Re: Guns [was Re: property Rights]

Doug Jones (
Fri, 28 May 1999 20:01:01 -0700

Hey, I think we might actually have a coherent and polite dialog going on here... will wonders never cease? :)

Joe E. Dees wrote:
> [Doug Jones wrote]
> > Several posters, including
> > myself, have raised the question of what standards of proof and due
> > process your concept would require.
> >
> That has never been before raised to my knowledge (post a past
> mail and prove me wrong), but any due process that any other
> purported offence is granted seems equitable.

A few posts back, I wrote

I gather the impression that, unlike many "ban the gun" advocates, you don't mind gun ownership by non-felons, and you own weapons yourself. Sadly it appears that most mass shooters are not convicted felons *at the time they commit their attacks*, and banning the possession of guns by _potential_ shooters would require
massive infringements of civil rights- for who can identify a potential shooter? Psychological screening for firearms purchases?
The possibilities for political abuse of such a system would be large.

I must admit that I was putting up a bit of a strawman; the only credible standard for restricting possession on "mental" grounds is via due process in the courts, imperfect but the best we have.

On the other hand, some states' laws include "anyone ever committed for mental observation", which could be abused if not kept in the public eye. The burden of proof should be on the regulatory agency, of course, and I feel a commitment for observation should not in itself be grounds for dispossession, since it is an investigatory action, not a result of due process.

As with all things human, some dangerous people would not be identified, while some actually harmless people might lose some rights without due process. The question moves to, "How effective are these laws?"

I misattributed this quote:

> > "To support my point I state this: The guy I was just referring
> > to who stated he would rather kill a police officer (who most
> > likely has a wife and family) or other law enforcement officers
> > than have his gun taken away SHOULD have his license revoked
> > for saying that and have his weapons taken away as he is
> > talking like a potential killer and is clearly a threat to
> > the general public from my perspective."
> >
> Ahh, the domino theory again! First of all, I didn't write that.

Oops, my error. I mistook for you, probably due to a similarity in your styles. My apologies, I have no good excuse, but it was an error, not a deliberate distortion.

The legislation you seek is already in effect, for example in California:


It is unlawful for anyone convicted of a felony, or who is a drug addict, present or former mental patient, ever committed for mental observation, or acquitted by reason of insanity to own or possess any firearm. People with certain misdemeanor convictions involving force or violence may not possess or own any firearm within 10 years of the conviction. A person who has been adjudicated as a juvenile offender or delinquent for any offense which would be classified as a felony or misdemeanor involving force or violence if committed by an adult may not own or possess any firearm until age 30. A minor may not possess a handgun except with written permission or under the supervision of a parent or guardian.

Another quibble with the above is the "drug addict" part- what drugs, and what definition of addiction? I'll have to look further, but that's probably anyone who has signed up for a publicly funded detox program, such as methadone maintenance. If that's so, then due process has kinda sorta been satisfied, but perhaps the paperwork for voluntary drug treatment commitment should include the warning that certain civil rights are signed away by that act.

A friend of mine in Colorado was a heroin addict twenty years ago, but has been clean ever since then. As it turns out, Colorado law does not have a "drug addict" clause, so her possession of firearms (and she protected *me* from assault once) is legal in Colorado. I doubt she'll move to California anytime soon though...

-attribution corrected here-
> > [Rick] wants to disarm the man described above simply because
> > he *does not want to be disarmed*, and is willing to fight
> > such oppression.
> >
> As long as the cops aren't banging down his door, there's no
> problem. If he's a nut, kid or criminal, they SHOULD be taking his
> gun away, and better that he die than some shnook on the street
> who looks like a good target to him.

Ok, you have a more reasonable position than Rick... and that position is already law in many states. Enforcement is a tough one, though- the cops & DAs are up to their eyeballs in this bloody useless war on drugs (but that's a flamewar for another day <grin>).

> > Now do you see why some of us question your motives and goals? Your
> > thinking is a catch-22... you seem to be saying that as long as a
> > person doesn't mind being forcibly disarmed, he may (might?) keep
> > those arms.
> >
> If they abrogate their rights by committing violent crimes, abusing
> their spouses and/or children, developing legitimately certifiable
> psychoses, then they NEED to be disarmed, and the sooner the
> better. If not, there's no problem.

Agreed, with rights come responsibilities. Persons shown by due process, on public record, to be in that set above are in most jurisdictions in the US already banned from gun ownership. Thus I think we have little to truly disagree on.

Doug Jones, Rocket Plumber
Rotary Rocket Company