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Guns and Crime

You decide: the gun debate between libertarians and conservatives

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In any given debate on the 2nd Amendment between the Right and Left, the unfortunate truth is that those arguing in favor of drastically heightened or “comprehensive” gun control tend not to know their history or anything about guns generally, and they find it difficult to articulate why a blanket ban on all guns wouldn’t be more productive than simply outlawing certain rifles.

Take, for example, Ben Shapiro’s notorious interview with Piers Morgan, as well as any interview Steven Crowder has done on the subject with SkyNews.

But for a much more nuanced discussion of the unalienable right to keep and bear arms, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’ve never heard a debate between dissenting Right-wing voices. Typically, this will materialize between a libertarian (arguing for as little government as possible) and a conservative (defending natural rights while attempting to maximize freedom through limited yet necessary order).

For purposes of this breakdown, my goal is to simply and briefly present the case for each of these two camps, not to argue in favor of one or another. Again, when two parties hold such similar worldviews, any disagreements will depend on greater levels of nuance than simply “you can’t own a gun” vs. “you can own all the guns.” As such, this might not be the best introduction to the topic, nor would it be very productive to share with your Left-leaning friends. But if you’re a libertarian or a conservative and wish to iron out where you stand on the 2nd Amendment and the appropriate regulation of firearms, then I hope you’ll find this discussion profitable.

(For more background on the 2nd Amendment generally, listen to this episode of The New Guards Podcast wherein I describe the Founders’ views on the right to bear arms.)

Conservatives:

Like any right, the right to keep and bear arms must be respected and upheld, but that doesn’t mean it’s absolute. In general, the appropriate standard for small, justifiable restrictions on rights is the maximization of freedom through the proper response to public safety issues.

For instance, free speech doesn’t apply to those who demonstrate a clear and present danger, specifically one involving a call to action that involves intent, likelihood, and imminence. Religious freedom does not protect female genital mutilation, suicide bombings, or human sacrifice. Regarding taxation in general, citizens are required to “cede to [the government] some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers.”

The 2nd Amendment is no different, and early lawmakers and Founding Fathers understood this. William Blackstone and James Wilson both supported 14th-Century English precedent which asserted, “Riding or Going Arm’d with dangerous and unusual Weapons to the Terror of the People, is an Offence at Common Law, and Prohibited by Statute” — or, as Wilson specifically noted, “[carrying] dangerous and unusual weapons, in such a manner, as will naturally diffuse a terrour among the people.”

This standard was upheld in Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in D.C. v. Heller, along with 1939’s United States v. Miller precedent, that “the traditional militia was formed from a pool of men bringing arms ‘in common use at the time’ for lawful purposes like self-defense.”

In other words, the 2nd Amendment may be curbed in small ways to ensure the public safety, to avoid diffusing terror among the people, and to limit its protection to weapons in common usage. Herein we find the justification for banning nukes, tanks, RPGs, grenades, and fully automatic weapons like AK-47s and M-16s, which present more of a hazard to public safety than a reasonable check against tyranny.

Another check in favor of public safety is federal background checks, which is a small grievance compared with the extreme risk posed by granting violent felons unlimited access to firearms.

Finally, while the undeniable purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to secure the right of the people in order to stand up against a tyrannical government, this can be done without the aid of such extreme measures. If the War on Terror, Vietnam, and most importantly the Revolutionary War have taught us anything, it’s not to count out the little guy.

Libertarians:

Not all libertarians are anarchists. #NotAllLibertarians. There’s nothing wrong with reasonable restrictions such as those mentioned for free speech, religious liberty, and minimal taxation.

But the phrase “dangerous and unusual” is entirely subjective. Arguably, all firearms are dangerous, and depending on experience, training, and even video game history, a gun that is unusual to some might be perfectly normal to others.

Furthermore, the “common use” test is so slippery that could readily increase dangers to the American public and needlessly restrict natural rights. A gun should not be banned simply because it is has fallen out of style or is ahead of its time, any more than free speech should no longer apply to MySpace, telegrams, and rotary phones. Who deems a commodity “common”? And what of gun collectors, whose trade relies precisely on obtaining that which is not common? Are they no longer entitled to keep their uncommon arms?

Nuclear weapons have nothing to do with this conversation. The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is for the people to adequately defend itself against a tyrannical government. There is no instance in which the people could use nukes against the government without incurring devastating casualties among civilians.

Fully automatic weapons and explosives are a different story. The Founders knew of and sanctioned early automatic weapons such as the Belton flintlock, Puckle gun, and Girandoni air rifle. In 2013, Ben Shapiro erroneously claimed that the 2nd Amendment didn’t extend to owning cannons, but James Madison recognized this very provision in 1812.

Modern semi-automatic rifles are undeniably protected under the 2nd Amendment despite being far more advanced than muskets. Wouldn’t it then stand to reason that an AR-15 is to a musket as an M-16 is to a Belton flintlock or as an RPG is to a cannon?

There is no public safety without the ability to confidently stand against a tyrannical government. Such an occasion is unlikely, but should it become necessary, that’s not the kind of thing to leave to chance. The American people must be suitably armed.

Bring it back in:

This is a compelling debate that I don’t quite know how to settle, and it’s not my intention to do so now. And in all honesty, given that millions of Americans and half the Supreme Court want a total gun confiscation anyway, this is pretty much just a hypothetical exercise in debate rather than a serious referendum on realistic policy.

At the very least, it’s a good space to practice consistency in your constitutional argumentation, so enjoy the practice!


Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. jay

    March 11, 2018 at 10:51 am

    very well written nice to see someone throw facts over emotion

  2. Kathy Deles

    March 11, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Excellent article. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

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Guns and Crime

Illegal alien Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman expected to be charged in 4 murders

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Illegal alien Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman expected to be charged in 4 murders

A man believed by authorities to have committed four murders in Northern Nevada was taken into custody on January 19, possibly bringing to an end a killing streak that has worried residents for the last two weeks.

19-year-old Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman was arrested by Washoe County Sheriff’s department on charges of burglary, possession of stolen property, and immigration law violations. Martinez-Guzman is an illegal alien with a federal hold. The District Attorney’s office plans to file murder charges against him as well, claiming they have sufficient evidence to convict him.

Murder charges expected against suspect in killings

https://www.kolotv.com/content/news/Murder-charges-expected-against-suspect-in-Northern-NV-murders-504626241.htmlThe first killing took place January 9 or 10, 2019. 56-year-old Connie Koontz was found shot to death at her home in the Gardnerville Ranchos. She was found dead by her mother, who also lives in the home and is hard of hearing and disabled.

January 13, 74-year-old Sophia Renken was found dead in her home about a mile away, also shot to death.

January 16, the bodies of 81-year-old Gerald David, a former Reno Rodeo President, and his wife, 80-year-old Sharon David, were found dead in their home on La Guardia Lane in south Reno, near Zolezzi. They also had been shot to death.

My Take

If he is proven guilty, this will be another example of American citizens dying at the hands of an illegal immigrant. How many people have to die before Democrats take the border crisis seriously enough to do something about it?


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Guns and Crime

Mobile police officer Sean Tuder shot and killed in line of duty

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Mobile police officer Sean Tuder shot and killed in line of duty

A suspect is in custody after the shooting death of Alabama police officer Sean Tuder. The victim was following up on an investigation when the suspect opened fire.

According to Police Chief Lawrence Battiste, Tudor “was doing some follow-up work on an investigation and was gunned down by a suspect” at the Peach Place Inn in West Mobile. The suspect, 19-year-old Marco Perez, has been sought by local police for theft and filing a false police report and by federal law enforcement for probation violations.

Alabama officer shot, killed in line of duty, suspect in custody, police say

https://www.foxnews.com/us/alabama-officer-shot-killed-in-line-of-duty-suspect-in-custody-police-sayTuder was with the police department for less than five years, and “was really just getting into that part of his career where he started having a really major impact on not just the people in the community, but the men and women who work here in this department,” the police chief said.

Tuder was named “Officer of the Month” in August 2017 and was praised at the time for “his numerous drug arrests, with four cases being sent for federal prosecution, and recovering six firearms.”

My Take

Law enforcement has always been a dangerous job, but it feels as if incidents like these are becoming more commonplace. That’s anecdotal. Perhaps I’m just more sensitive to reports than I was before. Either way, we must support these brave men and women.


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Democrats

So-called Red Flag laws: An unconstitutional solution to a non-existent problem

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So-called Red Flag laws An unconstitutional solution to a non-existent problem

As with most Leftist affronts to Liberty, unconstitutional gun confiscation SWATing or so-called ‘Red Flag’ laws are based on a lie. The usual contention is that these laws that eviscerate basic constitutional protections of due process are desperately needed because there are no other means to deal with people who are alleged to be a danger to themselves or others. Our previous article on the subject dealt with this outright falsehood. There are laws and procedures for involuntary civil commitments already on the books to handle these extreme situations. In the case of Florida and the Parkland mass murder, the “The Baker Act” was already in place, but the authorities failed to take action in time. Other states such as Colorado already have procedures in place for Mental Health Holds.

The existence of these laws have been ignored in the effort to ‘enhance’ the government’s ability to confiscate guns. Its just another case of the Left exploiting a tragedy to ‘Rahm’ through new laws to deprive the people of their means of self-defense.

Laws built on lies

Most articles on what is supposedly the urgent need for gun confiscation SWATing or ‘Red Flag’ laws will make vague allusions there are no other ways of handling these situations to the point of asserting that the government has never had the authority to deal with these situations.

State governments clearly have these abilities, but the existing laws protect the Constitutional rights of the accused without having the primary purpose of confiscating guns – an intolerable situation for the authoritarian Left that sees 120 million gun owners as a threat simply because they are gun owners.

Why violate one human right when several can be attacked at once?

Leftists seem to be in some perverse competition to see which one of them can conjure up new laws to attack Liberty in as many ways as possible. For them, it’s a more efficient form of tyranny with one law doing the work of several. What better way to suppress Liberty than to confiscate guns because of someone exercising their right of free speech while destroying due process protections?

The dangerous implications to the 1st Amendment

These laws will have devastating consequences for the natural right of free speech. It will only take one concerned person in the group of people who can initiate these actions to decide an innocent gun owner is guilty of ‘thoughtcrime’ to have their property confiscated. The odds are that the Left will also expand who can initiate these gun confiscation SWATings and streamline the process.

This will only serve to further stigmatize gun owners and suppress their right of free speech. Talk too much about the human right of self-defense and the law-abiding could experience a knock on the door at 5:00 AM with property confiscation conducted at gunpoint. One would then have a protracted legal battle on their hands to prove they are innocent after being treated as guilty with all manner of legal costs and red tape just to have their property returned.

The 2nd Amendment – the primary target

In their ongoing efforts to rid the nation of Liberty, the Left has decided that it should be illegal to defend oneself. Thus they have expended copious amounts of digital ink in demanding the death of the 2nd amendment and the confiscation of guns. They are perfectly willing to do this one innocent gun owner at a time if they have to. Never mind that the common sense human right of self-defense is the bedrock of the Bill or Rights. They have no use for the limitations of their power afforded by the Constitution, much less the Liberty conserving provisions of the Bill of Rights.

But wait, there’s more – The 4th and 5th amendments also on the chopping block

These laws turn the presumption of innocence on its head, forcing the victim of one of these gun confiscation raids to have to prove they aren’t guilty of thoughtcrime before they can get their property returned. Not to mention the ‘ex parte’ nature of these proceedings depriving innocent of the critical right of due process and the right to face one’s accuser before these confiscations take place. Lastly, there is the takings clause applicable to the private property being taken for public use since not many innocent gun owners will have the means for a protracted legal battle with the government, resulting in the loss of private property.

Why the focus on firearms?-

The existing laws for Involuntary Civil Commitment are not only superior in protecting everyone’s civil rights. They also serve to keep people from harm by other means. The unconstitutional practice of gun confiscation SWATing only addresses the issue of guns, leaving the supposed danger to society free to use alternative methods to cause harm.

If safety is the point of the so-called ‘Red Flag’ or ‘ERPO’ laws, then why aren’t their proponents concerned about this issue? If someone has their guns taken away suddenly by unconstitutional means, what’s to stop them from using explosives – flour, etc.- from carrying out their deadly deeds? Suppose an alleged ‘danger to society’ no longer has their guns, but still has a motorized vehicle or the ability to make edged weaponry. What about that circumstance?

Well, if it were really the case in that these people are concerned about other people’s welfare to the point of having them committed, they would have to follow the rule of law and afford the target their right of due process, etc. They wouldn’t be able to take someone’s means of self-defense just on the word of some other aggrieved party. It wouldn’t serve their desire for gun confiscation and gun confiscation alone, so it has no usefulness for them.

Things aren’t going according to plan for the Liberty Grabber Left

The progression for the Left has always been one of control, registration and then confiscation. They used to think that it was just a matter of time before Intergalactic Background Checks would be put in place, then registration would be required – both of which would do nothing to keep people safe or ‘cut down on the carnage’. It was all supposed to happen as it did in the UK and Australia. Intergalactic Background Checks, registration, then confiscation.

But that isn’t happening, despite the baseless polling to the contrary, everyone isn’t clamoring to have the government control their private property. Most of the Pro-Liberty see the danger in this control, with it leading to registration, followed by confiscation. Most on both sides have already admitted that Intergalactic Background Checks don’t work, that the dirty little secret being that these have no other purpose than as a stepping stones to confiscation.

The Takeaway

As others have indicated, Leftists aren’t anti-gun, they are anti-Liberty. They love to see them in the hands of the ‘politically correct’, but cannot deal with them in the hands of the right people.

Leftists desperately want to deprive the Pro-Liberty Right of their guns. These firearms represent a vitally important and final check on unlimited governmental power. It’s the primary bulwark against them attaining government power to attain their wondrous utopia they desire. They are so desperate to remove it that they will confiscate them one innocent person at a time, without a care for its effects on safety or Liberty.


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