2nd Amendment

Discussion in 'Politics' started by flaja, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. flaja
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    flaja Member

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    What purpose does the 2nd Amendment have?

    Is it to ensure that enough of the population is armed enough to be able to fight off any invasion? If so the amendment is hardly necessary since such preparedness has been taken for granted in Anglo-American society since at least the time of Alfred the Great.

    Is it to ensure that the population can fight off a domestic government tyranny? If so, how can the amendment be worthwhile if the population can not access the same weaponry the government can (cannon, tanks, jet planes, nuclear bombs etc.)?
     
  2. theHawk
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    theHawk Registered Conservative

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    The right of people to keep and bear arms is to allow privite citizens to own and carry arms in order to protect themselves and their families from other citizens that would do harm to them. I don't think that would extend to right of owning a tank or nuclear weapon. However the clause A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State does allow for states to have a militia that would include tanks and other 'military' weapons in order to defend its population. It would be left up to interpretation if a nuclear weapon is 'necessary to the security of a free state'.

    So one clause covers the right a privite citizens to protect themselves.
    The other is to allow State governments the right to arm and protect itself from other states/ foreign governments that would threaten their security.
     
  3. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    The Revolutionary War was fought by militias with privately owned firearms, which is why it was put in there. Personally, I think the restrictions on fully automatic and 'military grade' weapons are unconstitutional, and that the government should keep the weapons they use from being sold through contracts (e.g. you can only make these for us if you don't sell them to anyone else) rather than through legal fiat. The citizens of this country should be allowed to be armed to take down the U.S. government if and when it becomes necessary, as that is the original point of the ammendment.
     
  4. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    Those in the military are also citizens. Imagine being in the military ordered to fire upon Americans. Do you think every single military personnel would just up and obey without regard to moral reality?

    But even if they did, if you look at the way the Ethiopians handled the Italians who had access to modern weaponry you will find that a less armed force can, and have, fought of a better armed military. Also, the citizenry are not trapped in their homes, guerrilla warefare is very effective and could still be used by our citizenry.

    The idea that just because they are better armed that the arms they do have would be ineffective is pretense to buttress a bad argument. Clearly there is historical precedence where the military can be ineffective against an armed citizenry...
     
  5. glockmail
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    glockmail BANNED

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    There are many reasons for the Amendment, and the why is not important.

    You are correct in one way, though, that the Amendment is not necessary. As American Citizens we have all the natural rights granted by God. The "Bill of Rights" simply reiterates specifics. The Constitution decribes the limitations that the People put on the government.
     
  6. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    The why's aren't really relevant. It exists until such time as it's Amended or repealed.... not that I foresee that ever happening.
     
  7. jillian
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    No right exists, except in theory, unless there's a mechanism for it's enforcement...
     
  8. flaja
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    flaja Member

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    This is the interpretation I have always had. I never heard that the right to bear arms is a right to fight off the federal government until the right-wing and libertarian nut cases got so worked up when Clinton took the White House.

    Liberals use this interpretation to claim that individuals have no right to be armed in their capacity as private citizens.

    The right-wingers and libertarians use this interpretation to say the states have a right to defy federal authority.

    I don’t what ever became of it, but law enforcement officials in at least 1 locale that I heard of wanted to say every able-bodied man is part of the militia and had to own a gun and report for periodic militia training.

    This depends entirely on whom the weapon is aimed at. Just ask Komrad Garbage-off.
     
  9. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    The Federalist Papers

    Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist, No. 29, did not view the right to keep arms as being confined to active militia members:

    What plan for the regulation of the militia may be pursued by the national government is impossible to be foreseen...The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious if it were capable of being carried into execution... Little more can reasonably be aimed at with the respect to the people at large than to have them properly armed and equipped ; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.

    James Madison in Federalist No. 46 wrote:

    Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments,to which the people are attached, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.

    Here, like Story, Madison is expressing the idea that additional advantages accrue to the people when the citizens' right to arms is enhanced by having an organized and properly directed militia.

    The Federalist Papers Continued – "The Original Right of Self-Defense"

    The Founders realized insurrections may occur from time to time and it is the militia's duty to suppress them. They also realized that however remote the possibility of usurpation was, the people with their arms, had the right to restore their republican form of government by force, if necessary, as an extreme last resort.

    "The original right of self-defense" is not a modern-day concoction. We now examine Hamilton's Federalist No. 28. Hamilton begins:

    That there may happen cases in which the national government may be necessitated to resort to force cannot be denied. Our own experience has corroborated the lessons taught by the examples of other nations; that emergencies of this sort will sometimes exist in all societies, however constituted; that seditions and insurrections are, unhappily, maladies as inseparable from the body politic as tumors and eruptions from the natural body; that the idea of governing at all times by the simple force of law (which we have been told is the only admissible principle of republican government) has no place but in the reveries of these political doctors whose sagacity disdains the admonitions of experimental instruction.

    Hamilton explains that the national government may occasionally need to quell insurrections and it is certainly justified in doing so.

    Hamilton continues:

    If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual State. In a single State, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.

    Hamilton clearly states there exists a right of self-defense against a tyrannical government, and it includes the people with their own arms and adds:

    [T]he people, without exaggeration, may be said to be entirely the masters of their own fate. Power being almost always the rival of power, the general government will at all times stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments, and these will have the same disposition towards the general government. The people by throwing themselves into either scale, will infallibly make it preponderate. If their rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress. How wise will it be in them by cherishing the union to preserve to themselves an advantage which can never be too highly prized!

    Thus the militia is the ultimate check against a state or the national government. That is why the founders guaranteed the right to the people as opposed to only active militia members or a state's militia. But of course, via the militia clause, the Second Amendment acknowledges, as well, the right of a state to maintain a militia. (For more on militia see: http://guncite.com/gc2ndmea.html.)

    Hamilton concludes, telling us the above scenario is extremely unlikely to occur:

    When will the time arrive that the federal government can raise and maintain an army capable of erecting a despotism over the great body of the people of an immense empire, who are in a situation, through the medium of their State governments, to take measures for their own defense, with all the celerity, regularity, and system of independent nations? The apprehension may be considered as a disease, for which there can be found no cure in the resources of argument and reasoning.

    Again, it is the recurring theme of the people's right to keep and bear arms as individuals, enhanced by a militia system, that (in part) provides for the "security of a free state."

    just because...
     
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  10. flaja
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    flaja Member

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    What about all of the guns that France gave the U.S. government for use by U.S. troops?

    If you are a civilian and not a criminal, what possible use could automatic and military assault weapons serve?

    And just how long have you been a fugitive from justice?
     

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