Gun Control - The ninth amendment

A lot of you that already have the preconception that “guns are Bad” have deluded yourself into thinking the semantics of the second amendment restricts the right to gun ownership to pretty much nothing today. This is despite the fact that every bit of historical evidence, and everything the founding fathers wrote, supports the idea that the second amendment conveys the right to bear arms on the same “the People” in the other amendments.

Fine. You’ve managed to negate a human right, in your own mind, because the somewhat archaic phrasing of the second amendment has allowed you to dismiss it entirely, even though the historical context certainly clarifies it’s meaning.

And the idea that the second amendment is meaningless is strictly a result of your already chosen position - guns are Evil. It’s simply justification as an extension of your beliefs.

Some of the founding fathers were opposed to the idea of the bill of rights, because they felt that it might give the impression that people were limited to the set of rights garunteed therein. And so, the included the ninth amendment, which states:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This amendment garuntees that we have other rights than those specifically enumerated in the Constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled on several issues on ninth amendment ground, such as the right to freely travel, based on the original intent of the founding fathers.

So, even if you’ve managed to convince yourself that the phrasing of the second amendment makes it entirely meaningless, it is quite clear the founders intended us to have the right to bear arms for our own defense. From criminals, from foreign invasion, and most importantly, from our own government.

Even if the second amendment didn’t exist, we would be garunteed the right to bear arms under the ninth.

One thing people don’t seem to understand about rights is that they cannot be taken away. If you have a right, you have it. Nobody gives it to you; you simply have a right. However, rights can be infringed. A person sitting peacefully eating a sandwich has the right not to be hit on the head with a stick by a policeman, but a policeman can certainly violate that right. We have a right to exist, but someone can take away that right.

That’s what the Ninth Amendment is all about. It’s not giving rights that are not enumerated; it’s recognizing that rights exist whether or not they are enumerated.

Every living thing from amoebas to blue whales, from moss to trees to rats to people, has a right to protect itself. Grass and weeds battle for survival in our yards. Rabbits try to protect their lives from coyotes. Every living thing has a survival strategy. The strategy can be “kill or be killed”, or it can be “there’s safety in numbers”, or perhaps it is “speed is life”. Whatever the strategy, it is a basic right that all living things practice.

With humans, the most dangerous predator is another human. We have developed tools over time. Perhaps the first tool used for protection, after exhausting such things as running and hiding, was the rock. Then came pointed sticks. Then rocks attached to sticks. Knives, bows, spears… guns. In order to practice our basic right of living, we must have the tools necessary to give us a fighting chance.

It is not possible to get rid of guns. It’s been tried, and it hasn’t worked. You can be tossed in jail in Mexico for simply having a single bullet in your pocket, but that doesn’t stop massacres carried out with machine guns. Therefore, a law abiding citizen must have the right to carry a gun to protect herself or himself.

Fortunately, we in the U.S. usually don’t have to worry about bandits. Usually. But when it comes down to having a gun and living, and not having a gun and snuffing it, you’d better have a gun.

The Ninth Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms because it protects the right of a person to protect herself or himself. “Even if the second amendment didn’t exist, we would be garunteed the right to bear arms under the ninth,” says SenorBeef. True. But just to make sure, we do have the Second Amendment just the same.

Otherwise every single organism on the planet has the right to protect itself except humans.

Your analysis of the 9th Amendment is factually incorrect, Beef. The only time the Court has cited the Ninth substantively is in Griswold v. Connecticut, the birth control case. Penumbras and all that stuff. Even then, the cite to the Ninth Amendment was I can’t remember where the travel guarantee comes from, but it ain’t the Ninth. And since the right to bear arms is specifically addressed in the Second Amendment, guns just aren’t an “other” right that the Ninth purports to address in any event. Still, I’ll give you a couple points for creativity, baseless though it may be.


I agree entirely with you. And I don’t believe I said it granted any right, but it protects (a pre-existing) right from government infringement.

But thanks for clarifying that point. It’s an important one to make.

Contrary to popular belief that guns are only for killing people, many of us still get our meals with them. I also believe this was a primary reason why our founders wanted guns, to keep food in our belly’s.

Er, this comment was directed at Johnny L.A.

Do you have some factual basis for this belief?

I could give you a whole page of quotes and such, if you’d like, but the general consensus is that the founding fathers most certainly recognized our right to bare arms to defend ourselves, primarily from government. It was insurance that the government would never be able to coerce and oppress a population by force, because the populationl, as a whole, would posess greater force.

Anyway, you’re new here. I suggest you look up some previous gun control threads, where various arguments and evidence clarify what the founding fathers had to say about arms.

In other words, the Second Amendment specifically states that the People do, in fact, have the right to own firearms. If, as many erroneously propose, it does not, then the right to have the means to protect one’s self is then guaranteed by the Ninth.

I’ll have to disagree with you there. The reason that the Founders put the Second Amendment into the Bill of Rights is that they wanted the people to be able to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. The right to protect ones self from criminals and the right to hunt and to engage in shooting sports (yes, they had them then) did not need to be specifically enumerated because that would be like writing a law today saying that a person has a right to buy a telephone. It’s just a fact of life.

So a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment would be “The People have the right to own firearms so that they can be assured of living in a free nation.” The right to own a firearm for protection, hunting or sport is so obvious that it is not enumerated and thus protected by the Ninth Amendment. But the Second Amendment has come to mean over time that the people have the right to own firearms not only to ensure a free nation, but also that people have the right to own firearms for other purposes. Either way, we have the right to own firearms.


I stand corrected. I was under the impression that were various cases that were determined under the ninth amendment - in one case, “internal passport” type restrictions were found unconstitutional because the ninth amendment garunteed the unenumerated right to free travel. I don’t recall what cases this was, but I recall reading of it. I also thought Roe v. Wade, among other things, were determined the way they were because there was an unenumerated “right to privacy.”

I wouldn’t say my statements are baseless. The ninth amendment is indeed intended to clarify that there are unenumerated rights that aren’t specifically in the Bill of Rights. The only practical way to determine these rights, it would seem, would be to be looking at the intent of those who wrote the Constitution.

And… this post is geared towards people who’ve managed to convince themselves that the second amendment doesn’t garuntee a right to bear arms to the people. I’m saying: “Even if you people manage to delude yourself into thinking the second amendment is null, the ninth amendment would still cover the right to bear arms, because it is clearly something our founders intended us to have.”

Aarrghhh! That should be: “Even then, the cite to the Ninth Amendment was mostly window-dressing to prop up the right to privacy that the Court found implicit in the other amendments.” Sorry for the incomplete insert there.

So, the question begs to be asked, who is trying to take away your right to bear arms?

I wasn’t trying to downplay the issue that guns protect ourselves from the government, merely guns play an important role in feeding ones self (atleast when I lived in Kentucky for 13 years, it was a 3 hour drive to any place that sold food). It would have been absurd to put a ban on guns due to grave need of firearms in certain parts of the country. It would have been preposterous for the founders to overlook this reason.

Just because I’m new here don’t make assumptions that I haven’t already read up on previous gun threads because I have. I don’t believe I ever said that hunting was the primary reason but a primary.

But if you feel that I’m challenging the obvious, I completely recognize the fact that protection of guns is the primary reason.

The FF’s stated their reason the Second Amendment right in the text of the amendment itself. Try reading the entire thing sometime; it’s only a single sentence. If the result is inconvenient for your argument, that’s your problem. Meanwhile, failure to do so only undercuts your position.

C’mon, Elvis. You oughta know by now that the introductory clause is mere window dressing to the guarantee of the second clause. Of course, gun-rights folks never bother to exlain why the “window dressing” was important enough to add to the text of the amendment. Nor do they ever discuss the fundamental legal principle that, when interpreting a law, the courts are required to give effect to every word, not pick and choose among them. Speak not the words of such heresy.

You just amble along now, Elvis, and take those un-American activities of yours elsewhere. There’s gun-rights folks in here who are busy reinforcing their belief system and demonstrating how anybody who favors gun restrictions is intentionally evil or simply hasn’t given enough thought to the issue. Stop interrupting, okay?

Frenzy1023 wrote:

Staight from the horses…um, mouth, Rep. C. Schumer. From this site.

"Newt Gingrich and the Republican leadership are working hand in hand with the NRA and the gun lobby to use this committee to stage yet another pep rally for guns and gun nuts.

But the intellectual content of this hearing is so far off the edge that we ought to declare this an official meeting of the flat earth society.

Because the pro-gun arguments we will hear today are as flaky as the arguments of the tiny few who still insist that the earth is flat.

Like flat earth fanatics, Second Amendment fanatics just don’t get it.

Facts are facts. The earth is not flat.

And Constitutional law is Constitutional law.

The Second Amendment is not absolute.

It does not guarantee the mythical individual right to bear arms we will hear argued for today."

Minty, is that the reason these guys like to replace the wording in the Second Amendment, that they otherwise seem to revere like Scripture, that actually requires arms to be “well-regulated” with those three little dots instead?

Good thing for them that Great Debates, under board rules, is the place for religious witnessing as well, since that what the thrust of the anti-gun-control mainstream usually seems to be. You and I would both be happier if that were given a separate place from rational, fact-based, enlightenment-oriented debate instead, but we have to settle for pointing out which is which instead.

This site also has a few choice quotes (Warning: this site is pro-gun).

I’ve done no such thing.

The founding fathers did not create the right to bear arms, in order to maintain a militia, because they did not create a right to bear arms. So, if a militia is not relevant today (which most people think, and I disagree with), is the right to bare arms voided? Of course not. It’s a right. You can’t void a right.

One of the benefits of the natural right to bear arms is that the people can form a militia to overcome a tyranical government military force. This was a primary reason for including it in the bill of rights, so the government could not alter or get rid of that right, since that would be a stepping stone to tyranny.

Even if you contend that the militia is the national guard today (ha), therefore no one has the right to bear arms anymore aside from them, you’re saying that a government can do away with a right given mob rule acceptance, which is exactly what the founding fathers meant to prevent.

Besides, even if we interpret it to mean “only those in the militia…”, which is a far fetched analysis, then we only serve in disarming women and the elderly.

Oh, we don’t? Well shit, I’m glad you came along and could tell us what we do and don’t do. And all this time, I thought that those huge threads we had that disected the 2nd Amendment did a right fine job of explaining the purpose of the “A well regulated militia” and explained why it was “necessary to the security of a free State”. I guess I was wrong. Thank you for your genius in managing to lump everyone who supports gun-rights into one big package, it was masterful.


Can’t argue with that logic. And I mean that literally.