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US Supreme Court to Review Right to Bear Arms

"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."

- The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

For the first time in 70 years, the United States Supreme court will review the right to bear arms.

The case centers on a Washington DC ban on keeping handguns at home. In 1976, a city ordinance prohibit the ownership of handguns, except for police officers (shotguns or hunting rifles are okay). This law was challenged by 6 city residents as being unconstitutional because it denied them the right to have firearms at home for self defense.

To date, the Second Amendment is the most contested issue in the interpretation of the Constitution, mirroring gun control as one of the most controversial issue in American public policy. As the debate rages on, American society continue to deal with gun violence, including sporadic yet sensational mass shootings.

Do you think that the Second Amendment is an archaic concept that shouldn't apply in modern times? Or that it only applied to the collective "militia" and not an individual rights to begin with? Would we be safer if guns are outlawed?

Criminals intent on killing will kill regardless of the tools at hand. Pretending that this will be otherwise if guns are banned is pitifully naive.
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Ask the people of New Orleans. They were trying to protect what little they had left after Katrina, and jackbooted Blackwater goons were trying to take their guns away, and in some cases, did. And that's just one example. Everyday, people are trying to keep what they worked all their lives for, and some drug crazed idiot, or uncaring bureaucrat, that supposedly works for us, (read that as "We the People"), tries to take it away. No, we need guns, unfortunately. Until the world becomes what we would really like it to be, we need them. But that wont happen anytime soon. It hasn't in the last 5000 years, why should we think it will change now? Reality sucks, but there it is.
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I don't think they should relieve us of our right to keep and bear arms. It's unconstitutional and it has given us the right to protect ourselves from those who cause the government to want to change this right.
The people who are causing this do not usually get their guns in honest ways. Doing this the governments law probably does not stop them from causing another person(s) harm, and if that is the case were will our protection be then?

Just curious.
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I'm sorry, I know people kill people, but guns really do help. John Lennon assassination attempt #1 w/ knife, he survives! John Lennon assassination attempt #2 w/ gun, dead!

This topic is bound to lead to tons of ignorant arguments, I'm not sure why any non-political website would ask for this kind of discussion.
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the right to 'protect ourselves'... hmmm,maybe the fact that guns are available to all suggests that the 'right to protect' has become an oppressive hegemonic force. Things are too far gone, they won't change quick.
bleak but we gotta work with it.
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Oh crap! Another front opens up with the state!
Feel safe with tons of yahoos owning tons of weapons: No way. But feel safe with a state monopoly on violence and firearms? Not a chance.
There are countries such as Finland and Canada where firearm ownership is commonplace, but do they have epidemic gun violence? Nope. Perhaps they differ in the social democratic nature of their respective societies, and hence, individuals perhaps have a more developed group sense of social health. Add the heightened media maelstrom of our country, the race and class divisions...
A lot contributes to the state of violence and gunplay in our country so maybe we should address those concerns honestly and not handover even more power to a grasping and corrupt state.
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What if this was freedom of speech? If you remove on right, take them all away.

You don't see parades with signs to take away FREE SPEECH! Maybe we should.
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I used to be on the armed side of this debate, for exactly the reason the second amendment was put into effect; That an armed populace is necessary for a democratic state. This opinion has never changed. An armed populace, however, is something we do not have. In the 18th century, men with rifles was a force to be reckoned with. But this is not the 18th century, it is the 21st century, and even modern rifles, with the power of a primitive cannon, do not amount to a well-armed populace. The reality is that we face tanks. We face planes. We face Battleships. These things cannot be fought with rifles. Modern tanks can hit you accurately over the horizon using a satellite image of your location. A "well regulated militia" is no longer any insurance against an oppressive government.
That being the case, guns hurt our society. If weapons cannot insure against tyranny, then they can only serve to hurt ourselves. People die and are injured by guns every day, because we legalize firearms on the pretense of civil security. Make no mistake, guns are not permitted for home security, nor for hunting. These are literally just fringe benefits. And the potential gain from these benefits simply do not outweigh the potential damage. The largely psychological effect of having guns for home security, and the entertainment derived from hunting do not stand up to the staggering pile of corpses that accrue every year as a direct result of an armed citizenry.
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"You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass."

--- Japanese General Yamamoto in WWII.
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Not the tired old urban myths about Hitler and gun control again. Private ownership of firearms were banned prior to the rise of the Nazis. In fact, the Nazis REVOKED the law banning firearms.

Here's the real way to spot whether a government is approaching the level of the Nazis: see if they're committing genocide.
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DC is actually a great example of how gun control doesn't work. Despite their unconstitutional ban on all firearms since 1976, it's still the murder capital of the US. If the bad guys want guns, they'll get guns. Studies have shown that areas that pass carry & conceal laws actually see a drop in serious crime. Bad guys tend to think twice if there's a chance their victim can fight back.

Alex: The wording of your question pretty much gives away your position in the debate. For the record, no, I don't think the 2nd Amendment is at all archaic. It's even more important in modern times for our leaders to know that an armed populace can potentially stand up against a corrupt government. I for one am not willing to give up that last resort.
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killing is just too easy which is why it happens just too often. i'm all for banning guns, as a matter of principle. realistically it may not have any drastic short term affects but it will most certainly reduce the number of murders committed out of passion. those who intend to kill, as mentioned above, will kill by any means. controlling guns and especially ammunition now will in the long term will reduce the homicide numbers
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No sweat kids!!!

You lose the right to privacy, the right to defend yourself, the right to a fair trial - it's ok!

You didn't think this country could last more than 200 years anyway did you?

Happy Regime WB! (Or is that King WB?)
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Gun control is the main thing that allowed Russian tsars and Communist government to do whatever they wanted with "their" people for many hundreds years. Take weapon from the people and you are free do govern as you pleased. Still, the idea sounds very attractive. At first. But if we let it go it would be too late. How I know? I lived in Russia for 42 years. Got it just enough.
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Guns are dangerous, they can kill people, and guns in the house are a danger for kids and family. More guns for good people means more guns for bad people.
It's also true that my friend was badly beaten in a homerobbery and his wife escaped rape by jumping from the 2nd story window.
Everything is nice and cozy until violence reaches you. Then what do you have for yourself?
Nothing, or... guns.
I choose guns.
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How would you enforce that?

Track down every NRA member? The people who actually register their guns?

What good'll that do? NRA members aren't the criminals. Their guns are registered. They know the consequences of using their weapon. NRA members are the only people that'll suffer because of this.

The real problem is non-registered guns. And again how would you enforce that law?

It's a stupid concept.

I think that if everyone is able to carry a gun on their person after registering it and taking a mental health survey - there would be NO GUN VIOLENCE. There would be a de facto "mutual annihilation" that floated around in every aspect of society. There would be NO MORE school shootings, holdups, carjackings, or anything that else involved the use of a gun.

Just think about it...
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1. Do we really think the writers of the constitution thought, "Oh, let's not forget to protect the right of military to have guns."
2. The necessary militia can only be "well regulated" by the knowledge that the general population is well armed, too.
3. I like comment #10. As I remember, in Finland, healthy adults are not only REQUIRED to keep a rifle at home, but to show up for required target and arms handling practice periodically. Nice idea.
4. It's amazing how the right to practice religion, speak freely, peaceably assemble and petition the govt. with grievances has been distorted and stretched to protect pornographers, but it remains controversial whether gun control laws infringe on the people's right to keep and bear arms.
As I see it, we (citizens) should be the most powerful force in the nation. Not the police, military, government, and/or crimimals, but us. If we surrender that responsibility, we deserve our servitude.

Thanks #17 Dave. Here, here.
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I was always taught the second amendment was there to allow us to establish a militia in the case of the government taking our freedoms and rights away so the rights to bear arms is to allow us to defend our rights.

If they take our guns away we have nothing to fight against the government with meaning the government will be able to have total control.

We are becoming more and more socialist and I will not allow any more rights be taken away. Just look at the patriot act which is unconstitutional but still remains.

There are a lot of people who would love to see the government to become more socialist but I am not one of them.
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As a resident of Washington, DC, and a loyal reader of Neatorama, I am ardently opposed to guns and hope that the ban stays. I also thank Alex for posting this.

No one has mentioned why the ban was allowed to remain for so long: Washington, DC is not a state, but a federal enclave, thus Congress has ultimate control over it's laws (US Constitution: Article I, Section 8). Because of this, DC residents are denied representation in Congress (no senators or a representative with voting power). Thus there are over 500,000 Americans who are second-class citizens that do not get to participate in one of the world's greatest democracies simply because of their geography.

I hope that the ban is upheld on these constitutional grounds because it gives more credence to DC residents desire to be represented in Congress.
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Wow, listen to the yahoos.

I like the one who said firearm ownership is common in Canada. It isn't. It's just as difficult for honest folk to get guns in Canada as it is in the States - maybe more difficult, because we're not all holier-than-thou about our "right to bear arms". We don't have that "right", and we're doing just fine.

I'm not anti-gun. I would like to own one - maybe one of those Civil War replicas. That would be cool.

I do believe that people kill people, rather than guns, but guns make it much easier. You worry about the control of guns being in the hands of the state, but the state already has your balls clenched in their tight little fists. Owning a gun is just an illusion of security or freedom.
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When any issue like this is brought up for discussion, there are those who point out how difficult it will be to fix the problem or how long it will take. Let us assume that banning handguns will help to reduce violent crimes but that it will be extremely difficult and it will take 30 years. Should we postpone banning the guns because it will be oh-so-hard and take like, a really long time? Let's make up our minds and DO something! This problem is not going to go away quickly or easily, no matter what we do, so stupid arguments about the feasibility and timeliness of solutions are making me crazy!
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The Constitution says nothing about private individuals owning guns. It's also true that it would be impossible to do away with guns any more than we can do away with illegal drugs. I say this: make guns illegal, because at least that will reduce Crimes of Stupidity-- people accidently shooting themselves or family members.
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I wasn't referring to the urban legend quote. but if you want a REAL hitler quote, try this "The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing"

(of course, he said it in German)
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i'd normally be against guns, less guns = less shootings. but the way the U.S has been going i think the people may need weapons to rise up against an imminent dictatorship.
mark these words.
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"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
-Thomas Jefferson

"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
-James Madison

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?
-Patrick Henry
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To Orb who argues that "The reality is that we face tanks. We face planes. We face Battleships. These things cannot be fought with rifles."

That is true, but I think Iraq and Afghanistan both point to the fact that a bunch of locals with vastly inferior weaponry can pose a significant challenge to a technically superior force. Do you really think a revolution against an oppressive government is going to occur in a series of pitched battles? Or that any government is going to shell its own cities just to put down some unruly citizens? No. And when it comes time for that oppressive government's foot soldiers to go in and take care of that insurrection, they're going to do a whole lot more soul searching when it comes to shooting and killing their armed countrymen in self-defense instead of simply arresting unarmed ones.

Even if you have 100% faith in your government, there can always be a catalyst that can "change everything." People say that a lot about 9/11 -- imagine if that had been domestic terrorists. I wonder if we would be debating the morality of water boarding US citizens who might just have had the misfortune of being related to the wrong people?
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@Dave, who wrote: Alex: The wording of your question pretty much gives away your position in the debate.

I suppose you can read my question as giving away my position in the debate as being anti-gun, but you'd be wrong.

I'm ambivalent as to the benefit of owning personal firearm as a protective measure. Yes, there are extreme cases whereby owning a gun could (theoretically) protect oneself against criminals but that benefit is diluted greatly by the increased risk of accidentally shooting oneself or one's kids.

I also don't buy the argument that a country can only be democratic if it's afraid of its gun-toting citizenry. Japan and the UK are two examples of democracies that get along fine with strict gun control.

Having gun-toting people also doesn't mean that gun violence will automatically be high: Switzerland is a good example of a low-crime, prosperous country where everyone is armed.

Do I think that firearms are dangerous? Yes. Do I want to own a firearm? No. But do I support the right of the PEOPLE to bear arms? Yes, because that's what the Constitution says.

But doesn't the Second Amendment say that the right to own guns belong only in context of a well-regulated militia? This is a well-worn argument that crumbles when you consider that 1) the Bill of Rights are there to protect the rights of people, not the states. 2) As Greg pointed out, it was the intent of the Founding Fathers to protect the right of individuals to own firearms, not the states.

The Founding Fathers thought that it was important enough to enshrine this right as the SECOND Amendment, just below the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech.

So, if we as a nation agree that the right to bear arms no longer has a place in today's society, then the way forward is to amend the Constitution as such. But until that happens, I support the right of people to bear arms.

That said, states *can* (and should) regulate the ownership of firearms. The right to bear arms does not translate to owning machine guns capable of mowing down people, tanks nor atom bombs, nor does it mean that felons can own guns (legally, at least).
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Alex you really opened the floodgates here!

Anyways, It is my PERSONAL belief that people should have the right to own certain guns such as hunting rifles and shotguns, but things like handguns, and assault rifles (I'm talking m16's and AK-47 type) should be a lot more regulated.

People get a little whacky on both sides of the aisle with this debate, but we should remember that there is already some restriction on guns in the United States. You can't go out and buy rocket launchers, but I don't see anyone complaining. (except maybe terrorists)

Anywho, it will be interesting to see how this case turns out.
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It's a Right to bear Arms, not an Obligation, people! I see far too many backwoods types mis-interpreting the Constitution that way, treating the guns as a core part of their identity as Americans...
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New York had a gun buy back and removed hundreds of guns from the streets, then they sold their antiquated department firearms on the street for 75 dollars a piece.
The crime is stupidity. If Guns were outlawed we would all have to get our guns the same way criminals do, steal them or buy illegally smiggled weapons from the trunks of gun dealers.
This argument is moot. Should the Supreme court change their interpretation(which they won't) and all the legally owned firearm's be surrendered to the police, then the only people with firearm's will be criminals and cops. With less cops on the street, that will make you (the law abiding citizen) fair game for every 2 bit thug on the street.
Yes, it's our broken down society, not the guns.
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I believe in the 2A because we have the right to unmake our government if we so chose. Iraq and Afghanistan has shown that a small force can fight a successful and prolonged war against a larger power with simple weapons.
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And when it comes time for that oppressive government’s foot soldiers to go in and take care of that insurrection, they’re going to do a whole lot more soul searching when it comes to shooting and killing their armed countrymen in self-defense instead of simply arresting unarmed ones.

I've always wondered just how they'd disarm everyone. The last time I checked the majority of our military comes from the so called Red States. So in the words of my Greek ancestors, "come and take them." The boys from Tennessee and Texas aren't going to turn their weapons on their home towns.

I honestly believe it would precipitate a civil war. Only this time the North has no manufacturing ability and few people willing to serve in the military. For anyone blithely suggesting we'd use nuclear weapons on our own citizens I'll remind you that we haven't used nuclear weapons on anyone in 60 years, do you really think we'd start on our own soil?
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The rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights are individual.
The First Amendment speaks of "the right of the people peaceably to assemble.
The Third and Fifth Amendments protect individual property owners.
The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments protect individual criminal suspects & defendants from unreasonable searches, involuntary incrimination, appearing in court without an attorney, excessive bail, and cruel and unusual punishments.
The Ninth Amendment protects individual rights not otherwise named in the Bill of Rights.
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The second amendment was put there to protect people, not harm them. Just like drugs and alcohol... if you make them illegal you push them to the fringes and into illegal markets. Banning weapons won't keep them out of the hands of criminals (e.g. are there no gun crimes in DC? Or even less in recent years because of it?). Banning weapons just keeps them out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. We shouldn't impose laws against the fringes because then the average middle loses in the end.
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I'm honestly undecided on the gun issue.

But its ironic to me how the staunchest pro-gun advocates also help elect the right-wing, war-monger politicians most inclined to behave like dictators.
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I think they should be taken away. Who cares how unconstitutional it is. It's only unconstitutional if the people are against it, which I'm not so I see it as perfectly fine. It's because of this article that there is such a high crime rate in the United States. I mean, it's common knowledge that our prisons are reaching their breaking point in capacity. Anyone can go out onto the street now-a-days and buy a gun from some shady drug dealer. Even then it's not difficult to get a license and go buy one at Wal-mart. Heck you can even buy machine guns with a high enough license...thats ridiculous! The AR-15 can even be modified to military standards pretty much making it a M-16 assault rifle! Look at Japan. Their city with the highest crime rate is at like .05%. New York is something like 20%. The biggest difference is that in Japan, owning a gun is illegal, unlike here in the US where they can be picked up by kids and brought to school. If you want more concrete info then theres about 1.1 murders in Japan for every 100,000 people, and the US is 8.7 per 100,000 people. Everyone saying that they shouldn't get rid of guns because it's not fair to the "law abiding citizens" just remember that its these people who also turn around and use them to kill. Also, the less guns there are then the less crimes there are and less of a reason for you to have a need to protect yourself. It's a fact that guns make it easy to gain control over people. There's a huge difference between someone robing a bank with a gun than that of one using a knife. Considering most bankers are behind protective glass, without a gun your virtually powerless, and you can't really order people to "get down" with a knife because they would just run out. You have to look at this from an outsiders perspective rather than a prideful American living in the USA. I say prideful because most people probably look at this law as one of the main reasons we can call ourselves the most free country in the world, but fact is that it's a very poorly constructed and misunderstood rule that our forefathers only put in with the intent on preventing a government takeover and not for citizens to protect themselves from would be attackers other than Washington.
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Look at Japan. Their city with the highest crime rate is at like .05%. New York is something like 20%. The biggest difference is that in Japan, owning a gun is illegal, unlike here in the US where they can be picked up by kids and brought to school.

Hmm: Let's say your facts about NYC crime are true. I have no idea. I do know that handguns are illegal in NYC, though. So your point is incorrect. Banning guns is a band-aid solution, the problem is systemic. Criminals will always find a way to get handguns just like how they always find drugs.

"Also, the less guns there are then the less crimes there are and less of a reason for you to have a need to protect yourself. It’s a fact that guns make it easy to gain control over people."

That's interesting because I think it was the idea when the 2nd Amendment was added to prevent the government from controlling us.
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"Do you think that the Second Amendment is an archaic concept that shouldn’t apply in modern times?
Or that it only applied to the collective "militia" and not an individual rights to begin with? Would we be safer if guns are outlawed?"

Way to be slanted. That is like saying:
"Do you think the second amendment is dumb, or are you retarded"

Molon Labe!
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So, okay, say you review the constitutional right, and change it to a constitutional are you going to get rid of the guns? They don't just disappear, you know. In fact, they're made to last a long time.

So, you have an amnesty, and collect with buy-back programs and such, and you get maybe five percent of the citizen's guns. The rest go underground, because now they're valuable.
So, then you look at the records, ammo sales and so on, and collect another five percent of the ones owned by the people who don't read newspapers. Then you start your cops (need *lots* of cops) knocking on doors. "We're here to collect your guns, ma'am". This is good for another five percent.
Then, to get more, and justify the rising crime rate, you get your cops (good Americans all) to start kicking in doors. Everyone with a camera will start broadcasting this across the world, and you will look like asses. So, better restrict cameras, and local newscasts, and the Internet, so as not to look too bad.

Difficult and expensive to do this everywhere at once, so you start small, in one city or county, whatever. And anyone who moves to another city will carry the story, so you'd better restrict travel, too. It all hangs together...

Eventually, you will have invented the USSA - United Soviet States of America. What's that sound coming from Moscow? Laughter?
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IIRC, didn't the crime rate in Australia skyrocket when they banned guns in their country? I don't think gun control has worked out too well for DC, either.

If guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns. The criminals know their supply won't be affected, and that they can do as they please with the unarmed general populace.
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This post is not-so-neato. Flame war debates are not very neat. I like the posts about mermaid skeletons and upside-down houses better.

I don't care what any of you think about gun control, and I don't care if you care what I think! If I did have something to say, it sure as hell wouldn't be on an Internet message board. The clammy feeling of highly irritable individuals making aggressive statements from behind the cloak of anonymity. We had so much for the Internet in the early days...

This "discussion", however, does provide further evidence of Godwin's Law
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I just wanted to add something else.

It's important to remember that the Second Amendment was written ay back when people were using muskets. Times have's time that amandment changes also.
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OK, let's look at this from the outside. What many of you don' seem to realize, is that guns have become a part of your culture, thus you want to keep it as much as say...superbowl.

Now, let's see what your level of availability has lead to. Take the Columbine High Massacre. Two teenagers walks in with a huge bunch of guns and slaughters several students and teachers. Do I even need to mention Virginia Tech?! I am actually very surprised this hasn't been brought up!

Take a look at most European countries. I come from Norway, where gun restriction is quite high. To even be allowed to have a firearm, you'll need to be a member of specialized clubs who participate in official contests, be a member of a hunting organization, or be in the military, i.e. you need a valid reason. "P-p-pro-protection" is not a valid reason up here. If you don't have a reason, your gun must be a pure artifact. Like my moms 150 year old gun, where the flintlock is permanently stuck. Owning any kind of firearm in Norway is actually very unusual, and softguns are pretty much an outdated fashion by now. Guncrimes are even more unusual, anything will stay in media for quite some time, sometimes as much as a year or more.

And as 'algonkin' says, time has passed since the second amendment was written, 218 years, to be exact, and 216 years since it was enacted, go celebrate December 15th!

And Greg, I'd find you seriously disturbed if you're not talking about computer games, target practice or hunting...Jizzus, most of you are like a bunch of Tackleberry's...
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To Roger : Flame war debates are not very neat.

I disagree.
I learned about Molon Labe and Godwin's law.
And if I knew nothing about gun control, I would have some argument to think about.
Neat by its interest I'd say.
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I'm all for gun control. Please take everyone's guns away.

But I'm keeping mine.

That way it will be easier for me to be in control when the sh!t hits the fan. If I'm the only one with a gun, I don't think I'll have any problems getting food. Especially from the gun-control left wing hippies.

Eh ... but who wants to eat what they have anyway?

I can't even believe any rational person is still in favor of gun control. It shows only ignorance and extreme naivety.
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@#42 felix: "there are better ways to protect then with a firearm"

Like what? Rationality? Maybe you could talk a mugger out of mugging you an shooting you in the face. Eh, I'd rather just be able to protect myself with the same force that will be used on me.

Everyone citing countries with low crime rates and gun control - Just look at Kennesaw, GA. A city that has gone murder-free for the last 26 years because everyone there is required to have a gun.

Imagine if the same rules applied around the country. Maybe not everyone, but if a majority of the people carried guns, the crime rate would go way down - criminals would know they have a good chance of being met with deadly force.

Asking citizens to give up their guns is like the USSR asking us to give up our nukes in the middle of the cold war. Probably some bleeding heart irrational left winger would think that was a good idea, but anyone who thought about it for two seconds would realize such a notion is simply asinine.
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I know exactly what it means. It means that the right to bear arms is necessary for the people to defend themselves from the likes of tyrannical governments and such that would abolish our rights and overstep their boundaries. That is definitely true. I do not one hundred percent support the idea that having weapons in every home is the answer to reducing fire arm suicide, but I do know that without them the government could do as they please and we would be defenseless against them.
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I've struggled with this, knowing that today the government has far more imposing weapons than we do, so the ability to actually overtake a tyrannical government is not going to be served by handguns and rifles (while they have M-16s and tanks.) Nevertheless, weapons are the ONLY hope of keeping such tyrants from seizing and invading your home and goods. This Democratic-controlled Congress hasn't even been able to bring about a date to end the dubious occupation of Iraq. Of the five vetos since they took control of Congress, they've overridden only one. So I don't trust politics to solve those problems.

Like anything else, the problem isn't the weapons, but the people who wield them. Maybe the more important and worthwhile pursuit would be to ensure that EVERYONE is educated on the proper and ethical care, handling and use of firearms (just as they are regarding knives and scissors)?
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"I’ve struggled with this, knowing that today the government has far more imposing weapons than we do, so the ability to actually overtake a tyrannical government is not going to be served by handguns and rifles (while they have M-16s and tanks.)"

That's what the Soviets thought when they invaded Afganistan...
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If guns were outlawed, then only outlaws would have guns. People are dangerous. We're still animals. and if a huge bear were chasing me... and that bear had a gun, i would want to be legally able to own one too, even if the bear didn't get it legally... Like from some crazy bear gun-runner. Most likely those freakin kodiaks.
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i think a lot of people don't understand the concept of gun control. it's not that your guns will be taken away or banned. rather, they will be more difficult to obtain and more strictly regulated to the point that only people who are capable of handling guns responsibly and keeping them in accordance with safety regulations and local laws will be able to get them. that's not to say that illegal gun trade won't continue, but it will be more strictly limited.

guns don't need to be eliminated completely, and to suggest that is ridiculous (just look at the kind of opposition the idea has already recieved here). instead, guns need to be controlled in a way that the united states' current gun laws don't reflect.
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I for one look forward to the day when all handguns are explicitly illegal to own--because that will be the day I can walk into a hip underground shooting gallery (there'll be one open every few blocks), light up a cigarette (sans tax stamp) swig some marijuana liquor, and have a little handgun/target practice fun with the in-crowd. A national Prohibition would only lead to proliferation, I suspect. Besides, if we took the Second Amendment seriously, as now written, we'd all conscientiously own and operate machine guns, not handguns and hunting rifles. No right to hunt in the Constitution, so far as I can see...
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S-r-ex, what's good for Europe ain't always good for America. The very idea that America should do something because 'Europe does it' is always good for a chuckle.

We'll be fine. The 2nd Amendment isn't going anywhere.

Europe is what it is today thanks to a lot of straight-shooting Americans.

jsim: Slippery Slope. Don't you think the folks that want to make it harder to own a gun want them all? Of course they do, don't kid yourself.

Guns are just tools. They happen to be good for 1) having fun 2) hunting 3) defending oneself from criminals and/or tyrannical governments
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S-r-ex, mea culpa(?)

"Norway has far and away Western Europe's highest household gun ownership rate (32%), but also its lowest murder rate. The Netherlands, in contrast, has the lowest gun ownership rate in Western Europe (1.9%) yet the Dutch gun murder rate is higher than the Norwegian."
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All you gun loving folks who are saying we need guns to prevent against tyranny, why aren't you rising up NOW because of the government taking away your other rights (1st amendment, 4th amendment, 5th amendment, etc)? For chrissakes the Bush Administration is currently throwing American citizens in prison with no legal representation and indefinitely, getting rid of habaeus corpus, illegally spying on you and your loved ones, restricting your freedom of speech, and just basically shredding the constitution?

Y'all seemed to yell so loudly when it came to Clinton was doing far less, I don't hear squat when it comes to what is happening now.

It seems like all you care about is just a specific interpretation of the 2nd amendment and nothing else.
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P-Dog - That's precisely the problem with the way the US's second amendment is interpreted these days. Any kid with $50 can have a gun, and in turn the concept of 'militia' and keeping a wary eye on Washington has been utterly marginalized, declared anti-patriotic, or downright treasonous.

Until that's reversed, the only right the gun lovers will care about is the right to love guns, and there's no chance (and now, with the new crowd-suppression weapons rolling out, no need) for their government to worry about the second amendment.
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As a Washington, DC, resident who called 911 to report a burglary in progress only to have the police *never* respond, I'd very much like to have the ability to keep a functional firearm in my home.

Under current law, all functional firearms are prohibited. Although shotguns are allowed, they musy be registered, unloaded, disassembled, and locked; good luck trying to get your gun functional in time if ever needed.
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Harvard study over the matter. But hey, who's heard of this second rate school Harvard anyway....
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@Alex said; "Yes, there are extreme cases whereby owning a gun could (theoretically) protect oneself against criminals but that benefit is diluted greatly by the increased risk of accidentally shooting oneself or one’s kids.

"Do I think that firearms are dangerous? Yes. Do I want to own a firearm? No. But do I support the right of the PEOPLE to bear arms? Yes, because that’s what the Constitution says."

Thanks for the clarification, Alex. It's good to see that your question wasn't motivated by an outright leftist opinion on the matter, but to be honest, it was pretty slanted (@Powell put it pretty well!) But I would challenge you on one point; gun safety in the home. More people are killed in a day in automobile accidents than are killed by accidental shootings in a year, yet no one is clamoring for car control. Whether it is guns or automobiles, education and respect are the keys to using them safely. If kids are brought up knowing that guns are in the house, that guns are not toys, and that guns can cause real and permanent damage, it is possible to live safely with guns in the house.

Growing up, my dad was far from a gun nut (as am I), but had a few guns around for hunting, so he made sure we knew what they were and what kind of damage they could inflict, and I've done the same with my kids. And my Grandpa did the same with my dad's family. That strategy has worked for at least 3 generations, for well over 100 people, and not a single firearm injury in the lot.

The safety issue is a pretty weak reason for an outright ban on gun ownership.
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I was particularly interested in comment #39, which responded to my comment #14. It refuted my original statement of how poorly the private ownership of firearms would fare against an army by arguing that guerrilla wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan have been successful.

I must begin by positing that this is not true. A simple look at the statistics of the situation will reveal this. The US army casualties number somewhere in the 3000s, if I remember correctly, and the Iraqi casualties number somewhere in the range of 600,000. (lowest estimate I could find, excepting one which was "documented civilian deaths," [which showed roughly one tenth that figure] obviously not encompassing the majority of the casualties) For the less mathematically inclined among you, that comes out to a ratio of roughly 200 to one. This is not a flattering statistic, when suggesting a military strategy, to say the least.

The other argument is that the entirety of the US military would not see fit to fire upon its fellow citizens. It must be considered that in the event of a situation in which a popular uprising has occurred, and a full-scale military solution has been implemented, (So no small town uprising; people are arming themselves and taking government installations across the country; not only are the police ineffective, but the national guard is as well.) the entirety of the populace would not be one one side. Let's say that 70% of the citizenry sides with the revolutionaries. This implies that 30% remains loyal to the government. Thirty percent can easily be propagandized into 50 percent. Suddenly, the troops aren't fighting against their brothers and sisters, but for them, to protect them from militant radicalism that is sweeping this country. It is not difficult to convince soldiers to commit atrocities, and anyone who doesn't believe that should read up on the Milgram shock experiments. (

Now that we have played through our theoretical campaign, which (I hope) illustrates the ability of military leaders to utilize their forces against their own populace. That being said, I think it is important to address why this will not occur. It will not occur because the US military is prohibited from non-defensive action inside the US borders. Read that again. The US military is prohibited from military action inside the US. Now immediately after reading this, I know a number of you will cite examples as to when this has been broken, (Bonus Army, Civil War[was technically not the US anymore, because they declared independence; but Lincoln maintained they never could, so it was illegal; blah, complicated and off subject, back to it]) but for the large part this has been abided by. What's more is that this has gone to the heads of the generals. The US military does not want power, and the non-politicality of the military is a major symbol of pride among military big-wigs and Constitutional theorists alike.

Now, one might wonder if this is simply a Red-Herring, but I assure you it is not. The moral of the story is that the United States is not at risk of military oppression, just political, and a prevalence of rifles is not going to assist in the maintenance of a free state, because either the military will remain uninvolved, and the rifles will be unnecessary, or the military will become involved, and they will become useless. Either way, their POSSIBLE utility in a THEORETICAL revolution does not outweigh the all too real mounting stack of bodies which continue to accrue as a result of the ubiquity of firearms.

Finally, to address the claims that the illegalization of firearms will result in a disproportion of armed criminals to armed citizens. In the immediate future, I believe this will be true. However the number of guns on the street will drop quickly. Why is this? Because guns are produced in the US. 118,000 (according to some quick googling) firearms are produced and sold in the US every year. These guns are the ones that can be bought off the street. These guns are the ones that are used in armed crimes every day. Guns are not smuggled over the boarder in large enough quantities to matter on a civil scale, because to do so is one of the most serious crimes one can be tried for, and one of the ones that is enforced. And how frequently would people carry guns, if to do so was a jailable (or even fineable) crime?

The right to bear arms can only amount to suffering. No good will come of it.
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Wow. I really didn't realize that was so long when I was writing it. Anywho, it does have enough interesting points to justify reading. Sorry about that, guys.
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As an American, I have the obligation to myself and to my family, to protect our own lives and possessions. NO ONE, government included, has the right to take that away.

If I wanted to live in unarmed fear, I'd move to Washington D.C.
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"The US military is prohibited from military action inside the US."

Not any longer. President Bush and our elected representatives have gutted the prohibition you refer to.

They have done so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement.

Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by Bush on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the president to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."

President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America.


(1) and See also, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, "The Use of Federal Troops for Disaster Assistance: Legal Issues," by Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney, August 14, 2006


(3) Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International, "Recent Contract Awards", Summer 2006, Vol.12, No.2, pg.8; See also, Peter Dale Scott, "Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps," New American Media, January 31, 2006.

(4) "Technology Transfer from defense: Concealed Weapons Detection", National Institute of Justice Journal, No 229, August, 1995, pp.42-43.

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So let's go with your 200:1 figure, despite the difference in quality and quantity of arms, education and motivation between Iraqis and Americans. Let us also go with the presumption that the entire armed forces would face down the entire civilian population. These are absolute worst-case assumptions.

The entire US armed forces consists of 1.366 million individuals, not all of whom by any means are front line animals, but again, let's assume they were. We'll also ignore the fact that as the number of military personnel diminishes, the effectiveness and morale drops, and as the supply chain is damaged as well. We'll just assume 200:1 right down the last grunt facing an enraged crowd - and even he gets 200 before they get him.

At 200:1 under these conditions, civilians would suffer 273 million deaths in order to kill every last member of the armed forces, leaving a remaining civilian population of about 27 million behind. Mostly babies who weren't fighting in the first place, I'd think. In other words, the military would lose, even in this most extreme case.

When you factor in the reality: That for every front line fighter, the military fields many REMFs who are not expected or particularly able to fight, and would never under any circumstances reach the effectiveness of the (relatively) elite troops in Iraq; that supplies would be cut off (after all, it is *us* who supply them), that many troops would refuse to participate in a war on their fellow citizens whom they have sworn an oath to protect, that as the armed forces suffer defeats, the arms and ammunition they have would fall into the hands of the civilians, that of that 1.366 million serving, only about a third are ground troops (for instance, the navy (the very small force of marines excepted) certainly isn't going to be a very effective tool to suppress US civilians, neither is the air force. It'll have to be done on the ground.) Also keep in mind that of the US civilian population, there are many combat veterans who would be enraged by an attack on the civilian population, and they know just what to do, because they were trained to do it against the soviets: Decapitate the leadership. From politicians, generals and captains on down to the sergeants and corporals, they get shot first.

It becomes apparent that while we would still certainly be talking about a bloody mess, the chance of the US military defeating the civilian population in a face to face conflict is just about zero.

So please, give it a rest.

Aside from all that, there will be no such conflict. Bush will be out of office in a year, people are a lot more worried about their healthcare than they are their liberties, and most vote along party lines without any regard for, much less knowledge of, issues of constitutional merit. Or lack thereof.
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just like the supposed "war on drugs," telling someone they can't have something:
a) only makes them want it more
b) doesn't affect whether they can obtain it, legally or not, and
c) does not teach them responsibility.

the real problem in this country (beyond this discussion) is as simple as this: people do not take responsibility for themselves and their actions. and who teaches responsibility? parents, teachers, friends, and good role models. not the government.

i personally don't like guns and i don't believe that they solve any problems, nor will i ever own a gun. BUT- if you want to protect yourself, i think you have every right to own one. sweden (it may be swirzerland.. i may be wrong.. either way, one of the "S" countries in europe) is the most gun laden country in the world- they also have the lowest rate of violence. they also have a different standard of living. different culture. different government. but i know european living is much more about teaching RESPONSIBILITY and focusing on quality of life. maybe we should adopt their parenting skills.
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When I read certain message boards I imagine a character that is attracted to Internet message boards like a moth to the flame. This character type can find few people to argue with in real life, as people are repelled by his (usually) self-importance and need for attention. The Internet provides a perfect venue for displaying his eloquence and mastery of the facts, since he is shielded from the yawns and eye-rolls that typically accompany his self-important soliloquies in real life. On the Internet, he can even find similar souls, who can spew essays for hours in an attempt to outdo each other, growing ever more encrusted with sources and citations. Perhaps, one day, he will contact a self-publishing company and pack all of his learning and correctness into a vanity volume called "the way I see it", his magnum opus, which he will distribute to friends and family, who will politely accept it (and use it as a coaster, if that even). To alleviate his loneliness he may even attend zoning board meetings, where aldermen will thumb through their files while waiting for him to wrap up his 36 point statement of objection to the new Dairy Queen. Sadly, his genius goes unrecognized with him to the grave, the ignorant masses never heed his wisdom, and the cold dumb world treats him like just another a-hole until the bitter end.

I'm not saying anyone here is like that, I'm talking about that other message board. Here we find genuine intellectuals making progress on the issues in a frank and public debate.
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Roger, way to go. It warms my heart that civic heroes such as yourself guard the Intertubes, ready to contribute significant and thought-provoking content when important issues come under discussion by concerned citizens. You're a true patriot, man.

Now get out of your mom's basement and catch a little sunshine. Put on some clothes first, though.
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Ben: While you display that the military of the united states could not stand up to the entirety of the citizenry, and pointed out many of the shortcomings of the armed forces in the face of 300 million combatants, the situation stands that 300 million combatants cannot be drawn out of the population of the United States. Because the proportion willing to fight in combat (and I am not being sexist here, this is probably cultural thing) leans heavily towards men, and not all men are willing OR ABLE to fight, you can put the recruitable population at below 50%. Take, as an appreciable estimate, that the US military never topped 2 million. That is roughly 3% of the male population. 300 million soldier are not going to stand up and fight the US Army. Consider also that the 200:1 ratio is not 200 Iraqis for every front line combatant. It is 200 Iraqis for every soldier, so each front line soldier will probably have a much more impressive kill ratio.
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Oh, yes, also, The Navy and air Force are most effective in a drawn out conflict. Without shipping, how do you feed your soldiers? With the grain that is still being subsidized by a government on the other side of a conflict? And how will you produce guns for soldiers with your factories being bombed day and night? It is a losing battle.
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shucks, I never thought of myself as a civic hero, only as a joker who makes sarcastic remarks. But thanks, I guess, for nominating me.

I must argue one point with you. I have no interest in contributing thought-provoking or significant content, man. I stay away from that stuff, as well as the concerned citizens brigade.

I am troubled that you are imagining me nude, so please cut that out. Either that, or cite your sources. Only peer-reviewed will do.

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No question, not everyone fights on either side. Of the 1.6 million presently in the armed forces, as I mentioned, many are REMF (rear echelon...) and not fighters; they manage the logistics chains, transport fuel and material, plan, etc. Of the citizens, only those who are able-bodied and willing will fight. Picking them out is the trick for any military enforcement. Because if they attack the citizens indiscriminately, they will all fight, within the limits of who can lift a rifle (no one under, say, six years old.) Either the military behaves, or it will be swamped.

But as I said, it isn't going to happen anyway. Otherwise, it already would have. The only right we really have left is the right not to quarter soldiers in our homes. All the others are conditional at best, and illusory at worst. Literally every other point in the bill of rights has been made inconsequential to the government with regard to our ability as citizens to count on them.
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america doesn't have a gun problem, it has a social problem. guns just exasperate the issue.

50% of the violent crimes are committed by a demographic that's part of a group that amounts to 15% of the population and yet i don't hear people wanting to ban african americans.

the truth is that our society is sick. ignorance and poverty are a root causes of the rampant violence in our society. it's time for some social and cultural introspection and stop blaming inanimate objects.
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"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."

There is no other reason given for gun ownership other than for forming a militia _for the security of a free State_, in other words, for keeping the govt from becoming a dictatorship.

But there is no real militia, and all the while you have higher gun violence rates in America than anywhere else in the world that cause the most horrendous and senseless deaths.

Unless you Americans are prepared to stop killing each other and take up arms against your tyrannical government, you don't deserve the right to bear arms. Like in many areas, you misuse what you have been given by your forefathers.

Your government is tearing the world down, in every country, and your apathy is an act of complicity. I hope that what you cannot use correctly will be taken away.
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