Why Doesn’t the 2nd Amendment Give Me the Right to Own an RPG?

David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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115 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    (this comment has been redacted)Report

    • David Ryan in reply to Jaybird says:

      “The 2nd Amendment was originally written in order for the people to overthrow the government, if it came to that.”

      So you’re saying the 2nd Amendment does give me the right to have an RPG? If we’re going to be doing any government over-throwing Imma gonna want one of those.

      Also, pretty sure, but not completely sure that by 1860 there was no privately owned artillery or warships, so explain to me again what “arms” was originally meant to encompass, since apparently you know.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to David Ryan says:

        Oh, is this one of those things where I can argue that you’re in violation of the first amendment because the founding fathers had no idea that digital cameras would ever be used to take pictures of people humping?

        The 2nd Amendment, as written (and as defended in the federalist papers) was intended to hold as a right to own arms because something something militia, something. The idea was that people might need to overthrow tyranny… and it was written at a time when the whole “British taking guns away from people” was fresh in everybody’s mind.

        If you’d like to argue that, of course, the founding fathers could not have foreseen crazy people meeting together in basements who wanted to own ordnance and use it to overthrow an oppressive (by their lights) government, I’d love to hear the argument.

        But it seems to me that that is the sort of thing fresh in the founders’ minds when they wrote it.Report

      • Patrick Cahalan in reply to David Ryan says:

        If we’re going to be doing any government over-throwing Imma gonna want one of those.

        Not me. You have to be around to point that thing, and that means somebody can be shooting at you. If Iraq/Afghanistan have taught us nothing, they’ve taught us that the most effective anti-government weapon is a bomb and a remote trigger.

        Also, pretty sure, but not completely sure that by 1860 there was no privately owned artillery or warships

        Well, there’s privately owned artillery now. There’s a field piece about 1,000 yards from my office. You can buy cannons in some states, just like automatic weapons.Report

        • greginak in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          Some mustard gas would work really well on civilians and irritate the hell out of soldiers.Report

        • Chris in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          I once watched a video (I can’t seem to find it now), from Lebanon I believe (in the mid-2000s) of men advancing on an Israeli outpost using RPGs as artillery: they fired them from close to the edge of their range, which was clearly outside of the effective range of the Israeli small arms, while another group of men advanced in a zig zag pattern towards and ultimately overran the fortified position (I believe the Israeli soldiers occupying the position escaped out the back at the last moment). Thinking about it now, if I were trying to defeat a large but overextended military power, and I didn’t have a bunch of howitzers, I’d want me some RPGs.Report

          • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Chris says:

            I’ll take an RPG over a small sidearm, but I can do a lot more damage with a car bomb and be less likely to get shot. I’ll stick with the car bomb.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

            In remembering that video, is your thought “those Lebanese shouldn’t have had access to those weapons!” or some variant of “it was good that they had those weapons”?Report

            • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

              Jaybird, my thought at the time was, “Wow, I didn’t realize that these malitia dudes (which is what they are, in essence) were this sophisticated in their tactics.” In remembering it, I’m thinking, “Wow, those militia dudes were pretty sophisticated in their tactics.” I don’t feel like it’s my place to decide the complicated issues of self-defense and the imbalance of military and economic power in that region. I just wish people would stop blowing each other up. Is that diplomatic enough to avoid making any sort of commitment in on Middle Eastern issues of self-defense, occupation, etc.?

              Pat, car bombs are great strategic weapons, but limited tactical ones. At some point in our armed rebellion, we’re going to have to assault some enemy positions. Then we’re going to need our rpgs, if we don’t have any howitzers.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Chris says:

                That’s a fair point, Chris, but anybody that comes from the outside has their own populace to answer to, who always get ansy when the boys start coming home less than ambulatory (or not at all)… or we have to be fighting our own government, in which case… well, if any U.S. government gets so whacked that I’m considering taking up arms, I’m worried that putting too many of the armed people together just makes it too easy for them to say, “Screw it” and level the urban center we’re inhabiting.

                When you’re assaulting enemy positions, you’re in a losing situation. Make them want to go home, and you don’t have to assault anything.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Oh, I wouldn’t know about that Losing Position business. Put it this way, nothing makes them want to go home faster than taking fire and lots of it.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise, I well and truly realize that the best way to win a battle is to attack. I’d rather not battle, myself. Given the demand to do it, I’d like to hope that I’d be able to soldier up, but I’d make a much better guerrilla sneaking around and blowing up supply depots that I would attacking a fortified position.

                The whole time I’d be doing the second, I’d imagine I’d have to be telling that voice in my head to shut the hell up about “what am I doing here”. Maybe not, I’ve never been in combat, so who the hell knows how I’d actually respond.

                The sneaking around part, I can do now. I’m pretty confident with that part.

                God help me never have to find out for sure.Report

              • Chris in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Pat, this is all just me being somewhat silly (though the video was real). I’m as close to a pacifist as it is possible to be without being a pacifist.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Chris says:

            An RPG is an unwieldy weapon. It cannot be effectively fired from a prone position. I was never afraid of an RPG gunner. He was an easy target.

            My favourite weapon was a Thumper, a 40mm grenade launcher. It was fast, accurate and deadly.Report

            • Chris in reply to BlaiseP says:

              Blaise, that was the brilliance of essentially RPGs for an artillery barrage. They weren’t going to hit a small target, but they could hit the outpost, and by sustaining a fairly constant rate of fire, they were able to suppress the position while their comrades advanced. It really was impressive. Damnit, I need to find that video.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Chris says:

                The RPG is really no substitute for a mortar or even a heavy machine gun for suppressive fire. An RPG is terribly inaccurate. To be of any tactical effect, you’d need at least six to ten gunners to suppress a fair sized area and at least three to take out a vehicle, that’s how inaccurate they are.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to BlaiseP says:

                It’s harder to use mortars as ad-hoc direct-fire weapons than it is to use RPGs as ad-hoc bombardment rockets. And if you’re only supplying one kind if weapon then your smuggling logistics are easier.Report

              • greginak in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Any modern army can use radar to spot mortar fire and bring down killer counter battery fire. Mortars are best used against relatively primitive fighters.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to David Ryan says:

        Most of the Bill of Rights was written as a reaction to abuses of power visited on the Americans and more anciently, the Protestants of Britain who had been disarmed by the King. The Battle of Lexington, the famous “shot heard round the world” was an attempt by the British to seize munitions.

        The Second Amendment is prefaced by the phrase “Well-regulated Militia” which drives every gun nut crazy. We forget, even through the Civil War, militias were local agencies, hence the names of the units: 10th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Col. John Gibson McMynn commanding. The closest we can get to a militia these days is a state National Guard unit. It wasn’t until after the Civil War where national units were formed up independently of the several states. And it isn’t until after the Vietnam War under Gen. Creighton Abrams where National Guard units appear in battle alongside Regular Army troops.

        The question comes down to “who owns the weapon?” In the era of the militia, it was the individual.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to BlaiseP says:

          The closest we can get to a militia these days is a state National Guard unit.

          This is part of the problem. The National Guard is the closest thing we have to a militia, and it’s nothing like a militia. The President can’t call on a militia to go serve overseas. He can do that with the National Guard.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Yes, I believe I explained how that came about under Abrams. We don’t have militias in service any more. The Second Amendment, as written, is irrelevant to modern times.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

              The Second Amendment, as written, is irrelevant to modern times.

              I *INFINITELY* prefer this argument to “oh, it doesn’t mean what it says”.

              Put the 2nd in the same category as the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th.

              “We still have the 3rd!”, can be the motto of the new and improved civil libertarian.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird says:

                The American Civil War was the triumph of Federalism. It’s difficult to look back over the years and picture what the security of a Free State meant to the Sainted Founders in an era where the soldier owned his weapon.

                Nor will our children and grandchildren be able to puzzle out what the Fourth Amendment might have implied, for the USA PATRIOT Act pretty much demolished it for all practical purposes.Report

              • b-psycho in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Thus the true protector of freedom is a society that staunchly and ferociously rejects response to The Panic of the Day amounting to “give up freedom, then we’ll be safe”, whether armed or not.

                I’d prefer it armed anyway though. Just in case.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to b-psycho says:

                The American society is exceedingly well-armed. I don’t feel any safer. I’ve been shot at and mortared (and seriously wounded by a mortar shell) but it wasn’t until I was driving a cab in Chicago and a pistol was put to my head that I truly felt as if I couldn’t fight back.Report

              • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Who is at fault for that? The 2nd amend or liberal gun control?Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I wouldn’t presume to gainsay you, Scott. Who do you blame? The guy got the drop on me. Ever had a gun pressed against your head?Report

              • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:

                As you say, he got the drop on you but liberals keep telling us that gun control works especially in Chicago.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                You can stop patronising me any time, now. Why don’t I feel safer? I haven’t said anything about taking your guns away. Liberals like me don’t worry about guns any more. Anyone who wants one can get one, crazies too.

                What’s your position on crazy people having access to weapons and ammunition?Report

              • b-psycho in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Seems the problem is crazy people. Specifically, that we create enough of them to be a regular concern.

                Why we have a glut of crazy people is the question we should be asking, regardless of the gun laws.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Well that comes as a great relief, to know that adding guns to crazy is adding nothing to the problem of crazy. Let’s just arm all the crazies, there’s the solution.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Let’s just arm all the crazies, there’s the solution.

                The crazies are already armed—there’s the problem.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                If, as b-psycho observes, we create enough of them to be a regular concern, I don’t remember the step where I issued them weapons and ammunition.

                Maybe you do, Tom. Did you arm them? Coz I didn’t.Report

              • b-psycho in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise, why is it that every time this kind of argument comes up, the proposed restrictions apply to everybody including people who are NOT crazy?Report

              • b-psycho in reply to BlaiseP says:

                BTW: not all people who want to assault the peaceful are civilians. Some wear badges.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Oh, dear. Is this some attempt at Political Correctness for Crazies?

                First you tell us “we” created the crazies. Next, Tom told us all the crazies already have weapons and ammo.

                Now here’s where I apply the pliers of logic to the lobster claw of your Political Correctness for Crazies. People like Mike Dwyer, a decent enough man who treats hunting almost like a sacred act, I’ll defend his right to own his weapons all the live-long day. But not everyone’s a Mike Dwyer. There are crazies in the world and they do shoot people. Usually it’s themselves. That much I know from tragic personal experience. But sometimes it’s a Congresswoman. Or their families. Sometimes they just shoot at random people.

                If Mike Dwyer ever got into a bad patch and started contemplating suicide, I hope someone in his life would have the decency and mercy to lock his weapons up until he got better. The majority of handgun fatalities are suicides. Suicide is killing more of our troops than casualties on the battlefield.

                But what really angers me about this debate are the cowardly attempts to rationalise all these deaths, to say there’s no way to construct legislation to protect the decent, law-abiding, sane, gun-owning Mike Dwyers of this nation from such legislation. To put such words in my mouth is mendacious asshattery, as if “we” created these crazies. Well maybe “we” did and maybe “we” didn’t. WE are selling weapons and ammunition to crazy people. We’ve already got enough legislation, I dare say too much legislation. It’s not working. Meanwhile, many preventable suicides and Gabby Giffords shootings are going down and all we get from the likes of you and Tom is gibbering and frothing. Political Correctness for Crazies.Report

              • DRS in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Give up, Blaise. It’s not worth it.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Take a pill, pal. The Second Amendment permits gun control, even Scalia says so. Oh, sorry for making you froth at the mention of Scalia. You crazies are so easy to set off.


              • Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Scalia is an unprincipled hack.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Oh my. It’s spreading.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Dude, we both know that the vast majority of the people who bitch about Scalia do so based on what Dahlia Lithwick or Nina Totenberg have recently reported.

                Read his stuff. You see him jump between Originalism and attempting to be the little Dutch Boy putting his finger in the dike at will.

                The only justice on the court worth half a damn is Thomas.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Oh, it’s the predictability of the Pavlovian response. It’s the Lithwicks and Totenbergs who have earned such disdain.

                I did write “even Scalia,” and in this case he’s being faithful to the Constitution and not just a toe-tag ideologue—in contrast to his fellows on the other side of the court—and has no slap coming on this occasion.

                You get your points back for propping CT, though. Good man. thing is, although I’m a “natural lawyer,” I think Scalia’s legal positivism might be the more proper judicial philosophy in 2012.

                In his own words:

                “In fact, it has occurred to me that this notion of an overarching moral law that is binding upon all of the nations of the world — and with which all the judges of all of the nations of the world are charged with interpreting — has replaced the common law.

                Those of you who are lawyers will remember that, in the bad old days, that is to say, before Erie RR v. Tompkins [304 US 64, 78 (1938)], the courts believed that there was a single common law, it was up there in the stratosphere.

                Now, the state courts of California said it meant one thing, the state courts of New York said it meant something else, and the Federal Courts might say it meant a third thing. But one of them was wrong! Because there really is a common law, and it’s our job to figure out what it is. So in those days, any common-law decision of one state would readily cite common-law decisions of other states, because all the judges were engaged in the enterprise of figuring out the meaning of what Holmes called “the brooding omnipresence in the sky” of the common law.

                Well, I think we’ve replaced that with the law of human rights. Which is a moral law, and surely there must be a right and a wrong answer to these moral questions — whether there’s a right to an abortion, whether there’s a right to homosexual conduct, what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and so on — surely there is a right and wrong moral answer. And I believe there is, but the only thing is, I’m not sure what that right answer is. Or at least, I am for myself, but I’m not sure it’s the same as what you think. And the notion that all the judges in the world can contemplate this brooding omnipresence of moral law, cite one another’s opinions, and that somehow, they are qualified by their appointment to decide these very difficult moral questions . . . It’s quite surprising to me, but I am sure that this is where we are. ”


              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Nah, it’s too much fun watching b-psycho say We Created the Crazies and Tom pompously declaim the crazies were issued guns at birth. It’s sorta like a dog chasing a squirrel. I don’t really want to catch them so much as make the squirrels run up the tree and chitter furiously.

                They open themselves up to this sort of thing. The best rhetorical tactic is to watch them run up the tree. And now it’s about SCOTUS justices. That’s Tom running up the tree, like he always does.Report

              • b-psycho in reply to BlaiseP says:

                So the nuts are 100% genetics? Society plays zero role in people popping off? Is that what you sincerely believe, or is it just yet another way of implying none of us can be trusted (unless we’re wearing uniforms, of course)?Report

              • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:


                “Liberals like me don’t worry about guns any more. Anyone who wants one can get one, crazies too.”

                Really, b/c Barry mentioned bring back the AWB in the debates. Actually with gun control the only folks who can’t get guns are the law abiding folks, like the ones in Chicago. Sadly that logic escapes liberals. As for crazy folks getting guns and ammo, no one including the NRA has ever though it was a good idea.Report

          • Scott in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Actually federal law defines the “unorganized militia” that most American citizens are part of.


            • Damon in reply to Scott says:

              “Liberals like me don’t worry about guns any more. Anyone who wants one can get one, crazies too.”

              Well, since firearm regulation has been an abject failure, like drug laws, let’s make revoke them like the drug laws. Works for me.

              Military weapons have a burst feature and are no longer fully auto for several reasons: 1) full auto fire is hard to maintain accurate aim, you end up spraying lead and 2) it’s a lot more expensive as you’re sending out more money down range. I’m sure there are others as well, but the main point is that “spraying and praying” generally doesn’t kill the enemy.

              I’m ok with everyone having the ability to own anything up to nuclear weapons. Of course, the COST of many of these weapons would be prohibitive to the individual in many cases.Report

        • MaxL in reply to BlaiseP says:

          I think the idea behind the 2nd amendment was that a well regulated militia could handle the defense of the union. The militia had, after all, just seen them to victory during the Revolution. They expressed very clearly their disinterest in joining the wars of Europe or increasing the territory of the Republic through war with European powers, while relying on a citizen militia sat well with the spirit of a democracy and could provide the necessary defense.

          A standing army was exactly what they didn’t want because they viewed a professional army as the greatest threat to the Republic. Considering the examples they had available to them, the history of the Roman Republic and their recent experience with George’s army of redcoats for example, this seems to me a very reasonable conclusion for them to draw.Report

          • M.A. in reply to MaxL says:

            Pull the other one.

            The USA has never – not ever – lacked a standing army.

            For that matter, they’ve basically been at war ever since 1775. 215 out of 236 years, with very small gaps between them.Report

        • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:


          Check your history, there were many NG divisions in WW2, notably the 36th, 29th and 28th.Report

      • Nob Akimoto in reply to David Ryan says:

        I don’t think it’s actually clear the 2nd amendment was meant to overthrow the government, so much as alleviate the need for a standing army (which the Founders abhorred)

        You can also see this tendency in how the Democratic Republicans dealt with the standing armed forces during the Jefferson Administration, taking to pieces the Federalist built US Navy and preferring to allow ships to arm themselves and the resorting to substantial use of guerre de course during the War of 1812.

        But yes, constitutionally I suppose you could own a warship. No one said you couldn’t.Report

    • MaxL in reply to Jaybird says:

      Just as a historical note, I think the 2nd amendment had more to do with the founders distrust of standing armies – they regarded armies as the fist of tyrants (kings) – than it ever had to do with overthrowing the government. They added the right to vote to handle that job.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

      The 2nd Amendment was originally written in order for the people to overthrow the government, if it came to that.

      Really? If that was the case, and it was so obvious, it seems like the language would have included that. Eg. ” A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State overthrow the government if it comes to that, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.Report

    • M.A. in reply to Jaybird says:

      Oh don’t be so naive.

      “It came to that” about the time of the Whiskey Rebellion, which was quickly put down and had nothing to do with slavery.Report

  2. Christopher Lucas says:

    To deal with the power of the current nation-state, you’d need considerably more than some RPGs in your militia, yes? Maybe a division of tanks, a nuke or two? I’m looking forward to People v. Crazy Nuke Guy in the 2028 session of the Supreme Court (Chief Justice John G Roberts presiding).Report

  3. Mike Dwyer says:

    Here’s the logic test I would propose for smaller-capacity magazines: Let’s say magazine capacity is reduced to a maximum of 10 rounds. As we know the main purpose for this is to limit the ability of criminals/nutjobs to spray lots of rounds at innocent people. So random bad guy goes to a movie theater with a dozen 10-round magazines. He unloads the first one and starts to reload. What do bystanders do? In the Aurora shooting no one stopped him. In the Luby’s shooting in 1991, no one stopped the shooter. In the Columbine massacre, no one stopped them. We see this pattern almost every time.

    My point is that magazine capacity is probably not going to turn people into heroes. At best it will give them tiny windows to run for their lives. Maybe that is a net good but I see it as an unequal trade-off.Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Wasn’t the Tuscon shooter stopped when he tried to reload and dropped his magazine? If he’d only had the chance to shoot 10 bullets, that would have made a difference. Of course, the smaller magazine is presumably less unwieldy, so I’m not sure what kind of difference that makes.

      Of course, spree shootings are so vanishingly rare that basing our gun policy around them is beyond foolish.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      The problem isn’t the mag. It’s the ammunition. We’ve had this discussion before. When crazy people can buy ammunition from Joe Online or Gun Show Charley — Houston, we’ve got a problem.Report

  4. Mike Dwyer says:

    FYI – I will be using my legally-owned firearm in about 7 hours to enjoy the Kentucky goose opener. I predict that by the time I get home this thread is going to be approaching 200 comments, Turkey Day be damned.Report

  5. Mike Schilling says:

    You can own all the role-playing games you like. You can even write one in RPG.Report

  6. b-psycho says:

    Practically speaking: explosions are hard to target. Politicians may see no big deal in “oops, we just blew up some children”, but we should be better than that.Report

  7. Shazbot5 says:

    I would like an F-14. It isn’t to attack anyone, just fly around humming that riff from Top-Gun. Neew neew neew nenenene neew, nene ne nene ne ne naaaaa!

    And then Danger Zone, tooReport

  8. p mac says:

    If I were going to defend myself against the US government the first thing I’d want is a strategic weapon to use against anti-guerilla munitions plants. I, thinking cruise missiles yo take out the predator drone factory and a few other strategic soft targets.
    Then you can start yalking about violent revolution.Report

  9. Paul Barnes says:

    This likely reflects more on myself than anything else, but I was wondering how the 2nd amendment affected role playing games. It totally fracked with my brain. That’s it, I am going to bed.Report

  10. James B Franks says:

    I want a fertilizer plant.Report

  11. NoPublic says:

    SATSQ: It probably does.
    Except, of course, that those ActivistJudges(TM) have stolen that right from you.

    I maintain (and have always done) that the 2nd allows me to own any man-portable weapon (and I’m willing to discuss crew-served breakdown weapons as falling under the “people” “keeping and bearing” arms). I’m less sure about field artillery and mobile armour. I don’t necessarily think the founders intended me to own my own cannons or bombards (arms vs. artillery) and it could be argued that an RPG (having “rocket” in the name) falls under artillery. I suppose that the judiciary would weigh in on that side. I’m less sure, but willing to concede the point if it leaves me my 30 and 40mm grenades and backpack nukes (purely for deterrence).Report

  12. Ken says:

    I’m more puzzled by some of the weapons that aren’t covered by the Second. I was just in a production of Twelve Angry Men, and it turns out to be illegal to own a switchblade (a necessary prop) in my state. We made do with a stiletto – fortunately, we aren’t in New York or the several other states where that’s illegal – but it was annoying.

    I had a similar “huh” moment with the Republican’s Tampa convention, where the police were able to ban knives, cudgels, and clubs from the convention center, but couldn’t keep guns out.Report

  13. DBrown says:

    You most certainly can own an RPG – I was going to get half a dozen for testing of the new armor I developed. All I needed was to get a license (not hard at all and cost $500) and I could buy the weapons. While I had a very good reason to own them, I was still appalled that I could.

    By the way, my new armor defeated all RPG’s at 1/5 the weight of the best armor currently fielded by the military (my armor was tested against US versions of the RPG’s and were performed by the US Army – those tests were $$$ – that is why I wanted the RPG’s myself so I could improve the armor’s performance.) Before getting the next phase of funding by the sponsor (a Navy group), they then informed me that they required a 50% further weight reduction in total aromor mass – I realized that they really didn’t want to seriously solve the IED’s issue and refused further funding (asside: most IED’s are based on focused jets of hypersonic ultra high temp metal jets (plasma like) and that is what a RPG produces. The letters RPG really do not represent, any more, what these ultra deadly really weapons do.) A ‘toy sized’ or man portable Russian RPG-7 can cut through more than 9″ of case harden steel (armor grade.)Report

  14. Caleb says:

    “Somewhere along the line I realized that magazine capacity is what makes a weapon more deadly.”

    The ability to accept magazines at all makes a weapon more deadly. Why not ban all magazine-loaded weapons and only allow citizens to own revolvers? Of course, the ability to accept self-contained cartridges makes a weapon more deadly. Why not relegate citizens to black powder weapons? Of course, the ability to fire a bullet makes a weapon more deadly…ect.

    You can own an RPG, as illustrated by the comments above. And you should be able to. The law should only forbid certain uses of things, not ownership of the things themselves.Report

    • Kim in reply to Caleb says:

      Then let us all have legal nukes!
      (no, seriously, let’s ban human piloting of cars. bet that’s a lot more dangerous than guns)Report

      • Caleb in reply to Kim says:

        If you’re not going to employ a nuclear device for illegal purposes, then why shouldn’t you be able to own one?Report

        • Kim in reply to Caleb says:

          possibility of theft or stupidity. also, probability that you won’t actually be able to prevent it from polluting everyone’s land.Report

          • Caleb in reply to Kim says:

            If theft is a concern, criminalize negligence in the area of retention and storage. If improvident use is a concern, criminalize those actions.

            We already have legal theories at the ready for negative externalities resulting from complex industrial processes. Why would they not apply to the detonation of a nuclear device?

            Once again, it the use of a thing that creates the harm which the law must address, not the thing itself.Report

            • Kim in reply to Caleb says:

              Do you realize how stupid this sounds?
              Nun Tennessee Nuclear
              Just google it.
              Then can we take you out of your bloody fairytale world?Report

              • Caleb in reply to Kim says:

                I am aware of the story, and many like it. I am unsure of the conclusion you are proposing, or the argument you are employing to support it. I do not know how the story you cited tends to prove or disprove any relevant proposition. Care to construct a more coherent argument?Report

              • Kim in reply to Caleb says:

                Your idea of criminalizing negligence assumes that the people up top will get blamed. I assure you that’s far from the truth in most modern corporations. And many modern corporations (including the forprofit that runs security there) promptly disregard reasonable precautions in order to get more profit.

                Ergo, I do not think your proposed punishments will actually dissuade anyone…Report

              • Caleb in reply to Kim says:

                If that is the case, then your complain lies with how our legal system criminalizes behavior within the corporate structure. This very well may be a legitimate complaint. But it is completely separate from the question of whether the law should criminalize physical things or actions. On this point, your argument is irrelevant.Report

        • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Caleb says:

          Ask the Iranian government how that argument sounds to American’s. 🙂Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to Caleb says:

          I mean, one of the most important goals of US foreign policy is to keep nukes out of the hands of terrorists and unstable nations, but that’s no reason to keep them away from your neighbor that would sell his own daughter for a bottle of Jack Daniels. After he sells a few bombs to Iran or Al Qaeda we can prosecute him for not paying the export duty.Report

          • Caleb in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            Once again, if the transfer of a device to parties the US government thinks unfit for its possession is the cause for concern, then that activity is the thing that should be criminalized. You then adjust the penalty and enforcement mechanisms to the appropriate levels for the desired amount of deterrence. The logic of: [we don’t want some people to own a thing]->[no one should own a thing] simply doesn’t follow.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to Caleb says:

              And a smoldering ruin where Manhattan used to be is a small price to pay for extending the 2nd amendment to its maximum extent.Report

              • Caleb in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                If the current law forbidding the possession of nuclear devices is sufficient to deter the transfer of nuclear devices to parties willing to employ them destructively, then why would a law forbidding the transfer of nuclear devices to such parties be insufficient to deter such transfers?Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Caleb says:

                We need to keep the damned things locked up as tight as possible, Period.Report

  15. Peter says:

    Limiting magazines to ten rounds would have very little if any impact on defensive shootings. As I understand it, the vast majority of such incidents involve only a small number of rounds being fired, most often just one or two.

    New York State has a strange policy on large-capacity rifle magazines. There is a 10-round limit, but larger “pre-ban” magazines may be legal … or may not. A range operator told me a while back that neither the police nor the DA’s office is willing to give a definitive statement one way or the other.Report

  16. Mike Schilling says:

    What about anthrax? It can be used as a weapon, so shouldn’t it be covered by the 2nd as well?Report

  17. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Absent evidence that criminals prefer long guns or handguns with high capacity magazines, I don’t see a solid reason to ban or limit them.

    I can only recall 2 cases where a crazy person used such a magazine (Giffords & Aurora shootings), & the various analysis I’ve seen was skeptical that the magazine size made much difference in the end.

    I’d prefer we focus more on spotting persons unhinged, & maybe work on removing the social stigma of mental illness so that people will get help without fear that their lives will be turned upside down.Report

  18. Glenn McGogney says:

    It’s now December 17th and 20 children lie dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, most shot at least 3 times by a semi-automatic assault rifle. Still don’t want to talk about a ban on assault weapons or limiting the number of rounds in a magazine?Report