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Michigan AG on Second Amendment Case:

In yesterday's WSJ, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox argues the Supreme Court should embrace an individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment. The significance of this article is less its contents -- the article summarizes some of the standard constitutional arguments in favor of the individual rights view -- than its author: Michigan's chief law enforcement officer. the article also addresses some of the practical arguments in for rejecting the District of Columbia's position.

Lastly, consider the empirical arguments. The three D.C. ordinances at issue are of the broadest possible nature. According to the statute, a person is not legally able to own a handgun in D.C. at all and may have a long-gun--even in one's home--only if it is kept unloaded and disassembled (or bound with a trigger lock). The statute was passed in 1976. What have been the results?

Illegal guns continue to be widely available in the district; criminals have easy access to guns while law-abiding citizens do not. Cathy L. Lanier, Acting Chief of Police, Metropolitan Police Department, was quoted as follows: "Last year [2006], more than 2,600 illegal firearms were recovered in D.C., a 13% increase over 2005." Crime rose significantly after the gun ban went into effect. In the five years before the 1976 ban, the murder rate fell to 27 from 37 per 100,000. In the five years after it went into effect, the murder rate rose to 35. In fact, while murder rates have varied over time, during the 30 years since the ban, the murder rate has only once fallen below what it was in 1976.

This comports with my own personal experience. In almost 14 years as prosecutor and as head of the Homicide Unit of the Wayne County (Detroit) Prosecutor's Office, I never saw anyone charged with murder who had a license to legally carry a concealed weapon. Most people who want to possess guns are law-abiding and present no threat to others. Rather than the availability of weapons, my experience is that gun violence is driven by culture, police presence (or lack of same), and failures in the supervision of parolees and probationers.

Not only does history demonstrate that the Second Amendment is an individual right, but experience demonstrates that the broad ban on gun ownership in the District of Columbia has led to precisely the opposite effect from what was intended. For legal and historical reasons, and for the safety of the residents of our nation's capital, the Supreme Court should affirm an individual right to keep and bear arms.

GV_:
I suspect these empirical arguments won't have much effect on those who have made up their mind one way or another. But perhaps a moderate justice, like Breyer, would be swayed by something like this. It will be interesting to see what happens to the crime rates in D.C. over the next five years if the gun ban is struck down.
11.24.2007 10:24pm
Justin (mail):
I'm not entirely sure why it would be striking that a Republican AG (Aspiring Governor) would take a traditional pro-gun view of a current issue in a fairly pro-gun state, particularly in the northern part of the state where the GOP is strongest. Yes, Cox is from Detroit, but when he runs for Governor, he's going to have to win primary votes up north, no?
11.24.2007 11:09pm
Cornellian (mail):
"Look at the results" is a dubious attempt to assert causation. In any event, I thought these kinds of empirical arguments ought to be irrelevant?

Personally I doubt why the D.C. government would even bother to try to prohibit gun ownership, since it's realistically impossible to enforce unless they want to set up a Berlin wall, complete with checkpoints, between D.C. and Maryland and Virginia and that's not going to happen.
11.24.2007 11:16pm
Laura S.:
I hope this case will play out as follows;

1) The 2nd amendment guarantees a right of the people not of the states.
2) The government may impose some restrictions on handguns
3) Those restrictions are subject to strict scrutiny
11.24.2007 11:37pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Gun control arguments are really magical thinking, specifically that wishing makes it so.

Fub explained how this works in the context of bans on fake and toy guns on this board six months ago:

What makes these ritual bannings of depictions or imitations of real weapons politically effective (among those for whom they are effective) is a very primitive human thought process: belief in sympathetic magic.

The actual object, the weapon, is imbued with magical power. Its very presence magically causes harm. It causes people to behave in evil ways. The rationale commonly offered is that the mere presence of a weapon makes people more prone to violence.

Sympathetic magic is the belief that what one does with an imitation of the thing with magical power will affect the actual thing. For example, in a magical religious context we see the image of a deity addressed, or given gifts or sacrifices. The magical deity is affected through the treatment of its image, and so performs its magic for the one who gives the image a gift.

In the imitation weapon banning context we have first the belief that the object, the actual weapon, is magic and causes those in its presence to behave in an evil manner. The sympathetic magical belief is that by banning the image or the imitation weapon, the magical power of real weapons to cause people to be violent will be lessened, or the real weapons will stay away from the presence of the faithful.
11.24.2007 11:45pm
wekt:

In the five years before the 1976 ban, the murder rate fell to 27 from 37 per 100,000. In the five years after it went into effect, the murder rate rose to 35.

I think the above statistic (which I've also seen in a few other places) is a bit misleading. Here's a chart of the murder rate (keep in the mind that the gun ban went into effect on Sept 24, 1976):

1970: 29.2 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1971: 37.1 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1972: 32.8 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1973: 35.9 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1974: 38.3 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1975: 32.8 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1976: 26.8 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1977: 27.8 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1978: 28.0 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1979: 27.4 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1980: 31.5 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1981: 35.1 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1982: 30.7 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

(Chart made in vim from data at www.disastercenter.com/crime/dccrime.htm; see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Dc_crime.png)

I think the most that can be reliably said is that the gun ban did not have an obvious and significant effect on the murder rate.

Of course, these statistics are really irrelevant. Even if a gun ban was magically able to reduce the murder rate to zero, thereby negating the need for self-defense against common criminals, the gun ban would still be unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

Besides common criminals, there is another species of criminal that the people need to be armed against: tyrants who would usurp power against the will of the people. The framers of the Constitution, having just recently revolted against the British government, knew very well that a key benefit of an armed populace is that it can overthrow a tyrannical government. An honest look at the historical record shows that the "arms" referred to by the Second Amendment include (at least) all those that regular soldiers in a standing army would carry -- including pistols.
11.25.2007 12:33am
TechieLaw (mail) (www):
Like others, I also have the same two questions:

(1) The statistics quoted by Cathy Lanier say absolutely nothing about any causal or statistical link between the law and gun crime, or what the weight of that link should be given. Gun crime statistics are certainly more complex than whether or not a law was passed in DC.

(2) Regardless of whether or not there is a statistical link, what is the relevance of the statistical link to an interpretation of the 2nd Amendment?

In some ways, perhaps the 2nd question is the more important one: If one could show that better gun control enforcement actually did reduce gun crimes, would this have any relevance? If one could show that gun control enforcement was irrelevant to gun crimes, would this be relevant to the 2nd Amendment?

Or, more importantly, how much should reality intrude upon our academic ivory tower discussion of what the Constitution really means?

A few years back, I was in New Zealand. After speaking with a local police officer, I was shocked to learn that police didn't carry guns in that country. For the moment, putting aside the question of whether international citation should be permitted in US Constitutional interpretation, what, if anything, does the experience of New Zealand say about democracies and gun rights?
11.25.2007 12:53am
Andy Freeman (mail):
Unarmed police is not something unique to New Zealand. It used to be true in the UK (before gun control and for some time after). Heck - it even used to be true in NYC. (The law was overturned basically because police wouldn't obey it.)

I've nothing against civil servants being forced to participate in symbolic gestures.
11.25.2007 2:13am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Techielaw, it presents us very little that we couldn't see from nearly every other democracy, that :

a) No matter how isolated your location nor how complex your gun laws, you'll have very little useful ability to prevent dedicated individuals from getting or producing guns, and
b) People will create more and more intrusive methods to attack the privacy of gun owners, up to and including requiring the fingerprinting, tracking, and in-home inspections of such dangerous beasts.

In addition, the statistics do matter. Even if the Second Amendment is recognized as an individual right, and this right is protected to such a degree that any law infringing it receives strict scrutiny -- neither of which are given, here -- we still must show that many, many, many abusive laws do not actually meet strict scrutiny. Arguing that reducing unlawful firearms deaths is not a compelling governmental interest will not work. Only by proving that most gun owners are not going to cause firearms deaths (and thus a law affecting most firearms owners would not be narrowly tailored) or proving that strict firearms regulations are not viable for reducing unlawful firearms deaths (and thus are not a means, nevermind the least restrictive means).

Finally, while NZ Police are "unarmed", they often do have access to such firearms when necessary.
11.25.2007 2:25am
Cornellian (mail):
Techielaw, it presents us very little that we couldn't see from nearly every other democracy, that :

a) No matter how isolated your location nor how complex your gun laws, you'll have very little useful ability to prevent dedicated individuals from getting or producing guns, and
b) People will create more and more intrusive methods to attack the privacy of gun owners, up to and including requiring the fingerprinting, tracking, and in-home inspections of such dangerous beasts.


And would not the same logic also apply to attempts to prohibit abortions?
11.25.2007 2:55am
Logicman (mail):
The debate over the Second Amendment is a legitimate debate in its own right. It is not a shadow argument about abortion. Will you liberals give it a rest?
11.25.2007 4:35am
Brian K (mail):
The debate over the Second Amendment is a legitimate debate in its own right. It is not a shadow argument about abortion. Will you liberals give it a rest?

not as long as "you conservatives" use arguments in favor of positions you like that you consider illegitimate when used in favor of positions you don't like or against positions you like.
11.25.2007 5:08am
Brian K (mail):
"Last year [2006], more than 2,600 illegal firearms were recovered in D.C., a 13% increase over 2005." Crime rose significantly after the gun ban went into effect. In the five years before the 1976 ban, the murder rate fell to 27 from 37 per 100,000. In the five years after it went into effect, the murder rate rose to 35. In fact, while murder rates have varied over time, during the 30 years since the ban, the murder rate has only once fallen below what it was in 1976.

somehow i doubt he controlled for any relevant variables, e.g. changes in population density or characteristics, laws, characteristics of law enforcement. The time frames and the year "2005" just screams cherry picking. What is so special about a 5 year time frame or the year 2005 other than the fact it makes his argument look good?
11.25.2007 5:13am
jgshapiro (mail):

The framers of the Constitution, having just recently revolted against the British government, knew very well that a key benefit of an armed populace is that it can overthrow a tyrannical government.

That may have been true when everyone was carrying muskets, but now you are carrying a rifle, shotgun or 44 magnum, and the government is carrying a machine gun or driving a tank and has far more impressive weapons in its arsenal. Seriously, how effective do you think an armed but mostly untrained populace is going to be against the most well-trained and well-armed fighting force in the world?

Our defense against tyranny is the voting booth, the Posse Comitatus Act, and the unwillingness of U.S. military commanders to fire on the people or to enable a president to retain power in the face of a losing election. Your shotgun, whether loaded, disassembled or not, is not going to be a serious consideration in whatever calculus goes through the head of a wanna-be tyrant in the White House. That tyrant is going to be worried about what the Joint Chiefs are going to do, what the major law enforcement agencies are going to do, and what Congress is going to do, not about armed resistance from someone with three small arms and a box of ammo in his basement.

Sorry to bring you back to reality. Citing the historical record is so much more fun.
11.25.2007 5:42am
Billy Idle:
Gun control arguments are really magical thinking, specifically that wishing makes it so.

Would you not say the same about psychoactive drugs, sex toys, birth control, or pornography? These objects have that selfsame totemic effect ascribed to guns by fub, but to people on the other side of the aisle--they're inherently dangerous, mind-warping, society-destroying, etc. by their mere existence or presence.
11.25.2007 6:18am
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
The WSJ has a couple of related stories. 11/24, Court sets its scope on handgun ban. (On a Mac today, I can't get the link to work.) Excellent story, although it makes a couple of factual mistakes about Miller. I've been seeing a trend of the press misreporting Miller, and certainly never linking to it.
11.25.2007 6:49am
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
The other is "Guns and the Constitution" 11/24 WSJ A10.
link
11.25.2007 7:00am
Logicman (mail):
not as long as "you conservatives" use arguments in favor of positions you like that you consider illegitimate when used in favor of positions you don't like or against positions you like.

I'm not a conservative. But thanks for identifying yourself as a liberal. It appears I was right.
11.25.2007 8:24am
Horatio (mail):
I hope this case will play out as follows;

1) The 2nd amendment guarantees a right of the people not of the states.
2) The government may impose some restrictions on handguns
3) Those restrictions are subject to strict scrutiny


1 - Absolutely, except I would urge SCOTUS to use the word "individual" as versus "people"
2 - Only restrictions are:
• Age of purchaser (unless emancipated by a court),
• Mental fitness as determined by a court
• Conviction of felonies against individuals - i.e. murder, manslaughter, rape, assault, burglary with a firearm - can be refused ownership. Those charged with or convicted of "white collar" felonies - i.e. stock fraud, embezzlement, failure to pay child support/alimony - cannot be restricted.
3 - Politicians attempting to sidestep above restrictions are subject to criminal prosecution as are judges attempting to uphold other restrictions. No sovereign immunity. No "acting under color of law".
4 - No restrictions on magazine size, caliber, sound suppression, color (black is an approved color!), barrel length.

Of course, I'd love to see the following come out of the decision (hey a boy can dream, can't he?)
5 - Concealed weapons permits issued in one state shall be honored by all other states per the 14th Amendment
6 - Concealed weapons permit holders shall be permitted to carry their weapons on all forms of public transportation, and in public buildings. Restrictions are only in jails or prisons.
7 - States must issue CCW permits to those who pass a safety and gun handling class, and who do not fall into restrictions noted in #2 above
8 - Repeal of the The National Firearms Act of 1934 &Gun Control Act of 1968
11.25.2007 8:33am
PersonFromPorlock:
One philosophical argument that may have some bearing: the power of the Sovereign is the power to destroy, and disarming the sovereign People, or even making their possessing the tools of destruction subject to official permission, is inconsistent with a subordinate government's role.
11.25.2007 8:37am
NaG (mail):
jgshapiro: Gee, an armed, mostly untrained populace in Iraq has been giving our vaunted military fits for the last three years or so. Does that count? Our technological edge has not yet mastered unconventional warfare.

Abortion: Here's the difference between guns and abortion: there is a constitutional amendment granting a right to keep and bear arms, but no mention of abortion anywhere except in the "penumbras" of the imagination. Can we move on now?

Policy Arguments: It is true that policy arguments should have little weight in determining how to interpret the 2nd Amendment, or any other portion of the Constitution. However, policy arguments have reigned supreme when it comes to how the justices have approached things like campaign finance. It's always safest to include the policy arguments just in case -- especially since D.C.'s case appears mostly based in policy.
11.25.2007 9:34am
Brett Bellmore:

not as long as "you conservatives" use arguments in favor of positions you like that you consider illegitimate when used in favor of positions you don't like or against positions you like.


Brian, the chief argument here is that the right in question is explicitly guaranteed by the text of the Constitution. For better or worse that is NOT an argument pro-choicers are in any position to make, so the cases are not remotely analogous.

I don't think evidence about the (lack of) effectiveness of gun control is going to have much impact on gun control supporters, on or off the Court. And not because it's magical thinking, either. The argument for gun control on the basis of crime control is essentially pretextural. We're talking about people who find gun ownership offensive on a cultural/philosophical level, and are groping around for excuses to abolish it which might persuade those who don't share those basis for objecting to it.

There's never been any real evidence that gun control works. The only thing that keeps it a 'live' (More like undead) issue is the persistence would be gun controllers show in promoting it.
11.25.2007 10:21am
Passing By:
Not only does history demonstrate that the Second Amendment is an individual right, but experience demonstrates that the broad ban on gun ownership in the District of Columbia has led to precisely the opposite effect from what was intended.
GV_ thinks that might persuade Breyer, but it's the type of argument I would expect Scalia and Thomas to scoff at.
11.25.2007 10:22am
Flash Gordon (mail):
Laura S and Horatio, love ya both. I'd add to your list of laws to be repealed the sentence in Volkner/McClure that bans all civilian ownership of machine guns not registered before 1986. I wouldn't object to registration of machine guns though, if it were put on an objective basis not subject to the whim of a local sheriff or chief of police.

Of course, this is just a pipe dream but it's fun to think about it. Strict scrutiny would be appropriate because the 2nd Amendment is surely a fundamental right, but we know that isn't going to happen.

Actually, I don't believe most gun control laws now on the books could survive a rational basis test if it were honestly applied.
11.25.2007 10:28am
Brett Bellmore:
In practice, strict scrutiny merely requires that the government advance a good reason for violating the Constitution, while rational basis only requires a reason, but doesn't demand that it actually make sense in light of real world facts. It's one step above "Eh, do whatever you like, we don't care."

I wonder what you'd call the kind of scrutiny where the federal government actually had to obey a constitutional provision under all circumstances? "Super-ultra-hyper" scrutiny?
11.25.2007 10:42am
Waldensian (mail):

The debate over the Second Amendment is a legitimate debate in its own right. It is not a shadow argument about abortion. Will you liberals give it a rest?

It's a common error, and a sign of flabby thinking (dare I say flabby "logic"?) to assume that all "liberals" are in favor of gun control. That's far from universally true, in my experience. It's a big crossover issue.

For example, I would probably qualify as a "liberal" in your eyes, but I own lots and lots of guns and am a strong supporter of the RKBA. I keep telling my friends at the ACLU that they need to defend ALL the individual rights in the Constitution.
11.25.2007 10:56am
Waldensian (mail):

We're talking about people who find gun ownership offensive on a cultural/philosophical level, and are groping around for excuses to abolish it which might persuade those who don't share those basis for objecting to it.

I find this to be true. Once you start debating proponents of gun control on the merits, you find that for many such people (indeed, in my experience, the vast majority of such people), the facts and data simply don't matter. They don't like guns, and they just know that banning guns will reduce violent crime, and that's all there is to it.

For many, the virtues of gun control are like a religion -- it amounts to a non-falsifiable belief. And, like most religions, this way of viewing the world has extremely negative effects.
11.25.2007 11:02am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Bellmore, there's "super strict" scrutiny, but it's mostly used in free speech cases involving prior restraint and still allows infringements in very rare cases (mostly national security). Given that normal strict scrutiny kills about 70% of laws faced with it, most people are happy to see it.

Cornellian
And would not the same logic also apply to attempts to prohibit abortions?


I dunno, perhaps because even in the dark days of 1972, we still didn't have police wandering around and doing spot checks with a speculum in one hand and a flashlight in the other?
11.25.2007 11:04am
PersonFromPorlock:

We're talking about people who find gun ownership offensive on a cultural/philosophical level....

Ah yes... when they hear the word "pistol," they reach for their culture. ;^)
11.25.2007 11:22am
Firma (mail) (www):

We're talking about people who find gun ownership offensive on a cultural/philosophical level, and are groping around for excuses to abolish it which might persuade those who don't share those basis for objecting to it.
11.25.2007 11:51am
Firma (mail) (www):
11.25.2007 11:51am
resim (mail) (www):
The debate over the Second Amendment is a legitimate debate in its own right. It is not a shadow argument about abortion. Will you liberals give it a rest?

not as long as "you conservatives" use arguments in favor of positions you like that you consider illegitimate when used in favor of positions you don't like or against positions you like.


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11.25.2007 11:54am
Laura S.:

Our defense against tyranny is the voting booth, the Posse Comitatus Act, and the unwillingness of U.S. military commanders to fire on the people or to enable a president to retain power in the face of a losing election.


I agree that all of these are in some ways defenses against tyranny, but except in the case of the last one you draw too strong a distinction between good and bad. The voting booth can be a source of tyranny.

But I am more interested in your faith in the Posse Comitatus Act and theory behind it. It seems to me to born from a distinction without a difference. In place of the 'Army' we have a heavily armed and trained elements of the FBI.

Posse Comitatus deserves to be credited as a relic of pro-racists forces who sought at the time to disembowel the only tool available for the direct execution of federal law (the army).

Or perhaps you take a more comprehensive position and believe that the national government should be deprived of all use of us arms in enforcing national law. i.e., no armed units in the DEA,ATF,FBI,DHS?
11.25.2007 12:43pm
Cornellian (mail):
It's a common error, and a sign of flabby thinking (dare I say flabby "logic"?) to assume that all "liberals" are in favor of gun control. That's far from universally true, in my experience. It's a big crossover issue.

I seem to recall Howard Dean got an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association when he was running for the Democratic nomination and presumably few would describe him as a conservative.

Simplistic labels like "liberal" or "conservative" hardly ever suffice to encompass all the views of any single individual.
11.25.2007 12:44pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Once you start debating proponents of gun control on the merits, you find that for many such people (indeed, in my experience, the vast majority of such people), the facts and data simply don't matter.

And what facts and data would those be? There are no facts and data that support the assertion (contrary to what John Lott would have you believe) that gun ownership, concealed carry or lax gun control laws positively affect crime rates at all. In fact, if anything, murder rates tend to be higher in those states that have the most liberal gun control laws. And the overall crime rate is practically the same in Dallas and Chicago (and these trends are apparent all over the country). This year the city with the highest murder rate in the country will be New Orleans, hardly a city known for strict gun control. If you don't believe me, look it up.
11.25.2007 1:41pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
6 - Concealed weapons permit holders shall be permitted to carry their weapons on all forms of public transportation, and in public buildings. Restrictions are only in jails or prisons.

I just love the idea that people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons in courthouses, police stations, banks and airports. Grand idea.

I also like the idea that people who are spending a night out on the town and drunk should be carrying concealed weapons. A drunk with a gun is always a good idea.
11.25.2007 1:50pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
In fact, if anything, murder rates tend to be higher in those states that have the most liberal gun control laws.

Funny how DC doesn't follow form there, eh JF? And please don't use the lame excuse that it isn't a state.
11.25.2007 2:17pm
jgshapiro (mail):

Gee, an armed, mostly untrained populace in Iraq has been giving our vaunted military fits for the last three years or so. Does that count? Our technological edge has not yet mastered unconventional warfare.

First, the insurgents in Iraq are not mostly untrained, many (most?) of them are what is left of the Iraqi army that we dissolved.

Second, they are not armed with the type of weapons likely to be protected by the second amendment. Hardly anyone believes that the second amendment protects your right to own heavy weaponry obtained from Iran, or IEDs.

Third, I presume that the U.S. military knows a lot more about our culture, terrain, etc. than they do about that in Iraq. Plus there will be a lot more of them here than in Iraq. (Think about how Iraq might have gone had we sent in the number of troops requested by Shinseki way back when.) I predict they would be a lot more successful here than over there.

'Stopping tyranny' is just not a realistic reason for why the 2nd amendment needs to be an individual right in 2007, though it may be the reason for why it was put in the bill of rights in 1789. Its usefulness in this regard is basically shot.
11.25.2007 2:19pm
Kevin P. (mail):

J. F. Thomas:
This year the city with the highest murder rate in the country will be New Orleans, hardly a city known for strict gun control. If you don't believe me, look it up.


Wasn't this the city that during Hurricane Katrina, confiscated firearms from law abiding citizens? Oh, that's right, you don't consider this to be strict gun control.
11.25.2007 2:20pm
billb:
JFT: By your own admission concealed-carry has no effect on crime rates (I'll concede this point for the sake of argument. I don't know if it's true or not.), so why do you care if people are allowed to carry or not?

Presumably getting drunk and firing your gun is a crime, but since the crime rates are equal in both kinds of states, either this doesn't happen or its occurrence is offsetting a reduction in other intentional killings and assaults. So, I wonder why you want to restrict the freedom of Americans to make the decision for themselves whether to carry weapons or not when it clearly makes no difference to the people around them.
11.25.2007 2:20pm
NattyB:
so what about the first sentence in the 2nd Amendment. the thing about a well-armed militia. Is that just some introductory clause that we can ignore? necessary to secure a free State . . . this is about tyranny and liberty NOT about crime.

you pro-gun ppl are pretty much, semi-racist white ppl who have this manifest fear of this "black guy" who is gonna rob you and thus you need a gun to protect yourself. And all this other talk, is just how you rationalize your insecurity.

look at the new york murder stats nyc _crimestats

only 35 murders committed in a year where the victims were strangers . . . in a city of over 8 million!!!

I live in DC and if you believe in Democracy and Federalism, then you should allow us to regulate arms as WE SEE FIT. If you need a gun so bad, then move to a jurisdiction that permits it.

Guns are for pussys anyway.
11.25.2007 2:24pm
Kevin P. (mail):

J. F. Thomas:
I also like the idea that people who are spending a night out on the town and drunk should be carrying concealed weapons. A drunk with a gun is always a good idea.

No one I know in the gun culture advocates that people drink and do ANYTHING with guns. In Texas, a person carrying a concealed handgun under the CHL law cannot have a drop of alcohol. This is widely considered to be the norm of acceptable behavior.

Are you projecting something based upon your past behavior? Did you previously carry a gun when you were drunk? Have you driven a car when you were drunk? Do you fear that you are so irresponsible that if you were to own a gun that you would get drunk and carry it around the city? Why do you assume that the majority of gun owners are like yourself?
11.25.2007 2:26pm
Kevin P. (mail):
NattyB:

you pro-gun ppl are pretty much, semi-racist white ppl who have this manifest fear of this "black guy" who is gonna rob you and thus you need a gun to protect yourself. And all this other talk, is just how you rationalize your insecurity.

I live in DC ...

Are you projecting your fears upon other people?
11.25.2007 2:28pm
jgshapiro (mail):

I am more interested in your faith in the Posse Comitatus Act and theory behind it. It seems to me to born from a distinction without a difference. In place of the 'Army' we have a heavily armed and trained elements of the FBI.

PC is one of the statutory bulwarks designed to make it difficult for there to be military support for a dictatorship here.

[Others are separating the armed services under parallel commands, separating operational control of the military from the heads of the several services (e.g., ships are not really under the direct command of the chief of naval operation, they under the command of one or more combatant commanders), etc.]

It does not make it impossible to have tyranny, it just makes it incrementally harder, since the military would have to agree to cross the rubicon of enforcing laws against citizens (and ignoring PC) before being drawn into an attempt at tyranny. The advantage of that is that it would be quite obvious we had crossed a red line -- you could not get there incrementally. And query whether the entire military would go along.

No, I don't think it would apply against law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI. But they don't have access to the same type of weaponry. For example, the FBI is not armed in the same way as the Army, not all of them are trained in using what heavy weaponry they do have, and there are only 13K of them nationwide. It would be pretty hard to establish tyranny with one special agent per 23K people. Even if all federal law enforcement agencies were part of the scheme, I just don't see enough people or weapons there to worry me. [Not to mention that you are generally dealing with college educated professionals who are sworn to uphold the law, and seem unlikely to participate in some sort of a coup.]
11.25.2007 2:33pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
jgshapiro,

I agree with your first three provisions, in order, for what prevents a tyrannical govt here. However, you are wrong to entirely disregard the effect of an armed populace. First, any heavy weapons system is manned and those folks are vulnerable outside the platform. Given that they can't be in the thing 24/7 - there is a reason to fear snipers, etc. Second, it isn't a matter of fearing any particular individual with his gun and three boxes of ammo in the basement - it is the sheer numbers of individuals and not being able to tell who will do what. Lastly, in the case of a coup or such, the military is likely to fracture, as some follow orders, and others rebel - in which case, not all the heavy firepower will be solely in the govt's hands.
11.25.2007 2:39pm
jgshapiro (mail):
juris_imprudent:

So what is it that gives you confidence in an armed citizenry not fracturing? Your assumption seems to be that the people in the street with small arms will uniformly rise in defense of the Republic and in opposition to tyranny. They could just as easily side with the tyrant. More weapons on the ground does not mean more weapons used against a tyrant.

Moreover, people on the street lack the organized leadership and command structure of the military in accomplishing anything. So what you will have is tens or hundreds of thousands of people who have some sort of weapon, deciding for themselves when to use it and who to use it against, in their fight against tyranny. Sounds to me like a recipe for anarchy. Remember that when the second amendment was drafted, there actually was some semblance of a 'militia' to arm. Since that has been taken over by the Guard, you just have 'every man for himself' as the guiding principle.

Finally, what constitutes tyranny? Is it just a president who refuses to leave office or a General who decides to take office? Or is it the government enforcing laws someone doesn't like? Look at the Freeman or at David Koresh. Were those just people defending themselves against government oppression (I'm sure they would say that) or was it just the ordinary application of the law against well-armed nutballs?

Again, the second amendment may have made sense in 1789 given what was happening at the time, but it has outlived its usefulness as a bulwark against tyranny. It seems to do more harm now than good.

The better protection is in education of soldiers and law enforcement personnel, and in laws designed to separate their commands and keep them from being used against the people. If the people with guns won't use them to enforce tyranny, and if their commands are separate enough to prevent an effective conspiracy from being formed, I doubt you have anything to worry about.

And as for Laura's comment that the voting booth can be a source of tyranny - to paraphrase Inigo Montoya, I don't think that word means what you think it means.
11.25.2007 3:04pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
It seems to do more harm now than good.

While I don't think of the 2nd as the primary bulwark against tyranny today, I can hardly agree with this sentiment, whether meant solely as commentary on that particular angle, let alone in a wider sense.

Though anarchy is certainly not preferable to our democratic republic, it may (and please consider that to be a highly provisional may) be preferable to tyranny. Also, consider that a tyrant wants order - the opposite of which you posit as a response. That too might enter into the calculus of the overly ambitious.

The RKBA was never solely predicated upon the existance of a militia - but the existance of a militia was utterly dependent on the people's RKBA. That we no longer rely on a militia (not for a very long time) as our primary source of national defense, does not obliterate the underlying right.
11.25.2007 3:26pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Wasn't this the city that during Hurricane Katrina, confiscated firearms from law abiding citizens? Oh, that's right, you don't consider this to be strict gun control.

This is a lie that has been propagated by the NRA and gun rights advocates for years. Not a single gun was confiscated for a from a law-abiding citizen in New Orleans after Katrina. Several hundred unsecured guns were certainly secured so they wouldn't fall into the hands of criminals and a much smaller number of guns were forcibly confiscated from other criminals. The grand total was less than four hundred in both categories.

But not a single gun was confiscated from a "law-abiding citizen", because all the law-abiding citizens had left the city. If you were in New Orleans and you were not an emergency responder, you were breaking the law and hindering recovery efforts. You were lucky that only your guns were taken away, you could have been arrested too.
11.25.2007 3:28pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
No one I know in the gun culture advocates that people drink and do ANYTHING with guns.

Dick Cheney apparently thinks it is okay to drink and hunt.
11.25.2007 3:30pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
Not a single gun was confiscated for a from a law-abiding citizen in New Orleans after Katrina.

This was all just a figment of imagination eh? A federal restraining order, a new state law? All because "no guns" were confiscated? Speaking of lies...

Oh, and in finding that particular link (out of many) not one supported your contention.
11.25.2007 3:45pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
This was all just a figment of imagination eh? A federal restraining order, a new state law? All because "no guns" were confiscated? Speaking of lies..

I didn't say the lie wasn't extremely effective and led to the passage of a ridiculous, unnecessary and foolhardy law.

Did you bother to read what I wrote? There were no law-abiding citizens in New Orleans when the gun confiscations took place. If you were in New Orleans and not specifically authorized to be there (i.e., directly involved in recovery efforts), you were breaking the law. How hard is that to understand?
11.25.2007 3:58pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Apparently your definition of "law-abiding citizen" is anyone who doesn't look like a criminal.
11.25.2007 4:02pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
I completely agree with J.F.Thomas about the desirability of keeping non-LEO people from carrying firearms into courthouses. That has SAVED lives in my courthouse.

This ban is particularly needed in family court.
11.25.2007 4:02pm
billb:
JFT: The fact that people were in their homes against the evacuation order does not imply that their guns could be lawfully confiscated. These people may have been subject to arrest for disobeying the evacuation order, but they were "law-abiding" with respect to the gun laws of Louisiana. I'd be willing to bet that at least one of them had violated copyright law too, but that would have given the police the right to confiscate their guns.

If the police found these people to be in violation of the evacuation order they should have arrested them. What they did instead was take their guns and leave them in their homes. How does that make any sense, and under what authority did they do so?
11.25.2007 4:06pm
Kevin P. (mail):
J.F. Thomas's careful parsing of "law-abiding" is instructive to those unfamiliar with the linguistic skills of the gun control advocate. Note that the extent of the breaking of the law of the citizens of New Orleans whose guns were confiscated was remaining in their own homes against a mandatory evacuation order. Most of us would not call these people law breakers.

Yet, J.F. Thomas calls these people law breakers. This is instructive as he claims that no law-abiding person's guns were taken away from them. Remember that this is how this can be spun:

1) Some branch of the government passes a law outlawing some or all classes of guns. In the case of New Orleans, this amounted to a declaration by the local police chief in defiance of the state constitution, preemption laws and any notion of due process.
2) A large number of peaceful citizens disregard this order to retain the ability to protect themselves in their own homes.
3) But remember - they're not law abiding any more, according to J.F. Thomas! So when their guns are confiscated, no guns were taken away from any law abiding person! It's all a lie spread by the evil NRA!

And people wonder why we don't negotiate for reasonable gun control with the likes of J.F. Thomas. He can't even publicly admit that guns were confiscated during Hurricane Katrina from people who were defending themselves in their own homes. This is the fundamental mindset of the gun prohibitionist. It is also why the Brady Campaign will argue before the Supreme Court that the 2nd Amendment does not protect the right of citizens of DC to keep loaded guns in their own home for self defense.
11.25.2007 4:29pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
If the police found these people to be in violation of the evacuation order they should have arrested them. What they did instead was take their guns and leave them in their homes. How does that make any sense, and under what authority did they do so?

The people were in clear violation of the evacuation order and could have been arrested. Of course then the VC's and all you other libertarian nuts would be screaming about these "law-abiding citizens" being forcibly removed from their property and the police acting like jack-booted thugs (which you did anyway about the gun confiscation which lasted all of one day and resulted in less than 100 being actually forcibly confiscated and another 300 or so taken out of abandoned buildings). And if they did arrest them, what would they do with them, they certainly had more pressing problems.

And why did the police confiscate guns? Probably because they didn't want to be accidentally shot by people, who by definition, had to have more than a few screws loose, if they were willing to stay in a city without water, electricity, sewers, food, phone, or any services at all. Honestly, where did these people think they were going to get food, water or use the bathroom?
11.25.2007 4:34pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Yet, J.F. Thomas calls these people law breakers. This is instructive as he claims that no law-abiding person's guns were taken away from them. Remember that this is how this can be spun

Do you have any idea what the conditions were like in New Orleans immediately (even for the first month) after Katrina? Do you think that the mandatory evacuation order was arbitrary and capricious. If you do you are a rank idiot. People who stayed in the city were not only putting their own lives at risk but hindering the recovery efforts, risking the lives and putting a burden on the emergency responders. It was the height of irresponsibility for people to stay in the city after the storm.
11.25.2007 4:40pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Note that the extent of the breaking of the law of the citizens of New Orleans whose guns were confiscated was remaining in their own homes against a mandatory evacuation order. Most of us would not call these people law breakers.

So you only consider breaking the law if it is a law you like?
11.25.2007 4:43pm
Jim Hankins (mail):
I understand the evacuation order was illegal. Not so?
11.25.2007 4:50pm
Dave D. (mail):
....Mr. J.F. Thomas' irrational exuberance has long been on display here. Many of the folks who remained in New Orleans never heard the evacuation orders and many who heard them could not physically do so. No Mens Rea, they weren't guilty of any offense. That Mr. Thomas does not, or perhaps cannot, differentiate between criminals and innocent and unfortunate citizens and chooses to deny them the basic right of effective self defense only points up his irrationality.
11.25.2007 4:50pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
J.F. Thomas,

You assume that no trial is required to determine if someone has broken the law. You are trying too hard to make an indefensible point.

New Orleans during and shortly after Hurricane Katrina is a perfect example of "hard cases make bad law." Give this one a rest.
11.25.2007 4:52pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
jgshapiro writes:

That may have been true when everyone was carrying muskets, but now you are carrying a rifle, shotgun or 44 magnum, and the government is carrying a machine gun or driving a tank and has far more impressive weapons in its arsenal. Seriously, how effective do you think an armed but mostly untrained populace is going to be against the most well-trained and well-armed fighting force in the world?
I hate to disappoint you, but the population is a lot better armed than you think. A friend of mine just bought a full auto. Quite legal. Fingerprinting, background check, etc. A surprisingly large number of people own belt fed machine guns.

Of course, since the adult civilian population of the United States outnumbers the military by about 100:1, whatever advantage the military has in firepower tends to be lost because of sheer numbers of armed civilians.

Remember also that if the military is given unlawful orders--with the threat of summary execution for failure to carry them out--a fair number of soldiers, seeing no risk to their lives from carrying out those orders, and big risks from refusing them, will reluctantly follow unlawful orders. What happens when the risk equation changes, and following unlawful orders might get them killed as well? Suddenly, the incentive to do what they are supposed to do changes.

I am not surprised to J.F. Thomas rationalizing the post-Katrina disarming. He is fundamentally a fascist, in love with unlimited governmental power, and terrified that someone, somewhere, is operating without orders from his Gruppenfuehrer. Hence his constant denigration of the success of the armed Jewish resistance to the Nazis during World War II.
11.25.2007 5:01pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Many of the folks who remained in New Orleans never heard the evacuation orders and many who heard them could not physically do so.

First off I would dispute your contention that "many" of the folks in New Orleans never heard the evacuation orders. You would have literally have to have been deaf, dumb and blind and living a completely isolated existence, and completely lacking in the least bit of curiosity about things going on around you, to not know about the evacuation order the weekend prior to the storm. Granted, actually getting out of town was a hardship for many people.

Well now you are just getting silly. The gun confiscation came in the aftermath of the storm (after the levees had breached). The police were going door to door telling people that they had to leave the city (this was the second mandatory evacuation order--this one because of threats to human health because of the flooding and lack of services. The legal doubts about the first mandatory were based on the concerns about the inability to enforce it). If people refused to comply (and they were offered transportation), the police told them they had to turn over their weapons. It is disingenuous to claim that people, especially those whose guns were actually confiscated, were unaware of the order or unable to comply.
11.25.2007 5:09pm
Dave from Woodstock:
jgshapiro:

<blockquote>
Our defense against tyranny is the voting booth, the Posse Comitatus Act, and the unwillingness of U.S. military commanders to fire on the people or to enable a president to retain power in the face of a losing election. Your shotgun, whether loaded, disassembled or not, is not going to be a serious consideration in whatever calculus goes through the head of a wanna-be tyrant in the White House. That tyrant is going to be worried about what the Joint Chiefs are going to do, what the major law enforcement agencies are going to do, and what Congress is going to do, not about armed resistance from someone with three small arms and a box of ammo in his basement.

Sorry to bring you back to reality. Citing the historical record is so much more fun.
</blockquote>

So what? The more likely scenario may be a post Katrina or post terrorist act where civil order fails for some period of time. Even if it is a revolt against tyranny of some sort, and the people are outgunned, I'd still rather have one on hand. You might choose to go it unarmed, but don't make the rest of us follow your line...if you think you are right, start a movement to amend the Constitution in accordance with its terms.
11.25.2007 5:10pm
Waldensian (mail):

you pro-gun ppl are pretty much, semi-racist white ppl who have this manifest fear of this "black guy" who is gonna rob you and thus you need a gun to protect yourself. And all this other talk, is just how you rationalize your insecurity.

This is such drivel that I wouldn't normally reply, but I can't resist: I'm one of the "pro-gun ppl" and I'm not white.

Am I still semi-racist?

Let's talk about DC. The people who most need guns in DC, the people whom I desperately WANT to have guns in DC, are the decent law abiding citizens who are the actual and potential victims of violent crime. Many, maybe most, of these people are black.

Again, am I a racist for thinking this?

Honestly, if your beliefs lead you to say things that are this stupid, you need to consider the possibility that your beliefs are.... incredibly stupid.
11.25.2007 5:11pm
Leif (mail):
The potential tyranny most feared by the framers was one that would be supported by a federal standing army in the absence of effective state militia.

The Second Amendment was supposed to relieve that fear. That's why Thomas Jefferson called it "a provision for the substitution of militia for a standing army."
11.25.2007 5:11pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I am not surprised to J.F. Thomas rationalizing the post-Katrina disarming. He is fundamentally a fascist, in love with unlimited governmental power, and terrified that someone, somewhere, is operating without orders from his Gruppenfuehrer.

Sheesh, Clayton, you are the one enamored of Nazi interrogation tactics.
11.25.2007 5:13pm
Dave D. (mail):
..Once again Mr. Thomas presumes an omniscience he does not and cannot possess. Where does his wonderful ability arise from ? How does he know what millions of folks heard, saw or read ?
11.25.2007 5:30pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Dave D.

I live in New Orleans and lived here for Katrina. To not have noticed the city emptying around you or as posited above, not have noticed something untoward after the storm had passed is just such an ridiculous assertion that it is laughable (especially in the context of claiming that the few people who had their guns confiscated were unaware of the evacuation order).
11.25.2007 5:48pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Also, you would have literally have not had turned on the radio or tv or talked to anyone. It was all anyone was talking about the weekend before the storm.
11.25.2007 5:52pm
Brian K (mail):
logicman,

"I'm not a conservative."

i take it you don't quite understand the meaning of the quotation marks. i did put them around "you conservatives" to mock the posters use of "you liberals". Thank you for identifying yourself as someone who replies to comments that they don't understand.
11.25.2007 6:17pm
Dave D. (mail):
...Claiming you know what other folks heard, or knew, is old hat with you, Mr. Thomas. Most of your posts revert to absolute, and absolutely unknowable, assertions of your opinion as fact. I live in California but know no more about what it's 36 million people think and know than you know what your neighbors think or know. Your attempts to prove what the 1.4 million people of preKatrina New Orleans MUST have known is laughable, and pitiable both.
11.25.2007 6:17pm
Arkady:

The framers of the Constitution, having just recently revolted against the British government, knew very well that a key benefit of an armed populace is that it can overthrow a tyrannical government.


Hmmm. Didn't help Daniel Shays, et al.


Shays' rebellion was an armed uprising in Western Massachusetts from 1786 to 1787. The rebels, led by Daniel Shays and known as Shaysites (or Regulators), were mostly small farmers angered by crushing debt and taxes. Failure to repay such debts often resulted in imprisonment in debtor's prisons or the claiming of property by the state. The rebellion started on August 29, 1786. A Massachusetts militia that had been raised as a private army defeated the main Shaysite force on February 3, 1787. There was a lack of an institutional response to the uprising, which energized calls to reevaluate the Articles of Confederation and gave strong impetus to the Constitutional Convention which began in May 1787.
11.25.2007 6:20pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Claiming you know what other folks heard, or knew, is old hat with you, Mr. Thomas. Most of your posts revert to absolute, and absolutely unknowable, assertions of your opinion as fact.

Umm, you are the one who started this by claiming, apparently without a clue as to how much coverage the evacuation orders got in local media and how attentive the people in south Louisiana are to weather during hurricane season, that "many" people were unaware of the evacuation orders.
11.25.2007 6:35pm
Dave D. (mail):
...The subject at hand, Mr. Thomas, is gun control and the subset of that subject was the confiscation of firearms by police in N.O. following Katrina. You have made the absolute assertion (above) that "not a single gun was confiscated from ( you actually wrote "for" )a law-abiding citizen in New Orleans after Katrina". You further stated " all law-abiding citizens had left the city ".
...You seem to think your span of knowledge extends to where ever your imagination takes it. You assume facts not in evidence. You make it up as you go along. Presuming you really do live in New Orleans, that adds no credence to your statements nor does it make them facts. You seem to be afflicted by solipsism, but unaware of it.

....It doesn't matter how much press coverage the evacuation orders got, confiscation of firearms from citizens was not warranted or legal. That is my opinion. Your opinions about that may be
relevant. Your portrayal of your opinion as fact is farcical.
11.25.2007 7:25pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
But years after writing Priestly, contrasting the constitutions of other nations to the US Constitution, Jefferson wrote to Major John Cartwright on June 5, 1824:

Our Revolution ... presented us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased. We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature, and found them engraved on our hearts. Yet we did not avail ourselves of all the advantages of our position. We had never been permitted to exercise self- government. When forced to assume it, we were novices in its science. Its principles and forms had entered little into our former education. We established however some, although not all its important principles. The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.
11.25.2007 7:26pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The subject at hand, Mr. Thomas, is gun control and the subset of that subject was the confiscation of firearms by police in N.O. following Katrina.

Well here are the facts. The very small (as I have pointed out repeatedly, less than 100 total guns were confiscated from people) subset of citizens who got their guns confiscated in New Orleans were well aware of the mandatory evacuation order. They were told personally about it by the police who confiscated their guns. They were told they must leave the city immediately. When they refused to leave (and they were offered transportation out of the city), they were told they were told they could not keep their firearms since the city was under a state of emergency.

I don't know when, if ever, you would consider the confiscation of firearms illegal. But anyone who refused to leave New Orleans in the week after the storm was, by definition, a danger to themselves and others. In normal circumstances they would have warranted an order of protection from any court (Imagine if a relative of yours absolutely refused to leave a house with no running water, working toilet, electricity or any other services in 96 degree heat with no hope of those services being restored for at least two months).
11.25.2007 7:53pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
resulted in less than 100 being actually forcibly confiscated

Hmm, JF, I thought you claimed that ZERO guns were confiscated. I don't suppose you'd care to cite ANY source for ANY number, as opposed to you just making them up on the spot.

About par for the course for the credibility of gun control proponents.
11.25.2007 8:19pm
Brett Bellmore:

But anyone who refused to leave New Orleans in the week after the storm was, by definition, a danger to themselves and others.


"By definition". As opposed to "in reality", you mean? You're talking about conditions that existed for the vast majority of the human race's existence... However did we avoid extinction?
11.25.2007 8:27pm
Brett Bellmore:
Juris, his position is pretty clear: The police can't confiscate guns from law abiding citizens, by definition, because the citizen on refusing to hand the gun over when ordered ceases to be law abiding. By definition, guns are either turned in voluntarily, or taken from criminals.

Whether or not, apparently, there is any legal basis for the order to hand it over.
11.25.2007 8:30pm
Dave D. (mail):
...I read a similar post you made 7-26-06 in which you asserted, again, with no factual referrence, the same approximate numbers. Mr. Thomas, you just don't get it. Your claims are just that, claims. They originate in your mind. What you assert, the absolute knowledge of every persons understanding and every police order involved in the evacuation of N.O. and the confiscation of guns, CAN'T be known. Have you, at long last no sense of shame in claiming to know what you do not know ?
..The ownership of arms is too important to be left to an egoist such as you are.
11.25.2007 8:31pm
K Parker (mail):
no armed units in the DEA,ATF,FBI,DHS?
Sounds fine to me! Not that I think the investigators in the FBI should have to go about unarmed; it's just that I don't think they should be privileged over any other ordinary, law-abiding American citizen. Interestingly, Dave Kopel seems to agree with me.

J.F.Thomas,
I just love the idea that people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons in courthouses, police stations, banks and airports. Grand idea.
Not sure I'd go along with the courthouse part, but as for the rest, why not? Carry in police stations is legal in VA, carry in the non-secure part of airport terminals is legal in WA and OR, carry in banks is legal almost everywhere, and there's no history of evidence that this causes any real problem. Sorry if it offends your aesthetics.

-Kirk
11.25.2007 9:02pm
NattyB:
Waldensian

You are not racist for thinking that. You are being paternalistic for wanting US in DC to be able to have guns. Or perhaps, just the "law abiding" people. Whatever that means? I am a law abiding individual (clean record I swear), up until I shoot someone. Should I still have a gun?

My argument in this matter is one of Federalism. The people of DC, have decided, that they do not want hand guns in the District. Who is best suited to make that determination?
The DC city council or you? It's not as if the DC City Council is batshit crazy (ok maybe marion barry, but he's just one councilperson). What is the DC City Council's motivation for doing this? Do they not care about the people in the District? Their constituents? Do they want more people to die?

NO. This is their call. They are the closest to the ground. And all you ppl from outside the District can go F yourselves and allow us to live as we choose. It's bad enough we have taxation without representation.

Now, a novel solution would be for DC to pass a law, which enhances the penalties for illegal firearm possession - guns bought from MD and VA - which are not permitted to be owned by individuals from DC, if my understanding is correct. If you close that loophole, then the gun ban in DC would be more effective.
11.25.2007 9:20pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
You're talking about conditions that existed for the vast majority of the human race's existence... However did we avoid extinction?

Actually not. In pre-modern times people would have had outhouses and well water (or even city supplied water) to fulfill the two most basic necessities of life. Neither one was available in post-Katrina New Orleans. Also, food, fuel, clothing and other basic necessities of life would have been available at local markets which would have been a short walk or horseback ride away. Oops, sorry--none of those things were available either.

And before you continue to sneer at me, you might want to look into the history of New Orleans. Before the advent of modern sanitation, medicine, and pesticides, it was hardly a very healthy place to live. Actually, until the twentieth century, living in a city anywhere, but especially in tropical and subtropical areas, was a pretty risky proposition.

You people really need to do better.
11.25.2007 9:37pm
Brett Bellmore:

NO. This is their call


NO. It isn't. This is a civil liberty, explicitly guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The people of the District of Columbia are no more entitled to opt out of the 2nd amendment than they are the 1st, or 3rd-8th.

Apparently, you just don't want the Constitution to be binding.
11.25.2007 9:51pm
K Parker (mail):
Please, nobody tell J.F. about Calcutta, OK?
11.25.2007 10:19pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
JF Thomas, I and your argument would both be grateful if you actually stick to facts, rather than trying to assert numbers in the hope no one will check up on them. The New Orleans Police reported and offered for return more than 700 firearms, in addition to additional firearms which were reported by civilians as taken by police but not made available through the New Orleans police (either taken by other police offices and attainable only through them, or effectively disappeared).
These were not less than 100 firearms taken from normal people. The numbers were undeniably at seven times that and almost certainly an order of magnitude greater.

These individuals MAY have violated the mandatory evacuation order — given that we do not see hundreds of arrest reports or trial reports for such a matter, I think any assertion as to such relies on de jure thinking more than de facto — but I think you're finding a little lack of distinction between a felony and a misdemeanor. Violations, no matter how complete, of the evacuation order are mere misdemeanors. Even if these individuals were arrested and found guilty by a court of law, which they were not, the greatest monetary punishment available to the court would be a 500 USD fine.

You can get worse speeding tickets.

Would you like to go on record as defining anyone accused of breaking the speed limit as a law-breaking individual who shouldn't be allowed to own a gun? Moreover, would you like to state that someone accused of breaking the speed limit be subject to a wide variety of invasive searches and seizures without warrant or judicial oversight?
11.25.2007 10:25pm
Laura S.:

PC is one of the statutory bulwarks designed to make it difficult for there to be military support for a dictatorship here.


"Designed"--quite an outlandish assertion. It has been interpreted that way. Consider for instance that the phrase "Posse Comitatus" refers to an entirely differently common law principle.

Given that the framers of the constitution where fairly learned men, committed to liberty, as was President Washington:

Are you of the opinion that the use of the army during the Whiskey Rebellion was grossly improper, an act which would have contributed to the creation of a military dictatorship?
11.25.2007 10:34pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
In pre-modern times people would have had outhouses and well water (or even city supplied water) to fulfill the two most basic necessities of life. Neither one was available in post-Katrina New Orleans. Also, food, fuel, clothing and other basic necessities of life would have been available at local markets which would have been a short walk or horseback ride away. Oops, sorry--none of those things were available either.


All right.

Are you seriously and honestly arguing that the average citizen of New Orleans would be incapable of telling their ass from a hole in the ground?

And have you taken so little of your education from sources other than television and modern-day retreads of Shakespeare's works to actually think that even a large portion of human society was a city or town dweller for even the last few centuries, nevermind the whole of the human race's existence?

Am I reading you incorrectly, or are you honestly going to suggest that the human race -- a subspecies originating more than 200,000 years ago by the estimates of our modern scientific thought -- figured out the market place early on in its lifetime?

This is, by the way, a species that took 190,000 years to figure out how to plant stuff.
11.25.2007 10:35pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
Or perhaps, just the "law abiding" people. Whatever that means?

Wow, what is it about being a liberal that makes this such a mind bending concept? And if you REALLY think that most murders are committed by gun owners that have never ever committed another offense, and have acquired all of their guns legitimately, then you are NOT part of the reality based community.

My argument in this matter is one of Federalism.

Oh, okay, so you have no problem with the local govt denying at least some citizens (particularly the non-politically connected) their entire panoply of civil rights. Sort of like under Jim Crow. After all, it's 'their call', right?
11.25.2007 11:13pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Laura S. :]

Common law posse comitatus is the right of police officers, governmental agents, justices of the peace, and a few other groups, to deputize individuals. This is not at question. The American common law technique at the time of Washington involved the use of civilian militiamen (who were not military or even given sovereign immunity like modern police) to uphold the law, similar to modern citizen's arrest statute and common law. It wasn't til 1850 -- when Washington was more than 50 years dead -- that any part of the posse comitatus was allowed to act in a military role with military protections. Modern Posse Comitatus law came years after that.

The Posse Comitatus Act does not and did never prohibit the use of military forces against a civilian uprising. It was never intended as such. Written right after the Civil War, this shouldn't be surprising. It only required authorization by Congress for any use of the military for police powers.

This is a major limitation on the use of the military as a bludgeon against private groups to enforce the laws. Most notably, it requires either Congressional approval (yay, herding cats!) or the President to explicitly and visibly violate the law. As noted, this provides a very bright red line.
11.25.2007 11:14pm
Dave D. (mail):
...Gattsura, I must rise to defend Mr. Thomas and
assure you that there is at least one person in New Orleans who does not know his ass from a hole in the ground.
11.26.2007 12:42am
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
Brett Bellmore: A label that has been used for a stricter than strict scrutiny standard of review is the "absolute bar rule", which says that if the (Maryland) constitution says you can't do x, then you can't do x. It's bveen awhile since I reviewed the case law, but I think it came up in the context of equal protection on the basis of sex.
--
This thread has me thinking about Roe, Griswald, Lawrence, and a woman's right to make a healthcare decision to keep a gun in her home, as a birth control device. What are the penumbras and emanations of the second amendment, that might impact future privacy cases?
--
It looks in Heller like there are 4 opposed, the 'liberal' wing of the court, and five "we don't know what they are really thinking" votes, so we shouldn't count this as a win yet. It would be enough to get a strong dissent, as in McConnell v FEC, which set up the later WiRtl v FEC.
Scalia's vote is especially unpredictable. In cases like McIntyre, he, like Rhenquist elsewhere, argued for an evolving and living constitution, in which rights expire if they aren't used for 50 or a 100 years.
Elsewhere, though, he's suggested that "of the people" means "of the people".
--
Perhaps there are five (or 3, or 4) votes for something like this:
The people of DC are people and the 2nd applies to them, so you can't ban handguns. "Shall not be infringed" triggers something like strict scrutiny, but only of whatever it is that the founders meant by "the right" to bear arms,
so that we need to look to anglo-american law, circa 1679-1792, to understand what degree of regulation was historically allowed, in order to resolve questions such as whether trigger locks can be required for shotguns.
Just as libel and obscenity are (somewhat) outside the "freedom of speech", there are probably categories of gun-having that are not within the historicaal right.
And at that point, my knowledge is limited, and I need to defer to some of you historical scholar types. In, say, Massachutsetts in 1750, could trigger locks have been required?
11.26.2007 12:54am
AnonLawStudent:

Imagine if a relative of yours absolutely refused to leave a house with no running water, working toilet, electricity or any other services in 96 degree heat with no hope of those services being restored for at least two months


JF, you've just described my 66 year old parents in the aftermath of Katrina. But, like many others, they had (i) adequate bottled water to last for several weeks, (ii) food to last for months, (iii) fuel and a generator to last for several weeks, and (iv) a Model 1911 on my father's hip to make sure no one bothered them. In other words, did the right thing, i.e. they took the pre-storm warnings seriously and prepared. But I guess you believe that the government was qualified to decide for them whether or not they were a danger to themselves, and enforce that decision by (i) refusing to defend them from looters or rampaging thugs, while at the same time (ii) forcefully taking away their means to defend themselves and their property. Just because YOU aren't capable of living without a government teat in your mouth doesn't mean everyone else is similarly incapcitated. Once again, please don't let logic, facts, or the law get in the way of your arguments.

Like the L.A. riots, Katrina does indeed provide the perfect example of the need for arms. Unfortunately, many of the inhabitants of our larger cities don't realize how rough and tumble the real world can be.
11.26.2007 1:23am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
JF, you've just described my 66 year old parents in the aftermath of Katrina. But, like many others, they had (i) adequate bottled water to last for several weeks, (ii) food to last for months, (iii) fuel and a generator to last for several weeks

Your parents live in the city of New Orleans on the east side of the water? What did they do with their waste products (both bodily and solid wastes). What would they have done if they had gotten sick, injured or their house flooded? Where did they get water for non-drinking use? How much fuel exactly did they have on hand? Because with the amount of fuel a generator consumes, anyone who stores that much fuel in an urban environment is a reckless crackpot who is a threat to their neighbors (and almost certainly is violating fire codes).
11.26.2007 8:04am
dew:
Because with the amount of fuel a generator consumes, anyone who stores that much fuel in an urban environment is a reckless crackpot who is a threat to their neighbors (and almost certainly is violating fire codes).

In MA it is pretty simple to get permits in a city for up to 500 gallons of fuel storage, and relatively easy to get up to 1,000 gallons permitted. Hint why: a standard tank for home heating oil is 250 gallons; a triplex, common in metro Boston, will have 3 if it uses oil heat. MA is not unusual in the northeast in its requirements. Admittedly, I do not know if LA or New Orleans have more strict regulations than the reckless crackpots up here.

Also, a typical diesel generator might burn .25 gal/hr to generate 1Kw average load, enough to power a fridge and some lights. A 250 gallon tank of heating oil (home heating oil is the same thing as diesel fuel, just a different color and different taxes) would last 1000 hours running 24x7, or just about 3 weeks.
11.26.2007 9:17am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Just because YOU aren't capable of living without a government teat in your mouth doesn't mean everyone else is similarly incapcitated. Once again, please don't let logic, facts, or the law get in the way of your arguments.

I have no why you are assuming I am depending on the government teat. Your parents, by ignoring the warnings and staying in the evacuation zone were risking their own lives and the lives of others and potentially costing the government a lot more (in plucking them off the roof of their flooded house or recovering their bodies from under their collapsed house) than I did in taking the rational course and evacuating to Baton Rouge. Those who stayed exacerbated the situation by forcing the government (who you deride) to undertake dangerous rescue operations, and search through flooded streets with broken gas mains and other hazards for survivors and bodies. If your parents' house had flooded would they have patiently waved off coast guard helicopters until a private agency or you showed up to rescue them?

The New Orleans Police reported and offered for return more than 700 firearms, in addition to additional firearms which were reported by civilians as taken by police but not made available through the New Orleans police (either taken by other police offices and attainable only through them, or effectively disappeared).

I listed 400, I was mistaken. The 100 was the number actually confiscated directly from citizens, and that number is correct. The rest were taken from abandoned homes and businesses.

Now, if you want the police just to leave guns laying around unsecured in an abandoned city, I guess that is one way to go.

I also have a generator and an emergency hurricane kit. I also have the good sense to have an evacuation plan with not one, but two, places to stay (with friends in Baton Rouge or family in Florida--if BR is also in the impact area of the storm). There is nothing that will not fit in my car that is worth risking my life or the lives of others (e.g., those brave rescuers who might have to pluck me off my roof) for.
11.26.2007 10:06am
Kevin P. (mail):

J. F. Thomas (mail):
The 100 was the number actually confiscated directly from citizens, and that number is correct.

And remember, by the fiat of the local police chief, they were declared to be law breakers, and so no guns were taken away from the law abiding.

We should remember these words for the different gun prohibitionist, different day and different excuse that declares us to be law breakers.
11.26.2007 10:19am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I think that the real scary thing is that so many believe as JF does. Just as easy to accept that any guns seized by the D.C. police from anyone's houses were legitimately seized becausae of the D.C. gun laws. Never mind due process, innocent until proven guilty, etc. The mere fact that someone violated some law or another, no matter how minor or legitimate, is sufficient to justify seizing the guns.

Add to this that much of law enforcement these days seems to be almost pretextual. There are so many laws on the books that most of us violate some law or another on some level of regularity, regardless of real intent. Someone above suggested that the violation was equivalent to speeding. Buy I would argue that it was more akin to a broken taillight. Illegal, with intent unnecessary to prove (though in many, if not most, jurisdiction, speeding is also effectively a strict liablity crime).

In the ccase of NOLA, it is only relevant that more than one gun was siezed w/o due process because it shows a pattern of behavior, and thus implicates the city and county/parish, as well as the higher ups in the department.
11.26.2007 10:36am
ALS:

by ignoring the warnings and staying in the evacuation zone were risking their own lives and the lives of others and potentially costing the government a lot more


Ah, your true argument emerges - because the government provides a service, even if ineffectively, those who make a choice to decline the service, be responsible for themselves, and protect their property are subject to government control under the guise of the "needs" of the service provided.
By your argument, anyone who is self sufficient and prepared to take care of himself is "a reckless crackpot who is a threat to their neighbors." You've previously claimed to possess an engineering degree. Try using it. A 5kw generator has a FF just under 1 gal/hr at 50% load. So the 80 gallons of gasoline, enough to last about 3 weeks running the generator 4 hours per day (enough to keep the freezers frozen), stored in their garage makes them reckless crackpots. Do you have a garage? How many gallons of fuel are in those 2 cars? Are you "a reckless crackpot" for having a two car garage, with 40 gallons of gas inside, in an urban environment? You should get a permit to store those things, since you might be breaking the fire codes.
Just because you believe an action is correct doesn't make it the only *rational* action, nor does it give you the right to force anyone else to comply.
11.26.2007 10:43am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I would also like to ask J.F. what he would think if the police had siezed food and water, instead of guns, from those who were seen to have violated the evacuation order? Would that have been any more legitimate? After all, losing your food and water would be an even bigger incentive to vacate than losing your gun (at least for some). Besides seizing food and water would not have had the Constitutional (state and federal) that seizing the guns did.
11.26.2007 10:45am
Ben P (mail):

Of course, these statistics are really irrelevant. Even if a gun ban was magically able to reduce the murder rate to zero, thereby negating the need for self-defense against common criminals, the gun ban would still be unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.


I disagree only on the exact point that the statistics don't matter.

Even if the court holds what an earlier commenter suggested, that the Second Amendment should create strict scrutiny with respect to laws regulating gun ownership.

I think that would be the best outcome, but You have to remember that not every case the court has applied strict scrutiny has come out against the government although most do. Would anyone really argue that a law prohibiting the carrying of weapons into a courthouse would fail strict scrutiny? What about carrying weapons into places that serve alcohol?

Preventing violent crime is an important if not compelling interest, what strict scrutiny of gun laws would then call for is an intense examination of the basis for those laws to see if they

1. Actually achieve that interest
2. Could not do so in a less oppressive way.

In that context the statistics become everything, and gun laws could only survive if there is a very close connection between the two. If anything all the past surveys on gun violence have shown that this statistical correlation is slim to nonexistent. (which is why anti-gun advocates can point to their examples and pro-gun advocates can point to theirs)
11.26.2007 11:13am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
The 100 was the number actually confiscated directly from citizens, and that number is correct. The rest were taken from abandoned homes and businesses."


Do you actually have proof of this? I'm not calling you a liar, but given that your estimate as to number of total confiscated guns was less than 58% of the minimum value which is itself known to not cover every confiscated firearm... maybe you're mistaken.

I can't even find a source using your claim of a "hundred" guns taken directly from citizens. I can find sources for at least two dozen different individuals claiming to have been forcibly and illegaly took those firearms, counting for quite a sizable proportion of your claims, if not exceeding them. I suppose it's possible that I managed to find information about every single illegally confiscated firearm with a half-hour and google, but you'll excuse me if I don't take such on your word alone.

It's the internet. Come up with a damned link already.
11.26.2007 11:15am
Happyshooter:
Assuming that you are asking a serious question, go to http://www.stevespages.com/page7c.htm
and download FM 3-06 and read chapter 3.

That may have been true when everyone was carrying muskets, but now you are carrying a rifle, shotgun or 44 magnum, and the government is carrying a machine gun or driving a tank and has far more impressive weapons in its arsenal. Seriously, how effective do you think an armed but mostly untrained populace is going to be against the most well-trained and well-armed fighting force in the world?
11.26.2007 11:27am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Ah, your true argument emerges - because the government provides a service, even if ineffectively, those who make a choice to decline the service, be responsible for themselves, and protect their property are subject to government control under the guise of the "needs" of the service provided.

I don't know what government service you are referring to, the evacuation order? The evacuation order was there to get people to leave in the face of a deadly storm. If more than 90% of the population of New Orleans had not heeded the order to evacuate a hell of a lot more than 1500 people would have died in the storm. Anon never came back and told us where exactly his parents lived, but all their stored water, food, generator, and 911 wouldn't have done them a whole lot of good if they lived in Lakeview and their house was under 10 or 12 feet of water. They would have been on their roof in 95 degree heat waiting for the Coast Guard (at the cost of several thousand dollars) to rescue them--if they didn't die in their attic or drown first.

Oh, as for running your generator for three weeks. When exactly do you think electricity, sewer, and water was restored to New Orleans or the evacuation order lifted? If you ran out of fuel after three weeks and left the city to get more, you would not have been allowed to return to your house for another week or so. People were allowed to return to the west bank on September 23, but not allowed back on the east bank (the main part of the city) until the end of September, a full month after the storm. It would be at least another month minimum before your power was turned on (power was not fully restored to the city until March--sewer, gas and potable water even later).
11.26.2007 11:36am
Owen (mail):
J.F. Thomas,

Why are you even arguing this? Riley conceded in court papers that there was no legal basis for the seizure of lawfully-owned firearms. Even if Riley had issued such an order, it would have been of highly dubious legality and in any event could only have had a duration of five days, and the confiscations took place over a longer period than that.
11.26.2007 11:46am
Owen (mail):
Excuse me -- it was Compass who was Chief at the time.
11.26.2007 11:47am
Dave D. (mail):
...Mr. Thomas is asking us to believe that exactly 100 guns , no more, no less, were seized by N.O. Police from it's citizens. In a city that can't account for it's police, where policemen, if they weren't just names on the roster to which a check was sent, disappeared never to heard from again. In a city that released felons who were arrested but for whom no report was ever filed , so no charges could be brought. In a city that can't account for millions of dollars they were given to it after the hurricane passed.
..And he askes us to believe that 300, no more, no less, were seized from homes left unattended. 300. No more, no less. Exactly.
...And Mr. Thomas wasn't in New Orleans when this occurred, but miles away at a friends house in Baton Rouge. Yet he knows with specificity what went on in New Orleans in his absence.
..The absurdity of J.F. Thomas' claims are laughable.
11.26.2007 11:49am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Whatever the exact number--and I never said it was exactly 100--the point is that the image of jackbooted thugs going door to door forcibly disarming innocent people got blown way out of proportion in order to advance an agenda of the NRA. The organized effort to force people to leave the city, and if they refused, to take away their guns, lasted all of a couple days. The total number of guns confiscated (both pryed from live hot hands and removed from abandoned buildings) and actually logged at police headquarters amounted to around 700 (granted N.O. police are notoriously corrupt and more than a few probably made it into the private collections of police officers).

My original point remains. Those who remained in the city were being reckless and irresponsible. Being there wasn't like camping out or living in the eighteenth century--there was absolutely no source of clean drinking water, sanitation, food, medicine or fuel and there was a constant danger from floodwaters, damaged buildings, storm debris, and disease. Their presence was hindering recovery efforts and debris removal. They were also breaking the law. To claim they were responsible law-abiding citizens is simply to ignore the facts on the ground. The were stubborn, selfish people who had no thought or concern about anyone other than themselves and were unable to think rationally about the consequences of their actions.
11.26.2007 12:16pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
I still see a complete lack of source on your assertion for that number.

I also don't see how even if your ridiculous assertion on numbers is true that your result is logical. There are uncontested reports of police officers going into buildings people were living in, and searching their building for firearms. House-to-house searches, including those who people lived in, are fact, not some "myth" you can evaporate through heated rhetoric.

These people were -- again, given the lack of actual enforcement of the law, arguably -- committing a misdemeanor. This was not an area where martial law had been declared. Are you honestly going to claim that these searches or seizures, which would violate any standard provided by the fourth amendment, were acceptable because of the equivalent of a speeding ticket?
11.26.2007 1:36pm
dew:
Oh, as for running your generator for three weeks. When exactly do you think electricity, sewer, and water was restored to New Orleans or the evacuation order lifted? If you ran out of fuel after three weeks and left the city to get more, you would not have been allowed to return to your house for another week or so.

I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean. Not being able to get back in if you have to eventually leave is not an especially coherent rationale for leaving right away.
11.26.2007 2:00pm
Dave D. (mail):
....Mr. Thomas, if you really are an engineer, I hope it's an engineer of the euphemistically named 'Sanitary Engineer' type. You now claim " Whatever the exact number--and I never said it was exactly 100... " posted 11-26-07 @ 12:16.
..But 2 hours and 10 minutes earlier, you posted " The 100 was the number actually confiscated directly from citizens, and that number is correct. " 11-26-07 @ 10:06
...How can anyone take take your opinions, much less your facts, seriously when you contradict yourself so ?
11.26.2007 2:16pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
gattsuru is entirely correct. J.F. Thomas' position is premised on his unspoken assumption that the evacuation order had the same force and effect of a declaration of martial law.

When arguing with the man, zero in on his unspoken assumptions right away.
11.26.2007 3:05pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I dunno... I remember when resisting the orders of the "pigs" to leave a building was considered to be admirable civil disobedience, not committing some heinous crime. I'd like to read what JFT thought of sit-ins back in the day.
11.26.2007 3:44pm
M-K (mail):
I don't think a mandatory evacuation order was issued in New Orleans prior to Katrina's arrival; something about the city not being willing to assume responsibility for evacuating those without transportation.

At least one group of people trying to evacuate were stopped by NOPD, held at gun point while their car was searched, and witnessed the intentional destruction of their weapons by police. (I personally heard one of the people involved relate this at an open meeting held by the NRA in New Orleans; it's also documented in an NRA video, probably available for viewing from one of the NRA websites, perhaps the video archives at www.nranews.com.) Apparently destroying weapons was part of the NOPD's procedure; a recent issue of America's First Freedom contains photographs of grossly disabled guns--such as a revolver with the cylinder open and bent starkly out of alignment--as well as those merely rusted from bad storage.

For what it's worth, martial law was never declared in New Orleans due to some quirk in Louisiana law.
11.26.2007 5:13pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> Seriously, how effective do you think an armed but mostly untrained

Mostly untrained may be true of your folk, but it isn't universal.

And yes, there's no guarantee that the good guys will win, but that's true of the 1st amendment as well.

And, even if govts always won, that's hardly an argument for making that win pain free. It was good that the folks in the Warsaw Ghetto fought, even though they were pretty much guaranteed to lose.
11.26.2007 5:36pm
Smokey:
JFT doesn't even emit his usual cloud of ink this time to cover his skedaddle.
11.26.2007 5:56pm
Swede:
"Seriously, how effective do you think an armed but mostly untrained populace is going to be against the most well-trained and well-armed fighting force in the world?"

I don't know, what would the British in 1776 have said?
11.26.2007 6:48pm
Dave D. (mail):
...Me thinks our friend, Mr. Thomas, has fled to Baton Rouge ( again ) when he saw what was bearing down on him. Perhaps he'll return in another persona. He has used up all the credit and belief his ' J. F. Thomas ' incarnation had.
11.26.2007 8:02pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Damn the French?

In that case, it was a good deal because of our allies that we won. The militiamen would have made it hard for the British to actually take the whole place, but without foreign training and military help it would have been a much longer fight even if we did win.

Of course, it'd be quite an ugly situation to get that sort of popular uprising today. That doesn't mean the 2nd Amendment wouldn't be useful in preventing or dealing with a maniacal dictator today even outside those circumstances. It takes a very unique sort of maniacal dictator to be happy staring at a nine millimeter veto.
11.26.2007 8:11pm
Ian Argent (www):
The 2a isn't just a guarantee against the Federal government - see the Battle of Athens.

IMHO it is vanishingly unlikely for US Military troops to be used to suppress US citizens. It is somewhat more likely for law enforcement "troops" to be used improperly against US citizens.
11.26.2007 8:37pm
John Neff (mail):
During the revolutionary war American privateers (privately owned warships) captured or destroyed about 2000 British merchant ships. This made the war very unpopular in England because many influential people were ruined and prices of imported goods became very high. This often overlooked aspect of the war was not decisive but it certainly helped win the war.

This is an example of the use of a naval militia. The ships were mostly brigs and schooners that were lightly armed but were fast enough so they could evade the larger heavily armed British warships. During WW II my recollection is that some privately owned yachts were used early in the war for search and rescue and possibly for anti-sub patrol on the East coast. I don't recall if they were armed they were supposed to call in the bombers if they spotted a sub.

One of my friends was the captain of a minesweeper in WW II and they were not that much larger than a good sized yacht.
11.26.2007 9:07pm
Ben P (mail):
This is true, but largely irrelevant.

The technology of weaponry is fundamentally different today than it was in 1776, or even really almost up to 1900 for that matter.

The only way "military weaponry" differed from that a private citizen might own is that it was more expensive. Normal citizens had neither the means nor a cause to own field artillery pieces.

Today even handheld military hardware is much more powerful and often orders of magnitude cheaper.

Few citizen militas in the 18th century could stand up to professional military forces, even fewer could do so today. The hope of a civillian uprising lies where it always has been, in the unwillingness of soldiers to fight and kill their "own people."

I would fully support a holding that strict scrutiny should apply to gun control legislation. If you seriously think that the supreme court would ever make it legal for a citizen to easily possess military quality explosives etc, you're far outside of the mainstream.
11.26.2007 9:54pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
Our defense against tyranny is the voting booth, the Posse Comitatus Act

Probably the most absurd comments written here....and there are many.
11.26.2007 10:10pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
I also like the idea that people who are spending a night out on the town and drunk should be carrying concealed weapons. A drunk with a gun is always a good idea.

Who is advocating this?
Why do you idiot leftists always argue against strawmen?

Oh, because the facts aren't on your side.
Nevermind.
11.26.2007 10:14pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
In fact, if anything, murder rates tend to be higher in those states that have the most liberal gun control laws.

Do you mean like Philadelphia, Chicago, or DC?

Your comments are simply parody.
11.26.2007 10:17pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
I just love the idea that people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons in courthouses, police stations, banks and airports. Grand idea.

What is funny is that statement proves this one to be true:

They don't like guns, and they just know that banning guns will reduce violent crime, and that's all there is to it.

Simply put, JF Thomas is an embarrassment to his cause.
11.26.2007 10:22pm
Ben P (mail):

Who is advocating this?
Why do you idiot leftists always argue against strawmen?


To be entirely fair, those arguments are almost always in response to the individuals that argue that self defense always makes things safer.



(for a recent example: "Shootings in schools? Well, if students could carry guns that wouldn't have happened." -Note: I don't want to get into any argument as to whether or not this is true, all that's necessary is that people said it.)

It may be hyperbole, but even in this thread, I think it's pretty clear the response to "pro gun control" people is generally to imply they're being stupidly paternalistic in banning guns. It only took 5 posts here for someone to assert that "liberal" beliefs on gun control relate to "magic."

All reasonable people believe in some limited form of gun control. As you yourself just wrote, arguments like that are "strawmen." Unless you're using a totally different definition of the word, calling an argument a "strawman" clearly implies that that no one actually holds the positions being argued against.

If we accept from whatever judicial philosophy you choose to use that the 2nd amendment protects an individual right, the only really useful debate is what level of scrutiny of government regulation that requires and how the facts in a particular case fit that scrutiny.

I think the position that strict scrutiny ought to be applied is pretty reliably conservative, but even that will necessarily allow some gun control legislation in specific circumstances.
11.26.2007 10:46pm
Ian Argent (www):

The only way "military weaponry" differed from that a private citizen might own is that it was more expensive. Normal citizens had neither the means nor a cause to own field artillery pieces.


Incorrect - any number of "civilians" owned field artillery pieces of the time. Most of them were usually mounted on private ocean-going vessels, it's true, but there were no classes of weapons owned only by governments in the period; they were in private hands as well.

Coming forward in time a bit, the Gatling gun was initially sold to private interests because the government was uninterested in it.

And it's no harder to manufacture a cannon in a well-equipped machine-shop in the modern day than it is to manufacture a handgun or a rifle.

Hell, even today the federal government does not ban the possession of cannon or explosive shells, they merely make it very expensive and onerous to purchase them.
11.26.2007 10:55pm
Ben P (mail):
I would say that a citizen with the means to purchase his own personal ocean going vessel is not a "normal citizen," but that's sort of a scotsman fallacy, so I'll concede the point. You got at the heart of what I was saying, there were no "classies" of weapons limited only to the government.



Hell, even today the federal government does not ban the possession of cannon or explosive shells, they merely make it very expensive and onerous to purchase them.


If we're being intellectually honest the legislation is for all intended purposes a ban, and is only otherwise because of limits on congress's power to tax or regulate commerce. DC gun control laws are a different matter, as are state or city gun control laws. There, barring the 2nd amendment or respective state constitutions, the legislative authorities would have that police power.
11.26.2007 11:02pm
iowan (mail):
gun control proponets have only one argument. Safety pf the people. None of the bill of rights considers saftey. In all of the rest of the BOR the freedom insured is absolute. People like JF Thomas erect a straw man out of concern for public safety, and everyone else dutifuly starts swinging away with statistics trying in vain to play the game just invented.

If public saftey was the measure used, for the BOR than it would be ok for police to drop into homes and look around. Find some drugs maybe some kiddie porn, writings about bombing a shopping mall? Gee as long as they found the stuff it can be used in trial right? Its for public safety. We can just regulate the fourth admendment a little bit just a tweek here an there. The 2cnd is there to protect individuals from the govt. If safety is our measure then the debate about foreign wire taps is moot, it is used to protect us from another terrorist attack.

See? Simple
11.27.2007 7:59am
Ben P (mail):

In all of the rest of the BOR the freedom insured is absolute.


I take it you've never studied the Bill of Rights then?

"Clear and present danger," "such slight social value that any benefit to be derived is clearly outweighed by interest in order and morality," "exigent circumstances," "The Carroll Doctrine."
11.27.2007 9:16am
Ben P (mail):

In all of the rest of the BOR the freedom insured is absolute.


I take it you've never studied the Bill of Rights then?

"Clear and present danger," "such slight social value that any benefit to be derived is clearly outweighed by interest in order and morality," "exigent circumstances," "The Carroll Doctrine."
11.27.2007 9:17am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
And it's no harder to manufacture a cannon in a well-equipped machine-shop in the modern day than it is to manufacture a handgun or a rifle.

You don't know much about weapons or even basic physics or metallurgy do you? You really should visit the Rock Island Arsenal or other facility where our military artillery is manufactured if you think that any well equipped machine shop can manufacture a cannon (I assume you are referring to a useful modern artillery piece and not a replica of a 18th or 19th century field piece)

Its for public safety. We can just regulate the fourth admendment a little bit just a tweek here an there.

Apparently, you have been asleep for the last six years.

The same people who are jumping all over me here are the same people who have no problem with our government torturing people, and tapping our phones without warrants. You certainly seem to hold some rights in the BOR more precious than others.

At least one group of people trying to evacuate were stopped by NOPD, held at gun point while their car was searched, and witnessed the intentional destruction of their weapons by police. (I personally heard one of the people involved relate this at an open meeting held by the NRA in New Orleans

While I have no reason to doubt you heard this story, I call bullshit on the people who told it. The story is just too incredible to believe. That the NOPD would pick a car out of the endless stream of cars leaving the city, stop and search it and destroy privately owned firearms is just a patently ridiculous tale and probably a complete fabrication.

I will admit that the actions of the police in attempting to disarm people who refused to leave the city was stupid, shortsighted, and heck, may have even be illegal. But the legislation that it spawned, both at the state and federal level, was even worse.

But my original points remain.

The people who remained in New Orleans after the storm were a danger to responders and themselves. They hindered response efforts and recovery efforts and were in violation of mandatory (and yes there was a mandatory evacuation order before the storm) and legal evacuation orders. Any claims that there were responsible, rational people who stayed in New Orleans are just not true. They had all left the city for safe havens.
11.27.2007 10:43am
Tony Tutins (mail):

All reasonable people believe in some limited form of gun control.

There are two points of view on gun control:
- All people may arm themselves, unless they have demonstrated themselves unworthy (mentally unstable, convicted felon, etc.).
- No person may arm himself, unless he has proven himself worthy (mentally stable, training and education, job requires carrying cash, etc.).

To my mind, only the first belief is reasonable.
11.27.2007 11:20am
Dave D. (mail):
...Mr. Thomas, care to address the contradictory statements you made about the number of guns ( 100 ) seized from people ? You were absolutely sure until you were absolutely unsure. What little credibility you may retain here depends on it.
11.27.2007 11:25am
Andy Freeman (mail):
>I just love the idea that people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons in courthouses, police stations, banks and airports. Grand idea.

Until relatively recently, all of the above were quite common. Banning them doesn't seem to have accomplished anything useful. (It's easy to stop the good guys from doing things. However, there's no value to doing so. The bans fail because they don't affect bad guys.)

Why should we prefer Thomas' bigotry over our actual experience?
11.27.2007 12:43pm
iowan (mail):
Ben P

you got me! but could you help me out with which admendments I can find those references, and improve my knowledge.
11.27.2007 1:15pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Until relatively recently, all of the above were quite common. Banning them doesn't seem to have accomplished anything useful. (It's easy to stop the good guys from doing things. However, there's no value to doing so. The bans fail because they don't affect bad guys.)

I don't know what you mean by relatively recently. But certainly in my memory, carrying guns in airports has always been illegal in all areas (I believe that is a federal law) and monitored by metal detetors--at least in the gate areas. My experience in Courthouses (which I don't frequent often but I have been in a few since the '80s) has been that they are also access-restricted with metal detectors. Apparently this is not universally true because just recently here in a rural parish in Louisiana there was an incident where a husband shot his wife during a custody hearing. I think that is exactly the reason why it is a good idea to prohibit guns in courthouses (to say "well he could have shot her elsewhere" is hardly a good argument for the right to bear arms). Police stations are generally access restricted except for very limited areas.
11.27.2007 1:28pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
...Mr. Thomas, care to address the contradictory statements you made about the number of guns ( 100 ) seized from people ? You were absolutely sure until you were absolutely unsure. What little credibility you may retain here depends on it.

Well Dave, I admitted I was wrong about the total number. I don't know how admitting a mistake is contradictory--I thought it was a sign of being human and not a complete asshole (like claiming someone said something they never did).

I am working off the imperfect memory of the Times-Picayune print article on the whole mess written when the whole NRA sponsored coniption was hitting the fan. Googling the incident 2 years after the fact all you get is the NRA slant, which is predictably hysterical and slanted (and also not suprisingly, devoid of many hard numbers at all). Apparently, the number of guns that ended up in the police lockers is around 700, not the 400 I originally stated (and admitted I was wrong about). According to the NOPD (and granted they are not the most credible source), the vast majority of those guns were unsecured guns found in abandoned homes and businesses and taken for safekeeping. Now you may object to the police taking guns out of private homes and businesses, but in a city where looting was a problem and there was a perceived threat of roving gangs of armed thugs, it is a whole different issue than depriving people of their right to defend themselves.

I originally said 100 (I never said exactly 100--I assumed VC readers were savvy enough that this figure was obviously an approximation, apparently I overestimated your intelligence) were forcibly confiscated from "law-abiding" civilians (for the sake of argument I will call law-abiding citizens are those not activly engaged in looting, although even "looting" became a relative term since the word came down that if you were taking necessities for survival--e.g., food, water, fuel, diapers--, which apparently for some people on this thread would include guns, you were not to be considered a "looter"). That is the number that I remember from the article. Nobody has produced a link that disputes that number. If someone can produce such a link, preferably to actual court or press accounts (not just to a bunch of hearsay statements of "the cops took my guns"), then by all means, I will admit I was wrong. But just don't call me a liar because you don't like my numbers.
11.27.2007 1:53pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
J.F. Thomas writes:

I don't know what you mean by relatively recently. But certainly in my memory, carrying guns in airports has always been illegal in all areas (I believe that is a federal law) and monitored by metal detetors--at least in the gate areas. My experience in Courthouses (which I don't frequent often but I have been in a few since the '80s) has been that they are also access-restricted with metal detectors. Apparently this is not universally true because just recently here in a rural parish in Louisiana there was an incident where a husband shot his wife during a custody hearing. I think that is exactly the reason why it is a good idea to prohibit guns in courthouses (to say "well he could have shot her elsewhere" is hardly a good argument for the right to bear arms). Police stations are generally access restricted except for very limited areas.
I can remember getting on airliners when there were no metal detectors, because people didn't hijack airliners.

Even today, some states don't have prohibitions on concealed weapons in courthouses. In Oregon, IF they have metal detectors at the entrances, you are required to turn over your gun for safekeeping (and they have to have a facility for doing so if they have metal detectors at the entrances). But if there are no metal detectors, there is no prohibition on being armed in a courthouse, if you have a concealed handgun license. This is a perfectly reasonable tradeoff; if the courthouse doesn't perceive that it has enough of a problem to justify metal detectors, then you have a right to defend yourself.
11.27.2007 3:00pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The technology of weaponry is fundamentally different today than it was in 1776, or even really almost up to 1900 for that matter.
The same is true for the technology of publishing, communication, housing, transportation. If liberals treated freedom of the press and of speech the same way that they want to treat the Second Amendment, you would be allowed hand-cranked printing presses. If they treated search and seizure the same way, wiretapping (and not just crossing national boundaries, but within the U.S. as well) would require no warrants.
11.27.2007 3:05pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The people who remained in New Orleans after the storm were a danger to responders and themselves. They hindered response efforts and recovery efforts and were in violation of mandatory (and yes there was a mandatory evacuation order before the storm) and legal evacuation orders. Any claims that there were responsible, rational people who stayed in New Orleans are just not true. They had all left the city for safe havens.
Wow! It must be wonderful to be omniscient like J.F. Thomas, and know that everyone who was still in New Orleans was irresponsible or irrational.

I agree that this was probably often true--that those who stayed behind might not have been rational. But there were people who didn't have the option of leaving. (Remember: Thomas's heroes had bungled the job so badly that they left hundreds of schoolbuses unused, so that they were not available to evacuate people AND contributed to the environmental damage.) There were people who had sufficient elevation, food, and water, to believe that they could survive the storm.

Oh yes, they also believed that they had sufficient firepower to take care of themselves from looters. But then the NOPD (or as it should really be called "No Police Department") disarmed them so that they could not defend themselves from looters.

I am not surprised to see J.F. Thomas defending the disarming of peaceable citizens of New Orleans. He is clearly on the side of unlimited government and looters.
11.27.2007 3:11pm
Kevin P. (mail):
J.F. Thomas:
While I have no reason to doubt you heard this story, I call bullshit on the people who told it. The story is just too incredible to believe. That the NOPD would pick a car out of the endless stream of cars leaving the city, stop and search it and destroy privately owned firearms is just a patently ridiculous tale and probably a complete fabrication.

It is interesting to observe your omniscience considering that you started your comments by denying that New Orleans had seized ANY guns. Allow me to quote you: Not a single gun was confiscated for a from a law-abiding citizen in New Orleans after Katrina.

I will admit that the actions of the police in attempting to disarm people who refused to leave the city was stupid, shortsighted, and heck, may have even be illegal.

Then why are you defending it?

...carrying guns in airports has always been illegal in all areas (I believe that is a federal law) and monitored by metal detetors--at least in the gate areas

This was not the case until the 1960s.

But just don't call me a liar because you don't like my numbers.

You are the Volokh Conspiracy's most prolific serial fabricator, J.F. You routinely make up stuff. Not just now, but ever since everybody here can remember. Why should we give you the benefit of the doubt now?
11.27.2007 4:13pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
and know that everyone who was still in New Orleans was irresponsible or irrational.

Believe me Clayton I am no fan of either Blanco or Nagin. It is true that people were trapped in the city and immediately after the storm and in some instances were actually prevented from leaving the city when they attempted to (but I bet many of the same people on this site deriding the police for confiscating guns would have cheered those very same police who prevented poor black people from crossing the the Crescent City Connection).

It is simply untrue that there was anyone in New Orleans who had sufficient elevation to ride out the predicted storm as the people of St. Bernard (where exactly--and yes Dave D. I did use the word exactly--4 houses out of 25,000 odd housing units were habitable after the storm and floodwaters reached the river levees) and Lower Plaquimines Parishes learned. If the Lake Pontchartrain levees had breached--and if the storm had not turned east late Sunday night it might have happened--the main part of the city itself would have flooded all the way to the river. Anyone who thought they had sufficient elevation to survive the storm was simply delusional as many people learned to their deep regret.

Regardless, we are talking about the days after the storm, when not only was transportation available to move people out of the city, but the authorities were trying to figure out ways to forcibly evict or at least strongly encourage people to leave. (They actually toyed with the idea of mass arrests to force people to leave). People just refused to leave. Most of them actually did eventually leave as it became apparent that it was going to be a very long time before even the most basic of services would be restored.
11.27.2007 4:31pm
Dave D. (mail):
..Mr. Thomas, I never called you a complete asshole, nor would I. I don't think you are a complete...anything. And it was thoughtless of me to take the absolute statements you posted as being what you really meant to say. Having read your posts on other subjects and other days, I should have discounted your rants as being made in the symbolic, hyperbolic manner which you are so fond of. I won't make the mistake of taking what you say at face value again.
11.27.2007 4:36pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Not a single gun was confiscated for a from a law-abiding citizen in New Orleans after Katrina.

And I was not being deceptive at all as I was making the point that the people left in New Orleans after the storm were not "law abiding" by the fact of their presence there. Indeed, this is a controversial issue, but in the context of my statement and the point I was making I was not being either deceptive or dishonest as I clearly explained what I meant.

I am sorry if you lack comprehension skills.

You are the Volokh Conspiracy's most prolific serial fabricator, J.F. You routinely make up stuff.

I try to be careful with my facts. When I am in error I admit my mistakes (which almost no one else on this site is willing to do). I have very strong opinions that are very much at odds with most of the posters on this site.

I expect a fair amount of abuse on this site and I get it. If you claim I make stuff up, call me on specific facts, document my errors, and provide the link. Just don't say I am a serial fabricator and leave it at that.

You people distort and mistate facts all the time and are rarely get called on it. I stated above that Chicago and Dallas have very similar crime rates and New Orleans, barring an extremely bloody murder spree in another city, will have the highest murder rate this year. This is an easy fact to verify. Yet ignoring this simple fact "The Ace" throws out in a later comment that "Philadelphia, Chicago, or DC" have high murder rates in an apparent attempt to counter my point that states with looser gun laws tend to have higher murder rates. First of all "The Ace" apparently doesn't realize that the 3 jurisdictions he cited are not states so his stunning response really doesn't make much sense. Even if it was logical, if he had bothered to look up the actual figures, he would find that Chicago's murder rate is actually not that bad and hardly supports his nonsensical claim anyway.

Oh and guess which state has both some of the most restrictive state-wide gun control laws (like statewide registration of handguns) and yet still has among the lowest crime rates in the nation? Care to explain that one away?
11.27.2007 4:52pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Mr. Thomas, I never called you a complete asshole, nor would I.

It is apparent Dave that you do lack reading comprehension skills.
11.27.2007 4:55pm
Dave D. (mail):
...Even as I typed that post I worried that it was a little too subtle for you to understand.
11.27.2007 5:57pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Oh and guess which state has both some of the most restrictive state-wide gun control laws (like statewide registration of handguns) and yet still has among the lowest crime rates in the nation?


I give up.

It's not California. According to the 2004 statistics from the FBI's uniform crime reports (hereafter used when discussing rates of violent crime and property crime), California runs 551.8 violent crimes per 100,000 people, and 3,149 property crimes per 100,000 people, well over the national averages of 465.5 and 3,517.1, respectively.

It's not New York. While their property crime rates are well under the national average (although there have been accusations that these numbers are artificially massaged down), they were only a handful of violent crimes below the national average. Michigan beats the national average for property crime, too, but their rate of violent crime is likewise well above average.

It's not Hawaii, with a rate of property crime more than 35% greater than that of the national average. Nor is it Illinois -- they don't register handguns or long guns outside of Chicago, and their rate of violent crime is 16% greater than the national average (mostly coming from Chicago).

In fact, when looking at the states with the lowest rates of crime in general, we see 18 states with lower rates and no state-wide handgun registration before we see New Jersey (which ''only'' registers assault weapons) and New York.

But, please, tell us the answer. Tell us how Dallas' historically lower rates of murder (89% of, 2003/2004) and aggravated assault are unrelated to its horrible, blood-in-the-streets guns; while at it, explain why the gun control would fix the rates of unarmed theft that make up a good deal of the difference in crime rate. Tell us why Louisiana should adopt the wildly successful methods found in Maryland or Washington DC rather than the horrible blood-in-the-streets of North Dakota or Vermont. Actually provide a link to your assertion that a mere 100 firearms were directly and illegally taken from individuals, in violation of their fourth amendment rights, your proof that the oppression wasn't really that wide-spread.
11.27.2007 7:44pm
Dave D. (mail):
Gattsura
...Back off, damnit. You'll scare him back to Baton Rouge and we'll never find out the answer to his canard.
...Mr. Thomas, referrence your guns-on-planes opinion, as a peace officer , off duty, I often carried a pistol on Pacific Southwest Airlines while travelling to court ftom the S.F. Bay area to Los Angeles, in the 1970's. PSA required you to submit a request to the pilot who had final say. I was never refused. Nothing ever happened requiring me to reveal my accouterment. How I wish I or someone else, even Tony Soprano, was on those flights and armed on September 11, 2001. Five from the barrel beats four boxcutters every time. And bulletholes don't deflate airliners. not even five.
11.27.2007 8:09pm
Ian Argent (www):
Actually - NJ effectively registers all handguns by requiring a license to purchase for each one. If for some reason you had a handgun before moving in-state, you're OK - unless you want to sell it in NJ.

Oddly enough, though, it appears that private firearms transfers are legal.
11.27.2007 8:13pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
Indeed, this is a controversial issue, but in the context of my statement and the point I was making I was not being either deceptive or dishonest as I clearly explained what I meant.

Well JF, if you weren't deceptive or dishonest I suppose that only leaves dim-witted.
11.27.2007 10:19pm
Dave D. (mail):
Juris_Imprudent,

...A cruel thing to say, indeed. But true and scathingly so. Mr. Thomas has made so many contradictory statements, so many factual errors, as to be proven non-rigorous and a flabby thinker. One of the first thing a critical thinker in-training learns is that absolutes are the quicksand of the light minded. Claiming knowledge one doesn't know is the direct route to refutation and ignomy. Mr. Thomas has chosen this route, I think not from ignorance but from ego. An overweaning pride in his ability to deceive and an abundance of distain for his political opposites. Too late he realized that all wisdom did not reside in his liberal philosophy.
11.28.2007 12:04am
norna (mail):
That the right of the people to keep and bear arms is in the Bill of Rights gives the intent of those who wrote the 2nd amendment. The right,as written, is security of a free State, but it is a right of the people, not of the State. The arms that the people by right own, are not only for the individuals protection, but also can be called upon to protect the State if needed.

Each time one our rights is infringed upon, the other rights become less secure. That alone is enough reason in my mind to defend the peoples right to keep and bear arms.
11.28.2007 3:03pm
Dave D. (mail):
...Hear Hear, Mr. Thomas.
11.28.2007 11:33pm