Some Heads Explode: Biden Says Obama Exploring Executive Orders to Combat Gun Violence


Mark today as the day when Vice President Joe Biden made many conservative Republicans’, NRA officials’, and no-on-any-gun-regulation NRA members’ (who don’t reflect the opinion of many other NRA members) heads explode: he said that President Barack Obama is considering using executive orders to stem mass shootings in America.

The police better get ready for a host of calls about (imaginary) black helicopter sightings:

President Barack Obama is exploring executive orders to help prevent mass shootings in America, Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday.

“The president is going to act. Executive orders, executive action, can be taken,” Biden told reporters before meetings with groups representing survivors of mass shootings. “We haven’t decided what this is yet, but we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the Cabinet members.”

Legislative action also is needed, Biden said.

“I’m convinced we can affect the well-being of millions of Americans, and take thousands of people out of harm’s way, if we act responsibly,” he said.

President Obama vowed last month that a new task force overseen by Biden will provide “concrete proposals” by the end of January to reduce gun violence. The group, which includes an array of Cabinet members and government officials, was established in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 27 people dead — 20 of them elementary school children.

In addition to gun laws, the group is looking at mental health care and what the president has described as a culture that often “glorifies guns and violence.”
CNN iReport: The gun control debate
Biden’s brief remarks Wednesday came before what will likely be some of the most emotional testimony before the task force.

NBC’s First Read puts White House aspirations into context in a post written earlier:

*** Two options on gun measures: The White House has a self-imposed deadline of the end of this month to come up with some tangible items. They can go one of two ways: (1) Incremental (magazines and mental-health screenings): This will show the White House trying to create proposals that can pass, but there will be a lot of disappointed people, or (2) Bolder (really pushing for reinstating the assault-weapons ban, mandatory background checks of all purchases, including private sales, a national gun ownership database): But the risk of the bold approach is that it can’t pass Congress. It’s a bit of a political box for the White House; they’d like to do something, and there is a chance to “do something,” but what is possible and what some gun-control advocates really want are not in the same ballpark.

Executive orders would seem a third option. But those who are upset by the issue being raised — and those who will now whip up virtual hysteria to build up their audience shares or Internet hits — know full well that a)an executive order has to be within the law b)if it is an unlawful order it will be challenged in court and struck down. But none of that matters: this is red meat for some politicos and media types to gain viewer/reader attention.

Let the screaming begin.

And (sigh) you can already see it on some of the Tweets. A cross section when you look up “executive order”. Note that nothing has been revealed yet — and Tweets already have Obama seizing all guns. Such is the state of 21st century politics where facts don’t mean as much as screaming and accusing (and the trending for our democracy isn’t terrific on this front):

Razor ?@hale_razor
Biden says it’s a moral issue that Obama deals with guns by Executive Order. You know what’s moral? Obeying the damn Constitution. #tcot

15m The Young Cons ?@YoungCons
By executive order I am outlawing guns and presidential term limits. And if you don’t agree with me you’re racist. #Barackisms

RT @lachlan: Reminder: an executive order on guns wouldn’t change gun laws. Obama can only affect enforcement. http://slate.me/WtS58R

1h Martin Behm ?@TheBehmmer
If the POTUS releases an Executive Order regarding gun control, civil unrest will ensue as this will cause more commotion than a earthquake!

1h Michael Reagan ?@ReaganWorld
Protect Yourself!!Buy now while we can!Biden: Obama Considering ‘Executive Order’ to Deal With Guns http://shar.es/4hxNZ via @sharethis

1h Norsu ?@Norsu2
Drudge Compares Obama To Hitler & Stalin http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2976463/posts … Obama/Biden look to ban guns via Executive order. Pure tyranny #tcot #p2

2h Razor ?@hale_razor
#YouMightBeALiberal if Bush looking at library cards was like Hitler, but Obama imposing gun control by executive order is no biggee.

2h HealthRanger ?@HealthRanger
Obama to follow in footsteps of Hitler, Stalin with ‘executive order’ disarmament of the people http://www.naturalnews.com/038615_Obama_Hitler_Stalin.html … via @HealthRanger

2h Resist Tyranny ?@ResistTyranny
Like Hitler and Stalin before him, Obama is pondering an executive order to confiscate your #guns: http://peeped.co/?AC #tyranny

2h Norsu ?@Norsu2
Obama to use Executive Order on Guns? http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/biden-obama-might-use-executive-order-deal-guns_694984.html … This is Treasonous #Oathkeepers #NRA #teaparty #p2 #PitchForks #Tyranny #tcot

2h Wayne Allyn Root ?@WayneRoot
I warned about Obama’s 2nd term. I predicted he’d rule as a dictator/tyrant. He will bypass Congress to take guns away: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/biden-obama-might-use-executive-order-deal-guns_694984.html …

2h #RepublicanGirlProbs ?@RepubGrlProbs
Today Biden threatened that Obama will sign an executive order on gun control. To top it off, Eric Holder sat next to him at the meeting.

Ryan Niino ?@TkRYan4short
Biden: Obama Considering ‘Executive Order’ to Deal With Guns http://shar.es/4hfo9 remember when libs said O doesn’t want to take ur guns?

Of course NOWHERE has Obama or Biden said they will “take ur guns.”


And look up “Biden” on Twitter
and you get this (with the inevitable Donald Trump quote):

Donald J. Trump ?@realDonaldTrump
This is how it starts. Obama is now threatening to use an Executive Order for gun control http://bit.ly/10fegYs Welcome to his 2nd term.

Underground Express ?@undergroundexp
Why do you think Biden PROMISED a gun grab bill would be signed by the end of this month? http://bit.ly/ZHSMSZ

Work Today ?@GetToWorkToday
Biden task force chills gun stock rally: A gun-related stocks rally of recent weeks halts on talk that Vice Pres… http://bit.ly/VHRfH5

Norsu ?@Norsu2
Biden: Obama Will Use Executive Orders To Grab Guns http://patdollard.com/2013/01/biden-obama-will-use-executive-orders-to-grab-guns/ … No one stopped Hitler from usurping power w gun grabs #tcot #p2

Let the polemics begin (they already have).

head exploding grahic via shutterstock.com

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  • sheknows

    What type of executive order does the president have the power to issue? What is this legal, non legal wording, and will it sit in a supreme court forever while those in robes stand fast by their political affiliations?

    This had better be good.

  • dduck

    Look boss, the 2nd, the 2nd.
    You can’t teach politicians not to overreach, it is catnip for their egos.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    Let’s start with this. How about appointing an interim full time head of ATF and staffing up the agency? Maybe even nominate someone permanent? There’s a question about the need for Senate confirmation. One of the dirty little secrets is that NRA has weilded its influence to keep the ATF toothless and leaderless. There is much the ATF could do to enforce existing law…like pressing on mental illness reporting from the various states and proposing gun safety regulations.

    They cannot take ur guns tho.

    Question. Does the Prez have power, amid the gaggle of security measures, to declare certain forms of weaponry to be instruments of terrorism or potential instruments of terrorism, and, if so, how far that get him/us? Can anti-terrorism be used to closed the “gun show/private sale” loophole?

    How about ordering the FBI to give special assistance in gun trafficking cases? He cannot federalize these crimes without legislation, but he could provide a federal assist. How about using RICO for transporting across state lines by straw buyers to sell to known criminals?

    There are many possibilities.

    To those who support some form of gun regulation, please pay attention to the verocity of the opposition you will face as evidenced in the Twitter exchanges.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    Sorry ’bout all the typos. No edit function.

    Prez can also impact firearms dealer’s licenses, a point of considerable leverage, though I personally don’t like blackmailing dealers as a tactic. Those licenses are federal, so some power does attend to the executive branch.

  • The_Ohioan

    sheknows

    From the Examiner:

    What President Obama could do through executive order is step up the enforcement of gun control laws which are already on the books. In addition, President Obama could implement new measures which are not expressly denied by either the Constitution or a law of Congress. However, just as Truman could not seize the steel mills in 1952, Obama could not simply seize people’s guns through executive order. In addition, Obama’s executive orders could not conflict with any gun friendly legislation passed by the Congress over the last 10 years.

    In July 2011, following the Giffords assassination attempt, several moves were made by the Obama administration to implement action on laws already in place. There are many laws on the books that can be more diligently enforced. An article in Salon lists actions already taken.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/07/11/obama-s-new-gun-control-regulations-exclusive.html

  • dduck

    ES, Obama should have appointed an ATF head using executive privilege during the Xmas vacation or previous other congressional vacations. Maybe that’s why the Brady Campaign gave him an F, at least in part. Also, the prohibition that ATF can’t maintain a data base is ridiculous and extends tracing a weapon to weeks if they even succeed going from the manufacturers records to a wholesaler to a dealer to Billy Bob’ Bait and tackle. Definitely, guns should have the indelible registration the NRA opposes coupled with a national data base. I think now a days, a vehicle can be traced with its VIN number, why not weapons?
    Incremental is best now that more people are incensed with the killings. Worst is another two-year Frankenstein that probably would not have a chance against the 2nd.
    And, how about a more aggressive war, yes war, against the straw buyers and interstate transportation of weapons from the South to NY and NJ, etc.
    Mexico City has started buying guns, I think 1500 so far, using cash and Ipads. And Mexico has strong gun laws. Of course the illegal arms that they get from suppliers in the U.S. hurts them in drug infested areas.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    Duck,

    My inclination is to split legislative proposals into multiple bills, some with a realistic chance of passing, others more aspirational in nature. Those that can pass, great. Those that are aspirational may get hearings and attention, but might have to wait for friendlier legislators to become law.

  • justcowboyway

    Mr Sweete said:

    There is much the ATF could do to enforce existing law…like pressing on mental illness reporting from the various states and proposing gun safety regulations.

    I think one of the first steps would be to repeal the Tiahrt amendment, an eight-year-old law, named after former GOP Rep. Todd Tiahrt (Kansas), that places sharp restrictions on the powers of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to share crime-gun trace data with local law enforcers.

  • dduck

    Yep and Yep.

  • http://www.elijahssweetespot.com ELIJAH SWEETE

    Justcowboyway,

    It’s a great idea, but it can’t be done by executive order. Repeal of a legislative enactment requires legislative action. Maybe that’s one of the “easy pass” proposals that should be advocated.

    The NRA has peppered the law with lots of these dirty little roadblocks to meaningful enforcement related to guns. The dirtiest of them – my view – is what they did (both legislatively and judicially) to weaken mental illness background checking and reporting where gun purchases are concerned.

  • justcowboyway

    Yes sir, I believe that it would be a good first step and too also address the mental health issue. We have soldiers coming back from war with PTSD, and no one seems to want to do anything about it. More school massacre or going to happen. The worst school massacre happened in Mich. in 1927, not with a gun, but with 500 pounds of explosives. 38 children died that day, and yes the man had mental issues. And I have one other question that I have not seen address here. There are about 250+ million guns in the public hands now, how are we going to deal with them?

  • cjjack

    There are about 250+ million guns in the public hands now, how are we going to deal with them?

    Depends upon whose hands.

    Let’s face it: While mass shootings finally got the ball rolling on the renewed effort for gun control, the fact is more people have been killed by illicit weapons since Sandy Hook than were killed at Sandy Hook. Illicit being those guns held by criminals and/or purchased illegally.

    Yes, everyone is focusing on whether or not an AR-15 counts as an “assault weapon,” but the real problem is guns in the hands of criminals. Mr. LaPierre’s statements to the contrary, the best defense against a bad guy with a gun is to take it away from him.

    Yes, everyone (well, the gun nuts at least) is freaking out about the government coming to confiscate guns, and I’d say we need to do just that. Confiscate guns from the bad guys. The gangs. The people who sell them to the gangs. Confiscate guns from anyone with a felony on their record. I’m guessing that millions if not tens of millions of guns could be rounded up from “bad guys” without having to lay a finger on those owned by “good guys.”

    The thing about confiscating firearms from criminals is that the NRA can’t make a stink about it…that’s their position as well.

    The catch is that in order to do so, we need a way to separate the bad guys from the good. We’re in a situation here where many of the good guys agree wholeheartedly with the bad guys on one point:

    The government shouldn’t be able to know that they own a gun. Criminals and gun nuts agree that registration is something they will not accept.

  • justcowboyway

    Mr cjjack. Thanks for the reply. The one thing that I find interesting is the 2 Amendment has 27 words in it. The anti-gun people use the first 13 words and the pro-gun people use the last 14 words.

  • EEllis

    There is much the ATF could do to enforce existing law…like pressing on mental illness reporting from the various states and proposing gun safety regulations.
    I think one of the first steps would be to repeal the Tiahrt amendment, an eight-year-old law, named after former GOP Rep. Todd Tiahrt (Kansas), that places sharp restrictions on the powers of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to share crime-gun trace data with local law enforcers.

    The main issue with the state MI reporting is that the feds can’t require the sates to pay for it. If the feds provide the money then it’s all good and no one will complain. The NRA has suggested this multipul times.

    As far as the Tiahrt amendment goes I don’t like the idea of repeal myself. It basically stops fishing expeditions and would have had zero effect on the recent tragedies. Background checks were originally supposed to only be for that purpose but now they want to use them in broader gov uses. Think on that when you talk about mental health data being reported. That and the Tiahrt amendment was watered down in 2008 and 2010 anyway so the impact for the most part would be more symbolic, but that symbolism may be more big brothers watching than anything else. It would reinforce that no matter what someone says about how limited collected data will accessed the govt will always keep pushing and develop ways to expand their access.

    We have soldiers coming back from war with PTSD, and no one seems to want to do anything about it.

    There may very well not be enough being done but I don’t think telling those who just came back from serving their country that they can’t be trusted is something that is acceptable. PTSD is not a precursor to psychotic or psychopathic behavior. Why people have this idea I have no idea but it’s total bunk. If there is one thing that the NRA does that has my wholehearted support it’s their determination to protect the 2nd amendment rights of returning solders.

  • justcowboyway

    Mr EEllis

    Thank you for your comment, but I feel that I must disagree with you.

    Here is a link:

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/for-veterans-a-surge-of-new-treatments-for-trauma/

    I did not say that all vet would have PTSD, but there will be some that do, and that could mean trouble in the future.

  • cjjack

    The one thing that I find interesting is the 2 Amendment has 27 words in it. The anti-gun people use the first 13 words and the pro-gun people use the last 14 words.

    The thing I find interesting is that we have a subsequent Amendment that gives us a way forward, if only we had an open mind.

    The 21st Amendment – which repealed the 18th – says:

    The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

    In other words, the Constitution, as amended, gives Americans the unfettered right to transport, import, possess, deliver, and use intoxicating liquors. Period.

    There is no exception for age. There is no limitation on proof. There is nothing explicit or implicit in this Amendment which gives any government entity the power to regulate the sale, distribution, or use of alcohol whatsoever.

    Yet alcohol is highly regulated. A substance that is for all intents and purposes every bit as protected as arms as far as the Constitution is concerned is nonetheless tightly controlled.

    I mean, you can’t even buy a bottle of Jack Daniels in the county where it is made.

  • justcowboyway

    Thanks Mr cjjack for that info. It is interesting.

  • EEllis

    Thank you for your comment, but I feel that I must disagree with you.
    ……..
    I did not say that all vet would have PTSD, but there will be some that do, and that could mean trouble in the future.

    Again not denying there is a situation with vets and PTSD but you have no discernible link between that and the need for more gun control.

  • justcowboyway

    Thanks again Mr EEllis.

    I believe that you have misunderstood me. I am for some sensible gun control. My point was that if you ban all guns today, that there would still be shooting like in Conn. I believe that it is more of a mental health problem than gun problem.

  • EEllis

    In other words, the Constitution, as amended, gives Americans the unfettered right to transport, import, possess, deliver, and use intoxicating liquors. Period.

    No it doesn’t. It repealed the 18th but this passage would make it a fed crime if someone tried to import booze into a state that made it illegal. Now no state had or has such a law but that doesn’t mean anything except there is no fed law against it. It doesn’t enshrine any rights at all.

    Yet alcohol is highly regulated. A substance that is for all intents and purposes every bit as protected as arms as far as the Constitution is concerned is nonetheless tightly controlled.

    There is no protected right to alcohol. There is a right to bear arms.This is not an argument to make as it is flawed on it’s face.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    @ justcowboyaway:

    Your comment got my attention,
    .
    While there are two versions of the Second Amendment, one as passed by Congress, the other one as ratified by the States, they only differ slightly with respect to capitalization and punctuation.

    Constitutionalists have analyzed ad nauseam the two versions, including the various initial and draft proposals and it makes for very interesting reading.

    Here are excerpts from a very simple and brief summary by Wikipedia along with some of my own observations in parentheses — naïve and uninformed as they may be.

    James Madison’s initial proposal for a bill of rights was brought to the floor of the House of Representatives on June 8, 1789, during the first session of Congress. The initial proposed passage relating to arms was:

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

    (note the emphasis on “a well armed and well regulated militia “to the point of including the caveat that “no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.”)

    The Second Amendment was debated and modified during sessions of the House in late August 1789. These debates revolved primarily around risk of “mal-administration of the government” using the “religiously scrupulous” clause to destroy the militia as Great Britain had attempted to destroy the militia at the commencement of the American Revolution. These concerns were addressed by modifying the final clause, and on August 24, the House sent the following version to the Senate:

    A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person. (Again, the emphasis on a well regulated militia)

    The next day, August 25, the Senate received the Amendment from the House and entered it into the Senate Journal. When the Amendment was transcribed, the semicolon in the religious exemption portion was changed to a comma by the Senate scribe:

    A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.
    ]
    By this time, the proposed right to keep and bear arms was in a separate amendment, instead of being in a single amendment together with other proposed rights such as the due process right. As a Representative explained, this change allowed each amendment to “be passed upon distinctly by the States.” On September 4, the Senate voted to change the language of the Second Amendment by removing the definition of militia, and striking the conscientious objector clause:
    A well regulated militia, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    The Senate returned to this amendment for a final time on September 9. A proposal to insert the words “for the common defence” next to the words “bear arms” was defeated.[94] The Senate then slightly modified the language and voted to return the Bill of Rights to the House. The final version passed by the Senate was:
    A well regulated militia being the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    The House voted on September 21, 1789 to accept the changes made by the Senate, but the amendment as finally entered into the House journal contained the additional words “necessary to”:

    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.[95]
    On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) was adopted, having been ratified by three-fourths of the States

    This is probably old news to many,but I found it interesting and in my simple mind I still believe the founding fathers were referring to a “well regulated militia.”

  • justcowboyway

    And Mr EEllis,
    Just for the record, I have own 6 guns. Three of them I got from my Dad, when he passed away in 2007. The other 3 I purchased. One is a lever action rifle, another is a Mare’s Leg(See Steve McQueen in Wanted Dead Or Alive) and the other one is a shotgun. The three guns that I got from my father I have never fired. The other 3 I go to the firing range about once every two months.

  • sheknows

    Thank you Ohioan. But if the executive order cannot conflict with any gun friendly legislation in the last ten years, won’t that just open up a Pandoras box of “loose” interpretation?
    I guess what I am really wondering is what concrete things can Obama really do? It sounds like the NRA has been sytematically making sure their “gun friendly” legislation is secure.
    ” New measures not denied by the Constitution or the Law of Congress”…Just wonder what they could be.

  • justcowboyway

    Thank you Mr. DE WIND

    That indeed was very interesting. Keep up the good work.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    justcowboyaway says:

    Keep up the good work.

    No, you keep up the good work, jca, as you are by not accepting the gun lobby rhetoric hook, line and sinker.

  • justcowboyway

    Mr DeWind

    Here is link that I think might interested you

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Miller

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Wow! Very interesting jca. Thanks

    Amazing how the “well regulated militia” aspects of the Second Amendment are “adjusted,” twisted and accommodated.

    The law was upheld, there being no evidence that a sawed-off shotgun had “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.

    I guess an assault weapon does, then…

  • STinMN

    The main issue with the state MI reporting is that the feds can’t require the sates to pay for it. If the feds provide the money then it’s all good and no one will complain. The NRA has suggested this multipul times.

    So why is this different than any of the other unfunded mandates the federal government has imposed on the states? Special education was supposed to be funded primarily by the federal government but they have never provided more than ~17% funding, yet if the states don’t fully implement special education they can be subject to 100% loss of funding. Or mandatory bridge inspections implemented after the I-35W bridge collapse of which only limited federal funding has been approved yet failure to implement inspection program results in the loss of federal highway funds? The list goes on and on.

  • EEllis

    I still believe the founding fathers were referring to a “well regulated militia.”

    Here I think how they defined of Militia and what they meant is different from what people now think of. There were many places that required every householder to have acceptable firearms and every male citizen would be required to muster as necessary to provide for defense. One thing to note is not everyone was considered the same and When the country was founded, in most states, only white men with real property (land) or sufficient wealth for taxation were permitted to vote. So you might say they expected every tax paying health man to have and/or provide for arms at need. This would be for instances as simple as forming “posses” to round up criminals to possible extended campaigns in the field for defense of country. What people would say are Militias have little relationship to the meaning of the word at the time. In truth right now under current law the unorganized militia of each state includes “all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and under 45 years of age who are or have [made] a declaration of intent to become citizens.” Note that is the same group who must register for selective service.

    Also I will say that making a statement that the “Founding Fathers meant” anything is something that one obviously can’t say in truth. There 74 different people chosen to go to the federal convention, not all went, multiple people who were involved in other ways. Not everyone had the same ideas and as Mr DeWind just showed, almost nothing was universally acclaimed. Now there are the big 7 which many think of as the backbone of the founding fathers, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. We can say what these guys may have generally thought about many different issues based on their writings and those of people who knew them. Let see what they said.

    John Adams

    “Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used at individual discretion…in private self-defense…”.

    Benjamin Franklin

    “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”
    “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    Alexander Hamilton

    “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government…”
    and,
    “The Constitution shall never be construed…to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
    and,
    “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”

    Thomas Jefferson

    “No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

    George Washington

    “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence… From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable…The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference–they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”

    Now what they got in the constitution isn’t necessarily what they believed or wanted it was what they could get but there is an obvious trend that does not lend itself to the idea of guns being restricted to govt controlled militias like the national guard.

    Now just a few quotes for kicks.

    The whole of the Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals… It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.

    – Albert Gallatin, Oct 7 1789

    To make inexpensive guns impossible to get is to say that you’re putting a money test on getting a gun. It’s racism in its worst form.

    – Roy Innis, president of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), 1988

    “The great object is, that every man be armed. [...] Every one who is able may have a gun.”

    – Patrick Henry, speech of June 14 1788

    “…quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.” [...a sword never kills anybody; it's a tool in the killer's hand.]

    – (Lucius Annaeus) Seneca “the Younger” (ca. 4 BC-65 AD),

    “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.”

    – Mahatma Gandhi

  • EEllis

    I guess an assault weapon does, then…

    First you should realize that in Heller there was no Defendant, no counter argument, for the govt’s case. If so it may well have gone different because the military had purchased thousands of short barreled shotguns for use in Europe, but there was no one to give that evidence. Second there is no definition to Assault Weapon beyond firearms listed by politicians for additional regulation. That being said since SCOTUS based the decision on military weapons used then of course they would be included.

  • EEllis

    So why is this different than any of the other unfunded mandates the federal government has imposed on the states? Special education was supposed to be funded primarily by the federal government but they have never provided more than ~17% funding, yet if the states don’t fully implement special education they can be subject to 100% loss of funding. Or mandatory bridge inspections implemented after the I-35W bridge collapse of which only limited federal funding has been approved yet failure to implement inspection program results in the loss of federal highway funds? The list goes on and on.

    What money are the feds going to withhold? SE funding they lose education funding. Bridge funding they lose highway money. You don’t however lose highway funding for not funding SE. What money exactly do you think the feds will withhold and how do you think that’s going to go down latter when the legislatures go home to the people you want the feds to extort? Will they withhold law enforcement funds? Homeland security money? Education, social benefit money? Sure they could try but lets go back to reality. The issue is the states are low on cash or they would have better reporting. This isn’t complicated and it’s not based on anything but finances. Trying to bully someone into compliance in that method in that situation should be repugnant. It smacks of tyranny and abuse of power.

  • EEllis

    and the other one is a shotgun.

    Is it a pump with more than 3 round capacity? A semi-auto? If it is a semi with 5 or more shots and has a pistol grip then it is an assault weapon by some definitions. Remember the lists never shrink they only increase. It’s funny that you mention a Mare’s Leg. If you took a rifle and modified it then you would need the atf tax stamp and have to jump thru numerous hoops but the same gun manufacture originally in that style is a pistol and is fine. Are you sure yours is legal?

  • http://wiredpen.com KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst

    Thanks, Dorian, for the history lesson. Thanks, ccjack, for your point of view. You, too, justcowboyaway.

    To EEllis, dryly, Jefferson wanted the constitution to sunset every generation, too.

  • justcowboyway

    To Mr.EEllis

    In the United States under the National Firearms Act, to make a concealable weapon from a firearm originally made and sold as a rifle requires payment of a $200.00 tax, approval from the BATFE and federal registration.[8] However, a “lever action pistol” made and sold subject to concealable weapon laws is treated as a pistol by federal law

    Yes, it is legal.

  • dduck

    As usual EE you do a terrific job of defending your position with one exception.
    I have cited the twin December 14th tragedies in China and the U.S. several times in these threads. In the U.S, with 250 million fire arms easily obtainable, 20 school children were slaughtered, while in China with firearms NOT readily available, 23 children were attacked with a knife and 23 survived. This is an inconvenient fact and NOT seeing the glaring difference between 20 dead and 23 alive is what is very telling.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    @justcowboyaway,

    Hold your ground, or “illegitimis non carborundum,” in the more non-literal sense of those words. :)

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    @ Kathy:

    Thanks,

    It is interesting how people on both sides of this issue — including your truly (mea culpa) — will say

    “Also I will say that making a statement that the ‘Founding Fathers meant’ anything is something that one obviously can’t say in truth”

    and then proceed at length to divine what the Founding Fathers really meant.” :)

  • zusa1

    It seems to me, the left’s ultimate goal is repeal of the 2nd, and this is why they meet with such resistance towards any change.

  • SteveK

    zusai said: It seems to me, the left’s ultimate goal is repeal of the 2nd, and this is why they meet with such resistance towards any change.

    Why does it seem that way to you zusi?

    Many left leaning commenters here, myself included, have proposing eliminating high capacity magazines and semi-automatic weapons that can be turned into a fully automatic weapon with no more than the belt loop on your pants but it seems quite a stretch your trying to turn into “the left’s ultimate goal is repeal of the 2nd”

    My take is that we TMV lefties have all agreed that gun ownership is a protected right… It’s the weapons of mass destruction that we want eliminated.

  • dduck

    This right-leaning commenter would indeed like a repeal or an updating of the 2nd.

  • SteveK

    John Adams didn’t just say, “Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used at individual discretion…in private self-defense…”.

    This is butchered version of what he said in an attempt to have you draw a conclusion that is just the opposite of what John Adams was saying.

    What he; actually said was:

    To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.
    —John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of the United States 475 (1787-1788)

    The other quotes were likewise manipulated for effect… Context is important.

  • SteveK

    Here’s a link to the actual quote from the James Madison Research Library and Information Center

  • EEllis

    To EEllis, dryly, Jefferson wanted the constitution to sunset every generation, too.

    Hey I wasn’t the one who brought up the FF

  • cjjack

    It seems to me, the left’s ultimate goal is repeal of the 2nd, and this is why they meet with such resistance towards any change.

    It seems to me that anyone suggesting sensible gun laws is automatically and unfairly labeled as “left” by gun nuts, who are resistant towards any change.

    As I have written here in the past, I come from a family of gun owners and NRA members. I grew up around guns, learned how to use them responsibly, and support responsible gun ownership. The NRA used to have the promotion of responsible and safe gun ownership as their primary public purpose, with hunting and sport shooting secondary, and support of the 2nd Amendment following that. The organization actually supported the 1968 National Firearms Act, which put limits on the private ownership of a number of types of guns.

    Were they “left” back then? I don’t think so.

    Advocating for stricter limitations on the type of guns that can be owned, or registration of certain types of firearms is not an extreme position, in fact we live under such restrictions right now, and have since 1968. The NFA did not repeal the 2nd Amendment, nor did it infringe upon the rights of responsible people to own guns for hunting, sport shooting, and self defense.

    Likewise, updating that Act, reinstating the assault weapons ban, or other actions will not lead to the confiscation of all firearms, as the Chicken Littles and Ted Nugents of the world would like everyone to believe.

    Calm, reasonable discussions about the future of gun laws in the light of recent events need be neither “left” nor “right,” and attempts to steer them in that direction will make them less effective.

  • EEllis

    As usual EE you do a terrific job of defending your position with one exception.
    I have cited the twin December 14th tragedies in China and the U.S. several times in these threads. In the U.S, with 250 million fire arms easily obtainable, 20 school children were slaughtered, while in China with firearms NOT readily available, 23 children were attacked with a knife and 23 survived. This is an inconvenient fact and NOT seeing the glaring difference between 20 dead and 23 alive is what is very telling.

    You know I don’t really feel like I try to defend anything much. What I try and do is correct misinformation, clarify points, and try and get people to see the other side. Yes guns are deadlier weapons than knives. So, nothing in that statement changes a damn thing and wont no matter how many dead bodies you wave about trying to get your way. If someone wants to do violence they can and if they have access to deadlier weapons then the toll may be higher. I just don’t believe that justifies the banning of guns and in specific that laws directed at guns rather than people will have almost no effect on anything except cost of firearms.

  • SteveK

    “No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” Thomas Jefferson

    Another “non-quote”… It never happened!

    From the Thomas Jefferson Monticello website


    Chain Email with 10 Jefferson Quotations

    Since 2008, a list of ten purported Jefferson quotations has been passed around via email and posted in many places on the Internet. This list contains some genuine Jefferson quotations, some misquoted Jefferson quotations, some completely spurious quotations, and some that are mixture of genuine and spurious. The quotations are listed below with comments regarding their authenticity.

    [...]

    6. “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” This is from Jefferson’s draft of the Virginia Constitution.

    7. “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” This quotation is often appended to #6, but it is spurious. See the link in #6 for details.

    [...]

    Also from the Thomas Jefferson Monticello website

    No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (Quotation)

    This sentence comes from Thomas Jefferson’s three drafts of the Virginia Constitution. The text does vary slightly in each draft:

    First Draft: “No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”[1]

    Second Draft: “No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands or tenements].”[2]

    Third Draft: “No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands or tenements]“[3]

    This sentence does not appear in the Virginia Constitution as adopted.

    Note: This sentence is often seen paired with the following: “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” That sentence does not appear in the Virginia Constitution drafts or text as adopted, nor in any other Jefferson writings that we know of.

    Note: in Jefferson’s second and third draft he included restrictions the pro-gun groups never mention AND the it was completely withdrawn.

    Highlights mine.

  • EEllis

    It seems to me that anyone suggesting sensible gun laws is automatically and unfairly labeled as “left” by gun nuts, who are resistant towards any change.

    Says someone who labels opponents “gun nuts”. First all but a fraction of people are willing to accept reasonable gun laws the difference is what that means. First and foremost you will have a hard time getting me to believe it’s reasonable if it doesn’t make a real and measurable difference. I think very little of what has any possibility of being passed will have any real effect but put up barriers to gun ownership.

    updating that Act, reinstating the assault weapons ban, or other actions will not lead to the confiscation of all firearms, as the Chicken Littles and Ted Nugents of the world would like everyone to believe.

    But pretending there are not gun control advocates who do see these moves as steps in trying to rid the country of guns is just as deluded. Why reinstate a ban that made absolutely no difference in crime of violence? Zero, nada, no measurable difference at all. So why advocate for it? Is it crazy to believe someone who knows the ban will not affect anything but still advocates for it is doing so with some other agenda? If you accept restrictions as regular and normal then it just makes it that much easier for the next push to place even more restriction.

  • STinMN

    What money are the feds going to withhold? SE funding they lose education funding. Bridge funding they lose highway money. You don’t however lose highway funding for not funding SE. What money exactly do you think the feds will withhold and how do you think that’s going to go down latter when the legislatures go home to the people you want the feds to extort? Will they withhold law enforcement funds? Homeland security money? Education, social benefit money? Sure they could try but lets go back to reality. The issue is the states are low on cash or they would have better reporting. This isn’t complicated and it’s not based on anything but finances. Trying to bully someone into compliance in that method in that situation should be repugnant. It smacks of tyranny and abuse of power.

    It doesn’t have to be money, it could be slowing or stopping ATF inspections of licensed dealers, which would effectively would put them out of business. It could be limiting or eliminating joint training with LEOs, limiting use of federal facilities for training.

    Rather than think of it as tyranny and abuse of power, think of it as enhanced local control. At least that’s what they tell us every time the federal government reduces Special Ed funding.

  • zusa1

    “It seems to me that anyone suggesting sensible gun laws is automatically and unfairly labeled as “left” by gun nuts, who are resistant towards any change.”

    We generalize based on left and right for most issues including this one. Of course as on any issue there are moderate positions, extreme positions, and crossover views from left or right. I was not trying to be disparaging.

    “So why advocate for it? Is it crazy to believe someone who knows the ban will not affect anything but still advocates for it is doing so with some other agenda? If you accept restrictions as regular and normal then it just makes it that much easier for the next push to place even more restriction.”

    Based on past experience, when something doesn’t work, proponents typically say whatever it was didn’t go far enough, rather than admit it didn’t work or was a bad idea.

  • EEllis

    It doesn’t have to be money, it could be slowing or stopping ATF inspections of licensed dealers, which would effectively would put them out of business. It could be limiting or eliminating joint training with LEOs, limiting use of federal facilities for training.

    Look at what you want the feds to do. Punish businesses who comply with all applicable laws. Withhold training that makes LEO’s better and help provide safety for citizens. Blackmail.

    Rather than think of it as tyranny and abuse of power, think of it as enhanced local control. At least that’s what they tell us every time the federal government reduces Special Ed funding.

    It’s just wrong. There may be some way to encourage better compliance but that would not be a way that is acceptable. Not to mention anyone who advocated such a tactic would be out on their ass next election anyway.

  • cjjack

    “Based on past experience, when something doesn’t work, proponents typically say whatever it was didn’t go far enough, rather than admit it didn’t work.”

    If you went on a diet, and after a week of dieting lost only 1 pound, would you deem it a failure and go back to eating cheeseburgers? If you began exercising and after 6 months of walking on a treadmill you hadn’t hit your goal of losing X amount of weight, would you give up and go back to lounging on the sofa?

    No and no. If you were serious about your goal, you’d adjust your diet, change your workout, and keep at it until you reached your goal.

    Yet there seems to be an argument floating around out there that since the assault weapons ban was ineffective, any law restricting firearm ownership is ineffective and therefore must be off the table. The NRA is making the argument that more guns and more armed people are the solution, which to me seems like arguing that if you haven’t lost weight on your new diet, perhaps you should eat more and exercise even less.

    They are saying in effect that the solution to the problem of gun violence can never be less guns. That just doesn’t make sense.

  • sheknows

    When you listen to people like Jones, it becomes obvious why guns need to be removed from civilian hands. Arguments presented so far by the NRA to keep weapons of war on the streets, have been utterly ridiculous, and for those who enjoy guns as sport and hunting…let me tell you, these guys are not doing your cause any favors.
    Perhaps it is the crackpot element, but when these crackpots start blathering about 2nd amendment rights, it brings up extremely close examination of that right. Is it outdated? absolutely. Is the purpose of it’s presence in the constitution still applicable? No it is not, except for those who actually DO fear a tyrannical government takeover.
    If this amendment were REWRITTEN for today’s world, I bet it could be done so that all those who wish to hunt and sport shoot could have their simple rifles, and those who would abuse guns would be out of luck.

  • EEllis

    We generalize based on left and right for most issues including this one. Of course as on any issue there are moderate positions, extreme positions, and crossover views from left or right. I was not trying to be disparaging.

    I don’t care about left or right I was speaking of the term “gun nuts” which just by it’s use you indicate that you don’t consider any of their concerns legitimate, I mean they are “nuts” right? How can they believe you will spot when “reasonable” if you show such disdain for them and their positions? Now I’m not trying to pigeonhole your beliefs but rather show part of the problem that gun control advocates ignore.

    Based on past experience, when something doesn’t work, proponents typically say whatever it was didn’t go far enough, rather than admit it didn’t work or was a bad idea.

    Well yes that is also a problem. We have groups pushing for a new ban basically the same as the old but it’s already been shown to have no effect. Why push for something ineffective? And when the new ban is also ineffective then what?

  • cjjack

    I don’t care about left or right I was speaking of the term “gun nuts” which just by it’s use you indicate that you don’t consider any of their concerns legitimate

    For clarification, I define “gun nuts” as anyone who believes further legislation regarding guns = complete and total gun confiscation. This is not a legitimate concern. The idea that “Obama is a-comin’ fer our guns!” is worthy of disdain, IMO.

  • EEllis

    If you went on a diet, and after a week of dieting lost only 1 pound, would you deem it a failure and go back to eating cheeseburgers? If you began exercising and after 6 months of walking on a treadmill you hadn’t hit your goal of losing X amount of weight, would you give up and go back to lounging on the sofa?

    It was ten years and it’s not a diet. If the goal is reducing violence then why not concentrate on things that can and do work rather than gun control that does nothing but put restrictions on gun ownership seemingly just for the sake of making gun ownership harder.

    Yet there seems to be an argument floating around out there that since the assault weapons ban was ineffective, any law restricting firearm ownership is ineffective and therefore must be off the table.

    No that is not any argument I’ve ever made. Rather that if something is proved ineffective move on to other ideas. I’ve said repeatedly that the first thing that should matter is if gun restriction are desired they should have some real and significant public benefit. Making gun haters feel better isn’t good enough.

    The NRA is making the argument that more guns and more armed people are the solution, which to me seems like arguing that if you haven’t lost weight on your new diet, perhaps you should eat more and exercise even less.

    Are you working on a new years resolution with all the diet talk? Look it’s a flawed example for several reasons but moving past the diet talk only the tiniest percentage of guns are ever used illegally. My breakdown of the NRA stance is that it is more effective to go after the tiny percentage of those who use guns illegally than the vast majority of legal gun owners who are the primary targets of gun control. To many that just seems like common sense. Then of course there is the fact that the NRA believes that gun ownership is a civil right protected by the 2nd so even if it would be effective, and they don’t think it would, then still limits the govts ability to restrict firearms.

  • EEllis

    The idea that “Obama is a-comin’ fer our guns!” is worthy of disdain, IMO.

    It is an over reaction certainly but the truth is that if possible many politicians and advocate would do so, ban guns, but for the political opposition to gun control. So the only reason it’s absurd is because all the people who would go nuts about it make it impossible. Kind of funny right, they get paranoid over something, but that something can’t happen as long as they stay paranoid.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    As celebrated Conservative Rush Limbaugh does, let me use absurdity to illustrate the freaking absurdity of the gun lobby.

    The Second Amendment gives me the absolute right to own any kind of arm/weapon to defend myself and my family. Just in case the government decides to come after me or my family in my home, I must have — and have every right to have — a ground-to-air missile to shoot down that aircraft that may someday attack my home, my family.

    Absurd?

  • STinMN

    Look at what you want the feds to do. Punish businesses who comply with all applicable laws. Withhold training that makes LEO’s better and help provide safety for citizens. Blackmail.

    Rather than think of it as tyranny and abuse of power, think of it as enhanced local control. At least that’s what they tell us every time the federal government reduces Special Ed funding.

    It’s just wrong. There may be some way to encourage better compliance but that would not be a way that is acceptable. Not to mention anyone who advocated such a tactic would be out on their ass next election anyway.

    I wish I could disagree with this, but that’s the way is has been done in education for the past 40 years. And no elected official who has advocated doing this has been thrown out. Does that make it right? It certainly doesn’t, but too often our politician’s answer has been to throw away opportunity for children with real potential instead of funding things the way they should be. And my own jaundiced view that they will do the same with MI reporting.

  • zusa1

    “If you went on a diet, and after a week of dieting lost only 1 pound, would you deem it a failure and go back to eating cheeseburgers?”
    But it did work and was worthy of continuation.

  • dduck

    EE, first let me thank you for a response to my guns VS knives example of Dec. 14th.
    “I just don’t believe that justifies the banning of guns and in specific that laws directed at guns rather than people will have almost no effect on anything except cost of firearms.”
    I read that you believe there is no justification for banning specific guns. I know you will disagree, that the dead kids are collateral damage and do not trump the “rights” of some gun enthusiasts, like yourself. And- yes, you are correct, using “gun nuts” is unfair, except for the mall and school killers, and they get named as such only after the killings have already happened.
    You have the 2nd and that might makes you technically right, but some of us prefer the moral high ground.

  • EEllis

    I read that you believe there is no justification for banning specific guns. I know you will disagree, that the dead kids are collateral damage and do not trump the “rights” of some gun enthusiasts, like yourself.

    Well then you read wrong. I believe we have already tried an “assault weapon” ban and instituting a second with the same basic rules, which is the main push right now, is unsupportable because it had previously showed to be totally ineffective in lowering crime, violence, or gun deaths. Now if it had shown any effectiveness at all then we could have a discussion on if it is worth it or not. I’m reminded of the Franklin quote “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” What about giving up liberty for nothing at all?

  • SteveK

    What about giving up liberty for nothing at all?

    Giving up liberty like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson warned us about?

  • zusa1

    “guns VS knives”
    We also need to consider woman vs knives or woman vs unarmed assailant.

    I am not against measures to prevent this kind of crime. But I think an understanding of if/why the last ban didn’t work and what would be different this time is needed. Otherwise we run the risk of doing something just to feel better instead of having a real effect.

  • dduck

    EE< So it boils down to do nothing, since that works, against trying something of the same or stronger strength cause it didn’t work last time. Like I said child collateral damage is OK cause the 2nd says so. (I know, you don’t mean that.)

    Z, husbands get shot as intruders, harder to do that with a knife. Yes, there are cases on both sides, I will admit that. But also plenty of weapons are stolen in burglaries and some are used to kill their very owners while others are sold to criminals and wind up in violent acts. To make matters worse, the ATF has a hard or impossible time tracing the weapon. A central registry, computer based, not index cards like the ATF is now forced to use because of an NRA pushed law, is imperative.
    Jeez, give me a break.

  • dduck

    I am sorry to waste too much space here, but I really liked this common sense letter to the editor, NYT, 1/10/12:
    ” To the Editor:

    I have only seven guns in my house. As a resident of rural South Texas, this makes me practically a Quaker. Some of my guns I bought, some I inherited from my father and some I held for my son while he was in the Army.

    I hunt on rare occasions and enjoy a little target shooting. I’ve killed a dozen rattlesnakes and a rabid raccoon on my place. A couple of times I was comforted to have a gun when I politely asked trespassers to leave my property — now.

    The point is I like my guns, but I do not love them. Love is reserved for the likes of the children and teachers who died so senselessly in Sandy Hook. This and other recent tragedies serve to focus our minds on a complex blend of Second Amendment rights, public safety, civil society and mental health. I do not know what solution we will ultimately find.

    My own personal and immediate reaction, though, was to take a large-capacity ammo clip and pound it down with a hammer. My ranch rifle works fine without it, and it was stupid to have. I don’t need it, and I don’t think anyone does.

    Los Fresnos, Tex., Jan. 8, 2013″

  • SteveK

    Thanks dduck, and you’re right… It’s a matter of common sense.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Agreed. That letter is common sense.

    This is not:

    The CEO of a Tennessee company that specializes in weapons and tactical training is threatening to “start killing people” if President Barack Obama moves forward with gun control measures.

    [::]

    “Vice President [Joe] Biden is asking the president to bypass Congress and use executive privilege, executive order to ban assault rifles and to impose stricter gun control,” Yeager explained in his video message. “F*#k that.”

    “I’m telling you that if that happens, it’s going to spark a civil war, and I’ll be glad to fire the first shot. I’m not putting up with it. You shouldn’t put up with it. And I need all you patriots to start thinking about what you’re going to do, load your damn mags, make sure your rifle’s clean, pack a backpack with some food in it and get ready to fight.”

    The CEO concluded: “I’m not f*%#ing putting up with this. I’m not letting my country be ruled by a dictator. I’m not letting anybody take my guns! If it goes one inch further, I’m going to start killing people.”

    Read more here

  • dduck

    I would have been more cautious with the executive orders talk, it is like yelling fire in a crowded theater to some people and will be counterproductive and make the NRA’s and others’ point of illegal government interference,, etc., etc.
    All in all, a bad PR move by Biden (and others?).
    Gun, ammo and HCM sales will really jump now.

  • petew

    EELLis,

    What I’ve learned from personal research and other comenters in TMV, is firstly, that, although we have tried to regulate assault weapons in the past, there are many ways that the gun industry, with the help of lobbyists, eventually gets around those regulations. I believe you, as well as other posters, have mentioned that a gun may be re-named, or altered slightly so that it evades specific prohibition from the market. And, thanks to the videos provided by SteveK, we have all seen how guns which are now considered legal, can easily be converted (bumped)into weapons that fire at the level of machine guns. On top of that, you and others have mentioned that, although some assault weapons have previously been banned, there is still are very large stockpile of them which are collectively, already owned and usable by the American public. So, this fact may well skew the statistical effectiveness of gun control legislation.

    To me it only makes sense that these weapons should be taken completely out of circulation–even it it takes several decades for them to be removed from the hands of private owners. I believe other comenters have suggested government buy back offers over several years, which if not obeyed, would result in fines. This is a practice that has worked in several other areas and seems quite rational.

    After consulting fact checking sites, I have run into a lot of controversy about how the effects of gun ownership are studied, and, whether those studies don’t neglect to consider important variables, such as re-naming or slightly altering weapons, along with the grandfathering problem, which, keeps them in private ownership—and/or the fact that background checks are not always thorough and buyers can easily get around them. FactCheck.org also mentions that many people who conceal and carry, represent safe statistical groups like urban, white and higher income males. And, amazingly, after all of these years we still permit assault weapons to be purchased without sufficient IDs or background checks when paid for in cash at gun shows. We also fail to allow government tracking of the weapons in circulation, even though we require registration documentation, driver’s licenses, License plate renewals and (in most states) sufficient liability insurance—all used as ways to keep track of owners and their motor vehicles—as well as allowing for quick background checks etc., by officers who stop vehicles for violating traffic laws—even when guilty of having nothing more than broken tail lights. Although this has gone on for several decades, I have yet to have my license revoked or my car impounded by the government for any minor infractions—So why would banning assault weapons and providing more thorough background checks be considered a drastic measure that would result in confiscation of small handguns or complete government removal of privately owned weapons? I and many other comenters also see the obvious lack of necessity for assault weapons and, large ammo clips, being used for personal protection. So why do we always get hung up on details that make it easy to circumvent vital regulations?

    For gun enthusiasts who use the 2nd Amendment to defend private ownership of powerful weapons, involves the fact that, no Constitutional Amendments bestow complete liberties without ANY limitations. The first Amendment cannot be used to violate vital military secrets, all of civil rights and voting amendments require an age limit and previous registration, those accused of felonies cannot be retried after being found innocent, but they cannot jeopardize themselves by giving false testimony to the court, etc. etc. etc. I’m sure that careful examination of all 27 Amendments will reveal that no one gets a free pass to use those amendments as unlimited protections against the potential capabilities that exist because of the laws involved!

    Although many gun regulations do not provably reduce crimes, because of the flaws present in many statistical studies, this only begs the conclusions that, many of those studies are far from being accurate. The few flaws already mentioned in this post, reveal that effective regulations of fire-arms has not always yielded accurate results because of their less than thorough regulation and/or incomplete implementation. But as I have mentioned before, WE DO KNOW THAT MASS SHOOTINGS ARE INCREASING IN FREQUENCY! and, a large number of the weapons used in these travesties, are either unregistered, obtained illegally, or have become available in other unfortunate ways (such as the weapons used in the Newtown shooting).

    Obviously,the necessary limitations in the 2nd Amendment inherently exist, in order to prevent the public from abusing ANY KIND OF WEAPONS, based on their firepower and their great potential for harm—once again, no bazookas, machine guns, flame throwers, high powered explosives, nor (as one commenter mentioned) do we have the right to own nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. No doubt if the 2nd amendment were taken literally as allowing any kinds of “arms,” then we, the public, would also have the right to own these terrifically powerful weapons. In that light, may I suggest that restricting high power guns and high capacity clips, is not unconstitutional when used as a measure to keep the lethal power of certain weapons out of our private arsenals!

    I do approve of less powerful guns with smaller clip capacities—being the right and necessity for many people to own in regards to their own self-protection. In that sense They provide for our useful needs as part of personal self defense, but not for unlimited firepower to accomplish that goal.

    I agree that gun rights advocates are not inherently bad people any more than any of us are! They care about the safety and well being of their families and friends (including elementary school children) just as much as others do—only differing in the best ways to provide them with protection. However, in light of the frequency of mass shootings and the predominant use of assault weapons in them, it only makes sense to keep some of these weapons out of our hands, and therefore, completely unavailable to the mentally ill! The time has come when the old talking points do not really add up. I sincerely hope we never lose interest in changing gun laws for any of the reasons mentioned in this post!

  • dduck
  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Before the post and the thread go “below the fold”:

    Bravo, petew. Probably your best: well-researched, well-thought-out, pertinent, balanced and — above all — common sense.

    Thank you

  • zusa1

    “large number of the weapons used in these travesties, are either unregistered, obtained illegally
    What can be done about trafficking across the southern border? The fight against drug trafficking has been difficult. Anyone who wants drugs can get drugs. Would it be any different with banned weapons?

  • justcowboyway

    The magistrate in whom the whole executive power resides cannot of himself make a law, though he can put a negative on every law; nor administer justice in person, though he has the appointment of those who do administer it. The judges can exercise no executive prerogative, though they are shoots from the executive stock; nor any legislative function, though they may be advised with by the legislative councils. The entire legislature can perform no judiciary act, though by the joint act of two of its branches the judges may be removed from their offices, and though one of its branches is possessed of the judicial power in the last resort.

    – James Madison, Federalist 47, January 30, 1788.

  • SteveK

    Thanks petew for your great point-by-point overview of the current problem and some possible future solutions in regards to these weapons of mass distruction.

    I believe you, as well as other posters, have mentioned that a gun may be re-named, or altered slightly so that it evades specific prohibition from the market.
    .
    [...]
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    I believe other comenters have suggested government buy back offers over several years, which if not obeyed, would result in fines. This is a practice that has worked in several other areas and seems quite rational.

    Once these weapons are made illegal they ought to treat offenders the same way they treat drug offenses or other illegal activities… i.e. penalty’s for manufacturers, wholesalers, and dealers would be severe and automatic while first offense ‘users’ face only a fine and confiscation of course. Second, third, fourth, etc offenses progressively more severe.

    I also believe that these “fine and confiscation of course” steps should only come after a reasonable grace period in which the owners are given time to turn in these weapons and high capacity magazines in some sort of buy back program.

    The MAIN reason the ban didn’t work last time is because they allowed existing weapons to be exempt.

  • SteveK

    zusai says: What can be done about trafficking across the southern border? The fight against drug trafficking has been difficult. Anyone who wants drugs can get drugs. Would it be any different with banned weapons?

    As one who lives 5 miles from the Mexican Border and who’s local paper covers just about every Border Patrol incident I think you overstate the border problem in regards to weapon smuggling… The weapons are going the other direction.

    Northbound smuggling consists primarily of drugs – A backpack of cocaine is considerably more valuable (and less bulky) than a couple of AR -15 and the smugglers are in it for the money.

  • zusa1

    Steve, The border is porous with the direction of trafficking a function of supply and demand. Based on history, a ban creates a void that is filled by illegal means. I don’t see a barrier preventing criminals to continue to source banned weapons from across the border just like how the Mexican criminals are sourcing them now from us despite the Mexican laws. It would be nice if a ban had the effect of keeping these weapons out of the hands of criminals as well.

  • SteveK

    zusai, I think your concerns about to US / Mexico border smuggling is meant to throw this thread off track… Why would a smuggler consider smuggling an 8 pound AR-15 when 8 pounds of cocaine is worth $216,000.00 wholesale.

    What do you think about about petew’s last in-depth comment?

  • EEllis

    there are many ways that the gun industry, with the help of lobbyists, eventually gets around those regulations.

    That’s one way to spin it. Another way to look at it is that since the previous ban was based almost entirely on cosmetics, as is the one they are pushing now, it’s no surprise that guns with the same actual firing characteristics were legal. Trying to blame the gun industry for , well making guns, is a bit much.

    To me it only makes sense that these weapons should be taken completely out of circulation–even it it takes several decades for them to be removed from the hands of private owners. I believe other comenters have suggested government buy back offers over several years, which if not obeyed, would result in fines. This is a practice that has worked in several other areas and seems quite rational.

    Thank god that a strong majority of Americans don’t agree with you and the 2nd protect my rights even if that wasn’t the case. And by the way buy backs have never been “successful” You get guns that don’t work, don’t and wouldn’t get used, that would have no effect on violence and crime. It’s bs feel good politics. Mind you it’s fine if you want to have one. it’s voluntary so knock yourself out, but it doesn’t remove guns that are likely to be used. The only way to count them as successful is if you guns in and of themselves as bad and that kind on personification of inanimate object is beyond me.

    And, amazingly, after all of these years we still permit assault weapons to be purchased without sufficient IDs or background checks when paid for in cash at gun shows.

    This drives me nuts. We have had many comments on here, quite a few from me, but even some fro pro control commenters, about there not being any “gun show loophole” but people insist on repeating bad info anyway. There is no exemption in Fed law for gun shows. No licensed dealer, as a dealer, can sell any firearms without a background check and cash has nothing to do with nothing. In most jurisdictions you can have private transactions of fire arms at gun shows but have always had the right to sell guns without any any checks. There is no loophole it’s just that few areas bother to add restrictions on private party transactions at gun shows.

    We also fail to allow government tracking of the weapons in circulation, even though we require registration documentation, driver’s licenses, License plate renewals and (in most states) sufficient liability insurance

    Well There are several things I could say but lets just go with one. Which of those things are required by the feds? Oops none right? Registrations of firearms has already been called a violation of the 10th by the courts.

    Although many gun regulations do not provably reduce crimes, because of the flaws present in many statistical studies, this only begs the conclusions that, many of those studies are far from being accurate.

    Wait a second, because the studies don’t show what you believe they should then it’s the studies that are flawed? Wow.

    I suggest that restricting high power guns and high capacity clips, is not unconstitutional when used as a measure to keep the lethal power of certain weapons out of our private arsenals!

    But these high powered guns aren’t, for the most part, high powered I mean. Most hunting rifles have more power. Many use similar actions and the mechanics of the guns are similar. Not to mention that if the 2nd means anything it must protect the right to own guns that, well, can effectively kill people.

    I would say you may want to look at sources other than gun control websites when you research an issue. Because for all that research you make arguments that sound good but are rather hollow.