of 50 people back then.

    It doesn’t matter that other first world countries have far less gun violence than the US. It doesn’t matter that there is a work place or school shooting every month. It doesn’t matter how many innocent people die because of how easy it is to get guns down here.

    After all guns don’t kill people, people do!!! And people with guns can kill & injure far more people far more quickly than people who don’t have those guns. How many people would a nut job going into his former workplace be able to kill with a baseball bat? Or a hunting knife?

    Some will say the answer is more guns. If more people carried the bad guys wouldn’t know who was armed and would be reluctant to do their deeds. Yes, because arguments at sporting events, drunken brawls at bars, and road rage incidents on our streets will be so much more fun when the majority of people – barely trained and inexperienced, are armed.

    And don’t assume I’m unfamiliar with guns and scared of them. After 16 years in the Canadian Army I’ve fired more rounds than most in this country. I know how to use a gun, I just choose not to.

    Now I’ll sit back and watch the Americans howl with rage. I’m a darn fer’ner who doesn’t understand. I understand I’ll look at the news on the web today and check out the tv news tonight and see people being shot in the US because guns are far too easy to get. And I’ll see the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…….

    And it just won’t matter.

  17. Richard Simons
    November 3, 2011 at 11:05 am

    If gun ownership is so important in counteracting violent crime, why does the US have such an appalling record of violent crime compared with other developed countries?

    • Nomen Nescio
      November 3, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      i’m not sure we can take it as proven that gun ownership has any particular role in counteracting crime, myself.

      let’s consider the statistics in an eagle’s-eye view, large perspective, so as to include historical changes in firearms law in both directions. starting from the 1920’s or so, U.S. federal firearms law began to get stricter; first in response to prohibition-era violence, then during the 1960’s in response to the civil rights movement and associated violence and fear of violence. this continued up through the 1980’s or 90’s, or so, after which the trend began reversing in response mainly to political lobbying efforts.

      does the general curve of violence and/or crime statistics follow the same trend? if it does, that should be fairly obvious, and by now surely someone ought have pointed it out.

      meanwhile, over approximately the same time span, we might look at the situation in the UK. their firearms laws were once almost as liberal as the USA’s; they began tightening the belt in response to WW1-era civil disorder and their equivalent of a “red scare”. they never reversed the trend, and by now have among the strictest firearms laws in the world. how do their crime statistics match the situation?

      finally, comparing crime statistics in the UK to those in the USA — the most suspect comparison of them all, cultural and sociological differences even between such relatively similar countries make the numbers very hard to compare in my opinion — we find that regardless of the firearms laws in use in either country, the USA has seemingly always been more violent than the UK, even per capita.

      personally, i don’t think we can conclude much from this other than that the strictness of firearms law cannot be demonstrated to have any strong and direct impact on the crime levels of a jurisdiction. that, however, is in itself not insignificant.

      i don’t know why the USA is such a violent place, compared to other countries. blaming it on guns alone is too simplistic, though; Russia has quite strict firearms control and relatively low (legal) civilian gun ownership, yet also has a reputation for violence. the same could be said for South Africa and Mexico, as well as much of Latin America. there’s more to a society than merely what tools it allows its citizens to own.

  18. November 3, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I’d just like to know what people’s objections are to guns.

    Is it the accidental deaths? CDC injury reports that accidental deaths and injuries due to firearms are less than that of automobiles. Suicide and attempted suicide are not accidents and access (or not) to a firearm will not change whether someone attempts suicide. (Feel free to look up the CDC injury list.)

    Is it the social issue of people owning deadly weapons? I could kill someone almost as easily with a box-cutter… but I’m a young, relatively fit person. Still, I’m not 20 and a martial artist. I do think that firearm classes should be taken. Of course, I also think that driver’s licenses should be much stricter as well. 8 hours of driving a Toyota Corolla does not mean you have the training or ability to drive a corvette or a dually pickup with a trailer… yet according to the law, you do.

    Is it that guns exist? Too late… by a few hundred years. The genie is out of the bottle. Criminals will not give up firearms. Heck, until the Russian was caught (and probably still), if you choose to be a criminal, then you can purchase surface-to-air missiles. My 9mm is nothing compared to that.

    Do you think criminals have rights? I’m pretty anti-establishment on this, but my personal belief is that a person gives up their rights the second that they attempt to prevent another from maintaining their rights… including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    I’m fine with a safety training, in Texas, the concealed carry training and shooting qualifications are stricter than the New Orleans sheriff department of 25 years ago. Yes, it’s a bit of a stretch and it’s based on a personal conversation with someone who had applied for New Orleans sheriff deputy and now has a Texas CCL.

    • judykomorita
      November 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      “Is it that guns exist? Too late… by a few hundred years. The genie is out of the bottle. Criminals will not give up firearms.”

      That is one of my main issues. I would love for guns to not exist. But they do, and they are endemic in this country, as much as cars. We cannot prohibit them legally. They are here to stay.

      If the law-abiding are disarmed, then the criminals have all the power.

      • Nomen Nescio
        November 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm

        the notion of taking firearms away entirely is a curious one, to me. short of dramatically changing the culture of the people of this country, i can’t imagine how gun ownership could even be reduced. banning the things certainly wouldn’t do it; even magically disappearing all the ones currently in existence would only provide a temporary respite, were such magic possible.

        people forget that village blacksmiths were building perfectly serviceable firearms with unpowered hand tools only, three and four hundred years ago, and doing it in considerable numbers. the sort of metal shop tools that might be found in a dedicated hobbyist’s garage workshop these days can perfectly well turn out entirely modern arms. only precision rifling is any real problem, and that’s a problem that was solved, what, two centuries ago now? one and a half, at least.

        if someone’s willing to propose the sort of wholesale social engineering that would be necessary to fundamentally change a society’s culture, by all means, let’s hear the proposals. but i’m extremely skeptical as to the practicability of any such project.

  19. astrosmash
    November 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I don’t like guns but I support the right to own them 100%. I support that right the same way I support efforts to legalize drugs because anyone who supports one and opposes the other is full of shit. I think what makes this a difficult issue for me is not so much the guns themselves, but America’s infantile screeching obsession with them. And the defense they give for ownership (not that one is required) is on par with some wild-west “protectin’ mah family” jerk-off fantasy. Paranoid babyish crap. Why can’t we keep our guns AND grow up… Oh, right, grown-ups generally develop interests and hobbies different to those of 7th grade boys. (I am excluding collectors of historic firearms…of course)

    • judykomorita
      November 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      I support gun rights and the legalization of drugs, and of prostitution as well.

      But I am not a 7th grade boy, I am a middle-aged grandmother. I do not have a screeching obsession with them, though there are some who do. They are in the minority.

      This is similar to fundie xians – the ones on the far fringes make the rest of us look bad.

      And believe me, protecting my family is not a jerk-off fantasy. My fantasies involve nice men. 🙂

      I am not paranoid. I have been attacked with a knife (my stupidity that time, I was young), and I have had people try to break into my house. I have been followed, and so have some of my neighbors. I have been abused.

      And I do not go out and drink and dance until late, or roam the city at night, or purposely put myself into compromising situations.

      You are demeaning others who have a stronger sense of self-protection than you. Please don’t do that.

      • kittybrat
        November 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm

        Judykomorita,

        I am a middle aged grandmother as well, and I think you presented my own view of the situation. Many of us are just people who believe that simply because some people are idiots, that is no reason to take away the rights of the majority of us who are responsible.

        I, too, believe in the right to own guns, as well as legalizing drugs and prostitution. We do not have a gun in the house currently, as my 25 year old son has moved back in and he is sometimes a hot head. So, no guns here. When he leaves again, you bet your sweet ass I’ll have another handgun and a rifle, too.

        Cheers!

      • Anat
        November 3, 2011 at 5:40 pm

        While I support people’s right to own guns in order to protect their own lives and those of others living with them (but not property, sorry), I am curious about whether people who want to own guns for this purpose really believe that is their best choice. Personally if I came to believe I’m in a situation where having a gun around improved my life expectancy significantly I would seek ways to change things so that is not the case – probably by moving to a place with lower crime or better police (or equivalent). Getting a gun is for when society collapses and there is no law enforcement to rely on.

        • judykomorita
          November 4, 2011 at 9:45 am

          Anat, a gun should be a last resort. It’s always good to have non-lethal alternatives. I do carry pepper spray. But sometimes a last resort is what comes your way. There was a story earlier this year (I think) in defensivecarry.com about a man in a do-it-yourself car wash, minding his own business – in daylight, and a truck full of thugs stopped behind him and got out. Were they there asking directions? No. Mace would not have stopped them. The man drew his gun, they swore, and took off. No shots fired. He went home to his family instead of a morgue.

          Though certainly bad neighborhoods are worse to live in, and it would be good to leave them, finances can prevent it. There are a lot of people living on the edge of poverty, now. And crimes happen *everywhere*. Grocery store parking lots. Apartments and their parking areas. Mom & Pop corner stores. Behind the bushes by your front door. *EVERYwhere.* No one can predict when and where. I don’t want my right to my last resort taken from me, and only lesser options left.

          • Anat
            November 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm

            We need to change the culture of violence. In countries with low gun ownership criminals tend to be unarmed too – a gun won’t improve the ‘success’ rate of the crime but increases the charges against the criminal if caught, so they are an unneeded risk for the criminal. That lowers the risk of being hurt for everyone.

            Drawing a gun will scare some attackers but will make others panic and shoot first. I prefer a personal policy of lowering odds of being attacked in the first place, knowing one day I might be anyway.

          • judykomorita
            November 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm

            This is to Anat:

            I would love, love, love to get rid of the culture of violence. Ain’t gonna happen without some genetic engineering, IMHO.

            But how can you say that in low-gun countries a gun won’t improve the success rate? What about the Norway shooting in July?

            I look at it like this: Any criminal (who is something less than insane) is going to think twice about breaking into a house where he knows the homeowners are armed. Same in other situations. All other things being equal, they will go for the weaker, unarmed victims first.

            For your second paragraph, again, most people facing a gun will freeze, not panic shoot. Most are not going to rush a person with a gun. Good luck in lowering the odds of an attack when you are facing somebody crazy, angry, and/or drug-addled. I don’t believe your chances are very good at all.

        • astrosmash
          November 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm

          My initial comment was a bit angry, although I still stand by it. Again, I support gun ownership 100% What I think about some gun owners is inconsequential to that standing. There is such a strong corelation with right leaning states and the “they’re coming to take my guns away” paranoia, that I think that I’m not too off base in my expressed distaste. I agree with Anat. If you live somewhere that the threat of lethal violence is prevalent enough to truly need to consider having a gun… Consider changing your situation if possible. There certainly will be people in dangerous places who are stuck, but I doubt that this is the case for many “enthusiasts”? or whatever to call them. Also, encounters with violence are so varied, arbitrary and unforseeable, that no one can actually prepare for that encounter. Are you jumped from behind? Does the perp have a gun? A knife. Can you tell? Is there more than one perp attacking you? from what angle? Is it dark out? How will you react to the sudden surge of adreneline? Are you alone? With a friend? A child? blah blah blah.

          • Anat
            November 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm

            This is intended for judykomorita:

            I would love, love, love to get rid of the culture of violence. Ain’t gonna happen without some genetic engineering, IMHO.

            Social engineering, not genetic. People world over are similar enough genetically but cultures do vary in the violence one is likely to encounter. And things used to be worse, on the grand scheme of things (though what we have can go to hell in a handbasket in case of major disaster, loss of essential resources, etc).

            But my guess is it is a multi-variable problem with many attractors and one can’t move from one to another by changing a single parameter. Countries with low gun ownership and low violence have many things working for them.

            But how can you say that in low-gun countries a gun won’t improve the success rate? What about the Norway shooting in July?

            Because that isn’t a representative of most crime. Property crime is about getting valuables at minimal effort, with minimal risk. If the criminal expects homeowners to not be armed being armed hirself is just more risk with little if any gain. That’s a lot more common than mass-shootings. A burglar is very different from a terrorist.

            All other things being equal, they will go for the weaker, unarmed victims first.

            But this already assumes a significant proportion of the population is armed in the first place, which is why said sane criminal is armed. (And how does a criminal knows which home has the armed occupants?)

  20. Eric
    November 3, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I know I’m jumping in a little late – but I do have a question about a statement in your post:

    “The fact is that many of the sweeping “across-the-board” gun control laws that aim to remove the right to bear arms from United States citizens are blatantly unconstitutional.”

    (1) Who claims they are not?
    (2) Is this a set of legislation being pursued now? Or are you referring to laws that already exist? If so, could you provide some links?

  21. November 4, 2011 at 1:07 am

    I disagree, and firmly believe in strict gun controls. Not because I want to restrict anyone’s rights to self-defense, but because in the case of firearms, the danger posed by the presence of the weapon itself overrides any consideration of ownership rights, as it places EVERYONE in the house in inherent, immediate danger of serious injury or death.

    Now, your right to defend yourself. Sure. You have every right to defend yourself, with whatever means you have at hand. Anything, ANYTHING can be used in self-defense, if you’re creative — baseball bat, table leg, crowbar, tire iron, kitchen knife, bedside lamp, bedsheets, ANYTHING! You just can’t use this one specific class of item — an item that is marketed as a killing machine, and sold for that express purpose — to do it.

    • judykomorita
      November 4, 2011 at 9:46 am

      And when someone confronts you with a gun, you are at their mercy because you have inferior weapons. Have fun with that, but leave me my choices.

  22. Sandman
    November 4, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Im a Brit, and grew up in a country where gun ownership is highly restricted, where the general public reguards guns with loathing, where even 90% of polce officers dont carry guns, and where there has never been a “gun culture” to speak of. So…qualify any input through that filter.

    I dsagree that gun ownershp rights are in any way threatened in the US and need defending. I have a good reason for that position – it would be all but impossible, given gun ownership rates and the number of firearms in prvate ownership in the US, to remove them from private ownership. If you believe otherwise you are at best deluded and/or paranoid and most likely pure dumb as nuts. Really….think about it. How the hell could any government even start to remove guns from private ownership?

    Next point. Its your country, and if you want to run it on the basis of a 250 year old contract worded in archaic loophole stuffed language thats your lookout. No Brit would ever consider running the UK on such a basis (ie Bill Of Rights 1689). We prefer our laws to be organic and subject to constant revision. The blokes who wrote that contract, and then soon after ammended it and then added a few more ammendments over the next 100 years or so realsed that the orignal draft needed updating as needs demanded. You dont need to get rid of the 2nd, but maybe realsing the wording is a bit obscure and was written when a Kentucky rifled longgun that could fire, at best, 3 rounds a minute was hi tech and so maybe making the wording fit a time when a KRIS can empty a full clip in less time than it took for you to shoot one round of Kentucky shot is a sane and realistic idea. You have tunred the Constitution into some religous text, carved it in Mosaic like tablets of stone and set it on an altar. Jefferson, Mason, Adams, Franklin and the rest of the framers would think you are insane.

    Should you have the rght to own a gun? If thats what you want hell yes….its your country.

    Should you have the right to carry a concealed weapon in public? Should you have the right to march down the National Mall, or in a local public space, with a civilianised asault rifle over your shoulder? Should you have the right to pop down to the shop with your Colt strapped to your belt or in your glovebox? Should you have the right to attend classes or public meetngs carrying a gun? should you have any form of rght to own assault weapons, no matter how “civilansed”, or extended clips wth 3 times the ammo of the policeman who is there to protect the public peace and safety

    ……are you having a f*cking laugh?

    You want to own a gun for home defence…fine….it stays within the bounds of your property. You want to own a gun for sports or hunting….fine….you only get to use it for that purpose and when in transit its locked away in the car boot, not on a frickin rack behind your head.

    Chums if you want to defend gun ownership then I suggest you do it in a reasoned and rational manner. The NRA and their ilk are a bunch of gun happy nutballs funded by the arms industy, so question your agreement with their lunacy before going along with it.

    Well, theres the view from an ex-pat Brit who likes to go down the local Thai gun range and blast away with a H&K at paper targets, would love to have a try wth a KRIS or KelTec KSG, but when it comes to home defence would never own his own pop gun, preferring instead a som tam pestle – two foot of truncheon like hardwood which in my (well trained) hands in a darkened lights out house is probably just as effectve as that Glock you own.

    • Nomen Nescio
      November 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      you’re strong enough and healthy enough to wield a two-foot-long hardwood truncheon, and make it effective as a weapon. good for you. you are not Everyperson. some middle-aged grandmothers are asthmatic, or arthritic, or wheelchair-bound, or…

      (god made man and woman, so they say, but it took Samuel Colt to make them equal. it’s a trite old chestnut, but there’s a deep truth in it as well. think on it.)

      you are confident enough in your own abilities to swing a truncheon around in the dark of a blacked-out house, without causing undue harm to anyone you wouldn’t want harmed or who wasn’t someone you had misidentified as dangerous when in fact they were not. a gun owner who used deadly force under such uncertain circumstances would be rightly criticized for having misused that force; be sure of your target, for else you cannot know it’s a target at all.

      i wonder if you, at very least, realize that a hardwood truncheon IS a deadly weapon, and that its use constitutes the application of lethal force. i hope you do. your willingness to use it when blind does not much reassure me, however. one thing that responsible gun ownership does is force a person to really think on what force is, what use of force is, and what the proper and reasonable conditions to put on it might be; that mental exercise alone is worthwhile, even if you never pick up a gun.

      (when do you shoot? why do you shoot? can you bring yourself to shoot, in that instance — how sure are you of your answers? they’re questions you won’t have time to answer after the gun needs to come out, anymore, so the time to ponder them is before. oh, and one more thing — they apply just as perfectly well to smashing someone’s trachea flat with a club, too. or cracking their skull open with same, or even just swinging at them so that they, in their attempt to duck, hit their head on the corner of the kitchen counter breaking their neck. deadly force is deadly force, regardless of your weapon or your intent. think on it.)

  23. Pingback: ideas para regalar
  24. Pingback: best carry holster
  25. March 15, 2012 at 1:24 am

    The main reason to identify if a individual is on the database is to make sure safety and security. There are some instances when you will not be able to find a specific individual on the database, but they could finish up to be criminals. This is something that is beyond our control and we will not be able to address this problem. On the other hand, there are some instances exactly where individuals have been able to make sure that they steer clear of appointing a criminal for any household work or even for a job in the business simply because they had been able to successfully do a Background Check. So, it is better to be safer than to be sorry by not performing a Background Check. Not performing a right search could permit a criminal to be appointed in a job. So, make sure that whenever you come across a new person who might be in get in touch with with you or your family members very frequently, it is better to do the Background Check to ascertain the genuineness of the individual.

Leave a Reply