The 2nd Amendment and foreign policy

“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.” 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In the wake of the movie theater shooting in Colorado I’ve been thinking a lot about gun control. I’m going to put up some short posts to stimulate conversation and help focus my ideas.

It has been interpreted that one of the main reasons the founding fathers believed that we should be able to own guns was so that we could overthrow our government if it was necessary. I’m not going to get into the details of what constitutes “a well regulated Militia” in this argument. I am going to focus on the fact that when this was written, there were no machine guns, airplanes, nuclear bombs, helicopters, tanks, drones, heat-seeking missiles or poison gas. All of which are “arms” in today’s world. There also wasn’t an internet,Twitter or cell phones to communicate- nor satellite imagery of the battlefield in real time.

When Muammar Gaddafi turned his army on the people of Libya, we and other nations decided to jump in to help. It was the “right thing to do” to prevent genocide and to even out the battle between the populist uprising and an evil dictator.

So, considering the uprising in Syria has been going on since March 15 of 2011, and that Assad has been using tanks, helicopters and jets against people who are throwing bottles and rocks, why hasn’t the U.S. stepped in?

Is Assad a better dictator? Is Syrian citizens’ blood less valuable than Libyan citizens’ blood? Or is it that Libya has better natural resources?

If we were to rise up against our government, with our little arsenals of Spaz 12’s, AR-15s and .50-caliber sniper rifles (all popular with the pro-gun factions) are they really going to do much against an F-22, an Apache Attack Helicopter or an Abrams Tank? What country is going to step in and tell our military not to shoot our uprising? And how long will Canada’s Air Force exist when they do? You can watch the movie “Red Dawn” all you want, but if our ability to protect ourselves from our government is dependent on us owning arms, we’re outgunned. It’s not even bringing a gun to a knife fight- it’s like sending in a newborn to take on Mike Tyson.

When are we going to step in to help Syria? And when is the fallacy that owning guns will protect us from an unjust government going to stop being part of the argument?



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22 Responses

  1. David Lauri August 6, 2012 / 12:10 pm
    A fun wrench to throw into these arguments, that avoids the whole Milita clause issue, is that the Constitution clearly says “arms” and not “guns” and so one could argue that private citizens should have the right to own nuclear arms.
  2. Dr. Funkenstein August 6, 2012 / 4:16 pm
    David, first of all some facts to put the death of innocent people in CO in perspective. According to the CDC 443,000 people die every year from tobacco including 49,000 from second hand smoke all of which are innocent. There are only 12,000 gun related murders every year. I won’t bore you with the number of deaths from alcohol, obesity and aids though gay sex. If you want to ban something ban tobacco then work your way down the list. TV networks love shootings because they can sensationalize it and get more idiots tuned to boost ratings so they can make money running viagra and fast food commercials every 10 minutes. A militia of 10 million supported by around half the military would easily overthrow an oppressive government here. What is next? End the fallacy that gay men should be allowed to have sex without a background check and government permission? You sound like a fascist.
  3. David Esrati August 6, 2012 / 5:18 pm

    Welcome Dr. Funkenstein- This wasn’t about the shooting in Colorado- but about the Foreign policy of the US- in helping others when their government turns against them. The Colorado shooter was just part of what got me thinking. I’m also confused between when a person is a terrorist and a shooter. If you think of it yourself- you’re a shooter, if you do it by someones command- you’re a terrorist? If you are a Muslim you are a terrorist? If you’re a Christian your a shooter?
    You bring up gay sex a lot- does that make you a homo or a homophobe? ‘Cause frankly I don’t think about that very much. Or do guns make you think about sex because you have an issue with size of your unit?
    And, which half of the military is coming along for the ride? Do I get to pick which units I get on “My side” of the revolution?

  4. Dr. Funkenstein August 6, 2012 / 5:50 pm
    David, the point I am making is that our fascist media scares people by attacking and stereotypes gun owners, gun shows the nra etc. every time something happens with a gun. They could easily attack and stereotype other groups of people, like gays, using the same tactic. If I ran a media outlet I would not tolerate either type of harassment.

    I am trying to show examples of how deeply accepted bigotry, ignorance and hate is accepted and standardized on the left is in this country. Chick fil a is bad and lets drive them out of town and call them homophobes but Chicago has rev. wright’s church in their city and votes for a scumbag that went there for 20 years for president? What the F$%# is going on is this world? I am sure in the 1930’s the Nazi’s said the Jews at the synagogue are against pork and shellfish so lets ban them from Munich because there are people in the pork business here. You guys have turned into Nazis, literally.

  5. David Lauri August 6, 2012 / 5:51 pm
    @David Esrati: so very often the most homophobic people are themselves homos.
    @Dr. Funkenstein: According to the CDC, in 2009 there were 12,860 diagnoses of HIV in the US via heterosexual contact. Fixate on the gayz if you like (and yes, in the U.S. HIV transmission among gay men is still high), but banning gay sex won’t solve the problem.  And gay sex doesn’t produce unwanted kids — in 2008 there were 1.21 million abortions in the United States and in 2010 there were 408,425 children in foster care in the United States.  Straight sex is a much bigger problem than is gay sex.
  6. Greg Hunter August 6, 2012 / 6:21 pm
    David Lauri has the correct interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.  The government is not allowed to restrict any arms that the public may own as the public may own what ever the government may own.  It was a brilliant amendment even though it has been ruined by the Congress and a very bad Supreme Court.  If we owned nuclear weapons, then it is unlikely the government would have them.

    The 2nd amendment was ruined by Prohibition and David you can make any argument you want the 2nd amendment unrestrained would restrain the US Government.

    A well regulated militia could still be utilized but again the centralization of powers to the Federals ruined the control of the National Guard by the states and ceded it to the Feds, again in violation of the Constitution.

    You can say times change but the document would still hold if allowed to be applied as envisioned.  PS we need to go back to the true intent of the Electoral College.

    Right wing hate speech is what should be shouted down as it reinforces ignorance. 

  7. Pat Offenberger August 6, 2012 / 8:02 pm
    Pretty much, firearms “in common use” is the standard the 2nd amendment was seen as applying to when written. And in truth, the Bill of Rights wouldn’t even have been included in the Constitution had not delegates demanded it be included before they would sign off on the Constitution, and endorse it to their home state for ratification.
    In the reading I’ve done, the founders felt those 10 rights were granted to a free man by their creator, not given by a government to their citizens. But many also feared that if the Bill of Rights were not included that a future government could try to abolish those God-given rights.
    Just like the methods of expression of free speech have changed since those days, the form of firearm has changed as well. There is one factor that links all of these madmen who have committed unthinkable acts of violence against multiple victims. Except for this latest killer, who is reportedly being linked to the “skinhead” movement, all the other killers were under treatment for mental illness. If the government can restrict the gun rights of returning veterans who seek treatment for PTSD’s, why aren’t medical professionals required to report their patients who display violent tendencies towards themselves or others? Why are these patients not listed as too unstable to be allowed to buy guns?
    Granted, that still likely wouldn’t stop some of these folks. The dude in Colorado could have as easily used fire bombs, as he reportedly knew how to make improvised explosive devices. I don’t think he would have taken that route, as he may have been injured or killed in the process. Witness how easily he reportedly surrendered. When faced with armed police officers, he decided “the game” was over.
    I say “the game” because I feel when the details surface as to his motivations, video games such as “World of War” or a similar game may well have been his inspiration. In those games, if you’re “killed”, you simply hit reset, and start again.
    As to why we’re not in Syria, I really think we’re too close to an election to see Obama consider involving our military, for fear it would blow up in his face!
  8. Chuckie Chops-A-Lot August 6, 2012 / 8:11 pm
    I don’t own a personal firearm but serving in combat I’ve fired my fair share of them.  I don’t want a gun and don’t want my kids to have guns.  Having said that, any attempt to regulate or restrict gun ownership will be counter productive.  If prohibition and the war on drugs have taught us anything, it is that banning something will only create a black market.  This will artificially increase price and in turn increase crime.  All the while the guns will still be there.
  9. joe_momma August 7, 2012 / 8:18 am
    “A fun wrench to throw into these arguments, that avoids the whole Milita clause issue, is that the Constitution clearly says “arms” and not “guns” and so one could argue that private citizens should have the right to own nuclear arms.” – DL
    A teensy weensy wrench maybe….but even a fourth grade social studies class could muddle through that silly statement.  1) The constitution gives states the right to legislate.  2) In 100% of town, cities, counties, states it is illegal to indiscriminately kill innocent people or destroy public and private property.  3) A nuclear arm cannot be used without indiscriminately killing innocent people or destroying public and private property.
    These are the exact same reasons why Star Fleet keeps preventing me from acquiring the Genesis Device.
  10. Dan August 7, 2012 / 11:36 am
    Hmmm… Dr. Funkenstein’s ridiculous rhetoric sounds eerily familiar to a certain individual who changes his profile for every subject. Rick Oakwood Classic… that you again?
  11. Brian August 8, 2012 / 3:39 pm
    @Chuckie, you said “This will artificially increase price and in turn increase crime”     How do you figure that?  And really, who cares if the price of an AK47 goes up?   You don’t need one, and neither do I.

    Perhaps the intent of the 2nd Amendment was that everyone should have a single-shot Musket.  Nothing deadlier than that existed at the time (ok, maybe a single-shot cannon).  Regardless, I cannot conceive of those brilliant founding fathers suggesting that common citizens should be able to own machine guns and 50 caliber sniper rifles, etc.   It’s a shame they didn’t write a little more into that darned Bill of Rights so we would have an easier time interpreting it 200+ years later!  :)

  12. Greg Hunter August 8, 2012 / 6:11 pm
     I cannot conceive of those brilliant founding fathers suggesting that common citizens should be able to own machine guns and 50 caliber sniper rifles, etc.

    Uhhh wrong….the intent was that the Common Government should not have more firepower than the Common Person…..that was the intent….if you cannot comprehend it then you should not be voting or an American.   

    Again I will make the deal…..if the US gives up its Nuclear Weapons I ll give up my rocket launcher. 

  13. Brian August 8, 2012 / 7:15 pm
    you crack me up, Greg!   :)
  14. Chuckie Chops-A-Lot August 8, 2012 / 8:17 pm
    @ Brian.  It is the law of supply and demand.  Banning something like alcohol, drugs, prostitution, or guns greatly decreases the supply.  The demand does not change so the prices sky rocket.  Why I chose the word artifial is because it is fake or man made.  Scarcity didn’t make the supply shrink; a man-made law did.

    Secondly, it increases crime by taking a business man that wakes up one day and finds out that his chosen profession and the only skill he has is now a crime.
    Thirdly, I agree nobody needs an AK47.  Nor do they need cigarettes, or weed, or whiskey, or a casino, or a girl for the night, or a triple Bacinator for that matter; but the demand is always there.  As long as there is a willing buyer there will be a willing seller.  Rather they need it or not.
    Lastly, who knows what the founding fathers really intended.  It is up to each of us to decide and debate I guess.  I know I have recently been looking through the Constitution to see what are founding fathers thought the Departement of Energy is supposed to do:)      

  15. Chuckie Chops-A-Lot August 8, 2012 / 8:20 pm
    Also, after reading my last post, I wish I knew how to use the spell check function! Thank you Miami University. I want a refund.
  16. Brian August 9, 2012 / 9:08 pm
    Good post, Chuckie.  Perhaps Miami taught you to think, not to spell.   If it was an either/or choice, you chose wisely.   :)   I get the supply and demand thing, of course.  I’m just going to side with the folks who say “no private citizen should be allowed to own an AK47, period, end of story”.     I think we should all have a musket, though.  You can have one shot, then 30 seconds to reload.  You come through my front door, I can greet you.  But giving too much firepower to the average citizen, whether they’re crazy at that particular instance or not, is just bad policy.  There is no up-side, and there’s plenty of down-side…

    Of course I would draw the line a little farther than that, and that’s the slippery slope.    Somewhere between Musket and AK47 is the “sweet spot”, with no full-auto and no clips over 10 or 12 rounds.   But as luck would have it, I have not been tapped to make that important decision.

  17. Bubba Jones August 10, 2012 / 9:49 am
    >>>> But as luck would have it, I have not been tapped to make that important decision. <<<< – Brian

    And for that, I am eternally grateful!!  

    Brian, WITHOUT LOOKING IT UP, do you even know (or have an approximate idea) what an AK-47 is?  Do you know what year the US Army adopted the AK-47 as their official battle weapon?  And how long did the US Army use the AK-47 until they replaced it with the M-16 and then the M-4?  How many privately owned AK-47’s in the US are “full auto”? Do you know the difference between a “clip” and a “magazine”?  Since “no private citizen should be allowed to own an AK47, period, end of story”, what gun should they be “allowed to own”?  What gun is the “sweet spot” between a musket and an AK-47? Do you know the licensing requirements to purchase/possess a “full auto” weapon?  And, even though you didn’t mention silencers, but since you’re obviously so well informed on the subject of guns – Do you know the licensing requirements to purchase/possess a “silencer”?

    And, while we’re at it…. Do you have a rough idea of how many people were murdered with firearms in 2010 (the last year for which FBI stats are available)?  How many of those people were killed with an AK-47?  Or, how many people were killed with rifles (an AK-47 is considered a rifle, right?) versus handguns?  Which cities in the US had the highest murder rate?  The lowest murder rate?  And, of those cities, which ones have the most restrictive gun laws versus the least restrictive gun laws?  

    Of course, none of those questions mater because “no private citizen should be allowed to own an AK047, period, end of story.”  After all, the framers only intended for us to have muskets since that’s all they knew at the time.  Following that logic means that freedom of speech and freedom of the press only apply to speaking in a public square or to a newspaper printed manually with handset type.  Freedom of the press and freedom of speech don’t apply to radio,  television or the internet since the framers could have never conceived of such things. 

    The shooting in Colorado was a tragedy, plain and simple.  But someone that is hell-bent on killing a bunch of people is going to find a way to do that whether it’s with a gun or some other method.  As was pointed out above, “the dude in Colorado” had the knowledge and wherewithal to use fire bombs or some other type of explosive chemicals.  A couple of years ago there was a guy in China that was hacking up babies with a kitchen knife.  Should we ban/limit kitchen knives?  What about swords?  Machetes? Baseball bats?  And let’s not forget the Oklahoma City bombing where over 500 people were killed with diesel fuel, fertilizer and a rental truck.  Should we outlaw diesel, fertilizer and rental trucks?  The point is that crazy people are going to find a way to kill people with whatever tools they have at their disposal.

    Pat Offenberger asks “why aren’t medical professionals required to report their patients who display violent tendencies towards themselves or others? ”  That’s an interesting question.  It’s pretty easy to say that we should keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people – and I agree with that premise.  But, who decides what constitutes a mentally ill person who should be kept away from guns?  Should it be a doctor that’s REQUIRED to report a patient?  Should it be some government entity – kind of a gun control version of Child Protective Services?  Should it be a judge?  There is no good answer to this.  Doctors (and teachers too?) are already required to report suspected child sexual abuse to “the authorities”.  We’ve all read stories of over zealous “people with authority” that have turned families upside down due to false allegations. Not to mention the cloud of suspicion that hangs over the parents’ heads, even if the charges are disproved and dropped, after the news media plasters their faces all over the TV.  I don’t know what the answer is to keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill people, but I do know it’s not 1) requiring doctors to report their patients (that will send us down a slippery slope of requiring “reporting to the authorities” of all sorts of activities) or 2) outlawing guns for all citizens.
    Brian, I’m eagerly awaiting the answers to my AK-47 questions from the AK-47 expert on

  18. Brian August 12, 2012 / 7:48 pm
    I just know the AK from action movies and Discovery Channel, Bubba.     I believe Samuel L Jackson said it best, though:

    You clearly feel much more strongly about this than I do.  Since you’re probably packing, and I’m clearly not, I’ll just quietly back away from this discussion…

  19. Bubba Jones August 13, 2012 / 7:23 am
    Thank you for your well thought out and informed reply, Brian.  It warms my heart to know that you to know that you’ve taken the time to do such extensive research on the subject.  The Samuel L. Jackson clip clearly took you hours to find and certainly adds validity to your argument.

    Thank you also for the insinuation that since I am “probably packing”, I must pose some sort of threat to you so that you have to “just quietly back away from this discussion.”  Again, another well thought out and rational statement.  You are obviously well aware of the violent crime statistics for legal gun owners. 

  20. Stephen Lahanas August 18, 2012 / 5:36 pm
    Perhaps it is worth while to look at the issue from another perspective. We generally discuss gun control from the context of gun owners either being allowed to own or prevented from owning firearms. But what about the inherent threat to public safety as more and more guns are interjected into everyday life? What about the right of the rest of us to live in a society where we don’t have to fear being shot down or caught in someone’s crossfire?
    Somewhere close to 30,000 Americans are killed each year due to gun violence. Mass shootings are becoming a routine occurrence [There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000 – wikipedia]. The United States is at the top of every international list for gun violence and we also have perhaps the least restrictive gun laws as well. There is an obvious correlation between access to guns and gun violence. Guns do not make us safer and also don’t serve to place any restraints on the increase of government power (otherwise perhaps no one would have dared to pass the Patriot Act, fearing popular backlash). 

    People will tend to interpret law – especially ambiguously worded law – based upon their own interests. Gun companies and the NRA have spent 100’s of millions of dollars to lobby governments to interpret the constitution in a way that has driven up their profits. Just like cigarette companies though, their product has an enormous impact to public healthy and safety – costing the rest of us 100’s of billions in taxes to cover the medical costs of hundreds of thousands of gunshot victims.

    This nation spent a couple of trillion dollars to fight terrorism and in that decade long war maybe suffered 20,000 casualties – that’s less than half the gunshot incidents we experience domestically every year in the US. There needs to be a more balanced approach that recognizes the cost and risks associated with out of control gun proliferation. The handful of folks who profit from this mayhem should not be allowed to direct all policy related to it…     

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