adventures in poor gun rights advocacy

One of my facebook friends posted this to his wall, a forward from a gun rights group.
Right to bear arms only meant muskets like saying your right to free speech was only meant to include olde English spoken in the 1700's.
I'm not sure if this is a strawman or if the author really found a gun restriction advocate who only wants to keep muskets legal. This is the data from which to draw conclusions.

Here is the first amendment to the U. S. Constitution in its Bill of Rights.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I think any gun libertarian would agree that there are some limits to the freedom of their neighbor's speech, especially if he's being slandered by said neighbor. It's called the Harm Principle, as elucidated by the British philosopher John Stuart Mill, from the wiki article on free speech:
In "On Liberty" (1859) John Stuart Mill argued that "...there ought to exist the fullest liberty of 
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered." Mill argues that the fullest liberty of expression is required to push arguments to their logical limits, rather than the limits of social embarrassment. However, Mill also introduced what is known as the harm principle, in placing the following limitation on free expression: "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."
Some speech is harmful and not covered by the first amendment. I'm free to lie, but I can't lie to sell a product. Well, I can be sued and jailed if I harm enough people, or make enough money.  Enforcement can't be complete, so choices have to be made. I am not free to share state secrets. I am not free to yell "Fire" in a movie theater when there isn't one.

Here is the second amendment.
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 most gun rights advocates agree with restrictions on private ownership of machine guns, rocket launchers, anti-personnel mines, mortars, artillery, grenades, tanks, etc. This is a version of the "no harm" principle. These weapons of modern warfare can kill many people in a short time. The restriction of machine gun ownership has not resulted in a great rise in crime committed by criminals using such weapons, contrary to the gun rights trope that only the criminals will have the illegal weapons.

In summary, the bill of rights did not give us carte blanche when it comes to speech and guns. We are not limited to olde english nor muskets. I'm free to disagree about gun ownership. I'm not free to slander or cheat someone with my freedom. I don't think weapons of mass killing should be in the hands of civilians. Piecemeal restrictions in different states do not work very well because the states work against each other. It's a federal issue, but the federal lawmakers are political cowards. (I used my right to free speech there.) The federal government has reserved for itself the right to make sure the militia is well ordered.The National Guard or the Police are examples of well ordered militias. If you aren't in either of those, you are not in a (legal) militia. If you want to hunt, big ammo clips and semi-automatic weapons are the wrong features. If you want to rebel against your government, you will lose. The government always has bigger guns and more soldiers. The government is not afraid of you. If you are someone who follows Jesus, his apostle, Paul, tells us to submit to our government, not take up arms against it. If you want to protect your person and property, there are non-lethal ways to do it. If you are a follower of Jesus, he has something to say about not protecting our persons and properties in his sermon on the mount. If you want to protect others, let's work together to support a massive reduction in the number of military grade weapons of mass killing in disordered militias.

Previously, I explained how making cars illegal because they kill people is, like this argument, also silly. In light of this topic, I also wrote how much more good could be done with the same money that is spent on a firearm. I wondered if there are better options for personal security. Finally, I wrote about how this American Christian reads the words of Jesus in light of my rights and which citizenship is more important.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Comments

geoff said…
here here.

Popular Posts