Originally Posted by Agro
I had this same discussion (more like a yelling argument) with my girlfriend a couple months ago. She asked me the same thing about a "rocket launcher" (as she called it) and said "why not a grenade"? I felt very boxed in and instantly felt myself losing the strong spot I felt I had. I tried to work around the argument, but I was weakening. Just simply my lack of knowledge on things I suppose. She feels none of us should have the need for any firearm, especially my AR's and AK's. She thinks it excessive, borderline psychotic. she says the police are there to protect us.
Tell her about Castle Rock v Gonzales
, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the police do not have a Constitutional duty to protect a person from harm.
As for weapons such as bazookas, hand grenades, etc., the core of the 2nd Amendment is self-defense. Therefore, the government does not have a legitimate interest in banning weapons that can be used for self-defense but which, when used properly in a law-abiding manner, do not present a significant risk of loss of life to the public at large. Firearms are directed weapons. Grenades, bazookas, nuclear weapons, etc., are area effect weapons. The latter present substantial
risks to the public at large even when used properly. The former do not.
Even bullets which miss their target present a relatively low risk, as the overall probability that they will hit someone before hitting something that stops them is relatively low. Were this not the case, innocent bystanders would be injured by police fire and self-defense fire much
more often than they are.
is why the 2nd Amendment provides a much stronger protection of firearms than the other weaponry that is used by RKBA opponents in an effort to discredit the RKBA argument.
That said, I don't believe the more powerful weapons are necessarily entirely unprotected. It depends on the weapon and the danger to the public that would arise from accidents with them. Nuclear weapons are quite clearly off the table precisely because they would present such an extreme danger to the public in the event of an accident. The same is true of any explosive device with a blast radius of more than a couple of meters, or . But by that logic, grenades might be protected as regards ownership
, but not as regards carrying in public in a "ready for use in case of confrontation" configuration. Grenades are probably the kind of weapon that is on the dividing line in that respect.
But regardless, firearms are most certainly highly protected because of their effectiveness for self-defense combined with their rather low risk to the public when not misused (missing the bad guy does not count as "misuse" unless the miss was intentional, and certain intentional misses, such as warning shots, might not count either depending on how they're done).
The government does not have the legitimate power to ban firearms just because their misuse
presents some amount of danger to the public. Not only does the 2nd Amendment protect them from that action, but firearms play a much greater legitimate defensive role than they play an illegitimate offensive role, as evidenced by the sheer number of times they're used for self-defense in a given year (at the very least hundreds of thousands of times).
Otherwise, one could argue that the government has the legitimate power to ban automobiles simply because of the danger their misuse (accidental or otherwise) presents to the public.
Bottom line: ask if the government can legitimately ban automobiles. When the other side argues that it can't because automobiles have legitimate peaceful uses, you can say that firearms also
have legitimate peaceful uses (self-defense, target shooting, competitions, hunting, etc.). That the firearm is designed to kill is not relevant, for that fact is precisely
what makes them such effective tools for self-defense.
There would be a legitimate argument for banning firearms if there existed stun guns with the same defensive effectiveness, but we're not yet there technologically (and might never be), and until we are, firearms are off-limits to total bans, and no legitimate argument can be made for banning them outright. For the need for effective self-defense will not disappear if firearms do, and it is self-defense that underpins the right to keep and bear arms.
One last thing: the text of Heller
takes the "interest balancing approach" off the table as regards the deliberations of the courts. As the Heller decision said:
We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding "interest-balancing" approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government—even the Third Branch of Government—the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges' assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad.