Gun Control in America

Update 16th April 2007 When I wrote this post, I didn’t realise what would happen a week later.


Original post

Washington DC had a ban on citizens owning handguns. This law was in place for thirty years until last month, when the US court of appeals stuck it down as unconstitutional. According to the court, the law violates the individual’s right to bear arms under the second amendment to the constitution.

Right, says Bock. Let’s have a look at this old second amendment then.

Dum dee dum dee dumm dum.

Here we go.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

OK. That seems pretty straightforward, wouldn’t you think? You can see the claw-hammer coats and powdered wigs as they drew this one up. A militia. We need a militia to protect God-fearing Protestants from the heathen red man! The people must be permitted to bear arms!!

Damn right. A yeomanry is what you need when you’re surrounded by Godless and angry locals you’ve just invaded and displaced. And what use is a yeomanry if they haven’t got their muskets in the thatch? Answer: no use whatever.

So there you go. It couldn’t be plainer: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

With forensic rigour, I have examined it, and I note the following. It doesn’t say Under all circumstances, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

No. It doesn’t. It says, A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State.

Nor does it say, without qualification, The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.


It says A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Now, I can see no ambiguity whatever in these words, but apparently the US appeals court thinks it means something other than the obvious. The US appeals court thinks it means

Any fucking maniac can have a bazooka.

Christ Almighty. No wonder they’re invading everyone they don’t like.



In a reply to this post, Brian expressed the view that the second amendment was bestowed on the people by their creator. Now, I have to confess, this puzzled me. I didn’t understand what he meant. Did God really write the American constitution? Damn me, I was baffled.

But after a while, I realised that it all made sense.

Wasn’t Charlton Heston president of the NRA? Yes, he was.

Aha! And didn’t old Chuck know God pretty well? Yes. They used to play cards together every Friday night.

Well then. It’s obvious. God told him over a beer: Chuck, I know y’all been worryin about this here gun control thing. Well, y’all can quit frettin cuz I’m fixin to put an end to it. Go forth and tell my People that y’all can bear arms. An’ ifn anyone asks why, you tell ’em it’s cuz I said so. Ya hear me, boy?

I hear you, God.


RTE news reports as follows:

At least 22 people, including the suspect, were killed in a shooting rampage on the US campus of Virginia Tech University. Police and university officials have confirmed the death toll in Blacksburg, Virginia. The shootings took place in two separate areas of the campus and police believe a single gunman was responsible. ‘This is a tragedy of monumental proportions,’ Virginia Tech president Charles Steger told reporters. Police said they were investigating whether the gunman killed himself or was killed by authorities.

Most of the shootings took place at a part of the campus called Norris Hall, according to campus police chief Wendell Finchum. This is one of the deadliest shooting rampages in the US, a country known for its loose gun ownership laws. The last one of this scale on a university campus was when Charles Whitman went to top of the tower in the middle of the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, on 1 August, 1966, and opened fire on people 27 stories below.

He killed 15 people, including his mother and wife the night before, and wounded 31 others.==================================================

UPDATE: The death toll is now 33.

It seems the shootings took place in two separate attacks by the same man, and there was a two-hour gap between them. This looks like monumental incompetence on the part of the University authorities and the police.

The first two shootings took place in the dormitory room. Apparently, a jilted boyfriend killed his former girlfriend and new boyfriend. Oh dear Jesus.

The university had what they call a “lockdown” system. This means that when they heard about the first two shootings, they locked the students into their classrooms, which was why the gunman was able to murder a further thirty-one students. Thirty-one more kids! Why?

Two hours after the first murders, it appears that this demented young man was able to kill a a further thirty people. Sons and daughters. Young kids like yours or mine. Young kids, murdered and unable to escape because they were “locked down”.

According to the campus police chief, after the first two people were killed, he thought it was “more than likely” that the killer had left the campus. He later spoke about “bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion”.

Successful conclusion? Well, that will be a relief to the families of the murdered kids.

I also saw George Bush on the news saying a prayer.

Dear God.

kick it on

42 thoughts on “Gun Control in America

  1. There are 2 parts to that whole 2nd amedment thing and like the neo-socialists we call the democrat party all you see is the 1st part.
    “the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” was debated widely and furiously 200 years ago. go and google The Federalist Papers. Over and over again, through out our history(until the late 1960’s) our courts have held that the people have this right. A right not given or bestowed by the government but bestowed by our creator. The 1st ten amendments are not given rights but bestowed rights. There is a big difference therein and that is one of the things that makes this experiment in self-determination pretty cool.

  2. Hey Brian. I’m only reading what I see. I haven’t yet managed a window into the mind of the Creator.

  3. I would like it very much if I could pry Charlton Heston’s gun out of his cold, dead hands. The NRA bullshit makes me sick.

  4. Brianf, in my belief, Bill Hicks summed it up perfectly when he compared gun control and crime in the US to the UK. This is not verbatim, it’s from memory:
    “There is no connection between having a gun and shooting somebody and not having a gun and not shooting someone. And anyone that suggests otherwise is a fool and a Communist.”

    I think he hits the nail on the head there pretty soundly.

  5. Hey Bock, no offence meant. What our founders felt were rights conveyed from God our left-wing-whackos known as the Democrat party wish to remove from us because….well I’m still not sure why. The only thing I can figure is that they want to subjugate the people. Now even though we are moving more and more every day towards a nanny-state there are alot of folks who refuse to go quietly, myself included.

  6. Brian, you’re not giving me offence. I’m only a disembodied internet presence.

    I’m only looking at the facts and viewing this as an outsider. However, having said that, your constitution seems pretty clear.

    (That’s speaking as someone who has been reading for quite a long time now).

  7. Well they confiscated me cutlass when I went there. It makes it difficult to have a good pillage.

  8. I’ve always said that it’s far easier to control a “nanny state” with guns. So, Brianf, is it you contention that God did bestow onto your fore-fathers, two tablets of stone. One, with a beretta hidden in it and the other with a couple of spare clips? Please. If it wasn’t for America’s insanely liberal gun laws, John Lennon would be alive today. Would I be right in saying that you’re a fasci… naz… I mean, republican?

  9. ArrGGHH Cap’nP I be neither matey. I be a Libertarian.
    The original intent of the 2nd amendment is a well armed populous to hold tyranny at bay. So when a criminal element, say the Clintonistas, come to power the people can rise up. You can give me all the horsehockey about gun violence and I’ll point out both britain and Australia’s violent crime rate increases after firearm confiscation and their continued increases in violent crime. Here in Pennsylvania we have always had the right to self-defense but a racist law was passed in the 30’s requiring us to retreat when not in our homes or business’. this was passed as a way of keeping black people from carrying firearms. This was recently overturned so if I perceive a threat of grievious bodily harm then I have the right to the use of deadly force. Contrary to what you might think, this reduces crime, for one simple reason…everyone knows that you do not bring a knife or baseball bat to a gun fight.
    Check out my post…
    BTW, I am classified….
    Master, Highpower Rifle
    Master, Sporting Rifle
    Expert, Long Range Rifle
    Expert, Bullseye Pistol
    Chief Range Saftey Officer
    Rifle Instructor

  10. Hey..if you know where I can pick up a bazooka let me know.
    First off the constitution is a piece of paper that can be amended at any time.Not easily I grant you but possible all the same.
    Secondly the 2nd amendment was passed not to keep the Red Man down but rather to keep A)The Redcoats fucking well gone and B)mad fuckers like Andy Jackson from declaring himself Emperor.
    That’s partly why there are over 40,000 different police depts in the US as a check and/or balance to the government going bad.(Hellooooooo)There’s also the question of the individual states.I work in Virginia right across the river from DC and it’s an open carry state.I can strap my six-shooter on,throw an AK-47 over my shoulder and walk down the street legally.Yet if I’m caught with a concealed weapon that I don’t have a permit to carry concealed then I go to jail long time.It’s utter madness.
    This court decison is part of a larger movement to clarify what exactly it means to be a citizen of DC.It’s a weird federal enclave that isn’t part of any state and has no representation in Congress.Yet the residents pay federal income tax.No taxation without representation how are ye?

  11. Erm..

    Just one question.

    If it’s a ‘right’ (from God, apparently) to bear arms, then why is a permit required?

    Just askin’


  12. Let them wear T-shirts if they want to bare arms.

    Right. That was thick, but then we are talking about the US appeals court, the NRA etc.

  13. brianf, you said: “This was recently overturned so if I perceive a threat of grievious bodily harm then I have the right to the use of deadly force.”

    With all due respect, what if you were unstable or bonkers or just feeling a little jumpy one day, and perceived a threat from say, a gang of boys with hoodies. What if one of them had his weapon out, as is legal in an open-carry state as Devin says. He might be showing to his friends or he may be planning to use it on you. You’re feeling edgy anyway that day, it’s been stressful at work, you’ve been feeling paranoid and not eating or sleeping much. In fact you are mentally ill but not yet diagnosed so that when you blow the poor kid away it’s too late for everyone to say, “well, we would never have let him have a gun if we’d thought he was going to go off his rocker!”

    I don’t mean you of course, but these situations happen and trigger-fingers get jumpy.

    I don’t get the God-given part of the God-given right to bear arms. How did the founding fathers know what God wanted for America. They were smart fellows, for sure, but claiming to know something as specific as gun-rights from the mind of God seems a bit of a jump.

    I don’t mean to have a go, or anything – nobody does, people are cool around here – it’s just hard to convince the Irish and the Brits on this one, but I’m genuinely interested in what the argument is for these positions. I don’t see how a bunch of men can discern what God wants in such specificity as the right to bear arms.

  14. As an outsider, for me it’s simple. Two countries, side by side: the US and Canada. One has sensible gun control. One doesn’t. One has ridiculous levels of gun crime. One doesn’t. Dress it up and overanalyse it all you want, but it doesn’t take a PhD to see the link.

    And I leave you with these immortal words from Goldie Lookin’ Chain: Guns don’t kill people, rappers do.

  15. I have always found my .357 Magnum a great incentive to good service in restaurants. I just put it on the tablecloth when I sit down and the waiters couldn’t be more helpful.

  16. Kav, you just made me laugh out loud.

    “You can give me all the horsehockey about gun violence and I’ll point out both britain and Australia’s violent crime rate increases after firearm confiscation and their continued increases in violent crime.”

    Erm… proportionally, they’re still much, much lower than America’s violent crime rates, and there are less deaths as a result of violent crimes.

    Linked to the availability of weapons? Surely not!

  17. God is a women, this is why everyone is confused, it’s her gig. I’m troubled as to why les septics ( Septic tanks , yanks – your American readers Bock ) can’t adopt the Oirish attitude to our constitution i.e. It’s a crock of shit, but it’s our crock of shit. Life isn’t logical or rational, and never brings closure ( another Americanism) folks , so stop trying to make dispassionate and anodyne arguments as to this or that, and if you must, meditate on the absurdity of it all.

    Also, can we give Moyross and Southill to the 2nd amendment crowd and let them sort it out.

    The gun thing, I’d say it’s more a boy thing, something to do with our hands to stop us fiddlin and scratching our nuts. If Nokia or Apple had been around before Colt or Winchester, things would have been a lot better cause they’d be killing each other with texts or personalised mixes. The only blood spilt would be from our ears listening to the adults giving out about content .

    It occurs to me that is we Irish get the politicians we deserve, then the US gets the amendments, constitutions, republicans, democrats ( is there a real difference ? ), guns , TV, presidents, and legacy they fully deserve.

  18. “So when a criminal element, say the Clintonistas, come to power the people can rise up.”

    You have to wonder … if people think they needed guns under Clinton, what on earth do they think they need now????

    Habeas corpus doesn’t exist in the US under Bush. He himself has the right to declare *anyone* a terrorist, and if he does, god help you. You won’t even be guaranteed your day in court. A basic right that has existed for hundreds of years. Gone, puff, with the Jose Padilla case (+ military tribunals in Gitmo.)

    Bush may yet be brought to heel by Congress, but these things take time. He could well last until 2008. And then what? Hillary the Thatcher clone?

    God help us all.

  19. Bock, your update was good. Made me laugh. Our founding fathers felt there were certain inalienable right confered to man by his creator. It’s a central tenet in the wrting and ensueing arguement and acceptance of our constitution. You know, the whole, We hold these truths to be self evident thing. It forms the basis of why I don’t understand why peoples the world over accept subjugation or better yet beneficience.
    BTW, Everyone knows that GOD never called Charlton Heston, Chuck. He refered to him as Chuckles.

  20. Sam, problem-child-bride,
    Perceive was a poor choice of words. Maybe I should have said, ” If I encounter the threat of…”.
    Your situation has been in front of courts many times and they have wrestled with it in many ways. Normal everyday people snap and go shoot someone. It’s a terrible thing but those same kind of people also beat their kids to death with baseball bats(It just happened here in PA) so with the gun-grabbers attitude we need to outlaw baseball bats right off.

  21. Hey Kav,
    Canukland had gun laws no different than ours up until about 20ish years ago. Then they instituted gun registration. Then they came and took everybodys guns.
    Throught history it’s always been the same. First registration then confiscation then subjugation. See, Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Britain, Australia.

  22. Brianf, as well as been classified, you’re nuts. Guns are wrong, they hurt people. Ireland has growing issues with them, but the overwhelming opinion is to stay well clear cause they hurt. Your God obsession is just that, an obsession and you appear to have given her permission to give you, permission to use your guns. If you haven’t already read Catch 22 , check it but watch out for the irony.

  23. But Brian, do the stats not bear out that what your Canadian neighbours did has helped prevent them following in the US’s footsteps? Lower murder rate, etc.

    And I’m not seeing the parallels between Nazi Germany or Communism and the laws in Britain or Australia.

    I think it’s a neverending argument, this one. There are people who will just never understand the need for people to own a gun for “self-defence”, and there are people who think that the right to bear arms, or arm bears, or whatever else as long as there’s guns involved, is a fundamental human right. There’s no way to reconcile the two.

    I often think of the film Casino, when DeNiro is talking about Joe Pesci’s psychopath character: “You beat Nicky with fists, he comes back with a bat. You beat him with a knife, he comes back with a gun. And if you beat him with a gun, you better kill him, because he’ll keep coming back until one of you is dead.” That’s America.

  24. at the end what I meant to say was “That’s how I see America going”, meaning everyone trying to outdo each other – if a thief breaks into my house and has a 9mm pistol, I need to have a .357 Magnum to make sure I stop that motherfucker cold. That kind of thing.

  25. No way in the world should John Q Citizen have the right to have a gun. What’s the point? If someone pisses you off you should be able to nuke the bastards.

  26. sniffle&cry….good name. Please read what I wrote and not what you want to read into it.
    you are completely correct in that it is a never ending arguement. My point on Canada, britain, Nazi Germany, etc is that EVERY TIME gun registration has taken place it ended in confiscation and higher voilent crime rates and harsher and more intrusive laws. It crosses all types of government.

  27. Brianf, but a baseball can’t accidentally hit the wrong person. Not everyone with a gun is competent enough to use it, plus there’s the heat of the moment factor. Far, far too many accidents and bad impulse decisions occur because of guns.

    Let people carry baseballs bats if they feel they need protection. Then they might pause and consider before just reacting.

    The Constitution is just a piece of paper written by fine, fine men but men nonetheless and fallible men. They didn’t do so well on the old slavery thing. Why rely on it like it was the ten commandments? It’s a political, not a religious document. If you encase it in gold and don’t allow for the fact that the times have changed wildly and beyond anything the founding fathers would recognise, then the whole system stagnates.

    I admire the libertarian ethos but I still don’t get why people have a right to bear arms.

    The interpretation isn’t even clear from the wording. The Fathers may have abhorred the idea of one-man and his semi-automatic weapon. It can be equally as validly read as the people’s bearing arms is the right to keep an armed militia; “the people” are being referred to in a “body politic” sense in the preceding clause so grammar dictates “the people” must still mean the body politic ’til the end of the sentence.

    When I read it, I don’t see a provision for the right to private gun ownership. The constitution is, at best, ambiguous on this.

  28. I’m not going to answer each reply individually, or we’d be here all night. Just one or two points.

    Brian suggests that the amendment allows the people to keep guns so that they can rise up if a criminal element takes power. Hmm. Presumably he means Democrat criminal elements and not the sort they have at present.

    Second, I’m very uncomfortable with people invoking God to support their political positions. We have seen enough of this from various mullahs and ayatollahs already.

    Third, you may hold certain truths to be self-evident, but that doesn’t make you right. When I’m drunk I also hold certain things to be self-evident, and I have the black eyes to prove it. Anyway, that was the declaration of independence, not the constitution, and just for the record, neither of them came down from a mountain on stone tablets.

    I don’t know what subjugation Brian is referring to in Britain and Australia (apart from the plight of the aboriginal people, of course).

  29. Sam, problem-child-bride,
    Baseballs most certainly do hit unintended targets. There is a column in the box scores called HP. It means Hit by Pitch.
    Our constitution is the foundation of our system of government. So you’re saying we should just throw the entire basis of our system of government out the window and change our way of doing things everytime someone gets a wild hair up their butt?!??! You will answer no to that so then we must hold dear our constitution. It is NOT a “living” document. It is a basis for a system. Whether or not you like the system is another discussion.
    The courts for 220+ years have held that the 2nd amendment give the individual the right. So now you don’t like that. Well let’s just throw everything that came before us out the window. Our courts have also ruled for 200+ years that whatever small arms technology the standing Army has should be available to the citizenry. Miller v The U.S. 1936 did away with that not because of any legal arguement but because Miller and his lawyer never showed up to court. Look it up.
    You speak of ambiguity, well there was none in regards to it before the Clintonistas hijacked the demoncrat party and turned it into the neo-socialist party it is today.

  30. “apart from the plight of the aboriginal people …”

    It’s a never-ending story of beastliness. The aboriginal people in Britain, Mesolithic hunter-gatherer types, got stomped in the Neolithic by immigrants from mainland Europe (proto-Germans, mostly). Now if those aboriginals had had some decent arrows instead of those flint-tipped things, matters might have taken a different turn.

  31. Hey Bock…my last comment on this post.
    My reference to God was soley the point that our founding fathers held that there are certain rights conveyed to man by his creator.
    Nothin more than that.

    ps. I use to have a bumper sticker on the back of my old VW camper that said…..
    “MY President is Charlton Heston”

  32. If God wrote the bible then he can write some old crap for the yanks. Everyone should have guns not just the nutters or bad guys, too many morons in the world let the law be, if you do unto others then expect it back onto you.

  33. Gah! Those rights did NOT come from God. The Founders didn’t believe in God. End of it.

    Charlton Heston thinks he’s God, but he’s just a crackpot with a booming voice.

  34. Ah, brianf, you got me – I meant baseball bat but it’s too late for me to be on the ball now.

    I’m with the libertarians on a number of things but the gun thing isn’t one of them. I think there is just a fundamental difference in attitude on either side of The Pond. I could spout statistics as could you, but at the end of the day, it just feels all wrong to me and all right to you.

    Thanks for fielding us all so gamely though!

  35. A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    Bock, you’re missing the historical context, here. Devin got it right; the guns were necessary to prevent the government from fucking us over. That is what the framers of the Constitution had in mind. It gives us the right bear arms (an important point, if you look at the history leading up to the American Revolution, especially in Scotland and Ireland, countries defeated by the English, and where the indigenous population was specifically banned from having weapons of any kind, even knives and swords, and where do you think those pissed off rebels ended up?), and anything else is reading into it. The interesting point, which nobody ever seems to argue about, is the “well regualted militia” clause. So, who’s going to regulate the militia? What constitutes a “militia,” exactly? The Federal and State governments have used this to require various regualtions and permits on weapon-owning, but does that not defeat the purpose of having arms to protect yourself against the government, since the government knows who has what, and might short-list you if the country has another armed revolution? See? Interesting points, huh?

    BrianF — You’re a nutter. If you officially joined the Libertarian Party, you had to sign a statement saying that you don’t advocate overthrowing the Government by force, which just goes to show you how hypocritical the Libertarian Party actually is, as where would this country be if we hadn’t overthrown the English? Think about it.

    Sassy, those Founding Fathers certainly did believe in God. Tom Jefferson was a Deist. Even Benjamin Franklin went to a Christian Church. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably believes in God, and at least goes to church to appease the crazed villagers and get elected. Some of them didn’t believe in slavery, either, but they had slaves. You have to look at what people do, not what they say, or what they write. I can call myself Salma Hayek and pretend that half the world is hot for me, but it ain’t true, and the historical evidence will show otherwise.

    Sniffle & Cry said…. “Guns are wrong, they hurt people.” Your logic is faulty. People are wrong, they hurt people. Try that one on for size. If there were no more people, then people wouldn’t get hurt by people, would they?

    Talk amongst yourselves, I’m all verklempt. I’ll give you a topic…. I have a theory that America is a violent, religiously fanatical country because we ended up with the crazed, violent, religiously fanatical people from all the other countries. Nature and nurture, and all that, and here we are today. All responses may be completely plagiarized for a dissertation. Thank you.

  36. “Why do people point guns at each other?Sometimes they go off.Poor kids.”
    Leopold Bloom
    James Joyce’s Ulysses

  37. I’m just wondering what the most number of deaths in a campus spree killing by baseball bat is? Or, for the pedantic out there, just by the actual ball?

    Every country has a foundation for their system of government. Every country has a historical context. But most grow up.

    A written constitution is more than a snapshot of the time it was framed; it has a mechanism for change built into it so that it doesn’t become frozen in the wrong time. Changing it within that framework upholds what was founded.

    Why does the US pharmaceutical industry have more legislative control for the safety of drugs in the presence of children than of guns in their presence? Is it because there is not a right to take medicine enshrined in stone, sorry I mean the constitution?

  38. Hey Bock, I was thinking that you might come back to your last week’s posting. Sacred heart of Jesus Christ but there’s a well of sadness about this morning. I get frightened, confused and then overwhelmed when this particular type of tragedy occurs. Frightened cause it could be me or one of mine, confused as to what took him over the edge, and then overwhelmed by the talking heads.

    You floated the 2nd amendment to provoke a debate and got it in spades, and the same debate will rage over the coming days and I will become numb as the words wash over me repetitiously, monotonously, ad nausea, constitution reform, civil rights, NRA, God. The important faces will merge into a late night flickering distraction on Sky or Fox. I’m tempted to say that it’s their problem (regardless of the Irish children caught up in the tragedy), that they’ve known about it too long and done nothing tangible to sort it out, but I also know that this would be insensitive. But I see a simple solution, one for which there is no sentiment state-side, and I acknowledge that it’s a million times easier for me to state an opinion, then it is for a father to pick up his child’s broken body at a morgue.

    So, forget the claptrap, the analysis, the handy talk, the agendas, the lobbyists, let the American mothers rise up and tell their politician sons to stop licensing new guns now, stop gun sales now and hand back all guns now . Why not, what conceivable harm will it do ? Only good could ever come of it.

    The Da worked on the railway for too long and I remember him often telling us that you couldn’t design a railway carriage or engine to withstand a collision. No such construction could exist, and all safety activities were directed at operational procedure and discipline. It is the same with guns, you can’t design a safe society when they’re present, just get rid of the fucking things.

  39. In my humble opinion, recent events you mention warrant a new Bock post, and not just an addendum that people who don’t have readers might miss. What say you Bock?

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