We have another shooting: two days ago in Wisconsin a white neo-nazi named Wade Page killed 6 and critically wounded three, including a police officer who was shot 9 times. Page used a legally purchased 9 mm handgun and had five pistol permits he got in North Carolina in 2008. It sounds like he was a racist, but still fairly mild-mannered. This sort of violence was not obvious from his background.
My thinking on gun control continues to evolve since I wrote Mass Murder’s Bright Future, in no small part thanks to the comments of some of my conservative friends. I have never had a position on this issue, but my thinking seems to be leading me to somewhat solid ground.
First, guns have a unique psychological draw; they make you feel powerful and invincible, even sexy. This draw affects the mentally unstable—and me. As a kid, I certainly felt that way walking around my house with a nerf gun, or a cheap-plastic western-style revolver, randomly pulling it out and pointing it at things while striking dramatic poses. If I were to go insane and felt like my life was careening out of control, I can imagine a scenario in which I might be attracted to that boyhood fancy.
Certainly a lot of combat troops in the USA all-volunteer army likes guns, and plenty of cops do as well, and that inclination played a role in many early career decisions (and almost did in my own). I know my military friends would agree. Perhaps this personal perspective is anecdotal, but perhaps insanity would result in less violence if gun violence specifically was not so damn attractive.
Second, I hate regulations that create black markets. I personally experienced how bans on drugs and prostitution supported gangs, blight, and economic ruin in inner city USA. In fact, I would go so far as saying we should legalize prostitution, allow sex-workers working rights, protections by the courts, a measure of workplace safety. etc. We should tax it and pay for job training to transition them into other fields, etc. (Alicia recently converted to this position!) I also think most narcotics should be legal. All this is to say, I am sensitive to the notion that banning can create a black markets and can be counterproductive. However, banning guns seems different than drugs, prostitution or even alcohol. Unlike prohibition, banning guns could work:
- Alcohol is easily distilled, says all of my beer-making friends. Prohibition proved that you cannot ban alcohol, because it is simply too easy to make. Guns are not as easy to make. But it’s harder to create make-shift guns: you can’t go to your local hardware store and easily assemble a gun. Sure it’s possible, but it’s harder, and that is a significant difference. You aren’t going to supply a criminal underground with creatively conjured handmade guns.
- It’s harder to manufacture illegal guns en masse as they are complex manufactured goods that require lots of parts from lots of places. The parts of a pencil, for instance, are taken from all over the world. Hundreds of companies are usually involved, while drugs require only one source and one preparation site. Marijuana and other drugs can be grown/prepared in basements and whiskey stills are small and can be operated in a small hidden spaces.
- Prostitution is simpler than drugs or alcohol; you just need another person and a few minutes. Women throughout the country are willing to be paid for sex, and men, also ubiquitous it seems, are even more likely to be willing to pay for it. I don’t think we are going to ban either gender soon, or separate them, in massive male or female only cities. Also, what about same-sex prostitutes? Banning guns certainly makes more sense than banning the exchange of currency for sexual pleasure.
- Guns need to be resupplied; they need ammunition. Even if people can get guns, we can make it increasingly difficult to get compatible ammunition. While you would have to ban potatoes if you want to ban vodka, or corn if you want to ban whiskey, ammunition is not a basic food.
- It’s harder to smuggle guns than drugs: guns cannot be shoved up your ass so you can carry them on a plane.
- Finally, we all know gun bans work, right? Countries around the world are already banning guns and quite effectively keeping them out of public hands. Why not the US too?
Of course their are obstacles, but they all seem surmountable:
- There are already tons of guns that are out there (400 million?). We would have to find a way to get them back. Maybe we could offer a period of a few months where the government would buy them back before they become illegal. I’m sure there are better ideas out there…
- We would have to amend the constitution.
- We would have to, I believe, continue to allow hunting. Maybe the government can encourage more bow hunting. Maybe single shot rifles should be allowed. After all, that was the firearm technology that the 2nd amendment was talking about.
So I guess I have to admit it: I think a comprehensive gun ban would be good. I might allow single shot hunting rifles (any shot after the first are usually misses anyway), but I could be persuaded to lose them too. Of course, cops and and military people would still need guns, and perhaps Alaskans in Zodiak country.
Maybe I’ll hear some good arguments and change my mind tomorrow. Truthfully, even though my position has solidified, I still think this is a relatively unimportant issue compared to, for instance, the worldwide food sovereignty movement and prison reform. But still, there it is.
Note: I made up these lists off the top of my head. It is complete fancy and could be misguided, but I find them interesting. I mention this because a few times lately I have been accused of regurgitating democratic talking points. I am fine being wrong, changing my mind based on argument, and laughing at jokes regarding my idiocy or large nose; I do that all the time. But please know that my arguments and reflections are always mine. I am honestly compelled or intrigued by them and would like your help making them better. The implication that I am unquestionably regurgitating lines from politicians is likely the quickest way to piss me off. Anyone who knows me knows that I guard my intellectual independence jealously, perhaps even too much.
August 12th, 2012 at 9:19 AM
I also do agree with anonymous. Something that bugs me SO much when people write new laws is a total lack of history….WHY don’t more people understand how important history is??? YES, those who don’t study it are doomed to repeat it… When we change old laws or write new ones, we MUST understand why the original law was there in the first place, or we are literally just going to swing the pendulum back, and then the next generation is going to have to change our law, because we failed to understand the other side of the argument. People don’t die, especially en masse, for small things. Our forefathers died for the right to vote. They died for the right to be able to have greater freedom than the Brits allowed them. We will continue to give that up until one day we realize all over again why they died in the first place…maybe we’ll have the chance to die again with victory possible, and maybe not. It would be so much wiser to to just remember it first, so we won’t have to die again…
August 10th, 2012 at 6:03 PM
I gather that most of you are younger than me at 47. I have to say that I am completely discourage in many in the younger generation when it comes to the willingness to so easily give up freedom won through the blood and treasure of patriots in exchange for the perception of safety. Kids these days. :o)
You can argue all you want about what the constitution says or doesn’t say where the comma is or what it means. Self preservation is a natural right. It is not conveyed to me on a piece of paper. The constitution as some of you may recall exists to PUT LIMITS ON GOVERNMENT not the people.
What other natural rights are you all willing to put the kibosh on in the name of safety? Religions can be pretty dangerous maybe we should outlaw a few.
August 9th, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Thanks for your thoughtful reply Jer-you had some good points I hadn’t thought of or known, and I’m glad to know. Your point that the concept of conceal-and-carry didn’t exist is definitely valid, along with the very different types of weapons we’ve invented since 1776. Also, the idea that the government weaponry technology in all forms, not the least such as tanks, auto-long-range weapons, near invincible body armor, night vision equipment, etc., make an even match between citizenry and government impossible.
However, if the most basic element of society has lost the right to defend themselves when push comes to shove, I think that society has lost its freedom. It can be debated that a society can become so unstable from within that it can no longer handle freedom, and we certainly seem to have a number of active unstables. But I don’t think we’re at that point. Power corrupts, and that’s simply a fact. Government HAS to be kept accountable, and every honest citizen has to admit that power corrupts, and every citizen MUST accept the job of keeping their government accountable, or else they will lose freedom. I think a society where the basic citizen has lost the basic right to defend him or herself has lost its freedom, and given the government the option of total dictatorship, should it desire it. Thankfully most gunless countries’ governments haven’t done that, but I think it’s far too dangerous a road to travel. An armed citizenry is a reminder to both their leaders and their fellow citizens to consider their actions carefully, and we can’t lose that reminder.
August 9th, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Susanna, I could hug you right now. I absolutely agree and I find that point compelling; not so much the language regarding losing freedoms, but the point about the citizens having recourse to an unruly government is essential for having long term (talking centuries probably) accountability of government to the people is key.
2 points to make in response: a minor one and a major one:
minor – if you look on my facebook page, you’ll see Ethan Stowell telling me that guns and ammunition are super easy to make, so a ban on guns would create a black market. Of course a ban would create a black market, but even with the ease of making guns I think that the black market will be manageable (for other reasons that I won’t go into at the moment). However, because guns are so easy to make, I think a community could make them en masse if they needed to, so he is really arguing the point that we in fact could arm ourselves in mass if we needed to, so I suppose that means we can ban guns now?…minor point but interesting.
Major point — I have been doing a lot of thinking about the constitution and learning some about US gun control history. I would encourage you taking a look at this article. It’s very short. http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/08/know-your-gun-rights-history/ It’s written in an unusually combative style, but the guy is a thorough centrist and I trust him. Anyway, reading that made me look at the text of the 2nd amendment again:
“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.”
What I realized is that the second comma must mean either “and” or “which is.” For the last few decades, the understanding of this amendment has come to mean that it protected an individuals right to bear arms. However, it seems to me more likely that this amendment is meant preserve the power of the states and other bodies against federal power. In other words, as you said in you initial comment, my position is not a 180 degree turn. In fact, I do not think we need to change the constitution at all. This is because….and here I finally get to your point in your last comment…”the people” does not need to mean each person individually. It can mean the states. So, in other words, while the government should not be able to disband and disarm well-regulated militias, an individual is not guaranteed by the bill of rights the freedom to keep their own private arsenal in their basement. Instead, they must be trained in how to use it and how to use it in concert with the wishes and participation of their neighbors.
This seems brilliant to me. Crazy people, like the Aurora shooter, would never have gotten guns if he had to participate in a community in order to use them and then those guns went back into the local armory at the end of each day in which the militia would train.
Part of what made me realize this is that guns were very expensive back in the day, and not everyone owned them. The local township often kept an arsenal which they would use to supply its citizens in the case of, for example, native american raids. Perhaps that is what is meant by “the people.”
…I am going to post on this. I want to do a word search of how “the people” is used in other places of the constitution. At any rate, thanks for getting me thinking. I owe this train of thought to you.
August 9th, 2012 at 4:00 AM
I’m in Jeremy. I’m sold. But only because I wanna get in on the rap game at ground level in your pie-in-the-sky world.
For you and your homie – judgment: it reckons,
because your mom isn’t the only thing I can get off twice in 22 seconds.
Legal powder in my pocket- some white and some black.
Bang, yeah, one bang goes the sound of my gat.
-And your homie goes down like a tax paying strumpet.
I have no fear.
So much ammo ’round my neck peeps confuse me for Boromir,
oh dear, LOTR references will be cool in the year-
when this legislation passes,
And Romney shows returns for eight years of taxes.
So let reality be Gondor and let’s return like Aragorn,
Because in about 17,16,15 more seconds you’re going to look a bit forlorn,
I’ll be reloaded, so be forewarn,
you’ll wish you were never born
I flex my power like a lobbyist for corn.
August 9th, 2012 at 9:49 PM
Looking forward to providing the beattbox for you to lay down those rhymes.
…appreciate the LOTR references
August 8th, 2012 at 8:01 PM
Personal background: My only gun is a Daisy BB gun that I got when I was 13. I have no plans to buy any real firearms. I do not feel that owning a gun will make me any safer or less safe. Despite my lack of gun ownership, I still consider myself a fully participating citizen. OK, with that out of the way, let me share a few other thoughts.
1) America already has gun control laws. We do not ban guns outright, but we have many laws that make purchasing a gun more complicated or more drawn out than how purchasing a hunting knife, fishing rod, can of Coke, etc. I just wanted to clarify that.
2) I disagree with your point that gun bans elsewhere have worked. Of course, any argument on this point requires a clearly defined standard of success. In the absence of that standard, let me share anecdotal evidence with apologies that I don’t have solid studies to back up my claims.
Jamaica has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world (imprisonment for having a discharged gun shell), yet murder is the number one cause of death for all Jamaican males (yes, all males of any any age). And yes, from every newspaper report I read, the vast majority of those murders are with guns. Perhaps this is just the case for a corrupt nation in which police officers and government officials are unable (and unwilling) to enforce the laws. But then, what about cities like Washington DC and Chicago? They have much stricter gun control laws than the rest of the US, yet their murder rates are some of the highest in the US (by mid-June, Chicago already had 228 murders). Just a few weeks ago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel was out asking gangs please to limit their murders to adults (“Get away from that kid. Take your stuff away to the alley,” was what he actually said). Australia also has very strict gun control laws, yet their worst massacre in history (Port Author Massacre) happened in 1996 when their gun control laws were far stricter than any in the US. Their gun control laws have become stricter since then, but my point is that guns were strictly controlled when a psycho murdered 35 people and wounded 23. By the way, 35 dead is higher than the Virginia Tech shootings a few years ago.
3) All that said, you really got me thinking about **mass murder** and guns. If the psycho in Aurora didn’t have a gun, could he really have killed as many people? In other words, if we really could enforce gun control laws well, would they work? And the more I think about it, the more I think gun control laws will never be able to avoid these mass murders. Here’s why.
A) In order for gun control laws really to be effective, the laws have to span a large enough region that people cannot just smuggle the guns in. Essentially, you’d have to have a worldwide ban on guns. As long as their are rogue nations, there will be illegal arms trafficking. As long as illegal arms trafficking exists, organized crime and terrorists will get their hands on guns. Yes, it will be harder for them to obtain guns, but gun control laws by themselves will not keep guns out of the hands of criminals. This may sound overly generalized, but I challenge anyone to name a nation with any level of gun control laws in which gangs and organized criminals have no guns. That nation does not exist no matter how well written and well enforced their gun control laws are.
B) Gun control laws are almost always hotly debated around a mass murder. This makes complete sense, but I want to draw attention to it all the same. If we think that having gun control laws will make these mass murders a thing of the past, then we’re really fooling ourselves. Mass murders are the acts of psychos who have lost their grip on morality and reality and who have set out to destroy as many lives as possible. I have yet to hear of a mass murder in which a “normal” / healthy person had a gun sitting in their cabinet at home and just decided to murder a bunch of people. Each mass murder I have heard about was an extremely well planned attack that utilized everything available to the criminals. Even if we could remove every gun from every citizen of every nation, psychos who are bent on destruction would still find means to carry out their evil desires. No, they’re not going to manage a mass murder with their Swiss Army knife, but they’ll find everything else. They’ll make enough molotov cocktails to ensure significant loss of life. They’ll engineer huge bombs out of fertilizer and household cleaning agents (e.g., Oklahoma City bombing). They’ll keep planning their attack until they feel they’ve found a way for it to be effective. In the end, gun control laws are simply another attempt to legislate morality. And when was the last time we were able to do that effectively?
So, as much as I’d love to see the end of mass murders, I don’t believe that gun control laws are the answer we’re looking for. Should we still consider implementing gun control laws anyway? Perhaps so. Perhaps gun control laws won’t hurt our attempts to limit mass murder. I would love to see a more complete study that looks at crime rates in areas with high gun ownership percentages. That study could finally shed light on the merits and demerits of the belief that responsible citizens owning guns will make criminals less likely to attack. In the meantime, I’m coming to believe that the question of gun control has less to do with making mass murder a thing of the past and has more to do with how large / involved we want our government to be. In the meantime, let’s not fool ourselves into believing that government’s laws will bring an end to mass murder.
August 9th, 2012 at 9:10 PM
Check out the study by John Lott documented in his book “More Guns, Less Crime”. It is the most extensive study I have ever seen utilizing data from every county in the US. While I think that his study ultimately can fall prey to the correlation equals causation fallacy the one thing that it does show is that more guns do not lead to more crime.
August 9th, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Sounds interesting. I would love to check it out. Thanks!
August 10th, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Me as well; I think I’ll get it from the library, in fact!
August 11th, 2012 at 1:18 PM
susannah! What did you think of the the constitution train of thought that you got me on?
August 12th, 2012 at 9:08 AM
Sorry, I’m at a friend’s house who just had a baby, so my internet usage is spotty. 🙂 I actually thought that was really interesting; thank you for putting that down! I did see that same article on Dan’s page, and I didn’t agree with the same conclusion that author drew, but unfortunately the link on his page isn’t working, so I can’t access it quickly right now.
“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.”
I think you actually have a great point that that could certainly refer to the guns being used as part of a militia as opposed to merely personal use. I think it is very clear that the amendment is stating that someone BESIDES the federal government needs to have uninhibited access to arms (which as I said before, I think is a necessity for keeping a government humble and accountable)…and I do think it says there that individual people will possess those arms, but yes, as to where they USE those arms, I think you’ve got a good thought. Unfortunately, I don’t think our discourse is likely to happen in most state legislatures: “So Dick, what’s up with our state militia?”, and since almost no one else is thinking about this idea very publicly, I think our only genuine option right now is to let individuals keep on with their guns, since someone besides the feds needs to have them. But I would love to see some genuine discussion and maybe action on your idea…
As a separate note, I do think homeowners should always be allowed to have guns for personal defense…particularly to defend your home from intruders, and I also think a gun on-scene is by far the best response to these mass shootings happening. Often circumstances do make it difficult, but honestly, after the shooter has killed one person, I would have no issue with someone else shooting him right back…it’s either that, or others are going to die, and it takes too long for the police…
August 9th, 2012 at 10:10 PM
2) I still think that gun bans elsewhere have worked. Even if true in Jamaica, it is not all of the “elsewhere’s.” I also think that the two countries are not comparable (of course you know WAY better than I). We have to compare similar countries. In fact, I think like 20 or so countries have a higher per capita gun deaths, but they are mostly latin america countries with fairly weak government control. Also, I would say that the government may have issued the bans to combat gun violence, so the ban is the effect of gun violence and not the cause; hunger does not cause oppression even though they are often both correlated…I’m sure there is a better metaphor there.
3a) agreed, but this is why gun bans in DC or Chicago don’t work (like you mentioned); are cities and states have porous borders so if this solution is going to be enacted it only makes sense for it to be federal (slightly less porous borders ; ) …you are also totalizing the my arguemet here: of course there will be black market. The question is how big would it be. I think it would be manageable. I am not claiming gangs would no longer have guns. I am claiming that likely less psychos with easy access to guns will likely mean less killing, even if they can make bombs or homemade guns.
3b) I do not believe that gun control laws will make mass murders a thing of the past. I do not know anyone who is trying to say that. …as for the psychology mass murderers. I think you assume that they all want to kill a lot of people, that they are industrious, that they are willing to take their time planning it…so why isn’t every mass murder Oklahoma city bombings. Shooting 12 people is nothing compared to what a truly ambitious bomber could do. The truth is that they are not just trying to kill as many people as possible (or at least a lot of them are). What seems more likely for me is more self-focused: they are trying to feel powerful, etc.
Thanks for your thoughts Ben!
August 8th, 2012 at 9:39 AM
I recognize that it is easy for me to ban guns: I don’t own any and wasn’t planning on getting any.
August 8th, 2012 at 12:06 AM
What happened to my Libertarian friend? The one statistic that stands out in my mind with regards to these terrible murders is that when the police have to stop it over a dozen people are killed on average, whereas when a CCW owner stops a rampage only 2.5 are killed (I dont care to look up a source and the numbers are off by 10% based on my terrible memory). I think unarming law abiding gunowners will be very difficult, never mind criminals. I think if you really want to talk about banning guns you have to develop a post on talking about a strategy to do that. I do smile at the idea of only having single shot weapons though I am a supporter of the option to have civil war. If I was rich I would hire you and dude to be part of my gun toting security force I decided last night. All in all you summed up the demo talking points nicely 😛
August 8th, 2012 at 9:06 AM
I knew I just had to take an absurd position to get your thoughts ; ) Do you think that if police have time to get there, the gunman has probably already killed a bunch of people? Certainly, my view is pie in the sky if there is not a viable strategy for safely removing our guns from society. Yeah…I keep stopping being a libertarian on various issues. I guess I’m not as libertarian as I used to be.
August 8th, 2012 at 2:44 AM
Gun grabbing will not stop criminals from being criminals.
I believe you are not purposely repeating demo talking points but here is why it sounds like it. You are suggesting one size fits all rules for 309 million people. That is what dems do, be it guns, healthcare, home loans, insurance, CO2, and I could go on and on. It would be refreshing if you took a postion that did not comport with the democratic party. I mean no harm in saying that.
Let me agree with you on something. Legalize drugs and prostitution. My caveat, let local communities make their own rules and leave leviathan out of it.
August 8th, 2012 at 9:35 AM
There does seem to be a rough correlation between gun laws and violent crime rates around the world, so yes, it may stop criminals from being as violently criminal. I am open to seeing the date differently though.
Democrats are more guilty of that than republicans, but republicans are fine mandating for that 309 million too. Ban on bay marriage? People aren’t allowed to choose whether to have abortions? Euthanasia? Mandatory minimums? No child left behind? Also, in the case of many of these issues, like guns, drugs, workplace laws, minimum wage, etc., you have to have a federal rule or none at all. Banning guns in Wisconsin would certainly not have stopped Wade Page. He got his gun in Carolina and we don’t go through security every time we cross state lines. Freedom of commerce necessitates some group decision making, which is not ideal, but necessary. I am a fan of local communities having all the power they can, but, some powers are useless and ineffective if only applied locally.
Thanks for your thoughts!
August 8th, 2012 at 7:33 PM
Jer, I too have become less libertarian on gun control over time (and I have family members who used to make their living selling items-not guns) at firearms shows around the West. I like your distinctions on how and why some things with unhealthy social effects (guns) should be banned while others (prostitution, drugs) should be legalized. Both course serve the goal of mitigating the ill-effects of these things. I understand Alex’s point about the CCW owners stopping rampages, and I think in the CURRENT situation, this may be a decent way to at least limit these rampages. But there’s also the problem that in such a gun-permissive culture, there seem to be many MORE of these rampages, thus making said CCW owners necessary. If gun laws were considerably tightened, you could still have the CCW owners but it would be harder to amass arsenals. The Norway killer could have been stopped if someone else had a gun, it is true, but you also have to remember that Norway has had almost no mass shootings whereas here in the US it is something that happens every few months.
I’d question your assumption that a gun buyback would only take a few months or be effective. They haven’t been that successful in the past, from what I’ve heard (very ancecdotal) mostly because there is still a huge gun industry (=lobbying dollars) that makes more guns. It’s like having a computer buyback. I’ll gladly give my old computer to the government and then use the buyback money towards a newer, shinier one tomorrow, because there are thousands of sellers willing to sell me all types of computers. You’re just creating more customers for the product. (Analogies posess inherent flaws, but for what it’s worth this seems a good one for this issue.)
Also, just getting any kind of gun control move passed in the current climate is IMO dreamland stuff. The NRA has disporporionate influence in Congress because of being single-issue (their voters aren’t a huge percentage of the population, but they’re guaranteed to vote against anyone who goes into the continually expanding list of no-touch gun rights) so it’s a political third rail, to invoke a subway metaphor that you might appreciate.
Anyway, glad to see that someone else has been thinking about this as much as I have. For some reason, it has really bothered and upset me, enough so that Maggie has asked me if I was reading internet forums and getting upset again when I’ve talked about it before…
August 8th, 2012 at 8:09 PM
I loved your insights and especially your gun buyback analogy with a computer buyback program. You mentioned something I want to explore / follow up on:
“The Norway killer could have been stopped if someone else had a gun, it is true, but you also have to remember that Norway has had almost no mass shootings whereas here in the US it is something that happens every few months.”
A) I don’t think the US has mass murders every few months, but perhaps you’re just using hyperbole.
B) Norway’s population is less than 5 million. The US’ population is over 310 million. Can we safely say then that the US should have about 60 times more psychos than Norway? If we can (and I’m not sure that we can), shouldn’t we then also see significantly more instances of crime from these psychos? Perhaps a better way of comparing crime statistics then would be to look at mass murders per capita.
August 9th, 2012 at 9:52 PM
Good points “another Ben”
August 8th, 2012 at 1:21 AM
Thanks for posting your honest thoughts! I don’t agree, which is no surprise I’m sure. 🙂 There’s a lot of questions I have about your position, but for one, you state “change the constitution” very blithely. 🙂 Certainly the US has amended the constitution. However, I don’t believe we’ve ever decided to do a 180 on the constitution. Do you see any precedent at all for not just amending the constitution, but literally stating that a part of its founding text is just plain wrong? That’s a very, very slippery slope. For an absolute minimum, an extreme study and understanding of why it was written that way would be needed, and absolute conviction that that principle, the principle that created the need to write it in the first place!, was no longer true… (and I don’t think that’s the case, but I’d like to hear your thoughts). Not that I believe the constitution is inerrantly inspired, but it’s called a constitution, not just “a list of good ideas”, for a reason. Anyway, I have a lot more thoughts…but I guess I’ll see how much time you have to chat. 🙂
August 8th, 2012 at 9:00 AM
August 8th, 2012 at 9:19 AM
I think we reversed the constitution on the slavery issue, prohibition (though not a good idea), and the VP used to be the guy who got 2nd place…the constitution is a holy document in so far that it works, and I think the framers would agree. We don’t venerate the articles of confederation, and many of the same people were involved in drafting that. In fact, Jefferson wanted us to have a constitutional convenion every few years so the laws of the country could keep up with the spirit of the times. And, looking at the history of the framing of the constitution, it was rife with politics and power grabbing, as well as honest discussion too.
Also, it is entirely constitutional to change the constitution. That is why they wrote the ability to amend it into the constitution itself. However, having said that, I think that we should be very careful in changing it. You are right. Finally, I have to say that the framers had no concept of an AR-15, uzzi, or automatic assault weapons. There were no hand guns, you could not conceal and carry, because guns were as tall as a human. Also, these guns were nearly the same as guns that you would use on the battlefield. But the battlefield is very different today. The government can much more easily wage war on the people, and I don’t think the solution is that we all go out and buy tanks.
Thanks for asking Susannah. I didn’t mean to say it flippantly, as it certainly is important.