Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
United States Government The Courts Your Rights Online News

Second Amendment Questioned 1471

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the lock-and-load dept.
dheera writes "Attorneys in Washington, DC question the scope of the Second Amendment in the first case in nearly 70 years, citing that the right to bear arms only applies to 'a well regulated militia.' 'We interpret the Second Amendment in military terms,' said Todd Kim, the District's solicitor general."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Second Amendment Questioned

Comments Filter:
  • US DOJ says (Score:5, Informative)

    by RevDobbs (313888) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:38PM (#17175066) Homepage
    The United States Department of Justice says that the 2nd amendment is an individual right [usdoj.gov].
  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:40PM (#17175098)
    Federalist 29 [yale.edu]

    "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." - Alexander Hamilton

    Federalist 46 [yale.edu]

    "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."-James Madison
  • by cprael (215426) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:41PM (#17175102)
    Even accepting their argument that the 2nd amendment applies only to militias, federal law is pretty black-letter on the matter: the unorganized militia is clearly defined in federal law, and includes pretty much the entire populace.

    That being said, the 2nd amendment is the _only_ place in the Bill of Rights where "the people" are defined as a collective body, rather than individuals. And even then, only in the 9th Circuit's realm.
  • The Second Amendment (Score:2, Informative)

    by OmgTEHMATRICKS (836103) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:42PM (#17175114) Journal
    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.

  • Personal safety (Score:5, Informative)

    by MSG (12810) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:50PM (#17175222)
    That is bullshit, and I'll tell you why. The courts have established that "Police Have No Duty To Protect Individuals" [firearmsandliberty.com].

    Just reading about the case history behind this makes me spitting mad. It takes a stong constitution to even read that entire compilation.

    Everyone has the right to defend their safety. In my eyes, everyone has the responsibility to defend their safety.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:51PM (#17175240)
    Unfortunately, no. Anyone can own one, but displaying it in public is considered by authority figures to be a threatening display of force.
  • by ravenshrike (808508) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:52PM (#17175252)
    Of course, the only ratified versions of the 2nd around actually have only 1 comma, in the middle, but the gun grabbers have yet to realize this.
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spetiam (671180) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:06PM (#17175422) Journal
    Be that as it may, "the people" is never used in the bill of rights to refer to citizens collectively. The majority in Dred Scott knew this, which is why they said it was unthinkable that blacks could be citizens because then they could "keep and carry arms wherever they went." Interesting that a Jim Crow law is still so popular in DC...
  • Context (Score:5, Informative)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:13PM (#17175512) Homepage Journal
    This is from the answers page to my kooky political quiz [hutnick.com]:

    The first Congress passed the Militia Act of 1792, which said, in part:

    [. . .]That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia[. . .]


    So you see, militia was only meant to restrict who possessed firearms on a basis of race and sex, not based on military service.

    -Peter
  • by rossz (67331) <ogre@gee k b i k e r.net> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:14PM (#17175554) Homepage Journal
    You must be a big fan of the total banning of guns in the UK. Now that no one has guns, they've turned it into the perfect utopian society without crimes or violence.

    BTW, that's called sarcasm. Since they've banned guns, that catchy NRA slogan has become a reality (if it's a crime to have guns, only criminals will have guns). The UK has the fastest growing rate of gun crimes in all of western civilization.
  • by dal20402 (895630) * <dal20402@NOSpam.mac.com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:18PM (#17175626) Journal

    Let's refine your list a little bit. Amendments often have multiple parts, some of which are still meaningful, some of which aren't. Some Bill of Rights provisions have fundamental problems and need changing; the Founding Fathers weren't perfect in their time, and in any case the document is severely outdated. If the Constitution has one overwhelming flaw, it's that amending it is too hard.

    1st Amendment: Establishment Clause: eviscerated (thank you, fundie wackjobs)
    Free Exercise Clause: as strong as ever (ditto)
    Freedom of speech and the press: stronger than some other countries, but still deeply problematic
    Right of assembly: OK, unless you're Muslim
    Right to petition the government: OK, unless the Bush administration took you prisoner in the war on terra

    2nd Amendment: unfortunately, still in good shape

    3rd Amendment: Has never been an issue, so it's probably working OK

    4th Amendment: Right against searches and seizures: Jurisprudence is a mess. Could be better, could be worse
    No warrants w/o probable cause & specifics: Technically working, but probable cause is a little weak

    5th Amendment: No prosecution for severe crime w/o grand jury indictment: Still works, but the grand jury itself is a deeply flawed institution
    Double jeopardy: Seems to work OK
    Right against self-incrimination w/o due process: in a jury setting, there's no way it can work -- the Founding Fathers should have done this one differently
    Deprivation of life/liberty/property w/o due process: Due process works fine for those who can afford good lawyers, and is a joke for those who can't
    Takings: the language is vague. Whether you think this is working depends on what you think a "taking" is.

    6th Amendment: Speedy trial: More or less OK
    Right to be informed and confronted with witnesses: Usually works OK
    Assistance of counsel: This one is politically difficult, because no one wants to support public defenders. The basic ideas in the jurisprudence are OK but need more teeth in the real world.

    7th Amendment: Right to jury: Works OK most of the time

    8th Amendment: This is broken, through no fault of the courts. The Bush Administration has singlehandedly made a joke of it.

    9th Amendment: Too vague to be meaningful. Surely "the people" don't have every conceivable right (e.g. they don't have the right to murder). There is no way to know what set of rights this amendment refers to.

    10th Amendment: Out the window. (Personally, I wouldn't like the world that would result if we started enforcing it... so I'm glad it's dead.)

  • by Barnoid (263111) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:19PM (#17175632)
    if so, maybe the government today should require every 18-year-old to serve two years in the military and let them keep their gun after their service. You kill three birds with one bullet: everyone in time will have the proper training for using their gun (which should reduce accidents), be armed for self-defense (which should reduce crime) and the whole stupid 2nd Amendment will be gone. Just an idea.


    That's exactly how the Swiss army works. Every 20-year old serves one year and then keeps his rifle at home, including ammunition. Every year, each one has to go to the shooting stand and fire a couple of bullets. At around 40, when they are finally discharched, one can choose to keep the gun or return it. There is no such thing as a 2nd ammendment.

    Since Switzerland has no standing army, the idea here is that, in case of a mobilization, the soldiers are already armed. Whether this still makes sense or not is an ongoing debate.
  • by Entropy (6967) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:24PM (#17175724)
    So, we have a situation now where many people - especially in violent inner city areas - have in their hands a device which with the pull of a trigger can immediately kill at ranges from point blank to a few hundred meters.


    A pull of a trigger sounds so easy .. and physically, it is.

    It's not the physical action being easy which is the deciding factor.

    It's the will to kill that is the deciding factor.

    And regarding "a few hundred meters", I submit that those who have mastered the rifle to such a degree would be far less likely to use it to wantonly slay people.

    Compare this to a situation where people don't have such a device - but have much less efficient devices, like cars (bulky, hard to maneover), knives (not much of a ranged attack, much less lethal, very messy) and Wii controllers (weak straps, could fail in use).


    I do not mean this as an attack against your character in any way, but for you to portray knives as "much less lethal" belies an egregious ignorance in matters of self defense. A knife in even untrained hands can indeed be wholly lethal in a matter of seconds. It's quiet, doesn't run out of ammo, and is often far easier to conceal.

    If a potentially violent (healthy) subject is at 21 feet or less brandishing a knife, it is considered a lethal threat by most police training. This is because such a subject can close that gap before you can draw and fire - and if hopped up on drugs, may close the gap regardless of if you've hit them.

    So it's really a question of tactical context as to which is "king" that day ..
  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:29PM (#17175772) Homepage Journal

    What a 'well regulated' militia is. Probably has to be set up to defend nat'l safety.


    Not necessarily.

    Think of what the country would be like if you had no local police or state police; you are also in a country that includes other nations (Indians) some of them hostile.

    One of the most important functions of a militia would be to provide for local security and peace.

    We have to be careful about attributing modern viewpoints to the founders, or pretending they all thought the same way. None of them subscribed to libertarianism as we know it, although some (Jefferson) were closer than others (Adams). It isn't that they didn't believe in individual liberty -- they did. But they also had a stronger attachement than we do in the idea of community liberty.

    It's interesting to read about the operation of militias in the Revolution. They operated in a primitive democratic way, choosing their leaders from the respected men of the community; nor did those leaders excercise autocratic powers. When not actually in battle, matters of strategy and tactics were debated and even voted upon. This practice infuriated Washington at first, who saw it as undisciplined. However he adjusted his style of command to this, and was a better commander because of it. The lessons he learned from this also helped him form an effective working relationship with the Continental Congress (Adams was particularly nettlesome), an example which was very important in the development of the US Constitution.

    In any case, militias were not mobs or random collections of individuals. They were the defensive organ of the community. It is not that they had no discipline, they had a different kind of discipline, one of community responsibility, reputation, and mutual reliance.

    Community liberty is not incompatible with individual liberty, but sometimes they do conflict, especially when the more influential in the community are able to claim greater protection. In the late 19th century, the national guard was used against strikers in Andrew Carnegie's steel mills.

    The right of private firearm ownership is not, in my opinion, not directly covered by the Second Amendment, which I believe is about the right of communities to arm themselves. Most quotations from the founders that are used to support private firearm ownership are more accurately read in that light.

    However, that doesn't mean it is not protected by the Bill of Rights. After all, there is constitutional right of privacy that can be asserted against the government, even though the legal concept of privacy did not exist at the time. The right to privacy is implicit in the third, fourth, fifth and fourteenth amendemnts. The fact that this is implicit makes it no less enforceable, because of the ninth amendment.

    Personal firearm ownership is implicit in the second amendment. That it cannot be taken away unreasonably is implicit in the due process clause of the fifth amendment. That this implicit right has equal force as other rights is established in the ninth.

  • by malaxi (964736) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:30PM (#17175778)
    I wrote a thing up for my book club a year or two ago when we started talking about gun control and how dangerous "just having guns around" is, so I looked into it. I know this is long, but maybe some of you will find the numbers different than your intuition tells you. (Disclaimer: I am pro-gun).

    These numbers are all from the CDC.

    http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.h tml [cdc.gov]

    My queries are for the years 1999-2002 (all they have), the entire U.S., all races, both sexes, all ages. (four year totals)

    Unintentional death by falling : 57,760
    Unintentional Pedestrian deaths: 24,079
    Unintentional Drowning : 13,739
    Unintentional death by burning : 13,642
    Unintentional Firearms deaths : 3,164
    Unintentional Bicyclist deaths : 3,099

    You can also break it down by age range. If we're worried about the teen years, we can look at ages 12-18. (four year totals)

    Unintentional Pedestrian deaths: 1,561
    Unintentional Drowning : 1,495
    Unintentional Firearms deaths : 494
    Unintentional Bicyclist deaths : 453
    Unintentional death by burning : 423
    Unintentional death by falling : 306

    Younger still, ages 1-11: (four year totals)

    Unintentional Pedestrian deaths: 2,118
    Unintentional Drowning : 2,870
    Unintentional death by burning : 1,920
    Unintentional Bicyclist deaths : 371
    Unintentional death by falling : 292
    Unintentional Firearms deaths : 164

    Accident-wise, young kids have a lot more to worry about than guns. And teenagers are almost as likely to die on their bicycles. God forbid they're bicycling to the swimming pool... or even worse, *walking* to the swimming pool ... but yes, there are gun accidents.

    Non-accidental deaths:

    It's interesting to note that more than half of violent deaths attributed to firearms are suicide. Whenever you read an article in the media that mentions the number of gun deaths it's a good bet that they're including suicides.

    • Violent deaths by firearm: 113,160 (includes suicides)
    • Suicide by firearm: 67,162

    Now I, personally, don't mind if people kill themselves. More power to them. I do agree that that there is a lower barrier to entry when using a gun and understand that depressed people might not be the best people to own guns, but gun control isn't really the solution to depression.

    So, anyway, taking out suicides leaves us with:

    • "legal intervention": 1,192 (cops killing criminals?)
    • Homicide by firearm: 44,806 (11.2K per year)

    As compared to

    • Non-firearm homicides: 26,794 (6.7K per year)

    So, more people are definitely intentionally killed by guns than by any other single cause, roughly 11K people per year.

    But...

    How many times are guns used defensively? Since defensive gun use isn't something that is reported (like an offensive gun use is), numbers are harder to find. Here is the page I have bookmarked with the only numbers I've ever seen. (refers to Gary Kleck's survey and a DOJ-sponsored study, and has a table of the results of 13 other surveys). (Gary Kleck is a criminologist at FSU - and, no, he's not an NRA member. http://www.criminology.fsu.edu/p/faculty-gary-klec k.php [fsu.edu])

    Summary: Kleck thinks defensive gun use happens 2.5M times per year, other surveys listed range between 770K and 3.6M. The DOJ study thinks it's 1.5M times per year.

    Let's aim low and go with 1M defensive uses per year. The question posed at the book club was "when does the ratio become w

  • Already Defined (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ironsides (739422) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:32PM (#17175800) Homepage Journal
    From Cornell [cornell.edu]

    The US Code:
    TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART I > CHAPTER 13 > 311

    311. Militia: composition and classes

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
    (b) The classes of the militia are--

    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:5, Informative)

    by troll -1 (956834) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:32PM (#17175808)
    The United States Department of Justice says that the 2nd amendment is an individual right.

    That's interesting because it's apparently wrong. Morton Grove [wikipedia.org], Illinois banned hand guns in 1981 and the ban withstood a constitutional challenge in the case of Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove.
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:5, Informative)

    by supabeast! (84658) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:32PM (#17175812)
    Interesting that a Jim Crow law is still so popular in DC...


    That statement is flat out ignorant. The DC handgun ban was passed by the democratically elected government of the city at a time when the population was over 75% black. It was passed as an attempt to keep people from killing each other when DC was still one of the most violent cities in the nation and has nothing to do with Jim Crow.
  • by Crudely_Indecent (739699) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:34PM (#17175834) Journal
    The gov abandoned the idea of a state regulated militia in favor of a federally regulated national guard. If the right to bear arms only applies to a state regulated militia, then we lost our right to bear arms many years ago. If the DoJ interpretation of the 2nd amendment stands, then we still have it.

    What we should be asking is "WHY?" Why does the government want an unarmed population? The founding fathers made it clear that the purpose of our government was to protect rights. They also warn about modifications to the 2nd amendment.

    "A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate." - Thomas Jefferson

    "[H]owever weak our country may be, I hope we shall never sacrifice our liberties." - Alexander Hamilton

    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks." - Thomas Jefferson

    "No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776.

    "[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." -James Madison,The Federalist Papers, No. 46.

    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." -George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment

    "The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that ... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; ... " -Thomas Jefferson

    "The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution." -Thomas Jefferson

    Gun confiscation leads to a loss of freedom, increased crime, and the government moving to the left. This has already happened in England and Australia. After Great Britain banned most guns in 1997, making armed self-defense punishable as murder, violence skyrocketed because criminals know that law abiding citizens have been disarmed. Armed crime rose 10% in 1998. The Sunday Times of London reported on the new black market in guns: "Up to 3 million illegal guns are in circulation in Britain, leading to a rise in drive-by shootings and gangland-style execution." There has been such a heavy increase in the use of knives for violent attacks that new laws have been passed giving police the power to search anyone for knives in designated areas.

    Where are we going? Who is taking us there? Should we be kicking and screaming?
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:3, Informative)

    by ari_j (90255) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:37PM (#17175892)
    It should be no shock that D.C. is still one of the most violent cities in the U.S. (#2 or #3, the last I checked). The murder rate drops by a factor of 10 when you cross the Potomac River into Virginia (still in metropolitan Washington; it gets even lower further away) where there is no gun ban.
  • by MasterShake (617668) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:40PM (#17175922)
    This varies in the states. In most of the country, if you have the right to own a weapon (IE not a convicted felon) you have the right to carry that weapon with a couple exceptions: Establishments that serve alcohol, courthouses, primary/secondary schools, establishments where the owner does not want you carrying a a weapon, etc.

    While you have the right to carry a weapon, in most places the modern general consensus is you do not have the right to conceal that fact that you have a weapon (although many states are implementing concealed carry permits where you are allowed provided you pass a background check and get training).

    The laws in most localities specify a maximum length before a pocket-knife becomes a weapon, often about 3in. If you have a blade that excedes that length, you are not allowed to conceal it while carrying it. A katana, being essentially a really long knife in the law's eyes, can be carried, but not hidden. Again, there will be some variation by specific local, but in general there is nothing wrong with carrying a katana , or broad sword, or rapier, just don't conceal it.
  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:41PM (#17175936)
    The UK has the fastest growing rate of gun crimes in all of western civilization.

    Yes. The reason the rates increase so much, is because the actual numbers are so low.

    Gun Death Rates per Nation [medicinenet.com]

    If you're trying to be honest about the statistics, avoid harping too much about relative increases in rates - that's like bragging about your brother growing richer faster at a rate faster than Bill Gates.

    Ryan Fenton
  • by delong (125205) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:44PM (#17175970)
    The Department of Justice is part of the executive branch. It's not their job to "interpret" law or the constitution. It is their job to execute the law of the land. Did you flunk middle school and high school history/civics?

    I don't know about him, but you sure seem pretty ignorant of how our system works. As the attorney for the United States, the USAG is tasked with rendering opinions and advice on the law for the benefit of the government and the public at large. The USAG's opinions are not binding precedent like a court, but they can be admitted in a court of law as evidence of reliance that a person believed they were acting within the law.

    http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/opinions.htm [usdoj.gov]

    The Attorney General has directed the Office of Legal Counsel to publish selected opinions for the convenience of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government, and of the professional bar and the general public. The authority of the Office of Legal Counsel to render legal opinions is derived from the authority of the Attorney General. Under the Judiciary Act of 1789, the Attorney General was authorized to render opinions on questions of law when requested by the President and the heads of executive departments. This authority is now codified at 28 U.S.C. 511-513. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 510 the Attorney General has delegated to the Office of Legal Counsel responsibility for preparing the formal opinions of the Attorney General, rendering opinions to the various federal agencies, assisting the Attorney General in the performance of his function as legal adviser to the President, and rendering opinions to the Attorney General and the heads of the various organizational units of the Department of Justice. 28 C.F.R. 0.25.
  • Re:Just watch... (Score:3, Informative)

    by daigu (111684) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:44PM (#17175982) Journal

    I find the other crowd more interesting. You know, those that get upset about free speech rights but think that guns should be outlawed. The U.S. was founded on the notion that the population has the right to revolt against an unjust government. It's the last resort, the baseline that guarantees the other rights.

    The problem is that many people have forgotten that it could happen here. They fear the freedom of individuals (speaking or with weapons) more than they fear the government taking away their freedom. It's the reason both sides fail to support both 1st and 2nd amendment rights - and pick one over another. Whenever either one of these ceases to mean anything, it will be the inescapable sign that there is trouble in the republic.

  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:5, Informative)

    by delong (125205) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:48PM (#17176040)
    And the US Supreme Court declined to grant certiorari. Which means that it is only precedent in the Seventh Circuit - Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin. Hardly the definitive statement on whether the Second Amendment is an individual right.
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:5, Informative)

    by Agelmar (205181) * on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:49PM (#17176054)

    I call BS. In this year's rankings [morganquitno.com], DC is #19, behind cities like Memphis, Trenton, and Kansas City. DC has improved greatly since the handgun ban was passed.

    As for the murder rate - it definitely does not drop immediately once you cross the border. I'll grant you that the Virginia border takes you into reasonable areas for the most part, but if you go across the Maryland border into PG County, don't tell me that you're going somewhere safe. Frankly, much of the blight is being pushed out of DC into VA and MD due simply to the increasing cost of downtown real-estate. Ten years ago I would never have considered living in Southwest, but now the area is undergoing massive investment, and in my time living there I never had any problems.

  • google it my friend (Score:3, Informative)

    by missing000 (602285) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:51PM (#17176088)
    for the lazy [humanrightsfirst.org]
  • by wbattestilli (218782) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:59PM (#17176200)
    First, the US military could destroy the entire US if it wanted to. This is not point, however. In a military coup, the goal is to take over the country not destroy it.

    Second, one soldier can control a hundred unarmed civilians with a single combat weapon. Give those hundred people guns of any type and quickly that 100 to 1 ratio approaches 1 to 1. Even at 10 to 1 they are screwed. There's just too many citizens.

    Big and powerful weapons are pretty damn useless when trying to control a population. Look at any post-WWII war. Give everyone in this country a shotgun and a long range rifle and we'll be safe from military dictatorship for a long time.

  • by symbolset (646467) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:00PM (#17176234) Journal
    Regarding swords: While it's frowned upon in most places the practice is not prohibited in most of the US. On a lark one Halloween I wore a quite real, very sharp sword and carried a quite functional recurve bow with broadpoint arrows to the nightclub dressed as Robin Hood. A drunken idiot nearly made it necessary to use them so I don't recommend people doing this even for fun. It all worked out in the end though, and it wasn't illegal. It was some time ago. Most clubs won't let you in any more if your costume includes real weapons for liability reasons. I don't go to the nightclub any more anyway. Naturally at public gatherings of the Society for Creative Anachronism being without some medieval weapon would make you stand out if your role required one. Swords are sold at the convenience store nearest my home. They can be found nearly everywhere. They are quite popular as domestic ornaments.

    Regarding firearms: I recall a press report where some small towns instituted a curfew that required women to be armed when out after dark. Although prosecutions for going unarmed seem unlikely the incidence of rape in public places is somewhat diminished. This recent story is about a town with an ordinance proposed that requires a firearm in every home http://www.fox12news.com/Global/story.asp?S=543703 3 [fox12news.com] . Several towns require this. Here's an older story about one in Georgia with rather predictable results: http://tinyurl.com/yldlze [tinyurl.com] . From that article:

    After the law went into effect in 1982, crime against persons plummeted 74 percent compared to 1981, and fell another 45 percent in 1983 compared to 1982. And it has stayed impressively low.

    Numerically, there are about as many firearms in America as there are Americans : http://www.netscape.com/viewstory/2006/08/16/almos t-every-american-has-a-gun/ [netscape.com] . I recall seeing pistols, rifles and shotguns on sale in a gas station in Flagstaff, Arizona. While product placement right next to the tequila was probably inappropriate, the sight was not shocking to the locals.

    Are citizens not allowed arms in your country? Why? What could possibly be the reason for that?

  • by devilspgd (652955) * <slashdot@devilspgd.net> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:16PM (#17176422) Homepage
    We did burn down the white house, way back when...
  • by Flounder (42112) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:18PM (#17176450)
    Just to expand on the definition of militia.

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/ts_search.pl ?title=10&sec=311 [findlaw.com]

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
    (b) The classes of the militia are -
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spetiam (671180) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:18PM (#17176458) Journal
    Um, maybe you should check out the WHOLE REST OF THE WORLD.
    I have. At least where reliable data is available and reasonably accessible. You, clearly, have not.
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:2, Informative)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:51PM (#17176872)
    Be that as it may, "the people" is never used in the bill of rights to refer to citizens collectively.


    That is a fairly blatant example of "begging the question", regardless of its accuracy elsewhere in the Bill of Rights.

    More importantly, even if it is interpreted as an individual right, it still is only a limit on the power of the federal government to infringe the right, unless its incorporated against the states by the 14th Amendment's due process clause; ironically, the same people that are most likely to argue that the 14th Amendment should not be read to apply the full force of the first amendment (particularly the religion clauses), or the fourth through seventh amendments (except the takings clause of the 5th) are also the most likely to argue that the 2nd Amendment and the Takings Clause of the 5th create individual rights that must be enforced against the states.

    The majority in Dred Scott knew this, which is why they said it was unthinkable that blacks could be citizens because then they could "keep and carry arms wherever they went."


    I think you need to read what leads up to that; since they are referring to the treatment under colonial and state law in the 13 original states to prove that at the time the Constitution was framed, it could not have been intended that blacks would be citizens, it is fairly clear that they aren't referring to the applicability of the federal RKBA under the 2nd Amendment, but rather state-law rights existing in the 13 original states that provided citizens with similar rights, to show that the states forming the US could not have intended that blacks could be citizens because very many of the states (particularly the slave states) could not have intended to be obligated to submit to giving black citizens of other states they same rights as they provided, under state Constitution and laws, to their own white citizens through the action of the privileges and immunities clause of Article IV, Section 2 ("The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.")

  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <.tms. .at. .infamous.net.> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:54PM (#17176906) Homepage
    Um, maybe you should check out the WHOLE REST OF THE WORLD.

    Yes, one should. One would see countries like Switzerland and Israel where people have easy access to guns, and a murder rate much lower than in the U.S.

    We Americans stab and bludgeon each other to death more than most other nations commit total muders.

    In the U.S. firearms are used in only 71% of murders [usdoj.gov]. With a base homicide of 5.6 per 100,000 people [disastercenter.com], that give 1.6 non-gun murders per 100,000.

    According to stats here [guncite.com] (a bit old, admittedly), that's more than the total muder rate in Denmakr, Austria, Switerland, France, England, Belgium, Japan, Sweden, Germany, Norway, New Zeland, Ierland, the Netherland, Spain, Greece, or Kuwait.

    If all guns disappeared from the U.S. tomorrow, and we pretended that guns were never used defensively and that people wouldn't turn to other methods of killing each other, the U.S. would still have about two and half times the murder rate of Japan (0.62/100,000).

    Our problem with violence does not rest in our guns.

  • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:58PM (#17176946)
    The well-regulated militia clause actually is not part of the important phrasing.

    "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"

    A well regulated militia is neccessary to the security of a free state. Therefor, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    That's what it says, to use a more.. modern.. parsing.

    While I would readily agree that it is significantly LESS neccessary today than at the drafting of the bill of rights, I must point out that that does not guarentee it may not be as relevant, or even moreso, at some point in the future. Further, an out-right ban on firearms would do amazingly little to curtail gun violence in this country (one need look no further than DC, NYC, or.. well, New Jersey entirely to see how ineffective massive gun control laws are -- criminals simply do not turn over firearms, and even if every gun currently in this country was destroyed tomorrow it is mind-blowingly simple to smuggle them across our porous borders. Think how many tons of cocaine make it across every year. Now smuggle something that a dog can't smell. Bam.)

    And FYI -- no, a citizen-army could not win against the US military in a conventional war..

    but foreign insurgent forces seem to do pretty damned well against them. Now imagine, rather than rag-tag groups from 3rd world nations with AK's, you have disgruntled americans with hunting rifles and AR-15s. You lose the language barrier between "good guys" and "bad guys", you lose the culture barrier. You lose the effect that being "somewhere else" has on our troops -- face it, you're more likely to blow stuff up if it's not YOUR stuff, or your FAMILY's stuff, or your COMMUNITY's stuff.

    regardless that's beside the point -- the real creamy filling is the first two things I typed :D the "well regulated militia" is not the key clause of the second amendment, merely explaining why the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:01PM (#17176998)

    That being said, the 2nd amendment is the _only_ place in the Bill of Rights where "the people" are defined as a collective body, rather than individuals. And even then, only in the 9th Circuit's realm.

    Er, no. As noted in U.S. v. Spruill, 61 F.Supp.2d 587 (W.D.Tx. 1999) [emphasis added]:

    Five Circuit Courts of Appeal have determined that the Second Amendment protects only a collective right. See, e.g., Gillespie v. City of Indianapolis, 185 F.3d 693, 709) (7th Cir. 1999) (finding 922(g)(9) does not violate 2nd Amendment); Hickman v. Block, 81 F.3d 98, 100-01 (9th Cir. 1996) (finding plaintiff lacked standing under 2nd Amendment, to sue for denial of permit to carry weapon); Love v. Pepersack, 47 F.3d 120, 124 (4th Cir. 1995) (denying section 1983 claim based on 2nd Amendment because plaintiff tailed to demonstrate that her application to purchase a firearm was related to the preservation of a militia), United States v. Warin, 530 F.2d 103, 106-7 (6th Cir. 1976) (admitting Miller, infra, did not reach the issue but finding it "inconceivable" that 2nd Amendment, conferred individual right); Cases v. United States, 131 F.2d 916, 920-23 (1st Cir. 1942) (finding Miller, infra, could not have meant that an individual could possess a firearm if it had a military purpose, and upholding felon in possession conviction).

  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:4, Informative)

    by caseydk (203763) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:01PM (#17177522) Homepage Journal
    Well, actually, here in Fairfax County, VA (just a few miles west of DC), for the past few years, we've had an "Open Carry" law with respect to firearms. And even according to the Washington Post, we're at a 20+ year low for violent crime:

    "Crime is at 20-year lows in the county," Lt. Col. Charles K. Peters pointed out, even though the population is soaring. The county's homicide rate was the lowest in the nation last year among the 30 largest jurisdictions. "Hopefully no one feels the need to carry a gun, lawfully or unlawfully," Peters said. "But there's no question it is lawful to carry a gun on the street. So we've had to ensure that all of our officers are updated on the nuances of Virginia law that allow citizens to carry firearms in public places."

    Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A504 16-2004Jul14.html [washingtonpost.com]

    Causation, not necessarily... but definitely correlation.
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:20PM (#17177708) Homepage Journal

    Gun confiscation leads to a loss of freedom, increased crime, and the government moving to the left.
    I was with up to that point.

    you quote and quote from Jefferson, and then demonize the left [wikipedia.org]? Have you the brain worms!?
    His ideal world [wikipedia.org] was a communist anarchy, for crying out loud.
  • by NormalVisual (565491) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:37PM (#17177862)
    You can't fricking read. The Second Amendment is made up of TWO phrases, the first explaining the reason for the right, and the second specifically stating that the right is not to be infringed. The first phrase IS NOT a limitation or condition on the second.

    In case you want the current federal definition of "militia", go look it up in 10 USC 311 - it's probably not what you think it is.
  • by Wintermancer (134128) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:45PM (#17177942)

    Precisely. Many geeks with an opinion, few geeks with military experience. Here's one that's been in both camps (Army and Pocket Protector camps, respectively) My $0.25, before taxes:

    Re: High-tech advantages removing the usefulness of rifles.

    Tanks are nasty on the battlefield. They are great death dealers at a distance. They are less so in urban environments (MOUT - Military Operations Urban Terrain). Why? Well, buildings are a great place to rain down anti-armor weapons upon the thankless tankers below. Fscking lovely....

    Hence, the need for screening infanty, and infantry is susceptable to rifle fire (slightly mitigated by improvements in modern body armour). That and armor crews sight lines are reduced due to buildings, being bottled up and hatches down cuts down on your visibility, etcetera.

    Helo flyboys are gas hungry pigs with insane downtime to perform maintenance, and the same applies to the jet jockeys. Performing a full-scale civil war? Take them out on the airstrip during downtime. That will help to degrade air advantage.

    Ok. So, you cordon off the cities with tanks and dig out the insurgents using infantry. I heard an Iraqi recently comment on this strategy, something to the effect of: "You like apples? How do you like them apples?". Yeah, it's a smashing good time routing out people in urban environments, really. Helos and jets are good only to drop munitions and bugger off, so their value there is limited.

    The current MBT employed by the US is a fuel hungry monster, and oddly enough, the fastest and easiest way to reduce tanks battlefield advantages is to attack the logistical support lines. Last time I checked, fuel tanker trucks ain't heavily armoured....

    If you can't run the tank, you are now seriously exposed to your friend, the infantry/partisan/terrorist/freedom-fighter. High-tech advantage? It's gone buy-bye. And the same logistical weakness faced by tanks is just as bad for the flyboys. So, you're down to fighting man-to-man, the old fashioned way. Rifles, mortars, arty...all the fun stuff.

    So, even if the US split right down the middle in the event of Civil War, there are more legs than there are high-tech toys. Take Iraq and multiply the insurgents by a factor of 100, and imagine how well "counter-insurgency" operations would go. It wouldn't be pretty.

    So, yes, armor, helicopters, and what-not are great, but remember only one thing: Infantry holds the ground. Everyone else, they're there to support them.

    And all infantry needs to be effective, is a rifle. And, oh yeah, the people you'll be fighting will look like you, sound like you and have the same cultural background as you. Have fun determining which side they are on....

  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:46PM (#17177950) Homepage
    If think you need to spend more time away from the TV and more on the range ;-), your faith in the AK is overblown. You are a little too quick to dismiss the humble deer rifle.

    Hunting rifles and ammo are deadlier than military rifles and ammo, Hunting ammo is designed to expand as it passes through tissue. The ammo used by hunters would result in a war crime if used by the military.

    The difference between some deer rifles and some military rifles is largely cosmetic. A semiautomatic deer rifle may use the same ammo as the M16, but comes with a 5-round magazine rather than a 30-round magazine. The US Marine Corps M16A2 rifle abandons fully automatic operation and operates in a semiautomatic or a 3-round burst mode. Holding down that trigger as you say does little more than waste ammo and make noise, and Marines prefer to hit their targets. So. put a 30-round magazine, a simple sheet metal box, in the deer rifle and how does it differ from the M16A2. Well one round rather than three, sometimes, and well it has a wood look rather than an all black look. Oh, can't forget the bayonet lug, no bayonet for the deer rifle.

    Regarding specialized rifles such as sniper rifles, the differences between bolt action hunting rifles and the more common lower end of the military spectrum is one of a heavier barrel and fine tuning. Nothing really beyond the reach of most civilian gunsmiths. The Remington Model 700 comes in deer rifle, police sniper, and military sniper variants. During Viet Nam many snipers literally carried civilian hunting rifles. I think some current units in Iraq may have "augmented" themselves with a Remington Model 700 from Walmart as well.
  • by EQ (28372) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:50PM (#17177982) Homepage Journal
    And how is this correct?

    You cannot state it by fiat - try addressing the errors pointed out by many here - especially in case law, and in the fundamental reading of the Amendment itself:

    http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&f ileName=001/llsl001.db&recNum=144 [loc.gov]

    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.

    Note the PROPER punctional at the Library of Congress - the extra commans after "Militia" and after "Arms" are rmoved, as they are absent in the proper rendering of the Amendment (LOC is authoritative on this).

    Now its obvious that "milita" has to do with the security of a free state - but the "rights of the people..." are clearly what "shall not be infringed". Obvious.

    As for "well regulated" - the proper meaning is from its usage at the time of the amendment:

    The following are taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, and bracket in time the writing of the 2nd amendment:

            1709: "If a liberal Education has formed in us well-regulated Appetites and worthy Inclinations."

            1714: "The practice of all well-regulated courts of justice in the world."

            1812: "The equation of time ... is the adjustment of the difference of time as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial."

    The phrase "well-regulated" was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people's arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it. That means for a militia, each individual is properly armed. And further in the Constitution, "militia" back then meant what we mean now by "citizenry"

    So where do you see the DC lawyers being a "correcct" reading - it blatently contravenes the quite obvious meaning of the law as written. So no - as I have pointed out (and you lack any presentment of evidence to back up your bald assumption) their reading is NOT a "correct" reading at all - its egregiously wrong. And so is your assumption absent any proof to the contrary.

  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:4, Informative)

    by ScentCone (795499) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:52PM (#17177998)
    Now, I'm not sure if the stats for "numbers of homicides" means individual deaths, or "incidents" (which may involve multiple deaths). An interesting way to break down the stats would be to look at the number of deaths per "incident" for each type of weapon (or non-weapon). I think you'll find that statistically there are a *lot* more deaths per "incident" when guns are involved.

    If you're going down that road, you'd better also look at the number of "incidents" in which the use (typically, brandishing) of a firearm prevented someone from getting harmed. Speaking as someone for whom that has been personally helpful, I can tell you it's a very meaningful aspect of the issue. You would also want to take into account places like Australia, which have seen a jump in good old fashioned beatings and knifings since the confiscatory gun ban there took place some years back.

    But I don't give a rat's ass about the overall stats. I've used my gun, without killing anyone, to protect my family from a violent person. I won't bother with the details here unless it's worth getting into - but you can google for some stats on self defense, deterrence, and related issues. It's much more significant than your comment would imply that you know.
  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @06:06PM (#17178126) Homepage
    "Hopefully, a large portion of them would either refuse or even defend the civilian population."

    Yea, good luck with that. See, the military is already prepared for that answer. If you refuse a direct order in the field -- and make no mistake, when they come for you, it won't be in an office meeting -- you get shot on the spot.


    That is one of the most ignorant and ill-informed things I have read in this thread. The truth is that from basic training onward US military personnel are taught that it is *their duty* to disobey illegal orders. Illegal orders include but are not limited to attacking non-combatants. An officer who threatens to shoot a soldier who refuses to follow an illegal order can be immediately relieved and taken in custody, even by a subordinate.

    Now to preempt more nonsense hypotheticals you might counter with, reality is that officers survive combat due to the men in their command, not in spite of them. Any officer who acts that way towards his men is suicidal. The men not only heavily outnumber the officer but the men are more heavily armed and practiced. The men, not the officer, are the trigger squeezers. The officer in the read-map-use-radio-call-in-airstike'er. The men don't even have to pull the trigger or roll the grenade themselves, it *has* been done more simply by saluting an officer in the field.
  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <.tms. .at. .infamous.net.> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @08:13PM (#17179402) Homepage
    Which suggests to me that guns are probably the easiest way to kill someone.

    Which further suggests that if there were fewer guns, people would have to try harder to kill other people.

    Problem being, what if it's your infirm grandmother, defending herself against a big guy breaking into her house with a knife? Yes, it would be harder for her to kill the bad guy. Considering that (if she can't run away, and we assume that if he's going after a little old lady he's beyond being talked out of this) it's kill him or be killed or seriously injured herself, that's not a good thing.

    And that's not a rare case. Estimates of defensive firearms uses range from 108,000 to 2.5 million [guncite.com], depending on whose numbers you believe. The DOJ puts it about about 1.5 million per year. That's about 500 per 100,000 population - about two orders of magnitude more people will use guns defensively, than will be murdered by any means. Even if you take the 108,000 figure, you get 36 per 100,000, six and a half times the total murder rate and nine times the rate of homicides commited by firearm.

    I'm not sure if the stats for "numbers of homicides" means individual deaths, or "incidents" (which may involve multiple deaths).

    It means the number of deaths. A mass murder is multiple homicides.

    I think you'll find that statistically there are a *lot* more deaths per "incident" when guns are involved.

    If you want to commit mass murder, guns are not the way. Bombs or fire, that's the ticket. For a high body count you need to blow up or set fire to a building, not go on a shooting rampage.

    On the other hand, if someone does go on a shooting rampage, you'd better hope you're in a state with concealed carry laws and that someone will shoot back. (It was only after the infamous Luby's massacre [wikipedia.org] that Texas, followed by other states, changed the law to allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms on their person.)

  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:4, Informative)

    by atriusofbricia (686672) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @09:36PM (#17180094) Journal
    Gee, why ever would someone from The City misread the Second like that. I'm sure it's never happened before!

    All you have to do is consider why the states would need such an amendment in the first place. There is no need for the Second to preform that task as the Tenth already does so:

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


    Furthermore, the creation of state "militias" can be handled under Article I, Section 10:

    No state shall, without consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace...


    And now some quotes on the subject:

    No free man shall be debarred the use of arms.
            Thomas Jefferson, Proposal for a Virginia Bill of Rights, 1776

    To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.
            "Letters from the Federal Farmer" (Pamphlet, 1788)

    The great object is that ever man be armed.
            Patrick Henry
            Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Federal Constitution

    The people are confirmed by the next article in the right to keep and bear their private arms.
            Federal Gazette June 18, 1789 (describing Madison's proposal for a Bill of Rights)

    We have found no historical evidence that the Second Amendment was intended to convey
    militia power to the states, limit the federal government's power to maintain a standing
    army, or applies only to members of a select militia while on active duty.

    All of the evidence indicates that the Second Amendment, like other parts of the Bill of Rights, applies
    to and protects individual Americans. We find that the history of the Second Amendment reinforces the plain meaning of its text, namely that it protects individual Americans in their right to keep and bear arms whether or
    not they are a member of a select militia or performing active military service or training.

    We reject the collective rights and sophisticated collective rights models for interpreting the
    Second Amendment. We hold, consistent with Miller, that it protects the right of individuals,
    including those not then actually a member of any militia or engaged in active military
    service or training, to privately possess and bear their own firearms, such as the pistol
    involved here, that are suitable as personal, individual weapons and are not of the general
    kind or type excluded by Miller. However, because of our holding that section 922(g)(8), as
    applied to Emerson, does not infringe his individual rights under the Second Amendment
    we will not now further elaborate as to the exact scope of all Second Amendment rights.
    http://72.14.209.104/search?q=cache:cq6jSE2-picJ:w ww.publichealthlaw.net/Reader/dl.php%3Fdoc_id%3D72 70203+%22applies+only+to+members+of+a+select+milit ia+while+on+active+duty%22&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd= 3 [72.14.209.104]

    In light of the proceeding, please pray tell how people with your world view invent this collective right hogwash. There is no evidence from the time period suggesting it, there is no way to correctly read the sentence that will support it. So please, tossing aside for a moment the relative crime statistics involved, what is the basis of your logic? Are you aware of some super secret Federalist paper that says: "Oh yeah, that Second amendment thing doesn't really mean what it says. It really means something totally different and inconsistent with the language of the rest of the Constitution. Feel free to ignore it at will."
  • by some damn guy (564195) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @11:24PM (#17180886)
    Completely and utterly wrong. The National Guard=The United States Military, it is controlled by the Federal Government in wartime just as it is right now in Iraq. State Governors control the national guard the rest of the time. I see nothing in there about state governments, but I do see THE PEOPLE mentioned here. At any rate, 'militia' had a very specific and unambiguous meaning in those times.

    When the constitution was written, if your town or little piece of the country was threatened, all the men in your town got their guns together and went to the task at hand. You didn't 'enlist' like you do in the national guard, you didn't necessarily submit yourselves to the government's control (if you could help it, that is). It was completely ad hoc and nothing on the scale of a state wide organization (which like I said the national guard isn't really). That's the militia. The National Guard is the same as the Government's standing army (they just train less often most of the time).

    So what the constitution says is that you can get all of the men in your town together with their guns and train and organize yourself as a military unit. So all those 'militias' in Iraq they want to get rid of? Yup, those are consitutionally protected under the original United States constitution. In (some of) the Iraqi's defense, giving up their militias would put them at the mercy of their enemies since the government can't protect them. Starting to see where this came from?

    You have to put things in their proper perspective. Look at Europe in the Seventeenth century. The thirty years war wasn't really about governments versus governments (which were, along with their 'permanent' armies broke, ineffectual, decentralized and divided.) It was faith versus faith and tribe versus tribe. A lot like Iraq today.

    In such a situation, it was your militia against the world. The government couldn't protect you even if it wanted to. People with a memory of such a situation would never have been willing to let the nations army be their sole source of protection (and they would feel more afraid than safe it had the power to be it). The concept of nationalism didn't exist like it did today. People had much more personal loyalties than they do today. Protestants had killed catholics and vice versa for centuries without regard any notion of being 'countrymen'. People wonder why a bunch of deeply religious protestants created the first truly secular government in history, this is why. It's all the wars of Europe. The founding fathers knew their history and their realpolitik very well.

    So, saying the second amendment prohibits handgun ownership is a ridiculous exercise in the creative reparsing of eighteenth century grammar. It's like saying a law that establishes 'Catholics suck balls' as the national motto is fine because the Constitution says it's only unconstitutional to pass laws 'respecting the establishment of religion' (so DISrespecting it is just fine).

    Sorry friend, but change the constitution or shut up about it. Just because it seems more ambiguous today doesn't mean it was when it was written.
  • Really? (Score:3, Informative)

    by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @01:10PM (#17185268) Journal
    I must have missed the part where Pres Jefferson was a "Federalist". Washington was. Adams was. That's 1 and 2. Jefferson was a devout anti federalist. So was Patrick Henry and Sam Adams, both of whom sought to boycott the 1787 Con Con. George Wythe of VA went, and along with most of the other "signers of the declaration" (those who risked something for America's United States) voted NO. The only ones who were pro, and who also signed the declaration were Hamilton, Washington and Madison (Madison was turned to antifederalist later on by Jefferson, but sadly far too late to save this country from the totalitarian shift started by Hamilton.)

    Hamilton was also pro child labor/slavery, and he admired seeing the poverty forcing children into long labor in england ("producing goods at low prices in that industrious nation").

    And they didn't "win" the elections... The fact that Jefferson won the third one, may either be a fluke, or perhaps the truth was spoken in several books about Aaron Burr.. Aaron was FAR more anti big government than jefferson, and far more effective, Hamilton engaged on a major mud slinging campaign to prevent Burr from reaching the presidency, Jefferson, while effective, wasn't a strong enough president. Burr would have been. At this point, enraged, Burr began to react to Hamilton's slanderous comments, and eventually it lead to the duel where Hamilton's reign of heavy handedness ended, as all tyrant types, always do. With a bullet.

    The electoral system has been under questioning for ages.

    Seriously, your first mistake is not even knowing US history (other than the quick tripe taught in American History in high shool). Your second, is trying to absolve Hamilton of his abuses. If Aaron Burr had not shot Hamilton in 1804 in a duel, our country would've been conquered by a central bank from the onset, long before Jackson could've vetoed the second central bank, and far longer than it took for the Federal Reserve to be established for exactly that... to impoverish the populace by overspending and devaluation of currency.

    I know you'll come up with some direct attacks on me, but do your reading, "libel" involves the comments NOT being true. I've done heavy research on this over the years, and, quite frankly, I am having trouble enduring the ignorance of US history I am seeing here in the USA.
  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:3, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:57PM (#17198712)

    American kids are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun, 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and nine times more likely to die from a firearm accident than children in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control)

    I don't even understand this mentality. How can someone cite this as though it were worse than other places. Guess what, I bet people in Japan are more likely to die by choking on fish than those in the US. Who cares? The mechanism is not important. Are kids in the US more likely to commit suicide or be murdered than other countries and does this statistic correlate across countries that have more handgun availability? The answer, for anyone who bothers to look, is "no." So if we make guns harder to obtain more people will kill themselves with poison and more people will die from drive by pipe bombs. How is this beneficial if you don't have some sort of psychological aversion to guns that does not extend to these other instruments?

    Gun bans don't prevent violence and most studies show they slightly increase it. If you're interested in stopping violence why not look to the phenomenon that do strongly correlate with violence and look to passing laws regarding those?

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -- Niels Bohr

Working...