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?
"... a post-moral society cannot by definition tell the difference between good and evil..."
  • Brucehenry

    You make some good points in this article, some of which you hadn’t made before, but would be better served without the dismissive condescension (“Davy” Robertson) and the triumphalist tone (“Davy’s” post was “eviscerated” by yours — ha ha no it wasn’t, yours was a recitation of rephrased standard gun-rights boilerplate, this one’s much better).

    • Retired military

      As far as David’s post goes, Scalia was true when pointing out that David did not address or even respond to (at least I didn’t see it) any of numerous valid points brought up against his argument. People for gun control very rarely do. Also as I stated if the laws on the books would be enforced then maybe we wouldn’t have as big a problem as we do (the same goes with immigration).

    • You make no on topic points in your comment.



  • pennywit

    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?

    It’s worth noting that the Supreme Court on Monday denied certiorari in two cases challenging assault-weapon bans in New York and Connecticut. This action left those bans in place. This follows a more general pattern of the Supreme Court avoiding Second Amendment issues since the Heller decision.

    I’m not going to get into the legal or policy niceties here, but it appears that an assault-weapons ban, depending on how restrictive it is, would likely pass constitutional muster.

    • Still…

      • pennywit

        Rodney is easily the only moderator I’ve come across who pours gasoline on flame wars rather than trying to put them out. Rod, from here on out, I’ll engage you if you are polite and have something substantive to say. If you’re impolite and nonsubstantive, I’m going to ignore you.

    • Scalia

      Although I wouldn’t be surprise if the court upheld such a ban, I would most certainly disagree with it. Their kicking the can down the road is not an indicator how they’ll vote if they ever address it, but I have little doubt that a Hillary court will overturn Heller.

    • Jwb10001

      Should one assume the Court sees banning weapons as a states issue? If so that’s probably a good thing (at least until Tex or OK ban abortion after 5 weeks.) On the other hand what if say, New York decided to ban any weapon that holds more than 1 round? Will the Court be able to say ok it’s a state issue? When there are no clear lines how does one control the government? I see nothing to distinguish the ar-15 from anything else other than some classification created to make them illegal. All these government actions have consequences, if I were a manufacturer of an “assault rifle” I would simply take off the do dads (add a wooden stock etc) and go right on selling the same gun, would the ban then actually be effective? As has been pointed out time and time again, why not hand guns? They kill far more people than assault rifles are we interested in saving lives or is the government interested in putting it’s very large foot in the door.

      • pennywit

        Should one assume the Court sees banning weapons as a states issue?

        Take a look at McDonald v. Chicago.

        • Jwb10001

          So my quick review I see that the court said that the 2ond amendment applies to state and local governments. Then to me this decision is out of line with that one. If the court does not see these issues as state’s rights issues then this non ruling looks like an endorsement of the state’s ban on a weapon. How do we square that, am I missing something? It looks to me like the court passed on an opportunity to address limitations of the 2ond amendment and either strike them down or “make ” them constitutional. In this case the very limitations we’re all struggling with. Do they wait until congress creates some 2000 page bill no one understand to make a ruling?

  • Brucehenry

    Also what many gun rights advocates ignore is that their argument that guns are necessary to prevent government tyranny is undercut by the fact that many of them are the same ones proclaiming, laughably, that EVERYTHING is “tyranny.”

    The ACA is “tyranny.” Common Core is “tyranny.” Universal standard building codes are “tyranny.”

    Posting pictures putting President Obama in the same category as Stalin and Hitler lol.

    The over-the-top rhetoric employed by the Right in recent years makes many Americans more fearful of armed nutjobs than a “tyrannical” government. They have only themselves to blame.

    • Retired military

      Arguments on both sides generally miss the point I brought up in the last thread.
      Honest people are gonna be honest people. Thugs are gonna be thugs.
      You can give an honest person a nuke, a howitzer, automatic weapons, grenades, mortars, etc and chances are very high that no one will get hurt.
      You can give a thug a butter knife and chances are very high someone will get hurt.
      You can say “Yeah but we can make it harder for a thug to get a butter knife”
      True. But then we can make it harder for rapists to rape by bundling everyone up in hermetically sealed titanium underwear. We can almost make sure that no hijackers can sneak weapons onto planes by flying naked (It would probably cut down on the lines at the airport too). We can reduce deaths via automobile (which are more than gun deaths every year) by putting governors on cars to ensure they don’t go faster than 2 miles per hour.
      Saying that no one (other than govt personnel) can own an AR15 because you don’t need it to hunt deer is like saying no one should have a Porsche because a Gremlin (remember those) would get you to work just as easily or we can just have everyone ride bicycles..

      • Red Five

        What was Ted Kennedy’s favorite libation? Chivas? If it’s good enough for him, shouldn’t it be good enough for John F’n Kerry?

    • Retired military

      “Posting pictures putting President Obama in the same category as Stalin and Hitler lol.
      The over-the-top rhetoric employed by the Right”

      • Retired military


        • Retired military

          and this

          • Retired military

            and don’t forget

          • Retired military

            Along with

          • Retired military

            Then we have

          • Retired military

            Who could forget

          • Retired military


          • Retired military

            Had enough yet

          • Retired military

            Last one

        • Retired military

          Then there is

          • Retired military

            And we have

          • Brucehenry

            Dude no one denies that there is over the top rhetoric on both sides. My point was that many of the same people shouting “TYRANNY!!!” all the time about every little thing are the same ones loudly proclaiming that they need military weapons to defend themselves and America against a “tyrannical” government.

            I’m less scared of the US army than I am a militia of armed-to-the-teeth wingnuts who want to impose their version of ‘Murrica on the rest of us.

            Like you guys are always saying about the “race card” the “tyranny card” is about played out. Honest reasonable conservatives concerned about gun rights get conflated with guys like those Bundy idiots.

          • Retired military

            “the same people shouting “TYRANNY!!!” all the time about every little thing ”
            You mean things like this Bruce?

            Trigger statements
            Safe spaces
            White privilege
            Remove grades lower than a C in college

            This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love! In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

            No tests in college
            Transgender men going into shower and toilet facilities with young girls (that they aren’t related to)

            Shall I go on? or is it just shouts of Tyranny that you dont agree with are the ones that should be minimalized.
            One man’s Tyranny is another man’s disdain.

            Also Remember Bruce.

            No one every got killed over a safe space or a trigger word. But if you look at the number of civilians which have died around the world at the hands of tyrannical leaders which were just doing the best thing for the people (or the children) the number is well past the 100 million mark for the 20th century alone.

          • Commander_Chico

            But some are true. . . .

          • More lies from the author of Damn Lies

          • Retired military

            You left out Bush blowing up the dams in New Orleans and he was responsible if aliens attack us because of global warming.

          • Scalia

            Like this…

  • Retired military

    An interesting article for those who are interested.

    • Commander_Chico

      Ya he says how great AR 15s are then comes down in favor of banning sales to anyone “suspicious.”

      • Jwb10001

        Anyone with an ounce of sense wants to keep weapons away from people that will use them to do harm. If our ‘leaders” were as smart as they want you to believe they could indeed find a way to better check and screen potential problem people without going afoul of the constitution. Personally I think anyone that believes Cheney sent anthrax thru the mail should be on a list of unbalance people that require deeper screening.

  • Doc Musgrove

    Uuuuum, why does a non military federal agency need ONE BILLION rounds of ammunition while the military is restricted in its supply of ammunition for training and proficiency purposes?

  • Retired military

    This picture IMO shows perfectly why liberals feel you dont need an AR-15.

  • Retired military

    Water to be banned soon.

  • pennywit

    Scalia, your analogy to speech rights is a good one, but I think it’s worth exploring a bit more than it’s explored in your post.

    Over time, we’ve come to a rough constitutional consensus, of sorts, as to when speech can be regulated. A few examples:

    * At school events on school property (Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, Tinker v. Des Moines), particularly student speech involving drug use (Morse v. Fredericks)
    * Restrictions on time, place, and manner, as long as they are content neutral (Snyder v. Phelps, Grayned v. City of Rockford)
    * Inciting imminent lawless action (Brandenburg v. Ohio)
    * Obscenity
    * Fighting words
    * Invasion of privacy

    And so forth.

    If we accept that First Amendment and Second Amendment rights have roughly equal standing, then what level of firearms regulation ought to be acceptable? And how does the potential, immediate harm of misusing a gun (i.e., a hole in the body and/or loss of life) change the calculation for firearm regulation vs. speech regulation?

    • Scalia

      Hi, pennywit. As usual, you raise good points. In case you missed it, my previous post listed several regulations I think are permissible. I wrote:

      As gun owners, we support background checks and keeping firearms out of the hands of felons and the insane. We support safety regulations, including restrictions on a minor’s use and ownership of firearms. We support the reporting of suspected criminal activity, including straw purchases on behalf of those who would be otherwise ineligible to purchase a firearm. We support stiffer penalties for criminal acts committed with a firearm and regulations and restrictions for non-citizens.

      I would also favor restrictions on firearms possession when one is drinking alcohol, but adding the caveat that possession should be permissible in nightclubs if one does not drink. I also support a permit requirement for concealed carry.

      Does that answer your questions?

      • pennywit

        I think I might have missed that bit. It’s been a busy week/weekend.

        This answers my questions in part. I think that in terms of gun control, there are actually three or four areas worth considering:

        * What is constitutional
        * What is good policy
        * What gun control advocates and gun-rights advocates each want
        * What gun-control advocates and gun-rights advocates are willing to accept.

        If we look at SCOTUS’s actions since Heller, there seems to be a lot of leeway for gun control. That doesn’t necessarily mean all constitutional ideas would be good ideas.

        IMNSHO, there needs to be some larger role for gun sellers in the equation. Not increased chance for liability, but some way to ensure that the gun sellers perform due diligence on purchasers AND ensure that if a seller contacts law enforcement about a potential purchaser, that seller is taken

        For a lot of the shooters over the last several years, there seem to be three common points to send them to the authorities for investigation:

        * Families
        * Mental-health specialists (therapists, psychologists)
        * Gun sellers

        I think the sellers are particularly important here — they’re the last point of contact, after a shooter has decided to follow through on his plans. If the sellers can report, and are taken seriously, perhaps law enforcement can prevent more of these tragedies.

        • Scalia

          Yes, as I mentioned above, I’m all for reporting suspicious activity. A Florida gun shop alerted the FBI about Mateen, but they (the FBI) sadly did not follow up on it. I know our agencies may be overworked, but something’s got to be done to shore up things like that.

          As we’ve long said, enforcing existing law would definitely help prevent these kinds of things.

          • pennywit

            It also turns out that a fellow mosque-goer alerted the FBI a couple years ago about Mateen. They followed up, but not enough, apparently ….

          • Commander_Chico

            The gun shop owner reported him for speaking Arabic.

            FBI probably gets 100 “speaking Arabic at airport, in mall, etc” calls a day.

          • Scalia

            It would help the discussion if you bothered to read the link.

        • Scalia

          And I hear you about being busy. My last two posts were very late night endeavors. I was groggy by the time I finished each one. I’m just way too busy to devote a lot of time to writing posts. There’s a world of difference between the chit-chat in the comments section and composing a thread-starter.

          • pennywit

            Certainly a world of difference. I mean, I’m busy all day working on behalf of corporate America. Then I get home, and I plot the downfall of the capitalist system and establishment of the workers’ paradise. I get so little time for anything.

      • Commander_Chico

        What is the justification for a lifetime ban for felons?

        • Scalia

          I’m open to nixing the lifetime ban. If a guy can live clean for a reasonable amount of time, I think the issue can be revisited.

        • Convicted of a felony by a jury of one’s peers. The very definition of due process.

      • pennywit

        possession should be permissible in nightclubs if one does not drink

        IMO: subject to the discretion of the business owner.

        • Scalia

          Yes…what’s going on here? We’re not supposed to be agreeing this much!

          • pennywit

            I could throw a random insult at you if it’ll help you feel better.

  • Vagabond661

    Daivid, instead of responding to Scalia directly, ignore him and post a non-factual rebuttal. Oh you did that already?

    I got nothing.

  • Retired military

    Two news stories

    fictional News story one.
    White man shoots up black church with a handgun kills two. Heard to mutter “I will teach you people”
    Talks of gun bans.
    At least 2 news stories incorrectly identify the gun as an AR=15.
    The words massacre and slaughter are used by at least one newscaster.
    Newscasters wonder if the guy listened to Fox news or Rush Limbaugh
    Within 30 min at least 3 democrat law makers call for strickter gun control
    Pres Obama decries racial hatred and the right wing media who push it.

    Fictional News story two
    19 middle eastern men fly 4 planes into various buildings and one field in Penn. 3000+ dead
    Talks of gun bans and right wing media. Timothy McVeigh and OK city are replayed on several stations
    No mention made of the perpertrators religion except to say that we must have done something to make them mad
    The Republican president is linked to conspiracy theories that the attack was planned by the govt
    Months later we still have hours of talking heads talking about appeasing Muslims and making them like us.
    More talks about gun control.

  • Scalia writes, “The militia is not a military body under the jurisdiction of the federal government (e.g. National Guard).”

    Except that in 1957, President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard in order to integrate Little Rock Central High School. Eisenhower did so after Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus used the National Guard to prevent such integration.

    • Scalia

      ?? You didn’t understand what I wrote. Take a deep breath and read it again. At this point, even that won’t do you any good, so I’ll spell it out for you. The National Guard has been under ultimate federal jurisdiction since 1933. It is not a state militia in any sense of the word. My point is that the militia spoken of in the Constitution is NOT the National Guard. The “e.g.” is a Latin abbreviation for exempli gratia (for the sake of an example). In other words, the National Guard is an example of a military body under ultimate federal jurisdiction. The National Guard cannot function as a check to federal power because it is an extension of federal power.

      Is that all you can reply to, David? The only thing that prompts a reply from you is something that you didn’t even understand! Do you understand any of the crime statistics I’ve posted with respect to mass shootings? Do you have any cogent reply to any of my counter-arguments or those of other Wizbang contributors? Three posts in a row that merely repeat the same discredited arguments?

      I’ve replied to your arguments point-by-point. At least have the integrity to stop trying to create a caricature of what we argue.

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