Sunday, December 16, 2012
I have been following this closely, particularly the reaction and arguments from the "pro gun" side. They are literally insane, in that their reasoning is entirely fallacious. One of their favorite tricks is to examine a particular case (like the one in Connecticut) and either claim that gun restrictions could have been evaded, or alternatively, that there is a scenario where Rambo steps in and stops the crime. But in life things are rarely so cleanly cause-and-effect, which is why aggregate numbers (aka statistics) are the proper way to determine what works or not. The record is clear. In places (like Australia) where semi-automatic rifles and pistols are banned - along with a substantial buy-back program - homicides decline substantially.
Japan has a very liberal toy gun policy -- people can own and play with air-powered rifles that look real but shoot only small projectiles that at worst might put out an eye.
They've of course banned most real firearms.
The BushMaster used last week is another form of toy gun, in that it is designed for people who want to play with guns, to be Rambo.
The gun proponents deride gun control efforts to ban "scary looking" guns, as if that were the point.
The true point is to ban guns that either attract unstable people or have no lawful real-world use.
The real-world use case of toy guns like the Bushmaster is looking badass while gunning down groups of people, or kids.
However, oddly enough, the 2nd Amendment was pretty clear that the right to "keep and bear" this sort of military-grade firearms shall not be "infringed".
The 2nd Amendment does not give carte blanche to own all military-grade weaponry, we have to balance the police power of preserving public safety.
It might take 50 years to get dangerous guns out of our society, but we should start now.
We should also work towards reversing our socio-economic imbalances that are contributing to so much gun violence.
Not this case, but the general trend.
Get luck getting anything out of our impotent (& undemocratic) congress.
The 2nd Amendment isn't "pretty clear" and regardless of what Scalia thinks about subordinate clauses, it doesn't say what you think it does. It's about maintaining an organized militia. The founding fathers had never envisioned a vast standing army and so expected the need for a well regulated citizen militia. It says nothing that would support this crazy woman and her crazy son owning assault rifles.
That said, there's something inherently contradictory about the amendment. Can something be uninfringed upon AND well regulated at the same time? Why is it we as a country always side with the former over the latter?
My general take on the 2nd is that they wanted a lot of military grade long guns in the hands of the people, so that states could raise militia forces that were competent with the tools of the trade.
(That the court found a right to self-protection in the 2nd is simply asinine, that belongs in the 9th)
So technically, I think the Bushmaster is exactly the gun our constitution was envisioning people should be able to "keep and bear".
Unfortunately, like how transportation has gone from 2mph carts in 1780 to 200 mph motorcycles, technology has changed the balance between individual rights of freedom vs. the societal police power to maintain public safety.
If this were a mature society, we'd just repeal the 2nd and start over.
But we're not mature enough to work out our differences, and the bottom line is many Americans want the right to play with toy guns, regardless of how many massacres occur from time to time.
It'll probably take gun deaths surpassing motor vehicle deaths before we do something.