Friday, 19 April 2013

The Right to Bear Nukes

Since the American right-wing gun fetish that kills lots of kids is seldom out of the news, this bit of serious textual analysis will always be relevant. Well, unless there's an outbreak of sanity on the issue. I find constitutional arguments and legalistic malarkey somewhat tedious, but this one has a great payoff. American citizens may well be allowed, under their constitution, to own nuclear weapons. Fortunately the expert who penned this piece regards that as absurd. But...

Surely, we can come up with reasonable limits on the right to keep and bear arms. To impose these restrictions correctly and legitimately, we would need to enact a Twenty-Eighth Amendment that fleshes out the Second. Perhaps we could limit the right to keep and bear arms to those weapons with destructive power equivalent to the best heavy weapons of the late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Centuries. This would permit citizens to arm themselves, but not with weapons so capable of killing vast numbers of other people that the risk would outweigh the benefit. This framework might draw the outer boundary at, say, a mid-size howitzer, a backpack sized flamethrower, a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile, or an anti-tank mine. Such weapons are destructive, to be sure, yet still comparable to the power wielded by a militiaman of two hundred years ago, standing behind an artillery piece or on the bridge of a privateer’s ship, firing at a crowded enemy troop vessel. Therefore, these weapons should be suitable for private ownership.

So, in conclusion, every US citizen should be allowed to buy one of these, if s/he can afford it. I'm sure I can't imagine why the American right is a universal target of mockery.



(HT Primly Stable on Twitter)

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