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Response to digonswine (Original post)

Sat Dec 17, 2011, 01:38 PM

51. Gun ownership is not a civil right.

The second amendment is about militias vs a standing army, a debate which today is basically obsolete. Nevertheless, regarding what right-wingers and NRA gun militants like to pretend 2A is about -- the "right" to own and carry guns around for whatever purpose -- it's simply not civil right. Actual civil rights are things like free speech, voting, non-discrimination, fair trials, etc., without which it is essentially impossible to have a functioning democracy and free society. Except in the minds of the Tim McVeigh crowd (who, not coincidentally, still think that citizen militias are relevant in today's world) restrictions on gun ownership have absolutely nothing to do with having a functioning democracy and a free society.

In today's world, guns are basically an issue of public safety versus individual self-defense -- it is a case of balancing two competing goods. Deciding on gun restrictions is akin to deciding on speed limits, or environmental protections, or how high taxes should be. In all these cases, there are nominal concerns about "freedom", because you are restricting individuals for the safety and general well-being of society. But to claim that one's "civil rights" are violated because you have to register your guns, or because you can't drive 150 mph, or you can't dump toxic sludge into rivers, or you don't get to keep all the money you earn -- this is the territory of fringe right-wingers.

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