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« Losing Their Touch? | Main | Some Thoughts On Fear »

Church Massacre Spurs Calls For Effective Gun Control

December 14th, 2007

COLORADO SPRINGS (APUPI) As a mass memorial service was held today for the seventy-three victims of the massacre at the New Life Church, one of the largest such grim tolls in the nations' history, gun-control advocates pointed out the continuing folly of allowing civilians access to pistols and assault weapons.

"This never would have happened had Matthew Murray not been able to get his hands on those weapons, " said Sarah Brady, head of Handgun Control, Incorporated. "He had two handguns, an assault rifle, and a thousand rounds of ammunition. Seventy-three people are dead now, and thousands more wounded, because the NRA continues to block reasonable gun-control measures."

With Sunday's slaughter still fresh in the minds of many, she pointed out that now was the time to end such incidents once and for all, with effective laws against both handguns and assault weapons.

The toll was horrific for the church, which lost not only many parishioners, but its senior pastor, Brady Boyd. Also killed was Jeanne Assam, one of the church's security guards. She had bravely stood up and warned the gunman as he entered the building after killing two girls in the parking lot, and pointed out the "gun-free zone" sign at the church entrance. However, she herself was unarmed, per church policy, and was shot down before Murray went on to shoot numerous others behind her.

While the police are to be commended on their fast response of twelve minutes from the time someone had the presence of mind to call 911 on their cell phone, by the time they could bring in someone to take out the shooter, he had had time to kill sixty nine others, and wound another hundred and twenty one.

Some have made the controversial suggestion that the death toll might have been lower had Ms. Assam been allowed to carry a firearm herself, something which, as a former police officer, she was well trained to do. In addition, she held a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon in Colorado. But the church rules, for obvious safety reasons, didn't allow weapons on the premises.

Mrs. Brady finds such suggestions dangerous and ludicrous. "What is a woman going to do with a handgun against a man with two pistols and an assault rifle?" she asked. "Adding more weapons to the mix would only have increased the carnage. What they needed was bigger letters on the sign."


[Copyright 2007 by Rand Simberg]

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 14, 2007 11:57 AM
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Comments

Very funny! (Maybe ratehr tasteless, but still funny.)

But seriously, how did the kid get the guns in the first place? Was there any reasonable way to prevent him from getting them?

Posted by Abominable at December 14, 2007 12:22 PM

What I think Mrs Brady is full of, would make good fertilizer for Gradma's petunias.

I've not heard how this guy got the guns or ammo. But if he didn't walk into his local gun shop, show a proper ID and pay for them with legal tender, then tightening the gun laws would NOT have stopped him. If he obtained then illegally, then more laws that affect me, won't stop people like him.

I have about that same amount of fire power. But I don't go around thinning the local church population. How would revoking my right to have that gun collection and ammunition here where I live, have saved those people in Colorado?

Posted by Steve at December 14, 2007 12:37 PM

* Bushmaster XM15 assault rifle, purchased January 9 in Aurora.
* AK-47 assault rifle, purchased November 17, 2006 in Aurora.
* Beretta .40 cal. semi-automatic handgun , purchased January 4 in Colorado Springs.
* Springfield Armory 9mm semi-automatic handgun, purchased September 11 in Denver.

Additionally, he had a 22 pistol in the car.

So, he appeared to have bought them legally, over a long period of time. No amount of gun control shy of a total ban would have stopped him from purchasing them.

Of course, this is what the Brady Bunch wants anyway.

Posted by Robb Allen at December 14, 2007 03:13 PM

"What they needed was bigger letters on the sign."

Ouch! That's gonna leave a mark.

And it's a completely accurate summation of the gun-grabbers' thinking.

Posted by Barbara Skolaut at December 14, 2007 05:06 PM

"No amount of gun control shy of a total ban would have stopped him from purchasing them."

Precisely. And a total ban, with really draconian penalties for owning a gun and/or ammo and even worse ones for using one in a crime or for selling one, would also greatly shrink the gun industry and make it MUCH harder for criminals to get hold of guns. Draconian, as in "shot on sight" draconian.

The Second Amendment was passed at a time when society was much more cohesive than now; when most people went to church regularly, and meant it; when most parents brought up their children properly; when illegal drugs were not even thought of. Laws have to, and do, change to reflect society. This one has not.

Posted by Fletcher Christian at December 15, 2007 02:31 AM

Fletcher puts it very well. I fully agree. And I think in a previous post he raised the same point in regards to what will soon be a next generation of weapons, where guns will be viewed as an antique curiosity. It's just a matter of time.

The reason gun control fails is the weak and cowardly manner in which it is enforced. And the fact that it isn't universally applied, which simply works into the arguments of the gun lobby.

Posted by Offside at December 15, 2007 08:02 AM

"The reason gun control fails is the weak and cowardly manner in which it is enforced. And the fact that it isn't universally applied, which simply works into the arguments of the gun lobby."

Prohibition only half-works in a police state, anywhere else, it causes more problems than it solves. See the war on alcohol and the war on drugs for an example.

To distill down what your are saying, you are saying gun control fails because we don't live in a police state.

Offside, you are more than welcome to move to one if your desire is to live in one, I hear the gun control paradise of Zimbabwe is looking for people with money to come there.

Posted by Mike Puckett at December 15, 2007 08:33 AM

FC,your argument is old & busted.You need a better understanding of the Bill of Rights.The Founding Fathers didn't have the Internet either,should we change the 1st Amendment too?

As far as taking American citizens' guns away,such an effort would make the Civil War look like a tea party.

And as far as the "oh so powerful gun lobby" the NRA only has about 4,000,000 members,hardly a large voting bloc.No,the "gun lobby" consists of millions of ordinary Americans that own guns for sport,recreation & defense & will never commit a crime.

Posted by Frantic Freddie at December 15, 2007 08:43 AM

The "Gun Lobby" as he so tritely puts it, likely includes more than half of the active posters on this board.

The politican doesn't fear the NRA lobbyist, he fears the voting gun owning citizen who is smarter than the lie that is gun control.

He or she is smart enough not to give power to a politician who will not trust them with power.

Some of us chose not to be counted as sheep. Some of us, apparently, cannot wait to be sheared.

Posted by Mike Puckett at December 15, 2007 08:49 AM

"The Second Amendment was passed at a time when society was much more cohesive than now;"

We had just been through twenty years of civil war, with widespread incidences of armed community militias fighting each other, murdering and plundering; several substantial armed rebellions after independence;

"when most people went to church regularly, and meant it;"

A larger percentage of the Founders were deists or skeptics than today's Congress;

"when most parents brought up their children properly;"

There were large numbers of orphans and abandoned children due to the dislocations of the war,

"when illegal drugs were not even thought of."

Well, it's true that nobody thought of making drugs illegal. But opium and other drugs were available wiout perscription from apothecaries and formed the basis for many of the widely-used "tonics" and medicines of the day.

"Laws have to, and do, change to reflect society. This one has not."

Laws change. The undesirability of an invasive government does not.

Posted by Jim Bennett at December 15, 2007 09:06 AM

"Precisely. And a total ban, with really draconian penalties for owning a gun and/or ammo and even worse ones for using one in a crime or for selling one, would also greatly shrink the gun industry and make it MUCH harder for criminals to get hold of guns. Draconian, as in "shot on sight" draconian."

Achtung Baby! HH!

Posted by Michael Puckett at December 15, 2007 10:13 AM

"And as far as the "oh so powerful gun lobby" the NRA only has about 4,000,000 members,hardly a large voting bloc.No,the "gun lobby" consists of millions of ordinary Americans that own guns for sport,recreation & defense & will never commit a crime."

The real gun lobby, the one with the money, is the manufacturers. The fact remains that easy availability of legal guns means that getting an illegal one is much easier than it would be otherwise - if nothing else by burgling the house of such a gun owner.

And the other point was made and remade. What exactly does "bearing arms" mean? Does it mean that Americans should be entitled to buy, and if they feel like it use, the latest in military hardware? Does it mean that someone who is on major tranquillisers for poorly-controlled paranoid schizophrenia should be able to carry guns? Does it mean that a convicted felon should, having finished his sentence?

Lovely. So we have the picture; according to some people "the right to bear arms shall not be infringed" means that someone who hears voices in his head and has done time for attempted murder should be allowed to carry around a rocket launcher. After all he is still a citizen. You don't like that idea? Then you are in favour of gun control. The real argument is at what level the bar should be put.

This might seem ridiculous. However, in maybe twenty years the average member of the public will be able to afford things far worse than a rocket launcher - in the extreme, a sentient weapon that if released is capable of killing everything in several square miles at the very least.

Sometime before that, Americans are going to have to grow up - or you will kill us all. After all, "arms" was not defined. And what exactly happened to the first part of the second amendment?

As for the bit about self-defense; well, armed criminals are usually more ready to use their weapons than is the victim. The real defense against violent crime has many facets. It includes: Social cohesion. Proper rearing of children (which includes couples who stay together long enough to bring them up instead of the presently popular game of musical beds, and also includes parents who take time bringing them up and generally being with them instead of spending all their time making money to make the payments on the loan that they took out to pay for the latest flashy junk from China, and also includes some sort of agreed moral framework in which to bring them up). Exemplary and appropriate punishment for wrongdoers - that Arizona sheriff has exactly the right idea. Legalisation of any and all presently illegal drugs - the enormous profits to be made from such drugs fuel, in great measure, the crime in many inner cities (not just American ones). Failing that, proper punishment of drug dealers and addicts - cold turkey for addicts, summary execution for dealers. Have I missed anything?

I have better knowledge of the conditions in the UK than in the USA. During World War II, there were large numbers of military weapons all over the place. Despite that fact, there were very few murders indeed. Why? Because most people had been taught to behave, and for those who didn't learn there were harsh and appropriate punishments - including the noose for murder.

Legal guns, poor social cohesion and lack of a moral compass are a very toxic mix. That's what America has now.

Posted by Fletcher Christian at December 15, 2007 11:04 AM

What exactly does "bearing arms" mean? Does it mean that Americans should be entitled to buy, and if they feel like it use, the latest in military hardware?

No.

Does it mean that someone who is on major tranquillisers for poorly-controlled paranoid schizophrenia should be able to carry guns?

No.

Does it mean that a convicted felon should, having finished his sentence?

No.

Lovely. So we have the picture; according to some people "the right to bear arms shall not be infringed" means that someone who hears voices in his head and has done time for attempted murder should be allowed to carry around a rocket launcher.

No.

You might want to educate yourself on US gun laws. You seem to be quite clueless.

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 15, 2007 11:21 AM

"The real gun lobby, the one with the money, is the manufacturers. "

Untill he understands the real gun lobby is the tens of millions of gun owners, we are just debating a characteur, a chimera.....well...that really is what gun control is anyway.


I am going to give you a clue Fletcher. The gun industry in the US is small potatos economically speaking. It is not big tobbaco or big pharma by several orders of magnitude.

Saying they are the gun lobby is simply to repeat a myth and an unsubstantiated lie. It is dogma that is at the core of the liberal disarmament crowd.

I suppose I should be thankful that they are so tactifully inept as to repeatedly misidentify the true nature of their opponents. It makes it easier for people like me to continue to hand theim their ass on a silver platter.

The gun lobby are those who flood their congressmen with letters expressing outrage at socialist attempts to destroy the bill of rights.

It is a grassroots power. A power so vast all the money the manufacturers have at their disposal could scarcely improve upon.

I can't name a single gun manufacturer that has defeated a politician.

Thinking American citizens who value their rights have removed legions.

Posted by Mike Puckett at December 15, 2007 11:49 AM

So, Mr. Christian would advocate activating a transcontinental magnet and sweeping up each and every firearm in the United States. Who would that help?

Not the 105-lb woman who is accosted by a muscular crack-head with a knife or a crowbar on a deserted street and raped, or murdered, or both;

Not the 75-year old grandmother, sitting alone in her apartment, as a group of gang-bangers force their way into her home and beat her to death;

Not the solitary shop-keeper who is closing up for the night when a druggie and his friends break in in order to empty his cash register for some spending money, and then kick him to death despite his obeying their commands;

Not the eight nurses murdered by Richard Speck;

Not Kitty Genovese;

Not anybody who ventures into a "gun-free" zone like a school, a church, a post-office in order to conduce some peaceful activity;

And not anybody else who does not happen to be skilled in martial arts and knife-fighting, who fears for his life just leaving his quadruple-locked home in order to walk down to the corner grocery to buy some food.

But such a state of affairs would certainly help all the people who get their rocks off by brutalizing all those helpless people who are weaker, more elderly, and not skilled in defending themselves by using common household articles.

In such a society, the top dog would be the brute with a club.

The old west saying was accurate: God did not make men equal; Colonel Colt did.

Posted by Bruce Lagasse at December 15, 2007 11:57 AM

Fletcher asked "What exactly does "bearing arms" mean? Does it mean that Americans should be entitled to buy, and if they feel like it use, the latest in military hardware?"

Rand said "No"

But Mike Puckett, while perhaps not directly contradicting Rand, gave a much more elaborate answer on a recent gun control thread. Mike can speak for himself, of course, but the answer was something like "Yes, private citizens can own fully functional tanks, tanks made in Belgium(!), and they can operate them on their own private land, after certain regulatory steps have been taken, which includes a notification with the local Sherif. " Please forgive me if I've paraphrased incorrectly Mike - there was no partisanship at work here.

I've been thinking about that answer ever since. What if a whole bunch of well-funded and disciplined guys decide to start their own militia, and they each buy a fleet of tanks? This seems like exactly the sort of well regulated militia the founding fathers intended by passing the 2nd amendment, but I find that scenario worrisome -- because the militia might be populated entirely by murderous delusional crazies (of any flavor: Al Queda, Nazis, Communists, etc). You could lose at least a rural town or two before they were stopped.

And then there are WMDs....

So what are the limits on the 2nd ammendment? My guess is that no one knows, not anyone here, and not even the present members of the Supreme Court.

Posted by Abominable at December 15, 2007 01:32 PM

"As for the bit about self-defense; well, armed criminals are usually more ready to use their weapons than is the victim. "

That is a large pile of steaming bovine excrement,handed out by nanny-state anti-gunners.The almost universal response to the question put to felons in prison about whether they fear the police or an armed citizen is "an armed citizen".

But why go on? We can give you all the facts & you won't listen,your mind's made up.Thinking people own guns.Sheep do not.

"An armed man is a citizen.An unarmed man is a subject" Robert A. Heinlein

By the way Bruce,the saying is: "God created Man.Sam Colt made 'em equal"

Lifetime NRA,SASS member.

Posted by Frantic Freddie at December 15, 2007 01:42 PM

""Yes, private citizens can own fully functional tanks, tanks made in Belgium(!), and they can operate them on their own private land, after certain regulatory steps have been taken, which includes a notification with the local Sherif. " Please forgive me if I've paraphrased incorrectly Mike - there was no partisanship at work here."


Assuming you mean armed with a live cannon as opposed to one with dummy weapons (which would be a glorified bulldozer and relatively unregulated), then you would have to have the armaments classified as a destructive device for the main gun and registered machine guns for the coax and TC's weapons.

It requires far more than notification of the local Sheriff, that requiremnt is a vestigial function of 1930's procedure predating computer databases. It requires fingerprinting and an FBI background check processed by the BATFE along with a $200 tax stamp.

There are people who legally own flamethrowers.

One would be nice for this board as it would make short work of strawmen.

Posted by Miek Puckett at December 15, 2007 01:50 PM

Mike, seriously, completely seriously, why couldn't a bunch of guys with no priors do exactly what I described? Why is this a strawman?

Less seriously, for your entertainment, two videos:

Man uses armed and amored bulldozer to fights back against (what he decided was) government oppression.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqpxeWQ_XJw

Man steals M-60 tank from armory and goes crashing through a San Diego neighborhood. Rips through a motor home.
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=tank+police+chase

Posted by Abominable at December 15, 2007 02:08 PM

"Mike, seriously, completely seriously, why couldn't a bunch of guys with no priors do exactly what I described?"

They could if they had the money and the clean background.

Generally, people like neo-nazi's are not disciplined enough to avoid the felon convictions and amass the fiscal reserves necessary to build such a militia.

In the old days, local gentry would fund the cannon and supplies for the militia exactly as you describe.


"Why is this a strawman?"

Did I speciffically address you?

Posted by Mike Puckett at December 15, 2007 02:13 PM

That's what made Al Queda so interesting -- its atypical attention to discipline.

Anyway, I think Fletcher is right that the implications of the 2nd Amemendment ought to be reexamined. And I think the Supreme Court is about to do just that. I hope they don't punt.

Posted by Abominable at December 15, 2007 02:43 PM

"That's what made Al Queda so interesting -- its atypical attention to discipline."

That is a suspiciously flammible-looking comment.

Well anyway, I don't think they would pass the background check or the citizenship requirment.

Posted by Mike Puckett at December 15, 2007 03:31 PM

Hey Fletcher Christian, maybe you should learn to connect the dots. The next generation weaponry would effectively kill the large nation-state, thus making the whole issue of civilian disarmament obsolete.

Posted by Robert at December 15, 2007 05:00 PM

Abominable said:

Man uses armed and armored bulldozer to fights back against (what he decided was) government oppression.

If that man was able to wait a few more decades, he would of had a better means than an armored bulldozer to destroy the "government oppression". It is a hell of a lot easier to destroy entire battallions of police with a nano-assembler weapon than an armored bulldozer.

Posted by Robert at December 15, 2007 05:11 PM

Fletcher Christian said:

Sometime before that, Americans are going to have to grow up - or you will kill us all.

No, you British better grow up. Stop worshipping the nanny-state as a god because your god is scheduled to die sometime in the Twenty-First Century.

Posted by Robert at December 15, 2007 05:30 PM

Robert, we already had this conversation and you agreed with me the first time.

The next generation of weapons are going to render the 2nd amendment and all the assumptions that go with it moot. Twenty years from now, more or less, guns are going to be a quaint anachronism found only in museums.

The nation state is on death row.

Posted by Fletcher Christian at December 15, 2007 07:28 PM

"If, however, the Supreme Court rules that the Second Amendment is a group right afforded to governmentally organized militias, then watch out. Such a decision would immediately put a constitutional amendment to reverse its effect on the fast track. The ruling would upset millions of voters, many of whom arenít currently happy with Iraq, the economy, immigration, and Bush, and who might otherwise be persuaded to turn to a Clinton, Edwards, or Obama. But they wonít with gun rights at stake. If the Supreme Court takes away the individual right to bear arms next spring, automatically every Southern and Western state is unwinnable for any of the leading Democrats next November."

"...itís no stretch to say that for the second time in eight years a presidential election might hinge on a United States Supreme Court decision."

http://www.bobkrumm.com/blog/?p=1646

Posted by Mark at December 15, 2007 07:37 PM

Fletcher Christian, I agree but that also means that gun control is essentially pointless. You know that the trends don't favor the continuation of the Nation-State. That means a draconian police-state would be impossible.

Posted by Robert at December 15, 2007 07:49 PM

When I can nano-assemble a Javelin AT missile launcher or a belt-fed .50 caliber machine gun, what good is a gun control law?

Posted by Mike Puckett at December 15, 2007 08:34 PM

"Precisely. And a total ban, with really draconian penalties for owning a gun and/or ammo and even worse ones for using one in a crime or for selling one, would also greatly shrink the gun industry and make it MUCH harder for criminals to get hold of guns. Draconian, as in "shot on sight" draconian.
Posted by Fletcher Christian at December 15, 2007 02:31 AM"

This sounds like exactly what some European city boy would say. Believe it or not, America is a pretty darn big place. We actually still have a lot of wild threats that lurk in them there hills that a humans only effective equalizer is a firearm. Hell, here in Texas we have large wild boar that can easily run down a person and hurt someone pretty badly if one isn't careful around them. As well, in America in general we have coyotes, wolves, bears, rutting Moose, alligators, badgers, lions, oh my.

Posted by Josh Reiter at December 15, 2007 09:05 PM

"Legal guns, poor social cohesion and lack of a moral compass are a very toxic mix. That's what America has now."

This seems to be an important argument made by the anti-gun crowd. All these elements mixed together are steering us off course. I disagree, but even assuming this is true, why would changing the "legal" to "illegal" in that sentence change anything?

Posted by Math_Mage at December 15, 2007 10:31 PM

"...poor social cohesion and lack of a moral compass are a very toxic mix."

That segment is true but applies to the critics rather than the supporters; guess someone was looking too much in the mirror on that one. The US gun owners display very strong social cohesion across political and cultural boundaries and it's all based on straightforward moral principles.

Posted by Habitat Hermit at December 15, 2007 11:03 PM

"Fletcher Christian, I agree but that also means that gun control is essentially pointless. You know that the trends don't favor the continuation of the Nation-State. That means a draconian police-state would be impossible."

It appears you've made your choice between Larry Niven's ARM and Vernor Vinge's ungovs. :P

Posted by Math_Mage at December 16, 2007 08:38 AM

I've been thinking about that answer ever since. What if a whole bunch of well-funded and disciplined guys decide to start their own militia, and they each buy a fleet of tanks? This seems like exactly the sort of well regulated militia the founding fathers intended by passing the 2nd amendment, but I find that scenario worrisome -- because the militia might be populated entirely by murderous delusional crazies (of any flavor: Al Queda, Nazis, Communists, etc). You could lose at least a rural town or two before they were stopped.

When I was a kid people would ask, What if someone put LSD in the water supply? Your question is similar. One can imagine all kinds of risks if one focuses on one's fears and ignores real-world probabilities.

In the real world danger tends to come from criminals, external enemies and tyrannical government. The Founders reasoned that the best response to all three kinds of threats was to trust the people -- to govern themselves and, of course, to keep and bear arms. In practice, trusting the people has worked well, and there have been few instances of armed criminal gangs becoming anything close to the kind of threat you are worried about.

People who fret about "militias" tend not to understand the concept of the unorganized militia, and tend to lose sight of some basic principles of representative government. The more realistic concern is the one the Founders had: What to do about governments that get out of control.

Posted by Jonathan at December 16, 2007 09:56 AM

I'm not actually worried about hordes of tank driving crazies, in the sense that it causes me to feel any anxiety. I'm really just wondering about how to interpret the 2nd Amendment.

My three lines of thought have been

A) what about increasingly powerful weapons, including so-called assualt rifles, which are legislated against (unconstitutionally?), but also tanks, bombs, ICBMs, and WMDs? How much killing power is constitutionally protected? Enough that you'd need to have a foreign policy?

B) What about the idea that handguns are for concealment and thus have no legitimate place in a militia? Is the private ownership of tanks and machine guns and even WMDs more constitutionally protected than handguns and sawed off shotguns? (And how does the 2nd amemdment square with laws about sawed off shotguns anyway? I'm ignorant!)

C) Is it possible that the 2nd amendment is about effective defense, not killing per se, and if a now-seemingly-impossible non-lethal effective set of arms were developed, could the manufacture of lethal weapons could be constitutionally limited?

I'm not a "gun-grabber". I'm mostly just interested in the US Constitution.

Posted by Abominable at December 16, 2007 10:50 AM

What about the idea that handguns are for concealment and thus have no legitimate place in a militia?

Members of the armed services will be surprised to learn that their service revolvers are "for concealment."

There is a vast literature on the Second Amendment and its meaning and intent. If you're really interested, your time would probably be more productively spent in reading it, rather than asking commenters on my blog. You might want to start here, but Google will be a help.

This isn't a complaint, just advice.

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 16, 2007 11:10 AM

Absolutely. I typed in "limits to the 2nd amemdment" into google, and found an interesting discussion. One scholar argued that tanks *aren't* allowed, because you can't possibly "bear" a tank. He got laughed at, but I was amused. More serious sources are good too.

Ok, I admit my interests aren't just about the 2nd amendment. It is intersting to me to hear what, shall we say, right thinking people actually think about the 2nd amendment. I wanted to know what gun owners think, not just what scholars think. Your blog is good, because it attracts smart gun owners (like aerospace engineers and "rocket scientists").

Posted by Abominable at December 16, 2007 11:30 AM

Thank you for the link. That was a great read.

I was talking to someone last night about how if you want to take the 1st amendment seriously, you need to take the 2nd amendment seriously. He was tipsy and and said "yeah! And what about the 3rd amendment, damnit!" As the article you linked to predicted, we didn't know what it was. We looked it up while our Croatian friend joined us. His take: Gun control was welcomed in Croatia after the war ended. People kept their weapons as trophies, but people cooperated when the police came around to disable the firing mechanisms. And while (as the article points out) the 3rd Amendment has no current interest to Americans, in Croatia, the 3rd Amendment would resonate.

Posted by Abominable at December 16, 2007 12:02 PM

Handguns certainly has military utility.

Try begining your journey at www.guncite.com

Posted by Mike Puckett at December 16, 2007 03:13 PM

I lean towards the standard of is the device plausibly useful in defending yourself or your community, or of such massive or indiscriminate destruction to have no such use. The former I see protected by the second amendment.

Posted by Peter at December 16, 2007 09:00 PM

I mean this sincerely: some of the gun-control advocates I know believe that guns which kill people are capable of massive or indiscriminate destruction (to human bodies), and that's why they shouldn't be legal.

But if I take off my liberal hat, and put on my realpolitik hat, I would point out that nukes have been keeping the peace through deterrence for the last 60 years, without a single casualty. If you knew that the city of Anytown, USA was guarded by a nuke, you (an oppressive East Coast government) sure as hell would think twice before oppressing Anytowners.

Posted by Abominable at December 16, 2007 09:33 PM

I would certainly agree Abominable. Although I think microbial weapons and nano-assembler weapons are capable of vastly more massive or indiscriminate destruction (to human bodies) than mere firearms designed to target specific targets. There is little that a Nation-State can do to stop them.

Posted by Robert at December 16, 2007 11:34 PM

"shot on sight" draconian."

Mmmm, who's gonna do the shooting?

Posted by Fred at December 19, 2007 07:11 PM


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