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Memo to the NRA: Individual gun ownership is not a 2nd Amendment right

Guest Opinion: Armed gunmen won't solve school violence, but neither will a national focus on gun control.
A gun display in a store.

A gun display in a store. Photo: Mike Saechang

After a weekend of backlash, National Rifle Association Vice President Wayne LaPierre reiterated his belief Sunday, on NBC's Meet the Press, that school shootings would be deterred by putting "armed police officers in every school."

Sadly, just the next day, America saw the ambush shootings of two volunteer firefighters who were responding to a home ablaze in Rochester, NY. 

Both LaPierre’s comments, and the context of Monday’s shooting of firefighters, underscore this reality: The NRA doesn’t understand the disease of gun violence in America, nor do they fully reflect the framers’ intentions with the Second Amendment.

Here’s the other side of the coin: Gun control advocates seldom fully appreciate the central nature of guns in America for many citizens, nor do they fully realize their focus on the Second Amendment is probably misplaced. A more appropriate focus, for gun control advocates in Washington state, would be our state Constitution.

I grew up in central Oregon in the 70s and 80s. If we didn’t have a deer hanging in our garage in the fall, it meant a winter of grilled cheese and Campbell’s soup.

We were dirt poor. Guns provided an opportunity, through hunting, for my family to feed itself during long spells of unemployment.

So, I’ve grown up with a healthy respect for guns. When my father died, we sold or gave away 32 firearms. I kept one .22 rifle for myself.

Likewise, when it comes to policy on guns, I have a healthy respect for the 2nd amendment.

When I left Central Oregon, I worked on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, and completed a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins in international security studies.

Through observing politics at the national level, and studying from some of the brightest minds in the world, I learned some important lessons.

One lesson was that if only one side is armed, “unilateral disarmament” leads to tyranny.

This is the same argument the NRA and some gun advocates are making in the wake of the Newtown massacre: gun-free zones invite bad guys with guns. They say the answer is to provide armed officers in every school.

Arming both sides makes sense. The threat of attack, coupled with a response by both sides — the good guys and bad guys — ensures that both sides know the consequences of any possible violence. 

In international security, this is known as “mutually assured destruction.”

Here’s an area where President Reagan was so great.  He recognized that the logic of a world of “mutually assured destruction” did not mean we were secure.  It meant the end of the world was only one mentally deranged person away.

The logic of “mutually assured destruction” is the NRA’s antidote to gun violence. 

When it comes to our kids, we must do better.

It turns out, when it comes to America, Reagan thought we should do better, too.  In fact, he proposed the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons, culminating in the middle ground of the 1987 INF Treaty between the US and USSR.

He understood that, while “unilateral disarmament” was not an option, “mutually assured destruction” wasn’t an option either.

We could live in a world without nuclear weapons.

It turns out we can live in a world without gun violence in our schools, without members of Congress getting shot, and without shopping malls becoming shooting galleries.

We can.  We simply must choose to.

The 2nd amendment says:  “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.”

Each state has a militia today.  They are called the National Guard.

There is no authority under the constitution for individuals to have guns. If the founding fathers wanted us to all have guns — particularly guns in schools — don’t you think they’d be smart enough to say that? 


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Comments:

Posted Mon, Dec 24, 5:20 p.m. Inappropriate

Hi DJ.

In 2008, the Supreme Court of these United States held that the 2nd Amendment is in fact an individual right. This fact would invalidate your headline. Would you please correct it because bullsh*t on the Internet is not good as nice people who read this might not know that you don't know what the heck you are talking about.

The decision invalidating the district’s gun ban, written by Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, cites the second comma (the one after “state”) as proof that the Second Amendment does not merely protect the “collective” right of states to maintain their militias, but endows each citizen with an “individual” right to carry a gun, regardless of membership in the local militia.

How does a mere comma do that? According to the court, the second comma divides the amendment into two clauses: one “prefatory” and the other “operative.” On this reading, the bit about a well-regulated militia is just preliminary throat clearing; the framers don’t really get down to business until they start talking about “the right of the people ... shall not be infringed.”

Sorry DJ. Waiting on your correction or deletion. Have a good holiday.

neilsd

Posted Fri, Dec 28, 11:02 a.m. Inappropriate

neilsd correctly states that the 5-4 Heller decision with the majority opinion written by Justice Scalia finds that there is an individual right to gun ownership.

An important note here is that this case likely could only have been brought through the District of Columbia due to the points that DJ Wilson mentions in his article, namely that in the majority of state constitutions there was an explicit stated right to gun ownership. As a consequence, this type of Constitutional challenge would have been addressed at the state level.

And while I've generally been critical of the Roberts' Court based upon their judicial activism [Note: By this, I mean selecting poor test cases and making broad rulings where a narrow ruling might have been appropriate, e.g. Seattle Publics Schools vs PICS, Citizens United.] In this case, the test case was appropriate for the judicial ruling found by the Roberts' court. The poorly-written DC gun policy effectively made it impossible for anyone to legally possess a gun and to use it for home protection. Furthermore, the Court did what it is supposed to do in settling point of contention in the lower courts.

If one has a disagreement with Scalia's opinion, it is that he proposes using prior court findings to determine what are appropriate regulation on the types of guns. He specifically cites "United States v. Miller" (a case concerning the transport across state lines of a sawed-off shotgun) which found that original intent of the 2nd Amendment was for "...the sorts of weapons protected were those 'in common use at the time.'" Scalia errs though in using and applying this standard.

If one was to continue to abide by Scalia's 'in common use at the time' standard, one can make the argument that the 15-clip magazine or the military-style assault rifle have now become 'in common use' and thus ownership is Constitutionally protected. Such a standard makes it impossible for effective regulation of technology that the Framers could not have envisioned. Rather the standard should be one of "wholly and sufficient". If the Framers' intent was for personally protection of the home and for an effective deterrent to externally imposed tyranny, then the standard should be one of which type of gun is "wholly and sufficient" for the personal protection of self and home.

And rather than ignore Heller, I think that it is more important to acknowledge its significance because it removes the whole contentious point of Constitutional rights from the discussion. With this settled, we can have the discussion about whether it is in society's interests to restrict concealed weapons, ban assault style weapons, ban large capacity magazines, enact gun registration, and impose gun licensing and taxation. All of these seem to be permitted within the framework of both the Washington State and US Constitutions.

Posted Mon, Dec 24, 8:28 p.m. Inappropriate

So every amendment in the bill of rights grants the citizens rights except for the 2nd one? The 2nd amendment supposedly grants rights to the government to maintain a militia? "The people" in every other amendment means every citizen but in the 2nd "the people" means the government? The bill of rights exists to limit the powers of government in every amendment except for the 2nd one which you claim extends the power of government? This has got to be the stupidest argument I've ever read and considering the fact that the Supreme Court recently ruled against this exact silly argument I can see no reason for publishing this drivel. Other than I suppose to misinform readers. For that exact reason please remove this propaganda piece masquerading as journalism.

Militia = Every able bodied adult not currently in the military
The people = Every American citizen
Bear = To have and to keep
Arms = Guns

Your "If we throw out all the words I don't like then it means this" argument has got to be about the dumbest thing I've ever read on the internet and that says a lot. I'd expect more from a second grader.

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 12:41 p.m. Inappropriate

"... So every amendment in the bill of rights grants the citizens rights except for the 2nd one...?"
----------------------
Not quite. The "rights" come from God.

The Bill of Rights ensures the government doesn't try to take them away. Notice the subject/predicate of every one of the First Ten -- they describe what the government may NOT do.

BobGee

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 1:30 p.m. Inappropriate

Up until the 5-4 decision reinterpreting the 2nd amendment, it provided for states (not the federal government) to maintain militias. Remember Shay's Rebellion

Steve E.

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 6:34 p.m. Inappropriate

Well that's just plain wrong.

The power to maintain and organize militias is granted to the federal government by Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. The power to form militias is provided to the states by the 9th and 10th Amendments.

The 2nd amendment specifically states "the right of the people" not "the right of the states."

Words, they mean things.

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 12:50 a.m. Inappropriate

Merry Christmas everyone, you too DJ.

Djinn

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 2:19 a.m. Inappropriate

This is far and away the worst article I've read in any Seattle publication, print or electronic. Crosscut needs to erase it and hope that no one notices that it was ever published, because they weren't reading the site over Christmas. You should do this not because the author's opinion is wrong, but because your author directly misstated the central fact about the second amendment, and no editor (is there an editor?) caught it.

The U.S. Supreme Court's 2008 District of Columbia et. al. v. Heller decision says the following: "The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."

I didn't like that decision, but it's no less of a fact than yesterday's high and low temperatures are facts. For Crosscut to publish an article that is simply, directly, totally, and unambiguously wrong about the central fact that it deals with is unethical, incompetent, amateurish, outrageous, and laughable. To keep it up will fatally undermine this site's credibility as a source on any subject at all.

Read the decision for yourself. It couldn't possibly be any clearer that the Supreme Court held that the second amendment specifically protects the individual right to possess and use firearms, period. This article is as bad as it gets; it makes Fox News look like amateurs in the propaganda department.

http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/07-290.pdf

If the author wanted to dispute Heller, he should've done so. But to entirely ignore Heller and then state a claim directly contrary to the definitive ruling on the issue by this country's universally acknowledged arbiter of the constitution is so far beyond the pale that it defies understanding or explanation. But, just for grins, it would be kind of interesting to hear just why Crosscut printed this blatant falsehood.

Was the author even aware of Heller before pumping out this garbage collection? Was anyone else at Crosscut aware of Heller? Is there any editorial review at Crosscut? Come on folks, out with it. Are you ignorant? Are you lazy? Are you dishonest? Or are you just incompetent? It's at least one of those things. Which ones? I'm embarrassed for you. For your own sake, Crosscut, pull this article and send the author back to his high school journalism class, and then take a good, hard look at your editorial review process, such as it is. This is inexcusable.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 10:35 a.m. Inappropriate

First, Merry Christmas to everyone.

I submit we honor the lives of the murdered babies and firefighters by having a respectful conversation on this topic. I know it’s a topic that riles emotions. Surely, after these deaths and during this time of year, we can be sober-minded in this conversation.

I disagree with the Court’s decision on Heller. Sometimes, they get things wrong. That 5-4 decision, written by Justice Scalia, went far beyond even the Reagan Administration’s holding of the 2nd Amendment’s meaning.

Scalia’s opinion even went well beyond previous Supreme Court decisions in US v Cruikshank, Presser v Illinois, and US v Miller, which never suggested the 2nd Amendment applied to individuals.

Indeed, this was a perfect example of a conservative’s accusation of “activist judges re-writing the Constitution.” I think few sober minded observers would argue this was a decision built upon previous federal jurisprudence.

It was a decision built upon a re-interpretation of the Constitution.

But, my argument in this column is not about Court decisions. I’ve left Heller aside in the same way I’ve left the myriad state cases on state Constitutions.

In line with the decision in US v Sprague – audaciously cited by Scalia in Heller – we must rely on the common reading of the Constitution.

My article addresses the Constitution, not Scalia's opinion of the Constitution.

In sum, the best way to clarify the Supreme Court’s mistaken decision is to change our Constitution here at home. By clarifying that the right to bear arms is one granted to the people, we can have a more reasoned conversation about what is appropriate and what is not for individuals in a modern society.

And, if a change in the Washington Constitution gets challenged in the US Supreme Court, it’s likely President Obama will have had another 1-2 appointments to the bench.

We’ll see then if the mistake in the Heller decision can be corrected.

DJ Wilson

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 1:22 p.m. Inappropriate

DJ:

Really no offense is intended here. But this is the worst article ever written. No one cares that you think Heller is wrong - or that you spent a summer or two studying international healthcare - or whatever you think you are qualified to do. What is wrong DJ is to publish something that is wholly wrong. Heller confirmed (by any view) that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right. I don't agree with every Supreme Court decision, but I don't publish bullsh@t and try to pass it off as a factual argument. Please delete it, gather your thoughts, let your mom proofread it and we will be nicer to you next time.

Neilsd

neilsd

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 1:49 p.m. Inappropriate

Look, I don't agree with Heller either. But to declare that there's no second-amendment right to individual firearms ownership, without even mentioning the Heller decision much less dealing with it in detail, was utterly ludicrous.

This article has no business on Crosscut. It's not a matter of whether or not I agree with you about guns. Frankly, I didn't get that far. To do that would be like discussing astronomy with someone who never heard of Copernicus. Your article is an insult to the intelligence of your readers, and an embarrassment to Crosscut. You should swallow your pride and take it down.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 3:55 p.m. Inappropriate

Clearly, you didn't read the constitution when you posted this ignorant drivel. Furthermore, you obviously have no knowledge of the Militia acts of 1792 and 1903 which clearly define the militia as every able bodied male between the ages of 17 and 45.

There is nothing to indicate that this was a re-interpretation of the constitution. As stated before, the first 10 amendments, The Bill of Rights, exist to grant rights to THE PEOPLE. You have to be deluded or biased to believe that the second of those amendments gives rights to the government instead.

Posting this false, intentionally dishonest, and insulting piece as news instead of opinion is exactly the sort of thing I have come to expect from Crosscut. Piece after piece is written by authors with axes to grind but without any real knowledge of the subject they intend to preach to us about.

I don't care if it's Christmas or if people have recently been victims of violence. You print blatantly false assumptions with the intent of restricting the liberties of a free people. This article, your editor, and the notion that you are a journalist are laughable at best.
You should remember this the next time you ask for donations from what few readers you have left.

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 3:58 p.m. Inappropriate

I'm not a journalist, root. Don't pretend to be.

Sorry you didn't read the piece before commenting.

DJ Wilson

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 4:37 p.m. Inappropriate

Well at least we agree on something. Sorry the amount of BS in the headline was distracting me from the secondary headline that labeled it an opinion.

Too bad the meat of this piece is still full of glaring inaccuracies. Or are you merely stirring the pot to generate ad revenue?

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 4:56 p.m. Inappropriate

It's obvious you're that not a journalist, or at least not entitled to call yourself one, but that doesn't give you a pass on elementary logic, competence, diligence, or honesty.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 10:41 a.m. Inappropriate

Since the recent school shooting, there is a daily op-ed piece that purports to spell out what the 2nd Amendment means. Many writers wax poetic about the tragedy and how the amendment is being misinterpreted by the NRA.

Here is the cold hard fact: the militia is NOT a governmental body. This amendment was included in the Bill of Rights because some signatories felt there were issues that needed to be spelled out, in detail. They feared that the federal government would overstep its bounds, and there needed to be a check in place to prevent that. The militia was never intended to be answerable to the federals. The National Guard is NOT the militia, contrary to what little the writer knows on this subject.

And the "well regulated" has nothing to do with the federal government putting restrictions on the militia. Regulations were lists or codes drawn up by militia bodies, as to acceptable behavior, the maintenance of equipment, and what training and equipment militiamen were expected to have.

The repeated calls for bans on semi-auto, "military style" rifles? According the amendment, militia men are to be equipped with military arms. Does that mean cannons and anti-aircraft missiles? YES. Do most private organizations have the wherewithal to purchase such weapons? No. But certainly mortars and portable rockets would be within their reach. They were not intended to be a standing army, but a less formal organization, to show up on short notice. More like Apaches, Sioux, or Viet Cong, less like the First Infantry Division.

Sound crazy? Remember, militia men would still be subject to local laws and civil litigation if they misbehaved. And regulations would require those militia arms to be kept secure until such time as they were needed, not stashed under a bed or in a car trunk.

This goes beyond any SCOTUS ruling. Politicians and special interest groups, that think they can simply OUTLAW violence, will be around for a long time. But the Bill of Rights was written for a specific purpose. If one believes that narrow interpretation of the 2nd Amendment will further their political agendas, remember, the other amendments can be re-interpreted along the same lines. It's been said that people should only be able to purchase muskets, in line with the 18th century, so it's not a stretch to say that the First Amendment only applies †o printed or spoken words, and not †he internet. Or that quartering troops does not apply to paramilitary organizations. Or that trial without cross-examination of witnesses or evidence should be acceptable. Short term interests will be the undoing of our country if such is the case.

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 4:16 p.m. Inappropriate

Does that mean cannons and anti-aircraft missiles?

NO - at least not according to what Antonin Scalia told Fox News Sunday last July:

"Obviously the Amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried — it’s to keep and “bear,” so it doesn’t apply to cannons."

Stinger missiles and RPGs? Disturbingly, yes.

Patriot missiles and field artillery? Gratefully, no.

Of course, the logical extension here is that a 'suitcase nuke' passes constitutional muster... Highlighting the insanity of 'strict construction' interpretations of our governing document.

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 9:57 a.m. Inappropriate

Clearly the Second Amendment is about protection, not aggression. It's awfully hard to defend a home, a neighborhood, or even a town with a nuclear weapon, because in using the weapon one would have to destroy that which he claims to be protecting. It's a weapon designed to inflict damage that has an impact on a national scale. On that basis alone, it's doubtful that one could claim it as protected by the Second Amendment.

dbreneman

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 1:46 p.m. Inappropriate

On the contrary, if your neighborhood is being attacked by the "militia" (i.e. any able bodied adult) from another neighborhood, obliteration of their neighborhood is perfectly defensive. For that matter, one could argue that a massive proliferation of personal nuclear weapons leading to a situation of MAD where no one dares use one is also defensive. After all, both the US and Soviet Union were armed with enough nukes to kill off not only the opposing power but themselves during any war. And I'm utterly confident that the politicians who ran those countries then and those who run them now are convinced that these weapons would only be used defensively. The NRA doctrine of "the more weapons the safer" inevitably leads to the conclusion that there are never enough weapons and that every citizen having a portable weapon capable of destroying the entire planet would result in maximum personal safety for everyone. Of course, little Johnny can't have his own nuke until he passes the NRA safety course.

Which brings to mind a question I have:
Were Nancy and Adam Lanza members of the NRA?
Notice that the NRA has evaded this subject entirely.

Steve E.

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 6:44 p.m. Inappropriate

Your twisting of the meaning of words speaks volumes to your ignorance and/or dishonesty. If your neighborhood was attacked, it would not be by militia, it would be by criminals. Nuking another neighborhood is not a defensive act. Even when we nuked Japan, we did not claim it was in defense. We clearly went on the offense on that one.

Finally your last question is as relevant as asking if Colin Ferguson, Tim McVeigh, or the Clackamas mall shooter were Democratic voters. Why hasn't Nancy Pelosi answered this question?

Posted Thu, Dec 27, 10:05 a.m. Inappropriate

As a satirist, Steve E needs a little more practice.

dbreneman

Posted Thu, Dec 27, 9:02 a.m. Inappropriate

Super Steve -

As someone who did physics experiments in college with radioactive materials, I can tell you the 'suitcase nuke' is just a Hollywood prop and no more. It's also become a scare scenario used by the 'security' industrial complex.

In college, we had shielding that weighed over 100 lb just to protect us from the radiation of a tiny spec of radioactive material.

A 'suitcase nuke' with any quantity of material would weigh hundreds of pounds. Calling it a 'pallet nuke' might be more accurate in that it would have to be carted around by a forklift. And without the shielding, anyone near such a device would be sick from radiation in fairly short order.

Don't be like the girl who met the 'French model' on the internet. A suitcase nuke is about as real as a key to the Midway.

Posted Sun, Dec 30, 9 p.m. Inappropriate

I wrote 'suitcase nuke' as shorthand so as to not get too technical or wonky, but there ARE the functional equilibants of suitcase nukes that were deployed by the US Army in Europe during the Cold War, and likely the Soviets as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suitcase_nuke

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 5:21 p.m. Inappropriate

Aside from the back-and-forth above, I couldn't take the article seriously because there were so many sentences and phrases that simply didn't make sense.

One glaring example: "One lesson was that if only one side is armed, 'unilateral disarmament' leads to tyranny."

No. Only one side being armed IS tyranny. Or you could phrase it several other ways that would work equally well. But if you're trying to make a point, do it with clarity. Then people may disagree with your point, but respect you as a writer. One out of two is better than nothing.

sarah90

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 8:28 p.m. Inappropriate

Credibility or dishonest activism; CrossCut has to decide which it values more.

If this article stays up for more than another day, then their choice is clear.

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 1:47 p.m. Inappropriate

Leave it to the Gun Nuts:
The only part of the Bill of Rights they recognize is the 2nd amendment.

Steve E.

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 4:59 p.m. Inappropriate

Leave it to the self-righteous Seattle "progressives." Their defense against an utterly ridiculous article is, "Hey, I'm not a journalist, so I shouldn't have to make sense."

NotFan

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 9:33 p.m. Inappropriate

I'm pretty sure SCOTUS has ruled that the 2nd Amendment says gun ownership is my right as a citizen of the US of A.

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 10:26 p.m. Inappropriate

You are absolutely correct.

NotFan

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 9:43 a.m. Inappropriate

For the author's interpretation of the Second Amendment to hold, we must stipulate that the phrase "the People" means something entirely different in the Second Amendment than it does in the rest of the body of the Constitution. Our founders simply did not use language so casually or arbitrarily. The idea that the Second Amendment protects the military, and not the people as a whole, also flies in the face of the purpose of the Bill of Rights: To protect the people from their government's lust for power. It's awfully hard to take the author's interpretation as anything other than wishful thinking.

dbreneman

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 10:47 a.m. Inappropriate

I wrote newspaper opinion for some 20 years and I sure as heck considered myself a journalist. If Mr. Wilson is "not a journalist," then what is he and why couldn't Crosscut find a real journalist to write for them on such a citical, controversial subject? And what does that qualifier "I am not a journalist" mean -- that he is not required to be accurate, or to base his opinon on fact, that he gets a pass on researching the subject upon which he presumes to opine?
It has long been my understanding that the purpose of the Constitution (and the amendments thereto) was to set limits on the federal government, not to bequeath rights upon (or deny rights to) its citizens.
As dbreneman points out above, the Second Amendment's reference to "the right of the people" to keep an bear arms,like references to freedom of speech, religion and the press, is reference to a pre-existing right and the point of the Amendment is to make clear that the new federal government could not infringe on that right.
To disagre with that is to argue that until the Constitution's creation the people did not have a right to keep and bear arms and that such a right came into existance only when it was granted them by the Constitution and only under circumstances spelled out by the Amendment, which is patent nonsense.

shapz

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 11:49 a.m. Inappropriate

Many herein overlook an important concept. Rights are not "granted" by the Constitution. It is assumed that if a government has the power to grant a "right" that it has the power to negate that "right" therefore it cannot be a "right." This is the concept demonstrated in the Declaration of Independence: " We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--"

The Second Amendment merely states a biblical truth that men have a right to self protection from foreign invasion via a militia or military and from those would harm or steal via individual action with a weapon.

DJ. Most of the Bill of rights are included in one form or another in all the state constitutions. Said Constitutions do not recognize that the US Constitution does not apply to the individual as you incorrectly surmise.

Frankly DJ, your diatribe is one of the most erroneous pieces of clap trap I have ever read on the subject. You are not only uninformed you are misinformed.

brerfox

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 4:41 p.m. Inappropriate

A "biblical truth," no less!

"And Jesus said to the multitudes, go forth and spew bullets from your AK47."

Jeez, between this outrageously stupid article and some of the outrageously ridiculous comments, it's easy to understand why most people avoid gun control debates.

NotFan

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 3:31 p.m. Inappropriate

I would much appreciate having someone who favors the indiviidual's right to bear arms explain for me why we need the first 13 letters of the 2nd Amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, .......". Those who wrote the 1st Amendment apparently didn't feel the need to justify it with a phrase such as: "To ensure the full benefits of Freedom ....." nor did those who wrote the 4th Amendment feel that an introduction such as "To ensure any individual's privacy ......." was needed.

busterg

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 4:45 p.m. Inappropriate

Okey-doke, let's call your bluff. Go read the U.S. Supreme Court's Heller decision. It answers your question in excruciating detail.

http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/07-290.pdf

NotFan

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 9:48 p.m. Inappropriate

NotFan:

Though I have no idea how you could characterize my request as a "bluff", I took your suggestion and read the relevant part of Heller. I remain as uncertain as before regarding why the first 13 letters of the 2nd amendment are there, if not for an "operative" purpose, to use the Supreme Court's language.

Surely, you could help those of us who are ignorant on this matter.

busterg

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 10:23 p.m. Inappropriate

I consider it a "bluff" because I don't think you're remotely interested in the answer. I don't agree with Heller, but that decision answered your question over and over. If redundancy is genius, then Heller's answers to your question amounted to brilliance. The fact that you (or I) don't like the answer(s), doesn't mean you didn't get one (actually, many).

I'm not going to bother to restate the answers in the opinion, because it's obvious that you will call any answer you don't like "not an answer."

NotFan

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 5:45 p.m. Inappropriate

As I am proudly, what some refer to as a left wing nut. Let me make this statement. I am 100%in favor of the second amendment as it is currently interpreted.

Stricter gun control laws will not remedy mass killings and other such craziness.

My personal concern is my government. George W. Bush started to unravel the Constitution during his tenure, Illegal searches and seizures increased. Or, at least what was once considered illegal two decades before increased.

I am in fear of the right wing or our government. Let them “help us be safe” and we will surrender all our rights as citizens. Homeland Security is just such a vehicle to accomplish this task. If a revolution is necessary and that is what it the intent of the second amendment, all us lefties will be the ones who need to rise up. Remember, our National Guard will work at the behest of our government.

I place most emphisis in the small phrase “free state.” If Hitler would have faced a well-armed left wing perhaps, he might not have come to power. I keep hearing how laws will protect us. This is an idea based on the theory that those who will enforce the laws will be civilized and law abiding. We have witnessed police riots in the late 60s, this by the ones who have taken an oath to uphold the law. We have seen lawyers who take an oath to uphold the law, twist it to meet corporate favor, similar as to when the Supreme Court established corporations as citizens with the same rights as an individual.

The answer to mass killings lies in better control of those with mental problems, which might include institutionalization of these people. It will require better healthcare for all, not just those with money to purchase healthcare. Moreover, it will require all of us to look to our values and demand better behavior of those who flaunt the law.

Posted Wed, Dec 26, 10:30 p.m. Inappropriate

I hate it when people can't distinguish between flout and flaunt, which are typically antonyms.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Dec 27, 10:23 a.m. Inappropriate

The sentence makes perfect sense as written. There's a world of difference between the modern concept of legality and the traditional concept of justice.

dbreneman

Posted Thu, Dec 27, 11:54 a.m. Inappropriate

My bad,you are quite correct. I got lazy and let spell-check correct me without looking closely.

Posted Thu, Dec 27, 8:43 a.m. Inappropriate

I have to say I find it rather ironic that the gun loving readers who embrace the 2nd amendment don't respect the right of free speech.

If Crosscut wants to publish this article, let them publish it. Isn't that their right????

Posted Thu, Dec 27, 10:24 a.m. Inappropriate

It's not that we think Crosscut doesn't have the right to publish what they want. It's that we think a "news" organization owes it to the public to print articles that contain factual information instead of taking one person's opinion and claiming that their misunderstandings of the subject at hand are the facts.

The author makes one false assumption after another and claims them to be facts. We are simply pointing out the lack of journalistic integrity, the lack of editorial oversight, and the clearly biased agenda of the writer.

This article started with the equivalent of "2+2=68" and then doubled down on the BS. It's our right to correct said BS lest others without knowledge of the subject mistakenly believe the authors "facts."

Posted Thu, Dec 27, 12:13 p.m. Inappropriate

Huh? Who here has disputed Crosscut's right to publish this drivel?

NotFan

Posted Fri, Dec 28, 5:15 a.m. Inappropriate

It's called a straw man.

Posted Thu, Dec 27, 2:39 p.m. Inappropriate

NotFan -

Here are your quotes from earlier:

"This article has no business on Crosscut."

"Your article is an insult to the intelligence of your readers, and an embarrassment to Crosscut. "

You further say Crosscut should remove the article from its web site. Nonsense. It very CLEARLY says in the header of the article, "Guest Opinion". This is not a news article. It's an OPINION PIECE. Do you understand the difference? Crosscut, like any legitimate publishing operation, allows people to submit articles in their own name. They put it out as an OPINION piece and let the author take the hits.

To me, one of the most disturbing and almost anti-American trends taking place in America today is the 'right' that some people seem to think they have to disallow any debate on topics THEY don't agree with. That seems to be what you're saying NotFan. You disagree. So rather than discuss it, you prefer that some higher power censor the author and remove it from the website.

Posted Thu, Dec 27, 5:16 p.m. Inappropriate

If someone doesn't base opinions on fact, then his opinion is worthless and his publisher forfeits his credibility. The article is no less propagandistic than any of the drivel I see on Fox "News." But Fox and Crosscut certainly have the right to publish drivel.

NotFan

Posted Fri, Dec 28, 10:14 a.m. Inappropriate

"To me, one of the most disturbing and almost anti-American trends taking place in America today is the 'right' that some people seem to think they have to disallow any debate on topics THEY don't agree with."


You talk about political correctness as if it's something that's just come about in the last few years. It's been with us for almost three decades.

dbreneman

Posted Thu, Dec 27, 8:16 p.m. Inappropriate

NotFan -

You're completely misunderstanding the entire publishing process. How do you fact check an opinion piece? It's the author's opinion!!!

If the facts are wrong, then it's the author's burden. That's the whole beauty of opinion pieces. You can submit a piece as an author and not have to worry about the company censoring your words.

I guess Kudos to David Brewster and the whole crew at Crosscut that you give them the same weight as the Fox Channel.

Posted Fri, Dec 28, 1:09 p.m. Inappropriate

Opinions unconnected to facts are worthless. Publishers ought to check any assertions of fact, regardless of the nature of an article, and should require that any article be logical, coherent, and germane to the points made.

I don't give Crosscut the same weight as Fox. You need to read better, and to think more clearly.

NotFan

Posted Sat, Dec 29, 9:23 a.m. Inappropriate

Here are some statistics regarding homicides and gun violence. New York City is 3 times bigger than Chicago yet had fewer homicides in 2012. No NRA gun advocate is going to convince any New Yorker that having everyone armed in the subways in going to make you safer. It's such a patently stupid idea to think that more guns is going to lead to less gun violence. More guns = More death = More violence

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/28/chicago-crime-statistics-new-york

New York City announced that 2012 was the safest on record, with 414 homicides beating the previous low of 471 in 2009.

Chicago, meanwhile, at about a third the size of NYC proper, drew near its 500th homicide of the year.

Guns accounted for 237 of New York City homicides in 2012, the mayor's office said. Chicago had counted 424 gun homicides by the end of last week.

The two cities are fighting different crime problems. Gun traffic in Chicago far exceeds that in New York City, where police commissioner Ray Kelly said 800 illegal handguns were removed from the streets in 2012.

Posted Sun, Dec 30, 8:29 p.m. Inappropriate

The Mayan Calendar made more sense then this drivel.

Djinn

Posted Wed, Jan 2, 5:45 a.m. Inappropriate

It's too bad you consider the effort to reduce gun violence and gun rampages like the killing of 26 kids in their school drivel.

Posted Fri, Jan 4, 5:45 p.m. Inappropriate

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