arma virumque cano (et alia)
Methods of disseminating speech and text have changed. Shouldn't our laws?
Yes, Back then, they didn't have Assault Printers capable of chugging out hundreds of pamphlets in a matter of minutes!
Actually, laws pertaining to the 1st Amendment right of free speech have changed. It's time we changed the way we think of the 2nd too.
And in what way have they changed, Mike? For the most part, the freedom has been expanded to protect new types of speech. Also, when new technology has appeared, it has been protected by the amendment--we aren't limited to only printing presses for the exercise of our right to speech and press.With the internet, you can suddenly abuse your right to free speech and quickly ruin someone's reputation irreparably, but we don't restrict access; we just punish the criminal who abuses their rights.
The changes in laws regarding free expression have been toward more freedom. If that's the change you mean, I'm in favor.
Aren't there obsenity laws and laws against child pornography that were unthinkable in 1790?
No, most obsenity laws are loosening. Child pornography isn't relevant to free expression, since the latter doesn't protect the commission of a crime.
Seriously Mike?!? You think that there are more obscenity laws now then back then? Back when they still allowed governments at the state level to have state churches?Have you never taken a Constitutional Law course? The entire trajectory of First Amendment Jurisprudence has been to cover more types of speech. The famous line about shouting fire in a crowded theater--the one you guys like to bring up to say that no right is absolute--that came from a case where the people were in trouble for war protesting and encouraging draft dodging. The context of that quote was the great progressive, Oliver Wendell Holmes, comparing war protesters to people starting a panic by shouting fire in a crowded theater.Seriously, this isn't even first year Law School stuff--this is High School and College level Civics stuff.
This is where we can see the difference in approaches to limitations on liberty protected by the Constitution. Legitimate limitations on free speech are based on the understanding that crimes, libel and slander for instance, are not legitimate uses of free speech and are unworthy of 1st Amendment protection. If we were to approach limitations on 1st Amendment rights in the same way anti-rights folks suggest we limit 2nd Amendment rights, we would enact legislation to restrict access to the means of expression. Registration, threatened confiscation, limitations of the number of items purchased, "may issue" permits, having to justify a purchase and any number of other things might be used. All of them would violate the 1st Amendment. All of them would constitute an assault on liberty.If we approach limitations on 2nd Amendment freedoms the way we do limitations on the 1st Amendment, we would simply recognize that crimes committed with a firearm (murder, armed robbery, etc) do not enjoy 2nd Amendment protection.Now, let the game of "yes, but..." begin.
T., The "back then" I was talking about was 1790. We were comparing the changes in restrictions on the 1st and 2nd Amendments between "back then" and now.I don't know what you're talking about with all that bullshit put-down stuff about 1st year law school.Is it really necessary for you to be so sarcastic and nasty? You didn't used to be.
Mikeb, I know I'd be a lot more polite if you'd stick to addressing points that we make instead of wandering off on tangents or dismissing the argument altogether.The fact is that the right to expression is much stronger today than it was in 1787. My point stands. We've accepted developments in technology with regard to speech. The right to own and carry guns deserves the same upgrade.
Mike, my tone was out of frustration with what seems to me to be willful ignorance when you suggest that we have more restrictions on the first amendment then we had in the past.Yes, I gave an example from the early 20th Century to show how far we came in a very short time.Before that, if you want to go back to the tail end of the founding period, our second President passed the Alien and Sedition acts--something that even the war on terror hasn't brought us yet.The protection of some forms of obscenity is a modern development.Finally, the question about Con law courses, etc. were related to my thinking I'd heard or read that you were an ex-pat attorney. It was mystifying to me that an attorney would suggest that First Amendment protections have become weaker over the years since the opposite was the focus of almost half of every Con Law class at my law school, whether you took the one taught by the moderate, the Instapundit, or the very liberal feminist (all three excellent teachers, though the feminist's tests could sucker punch you if you weren't overprepared). Everyone came out of the class with a new appreciation for the amount of fighting that had led to the level of freedom we currently enjoy.
Laci's the lawyer who has lived in other countries. I'm not aware of Mikeb ever having been a lawyer.
Ah, guess I was thinking they both were.
Our laws have, in fact changed. Modern handguns (autoloader and revolver) are easily and safely carried by millions of Americans today, in contrast to the inaccurate and dangerous flintlock, wheellock, matchlock, miquelet, and boxlock pistols which existed in the early days of the republic, and the concealment and personal transportation of such was widely prohibited.
The guns that you guys complain about (magazine fed semi-autos) have been around for over a hundred years.
Ah, yes! We should be limited to the flintlocks of the founding period! Forget that a criminal will still use a modern weapon when attacking us--we should still be able to defend ourselves just fine with a brown bess!Effective self defense, and effectiveness of the militia, should it ever be needed, demand that citizens have the right to modern firearms. Yes, modern arms fire more quickly than old ones, and yes, this video seems to show that you couldn't commit a massacre with old guns, but a critical minded person looking at the armament available at the time would realize that a spree killer armed in the mode of the late 1700's would be walking in with more than one musket--maybe two long guns; probably a brace of pistols, and a knife, hatchet, sword, or combination of edged weapons. The arms people were allowed to have back then made them pretty dangerous too--hence, a lot of kings in Europe didn't allow their subjects to be so armed.
I'm a good shot with my muzzle-loading revolver, though, and I could do what cavalrymen in the Civil War did and carry multiple loaded cylinders.What is ironic here is people using twenty-first century technology to tell us that we only have rights to eighteenth century fierarms.
T., the old "criminals will still have them" argument is bullshit. The reason is simple. The criminals get their guns from you. Better gun restrictions on the lawful gun owners and better qualifying for who can be a lawful gun owner will put a stop to that, at least in large part.
In response to Greg:How do you plan to tactically reload the cylinder of a 1851 Colt Navy? The cylinder cannot be removed (and subsequently replaced) without the awkward disassembly of the weapon. That is a fairly imposable loadout, unless you are using multiple weapons and do New York reloads, when you fire all six (or five depending if you load the cylinder that the hammer is rested on), and drop the emptied revolver on the ground, before drawing a second, third, or fourth weapon to confront multiple waves of attackers. The LeMat Revolver (9 shot cylinder revolving around a shotgun barrel), although an expensive rarity, and made of poor steel, makes a better complement to the Henry Knock Volley Gun, Blunderbuss, or paper cartridge Gatling that would make a better antebellum self-defense loadout anyway.
Mike,Even if you got your full wishlist, and then some, criminals would still have the supply that is currently in their hands. They would still manage to steal some guns, even if everyone used top quality safes since there is no uncrackable safe. They would also still be able to buy them from corrupt government officials or to steal them from police cars as happens today. Or they will Make them--it's not that hard to do.Criminals can still get guns, if they really want them, even in Britain, so the idea that some criminals will still have guns here is not as laughable as you would have us believe.
E.N., stop proliferating aliases and learn something about guns. I'm referring to the Remington New Model Army.Mikeb, there you go again with that line about how criminals get their guns from us. What a simplistic view. As I've explained to you before, if we bar good citizens from getting guns, that will only disarm compliant people. Criminals and the rebellious will import them from foreign lands.
T., all that you say is true but it would make up only a fraction of what's happening now. The easy theft of guns, the easy private sales, the easy straw purchasing could all be changed. The flow of guns into the criminal world would become a trickle. Greg calls my views simplistic but insists that imported guns would make up the whole difference. I don't think so.What I object to in your arguments is that you want to make it as easy as possible for criminals to keep getting guns all in the name of maximum convenience for yourselves. That's wrong.
Mexico's gun laws are far more strict than our own, and yet their gangs stay well supplied. Corrupt military divert weapons shipments to them (that's one way they have gotten their hands on thousands of U.S. guns--it was a parallel source that came out during the Fast and Furious investigation but was swept under the rug along with the ATF's mega-failure).International arms dealers bring in many others--the full auto AK's they use aren't US purchased ones that have been converted--they're smuggled north into the country or brought in from overseas. Heck, there's news stories about how you can buy a couple of hand grenades for $6 in Mexico City if you know where to look--Functional grenades--not something you can find in the U.S.As awash in arms as Mexico is, and as little success as we've had stopping their drugs from flowing north, there is nothing to suggest that we would not wind up awash in the same flow of illegal guns.And it's not just drug cartels that would do the smuggling. Do you know the dirty secret about all the cheap knockoff goods you can get in Chinatown in NY and other cities? It's smuggled in from China by the same Triad groups that smuggle sex workers, sweat shop workers, and drugs from Asia. They probably already smuggle some weapons, and they could always smuggle more as a way to increase profits.You say that you think that the flow would be a trickle, but you don't give any reasons that you think the flow would be so low.Meanwhile, you miscast our motives, suggesting that we don't care about gun crime so long as we have ours. We care about crime and all of the victims, but what we don't want is to pass laws like you want, which would be more than an "inconvenience" to us, that would have little or no effect on the actual ability of criminals to get weapons.
Not so. I just recognize that your proposals won't keep guns out of the hands of criminals, while they would make legal gun ownership and carry all but impossible.
The sheer number of guns out in the public is causing our current gun problems.
You mean the problem that has been diminishing since the early 90s?
No, I don't mean that since that is not true.
You were answering me? Yes, the rates all kinds of violence have been dropping over the last twenty years. Denying reality doesn't help your cause.
Anonymous,I assume you are replying to Greg Camp's comment about the problem that has been diminishing since the early 90s.Greg's statement is absolutely correct. Go access the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports on the FBI website and see for yourself. You will see that all violent crimes peaked around 1992 or 1993 and have been steadily declining ever since. In fact, the overall violent crime rate (at least as reported to law enforcement agencies) in the U.S. is about the same as it was in the early 1970s -- the lowest rate in almost 40 years. And specific types of violent crimes are at their lowest rates since the early to middle 1960s. Yes, some types of violent crime are at a 50 year low!- TruthBeTold
What you pro-gun guys are loathe to admit is the violent crime rate would have gone down much more if it weren't for the easy access to guns. You keep touting the lessening crime rate as if it's due to increased gun ownership, but it's exactly the opposite.
Mike, that statement of yours is something that can't be proved or disproved. What is more instructive is to look at predictions and whether or not they have come to pass.For years, your side has said that increasing numbers of guns would cause crime to run rampant. Instead, it has declined. Maybe this is because of the guns, mabye it is in spite of the guns. The only thing that we can tell, for sure, from the data is that the presence of more guns did not cause the crime rates to increase.
Exactly. The prediction of gun control freaks is always that violence will increase and death and mayhem will be the new norm. Look at any time a loosening of gun laws is discussed. But consistently, that doesn't happen.So we have the fact that while gun laws have loosened in most states and Federally over the last two decades, rates of violence have decreased.Mikeb, you insist that this is despite guns, not because of guns. I don't know what the cause is, but I do know that the predictions of your side never came to pass. It's time for you to admit that you're wrong about guns.