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Posted: 9/2/2001 8:40:31 PM EDT
What is the line between private rights and public security? Who should be allowed to posses arms? Under what conditions or limitations should individuals be barred the access to arms? What kind of weapons and ammunition should be allowed and what should be restricted to prevent criminal access or preserve national security secrets? And to those who dont know their history: prior to 1934 there were no restrictions what so ever. Artillery, armored fighting vehicles, and armed aircraft were all available to the public. Money was the only limiting factor. So what, if anything should be limited today?
Link Posted: 9/2/2001 8:48:20 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/2/2001 8:50:28 PM EDT
What exactly are you asking; what are the limits to the RKBA as it currently stands, or what we think should be the limits to the RKBA? Basicly, "what is", or "what should be"? Two very different questions.
Link Posted: 9/2/2001 8:50:29 PM EDT
The power of the government.
Link Posted: 9/2/2001 8:51:06 PM EDT
I would say no convicted VIOLENT felon should be ever allowed to own weapons and there should be a minimum age for full auto, say 21. Other than that, no restrictions. Before someone starts the 'they've paid their debt to society', understand that a great deal of violent crime is committed by those who have 'paid their debt'. It's simple. Most people on here agree that we are responsible for our own actions. Based on that, if you don't want to lose your 2nd Amendment rights, do not commit VIOLENT felonies.
Link Posted: 9/2/2001 8:54:11 PM EDT
Garden Weasel, shouldn't you be in bed? I know I'm too tired to mix it up here. Some of you know where I stand anyway. Goodnight.
Link Posted: 9/2/2001 9:07:38 PM EDT
Well, as to what weapons were intended, the amendment says "bear arms" so I would think they intended firearms that could be carried rather than crew-served guns or cannon. Modern grenades and other explosives would be the equivalent of circa 1780s cannon, so I would think they would be out. Other than that, any rifle or pistol, even full auto. Who? Well, that gets trickier. I am not aware of any constitutional basis for removing the right to keep and bear arms from convicted felons, even violent ones, but OTOH I do feel that it is prudent to keep those convicted of violent felonies from posessing weapons of any kind. I think a strict constitutionalist judge would have to say, in good conscience, that there is no basis for that in the constitution, but it still seems like a good idea. Not sure how to reconcile those two feelings.
Link Posted: 9/2/2001 9:42:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By RikWriter: Who? Well, that gets trickier. I am not aware of any constitutional basis for removing the right to keep and bear arms from convicted felons, even violent ones,.
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I do believe there is a constitutional provision for convicted felons losing certain rights, such as the right to vote and the right to keep and bear arms. I will try to find exactly where that is. If I can find it, I will post it.
Link Posted: 9/2/2001 10:21:18 PM EDT
Well, there is no limit to what arms we could keep according to the ORIGINAL interpretation. Hell, even the statist Federalists Madison and Hamilton said that the 2nd amendment was designed to allow for the population to destroy a standing army. By this definition, it would mean we should all be keeping rocket launchers and mortars in our homes, like in Switzerland. However, thanks to the Federalists, the irony is that they created a strong central government and a standing army to begin with. They also gave "wiggle" room to allow the constitution to be fucked around with. As a result, we're all slaves now. themao [chainsawkill]
Link Posted: 9/2/2001 11:08:31 PM EDT
Per the Second Amendment and the Constitution proper, there are NO rpt NO limitations placed upon the personal ownership of arms in general. Not "small arms," not "assault rifles," but ALL arms. If one were to able to build a personal NBC arsenal, it would be Constitutionally legal to do so and to keep it at home. Per the Federal Government, in 1934 there were created a group of arms deemed to be a "revenue" source for the government. The 1934FCA provided for the taxation of certain armaments upon the change of ownership - at the time far in excess f the cost of hte arms themselves. While introduced as a revenue measure, it is little more than a thinly veiled attempt at gun control. In 1968 (GCA) we also introduced the idea of a Federal Firearms License for vendors, licences for manufacturers, a Special Occupational Tax, and the idea of "Prohibited Possessors." Realistically, both of these laws (and all others like them) are Constitutionally invalid, but have yet to be actually challenged. Until that happens, they are likely to stand. As gun control goes, I am fully against it in principle. I would actually feel better knowing a good percentage of the populace is actually armed, rather than only the police and the other agents of hte government. FFZ
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 12:31:35 AM EDT
I go with the NO LIMITATIONS of how many or what types of arms or ammunition. Once the barn door was opened to the govt. to infringe upon the right, they cannot do anything more but continue to chip away until there is no private ownership of guns at all. If one doesn't believe that one type of firearm shouldn't be owned by individuals, then you would be welcome NEVER to buy one. Just don't go pushing your crap upon me.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 12:50:11 AM EDT
If in private, you threaten the life, liberty or pursuit of happiness of a neighbor, by UNSAFELY growing Anthrax in your basement, then maybe, just maybe.... you should be reprimanded and it be required that you make sure your actions are not unjustly harming or infringing on the rights of others. You really, really should have the equipment at hand to SAFELY grow Anthrax. Let's keep it safe out there, okay? Seriously though... The second amendment, like all those listing individual rights, isn't about "which, or how big". It's about a principle. This principle being concerned with defense of yourself and others, personal responsibility, and keeping our government in check.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 4:07:15 AM EDT
The only limit is your bank account. As to felons owning weapons, if they are too dangerous to allow them to own weapons, why are we allowing them out on the street in the first place? Also, remember this, it takes but a stroke of the pen to make each and every one of us a felon, without us doing anything different than we did yesterday. You want to lose your right to protect your family because some politician got a hair up it's ass? Nope, if they can be trusted back out in polite company, then they ought not be denied the fundamental right of self defense. Otherwise keep them locked up, or better yet, Bottany Bay them, Mars comes to mind.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 4:26:57 AM EDT
Given the fact that most of the rifles, some of the cannon, and a few of the ships that fought the Revolutionary War came from private sources, I have to register my vote for: NO RESTRICTIONS After the Civil War, the Union allowed the Confederate officers to keep their revolvers and horses. I do believe the enlisted Rebels were allowed to keep their rifles as well. All they had to do was swear allegiance to the US. Hmmmm. Seems to me if there was anyone the federal gov't. feared, it would've been members of the Confederacy. YET THEY WERE ALLOWED TO KEEP THE WEAPONS WHICH WERE USED TO KILL UNITED STATES SOLDIERS. Tell that to the libs.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 4:32:23 AM EDT
As to felons owning weapons, if they are too dangerous to allow them to own weapons, why are we allowing them out on the street in the first place?
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I agree. If you can't do the time, then don't do the crime. OTOH, once you do your time, your debt is paid. The right of self defense is a natural right.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 4:48:29 AM EDT
Well, if the right to keep and bear arms is restored to those felons who have successfully served their time, do you likewise believe that their right to vote should also be restored? I'd have problems with that one, 'cause there would be a whole lot more votes going to DEMOS if criminals could vote! Eric The(HellSomeOfThePoliticiansAreCriminals,Just­Unconvicted)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 5:25:33 AM EDT
The second amendment [i]is [/i]limit. It is put on the government, not on the citizenry. Read the actual words. It is not giving us a restricted right, it is telling the government not to infringe an existing right. Norm
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 5:28:21 AM EDT
Well, if the right to keep and bear arms is restored to those felons who have successfully served their time, do you likewise believe that their right to vote should also be restored?
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Only if they own land [;D] [rant] I hear people go on and on about god given and natural rights, but then in the same sentence they want to restrict felons and tards from owning guns. It don't work that way. If it is a god given right, then all you have to do is realize that it is your god given right. Once you start down the other path, then who determines what a tard is? Who determines what a felony is? Do you have to get a clean bill of health from a shrink (maybe the most screwed up bunch of people on the planet) to own a firearm. Will you become a felon in the future for simply owning over 1,000 rounds of ammo? If a tard or felon commits a crime then put them in jail/nuthouse (period).[/rant]
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 5:37:21 AM EDT
Dr. David Cordea wrote a good article in Guns and ammo about this. He said the 2nd amendment protects the individual right to own any [i]personal[/i] arms. That, meaning any arms that are carried by a soldier, and operated by one person/soldier/minuteman. A crew-operated weapon, or Atomic device is not protected; and really, folks, that is a good thing. No restriction, i.e., everyone has access to [b]anything[/b]? Count me out. What has changed is in the 1700's, there [b]were no psychos that went on shooting sprees[/b]. There was no worry of massacres like that.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 5:39:17 AM EDT
Stubbs, doesn't that then argue for the fact that every man be armed? If for no other purpose but self defense?
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 5:50:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2001 5:58:30 AM EDT by Kharn]
My belief is that "Arms" covers any weapon that can be carried by 3 people or less, and nothing can limit the right of anyone to own such implements of war. I also believe that any weapon should be available to any person. If a felon is so dangerous that they cannot be trusted with an M16, why are they out of prison? Prisoners shouldnt be released until they are 100% rehabilitated. Open and concealed carry are covered under the Second Amendment (bear arms means to carry them), in my opinion. No minimum age for anything. I would expect shop keepers, and private sellers, to exercise discretion, such as not selling to the kid they know to be a troublemaker. Kharn PS: 500th post, quite fitting in my mind.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 5:57:56 AM EDT
Originally Posted By hielo: Stubbs, doesn't that then argue for the fact that every man be armed? If for no other purpose but self defense?
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How so?
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 6:35:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2001 6:36:50 AM EDT by zazou]
I would say no limits on arms. YEp, if I want a LAW I should be able to have one. But I'll point this out and go one further... "...a well regulated militia being necessary..." Not only should we not have the right, but the Constitution specifically points out that we should own them, should use them and should train with them. Hmmm, is their a range where I can practice with my Stinger ATA? I just got a case at Walmart on special. Zaz [;)] "I have given up trying to understand people out in favor of mocking them."
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 6:52:21 AM EDT
Many argue the amendment itself contains a limitation: the arms one can have are those one can "bear." There is substantial evidence from the constitutional debates regarding the second amendment that felons/criminals can be denied firearms. Though some lamemt that once you are released from prison you "have paid your debt," I wonder why we don't consider the prohibition on owning a firearm yet another part of that "debt." Why do we presume prison is the only or last part of a persons punishment (or "debt"). Perhaps we should consider the ownership prohibition "continuing debt"[wacko] There's something else we should consider. Suppose the SCOTUS declares the 2nd is an individual right, etc, maybe stemming from emerson, whatever. Of course firearm ownership could still be regulated. Many claim it would not be unconstitutional to register guns. After all, you aren't being denied the RKBA. And the slippery slope argument would be weak considering the new precedent. Just something to think about
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 6:56:12 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 9:20:39 AM EDT
Stubbs, You wrote "What has changed is in the 1700's, there were no psychos that went on shooting sprees. There was no worry of massacres like that." Whelp, in my mind that argues for universal arms. I for one live in this world and would not think about going out and about unarmed. Not only is it fool hardy, but it is irresponsible, why should my neighbors have to shoulder the burden of protecting me and mine?
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 10:02:53 AM EDT
My soundbite answer would be "civilians can own anything they can lift, and I include hand jacks in my definition of lift." Maybe this would encourage more physical fitness among shooters. The slightly less smartass answer would be "anything the police can own". If the police need full auto MP-5's because of all the heavily armed drug dealers out there, so do I; after all, I might run into the same drug dealers. If they need flashbangs for room clearing, I get them too. If they've got armored cars with machineguns mounted, I can whip out my credit card and order one up for myself.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 10:44:31 AM EDT
NO RESTRICTIONS. If we adhere to the Constitution, it would allow for the private ownership of any arms, any arms. Perhaps, I would agree to the prohibition of NBC weapons, but that would be the extent of it. I would not agree to any limitations on caiber or bore, unless the military must adhere to those limitations as well, both of which I think would be a bad idea because we would be intentionally limiting our resistance capabilities against a foreign invader. As it is, it is unconstitutional for felons to be debarred their RKBA. Technically, you cannot blatantly destroy the rights of a group, only the individual, so if we do everything by the book (unlike how it's currently done), only those individuals who commit especially vicious or heinous crimes with firearms should be banned from owning firearms.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 11:05:58 AM EDT
Ok, here is my take on how the Second ought to be interpreted for the current era. First off the reasons for the Second. 1.To permit the unorganized branch of the Militia to arm itself. 2. To encourage the portion of the population of military age to acquire some experience with arms, in order to ease the transition to military service in the event we have to resort to the draft again. 3. Personal protection. Studies show that a armed society has less violent crime, however it is clear that personal protection from criminal elements was NOT considered as a reason to protect the right to bear arms by the members of the Constitutional Convention or the 1st Congress, which drafted the Bill of Rights. The dispersal of arms was to safeguard against tyrrany. However, it has become TRADITION that part of the reason we have a right to bear arms is for personal protection, and that is clearly shown in the records of the debates for the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Acts of 1865 and 1871. Still it has to rank behind the military purpose of the Second Amendment. 4. Subsistance and survival. The only thing that Americans have traditionally used firearms for more than self defense is to feed themselves. Some styles of hunting practiced in the US, like the pursuit of deer and wild turkey, have come to have a certain martial aspect to them as well, and are a very valuable training asset. But this is a completely practical argument. Nowhere in the 2nd Amendment, or in the arguments for its passing, did its supporters list the use of firearms for sport or obtaining food as a civil right. Nor was such a argument put forward when passing the 14th Amendment, or any of the Civil Rights bills based on it. And as we all know, until 1934 it was possible to acquire any kind of weapon- including artillery, armed aircraft, and armored fighting vheicles. However, none of the weapons in these catagories had the range or power that they do now at the begining of the twenty first century.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 11:10:08 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 11:11:46 AM EDT
Originally Posted By hielo: Stubbs, You wrote "What has changed is in the 1700's, there were no psychos that went on shooting sprees. There was no worry of massacres like that." Whelp, in my mind that argues for universal arms. I for one live in this world and would not think about going out and about unarmed. Not only is it fool hardy, but it is irresponsible, why should my neighbors have to shoulder the burden of protecting me and mine?
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Being out and about armed does nothing against weapons of mass destruction. You cannot defend yourself from biological weapons, or radiation; unless you have a new gun I have never heard of before.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 11:32:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By stubbs:
Originally Posted By hielo: Stubbs, You wrote "What has changed is in the 1700's, there were no psychos that went on shooting sprees. There was no worry of massacres like that." Whelp, in my mind that argues for universal arms. I for one live in this world and would not think about going out and about unarmed. Not only is it fool hardy, but it is irresponsible, why should my neighbors have to shoulder the burden of protecting me and mine?
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Being out and about armed does nothing against weapons of mass destruction. You cannot defend yourself from biological weapons, or radiation; unless you have a new gun I have never heard of before.
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Stubbs, my man, how do we go from shooting massacres to biological attacks? And, just as an aside, there have been any number of biological attacks all throughout history, from the US government giving small pox infected blankets to indians to tossing rotting cows with catapaults. You use the tools at your disposal to kill your enemy.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 11:35:16 AM EDT
According to the book "The Seven Myths of Gun Control", apparantly the Swiss are allowed, and even encouraged to purchase light crew served weapons from their government for the defense of the state. This includes, anti-tank guns, anti-tank missles, Surface to air missiles, rpgs, belt fed MGs....... A true militia, prepared to fight against a tyrannical gov't would have little chance without these weapons. Why do you think they are illegal!!! Also, according to the book, Kaiser Wilhem II was said to have asked a Swiss militia man what he would do if an army of 500,000 Germans Marched on the 250,000 strong army of Swiss. The militia man replied "Shoot Twice!". The Kaiser decided the Swiss were best left alone. Also, according to the book, the Nazis had drawn up several invasion plans of Switzerland, but abandonded them as the battle would be deemed too costly! Hmmmm, maybe there is method to their madness. As of this, I would vote for NO RESTRICTIONS. If you can afford an M1 Abrams, and can keep it maintained and ready to go, more power to ya! You will also note, that the UN investigation into gun crimes, completely ignored Switzerland! Even if we fall victim to socialism (due to an absolutely stupid and selfish majority of the population), I sure hope they can maintain their freedom! Just my opinion.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 11:36:14 AM EDT
This thread is truly amazing! Some of you really get it. Others, well, let's just say, if you were in power, government would be just as arbitrary as it is now. I'd especially like to point out how foolish those of you who say things like "weapons served by 3 people or fewer" sound. My god, it's as arbitrary as a "10 round magazine limit!" Tell me, where are you getting this from except out of your own heads? I'd say the whole issue is moot. The US Constitution isn't limiting the role of government in any way. Despite all our huffing and puffing over rights and so on, the Constitution is pretty much null and void at this point in American history. Your time would be better spent adapting to this new reality and stop worrying about what once was. The truth is this: At any time, based on the whim of some cop or federal agent or judge or politician or whoever, a group of armed men can come to into your home on the very weakest of pretenses and either remove you forcefully or kill you outright. If you survive, you will have nearly zero legal redress because the laws and the courts are stacked against the citizen, we can't even understand all the convoluted laws in the first place. We have an inalienable right to self defense. It isn't based on the Constitution. It includes any weapon, however terrible or devastating. Beware though--you may end up killing thousands of innocent bystanders and yourself if you unleash anthrax or set off a nuke. Weapons selection is a rational, not a legal, process--you don't burn your house down to kill cockroaches, do you?
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 11:42:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 11:55:25 AM EDT
Based on this, I think the compromise between tradtion, function, and public safety is this. All kinds of firearms should be legal. Including MG's and cannon. HOWEVER, no high explosive ammunition should be available over the counter to the general public during peace time. The dispursion of high explosive munitons presents a security problem. They become too easy to steal. Criminals are unlikely to buy the stuff, but they would steal it and use it either for terrorist attacks or to rob banks. There is also the matter of ensuring safe storage and guarding against accidental fire and explosion without incurring a excessive entanglement of of public safety officials in the private lives of the gun owners. So anyone who would like to own a artillery piece, as in field artillery, would have to settle for blanks. Infantry weapons that would have been considered artillery in the past; mortars, recoilless guns, and rocket launchers, could be allowed inert TP rounds in addition to blanks, since they are direct fire or short ranged. Such a restriction still allows these weapons to be used for their training function, and maintains them as a force in being as a hedge against tyranny. Live ammunition would be obtained from the military in time of war. If the government itself was the enemy, ammunition could still be obtained by force from National Guard stores, or by going to the civilian plants that manufacture them and taking them over, or by other means (clandestine manufacture) that under normal circumstances would be illegal. Most guided missile systems would still be restircted due to national security concerns about their guidence and controll systems, in addition to the same safety conscerns that cover every other weapon with a HE warhead. A few antique systems (like say SS11 or Sagger) could be excepted as long as they have dummy warheads. Most 1st gen ATGW were little more than rocket powered model planes with a bomb attached to begin with. AFV's and aircraft- both of which are already leagal to own- would still have to be barred from mounting functional weapons during peace. While no one would buy a tank to rob a bank, they might steal one from a collector, then abandon it after they were done with it. While it would be a simple matter to stop a Sherman on a rampage by handing a cop a LAW, what happens when it comes time to retire the M1 and they go up on sale as tractors? It is a similar thing with the increasing number of jet fighters intering the ranks of private aviation. They have training value, yes, but they do not have to have live weapons for training. Both AFV's and aircraft can easily be reactivated in a matter of hours once parts and munitions are supplied, they can still fulfill their function as a hedge against tyranny while not being so easily stolen and abused. Frankly even if a tyrannical government were to clamp down and confiscate private AFV's and combat aircraft from collectors it would be no great loss. Insurgancies are the best ways of overthrowing corrupt governmetns, and AFV's and aircraft are not great weapons for insurgants, at lest not untill the very final stages of the rebellion. The only reason I include them is that they would be useful in the other extreme, to protect a government from a insurrection, where the militia was cooperating with the government. In which case a few functional AFV's, even if antiquated, would be quite beneficial and would serve to keep casualties down
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 12:46:03 PM EDT
The militia is irregular light infantry. Limits are any useful tactical items one can carry. With some reasonable exceptions: Felons are disenfranchised, are not part of the militia, and have no second ammendment rights. Zoning laws must count to regulate explosives storage. People have a right to believe that there are no explosives factories or storages in their neighborhoods. No weapons of mass destruction: biological, nuclear, chemical, etc. This is the intent of the Constitution. This scares the f**k out of wealthy radical socialists. The truth is that there may be a successful holding effort to stop any new gun laws. The police-only weapons and magazines serves to further separate the police from the militia and works toward an eventual total Police State that is totally corrupt. But if you want pre-ban features buy a preban. If you want greater than ten round magazines buy them now. Smart money is betting that most of the current gun laws will remain. When you hear "do it for the children" make it known that saving the Second Ammendment is what we can do "for the children".
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 3:46:57 PM EDT
Amendment II A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed In order to "interpret" the 2nd Amendment it has to be taken apart, each term, and as a whole What is a "militia"? What is a "well regulated militia"? What is meant by "the right of the people" is that individuals or collective as some suggest. And if it is a collective right, if you restrict a group of individuals from owning something, isn't that a collective restriction? If it is collective, but applicable to individuals, is it possible that they meant as a group we can.... But you as an individual can "disqualify" yourself from that right? What is meant by "keep and bear arms" what is an "arm" I think you have to get the LEGAL sense of all those words and terms before you can read the whole amendment. Sorry I got wordy there. I'm not sure what it all means. I kinda think that is the way the Founding Fathers wanted it. The US Constitution is a intriguing document, written by very wise men. Too bad later amendments are in "legalese".
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 3:52:13 PM EDT
Glad you asked OLY-M4gery: If you wanted to know all about the Big Bang, you'd ring up Carl Sagan, right? And if you wanted to know about desert warfare, the man to call would be Norman Schwartzkopf, no question about it. But who would you call if you wanted the top expert on American usage to tell you the meaning of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution? That was the question I asked A.C. Brocki, editorial coordinator of the Los Angeles Unified School District and formerly senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Publishers -- who himself had been recommended to me as the foremost expert on English usage in the Los Angeles school system. Mr. Brocki told me to get in touch with Roy Copperud, a retired professor of journalism at the University of Southern California and the author of American Usage and Style. The Consensus. A little research lent support to Brocki's opinion of Professor Copperud's expertise. Roy Copperud was a newspaper writer on major dailies for over three decades before embarking on a distinguished seventeen-year career teaching journalism at USC. Since 1952, Copperud has been writing a column dealing with the professional aspects of journalism for Editor and Publisher, a weekly magazine focusing on the journalism field. He's on the usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and Merriam Webster's Usage Dictionary frequently cites him as an expert. Copperud's fifth book on usage, American Usage and Style: The Consensus, has been in continuous print since 1981, and is the winner of the Association of American Publisher's Humanities Award. That sounds like an expert to me. After a brief telephone call to Professor Copperud in which I introduced myself but did not give him any indication of why I was interested, I sent the following letter: "I am writing you to ask you for your professional opinion as an expert in English usage, to analyze the text of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and extract the intent from the text. "The text of the Second Amendment is, 'A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.' "The debate over this amendment has been whether the first part of the sentence, 'A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,' is a restrictive clause or a subordinate clause, with respect to the independent clause containing the subject of the sentence, 'the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.' "I would request that your analysis of this sentence not take into consideration issues of political impact or public policy, but be restricted entirely to a linguistic analysis of its meaning and intent. Further, since your professional analysis will likely become part of litigation regarding the consequences of the Second Amendment, I ask that whatever analysis you make be a professional opinion that you would be willing to stand behind with your reputation, and even be willing to testify under oath to support, if necessary." My letter framed several questions about the text of the Second Amendment, then concluded:
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 3:53:12 PM EDT
"I realize that I am asking you to take on a major responsibility and task with this letter. I am doing so because, as a citizen, I believe it is vitally important to extract the actual meaning of the Second Amendment. While I ask that your analysis not be affected by the political importance of its results, I ask that you do this because of that importance." Questions and Answers After several more letters and phone calls, in which we discussed terms for his doing such an analysis, but in which we never discussed either of our opinions regarding the Second Amendment, gun control, or any other political subject, Professor Copperud sent me the following analysis (into which I have it italicized my questions for the sake of clarity): The words "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state," contrary to the interpretation cited in your letter of July 26, 1991, constitutes a present participle, rather than a clause. It is used as an adjective, modifying "militia," which is followed by the main clause of the sentence (subject "the right," verb "shall"). The right to keep and bear arms is asserted as essential for maintaining a militia. In reply to your numbered questions: (1) Can the sentence be interpreted to grant the right to keep and bear arms solely to "a well-regulated militia"? The sentence does not restrict the right to keep and bear arms, nor does it state or imply possession of the right elsewhere or by others than the people; it simply makes a positive statement with respect to a right of the people. (2) Is "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" granted by the words of the Second Amendment, or does the Second Amendment assume a pre-existing right of the people to keep and bear arms, and merely state that such right "shall not be infringed"? The right is not granted by the amendment; its existence is assumed. The thrust of the sentence is that the right shall be preserved inviolate for the sake of ensuring a militia. (3) Is the right of the people to keep and bear arms conditioned upon whether or not a well-regulated militia, is, in fact, necessary to the security of a free State, and if that condition is not existing, is the statement "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" null and void? No such condition is expressed or implied. The right to keep and bear arms is not said by the amendment to depend on the existence of a militia. No condition is stated or implied as to the relation of the right to keep and bear arms and to the necessity of a well-regulated militia as a requisite to the security of a free state. The right to keep and bear arms is deemed unconditional by the entire sentence. (4) Does the clause 'A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, " grant a right to the government to place conditions on the "right of the people to keep and bear arms, " or is such right deemed unconditional by the meaning of the entire sentence? The right is assumed to exist and to be unconditional, as previously stated. It is invoked here specifically for the sake of the militia.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 3:55:04 PM EDT
(5) Which of the following does the phrase "well-regulated militia" mean: "well-equipped, " "well-organized, " "well-drilled, " "well-educated, " or "subject to regulations of a superior authority"? The phrase means "subject to regulations of a superior authority;" this accords with the desire of the writers for civilian control over the military. (6) If at all possible, I would ask you to take into account the changed meanings of words, or usage, since that sentence was written two-hundred years ago, but not take into account historical interpretations of the intents of the authors, unless those issues cannot be clearly separated. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no change in the meaning of words or in usage that would affect the meaning of the amendment. If it were written today, it might be put: "Since a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged." (7) As a "scientific control" on this analysis, I would also appreciate it if you could compare your analysis of the text of the Second Amendment to the following sentence: "A well-schooled electorate, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and read Books, shall not be infringed." My questions for the usage analysis of this sentence would be, (A) Is the grammatical structure and usage of this sentence and the way the words modify each other identical to the Second Amendment's sentence?; and (B) Could this sentence be interpreted to restrict "the right of the people to keep and read Books" only to "a well-educated electorate" -- for example, registered voters with a high-school diploma? (A) Your "scientific control" sentence precisely parallels the amendment in grammatical structure. (B) There is nothing in your sentence that either indicates or implies the possibility of a restricted interpretation. Concluding Comment Professor Copperud had only one additional comment, which he placed in his cover letter: "With well-known human curiosity, I made some speculative efforts to decide how the material might be used, but was unable to reach any conclusion." So now we have been told by one of the top experts on American usage what many knew all along: the Constitution of the United States unconditionally protects the people's right to keep and bear arms, forbidding all governments formed under the Constitution from abridging that right.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 3:55:18 PM EDT
As I write this, the attempted coup against constitutional government in the Soviet Union has failed, apparently because the will of the people in that part of the world to be free from capricious tyranny is stronger than the old guard's desire to maintain a monopoly on dictatorial power. And here in the United States, elected lawmakers, judges, and appointed officials who are pledged to defend the Constitution of the United States ignore, marginalize, or prevaricate about the Second Amendment routinely. American citizens are put in American prisons for carrying arms, owning arms of forbidden sorts, or failing to satisfy bureaucratic requirements regarding the owning and carrying of firearms -- all of which is an abridgement of the unconditional right of the people to keep and bear arms, guaranteed by the Constitution. Even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), staunch defender of the rest of the Bill of Rights, stands by and does nothing. It seems it is up to those who believe in the right to keep and bear arms to preserve that right. No one else will. No one else can. Will we beg our elected representatives not to take away our rights, and continue regarding them as representing us if they do? Will we continue obeying judges who decide that the Second Amendment doesn't mean what it says it means but means whatever they say it means in their Orwellian doublespeak? Or will we simply keep and bear the arms of our choice, as the Constitution of the United States promises us we can, and pledge that we will defend that promise with our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor?
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 4:02:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2001 4:05:39 PM EDT by OLY-M4gery]
Well that is a very intersting, and scholarly interpretation of the 2nd. But again it is one man's. And I understand how it could be interpretted to mean the militia need only be the possiblity of a militia. But I think if other interpretted it they may look at a more "word by word" interpretation. Meaing that they would opine the "well regulated militia" must be an actual entity. It didn't answer what is an "arm" or what exaclty "keep and bear arms" means. Yes it is the most "political" part of the Constution. Them ACLU rascals, they have there own little agenda, and they try to cover it up by saying "we are defending the Constitution (the parts of it we like anyway)".
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 4:07:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2001 4:29:04 PM EDT by hielo]
Proper Attribution: THE TEXT OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT By J. Neil Schulman [Edited to add the last name...duh]
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 4:10:01 PM EDT
The only asnwer to anyone who has a hard time with the 2nd is "There is none so blind as he who won't see". . It is as plain as can be, allowing some anti-folks to question what it says allows them to control the debate, and he who controls the debate, wins the debate. No thanks, none for me. I know what the foundation documents say, I have read them and I have agreed to them, my social contract acceptance is based on these documents; not what some beaurucrat says they might, or might not mean, depending on how it suits them at the time.
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 4:17:00 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 5:01:35 PM EDT
Originally Posted By hielo:
Originally Posted By stubbs:
Originally Posted By hielo: Stubbs, You wrote "What has changed is in the 1700's, there were no psychos that went on shooting sprees. There was no worry of massacres like that." Whelp, in my mind that argues for universal arms. I for one live in this world and would not think about going out and about unarmed. Not only is it fool hardy, but it is irresponsible, why should my neighbors have to shoulder the burden of protecting me and mine?
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Being out and about armed does nothing against weapons of mass destruction. You cannot defend yourself from biological weapons, or radiation; unless you have a new gun I have never heard of before.
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Stubbs, my man, how do we go from shooting massacres to biological attacks? And, just as an aside, there have been any number of biological attacks all throughout history, from the US government giving small pox infected blankets to indians to tossing rotting cows with catapaults. You use the tools at your disposal to kill your enemy.
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Read my original post. You say NO RESTRICTIONS on ANYTHING. Nothing short of [i]atomic devices and weapons of biological warfare[/i]. In the 1700s, there was no worry of someone using their weapon of mass destruction (i.e, their cannons) on innocent people. Magnify that cannon to a nuclear warhead, and add the spice of the psychos we now have in our society, and you have a quickly obliterated population. Simple. [b]AND[/b], you cannot defend yourself against a nuclear warhead. So why on earth would you support [b]no restrictions[/b] whatsoever? Not a good idea. [i]That is how we go from self defense to biological attacks.[/i]
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 5:05:04 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 5:16:21 PM EDT
Stubbs, where is your average gang-banger going to get a nuclear device from?
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 5:18:56 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/3/2001 5:47:24 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Goad: Felons are disenfranchised, are not part of the militia, and have no second ammendment rights. This is the intent of the Constitution.
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This is completely incorrect. The Constitution makes no mention whatsoever of "felons" or even criminals. Felons certainly are part of the militia, and, Constitutionally, they certainly do have Second Amendment rights. Only the GCA of 1968 stripped them as a whole of their rights to keep and bear arms, an unconstitutional act in and of itself. You may deny those charged with a crime of life, liberty, and property ONLY through the judgement of a court, not an act of Congress. Congress does not have the legal right to disarm anyone short of an amendment. However, the courts DO have the right to prohibit criminals from firearms ownership (or other loss of life, liberty, or property) on an individual basis, not en masse. For example, if a judge has a case come before him where someone used a firearm in a violent crime, it may be appropriate to remove his or her right to keep and bear arms. But you can't just say "anyone convicted of a felony may not own firearms." That is unconstitutional, yet it is the current practice of the judicial system simply because such a case has not come before the Supreme Court challenging the GCA of 1968, or the NFA of 1934 for that matter (with the exception of US v. Miller, which is a whole other story).
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