Thursday, July 27, 2006

An answer to Ernest over at "Flipping Coins".

This post is a response to Ernest at Flipping Coins. He wrote a well worded but, I believe, flawed post regarding his perceived success of the Brady Bill and the Brady Campaign's ongoing efforts to limit the ability of citizens to own and bear arms. Please go and read that post first, as this one will make more sense after you do so. Read and leave them a comment. I'm not attempting to siphon off their readers but my response is long and fits better here than in a comment box.

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.

Gun Control....My favorite subject (cracking knuckles). This will be lengthy, but bare with me.

First off, lets address the issue of assault rifles. An assault rifle is a rifle, created from the ground up for armed conflict. If it is my right to bear arms for the purpose of defending myself, why should it be with a firearm designed for any purpose than that very thing? What makes these rifles so wicked? I believe your point, Ernest, (correct me if I'm wrong) was that they possess "firepower greater than our police forces could afford". Lets look, for a minute, at the source of this "firepower". Primarily, it is the cailber of the projectile that defeats armour and light to medium cover. Did the Brady Bill outlaw or prevent the purchase of those calibers? The two most common calibers in assault firearms are the 5.56 x 45mm NATO round (commonly referred to as the .223 cal in English), and the 7.62 x 51mm NATO (commonly referred to as the .308 cal in English). .223 caliber and .308 caliber are two VERY common hunting rounds. But they are most certainly NOT even close to the most powerful. The 7.62 x 39mm used in the SKS and the AK-47, though the same diameter, is much less powerful than the common .308 caliber. The AK-47 is a reliable but a very cheaply made and inaccurate rifle. It's the most highly produced firearm in the world. Simple laws of supply and demand dictate that it will be cheap and it's because it's cheap that it's preferred. Ever wonder why you don't see law enforcement agencies using the AK-47? Seriously...try to find just one agency that employs this weapon. It's because it sucks on accuracy. But cheap sells and it's not only the rifle that's cheap, the 7.62 x 39mm ammunition is damn near free. It can be found for less than 10 cents a round, and higher end imports for around 17 cents a round...cheaper than most handgun ammo...even cheper than many makes of .22 caliber rimfire matchgrade target ammo. But the substandard specifications of the accuracy of this rifle should not impede on the right of a LAW ABIDING CITIZEN to possess an otherwise reliabally funcioning cost effective firearm.

A minimal caliber hunting round capable of taking down a deer is more than capable of defeating the Level III armour commonly worn by Police officers, in fact all levels of body armour. Why? Because they're so damned powerful?? The answer is no....a resounding NO. Its because they are pointed. That's right...pointed. The Kevlar weave in bulletproof vests is designed to defeat blunt, round or hollowpoint HANDGUN ammo. One can easily punch a knife, screwdriver, or icepick through a cop's bulletproof vest. It's not power, it's shape. The Brady Bill doesn't address this, because it can't. It's "feel good" legislation that quiets the ballistically uneducated family members of the victims of crimes with these weapons.

If you and others in favor of outlawing assault weapons were honest, you'd admit to your favor of the "Assault Weapons Ban" that recently sunsetted. But that ban outlawed the most ridiculous items that make an Assault Weapon look "intimidating" or "mean" but have nothing to do with the firepower of said weapon...Flash suppressors; bayonet lugs; long, high capacity magazines; folding stocks; even overall barrel lengh (which totally doesn't make sense, the longer the barrel, the more powerful the discharge). High capacity magazines are commonly outlawed in semi-automatic firearms, including handguns. It's ridiculous. It doesn't prevent you from carrying or possessing more magazines, just the capacity of each magazine.

The North Hollywood shootout is the incident most touted as the Prima facie evidence that these evil weapons and their high capacity magazines should be outlawed. Yet the ban went into effect in September 1994, shortly after the Brady Bill. This event happened in 1997! Did the ban keep these weapons out of the hands of these two men who had criminal records?? Absolutely not! Those two bank robbers hit only 20 people and killed none. Yes, 20 people is alot, but not compared to the 1500 rounds of ammunition they fired. These men reloaded multiple times with no problem. Fully automatic weapons are highly inaccurate and not as efficient at causing a large number of casualties as is accurately aimed single shot rifle fire. The thing that caused this shootout to last as long as it did was their meticulously fashioned full body armor. That's it. They took a bunch of bulletproof vests and sewed them together to make a full suit of armor capable of defeating the 9mm handgun ammunition that they knew the first arriving police units would be carrying.

The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights was intended, first and foremost, to allow the people to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. It's the whole reason a "well regulated militia" was mentioned in the wording of that amendment. A standing army is necessary to the security of a free state, but that same standing army is also one of the greatest threats to the liberties enjoyed in that free state. Being subjects of the Tyrannical King of England, the men who signed this document knew that full well. It was never intended that the Government be able to OUTGUN the citizenry. An armed citizen is the best protection not only for himself but other citizens as well. He is also the best protection against a government that, by nature, would otherwise outgrow it's britches and trample the rights of every citizen. If that government were to overstep its intended boundaries, it was the intent of these men that the citizenry be armed and ready to enact revolution...the very same kind of revolution that the formation of these United States sparked. Thomas Jefferson said it well: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots" Those patriots, he spoke of are not Army soldiers fighting some foreign war. Those patriots are revolutionaries who are willing to take a stand against the government to protect their liberties.

Constitutional rights are extended to adults. Children's rights, by proxy, are possessed by their parents or legal guardians. They don't have, and have never had the right to go and buy a handgun. The Brady Bill, though it addresses it, doesn't provide any greater restriction than the law did aleady. You said yourself that "According the Brady campaign, more than 9 children per day were killed in gun related incidents in 2000. Over half of domestic violence-related murders are caused by guns. And having a gun in the home makes you 22 times more likely to be unintentionally shot." These are current statistics, Yet the Brady Bill was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1994...a full 12 years ago! Where's the change??? I'll tell you where the change is. Gun crimes have in fact gone up. The Brady Bill is a dismal failure and has not saved one single life or prevented on single person from being shot. The only thing that has been PROVEN to reduce gun violence is the loosening of restraints on the ability of the citizens to possess and bear firearms. The Brady Campaign flounders in its efforts to explain away this phenomenon. They blame the violence in DC (home to the strictest gun laws in the country and sporting one of the highest crime rates) to the availability of guns in Virginia. Yet they offer no data to suggest that these guns were "legally bought" in that state. They also offer no explaination why that state, with looser gun laws, has less gun violence.

Your claim that with the background checks required by the Brady Bill that "handguns have less of a chance making into the hands of criminals." is simply and totally without hard data to support it. As a matter of fact there is plenty of data to support that virtually no change has been effected by this legislation with respect to the availability of firearms to criminals. ANYTHING can be bought on the black market....anything. Guns are no exception. Criminals don't walk into gun stores to buy guns at retail prices. They go to thugs on the street to buy guns illegally (after all, they are criminals) at rock bottom, stolen goods prices.

The Second Amendment is a RIGHT, not a privledge to be regulated by the Government. This right "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED"....infringed...violated, encroached or trespassed upon, restricted or otherwise limited. It's not the governments place to decide what arms you will possess or the manner in which you will bear them. Guns do not equal violence. Violent people equal violence. I'm reminded of a quote by everyone's favorite bigot, Archie Bunker. One particular episode saw Gloria spouting gun violence statistics to Archie and ranting at how Guns should which Archie replied the following: "Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushin' 'em outta' windows?". The Brady Bill is not common sense. It's a lack of sense altogether.