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Thread: Origins of the 2nd Amendment

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Origins of the 2nd 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."

    When the Second Amendment was adopted, states formed and raised militias from male volunteers who provided their own muskets. Nowadays, national defense is conducted quite differently. We have a standing army and defense is by far the largest piece of the federal budget. Volunteers who enlist in the armed forces are seldom called upon now to provide their own SAM's, machine guns, grenades, or tanks.

    Most of the arguments for upholding the 2nd Amendment heard these days run along the lines of we need firearms for personal protection or hunting or some such. Security of the state does not seem to be an argument we hear much of. Does the fact that the framers of the Constitution explicitly stated that state security was the reason that arms would be permitted to the people add credence to the notion that this Constitutional provision may be obsolete?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    "Hey yutz! Guns aren't toys! They're for perosnal protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals and keeping the King of England out of your face!" - Krusty the Klown

    Perhaps we need to explore the creation of the first organized miltary in the US. Maybe there's some informatino there that can clarify the intents or the amendment and where it stands now.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

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    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    "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."

    When the Second Amendment was adopted, states formed and raised militias from male volunteers who provided their own muskets. Nowadays, national defense is conducted quite differently. We have a standing army and defense is by far the largest piece of the federal budget. Volunteers who enlist in the armed forces are seldom called upon now to provide their own SAM's, machine guns, grenades, or tanks.

    Most of the arguments for upholding the 2nd Amendment heard these days run along the lines of we need firearms for personal protection or hunting or some such. Security of the state does not seem to be an argument we hear much of. Does the fact that the framers of the Constitution explicitly stated that state security was the reason that arms would be permitted to the people add credence to the notion that this Constitutional provision may be obsolete?
    Yeah, but since we don't have volunteer independent state militias anymore, the right of the general people to own firearms shall not be infringed upon by the government. The framers intended this so that if some wackjob turned the U.S. into a dictatorship (remember, Hitler took away people's guns in Europe), that the people could fight back and overthrow it to secure democracy once again. The right to free speech and the right to bear arms basically keep the government in check and the people in power.
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    Cyburbian Plus
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    This website has links to at least two sides of the agruement:
    http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_2nd.html

    which are of course the NRA and Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

    An important US Supreme Court case to read is US v. Miller (307 U.S. 174 (1939))
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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    If you parse the sentence, you see the ending phrase is qualifying the first. The first phrase, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" is the goal of the statement and the 2nd phrase, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" is the strategy to acheive that goal.

    If the framers had wanted "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" without any reason or qualification, they would have said so without that opening phrase. What they said was lets have the right of the people to keep and bear arms" in order to maintian "a well regulated militia, necessary to the security of a free state."

    We do have well-regulated militias, (local police, state police, national guard chapters in every state) now. The gun ownership is not the goal, but the way to acheive the goal of having a regulated militia to protect citizens.

    I'm not against individuals' right to own guns, but the state and private groups should have the right to bans guns from certain places. I have the right to go into a restaurant without some drunk jerk pulling out a gun and shooting his girlfriend and anyone who gets in the way. I have the right to go to a public park and not be scared someone will shoot kids. Protect your home, go hunting, but don't trawl the streets with an itchy finger. We as a people should have the right to agree to gun-free zones as long as that does not extend into your private property.
    Last edited by CosmicMojo; 16 Mar 2006 at 12:34 PM.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Thanks for the informative link explaining both sides of the issue, JNA. For a minute there I had a concern that you had provided a link advocating for one side of the issue only.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Yeah, but since we don't have volunteer independent state militias anymore, the right of the general people to own firearms shall not be infringed upon by the government. The framers intended this so that if some wackjob turned the U.S. into a dictatorship (remember, Hitler took away people's guns in Europe), that the people could fight back and overthrow it to secure democracy once again. The right to free speech and the right to bear arms basically keep the government in check and the people in power.
    The chance that some "whackjob" could turn the U.S. into a dictatorship is too small to be even seen with the most powerful electron microscope. The office of the president does not have that kind of power and could not summon it even in a national emergency. The Congress could toss him to the street quickly. The chance that armed citizens could effectively resist our nations army are a little better. See the Whiskey Rebellion or Shays Rebellion.

    The state militias have never been much of a force at any time in our history. During the Revolution they were poorly regarded by the British Army and much of the American leaders for their lack of commitment and lack of courage. The final battle in the movie "The Patriot" makes use of that assumption -- no one expected the militia to stand and fight. In the post-Revolutionary days, the state and local miltias were often used to massacre Indians.

    That said, I have always beleive that the Second Amendment does preserve the right of Americans to own firearms.
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    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CosmicMojo
    If you parse the sentence, you see the ending phrase is qualifying the first. The first phrase, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" is the goal of the statement and the 2nd phrase, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" is the strategy to acheive that goal.

    If the framers had wanted "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" without any reason or qualification, they would have said so without that opening phrase. What they said was lets have the right of the people to keep and bear arms" in order to maintian "a well regulated militia, necessary to the security of a free state."

    We do have well-regulated militias, (local police, state police, national guard chapters in every state) now. The gun ownership is not the goal, but the way to acheive the goal of having a regulated militia to protect citizens.
    Those aren't true militias though, because they are run by the government. Somebody's got to keep the government and the police in check, and that's the militia that is the general people. To me, the militia is the local sportsmen's club. And we are regulated...you can't have fully automatic machine guns, kids can't have guns, you have to get a FOID card, you can't have grenades...

    Just remember that part of the reason why the Holocaust and Hitler's reign happened is because he took away the guns from the people. Do you think the Holocaust would have happened so easily if everybody had a gun, joined together, and fought them off?
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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    1. If you read most ‘bill of rights’ amendments restrictively like gun grabbers do with the 2nd, they mean precious little.

    2. Logically and historically, referring back to what those gents wrote, the point of that sentence is “maintaining a free state”. Only a Jesuit would argue that you can maintain a free state thanks to…the army and the police…duh! They clearly meant common folk.

    3. In any case the second sentence is clearer; it’s not the right of the army or the police but the right of the people. Common folk. If it was a collective right it would be meaningless. Can you imagine the right to free speech…by members of the government..? it’s meaningless.
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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Hi, my name is Mike and I am a gun owner. As for the militia requirement... if someone showed up and wanted to take my house (if I had one) or my other property, they will be talking to the open end of a 30-30 or a 9mm and I hope that my neighbor will be right there with me, and I know I would be right there with him/her.

    Also if your going to start mentioning the Amendments... the first is not being used as it is intended...
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    The pledge of allegiance, discussion of intelligent design in a school, and public prier are not laws passed by congress respecting one religion over the other.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop
    The chance that some "whackjob" could turn the U.S. into a dictatorship is too small to be even seen with the most powerful electron microscope. The office of the president does not have that kind of power and could not summon it even in a national emergency. The Congress could toss him to the street quickly. The chance that armed citizens could effectively resist our nations army are a little better. See the Whiskey Rebellion or Shays Rebellion.
    I'm gonna have to go with El Guapo's frequently stated opinion on this issue. Are you so sure?

    http://www.counterpunch.org/sigal03162006.html

    The federal government has awarded a $385 million contract for the construction of 'temporary detention facilities' inside the United States as part of the Immigration Service's Detention and Removal Program. The contract was given to Kellogg, Root & Brown, a subsidiary of Halliburton. The camps would be used in the event of an "emergency", said Jamie Zuieback, an Immigration service official.

    Another bombing or terrorist event=an emergency=people (like me) who've been ranting against the war being placed in these "temporary detention facilities." Why do I not feel so sure?

    The rest of your post i.e., the ineffectualness of most state militias, is well taken. Although, during the Katrina emergency, it would have been nice ton have the Louisiana National Guard more available, no?

    Quote Originally posted by michaleskis
    The pledge of allegiance, discussion of intelligent design in a school, and public prier are not laws passed by congress respecting one religion over the other.
    So, establishment of religion is ok if it's not done via an act of Congress? Sorry, don't buy that. Religion is fine as a private matter. Why is it so important to have acne-ridden teens intoning some bland, inoffensive "prayer" read over the PA? As for ID? We won't even go there. The judge in Dover put it well: you are lying to get your version of Creationism snuck into the schools.

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    The pledge of allegiance, discussion of intelligent design in a school, and public prier are not laws passed by congress respecting one religion over the other.
    Interesting quote of the day:
    Woodrow Wilson, 1922
    "Like every other man of intelligence and education, I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised."

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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Those aren't true militias though, because they are run by the government.

    Unlike these vigilantes, um, I mean patriots.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Militia:
    n 1: civilians trained as soldiers but not part of the regular army, called to served in emergencies.
    ie, the reserves and the national guard.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    So, establishment of religion is ok if it's not done via an act of Congress? Sorry, don't buy that. Religion is fine as a private matter. Why is it so important to have acne-ridden teens intoning some bland, inoffensive "prayer" read over the PA? As for ID? We won't even go there. The judge in Dover put it well: you are lying to get your version of Creationism snuck into the schools.
    The exact quote from the amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” If the judge who decided that stated the 2nd amendment then he is an idiot because he is not acting on the behalf of Congress to make a law. He would have the authority to regulate that is wrong... fact is no one has the right to regulate other than the religion it’s self. The judge can however determine that it was not part of the curriculum approved by the state or district.

    The quack job freak from CA who is whining about the pledge having the words “Under God” has no grounds either. The pledge of allegiance is not a required by law or school to be spoken, and if the child or their family do not believe in God, then they should not have to recite the words Under God if they so wish.

    All these “No you can’t do that!” “Separation of Church and State... Separation of Church and State” need to shut there pie hole until they can show me laws passed by congress respecting or preventing religion... everything else is free game.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    The exact quote from the amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”
    Mskis, please feel free to start a 1st Amendment thread if the mood strikes you.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Mskis, please feel free to start a 1st Amendment thread if the mood strikes you.
    My point is you mention the 2nd Amendment and how it is taken these days and what it was intended for, and I am saying that society does not take many, if any, of the amendments as they were intended.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I'm not against guns, I support hunter's rights, as long as they are respectful of others property and do so a fair distance away from where they can harm others.

    I am not a big fan of liberal concealed weapon laws that allow most anyone to get one. I don't see much use of a handgun except to rob someone or shoot them close up. Therefore I do believe in very stiff fines for those who use weapons against others for personal gain.

    I do support the 2nd amendment. I feel it is the right and responsiblity for all to serve for the common good. That being said, I can also understand the conciensious (sp) objector.
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    To me, the militia is the local sportsmen's club. And we are regulated...you can't have fully automatic machine guns, kids can't have guns, you have to get a FOID card, you can't have grenades
    So....in your view should the government have the right to pass laws to this effect - prohibiting ownership of particular types of arms (you mention fully automatic machine guns and grenades) or ownership of arms by certain people (you mention minors)?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    So....in your view should the government have the right to pass laws to this effect - prohibiting ownership of particular types of arms (you mention fully automatic machine guns and grenades) or ownership of arms by certain people (you mention minors)?
    Yes, if the people elected vote as such. But also, the general public can vote in new people who can overturn these laws.

    Some of the restrictions are appropriate while others are not.

    And keep in mind, the individual states should be making most of these decisions.
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    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    When New Orleans was in chaos after Katrina, they confiscated guns. That was the time when gun ownership might make sense to protect your family from marauders. From my [unreaserched, don't ask for backup] opinion, the second amendment argument for guns is sponsored by the gun manufacturers and their corporate buddies. If guns ever become a threat to general stability and corporate profit potential, the corporate forces will lobby the government to take guns away. And they will be taken away, just as they were in New Orleans.

    There are ways to make guns a lot safer. It's reasonable to allow gun ownership, but not automatic, assault, 50 mm, or similar types. It's also reasonable to have biometric, voice controlled, or auto off safety locks, so a kid can't pick up any gun and shoot another kid. It's also reasonable to have a verified chain of ownership requirement and a provision that an owner must be responsible for a weapon's safety. If a weapon is picked up by a child and used to shoot someone, the gun owner should be held responsible for the shooting.

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    It is interesting that there is no gun lobby organization solely for gun consumers. Make no mistake about it, the NRA is funded by gun manufacturers, the citizen membership is just to validate it, not to make decisions about lobbying. If a conflict comes up between manufacturers and consumers, the NRA will always come out in favor of manufacturers.

    With any other product, say cars, there are lobbyists for the manufacturers and different lobbyists for the consumers since their interests are often adversarial. I find it surprising that gun owners are willing to let the manufactorers control their interests.

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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Yes, if the people elected vote as such. But also, the general public can vote in new people who can overturn these laws.

    Some of the restrictions are appropriate while others are not.

    And keep in mind, the individual states should be making most of these decisions.
    My guess is that most people in the US support reasonable regulation and sale of arms. Most people, for instance, are not in favor of making firearms available to the insane or incompetent. Most people are not in favor of permitting unregulated sale of ALL arms. Most people are also not in favor of outlawing all firearms either.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CosmicMojo
    It is interesting that there is no gun lobby organization solely for gun consumers. Make no mistake about it, the NRA is funded by gun manufacturers, the citizen membership is just to validate it, not to make decisions about lobbying. If a conflict comes up between manufacturers and consumers, the NRA will always come out in favor of manufacturers.

    With any other product, say cars, there are lobbyists for the manufacturers and different lobbyists for the consumers since their interests are often adversarial. I find it surprising that gun owners are willing to let the manufactorers control their interests.
    No, the NRA has a sub-group called NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action). This group is made up of citizens who are notified all the time about upcoming bills regarding firearms. I've made calls and emails to my state reps several times to urge them to vote in favor of gun ownership rights.

    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    From my [unreaserched, don't ask for backup] opinion, the second amendment argument for guns is sponsored by the gun manufacturers and their corporate buddies. If guns ever become a threat to general stability and corporate profit potential, the corporate forces will lobby the government to take guns away. And they will be taken away, just as they were in New Orleans.
    No, the 2nd amendment argument for guns is sponsored by a slight majority of United States citizens, at least those who recognize that the citizens should never be held hostage by criminals or the power of the federal government. I don't care...the government will never take away my guns. "From my cold dead hands" as Charlton Heston would say.

    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    My guess is that most people in the US support reasonable regulation and sale of arms. Most people, for instance, are not in favor of making firearms available to the insane or incompetent. Most people are not in favor of permitting unregulated sale of ALL arms. Most people are also not in favor of outlawing all firearms either.
    Yes, and your point is? I think we are in agreement. There are certain specifications (I may think pistols are good, others may not) which may divide the public, but as a whole, safe responsible citizen ownership and use of firearms (with a few common sense restrictions) shall not be denied.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    No, the NRA has a sub-group called NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action). This group is made up of citizens who are notified all the time about upcoming bills regarding firearms. I've made calls and emails to my state reps several times to urge them to vote in favor of gun ownership rights.
    sure, they send you emails. But do you get to vote on what they lobby for? No. The gun manufacturers decide that. The NRA is funded by gun manufacturers, and they will always put their interests first, email update or no email update.

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