Posted by: Dr Churchill | March 3, 2018

The 2nd Amendment blues…

In a recent Junto dinner that I lead and sponsor in Seattle — https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ben-franklins-junto-thai-dinner-with-intelligent-conversation-tickets-43774598001 — we debated the issues about the 2nd amendment due to a question the dinner participants brought about from all the news of the Parkland Florida school shooting.

And we all tended to coalesce and focus around the intellectual fights that ensued over the words “well regulated militia” and their meaning in the context of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution that demands that we all bear arms and fight for our Freedoms…

I spoke amidst a chorus of concerned individuals that were all thoughtful and engaging with people who might have held separate positions and yet over dinner were civil and cordial, in the discourse as all of our JUNTO diners are…

You should try it some time, because Junto dinners are a really good way to meet people and share ideas in order to find out what it is that we all share as Citizens of the Great Nation.

And as is my custom — I ask all the dinner participants to give me their ideas in there form of Questions in order to find out what is happening, and the most voted upon question is to be discussed first. And the Question that was paramount in this month’s Junto dinner in Seattle, was the empathy necessary to allow the exercise of Free Speech in a discussion of opposites, about “the Right to Bear Arms”  amongst Americans, so that we can engage in a civilized discourse, and the second question was straight up about the Second Amendment and it’s place in our Society today. And that as I recall, is the heated discussion that generated the most participation, and the most heartfelt engagement in the spirit of open dialogue, free speech, friendship, and mutual acceptance between the people having opposite arguments, as is usual amongst folks that populate the opposing sides of this issue…

Here is your way to find the next JUNTO DINNER: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ben-franklins-junto-thai-dinner-with-intelligent-conversation-tickets-43774598001

Of course, over the years — I must admit that I have heard all the pro-gun rights arguments from Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Republicans, and Libertarians, as well as the anti-gun arguments, from the Big Government Gun Control enthusiasts, form the leftists, and the Communists out there, sprinkled liberally with Democrats that think once the guns are confiscated from the People — then government will be theirs for ever. Yet the facts of this issue are rather intolerant, because in response, methinks that the reason we as a Nation think, act, and otherwise keep arms amongst the citizenry, is because history tells us to do so, if we want to be able to “keep our Republic” and our Liberties, along with our Rights, in the face of rising fascism. And also because the Constitutional Amendments were written in strict order to amend the Constitution for the better, because the state delegates had absolutely demanded that it be done, and had voted in overwhelming majority to do so.

That is why we alternatively call the Constitutional Amendments, “the Bill of Rights.”  Because these rights are what the people demanded to be written down in addendum form to the Constitution, in order to ensure that the Federal government, or the State governments, and the City governments, or other bodies — could not abuse them.

The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed following the often bitter 1787–88 battle over ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and crafted to address the objections raised by Anti-Federalists, the Bill of Rights amendments add to the Constitution specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people. The concepts codified in these amendments are built upon those found in several earlier documents, including the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the English Bill of Rights 1689, along with earlier documents such as Magna Carta (1215). In practice, the amendments had little impact on judgments by the courts for the first 150 years after ratification.

On June 8, 1789, Representative James Madison introduced nine amendments to the Constitution in the House of Representatives. Among his recommendations Madison proposed opening up the Constitution and inserting specific rights limiting the power of Congress in Article One, Section 9. Seven of these limitations would become part of the ten ratified Bill of Rights amendments. Ultimately, on September 25, 1789, Congress approved twelve articles of amendment to the Constitution, each consisting of one one-sentence paragraph, and submitted them to the states for ratification. Contrary to Madison’s original proposal that the articles be incorporated into the main body of the Constitution, they were proposed as supplemental additions (codicils) to it. Articles Three through Twelve were ratified as additions to the Constitution on December 15, 1791, and became Amendments One through Ten of the Constitution. Article Two became part of the Constitution on May 5, 1992, as the Twenty-seventh Amendment. Article One is technically still pending before the states…

So we all now know, the Second Amendment states clearly this: “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.”

Those of us who have spent decades fighting for the maintenance of our Liberty, for our Democracy, and our Freedom, and also for our Constitutionally endowed “Right To Bear Arms” (gun rights) — have often cursed the “militia” clause because it always caused confusion in the feeble minded folks that then chose to interpret things to their liking with the usually expected ensuing interior conflict, angst, and depression.

And indeed all this discussion was overheated, as it was taking off well before the “Heller” decision that became the favorite attack point of the liberal anti-gun control crowds of jihadists of the Democratic party of America that in this issue falls flat on it’s face as it observes the tenets of Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedung, and all other dictators that have banned all weapons and handguns, from being found the hands of the citizens so that they can control the population fully, turn the country into a giant jail, remove all Citizen’s rights, create a totalitarian regime, and throw the whole lot to the wolves.

Yet here comes the Courts to preserve these Rights… as in the case that was litigated fully in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), which is the landmark case and after which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, in a 5–4 decision, that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected with service in a militia for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home, and … for all other lawful uses…    –District of Columbia v. Heller (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller)

Indeed the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home, and that Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban and requirement that lawfully-owned rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock” violated this guarantee. It was also clearly stated that the right to bear arms is not unlimited and that guns and gun ownership would continue to be regulated. Due to Washington, D.C.’s special status as a federal district, the decision did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment’s protections are incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment against the states, which was addressed two years later by McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) in which it was found that they are. It was the first Supreme Court case to decide whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Heller v. District of Columbia. The Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are “arms” for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the Regulations Act was an unconstitutional ban, and struck down the portion of the Regulations Act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock”. Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning handguns except for those registered prior to 1975. The majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, and the primary dissenting opinion, written by Justice John Paul Stevens, are considered examples of the application of originalism in practice.

Up until then, the anti-gun lobby had claimed that the “Well Regulated Militia” clause meant that only the National Guard, and no particular individual, had a right to own a firearm.

Yet, we all know that the courts demonstrated that this is not what the drafters, the signers, and the framers of the Constitution had said. That is not what they wrote, and we have enough evidence and historical anecdote to comprehensibly show & state that it is not even what they thought. Mind you — they had just finished fighting a Great War for Independence. They feared large authoritarian governments. They were the Revolutionaries.

This set of facts was fresh in their minds, and imprinted on their identities, when they wrote the Bill of Rights.

The entire Bill of Rights enshrined individual protections from government intrusion. They applied to the people. Why would the Second Amendment not do so as the anti-gun crowd claims?

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 8.42.57 PM

Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed, and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal Government; still it would be not going to far to say, that the State Governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger.The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twentyfifth part of the number able to bear arms.

This proportion would not yield in the United States, an Army of more than twenty-five, or thirty thousand men.

To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted that a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.”
–James Madison, author of the 2nd Amendment, Federalist Papers, #46, 1788

Madison clearly states what a militia is and what its purpose is; to counter the federal government. The anti-gun folks pretend this and other documents don’t exist. They wish.

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
–Thomas Jefferson, proposal to the Virginia Constitution.

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of troops, that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States”
–Noah Webster, 1787

Liberal propaganda aside, it’s very clear what the authors of the Second Amendment meant by “well regulated” They meant all those who could carry arms, organized when needed, to fight a corrupt federal government. So…who needs a select fire M-4 carbine? Every citizen who’s able to bear arms. That was the intent.

For the last century or so this meaning has been lost on our citizens. Most do not and never have considered the possibility of taking up arms against their own government. They watch governments around the world abuse and kill their citizens as they sit comfortably in their homes, secure in the belief that it will never happen here. Let’s hope not.

The founders never addressed hunting or self defense. These concepts were understood to be unalienable rights that no government could touch. They were above the Second Amendment’s intent. They were natural rights. If folks had the guns anyway, they could use them to protect their homes as well.

That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or prevent the PEOPLE of the United States, who are peaceable from keeping their OWN arms..
–Samuel Adams

Next time an anti-gunner wants to lecture you on what the authors of the Second Amendment meant, explain what a militia is and cite my examples. It may scare the to death.

In conclusion we seem to have it all clear that this has to be so as defined by constitutional law and case law:
“In conclusion, the right of a citizen to keep and bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the state government. It is one of the “High Powers” delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it because it is above the law, and independent of lawmaking”
–Cockrum v State, 24Tex394 (1859)

The sad truth is that the vast and overwhelming majority of the so called “facts” used widely and thrown around in earnest about the current gun control debate — are all almost invariably & completely untrue.

And if not entirely untrue, these falsehoods mixed with half truths, or foolishly “useful lies” are further twisted to the point where not only they are inaccurate, but they are damaging to the debate itself pitting the two camps of adherents of the differing sides of this issue in two mutually hated camps.

Here bellow is a decent attempt, made in earnest to comb through the massive body of evidence about this worked-up issue, that divides our nation as it is made up of terrible misconceptions about guns.

So I’ve tried to make this post, a simple and usable reference full of hard datapoint and irrefutable facts supported by scientifically measured evidence, in order to quickly refute the horse-shit that is thrown all around.

Yet above all of it, I also want to make these data available to all of you in order to be utilized in debates taking place now, all around this land, about this pivotal issue of Liberty and Freedom in maintaining our Democratic Republic.

After the Parkland Florida school shooting that was an evident failure of the Police Department and the FBI to heed the signals and the warnings about the mentally challenged shooter, and as the anniversary of the Newtown school shooting approaches and the usual gun control proponents, and their advocacy organizations are gearing up their propaganda campaigns in order to try and convince all of us, that guns make us less safe, and that the only “common sense” solution to the “gun violence epidemic” is gun control — I’ve got the facts corralled all together, so the opposite is easily proven without sounding like a Red Neck. Because as we’ve proven time and again herewith, that’s just not the case.

Indeed, every single claim that gun control advocates make trying to link the existence of guns, to violence, falls flat on its face, when you add a splash of context and some verified numbers. But in preparation for this weekend, I wanted to bring together some of those hard and fast facts, based on verified numbers from the U.S. government (rather than surveys or flawed studies), that illustrate the truth about guns and violence in the United States.

This way you’ll have a single post to link to when you come across one of these pro-disarmament articles . . .

Today’s Guns and Violence in the United States — Here are the Numbers. Over the last decade, the number of guns being purchased in the United States has skyrocketed. Just over the last two years, there really hasn’t been a month where the NICS checks (the background check required to buy a firearm from a firearms dealer) has dropped under a million checks per month. The NSSF tracks the number of NICS checks reported by the FBI, and while the numbers are slightly lower than last year around this time (artificially high due to Obama’s re-election) sales are still through the roof. And that doesn’t even count the number of new (factory fresh) gun sales in states where a concealed handgun license exempts the holder from having to pass a NICS check, such as Texas and Virginia.

Ruger is shipping over 1.2 million firearms this year, and that’s just one gun manufacturer — and not even the largest one. Some companies have backlogs of gun orders that will take them up to 2 years to fill, and when those guns do hit the market they’re quickly sold out in stores. Even without the new sales, guns are “durable goods” which means that they last a long time and the existing number of guns in the United States is (by some estimates) enough for eight guns for every ten people in the country.

All this is to say that guns are prevalent, and more guns are being sold every year in this country. The standard cry from gun control advocates is that more guns equals more death and more crime, so if their assertion is correct we should see a direct correlation between the number of guns being sold and an increase in the death rate in this country. But the numbers say otherwise, be cause Firearms Related Deaths are firmly On the Decline (Homicide-Compare) as the graph bellow shows:

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 8.47.49 AM

If the gun control activists are right, then more guns must equal more crime. However, even in this graph that shows the overall homicide rate in blue and the firearms related homicide rate in red, you can clearly see that the phrase “steady” is the worst you can use to describe the current state of affairs in the United States, and the phrase “decline” might be more appropriate for the years since 2005. These numbers are from the U.S. Government Center for Disease Control, which tracks all deaths in the United States, and I personally pulled them yesterday when researching this article. .

Gun control activists constantly clamor that there’s a “gun violence epidemic” in the United States, but the numbers don’t reflect that statement. In fact, the argument could be made that as the firearms ownership rate increases there’s a correlation to a decline in the murder rate. So perhaps, more guns equal less crime? That’s the position taken by a recent study from Virginia that showed a decrease in violent crime as the number of firearms being sold increased, and while it’s an interesting possibility there’s no good way to decisively prove it. On the other hand, this data does decisively disprove the gun control hypothesis that “more guns = more crime.”

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 8.48.19 AM

To give you a little context on where these crime rates are compared to historical data, take this chart which shows the murder rate over a much larger period. The last time the United States was this peaceful was 33 years ago, according to the CDC. The United States has seen a decline in the murder rate ever since the peaks of the 1990s, and yet the gun control advocates claim that there’s now a “gun violence epidemic.” I’m not buying it.

Accidental Deaths On the Decline (AccidentDeathGunLine)

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 8.48.43 AM

While crime prevention is one claim of gun control advocates, another popular statement is that more guns mean that more people will accidentally shoot themselves. Well, again, the CDC disagrees with that assessment. Even as gun ownership is on the rise, and more people than ever are carrying concealed firearms, the number of people (raw number, mind you) accidentally killed with firearms each year continues to drop. The accident rate shows an even more marked decline.

Let me put this into context a little bit more. There are, according to the CDC, 308 million people in the United States. That’s 308,745,538. Of those 308 million people, only 600 were accidentally killed with a firearm. That’s a 0.000194% chance that you will be accidentally killed with a gun in any given year. According to the National Safety Council, over 12,000 people die every year simply by falling down.

Accidental Death Rate High, but Guns are Not the Problem (AccidentDeathOverall)

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 9.01.01 AM

The accidental death rate in the United States is about twice that of other countries, like the United Kingdom (18/100,000 versus 39/100,000). And while that may seem like a vote against guns, in reality the number of firearms related accidental deaths are so small that they’re barely visible in this chart (source: CDC). The main issue in the accidental death rate is traffic accidents, but when gun control advocates talk about their topic of choice they make it seem like the only thing keeping us from having the same lower statistics as the UK is gun control. It’s a lazy analysis of the situation, and even if we eliminated all firearms related accidental deaths it still wouldn’t bring us any closer to eliminating the gap in overall accidental deaths.

Interesting side note: the difference in accidental death rate is actually based on the way we commute to work. Cars are basically death traps, and the United Kingdom relies more on public transportation to get to work than the United States. We love our cars, even though we have an extremely high likelihood of dying in them. And yet we still drive, even though there’s a 0.012% chance we’ll die in one every year. For comparison, I have a 0.0002% chance that I’ll accidentally kill myself with my gun. So in reality, my gun is safer than my car. Go figure. Maybe I can somehow shoot my way to work, circus clown style…

Proportion of Guns Used in Crimes is Very, Very Low…
Going back to that original point of the gun control advocates, that guns directly cause crime, then we should expect that a large percentage of the guns in this country would be used in a crime. However, that’s just not the case.

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 8.49.20 AM

This chart shows the number of guns in the United States (using a LOW estimate from Wikipedia) versus the total number of victims of violent crime involving a firearm every year (source: Bureau of Justice Statistics numbers for 2012). If we assume that a different gun was used for every robbery, murder and assault, then that number comes out to 460,718 firearms. That’s 0.185% of all guns in the United States. For reference, every year 2.13% of all motor vehicles are involved in a collision. So again, guns are safer than cars.

Concealed Carry: Safer and More Law Abiding than the Police
With the increasing popularity of concealed carry, there was a common thread among the gun control advocacy groups’ opposition: the statement that concealed carry would bring “blood in the streets.” That these “gun nuts” who carry guns everywhere they go are just “looking for trouble” and itching to kill someone. Well, again, that’s just not right. (MurderByGroup)

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 8.49.41 AM

Thanks to some sleuthing, we know that concealed carry holders are actually less likely than even the police to commit a murder. According to the Violence Policy Center, Florida has the highest murder rate among concealed carry holders, and Dean figured out that those numbers put the murder rate at somewhere around .58/100,000. Counting domestic homicides only, police officers committed 1.85/100,000 over the same time period. Nationally, the murder rate in the United States sits right around 4.5/100,000. Therefore, you’re over three times less likely to be killed in a room filled with concealed carry holders than police officers.

Cool, huh?

Firearms and Children: Declining Murders and Accidents
The last refuge for those without a logical leg to stand on is “think of the children!” OK, let’s think about the children for a second in terms of guns.

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 8.50.10 AM

According to the CDC, the number of firearms related fatalities for “children” has been steadily falling over the last two decades even without more restrictive gun control laws. I put children in quotation marks because, while some people consider 24 year old people to still be children, my cut-off is the age at which the state lets you operate a 2-ton moving death machine unsupervised in public (16). The reason that this age bracket is used by gun control advocacy groups, as I outlined in this article, is that this is the age range in which most gang related crime is committed. Some estimates put the percentage of gang related murders in the United States at around 80%, indicating that the issue isn’t the availability of guns but the prevalence of gangs and the related violence.

Let’s move away from the murders for a second. Gun control advocates love to use the image of a child who accidentally shot themselves or someone else and died after “playing” with a gun. It evokes a parental response, making you feel like you need to “do something” to prevent such tragedies. And while those incidents do happen, it’s extremely rare — and getting rarer by the year.

Now, what about the Kids?

Notice that distinctive downward trend? Yeah, I did too. Nevermind the fact that this happens to less than 150 kids every year, the fact of the matter is that the “problem” of kids accidentally killing themselves or others with a gun is one that is disappearing. Instead of increasing as more guns are being sold to the U.S. population, not only is the raw number of kids being killed in this matter staying relatively stable but it even seems to be declining.

Public Support for Increased Gun Control Measures
The gun control activists like to make the claim that “90% of Americans” support whatever new gun control scheme they’re pushing that week. However, if you look at the results of a reputable polling organization (like Gallup) the truth is very, very different.

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 8.50.37 AM

The facts of the matter are that the hunger for stricter gun control in the United States is like a fad that has run its course — fewer and fewer people every year believe that gun control is a good idea. The numbers of supporters have been steadily dropping since 2002, and with the exception of a small spike in 2012 (just after the Newtown shooting) that trend has been steady. The real surprise is that the percentage of people who think gun control laws should be less strict has been steadily on the rise, and in 2014 that number tripled to 16%.

Gun control advocates claim that the vast majority of Americans support new gun control laws. In reality, 56% of Americans either want gun laws to stay the same or become less strict. “Common sense” indeed.

Conclusions:

The burden of proof is on the gun control activists. Their assertion is that more guns equal more crime, that concealed carry means “shoot-outs in the streets” and deranged “gun nuts” looking to kill people, and that there’s a “gun violence epidemic” that needs to be addressed. But looking at the numbers from the CDC, I don’t see it. Gun sales have gone through the roof in the last six years, and at worst the numbers for firearm related deaths are stable. At best, they’re declining. Not one single metric that I could find indicated that gun owners were anything less than model citizens, and that gun ownership is not the root of all evil.

The best confirmation of this comes not from any study or calculation, but from the opinions of the American people themselves.

Indeed from personal experience and anecdotal evidence through all of my Junto dinners over the years, support for any form of gun control is at an all time low, and regardless of the mass media and the big government advocates — the reality is that we have no problem with guns.

I’d like to think that it’s because people are finally understanding that the object is not the problem, but instead it’s the behavior of the mentally unfit shooters and the police agencies that fail all of us when they decline to take matters in their hands — that needs to be changed.

However, some people still don’t see the light. Hopefully with enough proof we can change their minds as well. And if necessary we would like to invite them to our Junto dinners to discuss it with us and hopefully collectively shed some light upon these topics:

JOIN US HERE FOR THE NEXT JUNTO DINNER: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ben-franklins-junto-thai-dinner-with-intelligent-conversation-tickets-43774598001

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

See you on March 24th at 7pm in Seattle for some home-style-cooked Thai food, for some colloquial Conversation, and brotherly Love and Comradeship.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ben-franklins-junto-thai-dinner-with-intelligent-conversation-tickets-43774598001


Responses

  1. I appreciate your organizational skills, tenacity, and your intellect
    Thank you

    Gary Tripp
    1-206-383-2245

    Liked by 1 person


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