Second amendment "under the gun" again

@xfahctor (14111)
Lancaster, New Hampshire
September 30, 2009 12:39pm CST
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=abn4vsFQjvu8 It seems the supreme court is taking up the issue today whether or not the second amendment applies to people or the states. I am not going to post the text of the article itself, you all can read it yourselves. I was more posting this to clarify things and in fact at a later date this may come up in another "constitution 101" thread. SO what did the founders intend with the second amendment? rather than give my thoughts, why don't we just go and ask the founders ourselves? Mr. Jefferson? what was the purpose of the second amenment and who was it directed for? Laws that forbid the carrying of arms..disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one." - Thomas Jefferson quoting Cesare Beccaria, Criminologist in 1764 The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms Ah I see, thank you sir.....now... Mr Adams, same question to you sir... [i] "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." "That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of The United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms..." Mr. Washington, what say you on this matter sir? [i] "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence ... From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that is good" [/i] ANd you sir, Mr. Hamilton? [i] "but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights..." "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." [/i] I see, thank you. What about you Mr. Mason? [i] "I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials." And you Mr Payne? [i] "arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. . . Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them." Mr, Gerry? "What, sir, is the use of militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. . . Whenever Government means to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise a standing army upon its ruins." And finaly, the plainest and simplest and most blatent meaning of this amendment comes from Patrick Henry.... [i] "The great object is, that every man be armed." SO what have the courts of the past had to say? [i] "To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege." [Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, at 560, 34 Am. Rep. 52, at 54 (1878)] "To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege." [Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, at 560, 34 Am. Rep. 52, at 54 (1878)] And one of the most blatent from a court.... The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the "high powers" delegated directly to the citizen, and 'is excepted out of the general powers of government.' A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power." [Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402 (1859)]
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4 responses
• United States
30 Sep 09
X, I agree with the second amendment to a point. During this time they did not have the kind of weapons we have today, nor do they have the power that they had back then. In those days, the military, and the people had very simular fire power, or even the average citizen may have better. Today, we have the strongest, more advanced army in the worlds, and they would over power any country in the world including their own. Even if you were to allow the people to carry automatic weapons, the military has better ones then you could buy. I do believe that we should ban automatic weapons, and I don't think that there is any real excuse to have one. If you need an M-16 to kill a deer then you are much more dangerous to the world than any terrorist. But, that is me, and I am sure that I will get blasted for saying this, but I don't care.
@miamilady (4924)
• United States
30 Sep 09
Where did this article come from? I'm going to have to go check out your "profile". Haven't done that in a while...I've always wanted the "Sparknotes" on the constitution. Was it you that posted a link for me once where I could read up on the constitution. If it was, sorry I didn't follow through. I do have it on my "to do" list, I promise! Regardless of my lack of knowledge of the constitution in detail, I am convinced that no matter how well I might come to know it, I will always believe that it will probably always be interpreted differently by the different people who read it. Kind of like The Bible.
@xfahctor (14111)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
30 Sep 09
the quotes and court citings aren't from the article. I just went out and gathered them. The constitution is not really hard to understand or interpret, people make way too much of it and there is a misconception one must be a lawyer to understand it. The truth is it was written at an 8th grade level and all one has to do to understand it, if the language in it alone isn't thought clear enough, is read the other writings of our founders, such as the federalist papers and other works and quotes. It's all pretty plain what they intended with most of it. Politicians today make it to be some big complex legal document requireing a law degree to understand, but they do this to keep us regular folks from seeing how far from that document they have strayed.
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@miamilady (4924)
• United States
30 Sep 09
I hate to make myself sound stupid. Especially in front of all the political argument enthusiasts around here, but...oh well. I'll be honest whenever I try to read something from the constitution, I have to read it three and four times and I still come away from it sometimes thinking "huh?" It's all those dang little semi-colons! The things is...although I'm no genius, I do think I'm relatively intelligent, and I'm thinking if I have trouble interpreting (or understanding) some of this stuff I know there's a LOT of other people out there having trouble with it. AND as I said in a few other posts, I'm STILL convinced that different things in the constitution can (AND OFTEN ARE) interpreted differently. After all, if interpretation wasn't an issue in this country, we all would be having a lot less arguments and debates over most issues, wouldn't we?
@xfahctor (14111)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
30 Sep 09
Interpretation is what has destroyed the constitution. When in doubt, take it at it's litteral word. If a law even violates what seems like the SPIRIT of the constitution, it should not be passed.
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@spalladino (17927)
• United States
1 Oct 09
Thank you, xfahctor...you can always be counted on to inform. I don't like this attempt at an end run around the second amendment one bit. Our founding fathers were very clear...and it doesn't matter what kind of firepower they were thinking of at the time...we, as individuals, have the right to arm outselves and that right should not and can not be infringed upon.
@xfahctor (14111)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
1 Oct 09
And thank you for responding, you are one of the more avcid defenders of the 2nd amendment on this board. I expect much more in the way of end runs against this. Sveral states now act on laws they wrote that do not recognize federal control of intra-state fire arms, this is going to lead to s alot of court battles and I am going to be bold right now and state possibly even battles/stand offs between federal law enforcement and the various county and state law enforcement agencies. I think you may even see state and county officials aressting federal law enforcement agents for trying to enfore what they see as ilegitimate federal law. I'm getting pretty comfortable with my predictions nowadays so, we may be revisiting this post months down the road, I feel pretty sure there will be a story soon about just this type of thing happening.
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• United States
30 Sep 09
I so agree with you, X, and Parated. The 'interpretists' use that as an end run around the Constitution itself. If they want to amend the Constitution, the Constitution has allowances for that. But, if they were going to do something nefarious, or against the will of the people than simply interpreting black as white or wrong as right is easier. It only takes a couple of appointed judges. Who would appoint the judges? The ones conducting the end run. Why isn't Jefferson's words on arms being held up as gospel like his 'separation of church and state'?
@xfahctor (14111)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
30 Sep 09
Exactly, it's a work-around. thats why I run scared when I hear someone claim to be a constitutional lawyer, it is a direct contradiction in terms and the two are mutualy exclusive.
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