"An armed republic submits less easily to the rule of one of its citizens than a republic armed by foreign forces. Rome and Sparta were for many centuries well armed and free. The Swiss are well armed and enjoy great freedom. Among other evils caused by being disarmed, it renders you contemptible. It is not reasonable to suppose that one who is armed will obey willingly one who is unarmed; or that any unarmed man will remain safe among armed servants." - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

Let the police shoot the outlaws. The police are more accountable than some mad Yank.

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 are not someone who has a special relationship with the police, such as a protected witness. Indeed, it is extremely unlikely that police officers will be able to arrive and save you from harm faster than an attacker can harm you. There are not, and there ought not to be, sufficient police to act as personal bodyguards for every citizen, twenty-four hours a day; any guarantee to that effect would be extremely expensive in terms of both wealth and liberty.

"...there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen. It is monstrous if the state fails to protect its residents against such predators but it does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or, we suppose, any other provision of the Constitution. The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: it tells the state to let people alone; it does not require the federal government or the state to provide services, even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order."

Bowers v. DeVito, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 686 F.2d 616 (1882)

"In a civilized society, every citizen at least tacitly relies upon the constable for protection from crime. Hence, more than general reliance is needed to require the police to act on behalf of a particular individual....Liability is established, therefore, if the police have specifically undertaken to protect a particular individual and the individual has specifically relied upon the undertaking....Absent a special relationship, therefore, the police may not be held liable for failure to protect a particular individual from harm caused by criminal conduct. A special relationship exists if the police employ an individual in aid of law enforcement, but does not exist merely because an individual requests, or a police officer promises to provide protection."

Morgan v. District of Columbia, 468 A.2d 1306 (D.C. App. 1983)

Pteryx: The common assertion that resistance against a tyrannical government by the use of privately owned small arms is impossible today given the destructive power of modern military weapons is false. Even despite the development of weapons capable of massive destruction, small arms are still sufficient to tip the balance in favor of survival and eventual victory, and when combined with the liberating communications technology that saturates the modern industrialized nations, they can be potent weapons. Coordination of forces, and careful choice of targets can result in the capture of heavier and deadlier weapons from the enemy, starting from the basic rifles and pistols of the infantryman, on up to artillery, tanks, helicopters, anti-tank and anti-aircraft rockets, missile systems, etc.

Both the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, and that of the United States in Vietnam also point to the difficulty in utilizing an armed force designed to fight a high-tech conventional adversary against a low-tech, elusive insurgency. The usual radio signals and heat signatures targeted by electronic warfare don't exist if the enemy is smuggling weapons through the countryside on horseback.

Psk: Firstly, as is shown in England and Australia, the registration and regulation of guns indicates precedence for the eventual push for a complete gun ban.

Automobiles must only be licensed for use upon public roads, and license is not required for the purchase of one car or of 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 United States Constitution, and the right of self-defense is fundamental and inalienable. 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 Vermont, which simply punishes misuse of guns, rather than restricting their lawful use. 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.

Guns 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 were involved in about 46,000 accidental deaths in 1990, and an additional 2,400 people decided to suck on an exhaust pipe to end their lives, for a total of some 48,400 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) deadly weapons do. And it isn't because guns aren't used a lot; United States gun owners go through about four billion rounds of ammunition a year. The fact is, most people use guns at least as responsibly as they use their automobiles, and the vast majority of gun owners 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.

Regarding the example of being towed, the towing occurs after a crime has been committed. It is a punishment for a crime that occurs after that crime has been committed, just as the sentence of a murderer is a punishment that occurs after the crime.

General Wesc: You say "The state governments can do whatever the hell they want as far as the U.S. Constitution is concerned." So you mean that a state can infringe your right to free speech, for instance? No, this is specifically prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment:

Amendment XIV
Section 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.

You state that some violation of the Constitution is in order. First of all, when does this violation end? When they take away guns? or maybe right after they take away that pesky "due process" thing. No! The Constitution was written so that it could be changed if changes were truly needed. That's a good thing. If something is of such great importance that it must be changed in the Constitution, then that change can occur, with Amendments.

Wyclef: You are incorrect in stating that the "'militia' has been defined by the [Supreme Court] in the land as today's National Guard.

In United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, the Supreme Court determined that "the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense."

10 U.S.C § 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.

Furthermore, if you would look in the dictionary, it defines the militia as "all able-bodied male citizens between 18 and 45 years old who are not already members of the regular armed forces: members of the National Guard and of the Reserves (of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, and Marine Corps) constitute the organized militia; all others, the unorganized militia" (Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition).

Regardless of any of this, in the late 18th century, when the Second Amendment was formulated, the militia was anyone of the nation that was capable of defending the nation. And regardless of that, there is no reason to believe that "the right of the people" means any different from the First Amendment or the Fourth Amendment, where it applies to the right of individual persons in the group as a whole. In addition, a decision by the Supreme Court does not change the actual true meaning of the Second Amendment, it just changes how it is enforced, or not enforced.

Psk: Nonlethal methods are not effective or as easy to use in stopping an attacker. They 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 the police. Even though the police carry chemical agents, they also carry firearms, since even the police sprays, such as FREEZE+P don't stop everybody, and aren't appropriate for every situation. If such nonlethal methods were as effective as you say, the police would also have no need for guns, especially considering that the police have available to them stronger nonlethal methods than do civilians.

Chemical sprays are most effective when they can reach the mucous membranes, such as when sprayed in the eyes or when inhaled. If an attacker is wearing glasses, holds their breath, is on drugs, or is just unusually impervious to pain, the spray may not be effective.

Stun guns available for civilian use require direct contact with the attacker's body, putting the victim in dangerously harm's way. Also, many civilian stun guns are underpowered and require several seconds of contact with the attacker in order to incapacitate. They may also have difficulty penetrating heavy clothing, such as winter coats. TASERs are not available for civilian use.

Both chemical sprays and stun guns are almost useless in stopping multiple attackers, whereas with sufficient practice, firearms can be very effective at stopping violent attack, even by multiple attackers. Unlike chemical sprays and stun guns, a gun, when fired, acts to alert possible aid, and is less likely to be ignored than a personal alarm. In addition, 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.

Psk: If someone is doing something that would warrant someone's use of a gun, the situation is already agitated. A criminal does not expect a normal citizen to use a gun against them. They would be surprised and might rather find easier prey, one with no self-defense, to attack.

With the appropriate training, a gun at such a distance can be accurate. And I do think that anyone that owns a gun should have training on how to safely and effectively use that gun. I also don't see how it would be more difficult to draw, aim, and accurately shoot a gun from 30 feet than it would be to draw your nonlethal weapon of choice, then run 30 feet into harm's way against a criminal that might be stronger than you and might have a gun.