Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Armed Citizens and Rioters

In reply to RBT's comments about possible American reaction to French-style rioting, Jerry Pournelle wrote:

Mr. Thompson may find himself facing BATF and Federal Marshals. It is likely that the federal authority will support the rioters, who will only be demanding their rights. ...

... And to jail anyone who defends himself, as a number of Korean shopkeepers found during the last riots here.

I have the greatest respect for Dr. Pournelle, but have to agree with Bob on this issues. In my opinion, the reaction Jerry envisages is more likely in the "Blue" liberal enclaves (IOW, the big cities and states like MA, NJ, NY, MD, CA, or IL). I don't see it happening in the "Red" areas.

After Katrina, a Federal court issued a restraining order in New Orleans to stop the NOPD from disarming civilians who were guarding their own property. While it is apalling that such an order would ever be issued by the chief of police, we do have here a recent example of where the Feds actually came to the defense of citizens' Second Amendment rights against local officals.

For what it's worth, I live in a subdivision in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. I am aware of at least three other well-armed homes on my block within a stone's throw of my house. I have reason to believe that if rioters/looters were to threaten my neighborhood, the amount of firepower they'd meet would give people like Feinstein and Schumer the vapors.

Perhaps mass riots could take hold in urban areas in the US. It's happened before. I can see the politicians who run large cities like Philly trying to disarm their subjects citizens. But neither mass riots nor disarming civilians will fly in the "Red" areas.

Edited to add the following...

Dr. Pournelle replied:

What about Waco, Texas?

The political climate has changed. Waco was what, 1993? That was during the heyday of the most antigun administration in US history. While W's administration is hardly made up of Second Amendment absolutists, it isn't as actively antigun rights as the Clinton administration.

We are now at a point where a majority of states have "shall-issue" carry permit laws, when the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was allowed to sunset, and a law restricting abusive lawsuits against gun manufacturers was just signed into law by Bush.

There may be isolated incidents of ATF disarming Americans in the wake of French style rioting, but I don't think the current political climate will support widespread civilian disarmament.

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