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June 12, 2004

On Assault Weapons

I note in passing, this diatribe against the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban.

If I were president, I would have the language amended to conform with our own military's assessment of the lethality of the weapons against regular troops if deployed by militias. I think that by now in our Iraqi occupation, we know what's dangerous and what's not. Yes we should keep assault weapons out of the hands of the civilian population.

Gun control is impossible, but it's a good idea. Doesn't the failure to find WMDs prove that? It does to me.

As far as I'm concerned with regard to the right to bear and keep arms for a well-regulated militia, the contingency is fully accounted for by the National Guard and Reserves. If we're going to have a Civil War in this nation, there will be plenty brothers and cousins on the wrong side of the fence with access to National Guard Armories, and plenty of black market trade to supply any American rebellions. There is absolutely no need for citizens to defend themselves from their own government which needs Constitutional protection. Demanding that concession is like requesting unfettered access to 'protest zones'. The Constitution in that regard is a clue, not a guarantee.

The suppression of gun crime is a different matter altogether. I have few ideas on that matter which go beyond the thinking given to any night's episode of 'The Shield'. Street gangs do enough damage with knives and drugs. We're back to the axiom that it's not the gun, it's the sick mind. True.

Just in case you're wondering, I love battlefield sims, cloak and dagger work and all that stuff. Had I a bit more disposable income, I might have become something of a paintball warrior in my youth. I've fired a real gun and I wouldn't mind owning one for the fun of target shooting. But I also hate revolution and I think a lot of militant blowhards are not only full of caca but one eighth as lethal as they think they are. Suppress 'em.

Posted by mbowen at June 12, 2004 11:29 AM

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1. No such "amended language" was needed. Real assault weapons have been regulated to the hilt since the mobster era, and banned outright since the first Bush Administration.

2. There is no RKBA for a "well regulated militia." When in doubt, diagram the sentence. Once clause refers to the necessity of a well regulated militia to the secuirty of a free state. The other refers to the right of "the people" to keep and bear arms.

3. Impossible ideas are dumb ideas, by definition.

4. Disarming the population generally is a really dumb idea, even if it were possible to do so. Guns are used defensively, and successfully, by law-abiding citizens every day.

Posted by: Xrlq at June 12, 2004 02:20 PM

I really like point three. But I'm not so sure about four. I didn't follow the John R. Lott debate, but I think he got completely destroyed by the blogosphere.

If you mean something different than drawing a bead on would be crooks, I might agree with you. I don't think that happens nearly often enough to be the deterrent people might believe.

This reminds me of the time I got caught in a shootout. I think I'll dig that up...

Posted by: Cobb at June 12, 2004 03:56 PM

Some things about Lott - using an assumed name on Internet chat rooms, for example - got destroyed by the blogosphere. Most of his research and Mustard's did not, however, and besides, he's hardly the first or last researcher to look at the gun control issue. Even his detractors, who believe his data does not bear out the "more guns, less crime" maxim, concede that concealed carry has not INCREASED the crime rate; they merely dispute his contention that it has decreased it significantly.

Long before Lott came on the scene, Gary Kleck of U. Florida had already pretty much destroyed any serious arguments that gun control leads to reductions in violent crime. More recently, Gary Mauser of Simon Fraser U. has researched the issue and reached similar conclusions in Canada, Australia and the U.K. Even the notoriously anti-gun Center for Disease Control has concluded that at a minimum, existing research provides no evidence that gun control reduces crime.

In other words, depending on whose studies you choose to believe, gun control is either (1) a complete waste of time and an unnecessary restriction on individual liberty, or (2) much worse than that.

Posted by: Xrlq at June 12, 2004 04:50 PM

Strangely, as someone who's normally to the left of you, I disagree on this one.

"When the people fear the 'government,' that is tyranny. When the 'government' fears the people, that is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

But you're right, of course.. it really doesn't matter whether the government against which the people need protecting 'allows' guns or not. If needs to happen, it'll happen, and the rulebook is moot.

Someone reminded me of this precedent the other day:

"Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience... Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring." -- The Nuremberg Tribunal, 1945-1946.

Posted by: Steve D at June 13, 2004 03:39 PM