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2005 Year in Review: Second Amendment and Federal Law

For the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the past year was an outstanding one, at the Congressional level. The most significant action, of course, was the passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act, designed to prohibit abusive lawsuits against gun manufacturers and gun stores. (Extended blog entry thereon is here.) The final version contained a few mild gun control items, none of them seriously dangerous.

Congress also enacted several other, less-noticed, laws to protect Second Amendment rights. These were:

An appropriations rider which ends a policy, begun by the Clinton State Department, of implenting an unratified 1997 treaty (the Organization of American States' "Convention Against The Illicit Manufacturing Of And Trafficking In Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, And Other Related Materials") by requiring an export license for delivery to Canada of replacement parts for firearms repair. The exemption applies only to orders of less than $500, and only for some gun components.

An appropriations rider to end an administrative abuse, begun in the Clinton Presidency, by which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE) obstructed the re-importation of American-manufactured firearms on the BATFE's "curios" and "relics" list.

Strenghtening enforcement of federal law requirement that when local law enforcement receives a report of a multiple handgun purchase by an individual, and the individual is legally allowed to purchase such guns, the multiple sales report must be destroyed within 20 days.

Exemption of custom gunsmiths who produce less than 50 guns per year from paying the federal excise tax on firearms manufacturer. In most cases, the tax was already paid for the original gun which is being customized.

Strengthening the armed pilots program by ordering the Department of Homeland Security to consider changes in the pilot training program (which is currently run in a remote, inconvenient location, at inflexible times), requiring the DHS to issue badges to trained pilots, and requiring DHS to implement a pilot program allowing some pilots to carry their guns in places other than the cockpit.
Significant Second Amendment protection issues for Congress in 2006 will likely include repeal of the D.C. ban on handgun possession and on possession of long guns in a condition usable for home defense; prohibiting state or local governments from confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens (as New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish did after Katrina), addressing BATFE abuses, and taking action against United Nations efforts to destroy American gun rights.

Except for the amendments on the Protection of Lawful Commerce bill, no anti-gun legislation was enacted by Congress in 2005.

Alan Gura:
I would hope that "repeal of the D.C. ban on handgun possession and on possession of long guns in a condition usable for home defense" will not be necessary, as these laws should be struck down in Parker v. District of Columbia, D.C. Circuit No. 04-7041. I look forward to arguing the case on the merits sometime in the coming year.

http://www.gurapossessky.com/newsandresources.htm
1.3.2006 6:59pm
Sha_kri:
Has any court ever addressed the issue of where a local gov't has banned handguns?
1.3.2006 7:44pm
Gordon (mail):
Maybe the solution to the DC Handgun ban is not the one left-liberals are often accused of using - whining to the courts, but rather trying to elect new City Councilors and a new Mayor who will overturn the handgun ban.
1.3.2006 7:46pm
Cornellian (mail):
Why would a bill protecting private gun manufacturers from lawsuits by private plaintiffs have anything to do with the Second Amendment?
1.3.2006 8:09pm
mike (mail):
The lawsuit protection means that firearms will continue to be affordable and available. The industry was under attack be agenda driven lawsuits meant to bankrupt anyone to manufactured and sold firearms .... a-la-tobbaco ... a-la- private aircraft manufacturers. Gun makers don't have the revenues of either of these industries, so one big judgement could kill a company. By the way, private aircraft manufacturers have their own lawsuit protection so this isn't new
1.3.2006 8:18pm
Alan Gura:
Sha_kri:
In 1982, the Seventh Circuit upheld a handgun ban under an Illinois state constitutional challenge. They held the Second Amendment was not incorporated against the states, and thus did not apply the Second Amendment, although they went on to write collective-rights dicta. Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove, 695 F.2d 261.

Gordon:
The court does not allow whining and we don't intend to engage in any such activity. However, my clients do have certain rights, regardless of whether those rights are popular in any given election.

Cornellian:
If the lawsuits are intended to make it impossible for people to exercise a Second Amendment right, Congress would have Fourteenth Amendment powers to limit those lawsuits. As it is, however, there is doubtless sufficient commerce clause justification for that act.
1.3.2006 8:22pm
William Spieler (mail) (www):
Gura:

Your contact page on your firm's website is 404.
1.3.2006 8:35pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
If the lawsuits are intended to make it impossible for people to exercise a Second Amendment right, Congress would have Fourteenth Amendment powers to limit those lawsuits. As it is, however, there is doubtless sufficient commerce clause justification for that act.

And why, if the gun manufacturers, through their sales and marketing practices, knowingly insert deadly weapons into the stream of commerce (e.g., selling massive amounts of handguns to dealers located at the on the city limits of Chicago where bulk purchases and admitted strawman purchases are taking place) knowing that they are being sold illegally and will be used for illegal purposes not be held liable for their reckless and wilfully public endangering behavior?

And as much as you whine about your individual right to bear arms, why do you constitutional literalists/strict constructionists/originalists or whatever it is you want to be called always ignore the first thirteen words of the second amendment.

The U.S. has the loosest gun control laws of any industrialized nation. And what do we have to show for it. Our are violent crime rates lower? Do we have a safer or freer society than other similar societies? A lower percentage of the population incarcerated? Not at all. In fact, by all those measures we are at the bottom or near it. Yet, the answer is always we need less, not more, restrictions on the ownership of firearms.
1.3.2006 8:45pm
Sha_kri:
Actually I just read on Becker-Posner blog that crime rates are starting to be below other industrialized nations and have read that other places also.

A percenatge of cars are used to kill and commit illegal acts, as are many other products. Why should gun makers be more accountable than manufacturers of baseball bats? Yes, a baseball bat can be a deadly weapon just as much as a gun can and a percentage of bats will be used in a crime this year.
1.3.2006 8:58pm
Henry Schaffer (mail):
Freder Frederson - are these gun manufacturers selling to anyone other than Federally licensed resellers?



The first 13 words are a motivation and reminder, not a qualification or restriction.

1.3.2006 9:04pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Actually I just read on Becker-Posner blog that crime rates are starting to be below other industrialized nations and have read that other places also.

Certain crimes in certain areas yes (for instance, Britain has a very high property crime rate that may exceed the U.S. rate), but his point was basically bullshit. It is true that crime rates in Europe are rising while they are stabilized or dropping here. But Europe is still much safer than the U.S. And England's violent crime epidemic is traced to a sharp rise in gun violence--which contradicts your entire point that more guns leads to less crime.

As for your point about baseball bats. Say a sporting goods store in a certain neighborhood was selling an inordinate amount of baseball bats. And in that neighborhood the local gang was known to favor baseball bats as their method of intimidation and frequently used them in beatings and even murders. If a baseball bat manufacturer caught wind of the trend and decided to exploit it and started introducing bats in gang colors with names like "The Intimidator", "The Enforcer" and "The Exterminator" and started an ad campaign with slogans like "The perfect bat for a beat down", don't you think their behavior could be considered reckless and negligent and possibly actionable? Does the bat manufacturer deserve Congressional protection for such conduct?
1.3.2006 9:16pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
The first 13 words are a motivation and reminder, not a qualification or restriction.

I say they are a restriction and a qualification, so that only those people in state recognized militia (or law enforcement) that drills not less than one weekend a month and two full weeks a year and can be called to active duty in federal service are covered by the second amendment. So there.

Everyone who wrote the second amendment is dead, so we don't know who is right. And I hope those damn activist conservative judges don't ignore the text of the constitution and "make" laws.
1.3.2006 9:23pm
Sha_kri:
Eliminating the baseball bats wont stop the crime as the gangs would just use another object. You would just make it harder for non-violet people to play baseball. Also, car advertise like that with their 0-60 in so and so seconds and 12 cylinder engines. Would you have everyone driving Kias?
1.3.2006 9:53pm
Sha_kri:
I don't live in Chicago and if I did I would whine about it.
1.3.2006 9:54pm
Alan Gura:
Spieler:

Thanks. That particular page is currently under construction, but other contact information is found throughout the site.

Frederson:
You are misinformed about those first thirteen words. I won't cut and paste the entire brief here -- if you're interested, the argument we made in the District Court can be found here:
http://www.gurapossessky.com/documents/PltfsSJBrief.pdf
1.3.2006 9:56pm
therut (mail):
Freder----Yes we are a more free society. Unfortunately, some areas in this Nation are not as free as others. Your Chicago for example. Not even a can of spray paint much less a handgun. Good Grief. I guess now only the spray paint puffers have spray paint. You will never catch me in that awful place. Number one I would be considered a felon and enemy of the mayor there as I am a free person who lives in a much more free State and town. Sad that in Chicago and a few other States and cities I do not have equal protection of the law nor any 2nd amdendment rights.
1.3.2006 10:21pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Maybe the solution to the DC Handgun ban is not the one left-liberals are often accused of using - whining to the courts, but rather trying to elect new City Councilors and a new Mayor who will overturn the handgun ban.

We're talking a city where, not too many years ago, Mayor Barry won re-election after his conviction by recruiting teams of convicted felons to rally other felons (who in DC can vote) to vote for him. [I personally agreed with him that "the **** set me up" but still....]

Anyone who thinks New Orleans was riddled with corruption and incompetence has never seen DC. The residents, for some reason I cannot understand, seem to accept it. At one point the guy in charge of traffic admitted he was setting up stop signs and stop lights where they were not necessary, because if he tied up traffic more people would use mass transit. The fellow in charge of the fire dept ordered his people to shovel snow off the lawns in front of fire stations (which for some reason offended him) onto the streets, in the belief that cars passing over it would cause it to melt. I once had a complaint against cab driver, and call the bureau handling those for three days ... without anyone picking up the phone.

One of the key cases on "the government will defend you" is Warren v. DC, in which some women called 911 after hearing intruders beat and rape their roommate. The dispatcher said police were on the way ... but only radioed a report of a domestic disturbance. Police responded and left. They called again , and the dispatcher again said help was on the way ... and this time sent no radio call at all. The attackers heard the other roommates, grabbed and raped and sodomized them for 14 hours. They sued. The District finally woke up, and successfully defended on the theory that it had no legal duty to protect, even when its employees had promised to do so.
1.3.2006 10:59pm
Sha_kri:
I know I am probably posting too much in this thread. But also, the Bill of Rights exists to protect the minority from the majority. So arguing that one should elect sympathetic politicians to the stated cause to mot muster.
1.3.2006 11:14pm
CJ:
For '06, I'd like to see 922(r) (Restrictions on importing of "non-sporting" firearms that are legal if manufactured in the USA) die. It's a totally irrational provision as implemented, and all it does is drive up the prices that we consumers pay.
1.3.2006 11:19pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Freder----Yes we are a more free society

How are we a more free society? We are more free because I can buy as many guns as I want and the government doesn't know how many I have? How does that make me more free than a citizen of Great Britain, France, Germany or Sweden?

You are misinformed about those first thirteen words.

Actually, I was being facetious in my extreme interpretation of the 2nd amendment. I realize the argument I made was completely unreasonable. But so is the argument that the 2nd amendment means that the government can not institute some very restrictive gun control laws without running afoul of the 2nd amendment. Those first thirteen words must mean something, otherwise why would they be in the Constitution (many of the more gun-nut state constitution explicitly declare a individual right to bear arms). At the very least, I cannot see how anyone can argue that the 2nd amendment prohibits registration and licensing of firearms.
1.3.2006 11:19pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Anyone who thinks New Orleans was riddled with corruption and incompetence has never seen DC.

As for New Orleans, no wimpy gun control laws down here (that's where I live now), we're armed to the teeth. And we believe in life without parole (its the only kind there is in Louisiana) and the death penalty. Yet last year we had the highest murder rate in the Country, and this year, prior to Katrina, we were on track to have a 12% more murders than 2004. We've only had six since the storm so we actually ended the year with a 20% drop--one good thing about the storm.

And as much as people complain about the supposed failure of DC's gun control law, you are strangely silent about the precipitous drop in violent crime and murder rates in both Chicago and New York, both of which have very strict gun control laws similar to DC's. I guess it is better just to ignore inconvenient facts rather than have to adjust your preconceived notions.
1.3.2006 11:30pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Eliminating the baseball bats wont stop the crime as the gangs would just use another object. You would just make it harder for non-violet people to play baseball. Also, car advertise like that with their 0-60 in so and so seconds and 12 cylinder engines. Would you have everyone driving Kias?

The point is if the manufacturers are deliberately creating conditions or marketing their products to encourage illegal behavior then why should they not be held liable when someone uses the product for that illegal behavior. Cheech Marin went to jail for selling bongs yet you want to shield firearms manufacturers from civil liability who know or should know that their guns are ending up in the hands of criminals and yet don't take reasonable and responsible steps to stop it (e.g., refuse to sell to gun dealers who knowingly sell to strawman purchasers)?
1.3.2006 11:38pm
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Freder: "The point is if the manufacturers are deliberately creating conditions or marketing their products to encourage illegal behavior then why should they not be held liable when someone uses the product for that illegal behavior."

Well, that's a big "if." There is no way to calculate the number of guns necessary to satisfy the demand of legitimate, law-abiding consumers without actually trying to sell as many guns as one can. Moreover, it's not as if decreasing manufactures automatically hits the criminals first. To the contrary, criminals who make a living off of using guns probably have the greatest demand for guns.

I just don't see where you or anyone else has established that gun manufacturers are generally engaged in illicit behavior. It's forseeable and inevitable that whenever you sell a potentially deadly product of any kind, it'll be used to murder people. There's no way to avoid that short of not selling the product.

And if it makes any difference, Cheech should never have gone to jail.
1.4.2006 12:33am
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Also, bringing up Chicago and NYC doesn't prove much at all. If they have enacted any new gun laws recently, I'm unaware of them, and besides, the entire nation has experienced a drop in crime.
1.4.2006 12:36am
Freder Frederson (mail):
Well, that's a big "if." There is no way to calculate the number of guns necessary to satisfy the demand of legitimate, law-abiding consumers without actually trying to sell as many guns as one can. Moreover, it's not as if decreasing manufactures automatically hits the criminals first. To the contrary, criminals who make a living off of using guns probably have the greatest demand for guns.

Actually, its not a big "if". The basis of the Illinois lawsuit that led to the federal legislation started out as a sting operation carried out by the Chicago police. They targeted gun dealers just outside the city limits where they knew strawman purchases were taking place (because of interviews with gang members had revealed that certain dealers would sell ridiculous amounts of guns to people without asking any questions). The cops went into the shops and actually said things "I'm buying this for a friend because he has a record and can't own a gun". The dealer would respond "you shouldn't tell me things like that" and proceed to sell him the gun anyway. They also made bulk purchases and bragged, in front of the gun dealers, how much they were going to make reselling the guns to gangbangers. After all this, the dealers claimed entrapment, and of course the NRA rushed to their defense. That is when the City of Chicago also decided to sue the manufacturers because of the sheer volume of guns these dealers were moving.

If the NRA was not so intent on stopping any reasonable regulation of firearms, then police could actually, through this type of proactive policing prevent firearms from falling into the hands of criminals.
1.4.2006 12:56am
therut (mail):
Freder------Not only are we more free because of the 2nd amendment but we have more first amendment rights. We are on the whole much more free than any European Nation. Espically economically. I will always be on the side of Freedom even those I do not like. The government should be there to protect our rights from the government and criminals. They should not restrict the rights of the law abiding because of criminal behavior of others. They need to go after the gang bangers like they did the mafia back a few decades ago. I'm tired of politicians trying to take away my rights because they do nothing about crime. Fight crime and protect me and my rights.
1.4.2006 1:21am
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Freder: Note that I'm not denying that any gun manufacturers/dealers could ever commit a tort; what I mean is that the general behavior of the industry isn't tortious, and the lawsuits I'm familiar with are eseentially targeting the very operation of the industry.

As for your citation to the Chicago suit, I can't find anything to confirm that the lawsuit was argued as you imply. The arguments I can find are that 1)guns are a public nuisance and 2)the number of guns sold by the defendants was exceeded the demand from law-abiding consumers. Perhaps you could provide a link. Also, do you know why the judge tossed the suit?
1.4.2006 3:00am
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Oh, and considering that the NRA apparently didn't prevent Chicago police from doing exactly what you endorse, why are you blaming them for any failures of gun regulation?

You know, it's fitting that you brought up Cheech. I think the War on Drugs can teach us a lot about what we can expect in a War on Guns. In the end, I sadly do not think there's a whole lot that we can do to keep guns, any more than drugs, out of the hands of criminals.
1.4.2006 3:03am
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Ha! Sorry to keep posting. One more thing--Freder, I read too fast and didn't see the part about the NRA "rushing to their defense." In which case, are you really complaining that anyone would dare successfully aid in the representation of a defendant you don't like? Let's not go down the path of the ACLU-bashers.
1.4.2006 3:12am
Brett Bellmore (mail):
Hey, I don't bash the ACLU because of who they DO defend, I bash them because of that "Civil rights aren't co-extensive with the Bill of Rights" stance they take to avoid admitting that the constitutionally guaranteed liberties they happen to dislike really ARE civil liberties. If they want to pick and chose which of our civil liberties they defend, they can do so honestly, instead of denying the existance of the freedoms they hate.
1.4.2006 6:39am
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Fair enough. I was, of course, referring only to those who despise the ACLU for defending accused terrorists and child molesters.
1.4.2006 7:25am
LINO_watcher (mail) (www):
Mr. Frederson-

And England's violent crime epidemic is traced to a sharp rise in gun violence--which contradicts your entire point that more guns leads to less crime.

You undermine your own argument here. England has a near total gun ban and the criminals are still getting guns. And now the gun-toting criminals can operate with near-total impunity because neither the police or law-abiding citizens are armed. (Although as I understand it they would have to stay away from airports, train stations, etc. because some of those police are now armed.)

So you have a country with a near-total gun ban and what many people had predicted has come true - the criminals became emboldened and the law-abiding citizens have become more vulnerable.

It is true that crime rates in Europe are rising while they are stabilized or dropping here.

Yes, traditionally everyone loved to beat up on the US for its crime rate while ignoring all of the variables that might be responsible for the difference. One of the reasons often suggested was that the diversity in the US - cultural, religious, ethnic, racial, etc. - sometimes made for some "friction" that was expressed in higher crime rates. Strange that with the increase in diversity in Europe through immigration we are now seeing crime rates rise there...... Maybe Americans aren't a bunch of violent cretins, cowboys, rubes, etc. after all.

Of course this shouldn't be taken as a defense of the current administration and the neocons. Some of the world's opinions about the neocons are quite true.
1.4.2006 7:43am
Freder Frederson (mail):
Not only are we more free because of the 2nd amendment but we have more first amendment rights. We are on the whole much more free than any European Nation. Espically economically.

Have you ever lived in Europe, or even visited there? How on earth can you make such a silly statement? Give me one example, other than the ability to possess firearms without having those firearms registered with the state, that the 2nd amendment has made someone more free.

And what on earth do you mean that we are "economically" more free than the Europeans? Because our tax rates are lower and that therefore people of higher incomes have more disposable income in this country than Europe? If the people of Europe don't like their tax and social insurance system they are free to elect new governments to eliminate it.

England has a near total gun ban and the criminals are still getting guns.

Yes, criminals are getting guns in England, but the "epidemic" in England wouldn't even be noticed in this country. It is still incredibly difficult to get guns, either legally or illegally in England.

It is always incredible to me that in this country the problem of firearms in the hands of criminals is treated as though the guns come from magical gun fairy and have no connection to the oversupply of guns among law-abiding citizens. Criminals get their guns from legal purchases, stealing them from law-abiding citizens, or buying them illegally from someone who got them from one of the first two sources.

As for the Chicago case and the sting operation. The results of the sting were effectively quashed, and the criminal charges dismissed, by the courts on procedural grounds before they ever got to court (I think the reason was that the police were operating outside their jurisdiction) so that when the civil suit was brought all the City of Chicago could rely on was the sheer statistical evidence, the number of bulk purchases, and the number of guns these gunshops were moving to show that they knew, or should have known, they must have been selling guns to residents of Chicago and straw purchasers and their suppliers must have known that the sales were not legitimate.
1.4.2006 9:13am
NaG (mail):
Funny thing about people who buy guns from lawful gun dealers: When asked whether they intend to commit a crime with the gun they mean to purchase, the buyer always answers "no." Apparently, Freder expects gun sellers to be able to divine the true intentions of every buyer at the point of sale, or even know what the true amount of "legal demand" is.

Might as well have car dealers refusing to sell cars to people who are predicted to be at fault in an accident one year hence.

If a gun seller knows that they are selling to a person who intends to use the gun to commit crime, then you've got aiding and abetting, which is plainly illegal. But when you argue that sellers should intuitively know that "too many" guns are being sold across the industry and, even better, that this particular buyer before them has a bad intention, then you are truly entering looney land. All sorts of dangerous commodities are sold every day across America. Know how we handle it when someone commits a crime with those commodities? They get sued by the victim and thrown in jail or otherwise penalized by the state. We don't sue rat poison manufacturers when some crazy lady poisons her husband. We don't sue Ford when a drunk driver kills a family of four. We only make the exception for guns because, for people like Freder, guns are "bad," or at least inherently suspect.
1.4.2006 9:56am
Tflan (mail):
The 2nd amendment is a collective right that can only be exercised by individuals. If people cannot exercise a personal right, then they cannot join to exercise their collective rights.
Consider the right to assemble. The 1st protects, among other things, "the right of the people peaceably to assemble." Like the 2nd, this is a right of the people. One person cannot assemble. It takes at least two. This right can only be exercised collectively. So, using the militia logic, Congress could pass a law that says people, as individuals, cannot assemble. If this is so, then the right of the people peaceably to assemble is completely frustrated.
If a group has a right to do something, but the people that comprise that group are prohibited as individuals from exercising that right, then there really is no group right.
Or perhaps the people mentioned in the 1st are different from the people mentioned in the 2nd.
Or perhaps the people in both are the same, and Congress could validly pass a law barring an individual from joining a group.
Granted, I am often adlepated, but that is the unmistakable conclusion if "the right of the people" in the 1st is the same as the "the right of the people" in the 2nd.
As to freedom in Europe, Germany outlaws Nazi material. Not that I am a fan of it, and I can think of no societal benefit to allowing it (except to historians and such), but our Const. clearly allows it, and it should.
1.4.2006 10:08am
juris imprudent (mail):
Freder,

If you wish to understand more about homicide in La., rather then push platitudes about how evil guns are, I suggest starting here. Where you will find that blacks, who are less commonly "gun owners" (and by that I mean both statistically, and abiding by the laws currently covering gun ownership/possession) and yet account for fully 70% of homicides in your state. In fact, the NON-gun homicide rate for blacks exceeds the WITH-gun homicide rate for whites.

Just how do you expect licensing/registration of guns to improve the situation? Or, could it just be, that guns aren't really the problem?
1.4.2006 10:23am
LINO_watcher (mail) (www):
Mr. Frederson-

Yes, criminals are getting guns in England, but the "epidemic" in England wouldn't even be noticed in this country. It is still incredibly difficult to get guns, either legally or illegally in England.

I disagree. The more hardened a criminal is, the easier it is for them to get any kind of contraband item - hard drugs, stolen cars, illegal guns. So the very people one would be most concerned about having guns are the ones most likely to have access to them in a prohibition scenario. And I disagree that the problem in England would go unnoticed here. Their robbery and I believe burglary rates are higher than ours, and an increase in our rates would be noticed.

It is always incredible to me that in this country the problem of firearms in the hands of criminals is treated as though the guns come from magical gun fairy and have no connection to the oversupply of guns among law-abiding citizens. Criminals get their guns from legal purchases, stealing them from law-abiding citizens, or buying them illegally from someone who got them from one of the first two sources.

Most people informed on this issue have no illusions as to where illegal guns come from. Of course many of the illegal guns, especially the fully automatic ones, come from the black market. The only thing that can be done about this is to attack the gun trade like we attack the drug trade. It should be noted that this market would still exist in a prohibition scenario, and would increase greatly in size, scope, and profitability.

As far as the straw buyers are concerned most legal gun owners will just tell you to arrest them. I don't know anyone who would object to enforcement efforts directed at "straw buyers". And if the licensed gun dealers were involved and broke the law I don't think anyone has a problem with enforcement efforts directed at them.

But note the above is all illegal activity. Enforcement efforts can be initiated without writing a single new law or bothering a single legitimate owner or dealer. You can't argue for more restrictions on legal gun ownership when you aren't even adequately enforcing the laws already on the books to prevent illegal ownership. Unless, of course, you just don't like the idea of any private gun ownership and are trying to use any argument availible, however remote or unrelated, to forward that agenda.
1.4.2006 10:23am
juris imprudent (mail):
Sorry, link got chopped.
1.4.2006 10:24am
corngrower:
OK legal eagles

The Bill of Rights restricts the govt from squating on the throats of the citizens. Got That? Go back and reread those Ten ammendments.

It is called the Bill of Rights. BUT!!! it is specific about stopping govt actions that would infringe an the inherent rights of the people.

The "rights" mentioned do not originate from the govt, because if they did.....They govt could take them away from the people!
1.4.2006 10:51am
Houston Lawyer:
In my neighborhood, the guns I keep in my house give me a sense of security that helps me sleep at night. In addition, the prohibition on carrying a concealed weapon on my person while out of my house effectively limits which streets I may safely walk on. The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right, integral to each person's self defense. Those who support restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms will also support other restrictions on the right to self defense.
1.4.2006 11:12am
Freder Frederson (mail):
In fact, the NON-gun homicide rate for blacks exceeds the WITH-gun homicide rate for whites.

Can you provide a link for this statistic?
1.4.2006 12:43pm
NaG (mail):
For instance, can you think of any legitimate reason why any private citizen would purchase fifty of the same weapon in a single week?

Uh, maybe because he intends to sell those guns to other law-abiding citizens? Or a shooting club gets a deal by buying in bulk, so they have one person buy the guns instead of everyone individually? Of course, the fact that there are legitimate reasons for doing something like this probably won't change your mind anyway. You seem to be just reading off talking points.

The vast majority of handguns (and I am not talking about long guns) are designed for one purpose, and that is killing people at close range.

Bzzt. Most are meant for hunting animals or target practice, and not at close range. And I think it can be fairly argued that the primary use of most guns meant for civilian defense is to threaten an attacker, not kill them. After all, it's pretty hard to hit a moving target, even at close range. Seems to me that with poison, at least, it's much harder to come up with nonlethal uses. You aren't scaring someone off by waving a bottle of poison at them. That the poison in question is "meant" to kill other forms of life instead seems rather besides the point.
1.4.2006 2:22pm
corngrower:
Lets go back to the start. I can posses guns. I saw that in print someware. Devide the number of handgun deaths by the number of hand guns and a fith grader will tell ou that handguns are a much smaller statistical probability. than say...swimmingpools.

Besides if I wanted to buy 100 swimming pools, or, 10,000 baseball bats, you want the govt to monitor your actions?

Hum? Seems some dont even want overseas phone calls monitored!?

Yet my ability to buy 20 guns at once is somehow a problem.

Take the entire Constitution or not.

Me? I'll take it in its entirty.
1.4.2006 2:35pm
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Even to the extent that the function of handguns is to kill people, that doesn't prove a thing. To the extent that's true, they are primarily manufactured to kill attackers. But like many other products, they may be misused to kill innocents. You can't logically treat the function of a gun as inherently evil by grouping together the good uses with the bad uses and calling them all illegitimate killings.
1.4.2006 2:56pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I, like Kopel, think the DC gun ban in unconstitutional. But don't hold your breath waiting for the Congress to override it. The reason it never gets overridden is because Congressmen-- whatever their political rhetoric-- are afraid of getting shot.
1.4.2006 3:28pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Most are meant for hunting animals or target practice, and not at close range.

They are absolutely not. Most (not all) handguns (not long guns) are designed for self-defense, not for sporting purposes. You know that and I know that. To argue otherwise is just ridiculous. And all handguns are short range weapons.

Sheesh, I may be a gun control advocate, but give me some credit for at least knowing what the hell I am talking about. Just because I believe that we need better, more consistent, gun control laws, doesn't mean that I am afraid of guns or don't know the difference between a target pistol, a 9 mm and a hunting rifle.

Besides if I wanted to buy 100 swimming pools, or, 10,000 baseball bats, you want the govt to monitor your actions?

As I have pointed out above, the primary purpose of swimming pools is not to drown people, baseball bats are not manufactured for the express purpose of beating someone to death. If someone walks into a gun shop and purchases 50 9 mm semiautomic pistols, and that person does the same thing week after week, then I don't think it is unreasonable for law enforcement to be notified of those purchases and be able to ask that person what he needs all those guns for.

Seems to me that with poison, at least, it's much harder to come up with nonlethal uses.

Good point. Just call up a chemical supply house and try and buy some Potassium Cyanide (a very common chemical for which there are thousands of legitimate uses) and see if you can get some without answering a lot of questions and filling out a lot of paperwork that the government will keep track of. Heck, in a lot of states you can't even buy Sudafed anymore without showing your license to the pharmacist and signing for it.
1.4.2006 4:42pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Take the entire Constitution or not.

How could any reasonable reading of the 2nd amendment, considering that the first thirteen words are there as much as you wish they weren't, prohibit reasonable registration and licensing of firearms? It seems to me that if nothing else a "well regulated militia", would at the very least involve knowing who has firearms and what kind they have.
1.4.2006 4:47pm
NaG (mail):
Most (not all) handguns (not long guns) are designed for self-defense, not for sporting purposes.

And self-defense =/ killing people.

Good point. Just call up a chemical supply house and try and buy some Potassium Cyanide (a very common chemical for which there are thousands of legitimate uses) and see if you can get some without answering a lot of questions and filling out a lot of paperwork that the government will keep track of. Heck, in a lot of states you can't even buy Sudafed anymore without showing your license to the pharmacist and signing for it.

There are hundreds of deadly chemicals available for sale without an explanation or an ID at your local supermarket, Home Depot, drug store, etc. I haven't seen any evidence of Sudafed requiring any info to be purchased from anywhere, but I can only speak for the Commonwealth of Virginia and a few other states. Either way, the salient point holds: just because something is inherently deadly has never been just cause for over-regulating it. We don't go around assuming that people are criminals, shouting "Papers, please!" for every transaction that may result in someone, somewhere being hurt on down the line. That's how it is in a free country.
1.4.2006 5:21pm
Waldense (mail):

And all handguns are short range weapons.

Sheesh, I may be a gun control advocate, but give me some credit for at least knowing what the hell I am talking about. Just because I believe that we need better, more consistent, gun control laws, doesn't mean that I am afraid of guns or don't know the difference between a target pistol, a 9 mm and a hunting rifle.

Actually, I am not at all sure you know what you are talking about.

For example, there are numerous "9 mm"s used as target pistols. See, e.g., .

Handguns are not all short range weapons, and are often used for hunting. See, e.g., , and .

Finally, you speak of a "9 mm" as if it is a type of gun. It is not, of course, although this is a relatively minor point. It is a cartridge (generally referring to the 9x19 mm, also known as the 9 mm Parabellum or 9 mm Luger). A number of long guns are designed for this round, although for the life of me I don't know why somebody would want one. See, e.g.,
1.4.2006 6:24pm
Waldense (mail):
Whoops, screwed the links up. I'll figure that out later... Anyway, here they are, in order:

link

link

link

link
1.4.2006 6:32pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
And self-defense =/ killing people.

The self-defense value of a handgun is its ability to apply deadly force. No one trains anybody to use a handgun to incapcitate. You are taught to aim for center of mass where the vital organs are and not to draw your weapon unless you are willing to use it. So don't pretend that self-defense with a handgun means anything other than homicide(justifiable or not), or at least the willingness to commit homicide, because it most certainly does.
1.4.2006 6:34pm
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
Freder,

I don't think you know as much about Great Britain and guns as you think. Did you know that the black market price of a handgun in London is no different than the price at my local gun shop? That means that obtaining a handgun in London is not very hard.

In additional the violent - not property - crime rate in Great Britain is skyrocketing, including murder, and it has passed the violent crime rate in the U.S., with the exception so far of murder, which, nevertheless is catching up.

That's last bit is a reversal of a long standing trend. Britain has always had a much lower murder rate than we do, and did so even when they had no gun control. There was a time a hundred years ago when bobbies would stop passers by to borrow their guns!

Yours,
Wince
1.4.2006 6:35pm
juris imprudent (mail):
So don't pretend that self-defense with a handgun means anything other than homicide(justifiable or not), or at least the willingness to commit homicide, because it most certainly does.

There is a great deal of difference between being willing to use deadly force in self defense and any other willingness (or desire) to kill another person. Refusing to recognize that difference leads to abrogating the right to defend one's self. Although that is fashionable in Great Britain, I don't think it carries much weight in this country.

Interestingly, if you compare ALL of Great Britain (and not just England&Wales), the homicide rate isn't dramatically different from the U.S. for white, non-hispanics. The big difference arises from the higher murder rates amongst American blacks and hispanics. The U.S. data is from the CDC link I provided earlier; the UK rate(s) from guncite
1.4.2006 7:45pm
kldimond:
Freder,

Freder, Freder, Freder...

Let's face it. Registration schemes, without fail, pre-stage confiscation. They are an integral part of a confiscation scheme.

There's really no other reason to register guns, because registration doesn't do a thing to prevent or deter crime or identify criminals. In fact, neither does confiscation. It actually empowers them.

We've had a level of confiscation here in the U.S. already on several significant occasions, so don't say "that won't happen here." It has. It does. It will some more, inasmuch as we allow registration.

Your fascination with the militia clause is misplaced. Registration??? Every able bodied man was required to have war-fighting equipment accorded to certain standards. That wasn't registration; that was minimum requirement.

If you had more, all the better, but it wasn't subject to being listed, against your wishes, with some registry--even if it was a cannon or three or a hundred guns.

If someone came trying to take it away, that was the British or some other would-be tyrannical force. That was part of how you knew your enemy.

So fine. Let's require every able-bodied potential soldier who is a citizen to purchase at least a .308 or .30-06 full auto/switchable rifle and 500 rounds of ammo, a 10mm or .40 pistol and 200 rounds, a marine fighting knife (or better), camouflage, boots and so on, and show up for muster with that gear, where we learn how to shoot, slice, dice and bludgeon those who would deign to confiscate them.

And if we have more than the minimum requirements, just like in the old days, woohoo! Status symbol.

Hmm. The more I think about your militia thing in that way, the more I like it. Think anyone'd attack the U.S. under those circumstances?

Getting back to the matter at hand, legislation in 2006 would, I hope, lead to repeal of several federal laws that have undermined America's most formidable threat against invasion: the armed and ready citizenry. And I am in tune with proceeding against D.C.'s totally illegal bans via Parker v D.C. instead of by legislation.

I'll be judging my reps not by how they regulate the world, but how they deregulate the citizen. If they actually do their Constitutional duty to press the states to muster, train and provide officers for the militia, I'll probably feint a few hundred times with the joy of it all. And vote to re-elect them.

But I'm not holding my breath.
1.4.2006 11:38pm
kldimond:
BTW, Freder, .40 is increasingly the choice of police and other law enforcement.

And the old style .45, or "1911" was introduced in... yup... 1911.
1.4.2006 11:45pm
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Freder: "The self-defense value of a handgun is its ability to apply deadly force. No one trains anybody to use a handgun to incapcitate. You are taught to aim for center of mass where the vital organs are and not to draw your weapon unless you are willing to use it. So don't pretend that self-defense with a handgun means anything other than homicide(justifiable or not), or at least the willingness to commit homicide, because it most certainly does."

I agree with your point that self-defense and killing people can't be distinguished, but only in the sense that we're talking about self-defensive killing, which is perfectly legitimate. The argument that guns are somehow different from other dangerous goods like cars and swimming pools because only guns are designed to kill people loses its bite when you account for the fact that they're designed to self-defensively kill people, which is just as legitimate as driving or swimming.
1.5.2006 12:21am
therut (mail):
I would love it if congress did start up milita service. I would be there bright and early. Don't worry I have all the equiptment and enough to let others borrow. And this from a middle aged female physician. Sound the bugle. "Do not ask what your Country can do for you but, What you can do for your country" No Peace Corps for me.
1.5.2006 12:58am
SomeJarhead (mail):
10 U.S.C. 311

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

for starters...
1.5.2006 1:46am
therut (mail):
Yeah I know and I always get a quite laugh when some in this country do not realize they are already part of the unorganized militia.
1.5.2006 1:55am
Gary C (mail):
Freder Frederson:

A few years ago I wrote up (but never published) an analysis of Dennis Henigan's 1991 Valparaiso University Law Review article. Here is a section of my comment referring to the definition of "well-regulated militia". Since this format doesn't handle footnotes well, I would l like to acknowledge that Stephen Halbrook's work provided a framework for mine.

"A well regulated militia…"
Henigan also raises the issue of what it means for a militia to be "well regulated". Clearly it means well trained and disciplined. General Pinckney, during the debate on the militia clause at the Constitutional Convention, pointed out battles lost during the Revolutionary War because of poorly trained and disciplined militia units. The Battle of Camden was a military disaster caused in part by the failure of some militia regiments to obey orders.

Alexander Hamilton, whose commitment to republican principals was questioned by some political opponents, was one of the strongest proponents of a select militia. In Federalist No. 29, Hamilton discussed what was required for a militia to be "well regulated" in arguing for a select militia:

But so far from viewing the matter in the same light with those who object to select corps as dangerous, were the Constitution ratified, and were I to deliver my sentiments to a member of the federal legislature from this State on the subject of a militia establishment, I should hold to him, in substance, the following discourse:

"The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious, if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.

"But though the scheme of disciplining the whole nation must be abandoned as mischievous or impracticable; yet it is a matter of the utmost importance that a well-digested plan should, as soon as possible, be adopted for the proper establishment of the militia. The attention of the government ought particularly to be directed to the formation of a select corps of moderate extent, upon such principles as will really fit them for service in case of need. By thus circumscribing the plan, it will be possible to have an excellent body of well-trained militia, ready to take the field whenever the defense of the State shall require it. This will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist."

Hamilton is clearly asserting that a well regulated militia is defined as one that can properly execute military exercises and evolutions, and is expressing his doubts that the people can be trained well enough.

In 1794, Baron von Steuben's military guide, originally adopted by General Washington at Valley Forge, was published as Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States. These regulations were in effect, with minor changes, from 1779 until 1812. They specify the steps soldiers were to follow when loading and firing muskets, how to execute close order drill, formations to use with units of various sizes for attack and defense, how to set up and break camp, and all of the other essential functions of a regular soldier. A militia unit that could perform these functions was well regulated.
1.5.2006 1:55am
Gary C (mail):
Freder Frederson:

Another section that I wrote in response to Henigan's law review article looked at the origin of the "well-regulated milita" clause in the Second Amendment. Again, much of this information is from Stephen Halbrook's work.

Similar assertions were commonplace in the political scene just before the outbreak of fighting in the Revolutionary War. For example, the New Castle County (Delaware) militia committee used very similar wording:

a well regulated Militia, composed of the gentlemen, freeholders, and other freemen, is the natural strength and stable security of a free Government.

A provincial convention in Maryland passed a very similar resolution. In January 1775, the Fairfax County Militia Association, organized by George Washington and George Mason, issued the Fairfax County Militia Plan:

A well regulated Militia, composed of the Gentlemen, Freeholders, and other Freemen, is the natural strength and only security of a free government.

Patrick Henry's famous demand, "Give me liberty or give me death," was offered in support of a resolution that began:

Resolved, that a well-regulated militia, composed of gentlemen and freemen, is the natural strength and only security of a free government.

Remarkably similar declarations can be found in contemporaneous state constitutions:

Virginia Bill of Rights: That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state;

Delaware Declaration of Rights: That a well regulated militia is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free government.

Maryland Declaration of Rights: That a well regulated militia is the proper and natural defence of a free government.

New Hampshire Constitution: A well regulated militia is the proper, natural, and sure defence of a state.

Similar phrases were used repeatedly in the period between the ratification of the Constitution and that of the Bill of Rights:

John De Witt V: a well regulated militia, composed of the yeomanry of the country have ever been considered as the bulwark of a free people…

Alexander Contee Hanson: a well regulated militia has ever been considered the true defence of a free republic,…

Patrick Henry: The proper defence of a free state consists in militia;…

"Foreign Spectator": A good militia is the natural, easy, powerful, and honorable defence of a country.

When the state conventions ratified the Constitution, several states proposed amendments that also reflected this concept:

Virginia: that a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state;

New York: that a well-regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state.

North Carolina: that a well regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state

This precise wording of this clause of the Second Amendment itself evolved slightly during the debates in Congress, taking the following forms:

June 8, 1789: a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country;

July 28, 1789: A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state,

September 4, 1789: A well regulated militia, being the best security of a free State,

September 9, 1789: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State,

The most prominent Constitutional scholars of the 19th century once again used similar language to explain the meaning of the Second Amendment. Justice Joseph Story is widely recognized as the greatest legal scholar ever to serve on the Supreme Court. His treatise Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first published in 1833, was the standard text on Constitutional law for almost half a century. In referring to the Second Amendment, Justice Story wrote:

The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers.

The Founding Fathers and early constitutional commentators, when expressing this basic principle, used the words state, country, republic, government, and people almost interchangeably. I have listed 19 statements expressing the same idea; the word "state" was used in fewer than half of them. In the Second Amendment it is clearly used in a generic sense, that is, meaning "a republic, non-monarchical commonwealth". Henigan offers no authority or basis for his assumption to the contrary.

Henigan does not attempt to explain why the word "free" was included in the Amendment. Note that 17 of my 19 examples include the word "free. One of the omissions is in the New Hampshire Constitution — with a motto of "Live Free or Die", the people of New Hampshire may have thought it redundant. The Founders consistently noted the importance of the militia in guarding against the imposition of tyranny. It is manifestly obvious that the security of a tyrannical state does not require the existence of a militia "composed of the body of the people trained to arms"; in fact the Founders argued that the security of a tyranny is threatened by the existence of a true militia. Tyrannies rely on standing armies, secret police, informers, and select militias for their security. It is the freedom of the state that a well regulated militia secures.

Furthermore, Henigan's assertion that this part of the Amendment "elevates the defense of state government to a constitutionally protected value" ignores Article IV, Section 4: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on the application of the legislature or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence." Obviously, the defense of legitimate state government was already a constitutionally protected value.

During the debates over the Fourteenth Amendment, Rep. Roswell Hart defined a republican form of government as one in which:

"citizens shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of other citizens;" where "no law shall be made prohibiting the free exercise of religion;" where "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed;" where "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated," and where "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law."

This is a list of individual rights drawn from the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, including an individual right to keep and bear arms.
1.5.2006 2:10am
corngrower:
No one can get a grasp on a single salient point. I do not have a right to own a gun. I do not see that in any documents anywere.

BUT the govt is banned from taking, tracking, registering,regulating, etc. etc., the gun(s) I might posses.

Do I have the right to speak? NO! But the govt is forbidden to stop me.

Do I have a right to get together with my fellows and pray to rocks? NO! Just the govt cant stop me.

it is NOT the bill of rights, it is a list of things the govt can not do to the people

The govt can not take my gun.

And IF an agency of the govt can regulate my gun....Then I guess I can regulate abortions.
1.5.2006 11:01am
Freder Frederson (mail):
I agree with your point that self-defense and killing people can't be distinguished, but only in the sense that we're talking about self-defensive killing, which is perfectly legitimate.

Actually, killing in self-defense is only legitimate in certain circumstances and varies widely from state to state (from Texas where "he deserved killing or catching your spouse in bed with someone else" was once a valid defense to homicide, to Massachussets where you better make damn sure the perpatrator was about to kill you). Some states will even let you walk for killing people who are merely taking your stuff even if they pose no threat to your person, running away, or just happen to be trespassing while others require a reasonable expectation of severe bodily harm or death before you are justified in using deadly force to defend your self.

Conflating the unregulated ownership of firearms and the almost unfettered right to shoot anyone who gets in your face (which apparently Florida now allows) as a cornerstone of freedom and vital to democracy is an almost peculiarly American attitude, and is considered quite a bizarre notion, if not downright insane, by most other western societies.
1.5.2006 11:15am
juris imprudent (mail):
almost peculiarly American attitude

Yeah, well we have a number of peculiar attitudes, some of which were a direct result of experience with those other western societies. Funny how there has been so much migration from there to here and not the other way around.

It also appears you are uneasy with the concept of self defense (since armed self defense is really just very effective self defense). You do realize that actually killing someone in self defense is fairly rare as opposed to the deterrent value of the gun. It happens in maybe 1 in 200 incidents, probably even less frequently then that.
1.5.2006 11:39am
corngrower:
Freder

Stop in your attempt to put false reasons on why the 2cnd ammendment exists. THE 2cnd does not allow me to hunt (if you think that try to kill a deer on your own property in Iowa in June). The 2cnd is not there to protect my self from a thug trying to run off with my fondue pot. The 2cnd exist to protect me from the government
1.5.2006 1:14pm
therut (mail):
Fender-------you find self-defense with a firearm peculiar. Well good and fine. I find it peculiar that any free person or persons would allow the government (ie police and military) to control all firearms. I also find it peculiar in the extreme that any free person would lay down their most basic right to life, liberty and persuit of happiness in giveing up their right to self-defense. And you also exagerate the Flordia law and I bet you know it. I can tell you with all honesty that when I have to be out at 3:00 am walking to my car in a parking lot that I am more free and secure than anyone without a firearm. That is a fact.
1.5.2006 1:50pm
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Freder: I'm quite aware that there are limits upon even self-defensive use of weapons (yes, even in Florida...let's not exaggerate...I do believe there has to a legitimate reason to believe that one's life is threatened before one can use deadly force in response). It doesn't get at my point one bit: that, even when used to kill, guns may be legitimately used, the same as cars or swimming pools.

I may have missed it, but I haven't seen anyone here oppose all gun regulation nor limits upon self-defensive use. And you're changing the subject. The argument originated over the lawsuits against dealers and manufacturers, lawsuits that, if successful, probably would have led to snuffing out the American gun industry.
1.5.2006 11:58pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
The argument originated over the lawsuits against dealers and manufacturers, lawsuits that, if successful, probably would have led to snuffing out the American gun industry.

The argument originated over a law that gives exceptional protection to dealers and manufacturers that would exempt them from almost any liability for the misuse of their products which no other product manufacturer has, even in the outrageous examples I cited above. Obviously, you are okay with that and you apparently would rather see no registration or licensing at all even if it did aid in slowing the flow of guns to criminals.

I also noticed that some of my posts have been deleted.

One was an obvious sarcastic post using racial epitaphs to respond to to this blatantly racist post.

If you wish to understand more about homicide in La., rather then push platitudes about how evil guns are, I suggest starting here. Where you will find that blacks, who are less commonly "gun owners" (and by that I mean both statistically, and abiding by the laws currently covering gun ownership/possession) and yet account for fully 70% of homicides in your state. In fact, the NON-gun homicide rate for blacks exceeds the WITH-gun homicide rate for whites.

This statement was provided without any support.

It basically echoed Bill Bennett's point that if it wasn't for Black people we wouldn't have a problem with crime in this country. I believe this statement deserved the derision I heaped on it, as it was an incredibly insensitive and racist comment that, even if true (and I doubt it is), ignores the complex historical, class, sociological, economic, and demographic reasons other than race that account for crime and murder rates among some populations. This senitment has been echoed in several other posts in this thread (minorities, not guns cause crime) and it is abhorent.

As for the second post, where I used a mild insult (I called someone a smarta--) because that person basically called me ignorant because I said 9 mm was a type of gun and not a type of ammunition. I said that he was being overly picky and that both he and I knew 9 mm was common parlance for a class of semi-automatic pistol. I thought that little jab was fully justified. His responses remain.
1.6.2006 8:48am
kldimond:
Freder said: The argument originated over a law that gives exceptional protection to dealers and manufacturers that would exempt them from almost any liability for the misuse of their products which no other product manufacturer has, even in the outrageous examples I cited above. Obviously, you are okay with that and you apparently would rather see no registration or licensing at all even if it did aid in slowing the flow of guns to criminals.

Freder, you've been misled by Brady/VPC's malicious misrepresentation of the law. I prefer to suspect you simply haven't researched the matter, than that you're complicit with their malice.

The fact is, gun manufacturers can still be sued for genuine product liability issues. Bad design and workmanship errors are still a factor they must answer to. If you don't believe me, read the legislation. It's quite clear about this.

I can't think of any other industry where they have to worry about liability for the criminal misuse of their properly manufactured, marketed and labeled products. Even cigarette manufacturers aren't held liable for people who use cigarettes to set fires or torture others by burning their skin.

The lawsuits had one purpose: kill the industry by sucking out its resources. The legislation puts a stop to this contemptible end run around law. And that's all.

Moving on, it's disingenuous to conclude that those of us who do flatly reject the notion of licensing and registration do so "even if it did aid in slowing the flow of guns to criminals." The fact is, we reject these ideas because we know that they do not, and because they harm the innocent and put key rights in jeopardy.

Even the anti-gun CDC can't draw any conclusions on the efficacy of any "gun control" measures, including registration and licensing. That really says something, Freder; when even someone with an ax to grind can't prove their point with 70+ years of data--i.e., the CDC regarding efforts to control crime through "gun control"--that means the argument in favor of their "ground ax" is lost.

The better research on the subject are Lott/Mustard and Kleck. Kleck doesn't agree fully with Lott, but he certainly found that guns have very beneficial uses, to the tune of at least once every 13 seconds or so on average across the U.S. Defensive uses by regular-ol' folks--not police or military.

As to your complaints, perhaps you just need to learn to watch your language? Oh, and the word you're looking for, when you say "racial epitaphs" is "epithets." Just thought I might be smartalek myself.

Statistics do not lie. They are often misused by liars, but if 70% of crime is done by one cultural/racial group (subgroup, actually), it's simply a fact. It is not racist to state the fact.

It would be racist to say that it is because of race and not other factors. But I don't see anyone asserting that. Mostly, what's at play here is gangsters and who joins gangs. This has many social and economic antecedents, none of which support "gun control."

Freder, I have the feeling that you are letting your feelings and a couple of cheesy sources of information guide your thinking. Think harder. Research deeper. Question assumptions even that you agree with, to see where the holes are. It's gratifying. And it'll make you right more often.
1.6.2006 12:59pm
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Freder: "The argument originated over a law that gives exceptional protection to dealers and manufacturers that would exempt them from almost any liability for the misuse of their products which no other product manufacturer has, even in the outrageous examples I cited above. Obviously, you are okay with that and you apparently would rather see no registration or licensing at all even if it did aid in slowing the flow of guns to criminals."

There you go again. You have no idea what I think about registration/licensing because I've made no comment about such regulations.

And as kldimond points out, you're exaggerating about the effect of the law. I'm not even saying that I endorse the law, personally. I suspect it exceeds Congress's constitutional powers. All I've argued here is that the lawsuits themselves were objectionable because they essentially treated gun manufacture/dealing as tortious, in itself.
1.6.2006 3:17pm
juris imprudent (mail):
In fact, the NON-gun homicide rate for blacks exceeds the WITH-gun homicide rate for whites.

The link (to the CDC by the way) was provided in my subsequent post. The above is simply a fact, though I thank you Freder for your Pavlovian accusation of racism. It illustrates the intellectual impoverishment of your position that rather than discuss what the data says (and how it refutes your contention that owning guns results in more homicides) you immediately launch into ad hominem. The sad thing is that it was so predictable, as was

...ignores the complex historical, class, sociological, economic, and demographic reasons other than race that account for crime and murder rates among some populations.


Ah, so it isn't guns that are responsible after all? That of course was the very point I was making - homicide is not caused, nor particularly exacerbated by gun ownership.
1.6.2006 4:09pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
The better research on the subject are Lott/Mustard and Kleck. Kleck doesn't agree fully with Lott, but he certainly found that guns have very beneficial uses, to the tune of at least once every 13 seconds or so on average across the U.S. Defensive uses by regular-ol' folks--not police or military.

Actually, the Lott/Mustard survey, if it even took place, is fundamentally flawed. It was based on a sample size of 1015 people that found 3% used guns defensively in the prior year. Polls never carry a margin of error of less than 3% for a very good reason. You can get a certain minority of people to say anything. About the same number of people are convinced they have been abducted by aliens or can speak to their dead relatives. On it's face it is ridiculous because it exceeds all reported crime in the country.

I am sure a lot of people who carry guns often feel threatened. That doesn't mean they actually are threatened. People who are so afraid of crime and the world around them that they can't leave the house without carrying a gun will see in every black face they encounter a criminal and every person who cuts them off in traffic a potential road rage shooting. That doesn't mean that every black youth is a criminal or every other bonehead driver is going to put a bullet through your window. It just means you are paranoid.
1.6.2006 7:47pm
juris imprudent (mail):
Freder,

As to the number of times guns are used defensively, there is a great deal more [credible] research then Lott. Even the very most conservative estimate, the NCVS, which has a severe undercount bias puts the number in excess of 100,000 times per year. Yet there are only between 500 to 1500 justifiable homicides. As for non-justifiable [allegedly] self-defense shootings, the anecdotes don't add up to any significant data. When it comes to people who [legally] carry, if you actually look at the data from the VPC study the truth is 180 degrees opposite of what they (and you) claim.
1.6.2006 8:28pm
juris imprudent (mail):
Freder,

Well, if you don't recognize your post as racist, then you are a racist of the worst kind because you don't even realize you are racist.

This is pathetically childish Freder. The data is what it is, and I drew no conclusion about race from it. You only make yourself more foolish by arguing about that. Go here and run the app. Let me give you another example, young males (15-20, meaning they CAN NOT legally acquire a handgun anywhere in the country) have a firearms homicide rate of 8.7 per 100K (as compared to the overall U.S. rate of 4 per 100K). If you break it out racially, the results are 3.1 for white youth, 25.4 for hispanics and shockingly, 56 for blacks. This is NOT a problem of people who legally own guns abusing that right. So don't expect me to give up my rights when I am NOT part of the problem.

How about looking at poverty, single parenthood, level of education, and I bet that the racial factor would disappear completely.

The CDC does not have that data. It has standard demographic info: age, race, gender, location (state). Of course young black males do come disproportionately from poor, single (if any) parent, low education environments - so I suspect that they would still be highly represented. I am sorry for you that more wealthy white gun owners aren't violent criminals - it would surely help you out. It just isn't reality. You seem to be suffering from belief in Hollywood fantasy as presented on CSI, Law&Order, etc. - that is wildly at odds with the real world.
1.6.2006 8:50pm
juris imprudent (mail):
Freder,

My contention is that many of the reported "self-defense" uses of guns, especially those that do not lead to any arrest or discharge of firearms, are merely paranoid episodes by people who are so afraid of their own shadow they see every invasion of their personal space or perceived aggressive action as a threat to their life.

And your evidence in support of this contention is??? Such unsupported speculation could be interpreted as, oh, I don't know, paranoia of guns and gun owners?

Well, if there is no conclusion about race to be drawn from the data, why did you bring it up?

Because it showed that murder rate is not dependent on guns.

Either race is a cause or it isn't?

Correlation is not causation. However, if you want to understand the problem, you have to know what the problem is and where it occurs. That is precisely the problem with YOUR focus on firearms - you aren't even interested in understanding the real problem. When you do even the slightest bit of research into homicide, you will find that the vast majority of perpetrators have a criminal history (which negates them ever legally owning a gun - so much for licensing/registration) and even a substantial portion of the victims are criminals themselves. Even in domestic violence cases, it is exceedingly rare for someone to "just snap"; usually a fatality is the culmination of a history of escalating violence.
1.7.2006 10:34am
Freder Frederson (mail):
And your evidence in support of this contention is??? Such unsupported speculation could be interpreted as, oh, I don't know, paranoia of guns and gun owners?

I am not afraid of guns, gun owners on the other hand, you do have a point. I honestly don't understand the level of fear that drives people to think they need to carry a gun or have one for self-defense in their house. Even the NRA admits on their own website that only 10% of home invasions occur when the residents are home. So obviously if you do have a gun in the house it is much more likely to be stolen than to be used for self-defense. You say that just because someone says they drew a gun in self-defense, the threat was legitimate, I think that is nonsense. It is like people who buy SUVs because they think they are safer than passenger cars, and are amazed when the four wheel drive doesn't help them stop any faster.

As for registration and licensing. Because guns are so easy to get and they are practically untraceable it is all too easy for guns to be purchased illegally. Strawman purchases are a serious problem, yet any reasonable measures to track and stop such purchases are fought tooth and nail by the NRA as an invasion of the rights of law-abiding citizens.
1.7.2006 11:35am
Matt Tievsky (mail):
"Even the NRA admits on their own website that only 10% of home invasions occur when the residents are home. So obviously if you do have a gun in the house it is much more likely to be stolen than to be used for self-defense."

Yeah, that follows.
1.7.2006 1:59pm
juris imprudent (mail):
Freder,

I honestly don't understand the level of fear that drives people to think they need to carry a gun or have one for self-defense in their house.

I see, and what you don't understand you fear. There are plenty of behaviors that I don't understand, but I don't claim that means those people are mentally ill. By the way, your desire for "licensing" is exactly what we do for people who want to carry, so to argue for additional licensing is a bit silly, isn't it? Not to mention that we license driving, and look at the mess that still is.

You say that just because someone says they drew a gun in self-defense, the threat was legitimate

What I said was you have no evidence to show that all of those incidents were illegitimate. That is nothing more than a predjudiced speculation on your part. The NCVS is very unlikely to have false positives (contra to Lott, Kleck, et al), as the incident must first be identified as a crime (or attempted crime) before any question about self-defense is asked. I would think that the number of self-defense uses is somewhere between the NCVS (as the low bound) and the Kleck estimate (high bound). That is still a pretty big range, and it is an interesting question for research.

Even the NRA admits on their own website that only 10% of home invasions occur when the residents are home.

I think you misread that. A home invasion is by definition when residents are in the home. I would suspect they are saying that 10% of burglaries occur when someone is home.

Because guns are so easy to get and they are practically untraceable it is all too easy for guns to be purchased illegally.

Neither of those statements are true. Purchasing a gun legally requires a background check. In the case of California that is true whether the gun is sold by a dealer or privately. I would hope you understand why the Federal govt cannot impose that same requirement on private transactions. As for traceability, there isn't necessarily a database - but the serial number on a gun certainly provides traceability from manufacturer to retail purchaser. Of course, once a gun is stolen, you no longer have a trail to follow - but that would be true with even the most draconian registration scheme.

Strawman purchases are a problem because they [illegaly] circumvent the current legal restrictions. How do you propose to stop them?
1.7.2006 2:02pm
kldimond:
Freder,

As to your dismissal of Lott/Mustard, you evidently don't even know what I'm talking about. Yes, Lott did a survey of defensive gun uses, but his best work was what he did in analyzing changes in crime from county to county, state to state, and change to change when counties or states altered their policy re: permitted carry of guns.

In that work, he showed significant trends in crime--specifically, a reduction of violent crime--when and where carry was permitted.

And since you appear to choose not to notice, I mostly earlier referred to Kleck's work in my comments. He extrapolated that at least 2.5 million defensive gun uses took place in the U.S. annually, which boils down, in averages, to roughly 1 every 13 seconds.

You can dispute anything, Freder, but the experts have rather blown your arguments away, as Kleck received a particularly notable award for the quality of his research on the matter.

And let's face it: no dead guy, no news story. Dead guys generally do make the news, especially if it's bloody and public. Thus, many defensive uses end--as far as anyone but the perp and the defender knows--as soon as the perp runs off.

And the news seems loathe to report a dead perp, killed by the person he intended to victimize. When they do report them, they get "noun-itis," and actually call the perp "the victim."

They REALLY don't like to report how a regular person with a gun fended off or put a stop to even a very public attack. The Virginia law school shooting comes to mind, but that's only one of many known examples.

I am sure a lot of people who carry guns often feel threatened.

Not in my experience with them.

People who are so afraid of crime and the world around them that they can't leave the house without carrying a gun...

Oh, here comes the race card...

...will see in every black face they encounter a criminal and...

Oh, and another red herring...

...every person who cuts them off in traffic a potential road rage shooting.

You obviously don't hang out with many people who carry guns. Very few don't keep their cool, just watching to see if the other guy is going to do something stupid. That is, unless we're talking about the criminal element.

That doesn't mean that every black youth is a criminal or every other bonehead driver is going to put a bullet through your window.

Duh.

It just means you are paranoid.

Ah, the screeching sound of the anti-gunner. Ad hominem to cover poor analysis. Is it paranoid to get car insurance? Is it paranoid to wear your safety belt? Is it paranoid to have earthquake supplies if you live in California?

Being prepared isn't anything like being paranoid, although I have known some Californians, for example, who don't even know where a flashlight is, should the big one come in the middle of the night, and then go on to call the rest, who might have even stored water, paranoid. I wonder what a psychologist would call that little pathology--to be unprepared and therefore irresponsible, but call the responsible and prepared "paranoid"? Perhaps... projection? Reaction formation? Sick stuff, Freder.

Actually, I think those of you who don't believe in preparedness and call the rest of us paranoid are ... well, not terribly savvy to the real world.

And while most times the people we meet and the places we go are just fine, it can indeed be a truly dangerous world. Much of violent crime happens where and when it's not "supposed" to, catching the unaware and unprepared flat-footed.

Most regular folks who carry a gun are simply prepared. There are some "paranoid" types, but you recognize them, whether they carry a gun or not, from other behaviors, rather than what's on their hip.

And even the paranoid gun owners are generally unwilling even to brandish unless they are clear that there is a very genuine threat. It's a rare person indeed who is actually willing to take or threaten a life without darned good cause. This is for genuine, decent human reasons as well as legal ones. Again, this doesn't apply to the gang-banger who thinks everyone's just a piece of meat.

My contention is that many of the reported "self-defense" uses of guns, especially those that do not lead to any arrest or discharge of firearms, are merely paranoid episodes by people who are so afraid of their own shadow they see every invasion of their personal space or perceived aggressive action as a threat to their life.

Your contention is based on nothing but cynicism and perhaps some of your own brand of paranoia.

You also demonstrate that you know NOTHING of how Kleck's research was structured, what was counted. Go read the book, why don't you, instead of spouting off completely uninformed and unprepared?

FYI, Kleck was very strict about what he counted. He had a carefully constructed methodology for getting rid of those events that had questionable character. That's part of why his study won awards.

Heheh, in response to a yet later comment from you, Freder, let's be clear why home invasions and hot burglaries are low in this country, as reported by the NRA. They are low because burglars are afraid of meeting up with armed homeowners.

You know that, because you evidently read NRA's website. Well, so you do actually do a little research. Yet, you evidently really pick and choose what you grasp; and what you present doesn't show any balance or respect for truth or even decent reporting.

I'm sure that what you read also included the point that hot burglaries and home invasions are WAY up in that "gun free paradise" known as England. The only thing that has really changed to warrant such a development is that the perps aren't worried about getting shot.

You also go on to whine that gun owners don't empathize with the criminal element. You are obviously one of those people who mistakenly believes that environment determines everything about you.

Hey, Freder, it does have an impact. But how we think about things has a much greater one--a truly determinant one.

Gun owners in the great majority are extremely accountable people. They don't believe anyone or anything else is bound to protect them if trouble comes their way. They're not irrationally afraid, but they are aware that there is a such thing as danger. And they take measures to be prepared--to not have to count on good luck and police presence.

Gangsters, on the other hand, are truly terrified. They act big and tough, but inside, they are committed to the idea that they are at the bottom of an ugly heap. And that fear comes through in the way they use their weapons--emotionally and erratically.

It all comes back to the point: look at what the person does, not what he carries.... or the color of his skin or his "disadvantaged" childhood. Many great people have come from the ghetto, and many truly rotten folks have come from upper-class, well-heeled communities. It's all in the attitude. And attitude, Freder, whether you believe it or not, is a choice. Most often, a rather conscious one.

So Freder, your cry that we should "understand" the "reasons" for gangsters and criminality, instead of shooting a life-threatening perp, is poorly guided. That individual has made some choices to arrive where he is. Conscious, willful ones. Yes, his environment had something to do with it, but not all.

And why should we stand around "sympathizing" with someone who is robbing, raping or assaulting us? Forget it. For those so inclined, it has been shown that they lose interest in their attack--at least temporarily--as soon as competent resistance is shown by the person they wanted to victimize.

And if they keep coming anyway, why should we have to fist fight them or grapple hand-to-hand? Why should we risk our gentle selves in the hands of a practiced street fighter? There's no logic in that, Freder. Give it up!
1.7.2006 4:04pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Gangsters, on the other hand, are truly terrified. They act big and tough, but inside, they are committed to the idea that they are at the bottom of an ugly heap. And that fear comes through in the way they use their weapons--emotionally and erratically.

You just know a whole lot about the psychology of criminals, don't you?

And I will make one last point. You criticize me and accuse me of manipulating statistics and equating correlation with causation. But that is exactly what Lott did when he linked the decrease in crime to concealed carry laws. Furthermore, you conveniently discard all the numbers that you don't like (e.g., the fact that even with their "crime wave" Europe, and even England, has a much lower overall homicide, and an even lower firearms homicide rate than the U.S.) and find a causation in the home invasion rates based on one factor--the ownership of guns.

As opposed to the other reasonable precautionary measures you cite, the safety provided by the ownership of firearms may be illusory. All the studies you cite have been severely criticized by gun control opponents and those criticisms are widely available on the internet. I'm sure you are aware of them and discount them out of hand even though the criticisms are based on reasonable and valid methodological and statistical analysis of the studies.

I live in a hurricane zone and I have my hurricane kit all ready. I think that New Orleans would have been a much better place if there hadn't been so many guns available in the city in August and September. Dozens of gun stores were looted and thousands of guns stolen in the aftermath of Katrina. So much for legal sales to law-abiding citizens.
1.8.2006 9:09am
juris imprudent (mail):
Freder,

...the safety provided by the ownership of firearms may be illusory.

Don't you feel just a little bit foolish claiming this when the lowest estimate of defensive gun uses is over 100,000 times a year? Is safety really illusory to ALL of those people?

The U.K. homicide rate isn't all that much lower than the U.S. rate when demographically normalized, and they do have higher rates of other crime, both personal and property. I am not claiming the difference IS gun ownership (and carry), but it certainly must be A factor.

...if there hadn't been so many guns available...

OK Goldilocks, how many would be juuusssst riiiight?

Dozens of gun stores were looted and thousands of guns stolen in the aftermath of Katrina.

And so much for your prescription of licensing and registration.
1.8.2006 12:58pm