It’s election season again. This is the time where the issues are the most hotly contested. People make their arguments on both sides, some factual, others not so factual.
I tend to be of the belief that almost all issues have valid points on both sides. There are very few where I have seen all of the factual, logical, and statistical evidence stacked on one side.
Gun control is one of those issues. The facts are overwhelmingly stacked against anti-gunners to where they have to rely on distortion of fact out of context, blatant falsehood, and emotional appeal to persuade people to join their ranks.
But, don’t just take my word for it at face value. Allow me to demonstrate.
I shared a news link about Senator Bernie Sanders and his advocacy of “swatting” individuals that carried weapons and ammunition into their premises (you can read my breakdown of the situation here).
Then this individual came onto my page and alleged that I clearly did not know Senator Sanders’s position on guns and that the remarks were taken out of context.
Clearly, Mr. Ringius was either disingenuous with his idea of what being “pro-2nd Amendment” was, or he did not know the positions of the candidate he advocated. So, I took it upon myself to inform him that Senator Sanders voted for the proposed Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. Right out the gate, that disqualifies Senator Sanders from being pro-2nd Amendment.
Mr. Ringius then revealed his true nature and went on possibly the most prototypical anti-gunner screed I have ever seen:
You see, this makes pro-gunners like me very, very happy.
I’ve been waiting for a long time to factually wreck an anti-gunner, and Mr. Ringius has given me an excellent opportunity.
Mr. Ringius’s remarks will be in block quotes and italics; all other quotes are from sources.
So, without further ado…
“He didn’t say that (SWAT), you did.”
He didn’t have to say the term. What he advocated was the definition of “swatting,” which has been elaborated on in my post about his remarks. For those who haven’t read it: “swatting” is where one makes a false report of an emergency to elicit a response from the police.
Just because someone believes in actual background checks and UNDERSTANDS “assault rifles” were NOT what the founding fathers had in mind, doesn’t make him anti-2nd.
I absolutely love it when anti-gunners make this argument.
Mr. Ringius (and anybody reading this who agrees with him), I want you to be licensed to use the internet. The Founding Fathers did NOT have in mind the spread of open falsehoods, feline memes, and photographs of your dinner. This clearly needs to be regulated.
Your 1st Amendment rights only apply to quill and parchment, sketches, and handmade paintings. Perhaps the time spent doing everything longhand will give you time to reflect on how incorrect you are and you will abandon said falsehoods, memes, and dinner pictures in favor of more productive endeavors.
Oh, wait…that’s utter hogwash.
The Supreme Court has ruled time and time again that your constitutional rights do not change just because the tools utilized in the exercise of a constitutional amendment have changed.
They also ruled that the 1st Amendment applies to the internet in Reno v. ACLU in 1997.
So, your argument is flat out wrong when you try to say that a right doesn’t apply to a method of constitutional right exercise simply because it did not exist at the time of the Founding Fathers. What applies to one amendment applies to all amendments.
You’re also wrong in calling “assault weapons” (a term fabricated by anti-gunners to facilitate the ban of cosmetic features that have absolutely no impact on the weapon’s operation) “assault rifles.”
No civilian can walk into a Wal-Mart or gun store and pick up an assault rifle off the shelf.
That is because an assault rifle actually has a definition that anti-gunners are either too lazy to research or incapable of comprehending.
According to the United States Army, who knows a thing or two about assault rifles:
“Assault rifles are short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges.”
I placed emphasis on a term in that definition: selective-fire.
What does selective-fire mean? I’m glad you asked!
The ability to choose whether a weapon fires automatically or semi-automatically.
And according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms:
The NFA was originally enacted in 1934. Similar to the current NFA, the original Act imposed a tax on the making and transfer of firearms defined by the Act, as well as a special (occupational) tax on persons and entities engaged in the business of importing, manufacturing, and dealing in NFA firearms. The law also required the registration of all NFA firearms with the Secretary of the Treasury. Firearms subject to the 1934 Act included shotguns and rifles having barrels less than 18 inches in length, certain firearms described as “any other weapons,” machineguns, and firearm mufflers and silencers.
Further according to the ATF, the legal definition of a “machinegun” is:
Firearms within the definition of machinegun include weapons that shoot, are designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading by a single function of the trigger.
By that definition, the Army’s definition of an “assault rifle” fits the legal definition of a “machinegun.”
Thus, without a Federal Firearms License and a Class III weapons license (the latter which is near impossible to get unless you work in the firearms industry), you already cannot purchase assault rifles.
So, essentially, you seek to ban semi-automatic rifles. But, let’s not get silly things like facts get in the way of making an emotional argument, right?
Just in case you didn’t get all those words, here’s a very simple visual aid of an assault rifle (top) versus a semi-automatic rifle (bottom):
Believe it or not, there’s an entire populace that interprets the 2nd slightly different than you. That doesn’t mean they oppose it, just YOUR interpretation of it.
Well, believe it or not, the Supreme Court agrees with my interpretation that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right to keep and bear arms, not a provision that allowed for a militia. In fact, they made not just one landmark decision about this, but two, just to hammer the point home to the states that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Furthermore, the Founding Fathers agreed with this interpretation:
“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776
“To disarm the people…[i]s the most effectual way to enslave them.”
– George Mason, referencing advice given to the British Parliament by Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adooption of the Federal Constitution, June 14, 1788
“The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
– Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788
I have a couple more quotes from Founding Fathers for you, but before we move on, I need to bring up your point so that it can be torn down:
Some understand and take seriously three words, while others just refuse to. 1). WELL. 2) REGULATED 3) MILITIA.
Well regulated somehow means absolutely ZERO regulation to the enthusiasts. And somehow the same folks who don’t believe in regulation, don’t understand the difference between needing and WANTING “assault rifles”.
This is another anti-gunner talking point that fills my heart with joy, as it is a showcase in the ignorance of your typical anti-gunner.
I won’t talk about “assault rifles” again. You can scroll back up and read that very, very slowly if you did not comprehend it the first go around.
Let’s talk about the term “well regulated.”
Anti-gunners like Mr. Ringius believe this means that the government needs a tight leash on the “militia” (more on that in a second) and thus regular citizens should be barred from firearms ownership unless in the service of a “militia.”
It’s hilarious that he accuses me and mine of focusing on one part of the amendment and ignoring the rest when he does the exact same. He focuses on the “well regulated militia” and completely ignores the part that says, “…the right of the people (emphasis mine) to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Oh, those silly factual technicalities. But, I digress.
The meaning of the term “well regulated” at the time of the writing of the 2nd Amendment did not mean “tightly controlled.” It meant “in good working order.”
Some examples of its usage in this historic context:
1709: “If a liberal Education has formed in us well-regulated Appetites and worthy Inclinations.”
1714: “The practice of all well-regulated courts of justice in the world.”
1812: “The equation of time … is the adjustment of the difference of time as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial.”
1848: “A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Mayor.”
1862: “It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding.”
1894: “The newspaper, a never wanting adjunct to every well-regulated American embryo city.”
I can already hear Mr. Ringius sighing under his breath and imagine him rolling his eyes. “There’s still the matter of the militia!” he and his cry.
I told you we’d come back to that, as well as come back to quotes from the Founding Fathers. Let’s do both at once!
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.”
– James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789
Huh. That doesn’t sound like the National Guard or another standing military force. That sounds an awful lot like…well, the people.
But wait! There’s more!
“A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include, according to the past and general usuage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms… “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
– Richard Henry Lee, Federal Farmer No. 18, January 25, 1788
This next one is very interesting:
“What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty …. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.”
– Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, I Annals of Congress 750, August 17, 1789
Well, look at that. It looks like there is a very clear distinction between the “militia” and “a standing army,” something that the Founding Fathers hated (which you’d know if you paid attention in history class).
You are the one who is choosing to ignore “well regulated militia.” Or rather, you remain in willfully ignorant bliss as to the true definition, as it would completely wreck your argument…which is what I just did.
But now, “we MUST have it all”. We NEED armor piercing bullets? We NEED high capacity mags? Really?
I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware that it was the Bill of Needs I Must Justify to Strangers.
Probably because it’s not. It’s the Bill of Rights.
I don’t question how you exercise your constitutional rights. How dare you and yours be so arrogant as to question how I exercise mine?
“But mine don’t kill people!” I can hear you whining. “Yours does!”
Politicians authorizing wars have killed infinitely more people than any one person with a weapon, or even any criminal syndicate or terrorist group with weapons, will ever kill.
I don’t see you demanding for stricter regulations on who can vote. I don’t see you shouting for “universal background checks” (which is anti-gunner for “registration”) or any sort of background check before you can vote, or demanding a voter’s knowledge test be put in place before people can vote.
Ignorance kills far more than any rifleman. Yet, you focus on passing draconian laws that would infringe upon the rights of law-abiding citizens to the end-state of disarmament. You seek to punish law-abiding citizens for the actions of criminals, terrorists, and madmen.
Mr. Ringius, I am very glad you made your post and that you posted the way that you did.
I wanted a very public display of a typical anti-gunner’s argument, and to show those who believe in exercising of constitutional rights how to defeat those arguments with facts and logic.
I’ll close with my favorite Founding Father quote:
“I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”
– Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787
You can see the original post, provided Mr. Ringius doesn’t duck for cover under a factual barrage, here.
(cover photo source: Sin City)