Normally, we don’t edit thread titles. However, I decided to modify this one because the title that had been used said absolutely nothing about what was actually being discussed. Thus, I added the parenthetical note.
In the recorded writings of the authors and supporters of the Second Amendment, there is no doubt that they meant that the Federal government should not interfere at all with citizens owning firearms. Thus, no court is likely to reinterpret the amendment focusing on a “militia”.
That being said, the founders also recognized that times change and people too. Jefferson believed that the Constitution should be completely re-written every generation or so. It took an amendment (and a costly war) to outlaw slavery. Thus a re-write of the second is possible but very unlikely.
Localities have banned guns in the present and past. Most NRA members conveniently ignore the practice of guns bans in the western U.S. Much like now, the bans were the response of local officials exasperated by gun violence. Howard Hawk’s Rio Bravo shows a fictional example with sheriff Duke and deputy Dino collecting guns.
The NRA is involved with restricting local rights to control firearms by lobbying state governments to grant “sweetheart deals”, for example forbidding localities from suing gun makers over gun violence. The NRA can do this since the constitution essentially grants no rights to local governements except those granted by the states themselves.
Of course, to really collect all guns, you need a police state, a cure far worse than the disease. Despite the ULs from the NRA, even the commies in Soviet Russia never banned all firearms. Hunting was and is a popular sport, and on the frontier of Siberia, killing varmits is just as necessary as in the western U.S. So why didn’t firearm toting Russians oust the reds?
Because it was a police state with machine guns, an army of informers, the Gulag, and a pitiless desire to kill anyone who opposed the party.
(Heck, even Lee Harvey Oswald went hunting during his sojurn in the Soviet Union. The informer assigned to Oswald noted that he wasn’t a very good shot.)
Uh…The Supreme Court has already determined the 4th and 11th Amendments apply to the individual. Why is the 2nd one a stretch? Although, it doesn’t say:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to kill deer, cause havoc, make our country the leader in 1st world homicide, facilitate moments of passion into massive body counts with legal handguns and semi-automatic assault rifles with armor piercing rounds and the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
So, if someone argues the Second Amendment allows them a gun…fine, but they can only break it out when they practive their marches BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THE AMENDMENT SAYS!
Again, I direct y’all to this thread, where I’m making the argument that the original intent of the Second Amendment was its application to militias. Contrary to what Nixon says, the recorded writings–and the submitted draft–of the Second Amendment’s author, James Madison, suggest that he did not have private gun ownership in mind. Compare, also, the language of the “right to arms” clause in the Articles of Confederation, which are explicitly directed at gun use by militias, with the phrasing of the Second Amendment. Finally, note that the USSC, in United States v. Miller, pronounced the intent of the amendment to be the investiture of militia members, rather than individuals in general, with the right to “bear arms”–a phrase which was used almost exclusively in a military sense in Revolutionary times. The matter is, at the least, murky–wholesale historical revisionism aside.
I’m gonna try to hijack this one a bit. Since there is already a thread about the legality of the second amendment, let’s argue whether gun control would actually work.
Now, just to play devil’s advocate, wouldn’t it actually work better to deter criminals and prevent violent crime if we armed everyone. I mean, in Switzerland everyone is armed with an assault weapon and trained in it’s use. The Swiss crime rate is very low.
This is going to sound very trite, but if guns were illegal, then only criminals would have guns. By which I mean, the people with violent intentions would still be able to get guns through their underground contacts (or whatever) and thusly would still be able to commit violent crimes. Only thing is that in this instance they would be commiting those crimes against people who would not be armed to fight them at all.
(please note the author of this post is actually a gun control advocate. He is just arguing this side to further the debate.)
I hope you do realize that:
[li]“semi-automatic assault rifle” is a contradiction in terms. If it’s only semi-automatic, it’s not an assault rifle. (“Assault weapons”, on the other hand, are whatever Federal and State lawmakers say they are.) And:[/li][li]Armor-piercing ammunition is already illegal.[/li][/ul]
I agree with PVonAtark – rather than argue the constitutionality of gun control, let’s argue it’s effect.
To me the gun control debate boils down to the problem of dividing gun-owners into two groups: those that are responsible with their weapons, and those that aren’t.
“Responsible” means keeping the weapon under control of the (legal?) owner, not a child or criminal. It also means understanding and mitigating the risks (i.e., safety training).
If we could keep guns from irresponsible people, would it help? Would we want to?
If only there was a way to license firearm owners the way drivers are licensed. Problem is, that is the natural first step in a totalitarian gun revocation process, so people will never go for it. Is there any way for the government to credibly say “We want to license all gun owners to ensure you know how to handle a gun safely, how to keep it from kids, etc. We promise never to take guns away from the people.”?
[hijack] PVonAtark – what does that mean, if I may ask? Hardwood Paneling, in case you’re interested, means nothing. I just think it’s funny for some reason.
But…if…you’re not interested…uh…[shuffles off]
ASMODEAS: In a way the 2nd Admendment DOES apply only to the Militia. If you read the Milita Act, passed around the same time, it defines “militia” as every able-bodied man with a Gun. Thus, if you have a GUN, you’re a member of the “MILITIA”. What they were saying, that along with the RIGHT to own a gun, you also had the RESPONSIBILITY to turn out and defend your Country if it was attacked.
Saying that the right to own a gun applies only to the Militia, and then redefinng the Militia so it is only the National Army is wrong. Writing by the Founding fathers & writers of the Bill of rights makes this clear.
Based upon that wrong reasoning, you could just as well say that the right to a “free press” applies only if it is a NEWSPAPER, and that printed on a actual PRESS (which few, if any, are), you could also say that there are NO “religous freedoms” in this country, except that the FEDERAL Gov’t cannot establish a State religion. Based upon that, they could still be burning “witches”. I don’t think so.
In any case, there is another thread right here that covers this whole thing, and does it better.
Daniel: When you asked me to answer your questions, I did my best. When are you going to address the argument I’ve been making, pursuant especially to the ineffectualness of the Militia Act, Madison’s submitted draft of the Second Amendment, and the findings of United States v. Miller? I feel like I’ve rebutted your points, or at least provided fodder for a response, yet you keep saying the same thing, without acknowledgment of dissent… Couldja help me out?
It’s worth noting that a lot of people have been shot by gun owners who gave no evidence of violating either of those two conditions, at least up to the moment they decided to start shooting (at which point they were no longer mitigating risks).
I don’t think it does any good, on any issue, to divide people sharply like that. People tend to be more diffuse. There are people who belong at varying points along the spectrum from responsible to irresponsible. There are people who are law-abiding, there are career criminals, and there are people who are moving from one to the other, in both directions. Plenty of people who’ve opened fire in recent years have had only minor infractions before the day they became mass murderers.
No, while requiring gun owners to demonstrate that they know how to handle their weapon correctly and responsibly is quite reasonable, that won’t prove by any stretch that those who pass would necessarily be responsible. It’s still worth doing, IMO, but it’s no more than a small piece of the puzzle.
Well, there’s the people, for one thing. And as a group, the American people seem to have a basic sense of fairness. It seems clear that (a) the people have thought for a long time that gun registration is a good idea, but (b) they don’t want to take people’s guns away, unless the guns in question are more of an offensive weapon than one best used for self-defense or for hunting deer and whatnot.
I really can’t see that that’s likely to change. There’s always been a strong streak of ‘I may not want to do X, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it if you want’ in American life. That seems to apply just as much to hunting as to everything else. Yes, there are a few hardcore leftists who would ban hunting, but hey, you’ve got more than a few hardcore right-wingers who would ban ‘Satanic’ rock groups from playing in their towns. But on the whole, your bulwark against ‘government’ confiscation is that there’s just not going to be a lot of people for it.
And to get something through Congress, either there has to be a lot of popular will behind it, or a lot of money behind it. Since there’s no money to be made off a gun ban, I’d say this one’s pretty safe.
I was staying out of the militia angle, but jeez, Daniel. Between that ideal and the situation today there is a 200 year gap which is occupied by reality. Anyone who legally gets ahold of a gun is automatically a member of a military organization? Who’s your commanding officer? Where to you report when to balloon goes up? With specifically no registration, how do the others know you’re there and vice versa? Infantrymen armed with snub-nosed revolvers or .22’s? How much less well-regulated can you get?