creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
John Stossel
John Stossel
30 Jul 2014
Healthy Profits?

I'm the underachiever in my family. My parents also produced Harvard Medical School research director Thomas Stossel.… Read More.

23 Jul 2014
Policing America

I want the police to be better armed than the bad guys, but what exactly does that mean today? Apparently it … Read More.

16 Jul 2014
Who'll Build the Roads?

"Tea party members don't think there's a federal role in transportation!" complained Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio,… Read More.

Guns Save Lives

Comment

You know what the mainstream media think about guns and our freedom to carry them.

Pierre Thomas of ABC: "When someone gets angry or when they snap, they are going to be able to have access to weapons."

Chris Matthews of MSNBC: "I wonder if in a free society violence is always going to be a part of it if guns are available."

Keith Olbermann, who usually can't be topped for absurdity: "Organizations like the NRA ... are trying to increase deaths by gun in this country."

"Trying to?" Well, I admit that I bought that nonsense for years. Living in Manhattan, working at ABC, everyone agreed that guns are evil. And that the NRA is evil. (Now that the NRA has agreed to a sleazy deal with congressional Democrats on political speech censorship, maybe some of its leaders are evil, but that's for another column.)

Now I know that I was totally wrong about guns. Now I know that more guns means — hold onto your seat — less crime.

How can that be, when guns kill almost 30,000 Americans a year? Because while we hear about the murders and accidents, we don't often hear about the crimes stopped because would-be victims showed a gun and scared criminals away. Those thwarted crimes and lives saved usually aren't reported to police (sometimes for fear the gun will be confiscated), and when they are reported, the media tend to ignore them. No bang, no news.

This state of affairs produces a distorted public impression of guns. If you only hear about the crimes and accidents, and never about lives saved, you might think gun ownership is folly.

But, hey, if guns save lives, it logically follows that gun laws cost lives.

Suzanna Hupp and her parents were having lunch at Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, when a man began shooting diners with his handgun, even stopping to reload. Suzanna's parents were two of the 23 people killed. (Twenty more were wounded.)

Suzanna owned a handgun, but because Texas law at the time did not permit her to carry it with her, she left it in her car.

She's confident that she could have stopped the shooting spree if she had her gun. (Texas has since changed its law.)

Today, 40 states issue permits to competent, law-abiding adults to carry concealed handguns (Vermont and Alaska have the most libertarian approach: no permit needed. Arizona is about to join that exclusive club.) Every time a carry law was debated, anti-gun activists predicted outbreaks of gun violence after fender-benders, card games and domestic quarrels.

What happened?

John Lott, in "More Guns, Less Crime," explains that crime fell by 10 percent in the year after the laws were passed. A reason for the drop in crime may have been that criminals suddenly worried that their next victim might be armed. Indeed, criminals in states with high civilian gun ownership were the most worried about encountering armed victims.

In Canada and Britain, both with tough gun-control laws, almost half of all burglaries occur when residents are home. But in the United States, where many households contain guns, only 13 percent of burglaries happen when someone_s at home.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in the Heller case that Washington, D.C.'s ban on handgun ownership was unconstitutional. District politicians then loosened the law but still have so many restrictions that there are no gun shops in the city and just 800 people have received permits. Nevertheless, contrary to the mayor's prediction, robbery and other violent crime are down.

Because Heller applied only to Washington, that case was not the big one. McDonald v. Chicago is the big one, and the Supreme Court is expected to rule on that next week. Otis McDonald is a 76-year-old man who lives in a dangerous neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. He wants to buy a handgun, but Chicago forbids it.

If the Supremes say McDonald has that right, then restrictive gun laws will fall throughout America.

Despite my earlier bias, I now understand that striking down those laws will probably save lives.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at <a href="http://www.johnstossel.com" <http://www.johnstossel.com>>johnstossel.com</a>. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM



Comments

17 Comments | Post Comment
The awakening begins! Research by Dr. Gary Kleck shows there are 2.5 MILLION defensive uses of a firearm in this country every year. That means that about 7,000 times a day some one is NOT robbed, injured, or killed because a firearm was used.

Also remember the FBI counts 'youths' as anyone up to 25 years old. So if two gangbangers get in a turf war over drugs, shoot and kill each other, the FBI says that's two deaths due to gun violence. I call it gene-pool cleaning.

The most violent segment of the population is males between the ages of 14 and 24. Most deaths are related to gangs, drugs, association with prior felons, or suicide. If you remove those factors the death rate for that age group drops significantly.

All in all...YES! Guns SAVE Lives. See www.vcdl.org and click on store www.4permits.com
Comment: #1
Posted by: Bruce Jackson
Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:28 AM
I was born in the pre-gun-control era. My parents were used to being able to buy even a handgun like any other product. No paperwork, no background checks or government permission slips required. They, in turn, grew up in an era where guns were plentiful. One grandparent used to carry a revolver in his coat pocket when he walked to the movies. With all those guns even more easily available, unsecured in desk drawers and night stands, you'd think crime was rampant. But people slept with their doors unlocked in many areas. As kids, we felt safe playing on our suburban streets from dawn until dusk without supervision.

Today, despite over 22,000 restrictive gun laws, criminals still get guns easily, still use them freely, still murder, maim and terrorize people. Until Florida started the trend of issuing concealed carry permits little changed. Up until then the citizen was less likely to be armed or to fight back. Today, in most states, there is a possibility that your random crime victim may be armed and able to fight back with lethal force. Small wonder, then, that studies show over half the shootings are beween criminals shooting it out. Out of the 30,000 or so deaths in this country, just under half are suicides. Out of the remaing 16,000-17,000 firearms deaths, just 8,000-8,500 involve "average" citizens. With 300 million people in the U.S. that's less than .003%. Gun control can't stop a crime in progress. But an armed citizen certainly can. And that's the point.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Billhca
Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:49 AM
People need to know the truth about guns, and the lawful citizens who own guns and who carry their guns. And most of all, why lawful citizens carry their guns.I know, any lawful citizen who does carry a gun would protect anyone who needed help from a criminal or any bad person who wants to do harm to others. People who carry their guns with them for protection are some of the most lawful citizens you will ever find. Most people only here one side of the gun debate. They only here what the anti-gun groups want told, never the whole truth about guns and the lawful citizens who own guns, and who carry their guns. Thank You, Steven G. Noffsinger , Defiance,Ohio.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Steven Noffsinger
Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:44 PM
Subject: Fw: the 2nd amendment and gun ownership and carrying. the 2nd has no individual right clause


ATTN; JOHN STOSSEL, REF; THUR NIGHT SHOW ON GUNS.




To: stossel@foxbusiness.com
Sent: Wed, June 23, 2010 4:59:16 PM
Subject: Fw: the 2nd amendment and gun ownership and carrying. the 2nd has no individual right clause


CONSIDERING THE PEOPLE YOU ALIGN YOURSELF WITH, THERE IS NO CHANCE IN HELL YOU WILL HAVE A FAIR AND BALANCED REVIEW OF THE 2ND AMENDMENT ON THURSDAY NIGHT. BUT I WILL GIVE IT A TRY.



Subject: Fw: the 2nd amendment and gun ownership and carrying. the 2nd has no individual right clause

The militia in the decades after adoption of the amendment
During the first couple decades following the adoption of the Second Amendment public opposition to a standing army persisted, a widely held opinion among the minority Anti-Federalists and to a lesser extent among the majority Federalists.[71] This opinion also extended to opposition to a professional armed police force, with the responsibility to carry out local ordinances falling to sheriffs in counties and constables and night watchmen in cities and towns. These officials were sometimes compensated, but more often served as a civic duty without payment. In these early decades with rare exceptions these full time law enforcement officers were not armed with firearms, but rather were armed only with clubs.[71] In large emergencies a call up was issued for the posse comitatus, militia companies, or vigilantes to assume law enforcement duties and these groups were much more likely to be armed with firearms.[71] The Uniform Militia Act of 1792 obliged
every free able-bodied white male citizen between the ages of 18 and 45 to be included in the national militia. It also required these men to provide their own arms and ammunition.[72] In practice individual acquisition and maintenance of rifles and muskets to be held ready for militia duty proved problematic, with compliance estimates ranging between 10 and 65 percent of militiamen bringing their private arms to the militia musters.[73] Additionally, compliance with the Uniform Militia Act of 1792 gradually fell into disfavor and disrepute. The State legislatures granted increasing numbers of exemptions to universal militia obligation, with exemptions granted to clergy, conscientious objectors, teachers, students, jurors, mariners and ferrymen. While in practice, the remainder of able bodied white men remained obligated for service, an increasing number of people simply did not or could not show up for militia duty. The penalty for failing to show up
for duty was enforced only sporadically and selectively.[74]
The first test of the militia system occurred in July 1794, when a group of disaffected Pennsylvania farmers rebelled against federal tax collectors whom they viewed as illegitimate tools of tyrannical power.[75] Initial attempts of the four nearby states to raise a militia to be nationalized to suppress this insurrection proved inadequate. When officials resorted to drafting men, they faced resistance to a draft. The rank and file that resulted from this effort to raise a militia consisted mainly of draftees or paid substitutes and the poor of society who enlisted not out of duty but instead for the enlistment bonus payments. The officers who responded to the militia call up were of a higher quality and had responded out of a sense of civic duty and patriotism, but were generally critical of the rank and file. Most of the 13,000 rank and file lacked their own weapons and the war department had to provide nearly two-thirds of them with guns. In October,
President George Washington and General Harry Lee marched on the 7,000 rebels who conceded without fighting. The aftermath of this experience using a militia for national defense led to criticism of the self-armed citizen concept to provide for arming of a universal militia system. Secretary of War Henry Knox and President John Adams in the following years lobbied the Congress to establish federal armories to hold weapons which were mostly imported and to encourage the domestic gunsmiths to increase local production.[76] This degradation of the militia persisted, and within twenty years, the poor performance of the militia during the War of 1812 resulted in several wartime setbacks including being cited as the cause of the sacking of Washington, D.C. and the burning of the White House in 1814.[74]




Does the Second Amendment Protect the Right to Bear Arms? ]
By Tom Head, About.com Guide
See More About:gun rights second amendment Sponsored Links
2nd Amendment Newsletter
Keep up with the latest on your Right to Bear Arms - Free!
HumanEvents.com/RightToBearArms
Civil rights law
Search laws, regulations, codes by practice areas & state.
www.FindLaw.com
Register All Firearms?
Protect your 2nd Amendment Rights Show your opinion - Free stickers
www.freespeechstickers.com
Civil Liberties Ads
Second Amendment

2nd Amendment

Bear

Civil Rights

Protect
The Second Amendment reads as follows:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Now that the United States is protected by a trained, volunteer military force rather than a civilian militia, is the Second Amendment still valid? Does the Second Amendment exclusively provide for arms to supply a civilian militia, or does it guarantee a separate universal right to bear arms?
Current Status
The U.S. Supreme Court has never struck down a gun control law on Second Amendment grounds.
The two cases generally cited as most relevant to the Second Amendment are:
U.S. v. Cruikshank (1875), in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an 1870 federal law punishing individuals for violating the civil rights of others, using the Fourteenth Amendment to justify federal intervention in law enforcement (which was generally left to the states). The test case was the 1873 Colfax Massacre, in which over 100 African Americans were murdered by the White League, a militant white supremacist organization that was extremely active in Louisiana in the decades following the American Civil War. Chief Justice Morrison Waite delivered a ruling stating that the law was unconstitutional. While the case had no direct relevance to the Second Amendment, Waite did briefly list an individual right to bear arms among those rights that would have been protected by the federal law.
U.S. v. Miller (1939), in which two bank robbers transported a sawed-off shotgun across state lines in violation of the National Firearms Act of 1934. After the bank robbers challenged the law on Second Amendment grounds, Justice James C. McReynolds delivered a majority ruling stating that the Second Amendment was not relevant to their case, in part because a sawed-off shotgun is not a standard weapon for use in U.S. civilian militias.
Also significant: A number of cities, including Washington, D.C., have at various times banned handgun ownership. The relevant federal circuit court has always found these policies to be constitutional, and the Supreme Court has consistently refused to review such cases on appeal.
History
The well-regulated militia referred to in the Second Amendment was, in fact, the 18th-century equivalent to the U.S. Armed Forces. Other than a small force of paid officers (primarily responsible for supervising civilian conscripts), the United States that existed at the time the Second Amendment was proposed had no professional, trained army. Instead it relied almost exclusively on civilian militias for self-defense--in other words, the rounding up of all available men between the ages of 18 and 50. In the event of foreign invasion, there would be no trained military force to hold back the British or the French. The United States relied on the power of its own citizens to defend the country against attack, and had committed to such an isolationist foreign policy that the chances of ever deploying forces overseas seemed remote at best.
This began to change with the presidency of John Adams, who established a professional navy to protect U.S.-bound trade vessels from privateers. Today, there is no military draft at all. The U.S. Army is made up of a mix of full-time and part-time professional soldiers who are trained well, and compensated for their service. Furthermore, the U.S. Armed Forces have not fought a single battle on home soil since the end of the American Civil War in 1865. Clearly, a well-regulated civilian militia is no longer a military necessity. Does the second clause of the Second Amendment still apply even if the first clause, providing its rationale, is no longer meaningful?
Prev12Next
Relevant Organizations
The National Rifle Association (NRA)
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
E BEST FORMAT. The 2nd Amendment
Court Rulings About the Second Amendment

Freedom and Gun-Control

Return to Home Page MYTH: The first clause in the Second Amendment is merely a justification clause for the right to bear arms, and therefore people have the right to keep and bear arms for private purposes.
TRUTH: The first clause of the Second Amendment, the preamble, is "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State," How important is this preamble in interpreting the Second Amendment? Historian David Thomas Konig, quoting from a widely used law dictionary of the eighteenth century, explains the importance of preambles in eighteenth century law: "The preamble, then, was more than merely a 'justification' for a statute, but a positive guide for understanding the purpose of the text of the statute in relation to other enactments. In the words of Giles Jacob, whose law dictionary enjoyed wide usage in the eighteenth century, 'The Preamble of a Statute which is the Beginning thereof, going before, is as it were a Key to the Knowledge of it, and to open the Intent of the Makers of the Act; it shall be deemed true, and therefore good Arguments may be drawn from the same.'102"
http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/lhr/22.1/forum_konig.html
So the preamble of the Second Amendment is not superfluous as it would seem to be if it were merely a justification for the right. It is the "Key to the Knowledge" of the Second Amendment. Every clause in the Constitution must have some kind of effect. The preamble of the Second Amendment is no exception. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall stated in Marbury v. Madison in 1803: "It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect; and therefore such a construction is inadmissible.6"
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Parker v. D.C. took the view that the preamble only modifies the word "arms" in the second clause. This is in contrast to the what the Supreme Court has stated previously: "The Constitution as originally adopted granted to the Congress power- 'To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.' U.S.C.A.Const. art. 1, 8. With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and
applied with that end in view." -United States v. Miller
Note that the Supreme Court explained that the Second Amendment (not just the word "arms") must be interpreted and applied with the militia end in view.
Even if the gun lobby were correct about the relationship between the two clauses of the Second Amendment, it is difficult to understand why a military term such as bear arms would be used to describe the right to own and carry guns for private purposes. Legal scholar Michael C. Dorf explains, "In my view, protecting a 'right of the people to keep and bear Arms' is a sufficiently odd way of protecting an individual right to possess firearms for rebellion, self defense, or hunting as to provoke further inquiry.
"As I note in the next Part, at the time of the founding, the phrase 'bear arms' was most commonly used in a military setting, and even today it carries a military connotation." (Chicago-Kent Law Review Symposium on the Second Amendment vol. 76, 2000: 291) This is further supported by a search of the Library of Congress website. Simply type in the words "bear arms" and click search.
In all the recorded debates of the First Congress about the Second Amendment bear arms is used to refer to military activity. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, for example, voiced his disagreement with the conscientious objector clause in earlier drafts of the Second Amendment which exempted such groups as Quakers from bearing arms. He explained, “I am apprehensive that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution itself. They can declare who are the religiously scrupulous, and prevent them from bearing arms."
Thomas Scott of Pennsylvania echoed these concerns, He said that under the proposed clause, conscientious objectors could not be “called upon for their services” and that in such circumstances "a militia can never be depended upon. This would lead to the violation of another article in the constitution, which secures to the people the right of keeping arms, and in this case recourse must be had to a standing army.”
Gerry and Scott thought that exempting certain groups of people from militia duty could turn out to be a serious threat to the right to keep and bear arms. People opposed to war for religious reasons could still use firearms for private purposes so it's difficult to see how such an exemption could threaten this right if the right is concerned with nonmilitary activities and has no necessary connection with a well regulated militia.
According to the modern day individual rights interpretation, people do not need to be part of the well regulated militia to exercise their right to bear arms. So according to this view, the Second Amendment does not require militia duty of anyone. If the Founders were concerned about a proposed clause that exempted certain people from militia duty it's hard to imagine they would be enthused about an interpretation which has the effect of exempting everyone from militia duty.
Let's make an analogy. Would drink mean "drink any liquid" in the following sentence? "Alcohol impairing coordination, I shall not drink and drive." You could argue that the first clause does not modify the second clause and that therefore "drink" must mean "drink any liquid". However, anyone familiar with modern day English would know that the phrase "don't drink and drive" refers to driving while while intoxicated just as bear arms most often referred to military activity in eighteenth century English.
MYTH: The words "well regulated" in the Second Amendment don't refer to government regulation.
TRUTH: Gun lobby activists have claimed that "well-regulated" did not refer to government regulation in eighteenth century English. Their word games are easily exposed and refuted. In Federalist 29, Hamilton spoke of the militia being regulated by the Federal Government: "If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security....What plan for the regulation of the militia may be pursued by the national government, is impossible to be foreseen." Federalist 29
MYTH: The second amendment is a barrier to gun-control.
TRUTH: In US history, no gun-control law has ever been invalidated by a federal court ruling on second amendment grounds. Furthermore, the courts have upheld numerous gun laws as being constitutional. For example, Washington D.C.'s handgun ban has been in effect for over a quarter century and has survived every court challenge that has come its way. A possible exception to this is that the D.C. handgun ban which will be overturned if the Supreme Court agrees with the holding of the D.C. Court of Appeals.
MYTH: The modern day militia includes every adult citizen.
TRUTH: In US v. Miller the Supreme Court, explained that historically "the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense." In more recently rulings the Supreme Court has made clear what the modern day militia is. "The National Guard is the modern Militia reserved to the States by Art. I. 8, cl. 15, 16, of the Constitution....The passage of the National Defense Act of 1916 materially altered the status of the militias by constituting them as the National Guard." Maryland v. United States, 381 U.S. 41, 46 (1965). And in 1990 the Supreme Court ruled that "Notwithstanding the brief periods of federal service, the members of the state Guard unit continue to satisfy this description of a militia." Perpich v. Department of Defense, 496 U.S. 334, 355 (1990)
Sometimes it is argued that the unorganized militia is part of the militia of the Second Amendment. However, the Second Amendment specifically refers to a “well regulated militia” and the unorganized militia is not well regulated at all. The unorganized militia was created so that people who did not want to be part of the militia could avoid doing any militia duties.
"The term 'unorganized' did not begin to emerge until the 1830s and 1840s, when a massive wave of opposition destroyed the compulsory militia system. Nobody wanted to serve in the militia. State governors and legislators wanted to be able to accommodate this desire, but they were bound by the 1792 Uniform Militia Act, which stated that every white male aged 18-45 would be in the militia. However, the 1792 Uniform Militia Act explicitly allowed the states to determine who was exempt from militia service. So states divided their militias into two sections, the 'organized' militia and the 'unorganized' militia. In this way, the letter, though not the spirit, of the 1792 law could be complied with." http://www.adl.org/mwd/faq3.asp
We must remember that the Founders had recently fought a war with the British when they wrote the Second Amendment. They recognized the importance of having a nation that was militarily prepared. They were practical (in contrast to the libertarian fantasy that seems to be the basis of so much of the support for guns in our day). Do you think that they would have been satisfied with the unorganized militia which only qualifies nominally as a militia? This is why they included the words "well regulated" in the Second Amendment. They recognized that you have to have a system for arming and training the people and that simply expecting them to do it on their own is not practical. Imagine if the US Army did nothing to arm and train its soldiers but just expected them to do it on their own. How effective would it be as a fighting force?
MYTH: The Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez establishes that the second amendment protects an individual right.
TRUTH: This was actually a fourth amendment case. In the case the court commented on the meaning of the word people as used in the Constitution. "While this textual exegesis is by no means conclusive, it suggests that 'the people' protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community." (United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez 1990) Notice that the above quotation starts with "While this textual exegesis is by no means conclusive....". So the Supreme Court is admitting it can't be sure about its analysis.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals explained the truth about United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez- "Citing dicta from United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 265, 110 S.Ct. 1056, 1060, 108 L.Ed.2d 222 (1990), Hale argues that the Second Amendment protections apply to individuals and not to states or collective entities like militias. This argument is inapplicable to this case. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to restrain the federal government from regulating the possession of arms where such regulation would interfere with the preservation or efficiency of the militia. See Miller, 307 U.S. at 178, 59 S.Ct. at 818; United States v. Oakes, 564 F.2d 384 (10th Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 435 U.S. 926, 98 S.Ct. 1493, 55 L.Ed.2d 521 (1978); Cody, 460 F.2d 34. Whether the 'right to bear arms' for militia purposes is 'individual' or 'collective' in nature is irrelevant where, as here, the individual's possession of arms is not related to the
preservation or efficiency of a militia." (U.S. v. Hale, 978 F.2d 1016 (8th Cir. 1992)
The court correctly points out that this passage from United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez is dicta (an opinion voiced by a judge that has only incidental bearing on the case in question and is therefore not binding) so it's not the law. The court also pointed out that whether the second amendment protects a collective or an individual right the important thing is it's still right that exists only in connection with a well regulated militia.
Let's analyze the word "people" in the second amendment. It has been claimed that this word necessarily means each adult citizen in America. Let's look at how the word "people" is used in the preamble of the Constitution. "We the People of the United States....do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." It clear that the word "people" in this context is being used in a collective sense. Obviously, not every adult citizen in America was involved in writing the Constitution. Likewise, saying that the Russians have nuclear weapons does not necessarily mean that each Russian owns a nuclear weapon. The word Russians is being used here in a collective sense. Saying that the people have the right to bear arms does not necessarily mean that each adult citizen has a right to bear arms.
Akhil Reed Amar, a leading scholar of constitutional law and author of The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction, explains that the word people is used in a collective sense in the US Constitution. "But the libertarian reading must contend with textual embarrassments of its own. The amendment speaks of a right of 'the people' collectively rather than a right of 'persons' individually. And it uses a distinctly military phrase: 'bear arms.'....The rest of the Bill of Rights confirms this communitarian reading. The core of the First Amendment's assembly clause, which textually abuts the Second Amendment, is the right of 'the people'--in essence, voters--to 'assemble' in constitutional conventions and other political conclaves. So, too, the core rights retained and reserved to 'the people' in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments were rights of the people collectively to govern themselves democratically. The Fourth Amendment is trickier: 'The right of the
people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.' Here, the collective 'people' wording is paired with more individualistic language of 'persons.'" (Source)
MYTH: All rights are individual rights.
TRUTH: In US v. Cruikshank (1875) the Supreme Court recognized that there are both collective and individual rights. The court stated, "Citizens are the members of the political community to which they belong. They are the people who compose the community, and who, in their associated capacity, have established or submitted themselves to the dominion of a government for the promotion of their general welfare and the protection of their individual as well as their collective rights."
MYTH: The second amendment protects a right to bear arms outside the context of a well regulated militia.
TRUTH: The second amendment starts off with "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," Notice the word "being". The word "being" implies that the idea is not complete as in the following sentence- "The door being locked..." So you have to read the 2nd amendment as a whole. When the second amendment is read as a whole, it is clear that it protects the right of the people to bear arms within the context of an organized militia.
In United States v. Miller the Supreme Court explained that the purpose fo the second amendment was to "to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness" of the militia spoken of in Article 1 of the Constitution. "The Constitution, as originally adopted, granted to the Congress power -- 'To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.' "With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces, the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in
view." (United States v. Miller).
Examining the meaning of the term bear arms further supports this conclusion. James Madison's first draft of the second amendment was "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person." It is clear from this that the phrase "bear arms" refers to militia service and not to guns intended for personal use.
The American Bar Association has explained how the second amendment does not interfere with regulating weapons intended for private use. "Since today's 'well regulated militia' does not use privately owned firearms, courts since Miller have unanimously held that regulation of such guns does not offend the Second Amendment...As lawyers, as representatives of the legal profession, and as recognized experts on the meaning of the Constitution and our system of justice, we share a responsibility to the public and lawmakers to 'say what the law is.'" (Source)

Comment: #4
Posted by: glen
Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:23 PM
JOHN STOSSEL REF THUR SHOW ON GUNS.



To: stossel@foxbusiness.com
Sent: Wed, June 23, 2010 5:23:51 PM
Subject: Fw: THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND GUN CONTROL / OWNERSHIP[THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS.


I SEE NOTHING IN YOUR CONSERVATIVE BACKGROUND THAT WOULD GIVE ME ANY HOPE YOU WOULD GIVE A FAIR AND BALANCE PREVIEW OF THE 2ND AMENDMENT OF THURSDAY NIGHT. FOX PROBABLY WOULDN'T LET YOU IF YOU WANTED TO. THE NRA HAS CONTROLLED THE DISCUSSION FOR 65+ YEARS AND I EXPECT THAT TO CONTINUE AS LONG AS CONSERVATIVES HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT. IT IS A VERY MISGUIDED CONCEPT BUT WITH NRA'S MONEY AND LOBBYIST IT WILL PROBABLY CONTINUE. NOBODY SEEMS TO HAVE THE GUTS TO STAND UP TO THE NRA. I WOULD HOPE THAT YOU WOULD AT LEAST HAVE AN OPPOSING VIEW ON YOUR SHOW. MARC RUBIN SEEMS TO BE WELL VERSED ON THE OPPOSING VIEW WHICH I BELIEVE TO BE THE CORRECT VIEW. ITS A STATES RIGHT NOT[THE NATIONAL GUARDS] AN INDIVIDUAL RIGHT. AND THERE IS PLENTY OF PROOF IF ONE WANTS TO PURSUE IT. Subject: Fw: THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND GUN CONTROL / OWNERSHIP


ATTN SOLICITOR GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES [INFO THAT MIGHT BE HELPFUL IN THE FUTURE]
Sent: Tue, April 27, 2010 6:48:16 PM
Subject: THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND GUN CONTROL/OWNERSHIP

Subject: THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS

No Virginia There is No Constitutional Right to Own a Gun[ MAYBE THE FACTS WILL HELP YOU IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE FACTS] THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS. BY MARC RUBIN

Published April 23, 2010 by:
Marc Rubin
View Profile | Follow | Add to Favorites
More:FloridaIndonesiaTokyoCasey JamesGang StarrCeltics
There was a demonstration in Virginia over the weekend consisting of gun owners demonstrating for what or against what no one really knew and maybe they didn't either. But it probably had to do with a second amendment right for them to own guns that doesn't exist. And never did.
If there is one thing both conservatives, many Democrats and most journalists have in common its their constitutional ignorance of the second amendment and their false belief that the second amendment has anything to do with an individual's right to own a gun.
It doesn't and it never did.
But to listen to Obama, and many Democrats and liberals like Ed Schultz the other night on MSNBC, along with conservatives, they assume they know what the amendment means, assume it gives individuals the right to own guns, and as is the case with so many mistaken assumptions made in America, they are all wrong.
How do we know? Let us count the ways. First, there has never been one single Supreme Court ruling that has held the Second Amendment gives people the right to own guns ( "Heller", which many advocates like to quote, actually skirted the entire issue and focused instead on the status of the District of Columbia as not being a state and ducked on the whole question of the second amendment and states rights). You would think with all the controversy surrounding guns that somewhere along the line there would have been a case or a challenge where the Supreme Court addressed the issue, but there has never been an affirmation of the Second Amendment applying to individuals. Ever.
"Guns in America" clearly points this out when it says:
The public debate over the meaning of those words ( the Second Amendment) has raged for decades, but the U.S. Supreme Court hasn't ruled on the Second Amendment since 1939, in a case called U.S. v. Miller. The 25 paragraphs of that unanimous ruling have been regarded by lower federal courts as a definitive decision that the Second Amendment was designed to preserve state militias, not to give individuals an absolute right to keep and bear arms. "
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The reality of this is that any state can pass any gun law they wish, banning, restricting, taxing, guns ammo, anything, and they do. That is irrefutable. Its there for all to see. The 2nd amendment does not prevent any state from passing any gun laws they wish. That is irrefutable because these laws are on the books



THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS [WHAT DID JEFFERSON SAY 1801-1808]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Taking On Gun Control WHAT DID JEFFERSON HAVE TO SAY

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every
form of tyranny over the mind of man." --Thomas Jefferson

A Well-Organized and Armed Militia
"For a people who are free and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security. It is, therefore, incumbent on us at every meeting [of Congress] to revise the condition of the militia and to ask ourselves if it is prepared to repel a powerful enemy at every point of our territories exposed to invasion... Congress alone have power to produce a uniform state of preparation in this great organ of defense. The interests which they so deeply feel in their own and their country's security will present this as among the most important objects of their deliberation."
--Thomas Jefferson: 8th Annual Message, 1808. ME 3:482
"None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important." --Thomas Jefferson, 1803.
"It is more a subject of joy [than of regret] that we have so few of the desperate characters which compose modern regular armies. But it proves more forcibly the necessity of obliging every citizen to be a soldier; this was the case with the Greeks and Romans and must be that of every free State. Where there is no oppression there can be no pauper hirelings." --Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1813.
"A well-disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war till regulars may relieve them, I deem [one of] the essential principles of our Government, and consequently [one of] those which ought to shape its administration."
--Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801.
"[The] governor [is] constitutionally the commander of the militia of the State, that is to say, of every man in it able to bear arms." --Thomas Jefferson to A. L. C. Destutt de Tracy, 1811.
"Uncertain as we must ever be of the particular point in our circumference where an enemy may choose to invade us, the only force which can be ready at every point and competent to oppose them, is the body of neighboring citizens as formed into a militia. On these, collected from the parts most convenient, in numbers proportioned to the invading foe, it is best to rely, not only to meet the first attack, but if it threatens to be permanent, to maintain the defence until regulars may be engaged to relieve them."
--Thomas Jefferson: 1st Annual Message, 1801. ME 3:334
THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS
Glen Walters <gewweg4000@yahoo.com> Add to Contacts
To: frogiehermit@yahoo.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[ATTENTION ]ALL SUPREME COURT JUSTICES. I BELIEVE THIS ARTICLE IS A MUST READ BEFORE ANY DECISION IS MADE OF THE 2 ND AMENDMENT AND THE RIGHT TO OWN A FIREARM—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Glen Walters
Subject: THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS
Constitutional Topic: The Second Amendment There's been a lot in the news lately about the Obama Justice Department supposedly wanting to take away peoples 2nd amendment rights. And the issue of illegal guns going to Mexico and contributing to the gang violence has brought up discussions as to whether actions proposed by the Justice Department might be violating 2nd amendment rights. Obama in his recent press conference with the President of Mexico, in answer to a question about banning assault weapons said he thought they could do it and “still respect the 2nd amendment right to bear arms”.
And just the other day the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a case involving Alameda County in California that the 2nd amendment applies to individuals.They were wrong.
Every so often the discussion of the 2nd amendment crops up as it's doing now and the same people make the same mistake and show the same ignorance regarding the 2nd amendment.
Publicly there are few politicians or people in the news media well versed enough in the Constitution to get it straight. That and the fact that most of them are afraid of getting a lot of angry letters from people who don't want to hear that truth or politicians who are afraid that speaking the truth will cost them votes and typically politicians and journalists always take the cowards' way out. But the plain truth is, once and for all, the 2nd amendment has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with an individual's right to own a gun. And never did. There is no Constitutional right to own a gun.And there never was.
Not that I'm a proponent of confiscating people's guns. Or banning them. I'm not. There is not a shred of evidence anywhere to show that guns owned and registered by law abiding citizens are any threat at all to the public welfare and most statistics prove it. Drunk drivers are literally hundreds of thousands of times more dangerous and more of a threat to public safety than anyone legally owning a gun. But for gun enthusiasts and politicians to keep trying to hide behind the 2nd amendment doesn't do anyone any good. It just promotes the kind of dishonesty as well as public ignorance and pandering by politicians that most citizens are tired of. It also shows an unwillingness by politicians and the press to simply be honest.
Whatever laws we have in this country governing guns is and always has been the result of political will and acts of congress, not the 2nd amendment. This is why the NRA has a very effective lobbying effort. If the 2nd amendment had anything to do with an individual's right to own a gun they wouldn't need lobbyists and would save a lot of money. But political will is also why Congress will never pass a law banning individual ownership of guns. There is no political will by any political majority to do so and probably never will be.
The fact that Obama “agrees” with a 2nd Amendment right to own a gun just shows again, how either Constitutionally ignorant or willfully ignorant politicians can be, which is an utter disgrace considering their position. As far as most citizens are concerned, they simply believe what they read or what they are told. It's not up to them to be researching the Constitution to learn what it really means, but it is up to someone like the President and other members of Congress who swears to uphold and defend it to know what they are talking about. Which they clearly don't.
People ignorant of the Constitution which unfortunately includes the President, along with many members of Congress and the press, seem to refuse to read the 2nd amendment as it was written. And to acknowledge that the Constitution and the people who wrote it and founded this country were the greatest collection of geniuses in the principles of self government this country ever had at one time in one place. When you acknowledge that, then you take the words they wrote and argued over, debated and ratified in the Constitution seriously. And you don't try to pretend they mean something they were never intended to mean to suit your purposes. They knew what they were doing. They knew what they were saying. And they knew what every word of that amendment meant ( as well as everything else in the Constitution). And every word in the 2nd amendment means the same thing today that it meant in 1789 and in all the years in between.
The fact that the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with an individual's right to own a gun is not a secret. Former Chief Justice Warren Burger, Chief Justice during Nixon's term wrote that “the idea that the 2nd amendment has anything whatsoever to do with an individual's right to own a gun is the biggest Constitutional hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”.
And if you don't want to take Burger's word for it, there is one other important group that knows the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with an individual right to own a gun. The NRA knows it. More about that later.
There is a philosophical approach in applying the constitution that ironically enough is the conservative approach and it's called “original intent”. Where the original intent of the framers is known and is clear, where their words and what they meant and intended are clear, there can be no other interpretation of a particular clause, provision, article or amendment other than what the framers meant and intended. Nowhere is that clearer than in the second amendment. And while there are many, many ways to prove the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with an individual's right to own a gun (all of which I will provide), all it really takes to understand the amendment is what you were taught by Mrs. Applecheeks, your 4th grade English teacher when you learned how to conjugate a sentence with a subject and a predicate.
But the first thing you need to know about the 2nd amendment is something very few people know: it was written,rewritten and revised 7 times. That's right, 7 times. There were 7 versions of the 2nd amendment, and they are all available to be seen in the Library of Congress.
The 2nd amendment is only one sentence yet the Founders took the time to debate every word.and revise it seven times. And so, as a result of their debates and a desire to be abundantly clear, they changed a word here, another one there, added and deleted, until they arrived at the final version, to make sure its meaning was crystal clear and would endure. And so as a result of their debates they revised it seven times until there was unanimity. They did not rewrite it seven times so people could pick and choose what words they wanted to hear and ignore the rest. Or make them mean what they wish they meant.So keep in mind that every single word was important to the Framers and what they intended. Every word.
The amendment reads: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.
Read the whole sentence not just part of it and go back to your fourth grade English class and how to conjugate a sentence.The subject of that sentence, and therefore the amendment, is ” a well regulated militia” not “the right to bear arms”. The subject is the militia and the modifier is “necessary to the security of a free state” which is the purpose of the amendment.
The 2nd amendment is about giving the states an absolute right to have their own armed militias which today has been transformed into the National Guard.It also guarantees that the states have the right to have the same weapons as a federal army, a right in existence today and has always been, since the National Guard of every state does have most of the same weapons that the Federal army has. National Guard units have tanks, they have fighter jets. They have bombers.And it's why National Guard units have been fighting in Iraq since 2002. The 2nd amendment guarantees the right of the states to have them. It is also what allowed the states of the Confederacy to have the weapons to fight a Civil War.
If you think the amendment gives an individual the right to have those weapons try putting a tank in your backyard.And keep in mind the entire amendment wasn't written so that it could be diced and sliced with words ignored to suit someone's purpose. The amendment means what it says.
The next line refers to ” the right of the people…”.
For those who don't know there are two types of rights enumerated in the Constitution, states rights and individual rights. As any Constitutional scholar will tell you, when the Framers were referring to a state's right they used the term “the people:”. When they were referring to an individual right, they used the word ” person”.The 5th amendment is a good example. It begins with the words, “No person shall…” and lays out guarantees, among them, double jeopardy and that no person in a criminal case shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
Once you understand who the Framers are referring to when they say “the people”, which is a collective for the individual states, and not referring to an individual right, it's time to deal with the most misused and misunderstood part of the 2nd amendment – the words “to keep and bear arms”.
Unfortunately for President Obama, Lou Dobbs, Joe Lieberman and others in congress and the media who badly and ignorantly misuse the phrase, “to keep and bear arms” doesn't mean the right of an individual to own a gun.At least not in terms of the Framers intended with the 2nd amendment. It doesn't mean the right to go hunting or take target practice or to shoot an intruder. It has nothing to do with an individual's right of self-defense (though it doesn't speak against it either). And it didn't mean the right to strut down the middle of Dodge City wearing six guns. If it did Wyatt Earp wouldn't have been able to arrest anyone who did and confiscate their guns because Earp banned them from Dodge City and no one ever accused Wyatt Earp of violating the Constitution.
First the term “arms” meant something very specific to the Framers who wrote the 2nd amendment in 1789 and it meant the same thing to them as it means now and that it has meant all through history.
The word “arms” in the 2nd amendment means one thing and only one thing. And it doesn't mean the right to have a gun you have in your house. It means weapons of war. Military weapons of war.
The “right to keep and bear arms” means that the Constitution is guaranteeing the states not only the right to have their own militias or military, but the right to “keep” their own weapons of war. “Arms” didn't just mean guns. It meant cannon. It meant swords and bayonets, cannon balls, powder, even war ships. “Arms” meant anything that could be used as a weapon of war. And it guaranteed the right of the individual states to have any weapons they wished, including the same military weapons as the Federal army. That guarantee is made clear in the last clause. As everyone knows there is a big difference between someone who owns a gun store and someone who is an “arms” dealer.And arms dealer is in the business of selling military weapons.
But the meaning of the word “arms” isn't the only thing in the 2nd amendment that people get wrong. They also don't know the meaning of the term ” to bear arms” which also had a very specific meaning to the Framers in 1789.
“To bear arms” didn't mean to show them off. It didn't mean to go hunting or to use them to defend against a burglar despite what Lou Dobbs,President Obama and some Constitutionally challenged Congressmen think. “To bear arms” meant only one thing to the Framers It meant to go to war.
The Founding Fathers in the 2nd amendment guaranteed the right of the individual states not only the means but the right to go to war and defend themselves both against the possibility of a future President deciding to become a tyrant and using military force to give himself dictatorial powers, or to defend themselves against a foreign enemy that might invade the shores of New York, Massachusetts, or New Jersey. It guaranteed that the states had both the means (” the right to keep…”) and to use them, (to “bear arms”,)to defend themselves without having to depend on a Federal Army to do it for them or against a Federal army itself if that became “necessary to the security of a free state”.
If the Founding Fathers had intended the 2nd amendment to be about the right of an individual to own a gun they would have said so.And they didn't.
The final clause could be the most important because it impacts every gun law on the books. The clause says the right granted in the 2nd amendment “shall not be infringed”.
“..shall not be infringed” means just that. It doesn't mean ” shall not be infringed except sometimes..”: or “shall not be infringed unless we want it to be”, or “shall not be infringed unless we decide there is a good reason to infringe upon it”. It means the right granted in the 2nd amendment cannot be diminished, restricted, reduced, or encroached upon in even the smallest way.
We all know what “fringe” means and where the fringe is — on the outer edges of something. And the amendment makes clear you cant encroach upon the right granted in the 2nd amendment even there, on the fringe.
The 2nd amendment is only about a state's right to have its own army and for that army to have any weapons it chooses, and that the Federal government cannot interfere with that right in any way. And that has been the case since 1789.It has never applied to an individual.And was never intended to.
If the 2nd amendment had anything to do with an individual's right to own a gun,the clause. “shall not be infringed” would make every single gun law on the books, and any restriction of any kind unconstitutional. The NRA knows this and knows both the “infringement” clause and the entire amendment has nothing to do with an individual's right to own a gun. Otherwise they would have challenged gun laws a long time ago on the grounds they violated the “infringement” clause of the 2nd amendment.
New York city's concealed weapon law is a perfect example. You cannot carry a concealed gun in New York city unless you are issued a permit by the police department. Just the requiring of a permit would certainly be an “infringement” of a 2nd amendment right “to keep and bear arms” according to the Constitution if it related to individuals. But even more than that, 90% of the people who apply for the permit get rejected. You don't get the permit unless the police department decides you can have one. And they decide most can't.
That doesn't sound like a Constitutional right “to keep and bear arms” that hasn't been infringed upon to me. And no one knows this better than New York Giants former star receiver Plaxico Burress who is was arrested, arraigned and is now looking at a 3 year mandatory jail sentence for accidentally shooting himself in the leg with a concealed hand gun he was carrying without a permit. Burress certainly has the financial means to challenge the law on Constitutional grounds and he certainly has the money to pay good lawyers but no one has even remotely suggested that they will challenge the New York City law on 2nd amendment grounds or that the law is a violation of the “infringement” clause. And for good reason. They would lose.
So the NRA and their very smart lawyers have never brought suit against any state or municipality or against the Federal government challenging any restrictive gun law on the grounds that its unconstitutional and violates the rights granted in the 2nd amendment or the ” infringement” clause in particular.
And if you are thinking “what about the DC gun ban and the Supreme Court decision”, even before it had been decided, constitutional experts and lawyers knew it had nothing to do with the 2nd amendment because DC is a special case and whatever the Supreme Court decision was going to be, it wouldnbt impact the 2nd amendment debate. DC is not a state. DC is essentially funded by Congress. They don't even have a say in the election of the President. They stand outside anything that refers to states rights in the Constitution because it is not a state and the 2nd amendment is a states right issue, not an individual rights issue. The DC ban against hand guns ( which Obama was for before he was against) didn't decide any 2nd amendment issues.
The last thing to keep in mind with regards to “original intent”, is to understand America in 1789 which is something Justices do when they are deciding a constitutional issue where the legislative history isn't known.They take everything into account to try and ascertain the intent of the Framers and the context in which the Constitution was written.
America in 1789 was 90% rural. And in 1789 America just about everyone in the Colonies owned a firearm.They used them to hunt. They used them to defend themselves against Indian attacks. They were a tool as basic to American life in 1789 as a lawnmower is now to the suburbs.
Owning a gun in 1789 America was common. It wasn't controversial. And you can be sure that the greatest minds in self government the country ever had didn't spend all that time debating and rewriting an amendment 7 times that gave people the right to own a lawnmower.
Again, this has nothing to do with taking away people's guns. There is no reason to. The problem in this country isn't guns owned by law abiding citizens, its illegal guns that do the damage and laws need to be passed to address that, not restrictions on citizens who obey the gun laws already on the books.There should be some mandatory gun training on how to use a gun for anyone who wants one, just the way you have to pass a drivers test to get a license to drive to cut down on accidents and other public safety issues. But the gun problem in America is illegal guns.
And an illegal gun means just one thing — a stolen gun or a gun obtained fraudulently.
There should be laws requiring a gun owner to report a lost or stolen gun within 24 hours to local law enforcement and any gun owner who has a gun lost or stolen twice in a year should have their licenses revoked. Mandatory security measures for gun dealers and shops could also be initiated to cut down the frequency of stolen guns.And additional jail time, stiff jail time should be imposed on anyone in possession of an illegal gun.
If politicians who are Constitutionally challenged would stop misusing phrases like” to keep and bear arms”, clearly not having the slightest idea of what the clause really means,and what the Framers were talking about, maybe more time would be spent dealing with the real problems posed by illegal guns instead of hiding behind the charade of what they think the 2nd amendment means.
As far as the recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding Alameda County in California, that ruling should come as no surprise. And it is not definitive. The 9th Circuit is the most liberal court in the country and only the most liberal interpretation of the 2nd amendment, one that completely disregards the original intent of the Framers and what the words actually mean, could choose to give the term ” to keep and bear arms” such a broad meaning and one completely unintended by the Framers. In fact the only way to apply the words in the 2nd amendment to an individual is to completely disregard what the words were intended to accomplish, which is what conservatives usually complain is legislating from the bench.
There is talk of appealing the 9th Circuits ruling to the Supreme Court. But anyone can challenge any gun law in the United States as being unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates both the second amendment and specifically the “infringement” clause if they think the 2nd amendment applies to individuals.
They can start with New York City's concealed gun law. If they are right, the law will be struck down and every gun law in the U.S. will get struck down with it and the matter would be settled once and for all. And if not then the country can move on and focus on the real problem which is illegal guns.
Copyright 2009 Marc Rubin
ShareThis
THE 2ND AMENDMENT IS ONLY ONE SENTENCE. I WAS TAUGHT A SENTENCE STARTS WITH A CAPITAL LETTER AND ENDS WITH A PERIOD,? OR! AND HAS ONLY ONE MEANING. THE WORDS MILITIA AND ARMS DESCRIBE IT AS A MILITARY DOCUMENT. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE A STANDING ARMY, SO THEY WROTE A DOCUMENT GIVING THE STATES THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO COMMAND A MILITIA AND THAT MEMBERS COULD KEEP THEIR ARMS AT HOME ,RIFLES/CANONS ETC, BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T HAVE ARMORIES LIKE THEY DO TODAY. I BELIEVE THAT THE NATION GUARD TODAY–IS PROTECTED FROM INFRINGEMENT BY THE CONGRESS BUT THE PRESIDENT CAN FEDERALIZE IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES. THE NRA HAS CAUSED MILLIONS TO BE KILLED BECAUSE OF THE MILLIONS THEY HAVE SPENT LOBBING FOR A GUN CONTROL OR LACK OF GUN CONTROL INTERPRETATION. THE 1935 FIREARMS ACT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE VEHICLE FOR GUN CONTROL.. IT MAKES YOU WONDER WHY THE FIGHT ON THE NRA ‘S PART. I GUESS ITS A WAY TO MAKE
MONEY.————————————————————————–
The Constitutional Topics pages at the USConstitution.net site are presented to delve deeper into topics than can be provided on the Glossary Page or in the FAQ pages. This Topic Page concerns The Second Amendment. This topic has a home directly in the Constitution, at the 2nd Amendment.
A great source of information for this topic came from Origins of the Bill of Rights (Yale Nota Bene, 2001) by Leonard W. Levy. The 2nd Amendment page at the Government Printing Office Site is also of considerable use.
Historical context
Today's debate
Recent developments
A proposed amendment
Further information
Documentary History
——————————————————————————–
Historical context
The 2nd Amendment, starting in the latter half of the 20th century, became an object of much debate. Concerned with rising violence in society and the role firearms play in that violence, gun control advocates began to read the 2nd Amendment one way. On the other side, firearm enthusiasts saw the attacks on gun ownership as attacks on freedom, and defended their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment just as fiercely. If the authors of the 2nd Amendment could have foreseen the debate, they might have phrased the amendment differently, because much of the debate has centered around the way the amendment is phrased.
Is the amendment one that was created to ensure the continuation and flourishing of the state militias as a means of defense, or was it created to ensure an individual's right to own a firearm?
Despite the rhetoric on both sides of the issue, the answer to both questions is most likely, “Yes.” The attitude of Americans toward the military was much different in the 1790's than it is today. Standing armies were mistrusted, as they had been used as tools of oppression by the monarchs of Europe for centuries. In the war for independence, there had been a regular army, but much of the fighting had been done by the state militias, under the command of local officers. Aside from the war, militias were needed because attacks were relatively common, whether by bandits, Indians, and even by troops from other states.
Today, the state militias have evolved into the National Guard in every state. These soldiers, while part-time, are professionally trained and armed by the government. No longer are regular, non-Guardsmen, expected to take up arms in defense of the state or the nation (though the US Code does still recognize the unorganized militia as an entity, and state laws vary on the subject [10 USC 311]).
This is in great contrast to the way things were at the time of adoption of the 2nd Amendment. Many state constitutions had a right to bear arms for the purposes of the maintenance of the militia. Many had laws that required men of age to own a gun and supplies, including powder and bullets.
In the state constitutions written around the time of the Declaration of Independence, the right to bear arms was presented in different ways. The Articles of Confederation specified that the states should maintain their militias, but did not mention a right to bear arms. Thus, any such protections would have to come from state law. The Virginia Declaration of Rights, though it mentioned the militia, did not mention a right to bear arms — the right might be implied, since the state did not furnish weapons for militiamen. The constitutions of North Carolina and Massachusetts did guarantee the right, to ensure proper defense of the states. The constitution of Pennsylvania guaranteed the right with no mention of the militia (at the time, Pennsylvania had no organized militia). One of the arguments of the Anti-Federalists during the ratification debates was that the new nation did not arm the militias, an odd argument since neither did the U.S. under the
Articles. Finally, Madison's original proposal for the Bill of Rights mentioned the individual right much more directly than the final result that came out of Congress.
Perhaps in the 1780's, the rise of a tyrant to a leadership position in the U.S. was a cause for concern. Today, in my opinion, the voters are much too sophisticated to elect a leader whose stated aims would be to suppress freedom or declare martial law. For the leader whose unstated aim it was to seize the nation, the task would be more than daunting — it would be next to impossible. The size and scope of the conspiracy needed, the cooperation of patriots who would see right through such a plan — it is unfathomable, the stuff of fiction. There are some who fear the rise in executive power under the second Bush presidency is just such a usurpation, and in some ways it may be. But similar usurpations of power by the Congress and the President, such as the Alien and Sedition Acts, the suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, or the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, were all eventually overturned or struck down and then
condemned by history. My hope is that history can be our guide this time, too.
The defense of our borders had not been a cause for concern for nearly a century before the subject really came up again around the time of the turn of the millennium, in 1999. Concern with border defense again became an issue after September 11, 2001, when a series of terrorist attacks, both in the form of hijacked airliners crashing into buildings and anthrax-laced mail, made people realize that we do have enemies that wish to invade our nation, though not on the scale of an army. But while each state has its National Guard it can call up to guard the borders, the coordination needed is much more on a national scale, and special units of the regular army or border patrol are better suited for such duty than the Guard.
——————————————————————————–
Today's debate
With the historical context set above, a look at the current interpretations of the 2nd Amendment are appropriate.
These interpretations tend to lean in one of two ways. The first is that the amendment was meant to ensure that individuals have the absolute right to own firearms; the second is that the amendment was meant to ensure that States could form, arm, and maintain their own militias. Either way, it is a bar to federal action only, because the 2nd Amendment has not been incorporated by the Supreme Court to apply to the states. This means that within its own constitution, a state may be as restrictive or unrestrictive as it wishes to be in the regulation of firearms; likewise, private rules and regulations may prohibit or encourage firearms. For example, if a housing association wishes to bar any firearm from being held within its borders, it is free to do so.
The Supreme Court, in permitting the United States to apply a stamp tax to sawed-off shotguns (a move, it was argued, that was intended to make such weapons de facto illegal), essentially said that if a weapon does not contribute to the maintenance of a militia, and has no use in ensuring the common defense, it can be regulated (United States v. Miller, 307 US 174 [1939]). Though the outcome of Miller was never fully resolved (the Court asked that Miller prove the relevance of the sawed-off shotgun to the maintenance of the militia, but Jack Miller died before he could, and the case died with him), the rationale used in Miller has been the basis for all gun control laws since 1939. As the GPO page notes, “At what point regulation or prohibition of what classes of firearms would conflict with the Amendment, if at all, the Miller case does little more than cast a faint degree of illumination toward an answer.”
Both contemporary interpretations are correct, in a way. As illustrated in the first section, the amendment does appear to have been designed to protect the militias, and it was also designed to protect an individual's right to own and bear a gun. The question, then, is do we have to adhere to both tenets of the amendment today? If we decide to do away with the individual ownership aspect of the Amendment, reinterpreting the amendment to allow highly restricted gun ownership, we seem to open the door to radical reinterpretation of other, more basic parts of the Constitution. If we decide to do nothing, and allow unrestricted gun ownership, we run the risk of creating a society of the gun, a risk that seems too great to take. So the real question seems to be, can we have the a constitutional freedom to bear arms, and still allow restriction and regulation?
Reasonable restrictions do seem to be the way to go, acknowledging the Amendment, but molding it, as we've done with much of the Constitution. After all, we have freedom of speech in the United States, but you are not truly free to say whatever you wish. You cannot incite violence without consequence; you cannot libel someone without consequence; you cannot shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater without consequence. Why cannot gun ownership by similarly regulated without violating the Constitution? Of course, prosecution for speech violations only take place after the fact, and regulation of gun ownership is necessarily different — it is a “prior restraint,” a condition rarely allowed in speech restrictions, but necessary in gun restrictions.
The trick is finding that balance between freedom and reasonable regulation, between unreasonable unfettered ownership and unreasonable prior restraint. Gun ownership is indeed a right — but it is also a grand responsibility. With responsibility comes the interests of society to ensure that guns are used safely and are used by those with proper training and licensing. If we can agree on this simple premise, it should not be too difficult to work out the details and find a proper compromise.
——————————————————————————–
Recent developments
In 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in the case of Parker v District of Columbia. In the case, the court ruled that D.C. laws that essentially prohibit the private ownership of handguns within the District, were unconstitutional. Specifically, the appellants, residents of D.C., were denied their 2nd Amendment rights by laws that bar the registration of handguns by anyone except retired D.C. police officers; that bar the carrying of a pistol without a license, even within one's home; and that require that lawfully owned firearms be kept unloaded and disassembled unless used for “lawful recreational purposes.”
The Court found that in spite of the first part of the 2nd Amendment — that which refers to the militia — “the Second Amendment's premise is that guns would be kept by citizens for self-protection (and hunting).” The court acknowledged the history the militia played in the creation of the 2nd Amendment, but did not allow the militia to be sole measure to be viewed when looking at these laws restricting gun ownership and reasonable use. Parker, the court ruled, should be allowed to keep handguns in his home.
The case, filed as District of Columbia v Heller, was granted certiorari by the United States Supreme Court, and was heard in March, 2008. At issue were two questions. The first, raised by the District, is whether the District is forbidden by the Second Amendment to ban the possession of handguns while allowing the possession of rifles and shotguns. The second, broader issue is raised by Heller (another of the original petitioners in the Parker case): whether the Second guarantees that guns, including handguns, can be kept in homes by law-abiding citizens. The Court decided that the issue it should hear is “Whether the [D.C. laws] violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?”
The Supreme Court ruled on the Heller case at the end of its term in June, 2008. The Court, which found for Heller in a close 5-4 decision, wrote that the 2nd Amendment did, in fact, protect an individual right. While the court was careful to note that the case did not call into question any laws that regulate guns, it did state, unequivocally, that Heller and his fellow petitioners had a right to own guns in their home. The Court also ruled that while reasonable regulation may be permitted, the requirement that guns be locked and disassembled was not reasonable. The Court finally noted that its ruling affected only the District of Columbia, as a federal enclave. It is expected that the laws of other cities, like Chicago, will be challenged so that the Court can examine the applicability of the 2nd to the rest of the nation.
——————————————————————————–
A proposed amendment
Recognizing that the need to arm the populace as a militia is no longer of much concern, but also realizing that firearms are a part of our history and culture and are used by many for both personal defense and sport, this site has proposed a new 2nd Amendment — an amendment to replace the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. This proposed text is offered as a way to spark discussion of the topic.
Section 1. The second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
Section 2. The right of the people to keep arms reasonable for hunting, sport, collecting, and personal defense shall not be infringed.
Section 3. Restrictions of arms must be found to be reasonable under Section 2 by a two-thirds vote of Congress in two consecutive sessions of Congress before they can be forwarded to the President for approval.
This proposed amendment is a truer representation of how our society views our freedom to bear arms. Because “reasonableness” can be far too elastic, the two-Congress restriction requires that two Congresses in a row pass the same bill — this allows both thoughtful reflection and for the opinions of the people, to be expressed between these votes, to be heard (both at the ballot box and in general). It is an unusual, but not unprecedented, way of passing legislation. Finally, the courts would have the ultimate authority in determining if a restriction is not reasonable, providing a final layer of protection (after the two pairs of debate in the House and Senate and the President's own agreement). The militia is removed from the equation, greatly clarifying the purpose of the amendment.
Historical note: in Section 2, the “collecting” clause was added, and Section 3 is a replacement for “The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation” after concerns over “reasonableness” were examined more fully.
——————————————————————————–
Futher information
For further research, here are some links on both sides of the issue. Please note that these sites are outside the control of this site, and broken links may arise. Please contact the Webmaster if you do notice any broken links.
The NRA:
Our 2nd Amendment: The Original Perspective
Federal Court Cases Regarding The Second Amendment
Firearm Facts
Guarantees of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms In State Constitutions
The Founders, Not the NRA, Originated the “Myth” of the People Armed and Free
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:
Militias Misinterpret Constitution
The Second Amendment Myth and Meaning
Exploding the NRA's Second Amendment Mythology
The Right to be armed: A Constitutional Illusion
The Second Amendment in the Twentieth Century
And from other sources:
What the Supreme Court Has Said about the Second Amendment from the Independence Institute
Commonplace Or Anachronism from The Potowmack Institute
The High Road, a pro-gun message board for discussion and debate
——————————————————————————–
Documentary history
It is often useful to not only try to interpret what the words of a part of the Constitution mean today, but also to see what they meant in the past. Proponents of the Original Intent method of interpretation always use the original meaning when looking at the Constitution. But even those who do not adhere to Original Intent still find the documentary history to be useful.
What follows are mentions of the right to bear arms in the documents leading up to the codification of the 2nd Amendment. Most are referenced on this site or others. Those that are not are transcribed from the publication The Bill of Rights (National Archives and Records Administration, 1980).
From the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776): That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state…
From the Vermont Constitution (1777): That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State…
From the Articles of Confederation (1781): …every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.
From the New Hampshire Ratification Document (1788): Congress shall never disarm any citizen, unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion.
From the Virginia Ratification Document (1788): That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free state… That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead.
From the New York Ratification Document (1788): That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state.
From Madison's Introduction of the Bill of Rights (1789): The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.
From the Report of the House Committee of Eleven (1789): A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.
From the amendments as passed by the House (1789): A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the People, being the best security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.
From the amendments as passed by the Senate (1789): A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
From the Rhode Island Ratification Document (1790): That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state…
——————————————————————————–
Comment: #5
Posted by: glen
Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:31 PM
JOHN STOSSEL REF THUR SHOW ON GUNS.



To: stossel@foxbusiness.com
Sent: Wed, June 23, 2010 5:23:51 PM
Subject: Fw: THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND GUN CONTROL / OWNERSHIP[THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS.


I SEE NOTHING IN YOUR CONSERVATIVE BACKGROUND THAT WOULD GIVE ME ANY HOPE YOU WOULD GIVE A FAIR AND BALANCE PREVIEW OF THE 2ND AMENDMENT OF THURSDAY NIGHT. FOX PROBABLY WOULDN'T LET YOU IF YOU WANTED TO. THE NRA HAS CONTROLLED THE DISCUSSION FOR 65+ YEARS AND I EXPECT THAT TO CONTINUE AS LONG AS CONSERVATIVES HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT. IT IS A VERY MISGUIDED CONCEPT BUT WITH NRA'S MONEY AND LOBBYIST IT WILL PROBABLY CONTINUE. NOBODY SEEMS TO HAVE THE GUTS TO STAND UP TO THE NRA. I WOULD HOPE THAT YOU WOULD AT LEAST HAVE AN OPPOSING VIEW ON YOUR SHOW. MARC RUBIN SEEMS TO BE WELL VERSED ON THE OPPOSING VIEW WHICH I BELIEVE TO BE THE CORRECT VIEW. ITS A STATES RIGHT NOT[THE NATIONAL GUARDS] AN INDIVIDUAL RIGHT. AND THERE IS PLENTY OF PROOF IF ONE WANTS TO PURSUE IT. Subject: Fw: THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND GUN CONTROL / OWNERSHIP


ATTN SOLICITOR GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES [INFO THAT MIGHT BE HELPFUL IN THE FUTURE]
Sent: Tue, April 27, 2010 6:48:16 PM
Subject: THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND GUN CONTROL/OWNERSHIP

Subject: THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS

No Virginia There is No Constitutional Right to Own a Gun[ MAYBE THE FACTS WILL HELP YOU IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE FACTS] THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS. BY MARC RUBIN

Published April 23, 2010 by:
Marc Rubin
View Profile | Follow | Add to Favorites
More:FloridaIndonesiaTokyoCasey JamesGang StarrCeltics
There was a demonstration in Virginia over the weekend consisting of gun owners demonstrating for what or against what no one really knew and maybe they didn't either. But it probably had to do with a second amendment right for them to own guns that doesn't exist. And never did.
If there is one thing both conservatives, many Democrats and most journalists have in common its their constitutional ignorance of the second amendment and their false belief that the second amendment has anything to do with an individual's right to own a gun.
It doesn't and it never did.
But to listen to Obama, and many Democrats and liberals like Ed Schultz the other night on MSNBC, along with conservatives, they assume they know what the amendment means, assume it gives individuals the right to own guns, and as is the case with so many mistaken assumptions made in America, they are all wrong.
How do we know? Let us count the ways. First, there has never been one single Supreme Court ruling that has held the Second Amendment gives people the right to own guns ( "Heller", which many advocates like to quote, actually skirted the entire issue and focused instead on the status of the District of Columbia as not being a state and ducked on the whole question of the second amendment and states rights). You would think with all the controversy surrounding guns that somewhere along the line there would have been a case or a challenge where the Supreme Court addressed the issue, but there has never been an affirmation of the Second Amendment applying to individuals. Ever.
"Guns in America" clearly points this out when it says:
The public debate over the meaning of those words ( the Second Amendment) has raged for decades, but the U.S. Supreme Court hasn't ruled on the Second Amendment since 1939, in a case called U.S. v. Miller. The 25 paragraphs of that unanimous ruling have been regarded by lower federal courts as a definitive decision that the Second Amendment was designed to preserve state militias, not to give individuals an absolute right to keep and bear arms. "
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The reality of this is that any state can pass any gun law they wish, banning, restricting, taxing, guns ammo, anything, and they do. That is irrefutable. Its there for all to see. The 2nd amendment does not prevent any state from passing any gun laws they wish. That is irrefutable because these laws are on the books



THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS [WHAT DID JEFFERSON SAY 1801-1808]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Taking On Gun Control WHAT DID JEFFERSON HAVE TO SAY

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every
form of tyranny over the mind of man." --Thomas Jefferson

A Well-Organized and Armed Militia
"For a people who are free and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security. It is, therefore, incumbent on us at every meeting [of Congress] to revise the condition of the militia and to ask ourselves if it is prepared to repel a powerful enemy at every point of our territories exposed to invasion... Congress alone have power to produce a uniform state of preparation in this great organ of defense. The interests which they so deeply feel in their own and their country's security will present this as among the most important objects of their deliberation."
--Thomas Jefferson: 8th Annual Message, 1808. ME 3:482
"None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important." --Thomas Jefferson, 1803.
"It is more a subject of joy [than of regret] that we have so few of the desperate characters which compose modern regular armies. But it proves more forcibly the necessity of obliging every citizen to be a soldier; this was the case with the Greeks and Romans and must be that of every free State. Where there is no oppression there can be no pauper hirelings." --Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1813.
"A well-disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war till regulars may relieve them, I deem [one of] the essential principles of our Government, and consequently [one of] those which ought to shape its administration."
--Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801.
"[The] governor [is] constitutionally the commander of the militia of the State, that is to say, of every man in it able to bear arms." --Thomas Jefferson to A. L. C. Destutt de Tracy, 1811.
"Uncertain as we must ever be of the particular point in our circumference where an enemy may choose to invade us, the only force which can be ready at every point and competent to oppose them, is the body of neighboring citizens as formed into a militia. On these, collected from the parts most convenient, in numbers proportioned to the invading foe, it is best to rely, not only to meet the first attack, but if it threatens to be permanent, to maintain the defence until regulars may be engaged to relieve them."
--Thomas Jefferson: 1st Annual Message, 1801. ME 3:334
THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS
Glen Walters <gewweg4000@yahoo.com> Add to Contacts
To: frogiehermit@yahoo.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[ATTENTION ]ALL SUPREME COURT JUSTICES. I BELIEVE THIS ARTICLE IS A MUST READ BEFORE ANY DECISION IS MADE OF THE 2 ND AMENDMENT AND THE RIGHT TO OWN A FIREARM—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Glen Walters
Subject: THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS
Constitutional Topic: The Second Amendment There's been a lot in the news lately about the Obama Justice Department supposedly wanting to take away peoples 2nd amendment rights. And the issue of illegal guns going to Mexico and contributing to the gang violence has brought up discussions as to whether actions proposed by the Justice Department might be violating 2nd amendment rights. Obama in his recent press conference with the President of Mexico, in answer to a question about banning assault weapons said he thought they could do it and “still respect the 2nd amendment right to bear arms”.
And just the other day the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a case involving Alameda County in California that the 2nd amendment applies to individuals.They were wrong.
Every so often the discussion of the 2nd amendment crops up as it's doing now and the same people make the same mistake and show the same ignorance regarding the 2nd amendment.
Publicly there are few politicians or people in the news media well versed enough in the Constitution to get it straight. That and the fact that most of them are afraid of getting a lot of angry letters from people who don't want to hear that truth or politicians who are afraid that speaking the truth will cost them votes and typically politicians and journalists always take the cowards' way out. But the plain truth is, once and for all, the 2nd amendment has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with an individual's right to own a gun. And never did. There is no Constitutional right to own a gun.And there never was.
Not that I'm a proponent of confiscating people's guns. Or banning them. I'm not. There is not a shred of evidence anywhere to show that guns owned and registered by law abiding citizens are any threat at all to the public welfare and most statistics prove it. Drunk drivers are literally hundreds of thousands of times more dangerous and more of a threat to public safety than anyone legally owning a gun. But for gun enthusiasts and politicians to keep trying to hide behind the 2nd amendment doesn't do anyone any good. It just promotes the kind of dishonesty as well as public ignorance and pandering by politicians that most citizens are tired of. It also shows an unwillingness by politicians and the press to simply be honest.
Whatever laws we have in this country governing guns is and always has been the result of political will and acts of congress, not the 2nd amendment. This is why the NRA has a very effective lobbying effort. If the 2nd amendment had anything to do with an individual's right to own a gun they wouldn't need lobbyists and would save a lot of money. But political will is also why Congress will never pass a law banning individual ownership of guns. There is no political will by any political majority to do so and probably never will be.
The fact that Obama “agrees” with a 2nd Amendment right to own a gun just shows again, how either Constitutionally ignorant or willfully ignorant politicians can be, which is an utter disgrace considering their position. As far as most citizens are concerned, they simply believe what they read or what they are told. It's not up to them to be researching the Constitution to learn what it really means, but it is up to someone like the President and other members of Congress who swears to uphold and defend it to know what they are talking about. Which they clearly don't.
People ignorant of the Constitution which unfortunately includes the President, along with many members of Congress and the press, seem to refuse to read the 2nd amendment as it was written. And to acknowledge that the Constitution and the people who wrote it and founded this country were the greatest collection of geniuses in the principles of self government this country ever had at one time in one place. When you acknowledge that, then you take the words they wrote and argued over, debated and ratified in the Constitution seriously. And you don't try to pretend they mean something they were never intended to mean to suit your purposes. They knew what they were doing. They knew what they were saying. And they knew what every word of that amendment meant ( as well as everything else in the Constitution). And every word in the 2nd amendment means the same thing today that it meant in 1789 and in all the years in between.
The fact that the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with an individual's right to own a gun is not a secret. Former Chief Justice Warren Burger, Chief Justice during Nixon's term wrote that “the idea that the 2nd amendment has anything whatsoever to do with an individual's right to own a gun is the biggest Constitutional hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”.
And if you don't want to take Burger's word for it, there is one other important group that knows the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with an individual right to own a gun. The NRA knows it. More about that later.
There is a philosophical approach in applying the constitution that ironically enough is the conservative approach and it's called “original intent”. Where the original intent of the framers is known and is clear, where their words and what they meant and intended are clear, there can be no other interpretation of a particular clause, provision, article or amendment other than what the framers meant and intended. Nowhere is that clearer than in the second amendment. And while there are many, many ways to prove the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with an individual's right to own a gun (all of which I will provide), all it really takes to understand the amendment is what you were taught by Mrs. Applecheeks, your 4th grade English teacher when you learned how to conjugate a sentence with a subject and a predicate.
But the first thing you need to know about the 2nd amendment is something very few people know: it was written,rewritten and revised 7 times. That's right, 7 times. There were 7 versions of the 2nd amendment, and they are all available to be seen in the Library of Congress.
The 2nd amendment is only one sentence yet the Founders took the time to debate every word.and revise it seven times. And so, as a result of their debates and a desire to be abundantly clear, they changed a word here, another one there, added and deleted, until they arrived at the final version, to make sure its meaning was crystal clear and would endure. And so as a result of their debates they revised it seven times until there was unanimity. They did not rewrite it seven times so people could pick and choose what words they wanted to hear and ignore the rest. Or make them mean what they wish they meant.So keep in mind that every single word was important to the Framers and what they intended. Every word.
The amendment reads: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.
Read the whole sentence not just part of it and go back to your fourth grade English class and how to conjugate a sentence.The subject of that sentence, and therefore the amendment, is ” a well regulated militia” not “the right to bear arms”. The subject is the militia and the modifier is “necessary to the security of a free state” which is the purpose of the amendment.
The 2nd amendment is about giving the states an absolute right to have their own armed militias which today has been transformed into the National Guard.It also guarantees that the states have the right to have the same weapons as a federal army, a right in existence today and has always been, since the National Guard of every state does have most of the same weapons that the Federal army has. National Guard units have tanks, they have fighter jets. They have bombers.And it's why National Guard units have been fighting in Iraq since 2002. The 2nd amendment guarantees the right of the states to have them. It is also what allowed the states of the Confederacy to have the weapons to fight a Civil War.
If you think the amendment gives an individual the right to have those weapons try putting a tank in your backyard.And keep in mind the entire amendment wasn't written so that it could be diced and sliced with words ignored to suit someone's purpose. The amendment means what it says.
The next line refers to ” the right of the people…”.
For those who don't know there are two types of rights enumerated in the Constitution, states rights and individual rights. As any Constitutional scholar will tell you, when the Framers were referring to a state's right they used the term “the people:”. When they were referring to an individual right, they used the word ” person”.The 5th amendment is a good example. It begins with the words, “No person shall…” and lays out guarantees, among them, double jeopardy and that no person in a criminal case shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
Once you understand who the Framers are referring to when they say “the people”, which is a collective for the individual states, and not referring to an individual right, it's time to deal with the most misused and misunderstood part of the 2nd amendment – the words “to keep and bear arms”.
Unfortunately for President Obama, Lou Dobbs, Joe Lieberman and others in congress and the media who badly and ignorantly misuse the phrase, “to keep and bear arms” doesn't mean the right of an individual to own a gun.At least not in terms of the Framers intended with the 2nd amendment. It doesn't mean the right to go hunting or take target practice or to shoot an intruder. It has nothing to do with an individual's right of self-defense (though it doesn't speak against it either). And it didn't mean the right to strut down the middle of Dodge City wearing six guns. If it did Wyatt Earp wouldn't have been able to arrest anyone who did and confiscate their guns because Earp banned them from Dodge City and no one ever accused Wyatt Earp of violating the Constitution.
First the term “arms” meant something very specific to the Framers who wrote the 2nd amendment in 1789 and it meant the same thing to them as it means now and that it has meant all through history.
The word “arms” in the 2nd amendment means one thing and only one thing. And it doesn't mean the right to have a gun you have in your house. It means weapons of war. Military weapons of war.
The “right to keep and bear arms” means that the Constitution is guaranteeing the states not only the right to have their own militias or military, but the right to “keep” their own weapons of war. “Arms” didn't just mean guns. It meant cannon. It meant swords and bayonets, cannon balls, powder, even war ships. “Arms” meant anything that could be used as a weapon of war. And it guaranteed the right of the individual states to have any weapons they wished, including the same military weapons as the Federal army. That guarantee is made clear in the last clause. As everyone knows there is a big difference between someone who owns a gun store and someone who is an “arms” dealer.And arms dealer is in the business of selling military weapons.
But the meaning of the word “arms” isn't the only thing in the 2nd amendment that people get wrong. They also don't know the meaning of the term ” to bear arms” which also had a very specific meaning to the Framers in 1789.
“To bear arms” didn't mean to show them off. It didn't mean to go hunting or to use them to defend against a burglar despite what Lou Dobbs,President Obama and some Constitutionally challenged Congressmen think. “To bear arms” meant only one thing to the Framers It meant to go to war.
The Founding Fathers in the 2nd amendment guaranteed the right of the individual states not only the means but the right to go to war and defend themselves both against the possibility of a future President deciding to become a tyrant and using military force to give himself dictatorial powers, or to defend themselves against a foreign enemy that might invade the shores of New York, Massachusetts, or New Jersey. It guaranteed that the states had both the means (” the right to keep…”) and to use them, (to “bear arms”,)to defend themselves without having to depend on a Federal Army to do it for them or against a Federal army itself if that became “necessary to the security of a free state”.
If the Founding Fathers had intended the 2nd amendment to be about the right of an individual to own a gun they would have said so.And they didn't.
The final clause could be the most important because it impacts every gun law on the books. The clause says the right granted in the 2nd amendment “shall not be infringed”.
“..shall not be infringed” means just that. It doesn't mean ” shall not be infringed except sometimes..”: or “shall not be infringed unless we want it to be”, or “shall not be infringed unless we decide there is a good reason to infringe upon it”. It means the right granted in the 2nd amendment cannot be diminished, restricted, reduced, or encroached upon in even the smallest way.
We all know what “fringe” means and where the fringe is — on the outer edges of something. And the amendment makes clear you cant encroach upon the right granted in the 2nd amendment even there, on the fringe.
The 2nd amendment is only about a state's right to have its own army and for that army to have any weapons it chooses, and that the Federal government cannot interfere with that right in any way. And that has been the case since 1789.It has never applied to an individual.And was never intended to.
If the 2nd amendment had anything to do with an individual's right to own a gun,the clause. “shall not be infringed” would make every single gun law on the books, and any restriction of any kind unconstitutional. The NRA knows this and knows both the “infringement” clause and the entire amendment has nothing to do with an individual's right to own a gun. Otherwise they would have challenged gun laws a long time ago on the grounds they violated the “infringement” clause of the 2nd amendment.
New York city's concealed weapon law is a perfect example. You cannot carry a concealed gun in New York city unless you are issued a permit by the police department. Just the requiring of a permit would certainly be an “infringement” of a 2nd amendment right “to keep and bear arms” according to the Constitution if it related to individuals. But even more than that, 90% of the people who apply for the permit get rejected. You don't get the permit unless the police department decides you can have one. And they decide most can't.
That doesn't sound like a Constitutional right “to keep and bear arms” that hasn't been infringed upon to me. And no one knows this better than New York Giants former star receiver Plaxico Burress who is was arrested, arraigned and is now looking at a 3 year mandatory jail sentence for accidentally shooting himself in the leg with a concealed hand gun he was carrying without a permit. Burress certainly has the financial means to challenge the law on Constitutional grounds and he certainly has the money to pay good lawyers but no one has even remotely suggested that they will challenge the New York City law on 2nd amendment grounds or that the law is a violation of the “infringement” clause. And for good reason. They would lose.
So the NRA and their very smart lawyers have never brought suit against any state or municipality or against the Federal government challenging any restrictive gun law on the grounds that its unconstitutional and violates the rights granted in the 2nd amendment or the ” infringement” clause in particular.
And if you are thinking “what about the DC gun ban and the Supreme Court decision”, even before it had been decided, constitutional experts and lawyers knew it had nothing to do with the 2nd amendment because DC is a special case and whatever the Supreme Court decision was going to be, it wouldnbt impact the 2nd amendment debate. DC is not a state. DC is essentially funded by Congress. They don't even have a say in the election of the President. They stand outside anything that refers to states rights in the Constitution because it is not a state and the 2nd amendment is a states right issue, not an individual rights issue. The DC ban against hand guns ( which Obama was for before he was against) didn't decide any 2nd amendment issues.
The last thing to keep in mind with regards to “original intent”, is to understand America in 1789 which is something Justices do when they are deciding a constitutional issue where the legislative history isn't known.They take everything into account to try and ascertain the intent of the Framers and the context in which the Constitution was written.
America in 1789 was 90% rural. And in 1789 America just about everyone in the Colonies owned a firearm.They used them to hunt. They used them to defend themselves against Indian attacks. They were a tool as basic to American life in 1789 as a lawnmower is now to the suburbs.
Owning a gun in 1789 America was common. It wasn't controversial. And you can be sure that the greatest minds in self government the country ever had didn't spend all that time debating and rewriting an amendment 7 times that gave people the right to own a lawnmower.
Again, this has nothing to do with taking away people's guns. There is no reason to. The problem in this country isn't guns owned by law abiding citizens, its illegal guns that do the damage and laws need to be passed to address that, not restrictions on citizens who obey the gun laws already on the books.There should be some mandatory gun training on how to use a gun for anyone who wants one, just the way you have to pass a drivers test to get a license to drive to cut down on accidents and other public safety issues. But the gun problem in America is illegal guns.
And an illegal gun means just one thing — a stolen gun or a gun obtained fraudulently.
There should be laws requiring a gun owner to report a lost or stolen gun within 24 hours to local law enforcement and any gun owner who has a gun lost or stolen twice in a year should have their licenses revoked. Mandatory security measures for gun dealers and shops could also be initiated to cut down the frequency of stolen guns.And additional jail time, stiff jail time should be imposed on anyone in possession of an illegal gun.
If politicians who are Constitutionally challenged would stop misusing phrases like” to keep and bear arms”, clearly not having the slightest idea of what the clause really means,and what the Framers were talking about, maybe more time would be spent dealing with the real problems posed by illegal guns instead of hiding behind the charade of what they think the 2nd amendment means.
As far as the recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding Alameda County in California, that ruling should come as no surprise. And it is not definitive. The 9th Circuit is the most liberal court in the country and only the most liberal interpretation of the 2nd amendment, one that completely disregards the original intent of the Framers and what the words actually mean, could choose to give the term ” to keep and bear arms” such a broad meaning and one completely unintended by the Framers. In fact the only way to apply the words in the 2nd amendment to an individual is to completely disregard what the words were intended to accomplish, which is what conservatives usually complain is legislating from the bench.
There is talk of appealing the 9th Circuits ruling to the Supreme Court. But anyone can challenge any gun law in the United States as being unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates both the second amendment and specifically the “infringement” clause if they think the 2nd amendment applies to individuals.
They can start with New York City's concealed gun law. If they are right, the law will be struck down and every gun law in the U.S. will get struck down with it and the matter would be settled once and for all. And if not then the country can move on and focus on the real problem which is illegal guns.
Copyright 2009 Marc Rubin
ShareThis
THE 2ND AMENDMENT IS ONLY ONE SENTENCE. I WAS TAUGHT A SENTENCE STARTS WITH A CAPITAL LETTER AND ENDS WITH A PERIOD,? OR! AND HAS ONLY ONE MEANING. THE WORDS MILITIA AND ARMS DESCRIBE IT AS A MILITARY DOCUMENT. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE A STANDING ARMY, SO THEY WROTE A DOCUMENT GIVING THE STATES THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO COMMAND A MILITIA AND THAT MEMBERS COULD KEEP THEIR ARMS AT HOME ,RIFLES/CANONS ETC, BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T HAVE ARMORIES LIKE THEY DO TODAY. I BELIEVE THAT THE NATION GUARD TODAY–IS PROTECTED FROM INFRINGEMENT BY THE CONGRESS BUT THE PRESIDENT CAN FEDERALIZE IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES. THE NRA HAS CAUSED MILLIONS TO BE KILLED BECAUSE OF THE MILLIONS THEY HAVE SPENT LOBBING FOR A GUN CONTROL OR LACK OF GUN CONTROL INTERPRETATION. THE 1935 FIREARMS ACT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE VEHICLE FOR GUN CONTROL.. IT MAKES YOU WONDER WHY THE FIGHT ON THE NRA ‘S PART. I GUESS ITS A WAY TO MAKE
MONEY.————————————————————————–
The Constitutional Topics pages at the USConstitution.net site are presented to delve deeper into topics than can be provided on the Glossary Page or in the FAQ pages. This Topic Page concerns The Second Amendment. This topic has a home directly in the Constitution, at the 2nd Amendment.
A great source of information for this topic came from Origins of the Bill of Rights (Yale Nota Bene, 2001) by Leonard W. Levy. The 2nd Amendment page at the Government Printing Office Site is also of considerable use.
Historical context
Today's debate
Recent developments
A proposed amendment
Further information
Documentary History
——————————————————————————–
Historical context
The 2nd Amendment, starting in the latter half of the 20th century, became an object of much debate. Concerned with rising violence in society and the role firearms play in that violence, gun control advocates began to read the 2nd Amendment one way. On the other side, firearm enthusiasts saw the attacks on gun ownership as attacks on freedom, and defended their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment just as fiercely. If the authors of the 2nd Amendment could have foreseen the debate, they might have phrased the amendment differently, because much of the debate has centered around the way the amendment is phrased.
Is the amendment one that was created to ensure the continuation and flourishing of the state militias as a means of defense, or was it created to ensure an individual's right to own a firearm?
Despite the rhetoric on both sides of the issue, the answer to both questions is most likely, “Yes.” The attitude of Americans toward the military was much different in the 1790's than it is today. Standing armies were mistrusted, as they had been used as tools of oppression by the monarchs of Europe for centuries. In the war for independence, there had been a regular army, but much of the fighting had been done by the state militias, under the command of local officers. Aside from the war, militias were needed because attacks were relatively common, whether by bandits, Indians, and even by troops from other states.
Today, the state militias have evolved into the National Guard in every state. These soldiers, while part-time, are professionally trained and armed by the government. No longer are regular, non-Guardsmen, expected to take up arms in defense of the state or the nation (though the US Code does still recognize the unorganized militia as an entity, and state laws vary on the subject [10 USC 311]).
This is in great contrast to the way things were at the time of adoption of the 2nd Amendment. Many state constitutions had a right to bear arms for the purposes of the maintenance of the militia. Many had laws that required men of age to own a gun and supplies, including powder and bullets.
In the state constitutions written around the time of the Declaration of Independence, the right to bear arms was presented in different ways. The Articles of Confederation specified that the states should maintain their militias, but did not mention a right to bear arms. Thus, any such protections would have to come from state law. The Virginia Declaration of Rights, though it mentioned the militia, did not mention a right to bear arms — the right might be implied, since the state did not furnish weapons for militiamen. The constitutions of North Carolina and Massachusetts did guarantee the right, to ensure proper defense of the states. The constitution of Pennsylvania guaranteed the right with no mention of the militia (at the time, Pennsylvania had no organized militia). One of the arguments of the Anti-Federalists during the ratification debates was that the new nation did not arm the militias, an odd argument since neither did the U.S. under the
Articles. Finally, Madison's original proposal for the Bill of Rights mentioned the individual right much more directly than the final result that came out of Congress.
Perhaps in the 1780's, the rise of a tyrant to a leadership position in the U.S. was a cause for concern. Today, in my opinion, the voters are much too sophisticated to elect a leader whose stated aims would be to suppress freedom or declare martial law. For the leader whose unstated aim it was to seize the nation, the task would be more than daunting — it would be next to impossible. The size and scope of the conspiracy needed, the cooperation of patriots who would see right through such a plan — it is unfathomable, the stuff of fiction. There are some who fear the rise in executive power under the second Bush presidency is just such a usurpation, and in some ways it may be. But similar usurpations of power by the Congress and the President, such as the Alien and Sedition Acts, the suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, or the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, were all eventually overturned or struck down and then
condemned by history. My hope is that history can be our guide this time, too.
The defense of our borders had not been a cause for concern for nearly a century before the subject really came up again around the time of the turn of the millennium, in 1999. Concern with border defense again became an issue after September 11, 2001, when a series of terrorist attacks, both in the form of hijacked airliners crashing into buildings and anthrax-laced mail, made people realize that we do have enemies that wish to invade our nation, though not on the scale of an army. But while each state has its National Guard it can call up to guard the borders, the coordination needed is much more on a national scale, and special units of the regular army or border patrol are better suited for such duty than the Guard.
——————————————————————————–
Today's debate
With the historical context set above, a look at the current interpretations of the 2nd Amendment are appropriate.
These interpretations tend to lean in one of two ways. The first is that the amendment was meant to ensure that individuals have the absolute right to own firearms; the second is that the amendment was meant to ensure that States could form, arm, and maintain their own militias. Either way, it is a bar to federal action only, because the 2nd Amendment has not been incorporated by the Supreme Court to apply to the states. This means that within its own constitution, a state may be as restrictive or unrestrictive as it wishes to be in the regulation of firearms; likewise, private rules and regulations may prohibit or encourage firearms. For example, if a housing association wishes to bar any firearm from being held within its borders, it is free to do so.
The Supreme Court, in permitting the United States to apply a stamp tax to sawed-off shotguns (a move, it was argued, that was intended to make such weapons de facto illegal), essentially said that if a weapon does not contribute to the maintenance of a militia, and has no use in ensuring the common defense, it can be regulated (United States v. Miller, 307 US 174 [1939]). Though the outcome of Miller was never fully resolved (the Court asked that Miller prove the relevance of the sawed-off shotgun to the maintenance of the militia, but Jack Miller died before he could, and the case died with him), the rationale used in Miller has been the basis for all gun control laws since 1939. As the GPO page notes, “At what point regulation or prohibition of what classes of firearms would conflict with the Amendment, if at all, the Miller case does little more than cast a faint degree of illumination toward an answer.”
Both contemporary interpretations are correct, in a way. As illustrated in the first section, the amendment does appear to have been designed to protect the militias, and it was also designed to protect an individual's right to own and bear a gun. The question, then, is do we have to adhere to both tenets of the amendment today? If we decide to do away with the individual ownership aspect of the Amendment, reinterpreting the amendment to allow highly restricted gun ownership, we seem to open the door to radical reinterpretation of other, more basic parts of the Constitution. If we decide to do nothing, and allow unrestricted gun ownership, we run the risk of creating a society of the gun, a risk that seems too great to take. So the real question seems to be, can we have the a constitutional freedom to bear arms, and still allow restriction and regulation?
Reasonable restrictions do seem to be the way to go, acknowledging the Amendment, but molding it, as we've done with much of the Constitution. After all, we have freedom of speech in the United States, but you are not truly free to say whatever you wish. You cannot incite violence without consequence; you cannot libel someone without consequence; you cannot shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater without consequence. Why cannot gun ownership by similarly regulated without violating the Constitution? Of course, prosecution for speech violations only take place after the fact, and regulation of gun ownership is necessarily different — it is a “prior restraint,” a condition rarely allowed in speech restrictions, but necessary in gun restrictions.
The trick is finding that balance between freedom and reasonable regulation, between unreasonable unfettered ownership and unreasonable prior restraint. Gun ownership is indeed a right — but it is also a grand responsibility. With responsibility comes the interests of society to ensure that guns are used safely and are used by those with proper training and licensing. If we can agree on this simple premise, it should not be too difficult to work out the details and find a proper compromise.
——————————————————————————–
Recent developments
In 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in the case of Parker v District of Columbia. In the case, the court ruled that D.C. laws that essentially prohibit the private ownership of handguns within the District, were unconstitutional. Specifically, the appellants, residents of D.C., were denied their 2nd Amendment rights by laws that bar the registration of handguns by anyone except retired D.C. police officers; that bar the carrying of a pistol without a license, even within one's home; and that require that lawfully owned firearms be kept unloaded and disassembled unless used for “lawful recreational purposes.”
The Court found that in spite of the first part of the 2nd Amendment — that which refers to the militia — “the Second Amendment's premise is that guns would be kept by citizens for self-protection (and hunting).” The court acknowledged the history the militia played in the creation of the 2nd Amendment, but did not allow the militia to be sole measure to be viewed when looking at these laws restricting gun ownership and reasonable use. Parker, the court ruled, should be allowed to keep handguns in his home.
The case, filed as District of Columbia v Heller, was granted certiorari by the United States Supreme Court, and was heard in March, 2008. At issue were two questions. The first, raised by the District, is whether the District is forbidden by the Second Amendment to ban the possession of handguns while allowing the possession of rifles and shotguns. The second, broader issue is raised by Heller (another of the original petitioners in the Parker case): whether the Second guarantees that guns, including handguns, can be kept in homes by law-abiding citizens. The Court decided that the issue it should hear is “Whether the [D.C. laws] violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?”
The Supreme Court ruled on the Heller case at the end of its term in June, 2008. The Court, which found for Heller in a close 5-4 decision, wrote that the 2nd Amendment did, in fact, protect an individual right. While the court was careful to note that the case did not call into question any laws that regulate guns, it did state, unequivocally, that Heller and his fellow petitioners had a right to own guns in their home. The Court also ruled that while reasonable regulation may be permitted, the requirement that guns be locked and disassembled was not reasonable. The Court finally noted that its ruling affected only the District of Columbia, as a federal enclave. It is expected that the laws of other cities, like Chicago, will be challenged so that the Court can examine the applicability of the 2nd to the rest of the nation.
——————————————————————————–
A proposed amendment
Recognizing that the need to arm the populace as a militia is no longer of much concern, but also realizing that firearms are a part of our history and culture and are used by many for both personal defense and sport, this site has proposed a new 2nd Amendment — an amendment to replace the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. This proposed text is offered as a way to spark discussion of the topic.
Section 1. The second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
Section 2. The right of the people to keep arms reasonable for hunting, sport, collecting, and personal defense shall not be infringed.
Section 3. Restrictions of arms must be found to be reasonable under Section 2 by a two-thirds vote of Congress in two consecutive sessions of Congress before they can be forwarded to the President for approval.
This proposed amendment is a truer representation of how our society views our freedom to bear arms. Because “reasonableness” can be far too elastic, the two-Congress restriction requires that two Congresses in a row pass the same bill — this allows both thoughtful reflection and for the opinions of the people, to be expressed between these votes, to be heard (both at the ballot box and in general). It is an unusual, but not unprecedented, way of passing legislation. Finally, the courts would have the ultimate authority in determining if a restriction is not reasonable, providing a final layer of protection (after the two pairs of debate in the House and Senate and the President's own agreement). The militia is removed from the equation, greatly clarifying the purpose of the amendment.
Historical note: in Section 2, the “collecting” clause was added, and Section 3 is a replacement for “The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation” after concerns over “reasonableness” were examined more fully.
——————————————————————————–
Futher information
For further research, here are some links on both sides of the issue. Please note that these sites are outside the control of this site, and broken links may arise. Please contact the Webmaster if you do notice any broken links.
The NRA:
Our 2nd Amendment: The Original Perspective
Federal Court Cases Regarding The Second Amendment
Firearm Facts
Guarantees of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms In State Constitutions
The Founders, Not the NRA, Originated the “Myth” of the People Armed and Free
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:
Militias Misinterpret Constitution
The Second Amendment Myth and Meaning
Exploding the NRA's Second Amendment Mythology
The Right to be armed: A Constitutional Illusion
The Second Amendment in the Twentieth Century
And from other sources:
What the Supreme Court Has Said about the Second Amendment from the Independence Institute
Commonplace Or Anachronism from The Potowmack Institute
The High Road, a pro-gun message board for discussion and debate
——————————————————————————–
Documentary history
It is often useful to not only try to interpret what the words of a part of the Constitution mean today, but also to see what they meant in the past. Proponents of the Original Intent method of interpretation always use the original meaning when looking at the Constitution. But even those who do not adhere to Original Intent still find the documentary history to be useful.
What follows are mentions of the right to bear arms in the documents leading up to the codification of the 2nd Amendment. Most are referenced on this site or others. Those that are not are transcribed from the publication The Bill of Rights (National Archives and Records Administration, 1980).
From the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776): That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state…
From the Vermont Constitution (1777): That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State…
From the Articles of Confederation (1781): …every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.
From the New Hampshire Ratification Document (1788): Congress shall never disarm any citizen, unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion.
From the Virginia Ratification Document (1788): That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free state… That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead.
From the New York Ratification Document (1788): That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state.
From Madison's Introduction of the Bill of Rights (1789): The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.
From the Report of the House Committee of Eleven (1789): A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.
From the amendments as passed by the House (1789): A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the People, being the best security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.
From the amendments as passed by the Senate (1789): A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
From the Rhode Island Ratification Document (1790): That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state…
——————————————————————————–
Comment: #6
Posted by: glen
Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:33 PM
Glen, All of the words you posted aren't worth the effort it took to type them. As an attorney, your job is to use the law to prove a point one way or another, depending on what side you are representing. Miller found that a sawed off shotgun was not a suitable militia weapon. Funny thing is, I carried one issued to me by the US Gov't when in the USMC so there goes Miller. Heller found that the DC ban was unconstitutional, but this was not incorporated. McDonald will take care of that, and the voluminous text you posted is (IMO) designed to try to sway SCOTUS toward your point of view. Guess what? Your opinion is in the minority in the US. If you don't want to buy and or carry a gun, I don't care and I won't make you. Do not attempt to make the opposite decision for me.Warren vs DC Metro Police ruled that the police department has no obligation to protect a specific individual, only to promote general law and order.(paraphrased). If you cannot guarantee my safety (and you can't), do not attempt to deny me the means to protect myself. Ask Suzanna Gratia-Hupp if gun control saves lives. She watched helplessly as her parents were executed by a madman, her gun locked in her car in compliance with the Texas law of the time. There is much more that can be said here, but I prefer to be brief.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Bill
Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:16 PM
Re: glen
Hey Glen! How's that copy/paste doin' for ya'?
Comment: #8
Posted by: Luckless
Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:26 AM
Having tried to wade through the morass of sophistry used to deny the meaning of the 2nd amendment, I gave up when I read the part where Glen said "people" meant the "state" and "person" meant "people". What utter and complete nonsense. English law is generally recognized as starting with the Magna Carta where the rights of men to arm themselves were first codified. This right of arms and self defense pre-exists the Constitution. Freedom is about the people telling the government what it is allowed to do, not what the government tells the people they are allowed to do.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Robb
Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:57 AM
Thank God. Someone who actually has some common sense.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Jodi Brothers
Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:39 AM
It's so refreshing to see someone in the at least the periphery of mainstrean media allude to the facts. Thank you.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Jim Page
Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:18 PM
Glen,
tell all those people on the Arizona and Texas border that may eventually have to defend themselves from the violence spilling over from Mexico that they have no right to a gun. I doubt you could even defend yourself if you had to anyways. You're a brave man on a blog, otherwise you're probably a coward. Since there is no way the authorities can control the border or prevent the violence from infecting this country who do you propose? I carry a gun, because I cannot carry a cop.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Texican
Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:29 AM
A little English grammar should fix this up. The first part of the Second Amendment, "A well-regulated militia..." is dependent on the second part, "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." In short, you can't have the militia without an armed citizenry.

Furthermore, the Second Amendment, contrary to some people's belief, does not grant the right to bear arms, it affirms a pre-existing right dating back to English common law. The Second Amendment says the government shall not abridge that right: it's a prohibition binding on the government, not a license for the people.

The freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights are just that: freedoms. You are free to take advantage of them as you see fit. What you are not free to do is determine another citizen's ability to exercise his or her freedoms. This is as true of the right to keep and bear arms as it is for the right to speak freely, assemble and practice the religion of your choice.
Comment: #13
Posted by: TexasBIll
Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:16 AM
an armed citizenry must be regulated. that is why the 2 nd amendment gives the governor's of the 50 states the constitutional right to possess a national guard in their state. the 1935 firearms act and recent gun laws regulate firearms as does the 6th and10th amendment. self defense clause etc. i am not arguing gun laws or rights i am just saying that the the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with owning a gun and never did.i.e. quit hiding behind the 2nd every time the issue comes up. after 1776 what does English common law mean to us . nothing.
Comment: #14
Posted by: glen
Tue Aug 3, 2010 3:03 PM
Re: Texican you have the right under the 6th and 10th amendments to carry a gun for self defense ans well as the 1935 firearms act and recent laws. my point is the 2nd amendment never gave any one the right to own a gun, it the constitutional authority that gives the governor's of each state the tight to form a well related militia , nothing else. the NRA wants you to think you have an individual right because they would be nothing without that interpretation. i am not talking about gun control, but it is strange that all the industrialized countries in the world have less than 100 gun deaths per year and we have over 4000. anyone can go to a gun show and buy ak47. happy squirrel season.
Comment: #15
Posted by: glen
Tue Aug 3, 2010 3:18 PM
Re: Robb show me any where in the constitution or amendment where persons doesn't refer to an individual right and people refers to a collective right. in a republic, we elect are officials to make certain decisions for the common good. if its gun rights you want for self defense you might look at the 6th and 10th amendments. my point is that the 2nd amendment doesn't give you the right to own a gun and never did. that is a NRA fantasy. the 2nd amendment is the constitutional right of the governor's of the 50 states to possess a national guard-once called the state militia. the 1935 firearms acts out lines what is legal and needs to be enforced more than it is. the 2nd refers to arms and ijs obviously a military document. should you be aloud to have a armed missile in your backyard or hunt rabbits with a cannon.
Comment: #16
Posted by: glen
Tue Aug 3, 2010 3:35 PM
Re: glen Its amazing just how twisted up in interpretation liberals, attorneys and the depths to which they and the remaining deprives of liberty will sink to achieve there immoral objectives:
The Second Amendment reads as follows:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Simply put, that although "A well regulated militia is required to the survival, and therefore being necessary to the security of a free state or country, the rights of the people to keep and bear arms so as to maintain and safeguard their own freedoms, shall not be infringed or deprived by neither the government or the courts at any time whatsoever. The replacement of the Militia by a professional army that defends the nation and the land does not eliminate the right of free citizens to the access and ownership of all firearms to defend both themselves, and their families and properties, even more so the right to defend the nation from oppressive political ambitions, free men live where private ownership of firearms remains, just look at the world and see the facts, the only member of the bar association of value to society are the dead ones.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Mal
Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:28 AM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
John Stossel
Jul. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 4 Aug 2014
Lawrence Kudlow
Lawrence KudlowUpdated 2 Aug 2014
Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 2 Aug 2014

17 Sep 2008 Barack Obama and White Privilege

7 Mar 2012 Vulture Capitalism

20 Feb 2008 Presidents Can't Manage the Economy