Second Amendment 2A: Sane & Sort Of Civilised Discussion

Scepticalscribe

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 12, 2020
588
876
I come from a country where the police aren't armed, let alone the population.

Is it even possible to have a sane and civilised discussion on the Second Amendment?

That is, without stirring the soil and drawing forth those who shout, "Out of my cold, dead hands.....",

Or, prompting vehement reactions from those who scribble condescending diatribes about the pressing necessity of being able to bear arms in a frontier society (was Philadelphia a "frontier society" even in the 18th century?)

Or, the ability of such a society to be able to create citizen militias in the frontier society in the 18th century who could bear arms (thus, their state was not obliged to equip them, nor carry the financial cost of equipping them).

Or, perhaps, citizens bearing arms may have had something to do with having to deal with the political reality of what an oppressive - or potentially oppressive - tool of state power, such as a large body of armed men (a standing army), with questionable allegiances may have represented; above all, one that could have been used against them,..., or perhaps it was more that such power should not be devolved to a federal (or foreign) authority...

Then, there are the hunting & shooting folk.

(And as for country folk who shoot something for the pot, for dinner, I do have some sympathy, for they tend to use their firearms intelligently and responsibly, and with respect for weapons and people).

(An aside: Recent Covid-19 restrictions in England on crowds, or assemblies, or groups of people, inexplicably, appear to deliberately exempt grouse shooting parties in England from the requirement to adhere to these restrictions).

Then, there are those who argue "guns don't kill people, people do" - well, yes.

And, there are those who argue that the fear of crime, or potential threat to their homes ("I'll raise a gun to any one who breaks into my house..") justifies the possession of a veritable arsenal in the kitchen.

Now, I will concede that - notwithstanding the astonishing number of school killings that have occurred in the US (a complete statistical aberration and absolute anomaly in the western world, or First World,) I have yet to read a post that argues for the right to bear arms in terms that support the right to slaughter kids at school, especially girls.

Another aside: in all of the school slaughter threads in The Other Place, I have yet to read one which notes the link between a surprising number of the killers, their ethnicity (usually white), gender (male), more often than not from better off backgrounds, or, not poor or deprived backgrounds in terms of social class, and also known to hold rather robust misogynistic views and repellant practices (often, if adult with a history of domestic abuse), and vehemently racist views.

Instead, were such killers black, or Asian, or Muslim, or members of some such ethnicity, it would become a matter of further proof by the right, or some conservatives, in defining the degeneracy of such an ethnic background, but, because the killers are more usually disaffected young, white, men from reasonably well-off backgrounds, the disingenuous "loner" excuse - the supposedly single rotten apple in a rather commodious barrel, is put forward instead.

Nevertheless, @SuperMatt has (elsewhere) posted - very saliently - as follows:

If cars and guns had the same restrictions on their usage, I think that would be great, but I fear the NRA would oppose:

1. Pass a written and shooting test to get a license.
2. Register all guns, with the same fees as for cars.
3. Personal property tax like cars.
4. Regular inspections
5. Insurance
With that, I'll open the discussion to the floor and the forum.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Alli

lizkat

Site Champ
Aug 15, 2020
489
1,000
Catskill Mountains
Well done. If word gets out to that other place, this place should prepare for an onslaught of new members (and maybe even opportunities to demo that this place, while different, does exercise moderation from time to time).

In the peaceful interim.... it's hard to tell today what's the actual strength of the USA's gun lobby, even though a lot of 2A fans are not only one-note voters but also quite vocal in social media and in traditional news commentary outlets as well. There are some pretty active groups seeking to reduce gun violence less through "gun control" legislation than through education and raising of social awareness and safety issues among high school age students, etc. Also, the NRA has fallen on rather hard times thanks to a decrease in traditional hunters' memberships, the profligate behavior of some of its leadership and some pretty extravagant spending on political races over the past 20 years. And its spending patterns have apparently raised some red flags at the IRS.


Still, it's that political connection and the NRA's focus on it at state level that has made it so difficult for the USA to do enough about interstate gun sales that breach laws of states with stricter rules for possession or resale.

A real eye opener piece by the same author as the previously cited piece appeared in The New Yorker a few years ago, about the redoubtable Marion Hammer, the NRA lobbyist for the state of Florida. Ms. Hammer is essentially the author of a lot of gun-related legislation, the first to create Stand Your Ground legislation, and notably in recent years also the creator of a bill that has been copied by many states now, one stipulating that no local municipality may pass a gun-related law more restrictive than that in effect at state level.

The landscape has been changing somewhat in the past few years, thanks to the gruesome toll of school and large venue mass shootings and the interest of younger Americans in seeking ways to help prevent gun violence in their own surroundings. But the NRA retains a previously crafted political advantage, having long set litmus tests to the end that Republican candidates for public office all need high ratings from the NRA to win their primary elections. So in states that lean red or where a governorship race goes to Republicans and so may have coattails in other state races, the state legislatures are positioned to pass NRA-sponsored legislation almost at will.

 
Last edited:

Scepticalscribe

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 12, 2020
588
876
In The Other Place, I seem to recall reading what were some silly - and worse, deliberately disingenuous - threads about violence, and criminality (and guns) in Chicago, stuff that struck me as especially egregious and disingenuous, not to mention self-serving, as they were making what were actually really racist arguments under the veneer, or mask, or cover, of appearing socially concerned about, and deploring, deprivation (and violence) there.

That prompted me to wonder whether (@lizkat's sources in the excellent post, above, also prompt this question) to what extent (if any) there is a co-relation between states which seceded from the Union in 1861 and undue influence and strength on the part of the NRA on the politics and policies of that state?

In other words, is the NRA political strong in supposedly lawless Chicago, or is its insidious political clout re policy mostly to be found in the part of the country known as the South?

In an earlier life, I used to be a teacher.

And, I have to say that when I read stuff about the installation of metal detectors - such as you find in an airport - in schools, in the US, or the recommendation that teachers come suitably equipped and armed to school, "to defend themselves" - this rhetoric of fear and violence is utterly repellent in an educational environment or setting - I find the introduction of, and the normalisation of, the vocabulary of violence, and the reality of violence, in a school to be outrageous and frankly, appalling.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Alli

SuperMatt

Site Champ
Aug 11, 2020
360
481
A generation of children who had to experience air-raid drills supported politics that led to massive reductions in nuclear arsenals.

Perhaps a generation of children growing up with mass-shooter drills will support politics that lead to far more restrictions on firearms.
 

lizkat

Site Champ
Aug 15, 2020
489
1,000
Catskill Mountains
It comes down to vision of a different and better future and the political will to guide ourselves to it... willingness to consider alternatives to status quo is key.

Events can alter levels of political will despite the efforts of lobbies in the cloakrooms of Congress or state capitol buildings. But as we saw in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, there are some cast-in-stone attitudes on the 2A in this country. I mean if the slaughter of six year olds doesn't really move us off the dime of the gun as holy grail, what can possibly do it? Sure there were changed minds, but the trick there is in sustaining political will at local levels and pressure upwards... despite state and federal lobby money fighting on the other side and still often managing to help re-elect NRA-favored incumbents. So switching that up is a slog, but anti-gun-violence activists are getting better at it over time now, attracting younger voters and scheduling local events in school districts etc.

The problem in the USA and maybe globally today is that social media platforms are where more noise happens about everything, and we all end up with the attention span of gnats. "Oh there's something: bite on it!"

The other problem is, in general, our binary politics. It's hard to listen for common sense definitions of problems or solutions when "the other side" is spouting hard line rhetoric ON BOTH SIDES. We used to be better at avoiding that before sometime in the mid-1990s, in my humble opinion.

The partisan rhetoric was starting to amp up in the '80s but it was around the time of the Newt Gingrich "Contract for America" (aka on the left "contract ON America") that hard lines got drawn: lefties realized the right had gone way beyond Reagan's attempts to co-opt God and The Flag as Republican symbols, and started to push back with equally divisive language.

The Rs gained control of both houses in 1994 although Clinton managed to get a sustained veto of a lot of the associated "contract" legislation, and did sometimes refer to the Rs' efforts as a contract "on" America. In any case the damage seemed done with respect to our politics having become more finger-pointy and hyperpartisan. Gridlock became the "solution". Thus we have paid a price in massive deficits of attention to issues like education, healthcare, immigration reform, job creation and infrastructure modernization.

Not much seems to have improved on that score in the meantime through now. The levels of shrill, sarcasm and pure mockery during the impeachment hearings in the House were pretty stunning. It was obviously difficult for Rs to focus on the severity of the charges. One wonders if 20 years from now, or 50 years from now, students of history will wonder how our representatives could have acted "that way" in allegedly performing their duties.
For my money future history students should be wondering too how the hell we all put up with gun laws and enforcement loopholes that have allowed such slaughter of Americans to go on year after year for no good reason. Surely our hyperpartisan politics play a substantial role. Meanwhile, well... as of today you can still get parts for your daughter's pink AR15 if she has one, even though Colt announced about a year ago that because the market for sporting rifles is more than saturated, it would cease manufacturing AR15s for civilian use and focus on military armaments.... assuring fans of AR15s that the company remains a staunch supporter of the 2A.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scepticalscribe