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The Slippery Slope of Socialism

Ruben Bolling
© Ruben Bolling

I love this comic. Even though I believe in the right to bear arms, I also believe that we really need some laws that promote gun safety. But gun fanatics oppose pretty much any regulation of guns. I think in the long run, this radical stance will backfire on them.



  1. Diogenes wrote:

    I mean this in a dialectical rather than a hostile way, but why do you believe in the right to bear arms? Since you enjoy the comparison to car ownership so much and I assure you I do to, don’t you believe it should be treated as a privilege and not a right? I mean to allow access to them is one thing, but it being innately endowed by a constitution seems rather extreme. I am aware of the ability of governments to become tyrannical but I fail to see how the right to bear relatively meager firearms to your potential opponents (ie the govt, foreign invaders) would be very helpful in such a situation. I am assume that you believe in numerous regulations for arms anyways including prohibiting citizens to own heavy weaponry which would make all ownership of guns, ownership of handguns and hunting rifles. I believe in allowing people to own guns for self defense or hunting but I don’t believe it is equitable to free speech or input in a democratic political system.

    Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
  2. Richard wrote:

    Well said diogenes.

    Of course, “self defense” is a slippery slope. Actually so is “hunting” because animals aren’t all that people hunt with guns.

    Rights should come with responsibility and potential liability.

    Why do we have car registration and at least liability insurance? Unpack that and map it onto gun ownership.

    Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
  3. Max wrote:

    The ‘right to bear arms’ is tied together with dark right wing survivalist fantasies, e.g. when the marauding bands of looters come for my stuff, I’ll mow them down with my AK-47.

    Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Diogenes, I believe in the right to bear arms because it is written in our constitution. If you don’t like the constitution, you should amend it, not try to pass laws to get around it.

    Second, I can’t come up with a good reason to take away that right. Yes, we have lots of gun violence in the US, but there are countries that have higher per capita gun ownership that don’t have particularly high gun violence. That says to me the problem is not guns (per se), but gun safety, gun training, and how we deal with mental health problems.

    So let’s try to solve the gun safety problem, before we decide to take away the right to own guns. Let’s solve the HUGE mental health problem in the US (caused by deinstitutionalization of over 90% of severely mentally ill people over the last 40 years), close the loopholes for background checks and gun registration, and provide (and require) gun safety training. Once we do that, we can reassess if we need to further restrict gun ownership.

    You mention “potential opponents”, but you fail to mention potential opponents like gangs. Also, why would you assume that I would prohibit citizens from owning heavy weaponry?

    By the way, while I support the right to own guns, I do not and would never own one myself, nor would I use one even in self defense. Max, I really don’t have any “right wing survivalist fantasies”.

    Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
  5. Diogenes wrote:

    Apologies on my assumption regarding heavy weapons, I figure many liberals/centrists believe in arms ownership but to a limited degree however it doesn’t excuse a generalization. May I then ask where you believe the limits to be on weaponry? The consitution was created with the idea of the citizenry having the same technology as the military, aka muskets at the time of codification, however as weaponry has obviously evolved do you believe US citizens have the right to drones, intercontinental ballistic missles, rpg launchers or automatic machine guns? where is the line drawn? (again not meaning to sound adversarial or condescending vis-a-vis the drone/icbm comment) And I see what you mean about not removing the right from the constitution, but would you include it one if you were drafting it? and do you believe all humans deserve guns not just because its in the US constitution? I certainly agree that it isn’t solely guns that cause a lot of the gun violence in the US and those other factors you mention are extremely important to the issue and that only by solving all the problems comprehensively will the problem dramatically improve.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink
  6. Diogenes wrote:

    Also, I agree with the use of firearms against gangs or even lone criminals threatening life or to some extent property but I also believe that a right to bear arms vs privelege is indiscriminate in this scenario.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink
  7. Arthanyel wrote:

    Diogenes – the Second Amendment comes from a unique historical environment at the founding of the country. It is an interesting question whether if we founded a new country today would we include it.

    Like IK I also am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment because I believe that law abiding citizens have a fundamental right to defend themselves. I don’t support the NRA’s claim that it is to “resist government tyranny” although that is a side effect.

    I do believe, however, that just because we have the right to bear arms it does not give us the right to create a threat to public safety. And therefore reasonable regulations and gun safety actions, including requiring the kind of training and proof of competence we have for driving cars (and proof of insurance, for that matter) should be acceptable.

    One final comment – many people have poo-poo’d the idea that regular citizens with “civilian weapons” can stand against an army with drones, cruise missiles and the like. I submit that to make that statement displays a significant ignorance of real world combat.

    I cite as exhibit A the wars in Afganistahn, both Soviet and US. The Taliban isn’t fighting us with drones and cruise missiles – they are mostly using conventional weapons plus whatever they can get from unscrupulous arms dealers – of which there are many. An armed citizenry can easily stand against a professional army if they are motivated and have weapons.

    I cite as exhibit B the fact that if the US government tried to use the US Armed Forces to impose tyranny on the US, the ground forces (Army and Marines) are outnumbered by armed citizens more than 100 to 1. Try going house to house against those odds when the citizenry is armed, competent, and knows the terrain MUCH better than you do.

    Reasonable regulations and reasonable actions to improve safety and reduce violence need to happen. Unfortunately because both extremes control this conversation and the fight is between “gun rights” and “gun confiscation” we’re not likely to get a real set of solutions any time soon.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    What Arthanyel said, plus a few more points:

    I keep hearing this rather uninformed argument that the height of weapon technology at the time of the US revolution was muskets. A week ago I had an excellent tour of the Yorktown battlefield, the decisive battle of that war, and let me tell you, it was not about muskets. It was about big cannons and mortars, and (interestingly) fixed bayonets. And about naval battles involving big sophisticated ships.

    The British army and navy were the height of military technology and training at the time, and the US army was a bunch of farmers with almost no military training or weaponry. And yet, George Washington’s strategy of not winning, but of stalemate after stalemate, dragging the war out and causing the English (who had other problems) to lose interest, worked brilliantly, while minimizing loss of life.

    The real reason we won at Yorktown were the French, who totally saved our asses. The French decided to join us because they saw that Washington’s strategy had a chance of winning, and they wanted an opportunity to contain (and embarrass) the British.

    Yorktown was won by the French cannons, which had a slightly longer range and bigger payload than the much larger number of British cannons. Plus the storming of two fortified positions by a small number of soldiers using fixed bayonets (the US soldiers who stormed one of those positions were led by none other than Alexander Hamilton; the other fortification was stormed by the French).

    You ask what my position is, and I will answer you that this should not be an ideological argument. I am a pragmatist. So my answer is, let’s look at the best available evidence and figure out how to reduce gun (and other) violence in the US. You seem fixated on the question of whether we should take away people’s guns or other (heavier) weapons. I think that is the wrong question to be asking right now. The better question is, what can we do to reduce gun violence, without trampling on the constitution?

    One last thing. I lived in England for a year, and I think anyone who has been to an English football (soccer) game understands that the English are a violent people. Heck, when I lived there, the rest of Europe actually prohibited English football fans (they called them hooligans) from attending games outside of the UK because they caused so much damage. At the time, even English police did not routinely carry guns. I think their solution — to make gun ownership itself illegal — probably helped their situation.

    Does that mean it would be a good solution for us? That is a matter for debate, but my guess is it would not work that well here. There are plenty of examples of places inside the US where guns are illegal, and it doesn’t seem to make much difference. I think there are better solutions.

    The idea of gun ownership seems to be so polarizing in this country. One of the reasons I love this comic is because it makes the analogy to cars. Cars kill far more people than guns in this country, but we can have (fairly) reasonable discussions about how to regulate cars (although we have not yet solved the problem of drinking and driving). Why can’t we have the same kinds of discussions about guns? In this case, I think both sides are to blame: the NRA argues that any regulation of guns will automatically lead to tyranny (how stupid is that?), while the argument that the best solution is just to take away people’s guns is equally idiotic. That is like arguing that we should take away people’s cars.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  9. Max wrote:

    Iron, you could be an NRA spokesman!

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    Max, your apparent inability to understand even the slightest nuanced argument is a big part of the problem.

    My position isn’t even close to the NRA. I strongly support mandatory registration and background checks for all gun purchases. I would support mandatory gun safety training and licensing, just like we do for cars. I also support decriminalizing all recreational drugs (not just marijuana), which I believe would significantly reduce gun violence. And most of all, I support figuring out what we can do to solve our mental health crisis (instead of just dumping mentally ill people onto the streets or in jail).

    Let’s start there. I truly believe that doing these things would reduce the problem far more than just taking away everyone’s guns (as if we could do that in this country — hah!)

    OK, that’s my solution. What’s yours?

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  11. Diogenes wrote:

    I understand entirely where you’re coming from and as a fellow pragmatist don’t seek to get bogged down in ideological arguments either, however I was interested in hearing what your philosophy (let’s call it instead of ideology) on the 2nd amendment is given that I tend to agree with almost everything you write yet do not hold the same view on firearms, this can likely be due to being born and raised in Canada and not having the same historical-cultural upbringing as yourself.

    I would say you are one hundred percent right that there is no universal code on arms and that it can very much be a regional issue. As you identified gun prohibition works in England (where I currently live) while simultaneously the universality of gun ownership works just as well if not better in Switzerland. Equally you are right in identifying the factors leading to rampant gun violence are much more comprehensive and with a large socio-economic face as well that of course is intertwined with the issue of mental health. In fact universal healthcare that covers mental health issues would be a major breakthrough in lowering all kinds of violence as medical costs wreak havoc on individual incomes, leading to poverty and potentially criminality. Comprehensive mental healthcare is paramount to any functioning society and greater understanding and awareness on a national level is equally required. As you stated, greater regulation requiring licenses that involve background checks, forcing distributors to know who they are selling to thus improving trace-ability, and other protective measures are likely all needed to attain a level of safety nation-wide but as previously identified it is the large social questions that will likely have the most impact. I of course have no opposition to the owning of a firearm if done so by a rational individual as my family has a long agrarian history and I have seen first hand that in the right hands guns are not necessarily a threat to communal well being. I too believe that the “war on drugs” is a major contributor to not just gun violence but a lot of non-drug criminality in the US and decriminalizing and legalizing (and taxing) certain drugs would have a very positive effect on the country. Additionally, I don’t believe in disarming people, just not having the ability to bear arms believed to be a right, just as I don’t believe all people have the existential right to any piece of technology, but equally that it should not be unreasonably restricted.

    My counters to the historical arguments are; the Soviets lost in Afghanistan due to international intervention, they didn’t have the military hardware required to stop the Russians until the US and its ‘allies’ aided them, a similar story can be said for the Revolutionary War vis-a-vis France but there were many reasons the British lost, such as military etiquette unsuited for guerrilla warfare (something they managed to correct by the Boer War). Returning to that idea, though muskets were not the pinnacle of military technology its likely that they would be the pinnacle of citizen-held weaponry (whether bayoneted or otherwise) Also though a local populace is always at advantage with an occupying power, it is likely their ‘right’ to bear arms is less important that the actual having of said arms, however a nation’s right to bear arms tends to lead to higher chances of having the arms required for defense.

    Finally, I have thoroughly enjoyed this discussion so far and am glad that such dialectics can occur without emotional interference.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink
  12. Iron Knee wrote:

    My philosophy (as you call it, instead of ideology) is entirely pragmatic. I am not concerned over whether or not there is a right to own guns. My concern is over our excessive (gun) violence in the US, and about the constitution.

    Given that the constitution says that people have a right to own guns (in a well-regulated way), I think it is clear that in order to outlaw gun ownership, we would need to amend our constitution. I think the chances of doing that are close to nil. So what else can we do? Quite a bit actually (as I mentioned in my last comment). So let’s do those other things, and then see if that was not enough. I especially agree with you that universal health care that included mental health in this country would be an excellent idea.

    I’ll go one step further and say that I think these “other things” will do far more to improve public safety than just simply outlawing guns.

    You really seem to want to know what my position is on the second amendment, but I’m sorry, I really don’t have one. In the words of Mr. Spock, “Any difference that makes no difference is no difference”. It makes no difference how I feel about the second amendment, since it is already part of the constitution and the only way to remove it is a new amendment. I do feel strongly that we should take the constitution seriously and not ignore the parts that we merely do not like.

    I also think that focusing on whether guns should be legal or not is a bad (political) strategy on the part of people who say they want to reduce gun violence, and makes them part of the problem rather than the solution. It is worse than a red herring.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
  13. Max wrote:

    I’m very nuanced. I distinguish between gun hobbyists and gun nuts. A gun hobbyist is somebody who gets some utility or pleasure from guns, e.g. hunters. Nothing wrong with that provided that public safety is respected.

    A gun nut is somebody who thinks that guns are a substitute for government, or even more crazy, a defense against government. They talk about a ‘right to bear arms’, ‘tyranny’, etc. Tim McVeigh was the ultimate gun nut.

    The fact that the US was born in a revolution has zero relevance to anything, but somehow that is taken as validation of gun nuttery, as if revolution is a sacred tradition.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  14. PtriotSGT wrote:

    I’m joining the conversation a bit late, but I do want to say it is an excellent dialogue.
    Gun rights vs gun laws. You can suspend rights for due cause, and we do. Felons are not allowed to own guns, people who have committed violent crimes are not allowed to own guns. There is currently a vigorous 2 tiered background check in place in most if not all states, including a waiting period until those checks come back. If you want a hunting rifle or shotgun in my state you need a state background check, if you want a handgun or assault style weapon you need a federal background check. The problem with both of those are they cannot detect non-criminal conditions that would have prevented the Colorado and Newtown shooting or the VA Tech and REP Gifford’s ones for that matter. Holmes in the CO shooting passed his background. Same with the VA shooter. Here in my state we had a grad student that passed both a state and federal background waiting the appropriate 2 weeks and picked up his weapons and killed his 2 roommates. He was a diagnosed schizophrenic on meds. Problem with all these and the Newtown massacre or Rep Gifford’s shooting is no background check will stop them, as they are not criminals. Until we re-write the HIPPA laws and require mental health or other providers to report information when a patient has been diagnosed with a delusional or psychotic type of disorder or is being treated with certain classes of drugs we’ll never stop these types of incidents. If we did require such reporting there could be a non-criminal code placed in their NCIC file basically flagging them as not eligible to purchase or own a firearm. I don’t see that being pursued anytime soon by anybody. My state just toughened gun laws and added fingerprints, license requirements, big fees and that applicants promise they have no mental health issues. Really, promise, unbelievable.

    It seems to me that whenever there is an incident like these the first thing politicians want to do is anything, just so they can say they did something without thinking through what they are actually doing and if it will solve the problem. Hence we seem to always need to re-visit issues and fix them again. Forcing people who are not committing horrific crimes to bear the burden for those that are is, well just plain stupid.

    As for the 2nd amendment if we only had farmers with pitchforks we would not have created this country in the first place. It was not put there so people could hunt or shoot clay pigeons in their back yard. It was put their as a deterrent to tyranny. Cultures that take away a populations ability to defend itself from oppression could be and have been controlled, dominated and oppressed.

    All that being said, we need to have background checks on all firearm sales, including gun shows and private transfers. We should have a mandatory firearm safety class, just like hunting safety classes. We do not need to take away guns from any lawful owner. We should also not create any federal registry of gun ownership although there already is one, via the ATF.

    And by the way Max, I am not a gun nut. I have been on the wrong end of a gun a few times and returned the greeting. I’ve qualified as expert many times by the military in shooting my weapon. I have never aimed it at a US Citizen, or anyone else in the 54 states and territories. Matter of fact me and a few million of my brothers and sisters swore an oath to defend you and this nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic along with the constitution with our lives if necessary. I taught and still teach gun safety on military ranges today. I’ve also taught the same class to my children and quite a few Boy Scouts.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink
  15. Iron Knee wrote:

    Can I call you Pt Riot Sgt? 🙂

    Well said. But I do want to add that background checks — by themselves — won’t stop all gun massacres. That’s why we need to solve our mental health crisis as well.

    And I definitely agree that politicians are more interested in “security theater” than in actually solving a serious problem like massacres.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink
  16. Dan wrote:

    A side comment on the recurring comparison with Switzerland:

    It seems the lesson from Switzerland is nuanced. Although the absolute homicide rate and gun-related homicide rate are much lower in Switzerland than in the USA, the relative proportion of homicides committed by guns is as high, or higher, in Switzerland than in the USA.

    See Google doc linked in this article:

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink
  17. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I’ve been getting used to a new laptop keyboard and miss a few touches still, and yes you can call me Pt Riot SGT, but only you 🙂

    I think the mental health issue is 2 fold. First there are those who are getting and are able to have mental health care, but either don’t want it or walk away from it after beginning. Those that can’t afford will soon when the HCR kicks in over the next 2 years. But that isn’t enough, I understand Holmes’ Dr. told police of his violent thoughts and their concerns, but laws on involuntary commitment are in many states too difficult to navigate and most times authorities will not go down that road, until the person is in the process of harming self or others. That’s something that needs to be discussed and dealt with as well. We’ll never stop all of the massacres, but maybe we can prevent a few.

    I want to send out condolences to the people of Boston for their losses and suffering.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 5:24 am | Permalink
  18. Iron Knee wrote:

    Dan, I think it was Arthanyel who made the point that the “number of guns per capita” statistic is not the right one. What you really need is “number of people who own guns” (or percentage). An even better statistic would be “number/percentage of people who have ready access to guns” but that would be much harder to determine.

    The problem is that the US has a large number of gun collectors who own very large numbers of firearms. That skews the numbers.

    Also, I think it is misleading to use the “percentage of homicides that involved guns” statistic. I don’t care whether a murderer used a gun, or a knife, or even a bomb placed in a trashcan. The important thing is the number of homicides. The question we are trying to answer is this: would reducing gun ownership reduce the homicide rate?

    I’ve been following the Boston marathon bombing closely. Very sad. Almost as sad are the people who are jumping to conclusions about who did it and why, without the slightest bit of evidence. I guess haters gotta hate.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink
  19. Michael wrote:

    IK a gun nut? Max must be either new or clueless.

    One note on pragmatism: Nothing is more un-pragmatic than to suggest banning guns in the U.S. Specifically, the only way to do it would be to repeal the 2nd Amendment, as anything less would be struck down. States can’t even bypass it, as the 2nd Amendment has been incorporated, as of McDonald v. Chicago. So Constitutional Amendment is the only way to go…which is so absurdly impractical that it is impossible.

    As of January 2, 2013, there have been over 11,539 measures proposed to amend the Constitution. Of those, 27 have been ratified. But it gets even smaller when you consider that 10 were passed as, essentially, part of the Constitution. And we happened to fight a war in order to pass 3 more. Plus, one of them was an “oops, undo that previous one,” so those two are a wash. In practice, we have had 12 true and lasting Amendments ratified under normal, civil conditions.

    Of those 12, most are completely banal, from the perspective of normal life. Reducing the voting age to 18, specifying the start dates for Congress and Presidential terms, granting women’s suffrage, giving state immunity against lawsuits from foreigners, tweaking the electoral college, allowing direct election of Senators, defining Presidential succession, determining when Congressional pay raises take effect, giving DC electoral votes, repealing poll taxes, limiting Presidential terms. While some may have been controversial at the time, none of these affect people’s day-to-day lives. The only one that does is the 16th, allowing federal income tax.

    I think one of the most interesting Amendments, by the way, was the 27th, which had to do with Congressional pay raises. It was actually the second proposed Amendment, putting it before every single one of the Bill of Rights. (The first proposed Amendment, which would have limited the size of Congressional districts, was never passed.) It only took 203 years to be ratified.

    Anyone who suggests proposing a Constitutional Amendment to decide a controversial issue absolutely cannot call themselves a pragmatist.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink
  20. Don in Waco wrote:

    And yet, background checks for immigrants are perfectly ok.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink
  21. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Don In Waco, I don’t understand your point. Do you mean to say we should let anyone enter the country if the swear they’ve never been a member of Al Qaida? Or run a child porn ring, or been convicted of murder in their home country, or plotted to assasinate the President, or, or, or

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  22. ThatGuy wrote:

    I’d agree that murder is murder, regardless of the tool used to do the deed. The problem with guns, compared to knives or bats or other stabbing or bludgeoning weapons, is at least twofold. First, they make it easier to kill larger numbers of people; second, they make killing an innocent bystander more likely (you’ll never hear of a stab going errant and hitting someone through a wall or window or down the street).

    As with anything, the answer is sensible legislation and enforcement. It should be harder to get a firearm than it is to get a driver’s license. There should be a licensing process, background checks for every sale or transfer, and no restriction on actually studying gun violence.

    There’s no cure-all for violence, nor gun violence in this country. But there are reasonable steps to take to try to curb senseless violence.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink
  23. Arthanyel wrote:

    Thatguy – I think the tragedy in Boston should make it clear to everyone that if someone is either crazy or determined to kill people, they will do so whether they have a gun or not – and can easily kill or injur as many or more people with commonly available equipment other than guns.

    I do think there is a piece of truth in the “easy access” point, however, but only as it impacts accidental shootings and “crimes of passion”. It’s much easier to have an accident if you can just grab a gun while dead drunk, but it’s really hard to accidentally open a safe, accidentally load a gun, and THEN accidently shoot someone.

    This topic generates a ton of irrational debate and it’s always nice to be reminded the community here believes in rational discussion. There are many things we can and shouldn do about gun violence and gun safety (and drugs, and federal budgets) that can be accomplished with rational discussion and a commitment to action, but as long as the extreme irrational minorities control the debate and the Congress, we’re not going to see real, meaningful change.

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink
  24. ThatGuy wrote:

    Sure, if they are determined enough they can make a bomb. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to regulate firearms more effectively.

    I was about a block away on a parallel street (from the second bomb) when the explosions went off. As thick as those crowds were, it is amazing that only three have died, though of course nearly 200 more will deal with injuries for the rest of their lives. But this idea that we should take it easy on guns because people can make bombs is silly. To make a bomb you have to be determined, and spend a lot of time thinking about what you’re doing while creating the device. To grab a firearm and head out to a crowd in the open (or even in a locked area, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School) could be a spur of the moment decision, not to mention a potentially prolonged shooting spree as opposed to two rapid bomb blasts.

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
  25. Arthanyel wrote:

    Thatguy – I was not suggesting that we should “take it easy” on guns because it is possible for someone to build a bomb. It should be noted, however, that in EVERY mass shooting (that I recall, you are welcome to check for an outlier) they were premeditated, planned, prepared for an executed.

    I was just pointing out that if someone is crazy or determined enough to execute a mass slaughter, they will – and the idea that taking guns away from law abiding, competent citizens will reduce mass slaughters is fallacious. We should take more action to limit gun ownership to those people.

    It is sad that the LEAST controversial attempt to do that just failed in the Senate, and was doomed in the House, despite the fact EVERY POLL has shown that 88% OR MORE of the population think universal background checks are a good idea.

    If there was ever any doubt about who really controls the government (hint – it’s the people with money and the fanatic fringes) this vote should dispel it forever.

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink
  26. Arthanyel wrote:

    And to make sure its clear, “We should take more action to limit gun ownership to those people” means law abiding competent citizens should be allowed to own any gun they choose – and non-citizens, criminals, incompetents, and the mentally ill should NOT be allowed to own ANY guns of any kind.

    They will still do other things, but hopefully at least some of the incompetent will kill themselves instead of anyone else if they try.

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  27. ThatGuy wrote:

    I suppose I don’t see where, or if, we are disagreeing. I don’t support taking away guns from law abiding, competent citizens. Only that folks should have to prove they are such before owning a firearm, as you suggest.

    I apologize if I mistook your meaning, but your first point in the 23rd post suggested to me that bombings are as big a problem as shootings, or would be if we kept a tighter hold on firearms. I just think that we, as a society, should be outraged that the total casualty count of the Boston bombings are matched each week by gun homicides.

    I don’t mean to suggest that any of you are not outraged by that, but I imagine if 30 Americans were killed in America every day by say, terrorists, people would be falling over each other to actually do something. I agree with Arthanyel especially that it is pathetic that our Senate couldn’t even pass basic firearms regulations.

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
  28. Austin 3:16 wrote:

    — law abiding competent citizens should be allowed to own any gun they choose —

    Why ? Why not restrict the type of firearm available?

    And what about storage of the firearm and the ammunition? Should there be any restrictions there?

    As I understand things the firearms used in the Sandy Hook incident were legally owned.

    Why does an ordinary citizen need a high power semi-automatic with a high magazine capacity ?,30984/

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink
  29. Arthanyel wrote:

    Thatguy – I apologize if my meaning was not clear, and I am glad that we cleared that up.

    Austin – on the subject of weapon restrictions, asked and answered before it doesnt help when you use emotionally loaded (and inaccurate) descriptions like “high power” when in fact most semi-automatics including rifles like the AR-15 are actually almost as low power as you can get in a rifle.

    Let me ask you – why should you be allowed to have free speech? Why don’t we just outlaw any speech that we think “no one needs”? Would you support banning “high power” speeches? The point is that law abiding, competent citizens are not the problem, and taking away their rights will not stop criminal, incompetent and insane people.

    You do ask one good question about storage and ammunition. I strongly support the idea that all firearms not in active use should be unloaded and locked up, and that gun owners should be legally liable if they do not secure their weapons. That is the RIGHT kind of guy safety action, and it will also reduce accidental shootings. Sandy Hook is a good example – if Lanza’s mother had simply not given him the combination to her gun safe (which she should NOT have done since he was a known mentally unstable person) then she, and the kids, would still be alive.

    As for ammunition restrictions, we already have them. Armor piercing ammunition, incidiary ammunition, etc. are already illegal. What kind of ammunition are you talking about? Everything legally available kind has a legitimate use.

    Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink
  30. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Autin – law abiding competent citizens should be allowed to own any gun they choose — Why ? Why not restrict the type of firearm available?

    Why would we want to restrict law abiding competent citizens, why not restrict non law abiding, non competent citizens and leave the law abiding competents alone. It seems we want to punish those who haven’t done anything wrong, and IMO thats about as irrational as it gets.
    Lets start with compulsary reporting of mental health issues to law enforcement – for the purpose of placing a “non-criminal” record in their FBI file prohibiting them from gun ownership.
    Next lets round up the illegal guns in our urban areas, the ones that cause more deaths annually then all the massacres combined. And lets have some long prison terms for using a legal gun in any crime and maybe a life term for just being caught with an unregistered gun and life without parole for killing someone with an unregistered gun.
    Do these suggestions seem irrational or targeted at solving the real problem?

    To me, targeting citizens who have never done anything wrong because some criminal did is rediculous. Lets target the problem not the innocent bystanders.

    Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink
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    Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink
  32. anon wrote:

    I got one simple question for IK and others supporting the gun bearing right argument.

    I repeatedly see in your comments about “the right to bear arms” stated in US constitution and then from there you make your case of owning a gun.

    Now by that logic if some other US citizen says he wants to own a RPG launcher because the constitution states “the right to bear arms”, it does not specify what type of arms. Argument becomes worse if the citizens argues that what if someone comes with a SUV or Bus and tries to mow him down, guns wont help much. This same analogy goes for the gun as arms instead of just a knife.

    It seems that you keep assuming that arms directly means guns. Arms can mean any weapons, even nuclear, biological and chemical weapons counts as arms. So what you have to say about the point I have raised.

    Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Permalink
  33. Iron Knee wrote:

    Anon, I have a simple answer. The second amendment also says “well regulated”.

    Friday, April 26, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink
  34. Arthanyel wrote:

    Anon – no Constitutional right is without limits. You have the right to free speech, but cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theater. You have the right to freedom of religion, but you cannot use human sacrifices. You have the right to bear arms, but not the right to own a weapon of mass destruction.

    And most of us that believe in the importance of the Second Amendment also believe that we need to take steps to reduce violence and improve public safety. Appropriate limits and regulations to do that are supported by the vast majority of gun owners (citation – universal background checks).

    The other point I am making, however, is that it seems that the anti gun forces believe that we should take civilian guns away from law abiding, sane and competent citizens – and I disagree. They are not the cause of public safety problems, and they have a constitutional right that should not be abridged any more than we should place limits on free speech because we don’t like what someone is saying.

    I could make the case that extreme conservative programming (Beck, Limbaugh, Faux News) is creating a serious public safety problem by dismissing global warming and that we should pass laws to shut them down. It is exactly the same argument.

    Let’s focus on reducing violence and keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people and stop wasting time targeting people that are not the problem.

    Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink