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There are 300 million guns in America, which is enough to arm everyone. About half of households are gun owners. That includes the house I grew up with. It includes some of my colleagues and friends. It includes right wingers and left wingers. They're good people and to them, guns are objects and they have as much a right to them as they do to any other object in their lives.
And, the good news about that is that I think those people can be reached with reasonable arguments like the one that Professor Cleveland makes about restoring the assault weapon ban. I'd go further and say that no civilian needs a pistol or rifle that holds more than between 6-9 rounds at a time. It's not a perfect solution to mass shootings. A six shot revolver, for example, can be reloaded quickly with "speed loaders," by a skilled gunman. But, most people aren't actually skilled. Handling guns well is actually difficult. So if you take away something like the ability to fire a hundred shots without reloading, you probably are making a difference.
No hunter or target shooter or hobbyist or home defender is going to claim that they need to fire 100 rounds without reloading. Unless your house is being robbed by a military organization or you're hunting robot Terminator deer it makes no sense.
So now, let's stop making sense. I've been reading all around the web today about how the second amendment is what protects the first amendment. They believe that the Founders intended an armed populace to keep the government in line. Of course, the second amendment doesn't say that. It says:
"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."
Another funny thing about this notion is that so many of these people who think that their guns will keep the government from stealing their rights, vote for the very same "law and order" Republicans who support granting extraordinary powers to the police, our intelligence agencies and the military. When they're not talking about jack booted thugs, they're supporting the PATRIOT ACT.