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A former associate justice of the SCOTUS weighs in on the guns issue. (Today's NYT)



Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday. These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.

That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms. But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.

Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that “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.” Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.

For over 200 years after the adoption of the Second Amendment, it was uniformly understood as not placing any limit on either federal or state authority to enact gun control legislation. In 1939 the Supreme Court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a “well regulated militia.”

During the years when Warren Burger was our chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge, federal or state, as far as I am aware, expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment. When organizations like the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and began their campaign claiming that federal regulation of firearms curtailed Second Amendment rights, Chief Justice Burger publicly characterized the N.R.A. as perpetrating “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned Chief Justice Burger’s and others’ long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment’s limited reach by ruling, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there was an individual right to bear arms. I was among the four dissenters.

That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power. Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.

That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform. It would eliminate the only legal rule that protects sellers of firearms in the United States — unlike every other market in the world. It would make our schoolchildren safer than they have been since 2008 and honor the memories of the many, indeed far too many, victims of recent gun violence.

John Paul Stevens is a retired associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.
 

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So no semiautomatic weapons.... If something like that was able to be passed then you would have the issue of collecting the semiautomatic weapons already owned by the population. That would of course include most pistols which are much easier for a person to hide from existence. One day you would be able to get a good bit of them if you was willing to send troops in to search houses and such. That would still leave shotguns and revolvers that could cause a mass amount of damage if used for school shootings. Then bolt action and leaver action rifles are convenient if you want to do the damage from a distance and still cause a bunch of damage (remember the guy shooting people out of the trunk of the car). We could turn it back to just black powder guns or just ban all firearms.

I was reading something about a concert that was over in France in 2015, which has strict gun laws, and his concert was victim to a mass shooting which would indicate the laws didn't do a good job of stopping the mass shooting.

I am not a fan of a ban on anything that isn't already banned but I would be behind better background checks and other programs designed to help with these issues to include increased security at schools. Of course this is only my position on the subject.
 

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The logistics are daunting, as Duck points out. But, you don't have to ban everything, nor do you have to ban what already exists. Document it and eliminate adding more to the pool. Think about the ban on machine guns that went into effect in the 1930s when bootlegging gangs were involved in brutal machine gun battles. Cops, too, for that matter. When was the last time you saw cops carrying machine guns outside a 1930s movie or a banana republic? There are a few legally owned machine guns left from those days. Same thing would happen with whatever gets banned now. It would be documented, and as long as you have the permit paperwork, it's fine. Lose it and you have a problem. Paper or gun either one. Make gun owners personally responsible for what their guns do. The GOP should be all over that, because it's a personal responsibility thing, except that's bullshit as much as their deficit hawk bullshit.

I do expect the Lockdown Generation, the kids who have grown up post-Columbine, will be formidable. There are a lot of them, they are bright, they are energetic, and they are well spoken. They are also highly motivated, at lest for now. Because there are so many of them, more than the surly boomers and xers they will replace, there will be plenty who stay motivated. We are watching the tide of history move. It's fascinating, and I have lots of hope for them. I think they will be a whole lot better for this country than the me-generation ever has been.
 

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I hope you are right Gaolee. It would be great to see some truly great things come to pass from them before I die. As for the guns... at one point I was even against registration of firearms because it could be used as a first step to collecting the weapons but at this point I would be willing to give it some thought. If it would keep the weapons from being banned and allow true data to be presented then it would be a good thing. Lots of different ways to go about things to compromise and allow everyone to gain something.
 

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Collecting data and making gun owners and especially sellers is why registration is a good idea. The second amendment doesn't say guns should be passed out like candy. It doesn't say that guns should be available to whoever, whenever, without any kind of second thought. It does talk about a well regulated (meaning properly functioning) militia. That means something. The NRA has effectively erased that meaning, to our detriment. The current wingnut interpretation of the second amendment is wrong in historic terms, and it's morally wrong. The fact that a gun is registered is not an impediment to owning and bearing it. Yes, it's a control, but it's not an infringement. There's a difference. If we really want to go back to the eighteenth century, we would have to prevent women from voting, reinstitute slavery, pass laws that only white, male property owners vote, and plenty of other things that all of us seem to think are lousy ideas. I don't see why the right wing thinks the second amendment has to be somehow edited and then frozen in time.

Except that the NRA is the marketing arm of the munitions industry. The more they stir up gun people, the more the munitions industry sells and the more profits the munitions industry makes. If they herd their membership, keep them on edge, keep them all riled up, and don't talk with any rationality and logic, it is perfect for the marketing campaign. They also heavily edit the Swiss reality. Switzerland isn't the bristling place the NRA would have you believe. Most of those guns are kept at shooting clubs under lock and key. That's a pretty good idea in my book. They don't keep a loaded gun in the nightstand because they are complete pussies like so many Americans are.
 

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I get what your saying and I agree for the most part. The issue people have with registration is that they fear that one day an administration will come into power and be able to actually ban the weapons and if that was to happen then they would be able to pull up the registration and start with collection locations that check off who turned what in then after a time go around collecting the rest. I personally think it would be a possibility but the time to fight against that would be when the decision was made to go around collecting. At that point its obvious that the people left with registered weapons are against the ban and would fight against such a collection. Cross that bridge if it ever came to that.... Of course the argument would be that by that point the number of people with weapons would be considerably smaller making it harder to fight against such action. I however don't think that is a correct assessment. I believe if it ever went that far it would split many people. We have seen such splits over immigration and such. Police departments and even states refusing to cooperate with the feds. The split would likely be even b***** if the feds ever decided to go around collecting weapons.

So yea I would be ok with registration and would welcome the information that could be attained through it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As Stevens points out, the SCOTUS has said that the 2nd amendment is NOT an absolute right. They have never said that restrictions on the use of firearms are unconstitutional. That's the LEGAL reality.

The problem with guns is a POLITICAL problem. So far, the NRA (& Co.) has buffaloed most Congress critters (and a shitpot of ordinary citizens, using different tactics) into thinking they risk their jobs if they vote for any kind of restriction on the purchase and use of firearms. Moreover, the gun industry is the only industry exempt from any liability for how their products are used.

To outright repeal the 2nd is too heavy a lift for any Congress and president. (Now that could change if we have a few dozen more massacres but even that's no guarantee. We're evidently quite willing to sacrifice our kids for "the right to keep and bear arms"). Like it or not, we are a gun culture. We LOVE guns and anything having to do with them (movies, books, hunting, etc.) And even though an outright repeal would probably not do much more than shift some legal responsibility around, the gun industry and the NRA would work like hell to make people think the blue meanies are coming for their guns. That's what they do so well. (Duck aptly demonstrates how he slurps up the party line this in his posts above.)

So far as I know (and someone else can do the research on this) most of the semi/full auto weapons used in these mass shootings were NOT stolen. They were legally acquired by the shooter or—as happened right here in Springfield, OR some years ago, a kid who went on to shoot his high school classmates got his semi-auto pistols right out of his parents bedroom (He shot both his parents to death, by the way).

The point is that if assault rifles were outright banned, along with large capacity magazines, from sale they would be far less likely to be used in mass murder. That's the first point. The second point is that no one is talking about taking anyone's guns/LCM's away from them, as the NRA likes to say to scare gun owners shitless.

The 3rd—and most important point—is that the 2nd amendment is an anachronism. It's just plain out of date. The reasons it was enacted are out of date. The weapons which the framers considered are nothing more than heirlooms. Reasonable people might agree that the repeal of an amendment is some that should be done when it is needed. We've repealed Prohibition. We repealed how we vote for Senators.

But guns are such an ingrained part of American culture, I doubt if they could repeal the 2nd. It's a pleasant thought, though.
 

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(Duck aptly demonstrates how he slurps up the party line this in his posts above.)
I believe if I did slurp up the party line as you say then I would not be saying that I would be ok with registration. I don't completely agree with any party line on the subject to be honest. That said do you honestly believe that if the 2nd was repealed and registration was implemented then semi-automatic weapons banned from sales that it would not eventually turn into a ban on owning them as well? After all those other things are done and a mass shooting happens with a banned weapon wouldn't the feds think about requiring everyone to turn in those weapons to save us from ourselves? I think it would be the logical step if the ban on sales and registration did not stop the shootings.

I know that I don't see eye to eye with you on the subject but that is not because I am a gun carrying nut. I own exactly one semi-automatic pistol and I am in law enforcement. I have no "assault rifles" or any other firearm. Just so you know a little more about me and know that I am no gun nut. I simply think that the majority of the problem is the people doing the shooting not the weapons being used. A tool is useless without someone willing to use it. If someone desires a specific outcome they will design the tool needed to achieve that outcome.

I don't like that mass shootings are happening. I also don't like that people use cars from time to time to run crowds over or that people use bombs to blow people up, or any of the other ways that people find to kill each other.

Again I would welcome registration and the information it would provide in the end, also security for schools and such, but not a big fan of a ban.
 

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I believe if I did slurp up the party line as you say then I would not be saying that I would be ok with registration. I don't completely agree with any party line on the subject to be honest. Ah. but you do!That said do you honestly believe that if the 2nd was repealed and registration was implemented then semi-automatic weapons banned from sales that it would not eventually turn into a ban on owning them as well? Yes. I honestly believe that. Military weapons and LCM's have no place in general circulation. None, none, none. After all those other things are done and a mass shooting happens with a banned weapon wouldn't the feds think about requiring everyone to turn in those weapons to save us from ourselves? They might think about it but they can't do it. It's logistically impossible and it's also a protected right. If the 2nd was repealed that would then be something the CONGRESS might consider. What's the chance of it happening? ZERO! In fact, if you remember there WAS a ban on assault weapons for 10 years. Did anyone come after your pistol? Anyone's pistol? I think it would be the logical step if the ban on sales and registration did not stop the shootings. You just said you don't buy the NRA's bullshit but this whole paragraph has NRA stamped all over it.

I know that I don't see eye to eye with you on the subject but that is not because I am a gun carrying nut. I own exactly one semi-automatic pistol and I am in law enforcement. I have no "assault rifles" or any other firearm. Just so you know a little more about me and know that I am no gun nut. I simply think that the majority of the problem is the people doing the shooting not the weapons being used. A tool is useless without someone willing to use it. If someone desires a specific outcome they will design the tool needed to achieve that outcome. It isn't about you in particular. It's about a huge problem we have with people dying and getting maimed from gunshot.

I don't like that mass shootings are happening. I also don't like that people use cars from time to time to run crowds over or that people use bombs to blow people up, or any of the other ways that people find to kill each other. Another fallacy. First of all, guns have only one purpose: to kill. Animals and people. 2nd, I doubt that the 40,000 people who die from guns every year would be killed by other means. (Read my last paragraph.)

Again I would welcome registration and the information it would provide in the end, also security for schools and such, but not a big fan of a ban.That's an understatement. You are against a ban. So kids will continue to die in their classrooms so your [collective] refusal to ban assault weapons is upheld.
In the end, we are perpetrating a huge cultural lie to ourselves, where the classroom, the school, the teacher all now become armed and fortified. That is no way to educate the young. That is no way to create a learning environment. That is no way to stop parents from wondering if their kids are coming home in the afternoon. And ALL of this is for the right (They call it) to buy and own an assault weapon and large capacity magazine.

Another one claiming "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Indeed. People kill people—with guns—to the tune of around 40,000 people per year. (Incl. all forms of death by gun.) Duck, you are simply using the argument, fallacious as it is, which the NRA has foisted on the public for years. And those young people in Florida, those CHILDREN(!) have finally had enough. I"m with them all the way. Throw those lying Republican bastards like Rubio out.
 

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Good God, the amount of misinformation, hysterical bullshit and stupidity in the post above is scarily comical.
 

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They have to do something. Banning assault rifles does not mean anyone’s right to a gun is being infringed. The government has the power to ban certain types of guns in the interest of public safety.

Somehow the NRA has used the second amendment to allow whatever manufacturers want to make be untouchable. This is where the problem lies.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

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Good God, the amount of misinformation, hysterical bullshit and stupidity in the post above is scarily comical.
LOL. Typical low-info response. Just make it personal.

Hmmm. All I still hear is the sound of crickets.
 

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You mean like discussing political discourse and dissenting opinion with others without fear of repercussion?
That's pretty weak. I knew somebody would try make that argument. But I don't know anybody who spend tens of thousands of dollars on their "political discussion" hobby.
 

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Good God, the amount of misinformation, hysterical bullshit and stupidity in the post above is scarily comical.
Got anything more than that? Like an explanation? Nope? Well, then stick to talking points. I'm still waiting for a real conservative to show up instead of just another reactionary with nothing to offer.
 

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That's pretty weak. I knew somebody would try make that argument. But I don't know anybody who spend tens of thousands of dollars on their "political discussion" hobby.
I don't know anybody personally, but the Koch brothers seem to be happy to spend zillions of dollars. Money is speech. Ask Citizen's United. You have less money, so shut the fuck up.
 

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I don't know anybody personally, but the Koch brothers seem to be happy to spend zillions of dollars. Money is speech. Ask Citizen's United. You have less money, so shut the fuck up.
The Koch brothers spending zillions aren't spending it on a hobby...it's their business, so shut the fuck up. :dblthumb
 

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In the end, we are perpetrating a huge cultural lie to ourselves, where the classroom, the school, the teacher all now become armed and fortified. That is no way to educate the young. That is no way to create a learning environment. That is no way to stop parents from wondering if their kids are coming home in the afternoon. And ALL of this is for the right (They call it) to buy and own an assault weapon and large capacity magazine.

Another one claiming "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Indeed. People kill people—with guns—to the tune of around 40,000 people per year. (Incl. all forms of death by gun.) Duck, you are simply using the argument, fallacious as it is, which the NRA has foisted on the public for years. And those young people in Florida, those CHILDREN(!) have finally had enough. I"m with them all the way. Throw those lying Republican bastards like Rubio out.
First I thought the discussion was about semi-automatic weapons being banned. I see now your only talking about assault rifles of military grade. I completely agree that military rifles are not needed but thankfully any rifle that has full auto or burst fire are already illegal without special permits that are not easy at all to get. Now I am sure that your definition of assault rifle is different than mine so that would be one of the things that needs to be completely clear before anyone can have any real discussion about such things. Most of the "assault rifles" that people are worried about are little more than a pistol grip and some cosmetics to a hunting rifle.

I am curious if the parents worry about their kids coming home feel the same way when their kids drive places? I have 6 kids and haven't been worried about my kids being shot at school and it is much more likely that they die in a car accident so that would be a b***** concern.

Look I don't know what the real answer is and I know you don't think there is any way a ban would go any farther than "assault rifles" but what if that ban only changed the weapon being used? Once that ban is in place and the number of mass shootings does not decline will we not go after whatever the new thing being used? Any of these shootings would be much worse IMHO if the person used a 9mm pistol and had a bunch of magazines to reload with. This is one of the areas that the ability to keep statistics would help a bunch. I am sure that if you take all gun murders then pistols would by far be the leading firearm used. I am not sure how accurate this list is due to laws on reporting and such but it is one I found for 2016 and you can see that handguns are on the top by more than double the next down.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/195325/murder-victims-in-the-us-by-weapon-used/

I honestly am only trying to have a completely logical conversation about it and am not trying to attack anyone with any of this.

That's pretty weak. I knew somebody would try make that argument. But I don't know anybody who spend tens of thousands of dollars on their "political discussion" hobby.
I don't know anyone that spends tens of thousands of dollars on guns .... but then I don't know anyone preparing for the end of days.
 
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