INDUCING gun control legislation

Sorry, for reasons that will be clear, I have to pull this. More, and better, soon.

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35 Responses to INDUCING gun control legislation

  1. Mark Earnest says:

    Copyright infringement is already illegal. Machine guns are already illegal (without proper licenses), and teflon coated bullets are already illegal (neither of which are generally ever used in crimes). If we cannot/do not enforce the existing laws, what good will new, un-enforced laws do? I would hope a Stanford Law professor (whom I have great respect for) would understand this.

    All of the gun laws we have on the books now (which are rarely enforced) do not seem to be helping the 30,000 American every year, are you under the delusional impression that one more will make all the difference? Similarly, do you think the Induce Act will have any effect on file sharing?

    Historically, be it guns or napster, trying to take away the tools people use to commit crimes never seems to work. And neither will it solve the real problems.

  2. rich says:

    couldn’t diagree more. on the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” logic, rally the NRA around the flag, boys. if their PAC can’t kill this thing, none can.

  3. “It may soon be possible to carry around an AK-47 assault rifle and an iPod with you down the street – and be arrested for carrying the iPod.”
    – Andrew Orlowski ,

    [A joke, but funny because there’s a grain of truth to it]

  4. .hack/jhimm says:

    i’m all in favor
    of awakening a very powerful lobby
    if it will get legislation that doesn’t make any sense
    from becoming law.
    while i’m no big fan of gun violence,
    i am a big fan of the idea
    that a product is either legal or its illegal.
    we’re turning guns and tobacco
    into “nearly illegal” products
    simply because the government is addicted to the tax revenue
    and the lobby money.

    why not,
    let them do my dirty work for me.
    there’s no way congress is going to listen to me,
    or any other musician
    who favors p2p
    and who favors sampling as a creative enterprise
    rather than theft.

  5. Jack Phelps says:

    Professor, isn’t half this discussion about the travesty implicit in overly-broad legislation? I’m with you on gun control, but if we don’t force legislation that is 1. democratic (or representative of the people’s beliefs whether we personally like it or not) 2. likely to have the effect intended and expected by proponents, then we’re losing tbe battle!

  6. Dave Maddock says:

    As a quasi-regular reader of your writings (that I’ve overwhelmingly agreed with), this post was my first exposure to your thoughts on the second amendment. I was quite surprised at your flippant remarks, particularly because of your staunch support of personal freedoms (sans firearms, I guess…).

    My rights are not granted to me by the government (if they were, they wouldn’t be rights…) and can not be legislated away. When any of my rights are damaged by poor law, it diminishes all of them. Over time these steady erosions morph my rights into priviledges given to me at the government’s editorial discretion. Do you only have the right to free speech with a government permit and only in designated free speech zones?

    If the past 80 years of copyright law have taught us anything it is that appeasement is not an option. You give a little public domain away, and they will be back in another 30 years for some more. So it is with our rights. Let them take away the second amendment in all but name–then they’ll come back for the rest. What possible deterrent exists to stop a government from taking away any rights it wants once their population is disarmed? Look at history–repressive regimes love gun control.

    Lobbying against a rationale for the restriction of one right while in the next breath advocating that same rationale for the destruction of another is logically precarious and blatantly hypocritical.

  7. Andrew Boysen says:

    Repressive regimes love gun control? Does that mean that when we see news footage of hundreds of people burning flags while shooting machine guns in the air, the government there must not be repressive?

  8. Mark Earnest says:

    Has it ever occured to you the the government there may be encouraging and organizing (some may say, “staging”) those rallies you refer to?

    How many of those rallies do you see protesting said governement regime as opposed to the US?

  9. Mojo says:

    Sorry Professor, the cases aren’t parallel at all. In one the injured party (absent legislation) is a group of corporations backed by the most powerful lobby in the world. In the other, the injured parties don’t wield any political clout at all. Haven’t you read the case of Ten Million in Assets v. Minimum Wage?

  10. raoul says:

    I believe that all handguns should be made illegal. However, I believe that assault rifles should be ubiquitous.

    It is patently clear that the 2nd Amendment was written as a check against executive authority. The idea that the colonialists were concerned that the would lose their side arms to regulation and would therefore not be able to defend themselves against criminals is laughable. I digress.
    A handgun will not help you much if you are attempting to check executive authority. However, an assault rifle would come in handy. Additionally, as the events in Iraq have clearly demonstrated, it would appear that RPGs are necessary too. However, to be able to resist executive authority today one really needs to able to handle aircraft as well. Thus, for the 2nd Amendment to have any meaning we need to able to own shoulder fired surface to air missiles. Otherwise the whole debate is pointless.

  11. Curtis says:

    Does that mean that when we see news footage of hundreds of people burning flags while shooting machine guns in the air, the government there must not be repressive?

    non sequiter

  12. jayo says:

    I have to agree with Mark Earnest on this… Gun violence can not be controlled by adding new law IMO. Why, because our justice system currently is broken… The current gun laws and punishments for breaking them either A) are not enforced or B) are not strict enough to deter the action…

    When those who would want to do harm KNOW that they can plea for a lesser sentence etc.. why would they fear getting caught… I feel if we closed the revolving door some call a justice system that you would see gun related crime drop (much more than any AWB)

    Ask yourself who do gun bans affect more; the criminals who already don’t abide by the rules, or the honest law abiding citizen…

    If banning weapons and relying on Police is the answer why does the Senator who spearheads a movement, wanting take away all of my and others 2nd amendment rights to bear arms or should I say certain arms because of their “LOOK” and “Supposed funtionality” still have a pistol and a CCW to carry it?

    Note: reasons for certain weapons being covered by the AWB have always been incorrect, as any gun owner will tell you. Many of the “facts” given about certain features of guns such as pistol grips, flash suppressors, and the ability to spray fire from the hip is wrong. Add this to the fact that many times media shows videos of automatic weapons that are not covered by the AWB but are already covered by the 1934 NFA in their reporting making it to mean that sunset would allow fully automatic weapons back on the streets, WHICH IT DOES NOT…

  13. James A says:

    there is a fundamental difference in restricting the freedom of a tool that is used fundamentally to kill/maim/destroy, and a tool which only exists to entertain. or else, should the general populous be allowed to own tanks and the munitions for them?

    no? think why not.

    to those that believe that firearms are used to protect themselves from the executive branch of governments, they’ve totally lost touch. the only people that would dare use weapons against the governments are the nutters like McVeigh. Guns might have stopped an out of control executive a few hundred years ago. All the guns in Iraq (and there are a lot) couldn’t stop Saddam Hussein. And funnily enough, in establishing democracy in Iraq, what is the first thing America does? Tries to disarm the populous.

    There is no need for any civilian living in a civilized nation to own a firearm, with the exception of athletes and primary producers.

  14. Mark Earnest says:

    “to those that believe that firearms are used to protect themselves from the executive branch of governments, they�ve totally lost touch.”

    Historically speaking, mass uprisings usually work, even against a better armed opponent. Vietman is a good example, Iraq unfortunately is becoming one as well. Despite selective media coverage we are not doing so hot there. Those pesky insurgents have been quite effective at slowly chipping away at our forces (and perhaps more importantly, our moral).
    Sure the arguement can be made that in the event of an uprising in the US, the government has bombs and missiles but I am hard pressed to imagine them using them against US citizens. The goal would be quashing the uprising, not total annihilation.

    “There is no need for any civilian living in a civilized nation to own a firearm”

    I’ll play along with this. As soon as every politician, athelete, celebrity, and business leader gives up their firearms (and armed bodyguards) and relies on the police force to protect them just like we “regular citizens” are supposed to do, then I will give up mine as well. Not a minute before though. That is perfectly fair and reasonable right?

  15. Max Lybbert says:

    Unfortunately, I never read the original blog entry. I, for one, found it interesting while I lived in Brazil that the police there carried similar weapons that police carry here in comparable cities, and run into criminals carrying weapons similar to what US criminals carry. Brazil, for the record, has much stricter gun control laws than the US. Brazil also has no capital punishment (but repeat offenders are often shot unprovoked by police), and a constitutional limit on jail sentences (35 years — reaction to the previous dictatorial system)

    However, private armed security guards are more common in Brazil (actual crime numbers are lower than the US, so I think this is caused by a general belief that things are more dangerous). In particular, every bank I entered had a handful of guards carrying shotguns, and even the post office had an armed guard.

  16. Dave Maddock says:

    “Unfortunately, I never read the original blog entry.”

    He made the point that while application of ‘INDUCE-esque’ logic on copyright law is inappropriate, it would make good gun control law. (Feel free to correct me if I’m misrepresenting.) By the way, I would encourage Professor Lessig to include his original statements with his upcoming post so that readers can understand these comments and his revisions in their full context.

    You can also read a cached copy through my furl archive.

  17. Max Lybbert says:

    Well, I might not support such a law (or expect it to reduce the numbers of guns used in crimes), it’s hard to argue that it wouldn’t be a good model. It’s something I’ve never thought of before, and it does have a certain elegance.

  18. Andrew Boysen says:

    My point, for those who don’t understand it, is that many of the worst countries in the world have guns everywhere, and that many of the best countries have guns nowhere.

  19. Aaron Turner says:


    Of course we all know that guns are the only difference between those countries. It wouldn’t have anything to do with quality of life, economic conditions, adequate housing, good jobs, heath care, the ability of local police to enforce laws, or just plain democracies vs. totalitarian rule.

    The reality is that here in the US, the areas with the strongest gun control laws also tend to have higher violent crime then areas with looser laws. Look at Washington DC which has had handguns banned since 1979 and consistently has one of the hightest murder rates.

    Fact is many gun control laws in the US are racist or at best income-ist; if you’re a rich athelete or movie star (like Sean Penn) then you can get a CCW in California, but not if you’re a blue collar person of color living in Oakland. If you’re a rich banker in NY you can get one, but not if you’re a taxi driver who may not carry as much money as the banker but is probably more likely to get attacked.

  20. Max Lybbert says:

    And my point, for the record, is that criminals seem to ignore gun control laws (shocker).

    Japan doesn’t have much trouble with gun violence (so I’ve been told), but I think that’s caused more by culture than by legal enforcement. Iraq is known to be well-armed (or at least, armed with lots of weapons, including RPGs and muzzle-loaders), and I definitely wouldn’t want to live there. Britain, a pretty good country by all standards, didn’t subdue the IRA with gun control laws.

  21. Alan Griffith says:

    I had to use google to find out what Lessig said. Isn’t free speech great!

    INDUCING gun control legislation

    By Lessig on bad law

    So maybe the silver lining to the INDUCE Act will be effective gun control legislation?

    After all, as the American Conservative Union puts it so nicely, “[a]n important principle is at stake. If this bill became law, it would set a precedent for holding innocent Americans liable for indirectly “inducing” criminal acts by others. The implications are staggering.” E.g., how many “non-infringing uses” are there for cop-killing bullets? Shouldn’t gun manufacturers be liable for inducing the criminal behavior their machine guns enable?

    If Hatch can be induced to quash the First Amendment interests of those who could use p2p for legal reasons just to help rockstars and music publishers, how long till he can be induced to quash Second Amendment interests to save 30,000 Americans a year?

    Is the NRA awake to this? If not, don’t wake them.

  22. Andrew Boysen says:

    So you’re saying I’m right? You seem to be saying that gun control isn’t the defining factor in whether a nation is a good place or a bad place. I said the same thing.

  23. Aaron Turner says:

    Unless there is someone impersonating you, you appeared to say:

    “My point, for those who don�t understand it, is that many of the worst countries in the world have guns everywhere, and that many of the best countries have guns nowhere.”

    Which sure sounds like you’re trying to make a connection to me. My point is that you and I can give examples both pro and con, but none of the examples have any relevance unless it’s in the US. We can talk about Japan vs Switzerland vs England vs Brazil all day long, but none of them look at all like the US.

  24. Molly says:

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