Shall Not Be Infringed

From Uncle, regarding the backlash against his (and sometimes my) use of “shall not be infringed” as a pejorative.

We all are shall not be infringed types. Some of us realize that there will be infringements and there are infringements. It’s just that we choose to work within the existing system to address those infringements. Where the SNBI, in my opinion, is misguided is that there only responses is some variation of what part of shall not be infringed don’t you understand? While the purists and gun nuts (of which I’m one) like that talk, it’s not real conducive to changing hearts and minds to tell people that if they don’t like, you’re going to shoot them. Just sayin’.

It shouldn’t really be a surprise to any of my long time readers that I agree with him; I still have to be convinced that our system is broken beyond repair, and as such I still advocate a more moderate approach.

But he’s right when he says that we’re all “shall not be infringed” types – he and I both advocate for things like nationwide carry, less regulation on NFA items, etc; we just still are playing inside the system right now.


  1. The goal is to move the ball forward. My belief isthat the only way that will happen is when gun ownership and use is unremarkable. When the idea of banning firearms is as silly as the idea of banning toasters. To do that, we have to convince lots and lots of people that we are normal. I agree with the SNBI folks in principle….but we are not there yet.

  2. It’s always seemed to me that taking an approach which alienates people and marginalizes your message is pretty much doomed to fail.

  3. Mike, I’m intrigued by your post, because it could be read to apply to the people being labeled as “SNBI” or to the people doing the labeling.

    Well played, sir.

  4. . . . less regulation on NFA items . . .

    By “less regulation,” do you mean none at all? How one reconciles any other meaning with shall not be infringed is difficult for me to imagine. Sure, I can see reconciling “less regulation” with “shall not be infringed . . . much,” but otherwise, I think we’re talking about two irreconcilably different definitions of “shall not be infringed”–and I think a dictionary backs mine up a lot better.

  5. I can’t speak for Ahab, but pretty much, if I can get less regulation on NFA firearms, I’ll take it. If I can get no regulation on NFA firearms, I’ll take that too. But I’ll not worry about the latter until someone has already offered me the former and I’ve accepted it. No one is even offering me the former right now, let alone the latter.

  6. Sebastian’s pretty close – I believe that “shall not be infringed” means that; but before I can get to “no infringements” on NFA weapons, I’ve got to get “less infringements” first.

  7. Here’s the problem (as I see it): what, exactly, is “infringement” and what isn’t “infringement.” If a law “touches and concerns” the right, is the mere “touching and concerning” enough to call that law an infringement, or is it something different?

    My “default” position could probably be best summed up as “very few (substantive) laws,” rather than “no infringement” versus “less infringement.” I can’t in good conscious say “no laws” because, sadly, I have an active enough imagination to come up with a scenario where a law may (or possibly should) be in place (e.g. mass murderers, rapists, and so on) that a “no law” position would leave open. (Unless there is some other mechanism, such as a hunting season on convicted rapists. But, isn’t that also a law or regulation?)

    Is the NFA procedure overly infringing? I lean towards yes – but getting the courts to agree will take time and effort (not just us talking about it over a metaphorical drink). Is Form 4473 overly infringing? There I’m not sure – but if the NFA regs stopped at using 4473 for current (and new!) “NFA items” that is certainly a better position than what we have now.

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