pageok
pageok
pageok
Iranian gun laws bleg:

The Small Arms Survey suggests that Iran's per capita gun ownership rate is 0.053 (that is, about one gun for every twenty people). This is fairly low by global standards. (See Tables 6 and 7 of my recent article in the Texas Review of Law & Politics.) Could commenters please supply information about the gun laws of Iran, and how they are enforced? What kind of people in Iran are allowed to own guns? What kind of guns? Please don't get into a discussion of whether the Iranian protesters would be better/worse off if they had guns. Just supply accurate information, with citations if possible. Comments based on personal experience from people who have lived in Iran, or visited Iran, are welcome.

cboldt (mail):
The Iranian Constitution has the following two provisions, which I think provide a foundation:
.
Article 27 [Freedom of Assembly]
Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.
Article 151 [Military Training]
In accordance with the noble Koranic verse: "Prepare against them whatever force you are able to muster, and horses ready for battle, striking fear into God's enemy and your enemy, and others beyond them unknown to you but known to God..." [8:60], the government is obliged to provide a program of military training, with all requisite facilities, for all its citizens, in accordance with the Islamic criteria, in such a way that all citizens will always be able to engage in the armed defence of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The possession of arms, however, requires the granting of permission by the competent authorities.
6.23.2009 6:35am
Case3L (mail):
I spent a year living in a town in Iraqi Kurdistan a half hour drive from the Iranian border, and I know the rate of gun ownership among the Kurds there was very high (approaching 1.0). I was never able to get a visa to cross into Iran, so I'm not sure if it holds true there, but I imagine it does, at least in rural Kurdish areas close to the border.
6.23.2009 7:02am
cboldt (mail):
No authoritative citation - here is an anecdote by an anonymous poster:
... private ownership of any firearms in strictly prohibited ... Only security guards, police and military can have them.

That 0.053 rate of ownership would fit a regime of fairly tight "reasonable restrictions."
.
Clearly, the Iran constitution does not contain any prohibition whatsoever, and I doubt there is a prohibition as to people, although there may be a prohibition as to type of arm, similar to the United States prohibitions. I suspect there is a permitting process, with a penalty for failing to avail of that.
6.23.2009 7:09am
interruptus:

I spent a year living in a town in Iraqi Kurdistan a half hour drive from the Iranian border, and I know the rate of gun ownership among the Kurds there was very high (approaching 1.0).

An odd feature of this is that I've seen comments from Kurdish leaders with a oddly love/hate relationship with the high rate of gun ownership, considering it both necessary to fight off oppression, but also a sign of lawless backwardsness.

Take, for example, this bit from Kevin McKiernan's "The Kurds" (p. 178):

The PUK leaders saw signs of even more progress ahead. Inviting me to lunch soon after my arrival, Barham Salih seemed effusive. Kurdistan, he maintained, would soon be "a beacon of democracy" in the region, especially to neighboring countries, where freedom for other Kurds was so restricted. ... The Kurds, he said, had a fully functioning legal system, which could boast the only female judge in the Islamic world. There were signs of progress on every front. Ever the optimist, Salih predicted that Kurdistan would soon have gun control laws, seat belt rules, and even traffic tickets for bad drivers.
6.23.2009 7:24am
cboldt (mail):
Off topic, but interesting, Iranian Law Relating to the Press looks like Canada (Human Rights Commission) and parts of Europe, in that the press is to avoid offending. Otherwise, the Iranian press is completely free.
.
Yes, the "completely free" part is sarcasm.
6.23.2009 7:50am
cboldt (mail):
An afterthought, as "the pen is mightier than the sword," one would expect Iranian law relating to possession of firearms to be less onerous than its permitting process for publishing.
6.23.2009 7:54am
martinned (mail) (www):

An afterthought, as "the pen is mightier than the sword," one would expect Iranian law relating to possession of firearms to be less onerous than its permitting process for publishing.

Aren't they? All rhetoric aside, the gun laws in Iran sound to me as if they're the same as in most civilised countries, although they appear to be upheld less than vigilantly in parts of the country. The regulation of the press, on the other hand, is much more severe than anything we "enjoy". (BTW, cboldt, congratulations on having such a gloriously free press in the US.)
6.23.2009 8:03am
cboldt (mail):
-- (BTW, cboldt, congratulations on having such a gloriously free press in the US.) --
.
Heh. Well, Froomkin is free to publish. Freedom of the press is not "guarantee to make a profit at it." I was thinking more along the lines of Mark Steyn, who had an encounter with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (a government entity empowered to impose penalties on errant authors and publishers) for making disparaging statements.
.
-- All rhetoric aside, the gun laws in Iran sound to me as if they're the same as in most civilised countries --
.
I think that's true, from the laws that I've bumped into trying to find anything on Iran's laws. And the Iranian authorities seem to be quite restrained. Here in the US, we had the Kent State incident, for example. The protests in Iran don't appear peaceful to me, there is rock throwing, fires, and whatnot. If the people escalate to violence, the government has every right to protect itself.
.
-- although they appear to be upheld less than vigilantly in parts of the country --
.
I think there is a more or less "universal" (i.e., no matter where on is in the world) relaxation as one goes from urban to rural settings. Some of the material I've read, for example, talks about shepherds and goat-herders having guns. I would think this is a matter of flock protection from animal predators, rather than security against humans. Similar in Australia after its 1996 gun law was imposed.
6.23.2009 8:20am
PersonFromPorlock:
Cboldt:

If the people escalate to violence, the government has every right to protect itself.

Unless you buy into the idea of popular sovereignty, in which case the government's 'protecting itself' against the people is an act of rebellion.
6.23.2009 8:39am
cboldt (mail):
A news article from 2005, Iran stockpiling high-tech small arms, is interesting. It describes the purchase of thousands of sniper rifles and night vision from an Austria firm (Steyr), with concerns expressed by the US that the weapons would not be used to stifle illegal drug trade, but would end up in Iraq. "Iran says more than 3,000 of its police officers have died in the last 10 years battling drug smugglers, some equipped with machine guns and rocket launchers."
.
Gun Policy News: Daily small arms policy and gun news discusses another sale to Iran by Steyr, with some of the .50 caliber weapons turning up in Iraq.
.
Iran is an active participant in UN Small Arms Treaty processes, and its positions there may reflect its attitude toward civilian possession of deadly weapons. [UN] Small Arms Conference Nets Agreement - Iran and Zimbabwe abstained from voting agreement.
6.23.2009 8:40am
cboldt (mail):
-- Unless you buy into the idea of popular sovereignty, in which case the government's 'protecting itself' against the people is an act of rebellion. --
.
That's a radical and minority-held proposition, especially with permitting access to deadly force. Of all the governments in the world, the US is the only one, as far as I know, that even has that sort of radical rhetoric in a primary document. And even in the US, the law as handed down by the Courts is that individual rights are conferred by the Constitution.
.
But still, adopting only for talking purposes that "popular sovereignty" represents realpolitik somewhere, my comment about the right to defense can be legitimized by extending to the individual government actors, who are merely attempting to maintain peace and public order, the right to defend their own lives. When a crowd threatens or uses violence, the police are at risk of death.
6.23.2009 8:48am
martinned (mail) (www):

Unless you buy into the idea of popular sovereignty, in which case the government's 'protecting itself' against the people is an act of rebellion.

That is much too simple. The government protecting itself against a massive popular uprising is problematic. But most revolutions start much smaller than that. The smaller the escalation, the more reasonable it is to assume that the rebels don't have the support of "the people". That is why the US government didn't put up with the uprisings that occurred in the early days of the republic. While it is impossible to know, my sense is that most Iranians are not (yet) in the mood for overthrowing the regime, but rather want the regime reformed, perhaps by getting rid of Khamenei.

P.S. Cboldt: I don't necessarily have an opinion about Froomkin being fired. I linked to that OJ post because it contained some musings about the general quality of the press in the US. (In the comments I mentioned the Brian Williams Behind the Scenes in the White House programme recently as a low point in US journalism.)
6.23.2009 8:53am
Malvolio:
Unless you buy into the idea of popular sovereignty, in which case the government's 'protecting itself' against the people is an act of rebellion.
That's a radical and minority-held proposition, especially with permitting access to deadly force.
"Would it not be easier in that case for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?"
-- Bertolt Brecht
Of all the governments in the world, the US is the only one, as far as I know, that even has that sort of radical rhetoric in a primary document.
Sadly, that is true (afaik). And when you look at the, what, 100 million people killed by their own governments in the last century, you can't help thinking that the survivors would have taken the hint, but no...
6.23.2009 8:59am
cboldt (mail):
-- I linked to that OJ post because it contained some musings about the general quality of the press in the US. --
.
Ahh, I didn't understand that. Well then, "freedom of the press" obviously doesn't mean "affirmative duty to facilitate accurate world view." The function of the press is to make a profit, and to sell hot dogs and beer. The press itself has started and endeavors to convince the public that the myth, "the press is an objective watchdog" is true. In fact, it is about as far from truth as one can get. The press is propaganda. If they get a story right, it is an accident. Of course, there are a few exceptions to this, but none of the "accurate" sources (Court records, police reports, statutory text, etc.) enjoy mass publication status.
.
But in the US at least, the press is free to publish whatever it wants, with libel and classified information being the limiting factors.
6.23.2009 9:00am
cboldt (mail):
-- That is why the US government didn't put up with the uprisings that occurred in the early days of the republic. --
.
It also didn't put up with a substantially larger uprising (which it held to be an act of illegitimate rebellion), later in history. And the central government is many times more powerful now, in all ways (political, financial, regulatory, and militarily), relative to the states, than it was in 1860. "Resistance is futile." Just vote, rejoice in that great freedom (to vote), and get back to work. Same in Iran. They voted. The results are pronounced "correct" (i.e., "the people have spoken").
6.23.2009 9:09am
martinned (mail) (www):

Sadly, that is true (afaik).

Fortunately, it is not. Ignoring my own country's declaration of independence, which is similar to the American one but hardly counts as a "primary document" anymore, the most important example of a primary document that recognises the people's right to stand up and fight is the German Basic Law:


Article 20
[Constitutional principles – Right of resistance]
(1) The Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic and social federal state.
(2) All state authority is derived from the people. It shall be exercised by the people through elections and other votes and through specific legislative, executive and judicial bodies.
(3) The legislature shall be bound by the constitutional order, the executive and the judiciary by law and justice.
(4) All Germans shall have the right to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, if no other remedy is available.


cboldt wrote: "If they get a story right, it is an accident." If that is true, then why are the press deserving of their great protection?
6.23.2009 9:10am
rosetta's stones:
Very clever and ruthless of the mullahs, to shoot a woman through the heart at a demonstration. Women are a lot smarter than men... and this may cut out an entire subset of demonstrators.
6.23.2009 9:11am
martinned (mail) (www):

It also didn't put up with a substantially larger uprising (which it held to be an act of illegitimate rebellion), later in history.

I didn't use that one as an example, because judged from the perspective of popular sovereignty, the Civil War may very well be judged to be illegitimate. (I also preferred the founding era examples because in normal US discourse the hadith (=deeds and writings of the founders) are always accorded particular respect, second only to the holy scripture (=the constitution itself).
6.23.2009 9:14am
Mikee (mail):
What kind of firearms would be available to the Iranian civilians in a popular uprising? Civilian ownership of weapons has been addressed from a legal standpoint above, but not from a realistic standpoint, as in what types of weapons, and how many, and where they are.

There is no reliable info on the rate of civilian held weapons in Iran. None. Nada. Zip. The smallarmssurvey.org website suggests the Iranians have about as many weapons per person as the UK, or 5% of the populace at most is armed.

Upon the fall of the Shah in 1979, large numbers of military weapons fell into civilian hands, but it is unclear if they remain there.

Other than the few 30-year old military rifles (AK-47s were popular at the time, at least according to popular literature), the weapons held by police and military units would have to be taken for use in a revolt.
6.23.2009 9:18am
cboldt (mail):
-- If that is true, then why are the press deserving of their great protection? --
.
Probably because the founders thought it was beneficial to the public to air adversarial positions (which are naturally efforts at "truth shading" advocacy) via word. The public knew that it was reading advocacy pieces, and thereby the public was encouraged to think independently.
.
Contrast with the current situation, where the people have been conditioned to uncritically accept that what they are told by the press is the truth, is sufficient watchdog, etc. Blind trust is what it sought, and the self-serving press continues to peddle the myth that it is trustworthy.
.
To get back to the comment topic (but still wandering off into philosophy of an armed public), why are the people deserving of "their great" (scare quotes, because the government has been systematically undermining this "protection" for about 70 years) protection of the RKBA? As you correctly note, most of the world has restrictions on private ownership of firearms that resemble Iran's. If it's good enough for most of the world, then a similar regime is good enough for the US.
6.23.2009 9:24am
martinned (mail) (www):
@Mikee: I'd say the exact numbers don't matter very much. The only way an armed uprising can work is if the rebels can arrange to bring weapons in from abroad. (I would imagine that is true in almost all countries, even in the US.) In Iran's case, that would have to be from Afghanistan and Pakistan, or from their Shi'a friends in Iraq. In the past, the US might have been a logical arms supplier, but I don't think Obama is that adventurous.
6.23.2009 9:26am
martinned (mail) (www):

If it's good enough for most of the world, then a similar regime is good enough for the US.

I would agree. Popular sovereignty is great, but the only way an armed uprising can work is with significant arms imports from abroad or by having the rebels steal their weapons from the army. I'd say that is even true in the US, depending on how much of the military is still loyal to the government.
6.23.2009 9:29am
cboldt (mail):
-- Fortunately, it is not. --
.
"Right to resist" is not "Right to keep and bear arms." As far as I know, the US Constitution is the only one in the world that expressly protect a right of the people to possess and bear instruments of physical violence.
.
Your "right to resist" is a right to turn red faced as you demand action from your betters.
6.23.2009 9:29am
cboldt (mail):
-- [I'd say that even in the US] the only way an armed uprising can work is with significant arms imports from abroad or by having the rebels steal their weapons from the army --
.
Hopefully it never comes to widespread armed confrontation by a pissed-off mass of people. Still, the capability, even with uncertainty in outcome, creates a possibility (government killing large numbers of its subjects) that tends to temper government intrusion. When the government killing is perceived to be unreasonable, the public becomes unruly.
6.23.2009 9:40am
cboldt (mail):
-- In the past, the US might have been a logical arms supplier, but I don't think Obama is that adventurous. --
.
US policy toward putting arms in Iran changes with the regime. We armed the shah. But US law prohibits export of arms to the mullahs. Iran would be well-justified to take an importation of arms to its people as an act of war.
.
When the US has dropped weapons for the public, it was inside a country that we were at war with. When we've otherwise taken a side, it was covert CIA action, propping up one side or the other (sometimes, maybe both sides, hoping they'd kill each other off!).
6.23.2009 9:45am
SamW:
I heard a report that minority groups (Kurds, Sunnis)outside of Tehran, all have guns.
6.23.2009 9:52am
Gabriel McCall (mail):
cboldt: If the people escalate to violence, the government has every right to protect itself.

If an act of violence is justified, then defense against it is NOT justified. An aggressor has no right to protect himself from his victim's self-defense. If you hurt or kill someone during a struggle in which he is attempting to prevent you from committing a crime against him, you cannot claim self-defense.

"Where attack is justified there can be no lawful defence." -Pierino Belli

"Force is to be opposed to nothing, but to unjust and unlawful force." -John Locke
6.23.2009 9:53am
Kirk:
martinned,
If that is true, then why are the press deserving of their great protection?
Well, my answer is that you've got it subtly, but significantly, wrong: it's not "the press" as an institution that enjoys any protection. Rather, "freedom of the press" (and of speech, and of keeping and bearing arms) is something enjoyed, as a natural right, by the people. Anything that singles out "journalist" as a special protected class having more rights than any other citizen is an abomination.
6.23.2009 10:57am
PersonFromPorlock:
Mikee:

What kind of firearms would be available to the Iranian civilians in a popular uprising?

Exactly the kind of arms the police - and to a lesser extent, the military - are equipped with. The only question is how many Iranian civilians would be willing to die to get the first batch.
6.23.2009 11:29am
martinned (mail) (www):

Anything that singles out "journalist" as a special protected class having more rights than any other citizen is an abomination.

That certainly seems to be the standard interpretation of the freedom of the press clause of the US first amendment. Yet there are many jurisdictions that provide the press with special protections, such as the right not to disclose sources, that are not enjoyed by non-journalists. (wiki) AFAIK, that is the case in the US as well.
6.23.2009 11:35am
Kirk:
martinned,

Of course that sort of government-approved-and-regulated sanction of "journalists" is common elsewhere; just one of the many reasons I regard the US as superior.
6.23.2009 11:55am
cboldt (mail):
A clue, but still no direct recitations of Iranian law.
During the one-year period from March 2002 to March 2003 there were 89 firearm fatalities investigated by the Legal Medicine Organization of Iran in Tehran. We determined the characteristics of these 89 firearm deaths which comprised 0.83% of all postmortem examinations. Of these, 60.7% were homicides, 30.3% suicides, 4.5% accidental, and 4.5% unclassifiable. Most victims were young male. Military rifles were responsible for almost all suicides, whereas in homicide handguns were the preferred weapons. The most common site of entrance wounds in suicides were the under the chin (37%) and chest (25.9%). In homicide group, 42.6% of entrance wounds were located in the head. The suicidal gunshots were fired from contact/near contact range in 84.6% while this was the case in only two cases of the homicides. All but one of the suicides were committed at the garrisons or police stations.
The unique pattern of suicide that was found in this series was not similar to that reported in earlier studies. We believe our pattern of firearm fatalities must be in great part due to the Iran's strict gun control regulations and cultural background.

Firearm fatalities. A preliminary study report from Iran - A Amiriab, H Sanaei-Zadehab, et al [link is to Google cache]
6.23.2009 11:56am
martinned (mail) (www):
@cboldt: Do you read that as there being 89 firearm fatalities full stop, or did they examine only a sample of all firearm fatalities. Because 89 firearm fatalities in a whole year is very low...

@Kirk: Lest we stray even further off-topic, just quickly: How easy would it have been, say, to get Woodward &Bernstein to give up the identity of Deep Throat? Are there any legal tools available to compel them to do so, like the law would compel others who have evidence of crime?
6.23.2009 12:01pm
James Gibson (mail):
I looked through the responses and noted that a few facts are missing.

First, under islamic law men are allowed to carry "Arms" but the term arms in these cases is reserved to the carrying of ceremonial daggers. We needd to be careful in interpreting the word "arm" under islamic law as being firearms.

Second, in Iran there is a "militia". The Basij is more a paramilitary force then a militia in the old term. Of Iran's 71 million people they supposedly make up 12 million, but almost half are women who are probably prohibited from bearing arms. It is also estimated that only about 400,000 are true reserve or full time members. The rest are just subject to a call to service like being on a draft list.

Third, the original statistic was one gun for every twenty Iranians or 71/20* 1,000,000. That comes out to 3.5 million guns. One Wicki estimate is that the Basij only have about 25% of there members armed.

I would suspect that the majority of the "gun Owners" in Iran are either Basij regulars or other people connected to the ruling mullahs.
6.23.2009 12:06pm
Bill Twist:
martinned:

Popular sovereignty is great, but the only way an armed uprising can work is with significant arms imports from abroad or by having the rebels steal their weapons from the army. I'd say that is even true in the US, depending on how much of the military is still loyal to the government.


I would disagree with this.

First of all, there are enough arms in civilian hands to equip every single adult, male and female, in the United States. Typically, something between 1/3rd and 1/2 of homes in the US have guns, but those homes that do have guns tend to have multiple guns, so it evens out. At least, that's according to surveys. A significant number of us don't really trust strangers who ask us about our guns, so that number is probably a bit higher.

As a side note, that also seems to be an issue in counting the number of guns in civilian hands overseas in places like Iran. The number of guns might be as much as two or three times higher than either surveys or counts of legally registered firearms might suggest.

It's not just the guns though, you need ammunition. One thing that isn't really understood is the number of people in the United States with the capability to reload their own ammunition. At the bare bones level, all you really need outside of the actual components is a $45 Lee Loader set to reload your own ammo. As for the components, you can cast bullets (and many already do), and there are ways to improvise powder and primers from commonly available items. This would only be necessary for a protracted campaign, though. Most people who own guns have at least a few rounds for each gun, and many people have hundreds, or even thousands of rounds.

Then, you need to know how to use them. Millions of people in the US go shooting on at least a semi-regular basis. If I recall correctly, there are at least 14 million hunting licenses sold in the US every year. Not everyone who goes shooting hunts, so the number of people who shoot at least once or twice a year has to be higher than that.

As for how many in the military would still be loyal to the goverment, well, your guess is as good as mine. I will say this, though: A great many in the "gun culture" go into the military, and thus there will be a certain percentage of military personnel who would be amenable to conversion, not to mention the number of people who have military training but who are no longer active duty.

Another factor is that there is a reasonably large number of people in the US who make their own guns. Mostly, they are handcrafted target rifles, or perhaps historically accurate black powder guns. It takes a while to make a finely crafted firearm. It takes much less time to make a somewhat crude looking, but perfectly serviceable rifle, pistol, or shotgun.
6.23.2009 12:10pm
Mikee (mail):
Woodward and Bernstein in the US might have gone to jail, and wasted some of their time. In Iran they might have committed suicide at a police station, after being convinced to give up their inside source of information.

"The Battle of Algiers" remains one of the best introductions to counter-revolutionary government efforts that I can imagine. In Algeria, the reporters would have been tortured more or less brutally until they gave up the information.
6.23.2009 12:10pm
cboldt (mail):
-- Do you read that as there being 89 firearm fatalities full stop, or did they examine only a sample of all firearm fatalities. --
.
I found it ambiguous, not knowing the criteria for engaging the Legal Medicine Organization of Iran in Tehran.
.
The long-arm/pistol observation might inform the question of "what types of guns are possessed by different groups."
6.23.2009 12:13pm
martinned (mail) (www):
@Bill Twist: True, but what percentage of those 300 million guns are hand guns?

Assuming that a significant part of the armed forces stay loyal to the government (otherwise there'd be no problem), the big problem isn't rifles, but anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. Those would have to come from either military arsenals or abroad.
6.23.2009 12:20pm
cboldt (mail):
Ambiguity resolved. From the same article (I think):
The Legal Medicine Organization of Iran (LMO) is responsible for postmortem examinations of all bodies believed to have died in an unnatural manner. Thus, all firearm-related suicides are transferred to the LMO.

This report also states:
In Iran, both the illegal and the legal availability of firearms to the civilian population is not common, firearms are not easily accessible, and are not found in ordinary homes. However, firearms are merely available to the armed forces.

On a (gallows) humorous note, the authors are not well-clued about firearms in general, "the reason why the automatic mode is obviously avoided by the vast majority of the [suicide] victims is unknown."
6.23.2009 12:28pm
martinned (mail) (www):
@cboldt: Wow, I'm intrigued. I don't know the figure for my country, the Netherlands, but I do know that even with our very low level of gun ownership there are still around 60 homicides committed with guns each year. Given that Iran has about 4 times as many inhabitants, 89 firearm related deaths seems extremely low.
6.23.2009 12:38pm
Crust (mail):
Iran's per capita gun ownership rate is 0.053 (that is, about one gun for every twenty people)


That's a fascinating contrast to Iraq (or at least Iraq circa 2003) where apparently:

Most Iraqi households own at least one gun.
6.23.2009 12:46pm
Kirk:
martinned,

Sorry, IANAL, and thus (if for no other reason) I can't tell you what the exact state of the law is regarding that. Doesn't stop me from having an opinion about what should be, of course! :-)
6.23.2009 12:48pm
Bill Twist:
martinned:

@Bill Twist: True, but what percentage of those 300 million guns are hand guns?


Roughly 33%, or about 100 million. Very roughly.

Though I don't know why you would bother asking. Handguns are militarily useful, especially if you are fighting a low-grade guerilla type campaign by virtue of their small size. They are somewhat less useful in open battle, but still have some utility.


Assuming that a significant part of the armed forces stay loyal to the government (otherwise there'd be no problem), the big problem isn't rifles, but anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. Those would have to come from either military arsenals or abroad.


Not necessarily.

You would want to avoid the tanks and the aircraft, not engage them in open battle.

Having said that, tanks are vulnerable to large buried IEDs. You don't have to be able to actually destroy the tank itself, but if you make it throw a tread, it can't move without the crew exposing themselves to fix it. That limits the amount of explosives you need to use.

Aircraft are a more difficult proposition, but in the final analysis both tanks and planes are flown by humans, and those humans are vulnerable when they are not inside their machines.

The paradigm of resistance isn't to stand up and blaze away at an armored gunship with small arms like in "Red Dawn" (a pretty pessimistic examination of resistance, by the way, if you watch it carefully: All but 2 of the Wolverines are dead within about 6 months, and within a month of confronting actual combat troops). You pick the time and circumstances that favor you, and avoid conflict at all other times.

The ultimate goal of an armed citizenry, though, is to make all of this theorizing moot: If it appears to be too expensive for your government to oppress you so that they don't even try, then those arms have served their purpose without ever needing to fire a shot in anger.
6.23.2009 1:08pm
martinned (mail) (www):

The ultimate goal of an armed citizenry, though, is to make all of this theorizing moot: If it appears to be too expensive for your government to oppress you so that they don't even try, then those arms have served their purpose without ever needing to fire a shot in anger.

That is to some extent true. In recent times, the major democratic revolutions (from end of Communism to the colour revolutions of the Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan) have generally occurred without a shot being fired in anger, at least not by the protesters. In Iran itself, the previous two revolutions (1906 and 1979) both involved massive strikes and protests, not an armed uprising. If change is to come to Iran this time, it will not be through force of arms.
6.23.2009 1:27pm
DennisN (mail):
Mikee:

What kind of firearms would be available to the Iranian civilians in a popular uprising? Civilian ownership of weapons has been addressed from a legal standpoint above, but not from a realistic standpoint, as in what types of weapons, and how many, and where they are.


Once you get outside the cities, Iran is very rural and lawless. The conditions are more like "The Old West(tm)" than the old West ever was. I would expect firearms ownership to be relatively common, just not looked at by the gummint.

Given that the Turd World is awash in Mikhail Kalashnikov's invention, and the nature of Iran's neighbors, I would expect the AK47 and its variants to predominate. It is a fine rifle for unsophisticated rural areas, cheap, simple to operate, and exceedingly reliable. It can literally be stored under the goat shed and dug up when needed.
6.23.2009 1:33pm
rosetta's stones:

If change is to come to Iran this time, it will not be through force of arms.


I agree, the collective populace doesn't seem interested in armed revolution, and even if they could be well armed they might not go for it.

However, it'd be pretty easy to arm the Kurds and have them foment some revolutionary activity in Iran (some say we've been doing that all along, but I doubt it). Such a policy would have many tails, some quite negative, and I believe the policy all along has been to just wait out the mullahs, until change arrives, and it just may be.
6.23.2009 2:39pm
RichW (mail):
CBoldt:
I found this from your quote interesting:
“All but one of the suicides were committed at the garrisons or police stations.
The unique pattern of suicide that was found in this series was not similar to that reported in earlier studies.”

The immediate question that came to my mind; were these “suicides” members of the police garrison or were they “visitors” to the garrison?

The second thought was that this might be the way the police handle the problem of not enough jail space. (sarcasm)
6.23.2009 4:15pm
James Gibson (mail):
If change is to come to Iran this time, it will not be through force of arms.

I'm afraid that this may not be the case. In the examples Martinned mentioned, the government they were rebelling against was really an outside nation. The Ukraine or Georgia leaving the Soviet Union (now Russia) didn't mean a complete fall of the Russian Government. As it is the Soviet Union had already fallen at the government level before these States left to form their own governments.

No, I am afraid the previous example for what is happening in Iran now may be Romania. An extreme dictatorship that eventually wouldn't respond to Public pressure for reform and used its secret police to control the nation. Eventually the government called out the Army only to have the Army join the people at which time the killing really began with fallen Romanian troops being replaced by Romanian civilians who of their own will picked up the weapon of the downed soldier and continued to fire back at the Secret Police.
6.23.2009 4:39pm
Guy:
Martinned, In the U.S., Federal Courts can hold a journalist in contempt for refusing to disclose a source (As happened to Judith Miller during the Valerie Plame affair) but they don't like to do it. I believe there's some regulations and Constitutional precedents in place restricting when it can happen (I want to say the source can only be revealed if the court has reason to believe it's necessary to the case and there is no other way to get access to the information, but I may have dreamed that precedent). Sorry I couldn't be more helpful; I didn't realize until you asked how little I know about this issue
6.23.2009 6:05pm
cboldt (mail):
-- Federal Courts can hold a journalist in contempt for refusing to disclose a source (As happened to Judith Miller during the Valerie Plame affair) but they don't like to do it. I believe there's some regulations and Constitutional precedents in place restricting when it can happen --
.
[Press] Privilege Compendium Front Page <- Much information
.
There is weak to non-existent privilege as to withholding testimony from a federal grand jury. The United States Supreme Court addressed this as to reporters, in Branzburg v. Hayes. Didn't hurt the reporters to argue that the 1st amendment protects a privilege against giving testimony, any more than it hurt Presser to assert that the 1st and 2nd amendments prevents state and local governments from requiring parade permits. Yes, the Presser case was only about a parade permit.
6.23.2009 6:31pm
Oren:

I agree, the collective populace doesn't seem interested in armed revolution, and even if they could be well armed they might not go for it.

Agreed. The instant the protesters in Tehran pick up arms, they will lose the vast majority of their support.
6.23.2009 6:51pm
Oren:

First of all, there are enough arms in civilian hands to equip every single adult, male and female, in the United States.

The vast majority of them would not be terribly effective against modern body armor at any reasonable range, let alone against any armored military vehicle.

I'm all for the RKBA and the right of revolution in principle, but my gut feeling is that a contest between the people and the military (under the major and tenuous assumption that it is loyal to the government and not the people) would be short and very lopsided.
6.23.2009 6:57pm
cboldt (mail):
This cite is to an event in Bangladesh, not Iran. But still!
31 October 2007 - "[Mr Lutfozzaman Babar] was sentenced to 10 years in jail for keeping a revolver illegally and another seven years for keeping 25 rounds of bullets illegally," said state prosecutor Kabir Hossain
6.23.2009 7:14pm
mcbain:

I'm all for the RKBA and the right of revolution in principle, but my gut feeling is that a contest between the people and the military (under the major and tenuous assumption that it is loyal to the government and not the people) would be short and very lopsided.


People keep saying this like we are not in a middle of a guerilla war in the middle east that has lasted 6 years already.
6.23.2009 7:20pm
cboldt (mail):
Well, I see my "appropriate sentence" meter is not in the same calibration as gun-hostile regimes, like Great Britain
The average sentence handed down for possession of a firearm in 2005 was three years and nine months. About 40% of offenders were given the five-year minimum sentence.

That's the law for you. set up a minimum, and then the average sentence is LESS than the minimum. Hey, they're lawyers, not mathematicians!
6.23.2009 7:22pm
cboldt (mail):
Report of the Secretary-General on measures to regulate firearms (E/CN.15/1997/ 4)
Some interesting statistics comparing countries, but 1) it's dated 1997 and 2) Iran is not on the list.
6.23.2009 8:08pm
GaryC (mail):
Malvolio:

Sadly, that is true (afaik). And when you look at the, what, 100 million people killed by their own governments in the last century, you can't help thinking that the survivors would have taken the hint, but no...


R.J. Rummel has revised his figures for democide in the 20th century, which is now in excess of 260 million. That includes 76.7 million in Communist China (1949-1987), 61.9 million in the Soviet Union (1917-1987), 20.9 million in Nazi Germany (1933-1945), 10.1 million in China (KMT, 1928-1949), and 50 million in colonialism.

The 100 million estimate is an older one for the victims of Communist regimes only, as I recall.
6.23.2009 8:41pm
Innocent Bystander (mail):
I post this here because I have a question about something else but this seems the only place available to raise it.

Why does Jim Lindgren, who just got in his 3-dollar-bill's worth elsewhere on this blog concerning Obama's presser today, get to post in a format that does not allow comments?
I think I know. It's because what he says usually can be so easily knocked down.

What he's doing is really shoddy. Why do you allow it Volokh?
6.23.2009 9:19pm
Bill Twist:
Oren:


First of all, there are enough arms in civilian hands to equip every single adult, male and female, in the United States.




The vast majority of them would not be terribly effective against modern body armor at any reasonable range, let alone against any armored military vehicle.


Well, there are more than you might think.

According to a National Institute of Justice research brief, in 1997 there were 70 million rifles. It doesn't break them down by caliber, but let's just say for the sake of argument that 1/2 of them are of a large enough caliber to penetrate typical body armor, ie., your basic big game or social rifle.

That means that 12 years ago, there were around 35 to 47 million of them. That number has undoubtedly gone up in the intervening years, and I'd argue that their numbers, which are based on a survey, are biased downwards because many gun owners are a tad paranoid about unknown people asking them about their guns.

I'd also argue that the number is probably higher: One model of rifle, the Winchester Model 94, had a total production of at least 7.5 million, most of which are almost certainly still in working order*. I helped a neighbor sell her deceased husband's Model 94 that was manufactured in 1949 and bought brand new by him, and it was still in excellent shape.

Point being, that guns have very long useful lives, and at least some owners are reticent about admitting ownership to persons unknown, and you probably have more like 50 million or more rifles that we'll call "military capable", ie., they are large enough caliber to penetrate typical light body armor. That pretty much means almost all rifle calibers above .22 rimfires, by the way.

So, we've got a bare minimum of 35 million military capable rifles in civilian hands (you'd have a hard time convincing me that fully half of the rifles in the US are .22 rimfires), and probably closer to 50 million, and they are owned by roughly 50 to 60 million gun owners (survey from 1994 says 44 million, but I think it's an under-count for the same reasons I set forth above, and adding some for population growth).

Set that against a total of just under 3 million active duty and reserve troops in the US military, and I'll even spot you the 800,000+ law enforcement officers. Say a total of 3.7 million.

I'd say the 50 million or so militarily capable rifles are enough.



*One thing most people don't appreciate: A quality firearm has a typical useful lifespan that is measured in decades at a minimum, and with adequate care it can stretch into centuries. I've personally fired guns that were manufactured 145 years ago, and I've owned and used guns that were 80 years old and still going strong.
6.23.2009 9:26pm
Bill Twist:
That should say "1/2 to 2/3rds of them" in my second paragraph.
6.23.2009 9:28pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
But in the US at least, the press is free to publish whatever it wants, with libel and classified information being the limiting factors.
That's part of it. The other part is that in the U.S. anyone who wants to can start a newspaper, blog, etc. and become part of "the press." In a similar manner, in most states if you want a gun, you buy one. There's no direct registration or licensing, which usually lies at the heart of government control over both freedoms.
I'm all for the RKBA and the right of revolution in principle, but my gut feeling is that a contest between the people and the military (under the major and tenuous assumption that it is loyal to the government and not the people) would be short and very lopsided.
Not the way you mean. Given that there are about 25 times as many legal gun owners as there are armed government employees (police and military, federal state and local combined) and that most of the military personnel are support, not combat personnel. Add to that many gun owners own significantly more than one firearm. I'd say we could hold our own.

Or look at it another way. The U.S. military is straining to try and keep peace in Iraq, a country slightly larger than California. Picture the same peacekeeping force spread across fifty states, and without a sanctuary country to base operations from.

Lopsided indeed.
6.23.2009 10:56pm
Oren:


According to a National Institute of Justice research brief, in 1997 there were 70 million rifles. It doesn't break them down by caliber, but let's just say for the sake of argument that 1/2 of them are of a large enough caliber to penetrate typical body armor, ie., your basic big game or social rifle.

(1) No chance that 1/2 of them are large caliber, I'd reckon that a decent proportion (<1/3) are .22 since those are disproportionately popular for target shooting.
(2) Grunts don't wear "typical" body armor.
(3) Even with a .30-06 or larger, you aren't getting through body armor until you are < 60 yards, easy picking for an M16.


Set that against a total of just under 3 million active duty and reserve troops in the US military, and I'll even spot you the 800,000+ law enforcement officers. Say a total of 3.7 million.

I'd say the 50 million or so militarily capable rifles are enough.

Even accepting that figure, rifles don't make an army.


Add to that many gun owners own significantly more than one firearm. I'd say we could hold our own.

Silly macho bravado. I'll bet your the first to piss your pants when an Apache lights up your tree fort with a barrage of MK4s.


Or look at it another way. The U.S. military is straining to try and keep peace in Iraq, a country slightly larger than California. Picture the same peacekeeping force spread across fifty states, and without a sanctuary country to base operations from.

I'm picturing the US military complete with a massive civilian bureaucracy already set up -- not just military and police, but all the arms of State &local governments, courts, hospitals, schools, various loyalist militias ...

I'm also not picturing where you think you are going to get RPGs and other explosive weapons that are largely provided in Iraq by outside financing (in the case of AQ-Iraq) or by legitimate arms of the government vying with each other (as in the Pesh Megra/Shia militias and whatnot).
6.24.2009 2:18am
Oren:

Not the way you mean. Given that there are about 25 times as many legal gun owners as there are armed government employees

Also, a trained army with air support can easily defeat even armed civilians at much worse that 1:100 numbers. C3 is worth it's weight in gold (meanwhile, the revolutionaries are trying to figure out why twitter doesn't work on their mobile phones, where the enemy is and what the hell happened to their buddies that were supposed to show up an hour ago with more bullets).
6.24.2009 2:21am
DennisN (mail):
For an armed rebellion to turn into a revolution, it would need a very significant part of the populace behind it. If this were to happen, it is not at all clear that the military would be monolithic. In Iran in 1979, in Romania 1989, in the Soviet Union, a major turning point occurred when the military refused to fight the people any longer. Adding an armed populace to the mix makes it more turbulent and could push the tipping point earlier.

It would result in a lot of civilians laying down their lives to grease the skids of revolution with their blood. I can think of worse things to do with my life.

In the end, though, I think it comes down to the idea that an armed population makes that kind of outcome less likely.
6.24.2009 6:13am
rosetta's stones:

"In the end, though, I think it comes down to the idea that an armed population makes that kind of outcome less likely."


Yes, intuitively, it does seem to foreclose some illegitimate government actions, which can't be suddenly sprung on an armed populace.

Some in the Iranian crowds are dragging those irregulars off those motor cycles, and slapping them around, for example. Any capability for a proportionate response would tend to foreclose some actions, and motivate all concerned to the bargaining table.
6.24.2009 7:17am
cboldt (mail):
More from the UN: National Report of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Implementation of the UN Program of Action on SALW
The Act of Intensified Punishment against Arms and Ammunitions trafficking adopted on 2/15/1972 constitutes the main legal basis for action and criminal prosecution at national level to combat the illicit trade in SALW [small arms and light weapons]. ... The second Article of the same Act prohibits illicit trade, holding, transfer and concealing of arms including SALW.

The phrase "Act of Intensified Punishment against Arms and Ammunitions" caused me to picture inanimate objects being subjected to various and sundry "intensified" physical activities. The phrase was also useful to obtain a CASA - Country Profile for Iran, which lists the following statutory titles:
.
Punishment of Armed Smugglers Act of 1936
Enhancing Penalties for Smuggling Weapons and Ammunitions Act of 1971
Includes executive guidelines adopted in 1974
Act of Intensified Punishment against Arms and Ammunitions trafficking of February 1972
Punishment of Smugglers Act of 1993
Use of Arms by servicemen in necessary cases Act of 1994
Establishment of the Police Act
Article 4 providing for collection measures
Statute of the Possessory Properties Organization of 1991
Article 38 providing for collection and destruction measures
350,000 illicit SALW have been collected in general amnesties in 1979, 1983-4 and 1996, - In the wake of the last general amnesty, a new plan for collection of illicit SALW and ammunition was adopted by the State Security Council. This plan was then extended for 2003-2004 and resulted in the collection of 80,000 small arms.
- A proactive plan adopted by the State Security Council in 2004 to strengthen measures for combating weapons trafficking enabled the relevant agencies to seize and confiscate 25,000 illicit small arms and arrest a number of organized bands.
(National Report, 2005)
6.24.2009 11:32am
cboldt (mail):
The law looks simple: "Any kind of SALW private ownership is prohibited under the national laws. Only the government can possess SALW and in specific cases, under an official license the government could transfer, on a temporary basis, an arm to an individual."
.
And I see Iran has a government version of the Brady Group / HCI: "With the aim of promoting public awareness concerning the dangers associated with the illicit weapons and encouraging the delivery of these weapons to the relevant authorities, a plan was adopted by the State Security Council, advertising the benefits of disarmament. This plan includes the use of media and producing training films."
6.24.2009 11:40am
Oren:

In Iran in 1979, in Romania 1989, in the Soviet Union, a major turning point occurred when the military refused to fight the people any longer. Adding an armed populace to the mix makes it more turbulent and could push the tipping point earlier.

I'm not so sure. Civilians shooting at the military might cause antipathy in the military towards the civilian goals -- after all, the human brain is not disposed to look favorably on the motives of those trying to kill us.

If anything, arming the populace might push the army's tipping point further, especially if they

As a side note, it's interesting that the Chinese army had to shift in units from the countryside to disperse the Tienanmen square protesters since the local units were thought to be sympathetic.
6.24.2009 12:31pm
rosetta's stones:
I remember that. Some analysts claimed those units were moving in as precursor to civil war or something. Ha.

It's always been amazing to me how quickly and completely the mullahs hijacked Iran. They went from a popular peaceful revolution to clerical autocracy, almost in a heartbeat.
6.24.2009 1:00pm
Oren:

I remember that. Some analysts claimed those units were moving in as precursor to civil war or something. Ha.

No joke, after crushing the students, the outside regiments of the PLA set up defensive positions in the city, as if they were expecting an attack by other (rogue?) elements of the PLA.
6.24.2009 1:54pm
ChrisIowa (mail):
Thanks to cboldt for staying on topic.
6.24.2009 3:09pm
Dan Hamilton:

I'm not so sure. Civilians shooting at the military might cause antipathy in the military towards the civilian goals -- after all, the human brain is not disposed to look favorably on the motives of those trying to kill us.


Why in the world would any Americans attack or shoot at the Military FIRST.

Who would the people be revolting against? The Government! The Politicans and the Bureaucrats! NOT the military. The Politicans first call in the Police and Federal cops, then they call in the National Guard. They can't call in the Military until they change the law on Posie Commatas (SP).

It is illegal to use the Military to do anything except keep the peace. They can't do policing in the US.

The next American Revolution will not be people shooting a Police and the Military. It will be INDIVIDUALS shooting at Politicans and Bureaucrats.

You forget, the revolution will not be from the military hating police hating LEFT. It will be from the military loving, police loving, constitution loving RIGHT. There is no reason they would attack the Police or Military. They KNOW that that would be to attack people they believe to be ON THEIR SIDE.
6.24.2009 4:19pm
Oren:

Why in the world would any Americans attack or shoot at the Military FIRST.

We were talking about Iran.


They can't call in the Military until they change the law on Posie Commatas (SP).

You need to reread 10USC§333.


Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law

(a) Use of Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies.—
(1) The President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to—
(A) restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that—
(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order; and
(ii) such violence results in a condition described in paragraph (2); or
(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrection, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition described in paragraph (2).
(2) A condition described in this paragraph is a condition that—
(A) so hinders the execution of the laws of a State or possession, as applicable, and of the United States within that State or possession, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State or possession are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or
(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.
(3) In any situation covered by paragraph (1)(B), the State shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the laws secured by the Constitution.
(b) Notice to Congress.— The President shall notify Congress of the determination to exercise the authority in subsection (a)(1)(A) as soon as practicable after the determination and every 14 days thereafter during the duration of the exercise of that authority.
6.24.2009 4:40pm
Oren:
Hmm, I apologize for quoting that all. I should have just linked it an given some highlights. At any rate, your statements

It is illegal to use the Military to do anything except keep the peace. They can't do policing in the US.

is just not true. Please do read the statute.
6.24.2009 4:42pm
Oren:

It will be from the military loving, police loving, constitution loving RIGHT. There is no reason they would attack the Police or Military. They KNOW that that would be to attack people they believe to be ON THEIR SIDE.

Interesting assertion. I'm not sure where the US military would stand with respect to your hypothetical right-ist revolution. That said, it seems rather presumptuous to just assume that the military will not side with the government.

More likely (IMO), it will depend on the details and the behavior of the various parties during the run-up.
6.24.2009 4:45pm
wva (mail):
"cboldt" from the Netherlands suggested in one of his earlier postings that.."And even in the US, the law as handed down by the Courts is that individual rights are conferred by the Constitution." I think this is not quite correct, nor is the point necessarily trivial. The Constitution does not "confer" individual rights in the United States, i.e., one does not hunt through the various articles and clauses to locate some "grant" of "rights," whether it be one's "freedom of speech," or "the freedom of the press," or one's "right to keep and bear arms (such as it may be). Rather, such "rights" are not regarded as some form of constitutional largesse (i.e., something "conferred" by the Constitution. Instead,the Constitution (in the parts relevant to this discussion) simply declares what it is that government is forbidden to do, whether the majority wants to do it and (like cboldt?) thinks it important to do it for "the public good," or otherwise. (Nearly always, of course, measures that restrict various freedoms are "explained" in terms of "the public good," whether in Germany, the Netherlands, Iran, or the U.S. itself. Indeed, when was it ever otherwise?)

(This comment, by the way, is not meant to suggest that the posted comments by "cboldt" are unwelcome. To the contrary, they contribute a great deal to the vitality of these occasional "volokh conspiracy" exchanges......)
6.24.2009 4:46pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
I'm picturing the US military complete with a massive civilian bureaucracy already set up -- not just military and police, but all the arms of State &local governments, courts, hospitals, schools, various loyalist militias ...
"Military" already includes all U.S. military personnel, including reserve and national guard units. "Police" includes commissioned law enforcement officers (all the ones authorized to be armed.) Other members of state and local governments are typically not armed on duty, though they may be gun owners.

State and local civilian leaders are the folks we gun owners elect. (That's why there isn't nearly as much gun control on the local level as the antis would like.) Counting on them to form ranks against a popular revolution is not realistic. They'd probably be leading it instead.

The type revolution I'm picturing features a substantial majority of the populace pissed off enough at the federal government that it's ready to "alter or abolish" it.
I'm also not picturing where you think you are going to get RPGs and other explosive weapons that are largely provided in Iraq by outside financing
National guard, or homemade explosives. It's not hard rocket science.
Also, a trained army with air support can easily defeat even armed civilians at much worse that 1:100 numbers.
Really? In a set battle perhaps. BTW, given that the military has less than 800,000 actual warfighters the odds will be 100:1. In a guerrilla war environment that's plenty.

I'm speaking as a retired Infantry officer. What is the source of your expertise?
6.24.2009 5:07pm
cboldt (mail):
-- "cboldt" from the Netherlands suggested in one of his earlier postings that.."And even in the US, the law as handed down by the Courts is that individual rights are conferred by the Constitution." --
.
I'm not from the Netherlands (martinned is the Dutchman on this thread), but I was raised (a few years) in Holland (Michigan). Anyway, focusing on the 2nd amendment, I was riffing off a Scalia statement in the Heller case.
.
District of Columbia v. Heller
There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms. ...
[The Miller] holding is not only consistent with, but positively suggests, that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms ...

I have a serious problem with the Heller decision, to the extent that I consider it an abomination on the order of the Dred Scot decision. The majority has deliberately misconstrued its own binding precedent for the opposite of what it stands for.
6.24.2009 5:38pm
Dan Hamilton:

Please show me where Politicans and Bureaucrats getting killed, the police both local and Federal doing their normal thing on the killings etc could trigger 10USC§333.

I said nothing about which side the Military and Police might take. I said that a Right-ist Revolution will assume that many of the Police and Military will support them or remain netural.

About Iran the problem is that the Government is attacking the demonstraters. They need to just act like they won and the demonstraters are just upset about comming in second. The Iranian Government should ignore them. By attacking them they create the revolution that they fear.

In any revolution attack the Government. Kill the Politicans and Bureaucrats. Riots, attacking police and the military are a waste of time, they gain you nothing. The Politicans and Bureaucrats never care about any deaths but their own.

Now the thugs beating up people are fair game. Don't run from them swarm them. Beat them up. Kill them. See how long the thugs are around then. The demonstraters are trying to be peaceful. No, they should kill those that try to beat or shoot them. Peacefull to all others.
6.24.2009 5:53pm
Oren:


State and local civilian leaders are the folks we gun owners elect. (That's why there isn't nearly as much gun control on the local level as the antis would like.)

Wow. You should meet our local police chief and see how he feels about his "may-issue" power over LTCs. IIRC, he bragged about not once accepting an unrestricted (CCW) one.


National guard, or homemade explosives. It's not hard rocket science.

If the national guard starts to defect, we are outside the parameters of the scenario that I was talking about. In fact, I explicitly said that if the military forces began to have split loyalties, all bets are off. That's true here and that's true in Iran.


Please show me where Politicans and Bureaucrats getting killed, the police both local and Federal doing their normal thing on the killings etc could trigger 10USC§333.

If the President really wanted to, it would be trivial for him to set up a situation that would warrant activation of his power under 10USC333. On the other hand, he doesn't need to go to a court or Congress, he can just declare that the conditions are met and order the military in -- it's his sole determination.


They need to just act like they won and the demonstraters are just upset about comming in second. The Iranian Government should ignore them. By attacking them they create the revolution that they fear.

Didn't work so well for the Shah -- the protesters shut down more and more of the country until he was forced to use the military, but it was too late. These things are best crushed early (from a tactics point of view, of course I want them to succeed).
6.24.2009 6:06pm
cboldt (mail):
You need to reread 10 USC 333
.
I remember when that law was amended to its current form. It's a radical revision (and one that I abhor), although it was sold by the Bush administration as an insignificant and necessary change to accommodate action in natural disaster, when a governor fails to timely request use of US military to provide help (See Katrina). See Pub. Law 109-364 (John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007).
.
That aside, I am not sure how big an uprising would have to be "underway" before the feds ordered the US military to be used against US citizens on US soil. If I was president, I would be very circumspect about escalating from FBI/BATFE and other domestic firepower, to obviously military firepower. US Military against US citizens on US soil is a signal that the Republic is dead.
6.24.2009 6:13pm
cboldt (mail):
From Senate Report 109-254:

The committee recommends a provision that would amend chapter 15 of title 10, United States Code, the so-called 'Insurrection Act,' ... a collection of statutes authorizing the use of the armed forces to put down an insurrection, enforce federal authority, or suppress conspiracies that interfere with the enforcement of federal or state law.

The earliest of these dates to 1795, and others were enacted at the beginning of the Civil War (1861) and during Reconstruction (the so-called Klux Act' of 1871). While these statutes grant the President broad powers to use the armed forces in situations of public disorder, the antique terminology and the lack of explicit reference to such situations as natural disasters or terrorist attacks may have contributed to a reluctance to use the armed forces in situations such as Hurricane Katrina. ...

The title of chapter 15 is changed from 'Insurrection' to 'Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order'
6.24.2009 6:32pm
Oren:
cboldt, I hope we never get there as well and I hope the President (and Congress) come to their senses before deploying military force to halt an insurrection and try to work out a political compromise.

That said, once the decision is made that there will be no compromise, I would advocate the opposite strategy as you have -- maximum force escalated as fast as possible. History is full of failed regimes who waffled in the face of opposition.
6.24.2009 8:39pm
Californio (mail):
Remember that poorly trained cadre of fighters called the Spartans? They were defeated by indigenous peasants armed with...rocks. So the tanks and attack helicopters sure are impressive - when fielded against another army of tanks and helicopters.

A better analogy to what could happen in response to perceived government "oppression" may be found in the Reconstruction period after the American Civil War. To this day hardcore regionalists in the South joke that "the North won the war, we won Reconstruction..ha ha.." Hey, it only took about 100 years for the intentions of Reconstruction to finally apply to the rebellious regions of the South. So forgive me if I am underwhelmed by the theoretical threat of massive force against a theoretical american rebellion. OF greater concern to me would be societal breakdown in the face of a massive denial of services event - either an EMP or multiple massive natural disasters which overwhelm resources so no help comes for a long time. No water, electricity, breakdown of distribution networks (food, information, water, medical care, etc). How quickly we would turn on one another.
6.25.2009 4:58am
Doc Merlin:
"But in the US at least, the press is free to publish whatever it wants, with libel and classified information being the limiting factors."

This is not true. In the US the press is free to publish classified information so long as the press person didn't steal it themselves. This is established case law, and has been for some time. When my european friends find this out they tend to be rather shocked.
6.25.2009 7:02am
cboldt (mail):
-- In the US the press is free to publish classified information so long as the press person didn't steal it themselves. --
.
I was trying to make the general points that there are SOME limits on the press, and that those limitations are narrow.
.
As a practical matter, I agree that most classified information can be published without meeting the elements of any criminal code violation. However, the Espionage Act prohibits publication of a few narrow classes of classified information, even if the press person/company did not steal it themselves. See, e.g., 18 USC 798 for some of those details. FISA also prohibits publication of certain information.
.
NYT v. US, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), makes it clear that these prohibitions do not generally serve as prior restraint; any more than libel laws prevent the press from libeling people.
6.25.2009 9:26am
DennisN (mail):
Oren:
If the national guard starts to defect, we are outside the parameters of the scenario that I was talking about. In fact, I explicitly said that if the military forces began to have split loyalties, all bets are off. That's true here and that's true in Iran.


This is probably a prerequisite for an insurrection to make the jump to revolution. To make it big time, you need a significant percentage of the people. Once you've got critical mass, all bets are off.
6.25.2009 10:05am
DennisN (mail):
Dan Hamilton:
Now the thugs beating up people are fair game. Don't run from them swarm them. Beat them up. Kill them. See how long the thugs are around then. The demonstraters are trying to be peaceful. No, they should kill those that try to beat or shoot them. Peacefull to all others.


That's easy to say, but the average mob is exceedingly difficult to wield in a coherent manner, and exceedingly easy for small numbers of semi-trained riot control troops (or thugs) to break up. This is the basis of all riot control tactics. Breaking up mobs is particularly easy if the anti-riot forces are willing to freely use deadly force.

Crowds are prone to panic and stampede.
6.25.2009 10:09am
rosetta's stones:

Breaking up mobs is particularly easy if the anti-riot forces are willing to freely use deadly force.

Crowds are prone to panic and stampede.



Quite true. But, in case of an EMP event or some other disaster, where not just socialized medicine but actual survival is at stake, deadly force will be met with deadly force, as Californio mentions.

Watch a pack of hyenas taunting more powerful lions. They back away a bit from a deadly charge, but quickly close in from another direction, risking life, because they gotta eat.
6.25.2009 10:31am
DennisN (mail):
Oh, I agree with Californio about rebellions in general. It's the armed or unarmed mob that I was specifically referring to. Irregulars cannot stand up to regulars. They must perfect the stab in the back.

[Hiding in bushes and fingering the edge of my blade.] :-/
6.25.2009 11:10am
DennisN (mail):
Oh, I agree with Californio about rebellions in general. It's the armed or unarmed mob that I was specifically referring to. Irregulars cannot stand up to regulars. They must perfect the stab in the back.

[Hiding in bushes and fingering the edge of my blade.] :-/
6.25.2009 11:10am
LarryA (mail) (www):
Wow. You should meet our local police chief and see how he feels about his "may-issue" power over LTCs. IIRC, he bragged about not once accepting an unrestricted (CCW) one.
But that's a minority. There are 40 right-to-carry states and only eight discretionary states and two no-carry-allowed states. My local sheriff, police chief, and city marshal all keep lists of local instructors and refer students to us.

I do understand there are differences. I recently got a call from someone who moved from New York who wanted a "regular gun permit" not a concealed carry license. He just wanted to get his revolver registered so he could take it to the range. He was happy to hear that Texas doesn't fool with any of that nonsense.
6.25.2009 11:46am
DennisN (mail):
LarryA:
I recently got a call from someone who moved from New York who wanted a "regular gun permit" not a concealed carry license. He just wanted to get his revolver registered so he could take it to the range. He was happy to hear that Texas doesn't fool with any of that nonsense.


I'd probably reccommend he get a CCW permit anyway. It gives you a little more protection against making a silly technical mistake over how your weapon is stored en route to the range.
6.25.2009 2:09pm
Oren:

But that's a minority. There are 40 right-to-carry states and only eight discretionary states and two no-carry-allowed states. My local sheriff, police chief, and city marshal all keep lists of local instructors and refer students to us.

Small minority of States, large minority of people.

CA + IL + NY + MA + WI + NJ + CT + MD = 100 million people!
6.25.2009 5:53pm
Oren:
Incidentally, IL and WI are worse that discretionary -- there are no CCW period.
6.25.2009 5:54pm
rosignol (mail):
Small minority of States, large minority of people.

Sure, but the broader point, that extrapolating from your local situation can lead to inaccurate conclusions, is valid. Especially when you're in California.

With that said... the current issue vests will stop .30-06 at 60 yards? Really? I've heard enough reports that they'll stop 7.62x39 to not need evidence, but 7.62x63, aka .30-06, is another beast entirely.
6.26.2009 10:58am
LarryA (mail) (www):
I'd probably recommend he get a CCW permit anyway. It gives you a little more protection against making a silly technical mistake over how your weapon is stored en route to the range.
Under Texas law you can carry a loaded handgun in your private auto anywhere you can drive as long as it's not in plain view.
With that said... the current issue vests will stop .30-06 at 60 yards? Really? I've heard enough reports that they'll stop 7.62x39 to not need evidence, but 7.62x63, aka .30-06, is another beast entirely.
Current issue flack vests commonly worn by military in combat will stop fragments but not rifle bullets. The protective vests worn by street cops will stop most handgun rounds and shotgun shot loads, but not centerfire rifle bullets. (And for shot loads the vest only stops pellets that hit it, of course. The chance pellets will strike unprotected areas is fairly high.) SWAT teams have access to heavy vests with ceramic plates that will stop most rifle rounds at reasonable range. But the heavy-duty armor is for brief high-danger operations only; it would be difficult to function in it on a routine basis. There's nothing short of bomb disposal suits that will protect the head.

In a sustained combat scenario there isn't anything soldiers can wear that will protect them from even intermediate cartridges like the 5.56MM.
6.26.2009 3:10pm

Post as: [Register] [Log In]

Account:
Password:
Remember info?

If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.