Author Archives: CigarPundit

The Post-Orlando Gun Control Debate


The mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida has prompted yet more debate on gun control.  The usual suspects on the left are calling for bans on the AR-15 (which was not used in the Pulse shooting) and other semi-automatic weapons wrongly dubbed “assault weapons,” bans of standard capacity 30-round magazines, more background checks (though the Pulse shooter passed them) and all manner of other restrictions.

A couple of fundamental principles often get pushed aside in these discussions, when in fact, they should be the guideposts that define the discussion.

First, it is critical to any discussion involving the regulation of gun rights to recognize that we are talking about a Constitutionally protected civil right, and one which stems from the fundamental human right of self-defense.  The right to keep and bear arms was not bestowed upon us by the government, any more than were the rights to free speech, freedom of association, or the free exercise of religion.  Rather these are inherent human rights that the Constitution (and specifically, the Bill of Rights) prohibit the government from infringing.  Although the right is not unlimited, regulation of it should be subjected to the strictest scrutiny.

Second, freedom is not free.  A free and open society in which people are citizens with individual liberty rather than subjects of the State carries with it a number of risks that we willingly tolerate as a price we pay for freedom.  The right to keep and bear arms is certainly one such risk.  It has resulted in a country that has hundreds of millions of firearms in circulation.  There are so many guns in this country that attempting to purge them from our society—even if it were Constitutionally permissible and desirable from a policy standpoint (which it isn’t)—would be virtually impossible.  Thus, we must recognize that attempts to limit access by law abiding citizens to firearms will have little impact on the bad guys, who will always be able to get them anyway; and this includes magazine fed semi-automatic rifles and carbines like the AR-15.

There are many other examples of the tolerance of risk as a price of freedom.  The fourth, fifth, and eighth amendments all operate to increase the likelihood that bad guys, including violent criminals and deranged Muslim jihadists, will escape detection, prosecution, and conviction for their crimes.  But these are very important rights that we should not be willing to give up based largely upon emotional reactions to highly publicized, but statistically insignificant, events.  “Those who give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety,  deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Third, the second amendment is not there merely to ensure that we can hunt or engage in sporting activities.  It is there to ensure the right to self-defense and the preservation of a free state.  That’s right, I said it.  We have the right to bear arms so that we can kill people, if necessary, in the defense of our persons, our family, our country and our liberty.  It is absolutely a check on domestic government power, as well as on foreign powers who must contemplate the difficulty of occupying a country with “a rifle behind every blade of grass.”  These are good things.  An armed populace is incredibly difficult to control without the consent of the governed.

That said, the notion that we should outlaw magazine fed semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, or standard capacity 30 round magazines for such weapons, is anathema to the purpose of the second amendment.  Such weapons are needed by civilians precisely because they are effective, efficient tools that present a credible option in a firefight.  The bad guys have these weapons, and no new law is going to change this fact.  The government has even better, select fire versions of them.  If, as a civilian, my right to keep and bear arms does not include magazine fed semi-automatic weapons, then the right is largely an empty one, because I will be in no position to effectively defend myself, my family, my country, and my liberty as contemplated by the second amendment.  Even a modern revolver or bolt action rifle is no match against a magazine fed semi-automatic weapon in a firefight, much less a single shot long rifle, which was the military “assault rifle” design of choice when the second amendment was adopted.

It’s worth noting that the second amendment clearly extended to the long rifle and other military weapons in use in the eighteenth century.  From an historical perspective, it is fallacy to suggest that the second amendment does not extend to military firearms, including “assault rifles.”  Although the subsequent bans on importation (1968 Gun Control Act) and manufacture for civilian use (Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986) of automatic and other types of military firearms has never been Constitutionally tested in the Supreme Court, there is a very good argument that ownership of modern military automatic and select fire assault rifles is protected under the second amendment.

In any event, under the Heller and McDonald decisions, the Supreme Court has declared that the second amendment extends, at a minimum, to firearms in common civilian use.  Civilians have been using magazine fed semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, along with standard capacity (30 round) and high capacity (100 round) detachable magazines for many decades.  The AR-15 itself is one of the most widespread and popular rifles owned and used by civilians in the United States.  Thus, attempts to ban the AR-15, or modern magazine fed semi-automatic rifles in general, is clearly unconstitutional under existing precedent.  So ought to be attempts to ban standard capacity magazines for these weapons.

Moreover, even if such bans were politically feasible and Constitutional, they would be bad policy.  Rendering hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of legally acquired and owned firearms and/or magazines illegal with the stroke of a pen (as cities like Los Angeles have done, and the State of California is currently considering) is wrong.  Leaving aside whether such a ban would be an impermissible ex post facto law, it would only be effective to take these weapons out of the hands of law abiding citizens.  The bad guys will never have a problem finding a semi-automatic rifle, or a 30 round magazine.  There are just way too many of them out there.

I’d rather eliminate gun free zones and encourage people to carry.  If Pulse hadn’t been a gun free zone, and 10 or 20 people had been carrying pistols, I’m betting the death toll would have been substantially diminished.  These assholes always target gun free zones because they are cowards and they know that they can maximize the carnage if their victims are unarmed.  You don’t see too many mass shootings at gun shows, NRA conventions, shooting ranges, or gun stores.

My Trump theory: Obama built that.


My Trump theory: Obama built that.

For eight long years, average, non-elite, working Americans have suffered through anemic economic growth, a massive expansion of an increasingly politicized regulatory state, a massive expansion of the welfare/entitlement state, a massive expansion of the national debt, and a relentless attack on traditional values. They have been bullied and belittled from the Bully Pulpit. They are told they are stupid, racist, and out of step with the times.

For eight years the Administration neglected and mismanaged the core functions of government (national security, international affairs, command of our troops abroad, the domestic economy, protecting personal and economic liberty, rule of law, etc.). Instead, the Administration has focused on the expansion of domestic government power for its own sake and in areas where it doesn’t belong. The Obama Administration has attacked individual civil rights like free speech, religious liberty, and the second amendment; attacked free markets like the Internet; attacked small business; and solidified political power through venal (but effective) class and identity politics.

Those of us who just want government to stay out of our lives and stop quashing our economic opportunity have been unrepresented for a long time. We watch from the sidelines as our money and rights are redistributed to corporations and the ultra rich through regulatory capture and crony capitalism, and to special interest minority groups through programs, welfare, public employee union deals, and legal favoritism.

We feel like we are getting screwed by an arrogant, elite ruling class that uses us and turns us against each other to preserve their own power and privilege. The Republicans who we have elected over the last 16 years seem no better than the Democrats. In fact, they seem worse in a sense because they get elected by paying lip service to smaller government and conservative principles, but are every bit as guilty of big government excess and service to entrenched special interests as the Democrats.

We want to blow it up. All of it. We want to set a bull loose in the china shop. We want someone who we perceive to be genuinely outside of it and therefore free of original political sin.

That’s why I think Trump is winning. It doesn’t matter that he is uneducated in matters of domestic and international policy. It doesn’t matter that many things he says are out of step with core conservative political principles. It doesn’t matter that he seems ignorant of fundamental economic and philosophical principles that we hold dear. History has proven that those who talk a good game in these matters betray us upon entering office anyway.

This is what happens when an arrogant left wing ideologue is allowed to occupy the Oval Office for eight long years. Obama has been the most destructive president in America’s history in my opinion. He wanted to transform America. He vehemently hates American imperialism and wanted to weaken her ability to exercise international power. He wanted to irreparably damage the opposition party, and thereby disrupt the ability of contrary ideologies from taking hold and gaining political traction.

Mission accomplished.

I hope you have stocked up on Confederate battle flags…


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Nazi gear though, no problem!  Hell, it’s even available with free 2-day shipping on Prime.

Nazi Armband Nazi Flag iPhone Case Nazi Necklace

But putting this aside, it is really quite concerning that an item like the confederate flag, which is both historically significant and symbolic of a certain point of view, should be taken out of circulation in commerce in the name of political correctness. Orwell’s 1984 comes immediately to mind.

There was a time in this country when grown-ups wore big-boy pants and could handle controversial topics of conversation, offensive viewpoints, and the existence of historical facts without needing or wanting to be shielded from such things by the government or anybody else.

Suck it up, pansies.