T Nation

Keep & Bear Arms:Relic of Past?

A court case where the 2nd amendment is being questioned. Is it still valid in our modern world? The decision from this case will surely influence future gun laws.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/07/AR2006120701001.html

Scope of 2nd Amendment’s Questioned

By MATT APUZZO
The Associated Press
Thursday, December 7, 2006; 8:49 PM

WASHINGTON – In a case that could shape firearms laws nationwide, attorneys for the District of Columbia argued Thursday that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies only to militias, not individuals.

The city defended as constitutional its long-standing ban on handguns, a law that some gun opponents have advocated elsewhere. Civil liberties groups and pro-gun organizations say the ban is unconstitutional.

At issue in the case before a federal appeals court is whether the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” applies to all people or only to “a well regulated militia.” The Bush administration has endorsed individual gun-ownership rights but the Supreme Court has never settled the issue.

If the dispute makes it to the high court, it would be the first case in nearly 70 years to address the amendment’s scope. The court disappointed gun owner groups in 2003 when it refused to take up a challenge to California’s ban on assault weapons.

In the Washington, D.C., case, a lower-court judge told six city residents in 2004 that they did not have a constitutional right to own handguns. The plaintiffs include residents of high-crime neighborhoods who want guns for protection.

Courts have upheld bans on automatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns but this case is unusual because it involves a prohibition on all pistols. Voters passed a similar ban in San Francisco last year but a judge ruled it violated state law. The Washington case is not clouded by state law and hinges directly on the Constitution.

“We interpret the Second Amendment in military terms,” said Todd Kim, the District’s solicitor general, who told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the city would also have had the authority to ban all weapons.

“Show me anybody in the 19th century who interprets the Second Amendment the way you do,” Judge Laurence Silberman said. “It doesn’t appear until much later, the middle of the 20th century.”

Of the three judges, Silberman was the most critical of Kim’s argument and noted that, despite the law, handguns were common in the District.

Silberman and Judge Thomas B. Griffith seemed to wrestle, however, with the meaning of the amendment’s language about militias. If a well-regulated militia is no longer needed, they asked, is the right to bear arms still necessary?

“That’s quite a task for any court to decide that a right is no longer necessary,” Alan Gura, an attorney for the plaintiffs, replied. “If we decide that it’s no longer necessary, can we erase any part of the Constitution?”


The case is: Shelly Parker et al v. District of Columbia, case No. 04-7041.

From a plain reading of the Constitution–not to mention many other sources from the same time period–it is pretty damn clear that they had in mind every citizen, and not just a “well regulated militia.” I don’t know how anybody could interpret it in any other way. If the Second Amendment has run its course of usefulness, we have a process for changing it, but I have a feeling those who want an out-and-out ban on firearms won’t be willing to take that route.

[quote]LBRTRN wrote:
that they had in mind every citizen, and not just a “well regulated militia.” I don’t know how anybody could interpret it in any other way.[/quote]

Why even mention the well regulated militia, then? I believe that’s the argument put forth by the city to uphold its ban on firearms.

I’m just curious to see what the opposition to losing this right (or course, we’re not quite there yet, but favorable ruling for the city would make things interesting) will be like.

[quote]pookie wrote:
LBRTRN wrote:
that they had in mind every citizen, and not just a “well regulated militia.” I don’t know how anybody could interpret it in any other way.

Why even mention the well regulated militia, then? I believe that’s the argument put forth by the city to uphold its ban on firearms.

If the Second Amendment has run its course of usefulness, we have a process for changing it, but I have a feeling those who want an out-and-out ban on firearms won’t be willing to take that route.

I’m just curious to see what the opposition to losing this right (or course, we’re not quite there yet, but favorable ruling for the city would make things interesting) will be like.
[/quote]

The city’s ban will probably stand. People always just make conclusory statements about the Second Amendment like “pretty damn clear” without citing any sources. If LBRTRN could cite something from the Federalist Papers, or Madison’s notes from the constitutional convention that showed discussion of individuals rather than a militia being the subject of the Second Amendment that might be different.

It seems like the sources cited to bolster the “pretty damn clear” argument never come from anything actually surrounding the Constitutional Convention, or the Constitution’s actual ratification. As it is now those people just say things like “pretty damn clear” and that’s enough for them.

I think the argument that actually makes more sense is that the founders didn’t think about the individuals rights to bear arms because they didn’t see it as an issue, to them that would have been like guaranteeing the right to go to work or something. Thus, the right to bear arms might be housed in the Ninth Amendment, I guess.

The Supreme Court has yet to find the Second Amendment to apply to individuals, and similar city bans have been upheld before.

[quote]PGreen711 wrote:

The city’s ban will probably stand. People always just make conclusory statements about the Second Amendment like “pretty damn clear” without citing any sources. If LBRTRN could cite something from the Federalist Papers, or Madison’s notes from the constitutional convention that showed discussion of individuals rather than a militia being the subject of the Second Amendment that might be different.[/quote]

Here is just one example, and it’s from Madison’s pen, Federalist No.46, to boot:

The context in which Madison writes the following is in answer to those who say the strengthening of the Federal gov’t may lead to a situation whereby it extends its power beyond its “due limits” over the various states, and the people in general. In other words, what ultimate defense do the people have against the powers of the soon to be created Federal gov’t?

[quote]pookie wrote:
LBRTRN wrote:
that they had in mind every citizen, and not just a “well regulated militia.” I don’t know how anybody could interpret it in any other way.

Why even mention the well regulated militia, then? I believe that’s the argument put forth by the city to uphold its ban on firearms.[/quote]

Well, because I think that is the ultimate purpose of having an armed citizenry, but not the only; however, even if it were the only purpose, since we are speaking about the limits placed upon the Federal gov’t, I think the misunderstanding stems from the fact that people assume a militia, as described in the Constitution, has the sole purpose of protecting the population from foreign invasion.
A state militia also has the responsibility of protecting the various states from the Federal gov’t–at least that was the intention at the time. Hence the reason such a provision was included in the Bill of Rights–a document, keep in mind, that many of the states insisted on before they would consider ratification of the new constitution. If the Federal government has the power to decide who could and could not keep arms, it could easily remove the final check on its power over the states, and, ultimately, the people.

[quote]LBRTRN wrote:
PGreen711 wrote:

The city’s ban will probably stand. People always just make conclusory statements about the Second Amendment like “pretty damn clear” without citing any sources. If LBRTRN could cite something from the Federalist Papers, or Madison’s notes from the constitutional convention that showed discussion of individuals rather than a militia being the subject of the Second Amendment that might be different.

Here is just one example, and it’s from Madison’s pen, Federalist No.46, to boot:

The context in which Madison writes the following is in answer to those who say the strengthening of the Federal gov’t may lead to a situation whereby it extends its power beyond its “due limits” over the various states, and the people in general. In other words, what ultimate defense do the people have against the powers of the soon to be created Federal gov’t?

That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm, and continue to supply the materials, until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads, must appear to every one more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism. Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

[/quote]
To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.

Thank you, it is definitely plausible definitely NOT “pretty damn clear”

Are you saying that by militia he is essentially meaning citizenry? Because it seems like most of that referred to the militia of the state.

[quote]LBRTRN wrote:
pookie wrote:
LBRTRN wrote:
that they had in mind every citizen, and not just a “well regulated militia.” I don’t know how anybody could interpret it in any other way.

Why even mention the well regulated militia, then? I believe that’s the argument put forth by the city to uphold its ban on firearms.

Well, because I think that is the ultimate purpose of having an armed citizenry, but not the only; however, even if it were the only purpose, since we are speaking about the limits placed upon the Federal gov’t, I think the misunderstanding stems from the fact that people assume a militia, as described in the Constitution, has the sole purpose of protecting the population from foreign invasion.
A state militia also has the responsibility of protecting the various states from the Federal gov’t–at least that was the intention at the time. Hence the reason such a provision was included in the Bill of Rights–a document, keep in mind, that many of the states insisted on before they would consider ratification of the new constitution. If the Federal government has the power to decide who could and could not keep arms, it could easily remove the final check on its power over the states, and, ultimately, the people.
[/quote]

So again, are you saying that when Madison refers a militia that is organized with officers, that he really means all the citizens of a state, and not just citizens that are a member of that militia?

By the way it is nice to actually have an interesting thread without all the asinine talking points here.

[quote]PGreen711 wrote:

Thank you, it is definitely plausible definitely NOT “pretty damn clear”

Are you saying that by militia he is essentially meaning citizenry?[/quote]

By militia he means militia. But what is a militia composed of? And if the federal gov’t gets to decide who is and isn’t armed, what would be the point of arguing that the state militias are the final check on the power of the federal gov’t? Besides, he specifically states that, unlike the peoples of the rest of the world–who also have state militias–Americans are trusted, by their government, with the possession of arms.

[quote] Because it seems like most of that referred to the militia of the state.
[/quote]

Precisely. Keep in mind we are talking about a document that is supposed to limit the power of the federal government, passed at a time when people were genuinely fearful of a federal government more powerful than the governments of each individual state. I think an argument can, and has, been made that the state’s have the right to regulate arms–well, as a matter of fact, they do; so I guess an argument isn’t even necessary. But, the idea that the federal gov’t can tell the citizens of a state whether they can keep their own arms, as personal property, would have terrified the founding generation. Which is why they included the 2nd Amendment in the BoR…

Now, considering DC isn’t a state, I don’t know where that leaves us–even though I think a very convincing argument can be made that the Founders believed the citizenry should be able to bear arms for other reasons than those stated above; and as that one judge pointed out, the historical understanding certainly bears this out. Like Pookie, I’m interested to see what happens…

[quote]PGreen711 wrote:
LBRTRN wrote:
pookie wrote:
LBRTRN wrote:
that they had in mind every citizen, and not just a “well regulated militia.” I don’t know how anybody could interpret it in any other way.

Why even mention the well regulated militia, then? I believe that’s the argument put forth by the city to uphold its ban on firearms.

Well, because I think that is the ultimate purpose of having an armed citizenry, but not the only; however, even if it were the only purpose, since we are speaking about the limits placed upon the Federal gov’t, I think the misunderstanding stems from the fact that people assume a militia, as described in the Constitution, has the sole purpose of protecting the population from foreign invasion.
A state militia also has the responsibility of protecting the various states from the Federal gov’t–at least that was the intention at the time. Hence the reason such a provision was included in the Bill of Rights–a document, keep in mind, that many of the states insisted on before they would consider ratification of the new constitution. If the Federal government has the power to decide who could and could not keep arms, it could easily remove the final check on its power over the states, and, ultimately, the people.

So again, are you saying that when Madison refers a militia that is organized with officers, that he really means all the citizens of a state, and not just citizens that are a member of that militia?[/quote]

I see the problem now. State militias weren’t organized like present day national guards. Essentially, every citizen was a member of the militia: when in times of national, or state, emergency, it became necessary to call up the militia, every able bodied citizen was supposed to bring his own weapon and report for “duty.”

Agreed.

So let me see if I have this. If the Supreme Court were to rule, and rule in favor of this more restrictive interpretation, then according to the foregoing, firebrand pamphleteer, we should be using our guns as a final check on Federal power?

We should not even waste our time trying to
quibble over what the founders intended. They left us quite a volume of work and it states clearly their intent. Simply, they wanted an armed citizenry out of distrust for a centralized government. Every time I hear some putz arguing about the founders intent and spinning it to mean only government-regulated forces, I nearly blow my stack. He should do one of two things first…open up a history book or stop fucking distorting the truth on purpose.

If you want to ban the private ownership of arms, just leave the founders out of it.

What the gun-ban movement is left with is the “different world” argument. Like Justice Souter has been all-to-happy to point out, the founders never envisioned TV, the internet and so on(to be fair, I don’t think they envisioned socialists or even outright commies running around our great country either). Yep, weapons are different today than they were in 1783. I can’t argue that. So what? The Constitution was written for posterity, not just for a few decades.
While I give the founders great credit as some of the most brilliant thinkers ever to walk the planet, I know some don’t share my view. How hard would it have been for Madison to include the caveat “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed until such time as the technology of arms becomes too sophisticated for the people to be trusted with”? No qualifier was given for a reason. Sitting here in 2006, I can imagine that weaponry and arms will be very different 200 hundred years from now. However, you know what won’t change? There will still be criminals who want to harm you, America will still have enemies in the world who would love nothing more than to invade our homeland
and a government can’t become all-powerful if its people can defend themselves and their God-given rights.

Here are a couple of common beliefs among the pro-gun crowd. If you are anti-gun, tell me what you see as being wrong with the following, as they all seem like common sense to me:

1.The right to self-defense is absolute.
A government that seeks to remove your right to self defense should be abolished or overturned by force(Britain, take note). No government can provide for your individual safety as well as you can. I should know as I am a law enforcement officer. Besides, a total ban on guns and 100 million gun laws
would not stop the bad guys from doing whatever they want. I know this for a fact too.

2.No centralized government should be allowed to become too powerful. The most powerful central governments are where?..Communist countries. And what do they do first? Disarm the sheep because they can’t be trusted. Then they do all kinds of nasty things like re-educate you, seize your property or
simply kill you for disagreeing. Like it or not, an armed citizenry is a shield against tyranny.

3.America was made great by trusting its citizens and its citizens distrusting its government.

[quote]JD430 wrote:
We should not even waste our time trying to
quibble over what the founders intended. They left us quite a volume of work and it states clearly their intent. Simply, they wanted an armed citizenry out of distrust for a centralized government. Every time I hear some putz arguing about the founders intent and spinning it to mean only government-regulated forces, I nearly blow my stack. He should do one of two things first…open up a history book or stop fucking distorting the truth on purpose.

If you want to ban the private ownership of arms, just leave the founders out of it.

What the gun-ban movement is left with is the “different world” argument. Like Justice Souter has been all-to-happy to point out, the founders never envisioned TV, the internet and so on(to be fair, I don’t think they envisioned socialists or even outright commies running around our great country either). Yep, weapons are different today than they were in 1783. I can’t argue that. So what? The Constitution was written for posterity, not just for a few decades.
While I give the founders great credit as some of the most brilliant thinkers ever to walk the planet, I know some don’t share my view. How hard would it have been for Madison to include the caveat “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed until such time as the technology of arms becomes too sophisticated for the people to be trusted with”? No qualifier was given for a reason. Sitting here in 2006, I can imagine that weaponry and arms will be very different 200 hundred years from now. However, you know what won’t change? There will still be criminals who want to harm you, America will still have enemies in the world who would love nothing more than to invade our homeland
and a government can’t become all-powerful if its people can defend themselves and their God-given rights.

Here are a couple of common beliefs among the pro-gun crowd. If you are anti-gun, tell me what you see as being wrong with the following, as they all seem like common sense to me:

1.The right to self-defense is absolute.
A government that seeks to remove your right to self defense should be abolished or overturned by force(Britain, take note). No government can provide for your individual safety as well as you can. I should know as I am a law enforcement officer. Besides, a total ban on guns and 100 million gun laws
would not stop the bad guys from doing whatever they want. I know this for a fact too.

2.No centralized government should be allowed to become too powerful. The most powerful central governments are where?..Communist countries. And what do they do first? Disarm the sheep because they can’t be trusted. Then they do all kinds of nasty things like re-educate you, seize your property or
simply kill you for disagreeing. Like it or not, an armed citizenry is a shield against tyranny.

3.America was made great by trusting its citizens and its citizens distrusting its government.

[/quote]

I wasn’t distorting the truth. I’m against for gun control but certainly against gun bans. I think you need to open a history book and realize the question of what the Amendment means or meant is up to interpretation.

As I said before I’m not for gun bans. I think if you look at it objectively you can’t be sure if the Second Amendment necessarily applies to ALL INDIVIDUALS. That’s why I argued that right could be found in the Ninth Amendment (borrow a copy of the Constitution from someone who has read it).

Don’t blow your stack too soon just make sure you are being objective and trying to actually understand things, not just make conclusory statements.

[quote]endgamer711 wrote:
So let me see if I have this. If the Supreme Court were to rule, and rule in favor of this more restrictive interpretation, then according to the foregoing, firebrand pamphleteer, we should be using our guns as a final check on Federal power?[/quote]

Lol…they may have in 1789! No, I wouldn’t say that, though. But, I bet if after such an action by the Supreme Court, Bush decided it was high time he made himself president for life, a lot of those in favor of such a “restrictive interpretation” would be kicking themselves. Yes, such a possibility, as Madison points out, isn’t very likely, but it has happened before. I don’t know about you, but I fear a world in which only governments have access to weapons. I wonder if Kim Jung Il allows the citizenry of N. Korea the right to arms (I really don’t know, but I doubt it).

Keep in mind, the example I gave you, from Federalist No.46, isn’t an argument in favor of the 2nd amendment, per se. Like you said–I think you said so, anyways–the right to keep and bear arms was largely taken as a given at the time–he didn’t need to defend it. He was simply pointing out that even if, on the off chance, a person is elected who manages to create a dictatorship, we still have one final safeguard: the citizens of the individual states, having the right to keep and bear arms, will band together in state militias, headed by the various governments to which they (the people) are loyal, and out numbering the troops wielded by the federal government, will stop any military action against the states, and/or people. What this illustrates, IMO, is that Madison, the primary author of the Constitution, considered the right to bear arms a right guaranteed to the citizenry–even under the new Federal Constitution he was defending.

The fact is, everyone, from 1789 all the way through the 19th century, understood the 2nd Amendment as applying to each citizen–it only makes sense that the words mean the same now as they meant then. One can argue that it’s time to change those words–and we have a process for such a change–but one can’t, or at least shouldn’t, argue that those words suddenly mean something else. Otherwise, what’s the point of a written constitution?

[quote]PGreen711 wrote:
JD430 wrote:
We should not even waste our time trying to
quibble over what the founders intended. They left us quite a volume of work and it states clearly their intent. Simply, they wanted an armed citizenry out of distrust for a centralized government. Every time I hear some putz arguing about the founders intent and spinning it to mean only government-regulated forces, I nearly blow my stack. He should do one of two things first…open up a history book or stop fucking distorting the truth on purpose.

If you want to ban the private ownership of arms, just leave the founders out of it.

What the gun-ban movement is left with is the “different world” argument. Like Justice Souter has been all-to-happy to point out, the founders never envisioned TV, the internet and so on(to be fair, I don’t think they envisioned socialists or even outright commies running around our great country either). Yep, weapons are different today than they were in 1783. I can’t argue that. So what? The Constitution was written for posterity, not just for a few decades.
While I give the founders great credit as some of the most brilliant thinkers ever to walk the planet, I know some don’t share my view. How hard would it have been for Madison to include the caveat “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed until such time as the technology of arms becomes too sophisticated for the people to be trusted with”? No qualifier was given for a reason. Sitting here in 2006, I can imagine that weaponry and arms will be very different 200 hundred years from now. However, you know what won’t change? There will still be criminals who want to harm you, America will still have enemies in the world who would love nothing more than to invade our homeland
and a government can’t become all-powerful if its people can defend themselves and their God-given rights.

Here are a couple of common beliefs among the pro-gun crowd. If you are anti-gun, tell me what you see as being wrong with the following, as they all seem like common sense to me:

1.The right to self-defense is absolute.
A government that seeks to remove your right to self defense should be abolished or overturned by force(Britain, take note). No government can provide for your individual safety as well as you can. I should know as I am a law enforcement officer. Besides, a total ban on guns and 100 million gun laws
would not stop the bad guys from doing whatever they want. I know this for a fact too.

2.No centralized government should be allowed to become too powerful. The most powerful central governments are where?..Communist countries. And what do they do first? Disarm the sheep because they can’t be trusted. Then they do all kinds of nasty things like re-educate you, seize your property or
simply kill you for disagreeing. Like it or not, an armed citizenry is a shield against tyranny.

3.America was made great by trusting its citizens and its citizens distrusting its government.

I wasn’t distorting the truth. I’m against for gun control but certainly against gun bans. I think you need to open a history book and realize the question of what the Amendment means or meant is up to interpretation.

As I said before I’m not for gun bans. I think if you look at it objectively you can’t be sure if the Second Amendment necessarily applies to ALL INDIVIDUALS. That’s why I argued that right could be found in the Ninth Amendment (borrow a copy of the Constitution from someone who has read it).

Don’t blow your stack too soon just make sure you are being objective and trying to actually understand things, not just make conclusory statements.

[/quote]

I wasnt talking to you specifically. I hadnt even read your post. Do you have some kind of a guilty conscience?

I have read the Constitution umpteen times. The whole damn thing is open to interpretation and I didnt say otherwise.

I did say the founders beliefs are clear and the right to keep and bear arms applies to individuals.

Samuel Adams:

“That the said Constitution shall never be 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.”

Patrick Henry:

“The great object is, that every man be armed…Every one who is able may have a gun.”

Thomas Jefferson:

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

One could go on forever, but how is any of that unclear?

I defy anyone to produce evidence that the founders intended the right to keep and bear arms to be ONLY a collective right. You won’t find it because it doesn’t exist. It would be more productive for gun control advocates to move on and try to develop another avenue of attack. These constant distortions are one of the many reasons no one should take them seriously.

Try to limit my right to keep and bear arms, and you are getting taken out, plain and simple

[quote]JD430 wrote:
PGreen711 wrote:
JD430 wrote:
We should not even waste our time trying to
quibble over what the founders intended. They left us quite a volume of work and it states clearly their intent. Simply, they wanted an armed citizenry out of distrust for a centralized government. Every time I hear some putz arguing about the founders intent and spinning it to mean only government-regulated forces, I nearly blow my stack. He should do one of two things first…open up a history book or stop fucking distorting the truth on purpose.

If you want to ban the private ownership of arms, just leave the founders out of it.

What the gun-ban movement is left with is the “different world” argument. Like Justice Souter has been all-to-happy to point out, the founders never envisioned TV, the internet and so on(to be fair, I don’t think they envisioned socialists or even outright commies running around our great country either). Yep, weapons are different today than they were in 1783. I can’t argue that. So what? The Constitution was written for posterity, not just for a few decades.
While I give the founders great credit as some of the most brilliant thinkers ever to walk the planet, I know some don’t share my view. How hard would it have been for Madison to include the caveat “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed until such time as the technology of arms becomes too sophisticated for the people to be trusted with”? No qualifier was given for a reason. Sitting here in 2006, I can imagine that weaponry and arms will be very different 200 hundred years from now. However, you know what won’t change? There will still be criminals who want to harm you, America will still have enemies in the world who would love nothing more than to invade our homeland
and a government can’t become all-powerful if its people can defend themselves and their God-given rights.

Here are a couple of common beliefs among the pro-gun crowd. If you are anti-gun, tell me what you see as being wrong with the following, as they all seem like common sense to me:

1.The right to self-defense is absolute.
A government that seeks to remove your right to self defense should be abolished or overturned by force(Britain, take note). No government can provide for your individual safety as well as you can. I should know as I am a law enforcement officer. Besides, a total ban on guns and 100 million gun laws
would not stop the bad guys from doing whatever they want. I know this for a fact too.

2.No centralized government should be allowed to become too powerful. The most powerful central governments are where?..Communist countries. And what do they do first? Disarm the sheep because they can’t be trusted. Then they do all kinds of nasty things like re-educate you, seize your property or
simply kill you for disagreeing. Like it or not, an armed citizenry is a shield against tyranny.

3.America was made great by trusting its citizens and its citizens distrusting its government.

I wasn’t distorting the truth. I’m against for gun control but certainly against gun bans. I think you need to open a history book and realize the question of what the Amendment means or meant is up to interpretation.

As I said before I’m not for gun bans. I think if you look at it objectively you can’t be sure if the Second Amendment necessarily applies to ALL INDIVIDUALS. That’s why I argued that right could be found in the Ninth Amendment (borrow a copy of the Constitution from someone who has read it).

Don’t blow your stack too soon just make sure you are being objective and trying to actually understand things, not just make conclusory statements.

I wasnt talking to you specifically. I hadnt even read your post. Do you have some kind of a guilty conscience?

I have read the Constitution umpteen times. The whole damn thing is open to interpretation and I didnt say otherwise.

I did say the founders beliefs are clear and the right to keep and bear arms applies to individuals.

Samuel Adams:

“That the said Constitution shall never be 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.”

Patrick Henry:

“The great object is, that every man be armed…Every one who is able may have a gun.”

Thomas Jefferson:

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

One could go on forever, but how is any of that unclear?

I defy anyone to produce evidence that the founders intended the right to keep and bear arms to be ONLY a collective right. You won’t find it because it doesn’t exist. It would be more productive for gun control advocates to move on and try to develop another avenue of attack. These constant distortions are one of the many reasons no one should take them seriously.

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None of those men you mentioned attended the Constitutional Convention, they may be founders of the country but are NOT FRAMERS of the Constitution. If you had read the Constitution the names of those who attended should be listed in the back. Thus, their quotes have ZERO bearing on the Second Amendment. Read LBRTRN’s responses to the thread that’s why he quotes James Madison, because he is the father of the Constitution and actually was there.

Your philosophical arguments about what a government should and shouldn’t do, and self defense etc. don’t mean much as far as the Second Amendment is concerned they are clearly your ideas that cloud any objective view you could take towards the Constitution.

There is at the very least an equal amount of evidence that the law only applies to state militias, as there is that the law applies to individual citizens.

The Second Amendment can be interpreted to apply collectively that is argument enough. That’s why there was a discussion going on until you came and starting talking in absolutes, calling people who look at things objectively liars.

[quote]buffballswell wrote:
Try to limit my right to keep and bear arms, and you are getting taken out, plain and simple[/quote]

Are you against all gun control? That is to say, do you dislike laws that keep RPG’s out of citizen’s hands, or pistols out of felon’s?

[quote]pookie wrote:
LBRTRN wrote:
that they had in mind every citizen, and not just a “well regulated militia.” I don’t know how anybody could interpret it in any other way.

Why even mention the well regulated militia, then? I believe that’s the argument put forth by the city to uphold its ban on firearms.
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If you look at the Virginia Declaration of Rights, upon which the Bill of Rights was based you will see this “well regulated militia” term missing. Unfortunately, Federalists such as Madison and particularly that sumbitch Hamilton wanted to water down the bill of rights. Bear in mind that few of the men who wrote the Constitution were there to sign the Declaration of Independence.

These men were not the founding fathers, but rather the founding lawyers and they successfully worded the Constitution to make it as weak as possible. Remember, the Bill of rights were added only AFTER the constitution was signed and that was because of the hard work of real patriots like Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson.

mike

[quote]LBRTRN wrote:

Now, considering DC isn’t a state, I don’t know where that leaves us–even though I think a very convincing argument can be made that the Founders believed the citizenry should be able to bear arms for other reasons than those stated above; and as that one judge pointed out, the historical understanding certainly bears this out. Like Pookie, I’m interested to see what happens…[/quote]

Herein lies my concern. DC is not a state, but rather federal territory with none of the sovereignty or supposed sovereignty of the individual states. As such it can be ruled essentially with a despotic iron fist if congress so wished. My fear is that an upheld gun ban there however would be used as precident to future gun bans in states.

mike