My Take On Gun Rights.

Gun rights is another issue where it seems nobody ever tries to understand the other side’s perspective.  I am empathetic to people who want to own handguns and other weapons for personal defense, hunting etc.  I don’t agree with hunting for sport personally, but I don’t have a right to legislate my personal taste on others.  And I don’t think people should generally own a gun, but I understand why many people do. 

I think the main reason people don’t understand where the other person is coming from is simply differences in culture.  I live in ohio in a city with a few hundred thousand people (and a few million in the metropolitan area).  Guns are not absent from my city, but you just don’t see them in everyday life.  Not counting the occasional holstered gun on the hip of a police officer I don’t even think I’ve seen a gun in person since I was about 14, and that was a hunting shotgun in a private home.  People simply don’t walk around with visible firearms in my city, and if someone did it would be seen as unnecessary, excessive and deliberately intimidating.  People would think “what’s that guy’s problem”?  But this is a part of my local culture.  By the same token there are places where people use machetes in everyday life and if someone walked around with one they would blend into the background.  But imagine someone walked into burger king in new york and plopped their machete on the counter before ordering their meal.  They would be asked to leave at best, arrested at worst.  Different behavior is received differently in different places. 

I can understand where people are coming from who either live where guns are pervasive and visible in society (if everyone seemed to have a gun I wouldn’t want to be the one schmuck who didn’t have one).  And I can also understand why someone who lived an hour away from the police department or the emergency room would want a gun to protect themselves – you simply can’t count on the police or neighbors if you don’t have them nearby.  You have to be self-sufficient because you’re basically living in the wild west.  And while I’m sure the odds of someone coming to your country house and trying to kill you are probably remote, the odds are similarly remote anywhere but a) it still happens and b) we still think it justifies having a police force, so it ought to justify self defense measures too.

But I don’t live in the middle of nowhere, the police are about 2 miles away from my front door, the local fire station is literally on my street, and the hospital is close enough that if someone stabbed me I could likely walk there before passing out.  So I just don’t feel the need to own a gun.  And I don’t feel like I’m the only person who doesn’t have one.

Then there’s the legal arguments, people say it’s constitutionally protected because the second amendment is titled “right to keep and bear arms”.  But the actual text protects the right of the states (not explicitly individuals) to maintain a “well regulated militia”.  This was written before the US had a standing army and each state had their own smaller militia.  On one hand I don’t think the letter of the second amendment guarantees individual’s right to own fire arms.  But I think part of why it doesn’t is because that issue wasn’t even on their radar back then.  It would’ve never occurred to them to ban weapons because a) automatic weapons were very new at the time and b) most other weapons were commonly used for hunting, not for sport but for survival.  It was a given that people should have the right to own rifles and shotguns because many people relied on them for food, it would be like outlawing plows in farmland.  So they simply didn’t address the question.

So what is my actual position?  Let people decide the issue locally.  If a city wants to ban handguns, let them.  If they don’t, let them stay legal.  I don’t think handguns or hunting weapons should be banned or protected federally.  Also I think anyone who has private property, be it a store, church, home, whatever should have the right to prohibit firearms on their property.  I do think there ought to be a federal ban on some weapons though, I don’t think people should be able to buy RPGs in walmart any more than they should be able to buy vials of anthrax on e-bay.  And where to draw the line of what weapons civilians can own is of course going to be debatable.  But I think in the spectrum from knives on one end to nuclear weapons on the other, any sane person will agree there has to be a line somewhere.

I’ve given a fair amount of thought to this over the years and tried to understand where conservatives are coming from on this and other issues.  Any conservatives willing to look at it from my perspective?

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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61 Responses to My Take On Gun Rights.

  1. Aloysius_son says:

    @lonelywanderer2 – Considering the economic value of firearms, it is not likely that they will ever be completely banned, but if anyone ever does come for my guns they had better have bigger better ones than I do!

  2. @Aloysius_son – Yeah, that’d never happen..  LINK

  3. @Aloysius_son -Look for the big pile of confiscated guns i Britain.   LINK

  4. catstemplar2 says:

    I think the gun issue has gotten way out of hand. We can than the Rifle Association for the extremes in our country. Want to own a gun for hunting reason ? Sounds okay with me. But, tell me what rights do guns shops have selling rifle types that would only be used in a war fighting terrorist in Afghanistan and why would you need a bullet that could penetrate body armour ?Its all a business and when money is involved lots of bad stuff is shoved down our throats. We can thank our politicians and their deep pockets.

  5. Aloysius_son says:

    @catstemplar2 – Did you know that almost all copper jacket rifle rounds can penetrate most body armor? These are the common rounds used for big game hunting. Body armor is most effective for soft rounds and hollow points, these are the most common rounds used in assaults on law enforcement officers. When the average person uses a  handgun against another human being they most often target the center of mass or chest, which is why body armor typically only covers this area. Body armor is next to useless against a trained sharp shooter as there are many vital areas of the body which can effectively neutralize and individual.I am not trying to promote or discourage gun control, but merely trying to clarify common misconceptions about ballistics.

  6. I just wanted to comment on you legal interpretation of the second amendment. The actual text, as passed into law, is:”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”Correctly interpreting the language is very important here, because this language is rather strange compared to the rest of the bill of rights. It claims that a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, providing this as justification for the actual proclamation that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. This is odd because apparently there was a need to provide justification for the right the constitution then provides. And that justification makes a lot of sense: A state does not exist for long, in the real world, if that state is not on some level ready and willing to make war.But the actual right provided “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” very clearly refers to weapons of war. The strictest interpretation of the second amendment that I consider valid is: the light infantry weapons that would be useful in war cannot be legally banned. The purpose, of course, is so that the people could be ready to form an effective combat force at need and the implementation of this through militias was so that the people could be just as ready to resist a tyrannical government as they are to repel outside invaders. The need for the militia to be “well regulated” is often misinterpreted today due to linguistic drift but what our forefathers meant was that the people should have weapons and be trained in how to use them for war.I generally prefer a looser interpretation, that no weapons should be banned (in general) because usually people want to ban the weapons that the second amendment is most specifically intended to protect and that just makes the issue simpler to deal with.

  7. Note that the Majority Opinion of the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Hellerpretty much lays out my reasoning on how to interpret the Second Amendment, though I arrived at those conclusions independently; not having read the court’s ruling when I settled on how to interpret the second amendment of the USA’s constitution. Even the dissenting opinion held that it is clearly an individual right (as opposed to collective right).Notably, I forgot to mention above that the militia is, as far as the second amendment is concerned (and many other parts of the USA’s constitution), all able-bodied men of appropriate age. If you’re registered with the Selective Service and, thus could be drafted, you should own and be trained in the use of light infantry weapons – by the intent of the second amendment. I consider crew-served weapons (such as heavy machineguns and mortars) and combat vehicles outside the scope of the right to bear arms and have no problem with limitations of unusual and dangerous weapons (which are not likely to be of much use in war) such as flamethrowers and mustard gas. I do have a problem with restrictions on submachineguns, rifles, light machineguns, and grenade launchers.

  8. RazielV says:

    I agree whole-heartedly

  9. Anon says:

    “and the hospital is close enough that if someone stabbed me I could likely walk there before passing out.” – You obviously have no idea what your chances of survival are if you are stabbed. Even with haemostatic bandages, blood of your correct blood group and an amazing emergency response time your chances will still be low of survival. So it turns out having your internal organs or arteries punctured is a death sentence – go figure.”On one hand I don’t think the letter of the second amendment guarantees individual’s right to own fire arms.  But I think part of why it doesn’t is because that issue wasn’t even on their radar back then.  It would’ve never occurred to them to ban weapons because a) automatic weapons were very new at the time and b) most other weapons were commonly used for hunting, not for sport but for survival. “Then why did the Founding Fathers’ consider a gun ban? You’ve obviously never read anything by them *facepalm*. Thomas Jefferson’s own Commonplace book included an argument for gun ownership from An Essay on Crimes and Punishments by Cesare Beccaria.”A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”- George Washington”No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”- Thomas Jefferson “Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self defense.”- John Adams

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