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The Ultimate Takedown of All Gun Arguments


The purpose of this page is to inform people about the second amendment and provide historical, legal, and scientific information to take down various gun arguments. There are a lot of people who are either naive on a topic or are woefully ignorant. People who argue various “pro-gun” stances aren’t any different. The same can apply to various “gun safety” advocated.

However, the “pro-gun” group of people is very vocal in their arguments (ie loud) but that doesn’t mean they are right. Indeed, gun owners make some of the worst historians.

Frankly, this author is sick of hearing the same bullshit spewed out across the internet and it’s time there is a page dedicated to taking apart that bullshit.


Why should you believe me? Well, I am somewhat of an amateur historian. I’ve published a book that required in-depth research. I know how to read and correctly interpret historical information, follow sources around and conduct original research. I have a master’s degree in political science so I know how to evaluate scientific studies for accuracy. I know how to pick apart arguments and find logical fallacies and inconsistencies. I am also a gun owner who owns multiple firearms and who enjoys shooting them so I am familiar with the gun terminology.

Original Purpose of the Second Amendment

The purpose was to protect the people’s individual right to have a gun as a part of the militia, and to secure this right at the federal level by making it a constitutionally protected right. It was never about being able to constitutionally have a gun as a mere individual unconnected to the militia.

Indeed, this is because in Article I, Section 8 of the Consitution (which pro-gun folks ignore) the states transferred to Congress the power “to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel Invasions” and “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia.”

This was one of the most radical features of the original Constitution; under the Articles of Confederation, states had complete control of their militias. Opponents of ratification suggested that the new federal government might proceed to disarm and dissolve the state militias and create instead a national standing army. 

The Second Amendment most clearly addresses that concern; and that has led a number of historians to suggest that the Amendment really has no relation to any personal right of individuals to “keep and bear arms.

This is because there wasn’t an individual right to own a gun. In fact, owning guns outside of the militia all fell under common law not constitutional law.

Being in the militia was seen as a civic duty. The state govt told you to get a gun and you had to keep it and maintain it and store it. It’s similar to the Swiss militia model of participatory democracy. The founders (especially in Federalist 46) trusted the people with the guns because the roots of support for democracy originate locally and local people control who is in charge of the militia. Local militias can suppress rebellions from below and tyranny from above.

Additionally, after being required to billet Redcoats in their own homes, many didn’t want, and the broke government was unable able to pay for, a standing army. So they set up the militia system where citizens would be required to buy their own guns and accouterments, be trained by the states, and be called up as necessary by the Federal government. It was to protect the US from enemies outside of the US or to go to war to gain territory. The Founders didn’t imagine they would not answer the call, but the New York militia refused in the War of 1812. When you read the history of the Civil War you read of the individual states’ units that were called up.

The legacy of that system is the National Guard. The Militia Act of 1903 started the federalization of the system, which eventually led to acts in 1916 where the Fed paid the expenses, and in 1933 all National Guardsmen have been members of both their State National Guard (or militia) and the National Guard of the United States.

Early Firearm Legislation and Control

Firearms and Weapon Legislation up to the 20th Century

Colonial Firearm Regulation



Arms and The Man: What did the Right to Keep Arms Mean in the Early Republic?

Gun Regulation, the Police Power, and the Right to Keep Arms in Early America: The Legal Context of the Second Amendment

A Well Regulated Right: Early American Origins of Gun Control

Ohio 1933 Gun Law required permitting and bonding of certain semi-automatic firearms. See also my Google Doc article on overthrowing the govt is not a right here.

Taxes in Early pre and Colonial America: Includes references to gunpowder.

The Second Amendment and Firearms Regulation: A Venerable Tradition Regulating Liberty While Securing Public Safety

Five types of gun laws the Founding Fathers loved

Counting Guns in Early America

Grammar and the Second Amendment Meanings

Comma in the Second Amendment

Clauses in the Second Amendment

Guns and Grammar: Commas and the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment in Context: The Case of the Vanishing Predicate

Argument: Universal Background Checks Would Require Registration

We already have an indirect method of registration. If the Govt wanted to it could track purchases via bank transactions and serial numbers by issuing subpoenas to banks. It could then deduce, using AI and cross-referencing various data tables that you bought a firearm. The data exists as does a way to track purchases. It’s really only a matter of time before we end up with de facto registration.

It could also be a corporation that decides to correlate all this data and sell “firearm data as a service” to the govt or other interested parties.

Additionally, this argument implies Registration of firearms is a bad idea because it leads to confiscation/tyranny. This isn’t inherently true any more than car registration leads to confiscation/tyranny.

Argument: Permitting and Registration is Unconstitutional and/or leads to Tyranny

This argument evolves naturally into Godwin’s Law. There’s nothing inherent about permitting and gun registration that will lead to tyranny. Other western countries have strong permitting processes and yet aren’t controlled by a dictator.

Some will argue that it’s unconstitutional. That’s not inherently true. Permits and gun registration existed at the founding. What were Militia Muster rolls but a list of who owns what guns in what condition? Permits did exist for certain types of people like blacks but any such racial permitting would probably be struck down by the Supreme Court. However, the concept of permitting did exist at the founding.


Muster Rolls showing who owned what guns

Argument: Owning Guns Prevents Tyranny and Preserves Freedom

It doesn’t. In fact, just the opposite. Having too many guns can threaten a free state.

Additionally, this argument misunderstands how free countries (ie democratic ones) slide into dictatorships. It’s never “one event”, it’s a continuous slide and erosion of norms and constitutional guardrails either by choice or accident. It’s a slow burn that you never really see until it already happens.

We can look at one example, in the US when 110,000 Japanese (along with a comparative handful of Italians and Germans) were put into camps. Gun ownership was around at the time yet this group didn’t resist the clear tyrannical actions.

Also, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are heavily armed countries yet nobody would say there’s a lot of freedom there. Comparatively, Israel sees the same arms rate as Iran yet again nobody would say Iran is the pinnacle of freedom. Israel has an individual civilian rate of around 7% with 1 out of 19 owning a gun as a private individual. Iran has the same rate of 7% of civilians owning private guns.

Sources: and and

Tunisia which has one of the lowest individual arms rates in the World launched a pro-democracy revolution.

If owning guns stops tyranny, why did the US put down Shay’s Rebellion, The Whiskey Rebellion, Fries Rebellion, Nat Turner’s Rebellion (technical the state of VA did), John Browns Raid, fight the Civil War, and put down the Jan 6th Coup attempt? Why not just let these people do what they want to do and overthrow the govt (federal or state)? Maybe because you don’t get to decide when “tyranny” happens and this country has a process to sort out political differences? Indeed, the fact that they were not permitted speaks volumes.

In addition, the founder’s definition of Tyranny is different than our modern conceptions of it (which brings to mind Hitler or Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot, etc.). They were worried about Tyranny being forced upon the United States from abroad, as well as a Government naturally evolving into Tyranny, and a “Tyranny of the Majority”. You can have “mob rule” (which is something the founders were worried about as they looked at the excesses of the French Revolution) and create Tyranny that makes citizens scared or hesitant to act in public life. “Tyranny of the Majority” is a concept the founders were well aware of.

Lastly, while having guns is argued by Madison in Federalist 46 as a “…a barrier against the enterprizes of ambition [tyranny]…”, he goes on to explain that it is this as well as “… the existence of subordinate governments to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed…”

Conceptually for Madison, citizens would be armed but this arming is attached to the state/local governments (those subordinate governments) and have citizen-appointed Militia officers.

He goes on to say if people in other countries “…were to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will, and direct the national force; and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned”.

The full Federalist 46 quotes can be found here.

Even Hamilton in Federalist 29 argued that Militias would be a check on Tyranny not random citizens because the militia is controlled by the state, who in our Federal system acts as a check on the National government.

This all brings us back to having a militia controlled locally as a bulwark against tyranny. Pro-gun folks like to mention the first part (the guns) without the rest (locally controlled and subordinate).

That’s not how the 2a works anymore. In fact, in the 1790s the founders quickly found out how useless this concept of a citizen Militia is at a national level when they all broke and ran during St Clair’s defeat.

So the concept that guns somehow support freedom and prevent tyranny is just a philosophical feel-good statement rather than something grounded in objective reality. It’s bullshit.


Argument: Owning Guns Preserves Natural Right to Overthrow Govt

This is true, of course, but also perfectly irrelevant. The US revolutionaries undoubtedly asserted their right as a matter of natural law to overthrow a tyrannical government. But that is completely different from the claim that the American Constitution itself — our binding positive law — guarantees a right to overthrow the American government. Our Constitution does not even guarantee the right to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience to press reform, as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis learned from the inside of many a jail cell. Much less does the Constitution guarantee the right to engage in violent civil disobedience to revolt.

If the American government were to engage in true tyranny — like slaughtering and oppressing the population —, then yes we the people would undoubtedly have a right to recite our grievances, proclaim our cause to the world, cut the ties that bind and engage in the kind of revolutionary struggle, with firearms, that the American colonists did. Indeed, at that point, it’s not like gun control laws are going to stop a revolutionary army, people are going to get the arms they need. So it’s kinda moot to argue.

Moreover, it would be meaningless and silly to argue that it is the Constitution that granted us the right to do all that.

As the historian, Garry Wills long ago explained: “A people can overthrow a government it considers unjust. But it is absurd to think that it does so by virtue of that unjust government’s own authority. The appeal to heaven is an appeal away from the earthly authority of the moment, not to that authority.”


Argument: What Law would Prevent it?

This argument doesn’t understand the purpose of laws. No law is going to stop every event. Laws can help reduce the severity, intensity, and duration of an event. Japan with super strict gun control laws has about 20 deaths a year.

To take a parallel event, the US used to have an obscenely high car death rate. We studied it and then implemented various policies such as having plastic construction barrels instead of metal, adding in guardrails, mandating car safety requirements like seat belts, and ensuring the roads don’t bank too high that would cause a car to flip. We still have car deaths but compared with historic highs they are really low.

Yes, gun violence is a multifaceted issue in this country so it’s going to take a variety of approaches to deal with it including new rules and restrictions on who can own what types of firearms.

Additionally, we know domestic abusers have a strong association with firearms. The strong association between firearms, domestic violence (particularly intimate partner homicide), and additional victimization suggests that prioritization of measures to decrease access to firearms to perpetrators of domestic violence may also reduce the incidence of mass shootings

Argument: We should enforce the laws we have!

There is a number, 20,000 that is thrown around by folks who want to imply that we have enough gun laws and we need to enforce them. However, there is no way to know for sure how many gun laws we actually have much less agree on what counts as a “gun law”. It’s a meaningless made-up statistic used to support this argument.

If you also ask folks to drill down to what this looks like, they remain silent because they cannot explain how this works. If a person commits a mass shooting they break multiple laws and if they survive they are arrested and in nearly all cases found guilty and to go prison. That’s doing exactly what the argument says we should do.

In reality, folks use this argument to try to shut debate over “crime control” and prevent further restrictive gun laws that would attempt to control access to weapons before someone commits a criminal act.


Argument: Slippery Slope!

The Slippery Slope Argument: If everything is a slippery slope, then nothing is. Specifically, just because we ban semi-auto rifles (or take any other actions) doesn’t also mean we confiscate them.

It’s like saying “I won’t take my car to get repaired because I worry they may also find I need an oil change”

What this is really about is an “… imagined peril of a multicultural majority running the show. Many countries that do more to protect their citizens against gun violence are more, not less, free than we are. According to the libertarian Cato Institute, 16 countries enjoy a higher level of overall freedom than the United States, and most of them ban or severely restrict ownership of assault weapons. The freedom to have your head blown off in an Applebee’s, to flee in terror from the bang of a backfiring engine, might not be freedom at all.”


Argument: Only a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun

It’s always striking that the NRA stance and those who subscribe to various pro-gun arguments revolve around the need to buy more guns. As in making gun manufacturers richer or ginning up support for various gun services (like concealed carry permits and training). I’m not inherently against either of these but…I do find it curious.

So this argument, it carries the implication that I need a gun (ie buy one) to stop a bad guy. It also paints human nature in black and white when the reality is we’re all capable at any time to be both a good guy and a bad guy. It’s literally the duality of man. Sometimes good guys go bad either knowingly or unknowingly (like a Dr. Jekyle and Mr. Hyde scenario).

Sometimes good guys don’t actively intervene in an event and instead turn and run out of fear. Other times having multiple people with guns muddies who is really the bad guy or good guy.

It’s a bullshit argument that seems to carry with it the curious notion that we should all buy guns. Weird huh?

Argument: If we ban guns people will find some other way to hurt and kill

True. Great Britain suffers from knife crime because guns are hard to get. However, the goal is to reduce the duration, intensity, and frequency of an event. America has over 40,000 gun deaths a year so if we ban the selling and manufacturing of semi-autos and require those who have semi-autos to do XYZ things (or else they can sell them to the govt at a market rate) gun deaths would go down.

Would something else like Knife-Crime go up? Probably but if knife crime results in less fear of being in public and in the aggregate have fewer deaths when compared to guns it’s a success.

Argument: The Battle of Athens Proves We Need Guns to Stop Tyranny

This is based on an incident in 1946 in Athens, TN where returning GIs stopped a corrupt election from happening. However, what modern gun supporters are doing is shoehorning our modern gun politics onto a historical event. Firstly, the veterans taking part have a completely different sense of being armed. According to a July 13th, 1996 article:

Retired school principal Harold Powers, 70, who was shot in the face during the gunfight, says he and his comrades at the time had “a completely different point of view” from today’s gun enthusiasts.

“I’m a believer in people being able to have arms,” Mr. Powers says, “but I don’t believe that this type of thing should happen very often in this country.”

Secondly, this is a single event happening at a specific time which is very much unique in US History. To try to stretch and read more into it is just trying to score political points.

Thirdly, the “guns” didn’t do the job. Sure they had some arms from a National Guard Armory but it was really the organizing power of the GIs and their skills that actually won the day. It’s likely the same event would have happened if they didn’t have access to a handful of pistols and rifles. The guns just made the event more economical, easier, and more efficient.

Lastly, you’ll note it was an organized event, not some random citizen deciding but a community-organized action, which is the essence of the 2A…letting well-regulated communities arm themselves for public defense.


Argument: Guns Needed To Stop KKK

Argument: Battle of Blair Mt. Proves We Need Guns to Stop Corrupt Corporations

The Battle of Mount Blair was a 3-day long battle between unionized Coal Miners and their corporations. It took place in 1921. It was ended when the Federal Gov’t stepped in and the coal miners, many of whom were WW1 veterans didn’t want to fire on other WW1 veterans and soldiers. It’s often seen as a continuation of other labor conflicts arising out of post-Civil War industrialization.

This event is similar to the Battle of Athens, as described above. Pro-gun folks are just shoe-horning modern politics onto a historical event to score points as “evidence”.

It’s a localized event that would’ve likely happened in some fashion. Guns just made it more efficient and deadly. Indeed, people have a natural right to self-defense.

Lastly, again here, you’ll note it was organized miners who fought back not random people with guns. But members of the community, known to all, who took part in it. Many of them were WW1 veterans who were previously trained in firearms. This harkens back to the original intent of the 2A to let local militias be free to organize and do militia duty.

Argument: If the Jews were armed there wouldn’t have been a Holocaust.

Jews were less than 1% of Germany and didn’t have high gun ownership, to begin with. Even if they had guns the Red Army lost 7 million men fighting Nazi Germany and the Germans crushed the Warsaw uprising. So to pretend that somehow the Holocaust could be prevented is just absurd.

It attempts to take modern gun politics and place it over a historic event in a completely different county.

It also assumes that owning guns somehow prevents Tyranny.

It’s bullshit.


On Gun Registration the NRA Adolf Hitler and Nazi Gun Laws

Argument: Hitler Took the guns

He didn’t. He actually expanded it for his preferred group of people and worked to reduce what little the rest had.


On Gun Registration the NRA Adolf Hitler and Nazi Gun Laws

Argument: Well-Regulated meant just well-trained and disciplined.

It went well beyond just being well-trained and disciplined. It meant every essence of the word.

Argument: Red Flag Laws are Unconstitutional

These rest on two premises that they don’t provide due process before you lose your right to own a gun and that any gun restriction is unconstitutional (an absolutist statement that isn’t supported either by the Supreme Court or history).

You can argue that maybe the nuances of the state’s red flag law don’t provide enough but you go in front of a judge and plead your case. It’s like getting a restraining order against someone, only this time it’s about your property. Restraining orders inherently infringe on your right to travel freely but as a society, we say that’s OK.

Additionally, liberty is limited when there is evidence of a threat. For example, felons are barred from owning a gun.


Argument: An Armed Society is a Polite Society

The assumption here is that if everyone is armed, there’s some kind of detente among the populace. That’s not what happens if everyone is armed.

It also implies that humans are rational and that we would avoid conflict when faced with possible death. That’s a poor understanding of how humans actually work. There are plenty of people who are irrational and unable to control their emotions and reach for a gun to use when other methods of expressing anger or frustration are way more appropriate.

It also threatens to turn everyday social misunderstandings into a fight to the death by needlessly escalating them.

Argument: Polling Questions as a result show false support for Universal Background Checks

Some will argue that majorities of gun owners don’t actually support Universal Background Checks (UBS) or other actions because the wording of poll questions isn’t clear. UBS has a high of 70% in some studies.

This is of course, false. Various studies have found that large majorities of gun owners support UBS as well as other actions. It’s clear from the actual questions which are listed in the study they are clear.


Public Support for Gun Violence Prevention Policies Among Gun Owners and Non–Gun Owners in 2017

Gallup Polling on guns

Majorities of gun and non-gun owners support restrictions:

See also the image below which shows the wording.

Argument: More Guns Means Less Crime

In fact, just the opposite happens

More guns = more violent crime: Rand Corp found limited evidence that CC = more violent crime

More guns = more crime

More guns = more accidents

The data and argument comes from John Lott who is a massive fraud and none of his work is peer reviewed, infact he is barred from submitted academic work because of how egregious it is. He basically ignored data sets that didn’t fit the outcome he wanted.

He also argued that the US has fewer mass shootings compared to the rest of the world. He wrote a study in response to a real peer-reviewed study of mass shootings here. After Lott pitched a fit about not releasing his data set (which he did btw) another academic,  Lankford ended up finding out that his data used two different definitions for mass shootings depending on whether they were in the US (a more strict one) or the Rest Of The World (much less strict) in order to make the data set he wanted. Not the first time he has done this.

After Lankford went through the data and corrected the definitions so that they match regardless of the location of the shooting, he found that as long you were consistent with your criteria the USA has more mass shootings than anyone else by an insane margin.


Shooting Down the Gun Lobby’s Favorite “Academic”: A Lott of Lies

Argument: Defensive Gun Use (DGUs)

Many pro-gun arguments say guns are used for protection at least 2.5M times a year. Inherent in this argument is a utilitarian position that since the “good” of guns outweighs the “bad” we ought to keep guns readily accessible with few restrictions…because they “save” more lives than they “take”.

First of all, where did the figure come from? This figure came from Dr. Gary Kleck, a Criminologist at Florida State University. This was from his study in 1994, the “National Self-Defence Survey”. I’ll give 3 counters to the claim.

Counter 1; The Method

Dr. Gary Kleck (Who I’ll just refer to as “Kleck” for the remainder of this post) telephoned 5000 random US Households in 48 states. And then interviewed them about their DGU experiences and that of other members of their households. They excluded occupational uses with guns (For example; if a Police Officer had used a gun in self-defense whilst on-duty, it was discarded). They then extrapolated these results to the rest of the US Population.

What’s the issue with this method?
Well, of the tens of millions of US Households, 5000 is not a large enough sample group.
In addition, it was simply a telephone interview. To my knowledge, they never made an attempt to verify the validity of any of these instances. Therefore, there is a real possibility that people lied, and considering a sample group of 5000 households, even if 1% of households (50) lied, that’ll massively impact the results once scaled up.
The number of US Households in 1995 was 98 million. [sources: Statista and Infoplease].

Therefore, we can reasonably presume, that if even 1% of households lied in the original 5000, that means (When extrapolated), 980,000 households lied. And considering Kleck claims 2.5m DGUs per year, if even 50% of those households who lied falsely claimed they had defensively used a firearm, that’s still 490,000 households who falsely claimed they had defensively used a firearm. Already slashing the 2.5m figure down by nearly 1 fifth.

Another issue is a simple fact well, the questions are open to interpretation. What one person may interpret as Defensive Gun Use, another might interpret as Aggressive Gun Use.

This is shown in the results;
– In 46.8% of instances, the defender was neither threatened or attacked.
– 5.5% of instances, the defender was both attacked and injured
– 51.9% of instances, the offender was unarmed.
If in 52% of instances the offender was unarmed, was it truly defensive gun use?
If in 47% of instances, the defender was neither threatened or attacked, was it truly defensive gun use?

Further proof of this below;
When asked Defender’s Perceived Likelihood that Someone Would Have Died Had Gun Not Been Used for Protection, results were:
– 20.8% = “Almost certainly not”
– 19.3% = “Probably not”
– 15.7% = “Almost certainly would have”

In instances of a shooting;
Did offender shoot at defender?
– 4.5% of all incidents
– 26.2% of all incidents where offender had a gun

What the Defender did with the gun;
– Brandished or showed gun in 75.7% of instances
– Verbally referred to gun in 57.6%
– Pointed gun at offender in 49.8%
– Fired gun (Including warning shots) in 23.9%
– Fired gun at offender, trying to shooting the offender in 15.6%
– Wounded or killed offender in 8.3%

Counter 2; Not been repeated in 30 years
Quite simply, the original study was conducted in 1994 and published in 1995. And has not been repeated since.

Counter 3; CDC no longer supports these statistics
Previously, the CDC had posted the 2.5m DGU statistic. It should now be said, the CDC no longer posts this statistic, instead (in relation to Defensive gun use) it simple says;
“Estimates of defensive gun use vary depending on the questions asked, populations studied, timeframe, and other factors related to study design. Given the wide variability in estimates, additional research is necessary to understand defensive gun use prevalence, frequency, circumstances, and outcomes.”

This highlights the fact this study is no longer accepted as fact.

What is a better source for DGUs?
Use the National Crime Victimization Survey, which places the figure of DGUs at closer to 65,000 (see sources below). However, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), the annual amount of DGU incidents is less than 2,000. Very far below the inflated claims of survey estimates. And depending on how you slice the NCVS data DGUs might only be 14k. Indeed, according to a May 2020 report, the Violence Policy Center says between 2013-2017 the nation had 1,272 justifiable homicides.

Now, of course, a common rebuttal to this is to say that DGUs often go unreported, which is certainly a possibility, though it is difficult to quantify exactly how significant the underreporting is, frankly I would find it absurd that anyone could argue that 2.5 million DGUs happen annually when less than 2000 actual confirmed cases of DGUs are actually discovered annually. This would suggest that only 0.08% of DGU cases show up in reports or in the news, which is an unbelievably low rate.

Not to mention that the 2.5 million number, as reported from survey data from Kleck and Gertz, is actually mathematically impossible given current crime data. The idea of there being 2.5 million annual DGUs, according to the Kleck survey data from where the number came from, would require that gun owners use their guns in self-defense in more than 100% of burglaries, which is just straight-up impossible. Another funny quirk of surveys that estimate 1 million+ DGUs is that they estimate that the number of rapes in which a woman defended herself with a firearm is more than the total number of rapes

In sum, DGUs are notoriously hard to quantify. They rely mostly on self-reporting surveys and it’s hard to operationalize the meanings of “defensive”, “gun”, and “use”. There’s an argument of folks needing guns for self-defense which I am sympathetic. However, that doesn’t also mean we reduce training requirements or permit ease of access just because someone maybe at some point needs a gun.

One final note is that using a gun as a defensive measure wasn’t beneficial when compared to other actions. According to the study, 38.5% of sdgu (self-defense gun use) victims lost property, and 34.9% of victims who used a weapon other than a gun lost property. Also, after any protective action, 4.2% of victims were injured; after sdgu, 4.1% of victims were injured. These numbers don’t bolster the case that using a gun to protect yourself or your property gives you any greater advantage. Obviously, this study relies on data from one data set and we’ll have to see how it holds-up.

Other Sources:

A Call for a Truce in the DGU War. Smith, Tom. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. Vol 87, Issue 4 Summer. 1997. – A somewhat dated article but it points out that trying to figure out how many DGUs happen is hard. | This study cites 65k DGU but it’s 30 years old and was retracted; the only place you can find it is in the archival library with other research that isn’t useable.

Rand Corp study

Argument: Veterans Should be guarding schools

I’m not opposed to this provided they are trained and prepared as some type of “School Guardian”. However, who pays for this? How does this get implemented across the 100,000+ schools in the US? People say this and have no idea how to actually implement this.

More to the point, it’s just a band-aid and doesn’t actually solve the underlying issues.

Additionally, see the “we should arm teachers” argument below as inherent in using vets to guard schools assumes it acts as a deterrent. When that most likely isn’t the case.

Argument: We should arm teachers

Not opposed but it’s not a solution to the problem. This argument is built on the idea that the shooter would be deterred from entering as the shooter values his/her life so much that they don’t enter. That’s, in most cases, the exact opposite of what happens. The shooter is in so much pain that they want to hurt as many as possible before they die by cop. In addition, these people are wearing armor so it’s unlikely an armed teacher is going to make any difference from a motivated individual clad in protective gear.

Argument: The NRA is a Civil Rights Organization

Well since the Heller case established an individual right to own a gun, this is an agreeable argument. However, it assumes all Civil Rights are somehow good for society to have. That’s not inherently the case. It also assumes that the Heller decision was correctly decided (it wasn’t).

Note that the ACLU also supports the second amendment but only under a specific interpretation (not the individual rights one that Scalia made up).

Furthermore, just because something is a civil right doesn’t also mean it’s limitless. Reasonable restrictions can be placed on the ownership of firearms. Even Scalia in the Heller case agreed.


DC vs. Heller Brief 

US vs. Miller

Dicta in Heller Case

Argument: Mandatory Gun Ownership Kennesaw, GA

The law was never enforced and was never really mandatory as it had huge carve-outs. It’s also impossible to determine the impacts of said law on the small town as data collection for the variables needed during the time didn’t exist. So it’s unclear if the law had any impact on anything.

It’s just something tossed around to make people feel good about guns.

Sources: which quotes the sheriff at the time along with an NYT article.

Hunting and the Second Amendment


Controlling Slaves and the Second Amendment

Hidden History of the Second Amendment: Controlling Slaves

DC vs. Heller Brief 

US vs. Miller

Dicta in Heller Case

The Supreme Court’s Thirty-Five Other Gun Cases: What the Supreme Court Has Said About the Second Amendment. Kopel, David. Saint Louis University Public Law Review, vol 18 No 1 Gun Control, Article 8. 1999

Public Safety and the Right to Bear Arms

Public Safety and the Right to Bear Arms

Guns And the Right to Self Defense

The Second Amendment and the Constitutional Right to Self-Defense

Right-to-Carry Laws

The Second Amendment and the Personal Right to Arms.


The Right to Carry Firearms Outside of the Home- A History

Do Right‐To‐Carry Laws Deter Violent Crime?

Two Guns, Four Guns, Six Guns, More Guns: Does Arming the Public Reduce Crime?

Arms and the Man: What Did the Right to “Keep” Arms Mean in the Early Republic?

My article on Permitless Carry here

Firearm Regionalism and Public Carry: Placing Southern Antebellum Case Law in Context

Buying a Gun In Another Country

Steps to buying a gun in other countries

Cincinnati Revolt

The Cincinnati Revolt which changed the NRA

Chicago and Baltimore Gun Violence

Impact of Illegal Guns on Violence in Chicago

Second Amendment History

The Armed Citizen In the Early Republic

To Keep and Bear Arms in the Early Republic

Tench Coxe and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms 1787 to 1823


Scrutinizing the Second Amendment


The History and Politics of Second Amendment Scholarship: A Primer

The Persistence of Resistance: Civic Rights, Natural Rights, and Property Rights in the Historical Debate over “The Right of the People To Keep and Bear Arms”

The Second Amendment: A Missing Transatlantic Context for the Historical Meaning of the right of the people to keep and bear arms

The Militia and the Second Amendment

The Militia and the Right to Arms, or, How the Second Amendment Fell Silent 

Book review of the above:

Of Arms and the Militia: Gun Regulation by Defifining “Ordinary Military Equipment” by Curtis, Edward. Touro Law Review. Vol 37, No. 3. 2021 – Argues that the state could define “ordinary military equipment” the militia uses to exclude semi-auto guns.

Selling Guns on Facebook

People sell guns on Facebook and use creative means to get around censors. See:

Banning Firearms Reduces Murder and Suicide


Summary of Select Firearm Violence Prevention Strategies

Argument: Madison in Federalist 46

Some gun folks who make mention of the federalist papers such as Federalist 46. In it, Madison says we need militias “…officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence … the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.”

Madison is saying that unregulated vigilantes with unregulated weapons are a threat to us. The point is that the 2A, nowhere, refers to people outside a regulated group with officers appointed by a government subordinate to the affections and confidence of the citizens in the community raising the militia. This is further supported in other areas of the Consitution whereby the militia is the one group who has guns in Article 1, Section 8 clauses 15 and 16.

In both the Federalist paper and the constitution, Madison tells you that the regulations are necessary for the security of a free State.

Hamilton has a different hot take in Federalist 29. As do Samuel Bryan and Luther Martin in the Anti-Federalist Papers.

What can be done?

Well, we know what works.

Waiting periods reduce death:

Vars, Robinson, Edwards, and Nesson

Luca, Malhotra, and Poliquin

Eliminating Stand Your Ground laws reduce death:

Cheng and Hoekstra

Webster, Crifasi, and Vernick

Humphreys, Gasparrini, and Wiebe

Child Access Prevention Laws are effective at reducing death:

Schnitzer, Dykstra, Trigylidas, and Lichenstein

Webster et al.

Gun Accidents can be prevented with gun control:

Webster and Starnes

RAND Analysis

Stronger Concealed Carry Standards are Linked to Lower Gun Homicide Rates:

Donohue, et al.

Xuan, et al.

Background checks that use federal, state, local, and military data are effective:

Sen and Panjamapirom

Siegel et al.

Rudolph, Stuart, Vernick, and Webster

Suicide rates are decreased by risk-based firearm seizure laws:

Kivisto et al.

Mandated training programs are effective:

Crifasi, Pollack, and Webster

Rudolph et al.

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Does Hydroxychloroquine Work?

So what is really going on with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)? There are lots of conflicting studies pointing to one conclusion or the other. It is worth reviewing how the sausage is made. The gold standard is a randomized double-blind study with a large N, where participants are randomly put into two groups. One is given a placebo and another is given the treatment. Measurements are taken and effects are observed. Various things are controlled for like age and gender.

If the treatment is better than chance it is considered effective. Though effects can be weak, moderate, or strong. Ideally, strong is what you want meaning it is much, much, much greater than chance. Then the results are published and hopefully replicated. When all that happens we can say the treatment is better than chance and start using it.

This is considered to be the best kind of study design. 

Then there is the issue of measurement. How do you measure the HCQ effect? Do you ask patients how they feel? Do you count the number of breaths they can do on their own? Do you look at fatalities? Time spent in the hospital? Something else?

Besides measurement, you need to have a large N, or population. 10 people won’t cut it but 10,000 might. 

There are variables to consider such as the type of population (old people vs. young as an example), the degree of COVID (mild, moderate, strong), the dosage amount, how many doses, where they are along with the disease (the start vs the end), and what else you add with HCQ such as AZ. There might also be variables that we don’t know about. 

Lastly, HCQ has anti-viral, anti-inflammation, and anti-thrombotic properties. It is hard to tease out what about HCQ is helpful.

The NIH and WHO studies were stopped because the data in their design showed the drug to be ineffective. That doesn’t mean HCQ works or doesn’t work only it didn’t with their design. Other studies were stopped because HCQ was causing cardiac issues which makes sense because the kinds of people who end up in a hospital for COVID are older and/or have underlying health issues which are exacerbated with an HCQ treatment. 

It is probably likely that HCQ has some kind of benefit but under what circumstance and for who exactly is not known.

However, it is infuriating that scientists will often make loud proclamations about what works or doesn’t, rather than letting the evidence decide and the peer review process plays out.

Let’s use one as an example. Harvey Risch published an opinion piece in a July 2020 Newsweek titled: The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It. In it, he argues that he should be using Hydroxychloroquine.

However, the argument has major flaws outlined below. Just because a Yale Dr publishes an opinion piece in Newsweek does not mean it is free of bad arguments.

1. The opinion piece cherry-picks studies. I mean I could cherry-pick all the negative studies which show it doesn’t work. Indeed, one of the studies he alludes to from Gautret et al 2020 could be fraudulent. Some data used in that study appears to not exist.

Dahly et al. 2020 in their preprint article called: Statistical review of Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial (link to pdf) provide an extensive and exhaustive review of Gautret et al 2020.

2. The studies he cites do not use the gold standard, ie: Studies that are double-blind randomized ones. He even mentions this in his own study.

3. He is arguing that the drug works only at the start of the disease but if it strongly inhibits coronavirus replication, there’s no reason that it couldn’t be effective both in the middle/end of the disease and at the start.

4. The author fails to point out the alternative rival hypotheses that caused the Swiss deaths to revert. It is sad to see a Dr. fail to understand correlation is not causation.

This article: Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19: Evidence can’t seem to kill it is a good rebuttal of that Newsweek Opinion piece and goes into more detail of those four points.

For further review of HCQ studies see

For papers that have been retracted, see:

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Political Ideologies and Constitutional Doctrines

Opinion Articles:

Edmund Burke:

David Brooks:

Non-delegation doctrine:

The non-delegation doctrine is essentially the idea that Congress should make all the administrative laws rather than just the legal laws. So instead of relying on a government agency to carry out the law, Congress would tell the govt agency exactly how to carry out the law.

This non-delegation doctrine is bunk. Congress has been delegating powers of governance since its founding: There is no historical evidence to support the idea. More to the point, this idea of non-delegation arose at the same time as the administrative/welfare state.

So it is less a constitutional theory and more a reaction by ideologues for things they disagree with.

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What’s Up With Rural America and Ideas to Fix It

Since the 2016 there has been an increased focus on the geographic divide: Urban vs Rural. While this divide is omnipresent throughout US History and occasionally bubbles to the top (anyone remember the clarion call of Raise Less Corn and More Hell?). The election of 2016 is one of these times. Rural America clearly is hurting and the 2016 election was a cry for help.

This will be a page to hold some resources, articles, pieces, and books about the urban rural divide and how to fix / policy solutions.

Escape Velocity: How Elite Communities are pulling away in the 21st century race for jobs, businesses, and human capital – pdf document that outlines how certain cities are outpacing the left-behind areas.

Tim Vilsack’s Reconnecting with With Rural America Article

The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker – book on how Scott Walker rose to power in WI.

Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town – book on how Wall Street Ruined one Ohio town.

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic – book on how opioids have wrecked large parts of America particularly in the heartland/rural sections.

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right – book on how rural America feels left out.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis – book viewed through the struggles of America’s white working class and growing up in a poor rest belt town.

Paul Krugman’s hot take on how to reverse rural America’s decline.

Monica Potts op-ed on what the fight over a rural library says about Rural America. Basically, some communities and the families that make it up retreat inward (“take care of my own”) rather than working together to invest. This seems to dovetail with thesis about a decline in social trust.

David Brook’s piece on what Rural America can offer the rest of us.

Sarah Smarsh op piece that highlights an interesting trend of folks returning home to rural areas.

The Brooking Institution’s Piece on how the road to economic revival in the Heartland runs through older industrial cities

The Brooking Institution’s economic analysis on the heartland: Saving the Heartland – Place based politics in 21st Century America

The Greater Ohio Policy Center’s analysis on mid-sized Ohio cities and how they are doing: From Akron To Zanesville

A policy analysis by the Democratic party on how they can better serve the heartland: Hope from the Heartland

The Joint Economic Committee Democrats economic analysis on rural America: Investing in Rural America – Bringing Progress and Opportunity

Wonder why America is Polarized? This book called: Hidden Tribes – A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape can help you to understand.

Rural America in Decline – an info news piece by the New York Times that charts the population decline.

Rural America is Saving itself – a brief review of rural assets (like social capital) and how if combined well can work to arrest decline in rural communities.

Alienated America – basically an updated thesis of Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone. Large parts of America have lost the social capital that can make a community happy and prosperous. For many it the was result of economic changes like “the factory closed” which has cascading effects like the diner where the community used to meet closing. The lack of social capital makes it difficult to develop relationships and build “little platoons” and accumulate power be it economic, social or political. It increases instability, deaths of despair, and broken families. Indeed, for many parts of America the dream is dead. For the Trump voter they come from places like this. This contrasts with other parts of America that are dynamic. They have strong community and local institutions that enhance the social capital.

The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism – book on how localities (both small and large) can leverage assets to solve local problems, locally using a variety of local methods. Thomas Friedman wrote about this in his coverage of Lancaster, PA in Where American Politics Can Still Work: From the Bottom Up

Rural, Urban and Suburban commonalities: It is a lot more than you might think.

Balance of Payments – Rural America as Recipients of a disproportional amount of federal dollars. A study done by the Rockafeller Institute For Government.

How to Win Rural Votes: Anti-trust

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John Stossel Lesson Plans and Worksheets

John Stossel Lesson Plans and Worksheets

John Stossel Lesson Plans and Worksheets

I would often use John Stossel Lesson Plans and Worksheets in my government class as he highlights different aspects of government and highlights what the role of the government in society and economy should or should not be. These came as videos on a DVD but now can be found in YouTube or his site below.

You can find and order his videos off his website here:

I’ve also included some of his video guides below.

John Stossel Teacher Guide 2012

John Stossel Tacher Guide 2011

John Stossel Teacher Guide 2009

John Stossel Teacher Guide 2008

John Stossel Teacher Guide 2007

John Stossel Teacher Guide Best of

One of my favorite videos was Greed. Particularly, when discussing the role of the economy.

John Stossel Greed Lesson Plan

The video comes in 6 parts below. I’ve added it as a playlist on YouTube

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Second Great Decoupling: Separating Students from Schools

Second Great Decoupling: Separating Students from Schools

The purpose of this article is to briefly describe education policy within a historical narrative

Decouple: to cause to become separated, disconnected, or divergent; uncouple.

The first Great Decoupling occurred around the turn of the last century when students were separated from their immediate community and as some argue their family. The origin of which were contained in the kernel of the Industrial Revolution and brought to froth in the post-Civil War business climate. Those original one-room school houses of an agrarian 1830s/1840s past were combined with adjacent and localized school communities in order to achieve maximum efficiency. Indeed, at one point in the US we had over 200,000 school districts (although some were a one-room, one school, school district)! Currently, we have about 15,000 school districts.

This first Great Decoupling was important and necessary as it prepared students to work in a factory setting. The preparation was so realistic it even included a bell which would ultimately mimic the changing of the factory shift. Students would be taught in an assembly-line fashion , expected to conform to rules, not question authority, and above all “produce” for a nascent superpower.  This first Great Decoupling worked very well. It brought the US an increased standard-of-living, introduced waves of immigrants to democratic ideals, fought a Great Depression, won two World Wars, and brought down the Evil Empire.

However, by the mid-1970s cracks begin to appear. The Oil Embargo, cheaper airline travel, cable TV, the opening of China (predicated upon Mao’s death) and other foreign markets begun erode US factory dominance in two ways. Indeed, the movie the Deer Hunter (1977) opens-up with a nondescript yet in-decline Pennsylvania steel town.

  1. The factors helped charge-up globalization which put new competitive pressures on US manufacturing which they were unable to cope. After all, the world is the market NOT just the US.
  2. The new technologies helped people connect with each other from around the globe. This helped established improve relations, particularly those of in an business/economic sense.

In fact, US education had eroded so far in about 10 years that by 1983 the seminal report, A Nation At Risk was produced that identified:

declines in educational performance are in large part the result of disturbing inadequacies in the way the educational process itself is often conducted

The American Education system worked well for over 100 years until with in a 10-year time frame it no longer worked! The educational model that made the US a Superpower no longer fit!

Following the report, policies were put into place that sought “boost” educational achievement by mandating a rigorous testing regime. Various states experimented with “test till your blessed” programs that sought correct the “sins” of an educational model through high-stakes standardized testing policies. The various state programs become crystallized under the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which federally mandated a testing program for all schools receiving government funds

Since NCLB, high-stakes testing regime as taken hold across all states (although some are beginning to reject it). These “test till your blessed” programs will not work because the model they are grafted to is broken. Elected leaders are touting a treatment for a symptom rather than a cure for a disease.

Nevertheless, a cure is not elusive!

Since the Great Recession there has been a trend towards the Second Great Decoupling. The second Great Decoupling relies on the technological advancement and investment in the 1990s which brought high-speed/wireless internet access to large swaths of America and the investments made by millennials in mobile internet via smartphones. Additionally, the Great Recession has placed financial difficulty on states, which have often turned to axing education budgets (education is often the state’s most costly service) in order to achieve a balanced state budget (without raising taxes, of course). School districts have responded in-kind by NOT hiring teachers (which increases class sizes) and NOT increasing pay/benefits (which drives potential candidates away) all the while continually to decree that pre-recession goals still be achieved, mandates met, and budgets maintained. It is truly a feat that in-spite of all odds, American teachers have stepped-up to the plate and delivered.

In the end though, the herculean efforts of American teachers can only do so much against the ruthlessness of economic efficiency and maximization, and perhaps that is for the best. Nothing gets a paradigm shift like a financial crisis.  The second Great Decoupling will result in students being separated from their schools. After staff, capital or “operations”  (such as buildings and buses and the money spent to maintain them) is the second largest expense for most districts. Districts under such economic pressure may decide to sell off school real-estate and in return provide lower-taxes (or at least a slow-down on tax increases) and guarantee online educational access via subsidies for internet access and/or district supplied computers.  One could envision a lively insurance market to insure district computers (loaned out to students) against fraud, theft, and breakage.

In the second Great Decoupling students will be part of a virtual district in a virtual school in a virtual classroom. Teachers may be hired “at-will” with one-year contracts without benefits (mimicking those who are already part of the “freelance” economy) which may result in a further decline of the teacher profession. In such a model, districts may elect to “outsource” teaching to global teacher-temp agencies which may provided better quality services at a lower price. Students may find themselves with a math teacher from Kazakhstan, an English teacher from China, and a history teacher from Peru. One may find American Teachers leaving the US to teacher enclaves/communities in foreign countries with low-standards of living in order to continue to practice their “profession”.

Such a model may result in a win for the students as they experience a truly globalized education, a win for the district as they can provided cheaper services at better quality, and a win for educators who for once may actual be paid what they are worth (though, they may have to leave the country).

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Salmonella in my Oregano?

Salmonella in my Oregano?

While purchasing some items at the local Food Lion, I ran across one of those haphazardly posted messages displayed only with a sad single piece of tape holding it up to a random post behind the cashier. It was a recall notice for McCormick Oregano.  I was totally blown-away! What could possibly get in oregano that would cause it to be recalled?

Continue reading Salmonella in my Oregano?

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My Two Favorite Federal Laws

I am certain that very few people have favorite federal laws. After all, who wants to talk about federal legislation at a party (hint: I do). However, being a bit of a policy wonk and government guru, I enjoy reading and learning about federal laws. In fact, I actually have TWO federal laws that I consider to be my favorite. They both involve the stomach.

Continue reading My Two Favorite Federal Laws

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Penny Stocks Advice

Penny Stocks Advice: The one thing you need to know

During the mid-aughts, fresh out of college, young, single and flush with cash I decide to invest in penny stocks. Penny stocks typically trade for, you guessed it, in the pennies for each share. They are very risky, trade Over-the-Counter (that is the name of the stock ‘exchange’ where they trade in, sometimes it is referred as the ‘Pink Sheets’), and are lightly regulated. The lack of regulation makes them a susceptible for various fraud schemes such as the classic, ‘pump-and-dump’. However, if the right penny-stock begins to increase the margins for profit (on such a small investment) could be in the thousands!

Either way, I had invested about 500 dollars into a penny-stock called LOGO that was seeking to create a gay/lesbian themed TV network. I used to follow the stock and post in penny-stock forums and discuss the pitfalls, buy-points, sell-points of various penny-stocks (including LOGO). Thinking back on it, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of those people were plants, operating an online version of a “boiler-room”.

When I met with my financial adviser she gave me this look of horror and disgust. When I couldn’t explain to her why I bought Penny-Stocks or why I selected LOGO, her and I agreed to sell my penny-stocks and invest in mutual funds (which have since earned more money than my penny-stock).

Now, LOGO TV is actually a channel, though I am not sure whatever became of the penny-stock.

I write this post because Bloomberg Business has a great article that represents a ‘case-study’ on the perils and profits of penny-stocks.

Cynk was a company with 1 employee, no assets, and 0 revenue that became worth 6 billion dollars.

Cynk: The 6 Billion Dollar Penny Stock Debacle

The take-away from my experience with Penny-Stocks (and what one person in the aforementioned article calls them) is that they should be treated as Lottery-Picks. If you like investing and want to invest in penny-stocks than do so but do so with moderation (500 dollars was way too much) and with the understanding that you are properly getting taken for ride and will not win.

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Diplomacy: Destroyer of Friends

Diplomacy or how to lose friendships

Diplomacy is a strategy board-game whereas you try to control supply depots, build armies and navies, and attempt to conquer Europe by controlling 18 depots. It takes place in pre-WW1 Europe with the Seven Great Powers: Ottoman Empire, Russia, England, Germany, Austria-Hungary[affectionately called AH], France, and Italy [I won’t give the nickname used to describe Italy as it is not appropriate].

Diplomacy Current Release
Diplomacy Current Release

What makes Diplomacy different is that in order to win you have to work together, collaborate, coordinate and build-trust with other nations in order for you to achieve. Implicitly, of course, is the notion that your “allies” could easily turn on you, stab you in the back, not support you, and all-around sabotage your actions.

This is way diplomacy is often described as a “friend-destroyer” because you play the game with your friends, use your friendship to build-trust, and then stab your friend in the back.

I was introduced to Diplomacy at a very young age. I recall hanging out in the basement of one of my friends playing the game and enjoying the political elements of it such as: strategy and alliance-building. Now that my friends and I have moved to various cities, we have migrated to diplomacy smart-phone apps such as: Droidippy to play the game.

Some links for Diplomacy Lovers:

Boardgame Geek Diplomacy

Diplomacy Boardgame of the Alpha Nerd: A radio story sponsored by Grantland and broadcast on NPR. Takes place during the Diplomacy World Championship.

Allan Calhamer Inventor