Thursday, June 26, 2008


Freedom rings -- and ricochets

Now, I know full that many, if not most, of my bloggy buddies and ER regulars disagree, but I can't say how relieved and happy I am with the SCOTUS decision on gun rights.

I'm happy that they have come out on a decision in general regarding the second amendment--one of our more poorly worded amendments. (It needed a "thus," "and," or "because" thrown in there.)
It only took them a bit over 200 years.
The actual wording is still a bit ambiguous, but it's at least something.
I am ambivalent about the whole gun-control thing, to be honest. As Doc says, the Amendment is unclear, especially today, and the use of the word "right" muddies the water rather than clarifies things. Scalia's decision, part of which Ezra Klein quotes, seems to straddle the fence, balancing the original intent - the necessity of a citizen army (militia) - and contemporary "rights talk", and does so in a way that only invalidates sweeping gun control legislation such as one would find in DC.

Furthermore, it isn't something I get all worked up about. I choose not to own any firearms, but I hold no beef with those who do, as long as they are safe and use common sense (some don't). I do not think a lack of wisdom or common sense is an argument for gun control, however; it's more an argument for birth control . . .
I'm with Geoff, I really didn't care about the ruling. I like guns just fine. I'm actually a pretty good shot. It's what we are. Cold dead hands and all that.

Channel 4's robot called and asked me to take a survey about the issue. I did it just so I could screw with their heads that a self-identifying liberal would be OK with the ruling.
If some people have guns, the other people feel they need guns.

Better to ban guns, less people will die due to 'accidents'

If you truly ‘need’ a gun (I’m thinking of a farmer hunting rabbits or something) then they can be licensed. If people what to ‘shoot off’, then there can be gun clubs. The guns can remain at the gun club under lock and key.

I don’t understand why anyone would need to carry a gun around ‘just for fun’ or have then stored in a house and not safely locked away.

Just a thought.

Not surprisingly to you, I'm sure, but I'm with you!
"Oklahoma liberal" is a different kind of critter from the general liberal herd.
Lee, it comes down to one's sense of safety, one's thoughts on whether one would ever need to defend oneself, or one's property (considered about the same under Oklahoma law) to the death -- and one's ideas of whether government itself might ever become so corrupt that it would become a danger itself.
I can't believe that this group of unelected, unaccountable activist judges overruled the will of the people! Perhaps, like Pat Robertson, we should be praying for another vacancy in the Supreme Court!


Actually, like Geoffrey, I just don't care. I've never owned a gun, touched a gun, or even seen a gun in real life, even though a great many of my male relatives hunt. Hunting is fine; I don't mind venison. Otherwise I've always assumed that any other reason for gun ownership simply boils down to euphemistic onanism. Who am I to criticize someone else's need to squeeze off a few rounds? Ahem.
The court almost gets this one wright... mr bbs
Almost? What's not to like??
Im ahunter, don't care for handguns or automatic or semi-automatic weapons.

Figure if I can't bring a deer down with a single shot, I should wait until I can.

I think gun ownership should be legal as long as:

1) The owners are sane, trained, and law-abiding

2)The guns are well-designed for safety and easily tracable when stolen or used for crime.

3) People are held criminally responsible if they do not take proper care to keep their guns out of the hands of children.

4) Buying a gun cannot be an "impulse" purchase.

That said, I think the NRA is a genius con-job.

What other industry has had that kind of sucess in getting ordinary people to fund, fuel, drive and support their industry-interest lobbying effort?
I do find it rather ironic that the ruling comes down the day after a woman in Tulsa was killed by an intruder who had used her husband's handgun that he'd picked up off the nightstand. That's the kind of thing that makes one want to support a handgun ban ...

But that said, while I tend to favor keeping guns locked up when they're in your house, especially if there's kids, I also tend to think that guns are like sex, if you make them normal, you stand less chance of people doing stupid, risky, dangerous things with them. It's training, it's respect, it's knowledge and understanding the ins-and-outs of how things work. Kids who understand about guns (and sex) won't screw around with them. Pun intended. And even after all that, well, tragic shit still happens. File under: Life.

I'm a realist and pragmatic. You can't just ban guns, because we're a gun culture. It's in us. If we got rid of guns, we'd still have guns, because it's normative for us. A gun ban would only work if guns never from America's beginning were part of the consciousness. There are other, deeper, more dangerous things in our culture that need 86ing that are more worth the effort, which, quite honestly, if we got rid of those we might get rid of the need/love of guns.
NRA: wackos. Totally.
On the one hand, the NRA does a good job promoting responsible gun ownership. On the other hand, many states have various hunter safety courses that are required before getting a license to hunt. Also, with Brady Law rules enforced, and IL adding the requirement of needing a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOI here in the land of Obama), most laws place reasonable regulations upon how and when one may purchase a firearm. Of course, some states, like FL, VA and a few others have conceal carry laws; when we lived in VA, then-Gov. George Allen wanted to lift restrictions on where one could carry a concealed weapon, including courtrooms and bars (the latter isn't a bad idea, actually, because after an initial spike, the murder rate would plummet . . .). That failed.

The DC law created that conservative fantasy world where only criminals had guns.

I think (H)apa's right - we're a gun-owning culture and society, so I don't see any serious attempt to remove guns working.

The NRA lost me when they worked to block a Congressional bill banning automatic weapon sales as well as teflon-coated ammunition from commercial sales. Since the latter are euphemistically known as "cop killers", I wonder how they justified it. All those deer and elk wearing body armor? For those folks who hunt giant tortoises with a high-powered rifle? That, and their advocacy for private ownership of everything short of a cruise missile just defies common sense, so I guess maybe I'm a bit more of a restriction-leaning individual.

Finally, one final random thought. We should be clear that, other than shotguns and high-powered hunting rifles, firearms exist for one reason and one reason alone - to kill other human beings (actually, the former two examples exist for that reason, too; their existence can be justified in other ways, however). It's all well and good to prattle about "target shooting", but if someone owns a .44, or yearns for a Chinese-made AR-15 - these weapons exist to kill. Period. Any other use is incidental. I don't think that makes ownership wrong; I just think we need to be clear about their raison d'etre.
Re, "The NRA lost me when they worked to block a Congressional bill banning automatic weapon sales as well as teflon-coated ammunition from commercial sales."

Yes. That was about the time they started in on the anti-government "government is bad" rhetoric. Good friend of mine gave up lifetime membership in the NRA over that; he was a county extension agent, a government employee.
Kings X on what I said about the Tulsa shooting. Turns out that it's a potential Law & Order episode ...
I looked over this ruling just cause I don't trust the media when it comes to law.

First thing up, this only affects the District of Columbia directly.
It overturns a law in a Federal juridiction not a State. So now we know their "principle" interpretation. Before it can apply to a State a State law have to be overturned or so stated in the SCOTUS opinion. States were not mentioned. States still control State Militias, which do not have to be the "National Guard".
So this is far from over, and far from setteled.
I would suggest to Oklahoma that we make gun ownership subject to being called up to the State Militia, thus all gun owners be registerd so as to be "called up" and all gun owners must comply with Oklahoma Militia regulations as to type and number of guns per militia member. Militia member must report once a year for futher gun training and inspection of their weapons. Those that don't comply may not retain their militia membership and forfit the right to bear arms for not complying as militia.
Every blade can cut both ways.
Ya know, I don't think I would object to that.
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