Author Topic: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.  (Read 5511 times)

Offline The Professor

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A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« on: February 24, 2018, 07:41:47 PM »
One of my greatest frustrations centers on gun-owners who identify themselves solely as "hunters" or "plinkers." 

We often hear from them when someone suggests an Assault Weapon Ban.  Typically, they'll be the ones claiming unwavering support for the 2nd Amendment yet distancing themselves from "Assault Weapons" by saying we don't need such a thing.  All the usual arguments such as the Camel's Nose, "It's a Right, not a Need issue" or "When they came for mine, no one else was left" fall on willfully deaf ears.

Last night I was in such a discussion with one of these hunters when I had an epiphany.  Now, I have to admit that I may be wrong, it's possible that I may have heard this argument somewhere else and just have forgotten about it, but:

When the argument was thrown back at me about the Founding Fathers not foreseeing "Assault Weapons," I had an idea.  We know through the Federalist Papers that the original intent of the 2nd Amendment was that the citizens of America have a viable means to protect themselves from a tyrannical government.  They had just fought a war against, arguably, the most powerful country in the world and won. 

In Federalist #46, James Madison specifically addressed why citizens should be armed:

". . .To these [a National Standing Army] would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. . ."

Military-style and military-grade weapons would be specifically needed by such a militia.  The word "militia" has a specific military connotation.

Therefore, good friends. . .I posit to you that the Second Amendment does NOT protect firearms that do not specifically have a military application. 

When I threw this opinion out to the hunter-in-question, it stopped him in his tracks.  Suddenly, he was on the defensive, he tried the argument that "arms" meant "all firearms," including his. . .but found himself in a mire because he then had to admit that his Duck gun and .22's might be more like the now-(possibly)-protected military-style firearms.

I will admit that I actually enjoyed this turning of the tables on him.  Yes, I know we can cite many court cases to the contrary, but I found the concept of arguing that ONLY military weapons were protected by the second amendment rather exhilarating.

Has anyone else heard a similar argument?

The Professor

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2018, 09:02:05 PM »
Yes, i have seen it before.  It is an interesting mental exercise.  The whole "sporting arms" idea is a very new idea.

Most academics say that in a pure reading using contemperous definitions it can be said that military arms are esoecially (but not exclusively) protected.  They would agree with your arguement regarding the militias being a balancing force to standing armies.  That intent is crystal clear in writings of Madison and others.  But they would disagree with "only" military arms being covered.  They see that the second amendment is to protect "well relegated" militias.  This means groups of individuals from the general population being trained in use arms. So any arms which helped in that would be covered; eg  a 22 LR used for training would be covered. 

Also, the second amendment is the only place in constitution where a branch is not named in relationship to regulating.  This is because it was seen as a reserved right of the people to decide that for themselves.  So technically the executive, legislature, and court have no authority when it comes to arms (hence shall not be infringed). 

It also seems odd to limit the militias to the arms of a (supposed to be temporary) standing army when they are tasked with being a check on them. Given that the standard military arm may be seen as the minimum that the second amendment covers.

Offline David in MN

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2018, 07:02:01 AM »
While I'm not a fan of the Constitution (I haven't signed it and have no idea why it magically compels me) the phrasing and vagaries are impressive. The writers of said document might be saddened to know that we no longer have the same definition of "regulated" and that we have tightened the definition of "arms". Had they meant so they could easily have written rifles, materiel, combat weapons, or any other term. Instead they wrote "arms" which is basically anything you can arm yourself with. And they seemed to not have a problem issuing letters of mark to privateers (who armed themselves with pirate ships).

The failure to respect the 2nd is in ignoring how broad it is. Banning switchblades violates the 2nd. It protects your right to buckle a saber to your hip or drag a cannon through the streets if that's how you choose to "arm" yourself. The way I read the 2nd it protects your right to get groceries with a tank or shop wearing a suicide vest.

It's sad that the debate is over how a rifle works when my reading of the Constitution makes it perfectly clear that I (the people) have the right to walk around festooned with hand grenades and a bazooka with a flamethrower on my back.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2018, 07:05:30 AM »
While I'm not a fan of the Constitution (I haven't signed it and have no idea why it magically compels me) the phrasing and vagaries are impressive. The writers of said document might be saddened to know that we no longer have the same definition of "regulated" and that we have tightened the definition of "arms". Had they meant so they could easily have written rifles, materiel, combat weapons, or any other term. Instead they wrote "arms" which is basically anything you can arm yourself with. And they seemed to not have a problem issuing letters of mark to privateers (who armed themselves with pirate ships).

The failure to respect the 2nd is in ignoring how broad it is. Banning switchblades violates the 2nd. It protects your right to buckle a saber to your hip or drag a cannon through the streets if that's how you choose to "arm" yourself. The way I read the 2nd it protects your right to get groceries with a tank or shop wearing a suicide vest.

It's sad that the debate is over how a rifle works when my reading of the Constitution makes it perfectly clear that I (the people) have the right to walk around festooned with hand grenades and a bazooka with a flamethrower on my back.


THIS.  I remember reading somewhere that at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, most of the American cannons were privately owned.  So, yes, it means weapons made for war

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2018, 08:10:29 AM »
THIS.  I remember reading somewhere that at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, most of the American cannons were privately owned.  So, yes, it means weapons made for war

Yep. 

We shouldnt forget article I section 8 where the standing armies, unlike the permanent navy, were raised and only funded for two year stretches. They expected the militias to deal with internal insurrections as well.  The use of a standing army on matters concerning American citizens was not acceptible.

Trench Coxe was a representative in the continental congress.  He kept his people informed of the meaning of the cnstitution going through ratification.

"The militia, who are in fact the effective part of the people at large, will render many troops quite unnecessary. They will form a powerful check upon the regular troops, and will generally be sufficient to over-awe them." — An American Citizen, Oct. 21, 1787

"Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American . . . . The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." — The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788

"As the military forces which must occasionally be raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article (of amendment) in their right to keep and bear their private arms." — Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789

« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 08:16:27 AM by iam4liberty »

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2018, 09:05:57 AM »
As others have expressed, the 2A especially protects military suitable arms, but is not restricted to them.  The government's argument in US v. Miller was that the sawed off shotgun was not protected by the 2A because it was not particularly suited to militia service.

However, simply because a weapon may not be optimized for militia service does not mean it cannot be used to preserve liberty. I think this is why the founders used "arms" which not only includes state of the art weapons, but old ones as well.  It protects those things used to defend liberty, whatever they happen to be.

I do not think the 2A is intended to protect firearms ownership for the purpose of self-defense against criminals. However, all firearms capable of being used to protect yourself against criminal attack can be used to defend liberty in someway or another.

Offline Canadian Prepper

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2018, 09:50:02 AM »
I think that to some extent the Second Amendment was an attempt to preserve the right to bear arms found within the English Bill of Rights that was being challenged by Crown forces in their attempts to disarm the colonists at the time of your Revolutionary War. So to some extent it was related to preserving Common Law rights to self defence.

While the right to hunt was not the thrust of the Second Amendment, the ability of colonist to do so was a major expansion of what was permitted of most peasants in Europe at the time and probably would have been recognized as a significant thing.

At the end of the day though, I think it hinges upon the notions already alluded to above about an armed citizenry as a bulwark against tyranny. The latter might be mocked or dismissed by many as a pipe dream, but when examining the evolution of armed conflict since WW2, it's not so far fetched once one abandons images of armed citizens trying to mimic the tactics of larger conventional forces and engaging them on the latter's terms. Fourth or Fifth Generation warfare provides immense challenges towards large, technologically savvy militaries operating within a Westphalian construct of state power and military conventions.

Perhaps others could provide more insight, but I get the impression that when the nation wasn't so politically polarized several decades ago that the Second Amendment was seen in a far more moderate vein. Given the expectation that the nation might on occasion face large scale mobilization and expansion of its military, the encouragement of hunting and marksmanship seemed to be about creating a mass of effective riflemen who'd contribute to the war effort, despite the lack of time to train most new recruits up to a high standard. The notion of having to rise up against state tyranny was seen as highly unlikely, though paying homage to the idea preserved the notions behind which the nation was founded.

Offline David in MN

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2018, 10:40:44 AM »
I love the notion that the guys who wrote the 2nd would never imagine what weapons would be like. Really? They came of age when the Brits used buck and ball out of a Brown Bess. They owned Blunderbusses. They'd have been well informed of cavalry charges and ranks of grenadiers. They owned cannons. Yet they called out nothing in writing the 2nd. No mention of rifles being OK but grenades being right out. No mention of sabers or shooting chains out of cannons (which they did).

I'd imagine an 18th century bayonet charge was a pretty brutal thing. But they couln't find their way to write down a restriction on those. The 2nd is one of the most amazing laws ever written. If you can find, buy, or make any weapon it's yours no questions asked. At least that's how it was written...

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2018, 11:14:48 AM »
If you can find, buy, or make any weapon it's yours no questions asked. At least that's how it was written...

Great point.  JFK often talked about the second amendment as an economic right as well.  In his mind we are to have a civillian not government based economy and have freedom to choose the products we feel is best suited to meet our individual needs.



Canadian Prepper is right that in past people of all political stripes were in line with this thinking.  The attacks on 2A are in some degree part of a larger trend of restricting the choices people make, in this case regarding security but broadly all facets of life from healthcare to food to education to even sources of news. 

One big change from English bill of rights was the elimination of the religion clause.  Under the English Bill of rights only protestants had the right to arms. The English Bill of Rights also included provisions regarding standing armies.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2018, 02:22:07 PM »
A Washington State Supreme Court decision from 2 years ago is relevant here.  It was about knives, but the principles are the same.

My blog post: Seattle can prohibit carrying a kitchen knife, but swords might be OK

Basically, the court ruled that kitchen knives are too little to be protected by the 2nd Amendment.

Offline David in MN

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2018, 03:03:46 PM »
A Washington State Supreme Court decision from 2 years ago is relevant here.  It was about knives, but the principles are the same.

My blog post: Seattle can prohibit carrying a kitchen knife, but swords might be OK

Basically, the court ruled that kitchen knives are too little to be protected by the 2nd Amendment.

Yep, you see a lot of crazy contorting to make the laws stick. If you read the Constitution (don't it doesn't stop anyone and the Supremes think buying insurance is a tax) you'd find that "arms" are relegated to the people. Oddly the document provides no mention of the legality of the government possessing weapons of any kind and doesn't even bother to define arms as it would have to be defined by the people who have the right.

Had the framers replaced "regulated" with "provisioned" (as it meant back then) we'd be in a radically different world. And when you see goofy political machinations to redefine or set up restrictions based on loose definitions you get this mess. How is a kitchen knife not an arm when Confederate volunteers were known to show up with a rifle and a Bowie knife? If I pick up an 8" chef knife and run at a cop, would he/she consider me "armed"? We live in a strange combination of backward laws where I can be considered "armed and dangerous" merely because of my size and ability to box, a 4" switchblade is a criminal thing to possess, and my 9" chef knife isn't an "arm". But shape that kitchen knife like a Ka Bar and all the sudden...

This is why the first principle was right. Arms are the property of the people and the government has no say in it. If I choose to arm myself by swinging a log tied to a rope that's my right.

Offline machinisttx

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2018, 04:48:03 PM »
As others have expressed, the 2A especially protects military suitable arms, but is not restricted to them.  The government's argument in US v. Miller was that the sawed off shotgun was not protected by the 2A because it was not particularly suited to militia service.



Except that sawn off rifles and shotguns were used to great effect by certain Confederate cavalry units in raids against union encampments. Don't ask for specifics because I don't remember them. IIRC, neither Miller nor his attorney showed up to that court session and thus only the government's side of the arguments was heard.

Newspapers of the mid to late 1700's often carried advertisements for cannons and other so called military weapons. I believe Boston's newspapers were frequently found with such ads. From the Militia Acts of 1792

Quote
  That every citizen so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket, or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or, with a good rifle, knapsack, shot pouch and powder horn, twenty balls, suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder

Seems pretty plain to me that they intended for everyone to be armed suitably for military service at a moment's notice.


Offline Alan Georges

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2018, 07:49:26 PM »
As others have expressed, the 2A especially protects military suitable arms, but is not restricted to them.  The government's argument in US v. Miller was that the sawed off shotgun was not protected by the 2A because it was not particularly suited to militia service.
It is interesting to note that the mainstream press and various other anti-gunners commonly cite this to say that the 2A is only there to protect the States' right to have National Guard units.  A more straightforward reading of the Miller ruling is that the 2A is there to protect our individual right to military arms, though the "only National Guard" interpretation is just barely possible due to a slight ambiguity in the ruling's language.  Leave it to these liberty-bashing weasels to twist words around like this.

BTW, for everyone here who hasn't read this ruling, here are the key documents surrounding this case: http://rkba.org/research/miller/Miller.html  The SCOTUS ruling is about 3/4 way down, in tiny print.  Mercifully it is fairly short.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2018, 08:50:37 AM »
It is interesting to note that the mainstream press and various other anti-gunners commonly cite this to say that the 2A is only there to protect the States' right to have National Guard units.  A more straightforward reading of the Miller ruling is that the 2A is there to protect our individual right to military arms, though the "only National Guard" interpretation is just barely possible due to a slight ambiguity in the ruling's language.  Leave it to these liberty-bashing weasels to twist words around like this.

BTW, for everyone here who hasn't read this ruling, here are the key documents surrounding this case: http://rkba.org/research/miller/Miller.html  The SCOTUS ruling is about 3/4 way down, in tiny print.  Mercifully it is fairly short.

The funny thing about such people, more than a few times I've had them come and ask me about getting a gun for protection.  Usually this is an impulsive response to news of a local violent crime.
When they learn about the requirements for a first time buyer without concealed carry permits they are frustrated. "Can I borrow one from you?"  "No. Remember that ballot initiative 3 years back you voted for that banned private sales in our state?"  "Oh yeah.  But that was to stop criminals..."

Then I gently suggest some basic safety and marksmanship training is needed, they again get frustrated.

A right not exercised is a right lost.




Offline Alan Georges

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2018, 05:45:43 PM »
When they learn about the requirements for a first time buyer without concealed carry permits they are frustrated. "Can I borrow one from you?"  "No. Remember that ballot initiative 3 years back you voted for that banned private sales in our state?"  "Oh yeah.  But that was to stop criminals..."

Tam "Weapons Grade Snark" Keel had something similar over at her blog recently:
Quote
  • Media: "Oh my God, Literally Cheetoh Hitler is in the White House and there's a rising tide of fascism in the land."
  • Also Media: "The police are out of control and militarized and corrupt and shoot people for no reason."
  • Also Also Media: "The government at every level...federal, state, county, and city...screwed up, sometimes multiple times, with multiple early warnings of this Florida school shooting."
  • Also Also Also Media: "Turn in your guns and trust the government to keep you safe. Call the police."
link to original  Well, it made me smile a little.

I am so tired of this whole gun debate.  I will write my congressthings, I will speak out when I think it can do some good, and I will hurl yet more money at gun rights organizations.  But trying to have a conversation with a true gun banner is akin to talking to a flat earther.  It's just endless wheels-within-wheels nonsense arguments, to which logic and facts never connect.  Meanwhile, the underlying causes of the latest tragedy of the day go unaddressed, our rights are further trampled, and (bringing it back around to The Professor's point) the underlying rationale for the 2A is buried even deeper under another generation of drivel by wannabe dictators and their press lackeys.

Offline The Professor

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2018, 08:35:36 PM »

I am so tired of this whole gun debate.  I will write my congressthings, I will speak out when I think it can do some good, and I will hurl yet more money at gun rights organizations.  But trying to have a conversation with a true gun banner is akin to talking to a flat earther.  It's just endless wheels-within-wheels nonsense arguments, to which logic and facts never connect.  Meanwhile, the underlying causes of the latest tragedy of the day go unaddressed, our rights are further trampled, and (bringing it back around to The Professor's point) the underlying rationale for the 2A is buried even deeper under another generation of drivel by wannabe dictators and their press lackeys.

Sadly, I am becoming more and more exhausted of the same thing: talking to walls.  And it's not just the "true gun banner" that I talk to. 

I believe, in my heart, that is the ultimate goal.  They will keep pounding on us.  They are emotion-driven.  It refuels them each and every time they want it to.  My position never changes.  It is immutable.

A sane person cannot do the same thing over and over again, each time expecting a different result.  Eventually, we are driven to walk away understanding that those to whom we talk will  not change their minds.  Too many people I know are getting tired of the whole thing.  I know many people who have chosen to simply not even watch the news. . .any news. . .anymore.  Usually, this is a good thing, but I'm afraid they're separating themselves from the issues of the day.

I have heard at least four or five of my acquaintances simply say  "I give up" when talking about the gun issue.  These were once stalwart defenders who remain pro-2A people, but they just feel they can't win.  How do you argue logic to someone who hasn't learned to think logically, but with emotion?

I find myself somewhat envious of them.  I'll be honest, I wish it would all just go away.  I am "turned off" by asinine, baseless arguments and people who won't listen to reason or who willfully choose ignorance.  Almost every book written on habits of successful people  include two things: building positive relationships and avoiding wastes of time.  These discussions violates both of them.

Ah well, I'll keep plugging on.

The Professor


Offline Alan Georges

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2018, 09:51:04 PM »
Ah well, I'll keep plugging on.

Thanks.  And so will I, in the effective ways.  Well, at least I'll try to.

But I won't waste a minute arguing with people who have built their own mental walls and who expect me to live within them too.  Not anymore.  I just don't have the energy these days.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2018, 04:00:59 AM »
While the 2A definitely protects the "keep and bear' military grade arms, I think the sporting and self defense arms were assumed.  One of the objections to the writing of the Bill of Rights is that some thought it would lead to limiting rights to only those enumerated.  They thought it was self evident a man should be able to speak freely, own weapons of his choice, practice his religion of choice or not, etc.  So I believe the spirit of the founders was that the 2A only describes the penultimate case of weapon ownership and use, and all other types of weapons were naturally expected to be covered.  In this regard Miller vs US was wrong, because it restricts ownership of certain arms or features because they were falsely claimed not suited for war.  It is absurd to say you have a protected right to own an AR15, but not an select fire M4, or a short barreled shotgun or bolt action rifle.  The USSC has made a mess of the 2A interpretation.  Shall not be infringed is plain spoken English now as it was then.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2018, 09:48:21 AM »
I wish the opponents could say something original.  At least that would provide some mental stimulation, and force a moment of thought.

Who has not heard a dialogue almost identical to this:

Quote
anti-gunner: No one needs a high capacity/high velocity/military style weapon that's only purpose is to kill lots of people quickly.
pro-gunner: No one needs an exotic sports car with top speed > 200mph, but they are available.
ag: Sports cars aren't designed to kill.

Also, have you all noticed how the media terminology has been tuned up?
"Assault style weapon".

I mean, if an M4 is an "assault weapon", it's hard to argue an AR-15 is not of a similar styling.

It is quite tedious.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: A Somewhat Interesting Twist on the Second Amendment.
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2018, 05:11:05 PM »
It comes down to whether a person has any concept of defending themselves or their "plan" is to be dependent on the authorities to clean up afterward.  My liberal family members do not own guns, can't imagine why anyone would want a gun other than to maybe hunt deer.  They cringe at the idea of having a gun to defend their own families!  If a person is aghast at defending themselves, then they have zero concept of defending against tyranny.  It is a sad indictment of our modern culture we have such lack of a sense of survival and self defense.  I once was like that in my carefree youth, but after having kids I decided I would use any means possible to defend them.  Everything else naturally flowed from that decision.