Tag: Second Amendment

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is no friend to conservatives and gun owners alike. Once considered a rising star in the Keystone State Democratic party, now she’ll be lucky to avoid prison bars.  Even as she contends with state criminal charges, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane is also facing scrutiny by the FBI, The Inquirer […]

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Centrally planned societies always look better on paper than they do in practice, don’t they? We organize. We construct. We limit. We permit. All of these efforts are meant to protect us from the chaos that messes up our best hopes for being successful. We want to live our lives as unfettered by the threat […]

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A Nice Little Fiefdom

 

cc_application_pic_500x333We’ve had a few discussions before about the proper size and scope of local government. While I agree that keeping government local has multiple advantages — e.g., ease of response to complaints, ability to fit local needs better, relative ease of voting with one’s feet, etc. — this case out of Rhode Island furthers my feeling that those advantages only go so far and that we shouldn’t understate the degree to which local governments can still abridge citizens’ rights.

In Rhode Island, licenses to carry a concealed weapon are issued through local police departments, which have great discretion over their issuance. Some towns and cities are relatively liberal in issuing licenses, while others make it nearly impossible for the average citizen to protect himself with a firearm outside of the home. East Providence appears to be one of the latter: by former Chief Joseph H. Tavares’ own admission, no license to carry a concealed weapon had been issued within the last decade in his city of 47,000 people with slightly below-average income rates and rather dull crime stats.

In the early winter of 2012, resident Norman Gadomski Jr. applied for a CCW license, citing his desire to protect himself while handling cash at work, cycling, and camping, as well as his intent to join a Massachusetts gun club (the Rhode Island license would allow him to apply for a non-resident license from Massachusetts). He filed the paperwork, submitted to an interview, and disclosed that he had been arrested twice as an adult: once for possession of alcohol before being of age, once for some kind of property damage. Both arrests were made more than 20 years earlier and both were dismissed after the young Gadomski agreed to pay the Witness Fund and court fees.

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While recounting a guided tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery on my way back from the airport, I was surprised when my dad referenced the ATF in relation to “sin” taxes. Half the price of a bottle of whiskey is taxes. Half the price of a carton of cigarettes is taxes. Handguns, bullets, and even […]

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Should We Be Worried About the AR-15 Ammunition Ban?

 

Conservatives who defend the Second Amendment right to bear arms (among whom I count myself) are raising the alarm that the Obama Administration is trying to threaten the AR-15 by banning its ammunition. Apparently, the ATF has announced its intention to prohibit what a news article describes as “inexpensive 5.56 M855 ammo, commonly called lightgreen tips” because it can pierce the armor commonly worn by local police.

I ask the Ricochet community to explain what this ammunition is. It is only with that knowledge that can we judge whether this is a true threat to Second Amendment rights.

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Israel Albert Almeida, a resident of Andover Township, New Jersey is mounting a challenge to the state’s fairly restrictive concealed carry laws. And by “fairly restrictive” I mean that you basically cannot get a concealed carry permit here in New Jersey unless you are current or former law enforcement. Mr. Almeida manages buildings in some rough […]

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Guns ‘n Gases

 

shutterstock_64283608When histories of the Obama Era are written — please, God, only two years more! — two great ironies will be noted: that the most progressive president since Johnson, and the most academically cloistered since Wilson, presided over a period of tremendous booms in domestic fossil fuel production and a continued restoration of Americans’ full Second Amendment rights, both of which the president and his allies opposed.

On the latter, it’s really amazing to recall just how far we’ve come of late. The twin decisions of D.C. v. Heller (decided during Obama’s first campaign) and McDonald v. Chicago (decided during his first term and, deliciously, with his home town as the defendant) confirmed that the Second Amendment is an individual right that both the federal government and the states are obliged to recognize. Relatedly, all fifty states now have at least some form of concealed-carry law.

More importantly, crime statistics during the period have overwhelmingly contradicted the predictions of the gun-grabbers, who spent decades arguing that gun control was the only thing preventing America from descending into chaos. This simply has not happened, and there’s strong (if not conclusive) evidence to support the theory that allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves actually reduces violent crime. For an interesting and — given our recent conversations — rather topical take on the matter, consider this piece on Chicago’s down-tick in violent crime since conceal carry permits became available.

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As you all know, there is a divide between conservatives and libertarians. I am wondering if one of the reasons is that conservatives and libertarians define “limited government” differently. What do you think? Do we? I raised this issue on my recent post, but thought it deserved it’s own post since, if there is a […]

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A Futile Series of Gun Control Proposals

 

shutterstock_164367413In the wake of the recent shooting spree committed by Elliot Rodger in California, we’re once again seeing a host of gun control proposals coming from lawmakers throughout the country. As I note in my new column for Defining Ideas, however, the most fervent gun control advocates often misread the nature of the problem and rarely offer proposals that will make any real difference.

After looking at murder data across five decades I conclude:

There are three lessons that should be drawn from these figures. The first is that the gun crisis, while always serious, cannot be described as “urgent” if that term is meant to imply that the current situation is somehow worse than it was in previous periods. The blunt truth is that the overall situation has gotten better not worse, as the general decline in crime rates are also reflected in the murder rate. Second, the rate of non-gun deaths raises serious problems in the United States, which Rodger’s three knife killings sadly confirms. Third, it is very hard to come up with any single explanation that explains the overall decline in murder rates, in which deaths by guns falls substantially, but less rapidly, than deaths by guns, blunt instruments and hands, neither of which are amenable to regulation of any sort.

Second Amendment Reading List?

 

So, funny story: A few weeks ago, my husband went out and bought a gun, primarily for home protection. He came home and told me, I think only half-seriously, “Now, go write some kind of essay about becoming gun owners, to pay for the gun.” I did. It went a little bit viral, and I was invited to discuss it this past week on N.R.A News. Now people keep trying to talk to me about guns. (That includes both friends and also strangers, who are still e-mailing me to offer unsolicited gun advice, as well as to say things like, “Thanks for that piece! My wife has always insisted that we can’t have guns in the house and now she’s insisting that we get one.”)

I don’t know that much about guns. I’m guessing Cameron Gray doesn’t have a lot of guests on his show who have never fired one. Of course, I wasn’t posing; that was part of the premise of the article. Still, I won’t deny that I’m coming to understand the interest in the subject, and even though I got plunged into it somewhat accidentally, I’d like to get a firmer grasp of the issues. Which leads to my question: does anyone have recommendations for good books or articles that sum up the debate in helpful and informative ways?

A Response on Guns

 

A few Ricochet members have thoughtfully engaged with my comments on the nature of the Second Amendment in the most recent episode of the Libertarian podcast, which can be found here.

Whiskey Sam wrote the following:

Isla Vista: Could Rodger Have Been Stopped?

 

My latest piece over at PJ Media concerns the murders in Isla Vista. Among other issues, I discuss the pro forma calls for more gun control, this in a state with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. A sample:

 And still there are those who entertain the childish fantasy that some act of legislation, some magical addition to California’s already voluminous gun laws, might have been the one that impeded [Elliot] Rodger from carrying out what he was determined to do. Richard Martinez, father of Christopher Michaels-Martinez, one of the students Rodgers killed on Friday, has been passionate in his condemnation of the National Rifle Association and the politicians he perceives to be in its thrall. “Why did Chris die?”, he asked reporters. “Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA.”

Mr. Martinez can be forgiven in his grief for failing to blame the actual killer, but even in grief one must not disregard the grief felt by others whose loss is just as great. Elliot Rodger killed six people, three of them by gunfire. And he injured 13 others, eight by gunfire. The parents of those stabbed to death or run down in the street might ask, “You seek to ban the implement that harmed your child, but what’s to be done about the one that harmed mine?”

The Libertarian Podcast: The Second Amendment and Mass Shootings

 

shutterstock_124466629In the wake of last week’s shooting rampage by Elliot Rodger in California, there’s been a predictable firestorm over the Second Amendment and whether America makes it too easy to access guns. In this episode of the Libertarian podcast from the Hoover Institution, Professor Epstein addresses some of those issues: Was the Second Amendment meant to protect individual rights or collective ones? Has the Supreme Court’s recent jurisprudence on the issue gotten us closer to, or further away from, the original meaning? And, even if the critics have their way, do the kind of gun control regulations we most frequently hear proposed have any real prospect of curbing violence like what we saw last week? Listen to hear Richard’s take.