Inspired by the recent Supreme Court ruling affirming the individual rights interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, as well as Sal Ammoniac’s recent thread here.
Okay, one of the central pillars of the gun-control advocate’s position has basically been that, when it comes to regulation of firearms, anything goes; it’s a collective right and anything you get beyond that is at the sufferance of the state. This is simplified, of course, and there are nuances and shades of gray, but that’s the essence of at least the “hard liners.”
This pillar has been kicked right out from underneath them.
Yet, the SC has also ackonwledged that “reasonable restrictions” are Constitutional, without having touched upon what constitutes “reasonable.”
So, my challenge is this:
Let’s put our heads together, posit and postulate in good faith, and try to arrive at a concensus at what constitutes "reasonable."
Having been down this road more times that I care to remember, let me lay down, for the purposes of our discussion, a “Glossary of Terms,” so that we are all speaking (approximately) the same language, and that we are dealing in FACT (as opposed to hearsay, supposition, fantasy, or Hollywierd).
Arms: a firearm meant to be carried and employed by a single individual.
Ordnance: Heavy Gear. Military Hardware. If it explodes, it’s ordnance. If it has an “area effect” (mortars, artillery, chemicals), it’s ordnance. If it takes more than one person to operate (machineguns, tanks, artillery, aircraft carriers) it’s ordnance. If it has a “mass casualty effect” (grenades, mortars, artillery, chemicals, biologicals, nukes) it’s ordnance. If it’s “anti-material” (shoots down jets, blows up tanks, sinks ships) it’s ordnance.
**FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS DISCUSSION, WE WILL RESTRICT OUR COMMENTS/COMMENTARY TO ARMS, AND ONLY ARMS. :dubious:
ORDNANCE IS NOT PART OF THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. :mad:
CAPESCE? :dubious: **
Handgun: aka “pistol.” A firearm able to be held, aimed, and fired in one hand. May be fired two handed in something like a Weaver Stance or CAR for additional stability/control. Examples: M1911, Beretta 92F, Colt Pyton.
Semi-Automatic (or semiautomatic): an action type, found on handguns and long guns, in which by discharging the firearm, the next round in the firearm’s clip or magazine is automatically loaded, but not fired; the trigger must first be completely released before the firearm can once again be discharged. Examples: Colt M1911, AR-15, Ruger Mini-14.
Automatic: an action type, typically found on long guns (but on a few rare models of handguns, as well), in which by discharging the firearm, the next round in the firearm’s clip, magazine, or belt, is automatically loaded and then discharged as long as the trigger is depressed, and will continue to fire until the trigger is released, the ammo runs out, or a mechanical stoppage “jams” the weapon. Examples: M-60, G-3, UZI.
Submachine Gun: a very small, compact, automatic, long gun. They may be able to be fired as a handgun, but that’s typically only seen in Hollywood; professionals tend to encourage two-handed use. Submachineguns are differentiated from Carbines by the fact that they typically fire pistol ammunition. Example: UZI, MP-5.
Lever, Bolt, or Pump Actions: a class of firearms in which, after the firearm is discharged, some mechanical contrivance must be operated to extract and eject the spent round, chamber the next round, and recock the weapon. Examples:
Single Action, Double Action: typically used to describe handguns, both revolvers, and (though less common nowadays) semi-automatics.
Single Action: a firearm in which the firearm must first be manually cocked before the trigger is capable of discharging the firearm; until the firearm is cocked, pulling the trigger doesn’t do squat. On a semiautomatic handgun like the M1911 (see above), after the first round is discharged the action also recocks the firearm.
The “trigger pull” (the pressue the shooter exerts on the trigger to discharge the firearm) is typically very light on a single action once the firearm has been cocked, leading some to consider them “unsafe.”
Double Action: a firearm in which the act of squeezing the trigger will first cock the firearm and then discharge it.
The “trigger pull” is typically fairly heavy on at least the first round for double action firearms. Since revolvers don’t recock after being discharged like semiautomatics, all rounds have heavy “trigger pull;” semiautomatics tend to have significantly lighter “trigger pull” after the first round is discharged.
Firearm License: an official government document issued to a person, stating that they may legally possess firearms. It may differentiate by type, location, etc.
Firearm Registration: a government maintained list of people and their firearms, by type, location, address, etc.
Trigger Lock: a mechanical locking device, which fits inside the trigger guard, preventing a firearm from being discharged. Some newer model have trigger locks built into the frame of the firearm.
Mandatory Storgae: laws/regulations mandating where and how firearms must be stored. For example: “Unloaded, in a locked steel gun safe.”
Open Carry: carrying a firearm in a manner readily visible to any and all. Typically a handgun, in a hip holster. Not very common outside a few locales. Fairly common in rural areas during hunting season(s).
Concealed Carry: carrying a firearm, typically a handgun, in a manner not readily visible to one and all. Legal concealed carry, where it is allowed, is almost universally restricted to licensees. Licensing requirements vary widely by jurisdiction, to ridiculously easy to obscenely complex (bordering on impossible).
Shall Issue: a licensing standard in which the applicant is granted a license as long as all licensing requirements are satisfied. Licensing agents and agencies have little if any authority to deny a license as long as all licensing requirements are satisfied.
May Issue: a licensing standard in which the licensing agent or agency may, at their sole discretion, withhold, delay, or deny a license even if all licensing requirements are satisfied. The licensing agent or agency may or may not be required to disclose to the applicant the reason for delay or denial.
If you have a problem with this terminology, please preface your post with your comments/questions/concerns/disputations, as opposed to expostulating at length before saying, “Oh, yeah, by ‘X,’ I actually mean ‘Y’.”
Before laying out my views, let me state, to the best of my knowledge and recollection, the current “state of affairs” with regard to current gun control laws in the U.S. If I miss anything, other gun/law-savvy Dopers should by all means correct me or add to this.
Automatic firearms, submachineguns, and machineguns are already heavily regulated at the federal level in the U.S.; photo I.D., fingerprints, extensive background check and local LEO letter of recommendation are required. Some states may have additional requirements. Some states ban these weapons entirely.
All legally owned automatic firearms in the U.S. are Federally registered. This registry is “frozen.” No new firearms may be added; older, currently registered firearms may be removed. This has had the effect of making automatic firearms prohibitively expensive to legally purchase.
Legal owners of automatic firearms are subject to random inspections from federal agents.
Federal law mandates that semiautomatic weapons be designed and manufactured in such a way as to render their “actions” (the mechanical fiddlybits inside the firearm frame) virtually impossible to modify to automatic capability. Older weapons, grandfathered in before this law, have no such stipulation.
There are aftermarket, externally mounted trigger accessories which allow semiautomatics to function (to some varying degrees of success) as automatics. These skirt the previously listed mandate because these aftermarket gizmos and gadgets do not effect the “action.” IIRC, some states prohibit these trigger devices.
Forty-Eight states allow some form of concealed carry, although nine of these are “may issue,” and a few of those nine essentially prohibit it by the simple expedient of denying almost all applicants.
Some states have “reciprocity agreements” with other states, by which they acknowledge certain other state’s concealed carry licences.
Federal law protects firearm transport for legitimate sporting purposes through all jurisdictions. For example, let’s say a person obtains a hunting license for a distant state, and their travel route takes them through a “No Firearms Allowed” county or municipality, or a “License Required” state like New York. No state-level or lower LEO may detain or arrest our hunter for “Illegal Possession/Transport of a Firearm” while in transit.
Federal law prohibits handguns from being bought and sold by individuals across state lines; only licensed firearm dealers may do so.
Federal law requires, at a minimum, at a gun store, that a prospective firearm purchaser fill out and sign a BATF Form 4473, present a photo ID, and undergo a background check through NICS. Individual states may impose additional requirements.
Private sales between J. Average Citizen and J. Random Citizen have no such requirements, but it is still illegal (Federal, and quite often sate as well) to knowingly sell or otherwise transfer possession of a firearm to a person who is ineligible to possess a firearm.
So, let the discussion begin.