I am pretty certain this is a discussion that will eventually lead nowhere, but to continue it for the moment, and for the sake of the argument:
I have no illusions this will persuade any of the true believers… Yes, this is a truism, as such it needs no facts or logic.
…It is written in a deceptive way as if you are trying to lull the reader into thinking there is no agenda to ban certain clasess of guns. I do not believe that taking guns away from people who already own them is identical with banning certain classes of guns. I have never seen it said anywhere that there is any intention of taking away any presently owned guns (am I wrong about this?). I admitted that Obama might want to ban the sales of certain kinds of weapons. I see nothing deceptive in this.
If you would protest vehemently…why would you be surprised if others…
As above, I do not think they are threatened. If they were I would not be surprised.
…the discussion of hunting is totally irrelevant…While I agree that the right to keep and bear arms did not have to do with hunting, I believe the issue of hunting is entirely relevant. While I cannot prove it with “facts,” I believe it is logical to believe that in the eyes of many people in the United States the possession of hunting rifles and shotguns is considered “legitimate.” Handguns are probably considered more or less legitimate for home defense, although many people would disagree. That is, most people perceive that such weapons are useful for obvious purposes. Those who wish to ban assault weapons do not perceive them in quite the same way. How do you conclude that the right to bear arms is not about perceived needs? Why would anyone want them if they did not perceive a need for them? I also have some trouble with your distinction between needs and rights. I cannot see how switching to perceived needs is much of a diversion.
I have never read Kopel. I do not dispute that people have a fundamental right to self defense. And I suppose that one might argue that owning an assault rifle is for self defense. However, the right of self defense does not, it seems to me, necessarily specify the right to employ firearms for that purpose. One could also use hand grenades or howitzers for self defense but, that would probably not be entirely desirable from the point of view of the public at large. It’s an interesting point but I don’t think the right of self defense specifically has to do with firearms.
…I think you have lived a very sheltered life as a professor…You know absolutely nothing about my life other than that I was a Professor of Anthropology at UCLA. And you accuse me of stereotyping! Furthermore, while we do want to prepare for the unexpected as well as the expected, I, at least, am not preparing to be attacked from outer space, nor am I expecting to be attacked by my own government, or Russia, or China, or Cuba, or Eskimos.
…The government will want to ban any weapons, and in another breath you said …Obama would be in favor of banning…I did not say there was no threat the government would ban weapons, I said there was no threat they would take away weapons. There is no contradiction involved. I guess you would argue that banning something is the same as taking it away, but I don’t think so.
…it is proper to own assault weapons…to defend your right to own guns if your government wanted to take them away…I don’t think I said that. I implied that people had a right to protect their guns if they were threatened, I didn’t say assault weapons. Indeed, the question as to whether people should own assault weapons at all is one of the points at issue. And I do believe it irrational to believe the government might take away your guns (of any kind), just because they want to have some controls here and there. Banning the sale of assault rifles is not the same as taking away your guns. I said I believed it was irrational to believe we are about to be attacked by our government, another government, another race, or people gone mad with hunger or something, and for that reason to insist upon owning assault rifles, 50 caliber machine guns or whatever.
As far as stereotyping groups of people, and using incendiary language, I confess to being guilty. But there is a group (or bunch, or number or collection, or category) of people in the United States that seem to believe they should have absolute rights to own any kinds of weapons they want, irrespective of the public good, and, indeed think everyone should be armed, people should be allowed to carry guns into schools, national parks, and even churches. There have been towns that have even passed laws saying that all citizens should carry arms. I confess, I think these people are “nuts.” You may disagree. It is, after all, a free country. But you still cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theatre.
We merely want to live in peace with all the world, to trade with them, to commune with them, to learn from their culture as they may learn from ours, so that the products of our toil may be used for our schools and our roads and our churches and not for guns and planes and tanks and ships of war.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
The first commercially successful automatic pistol was marketed in 1884.