Keeping and Bearing Arms

In my post from earlier today about gun crime in Britain, one British commenter had this to say:

No thanks. We don’t want a gun culture like you have over there. You can keep it.

The MinutemanSome of the other commenters, including other Britons, disagreed.

Let’s recapitulate what American “gun culture” is based on, namely the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution:

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.

Commenter JohnCV, who lives in Albemarle County, Virginia — just over the James River from Gates of Vienna — had this to say (I have taken the liberty of correcting his typos):

That’s a shame because you have just relegated yourself to, at best, a non-factor and at worst a hapless victim dependent on the mercy or protection of others.

Some say that the world has changed, but really it is the same dangerous place that it has always been. The only difference is that many of the threats can come at us from greater distances. The true threat we face as a free people is the insidious erosion of our God-given freedoms as delineated in the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution (much of which is based on English law and ideals).

The only way we as Americans were able to establish those rights was by armed insurrection by a citizen militia. Those citizens were all skilled riflemen. That term has a long and proud connotation in our society that spans the breadth our of (rather short) history. But also note that we are the longest consistent democracy on the planet with the oldest single constitution. Is that a coincidence? No.

Title 10, Section 311 of the United States Code states that:

– – – – – – – – – –

(a)   The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b)   The classes of the militia are
  (1)   the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
  (2)   the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

So, according to current Federal law, every able-bodied man between the ages of 17 and 45 not on active duty, reserve, or National Guard service is already a member of the “unorganized militia”.


We (some still do anyway) view it as our duty as a citizen to maintain certain skills that, should we be called upon, rally to our country.

Unlike many older countries, we do not have that sense of being rooted to a plot of land for 5000 years. Most came here in recent generations from elsewhere. As Americans, our allegiance to is a set of ideals, laws and freedoms that bind us to all other Americans, not to a specific bit of soil. It’s at the core of who we are (this is the true danger of multiculturalism which is poisonous to America — without a common set of values, we have nothing to unify us).

Guns are an outward manifestation of that. Ask most traditional Americans about taking away the guns and even non-gun owners would be strongly against it. Only the elitist Eurocentric types want gun control (read liberal-academic-media types). These people either never knew or have forgotten what societal infrastructure supports their elitist existences. Gramsci would be proud.

Visualize cutting off a limb while sitting on it.

Sorry to be so verbose, but you clearly don’t grasp the importance of owning a firearm and having the freedom to use it in your own best interest (in a proper way). Hope this helps a bit.

There are two sides to every gun — which side would you rather be on?

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

70 thoughts on “Keeping and Bearing Arms

  1. Luckily, I don’t need a gun. I just threaten people with the missus! When she gets angry, there is nothing to compare!

  2. I don’t own a gun. I probably will never own a gun. But as I see the rise of Marxist and Islamofascist tyranny in Europe, combined with a crime rate spiralling out of control, I am grateful that I CAN get a gun if I need it.

    (Although you go through a lot of hoops in a blue state to get one.)

  3. You can get a handgun in Finland, though it’s not necessarily easy, and you can’t carry it with you (not even most security guards can carry guns). I didn’t do my military service because of health reasons, so I doubt they’d ever give me a permit.

    If you do have a gun and you defend your home with it, it’s pretty likely that you’ll end up in prison, at least based on what I’ve heard. It’s completely ridiculous.

  4. I once read (it may have been on Kim Du Toit’s blog) that owning a gun is essentially a political statement which says that your life, and the life of those you love, is more important than the life of any criminal that would harm them.

  5. The guy from Formerly Great Britain may not want a “gun culture like we have” [sic], but we certainly don’t want a crime culture like they have. Just go to City Journal and read Theodore Dalrymple’s columns about life in England and its raging crime scene. FGB has lost all resemblance to a civilized country. They’re the ones, remember, who gave us the word “yob” (in Russian, “hooligan”); they’re the ones, remember, who’ll clap you in jail if you defend yourself against those yobs – sucessfully.

    I, for one, want no part of what’s going on in Britain, over here.

  6. During the early stages of WWII, when FGB was facing the possibility of invasion by the German army, the call went out in America [probably the NRA helped] to donate any firearms we could spare for England’s defense. Millions were donated and sent. After the war, [probably about the same time that Churchill was voted out] they were all collected and dumped in the channel.
    England [and Europe] will probably be under Sharia law soon enough, reminding us all of that wonderful old axiom: “A nation gets the leadership it deserves.”

  7. I had a situation occur recently that brought the whole idea of self defense to the forefront on my mind. It’s detailed here;

    Please excuse what might seem a cheap way of plugging my own blog, but I did it in the interest of maintaining brevity on this site.

    I’ll close with what’s been cited to me as the Bernard Goetz thinking on self defense; “It’s better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.”

  8. Yes, that explains why you have guns in abundance over there. Doesn’t mean we have to have them over here. You do it your way, and we’ll do it ours.

  9. 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.

    So where are they, the well regulated militias?

  10. Look on the net for statistics One thing is clear the US leads the world in deaths and injuries from firearms and the accompanying costs of treating them. There is a direct connection to the number of firearms available and the number of injuries.

    Even when it is shown that sometimes gun owners successfully protect their property the greatest source of illegal weapons used in crimes is still theft from those same gun owners. Department of Justice

    As firearms are a State and not a Federal responsibility I have often felt that the best (and bravest) thing a presidential candidate could do would be to campaign to make gun ownership a privilege not a right.

    Repeal the the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution!!!

  11. Deegee, why do you think gunshot injuries inherantly worse than stab wounds or blunt trauma? Comparing just gun crime statistics is pretty meaningless.

    Furthermore, why do you assume gun ownership leads to violent crime and not the other way around?

  12. fellow peacekeeper:
    Deegee, why do you think gunshot injuries inherently worse than stab wounds or blunt trauma?
    The major advantage of firearms is that they do greater damage from greater distance. That is why we equip our armies with firearms (and planes, artillery, etc) and not swords. The likelihood of death or serious injury from firearms makes them inherently worse.

  13. fellow peacekeeper:
    Why do you assume gun ownership leads to violent crime and not the other way around?

    I never said there was a connection between guns and violence. I said there is a connection between the pool of available weapons and the level of crime using those weapons.

    The first step in reducing American casualties (and I claim crime involving firearms) to the level of most countries we consider our peers, is removing the idea that everyone is entitled to a gun. That means repealing the second ammendment. Note, the ammendment does not mention violent crime, only well regulated militias which haven’t existed for ‘does anyone know?’ years.

    The second step is uniform regulations across the US. Not easy to do but impossible while US citizens see gun ownership as a constitutional right and not a tightly controlled privilege.

  14. deegee, I don’t mind going gunless. I’m 6’3″, over 200 lbs and always been tagged as “crazy”.

    But in the case of my 5’6″ wife who is alone at home with our two toddlers while I’m at work, I don’t play.

    Gun control really does mean hitting what you aim at!

  15. deegee, US citizens don’t simply ‘see’ gun ownership as a constitutional right, it IS a constitutional right. The right to self-defense is God-given, meaning it pre-dates man-made law. I am part of a well-regulated militia, meaning that as I train with my gun, as do other gun owners, we are the militia.

    We are not allowing the government to disarm us and we are not allowing people like you, using the government, to do so either. If you are so keen to have me disarmed, I politely suggest you attempt it yourself.

    Subvet – gun control is using two hands.

  16. The arguments over gun injury statistics are a little specious considering the size of the united states, and the number of people who own guns there. You see, the statistics all take the US as a single country. This skews the stats quite badly. A fairer analysis would consider each state as a seperate country for the puposes of statistical collection, and on that level the stats even out. I don’t have any papers to hand but I seem to recall that California and New York lead the pack for accidental injuries, whereas Texas and Florida, with the highest gun ownerships in the States, have the lowest level of accidental injury. They also have some of the lowest levels of crime in the states per capita. Memory being what it is I may be a bit off, but there you go. The place with the highest gun crime rate is, I believe, washington DC, where guns are completely banned.

    The general stats as I recall them are that states with high legal gun ownership and fewer gun regulations tend to have less crime and statistically no more accidents than those with tight regulations and fewer legal weapons.

    For a european perspective (because this ramble just wouldn’t be complete without one), lets just point at Switzerland, where everyone is not merely allowed, but required to carry a gun and a stock of ammunition and take part in regular training in order to form part of a militia for national defence. Switzerland has the lowest crime rate per capita in the entire world. IMO, the framers of the constitution didn’t go far enough with the second amendment.

  17. subvet:
    But in the case of my 5’6″ wife who is alone at home with our two toddlers while I’m at work, I don’t play.

    I’m going to make the assumption that your firearms are locked up where your two children can’t get at them, trigger-locked or disassembled and the ammunition locked in a separate place? Wikipedia has a good article on safety for firearms not in use.

    I’m also going to make the assumption your wife is well trained with the weapon, level-headed under pressure and has received intensive ‘police level’ instruction on how to behave in a crisis. Therefore she is unlikely to panic and shoot the kid next door, the children or herself or you.

    I am also assuming neither she, you or anyone knowing of the firearm to be suicidal.

    Rather defeats the self-defence argument doesn’t it?

    For the record my 5’3″ wife doesn’t own a gun. Nor do most wives, whatever their size, in most countries in the world. It should come as no surprise that the levels of accidental death or injury from firearms is much higher in the US than anywhere else.

  18. Cindi:

    In what sense is ‘your’ militia well regulated? Is any group of people who train with firearms a militia?

    Why hasn’t God given the ‘right’ to carry arms anywhere else but the US. In any other country where I would live it is a controlled privilege.

  19. deegee, before you go any further I suggest reading a recent post on my blog entitled, “On self defense and calling 911”. Normally I don’t get involved in 2nd Amendment discussions but events cited in that post put me in a different mind.

    At one time we would have been fellow travelers. After the shootings at Columbine I was all for a levelheaded evaluation of gun availability in the USA. Trouble is, few on either side of the debate are willing to listen. IMHO those on both sides have their share of nutcases that preclude any real debate.

    So I gave it up and decided to stay with the ones who allow me the most latitude in defending me and mine.

    And no, many of your assumptions are false. Prattle on all you want, I and I alone am responsible for my family’s safety. Your input is inconsequential.

  20. Degee Rather defeats the self-defence argument doesn’t it?

    Relax hippy, and read more . Best way to solve the kids/locker problem is to always carry. In addition, training of children should start early.

    Reducing gunshot casualties is entirely meaningless if it increases numbers of stabbing, bashing, strangling or rape victims. Futhermore, numbers of criminals perforated should not be counted. Every criminal permanently ventilated reduces court costs, prison costs, parole costs and the high possibility of recidivism in addition to the obvious deterrent effect.

  21. Oh, and one other thing. Recently there were suggestions by certain members of the medical profession that knives with a sharp point weren’t necessary for day-to-day use of knives, and that the sharp point only had a use as an offensive weapon. They called for the ban of such knives.

    Now, I remember when the dunblaine shootings happened, and the final refuge of gun ownership in this country was banned and criminalised. At the time some of those affected said that knives would be next. When their comments made it in to the press it was as items of ridicule rather than a warning of the fact that a government bent on regulating everything won’t stop once it’s got going. The government isn’t currently considering banning knives alltogether, but it has already amended legislation to make certain types of knives illegal, and if you defend yourself in public while happening to have a knife on your person – even if its in a box – you can be arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon.

    The mere fact that something is a god-given right doesn’t mean that the “devil” can’t talk you in to giving it up. Bureaucratic meddling has eroded what was once a god-given right in this country. Our own bill of rights, which was otehrwise concerned with definining the limits of the parliament and the monarchy, made it very clear that the ownership of weapons for self defence was an one of the Ancient Rights of this land and its people. That bill of rights is the foundational document of our parliament; it is a treaty between the people and the monarchy, not an act of parliament, and as such cannot be repealed by acts of parliament without removing the foundation of parliament’s power to make those acts, which puts our parliament and government in the interesting position of being technically illegal.

    But that’s by the by. We have our “god given right” just as much as the Americans, but how many people even know about the bill of rights anymore?

  22. Anchronix:
    The size and population of the United States definitely does complicate things. The gun killing a policeman in Washington could have been bought in Florida and transferred several times and in several states before being used.

    In Switzerland owning a gun is a privilege (I certainly feel privileged to serve my country) and not a right. Each such individual keeps his army-issued personal weapon (the Sig 550 5.56×45 mm assault rifle for enlisted personnel, and/or the SIG-Sauer P220 9 mm semi-automatic pistol for officers, medical and postal personnel) at home with a specified quantity of government-issued ammunition (50 rounds 5.6 mm / 48 rounds 9mm), sealed and inspected regularly to ensure that no unlawful use takes place.

    Otherwise it is very difficult to obtain a firearm and illegal to carry it outside except on militia duty.

    There is no self defence aspect. Subvet’s wife would not be issued with one. Subvet, himself, always been tagged as “crazy” would probably not be issued with one either.

  23. In addition to the above, I have in my posession a kife that, if I were to carry it outside, would get me arrested. I have no intention of using it. It is, in fact, blunt. It’s also old, from around the 60s, previously owned by a ghurka. It’s a small kukri, Being blunt the best I could do with it is give someone a nsty bruise, but the mere act of carrying this knife in any remotely visible way in public would make me a criminal.

    I don’t, of course. It wouldn’t be seemly to run around with a knife in public.

  24. LOL, nice backhand swipe deegee.

    Are you so devoid of anything to support your argument you have to resort to that? Pitiful.

    Wish I could stick around for more of your intellectual pearls but my shift is almost over and I’ll be headed home. Today my wife and I go out to buy her first gun. Seeya.

  25. Paranoia over guns comes from an unfamiliarity with them. They are a tool used for some pleasureable activities of man. They are used, too, for enforcing contracts with the world when diplomacy fails and for self defense when attacked, individually or nationally.

    Individual use for self-defense, for defense of your homeland from unjust usurption and for pleasure are legitimate reasons to use the tool. There are laws against the improper use of these tools. These laws will not help you, however, if you are subjected to attack by criminals or tyrants. The tool is yours to use in a proper manner until you are free from threat and order is restored by authorities acting in a proper manner to defend you. Failure to use the tool when it is necessary will result in death or dismemberment, and responsible authorities have no obligation to defend you when you don’t defend yourself.

    The left wants to deny use of firearms because they want full power and authority of society and your life is not as important as their ability to maintain that control. They will investigate after you are assaulted and killed and may even find who is responsible. They may even convict the guilty. Your death will be duly noted as a statistic in their records.

    The left creates paranoia, which is aided by unfamiliarity with the tool they wish to eliminate from individual hands. Many individuals have saved their own lives and that of others by proper use in appropriate circumstances. The left will not save your life, but will memorilize it having been taken.

  26. We do it our way because we’ve learned what happens by doing it yours.

    This is factually untrue. You do it your way because that’s the way you do it, not because you have seen what happens in Britain. As degree points out, stats for death by shooting in the US are not something we here want to follow you in.

    If I were living in the US and had the right to own a gun, I wouldn’t want this right taken away from me, however.

  27. Let me put some things straight.

    First, I have served in my country’s armed forces, I hold the rank of Lieutenant (reserves) and am proficient with both long and short firearms, both in target and combat shooting. While I do not have combat zone experience, I consider myself knowledgeable on firearms

    Second, armed civilians with firearms are not a militia. They are a mob. You do not create a militia with merely issuing people firearms. What you create is nothing but an ebbing mass of adrenaline-crazed individuals who are impetuous and have high but extremely brittle morale. Against any organized armed institution they are completely helpless. The fighting value of armed civilians with some shooting skills but with no military training is zero. Nada. Nichts. Zilch.

    Third, the second amendment says “well regulated militia”. It doesn’t say “armed mob”. A well regulated militia consists of semi-regular soldiers who a) have received military training and b) constantly refresh it. In other words, it refers either to an army based on conscription (draft for you Americans) or national guard. Not an armed mob,

    Fourth, each and every army in this world is based on discipline and training – not merely shooting skills. Firearms and shooting skills are only a minor part of making a soldier. The rest are drill, survival training, discipline, special skills, combat training, wilderness training and training to operate machinery and technology. In my country also to fight as a guerrilla if needed. A mob turns into a militia only by intensive drilling and military training – not by giving them firearms.

    Fifth, the American gun politics is insane. Guns are no magic wands. They are weapons designed with only one thing on mind, killing people. They do not work merely toting it at someone and saying magic words. They need both skill and will to use. Few people have either without military training. Entitling just any loonie to have a gun leads only into an insane bloodshed and criminals having guns and willing to use them. You don’t get to drive a car (which is not designed to kill people) without proper training and driver’s licence. Why should someone with criminal record, mental instability, deranged personality or vengelust have a firearm, designed to kill people?

    Sixth, the firearm politics of any Western country should ALWAYS be connected with the army and the reservist training. The long arms are designed to kill well-hiding targets at long distance and short arms are designed to kill helpless targets at short distance. In a war you need long arms, but short arms are next to useless. As result, in my country it is childlishly easy, providing you are sane and can have responsibility, to get a licence for a rifle, shotgun or auto-loading rifle, but very difficult for pistol or revolver. The former are war weapons, but the latter those used in crimes. As result we have more rifles in this country per capita than in US, but very little firearm-related crime. You do not take a rifle with you when you are going to rob something. You take a pistol.

    I strongly suggest US to state again the draft. That would make basically every able-bodied man a soldier. That is the way in my country – we train every male and a hell of a lot females to be soldiers. As a result, we can keep lax control on rifles and pay attention on pistols and revolvers, which are most common weapons used in crime.

  28. As a former police dispatcher, I would highly encourage all responsible people to get a weapon for home defense.

    One of the worst calls of my life was when a young woman called me screaming “he’s going to kill me”!!!! I was on the phone for about five intermiable minutes listening to her fight for her life until the police arrived. If she’d had a gun, she could have either frightened the man off or shot him (the second works for me).

    She was lucky, she was only hospitalized. Mind you, this was in a small low crime community with a good police response time.

    EVERYONE should learn how to handle weapons for self defense.

  29. Bordergal, I do not know how it is in US, but in this country where I live the rule of thumb for self-defence is that you are allowed to use the maximum of equal the force upon which you are threatened. So if you are threatened with a knife or stiletto, the maximum force you can use is a similar weapon. If you use gun – or even sword – against such aggressor, it is you who go to prison from exaggeration of self-defence.

    In the case you described the girl you mentioned would have been sentenced from 1 to 4 years in prison had she had a gun and threatened the aggressor with it or shot him (providing the aggressor had less force on his disposal) – from exaggeration of self-defence. It is no secret some psychopats can easily provoke someone to attack himself and then murder him cold-blooded and claim it all was self-defence. The legislature on exaggeration of self-defence is to prevent such abuse of right to self-defence.

    Bravery does not mean the same as stupidity. What the girl should have done is to run away and avoid the aggressor as quickly as she could.

    Guns are of little use in cramped quarters like inside a house – knives, swords and other edged weapons work better in close quarters. It is better to learn weaponless self-defence like krav maga or ju-jutsu – or to learn knife-fighting – than rely solely on a firearm for self-defence.

    Or to have a dog.

  30. Mellivora, sorry, but you don’t set things straight by taking the conversation into the logical limbo of subjective assumptions.

    Assumption: a well regulated militia necessarily consists of a conscription-based army. False–historically, factually and philosophically. Do your research.

    Assumption: a group of armed citizens is necessarily a mob. That’s just prejudicial language, not logic. Therefore this argument, too, is false.

    Assumption: few people have skills and will to use a gun in self-defense. This is factually wrong, and a mere 2-minute Google search is enough to set you straight. Research indicates that legitimate defensive use of guns in the US is between 2 and 2.5 Million instances every year. Don’t buy it? Even if you cut that figure in half, and then again in half, you still have a higher incidence of legitimate self defence than gun crime–in a country of 300 Million.

    Assumption: the “insane gun politics” in the US (for which I take to mean a relative laissez faire) account for an enormous rate of murders. Per-capita violent crime in the US is actually half what it is in England and Wales, especially after the mid-90s, when over 30 States allowed concealed carry and when draconian gun laws were passed in Britain.

    You keep your phenotipical, subject-like thinking by which Government fairy-dust alone turns “bad guns” into acceptable tools. I’ll keep my Second Amendment (which you clearly don’t understand by a long shot) and the dozens of guns I own.

  31. Oops,Mellivora (honey eater?), I hadn’t seen your last post. If I had, I wouldn’t even bothered to reply.

    Run away and avoid the aggressor indeed. Knives, swords and a dog indeed. You are a nincompoop (with all due respect of course).

  32. Voltaire, I will answer on your both posts in once.

    A well-regulated militia means just what it says. An armed force of reservists who have undergone military training. It either denotes conscription or some kind of national guard, as I stated. In my country it means conscription. In my country each and every able-bodied male is a soldier. A well-regulated militia does NOT denote an armed mob of trigger-happy civilians.

    A group of armed civilians is by default a mob. It becomes a mliitia only by drill, discipline and military training. Mere prejudicial language does not make any argument false – that is a style over substance fallacy.

    You have apparently not been in military and you do not know how armed forces work. If you had, you wouldn’t be speaking as you do. You may be a good shooter but as a soldier your value is nil.

    What comes to violent crime, see US is on place #24 and UK is #46. On murders with firearms, US ranks #8 and UK #32. Your argumentation is emotional and it arises on inexperience on military matters. Remember I am a trained killer, you aren’t. I just am only activated at wartime – which I hope never will come.

    I still fail to see why just any lunatic should have access on devices intended to kill people while they cannot operate vehicles, which are not intended to kill people. IMO access to firearms could well be restricted to armed forces reservists and national guard only, and it would not harm anyone. If you think an armed mob can resist an evil government and want to get your brain blown off by a SWAT team sharpshooter, your choice.

    What comes to an evil government, armed mobs can offer very little resistance against an organized violence machinery. Nazis actually relaxed the weapon laws to enable all Germans to access guns for conscription – they didn’t grab Germans’ guns. Likewise, the gun laws in USSR were far more lax than in Czarist Russia. The government had very little to fear on behalf of their subjects – after all, they were nothing but an armed mob alone.

    On what comes to running away, it is better to lose your face rather than your life. Better to use our brain than your brawn if only possible. You apparently consider guns as some magic wands and not as weapons. The military fact is that a knife is a far better weapon in close quarters (as inside a home) than a gun (with exception of blunderbuss and sawed-off shotgun), and a large dog can easily discourage any potential troublemaker. Most criminals are no Delta Force gone haywire nor case-hardened psychopaths, but pissypanted bullies who intentionally seek as harmless a target as possible and attempt to avoid hetting hurt. A dog is very likely to discourage such attacker.

  33. Mellivora, thanks for more white noise–because that’s what your “arguments” amount to. I couldn’t give a rat’s proverbial what things mean “in your country” (wherever that is), or about how you consider yourself a “trained killer.” You just sound childish.


  34. I do not know what this thread is any more to do with the Dread of Crescent, but just my two cents worth:

    Muslims make grand warriors but poor soldiers.

    Islam is a warrior creed. Islam can produce fearless warriors and suicide bombers and warriors like sipahis and mamluks are legendary, but the same qualities which created awesome warriors in the past produce awful soldiers today.

    Muslims, with the notable exception of Turks, cannot be put in discipline. They just will not obey and submit themselves in the regular command structure. The fanatical frenzy and Fatalistic submission produces at best death-scorning jihadis and at worst cut-throat thugs, but it does not produce a disciplined, trained soldier who has initiative, sense of opportunity, flexibility, ingenuity and adaptability. Those are properties required of a today’s soldier, and no Muslim warrior can match the Christian, Jewish or Buddhist soldiers in that respect.

    Muslims, with the exception of Turks, can yell, foam and spew threats and curses on infidels, but once they contact a real regular army with good C3, modern technology and well-trained soldiers, they are nothing but cannon fodder. It is no surprise their favourite means of waging war are IEDs and suicide bombs – they are only means on inflicting casualties against a real army.

    Knowing your enemy is the first key to victory. Once we realize what is against us – a mob of undisciplined, fanatical bullies – we can think of a counterstrategy.

    The counterstrategy is NOT fighting the enemy on his own way – as a fanatical armed mob. The counterstrategy is to drill all Christians, Jews and Buddhists as disciplined, trained soldiers and then to squash them with usual counterguerrilla tactics. I have been trained both as a guerrilla and as counterguerrilla. Managing your own side to act as one body under discipline – to both obey orders and also to seize initiative and use your own intelligence when an opportunity knocks – and improvise when needed – is the key.

    Another way to counter the Crescent is to relate the enemy as bullies on steroids. Not to get provoked, to use psychology and brain, and strike where it hurt most. You must never fear a bully nor get scared of terror, but relate the bullies as you would relate to ordinary vermin. Fighting the bullies is nothing heroic, but comparable to eradicating rats or cockroaches – a thing to be done.

    What this has to do on guns? My solution is that instead of hoarding guns, especially militarily useless pistols and revolvers it is a far better idea to get military training. You will learn discipline, survival skills and combat skills which are the value of gold when needed.

  35. Voltaire, you don’t have military training. I do. That is our difference. I have been trained to kill in dozens of different ways, but only at wartime.

    I relate to guns as instruments of warfare. You relate to them like magic wands which can repel any dangers you can imagine by just toting them. Truth is that at the moment of truth you are more likely to miss than hit. You have to have nerve to use them too. With a pistol you get only one opportunity. Killing a human being is a hard thing to do. Unless you are a psychopath, you have to learn to kill. And without military training, it is extremely difficult. I bet you will soil your pants if you ever really face a gun – no matter if you yourself have one. Mind you, I have training. First as one year as conscript and two years in UN service. If you don’t have the training to shoot to kill, better to leave the gun at home. Chances are you will lose your life.

    I can also see your psychology. You already lost your nerve. Instead of countering my arguments and answering them, you diss everything and call me with names. I presume you have the psychology of a run-of-the mill libertarian – cocky enough to consider guns as magic wands but too chicken to serve your country in your country’s army.

  36. Muslims [except Turks] make grand warriors but poor soldiers . . .

    Hezbollah reportedly didn’t do too badly against the IDF last year. Indeed it seems to have been generally acknowledged to be a skilled, well-organized and motivated force.

  37. Mr.Spog–Indeed. I remember the quasi-disbelief with which all this was reported.

    Like the Afghans did agains the Red Army, only on a less massive–and more urban–scale.

    Of course, in Hezbollah’s case, the Israelis were fighting with a hand tied behind their backs, but I was still disappointed by their non-victory.

  38. I can’t answer most of the above since I don’t know that muc about it, but this one:

    Nazis actually relaxed the weapon laws to enable all Germans to access guns for conscription – they didn’t grab Germans’ guns.

    That’s patently false. The nazi government launched a massive gun restriction campaign almost as soon as it came in to power. The soviet union was similarly strict, esecially under Stalin. In both cases they were enacting further restrictions on already existing weapons legislation, far above and beyond what was originally put in place, but they enacted it nevertheless. By early 40s the german citizenry was almost completely disarmed and the laws in question were never “relaxed” by the nazis. The final gun control laws enacted in germany were a direct dictate from Hitler.

  39. deegee said…
    “Look on the net for statistics One thing is clear the US leads the world in deaths and injuries from firearms…”

    That’s funny. Reading and watching the news, I had the impression it was the Islamic world that was out front.

    “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”
    Benjamin Franklin

  40. Achonix–good point, of course. But I think we’re just feeding a teenage troll (he was trained, y’know? Dum-da-dum…) 😉

    Nevsky, I’m sure Deegee is well intentioned in his points. That’s why I thank God for the barrier erected by the Founders against such well-intentioned thinking.

    The right exists, and it cannot be rationalized away by stats or any other means. It’s a natural right, which makes it as logically non-negotiable as any axiom.

  41. “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”
    Louis D. Brandeis

    “The right exists, and it cannot be rationalized away by stats or any other means. It’s a natural right, which makes it as logically non-negotiable as any axiom.”

    That’s a beautiful summary. We would do well to remember that.

  42. Baron, thanks for the thread (and fixing the typsos). I am humbled and a little taken aback by the ferocity with which it is being debated.
    Having read thru the comments several points emerge.
    1. Those of nationalities other than US, can not seem to grasp what was the actual intention of the founders postion on gun ownership was (and unfortunately many in the US too).
    The purpose of citizens owning guns is to prevent the government from abrogating thier rights by force. It’s an insurance policy.
    To those who support repeal of the 2nd Amendment I say that the repeal of the 1st Amendment follows immediately afterward. If you don’t understand that, I hope you live in a country where others will take pity on you and protect you.

    2. Regarding the militia versus ‘trigger happy mobs’ points that our resident ‘highly trained killer’ keeps harping on, you’re correct – a rabble of untrained men with guns is NOT an army. No one said it was. However a group of men who have trained themselves to be proficient Riflemen, while perhaps lacking in some traditional military doctrine (and who says that ex-military wouldn’t be involved?), would be a force to be reckoned with. A persons motivation is the key. It’s the difference between a conscripted army and an all volunteer army. (BTW, instituting a draft, unless there was a dire need for massive amounts of troops, clearly indicates a serious lack of understanding about how to build the best army possible.)

    A handful of self (well) trained and motivated men will raise havoc with any trained army. I think you can find sufficient example in todays news. Or history books.

    3. The first thing that a tyrrant will do is to disarm the populace. Unarmed peasants are so much more compliant than an armed citizenry. To say otherwise defies history and logic. Look it up.

    4. Only using a force equal to what is being perpetrated against you as self-defense is stupid. Anyone who believes that is a wise approach is utterly lacking in common sense. Military doctrine insists on the use of overwhelming force to destroy an enemy. Why should this logic not be used for self-defense purposes equally.

    5. Not everyone who owns a gun should – just as not everyone who drives a car, or has a child, or drinks alcohol should. For the greater good, we tolerate obvious flaws in the implementation of an otherwise outstanding Plan (US Constitution).
    We would not be who we are without our unfettered access to firearms.
    Those of you who are thinking “damn right! this would be a better world if those Americans would stay where they belong”, I ask you to ponder what would have happened in 1919 if the US stayed home. Another million dead in the trenches?
    Hey Old Peculiar, what about in 1941. What if the US was as pacifist as Canada is today? Any thoughts onj that?
    Do you think that the Soviets would have stopped at half of Berlin? Or Germany? Or Europe?
    Why is it that the Iranians don’t just close the Straights of Hormuz or harass oil shipments? Are they just being freindly?
    Perhaps Li’l Kim really likes his dark and cold half of the Korean peninsula and has no interest in the nightlife of Seoul.
    No doubt China only wants to trade with Taiwan and is not really interested in just a little more real estate.

    Every prosperous country in the world, whose citizens enjoy some (or many) freedoms, has at sometime emulated, associated with, allied with, was supported by or defeated/rebuilt by the US. The US is the gaurantor of our international energy supply, banking system and trade system.

    Do you know why that is possible?
    Because Americans were able to pursue and realize thier dreams under a framework of freedoms that were gauranteed not by some benevolent overlord, but by the fact that no-one could take them away from us because we – as citizens – had the power to prevent it from happening. That’s why America is what it is and the world receieved the benefit of our right to bear arms which ultimatey insures our right to speek freely, hold property and associate with anyone we please.

    Is that anti-gun types heads exploding or just a Rifleman practicing.

  43. mellivora, not only do you show gross ignorance of the very definition of militia (such as in the Militia Act of the US), you also show a crass elitism and a huge hole in your own thinking.

    That hole is perhaps best illustrated by the aphorism “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  Your training is just such a tool.  It may make you a damned good soldier, but it seems to have atrophied your sense of citizenship.

  44. Mellivora, what country do you live in? Please tell us- that’ll help us to decide whether you know anything at all, or are anything like you claim.

    I spent 10 years in the Army. I’m a “trained killer” also, I guess. Big friggin deal.

    I live in a city that is fast going to the dogs. The police have told people I know that they don’t want to be bothered by citizens worried about the drug dealers, unless there’s blood spilled. So should I call 911 when somebody threatens me with a gun (which has happened to people I know)?

    Guns in the house, if the owner is present, can be a great deterrent. (if the owner is not there, they’re locked up, right?) Rack a round into a shotgun, and I suspect any criminal will know what he heard, and leave.

    As for the idea that one should resist a knife using only a knife, well I guess I’m just not that manly. If he pulls a knife, shoot him. Problem solved. Here, we call it “peace through superior firepower”.

    One final point: It’s fairly well established that the reason there are fewer “hot” home invasions in the US than in Britain (for instance) is that so many of us own guns. Over there, a criminal can waltz into your home while you watch television, and you can do nothing about it. Here, if someone smashes a window in your house while you’re there, he risks coming in and facing a pistol. Not worth it, is it?

    Oh, and I lied: this is the last point. I’ve heard tell of rural areas where everyone owns a dog for home protection. During the day, when all the residents are off at work, the criminals come out, shoot the dogs and then break in to the houses.

  45. Gun toting wacko, I live in Finland.

    Finland is the only country in WWII which fought successfully both USSR and Germany and stood unconquered and avoided Communism. So when speaking of the land of the free and home of the brave, you guessed it.

    The secret is conscription, just like in Israel. Each and every Finnish able-bodied male must serve on the pain of prison sentence in the armed forces. Women may volunteer. The result is that basically each and every able-bodied Finnish male is a soldier. A side effect is that it creates an awfully strong sense of nationality and commonality amongst the Finns – conscription is one of the best ways to promote patriotism and pride of your country and culture.

    I have myself served the mandatory term and also volunteered two terms in UN service. I am active reservist and I have the single-shot reservist version of the standard Finnish army assault rifle at home. So we can speak like soldier to soldier.

    The Finnish gun policy is based on a) strict control on short firearms, which are most often used in crime and which are next to useless in war and b) enabling the reservists to have easy access to long firearms, which are similar to military weapons. It works very well: it is child-like easy to get a licence to a rifle or shotgun, providing you are sane and have no criminal record, but quite difficult to get licence for pistol or revolver without good reasons. Finland has more civilian firearms per capita than US – almost all are rifles.

    What comes to self-defence, the Finnish law is strict. If you shoot someone who attacks you with a knife, it is you who go to prison. No explanations accepted. You used more force than needed and you are guilty of voluntary manslaughter. The judicial principle is that a human life – nevermind it was one of a worthless punk – is a stronger judicial good than right to self-dedence. That is the reason why I have practised martial arts (krav maga) besides my military training. I don’t want to be neither judged by one nor carried by six.

    I am not a Briton so I cannot speak of the British situation, but such assaults to homes are extremely rare in Finland – even if we don’t have pistols at home. The reason is that most thugs are nothing but teenage punks in testosterone high with the psychology of an ordinary bully. They usually have little shooting skills and they use the gun to intimidate. they are tough only as long as they have the upper hand.

    I do not live at combat zone, so I do not have need to arm myself. But I’ve been trained to build boobytraps, so I know how to fortify my home if needed. But what is said about teenage bullies and punks apply also to Finnish punks. The trick is to use brain over brawn. Never show your fear, never shirk and never lose your nerve. That is what military training is about. Look the punk at his eyes, it is a signal you are higher on the pecking order than he is, and it will distract him. Speak firmly but softly. Approach him slowly with slight zig-zagging path to confuse his aim, Usually if you haven’t given up in five minutes, the punk will lose his nerve, realize he picked a wrong target and flee.

    At 3 m distance, a gunman and knifeman have almost equal chances of kill. The gunman gets only one shot – it is better to hit. Most punks are very poor aims, and less than 3 m the knifeman almost always wins. If you are inside 3 m, it is you who has the upper hand. Keep your nerve, and kick the punk in a neural center, like groin or kneecap, to disarm him. An elbow swing to neck or temple should be enough to knock him out without killing him.

    Guns are no magic wands which can solve any problems by just toting with them. They are just as good as the person behind them.

  46. Voltaire and Mr. Spog, my point exactly – Muslims make good warriors but bad soldiers.

    The only reason why the Afghans fared against the red Army is that they fought against an unmotivated, demoralized and underarmed enemy who had no clue why they were there and which was burdened by poor training, heavy logistics and tactics totally unsuitable for the mountaineous country.

    Against the Americans (who are a real army instead an armed horde) the same Afghans came out second best.

  47. Mellivora, I’d like to address something you suggested earlier. That would be reinstituting the draft here in the USA.

    In my opinion that would be a very bad idea. I served 22 years in our navy, from 1970-1992, so I witnessed how well it worked for us.

    With a draft in place there was a constant supply of goldbricks and layabouts who never stopped whining and shirking work. Once we got rid of the draft our military had a very marked improvement. By way of example; I was easily able to attain a senior noncommissioned officer rank during my time. I doubt I could do it so easily today.

    Many well intentioned folks make the same suggestion you did. Quite often it’s with the idea of improving some group of young people. The military is a poor remedy for inadequate parenting. For every story of someone successfully turning their life around there are five about those who cause nothing but trouble.

    Maybe it works well over in Finland but in my experience it’s not viable here.

  48. Johncy, a couple of answers:

    1) As I stated, a body of armed civilians is nothing but a mob. It is not a military force and it can NOT offer any real resistance to an evil government determined to crush any resistance. No matter how much you throw in your slogans, military facts remain as facts. Mob is no militia. But if you want to get your brain blown off by the evil government SWAT sharpshooter, your choice. You will be eliminated far before you get to effective pistol range.

    2) And that is exactly where my country’s firearm policy is aimed for. To give all able-bodied men military training and to permit them access to long firearms (which are war weapons and next to useless on crime) and restrict the short firearms (which are next to useless in war but good for crime). But not every loonie without any responsibility or mental stability can access lethal force here. The question is exactly the same as with automobiles. Someone with paranoid schizophrenia and gun (or car) is nothing but a walking time bomb. Needless casualties should be avoided.

    What comes to conscription, its best asset is not creating excellent soldiers but creating the esprit de corps and national unity – sense of oneness – within the nation. Every able-bodied Finnish man is a soldier, they know they belong in the same nation, they have had the same experience and they are bound together by the oath and spirit. That creates national unity and pride over your country and culture far better than those nations who rely on purely professional force. That is the reason why Finland has managed to maintain national unity while other Western European countries succumb to Crescent one after another. And what comes to Israeli conscripts, I doubt any volunteer army can produce finer soldiers.

    No armed mob can wreak havoc on any decent institutionary machinery of violence. What they can do is nuisance. Guerrilla activity without the support of a regular army against a determined opposition is doomed to fail. Armed mobs fail always.

    3) Actually few tyrants have ever bothered to disarm the people. Hitler actually RELAXED the gun laws, as did Lenin. What did those tyrants need to fear on behalf of an armed mob? How long do you think an armed mob could have stood against Waffen-SS – or even against the Brownshirts?

    Any real armed resistance requires military training, discipline, clear C3, logistics, organization and coordinated operations. Mobs cannot do any of those. And that is why al-Qaida is a toothless terror – it can blow things up and kill unarmed civilians, but it is no Viet Cong. It lacks any real organization and cannot perform any company-scale operations or higher level.

    4) Stupid or not, it is the law here in Finland. That is the reason why I have done martial arts. At the same spirit I could say it is stupid to stress more value on the untouchability of one’s physical habitus than human life in an organized civilian society not in war, but I am a soldier, not a lawyer.

    5) Finland was the only country in WWII which stood unconquered against USSR and fought also Germany successfully and avoided Communism.

    I don’t know of Berlin, but I do know the Soviets stopped at Karelian Isthmus 1944 after losing an enormous amount of men, thousands of vehicles and an entire air army.

    This was not possible by giving each and every loonie an unlimited access to pistols and revolvers, but by training each and every Finnish able-bodied male as a soldier and giving them reasonable access to rifles. We do not tolerate lunatics with pistols, but we do tolerate an occassional reservist flipping – rifles are not easily concealed and taken to crime. As I stated, pistols and revolvers are next to useless when the real shooting thing begins – they are designed to kill at short distance and almost all kills occur further than 50 m distance. As an officer, I do have a service pistol, but I rely far more on my assault rifle in the real shooting thing.

  49. On behalf of the Nazis and gun control, I stand still behind my claim: the Nazis RELAXED the gun control. This was to enable the Brownshirts (SA) and reservists to access weapons and prepare to war. see

    Likewise, Lenin relaxed the Czarist gun control. The USSR had very strong paramilitary gun culture amongst the civilians and owning a rifle was passively promoted for possibility of partisan warfare.

    Neither Hitler nor Lenin nor Stalin had any need to fear the armed mobs. They ruled with terror and they had their own machineries of violence ready (and glad) to snuff any armed uprising. Many paramilitaries are queasy on killing unarmed civilians, but shoot armed civilians just for kicks. Any attempt to throw the Nazi regime over with a mob would have resulted in massacre.

    And of the Jews? Back in the twenties and thirties, Jews were the archetypical nerds, who didn’t believe in violence and who believed in the sanity of people. They simply didn’t believe anyone would be wacko enough to exterminate a whole nation based on mere race. It would have not made any difference if the Jews had been armed or not – they simply lacked the qualities which make soldiers. Few Jews had any military training and few German Jews had served in WWI. Even if the Jews had had weapons (some had), it would have made no difference.

    And I presume this is the danger in Europe. Most European males are not soldiers and they lack the qualities which make soldiers – and lack the training of a soldier. Unless you are a psychopath, it is extremely difficult to kill a human being. Military training is aimed to damage you psychologically and to suppress the prevention of killing another human being. Most Atheist, Christian, Jewish and Buddhist men – not speaking about women – are simply not capable of killing.

    On the other hand, the Muslims are. As a Finn I know exactly what taqiya and kitman mean – keyword is Finlandization. For us, it is no use to bullshit the bullshitter. The Muslims, especially those who have newly come to country, brainwash their children as warriors and waging war, and consider the native Europeans as free prey. They do not give any more value to Christians – or Atheists – as we give to beasts of woods. The only reasonable response is to see things as they are, not as what we would like to see – and prepare. So get yourself the military training before it is too late.

    When the final clash begins, I am ready. It will not be a contest of bravery or manhood. It will simply be a nasty event of exterminating vermin, like rats or cockroaches. It is not any “onward Christian soldiers” pomp, but nasty, dirty issue after which I will most likely have appointment of a psychiatrist to de-psyche myself from killing human beings. After all, while Islam is a violent military cult, the Muslims are humans too.

  50. Mellivora,

    Now that I know you are Finnish, I see your point better. However, your culture is simply different.

    A few points: I agree that pistols are not much good within 3 meters, partly because I would assume an attacker at that range would be moving, and that is far too close. The secret would be to catch him while he’s farther away.

    And that’s one of the cultural differences. In my State, at least (many others, but not all), we have “Castle Laws” which means that “a man’s home is his castle”. The owner has a RIGHT to defend himself and his property. Until recently, in my state, you could use lethal force only if you were trapped and had no escape. That was changed a year or so ago. Now, if you are in a place where you have a legal right to be, and someone approaches you in such a manner that you feel threatened, you are allowed to shoot first- then the burden of proof is on the State to prove that you were not being threatened. Not a perfect situation I’ll agree, but perhaps necessary. I guess that personal self-defense is more of a tradition in the US than Finland, not to mention most of Europe. Perhaps it goes back to the Indian Wars- I admit I never gave it much thought.

    As for mandatory military service, I personally agree with you. The reasons are good. I recall talking about it with my Colonel some years ago, and he pointed out that he felt there should be a draft and only after completing service should a person be allowed to vote. The Greeks had that sort of arrangement, and it worked for them.

    Unfortunately, it won’t work in the US. The military doesn’t want a draft, because they wind up with a bunch of unmotivated, sullen, pot-smoking kids that don’t take to authority. Plus, after 2 years, they’re only starting to become fully proficient, and then they’re gone.

    And of course the people don’t want it either. How many wealthy people want their kids to join the Army? Very few. In some parts of the Country, recruiters aren’t allowed in schools. I recall hearing once about a school that considered the Marine Corps uniform to be “gang colors” and told them they could only come to visit in civilian clothes. The Marines told them to P*** off.

    So there you are. You clarified where you are coming from, and I think most of us see your point better now. But it’s just different here. And not in a good way. But as long as we have the democrats and the Noam Chomskys around, it’s the way we have to be.

  51. I am sorry Mr. Johncv removed his post. He and Mr Gun-Totin-Wacko, made excellent points. I am amazed people fear good people with guns rather than bad people with guns. Some people do not value freedom enough nor understand that the price of freedom is blood.

  52. Mellivora, so you’re from Finland–why didn’t you say so sooner? It is indeed one of the few countries I know of where the local population has done a good job stemming the tide of incompatible cultures. Every time I travel there (and I do so quite often), I am struck by the relative cultural homogeneity of your population.

    I also appreciate that your school system still produces education rather than PC mush, which is probably why some of today’s best minds come from Finland, whether it be in Latin, Classical Music or Engineering (I had the pleasure of working for years with a prominent gun-firm in Riihimaki, and I was truly impressed by the quality of the people).

    But you must, in turn, appreciate how different things are here in the US. We are not a homogeneous people, we don’t have a school system that produces constantly good results and we are becoming inundated with incompatible foreign cultures that are being lionized by our demagogues in congress and our media, making us even more fractured and divided. All these reasons, alone, are sufficient to unfortunately destroy most analogies about trying here what works in Finland, first among which is the draft.

    I concur with what other posters have said about that–it would rapidly turn our military into a hodgepodge of unmotivated scoffs trying to cheat the system and piss the 2-years away doing anything but.

    One of America’s unique strengths right from the country’s inception is the spirit of individualism and self-reliance. That is reflected in our Second Amendment and in the seriousness with which we defend it against all possible attacks–rational or irrational though they may be.

    It’s not that we consider guns to be “magic wands” – far from it. But besides their practical element, to us guns are perhaps the best tangible symbol of our right and responsibility to live free and to take responsibility for our actions, our home, our families and our community. It’s nothing macho or simplistic. But it’s the reason why your typical NRA-member, concealed-carry American is at the same time the most law-abiding type, the most individualistic and the most hellbent to keep his or her right to bear arms.

  53. LadyHawk,

    I agree. JohnCV made some excellent points in the post he removed. I hope he is just fixing the typos (there were a few) and planning to repost it.

    The Americans do understand the need to defend their freedom from their own government; that is why their government has understood the need to defend freedom from other governments. A case in point: President Carter believed in unilateral disarmament, and that only encouraged the Politburo. President Reagan, on the other hand, was perceived as “a cowboy with a six-gun” — in the minds of the Politburo, this conjured up images from American westerns that the members of the Politburo understood, heroic people who would defend themselves. Reagan’s leadership, as much as any other earthly power, caused the Soviet Union to collapse by calling the communists’ bluff. Despite all of her shortcomings and imperfections — and they are many — America really is a beacon of hope to the world. As long as that Star-Bangled Banner flew over the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, the people subjugated and oppressed by the communists knew that some day, they would be free, too. The same still holds true today, as people look to a land where liberty is so important that a giant statue is dedicated to it in the harbor of that nation’s biggest city. I wish more Americans understood what America means to the world, and why. God bless America!

    Subvet said…
    By way of example; I was easily able to attain a senior noncommissioned officer rank during my time. I doubt I could do it so easily today.

    I disagree with you on one point, Subvet: A person who can be so honest about himself as you can will always rise to the top. The professional noncommissioned officers of the American military were perhaps what scared the Soviet leadership most; that, and a cowboy president who wasn’t afraid to use them. Thank you for your service, not just to your country, but to the world.

  54. Mellivora, you said: Voltaire, you don’t have military training. I do. That is our difference. I have been trained to kill in dozens of different ways, but only at wartime.

    Well, I have had military training too: U.S. Army 1967-1970; 1st M.I. Bn, (ARS) Republic of Viet Nam 6/68-6/69. Of course I was only a SP5, an enlisted man. Frankly, you come off as a wannabe who probably never served at all. I’d really like you to list the dozens of ways you have been trained to kill a man (but only in wartime) “Lieutenant”.


  55. Much thanks to Mellivora for taking the time to write several lengthy, well-argued comments. He also took the time to read comments by others, instead of just “shouting” at others.

    Still, I found JohnCV’s comments and Subvet’s to be the most pertinent to life in America. I retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Marines.

    While in the service, I was an oddity insofar as I never owned a gun. The constant moving made it incovenient, and since I did not have a family I felt that I had nothing worth killing for. I would have run away from any incident, and not felt bad about it.

    Now I own 2 rifles, a shotgun and a pistol. I hope I never have to use them. Still, it’s possible that at some point I may have to protect the lives of others. So I’m glad to have them for “home defense” although I acknowledge that this is not the reason why weapons are authorized under the Constitution.

    Where is Mellivora most incorrect? First of all, a “militia” was understood historically in America as citizens who become soldiers almost overnight. They cannot, by definition, be well-trained or disciplined. This may seem like “hair splitting” but the 2nd Amendment phrase “well regulated” applies to regulations. This means that lawful use of weapons can be constrained by the government. Public law and regulation, however, need not mandate military training nor even firearms training. Mellivora and others are entitled to their opinions that such training would be best, but many Americans disagree and express their preferences lawfully through the democratic process.

    And like others, I do not want a return to the draft. The U.S. military is doing fine now, thank you. A major indicator of improvement during my career was that we closed down most prisons (the Marines and Navy call them “brigs”) because they were no longer needed.

    Second, JohnCV is correct in saying that “The purpose of citizens owning guns is to prevent the government from abrogating their rights by force. It’s an insurance policy.” It is true that the language in the 2nd Amendment may only imply this with the words “being necessary to the security of a free state.” The key word is “free.” I believe that many public officials (politicians, judges, and even military officers) have been very aware of the fact that citizens are armed. They know that a lone “gun nut” or a very large group could make things very uncomfortable for anyone who is perceived to be abusing power. No doubt our freedoms have been decreased by the unconstitutional fiat of government officials (particularly the judiciary), but I believe things would be far worse if citizens did not have the right to own and bear arms.

    Despite my disagreements, I respect Mellivora’s views on the dangers of firearms, and his preference (based on practical experience) for gun control that evidently works in Finland.
    Here’s hoping none of us ever need to shoot at anyone again.

  56. “A martial nobility and stubborn commons, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against the enterprise of an aspiring prince” (Gibbon)

    I recently took the plunge. Mostly I did it out a sense of civic duty; the time may come when the cops have their hands full and we citizens should be able to at the very least shout to them, ‘we’re ok, don’t worry about us’.

    To others who may be wavering on the threshold of the same decision, here’s how it feels. First I’d say, the purchasing itself is a sobering experience, and not just because of the background check–the store checks you against a Fed data bank of (I suppose) criminals and loonies. It’s more the sense of responsibility for your own life and your loved ones that you have implicitly assumed. A farewell to the comforting illusion, there’ll always be somebody in uniform to do it for you. Next, you find yourself weighing your words a little more carefully than previsously; perhaps it’s a rememberance of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Speak softly and carry a big stick”. (Granted, this may also be due to a proper fear of an over-zealous DA. You don’t ever want to give them more ammunition, should they come after you for taking out some pos who tried to kill you in your home.) Anyway, the ideal of the softspoken cowboy so deadly when provoked isn’t just a figment of Hollywood’s scriptwriters. It’s true.

    So, on my own experience–which is only one man’s–I’d say actual ownership makes you less of a “gun nut”, not more.

    PS: I must comment on “armed mobs”: isn’t that who won the battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker HIll?

  57. Sodongnigh, I have served as a conscript in the Finnish army, made to reserve Lieutenant and done two duties in UN. So calling me a “wannabe” is somewhat exaggerated. I haven’t been in actual combat zone, just peacekeeper in pacified area.

    When I call myself a “trained killer” I mean, I am not a born killer but the military training succeeded to break my psyche and make me able to shoot to kill (or bayonet) another human being. The military training is aimed for just that: to damage one psychologically and suppress the instincts of not killing another human being. On my case, it succeeded. I can say I am a different person after my service than before it.

    The military psychology implies only 1% of all untrained civilians can really shoot to kill. Half of them are psychopaths – who would kill anyway, and half are just the natural Rambos. But proper military training – brainwash, indoctrination, drill, combat training, shooting drills on human dummies and human silhouettes,. combat shooting on human-like targets etc can eventually break the psyche and raise the percentage to 50%. In the Finnish army the number is estimated to be almost 80% – 90%. Unfortunately that can also be seen in violent crime – Finns lead the old EU on murders, manslaughters and felonies. That is because the military training. The same effect is also seen in US: people with military training are more ready to use violence in interpersonal issues, and prisons are over-represented by ex-servicemen. It is the price on being a soldier.

    It is again important to do distinction between a killer and a murderer. You can shoot to kill, but not to kill deliberately, to kill a defenseless human being and for personal interests. That separates soldiers and policemen from ordinary murderers.

    No sane person really wants to go to war. No sane person really seeks for an opportunity to kill and shoot other human beings. But sometimes you face such situation – me or him – and you have to go unshirked.

    Then again, on my experience in UN, why does the UN try to disarm the locals and grab their guns when UN troops enter the area? Is it to impose a dictatorship or oppressive tyranny in the guise of pacification?

    No. The experience is that when everyone have guns and all pickups have been converted to technicals, the result is not a democracy like US. The result is Warlordistan.

    What do I mean with the neologism “Warlordistan”? I mean an anarchy where the central power has little or no power, where armed gangs rule by the right of the strongest and where the civilians, armed or not, have been subjugated to serfdom – usually ruled by mullahs or imams besides the warlords. All in all, a very nasty situation.

    Why does the situation boil down to Warlordistan? Why don’t the locals overthrow the oppressors? After all, they have weapons?

    The reason is military psychology. Most civilians are simply incapable of killing and shooting at a human being. Human beings, by principle, yearn for peace and order and are ready to trade their freedom to peace – to submit to some warlord if no central government is available. Most people consider even criminal rule better than no rule at all. Price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and such vigilance, living on your toes and shirking every scratch becomes very consuming in the end. People rather accept the warlords than live in continuous fear of killing and assaults.

    Yet warlord wannabes are a dime in a dozen. Approximately one in 200 is a psychopath, and they always want to rise to power using violence and subjugating others. It doesn’t matter if the locals have weapons or not – few people really have guts to use violence unless they have outsourced their responsibility to some organization like army. Few are soldiers by nature, but many become by training.

    And this is again the danger of uncontrolled possession of firearms. If everyone have unlimited access, the psychopaths will acquire and use them; majority of people don’t dare to use them against the psychopaths, and get killed. If you have a pistol, you are supposed to shoot to kill. If you don’t dare to kill or if you hesitate and shirk at the last moment, chances are your pistol was your undoing and you yourself get killed. And there are always those criminals who want to break in just to steal your guns for further crime. If you have a gun for just having one or as assumed domestic safety and you are not trained to use it (= your psyche hasn’t been broken and re-conditioned), it is of very little use against a psychopath. Against a regular thug the chances are there will be a spontaneous firefight with both parties missing and wounding any bystanders around. Therefore IMO it is a better idea to make it difficult for a criminal to get a gun rather than give everyone guns – most people are unable to use them effectively anyway.

    It isn’t the licenced firearms which are the problem. The problem are the illicit ones. That is what the Finnish gun policy is aimed for – to prevent pistols and revolvers a) becoming illicit and b) ending up in the hands of the psychos and criminals.

    Yet there is no need for hoplophobia (irrational fear of weapons). Guns are just instruments of one function – shooting as automobiles are instruments of transport. Relating with them on common sense and teaching people to handle them with proper caution is IMO the best idea. Long firearms are in that respect more safe than short.

  58. Evanston said, “…but the 2nd Amendment phrase “well regulated” applies to regulations. This means that lawful use of weapons can be constrained by the government.”

    Exactly no. ‘Well-regulated’ means trained and practiced, in the meaning of the times in which those words were written, not government constrained. Why in the world would a group of men, knowing full well the true nature of men and the evil of government tyranny from which they were freeing themselves, first acknowledge and sanctify the right to put down a tyranny and then turn around and grant a prospective tyranny any power to abrogate that right out of existence??? What is unclear about ‘shall not be infringed’?

  59. I have been lurking at Gates of Vienna for a while and finally decided to put my 2 cents in because I think that the argument is about to really separte things: An armed citizenry in a combat setting (armed mobs, preventing tyranny etc.) and self/home defense against criminals.

    I agree that in a stand up fight between a trained army and a bunch of my neighbors with assault rifles, the result would be a short bloodbath or a instant rout. But such a confrontation would probably not occur. The 5 or 10% of the population that decided that the time had come for inssurection would do the same sort of thing that resistance groups in Europe did in WWII. Hit and run attacks, assasinations, etc. Its much easier to start this sort of thing if the weapons are already in place. This is more what the Founders had in mind when they put in the 2nd Amendment. After all, they knew that the Minute Men lasted only a few minutes in the face of British regulars.

    I don’t buy the Stalinist analogy as an oppressive system had long been in place when the restrictions were reduced. If you had given slaves in the American South weapons in 1845, little would probably have happened. However, in the 1870s and 1880, when the first gun laws in the US were being passed, they were aimed specifically at blacks. Reconstruction had been abandoned, the old order was retaking control of the Southern States and having blacks shooting back at the KKK was not viewed favourably. So places like Alabama and Tennesse began imposing restrictions. Basicly the ‘armed society can resist tyranny’ argument asummes that there was a free society that sees its freedoms being taken away.

    Personally I feel that in the modern age, with the slow erosion of freedoms (except sexual, a Fjordman recently notes) such an inssurection is simply impossible. The powers that be, even the best intentioned ones, have too good a grasp of pyschology, too much control over media and education and survielance tools that can track anyone,if they so decided. Also, too few people have any idea of what freedoms they have lost. Few people know history and the 4.5 hours a day that your average American watches is mostly mind-numbing trash. Mentally involving, with very twisted plot-lines, but still mind-numbing. Who cares about creeping Islamification when all people at the office talk about is the last episode of Lost and try to figure out if any new clues have been revealed. Also, note that modern military type rifles are virtually impossible to buy in the western world, outside the US. Small exceptions for Finland, New Zealand (sort-of) but population wise, I stand by that. Always under the argument that it is to prevent crime. But I digress.

    They other argument here is about guns and defending them against crime. Running away, martial arts, calling the police etc are all great. But what if you are in a wheel-chair, elderly, pregnant, weigh 110 lbs? What if there are 3 attackers? What if you live in an apartment? Do you jump out of the 15th story window? What if you work late down-town when there are few people around? Even at mid-day, few if any will come to the aid of someone being attacked, not their business, don’t you know?

    Mellivora, I agree with you that if a person with a gun and one with a knife confront at short range, the knife weilder has a very good chance. But he has to be determined to kill and willing to take a bullet. The Moros that the US faced in the Phillipines in the 1900’s are an excellent example. If you are faced with this sort of attacker, you lose. Most criminals don’t fall into this category. They want your money, your car, or they want to rape you. If faced with real resistance, chances are they will leave to find easier prey. Over 90% of self-defense in the US with a firearms does not involve a shot being fired. There is a ‘magic wand’ effect, it just does not always work. My source for this Dr. Lott, one of the authors of the Lott-Mustard study of crime and concealed carry laws.

    For home defense, a shotgun is best. A double barrel shot-gun with 18 or 20 inch barrels (a “coach-gun”) is legal even in Canada and is shockingly short, when held for the first time. Even with bird-shot, at close range this can cut down a small tree with a few shots (tried this once with a birch when I was younger).

    But even in the US, carrying this on the streets is problematic 😉

    The very concealable nature of a handgun is what makes it so suitable for self defence. I personally know a women to fended off 4 men who where trying to corner her in a parking garage. She pointed her gun and they left in a big hurry. She had earlier in her life had to fend off an attacker with a hammer (she is a geologist and it happened at a field camp and she managed to get to her rock-pick) so she is probably correct in assessing the intentions of the men.

    Finally, with a hadgun, so long as you get trianing, which is widely available in the US, firing off several shots quickly is easy. But statistically speaking, the need for this is small. Even police in the US rarely fire more than about 3 rounds in a multi-shot confrontation. It is just not a war-zone out there, even in South-Central LA. Criminals seek out unarmed prey, they do not go out on do-or-die combat missions. Even “gang-warfare” is about shooting a person with the wrong colour clothing then driving away. Set piece battle don’t occur.

  60. Cindi,
    I’m certainly not an expert on 18th century American english. Would you mind providing some sort of link or reference for your assertion that “well-regulated” means, as you say, “trained and practiced?”

    “Shall not be infringed” is also qualified by the preceding sentence regarding a militia. You may prefer to take the sentence in isolation as a proof text, but a reasonable man would take that qualifier to mean that the stated purpose is pertinent to the scope of arms ownership and use.

    Allow an extreme example: are you saying that criminals should be allowed to keep and bear arms since their rights “shall not be infringed?” The language regarding a “militia” can logically be used to limit the use of arms to law-abiding citizens. Am I wrong to believe that the exclusion of criminals would logically be written in a law or regulation?

    How about the standard you provide? You claim that the 2nd Amendment only requires that a person be “trained and practiced.” Who is to determine how much training and practice is sufficient? Am I wrong to believe that this would be further specified in public law or regulations? Further, many criminals may be “trained and practiced” so are you then asserting that their right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed?:

    The shortcomings of your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment highlight the greater point that the Founders established all rights (such as free speech) in context of other competing societal rights and needs. The challenge of balancing these rights requires further laws and regulations.

    Further, many folks would like to define “arms” to mean any military weapon, since the language justifies the keeping and bearing of arms in a military context. Perhaps you share this viewpoint, since you prefer a broad interpretation of the Amendment? If so, would you then think it is OK for your neighbor to own nuclear weapon? Again, this is an extreme example, but it bears repeating that a right exists in context, not only in regard to the specific language of the Amendment but to the requirements of other, competing rights.

    Finally, your point about the Revolutionary War experience of the Founders is logical, but your speculation about their motives is just that — speculation. Normally courts look to the language of the law, itself, and the interpretation stands or falls on the language that was approved by elected officials. This, of course, has been abused by the courts (for example, in citing a letter by Thomas Jefferson to conjure up the phrase “wall of separation” between church and state) but the legislative and executive bodies can overrule the courts by new laws or Amendments if the public demands it.

    Overall, I am sympathetic to your viewpoint, as well as a general political philosophy that the government that governs best governs least. Still, you must deal with the political reality that the right to bear arms has been “infringed” for a very long time. You will need to fight for this right at every stage. A blanket assertion that this right “shall not be infringed” might appear to be bold, but is in reality quite inadequate. You need to fight for this right as it competes with others — convince your fellow citizens that private gun ownership is beneficial to America, as many others have argued on this site.

  61. ‘”Shall not be infringed” is also qualified by the preceding sentence regarding a militia.’

    No. “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…’ is the reason the rights should not be infringed, not a qualification. The definition of regulated and militia are, in fact, irrelevant.

  62. Wow, PrinceWally, you’re really playing word games now.
    Still, since we’re talking about law, we really can’t avoid the “what the meaning of is is” (Bill Clinton) crud.

    So, you believe that a “reason” is different from a “qualification.” So do I. I didn’t use the word “qualification” which is a noun. I used the verb “qualified” (past tense of “qualify”). Now, go to and look up definitions 2 and 3 for the verb “qualify.” To qualify is to “modify or limit in some way.”

    Now, you may not believe that the statement of a reason modifies or limits a practice. Again, I refer you to the example of allowing criminals to keep and bear arms. If you truly believe that the “right to bear arms” is not modified or limited in any way by the statement of the reason (a militia), then you have no basis whatsoever for denying weapons to them. Period.

    In sum, stop twisting my words by substituting a noun (“qualification”)for a related, but substantively different, verb (“qualify”). And instead of repeating your mantra “shall not be infringed” endlessly, get out and make the case for the right to bear arms. In Michigan, a constitutional amendment to stop practicing discrimination via so-called “affirmative action” was just passed despite the opposition of all the cultural elite. You might win greater rights for gun owners if you’re willing to fight the political battle instead of sitting in your hidey hole, pining for the good ol’ 1880s (before the first gun laws were passed in the U.S.).

  63. And if something is qualified, the qualifier becomes a qualification. You are the one quibbling over minor semantics. Remedial English classes could help that problem.

    Here’s a semantic analysis by someone who is arguably the “top expert on American usage”, Roy Copperud.

    Unabridged 2nd Amendment

    [Copperud:] “The words ‘A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,’ contrary to the interpretation cited in your letter of July 26, 1991, constitutes a present participle, rather than a clause. It is used as an adjective, modifying ‘militia,’ which is followed by the main clause of the sentence (subject ‘the right’, verb ‘shall’). The to keep and bear arms is asserted as an essential for maintaining a militia.

    “In reply to your numbered questions:

    [Schulman:] “(1) Can the sentence be interpreted to grant the right to keep and bear arms solely to ‘a well-regulated militia’?”

    [Copperud:] “(1) The sentence does not restrict the right to keep and bear arms, nor does it state or imply possession of the right elsewhere or by others than the people; it simply makes a positive statement with respect to a right of the people.”

    [Schulman:] “(2) Is ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms’ granted by the words of the Second Amendment, or does the Second Amendment assume a preexisting right of the people to keep and bear arms, and merely state that such right ‘shall not be infringed’?”

    [Copperud:] “(2) The right is not granted by the amendment; its existence is assumed. The thrust of the sentence is that the right shall be preserved inviolate for the sake of ensuring a militia.”

    [Schulman:] “(3) Is the right of the people to keep and bear arms conditioned upon whether or not a well regulated militia, is, in fact necessary to the security of a free State, and if that condition is not existing, is the statement ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed’ null and void?”

    [Copperud:] “(3) No such condition is expressed or implied. The right to keep and bear arms is not said by the amendment to depend on the existence of a militia. No condition is stated or implied as to the relation of the right to keep and bear arms and to the necessity of a well-regulated militia as a requisite to the security of a free state. The right to keep and bear arms is deemed unconditional by the entire sentence.”

    [Schulman:] “(4) Does the clause ‘A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,’ grant a right to the government to place conditions on the ‘right of the people to keep and bear arms,’ or is such right deemed unconditional by the meaning of the entire sentence?”

    [Copperud:] “(4) The right is assumed to exist and to be unconditional, as previously stated. It is invoked here specifically for the sake of the militia.”

    [Schulman:] “(5) Which of the following does the phrase ‘well-regulated militia’ mean: ‘well-equipped’, ‘well-organized,’ ‘well-drilled,’ ‘well-educated,’ or ‘subject to regulations of a superior authority’?”

    [Copperud:] “(5) The phrase means ‘subject to regulations of a superior authority;’ this accords with the desire of the writers for civilian control over the military.”

    [Schulman:] “(6) (If at all possible, I would ask you to take account the changed meanings of words, or usage, since that sentence was written 200 years ago, but not take into account historical interpretations of the intents of the authors, unless those issues can be clearly separated.”

    [Copperud:] “To the best of my knowledge, there has been no change in the meaning of words or in usage that would affect the meaning of the amendment. If it were written today, it might be put: “Since a well-regulated militia is necessary tot he security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged.’

    Because so many people on the control side of the gun argument have this problem, I’m going to fill you in on a little secret:

    Words have meaning. The meaning doesn’t change just because you want it to.

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