Bill of rights- 2nd Amendment : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

"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." This amendment has probably over the years caused more controversy than just about any other part of the Constitution. People have tried to sort out exactly what the words above mean. I recently read an article where an english professor was called upon to take this amendment apart linguistically. The result of his analysis was that there was only one way to interpret the 2nd Amendment. He said there was no quibbling that the authors of the second amendment meant that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" . According to this professor, people meant people of the United States, and infringed, meant infringed. There are a lot of liberal scholars out there who are for Gun control. They have for years been trying to say that the second amendment was only for state armies, and groups like the coast guard. Unfortunately, not only is this information false, it is also being used to dismantle every persons second amendment rights. I am going to cover here first the meaning of this short phrase that the authors of the Bill of Rights felt was important enough to include. Then I will cover it's current usurpations. It is very important that every American understand what the loss of the second amendment will mean, so at the end I will attempt to help you count the cost. Let's start with a little History. Here is a wonderful article on the history of the second amendment which might help us all understand the mindset of the framers. This is a rather lengthy article, but what it expresses is essential to understanding the intent of the second amendment. It is important that when dealing with any historical document, in order to maintain the meaning of the text, that you also understand the history surrounding the document. Now let's take the Amendment itself apart. Starting at the beginning. "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state," Perhaps this part of the amendment has caused the most confusion, as there has been much discussion as to what a militia is. It is my opinion (and the opinions of a lot of others) that based on history, the militia spoken of here, is all of the people. When the revolutionary war began, the militia was all of the able bodied men. This is who fought in the war. Had the revolutionaries had to rely upon a standing army in the fight against their governement of the time, the United States would not exist today. Just the thought that many Americans today, as the products of rebellion, believe that they should no longer have that recourse is simply amazing. And yet America, founded upon rebellion herself charges all over the world with the sole purpose in mind to prevent rebellion elsewhere. How hypocritical we must look to the rest of the world. Just my opinion, but back to the subject at hand. If indeed the forefather's intended this to mean a standing army, then we must also conclude that they thought themselves wrong in rebelling against England. We must conclude that those who wrote: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world."

We must assume that they had indeed changed their minds. We must assume that they believed the people should not have the power to dissolve their governments. Weapons are necessary to protect one's rights and one's property. The forefather's knew that only way for the people to retain their freedom over time was if they were armed.

"the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"

Ahh! The right of who? Now why if Congress intended to allow only the state armies to keep and bear arms didn't they say so. They instead said the people. And "the people" throughout the Constitution and the Bill of rights means the same thing. here is a list of other uses.

III. "The Right of the People" in Other Bill of Rights Provisions

First Amendment: Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . . the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated . . . .

Ninth Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment: [Speaking of "the powers . . . of the people" rather than "the right . . . of the people"] The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

"The right of the people" - The rights of you and I to maintain our liberty. And if indeed we are the people spoken of in the Bill of Rights, we must be concerned when our right to keep and bear arms is infringed. Infringe- is defined by as:

in7fringe (n-frnj) v. in7fringed, in7fring7ing, in7fring7es. v. tr.

To transgress or exceed the limits of; violate: infringe a contract; infringe a patent. Obsolete. To defeat; invalidate. v. intr.

To encroach on someone or something; engage in trespassing: an increased workload that infringed on his personal life. I think it is safe to say that in this country we have been continually infringed upon when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms. I have heard more than one person on this forum say that they didn't see how gun registration and licensing infringed the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Here is a list of reasons:

1)Any change from what was legally allowable at the time the constitution was written is an infringement of rights. At the time the Bill of rights was penned it was legal to own weapons without a license, therefore to make it illegal is an infringement of rights. It is an encroachment into legal territory that was once unregulated. Just for a moment let's assume that before the revolutionary war Britain had known who owned all the guns and where they were. Do you suppose that the final result of the war would have been the same? Do you suppose there would have been a war at all? Do you not think that had the British army had access to that information they would not have confiscated all the weapons from the colonists? Now imagine at some point that someone in America attempts to abolish our government. In a gun regulated/banned society, will Americans be able to defend themselves? Will we not be subject to whatever powers choose to overtake us? In California today, the tremendous population is at great peril should such an event occur. California has currently infringed the rights of gun owners to the point that I reside in the state probably the closest to tyrranny than any other. Is it not infringement when my right to protect my family is slowly being wrested away from me?

2)Regulation and registration puts guns into the hands of criminals and out of the hands of law abiding citizens. If you don't believe that take a look at Australia. In Australia sweeping Gun laws were enacted in 1996. Let's take a look at some statistics.

Since Port Arthur

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a 3 per cent increase in murder for 1997 and an 11.5 per cent decrease for 1998, giving a total two-year decrease of 8.5per cent. 15 16 This is, however, within the normal range of annual fluctuations as shown by AIC figures over 20 years,1975-95.17 Armed robbery increases were 44 per cent and 20 per cent, for a total increase of 72 per cent. The AIC reported in May 1999 that total gun deaths had indeed decreased, but this was almost entirely due to a continuation of the trend of decreasing gun suicides.18

Total suicides increased, largely due to hangings and car exhaust gas inhalation. While total murders decreased, gun murders increased slightly. The massive armed robbery increase involved relatively more knives, but fewer guns. This may not be beneficial. While knives may be less dangerous, robbers are more likely to use them and the two effects largely cancel out. 19

By contrast, the FBI and US Department of Justice found that the much-criticised USA had an 8 per cent decrease in murder rate and a 17 per cent decrease in armed robbery for 1997-9, for no increase in taxes and no confiscations at all. 20 21 This occurred in spite of a steady increase in legal gun ownership.22 In 1998, Professors john Lott and David Mustard of the University of Chicago published data showing that murder and violent crime rates decreased in those US states allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed defensive handguns.23 Mass public shootings began to decline almost immediately and almost vanished about five years after such laws were enacted.24 According to anti-gun dogma, violent crime should have increased.

Australia is also compared with Japan. Japanese gun ownership is about 2% of the Australian level, but their murder rate is about 60% of ours and their suicide rate is almost double that of Australia and the US.25 Japan also has the death penalty, but does not have trial by jury.26 Those who urge us to adopt Japanese gun laws do not mention this.

The AIC Director is now on record as stating that criminals will neither register nor surrender their guns.27 No political party has any plan for controlling criminal misuse of firearms.28

Here is what was going on before the ban:

According to the 1975 General Social Survey 25% of Australian households possessed firearms, while the 1989 International Crime Survey returned a figure of 20%.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows us that, over the fifteen years between 1980 and 1995 gun deaths have dropped by 46% while, over the same period, gun ownership has soared. Source: The Australian 27/2/97 and SSAA ILA Report April 1997

Only 1.3% of firearm deaths in Australia are from "assault rifles". Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Firearms deaths in Australia 1980-1995, ABS Cat No. 4397.0.

In 1915 there were 1.8 murders per 100,000 population in Australia Firearms were used in 28.6% In 1993 there were 1.8 murders per 100,000 Firearms were used in19.6% of murders Source: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Gun deaths in 1980[including suicide and accident]4.8 per 100,000 Gun deaths in 1995 2.6 per 100,000 In 1995 suicides accounted for 78% of all gun deaths Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

"The figures clearly show that the absolute numbers of deaths, and the rate of deaths, had been steadily declining before Port Arthur," ..... "Also the pattern of gun deaths declined right across the board, from suicides to homicides and accidents." .... "...the nationwide analysis found that gun- related deaths actually decreased from 4.8 deaths per 100,000 in 1980-2 to 2.6 deaths in 1995." Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics spokesman, Mr David Povah, 'The Australian' of 27/2/97

Or how about England:

In 1974 in the United Kingdom 184 000 firearms were registered and 64 crimes involving firearms were committed, yet by 1994, when only 130 000 weapons were registered, there were almost 6000 crimes involving firearms. A reduction in the number of firearms does not always lead to a reduction in crimes involving firearms.

-- Russel Savage, The Honourable Member for Mildura Parliamentary Hansard, 18th June 1996 Page 810

Findings of Chief Inspector Colin Greenwood of the West Yorkshire constabulary, England, who in his book "Firearms Control," revealed that as a consequence of harshly restrictive firearm laws affecting the British public, criminal violence had increased 196% from 1981 to 1992. Similar findings occur in the U.S., where cities with more gun control to the point of banning firearms, are stricken with phenomenal crime rates, which throw the entire country into disrepute.

"No matter how one approaches the figures, one is forced to the rather startling conclusion that the use of firearms in crime was very much less when there were no controls of any sort... Half a century of strict controls on pistols has ended, perversely, with a far greater use of this class of weapon in crime than ever before."

-- C. Greenwood, Firearms Control, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972, p.243.

And just so they won't feel left out, here is Canada:

A. Some have tried to attribute Canada's relatively low homicide rate to its current gun control laws -- although Canada actually had a lower homicide rate than the U.S. even before its current legislation went into effect. The overall homicide rate in Canada is around two per hundred thousand, compared to nine per hundred thousand in the U.S.; firearms are involved in less than one-third of Canada's homicides.

Canada has had registration of handguns since 1934. Legislation currently in Parliament would, reports the Fraser Institute of Vancouver, make registration of all firearms mandatory and lead to the confiscation of more than 50 percent of the handguns now held by Canadians. A Fraser study by Gary Mauser indicates that since more restrictive firearms laws took place in 1988, the number of those holding guns legally has dropped 19 percent. The robbery rate with a firearm during that period, however, has more than doubled. Also during the same period, the overall violent crime rate has increased 29 percent.

You see no matter how you look at it Gun control DOES NOT WORK! It is a lie, that governments use to disarm their people. Gun Control does not stop school shootings. Gun control does not stop violent crime. Gun control only puts your children in greater danger. If you want to prevent Gun violence, carry a gun. if the teachers at Columbine high school had carried weapons those children might have lived. It wasn't that long ago that most boys carried gun to school to shoot rabbits for dinner on the way, and yet you never heard of students attacking one another. America doesn't have a gun problem it has a heart problem. Here are some facts. This is not the whole list and if wny one wants the rest I will be happy to e-mail it. Once again I am sorry that this is so lengthy, but It will give you all some food for thought I hope.

Little Bit farm

A. Guns save more lives than they take; prevent more injuries than they inflict

* Law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year -- or about 6,850 times a day.1 This means that each year, firearms are used more than 60 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.2

* Of the 2.5 million self-defense cases, as many as 200,000 are by women defending themselves against sexual abuse.3

*Citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as police do every year (1,527 to 606).4 And readers of Newsweek learned in 1993 that "only 2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The "error rate" for the police, however, was 11 percent, more than five times as high."5

*Of the 2.5 million times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, the overwhelming majority merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers. Less than 8% of the time, a citizen will kill or wound his/her attacker.6

*Handguns are the weapon of choice for self-defense. Citizens use handguns to protect themselves over 1.9 million times a year.7 Many of these self-defense handguns could be labeled as "Saturday Night Specials."

B. Concealed carry laws help reduce crime

*One-half million self-defense uses. Every year, as many as one-half million citizens defend themselves with a firearm away from home.8

*Florida. In the ten years following the passage of Florida's concealed carry law in 1987, there were 478,248 people who received permits to carry firearms.9 FBI reports show that the homicide rate in Florida, which in 1987 was much higher than the national average, fell 39% during that 10-year period. The Florida rate is now far below the national average.10

*Do firearms carry laws result in chaos? No. Consider the case of Florida. A citizen in the Sunshine State is almost twice as likely to be attacked by an alligator than to be assaulted by a concealed carry holder. During the first ten years that the Florida law was in effect, alligator attacks outpaced the number of crimes committed by carry holders by a 146 to 88 margin.11

*Nationwide. A comprehensive national study determined in 1996 that violent crime fell after states made it legal to carry concealed firearms. The results of the study showed:

*States which passed concealed carry laws reduced their murder rate by 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7% and robbery by 3%;12 and

*If those states not having concealed carry laws had adopted such laws in 1992, then approximately 1,570 murders, 4,177 rapes, 60,000 aggravated assaults and over 11,000 robberies would have been avoided yearly.13

*Concealed Carry v. Waiting Period Laws. In 1976, both Georgia and Wisconsin tried two different approaches to fighting crime. Georgia enacted legislation making it easier for citizens to carry guns for self-defense, while Wisconsin passed a law requiring a 48 hour waiting period before the purchase of a handgun. What resulted during the ensuing years? Georgia's law served as a deterrent to criminals and helped drop its homicide rate by 21 percent. Wisconsin's murder rate, however, rose 33 percent during the same period.14

C. Criminals avoid armed citizens

*Kennesaw, GA. In 1982, this suburb of Atlanta passed a law requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in the house. The residential burglary rate subsequently dropped 89% in Kennesaw, compared to the modest 10.4% drop in Georgia as a whole.15

*Ten years later (1991), the residential burglary rate in Kennesaw was still 72% lower than it had been in 1981, before the law was passed.16

*Nationwide. Statistical comparisons with other countries show that burglars in the United States are far less apt to enter an occupied home than their foreign counterparts who live in countries where fewer civilians own firearms. Consider the following rates showing how often a homeowner is present when a burglar strikes:

*Homeowner occupancy rate in the gun control countries of Great Britain, Canada and Netherlands: 45% (average of the three countries); and,

*Homeowner occupancy rate in the United States: 12.7%.17 Rapes averted when women carry or use firearms for protection

*Orlando, FL. In 1966-67, the media highly publicized a safety course which taught Orlando women how to use guns. The result: Orlando's rape rate dropped 88% in 1967, whereas the rape rate remained constant in the rest of Florida and the nation.18

*Nationwide. In 1979, the Carter Justice Department found that of more than 32,000 attempted rapes, 32% were actually committed. But when a woman was armed with a gun or knife, only 3% of the attempted rapes were actually successful.19 Justice Department study:

*3/5 of felons polled agreed that "a criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is armed with a gun."20

*74% of felons polled agreed that "one reason burglars avoid houses when people are at home is that they fear being shot during the crime."21

*57% of felons polled agreed that "criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police."22

D. Police cannot protect -- and are not required to protect -- every individual

*The courts have consistently ruled that the police do not have an obligation to protect individuals, only the public in general. For example, in Warren v. D.C. the court stated "courts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community."23

*Former Florida Attorney General Jim Smith told Florida legislators that police responded to only about 200,000 of 700,000 calls for help to Dade County authorities. Smith was asked why so many citizens in Dade County were buying guns and he said, "They damn well better, they've got to protect themselves."24

*The Department of Justice found that in 1989, there were 168,881 crimes of violence which were not responded to by police within 1 hour.25

*Currently, there are about 150,000 police officers on duty at any one time to protect a population of more than 250 million Americans -- or almost 1,700 citizens per officer.26

Failure of Gun Control

A. Poor track record

*Washington, D.C. has, perhaps, the most restrictive gun control laws in the country, and yet it has one of the highest murder rates in the nation.

*Objection: Critics claim criminals merely get their guns in Virginia where the laws are more relaxed. This, they argue, is why the D.C. gun ban is not working.

*Answer: Perhaps criminals do get their guns in Virginia, but this overlooks one point: If the availability of guns in Virginia is the root of D.C.'s problems, why does Virginia not have the same murder and crime rate as the District? Virginia is awash in guns and yet the murder rate is much, much lower. This holds true even for Virginia's urban areas. The murder rates are:

City Murder rate

Washington, DC 56.9 per 100,00027

Arlington, VA 1.6 per 100,00028 (Arlington is just across the river from D.C.)

Total VA metropolitan area 7.9 per 100,00029

*Guns are not the problem. On the contrary, lax criminal penalties and laws that disarm the law-abiding are responsible for giving criminals a safer working environment.

B. Criminologists turning from anti-gun position

*Dr. Gary Kleck. A criminologist at Florida State University, Kleck began his research as a firm believer in gun control. But in a speech delivered to the National Research Council, he said while he was once "a believer in the 'anti-gun' thesis," he has now moved "beyond even the skeptic position." Dr. Kleck now says the evidence "indicates that general gun availability does not measurably increase rates of homicide, suicide, robbery, assault, rape, or burglary in the U.S."30

* James Wright. Formerly a gun control advocate, Wright received a grant from President Carter's Justice Department to study the effectiveness of gun control laws. To his surprise, he found that waiting periods, background checks, and all other gun control laws were not effective in reducing violent crime.31

* Wright says at one time, "It seemed evident to me, we needed to mount a campaign to resolve the crisis of handgun proliferation." But he says, "I am now of the opinion that a compelling case for 'stricter gun control' cannot be made."32

* Every scholar who has "switched" has moved away from the anti-gun position. Dave Kopel, an expert in constitutional issues and firearms research, categorically states that, "Every scholar who has 'switched' has 'switched' to the side that is skeptical of controls. Indeed, most of the prominent academic voices who are gun control skeptics -- including law professor Sanford Levinson and criminologists Gary Kleck and James Wright -- are people who, when they began studying guns, were supporters of the gun control agenda."33

* Kopel continues: "I do not know of a single scholar who has published a pro-control article who started out as a skeptic of gun control. This suggests how heavily the weight of the evidence is distributed, once people begin studying the evidence."34

Problems with waiting periods and background checks

A. Waiting periods threaten the safety of people in imminent danger

* Bonnie Elmasri-- She inquired about getting a gun to protect herself from a husband who had repeatedly threatened to kill her. She was told there was a 48 hour waiting period to buy a handgun. But unfortunately, Bonnie was never able to pick up a gun. She and her two sons were killed the next day by an abusive husband of whom the police were well aware.35

* Marine Cpl. Rayna Ross -- she bought a gun (in a non-waiting period state) and used it to kill an attacker in self-defense two days later.36 Had a 5-day waiting period been in effect, Ms. Ross would have been defenseless against the man who was stalking her.

* Los Angeles riots -- USA Today reported that many of the people rushing to gun stores during the 1992 riots were "lifelong gun-control advocates, running to buy an item they thought they'd never need." Ironically, they were outraged to discover they had to wait 15 days to buy a gun for self-defense.37

B. Background checks do not disarm the violent criminal population

*A Justice Department survey of felons showed that 93% of handgun predators had obtained their most recent guns "off-the-record."38

* Press reports show that the few criminals who get their guns from retail outlets can easily get fake IDs or use surrogate buyers, known as "straw purchasers," to buy their guns.39

C. Prior restraints on rights are unconstitutional

1. Second Amendment protects an individual right

Report by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution (1982)-- "The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner."40

(available at

Supreme Court admits "the people" in the Second Amendment are the same "people" as in the rest of the Bill of Rights -- In U.S. v. Verdugo- Urquidez the Court stated that "'the people" seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution. . . . [and] it suggests that "the people" protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community."41

2. Courts agree that rights should be free from prior restraints

Near v. Minnesota -- In this case, the Supreme Court stated that government officials should punish the abuse of a right and not place prior restraints on the exercise of the right.42

What about yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater? -- The courts have stated that one cannot use his "freedom of speech" to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater. And yet, no one argues that officials should gag everyone who goes into the theater, thus placing a prior restraint on movie-goers. The proper response is to punish the person who does yell "Fire." Likewise, citizens should not be "gagged" before exercising their Second Amendment rights, rather they should be punished if they abuse that right.

D. Background checks can (and do) lead to gun registration

*Justice Department report (1989). "Any system that requires a criminal history record check prior to purchase of a firearm creates the potential for the automated tracking of individuals who seek to purchase firearms."43

* Justice Department initiates registration (1994). The Justice Department gave a grant to the city of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University to create a sophisticated national gun registry using data compiled from states' background check programs. This attempt at registration was subsequently defeated in the courts.44

* More gun owner registration (1996). A new computer software distributed by the Justice Department allows police officials to easily (and unlawfully) register the names and addresses of gun buyers. This software -- known as FIST -- also keeps information such as the type of gun purchased, the make, model and caliber, the date of purchase, etc.45 The instant background check could be a key component in registering this information in the computer software.46

* Federal Bureau of Investigation registers gun owners (1998). Despite prohibitions in federal law, the FBI announced that it would begin keeping gun buyer's names for six months. FBI had originally wanted to keep the names for 18 months, but reduced the time period after groups like Gun Owners of America strongly challenged the legality of their actions. GOA submitted a formal protest to the FBI, calling their attempt at registration both "unlawful" and "unconstitutional."47

* California. State officials have used the state background check -- required during the waiting period -- to compile an illegal registry of handgun owners. These lists have been compiled without any statutory authority to do so.48

* Nationwide. Highly acclaimed civil rights attorney, researcher and author, David Kopel, has noted several states where either registration lists have been illegally compiled from background checks or where such registration lists have been abused by officials.49

E. The Brady registration law is NOT working

General Accounting Office Study:

1. The Brady Law has failed to result in the incarceration of dangerous criminals. After the first year and a half, there were only seven successful prosecutions for making false statements on Brady handgun purchase forms -- and only three of them were actually incarcerated.50 With only three criminals sent to jail, one can hardly argue that the law is working to keep violent criminals from getting handguns on the street.

2. The Brady Law has ERRONEOUSLY denied firearms to thousands of applicants. Over fifty percent of denials under the Brady Law are for administrative snafus, traffic violations, or reasons other than felony convictions.51

3. Gun control advocates admit the Brady Law is not a panacea. According to a January, 1996 report by the General Accounting Office, "Proponents [of gun control] acknowledge that criminal records checks alone will not prevent felons from obtaining firearms."52

4. Criminals can easily evade the background checks by using straw purchasers: "Opponents of gun control note that criminals can easily circumvent the law by purchasing handguns on the secondary market or by having friends or spouses without a criminal record make the purchases from dealers."53

Problems with gun registration and licensing

A. Licensing or registration can lead to confiscation of firearms

*Step One: Registration. In the mid-1960's officials in New York City began registering long guns. They promised they would never use such lists to take away firearms from honest citizens. But in 1991, the city banned (and soon began confiscating) many of those very guns.54

* Step Two: Confiscation. In 1992, a New York City paper reported that, "Police raided the home of a Staten Island man who refused to comply with the city's tough ban on assault weapons, and seized an arsenal of firearms. . . . Spot checks are planned [for other homes]."55

* Registration and Confiscation in California. The Golden State passed a ban on certain semi-automatic firearms in 1989. Banned guns could be legally possessed if they were registered prior to the ban. In the Spring of 1995, one man who wished to move to California asked the Attorney General whether his SKS Sporter rifle would be legal in the state. The citizen was assured the rifle was legal, and based on that information, he subsequently moved into the state. But in 1998, California officials reversed course and confiscated the firearm.56

* Foreign Countries. Gun registration has led to confiscation in several countries, including Greece, Ireland, Jamaica and Bermuda.57 And in an exhaustive study on this subject, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has researched and translated several gun control laws from foreign countries. Their publication, Lethal Laws: "Gun Control" is the Key to Genocide documents how gun control (and confiscation) has preceded the slaughter and genocide of millions of people in Turkey, the Soviet Union, Germany, China, Cambodia and others.58

B. People in imminent danger can die waiting for a firearms license

*In 1983, Igor Hutorsky was murdered by two burglars who broke into his Brooklyn furniture store. The tragedy is that some time before the murder his business partner had applied for permission to keep a handgun at the store. Even four months after the murder, the former partner had still not heard from the police about the status of his gun permit.59

C. The power to license a right is the power to destroy a right

*Arbitrary Delays -- While New Jersey law requires applications to be responded to within thirty days, delays of ninety days are routine; sometimes, applications are delayed for several years for no readily apparent reason.60

* Arbitrary Denials -- Officials in New York City routinely deny gun permits for ordinary citizens and store owners because -- as the courts have ruled -- they have no greater need for protection than anyone else in the city. In fact, the authorities have even refused to issue permits when the courts have ordered them to do so.61

* Arbitrary Fee Increases -- In 1994, the Clinton administration pushed for a license fee increase of almost 1,000 percent on gun dealers. According to U.S. News & World Report, the administration was seeking the license fee increase "in hopes of driving many of America's 258,000 licensed gun dealers out of business."62

D. Officials cannot license or register a constitutional right

*The Supreme Court held in Lamont v. Postmaster General (1965) that the First Amendment prevents the government from registering purchasers of magazines and newspapers -- even if such material is "communist political propaganda."63

Assault weapons: fact or fiction?

A. Definition of real "assault weapons"

*According to one of the preeminent experts in the field of firearms, Dr. Edward Ezell,64 a key characteristic of a true assault weapon is that it must have the capability of "full automatic fire."65 Similarly, the U.S. Defense Department defines real assault weapons as "selective-fire weapons" -- meaning that these guns can fire either automatically or semi-automatically.66

* Anti-gun pundits in recent years have managed to define "assault weapons" as semi-automatic firearms which only externally resemble a military firearm.67 Dr. Edward Ezell notes that true assault weapons "were designed to produce roughly aimed bursts of full automatic fire"68 -- something which a semi-automatic firearm does not do.

B. Semi-automatic "assault rifles" are no different than many hunting rifles

*Officer William McGrath: "These [semi-automatic assault rifles] are little different than the semi-automatic hunting rifles that have been on the market since before World War II. The main difference between an assault rifle and a semi-automatic hunting rifle is that the assault rifle looks more 'military.'"69

* "The term 'assault' rifle is really a misnomer as a true assault rifle is a selective fire weapon capable of switching from fully automatic to semi automatic and back with the flip of a lever."70

* "The charge that the assault rifle holds more rounds than a 'legitimate' hunting rifle shows either a lack of knowledge or a deliberate twisting of the facts, as 10, 20 and 30 round magazines for 'legitimate' hunting rifles have been on the market for decades without the world coming to an end."71

C. So-called assault weapons have never been the "weapon of choice" for criminals

(All of the following figures pre-date the "assault weapons" ban passed by Congress in 1994)

* Police View: Over 100,000 police officers delivered a message to Congress in 1990 stating that only 2% to 3% of crimes are committed using a so-called "assault weapon."72

* New Jersey: The New York Times reported that, "Although New Jersey's pioneering ban on military-style assault rifles was sold to the state as a crime-fighting measure, its impact on violence in the state . . . has been negligible, both sides agree."73 Moreover, New Jersey police statistics show that only .026 of 1 percent of all crimes involve "assault rifles."74

* Nationwide: The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in 1993 that violent criminals only carry or use a "military-type gun" in about one percent of the crimes nationwide.75

* Knives more deadly: According to the FBI, people have a much greater chance of being killed by a knife or a blunt object than by any kind of rifle, including an "assault rifle."76 In Chicago, the chance is 67 times greater. That is, a person is 67 times more likely to be stabbed or beaten to death in Chicago than to be murdered by an "assault rifle."77

* Cops' own guns more deadly: So-called assault weapons are not menacing police officers nationwide. The FBI reports show that before the 1994 ban on semi-automatic "assault weapons," no more than three officers were killed in any one year by such guns.78 Contrastly, police officers were more than three times as likely to be killed by their own guns than by "assault weapons."79

* It would seem one can't have it both ways. If Congress wants to ban weapons that are dangerous to police, then it should begin by pushing for a ban on police officers' own weapons, since these guns kill far more often than "assault weapons." The same is true with knives and blunt objects. These instruments kill policemen more often than semi-automatic "assault weapons."80

* Sarah Brady's own figures show that so-called assault weapons are not the criminal's "weapon of choice." A study published by Handgun Control, Inc. in November of 1995 shows that the overwhelming majority of guns used to murder police officers are not "assault weapons."81 The irony is that HCI uses a very inflated definition of "assault weapon" and still can not demonstrate that they are used in over 50% of the crimes.82

* Does tracing of crime guns show that "assault weapons" are the weapons of choice for criminals? No. Gun control advocates will often make the claim that so-called assault weapons are frequently used in crime. To justify this claim, such advocates will cite as "evidence" the fact that law-enforcement run a high percentage of traces on these types of firearms. But this is a classic example of circular reasoning: law enforcement arbitrarily run a high percentage of trace requests on "assault weapons," and then this figure is used to justify the "fact" that these guns are frequently used in crime. Consider the following:

*Tracing requests are not representative of all guns used in crime. The Congressional Research Service states that, "Firearms selected for tracing do not constitute a random sample and cannot be considered representative of the larger universe of all firearms used by criminals."83 (Emphasis added.) Moreover, BATF agents themselves have stated that, "ATF does not always know if a firearm being traced has been used in a crime."84

*Tracing requests are not random samples. CRS notes that "ATF tracing data could be potentially biased because of screening conducted by local ATF agents prior to the submission of the tracing from."85 This means that police could, if they wanted, only trace so-called assault weapons. Would this mean that they are the only guns used in crime? No, it would just mean that law enforcement have a particular interest in tracing "assault weapons" over other guns.

*Tracing in L.A. That tracing is an unreliable measure of a gun's use in crime is clear. For example, in 1989 in Los Angeles, "assault rifles" represented approximately only 3% of guns seized, but 19% of gun traces.86

D. Semi-automatic "assault weapons" are excellent for self-defense

*Police Capt. Massad Ayoob: "The likelihood of multiple opponents who move fast, often wear body armor, know how to take cover, and tend to ingest chemicals that make them resistant to pain and shock, are all good reasons for carrying guns that throw a whole lot more bullets than six-shooters do."87 (Emphasis added.)

-- Little bit Farm (, July 07, 2000


You're absoutely right. And check the violent crime stats here in Texas since we got the "right to carry" law a few years ago. Robberies, murders, rapes all are down. Why? Because the thugs now think twice before attacking someone because the potential victim just might be carrying. I have a friend who's a Dallas cop and he told me, "People just don't understand. It's not my job to protect you. If someone robs you or rapes you or murders you, it's my job to try to find out who did it and arrest them. But I can't protect you. You've got to protect yourself".

-- Joe Cole (, July 07, 2000.

And I might add, we saw gun control at its finest a few years ago in Waco, Texas and in Ruby Ridge.

-- Joe Cole (, July 07, 2000.

My history teacher taught me that " well regulated" meant "well armed" in the King's english. He often said well armed instead of regulated. I own the pre-ban assualt rifles that so many are scared of. Yet, I have committed no crime and haven't shot anyone(yet) ! I firmly believe you should be better armed than the people you pay to protect you, lest they turn against you and you must overcome tyrannical authority. Jefferson and Madison agreed with me. Therefore for a free society we must all arm ourselves to the teeth, if we agree with the Founding Fathers. I for one, align myself with the constituton--word for word and I also stand with Patrick Henry in full agreement that any central government is tyrannical, unneeded and always unwanted !!!

-- Joel Rosen (, July 07, 2000.

Hi Joel!

Can't stay out of a good discussion concerning individual freedoms, can you? Thought you were backing off the electronic gig for a while :) Anyway, my two cents...

"Well regulated" can also mean well disciplined or well controlled. As opposed to a vigilante rabble that goes around enforcing it's will indiscriminately. It means that there is a commonly understood and regulated process by which the militia is brought into action by legally constituted means. That said, it also means that the members of the militia abide by rules, regulations and other codes of conduct. In today's society, it SHOULD mean that in those states with conceal and carry that background checks and a certain level of gun proficiency and safety can be demonstrated by the gun owner before a permit is granted.

And as for Patrick Henry, the "give me liberty or give me death" guy, he also served two terms as the governor of Virginia, was a delegate to the Continental Congress, helped draft the Virgina State Constitution and was instrumental in insuring that the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution before he pushed for its ratification in the Virginia State Assembly. Despite his warnings against a tyrannical central government, he was very much a "G-MAN", dedicated to working out a better form of government from within the system, not from without.


-- Craig Miller (, July 09, 2000.

I'm allowed my one hour a week on the electronic monster, Craig. Your right though--political posts by LBF attract my attention. I'm afraid I disagree with any registration of firearms--that is infringement and against the constitution. If everyone carried a gun there would be less crime and more respect. People would think twice before opening their mouth. There would be no need for the police state we have developed. Although all my firearms are registered, I disagree--to maintain a class 3 license I have submitted to the law. I may well be the best armed citizen in America today. As much as I am controversial in this forum, so I am with the seven major militias. I have disareements with all the major players and thus it should be. I guess I never stated my goals in this endeavor but I will now. I believe, like Patrick Henry believed. I want a state government free from any central government. Any state will do but I perfer the two I own land in Montana or Virginia. That government being a constitutional based government with it's officials appointed from a jury pool of land owners. Their terms not to exceed one year in any lifetime. Taxes shall be a flat rated 10% of gross income and your family is your only insurance. Medical and legal services are free to anyone that needs them and the only insurance allowed is the love of your friends and family. Education is your respondsibility not the states. The state is no longer responsible for your welfare--you are ! In these few lines most of this countries problems are solved. If anyone disarees with the states mode of operation than they are free to leave. That is the essence of the Patrick Henry and most of the founding fathers. I know you will say " but so many will die" and yes that is true. However more will die if if it is not done. This country and the world need a major culling anyway. I believe this government has ceased to be of any use to it's citizens as each new law and decision seems to be a little less intelligent than the last one. The proposed gun infringements will trigger a revolution. That's just my opinion but I am one of the players holding the cards ! My hour is up,have a great week !

-- Joel Rosen (, July 09, 2000.

Oh good gravy. Sure wish folks would wake up and smell the coffee. All these restrictions do is make it tough for the law abiding citizens. No criminal buys a gun from a gun shop and registers it. No criminal is gonna put gadgets on a trigger so some kid can't pull the trigger. No law abiding citizen who keeps a gun for protection, not necessarily against humans, but critters, is gonna put a lock on a trigger. But if it is for humans, what's he gonna do, say, "Just a minute Mr. Attacker, I gotta find the key to my gun." Uh uh. It's loaded and ready for bear, whether it's a human predator or a critter.

All these gun restrictions are forcing the good guys to obtain guns almost like the criminals ~ from private parties. Having a good friend in law enforcement helps ~ they can run a check on a gun to see if it's been used in a crime.

Everything today seems to be 'for the children.' I'm not against kids ~ I have 3 FABULOUS kids. But it's going too far, IMHO.

I don't know the author of this, but it sure makes a lot of sense:

"First he came for the smokers, but I didn't care because I don't smoke. Next he came for the gun owners, but I didn't care because I don't own a gun." Who will be left to care when he comes for you?

-- ~Rogo (, July 09, 2000.

Well I for one am glad to see that Joel is still around a little. I am always glad to see his perspective as I am always glad to see all of your perspectives. Although I may not always agree with all of you, I enjoy this forum for the ability of everyone to disagree and maintain their tempers. I am constantly appalled at the inability of certain people on the net to maintain a civil tongue when discussing a subject. I run a political discussion list, and the only rule I have is that people be civil. All kinds of people have joined my list. Witches, racists, conservatives. Life sometimes gets interesting. I enjoy this forum not only for all the great homesteading info I find here, I enjoy it for all the great people, and the way everyone is unafraid to tackle all kinds of subject without losing their homestead perspective. I don't know if it is because we all have a common bond as homesteaders or what, but all I can say is that it is a pleasure discussing just about anything with all who are here. Thank you all for putting up with my political meandering. You have all been a blessing to me.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (, July 09, 2000.

First they came for the Communists,
and I didnt speak up,
because I wasnt a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didnt speak up,
because I wasnt a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didnt speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one left
to speak up for me.

by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

-- Don Armstrong (, July 12, 2000.

As always, thanks very much LilBit for the great research and insights you have shared. For my .02, I think people should be given citations for not carrying! Pack all ya can!

"An Armed Society is a Polite Society" T.Jefferson

There is no doubt in my mind that when full scale gun control comes into being there will be a war. I would much rather not have one, but if the "powers that be" have no respect for the law of the land and the citizenry, there is no choice in the matter.

-- Doreen (, July 13, 2000.

Little Bit...May I copy that and post it elsewhere? I don't know how politically active you are but there is a web site called second amendment sisters you might find interesting.. Check out their picture on the home page, I use it for my wallpaper. diane

-- diane (, July 13, 2000.

Lil Bit, thank you for your informative post. I think we all know that the only reason the authorities are so against assault weapons is so they can remain in authority, no matter what they do. In other words, they remove the one thing that could hold them accountable. The INTENT of the wording in the Constitution was to make sure that the people of this country would always be as well armed as the armies and police, so that we could not be subjected to the kind of tyranny that they were subjected to, and, as you mentioned, the kind of tyranny that has murdered millions in this century alone. And, yes, it could happen here, and eventually probably will. Joel may be the best-armed private citizen in the country, but are there enough others to stop the whole US military? I think not -- I know that my old hunting rifle sure wouldn't be any match for a tank, or any other modern armaments. We are to a large extent already a captive people, and the water is nearly up to boiling (frog parable).

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, July 14, 2000.

I posted this on another forum also, the figures speak for themselves. If we ALL do what needs to be done there will be no choice for the politicians if they want to keep their jobs! ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Your vote does count. If every gun owner in America goes to the polls and votes for the one issue that matters most, we will utterly destroy every voting block that is dead set against us. This is a country of 70 million gun owners and 96 million voters, you do the math! If gun owners just vote to keeps their guns, no politician will ever have the nerve to utter the code words for a totalitarian society "gun control" again. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a quote from the article "Can't Happen Here? It already Has." by Robert Boatman found in the July 2000 issue of America's 1st. Freedom, Official Publication of the National Rifle Association. ---------------------------------------------------------------------

Let's do it America! These figures tell me it's "more" than possible to set things straight! Please pass this on to every gun owner and freedom lover in this great country! Thanks!

Bob Johnson NRA Endowment Member ======================================================================

-- Bob Johnson (, July 14, 2000.

To the mountains ! Only 3% of the population fought the first war for independence. We have 10% at least. The army that the government is counting on are our sons, daughters, nephews and nieces. We will bring them home or on to our side. I can assure that 50% of the U.S. miltary will turn on their own commanders. Hunting rifles versus tanks ? YES--sounds like musket versus cannon in 1770. Also, tanks and planes are seriously impaired in the Rockies, useless is a better word. All that is left to consider is when ? Face it-- You have no one in this election to vote for ! Two daddy's boys that are riding their fathers reputation and political influence. Neither are honest or ethical--neither posess the knowledge or education to serve you. To vote in this election is blasphamy to the founding fathers. Cast this vote--buy an assualt rifle, join your local militia and prepare to spit in the face of the Whore of Babylon. Let the people who vote for corruption pay for it's decay. Just stand tall,don't give in and let the militia's do the rest. You owe it to your children !

-- Joel Rosen (, July 14, 2000.

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