A Long Gun Primer, assault rifles, assault weapons, connotation, D/S/Cs, denotation, dependent clauses, fully automatic, independent clauses, machineguns, second amendment, semiautomatics, Shakespeare, suppressors
I’ve often written about how much I appreciate the cogent comments of readers, and from time to time, find it helpful to respond to those comments more directly and in more depth than is possible in a brief comment reply. Such is the case with regular reader Sailorcurt, who wrote in response to A Long Gun Primer, 2020. I’ll add my responses interspersed with his comments.
First, I want to say that this is an excellent primer. If I’m not mistaken you’ve posted it before so it was probably written a while ago. It is extremely useful and I thank you for it.
With that said, there are a couple of points I want to bring up.
1) I know the whole ‘there is no such thing as an ‘assault weapon’ canard has been going around in the gun community for a long time. I used to use that argument myself…but it is actually not accurate. Many state laws have legal definitions of ‘semiautomatic assault weapon’. Additionally, they are addressed in several places in federal law and are defined in 27 CFR Section 478.11.
I would submit that if there is a legal definition in federal and many state’s laws, semi-automatic assault weapons do exist. Saying they don’t exist because there has never been a military use for them just seems to me like a semantic twist and can undermine our entire argument. We say ‘they don’t exist’ and an anti-gunner points to federal law and says ‘yes they do’. A firearm novice is going to see the anti-gunner providing evidence for their position and will consider us to be misleading them. Not a good look.
That doesn’t undermine the argument that anti-gunners simply call anything they like an “assault weapon” to try to get them banned, that the definition just basically lists off a bunch of cosmetic features that have no bearing on the lethality or function of the firearm, or that semiautomatic assault weapons are NOT weapons of war, but only cosmetically appear similar to military weapons…those arguments are all valid.
Interesting and valuable points all. As a teacher of the mother tongue, I have an appreciation for the necessity of precision in the use of that tongue. The French had the first dictionary, but the English dictionary is the largest, well over a million words and growing daily. That number of words is necessary in order to be precise.
The power to name, to label, is an important, even defining power. If we are careful people, concerned with names/labels accurately reflecting the objects named, defining them, and in so defining, excluding all others of their kind, we must be certain the name/label meets these criteria. Dogs and cats denote very different animals with clearly definable characteristics. Both have four legs, two eyes, two ears, tails (usually), hair (usually) and many other similarities, but “dog” and “cat” separate the species and serve very useful purposes. A cat cannot be a dog and a dog cannot be a cat.
In the same way, “assault weapon” is too vague to be definitive, to denote a given, clearly articulable class of firearms, though it may connote virtually any firearm Democrats/Socialists/Communists want to ban at any given moment. We might think assault weapons to connote a group of black, pseudo-military looking firearms, virtually exclusively semiautomatic, usually with detachable box magazines, but that’s about as far as we can go, and this ambiguity is purposeful. Denotation–clearly defining the weapons involved to exclude everything else–is to be avoided. Connotation–including whatever one wants–is the point.
Indeed, the term has been incorporated into law, but there’s a major problem. In law, the average citizen must be able to understand precisely what is, and what is not, illegal. Legal language must be even more precise than colloquial language, or the statutes containing it are void for vagueness. To ban a thing, we must be able to clearly define it, so there can be no question what is to be banned, and what is lawful. Therein lies the major problem.
A fundamental tenet of D/S/C belief and strategy is to control “messaging,” to define and thereby control the terms of any debate, for whosoever does that, wins by excluding any words, ideas or beliefs they disfavor, limiting possibilities. Thus do we often see D/S/C operatives complain that they need to refine their messaging when the public roundly rejects one of their candidates or policies. No D/S/C policy can possibly be wrong, so when they are, the issue must be the wrong messaging. If only they can come up with the right phraseology, the rubes can be tricked into accepting the unacceptable.
Inventing a class of firearms called “assault weapons” does not conjure it into being. There is indeed a class of military small arms known as “assault rifles,” which has the clearly defined characteristics I provided in the linked article. Those characteristics are present in all true assault rifles, therefore the term is accurately descriptive and useful. However, for the purpose of D/S/C liberty/gun banners, the term is useless, even counterproductive. Actual assault rifles are already essentially banned, because one of the primary characteristics is fully automatic fire capability. They have been stringently regulated since 1934, and essentially banned since 1986 as I explained in the linked article. Therefore, “assault rifle” is inadequate to the liberty/gun banner. The definition is too narrow, too accurately descriptive, and they know they will be unable to entirely wipe common semiautomatic firearms from existence as long as normal Americans have anything to say about it.
This is where “assault weapons” comes into play. The various definitions are so vague or all encompassing they can ban virtually anything, from pistols, to carbines, to rifles, to shotguns. Even semiautomatic “hunting” rifles often fall under their widely cast net. Particularly with federal law, the head of the ATF virtually always has the authority to torture definitions and issue rules that go even farther than the incredibly vague statutory language in the furtherance of bans. This is all on purpose; this is the liberty/gun banner’s intent. Today’s innocuous, common, legal semiautomatic firearm is tomorrow’s illegal assault weapon.
“Assault rifle,” which is narrowly drawn, entirely accurate and which would allow any citizen to know what is and is not legal, won’t work. “Assault weapon” allows all manner of mischief, including obtaining unlawful warrants to search based on virtually any interpretation of a vague statute. No one can know what is and is not illegal at any given minute, so anyone owning anything an anti-liberty/gun bureaucrat decides is illegal at any moment might find the full weight of the government thrown at them. And oh yes, gentle readers, this has indeed happened. Bureaucratic whim determines the parameters of a crime, a bayonet lug today, a flash hider tomorrow, a standard magazine the next day.
Those seeking to take liberty will use any ploy useful to them. In most cases, they know nothing about the firearms they seek to ban, and those that do cynically manipulate language to help them deprive the law abiding of their lawful possessions and unalienable rights. If they can ban any given class of firearm, they know they have a size 20 foot in the door toward banning them all. If that “class” encompasses virtually any semiautomatic firearm, so much the better, but for the time being, they dare not try to ban all semiautos, so they do the next best thing and ban “assault weapons.” It’s a lie. Always, and it goes far beyond mere semantics.
2) I’m going to play Devil’s advocate here…’federal regulation of machineguns is one of the greatest crime-prevention success stories of all time…In order to own a machine gun, suppressor (there is no such thing as a ‘silencer’), even a rifle or shotgun with a barrel shorter than 16″, one must be fingerprinted, undergo local, state and federal record checks, meet all legal criteria, receive the OK from a local sheriff or police chief, pay a $200.00, non-transferrable tax, and submit to a wide variety of federal regulations relating to storage and transportation. Machine guns are not misused because those willing to undergo such an onerous procedure are surely among the most honest, honorable and law-abiding Americans.’
The quoted statement was somewhat satirical, but the point that people willing to undergo such arduous vetting, and pay a premium for scarce firearms tend to be among the most law abiding is plain.
So…if that is so effective for machine guns, why wouldn’t similar restrictions be effective for all guns? We could virtually eliminate gun crimes if we restricted all gun ownership to that level.
To save time, I’m going to respond in advance to the two most likely replies you’re going to give:
‘There are so many guns in circulation right now that these restrictions would be ineffective’
Sure…in the short term…but over time through seizures during arrests, breakage, and crime guns being disposed of to hide evidence, the numbers of guns in criminal hands would go down and down…just like the stocks of machine guns have since 1986. Your own article proves that it can work over time. Even if it takes 100 years or more for it to make an appreciable difference, at least we can rest easier knowing that our great great grandkids will live in a safer society can’t we?
This is not an argument for the same kind of vetting for all arms. The point is most gun owners are very safety conscious, and do not use their guns in crimes. Criminals do that, and they are not bound by the law, being criminals. They will always have guns, even if they have to make them, which with minimal tools of the proper kind is easy. The argument is that this kind of vetting is generally unnecessary and violates unalienable rights.
‘Such restrictions would be unconstitutional’
But if they’d be unconstitutional for handguns, shotguns and hunting rifles, why aren’t they unconstitutional for machine guns? The clearly stated purpose in the prefatory clause of the 2nd Amendment was to protect the militia…the primary military force of 18th century America. That means military arms were the intended objects of that protection. The Miller decision back in the ’30’s even made that clear…that the ban on short barrelled shotguns was not unconstitutional because the court had not been made aware of any military use for them, hence they were not protected by the 2nd Amendment. So, if specifically military use weapons (machine guns) can be restricted in that way, it follows that weapons that are NOT specifically for use by the military can be similarly restricted without violating the 2nd Amendment. I mean…they’re not BANNED, there are just admittedly effective restrictions on their ownership, right?
The prefatory clause of the Second Amendment is a dependent clause. It does not define or carry the meaning of the sentence. The second clause, the independent clause about the right of the individual to keep and bear arms, is the independent clause, which does carry the meaning of the sentence. The Second Amendment is not about the preservation of a militia, but about the unalienable, natural right to arms of every man, as the Supreme Court finally held in Heller (2008). The Miller decision did not, in any way, touch on the fundamental, inalienable right and has always been essentially a nullity.
There is an old argument in Second Amendment circles that any restriction of automatic weapons is unconstitutional. While I agree in theory, we must remember we’re dealing with politics in a representative republic. Even when Republicans held both houses of Congress and the presidency, they didn’t so much as try to overturn the 1986 machinegun ban, or deregulate suppressors, the latter being very much a public health issue. Oh, there was some talk, but the leadership wouldn’t allow it to proceed beyond talk.
Part of this particular argument is that if we allow unrestricted access to any weapon, we get into explosives, hand grenades, ManPADS, ballistic missiles, even nuclear weapons. Imagine Microsoft with it’s own nuclear arsenal, perhaps Planned Parenthood, or any number of well heeled, less than entirely sane, individuals of any political persuasion.
The point is for the sake of practicality, for the sake of what is possible and reasonable, we end up accepting—not necessarily agreeing with—some restrictions, which in an absolute way are probably unconstitutional. Actually, the Constitution doesn’t bestow an unalienable right, nor can laws take it away, but you get the point, I’m sure, gentle readers.
So no, the kinds of commonly understood issues about which we speak are not arguments for more, and more intolerable, restrictions, which are clearly not effective vehicles for greater public safety. Are there any grounds for depriving free men and women of the most common, usual and effective arms? Never, not in a society that values liberty, and should anyone try, they should at least be able to clearly, unmistakably define that which they seek to ban so everyone can understand the terms of the debate.
A rose by any other name, to badly paraphrase Shakespeare, might be an assault weapon.
Regardless of how you might presume to interpret the Second from its original Founding Fathers grammar/prose of the day, to current day, really matters little when SCOTUS decides… as they did with Heller. Which pretty much is the status of all the amendments because SCOTUS, with whomever makes up their members at any given time.. a given president’s timing to make appointments, political sway of the nation at the moment, remains the final authority on interpretation. The only recourse to a SCOTUS interpretation of an amendment is for Congress to re-write and re-submit to the states… which is a fat chance at best. There really is no “right” or “wrong” with any SCOTUS interpretation.. just the swing of current popular opinion one way or another. Heck, SCOTUS can even reverse themselves… generations later.
I like guns.. I’m a gun owner. I’d love to see some better gun ownership checks. I think the Second as written does not one bit guarantee gun ownership other than for militia purposes. I think the amendment should be re-written to have more clarity… to without a doubt allow for gun ownership, with gun-type options for certain regulations to be determined by the Courts. But the “patriotic” gun owners/gun lobby prefer the ambiguity, and the occasional friendly SCOTUS interpretation, rather than take chances on a re-write, by claiming the Founding Fathers had all the Constitutional answers to our national problems for eternity and we should just leave the thing alone. Of course there’s the popular, but unrealistic, Insurrectionist Theory.
In my humble opinion, the “in common use” standard set by Heller was deeply flawed.
Basically, the decision recognizes the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right and that it is not restricted to the arms available at the time of the founding, but at the same time, decided that it doesn’t apply to any future weapons developments.
The arbitrarily froze civilian weapons technology to the state of affairs at the time of the decision. Any newly developed weapons technology is, by definition, “not in common use” and can be banned without implicating the Second Amendment based on the Heller decision
In 500 years when the Military and Police are carrying plasma rifles that fire megajoules of energy at near the speed of light and wearing personal energy shields, we’re still going to be restricted to lead bullets traveling at an anemic 3000fps. So much for the ability to resist government tyranny.
Yeah.. not sure where this “government tyranny” thing got started as some justification to own a firearm.. other than the usual Federalist Papers and other outside opinions of the day that seem to have become some “democracy addendum” of sorts to the Constitution. I’m not aware of any court decision where the right of gun ownership is guaranteed in order to overthrow an unfair government. Even the Heller decision only suggested the Second allowed for gun ownership within the home for protection. Carrying out and about is not a right by the Constitution… but regulated by individual states.
I was being a bit facetious, but even so, I believe the intention of the Second Amendment as partly a protection of the people’s ability to abolish a tyrannical government is well established in the founder’s personal writings as well as the history of the nation’s founding itself. Remember, the US originated with the overthrow of the established British government. Not to mention that protecting oneself from an agent of a tyrannical government is as much an act of self defense as defending against a criminal home invader.
You are correct that the Heller decision didn’t address bearing arms outside the home…because that wasn’t the question in front of it. The subject wasn’t addressed at all because it wasn’t a factor in the case. I believe they’ll get to it eventually.
To your first paragraph, sir, we go by the ratified Constitution.. not surmised, extrapolated, presumed, referenced, etc. opinions of those fellows who created that document. We should remember that one single person did not create that document but rather many members debated that before being passed to the states for further debate. While the gentlemen of popular standing had their originated opinionated writings preserved for us to read, it does not mean their words and perceptions were agreed upon in their entirety in spite of their educated (hmm.. elitist?) conclusions.
So.. seems to me, until such time as someone challenges the validity that the Second ALSO allows Americans to have guns to keep government in line, and that challenge is carried it up to a SCOTUS decision … I don’t see that as valid at all.
In fact.. I might go as far as to suggest that the reference to a militia in the current writing of the Second, might suggest that it would be up to the citizens to determine how their militia might be used… even if against a governmental authority.. which was the pretext for the Revolutionary use of the militia. Whether government or a local militia… defense was up to the collective of the citizens… not an individual “I gotta gun and government (presumably Liberal government) better behave or I am gonna kill someone.” nonsense.
Thanks for the thoughtful responses. To be clear for your other readers: I’m not a gun banner…I’m a strong supporter of the right to keep and bear arms; life member of the NRA and longtime member of the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League (was an executive member for a short time, but had to give up that responsibility due to changes in my employment status).
My purpose in bringing up these points is not to weaken our position but to strengthen it; by bringing up potential arguments the other side may use against our position we can be prepared to rebut those points effectively.
Think of it as an attorney preparing a witness for cross-examination.
The other Phil said:
I agree that we need to be precise in our language. For instance, legally owned automatic weapons have rarely been used in a crime, but there are plenty examples of criminal use of illegally-acquired or -modified automatic weapons, such as the 1997 North Hollywood bank shootout. Legally owned firearms in general are very rarely used by the legal owner in the commission of a crime, whether automatic or semi-automatic.
But please note that I too am not a 2nd amendment absolutist. I don’t want people to buy anti-aircraft missiles, for instance.
Ultimately, wars have always been, and likely will always be, won by men with modern arms carried on their person.
Ideals are peaceful, history is violent. We’re in the middle of a damn pandemic and a segment of the population is denying wearing a mask because a governor told them to and somehow that infringes on some interpretation of personal liberty.. to the point that one has to publically demonstrate inside a state capitol building by bringing their gun along.. and they expect to not be trying to intimidate government.. or someone?
Sorry… those people are misguided Right Wing Trumpian nutjobs.. who have lost all sense of priority, compassion for their fellow man, and fully self-centered… plain and simple. I would accept that they might be deeply in the shock & awe of all that is happening and this is the only way they can express their stress levels… by assigning how unfair the disease has been to their personal liberties. But guns??
Watchout Covis-19.. we got 300 million guns out there ready to fight you!
The other Phil said:
Doug, are you really unable to chew gun and walk at the same time? Can you truly not see that there are many state governors who are gleefully channeling their inner-Stalin? I would not be surprised to hear my governor soon recommend re-education camps for the protestors. I’m not opposed to wearing a mask. In my state it’s only recommended but virtually everyone is wearing them inside of the stores. What most are protesting is the governors seizing unchecked power with no end in sight, not over masks.
Are you really unable to separate politics from humanity?
All 50 governors didn’t get elected to assert the power, shred constitutions, and take away YOUR personal rights. They certainly didn’t sign up for a damn pandemic and left on their own without federal coordination. No.. you will never convince me that any governor is swinging from his/HER chandelier over the idea that “Hot damn.. I’m taking over this state!” I mean that’s being totally obsessed with Trump-induced conspiracies around every corner. All these governors.. even the politically spineless Republican ones.. are trying to save lives the best way they can… and there’s 50 different sets of state health people giving them all 50 different recommendations. Forget saving Trump.. he’s ending his own term all by himself.
Try doing your part to limit the effect of this virus and quit turning it into some political conspiracy to save the Dear Leader. The economy is going to need fixing… there is NO going back.. and new social norms will evolve. Suck it up and embrace being American.
One thing is for sure… neither you nor I , nor anyone in blogland, knows the entire picture of what has happened, what will happen, nor how this disease will be cured, if at all. Trump is NOT the answer to your future. leave him to his idiot Tweets.. no one cares anyway. Try thinking about surviving through this for yourself and your family… and for the country. One fear at a time please.
The other Phil said:
Doug, you’re the one who keeps bringing Trump up. I think you have an unhealthy obsession with him.
In this virus tragedy, the real villains are the Chinese Communist Party, who suppressed knowledge of the virus that could have helped to saved many tens of thousands of lives around the world, and the governors in NJ, MI, NY, and PA who killed thousands by forcing the nursing homes to admit infected patients into facilities not equipped to handle them and filled with the most vulnerable who we were supposed to be helping. In every case, the hospitals were not overwhelmed, and in fact they had excess emergency capacity that was never or hardly used, like the Javits Center, the USNS Mercy ship, and a convention center in Detroit.
If not Trump, then who? Biden is senile, and is owned by China. Cuomo, the grandma killer? Bernie?
1. We are way beyond trying to assign blame.. we’re trying to survive.
2. As I said.. just ignore Trump… his role in this pandemic should be over. He lies, politically postures, has no ability to unite a thing.. just like before the pandemic.. he’s a clear and present danger to the nation. Find someone else who has the same agenda so you can be happy. But hey.. don’t believe me.. believe FOX.
3. If not Trump, then who?? I’m not thinking that far ahead… I’m still at “If not Trump…………”. Right now the “who” is irrelevant.
4. Yes.. I do bring up Trump… and because I am a patriotic American (just like those other patriots who love guns and the Second Amendment) I am concerned for the country taking a nose dive with the Orange Man in the pilot seat. Why aren’t you?
5. None of this matters because everyone has their mind made up and comfy in one of the two realities. Problem is.. the pandemic is a reality to both worlds.
The other Phil said:
You said “Ideals are peaceful, history is violent.” What crap. I had to look it up. You’re quoting Brad Pitt from a movie!? You dismiss the words of the Founders, including the Federalist Papers that were instrumental in getting the constitution to be ratified, and the words of one of the greatest men to ever live, George Washington, when he was speaking to the first congress, and yet you quote a f***ing actor as some sort of authority?!
Very good. Means you attempt to research. Actually that was an ad lib Pitt did in the movie that the director kept. So Pitt gets the credit. So.. let me get this straight…. regardless of the value of that quote to the point I was making.. you immediately draw some line from Pitt to Washington and the Founding Fathers somehow having more weight.. and then accuse me of somehow valuing “an actor’s” words over the greatness of the Found Fathers.. just because you don’t like the point I made?
In many cases it matters not where a quote comes from… but if a pattern of words makes a profound statement which I, or anyone, might choose to use to make a point.. then why is the source important? Honestly, when it came to my mind as I was typing it I was thinking… “Let’s see if he knows where this came from.” Obviously to you it was impossible to presume I thought it up myself so you checked it out… as I might do. Now.. if you’re bitching that I didn’t cite the quote I used… obviously I didn’t.. nor in this medium am I required to.. and I certainly didn’t take credit for it by any stretch. I repeated it.
Here’s the real surprise… I meant what I wrote to place context on the quote. Here.. for brevity.. I’ll cite this from Wiki….
“The Federalist Papers were written to support the ratification of the Constitution, specifically in New York. Whether they succeeded in this mission is questionable. Separate ratification proceedings took place in each state, and the essays were not reliably reprinted outside of New York; furthermore, by the time the series was well underway, a number of important states had already ratified it, for instance Pennsylvania on December 12.”
Not to diminish the importance of the Federalist Papers as historical political philosophy of the day by great men of the day… but it seems the influence matters more now than to the colonies outside New York back then.
Try looking this one up….
“Truth is whatever you want to believe to get you there; if you get to where you don’t want to be, then try another truth.”
The other Phil said:
Doug, you’re honestly asking if I assign more importance to the words of George Washington than Brad Pitt? Seriously? One was the first man in history to voluntarily walk away from absolute power, TWICE, and the other is a pretty boy actor who pretends to someone else. This is pointless.
You missed the point completely.
The other Phil said:
Oh no, Doug, I got your point exactly. You like the sentiment of a vapid quote from a vapid person, while at the same time you easily dismiss the words of one of the greatest men to ever live, who did meaningful things in the real world, including giving birth to the freedoms that we now enjoy, because they don’t fit your narrative. It’s called projection, Doug. You’re accusing me of exactly what you are doing.
Sounds more like deflection than projection, Phil. Trump has taught you something. As I said… who are either of us trying to convince one way or the other anyway.
Here’s another one….
“If you seek his [Trump] monument look around.”
dear Doug, as an aspiring master troll, I truly admire the simpering
snark underneath your thin, thin veneer of logic, historical knowledge,
psychological insight, and moral superiority. And Hollywood wisdom.
And finally, your master touch: the Wuh–nope, CC–no, Covi–nope–
the Trump Virus! Yes–not the stock market at historic levels, not
unparalleled employment, not the return of monies driven long ago to
foriegn climes, not little wrens able to build nests safely in American
forests, but countless deaths in New York and Pennsylvania nursing
homes are, you say, Trump’s monument.
Yes, I, little troll, admire, Master, your wrinkly mouth hole and
cold command of the sneer.
At least I got through to someone in here.
as long as no one knows that it was the polticy of
Democratic governors to force nursing homes to admit
old folks sick with the Wuh—, CC–, Covi–, TRUMP virus
into the midst of healthy old folks we can pull this off..
But, as I am learning from you, we are after the low-hanging
fruit, the ignorant. It’s not truth we are after, but power.
Your sycophant, Dug.
Ahh.. the “nursing home” deflection.. as if that were some defining moment to defend.. what.. Trump’s “turn it over to the states” shunning of federal responsibilities?
One of my fave quotes that pertains to the Orange Man… “I object to you. I object to knowledge without discipline and power without constructive purpose.”
Hmm.. does that fit you perhaps?
Mike McDaniel said:
Trump really can’t win, can he? If he suggests the federal government has a role in state governance, D/S/C governors and the media scream he’s a dictator. When he doesn’t dictate, they scream he’s negligent in his duty.
I guess we can’t blame Trump for being so confused he doesn’t know which way to go.
My Troll Master Doug,
Yes, I love your ‘deflection’ move-I’ll remember to use it.
Trouble, is, my Master, is that some of the higher
hanging fruit may remember that Cuomio told Trump
to not try to enfornce Federal powers in New York state.
But, I know that your “deflection” ploy will get the
low-hangers unless we fail to “deflect” the truth in our
quest for power. Let us continue to confuse and mislead
until we rule!
Your little muffin, Dug
Dear Master Troll Doug,
“I guess we can’t blame Trump for being so
confused he doesn’t know which way to go”.
I admire your audacious use of illogic and
ad hominem. These too are tactics sure to
get the low hanging fruit.
They are useful to us, the low hangers,
as we see in the streets of burning and looting
Onward to our goal: power!
Your obsequious puppy, Dug
My reading of Heller is that the standard regarding “in common use” is meant to answer the question that folks bring up about nucleer weapons and the like. It was meant to say – what civilians in general own at any given time. That would include criminal civilians by default.
I have never thought that the 2A was intended primarily to enable rebellion so much as to enable law abiding citizens to be able to do their own lawful self defense. That secures their freedom from over dependence on the State.
The argument that the 2A is only meant for militias…
Having a militia depends on a degree of pre-existing social order. The founders knew that western expansion was on-going and that the frontier was by definition going to be lacking in the kind of order that would support any meaningful definition of a well ordered militia.
Were folks expected to settle in frontier Texas and Arizona un-armed, with just their bare hands, because there was not yet a well defined local militia? Why would any sane people in early America write a Constitution that said that?
Exactly to my point. A firearm was protection and for hunting, survival, etc. in our entire 18th and 19th century history. It was accepted as a matter-of-fact of daily living. Why create an amendment to specifically state they can own a weapon when it was accepted fact? Which then suggests the amendment was mentioned to be used in a unified defense within an organized militia.. “organized” suggesting a certain will of the people in which the militia was created… that government had no business dissolving militias just to assert forced state or centralized governmental authority. It had nothing to do with staying armed to be aggressive toward a tyrannical government.
In my opinion, the Second was not put in place to make sure we can all own guns as that was already a given… but to establish the right of a collective self-defense through a militia.
The other Phil said:
Rum, the bill of rights are limits on the government, not the people. Or are we to believe that they added 9 of them are to limit the government, and then they just slipped the 2nd one in to limit the people? Arms are intended for all of the above reasons, for self defense, for self sufficiency via hunting, for defense of the state, or rebellion.
There’s much distortion in our current discourse. The “separation of church and state” is the best example. Most people today think it was intended to protect the state from church influence, yet it originally meant the exact opposite.
Doug, “outside opinions”? Like these?
“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined…”
– George Washington, First Annual Address, to both House of Congress, January 8, 1790
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776
Or how about the state constitutions, like Michigan’s: Article 1, Section 6 reads, “Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.”
Oh, Phil.. the Constitution makes NO explanation whatsoever that guns are needed to keep government in check. I don’t care what fellow from those days wrote some opinion piece. Gun ownership was an accepted fact in those days for survival and family protection. No need to write the Second as they did otherwise. State constitutions can do what they will and define as they will… but the federal Constitution applies over all. I have no idea when Michigan or any other state made their amendments. Frankly, from what you indicate from Michigan… prior to Heller I suppose someone could have challenged that definition. But that in no way suggests a person has a right to keep and bear arms against any government.
Now, that doesn’t mean one couldn’t stretch all that out to suggest “defending” also includes defending from an existing government… but still in an organized militia… not in George’s basement down the block because Liberals have taken over.
The other Phil said:
9th and 10th amendments make it clear that the constitution is there to limit government, not the people. All omissions go to the people.
The other Phil,
I get your point. The thing is, I live in Texas, have had a CHL for decades, and own a couple of NFA level 3 bits of hardware.
I just do not think, based on all my reading, that one needs to invoke notions of rebellion in order to explain the necessity and the meaning of the 2 A.
Being able, by law, to protect ones rights, property, family, and self without having to bow down for permission is no small thing. It is quite revolutionary, in fact, compared to most other countries.
The other Phil said:
It is indeed a miracle, and a rare one even today. “Foes both foreign and domestic” just seems pretty clear to me. Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” seems pretty clear to me. The constitution was written to be understood by the common man of the time of it’s writing. The Supreme Court’s job is to make sure Congress does not pass laws that violate the constitution. I would think the founders would find it alarming that such an august body as the Supreme Court would have to interpret the common language of the constitution for it’s citizens.
In the declaration of independence, the phrase “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it” implies the people may need force – military force – to bring about the abolish part. So where are the people supposed to get military force if they are forbidden access to it?
NAZI Germany confiscated all personal weapons when they took over, essentially making change of government away from the NAZI’s impossible. We had to do that for them.
As for highly powerful military weapons being in the hands of our fellow citizens, what about all the bad countries in the world that have them including nukes? A lot of those weapons are USA built, we ether sold it to them or left it behind when we left. And then there are the drug cartels. If you think those guys don’t have heavy weapons, just look at Mexico’s recent history.
I could go on, but I would rather trust a responsible fellow citizen with heavy weapons than most of the folks we sell or leave them to.
Doug said “Are you really unable to separate politics from humanity?
All 50 governors didn’t get elected to assert the power, shred constitutions, and take away YOUR personal rights. They certainly didn’t sign up for a damn pandemic and left on their own without federal coordination. No.. you will never convince me that any governor is swinging from his/HER chandelier over the idea that “Hot damn.. I’m taking over this state!”
The best response to this is C.S. Lewis’ quote:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
This is the very definition of the “Nanny State”.
The other Phil said:
Indeed. And now Cuomo is admitting that he got the virus totally wrong, and Fauci’s now downplaying a “second wave”, and yet the lock-downs continue. They are now solely about power, not saving lives. The vulnerable will unfortunately need to shelter until better treatments are available, but there’s no need to restrict healthy citizens any longer.
The other Phil,
That’s the real issue, the moving of the goalposts. We were told they needed to flatten the curve so as not to overwhelm the infrastructure while they got beds, ventilators and PPE set up.
Now it’s about holding out for a(n elusive) cure or vaccine, neither of which are anything close to guaranteed (the virus is shown to be mutating which makes a vaccine impossible).
The first position made some sense. The second is doing nothing but deepen the pain. When the cure becomes worse than the disease, you’re doing something wrong.