Ben Carson opens mouth, inserts metatarsals again: says it would be “very dangerous” to register guns

October 2, 2015 • 1:30 pm

If this man gets to be the Republican Presidential candidate (and I’ll bet one reader $50 he won’t: first taker accepted), I’ll be overjoyed, because there’s no way Carson could beat any of the viable Democratic candidates. In fact, I’m baffled why he’s a candidate at all.

His latest gaffe was made in conversation with radio host Hugh Hewitt, a conversation about gun control. Listen for yourself:

His solution is to examine the mentality of prospective gun owners (I think we often do that already), but NOT register the guns themselves.  His statement:

“What I worry about is when we get to the point were we say we need to have every gun registered, we have to know where the people are, and where their guns are, that’s very dangerous,” he said. “And that I wouldn’t agree with at all.”

Yes, of course, because when Big Brother takes over, he’ll know where all the guns are and can come and take them away from us, preventing the American people from using their handguns and rifles to defeat the U.S. Army. And how do you vet people for “early warning clues” about mental illness without registering people and their guns?

I say we go to the British system, where guns in private hands are very strictly controlled, but of course that’s a no-go in our country. For a wonderful and cogent defense that the Second Amendment to the Constitution was truly intended to promote militias rather than allow any deranged citizen to shoot up a campus or a movie theater, read Garry Wills’s twenty-year-old piece in the New York Review of Books, “To keep and bear arms.

70 thoughts on “Ben Carson opens mouth, inserts metatarsals again: says it would be “very dangerous” to register guns

  1. I know what the good doctor idiot means. We have to register our automobiles, so of course the government has rounded up all our vehicles, and only those who drive illegally are driving.

  2. I won’t take that bet.

    There are two memes running around the internet regarding guns. One is that if women defended their reproductive rights with guns, you can be certain that Republicans would be screaming for gun control laws.

    The other is if Republicans think that making it more difficult to get guns won’t prevent gun violence, what makes them so sure that making it more difficult to vote will prevent voter fraud?

    Some memes have a point.

    1. That’s like one I saw on Twitter. To paraphrase:
      Abortion? BAN IT!
      Drugs? BAN IT!
      Prostitution? BAN IT!
      Teaching evolution? BAN IT!
      Unions? BAN IT!
      Guns? Look, banning things never works…

  3. I read once (and I can’t find it just now) that not only was the 2nd amendment included specifically for militias, but even more specifically, to hunt down and control runaway slaves.

      1. … and to secure our territory from the Brits and other colonists on this continent. Those wars and skirmishes were within recent memory of the writers.

    1. If you are really interested in the “true” history on this I’ll recommend a recent book by Joseph J. Ellis, The Quartet, copyright 2015, a pretty good read by the way. Page 211-212

      Remember, James Madison did not think a Bill of Rights was necessary but, to fulfill a promise made during the ratification process he hammered them out during the first Congress. Madison was attempting to appease several states that were paranoid about having any standing army. He therefore, wrote it out originally as follows:

      The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person. It was later edited in the Senate to read what you have today in the second amendment.

      This clearly shows the right to bear arms was dependent on service in the militia. And yes, I know that is not how the supreme court ruled in 2008 but what the hell do they know about history.

      1. Well if that’s what they meant they didn’t phrase it very well. By separating the clauses with that punctuation they separated the right to bear arms from the need for the militia. Which is exactly how the POTUS majority, especially Scalia (PBUH – a pox be upon him) “interpreted” it.

        With the obvious command of English that people such as Madison, Jefferson etc had, it’s my opinion some of them, at least, meant to isolate the right to bear from the need for a militia.

        1. I’m not sure that you read all that I said but so be it. Jefferson had nothing to do with any of this, he was not in the country when the Constitution was written or the ratification process was done.

          Joseph Ellis stated – In Madison’s formulation, the right to bear arms was not inherent but derivative, depending on service in the militia. I believe I’ll stick with that if it’s alright with you.

          And even if others want to look at the amendment another way, what could possibly be wrong with updating this pathetic wrong interpretation to something that fits the 21st century.

          1. Exactly. What did Jefferson say about the coat of a boy being inadequate to the coat of a man, and civilized society not being beholden to it’s barborous ancestors?

          2. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. As Wills pointed out, the original amendment spoke strictly to military matters, hence the conscientious objector provision. More importantly, the congressional debates never talked about any “individual right” at all. No one was talking about that. There was no fear of anyone taking individuals’ guns away. The amendment was a sop to anti-Federalists that feared the Constitution’s grant to Congress of power over the militia would mean the federal government could disarm the state militias. Madison would be amazed at the modern debate – he wasn’t talking about self-defense or the right to own a gun at all.

            1. Yes, and folks should understand that conversation at the Convention in Philadelphia regarding a bill of rights was reviewed and voted down. Madison and others on the no side did not believe it necessary and would only cause additional problems. Guess that turned out to be correct. In most state constitutions at the time they had a bill of rights of one kind or another and that is why it was questioned and asked about continuously during the ratification process. Madison took the job of doing it to appease the anti-federalist and to avoid the call for another convention to deal with it later.

              By the way, it was Thomas Jefferson who said that a new Constitution should be accomplished every 19 years or so. So for those who somehow think this is sacred text, please give it a rest.

    2. In the first draft of the Bill of Rights, arms were addressed in the fifth article. In the version that came to a vote, arms were part of the fourth article. Since the first article was never ratified (225 years later, it’s still pending) and the second article wasn’t ratified until 1992 (after 202 years) as the twenty-seventh amendment. That left articles two through twelve becoming the first ten amendments to the US Constitution.

      Some ammosexuals attach special significance to their pet amendment being number two, but probably none of them realize that it started life as number five and then became number four. Here is the original text of what is now the second amendment:

      A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the People, being the best security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.

      The way I read it, there’s a lot more emphasis on the militia aspect of the law than the arms aspect.

  4. we need to have every gun registered, we have to know where the people are, and where their guns are, that’s very dangerous,” he said

    Registering your gun is evidently a really bad idea because Big Brother can use electronic records to track you down. But being a registered member of the NRA…awesome and patriotic! Officially registered GOP member…well, what else would you be?

    Its quite amazing how the conspiracy nuts always think of the government as being this weird amalgamation of ultra-competent villain and bumbling idiot.

    1. And don’t forget to apply for reimbursement of your Medicare-approved mobility device so you can get to the polls to vote against Obamacare.

    2. The truly amazing thing is that my most gun crazy NRA member friends are also the biggest cheerleaders of torture, indefinite detention, NSA dragnet surveillance, armored vehicles and military style weapons for police and unlimited funds to the military. They create with one hand what they claim to fear with the other. I have a few libertarian Rand Paul type friends who at least see the insanity of that, but they are an embattled minority themselves.

      1. Yeah, that’s what bugs me the most about them. I could respect their position if it was consistently against government trampling on people’s rights. But they only really care about their own rights. If you’re a scary Muslim, you can rot for all they care.

      2. Another irony is the extent to which the set of people who claim that individual gun ownership is a check on the tyranny of the federal government overlaps with the set of people who are in favor of increased defense spending. Has it never occurred to these people that they will have to go to battle armed with their pistols and rifles against a federal-government enemy equipped with nukes, aircraft carriers, and M1A2 Abrams tanks?

    3. What none of them seem to realize is that before and after the Second Amendment was ratified, both the states and the federal government conducted routine gun “censuses.” This was to ensure the availability of private arms for government use, i.e., if the militia were needed but short of guns. Thus, the states (and, later, under Jefferson, the federal government) knew who had what guns and kept records of them. Or, as it is more commonly known, “gun registration.” It is impossible to argue that the Framers would be horrified by gun registration, as they in fact practiced it, and no one complained.

  5. You need to offer some odds on a bet like that to make it more interesting. I’ll take the bet but your $50 to my penny and that’s being generous!

    1. You don’t need Jerry for that; the betting markets have Carson at around 10-1 against. (Jeb! is still the markets’ favorite.)

  6. I’ll add a $50 bonus on to Professor Emeritus Ceiling Cat’s bet: Carson, if the Republican nominee, won’t win the election.

    …because, if I lose, being out $50 will be the least of my worries….


    1. Not just your worries – the whole world’s! Carson’s foreign policy is so bad that if he was able to fully enact it, Armageddon could be a reality. I suspect he’d be prevented from doing his worst, but he’d still inflict a lot of damage.

      1. Carson’s guiding policies seem to be mostly fixed on the next world, which is what makes his utterances so baffingly incoherent.

        It all makes sense to him. Somehow.

        I come from some die-hard fundamentalists, amd i do mean die. They are into it. To them the Apocalypse, from their “saved” sky-high view, is but an enormous angel-food cake.

        1. Yeah – the idea that someone who is going to have his finger on the nuclear button actually looks forward to the end of the world is too awful to contemplate.

  7. I wonder why it is that there’s never any widespread right-wing hysteria that the Government is going to seize all of our cars…after all the large majority of them are registered and it is a requirement to do so. One would think that it the event of attempted Government takeover, that seizing vehicles and/or cutting off fuel supply lines would be at least as effective as trying to confiscate guns. And cars are much easier to find too…

    1. If properly done, you could probably shoot over a thousand bullets into and through a car and it would still drive. It could still drive well enough, in fact, to plough through a crowd of people potentially killing dozens if not hundreds.

      Energy delivery systems come in all shapes. Regulating the systems is one thing, but working on the mentally ill is a much shorter road to success.

        1. We had a recent case in Glasgow where a driver was taken out at the wheel of a vehicle – though by a heart attack, or TIA, or something medical, not high velocity decayed uranium.
          This stopped the driver from doing anything, it’s true. The inertia of the vehicle went on to kill 6 people though.
          That’s why the car (or truck) bomb driven by someone high enough to be wanting to go to Heaven, Nirvanah (not the band), Hell (not the Norwegian town), Asgaard (home of the shield-biters) or other afterlife-du-jour is such a damnedly effective weapon. By the time you see it coming towards you, you may have no way of stopping it short of ditches, gravity and bunker walls.

          1. “… Hell (not the Norwegian town)…)

            Nor the one in Michigan. And there’s one on Grand Cayman that sounds like your sorta place. 😉

            1. No need to apologise, IMO. This is WEIT. You were only responding to a flippant part of aidan’s post. And I feel safe in saying he is not notorious for his sense of decorum or delicacy. (I feel fairly hopeful he won’t take offence at that comment)


            2. Levity is necessary from time to time. Takes the gravity out of the situation. And while name-checking recent films, I could do with some interstellar sunshine. I saw someone had a copy of the book of “The Martian” on board – may try to trade that for a couple of compendia of recent SF short stories.

            3. Oh dear, just when you thought it was safe to slide off into inertia again, crunch, grind, wallop!
              This inertia thing almost seems as reliable a law of nature as that there will be another US gun massacre at a school in the next few months.

  8. I have an even surer bet. I bet there is not one republican fit to run for president for not one of those yahoo’s will endorse evolution.

    1. There is a lot of reality that this group of clowns won’t endorse. And ‘endorsing’ reality doesn’t really make sense, does it?

  9. I’m always surprised that he doesn’t drop off to sleep in the middle of each sentence for half an hour.

    I think he has only risen to prominence by virtue of being the most clearly un-Trump-like candidate — supported purely as a buffer for Trump. If Trump drops out, those supporting him will look at him anew, and realize that he would make an even worse president than Trump.

    Does Carson have a twin brother who’s a good neurosurgeon? Because he talks exactly like an exceedingly tedious and stupid preacher. He has less charisma than Mitt Romney.

    Here’s my bet: if he becomes president, I’ll mover to Russia. (I live in Germany but I think Russia would be safer.)

  10. A warning sign of mental illness of the type he is speaking of is support for Ben Carson (or most of the other Wackaloon Republicans).

  11. My solution:
    Only 3 groups may have guns…

    active duty military

    If you want a gun, get a hunting license, along with the background check and training.

    1. Are game wardens (as per Bob Newhart) allowed to hunt the hunters? Is no-one allowed to hunt the hunters?
      How intelligent and trainable are racoons?

      1. You know…that’s a good point.

        Hunting falls into three broad categories: food, vermin control, and sport.

        There are a very, very, very few people who live in or near rural areas and who depend on hunting for food, and most of them live in or near poverty. I can’t begrudge them their hunting.

        Because we’ve rendered extinct the apex predators who used to keep deer and other large game populations in check, it falls upon us to take the place of those predators. And it is good if, in doing so, the meat and hides go to good use. Those who take pleasure in such hunts…well…I suppose it’s good to have an outlet for such people.

        But hunting purely for sport?

        You do that, and the animals you’re hunting should have a sporting chance. You need to be no better armed than them. No projectiles, not even spears, and no knives longer than the teeth or horns of whatever you’re hunting. Anything more than that and, whatever activity it is you’re engaged in, it’s no sport.


        1. That’s a pretty fair analysis. With the (debatable) exception of anglers, nobody hunts for food (have you tried to get bunny in the butchers these decades? Last time I found any, it was Argentinian!). In Scotland, we have a vermin control problem with the red deer (because we’ve deforested the land over the last millennium or so). and the overwhelming majority of “sport hunters” who come to “cull” the deer are incompetent idiots who the ghillies (“game keepers,” the professionals who manage the deer, including the hind culls in the depths of winter.) consider with barely suppressed contempt as soon as the cheque is cashed and they’ve fsck-ed off back to stealing money in the City.
          “Hunter” hunting should be a sport.

          1. Actually, here in Colorado, I know quite a few people who depend on hunting for meat. Elk, venison, etc. They freeze it and it gets them through the winter. If there’s any surplus, they help out others who are in need.

            1. “depend” – well, possible if you live pretty seriously back-woods, in amongst the survivalists. But really, how many actually depend on hunting? As a proportion of the population?

              1. It can be a small proportion of the population and still be a lot of people. We’ve got a lot of rural areas, a lot of game, a lot of economically depressed areas, a lot of traditionalists, etc.

  12. Sounds like he’s a paranoid schizophrenic and probably shouldn’t own a gun. We register cars and that’s not too dangerous, but guns, we certainly can’t do that! What a numbskull!

  13. Michael Waldman wrote an excellent book on the 2nd Amendment called “The Second Amendment: A Biography” that examines what the founders thought and intended with that amendment and how that perception has changed through to the present.

  14. Jerry has hit the nail on the head. The paranoid right, stoked to a frenzy by the NRA, lives in mortal fear that somehow the liberals will take control of the government and oppress or do worse to the “real” Americans. Thus, they need to keep their automatic weapons to resist the liberals. In actuality, the threat to American democracy comes from the right, many of whom are protofascists without even knowing it.

    This paranoia is so great that these people even fear the army. A few months ago, the army held military exercises called Jade Helm 15. The right-wing loons thought that this event would be used by Obama to crush freedom. Of course, nothing happened. The Washington Post has an interesting article describing how nuts some of these people are. They are truly scary.

  15. President Obama said yesterday that this issue needs to politicized. Why? I don’t see any ideological war here (except a manufactured one). If these mass shootings didn’t happen, if gang wars were under control, gun casualties would most probably drop to the levels of the likes of Switzerland (still higher than many other countries, but at least not insane).

    Let’s control guns strictly. Delve for fixing issues with gangs and health care system and when we have those issues under control, ease gun control again. What is the problem here? Isn’t America a democracy?

    As much as I find the Republican position on this issue wrong-headed, I think politicizing the issue and making it about people’s intelligence (smart vs stupid) is a mistake.

  16. Wills’ essay is 20 years old. DC vs Heller pretty much destroyed his obsolete arguments. I am not an NRA supporter but I also am not an ivory tower academic who wax envy at the british model.

    1. The Scotus decisions in Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago relied, in large part, on the scholarship that Wills refuted in his NYRB essay. That essay addressed the issue whether the Second Amendment includes a right to individual firearm ownership. That is a narrow constitutional question quite separate from one’s views pro or con the wisdom of gun control.

    2. I think Jerry’s office is next to a pond, and pretty sure he’s even against ivory toothpicks.

      And you have the grammar of an NRA supporter, Strawman.

  17. Doc Carson strikes me as a classic instance of someone who’s poured all his intellectual energies into a narrow field who then, after a successful career in which he’s won various awards and written (or, more accurately, had ghost-written for him) a bestselling book, begins to believe his accolades and assumes his “genius” will seamlessly translate to any other field of his choosing.

    When he’s questioned on topics like this, his dilettantish answers suggest Carson has never paid any attention to the issue, let alone done the hard work of thinking it through.

  18. My limited knowledge of Carson leaves me with the certainty he is just true blue SDA. Everything out of his mouth regarding evolution and other things shows him to be in lock step with this creationist extreme religion. There would be many Muslims that would make better presidential material than this fellow.

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