Atheists are a small minority in the U.S.  Advocates of gun control might be a minority in America as well. In light of the recent shootings in Aurora I am curious as to how atheists in this network view the lack of gun restrictions.  There are probably divergent views.

I have trouble believing that both presidential candidates are steering away from any call for reform after the horrific mass shooting. In my opinion it is insane to allow citizens access to assault weapons that can kill scores of people in a few minutes.  It was even more shocking to hear on a news show that a family had to raise money to pay for the immense hospital bills for one of the victims while they were already crippled with medical bills from the mothers fight with breast cancer.

As a Canadian I came to stand with my U.S brothers for the reason rally and freedom from religion.  I would be willing to come down to the capitol and march for two other important causes.  Gun control and universal health care.

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Sorry, but nothing in my argument could reasonably be construed to carry such an implication. My point was that the division between gun-related homicides and others is quite different in Canada and the United States so that using only the statistics for all homicides distorts the picture.

Dr. Clark, I write on law-related issues and occasionally, upon re-reading for clarification, find that I produced a sentence too complex for my mind, let alone for the average mind.

Your post's second sentence--The notion that no restrictions consistent with Constitutional rights can be placed on gun ownership which will improve safety in public places is not sensible--is such a sentence.

Decades have passed since I last felt a need to parse an English-language sentence. Yours seemed to make sense after I took out the "no" before "restrictions".

I long ago decided that voting Democratic or Republican required me to decide first whether I'd had enough soft-in-the-head politics or hard-in-the-heart politics.

Soft-in-the-head? The Mariel Boatlift, when Castro emptied a hard-pressed Cuba's prisons and mental institutions and put them on boats to Florida. Democrats welcomed them. Add Clinton's signing the Glass-Stegal Act repeal.

Hard-in-the-heart? The mid-1980s decision by Republicans, who had tried but failed in Congress to cut social programs, decided to borrow the country into bankruptcy. They succeeded. Add the policies of today's Republican Party.

Your insistence that guns be registered betrays your lack of understanding that America's political parties are, and have long been, in the employ of those with wealth. The parties have always been in a state of economic warfare with America's working people.

Evidence? Read American history.

Not high school history, but the Records of the Federal \Convention of 1787, where for instance Alexander Hamilton said the rich and well born should govern, and James Madison said the government should protect the minority of the opulent from the majority.

Or, the history of the US Supreme Court. From shortly after the Civil War to the 1930's depression, the Court's rulings were more than friendly to Business; they were hostile to Labor. For instance, the 1905 Lochner ruling. Its social Darwinism embarrasses many of today's attorneys, except of course many corporate attorneys.

No alert American trusts this government of, by and for the wealthy.

No alert gun owner wants the world's most militarized government to know who has guns.

Dr. Clark, you are not in touch with economic reality.

Tom:

Sounds like the wealthy are doing just fine and all the guns in the deep South do not really make a difference.

Here is a letter I had published in one of our national newspapers about attack ads that wonders about how money is influencing policy.  Having no gun controls doesn't have any impact on the outcome of injustice.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters/article/1164691--attack-ads

Gerry Nicholls says that negative ads “inform voters about a candidate’s possible flaws.” A textbook example of that is demonstrated in the documentary Hot Coffee and the negative campaign to oust Oliver Diaz from the Mississippi Supreme Court to insure a big business slant in the judicial system.

Deep pockets financed a smear campaign in the election and Oliver, with less money, was still able to prevail. The meager funds he did get resulted in a bogus charge of bribery. After he showed that to be spurious, he was hit with another bogus charge of tax evasion.

Completely exonerating himself from those charges took up three years and people with their busy lives only remembered the bad press. In the next election there was a lot of good material for special interests to draw upon and Oliver was bounced. This new Supreme Court routinely ruled in favour of big business over the little guy.

Negative ads allow those with money and power to hire communication consultants to influence citizens to go against their own safeguards.

Russell Pangborn, Keswick

Russell, I don't understand how the points in your reply relate to those I made.

Dr. Clark, I write on law-related issues and occasionally, upon re-reading for clarification, find that I produced a sentence too complex for my mind, let alone for the average mind.

Your post's second sentence--The notion that no restrictions consistent with Constitutional rights can be placed on gun ownership which will improve safety in public places is not sensible--is such a sentence.

 

Not my best effort to be sure, so let's restate the entire thought in better form:

1. We can sensibly place restrictions on gun ownership to improve public safety.

2. Those restrictions can be consistent with Constitutional rights under the second amendment.

Dr. Clark, you are not in touch with economic reality.

When someone raises 'economic reality' as the clincher in an argument, it signals to me a demand to be allowed to make a profit no matter what the consequences. That was the argument against restrictions on tobacco years ago: you could not interfere with the right of tobacco farmers to make a living from their crop even though it was killing people. Economic reality then was that you could make ten times as much from planting tobacco as from any other crop.

I am quite aware that we live in a plutocracy and not a democracy. The government for the most part serves the rich, not the poor. However, the rule of the rich is not absolute and once in a while the government is forced to do the right thing. If being in touch with economic reality means foregoing hope that things might improve despite the dominance of the wealthy, yes, I'm deliberately out of touch with that kind of reality.

Decades have passed since I last felt a need to parse an English-language sentence. Yours seemed to make sense after I took out the "no" before "restrictions".

There's the problem—you're out of practice or you're reading below grade level.

Every person must parse occasionally or lose the skill.

My referring to the views expressed by Hamilton and Madison did not make sufficiently clear that the economic reality to which I referred is the economic war waged by what is now a highly militarized government against the non-wealthy in America.

America's wealthiest have long needed only to buy the legislation they need. During the 1930s Depression, a few of them feared that the economic harm being done to the non-wealthy would weaken trust in capitalism. They plotted to overthrow the Roosevelt administration. ((Read about it in Wikipedia; search on "Smedley Butler".)

Protecting a freedom newly won from England was an original purpose of the Second Amendment. Protecting our freedom remains a purpose, but an attack on our freedom now will come from America's wealthy and their militarized government.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

To minimize any likelihood of misreading the above:

Such an attack won't come from the enemies George W. Bush claimed to see; he was making propaganda. The attacks we have experienced are payback for decades of American foreign policy in the Middle East. That the attacks have been carried out by "non-state actors" is an inevitable result of the decades during which America has paid off the rulers of their states.

Tom Sarbeck wrote:

"Dr. Clark, I write on law-related issues and occasionally, upon re-reading for clarification, find that I produced a sentence too complex for my mind, let alone for the average mind.

"Your post's second sentence--The notion that no restrictions consistent with Constitutional rights can be placed on gun ownership which will improve safety in public places is not sensible--is such a sentence."

----- -----

You will have to forgive me for only having a high school education and attempting to ask a question here - I am likely out of my legal league.

As I understand it, the Constitution has in it a right to vote. That does not mean that the Federal or state governments cannot put restrictions on it (registration is required, felons may not vote, foreigners may not vote [it mentions persons in the Constitution, not citizens, except the XIV Amendment).

To me this means that any said right may be regulated, as long as it is the properly-constituted legislatures of the nation that do it. Thus, voter registration laws, not a universal right for eighteen-year olds to vote.

Thus the II Amendment, though it speaks of a right to bear arms (and also speaks of militias), the Government does not let me own an anti-aircraft battery, landmines, or an atom weapon.

The Government also does not let me own a set of brass knuckles or a stiletto (also arms).

So how is it that the NRA claim that canister magazines and rapid-fire high power rifles cannot be regulated in the same manner as nuclear arms and chemical weapons (they are "arms" too)?

As I understand it, the courts only found that "militia" equals "individual untrained in military tactics or weaponry" in the recent case that struck down the District of Columbia's handgun law. Prior to that, "militia" was understood to be "armed force under the Federal government or a state government."

(I also understand that neo-cons hate courts that "find" things in the Constitution, except when those things break their way.)

James, in my index to the US Constitution there are five references to "vote" (all of them to amendments made after the Civil War and several made in our own time). If I read Roman numbering correctly they are:

Dist. of Columbia XXIII or 23, equal suffrage XIX or 19, right to vote XV or 15 and XXVI or 26, and voting age XXVI or  26.

BTW James, I totally, totally, forgive you for having only a high school education and asking questions. If in 1950 North Korea had not invaded South Korea, I too would have had only a high school education and more questions than I could have counted.

Also, I've done google searches on terms such as "voting scotus" (short for "Supreme Court of the US") and found some interesting reading.

While I do not have a robust education, I do try to pay attention to what is going on, and not to Faux News (except to see what the neo-cons are up to and who they are smearing today). Mostly I get news and information from the CBC, the BBC, and sometimes VOA.

I would note LiberalViewer on YouTube's analysis of the Newtown shootings. (He is a California ACLU lawyer). (He makes a big deal out of Fox News bias, comparing clips from their news shows to things that were actually said, creative editing, &c).

He basically says the same things I did, that I could not see a particular prohibition against regulation of guns (in the same manner that voting is regulated).

But I don't really think it will matter. The NRA is supported primarily by gun manufacturers, not its individual members, and they are a powerful and wealthy lobby in Washington.

There was an interesting op-ed piece in the Des Moines (Iowa) Register, where the writer argues the idea of repealing the II Amendment (or as he says: the gun part anyway) and arresting those who do not turn in their armament. This is in the religio-industrial heartland of the USA, the other side of Nebraska from where I live.

Russell, your reply to TNT up this page (perhaps soon on a previous page) included this:

...a New York cultural example.  I remember a time when it was considered very unsafe to visit the city.  That got dramatically turned around by policing methods that were cutting edge.  I don't think the top cops looked for an experimental model to justify their actions - they reasoned and acted and got results.

That turnaround happened after then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani hired a police chief who, rather than reasoning to the policing methods he used in NY, had used them in Massachusetts and obtained the intended results.

I wish animals and birds had leagly owned guns and had the license to kill three humen a year only for the sake of pleasure called hunting.

I would note that Thunderf00t (one of the raging atheists on YouTube) delightfully pillories Mike Huckabee and the gun culture in the USA in this video:

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