Second Amendment Questions

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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:13 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:
Fair enough, but 18th Century America was a far different place than early twentieth century America. Adams et al, for example, lived in a country that, while physically smaller, took a much longer time to send personnel or information from one end to the other. The fledgling nation was bordered by indigenous people who could be a threat to border communities. There was a credible threat from European powers seeking to regain colonial holdings. There was no standing peacetime army, nor was one envisioned. Warfare was such that irregulars with breech-loading muskets were a credible fighting force.

In other words, the world was SO very different that "what Adams thought" is, at best, irrelevant.


Ahhh, good old original intent vs. living document. :D
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby pizzazz » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:29 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:Fair enough, but 18th Century America was a far different place than early twentieth century America. Adams et al, for example, lived in a country that, while physically smaller, took a much longer time to send personnel or information from one end to the other. The fledgling nation was bordered by indigenous people who could be a threat to border communities. There was a credible threat from European powers seeking to regain colonial holdings. There was no standing peacetime army, nor was one envisioned. Warfare was such that irregulars with breech-loading muskets were a credible fighting force.

In other words, the world was SO very different that "what Adams thought" is, at best, irrelevant.


In fact, it's so different, that for the first time in history, small, flexible geurilla groups are incapable of inflicting casualties on a technologically superior standing army. Obviously, the press is just lying about thousands of American dead overseas. Moreover, there are also no legitimate uses of firearms anymore, hunting and the hundreds of thousands of times more per year that guns are used defensively than offensively be damned. And since "we live in a different time" is a perfectly valid argument to throw out people's rights, let's get rid of those other pesky 9 amendments too. After all, we're not in danger of the government becoming a monarchy, so we don't need freedom of the press or of speech. People got over racism and sexism, so we can just dump the 15th and 19th amendments too, etc.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby PeterCai » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:37 pm UTC

pizzazz wrote:In fact, it's so different, that for the first time in history, small, flexible geurilla groups are incapable of inflicting casualties on a technologically superior standing army. Obviously, the press is just lying about thousands of American dead overseas. Moreover, there are also no legitimate uses of firearms anymore, hunting and the hundreds of thousands of times more per year that guns are used defensively than offensively be damned. And since "we live in a different time" is a perfectly valid argument to throw out people's rights, let's get rid of those other pesky 9 amendments too. After all, we're not in danger of the government becoming a monarchy, so we don't need freedom of the press or of speech. People got over racism and sexism, so we can just dump the 15th and 19th amendments too, etc.

woa tone down with the sarcasm, i don't think i can handle it all.
first of all: small, flexible guerilla ARE incapable of inflicting actual damages to standard army, the fact that americans are still holding iraq and afghanistan should be evidences of this fact
secondly: your argument is basically that guns have other legitimate uses, and so should be legal. did you concede to the argument that we shouldn't limit ourselves to what the founding fathers thought, because their thoughts are outdated?

also
let's get rid of those other pesky 9 amendments too
nice strawman bro
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby lutzj » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:58 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:Fair enough, but 18th Century America was a far different place than early twentieth century America ... the world was SO very different that "what Adams thought" is, at best, irrelevant.


The cool thing about human rights is that they apply regardless of external conditions.

Warfare was such that irregulars with breech-loading muskets were a credible fighting force.


Hardly. The main struggle of the Revolutionary War was molding the various militiamen into something resembling regular soldiers; the most successful officers (e.g. George Washington) had been trained in the European tradition. If anything, irregular troops have become much more effective in the time since then.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby PeterCai » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:06 pm UTC

lutzj wrote:The cool thing about human rights is that they apply regardless of external conditions.


Nope. Even ignoring the obivous argument of criminals, many basic human rights didn't apply to black man and women before just recently in the US.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby lutzj » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:32 pm UTC

No; those people definitely had those rights, but they were not being properly protected by their government. Cases where people forfeit their rights (you mentioned criminals) are beside the point.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby PeterCai » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:38 pm UTC

lutzj wrote:No; those people definitely had those rights, but they were not being properly protected by their government. Cases where people forfeit their rights (you mentioned criminals) are beside the point.

These rights are not metaphysical, if the government didn't protect their right and their rights were violated constantly, then they don't have rights. It's like saying that I have a million dollar regardless of me being poor as fuck, it's just that the world hasn't given it to me yet. Also, how do you forfeit your rights when human rights apply regardless of external conditions?
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Greyarcher » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:40 pm UTC

lutzj wrote:No; those people definitely had those rights, but they were not being properly protected by their government. Cases where people forfeit their rights (you mentioned criminals) are beside the point.
If the rights have no meaningful existence when they're not protected by the government, then they don't really apply without external conditions do they?
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Outlander's Engine » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:33 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:
Outlander's Engine wrote:
wikipedia wrote:Samuel Adams proposed that the 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; or to raise standing armies, unless when necessary for the defence of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of their grievances: or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures.[69]

http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote/samuel_adams_quote_b683


Fair enough, but 18th Century America was a far different place than early twentieth century America. Adams et al, for example, lived in a country that, while physically smaller, took a much longer time to send personnel or information from one end to the other. The fledgling nation was bordered by indigenous people who could be a threat to border communities. There was a credible threat from European powers seeking to regain colonial holdings. There was no standing peacetime army, nor was one envisioned. Warfare was such that irregulars with breech-loading muskets were a credible fighting force.

In other words, the world was SO very different that "what Adams thought" is, at best, irrelevant.


First, during world war II there were several military men who argued with their superiors that invading the USA was a very bad idea because of our predilection for owning fire-arms. The quote "a rifle behind every blade of grass" has been attributed to admiral Yamamoto, although I see wikiquote now says they cannot positively assign it to him. Nonetheless, Yamamoto undoubtedly carried the sentiment. Invading the USA for any reason was and is just a bad idea, and will continue to be so.


Also, in the quote by Adams, I trust you did notice the semi-colon between keeping their own arms and the right to raise standing armies? They believed there were multiple reasons for a right to own fire-arms. Not the least of which was "facilitating a natural right of self-defense".

The list I posted on page 2, which I blatantly copied from the wiki article on the 2nd amendment summarizes quite nicely the reason for keeping the right to firearms alive.

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:Ahhh, good old original intent vs. living document. :D
Yeah, that's an entirely different kettle of fish. I think that's actually off-topic, but the question was asked, so I thought I'd give answering it a shot.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Outlander's Engine » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:38 pm UTC

Greyarcher wrote:
lutzj wrote:No; those people definitely had those rights, but they were not being properly protected by their government. Cases where people forfeit their rights (you mentioned criminals) are beside the point.
If the rights have no meaningful existence when they're not protected by the government, then they don't really apply without external conditions do they?


Yes those rights exist. We recognize them, and we also recognize that these rights were denied to them.

If we use your definition, you have a right to die, and that's it. Everything else can be taken from you.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:46 pm UTC

Outlander's Engine wrote:
Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:Ahhh, good old original intent vs. living document. :D
Yeah, that's an entirely different kettle of fish. I think that's actually off-topic, but the question was asked, so I thought I'd give answering it a shot.


Well, it sort of has to be on-topic if you ask me - how can you answer the question of whether the second amendment is still relevant without addressing what it means? And how can you answer that question without subscribing to one view or the other of interpretation? And the problem is, _this_ isn't something you can necessarily resolve - people just look at the constitution in fundamentally different ways that often can't/won't be changed. There can never be a definitive answer to the question sourmilk poses, strictly speaking, just opinions based on personal views or statements about supreme court decisions.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Outlander's Engine » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:12 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:
Outlander's Engine wrote:
Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:Ahhh, good old original intent vs. living document. :D
Yeah, that's an entirely different kettle of fish. I think that's actually off-topic, but the question was asked, so I thought I'd give answering it a shot.


Well, it sort of has to be on-topic if you ask me - how can you answer the question of whether the second amendment is still relevant without addressing what it means? And how can you answer that question without subscribing to one view or the other of interpretation? And the problem is, _this_ isn't something you can necessarily resolve - people just look at the constitution in fundamentally different ways that often can't/won't be changed. There can never be a definitive answer to the question sourmilk poses, strictly speaking, just opinions based on personal views or statements about supreme court decisions.


Oh. All right. Personally, I believe it's a living document, to be modified as need be. I think that a very good argument can be made that it's what it was intended for. Otherwise there would be no amendment process.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Greyarcher » Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:06 pm UTC

Outlander's Engine wrote:Yes those rights exist. We recognize them, and we also recognize that these rights were denied to them.

If we use your definition, you have a right to die, and that's it. Everything else can be taken from you.
Hmm? Yes, you're right, every legal right can be taken from you. I was just pointing out a little inconsistency with Lutzj's earlier comment, that "The cool thing about human rights is that they apply regardless of external conditions"--obviously they don't apply if the government doesn't enforce them or denies them. I don't think the right to bear arms is generally considered a human right anyway.

A right that isn't practically applied is no different from "something which people ought to have but don't".

I won't deny that they "exist" in the way that an abstract idea or goal exists. But since we were talking about human rights applying, well...they apply as much as any unenforced moral idea applies. So, somewhere between "doesn't have any real application" to "applies as nice words". (With "applies as controversial words" somewhere in-between)
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:19 pm UTC

Outlander's Engine wrote:
Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:
Outlander's Engine wrote:
Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:Ahhh, good old original intent vs. living document. :D
Yeah, that's an entirely different kettle of fish. I think that's actually off-topic, but the question was asked, so I thought I'd give answering it a shot.


Well, it sort of has to be on-topic if you ask me - how can you answer the question of whether the second amendment is still relevant without addressing what it means? And how can you answer that question without subscribing to one view or the other of interpretation? And the problem is, _this_ isn't something you can necessarily resolve - people just look at the constitution in fundamentally different ways that often can't/won't be changed. There can never be a definitive answer to the question sourmilk poses, strictly speaking, just opinions based on personal views or statements about supreme court decisions.


Oh. All right. Personally, I believe it's a living document, to be modified as need be. I think that a very good argument can be made that it's what it was intended for. Otherwise there would be no amendment process.


I certainly agree with you on one level (were I less lazy, I'd dig up a Jefferson quote to illustrate it). Unfortunately, the founding fathers were not one homogenous group with a hivemind and a certain will and definite, unified purpose...the document is one of compromises, thus raising the question of whether we can actually say there *was* a unified intent behind its interpretation. The founders were as divided as we are today, and it doesn't make much sense to speak of any kind of modern "political consensus."
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby pizzazz » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:31 am UTC

The Constitution can be modified, but it is also intentionally difficult to do so. Moreover, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights in particular, are pretty straightforward. There's not much to reinterpret, as much as SCOTUS would like to pretend otherwise.

PeterCai wrote:woa tone down with the sarcasm, i don't think i can handle it all.
first of all: small, flexible guerilla ARE incapable of inflicting actual damages to standard army, the fact that americans are still holding iraq and afghanistan should be evidences of this fact

Casualties are heavily stilted in our favor, but several thousand dead is still significant. More importantly, the size, availability of arms, and probably marksmanship, of the insurgents pales in comparison to that of the American populace. Of course, this is still all based on the tenuous assumption that the military would stay with the government in this sort of situation.
secondly: your argument is basically that guns have other legitimate uses, and so should be legal. did you concede to the argument that we shouldn't limit ourselves to what the founding fathers thought, because their thoughts are outdated?

No. Guns are still important for basically the same reason; the exact application may differ slightly, but it's basically the same deal. Guns are the great equalizer.
Moreover, if you want to restrict someone's rights, the burden of proof is on you to prove that this is necessary, not on them to prove they deserve that right.
also
let's get rid of those other pesky 9 amendments too
nice strawman bro

It's not a strawman. I could apply the same or similar arguments to any amendment. The fact that the world is different does NOT render these rights obsolete or unimportant.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby PeterCai » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:16 am UTC

to clarify, i am pro-gun.
pizzazz wrote:Casualties are heavily stilted in our favor, but several thousand dead is still significant. More importantly, the size, availability of arms, and probably marksmanship, of the insurgents pales in comparison to that of the American populace. Of course, this is still all based on the tenuous assumption that the military would stay with the government in this sort of situation.

no it's not, not to the country with the second largest arm force.
pizzazz wrote:No. Guns are still important for basically the same reason; the exact application may differ slightly, but it's basically the same deal. Guns are the great equalizer.

having a way to defend against the state and having a way to defend against fellow citizens are not the same thing. there is no reference to gun right being imperative to self-defense against fellow citizens in the constitution.
pizzazz wrote:It's not a strawman. I could apply the same or similar arguments to any amendment. The fact that the world is different does NOT render these rights obsolete or unimportant.

yeah it is. no one in this thread is arguing that the entire constitution is outdated, but you asserted that and failed to provide proper arguments for it.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby DaBigCheez » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:57 am UTC

PeterCai - It's not a strawman. It is a slippery-slope argument, saying 'the same logic can be used to remove the rest of the bill of rights'. There is a difference.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby PeterCai » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:27 am UTC

DaBigCheez wrote:PeterCai - It's not a strawman. It is a slippery-slope argument, saying 'the same logic can be used to remove the rest of the bill of rights'. There is a difference.

you are right
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Outlander's Engine » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:35 am UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:I certainly agree with you on one level (were I less lazy, I'd dig up a Jefferson quote to illustrate it). Unfortunately, the founding fathers were not one homogenous group with a hivemind and a certain will and definite, unified purpose...the document is one of compromises, thus raising the question of whether we can actually say there *was* a unified intent behind its interpretation. The founders were as divided as we are today, and it doesn't make much sense to speak of any kind of modern "political consensus."


There was a consensus. A unified intent. That's why it was ratified. Yes, there was certainly compromise involved, since almost all politics involve compromise. That's why the amendments we call the bill of rights aren't part of the constitution but are, instead, amendments.

There's an argument here that might be framed along the lines of "since there was not a consensus among the original framers, this amendment may not reflect the majorities intent".

It was ratified. They passed it. What more 'consensus' do you need?
edit: excuse me. That's a generic 'you', not directed at Cheezwhiz or anyone else.
I should have said 'would they need' instead.


And I'm not sure original intent really matters. The question of the moment is, does the 2nd amendment still make sense.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Outlander's Engine » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:55 am UTC

Greyarcher wrote:
Outlander's Engine wrote:Yes those rights exist. We recognize them, and we also recognize that these rights were denied to them.

If we use your definition, you have a right to die, and that's it. Everything else can be taken from you.
Hmm? Yes, you're right, every legal right can be taken from you. I was just pointing out a little inconsistency with Lutzj's earlier comment, that "The cool thing about human rights is that they apply regardless of external conditions"--obviously they don't apply if the government doesn't enforce them or denies them. I don't think the right to bear arms is generally considered a human right anyway.

A right that isn't practically applied is no different from "something which people ought to have but don't".

I won't deny that they "exist" in the way that an abstract idea or goal exists. But since we were talking about human rights applying, well...they apply as much as any unenforced moral idea applies. So, somewhere between "doesn't have any real application" to "applies as nice words". (With "applies as controversial words" somewhere in-between)

I think I see what you are saying. I think the idea of natural rights might apply.

Natural rights cannot be removed. Legal rights most certainly can. There's some confusion or gray area between natural rights and human rights.

e.g.
You have a natural right to your own judgement. That cannot be removed.
You have a human right to be free.
You have a legal right to own property.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Greyarcher » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:03 am UTC

Human rights borrows from older natural rights the idea of "rights that are universal and cannot be removed". But the "cannot be removed" part makes no sense in my opinion. An unenforced right--as I mentioned--is basically just a moral idea. You can't have such things except as a thought in your head. But some people don't know about human rights--so if someone says those people "have human rights" they obviously don't even mean "have it as an idea in your head". It's basically nonsense and messiness due to poor language.

Human rights are nothing that people have, and are more like agreements about how people ought to be treated.

Those are, probably, two reasons why rights talk sometimes causes a mess. It tries to assume an agreement when discussers haven't necessarily agreed, and it acts as if people have some thing which has no real concrete substance.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Maraki » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:26 am UTC

Outlander's Engine wrote:
Maraki wrote:From the previous information, it should be easy to deduce that the 2nd amendment relates specifically to a militia by and for the people, not two separate ideas.

All this being said, my personal beliefs line up somewhat with the forefathers - before owning a gun you must have relatively rigorous training (perhaps 16-20 (obviously non-consecutive) hours of training by a professional), and then monthly training (for ~2 hours) thereafter.

1. english.illinois.edu/-people-/faculty/debaron/essays/guns.pdf


Except that you are not quite right. And a quick perusal of wikipedia will give some food for thought.

From the wiki entry on the 2nd,
wikipedia wrote:the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 asserted that, "the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state".[32]


And a bit further down,
wikipedia wrote:Samuel Adams proposed that the 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; or to raise standing armies, unless when necessary for the defence of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of their grievances: or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures.[69]

quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote/samuel_adams_quote_b683

pizzazz wrote:Your grammatical fluff is nice, but if you just look at what the founding father's wrote, you'll see that to suggest they did not want to protect the right of everyone to be armed is absurd. Examples. Also, it's not clear at all how you plan on "updating" the second amendment's grammar; I don't see any sensical way to adjust the punctuation that makes it unclear that the amendment *guarantees* two separate rights. As I pointed out earlier, it *guarantees*
1. The right of state's to have militia's (as opposed to the federal militia, not that said militias have to be recognized by the state or something).
2. The right of people to have firearms.

An interpretation that excludes one of those rights is pretty much ignoring half the wording of the amendment.


My interpretation includes both of those - what I am saying is that the two are connected rather than being words which meaninglessly fell into a sentence together. Now on to something a little less petty - the founding fathers intent, I believe, was to have a citizen-made force capable of keeping its government "in check" - and I believe that we should be enabled to do exactly that - but also be kept safe from each other. Also, I am not nearly audacious to have a true suggestion of a revision for any single part of the Bill of Rights, but merely foolhardy enough to point out that "grammatical fluff" holds a different values throughout time, changing our interpretation of what they wrote to something (in this case) slightly different, but sadly slightly different can change "I helped my Uncle Jack off a horse", to "I helped my Uncle jack off a horse" - the devil is in the details.

I believe that while plenty of the founding fathers were all for the current day 'Let them have guns!' interpretation, the wording of that particular amendment relates specifically to individuals who make up a militia of one sort or another. That does not mean that I completely agree with such a thing, but I do think that the idea of having trained citizens is a good idea - much better than making it (relatively) easy for a mad man to get his hands on a gun and go on a rampage.

Furthermore, if you just look at people today, you'll see that to suggest the beliefs of some are the beliefs of all is absurd - you can throw quotes of nine different founding fathers at me (out of 74), but until you can find me reputable quotes from every single Founding Father, which I find highly unlikely (unless you count the 2nd amendment itself as a quote), you cannot disregard my personal belief on what they wanted on a factual basis - and mine is a belief based not on short quotes of a dubious nature, but on the 2nd amendment, and on etymological studies done by a professional.

EDIT: I apologize for my tone in this post.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:09 am UTC

Outlander's Engine wrote:There was a consensus. A unified intent. That's why it was ratified. Yes, there was certainly compromise involved, since almost all politics involve compromise. That's why the amendments we call the bill of rights aren't part of the constitution but are, instead, amendments.


A few things. First of all, amendments are most certainly part of the constitution. That's not even debatable.

The need for amendments at all proves there was not a unified intent (if they had a unified intent, what is there to compromise over? Answer: Nothing). Further - There was exhaustive debate over whether a bill of rights was needed, based in turn on the huge debate over implied versus expressed powers - does the government have the right to do everything not prohibited, or only those explicitly assigned to it? One line of thought went that it was incredibly important to set in stone that the government had no right to interfere in certain matters, to protect citizen's rights. An opposing school of thought held that this implicitly gave the government an extremely dangerous amount of power, because the government was already forbidden from doing anything not expressly granted it - setting down things it could not do would weaken that stance. We wound up with a sort of hybrid between the two philosophies of how to assign governmental power - certainly no product of a unified intent. Just because they wound up going with an option instead of debating the points until they all died of old age in their seats does not prove that they had a unified will and intention. To say nothing of the founding fathers who did not like the constitution (cf. Patrick Henry and the entire state of Rhode Island)! One faction's intention won out in the end, and the minority faction (or at least, the faction against ratification) was overruled, the way they are wont to do in democracies. The overrule of the losing opinion does not mean the losing opinion did not exist.

The simple fact of the constitution being ratified by all the states (eventually! As you will recall, it took a rather long time to get everybody on board) is decidedly not the same as a unified philosophical intent. The error lies in assuming that because the document got ratified, everybody had the same reason for ratifying it. That does not follow. The constitution served many different interests (slaveowners, merchants, land speculators) and therefore different interests had different reasons for advocating (or being persuaded to the side of) ratification. Or have you forgotten the Federalist papers (hint: why do they exist at all)?

There's an argument here that might be framed along the lines of "since there was not a consensus among the original framers, this amendment may not reflect the majorities intent".


That is very nearly what I am arguing. Where there is no consensus, there can be no...well...consensus. No unified intent among all 55. But I find it odd that the goalposts have changed from "consensus" to "majority intent" - two very different things indeed. Anyway, yes - since there wasn't a consensus, I don't think you can say that the second amendment reflects one. What I do think you can say is that it reflects the best compromise they were able to come up with.

In addition, pray tell - where can I find this unified intent? 'Cause it's hidden real well from me and every other scholar going over the constitution itself and the founders' writings with a fine-tooth comb. If they had a unified intent, it would be abundantly clear from all of their writings what it was, and we would not have to wonder or debate over what they originally meant. They didn't, and it isn't, and we do.

It was ratified. They passed it. What more 'consensus' do you need?
edit: excuse me. That's a generic 'you', not directed at Cheezwhiz or anyone else.
I should have said 'would they need' instead.



(Re: edit - okay, thanks. :) )

That's very akin to saying that because the health care bill got passed, all the politicians who voted for it have one single, canon, unified intention for its interpretation and implementation, which is obviously not true (just look at the knock-down drag-out fight over the language about abortion if you don't believe me). The only consensus on the part of those who drafted and voted for the health care bill (or ratification) was that it was a document they could accept given deals, compromises, promises - like the abortion issue for the health care bill, or (for the constitution) the Massachusetts compromise or of course the 3/5ths compromise. The 3/5ths compromise made it into the final draft, but that does not prove there was a consensus on slavery - in fact, quite the opposite. So too with the entire document.

And I'm not sure original intent really matters. The question of the moment is, does the 2nd amendment still make sense.


I don't think it's overly important, either. Unfortunately, another viewpoint exists, but that's another debate... :mrgreen:
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Outlander's Engine » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:39 pm UTC

Maraki wrote:My interpretation includes both of those - what I am saying is that the two are connected rather than being words which meaninglessly fell into a sentence together. Now on to something a little less petty - the founding fathers intent, I believe, was to have a citizen-made force capable of keeping its government "in check" - and I believe that we should be enabled to do exactly that - but also be kept safe from each other. Also,
I agree. The words are not meaningless, however I disagree with you on what the intent was. I do not have a scholarly paper in hand to dispute yours, but I have seen them. I won't have time today to dig one up for you. Maybe in about 14 or 20 hours or so.

Maraki wrote:I am not nearly audacious to have a true suggestion of a revision for any single part of the Bill of Rights, ...
Oh, but we should be! What makes you think we can't?

Maraki wrote:I believe that while plenty of the founding fathers were all for the current day 'Let them have guns!' interpretation, the wording of that particular amendment relates specifically to individuals who make up a militia of one sort or another. That does not mean that I completely agree with such a thing, but I do think that the idea of having trained citizens is a good idea - much better than making it (relatively) easy for a mad man to get his hands on a gun and go on a rampage.

Furthermore, if you just look at people today, you'll see that to suggest the beliefs of some are the beliefs of all is absurd - you can throw quotes of nine different founding fathers at me (out of 74), but until you can find me reputable quotes from every single Founding Father, which I find highly unlikely (unless you count the 2nd amendment itself as a quote), you cannot disregard my personal belief on what they wanted on a factual basis - and mine is a belief based not on short quotes of a dubious nature, but on the 2nd amendment, and on etymological studies done by a professional.
I'll risk sounding blunt here, if you'll forgive a numbered list;
1. I disagree with your binary assertion that they proposed that only the militia would have unrestricted access to all guns. See the 9th amendment. They did not want the federal gov. to have that kind of power.
2. I don't need quotes from 9 founding fathers. I would need quotes from about 40, wouldn't I?
3. These are not dubious quotes. The founders left large amounts of written work behind. In that vein, I challenge you to find a few that spoke in favor of limiting access to weapons. I, personally, have never seen a one.

Maraki wrote:EDIT: I apologize for my tone in this post.
Allow me a few mistakes in return and I'm good =)
Last edited by Outlander's Engine on Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:21 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Outlander's Engine » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:19 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:
Outlander's Engine wrote:There was a consensus. A unified intent. That's why it was ratified. Yes, there was certainly compromise involved, since almost all politics involve compromise. That's why the amendments we call the bill of rights aren't part of the constitution but are, instead, amendments.
A few things. First of all, amendments are most certainly part of the constitution. That's not even debatable.
My meaning was that due to political process, they became amendments, rather than part of the original constitution. My understanding is that they decided to introduce the bill of rights after ratification and that this was a political compromise for expediency. That's all.

First, I snipped a good bit here, but I feel I boiled it down to the points I wish to address below. If that's not kosher on this board, let me know please.
A few caveats.
1. IMHO 3 years doesn't really seem that long, considering the communications technology back in 1790.
2. Yep, I'm aware of the Federalist papers, and the debate on the bill of rights. That right there is why I'm surprised people think the founders even considered allowed the federal gov. to ban weaponry.

For those reading along at home, ya'll can scroll up =)


Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:That's very akin to saying that because the health care bill got passed, all the politicians who voted for it have one single, canon, unified intention for its interpretation and implementation, which is obviously not true (just look at the knock-down drag-out fight over the language about abortion if you don't believe me). The only consensus on the part of those who drafted and voted for the health care bill (or ratification) was that it was a document they could accept given deals, compromises, promises - like the abortion issue for the health care bill, or (for the constitution) the Massachusetts compromise or of course the 3/5ths compromise. The 3/5ths compromise made it into the final draft, but that does not prove there was a consensus on slavery - in fact, quite the opposite. So too with the entire document.
I'm not trying to move goalposts. Just having a hard time conveying the distinction between consensus and majority. They compromised down to the points where they felt they could get everyone on board. Therefore, I think the document reflects the points where they achieved consensus.

They were also operating within the framework of ideas that they considered so generic that they didn't even put them in. Like the concept of a Duty of self defense. Without that framework, people assign intent to the words that may not have existed. Reading the 9th, I think, should spell it out for folks, and yet it doesn't.

And I'm not sure original intent really matters. The question of the moment is, does the 2nd amendment still make sense.
I don't think it's overly important, either. Unfortunately, another viewpoint exists, but that's another debate... :mrgreen:
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby pizzazz » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:26 pm UTC

Outlander's Engine wrote:[3. These are not dubious quotes. The founders left large amounts of written work behind. In that vein, I challenge you to find a few that spoke in favor of limiting access to weapons. I, personally, have never seen a one.


That's because, while there was plenty of debate over whether a bill of rights should exist, none of the founding father's disputed that people should have firearms. Cheezwhiz summarized the primary debate well, and if you notice, it had nothing to do with what rights were thought to exist. The opposition thought not that there was anything wrong with these rights, but that they were understood and implied. And, indeed, Patrick Henry strongly supported the right to arms, in fact he wanted everyone to be armed. Similarly, the Rhode Island Constitution states, simply, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:41 pm UTC

Outlander's Engine wrote:My meaning was that due to political process, they became amendments, rather than part of the original constitution. My understanding is that they decided to introduce the bill of rights after ratification and that this was a political compromise for expediency. That's all.


Ah, okay - sorry for misinterpreting your meaning. What I am saying is that the need to make a political compromise for expediency demonstrates the divisions I'm talking about.

First, I snipped a good bit here, but I feel I boiled it down to the points I wish to address below. If that's not kosher on this board, let me know please.
A few caveats.
1. IMHO 3 years doesn't really seem that long, considering the communications technology back in 1790.
2. Yep, I'm aware of the Federalist papers, and the debate on the bill of rights. That right there is why I'm surprised people think the founders even considered allowed the federal gov. to ban weaponry.

For those reading along at home, ya'll can scroll up =)


1. 3 years...? Huh? I'm sorry, I honestly think I'm missing something here...
2. Banning weaponry and regulating weaponry are two totally different things, though. AFAIK, nobody's talking about banning all firearms, full stop, but about passing laws to control and regulate their private ownership.

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:That's very akin to saying that because the health care bill got passed, all the politicians who voted for it have one single, canon, unified intention for its interpretation and implementation, which is obviously not true (just look at the knock-down drag-out fight over the language about abortion if you don't believe me). The only consensus on the part of those who drafted and voted for the health care bill (or ratification) was that it was a document they could accept given deals, compromises, promises - like the abortion issue for the health care bill, or (for the constitution) the Massachusetts compromise or of course the 3/5ths compromise. The 3/5ths compromise made it into the final draft, but that does not prove there was a consensus on slavery - in fact, quite the opposite. So too with the entire document.
[/quote][/quote]I'm not trying to move goalposts. Just having a hard time conveying the distinction between consensus and majority. They compromised down to the points where they felt they could get everyone on board. Therefore, I think the document reflects the points where they achieved consensus.

Hm, looking over this I haven't articulated what I mean very well, so apologies. The document does reflect points where they achieved a consensus on the content of the constitutino - BUT, that doesn't mean they all necessarily thought that any given part meant the same thing. They managed to agree to pass this document, but that doesn't mean they all felt the same way about it. As an example - suppose that we are both patriotic Americans who are strongly concerned about the issue of a safe world, and are very interested in the role our military plays in this. I am a pacifist hippie peacenik who believes war is never the answer; you are an ex-marine who thinks we should have an Israeli-type draft for all sexes and that military action is strongly warranted in certain scenarios. We both agree (or have a consensus) on some very broad values - we both think freedom, democracy, and liberty are good, although we do not agree on what that may mean in practice or what policies are the best to effect those values. So you and I and all our friends get together and coauthor a document (I have no idea why we think this will affect anything, but that's not really relevant to the argument so bear with me :) ). It says something like "Freedom is a good thing. America needs to protect the cause of democracy and freedom to the fullest extent of its ability. Americans should have the freedom to do that, and nobody should stop them. Americans should be able to enroll in the military to protect this freedom, and smoke all the weed they want to chill out and enable everyone to see we are all brothers." We compromised on the wording and on the specific things that the document endorses. We both agreed to some stuff neither of us really likes, to make sure that this important document got passed. We reached a consensus, but we can't be said to have a unified intent. That's what I'm saying the constitution as a whole, and the founding fathers as a group, are like.

[quote]
They were also operating within the framework of ideas that they considered so generic that they didn't even put them in. Like the concept of a Duty of self defense. Without that framework, people assign intent to the words that may not have existed. Reading the 9th, I think, should spell it out for folks, and yet it doesn't.[\quote]

The founding fathers agreed that the people have a right to bear arms (the way the hippie and marine agree that democracy is a good thing). What is much less clear is precisely why, or how, or to what purpose (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Ame ... background for a very small overview of the debate among scholars over such issues as whether the right to rebel against the government was even intended). They didn't leave a clear explanation to this, so there's not the clear evidence needed to establish that yes, there was one unified intent here. There's evidence to argue both ways for these issues, which is sort of my point.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Czhorat » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:50 pm UTC

pizzazz wrote:... And since "we live in a different time" is a perfectly valid argument to throw out people's rights, let's get rid of those other pesky 9 amendments too. After all, we're not in danger of the government becoming a monarchy, so we don't need freedom of the press or of speech. People got over racism and sexism, so we can just dump the 15th and 19th amendments too, etc.


Others have answered this already, but allow me to point out that interpretation of other amendments HAVE changed, dramatically.

What is defined as "cruel and unusual punishment" in today's society is far different than 200 years ago.

Freedom form search and seizure has been expanded to, among other things, drug testing.

Many would argue that the highly corrosive influence of corporate money on politics made campaign finance laws which to some extent restrict corporate speech reasonable, if not important.



In other words, it's a different world. I, for one, don't see personal ownership of the most powerful weapons available as a "basic human right". Your mileage, of course, may vary.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Eseell » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:22 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:In other words, it's a different world. I, for one, don't see personal ownership of the most powerful weapons available as a "basic human right". Your mileage, of course, may vary.

I don't think anyone is advocating for civilian access to WMDs, but the Founders and their peers had privately owned crew-served weapons such as field artillery and small warships. We've come a long way from that and I don't think you can really argue that the small arms commonly owned by US residents are "the most powerful weapons available."
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:33 pm UTC

Eseell wrote:
Czhorat wrote:In other words, it's a different world. I, for one, don't see personal ownership of the most powerful weapons available as a "basic human right". Your mileage, of course, may vary.

I don't think anyone is advocating for civilian access to WMDs, but the Founders and their peers had privately owned crew-served weapons such as field artillery and small warships. We've come a long way from that and I don't think you can really argue that the small arms commonly owned by US residents are "the most powerful weapons available."


I think the argument is that the right to bear arms does not include the right to own any and all arms. Therefore, restrictions on this right as to what kind of arms you can own are perfectly reasonable (since we agree civilians should not have access to weapons of N power/destructive capacity, the only thing we have to quibble over is where to draw the line, not whether to draw the line at all).
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Maraki » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:23 am UTC

I completely believe (as I have said in perhaps not so many words) that the founding fathers were largely (if not unanimously) for guns, but the idea was for the American people to have the power of self-defense - not to have the enabling of crime or to even hunt animals with (although latter was obviously expected). Guns without control is like a city with no police - crime and depravity of all sorts will happen, which is exactly what a lax sort of control over guns we have cause - sure, we have laws for "cooldown" time, and you must be of age, etc., but what they need is to know and understand the handling of a gun, and the effects that it can have on you and others. As soon as we give people the knowledge they need we have truly met what the wording of the amendment wants - and that is for people to be able to protect themselves from criminals, and overall from tyranny.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:42 am UTC

Read back a bit maraki.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Maraki » Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:55 pm UTC

I've stayed relatively up to date on this whole thread - I know what I was saying was slightly gone over, but I was responding to those who quoted me. Perhaps a "counter-quote" would've made my intent clearer.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Outlander's Engine » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:1. 3 years...? Huh? I'm sorry, I honestly think I'm missing something here...
I had to go look this up to remind myself. Wiki says it took 3 years for the original constitution to be ratified by all 13 states.


Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:The founding fathers agreed that the people have a right to bear arms (the way the hippie and marine agree that democracy is a good thing). What is much less clear is precisely why, or how, or to what purpose (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Ame ... background for a very small overview of the debate among scholars over such issues as whether the right to rebel against the government was even intended). They didn't leave a clear explanation to this, so there's not the clear evidence needed to establish that yes, there was one unified intent here. There's evidence to argue both ways for these issues, which is sort of my point.
I personally don't believe there is much evidence, if any, to argue that the founding fathers intended for the federal government to have the power to limit the access to firearms at all. I am certainly not aware of anything, and if you are, please point me towards anything you know of. I'll go read. Meanwhile, we can show that other constitutions of the time dropped the militia reference altogether and simply affirmed the right to bear arms.

I still owe maraki one citation, but my weekend time was ambushed, killed and messily devoured. Sorry. I'll try to get to it.


To return to the argument about the the modern relevancy of the 2nd amendment, I offer this:

I will allow that we could require weapons training prior to firearms possession. I will allow that we could limit fire-arm access based on prior criminal history or mental competency checks.

But I think the simple facts of how easy it is for any criminal element to acquire fire-arms means that citizens should be allowed legal access to almost all firearms for the purposes of self-defense.

Meanwhile, I think there's a strong argument that gun deaths in the US are more an indication of violent culture than of access to fire-arms. I just found this site, which at least sources its data:
Assaults per capita: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_a ... per-capita

The US is right up there on top of the list. The United Kingdom isn't that far behind. The Swiss don't even make the top 40. That right there offers a better explanation for the discrepancy between the US and Switzerland's gun death rates than anything else I have seen.

If folks want to argue that the 2nd amendment kills people and should be removed, I'd say they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:17 pm UTC

Eseell wrote:
Czhorat wrote:In other words, it's a different world. I, for one, don't see personal ownership of the most powerful weapons available as a "basic human right". Your mileage, of course, may vary.

I don't think anyone is advocating for civilian access to WMDs, but the Founders and their peers had privately owned crew-served weapons such as field artillery and small warships. We've come a long way from that and I don't think you can really argue that the small arms commonly owned by US residents are "the most powerful weapons available."


By God, if the Founding Fathers didn't intend for me to own 155mm howitzers, .50 caliber machine guns, supersonic fighter jets equipped with cluster bombs, and destroyers with railguns then how in the hell did they expect me to build a mountain fortress for me and my descendants to survive apocalypse?

But in all seriousness, I think it is hard to make a legal argument from the Second Amendment for restricting access to certain kinds of weapons. The wording just doesn't suggest anything like "some arms but not others", nor does the historical context suggest any attempt to prevent private ownership of cannons or ironclad ships. While there isn't any modifier for "arms" to point to either totally unrestricted or potentially restricted, the verb phrase "not be infringed" connotes not being restricted at all. Unfortunately, I won't have OED access again until fall quarter starts up, so I couldn't begin to figure out if such a connotation existed in the 1780's.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:12 pm UTC

Ah! 3 years to ratification. Actually, it WAS a long time - it took forfreakingever to convince everybody to sign up (kinda had to bully Rhode Island into it - they dragged their feet and dragged their feet until Congress finally got fed up and voted to sever commercial ties with RI, in essence saying "Fine, you'll be your own little country.") Didn't take 3 years to get the Declaration of Independence signed, so you can't convincingly chalk it up to "communications in the 18th century." 3 years is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long to be accounted for that way.

Meanwhile, we can show that other constitutions of the time dropped the militia reference altogether and simply affirmed the right to bear arms.


Not relevant to the US constitution.

But I think the simple facts of how easy it is for any criminal element to acquire fire-arms means that citizens should be allowed legal access to almost all firearms for the purposes of self-defense.


That's not a very convincing argument to me. It is very easy for a criminal element to hire a hit man but that doesn't mean citizens should be allowed to hire hit men to go after suspected criminals.

The question is not whether the amendment itself places any restrictions on weapons ownership, but whether such restrictions infringe on the amendment. The Supreme Court has established that some restrictions, in fact, do not infringe on it. So restrictions do not automatically infringe on the Second Amendment. I'm a bit confused that you seem to disagree with this, since you concede that some restrictions are acceptable. (I don't think anyone is arguing the 2nd kills people. I think people are arguing that the United States owns more guns than almost anyone else and also has one of the highest rates of gun violence in the world (if not the hightest). Like Randall has said - correlation does not imply causation, but it does wiggle its eyebrows furtively while gesturing and mouthing "look over there.")
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Outlander's Engine » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:50 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:Didn't take 3 years to get the Declaration of Independence signed, so you can't convincingly chalk it up to "communications in the 18th century." 3 years is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long to be accounted for that way.
There were fewer people involved in the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the scope was much more limited.

Meanwhile, we can show that other constitutions of the time dropped the militia reference altogether and simply affirmed the right to bear arms.
Not relevant to the US constitution.
True. But I thought we were having a sideline conversation about what the founders believed, where this sort of document, some or most of which were crafted by members of the original framers, would be relevant.

But I think the simple facts of how easy it is for any criminal element to acquire fire-arms means that citizens should be allowed legal access to almost all firearms for the purposes of self-defense.
That's not a very convincing argument to me. It is very easy for a criminal element to hire a hit man but that doesn't mean citizens should be allowed to hire hit men to go after suspected criminals.
In that case, we would compare hit men to the police.

So restrictions do not automatically infringe on the Second Amendment. I'm a bit confused that you seem to disagree with this, since you concede that some restrictions are acceptable.
I don't disagree with it. If you can point where I was ambiguous I can try to clarify myself. I flat out agree that some restrictions are acceptable. You don't let children or mentally incompetent people play with fire-arms. I think you can extend that to those who have proven they can't be trusted, e.g. felons.

However, that was a right or duty reserved for the states. Not the federal government.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Shivahn » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:00 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:(I don't think anyone is arguing the 2nd kills people. I think people are arguing that the United States owns more guns than almost anyone else and also has one of the highest rates of gun violence in the world (if not the hightest). Like Randall has said - correlation does not imply causation, but it does wiggle its eyebrows furtively while gesturing and mouthing "look over there.")


I think the fact that we have one of the highest rates of violence (period) in the Western world is far more eyebrow wiggly than our presence of guns. The US homicide rate is 5.5, while Canada's is 1.9. In 2006, about two thirds of US murders were done with firearms, as opposed to one third of Canada's, meaning that ignoring guns the US homicide rate is about 1.83, while Canada's is 1.06. As far as I can tell, even taking firearm deaths completely out of the US equation and leaving all deaths in the UKs, we still have more murders (just as we do when we do this to Canada). And obviously, not every firearm murder wouldn't have been avoided had firearms not been available (though I don't think there are any reliable statistics on how many would).

The US is a very, very violent society to begin with, which at the very least makes it extremely difficult to tease apart how much worse (if any) we are with widespread gun ownership.
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby pizzazz » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:09 pm UTC

In Miller, back in 1939, SCOTUS's ruling implied that a gun being not of normal military use was grounds for it not being under 2nd amendment protection. I suppose one could make an argument that high explosives, rail guns, a-bombs, etc are not "firearms," but both of these look doubtful to me if we really are supposed to be able to fight the government.

Maraki wrote:I completely believe (as I have said in perhaps not so many words) that the founding fathers were largely (if not unanimously) for guns, but the idea was for the American people to have the power of self-defense - not to have the enabling of crime or to even hunt animals with (although latter was obviously expected).

The founding father's intended a number of uses for firearms, including hunting, self defense, and to stop/prevent a tyrranical government.
Guns without control is like a city with no police - crime and depravity of all sorts will happen, which is exactly what a lax sort of control over guns we have cause -

What the hell is this nonsense? If you're going to say this, you better have some damn convincing evidence, because in the US guns are used defensively far more often than criminally. Citation.
sure, we have laws for "cooldown" time, and you must be of age, etc., but what they need is to know and understand the handling of a gun, and the effects that it can have on you and others. As soon as we give people the knowledge they need we have truly met what the wording of the amendment wants - and that is for people to be able to protect themselves from criminals, and overall from tyranny.

I'm not really sure what your point is--that the second amendment is about education?
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Re: Second Amendment Questions

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:49 pm UTC

Outlander's Engine wrote:There were fewer people involved in the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the scope was much more limited.


No there weren't, and no it wasn't. Actually, more people signed the Declaration than the Constitution (55 and 39, respectively). I'm not sure what you mean by "the scope was much more limited." The Confederation Congress certainly was not limited as compared to the Constitutional Convention.

True. But I thought we were having a sideline conversation about what the founders believed, where this sort of document, some or most of which were crafted by members of the original framers, would be relevant.


Since the framers saw fit to mention the militia in the Constitution, it merely underscores the non-existence of a consensus on these things (and thus the futility of searching for one). The omission of militias in state constitutions is not more significant than the inclusion of the militia in the United States Constitution. Also, this again takes acceptance of the doctrine of original intent for granted.

In that case, we would compare hit men to the police.


Police are not hit men. We're either looking at criminals and citizens having access to the exact same things, or we're not.

So restrictions do not automatically infringe on the Second Amendment. I'm a bit confused that you seem to disagree with this, since you concede that some restrictions are acceptable.
I don't disagree with it. If you can point where I was ambiguous I can try to clarify myself. I flat out agree that some restrictions are acceptable. You don't let children or mentally incompetent people play with fire-arms. I think you can extend that to those who have proven they can't be trusted, e.g. felons.

However, that was a right or duty reserved for the states. Not the federal government.[/quote]

Since the second amendment has been incorporated, that's rather a moot point to argue.
That explosion was so big it blew off his mullet :-O
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Cheezwhiz Jenkins
 
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