Posts Tagged assault rifles
You won’t believe the shit I get to read sometimes:
“I hope everyone who watches the walking dead supports Firearms and disregards that phoney media crap like the Sandy Hook shooting…. Guns DO NOT kill people, PEOPLE kill people.”
This was actually posted on AMC’s The walking Dead comment blog by a reader a day after the mid season premiere.
The guy then followed his post by asking people who “have an open mind to spread the word” as this country “is in serious trouble.”
I don’t even…this asshole really believes that the guns in The Walking Dead and the ensuing zombie apocalypse make a good point for lobbying against gun control since clearly the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse is likely to happen and illustrates the need for guns galore, woohaaa.
You may laugh about this and dismiss this guy as someone from the lunatic fringe not really reflecting the “values” of gun advocates and lifetime members of the NRA. But incidentally that is kind of the same view professional jackass Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the NRA, holds when he says shit like:
“Before I tell you how the NRA and our members are going to Stand And Fight politically and in the courts, let’s acknowledge that all over this country, tens of millions of Americans are already preparing to Stand And Fight to protect their families and homes. These good Americans are prudently getting ready to protect themselves.”
The rest of his “speech” was racially tinged, unfounded, ignorant garbage about Obama wanting to take away our guns! Latin American drug gangs and criminals! Mexicans! Illegal Immigrants! Kidnappers! Criminals! Terrorists! Muslims! and how terrorists and Muslims will attack with Obama standing by and watching while us citizens with our guns the NRA is working so hard to place in our hands, will be left to fend for ourselves.
“Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival.”[…] Responsible Americans realize that the world as we know it has changed. We, the American people, clearly see the daunting forces we will undoubtedly face: terrorists, crime, drug gangs, the possibility of Euro-style debt riots, civil unrest or natural disaster.”
That’s right, peace loving patriots. The world is a scary, terrible and dangerous place and we have to be prepared to SHOOT THEM ALL. AAAAALLLL Whaaaa “to withstand the siege that is coming“.
Round them all up: Liberals! Socialists! The Mentally Ill! Gays! Homosexuals! Pacifists! Immigrants! Activist judges! Women judges! Women! “Bloomberg, Soros, and the rest of their ilk.” Renew your NRA membership! Donate more so we can champion your cause, oh so freedom loving citizens, because apocalypses of all kind are upon us – even the zombie.
And let’s not forget all the other fun uses for guns. After all, “every year, shooting is becoming more and more popular, with more people engaging in the shooting sports for fun. […] Stand And Fight, let’s continue to make the shooting sports one of the fastest-growing recreational activities in America. By doing so, and by telling others about it, we’ll popularize and make gun owning and shooting more mainstream than ever before.” Shooting is so cool, especially chasing a helpless, innocent creature, cornering it and the blowing its brains out. It’s so much funnity fun fun. These are values we must instill in our children.
We gotta embrace guns and create an EVEN BIGGER gun culture. “We don’t want America to become like England” where only 155 people a year die of gun related injuries as opposed to 32,000 here in the US. Pah! “We have so much to be proud of as gun owners, shooters and freedom lovers. ” STAND AND FIGHT PATRIOTS.
Who’s Afraid of Wayne LaPierre?
I don’t know about you, but I am not really afraid of dying at the hands of an Islamic terrorist or a looter. I am, however, super scared of dying at the hands of a small, paranoid, frightened and law abiding NRA member pumped up by alarmist rhetoric and armed with deadly weaponry who shoots first and then asks questions. I am afraid of some disgruntled or unstable person deciding to take his anger, frustration and hate out on me by barging into a mall, bookstore, theater or any other public space I may occupy and empty several rounds of hot bullets into my body because the NRA has worked long and hard to insure that guns remain ubiquitous features of the American landscape and culture and are easier to obtain than a checking account.
It is also interesting to note the kind of fear the NRA is choosing to vest their efforts in.
I too am afraid, see. But it is not the same fear LaPierre and gun merchants are mongering us into.
I am not afraid of the zombie apocalypse, looters during hurricanes, or Mexican drug lords. I am afraid of the Patriot Act and that the government can spy on its citizens no questions asked; I am afraid of the hollowing out of the Fourth Amendment where people can be arrested and locked up without due process, like they did with Bradley Manning and countless others;
I am afraid of people being locked up in places like Guantanamo Bay and tortured based on suspicion or nationality;
I am afraid of the toxic waste in our waters, air and food and that cancer has become an epidemic;
I am afraid of some asshole in Washington violating my body without my consent by telling me what I can and cannot do with it and then have the audacity to not call it rape;
I am afraid of losing my job and not having a social safety net in place;
I am afraid of being at the mercy of corporations and banks for my livelihood and economic well being;
I am scared that I may wake up in a world in which Roe v Wade is history and women have to resort to backdoor alleys and dirty coat hangers to exercise autonomy over their bodies and get an abortion;
I am scared of oil companies and defense contractors plundering our nation’s assets and wealth while they keep getting subsidized bu our tax dollars and make record profits; I am afraid of banks that are too big to fail so they cannot be prosecuted thus effectively giving carte blanche to banks to engage in all sorts of criminal activity knowing that they will remain untouchable;
I am afraid that our corrupt Congress, which is mostly populated with millionaires, has sold us out to those lining their pockets and that Supreme Court thinks that nothing is wrong with that as it grants corporations citizen status;
I’m scared that unions 10 or 15 years from now will be a thing of the past;
I’m scared of Israel extending its war mongering paws to our shores and conning us into another war on its behalf, potentially leading to a global military crisis with devastating consequences for all of us.
I am scared that this precarious position we are sitting right now – economically, socially, politically, culturally etc – is going to come crashing down on us while the NRA stuffs every orifice with guns, “just in case”.
So I’m scared, alright. But unlike the NRA and the “patriots”, I understand that paranoia, othering, scapegoating, bigtory, guns and violence are not going to help us out of this mess.
The only thing that is going to get us through it, as a society, is cooperation, empathy and the fostering of peace. In fact, you can tell a lot about a society by the way it treats its vulnerable populations, not by how well armed they are. That is the litmus test of success for militant dictatorships under martial law.
People who believe that arming up is the solution and naturally the way a civilized peoples need to behave themselves in society and as a matter of public discourse are clearly more concerned with antagonism and isolation, than cooperation and peace as killing people who scare you is not the same as protecting oneself.
Fear is a powerful ally. And so is scapegoating. The NRA has a very real financial interest in promoting violence and death and they recognized a long time ago, 140 years ago to be precise, that they can do so by instilling fear in the hearts and minds of people; a fear that will boil over and make everyone want to pick up a gun to get the point across.
Unscrupulous entities and opportunists deal in absolutes. For them, intention and effect do not matter, everything is viewed in terms of black and white instead of in shades of gray. Theirs is a worldview in which the desire to control one’s environment for personal power and security and forming temporary alliances only for the purpose of gaining greater personal advantage, takes precedence over seeking and fostering the good in everyone, cooperation and risking and sacrificing personal safety and reputation to benefit the whole.
Those who operate in absolutes cannot ever change their minds, admit wrong doing or their mistakes and then apologize because a person operating in absolutes cannot afford to be inconsistent for fear of losing credibility. Any change in allegiance must be framed and propagandized to appear as part of the plan all along.
When you deal in absolutes, it is all about appearances rather than what is actually taking place because the real world is never black and white even though he who thinks in absolutes, pretends it is.
Note that even progressives can deal in absolutes. It’s just that their motivations are vastly different than the motivation of the unscrupulous entities and opportunists of above.
Human rights, civil rights, freedom and autonomy, social justice and equity and the like are enduring values for progressives and like minded people. But unlike the unscrupulous entities of above, the absolute principles of progressives do not have detrimental and adverse effects on others or society as such.
Their absolutes are aimed at preserving life and diversity, respecting autonomy and agency, fostering understanding, compassion and agency.
They also understand that the universe is morally neutral, that often one value is pitted against another by the unscrupulous, and that sometimes the best that can be done is a moral compromise.
Why this long, seemingly unrelated, intro you ask? Because everytime Wayne LaPierre, the executive director of the National Rifle Association and vile douchebag liar of epic proportions opens his mouth, a ton of unfounded, ignorant excrement is spewed out and this here is no different:
“I urge our president to use caution when attacking clearly defined absolutes in favor of his principles. When absolutes are abandoned for principles, the U.S. Constitution becomes a blank slate for anyone’s graffiti“, LaPierre said of Obama’s Inaugural Address last month when the president said Americans should not “mistake absolutism for principle.”
LaPierre critsized the President because he believes that the statement was as an attack on the N.R.A. and gun owners who believe that the Second Amendment to the Constitution provides an absolute right to bear arms.
First of all, it does not. The Constitution does not provide an absolute right to bear arms. The Second Amendment clearly states that “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.” In other words and today’s language that means ‘in order to maintain a well regulated militia which is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’
If, therefore, absolute interpretation of the Second Amendment is the NRA’s contention, here it is. The Supreme Court, in its 2008 decision, has decided to place guns into the hands of every Tom, Dick and Harry outside of the well regulated militia because they did not interpret the Second Amendment in absolute terms. If they had, they would not have ruled that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to possess firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home and within federal enclaves.
Second, the President, in his Address, was reminding people that the Constitution of this nation is based on a certain spirit, certain principles rooted in the Declaration of Independence instead of on absolutism (read: tyranny).
LaPierre, in all his ignorance and zeal, was mistaking the term absolutism – which means a form of government in which an autark or monarch wields unrestricted political power over the sovereign state and its people with universalism.
And finally, I would like to point out LaPierre’s usage of the term graffiti when addressing and criticizing the President because I do wonder how many white presidents who have either introduced new legislation or challenged aspects of the Constitution – not that Obama was even doing that – have been accused of spraying graffiti on the Constitution. It is no coincidence that La Pierre is using this particular image when referring and speaking to a black President.
Amen. Thank you Mr. Carrey. At least someone has a good grasp of what kind of human beings all those with a pathological fascination with tools of murder are – especially when those tools have been used to massacre children.
Of course, this did not go over well with those who fear that a black President by the strange African name of Obama himself will, at any minute, walk through their front door and take away their precious guns.
Fox Nation referred to the comment as “nasty“, while Red Alert Politics writer Erin Brown wrote about it at length, decrying the tweet as a “careless remark … rooted in the shallow, parroted talking points so commonly espoused by liberal elites.”
Yeah, those damn liberal intellectuals always standing in the way of utter stupidity…I know.
Brown went on pissing and moaning about the popularity of Carrey’s statement: “Sadly, his divisive comment has received more than 3,400 retweets and more than 1,600 ‘favorites’ as of this printing, proving once again that the power wielded by Hollywood celebrities carries a very real influence.”
Other Right wing nut jobs have called the tweet “mean” and “cruel” and “unfair.“
I mean sure, we clearly have to worry about the feelings of those who react to the mass slaughter of children by immediately rushing out to purchase the types of weapons those children were slaughtered with. After all, there is absolutely nothing tactless, pathological, cruel and soul less about doing that. How dare anyone criticize them for the worthless human beings they are?
It is astounding. Really. Just about everything angers the Right: people having access to healthcare, fair wages, environmental protection, the poor, women, gays, racial minorities, immigrants, education, science, reducing gun violence, straight people who have no problem with gay people, minorities voting, liberals voting, atheists…everything is an ungodly offense to them.
I received a letter from a reader telling me that he lives in a small community where the local outdoor hunting and fishing store has been selling eight assault weapons a day all before noon. As soon as they get a shipment, people flock in to purchase the new AR-15s. That is adding over forty assault weapons per week to his community, he complained.
Anyone who owns, brandishes, and loves a high-capacity military killing device or guns in general has some serious mental demons that no amount of armor-piercing, cop killer bullets can kill. Gun fetish and worship is just another pathological mental disorder and those who advocate and embrace it, especially this shortly after such a horrific massacre, truly have nothing worth saving and protecting – under any amendment. What they did is like buying cyanide gas a week after people have been freed from gas chambers.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is owned and run by gun manufacturers who have a vested interest in keeping guns of all kind unregulated and in the hands of as many people, preferably Americans, as possible.
While the NRA leadership is known as much for its organizational secrecy as its absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment itself – literally and in spirit – and the mantras the NRA throws around about “your rights” and “your freedom as Americans to defend yourself” have nothing to do with why they have been so adamantly and passionately opposing gun control despite even the massacre of children.
Much like anything else, the good old devil money is behind it all. Gun controls mean less gun sales; and less gun sales ultimately mean less profits and the-pot-of-gold-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow-dripping-with-peoples’-bloodforbid someone doesn’t make tons of money in this country so they don’t have to be those middle class losers who missed the whole point of the grand American dream.
Sartre’s assertion that hell is other people never rang truer. Forget about some literal two horned devil coming after you; that two horned monster is coming at you right now and has been for the past 30 years in the form of the NRA and the blood they have on their hands by continuing to make record profits placing all kinds of tools of mass murder into peoples’ hands under the guise of freedom. Short of actually pulling the trigger, the NRA stands behind every gun death in the United States.
NRA’s Strong Influence on Politics
The NRA is widely considered to be disproportionately influential in politics, operating more like a corporation or politburo than a typical nonprofit or lobbying organization. Its 76 board directors and 10 executive officers keep a grip on power through elections in which ordinary grassroots members appear to have little say.
With ties to the $11.7 billion gun industry and board members who are CEOs of said gun industry, the NRA’s agenda is controlled by gun manufacturers who make sure that any new laws at any level of government relating to gun control are rejected and that there are massive barriers for police and government agencies to enforce new and even existing laws.
Indeed. In 2005 then Senator Larry Craig, who is no longer a senator because he couldn’t control himself in men’s rooms, helped pass an NRA bill protecting gun companies from liability if their products were used in a crime.
According to the Huffington Post, since then the NRA has received over 38 million dollars from gun makers, including Beretta USA, Glock and Sturm and Ruger, according to a 2011 study by the Violence Policy Center, a group that favors gun control.
Today Larry Craig is a member of the board of the NRA.
The Violence Policy Center study cited an NRA promotional brochure about the corporate partnership drive, noting that LaPierre (NRA’s current President) promised that “this program is geared towards your company’s corporate interests.”
Despite the millions of dollars it has collected from the gun industry, the NRA’s website still says “it is not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers or with any businesses that deal in guns and ammunition.”
Today We are Going to Unmask Some of the Gun Industry Leaders Inside the NRA
For your consideration we got Ronnie Barrett of Murfreesboro, Tennessee ‘s Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, which makes a 50 caliber military style sniper rifle that has a range of one mile and can pierce armor. He gets richer from legal sales of his legal killing machines in every state except California because even (former) Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger did not believe that Barrett’s products belonged in the hands of everyday civilians.
Next we have Pete Brownell who also sits on the NRA board. He heads Montezuma, Iowa based Brownell’s Inc, which makes high capacity magazines. In fact, the Brownell family has a long, proud tradition of trafficking in the instruments of gun death for generations: Pete Brownell is the rich grandson of Bob Brownelle who was the founder of the company that is now one of the largest suppliers of fire arm parts and accessories. The Brownell Company has also been awarded the Ring of Freedom in the NRA Corporate Donor Program – a designation reserved for the largest corporate donors to the NRA.
Even though since 2005, people associated with Brownell’s company have donated as much as five million dollars to he NRA, murder profiteer Pete Brownell himself has actually claimed that he has no financial interest in the positions of the NRA.
Also on the Board is the CEO of Freedom Group (I know right?) George Kollitides who runs the company that owns Remington and Bushmaster and that made the AR 15 rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, costing the lives of 20 first graders and six educators who came to their aide. The Freedom Group has donated between $25,000 and $49,000 to the NRA’s corporate effort.
The NRA’s most generous gun industry backer is Columbia, Missouri based MidwayUSA founded by Larry Potterfield and his wife Brenda who served as a VP of the NRA’s board of trustees.
Midway distributes high capacity magazine clips like the one used in Newton’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. These clips increase the lethality of weapons by allowing dozens of shots to be fired before the shooter has to reload.
MidwayUSA’s gratitude to the NRA for doing everything they possibly can to keep Midway’s completely unnecessary products legal has been expressed in $7.7 million in donations to the NRA. Customers who buy Midway products are asked to “round up” the price to the next dollar, with the company donating the difference to the NRA.
Isn’t that generous?
Although the gun industry has its own lobbying arm, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, based – ironically enough – in Newtown, Connecticut, its influence pales in comparison with the NRA, which grades lawmakers on their fealty to the Second Amendment, and runs attack ads against candidates it perceives as on the wrong side of the fight. In the wake of its last major defeat — the 1994 assault weapons ban — the NRA mounted a successful campaign to push many of the ban’s supporters, especially Democrats from rural areas, out of office.
These are the people who pay NRA President La Pierre’s salary (which was $960,000 from the NRA and related organizations in 2010; Kayne B. Robinson, the executive director of general operations, earned more than $1 million) and deliver the funds to get the job done – which is to fabricate a whole culture consisting of fear, intimidation, scapegoating and scare tactics of some government take over evoking freedom and the Second Amendment in order to basically expand their market base and with it profits.
As the debate about gun control moves forward, some analysts say the NRA’s hard-line rhetoric benefits the gun industry in another way: it boosts sales.
“The NRA is generating fear,” according to William Vizzard, a former agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “The industry has learned that the more controversy there is about guns, the more guns sell — whether it’s a legitimate controversy over a bill, or a trumped-up one like, ‘Obama’s been re-elected, they’re going to take away our guns.'”
The scare tactics work, however, as they have managed to scare people into buying more of their instruments of murder, actually having convinced everyone in, what I consider a masterful manipulation and gaslighting strategy, that in fact more guns lying around is desirable and exactly what the Founders of this nation and its Constitution had in mind when they inserted the Second Amendment into the Constitution. They have convinced everyone that not only is the government after them but that in fact, leading a life like that is what a good life is all about – namely being armed to the teeth, walking around with assault rifles hanging from our shoulders to be ready to stand up to and shoot anyone from the government who wants to “take over”.
It’s the fact that for so many people, for the masses that make up the bulk of the NRA, the above is a reality. They really do believe that the government, especially now so that it is lead by a black man, is gearing up to come and get them and take away their rights. What rights they are afraid will be taken away, no one knows. Not even they.
These are the same people who kept screaming I Want My America Back, with which they meant the America of the Leave it to Beaver/Father Knows Best kind with its white and male privileged society, one where a black man knew his place in society, namely at the back of a bus or at the least not in leadership positions and where women desired nothing more in life than to be good, agreeable and obedient housewives and mommies who make breakfast, lunch, dinner and pies in crepe and chiffon dresses with perfectly coiffed hair and with always a smile on their faces, being the voice of reason but only if hubby approves.
The efforts of the NRA have really little to do with the fact that they and gun manufacturers actually give a shit about either the Second Amendment or anyone’s constitutional rights and more to do with them caring about the bottom line.
Self Defense and Freedom Have Nothing to Do With Any of it
The idea of the US government turning on its own citizens is nothing but the NRA stoking the fears of its ignorant, easily fooled and molded herd of bigots and minions who have convinced themselves – with the aide and under the guidance of the NRA of course – that not only is the government going to come after them, especially when it’s lead by a black man, but that it, in fact, was every citizens’ civic duty to accumulate a little arsenal (or even a big one- or especially a big one) to defend against said government.
Targeting the Mentally Ill
In all this, it is utterly sad and extremely unhelpful for the government, lead by President Obama, to start tackling gun control by proposing background checks and databases of people with mental health issues, which, if I may add, only marginalizes a group that is already marginalized, discouraging them from seeking help out of fear that they end up on some national database branded as mentally ill for everyone to see and judge. Because remember, not all mentally ill people are violent – in fact a few percentage of them are – and not all violent people are mentally ill. Background checks also won’t help us when there are still metric tons of guns lying around in society just….being there. It’s like trying to evade a nuclear war by stocking up on nuclear missiles.
How devoid of common sense do you have to be, even if your motive is really not money, to not see that and instead go after the things you know are not the problem?
This government has a knack for repeatedly going after the wrong entities when attempting to fix a problem. We saw that and continue to see it with the financial industry that, among other things such as a few fraudulent wars and such things as oil subsidies and support of terrorist nations such as Israel, caused the recession and subsequent meltdown. Instead of going after the root cause of the problem – Democrats and Republican alike – have been going after what everyone dismissively calls entitlements: Medicare recipients, the poor, the elderly and college students have all become the fall guys being asked to pay for the mess the corrupt banking and financial industry deemed too big too fail and thus ultimately immune to persecution, caused.
The same is happening with gun control: instead of going after the root cause of this, which is the NRA’s stronghold of the government as a result of gun manufacturers lining their bloody pockets, they are going after the most vulnerable segments of the population: the mentally ill and “those criminals“, as if the criminals weren’t using the guns gun manufacturers built and distributed to carry out their killings and mass murdering.
Nothing will change, however, until we address the real issue, which is the motif of profit and greed and the gun lobbyists whose job it is to protect the “rights” of corporate interests in their unending pursuit of putting all kinds of tools and accessories of murder in the hands of Americans.
Unfortunately our government, whose role should be protecting the interests – not to mention life an safety – of the common man, has become the handmaiden to big business, and all this supposed “debate” about violence, Second Amendment and Constitutional rights is just window dressing.
Whenever I have a discussion with someone over the Second Amendment and gun ownership in this country, it is seriously like a walk down idiot lane with a bunch of unreasonable, ignorant, paranoid, right wing, the-zombie-apocalypse-is-upon-us-and-we-need-to-protect-ourselves-from-liberals morons who could not logically argue the need for water for life on this planet.
I feel like they need to be taken aside and educated since the arguments as to why ordinary citizens just direly need to own tools of mass murder always center around the same uninformed, ignorant notions and baseless strawmans rooted in myth and paranoia.
People who adamantly champion for ordinary, private citizens to own guns often have very little understanding of either the Second Amendment, the history behind it and why it was set in motion and they cannot even really intelligently articulate as to why their right in 2012 to own tools of murder should supersede the right of people to safety and most importantly life. I keep hearing the same lame and weak excuses over and over again and it is tiring having to repeat oneself. This really is idiot nation when it comes to guns. Well, not just guns but you get the picture.
So, here I compiled an FAQ in response to the typical “arguments” that are often thrown in the way of gun control in this country. I may add to the list because stupidity is bountiful and I am sure someone will come up with some colorful, creative reason trying to justify why we, as a civilized people, need an arsenal of guns at our disposal.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution says that citizens have the right to bear arms. Wouldn’t putting limits and regulations on such a thing violate the Second Amendment?
As stated in the Second Amendment “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.”
So the patriots are correct, gun ownership is in the Constitution – if you’re in a well-regulated militia. Ordinary citizens are not part of the militia.
The militia at the time of the framing of the Constitution was all able bodied citizens. There was no official militia at the time and it should be noted that the National Guard wasn’t formed until 1903 with the Militia act of that year. So the framers of the Constitution were clearly referring to “the people” meaning all citizens as a source to draw upon in case of military need.
If the Constitution were written in today’s English, the justification and operative portions of the Second Amendment would likely read something along the lines of “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed because they may be called upon for military service to secure the state“.
What is a “well regulated militia” anyway?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a MILITIA as
a : a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency
b : a body of citizens organized for military service
: the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service
Or as Alexander Hamilton stated about the militia:
A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss.
Why was the Second Amendment put into the Constitution?
Remember that at the time the US Constitution was framed, we were still a young nation having just freed ourselves from the yokes of the British Empire. The original intent of the Second Amendment, which calls for a well regulated Militia of the citizenry, was, therefore, to defend against the superpower Great Britain in case it chose to exercise its property rights as “owner” and seize back the newly created United States.
Up until then and codified in the English Bill of Rights of 1689, the King and ruling bodies had the authority to disarm their subjects and especially opponents. For the populace not being able to bear arms was, therefore, a very serious issue since – as a result – they were also not able to stand up to a tyrannous state that oppressed them. The text of the English Bill of Rights of 1689 includes language protecting the right of Protestants against disarmament by the Crown.
The need to have arms for self-defense, which is what the proponent of the second Amendment strongly stress, was not really in question. Peoples all around the world since time immemorial had armed themselves for the protection of themselves and others.
However, as organized nations began to appear these arrangements had been extended to the protection of the state. Without a regular army and police force (which in England was not established until 1829), it had been the duty of certain men to keep watch and ward at night and to confront and capture suspicious persons. Every subject had an obligation to protect the king’s peace and assist in the suppression of riots.
A foundation of American political thought during the Revolutionary period was the well justified concern about political corruption and governmental tyranny. Even the federalists, fending off their opponents who accused them of creating an oppressive regime, were careful to acknowledge the risks of tyranny. Against that backdrop, the framers saw the personal right to bear arms as a potential check against tyranny.
The framers thought the personal right to bear arms to be a paramount right by which other rights could be protected. Therefore, writing after the ratification of the Constitution, but before the election of the first Congress, James Monroe included “the right to keep and bear arms” in a list of basic “human rights”, which he proposed to be added to the Constitution.
The advocates of guns who claim patriotism and the rights of the 2nd Amendment – are they in well-regulated militias? For the vast majority – the answer is no.
I am a patriot but how do I protect myself against the tyranny of the government?
True patriots support the Constitution adamantly and wholly. They have faith in the Constitution of the United States and the Rule of Law. Since we no longer find ourselves in the 17th Century where citizens had to fight for and stand up to oppressive monarchies, the use of arms in this country to protect against the government no longer applies. To think that the United States will suddenly turn to France circa 1659 or to Nazi Germany circa 1933 and come after people is laughable. To think that one could stand up to such acts, if they were to really happen, by owning guns is beyond ridiculous.
But are you expecting me to just have blind faith in the government?
One should always question the actions and policies of one’s government and leaders demanding transparency and oversight But armed revolt? With guns? One cannot keep lawmakers in check by owning assault rifles. One cannot get the Supreme Court to enact policies by pointing a gun at them. Such an approach to “civil” discourse goes directly against the very principles this nation was founded upon where people are to resolve their problems and dissatisfaction through civil society and democratic means, such as grassroots, organizing and lobbying instead of by shooting opponents.
Our government has been corrupted and stolen and the forces of evil are at play, planning to take over this nation. We need to fight back and take a stand. How can you be against that?
I agree. There are evil forces at play. To fully quote Jason Alexander who said it better than I could: I call [such evil forces] corporatists. I call them absolutists. I call them the kind of ideologues from both sides, but mostly from the far right who swear allegiance to unelected officials that regardless of national need or global conditions, are never to levy a tax. That they are never to compromise or seek solutions with the other side. That are to obstruct every possible act of governance, even the ones they support or initiate. Whose political and social goal is to marginalize the other side, vilify and isolate them with the hope that they will surrender, go away or die out.
These people believe that the US government is eventually going to go street by street and enslave our citizens. Now as long as that is only happening to liberals, racial minorities, atheists, homosexuals and democrats – no problem. But if they try it with anyone else – it’s going to be arms-ageddon and these committed, God-fearing, Jesus loving brave souls will then use their military-esque arsenal to show the forces of our corrupt government whats-what. These people think they meet the definition of a “militia”. They don’t. At least not the constitutional one.
And, if it should actually come to such an unthinkable reality, these people believe they would win. That’s why they have to “take our country back”. From who? From anyone who doesn’t think like them or see the world like them. They hold the only truth, everyone else is dangerous. Ever meet a terrorist that doesn’t believe that?
But I am still worried about the tyrannous government. I need to arm up to protect myself.
If you live in fear than any day the government will come after you like this was Afghanistan or Orwell’s 1984, I suggest undergoing full psychological evaluation and seeking aide in that regard. Not arming up. In fact, arming up is the last thing a doomsday paranoid individual with a nervous trigger finger should be doing.
Then how do I protect my family against intruders or muggers?
A simple hand gun should suffice for that purpose, after you have undergone a certain minimum hours of training in order to gain the experience needed to utilize the gun in case you need to to protect your life while in immediate danger. Not assault rifles that can shoot 30 rounds without reloading per minute. The only use for such guns is combat.
Why is it bad for a civilized society if everyone were armed? In fact, wouldn’t we be a safer society if everyone carried guns to protect themselves?
Using a weapon to protect oneself in cases when one’s life is in danger – such as someone breaking into one’s home – is very different than resorting to some form of vigilante justice as a matter of public discourse and in lieu of a criminal justice system. Unless you want the country to fall into chaos under martial law, you will not advocate for unlimited and unhindered gun ownership and extensive usage by ordinary, untrained civilians not accountable to anyone – unlike the police, national guard and members of the armed forces.
We have the Constitution, the separation of powers and the rule of law for a reason. You have the right to own a gun to defend yourself but that is where its usage stops. To defend your life. Not take revenge or take justice into your own hands and become judge, jury and executioner at once. This is not how the social contract works. In fact these are not the principles this country was founded on.
What about places like Chicago that are gun free zones but where gun crimes still occur? And for that matter what about criminals who use guns and for whom such gun control laws will have little to no consequences?
Yes there will always be crime, but that doesn’t mean we will forgo law enforcement or stop prosecuting and punishing criminal. Similarly, there will always be people who get their hands at guns and other tools of murder if they want to. But that doesn’t mean we can stop trying to regulate guns.
The difference between 200,000 guns or 2 million lying around is 1,800,000 less guns. The issue is of access and availability. A society in which its citizens are armed to the teeth is not a safer one. People are irrational, they react in the heat of the moment. Having a gun ready to point and shoot at others is not what we should build towards. People cannot be entrusted with such tools unregulated and unhindered and call it their right.
People have first and foremost the right to life. If owning guns seriously jeopardizes that right, then they are no longer entitled to it.
Wait a darn minute here. People kill people, not guns. Guns should only be banned if violent crimes committed with tomatoes means we should ban tomatoes. In fact, drunk drivers kill, should we ban fast cars?
A gun is a tool solely designed to kill. Nothing else. Tomatoes and cars have purposes other than killing.What purpose does an AR-15 serve to a sportsman that a more standard hunting rifle does not serve? Let’s see – does it fire more rounds without reload? Yes. Does it fire farther and more accurately? Yes. Does it accommodate a more lethal payload? Yes. So basically, the purpose of an assault style weapon is to kill more stuff, more fully, faster and from further away. To achieve maximum lethality. Hardly the primary purpose of tomatoes and sports cars. And, more to the point, by that line of reasoning, one’s hands should be banned since a human hand can be a tool for murder as well.
So people kill? Fine. Let them kill each other with tomatoes. Let them bring baseball bats, knives, even machetes — a mob can deal with that but with assault rifles that just point and shoot high velocity bullets into the flesh of people in a matter of seconds?
If the Sandy Hook Elementary principal had guns and if people in Colorado during the viewing of The Dark Knight had guns, couldn’t these shooters have been stopped?
A crowd of untrained people firing away in a chaotic arena with moving targets but without planning produces even more victims. Remember that the Principal of that school is not a trained peace officer. In fact, police and members of the National Guard and armed forces undergo hundreds of hours of training and real-time exercises to be able to master such situations. It is neither the job nor the obligation of regular layman and unarmed private citizens to possess the skills, training and expertise of SWAT teams and counter insurgency operators.
But people like Lanza and the Colorado shooter would get these weapons even if they were regulated
That is true. However, in case of strict regulation, the Colorado shooter, for example, wouldn’t have strolled down the road to Walmart and picked up guns and ammo with his pot roast and a gallon of milk. Regulated, such people would have had to go to illegal sources – sources that could possibly be traced, watched, overseen. Or they would have to go deeper online and those transactions could be monitored. “Hm, some guy in Aurora is buying guns, tons of ammo and kevlar – plus bomb-making ingredients and tear gas. Maybe we should check that out.” But that won’t happen as long as all that activity is legal and unrestricted.
Again, it is about accessibility. When guns are easily available, more of them float and lie around in society. Remember than Lanza’s mother obtained those assault rifles legally. Had she have to get them illegally, she probably would not even needed them because why would a citizen go through the trouble of getting assault rifles illegally if she wasn’t planning something?
The more of something is just there and available, the easier it is for people to get their hands on it and live out their impulses and pathologies.
But why can’t I own an assault rifle? What is so wrong with assault rifles in the hands of ordinary citizens anyway?
Guns are tools designed solely to kill. Assault rifles especially are designed to kill a large number of people in a short amount of time, due to their higher payload.
The AR-15 – which is a very popular and also preferred weapon of gun owners as well as the weapon the Newton shooter Adam Lanza used, is an assault rifle. An assault style weapon is used to kill more stuff, more fully, faster and from further away in order to achieve maximum lethality. Why do American citizens believe that they need to own such weapons of mass murder – unregulated and unhindered no less? Weapons obviously designed for combat because they do take down a large number of people in a short amount of time without having to reload. The AR-15 was the same rifle that James E. Holmes used in the carnage in Colorado.
Semiautomatic weapons like the AR-15, the civilian version of the military’s M-16 and M-4, are a logical choice for anyone whose goal is to kill a lot of people in a short time because of their ability to rapidly fire multiple high-velocity rounds. As a la abiding citizen there is no need for such weapons. In fact, those have no place in the hands of ordinary citizens in a civilized society. A single hand gun is enough to protect oneself. It should not be easier to own a gun than it is to own a car.
In order to hold a licence and own car one needs to take tests, meet health requirements, get insurance and renew the paperwork and registration every year.
How come tools designed to kill do not and should not require such measures? It is truly indefensible.
Military weapons belong in accountable hands, controlled hands and trained hands. They should not be in the hands of private citizens to be used against police, neighborhood intruders or people who don’t agree with them. These are the weapons that murderers acquire to wreak murder and mayhem on innocents. They are not the same as handguns to help homeowners protect themselves from intruders. They are not the same as hunting rifles or sporting rifles. These weapons are designed for harm and death on big scales.
What about the Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), where the Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia?
Remember, this is the same ill informed court that ruled that corporations are people allowing unlimited political expenditures by corporations, thus effectively resulting in the creation of Super Pacs so that now corporations and those with money can influence the outcome of elections.
Don’t trsut everything the Court says unquestioned and as if it were populated by infallible beings.
As citizens of a democratic republic, we are required to critically assess the actions of the people making decisions on our behalf, which includes being critical about the decisions of law makers and legislators and not just accept everything at face value and without examining the evidence and other pertinent information in order to arrive at the right conclusion – whether that be agreeing with or disagreeing with a piece of legislation.
Also remember that faith in the Constitution is not the same thing as blindly trusting decision makers, including the Supreme Court, no questions asked.
In other words, the Supreme Court’s decision in this regard, much like Citizens United, is wrong, misguided and flawed. Remember the Supreme Court also once ruled that Jim Crow laws were perfectly legal.