On Gun Control, Everyone Is Wrong

Discussion in 'In the News' started by Malum Prohibitum, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    http://159.54.226.83/apps/pbcs.dll/arti ... 31005/1049

    By Eugene Robinson

    April 2, 2007

    WASHINGTON — Here’s an issue on which everybody is more wrong than right, including me.

    I try not to think too hard about gun control, because when I head down that road I always end up somewhere I didn’t really want to go. My starting point is that I’m in favor of sanity and opposed to needless bloodshed, so having tough laws to restrict the availability of firearms — especially handguns — should be a no-brainer.

    Think of all the husband-and-wife arguments, the road-rage showdowns, the workplace disputes, the high-school beefs that by all rights should end in embarrassment, hurt feelings, maybe a scuffle or an amateurish punch — but instead end with a funeral, simply because there was a gun close at hand when tempers boiled over.

    Guns do kill people — roughly 30,000 a year in the United States, including both homicides and suicides. Handguns are the principal menace (most people are more responsible with long guns than Dick Cheney). In England and Wales, where handgun ownership is prohibited, in 2005-06 there were only 46 homicides in which firearms were used. Strict handgun control laws have to be the right policy.

    But here’s where I begin to wander off the reservation. These days, I don’t get as hung up as I used to on whether the government should have a monopoly on the instruments of deadly force. This is no backwoods survivalist talking, just an African-American who grew up in the South at a time when the people in uniform were often the bad guys, and when having a pistol or a shotgun to brandish saved a lot of black people’s lives. That time is gone, though, and quelling the horrific black-on-black violence of today is so urgent that I can look past the history lesson.

    Then, however, I get snagged by the wording of the Second Amendment. It’s obvious to me that the Constitution has to be a living document and that inferences have to be drawn from it to accommodate changing times — the right to privacy, for example, that Justice Harry Blackmun found to justify Roe v. Wade.

    But, um, it’s pretty hard to infer the polar opposite of what the document says. And I know courts have ruled in the past that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms†is a collective right belonging to the states, but I’ve never been able to figure why the Founders would give a collective right such prominence in what is otherwise a charter of individual rights and freedoms.

    Two judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia couldn’t figure it out either, and so ago they voided the city of Washington’s 30-year-old law prohibiting private citizens from possessing handguns.

    The judges might well have been right on the law and the Constitution. But they were wrong to take a valuable tool away from law enforcement — the power to lock up a bad guy just for having a gun — in a city plagued by violent crime. And they were wrong to use such sweeping language, inviting review by the Supreme Court.

    You can almost hear the ultra-conservative justices sharpening their quill pens and rustling their parchments.

    Angry city officials are right to howl in protest about the appeals court’s ruling, and they’re right to worry that allowing people to legally own handguns will boost the body count and endanger police officers. They’re right to warn that law-abiding citizens who buy guns for protection are more likely to shoot themselves or each other than any criminal.

    But it’s wrong to ignore the reality that D.C. criminals have no trouble getting guns in Virginia or Maryland — or, for that matter, right down the block. When does a day go by without some kind of shooting in Washington? Officials are wrong to ignore the fact that in the city’s toughest neighborhoods, many people feel the police cannot or will not protect them, so they want some firepower of their own.

    And those law-abiding citizens are wrong to think that somehow, when the moment comes, they will be able to correctly make split-second, life-or-death decisions that even experienced police officers sometimes get wrong. Someone is surely going to kill a brother, mistaking him for a robber. Someone is going to fail to notice that a child has wandered into the line of fire.

    But citizens are right to demand that the law be more effective in taking guns out of the hands of criminals.

    Eugene Robinson is a columnist for The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071. Send e-mail to eugenerobinson@washpost.com.
     
  2. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    [​IMG]

    "I was against the guns before I was for them."
     

  3. pro2am

    pro2am New Member

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    Mr. Robinson, my friend, you can't have it both ways.
     
  4. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    These two sentences (one beginning with a conjunction, and, I suppose, technically a third sentence lurking between the dashes) illustrate the difference between Constitution and policy, and a liberal's view of the role of a judge vs. a conservative's view.

    If they are right on the law and the Constitution, then they are right! It is not a judge's job to go against the law and Constitution, even when the result is one with which the judge disagrees (now where is the link to all those sodomy and drug threads . . .)
     
  5. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

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    It would be the same result as the judges found in this case.

    I simply said that the liberty provided in the consititution should be broader than it is read in courts today (state and federal). As in more constricting of government actions, instead of those of the citizen.

    That might be because I am a libertarian and think liberty should trump baseless restrictive laws.
     
  6. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    :righton:
     
  7. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    The problem with this reasoning is that once it is accepted as valid, your enemies can use it, too.

    I rule against you because I am a Democrat, and I hate guns, which trumps archaic notions from dead white male slaveholders.

    Of course, they will not put it so bluntly. They will talk about "penumbras." They will then proceed to emanations from penumbras. If that does not take them far enough, they will proceed to look at what Canada and the European nations are doing, to "inform" them of how the constitution should be viewed in light of the global community.

    :roll:

    "Liberty," in the Fourteenth Amendment, which is the basis for the Court striking down the sodomy laws, is listed only as something of which the government may deprive you, but only after affording you the procedures you are due. Really. Read it for yourself.
    Then put it in the context of the historical and political climate in which it was written and ratified. Keeping and bearing arms made it into the congressional record, but somehow buggering never came up, and yet you insist that this was still intended. In any even, NO rights were granted by this particular phrase, where the word "liberty" appears, much less some general "right" to liberty. Note it also does not grant any "life" or "property." Rather, it is simply a bar to states depriving any of these three things from people who have them - unless the state does so using due process.

    The portion of the 14th Amendment that recognizes rights is the privileges and immunitiues clause, and, to my knowledge, this is the only portion relating to the right to keep and bear arms in the congressional record.

    I think Eugene Robinson hit the nail on the head, unintentionally, of course.
     
  8. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    But is that really a problem if you look at from the point of only expanding liberty and not reducing it?

    No man have ever have too much liberty.


    Their argument of "I hate guns so lets ban them!" doesn't work for what I am advocating. They want to restrict liberty, whereas I only want to expand it.

    And if the situation is viewed in that light I think the argument of "well the other side can use that too." looses steam.
     
  9. merlock

    merlock New Member

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    :bsflag:

    :shakehead: :puke:
     
  10. Dan4010

    Dan4010 New Member

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    FYI

    Safe Storage Gun Laws: Accidental Deaths, Suicides, and Crime
    JOHN R. LOTT Jr.State University of New York - Department of EconomicsJOHN E. WHITLEY University of Adelaide - School of Economics March 29, 2000Yale Law School, Law & Economics Working Paper No. 237

    Abstract: It is frequently assumed that safe storage gun laws reduce accidental gun deaths and total suicides, while the possible impact on crime rates are ignored. However, given existing work on the adverse impact of other safety laws, such as safety caps for storing medicine, even the very plausible assumption of reduced accidental gun deaths cannot be taken for granted. Our paper analyzes both state and county data spanning nearly twenty years, and we find no support that safe storage laws reduce either juvenile accidental gun deaths or suicides. Instead, these storage requirements appear to impair people?s ability to use guns defensively. Because accidental shooters also tend to be the ones most likely to violate the new law, safe storage laws increase violent and property crimes against low risk citizens with no observable offsetting benefit in terms of reduced accidents or suicides. During the first five full years after the passage of the safe storage laws, the group of fifteen states that adopted these laws faced an annual average increase of over 300 more murders, 3,860 more rapes, 24,650 more robberies, and over 25,000 more aggravated assaults. On average, the annual costs borne by victims averaged over $2.6 billion as a result of lost productivity, out-of-pocket expenses, medical bills, and property losses.


    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsB ... r_id=16317

    Confirming More Guns, Less Crime
    JOHN R. LOTT Jr.State University of New York - Department of EconomicsFLORENZ PLASSMANN State University of New York - Department of EconomicsJOHN E. WHITLEY University of Adelaide - School of Economics December 9, 2002

    Abstract: Analyzing county level data for the entire United States from 1977 to 2000, we find annual reductions in murder rates between 1.5 and 2.3 percent for each additional year that a right-to-carry law is in effect. For the first five years that such a law is in effect, the total benefit from reduced crimes usually ranges between about $2 billion and $3 billion per year. Ayres and Donohue have simply misread their own results. Their own most generalized specification that breaks down the impact of the law on a year-by-year basis shows large crime reducing benefits. Virtually none of their claims that their county level hybrid model implies initial significant increases in crime are correct. Overall, the vast majority of their estimates based on data up to 1997 actually demonstrate that right-to-carry laws produce substantial crime reducing benefits. We show that their models also do an extremely poor job of predicting the changes in crime rates after 1997.
     
  11. Foul

    Foul New Member

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    Gun control is hitting your target.

    See...not EVERYONE is wrong.
     
  12. foshizzle

    foshizzle New Member

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    The only gun control I believe in is making sure I pay the rent before I buy more guns.
     
  13. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

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    The way you describe Liberty with due process to me is really no liberty at all. If due process means you can be detained for however long becuase the majoity wanted to pass a law against some group or action they just do not approve of (unless it also conflicts with the bill of rights), then frankly it is only a matter of time before you fall into one of those disapproved groups. Such as being an owner one of those evil black rifles.

    However if due process meant that the LAW they create must have some reason to restrict liberty to be able to be enforced against someone in a court of law, then far fewer laws would be created.

    No, actually this is exactly what I am saying you CANNOT DO if you held liberty to a higher standard. And frankly even with the 2nd, it is exactly what democrats are doing today.

    Holding a person's liberty to a higher standard means that a dem or repub cannot create a law to keep you from carrying because they don't like guns, or don't like gay people, or don't like __________ .
    If the only reason they have is I don't like it or I don't feel good about letting them continue doing it, guess what, they don't get to pass a law restricting it.
     
  14. Macktee

    Macktee New Member

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    But......................



    what about the children?






    Surely, we must take care of the children!!!





    So, why aren't they even mentioned?
     
  15. maddog

    maddog New Member

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    they forgot to teach the child gun safety and how to shoot and give him a gun to protect himself

    God helps them that help themselves
     
  16. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    Speaking of gun control and the children....my ROTC instructor tried to tell everyone in class that they had to use a sling and sandbags when shooting prone....oh! and shooting jackets too.

    I guess it was just by the grace of god that I shot 8s, 9s, and 10s with only a sandbag. Man...to see the look on some of the other students faces when they tried to use a sling while resting their rifles on a sandbag...priceless...

    When he saw that I declined to use the sling and jacket he had us all stop firing and tells the whole class that we really should use it because it helps blah blah blah. After we brought our targets back in he just smiled and without saying a thing went on to the next persons target.
     
  17. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    One thing I just though about is that your argument Malum sounds dangerously close to "Might makes right."

    In that morality and justice is really just a standard set by the majority. That is unless it is something that is expressly written in the BoR.


    ok...I have to get back to studying.. my brain is about to give out from all the caffeine in my system and I'm not even sure the above makes sense. I'll probably have to come back and fix this tomorrow after my tests. :?
     
  18. lsu_nonleg

    lsu_nonleg New Member

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    I have made much the same point to everyone I get into a political discussion with. Each party must be careful what they wish for:

    1)Giving (R) the power to ban Sunday alcohol sales logically gives (D) the power to ban Sunday ammo sales

    etc. Teaching the "Bible" in school is an invitation to use the same ability in order to use an Michael Moore novel as a historical text of the 1980s manufacturing era (Calm down. Reeeealy not meaning to get anything started on that subject. Seriously, just an example of some impact.)

    It's easier to be intellectually honest and have a much more defensible position if you simply call yourself a strict constructionist rather than a libertarian (at least for the federal level). That gets you 90% of the way. I'm still having a bit of difficulty creating this Constitutional high ground at the state level, but Louisiana does put close to 30 Constitutional Amendments on the ballots in an election cycle.
     
  19. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    No, not for Congress, as its powers are limited to what is authorized, which are mostly 18 things appearing in Art. 1 Sec 8.

    As for state governments, they usually have more authority granted to them in the state constitution.


    If you do not like that, the answer is to reduce the authorized powers given to the state government by amending the constitution, not pretend they are not there or create rights not written in the constitution and pretend those rights are "constitutional." Such actions destroy the constitution as a governing document.
     
  20. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Just keep in mind that being a strict constructionist does not always line up with being a libertarian. For instance, the 16th Amendment flies right in the face of libertarian principles, but the strict constructionist must uphold it until its repeal.

    Of course, just because a power is granted to the state, does not mean the state has to use it. Use libertarian principles to argue for repealing laws and repealing grants of power in the constitution, but do not engage in the constitution detroying tactics that liberals have been using for a century. I believe that to be impeachable.