Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ho, Ho, Ho. Now I have a Machine Gun.

Let us begin by offering our sincerest condolences to the families of all those affected by the recent events in Newtown. Tragic though it may be, it has served to reopen a national conversation about guns and gun control in the USA. You, dear astute reader, are well aware of the arguments being made in the public right now. You know that Piers Morgan is using his show to call Americans idiots and that Walmart is selling out of the AR-15 (if you read the Drudge Report) and that a full rescission of the Second Amendment is necessary (if you read the Huffington Post--this is just speculation...we only read the headlines, not the actual posts.)

We want to know if you have any thoughts on the subject with regard to how it affects your lives here. As you are no doubt aware, Nevada (other than Clark County) is a very gun friendly state. We permit both open carry and concealed carry, and have specific exceptions that permit judges, prosecutors, and county employees to carry concealed guns in the courthouse. See NRS 202.3673(4). Do you think that policy serves a purpose? Would we be safer if our judges weren't packing heat under their robes?  Should criminal defense attorneys be allowed anywhere near guns? 

14 comments:

  1. I wonder if Troy Fox carries.

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  2. The interesting, and possibly informative, ad hominem attack on defense attorneys aside, this is an important issue. Unfortunately far too many involved in the debate profess to “want a conversation” on guns without actually intending to discuss guns. These would be the Piers Morgan types who have a visceral reaction to an inanimate object. Hoplophobes if you will. I am always amazed by the number of attorneys (both defense and prosecutors) who castigate guns of all types and feel others should not have them but then feel they personally are responsible enough to have them. And as for the statute permitting carry in the Court House, Judges, Cops and “special people” do, but others on that list are routinely denied that right. Simple answer, the only thing that would stop another Sandy Hook would be for the first person to come face to face with the attacker to have the tool to stop him (almost always a him guys), which means an armed teacher or other adult on campus with the training and will to use deadly force to protect themselves and others. Take away the Unarmed Victim Zones. Of interesting note, in most cases like Sandy Hook, the bad guy shoots until confronted by an armed person (usually the responding police) at which time they kill themselves.

    But guns are not even needed to commit these mass killing events. Don’t believe me? The worst school massacre in America happened in Bath Township Michigan, May 18, 1927 when a disgruntled school board member set the school on fire and, when enough parents and helpers arrived to save the children, drove his car loaded with 10 penny nails up to the building and set of a dynamite charge killing himself, 38 kids ages 7-11, 6 other adults and injuring 58 other people. That in a time when he could walk into the same hardware store where he got the dynamite and nails and purchase a Thompson Sub-Machine Gun, ammo and 50 round drum magazines without any paperwork other than a sales receipt.

    Now, as I actually addressed the issue, rather than question Troy Fox’s gun owning habits, flaming is likely to occur. So be it. But ask yourself this question. Do bad people stop acting out and run away when the cops arrive because the cops are mean, or because they are armed and can shoot back? And why should we be denied the right to defend ourselves in the absence of a police officer? Two snarky comments on that issue, but both are true. “When seconds count the police are only minutes away” and “I carry a gun because a police officer is too heavy.”

    3-2-1 - Retort

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  3. this gets my vote for comment of the year.

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  4. I don't believe the blogger's comment was an ad hominem attack against criminal defense attorneys. I took it to mean that defense attorneys probably have certain clients who have the propensity and opportunity to wrest the attorney's gun(s) away from them during a meeting. I don't think that is an insult to criminal defense attorneys, or any other attorney who is packing during a client meeting.

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  5. Rumor has it that a clerk with the district attorney's office was suspended this week pending termination for making a comment about wanting to shoot up the courthouse

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  6. Just a thought: Since we outlawed the routine sale on TNT at the local Home Depot, how many times has someone killed dozens of children with dynamite? If we were to make assault rifles as difficult to buy as TNT now is, perhaps people would stop being able to murder children with assault rifles as well.

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  7. First, define "assault rifle" in a non-ridiculous way, i.e., it can't amount to the "big black scary gun" that was the focus of the 1994 ban. Fully automatic weapons are already heavy regulated, as are weapons capable of firing three-round bursts.

    Take as an example the recent media coverage of the "assault rifle" found in a kid's car at NWCTA. This is a semi-automatic rifle without a detachable magazine. It is fed by a ten-round stripper clip. Is this the sort of rifle you want to control? I have a .22 caliber rifle with a 19-round capacity. Gee, 19 rounds? That sounds excessively dangerous. Is that an assault weapon?

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  8. Define "assault rifle". Okay - How about any weapon that is in excess of what is required to defend one's home or hunt? Those two issues seem to be the focus of people against increase gun control.

    Are 19 rounds required for either? Unless you honestly believe that you are either going to get attacked by the entire East Side Posse at once and won't have time to reload or you are going to need to shoot 19 elks without reloading, 19 rounds for any gun does seem excessive in light of the two reasons for supporting gun rights. Further, if we look at the issue like the craziest conservative on SCOTUS - Scalia - he would probably also conclude that 19 rounds was more than the US Constitution required to be allowed - as no gun at time time of the signing of the Constitution had that capacity. (That's his reasoning for being against gay marriage, pro-choice rights and a plethora of other issues - so it seems fair to apply it to gun rights as well).

    Alternative - how about we make gun ownership a strict liability crime. You can own ANY gun you want, but if any crime is committed with that weapon you are just as liable as the person who used the weapon. If the gunman in in the last school shooting hadn't also murdered the owner of the guns, then she would have been just as guilty of murder as he because she couldn't secure her personal property from being used in a massacre. Wouldn't matter if the gun was stolen and then used - as you should have secured your weapon well enough not to be stolen. Similar to statutory rape - I didn't know my gun would be used to murder 20 children would no longer be a defense.

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  9. And, before we get to the obvious retort that cars kill people so we should ban cars as well - when was the last time someone used a car and a car alone to intentionally kill 20 children and 7 adults? So, comparing cars or knives to guns is the worst kind of logic, as the damage that a person who intentional turns each of those upon other citizens is not comparable at all.

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  10. Fine. You want to be ultra-subjective in your definition, so let's look at what is excessive. In order to protect yourself or your home, you should be armed with something that will decrease your personal risk while either making it too dangerous for an intruder to continue, or end the threat permanently. That is, if it takes 19 rounds to stop the threat / convince a intruder to flee, the 20th round is excessive. It took 81 rounds fired from 7 different experienced marshals to end the threat Johnny Lee Wicks posed to the federal courthouse. I suppose you could say the 82d round would be excessive. The problem, of course, is that you take the risk that the 81st round won't stop the problem, and if you're only equipped to fire 82, you have a severe case of being up a creek without a paddle. Ready rounds that are unfired because they aren't needed don't cause a problem. Rounds that are unready but needed do.

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  11. Well, if excessive can only be measured one a case by case basis after that fact, then nothing is excessive. Using that logic, if it takes two RPG rounds to stave off that potential assault from the combined invasion of the Soviet Union and Cuba (how could you remake Red Dawn, Hollywood, HOW COULD YOU!?!?!?!), then we should all be able to have RPG rounds for that possibility because we won't know if they are excessive until after the Soviet Union/Cuba combined task force invades.

    And, your specific example is not applicable to the discussion of gun control for civilian owned firearms. I don't believe anyone on either side of the issue has suggested to disarm law enforcement or court security or anything like that. So, that fact that it took 81 rounds fired by certified LE, is what it is and is irrelevant to how many rounds you need and are entitled to under the 2nd Amendment. Even under the previous assault weapon ban, LE still had access to such firearms.

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  12. So, in order of appearance:
    @8:03 - I’m not surprised you chose to go after the fact children died from TNT (which you assume was subsequently banned: it wasn’t, just made a little bit tougher to obtain) and ignore the truth of the statement that when a “bad” person wants to kill or maim others they will find a way. Simple fact, almost as many kids were killed in Oklahoma with an ANFO bomb. ANFO is commonly used as a demolition agent by lots of people and is still legal under the right circumstances. In fact the ingredients (high ammonium fertilizer and diesel fuel are sill available at the hardware store and gas station) are legal to have in your garage. Mixing it together unless pursuant to a “blasting permit” is probably a crime (depending on jurisdiction). It is illegal outside of those situations, none of which stopped Tim McVeigh from blowing up the federal building with a large ANFO bomb. (Conspiracy theorists feel free to flame that statement, I have my own issues with the official version but it is the one McVeigh claimed happened).

    @10:12 - Your argument is invalid in that Scalia is not a Strict Constructionist. Were he a “no change from what the founders knew at that time” type, your position (and that of many of the folks who believe the rest of the Bill of Rights has expanded in scope save for that pesky 2nd Amendment) would at least have some validity, that being “a musket is allowed but nothing more.” Unfortunately for you, Scalia is a Contextualist, something he explains quite often. Having heard him speak directly to the 2nd Amendment, he believes it is an individual right and those firearms protected by it are the regular and usual individual firearms of the military. He does believe some restrictions “may” be permissible, but doubts it goes to type, appearance, magazine capacity or country of origin of a firearm. For the uninitiated, a military individual firearm is a handgun or rifle as commonly issued. It does not include grenades, mortars, LAW rockets or AT-4's to name a few. Your second error is in assuming the 2nd has anything to do with hunting. It does not. The number and type of rounds or firearms needed to protect yourself (from the government as intended by the founders or just in general as Heller, McDonald and now Moore v. Madigan all hold) is subjective and not open to debate by others. What might take me one round today might require multiples of 30 tomorrow. Si Viz Pacem, Parabellum.

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  13. Second half of above:

    @10:16 - Your question is vague. If you include the entire world? Last week in the middle east. In Mexico and Brazil, last year. The United States? Certainly not 20 kids at once, but every year there are several incidents of people intentionally running others down. In Nevada Priscilla Ford did it in Reno a couple decades ago killing and injuring a score of people. The car issue becomes relevant with DUI. We have laws against drinking and driving. Still it happens every day of the year. In Nevada alone in 2010 (last year for stats) there were 254 fatal and 1328 serious injury DUI’s. http://zerofatalitiesnv.com/stats.php No way to break out kids from adults or type of car driven, but I don’t recall any screams that we should limit all alcohol sales and consumption to a single beer, glass of wine or shot of liquor per 24 hour period, register the owner and location of every bottle or can and limit how many ounses any person can privately own or control, make possession of alcohol and a car a strict liability crime (Nevada famously resists all efforts at Dram Shop Laws)and also a ban on the most dangerous looking car commonly involved. We correctly punish those involved and work to prevent future such events through education. And it is working. DUI deaths and injuries are down year over year, just like fatalities from firearms.

    This debate is unfortunately about a tool (commonly referred to as an EBR: Evil Black Rifle) when in reality it should be a discussion about how to effectively protect ourselves and others from those who don’t respect or follow the law and will find a way to injur or kill others. This year alone in Nevada armed citizens have legally used firearms to defend against a sword, several knives, a crow bar and just plain numbers of assailants. Police carry firearms to stop those who will not be deterred with logic or reason. If you want to be defenseless in the face of evil that is your choice. Please don’t try to take away the rights of the overwhelming majority of responsible gun owners. Removing others rights to make you feel better does not make society any safer (proven in every jurisdiction where private firearms ownership is banned or significantly restrained and violent crime has risen). But please, if others legally owning firearms is a real issue for you, feel free to move to New York City, Chicago or the District of Columbia if you want to be safe in a gun free location.

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  14. There was a great issue of the Nevada Lawyer called "Gun Laws and the Second Amendment" February 2014. There was one article entitled "What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Gun Laws." A concealed weapons permit is not need to carry openly or to have a gun in the car. There was a case where an attorney brought a gun into the courthouse recently. Also a case involving a legislator that did the same thing. There was also a great article on Self Defense and articles on the Second Amendment. http://nvbar.org/articles/article/february-2014

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