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Sun Mar 18, 2012, 11:36 AM

Looking for a well-regulated militia

To put it blunt: I'm a foreigner and I'm confused.

"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 text is very clear: The sole purpose of the right to keep and bear arms is the establishment of militias, which would in turn be regulated by some authority.

Where are the well-regulated militias that text refers to? (The only militias I heard about are border-patrolling racists, secessionists or flat-out home-grown terrorists.)
Why are proponents of this amendment fighting regulations when the text clearly calls for them?

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Reply Looking for a well-regulated militia (Original post)
DetlefK Mar 2012 OP
daleanime Mar 2012 #1
shadowrider Mar 2012 #2
DetlefK Mar 2012 #7
Drale Mar 2012 #3
gejohnston Mar 2012 #6
X_Digger Mar 2012 #4
DetlefK Mar 2012 #9
X_Digger Mar 2012 #11
gejohnston Mar 2012 #18
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #20
X_Digger Mar 2012 #22
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #27
X_Digger Mar 2012 #30
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #31
X_Digger Mar 2012 #32
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #35
X_Digger Mar 2012 #37
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #43
X_Digger Mar 2012 #50
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #51
X_Digger Mar 2012 #56
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #57
X_Digger Mar 2012 #61
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #65
X_Digger Mar 2012 #66
era veteran Mar 2012 #21
AtheistCrusader Mar 2012 #96
TheWraith Mar 2012 #5
Ezlivin Mar 2012 #8
Logical Mar 2012 #16
Ezlivin Mar 2012 #17
Logical Mar 2012 #19
chrisa Mar 2012 #10
slackmaster Mar 2012 #12
Tuesday Afternoon Mar 2012 #13
PavePusher Mar 2012 #14
shadowrider Mar 2012 #15
Hoyt Mar 2012 #23
PavePusher Mar 2012 #24
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #28
gejohnston Mar 2012 #40
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #54
gejohnston Mar 2012 #55
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #58
_ed_ Mar 2012 #36
gejohnston Mar 2012 #39
_ed_ Mar 2012 #41
shadowrider Mar 2012 #42
gejohnston Mar 2012 #44
friendly_iconoclast Mar 2012 #45
PavePusher Mar 2012 #48
friendly_iconoclast Mar 2012 #70
PavePusher Mar 2012 #47
X_Digger Mar 2012 #25
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #29
rl6214 Mar 2012 #33
krispos42 Mar 2012 #26
Hoyt Mar 2012 #67
krispos42 Mar 2012 #72
Hoyt Mar 2012 #73
friendly_iconoclast Mar 2012 #74
Hoyt Mar 2012 #75
friendly_iconoclast Mar 2012 #76
krispos42 Mar 2012 #83
Hoyt Mar 2012 #84
krispos42 Mar 2012 #86
Hoyt Mar 2012 #87
Tuesday Afternoon Mar 2012 #91
shadowrider Mar 2012 #92
Tuesday Afternoon Mar 2012 #93
DanTex Mar 2012 #34
friendly_iconoclast Mar 2012 #49
COLGATE4 Mar 2012 #52
DanTex Mar 2012 #53
krispos42 Mar 2012 #62
Atypical Liberal Mar 2012 #63
Hoyt Mar 2012 #69
Atypical Liberal Mar 2012 #81
Hoyt Mar 2012 #85
Atypical Liberal Mar 2012 #88
Hoyt Mar 2012 #90
gejohnston Mar 2012 #94
Atypical Liberal Mar 2012 #97
Hoyt Mar 2012 #68
Atypical Liberal Mar 2012 #98
Surf Fishing Guru Mar 2012 #101
_ed_ Mar 2012 #38
gejohnston Mar 2012 #46
PavePusher Mar 2012 #59
oneshooter Mar 2012 #78
PavePusher Mar 2012 #79
PavePusher Mar 2012 #99
montanto Mar 2012 #60
Atypical Liberal Mar 2012 #64
Hoyt Mar 2012 #71
Clames Mar 2012 #77
Hoyt Mar 2012 #80
Atypical Liberal Mar 2012 #102
Atypical Liberal Mar 2012 #82
PavePusher Mar 2012 #89
AtheistCrusader Mar 2012 #95
Surf Fishing Guru Mar 2012 #100

Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 11:38 AM

1. .....

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 11:38 AM

2. Oh jeez..

Here we go again.

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Response to shadowrider (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 11:48 AM

7. I don't get your point.

The text does not refer to crime, self-defense or a "my-home-is-my-castle"-situation.

The mentioning of a militia clearly specifies it to war-like circumstances.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 11:43 AM

3. Well if this is a true post

The Militias of yesteryear, evolved into the National Guard that we have today.

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Response to Drale (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 11:48 AM

6. the National Guard is not really a militia

since they can be federalized and be sent to Iraq.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Defense_Force

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 11:46 AM

4. Well, since you're foreign, let me help..

"well regulated" at the time, and in this context meant 'well functioning'-

http://armsandthelaw.com/archives/WellRegulatedinold%20literature.pdf

[div class='excerpt']In Item 1, Anne Newport Royall commented in 1822 that Huntsville, Alabama was becoming quite civilized and prosperous, with a “fine fire engine” and a “well regulated company”. I suppose one could make the case that the firefighters were especially subject to rules and laws, but the passage is more coherent if read, “They have a very fine fire engine, and a properly operating company.”

William Thackary’s 1848 novel (item 4) uses the term “well-regulated person”. The story is that of Major Dobbin, who had been remiss in visiting his family. Thackary’s comment is to the effect that any well-regulated person would blame the major for this. Clearly, in this context, well-regulated has nothing to do with government rules and laws. It can only be interpreted as “properly operating” or “ideal state”.

In 1861, author George Curtis (item 5), has one of his characters, apparently a moneyhungry person, praising his son for being sensible, and carefully considering money in making his marriage plans. He states that “every well-regulated person considers the matter from a pecuniary point of view.” Again, this cannot logically be interpreted as a person especially subject to government control. It can only be read as “properly operating”.

Edmund Yates certainly has to be accepted as an articulate and educated writer, quite capable of properly expressing his meaning. In 1884 (item 6), he references a person who was apparently not “strictly well-regulated”. The context makes any reading other that “properly operating” or “in his ideal state” impossible.


Secondly, let's look at the preamble to the Bill of Rights-

[div class='excerpt']The Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.

The Bill of Rights was intended as a 'the government shall not' document- "to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers"- not a 'the people can' document. Rights aren't limited by the bill of rights; rather the scope of protections of certain rights are set. If the Bill of Rights were a listing of all a person's rights, there would be no need for the ninth and tenth amendments ("The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." and "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." respectively.)

And finally, let's look at the second amendment itself-

[div class='excerpt']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.

Who does the right belong to? The militia? No, the people. See US v. Verdugo-Urquirdez for the salient definition of 'the people'.

Grammatically this can be broken down into two clauses- a prefatory clause and an operative clause. Similar wording can be found in other writing of the time, though it's fallen out of favor these days. For comparison, see Rhode Island's constitution, Article I, Section 20- "The liberty of the press being essential to the security of freedom in a state, any person may publish sentiments on any subject..". That construction- '{reason}, {statement}' exists today, but we usually swap the clauses- "I'm going to the supermarket, I'm completely out of soda." or we add in a 'because' or 'since'- "Since I'm completely out of soda, I'm going to the supermarket." or "I'm going to the supermarket because I'm completely out of soda."

I know that complex English is lost in today's twitter-ful and facebook-y terseness, but it really does pay to read older documents when you want to analyze what a sentence from that era actually means.

So with the point from the first section, the second section in mind, and rearranging the clauses per the third would yield a modern restatement of the second amendment as-

"Because a well functioning militia is necessary to state security, the government shall not interfere with the right of the people to be armed."

or

"The government shall not interfere with the right of the people to be armed because a well functioning militia is necessary to state security."

Nothing in either of those statements says that arms are only for militia service, rather the ability to raise an effective militia is why protecting the right to be armed is protected. Since we know from the preamble (and the 9th/10th amendment) that the bill of rights is not exhaustive, we have to look outside the bill of rights itself to see if the founding fathers expected this right to extend beyond militia service.

State analogues of the second amendment that were adopted in the same timeframe give a clue-

http://www.davekopel.com/2A/LawRev/WhatStateConstitutionsTeach.htm (sections rearranged by me)

[div class='excerpt']The present-day Pennsylvania Constitution, using language adopted in 1790, declares: "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned."

Vermont: Adopted in 1777, the Vermont Constitution closely tracks the Pennsylvania Constitution. It states "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State.."

Kentucky: The 1792 Kentucky constitution was nearly contemporaneous with the Second Amendment, which was ratified in 1791. Kentucky declared: "That the right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State, shall not be questioned."

Delaware: "A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use."

Alabama: The Alabama Constitution, adopted in 1819, guarantees "that every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state"

Arizona and Washington: These states were among the last to be admitted to the Union.* Their right to arms language is identical: "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men."

Illinois: "Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."** (footnotes removed)

So from analagous documents created by many of the same founding fathers or their peers, the individual right unconnected to militia service is fairly well laid out.

* Admittedly, not analogous in time to the others, but still demonstrates the point.
** same

You should read other cases such as US v Cruikshank ("This right is not a right granted by the Constitution . . . neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence." or Presser v Illinois ("the States cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, as so to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government."

Both the Heller and McDonald decision shed more light on the subject.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #4)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 12:00 PM

9. Thanks.

So, if I understand correctly, the right to keep and bear arms was never limited to militias and later on widened to expressly include self-defence.

It's still weird, the 2nd amendment refering to militias when they no longer exist/are no longer needed.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 12:11 PM

11. It was never 'widened'- it was always there.

It was a given, never expressly enumerated, but there nonetheless.

You can see that all throughout our history. Here's an excerpt from the debates surrounding the 14th amendment:

[div class='excerpt']Will it be contended, sir, at this day, that any State has the power to subvert or impair the natural and personal rights of the citizen?

As citizens of the United States they have equal right to protection, and to keep and bear arms for self-defense.


Senator James Nye, Nevada, Feb 28, 1866

eta: Just to be clear- one of the founding principles of our government is that all rights are inherent in the people. All power of the government flows from the consent of the people. The state doesn't dole out rights and protections. It's a bottom-up structure, not a top-down.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 02:07 PM

18. militias still exist

state operated ones like Vermont's. The founders did not want a standing army during times of peace. If we dismantle the empire and set up an army similar to Switzerland's, we would be a better off country.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 03:19 PM

20. Yes, it's funny how the only Amendment that has

that type of prefatory statement is the Second Amendment. The First Amendment doesn't say "A free press being necessary to a well functioning Democracy the right of the people to speak freely shall not be abridged", etc. Nor any other. Just the Second. But the new legal theory that after almost two hundred years of jurisprudence now finds an 'individual' right to bear arms is essentially as you've stated it, above.

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #20)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 04:03 PM

22. Except it isn't new, nor is that construction strange in writings of the time..

See the Rhode Island constitution quote above.

And your 'new legal theory' isn't new. It was the norm until bliss ninnies in the 1960's took it upon themselves to try to reinterpret it.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #22)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 08:41 PM

27. It just strikes me as a little odd

that under your interpretation, the entire first part "A well regulated militia being necessary..." is pure surplussage. The Framers could have saved themselves a lot of trouble and ink by merely stating that 'the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed', as they did in the other nine amendments part of the Bill of Rights. What purpose did the Framers have in mind in adding those "useless" words?

The fact that different State Constitutions have gone further isn't new or terribly illuminating - the entire principle is that a State cannot make a law that is more restrictive of rights than the Constiution, but a State may (and many have) make a right broader than that set forth in the Constitution.

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #27)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 09:16 PM

30. That is the purpose, not the scope.

If I said, "I'm completely out of soda, I think I'm going to go grocery shopping." -- would you think I'm only buying soda? Do stores only sell soda?

Or.. "Pizza being useful for late-night study sessions, the right to grow and harvest tomatoes shall not be infringed." -- are tomatoes only to be used for pizza sauce?

If you're delving into the minds of the framers as authoritative, then you should look at the writings of the time. You'll find that they expected people to defend themselves with arms, not just use them for militias.

The weren't prescient. They didn't foresee that the language would change. The phrasing was common at the time.

You might as well say, "Chaucer could have saved himself some trouble had he written in modern english.' when you mean, he could have saved *you* some confusion.

They also used 'well-regulated' to mean well functioning. Our modern usage of that word doesn't change the usage it enjoyed when used in 1791.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #30)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 07:46 AM

31. Semantic gibberish

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #31)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 08:02 AM

32. aka, you got nothing.

You are the one that brought up semantics, trying to cast doubt on the phrasing, but in a modern context and usage.

When I demonstrated that in historical context there was no confusion? You punt.

That's okay, you're not the first to slink away.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #32)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 09:26 AM

35. Not at all

Let's look at the words in question:

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 first part of the qualifying phrase implies he words "since" and "therefore": Since a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, therefore the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Otherwise, it has no use and no identifiable purpose.

Now, let's look at your examples:

If I said, "I'm completely out of soda, I think I'm going to go grocery shopping." -- would you think I'm only buying soda? Do stores only sell soda?

Here, the construction is essentially the same as the Second A." Since I'm completely out of soda, therefore I think I'm going to go grocery shopping." The only fact you can glean with certainty from that is that you're going grocery shopping to buy some more soda.

The second example is confused: "Pizza being useful for late-night study sessions, the right to grow and harvest tomatoes shall not be infringed." -- are tomatoes only to be used for pizza sauce?

This statement is a complete non sequitur. Since pizza is useful for late-night study sessions, therefore what ?

In addition, the entire discussion about 'well regulated' is a moot point. Whether or not it meant "functioning correctly" as some scholars believe it did in the Eighteenth Century or not really adds nothing to the discussion. The 2A would mean exactly the same if it simply said "A militia being necessary...".

The point is that all attempts to force the plain language must by definition not take into account the existence of the qualifier "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state...". The fact that the Framers "... expected people to defend themselves with arms, not just use them for militias..." as you state would clearly have supported the construction of an Amendment that simply stated that 'The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". But it didn't.




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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #35)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:06 AM

37. Again, purpose, not scope.

You seem to think that the bill of rights is exhaustive. That if it isn't explicitly spelled out in the bill of rights, it isn't a right.

That is not an interpretation that any court has supported, and flies in the face of the ninth and tenth amendments.

[div class='excerpt']Here, the construction is essentially the same as the Second A." Since I'm completely out of soda, therefore I think I'm going to go grocery shopping." The only fact you can glean with certainty from that is that you're going grocery shopping to buy some more soda.


But it does not set the scope of what I may buy, nor what stores sell. Just as the second amendment does not set the scope of the right protected. It just explains why the right is protected.

[div class='excerpt']The second example is confused: "Pizza being useful for late-night study sessions, the right to grow and harvest tomatoes shall not be infringed." -- are tomatoes only to be used for pizza sauce?

This statement is a complete non sequitur. Since pizza is useful for late-night study sessions, therefore what ?

Pizza is the why, tomatoes is the essential component of that purpose to be protected. Just as in the second amendment.

[div class='excerpt']The point is that all attempts to force the plain language must by definition not take into account the existence of the qualifier "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state...". The fact that the Framers "... expected people to defend themselves with arms, not just use them for militias..." as you state would clearly have supported the construction of an Amendment that simply stated that 'The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". But it didn't.

Again, you're trying to shoehorn modern english sensibilities into an 18th century document. They weren't fortune tellers- they had no idea that 200+ years later people would chide them for their language choices based on what english writers would do today for clarity.

If you look at their writings of the time, you can see it clearly-

[div class='excerpt']We established however some, although not all its {self-government} important principles . The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed;
-Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824

Conceived it to be the privilege of every citizen, and one of his most essential rights, to bear arms, and to resist every attack upon his liberty or property, by whomsoever made.
-Roger Sherman, House debate, 1790

The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside... Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them....
-Writings of Thomas Paine, 1894

As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives only moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion to your walks.
-Thomas Jefferson, writing to his teenaged nephew

And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.
-Samuel Adams

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #37)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:25 AM

43. Again, I fail to see the logic of your premise.

"Just as the second amendment does not set the scope of the right protected. It just explains why the right is protected."

How does this language not set the scope of the 2A? Why is this the only right so qualified in the Bill of Rights, if not specifically for limiting the scope of the 2A?

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #43)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:57 AM

50. 'Why' does not equal 'how much'.

It's as simple as that.

Re-read the preamble to the Bill of Rights:

[div class='excerpt']The Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.


The Bill of Rights is not a 'people can' document. It is a 'government cannot' document. That's fundamental to interpreting the document. It is a set of 'declaratory and restrictive clauses' to the government, designed to 'prevent misconstruction or abuse' of its (the government) power.

There are many rights that we have that are not explicit- you won't find the right to travel in any of our founding documents. Nor will you find the presumption of innocence until a trier of fact has so judged.

Your argument demonstrates the reason why some were hesitant to even ratify the bill of rights in the first place. They were afraid that because *some* rights were being enumerated, future governments would feel free to abridge others. Others, perhaps naively, argued that the government would never do such a thing because the government was not granted the explicit power to do so.

That's why we have the ninth and tenth amendments- as a safety valve for those who worried about the above scenario.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #50)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:22 AM

51. With all due respect

you haven't anwered my question. Generalities about how the Framers were hesitant to ratify the Bill of Rights and the functions of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments are interesting, but what we have here a very specific example of one right being specifically qualified by the Framers. It is indeed a 'declaratory and restrictive' clause, restricting the right to bear arms as related to the existence of a Militia. No other right is so qualified. How do you justify your assertion that this specific qualification was not intended to serve a specific purpose?

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #51)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:47 AM

56. No, you missed the point.. you're reading it as a restriction on people, not the government.


The source of the right is not the bill of rights- see US v Cruikshank (among others): "This right is not a right granted by the Constitution . . . neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence."

The Bill of Rights, a declaration of where the government can't tread, cannot be a restriction on people.

This is a pretty fundamental mistake on your part. Rights do not flow from the Constitution or Bill of Rights, they pre-existed the document ('that to protect these rights, governments are instituted among men..').

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #56)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 12:15 PM

57. No, I'm reading it for the purpose

it was written. It is a restriction on the government insofar as it might otherwise permit the people to bear arms, but the restriction is a limited one, in that it permits the bearing of arms for the purpose of having a militia. You will find that much of the sentiment for this was because of opposition to having a standing army - many of the Framers preferred a citizen militia.

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #57)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 12:40 PM

61. 'permits the bearing of arms' -- fundamentally wrong

You're still stuck on the Bill of Rights as 'granting' or 'permitting' something.

*bzzt* try again.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #61)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 04:14 PM

65. I don't know where you get this

expansive definition from. All laws inherently permit some things while restricting others. The Bill of Rights is, before anything else, a law. It also permits some things while prohibiting others. There are no unlimited rights, at least not in our legal system.

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #65)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 04:25 PM

66. Err, I think you need a class on the enlightenment and our system of government...

.. that sprung from its philosophical underpinnings.

Your homework? The Declaration of Independence, to start.

[div class='excerpt']We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.


And more recently, any constitutional law textbook.

Plenty of cases to ponder as well. Look at US v Cruikshank, Presser v Illinois..

US v Cruikshank ("This right is not a right granted by the Constitution . . . neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence."

Presser v Illinois ("the States cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms"

Seriously, I have to wonder where you got the idea that rights are 'permitted' via law.

[div class='excerpt']There are no unlimited rights, at least not in our legal system.

And if you ever do find someone claiming that there are unlimited rights, you be sure to talk to them.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 03:42 PM

21. A militia can be one person too.

The powers that be need to understand that THAT is an essential check and balance.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #9)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 10:14 AM

96. In 1992, a 'militia' saved entire blocks of businesses and residences in koreatown in LA

from rioters and arsonists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koreatown,_Los_Angeles#Los_Angeles_Riots_of_1992

I wouldn't call it 'no longer in existence' or 'no longer needed'.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 11:46 AM

5. Okay...

If you fully admit you're both confused and not familiar with US law, you might want to refrain from deciding what is "very clear" from the text, particularly when what you describe is not clear at all.

For one thing, "well regulated" in this context refers to said militias being regular and orderly, i.e. well trained and effective. It has nothing to do with "regulation" of the kind you're thinking about. Also, there's no place which says that that is the sole purpose of bearing arms; a claim which goes against both the unanimous view of the Supreme Court and 200+ years of jurisprudence on the subject.

Thirdly, you probably hear about the US' very well organized militias all the time. They're just not referred to by that title. They are, instead, referred to almost exclusively by their official legal name: the National Guard.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 11:53 AM

8. Start your own

Many have.

Me? I joined the military and got my firearms training there. Also met a great-looking blonde at the enlisted men's club in Pearl Harbor. 34 years later we're still heading out to the firing range together.

If all else fails, watch "Top Shot" and get some tips....

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Response to Ezlivin (Reply #8)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 01:13 PM

16. Top Shot is a joke. Throwing hatchets? Grenade Launchers? And the drama and fighting. It is a....

 

reality show. Not a shooting show.

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Response to Logical (Reply #16)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 01:48 PM

17. I just think it would be great fun to have access

to the target ranges they use. It looks like a blast!

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Response to Ezlivin (Reply #17)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 02:48 PM

19. I 100% agree. I would love to shoot there. But I wish they could have not dropped to...

 

the "reality TV" drama. I love the guns part and the shooting part. the range is amazing!

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 12:08 PM

10. They're usually done by state

The state can create them if there's a need (like a foreign invasion, occupation, or civil war).

Of course, this has been unnecessary for over 150 years. Ideally they would be used to support and fight with the US's Federal National Guard, if there was ever a need. Ever since 1903, there's also the "reserve militia," which consists of all men 17 to 45 years old (essentially, this would be the draft, and provides justification for it).

A big problem with militias, and why they're frowned upon, is the use of them as personal armies. This was a problem during the US Civil War. I don't know the specifics, but I believe they can only be formed officially by the state (to prevent them from being abused or turned against their own country).

Current day groups that call themselves "militias" are actually usually criminal organizations within the US. They usually keep to themselves (and are usually massive meth-heads).

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 12:17 PM

12. No, that is not the SOLE purpose of the right to keep and bear arms

 

The need for a well-regulated militia is the REASON that government is prohibited from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms, which was already understood to exist at the time the Constitution was written.

Where are the well-regulated militias that text refers to?

Every state has its own militia, as does the federal government. I live in California. Following are links to the LEGAL definitions of the US federal and California state militias.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/311

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=mvc&group=00001-01000&file=120-130

Note that in both cases the "militia" basically consists of all able-bodied citizens. The organized militias consist of the National Guard and Naval reserve. The unorganized militia is everyone.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 12:57 PM

13. which would in turn be regulated by some authority. ??

Last edited Sun Mar 18, 2012, 06:07 PM - Edit history (1)

you can't pull stuff out of thin air and make it part of the constitution.

but, with that said ... then "some auhority" would be "my own authority" ...

as I am the "authority of myself" within the confines of society. I am one of society and have a right to help society determine how to govern itself.

on edit: I am a well-regulated milita of one.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 01:04 PM

14. "The text is very clear"

 

Not for you, apparently.

Please explain how "the right of the people" = "only a militia". We've been waiting for someone to clear up this grammatical contortion for a very... long... time. Perhaps a foreigner can manage it for us....

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Response to PavePusher (Reply #14)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 01:08 PM

15. I refuse to argue with foreigners

who have no concept of the 2A (probably unique in the world) and that includes our northern neighbor.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 06:10 PM

23. Justice Stevens' dissent in Heller explains it adequately -- to gun-carrying culture's chagrin.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #23)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 06:31 PM

24. To who's chagrin?

 

Stevens lost. His opinion carries no legal weight whatsoever.

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Response to PavePusher (Reply #24)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 08:43 PM

28. If you know anything about Constitutional Law

you'll know that today's dissent may well be the majority opinion tomorrow (see Citizens United)

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #28)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:10 AM

40. What SCOTUS decision did

Citizens United overturn?

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #40)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:27 AM

54. I was (inartfully) trying to

say that I expect Citizens United to be overturned by a future court.

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Response to COLGATE4 (Reply #54)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:30 AM

55. I see, I tend to think Citizens United will be

overturned my amendment first. Either way, the sooner the better.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #55)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 12:16 PM

58. Let's hope so.

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Response to PavePusher (Reply #24)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:03 AM

36. Does the fact that you're praising a Scalia decision and criticizing

the Stevens dissent bother you at all as a Democrat?

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Response to _ed_ (Reply #36)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:07 AM

39. Stevens is a Republican

nominated by Ford. The GOP has moved that far in 35 years. It bothers me when liberals act like conservatives on some issues.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #39)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:11 AM

41. Are you seriously suggesting that Stevens'

jurisprudence is Republican or conservative in nature? Don't make me laugh. He was one of the liberal stalwarts on the court for decades. Especially compared to Scalia.

Just wondering what progressives are doing praising Scalia and demonizing Stevens. Seems like priorities are out of order.

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Response to _ed_ (Reply #41)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:20 AM

42. Do you support the Brady Campaign?

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Response to _ed_ (Reply #41)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:25 AM

44. He was a Republican in 1975

He was nominated by Ford, that is historical fact. Scalia is a reactionary, not a conservative. Stevens seemed like a liberal stalwart because he was surrounded by reactionary assholes. When 60 Minutes asked him if he was still a Republican, he did not answer either way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Paul_Stevens

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Response to _ed_ (Reply #41)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:26 AM

45. Since you're determined to use the genetic fallacy, what about United States v. Jones?

Do you find that opinion illegitimate because Scalia wrote it?

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-1259.pdf

http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/united-states-v-jones/

United States v. Jones
Docket No. 10-1259
Jan 23, 2012

Holding: Attaching a GPS device to a vehicle and then using the device to monitor the vehicle’s movements constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.

Plain English Holding: The defendant’s conviction for drug trafficking must be reversed when some of the evidence to convict him was obtained through a GPS tracking device on his car, because the attachment of the GPS tracking device and then the use of that device to monitor the car’s whereabouts is a “search” for purposes of the Fourth Amendment.

Judgment: Affirmed, in an opinion by Justice Scalia on January 23, 2012. Justice Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion. Justice Alito also filed a concurring opinion, which was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan. The five concurring members of the Court do not resolve the question of whether the search was reasonable in this case.

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Response to _ed_ (Reply #41)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:44 AM

48. I give you Kelo v. City of New London .

 

Explain, please....

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Response to PavePusher (Reply #48)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 12:04 AM

70. Our interlocutor seems to have left the building...

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Response to _ed_ (Reply #36)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:40 AM

47. Not really, as I don't simply accept party-line doctrine as gospel.

 

I judge each issue individually. I'm not a robot. On this issue Scalia was correct and Stevens wasn't.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #23)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 06:57 PM

25. Stevens does backflips to deny what's clear as the nose on his face.

He even starts out assuming the premise he rails against in the rest of his dissent.

[div class='excerpt']The question presented by this case is not whether the Second Amendment protects a “collective right” or an “individual right.” Surely it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals.


The dissent is filled with unsupported assertions ("it is equally clear that it does encompass the right to use weapons for certain military purposes."

He then re-argues Miller, which was a contrived case where the plantiff wasn't even present.

LOL!

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #23)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 08:47 PM

29. You're absolutely right.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #23)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 08:58 AM

33. As usual you come up with the "gun-carrying culture" insult

 

because you have nothing.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 07:42 PM

26. There are three entities in the 2nd Amendment

The Militia; the State, and the people.

Only one of them has the right to keep and bear arms.





Also, Title 10, United States Code, Chapter 13, Section 311

TITLE 10 - ARMED FORCES
Subtitle A - General Military Law
PART I - ORGANIZATION AND GENERAL MILITARY POWERS
CHAPTER 13 - THE MILITIA

-HEAD-
Sec. 311. Militia: composition and classes

-STATUTE-
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied
males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section
313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a
declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States
and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the
National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are -
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard
and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of
the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the
Naval Militia.

http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/10C13.txt




the problem with having only "militia" members able to own guns is that this means only males aged 17-45 can, which makes this sexist and ageist.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #26)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:57 PM

67. In short term, I'll accept those 45 and older leaving guns at home.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #67)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 12:49 PM

72. Why not women?

n/t

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #72)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 12:52 PM

73. Women carriers are usually OK. They aren't trying to prove something to themselves or others.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #73)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 12:56 PM

74. That's a rather sexist statement...

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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #74)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 01:11 PM

75. Yes it is. It does demean men who carry and use guns for things far removed from self-defense.


I've never heard a women say that she was going to protect society with her gun, or post on about stopping power and other such BS. I've never seen them buy hi cap mags and other lethal accessories to increase their killing power. I have little doubt that women need protection from bullies like Zimmerman, rapists, etc.

Men, on the other hand, . . . . . .

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #75)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 01:26 PM

76. Fine. As long as you don't pretend that your personal experiences represent society at large.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #73)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:24 PM

83. As are the aged.

So discrimination based on sex is okay. Gotcha.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #83)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:45 PM

84. Don't think I'm discriminating - women don't have the same issues as men in this context.

If Zimmerman had been a women, Trayvon Martin would likely still be alive.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #84)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 09:21 PM

86. But a far greater percentage of non-white teens are violent criminals.

So then Zimmerman wasn't discriminating, either. He was playing the odds.




If Trayvon Martin had been a woman, Trayvon Martin would likely still be alive, too.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #86)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 09:37 PM

87. No, if Martin had been white, he'd still be alive. Try not to "play odds" with your gun.

When you are wrong, apologies don't bring the victim back when you've shot them playing judge, jury, and executioner. And, a biased one at that.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #73)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 08:19 AM

91. good lord

reverse sexism at its worst. you have one-upped yourself, Hoyt.

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Response to Tuesday Afternoon (Reply #91)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 08:26 AM

92. But that's ok

cause he's on the morally correct side. Anything goes there.

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Response to shadowrider (Reply #92)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 08:55 AM

93. Four random Jurors will allow it. I bet my bottom dollar on it plus, the jurors will add insult to

injury by commenting to quit wasting their time.

So, I learned. I no longer waste their time.



Free Speech cuts both ways. And, we have all the time in the world to try to explain and educate our fellow DUers.


Good Luck to us all.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 09:04 AM

34. You are quite right. The text is clear.

The second amendment was intended to prevent the federal government from disarming militias. At the time, questions about standing armies versus militias were a significant issue, and that's why the purpose of the second amendment was stated quite clearly in its preamble. Of course, nowadays we have a standing army, the whole issue of disarming militias is basically moot, so the second amendment is, or at least should be, a historical irrelevancy, kind of like the third amendment, which prevents quartering of troops in private homes during peacetime.

What you need to understand about proponents of the second amendment is that the vast majority of them are right-wingers who neither know nor care about the intent or proper interpretation of the second amendment. They are loony types who carry loaded guns to political rallies and fantasize about the day that they get to shoot down bad guys and protect "freedom" from the forces of tyranny with their little home arsenal. To put it mildly, the "gun rights" movement in the US is not big on intellectualism or nuance -- they like their guns, and don't care much about the consequences in terms of violence and public safety.

And, since we are currently saddled with one of the most conservative supreme courts in recent memory, we are predictably getting a stream of cases that are decided on ideological grounds. One of these cases is Heller, a 5-4 decision with only conservative justices in the majority, where the court decided to overturn previous precedent and ruled that 2A preserved an individual right to bear arms not connected to a militia.

Hopefully, Obama will win re-election, and will have the opportunity to appoint a progressive justice or two, and sanity will return to the bench. Until then, we are stuck with the expanded gun rights interpretation of 2A and a bunch of other unpleasant right-wing rulings.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #34)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:55 AM

49. "...the intent or proper interpretation of the Second Amendment". Let's ask a Constitutional scholar

Hmm, who to believe-some anonymous keyboard commando or someone who edited the Harvard Law Review and lectured on law at the University
of Chicago? I know who I'm going with...

http://azstarnet.com/news/opinion/mailbag/president-obama-we-must-seek-agreement-on-gun-reforms/article_011e7118-8951-5206-a878-39bfbc9dc89d.html#ixzz1kV5SUkry

...Now, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. And the courts have settled that as the law of the land. In this country, we have a strong tradition of gun ownership that's handed from generation to generation. Hunting and shooting are part of our national heritage. And, in fact, my administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners - it has expanded them, including allowing people to carry their guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.

The fact is, almost all gun owners in America are highly responsible. They're our friends and neighbors. They buy their guns legally and use them safely, whether for hunting or target shooting, collection or protection. And that's something that gun-safety advocates need to accept...

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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #49)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:25 AM

52. Nothing more than political pap

after a fait accompli by a RW majority on the Court. I doubt that Obama actually believes that for a second.

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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #49)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:26 AM

53. He's speaking as a politician there, not as a constitutional scholar.

Obama made a political decision to leave gun control alone. Just like he made a political decision to oppose gay marriage and instead support civil unions. And he made a political decision not to prosecute war crimes under Bush. Etc. He takes a lot of heat on DU for these and other compromises he has made. But the reality is that politicians cannot be ideologically pure on all issues.

In a more candid moment, he did point out that the "gun rights" movement, along with religious fundamentalism and anti-immigration feelings, is propelled by bitterness over economic conditions. As for constitutional scholars that are actually acting as constitutional scholars, we need look no further than the Supreme Court, which is split 5-4 on ideological lines on this issue, your side being the side of Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Kennedy, and Roberts.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #34)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 01:18 PM

62. The 3rd Amendment has been adjucated in my lifetime

In NY State during a prison strike.

The 3rd is protecting everybody in this country, whether they realize it or not.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #34)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 03:12 PM

63. No, from disarming PEOPLE.

 

The second amendment was intended to prevent the federal government from disarming militias.

No, it is not the right of the militias to keep and bear arms that shall not be infringed, it is the right of the people.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #63)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 12:03 AM

69. It might be right of people who are in a well regulated militia, but that is it.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #69)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:18 PM

81. Those militias no longer exist.

 

It might be right of people who are in a well regulated militia, but that is it.

The militias spoken of in the second amendment ceased to exist in 1903. The right of the people to keep and bear arms did not.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #81)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:46 PM

85. Finally, you got it. We don't need a bunch of armed, but unregulated toters nowadays.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #85)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 10:42 PM

88. So how do you reconcile the rest of the amendment?

 

Finally, you got it.

There's no "finally" about it. I've been consistent for years in my assertion that the militias of the founders' day ceased to exist in 1903.

So, since we both agree that the militias no longer exist, how do you reconcile the rest of the second amendment?

"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 well regulated militias that are necessary to the security of a free state no longer exist.

This has no impact on the people's right to keep and bear arms.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #88)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 07:38 AM

90. Read Stevens' dissent in Heller. It's clear.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #90)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 09:23 AM

94. we have

have you? Please explain it in your own words. Please explain why his dissent matters. If your answer is he is a liberal (he calls himself a judicial conservative) or Democrat nominated by a Democrat (he was a Republican nominated by Jerry Ford.)

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #90)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 10:26 AM

97. Perhaps you could tell me what part of it specifically you are referring to?

 

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Response to DanTex (Reply #34)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 12:00 AM

68. Outstanding post.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #34)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 10:31 AM

98. Why was it important to prevent the federal government from disarming militias?

 

The second amendment was intended to prevent the federal government from disarming militias.

Why was this important to the founders?

Why did they consider standing armies "dangerous to liberty"?

At the time, questions about standing armies versus militias were a significant issue, and that's why the purpose of the second amendment was stated quite clearly in its preamble.

Why were questions about standing armies versus militias a significant issue?

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Response to DanTex (Reply #34)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:49 AM

101. Your position is at odds with EVERYTHING!

DanTex wrote:
One of these cases is Heller, a 5-4 decision with only conservative justices in the majority, where the court decided to overturn previous precedent and ruled that 2A preserved an individual right to bear arms not connected to a militia.


Heller only invalidated lower federal court decisions that were based on misreading Miller, rendered in the 1940's (and subsequent opinions based on Cases and Tot) and which created the militia based "state's right" and 'collective right" interpretations.. . . Heller is completely in agreement with SCOTUS precedent and the dissent agreed. Breyer wrote (emphasis added):

"In interpreting and applying this Amendment, I take as a starting point the following four propositions, based on our precedent and today’s opinions, to which I believe the entire Court subscribes:

(1) The Amendment protects an “individual” right—i.e., one that is separately possessed, and may be separately enforced, by each person on whom it is conferred. See, e.g., ante, at 22 (opinion of the Court); ante, at 1 (Stevens, J., dissenting). "

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:06 AM

38. If you're foreign

you just have to come to grips with the fact that a lot of Americans care more about this one right than any other. Advocates of sensible gun control get shouted down by the vocal and wealthy minority of gun owners, even among Democratic circles.

Just look at the supposed liberals here in lockstep with a Scalia decision. That doesn't happen too often, unless we're talking about our precious killing machines.

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Response to _ed_ (Reply #38)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 10:32 AM

46. Not so much

you just have to come to grips with the fact that a lot of Americans care more about this one right than any other.

based on what?

Advocates of sensible gun control get shouted down by the vocal and wealthy minority of gun owners, even among Democratic circles.

sensible is never defined, and usually have no idea what current gun laws are. The gun control lobby is funded entirely by one foundation and a couple of billionaires, like CCW holder Don Trump, and right wing actor Sylvester Stallone. It has no serious grassroots support at all. Gun control advocates are not "shouted down by a few rich people". The reality is the few rich people, from both the left and the right, get shouted down by a massive grassroots machine.







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Response to _ed_ (Reply #38)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 12:32 PM

59. Please list your "sensible gun control" proposals.

 

Be specific.

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Response to PavePusher (Reply #59)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 04:16 PM

78. You don't really expect an answer do you?

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Response to oneshooter (Reply #78)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 06:25 PM

79. Hey, they should be offered the chance to prove their bonafides, and engage in honest debate.

 

But no, I don't hold my breath over it...

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Response to _ed_ (Reply #38)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 06:11 PM

99. Still... Waiting... n/t

 

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 12:34 PM

60. The RKBA is an individual right, and need not be connected to any militia.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 03:39 PM

64. Understanding the second amendment.

 

Looking for a well-regulated militia

To put it blunt: I'm a foreigner and I'm confused.

"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 text is very clear: The sole purpose of the right to keep and bear arms is the establishment of militias, which would in turn be regulated by some authority.

Where are the well-regulated militias that text refers to? (The only militias I heard about are border-patrolling racists, secessionists or flat-out home-grown terrorists.)
Why are proponents of this amendment fighting regulations when the text clearly calls for them?


Here are some things to understand about militias and the second amendment in the United States.

#1: The purpose of militias.

Firstly, it is necessary to understand what the militias were supposed to do. Why did the founders set up (or rather, allow to continue to exist) a decentralized military? Why not have a single standing army under the control of the federal government?

Remember, the founders had just fought a war against a highly centralized government - a tyranny. They were very wary of centralized power systems, because they knew that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

From Hamilton to Jefferson and many others, standing armies were considered "dangerous to liberty". As one anti-federalist put it, "we all agree, that a large standing army has a strong tendency to depress and inslave the people."

The entire reason for a decentralized militia system was because the founders did not trust the government with the guns.

#2: Where are those militias today?

The second thing you need to understand is that the militias that existed during the founders' day no longer exist. They were federalized in 1903 with the passage of the Dick Act. While still nominally under state control, the National Guard now functions primarily as reserve federal troops and enhances, rather than counters, federal military power.

However, the Dick Act did, in addition to creating the Organized Militia (National Guard), create the Unorganized Militia - all able-bodied men aged 17-45 not otherwise in the National Guard.

Also, many states specifically provide for militias in their governing documents.

But the idea of a decentralized military force able to block federal oppression no longer exists.

The founders may well have anticipated the corruption of the institution of the militias, which is why they specifically enumerated the right to keep and bear arms as something belonging to the people, not to the militias.

#3: What does "well regulated" mean?

In modern vernacular, when we think that something is "well regulated" it is tempting to think this means "functions under the burden of rules and regulations. This is not what it meant in the founders day. For example, early accurate clocks of the day were called "regulators" because they were very precise, well running machines. Even today when we have a well-running digestive system we consider ourselves "regular" and our digestive system to be well regulated.

Well regulated means well-functioning.

Finally you should know that our Supreme Court has recently decided, in Heller, that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, regardless of membership in any organization such as a militia. This was a unanimous opinion even by the dissenters in the ruling.


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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #64)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:01 AM

71. You guys sure have to spin in all directions to get that interpretation of 2nd.


Quite humorous actually.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #71)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 03:44 PM

77. Quite humorous...

 

...is the fact only you and a few others keep flogging that dead horse despite the overwhelming majority opinion that it is an individual right in this country. Truly amazing actually..

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Response to Clames (Reply #77)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 07:56 PM

80. Yeah, opinion of 5 right wing judges.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #80)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 10:01 AM

102. All 9 judges agreed the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right.

 

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #71)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:20 PM

82. Can you muster any specific refutation of what I wrote?

 

I doubt it.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #82)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 11:38 PM

89. Bu-bu-but.... "Militia, militia, militia....!"

 

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 10:10 AM

95. If you don't understand, why do you make a positive claim about how the text is clear?

Kinda doesn't make any sense.

The PEOPLE are the militia. In US Code, all able-bodied males ages 17-45 are automatically part of the militia, but there is no LIMIT on age.

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Response to DetlefK (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:27 AM

100. Your focus is perfectly backwards

Instead of inspecting the 2nd Amendment for ways to restrict the RIGHT you should be inspecting the body of The Constitution for a hint of power granted to the government to even contemplate the personal arms of the private citizen.

The Constitution is a charter of conferred powers and the government -- established by the Constitution -- only possesses the specific powers granted to it by the people. Those interests that the people have never surrendered are retained by the people.

To read the 2nd Amendment as imparting conditions and qualifications on the right means you believe that the people surrendered to government power to dictate upon their personal property.

And that is profoundly incorrect and injurious to the rights of the citizen.

Your belief is precisely why the Federalists argued so vehemently against adding a bill of rights to the Constitution.

As the Federalists argued in #84, because the government can only exercise the limited powers granted to it, "why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?" They thought adding a bill of rights was dangerous and absurd because such a list would only compile, "various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted . . . " The Federalists feared that no matter how the provisions were worded people would assume that the right flows from the enumeration and invent powers to restrain rights. Which is precisely what you are doing!

The citizen's of the USA don't possess the right to keep and bear arms because of a certain interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, we have the right because no power was ever granted to government to impact in any fashion, the personal arms of the private citizen. Neither the simple passage of time, our elevated society nor our modern "enlightenment" has altered that fact.

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