US Constitution Discussion, Part 13: Amendment II

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US Constitution Discussion, Part 13: Amendment II

Post by Martin Blank » Mon Sep 08, 2003 4:38 pm

Previous discussion part: US Constitution Discussion, Part 12: Amendment I

Articles and Sections are offset by bold text; and underlined text has been modified, superseded, or repealed by Amendments, and generally are no longer in effect.

Article II.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


Ratification completed December 15, 1791
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Post by Martin Blank » Mon Sep 08, 2003 4:53 pm

Clearly the most controversial amendment in these times, the right to bear arms in defense of the nation is seen in two lights:
  • As a States' right to maintain a militia in the event of a tyranny in the Federal government
  • As a right of the people to allow them to defend themselves against both a tyrannical government and against those others who would do them harm
Going back to Article I, Section 8, we have the following powers assigned to Congress:
Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
The militia is described in Title 10, Subtitle A, Part I, Chapter 13, Section 311:
  1. 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.
  2. 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
The exemptions are according to Section 312:
  1. The following persons are exempt from militia duty:
    1. The Vice President.
    2. The judicial and executive officers of the United States, the several States and Territories, and Puerto Rico.
    3. Members of the armed forces, except members who are not on active duty.
    4. Customhouse clerks.
    5. Persons employed by the United States in the transmission of mail.
    6. Workmen employed in armories, arsenals, and naval shipyards of the United States.
    7. Pilots on navigable waters.
    8. Mariners in the sea service of a citizen of, or a merchant in, the United States.
  2. A person who claims exemption because of religious belief is exempt from militia duty in a combatant capacity, if the conscientious holding of that belief is established under such regulations as the President may prescribe. However, such a person is not exempt from militia duty that the President determines to be noncombatant.
These definiitions provide a very, very wide range of people who are part of the militia. Further, the Amendment does not differentiate between the Regular and Irregular (formally the organized and unorganized) militias, and indeed Congress is directed to "provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia"; the government has the addresses and ages of essentially all its citizens and provides laws under which they must operate and military regulations that would govern them in combar, so allowing the people to purchase their own weapons would cover the arming of the Militia.

I expect this to be an interesting conversation.
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Post by Deacon » Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:42 pm

[quote="Martin Blank";p="153390"]
  • As a States' right to maintain a militia in the event of a tyranny in the Federal government[/quote]
    The problem with that interpretation is that isn't what it says. It doesn't say "...the right of the several States to keep and bear arms...", it says "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms...."
    [*]As a right of the people to allow them to defend themselves against both a tyrannical government and against those others who would do them harm

Exactly. See below for a re-post from another thread:

[quote="Phong";p="139367"]And If you think that Texans are actually going to give up their guns, your probably mistaken.[/quote]
Oh yes. I was out on a boat hunting duck when I accidentally dropped my shotgun into the lake. So you see, I don't have it anymore. No problem, officer. Yes, you too. OK, have a nice day.

/me closes the door, goes to the back room, and starts loading shells.
Benjamin Franklin wrote:They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.
The founding fathers (including Franklin) believed bearing arms was "an essential liberty", so much so that they drafted an entire amendment dedicated to securing this right for any and all persons who fall under the jurisdiction of the Constitution of the United States of America. Why this isn't self-evident is beyond me.
The authors of the Constitution wrote: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.
Opponents of personal liberty are quick to point out that they interpret it to mean that you have the right to bear arms only if you're in the army. However, this is not what it says, nor is it the intended meaning. Why would the writers of the Constitution bother to get into completely off-topic, silly irrelevancies, things that have nothing to do with individual citizens' freedoms, such as mentioning that it would probably be a good idea for national militaries to be armed--which basically would make them look like a bunch of retards with short attention spans?

No, this argument is apparently presented because they have no idea what a militia is to begin with. The second amendment basically says, "In order to maintain your status as a free person, you must be able to defend yourself. Whether the arms provide defense from an oppressive government--be it domestic or a foreign invader--or from would-be attackers and thieves, the upright citizens of this nation SHALL have the right to bear arms. This right shall NOT be infringed.

But that's exactly what's happening all over the US, and even more so in many other areas of the world. Are people so apathetic that they just don't care at all? Or is it that they're too lazy to bother with fighting for their rights? Or are they so incredibly naive, so trusting of their politicians and would-be kings, that they cannot fathom there being a possibility of ever having to stand up for their freedom? Or have they simply been brainwashed by a strangely coordinated word-twisting effort on the part of the world media to believe that the one's own defense is a matter best left to chance and in the hands of the easily corrupted?

It really disturbs me that people do not seem to grasp the importance of this "essential liberty". Some people try to blame cultural and personal issues on the weapons used as well. See the News: Crossbows, samurai swords to be banned (Aussies...) thread for more discussion on that part of the topic, including actual statistics in regards to murders and violent crime that have not decreased at all.
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Post by Martin Blank » Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:49 pm

Easy there. I wasn't taking a position. I was providing reference points, definitions, and a brief summary of the current sides.
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Post by Deacon » Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:57 pm

Heh...I had no intentions of any kind of flaming or anything, and I apologize if anything came across as such. In fact, I'm not sure what gave you that idea, honestly. If you consider it important, PM me with the offending passage?

I absolutely understood and realized that you were presenting at least two sides of the argument, a sort of devil's advocate laying out the groundwork for the discussion, and I thought I responded accordingly :)
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:58 pm

"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."

First : the thing I don't get is ... the people who wrote this were educated men, so why is this amendment (and only this amendment) suffering from such errors of grammar that it's meaning is not even arguably clear? .... it's almost like something is missing (conspiracy theories anyone?)

Second : re: Militia ... wasn't that all written before there was the idea of a massive and powerful standing army? One wonders what they would have thought, if they'd known how it would become.

Third : What about the progress of weapons technology? Back then there was nothing like automatic weaponry or propelled explosives. They didn't even have bolt-action rifles or revolvers ..

Fourth - just a little comment, about the argument that is used so paranoid people can stockpile arms in case the government turns fascistic - a valid thought back then, when again, there was an almost eqality of arms. But show me even one militia group with helicopter gunships, tanks, fighter jets, and/or missile silos.
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Mon Sep 08, 2003 6:09 pm

[quote="Deacon";p="153412"][quote="Martin Blank";p="153390"]
  • Benjamin Franklin wrote:They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.
    The founding fathers (including Franklin) believed bearing arms was "an essential liberty", so much so that they drafted an entire amendment dedicated to securing this right for any and all persons who fall under the jurisdiction of the Constitution of the United States of America. Why this isn't self-evident is beyond me.
    [/quote]
    [/quote]
    As in my post bringing up some of my questions here, I would point out that technology has made many of the reasons FOR that 'essential liberty' irrelevant. Unless you want citizens with Cobras, M-1 Ambrams, chainguns mounted on their porch, and LAWs/Stingers in ther pickups.


    Furthermore, I'd like to wonder why the no one has used the 2nd ammendment to challenge so that I can carry a butterfly knife in my pocket, shirukens and nunchaku on my belt, and a samurai sword on my back (Jubei style!), if I so wished.. silly laws, I can't do any of that, but I can carry a concealed Desert Eagle .50 ... hm.
    so I'd like to ask, where do you draw the line for what you can and cannot own and carry?
    Cod knows, I'd like to be able to carry a walking stick that doubles as a break-open sawed-off shotgun... and sword cane, if I could find some way to make the two double, without using the sword as the firing pin.

    My uncle owns like, 50 guns, for the record. I've shot many of them, I enjoy shooting - at targets... And by that I mean immobile objects, like skeet (great rifle targets) and water bottles and milk jugs. Though if someone tried to kill me, or people I care about, they'd become a target (though I'd rather cleave their spine with a blade than worry about the bullet going through them).
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"In your histories, there are continual justifications for all manner of hellish actions. Claims of nobility and heritage and honor to cover up every bit of genocide, assassination, and massacre. At least the Horde is honest in their naked lust for power."

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Re: US Constitution Discussion, Part 13: Amendment II

Post by Killer-Rabbit » Mon Sep 08, 2003 6:42 pm

Do I think people should be allowed to own guns? Yes.
Do I think all people should be allowed to own guns? No.

I acknowledge the fact that many people enjoy guns for recreation (i.e. target practice, hunting), those that want guns for protection (usually handguns, you dont typically use an M-16 for self deffense) and even those that enjoy collecting guns. I see nothing wrong with these uses and no reason to forbid the general public from taking part in these actions.

However, this applies to people in general, not to individuals. I would not trust some people with guns and I'm sure that all of you dont either. I'm not for just "taking guns away", but there should be standard procedures when buying guns. There are two catagories I have that need work.

First, and usually the most obvious problem, is giving guns to criminals and those that are psychologically unstable. As for criminals, you cant really tell if someone will commit a crime, but you can tell if they did. And for the unstable I wouldnt go as far as mandatory psyciatrist visits, but atleast check their past. Thus I would like to see and extensive background check for buying guns. (For those against it, if you have nothing to hide whats the problem?

Second, those that just act stupid around guns. As of now, you dont really have to know a whole lot about guns to get one, which is a major problem. I think that in order to get a gun, you should have to go through a training coarse. This should cover both how to use the gun (practice shooting and what not) and also gun safety. If you really need a gun so much, you should be willing to sit through a few hours so that you know how to use it. This would probably be best for just first time buyers (maybe second time buyers just for review). I think this should really be stressed so you dont have parents leaving loaded shotguns in their bedroom closet for their kids to blow their foot off or go and shoot at cars and blame it on a popular video game that their parents bought for them despite a clear rating system...but I wont get into that part here...

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Post by Martin Blank » Mon Sep 08, 2003 6:50 pm

Of course there are limits to what can be owned. Individuals should not be allowed to obtain ammunition for personally-owned tanks, and nobody's advocating allowing the use of anti-tank missiles. The Supreme Court ruled back in 1939 in US v. Miller that the government had the authority to regulate what weapons could be owned, at least to a certain extent. But what many people miss is that while the military is more powerful than an equivalent number of civilians, there are only 1.6 million military personnel to 285 million civilians, and 200 million guns among those 285 million civilians. Even among those 1.6 million military, there will be those that are hesitant to turn on the populace.

On the concealed carry laws, in most states, no, you can't. In fact, to my knowledge, only Vermont does not require a license to carry a concealed weapon. Many states ban the use of bullets and swords in walking sticks (California being one of them).

Florida introduced a concealed carry law a few years ago. In that time, of the several hundred thousand permits issues, one person was arrested and found guilty of using their concealed firearm in a murder. In many areas, the crime rates went down.

The Supreme Court looks ready to hear Silveira v. Lockyer, a case in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled opposite to the ruling the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued in Emerson v. US. The Fifth Circuit Court held that there is a private right to own firearms (though it also ruled against Emerson by denying his petition to get his firearms back though he was under a restraining order for alleged domestic abuse), and the Ninth Circuit Court found no such right to exist. The Supreme Court now will likely weigh in on the issue, and deliver what could be the biggest firearm ownership decision since Miller. There is an indication on which side it will fall, though, since the Supreme Court declined to hear arguments for Emerson.

KR: Background checks are already mandatory. I have no problem with them, but I do have a problem with those denied access not being followed up by a visit from a law enforcement officer.
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Mon Sep 08, 2003 6:57 pm

Instead of a bunch of questions, a statement this time:

I believe gun ownership should be regulated, kind of like cars. In that you need to go through classes before you can legally own and operate one, and you need to get a license to do so. Of course, these classes would cover, first, respect for the weapon, then use, maitenance, saftey, etc etc ... and would be much harder and comprehensive than the cheesy and simplistic driver's ed they give students (at least in Texas, there's no sort of test, even, to get your license....)
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Post by Killer-Rabbit » Mon Sep 08, 2003 6:58 pm

I remember a while ago that guns could be bought at gun shows without a background check. Havent really stayed up to date on the debate, do the shows still lack the background check?

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Post by Deacon » Mon Sep 08, 2003 7:33 pm

[quote="StruckingFuggle";p="153434"]at least in Texas, there's no sort of test, even, to get your license....[/quote]
This is kind of OT, but I clearly remember taking a test to get my license. If you successfully graduated from an accredited Driver's Ed school, you did not have to take an actual driving test (since you would have already been tested to graduate), but you still have to take a written test.
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Mon Sep 08, 2003 8:03 pm

OT: Really? That's odd. I lived in Texas for eight years, got my license there. I sat through three weeks of drivers ed (which was a JOKE), and then I just went down to the DMV. Handed them my slip that said I had finished (oh, they didn't really test me, they just had me cruise around for seven one-hour sessions ... not really testing anything) ... I gave them my five bucks, and SNAP! Photo. Maybe there was a test, I'm not sure. If there was, I don't remember it because it was insignifigantly simple and really didn't measure any sort of competence.
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Re: US Constitution Discussion, Part 13: Amendment II

Post by Deacon » Mon Sep 08, 2003 8:09 pm

OT stands for "Off Topic" and was applied to your steering (no pun intended) the discussion towards driver's ed experiences in a thread about the essential liberty of Americans to keep and bear arms. :)
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Mon Sep 08, 2003 8:15 pm

Yeah, I know what OT means, which is why I prefaced my reply to your off topic comment with it. But you're right, that should have been a PM, sorry.
"He who lives by the sword dies by my arrow."

"In your histories, there are continual justifications for all manner of hellish actions. Claims of nobility and heritage and honor to cover up every bit of genocide, assassination, and massacre. At least the Horde is honest in their naked lust for power."

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