Does the Second Amendment guarantee a right to own flamethrowers?

“The City Council of Warren, a suburb of Detroit, is debating an ordinance that would ban the assembly, storage and use of — flamethrowers?” writes CNN’s Chandler Friedman.

Yep, flamethrowers.

Resident Chris Byars figured people had seen flamethrowers in movies and video games, and maybe they’d want one of their own. So he designed a commercially available flamethrower for public purchase, and raised nearly four times his goal on a crowdfunding site.

Today’s Question: Does the Second Amendment guarantee a right to own flamethrowers?

  • davehoug

    First thing….KEWL
    Second thing. Tough to enact a law that would not also ban those attachments to a propane tank for clearing weeds or melting snow. Safety issues are already covered under general laws.
    Third thing. NOPE

    • Robert

      Actually a pure propane flamethrower wouldn’t do much….the flame would just extend as far as the pressure of the propane would push it…..maybe a few feet with a standard tank. Flamethrowers usually mix in oil, naptha, jellied gasoline to create a stream that can be extended and coat the target to keep it burning after hit by the flamethrower. Making an ordinance that bans flamethrowers except weed burners/ ice removers that run off a 20# propane tank should be workable.

      • davehoug

        Good Points. Now I won’t be able to hire out as a year-round pesky weed and ice removal specialist ……in this town 🙂

        Still, how kewl a job would that be? Imagine returning to school bragging about THAT summer job 🙂

  • Flamethrowers, fully automatic “machine guns”, Rocket-Propelled-Grenades, C4, Rycin, biological agents, MACE, Pepper Spray, Chemical weapons, armored vehicles, rockets, tanks, nuclear weapons. Where do we draw the line? More importantly, why does the NRA not allow open or conceal carry at their conventions?

    • Gary F

      The NRA does allow carrying if the venue and municipality they are holding it in allows it. This year in Nashville, at a side event, a concert in the Bridgestone center, a private venue, had a no-guns policy, so they abided by it. At all the other events during the convention, you were allowed to carry if your permit was accepted by the State of Tennessee. On the sales floor, they do require that firing pins be removed from display guns because of the close quarters of all the booths and proper muzzle control is hard with the tight area.

  • boygeezer

    It’s too bad there’s not an Amendment that would prevent the use of crowdfunding sites for such exceedingly lame and wrong-headed enterprises.

  • Gary F

    Clearing the driveway and sidewalks in the winter!

  • Mitch Berg

    The Second Amendment is no more specific about types of weapon than the First Amendment is about the type of speech. The founding fathers, after all, never envisioned radio, much less the web.

    But let me ask you this: Let’s presume that I’m a law-abiding citizen (which I am; never stolen so much as a candy bar in my life, much less harmed anyone who didn’t try to harm me first). My background check proves this.

    So if I carry a pistol, am I suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to rob, attack or shoot someone? No. I’m not. And either are the other 200,000 Minnesotans who’ve passed background checks and gotten carry permits and not shot anyone.

    So then let’s say you put a fully-automatic submachine or machine gun in my hands. Does THAT make me want to go all mass-murdery? Nope. I’ve shot a few of ’em. Only paper targets suffered my wrath.

    So let’s say you give me a flamethrower. Or a cannon. Or an A10 Warthog with its 30mm GAU8 tank-killer cannon. Or a Minuteman missile, with three 300kiloton fusion warheads.

    Do I suddenly get overwhelmed with the desire to use them on a bar or a school or a stadium full of people?

    Well, no. I’d tuck them away in my hypothetical gun safe/garage/hangar/silo, and go about my business. Just like the other 99.99% of the gun-owning population that *never commits a crime, ever*.

    So when you ask “where do we draw the line?” the response is “the line for what? What your visceral emotional reactions want, or what empirical fact tells us?”

    And what the facts tell us is “if a criminal wants a flamethrower, he’ll get one whether they’re banned or not. The people who can legally buy them aren’t, and never will be, the problem”.

    It’s simple. Although not simple enough for the gun grabbers, apparently.

    • Gordon near Two Harbors

      The reason that fully automatic weapons were banned is because they are weapons of mass destruction, developed only to kill people, and law enforcement and public safety were gravely threatened in the 1920s and early 1930s when criminals adopted them for their own use. Flame throwers should be banned for the same reason.

      • Mitch Berg

        Gordon – that’s really not true at all.

        For starters, “weapons of mass destruction” are, by definition, nuclear, chemical, radiological and biological weapons,. No firearm, ever, qualifies.

        And yes, the reason they banned *most* civilian machine-gun ownership was because of the violence related to Prohibition.

        Which isn’t to say civilians can’t get them. You have to pass a pretty serious background check, and pay a big fee. And in eighty years, there has been exactly one felony committed by a civilian machine gun owner.

        It was a cop.

        But two facts here: In almost 80, years, almost no crimes have been committed by people with machine-guns who went through the background check.

        And in the time that machine guns have been completely banned, no self-respecting drug dealer or gangster who’s wanted a submachine gun has not been able to find one anyway.

        That’s the thing about these issues; when you actually dig into the facts, in context, you find that all of them end up supporting the pro-Second-Amendment case.

        • Gordon near Two Harbors

          I’d argue that the reason machine guns are NOT in common use is because they are almost impossible to get. Can you imagine the rampage on the streets if they could be easily obtained?

          • Mitch Berg

            Well, no – they’re perfectly obtainable. It takes a very intrusive background check and an expensive fee, but law-abiding citizens own tens of thousands of them, legally.

            And there’s no rampage.

            Why? Because the law-abiding citizen isn’t, and has never been, a problem, no matter what you put in his hand.

          • Gordon near Two Harbors

            So, using your argument, a “very intrusive background check” and “expensive fee” is the way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals? Being a gun owner, I like the first part, but loath the second.

      • Mitch Berg

        Oh, yeah:

        “developed only to kill people”

        Well, yeah. If you’re a good guy being attacked by bad guys intent on killing you first, that’s kinda what you want, isn’t it?

  • Mitch Berg

    BTW, and having only the CNN story as our guide, it looks like only the Mayor of Warren, who wants to ban the non-military, commercial flamethrowers, has tried to make this a Second Amendment issue.

    Either CNN missed the connection, or I’m missing something, or this is yet another media attempt to throw a strawman at Second Amendment supporters.

  • lindblomeagles

    Given that a reporter and a TV cameraman were gunned down on LIVE TELEVISION this morning in Virginia, our nation probably ought to consider repealing the Second Amendment. Back to the question at hand, flame throwers generally aren’t part of a “well regulated militia,” and they certainly aren’t “necessary to the security of a free State,” as prescribed by the Second Amendment. Flame throwers often do the exact opposite by destroying society’s and individuals’ PROPERTY via fire instead of protecting such property from others. Moreover, if we allow flame throwers to be covered by the Second Amendment, what’s to stop us from allowing people to legally carry bombs, which are actually used in securing or freeing states from aggression.

    • Mitch Berg

      “Given that a reporter and a TV cameraman were gunned down on LIVE TELEVISION this morning in Virginia”

      That makes no sense. *Given* that the killer was apparently an ex station employee, it makes just as much sense to repeal the First Amendment; media people are a menace.

      It makes just as much sense as your point.

      Thousands of people were murdered in Chicago when guns (in the hands of the law-abiding) were banned; most of them were black, not cute and blonde, so apparently the obvious answer, “banning guns kills people” never crossed anyone’s mind.

      “Back to the question at hand, flame throwers generally aren’t part of a “well regulated militia,””

      Actually, IF you presume that the “militia” is supposed to be a state armed force – which was the upshot of the erroneous “Miller” decision that wrongly served as precedent until “Heller v. DC” – flamethrowers make perfect sense. That’s why they were invented in the first place; to allow soldiers to burn out enemy bunkers and pillboxes. They are nearly nothing if not a useful military weapon.

      “what’s to stop us from allowing people to legally carry bombs, which are actually used in securing or freeing states from aggression.”

      Not that I especially want either – but check out my question earlier this morning; presuming the owner is a law-abiding citizen, what precisely is the worry?

      • Khatti

        And it would be a lot more peaceful around here if we repealed the First Amendment.

      • lindblomeagles

        Hate to burst your bubble, but when Black people were getting killed in Chicago, SEVERAL people argued for regulating guns. Where have you been?!? The last tragedies we’ve had – Aurora, Newton, South Carolina – people have said we should regulate guns. President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton got up on national television to start a dialog about doing more to ban weapons. And if you actually followed the President since he was in office, you would have known that one of the fears Republican voters had of President Obama was his stance for tougher gun legislation. Your race card argument is just an attempt to hide your own darn bigotry. Now, let’s get to your flame thrower argument. In an era where the United States of America uses drones and fighter strikes, a flame thrower isn’t necessary. Heck, even the terrorists don’t use flame throwers. The only thing a flame thrower is good for these days is pyrotechnics at a concert. Now, let’s address your point, legally carrying bombs. You ask, what’s the worry? Let’s think about this for a second. By that I mean, use common sense instead of stupid ideology. Some bombs have the capacity of reducing a city the size of Chicago to rubble. Our country knows this because we dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. Furthermore, our nation, AT THIS MOMENT, is scared to death of giving Iranians nuclear capability. Why? Because the Iranians might build a bomb and use that bomb to kill us because they don’t like us. If we, THE WORLD’S LARGEST BOMB BUILDER, decides to arm everyday US Citizens with bombs, bombs that produce a small to an unthinkable amount of damage and destruction, WHILE DENYING the rest of the world bombs, how safe are we actually going to be? When will too much firepower be enough for society? When a person is dead? Several hundred? A thousand? Or just when people of a race you don’t like, Mexicans, Blacks, Iranians, are annihilated from this Earth? Is your only means of living on this Earth, is the right to commit murder, everyday, in the name of defense?

        • Mitch Berg

          Um, yeah:

          “Hate to burst your bubble, but when Black people were getting killed in Chicago, SEVERAL people argued for regulating guns. ”

          Civilian gun ownership in Chicago was *completely banned* from the seventies through about two years ago.

          During the peak of the violence in Chicago’s black neighborhoods, it was utterly illegal for a civilian to own a firearm to defend themselves.

          “Your race card argument is just an attempt to hide your own darn bigotry”

          I have not mentioned race.

          “Is your only means of living on this Earth, is the right to commit murder, everyday, in the name of defense?

          Kind of a strawman, don’t you think?

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    Of course not. We can’t have grenades or other bombs, nor fully automatic weapons, so it’s a no-brainer that flame-throwers should not be protected by the Second Amendment. I say this as an avid gun-owner and supporter of the right to bear arms.

  • Michael by River

    Most likely, the main reason the liberal Progressives cry out for removing the 2nd Amendment to carry arms ( as “lindablowme” wrote below) is because they actually do believe that guns are just too much temptation for them not to go wild with..just as Progressives struggled to control their drug temptations and the free love/sex cultural movement__ beginning in the 1960’s.
    For liberals, all guns are scarey because they themselves have little impulse control and made worse when they are reasoning illogically from their emotional side. Good example is the stupidly conned Black Lives Matter group, formed and paid for by George Soros, just a distraction to play the race card and fire up their naive uneducated base. One look on FaceBook to read their comments, reminds me of second grade academic skill set.
    BTW_ most of us plumbers already have a flame thrower of sorts. Its a propane tank and an aerosol can of Right Guard.

    • kevins

      You overgeneralize, and as such, are wrong.

  • kevins

    To the question, nope. I wonder, however, if there are a lot of flamethrowers around, such that a ban is necessary?

  • Gary F

    And of course, the more laws you make against them, the people hell bent on having them will still have them.

  • KTN

    Not according to Heller you can’t. Justice Scalia used restrictions of some weapons as a part of the decision, and now has precedent. So, no, you cannot legally have a flamethrower (it doesn’t fit his definition of what arms are protected , and which are not.

    • Mitch Berg

      “Not according to Heller you can’t.”

      Heller said that Washington DC couldn’t put onerous restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.

      The SCOTUS didn’t hand down a binding list of weapons that are or are not covered by the Second Amendment. Scalia pointed out – as has virtually everyone on the subject – that there are prudent reasons for *some* gun controls – keeping them out of the hands of felons (kind of a no brainer), excluding some weapons (six of one, half a dozen of the other). That’s not the SCOTUS’ call; it’s the states and the executive branch’s job.

      • KTN

        Never said Justice Scalia enumerated a list – he would not ever do that, nor would any of the Justices. But, a flamethrower would fall outside protection because of Heller, and also McDonald.

        • Mitch Berg

          “But, a flamethrower would fall outside protection because of Heller, and also McDonald.”

          That is geometrically untrue. Heller and McDonald did NOT provide any binding guidance on specific types of weapons. Merely Scalia’s allowance that the Constitution provided grounds for certain, prudent, measured controls of firearms provided they didn’t infringe the Second Amendment.

          They might be outside of the protection of the Second Amendment, but not specifically because of either decision.

          • KTN

            Of course Heller and McDonald provided guidance. They are only the the second and third case the Court has issued an opinion on the 2A since the words were written 250 years ago. The first was argued in 1939, and had enumerated examples of banned weapons (in this case it was sawed off shotguns). Absent those three cases, there would be no jurisprudence on the 2nd A; that it took 250 years to finally get the 2A incorporated says a lot about how the Court has looked at this provision over time. But, without Scalia writing about limits, there would be no structure for lower courts, and states to refer to in relation to limits, other than making things up from whole cloth.

          • Mitch Berg

            Scalia’s dicta aside, I have nothing to say about the legal history of the Second Amendment (which you have superficially correct and substantially wrong) that Sanford Levinson didn’t say better, and first, in his Yale Law Review article “The Embarassing Second Amendment” – which laid the intellectual groundwork for Heller and MacDonald.

            Google it and read it. You’ll learn something.

          • KTN

            Yeah, I was just replying to someone who is clearly over their head when it comes to constitutional interpretation. But thanks for the heads up on Sandy Levinson, I’ve read quite a lot of his work, mostly at Balkinization, but he got it wrong, and so did Scalia – there is no individual right, only a collective. But, we all have to live with that poorly reasoned decision.

  • Pearly

    Yikes, scary!

  • Mitch Berg

    I’m going to repeat my question, to the author (“MPR News Staff”) : Has anyone but the mayor of Warren MI and some editors actually tried to make this a Second Amendment issue?

    I’m pretty well connected with the Second Amendment movement, and I’ve heard no great hew and cry for flamethrowers; even the military doesn’t use them anymore.

    Isn’t this just a headline looking for a controversy?

    • Khatti

      Has the Second Amendment movement even thought about it until now?

  • Khatti

    It may very well depend on who has to interpret the Constitution if this would get to the Supreme Court. My gut feeling is no, flame throwers are not covered under the Second Amendment, but my gut has been wrong before. It doesn’t strike me as a good weapon for plinking at cans.

  • PaulJ

    A flame thrower creates situational superiority and that’s not how one keeps a militia well regulated, I think point defense weapons would work better to keep militias (gangs) in line.

  • Pearly

    I once saw a guy using a chainsaw

  • JPP

    Pretty sure y’all have been trolled by someone hiding behind “MPR News
    Staff.” Well done.

  • Sue de Nim

    I certainly hope not, but there’s no telling what the radical conservatives on the Supreme Court would think. And I’d be greatly surprised if there aren’t lots of 2nd Amendment fundamentalists in the NRA who think it should.

    The gun & ammo industry has quite a racket going. First, they sell some guns, knowing full well that a large percentage of them are going to get into the hands of criminals. Then they respond to the public’s alarm about it by saying, “Do all those guns in the hands of criminals make you nervous? Maybe you should buy one, too, to protect yourself!” So you buy a gun, which is not cheap, and some ammo, and you pay for the use of a firing range and buy some more ammo to practice with, and so you get proficient with your not-cheap gun, and you do it again every so often to stay proficient, oh, and by the way you need a bunch of accessories to go with it. Pretty soon your “protection” costs more than getting robbed at gunpoint. Given that the gun & ammo industry is in this way uniquely incentivized to make the world more dangerous, why on earth should we heed policy advice put out by their mouthpiece, the NRA?

    While it may be true that “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns,” it’s also true that if guns, or flamethrowers, or other nasty weapons aren’t adequately regulated, all the outlaws will have them.

    • Mitch Berg

      “Sue”,

      “Pretty soon your “protection” costs more than getting robbed at gunpoint.”

      Screamingly unlikely, especially when you count the psychological damage of being robbed.

      But just curious – you *do* see the difference between voluntarily spending money on a gun or two (and what is a very enjoyable hobby, by the way) and being forcibly coerced, right?

      “Given that the gun & ammo industry is in this way uniquely incentivized to make the world moredangerous”

      Which is *not* a “given” in any way.

      • Sue de Nim

        Of course it’s a given. The more guns there are in the hands of criminals, the more likely it is that “law abiding citizens” will want them. That industry benefits from criminals having guns. If you don’t see that, you’re willfully blind.

        As for psychological damage, you also have to consider the consequences of using that gun you’re carrying to kill someone who’s trying to rob you.

        • Mitch Berg

          So wait – do I understand you to be saying you think the firearms industry is making guns available to criminals to incent civilian gun sales?

          Do I have that correct?

          I just want to make sure.

          • Sue de Nim

            I’m saying there’s a perverse incentive, so we should be skeptical of policy advice that comes from that sector. There’s no denying that the more guns there are in the hands of criminals, the more guns are likely to be sold to people who are afraid of criminals with guns. Whether that’s driving any conscious decisions by gun industry execs, I can’t say, but they certainly aren’t doing a lot to reduce the numbers of criminals with guns. Why else do they oppose expanded background checks?

            Still, it’s an observable fact that gun sales routinely spike right after a high-profile shooting incident. The Sandy Hook shooting was the best advertisement for AR-15s in history. Gun dealers secretly rejoice whenever something like that makes the news. The gun industry has a financial interest in people believing that the answer to the problem of gun violence is to get more guns into the hands of more people, which is why they fund the NRA’s efforts to make that case.

            I might not like being robbed at gunpoint, but if I ever came to a place in my life where I felt I needed to buy a gun to protect myself, it would feel very much like coercion. I don’t want to have to spend my hard earned money on a tool designed to kill people. The NRA (with help from people like you who echo their arguments) is doing its best to bring me to that point, and I resent it.

          • jim

            it takes a conscious decision and series of deliberate efforts to pick up a gun and use it for any purpose. blaming anyone or anything else is a failure to think.

          • Sue de Nim

            I’m not blaming anyone but the criminal for the criminal use of a firearm. What I’m blaming the gun industry for is resisting efforts to make it harder for criminals to get them in the first place.

          • jim

            you see it more as a supply problem. i see it more as a demand problem. we have lots of laws about all of this. it is the nature of crime to violate the law. with 300 million guns out there at what number will the criminal stop seeking guns? i think we could both agree that we could do better in the courts. take a minute to look at this. http://www.kare11.com/story/news/investigations/2014/11/17/mandatory-sentences-not-always-the-case-minnesota-gun-crimes/19196705/

          • Sue de Nim

            That’s what’s truly sad about this. “With 300 million guns out there,” the gun industry may have already won. The opportunity to keep guns out of the hands of criminals may have passed us by, due to the shortsighted lack of political will to adequately regulate firearms. With the gun industry having already profited from selling that many guns to the public, the only solution to the problem they created may be for the public to give them even more profits by buying even more guns, which, of course makes more guns available for criminals to steal and use in committing crimes, which will lead to even more gun sales. Heck, maybe instead of more money for law enforcement, we should have government subsidies to help the poor buy guns so they can defend themselves (I’m being sarcastic). Despicable!

          • jim

            gun stamps (sarcasm). no concern about the courts not using the mandatory minimum for gun violations?

          • robsandiego

            Of course the firearms industry wants guns available to criminals, DUH! That’s why its lobbyists and the NRA, which now mainly serves the industry, fought against Virginia limiting the number of guns one can purchase per day. Many of these guns ended up in the hands of criminals in Washington DC, helping to make it the murder capital of America for many years and rendering DC’s gun control laws moot. That’s why the NRA is against universal background checks, wanting the Gun Show loophole open for criminals to purchase guns. That’s why the NRA is against any law making a gun owner responsible for injuries or death caused if the gun is stolen or misused by others, no matter how careless the owner is. An atmosphere of fear, whether it’s of criminals or confiscation, always increases gun sales.

          • jim

            it is a vile act of will to pick up a gun and use it for criminal purposes. it does not matter how many guns there are or how they got there. the criminal alone is responsible for their actions.

          • Sue de Nim

            While that’s logically correct, such moral outrage over a “vile act” after the fact doesn’t do much to help people who are victims of crimes that are made worse by the easy availability of guns to criminals. Though the criminal alone is responsible for the crime, don’t you think it’s a good thing when systems are in place to make it harder for people to commit such crimes?

          • jim

            see my answer below.

          • jim

            of course i lock my doors. but if someone violates the law and steals my tv should i blame panasonic for making tv’s easy to get? same issue.

          • Sue de Nim

            No, that’s not even remotely the same issue. TVs don’t make it easier for people to commit crimes.

          • jim

            it’s the same moral failure on the part of the criminal and the same misdirection of blame on your part.

          • Sue de Nim

            So, what you’re saying is this: Because criminals are entirely to blame for crime, there’s no reason to do things that make it harder for people to commit crimes, and if people do things that make it easier for others to commit crimes, there’s no problem with that, even if it’s a profit-making enterprise.

          • jim

            i said we have many laws regulating the sale and use of guns. criminals by definition ignore or break these laws. any one of us could commit any crime at any time. it is a decision. by the way, of the 300 million guns out there very few of them are used for criminal purposes.

          • Sue de Nim

            “…blaming others for the wrong actions of someone is irresponsible and childish,” unless it’s aiding and abetting, which is what, to my mind, the gun industry and the NRA are doing.

          • jim

            that would be a violation of the law. you have no evidence of any of this. this is just a common conspiracy theory that only exists in the minds of the anti-gun crowd.

          • Sue de Nim

            Oh, the mental gymnastics you have to go through to rationalize your resistance to the obvious truth that the proliferation of guns is a bad thing! (especially handguns, which exist for the sole purpose of giving people a handy way to kill other people) The mere fact that something is not illegal does not mean it’s not wrong.

          • jim

            the proliferation of guns has not resulted in an increase in crime. it is not wrong to own guns when they are bought and used in a legal manner. the idea that the gun industry has an interest in the criminal use of their products is a perversion of thought. the criminal is the criminal here. not the gun trade or legal gun owners.

          • Sue de Nim

            As I was saying,….

          • jim

            well heck, sounds like we at least agree that criminals should be held accountable but you will never convince me that the gun trade promotes that behavior in any way. it’s a nice day. i’m headed off to the range. i don’t expect someone of your advanced intellect to understand the reptilian impulses we gun owners posses, but shooting is a lot of fun! by the way the gun club i belong to has been around since 1949. millions of rounds fired and no one has ever been hurt.

          • Sue de Nim

            “…but you will never convince me that the gun trade promotes that behavior in any way.” Of course not. Admitting that would be disloyal to your tribe.

          • jim

            i would not admit to it because it simply is not true.

          • Yanotha Twangai

            I’m sure you believe that.

          • jim

            indeed i do. please, let me elaborate. new gun control measures most often come in the wake of crime waves or high profile shootings. the NFA, GCA, the assault rife ban, the d.c. and chicago handgun bans. the effect of these is debatable. now, i would never suggest that gun control advocates wish for an increase in crime but their movement often benefits from it. it’s true gun sales go up but it is in fear of more gun control not crime. ultimately more crime means more restrictions on the legal sale of guns. no gun maker, dealer or law abiding gun owner wants that. criminals don’t care either way. they just like it when their victims are not armed.

          • Yanotha Twangai

            That’s the best example of confirmation bias I’ve seen in a long time: “it’s true gun sales go up but it is in fear of more gun control not crime.”

          • jim

            fair enough. do you think gun control reduces crime?

          • Yanotha Twangai

            Not feeding the troll.

          • jim

            i’m sure you believe that.

          • robsandiego

            The assault rifle ban was ineffective because it was not a ban at all. It banned bayonet lugs, it banned further production of high capacity magazines, it banned pistol grips on rifles, it banned everything EXCEPT semi-automatic copies of military assault rifles, which was the original point of the law! The NRA made sure it, and every other effort at gun control, is a failure so it can say that gun control laws are ineffective and prevent any real effective effort.

            More crime does NOT mean more restrictions on the legal sale of guns, since Sandy Hook calls for increased restriction of gun sales have resulted in passage of Open Carry laws in more states, now we have gun nuts toting AR-15s through local malls. THAT doesn’t make me feel any safer!

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  • Not NPR

    I think Charlie Resse’s last column from the Orlando sentinel sums it up. We are done with career politicians making new laws, imposing their interests to deny ours.

    By Charlie Reese

    Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

    Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

    Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

    You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

    You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of representatives does.

    You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

    You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

    You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

    One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine
    Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300
    million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for
    the domestic problems that plague this country.

    I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that
    problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its
    Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally
    chartered, but private, central bank. ( because Wilson admitted later, he was influenced to create it in order to get elected_Wilson’s memoires

    I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound
    reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a
    senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I
    don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The
    politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the
    lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine
    how he votes. (But politicians care more about getting re-elected and taking the money)

    Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that
    what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con
    regardless of party.

    What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive
    amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker,
    who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. ( The
    President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to
    accept it…all he can do is try to lay blame on Congress if the gov’t shuts down because he won’t sign anything)

    The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole
    responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and
    approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House?(
    John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow
    House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. ) If
    the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree
    to. [The House has passed a budget but the Senate under Harry has not approved a budget in over three years. The President’s proposed budgets have gotten
    almost unanimous rejections in the Senate in that time. ]

    It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot
    replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of
    incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic
    problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you
    fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the
    federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they
    want to exist.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      Don’t bother clicking “see more.” I already did. It’s nothing but an off-topic rant.

  • jim

    in the late 90’s in south africa flamethrowers could be used for legal self defense.

    • John Dilligaf

      Well, they also used flaming tires as “necklaces” for political assassinations.

  • Hunter

    I wonder if it makes any difference since our elected officials don’t always follow the laws on the books as they are present. Congress has let Obama get away with violating his oath so often that it seems to be a moot point. He can regulate what ever he wants and in so doing he is destroying the old guard dems and repubs. Think not? Look at this list:

    A List of Obama’s Constitutional Violations
    Posted on March 27, 2013 by Truth Seeker

    > Updated 08/06/15 “I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution.” Barrack Hussein Obama. Obama took the Presidential Oath, swearing to “.. preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” but has:

    Used Executive Action in direct opposition to the law,
    and unilaterally changes the law for at least five million illegal
    aliens; Article 1 Section 1, ALL Legislative power held by Congress; “he
    shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” Article II
    Section 3; Article I Section 8

    In direct violation of ACA Law ( Section 36B ) ordered subsidies be
    paid under Federal Exchange. Article. I. Section. 1; Article II,
    Section 3.

    Ignored law by taking Iran Deal to UN prior to 60-day review period
    mandated by Iran Nuclear Agreement Review, and failed to turn over side
    agreements as outlined. – “he shall take Care that the Laws be
    faithfully executed,” Article II Section 3

    Ignored Congressional Treaty Powers. Article II Section 1, Article II Section 2

    Operation Choke Point program – Direct infringement on 2nd Amendment.

    Violated statute on “Material Support of Terrorism” by returning top
    terrorists back to terrorist organizations. Article II Section 3;
    Dereliction of Duty Article II Section 4

    Violated Appropriations Act (DOD Section 8111) – GAO report; Article II Section 3

    Ignored law that requires Congress be notified prior to any
    detainees being moved from Guantanamo. “he shall take Care that the Laws
    be faithfully executed,” Article II Section 3

    Using EPA to “legislate” over States, Congress, and Federal
    Court; Article II Section 3; Article I Section 8; Direct violation of
    Presidential Oath.

    Appointed 24+ Federal agency czars without advice and consent of the Senate; Violation of Article II Section 2

    Used Executive Privilege in regards to Fast & Furious gun
    running scandal. When Government misconduct is the concern Executive
    privilege is negated.

    23 Executive Orders on gun control – infringement of the 2nd Amendment

    Exposed identity and methods of operation of a Navy SEALs team –
    Illegal for a President to reveal classified military secrets. Article
    II Section 3

    2 Executive actions mandating private health information on patients be turned over to NICS – Violation of HIPPA law.

    Executive Order bypassing Congress on immigration – Article 1
    Section 1, ALL Legislative power held by Congress; Article II Section
    3; Article I Section 8

    Unilaterally issued new exemptions
    to immigration restrictions law that bars certain asylum-seekers and
    refugees who provided “limited material support” to t

    errorists. – Article 1 Section
    1; Article I Section 8 Congress shall have the Power..to establish an
    uniform Rule of Naturalization.

    Issued directive instructing ICE to
    NOT enforce immigration laws in certain cases. Article 1 Section 1, ALL
    Legislative power held by Congress; “he shall take Care that the Laws be
    faithfully executed,” Article II Section 3; Article I Section 8

    Release of convicted illegal aliens ordered in direct opposition to law-Article II Section 3

    Expanded executive action for amnesty to illegal immigrant relatives
    of DREAM Act beneficiaries. Article 1 Section 1, ALL Legislative power
    held by Congress; “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully
    executed,” Article II Section 3; Article I Section 8

    Executive action directing DHS that almost all immigration offenses
    were unenforceable absent a separate criminal conviction. Article 1
    Section 1, ALL Legislative power held by Congress; “he shall take Care
    that the Laws be faithfully executed,” Article II Section 3; Article I
    Section 8

    Ignoring Law (2006 Secure Fence Act) “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” Article II Section 3

    Used DOJ to ignore section 8 of the Voting Rights Act. ” he shall
    take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” Article II Section 3

    Used DOJ to prevent Arizona and Alabama from enforcing immigration laws. – 10th Amendment

    Information memorandum telling states that they can waive the work
    requirement for welfare recipients, thereby altering the 1996 welfare
    reform law. – Article 1 Section 1, ALL Legislative power held by
    Congress.

    Used NLRB to dictate to a business where they can do business. (Boeing Dreamliner Plant). No Constitutional authority to do so.

    NDAA – Section 1021. Due process Rights negated. Violation of 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Amendments.

    Executive Order 13603 NDRP – Government can seize anything

    Executive Order 13524 – Gives INTERPOL jurisdiction on American soil beyond law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.

    Executive Order 13636 Infrastructure Cybersecurity – Bypassing Congress Article 1 Section 1, ALL Legislative power held by Congress

    Attempt to tax political contributions – 1st Amendment

    DOMA Law – Obama directed DOJ to ignore the Constitution and
    separation of powers and not enforce the law. ” he shall take Care that
    the Laws be faithfully executed,” Article II Section 3

    Dodd-Frank – Due process and separation of powers. Consumer
    Financial Protection Bureau writing and interpreting law. Article. I.
    Section. 1

    Drone strikes on American Citizens – 5th Amendment Due process Rights negated

    Bypassed Congress and gave EPA power to advance Cap-n-Trade

    Attempt for Graphic tobacco warnings (under appeal) – 1st Amendment

    Four Exec. appointments – Senate was NOT in recess (Court has ruled unconstitutional yet the appointees still remain)

    Obama took Chairmanship of UN Security Council – Violation of Section 9.

    ACA (Obamacare) mandate – SCOTUS rewrote legislation and made it a
    tax because there is no Constitutional authority for Congress to force
    Americans to engage in commerce. SCOTUS has no authority to Legislate or
    lay taxes. Article I Section 1 & 8.

    Contraceptive, abortifacients mandate violation of First Ammendment

    Healthcare waivers – No president has dispensing powers

    Refuses to acknowledge state’s 10th Amendment rights to nullify Obamacare

    Going after states (AZ lawsuit) for upholding Federal law (immigration) -10th Amendment.

    Chrysler Bailout -TARP – violated creditors rights and bankruptcy
    law, as well as Takings and Due Process Clauses – 5th Amendment (G.W.
    Bush also illegally used TARP funds for bailouts)

    The Independent Payment Advisory Board (appointees by the
    president). Any decisions by IPAB will instantly become law starting in
    2014 – Separation of Powers, Article 1 Section 1.

    Congress did not approve Obama’s war in Libya. Article I, Section
    8, First illegal war U.S. has engaged in. Impeachable under Article II,
    Section 4; War Powers Act – Article II Section 3.

    Obama falsely claims UN can usurp Congressional war powers.

    Obama has acted outside the constitutional power given him – this in itself is unconstitutional.

    Bribery of Senator Ben Nelson and Senator Mary Landrey. (Cornhusker Kickback and Louisiana Purchase) Article II, Section 4.

    With the approval
    of Obama, the NSA and the FBI are tapping directly into the servers of 9
    internet companies to gain access to emails, video/audio, photos,
    documents, etc. This program is code named PRISM. NSA also collecting
    data on all phone calls in U.S. – Violation of 4th Amendment.

    Directed signing of U.N. Firearms treaty – 2nd Amendment.

    The Senate/Obama immigration bill (approved by both) raises revenue – Section 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives

    Obama altered law – (A president has
    no authority to alter law) Delayed upholding the Employer Mandate Law
    (ACA) until 2015 – Individual Mandate will be enforced. A President does
    not have that authority – Article. I. Section. 1. All legislative Powers
    herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States; The
    president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed”
    -Article II, Section 3; Equal Protection Clause -14th Amendment.

    Obama altered law – ACA Medicare cuts delayed until 2015. Article. I. Section. 1; Article II, Section 3.

    Obama altered law – Enforcement of eligibility requirements for ACA
    delayed until 2015. Article. I. Section. 1; Article II, Section 3.

    Obama wavered ACA Income Verification Article. I. Section. 1; Article II, Section 3.

    Obama altered law – Delayed ACA caps on out of pocket expenses until
    2015. (when implemented premiums will skyrocket) Article. I. Section.
    1; Article II, Section 3.

    Obama ignored judicial order to fulfill legal obligation regarding Yucca Mountain waste. Article II, Section 3

    Waived Federal provision that prevents U.S. From arming terrorist
    groups – Article I. Section 1; Impeachable under Article III, Section 3.

    Directed State Department HS to ignore law barring entry to U.S.
    those giving political or charitable aid to known terrorist
    groups. Article. I. Section. 1; Article II, Section 3.

    Obama shelves part of the ACA Law for Insurers, extending the life
    of non-qualifying (according to ACA) plans until Jan. 1, 2015. Article.
    I. Section. 1; Article II, Section 3. Violation of the Take Care Clause,
    Separation of Powers.

    Obama waved ACA individual mandate
    for those that lost their insurance. Article. I. Section. 1; Article II,
    Section 3. Violation of the Take Care Clause, Separation of Powers.

    Obama alters ACA law and exempts companies employing between 50-100
    full-time workers from business mandate until 2016. Article. I. Section.
    1; Article II, Section 3.

    In total, Obama has unilaterally altered ACA 24 times. Article. I.
    Section. 1; Article II, Section 3. Violation of the Take Care Clause,
    Separation of Powers.

    A Constitutional law professor (even
    their students) should know better. The TRUTH is Obama was not a
    Constitutional law professor: “under no circumstances would
    an offer to Obama be tenured.” “The thought that the law school could
    have made a tenure offer to a person with no academic writing was out of
    the question.” Former University of Chicago Law School Dean Richard Epstein.

    Clearly Obama has not respected or
    protected the Constitution. Obama has broken his oath to preserve,
    protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Article II,
    Section 1.
    Note: Executive Orders/Actions by the president were not designed
    for, nor do they give a president the authority to use as, a means to
    override or alter legislation or any other Constitutional violation.
    Executive Orders cannot defy Congressional intent

    • Gordon near Two Harbors

      LOL! Did you copy and paste that from Fox “News”? Remember, Obama was easily elected TWICE. Let’s pretend that Obama did stretch or even violate his Constitutional authority. Wouldn’t the Supreme Court be all over him? As I recall, pretty much EVERY President has tried to increase the authority and reach of that office, including George W Bush, Reagan, Nixon–not to mention FDR and Lincoln! So, you can stop hyper-ventilating now.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      You’re wasting your time with those long posts, Hunter. Most folks are smart enough to realize it’s an off-topic rant within the first screen and quit reading.

  • Mark in Ohio

    I would mention that technically, the second amendment would allow it. Most people aren’t aware that up through the civil war, and even later, many military units were privately raised and equipped. It was legal for private citizens to purchase any piece of equipment that the normal military used, including canon and Gatling guns. In the civil war, soldiers who could often purchased more modern weapons, including repeating rifles, and used them in their service. If you take the viewpoint that the second amendment is the insurance policy against government tyrany, then it would make sense that the the purchase of any valid military equipment be prohibited. Since you are reviewing a document (the Constitution) written by people who had just rebelled and overthrown the legal government by force, I’d say it makes sense that they were thinking of that.

    • Gordon near Two Harbors

      …although anyone who understands the capacity of the US military since WW2 knows that NO private individual or ad hoc citizen militia would last long against it. I, and just about all of my friends and family members, own guns–and many have served in the military. To think that the reason for private gun ownership in the modern age is to keep the government in check is both laughable and delusional. I say this as a big supporter of the Second Amendment.

      • Mark in Ohio

        I have to agree with you – it would be almost impossible for the armed citizenry to stand against a modern, mechanized army. On the other hand, it would provide for an almost impossible to win against guerrilla army, along the lines of Admiral Yamomoto’s quote from WWII about a rifle behind every blade of grass. I do think that an armed citizenry still serves a purpose, in providing a large, already semi-trained (on average) pool of shooters, as well as providing the minds to develop new and interesting weapons that the military may chose to adopt (e.g. Barret M82). It’s kind of hard to build and innovate what you don’t understand.

  • Gary F

    I hear lots of folks talk about Australian gun control. Have any of these folks actually looked into it? Or is it just another talking point fed to them by Bloomberg or Media Matters?

  • Doc

    Its time NPR and other media own up to how they contribute to our national social cultural crisis. Obama’s election was supposed to bring all Americans together as he said, but he has only worked to bring race up when ever anyone disagrees with his policies..he has been almost as bad as the tax cheat Al Sharpton with dividing and rallying against cops.
    But instead of addressing these real issues, we get a question as this? flame throwers? really? WTFC’s?
    Its time the media stops giving air time to the distractions such as flame thrower story and worse, giving acknowledgement to the awful crap of Black LIES Matter activists,just radical race baiting anti-cop war on police nonsense that has their founder supporting a 1978 cop killer, a 10 most wanted, now hiding in Cuba.
    We have a president and the attorney generals ( both Holder and Lynch) that refuse to enforce the laws and by their rhetoric, encourage radicals to war on police.
    I have been in blue, I’ve seen the streets, I have seen the worst of the worst and the worst of the best..that is what cops deal with. Few cops are bad. Teachers have a higher rate of criminal charges (e.g., child sex crimes abound) than cops do. Today’s story of the assassination of a deputy in Texas reminds me that Black Lies Matter organizers earlier called for attacking police and yet, The State Fair gives them status, they appease by offering them a booth? Would the Fair give a booth at the last minute to the wounded and deceased Police Officer organization? Nope. Some day the media might thank their stars that a cop was there to stop them from being the next victim.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      “Its time NPR and other media own up to how they contribute to our
      national social cultural crisis…. But instead of addressing these real issues, we get a question as this?”

      …is just a handy excuse for an off-topic rant.

  • Allen W

    I would like to see flame throwers allowed for clearing streets when radical groups try to disrupt the Fair, because their issue is sooooo much more important than the millions of kids and families attending the fair and particpating in it? How do 200 radicals without a clue get more news coverage than 25,000 attending the Alabama rally this past weekend with Glen Beck and black religious leaders?

  • Martha

    Ok boys, be aware that yanotha and Sue de Min are likely paid bloggers for MPR or the far left liberal groups. Why else does MPR post their old comments on these Q of the Day. several days afterward while ignoring more conservative comments? Just check the past Q of the D and you will often see their old posts as the starter comment on the main web page.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      Where on earth did you get that ridiculous idea (unless you yourself are being paid?). There are enough folks out there who are self-motivated to speak the truth, that if anyone is paying people to do this, they’re wasting their money.

      And if you think I’m “far left,” you haven’t been reading my comments consistently. I’m pretty much smack dab in the center of American opinion, but from your perspective on the far right fringe, it’s hard to tell the difference.