The Second Amendment is not a blank check to own every weapon imaginable

Do you agree with the majority of Americans that gun control is both right and appropriate?

U.S. Marines fire an MK19-3 40 mm grenade machine gun at Range K-211 during weapons training in Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 6, 2008. The Marines are assigned to Charlie Company, Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry-East. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Maxton G. Musselman/Released)

U.S. Marines fire an MK19-3 40 mm grenade machine gun at Range K-211 during weapons training in Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 6, 2008. The Marines are assigned to Charlie Company, Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry-East. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Maxton G. Musselman/Released)

Consider, if you will, the following list:

  • switchblade
  • tactical knife
  • rapier
  • saber
  • katana
  • M1917 revolver
  • Saturday Night Special
  • M1911 semi-automatic pistol
  • 3D printed plastic pistol
  • M1 Garand 30-06 rifle
  • Remington 870 shotgun
  • AR-15
  • HK CAWS automatic shotgun
  • M16A4 assault rifle
  • C4 explosive
  • hand grenade
  • M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW)
  • landmine
  • Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher
  • Light anti-armor weapon (LAW)
  • Rocket-propelled grenade (RPG)
  • BGM-71 TOW missile
  • FMI-92 Stinger surface-to-air missile
  • M134G minigun
  • M198 155 mm howitzer
  • M1 Abrams main battle tank (with an enabled main gun)
  • GBU-28 bunker buster bomb
  • Mustard gas
  • Sarin
  • Aerosolized anthrax spores
  • Tomahawk cruise missile
  • Tactical nuclear weapon
  • Trident ballistic missile
  • MIRV nuclear warheads

Now, let me ask you a question: do you see any items in that list that you don’t want the average US citizen to be able to possess and use for self- and property defense purposes?

If the answer is yes, then congratulations, you have something in common with gun control advocates. You agree that there are some arms which are so dangerous that no citizen should be allowed to possess them. You, like the majority of Americans and the Supreme Court of the United States of America, believe that the Second Amendment is subject to reasonable limitations. The question for you is where to draw the line.

If the answer is no, then you probably shouldn’t be trusted with a pencil, never mind a lethal weapon.

111 replies »

  1. What you say is true. No reasonable person wants everyone to have all weapons. However, the place you draw the line is the difference between gun control advocates and second amendment supporters. What I think is reasonable is not the same as what you think is reasonable, yet gun control advocates keep whittling away at that list. Second amendment supporters keep seeing that list getting shorter and shorter, and fear that eventually there will be no list at all. Yet the result of that shortening does nothing to stop the violence in places like Chicago and leaves us more and more defenseless against those that would do us harm. And make no mistake, criminals, being criminals, will ALWAYS have guns. What always amazes me the most, is how gun control advocates can get the phrase “reasonable restrictions” out of the phrase “shall not be infringed”. And I am quite certain that the liberal faction in the government would love to see us disarmed. It would make their job of “protecting” us deplorables from ourselves so much easier to attain.

    • Where the line is drawn is a difference, yes, but it’s not the only difference. The point is that, so long as 2nd amendment supporters and gun control advocates agree that the concept of a line is acceptable, that’s the common ground that we so desperately need these days.

      And really, once gun control advocates and second amendment supporters (and, from what I’ve seen, it’s actually quite possible to be both – politicians and extremists all stripes like to paint those positions as in opposition when it suits their purposes, but the positions don’t have to be opposed) agree that there can be reasonable restrictions on a Constitutional right, then it becomes so much more difficult to tar the opposition as unAmerican or unpatriotic.

      • reasonable restrictions on a Constitutional right

        Wait. You have the right to possess a gun if you’re part of a well-regulated militia. What limits are there on that?

        • The anti-2nd Amendment community has for a long time deliberately misread the Second amendment, to the point of ignoring the logic structure of the sentence.

          The structure is this:

          “This is a benefit derived from X; the rights to X shall not be infringed.”

          To read it in any different context requires deliberate, intentional ignorance.

          For example; suppose we said:

          “Healthy bones being good for children, the right of children to drink milk shall not be infringed”.

          The “progressive” read of that sentence, taken as they read the 2nd amendment, would be: “Only children with healthy bones are allowed to drink milk”.

          Excuse me, but you have to be a real arse to interpret that sentence that way.

          “Quality orchestras being of value to the culture of the state, the right of the people to own and play musical instruments shall not be infringed”.

          Have I’ve just said that only orchestra members can own or play instruments?

          They are not making a mistake with their faulty interpretation- it’s very chillingly deliberate deception.

          “A well balanced breakfast being necessary to the start of a healthy day, the right of the people to keep and eat food shall not be infringed.”

          Who has the right to keep and eat food? A well balanced breakfast or the people?

          “A well-read electorate being important to a representative democracy, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed”.

          The modern day gun controller would demand that only those on the voting rolls have the freedom to read and keep books. This shows their moral and ethical bankruptcy.

          But let’s take one last look at that sentence construction. The importance of a horse in the 18th century to army personnel was extremely high. It was their transportation, it was their luggage carrier, and they could even eat it if necessary during a siege. Therefore, it was paramount to know that all the milita could show up with their horse in hand when called upon. So… the Founding Fathers put a clause in the Constitution that read something such as this:

          “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and ride horses shall not be infringed”

          Now, based upon the interpretations of those who have difficulty understanding English they would have us believe that only those who belong to the milita have the “right” to keep and ride a horse. No other people do. Not farmers. Not cowboys. Not horse racers. Not teamsters. Not stagecoach companies. Not little girls with their ponies. No one has the “right” to keep and ride a horse except a “militia member.”

          And furthermore, those that have the “right” to keep and ride a horse must abide by the government regulations as to the particular, allowable breed of horse, the number of legs the horse must have, how old it must be, how tall it can be, the color of its hair, how long the mane can be, whether or not it is male or female, and if it is gelded. Not to mention the total number of horses one can keep and ride, or the sum total poundage of the herd. Or how fast it can be ridden and how may miles in one trip.

          If this seems exceptionally silly… that is because the basic argument of those who dismiss the 2nd Amendment as only applying to the miltia is exceptionally silly. They really know that deep in their heart… which is why they generally just wave their hands and don’t ty to actually defend their position.

        • I don’t want to be a dick about it, but I have an advanced degree in English and a PhD in Communication and taught all kinds of writing for 20 years at the grad and undergrad level. So I know how sentences work and I recognize someone who’s trying to twist words to meet a preconceived agenda when I see one. Also, I recognize an NRA parrot when I see one.

        • Sorry child, the right existed before the militia was created by ratification of the BOR in 1792

          But feel free to post the evidence that no armed individual with their pre-existing individual rights didn’t exist prior to 1792…..well we are waiting

          Then of course in Heller all 9 US Supreme Court Justices agreed the right was seperatt of militia service and always would be…

        • Ummm. I’m curious about your idea that a constitutional right existed before the constitution did. did the right to own a gun also exist before guns were invented? Because that would be AWESOME.

        • Re: “You have the right to possess a gun if you’re part of a well-regulated militia”

          Yes – and in the 1700’s when the Second Amendment was written, well regulated didn’t mean government control – it meant “to make regular” or “be in good working order” which in today’s military parlance is often referred to as maintaining good order and discipline. See http: // constitution . org / cons / wellregu.htm

          Also, according to current US law, there are 2 types of militias – organized and unorganized. The National Guard is part of the organized militia and everyone who is not in the organized militia is in the unorganized militia. See 10 USC 311 at http : // www . law. cornell . edu / uscode / text / 10 / 311

        • Doc, YOU are a member of the unorganized militia according to Federal Law. Are you compotent to carry out the duties that may be required of citizenship?
          U.S. Code › Title 10 › Subtitle A › Part I › Chapter 13 › § 311 10 U.S. Code § 311 – Militia: composition and classes
          (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
          (b) The classes of the militia are—
          (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
          (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

        • I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, ExNuke, and the more I think about it, the less I think this is something that should be considered a pro-gun position.

          First, if this is how the law defines the militia of the United States, then this means we can disenfranchise every woman who is not presently a member of the National Guard of their individual right to own a gun. It also means that there is no legal right for a man under the age of 17 or over the age of 45 to own a gun.

          Second, it’s a legal definition according to the laws of the United States of America. That means, to a 2nd Amendment booster, it should be considered an infringement of the 2nd Amendment. Which means that, even if you agree with what the law says, quoting it in support of a pro-gun position is ignorant at best and hypocritical at worst.

      • Re: ” can be reasonable restrictions”

        In 1934, 1938, 1968, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1994 I suspect similar arguments were made for “reasonable restrictions” when more restrictive federal gun laws were passed. Since all of the regulations derived from these laws are apparently not enough, maybe you can understand the reluctance of gun owners to entertain the idea of quietly accepting the any more. The problem is the real agenda of the people leading the charge for more gun control is to ban all guns except for the government and governments (unlike individuals) have the track record for killing people that don’t agree with them. This is really just about using relatively infrequent, isolated incidents of gun crimes to whip lawmakers into an emotional frenzy to goad them into quickly advancing the agenda of gun control irrespective of any facts in more incremental “progressive” steps in order to set a new baseline and move the goal posts to the point where an unscrupulous government would have the option to do what ever they please.

        • I’m especially intrigued by the idea that all these unconstitutional restrictions have so badly undercut the ability of people to buy guns. Best I can tell a mentally ill nutbag or white supremacist can get any kind of gun he wants without so much as a background check. I’m trying to imagine what a world without regulations would look like. Handing out rocket launchers to school children, maybe?

          By the way, you haven’t yet explained how Obama is coming for my guns.

        • @Doc
          Re: ” Which well-regulated militia were … and the guy who shot up Sandy Hook in? ”

          The militia is all the people and some of those people don’t obey the laws

        • Well. That’s almost like listening to a fundamentalist explaining his faith. Not really much that can be done with that sort of “reasoning.”

        • The preamble is not legally binding, and it says nothing about the 2nd Amendment regardless, except that the Bill of Rights were intended to “prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added….”

          OK. Not sure what your point was, but whatever.

          The DOJ in 2004 did issue that lovely opinion – which overturned 200+ years of legal opinion and court cases about the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. So maybe the opinion was correct, maybe it wasn’t, but regardless it represented a radical departure from what had been, up to that point, mostly settled Constitutional law.

          And the DOJ under George W. Bush also thought it was legal to wiretap US citizens secretly and without a warrant, and to torture prisoners (which is illegal and a breach of at least one treaty I’m aware of). So you’ll understand if I’m a bit skeptical of taking their legal opinions at face value.

      • @Brian Angliss
        Re: “OK. Not sure what your point was”

        The point is a lot of people argue that the Founders never intended the Second Amendment to be a check on government overreach and I think the Bill of Rights Preamble makes it abundantly clear that was their intention.

  2. Since no one is arguing that each and every person should have a nuke in the basement it is pretty pointless.

    And the one thing we ALL agree upon is that there is no end, no satisfaction to the gun control side. IF we passed a law that banned 18 round magazines and after it proved to be worthless and pointless law, they would come back and demand a 15 round ban. And lather, rinse, repeat, a year later a 10 round ban, then a 5 round ban and then a complete ban. It’s the same response they give to a “firearms ban”.

    Their “solutions” never, ever quite work, so their response is to continually demand more and more unworking solutions.

    • Actually, Jack, everyone doesn’t agree on that. Oh, I’m sure that there are anti-gun folks who would prefer to ban all firearms outside of a militia, but that would be as absurd a position as someone saying that the needed a Mk-19 grenade machine gun to protect a store from shoplifting (if you’ll forgive a bit of rhetorical excess on my part). Most gun control advocates want to reduce crime, improve firearm safety, and stop the mentally unstable from acquiring enough firepower to murder entire dance clubs or schools. And even law enforcement doesn’t tend to like large magazines (like the 100 round drum used by James Holmes in the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting), because reloading gives law enforcement an opportunity to stop a criminal before the carnage gets any worse.

      If there’s no valid reason for a private citizen to own certain weapons, then the question is where to draw the line. Something like 90% of Americans agree that there should be universal background checks, and another 85% or so think that people on the terrorist watch list shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns. Given roughly 22% of Americans own guns, it’s pretty clear that there’s a decent amount of overlap between those groups of people. Basic math says that at least 12% of Americans agree with universal background checks AND own firearms – that’s at least half of all gun owners. And basic math says that at least 7% of gun owners think people on the terrorist watch list shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns – that’s about a third of all gun owners

      Clearly, supporting some gun control and supporting the second amendment doesn’t have to be a mutually exclusive position.

      • @Brian Angliss
        Re: “90% of Americans agree that there should be universal background checks”

        As your link shows, these polls where large numbers of people support background checks ask questions like “Do you favor or oppose a federal law requiring background checks on all potential gunbuyers “? That is not the same question that is relevant with regard to the laws that are actually proposed like the federal gun legislation that failed to pass the US Senate in 2013. The relevant poll question in that case would have been “do you support or oppose US Senate Bill 649 or any of its amendments”? Read the bill (SB-649) and the amendments. The title of the bill is word doctored to be innocuous but the devil is in the details and what was being proposed as part of the background check process was a litany of vague, abstruse and onerous restrictions on friends and family members that could trip them up and subject them to intimidation and entrapment by overzealous and unscrupulous authorities who are aligned with an anti-gun agenda. In addition, the hastily written Toomey amendment was worded in such a way that existing gun laws that currently protect gun owners (like a prohibiting a registry) could be circumvented by the President simply having the BATF report to DHS instead of the Attorney General.

        The reality is “universal background checks” is progressive speak for wanting to pass laws to monitor and control loans, transfers or physical access of firearms, ammunition, or “high capacity” magazines to distant relatives, friends, domestic partners, significant others, roommates, employees, house guests, or other acquaintances you have known for years. You can see this philosophy reflected in the details of the laws passed in CA, CO, NV, OR and WA.

        If the totality of what is really desired is universal background checks, the answer is simple and easy – give anyone free, anonymous, public access to the federal NICS background check database of persons prohibited from owning firearms and then tell private sellers if you sell or give a firearm to someone and don’t retain a piece of paper that documents you did a favorable NICS check on the buyer, you could be held liable if they commit a gun-related crime. There is no reason to get the government involved any further in the process unless you have other goals in mind like a federal registry of all firearms.

        • I won’t speak for anyone else, but when I say “background checks,” I mean “background checks.” I do want to limit the ability to transfer a firearm from one private individual to another – if that other individual is mentally ill, for example. And if free, anonymous access to the NCIS database is the best way to do that, that’s fine with me. My goal is to keep firearms out of the hands of people who should not have them in order to reduce violence. I’ve proposed previously a few other ideas to deal with that as well, like holding gun owners/sellers criminally responsible for any crime or injury committed by their weapon.

      • @Brian Angliss
        Re: “85% or so think that people on the terrorist watch list shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns”

        Once again, the poll question is generic but the devil is in the details. There is no due process requirement levied upon the government to put a person on the no fly or terrorist watch list. In addition, a person on a no-fly list at the airport can be pulled out of line and questioned or detained. A person who fails a background check at a gun store is allowed to walk out of the store with information about how to challenge the denial. The no-fly and terror watch lists are supposed to be secret so all this really does is allow a terrorist to find out if he is on a list and realize he has to come up with another identity to 1) get a firearm and 2) get on an airplane. So the dirty little secret here is that in order to make this work like they think it should, everyone wanting to purchase a firearm would first have to go to a law enforcement organization for a background check and be detained if they failed. This would accomplish two things the anti-gun zealots dream about – 1) Allow arbitrary denials of the right to bear arms 2) A registry of all gun owners – and keep in mind in every instance where governments have confiscated firearms, it has been preceded by registration.

        If the government really wants to implement this, they should be required to follow due process – or more specifically go before a judge to seek approval to add someone’s name and allow the accused person the option to be present to defend him or herself with the right to appeal.

        Right now, the criteria for being on the no-fly or terrorist watch list is somewhat secret and arbitrary and the latest legislation that was proposed would allow the Attorney General to add anyone based on some undefined, subjective things called “a reasonable belief” or “appropriately suspected” the person is connected with international or domestic terrorism – and the term “domestic terrorism” is so nebulously defined in 18 USC 2331(5) that it could include anyone the government doesn’t like.

        • Jim, I happen to agree that there are serious problems with the no-fly list related to due-process. I’m not firmly decided for or against it for that reason. But regardless of my personal opinion, at least a third of gun owners (and, per my math in my last response to you, that could be as high as 65%) are OK with the idea.

          My point stands – there are a lot of gun owners who are OK with some forms of gun control. You might not be, your friends might not be, but there’s a whole lot of gun owners who are.

      • @Brian Angliss
        Re: “12% of Americans agree with universal background checks AND own firearms”

        Not sure how you would know this. There is no national registry of firearm owners and no gun owner I know is going to respond to surveys by strangers that ask if they own any firearms – especially in today’s environment.

        • I know this based on subtraction. If 22% of Americans own firearms (link)and 90% of Americans agree with universal background checks, then there has to be a minimum of 12% overlap (for the case when the 10% of Americans who disagree with universal background checks are all gun owners). If more than 22% of Americans own a firearm, then the minimum amount of overlap goes up. That’s why I said “at least half.”

          The poll results in the Pew link above go from as low as 22% to as high as 43%. In the case of the high, that’s at least 33% of Americans who both own a gun and approve of universal background checks (again, if the 10% who disagree are all gun owners). That would be about three-quarters of of gun owners.

          At least half of your fellow gun owners are OK with universal background checks, and it could be more like 75-80% without too much difficulty.

      • @Brian Angliss
        Re: “holding gun owners/sellers criminally responsible for any crime or injury committed by their weapon.

        Civilians are always subject to civil liability. The problem with making it a criminal offense is that it becomes the individual against the government that has infinite resources and time – and when that is married with a substantial number of ideologically driven people in power that don’t think anyone but the ruling class should have guns, it would make it extremely risky for a civilian to own any firearms. In addition, it would affect only law-abiding citizens since criminals routinely don’t obey the gun laws or care about liability.

        • I recommend reading the post and commenting further there – I attempt to address some of your concerns. But the fact that this would target otherwise law-abiding citizens was part of the point, again for the reasons I discuss there.

      • @Brian Angliss
        Re: “I know this based on subtraction”

        This assumes the polls are accurate which certainly wasn’t true in the last election. It is an extrapolation of the answers from a few individuals who are willing to participate. I can’t speak for others but since I donate to a lot of political campaigns and my contact information is public record, I get a lot of calls from pollsters. If the caller ID indicates it’s a poll, I let the call go to voice mail and then block the number. If I answer and they tell me it’s a poll I tell them the only poll I participate in is marking my ballot on election day and then I hang up and block the number.

        • Nationally, the polls for the 2016 election were 3-4% off. There were some places where they were off more, others less, but still only 3-4% nationally. That’s not a lot, and depending on the poll, within the margin of error. So let’s apply that to the polls I’ve been talking about.

          Let’s say that the 90% of Americans who support universal background checks is actually between 86 and 94%. Given different polls have gun ownership at between 22 and 43%, let’s add an additional 4% to both ends, for 18 to 47%. This means the lowest possible number of Americans who own a gun and support universal background checks is 4%. That’s 22% of gun owners (compared to the 18% low number) who are OK with universal background checks. On the high end, we could have 41% of Americans who might own a gun and support universal background checks, or 87 percent of gun owners (compared to the 47% high number).

          However you look at it, there’s a lot of gun owners who don’t see a problem with universal background checks. Yet you seem unwilling to acknowledge that possibility. Why?

        • Here’s a couple of articles that point out that your fellow gun owners do support gun controls of various types: Washington Post, 2015, Quinnipiac University poll, 2014, Quinnipiac University, 2015, Pew Research, 2013. They all show strong support by gun owners for background checks, with some polls asking about other restrictions and finding higher or lower support, depending on the restriction. The Pew poll even found a large minority of gun owners who were OK with an outright ban on assault weapons. Given the number of liberal former military I know who a) own guns of their own and b) think it’s insane for a private citizen to own an AR15 or similar weapon, this doesn’t surprise me at all.

      • @Brian Angliss
        Re: ” there’s a lot of gun owners who don’t see a problem with universal background checks. Yet you seem unwilling to acknowledge that possibility. Why?”

        As I’ve said, I don’t doubt a lot of people support background checks. The problem is the pollsters never poll the details of any of the laws proposed – and most gun owners would never approve of those details because they go way beyond gun sales. I’ve also said, if you want background checks, open up the NICS database and let gun owners do their own checks.

    • Re: ” By the way, you haven’t yet explained how Obama is coming for my guns”

      It’s not for lack of trying. Obama was a progressive and the progressive philosophy is more subtle, insidious, and incremental than immediate confiscation. You can see examples of the philosophy reflected in laws that have been implemented by like minded individuals at the state level where they don’t confiscate firearms, ammunition or magazines, they just pass laws that say you can’t keep, sell, transfer, get them repaired, purchase ammunition, loan, share, inherit or shoot them. The Colorado magazine ban is a good example where the “owner” can keep them but not share or transfer them to anyone he is living with like his/her children, spouse, roommates, significant others, domestic partners, employees, house guests, or other acquaintances you have known for years. Another example is the CA SKS Sporter ban in 2000. CT required owners of certain types of “assault weapons” to register them then later passed a law banning them which required the now known gun owners to sell the now banned firearms to an FFL, turn them into the police or take them out of state. Some local governments have similar laws that prohibit the ownership of certain firearms within their geographic limits and several other states (NY,NJ,CA,MA,MD) have in effect “confiscated” some types of firearms from new users by grandfathering those that are currently owned and registered but prohibiting any new ones from being purchased or retained by people moving in from out of the state.

      Note that after Sandy Hook on January 16, 2013, Obama announced a plan for reducing gun violence in four parts, one of which was banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The plan included 23 executive orders, signed immediately by the president, and 12 proposals for Congress, including reinstating and strengthening the ban on assault weapons that was in place from 1994 to 2004, and limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.

      As a result, the Democrats in Congress tried to pass a ban on so called “assault rifles” and when you read the legislation that was proposed it went way beyond “assault rifles” and applied to almost every semi-automatic, magazine fed rifle. This is essentially “Obama taking your guns” as new users reaching the legal age of ownership (21) would not be able to buy one and in 21 years it would be impossible for a 21-year old to possess one unless it was transferred or obtained illegally. They also pushed legislation for background checks on all gun sales and when you read the proposed legislation, it goes way beyond “gun sales” by prohibiting temporary loans, transfers or inadvertent access of firearms to anyone but immediate family members. An attempt was also make to ban people on the no fly list from purchasing firearms with no due process and when you read the proposed criteria to get on the list (again – without due process), it would allow the Attorney General to include anyone the government doesn’t like.

      So in a disingenuous sense – you’re correct – the police didn’t show up at your door to take your guns or magazines away – at least not yet – they just make it onerous, legally hazardous, and nearly impossible to own them which is the way the anti-gun folks implement their incremental strategy that will allow them to smugly claim things like “I support the Second Amendment” and “nobody is going to take your guns”.

    • @Doc
      Re: “background checks”

      Currently, there are only 2 ways to legally sell a gun in the US to a private citizen. One is a private sale between individuals (typically like between family and friends) or by a gun dealer licensed with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the federal BATF. Only individuals with an FFL can run a background check through the government NICS database of prohibited persons. Private citizens cannot. Note that a person can purchase a firearm online, but the physical transfer of the firearm still must go through an FFL at the seller or an FFL local to the buyer. So anyone wanting to improve the process should encourage the federal government to do 2 things:

      1) Allow any small gun dealer to get an FFL without having a storefront. Currently, thanks to the Clinton administration’s effort to reduce the supply of guns, you can’t get an FFL if you want to sell guns only at gun shows (Google BATFE form 5310 FFL application and look at question 18a). As a result someone that wants to sell guns but can’t afford the inventory costs, zoning challenges and overhead of a storefront has to sell illegally or discretely at the edge of the law as a “private individual” and hence can’t run a background check. Rather than throwing these “kitchen table” sellers out of the system like Clinton did hoping they would go away, they should allow them to get an FFL and subject them to BATF rules, audits and oversight like they were before the Clinton administration let political anti-gun ideology get in the way.

      2) Give anyone free, public, anonymous online access to the NICS database. I don’t understand why a federal database of people prohibited from owning firearms can’t be available in the public domain like federal databases for s_x offenders. Unlike the s_x offender database, the NICS system is really a go/no go process and no useful information has to be displayed to facilitate phishing expeditions for identity theft other than what was already known by the user making the query. It’s certainly no more revealing than the FAA’s pilot and mechanic license query system, which provides more detailed information on presumably law-abiding citizens. Once this system is implemented, you then tell private sellers if you sell or give a firearm to someone and don’t retain documented proof that says you did a favorable NICS check on the buyer, you could be held liable if they commit a gun-related crime. This would effectively close the so-called private sale loophole and still preserve the anonymity of the parties involved the same way the current background check system does now. If a private sale firearm shows up at a crime scene, the BATF follows their current procedure of using the serial number of the firearm to contact the manufacturer and ultimately the last FFL that sold the firearm to a private citizen to obtain that citizen’s name and address from the ATF form 4473 the FFL is required to keep on file. That citizen is then contacted and produces the piece of paper from the NICS background check that identifies the second private citizen who is then contacted, and so forth.

      The real benefit of this proposal is how it can help identify the illusive killer with questionable behavior patterns or mental health issues that is causing so many problems. As it stands now there is no easy, fast, non-bureaucratic method for someone to determine if a suspicious person (client, neighbor, employee, student, etc) is a potential threat to society. If someone thinks an individual could be a threat, a query to a public NICS database would at least tell him or her in a few seconds if the individual could obtain a firearm. Then, armed with that information the appropriate authorities could be notified and they could decide if it was erroneous information or whether to investigate further. As it stands now, if you tell authorities you know a suspicious person they will probably ignore you, but if you tell them you know such a person and by the way according to the NICS database he can buy a firearm, they will probably be more inclined to investigate rather than risk embarrassment later if the worst happens. The same would be true if you see a suspicious acquaintance with a firearm when the NICS query says he’s prohibited from having one. It would also help provide piece of mind and a method for victims of violent crimes to ensure their assailants either on parole or still at large have not been excluded from the database because of some bureaucratic foul-up.
      Other specific public safety issues where it would be useful are:

       >Allow potential victims to vet known stalkers or acquaintances under a restraining order
       >Allow gun clubs to vet potential members
       >Allow shooting ranges to vet suspicious customers
       >Help prevent straw purchases by allowing FFL’s to vet all individuals involved with the purchase of a firearm as a gift
       >Allow mental health workers to vet troubled individuals like the Aurora Colorado theater killer
       >Allow resource officers and school officials to vet suspicious students like the Arapahoe High School killer in Colorado
       >Allow the family of the mentally troubled Lafayette, LA killer to verify he couldn’t purchase a firearm
       >Allow police officers to vet anyone they contact – (note the routine background checks performed by police often do not include information about firearms because they don’t directly access the NICS database)

    • @Doc
      Re: “a mentally ill nutbag or white supremacist can get any kind of gun he wants”

      The sad fact is you can’t stop every lone wolf who is a first time offender so the reality is you need to get used to it. Even if all the guns could be banned, there are plenty of other methods available to kill a lot of people thanks to the internet – i.e things like pipe bombs (San Bernardino), pressure cooker bombs (Boston), propane tank bombs (Columbine), truck bombs (Oklahoma City), gasoline cans and a match (Happy Land fire on 3/25/90), heavy truck crashing in to a crowd of people (Nice, France), home made flame throwers made from plumbing parts and gasoline (nowhere – yet) and any pressure vessel filled with shrapnel and gun powder manufactured the same way it has been since the 6th century that will momentarily confine an explosive pressure wave. And when any of those things are used and there are no civilian firearms to deter the government from limiting our Bill of Rights, it’s likely no one will know about them because at that point in order to silence any criticism for actions they can’t control and to maintain civilian support and power, the government has no reason to allow them to be reported. In other words, banning “assault weapons” and standard capacity magazines just starts us down the road of incessant, progressive bans on other firearms with the end result being that only criminals and the government will have guns

      • The sad fact is you can’t stop every lone wolf who is a first time offender so the reality is you need to get used to it.

        I don’t know. The US seems to be the only developed nation on the planet that has a problem with it. Unless you’re arguing that places like England and Germany and Sweden and Finland are despotic dictatorships where people don’t have freedom. Is that what you’re saying?

        • To be fair, China and Japan have issues with “lone wolves” or mentally ill who go on rampages too – with knives and swords. People die, but not in the number that they do in the US, with more-or-less free access to firearms.

          Which brings me to another point – most states regulate the transport of swords and other bladed weapons more stringently than they do firearms, yet firearms are far, far more dangerous. Yet no-one seems to sue for the right to carry swords around, and I’ve yet to meet any 2nd Amendment supporters who care about swords. Maybe if there was a National Swords Association like the NRA….

        • @Doc
          Re: ” The US seems to be the only developed nation on the planet that has a problem with it”

          They don’t have 320 million people nor do they have a Second Amendment. And in the US, with an estimated 109 million gun owners with 300 million guns and billions of rounds of ammunition – if legal gun owners were a problem, you would know it.

        • nor do they have a Second Amendment

          That’s kinda my point, although the 2A is less an issue than the NRA, which is basically the lobbying arm for the arms industry.

        • @Doc
          Re: “How come only white people are “lone wolves”? Is there an element of racism in the pro-gun argument?”

          Racism? Only if gun control advocates run out of other arguments. Whites don’t have a monopoly. The Fort Hood shooter, Boston Bombers, and San Bernardino killers were all foreign born Muslims and the Navy Yard killer was black.

        • I think you just inadvertently proved my point. Roof was white, Holmes was white, McVeigh was white, Rudolph is white, Harris and Klebold were white, Ted Kaczynski, Byron Williams, Daniel Cowart, Jared Loughner, Andrew Stack, John Bedell, James Van Brunn, Richard Poplawski, Frank Roque, Scott Roeder, Jim Atkisson, Paul Hill, Charles Klopp, John Salvi … shall I go on? A lot of these were at least loosely tied to Christian white supremacists in the US, but you never hear that. If they’re brown they’re terrorists, if they’re white they’re lone wolves, because, you know, lone wolves are gonna be lone wolves.

          Now that I think about it, I can’t think of a single NRA apologist I ever met who wasn’t white. I’m sure there are some, but the idea that there’s an undercurrent of racism about this whole issue is hard to ignore.

        • @Doc
          Re: “I think you just inadvertently proved my point”

          I never excluded whites. You were the one that made the absolute statement that “only white people are lone wolves”.

        • Jesus. Forgive my figurative language. Let’s try again.

          I cannot recall cases where non-whites have been characterized as lone wolves. Meanwhile, if the killer is white, “lone wolf” seems the default response even when the person has ties to domestic terror organizations.

        • @Doc
          Re: “I cannot recall cases where non-whites have been characterized as lone wolves”

          I gave you three and there are probably more out of the 11,000 firearm homicides we have each year – but what’s your point? Are you implying white people should not be allowed to own any firearms?

        • @Doc
          Re: ” NRA, which is basically the lobbying arm for the arms industry”

          So what? Companies can support organizations that believe in the right to bear arms just like people or companies who oppose it can support Americans for Responsible Solutions or Bloomberg or Moms Demand Action or some other anti-gun organization. If you’re upset because the firearm manufacturers donate, why shouldn’t they? You’re trying to curtail their business when it’s obvious people want their product. Also, according to their 2010 tax return (see http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/408985/nra-c4-2010-2.pdf) about 49% came from dues, 8% from educational activities, 10% from advertising and 33% from gun manufacturers. They claim to have about 5 million members but frankly I know a lot of gun owners who will not join the NRA because they feel they are not aggressive enough in defending our gun rights while 3 or 4 other gun rights organizations are.

      • I’m not following the logic of how you get from “there’s always lone wolves” to “gun control advocates want to ban all guns.” It clearly makes sense to you, but from my perspective it’s a logical fallacy – either a “slippery slope” or an “appeal to consequences” red herring.

        Care to explain how that makes logical sense?

        • @ Brian Angliss
          Re: ” from my perspective it’s a logical fallacy”

          People who have been victims of “lone wolf” gun crimes either personally or by the loss of a loved one tend to become blinded by emotion, anger and frustration and push for gun laws that ultimately punish law abiding gun owners that had nothing to do with the gun crime the victims experienced.

  3. Re: ” Supreme Court of the United States of America, believe that the Second Amendment is subject to reasonable limitations”

    Anti-gunners interpret this “reasonable limitation” statement to be a green light to ban any firearms they don’t like. Another interpretation is that if you misuse a firearm or kill someone illegally you can be denied your right to own any firearms and be put in jail or executed. By the way, this “limitation” was not part of the legal ruling – it was Scalia’s personal opinion (a dicta)

      • @Doc
        Re: “I refer you to this”

        Your link was pretty long winded – but I got 2 points out if it:

        Point 1 – “show me a realistic mechanism for removing guns from society”

        You could start by enforcing the laws already on the books and quit allowing people who use a gun illegally to plea bargain away the illegal firearms offense. The feds are one of the worst offenders. Straw purchases and lying on the 4473 form you have to fill out for a background check to purchase a firearm is a felony punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine – yet in 2010 76142 people failed the background check, 4732 were deemed worthy of prosecution and only 62 were prosecuted. Another thing you could do since most of the gun homicides are caused by gangs or repeat offenders is to advocate for a law that would impose a mandatory death sentence on any recidivist with a violent criminal history that uses a firearm to commit a crime regardless of childhood upbringing, economic impoverishment, mental health, age, IQ or ethnicity.

        Point 2 – “I’m most assuredly not prepared to die because the authorities aren’t able to do their jobs ”

        The Gonzales vs Castle Rock SCOTUS ruling in 2005 stated the police do not have a legal obligation to protect you

        • I know about Gonzales.

          I’m fine with your proposed solutions. But the “enforce the laws on the books already” argument is a misdirection I have heard from every NRA member I’ve ever met. The NRA and its members strenuously opposed adoption of ALL those laws and they’ll go to war to prevent enforcement as well. So color me skeptical.

    • The Supreme Court DID NOT define “reasonable”!
      So what is “reasonable”? Your definition or mine?

      • “Reasonable” is defined via the legislative, electoral, and judicial process. By necessity, it’ll be a compromise – it won’t meet some people’s threshold and it will exceed other’s, but it’ll be a line that the country as a whole is OK with. Much like there are public safety limitations on the right to assemble (fire codes limiting the number of people in a restaurant, for example) and libel restrictions on the right to speech. And the courts (including the SCOTUS) have ruled in favor of such restrictions, so it’s not like the idea of applying some restrictions to the 2nd Amendment should really be that big a deal.

  4. Re: ” Second Amendment”

    The purpose of the Second Amendment is clearly stated in the preamble to the Bill of Rights – specifically “The convention of a number of states having at the time of their adopting of the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse, of its powers that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added”. Note that when the Second Amendment was written, every weapon was a weapon of war, there were no restrictions on the private ownership of weapons and the militia was equally matched with the regulars. After all, if they weren’t equally matched, it would be pretty hard to deter or prevent a “misconstruction or abuse, of the government’s powers” – so in reality, the citizen militia of today should have the same firearms as the current US military. Unfortunately we are no longer equally matched because we have let our gun rights be eroded by buying into this notion if we just compromise to accommodate the people who – for whatever reason – don’t like guns they will quit trying to take away our gun rights. History has shown that no matter how much we compromise, it’s never enough so we need to stop compromising

  5. Re: ” do you see any items in that list that you don’t want the average US citizen to be able to possess”

    You might be surprised to see how many items on this list the “average US citizen” can (and does) own under the provisions of the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) – and you don’t hear about any of them being used in a crime.

    • Not at this point, no. An individual is allowed to own a tank, for example, but they have to apply for special licenses and be at specific places that are controlled by the government to fire the main gun. Individuals are also allowed to own automatic weapons if they have a specific ATF license and follow other various regulations as well. C4 can be purchased for legitimate uses – again by people an organizations with specific licenses.

      Which is why I asked in the OP if the average citizen should be allowed to own these weapons – if you can afford the license and are willing to jump through the state and federal hoops to get and maintain that license, then you’re not the average citizen on the street who wants a gun, ostensibly to defend himself from a gang member or shoplifter.

  6. The common meme among the leftist gun grabbers is that “no one is going to take away your guns”. But it has always been obvious to people who actually think in any rational and sane manner that that is the ultimate goal of all Democratic party politicians, and, sadly some Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and several others we all know about….

    • Exactly, which is why Obama took all your guns. It’s why every Dem pol has taken your guns, especially when they have had unstoppable political majorities. This is why you have no guns left.

    • So, Rich, what do you say to the liberal gun owners who own their guns to protect themselves from conservative government overreach, much as conservative gun owners own their guns to protect themselves from liberal government overreach? Or the half of gun owners who think that it’s OK to require universal background checks, or the third of gun owners who think that guns shouldn’t be sold to people on the terrorist watch list? As I pointed out, clearly there are gun owners who have no issue with some types of gun control.

  7. We cannot allow free ownership of tactical nuclear weapons, so yes, the line must be drawn somewhere. Since there is fine-grained continuum of power, anyplace we draw the line is going to seem arbitrary.

    My guideline is that private citizens should be allowed to have any type of weapon that is used by any branch of domestic law enforcement. That way, we can maintain the spirit of the 2nd Amendment if not the letter of it. No ban or restriction should have an exemption for use by on-duty police officers. If a weapon is truly too powerful to be needed, then the President’s Secret Service time also should be able to do without it.

    This principle still leaves much room for negotiation, but it ensures that the restrictions will never go too far.

  8. The Second Amendment IS a blank check to own the following weapons: arms “in common use” that have “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia” and/or are “any part of the ordinary military equipment” (U.S. v Miller, 1939).

    In ruling that defendant Miller’s sawed-off shotgun wasn’t within the ambit of Second Amendment protection, the above criteria were established, IN PRECEDENT. It should be noted that “switchblades” of the front-opening variety were also part of the “ordinary military equipment” issued to paratroopers in WWII and thereafter.

    The upshot of that precedent is that military small arms commonly carried by individual foot soldiers are those the bearing of which the Second Amendment was enumerated to protect.

    Where the anti-gun people lose credibility is in their insistence that only arms designed for ‘sporting use’ should be allowed. That view is patently incompatible with the Second Amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court in U.S. v Miller.

    • Interesting. This is the US Army’s definition of “small arms/light weapons”

      Handguns, shoulder-fired weapons, light automatic weapons up to and including 12.7mm machine guns, recoilless rifles up to and including 106mm, mortars up to and including 81mm, man-portable rocket launchers, rifle-/shoulder-fired grenade launchers, and individually operated weapons that are portable or can be fired without special mounts or firing devices and that have potential use in civil disturbances and are vulnerable to theft.

      This includes items that are very clearly regulated and kept out of the general population’s hands – items like rocket launchers, RPGs, and fully automatic weapons. So either the US gun restrictions on such weapons are unconstitutional (which, I suspect, has been tested repeatedly and shot down by SCOTUS as many times) or US vs. Miller isn’t as all-encompassing as you’d like to believe.

  9. You gun nuts are holding us all back, because you’re children in adult bodies, worried that the grown-ups are going to take your toys away. You care more about your own rights than you do about the overall welfare, safety, and sociological evolution of our country. You’d rather open carry at a Denny’s in Reno to show off your rights and what big men you are than consider the stress and fear you’re causing people at the tables and booths around you. As you long as you have a right to own your guns, you don’t care about all the little kids accidentally shooting their brothers and sisters and playmates in the face. You don’t care how many lives could be saved if you’d at least conform to longer waiting periods, better background checks, and strict controls on gun access for the mentally ill. As long as you have a right to own your guns, you can happily live in your paranoid fantasy that you’re some kind of militia hero standing guard against an evil government, when in fact in the last 25 or 30 years more of you have killed civilians and police on American soil than the government you so revile. As long as you can have your guns, you feel bad about events like the Orlando night club shooting and the murder of little kids at Sandy Hook, but you figure that has nothing to do with you, that you’re a responsible gun owner, and that’s the price of liberty.

    This country is never going evolve and grow into a land of harmony and peace until you grow up. If there’s a climate of fear and mistrust in America, you’re a big reason for it. You make the police nervous and your neighbors afraid. But I guess as long as your have right to own your guns, that’s perfectly okay with you.

    • Re: “many lives could be saved if you’d at least conform to longer waiting periods, better background checks, and strict controls on gun access for the mentally ill”

      The problem you have is that in 2010 (for example) there were 725000 violent criminals in state prisons and 15000 in federal prisons. This works out to a total of 740000 or about 0.238% of the US population which means that about 1 out of every 420 people in the US that have been caught have no qualms about ignoring whatever laws you pass and killing or injuring someone and the gun is often their tool of choice. So the bottom line is (1) The human race produces a few bad individuals prone to violence who just refuse to play by whatever rules you promulgate and until you find some way to identify these individuals and the courage to permanently eliminate them from society, innocent people are going to be killed (2) Because of these bad individuals, bad things happen every day to people who through no fault of their own were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Criminals will always have guns if they want them. If worst comes to worst they will be smuggled into the US from Mexico inside a bale of marijuana and sold on the black market.

      • Jim, @Doc pointed out to you that the whole gun issue is framed in a racist manner. Your comment is an example of that. A significant number of those people are in prison because they’re black or latino (or some other person of color), because they’re so poor that the only way they saw to improve their life was to try to steal their way into a better one and/or they couldn’t afford a proper lawyer, or both.

        Furthermore, if we use your numbers, then it’s possible that 1 out of every 420 legal gun owners is a bad apple too. I suspect that, if this were really the case, we’d see even more gun violence in the US than we already do. That suspicion leads me to think that either the numbers you’re presenting are wrong, or there’s something else going on. That something else is racism.

        Hell, people of color are being killed by white police officers for having the audacity to own a legal firearm with a concealed carry permit. It’s expected that a white person is fine having a permit, but a black man with one is a problem. That’s about as racist as it gets.

      • Let’s assume for a second that I buy your stats without argument. You still miss the core assumptions. The problem is that all this violence is enhanced by the ready availability of guns and even deeper than that is the pervasive anti-intellectual cowboy racism of our society. Notice how other countries don’t have these rampant gun violence issues? Why is that? Are we innately meaner? If so, why? If not, then what’s the difference between them and us?

        In the end, Dan is right. From where I sit, if guns are at the root of the violence (they are), then more guns aren’t the solution. Fewer guns are the solution.

        • @Doc
          Re: “rampant gun violence”

          According to the CDC, in 2014 there were 33599 deaths from firearms and most were suicides while 10945 were homicides. If someone wants to kill themselves it’s a matter of individual choice where the person can pick the time, place and method and an argument can also be made that an individual’s life belongs to them exclusively and not you, the State or anyone else. Note also that the number of suicides committed with firearms (21334) is less than the number committed by other means (21439) so as long as there are other options, it’s not clear that restricting firearms would have any effect on the number of suicides.

          Homicides are a different story. 10945 people murdered by firearms in the US works out to about 29 people per day. These are the “word doctored” figures the news media and anti-gun folks like to publicize because people relate to the magnitude of those numbers and it sounds like a lot of people until you realize this is out of a population of 320 million Americans. In that context, it works out to about 1 person out of every 29,000 people being murdered by a firearm. Dwell on the magnitude of your individual significance next time you are in a stadium with 29,000 people. To me, 1 in 29,000 is an acceptable cost to help ensure the security of a free state and the right to own a firearm that has harmed no one. It is also estimated there are 109 million gun owners in the US which means on any given day 108,999,971 gun owners didn’t kill anyone yet because the news media magnifies these relatively isolated and infrequent events to the level of an epidemic, the anti-gun folks answer is to take the guns away from people who harmed no one. The number of firearm homicides will never be zero. So given the fact that deranged individuals and murderers are an intrinsic part of the human race and we currently live in a free society, what number of illegal firearm homicides would ever be acceptable to you to the point you would say “we don’t need any more restrictions on the private ownership of firearms”?

        • You’re trying to sneak one past us here. You assume – without evidence, I should add – that a gun saves that one life in 29,000. Even if it does – and it doesn’t – the lives hypothetically saved pale next to the ones verifiably murdered. I’d love to get apples to apples with real numbers here.

        • @Brian Angliss
          Re: ” I suspect that, if this were really the case, we’d see even more gun violence in the US than we already do”

          Keep in mind guns have 4 uses – deterrence, intimidation, control and lethal force and only the latter causes injury or death which is likely to be acknowledged and documented. In the other 3 uses, many occurrences probably are never reported. This is substantiated by a government sponsored study commissioned by the Obama administration after the Sandy Cook killings in an unsuccessful attempt to justify more gun restrictions. On page 16 of the study “Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-related Violence” it estimates the defensive gun uses at somewhere between 108,000 to 3 million per year” in contrast to about 11000 gun homicides per year which includes those that are accidental or justified.

          Re: “numbers you’re presenting are wrong”

          See tables 9 and 11 at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p11.pdf

          Re: “A significant number of those people are in prison because they’re black or latino”

          2010 state violent criminal statistics – 231800 white / 286400 black / 164200 hispanic – (see table 9 at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p11.pdf)

          Re: “only way they saw to improve their life was to try to steal their way into a better one and/or they couldn’t afford a proper lawyer, or both”

          This is speculation – It could also be because they made poor choices and lack personal responsibility.

          Re: ” people of color are being killed by white police officers for having the audacity to own a legal firearm”

          And “people of color” are also being killed regularly (i.e. daily) by other ” people of color ” in cities like Chicago.

        • @Doc
          Re: ” Fewer guns are the solution”

          Then I suggest you start a movement to repeal the Second Amendment and we’ll see if the rest of the Country agrees with you.

        • @Doc
          Re: ” that a gun saves that one life in 29,000′”

          I never said anything about the lives saved. The 1 in 29000 comes from dividing 320 million by 10945 and the 10945 figure is all firearm deaths in 2014 and includes justified killings (like by police officers). The CDC derives it’s figures from death certificates and doesn’t publish the “lives saved” data because oftentimes it depends on court rulings. – and you didn’t answer my question – specifically; ” given the fact that deranged individuals and murderers are an intrinsic part of the human race and we currently live in a free society, what number of illegal firearm homicides would ever be acceptable to you to the point you would say “we don’t need any more restrictions on the private ownership of firearms”?”

        • @Doc
          Re: “According to you every Democrat in America does agree, which is why all guns were banned back in 2009”

          You lost me. Guns weren’t banned in 2009. There was a so called “assault weapons” ban passed in 1994 that expired in 2004 and wasn’t renewed because so called “assault weapons” are seldom used in gun crimes (most gun crimes are committed with handguns). However the 1994 ban didn’t apply to any other types of firearms.

  10. Lose the hyperbole. If you want to bring people who disagree with you to your point of view, make your point respectfully. As a former paratrooper who has actually used some of the devices on your list, and somewhat progressive politically, I can agree with you to some extent. However, making a sensationalist case based on psycho-profiling just isn’t gonna work. Try fixing the medical services industry and insurance financiers to provide better support for mental health patients and community development and you’ll get closer to a solution.

    • The hyperbole was intentional, so no, I’m not going to lose it. If a 2nd Amendment supporter reads the list and goes “well, duh, of course we don’t want people having biological weapons, nerve gas, and nukes,” then that provides an opening.

      Because there are people who say “well, duh, of course we don’t want average citizens to have automatic weapons” or “well, duh, of course we don’t want average citizens to have AR15s” or “well, duh, of course we don’t want citizens to have 100-round drum magazines.”

      And as soon as you realize that you’re both saying the same thing, then that’s common ground to build on.

      So no, I’m not going to lose the hyperbole. If it turns you off, fine. But if it reaches other people and helps move the conversation forward for some people, then it’s worth it.

      • Re: “then that’s common ground to build on”

        I think the “common ground” well was poisoned back in 1976 when a gentleman by the name of Nelson Shields said the following “The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second is to get handguns registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition – except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors – totally illegal.” Nelson Shields was one of the founders of Handgun Control Inc which is better known under their current “re-branded” name as The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. In 1987 another gentleman by the name of Josh Sugarmann said regarding so called assault weapons “The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.” In a Jan/Feb 1994 interview in Mother Jones Magazine he said, “To end the crisis [gun violence], we have to regulate- or, in the case of handguns and assault weapons, completely ban- the product…. We are far past the where registration, licensing, safety training, background checks, or waiting periods will have much effect on firearms violence.” In 1988 in response to an NRA comment about criminals always being able to get handguns he also said “The NRA is Right: But We Still Need to Ban Handguns”. On 11/4/99 he said in a NYT interview “A gun-control movement worthy of the name would insist that President Clinton move beyond his proposals for controls — such as expanding background checks at gun shows and stopping the import of high-capacity magazines — and immediately call on Congress to pass far-reaching industry regulation like the Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act introduced by Senator Robert Torricelli, Democrat of New Jersey, and Representative Patrick Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island. Their measure would give the Treasury Department health and safety authority over the gun industry, and any rational regulator with that authority would ban handguns. Real gun control will take courage. In the long run, half-measures and compromises only sacrifice lives.” Josh Sugarmann is currently the head and founder of the Violence policy Center and was one of the founders of The Coalition to Ban Handguns which is better known under their current “re-branded” name as The Campaign to Stop Gun Violence. While the names and tactics of these organizations may have changed, the goals and a lot of the personnel remain the same.

        Another thing that poisoned the well was the Hughes Amendment that banned the sale of any machine gun manufactured after 1986 in spite of the fact that only one legal machine gun had been used in a crime since 1934 and that was by a police officer that killed an informant and it wasn’t clear if the gun was his personal firearm or belonged to his police department.

        I also note that the worst mass killing in a US school occurred on May 18, 1927 in the Bath schoolhouse in Michigan where the killer used dynamite. And rather than immediately rush in an emotional tizzy to pass new laws to restrict the sale of dynamite, cooler heads prevailed and it took 43 years until October 15, 1970 when the law was changed. Up until that date anyone over 21 could walk into a hardware store or farm coop and buy dynamite and blasting caps

        • Jim, are you seriously saying that everyone who support reasonable restrictions on guns is aiming for a full ban? Even when I’ve shown you, using basic math that you can’t reasonably dispute, that lots of gun owners support more restrictions than are present today? Because if that’s what you’re saing, then that makes you as close minded and extremist in your position as the full-ban folks are in theirs.

      • @Doc
        Re: “NRA crowd thinks Ronald Reagan was way too liberal”

        He was on guns. He signed off on the Hughes Amendment to the 1986 Firearms Owner Protection Act in spite of the fact the Democrats passed it as a poison pill by what I would call unethical, political maneuvering.

      • Sorry, but as someone who is somewhat likely to engage in the conversation you wish to have, you’re undermining your argument with sensationalism. The staunch 2d Amendment supporters, who are pretty abundant in the Virginia countryside, myself included, have learned that the exaggerated slippery-slope arguments that “gun nuts” tend to propagate are more used to flood the echo chamber than to change the mindset of those who disagree. It’s not that your point is not worthy of discussion. Thanks for engaging.

      • @ Brian Angliss
        Re: “are you seriously saying that everyone who support reasonable restrictions on guns is aiming for a full ban?”

        Not everyone – just the zealots leading the charge for more gun control that are dragging all the other less zealous people along with them. The most recent example is the ATF’s proposal to take suppressors (silencers) out of the NFA system that considers them in the same class as fully automatic machine guns. The anti-gun organizations immediately came out against it with a lot of untruths about how well silencers really work. Anyone who has ever used a silencer knows they don’t work like they do on TV especially with rounds that travel faster than the speed of sound.

        Re: “when I’ve shown you, using basic math that you can’t reasonably dispute”

        Yes I can. The Pew study you referenced is based on 1504 people across 50 states who were willing to participate in the poll. They never say how many people they called who were not willing to participate. They admit non-participation is a problem but attribute it to busy people who normally would be willing to participate but ignore the facts that 1) some people despise pollsters and 2) on some issues (like guns) people don’t think it is something to be discussed with strangers. So the only thing you can conclude from this is that of the 1504 people who were willing to talk with a stranger over the phone about firearm laws and personal gun ownership, 90% were willing to support background checks on all “private sales”. And once again they don’t talk about the details of all of the proposed laws that go way beyond checks on “private sales” like if you are single and loan a gun to a roommate or allow him/her inadvertent access to a firearm, you are breaking the law.

        Re: “you as close minded and extremist in your position”

        I’m corrupted by history. From my perspective the “full-ban” folks have pretty much had their way with no pushback from gun owners. As I said elsewhere we have allowed 8 restrictive federal gun laws to be passed in 1934, 1938, 1968, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1994 and the only one that has been rescinded is the 1994 assault weapons ban. Also no laws expanding gun rights have been passed at the federal level and the feckless Supreme Court refuses to take up some of the more controversial gun issues like limits on magazine capacity, bans on assault weapons and the constitutionality of the Hughes Amendment.

        However, if you want to start a dialogue for common ground then 1) for background checks, open up the NICS database to public Internet assess and let gun owners do their own checks on private sales, loans or transfers 2) Repeal the Hughes Amendment that bans the purchase of any machine gun manufactured after 1986 3) Take silencers and short barreled rifles and shotguns out of the NFA system 4) Allow someone to drive across the US in their personal vehicle with any federally, legal firearm without being arrested because not all states permit ownership of all firearms 5) enforce the federal law ($250000 fine and 10 years in prison) for anyone lying on the 4473 background check form 6) impose a mandatory life in prison or death sentence on any recidivist with a violent criminal history that uses a firearm to commit a crime 7) Allow the importation of guns and ammunition made overseas 8) Allow the Army to sell surplus WWII pistols to the general public 9) Allow the military to sell used brass casings to ammunition manufactures for more money than they get for de-milling them and selling them as scrap metal 10) Allow “kitchen table sellers” that want to sell guns at only gun shows or on the Internet to be able to get a Federal Firearms License (FFL) without having a storefront.

        • Jim, you’re rejecting the entirety of public opinion polling because you don’t like the results. Public opinion polling isn’t like an Internet poll.

          The Pew link itself showed four different results, going from a low of 22% to a high of 47% for gun ownership. I referenced four other polls taken over multiple years here by three unique polling groups, and all four showed high percentages of gun owners who supported background checks and lower percentages for other restrictions. The chance that they’re all wildly wrong is very low. They might be off by more than they expected due to nonresponse (as per the pre-election polls, which were off by 3-4% instead of 1-2% that the pollsters thought), but they’re not wildly wrong. Believing otherwise is not reasonable.

          Your suggestions for common ground are a great start. As you might expect, you and I differ greatly on a few (I think the Hughes Amendment was a great idea, for example), a few seem reasonable, and many are things that I would need to research before forming an opinion. But thank you for offering a starting point.

      • @ Brian Angliss
        Re: ” you’re rejecting the entirety of public opinion polling because you don’t like the results”

        As I’ve said before I don’t doubt people respond favorably to questions like “do you believe there should be background checks on all firearms sales”. Your mistake is assuming that translates to overwhelmingly favorable support for the laws that are actually proposed. The question the pollsters should have asked is “do you think you should have to go to a licensed gun dealer with your firearm and your neighbor (who owns guns and you have known for years and who has a concealed carry permit) and pay the dealer a fee to run a background check on him so he can borrow your gun to go hunting or target shooting?” Another would be “do you think a person should have to take their firearm magazines with them wherever they go to in order to prevent inadvertent access to them by one of their family members?” These are typical requirements of the laws that are actually proposed or passed and no gun owner I know is going to support them.

        Re: “I think the Hughes Amendment was a great idea”

        Anyone willing to jump through all the government bureaucracy hoops to own one is not likely to use it in a crime. According to the ATF in 2016 there were 175977 fully automatic machine guns registered prior to 1986 and currently owned by civilians and as I said elsewhere since 1934 I can find only a single instance where a “legal” one was used in a crime and that was by a police officer that killed an informant. And since machine guns owned by law enforcement agencies also have to be registered (297667 in 2016), it’s not clear if the police officer used a personal machine gun or one owned by his department.

  11. What did prohibition teach our nation? That there are some who, when they want to do something, will do it even if it is outside the law. How does that apply to gun control? I’m glad you asked. All that gun control will do is prohibit law abiding citizens from using a gun to protect themselves. Because let’s face it bad guys will get guns if they want to. No congressional committee is going to stop them.The only benefit that would come about from gun control is the government being able to tell which of their citizens are (or were) law abiding by counting up the dead bodies. (Pardon my dramatization)

    • Teen, you’re exaggerating, like so many people do with this issue. You’re stating as an assumption something that should be a conclusion – that there is no way to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. We know from countries where guns are rare that criminals don’t always get their hands on guns if they want them. Criminals will always get their hands on a weapon, yes, but it’s the low cost and easy availability of guns that mean criminals use guns for their crimes.

        • Hardly. If you’ve been reading my responses to Jim et al you’d know that I’m not for banning guns.

          I do support reasonable restrictions on guns, however. I suspect you won’t agree that many of the following ideas are “reasonable” per your own thoughts on the matter, but what is and is not reasonable is a point for debate and something that gun regulation advocates and 2nd Amendment activists will both have to compromise on eventually. I’m for more background checks, for keeping them out of the hands of the mentally ill and the suicidal, for some amount of waiting period after purchasing a gun (esp. a handgun, since those are the most commonly used guns by suicides – even an hour is better than no waiting period), for holding gun owners and sellers criminally responsible for negligence that results in their guns being accidentally discharged or used in a crime, for passing a mandatory safety course specific to the gun or class of gun before being sold a gun, and probably a few other things that I’m not recalling at the moment.

          I also think that the number of guns is going to naturally decline as the nation becomes more urban and less rural. I’m all for buy-back plans that help speed up the process, however.

          And none of those things has to lead to a ban on guns. Claiming that any of them has to lead to a gun ban or confiscation is a slippery slope logical fallacy.

        • Who’s to decide who the “mentally ill” and the “suicidal” are? Once you let the government decide those things l, anyone who has a personal agenda could take away your guns.
          I can see your point in the other issues though.
          P.S. Do you think that what the government should be protecting is the lives of it’s citizens?
          P.P.S. For clarity, neither I nor anyone in my family own guns.

        • Who’s to decide who the “mentally ill” and the “suicidal” are?

          Sweet fucking Jesus. Other questions that are impossible to answer:

          – Who’s to decide who has cancer?
          – Who’s to decide if my car won’t run?
          – Who’s to decide if 2+2=4?
          – Who’s to decide if Earth orbits the sun or the other way around?

        • “I’m for more background checks, for keeping them out of the hands of the mentally ill and the suicidal.”
          The government would have to have someone to decide who is “mentally ill” and “suicidal” if that is what he really wants.
          P.S. If you have to resort to profanity to get your point across the it is a point not worth getting across. And you still haven’t answered my question.

        • The government would have to have someone to decide who is “mentally ill” and “suicidal” if that is what he really wants.

          It’s a shame we don’t already do that hundreds of times a day in courts across the country.

          I think the term you’re missing here is “licensed mental healthcare professional.” Universities around the nation offer extensive training in Psychology, Psychiatry, Counseling, etc. You act like we have to invent something here, either that or it’s news to you that we already do it. All the time.

          Your comments here are not advancing the conversation and are bordering on trolling. Or worse, sealioning. Neither are tolerated, so I’d ask you to step up your effort a little bit.

        • When you come from a belief that the government’s job is protective lives of it’s citizens then, yes, gun control appears to be viable. But if you believe that Liberty is the value that we should be protecting, which it is (“give me liberty or give me death”etc) than gun control is at best a restriction of liberty and at worse government gaining power and the citizens losing power.
          And you still haven’t answered my question.

        • You didn’t ask me a question. You asked Brian, and I’ll let him answer. I can’t imagine that my position is at all vague to an informed reader.

          You’re also now indulging a ridiculous fallacy – I’m being asked to buy that “protecting the lives of citizens” and “liberty” are mutually exclusive values. I’m pretty sure both are actually, literally, IN the Constitution, although we might quibble about a matter of degree.

          You’re way too willing to accept rank ideology as natural, immutable natural law when it isn’t, and this is an unfortunate quality to have.

          Then there’s this: “My point still stands, whoever is in charge of deciding who is mentally ill or what not can limit your freedom in heretofore unthinkable ways.”

          Again, you are distressingly out of touch with reality. There is nothing vaguely unthinkable about this “limit” on your freedom. It literally – again, that word, which I’m having to employ in what ought to be a case of the obvious – it literally happens in courts every damned day. Charles Manson had his freedom limited in this unthinkable way. James Holmes had his freedom limited in this unthinkable way. Dozens, hundreds, thousand of others have had their freedom limited in this unthinkable way. It’s how the world works.

          You have been warned about your tactics here. You will not be warned again.

        • “Licensed mental healthcare professional.” My point still stands, whoever is in charge of deciding who is mentally ill or what not can limit your freedom in heretofore unthinkable ways.

        • The courts, in conjunction with trained medical professionals, are who decides whether someone is or is not mentally ill all the time. It’s called “due process,” and it’s guaranteed by both the 5th and 14th Amendments.

          Who is or is not suicidal is not something that is easily known. There are cases where people who seemed perfectly fine bought a handgun and two hours later killed themselves with it. So one way to reduce suicides like this is to impose a waiting period. Gun store owners and suicide prevention groups are already partnering up to try to reduce handgun suicides, which is a great start. After all, from what I’ve read, if you can get a suicidal person through a critical period that’s usually a few hours to a day long, most suicidal people get the help they need and don’t try again. My idea of a waiting period is strictly to help provide a way to get through that critical period more easily.

        • That I can agree with, to a certain extent. I think that it is wonderful that private citizens are grouping up to establish waiting periods. What I don’t agree with is that the government should make it standard.