A new loophole found in the 2nd Amendment can reduce overall taxes, save lives, and ultimately cost less,while defending the right to bear arms even more! If only all loopholes were so good.

2nd Amendment
2nd Amendment

"When people are shot to death, they lose their rights
to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness,
let alone their rights to bear arms."
- The New 2nd-Amendment Loophole

This article is a sidebar to the thorough analysis, "A Benthamite Solution to Gun Control" (Yofiel, 2015).

Basis of Problem

Jefferson and Franklin, who primarily formed most of the civil liberty basis resulting in the 2nd-Amendment debate, had at least read all of Montesquieu, Rousseau, Locke, Aristotle, and Plato; see "You can't tax a right" (in "A Benthamite Solution to Gun Control," Yofiel, January 2016) for a fuller explanation of this significance.

But Jefferson and Franklin needed to frame civil liberties for a diverse congress, mostly with less education, at best knowing Thomas Paine's theories of "naive realism," which held truth is known via basic common sense. So, most of the arguments about gun control originate from common-sense views of civil liberties. But opposing views easily result from common sense, simply because different people have different experience, resulting in perpetual debate over irreconcilable premises. There are many situations where conflicts between different civil liberties have resulted in such perpetual debate. Perhaps most famously is the 'right to life' versus 'right to choice' conflict. The same is now happening with gun control versus gun rights.

Insane Results

Because of naive realism, there's ludicrous legislative consequences. After the senate refused a ban on selling weapons to those on the terrorist watchlist a second time, I immediately wrote this article after sending an abstract to President Obama: "This is insane. If people are too dangerous to board a plane, they are too dangerous to buy a gun. President Bush himself said, 'Either you are for us or you are against us. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.' The republican party has, by its own definition, become a hostile regime!"

President Obama repeated my statement in a rare speech to the nation the following Sunday: "Right now, people on the no-fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That is insane. If you're too dangerous to board a plane, you're too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun." So democracy is at work, but you've no idea how upset I am to call the President on this insanity. President Obama is currently in the process of creating an executive order on the issue. If the cause was insane, it's even more insane that the President has to issue an executive order to solve the problem.

Moreover in January, Senator Paul is planning to block Mr. Obama's executive order non gun control, because obstructing 2nd-Amendment rights without due process is unconstitutional. That doesn't make sense either, because there was no due process in blocking people from boarding a plane in the first place. So his objection is an ad-hoc grandstanding for gun activists, playing party politics, jeopardizing human lives, ignoring the real problem, and making the Republican party a hostile regime by its own definition. Republicans also claim the President was lying, but he was not. He was saying the total truth. It is insane to let people get guns who are considered too dangerous to get on a plane. If there is going to be any ad-hoc solution, it should be to prevent people on the no-fly list from getting guns first, because that will still be needed later. THEN the no-fly list should be fixed.

Meanwhile the medical costs alone for gun fatalities are triple the entire revenue of the gun manufacturing industry. So the administration and representatives are fumbling around with constitutional-rights issues, back and forth, countermanding each other, and meanwhile, people are dying from gunshots every day.

The New Loophole

So here is the start of a more permanent solution, squeezing through a new constitutional loophole to reach the problem's root:

As gun owners kill others, thus depriving others of the right to bear arms,
mandatory fees on guns to pay for gun violence
are not unconstitutional.

When violence goes down, gun fees to pay for violence go down.

That will reduce other taxes, save lives, and in the long term, cost far less than letting the current situation continue. Not all loopholes are so bad.

Absolutist Stance

The most vocal defenders of rights to bear arms insist that the constitution prevents any federal or state mechanism from limiting any citizen from buying and owning guns, even if they are suicidal or considered too dangerous to fly. All such 'absolutist' gun-control adversity starts with short, pithy quotes of raw absolutism. Most absolutists rarely proceed beyond a single phrase in their statements. Here is one unusually complex example, containing two sentences with color instead of punctuation, while partially quoting the 2nd Amendment out of context:

The Preferred Rhetoric: Shouting a Phrase out of Context
The Preferred Rhetoric: Shouting a Phrase out of Context

One acquaintance on Facebook, Michael Storm, sent me this to explain the strong position.

Strong Rights Justification
Strong Rights Justification

Immediately there seems to be problems with such absolutism, for example, prison inmates should to be able to arm themselves too. However, doing so would contradict other legislature which deprives incarcerated citizens of various rights, so thankfully, it is at least are generally agreed that those in prisons can't bear arms.

Loophole Response

That means such apparently absolutist statements are not so absolute, after all. So I formulated this new loophole in the absolutist position after gathering several thousand responses. When sharing initial drafts, many repeated many times that the right to bear arms means they should not pay for the liberty, without consideration of others who suffer as a result. After trying various ways to state what seemed to me an obvious paradox, the following statement made clear a fundamental problem, even to those of the greatest convictions otherwise: As gun owners kill others, thus depriving others of the right to bear arms, mandatory fees on guns to pay for gun violence are not unconstitutional.

That is, the 2nd Amendment itself defends the notion that gun owners be fiscally responsible for gun violence, at least to some extent as to be determined by circumstance, because those who are shot to death have, at the very least, lost their own right to bear arms. Indeed, citizens who were killed with guns had their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness permanently terminated. But that was not sufficient to convince. When I pointed out that people cannot bear arms after they have been shot to death, it made sense to them! The rights to life and liberty somehow remained unimportant for some time after, and a repeated indication of the direct paradox was necessary, however inhumane it may seem to state the loophole in that manner.

The resulting method of reducing gun violence, through consensus on reducing its cost, defends the liberty of bearing arms against those whose liberty is otherwise far greater infringed, either by loss of life or by bearing the cost of that injustice. Yet due to problems with this basis on the 2nd Amendment, that is now a separate following article. I am forced to clarify, due to repeated miscomprehension:

  • The constitutionality is not a premise, but a deduction from the obviously provable premise that guns owners shoot other citizens to death.
  • From evidence received so far, this is a new loophole, creating a new conflict like that of the pro-rights/pro-choice movement. The need for its expression has become prominent, now that other problems have moved to the fore of the political stage, such as terrorism, mass shootings, and increasing medical costs.

 

Counterpoint to Response

The obvious counterpoint is that, because rights 'shall not be infringed,' all should bear the cost of gun violence equally.

Reply to Counterpoint

Those who do not possess guns do not shoot people to death, and thus being less responsible for depriving others of the right to bear arms, they do not reasonably need to bear so much of the immense cost which gun deaths are inflicting on society, the amount which is fair to assess, within a system of law. And lest it be maintained such a method still consists of 'infringement,' then it is again indicated that those who are shot to death have indeed had their rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness far greater infringed.

The relative accountability for death by the two groups can only be based on the facts available, which are currently limited due to restrictions on research into gun violence, but it is possible to make some well-qualified statements, such as:

The Fiscal Extent of the Problem
The Fiscal Extent of the Problem

The full facts for this are on this site in a 15,000-word essay here: "A Benthamite Solution to Gun Control."

While the above may seem obvious once stated, it was only the loss of the right to bear arms by others that itself ultimately penetrated the minds of those who had so viciously protested the 2nd Amendment would be infringed by the method stated here. Any appeals to the greater rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all were totally ineffective, let alone the enormous financial burden which gun violence places on taxes and health insurance. So I here have provided, as clearly as possible, a statement of the constitutional grounds, with the far greater rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness clarified as to its pertinence in a response to counterpoint, that the nature of the reasoning may be better understood.

Results

Since I first shared this idea, it received about 20,000 views on Facebook, and about 350 different unique visitors on this site. By the time of splitting the original article and publishing this separately, the Los Angeles city council decided to investigate mandatory gun insurance, and a Seattle judge dismissed a suit by the NRA to block gun violence tax.

For a deeper discussion, see
"Gun Rights, Natural Rights,
and the Declaration of Independence
"
on this site

About the Author

Ernest Meyer is a retired Oxford scholar of philosophy and psychology, born in Washington DC, and living in Sacramento, California. He is Master Freemason In The Wild of the 16th-century lodge of Devonshire (UK), and a member of the Society of Friends.

In the past, Ernest worked to further pluralism and multinational cooperation to create a better life for all in Silicon Valley, California. He worked on specifications for the Pentium I (for Intel), the first 802.11 wireless internet protocol (for AT&T), the HTML/CSS/DOM interface for digital TV (for Comcast, Rogers, Shaw, and others), and the iPad microprocessor (for Apple). Prior to his engineering work, he worked as a journalist in New York. For family reasons, he has deep knowledge of both sides of the gun-control issue. His father was on the Editorial Board of the New York Times and Washington Post responsible for human rights. His mother was an antinuclear activist. His paternal grandfather authored the first book on humanitarian reasons for conscientious objection. His maternal grandfather was special assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Navy. His hobbies include writing, making software for Hollywood and TV, and talking with his cat.

Contact

You may contact the author with this form, or on his Facebook Page.