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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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Conspiracy Theory

What does San Francisco Mayor London Breed have to hide about Jeff Adachi’s death?

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What does San Francisco Mayor London Breed have to hide about

San Francisco politicians would be in an absolute uproar if the Trump administration ordered the suspension of an unambiguous liberty for the sake of expediency. They would declare a Constitutional crisis was underway and would demand the rights of their citizens be upheld while those who violated them should be held accountable. But when the rights of a citizen are trampled on to benefit their corrupt politicians, they stand by the trampling and pretend like nothing foul is afoot.

Such is the story of journalist Bryan Carmody. His 1st Amendment rights were disregarded so blatantly and so frivolously that it’s obvious there’s a major cover up underway that is protecting very powerful people in the progressive mecca of San Francisco. Following Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s death, a leaked police report was released by Carmody, prompting the San Francisco Police to illegally attempt to force him to reveal his source. He is protected by the Freedom of the Press from divulging his source, but strong-arm techniques reminiscent of the actions of third-world dictators doesn’t seem to be making a dent in the official stories from San Francisco politicians, most notably Mayor London Breed.

San Francisco’s mayor shows the country what a real attack on the free press looks like

Carmody claims he was restrained in handcuffs for nearly six hours as the authorities ransacked his home, seizing “laptops, phones and hard drives — including all the images and documents he had archived from his 29-year career as a reporter and cameraman,” the report adds.

Law enforcement officials have neither denied nor contradicted the freelancer’s version of events. The San Francisco Police Department has not yet returned Carmody’s equipment. The raid, which was approved by two trial court judges, also included agents from the FBI.

And all because Carmody refused to give up a confidential source, as is his right. The mayor sees it differently, though, and she is digging in.

The Mayor took the unconstitutional route from the start and hasn’t looked back.

“San Francisco Police Department is in the process of conducting an investigation into how confidential information was released within the Department. As part of this investigation, the Department went through the appropriate legal process to request a search warrant, which was approved by two judges,” her office said in a statement last week.

Even now, as the pressure mounts from news outlets across the country for the far-left political machine of San Francisco to denounce the attack on the press, one that is so much more direct and heinous than anything President Trump has done, they continue to focus on the legality of the search warrants (even though they clearly were not legal by any stretch of the imagination) and the imperative of finding out who leaked the memos, something that no average San Francisco resident could ever actually care about if they’re being honest.

Instead of defending the Constitution and the rights of their citizens, they’re redirecting.

Their unabashed willingness to continue forward despite all the bad press they’re getting can easily lead someone to one conclusion: There’s something really bad surrounding Adechi’s death that has San Francisco Democrats terrified. There’s a cover up happening right before our eyes, one that has politicians, police, and judges involved and unwavering in their willingness to discard the 1st Amendment altogether.

Whatever has London Breed and her cronies spooked about Adechi’s death, it has to be huge. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be pressing so adamantly against the Constitution of the United States in the broad daylight of public condemnation.

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Guns and Crime

Two separate illegal aliens with child sexual crime felony convictions caught crossing the border again

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Two separate illegal aliens with child sexual crime felony convictions caught crossing the border ag

Thursday was another busy day for border patrol agents. It wasn’t just their standard apprehension and processing of thousands of migrants crossing the border to claim asylum. A handful of convicted criminals were caught trying to secretly cross into the United States, into two child sex offenders.

A 45-year-old Mexican national who had a prior felony conviction for “lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14” in California was captured earlier in the day. Then, a 26-year-old El Salvadoran national who had a prior felony conviction for “child molestation in the first degree” and an active felony warrant for “molestation of a minor” in Washington state was captured with another El Salvadoran national.

Both had been previously deported.

Opinion

Give me one excuse for this. Anyone. Can a single Democrat pushing their doctrine of open borders explain how it’s a good idea to keep border patrol undermanned and under-resourced, block the wall at every turn, and keep laws so weak that of course child rapists want to make their way to a sanctuary city near you.

These aren’t isolated cases.

Every day, we hear of new criminal illegal aliens, previously deported, who are crossing over again to commit heinous crimes like these two child rapists. Why? Because they know leftists will protect, enable, and encourage them.

This is a sickness. No, I’m not talking about the obvious sickness of vile men who find pre-teen children to ruin their lives for the sake of their own sexual kicks. I’m talking about the people on the left who willfully turn a blind eye to the sick crimes of animals like these two.

The saddest part about the left’s embrace of criminal illegal aliens like these two child raping animals is that they will take more offense to me calling them “animals” than to the vile crimes these men committed against children.

Quote

“Democrats have controlled the House for nearly 5 months. Besides supporting infanticide, illegal immigrants, and whining about President Trump, can anyone tell me what they have accomplished?” – Ryan Fournier

Final Thoughts

Border patrol is stretched thin by the migrant crisis, which makes it difficult to apprehend these child sexual predators crossing the border. If they caught two by chance on the same night, how many child molesters are crossing unabated?

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Guns and Crime

Thomas Massie exposes the many problems with Red Flag Gun Laws

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Thomas Massie exposes the many problems with Red Flag Gun Laws

Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) has been a staunch proponent of the 2nd Amendment throughout his career in Washington DC. This makes him an opponent to Red Flag Gun Laws which are spreading across the states. Colorado recently passed their version, bringing the total up to 15.

As we’ve documented numerous times, Red Flag Gun Laws are a direct attack on the 2nd and 4th Amendments. Depending on the version of the law, citizens can have their firearms forcibly removed from them by law enforcement when a judge decrees they may be a threat to themselves or others based on requests by people who know the victim. It’s important to understand that these laws are not based on anyone committing a crime. They are based on a feeling that someone may commit a crime.

It’s like the movie Minority Report, only without psychics. Gun owners’ liberties can be encroached based on the government’s “future crimes division.”

In this video, Massey gets to the heart of the matter by talking to Colorado Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams and Dr. John R. Lott of Crime Prevention Research Center. This is an important video for #2A proponents across the nation.

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