Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

It is very telling that supporters of the 2nd think it should be upheld without ANY limits or backstops.

Freedom of speech is not absolute, why in the world should owning a device intended to kill be unlimited?

Some 2nd amendment supporters think there should be no limitations but in my experience that is not the majority. Most people agree with background checks, restrictions on automatic weapons, bans on felons buying guns, etc.

Many are against the return of the assault weapons ban and banning of higher capacity magazines. In general I find that many 2nd amendment supporters are fearful of an expansion of gun control laws, but they're not out there arguing there should be no gun control laws.

Agreed, but the majority are not setting the policy agenda.

Yep, gun lobbying groups have succeeded in convincing lawmakers to be hardliners despite what most gun owners and non-gun owners actually support.

If you look at gun crimes and gun enthusiasts, most gun crimes are not committed by gun enthusiasts, and most gun enthusiasts are willing to go through the hoops required to get a concealed weapons license, which requires a background check and training.

Most gun enthusiasts I know hate gun bans because they hurt responsible gun owners far more than criminals. Many gun enthusiasts like "tactical" weapons and mods, and these are precisely what these bans hit. They've already shown willingness to go through hoops, so I think a different approach is in order.

I believe all weapons should be legal, but more dangerous weapons should certainly be harder to get. Automatic weapons, for example, should require more training and secure storage than handguns, and some handguns should require more training and secure storage than hunting equipment.

Some proposals:

- guns unlikely to be used in crimes (single shot hunting rifles and shotguns, revolvers) should require ID + quick background check (submit name to police database for smoke test) to purchase - larger magazines, semi-automatics, and self defense ammunition require passing a basic gun safety course and access to secure storage for protected items (e.g. home safe) - automatic weapons require regular inspection by some local authorities that checks correct storage habits

And so on. I think most gun enthusiasts would be okay with this, provided independent third parties can do the checks (gun club, dealers, etc). Gun owners would then bring documentation showing that they're allowed to buy firearms of a given class. Everything should be as anonymous as possible (separate ID from proof of compliance and require a warrant to link the two).

That being said, most proposed legislation seeks bans, not reasonable regulation, so it's understandable that gun enthusiasts push back.

A lot of what you wrote is reasonable, but it should be clarified that in the United States, at least, (which is presumably the country many of us are talking about) private ownership of automatic weapons has been heavily regulated since the 1930s to the point that it's nearly (but not quite) impossible to own an automatic weapon as a private citizen.


And I think it should be made more accessible.

Automatic firearms are so restricted because they didn't think a complete ban would be upheld by the courts, yet the restrictions are essentially a ban since I cannot reasonably get access as a mentally stable (I hope) person without any record.

Automatic weapons are fun, and at least in my area, I can rent them at local shooting ranges. But going the extra step and buying them it apparently way more difficult. The net result is that only the military, police, and criminals have automatic weapons, so average gun owners are the only real people affected. It makes sense that gun owners are against new regulations, because these regulations seem to just restrict their rights without solving anything.

Another silly thing is that guns tend to get restricted based on how they look, not on how dangerous they are. "Tactical" guns are considered "assault weapons", while the exact same gun without the trimmings are considered "hunting equipment" and not subject to the same restrictions. Does a pistol grip and some black plastic/metal decorations really make a gun more dangerous? No, but they make a gun more fun to own.

It seems people aren't really interested in actually solving problems, they're just interested in looking like they're trying to solve problems, and the average voter isn't educated enough about guns to recognize reasonable regulations. IMO, we should be educating people about guns instead of trying to ban them. Perhaps we need to include gun training in our K-12 education since it's part of the Constitution. IMO, respect for guns is the biggest deterrent to gun crime.

> It is very telling that supporters of the 2nd think it should be upheld without ANY limits or backstops.

Any additional limits. There are already plenty of laws on the books around gun control, it’s disingenuous to pretend as though none exist.

This is the main consideration I give to gun ownership.

When there is a tyrannical government in power who is violently oppressing the people, would any new laws eventually prevent me from walking up to an agent of the tyrannical state and shoot them in the head? i.e., would it be possible to have localized insurrections against government? Make no mistake, it is this fear that prevents most governments from overreaching.

If the answer is no, then the rule is not allowed. Licensing would be a slippery slope into complete gun control and consolidating power over the people.

If you want further proof, look at what is happening in the socialist countries in South America. The government is murdering their own people who are defenseless.

If you want further proof that an armed populace is a good check against (real or perceived) tyranny, look at Afghanistan, Iraq, and of course USA (hello UK!)

In Afgahnistan, AK-47s are so common that the US has air-striked weddings due to celebratory gunfire.

Which should probably tell you something about the assumption about the accessibility of the guns, and the likely outcome of your fantasy there...




Whether you like it or not, the US lost in Vietnam, they lost in Afghanistan though I haven't kept up on Iraq, reading a few books about the topic showed me that the main impetus for leaving is that it is hopeless for the US to "win".

Edit: IF memory serves, this was the plan laid out by Bin Laden. The guy even put it on video and the stupid US government followed through. Unfortunately, web bitrot has made it difficult to find the relevant articles.

The US is/was not the local government in Afgahnistan, Iraq or Vietnam. Nor has it ever had a clear definition of what "victory" actually looks like in those places (nor any policy-level understanding or interest in the local culture and political dynamics that might enable it to develop one).

But it's worth noting that no victory was achieved by the insurgent forces that ever lasted in any of those places: the US, so long as it maintained the military will to stay, could bomb and destroy the insurgents indefinitely. It just couldn't tolerate the political cost of why it's people were being sent to die "over there", and a public which was and is dissatisified with foreign civilian casualties inflicted by US military missions.

Well, ok. Bombing the shit out of everyone is a possibility but would lose major political points. No allies left after that move.

I suppose the closest analogy is Syria but even there, there is so much proxy war going on that it's impossible to discern the reality of the situation.

Bottom line is that it is in the best interest of the political elite to avoid angering a non trivial portion of an armed population. There is no such restriction on a disarmed population.

"Local SWAT engaged in a firefight with an armed extremist group today..."

You seem to be building a lot of assumptions into "the government is tyrannical but don't worry everyone will definitely support me when I start shooting at cops because that's how that works.

And you build in the same assumptions. For now, there is no such worry.

> (hello UK!)

Brit here. What are you on about?

Fair cop! upvoted.

Just this conversation made me miss my British work buddies.

The right wing people seem to be ok with a dictatorship if it gets them what they want. Left wingers are less likely to open guns so this point is moot. Also what chance do these guns have against the army's artillery.

cheez 3 months ago [flagged]

The point is not that the populace can win. It's that the populace can make it difficult enough for them to give up.

And just FYI, most government murder of their own citizens has been done by left wing governments in the last century.

Want to guess what Nazi was short for? National Socialist Party.

Want to guess the first step of murderous left wing governments? Gun confiscation.

Am I saying that the US government is going to murder citizens (lol, already does it)? No. But don't make it easier.

Curious why this was flagged?

‘You are bringing a musket to a drone fight’ - Jim Jeffries

He's a brilliant comedian, but he doesn't understand that people have successfully fought off the might of the US army in recent decades. That's why China colonizes economically.

Laws yes, substantive laws... debatable.

More significant measures like requiring a license or limiting magazine capacity are somehow characterized as over reach.

Would be interested to hear how that is rationalized.

Because we take the right to bear arms very seriously in the US. In our constitution that right is enumerated second, just after the one about freedom of speech and religion. Licensing is a mechanism of control over who can and cannot exercise this right, and such mechanisms are often abused to suppress minorities and dissidents, which is contrary to the reason the right is enumerated in the first place. Similarly this is why people sometimes oppose mandatory background checks; though you will find much broader support for voluntary background checks by private citizens [0].

Limiting magazine capacity is opposed because it is an ineffectual restriction that largely serves to annoy hobbyists. Many proposed restrictions are like this. That's one of the reasons people encounter so much resistance to proposals, because they're often obviously rooted in ignorance and have little regard for their side effects. For instance, since "history of mental illness" is one of the things that could be used to restrict one's ability to purchase firearms, many enthusiasts who may be suffering from mental health issues will not seek treatment.

[0] In many states I can sell a firearm to another individual without involving a licensed middleman (FFA), but I do not have access to the system they use for background checks (NICS).

Regarding NICS access, spot on. I believe it would be constitutional to hold private sellers responsible for a limited period (1-2years) for firearm crime by purchasers. Give a safe harbor for private sales which include a NICS check, but this would require opening NICS access in some way.

Please note that 'FFA' in the above should be 'FFL'. Chalk it up to an early morning brain fart.

9 states have magazine limits. Does it make a substantive difference? If not, then what is the rationalization to make it Federal?

Which other Bill of Rights freedoms require a license to practice? Certainly free speech can and does lead to violence. Should we also require a license for that?

Would be interested to hear how that is rationalized.

What most people fail to grep is the Bill of Rights were put in place to _limit_ the tyranny of government. You start taking those things away, restricting them, marginalizing, licensing, etc. what you'll get is tyranny in one way or another.

Do some research on Venezuela, it happened in this decade. You can go back further if you'd like.

> 9 states have magazine limits. Does it make a substantive difference? If not, then what is the rationalization to make it Federal?

Your questions point to the answer: city and state laws are far less effective when someone can bypass them by taking a short drive.

> Which other Bill of Rights freedoms require a license to practice?

Note that in this case, the freedom in question starts with “well-regulated” and that was commonly accepted as having meaning until the post-civil rights act backlash caused major reversals at groups like the NRA. Accepting some limits is literally just rolling back to the mainstream consensus position from the founding of the republic until the 1970s.

The phrase “well-regulated” is part of “well-regulated militia,” and means orderly or disciplined, in the same manner a regulator in electronics keeps current managed or a regulator in mechanics keeps spin precise. It does not mean government regulation, and does not apply to the individual portion of the Amendment.

It’s only recently that people claim regulated means government regulated instead of how the term was used when written, as clearly explained in writings of the times.

Note that 45 or so states, modeling their constitutions after the Federal one, and not misrepresenting this phrase as you do, also include personal right to bear arms. This is further evidence of how the term you misrepresent and selectively misquote is meant.

That you have to spin it against the original meaning as written by Founding Fathers in the Federalist papers, as detailed in Congressional Research Reports, as evidenced in numerous State, Federal, and recent Supreme Court cases, shows the absurdity of this misrepresentation.

If you're honestly interested, here [1] is the text of a study commissioned from the 97th Congress on the topic, with plenty of historical citations on the meaning of the terms you selectively misquoted. It gives the history of how the term came to be in the constitution from common law, clearly showing they did not use it as you claim.

[1] https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Downloads/CommitteeM...

Which CRS report are you referring to? I’m assuming not the one which recognizes that as a modern development:

“Before the Supreme Court’s 2008 opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, the right generally had been understood by federal courts to be intertwined with military or militia use.”


The next sentence after the one you quoted: " Still, there had been ample debate in the lower federal courts and political discussion over whether the Second Amendment provides an individual right to keep and bear arms, versus a collective right belonging to the states to maintain militias."

It's also the meaning more clearly laid out in the 45+ states constitutions explicitly naming a personal right, since they modeled their Constitutions after the Federal one. The distinction between the two is a very modern dichotomy. And I listed the text of the CRS report above.

Wikipedia has a decent summary of US legal cases [1]. Note the Supremes ruled it was individual in 1939 according to this summary.

Here's a summary of state Constitutions [2]. Note how many explicitly give personal, mot militia, rights to bear arms. These are modeled after the meaning of the Federal Constitution as those states saw it when adopting their Constitutions.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_keep_and_bear_arms_in...

[2] http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/beararms/statecon.htm

Yes, especially the next sentence you didn’t include:

> Pre-Heller, the vast majority of lower federal courts had embraced the collective right theory.

Similarly, it would be useful if you discussed the reasons why the founders chose not to include any of the proposed individual rights language in the second amendment draft. It was a deliberate choice not to and there’s plenty of historical context available.

All of the Bill of Rights are individual rights, crafted to address complaints of the states about individual protections, most notably by the Anti-Federalists.

If, as you claim, there was not individual rights in previous drafts, it would be useful if you addressed why in the ratified Amendment they did add it. Because if it’s as you claim, that is pretty solid evidence they wanted the individual rights.

Also, why did the vast majority of the states make it abundantly clear when making their constitutions, modeled on the Federal one?

You don't even need firearms to inflict mass causalities, so magazine limits are political theater imho.


Firearm restrictions also inhibits civilians from resisting state violence if it ever came down to it. I've heard the tanks/planes arguments, but if those are so effective why are we still in Afghanistan? (hint: they have firearms)

In my humble, outsider (i.e.: non-US) opinion, when weapons get involved (on any side), things escalate. In other words, would something like the Kent University massacre have gone differently if protesters were armed (not considering the ideological weirdness of such a scenario)?

I see what's good in the argument that people should be able to respond to tyranny with force, but I'm wondering how often this could actually happen on such a big scale that it would matter instead of being crushed by the State in a matter of hours or days, at best.

And I furthermore wonder whether weapons being legal would matter much in such a situation.

> magazine limits are political theater imho

Wow. Seriously?

The best chance of subduing (by any means) an attacker is when they aren’t actively shooting at you. That only happens when they need to stop to reload or change weapons.

I would agree that it's political theater. A few of the shootings, the criminal didn't empty the magazine anyway. (I'm purposely not mentioning the shooters names or the incident.) Others, the criminal simply carried extra "California legal" magazines or extra firearms.

Reloading time is negligible. There are many youtube videos showing this. It takes no time to switch to a different weapon.

Firearms; the support of a large fraction of the population, government, and army; and an occupying force which is trying to avoid excessive casualties. In most cases, an oppressive government looks more like Russia, China, Syria, etc. where the power imbalance is insurmountable. If it ever comes to a civil war in the U.S. it’s going to depend on those factors, not a bunch of 18th century LARPers.

“well-regulated” refers to the militia, not the right to bear arms, and means “in proper working order” (in the sense of a breathing regulator), not “controlled via legal regulations”

Can you argue that the bill of rights is just wrong and should be ammended?

Treating firearms like every other object in our world is a false equivalency. They are created to kill, period.

I grew up target shooting weapons of all sizes and shapes. It is a lot of fun, no doubt.

But their capabilities to inflict massive damage in seconds should make it clear that they require special consideration.

In addition, the objects we are talking about today are orders of magnitude more deadly than those originally considered by the Bill of Rights.

They had warships when the 2A was written, some of which were privately owned.

They also had things like the puckle gun and the founders were aware of advancing weaponry.

> orders of magnitude more deadly than those originally considered by the Bill of Rights

They had small bore cannons back then, you could legally own those under the 2nd amendment. You're telling me that artillery, which can be fired at effect 1000 yards away from it's intended target, is less deadly than a semi-automatic rifle?

Can you conceal these cannons when you walk into a mall before shooting others?

As the US allows private guns to prevent government tyranny, in people's views wouldn't it also be right to allow privately owned cannons, assorted artillery, explosives and the entire military toolkit (so long as they could pay for it)? After all it would greatly help civilians throw off oppression, and that's what it's all about.

This isn't sark, just pointing out a reasonable logical destination for the reasoning.

If you have enough money you can actually own and operate fully automatic weapons, cannons, flame throwers, artillery, etc.

... and if you're the leader of a large enough nation, the US will even sell you planes and tanks.

In our shortsightedness we are dismissing the future possibility of foreign invasions, domestic tyranny, and civil war. Let's consider the former; if the US has registration laws and China invades/wins, then all of a sudden Chinese officials have the addresses of every potential source of violent dissent in their hands. I realize the threat of invasion isn't really practical today, but with policies we put in place today we'd effectively be putting our ancestors in the worst possible situation in the event they ever had to defend themselves against tyranny whether foreign or domestic.

I understand that gun violence sucks, but regulation/registration has consequence - we may see benefit, some of it we may never see but our children will (for a rather recent example, see Venezuela). Our communities are living with these monsters, we are ignoring them because our lives have become so centered around live news, social media, and debating over the internet instead of talking to each other.

Banning guns, knives, bats, fertilizer, whatever isn't going to stop this epidemic - and doing so will just prevent ourselves from being able to prevent those who are determined to do so.

Sure, they could even use it against enemies of America too. One of the other rights the Constitution gives Congress along with the right to declare war is the right to issue letters of marque, meaning it is still legal today for the US government to give any random citizen the right to raid a foreign state

"so long as they could pay for it"

what if they can't pay for it? are gun manufacturers now violating the "equal protection" clause? they're denying people the ability to exercise a constitutional amendment simply based on their ability to pay.

Currently it doesn't matter whether they can pay for it or not as legally they can't have it (gov't tyranny?)

So let's ignore the cost; in principle, for defence against an out of control government for which guns are needed, are USAians who are pro gun also pro the idea private citizens owning serious artillery, explosives, tanks etc?

It is legal to own tanks and flame throwers now.

Would you support a license requirement or a word limit for the First Amendment?

Sure, for all the words that can be used to kill people.

Okay. Let’s say we’ve gathered a list of the most dangerous ‘violent’ words (e.g. kill, harm, murder, cleanse, racial epithets, etc.) that could be used in a direct incitement to violence. Would you support a license requirement and word limit on these words? Nevermind that they have various legitimate lawful uses, people’s lives are at stake!

You just killed...

Maybe we should consider one for arguments to avoid arguments like yours

Thank you for your valuable contribution to the discussion

Many supporters of the right to bear all arms without limitation are at the same time also supporting the right to absolute freedom of speech, including hate speech like calls for extermination or unconstitutional expulsion of "foreigners" (or what they see as foreigners). I think there's a pattern here...

You are correct, the pattern being evident in the numerous limiting laws that allow an officer of the law or a government official to arrest and detain you for any minor infraction, real or precieved. The erosion of personal freedoms like free speech is just the start down a slippery slope.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact