Quips & Quarrels: “I’ve never been to a gun show but…”

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Your favorite columnists, last seen at The Daily Gazette’s pre-election debate, take on gun control. Follow the issues with Danielle Charette ’14 and Sam Sussman ’13 in our new weekly video segment.

Video: Aaron Dockser and Monika Zaleska/The Daily Gazette


  1. Nobody should have a weapon in their house that was created for military use? All guns were created for military use. This technology is not the result of the need for more effective hunting: we have slaughter houses, we have herds.

    The second amendment is about defense against tyranny whether you consider it to be specific to use in a militia or not. In either case, the militia can’t be under federal or state control, otherwise this would still deter it from serving the original purpose of being a bulwark against tyranny. So, in essence, even if the second amendment only pertains to the forming of militias, it is guaranteeing an individual right to a firearm in order to form an independent militia.

    And is anybody else troubled by the fact that Sam is right at 3:23? How can we effectively defend ourselves from a possibly autocratic/fascistic government (not saying that it is right now) if the weapons we are allowed to carry are so vastly outdated/overpowered by modern means of warfare like the drone? We shouldn’t all have personal drones, and certainly the reducto ad absurdum of everybody having a nuclear stockpile is unconscionable, but how do we preserve this right that was so important to the creation of our great country? Is our system of checks and balances effective enough that we need to let go of our fear of unjust, exterior oppression?

  2. How do we prevent political extremism with personal drones? I guess we’ll have to settle for using courts of law, elections, assembly and free speech. You know, that stuff in the rest of the Constitution.

  3. Sam, you are not looking at the big picture. All those powers given to us or ecognized in the Constitution certainly are meant to protect us from tyranny, but words do not jump off a piece of parchment and enforce themselves. The 2nd Am. was meant as a last ditch failsafe for a situation where all those checks and balances that you refer to are being ignored or have been corrupted. I realize that this is difficult to imagine in the U.S. because we have a long history and tradition of respect for Due Process of law. However, when the 2nd Am. was written that tradition and history had not yet been established. Throughout the world, many dictatorships have constitutions and laws that if you were to read them, you would think that they governed a free society. Unfortunately, they are nothing more than ignored words on a piece of paper.

  4. As far as Devil’s fear that being armed with assault weapons is meaningless given the vast superiority of the governement’s arsenal, he is not considering the application of guerilla warfare. Even during the Amer. Rev., the colonials never did very well against the British in traditional open-field battles. They did better when they adapted and employed what were then considered guerilla tactics, although today those tactics would be mainstream. Look at all the problems Al Queda and the Taliban are giving our armed forces overseas using guerilla tactics.

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