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Friday, 03 June 2005

Comments

j.d.

Hate to nitpick, but the name of my site is just "evolution". Blame whoever registered "www.evolution.com" for my goofy domain name. :)

[ed note: FIXED! Sorry.]

Great job. And I WILL remember to bring the camera to the range next time.

docjim505

"How much gun control is enough, and how much is too much? Where do you draw the line between 'common sense' gun control for the safety of the public and an unconstitutional abridgment of the right to keep and bear arms?"

I've become increasingly libertarian in my advancing years, and my general feeling is that it is wrong for the government to arbitrarily take away a citizen's rights unless and until he's committed some crime. Further, the Founders plainly intended that the people be well armed to offset the power of a standing army. Therefore, I believe that citizens ought to have the right to own any and all weapons short of NBC weapons and explosives (which includes landmines, artillery pieces, explosive cannon shells, missiles and rockets). The only reason I exclude these categories is that an accident endangers too many people. Natch, those with a legitimate use for explosives can go through the proper licensing authorities and get what they need.

The other side of this liberty is the responsibility to store, handle and use such weapons safely. If somebody commits a crime with a weapon, ESPECIALLY if they commit murder, rape, or some other type of mayhem, then they ought to be punished VERY severely. It's also incumbent upon the gun owner to take prudent precautions to keep his firearms out of reach of children, though I'd have to ponder what (if any) penalties should be applied if a child gets a gun and a tragedy follows.

Our current laws are bass-ackward from this. The rights of law abiding citizens are curtailed, but felons often commit multiple violent crimes between brief stints in our revolving door prison system.

My view is that there ought to be no second chance with violent crimes: for murder or forcible rape, the penalty should be either life in prison without parole or death. Criminals convicted of lesser violent crimes should also be punished harshly, with long prison terms without the possibility of parole until at least ten years of the sentence have been served.

Need I say that I think prisons should be tougher? Either the criminals should be locked up in places like "Super-max" where they don't have much chance to cause mischief, or bring back the chain gangs and let the hoodlums spend the rest of their lives doing swamp reclamation or pounding rocks.

Man, I've turned into a mean, bitter SOB!

BTW, I just started blogging, and my second post was about the virtues (or lack thereof) of a 9mm handgun for personal defense.

http://docjim505.typepad.com/second_opinion/2005/05/9mm_for_persona.html#trackback

McClain

Nuclear weapons count as "arms."
I'm not OK with private citizens owning nuclear weapons.
If that's the start of a slippery slope, then we'll just have to dig a big ol' ditch a little ways further down that slippery slope.

big dirigible

In the early days of the Republic it was routine for private citizens to own the most powerful weapons of the day. And a good thing too - consider the privateer fleets which caused Britain so much grief during the War of 1812. No licensing needed, either. (A license - a privateering commission or a Letter of Marque - was needed to legally seize British ships, or demand tribute from British towns, but no license was needed for the artillery itself). Note that a narrow interpretation of the 2nd Amendment's phrase "bear arms" would not cover ship-borne ordnance, implying that a narrow interpretation was not what the Framers had in mind.

Were those wild-'n-woolly colonial types really that much more trustworthy than us sensitive modern guys? They could safely handle weapons which could level a seaside town, but we can't? Somehow, I don't think so.

DeputyHeadmistress

I'm also here to sheepishly nitpick- Common Ground blog ought to be 'The Common Room.'

[mea culpa! perhaps I am subconsciously getting my revenge for all the times people link me as Gullyberg? FIXED!]

Thanks for the carnival!

Gullyborg

My take is that the right to bear arms is no weaker than--or stronger than--any other right under the Constitution. All your rights, even your right to live, can be taken from you by the state, but only with DUE PROCESS OF LAW. Criminals who, after conviction in a trial which meets all due process requirements (trial by jury, right to counsel, right to confront witnesses, etc), lose their right to bear arms are, from a Constitutional standpoint, in the same boat as criminals who lose liberty (jail), property (fines), or life (execution).

Contrast this to people who (off the top of my head) lose their right to bear arms because they plead nolo contendre to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in order to receive probation, and subsequently never faced a jury, never had (adequate) legal representation, never confronted witnesses in court, etc. Is that due process of law? Should someone like this be barred from ever again legally owning a firearm? I'd say no.

And before the gun grabbers out there say I'm condoning guns for wife beaters: keep in mind that in my example the accused is accepting a plea deal to avoid trial, and not going to jail. If the DA thinks the accused is an actual threat to society, then why not prosecute? A real trial with a conviction and jail term will bar gun ownership. If the perp is a real threat to his wife, lock him up.

I also think that a bar on gun ownership should be part of a sentencing phase, not merely a result of the sentence. You can commit a crime and go to jail or pay a fine. Sometimes the judge has discretion to sentence one or the other or both. Jail is a loss of liberty. Fines are a loss of property. Both are your rights, taken away by the court as part of your sentence. But loss of one right doesn't necessarily mean loss of the other.

Maybe ALL rights should be adjudicated in this manner. People arrested for certain white collar crimes might appropriately by hit with a big fine, but never serve jail time. Maybe they shouldn't have their gun rights taken away. For that matter, maybe they shouldn't have their voting rights taken away. But under certain circumstances, maybe it should be in the judge's discretion. After all, a judge might have the discretion to sentence a convicted felon from between 1 and 20 years in prison, depending on the facts of the case; why not allow the same broad range of discretion when it comes to things like guns and voting?

So when a judge is getting ready to hand down a sentence, maybe he should have the power to say, for example, "5 years in prison followed by 5 years of probation, and subsequent forfeiture of gun ownership during such probabtion."

What about AFTER the probabtion? After all, if you are no longer such a threat to society that you are no longer required to be on probation, why shouldn't you have a gun? If the thought of you owning a gun at this point makes reasonable people afraid, maybe you should still be on probation!

What about the notion that, once your debt to society is paid, you should be free again? If you have a 1 year jail term, that is one year without your right to liberty. After the year, your right to liberty is restored. Should your other rights remain in check?

How about long probationary periods, during which, gun ownership is prohibited? And of course, breaking probabtion should require swift and severe punishment. So if you are on probation and you get caught with a gun, you go back to jail.

If, at the end of your long probation, you have a clean record, why not let you have ALL your rights back?

I'd like to know why the ACLU isn't out there fighting for our gun rights as much as they are fighting for things like the free speech "right" to receive federal funds to subsidize "art" that includes a Virgin Mary covered in feces?

Gullyborg

as for nukes: maybe the best argument is that no one should have them INCLUDING the military? when it comes to the law abiding citizens, I have no problem with them owning military hardware. But should the military (or, perhaps more appropriately, the police) have weaponry that we wouldn't trust a citizen to have?

Now don't get me wrong. I like the notion that our military can blow the crap out of threats to our security. And I like the notion that our police are well-armed to face off against drug cartels and gangs. But would I sleep better at night knowing that the military and police had better firepower than the mass of our law abiding citizens? Think about the picture above of the man staring down the tank. What if he himself had something more powerful than a tank?

besides, the nuke argument is silly. even if private ownership of nukes was allowed, who would be able to get them? It's not like you can buy them at Wal-Mart. And even if you could, the cost of a nuclear weapons program runs in the billions. Most nation-states, let alone people, lack the capacity to produce nukes. Saddam Hussein, a billionaire dictator with unlimited power in his own nation-state, spent decades trying in vain to obtain a nuke.

Go ahead and make a law allowing private law-abiding citizens to own nuclear weapons... I doubt it will be a problem.

junyo

The only real arms limitation that I believe in regards weapons where the individual using that weapon has no real control over all of the destructive pontential of that weapon. Therefore nukes would be out since you can't reasonably claim to control where the fallout would come down. Ditto other WMD type weapons that are more area effect than precision targeted. A country engaged in warfare has on ocasion reason to just blast the crap out of a town and chalk up the colatteral damages to the cost of war; private citizens don't and shouldn't have that luxury when defending themselves against other citizens, even if those citizens are representatives of a repressive government. Outside of that, I think a private citizen should be able to buy whatever they want. I also think that until the government adopts a sensible approach to law, one that doesn't actively seek to create new criminals, and only seeks to make felons of those that are demonstrated dangers to the community, then they (the government) should automatically restore the self defense rights of non-violent "criminals" after they've served their time. Seriously, does anyone think Martha Stewart is a menace to society; yet she's a convicted felon.

proplr

The 2nd Amendment is not about citizens having nukes. It is about the citizens having similar weapons and accessories as current, modern infantry soldiers so that they may muster as a milita. We can argue about the effectiveness of a milita in general, but there is no argument that a milita with shotguns and bolt-action single shot rifles will NOT be as effective as a milita bearing m16s or AKs, yes I mean military weapons. That is what is protected by the 2nd.
Oh, and has anybody noticed that, according to the leftists, you have a right to abortion. A right not found by reading the Constitution or Bill of Rights. But you do not have a right to a gun, a right clearly in the Bill or Rights, because according to them, the 2nd is about the states having the right to guns. Preposturous!
When the Leftists spout that crap they've lost any credibility they may have had. Like the ACLU. What a bunch of pin heads.
Right to abortion but no right to arms. WRONG!

Brad

Where to draw the line?

Types of weapons

Ah Nukes! It always seems to come up one way or another (dialogue from the 1994 cartoon TV show 'The Critic': situation-- slightly loony media giant 'Duke' is running for President. "Can we trust Duke with nuclear weapons?", in reply "Well, we trust him with the ones he has now.").

The point of 1812 privateers is well taken. Warships in the time of the Founding Fathers were the B-52 bombers of their day, and anyone with the money to afford it could own them.

Even so, I am not in favor of unregulated private ownership of nuclear weapons. I'm sure that a there is a reasonable compromise that would ensure public safety while still preserving the right to own nuclear weapons.

Nukes could fall into an NFA plus category! Only instead of the ATF and local law enforcement signing off for your permit you would need the AEC and the State Governor. Careful rules would have to be devised so the AEC and the Governor couldn't abuse their discretion (sort of like 'must issue' rules for CCW), but I think it could be worked out! Odds are the intersection between those who could afford nuclear weapons and those interested in owning them would be pretty small, making the regulatory scheme fairly easy to manage.

Who could own weapons?

I am in favor of laws prohibiting convicted felons from private ownership of firearms. However there must be a fair method for restoration of those rights! That is not currently the case.

And I am well aware of how the anti-gun zealots are trying to squeeze out legitimate ownership with schemes to ever-broaden the categories of prohibited persons. Boilerplate divorce decrees and TRO's, where the affected person may not even be present in court or even aware of the proceedings, which rip away the right to keep and bear arms are a flagrant violation of due process rights.

Rivrdog

For the Second Amendment to mean anything, the citizens not only have to keep and bear arms, they must be ready and capable of serving in a Militia.

The military part of Militia is never discussed, and that gravels me badly. How many of you paper-punchers out there with your finely-tuned Kimber .45s or your IPSA race-guns know the basics of infantry tactics? Even enough to be able to perform as a rifle squad element, not necessarily a squad leader or company-level officer?

How many keep a battle rifle and a sufficient amount of ammunition so as to be useful when a militia is mustered? How about some uniforms, or at least outdoor clothing that you could live in for a month outdoors in any weather your region serves up? Are you trained in providing battlefield first aid? Do you have the supplies for it? Do you have any comm gear that might interface with others' similar gear? Do you even have a pair of boots to slog in?

Are you in sufficiently decent physical condition to be of use in a militia? Or are you going to crap out after or during the first forced march?

There's a lot more to militia than having a pistol or two and being able to punch the holes in the targets when and where you want to, or rallying behind the boys as they chant for concealed carry rights.

At some point, if you are really part of the Militia the Founders envisioned when they wrote the Second Amendment, you have to be able to prove it.

Fine words about the Second and debate on whether we have the right to posess nuclear weapons doesn't cut it, lads. You can be a fighter or you can be a talker.

When the S.H.T.F., we won't need talkers, we'll need fighters. The time to prepare for THAT time is now.

Lone Ranger

The Second Amendment is moot if the populace does not have the WILL to return the government to what our Founding Fathers envisioned. Although our Declaration of Independence says people have not only the right but the duty to overthrow repressive governments, anyone who even expresses the opinion that our government has become repressive is regarded as a right-wing nut-job. If George Washington himself were to return to life, I have no doubt he would lead an armed march on Washington. And he'd be gunned down on Independence Avenue -- if he made it that far. Face it folks, we've been emasculated by a society that thinks we should be kinder and gentler and by politicians who believe their powers are unlimited. Protecting ourselves from our government is no longer a topic of discussion. Next in the sissification of America is condemnation of anyone who thinks we have a right to protect ourselves from criminals. I hope I'm reincarnated as a deer, because eventually, it will become a perverted act to hunt them.

eric

As far as gun ownership and felonies go, The punishment should be proportionate to the crime. If, say, you use a gun to commit a violent felony, then your right to carry should be revoked. You have shown you can't be trusted. For lesser crimes, there should be periods of disarmament, with your right to bear arms being restored contingent on fulfilling your sentence/parole satisfactorially. I'm a big believer in giving people a second chance, and I think that in this, and many other things, America has gone overboard and super-criminalized people who've done their time and should be able to pursue a normal life.

UGUR

hi

I'M turky

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