The Armalite and the ballot box

31958909_10156297063617350_4583491108612341760_o This is my brilliant idea for "solving" - or rather, ameliorating - the mess the USAnians have got themselves into. I actually think it is - or rather would be - a good idea, for the USA, in that it would make the situation there better. Anywhere else other than Somalia it would make worse. Stop me if you've heard this before:

So the USAnians have loadza Gunz, because they like them, and the constitution says they can have them. But the problem is that nutters then shoot other people with those gunz. Another problem, more serious in terms of deaths but of course getting far less press attention, is that loadsa people top themselves using said gunz.

The constituion sayeth the familiar 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. People don't like the unrestricted right given by the second half, and tend to argue that the first clause renders the rest void; but that doesn't seem to work. Also, people tend to like the idea of removing assault rifles out of the hands of people, even those are probably the most useful things for a militia.

So why not just take the first clause seriously? Allow people to keep their AR-15s, possibly even drop the restriction on fully-automatics; but in exchange for that ask for the "well regulated" piece to be taken seriously; which implies background checks and so on. CIP has some other ideas on what it might entail. I'm dubious that going all the way to you-must-join-the-national-militia would make any sense; indeed, that would effectively sabotage the proposal. My significantly weaker version would allow you to take gunz away from the mentally ill, permit background checks, allow you to oblige training courses, and so on. For all those reasons the NRA would oppose it,  because they're the sort of people that want gunz-without-restrictions; but it would be a constitutional way to avoid unrestricted gunz.

[ps: I wrote this in February but have hastily finished it now as a response to CIP. Also by happy coincidence I now have a pic of our new weaponised cat available, and me wearing a tee-shirt proving my support for gunz]


* Armalite and ballot box strategy.


crandles said...

The obvious issue is that it says 'well regulated militia' which seems different to the 'well regulated access to guns' that you seem to be suggesting as your preferred interpretation.

PaulS said...

Couldn't the entire amendment be dropped based on its wording, on the grounds that a militia at this moment in time would be either not necessary or insufficient for the security of a free state?

Or perhaps even better: realise that the amendment was written in a particular time and place by fallible human beings, and believing that those people 250 years ago had better insight into how to order the vastly different world in which we now live is fucking insane.

William Connolley said...

> the entire amendment be dropped based on

You mean, in the real world, or in some fantasy world where everyone is nice and no-one needs or wants gunz anyway? You know the answer to that one.

> it says 'well regulated militia'

It says "A well regulated Militia, being necessary...". It doesn't say that everyone with a gun needs to be in the militia. Attempting to restrict the permission to those in the militia, as CIP also suggests, is doomed to failure. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

rumleyfips said...

A " well regulated militia " exist in the US. It is called the National Guard.

PaulS said...

You mean, in the real world, or in some fantasy world where everyone is nice and no-one needs or wants gunz anyway? You know the answer to that one.

Removing a prohibition on infringing on the right to bear arms doesn't automatically mean all the guns must be taken away. People can still vote for whoever gives them gun legislation at the level they prefer.

But really I was just offering another constitutionally-approved remedy as per your suggestion. The amendment clearly has a logical structure, with a premise and a conclusion. Therefore (this is another example of that logical structure) it should be constitutionally allowable to enact gun restrictions if it can be argued that a militia is no longer necessary for the security of a free state.

William Connolley said...

> if it can be argued that a militia is no longer necessary

I think you may be mixing what is logically or theoretically possible with what is practically and politically possible. I don't think that an argument that would, in effect, nullify the amendment would have any hope.