Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Latest and Greatest

I'm not really sure what to say for my first post, especially because at this point I'm the only one who knows this blog exists. I started this blog to get my thoughts out on various issues, so i suppose I should start with the issue on my mind right now. I just wrote a letter to President Obama concerning HR 1022 and HR 45. For those of you unfamiliar with these two pieces of legislation, they are the newest in a long string of attempts by the government to control the trade and ownership of guns. HR 45 is a blanket mandate to all who wish to own guns, concerning licensing and police tracking. HR 1022 is an 'assault weapons' ban. my problem with the term 'assault weapon' is that the definitions cover how the weapon looks, as separate from the functionality of the piece. with current definitions, if you take any semi-automatic, detachable magazine rifle, you can turn it into an assault weapon by adding: a pistol grip, as defined by a grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip, a barrel shroud, (a covering for the barrel, protecting the shooter's hand from the heat of the barrel), a forward grip, or a telescoping or folding stock. None of these aspects change the way the gun functions. They do make it scary looking. A Bushmaster semi-auto AR-15 looks scary, even though it's functionality is no different than the majority of semi-automatic rifles. The Bushmaster AR-15 is specifically banned in HR 1022.

My point in writing this is not to cover each aspect of these bills. There are many others with a better understanding of them who have beat me to it. Instead, I wish to look at the idea of gun control as a whole. First and foremost in this debate is 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." Simple and plain, yet full of meaning. It doesn't say that the people can have guns. It says that the government can't prevent them from having guns. The bill of rights is not a set of rights that you have as a citizen, it is a set of limitations on government. The government cannot infringe upon your right to bear arms. There are people who dither about what defines an arm, what is reasonable for people to own, and many more irrelevancies. The government IS NOT ALLOWED to prevent you from owning a firearm.

To understand the second amendment, you need to understand why it was written. The founding fathers could never have dreamed that the government would attempt to prevent people from owning weapons for hunting. Hunting was the primary way of life in that time. If you wanted meat, then you went out and you shot it yourself. No, they put in the second amendment as a check against tyranny. These men had just freed themselves from the tyranny of the British through the use of the musket. They knew that power corrupts. Indeed, Jefferson intended for there to be a revolution every 100 years. 70 years later, the South took up arms against the economic tyranny of the North. Keep the people of this country free of tyranny. Bear arms. Understand arms. Be responsible for yourself. Stay free.

Please comment respectfully.


  1. nice david. you sound older than you really are. although, that may not be a good thing.

    I understand why the second amendment was written, and I have no problem with the original intention. However, it is extremely complicated to translate this kind of intention into the modern context. Yes, we don't need to hunt, and there are no direct militaristic threats coming from Britain anymore. If anything, there is an economic-political threat rising from the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). Yet this does not mean we should raise arms against them. As a world civilization, we have learned that force is never the best idea, especially when it is the first to be considered. That is why many view the Second as somewhat archaic (I am not a member of this group). If anything, my personal offense at the complete freedom to bear arms is the people. I cannot absolutely trust people to use arms against tyranny. I cannot trust them to stop themselves before they execute a crime of passion. One can say that you might as well ban cars, since they can be used in a crime of passion or idiocy (as I often see it) just as easily. However, cars were not made with the intention to kill; guns have always been made with that intention in mind.

    i'm really really tired, so that's all i'll say for now.

  2. I'm really not going to comment too heavily on this because you know more, care more, and have different views than me and I don't want to get into an argument.
    I still love you though. =]

  3. I think the 2nd Amendment is really about the right of the States to maintain a militia, and not necessarily about our individual right to each "bear arms." I think Jill is right that it is difficult to translate what the founding fathers intended. We do know that the Articles of Confederation worked miserably, and that the Bill of Rights was necessary to ensure the ratification of the Constitution. I know you feel strongly about this right, but it is a right that is so often abused that I am not overly appreciative of it myself. Also, we know that the Constitution has needed tinkering in the past (little things like accepting women & other races as equal citizens). As people are so passionate about this particular little amendment, my guess is that it is here to stay. But I do not feel safer knowing it.

  4. There are myriad arguments as to why it is an individual right, from linguistic down to ideological, as I covered briefly above. I would be happy to discuss those at a later date with you. I also wonder at the abuse of the right you see. There are hundreds of thousands of people who legally use and carry firearms. These people are safe, intelligent, and courteous. They are not going down the streets randomly shooting people. The people who abuse firearms are criminals. By the fact that they are criminals, they do not follow laws. They do not follow laws of any sort, and do not care what the law says they can and cannot do.

    In terms of crimes of passion, most of those are domestic. I do not know the numbers, so I cannot say for sure, but I have very distinct doubts as to the number of them committed with firearms. Kitchen knives can be just as deadly, and are probably more accessible in a moment of fury anyway, but no one thinks to ban them. (Except England, look up "stab proof knives" sometime)

    As for safety in an armed populace, the numbers consistently show, time and time again, that in areas such as Chicago and Washington DC, places which have had long-standing handgun bans, violent crime rates are astronomically higher. The bans merely disarm the victims. No one ever hears about violent crime in Vermont or Alaska, the only two states to have unrestricted carry, in that if you can legally own a firearm, you can legally carry said firearm. Statistically speaking, a population with the right to bear arms IS safer. For everyone.