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talk.politics.guns Official Pro-Gun FAQ 1/2

( Part1 - Part2 )
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[talk.politics.guns' Official Pro-Gun FAQ (fully indexed, w/glossary)
Additions/suggestions are welcome.  Your help is encouraged.
Email to: Ken Barnes (
This FAQ is now available at:
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   and archived by the fine FAQ folks at     and

NOTE: As a courtesy to our contributors, all email addresses (except
my own) mentioned in this FAQ include an anti-spambot string "RKBA"
which must be removed before they are used.  --KB]

+This FAQ is dedicated to all who fought to secure the Blessings+
+of Liberty against Monarchism, Racism, Fascism, and Communism. +

CONTENTS  (* indicates an updated entry, !* a new section)

   SECTION I. - Personal issues

 * 1.0 - "You don't need a gun, the police will protect you."
   1.1 - "Guns aren't an effective defense, or, the 43:1 myth."
 * 1.1.a - "Chemical sprays and stun guns are just as effective."
!* 1.1.b - "2.5 million defensive gun uses each year can't be true!"
!* 1.1.c - "Is there independent evidence to support that number?"
   1.2 - "Bad guys will just take your gun away and shoot you."
   1.2.a - "...especially if you're a woman."
 * 1.3 - "Guns are too dangerous to own if you've got children."

   SECTION II. - Constitutional issues in the United States

   2.0 - "The 2nd Amendment means you can't disarm the National Guard."
   2.0.a - "What's the deal with the punctuation?"
   2.1 - "The 2nd Amendment doesn't protect an individual right."
   2.2 - "So you think everybody can own nuclear weapons?"
 * 2.3 - "The 2nd Amendment doesn't apply to states and localities."

   SECTION III. - Other "gun-control" fantasies

 * 3.0 - "We ought to register all firearms and ammunition."
 * 3.0.a - "We ought to license and register guns like cars."
   3.0.b - "Gun registration reduced homicides in Washington, D.C."
!* 3.0.c - "'Taggants' in gunpowder and explosives fight terrorism."
   3.1 - "Guns increase the lethality of crime."
 * 3.2 - "Waiting periods save lives."
 * 3.2.a - "The Brady Act national waiting period is very effective."
 * 3.3 - "Ban assault weapons!"
   3.4 - "Ban cop-killer bullets!"
   3.4.a - "Ban Black Rhino ammunition!"
   3.5 - "Ban Saturday Nite Specials!"
   3.6 - "Ban plastic guns!"
!* 3.6.a - "But how could you detect plastic guns?"
 * 3.7 - "Gun buy-backs are effective in getting guns off the street."
   3.8 - "Concealed-carry reform will take us back to the Wild West!"
   3.8.a - "What about the University of Maryland study?"
!* 3.8.b - "Lott and Mustard's study is just gun industry propaganda!"

   SECTION IV. - Deterrence and resistance to tyranny

   4.0 - "Small arms aren't effective against a modern army."

   APPENDIX I. - Federal "gun control" laws in the United States

   "Nonmailable Firearms Act" of 1927 - Public Law 69-583
   National Firearms Act of 1934 - Public Law 73-474
   Federal Firearms Act of 1938 - Public Law 75-785 (repealed)
   Gun Control Act of 1968 - Public Law 90-618
   Firearms Owner's Protection Act of 1986 - Public Law 99-308
   Armor Piercing Ammunition ban of 1987 - Public Law 99-408
   Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 - Public Law 100-649
   Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 - Public Law 101-647 (void)
 * Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 (void in part)
     - Public Law 103-159
   Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994
     (a.k.a. "assault weapons" ban) - Public Law 103-322

 * APPENDIX II. - Data on concealed carry reform in Florida

   APPENDIX III. - "Gun Control": international comparisons


   APPENDIX IV. - Washington, D.C.: a "gun control" paradise

 * APPENDIX V. - The U.S. Supreme Court and the Second Amendment

!* APPENDIX VI. - Pious Frauds: If It Sounds Too Good To Be True...



SECTION I. - Personal issues

"The peaceable part of mankind will be continually overrun by the
vile and abandoned while they neglect the means of self-defense.
The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on
the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and
the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world, as well as
property.  The balance of power is the scale of peace.  The same
balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms,
for all would be alike; but since some_will_not,_ others_dare_not_
lay them aside...  Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the
world deprived of the use of them;... the weak will become a prey
to the strong."
   -=(Thomas Paine, "Thoughts on Defensive War," 1775)=-

1.0  "You don't need a gun, the police will protect you."

Recommended reading: _In The Gravest Extreme,_by Massad Ayoob
[available from Police Bookshelf, P.O. Box 122, Concord, NH 03301],
ISBN 0-936297-00-1, (1980)

_The Truth About Self Protection,_by Massad Ayoob, Police Bookshelf,
ISBN 0553-23664-6, (1983)

_Armed and Female: Twelve Million American Women Own Guns, Should You?,_
by Paxton Quigley, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0-312-95150-7, (1993)

_Not An Easy Target,_by Paxton Quigley, Simon and Schuster,
ISBN 0-671-89081-6, (1995)

_Strong On Defense: Survival Rules to Protect You and Your Family 
from Crime,_by Sanford Strong, Pocket Books, ISBN 0-671-52293-0, (1996)

_Firing Back,_by Clayton E. Cramer, Krause Publications,
ISBN 0-87341-344-X, (1994)

_Stopping Power: Why Seventy Million Americans Own Guns,_by J. Neil
 Schulman, Synapse-Centurion Books, ISBN 1-882639-03-0, (1994)

_Gun Laws and the Need for Self-Defense (Parts 1 and 2),_hearings
before The Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary,
U.S. House of Representatives, 104th Congress, 1st session, March 31,
1996, SuDoc# Y 4.J89/1:104/43/Pt.1, and 2nd session, April 5, 1995,
SuDoc# Y 4.J89/1:104/43/Pt.2  [These hearings, called in response
to the fledgling Republican Congress' efforts to repeal the 1994 
Clinton/Feinstein gun ban (see 3.3 and Appendix I), featured testimony
from a number of scholars cited elsewhere in this FAQ, including 
James Wright, Joyce Malcolm, David Bordua, Robert Cottrol, and
Daniel Polsby, as well as law enforcement officers and crime victims.]

A selection of relevant cases [most of which are listed and 
discussed in 'Dial 911 and Die!' by JPFO (Jews for the Preservation
of Firearms Ownership) 2872 S. Wentworth Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207,
Ph: (414) 769-0760, FAX: (414) 483-8435  JPFO also has a website: ]:

[Note: For convenience of the reader, legal citations in this FAQ
have been rendered in a more familiar "bibliography" style form,
rather than standard legal citation form.  Real lawyers would cite
the first case below as 59 U.S. (18 How.) 396, 15 L.Ed. 433 ]

South v. Maryland, U.S. Reports (18 Howard) v.59 p.396, Lawyer's
  Edition v.15 p.433 (1856)
Riss v. City of New York, N.Y. Supplement 2nd series v.293 p.897,
  N.Y. Reports 2nd series v.22 p.579 (1968)
Keane v. City of Chicago, Illinois Appellate Court Reports
  2nd series v.98 p.460 (1968)
Hartzler v. City of San Jose, California Appellate Reports
  3rd series v.46 p.6, California Reporter v.120 p.5 (1975)
Reiff v. City of Philadelphia, Federal Supplement v.471 p.1262
  Eastern District of Pennsylvania (1979)
Warren v. District of Columbia, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  2nd series v.444 p.1 (1981)
Bowers v. DeVito, Federal Reporter 2nd series v.686 p.616
  U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Cir. (1982)
Morgan v. District of Columbia, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  2nd series v.468 p.1306 (1983)
Cuffy v. City of New York, N.Y. Reports 2nd series v.69 p.255 (1987)
Lynch v. N.C. Dept. of Justice, Southeastern Reporter 2nd series
  v.376 p.247 North Carolina Court of Appeals (1989)
Kircher v. City of Jamestown, New York Reports 2nd series v.74 
  p.251, Northeastern Reporter 2nd series v.543 p.443 (1989)
Marshall v. Winston, Southeastern Reporter 2nd series v.389 p.902
  Virginia (1990)
Berliner v. Thompson, et al., Appellate Division (NY) 2nd series 
  v.174 p.220, New York State 2nd series v.578 p.687 (1992)

In summary:  Police can only act once a crime is occurring or has
already been committed.  They cannot be held liable for failure to
arrive in time to save any particular individual from harm, so long
as they aren't someone who has a special relationship with the police,
like a protected witness.  Indeed, it's_extremely_unlikely that police
officers will be able to arrive and_save_you from harm faster than
an attacker can harm you.  There aren't, and there ought not to be,
sufficient police to act as personal bodyguards for every citizen,
24 hours a day, and any guarantee to that effect would be extremely
expensive in terms of both money and liberty.

1.1  "Guns aren't effective defensive weapons, and are '43 to 1 times'
more likely to kill their owners or family members than they are useful
to defend against criminal attack."

See_Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America,_by Gary Kleck,
Aldine de Gruyter, ISBN 0-202-30419-1 (1991)  [Dr. Kleck's book is a 
valuable resource for all participants in the "gun control" debate. 
_Point Blank_received the American Society for Criminology's highest 
honor, the Hindelang Award, at the ASC's 1993 annual meeting, for the 
most important contribution to the criminology literature in the 
preceding three years.]

also_Criminal Victimization in the United States,_1992_
A National Crime Victimization Survey Report,_Bureau of Justice
Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Dept. of Justice
SuDoc# J 29.9/2:992 (1992)

Kellerman, Arthur L. and Reay, Donald T., "Protection or
Peril?  An Analysis of Firearm-Related Deaths in the Home"
New England J. Medicine, v.314, n.24, pp.1557-1560 (1986)

Kleck, Gary and Gertz, Marc, "Armed Resistance to Crime: The 
Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun," J. of 
Criminal Law and Criminology, v.86, n.1, pp.150-187 (1995)

In summary:  The often-cited "studies that show" having a gun in
the home is a far greater risk to you and your loved ones than to
criminals, are a favorite topic of discussion here on t.p.g., in part
to demonstrate the extraordinary statistical contortions that "gun
control" advocates will go to in an attempt to support their flawed
premises.  The idea that guns (and handguns in particular) are
ineffective as defensive weapons shows a distinct lack of imagination,
especially since police carry them for that purpose.
   The 1986 Kellerman study, the source of the famous "43 to 1" ratio,
is deceptive in several ways.  The basis for comparison in this study
is the ratio of "firearm-related deaths" of household members vs.
deaths of criminals killed in the home (justifiable homicides).  The
"firearm-related deaths" in the study include suicides and accidents,
neither of which are randomly distributed throughout the population,
as the 43 to 1 "risk ratio" would imply.  Both suicides and accidents
are more likely to occur in specific categories of people than they
are in the general population.  Of the 398 "firearm-related deaths"
included in the study, the vast majority (333, or, 84%) were suicides.
The number of fatal firearms accidents in the study was 12 (or 3% of
the studied deaths).  Since sometimes a "gun cleaning accident" is
actually a suicide reported under a name less likely to deny payment
from a life insurance company, there may in fact have been even
fewer accidents than are apparent from the reporting.  When only the
criminal homicides are considered, rather than including suicides
and accidents, the "43 to 1" ratio disappears, and the ratio is far
less dramatic, more like "4.5 to 1".  There were 41 criminal homicides
reported in the Kellerman study, and 9 instances of justifiable or
self-defense homicide.  People who are violent, unbalanced, or involved
in a life of crime are much more likely to use their home gun unwisely,
and their chances of using it to harm another (or themselves) are higher
than would be expected for the majority of the population.
   As criminologists know and can demonstrate, the fallacy underlying
the work of researchers who treat "gun violence" as an "epidemic" or as
an issue of "public health" is the idea that people are all at equal
risk for becoming a perpetrator of crime, and lack only a deadly weapon.
If a person is stable, and not suicidal, and not prone to extreme
violence, their chances of becoming involved in "firearm-related death"
will be far lower than the Kellerman "43 to 1 risk ratio" would suggest.
Persons with these risk factors are not only more likely to abuse guns
to harm themselves or others, but they probably can't be trusted with
knives, either.  Aside from such obvious risk factors, the likelihood
of being injured accidentally can be decreased further by training
in safe gun handling, much as firearms accidents have declined in the
U.S. population in recent years due to such safety education, despite
an increase in the number of guns available.  (See 1.3)  The Kellerman
study, based on data collected in King County, WA from 1978 to 1983,
is skewed towards violence associated with an urban setting, and makes
little mention of the thousands of gun-owning households where no
"firearm-related deaths" occurred at all.  If gun ownership was the
crucial factor in an "epidemiology of violence," how to explain the
fact that almost all gunowners' households weren't affected?
   Assessing the effectiveness of gun use against criminals as "number
of criminals killed" (as the Kellerman study does) is an extraordinary
presumption as well, since law enforcement officers aren't judged by
such a restrictive standard.  Why isn't "criminals deterred" or
"crimes completed" or even "criminals wounded or apprehended" a
legitimate means of measuring defensive effectiveness?  Certainly in
some proportion of gun-owning households where no "firearm-related
deaths" occurred, it was because a firearm was used to deter, wound,
or otherwise thwart an attacker.
   In point of fact, the reason these "studies" are structured as badly
as they are, and are published in medical (rather than criminological)
journals, is that the numbers don't work out in favor of the "gun
control" viewpoint if considered in these other ways (see also 3.0.b).  
There's no more reason to judge the ability and effectiveness of armed 
citizens at fighting crime by the numbers of criminals they kill than 
it is to do so for the police.  Surprisingly, however, the numbers are 
quite similar (see 3.8).  Still, it seems absurd for the anti-gun side 
to imply that gun owners_ought_to kill as many or more criminals than
the number of people that criminals murder (which is the only way for
the law-abiding to make a good showing in Kellerman's "kill ratio")!
Kellerman implies that a general "cost-benefit" ratio can be developed
which can be used to weigh the harm committed with guns against the
right of the individual to have a gun for self-defense, and if it
happens that more people are being harmed with guns than there are
instances of self-defense, we can simply allow those few people
whose lives would be saved by having a gun to become victims too.
   According to U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics data, having a gun
and being able to use it in a defensive situation is the most effective
means of avoiding injury (moreso even than offering no resistance) and
thwarting completion of a robbery or assault.  In general, resisting
violent crime is far more likely to help than to hurt, and this is
especially true if your attacker attempts to take you hostage, such as
sometimes happens in a carjacking situation.  Most often in with-gun
defenses, criminals can be frightened away or deterred without a shot
being fired.  Estimates of these types of defensive uses of firearms
are wide ranging, from a low of 65,000 to 82,000 annual defensive 
gun uses (DGUs) reported to the U.S. Department of Justice's National 
Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), to a high end of some 2.1-2.5 
million annual DGUs (see 1.1.b), but they seem to occur at least
as often (if not far more often) each year as misuses of firearms by
violent criminals.  Since such defensive uses are rarely reported to
the police (in some cases because firearms possession in the locality 
is illegal), it is difficult to quantify precisely the number of 
instances in which defensive use of firearms has saved lives.
   A variety of factors complicate the measurement of DGU, including 
the completeness and accuracy of self-reporting by witnesses, the 
nature and sequence of the questions asked (including the definition 
of what constitutes a DGU), the willingness of the witness to respond 
_at all_to questions about such incidents, and the difficulty in 
distinguishing between self-defense and assault based on a witness'
own report.  There is evidence to suggest that a substantial number 
of homicide victims have at other times been perpetrators, and Kleck 
suggests that criminals should comprise "a disproportionate share of 
both DGU and gun crime victimizations."  Whether criminals are any 
more or less willing to report DGU in surveys than non-criminals 
is another factor to be considered when estimating the frequency of 
lawful gun use in self-defense.
   Even if the number of crimes deterred by lawful armed citizens 
annually is no greater than the number of violent crimes committed 
with guns each year, in the absence of these self-protective acts, 
the incidence of violent crime could be far higher than it is at 
present, and injuries to innocent victims could also increase.  
The annual use of firearms for other lawful purposes, unrelated to 
self-defense, dwarfs both defensive and criminal uses combined.

1.1.a  "Chemical sprays, stun guns, and other nonlethal methods
are effective and easy to use in stopping an attacker."

see Ayoob,_In The Gravest Extreme_(see above) p.35-38.

Air Taser homepage at

Jonathan Glater, "Wild Wild Wet,"_Washington Post,_July 25, 1994, p.F3

In summary:  Unfortunately, even_shooting_an attacker doesn't always
stop them immediately, unless the shot is directed at the central
nervous system.  A fatally wounded assailant can still be dangerous
for the few seconds or minutes they have left.  Non-lethal methods,
while they can be effective in some cases and can provide an additional
option for personal defense, are not something you want to bet your life
on when confronted with deadly force.  The chemical sprays available
to civilians (such as CS tear gas, or OC pepper spray) are not always as
strong as those used by law enforcement, but even though the police
carry chemical agents, they also carry firearms, since even the police
sprays (like FREEZE+P) don't stop everybody, and aren't appropriate for
every situation.  The chemical sprays are most effective when they can
reach the mucous membranes, such as when sprayed in the eyes or inhaled.
Yet if an attacker is wearing glasses, or holds their breath, or is
on drugs, or is just unusually impervious to the pain, the spray may not
be effective.  (After all, some people can_eat_extraordinarily hot
peppers, and some people just have high pain thresholds.)
   Chemical sprays are designed for outdoor use, and will persist and
can cause problems for the defender if used indoors.  Outdoors, they
can be affected by the direction of the wind, and blown off target, or
back into the defender's face, if not delivered in a stream.  Inclement
weather can also affect their effectiveness as a defense, and they
require a few seconds to fully incapacitate when they work.  It should
be noted that pepper sprays are more effective against dogs than man,
since dogs expose their mouth and tongue when threatening attack, but
chemical mace (CS tear gas) is not effective against dogs, since dogs'
tear glands are less active, and they have smaller tear ducts, limiting
the spray's effects.  Use of OC sprays on non-human animals may require
the highest concentration of pepper, i.e. 10%-13%, since it is believed
that dogs, for example, are less sensitive to the pain.  Many sprays
contain visible or invisible dyes which are useful in identifying and
apprehending a suspect, but if the victim ends up wounded or dead due 
to the essentially random chance that the spray is ineffective as a
defense, that's a fact of interest primarily to the police.  Criminals
can be equally and more indelibly marked for capture by the use of a
firearm, if use of deadly force is justified, since their wounds often
require that they seek medical attention.  Medical personnel are
required to report patients seeking treatment for gunshot wounds to
law enforcement authorities.
   Most stun "guns" available for civilian use require direct contact
with the attacker's body, putting the victim dangerously in harm's
way, when the objective is to keep as far away as possible.  Many
civilian stun guns are also underpowered, and can require several
seconds contact with the attacker in order to incapacitate.  They may
also have difficulty penetrating heavy clothing, like winter coats.
Their loud crackle and brilliant blue arc_are_certainly intimidating,
however.  Other stun guns (like the police TASER, and its civilian
cousin, the Air Taser) can fire electrode darts with trailing wires
_into_the target from a distance.  The civilian version of the TASER,
approved for sale as a "non-firearm" by the BATF in June 1994, uses
compressed nitrogen to expel its electrode barbs, unlike the police
version, which uses an explosive propellant and is regulated under
the NFA (see National Firearms Act, Appendix I).  Most stun guns 
are now equipped with safety devices designed to prevent them from
being used against the defender if taken away.  Criminal misuse of 
contact-type stun "guns" as torture devices has occurred, so this
is a significant concern for stun gun users.  The civilian TASER
includes a weapon registration system which dispenses dozens of
serial numbered microdots with each use, so as to deter criminal
use of the weapon.  However, as with any registration system, theft
of the weapon or cartridges from their rightful owner could occur.
The civilian TASER also doubles as a contact-type stun "gun" for 
use if the darts miss their target, or if there is no time to reload
the dart cartridge system during an assault by multiple attackers.
   Another variety of stun "gun" is under development which squirts
a stream of liquid electrolyte at the target, rather than using a
wire to deliver its current.  Like a TASER, it has limited range,
but it could provide for a multi-shot capacity that current wire-
launching stun "guns" lack.  Still, it seems unlikely that carrying
around a liquid electrolyte reservoir will do much to reduce the
weapon's size or weight.  Unfortunately, there is no "Star Trek"
style weapon that can reliably and safely "stun" a person without
some risk, however small, of lethality.  People vary in their 
biochemical and physiological responses to various weapons, and
the level of force which may be required to "stun" a person whose
strength and stamina has been abnormally enhanced by drugs could
prove lethal to some ordinary people.  Persons who already suffer
from significant stresses to their heart or other organs can die
from the additional stresses of what would otherwise be a "less
than lethal" weapon, particularly if such weapons are misused.
But if sufficient force is not used in defending against a life-
threatening attack, the_defender_runs the risk of injury or death.
   Even police stun "guns" don't always work, as evidenced by the
1991 Rodney King video.  King was TASERed prior to being attacked
by baton-wielding officers but was still able to move around and
present a potential threat.  (Some of the fired darts may have
missed, but had he been incapacitated by the TASER, the baton attack
would have been even more obviously excessive, and unnecessary.)
   Both chemical sprays and stun guns are virtually useless in
stopping multiple attackers, while with sufficient practice, firearms
(and particularly handguns) are quite effective at stopping violent
attack, even by a determined gang of assailants. (See 3.3)  Unlike
these two common non-lethal weapons, a gun, when fired, acts to alert
possible aid, and is less likely to be ignored than personal alarms.
Also, unlike non-lethal weapons, guns offer an additional intimidation
factor due to their lethality which may deter attack in circumstances
where the risk of confronting a spray can or stun "gun" would not.
Ironically, many of the same localities which have strict "gun control"
laws also prohibit ordinary citizens from owning and using chemical
defense sprays or stun guns, and the rationale is the same.  Law-
abiding citizens are disarmed of any possible effective means of 
self-defense because of the possibility of criminals misusing these
   Some people in high-crime "gun control" zones like Washington, D.C.
and other U.S. cities have taken to carrying cans of aerosol spray
oven cleaner (potassium or sodium hydroxide, a powerful caustic agent)
because the laws in these localities deny them the right to carry a
non-toxic pepper spray, or any other effective means of self-defense.
This illustrates precisely the type of "weapon substitution" effect
that opponents of "gun control" argue will occur if any particular class
of weapons, such as "Saturday Nite Specials," is banned.  People who are
determined to have weapons, whether they are honest citizens defending
against crime, or criminals obtaining the tools of their trade, will
find a way around any ban, and will often end up having a deadlier
weapon that the one that has been banned.  (After all, if someone is
breaking the law_anyway,_it matters little whether they break it to
carry a "Saturday Nite Special" or a sawed-off shotgun or machinegun.)
Oven cleaner can cause permanent damage and/or blindness, and aside
from the child-resistant cap (which would make the can difficult to use
in emergency situations), oven cleaner cans lack the safety mechanisms
which are found on many tear gas or pepper spray containers to
prevent accidental discharge.  Its permanent and harmful effects may
also be used by prosecutors to prejudice a jury, moreso even than if
the defender had used a gun!  There's very little chance that banning
oven cleaner will occur, since the_only_localities which have this
"problem" are the ones which deny their good citizens any other means
to protect themselves.
   In Canada, use of pepper spray against bears and dogs is legal, but
not against human predators.  Only the police in Canada are allowed
to use OC pepper spray on humans.  Anyone else caught using this
"prohibited weapon" to protect themselves faces a possible_10-year_
_prison_term!_  In spite of the law, Canadian citizens are "arming
for bear" by exploiting this legal loophole, though the government 
is cracking down on sales.  Pepper defense sprays are also legally
unavailable to citizens in Germany, since German law requires that any
such defensive spray be first tested on animals, and a 1987 German law
prohibits the testing of weapons on animals.  Pepper sprays are gaining
popularity worldwide, however, since they are the most effective
personal defense option for people whose governments don't trust their
citizens with firearms, or for people who choose not to use firearms
in defense of their lives and their families.
   There has been some concern expressed by the American Civil Liberties
Union (ACLU) in about 30 cases in which pepper spray has thought to have
been associated with deaths of suspects in police custody, but a review
of these cases by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a
pro-"gun control" police organization, said that most of the incidents
could be attributable to factors such as improper use of restraints like
handcuffs in ways which restricted breathing, the suspect's obesity,
and/or the suspect's use of alcohol and/or cocaine.  That the ACLU could
find only 28 such questionable incidents during the three year period of
its investigation, and also the fact that ACLU did not claim that pepper
spray directly caused the deaths, only underscores the essential safety
of the sprays as a non-lethal defensive weapon.  (In light of the ACLU's
findings, users concerned about the remote possibility of killing an
attacker with pepper spray should beware of using the spray against
drunken asthmatic fat guys on "crack.")

1.1.b  "2.5 million defensive uses of firearms each year can't be true!"

See Kleck and Gertz (1995), above.

See also testimony of David Bordua and Garen Wintemute in
_Gun Laws and the Need for Self-Defense,_hearings (above)

_Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1994,_Bureau of 
Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Dept.
of Justice, SuDoc# J 29.9/6:994 (1994)

In summary:  In a nation of some 97 million households, about half of 
which own one or more firearms, is a rate of defensive gun use (DGU) 
which amounts to about 1.4% per year an unreasonably high figure?  
A study undertaken by a group led by criminologist Dr. Gary Kleck of
Florida State University found that there are approximately 2.1 to 2.5
million instances annually in which individual Americans use a gun to
defend themselves.  Considered as households, the figure is 1.3 to 1.5
million annual DGUs (Kleck 1995, Table 2).  If this figure is correct,
defensive uses of firearms are much more common than crimes committed
with guns.  Kleck's study defines a DGU as a defensive action against
a human (rather than an animal), involving actual contact with the 
person being defended against, in which the defender could state a 
specific crime which he or she thought was being committed at the time 
of the incident, and in which the defender's gun was actually used in 
some way, even if it was only as part of a verbal threat.  A reported 
DGU incident must meet all of these criteria in order to be counted 
as a valid DGU for the purposes of the survey.  Additionally, DGUs
associated with work as a policeman, security guard, or member of 
the military are excluded.
   The data for the Kleck study were collected using an anonymous
nationwide random-digit-dialed telephone survey of 4,977 adults
conducted from February through April of 1993 by Research Network,
a telephone polling company located in Tallahassee, FL.  After a few
general questions about problems in their community and crime, those
polled were asked "Within the past five years, have you yourself or
another member of your household used a gun, even if it was not fired,
for self-protection or for the protection of property at home, work,
or elsewhere?  Please do not include military service, police work,
or work as a security guard."  Those who answered "Yes" were then 
asked whether their defensive use was against an animal or a person, 
asked to state how many defensive gun use incidents against persons
had happened to members of their household in the last five years, 
and asked whether any of the incident or incidents had occurred in 
the last twelve months.  Of those surveyed, 222 respondents reported
DGUs within the past five years.  All respondents reporting DGU, as
well as 20% of those not reporting a DGU, were called back to validate
their initial survey interviews.  These raw data were then corrected
for oversampling in the South and West regions, where gun ownership
is highest; and oversampling for males, who are not only more likely
to own guns, but also more likely to be victims of violent crime.
   The weighted results (corrected for oversampling built into the
survey) were these:  1.125% to 1.326% of respondents reported having
personally been involved in a DGU incident within the past year, with
1.366% to 1.587% of households reporting a household member being 
involved in a DGU incident within the past year (which would include
those DGUs mentioned above involving the respondent).  Calculations
based on the estimated adult population of the U.S. and the estimated
number of households in the U.S. show that at this rate there would 
be 2,163,519 to 2,549,862 DGUs in 1993 if considered on an individual
basis, or some 1,325,918 to 1,540,405 DGU-involved households.  For 
comparison, the estimated number of violent crimes committed with 
guns in 1993 was 588,140, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports.
   Kleck discusses the flaws inherent in previous surveys, including 
the Justice Department's National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS),
which gives the lowest estimate of all methods used to calculate the 
number of DGU incidents.  The NCVS, Kleck argues, though based upon 
a much larger sample than his own survey, severely undercounts the 
number of DGUs because respondents are being asked by a government 
official to_volunteer_information about incidents in which they may
possibly have done something that was illegal (such as committing 
assault with a deadly weapon by pointing a gun at someone), or which
involved an illegal act (such as carrying a gun without a permit).
Further, the NCVS never asks directly whether the respondents used
a gun to protect themselves, and only asks its general question
about self-protection after respondents have already reported the
location of their victimization incident, which in most cases is
reported as being away from the victim's home.  Since carrying a gun
without a permit is often illegal, there would be a strong motivation
for respondents not to report DGU outside the home.  But how accurate
is the Kleck survey's estimate?  What are some possible alternative
explanations that could influence these results?
   First, consider some factors which could produce an overestimate.
The sample size, or number of persons surveyed, while smaller than
the NCVS, is several times larger than that usually used in most
public opinion polls.  Extrapolating from too small of a sample is
one way to get an overestimate, but this is not a problem for Kleck's
survey, since the Gallup Poll and the Roper Center routinely use
samples smaller than this for their national surveys. (The results
of such national polls are often promoted as newsworthy.)  As Kleck 
notes, the random sampling error of his survey is less than 1%.  
The phenomenon known as "telescoping," in which past events are
remembered as being much more recent than they actually are, could 
account for some increase in reported DGUs, but Kleck's survey,
which uses two time periods, asking about events in the past five
years, and within the last twelve months, takes this into account.
Kleck's definition of a DGU to include defense of property could
serve to increase the number of reported DGUs, since use of deadly
force to protect property is not legally recognized in many states.
Kleck notes however, that it was not the purpose of the survey to
discern the legality or morality of the respondent's actions.
   One possible source of overestimation that has been seized 
upon by critics wanting to explain away Kleck's results is what
Kleck terms the "dishonest respondent" hypothesis, or in other
words, that the respondents made up a story about a DGU.  Only
24% of respondents reporting a DGU claimed to have fired their 
gun, and even if one were to discard these reported DGUs entirely
(and arbitrarily) as overly dramatic, this leaves well over a
million and a half estimated DGUs, a rate_twenty times_that of
the estimate derived from the NCVS.  To assume that even 24% of
respondents are actively trying to create a dramatic story which
is internally consistent enough to deceive the experienced team
of interviewers Kleck used, much less a sufficient number to 
account for the vast difference in estimates between the Kleck
survey and the NCVS, is in itself hard to believe.  For the NCVS
to miss a DGU requires only that the respondent not volunteer
the information, but as Kleck observes "[t]here is no precedent
in criminological research" for the "enormous level of intentional
and sustained falsification" on the part of respondents which 
would be required in order to account for the 30-fold difference
in estimated annual DGUs between Kleck's survey and the NCVS.
   Indeed, Kleck argues, there is reason to believe that the 
estimate of 2.5 million annual DGUs is_too low._  There is the 
problem of self-censorship in reporting, since there is evidence
that some respondents to the Kleck survey were wary of reporting
such incidents to anonymous strangers, much less to government
officials as in the NCVS.  Several respondents expressed suspicion
of the interviewer prior to answering "no" to the DGU question,
perhaps because they view their actions as legally questionable.
There may also be instances in which respondents regarded their
own DGU incidents as too minor to report, or households in which
DGU incidents of other household members were not known to the
respondent, or where it was not considered appropriate to discuss
the DGU incidents of other household members.  The limitations
of a telephone survey preclude sampling among the 5% of American
households without telephones, most of which are poor and/or rural.
As poor people are more likely to be victims of crime, and there
is a higher rate of gun ownership in rural areas, this could also
contribute to an underestimation of the number of DGUs.

1.1.c  "Is there any independent data that supports Kleck and Gertz?"

See Kleck and Gertz (1995), above.

also _National Institute of Justice Research in Brief,_
"Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership
and Use of Firearms," May 1997, SuDoc# J 28.24:G 95/3 (1997)

In summary:  A recent study funded by the National Institute of 
Justice, and conducted by criminologists Phillip J. Cook of Duke
University and Jens Ludwig of Georgetown University, on behalf of
the pro-"gun control" Police Foundation (a non-profit Washington
D.C.-based research group spun off from the Ford Foundation in
1970), found a reported 1.5 million annual DGUs in 1994, using the
Kleck/Gertz criteria.  The data for the Cook/Ludwig study were
obtained from a nationwide random-digit-dialed telephone survey
of 2,568 adults conducted during November and December of 1994 by
Chilton Research Services of Drexel Hill, PA.  While the authors of
the Police Foundation study consider their survey to be "a reliable
reference" for other purposes (such as estimating the percentage of
gun-owning households), the DGU estimates, they say, are greatly
exaggerated and not informative as to whether private gun ownership
has a net positive or negative effect on crime.  In attempting to
explain away this particular finding, Cook and Ludwig argue by
comparison to the NCVS data that for example, the number of DGUs
reported to their survey as being associated with rapes or attempted
rapes is greater than the total number of rapes or attempted rapes
estimated by the NCVS.  It has been argued by some criminologists,
however, as Kleck and Gertz note in their survey results, that the
NCVS severely undercounts rapes, and would miss "nearly all DGUs
associated with" them (p.155).  Cook and Ludwig describe other
comparisons between their DGU counts and the NCVS data as "almost
as absurd," and note that their survey also suggests that "130,000
criminals are wounded or killed by civilian gun defenders," which
they say is "completely out of line with other, more reliable
statistics on the number of gunshot cases."  The Kleck/Gertz survey
likewise found that DGU-involved respondents who reported firing
their gun at the offender (which was in only 15.6% of the cases)
were likely to "remember with favor" their marksmanship and report
that they had wounded the offender (8.3% of respondents).  Kleck and
Gertz discount these wounding reports, writing that "If 8.3% really
hit their adversaries, and a total of 15.6% fired at their adversaries,
this would imply... a level of combat marksmanship far exceeding that
typically observed even among police officers" (p.173).
   In explaining away their large number of estimated DGUs, Cook and
Ludwig invoke a variation on the "dishonest respondent" hypothesis,
namely that most such reports are "false positives," a result of the
probability bias that some of the large number of non-DGU involved
respondents will make up a story, while the smaller number of actual
DGU-involved respondents will make less of a difference to the total
estimate, no matter how they respond.  Other factors, including 
"telescoping," or that respondents "may be geniunely confused due to
substance abuse, mental illness, or simply less-than-accurate memories"
could produce these "false positives," the authors argue.  While 
"telescoping" may affect DGU estimates, the latter factors should
also affect the overall reliability of other questions in the survey
(indeed of any survey).  Cook and Ludwig describe their results as
"the most complete data available on the private stock of firearms
in the United States."  But considering the public stigma which has
been placed on gun owners by much of the mass media, Cook and Ludwig's
confidence in their finding that just 35% of respondents households
own guns (by comparison to the approximately 50% of households found
in previous surveys) may be misplaced.  If Cook and Ludwig can't
believe those respondents who claim to have used a gun defensively,
how can they trust their respondents to report accurately about their
"arsenals" of "cop-killer assault weapons," "junk guns," and "high
powered sniper rifles" to anonymous strangers on the telephone?

1.2  "It's too easy for your attacker to take your gun away
from you and shoot you."

See Kleck,_Point Blank_(see above) p.122.

also_Uniform Crime Reports: Law Enforcement Officers Killed
and Assaulted 19xx,_United States Department of Justice, Federal
Bureau of Investigation, SuDoc#s J 1.14/7-6:9xx-993

In summary:  The techniques required for "weapon retention" are not
all that difficult to master, but the greatest risk for being disarmed
by an attacker appears to be from open carry in a holster as police
officers do.  Some ten to fourteen percent of law enforcement officers
who are killed are shot with their own guns.  By contrast, an average
of 1% or fewer of armed citizens end up disarmed by their attacker,
no doubt in part because criminals_expect_police to be armed, but are
mostly unpleasantly_surprised_to find their intended victims are.
Police are also more frequently in contact with desperate and dangerous
people, who_they_must attempt to personally apprehend, increasing
their risk of being in close enough proximity to be disarmed.  Private
citizens with guns need not take such risks, and can carry concealed,
confronting their attackers at a distance in many situations, rather
than permitting attackers to get close enough where a knife or brute
strength can come into play.  In a home defense situation this is
particularly true, if the armed homeowner is alerted by the sound of
forced entry, or by an alarm.  For the physically weaker members of
our society, for the elderly, or the disabled, no other means of self-
defense negates the advantages of youth, agility and strength as
effectively as a firearm (see 3.1), and none but firearms can defeat
strength in numbers.  In most cases, the credible brandishing of a gun
convinces criminals to look for an easier target, but if life-
threatening danger is imminent, and the situation permits, having a gun
gives the defender an additional option of resistance, which can reduce
the risk of being injured or killed (see 1.1 and 1.1.a).

1.2.a - "Women shouldn't have guns because men will only take 
them away and use them against them".

see also
Stange, Mary Zeiss, "Arms and the Woman: A Feminist Reappraisal,"
in_Guns: Who Should Have Them?,_David Kopel, ed., Prometheus
Books, ISBN 0-87975-958-5 (1995), a book which is an excellent 
introduction to the political issues surrounding gun ownership.

   Another variation of the "your attacker will just take it away" 
scenario is sometimes used by those in favor of victim disarmament 
when the subject is women and guns.  "The man will just take the 
gun away from you" is a very interesting statement which cries out 
to be deconstructed.  All too often, this statement goes entirely 
unchallenged, not merely on factual grounds, but at a deeper
philosophical level.  Repeated requests for civilian examples of 
this phenomenon have gone unanswered in talk.politics.guns and 
other newsgroups.
   All acknowledge that a firearm is a dangerous implement capable 
of inflicting serious injury or death.  That being the case, it would 
seem a simple matter for the woman in question to merely_shoot_the 
assailant attempting to disarm her.  And in this scenario, the male 
assailant is_assisting_the female defender by presenting her with a 
larger, closer target, difficult even for an inexperienced shooter 
to miss.  If the weapon in question is a handgun, wresting control 
of it is much more difficult than it would be for the attacker to 
grasp a longer-barreled weapon, such as a shotgun or rifle.  The 
simplest of logic dictates that dead men don't snatch guns away, 
and that relatively smart men who don't want to become dead men, 
shouldn't try.
   Given the odds against the male in purely physical terms, we must 
look for another reason why "gun control" advocates might claim 
that the attacker can so easily disarm a woman.  The only obvious 
explanation would be that the woman_voluntarily_gives the gun away.
The entire foundation of the victim disarmer's argument is that
when faced with a violent male attacker, a woman armed with a 
lethal weapon, instead of using that weapon to defend life and 
limb, will instead_give_that weapon to the man intent upon robbing,
raping or murdering her.
   This "explanation" has numerous implications, which are quite 
understandably not commented upon by "gun control" advocates when 
they advance this scenario.  If indeed women have an uncontrollable 
urge to arm those who would harm them, does this not call into 
question the very concept of armed policewomen?  After all, what 
point is there in training, uniforming and arming women at great 
public expense, when all they'll do is just_give away_their weapons 
to any criminal who confronts them?
   And what of women in the armed forces?  Why give a woman a Beretta 
or an M16A2 when she'll just go looking for an Iraqi soldier to hand 
it to?  Certainly, if the victim disarmers' argument is to be accepted, 
no women should be allowed to serve in Artillery or Air Defense 
units, since the enemy will quickly amass a stockpile of 8" guns and 
Patriot missiles,_willingly_turned over to them by female soldiers.
   Can the nation really afford the risk that female pilots will go 
off in search of enemy airfields at which they might land their 
multi-million dollar fighter planes?  If some in the "gun control" 
movement are to be believed, we might just as well ship F14s directly 
to Libya rather than allow women to fly them unbidden to Quadaffi's 
airfields.  Only a few defections of female captains of aircraft 
carriers would be sufficient to completely neutralize the United 
States Navy.  Dare we take the risk?
   What madman would think to put nuclear weapons into a woman's hands 
if indeed women are one tenth as easily cowed as the "gun control" 
lobby makes them out to be?  It would be sheer national suicide to 
elect a female President when only a raised eyebrow or harsh word 
on the part of a Rafsanjani or Karadzic would reduce her to abject 
   Of course it could be that women_aren't_the sniveling cowards 
that the victim disarmers make them out to be.  Perhaps rather than 
the immobilized victims of a thousand slasher films, women are rather 
more like Buddhist nun Ng Mui, the philosphical antecedent of Bruce 
Lee.  Perhaps rather than burst into tears, they're more likely to 
serve a cannon like the women who fought in the Revolutionary War.  
Perhaps rather than arm their assailants, they'll take a more 
proactive approach like the_soldaderas_of the Mexican revolution, 
or Soviet combat pilots like Lilya Litvak and the "Night Witches".  
Perhaps like Israeli women soldiers and female PLO guerrillas, 
they're quite capable of taking care of themselves.
   The simple truth is that the "He'll just take her gun away" 
scenario is wallowing in all of the worst condescending stereotypes 
inflicted on women.  It proudly proclaims that women are weak, 
cowardly, and_want_to be attacked.  If there's any good reason 
for "gun control," misogyny isn't it.
Adapted from a posting by Chris Morton (

1.3  "Guns are too dangerous to keep in the house if you've
got children."

See_Guns, Crime, and Freedom_by Wayne LaPierre, Regnery Books,
ISBN 0-89526-477-3, (1994), where he devotes an entire chapter
(Chapter 9) to this. _Guns, Crime and Freedom_is also out in
"trade paperback" (an oversize paperback) from HarperCollins,
ISBN 0-06-097674-8 (1995).  [Wayne LaPierre is the chief executive
officer of the National Rifle Association, and one of its spokesmen.
NRA can be reached at 11250 Waples Mill Rd., Fairfax, VA 22030,
at (800) NRA-3888 for membership information, (703) 267-1000 for
general inquiries, and on the Web at ]

Kleck,_Point Blank,_pp.276-280.

_Accident Facts,_1994_by National Safety Council Staff, ISBN
0-87912-183-1, (1994)

American Sports Shooting Council website at

In summary:  The death of children, whether by abuse, neglect, homicide,
suicide, or accident, is a particular tragedy, because for most children
their safety is dependent on adults to protect them from harm.  This
responsibility for protecting children is primarily that of their
parents, as it is for so much of their physical, emotional, and
intellectual sustenance.  As with any potentially dangerous item in the
home, it is the responsibility of parents to do their best to secure
their firearms from misuse by children who are unaware of that potential
danger, as much as responsible parents try to protect their children
from the hazards of electricity, household chemicals, poisons, and
physical injury from falls, sharp objects, fire, choking, or drowning.
Part of that protection, when they are old enough to understand, is
education.  Safes are available which allow quick access to defensive
firearms when needed, while preventing unauthorized access; and modern
firearms (particularly semi-automatics) are designed with safety
features to prevent accidental discharges.  In an attempt to further
reduce gun accidents in the home, fifteen major firearms manufacturers
representing the American Sports Shooting Council (ASSC) voluntarily
agreed October 9, 1997 to package locking devices (such as trigger
locks) with each new handgun they produce.  Six other companies are
now considering joining the agreement.  But "childproofing" a home
is no substitute for "accident-proofing" or "gun-proofing" a child so
that they can understand the dangers and actively avoid them, whether
at home, at school, or at a friend's house.
   Irrationally, the same people who use accidental shootings of
children to advance the cause of "gun control" are often opposed to
educational efforts to teach children how to avoid gun accidents and
injuries, though they may favor education as a means to make children
aware of the risks of venereal disease and pregnancy.  The U.S. National
Rifle Association, for its part, has championed the cause of gun safety
and training for over a century, and since 1988 has promoted a safety
program for children in grades K-6 which tells those youngsters to
"Stop! Don't Touch! Leave The Area! Tell An Adult!" if they find a gun.
The NRA's "Eddie Eagle" program (originated by Florida grandmother and 
current NRA president, Marion Hammer) has been used in schools across
the nation, and was awarded the National Safety Council's Outstanding
Community Service Award in October 1993.  The rate of firearms accidents
generally has been declining since the 1970s, largely due to public
education about the basic rules of firearm safety, even as the number
of firearms in the U.S. population has increased.  Firearm-related
accidental deaths involving children 14 and under in the U.S. totaled 
227 in 1991, trailing many more commonplace causes of accidental death 
among children, including car accidents (3,087 deaths), fire (1,104 
deaths), and drowning (1,104 deaths).

SECTION II. - Constitutional issues in the United States

"Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing
degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our
own defence?  Where is the difference between having our arms
in our own possession and under our own direction, and having
them under the management of Congress?  If our defence be
the_real_object of having those arms, in whose hands can they
be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as
in our own hands?"
-=(Patrick Henry, in_Debates in the Several State
   Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution,_
                      Jonathan Elliot, ed. 1836, v.3 p.168)=-

2.0  "The Second Amendment is really just an irrelevant anachronism,
but if it has any meaning at all today, it just means that the
Federal government can't disarm the National Guard."

See United States Constitution (U.S.C.), Amendment II:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security
of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear
Arms, shall not be infringed."  (See also 2.0.a)

also U.S.C. Article I, sec. 8 (clauses 15 and 16, commonly
referred to as "the militia clauses") -- Powers of Congress:

"...To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the
Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
   To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the
Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed
in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States
respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority
of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed
by Congress;"

also U.S.C. Article II, sec. 2 (clause 1) -- President to be
Commander-in-Chief. (etc.)

"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy
of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States,
when called into the actual Service of the United States;"

also U.S. Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.) title 10 sec. 311
(as amended Nov. 30, 1993) [relating to the definition of militia]

"311.  Militia: composition and classes

   (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied
males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section
313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a
declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States
and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the
National Guard.

   (b) The classes of the militia are--

        (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National
   Guard and the Naval Militia; and

        (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members
   of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the
   Naval Militia."

also U.S.C.A. title 32 sect. 101 (as amended Sep. 29, 1988)
[relating to the establishment of the National Guard]

"101.  Definitions
   (3)  "National Guard" means the Army National Guard and the
  Air National Guard.
   (4)  "Army National Guard" means that part of the organized
  militia of the several States and Territories, Puerto Rico,
  and the District of Columbia, active and inactive, that--
      (A) is a land force;
      (B) is trained, and has its officers appointed, under the
    sixteenth clause of section 8, article I, of the Constitution;
      (C) is organized, armed, and equipped wholly or partly at
    Federal expense; and
      (D) is federally recognized.
   (5)  "Army National Guard of the United States" means the
  reserve component of the Army all of whose members are members
  of the Army National Guard.
   (6)  "Air National Guard" means that part of the organized
  militia of the several States and Territories, Puerto Rico,
  and the District of Columbia, active and inactive, that--
      (A) is an air force;
      (B) is trained, and has its officers appointed, under the
    sixteenth clause of section 8, article I, of the Constitution;
      (C) is organized, armed, and equipped wholly or partly at
    Federal expense; and
      (D) is federally recognized.
   (7)  "Air National Guard of the United States" means the reserve
  component of the Air Force all of whose members are members of the
  Air National Guard."

also _A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language,_edited by 
Noah Webster (1803), p. 252

also Oxford English Dictionary (O.E.D.), 2nd ed. (1989) v.XX p. 138
for definition of "well-regulated"

"WELL-'REGULATED, ppl. a. [participial adjective]
  1709 SHAFTSB._Moralists_II. iv. 108 If a liberal Education
has form'd in us  .  .  well-regulated Appetites, and worthy
Inclinations.    1714 R. FIDDES._Pract._Disc._II. 250  The
practice of all well regulated courts of justice in the world.
1812 J. JOYCE._Sci._Dial.,_Astron._xii. II. 126  The equation of
time  .  .  is the adjustment of the difference of time, as shown
by  a  well-regulated  clock,  and  a  true  sun-dial.   1848
THACKERAY_Van._Fair._lviii,  A remissness for which I am
sure every well-regulated person will blame the Major.  1862
MRS. H. WOOD_Mrs._Hallib._I. v. 27  It appeared, to her well-
regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding.  1894 _Pop._
_Sci._Monthly._June 165  The  newspaper,  a  never  wanting
adjunct  to  every  well-regulated  American  embryo  city."

also v.XIII pp. 524-525 of the O.E.D. for the definitions of 
"regulated" and "regulation"

also "Publius" (pseud. Alexander Hamilton), "Federalist VI,"
_The Independent Journal (N.Y.),_Nov. 14, 1787, p.2, col.2

also_Commentaries on the Laws of England,_by Sir William Blackstone, 
Oxford, (1765), Bk.I ch.I pp.136-139

also_A Discourse of Government with relation to Militia's,_[sic]
by Andrew Fletcher, (1698)

also Virginia Constitution, art. I, sec. 13 (See text at 2.3)

Cottrol, Robert J., and Diamond, Raymond T., "The Second
Amendment: Toward an Afro-Americanist Reconsideration,"
Georgetown Law J. v.80 pp. 309-361 (1991)  [Reprinted in 
_Guns: Who Should Have Them?,_David B. Kopel, ed. (see above)]

Kates, Jr., Donald B., "The Second Amendment and the Ideology
of Self-Protection," Constitutional Commentary v.9 pp. 87-104

_That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right,_
by Stephen P. Halbrook, University of New Mexico Press [reprinted by
the Independent Institute], ISBN 0-945999-24-0, (1984)

_For the Defense of Themselves and the State: The Original Intent
and Judicial Interpretation of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms,_
by Clayton E. Cramer, Praeger Publications, ISBN 0-275-94913-3 (1994)

_The Constitution of the United States,_an annotated edition by the
research staff of the Library of Congress, U.S. Senate Document 99-16

_To Keep And Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right,_
by Joyce Malcolm, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-89306-9,

_The Roots of the Bill of Rights,_by Bernard Schwartz, Chelsea House,
ISBN 0-87754-207-4, (1980) [an illustrated 5-vol. edition of Schwartz'
definitive work_The Bill of Rights: A Documentary History,_Chelsea
House, ISBN 07-0796613-0 (1971)]

_United States Statutes at Large,_published under the authority of
the United States Congress; Little, Brown, and Co., Boston, Mass.,
[no ISBN] v. I, p. 21 (1861)


Dred Scott v. Sandford, U.S. Reports (19 Howard) v.60 p.417, Lawyer's
  Edition v.15 p.691 (1856)
Perpich v. Department of Defense, U.S. Reports v.496 p.334, Supreme
  Court Reporter v.110 p.2418, Lawyer's Edition 2nd series v.110
  p.312 (1990) (see abstract in Appendix V.)

In summary:  There is no historical basis to the claim that the Framers
of the Second Amendment intended to limit its scope solely to protecting
organized state militias from being disarmed by the Federal Government.
In any event, the National Guard is a reserve unit of the United States
Army, and not a creation of the individual state governments.  It is
essentially a Federal force which the governors of the states may
"borrow" if the Federal Government does not object.  During the civil
rights movement of the 1960s, governors attempting to enforce
segregation by using the National Guard found out why it's called
"National" (if they hadn't known already).  The English common law
tradition, and the works of political philosophy which influenced the
Founders of our republic, as well as their own writings, show that the
right to keep and bear arms (RKBA, as it's often abbreviated on t.p.g.)
was considered the hallmark of a free people, and distinguished a free
man from a slave (see 3.3).  Prior to the January 21, 1903 establishment
of the National Guard, the Militia Act passed by the Second Congress
on May 8, 1792 had been in force, requiring "each and every free able-
bodied white male citizen of the respective states" between age 18 and
45 to be enrolled in the local militia, and to "provide himself" with
arms as specified by Congress (originally an eighteen gauge firelock
or musket).  Following the establishment of the National Guard, Congress
provided for the arming and training of the National Guard under its
powers raise and support armies, and made the organized militias of
the states into a reserve unit of the U.S. Army called the National
Guard of the United States.  The National Guard has been part of the
Army by law since June 15, 1933; another part of the trend towards 
an increasingly centralized national government which began after the
1861-1865 U.S. Civil War.

2.0.a  "What's the deal with the commas, and the hyphen in
'well-regulated'?  You gun nuts seem to be obsessed with them."

In summary:  Archaic punctuation, usage, and peculiar grammar (though
certainly no more peculiar than many modern legal documents) to some
degree obscure the plain meaning of the Second Amendment.  As in any
human endeavor, mistakes can be made, and from time to time here on
t.p.g., the authors of this particular bit of the Bill of Rights get
flamed over whether there is in fact (or ought to be) a hyphen in
"well regulated" (and/or fewer commas overall) so as to clarify the
Amendment's meaning to modern readers.
   The choice of the adjective "unalienable" rather than "inalienable"
in the Declaration of Independence has scarcely received more notice
than the issue of proper punctuation in the Second Amendment.  Confusion
over the punctuation dates back to the very drafting and ratification of
the Bill of Rights, since some sources give the text of Amendment II as

        "A well regulated militia being necessary to the
         security of a free state, the right of the people
         to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

with only one comma, and no internal capitalization.  This version is
found in the Senate Journal for Sept. 25th, 1789, and in the Library of
Congress' annotated version of the U.S. Constitution, as well as in the
ratification document for the Bill of Rights as passed by the State of
New York.  Another version of the Second Amendment, this one reading

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

can be found in the first volume of_U.S. Statutes at Large,_which was
published by the Congress in 1861 (note the capitalization of "State"
but not "militia" or "arms," and the single comma).
   The trouble is, the more commonly referenced version, which reads

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

is the version which can be found on permanent display at the National
Archives, since it's in the Federal Government's original engrossed copy
of the Bill of Rights which was signed by Speaker of the House Frederick
Muhlenberg and Vice-President John Adams, and that is the version which
was copied and submitted to the states for ratification.  This is also
the version found in the U.S. Code Annotated, and it appears to be the
version which was ratified, but given that the one-comma version is the
one that the Congress passed and published, it would appear that any of
the versions can be considered correct, and the Great Comma Controversy
is unresolved (and perhaps unresolvable).
   The issue of what "well regulated" meant to the Framers is a much
simpler question to resolve.  To the modern reader, "well regulated"
has acquired the primary connotation of_government_regulation, rather
than that of "efficient" or "well functioning" which it had in the 18th
Century.  About the only common usage today of "regulate" in this sense
is found in those commercials dealing with "occasional irregularity,"
and as such, modern dictionary definitions, especially such as are
found in legal dictionaries, have little relevance to the issue.
The first dictionary of American English usage, published by Noah
Webster in 1803, gives no entry for "well regulated," but does include
an entry for "regulars," which Webster defines as "standing troops,
[as] opposed to militia."  The Oxford English Dictionary includes as
one of the definitions of "regulated" a meaning which directly applies
to troops, that of "properly disciplined," and includes a citation to
a 1690 article in the_London Gazette._ Indeed, Alexander Hamilton uses 
"well regulated" in this same martial sense in_Federalist #6_when he 
writes that ancient "Sparta was little better than a well regulated
camp..." --in other words "an armed camp."  The British Whigs, whose 
arms right incorporated in the English Bill of Rights of 1689 was the
antecedent for similar (but more generous) provisions in the Bills of
Rights of the American states, and later the Bill of Rights of the
United States, thought of a "well-regulated militia" as a check on
the power of the King, and that the RKBA was an individual right,
just as was the right to petition the King.  The great English jurist 
Sir William Blackstone wrote of the right to keep and bear arms as 
just such an individual right in his 1765 _Commentaries on the Laws of 
England,_and termed it the "fifth auxiliary right" of the subject, 
and as important as those of "applying to the courts of justice for 
redress of injuries," "the right of petitioning the king," and the 
statutory "limitation of the king's prerogative," all of which served 
to "protect and maintain inviolate the three great and primary rights,
of personal security, personal liberty, and private property."  
   Andrew Fletcher, a Scottish Whig, in his_Discourse on Government with 
Relation to Militia's,_[sic] wrote of the necessity of "well-regulated 
militias" to defend not only against invasion by a foreign force, but 
against the "danger of slavery at home," a prospect that seems unlikely 
if "well-regulated" means anything other than "properly disciplined."  
While "regulated" and "regulation" can certainly be said to have 
"government regulation" among their meanings at the time of the writing 
of the U.S. Bill of Rights, that connotation was far from as dominant 
at that time as it has become today, in an age when self-regulation was 
the rule, and a "well-regulated militia" was "the body of the people, 
trained to arms."  Indeed, one of the most important characteristics 
of a "well-regulated militia" as it was understood by the British Whigs, 
and by the American Founding Fathers, was that it be a "general militia" 
composed of the majority of citizens of the republic, rather than a 
"select militia" or armed minority of troops who could impose their 
will on a disarmed people, as the standing army of the King had done 
upon his subjects.  The term "regular army" (as opposed to "irregulars") 
gives some idea of the type of discipline and order which the authors 
of the Second Amendment were trying to evoke with respect to the 
militia, which they saw as the best available alternative to the dangers 
and expense of a standing army.  (See 3.3)  The Second Amendment is best 
considered as a modification of the existing militia clauses of the 
Constitution, so as to prevent them from being interpreted in a way 
that would permit the Congress to disarm the ordinary citizens and 
establish a "select militia" or standing army in place of the "general 

2.1  "The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not
guarantee an individual right."

A few relevant law review articles [from the list given in
LaPierre,_Guns, Crime and Freedom,_(see above) pp.238-240]:

Shalhope, Robert, "The Armed Citizen In The Early Republic,"
Law and Contemporary Problems v.49 pp.125-141 (1986)

Levinson, Sanford, "The Embarrassing Second Amendment," 
Yale Law J. v.99 pp. 637-659 (1989)

Amar, Akhil, "The Bill of Rights as a Constitution," 
Yale Law J., v.100 pp.1131-1210 (1990)

Cottrol and Diamond, Georgetown Law J. (see above)

Kates, Jr., Constitutional Commentary (see above)

Van Alstyne, William, "The Second Amendment and the Personal
Right to Arms," Duke Law J. v.43 pp. 1236-1255 (1994)

and others

Halbrook,_That Every Man Be Armed_(1984)

see also

_The Right to Keep and Bear Arms,_report of the subcommittee on the
Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 97th
Congress, second session, Feb. 1982, SuDoc# Y4.J 89/2: Ar 5/5


"In conformity with the interests of the working people, and in
order to strengthen the socialist system, the citizens of the U.S.S.R.
are guaranteed by law: (a) Freedom of Speech; (b) Freedom of the Press,
(c) Freedom of assembly, including the holding of mass meetings; (d)
Freedom of street processions and demonstrations.

In order to guarantee to all workers real freedom of opinion, the
Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic abolishes the dependence
of the press on capitalism, and places at the disposal of the working
class and the peasantry all the technical and material means for the
publication of newspapers, pamphlets, books, and all other publications
of the press, and guarantees free circulation for them throughout
the country."
--Constitution of the U.S.S.R., partially attributed to Stalin,
Jan. 31, 1924

quoted in

_The Great Thoughts,_compiled by George Seldes, Ballantine Books,
ISBN 0-345-29887-X, (1985)

In summary:  The phrase "the right of the people" means the same thing
in the Second Amendment as it does in the First and Fourth Amendments.
The U.S. Constitution recognizes and protects, but does not_grant,_
the pre-existing right of individuals to keep and bear arms.  This
is because the Framers assumed that the basis of governmental power
originates with the people, whose natural rights are either ceded to
government in the form of governmental powers, specifically protected
from the powers of government by listing them in the Bill of Rights,
or retained by the people, according to the Ninth Amendment.
   The history of the drafting of the Second Amendment also makes clear
that "the right of the people" means a civil right belonging to each
individual citizen.  The first proposed draft of the amendment as
written by James Madison reads:

         "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not
          be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia
          being the best security of a free country; but no person
          religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled
          to render military service in person."

   In addition to clarifying that the Second Amendment has nothing
to do with guns owned for "sporting purposes" like hunting (see
Gun Control Act of 1968, Appendix I.), this earlier draft clearly
illustrates that the "person" whose religious scruples require that
he_not_"bear arms" would not be compelled to do so by the Congress,
and that the "person" referred to in the text is an individual, and
not a group.
   This version of the Second Amendment also closely reflects the spirit
of the First Amendment's clauses dealing with religious freedom, in that
the Congress should have no power to prohibit the keeping and bearing of
arms, but neither should it have the power to compel those persons we
would today call "conscientious objectors" to do so.  It's unlikely that
Madison intended this earlier draft of the Second Amendment to prohibit
the Congress only from calling up all the Quakers and other pacifists
_en_masse_as a militia, but rather that each individual would respond
to the nation's call as their individual consciences dictated, and that
they would "keep and bear" their private weapons to that end.  Indeed,
the Militia Act passed by the Second Congress in 1792 did require
exactly that, and such a requirement was in force for well over 100
years (see 2.0).  This is not to say that the right to keep and bear
arms is dependent upon the existence of an organized militia, or
that_only_military weapons are constitutionally protected, since, as
with the other enumerated rights found in the Constitution, the right
is assumed by the Framers to be pre-existing.  Just because the right
to "peaceably assemble" is protected by the First Amendment explicitly
for the political purpose of petitioning the government "for redress of
grievances", this does not mean that_only_political speech and political
gatherings are constitutionally protected.  The authors of the Bill of
Rights explicitly rejected any such narrow construction of the rights 
of the people, by means of the Ninth Amendment.  The Senate, in revising 
Madison's proposal, rejected adding the words "for the common defence" 
to the amendment by a vote on September 9th, 1789; clearly implying 
that the right intended to be protected in the Second Amendment is a 
right to bear arms broader than simply for militia service.  The Bill 
of Rights is about limiting the power of government, not the freedoms 
enjoyed and exercised by We the People, and consequently it should not 
be subject to such a narrow interpretation in any of its provisions.  
The Bill of Rights sets forth the_minimum_standards which its authors 
felt define a "free state".  Ironically, Madison's "religious scruples" 
clause was deleted because of fear that the government could misuse 
those words to disarm whomever_it_defined as "religiously scrupulous".
   The often-heard phrase "states' rights" is likewise the basis of
some confusion in arguments about constitutional issues, because
states don't have_"rights"_under the American Constitution, they have
delegated_"powers,"_ and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments_clearly_
distinguish between "powers" and "rights".  Governments, whether state
or federal, don't have "rights".  They have_only_such powers as are
granted to them under the law.  This is a very crucial distinction in
American law, and one which is the basis for every just government.
Once a government claims the "right" to do_anything,_asserting the sort
of natural rights which belong only to individuals, we have returned to
an era of the "divine right" of kings.
   In American law, the idea of a "collective" right (a right belonging
to everyone - but to no one in particular) has no place.  It was by just
such an idea of "collective" rights that the constitutional guarantees
of rights enumerated in the Soviet Constitution were deprived of all
practical effect.  "The people" owned all the printing presses, and
could publish whatever "the people" wanted, but if anyone dared to
exercise their individual right to free expression, they might be shot,
sent to the Gulag, or to the mental hospital for "rehabilitation."
Interpreting the phrase "the right of the people" to mean a "collective"
right in the Second Amendment places the First Amendment (and the
Fourth Amendment) in peril of similar "re-interpretation".  Does the
First Amendment guarantee of assembly apply only to state legislatures?
   At the most basic level, the arguments for censorship under the
First Amendment and the arguments for "gun control" under the Second
are the same.  Both involve prior restraint on liberty (see 3.0), and
both rest on a paternalistic assumption that the general public cannot
be trusted to exercise their liberty wisely.  Underlying both is the
implication that there are certain officials of the state, censors in
the case of the First Amendment, and the police and military in the
case of the Second, who may exercise the liberties which are denied
to the people (watching and reading what is otherwise forbidden, or
carrying arms in defense of themselves and other citizens) and who can
be trusted not to abuse that power, or be corrupted by it, in ways which
their fellow citizens (mere mortals that they are) cannot.  In effect
and in fact, to defend censorship, or to defend "gun control," is to
assert that there ought to be some citizens who are "more free" than
others, and that second-class citizenship for all but a select few is
permissible.  Such elitism, obviously, has no place among those who
value equality before the law as a political ideal, or as the first
proposition of the American republic.

2.2  "If the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear
ordinary military weapons, then everybody can have their own tactical
nuclear warhead."  [This is what is known on t.p.g. as the "nuclear
strawman" or "Ban guns, ban The Bomb!" argument, designed to get
everybody off on a tangent about whether or not the U.S. Constitution
protects privately owned nuclear weapons.]

Reynolds, Glenn H. and Kates, Don B., "The Second Amendment And 
States' Rights: A Thought Experiment," William and Mary Law Rev., 
v.36 pp. 1737-1768 (1995)

In summary:  The Second Amendment protects all arms, though as is
mentioned elsewhere (see 3.3), those arms which have some relationship
to a well-regulated militia are better protected than those which do
not, at least according to legal precedent.  Many people (at least for
the sake of argument here on t.p.g.) are justifiably distressed at the
thought of private individuals owning such indiscriminately destructive
and persistently dangerous weapons.  Some supporters of the civil right
to keep and bear arms, as a result, seek to interpret "arms" as meaning
"personal arms" (i.e. those which can be carried and used by an
individual against another individual).  However, in researching the
era during which Amendment II was drafted, it is possible to find
individuals who owned cannon and privateer ships, much as it is possible
today to find people who own tanks and planes from the World War II era
(and later), some with functioning guns.  Civil War re-enactor companies
today sometimes own cannon and other weapons which were state-of-the-art
   If one attempts to "creatively interpret" the Second Amendment today
to say that it should now only apply to "personal arms" (in the absence
of any textual or historical basis for that interpretation), what
legitimate objection can one have to others who "creatively interpret" 
it to say that it now applies only to the National Guard, or even to say
that it's entirely outmoded and can be totally ignored?  (See 2.0)
Any of these is an arbitrary selective interpretation, and all are
equally unsupportable, as would be any attempt to limit the First
Amendment protection of a free press only to, say, presses like those
used by Benjamin Franklin, and not the unimaginably more powerful
telecommunications devices of today.  It is perhaps not surprising,
however, that the power which modern telecommunications gives to the
individual is similarly opposed, out of fears of what can possibly be
done with it (see also 4.0).
   The implications of the "states' rights" interpretation of the 
Second Amendment are also noteworthy in this regard.  If the Second 
Amendment is properly understood to protect the militias of the 
state governments from being interfered with by the Federal authority, 
the existing structure of the National Guard would very likely be 
unconstitutional, and there could be no bar to the states possessing 
independent nuclear arsenals as a counterforce to the power of the 
Federal standing army.  The types of "arms" available to a state 
government, particularly in a wealthy state like California, would 
undoubtedly exceed that of most every individual.
   The Second Amendment was indeed written to protect all arms, and thus
nuclear weapons are included.  If multibillionaires (or wealthy state 
militias!) funding their own private bomb development efforts seem to 
be a problem worthy of serious consideration, what's the solution?  
Follow the procedure that the authors of the Constitution provided for 
modifying the Constitution to adapt to changing times --amend it by 
following the procedures in Article V.  The people who wrote the 
Constitution did not intend for it to be selectively interpreted in 
order to fit changing conditions.  They planned that if conditions 
_did_change enough to warrant an alteration in a provision of the 
Constitution, it should be done with due care and consideration, 
and only upon the agreement of two thirds of each house of Congress, 
and three fourths of the legislatures of the states.  _This_is the 
proper way to react to changing times-- through the amendment process, 
and not by arbitrary denial of the plain language of the Constitution, 
by whatever branch of government (see 2.3).
Based on a posting by Dan Day (

2.3  "The Second Amendment doesn't apply to state and local
governments, so state gun control laws, or local ordinances
like the Morton Grove, IL ban on handguns, are constitutional."

See U.S.C. Amendment XIV, sec. 1:

"1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and
subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United
States and of the State wherein they reside.  No state shall
make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or
immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State
deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due
process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction
the equal protection of the laws."

also Dowlut, Robert, "Federal and State Constitutional
Guarantees to Arms," U. Dayton Law Rev. v.15, pp. 84-89 (1989):

   "Forty-three (43) states have constitutional guarantees
on the right to keep and bear arms.

ALABAMA: "That every citizen has a right to bear arms
in defense of himself and the state."  Ala. Const. art. I,
S 26

ALASKA: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the
security of a free state, the right of the people to keep
and bear arms shall not be infringed."  Alaska Const. art.
I, S 19

ARIZONA: "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms 
in defense of himself or the State shall not be impaired, 
but nothing in this section shall be construed as 
authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, 
maintain, or employ an armed body of men."  Ariz. Const. 
art. 2, S 26

ARKANSAS: "The citizens of this state shall have the right 
to keep and bear arms for their common defense." Ark. 
Const. art. II, S 5

COLORADO: "The right of no person to keep and bear arms in 
defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the 
civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called 
in question; but nothing herein contained shall be 
construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed 
weapons." Colo. Const. art. II, S 13

CONNECTICUT: "Every citizen has the right to bear arms in 
defense of himself and the state."  Conn. Const. art. I,
S 15

DELAWARE: "A person has the right to keep and bear arms 
for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for 
hunting and recreational use."  Del. Const. art. I, S 20

FLORIDA: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms in 
defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the 
state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of 
bearing arms may be regulated by law."  Fla. Const. art.
I, S 8

GEORGIA: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms 
shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall 
have the power to prescribe the manner in which arms may 
be borne."  Ga. Const. art. I, S I, para. VIII

HAWAII: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the 
security of a free state, the right of the people to keep 
and bear arms shall not be infringed."  Haw. Const. art I,
S 15

IDAHO: "The people have the right to keep and bear arms, 
which right shall not be abridged; but this provision 
shall not prevent the passage of laws to govern the 
carrying of weapons concealed on the person, nor prevent 
passage of legislation providing minimum sentences for 
crimes committed while in possession of a firearm, nor 
prevent passage of legislation providing penalties for the 
possession of firearms by a convicted felon, nor prevent 
the passage of legislation punishing the use of a firearm.  
No law shall impose licensure, registration or special 
taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or 
ammunition.  Nor shall any law permit the confiscation of 
firearms, except those actually used in the commission of 
a felony."  Idaho Const. art. I, S 11

ILLINOIS: "Subject only to the police power, the right of 
the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be 
infringed."  Ill. Const. art. I, S 22

INDIANA: "The people shall have a right to bear arms, for 
the defense of themselves and the State."  Ind. Const. 
art. I, S 32

KANSAS: "The people have the right to bear arms for their 
defense and security; but standing armies, in time of 
peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be 
tolerated, and the military shall be in strict 
subordination to the civil power."  Kansas Bill Of Rights, 
S 4

KENTUCKY: "All men are, by nature, free and equal, and 
have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which 
may be reckoned:  .... Seventh: The right to bear arms in 
defense of themselves and the state, subject to the power 
of the general assembly to enact laws to prevent persons 
from carrying concealed weapons."  Ky. Bill Of Rights,
S 1, para. 7

LOUISIANA: "The right of each citizen to keep and bear 
arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not 
prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of 
weapons concealed on the person."  La. Const. art. I, S 11

MAINE: "Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms 
and this right shall never be questioned."  Me. Const. 
art. I, S16

MASSACHUSETTS: "The people have a right to keep and bear 
arms for the common defence.  And as, in time of peace, 
armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be 
maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the 
military power shall always be held in exact subordination 
to the civil authority, and be governed by it."  Mass. 
Decl. Of Rights, pt. I, art. XVII

MICHIGAN: "Every person has a right to keep and bear arms 
for the defense of himself and the state."  Mich. Const. 
art. I, S 6

MISSISSIPPI: "The right of every citizen to keep and bear 
arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in 
aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, 
shall not be called in question, but the legislature may 
regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons."  Miss. 
Const. art. 3, S 12

MISSOURI: "That the right of every citizen to keep and 
bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or 
when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall 
not be questioned; but this shall not justify the wearing 
of concealed weapons."  Mo. Const. art. I, S 23

MONTANA: "The right of any person to keep or bear arms in 
defense of his own home, person, and property, or in aid 
of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall 
not be called in question, but nothing herein contained 
shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed 
weapons."  Mont. Const. art. II, S 12

NEBRASKA: "All persons are by nature free and independent, 
and have certain inherent and inalienable rights; among 
these are ... the right to keep and bear arms for security 
or defense of self, family, home, and others, and for 
lawful common defense, hunting, recreational use, and all 
other lawful purposes, and such rights shall not be denied 
or infringed by the state or any subdivision thereof."  
Neb. Const. art. I, S 1

NEVADA: "Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms 
for security and defense, for lawful hunting and 
recreational use and for other lawful purposes."  Nev. 
Const. art. 1, S II, para. 1

NEW HAMPSHIRE: "All persons have the right to keep and 
bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their 
property, and the state."  N. H. Const. part 1, art. 2-a.

NEW MEXICO: "No law shall abridge the right of the citizen 
to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful 
hunting and recreational use and for other lawful 
purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the 
carrying of concealed weapons.  No municipality or county 
shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to 
keep and bear arms."  N. M. Const. art. II, S 6

NORTH CAROLINA: "A well regulated militia being necessary 
to the security of a free State, the right of the people 
to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; and, as 
standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, 
they shall not be maintained, and the military shall be 
kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the 
civil power.  Nothing herein shall justify the carrying of 
concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from 
enacting penal statutes against that practice."  N. C. 
Const. art. I, S 30

NORTH DAKOTA: "All individuals are by nature equally free 
and independent and have certain inalienable rights, among 
which are ... to keep and bear arms for the defense of 
their person, family, property, and the state, and for 
lawful hunting, recreational, and other lawful purposes, 
which shall not be infringed."  N. D. Const. art. I, S 1

OHIO: "The people have the right to bear arms for their 
defense and security; but standing armies, in time of 
peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; 
and the military shall be in strict subordination to the 
civil power."  Ohio Const. art. I, S 4

OKLAHOMA: "The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in 
defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the 
civil power when thereunto legally summoned, shall never 
be prohibited; but nothing herein contained shall prevent 
the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons."  
Okla. Const. art. 2, S 26

OREGON: "The people shall have the right to bear arms for 
the defence of themselves, and the State, but the Military 
shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power." 
Or. Const. art. I, S 27

PENNSYLVANIA: "The right of the citizens to bear arms in 
defence of themselves and the State shall not be 
questioned." Pa. Const. art. I, S 21

RHODE ISLAND: "The right of the people to keep and bear 
arms shall not be infringed."  R. I. Const. art. I, S 22

SOUTH CAROLINA: "A well regulated militia being necessary 
to the security of a free State, the right of the people 
to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  As, in 
times of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they 
shall not be maintained without the consent of the General 
Assembly.  The military power of the State shall always be 
held in subordination to the civil authority and be 
governed by it.  No soldier shall in time of peace be 
quartered in any house without the consent of the owner 
nor in time of war but in the manner prescribed by law."  
S. C. Const. art. I, S 20

SOUTH DAKOTA: "The right of the citizens to bear arms in 
defense of themselves and the state shall not be denied."  
S. D. Const. art. VI, S 24

TENNESSEE: "That the citizens of this State have a right 
to keep and to bear arms for their common defense; but the 
Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the 
wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime."  Tenn. 
Const. art. I, S 26

TEXAS: "Every citizen shall have the right to keep and 
bear arms in lawful defense of himself or the State; but 
the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the 
wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime."  Tex. 
Const. art. I, S 23

UTAH: "The individual right of the people to keep and bear 
arms for security and defense of self, family, others, 
property, or the State, as well as for the other lawful 
purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall 
prevent the legislature from defining the lawful use of 
arms."  Utah Const. art. I, S 6

VERMONT: "That the people have a right to bear arms for 
the defence of themselves and the State - and as standing 
armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they 
ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be 
kept under strict subordination to the civil power."  Vt. 
Const. Ch. I, art. 16

VIRGINIA: "That a well regulated militia, composed of the 
body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, 
natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the 
right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be 
infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should 
be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases 
the military should be under strict subordination to, and 
governed by, the civil power."  Va. Const. art I, S 13

WASHINGTON: "The right of the individual citizen to bear 
arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be 
impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed 
as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, 
maintain, or employ an armed body of men."  Wash. Const. 
art. I, S 24

WEST VIRGINIA: "A person has the right to keep and bear 
arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, and 
for lawful hunting and recreational use."  W. Va. Const. 
art. III, S 22

WYOMING: "The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of 
themselves and of the state shall not be denied."  Wyo. 
Const. art. I, S 24

   Seven (7) states do not have a constitutional provision 
on arms: California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New 
Jersey, New York, and Wisconsin."

[NOTE:  On March 26, 1996, the State Assembly of Wisconsin approved 
a RKBA amendment to that state's constitution by a vote of 79-19,
and the proposed amendment was approved again by an 83-13 vote on
January 28, 1997.  The amendment, which still awaits approval by the
State Senate, as well as the voters of Wisconsin by referendum ballot,
reads: "The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security,
defense, hunting, recreation and for any other lawful purpose."]

Cottrol and Diamond, Georgetown Law J.  [also Cottrol and Diamond,
"'Never Intended to be Applied to the White Population': Firearms 
Regulation and Racial Disparity --The Redeemed South's Legacy to a
National Jurisprudence?," Chicago-Kent Law Rev. v.70 pp.1307-1335

Halbrook,_That Every Man Be Armed_(see above)

_No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the 
Bill of Rights,_by Michael Kent Curtis, Duke University Press, 
ISBN 0-8223-0599-2, (1986)

_Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty,_by James Bovard,
St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0-312-10351-4, (1994)  _Lost Rights_is now 
available in trade paperback as ISBN 0-312-12333-7.

_Why the Solid South? or Reconstruction and its results,_by Hilary 
A. Herbert, et al., R. H. Woodward and Co., Baltimore, no ISBN, (1890)

_The Reconstruction Period,_ by Peter J. Hamilton, Geo. Barrie and 
Sons, Philadelphia, no ISBN, (1905)

_Negro Militia and Reconstruction,_by Otis Singletary, Univ. of
Texas Press, no ISBN, (1957)

_The Angry Scar,_by Hodding Carter, Doubleday, no ISBN, (1959)

_But There Was No Peace: The Role of Violence in the Politics of 
Reconstruction,_by George C. Rable, Univ. of Georgia Press, ISBN 
0-8203-0710-6 (1984)

Dred Scott v. Sandford (see above)
Butchers Benevolent Association v. Crescent City Live-Stock
  Landing & Slaughter-House Co. [a.k.a._Slaughter-House_Cases_],
  U.S. Reports v.83 (16 Wallace) p.36, Lawyer's Edition v.21
  p.394 (1872)
U.S. v. Cruikshank, et al., U.S. Reports v.92 pp.542, Lawyer's
  Edition v.23 p.588 (1875)
cited in
Presser v. Illinois, U.S. Reports v.116 p.252, Supreme Court
  Reports v.6 p.580, Lawyer's Edition v.29 p.615 (1886)
cited in
Quilici v. Morton Grove, Federal Reporter 2nd series v.695 p.261
  (7th Circuit, 1982)

In summary:  Prior to the U.S. Civil War, "gun control" laws imposed
by state and local governments may well have been constitutional,
since the states had much greater legal powers to limit the rights
of individuals than they do today, after the ratification of the 
Fourteenth Amendment.  The history of "gun control" in the United
States is undeniably rooted in racism.  The infamous Supreme Court
decision in the_Dred Scott_case mentions among the rights of a free
citizen "the right to keep and carry arms wherever they went" and
argues that to recognize negroes as citizens in any one state, with
all the "privileges and immunities" of citizenship, might compel every
state to do so, a prospect which the Court postponed with dread for
over a century.  The earliest "gun control" laws were aimed at disarming
slaves, free blacks, and freedmen, and even provided that white citizen
patrols "shall enter into all negro houses and suspected places, and
search for arms and other offensive or improper weapons, and may
lawfully seize and take away all such arms, weapons, and ammunition..."
a situation not unlike today's warrantless sweeps of public housing
projects for weapons and other contraband.  Penalties for selling or
providing arms to blacks were likewise steep, for instance, an 1811
Louisiana statute provided for a $500 fine and up to a year in prison
for selling arms to slaves.
   Following the Civil War, these same types of provisions were included
in "Jim Crow" laws, with the disarmament of black Americans enforced by
the terror of the Ku Klux Klan.  The U.S. Congress moved to deal with
this and other violations of the civil rights of black Americans through
the Fourteenth Amendment, which created a national citizenship, gave the
Congress the power to protect citizens of the United States from
abridgment of their Federally recognized rights under the Constitution
by the state governments, and guaranteed equal protection of the rights
of all citizens by the governments of the states and the Union.  In the
case of_U.S. v. Cruikshank,_the Supreme Court continued the denial of
the plain meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment which it had begun in
the_Slaughter-House Cases_by ruling that the federal government had no
power to protect citizens against private actions which violated their
constitutional rights, despite the fact that failure to afford equal
protection of the law was clearly within the scope of the Amendment.
   In this case, William Cruikshank and a mob of some one hundred others
were indicted under the Enforcement Act of 1870 with criminal conspiracy
to violate the civil rights of two black men, Levi Nelson and Alexander
Tillman, including their right to peaceably assemble, and their right
to keep and bear arms.  Cruikshank and the rest of the white mob were 
participants in what was perhaps the most violent racial incident of 
the Reconstruction Era, the Colfax Massacre, in which over 100 black 
Americans were killed.  Nelson and Tillman were part of a militia of 
freedmen occupying the courthouse in Colfax, the seat of government in 
newly-created Grant Parish, LA.  On April 13, 1873, the two sides 
fought on a small but violent scale a battle that had taken shape first 
in New Orleans.
   Following the elections of 1872, the government of Louisiana was 
in dispute.  Both Democrat John D. McEnery, the handpicked successor 
of corrupt Democrat-allied Republican governor Henry C. Warmoth; and 
the Radical Republican gubernatorial challenger, carpetbagger William 
P. Kellogg, claimed victory.  Warmoth had attempted to pack the board 
which counted the ballots, and the Kellogg faction managed to obtain 
a federal court order to prevent the Warmoth-approved state legislature 
from meeting.  The result was that the Kellogg faction produced a board 
which declared Kellogg the governor without having seen the ballots, 
and for a time the state had two rival governments, complete with two 
different state legislatures.  Kellogg, however, had something Warmoth's 
candidate lacked: the support of Republican President and former Union 
General Ulysses S. Grant, as well as support from Warmoth's estranged
Lieutenant Governor, P.B.S. Pinchback, an influential and ambitious 
Republican of mixed race, who served briefly as acting Governor in late 
1872 following the impeachment of Governor Warmoth by the newly elected
Radical Republican legislature.  But, as historian Peter Hamilton noted 
in his 1905 book on the Reconstruction Era, "there was not a great deal 
to choose between the two factions."  President Grant, and a number of 
the Radical Republican state governments themselves, were no strangers 
to corruption.
   Governor Kellogg, at the urging of two white citizens, had first 
recognized a Warmoth man, C. C. Nash, as elected sheriff for Grant 
Parish, but within four months reconsidered, and declared Daniel Shaw 
the winner.  Late one night, Sheriff Shaw and the Kellogg-backed parish 
Judge R. C. Register climbed through the window of the courthouse in 
Colfax, and assumed office.  Captain William Ward, formerly an officer 
in a Grant Parish negro militia company, and now a member of the Kellogg
legislature, soon arrived with three other Kellogg men and summoned 
negro militia from Smithfield Quarters, a nearby all-black settlement, 
and from the surrounding area to defend the courthouse and the Kellogg-
installed parish government.  The use of black militia to support 
Radical Republican governments in the South was understandably 
controversial.  Many defeated southern whites saw it as provocative,
and literally violently rejected the idea of an end to white political 
supremacy.  Such was the case in Grant Parish, the namesake of the 
sitting President.
   On Easter Sunday, April 13, 1873, Warmoth-backed Sheriff C. C. Nash 
arrived with a posse of poor whites, including Cruikshank, to retake 
the courthouse, and with it, the government of the parish.  The negro 
militia, perhaps as many as 400 men, were entrenched at the courthouse, 
a brick building which had been converted from a plantation stablehouse, 
and were armed with a few makeshift cannon fashioned from steam pipes, 
and guarded by pickets with shotguns and Enfield rifles, who patrolled 
the countryside for 25 miles around, some on horseback.  The courthouse 
was also ringed with a line of earthworks 2 1/2 to 4 feet high.  The few 
whites in Colfax, including white Republicans, had long since abandoned 
the town, fleeing downriver to New Orleans; Kellogg's men, including 
Sheriff Shaw and Captain Ward among them.  Ironically, final attempts 
at defusing the situation had broken down when word came that a local 
negro farmer, Jesse McKinney, had been shot and killed by a gang of 
white vigilantes as he was mending a fence.  Governor Kellogg, ever
indecisive, considered sending state militia under the command of 
reformed former Confederate General James Longstreet to take charge 
of the worsening situation, but it was too late.
   Nash's posse, numbering as many as 300, advanced, and the two sides 
exchanged fire.  One of the makeshift cannon exploded.  The whites 
launched a frontal assault, but at the same time a smaller contingent, 
who had flanked the crescent-shaped earthworks, attacked from the rear.  
The negro militia fled in all directions, some 150 taking up positions 
inside the courthouse itself.  Sheriff Nash's men brought up a cannon 
and began firing on the building.  In the ensuing violence, the shingled 
roof of the courthouse was set ablaze, and the building gutted by fire.
No quarter was given by the whites, who shot at any who tried to flee 
the flames, and chased down blacks who escaped into the woods.  Even 
the few dozen prisoners that were taken, were murdered during the night 
by drunken young whites who had been left to guard them.  Some whites,
and even some of Kellogg's black allies, suspected that Kellogg had 
engineered the incident to further his political hold on the state,
and to justify greater numbers of Federal troops to support him.
   Though the authors of the Reconstruction Amendments, of which the 
Fourteenth was a part, clearly expressed their intent to extend the 
"privileges and immunities" of the federal Bill of Rights to all men, 
regardless of race, the Court in_Cruikshank_took it upon itself to 
decide which parts of the Bill of Rights were binding upon the states, 
through a doctrine of selective "incorporation," thus allowing the 
injustice of statutory racism to persist until the civil rights 
struggles of the 1950s and 1960s.  "Gun control" advocates who rely 
upon_Cruikshank_(or the later decision in_Presser v. Illinois_) to 
support the idea that the Second Amendment is not binding upon the 
States via the Fourteenth are relying upon the same arguments used to 
deny the civil rights of black Americans after the Civil War.
   Further, the constitution of almost every state includes a provision 
protecting the individual right to keep and bear arms, to various 
degrees.  This fact further undermines the contention that the Second 
Amendment protects only the state's organized militia (see 2.0), 
especially considering that some of the state constitutions, like 
Virginia's, pre-date the federal constitution.  (Such arms-right 
provisions at the state level cannot reasonably be interpreted as 
being intended to prevent the state from disarming an organized state 
militia over which it presumably has complete command and control!)  
The right to keep and bear arms is fundamental, because the right to 
self defense is fundamental, not only against the actions of common 
criminals, but against those uncommon criminals acting under the 
auspices of government as well (see 3.3).

SECTION III. - Other "gun-control" fantasies

"And so a lot of people say there's too much personal freedom.
When personal freedom's being abused, you have to move to limit it.
That's what we did in the announcement I made last weekend on the
public housing projects, about how we're going to have weapon
sweeps and more things like that to try to make people safer
in their communities."
-=(U.S. President Bill Clinton, MTV's "Enough is Enough," 4/19/94)=-

"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States
     for an_out_right_ban, picking up every one of them...
"Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in," I would have done it.
       I_could_not do that.  The votes weren't here."
-=(U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, CBS-TV's "60 Minutes," 2/5/95,
speaking about her authorship of the 1994 "assault weapons" ban)=-

3.0  "Registration of all firearms and ammunition will assist
police in solving crimes committed with guns."

See particularly LaPierre,_Guns, Crime and Freedom_
where he devotes an entire chapter (Chapter 10) to this.

Kleck,_Point Blank,_pp.335-342.

Bovard,_Lost Rights_(see above), pp.218-224.

_Lethal Laws,_by Jay Simkin, Aaron Zelman, and Alan Rice,
published by JPFO (see above), ISBN 0-9642304-0-2, (1994)

Los Angeles Times, August 19, 1997, p. B1 

In summary:  Currently, all handgun buyers must fill out the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms' Form 4473, which remains on file with
the federally licensed firearms dealer (along with a notation of the
transaction in a bound book with numbered pages) who sells the gun.
If more than one handgun is purchased at a time, a Multiple Purchase
form is filled out, and forwarded to the BATF for their records.
Firearms transaction records of legitimate licensed dealers, though
stored in this decentralized paper-based manner, are still readily
accessible and traceable by law enforcement on request, if, for
instance, a gun used to commit a crime needs to be traced to its
original point of sale.  The records include the gun make, model,
caliber, and information about the original purchaser, as well as the
gun's unique serial number.  Wholesale transactions, between dealers
and manufacturers (or importers), and among dealers, are noted in the
bound book, so tracing a firearm involves calling the manufacturer
and tracing it down through these records to the point of sale.  All
weapons covered by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (see Appendix I)
are recorded by the BATF in their centralized National Firearms
Registry.  If a licensed dealer goes out of business, all records of
its firearms transactions are acquired by the BATF, but the Bureau is
forbidden by law from computerizing these records so as to create a
national registry of non-NFA weapons.  (Nevertheless, the Bureau's
current policies, such as raising the licensing fees, have driven many
dealers out of business, and the Bureau is now working to computerize
the records of defunct licensees, a direct violation of the expressed
intent of Congress, and Federal law.  The BATF, in its defense, claims
that it is merely using its computers to index the paper records, and
not compiling them into a centralized list of non-NFA weapons and their
   Such national registration could be used, as it often has been used
in the past in particular locales, not to trace guns used in crime, but
to aid in the confiscation of firearms from the public at large.  In
1967, New York City required that all owners of rifles and shotguns
register their guns with the police, and obtain a license to own what
was_already_their property.  Later, in 1992, New York City banned the
ownership of most semi-automatic rifles, and even certain other types
of rifles, claiming (falsely) that they were "assault rifles" (see 3.3).
The existence of the registration lists enabled police to send out
threatening letters to gun owners demanding that they surrender what
had been, until that time, their legal property, without compensation.
Police even went door-to-door demanding that gun owners turn over their
weapons, even though they had not been found guilty of committing any
crime (other than that they were violating the "gun control" law), and
many of the guns which were prohibited cost several hundred, or even
thousands of dollars.  Most recently, registration lists in Great
Britain and Australia have been used to assist in confiscation of
firearms from the public on a massive scale (see Appendix III).
   Registration lists, in other countries, while produced with perhaps
the best intentions, have later been used by tyrannical governments to
disarm political opponents or targeted minorities, such as happened with
registration lists generated by the Weimar Republic when the Nazis came
to power in Germany.  Anti-semitic laws were passed requiring that Jews
turn in their weapons, which most Jews dutifully did, unaware of the
horror of the Shoah which awaited.  "Gun control" schemes, such as
these, have contributed to aiding and abetting genocides throughout this
century (see 3.3 and 4.0).
   For gun registration laws to be useful in solving crimes, some rather
unlikely things all have to happen.  The gun must be used in the crime,
recovered by the police at the scene or from the suspect, the suspect
must have fled the scene, leaving only the gun to directly tie him to
the crime, and the suspect must have registered the gun using his true
name or unique identifying marks like fingerprints, or the owner of
the gun must be able to provide police with a lead to the criminal.
Further, the gun's serial number must still be readable, so as to
identify that particular gun from all others of that make and model,
and the ballistics characteristics of the gun cannot have changed very
much from the time it was used in the crime.  Firing the gun with an
abrasive in the barrel, or placing it in conditions where it could
rapidly corrode could easily change the ballistics, and grinding off
or multiply stamping the serial number could produce an untraceable
weapon.  Such "sterile" guns are fairly common among criminals concerned
about the traceability of their weapons, and evidently quite unconcerned
about the fact that tampering with the serial number or other
identifying marks on a gun is a serious crime in itself, not to mention
the fact that mere possession of a gun by a convicted felon is also a
   Registration of ammunition sales is laughable as a crime control
measure, for several reasons.  Stamping an individual unique serial
number on every bullet of the_billions_of rounds of ammunition used
lawfully by Americans each year is impossible enough, both due to lack
of space on the bullet (how do you label shotgun shot?), and the sheer
scope of the task (considering that you cannot repeat a number in
subsequent years, because ammunition produced in one year isn't all
shot up during the year, and it can remain stable and usable for many
years); but expecting such an identifying mark to survive impacting a
target, and not be torn to pieces or smashed into illegibility, is even
more fanciful.  (Nevertheless, "gun control" proponents haven't been
joking when such schemes were proposed.)  Serializing ammunition also
ignores how easy it is to cast one's own bullets, or machine them, and
load them into existing cases (and there are thousands of hobbyist
reloaders out there who tinker with ammunition performance and accuracy
in an effort to outdo the mass-produced ammunition made by companies
such as Winchester, Federal, Remington, and others).
   Just recording the sales of ammunition in the manner required by
law for recording gun purchases, as was once Federal law (see Firearms
Owner's Protection Act, Appendix I), quickly generates mountains of
useless paper, with no value in solving crimes.  (The city of Pasadena,
California, which with much publicity passed a similar ammo registration
law in February 1995  --despite the earlier demonstrated uselessness of
ammo registration at the federal level-- repealed the law on August 18,
1997, after police proclaimed the law "useless".  The city government,
which delayed repeal of the law for several months in order to allow
"gun control" groups to propose alternative legislation, wisely rejected
the "new-and-improved" ammo registration law as well.)  The overwhelming
majority of ammunition used in this country is purchased and used
lawfully, and the amount used by criminals to commit crimes in any
given year could likely fit into a small closet.  Most ammo is used
for target shooting and hunting, and for keeping in practice for
self defense, so if buying ammunition is in itself a suspicious act,
half of America is guilty.

3.0.a  "Guns ought to be licensed and registered like cars."

See particularly LaPierre,_Guns, Crime, and Freedom,_
where he devotes an entire chapter (Chapter 7) to this.

_Statistical Abstract of the United States 1996,_U.S. Department of
Commerce, Bureau of the Census, SuDoc# C3.134:996, p.762

_Establishments Authorized to Operate Under the Supervision of The
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as of September 30, 1990,_
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms, SuDoc# T 70.2:Es 8

National Safety Council Staff,_Accident Facts_(see above)

In summary:  Automobiles must only be licensed for use upon public
roads, and licenses are not required for the purchase of one car (or
many cars).  There are no waiting periods or background checks on
the purchase of cars.  People who misuse their cars are punished for
their own actions, and particular types of cars aren't banned or
taken away from those who use them safely.  Unlike driving on public
roads, which is a privilege, owning a gun is a right explicitly
protected by the U.S. Constitution (see 2.1).  The right of self-
defense is fundamental and inalienable, but requiring a license to
own the means of self defense gives government the power to deny that
right, for whatever reason.  Waiting periods have a similar effect
(see 3.2 and 3.2.a).  Licensing of law-abiding citizens to carry a
concealed weapon is permissible, because, like driving, the State
has an interest in maintaining public safety by ensuring as best it
can that only the law-abiding carry in public.  However, some
supporters of the civil right to keep and bear arms oppose requiring
a permit for concealed carry, and prefer a permitless system like
that of the state of Vermont, which simply punishes misuse of guns,
rather than restricting their lawful use (see 3.8).  Restricting the
ability of law-abiding citizens to own and use firearms on their own
property, and in defense of their homes and families, is unjust, and
constitutes prior restraint (that is, punishment before any harm has
been committed).
   Guns, which "gun control" supporters claim are "designed only to
kill" were involved in about 1,400 accidental deaths in 1990, and an
additional 18,800 suicides, and 13,600 murders, for a total of 33,800
firearm-related deaths.  There are more than 200,000,000 firearms in
private hands in the United States.  By contrast, motor vehicles,
which are not (supposedly) "designed to kill" were involved in about
46,000 accidental deaths in 1990, and an additional 1,900 people
decided to suck on an exhaust pipe to end their lives, for a total of
some 47,900 motor-vehicle related deaths.  There are about 143,000,000
passenger cars in use in the United States.  From looking objectively
at the numbers, these_licensed_and_registered_transport devices
routinely kill more people than the (for the most part)_unlicensed,_
and_unregistered_deadly weapons do.  And it isn't because these devices
"designed only to kill" aren't used a lot; U.S. gun owners go through
about 4,000,000,000 (that's four BILLION) rounds of ammunition a year.
   Much has been made by some "gun control" advocates of the fact that
there "are more gun dealers than gas stations" in the United States.
While arguably true (there were 269,079 Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs)
in 1990 according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and
approximately only 205,000 gasoline service stations and auto dealers
_combined_in 1990), it doesn't require an federal background check to
run a gas station or to be a car salesman.  Those Federal Firearms
License holders who had no retail location, often called "kitchen-
table dealers" by anti-gun activists (and who until recently were a
significant percentage of FFL holders), got their licenses primarily
for the added convenience of being exempt from waiting periods, to
facilitate purchases from out-of-state dealers or mail-order companies,
and/or to simplify the purchase of restricted weapons, like machineguns
(see National Firearms Act of 1934, Appendix I).
   There's nothing sinister about wanting to be exempt from the onerous
regulations which the supporters of "gun control" have placed on the
right to keep and bear arms, and, by undergoing the FBI background
check required in order to get an FFL, these people have shown they
are law-abiding.  Such low-volume gun dealers have been the target of
BATF policymakers recently however, and many have had their licenses
revoked for not having a retail location, and have been turned in to
local authorities and harassed for violation of zoning laws (see 3.0).
This has resulted in a sharp decline in the number of FFLs, according
to Congressional testimony in April 1997 by BATF Director John McGaw,
who puts the most recent figure at 119,708 licensees as of February
1997, a drop of 56% below the 1990 levels quoted above.  It should be
noted that in many localities, private sale of firearms by unlicensed
individuals not considered by BATF to be "engaged in the business" are
legal, and almost completely unregulated.  After all, firearms_are_
considered property, and so long as the owner does not knowingly sell
or transfer a gun to a person who is underage or who is forbidden by
law from owning firearms (such as felon), one may dispose of one's own
property as one sees fit.  How ironic that the low-volume dealers who
have gone to the trouble and expense of obtaining an FFL are the ones
the BATF has chosen to target, rather than going after armed felons and
the illegal and/or unlicensed dealers who supply them.
   The fact is, most people use guns at least as responsibly as they use
their automobiles, and the vast majority of gunowners never harm anyone.
That being the case, why punish everyone for the wrongs committed by a
few, whether they be criminal car drivers or criminals with guns?
Adapted in part from a posting by William Gray (

3.0.b  "Gun registration reduced homicides in Washington, D.C."

see_Uniform Crime Reports for the United States, 19xx-1994,_
Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Dept. of Justice,
SuDoc# J 1.14/7:9xx

_Vital Statistics of the United States, 19xx-1991, Vol. II - 
Mortality Part B, National Center for Health Statistics, 
U.S. Public Health Service, SuDoc# HE 20.6210:9xx/v.2/pt.B

_Statistical Abstract of the United States 19xx-1994, 
Bureau of the Census, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, SuDoc# C 3.134:9xx

Loftin, Colin; McDowall, David; Wiersema, Brian; and Cottey, 
Talbert J., "Effects of Restrictive Licensing of Handguns on 
Homicide and Suicide in the District of Columbia," New England 
J. Medicine, v.325, n.23, pp.1615-1620 (1991)

Washington Post, March 22, 1996, p.A1

In summary:  In September 1976, the District of Columbia, home to the 
federal government of the United States, enacted a highly restrictive 
"gun control" law which in effect "froze" the number of legally owned 
handguns in the District by stopping the issuance of new handgun 
licenses.  In addition, new strenuous registration requirements were 
placed on the ownership of rifles and shotguns, and the law further 
required that all firearms be kept either under lock and key, or kept
unloaded and disassembled when not being used for recreational purposes.
Violations of the law were to be punished by ten days in jail and a
$300 fine, and this penalty was later increased to a_year_in jail,
and a_$1,000_fine.  D.C. thus became a test case for the effectiveness 
of highly restrictive "gun control" laws at the local level.
   A 1991 article in the anti-gun New England Journal of Medicine 
attempted to show that the registration law in D.C. reduced the average 
(arithmetic mean) number of gun-related homicides per month following 
the implementation of the law.  As with other "gun control" studies
published in the New England Journal of Medicine (see 1.1), and as 
with a recent study of the effects of concealed carry reform laws 
(see 3.8.a) by researchers from the University of Maryland (to which 
the authors of the Loftin study were affiliated), this paper has 
serious flaws in its methodology.  (For the sordid statistical details, 
please see Appendix IV.)
   The most curious aspect of the Loftin study is the particular 
span of years which the researchers chose to examine.  The study 
period covers the years 1968-1987, which can best be described as
a "plateau" period, before which murder/non-negligent manslaughter 
(MNNM) rates (as measured by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports data)
were much lower than during the period of study, and after which 
the MNNM rates in the District ballooned to record levels!  (Ironically,
in 1991, the very year Loftin, et al. published their work, the MNNM 
rate for Washington, D.C. had reached its all-time high.)
   As a result, Loftin, et al. begin calculating their averages in 
1968, which (coincidentally) is the year before a large jump in the 
number of MNNM recorded by the FBI's UCR (195 to 287), and they end 
their study in 1987, just before another jump in MNNM numbers (another 
coincidence).  In 1988, the MNNM number shot up to 369, from 225 in 
1987.  Data from years which would contradict the conclusions of the 
study are excluded from consideration (see below, and Appendix IV).
   The problems with the data used in the Loftin study don't end there, 
however.  The study counts homicides, not MNNM as does the UCR data, 
and so does not distinguish between justifiable self-defense homicides,
so-called "legal intervention" by the police, and unlawful homicides 
such as murder and manslaughter.  The researchers consider only the 
absolute numbers of homicides, rather than homicide rates adjusted for 
changes in the size of the population.  The use of average homicides 
per month as the measurement produces some very "noisy" data, and makes 
understanding the longer term trends more difficult (see also 3.8.a).
   The population of D.C. declined during the study period (1971-1983), 
declining from its peak in 1964, while the population of the suburbs 
which Loftin, et. al. used for controls was increasing during the study 
period.  In 1994, D.C. had only 71% of the population it had in 1964, 
yet it had a MNNM rate 423% of the rate in 1964, which was prior to 
the enactment of "gun control" laws at the Federal and local levels!  
Despite declines in population in D.C., the MNNM rate has skyrocketed, 
putting to rest the notion that crowding necessarily results in greater 
murder rates.  If that were true, the more-crowded D.C. of the 1960s
would have had a high murder rate, while during the relatively less
populated 1990s, the rate would have been expected to fall.
   The "prompt decline" in average monthly gun-related homicides which 
is the central claim made by Loftin, et al. in their study was very 
prompt indeed, since the homicide rate was already trending downward. 
The law only became effective at the end of September 1976, after which 
handgun owners had 60 days to register their guns, placing the effect 
of any of the law's criminal sanctions into late November 1976.  The 
researchers note that there was a restraining order which went into 
effect at the beginning of December which prevented enforcement of the 
law for a 49-day period, ending in mid-February 1977.  Curiously, 
however, the rate of MNNM was already declining in 1976, and for most
of that year, the law wasn't in effect at all!  Prompt action indeed,
for a "gun control" law to begin reducing MNNM prior to it even being 
in force...
   Even using the same source and similar methods as the Loftin study, 
it can be found that for the period 1964 to 1991 (adding four years 
to each end of the study period) the average annual homicide rate 
(using numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics, rather 
than the FBI's UCR) was 27.1 per 100,000 population prior to the law 
('64-'76), and 37.4 per 100,000 population after the law was in force.
Considering the absolute numbers rather than the rates, there was an
average of 203 homicides per year prior to the law, and an average of 
234 homicides per year after the law, during the same 1964-1991 period.
Clearly, a more populous D.C. (with more guns available) was a safer 
place to live during the 1960s than a less populous D.C. with some 
of the most stringent "gun control" laws in the nation is today.
   Recently, the police in Washington, D.C. have begun advising city 
residents how to obtain guns for home defense.  Lt. Lowell K. Duckett 
of the D.C. Police held a two-hour community meeting in March 1996, and 
was quoted in the Washington Post as saying "Gun control has not worked 
in D.C.  The only people who have guns are criminals.  We have the 
strongest gun laws in the nation and one of the highest murder rates.  
It's quicker to pull your Smith and Wesson than to dial 911 if you're 
being robbed."  Duckett favors repeal of D.C.'s ineffective gun "bans."
Adapted in part from a posting by Kevin M. Okleberry

3.0.c  "Putting taggants in explosives and gunpowder will put 
bomb-making terrorists out of business."

see _Taggants in Explosives,_Congress of the United States, Office
of Technology Assessment, April 1980, SuDoc# Y3.T22/2:2Ex7  [This
report, now rather outdated, is also available in a summary version
with the SuDoc# Y3.T22/2:2Ex7/sum.]

Shanley, Agnes, ed., Harriston, Deborah with Roberts, Sandra,
"The Unmistakable Fingerprint of Taggants," _Chemical Engineering,_
v.103, p.35 (September 1996)

Wu, Corrina, "Tagged Out," _Science News,_v.150, pp.168-169
(September 14, 1996)

"Marking of products to establish identity and source,"
U.S. Patent #5,429,952 issued July 4, 1995 to Biocode, Inc.

Isotag LLC website at

National Academy of Sciences website at

_Marking, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials,_
by Committee on Marking, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive
Materials, National Research Council, National Academy Press,
ISBN 0-309-05990-9, (1998)

In summary:  The government-mandated addition of chemical "taggants"
to gunpowder and explosives has often been proposed in the U.S. as
a legislative strategy for combatting terrorist bombings, by giving
such potential bombmaking materials a unique chemical "signature"
which could provide investigators additional clues to work from in 
identifying bombing suspects.  Recent high-profile bombing incidents, 
such as those at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma
City, New York City's World Trade Center, as well as the Atlanta 
Olympic Park bombing, and bombings at abortion clinics and elsewhere, 
have given new political currency to the "taggant" issue, which was 
last seriously debated by the U.S. government during the late 1970s. 
As the public treatment of former Atlanta Olympic security guard 
Richard Jewell shows, assigning blame for terrorist bombings is at
best an inexact science given current techniques, so the question
remains whether "taggants" will help or hinder the cause of justice
and public safety.
   There are three technologies presently competing for the "taggant"
market, all of which are in current use in other products, primarily
to help identify counterfeit merchandise, such as bogus aircraft parts,
gasolines, cosmetics, medicines, and even alcoholic beverages.  In
this role of assuring the quality and integrity of brand-name products,
these covert identification methods may in fact help save far more lives
than they ever could as additives to explosive materials.  The earliest 
"taggant" technology, originally developed at 3M, is the one most often 
discussed when the issue is tagging explosives and gunpowder, since it 
was the method under consideration in a 1980 report by the Congressional
Office of Technology Assessment.  The "taggants" in this case are tiny
flecks of melamine plastic, which contain color coded layers sandwiched
between a magnetic film on one side, and a fluorescent layer on the other
side which glows under ultraviolet (UV) light.  Detectives at a bombing
scene, the theory goes, would use UV light to find the glowing taggants,
collect them with a magnet, and read the color-coded layers under a
microscope to trace the serial number of the batch of explosive used 
to make the bomb.
   Another kind of tagging method uses biotechnology derived from the 
immune systems of animals to detect the presence of specific chemicals 
attached to a larger inert carrier molecule.  The chemical tags, called
haptens, used in this method would only be identifiable by a specific 
immune system molecule, a monoclonal antibody, developed to recognize 
them.  A microscopic plastic bead which had several different types 
of haptens on its surface could be "read" by treating it with the 
corresponding antibodies, in a similar manner to the way invading 
bacteria and viruses are recognized as "foreign" by the immune system.
Determining which monoclonal antibodies could bind to the beads, and
which could not, would identify the haptens present on the bead, and
hence the code.  The use of such a biological technique allows the 
taggant particles to be made much smaller, and used and detected in 
much lower concentrations than taggants using a color-code.  Also, the
biotaggants would be difficult to remove from the explosive mixture,
and to identify, without the proper antibodies.
   Lastly, there is a tagging system available which exploits the fact
that all the chemical elements can exist in the form of atoms having
different slightly different weights, called isotopes.  Hydrogen,
for instance, can exist as "light" hydrogen, having only an electron
and a proton; and "heavy" hydrogen, which has an electron and a proton,
but also contains a neutron.  (There is also a heavier radioactive
isotope of hydrogen, but such a radioactive tag, though easy to detect,
would not be ...technically suitable.)  Both of these forms of hydrogen
are chemically very similar (almost identical), but can be distiguished 
by using a sensitive piece of scientific equipment called a GC-mass spec 
(short for gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer), which is capable of 
weighing atoms and molecules.  "Heavy" hydrogen atoms are much rarer 
in nature than the "light" kind, so substituting particular "heavy" 
hydrogen atoms for their "light" counterparts in some of the molecules 
found in an explosive would not change the chemistry of the explosive, 
but would create a unique pattern that is detectable using the proper
instruments, even when present at very low levels.  Best of all, such
isotopically labeled explosives would not contain foreign materials
which might cause environmental and safety problems, the technologies
involved in making the tags are not easily duplicated, and the isotopes
themselves cannot be destroyed except by nuclear processes which would
also destroy whatever materials the tags are associated with.
   Putting foreign "taggant" particles into explosives and gunpowder
is tricky and possibly very dangerous, and certainly useless for the
intended purpose if it can be easily defeated.  The color-coded flecks
of magnetized plastic have several strikes against them.  If they are 
easy to find and remove from the bomb residue, they may be easy to 
remove from the explosives beforehand.  Treating gunpowder with a 
magnet could pull them out of the mix.  It has been proposed to include
some proportion of non-magnetic taggants, and/or conceal the fluorescent
layer with a substance that looks similar to the explosive itself, and
which would only reveal the fluorecence when it gets burned away in the
explosion, so as to make removing the taggants much more difficult.
However, unless the plastic particles are of similar size and density
to the powder, they could separate due to settling, or be screened out. 
Settling out could cause changes in loading characteristics when powder 
is used to manufacture ammunition.  For instance, if the load is adjusted
to account for a certain proportion of taggant, the first part of a run
may be correct, but later, after settling, there may be rounds loaded 
with high concentrations of taggant, and later still, rounds which are 
overcharged with too much powder.  The taggant itself might react 
chemically with the highly reactive chemicals present in the powder 
or explosive, with possibly destabilizing and dangerous results.  
A 1980 report by the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment 
noted possible instability resulting from the presence of high taggant
concentrations at high temperatures, though it's doubtful whether this
data has any relevance at the far lower concentrations in which the
taggants would ordinarily be used.  If the taggants tend to clump, they
may become locally concentrated, however, causing ballistic inaccuracy.
If not degradable, microscopic bits of plastic taggants incorporated 
into fertilizers, explosives and gunpowder would accumulate in the 
environment, making it difficult to determine what taggants came from 
where.  Mixing several lots of tagged chemicals together as in a "home
brew" type improvised explosive, and/or diluting out or substituting
untagged chemicals for the tagged ones could defeat the system, or
reduce the concentration of the tags to levels indistinguishable from
the levels already present as a result of the use of explosives in
mining the components of many commonly used materials, such as concrete,
mortar, brick, and glass.  The most powerful conventional explosives,
the so-called "fuel-air" explosives, would not be suitable for labeling
with such particles.
   Even if the particles were reduced in size, as in the hapten 
carrier molecules, it remains to be seen whether sufficient numbers
of the haptens on the surface of the carriers would retain the shapes
and chemical characteristics after an explosion which enable them to
be recognized by the highly sensitive monoclonal antibodies.  Though
the hapten carrier tags would be tough to remove from the explosive,
and almost impossible to read without the proper antibodies, there 
is still the possibility that the particles could react chemically
with the explosive, becoming unreadable, or causing destabilization.
There is also the possibility that the haptens could be chemically
modified in some fashion as to make them unreadable by the antibody,
in effect changing the chemical serial number present on the carrier,
either as a result of environmental exposure, or human intervention.
Treatment of the taggant particles with enzymes that destroy the
unique three-dimensional structure of the haptens without damaging the
explosive may be possible, depending upon their chemical properties.
Putting a protective coating on the hapten carrier particles might
prevent these problems, but it would probably also make the particles
more difficult for detectives to locate and read, increasing the
possibility of investigative errors.  Again, substitution or dilution
of the tagged chemical could defeat the system, and there is also a
concern for accumulation in the environment.  While the hapten carrier
tags have some advantages, such as increased security, they share many
of the drawbacks of the earlier color-coded plastic taggants, in that
they introduce a foreign particulate substance into the reaction mix.
As anyone who's cleaned a gun knows, there's always residue left
behind from incomplete combustion of the powder, so there is the
possibility that enough functional haptens can survive an explosion
to be useful to an investigation.  But buildup of taggants inside a
gun might cause problems as well, and if foreign taggant particles
tend to cause ammunition to be less accurate, then using tagged
ammunition could put the user or bystanders at risk in defensive
situations where accurate shooting is critical.
   Of all the current taggant technologies, isotopic labelling seems
to be able to overcome every possible objection, since no foreign
materials are being introduced into the powder or explosive, and the
infinitesimal differences at the atomic scale make no difference to
the performance of the chemicals they are included in.  The isotopes
which are used in the process are naturally occurring, and though they
may accumulate locally for a while, they would gradually rejoin the
natural chemical cycles of the Earth, in the same manner as their
lightweight counterparts, with no adverse effect on organisms in the
environment.  The added labor costs involved in cleaning up after each
batch of labeled explosive or powder so as not to cross-contaminate 
later batches would be passed on to the consumer of all products in 
which labeled substances are used, no matter what the taggant system.
Mining, and even agriculture (with labeling of ammonium nitrate like
that used in the Oklahoma City bomb) would be affected.  And in 
the case of gunpowder, which is often pre-blended at the factory to 
achieve specific performance characteristics, with each lot being 
distributed in small quantities to thousands of end users, the costs
could be substantial.  Taggant evidence alone can't identify one 
particular individual.
   Finally, in response to a request by the U.S. Congress, the 
National Academy of Sciences is currently studying the types and 
use of taggants in explosives, with a final report due in February 
1998.  Whether the use of such technical evidence can make a difference 
for justice in a sensationalized criminal case is today a matter of 
substantial doubt, and that's a question no panel of distinguished 
scientists can resolve.  If jurors lack a basic scientific background 
to evaluate the testimony of experts called upon to interpret the data, 
they may just ignore what they don't understand, and all of the best 
designed schemes for catching the bad guys will be for naught.

3.1  "Guns increase the lethality of crime."

see_The Citizen's Guide to Gun Control,_by Franklin E. Zimring and 
Gordon Hawkins,_Macmillan, ISBN 0-02-934830-7 (1987)  [The authors 
present their case in favor of "gun control," based in part upon 
the lethality of firearms, termed the "instrumentality effect" 
in the study of violence.  Though somewhat dated, and factually 
incorrect regarding a few issues (notably the provisions of the 1968 
Gun Control Act, the concept of "stopping power," and the notion that 
the majority of homicides are committed by individuals without prior 
histories of violence), the book offers a reasoned (rather than 
paranoiac) airing of the anti-gun viewpoint.]

In summary:  This argument ignores that, in the absence of guns, the
younger, more agile, and/or physically stronger criminal has much less
difficulty in overpowering his victim, particularly if the victim is
elderly or disabled.  This is certainly true in the case where there
are multiple assailants, since, in the absence of firearms, there is
no way for the physically weaker to overcome strength in numbers
(see 1.1.a).  While the existence of guns no doubt enables people who
might not otherwise easily commit violence to do so, it also increases
the ability of victims to resist violent attacks, when they might not
otherwise be able to do so effectively.  Guns are indeed "the great
equalizer," and removing them from the hands of the public at large
returns us at best to the "law of the jungle," where the weaker are prey
to the stronger; and at worst affects only the law-abiding, leaving
criminals to obtain guns by illegal means which they can then use with
impunity against the otherwise defenseless (see 3.8).  Proficiency with
firearms is no guarantee of survival for potential victims of crime,
but it is surely better than submission to the mercy of criminals,
especially when that submission is compelled by government through
"gun control" laws (see 1.1).  Crime is not random, and criminal
predators often choose the weakest among us for their prey, attacking
in groups to better their chances of success.  Guns may increase the
lethality of crime, but for whom?  The criminals, who have youth and
strength and their partners in crime on their side, and who could kill
by any number of means without a firearm?  Or the victims of crime,
who all too often lack any other means to resist?

3.2  "A waiting period saves lives, and it might even have
stopped John Hinckley, Jr. from wounding Jim Brady (for
whom the Brady national waiting-period law was named)."

See particularly LaPierre,_Guns, Crime, and Freedom,_
where he devotes an entire chapter (Chapter 5) to this.

In summary:  Waiting periods, ostensibly for the purpose of background
checks, are ineffective against determined criminals, who can obtain
illegal guns by a variety of means, including "strawman purchases" by
individuals with clean records, theft, and purchase from illegal dealers
and/or smugglers.  All of these channels are illegal (and therefore by
definition unavailable to the law-abiding), and avoid both waiting
periods and background checks.  Background checks, in principle, can
be done in the manner of a credit card transaction, if appropriate
databases are established.  In the absence of such databases, the
personnel and paperwork requirements placed upon law enforcement
officers detract from time and resources needed for combating more
serious crimes (see also Brady Act,_ Appendix I.)  Establishing
such readily accessible databases would greatly aid law enforcement
in the apprehension of criminal suspects (particularly fugitives),
and seems a good idea on its own merits, aside from "gun control".
Waiting periods did not and would not stop John Hinckley, Jr. (who
had a clean criminal record, and whose mental health history had been
covered up by his wealthy parents, and who purchased a .22 revolver
in Texas several_months_before his attempt to assassinate President
Reagan); or convicted mass murderer Colin Ferguson (who purchased the
9mm Ruger in April 1993 he used to attack passengers on the Long
Island Railroad in December after undergoing a fifteen-day waiting
period and mandatory background check in California); or the murderer
of John Lennon (who bought his .38 revolver in Hawaii, while working
as a_security_guard_for a Waikiki apartment building, despite a violent
marriage, and being treated for a suicide attempt!); or gay serial
killer Andrew Cunanan, who stole the .40 caliber pistol he used to
murder designer Gianni Versace from his first victim, former Navy
officer Jeffrey Trail, whom Cunanan bludgeoned to death with a claw
hammer at an ex-lover's Minneapolis apartment (Trail had bought the
gun legally in San Diego, while in training to join the California
Highway Patrol).  Such cases point up one of the major impediments
to effective background checks, which is the confidentiality of mental
health and drug treatment records, as well as the difficulty of
defining just what type of "mental health history" is sufficient
disqualification for denying a person their civil right to keep and
bear arms.  Should people treated for clinical depression lose their
right to protect themselves from violent crime?  How about people with
no criminal record, but who've sought marriage counseling?  Recovering
alcoholics or those who've abused other drugs at some time in the past?
   Far from stopping "crimes of passion," waiting periods can even
make matters worse, if an abused spouse is denied the best means of
self-protection, while the abuser can use whatever weapon is at hand
(a knife, blunt trauma, strangulation, battery-- or a gun) to kill
or maim.  "Crimes of passion" are often the culmination of a long
pattern of abuse, and anti-stalking laws and restraining orders,
like waiting periods, only affect the law-abiding.  The victims of
violence in these situations may realize only too late that they
need to defend themselves, and in such a situation, a waiting period
(which considers everyone a potential criminal)_can_kill.  People who
already own and use guns responsibly need not wait for a background
check, since they wouldn't require a_new_gun (or a gun at all) if they
were inclined to commit a crime.  People who already commit violent
crimes with guns aren't going to be deterred by another law, and are
already prohibited by law from possessing guns if previously convicted
of a serious crime.

3.2.a  "The Brady Act stopped thousands of violent felons from getting
guns since its enactment in 1993."

see_Uniform Crime Reports for the United States, 1992,_(see above)

Houston Post, February 28, 1995, p. A1

_Gun Control -- Implementation of the Brady Handgun Violence 
Prevention Act,_ General Accounting Office report, GAO/GGD-96-22
[This study of the effect of the Brady Act in selected law 
enforcement jurisdictions was issued by the General Accounting 
Office on January 25, 1996, but does not draw any nationwide 

In summary:  According to a report released on February 28, 1995 by
the Clinton Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and
Firearms, the Brady handgun waiting period law (see Appendix I.) was
a success.  But a success when compared to what?  BATF's study of
the effect of the law in 30 jurisdictions which had not had a waiting
period before, conducted between March of 1994 and January 1995 showed
that of 441,545 applications or background checks run, some 15,506
were denied, or about 3.5%.  However, the BATF study admitted that only
4,365 of these were convicted felons, which brings the denials down to
0.99%.  Of the total denials, 649 were illegal drug users, which is not
a violent crime, but is a felony, and would disqualify a gun purchaser.
Excluding this nonviolent category of felony from the count of convicted
felons results in 0.84% denials, assuming there is no overlap between
the violent felons and the drug users listed in the study.
   The Clinton Administration estimated that some 40,000 persons were
denied under the Brady Act nationwide.  Assuming that's correct, then
the 15,506 included in the study constitute 38.8% of the national total,
and the 441,545 checks run in the study are an equivalent proportion
of the total checks run for the nation.  This means that some 1,141,000
background checks were run, and assuming that this turned down violent
felons at the rate of 0.84%, about 9,600 violent felons were turned down
nationwide.  If each check took 10 minutes to run, this amounts to some
11,410,000 minutes of law enforcement time, or 190,167 hours, or 15,847
twelve-hour workdays.  If a law enforcement officer typically works a
five day week, with twelve hour shifts, this amounts to 61 cop/years,
or about 37 violent felons a day.  In other words, a reasonable estimate
of the number of full-time law enforcement officers the Act took off
the streets during the study period is 61.  If the amount of time it
took to run each check was greater than 10 minutes, the number of
officers taken off the street by the Act was even higher.
   Divided over the nation's law enforcement officers, a total of about
550,000, this amounted to about twenty minutes work for every cop in the
country, with each cop catching 0.017 violent felons during the year.
In other words, you had to have about 12 cops working an hour each
before you catch one violent felon by running Brady Act background
checks!  Or, put another way, for each 100 cops that spent_all_day_
doing background checks, you would catch about 61 violent felons.
Consider, in reality, that added workload was borne by only a fraction
of the total officers, so in rural counties, with low numbers of law
enforcement officers per capita, Brady checks may have well consumed
a significant proportion of their workday.  It's no wonder that rural
law enforcement officers sued the Clinton Administration because of
this unfunded mandate, and the impositions of the law on local law
enforcement were found to be unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment
by the U.S. Supreme Court. (See Appendix I., and Appendix V.)
   At the same time, it's important not to forget that 30,400 people
who were not violent felons were denied purchase during the year, though
perhaps as many as 1,677 of these were illegal drug users, and 177 were
mentally disabled.  This gives the Brady checks a false positive rate of
about 2.5%, or one out of every 40 people who applied were unjustly
denied, some 117 each workday.  At the same time, 37 violent felons got
caught each workday.  The act would thus seem to "catch" law-abiding
citizens at a rate three times as high as it "caught" violent felons!
   The proportion of violent felons "caught" by the Brady check would be
expected to diminish as criminals shifted exclusively to other means of
acquiring weapons.  As a comparison, an estimated 742,130 arrests were
made in 1992 for violent crime, or about 2,854 each workday.  As a
crime-fighting measure, Brady checks were a tiny blip on the screen, and
inconvenienced both police and law-abiding citizens on a daily basis.
The possibility existed, with so many false positives, that the Act might
be abused to deny legitimate purchases due to_any_legal infraction, like
a speeding ticket, and would have required going to court to show that
your record does not disqualify you from owning a gun.  The 1996 General 
Accounting Office report on the Brady Act did show that some denials 
were due to misdemeanor warrants on unpaid traffic tickets.  The idea 
that violent criminals got more than a small fraction of their guns 
through legitimate channels, or that the Brady Act thwarted the 
acquisition of handguns by determined criminals to any significant 
degree, and lead to more arrests, is unsupported by the available
evidence.  By the time the background checks were run, a criminal would
be long gone, or have already acquired a firearm by theft or through 
an illegal dealer.  An instant background check system, like that 
supported by the NRA, and required to be implemented by the FBI by
the end of November 1998, should help put more police out on the street,
reduce the hassle and delay to the law-abiding, and provide an
occasional opportunity to make a quick arrest.  As of July 1995, the
Brady Act had resulted in only_seven_federal convictions, of which none
were against violent felons.

3.3  "No one needs an assault weapon, they have no sporting
purpose, they're only intended to kill people."

See particularly LaPierre,_Guns, Crime, and Freedom,_where
he devotes an entire chapter (Chapter 6) to this.

Madison, James, Hamilton, Alexander, and Jay, John,
_The Federalist_#46

Halbrook,_That Every Man Be Armed_

Cottrol and Diamond, Georgetown Law J.

Kleck,_Point Blank,_pp.70-82

Simkin, Zelman, and Rice,_Lethal Laws,_(see above)

_Crime and the Sacking of America: The Roots of Chaos,_
by Andrew P. Thomas, Brassey's, ISBN 0-275-94913-3 (1994)

Aymette v. State, Tennessee Reports v.21 (2 Humphreys) p.154 (1840)
cited in
U.S. v. Miller, U.S. Reports v.307 p.174, Supreme Court Reporter
  v.59 p.816, Lawyer's Edition v.83 p.1206 (1939)

In summary:  So-called "assault weapons" are not machineguns (which
have been heavily taxed and restricted since 1934), and are less
powerful than many commonly used hunting rifles, like the .30-06 .
They only fire one shot per pull of the trigger, not a "spray of
bullets," and operate under the same principle as other semi-automatics.
They are defined in law primarily according to their appearance, which
often resembles a military-issue "select-fire" rifle or machinegun,
including a pistol grip, a folding stock, a flash suppressor or muzzle
brake, a barrel shroud, a bayonet lug, and/or a grenade launcher.  None
of these features makes these guns any more deadly, and even the most
ominously named, the "grenade launcher," amounts to a metal clip at the
muzzle of the gun which can hold a rifle grenade (the actual grenades,
however, are considered "destructive devices" and cannot be sold to
individuals without an FBI background check, and the payment of
a hefty tax to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on the
sale of_each_grenade).  So-called "assault weapons", like their
military counterparts, may use the same ammunition as other small
and intermediate sized game hunting rifles, and can accept a magazine
holding a large supply of ammunition.  Like their military counterparts,
they are often equipped with lighter, more durable polymer or composite
stocks, which don't require as much maintenance as wood stocks, and
aren't so heavy to carry.  These guns are often used for "varmint"
control, competition target shooting, small game hunting, and other
lawful purposes.
   In point of fact, their military counterparts were designed primarily
to wound (rather than kill) enemy soldiers; since a wounded soldier must
be carried from the battlefield by others, and continues to consume
enemy resources, without continuing to be a threat.  That, combined with
lighter weight both for the gun and its ammunition, made the assault
rifle (which, unlike the term "assault weapon," has a precise military
definition) a military advantage over older infantry weapons which were
often based on heavier caliber hunting guns.
   The right of civilians in a free society to possess "military-
looking," or even actual military weapons, is essential if a monopoly
of force is not to reside in the hands of government (see 2.0.a), where
history shows the potential for far greater abuses and crimes exists
than are possible for any deranged individual.  Every major genocide
in the twentieth century has been preceded by laws which disarmed the
eventual victims of their ability to resist the progressive imposition
of murderous tyranny.  Once granted a monopoly of force, government
acquires power that cannot be readily opposed or revoked.  (See 4.0)
And, if government fails to act, as in time of natural disaster or a
riot, the ability to defend against roving gangs or to deter looting
requires a dependable, versatile, and credible deterrent to whatever
threat may appear, and possibly even a means to obtain small game for
survival.  Or, if government is too far away to act quickly, for
instance in remote rural areas, or miles from shore out to sea, people
faced with attack by packs of wild animals, human predators, or
hijacking pirates must be able to respond with all necessary force, in
order to preserve their lives from harm.
   Rifles of any kind are very rarely used in crime, since they are
more difficult to carry and conceal than are handguns, and "military-
looking" rifles are generally more expensive than both handguns and
common long guns (rifles, shotguns) used for hunting (see 3.5).
Further, the Supreme Court has ruled that weapons having no "reasonable
relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated
militia" may be taxed in interstate commerce, clearly implying that
weapons having such reasonable relationship with the militia are those
which the Second Amendment protects the right of the people to keep
and bear, moreso even than other types of weapons.  In other words,
the arms protected by the Second Amendment are those "such as are
usually employed in civilized warfare, and that constitute the ordinary
military equipment."
   Prior to the passage of President Clinton's Crime Bill in 1994
(see Appendix I.), which included a controversial (and unconstitutional)
ban on "assault weapons," sales as well as manufacturing of the to-be-
banned weapons increased dramatically, and soon after the ban passed,
it was revealed that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D - WV), a supporter of the
ban, in fact owned one of the weapons on the ban list, a Colt AR-15.
President Clinton has admitted publicly that he believes that as many
as twenty of the Democrat legislators who supported his gun ban were
defeated for re-election on the basis of their votes.  In the November
1994 elections, Democrats lost majorities in both the U.S. House of
Representatives and the Senate.  On March 22nd, 1996 the House of 
Representatives voted 239-173 to repeal the ban, but the measure was 
not taken up in the Senate, where Republicans hold only a slim majority.
In 1996, Republican Presidential candidate and former Senate majority
leader Robert Dole had initially taken a position in favor of repeal,
but later reversed himself during a July 15 appearance on CNN's_Larry
King Live,_saying "Keep the assault weapons ban."  Dole's choice of
former HUD secretary Jack Kemp as a running mate further estranged
pro-gun voters, since Kemp had likewise abandoned his long pro-RKBA
record in 1993, saying during an appearance on NBC's_Meet the Press,_
"Ban it any way you can," in response to host Tim Russert's question
about his views on the "assault weapons" law.  Dole and Kemp were 
subsequently defeated in the general election, losing 32 of 50 states.
   For President Clinton's part, it was revealed after the election
that his Arkansas associate, Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie, had arranged a
February 6, 1996 fundraising coffee at which Mr. Clinton met Wang Jun,
who runs the China International Trust and Investment Corporation
(CITIC), parent company of Poly Technologies, the arms manufacturing
concern of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.  (Poly Technologies'
AK-47 copies were one of the weapons banned by name in the "assault
weapons" law!)  Wang Jun is considered to be one of the "young princes"
heir apparent to the rulership of China, by virtue of his being the son
of Wang Zhen, the late anti-democratic vice-president and general.
Wang Jun is also believed to have met with then-Commerce Secretary Ron
Brown the same day, according to State Department records obtained by
House Rules Committee Chairman Gerald Solomon (R, NY).  A day after
the meetings with Clinton and Brown, the Democratic National Committee
recieved a $50,000 contribution from investment banker Ernest G. Green,
who had written a letter in support of Wang Jun getting an entrance visa
to the United States.  Four days prior to Clinton's meeting with Wang,
the federal government had issued importation permits to a company called
China Jiang An for a large multimillion-dollar shipment of over 100,000
semiautomatic weapons and millions of rounds of ammunition made by Poly
Technologies and the other well-known Chinese arms maker, China Northern
Industries Corporation, better known as Norinco, which is an ostensibly
civilian-run company formerly known as the Ordnance Ministry.  (One of
Norinco's most familiar products is the Colt .45 auto copy bearing the
unintentionally humorous marking "Model of the 1911A1" stamped on the
slide.)  None of the China Jiang An shipment made it into the U.S.
market, however, because at about the same time, over 2,000 full-auto
Norinco AK-47s and some 4,000 magazines (read "high-capacity ammunition
feeding devices") were seized by BATF and Customs officials in March
1996 as part of a 16-month sting operation (code-named "Dragon Fire")
targeting the Chinese arms industry.  Fourteen indictments were issued
June 4, 1996 (not coincidentally, the 7th anniversary of the massacre
in Tian an men Square) against Norinco and Poly Technologies executives
who had allegedly agreed to smuggle the machineguns to undercover agents
posing as members of organized crime.  President Clinton has since
described having met with Wang as "clearly inappropriate."

3.4  "There's certainly no reason to allow the sale of cop-killer
ammunition which can penetrate bulletproof vests."

see_Uniform Crime Reports: Law Enforcement Officers Killed
and Assaulted 1982-1985,_FBI (see above)

In summary:  Claiming that particular types of bullets or guns
are responsible for particular types of crimes, rather than
simply holding individuals who misuse guns responsible for their
actions, is the classic myth of "gun control".  In point of
fact, any weapon can be a cop-killer in the hands of violent
criminals.  Often, it's the police officer's own sidearm which is
grabbed by criminals in a struggle and used against him (see 1.2).
Armor-piercing handgun ammunition, originally developed for law
enforcement use in 1966, acquired public notoriety in 1982 when
a major U.S. television network, NBC, demonstrated the ability of
such bullets to penetrate soft body armor like that worn by
police officers.  Other networks and media outlets followed
the "story," despite the fact that a little research would have
revealed that common hunting ammunition like that used in large
caliber rifles and in shotguns can also penetrate bullet-resistant
vests.  Rather than diminishing the threat, media publicity about
the use of body armor by police contributed to some criminals
redirecting their aim to the head, neck, and other unprotected
areas of police, instead of buying expensive exotic ammunition
or sawing off rifles and shotguns to achieve the same effect.
[Officers shot in the head and killed while wearing bullet-
resistant vests: 1982 - 5, 1983 - 9, 1984 - 13, 1985 - 8]
   Further, the "cop-killer bullet" scare, like the 1994 "Black
Rhino" hoax (see 3.4.a), took place despite there never having been
_one_law enforcement death resulting from such exotic ammunition
penetrating an officer's protective body armor.  Two shooting
incidents occurred during the 1970s in which armor-piercing handgun
ammunition was used against police officers.  In 1976, a Florida
State Highway Patrolman, Philip Black, and a visiting Canadian
police officer, Donald Irwin, were killed in Broward County, FL
by an assailant using AP ammunition, but neither of the two officers
was wearing a protective vest.  In the only other such incident,
in 1974, Officer John Rixham, Jr., in Woodlawn, Maryland was shot
through his vest by an attacker using AP ammunition, and seriously
wounded.  A ban on sales of any ammunition capable of penetrating
soft body armor was proposed in Congress, but initially opposed by
the National Rifle Association on grounds that the bill would prohibit 
most ammunition used by hunters and sportsmen, in addition to the
so-called "cop-killer" AP ammunition.  A revised bill, protecting
both police and the interests of hunters and sport shooters, was 
passed and signed into law with the cooperation and assistance of
the NRA, but not before anti-gun groups had made the most of the
adverse publicity as a wedge issue between NRA and law enforcement.
   As part of his re-election campaign, on May 15, 1996, President
Clinton called for banning any type of ammunition which can penetrate
a bullet-resistant vest "like a knife through hot butter."  He also
introduced legislation in Congress March 5, 1997 which in effect
resurrected the original "cop-killer bullet" ban proposal, which would
have classified most ammunition, including that used by hunters and
sportsmen, as armor-piercing, and thus prohibited.  The President's
proposal would also give to the BATF increased power to prohibit
the sale of new ammunition by reclassifying it as armor-piercing,
without requiring further action by Congress.  This approach is
seen by many gunowners as a "back-door" means of gun prohibition,
and by the President's critics as an obvious political ploy.

3.4.a  "Black Rhino ammunition, made from space age plastics,
which can penetrate bulletproof vests and then fragment..."

Newsweek, Dec. 19, 1994

New York Times, Dec. 27, 1994, A10; Dec. 28, 1994, A8;
Dec. 29, 1994, A16

Wall Street Journal, Dec. 29, 1994, B2

Code of Federal Regulations, title 27, chapter I, section 178.92 (b)
[cited by lawyers as 27 CFR I, S 178.92 (b)]

In summary:  "Gun control" supporter David Keen, chief executive of
Signature Products, a Huntsville, AL based defense contractor, staged
a publicity stunt late in 1994 by claiming his company was about to
market "Rhino" ammunition, capable of causing "nearly instantaneous"
death, "a horrific wound," with "no way to stop the bleeding"; as well
as an armor-piercing version, dubbed "Black Rhino" (suggestive of
Winchester's "Black Talon," a brand name of non-armor-piercing handgun
ammunition which was voluntarily withdrawn from public sale after
"gun control" groups seized upon the name's publicity value) which Keen
claimed would penetrate bullet-resistant vests and then "disintegrate"
into "lethal shrapnel" "hurled into vital organs" just like the non-
armor-piercing version.
   The initial story ran as a line or two in_Newsweek_magazine's
"Periscope" column the week of December 19th (written by Newsweek's
Peter Kotell), but the "Rhino" was first given national prominence in
a story written by Associated Press reporter Robert Dvorchak, which
was released on the AP wire the day after Christmas, when many
businesses and government agencies (like the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, and Firearms) would be closed, making fact-checking the
story and its sensationalistic claims difficult.  The Associated Press,
for its part, promoted the story to editors with a notation that it was
of special interest.  Bob Walker, a lobbyist for Handgun Control, Inc.
was quoted in the Dvorchak story, along with the alleged manufacturer,
who Dvorchak wrote "acknowledges taking calls from worried police".
Pro 'gun control' legislators like U.S. Rep. Charles Schumer (D - N.Y.)
and Sen. Daniel Moynihan (D - N.Y.) quickly proposed extending the
earlier "cop-killer bullet" ban (see 3.4) to include Keen's "Rhino"
ammunition.  National Rifle Association lobbyist Tanya Metaksa issued
a statement saying "This has all the trappings of a hoax.  What we have
is an outbreak of mob journalism centering on the dubious claims of
a would-be manufacturer."
   The claims could hardly have been_more_dubious to people familiar
with firearms and the science of ballistics.  Pre-fragmented ammunition
for handguns, such as the Glaser Safety Slug, has been available for
many years and is sold in part on the basis that it is less likely to
penetrate walls or ricochet from hard surfaces, lessening the danger
to people in adjoining rooms or apartments from discharge of a firearm
indoors, as in a home-defense situation.  This type of bullet typically
makes a large, shallow wound, since the fragments produced are each
a small fraction of the total bullet weight, and much of the inertia
and energy of the bullet is expended as the bullet fragments, (something
like Indy cars flinging parts everywhere, carrying away the energy of
hitting the wall) resulting in limited penetration.  Additionally, the
binder or matrix containing the fragments makes the bullet lighter,
and less dense, than if it was made of solid metal.  The effectiveness
of fragmenting ammunition in rapidly stopping an attacker is generally
considered to be less than for non-fragmenting ammunition, like
   The claims made for "Black Rhino" ammunition were even more
preposterous, since the very characteristics which make a bullet capable
of defeating soft body armor (that it be made of hard, non-deformable
metal, preferably pointed, and that it have as high a kinetic energy
as possible) are the exact opposite of the characteristics which would
allow it to fragment.  After Keen's inflated and sensationalistic claims
were demonstrated false in independent tests by ABC-TV's_Nightline,_and
it was revealed that Keen did not even have a license to manufacture
ammunition (or armor-piercing ammunition, which is a separate license)
as required by federal law, the company announced that it would not
be marketing "Black Rhinos" after all.  Signature Products, after
attempting to sell its manufacturing rights for $500,000 (with an
ad in_American Firearms Industry_magazine) is currently marketing
"Rhino Ammo" under the name "Razor Ammo".  That press reports about
the "Black Rhino" would be so blatantly inaccurate is not particularly
surprising, considering that Winchester's Black Talon (a hollowpoint
designed to expand on impact, so as not to overpenetrate) has itself
on occasion been misreported as an armor-piercing round.  While all
armor-piercing rounds are required by (somewhat melodramatic) federal
regulations to_be_black at the tip, not all "Black Bullets Of Death"
are armor-piercing.  (The Glaser Safety Slug, in its marketing savvy,
is tipped with blue plastic.)

3.5  "Cheap handguns, a.k.a. 'Saturday Nite Specials,' are the
weapons of choice for violent criminals."

See_Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime, and Violence in America,_
by James Wright, Peter Rossi and Kathleen Daly, Aldine de
Gruyter, ISBN 0-202-30303-9 (1983)

_The Armed Criminal in America: A Survey of Incarcerated Felons,_
by James Wright and Peter Rossi, U.S. Department of Justice,
National Institute of Justice, SuDoc# J 28.24/3: C.86 (1985)

_Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their
Firearms,_by James Wright and Peter Rossi, Aldine de Gruyter,
ISBN 0-202-30330-6 (1986)

also Kleck,_Point Blank_pp.83-94

LaPierre,_Guns, Crime and Freedom_p.58

In summary:  Unlike so-called "assault weapons," which are very rarely
used in crime (see 3.3), handguns are commonly used by armed criminals,
most often for their intimidation value, and due to the fact that they
are easily concealable.  However, the supposed preference of criminals
for inexpensive, low caliber, poor quality handguns (the guns which "gun
control" advocates term "Saturday Nite Specials") doesn't reflect the
realities of gun preference and use by serious career criminals.  Those
who make crime their livelihood are likely to prefer the same sorts of
guns as do legitimate users, guns which are accurate and well made,
although with the additional requirements that they be untraceable
(often meaning stolen), and easy to use and conceal.  Price doesn't seem
to be much of a factor when it's possible for a criminal either to steal
the weapon he wants, or buy a stolen gun on the street.  Guns are used
to some extent as a medium of exchange by criminals, and traded for
drugs, or sold to pay debts.  While semi-automatics have increased in
popularity among police, legitimate users, and criminals; revolvers and
shotguns are also well-represented among guns used in crime, according
to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.  The Smith and Wesson
.38 caliber revolver remains one of the most common handguns in general
use, and is also very commonly used by criminals armed with handguns.
It might be speculated that the shift by police from the .38 service
revolver to the 9mm semi-automatic pistol will result in increased
popularity of the 9mm among criminals, just as the popularity of the
9mm as a military sidearm, replacing the venerable Colt Government Model
1911A1 .45 caliber semi-automatic, has spurred increased interest by
police departments in the so-called "wonder nine".
   Small, inexpensive, low-caliber handguns, by contrast, are primarily
the weapons of those too poor to afford anything better, and bans of
these so-called "Saturday Nite Specials" disarm largely those honest
poor who typically face greater risk of being victimized by violent
crime than do more affluent people who can afford to live in better
neighborhoods, and homes or apartments with security alarms and armed
guards.  Further, restricting the availability of low caliber handguns,
or handguns in general, can result in criminals arming themselves with
heavier caliber, deadlier handguns or sawed-off rifles and shotguns.
In fact, this "weapons substitution" effect may have already occurred.
Since the importation of certain low-quality handguns (the original 
guns termed "Saturday Nite Specials" by "gun control" activists) 
was banned in the late 1960s, the guns favored by violent criminals,
and particularly those individuals involved in the violence associated
with the illegal drug trade, have been better-quality, more expensive
handguns.  These wealthy drug gangsters can obviously afford them.
It's unlikely that, given that the U.S. has extreme difficulty in
preventing the smuggling of_tons_of illegal drugs and_thousands_of
illegal immigrants each year, we would have any greater success in
preventing the smuggling of durable non-perishable goods like firearms
(or their illicit manufacture in the United States, for that matter)
in quantities sufficient to easily satisfy all criminal demand for them.
In the meantime, we would have deprived law-abiding citizens, and
particularly the most vulnerable among us, of any effective means to
resist criminal attack, with predictably tragic results.

3.6  "Plastic guns, which can slip through metal detectors..."

see Kleck,_Point Blank_p.82

_Inside the NRA: Armed And Dangerous,_by Jack Anderson, Dove Books,
ISBN 0-7871-0677-1 (1996), pp.49-50  [Anderson's book serves as a 
concise and convenient collection of nearly all the recent press 
clippings maligning gun owners and/or the NRA, as well as many of 
the anti-gun myths debunked in this FAQ, all cloaked in the mantle 
of objectivity and sympathy for the ordinary gun owner.]

Washington Post, Jan. 15, 1986, p.F14

In summary:  The Austrian-made Glock 17 pistol was the subject of a 
"gun control" scare originating in 1986 with Washington Post columnists 
Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta (with assistance from anti-gun activist 
Josh Sugarmann), because it was one of the first widely available 
handguns to have a polymer frame (or handle) which reduced the overall 
weight of the gun.  In his newspaper column (which, strangely enough, 
ran on the comics page) Anderson claimed that Libyan dictator Muammar 
Quadaffi was "in the process of buying more than 100 plastic handguns 
that would be difficult for airport security forces to detect" to use 
in anti-U.S. attacks.  Though Anderson's column made the claim that the 
Glock 17 was "made almost entirely of hardened plastic," in reality 
the Glock still contained over a pound of steel (in the barrel, slide,
magazine, and trigger mechanism), and is detectable both by metal 
detectors (due to the metallic content of the gun and any ammunition
it might contain) and security X-ray machines (due to its clearly
recognizable shape).  The column referred to these "plastic guns" as 
being the "hijacker special," paralleling the rhetoric used to ban the
so-called "Saturday Nite Specials".  "Gun control" advocates agitated 
for a law which would ban "plastic guns", a threat they claimed would 
defeat security measures at airports, prisons, and courtrooms.  No all-
plastic undetectable firearms existed at the time, and except for a 
fictional depiction in the 1993 Clint Eastwood movie "In The Line 
Of Fire" none exist today.  There is of course, an exemption in the 
Undetectable Firearms law for government agencies.  (Intelligence 
agencies like the CIA may have such exotic weapons, but won't publicly 
reveal the fact.)  The Glock, first made for the Austrian military, 
has since become a popular sidearm for police officers, who must carry 
a gun for long periods of time while on duty.
   Rather than exploring ways to upgrade security measures to deal with
possible future technological threats such as non-metallic firearms,
Congress banned their production in the United States and required that
all firearms sold and manufactured in the U.S. must meet an established
detectability standard.  The National Rifle Association helped draft the
law which was adopted, and fought to prevent the banning of detectable
firearms containing plastic parts, like the Glock.  The ban legislation,
aimed at a non-existent threat, can of course do nothing to prevent the
eventual development of non-metallic firearms in other countries, and
the subsequent acquisition of such weapons by terrorists.
   Curiously, the theme of plastic tends to recur in "gun control"
arguments, from "plastic" handguns, to "assault weapons" with black
plastic stocks, to "plastic cop-killer bullets" like the mythical
"Black Rhino" (which manages to combine two previous "gun control"
motifs, "plastic" and "cop-killer"!).  Some "gun control" supporters
also advocate bans on plastic toy guns, and "high capacity" squirt guns,
like the popular "Super Soaker".

3.6.a  "But how could you detect plastic guns?"

Harris, David A., "Superman's X-Ray Vision and the Fourth Amendment:
The New Gun Detection Technology,"_Temple University Law Review,_
v.69 n.1 pp.1-60.

"Contraband Detection System," U.S Patent #5,227,800
issued Jul. 13, 1993 to Millitech, Inc.

Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) website

In summary:  Ever-advancing computer processing power and the 
conversion of Cold War defense industries to other purposes have 
produced new technologies which improve upon the ability of x-ray 
machines and magnetometers to detect weapons.  The most intriguing 
of these technologies is called millimeter-wave imaging (MMWI),
which could give law enforcement officers the ability to see
through walls and clothing to detect the location of concealed
objects, including weapons.  MMWI uses a device similar to an
infrared camera to produce images of objects by detecting invisible
radiation given off in the region of the electromagnetic spectrum
between infrared and microwaves.  This radiation, called millimeter
waves due to its wavelength, includes the frequencies of 30 to
300 GHz, and can pass through many common materials.  A millimeter-
wave imager contains an array of microscopic antennas formed onto
a chip called an MMIC (for monolithic microwave integrated circuit).
Acting like film in a camera, or the CCD chip in an ordinary
camcorder, millimeter waves are focused onto the MMIC through
lenses, and the image produced by the detector can then be
displayed on a video screen.  Originally developed to enable
soldiers (and their computerized weapons systems) to see through
the dust and smoke of battle, and used by astronomers to see
through the clouds of galactic dust between the stars, similar
detectors are beginning to be used in collision avoidance radars
to enable truck drivers and other motorists to see through fog,
rain, and gloom of night.
   There are two types of millimeter-wave "radars" being proposed
as additions to the crime-fighting arsenal.  The "passive" version
simply images the natural millimeter-wave radiation produced by
warm objects like the human body, and uses the difference between
the millimeter-wave emissions of the body and the lower emissions 
transmitted by contraband or weapons, detecting the "darker" objects
that "eclipse" the radiation coming from the body.  Due to the 
effects of the atmosphere, passive MMWI is limited to a range of
3 meters (about 10 feet).  "Active" millimeter-wave imaging combines
a source of millimeter-wave energy with the detector, and works much
like radar, "illuminating" the area to be searched with millimeter
waves, and then imaging the reflected waves.  The active version
has a range of 30 meters (90 feet) or more, and could be used to
covertly "frisk" a crowd of people.  Though MMWI can see through
clothing, or other materials which transmit millimeter waves but
look opaque to visible light, the resolution is presently not high
enough to reveal intimate anatomical details.  Understandably, this
technology has raised Constitutional questions about the Fourth
Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.
Manufacturers of MMWI devices argue that they can be configured
to only display an image if suspicious objects are detected,
thus meeting the criteria for "reasonableness," much as the 
sensitive nose of a police dog can be used as pretext for a 
physical search.  However, police dogs don't have the ability to
search a crowd of people from 90 feet away.
   Objects which have a high moisture content are difficult for 
the MMWI to see through, since water absorbs microwave energy at
frequencies close to those used in MMWI.  (Indeed an ordinary 
microwave oven works by heating up the water molecules in food 
using frequencies about 12 times lower.)  MMWI "stealthy" materials
having similar dielectric constants to the body (such as a holster
containing circulating layers of warm water) might be able to 
conceal weapons from a passive MMWI scan, or even an active scan
at long range, if resolution is poor.  But other technologies could
detect even such MMWI "shielded" weapons, so long as the weapons
have a certain amount of metallic content.  (Certain items of 
contraband, such as illegal drugs, since they lack metallic content
entirely, will be able to slip by undetected if properly shielded.)
   Other weapon detection schemes are on the horizon which, while
they will not be able to detect non-metallic weapons like MMWI can,
will enhance existing abilities to detect metallic weapons.  One 
system being developed uses an electromagnetic pulse, called a
Heaviside pulse, which induces metal objects to emit characteristic
radio "signatures," and can (theoretically) be used from a distance.
Another system is designed to detect the deviations in the Earth's
magnetic field caused by the presence of metallic objects, and 
works like a walk-through metal detector, but can localize and 
to some extent "count" the number of possible weapons being carried
on a person. 


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