The New Conversation About Guns

The next time some Harvard-addled chanting-point-bot wants to declaim about the need for a “conversation about guns” – which, as we all know, means “a monologue about guns, with we 2nd Amendment types shutting up and speaking when spoken to” – I’m tempted to take the “conversation” more in this sort of direction.

“Here’s why I own guns:  because people like this were disarmed:

Stores burning after UK riots. Hey, at least the store owners couldn’t defend themselves!

“These people – well, former people – too:”

Mass graves in Srebrenica, Bosnia. Goodness knows how bad it’d have been if the hundreds of victims had been able to defend themselves, rather than rely on the Dutch “Peace-Keepers” who ran like scared bunnies.

Or here:

Mass grave in Chicago. No, it’s Cambodia. You’ve seen one “gun free zone” full of disarmed civilians, you’ve seen ‘em all. The Cambodians, like the black children of Chicago, had the bad luck not to be white, suburban, and big Democrat contributors.

Or here:

It’s Darfur. Remember them?

How about here?:

Hey, Amitai Etzioni!  It’s a gun-free home!

Or these people:

Victims of the Chinese government at Tienanmen Square. Hey, in a couple of years, we won’t be able to insult our Chicom overlords anymore! Thanks, President Obama!

More people without guns:

Russian Gulag inmates. Men, women, children. Dead! Stalin – darling of the New York Times? Now he knew how not to waste a crisis!

“I could go on, but you get the idea.”

“That’s why I own guns.  I don’t give a rat’s ass about hunting. ”

“So if your idea is to disarm me, the law-abiding citizen, because of the misdeeds of someone I’d have happily shot with one or another legally-permitted firearm, here’s the “conversation about guns” we’re going to have…”

“YOU:  ”Shut up and let’s “converse” about the need to disarm you, Mr. Berg”

“ME:  Go f**k yourself”

“YOU:  ”With what appendage, sir?”

“How are you liking the “conversation” so far?”

No, I’m not going to do it.  But I thought I’d share it, just between us.  It’s fun to think about.

24 thoughts on “The New Conversation About Guns

  1. Hell, even antsycluck has only posted once amongst all these posts on “the gun control conversation”.

    And a risible post it was.

    Shows you that even the pro gun controllers know they are bankrupt of ideas.

    All they have are silly talking points.

  2. The 1994 assault weapons ban was a trial balloon to find flaws and acclimate the public. This time they will fix the flaws. No possession of high capacity mags at all, regardless when manufactured. No possession of ammo in military rifle calibers 5.56, 7.62, 50-Cal. They might even go all the way and say no civilian possession of arms suitable for military use. Yes that would stand the second amendment on its head but most people don’t understand that and won’t care. With one more vote on the supreme court, Obama gun ban will be a “reasonable restriction ” and consistent with Heller and MacDonald right to own afirearm for protection in your own home but not insurrection.

  3. In 1994, Congress passed a thing called the Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban. And it was very flawed. One of the flaws was that it defined a semiautomatic assault weapon in terms of a gun that had at least two of certain features. One of them was the actual crucial feature, which is the ability to take a high-capacity magazine.

    But the others were what are call bells and whistles. They were irrelevant, almost decorative features that were on these guns, such as a bayonet mount, which means you could put a bayonet on the gun; a thing called a flash suppressor or a stock in the rear that could be extended or shortened.

    None of those characteristics had anything to do, really, with what makes an assault weapon so dangerous. However, the requirement that you have at least two of those meant that gun manufacturers could say, a-ha, we can keep the ability to take the high-capacity magazine and just knock off all the rest of these bells and whistles; we still have essentially the same gun for all functional purposes, but it’s now federally legal.

    And that’s what Bushmaster figured out. They actually rose to prominence after the 1994 Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban because they took off all of the truly irrelevant bells and whistles and just produced a basic gun. Having done that, they had a wide-open market for a long time because they sort of conceived this idea that, well, it’s easy to make a gun that’s legal. And then other manufacturers began to do the same.

    But Bushmaster was very successful in that period. So you could say that the 1994 assault weapons ban, because of its flaws, actually spawned Bushmaster

  4. Actually, many makers of the AR-type firearms quickly modified their product line to be in compliance with the “safety measures” that the act required. It was enen claimed that Colt’s AR-15 was slightly more accurate without the dreaded flash suppressor due the its causing air disruption as the bullet exited the barrel. Not sure it was proven or not. However, these requirements were obviously meaning less, other than making the gun industry say “uncle.”

    Post-ban studies have shown that the ban had no impact on the firearms crime rate. But, the anti-gun crowd was allowed to exercise some muscle against the industry and its customers. I think that the reptile Bloomberg did the same thing with his soda pop ban. Just pushing people around so they get used to it and resist less (if at all) next time.

    No more conversation is necessary. It’s all been said before. Much of the same issues were debated in my 1960′ – 1970′s-era gun magazines.

    I suspect that Biden and his crowd will come up with some very severe and even more (if it’s possible) restrictive gun regulations. Then, President Obama will descend from the heavens, heal a couple cripples, then split the difference, delivering some serious blows to the second amendment while still looking “reasonable”.

    Can’t wait to attend my next big gun show and get my first post-tragedy Shotgun News. Both will be very telling. I don’t think the “industry” cares much more about the second amendment than Mayor Bloomberg …

  5. The Bushmaster is a variant of a type of gun called the AR-15, which was the ArmaLite 15, which was designed and developed for military use roughly during the Vietnam War period. It is one of a variety of assault rifles that militaries of the world developed when they realized that most soldiers do not, when they’re engaged in combat, do not take accurate aim, do not fire at long distances, but rather just spray bullets in the general direction of the enemy at short to medium range.

    When the military accepted this as a fact, that soldiers are not marksmen, and they tend to just fire in bursts at ambiguous targets, and in fact most battlefield injuries are the result of just being where the bullet is, not somebody actually aiming at you, the militaries of the world said, OK, we need a type of gun to give our soldiers that will do just that, which is spray enough bullets to kill and injure people more or less randomly in close to medium distance.

    This was the genesis of the assault rifle. The first one was developed by the Germans in 1944. It was called the StG-44. The Soviet army quickly copied the design or made a design similar to it, which is called the AK-47, probably the most widely used rifle in the world. And the United States military developed what they now call the M-16, but which is basically the AR-15.

    In the 1980s, two things happened, and since then we’ve seen just an incredible increase in these trends. One, foreign manufacturers, particularly the Chinese, began to dump their assault weapons into the United States. So the AK-47 suddenly became available in large numbers in the United States.

    I’m talking about legitimate, legal marketing. At about the same time, Colt Manufacturing, which had the military contract for the M-16, recognized that there could also be a civilian market for this rifle. So they developed what they called the AR-15, which was actually the original developmental designation of the rifle.

    The only difference between these rifles that are sold on the civilian market and the rifles that are issued to our soldiers and soldiers all over the world is that the purely military rifle is capable of firing what’s called fully automatic fire. That means if you pull the trigger and hold it down, the gun will continue to fire until it expends all the ammunition in the magazine.

    Machine guns have been outlawed in the United States, effectively, for civilian use since the mid-1980s. So what these guns need to be configured to be are semiautomatic. That means you must pull the trigger for each round fired. There’s a question about rate of fire which the industry and the NRA and other advocates of having these guns in civilian hands make, and it goes like this: Well, the military guns are fully automatic, therefore they’re technically machine guns, but the civilians guns are not. They’re semiautomatic, and therefore they’re not assault rifles.

    That’s a distinction without a difference, as many folks on the gun side noted in the early 1980s, when even the industry called them assault rifles, until they became involved in unfortunate incidents.

    The whole purpose of the semiautomatic, whether it’s in a rifle or a handgun, is simply that when you pull the trigger, it fires the gun, and then it automatically moves another round into position to be fired, and it ejects the old empty case. So in old-fashioned guns, before semiautomatic, like the iconic Western revolver, when you pull the trigger, you have to somehow move the cylinder. It’s was a much slower, more cumbersome process.

    In semiautomatic weapons, everything happens, and then it’s ready to fire again. The reason I say it’s a distinction without a difference is that the trigger can be pulled at a very rapid rate in semiautomatic fire, and it’s actually more accurate. It might be a difficult concept to grasp, but in automatic fire the gun has a tendency to rise upward, to travel.

    If you go to shooting ranges where automatic weapons are used, you’ll often see, in the ceiling, bullet holes because you pull the trigger and the characteristic sounds of – bbrruppp – the gun will rise. Semiautomatic fire doesn’t do that, which is why the military encourages soldiers to shoot semiautomatic rather than automatic whenever possible.

  6. Emery google Jerry Miculek, he can put twelve shots on target with a revolver in less than 3 seconds. How is that for slow and cumbersome?
    I guess we will have to ban nineteenth century weapons as well.

    The purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the citizens from the Government. Our Republic may not last. Our leaders have very little regard for the Constitution. In the future we will attempt to print our way out of Debt, just like Weimar Germany, and then we will hand over even more power to anyone who says that they can put a chicken in every pot.

  7. No doubt, Mr. Miculek has shooting skills.

    Re: The Second Amendment
    The original interpretation of the Second Amendment was not controversial at least until the 20th century. And the debate about whether the Second Amendment protects only militia service or whether it also protects the personal right to own guns is relatively recent.

    As a matter of history, we didn’t really see anything like the individual point of view emerge until the 20th century. That doesn’t mean individuals didn’t own guns or didn’t think gun ownership was an important thing — of course they did. But the chief purpose that is cited for the individual ownership of guns is personal protection — from predators, from criminals or from marauding Indians or whatever threats might arise.

    Let’s look at the Second Amendment, which is so highly contested, you know, the interpretation of the Second Amendment, 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.

    The meaning of well-regulated militia was pretty well-understood. The sort of military backbone of the nation in the late 1700s, during the American Revolution and after the American Revolution, was seen to be the militia.

    There was a standing professional army after the Revolution, but it was very small. The federal government had few resources to fund a large army, and the territory of America was very vast at the time, and the nation faced many military threats from Native Americans, from the French, from the British, from others.

    And so the militia was seen as the key military bulwark that could be organized to confront military emergencies anywhere around the country, but it was very much functioned, and had to function, through state and federal control.

    You wanted uniformity in that process. You wanted the government to provide what resources it could, to provide military order, to provide regulations, and so that was what the whole basis of the militia process was.

    I would simply add, though, that militarily speaking, militias were, generally speaking, ineffective. We got through the Revolutionary War, as much despite the militias, as because of the militias, as George Washington, commander-in-chief, said on many occasions. And militarily, eventually we abandoned that old militia system.

    The phrase well-regulated militia was widely understood to mean control by the government, whether federal government or state. The Second Amendment in early times was not controversial in the way it is today. It really had become politicized in the 20th century, and we saw the emergence of this debate about whether the Second Amendment protects only militia service or whether it also, or instead, protects a personal right to have guns. And that’s become a debate, in legal circles and political circles, very politicized.

    As a matter of history, we didn’t really see anything like the individual point of view emerge until the 19th century. That doesn’t mean that Americans didn’t own guns or didn’t think that gun ownership was a good thing. Of course they did. But the chief purpose that is cited for the individual ownership of guns is personal self-protection, from predators, from criminals, or in colonial times, from marauding Indians or whatever threats might arise.

    But you didn’t need the Second Amendment to ensure that civilians would have the right to defend themselves or to use a gun to defend themselves, because the principle of personal self-defense is one that goes back hundreds of years. It’s in the common law. It’s in the British legal tradition, and that was well-established long before we had the Second Amendment.

    Fast forward to 2008. When the District of Columbia versus Heller case was a very important case. It marked a very significant change in interpretation of the Second Amendment.

    In the majority decision, authored by Antonin Scalia, he said, or the majority concluded, that the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, now protected an individual right of citizens to own handguns for personal self-defense in the home.

    That represented a departure from how the Second Amendment had been interpreted by the Supreme Court in the past and by many lower federal court decisions, all of which had supported a militia-based interpretation, meaning that Second Amendment pertained to gun ownership by citizens but only in connection with their service in a government-organized and regulated militia.

    So under the individualist view, there is now this personal right to guns, although the court majority went to great pains to say that most existing gun laws would be fine, that it would not lead to the wholesale striking down of gun laws around the country.

    So, for example, laws that said criminals can’t have guns, mentally imbalanced people cannot have guns, perfectly fine, laws barring the carrying of guns into government buildings, into schools, perfectly fine, laws pertaining to sale of weapons and perhaps pertaining to the sale of exotic, very destructive weapons, those probably could remain in place, too.

    So it changed the legal definition, but the court also did not want to be in a position of opening the floodgates to striking down gun laws around the country, and that caution is also reflected in the decision.

    I think a lot of people found it surprising that justices who describe themselves as wanting to adhere as closely as possible to the original intent of the Constitution, the original intent of the founding fathers, had such a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment, which talks about a well-regulated militia. The consensus of historians and constitutional scholars is that the Second Amendment was a militia-based right.

    All of the direct evidence about what the Second Amendment meant, especially from the fist Congress of 1789, which is when the Second Amendment was drafted, edited, et cetera, focused exclusively on military questions.

    There was nothing, nothing in the debates or in that sort of environment, that talked about anything resembling an individual interpretation. And indeed, historians have been harshly critical of the Heller majority opinion because it is extensively historical, and much of the text, most of the text of the majority opinion, focuses on this kind of history. But it’s not considered to be an accurate reading of history. And even though it claims and originalist provenance, it’s originalism as a matter of history is really not very good. And indeed, that was much of the critique of the dissenting opinion in the Heller case. Saying look, you got the history wrong. It was designed to be a militia-based right and that you can’t pretend otherwise. And indeed, I think the lesson is that even though the Supreme Court can change the law, it cannot change history.

  8. Emory at great length stated: “broad interpretation of the Second Amendment, which talks about a well-regulated militia.

    Collectivist thinking is all the fad in academia Emory and like many liberal historians you have willfully missed the point. The SCOTUS has multiple times in multiple other cases established or followed the precedent that wherever the Constitution refers to “the people” it is NOT referring to a collective right held and administered by federal, state or local authorities it is referring to a right held directly by individuals. So asserting that the right of the people to bear and keep arms depends upon the presence of a militia to administer it is reading the amendment backwards. Militias can exist BECAUSE “the People” have the right to bear and keep arms

  9. Let me guess. Emory’s neighbor is Mike Warren; Grandson of Earl.

    To the left lives the former head of Colt’s Assault Rifle lab.

  10. That represented a departure from how the Second Amendment had been interpreted by the Supreme Court in the past and by many lower federal court decisions, all of which had supported a militia-based interpretation, meaning that Second Amendment pertained to gun ownership by citizens but only in connection with their service in a government-organized and regulated militia.

    No, it was a departure from a series of bad decision by left-leaning activist judges based on a twisted interpretation of the Miller decision.

  11. While the coming 8 months will be a running battle to maintain our 2nd Amendment freedoms the bigger ongoing battle will be between those people like Emory, DG, etc who believe a collectivist ideology should be the the filter we use to view all our constitutional rights and those who believe a individualistic view is the correct one. Right now the battle ground is the 2nd Amendment, but make no mistake the 1st Amendment is their ultimate target.

  12. Which of the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights reserve power to the State instead of to the individual? Which of the other Rights are limited to eighteenth century technology?

    Does the 1st only apply to State approved religions, gatherings and news organizations?

    Does the 4th only apply to papers written with turkey feathers and inside log cabins?

  13. Myself and others in our family own firearms. Shotguns for water fowl and upland game, or the trap shooting leagues of which we are members. We also own rifles for those of us that still have the energy and fortitude to deer hunt. Hunting is a family tradition in our family. I consider it a parental responsibility to allow and teach our children and (now) grandchildren to experience shooting and hunting. And it all starts with the NRA gun safety classes.

    The NRA was formed by a couple of Civil War veterans who observed, during the Civil War, that the typical American male didn’t know one end of a gun from the other. And that also contradicts the historical mythology about every American man being able to use a gun effectively and owning one, because that was not the case.

    So the main focus was on marksmanship skills. Later on, hunting and sporting uses became more of the focus of the NRA. And it really only became a heavily politicized group in the 1970s.

    The NRA faces kind of a demographic problem which is this: that its core base of support is gun owners. But gun ownership and gun use has been gradually declining since about the 1960s and for a variety of reasons. And if you project that line out, the ever diminishing pool of people who own and use guns does not spell a good future for the NRA, politically, because that’s their core base. So much of their dynamic, I think, has been to try and encourage gun carrying, gun use, and gun ownership.

    And there is an ideological component as well, but I think, ultimately, like any organization, it continues to pursue its goals, wants itself to be large, to be politically influential and to maintain that for which it was created (firearm training and safety) and then modified.

    Perhaps many believe the Second Amendment was not written to protect hunters and recreational shooters. It was written as a safeguard against a government that might become so centralized and so powerful that it would pose a threat to the freedom of the citizenry and the Republic.

    Mr. Berg mentions the judicial component. That rubs both ways Mr. Berg.
    Last Summer on Fox News Sunday, Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court justice, suggested that Americans may have a constitutional right to own and carry shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft missiles.
    http://www.hulu.com/watch/385297

    Many of the negotiating parties to the constitution, the court wrote, feared that the new federal government would act as Charles II had in 17th-century England, disarming rival militias so as to impose tyrannical rule. Hence the amendment’s phrasing, “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.” In his majority opinion, Mr Scalia glossed the amendment’s prefatory clause thus:

    “There are many reasons why the militia was thought to be “necessary to the security of a free state.” See 3 Story §1890. First, of course, it is useful in repelling invasions and suppressing insurrections. Second, it renders large standing armies unnecessary—an argument that Alexander Hamilton made in favor of federal control over the militia. (The Federalist No. 29, pp. 226, 227 (B. Wright ed. 1961) (A. Hamilton).) Third, when the able-bodied men of a nation are trained in arms and organized, they are better able to resist tyranny.”

    We can see something of a problem begin to develop here. Reasons one and two above are obviously anachronistic: militias composed of private gun owners are no longer useful in repelling invasions or suppressing insurrections; they are more likely to be the insurrectors. And obviously, militias no longer render the US Army unnecessary. What about the third one? Is a country whose “able-bodied men” are “trained in arms and organized” (and, one assumes, have access to guns) “better able to resist tyranny?”

    Of course not. The idea that, in the modern world, a country full of people with private handguns, shotguns and AR-15s in their households is more likely to remain a liberal democracy than a country whose citizens lack such weapons is frankly ridiculous. Worldwide, there is no correlation whatsoever at the country level between private handgun ownership and liberal democracy. There are no cases of democratic countries in which nascent authoritarian governments were successfully resisted due to widespread gun ownership. When authoritarian governments come to power in democracies (which is rare), they do so at the ballot box or with heavy popular support; where juntas overthrow democratic governments, as in Greece, Brazil, Chile or Iran, popular gun ownership is irrelevant.

    Lower in his opinion, Mr Scalia recognizes this problem.

    “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment ’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.”

    Because…why? Mr Scalia’s claim here is that modern technological developments have rendered the second amendment meaningless with regard to its original intent, but that we have to continue enforcing it unchanged, regardless. Perhaps at some level the implicit cognitive dissonance here disturbs him, and this is why he is now considering whether citizens do have a right to keep and bear arms that might actually give the US military pause, such as surface-to-air missiles that could take out American helicopters and fighter-bombers—plus maybe land mines, shoulder-launched anti-tank missiles, or perhaps just IEDs, which had considerable success in crippling light mechanized infantry in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Surely that could deter some federal tyranny.

  14. gosh Emery, nice long post but you didn’t make the case that the bill of rights defines only collective rights not individual rights. If the 2nd Amendment defines as you posit a “collective” right then the other amendments likewise define “collective rights”, i.e. no such thing as a citizen journalist, only state approved religions, freedom of speech as a member of an approved group (gay, black, latino, femal, etc).

    So make the case why is the 2nd Amendment only a collective right. Keep it under 50,000 words.

    And btw when you and other well meaning citizens start going door to door to confiscate evil guns (as Gov Cuomo has suggested) remember you should outlaw the possession of garage door openers (since they likely killed more US soldiers in Iraq than bullets) first.

  15. Merry Christmas and Bless you and your families this coming New Year

    “Brevity is the soul of wit”
    William Shakespeare

  16. Emery wrote: “Machine guns have been outlawed in the United States, effectively, for civilian use since the mid-1980s”.

    Wrong. I refer you to the National Firearms Act (1934). You can get a license for one if you qualify.

  17. Troy,
    I will admit that a significant portion of what Emery posted above( particularly the faux NRA history) does look like it was cut and pasted from some of DGs longer screeds on her own site. But the tone of arrogance and condescension doesn’t match.

  18. Kel says: ….”particularly the faux NRA history….”

    //Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,” according to a magazine editorial written by Church. An important facet of the NRA’s creation was the development of a practice ground.//

    http://www.nrahq.org/history.asp

    You should read up on the subject prior to committing your comments to posterity.

  19. Emery said:

    “that the typical American male didn’t know one end of a gun from the other”

    and goes further:

    “that also contradicts the historical mythology about every American man being able to use a gun effectively and owning one, because that was not the case”

    The web site said:

    “Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops”

    Emery thinks these two statements are the same.

    Instead of counselling others to “read up”, improve your own reading comprehension, Emery, and so appear “less stupid”.

  20. Emery of course doesn’t know the historical context of the NRA – must be a MPLS Public School graduate

    Emery asserted: “So the main focus was on marksmanship skills. Later on, hunting and sporting uses became more of the focus of the NRA. And it really only became a heavily politicized group in the 1970s.”

    The NRA was founded, yes, initially to improve the marksmanship skills of able bodied men between the ages of 18 and 45 because the United States was a country with a rapidly changing demographic due to the surge in immigrants that were arriving and taking up citizenship. Many were new arrivals who had little or no access to firearms in their previous country. The
    NRA later developed firearms training and safety programs for hunters, primarily young people, as a way of promoting their goal of “responsible gun ownership” – a goal they have never wavered from. Later identifying the problems police departments were having with gun safety they developed police training programs.

    So yes Emery you presumptuous twit, I, as a Lifetime Member of the NRA do know its history very well. In fact as a voting member I was one of the people who voted to change the board of the NRA in the 70s because we felt that the acquiescence of the NRA to the “Sporting Uses” and “Saturday Night Special” bans incorporated in the Gun Control Act of 1968 was nothing more than the acceptance of a racist Democrat sponsored Jim Crow style means of denying blacks the means and the right to own firearms.

    Emery, as far as citizens not being able to resist the might of the US Military go back and review our occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan and then come back and try to spout that BS with a straight face.

  21. One of the great benefits of a public schooling, in my opinion, is that it is one of the few times and places in one’s entire life that you mix with people of all shapes, sizes, colors and socio-economic status. Most people end up working with people similar to themselves and living close to people similar to themselves.

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