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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.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards, Co-Host of The New Guards Podcast, lifelong fan of the Anaheim Ducks, and proud Hufflepuff. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in English from Brigham Young University in 2017. One day later, his wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Richie is a constitutional conservative and doesn't see any compassion in violating other people's rights.

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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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Culture and Religion

Our List of Demands for the Conservation of Liberty – Part II

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Our List of Demands for the Conservation of Liberty Part II

Leftists incessantly issue lists of demands for the restriction of Liberty, It’s time to reverse the trend towards freedom.

This is our second part of our series of what we on the Pro-Liberty Right want for the preservation of Liberty. Part I is here.

6. The Left needs to stop trying to control private property with Intergalactic Background Checks. [aka ‘enhanced’ or ‘Universal’]

If there is one constant in the Liberty grabber universe, it’s that half of them are incessantly calling for gun confiscation while the rest deny they are calling for gun confiscation. They also love to parrot the line that it would be impossible to round-up everyone’s guns as a way of deflecting the issue. Except that those on the Pro-liberty side thought the same thing in the UK and Australia. Their Liberty grabber nightmare began with gun registration, under the solemn promise that it wouldn’t lead to gun confiscation. [Sound familiar?] Then of course at the next occasion of a serious crisis, this registration data was used for gun confiscation.

The fact is gun confiscation takes several precursor steps, the most critical being the assertion of government control over private property with Intergalactic Background Checks. Curiously enough, the Liberty grabbers tend to want language inserted into these laws mandating the reportage of lost or stolen firearms. Those types of rules are of primary importance only if the point of these measures is to turn them into a registration scheme.

7. The Liberty Grabber Left needs to stop pushing for even more controls on freedom.

It is also axiomatic that Leftists will exploit any opportunity to start ever-expansive controls over Liberty. The Left is a virtual fountainhead of new and more creative ways of clamping down on freedom. Having run out of new and improved ways of making it difficult, embarrassing and expensive to buy a firearm [While also lying about it at the same time] the Left has moved on to imposing controls over the purchase of ammunition. Then of course they also are making demands on how these are stored.

8. Stop attacking those who only wish to defend themselves.

There is nothing more loathsome than Leftists who excel at hurling insults at the country’s estimated 150 Million innocent gun owners. We’ve been labelled with almost everything from being Terrorists to baby killers for wanting nothing more than to be able to defend our families and ourselves.

Those who incessantly work overtime to demonize the innocent should keep one word in mind: Deterrence. The widespread ownership of weapons in most areas deters criminals since they don’t know who can fight back. This also explains why places with tight controls on Liberty tend to have higher crime rates. Curiously enough, for people who love the term ‘Commonsense’ they certainly don’t seem to well versed in it.

9. The Left needs to become educated about that which they want to control.

Granted, it might be too much to expect the Liberty Grabbers from knowing the difference between a direct impingement and gas piston actuation, but they should at least know the difference between a semi-auto and select fire. Nothing screams uninformed more than someone who confuses a clip with a magazine or some who uses them interchangeably in a claim that one can fire off 30 rounds in half a second.

Lack of knowedge is usually a negative in most cases, but in the realm of Liberty Control, the Leftists wear it as a badge of honour.

10. The Left needs to stop lying about guns.

We made these two separate items to prove a point. While some gaffes of the Liberty grabber elite are relatively harmless, there are those that are a danger to Liberty. It should go without saying that we live in an age in which the knowledge of the world is literally at one’s fingertips. There is no rational excuse for a lack of knowledge on the most rudimentary aspects of certain subjects. By the same token, there is no excuse for the propagation of deliberate false impressions and Lies particularly on the subject of self-defense.

One of the most infamous examples stems from the creation the phrase “Assault Weapon”:

The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

The Takeaway.

The nation’s Left has gone on for years demanding compromises on the part of the Pro-Liberty Right. It is time that they step up to the plate and show they can be ‘bi-partisan’ for once. These steps aren’t really that extraordinary, in fact they merely bolster Liberty. Some Leftists still purport to be Liberal, supporting these items would go a long way in showing that is truly the case.

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Guns and Crime

Will Elon Musk face criminal charges over his Tweet?

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Will Elon Musk face criminal charges over his Tweet

Elon Musk is in deep trouble over a Tweet. Nine little words could land him in court and possibly even in jail.

By Tweeting in the middle of the day, it’s a red flag to the SEC. The other, more important question that Musk must answer is whether or not he committed fraud by claiming he had the funds to buy the shares. He didn’t, and that alone could make his Tweet criminal.

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Culture and Religion

Our List of Demands for the Conservation of Liberty – Part I

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Our List of Demands for the Conservation of Liberty - Part I

Leftists incessantly issue lists of demands for the restriction of Liberty. It’s time to reverse the trend towards freedom.

Every ‘serious crisis’ involving firearms sees the same pattern of exploitation by the Liberty grabber Left. They immediately mount their gun confiscation hobbyhorse issuing lists of demands for restrictions on freedom. As soon as they get these new limitations, Leftists reset the rhetoric for the next go around. The pattern has always been one of compromise on behalf of the Pro-Liberty Right, only to see new demands made whenever the Left can exploit any new crisis.

Now is the time to reverse the trend of the incessant attacks on Liberty.

Millions of innocent gun owners in the country deserve a break in seeing ever tightening restrictions on their freedom because of the actions of criminals or terrorists. There are estimated to be 150 Million innocent gun owners that have upwards of 400 to 600 million firearms with trillions of rounds of ammunition. As the saying goes, if they were a problem, we would have known it by now. Despite the oft-repeated emotional argument foisted by the Liberty grabber Left, It is patently obvious that more guns in the hands of the innocent means less crime or governmental tyranny.

The past few years have seen record-setting gun sales, while that type of violence has diminished. The story has always been one of the Pro-Liberty Right compromising, while the Socialist-Left responds with new demands. It is time that they ‘gave back’ (to coin a phrase), for once they should be the ones making the making the compromises.

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” Thomas Jefferson

The degradation of Liberty should in no way be considered to be ‘progress’ or ‘progressive’. Those who claim to be ‘Liberal’ should be advocating Liberty instead of tearing it down. It should also be patently obvious that depriving the people of their means of self-defense does nothing to protect them.

Recent events here here and here, should also make it patently obvious that people will find a way to inflict violence on others. The ever-increasing limitations on Liberty pushed by people who are supposedly ‘Liberal’ on serves to make the situation far worse, with an example of an attack  in a place with severe restrictions on the possession of firearms.

Our List of Demands to reverse the trend towards Liberty.

In light of the recent ‘serious crisis’ that clearly demonstrated that Liberty Control only serves to endanger the innocent, this is our list of demands for the Conservation of Liberty.

1. Background checks should only be on the purchaser, leaving off the data on the firearm.

Ostensibly, the purpose of a Federal background check is to ‘Keep guns out of the hands’ of a laundry list of prohibited persons. So why does the 4473 form include information on the gun being purchased?

If this is supposedly only for the buyer of a gun, why do they need that information? If it is a true ‘background check’ on the purchaser, the information on the gun should be irrelevant. And yet that information is collected under tight controls, why?

Federal law “specifically forbids the government from creating a national registry of gun ownership”,  so why are they collecting that data? Unless they are lying about the purpose of the program.  It is time for the government to be finally true to it’s word, a Background check on a purchaser should just a Background check on a purchaser, nothing more.

2. The Left needs to stop wasting everyone’s time on provisions that violate the commonsense human right of self-preservation.

This includes trying to repeal or virtually rewrite the 2nd amendment based on their twisted interpretation of it’s wording. The Liberty grabber Left needs to be aware of two important points:
One, the 2nd amendment isn’t going anywhere.
Two, it only affirms the common sense human right of self-defence. This means that even if it were to carry out the Herculean task of repealing the 2nd amendment, it would have no effect.

3. Media: Stop pretending snapshot polls taken at the height of hysteria represents steady state opinions.

Any news coverage of a ‘serious crisis’ will invariably include some sort of instant poll, exploiting the raw emotion of the moment that will have ‘90%’ supporting Intergalactic Background Checks or some other restriction on Liberty. It should be obvious that a snap shot glimpse into the psyche of the moment will have wildly inaccurate results, but these are subsequently trotted out to show that ‘everyone’ wants just about every limitation on Liberty under the sun. It is also axiomatic that polls taken during normal periods that don’t exhibit the desired results will be ignored.

4. Liberty grabber Leftists need to acknowledge that background checks already exist.

Those notorious instant polls will also display the anomaly of high polling numbers on ‘background checks’. Often times this vague phraseology will be used to exploit confusion on the issue. This provides an entry for the Liberty grabber Left to interpret this to mean that just about everyone (even NRA members) are demanding Intergalactic Background Checks [Or whatever terms the Left uses to exploit this issue – enhanced, universal, etc].

In point of fact, Federal Background checks have been around for over 25 years, so when a pollster asks about ‘background checks’ many will answer in the affirmative since they know they already exist. While many on the Left will answer the same, not knowing that fact, but are desirous of even more controls on Liberty.

5. Implement the reforms on suppressors.

Despite all the research they’ve done on the subject in the movie theatres, guns with suppressors do not emit a soft ‘Phft’ with each shot. While they cut some of the noise associated with the discharge of combustion gases in the firing of a weapon, they do nothing for the mechanical noise of the cycling of the weapon or the noise emanating from the passage of the round through the air.

So while they can’t turn every handgun into a silent killer, they do protect the hearing of those practising their marksmanship as well as keep the ancillary noise level down for the neighbours of firing ranges. This is why there is no reason to restrict the sales of essentially a muffler for a firearm .

Part II will detail the rest of the items to reverse the trend away from Liberty.

 

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