Friday, August 8, 2008

Keeping America Safe From Firearms

I had some conversations involving strong feelings on the firearms. It's been a month since the United States Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment included an individual right to keep and bear arms even in an area of exclusively federal jurisdiction. I note that on the date of this post, FindLaw still discusses the right protected by the Second Amendment as having "no definitive resolution" and describing the possibility that the Amendment might protect an individually-enforceable right as a "theory"; FindLaw needs to put publication dates on its articles so viewers can tell how recently the Supreme Court will have to have ruled to obsolete the article. FindLaw's article has a copyright date of 2008, but that's not helpful: their web server stitches the current year into every page it serves, apparently. The most recent case cited by the article has a date of 1982 (unless you consider the 1983 date the case was turned down for appellate review).

In the tradition of charity workers who raise funds to purchase humans from slavers for redemption, perhaps those concerned about firearms -- but uninterested in the kind of mental health surveillance and interventions that would be needed to materially impact the suicide rate -- might want to take a page from the Assault Weapon Watch and purchase from circulations firearms that could be kept in a secure observation environment, either to ensure they are not misused or to document conclusively that even in the absence of mentally ill operators they can cause harm.

I think the Assault Weapon Watch is definitely ahead of the curve in providing up-to-date photographic proof of the danger mitigation that has been achieved by removing potentially lethal weapons from circulation through purchase.


As an Econ 101 thought experiment, exactly what do you imagine happens to the attractiveness of slave-taking as a career option when new, large, foreign purchasers show up and offer to put your new slaves back into circulation as available targets in the same place they were originally captured? What happens to the incentive of locals to pretend that they have slaves to trade, when in fact they have borrowed a bunch of children from their extended families for a photo op?

My own impression is that it reinforces slave-taking as a profession to introduce more funding to reward success, and creates a new opportunity to perpetrate frauds in the form of faux slavery.

I shake my head in amazement at the things people will do with their scarce resources. At least the folks at the Assault Weapon Watch are having a good time and building a harmless gun collection.


Stephanie said...

You mention that buying people's freedom from slavers just reinforces the slave culture - isn't the same true for the assault weapons? Doesn't buying them just increase demand, so more assault weapons are produced? I fail to see the logic in buying the guns to keep them out of criminals hands.

Jaded Consumer said...

I thought anyone clicking on the Assault Weapon Watch would see the site was a joke, and understand I was advocating the solution tongue-in-cheek. I see click-through to the Assault Weapon Watch isn't guaranteed :-)

The whole point of mentioning the efforts to buy slaves for humanitarian manumission purposes was to illuminate it as equally silly.

If you like reading about freedom and the acquisition of equal rights in the U.S., you might have a look at my post here:

It turns out the civil rights movement could be nearly a century further along, but for bad law -- not at the state level, as we're consistently told, but at the federal level, where functioning state-law protections were undermined, and the states given a blueprint for institutionalized racism by federal authorities, and the blessing it would pass constitutional muster.

Crazy stuff, the history of law and the development of public policy.

If you're keen on firearms posts, I have some on the recent Second Amendment case District of Columbia v Heller you might find interesting: