Gun control.... where does it end?


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natedog
January 12, 2003, 11:00 PM
Let's say that you could dictate gun control laws. I know +90% of us would allow the sale of full auto, suppressors, make the manufacture of hi-capacity magazines legal again, "evil" features on autoloading weapons, and most other laws. But where does it end? Should we allow Joe Schmoe to posess LAW rockets, 105mm Howitzers, Daisy Cutter bombs, Sidewinder Missiles, and other so-called destructive devices ( I know price would make this a moot point for most of us, but still, bear with me)?

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Preacherman
January 12, 2003, 11:08 PM
My take? I'd allow private ownership of any weapon that can be carried, and fired from a standing position, by a single individual, and which fires solid (i.e. non-explosive, non-incendiary) ammunition. These requirements would eliminate crew-served weapons, and would also restrict things like cannon, etc. that can't be carried, or fired from a standing position.

Mike Irwin
January 12, 2003, 11:12 PM
They can have my Trident Ballistic Missile Submarine when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Bob Locke
January 12, 2003, 11:26 PM
I'm pretty much with the Preacherman: If it isn't crew-served and not an area of effect weapon, I'd allow it to be in the hands of Joe Public.

Jeff White
January 12, 2003, 11:50 PM
During the early days of the Republic private citizens owned all of the same weapons the government had. The only limit was what you could afford. I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be that way today.

It's not possession..it's the use that should be regulated. As long as you follow the four universal rules with your howitzer or stinger, or MLRS.

Mike,
I wish you hadn't said that..now I have to shop for attack subs and destroyers :D Not that it bothers me that YOU have one...but a prudent man knows that if the good guys have em..so do the bad guys.

Jeff

Jim March
January 13, 2003, 01:52 AM
Emotionally and practically, I'm with Preacherman.

BUT the Constitution does have that interesting clause about Congress being able to write "Letters of Marque and Reprisal". Which is another way of saying they could hire private battleships for military purposes.

Uhhh..."private battleship"?

In 1791, the basic warship was the single most potent piece of military equipment available.

Jim March
January 13, 2003, 01:56 AM
Emotionally and practically, I'm with Preacherman.

BUT the Constitution does have that interesting clause about Congress being able to write "Letters of Marque and Reprisal". Which is another way of saying they could hire private battleships for military purposes.

Uhhh..."private battleship"?

In 1791, the basic warship was the single most potent piece of military equipment available.

Zundfolge
January 13, 2003, 02:05 AM
Frankly I believe according to our constitution, the government has no right to restrict what kinds of arms we own.

So if I can afford it and I want to own an F-16 or an M1 Abrams tank or even a Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier then by God I can own one.


People tend to forget that the constitution doesn't tell the people what they can and can't do (well at least not when it was written) it only tells government what it can and can't do and what restrictions they can place on the people.

labgrade
January 13, 2003, 02:37 AM
Zundfolge

Get's a big A+

The (previously capitalized) consitution doesn't limit us, it limits them.

GhostShooter
January 13, 2003, 10:06 AM
I personally agree with preacherman but I've run into this argument enough. The anti always comes back with, "Well then you're putting restrictions on what arm you can have available. That's all I'm trying to do with reasonable gun control." http://www.stopstart.freeserve.co.uk/smilie/splat.gif So, if it's not all or none how do we justify the in-between?http://www.stopstart.freeserve.co.uk/smilie/xeye.gif

http://www.stopstart.freeserve.co.uk/smilie/2M16.gif

Hkmp5sd
January 13, 2003, 10:27 AM
The intent of the 2nd Amendment is to allow the civilian population to have sufficient arms to overthrough the government if they ignore the Constitution and attempt to create a police state. If we are going to follow the Constitution, the public must have the ability to own the same weapons the government would use against them.

Obviously the framers of the Constitution never imagined some of the weapons our military has developed. But in this case, it is as stated above, it's all or nothing.

When the first gun control law passed the SCOTUS test, the government changed from "the right to keep and bear arms" to "where do we draw the line on the level of gun control we enact." It went from the freedom of choice of the American people to whatever the current political regime considers appropriate.

Edited because I'm too lazy to take typing lessons and screwed up the spelling on a few words.

whoami
January 13, 2003, 01:09 PM
So if I can afford it and I want to own an F-16 or an M1 Abrams tank or even a Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier then by God I can own one.

Sorry....this is just way too far out there for me. I'd say anything that would be certified for foreign military sales is fair game. I don't think I'm too keen about seeing something like a Virginia class missle sub, or the F-22 up for sale.....I'd rather not have sensitive/classified systems/packages for sale on the open markets. Aside from that.....fair game......

dairycreek
January 13, 2003, 01:41 PM
The antis think that "reasonable" is no private citizen having private weapons. The state controls all of that. Remember NAZI Germany? On the other hand "reasonable" to some means that they can have whatever they want - period. Somewhere in between those two extreme points of view is a place were most Americans (pro or anti) can live. How to get there? Well, if you are pro you must fight like ---- to retain you rights and be vigilant when the antis try to impinge upon them. Good shooting:)

Jeff White
January 13, 2003, 02:40 PM
Dairycreek,

I don't give a tinkers darn about what most Americans want. I am prepared to die to defend what the constitution says. Which is pretty broad in it's statements about bearing arms.

We don't live in a democracy, we live in a representative republic and our government and the laws it can impose are limited by the constitution.

Jeff

Drjones
January 13, 2003, 02:49 PM
The (previously capitalized) consitution doesn't limit us, it limits them.

Amen.
Period.
End of story.

I think FAR too many people have forgotten this very basic premise: The Constitution and BOR was written for the good and protection of THE PEOPLE, NOT the Govt.

Wow.

That single point right there is going to change my thinking on a lot of stuff.

Thank you.

G-Raptor
January 13, 2003, 11:55 PM
One interpretation of "keep and bear arms" might conclude that you would be limited to weapons that you can "bear"; i.e. carry. However, in the modern era, that would logically include Stingers, LAWS, and claymores.

If the primary intent of the 2am is to allow the citizenry to oppose the government, then "by rights" the citizens should possess arms comparable to those of the government. In colonial times, the militia was expected to arrive bearing their own weapons, but I don't believe that this included field artillery. A militiaman reported for duty with the same arms as any infantryman of the standing army. As I read history, in times of conflict, the government was intended to provide large arms, such as cannons and ships. There was no prohibition against citizens owning the same, it was just a matter of practical reality.

I'll skip the long explanation, but if I had to draw a line in the sand, Preacherman has picked a good spot to draw it. No crew-served or explosive weapons for civilian use.

BUT

I would include this proviso:

Civilian use mean ALL civilian use. NO agent (agency) of the government, outside of the military, would be allowed to use or possess any weapon that is not available to the general public. In other words, if the FBI gets a M4 shorty, I want one. If the ATF gets a silenced MP5, I want one. They are not the military.

Jeff White
January 14, 2003, 12:15 AM
G-Raptor,

There were privately owned cannon and warships in colonial time. While the ordinary citizen for the most part didn't own them, many companies and businesses did. There were quite a few smaller cannon (usually pedestal mounted) and mortars on merchant ships and flatboats of the day.

So given your criteria, how would you define what's a crew served and what's an individual weapon? M240G from the bipod ok, but if you have the tripod and T&E it's not?

Arms are arms. The cost of modern weapons will do more then the any law to keep them out of private hands. Not even Bill Gates could buy a big enough Air Force to acheive air superiority over Seattle.

No prohibition on what you can own, just like the constitution says. That's how we got where we are today, someone decided that "shall not be infringed" didn't mean machine guns, silencers, short barreled shotguns and explosives. Then they decided that it didn't mean semi automatic weapons made after 13 September 1994 that had two or more of a list of evil features. What's next? Where do you stop? In my book the right to keep and bear arms means just what it says....

Jeff

BTW where in SW Illinois are you? We might be neighbors :cool:

pax
January 14, 2003, 12:33 AM
With genocide.

Oh ... you meant from the other direction.

I dunno. We're a long way from there.

pax

[During the 20th century] … 170 million men, women, and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, or worked to death; buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed, or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens and foreigners. – R. J. Rummel, Death by Government

People never believe in volcanoes until the lava actually overtakes them. – George Santayana

Marshall
January 14, 2003, 01:12 AM
Natedog I don't think it ever ends. It would be pea shooters after that!

Matter of fact, if we just gave the liberals all the things they wanted in life maybe they would die from boredom because they sure don't have anything else in life to do! Then we start over with no liberals! Ah heck, just shoot em and make it a quick death. ROFL

Just kidding on the the shoot em thing!

G-Raptor
January 14, 2003, 01:13 AM
Jeff,

I'm in Fairview, about 15 miles from St. Louie.

As to the other points:

I know there were privately owned cannons, etc. - there was not prohibition against them. I was just referring to the arms owned by the typical citizen, which were equal to that of the typical soldier.

As to "crew-served", I meant to exclude weapons that required more than one guy to carry.

While I do agree on the principal; ie. machine guns, short shotguns, silencers, etc., I beg to differ on one point "arms are not ARMS". Historically, this word "arms" has had two distinct meaning, one referring to "individual weapons" (individual arms) and the other to "weapons of war" (the arms of a nation).

I believe that the founders were referring to individual arms and not "the arms of the nation" when they wrote the 2am. While we have a right to Keep and Bear Arms, private armies (and their associated "weapons of war") are not allowed.

Bill Gates may not be able to gain Air Superiority over Seattle, but it is well within his means to maintain a private military force that could devastate many a small country. I don't think the founders intended that as a "right of the people".

I believe that a distinction between individual arms and "weapons of war" is a valid one and that weapons of war should be limited to the military for the defense of the nation. However, there should be no restrictions on individual arms.

Chris Rhines
January 14, 2003, 01:42 AM
Heh-heh-heh...

Does the phrase, "Blue-light-special on surplus B61 200kt Multistage Nuclear Weapons, Aisle Six!!!" mean anything to y'all? :D

- Chris

ReadyontheRight
January 14, 2003, 12:00 PM
It's not possession..it's the use that should be regulated.

Amen.

ReadyontheRight
January 14, 2003, 12:15 PM
As to "crew-served", I meant to exclude weapons that required more than one guy to carry.

At the time the Constitution/Bill of Rights was written, I've got to believe that individuals, companies and corporations (did they have corporations back then?) owned ships for commerce and that these AMerican ships must have had cannons to defend themselves from pirates, English, etc. These would have been "crew-served", yet unregulated.

Maybe I'm wrong in this. I'm the product of a liberal 70's education and never learned much about American History in school (had to learn it on the streets ya know). Does anyone know of an example of a "private navy" that supported commerce? I would guess that these would be brought into military service for war.

cheygriz
January 14, 2003, 12:27 PM
I think the founding fthers were fairly clear in their writings. From my study of American history, I believe that their idea was that the average citizen should have the right to possess the "standard issue" infantry weapons that were issued to regular soldiers.

I certainly believe that a good citizen should be allowed to possess a M-16 rifle, a M-4, any SMG, etc.

And shouldn't a citizen be allowed to possess ANY WEAPON that a civilian law enforcement agency is allowed to possess?

In other words, the "militia" who just happen to be you and me, should have the right to possess "militia type weapons."

(Just imagine the howling, whining and gnashing of teeth among the liberal nincompoops if good Americans could start ordering M-4s and real AK-74s)

Hutch
January 14, 2003, 01:02 PM
I can't claim that my views are completely supported by the intent of the Founders, or in the Constitution, but draw the line at fission and/or fusion weapons. Come to think of it, I'll draw at any of the "WMD" such as chemical and bio weapons as well, with the exception of personal protection sprays or aerosols.

Owners will (obviously) have to be held strictly accountable for the effects of whatever they deploy. Beyond that, nada.

ctdonath
January 14, 2003, 02:03 PM
I believe that a distinction between individual arms and "weapons of war" is a valid one and that weapons of war should be limited to the military for the defense of the nation. However, there should be no restrictions on individual arms.

There is no such distinction. The Constitution does not recognize such distinction, the writings of the Founding Fathers do not recognize such distinction, portability of arms does not indicate such distinction, wealth does not indicate such distinction, commonality of ownership does not indicate such distinction.

To the contrary, the Founding Fathers intended the defense of the nation be based on the ability of the people to bring themselves and their arms (of all scales) to the fight. While they formed a government-run military, 'tis clear they did so reluctantly to fill in the power gap created by citizens not having the wealth or inclination to own & organize high-end arms.

Seems you don't understand a key point:
THE NATION IS THE PEOPLE.
The only purpose of government is to serve the people in ways which they will not or can not do for themselves.
The point of a free nation is that the people are free, while the government is strictly limited.

biere
January 14, 2003, 02:24 PM
I think something would have to be done to make sure that the nuke in the attic goes somewhere safe when gramps dies, but I feel the people who pay the taxes to the government should have the ability to buy whatever it buys.

If a shipping company wants to buy a battle ship to protect its fleet from pirates, let them.

If billy gates wants an army, he has enough money to have one so he can have one.

There is a quote from a Japenese general I think about not wanting to attack the USA mainland because there will be a rifle behind every blade of grass.

To some extent, I think the government needs to be getting that concept with this war on drugs and terrorism and everything else.

The people of the USA really should understand that they are in charge of protecting the USA. The military should be restricted and the government itself needs to do things for the citizens rather than for itself.

Police have so many military weapons now due to the war on drugs. If the police and druggies can have stuff, I think as a law abiding person who feels heavily taxed that I should have the same options.

I think if the laws on inanimate objects were eliminated, and the court cases against them as well, people would get a clue and the government would realize its power is not omnipotent.

The government's power comes from the people. The people should have the power to handle a government that thinks otherwise.

G-Raptor
January 14, 2003, 07:16 PM
ctdonath,

I do understand the point, very well indeed. However, I avoid the absolutism of saying that we each (individually) have the right to possess any weapon imaginable; i.e. "Come one, come all, get your tactical nukes right here!"

BogBabe
January 14, 2003, 07:50 PM
This seems like a good place to copy and paste one of my favorite articles by one of my favorite writers, the master Vin Suprynowicz. (Source (http://www.nguworld.com/vindex/97/061197vs.htm))

For the record, I agree with every word of this article.

But which arms do we have the right to 'keep and bear'?

M.C. writes, from somewhere on the Atlantic seaboard:

"I have noticed that you have frequently and passionately expressed your support for the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. ... I have tried my usual method of moral analysis to determine the correct position on this issue. However, I find that I am always left with a seeming quandary, and I wanted to solicit your opinion on this difficult question.

"I start with a predisposition in favor of freedom and respect for the literal meaning of the Constitution. This leads inexorably to strong support for the principle of the right to keep and bear arms. However, when I extrapolate from mere handgun ownership up through rifles and automatic weapons and continuing on to mortars, howitzers and field artillery and ending with nuclear weapons, it seems crystal clear to me that a line must drawn somewhere prior to nuclear weapons in this progression. And yet, from a moral perspective, I cannot seem to find the principle that makes it a right to own a pistol yet illegal to possess a cruise missile.

"I assume that you do not advocate the unrestricted right to own weapons of mass destruction. If you do not, perhaps you can explain to me where you draw the line, and why."

I responded:
Thanks for your thoughtful inquiry.

Many gun rights advocates rationalize a line between the weapons which a common foot-soldier can carry into combat, and those which are "crew-served," and thus require the logistical support of a larger group of men to field effectively, such as Howitzers, fighter aircraft, and, yes, nuclear weapons.

Thus, they tell us they believe the Second Amendment grants "the people" the right to own rifles, possibly up to the size of a Browning 30-caliber machine gun, which one person could conceivably carry and use in combat. This argument would also have to "allow" the citizen the use of a small mortar, but not of a wheeled 57-mm gun, etc.

An embarrassed silence usually ensues when you ask about the shoulder-launched, heat-seeking anti-aircraft missile. Clearly, single Afghan "militiamen" used such weapons quite effectively against Russian Hind helicopters, but many folks get queasy about the obvious implication that some kind of "White supremacist Aryan Nation militia nut" might thus be granted the unrestricted right to take aim at any government helicopter that hies into view near his "compound."

The other approach -- common among the savvier Libertarian political candidates, is to sidestep the issue with some kind of dismissive joke, indicating, "I'll be happy when everyone can own a handgun and an M-16; we won't be campaigning on personal ownership of atomic weapons THIS year, ha ha ha."

The problem with both approaches, as usual, if that the attempt to temper, moderate, or compromise the "principle" with whatever seems "pragmatically acceptable," only draws attention to the "fudge factor."

Like you, I don't get it. All such distinctions are arbitrary. In fact, single soldiers -- admittedly not the (start ital)average(end ital) infantryman, but specially-tasked SEALS and the like -- are widely believed to have already carried nuclear devices in their backpacks, on special covert missions overseas. So the whole rationale of what can be "handled by a single man" will shortly collapse.

The main point is this: The federal government has no powers, except those delegated to it by the people. I cannot delegate a power which is not already mine. So how can I delegate to the government the power to build, possess, deploy, yes and even use, nuclear weapons, if I, as an INDIVIDUAL American, do not possess that right, PRIOR to its delegation to government?

(Nor do I fully give up a power, when I delegate it. We each retain the right to make a citizen's arrest of a fleeing felon, even though we generally delegate this job to the police.)

Mr. Madison, and others of the Founders, said the whole idea of maintaining an armed populace is so that any potential tyrant would confront a body of the common folk, able to rise up and field a force BETTER armed and equipped than the federal government. If the 82nd Airborne (under orders from some would-be dictator) descended on your town today, they would have small howitzers, 50-caliber machine guns, Kevlar vests, CS gas with protective masks and suits, and so on. To defeat them, the people would need ready access to the same stuff.

Thus in a PRAGMATIC sense, as well as in principle, individual Americans not only can, but must, possess and be able to quickly and knowledgably use in their own defense, any type of weapon which they can manufacture or purchase.

G-Raptor
January 14, 2003, 10:22 PM
Vin spins a nice line and I agree with him "in theory"; however he ignores a significant practical reality. Both the State and Federal Constitutions were abopted as a compromise between "unrestrained liberty" and a "reasonably ordered society". The constitution enumerates certain limited powers to the government. Among them is the power to wage war in the name of the people. That power grants authority to the government to do things which we as individuals do not have. That is part of the "contract" between "the people" and "the government".

Afghanistan in the midst of a Russian invasion was not an ordered society. They were engaged in open warfare. If we should find ourselves in the same situation, then we too would have Stingers and Howitzers and CS gas at our disposal.

The Constitutions guarantee our individual right to self-defense and our collective right to defend our communities, but IMO, it is not blanket authorization to wage war. It is part of the contract - the government will provide for the common defense.

There is a "layered" defense that is built into the structure of our government to protect the people.

The first layer is the individual who has a right to be armed to defend himself, his family, and his home.

The second layer is the police (and sheriffs) who attempt to deter and capture criminals and quell civil disturbances.

The third layer is the State militia (including the National Guard), which is under the authority of the Governor and stands as a shield to federal oppression as well as foreign invasion.

Finally there is the National Armed Forces, that defend the nations borders and take the fight to the enemies overseas.

The Constitution grants powers to the government for our collective benefit while reserving our individual rights. Under this contract, my right to self defense is not infringed because the government restricts access to nuclear weapons under it's power to wage war.

If the 82nd airborne should descend upon a US city, then it is the right and obligation of the governor to call forth the militia (including the NG) to resist them in the name of the people of the state.

ctdonath
January 15, 2003, 12:42 AM
The problem with the "where to draw the line" discussion is that it succumbs to exactly the same problem anti-gun folks do: blaming the inanimate object instead of the person wielding it.

Just apply basic safety rules (Cooper's Four Rules) to the issue, and the solution will appear. It's not the ownership of guns per se that's the problem, it's the problem of people pointing them at others without good cause. Likewise, it's not the ownership of nukes per se that's the problem it's the problem that (generally speaking) a nuke is inherently "pointed" at everyone within several miles.

Trying to draw a line based on "arms vs. ARMS", "man-portable vs. crew-served", "conventional vs. WMD", etc. is pointless because such an approach is inherently misguided. Drawing the line on safety elegantly solves the problem: if you can own/wield it safely, fine; if you put anyone at risk (including "pointing" it at anyone without due cause), they have the right to disarm you promptly and through forceful means.

ctdonath
January 15, 2003, 12:50 AM
If the 82nd airborne should descend upon a US city, then it is the right and obligation of the governor to call forth the militia (including the NG) to resist them in the name of the people of the state.

With what arms? Isn't the point of your overall argument that the militia - to wit, the people - should not have military weapons?

Remember, the NG is in reality just a part of the same group that would be sending in the 82nd Airborne. The NG bases would have been emptied and shut down, or otherwise unpleasantly mobilized or disabled, in anticipation. Tweak your scenario: the 82nd Airborne descends upon the NG bases, taking over all gov't-owned military arms. NOW who does the governor call out, and with what arms?

The point of the 2nd Amendment is that THE PEOPLE have the right to possess arms suitable for MILITARY use in opposition to invasion or tyrrany. That includes crew-served military arms; the gov't's job is to provide arms which the people do not have the funds or inclination to own.

Bill St. Clair
January 15, 2003, 01:11 AM
The militia needs to be armed at least as well as the army. Jet fighters are out of the practical reach of most militias, but I have no problem with someone rich enough owning one. As far as I'm concerned, every neighborhood should have an anti-aircraft battery and a supply of anti-tank weapons, and the residents should train with them regularly (they should be a "well-regulated" militia). And every home should have at least a battle rifle (FAL, M1A, or similar) and a couple thousand rounds of ammo.

I used to believe that RKBA included nuclear bombs, but I was convinced otherwise by a simple argument. You have a right to own whatever weapons you want as long as you don't point them at me (except in defense of person or property). A nuclear bomb is effectively always pointing at everyone in the blast radius or the fallout region. This restricts ownership of nuclear weapons to people who own large tracts of land in the middle of nowhere.

Drjones
January 15, 2003, 01:42 AM
I used to believe that RKBA included nuclear bombs, but I was convinced otherwise by a simple argument. You have a right to own whatever weapons you want as long as you don't point them at me (except in defense of person or property). A nuclear bomb is effectively always pointing at everyone in the blast radius or the fallout region. This restricts ownership of nuclear weapons to people who own large tracts of land in the middle of nowhere.

I agree, but then doesn't that also include anything explosive?

I believe it was Golgo who, in a similar TFL thread, said that many explosives become more and more unstable as time goes on.

Regardless of stability issues though, C-4, crates of grenades, etc. are all "pointing" at many, many people in an urban area.

ctdonath
January 15, 2003, 09:54 AM
Other explosives have the same area-of-effect concern; the difference is blast radius vs. who is in range. If you can make sure nobody is improperly within the potential blast radius, nobody has the right to disarm you of it. If you're storing it in an apartment building, don't try to store anything bigger than a grenade; if you live in West Nowhere, NV then you can likely store some pretty big stuff safely.

The question isn't what you are "permitted" to own (the 2nd Amendment totally squelches that argument), the question is whether you are improperly putting others at risk, as they have the right to stop you if you do (which includes "pointing" a destructive device at them).

Bill St. Clair
January 15, 2003, 10:06 AM
Well said, ctdonath. I concur.

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