Fri Feb 1, 2013, 06:32 AM
xchrom (108,903 posts)
Why the 'Citizen Militia' Theory Is the Worst Pro-Gun Argument Ever
A detail of the Minutemen statue in Lexington, Massachusetts (Tim Grafft/Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism/Flickr)
The notion that an individual right to bear arms guarantees the American people against government tyranny is of course an old one. Given its apparent validation in the Second Amendment of the Constitution itself, it's not surprising that the notion has survived in some way through to the 21st century. Given its defiance of history and common sense, though, what should be surprising is that it's survived to remain so widespread.
If America experienced a widespread political uprising today, it would bear little resemblance to Lexington and Concord in 1775, with well-disciplined minutemen assembling on the town square to defend liberty against the redcoats. It would more likely be a larger scale reenactment of the "Bleeding Kansas" revolt of 1854 to 1861, when small bands of armed zealots unleashed an orgy of inter-communal violence, unbounded by any laws of war or human decency.
There is, we all know, a Second Amendment right to gun ownership. Under our constitutional form of government, the Supreme Court has the authority to decide what the Constitution means, and after decades of judicial ambiguity, in District of Columbia v. Heller a majority of the justices found an individual right to gun ownership, unrelated to membership in a state militia. But the Heller decision also makes it clear that this is not an unlimited right, and that it may be subject to extensive government regulation.
However, in recent years, the belief in widespread gun ownership as a defense against tyrannical government has become an alluring idea, gaining traction with members of Congress as well as fringe conspiracy theorists. As Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma put it just last week, "The Second Amendment wasn't written so you can go hunting, it was to create a force to balance a tyrannical force here." And if this is insufficiently incendiary, one only need look to the doctrine of the "Three Percenters," with its ominous warning that "all politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war."
4 replies, 1492 views
Why the 'Citizen Militia' Theory Is the Worst Pro-Gun Argument Ever (Original post)
Response to xchrom (Original post)
Fri Feb 1, 2013, 07:20 AM
Tommy_Carcetti (28,275 posts)
2. One would have to argue that the 2nd Amendment would cover things like bombs and uzis...
....for the whole "tyranny of the government" rationale to make any sense whatsoever. Because as powerful as an AR-15 may be against other civilians, it's still child's play against military weaponry. So in the extreme hypothetical of an actual tyrant running the government and commanding the armed forces (something that we've never, ever been even remotely close to in the 237 years of this nation), without massive military defection or foreign intervention, any civilian militia would be squashed like a bug.
But who, other than the most extreme "survivalists", would ever want to see private citizens be given the right to possess rpgs and heat seeking missiles?
Response to xchrom (Original post)
Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:15 AM
jmg257 (8,300 posts)
3. We the People decided over a 100 years ago we didn't want the duty to bear arms
in our state Militias, and so our representatives in Congress created the select Militia of volunteers called the National Guard.
As far as I know that regulated Militia still exists. THAT entity - the organized Militias - was THE force that was to balance tyranny, by reducing the need for a large standing army (which by the way the people also decided they wanted).
We the people chose to limit our role in the regulated Militias despite the 2nd amendment saying they were necessary. Seems contrary to think the people can't also decide to limit the 2nd's restrictions against infringement as it relates to arms, especially unrelated to the original intent of protecting the organized Militias.
This notion that the people are to secure themselves against tyranny via private arms, despite the continued existence of the Militias and without some sort of government regulation or even government interest, is plain ridiculous.
Response to xchrom (Original post)
Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:11 AM
farminator3000 (2,117 posts)
4. what is wrong with all of those fools? IT WAS PROTECTION FROM THE NATIVE AMERICANS
AND CRAZY FARMERS!!!
Impact on Constitution
Thomas Jefferson, who was serving as ambassador to France at the time, refused to be alarmed by Shays' Rebellion. In a letter to a friend, he argued that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing. "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." In contrast to Jefferson's sentiments George Washington, who had been calling for constitutional reform for many years, wrote in a letter to Henry Lee, "You talk, my good sir, of employing influence to appease the present tumults in Massachusetts. I know not where that influence is to be found, or, if attainable, that it would be a proper remedy for the disorders. Influence is not government. Let us have a government by which our lives, liberties, and properties will be secured, or let us know the worst at once."
Madison and his colleagues could not have predicted the Whiskey Rebellion, the Nullification crisis, or the Civil War. But they were shrewd enough to know that the lack of national military poweržand with it the power to disarm those who are in rebellion or might be in rebellionžwould undermine any national state. Having just created a stronger national state in the wake of Shays's Rebellion and similar rebellions in other states, the Federalists in Congress, many of whom had been in the Philadelphia Convention, the state ratifying conventions, or both, took no steps to undermine the ability of the national government to protect itself from enemies without or rebels and traitors within.
If the Second Amendment had responded to the demands of the Pennsylvania minority and similar demands from other Antifederalists, the national government would have been severely, perhaps fatally, weakened from the beginning. Congress would have been unable to regulate the use, ownership, or display of firearms in those places where it has plenary jurisdiction, such as the District of Columbia, the federal territories, or overseas possessions and lands, such as present day Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
At the time of the drafting of the Constitution, "every state had gun control legislation on its books." But, an amendment along the lines of the Pennsylvania Antifederalists' would have prevented such a law in the federal district. It also might have prevented preemptive strikes against pirates, illegal slave traders (after 1808), filibusters preparing for the illegal invasion of Latin American countries, or others gathering weapons for illegal purposes.