What Defines Your Freedom?

Is freedom the right to have one of these?

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Or the right to do this…

MusicConcert

… without fear?

Some (and I must emphasise, only some) of the Americans I know insist that the Constitution be treated as sacrosanct, their right to bear arms immutable. Is it morally correct to regard the right to have virtually unrestricted access to a lethal weapon as being superior to the right of people to be able to enjoy a music festival, or go to work, or even school, without the potential threat of being killed?

Some might argue – ‘someone could pick up a knife and use that as a weapon’. ‘A car or a truck is a weapon in the wrong hands’. True, on both counts, but could the Las Vegas killer have killed 59 people with a knife? Would he have been able to kill 59 people with a car? Knifes and vehicles are not designed as deadly weapons – a gun’s sole purpose is to kill. It is far more effective at this than a knife.

Case in point, in 2014 just over 33,000 people were killed by firearms in the USA – the same number killed in motor vehicle accidents. You might be thinking, ‘how does this help your argument?’ Well, bear with me.

The USA has an estimated population of 323,127,513. 85% (274,658,386) own or have access to a car. As of 2016 36% of Americans (116,325,904) own at least one gun. Therefore, you are more than twice as likely to be killed by a gun in the USA than by a car. Let that sink in for a moment – less than half of US citizens actually have a gun, yet guns are responsible for as many deaths per year as cars, which nearly every American owns or has access to.

It doesn’t stop there. There are claims that locations with stricter gun controls have higher incidents of gun crime. Is this true, and if so, is it as simple as suggested?

Chicago is often cited as an example of where strict gun control laws cause an increase in crime. The situation is actually more complicated than that, and at any rate, the problem of gun violence in the USA as a whole is unique to America’s fascination to these deadly weapons. Entire countries have enacted tougher gun laws and these countries have correspondingly lower homicide rates. Take for example, the UK.

After the Dunblane tragedy, strict new laws were drafted to prevent anything like that from ever happening again. So far, 21 years on, we have not seen a repeat of that horrible event. Overall, Britain has a lower homicide rate than the USA – 0.92 per 100,000 people, compared to 4.88 per 100,000, whilst the rate with a gun is 0.06 in the UK, versus 3.60 in the USA. This also means that gun homicides account for more than half of homicides in the USA.

In Japan, where gun laws are extremely strict, homicides by gun are so low they are measured in single digit figures, and the overall homicide rate is just 0.31 per 100,000. In countries such as Germany (where guns are in fact quite prevalent) the homicide rate with guns is 0.07 – Germany’s laws on guns are robust with plenty of checks in place. Their total homicide rate is 0.85.

So the UK, Japan and Germany have all taken different approaches to gun control, and all have not only lower homicide rates with guns, but lower homicide rates overall. This seems pretty conclusive, so why do Americans remain unwilling to make any changes to their gun laws? The problem appears to be cultural more than anything – the right to bear arms reflects the right, in part at least, to resist the government in the event that they tried to develop into a totalitarian regime. This might have held true in an era with a smaller population and a relatively level playing field in terms of the weaponry, but today? Could comparatively untrained ‘militias’ hold off a well-trained army with access to tanks and warplanes? This scenario also applies to foreign invasions.

‘What about the right to defend property?’

It’s true that people want to be able to defend their homes in the event of a burglary or home invasion. However, there is every chance, under the current trends of US society, for the would-be burglar to also be armed. Is that a preferable scenario to one where no one is armed?

More importantly, is the right to bear arms more important than the right to life?

11 thoughts on “What Defines Your Freedom?

  1. You are a utter buffoon when it comes to the American Constitution the Second Amendment and Gun ownership .Firstly Stricter gun laws only make it harder or next to impossible for law abiding citizens to obtain so therefore only criminals will have them, Secondly we have a right to bear arms not a right to gather at music festivals . Thirdly there is no law that will stop a evil person form illegally obtaining a weapon as a way to commit acts of terror you are just one of them blood thirsty leftists that wanna use the latest tragedy as way to push for guns bans and what not sorry but we have had over 100 years of gun legislation and not one single or any of the gun laws on the books have stop or curbed any gun related homicide . We Americans have a few rights you people in the UK will never understand cause your government does not want a armed populace capable of standing up to them and their abuse to demand their rights back hell you people do not even have a right to free speech so how can you people understand the right to bare arms . It is sad this mad man decided to commit his evil crimes but it is his fault not the fault of the guns or ammo he used nor do his actions lay at the feet of any single American Gun owner. Learn something here Guns do not kill people people and their actions kill people if he was not able to kill or harm people with guns he would have found a way to do so via other means maybe a improvised explosive . If you wanna debate gun ownership with a gun owning American first I recommend learning about guns our current gun laws and why we have the Second Amendment codified the way we do also before you bring up the well regulated term you must understand the intent of that phrase
    “by Daniel J. Schultz

    The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “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.” The reference to a “well regulated” militia, probably conjures up a connotation at odds with the meaning intended by the Framers. In today’s English, the term “well regulated” probably implies heavy and intense government regulation. However, that conclusion is erroneous.

    The words “well regulated” had a far different meaning at the time the Second Amendment was drafted. In the context of the Constitution’s provisions for Congressional power over certain aspects of the militia, and in the context of the Framers’ definition of “militia,” government regulation was not the intended meaning. Rather, the term meant only what it says, that the necessary militia be well regulated, but not by the national government.

    To determine the meaning of the Constitution, one must start with the words of the Constitution itself. If the meaning is plain, that meaning controls. To ascertain the meaning of the term “well regulated” as it was used in the Second Amendment, it is necessary to begin with the purpose of the Second Amendment itself. The overriding purpose of the Framers in guaranteeing the right of the people to keep and bear arms was as a check on the standing army, which the Constitution gave the Congress the power to “raise and support.
    As Noah Webster put it in a pamphlet urging ratification of the Constitution, “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.” George Mason remarked to his Virginia delegates regarding the colonies’ recent experience with Britain, in which the Monarch’s goal had been “to disarm the people; that [that] . . . was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” A widely reprinted article by Tench Coxe, an ally and correspondent of James Madison, described the Second Amendment’s overriding goal as a check upon the national government’s standing army: As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.

    Thus, the well regulated militia necessary to the security of a free state was a militia that might someday fight against a standing army raised and supported by a tyrannical national government. Obviously, for that reason, the Framers did not say “A Militia well regulated by the Congress, being necessary to the security of a free State” — because a militia so regulated might not be separate enough from, or free enough from, the national government, in the sense of both physical and operational control, to preserve the “security of a free State.”

    It is also helpful to contemplate the overriding purpose and object of the Bill of Rights in general. To secure ratification of the Constitution, the Federalists, urging passage of the Constitution by the States had committed themselves to the addition of the Bill of Rights, to serve as “further guards for private rights.” In that regard, the first ten amendments to the Constitution were designed to be a series of “shall nots,” telling the new national government again, in no uncertain terms, where it could not tread.

    It would be incongruous to suppose or suggest the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, which were proscriptions on the powers of the national government, simultaneously acted as a grant of power to the national government. Similarly, as to the term “well regulated,” it would make no sense to suggest this referred to a grant of “regulation” power to the government (national or state), when the entire purpose of the Bill of Rights was to both declare individual rights and tell the national government where the scope of its enumerated powers ended.” Quote taken form here http://www.lectlaw.com/files/gun01.htm

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    1. You completely misunderstood the point of the article. The problem is that the right to bear arms trumps the right of people to enjoy life safely – the Las Vegas terrorist bought his guns legally too, which appears to weaken your claim regarding criminals acquiring guns illegally. It is right now, all too easy for them to get them legally, which is the root of the problem.

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      1. First off yes he legally bought his guns . Where do I say all criminals buy guns illegally .Here is my Quote
        Firstly Stricter gun laws only make it harder or next to impossible for law abiding citizens to obtain so therefore only criminals will have them,
        Also the right to safety is not in the bill of rights nor is it coded in our laws , But the right to bare arms is so we can effectively protect ourselves in most cases except in edge cases like this mass shooting where this utter coward decided to take aim at a crowd of people and open fire from a elevated position hidden . The actions of this man nor any mass shooting should used as a political weapon to strip away our constitutional rights . I get it you were never raised around guns nor taught how to use them safely also in the Uk concepts of personal freedom and protection are lost on you . Get it through your skull that America is not like the UK or any other country we here have a bill of rights that codifies things like the right to bare arms and the right to freedom of speech . Your shit hole lacks both . FYI in areas with more legal gun owners tend to have lower incidences of violent crime . places with stricter gun laws tend to have higher violent crime rates . Remember dictators and criminals love unarmed victims .

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      2. At the moment in the USA the majority (two thirds) of homicides are carried out with guns. With so many states making it easy for people to buy them, criminals have an easy time of it. Did you know the Las Vegas killer was able to buy 49 guns? Think about that – 49. Your argument that areas with more gun control are more violent doesn’t actually pan out – the UK, France, Germany, Australia and Japan (to name but a few nations) have much tighter gun control laws and not only much lower gun homicide rates, but much lower homicide rates overall (Japan is six times safer than the USA in that regard, and you’re twice as likely to be murdered in the US than in France).

        See, here’s the thing. Here in the UK we don’t define our freedom by the right to bear deadly weapons. I would suggest if you personally need to define your freedom through such means then it is freedom defined by fear and paranoia.

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      3. Again with comparing the USA with other countries . You dear fool will never understand guns our laws or freedom to defend ones self so I would recommend you keep your shit opinions on banning guns to yourself because you may like being a slave to your government with no means to defend yourself or your rights . Guns in citizens hands are and always have been about have a check on the power of a standing army and government they are also used for hunting and inter personal protection . You being so feminist I would think you would be pro gun because a gun can be a great equalizer for smaller weaker or out numbered women and men but hey a uk male feminist can not be expected to be logically consistent you would rather demonize all men as well as all gun owners as evil or paranoid people

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      4. I love how in one of your blocked comments (because frankly, I grow bored of your repetitive rants) you say you’re more rational – you’re doing a great job hiding this. I refer you to my answer to Seen2013.

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      5. Sacrificing rights for security is historically a transition from a innocent until proven innocent justice system that’s inclusive of unalienable rights to guilty until proven innocent justice system where rights are granted by the government such as the Holy Roman Empire, Confederacy, Nazi Germany, Communist China, and etc.

        I should also add that only Iraqi Security Forces were allowed to possess arms in Iraq, and ISIS seized their weapons and munitions mainly from Military Munitions Dumps and governmental security facilities at the beginning of their invasion of Iraq.

        From a historical prospective even within US terms, Denial of access to arms have been attempted by some very hostile forces:
        Within the last decade, the biggest pressure for gun control in the US has come from Putin’s Russia and China.

        1870-1960 began with the KKK’s redefining of militia to utilize “feeble-minded” formal at the time for genetic-mental illness-defect to deny access and entry into the newly redefined militia to “well regulated militia” is governmental controlled, and feeble-minded expanded to population control in California in 1906 and spread in 1907 before being ruled unconstitutional under pressure by the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Victims were not financially reimbursed until 1980 and within the decade.

        In the Confederacy, Slaves, indentured, and indentured servitude were not allowed to possess arms.

        The historical prospective requires two recurring historical lessens:
        1). Corrupt people will seek to grant themselves as much power and control while denying others the ability of defense and mobility.
        2). These corrupt people are often psychopathic and sociopaths.

        By adages:
        ‘Those who fail to learn from history is often doomed to repeat it’ is a common adage. Here’s a less common one ‘those wishing to make history often do so by repeating it’.

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      6. You are correct in one thing – those who fail to learn from history will repeat it. Here in the UK, after the Dunblane tragedy, we took steps to introduce tighter controls over guns and have never seen a repeat of that dreadful day. The same applies to Australia. In order to prevent mass shootings from becoming simply a fact of life, actions were taken to stop them.

        Furthermore, the homicide rates of developed nations with stronger gun control laws are much lower, both with guns and in general, than the USA. From a discussion I’m having elsewhere: https://www.unodc.org/documents/gsh/pdfs/2014_GLOBAL_HOMICIDE_BOOK_web.pdf

        Whilst it’s true that crime rates in the US have been falling, it remains true that firearms form a major percentage of homicides – in 2011, firearms were actually used in 68% of murders. https://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/gun-violence/Pages/welcome.aspx#note1

        https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011

        https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state

        It remains the case that US homicide rates, including those committed by firearms, remain substantially higher than in other developed nations – https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/14/upshot/compare-these-gun-death-rates-the-us-is-in-a-different-world.html

        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/21/gun-control-debate-mass-shootings-gun-violence

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34996604

        According to the FBI, in 2014, out of 11,961 homicides, over 8,000 of those involved a firearm. Also note that this ratio of more than 50% of total homicides (in fact, we’re looking at two thirds) is pretty consistent from 2010 to 2014. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/tables/expanded-homicide-data/expanded_homicide_data_table_8_murder_victims_by_weapon_2010-2014.xls

        of developed countries, the USA is far worse than anywhere else, with 10 gun deaths per 100,000 people every year, compared to say, France (2.83), Germany (1.01), the UK (0.23), Australia (0.93) and Japan (0.06). Is there a correlation between the availability of firearms and overall homicide rates? Well, compared the countries I just listed…

        USA: 4.88 Per 100,000 people.
        France: 1.58
        Germany: 0.85
        UK: 0.92
        Australia: 0.98
        Japan: 0.31

        Are we not free because we don’t place a higher value on the right to own a deadly weapon? I tend to think that our sense of freedom is not so fragile that it depends on fear-mongering, which is what gun culture appears to be to me. Then again, I am on the outside looking in. However, consider that if the US government ever did decide to become tyrannical, with the backing of the military and police, then would the existence of guns in the hands of civilians actually be able to resist trained, disciplined soldiers with access to gunships, warplanes, tanks, mortars and drones? Such a philosophy might have made sense back in the 1700s, but it doesn’t now.

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  2. Does the US have an institutional racism problem?
    Does the US have an overpopulation problem?

    1870-1960 comes to mind. Same arguments just a different era.

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