Robert's Virtual Soapbox

(or, The Sanctimonious Professional Leftist's Blog)
JANUARY 16, 2013 2:01PM

Freedom is impossible without reasonable gun control

Rate: 6 Flag

I don’t want a gun. I don’t like guns.

But I’m OK with you having a gun — within reason.

When the Second Amendment was crafted and ratified way the fuck back in 1791, we didn’t have the assault weapons, these weapons of mass destruction, that we have today. There weren’t mass school or movie-theater shootings when the “founding fathers” were alive, and no sane and honest person would assert that in the Second Amendment the “founding fathers” meant to endorse the ability of any civilian to shoot up public spaces, killing as many victims as humanly possible with a firearm or firearms.

It’s a long-standing principal in American law that the individual’s rights end where others’ rights — which includes, of course, the right to be safe in public — begin.

So: If you don’t have a violent criminal history and you haven’t been deemed by a court of law to be mentally ill with a propensity toward violence, I’m OK with you owning and safely storing a handgun for personal protection at home and/or owning and safely storing a rifle for hunting (even though I myself never could blow away a defenseless animal, which is not an act of manliness or courage, but is an act of cowardice).

Beyond that, however, yeah, I have a problem.

I don’t want you owning the more destructive, more lethal weapons that the members of the military or the police are able to use.

You may not legally possess an over-the-shoulder rocket-propelled-grenade launcher, so why may you legally possess a military-style assault rifle?

No, the “guvmint” is not coming for your guns and going to impose martial law. The federal “guvmint,” for the most part, doesn’t give a flying fuck about you as long as you pay your federal income taxes and don’t grievously violate federal law.

Wingnutty paranoia over such events that very, very most likely never will occur — um, Barack Obama is not going to round you up in his socialist concentration camps, since not only is he not a socialist, but is a center-right DINO, but he never would have the support of the right-wing U.S. military for such an act – is not justification for allowing every Jeb, Zeke, Cooter and Skeeter to own his own personal weapons of mass destruction.

The Second Amendment never was intended to allow such insanity.

All of our rights are subject to being curbed when our exercise of them begins to harm others. The welfare of the whole trumps the wishes and desires of the individual.

Without such safeguards and limitations and boundaries, it becomes a fucking free-for-all, and therefore there no longer is freedom for all, but only freedom for the few who don’t give a fuck about others’ rights, such as others’ right to public safety.

I don’t want a gun right now, but yes, I want the right to own one in the future, and so, within reason, I support the Second Amendment. But it’s not the “guvmint” that I’m concerned about. It’s the gun nuts.*

*Speaking of the gun nuts, the National Rifle Association’s assertion that it’s hypocritical and wrong that President Obama’s two daughters have more protection than does the average American public school child is insane.

It’s much, much more likely that a member of the presidential family would be targeted by some gun nut that the average American public school child would be. With Obama’s daughters the actual threat is there, so the appropriate protection, naturally, is there. That makes fucking sense. Guns in all of our public schools — which is what the NRA explicitly advocates – does not.

I take the NRA’s inability and/or refusal to make a rational argument as proof that it’s becoming extinct, that it’s a dinosaur whose days are numbered.

You can watch the NRA’s latest wingnutty spot here and practically smell the desperate NRA’s rotting decay.

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Meh. I'm getting WAY tired of control freaks (from either side of the political spectrum) trying to blame assault weapons for the violence in our society instead of the actual causes.

In 2009, there were 13,636 murders. Guns were used to murder 9,146 people. Hands and feet were used to murder 801 people. Blunt objects were used to murder 611 people. Rifles were used to murder 348 people, and that is all rifles, of which assault rifles are only a small fraction. Assault rifles are used so infrequently in homicides that many police departments almost never see them; in 2009, there were nine states that did not have a single murder committed with any rifle.

Wanna REALLY ban a certain type gun? Ban "Saturday Night / Drive By Specials". These are the weapons that are killing people. At the same time, restrict police use of guns and all forms of control weapons. Restraining weapons and methods such as pepper spray, taser guns, stun belts, gas, choke holds and tight hand cuffs are greatly over-used. States must pass legislation that reduce and restrict police possession and use of such methods of control. More INNOCENT people are killed by the police every year then are killed by guns.

Wanna actually address the CAUSE of the violence? Address poverty and desperation within the US. Stop the abuse and bullying of minorities. Care for the mentally ill. Of course, do THAT would actually take some effort. WAY more than knee jerk, "spazz" gun confiscation laws take.
Yes, You and Amy make lots of sense. People need to feel safe in this country and it doesnt take too much to keep them fed and housed. It is far better to do that than to leave poverty to its own ends and that is violence.
Plus there is such paranoia about guns and government control lately. I have a problem with gun nuts and when you get into all the specific types of guns and assault weapons it gets way complicated. Hopefully no drama Obama is getting it figured out. I have lots of faith in him to do the best he can.
Don't get me wrong -- gun control is no magic bullet (ha ha). It's only one piece of the puzzle. We need to educate, clothe, feed and employ the citizenry, as well as give them health care (including mental health care) that doesn't put them in the poor house. Socioeconomic violence, in which I include neglect (such as how we neglect our homeless and our mentally ill and developmentally disabled), is one of the leading causes of gun violence. Our glorification of the military and military adventurism overseas (look at how cheaply Americans have regarded life in the Middle East for the past decade-plus) also contributes to violence here at home.

So there is a lot that we need to do. But no civilian fucking needs a military-style assault rifle. There is nothing to debate there.
P.S. Yes, law enforcement officials need non-lethal ways of subduing people. All of the time I read a news story about some person, usually a young man, who was shot to death apparently unnecessarily. With the technology that we have, I just don't believe that the only way to stop someone is to cap his or her ass.

That said, non-lethal ways, such as the Taser and pepper spray, also are overused by cops, and cops who abuse their power also contribute to an environment that promotes more violence by the citizenry; if the cops disregard fair play and even sometimes the law, why shouldn't we?
I agree with you. I also think that we have a violence-problem rather than a gun-problem. If all the gun control laws were passed and enforced I doubt the murder rate would decline even slightly. Excellent post. R
They are the way they are because their ancestors believed thusly,

"If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress [slave] insurrections [under this new Constitution]. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress . . . . Congress, and Congress only [under this new Constitution], can call forth the militia."

This from FOUNDING FATHER Patrick Henry, speaking on the need for more of the mandatory slave patrols all good southern white men of the time were required to participate in. Read it, weep.
Robert writes: "But no civilian fucking needs a military-style assault rifle. There is nothing to debate there."

What specific characteristics of the so-called assault rifle do you object to?
I agree with you regarding the weapons in question. I also agree regarding the NRA. The ad was a desperate act which ultimately hurt its cause.

As for characteristics that serve no purpose other than to make killing people easier, the standard characteristics written into the definition for gun control law are: Pistol grip, bayonet mount, grenade launcher, telescopic stock (rifle or shotgun), threaded barrel for barrel extender or flash supressor (handguns), barrel that can be used as a handhold (handguns), and capacity to hold more than 5 rounds (shotgun). These characteristics are designed for, and aid in the purpose of combat. These are not for recreation. If your recreation is killing humans, then it needs to be regulated out of existence. The characteristics don't need to be limtied to these, but those give you an idea.

As for ignoring sensible gun regulation and expecting to solve the problem with a focus on poverty, or whatever. That comment is so disorganized with its logic as to suggest insanity. Is poverty a problem in crime in our society, absolutely. No question. But it is not the handle on all aspects of crime and violence. The suggestion is one of the attempts to deflect attention away from the subject. We are not limited as to the number of solutions that can be used, so there is no good rationale to the notion that limiting or prohibiting certain devices which are designed for killing humans from being takes away from fixing poverty. That is a non starter. It is not an either/or situation.
Yes, as I stated, gun control is only one piece of the puzzle toward preventing future massacres. In addition to the other pieces that I've already mentioned, actually paying attention to and giving a shit about our young people, and helping them when they need help, would be a huge help, since so many of the mass shooters are young men with head issues.

Of course if someone makes it his life's mission to obtain a prohibited weapon of mass destruction and use it, and if he is fairly stealthy about going about it, he might succeed. But why make it easier for him to fulfill his mission?

Gun control would indeed save at least some lives, so the argument that it wouldn't make any difference at all doesn't fly.

And again, I'm talking about the ridiculously lethal weapons, again, the weapons that no civilian needs. Fuck, it's illegal to own grenades, and even the NRA isn't pushing that civilians may own grenades, so why should civilians be able to possess military-style assault rifles, the only purpose of which is to be able to kill a lot of people in a small amount of time?

And yes, the gun nuts are steeped in racism. My understanding is that the NRA emerged from the KKK, and so when the nation's first black president tries to institute gun control, yes, the white supremacists' minds revert to the days when whitey was afraid of slave revolt.

It is dangerous to allow paranoid, trigger-happy individuals to own the most lethal weapons, and, let's face it, when many or even most people buy these weapons, they sure would love to use them at some point, wouldn't they? Maybe they'll FIND "reasons" to use them.