A response to A Well Regulated Militia...—on whether gun control works:
>> I agree- more legislation is not the answer; more guns are. Every town, state, or country that has passed concealed weapons laws has had a significant drop in violent crime- to include gun crime. Every town, state, or country that has gone to more restrictive gun laws has had a significant increase in violent crime. Every time. No exceptions. <<
Are you joking? Violent crime rates have decreased across America the last ten years, including places with "restrictive gun laws." Some restrictive gun laws, like the Brady law, are federal laws and apply everywhere. I've never heard such a ridiculous assertion. What's your source for it...a Crackerjack box?
Thanks for that not-so-common sense on guns. You were referring to your own statement, weren't you?
Now that you've told me a bedtime story, here are some facts:
Now, after several years in which the nation as a whole has enjoyed a declining crime rate, there is direct evidence that Lott's conclusions are wrong. A 1999 analysis of crime statistics conducted by The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence) demonstrates that allowing people to carry concealed handguns does not mean less crime. The Center found that, as a group, states that rely on permissive concealed weapons laws as a crime fighting strategy had a significantly smaller drop in crime than states which looked to other means to combat crime rather than make it easier to obtain a concealed weapons permit.
Source: John Lott Alternative Q&A
If you need more information on what a great idea carrying concealed weapons is, here it is:
Concealed Weapons, Concealed Risk
"Every country"? Not
See also the posting on Australia, since you claimed "every country" has experienced an increase in violent crime. No, Australia hasn't. Its Attorney General thinks you and Chuck Heston need to buy a clue.
About 660,000 firearms were handed in to the government in return for more than 400 million Australian dollars, financed by a one-time add-on to the income tax.
And in 1998, the rate at which firearms were used in murder, attempted murder, assault, sexual assault and armed robbery went down. In that year, the last for which statistics are available, the number of murders involving a firearm declined to its lowest point in four years.
As the Hon. Daryl Williams, Australia's Attorney General, wrote to Charlton Heston and the NRA:
Now that you have the facts, I request that you withdraw immediately the misleading information from your latest campaign.
Or to translate from Australian to English: Stop lying, you doddering old fool. Take your grip off your gun and get a grip on reality.
More facts on Australia
>> Now- check OVERALL crime rates. Gun crime dropped, violent crime went up, and already rights are going out the window (they're confiscating pocket knives in airports for one). Give it ten years, probably less, and Australia will be where England is now. <<
Our airports confiscate pocket knives too if you try to carry them through the metal detectors. So? When Vice President Cheney spoke to a gun-loving crowd in Utah (August 2001), the Secret Service confiscated the audience's concealed weapons. Apparently he isn't willing to risk his life on the abstract "right" to bear arms. I'll take the same security precautions when I'm in an airplane with strangers, thanks.
Criminal Victimisation in Eleven Industrialised Countries
You clearly didn't get your claim that Australia's violent crimes have increased from this study. The latest Australia data it cites is 1991; the gun laws changed in 1996. Most of this study's crimes are nonviolent; it doesn't include some kinds of violent crime.
Britain, Australia Top U.S. in Violent Crime
Amazingly, an article copyrighted 2001 tries to make the same stupid claim: that statistics dated 1991 are relevant to a law passed 1996. I sure hope you're not as stupid as the person who wrote this article. 'Cuz he's pretty darn stupid.
Rather than this silly study—with its outdated data, unknown methodology, and inclusion of such heinous crimes as bicycle and garage thefts—why not cite the official stats from the Australian government? Here you go:
Australia, States and Territories -- Homicide Victimisation Rates 1989/90-1999/2000
Homicide Rates per 100,000 population—from Australia's Institute of Criminology
Let's see...when was the only noticeable change in Australia's long-term homicide trend? Why, it was in 1996...a sudden 15% drop from 2.0 to 1.7...exactly when tougher gun laws debuted. Whoops. Your claim that crime rates increase whenever gun laws go into effect couldn't be more wrong if you tried.
Stick to religious studies, friend. As a debater using statistics, you're a washout. Your citation of websites or reports you've barely read and don't comprehend is nothing short of hysterical.
See Some Arguments for Gun Control for more evidence on gun control. Of course, whether laws reduce crime is unrelated to whether they're constitutional or not. A law doesn't have to work for it to be legal.
>> I would further argue that though states have the right to pass gun laws, any federal gun law is unconstitutional unless it deals with sentencing. <<
You can argue it, but the courts largely disagree. That renders your opinion largely irrelevant. And your fellow gun nuts don't make any distinctions between federal and state laws. They think all gun laws are unconstitutional.
Moreover, the Founding Fathers didn't say anything against regulating (as opposed to banning) guns. See my other response for details.
>> Please don't give me any crap about the 2nd Amendment not being about the common man. <<
It's not about the common man. At least, that's one common interpretation. Since the Supreme Court has affirmed this interpretation, it must be correct by definition.
Correspondent fails plain English
>> It is, in plain English, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms." <<
No, in plain English, it's "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Thanks for proving your ability to render "plain English."
>> A well regulated militia is an armed populace, who would supply their own weapons, organized to fight tyranny, as they did in the Revolution. There is no room for interpretation. <<
A Sampling of Court Decisions that Support the Militia Interpretation of the Second Amendment
After you read that, read how the Founders' militias actually worked. They didn't have many guns, as I said in The Myth of American Self-Reliance, and they didn't keep the guns given them. Your position appears to be a right-wing myth.
The problem with the armed populace fantasy is that it has no roots in the consciousness and practices of the militia and the early republic. It is a strictly mid and late twentieth century invention. The Militia Act of 1792, enacted by the same people who ratified the Second Amendment, required the states to "enroll"—that is, register—militiamen for militia duty. It also required the state militia officers to maintain inventories, called "Return of Militia," of militia resources, including privately owned weapons and report these to the state governor and the president of the United States. The militia returns included rifles, muskets, side arms, pistols, powders of powder, flints, etc. What is remarkable about the armed populace fantasy is that there is no public enlightenment or opposition political leadership that exposes the fraud and the strategy and defines the issue in any other terms.
The Potowmack Institute
Wills' greatest bete noir is the popular notion that the Constitution guarantees an individual the right to bear arms as a shield against overbearing government. Opponents of gun control, he insists, persistently exaggerate the role of local militias in winning the War for Independence. Actually, Wills shows, they were disorganized, poorly armed and generally ineffective militarily; the militia's most important role was suppressing slave insurrections and persecuting individuals loyal to the crown. Later he argues that the Second Amendment does not mean that every citizen has the right to procure an arsenal of weaponry and refutes the idea that widespread gun ownership helped bring order to the Old West. Gun control, he points out, was born on the frontier: The West was won not be unleashing gunfighters but by limiting the ownership of guns.
"Well regulated" still means well regulated
A well-regulated militia may or may not be an "armed populace." If it is, it's a well-regulated armed populace. There's no room for interpreting the phrase "well regulated." That the Founders intended militias to be well-regulated is clear.
>> Guns in the hands of the people were not meant to fight crime- that is just an added benefit. <<
I understand your position. I realize you gun nuts are worried about the blue helmets and black helicopters. Unfortunately for your argument, a licensing requirement, safety test, or trigger lock doesn't remove any guns from your hands. These regulations are perfectly constitutional.
Unless you can do better than this, spare me the simplistic propaganda. I and many others have heard it many times. We've dismissed it as simplistic propaganda just as many times.
And read the Constitution about who interprets the Constitution. It's not you, friend, it's the courts. They've ruled what the 2nd Amendment says and that, as they say, is that.
The debate continues....
>> Now Rob, go find how many of these people, prohibited from purchasing guns, were prosecuted for breaking the law during the Clinton administration. The answer, you will find, is well under five. Five out of 600,000. <<
What's well under five...four and a half?
I can't begin to take these statements seriously unless you provide a reliable source for them. And no, that doesn't include the NRA.
If the statement's correct, what's your point? The prohibition appears to have done its job—lowering the crime rate of these violent, criminal, or mentally ill gun-seekers to .0000083. Sounds like a big success to me. What's the downside of this remarkable achievement?
>> Those other 599,995 people, if their intentions were truly hostile (hell, let's say just 1% were hostile, that's 6000 freaks), will now go out and obtain guns illegally, usually by stealing them from honest gun owners. <<
That someone with hostile intentions but no criminal record would go out and steal a gun is pure speculation. My speculation is that they'd cool off and get over their hostile intentions without obtaining a gun. Prove otherwise if you can.
>> Once again, if existing laws centered on punishing the misuse of guns had been properly enforced, rather than making a new law that will in effect only affect honest gun owners, we really would have a better situation. <<
Once again, if you're willing to pay for the costs of increased gun-law enforcement, show me a sign. Your stumping for huge tax cuts suggests you're not willing to spend a dime for your fantasy solution. Let's wave our wands, tap our heels, and hope that the laws enforce themselves, why don't we?
>> Instead, your precious Brady bill has just increased crime. Research has shown that to be true. <<
Which research is that? No research that I've seen or heard of. Try quoting and citing this "research" rather than alluding to it vaguely.
Here are the facts on the Brady bill for you.
Since crime is down overall, I can't imagine what you're talking about. Are you going to claim that wherever crime rates have decreased, it's because of right-to-carry laws and the like? And wherever they've increased, it's because of the Brady bill? Even though the Brady bill is national in scope? If so, what an inane and illogical argument.
For the sake of argument, I'll say the reverse. Now provide a shred of evidence to prove you're right and I'm wrong. Good luck.
>> Your stats are right <<
Stop right there.
>> but do not address the eventual outcome. <<
Which eventual outcome is that? Crime rates are down overall (though they've begun creeping up in the last year or so). End of story.
>> You're listening to the wrong experts again. <<
I'm listening to the right experts and reviewing their evidence. All I hear from you are opinions and unattributed "facts."
Right-wing extremists: the enemy within
. . .
All material © copyright its original owners, except where noted.
Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.
Copyrighted material is posted under the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act,
which allows copying for nonprofit educational uses including criticism and commentary.
Comments sent to the publisher become the property of Blue Corn Comics
and may be used in other postings without permission.