Where is Obama on Gun Rights?

Not surprisingly, here, there and everywhere.

He believes (as do I) that the Second Amendment conveys an individual right to bear arms. But, he supports reasonable regulations on those rights. So where does reasonable regulation end and infringement on an individual's rights begin?

Obama is actually straddling the issue somewhat like the Bush Administration did when it filed a brief in the [D.C. gun] case last month. He does support individual rights, but says—and this is the qualifier--the government can impose reasonable restrictions on gun ownership. And he then suggests that pretty much any existing laws are reasonable.

Here's Obama's position and the video of his remarks. Shorter version: He straddles.


He declined, just as the Bush Administration did, to take a position on whether the DC gun ban violates the 2nd Amendment. He said instead that states and cities should have broad latitude to regulate guns—even if the Constitution guarantees an individual right to own them.

“The city of Chicago has gun laws, so does Washington, DC,” Obama said. “The notion that somehow local jurisdictions can't initiate gun safety laws to deal with gang bangers and random shootings on the street isn't borne out by our Constitution.”

So Obama is in the same place as Bush on the D.C. Gun case.

Instead of embracing the categorical approach of D.C. Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman, who said a ban on handguns was a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment, the Bush Administration’s brief argued for a balancing test. It refused to take a position on the DC gun ban, and instead urged the Court to send the case back to the lower courts to apply the different, less strict standard.

...And if it’s constitutional to ban all guns in a city, as DC basically does, what’s the point of the 2nd Amendment? If that’s not unconstitutional, conservatives ask, what is? Nothing, they say.

Obama’s position on the 2nd Amendment may make that point for them. As he said today: “I think there's a lot of room before you (start) bumping against a constitutional barrier for us to institute some of the common-sense gun laws that I just spoke about.”

55 Senators, including 8 Democrats, Russ Feingold among them, signed onto a brief in the D.C. gun case last week taking the position that the gun ban infringed on an individual's right to bear arms.

Barack Obama, who says he believes in an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, was not one of them.

Incidentally, Obama was not one of the 55 senators (including Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold and eight other Democrats) who signed a brief last week arguing the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right and that the DC gun ban was unconstitutional. That brief, also signed by 250 members of the House and Vice President Cheney, urges the Court to strike down the gun ban—and adopt Silberman’s test. Obama wouldn’t go that far. Neither would the Bush Administration.

I've written a little about Obama's record on gun control before.

Chicago Defender December 13, 1999,

Obama unveils federal gun bill

Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home.

He's proposing restricting gun purchases to one weapon a month and banning the sale of firearms at gun shows except for "antique" weapons. Obama is also proposing increasing the licensing fee to obtain a federal firearms

Here's the Chicago Tribune, October 8, 2004:

In 2001, Obama was one of just nine senators to vote against a bill that toughened penalties for violent crimes committed during gang activity. Obama said the law did not clearly define a gang member and he questioned why lawmakers were targeting Hispanics and blacks for stiffer sentences.

Two years earlier, after the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado, Obama voted "present" on a bill requiring juveniles to be prosecuted as adults for firing a firearm on or near school property.

Obama also voted against a bill permitting gun owners to claim self-defense when using a gun in their homes if the local community bans the use of handguns. Obama said municipalities should control local gun regulations, not the state.

"That law eviscerated anti-handgun ordinances in some communities," Obama said. "The way I feel, Wilmette should not determine Mattoon's firearms ordinances and Mattoon should not determine Wilmette's."

Associated Press, Sept. 11, 2004:

-Voted 'No' on letting people claim a self-defense protection in court for using a gun in their homes despite local weapons bans. (SB2165, 2004)

-Voted 'Yes' on letting retired police and military police carry concealed weapons. (SB2188, 2004)

Chicago Tribune, August 20, 2004:

Last week, Obama won the endorsement of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police. Union officials cited Obama's longtime support of gun-control measures and his willingness to negotiate compromises on bills backed or opposed by the FOP.

(Articles available on Lexis. com.)

I can't figure out where he stands. He's all over the map. This happens on just too many issues with him.

< Feminists For Clinton | Late Night : One for the Girls >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Here Is Something Else On Gun Rights (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 09:44:08 PM EST
    In 1996, however, Obama said in a questionnaire that he "supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns" -- a fairly extreme position.

    HOWEVER, it should be pointed out that this appears to be yet another example of Obama not being able to get good help.
    You guessed it -- his campaign says this questionnaire was filled out incorrectly by a staffer.

    Whether you are for strict gun laws or not, this is an issue that will hurt Obama in Western states if he becomes the nominee.

    FYI (none / 0) (#21)
    by BDB on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:31:43 PM EST
    The "staffer" was reportedly his campaign manager.

    question (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Turkana on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 09:48:31 PM EST
    i know you've previously posted which circuits have ruled for and against an individual right, but can you link the cases, or give us the names of the judges on each circuit, how they voted, and who appointed them? i believe the last two rulings that it is an individual right came wholly on the votes of reagan and bush appointees. if possible, i'd love to see it clearly laid out. thanks.

    here's the post (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:20:22 PM EST
    on the circuit positions I wrote in 2004. You'll have to google to find any changes since then.

    Night folks got to go to work. (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 12:04:04 AM EST

    Joyce Foundation (none / 0) (#1)
    by Hypatias Father on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 09:36:27 PM EST
    I suspect that he is tacking right with respect to firearm legislation only temporarily.  He apparently was on the board of The Joyce Foundation, which does great work to stop gun violence.  

    That's my big problem (none / 0) (#2)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 09:37:17 PM EST
    with Obamaspeak, is that he hedges his bets and he skillfully votes "present" or yes or no so that no one can quite pin him down on what he means.  

    I mean, am I reading this right: you have a right to own a gun and keep it in your home for protection, but it is illegal for you to use said gun if someone breaks in and threatens you or your family--right?

    where do you see that? (none / 0) (#37)
    by Tano on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:46:29 PM EST
    from my reading it seems that he wants local governments to have the power to regulate, not the state. If your local government forbids weapons then a state-imposed self-defense exception undermines the local law.

    That's not my reading (none / 0) (#40)
    by muffie on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:52:01 PM EST
    For instance, here's the text of SB2165:

        Sec. 24-10. Municipal ordinance regulating firearms; affirmative defense to a violation. It is an affirmative defense to a violation of a municipal ordinance that prohibits, regulates, or restricts the private ownership of firearms if the individual who is charged with the violation used the firearm in an act of self-defense or defense of another as defined in Sections 7-1 and 7-2 of this Code when on his or her land or in his or her abode or fixed place of business.

    In other words, if you have a handgun/AK-47/etc which is banned by local law, you can't get off on the charge of having an illegal weapon just by claiming self-defense.  Obviously if you have a gun in compliance with the law, this doesn't apply.  You can still claim self-defense if you kill the intruder.  You just can't get off scott-free on the charge of possession of an illegal firearm.


    Obama is taking a lawyerly approach (none / 0) (#3)
    by AdrianLesher on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 09:38:15 PM EST
    What he says is:

    "There's been a long standing argument among constitutional scholars about whether the 2nd Amendment referred simply to militias or whether it spoke to an individual right to possess arms," Obama said. "I think the latter is the better argument. There is an individual right to bear arms, but it is subject to common-sense regulation just like most of our rights are subject to common-sense regulation."

    Obama's constitutional law training is showing here, and I think he's talking more about the analytical framework for evaluating the Second Amendment more than whether he is a Second Amendment "absolutist" or not.

    Therefore, it isn't inconsistent for him to say that there can be some reasonable regulation of guns even in light of this light, just as there are limitations on the exercise of the rights of speech, religion, etc.

    Come on-- (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 09:47:23 PM EST
    Hillary Clinton is a lawyer, too--and a former law professor.  Why is it that I can clearly understand everything she says, and I know where she stands on issues that are important to me, while everything Obama says sounds like so much gobbledygook?  How hard is it to say what you mean and mean what you say?  We are not talking about theoretical and philosophical ideas, we are talking about choosing a democratic candidate who conveys to the country--clearly and easily--exactly where he stands on issues which are key to the democratic platform.

    He is an incredibly well-educated man.  He knows exactly what he is doing here.  Why else would it take you three paragraphs to explain the light of his light?


    Clinton may know some law, but doesn't care. (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:28:54 AM EST
    See vidgame censorship.

    It was ratings (none / 0) (#59)
    by Kathy on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:55:30 AM EST
    which I think video games need.  Does that make me a despiser of the constitution?

    There are already ratings on (none / 0) (#70)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:24:50 PM EST
    bigtime commercial games.

    The laws in Illinois and Michigan, modeled on Hillary's plan but tossed as 1st Amendment violations, criminalized sales, and would have firced smalltime independent game designers to fork out big bux to join the rating agency created by the big players.


    I agree (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 09:55:56 PM EST
    that's his legal position on the constitutional provision and that others hold it. The problem is its subjectiveness. Every regulation seems to be reasonable in Obama's view and he can't articulate for us where the line is.  We just have to trust that he'll make the right call. That his "common sense" determination is the right one.  I think there should be a higher burden, and a better delineated one, in overcoming a constitutional right.

    Jeralyn, if you have already (none / 0) (#53)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:16:59 AM EST
    explained your opinions on gun control, I'll just research that.  Otherwise, may I ask if your opinion is purely based on the Second Amendment as you interpret it?  It surprises me a criminal defense lawyer, from a practical standpoint, would favor liberal ownership of firearms.  Longer sentences, more violence, etc.  

    Well yes (none / 0) (#60)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:47:49 PM EST

    It seems that "reasonable regulation" is code for whatever any regulatory body feels to be reasonable at the time.  i.e. anything.

    An excellent follow up question to those proposing "reasonable regulation" of individuals fire arms rights would be to ask, "Do you favor reasonable regulation of newspaper editorial page content?"

    Should candidates be subject to reasonable regulation of their political comments?


    maybe it would be more helpful (none / 0) (#5)
    by Tano on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 09:44:37 PM EST
    to know - where does he differ from where you stand?

    I'm not sure why you charcterize these stands as "all over the place". What seems all over the place is the selection of issues that you find quotes on.

    I dont see any real contradictions in the quotes above. Are you trying to make the point that there are? If so, perhaps you could make that a bit more explicit.

    Sounds like he supports the individual right (as you do), qualified by reasonable regulation (as you do, I presume). Where is the problem here?

    it's that (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:11:35 PM EST
    every regulation seems reasonable to him. It's too subjective a test.

    I want him to articulate his legal view on what a reasonable regulation is -- so that when a new law is proposed, I can predict his response to its validity. I'm not into being surprised on January 20, 2009 as to where the President stands on issues. That's what campaigns are supposed to illuminate. How can I decide if his positions are acceptable to me as a voter if I can't figure them out?

    With Obama, it's like buying a pig in a poke. I have spent hours and hours researching his positions on crime issues on Lexis and I can't say where he stands on a host of them, either because he modifies them or straddles the fence or goes both ways over time. That's the problem for me.

    As I always say, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.


    That's an interesting comment (none / 0) (#15)
    by katiebird on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:16:16 PM EST
    A couple of my siblings are VERY interested in this issue.  AND Obama, I'll poke around your archives to see what else you've said on the topic.

    He has given you a general (none / 0) (#25)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:53:13 PM EST
    idea--your request for specificity seems a little much....especially because the issue of whether the Second Amendment is a collective or individual right will be decided by the Supreme Court this term.  The courts and individual state legislatures and local city councils will decide these issues--if the Supreme Court does not eviscerate the ability to have any reasonable regulation.  

    There is very little likelihood of significant gun legislation coming up in Congress anytime soon.

    This seems like an effort to get Obama on guns.....



    I don't think a President's opinions matter much. (none / 0) (#55)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:33:17 AM EST
    Neither Obama nor Clinton's likely to make the 2nd Amendment their primary test in Judicial appointments, and the Congress is unlikely to be sending up anything big. Feingold, Tester, et al won't let it go through.

    Because (none / 0) (#8)
    by Dan the Man on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 09:51:52 PM EST
    as TL writes "he then suggests that pretty much any existing laws are reasonable" which indicates TL differs from Obama.

    well that doesnt seem to be true (none / 0) (#19)
    by Tano on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:30:18 PM EST
    given that the quotes above mention a couple of instances where he opposed regulations...

    Obama never said... (none / 0) (#44)
    by Dan the Man on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:58:47 PM EST
    the law he opposed was unreasonable.  He might have opposed them for other reasons.   Second, a "couple" is misleading.  So far as I can tell, there is only one instance in the given quotes.  Third on the specific question of constitutional limitations, TL has already expressed the view the DC law is unconstitutional while Obama doesn't give an answer.

    The quote above provided by Mo Blue (none / 0) (#11)
    by LatinoVoter on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:03:41 PM EST
    contradicts a lot of what he has said while in IL and this recent quote:

    "And I have no intention of taking away folks' guns."


    Seem crystal clear to me (none / 0) (#10)
    by s5 on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:00:02 PM EST
    He believes in the right to bear arms, and the government can regulate that right as necessary.

    Just like we can accept there's a generalized right to travel (not in the constitution but firmly established in case law), while accepting that governments can regulate that right, for example by imposing requirements for drivers licenses.

    Likewise we can accept there's a right to free speech, but we have an FCC.

    America really needs to mature when it comes to the second amendment. It's common sense that things like driving and broadcasting need to be regulated, but any attempt to regulate guns leads to endless shrieking and crying.

    have you read the Second Amendment lately? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:27:04 PM EST
    it's here.

    If you agree there is an individual right to bear arms, how do you reconcile that with "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."


    huh? (none / 0) (#22)
    by Tano on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:32:21 PM EST
    I hope I am not misunderstanding you here - are you arguing that the 2nd amendment precludes regulation of firearms?

    i wasn't clear, sorry (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:34:25 PM EST
    No I'm not saying that. The courts are clear there can be reasonable restrictions on firearms linked to public safety -- that's why laws against felons possessing firearms have been upheld.

    Actually (none / 0) (#50)
    by AF on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 12:25:18 AM EST
    The reason felon in possession -- and all other gun control laws prior that were challenged on 2nd Amendment grounds prior to 2007 -- have been upheld is that the Supreme Court has never recognized an individual right to bear arms.

    Not disagreeing, but (none / 0) (#71)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:26:42 PM EST
    I'm talking about what's a "reasonable regulation"  -- that's my concern here and the point of my post is that I don't know where Obama draws the line.

    In the D.C. appellate opinion in Heller upholding the individual rights theory, it links reasonable regulations to public safety. See pages 53, 54.

    The protections of the Second Amendment are subject to the same sort of reasonable  restrictions that have been recognized as limiting, for instance, the First Amendment. See Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781, 791 (1989) ("[G]overnment may impose reasonable restrictions on the time, place, or manner of protected speech . . . ."). Indeed, the right to keep and bear arms--which we have explained pre-existed, and therefore was preserved by, the Second Amendment--was subject to restrictions at common law.

    We take these to be the sort of reasonable regulations contemplated by the drafters of the Second Amendment. For instance, it is presumably reasonable "to prohibit the carrying of weapons when under the influence of intoxicating drink, or to a church, polling place, or public assembly, or in a manner calculated to inspire terror . . . ." State v. Kerner, 107 S.E. 222, 225 (N.C. 1921). And as we have noted, the United States Supreme Court has observed that prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons does not offend the Second Amendment. Robertson, 165 U.S. at 281-82.
    Similarly, the Court also appears to have held that convicted felons may be deprived of their right to keep and bear arms. See Lewis v. United States, 445 U.S. 55, 65 n.8 (1980) (citing Miller,
    307 U.S. at 178). These regulations promote the government's interest in public safety consistent with our common law tradition. (my emphasis) Just as importantly, however, they do not impair the core conduct upon which the right was premised.

    Another paragraph I like in the Heller opinion, p. 23

    When we look at the Bill of Rights as a whole, the setting of the Second Amendment reinforces its individual nature. The Bill of Rights was almost entirely a declaration of individual rights, and the Second Amendment's inclusion therein strongly
    indicates that it, too, was intended to protect personal liberty.

    I think its' (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:38:06 PM EST
    conservatives and libertarians -- and criminal defense lawyers who won't give an inch on any constitutional right -- who support absolute individual rights under the Second Amendments. Liberals are usually for gun control. I part with liberals on this issue, as I do on laws that increase criminal penalties for hate crimes and a few others.

    No one is suggesting a gun ban (none / 0) (#48)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 12:14:10 AM EST
    of any sort.  The closest to that is DC's long-standing gun ban which is currently before the Supreme Court....

    No one wants to even register handguns.....The issue is largely chimerical.


    Legislators like that in many States (none / 0) (#72)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:26:48 PM EST
    but vastly outnumbered.

    Indeed I have read it (none / 0) (#52)
    by s5 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:55:55 AM EST
    and picked it apart in many online conversations. :) I'm the furthest thing from a constitutional lawyer, but my objection tends to be the same: you didn't quote the first clause. It's reasonable to say that guns in inner cities aren't necessary to the security of a free state, and may in fact infringe on the security of a free state, if their principal use violates the rights of free citizens who wish to go about their day without excessive amounts of crime. Free citizens have the right to life, liberty, and property, and it's up to government to balance that with the right to bear arms when those rights come in conflict.

    Now personally, I don't think gun bans work, so I voted against ours in San Francisco (which passed anyway, only to be overturned by the courts). But only on utilitarian grounds. I don't think they're effective. To me gun bans are a duct tape solution to the real causes of crime, which have plenty of effective progressive solutions (stopping the drug war, having a real social safety net, creating opportunities and protecting workers' rights, etc).


    Read the 2nd Amendment (none / 0) (#79)
    by RealityCheck on Tue Oct 21, 2008 at 04:41:19 PM EST
    ...it reads "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." - Note, after the Comma is the real meat of this entry - the "the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." statement.  SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.  This being the case, ANY AND ALL legislation created that impacts gun ownership ARE, BY DEFINITION, UNCONSTITUTIONAL. If you were to study constitution law, you would understand that - the only way to LEGALLY impact this would be to have a Constitutional Amendment.  Period.  The Constitution WAS CREATED as a LIVING document - IE - the proper way to "adjust with the times" would be with the constitutional Amendment process.  
    Our Elected officials are essentially breaking the laws of the constitution all over the place - both on the right and left.  Regarding the 2nd Amendment, the Mentality that somehow banning firearms will stop crime is wrong (and has been PROVEN wrong time and time again - look up Australia's crime record for the past 30 years - they did an actual gun Grab and found over time that crime has actually increased).  You have to ask yourself, Did Prohibition work?  Did Prohibition reduce drinking?  Prohibition was actually a constitutional amendment too (actually 2 - one for and one to repeal) - History taught us that it did not work.  To wrap it up - it is not a hardware problem, it is a software problem. If I had a magic wand and could make all the guns disappear in the world, it would not reduce violent crime - people would find another way to do it.  One has to question that reason then for more control - remember what was one of the first things Adolf Hitler did when he got into power?  

    Many candidates CHANGE (none / 0) (#12)
    by maritza on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:10:15 PM EST
    their positions on things as they progress. NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

    I suspect that Obama has gone further right with guns and believes in the right to bear arms.

    I personally was for banning all guns when I was younger but now that I am married and my husband was a gun owner, I believe in the right to bear arms.

    What is someone's position 10 years ago may NOT be his or her position now.

    Fine, then let him say so (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:15:08 PM EST
    When does he ever say, I used to be for abolishing mandatory minimums but now I'm only against them for non-violent, first-time offenders?  Only from an exhaustive search comparing his statements in different places at different points in time do we learn that. We shouldn't have to work so hard to figure out where someone stands. Changing positions is fine if one is honest about it.

    This is why I preferred Feingold (none / 0) (#56)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:39:43 AM EST
    to either of our current candidates. when first elected he supported the Assault weapons ban (but voted against the package in which it was adopted due to other included items,) but by the time it was up for renewal was open about the reasons for his change of position.

    What I find confusing is how can you (none / 0) (#17)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:20:52 PM EST
    say you believe in gun ownership and then say you want to keep them out of the inner city.

    there is no such thing as an absolute right. (none / 0) (#24)
    by Tano on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:51:13 PM EST
    The Constitution is perfectly clear, Congress shall make no law restricting free speech. But Congress does it all the time - no freedom of speech to tell our enemies our national security secrets, no freedom to libel or slander, no freedom to shout fire! in a crowded theatre.

    There are no absolute rights because we have more than one right, and sometimes they come in conflict.

    Trumping even rights, there is an obligation to protect the lives of the citizenry. If ready access to handguns is percieved to be the cause of many tragic deaths out on the street, the government certainly has a right to restrict the guns, in order to protect the citizens.


    But keeping out of the inner city (none / 0) (#26)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:59:29 PM EST
    why not keep out of the  suburbs or the countryside or the farmlands if you are for ownership of guns with limits those limits should be universal not limited to a certain part of the population.

    why do you say that? (none / 0) (#27)
    by Tano on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:04:34 PM EST
    If the people of a city sense a danger in guns, then they have the power to regulate them. If people in the suburbs do not feel such a danger, then they wont regulate.

    Why on earth should these things be "universal"?


    He said keep them out of the inner city (none / 0) (#29)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:27:36 PM EST
    if I live in the inner city and I want to own a gun why should my constitutional rights be any less than someone who does not live inside the city.  Am I more dangerous cause I live in the city.  If you want gun control you have to set it all over or you are just being elitist.  Mind you I live out in the country now but I came from the inner city.  And I find this fear thing an excuse to say that certain people are violent and should have the government infringe their rights or limit their rights.  If you are not a criminal you should be able to do what other are able to irregardless of what side of the tracks your from. That kind of thinking borders on profiling.

    I think the subtler point has been lost. (none / 0) (#32)
    by Hypatias Father on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:33:30 PM EST
    By your logic we should also not be able to extra-regulate behaviors in school zones.  Guns in school zones? There are many similar examples of why rights are contingent on practical grounds, and the subtler point was that rights cannot be absolute due to the fact that they often conflict--esp. when carried to their logical conclusions.

    Again I am talking about gun ownership (none / 0) (#35)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:41:27 PM EST
    A drunk should not drive while intoxicated cause he is a danger to others not just to himself.  I do not advocate the indiscriminate carrying and using of guns.  What I find incongruent is why they should be kept out of inner cities but not other places.  No guns in schools in this country is not limited to the inner city schools it is all schools.  Same as I do not agree of guns in the work place.  But that is my opinion.  My question is not wether you should or not have gun control what I find funny is that he wrote in his book that the should be kept out of the inner cities as if that is the only place where the presence of guns is dangerous.  

    I'm not saying that I support (none / 0) (#38)
    by Hypatias Father on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:49:10 PM EST
    the idea of outlawing firearms in certain sectors of  a municipality, I'm simply saying that there are plenty of precedents that work on the same basis.  Is the prohibition against individuals residing in the cities from owning guns, or simply bringing them into a specified zone? This is a big difference.  I may own an 25-ft. RV, but my city will not allow me to park it in my driveway, because city codes prevent it.  And for good reason.  It's not my owning the RV that is prohibited.  

    Likewise, you aren't prevented from owning a handgun outright when you are prohibited from bringing it into a school zone.  The essence of the prohibition has to to with the vulnerability of children.  


    True but when you live in the inner city (none / 0) (#43)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:58:34 PM EST
    owning a gun for protection is not going to disrupt anyone like that  Big RV would.  Now if went around the street in the city or suburbs swinging that gun dangerously there are laws to stop that.  But if I live in an area were crime is high I should have the same right to protect my live, family and property wether I live in the city or out of it.  If I hunt in the weekends and I own a gun for that shouldn't I be allowed to have that gun in my home no matter if that is a single family structure or an apartment.?  In my opinion there is a belief among many in this country that people in the inner city don't have those rights.  

    Personally I don't know. (none / 0) (#47)
    by Hypatias Father on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 12:08:51 AM EST
    I'd have to know the circumstances.  But declaring absolute rights to ownership does not make sense to me.  

    As and example, the case would have to be made that by allowing individuals to keep certain kinds of guns (say AK47s) in their homes (for protection, hunting, no difference), other individuals due to vulnerabilities over which they had no control, would be placed in unreasonable danger.  This is exactly the logic of keeping contraband out of school zones, as I mentioned above.  And if you happen to live right across the street from an elementary school, then your right to keep your weapon in your home might be outweighed by children's right to a safe learning environment.  Ant that safety would have nothing to do with YOU not being a responsible gun-owner per se, but everything to do with those who aren't.  


    Does that go for other things? (none / 0) (#61)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:57:20 PM EST
    If the people of a city sense a danger in guns, then they have the power to regulate them.

    So if the people of a city sense a danger in newspaper editorials , then they have the power to regulate them.

    Is that correct?


    Sure, in a hyper-theoretical abstract sense, (none / 0) (#64)
    by Hypatias Father on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:33:28 PM EST
    but let them just try to connect the dots in order to convince the municipal electorate.  Their challenge would be to outline a direct cause/effect relationship between said editorials and the physical well-being of their constituents.  A benchmark, by the way, which is not hard to meet when discussing the relationship between gun-violence and guns.  

    Again, which is why we can easily build a consensus, which I assume you share, around the prohibition of guns and other contraband in court rooms, school zones, etc.--and yet somehow big brother never quite materializes from these limitations on the absolute right to bear arms.


    Gun free zones, magnets for mass murderers? (none / 0) (#65)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:16:26 PM EST

    Again, which is why we can easily build a consensus, which I assume you share, around the prohibition of guns ...contraband in..., school zones, etc.--

    It seems that "gun free zones" are the targets of first choice for the nut case cowards that like to shoot up lots of people.  The Isreali experience would seem to indicate allowing armed school staff reduces school shootings.


    We'll have to disagree. (none / 0) (#66)
    by Hypatias Father on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:47:41 PM EST
    I have no interest in converting any sector of the U.S. into 3rd-world-every-man-for-himself militarized zones or idealized libertarian versions of the wild west.  Indeed, we need only ask what proportion of Isreal and the occupied territories, despite their lack of school shootings, live under martial law? Now there's a way to put an end to both of our arguments!

    Lastly, and as long as we're open to generalizations, imho the nut case cowards you mention are usually moody loners who spend way too much time at home cleaning their fire-arms to begin with, fretting about big government coming to snatch their precious 'Bessy'.  


    The shooter at NIU (none / 0) (#67)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:06:15 PM EST

    The shooter at NIU doesn't fit your characture at all.  He was reportedly socially progressive and purchased guns quite recently.  

    It looks we will actually get to test your prediction in Utah that allowing school staff to carry concealed will turn the place into a "3rd-world-every-man-for-himself militarized zones or idealized libertarian versions of the wild west."

    Even if that dire forecast were true, would it be worth it if it saved so little as one life.


    Sorry, NIU is just one example. (none / 0) (#73)
    by Hypatias Father on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:00:11 PM EST
    And if the trend in Utah spreads, then I shudder.  It's a good example, though; and it generalizes in one other funny way.  I'm thinking about how the religious nuts somehow always make way to look out for number one!)

    Of course, to really "test" the net damage done, you'd have to know a lot more than just how many lives were saved per crime-scene, you'd also have to know to what degree the resulting gun-culture would contribute to the very problem that it adherents claim it uniquely capable of solving.  

    No thanks.  This is the logic of arms-dealers:  sow fear as the problem and sell guns as the solution, which in turn amps up the fear, which in turn...blah blah. What a convenient positive feedback mechanism.  And, hmmmm, who would corner that market, I wonder?  


    Armed civilians have put a stop (none / 0) (#75)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:28:36 PM EST
    to mass murderers before.

    Pearl Mississippi:

    Woodham drove his mother's car to his high school. Wearing a long trenchcoat, he made no attempt to hide his rifle. When he entered the school, he walked toward Lydia Dew and shot Dew as well as Christina Menefee, his former girlfriend. Both girls died. Pearl High School Band director, Jeff Cannon, was standing 5 feet from Dew when she was fatally shot. He went on to wound 7 others before Joel Myrick, the assistant principal, retrieved a .45 pistol from the glove compartment of his truck and subdued Woodham while he was trying to drive off campus. When Myrick asked Woodham of his motive, he replied "Life has wronged me, sir". Woodham had been planning to drive to the Pearl Middle School to continue his murderous rampage; only Myrick's intervention prevented this from happening.

    New Life Church in Colorado:

    (CNN) -- A gunman attacked worshippers at a Colorado Springs, Colorado, megachurch Sunday afternoon, killing one person and wounding four others before being killed by a security staff member, the city's police chief said.

    The "security staff member" was an armed civilian parishoner.


    Outright prohibitions on guns get people killed. (none / 0) (#77)
    by wrffr on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 06:33:37 PM EST
    Again, which is why we can easily build a consensus, which I assume you share, around the prohibition of guns and other contraband in court rooms, school zones, etc.--and yet somehow big brother never quite materializes from these limitations on the absolute right to bear arms.

    I'm definitely against a blanket prohibition of guns in "school zones".  A law by itself will not prevent a deranged attacker from bringing guns or other weapons into a school.

    And once that sort of attack starts, the only thing that will cut it short earlier than the attacker wishes is other guns.  If those other guns need to be brought to the scene by the police, critical minutes are wasted and more people will get hurt or killed.

    Banning firearms outright from schools actually makes it more likely to get kids killed than less.


    Inner City? (none / 0) (#78)
    by Sportingmw16 on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 01:18:14 PM EST
    Well I am surprised that I have not seen the seemingly obvious fact that the people that shouldn't own the guns will own them with a ban or not.  All that a ban would effectively do would be to take the ability away from the people that will use it only to protect themselves, inner city or not.  I would have no problem buying a gun on the 'black market' and I don't even have a solid contact, I actually went through the process, without purchasing, last summer just to see how easy it would be.  I found that for only a couple hundred over the market price I could get a gun.  So I figure that the last thing that needs to happen is a ban on handguns, seeing that the criminals are still going to have access to the guns and your just disarming the victims...    

    We all know there are many privately owned (none / 0) (#20)
    by JSN on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:30:43 PM EST
    firearms in this county so one expects that politicians in general will support private gun ownership. This means there is a easy access to firearms which can be misused to threaten, injure or kill people. So we have a built in contradiction. Obama seems to have muddied the waters further on this issue with his practice of voting present.

    If there were some way we could keep kids and drunks from getting access to a firearm it would be a good thing.

    Maybe not (none / 0) (#62)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:00:22 PM EST

    If there were some way we could keep kids and drunks from getting access to a firearm it would be a good thing.

    Deporting all children and banning alcohol would more or less accomplish what you suggest.  OTOH, most would not consider it a good thing.


    deporting children might work, but (none / 0) (#69)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:21:00 PM EST
    banning alcohol did not impede supply much last time it was attempted.

    It takes longer to bootleg children than ethanol.


    When I hold you (none / 0) (#76)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 02:51:47 PM EST
    in my arms and I feel your finger on my trigger,
    I know nobody can do me no harm
    Because happiness is a warm gun.

    How about deporting all those who mangle and sabotage the discussion by attempting to render everything into all-or-nothing terms?


    Where is Hillary on gun rights? (none / 0) (#23)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 10:45:06 PM EST
    It would seem an evenhanded article would discuss Hillary's position too....

    I think she is for gun control but not sure (none / 0) (#30)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:28:47 PM EST
    She said today (none / 0) (#39)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:49:50 PM EST

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton revealed something about herself on Saturday that she acknowledged might surprise many people: she knows how to hunt.

    Campaigning ahead of Tuesday's Democratic nominating vote in Wisconsin, a state with a strong tradition of hunting and where many voters strongly support gun ownership rights, Clinton said she firmly backed the right to bear arms.

    "You know, you may not believe it but I've actually gone hunting," Clinton, 60, said at a question-and-answer session with voters at a crammed bratwurst restaurant in Kenosha.

    After this week's Illinois shooting she said,

    "While safeguarding and respecting our Second Amendment rights, we've got to figure out how to get guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, gang members and people with mental health problems," said Clinton, an Illinois native and New York's junior senator.

    Obama sent the same message:

    Obama said the country must do "whatever it takes" to eradicate gun violence from the nation's streets and schools. He called for strengthening background checks and bolstering law enforcement officials' ability to trace weapons, but he, too, defended gun rights.

    "I believe the Second Amendment means something," Obama said. "I do think that it speaks to an individual right."

    I've always viewed her as pro-gun control. Here's her voting record on gun rights. It's almost all tied to violence.  Here's Obama's.  


    If she wins the primary (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 12:02:00 AM EST
    May we please not do a hunting photo op?  Didn't do a thing for Kerry....

    My "gun nut' Libertarian pal (none / 0) (#57)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:45:53 AM EST
    said he'd vote for kerry if he showed he could clean and re-assemble a shotgun, not just fire it.

    my guess is that (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by cpinva on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:41:26 AM EST
    kerry could disassemble and reassemble an m-60 machine gun blindfolded and in the dark, can your friend?

    sen. kerry's also hunted the most dangerous game of all, armed human beings, has your "gun nut" libertarian pal done the same?


    I raised it not to dump; on Kerry (none / 0) (#68)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:18:54 PM EST
    so much as to give a clue to any future Dem photo-op as to what will play with the 'target' audience.

    John Kerry and Mitt (none / 0) (#49)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 12:17:16 AM EST
    hunt too.....All the good it did them.

    Hunting is not the real issue....Registration, bans of handguns, etc. were at one time issues....but not anymore.


    So in your view (none / 0) (#63)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:07:22 PM EST

    Would a regulation that prohibited publications on paper larger than 1 inch square and no more than one page per publication be constitutionally permissable regulation of the freedom of the press?