Monday, January 26, 2009

Fight For Your Rights

More from David Codrea's Gun Rights Examiner.

My bottom line? If Obama wants "childproof guns," let's see him mandate them for his Secret Service protection detail first. I'll still be against the idea, but at least we'll see he actually believes in a technology he would impose on you and me.

And here's another- one that should make all NRA members question just why that organisation is not fighting the nomination of Eric Holder as AG.

HOLDER:...I think you had asked me earlier about the regulations that I thought might still exist, post-Heller. And I had mentioned, I think, closing the gun show loophole, the banning of cop-killer bullets and I also think that making the assault weapons ban permanent would be something that would be permitted under Heller, and I also think would be good for my law enforcement perspective.

As always, help to spread the word on this column. With Obama in the White House and Democrats in charge of Congress the time has come to do everything you possibly can to defend your gun rights. To think that Democrats won't act on their anti-gun tendencies because of electoral defeat in the past is a mistake- remember, Obama himself is calling for a permanent AWB. And if HR1022 is anything to go by, it won't just be black rifles that are banned.


Charles Clark said...

Hey, incidentally, thanks for some info on the Pfeifer Zelista -- I'm making use of it over at my blog,

I'm a Chicagoan myself, but also an enjoyer of guns. In that regard, I've got sort of a foot in both worlds on these sorts of things.

Democrats tend to come from big cities - it's the way the lines have ended up drawn. And so, big city lawmakers are going to look at what their constituents say, which is "Why can gangbangers drive over to Texas and buy a gun at a show with no background check?"

I know a lot of people in the Chicago area who were annoyed with the assault weapons ban expiring in 2004. For them, it made the likelihood of criminals laying hands on such firepower all the more likely.

Now, at the same time, I believe citizens should have a right to owning a firearm and protecting themselves, but it seems a bit strange to me that we make kids go through what can sometimes be more than a year of training prior to getting into a car (a ubiquitous sort of thing) yet in some states, laying hands on something that is designed to kill you takes considerably less effort.

Having guns and going hunting and using them to protect yourself is what our nation is all about - and unfortunately a small number of criminals and a somewhat larger number of incompetent and irresponsible gun owners make it harder on the rest of us. I think the goal should be getting irresponsible gun owners some learning and making police better at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals - then maybe we wouldn't need an AWB.

Unfortunately, Obama's only got so much he can work with.

Jay.Mac said...

The problem with adding ever more burdensome gun laws to the books is that they don't affect criminals- they only infringe the rights of the law abiding. Think about it- we talking about a group of people who are prepared to use violence- deadly violence in some cases- to take what they want; be it your wallet, your car, your watch or your life. Additional gun laws won't have the slightest effect. It's already illegal to use a gun the commission of a crime- a man who is prepared to shoot an innocent man or woman isn't concerned about a law making a certain type of firearm illegal. Or in breaking a fifth or a sixth law.

Here in the UK since the ban on handguns, our levels of violent crime have increased. Particularly gun crime. A similar effect has been seen in Australia. The simple reason is that criminals don't buy their weapons - by and large- legally. With citizen disarmament the criminals are emboldened by the knowledge that they have a defenceless pool of victims to choose from. Just look at the draconian gun laws in Chicago and Washington. And then consider the levels of gun crime.

The gun laws your city has imposed on the population has rendered the citizens defenceless in the face of already illegal aggression. A criminal who wants to beat and rape a young woman isn't going to care that he's breaking yet another law by carrying a gun the mayor (protected 24/7 by his armed guardians) thinks the law-abiding should be prevented from using.

Another point I'd like to make is that the AWB didn't actually ban any assault rifles. Those are already illegal (an assault rifle by definition being a weapon firing an intermediate cartridge and capable of firing on semi- or full-auto). What it did ban was a certain combination of cosmetic features on semi-auto firearms functionally identical to any semi-auto hunting rifle- so you could still buy an AR_15 but it couldn't have a flash hider for example. The lack of a flash hider doesn't make the weapon any more or less deadly but this is what happens when people who have no knowledge of what they're talking about craft legislation to affect the rights of the law-abiding.

No machine guns or assault weapons were banned. That's an important point to remember. The AWB had no bearing whatsoever on full auto weapons. And Obama, who says you need another AWB because "assault weapons only belong on foreign battlefields and not your streets" is protected by men carrying actual assault weapons. Not the semi-auto versions he wants to prevent Americans from owning. He has no problem with them being used to keep him safe but he doesn't want law-abiding citizens to use them. If that isn't the height of hypocrisy then I don't know what is.

It's very simple to me- here in the UK the law-abiding have been disarmed. The single most effective tool known to man to create equality between an old man or a young woman and a violent, predatory criminal has been banned. These violent criminals are free to prey on the law-abiding at will- knowing full well that any home they invade, or any woman they drag into an alleyway will be entirely defenceless against them.

The only way to reduce crime that can be legislated is to impose strict and long sentences on violent criminals. How many times have you read in the press of a murder or robbery- and discovered that the perpetrator had a history of similar crimes? If these people were taken out of society when they use violence against others then city-dwellers would not have so much to fear from crime.

Furthermore, if the the people of Chicago were able to exercise their Second Amendment rights by owning and carrying firearms then criminals would seriously have to think twice before committing crimes. There's a reason that the places with the toughest gun laws have the highest levels of crime. The reason banning guns doesn't affect crime is that criminals don't obey the law- they only impact the law-abiding. When the law-abiding have the right to concealed carry removed from them, for instance, it has no effect on criminals who carry firearms. What it does do, on the other hand, is to prevent law-abiding citizens from defending themselves and others adequately from predators.

Just read this -

And then wonder how many women were left defenceless by the gun laws of places like Chicago or Washington DC. Politicians like to talk about getting guns out of the hands of criminals when they speak of banning this or that but what they are actually doing is taking them out of the hands of the law-abiding. And politicians like Obama know that- they know that it won't have an affect on crime but reducing crime isn't the aim.

The aim is to prevent people at large from exercising their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Charles Clark said...

It's true that tougher legislation can make things harder on law-abiding citizens, but the aim of legislation like that is to criminalize people who are plotting to use weapons unlawfully and then get caught before they pull it off.

The issue is really "How do we keep gangbangers from getting their hands on guns?" and right now, unless law enforcement gets better at intercepting that sort of thing and gun sellers get better nationwide at screening people, the best lawmakers can do in their own backyards is toughen restrictions on ownership.

Jay.Mac said...

Here again we have the same problem: you say that the aim of the legislation is to criminalize people who are plotting to use weapons unlawfully. Conspiracy to commit a crime is already illegal. It's also already illegal to use a firearm in a crime. Making it illegal twice or three times won't actually have any effect on criminals. Put it this way- convicted felons are already prohibited by law from possessing firearms. Does that actually stop any of them who are planning to commit a crime from obtaining one? No- criminals are, by their very nature, not averse to breaking the law. A man prepared to car-jack someone, or to rob a convenience store, or to rape a woman, isn't going to think twice about breaking another law which says- for example- that high capacity magazines are illegal. He's not going to think "oh no, this handgun is illegal, I'd better not take it with me when I use deadly force to kill that man and steal his wallet."

All these laws will do is to make it even more difficult for the law-abiding to exercise their Constitutional rights.

A man prepared to kill another human being for a few dollars doesn't care if he's using a state-approved revolver or a verboten semi-automatic. He doesn't care if he followed the correct procedure to obtain the weapon legally or if he went to a black market dealer.

As I've already illustrated- the UK tried the tougher legislation path- an outright ban on handguns. What happened? Violent crime has risen and so too has the incidence of the use of handguns in crimes.

Quite simply, tougher laws don't work. Which is why Chicago, to name but one example, has such a high crime rate. Politicians like Obama talk about an AWB because they want to be seen to be doing something about the problem. The truth is Obama was vociferously opposed to tough sentencing for violent young offenders. He has no problem in trying to infringe the right to keep and bear arms of some small town folk "clinging to their guns" but God forbid he actually lock up the violent criminals who blight Chicago.

Which, do you think, will have a more dramatic effect on crime rates? Stopping Joe Average from buying an AR-15 or locking up for a long time a hoodlum who has just beaten a man so badly he sent him to hospital?

As for guns sellers, they are already required by law to run a background check on everyone purchasing a firearm. Which is the reason why there is an already illegal black market in firearms. As there is in the UK where handgun ownership is completely banned. The vast majority of firearms used in the commission of a crime are obtained illegally already. Making it more difficult for people to exercise a right enumerated in the Constitution will not only have no effect on crime but it will also make it more likely for the law abiding to not be able to obtain a firearm. One that might be used to save their life. Or to protect their neighbours or friends or just a random stranger.

How do you keep guns out of the hands of gang members? By preventing law-abiding citizens from exercising their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms? How does making the populace defenceless in the face of criminals who have already demonstrated a keen ability to obtain arms illegally make anyone safer?

If you want to rip up the Constitution then surely there must be rock-solid proof that your proposal will have the required effect?

How does saying to a man who, for example, has had a run in with a gangbanger that no, he can't buy a gun until he's waited for several weeks for a "cooling off" period. The gangbanger doesn't need to do that- he can obtain one on the black market. So our chap is left defenceless against an armed criminal intent on doing him harm.

How does that make society safer?

The big problem here is that looking to ban firearms or make them harder to buy for the average person is seen as a cure for the problem of violent crime. Let's say you magically remove every firearm from Chicago. No legal ones, no illegal ones. Is that going to reduce violent crime?

The answer, sadly, is no- because there are violent and predatory criminals who will use knives, clubs, or just their bare hands against their victims. The tools they use are incidental- the problem is not what a man uses to kill someone or to threaten or intimidate them during a robbery. The problem is the criminal. And the only effective way of dealing with a predator who holds life in little regard is to lock it away- or to ensure that you have the tools at hand to defend yourself from them.

The police are unable to protect individuals- their job is to respond to a crime AFTER it has been committed. The initial responsibility for your protection comes from you. But how are individuals supposed to be able to defend themselves if the necessary tools to do that are forbidden to them? I see from your blog that you don't own a firearm- but suppose some time in the future you are the victim of a crime. And suppose then that you realise that you aren't safe in you home or neighbourhood. You decide to buy a weapon for home defence but are told that you can't have one. The criminals invading homes up and down your street are armed with guns bought on the black market but the State says you have to remain defenceless. Because preventing a law-abiding person like yourself from owning a self-defence weapon just might stop criminals from being armed. It hasn't had that effect yet- not on any of the times it's been tried before- but the local politicians are hopeful that any day now it will work. You'll just have to hope that the criminals don't target you and your family before that magical day- and pray that the police can collect evidence to prosecute the perpetrators when they're finished with you.

Does that make sense?

Do you want to be the one to tell the young woman who has just been gang raped that the reason she wasn't able to protect herself is that something had to be done to try and prevent gang members from obtaining their firearms legally from a gun shop where a background check is a requirement? Is it going to comfort her to know that she was barred from carrying a gun that day because of a grand experiment to see (yet again) if banning guns or the carrying of guns by the law-abiding would have any effect on that segment of society which has no regard for life or the law?

Toughening restrictions on gun ownership- as has been done already in Chicago and in Washington for example- hasn't prevented crimes from being committed. We will never know, however, how many crimes could have been prevented if people were able to bear arms for their own self-defence.

Your position seems to be that because prior attempts to restrict firearms ownership haven't worked then further steps must be taken. The only logical reason to attempt to further erode the right to keep and bear arms is the notion that it is the legal availability of guns that causes crime.

The UK and Australia (and the cities in the US with the most draconian gun laws and corresponding highest crime rates) would seem to have already disproven this. It does not follow that because guns are used in violent crimes that removing guns will make the crime go away.

This has been called an "escalation of failure". See here for more-

Those who call for tougher gun control- even at the expense of the law-abiding and the Constitution- must believe that an inanimate object, a tool, causes people to go out and commit crimes. Because the whole basis for wanting to prohibit the ownership of guns in one way or another ignores completely the criminals. In fact, I'd go further and suggest that the thinking behind gun control boils down to the belief that preventing law-abiding citizens from owning guns will have the effect of preventing criminals from breaking the law by buying weapons on the black market or in using those firearms in the course of their violent crimes.

Which is completely nonsensical.

You said yourself- "the best lawmakers can do is to toughen restrictions on ownership". But you have to admit that the people who follow these new laws will be the law-abiding. Criminals will carry on breaking the new laws the way they are breaking the already-in-existence gun laws.

So, in short, you're admitting that in lieu of some law enforcement effort to crack down on people breaking the laws on the books (or in a judicial effort to effectively lock the criminals away), new laws are required which not only make them criminals twice over but also prevent law abiding people like yourself from owning firearms? So your argument could be restated to read- criminalising currently legal behaviour i.e. the ownership of so-called "assault weapons" will have an effect on currently illegal behaviour by a distinct and separate group of people.

Thanks for responding to my initial comment- I hope to hear from you again.