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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2002 6:33 pm 
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My favorite topic.

Since the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution (henceforth referred to as the Constitution) seems to be the crux of the debate, I'll post that up here and give my interpretation of it. Then we can fight about it.

The Second Amendment is: <b> 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.</b>

First of all, the Second Amendment does <i>not</i> exist so that citizens can protect themselves from assault by petty criminals (or, in this day and age, terrorists). That's a useful side effect (statistics show that a higher percentage of violent criminals are driven off by their armed victims than are actually arrested by the police, in parts of the United States where concealed weapons are legal and common), but at the time of the Constitution's framing, it simply wasn't an issue. The Second Amendment was included in the Constitution to facilitate one thing, and that is the formation of citizen militias.

That doesn't mean the National Guard, even though that's how it's mostly construed by current politicians. It means something closer to the armies that fought the American side of the American Revolution; well-armed, semi-independent groups of ordinary citizens, capable of acting on their own against foreign invaders or an oppressive government.

Those that prattle on about how a citizen militia would be useless in this age of tanks, nuclear missiles and jet fighters don't know what they're talking about. Infantry, in large numbers and with a solid knowledge of the terrain, can be extremely effective against vastly better-equipped forces... <i>if</i> they have weapons capable of affecting said forces. The canonical example is Vietnam, but I think a better one is Finland during and after the Second World War. That's where the Molotov cocktail was invented, folks.

The weapons are the tough part. Macgyver demolitions can get you reasonably far, but the fact of the matter is that hunting rifles and homemade booby traps aren't very effective against troops armed with assault rifles and fragmentation grenades. The solution? Allowing truly unrestricted freedom to bear arms. This wouldn't be as disasterous from a crime-fighting standpoint as is commonly imagined. Criminals generally want to be able to kill unarmored targets at close range with little training, a task ill-suited to the vast majority of military-grade weapons (with the exception of handheld submachine guns... but, as KC mentioned a while ago, those can also be obtained by citizens or criminals) but much better suited to commonly available weapons such as shotguns. Let's take rocket launchers such as the Russian RPG-7 as an example. They are almost totally useless as far as assaulting <i>people</i> goes (while they make very big explosions, they take extremely long to load and fire, and the ammunition is both heavy and bulky), but are very well suited to destroying tanks or helicopters with a bit of training and ingenuity. I don't see the police or private citizens using many of either, but the oppressive governments and foreign invaders that I mentioned very likely would. Assault rifles are similar; they are designed to wound at long ranges rather than kill at short, making them less useful for murderers or terrorists but more so for battlefield use (1 wounded man=3 men taken out of the opposing force, while 1 dead man=1 man taken out). I don't think the United States government is oppressive enough to warrant open revolt (yet), and the likelihood of foreign invasion seems extremely low, but I'd much rather be safe than sorry.

Another common argument against the Second Amendment is that of bringing up accidental gun-related deaths, or gun deaths in children. I personally hate these arguments (anyone bringing up the "safety of the children", in particular, deserves several steel-toed boots to the head), but they should probably be brought up anyway, given their frequency of discussion.

Accidental gun-related deaths are unfortunate, but they are not the fault of the gun, they are the fault of the owner. A gun is a device specifically designed to put large holes in things at a moment's notice; it is dangerous to its user, because it is dumb and does not bother to check its target before firing. A gun owner that fails to recognize this is an idiot and deserves whatever he gets. Cleaning or repairing a gun without checking to see that it is not loaded and that the safety is on is about as intelligent as trying to fix faulty wiring in one's basement, during a thunderstorm, while standing in eight inches of water, without shutting off the power first.

A similar argument applies to child deaths related to guns. Setting aside for a moment the issue of the 16-year-old trying to get props from his gang by capping off a rival gang member, children do not obtain guns on their own. They get them from parents or other relatives, who have a very strong responsibility to educate their offspring in the use and respect of firearms. Failure to do so is not the fault of the gun or its manufacturer; if one child kills another while playing cops and robbers with live ammunition, the parents should be held responsible, because they are.

Then there's concealed weapons, which should really be an entirely separate issue. It's impossible to conceal a rifle that can effectively kill a man at 1000 meters or a rocket launcher capable of penetrating the roof armor on an M1 Abrams. Can't be done. This turns the argument over concealed weapons into an argument over carrying guns for the express purpose of attacking or defending oneself against one's fellow citizens, which suddenly makes the arguments by anti-gun nuts a lot more accurate and reasonable. I do think I should have the right to bear concealed handguns (although I don't really need it; that's why I've been taking martial arts for seven years), but the licencing and registration requirements seem perfectly reasonable and I support them. Waiting periods do seem unnecessarily cumbersome, and I don't welcome anything that spawns a "background check" (even though I have nothing to hide), but that's more personal opinion than personal ideological dogma.

As a final note, I believe that education in the proper use of firearms is an essential for all gun owners, their children and indeed anyone else that might handle a firearm in their life. Education leads to responsibility; I for one would feel much safer around an American Marine with an M-16 than a cheerleader with a one-shot .22 derringer, simply because the Marine knows exactly what he is carrying and how not to use it. I've heard it said that our culture is a bad one for owning firearms. Well, if that's the case, we can change it. If you want to own a gun to appear badass or get props from your friends, you have serious problems.

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Pyromancer on 2002-11-08 18:06 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2002 6:43 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2002 7:23 pm 
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Amen to that one, Pyro.

You tell 'em. ^^


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2002 7:35 pm 
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I have a simpler justification for the 2nd amendment. If we ban arms in the U.S, they'll just get smuggled in anyway, so the ban will only effect the people who own firearms for sport and for protection. I seriously doubt in this age of sunburn missles, neutron bombs, death-lasers and nuclear submarines that a militia would be able to stop anybody from oppressing anything, no matter how well-armed.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2002 7:55 pm 
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Nuclear missiles, death-rays, et cetera are not useful for conquest. Who wants to govern a smoking, radioactive crater? They're only useful for annihilating large civilian populations, or for reprisal or terror attacks in the event of a war (as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki). The point of a citizen militia is to provide effective resistance, not to take over the world. Also bear in mind that weapons of that scale haven't been used since WWII and likely won't be until the next world war (if it ever happens, which I hope it won't).

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2002 8:08 pm 
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Not true. I think the Nazis actually were able to successfully use chemical weapons to advance - and we've been using biological weapons since the middle ages (throw plauge infested corpses into a siege and see what happens.) And neutron bombs are the next level of that - they're DESIGNED to only kill humans and other forms of life - they leave the buildings and the belongings standing. The only problem is that they're explicitly banned by the Geneva Protocol(?) - there development came AFTER the age of imperialism ended, so we've never really seen them in practical use. If any of that shit were put in the hands of a third party terrorist faction it would be pure mayhem - the major powers cannot use those kinds of weapons even if they wanted to because they'd be severely "reprimanded" (bombed the heck out of) if they violated the treaty. The whole M.A.D. thing is what's really been stopping expansionism of the major powers - that's why we keep getting into wars will B.S. little wussy countries with no nukes.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2002 9:00 pm 
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Well, you didn't mention chemical weapons originally. They're something of a special case; even tear gas is a chemical weapon, if a rather mild and commonly used one.

Nukes, biological weapons, and such have several disadvantages from the perspective of an aggressive nation, and are completely useless to a totalitarian government attempting to exert force over its citizens.

Nukes (including neutron bombs) are expensive and very hard to make. This means they're only cost-effective against very large population centers. They're also very much a taboo as far as making war goes; if a nation uses nukes now, it's very likely that other nations will be drawn into the conflict. No one wants that, so nukes aren't used.

More importantly, though, guerrila warfare is inherently decentralized. This makes nukes singularly ineffective in combatting it; the only thing I can think of that they would be useful for is the threat of nuking a major city if guerrila attacks don't cease, and that would be such a horrendous violation of international law that I frankly can't see it being used outside of a world war.

Biological warfare is similar to nukes, but even more dangerous and even more circumscribed by international law. It was effective in siege warfare because a city under siege is an innately hedged environment; you can wait for the plague to run its course inside the city. But warfare hasn't followed clearly defined borders for fifty years, making tactical (as opposed to strategic) biological weapons almost as dangerous to the attacker as the victims.

Of course, this all assumes a war being run at a tactical rather than strategic level; all bets are off if you have two major powers lobbing nukes and anthrax bugs at each other from distances of thousands of miles, but the type of militia warfare I described would be ineffective at that level anyway.

I agree that letting any serious NBCI weapons into the hands of terrorists would be an incredibly bad idea, but terrorism isn't really the focus of this debate; if you want to talk about it, make your own thread.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2002 9:14 pm 
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Well, when you consider that all of the major powers check each other using such powerful weapons of destruction, it's really difficult to imagine the necessity of the U.S. having a militia - the big countries with the big armies won't attack out of sheer fear, and the little countries don't have enough power to launch a ground attack. I find it difficult to imagine what use a militia could have in this day and age - we have a professional mercenary army already, and tons of law enforcement agencies.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2002 9:22 pm 
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I can answer that in one word. Fascism.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2002 12:06 am 
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Well, Pyro put it perfectly, the only thing I can add is that I heard that in the old days, the militia was considered every man woman and child in the nation. So if that was the case then the 2nd amendment allowed everyone to have a gun.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2002 2:59 pm 
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On 2002-11-08 20:22, Pyromancer wrote:
I can answer that in one word. Fascism.


the problem is tho, people <I>love</I> fascism, you're talking about authoritarianism witch is really what the right to bear arms is about stopping, fascism by it's nature is a popular political movement based on grass roots support, authoritarianism however is the whole 'top 1%' ruling class idea, backed up by threats of violence, sanctions etc against the masses

in a authoritarian society, only the ruling classes private police force have guns and are free to impose teh will of their masters on a defenceless population, in fascism the people's militas are most likely to be the actual hardcore centre of the national/party armed forces

note how many groups who promote the freedom to bear arms are right wing, many heading into the far end of the scale including full fascist/neo-nazi groups armed to the teeth in defence agains the Zionist controlled fedral government, surely if this were a issue of freedom, then the left would be just as, if not more behind de-regulation?

(all without my own opinions gettign in teh way, yet)

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2002 7:42 pm 
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On 2002-11-10 13:59, ollie wrote:

the problem is tho, people <I>love</i> fascism, you're talking about authoritarianism witch is really what the right to bear arms is about stopping, fascism by it's nature is a popular political movement based on grass roots support, authoritarianism however is the whole 'top 1%' ruling class idea, backed up by threats of violence, sanctions etc against the masses


Point. I should really have said "totalitarianism", a broader and more accurate term.

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in a authoritarian society, only the ruling classes private police force have guns and are free to impose teh will of their masters on a defenceless population, in fascism the people's militas are most likely to be the actual hardcore centre of the national/party armed forces


True; however, said militias tend to be absorbed into the government as time goes on. Example: Hitler's brownshirts.

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note how many groups who promote the freedom to bear arms are right wing, many heading into the far end of the scale including full fascist/neo-nazi groups armed to the teeth in defence agains the Zionist controlled fedral government, surely if this were a issue of freedom, then the left would be just as, if not more behind de-regulation?

(all without my own opinions gettign in teh way, yet)



The political left has never been about freedom. It's about comfort, especially for the working class and the poor, to be provided by the government, at the expense of everyone else if necessary.

Of course, far-right groups are usually as opposed to freedom as an absolute as the left is; they just tend to want morality, rather than comfort, to be provided by the government, and therefore don't mind popular gun ownership.

The only people who want personal freedom on both the moral and social ends of things are (surprise, surprise) the libertarians, who (again, surprise, surprise) do in fact tend to be gun nuts. Unfortunately, they (we) tend to be a rare breed when compared to the right and left wings.

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Pyromancer on 2002-11-10 18:43 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 1:02 am 
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On 2002-11-10 18:42, Pyromancer wrote:
The political left has never been about freedom. It's about comfort, especially for the working class and the poor, to be provided by the government, at the expense of everyone else if necessary.


But who else is there besides the working classes and the poor that needs said comfort? The rich? The rich have, in every society except possibly Communism (but that's another topic), been able to take care of themselves, simply by definition. How are the rich actually hurt by higher taxes to benefit the poor? My uncle is the president of an insurance company, and he seems to have no problem making ends meet. The left has simply said, "Okay, taking more money (even a substantial, high amount of money) away from the richest people in the richest nations in the world can't really hurt them much at all, and said money can really help the poor/middle class. In other words, a fourth house and second cars for each kid are less important than feeding, educating, and integrating into society literally hundreds of people, and are ultimately less benefitial to the rich."

I'm not sure if this argument has already been made and disproven, or if this even has any relevance to gun control (I guess it doesn't), but that has really bugged me for awhile, so there ya go.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 5:17 am 
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I am opposed to wealth redistribution in principle. Need is not an entitlement and it should never be one, and just because you have a lot of wealth does not mean your property rights deserve be abrogated. I am not rich by any means, but I do not desire any loot at the expence of my richer neighbors, just as I do not want any loot from the poorer. I just want to earn money on my own and be left alone.

SO THIS IS MY MESSAGE TO THE LIBERALS: LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE AND TAKE YOUR PROJECTS ELSEWHERE!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 7:42 am 
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Dead Horse, commence beating.

In Australia we outlawed Semi-Automatics ages ago. I think the reasoning behind keeping guns to prevent foreign invaders is a bit ridiculous, your country has 300 million people, short of nuclear strikes controling that many people is next to impossible for any army on Earth, unless India, China and Japan force conscription on every man and woman over 21.
The logistics of invading America from any military means are so close to impossible without Canada's aide and even then its still significantly difficult to move troops, resources and tanks over the northern border in a united push.

The other point about overthrowing an oppressive government is a bit stupid, when government officials do as little as humanly possible to reduce gun ownership, introducing a waiting period, background checks etc are good starts but not really enough. They are basically the ones shoving guns down your throats, so why would you overthrow them? The presense of pro-gun lobby groups taken into account your leaders love the guns.

If anyones' read the book <a href = "http://www.cybamuse.com/books/sf/clark.htm#trigger"> The Trigger </a>by Arthur C. Clark and Michael Kube-McDowell its a pretty cool story about a technology which destoys guns and the impact on people everywhere. I thought it was pretty good.

Actor.

<i>Im going to stand in that corner over there with the other bleeding heart liberals, of course in Australia the Liberals are a conservative party so that makes me a conservative with a bleeding heart therefore I am more confused than usual.</i>

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 11:00 am 
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Guns are here to stay. If we make them illegal then only the criminals will have guns. Nuff said.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 11:10 am 
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On 2002-11-08 18:35, veritron wrote:
I have a simpler justification for the 2nd amendment. If we ban arms in the U.S, they'll just get smuggled in anyway, so the ban will only effect the people who own firearms for sport and for protection. I seriously doubt in this age of sunburn missles, neutron bombs, death-lasers and nuclear submarines that a militia would be able to stop anybody from oppressing anything, no matter how well-armed.



If I remember right the Afganis kicked the piss out of the Russians, one of the most advanced armies in the world at the time...


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 11:15 am 
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This is fun. I take the more extremeist yet ration points of view from nearly every side of the debate and mix them together to get my own brand of libertarianism.

Guns aren't always good. The right kind of gun however... Basically I see no need for the common man to have automatic weapons, armor piercing weapons and the like. Big high powered guns? Sure! We have some of the biggest game animals in this country. Elephants are the only bigger I believe (where else do you hunt animals with head the size of a good sized mans torso?). So you NEED a big gun to go hunting in some places.

As for the militia arguement. After we invade Canada and Mexico and make them states 51-60 (puerto rico can be 61) THEN you can ban some more guns and leave me with my hunting implements...

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 11:54 am 
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With automatic weapons getting into the hands of criminals, I think that we should let law abiding people have them too. You have to keep up with the times, you know.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 12:39 pm 
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Well, to be fair, places that basically ban gun ownership (austrailia) have significantly less crime rates than when they were legal.

I'm still for gun ownership. I'm hardly a gun nut, but I do plan on owning a gun for personal reasons. Frankly, cops here are overworked as is, and I doubt there could be a better way to protect myself from home invasion (which has happened to me a few times.)

Whats sad is when you have a bunch of essensially radical parties of one side, and your only choice is to say how radical you are. I don't think thats how a democracy was planned out to work.

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