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Re: “Interest and energy

There is no 2nd amendment right to own a gun and there never wasTuesday, September 20, 2011 9:55 PMFrom: "Glen Walters" Add sender to ContactsTo: gewalters10@yahoo.comSUBJECT: WHAT DID JEFFERSON SAY ABOUT THE 2ND AMENDMENT WHICH HE WROTE?
Subject: THE NRA IS WRONG ON THE 2ND AMENDMENT-THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS
Subject: WILL SOMEONE CHALLENGE THE NRA ON THE PROPER INTERPERTATION OF THE 2ND AMENDMENT. MAYBE ANDERSON COOPER.
Subject: why does hardball(chris matthews) support the NRA's version of the 2nd amendment. as well as others at msnbc.Ed Shultz does have some promise of not taking the NRA line.
(Subject: Fw: there is no 2nd amendment right to own a gun and there never was. Does the NRA own MSNBC to.)
The 2nd amendment only has 27 words and is but one sentence. For the most part, a sentence has but one meaning which I believe to be the case with the 2nd amendment and it is clear what the subject matter is.
We didn't have a standing army during this period and the members of the state militia were permitted to have their rifles at home to be ready. The state were authorized under the 2nd amendment to maintain a well authorized militia. Today we call it the National Guard and the 1934 firearms act regulates fire arms and I believe the 10th and 14th in some respect gives one the right to protect their property. Its time we took the streets back from the NRA which hides behind the 2nd to promote unlimited gun use(violence). Interpret the 2nd as a military document as it is and let the NRA defend guns through the 1934 firearms actor other parts of the constitution, not the 2nd.
(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)
Saul Cornell, believes this record of historical interpretation is false: "The original understanding of the Second Amendment was neither an individual right of self-defense nor a collective right of the states, but rather a civic right that guaranteed that citizens would be able to keep and bear those arms needed to meet their legal obligation to participate in a well-regulated militia."[33][106] David Thomas Konig ascribes to a similar viewpoint, writing: "No individual right existed unrelated to service in a well-regulated militia; no effective militia could serve its purpose without an armed citizenry." He also stated that the collective and individual right interpretations are really "products of present-day normative agendas that have polarized the debate into two competing and largely historical models."[107] Although the term civic right does not appear in Heller, Justice Stevens, in his dissent, agreed with the interpretation advanced by Uviller, Konig, and Cornell. Stevens opined that the Second Amendment protects a right that may be enforced by individuals. In contrast to the majority opinion, that individual right was defined by the Amendment preamble as the preservation of a militia. Stevens found that Aymette v. State, a case decided by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1840, confirmed his view.
Garry Wills also cites Greek and Latin etymology:
... "Bear Arms" refers to military service, which is why the plural is used (based on Greek 'hopla pherein' and Latin 'arma ferre') – one does not bear arm, or bear an arm. The word means, etymologically, 'equipment' (from the root ar-* in verbs like 'ararisko', to fit out). It refers to the 'equipage' of war. Thus 'bear arms' can be used of naval as well as artillery warfare, since the "profession of arms" refers to all military callings.[120]
Subject:: there is no 2nd amendment right to own a gun and there never was. Does the NRA own MSNBC to.
IT REALLY BOTHERS ME WHEN I SEE MORE PROGRESSIVE HOST LIKE RACHEL, MATTHEWS, OBERMANN AND O'DONNELL EVERYTIME THE GUN CONTROL ISSUE COMES UP THEY AGREE WITH THE WEALTHY NRA THAT THE 2ND AMENDMENT PROTECTS GUN OWNERSHIP. NEVER ANY DEBATE, NO QUESTIONS, JUST GO ALONG WITH THE NRA POSITION. THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS. HAVE MARC RUBIN ON YOUR SHOW. HE CRAFTED THE PHRASE AND HAS WRITTEN EXTENSIVELY ABOUT THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND GUN CONTROL. THE 2ND AMENDMENT ONLY DEALS WITH THE NATIONAL GUARDS OF THE UNITED STATES. THE 1934 FIREARMS AND MAYBE THE 10TH AMEND TO SOME EXTENT DEALS WITH GUN CONTROL.[the protection clause] UNTIL WE SEPARATE THE TWO, THE NRA WILL CONTINUE TO ABUSE THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND PEOPLE ARE TO BUSY TO FIGURE IT OUT ON THEIR OWN , THE JUST LET THE LOBBYIST DO IT FOR THEM. I THOUGHT MAYBE MSNBC MIGHT BE DIFFERENT. IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT, JUST GOGGLE IN[ WHAT DID JEFFERSON SAY ABOUT THE 2ND AMENDMENT] Subject: LETTER I SENT REP MCCARTHY AND REP KING ON GUN CONTROL
I SUPPORT YOUR EFFORTS IN BETTER GUN CONTROL. I HAVE WRITTEN 100'S OF LETTERS TRYING TO POINT OUT THAT THE 2ND AMENDMENT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GUN OWNERSHIP OR CONTROL. IT'S A MILITARY DOCUMENT SUPPORTING THE NATIONAL GUARDS OF PAST AND PRESENT. THERE ARE SOME PROTECTIONS I BELIEVE IN THE 6TH AND 10 AS WELL AS THE 1934 FIREARM ACT
Subject: THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS

THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND GUN CONTROL / OWNERSHIP

THERE IS NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN AND THERE NEVER WAS. The supreme court republicans were simply wrong. you know any vote in the court or congress that is partisan is just wrong. it was simply political thought not intelligent or informed thought

Subject: Fw: THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND GUN CONTROL / OWNERSHIP
ATTN SOLICITOR GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES [INFO THAT MIGHT BE HELPFUL IN THE FUTURE]
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
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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. "
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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 ABOUT THE 2ND AMENDMENT THAT HE WROTE. 1801-1808
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Taking On Gun Control

"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

[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—– 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
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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 NATIONAL 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 1934 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
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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…


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Posted by glen10 on 11/16/2011 at 5:28 PM

 

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