Yes, they are Evil Black Rifles

December 15, 2012

Stag Arms AR-15. CC license: Attribution.
Stag Arms AR-15. CC license: Attribution. | Source


Assault Weapon is a murky term. It tends to be a political term. Generally it is meant to mean a weapon with an ability to rapidly put many bullets into humans and/or a weapon with 'military' features. There really is no precise definition or clear way to place weapons in or out of the group. An Assault Rifle has a more specific definition. The one I most commonly see is that it is a selective fire weapon (either fully automatic or burst fire capable), fires an intermediate cartridge and has a detachable magazine. Many military main battle rifles fall into this category (e.g. AK-47, M16). A semi-automatic weapon is one for which you pull the trigger once and it fires one round. Most legally available handguns, rifles, and shotguns fall into this category.

The gun debate is one that seems to be always ongoing, especially of late due to the recent high-profile shootings. One of the most important things that we can do to further that debate is to make sure that we actually have accurate information. Incorrect terminology is one of the problems. Wrongfully classifying (or not classifying) weapons as assault weapons, assault rifles, or semi-automatic weapons is common. Those in the pro-gun community are generally quick to point these mistakes out, as they should, yet at the same time they often make their own incorrect statements—primarily that all semi-automatic weapons are basically equal. They are not. In fact, no weapons are exactly equal. That is why they make so many different models. Each has varying capabilities which lead them to be more or less effective at specific missions. Not acknowledging disparities in weapon capabilities is not being honest and does a great disservice to the ability for us to have a meaningful conversation.

The Porsche and the Pinto

Both vehicles are cars. Both have internal combustion engines which translate power through a transmission to a set of wheels Both, therefore, essentially, operate in the exact same matter. Are they the same? As long as they are sitting still, I suppose we could say that they are, but most people would obviously recognize this to be a rather silly assessment. Cars aren't meant to sit still, and out on the road, or on the racetrack, the Porsche and the Pinto clearly have very different capabilities. And while the Porsche can pretty much do anything the Pinto can do, getting groceries, for example, only one of the two can go 160 mph.

The AR-15 and Uncle Bob's Hunting Rifle

Both are rifles. Both operate in essentially the same way. One pull of the trigger and one bullet comes out. Are they the same? Absolutely not. No more than are a Porsche and a Pinto. Those who try to sell this argument, for whatever reason, always do so with the guns sitting still, but like cars that isn't what they are meant to do. Out in the field, or on the range, these two weapons have vastly different capabilities. A similar argument that goes along with this misinformation is that the AR-15 makes a good hunting weapon. That may be true, but hunting is the more mundane activity, like getting groceries, the AR-15 can hunt, that doesn't mean that Uncle Bob's Rifle can metaphorically go 160mph.

Tactical Performance

Of course we do not need to talk about metaphorical capabilities. What 160mph means when it comes to weapons is that they tactically perform at a high level. For my purposes I am defining a tactical situation as one in which you are engaged against a peer adversary. A peer adversary is intelligent, has some level of training (perhaps superior training), is equiped with some type of weaponry (again perhaps superior to yours), is going to be mobile, dynamic, potentially unpredictable, may cross through and over a variety of complex terrains, and may be a force which includes multiple elements.

This is a very different situation than an average hunting scenario. Animals are relatively dumb, have no combat training (obviously), and won't be fighting back (in most cases). While they also have some degree of mobility, the goal of hunting, generally, is to fire from a static position at a fixed target. Relative to humans, animals are predictable and are limited in the terrains they can cross and access, and while animal groups may have multiple members, it isn't usually a life-threatening requirement to engage all of them.

Tactical Capabilities


Mobility is a critical element of an effective tactical weapon, and includes the ability to move with the weapon (which is based on the weapon's size, shape and weight) and the ability to manipulate the weapon around the body (the ability to quickly bring the weapon to firing position, to switch targets, to change shooting positions, to fire from behind cover, or from both sides of the body, etc.) Tactical weapons are designed and built to maximize these capabilities. Hunting rifles are not, because simply put, these capabilities are generally unnecessary in a hunting scenario. The video above shows weapons being used in a high mobility situation. you will notice the lack of Uncle Bob's hunting rifle.


Of course, hunting and tactical operations both require accuracy, the conditions under which accuracy is needed are different. A hunter, in general, focuses on a single round from a solid shooting position while relaxed. A Tactical operator may be firing from a compromised position, a moving position, or may be very un-relaxed (wounded, or fatigued). They may also require accuracy through many rapid shots at multiple targets. There are many different design elements that can impact accuracy under these conditions. There are also very different sets of optics that can be used depending on the requirements.


The ability to add, customize, and adapt a weapon's accessories is not just an issue of cosmetics. The ability to modify a weapon platform, in general, and especially while actually in a tactical situation allows the rifle user to adapt to a dynamic situation and maximize their effectiveness against their opponent. That doesn't mean there are not some cosmetic additions that rifle owners add for the cool factor, but those who actually understand their accessories and master their weapon know that it is not about cosmetics. Below is a video of some obviously silly accessories. Four flashlights, several lasers, 270 onboard rounds, 23 pounds...


There are entire books written on the different design decisions that go into weapons and the impact they have on the weapon's performance. Ultimately, the only thing that really matters is the ability of a weapon to transfer energy via bullets into the flesh of a target. Key components of a weapon's ability to do this are related to the weapon's recoil and muzzle climb (or drift). Equally important is the trigger. Tactical rifles such as the AR-15 are specifically designed to maximize accurate rapid fire by controlling these factors. Below is a video showing an example of such accurate rapid fire. The VTAC 1-5 drill (explained in detail in the video) puts 15 center mass shots in 3 separate targets. Expert shooters can do it in under 3 seconds.

There are some people out there who aren't interested in an honest debate about weapon capabilities. They might take a look at this video and say that it's no big deal and that they can do the same thing with their .22LR hunting rifle. A similar argument, and equally dishonest one, is that the .223 bullet fired by the AR-15 is almost the exact same diameter as the .22LR bullet and therefore not much different. Both of these arguments are meant to do the same thing: to try to deceive people into believing that the AR-15 is no more dangerous than a .22LR you would let a child hunt with

The truth about the .22 vs .223

It is true that diameter-wise the bullets are very similar, but the diameter alone is only one dimension of the cartridges that 3-dimensionally are very different from each other. Below is an image of the two cartridges next to one another. Keep it in mind and understand that anytime you hear these types of arguments, these are the two different rounds that they want you to believe are essentially the same thing.

.22LR on the left; .223 on the right
.22LR on the left; .223 on the right | Source

There are difference even besides the size. The .22LR is a rimfire cartridge with a rounded tip while the .223 is a centerfire cartridge with a pointed tip. These differences matter. Of course size is the primary difference. While the .223 bullet may be nearly the same diameter as the .22LR, it is longer and heavier (2-3 times heavier than the .22LR), and the larger casing means more powder and more pressure exerted on the bullet.

For a real world comparison, the difference in energy of the two bullets is like the difference between dropping a brick on your foot versus a 40 pound dumbbell.

Energy, however, is not free. The greater energy delivered by the .223 means there is also more recoil and muzzle climb. It is no surprise that a .22LR, with relatively insignificant energy, is able to deliver rapid accurate fire, but a fair comparison between rifles would require comparing the AR-15 to a hunting rifle that delivers comparable energy to the target. If you know of anyone doing speed drills with such a rifle let me know. There probably aren't any because speed is not a high priority for the typical hunting rifle.

The Big Lie

The video below is a perfect example of the deception that all semi-automatic weapons are virtually the same on account of them having the same basic action. All other features of the weapon according to this deception are simply cosmetics. It's especially odd, because the gentleman in the video starts out talking about the importance of accurate information. Especially watch the part (around 6:20) where he makes 'cosmetic' changes to a regular hunting rifle to make it look like a weapon that might get labelled as an 'assault weapon'.

The image below shows the weapon before and after his cosmetic changes, which includes switching the overall housing, adding a folding stock, adding a tripod and a large magazine. The internal working parts are not altered at all.

screencap from above video
screencap from above video

The problem with his argument is that none of the changes he makes to the weapon are purely cosmetic. Every single modification made changes the tactical capabilities of the weapon. The large magazine provides more rounds to fire. The folding stock can improve mobility. The tripod provides a solid shooting platform for increased accuracy. The housing may or may not make a difference. If lighter, it might also improve mobility. Even the black color isn't just cosmetic. It reflects less light and makes the weapon's profile less easy to discern.

It is tremendously important that people understand how deceptive this argument is. It is like a guy taking a Pinto, adding a turbocharger, beefier manifolds and exhaust, high performance wheels and suspension, a spoiler and ground effects, and saying that it is still just like any other Pinto! No it isn't.

Choosing a Weapon

Anybody who has ever bought a weapon, knows that choosing a firearm is a big decision with an enormous number of variables. There is no perfect choice; it always depends on the individual and the task and the environment.

For hunting dangerous game in Africa, the double rifle has always been a popular choice. You can get off two rapid aimed shots with it and it's simple action allows for a short gun that is quick to bring to bear. Both valuable features for this type of hunting. A lot of people in my family use muzzle-loaders for hunting deer. Not sure why. Could be economics, they just like them, or because of the extended hunting season. If you're hunting ducks, a shotgun is the weapon of choice. Rifles are illegal for duck hunting, but even before that was true, they were still the weapon of choice. A spread of pellets is simply more reliable for hitting small targets, especially in flight, and can take multiple birds per shot. Sniper rifles generally are bolt-action rifles. All other things being equal, a bolt-action rifle, is more accurate and consistent than a semi-automatic. Bolt-actions also tend to be very durable and reliable.

If you want a rifle for short to mid-range tactical engagements than the weapon of choice is an AR style weapon—a weapon with excellent mobility, and the ability to deliver extremely accurate fire at a rapid pace and quickly engage multiple targets. And that is why if you look at military forces, police forces, government agencies, or the competition world (e.g. IPSC) who use semi-automatic rifles you will see them using AR-style weapons rather than Uncle Bob's hunting rifle. This decision is not just some grand cosmic coincidence. It is a thoughtful decision based on weighing the differential capability for weapon platforms to perform a particular task.

Killing Humans

And if you want to walk into a room and kill a lot of human beings it is also the weapon of choice. And though that doesn't count as a tactical engagement, all of the features valuable in a tactical engagement (speed, rapid engagement of multiple targets, etc) are equally desirable for massacres.

Sandy Hook Elementary, CT, 14 December 2012, AR tactical rifle

Example of a Bushmaster .223. Exact model used unknown
Example of a Bushmaster .223. Exact model used unknown

Clackamas Town Center, OR, 11 December 2012, AR tactical rifle

Example of an AR-15 style rifle. Exact model used unknown
Example of an AR-15 style rifle. Exact model used unknown

Century 16, Aurora, CO, 20 July 2012, AR tactical rifle

Smith & Wesson M&P 15 with 100 round drum. Not a photo of the actual weapon used.
Smith & Wesson M&P 15 with 100 round drum. Not a photo of the actual weapon used.

Utøya island, Norway, 22 July 2011, Ruger Mini-14 tactical rifle

Port Arthur Massacre, 28 April 1996, AR tactical rifle

Colt AR-15
Colt AR-15

Evil Black Rifle?

So does that make AR-15 style tactical rifles evil? No, of course not. They are sophisticated hunks of metal and plastic. That's all. But, that doesn't mean we can't evaluate them honestly for their capabilities to do things like massacre human beings. They are exceptionally good at it. That analysis needs no emotive statements. We don't need to call them evil and the NRA doesn't have to pretend they are harmless trinkets and I am just some scaredy-cat. They are what they are.

A note about the term Tactical Rifle

The military and police often use the term Tactical Rifle to refer to a long-range precision rifle (sniper rifle). I am using it to refer to a semi-automatic rifle with short to mid-range tactical capabilities as described in this article. Hopefully that doesn't just add to the confusion. It seems like the most appropriate term for such weapons.

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Comments 34 comments

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CB-CAN-DO 4 years ago

Hello junkseller, CB-CAN-DO here. You wrote an interesting piece about the AR-15 being a gun that is capable of rapid fire, much more capable than a bolt action hunting rifle or any rimfire rifle. So, I'm guessing that the main point of your hub is about someone or some government authority being allowed by more gun control legislation to determine if ordinary American citizens are worthy enough to own modern high capacity semi-auto firearms such as the AR-15.

Well, thanks but no thanks.

Our getting more tyrannical by the day government is increasingly making decisions for us that used to be up to us. I am truly sorry that a small number of the mentally disturbed and or druggies murdered a small number of innocent adults and children in the USA during the last 100 years. I am much more concerned about the not just a few evil governments of this world who murdered well over 50 million with their guns over the very same 100 years. These millions were defenseless because they were already disarmed by their very own governments. Fortunately for us, the Second Amendment first and foremost was articulated on paper to empower American citizens with the proper tools to help protect us from any tyrannical government, foreign or domestic.

Doesn't it seem ironic to you that the present day Communist Chinese government that has killed millions of it's own unarmed citizens now has admonished America in the mainstream news about the need for Chinese style gun control here to avoid another Sandy Hook shooting spree tragedy?

Additionally, the Second Amendment is a Natural Right or a God Given Right. Since that is so and has been so even before the Constitution and Bill of Rights were written, no government on earth has the legitimate authority to grant, define, omit or curtail any Unalienable Right. If that is true, no earthly government can have rights, only people can. For sure governments do have power and history has proven that they have a tendency to abuse it, if they are allowed to.

I believe as do many other Americans that the Second Amendment is an insurance policy to protect us from an all powerful government. That's why over 200 years ago, the settlers of the original 13 colonies told King George to shove it. By the way, they didn't get it done with letters sent to the King, peace lovers not withstanding. These rag-tag ordinary colonists got it done by using the Assault Weapons of the day, their personally owned muskets and squirrel rifles to shoot and kill the similarly armed British Red Coats.

Even though I don't agree with you on gun control, I really do like the way you write but wish you were on our side as an advocate for the Second Amendment, the Amendment that protects all of the others.

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junkseller 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Your assumption about me would be (somewhat) correct. I tend to favor more restrictions on gun ownership, such as recording every firearm sale and requiring background checks on all sales. I don't think more training is a bad thing, and it seems worthwhile to have a discussion about things like trigger locks or biometric security. I don't necessarily think that any of those restrictions have to be managed by the federal government though. They could be handled by state governments, independent agencies, sport clubs, etc. I'm willing to be creative with it.

However, I didn't mention my personal politics in this hub for a reason. My point of this hub was simply to say that without having fundamentally correct knowledge there is no way we can even really begin to have a conversation. Whatever I personally believe, ultimately I am a democrat (as in one who believes in democracy). I value alternative viewpoints and think it is important that people with different opinions can get in a room together and have a conversation. Your comment, for instance, is very reasonable, and I appreciate that.

I also, actually do, appreciate the defense against tyranny argument. I'm just not too convinced that the 2nd amendment matters for that anymore. Even when it was written, it wasn't about the individual with a gun, it was about a well-regulated militia. But back then it was relatively easy to scrape together a militia. Most men were probably very proficient with their weapons already and combat was relatively simple (few weapon types, low mobility, no electronics, etc).

If you were to very seriously consider having to put together a citizen militia to go up against the government, how well do you think that would go? Say you had 10,000 citizens with rifles up against a 2,000 man National Guard unit. Does it seem even remotely possible to assemble and train them into a militia that would have the slightest chance? It doesn't to me. Quite simply, the capabilities of a modern military unit with its advanced and heavy firepower, communications abilities, training, and mobility are insurmountably superior to an armed civilian militia.

The other problem, and bigger problem if you ask me, is that the government doesn't really need a gun to come after us. Personally, I kind of laugh at the idea of the government coming to kick in our doors to take our guns. Most of us can lose most of what we have by a push of the button. Our digital money, our communications, our utilities, our rights, our very existence can be essentially erased or altered. What good were our guns when they passed the Patriot Act, or the NDAA, or homeland security, or militarized our police. Heck, I don't think many civilian militias would even have a chance against their local police these days.

I'm all for defending against government tyranny, I just personally believe that in the modern world, the 2nd Amendment should give us the right to be hackers rather than the right to bear arms. Weapons today, seem to be equivalent to being in the 1800s and having the right to bear stones. Better than nothing but essentially irrelevant.

So in closing, I'd say, that I am probably on your side more than you think. At my house, if need be, we'd have a gun barrel poking out every window. I really don't want to take guns from anyone, but I do think there are some things we can do to try and keep them out of the wrongs hands. I also think we need to talk about government tyranny, but think that at this point informed voters can do a lot more than guns.

Thanks for reading and the comment.

Lou 4 years ago

How the hell am I supposed to keep the damn Gypsies off my lawn without an AR-15? When you can give me some viable alternatives, I'll consider giving mine up.

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junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author


I appreciate your concerns. Everyone knows how troublesome gypsies are. Of course pillows work perfectly well for such circumstances, we do have a reputation to protect. As a country that proudly sells the 10,000 calorie quadruple bypass burger, only an AR-15 presents the necessary level of overkill.

Lou 3 years ago

I'm being serious here. Gypsies would do nothing but laugh if you went after them with a pillow. I caught them trying to steal my lawn mower last week and I fired 17 rounds before they understood that I meant business. Magazine capacity restrictions are garbage.

Nole 3 years ago

Typical libtard hub written by someone who knows nothing about firearms.

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junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Nole, Insults are not tolerated here. I'll let one go, but no more. If you want to make a claim that I know nothing about firearms than please point out a SINGLE inaccuracy in my article. I challenge you to.

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WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

The AR-15 military style rifle, and similar firearms, are the weapons most protected by the Second Amendment, precisely for the reasons you cited. Miller vs The United States specifically protects weapons that would be most fit for militia use, and all those commonly held by the people.

Demonstrating that they are the best tactical weapon is all the more reason they are protected, so thank you for pointing it out.

I invite you to read 'A common sense approach to firearms', on my Hubpages site.

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junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author

I'm glad we can agree on one thing. AR-15 style rifles are tactically capable weapons. Of course we end up going completely different directions form that point. To me, common sense is that the weapons of a citizen militia are irrelevant against a modern day military force. Might as well hold out your finger and say "bang bang."

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WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"To me, common sense is that the weapons of a citizen militia are irrelevant against a modern day military force. Might as well hold out your finger and say "bang bang."

Then perhaps you can explain to us how a few, poorly armed, rag-tag insurgents in Iraq nearly defeated the most powerful military in the world?

Perhaps you can also explain to us why Russia left Afghanistan with its tail between its legs and why we have also been unable to defeat their poorly armed militia and will also be leaving without a clear victory?

If you think 100,000,000 armed and angry Americans are no match for an invader, then you have absolutely no notion at all of how a war is fought.

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junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Guerrilla forces have always been a difficult challenge. In part because they do not rely upon centralized or advanced systems, and so cannot be defeated by gaining control over them. Victory over them, instead, requires either completely wiping them out or attaining complete mastery over their potential geographic range--both of which are exceptionally hard to do. So there's no surprise that we have had difficulty in Afghanistan.

Americans, however, would not be much of a guerrilla opponent. We are highly dependent on centralized and advanced systems. We would be defeated by someone gaining control over them. If we were somehow actually invaded by a modern military and for some reason had no military left, would armed civilians matter? I doubt it. I think we'd be a speed bump, and against our own government, we wouldn't even be that. They already control all of our systems, so we've already lost that war.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

That's an amusing straw man, but a straw man nonetheless.

100,000,000 armed and angry Americans is an unbeatable force, and our own military would never fight fellow Americans, because it is both illegal and immoral. An invading military would be devastated.

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WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

BTW, rifles are not evil. They are inanimate objects. People who kill innocent victims are the only ones capable of evil.

Nole 3 years ago

"Americans, however, would not be much of a guerrilla opponent."

I think you would be shocked at how effective a guerilla force Americans could be. You also forget that many of us are veterans.

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junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author


Iraq was a good example of what a modern military can do to a non-peer opponent. And that wasn't even against a civilian militia, it was against a sizable military. 21 days it took to effectively seize their country. Half a million to a million casualties on their side compared to a few thousand on ours. We didn't initially go wandering through their cities. We bypassed them and seized key infrastructure and systems (ports, bridges, powerplants, oil fields, roads, airfields, etc.) That's exactly how an invasion of America would play out as well. If a military force had no chance in symmetric engagements than what chance do you suppose civilians would have? You claim that I have no notion of how wars are fought, so please enlighten me as to exactly how you and your buddies expect to defend a key piece of infrastructure against a modern military unit. Your faith in an "unbeatable force" really isn't very convincing.

This is all besides the point, of course. You consider it ludicrous that we'd ever have to fight our own military, well, it is equally ludicrous that we'd ever have to fend off an invasion. Where exactly is our hugest army ever to exist going to disappear to so that we would have to? Since both are ridiculous than we are right back at the point of not needing the 2nd Amendment.

BTW, the title was to be catchy. In the end I specifically concluded by saying that they are obviously not evil.

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junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author


Well, let's consider two main types of guerrilla units (urban and non-urban). The distinction being that the urban guerrilla hides amongst a larger population and the other hides out in the landscape (hills, forests, etc.) Plenty of Americans have enough woodcraft where they'd be able to be pretty effective out in the wild, but the question remains whether they'd have the capacity to form into units that would be large enough and effective enough to alter the outcome of the invasion/occupation. That's a different issue. Most of us don't really have any experience with that. Some people like to criticize the rebels in Afghanistan as being primitive or rag-tag bands or such, but as far as guerrilla forces go, they are pretty good. After all they've been doing it for a long time. Could Americans develop an effective guerrilla force? Of course. We are just as inventive as anyone else, but can we do it in a time-frame that would matter? That's the question. Modern warfare moves awfully fast. Groups such as rebels in Afghanistan didn't need any time to develop.

As for urban guerrillas, American's could be exceptional. I'd imagine half the country would be in garages building A-Team tank vehicles. And given our fascination with things like fighting robots, I think we'd come rolling out with some freaky stuff. But, that is dependent upon being able to hide within the population. If an occupying force decimated any city that displayed even a hint of rebel activity, that could effectively eliminate that as a possibility.

Either way, my point is that we are highly dependent on centralized, advanced systems. Controlling those systems and infrastructure elements is more of a symmetric engagement that guerrilla forces aren't very well suited for. So it wasn't so much that we'd be bad guerrillas as it was that I'm not sure it would matter.

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WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Some people like to criticize the rebels in Afghanistan as being primitive or rag-tag bands or such, but as far as guerrilla forces go, they are pretty good. "

They are primitive. Most can neither read nor write, yet even they can become a formidable fighting force, and that was the point!

Your very weak argument that the far more educated American citizens cannot form an effective fighting force is based on nothing but your own need for denial. After all, if you admit that American citizens could indeed become a formidable fighting force if need be, then you must also concede that the Second Amendment protects the weapons that they will need to have in their possession, which are the very ones you are trying to demonize.

You are very transparent.

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junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author


Considering some of the dunces walking around in America, "far more educated" is debatable. As for education in skills useful to being a guerrilla warrior (which is what we are talking about), I'm not sure you are correct at all, but it's really not worth arguing since we both agree that they are in fact an effective force.

I'm a bit confused by your logic. First you say I make a weak argument about Americans not being able to form an effective fighting force, than in the very next sentence say I admit that they could be a formidable force. Not sure where you are going with that. At any rate, I very clearly said that they could be an effective force, but that is with the caveat that they would need time to do so and the context may not allow for it.

Being that you haven't demonstrated that you even know my argument, and since you haven't in any way addressed the main point of my argument (context), it doesn't seem terribly charitable to call my argument weak. And you really have no call for making insinuations about some "need for denial." Further horsecrap statements like that will go straight to the garbage bin.

I also have specifically said that both scenarios so far mentioned (Americans vs. the government and Americans vs. foreign invader) are completely implausible, so no I don't have to concede that the 2nd Amendment protects anything of value at all.

I also have made absolutely no effort to demonize any weapon. In fact, I spoke very highly of the AR-15. It is a fantastic weapons platform. That doesn't mean I want to be shot by one. I don't like them that much.

You say I am transparent like I was meaning to hide something, which is just silly. I think the 2nd Amendment is completely and totally irrelevant and obsolete, and I have made no attempt to hide that.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"I also have made absolutely no effort to demonize any weapon."

The title to this Hub:

"Yes, they are Evil Black Rifles"

junkseller profile image

junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Not terribly concerned about people that don't read past titles. If an overly dramatic title is my greatest crime, I'll live with it.

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

junkseller- You are my new hero! Your article was literate and factual, and your replies to the comments (even the absurd ones) were also literate, factual and on topic.

Of course, this argument rages on, even while the number of shooting massacres increases, with a new one happening almost weekly now and killing innocent victims. But the gun proponents stick to their same, tired points, and none of them really understand the Second Amendment to the Constitution to enable the country at that time to arm a militia.

There are w-a-y too many crazies in this country these days, and not all of them are the mentally unstable mass shooters. Anyone who insists that the United States is still 'the best country in the world' is in denial.

Voted Up+++


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junkseller 2 years ago from Michigan Author

JayeWisdom, nice to have someone on the same page as me. Sometimes I feel like I must be the one who is mad. It is just a weird world we live in at the moment. Half the people around here can't even seem to agree on what reality is or what a fact is. I just don't get it anymore. It is pretty amazing, though, that as long as it has been since Sandy Hook, and with as many more shootings as there have been, we STILL haven't even begun to really have a conversation about gun violence. It's just plain bizarre.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"But the gun proponents stick to their same, tired points, and none of them really understand the Second Amendment to the Constitution to enable the country at that time to arm a militia."

Not according to the Supreme Court in the recent Heller decision:

"The Supreme Court held:[44]

(1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53."

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

The first ten amendments to the Constitution were called the "Bill of Rights', and they all restrict government from violating the rights of We, the People.

The Second Amendment guarantees the right of We, the People to keep and bear arms, and prohibits government from infringing on that right. That is clearly spelled out in both Heller and McDonald.

Anti-gun rights people have long held (wrongly) that the Second Amendment is all about arming militias, but that notion was totally refuted by Heller.

Look it up.

junkseller profile image

junkseller 2 years ago from Michigan Author

While Scalia's decision obviously has some legal heft, it doesn't somehow magically end the debate. I have seen numerous opinions which consider his decision to be based on a very selective reading of history, and I would tend to agree. Of course Heller doesn't prevent gun regulations, so isn't an issue for much of what is proposed anyway.

My position, of course, is to do away with it entirely. Too much effort is spent debating what it means/what it doesn't mean, and too little effort is put forth towards actually dealing with the issues at hand.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

The second amendment protects our basic human right to arm and defend ourselves. That's what you are proposing that we give up. Luckily, that will never happen.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"While Scalia's decision obviously has some legal heft, it doesn't somehow magically end the debate. I have seen numerous opinions which consider his decision to be based on a very selective reading of history, and I would tend to agree."

The SCOTUS relied on the writings of the Founding Fathers as to the intent of the Second Amendment, and they discovered it was meant to protect an individual right to keep and bear arms. There is not one Founding Father's writing that supports the collective right theory, so I don't know what you mean by a 'selective reading', but perhaps you can supply the missing Founding Father writings that support your claims.

junkseller profile image

junkseller 2 years ago from Michigan Author

You tend to be an individualist, in my opinion. I get it. I tend to be a collectivist. If we were soldiers out in the field and asked what we think is our greatest asset, you might say your rifle, while I might say the guy next to me. But that doesn't have to be a black and white issue. It isn't one or the other, and if enough opinions were collected, we'd probably find that people find they are BOTH important. Well trained soldiers working together with no weapons are in trouble, but so too are well-armed soldiers who don't have any unit training.

Your gun is a tool for defending yourself. Fine, but so too is our ability as a collective to make decisions and set public policies. The NRA and Second Amendment champions have spent decades combating the ability to set public policy, or in some cases, to even study the issue, or collect useful statistics, even despite the strong public support for action.

From my perspective, we have swung too far to one side out of balance, and it is your side which is preventing me from defending myself, not the other way around. I am simply trying to reclaim MY ability to do so, and I believe in that as strongly as you believe in what you do.

junkseller profile image

junkseller 2 years ago from Michigan Author

Well, I think Madison was pretty clearly concerned about the ability of a militia to counterbalance the rise of a powerful centralized standing army (which it failed to do), but I'm not going to claim to be an expert.

In my comment, I was referencing others who ARE considered to be experts. Sanford Levinson being one of them, who actually agrees with the decision but not how they came to it.

For example, "If one had any reason to believe that either Scalia or Stevens were a competent historian, then perhaps it would be worth reading the pages they write. But they are not. Both opinions are what is sometimes called "law-office history," in which each side engages in shamelessly (and shamefully) selective readings of the historical record in order to support what one strongly suspects are pre-determined positions."

He isn't the only one to hold that view, but as I said, I have no interest or intention of becoming an expert on what the founders meant or didn't mean with the Second Amendment. What we do here and now is time much better spent.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Your gun is a tool for defending yourself. Fine, but so too is our ability as a collective to make decisions and set public policies. The NRA and Second Amendment champions have spent decades combating the ability to set public policy, or in some cases, to even study the issue, or collect useful statistics, even despite the strong public support for action."

And there's your problem. The Bill of Rights is specifically designed to prevent you collectivists from denying We, the People our rights, no matter what 'public policies' you dream up. That's the whole point of the Bill of Rights. 'Public policy', or whatever other righteous sounding names progressives may dream up, will never trump the rights of We, the People.

junkseller profile image

junkseller 2 years ago from Michigan Author

Once again, I think you are being far too black-and-white simplistic. Most people aren't talking about the pure elimination of a right. They are only interested in regulations pertaining to the right which have been around for awhile and have generally passed constitutional tests. The issue is one of balance between competing rights. As long as you talk about the issue as if it were a light switch that one side wants on and the other off, than you aren't really talking about the issue at all.

The problem is that the Second Amendment is far too often used simply as a hammer to cudgel anyone who dares even try to have a conversation about the issue. We don't need to talk about the Second Amendment to have a conversation about gun violence or gun regulations. Yet here we are...

The notion of public policy never trumping the rights of we the people really makes no sense. You are basically claiming that the rights granted by we the people can't be usurped by the power of we the people. There is no logic in that. It is entirely possible that we the people will one day repeal the second amendment and place severe limitations on weapon ownership all via the democratic process laid out by the Constitution. Nevers almost never end up being true.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"You are basically claiming that the rights granted by we the people can't be usurped by the power of we the people."

There's another reason why you're having a hard time understanding this. 'We the People' did not grant one right in the Bill of Rights. They all preexisted the Constitution, and as Jefferson noted, were 'endowed by our Creator', and cannot be taken away by man.

The notion that government granted our rights, so government can take them away is the sort of thing tyrants like to plant in our minds just before we are enslaved.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"The notion of public policy never trumping the rights of we the people really makes no sense."

Let's examine that. Suppose conservatives are running the government and establish a 'public policy' that all liberals are to be rounded up and executed. Do you really believe that their right to life does not trump the new 'public policy'?

I think you need to seriously reconsider that notion.

junkseller profile image

junkseller 2 years ago from Michigan Author

Regardless of where rights are coming from. The point is that I have rights too. I have the right to associate. I have the right to willingly be part of a group, to together formulate a government, and abide by the rule of law, etc. I also have the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, the same as you, whether that comes from the Constitution, the Creator, or my god, the great and glorious purple elephant Fluffybutt.

Even if we were to agree that the right of self-defense is a natural right, it is the right to self-defense, not the right to possess anything made by humanity. There are limitations to what we can possess because some possessions are dangerous and the risk posed to others has to be weighed and balanced against the individual right of possession. That seems pretty obvious, and other countries such as Britain, Canada, and Australia, all of whom have descended from the same natural law tradition, have in fact placed far greater restrictions on firearms for this very reason.

So, this isn't about denying your right to self-defense. It is about advancing MY right to self-defense which I have and claim as vociferously as do you. I just choose a different method of securing that defense. I choose things like social cohesion and the rule of law, the elimination of poverty, strengthening communities, and not having ten bazillion deadly weapons all over the damn place. You choose to have ten bazillion deadly weapons all over the place.

You are welcome to your choice, but I have as much right to my choice as do you. So how are we to decide? Well, I have been very clear in my willingness to decide via the democratic process under which we all abide. You on the other hand don't seem willing at all to accept that democratic process or accept any choice that isn't one you agree with, but I'm the terrible tyrant?

As for your mass extermination hypothesis, it is pretty silly. Virtually no one doesn't believe that life is an innate right, plus it is codified in natural law tradition, legal code, and the Constitution. Carrying out such a mass extermination would require clearing numerous impossible to clear hurdles. Firearm possession isn't a clear natural right, so the only real hurdle is the Second Amendment. Still a significant hurdle, but hardly an impossibility. These two things are nothing alike.

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