Gun debate question


PDA






jcs271
March 17, 2005, 12:51 PM
What is YOUR best (short and simple to understand) answer to the question of where we draw the line on civilian gun ownership in regards to level of "firepower"

Why is the ar-15 semi-auto ok but the m-16 full auto is not.

Why didn't we draw the line at single shots or extend it out to rocket launchers.

This is always the hardest debate for me to explain/justify to antis

I look forward to your thoughts

If you enjoyed reading about "Gun debate question" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
kfranz
March 17, 2005, 01:03 PM
Why do cars go faster than 65 mph if speed kills?...

Anyway, M16's are fine, as are rocket launchers, provided the proper tax stamps are acquired. Expensive as all get out since FOPA artifically froze the market(at least for MG's), but we haven't drawn the line.

DWS1117
March 17, 2005, 01:06 PM
A gun is a tool, nothing more. It is the intent of the moron holding the tool that is good or evil.

dmallind
March 17, 2005, 01:17 PM
Not wanting to berate you but that's a flippant remark to a serious and interesting question. It's also an inaccurate analogy. That would be more relevant if it were posited that since .22s can be used as effective defensive weapons then why should we have .32s let alone .45s etc?

I think the question posted could be more accurately grafted onto cars if it were asked why anyone would want a car that ONLY goes above 65mph.

But anyway back to the question itself. I suspect few - and those few living in a world where ideology becomes pathology - would say there is NO limit to the weapons that should be in private hands. I mean hands up those who would welcome personal ownership of nuclear weapons, with of course no registration or licensing required and no background check even. So for most of us operating in the sweet light of sanity there is SOME line in the sand.

I suspect it differs wildly amongst gun owners. I will risk being flamed no doubt for my own opinion, but heck who cares? I'd say the private right becomes questionable, and even untenable, when even in trained and skilled hands the weapon in question is indiscriminate. In other words if I'm standing next to a guy who is robbing the bank and some kindly CCWing competitive shooter can and does take him down with a nice COM double tap, I should not be at risk because of this, and said shooter should not have the legal right to carry something which MUST put me at this risk. I'm not talking about a missed shot, but a shot that causes damage outside its accurately aimed-at target. This automatically includes anything which generates an external explosion on impact or spreads lethal fragments outside the target.

hkOrion
March 17, 2005, 01:46 PM
Anyway, M16's are fine, as are rocket launchers, provided the proper tax stamps are acquired. Expensive as all get out since FOPA artifically froze the market(at least for MG's), but we haven't drawn the line.

sorry - but there's no distinction in the 2nd about tax stamps or any other form of licensing. i should be able to own an M-1 Abrams or any other form of 'arms' if I want, provided I can pay for it.

jefnvk
March 17, 2005, 02:29 PM
If they reopened MG registration, and dropped the handgun/C&R License age to 18, I'd probably be happy.

I guess if I had to draw a line, it'd probably be somewhere in the 'designed to take out buildings' category. Putting a flame suit on now, because last time I said that I was accused of being a flaming anti.

Sunray
March 17, 2005, 02:32 PM
I'm not a criminal. Shooting machine guns is great fun.

kfranz
March 17, 2005, 02:34 PM
sorry - but there's no distinction in the 2nd about tax stamps or any other form of licensing. i should be able to own an M-1 Abrams or any other form of 'arms' if I want, provided I can pay for it.

I agree. That was just a response to the original posters "Why is the ar-15 semi-auto ok but the m-16 full auto is not". In my experience, all non-gun owners and most gun owners think any machine gun is illegal.

that's a flippant remark to a serious and interesting question

No it's not. He was looking for short easy to understand explanations. I do not accept the arguments that anti's place upon me. Rather I question them back. All the better if I know a bit about their interests so I can attack them specifically, but if not, I find the car analogy to be able to be something most can relate to.

I'd say the line is drawn when the weapon itself can casue harm.

mec
March 17, 2005, 02:42 PM
Some second amendment supporters who do not suppor widespread ownership of heavy artillery, nuclear bombs and such do this:

" The Second Amendment is tied to the concept of a militia made up of armed citizens. The militia man would be expected to muster carrying arms of the sort in common use in any given period. He would not be expected to maintain non man-portable weapons. "

I don't know if this is relevent or not ( and don't particularly care ) but it is an argument that has been put forth defending the right to shoulder-hand fired arms without extending it to squad artillery.

car541
March 17, 2005, 02:45 PM
Simple, No restrictions on class III's except the following:

Convicted felons, and persons who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution or found incompetent are banned from possession of a firearm, ever.

dmallind
March 17, 2005, 02:53 PM
For the sake of argument let me further probe a couple of points raised:

1 - if strict constructionism of the BOR is essential so for example taxes and licenses become infirngements, on what specifically Constitutional/BOR grounds do we exclude felons and loonies? I am NOT saying we shouldn't exclude these people, merely asking for reconciliation.

2 - If the "bear" in bear arms is to be applied based on a historical perspective of what would be carried at the time, what does that say to the argument that we should apply the RKBA only to technology available at the time. After all, Jefferson would have had a tough time imagining the GE134 for example. Again - reconciliation is the basis for this question.

Mulliga
March 17, 2005, 02:58 PM
1. Felons can't vote and have all sorts of other restrictions they must follow.

2. Jefferson would have had a hard time imagining the internet. Doesn't mean we should regulate it.

kfranz
March 17, 2005, 03:02 PM
You can't justify excluding felons and loonies based on the BOR. What to do about those that infringe on the rights of others is a matter for another thread.... ;)

RKBA says nothing about technology at the time. At the time, hunting rifles were essentially equivalent to military arms. Being as the 2nd has nothing to do with hunting, it suspect they meant for us to be armed well enough to carry out militia activities.

Farnham
March 17, 2005, 03:06 PM
Anything that could be negligently discharged and kill more than one person with direct effects should be regulated (notice I didn't say restricted). An RPG could do this. A mortar shell could do this. A 155mm HE round could most certainly do this.

An M16A2, M240, or M2 could not, and shouldn't be under any more scrutiny than Grandpa's Thutty-Thutty.

Farnham

jamz
March 17, 2005, 03:11 PM
I guess I'd have to base my answer around the concept of Defense.

Small arms, including full auto stuff, to me, can be used defensively. RPGs and small explosives such can be used defensively too, but sort of borders on being more offensive. A tank or heavy artillery seems to me to be offensive in nature, so my personal "line" would be right around there. THat's the kind of thing that takes a lot of thought though.. I'd listen to arguments of how full auto is offensive not defensive, or how tanks are defensive, not offensive.

-James

dmallind
March 17, 2005, 03:12 PM
Not really arguing, just trying to point out that we have to be careful what logical paths we follow debating the issue. There's a reason things like this haven't been settled by statesmen for centuries so of course it's not going to be settled by the internet masses on a quiet Thursday afternoon.

It's all too easy - god knows I've done it plenty - to use arguments to defend our own opinions, rights etc when we are not willing to apply those same arguments to others. If we are to have absolutely no restrictions, tracing, licensing etc placed on our gun ownership, how can we, with intellectual honesty at least, say there should be any restrictions, tracing, licensing etc of those nice fellas down at the local Islamist (note I said Islamist not Islamic - I'm not impugning all Muslims) mosque having a full arsenal of miniguns? How many of us are comfortable with that scenario? But on what legal and Constitutional grounds could we differentiate?

Universalization principle - that's the real bugger of legal and moral philosophy.

Edit - I concur with the concepts of Jamz and Farnham - they expressed what I wanted to in my first post in this thread far more pithily than I can. Sorry - Hemingway I ain't. Except for the drinking that is :evil:

rritter
March 17, 2005, 03:22 PM
I would draw the line at the WMD level - no privately owned biological or nuclear weapons. Of course, chemical weapons are so easy to make that it would be impossible to ban private ownership of them. Remember that in our past, there was no limitation. People (rich people, admittedly, but private citizens nonetheless) owned artillery and warships. The opening battles of the Revolution, at Lexington and Concord, were the result of the British commander trying to confiscate privately-owned artillery (cannon and powder). In the War of 1812, private warships acted as commerce raiders against the British.

I'm willing to disarm felons because, by voluntarily committing a heinous crime, they have stepped outside the boundaries of society. Since they've demonstrated that they are a danger to the rest of us, I'm willing to abridge their rights for a while. I also think that once a felon has shown a willingness to re-enter society, those rights should be restored. This would require, for example, that he served the full sentence (including any probation or parole), and stayed out of serious trouble for five years after. This would also require that society stop making relatively minor crimes into felonies. Only violent crimes and, maybe, major thefts should result in the loss of such fundamental rights. Having a piece of steel tubing cut 1/2 inch too short, or failure to pay a tax, should not be felonies.

kfranz
March 17, 2005, 03:24 PM
Not really arguing, just trying to point out that we have to be careful what logical paths we follow debating the issue. There's a reason things like this haven't been settled by statesmen for centuries so of course it's not going to be settled by the internet masses on a quiet Thursday afternoon.

You are right that it won't be solved. We don't have to be careful when seeking the truth and what's right, but we must be prepared to deal with our findings.

It's all too easy - god knows I've done it plenty - to use arguments to defend our own opinions, rights etc when we are not willing to apply those same arguments to others. If we are to have absolutely no restrictions, tracing, licensing etc placed on our gun ownership, how can we, with intellectual honesty at least, say there should be any restrictions, tracing, licensing etc of those nice fellas down at the local Islamist (note I said Islamist not Islamic - I'm not impugning all Muslims) mosque having a full arsenal of miniguns? How many of us are comfortable with that scenario? But on what legal and Constitutional grounds could we differentiate?

My(your, anybody elses) comfort(security) level has nothing to do with freedom...

Universalization principle - that's the real bugger of legal and moral philosophy.

rriter, well said.

gibb74
March 17, 2005, 04:51 PM
bring I on all of it, exept wepons of mass destrution. I is in my opinion that some day we (Ameriacains)are all going to have to fight for are freadom on this contenent (history tends to repeat it self ). The more guns knifes bombs ect.ect. that we have the better we will do.



PS. history does repeat itself. And for those of you that think you are safe may I remind you of nine eleven.

DesertEagle613
March 17, 2005, 05:40 PM
My personal definition: any weapons that can be issued to a standard infantryman, should be allowed to private citizens as a matter of course.

This would probably exclude things like mortars, but I suppose you could argue that tax stamps and such let you extend the limits. After all, we used to own warships...

Control Group
March 17, 2005, 06:15 PM
I don't know that it's pathological to think that there isn't a line beyond which the weapons should be banned from possession by citizens. Certainly, there's a gut reaction that it ought to be illegal for just some guy on the street to build an ICBM. But, really, why? The argument, of course, is that there's no possible reason he needs that item...but then, that argument is bogus when used against muskets, I don't believe it holds water here.

The only line I can see drawing that makes sense when universally applied is that it is illegal to own any weapon the use of which is universally illegal. Since there is no set of circumstances under which a citizen can legally launch an ICBM, then there is no reason not to ban the ICBM. This would also cover the possession of all so-called WMDs.

On the other hand, once that line is drawn, now you can justify banning categories of gun by making, say, full-auto fire universally illegal. If you cannot use it legally, why should you own it?

On still another hand (who knew I had three of them?), what, exactly, are we trying to prevent? It's been obviously and painfully demonstrated that gun control, security controls, bans on various classes of weapons, et cetera have been unable to prevent a determined group of men from fairly easily killing thousands of people at once. So what has a ban on nuclear weapons actually accomplished?

Besides, isn't it a relatively common fear that terrorists will smuggle a suitcase nuke into the country and detonate it? If we already accept that this can happen, and have a general consensus that we can't really stop it, again, what has a ban on nuclear weapons actually accomplished?

The more I think about the issue, the more I think the only real effect restrictions on weapons ownership has is on the public perception of their own safety. If people knew that the guy next door could have a nuke, if he could afford the raw materials, the engineering, the machinery, etc., then they'd be forced to think about the fact that nuclear missiles exist at all. This would be damaging to their perception of being safe because the government/police/whomever protects them.

On a slight tangent, one of the reasons I believe this is because of a conversation I had with a friend of mine a couple years ago. She's my age (27, 25 at the time), and I made some comment about how different life must have seemed prior to 1945, when everyone knew that the world wasn't going to end tomorrow. As opposed, of course, to now, when everyone my age has grown up knowing that it's possible - however unlikely - for someone, somewhere, to hit a few buttons and cause the world to effectively end twenty minutes later. She gave me an almost unbelievably blank look: she had no idea what I was talking about. And this was neither an unintelligent or uneducated woman. It just wasn't something she had ever thought about. It's that sort of psychological security that regulation of weaponry creates and maintains. I'm unconvinced that it accomplishes anything else.

In any event, if the goal of the second, as so many on here accept, is to guarantee the citizenry the ability to defend themselves against a tyrannical government, then it naturally follows that the second covers all weapons which the government may have access to. The whole idea is that the citizenry is at least as well-armed as the government, so that the government must always be careful of crossing the line.

Zak Smith
March 17, 2005, 07:33 PM
No Line.

Excerpts from this thread--

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=76377&highlight=line+drawn

If the purpose of the 2A is to protect "the security of a free State" or

The 2A has NOTHING to do with hunting OR target shooting. It has to do with protecting a free republic against the rise of tyranny. It has to do with patriots being well armed enough to threaten to kill dictators and their henchmen before they can take power. Period.
as Travis McGee said ( http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=75974 ),

... THEN ...


Certainly anything useful for personal defense is also useful for state defense. But there are weapons that are arguably not particularly useful for personal defense which are essential for state defense.

If we care about "state defense" as much or more than personal defense - and remembr it was emphasized in the 2A as a justification for - then the line should be drawn not at the weapons useful for only personal defense, but to include the weapons suited for state defense.


Q1. If a man is walking down the street pointing a rifle at each person he passes, do you have to wait until he shoots someone to stop him, using force?

A1. Obviously: No. His actions actively put others in immediate danger of death or great bodily injury.

Q2. If I live on a 10,000 acre ranch in the middle of the high plains, and I want to have 2000lb bombs in my barn, shouldn't I be able to?

A2. I think yes - those bombs are not putting anyone else in danger besides maybe myself, and the principle of freedom should prevail.

These two cases illustrate the distinction between drawing a line in the sand for all circumstances - a line specific to weapons - and working off the principle that a person should be free to do what he wants as long as he doesn't hurt someone else, or put them in immediate danger.

We shouldn't say that "The cost to society for X is too high in all circumstances". This is innaccurate because all circumstances are not equal. To make an analogy, it would be like saying nobody should be able to go over 65 mph on a private racetrack because too many people drive drunk on the freeway.

Furthermore, "the cost to society" is not defined. What is the cost in relation to? Who is the cost imposed on? How are the benefits taken into account? This leads to a utilitarian conclusion which guarantees no individual rights.

Instead, we should start with the principle of freedom and then ask, "Does allowing X in this specific circumstance put anybody in immediate danger?"

Following this criteria, no weapons are proscribed out of hand. Note that all small arms and most crew served weapons fall into the "does not pose immediate danger to others" category, even if stored in my suburban garage. WMD's would definitely fall into the "danger" category if stored incorrectly. Please note that we currently allow private corporations to have all manner of deadly chemicals and biological agents, but only if they can ensure they are safely handled and stored.

I don't know how to state it any more clearly than this: You are free to do whatever you want as long as it doesn't hurt others or put them in direct immediate danger. This goes for weapons, propane, driving, burning leaves - whatever.

For example, as others have mentioned, the propane tank in my backyard is a huge energy store. If it were to explode, it would surely harm my neighbors. However, as long as the propane is contained in a properly designed container and left alone, it is safe. Thus, it is allowed. However, if I were to start a bonfire under the tank, that action is directly putting my neighbors in immediate danger and they have legitimate cause to use force to stop me and put out the fire.

I went on to discuss small arms. All small arms are mechanically inert and require significant operations to discharge. Regardless of how destructive the projectile (automatic grenade launchers included), they do not just "go off." Thus, they are allowed since I can store it in my garage and it poses no more threat than the propane tank in my backyard. However, if I were to put a bunch of monkeys in the garage with the loaded grenade launcher, I've now created a direct threat to my neighbors and they can stop me.

Hopefully these additional examples help understanding. One of my points it that there ought not be a "line in the sand", as we normally put it. We should follow the general principle named in my first paragraph.

Wiley
March 17, 2005, 08:54 PM
In response to a previous post (I came in late):

Jefferson would have had little trouble understanding a GE134 or the internet and Franklin would have suggested improvements to both.

For who feel that anything more than a rifle is beyond the 2A, I suggest they investigate the Chatham Artillery Co. in Savanah GA. The short discription: a artillery company of pre-Reveloutionary war period, owned, funded and operated by PRIVATE CITIZENS.

As a side note they also developed 'Chatham Artillery Punch' a drink that can be more deadly than the cannon.

Mr. Kook
March 17, 2005, 09:17 PM
"A militia being necessary to the preservation of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

The militia being the whole of the able bodied members of a free state, the only limitation that can be placed on the weapons a person may own are to say that a person may not own those weapons that are not suitable for individual use in a militia. That is to say permittance can be found within the second ammendment to prohibit private ownership of fighting vehicles, guided missile systems, WMDs, and other weapons that are not suitable for a soldier working alone to carry and fight with.

However, machine guns, large caliber rifles, shotguns and rifles of any barrel length and configuration, pistols, grenades, shoulder launched and carryable rocket/missile launcher, and any other weapon and its ammunition that are suitable for use by a militiaman or other individual soldier is protected by the second ammendment.

That's the line.

Wedge
March 17, 2005, 09:22 PM
Regulating tools is pointless.

Standing Wolf
March 17, 2005, 10:29 PM
Let's go back to the Second Amendment and skip all the rest of the rules, regulations, prohibitions, et cetera. I'd be extremely surprised if we were to encounter even 2% of the problems we already have.

Laws don't prevent crime: they just make it legally possible to throw criminals in jails and prisons.

Clean97GTI
March 19, 2005, 01:20 AM
My line in the sand is drawn when it comes to weapons designed to kill multiple people with one action.

For example, cluster bombs, nuclear/bio/chem weapons, LARGE bombs should be prohibited. Basically WMDs and large conventional munitions.

EVERYTHING else should be available at my local gun store. I should be able to make a "technical" complete with a ma-deuce and gun ports for my AK-47 (the real deal...wit da' switch) equipped militia members.

If you enjoyed reading about "Gun debate question" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!