Apr 11, 2014

Posted in Stevens Rehab Tour

No Justice Stevens, “High-Powered Automatic Weapons” were not used in Newtown

Justice Stevens has a new Op-Ed promoting his new book about Six Amendments to add to the Constitution (I listed them here). There is a glaring error in the first sentence.

Following the massacre of grammar-school children in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, high-powered automatic weapons have been used to kill innocent victims in more senseless public incidents.

No. There were no “high-powered automatic weapons.” A semi-automatic rifle was used. Automatic weapons are illegal under federal law. Semi-automatic rifles are legal. And those rulings predate Heller. I appreciate that he does not agree with Scalia about the nature of the Second Amendment, but at least get your facts right.

Same for Virginia, Colorado, and Arizona, semi-automatic weapons were used, not automatic weapons.

Thus, even as generously construed in Heller, the Second Amendment provides no obstacle to regulations prohibiting the ownership or use of the sorts of automatic weapons used in the tragic multiple killings in Virginia, Colorado and Arizona in recent years.

Though, he is right in his second and third sentences.

Those killings, however, are only a fragment of the total harm caused by the misuse of firearms. Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents. Many of those deaths involve handguns.

Deaths by mass shootings are a tiny, tiny fraction of gun deaths, as I discuss in The Shooting Cycle. The overwhelming majority of gundeaths are from the handgun–the very gun that was protected in Heller.

By the way, Stevens’s amendment to the Second Amendment doesn’t even make sense.

 A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.

Why would there be an individual right to keep and bear arms in the militia? Could a commanding officer not take away a militiaman’s rifle because of the Second Amendment? Almost certainly the right in the militia would have to be collective.

Taking Stevens’s dissent in Heller seriously would require more than adding five words. How bout this:

 A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the states to maintain militias shall not be infringed.

It would make no mention of keeping and bearing arms.

I’ve resisted the urge to review Stevens’s book, which I have a copy of. I have too many other projects to pursue.

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  • timb117

    Uh, he said high-powered, which refers to muzzle velocity, not rate of fire. At no point in the entire essay does he conflate automatic with semi-automatic.

    Gun fethishists are strange people

    • TyrannyOfEvilMen

      Uh – Wrong. He called them automatic weapons, not semi-automatic weapons which is what they were.

      The BEST THING about you anti-liberty types is that you are dumb as hell.

      • timb117

        Uh, quote the piece then. He called them “high-powered”

        • Joe

          In the original Washington Post article, as quoted in this blog, Justice Stevens wrote “High powered automatic weapons.” The Washington Post article has since been amended to “high powered weapons,”

          • tommydagun

            Down the memory hole.

          • timb117

            with no proof or links, so it must be true

            notice who didn’t come into the comment section to dispute the mis-characterization. Hint: the author

        • anon-e-moose

          Here’s your quote:

          Thus, Congress’s failure to enact laws that would expand the use of background checks and limit the availability of automatic weapons cannot be justified by reference to the Second Amendment

  • timb117

    Hey, could of you gun fetishists explain to me how your AR-15 is gonna stop an Bradley? A drone? An F-18? A cruise missile?

    Perhaps y’all can tone down the rhetoric enough so that nutballs can be forbidden from acquiring the sort of rifle which fires a 5.56mm bullets through three 6 year olds at once?

    • tommydagun

      Doesn’t need to stop the Bradley, drone, or F-18… if it can stop the support troops, or civilian support personnel, or the officers… or the civilian officials… all of those things need to operate. Any sound tactician aims for softer, higher-value targets over harder, lower-value ones where he can.

      Oh, and “a 5.56mm bullets” (sic) is a lot weaker than most hunting calibers. It was designed for a soldier to be able to carry more, smaller rounds that only needed to be able to wound enemy troops, rather than to make clean kills on game.

      • timb117

        Just hilarious, dude. Not only are you positing the murder of American service personnel, you are also imagining that the US Army or Marines is gonna let you near the supply troops that they have protected since ‘Nam and through actual crazies, like the Iraqis, who will blow themselves up. Way to tone the rhetoric down AND be willingly complicit in the murder of 6 year olds

        So, no, you can’t, but I do hope all you middle-aged folks will start David Koresh-ing soon. The gun worship on the Right is dumber and more fanatical than ever.

        To the last point, duh

        • tommydagun

          Interesting that you reference two wars against insurgencies that the US ultimately failed to defeat and eventually gave up trying to. And compare battling against insurgents targeting supply, logistics, and the chain of command that already have a hardened protective posture in a foreign country 10,000 miles away… versus trying to do the same in your own country where everything around is soft, vulnerable, civilian-spec infrastructure. Support troops, civilian government employees, and contractors would all have to go home to sleep somewhere at night. They’re not all going to move to and from hardened military bases with armed escorts twice a day.

    • Harry Hudson

      They will not have to. If anyone from a platoon leader all the way up to the President gives an order for anyone in the military to fire on US civilians they are obligated not to obey since it is an unlawful order. The Bradley, F-18 will do nothing other than sit on the runway or in the motor pool. To think the soldiers will turn on their own citizens, friends and families in order to follow the unlawful orders of someone attempting to restrict US citizens rights is insulting to anyone who has ever and will ever serve.

      • timb117

        Oh, sweetie, from Shay’s rebellion to the Civil War, to Kent State to David Koresh, US government personnel have no qualms about shooting fellow Americans. Your apocalyptic fever dreams do not stand the test of time.

        Heck, when Eisenhower and Kennedy nationalized the National Guard units in Alabama and Mississippi in the 60’s, they went to desegregate schools, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure some of those good ol’ Southern (future Republican) boys loved them some Jim Crow.

        • steve rappoport

          You might want to check your rhetoric against the facts. One such fact is that Kent State was not a product of U.S. Government personnel. It was that of the Ohio National Guard in its state guise.

          • timb117

            And, Ohio National Guard soldiers are not soldiers? US Army personnel would have refrained from panicking? There is nothing in the history of the world or this country which indicates that is true. Ask John Brown

        • Harry Hudson

          I was debating the actions of soldiers not the ATF(not part of the US Armed Forces). I know it can be hard for some to stay on topic(maybe a little more adderall will help you) I was talking about the difference between a lawful and unlawful order and how ordering troops to shoot US citizens is not only unlawful but would ultimately not be followed by the vast majority of military personnel. This would be especially true if the reason for these unlawful orders are the attempts of a government to remove individual rights of their fellow citizens. In 2014 after years and years of training on this for all military personnel because of the growing number of insurgencies across the world, they are obligated not to follow an unlawful order. As for the good old southern boys who loved Jim Crow, they were Democrats. I know this is overlooked by the Democrats nowadays, but it was the Democratic party that did and still does support the idea of voting away individual rights if the majority wants it. This is why atrocities like slavery could exist, and why individual rights are important.

          • timb117

            First things first, they ain’t Democrats now; they’re Republicans and like all Southerners they switched party around the time the Dems took up Civil Rights. They would have, however, then and now, called themselves conservatives. Conservatives have always been interested in conserving the social order in the South.

            As for the earlier crap, you think soldiers and airmen are superior to civilian law enforcement? The history of the world and of this nation shows soldiers are way more interested in shooting the people they are told to shoot than policemen are.

            Still, at the present time, the government can just aim a CIA drone at you and fix the problem that way

          • Harry Hudson

            Now who is having the apocalyptic fever dream. The CIA can just aim their drones and fix the problem? I am not sure where your knowledge of what a drone can or cannot do, but you need to quit using Hollywood movies as a reference.

          • timb117

            Well, they wouldn’t you or me, because, despite your internet bravado, we’re just clowns on the Internet. Cause some problems, though…well, you can ask the folks in Somalis, Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya how that works for them (not to mention the dudes in Arizona desert when the Border Patrol uses them).

            Heck, ol’ Rand Paul himself suggested using them to kill the Boston Marathon bombers.

            You should fly over to Yemeni tribal areas, where you can bear all the arms you can carry, and ask them about it sometime. Connected by a cell phone call, two places removed….and gone.

            Also, too, if you put down the Soldier of Fortune magazine at the Low T clinic long enough, you could read “Way of the Knife” Might shock you what the US government can do

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