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    Here begins your journey into the mind of everybody's favorite asian, and I don't mean Jet Li.
What follows is the somewhat inane, mostly irrelevant, and self-important ramblings of a man on the brink of madness.
Welcome... to the Chu.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
 No civilian needs an assault rifle    [L]

"No civilian needs an assault rifle" is a statement often heard - and there are 2 points that must be made when addressing it:

1) "assault rifle" is a nebulous term - ask 10 joe schmoes and you'll get 10 different answers. However, the common perception is that "assault rifle" means an automatic rifle used by the military that fires bullets as long as you hold the trigger down. The reality is, whenever you hear a politician say the words "assault rifle", they really mean, "scary-looking" gun.
To clear up some misconceptions:

First, no civilian can freely or easily own fully-automatic rifles used by the military. The majority of guns sold today, and normally available to civilians, are semi-automatic - which is a misleading way of saying that you pull the trigger once, and one bullet comes out. There is a legal process to be able to own full-auto weapons, but it is so onerous you'd probably rather go through a messy divorce. That's a real shame too, because there are few things more enjoyable than firing an Uzi on full rock'n'roll.

Secondly, I wasn't kidding when I said politicans mean "scary-looking" when they say "assault rifle". The Assault Weapon Ban (AWB) from the Clinton era from 1994-2004 came up with a definition of assault weapon: a combination of 2 or more minor cosmetic features. You read that right, COSMETIC. Nothing about those features significantly altered the function of the weapon: a folding/telescoping stock, a pistol grip, a bayonet mount, a flash hider. You could get any of those features individually, but as soon as you had 2 or more, watch out! ASSAULT WEAPON! OOOOH.

So keep in mind that politicians are stupid, and they think their constituents are too.

2) "Nobody NEEDS an assault rifle", or what they really mean, "a hunting rifle is good enough", or "people shouldn't own military guns".

This is where the 2nd amendment proves them wrong. It wasn't written to protect hunting weapons. It had several purposes:

A) To give the states a well-regulated (prepared) militia (all citizens of military age not in the military). In order to be prepared, people had to own (keep) and be proficient in (bear) firearms.

Tenche Cox, Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress, twice explained the purpose of the Second Amendment to his fellow citizens, first writing in The Pennsylvania Gazette, on Feb. 20, 1788.

"The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American - the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."

Coxe was explicit: the Founders held that the militia were the people, and that Congress had no power to disarm the people. Further he defined that the citizens of this Republic should have military arms, as checks and balances against over-reach by both state and local powers.

So the statement "nobody NEEDS an assault (military) rifle" is not only missing the point, but is actually the ANTITHESIS of what was meant by the 2nd amendment - in fact, it indicates that the writers WANTED the citizenry to be able to carry the same rifles used by the military.

Let us also be aware of the fact that the military uses many types of guns - many types of guns ALSO used by civilians! So you can't even ban civilian ownership of arms used by the military, because that would consist of most types of civilian firearms.

B) It was designed as a bulwark against tyranny, a final check and balance against an overreaching government.

Almost a year and a half later, Coxe wrote again to more explicitly highlight why Americans should have military arms in their possession as protection against government.

He did so in "Remarks On The First Part Of The Amendments To The Federal Constitution," in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789.

"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms."

Even a cursory glance of 20th century history would show that federal confiscation and ban of privately owned firearms is a precursor to that government engaging the mass slaughter of its citizens.

C) and finally, but perhaps most importantly, it was meant to allow an individual to protect themselves, in order that no one may infringe upon their rights:

A decade later in 1799, Coxe wrote again in the Philadelphia Aurora as tensions arose between Federalists and Republicans:

"Do you wish to preserve your rights? Arm yourselves. Do you desire to secure your dwellings? Arm yourselves. Do you wish your wives and daughters protected? Arm yourselves. Do you wish to be defended against assassins or the Bully Rocks of faction? Arm yourselves. Do you desire to assemble in security to consult for your own good or the good of your country? Arm yourselves. To arms, to arms, and you may then sit down contented, each man under his own vine and his own fig-tree and have no one to make him afraid... If you are desirous to counteract a design pregnant with misery and ruin, then arm yourselves; for in a firm, imposing and dignified attitude, will consist your own security and that of your families. To arms, then to arms."

America's founders also foresaw the most common and erroneous arguments that would be levied against the 2nd:

Thomas Jefferson’s Commonplace Book, written between 1774-1776, quoted from criminologist Cesare Beccaria’s 1764 On Crimes and Punishment about an armed citizenry:

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.

Which comes as no surprise to those who are connected with reality. There's a reason why cliches such as "when guns are outlawed..." exist - and that is because it is true! It's only a cliche because people have to repeat it so often, because there are so many that are dangerously and willfully ignorant of human nature.

Now, I talk a lot about guns here - because it's an area I know a good amount about, and I know how much our politicians do not know. Not only do our leaders know little about guns, they know the wrong things - their knowledge is less than nothing, is useless at best, and dangerous at worst.

But this brings me to a broader point: our government knows less than nothing about something and yet wants to rule over it - be it firearms, healthcare, the internet, business, etc. Not only do they want to rule over that which they do not comprehend; but they also are largely shielded from the consequences of their actions. They shouldn't be trusted with a neighborhood lemonade stand, let alone healthcare!

much thanks to Bob Owen's excellent article