Bring it on — But the gun culture in America has got to change

March 29, 2012

COLUMNS

Nancy Anderson, columnist

I don’t like guns.

My father had an old shotgun he kept in the closet, unloaded of course. He was a country boy who never took to hunting, so I had no experience with firearms and the sport surrounding their use. Two husbands, no hunters. When I married Ken, he had a small handgun. He keeps it somewhere other than our house. I don’t know where, and I don’t really want to know. Guns just make me nervous.

I know the usual defense of guns, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Yeah. Yeah. But it’s harder to kill someone with a baseball bat than with a gun. A baseball bat doesn’t go off accidentally, and it’s hard to get in multiple rounds on a baseball bat in a few short seconds.

Now, I’m no pacifist. If someone tried to break into my house and do harm to my family, I’d have no problem defending my turf. And I’m not interested in stepping on the happy hunting grounds of all my hunter friends. But I have serious concerns about the gun culture in this country.

When students at Mississippi State University and Jackson State University die from gunshot wounds and when of one of my students recounts his experience of being caught in a gun battle, it’s time to do something. In my day, when young, hot-headed men got into a fight, the worst that happened was that someone got a bloody nose. Now, someone loses his life.

Before you fire off an e-mail to me about the second amendment, know that I’ve read the Constitution. The Founding Fathers had ball and musket firearms, not semi-automatic weapons with laser sightings. Do you know how long it took to load one of those old weapons?

Go ahead. Send in your letters, your e-mails. Use everything in your arsenal to defend your “right to bear arms.” Call me a commie or a leftist or just a bleeding heart liberal. How dare I question the culture of this gun toting state? Fire away.

I’ll take a bullet for this one because I’m tired of burying young people before their time.

>> Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ph.D., CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Ridgeland — (601) 991-3158. She is also an assistant professor of finance at Mississippi College. Her e-mail address is nanderson@newper.com, and her website is www.newper.com.

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27 Responses to “Bring it on — But the gun culture in America has got to change”

  1. M Says:

    Guns are a tool that can be used for good or evil. What has to change is the culture, not the gun culture. People are evil. If you want to change the, “gun culture,” start with adopting some morality. This starts with you and your 3 marriages. It is out of homes like this that someone gets a screwed up child that has issues with drugs, sex, and guns. If you want to change the culture in a positive direction, start with yourself.

    Most of these shooting involve blacks. It stems from fatherlessness. Out of the fatherlessness comes misdirected youth and then crime.

  2. Jeff Says:

    First off, you are a pacifist. So, how exactly would you “defend your turf” if two criminals armed with firearms, intent on harming your family, entered your home? Well, you have already said that a baseball bat wont do it. Are you going to bring a knife to a gunfight? Please, enlighten me.

    As far as your comment on the second amendment and the founding fathers having muskets, do you think they were stupid? Do you think that when they wrote the most important written document in human history they had no clue weapons would evolve? I would have to believe they were smarter than a box of rocks, knowing that as former British subjects their ancestors fought wars with Swords, Spears and Shields. Do you think that men, who wrote a document to run a country that was so nearly perfect that it has only been amended 27 times in over 230 years had absolutely no thought of the future?

    As far as the 2A goes, it is clear in it’s statement and has been upheld by the Supreme Court the numerous times it has been attacked by the left.

    Not only are you a pacifist, but your an elitist as well. You apparently believe, from your column, that because YOU do not like guns, no one should have them. Should they be banned? In 2007 there were 613 deaths by gun accidents. In the same year, 41,059 were killed in car accidents, should we ban cars? Now I know you will say that, that’s not the point. There were 54,000 homicides that same year. Well, guess what, those homicides were committed by CRIMINALS. Either they were criminals prior to committing those homicides (The majority) or they were criminals after. Do your research, there are many statistics from throughout the United States and Europe that PROVE that a better armed citizenry reduces crime. In fact, Britain banned guns, the people, like sheep, turned most of their guns in to be sawed in half and melted down. In the 10 years since the gun bans started, Gun crime has risen 89% in England. Banning Guns does not work, criminals will still get their guns, leaving the honest, law abiding citizenry to the mercy of the criminals.

    An armed citizenry also keeps Governments in check. The first thing that every totalitarian regime (Nazi’s, Fascists, Communists) of the 20th Century did coming to power was to disarm the people. They did this because they knew that the people who were repressed, if armed, could rise up and threaten their power. One of the very first things the Nazi’s did was to disarm the Jews. Think about that. Our founding fathers knew as well, that an armed citizenry kept a polite Government. You brag about reading the Constitution, maybe you should go over it again, several more times, and while you are at it, read the quotes of Jefferson and Adam’s concerning the right to keep and bear arms.

    I will leave you with one observation followed by several quotes.

    I hope it never happens to you, but the day bad men come to you to do harm to you and your family, you are going to think twice about your views on the second amendment and guns in general. You are going to wish that there were good men with guns there to help. Again, I hope your family is never assaulted, but the fact is, there are bad men out there.

    “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    “The constitutions of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property and freedom of the press.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    “The said Constitution [shall] be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.”
    Samuel Adams at the ratification of the Constitution in 1788

  3. Thomas Russell Says:

    If it were left up to people like you we would be German, Jap, or Italian at this time. It is hard to believe people can be so stupid, but we see it every day of our lives. You deserve to be some where you would be beaten, raped, killed, you don’t have enough sense to realize why you are free, why don’t you move into the middle east for a while and see what it would be like to live with out protection, you would not last 15 minutes out of the USA, with your stupid ideas.

  4. Capt. W.G.Stimac Says:

    As a twenty-six year veteran Police Captain I have seen numerous instances in which lives were saved and criminals defeated by armed citizens.

    No Law Enforcement Agency can respond in time to save you.

    The founding fathers had what was state of the art at that time and we are granted the same in our age by the second amendment.

    You have no concept of how many multiple rounds/blows I can deliver with a baseball bat in a few short seconds. A Philippine martial artist can kill you in a matter of five seconds with a seemingly innocuous three foot long bamboo stick.

    I have seen people killed with bed slats, frying pans, baseball bats, claw hammers, a can of bug spray, a brick, lighter fluid (very bad, burned to death); I could write a book.

    A killer will find a way unless you can stop him. The frying pan, bats, and bricks weren’t semi-automatic but all of the victims could have survived if they had been armed with firearm and were competent in it’s use.

    “If someone tried to break into my house and do harm to my family, I’d have no problem defending my turf”, you say. How do you propose to do that without a weapon?

    In my day as well, when young, hot-headed men got into a fight, the worst that happened was that someone got a bloody nose. That was because of the way we were reared by our parents, the influence of our family, and discipline; all of which are absent today. In my day as you say (I’m 60 yoa), we would have never considered this sort of violence. We had access to firearms yet using one would never have entered our minds.

    You must look elsewhere. Look at the psychology involved in these crimes and the “culture” of the people involved.
    Wait until the investigations are completed before expounding on these matters. Wait till the motives and facts surrounding these events are clear. As intelligent and sincere as I know you must be, you appear very foolish here.

    I am an expert in these matters, a skilled investigator, and I’ve seen far more violence than I care to remember or recount. The choice of weapon is never the issue. A weapon will always be found and used by the criminal element.

    No doubt that based on your closing statement I’ve wasted my time here but, you won’t be able to say nobody tried to explain reality to you.

  5. chris Says:

    I think you make a good point but not about guns. I think peoples attitude toward human life has changed. when I was kid boys would fight without guns but now some people would rather kill than to be thought weak or get their but whooped guns attitudes dont change but people do

  6. Shawn Says:

    Are you willing to bet your family on all those assumptions? I’m sure not. If a burglar is breaking into your home you’re guaranteed to protect them with a shotgun versus a baseball bat. It’s not about the weapons, but about the criminal. Remember that.

  7. Dave Says:

    Nancy; This is a well written article but it entirely misses the point. Looking at just your view, you would remove guns from the millions of Americans who have the right to bear arms, given to us by the constituion. Yet, even if we removed these guns from those who get trained, pay fees and are considered safe, there are still the thousand of guns in the hands of crimminals and people who will always have guns. In my view, making my family less safe.
    Our own government allows drug dealers in Mexico to purchase guns to take across the border with no control just so they can find a few people who are buying them. This failed and ended up in the death of law enforcement men.
    MA had a great law that said if you commit a crime with a gun your punishment was 5 times greater and mandatory time in jail was require, no parole. Our course our politicians struck most of these laws down, as too hard on the criminals. Yes, we need to change the culture but not from trained and legally carrying gun owners, instead we need to work with our young to encourage them not to carry illeagal weapons for defense. We need to severely punish anyone committing a crime with a gun and go further to make sure people with a mental illness are denied the abiility to buy guns. Also keep in mind that anyone can go to a “Gun Flea Market”, and buy a gun without a background check, waiting period. Again our politicians allow this to happen and the NRA or others speak out against this being allowed.
    Your aim is good, but lets make it harder from the criminals to get guns, the mentally unbalanced to obtain guns and punish the criminals who use guns, before we go after the people who have a legal right to carry a gun, hunt with a gun and protect their family.
    Good article and hopefully this provokes some results.

  8. Gun owner Says:

    As an ardent supporter of our gun rights, I’m in agreement with your initial premise. Gun culture has to change. The problem is people are not raised to respect firearms anymore. Heck, we don’t do a very good job at teaching our youths to respect anything nowadays. Having agreed on culture being the problem, I don’t understand how legislation is the solution. When you take away guns only the criminals will have then. Just look at Chicago or DC.

    We must teach our young to to respect firearms (among other things) and not to be afraid of them.

  9. Patrick Donovan Says:

    The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states ”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…” Article 3, Section 13 of the Mississippi constitution states “The freedom of speech and of the press shall be held sacred…” In recent times, these provisions have been interpreted to mean that there is no restriction on the press beyond libel and slander. Even the definition of the “press” has been interpreted to the widest possible extent. Similarly, beyond direct threats to safety (like yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater), there has been no restriction on speech, and the definition of “speech” has been interpreted to the widest possible extent. I support, and I think that you would support, the lack of restrictions on speech and the press and the widest possible definitions for “speech” and the “press”. Are the current interpretations and definitions of freedom of speech and the press good or bad for the country? The answer does not matter. The intent of the two constitutions is clear and constitutional amendments would be required to restrict speech or the press. Even if such amendments were ratified, the framers of the U.S. Constitution would claim that a “natural right” exists regardless of the U.S. and Mississippi Constitutions.

    I interpret the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states “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.”, and Article 3, Section 12 of the Mississippi Constitution, which states “The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question…”, similarly. “Arms” are any weapon that can be carried and used by a person. If I could carry and fire a howitzer, my right to do so would be protected by the U.S. and Mississippi Constitutions. All laws of the United States or Mississippi that infringe on my ability to “keep and bear arms” are unconstitutional. Is it good or bad for Mississippi and the United States that this right exists? The answer is a matter of opinion and does not matter. Constitutional amendments would be necessary to restrict the right to keep and bear arms. Were those amendments to be ratified, my “natural right” would supersede the constitutions.

    You are perfectly free to not own guns, not associate with gun owners and advocate for any and all manner of restrictions on gun ownership. Call your state legislators, lobby the U.S. Congress, write and speak out against guns. It doesn’t matter. My natural right is not affected by your opinions or the law.

  10. Roy Says:

    I have enough garbage in my inbox!
    I was amazed to read this commentary. Most liberal media outlets have already tried and convicted the individual who shot Trayvon Martin in-spite of the fact that we don’t know what happened. I had higher expectations for this publication. This baseless partisan rhetoric belongs on media matters or moveon.org.
    I for one could not care less what your contributors opinions are. How about just printing more business “news”?

    I will be cancelling my subscription.

  11. Tommy Says:

    Our society is fast becoming the product of a poor combination of not being allowed to teach morality (No mention of God in schools) and a lack of respect for laws and law enforcement.(We coddle criminals and do not penalize offenders adequately) Until we all are assigned a cop to follow us around to make sure we follow the law there will continue to be a tremendous desire by individuals to arm themselves to protect themselves form the increased violence and lawlesness we are faced with daily. Without the deterent of the law or morals, individuals are having to protect themselves. They prefer guns over ball bats.

  12. Lynn Says:

    Progressive viewpoint! I moved here from the “north” (North Carolina) about two years ago. None of my friends in NC had a gun, while nearly every person, male and female, I’ve met in Mississippi owns at least one.

    I have no problem with folks owning guns – but I do have a problem with not putting some parameters around obtaining them. I have to pass a skills test to drive a car, but not to own a gun? I need to register my vehicle, but not a gun?

    I know I am in a minority here – so it was very refreshing to read your post.

  13. Boogie Says:

    Lynn, you’re confusing a privilege (driving a vehicle) with a right (that of self-defense by the most efficient means available, which in this case is a firearm). Therefore your argument engages in false equivocation and can be ignored. Thanks for playing.

  14. Jeff Pittman, PE, BCEE Says:

    Mrs. Anderson:

    If an inanimate object makes you nervous, you need to seek professional help. Further, you state that “If someone tried to break into my house and do harm to my family, I’d have no problem defending my turf.” How, pray tell? I won’t call you a commie or a leftist, even if accurate. But you are woefully and sadly ignorant.

    This is a free country of soverign citizens with rights. It is irrelevant that there is risk attached to liberty, or that anyone objects. But what is the risk? The fact is that Americans use guns approximately 1 to 4 million times a year in self-defense, depending on which of the dozens of studies you believe. The number of defensive uses of firearms is some 4 times greater than the number of criminal uses. The studies also indicate that simply reducing the number of guns in society always does and always will result in more violent crimes being perpetrated, and never in a lower gun accident rate. And by the way, fatal firearm accidents in the U.S. are at an all-time low, having been on the decline for decades, while numbers of privately-owned guns is at an all-time high.

    I don’t want to be helpless. I don’t want a higher violent crime rate. But that is what I don’t WANT. What I WILL NOT TOLERATE is anyone trying to victimize me, either by physical attack, or by political posturing to rob me of my sacred liberty and ability to preserve my own life.

  15. Hank Says:

    I love this stuff… Liberals make it so-o-o-o easy. Line by line…

    “I don’t like guns.”

    And I don’t like liberals, but I’m not trying to outlaw them.

    “Guns just make me nervous.”

    And of course, the solution to that would be to not own one and to stay away from them;

    OR learn something about them and discover that they are simply tools.

    “Yeah. Yeah. But it’s harder to kill someone with a baseball bat than with a gun.”

    And yet, more people are killed with clubs than with firearms in violent crimes in this country (look it up).
    More people were killed with knives (or other ‘sharp bladed objects’) than with firearms.
    More people were killed by Doctors, in hospital accidents, than with firearms.
    More people were killed with automobiles (by a factor of ten or more).
    More people were poisoned.
    See, those pesky facts: they just keep getting in the way of the emotional arguments, don’t they?

    “and it’s hard to get in multiple rounds on a baseball bat in a few short seconds.”

    Never actually seen anyone swing a bat in a fit of rage, have you? I have, and trust me, “Multiple rounds” is a very real possibility.

    “Now, I’m no pacifist. If someone tried to break into my house and do harm to my family, I’d have no problem defending my turf.”

    Really? How? With what? You gonna throw your shoe at them? How exactly do you propose to “defend your turf” if you’re unarmed?

    ‘The principle behind the movement to ban firearms is that a woman who is raped and strangled with her own pantyhose is somehow morally superior to the woman who survives by shooting her attacker’.

    If you have a fire in your home, do you have a fire extinguisher?
    If you have a flat on your car, do you have a jack and spare tire?
    Do you have insurance on your home/car/life/health?
    Do you carry a raincoat or umbrella?
    Do you own/carry those things because you intend for something to go wrong, or simply because you have the good sense to recognize that sometimes, bad things happen that are beyond your control, and you need to be prepared for them?

    “And I’m not interested in stepping on the happy hunting grounds of all my hunter friends.”

    Part of the problem here is that you seem to think the Second Amendment has something to do with hunting. Or with target shooting. Or with sports. It does not. Read your history.

    “I have serious concerns about the gun culture in this country.”

    I also have serious concerns about the culture in this country; where a person is no longer held accountable for his decisions and actions, but is allowed to blame his immorality and criminality on an object.

    “When students at Mississippi State University and Jackson State University die from gunshot wounds and when of one of my students recounts his experience of being caught in a gun battle, it’s time to do something.”

    Indeed, it is time to do something. Something that works. (Tempted to add here “I fight crime: I shoot back”, but it would probably be considered inflammatory…)

    “In my day, when young, hot-headed men got into a fight, the worst that happened was that someone got a bloody nose. Now, someone loses his life.”

    No, actually the murder rate has gone down in areas where gun laws allow increased access, not up: what has changed has been biased media coverage, not actual violence. In MY day (in high school, in the 60’s) schools were routinely taking students to hospitals in ambulances from these “innocent fights”. I was there, sweetie, I saw it.

    “I’ve read the Constitution.”

    But apparently have completely ignored the historical context and the surrounding documents of those great debates.

    “The Founding Fathers had ball and musket firearms, not semi-automatic weapons with laser sightings. Do you know how long it took to load one of those old weapons?”

    Actually, yes I do: they could routinely fire two to three shots a minute, and do it all day. Davy Crockett, with a SMOOTHBORE rifle, was capable of placing two shots in the same hole.
    When the US first began holding National Match Rifle competitions, all rifles (primitive and modern) were fired in the same class: after three years of ‘primitive’ rifles taking first/second/third place, they were separated so ‘modern’ rifles would be able to win some of the matches.

    “Use everything in your arsenal to defend your “right to bear arms.””

    You still don’t seem to get the point of the Second Amendment. The point of the Second Amendment is not for citizens to be able to hunt, or target shoot, or even defend their homes (those issues actually never came up during the debates over the Second Amendment). The point of the Second Amendment is that citizens have both the right and the military might to be equally armed with any standing army that might be brought against them by a despotic and tyrannical government (their own government, as in The Revolution) and be militarily prepared to defeat that army. The purpose and intent of the Second Amendment is the protection of the citizenry from their government.

    If you’re going to spout off about the Constitution, Sweetheart, you really should know something about it.

  16. Merry Says:

    I noted that you are teaching our young people and cringe to think about what you are teaching them. I was recently a victim of a break-in. My shot gun lives loaded and next to my bed. I live alone.

    I lived and taught post secondary students in Switzerland for 10 years, where every single household has a gun for it’s citizen army. Every male in the country serves and trains 2 weeks each year. It is rare to have a crime involving a gun.

    The difference in the US and Switzerland is the sense of entitlement (government benefits to a select group that has not given to the system) and a lack of moral and ethical training in our families, combined with morally corrupt fare served up by our media. Switzerland voted against showing Dynasty on their public air waves because it was deemed materialistic and immoral. The US has seen a steady increase in immoral, indecent and senseless garbage from our media. The perpetrators of 9-11 only had to watch what Hollywood serves up to get their ideas to terrorize our country.

    In closing, I ask you to take care in what you teach our youngsters. Inform them that cell phones and cable are not free for anyone who works and pays taxes. Encourage them to read and turn off the television. And teach them that it takes more than a degree to make it in this world…it takes hard work and ethics. Inform them that more and more prisons are being built by private companies and if they commit a crime, they will do time in one of them. Tell them the U.S. is made up mostly of law-abiding citizens, and people like me will always be sleeping with a loaded gun by my bed.

  17. Bob Says:

    You seem to have made up your mind, so I won’t join the other posters, most of whom likely confused you by presenting sound, fact based argument.
    I just wonder what the parents and various Baptist groups that support your college, think about your emotion fueled opinion, that no doubt ends up being presented to young impressionable minds in your classroom. I know you don’t want to be confused by facts, but a careful reading of the above responses might be educational…I particularly liked Hank’s post..

  18. Scott Says:

    God made all men, Sam Colt made them equal. Think about that quote for a little bit. Think about just what that quote says and means. Even a small petite 100 pound woman when armed is every bit as equal to a 250 pouund behemoth that may be out to do her harm.

  19. Mark Spangler Says:

    While I support the right to bear arms, the invective thown at the author by most of the posters is very instructive. The only solution to gun violence, it would seem, is more guns. Ah, well… no, that doesn’t really work so good, does it?

    What people fail to understand is that there is nothing holy or sacred about the U.S. Constitution. Remember, at one time slavery was accepted and perfectlly LEGAL in this country. It was wrong and evil, totally inexcusable, yet it was okay by the powers that be. We had to change these laws because as a nation, we made progress in the human condition.

    Likewise, just because the Constitution has a “keep and bear arms” provision, it doesnt’ mean it can’t be changed in light of social evolution. We’ve made a joke of the establishment clause by all of the ripoffs that we allow organized religion to make each and every day… tax exempt status, injecting religion into the public schools, using public dollars to bus kids to parochial schools, etc.

    The point is this: while I support the notion of the right to bear arms, you can’t win this argument on the basis of the US Constitution. Neo cons and conservatives have made a joke of it for years.

    Sadly, our Constitution really doesn’t mean very much anymore.

  20. Scott Says:

    Mark Spangler I highly disagree with your comment. The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is one of Bill Of Rights and cannot be changed “in light of social evolution”. That is a fact sir!

  21. Jeff Says:

    The Constitution did not create the right to be armed – it simply recognized that such a natural human right necessarily exists in light of the God-given right to life and liberty. In fact, the Constitution doesn’t confer any rights – those are already ours. It gives very limited powers (not rights) to the federal government from the states/people that created it. See the Tenth Amendment. Likewise, removing the Second Amendment wouldn’t remove the right. What the Constitution does is simply make it illegal for the U.S. to infringe on the natural right.

    Sadly, Mark has a point – very few pay attention to our Constitution, and nearly all federal government activities are unconstitutional because they are not authorized.

  22. Kathy Anderson Goss Says:

    Many who cherish their gun rights haven’t read the Constitution because it specifies the weapons are for a “well regulated militia.” How many gun owners meet that criteria? When I visited Ireland a few years back, I witnessed a “push and shove” in the street between two rival sports teams. I noted then that in the U.S, someone would have pulled out a gun or gone home to get a gun. Instead, the conflict ended with the men walking their separate ways.

  23. Jeff Says:

    Actually it does not specify that the weapons are for a militia.

    In the first place, the word “right” in the Second Amendment is indisputably the subject of the sentence. Whose right? “The people” are the ones whose right is specifically protected, as the amendment does not reference the “right of the states” or the “right of the militia.” The predicate, or main verb phrase, is: “shall not be infringed.” That is the imperative form of the verb; a straightforward command. The reference to the militia appears only as an introductory subordinate clause, which has no power to limit or restrict the subject or the predicate.

    But, the militia IS the people; the private citizens who are not government representatives or agents. The Militia Act of 1792 confirms this, specifying “that EACH AND EVERY free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia…”

    Note that the provision for a Militia comes from the Constitution’s Militia clause, not from the clause giving the power to raise armies and navies, thus clearly divorcing it from the National Guard or any other such military group. This is consistent with Supreme Court decisions stating the militia IS NOT part of the Army or National Guard and with federal law prohibiting National Guard members from keeping their own military arms.

    “I ask, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except for a few public officers….the people have a right to keep and bear arms.” 3 Elliot, Virginia Ratification Debates on the U.S. Constitution at 425 426. (1788) – George Mason

    “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms.” (Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788) at 169) “…the Constitution ought to secure a genuine, and guard against a select militia. To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” – Richard Henry Lee in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic (1787 1788)

    “Little more can reasonably be aimed at with respect to the people at large than to have them properly armed and equipped.” – Alexander Hamilton

    “…A well regulated militia (is) composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property as individuals, and their right as freemen.” – Josiah Quincy

    “Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth right of an American… [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” – Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788

  24. Ross Reily Says:

    It makes no difference whether gun bans, as a matter of fact, drastically reduce gun deaths. It makes no difference that it’s extremely unlikely that the presence of an armed person would have stopped any of the massacres that have seized the headlines the past few years. It makes no difference that there is no reason whatsoever for a private citizen to own an assault weapon. The pragmatic logic of public policy is no match for the power of a cultural sensibility that has made guns a deep ideological attachment. A few thousand civilian deaths seem insignificant against the imaginary scenario of totalitarian government “turning on” its disarmed citizens.

    If I could appeal directly to the objectors who populate my social media feeds, I would beg them to understand that such a scenario is a fantasy. The idea of a dictatorial American state disarming its citizens is a paranoid delusion. Updating our gun laws does not necessarily mean banning guns, and it almost certainly does not mean confiscating them. There is a reasonable case to be made for the place of concealed-carry permits in a sensible gun policy. Making it more difficult for troubled young men to order assault rifles on the Internet has nothing to do with undermining “personal responsibility” or taking away someone’s cultural identity. The only thing there is to lose is the experience of children being murdered in cold blood, over and over and over again.

  25. Boogie Says:

    Mr. Reily, could you possibly clarify something for me: where, exactly, does the potential for “troubled young men [ordering] assault rifles on the Internet” come into play here? Unless I am very much mistaken, all such transactions must go through a Federal Firearms License holder, and are therefore subject to the NICS background check system. This is not exactly a situation like Amazon, where I order a book and it shows up on my doorstep a few days later. Additionally, this had absolutely nothing to do with the recent events in Newtown, CT, wherein the perpetrator, from all accounts, stole the firearms from his mother.

    Regarding the assault weapons language, would the carnage have been less had the shooter been armed with, say, a Browning .270, which is also capable of semi-automatic fire? Never have I seen the Browning classified as an “assault weapon,” but it takes a mere moment to reload, and can be an effective weapon in the hands of a capable rifleman. Should private citizens be restricted access from this popular hunting rifle?

    Perhaps your are under the assumption that further restricting access to guns would somehow eradicate evil; it’s a nice thought, but one that I believe is short-sighted and, frankly, naive. The truth is that violence and evil will exist with or without guns.

    Finally, regarding the second sentence in your comment above, I would ask you to consult Joel Myrick of Pearl, MS, regarding the relative effectiveness of an armed citizen in the face of a massacre.

    There is, of course, the possibility for intelligent, thoughtful debate on this subject, but it should be a debate in which both sides argue in good faith, without emotional appeals of dubious quality and significance.

  26. Ross Reily Says:

    I am against children being killed with assault weapons … I am for using shotguns and rifles to hunt deer and duck and rabbit and squirrel and elk and lots and lots of animals … I am against using assault rifles.

  27. Boogie Says:

    Good for you, Mr. Reily; I honestly cannot say that I have run across anyone with a desire to see children killed with assault rifles, or by any other means. This, however, does not change the fact that your arguments are based in emotional appeal as opposed to sound fact. Until you can explain to me why a semiautomatic weapon with a detachable box magazine, a folding stock, and a pistol grip are inherently more dangerous than, say, a Remington Model 788 rifle, I do not see where you have the proper knowledge base to effectively take part in this discussion.

    Your statement, when taken in whole, implies that there is no valid use for these weapons (I disagree with the term “assault rifle,” for the record) aside from the taking of human life. This is, frankly, insulting to anyone who uses such a rifle for sport shooting or varmint hunting. Just because you, sir, are narrow-minded regarding firearm choices does not mean that the vast majority of owners of such weapons are somehow bent toward wanton slaughter.

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