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Response to TPaine7 (Reply #60)

Sun Dec 18, 2011, 01:10 PM

65. Well, 2A was in fact intended to prevent the...

 

...federal government from disarming militias. You can deny this if you'd like, but to borrow your analogy, this would be like trying to pretend that the earth is flat. In fact, even that pro-gunner hero Scalia acknowledges this in the Heller decision that you so adore.

As far as interpreting this right beyond militias, I have no doubt that gun militants have conjured up a plethora of creative legal theories in order to find some tenuous reading of 2A which tells them what they want to hear. After all, unlike the shape of the earth, constitutional law does involve an amount of interpretation and subjectivity. As for me, I don't usually let 5-4 Scalia decisions govern my views on civil rights, nor do I give much credence to marginally informed pro-gunners who insist that the view held by all non-right-wing members of the supreme court is "obsolete".

The one thing that is actually obsolete here, as I pointed out, is the question of standing armies versus militias (Red Dawn fantasies notwithstanding). My last post was actually more about the philosophical side of the issue -- whether there is any basis for considering gun ownership to be a civil right, as opposed to whether Scaliaphiles are able to find plausible legal cover for their right-wing political views. Centuries ago, issues regarding standing armies and militias may have legitimately justified considering RKBA and an armed citizenry as civil rights issues. But, the issues surrounding guns today are more mundane -- public safety versus self-defense, hunting, etc. -- so elevating gun ownership to the level of a civil right alongside things like free speech is a bit silly.

As far as the poll numbers, if you're interested in the popularity contest side of the issue, I'd suggest looking beyond the borders of the US. I understand that to many pro-gunners, the rest of the world basically does not exist, or else it's some kind of Stalinist dystopia. But if you do get the chance to travel abroad, maybe even just to Canada, you'll find that there are many functioning, free, democracies with gun laws that the NRA would describe as "tyrannical" or "repressive".

In fact, practically all other industrialized democracies have rational gun laws, and the only real difference you find, as far as guns go, is that the US has dramatically higher rates of gun violence and homicide. If you try to explain to, say, Canadians or Brits that their civil rights are being violated because they can't go to a gun show and buy a dozen handguns and AK-47s without even a background check, and that this "right" is so important that it's worth losing thousands of lives every year over, you will be laughed at.

Actually, the situation is remarkably similar to the health care debate. In the US, mention single-payer healthcare and frantic right-wingers will use similar hyperbolic language about "tyranny" and "slavery" and "death panels". But if they bothered to look at, say, the UK or Canada, they would find that there's no slavery or death panels at all, instead they have universal coverage, equal or better quality care, and substantially lower cost. And most of the people in those countries look at the US and think, correctly, that our private healthcare system which leaves big chunks of people uninsured is just crazy.

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