Interesting Symposium

If you are in or near New York City on March 9th this would be something interesting to attend:

The Fordham Urban Law Journal will host its Volume XXXIX Symposium, titled “Gun Control and the Second Amendment: Developments and Controversies in the Wake of District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago,” on Friday, March 9 at Fordham Law School in New York City.
The event will be divided into the following panels:
· The Effect of the Supreme Court’s Gun Control Restrictions on Crime Rates
· The Scope of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Post-Heller and McDonald
· Urban Exceptionalism and Modern Conceptions of the Militia

It includes some well-known names of people who are supportive of gun rights such as Don Kates, David Kopel, and Gary Kleck as well as some heavy hitters of the opposing team.

A bit off topic, but what is “Urban Exceptionalism”? I wasn’t able to find a quick answer to that.

24 thoughts on “Interesting Symposium

  1. “Urban Exceptionalism” sounds like it might be the prepared fallback position where proggies admit that they’re not going to win overall with gun control, but they insist that they still need gun control in urban areas because those places are mysteriously different somehow. I always figured the mysterious difference had to do with proggies being scared of brown people, but when I ask the proggies I know about it, they mostly get extremely agitated and start yelling random sentence fragments about unrelated subjects. So I guess they don’t have strong unadmitted feelings about race after all.

  2. I always love statements like this: “they insist that they still need gun control in urban areas because those places are mysteriously different somehow.”

    Yeah, they’re all exactly the same. People in non-urban areas share walls, ceilings and floors with their neighbors too. They all shop in grocery stores that look like Black Friday every day instead of just on Black Friday. They all sit in traffic for two hours just to travel 5 miles. Yeah, there is no difference between urban areas and rural areas.

  3. ubu,

    What other fundamental civil rights need modification to be exercised in cities, them being all exceptional and such?

    Setting aside that there are lots of big urban areas that do just fine with sensible (read “few”) gun restrictions; townhomes and condos in the ‘burbs share walls with no notable safety issues.

    Black Friday every day? Is that a racial thing? Just kidding, but I have no idea what you mean. If you’re saying the stores are overly crowded, apparently you’ve never been to a rural or suburban Walmart on payday.

    Not sure what traffic has to do with peaceable, lawful, gun possession or even defensive use.

    So, what exactly, makes urban areas so different from suburban or rural areas infrastructure-wise?

  4. ubu, are you saying that only law-abiding bullets go through walls? Are you saying there aren’t any cities in states with reasonable gun laws (there are), or are you saying those cities are bloodbaths (they aren’t)?

    Are you saying that you’re consumed by such uncontrollable rage that you feel you’d lose your shit and kill people in traffic or in Whole Foods if Big Brother didn’t pass a magic law telling you not to own a gun? Is that what frightens you so much? Just tell us what you’re so afraid of. It’s OK to share. If you need a good cry, go right ahead and let it out. We won’t judge. You sound like you must feel very small and helpless and frightened and inadequate. That doesn’t make you a bad person, but you can’t fix it by lashing out online at calmer, more self-confident people. That won’t make you feel less afraid of your neighbors, or of your own violent impulses. It also doesn’t help when you obsessively fantasize about killings and massacres. That’ll only fill you with more hate and fear and anger. You need to let go of all that. It’s not good for you. I’ve spent uncounted hours in Boston traffic wearing my clutch plates down to a nub, and believe me, you just have to take a philosophical attitude about it. Let your mind drift and enjoy the music. You won’t get home any faster banging your fists on the wheel and screaming, I promise. Learn to accept what you can’t control.

    Incidentally, I now live in a city in a rural state with quite lax gun laws, and a lot of apartments with thin walls. No massacres yet. It turns out that our neighbors aren’t all plotting to kill us after all. Most adults can handle adult responsibilities just fine. Heck, for all you know, maybe you could even learn to do it yourself! But don’t rush into it, just go along at your own pace.

  5. As for the of traffic jams on drivers in urban areas implied above, I have to point out that that is the fault of traffic engineers who, over the past 30 years have embraced, not a fluid theory of traffic, but a sort of beaver dam theory of traffic. They call it “traffic calming”, the idea that slow traffic is good and safe traffic, which means that they try to slow it down where ever and when ever they can, much like a beaver hates running water and will build dams to stop it.
    After Traffic Calming was implemented we started to get instances of Road Rage.
    Another case of government causing the problem that is supposed to be solved by disarming everyone (except in this case the cure includes putting everyone on foot and dependent on the @#$%^&* public transportation system).

  6. Urban Exceptionalism?

    How about Urban areas that aren’t rotting?

    I am guessing that, if any exist, that they have had little or no Progressive influence in their governance.

    Detroit, New Orleans, Oakland (CA) – all way left/progressive for decades…

  7. “What other fundamental civil rights need modification to be exercised in cities, them being all exceptional and such?”

    Oh, civil rights like those silly old First Amendment rights. Just try exercising your “Freedom of Speech” rights loudly at 2 a.m.

  8. @ubu52, The “loudly at 2 AM” restriction is just as valid in rural areas as it is in urban if it disturbs the neighbors or even the neighbors livestock.

    The restriction on having a safe backstop when you shoot a gun is also just as valid in rural as in urban areas.

    Please elaborate further such that us simple country bumpkins can understand.

  9. The right to free speech still exists at 2 A.M. The right to be a public nuisance does not exist at any time.

    The right to self defense exists in all places. But in “mysteriously different urban areas” people don’t want little old ladies to defend themselves against rapists and murderers?

    Do you know what is really exceptional about “Urban Exceptionalism?” Kitty Genovese.

  10. “Urban Exceptionalism” is some modern Poli-Sci Crap to Justify the local Feudal Lords control over the Masses. Why do you think Mickey Bloomberg of NYC thinks he can tell everyone outside his City Limits that they have to Disarm? He forgets he’s NOT Mayor of America. After all, NYC is “Special.”

  11. If you live in a rural area, and your bullets go where they aren’t supposed to, you are still in trouble. This happened a couple of weeks ago–some kids were shooting well outside city limits (no idea what they were doing/thinking exactly, maybe firing into the air? It’s not as though a proper backstop is difficult to find on the Palouse) & landed about 10 bullets in a parking lot. One actually took out some guy’s windshield. You’d better believe the prosecutor’s office is involved on that one. Those kids were just lucky that was the extent of it & they didn’t kill/injure anyone.

  12. “”What other fundamental civil rights need modification to be exercised in cities, them being all exceptional and such?”

    “Oh, civil rights like those silly old First Amendment rights. Just try exercising your “Freedom of Speech” rights loudly at 2 a.m.””

    As was already noted, it’s a strawman to say that the 2nd gives you the “right” to simply fire off a gun in an unsafe fashion, at 2 am or otherwise, city or country.

    Likewise, you can be in Mayberry and stand in the street caterwauling at 2am and Sheriff Andy (if yer lucky) or Deputy Fife (if you ain’t) is shortly going to be discussing the “free exercise” of your 1st Amendment rights vis a vis the criminal code, just like in the big ol’ city.

    Do you have any real arguments?

  13. Weer’d

    What is the point in debating anything here? Everybody has already stated that they think I’m too stupid to realize that cities and rural areas are exactly alike (despite the fact I’ve lived in both and know they have significant differences).

    I’ve travelled a lot and I’ve actually driven in Boston. While it can be frustrating because the roads are not laid out like a checkerboard, the traffic doesn’t begin to compare to LA in sheer volume. The idea of “traffic calming” on freeways is a joke.

    If I take my boombox out to a cow pasture and disturb the cows, are the cows going to call the police? I didn’t think so. Even if a human did call the police, gawd knows that it would take them hours to get there (which is why rural people need guns more than city folk). Police response in rural places is very very sloooooowwwwww.

    Joe wouldn’t be able to put on Boomershoot around here. There is nowhere to do it. If he tried to do it, hundreds of people would turn out to protest it because it’s: 1) noisy, 2) a fire hazard. They might have other complaints too — like complaints about the traffic it would create, etc.

    So, rural and urban are different, no matter how hard it is to agree with me.

    Oh, and one more thing no one ever mentions: If the police injure innocent people when they shoot guns, the city pays for the damages. If Joe Blow decides to shoot in self-defense and injures others, who pays? Does Joe Blow have a liability insurance policy to cover that?

  14. Driven I-95(128) North of Boston? You probably drove right past my gun club

    BTW the above comment actually is the first thing to sound like a rebuttal. Keep it up, and I’ll owe you an apology for calling you a troll!

    Now I’ll agree with you that Boomershoot could no way be held in Metro Boston, but let’s not confuse the issue, Boomershoot is an EXPLOSIVE event that involves guns.

    There are plenty of shooting matches that go on around here.

    And I’m curious of all of these differences, what does ANY of this have to do with the right to own, carry firearms, and the right to defend one’s life?

  15. I’m not exactly certain what is meant by “urban exceptionalism,” and I am one of the presenters at the conference. My paper is called “The Second Amendment Futurist” and contains a number of prediction concerning the social currents that I discern concerning guns and the new gun culture in America, The abstract is below. Also I am author of Rise of the Anti-Media: In-Forming America’s Concealed Weapon Carry Movement,” The National Rifle Association and the Media: The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage” and , my most recent, “The Ten Commandments of Propaganda.” I am a professor at University of Toledo. Abstract follows:

    If the seeds of the future lie in the present, then foresight is a matter of teleology, of knowing current social formations and trends. In the matter of gun rights and the Second Amendment, post-Heller, this paper advances a set of three interconnected propositional extrapolations: (1) The future will see individual rights greatly extended as to time, place and manner. The gun rights victories in DC v Heller and McDonald v Chicago, while having great semiotic and legal importance, are in nowise climaxes to the American gun rights movement; they are mile markers on a longer journey. Pre-Heller, the America gun rights movement, via right to carry legislation, had already accomplished, de facto, an unequivocally individual right to go armed in nearly 40 states, practiced by some 5 million persons, a right sheltered by “castle doctrine” and “stand-your-ground” laws. Post-Heller will see ambitious applications of incrementalist gun rights strategies on a wider scale. 2) Understanding of the Second Amendment will develop more and more as a cluster of closely related individual and collective rights. While scholars and elites have caviled over logical fallacies, e.g., mutually exclusive interpretations of the Second Amendment such as the individual v state right dichotomy, the overlapping horizontal interpretive communities of the New American Gun Culture have since about 1970 successfully promulgated both the individual right and a limited insurrectionist interpretation as a synergistic ideal. Functionally, politically at least, an informational gun rights militia now exists consisting of informed citizens potentially capable of concertive action; their voting in a body is very disconcerting to anti-gun politicians, but their range of behavior is likely to increase. Based on the apparent dominant discourse streams within gun culture, it seems most unlikely that future mainstream ideas of militia will take the form of people in camouflage who imagine themselves defending their woodlots against the United Nations. Look to see more civic formulations, with militia used only in extremis, with reservations that parallel the “reasonable person” stipulations of both new and old self-defense laws. In any case the militia ideal is powerful and comforting enough so that cannot be abandoned. It exists as a set of understandings between a large and increasing group of people. The emergence of tiered concealed carry systems, for example, could empower select groups of person, e.g., teachers or professors 3. Continued growth in magnitude of the New American gun culture as the result of (a) proselytization effects of the concealed carry movement and (b) disturbances in the American collective unconscious caused by anxieties over a perceived imminent decline of western culture. (a) Applying so-called “Diffusion of Innovation Theory” to right to carry adopters, it would seem that we are now only past the early stages in the standard “S” shaped curve of innovation, and are moving on to the more steep upward slope of mainstream adoption, where the curve become more exponential in growth. (b) Anxieties over western decline are perhaps nowhere as well evidenced as with the current zombie phenomenon in mass popular culture, which compares to the UFO and atom bomb anxieties of previous decades. Popular culture necessarily reflects the signs and symbols that are meaningful to the collective psyche. Zombies, in this sense, function merely as a sign—for disorder, chaos, overpopulation, civil breakdown and more. The zombie, symbolically speaking, is tremendously popular, and now psychologically permeates our society. I have interviewed women who report zombie dreams of fear and destruction. Some are buying guns for the first time and undertaking concealed carry training—again, not for zombies—but because of tangible anxieties over the decline in order symbolized by zombies. The zombie here symbolizes both a looming psychological threat and emergent actuality. Fear of disorder accompanied by institutional breakdown is a great motivator and accounts in part for record sales in firearms and increased numbers of women buyers and concealed pistol license holders.

    Contact me at if you wish

  16. “If I take my boombox out to a cow pasture and disturb the cows, are the cows going to call the police? I didn’t think so. Even if a human did call the police, gawd knows that it would take them hours to get there (which is why rural people need guns more than city folk). Police response in rural places is very very sloooooowwwwww.”

    First off, given that playing a boom-box to disturb cows isn’t a life-threatening offense, I don’t see why this would be a justification for rural people to have a gun. Furthermore, while police response in rural places is certainly very very slooooooowwwwww, the police in cities can’t teleport at light-speed to any crime-in-progress places either. Even in cities, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

    So, while the rural differences you point out exist, they don’t justify an outright ban on guns in the city.

    Indeed, cities are only “exceptional” in that it would typically be a lot more difficult to find large empty lots to shoot in, and if you could find such lots, chances are, they are close enough to businesses and residences that they would be annoyed by the noise, unless you were shooting in a soundproof indoor range, or you had suppressors for your guns.

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