Required reading: Essays on Gun Rights


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Baba Louie
September 4, 2007, 08:27 PM
Title says it. What books, articles, links, etc should be on everyones bookshelves, or available somewhere central so that anyone who needs info for a speech, a paper, to use for debate, etc can find it all in one spot? Info like FBI/DOJ/CDC, Interpol, UK, links, anything that provides useful data, facts, history, which is useful for both sides of the gun control issue.

Include opposing points of view as well. (know your enemy, er, opponent as well as you know yourself)
As much as I hate statistics, at times they are useful.

Here's my start, looking at my bookshelf

Author list: (Title)
Snyder, Jeff A NATION OF COWARDS, Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control
Schulman, L. Neil SELF CONTROL, NOT GUN CONTROL
Schulman, L. Neil STOPPING POWER: WHY 70 MILLION AMERICANS OWN GUNS
Kopel, David B. THE SAMURAI, THE MOUNTIE ad THE COWBOY, Should America Adopt the Gun Controls of Other Democracies?
Kopel, David B. GUNS: WHO SHOULD HAVE THEM
Kates, Don B. THE GREAT AMERICAN GUN DEBATE: Essay on Firearms and Violence
Halbrook, Stephen P. THAT EVERY MAN BE ARMED: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right
Kleck, Gary POINT BLANK, Guns and Violence in America
Lott, John R. THE BIAS AGAINST GUNS, Why Almost Everything You’ve Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong
Poe, Richard THE SEVEN MYTHS OF GUN CONTROL, Reclaiming the Truth About Guns, Crime, and the Second Amendment
Adams, Les THE SECOND AMENDMENT PRIMER, A Citizen's Guidebook to the History, Sources, and Authorities for the Constitutional Guarantee of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

As you can see I do not have balance. I am waaaay too heavy in one direction and that's not a good thing. I need some opposing views from some intelligent authors, even if they are based on feelings and safety and emotion. I did recently procure a book on the opposing POV from:
Dr. Earl McDowell AMERICAS GREAT GUN GAME

I need more, I need better. AGGG left out so many important factors... like prohibition, the cause of governmental social engineering that was such a miserable failure and led to much of the murder and crime in the 20's... one of the salient gun control origin points desired by Homer Cummings. It had nothing about racism and gun control... (but that's neither here nor there... or is it?)

What would it take to have the various Gun magazines (slicks) pull together all of their various essays from years gone by and publish a bound book on their staffhead? (and/or even place them online somewhere).

My daughter is a librarian... maybe I can con her into doing some basic research for me and post any results, pro and con, herein. Hmmm. It may be that some type of quick book report on each of the above would help, but then again, a quick search on Amazon or Alibris might be a better use of time. Even if ammunition prices are rising and I'm shooting less and less (isn't that a shame?), I still need ammunition to feed the brain.

Anyone have any other tomes they'd contribute to a list of "required reading"?

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Nolo
September 4, 2007, 08:32 PM
For pro-gun literature, I'd go with alot of the stuff on GunCite.com. I checked their sources and they seemed legit.
Also, A World Without Guns (by Dave Kopel, I think) is a great essay on logically thinking about the issue.
Get a good resource for the relevant quotes from the Federalist Papers. Apparently, the founders didn't make their language clear enough in the Second Amendment. :rolleyes:

RPCVYemen
September 4, 2007, 10:14 PM
Some of the discussion we have had on THR have also come down to questions of values and pacifism. Here are a few titles that will explain/introduce [mostly Christian] pacifism.

Fox, George Journal
Almost any of the early Quaker journal would include examples of people who were willing to die rather than respond with force or violence. The classic there would be the Journal of George Fox. I think that Rufus Jones published an edition called "The Autobiography of George Fox."

http://www.strecorsoc.org/gfox/title.html

Barclay, Robert. An Apology for the True Christian Divinity.

http://www.qhpress.org/texts/barclay/apology/

Dymond, Jonathan An Inquiry Into The Accordancy of War with he Principles of Christianity.

http://www.qhpress.org/texts/dymond/index.html

Tolstoy, Leo The Kingdom of God is Within You

Leo Tolstoy published a defense of Christain pacifism. "The Kingdom of God is Within You" - it evidently was important in the development of Ghandi's pacifism, and in nonviolent resistance worldwide:

It is the culmination of thirty years of Tolstoy's Christian thinking, and lays out a new organization for society based on a literal Christian interpretation. Such an argument supposes that when Christ says to turn the other cheek, he means exactly that, and is not bounded by any complicated sophistries or esoteric meanings.

In 1908 Tolstoy wrote, and Gandhi read, A Letter to a Hindu, which outlines the notion that only by using love as a weapon through passive resistance could the native Indian people overthrow the colonial British Empire. This idea ultimately came to fruition through Gandhi's organization of nationwide non-violent strikes and protests during the years circa 1918-1947.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kingdom_of_God_is_Within_You

There has been a pretty constant stream of Catholic pacifists, "Pax Christi" might be able to get you a list of Christian pacifist literature.

http://www.paxchristiusa.org/

Criticism of Inalienable Rights

If you look at the Wikipedia article on "inalienable rights", you will find a lit of philosophers who dismissed the notion of "inalienable rights" as more or less bunk. Edmund Burke I have heard of, Jeremy Bentham I have not heard of.

Different theories about interpretations of the constitution.

Your daughter the librarian should be able to help you find books that offer alternative theories of constitutional interpretation. There have been a number of theories about how to interpret the Constitution over the years, Originalism, Strict Constructionism, Pragamatism, etc. I dont' recall all of these, but the sort of "What was then intent of [some of] the Founding Fathers?" debates reflect only one theory of interpretation.

Textualist: An originalist who gives primary weight to the text and structure of the Constitution. Textualists often are skeptical of the ability of judges to determine collective "intent."

Intentionalist: An originalist who gives primary weight to the intentions of framers, members of proposing bodies, and ratifiers.

Pragmatist: A non-originalist who gives substantial weight to judicial precedent or the consequences of alternative interpretations, so as to sometimes favor a decision "wrong" on originalist terms because it promotes stability or in some other way promotes the public good.

Natural Law Theorist: A person who believes that higher moral law ought to trump inconsistent positive law.

Mike

Juna
September 4, 2007, 10:20 PM
Great list. I'll have to get some of those.

With respect to pacifism and the Bible, etc. there was a fantastic article in America's First Freedom (an NRA magazine) a few months back about how Jesus didn't advocate being a doormat by saying, "Turn the other cheek," as most seem to believe. It gives a really nice and objective view of how self-defense is actually supported in the Bible. It's really quite interesting. You should check it out, even if you're not Christian. It gives a fair amount of evidence to support the pro-self-defense view.

RPCVYemen
September 4, 2007, 10:39 PM
With respect to pacifism and the Bible, etc. there was a fantastic article in America's First Freedom (an NRA magazine) a few months back about how Jesus didn't advocate being a doormat by saying, "Turn the other cheek," as most seem to believe.

I am not a Christian, so I am not competent to judge what he said - nor do I live by what he said. [But I got to tell you as an outside observer, I think the pacifists clearly win the battle over the meaning of the meaning of "turn the other cheek".]

I also didn't list any books that - to my knowledge - advocate "being a doormat". Most advocate strenuous nonviolent resistance, strenuous to the point of death. Fox did, don't recall Tolstoy, pretty sure that Pax Christi does.

At any rate, I wasn't arguing that any of the works listed represented my thoughts, or were true. My list was really in response to Baba Louie's original question:

Include opposing points of view as well. (know your enemy, er, opponent as well as you know yourself)

I mainly listed books that I considered to have principled and reasonable positions in opposition to RKBA, because I think that's what Baba Louie was asking for.

Mike

Baba Louie
September 4, 2007, 10:58 PM
Pacifism is one thing to attempt to understand and discuss when it opposes gun rights. But I really don't want this thread to break down due to anything or anyone stating their creator/ideal/rules of heaven/hell is better than his/hers/theirs/mine/etc.
Trying to stick to rights vs gun/people control knowing that some justify their very being on rules from supernatural powers on high... I'd like to keep focus away from that part of higher moral values that forces everyone to march to the same drummer, as it were.

What got me started again was contrasting McDowell's AGGG to Snyder's Nation of Cowards and Lott's More Guns Less Crime and trying to find fault/flaws in what I was brought up to believe is right. Picking apart the RKBA is difficult (for me) when I've been as indoctrinated as I have over the past 40+ years (as I was brought up in a Pro-Gun "Yellow Dog Democrat" church-goin' family... and I say that with no derogatory connotation) and I find quotes galore from the men who founded this political economic machine we call the USA. As it devolves, I want to make certain that my grandkids (someday) have enough good material to choose their own path, even as I indoctrinate them into Grandpa's line of thought once they learn that shooting is fun, challenging and a great responsibility for free men and women to bear.

Winning thru Pacifism? Not really my style or direction, but it is probably a good thing to be aware of. Personally I'd rather go down fighting if I'm going to go down. How did Gandhi die? (rhetorical)

RPCVYemen
September 5, 2007, 09:41 AM
Winning thru Pacifism? Not really my style or direction, but it is probably a good thing to be aware of. Personally I'd rather go down fighting if I'm going to go down. How did Gandhi die? (rhetorical)

Ghandi died as Ghandi lived. Most people seem to.

I also do not consider myself a pacifist. It strikes me that that there are really two realistic sources of opposition to RKBA in the US. One is the belief that violence is in essence evil or sinful, a position largely derived from or related to pacifism. The other source is a "pragmatic" opposition by folks who are not pacifist, but think that restrictive gun control is good public policy.

I think that if you want to understand anti's well enough to defeat them, then you need a deeper understanding than the caricatures drawn on THR.

I'd like to keep focus away from that part of higher moral values that forces everyone to march to the same drummer, as it were.

I agree.

The books I listed under the pacfism rubric were some more or less classic texts on pacifism from the Western canon. I did not chose books on Christian pacifism because I am Christian - I am not a Christian. I did not choose books on Christian pacifism because I am a pacifist - I am not a pacifist.

I chose books on Christian pacifism because I think that's the major - maybe historical - source of pacifism in the US. I think that it's also not an accident that many of the leaders that crop up in the anti-handgun movement are clergy of various stripes. Many of them will have read and been influenced by at least some of the books I listed.

I don't know much about the "pragmatist" school of gun control advocates. I haven't followed the "stat slinging" battles (on either side) very much. The pro RKBA types have their stats, and we have our stats. Each side produces its own set of studies - with all the honesty and rigor of a drug company selling "erectile dysfunction" drugs on late night TV. :) That kind of debate bores me. Someone else can probably come up with a better set of those books than I can.

Mike

Baba Louie
September 5, 2007, 11:55 AM
Gandhi's last assassination attempt (5 out of 6 near misses) proved fatal.

Here's a bit from a Jeff Snyder essay titled "Safety" is not even worthy of our consideration as an issue (American Handgunner, Nov/Dec 2001 issue)
... Curiously, safety was not deemed to be Man's Highest Value, nor its creation Government's Principle Service, by the Founding Fathers.
...
Possibly, to the Founders, the idea that anyone could think safety preferable to liberty was so craven, so repugnant, that it was, for the most part, unthinkable and unworthy of comment. Sadly, it has fallen to our lot to consider this, because we are not the men the Founders were: what was repugnant to them has become precisely what allures us.
...
As such, the pursuit of "safety" as a principle goal of government indicates an essential, if not pathological, passivity in the citizenry, indicating that they view themselves as "recipients," and not actors, even in a matter that concerns the preservation of their very lives.
Such a world outlook can arise only in one who has abandoned the idea that his safety is his responsibility, for if he produces it himself, and it is his responsibility, he does not believe it is to be created for or provided to him by others, who are supposed to arrange external reality for him to make it nonthreatening.
Later in the essay Mr. Snyder writes,
Only justice, and not safety, is consistent with liberty, because safety can be secured only by prior restraint and punishment of the innocent, while justice begins with liberty and the concomitant presumption of innocence and imposes punishment only after the fact.
The two cannot be combined in a system that "balances" safety and liberty, for they are completely incompatible with one another.
Any attempt to introduce the pursuit of safety into a system of justice founded on liberty must inevitably lead to the destruction of the latter, as the continual erosion of the Bill of Rights in the name of safety amply demonstrates. The Founders evidently instinctively knew this, knew that there is no liberty in safety, and no justice without liberty. They chose accordingly.
And we have chosen otherwise.

I must concur with Mr. Snyder's thought and words (wish I could write like that, let alone think in those terms) but would love to read well thought out oppositional writings from someone as eloquent as Mr. Snyder, if they exist. Maybe something European or Asian, or as RPCVYemen suggests, maybe Tolstoy's writing on the subject.

Gator
September 5, 2007, 12:52 PM
Even Ghandi had his limits:

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

RPCVYemen
September 5, 2007, 02:30 PM
Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.

If you read the quote in the context in which Ghandi wrote it, I think that you will find that it's not an RKBA argument at all. Ghandi is not arguing that the "blackness" is due to depriving the Indian people of an inalienable right. Ghandi ii objecting to the implication the that native Indians were somehow more "instinctively violent" than the British race.

Mike

Gator
September 5, 2007, 03:47 PM
You mean this?

GANDHI: An autobiography. The story of my experiments with Truth.
Page 446, on which Gandhi is relating his struggles raising volunteers to fight for the Crown in World War I:

"I used to issue leaflets asking people to enlist as recruits. One of the arguments I had used was distasteful to the Commissioner: '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. If we want the Arms Act to be repealed, if we want to learn the use of arms, here is a golden opportunity. If the middle classes render voluntary help to Government in the hour of its trial, distrust will disappear, and the ban on possessing arms will be withdrawn.' The Commissioner reffered to this and said that he appreciated my presence in the conference in spite of the differences between us. And I had to justify my standpoint as courteously as I could."

RPCVYemen
September 5, 2007, 04:20 PM
I stand corrected. Your quote is in fact correct. I had found it in a different context with a web search. That context may have been manufactured - your quote is correct.

Gator
September 5, 2007, 09:11 PM
Nice of you to say that.

Cheers! http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/Galt38/cheers.gif

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