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Let’s have a discussion about the Second Amendment

This post was written by Richard Schrade, an attorney from Georgia and member of the Libertarian National Committee, and gun rights proponent.

This current meme being circulated by those that even seek to think about the real reasons for the Second Amendment is that no matter how well armed the populace that a tyrannical repressive government will always have superior firepower.  That being the case, so goes this meme, there is no reason to allow assault weapons, high capacity magazines etc. in private hands.  That argument is welcomed so far as it is intellectually honest in recognizing that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the citizenry from the government and has little to do with hunting.  However, the argument is fundamentally flawed.

If revolution ever visits this country again, the central government will be better armed and better organized (as it was in 1775); the early participants in the revolution will represent less than 50% of the citizens (as in 1775); and the ultimate fate of the revolution will rise and fall on the tenacity of the revolutionaries (as with nearly every revolution in western history).

Revolutions are necessarily asymmetrical.  The government always (nearly always) has the upper hand in financing, organization and manpower.  Often the revolution will be loosely organized – sometimes for ideological reasons (St. Petersburg in February 1917) and sometimes for reasons of safety (Chechnya 1990s).  Sometimes the revolution seeks to throw off a colonial ruler (Vietnam 1950s), sometimes a tyrannical government (France 1789).

Attempt to Ban “Bullet Button” in California

Written by Brandon Combs, Director of the Calguns Foundation (@CalgunsFdn), and posted with permission.

In a press release issued by his office on Tuesday, California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) announced that he has introduced a new piece of legislation, SB 47, modeled after a bill he introduced last year [SB 249] but that was held by the State Assembly. The bill prohibited semi-automatic weapons like AR-15s and AK-47s from having devices known as bullet buttons and mag magnets….SB 47 will also prohibit add-on kits that allow high-capacity magazines.”

The text of the bill as it stands today is simply: “It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation relating to assault weapons.”

We’re not yet sure what “add-on kits” will defined as in SB 47 - the bill is currently a “spot bill” - but we are betting that Yee chief of staff Adam Keigwin will find some way to make a mess of the bill like he did last round.  Sen. Yee’s SB 249 gun ban attempt, which stalled in the Appropriations Committee after significant efforts by the STOP SB 249 campaign (a project of CGF and dealer association) as well as groups like NSSF, would have forced gun owners to reconfigure their firearms as “featureless builds” and use detachable magazines (including lawfully-possessed large capacity magazines) or dispose of the firearms before the bill would have taken effect.  If you haven’t seen the SB 249 YouTube videos by Wes Morris of Ten Percent Firearms and Jeff M of PRK Arms, be sure to check them out.

A Moment of Silence

Charlie Harper is editor of Peach Pundit, Georgia’s most-read political blog, and a columist at The Courier Herald. This has been reposted with permission.

I attended Sunday’s Falcons game at the Georgia Dome.  In addition to the usual presentation of our nation’s flag and the singing of The National Anthem, there was a moment of silence.  In days gone by, it would have been a public prayer.  Instead, we were instructed to be quiet for a moment of reflection on the lives lost last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut.  It was brief, but lasted long enough to make me wonder if we didn’t need a longer one, not just at football games, but across the whole country.

I became consciously aware of the shooting just after 1:00 pm Friday, not from the breathless news reports, but while reading Twitter and Facebook.  I made the decision not to turn on the television right away.  Unfortunately, this has become too familiar that I knew what to expect by doing that.  There would be pictures and stories of unimaginable tragedy, told with incomplete and often incorrect information for the first few hours.  I decided I could actually postpone reality for a bit, though I pieced together enough thoughts to post a request for “prayers for Connecticut” on my blog at Peach Pundit.

Then I checked out for a couple of hours.  It was time for a moment of silence.

Facebook and Twitter are now the rapid response sites for citizen-based commentary during all events.  When observing initial reactions there is a one general rule of thumb: You will lose faith in humanity reading knee-jerk responses and political solutions from instant experts while first responders are still trying to treat the wounded and remove bodies.

Land-use policy needs to rely on markets

Michael Hamilton is a libertarian writer living in Washington, D.C. His main interests are economics, drug legalization, immigration, and land-use policy.

“The plans differ; the planners are all alike.” — Frédéric Bastiat

It’s common to hear libertarians pejoratively referred to as “Republicans who smoke pot,” the idea being that libertarians don’t really favor freedom in areas where it would lead to outcomes they do not like. For the most part this is false. There is one policy area, however, where this is an accurate criticism: land-use policy. On this issue, the dominant libertarian narrative does not live up to its name.

The narrative, to put it briefly, is that most Americans prefer detached, single-family homes, and zoning laws reflect this for the most part. Save for eliminating certain regulations aimed at curbing sprawl that make homes expensive such as open space rules or growth boundaries, it says  policymakers should avoid making major changes to traditional zoning laws lest we fall into the hands of the “planners” and have to live under “smart growth” policies. The narrative associates suburbs, homeownership, and cars with mobility and better living. Libertarians main goals, so it goes, should be relatively inexpensive (or at least not “artificially expensive”) single-family homes and decent traffic. Note that libertarians who support traditional zoning do not consider themselves planners

This narrative is not only wrong, but distinctly unlibertarian. Before I attack it, two small concessions:

First, smart growth is something that libertarians should oppose for both philosophical and utilitarian reasons.

FDA Wants To Roll the Cigar Industry

Jeff Edgens is a member of the Executive Committee for the Libertarian Party of Georgia and a member of the Cigar Rights of America.  He lives in Statesboro, Georgia.

Cigars have a family tree that can be traced back like that of a pencil. I,Pencil - the classic article written by Leonard Reed describes how a pencil is made.  In his essay, Reed chronicles the business transactions seen and unseen in the manfuacture of a pencil. He distinguishes between the invisible hand of the marketplace that brings willing buyers and sellers together from that of the planned economy foisted on to the marketplace by a regulatory agency.

I, Pencil reminds us that no single person has the knowledge to make a pencil and the same holds true for making a cigar.  Both are made by a myriad of individual business transactions that cooperate and bring to bear their respective talents toward a final product.

In this case, besides rolling the cigar there are all of the steps that come before the final product reaches the hands of the customer.  There are those who provide the raw materials to build the tools used to harvest the tobacco.  There are those who harvest the leaf, those who ship it, those who buy the leaf, those who roll it, those who market it, and those who sale the final product.  Other steps are unseen and those are the ones that take place long before a cigar ever reaches the marketplace. There are entirely too many transactions for one person or an agency of people to know how to direct or control.

Pandering to Idiots: How Obama Flip-Flops

Jorge Gonzalez is a motion designer and political activist living and working in Midtown Atlanta. In his free time, he enjoys filming, photography, and reading.

I recently had a discussion with a close friend of mine who is a very “progressive” guy. He’s the type that buys into all the horror stories about Republicans and libertarians. You know, we don’t care about the poor or women’s rights or worker’s rights and we’re cruel, intolerant etc etc. He started off the conversation by claiming “Romney panders to stupid people. Obama does not…Obama doesn’t bend his beliefs to fit an uneducated and sensationalistic base.” If you didn’t fall out of your chair just now at the sheer stupidity and myopia of a statement like that, then I ask you to read on, dear Reader, because what follows may be of interest to you.

Let’s be honest about guns

Second Amendment

This post was written by Richard Schrade, an attorney from Georgia and member of the Libertarian National Committee, and gun rights proponent.

The problem with all of the Second Amendment discussion is that very few people are willing to address this issue directly and accurately. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the right to and ability to conduct an armed revol…ution. The Second Amendment was to protect the ability of the people to violently overthrow the government.

Even if one agrees with the “Militia limitation” on the Second Amendment, the Militias to which the Amendment refers were State Militias which would have been used to fight the federal government.

When viewed in this light, it is apparent that a limitation on automatic weapons would be an infrigment on the purposes of the Second Amendment. If we want to have an honest discussion about the issue of gun control, then let’s frame the discussion correctly, “Should the people have the right to keep and bear arms that could be used to violently overthrown the central government”.

Let’s remember that this country was formed in a violent revolution. Let’s remember that at Lexington and Concord citizen fired on and killed government solidiers sent by the central government to confiscate their weapons and arms.

If we are going to have gun control then let’s not dicker around the fringes. Let those who would limit the law-abiding citizen’s access to arms first repeal the Second Amendment. That would be the intellectually honest way to address the issue.

Drone Nation: Interesting Facts About Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Charles Sipe is Executive Editor of Criminal Justice Degree Schools where he manages news coverage of the latest topics in the criminal justice field. He is also a graduate of University of Washington and US Army basic training.

A groundswell of opposition and concern has risen regarding the growing military use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to attack suspected terrorists overseas which has included American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki last fall. The idea of faceless killer machines flying overhead is no longer a figment of science fiction. Earlier this year, Congress approved the use of drones in U.S. airspace that could lead to the widespread proliferation of drones above U.S. soil. The following infographic provides some important facts that you should know about military drones.

Infographic by Criminal Justice Degree Schools

“Act of Valor”: A Libertarian’s Review

Jorge Gonzalez is a motion designer and political activist living and working in Midtown Atlanta. In his free time, he enjoys filming, photography, and reading. **Please note, this post contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to hear all about it, then stop here and read it after you’ve seen it. If you don’t care about spoilers, then by all means, read on.**

I’ve seen Act of Valor twice now. It’s a visually stunning movie, it is —unlike what the critics seem to suggest— a moving story, and has raised some important questions for me about valor, honor, war and how I should understand it given my worldview.

First, I was amazed at the realness of the movie. From the actor’s cadence to the weapons, the tactics to the sound engineering, the movie is frighteningly real. The action scenes were relentless. The sound of the M4’s (the assault rifle used by the SEALS) was spot on. I’ve never watched a movie where the M4 sounded as it actually does when fired. Not to mention, the Soviet weapons used in the movie were also very real sounding. That may seem like a minor detail but to me, I’ll never forget the sound of an AK or the sound an RPG makes when it’s passing by. Nor will I ever forget the sound an M4 makes, especially when fired repeatedly. That sound does stick with you and this movie brought back some memories.

Rick Santorum and JFK

Peter Mains is a blogger, political activist and technology consultant living and working in the Phoenix metro area. In his free time, he enjoys writing music, reading voraciously, and trying exotic food.

Rick Santorum’s comments to George Stephanopoulos about John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Houston Ministerial Association are making the rounds. Apparently, the speech so unnerved Rick, that he wanted to throw up. He thinks you should be just as offended as he is, In the interview, Santorum encouraged people to look the speech up and decide for themselves. Having followed Santorum’s suggestion, I couldn’t disagree more.

The worst part is, I want to root for Rick Santorum. Recent revelations paint Kennedy as something of a moral monster. In contrast, Rick Santorum seems like a good family man. When it comes to religious matters, one might think that Santorum would come out on top. Nevertheless, JFK wipes the floor with Santorum — even from beyond the grave.

The one point where I am ambivalent in regard to Kennedy’s speech is his insistence that government not give any funding to religious institutions whatsoever. Bush’s faith-based initiatives and various voucher programs show that public funds can be redirected to religious institutions without creating a de facto established church or violating freedom of religious exercise. Nevertheless, such issues could be completely avoided if we were to reform education, healthcare and so on such that government gets out of those businesses altogether.

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