Pandora and Her Gun Control

Davy Robertson is at it again. After his grossly uninformed post entitled Hysteria About Gun Control was eviscerated by Hysteria About “Assault Rifles,” one would think that a responsible author would at least attempt to offer a cogent rebuttal to the legitimate objections to his argument. True to form, he completely ignores them by falling all over himself to offer more uninformed opinions. His latest Pandora and Her Gun Shop states:

Granted, the versions of the aforementioned weapons [Sig Sauer MCX & AR-15] sold on the open market aren’t automatic weapons. However, the rate at which they can be fired is fast enough to compensate for the lack of the “automatic” feature should one desire to use such a weapon to attack a group of people. Plus, magazines made for such firearms can hold up to 30 rounds of ammunition.

Was it necessary for such weapons to be sold on the open market? No, of course not.

One wonders after reading this whether David has ever fired a weapon. Since said weapons are semi-automatic, rounds are fired as fast as one can pull a trigger, and that goes for ALL semi-automatic weapons. The rate of fire is entirely irrelevant to his argument, unless he is advocating that his fellow citizens have their options limited to muzzle-loading flintlocks. Since he has previously insisted that he’s not objecting to semi-automatic handguns, it’s impossible to know just what he means by “rate at which they can be fired.” This shows that he is entirely uninformed about firearms and is thus unqualified to write on the subject.

Next, he asks, “Was it necessary for such weapons to be sold on the open market?” What’s that supposed to mean? Was it necessary for Robertson to write that article? Of course not. Does Robertson have the right under the First Amendment to write it? Of course! David is not the arbiter of other people’s rights, and their rights are not subject to getting a permission slip from him. We do not have to meet his subjective standards of necessity before exercising the rights which come from the Creator. We can ask the “necessary” question about most of what people do. What has that got to do with the legality of a product?

He then states, “Should such weapons now be banned from the open market? That is debatable.”

Yes, we’re all ears, David (at least I am). Where are your arguments? What reasons do you offer for their banning that meets the objections I (or others if you’ve chosen to ignore mine) have offered? You certainly have offered nothing here, except to repeat the uninformed talking points of gun-grabbers.

He continues:

On the one hand, enacting such a ban would be like Pandora closing her box*after all of the bad stuff had escaped from it.

On the other hand, such a ban would make it much more difficult for lone-wolf attackers to get their hands on such weapons.

Conceding arguendo that lone-wolf attackers would have a more difficult time obtaining an “assault weapon,” would that stop their attacks? Well, not according to the evidence we have. They would probably use what most mass killers have used in the past—the 9mm handgun. After we ban the 9mm, we can ban the .380. Then we can ban the .22, .40, & .45. Let’s just ban all semi-autos! And when you’ve done that, you can look at other nations’ crime statistics (which I provided for free in my last post) to see that they do not affect murder rates or suicides. Thus, the net result of his gun bans would not be the saving of lives; it will simply leave one’s citizens defenseless. That’s not a slippery slope; that’s Logic 101.

He closes with:

Whether or not such a ban would be effective, one thing should be clear to all: An American gun shop shouldn’t be a modern-day Pandora’s box*.

It is one thing to sell rifles designed for hunting and pistols designed for self-defense. It is another thing to sell weapons designed for warfare.

In other words, even if a ban isn’t effective, it is “clear” (without an argument?) that they should be banned anyway. Why? Why ban something when it will not accomplish the stated goal of saving lives? Why should a gun that looks like a soldier’s weapon be banned when it functions no differently from any semi-automatic rifle? David doesn’t want us “to sell weapons designed for warfare,” but what does he think the Colt .45 is? From the 19th Century’s revolver to the current 1911 models, it had been the military’s sidearm for decades. He can have all the opinions he wants, but if he thinks he’s being persuasive by parroting talking points without an argument, then he’s not firing on all cylinders.

That leads to a limited discussion of the Second Amendment. David and others like him think that it is restricted to hunting and personal self-defense. Well, not according to our Founding Fathers, including James Madison. He writes in Federalist 46:

Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.

Thus, one of the purposes of an armed population is a check on tyranny. The militia is not a military body under the jurisdiction of the federal government (e.g. National Guard); it is rather composed of the citizens of the several states who personally and collectively possess the arms which enable them to effectively repel despotism. And, as the Supreme Court’s Heller decision demonstrates:

The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.

So, the Second Amendment recognizes the right of the People to possess and bear firearms for personal protection and to protect the several states against federal tyranny. It was not limited to duck hunting and private home defense. If the exercise of First Amendment rights includes expression via modern technological mediums such as television and the internet, the exercise of Second Amendment rights includes modern arms used for an effective check and balance against despotism. That includes muzzle-loaders, breechloaders, lever-action rifles, revolvers, semi-automatic pistols, rifles and fully automatic weapons. Citizens may avail themselves of the vast array of personal arms for self-defense, and collectively possess heavier military armament to resist tyrants.

Against this it may be argued that all rights can be limited to some degree. The most common illustration relates to free speech. One cannot yell fire in a crowded theater, speak in a libelous manner, incite a riot or make false commercial advertisements. What is missed by those who offer that is the fact that all of those abuses of speech involve the willful infliction of harm upon another. One is free to speak, but speech that results in harming a person’s life, finances or character may incur criminal penalties. The same goes for firearms. No matter what weapon I carry, I cannot deliberately harm another unless it is in defense of myself or others. Thus, the limit simply prohibits harm. For free assembly, I cannot interfere with another’s free assembly rights. In order for all Americans to avail themselves of their assembly rights, they have to take turns or procure their own assembly ground. You cannot ban political speech from the internet and have free speech. The liberty to speak one’s mind includes the means to do so with the aforesaid limit. I choose whether to use a microphone, the internet, radio or television. Nobody is the arbiter of my rights except God. Man may legally prevent me from harming others and impose the other restrictions I itemized in my last post, but man otherwise has no legitimate jurisdiction over the exercise of my rights.

AR-15 : To Ban or not to Ban?
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