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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."
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Second Amendment Questioned

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  • by drewzhrodague (606182) <drew@@@zhrodague...net> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:40PM (#17175086) Homepage Journal
    Hi. Like the man said, 'from my cold dead hands.' Guns aren't just for the military, cops, and gang-bangers -- we have 'em to make sure that our government doesn't herd us into cattle-cars, and send us off to the thermal depolymerizor en masse. We've already got Extrordinary Rendition, what's after that?

    I have '666' in my NRA membership number.
  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:44PM (#17175152) Homepage
    Right, because your grand-daddy's rifle is really going to help against tanks and automatic weaponry. And most people can buy a gas mask, but not many do, which means that anyone wanting to subdue you non-violently just has to use some simple tear gas. The times when a group of civilians could contend with an equally numerous group of soldiers are long gone.
  • by kryten_nl (863119) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:47PM (#17175182)
    You haven't seen the news in the last couple of years, have you? (Iraq, Afghanistan)
  • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@nOspAm.gdargaud.net> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:47PM (#17175184) Homepage
    They should have wondered about this a long time ago, before there were weapons all over the country, no ? And BTW, for those who think that the ammendments are untouchables, here are the answers to the question: "Do the US constitution amendments still matter?":
    1. Sort of
    2. Sort of
    3. Yes
    4. Nope
    5. Nope
    6. Sorry, no
    7. Not sure
    8. No
    9. Not sure
    10. Technically yes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:48PM (#17175190)
    As a non-American I am all in favour of lots of guns there. Because of the huge number of shootings the GSW medical tech has improved immensely. Doctors from all over the world go to the US to learn about it. If they don't get shot they return home with valuable skills. Of course there aren't so many shooting at home but still could come in handy. So keep that 2nd Amendment, I say.
  • by Spetiam (671180) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:48PM (#17175198) Journal
    i think there's little argument that the 2nd amendment was articulated to guarantee the ability of a free people to defend themselves against and even overthrow an unjust aggressor or ruling entity.

    Which is fine...except that if the ruling entity--or those on its payroll--is the only one with weapons of war, then the 2nd amendment doesn't mean diddly to the commoners. Why do we have the "bill of rights," anyhow? It certainly isn't there to protect the rights of the rulers over their subjects. The 2nd amendment is meaningless unless it guarantees the right of private citizens to "keep and carry arms wherever they [go]" (quoth the majority in Dred Scott, horrified that blacks would be able to "keep and carry arms wherever they went" if they were recognized as citizens).
  • by Quila (201335) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:49PM (#17175208)
    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.


    The 2nd Amendment states a right (keep and bear arms) that cannot be infringed. That's it -- no infringement, period. The introductory phrase states a reason for stating this right, but "shall not be infringed" is an absolute. Note it doesn't grant the right; it considers that right, along with "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" and others to be inherent, above government powers, and says the government will not infringe on them.
  • What?!@ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drewzhrodague (606182) <drew@@@zhrodague...net> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:49PM (#17175210) Homepage Journal
    The mass ownership of guns is one of the leading causes of terror and misery in our society.

    Really? How do you come to this conclusion?

    I would think that assholes behind the wheel of the giant SUVs provide me with more terror and misery than anything else I can think of off hand. In fact, I get quite a bit of amusement out of shooting computers with my gun, not feelings of terror. Maybe the computers I shoot feel terror?
  • by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101@@@gmail...com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:49PM (#17175212) Homepage Journal

    It's a sign of how backwards we are in non-technological matters that our society considers it right and proper for everyone to be able to carry a device designed to kill other people.

    Close, but not quite. Our society considers it right and proper for everyone to carry a device designed to defend against other people killing us.

  • by creimer (824291) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:50PM (#17175220) Homepage
    Jerry Pournelle mentioned in a panel debate at Baycon 2006 that the colonial government provided guns and ammo to the citizens (whether they wanted it or not) in case self-defense against a common enemy was needed and that was the original definition of "a well regulated militia". 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.
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aichpvee (631243) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:52PM (#17175250) Journal
    Pretty sure the Department of Justice is condoning torture and crimes against humanity now. Not exactly the most credible source of opinion on such things.
  • by isomeme (177414) <cdberry@gmail.com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:53PM (#17175268) Homepage Journal
    The times when a group of civilians could contend with an equally numerous group of soldiers are long gone.

    Absolutely. But combat-capable civilians outnumber soldiers and police in our country by at least fifty to one. That tends to even the odds a bit.

    To quote (from memory) a German commander on the Easter front during WWII: "Each of our tanks could beat five of theirs. We kept meeting six."
  • by kd5ujz (640580) <william AT ram-gear DOT com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:57PM (#17175320)
    AK-47s are holding up pretty well in Iraq.
  • by dingDaShan (818817) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @01:58PM (#17175328)
    There are places to buy stuff online like gas masks, etc. Regardless of how many people DO buy one, people CAN. The 2nd Amendment right has been interpreted as being able to have weapons for the entire history of the united states. Getting rid of it would only mean that the ones with the weapons are the criminals and not the people that don't use them maliciously.

    Right, because your grand-daddy's rifle is really going to help against tanks and automatic weaponry.
    If it can't contend with the military, then what is the problem?
  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:01PM (#17175366)
    The real power of the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan are the assassinations of any locals caught working with the Americans. That's the true power of the second amendment. No mayor, sheriff or soldier is going to impose oppressive measures when they risk a bullet in the back of the head (or that of their family members) every time the go out to start the car.
  • by jay2003 (668095) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:01PM (#17175368)
    So government can not stop you from owning nuclear weapon? A nuclear device is an arm and if you have an absolute right to bear arms, you have a right to nuclear weapons. Not mention tanks, F16s, etc. I feel safer already.

    Of course if we combine your view of an absolute right with originalist interpretation of the Constitution you only have a right to a musket but not a modern rifle. I don't see how an expansive (to modern weapons) absolute interpretation could not include nukes.

    The reason your argument if flawed is there are no extra words in the Constitution. It's an extremely terse document and you are interpreting "well regulated militia" to mean nothing.
  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:04PM (#17175398)
    How many tanks do you and your neighbors own?

    The US Army does not have enough tanks to cover the contry. If it actually came down to it, you would not have a tank in your neighborhood, but your friendly local cop at your door. And him I can defend against.
  • Well duh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geoff lane (93738) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:04PM (#17175404)
    The amendment means exactly what it says, who'd a thunk it?
  • Just watch... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by greg_barton (5551) * <greg_barton.yahoo@com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:04PM (#17175406) Homepage Journal
    Just watch.

    All of the guys who were cheering Newt Gingrich last week when he said we should revisit our first amendment rights [tcsdaily.com] are going to be the loudest in screaming, "But I have a RIGHT to bear arms!!!"
  • by OakDragon (885217) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:05PM (#17175414) Journal
    I'm always amused that the implied argument here (or inferred, I guess) is that the 2nd Amendment does not go far enough; the right to own missiles and bazookas shall not be infringed!
  • by cptgrudge (177113) <cptgrudge@gmDEGASail.com minus painter> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:08PM (#17175448) Journal

    There's nothing magical or extraordinarily high tech about automatic weapons and rockets. If it really came down to a full on Civil War in the USA, I'm sure a few facilities could ramp up to produce the things under the radar. There are drug labs all over the place now, and look how efficient we've been at taking care of those.

    Of course, all that may be unnecessarily complicated. There are plenty of international weapons manufacturers that would love to sell to the American public, and getting those products across the largely unprotected/unwatched US borders would probably be trivial.

    In short, if it gets that bad, the weapons will show.

  • by rossz (67331) <ogre.geekbiker@net> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:08PM (#17175460) Homepage Journal
    Throughout the Constitution, the wording is very specific. When referring to individual rights, the term "The People" is used. When referring to state rights, the term "The States" is used. Unless you believe the 2nd Amendment is the ONLY EXCEPTION to this rule, it is most definitely an individual right as it says "... the right of The People ..."

    If the meaning of "The People" is changed to indicate a state right, ALL our rights will be lost. Suddenly, speech, religion, assembly, redress, etc, will be State rights and everything that makes this country worthwhile will go into the shitter.

    If the government can abuse a law, eventually the government will abuse a law. Maybe not right away, but a few years down the road it will happen. A good example of this is the seizing of property without due process. At first they were seizing property of convicted drug dealers. Then they started seizing the property of unconvicted drug dealers. After getting away with this obvious violation of the Constitution, they started seizing property of people with the thinnest thread of a connection to drugs, e.g. a guy had his car seized because his passenger had a joint in his possession.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:08PM (#17175466)

    The United States Department of Justice says that the 2nd amendment is an individual right

    The United Stated Department of Justice also says that the Patriot Act is legal and a wonderful, necessary tool.

    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?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_power s_under_the_United_States_Constitution#Executive_p ower

    Christ. Half the problem with this country is American's basic inability to understand the simplest concepts of the US government.

  • by chill (34294) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:09PM (#17175480) Journal
    You're forgetting the effectiveness of IEDs. Also, most of the rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon and the PT are "home made".

    I don't know about you, but my High School Chemistry class had an entire segment on what household chemicals could be used to create very nasty poisons and explosives. Most of it was geared towards "don't EVER mix these two chemicals", but was followed up with "because if you mix 2 parts this, with 1 part that, stir, drain, separate and then let sit, you'll have a nice plastique".

    Fully-automatic weapons are over rated and usually very inaccurate. SEMI automatic can be very useful, though.
  • by zippthorne (748122) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:11PM (#17175492) Journal
    Infantry can take out tanks with a rifle. Not an ordinary rifle, mind, but a rifle small enough to reasonably include in thousands of personal armories. (esp. in a population in which there are almost as many guns as there are people.) Further, owing to their reduced mobility, tanks are vulnerable to even less sophisticated weapons wielded in sufficient supply.

    A foot is a good weapon to take on ants, but you must be careful not to anger too many of them or your foot will be useless.
  • by jfengel (409917) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:12PM (#17175510) Homepage Journal
    The authors of the Federalist Papers were half of a debate that goes all the way back to the beginning of the country. The other half included people like Thomas Jefferson.

    The point is, the "Founding Fathers" thought differently from each other. Arguably, that's why the 2nd Amendment is so vague in the first place. (Mind you, "vague" in this place means "absolutely clear", except that there are two diametrically opposed sides who each feel that it absolutely and clearly supports their point of view.)

    So I appreciate the illustrative quotations, but this is a difficult debate that goes way back. You're not going to find an absolute answer in looking at the Founding Fathers.
  • by Luteus (899852) <brett@luteus.org> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:14PM (#17175556) Homepage
    The thing is, the US Military is made up of, get this, Americans. Hopefully, a large portion of them would either refuse or even defend the civilian population. I remember something about Katrina and the national guard refusing to help enforce the gun confiscation ordered by the local police.
  • by PortHaven (242123) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:15PM (#17175568) Homepage
    "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."

    I've noticed there has been a trend to re-structure the sentence of the 2nd Ammendment and interpret it on the basis of a "well regulated militia" and then equate this to the National Guard and thus declare the 2nd Ammendment fullfilled.

    This is incorrect, and is not what is said above. There are two aspects to the above statement.
    1) that a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free stae
    2) the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed

    What we have is a stacking of concepts. A militia is necessary to the security of a free state. Militias draw from the people, both arms and manpower. Therefore, it is necessary for the people to retain the right to bear arms or there is no means to call up a militia.

    If you remove the right to bear arms from U.S. citizens then you have no means to call up and organize a militia. You will have a bunch of unarmed men unable to defend their country. This is well understood within the context of the Constitution being written. A simple test can be done to express such.

    Apply both interpretations, which one would fit and fulfill the needs of the time. If we apply the traditional interpretation everything fits. However, if we apply the re-interpretation you find yourself in a place in which the American Revolution would never have existed. Let' remove all guns from ownership by the colonials. The only guns are now owned and in the hands of the British Army and the regulated militias under the British. The colonials now are completely unarmed facing both the regulars of the British Army and the militias under the British.

    Clearly there is no way that this was the intention of the authors of the Constitution. And if the courts ever decided to re-interpret such ammendments it is the right of every arms bearing American and the duty of every U.S. soldier (if you've ever served you swore an oath to protect this country from powers both foreign and domestic) to kill those judges and remove that segment of government from power.

    The 2nd ammendment is our assurety against tyranny. It is the last and final line in our "checks and balances" within the government.

    - Saj
  • by GIL_Dude (850471) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:18PM (#17175624) Homepage
    Quite a bit since the guy in the tank needs to get out from time to time. Even the stuff that is up and coming like the tank you control from another country remote can have it visual sensors shot out and then that tank is a useless husk. Until they make humans that can't be shot, that rifle has plenty of life left in it.
  • by deesine (722173) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:19PM (#17175630)
    1. Children can hurt themselves with all manner of household objects. Why should guns be any more regulated than swimming pools in this regard?

    2. Shootings are only one part of the spectrum in domestic violence. Like point one, why should guns be any more regulated than say, hammers, in this regard?

    3. Accidentally killing a person whom you suspected of breaking into your home is a tragedy. But really, how often does this happen? And on the other side of that coin: civilians shoot more bad guys with guns every year than cops. Plus, they're five times more likely to be correct about the good/bad status of the shot person.

    I think you've presented the classic case of the Paternal Government, the one that defaults to being everyone's best protection against themselves. You are giving up your rights for the belief that you are more secure.

  • by garcia (6573) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:35PM (#17175854) Homepage
    It's not the cops I'm worried about. It's the sheep that have proven themselves to not give a fuck and instead tell you that you're paranoid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:35PM (#17175856)
    Our government?

    Since when does there exist an entity separate and detached from the people
    that we can call "the government?" We, the people, *are* the government and
    we are the only possible government. Everything that happens within this land
    cannot ever be attributed to some external force or agency but only to ourselves.

    It is a classic misinterpretation, but it also perhaps strongly reflects our
    national character. People no longer desire to actively determine their
    own affairs and destiny, as is required by a democratic nation, but would rather
    just indolently sit back and blame all social ills on the illusory specter of
    an indifferent "government."

    Regarding the right to bear arms, or anything else for that matter, the decision,
    if only tacitly, will always be our own.

    So please, do not refer to "our government," but refer only to yourself.

  • by BWJones (18351) * on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:36PM (#17175876) Homepage Journal
    Hi. Like the man said, 'from my cold dead hands.' Guns aren't just for the military, cops, and gang-bangers -- we have 'em to make sure that our government doesn't herd us into cattle-cars, and send us off to the thermal depolymerizor en masse. We've already got Extrordinary Rendition, what's after that?

    It's a little melodramatic, and trite, don't you think? But I suppose that coming from an actor, it was intended to be a sound bite. That said, a stable government is rarely going to suddenly and massively reverse course on an issue like this, but you make a good point with rendition and I suspect you intended to invoke the revocation of Habeus Corpus. The change happens over years where rights are slowly eroded from both the whako far left and from the extreme neo-cons that have held our government for the last few years. The left wants to take away gun rights because "guns are bad, m'kay?" and the right will cave to big business and slowly erode personal freedoms to further their goals and to keep those who are without down to enable cheap labor. I personally just see guns as a tool that far too many people attach some sort of mystical power to, handguns in particular. After all, most people who own handguns simply do not have enough training and someone with even a knife can do much more damage than a gun can deliver. What's next? Doing something totally absurd like banning knives as they are doing in the UK?

    Look, what people need to realize is that in any society where you have vast numbers of people, there is *always* going to be some sort of violence. However, violence can be mitigated through a stable government with flat economic pyramids where the gap between those that have everything and those that have nothing is reduced. Access to healthcare, housing and a job combined with supporting our Constitutional rights through separation of powers and a strong military is what our government needs to be focusing on. All of this other garbage to induce fear, make more needless laws and marginalize those rights that the founding fathers of this country worked so hard to establish is not remotely patriotic. In fact, one might make an argument for sedition given some of the rights that have been passed by lawmakers, whether they realize it or not....

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

    by delong (125205) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:39PM (#17175906)
    Be that as it may, "the people" is never used in the bill of rights to refer to citizens collectively

    It isn't? The "people" in the Fourth Amendment has been construed by the US Supreme Court to mean the class lawfully and voluntarily in the US and part of the national community. US v. Verdugo-Urquidez. I have no idea who the Framers would be referring to as "the people" if not the citizens of the United States.
  • by Jon Howard (247978) <howard...jon@@@gmail...com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:42PM (#17175946) Journal
    Police don't exist to keep you from harm, individually. If some guy is breaking into your house, intent on murdering you and raping your wife, you don't get to say "Hold on, chap, the police will be here in just a moment, and as they are here to serve and protect me, you must murder and rape them in my family's stead". They exist to enforce laws against those who are breaking them, and in the example - those who have broken them, after the fact. They will get you justice, sure, but not until after a crime has been committed.

    I'd trust my gun over a 5 minute police response time. Do you have more faith in the strength of your ground-level windows, and your plywood door than that?
  • You're right... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by raehl (609729) <raehl311@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:43PM (#17175952) Homepage
    It says something of the grandparent's personal character that when he sees a gun he thinks, "that's for killing" as opposed to "that's for safeguarding."

    You're right, it shows he's smarter than the average person, because he's able to understand that an object can have more than one function.

    By definition, if you have two guys with guns, and one is defending himself, the other one is trying to kill him.

    If everyone was running around only using guns to defend themselves, we wouldn't need guns to defend ourselves now, would we?

  • by hoxford (94613) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:43PM (#17175958)
    maybe instead of blindly applying the language, we ought to interpret it in the of the social and technological context of the modern day.

    No, because then you wind up with laws based on the whims of whatever administration that came before you. Interpretations are whishy-washy nonsense that depend far too much on a very few people's opinions. The perfect example is Bush's "interpretation" of executive powers and how that will now affect future administrations.

    If parts of the Constitution no longer fit with the "social and technological context of the modern day" as written, what should be done is to use the mechanisms described in the document to change it. Then it's an overt, above board process that everyone gets to participate in.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:45PM (#17175990)
    If the Constitution has one overwhelming flaw, it's that amending it is too hard.


    Your perceived flaw is what I consider the greatest thing about the constitution.

    The fact that a piece of paper still holds after 200+ for the most part attests to its strength. That it is not followed completely attests to our own flaws (of the court, people putting up with it, etcetera).
  • by melted (227442) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:45PM (#17175996) Homepage
    If they disallow gun ownership I'll move to the country where it's allowed. You see, lack of gun ownership is very convenient if you want to build a police state. You can ram through unruly crowds on a tank, completely invincible. If, on the other hand, people have guns - persons of power will feel a lot less comfortable after committing large scale atrocities against their own people. This applies both locally and on a federal level. Just because there can be a dude with a sniper rifle sitting on the roof.

    As far as I'm concerned, guns are the only remaining guarantee of democratic rights that citizens of this country still have. Guns are a great equalizer of power between those in power and those without.
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raehl (609729) <raehl311@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:52PM (#17176108) Homepage
    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.

    What are you trying to say?

    It seems like you are trying to say that the crime rate would be lower if nobody had guns. If that is what you are trying to say, either you are intentionally putting forth a bad argument, or you're stupid.

    We have two sets of data: Data when it was legal to own handguns on both sides of the river, and data when it was legal to own a gun on only the low-crime side of the river.

    The high-crime side of the river had high crime in both circumstances. At best, with the data you're using in your argument, you can argue that taking away legal handguns didn't make a difference.

    That's the big problem with the gun debate. There are very few people involved capable of a rational argument. They know what side they are on, and emotionally, irrationally argue in support of their position, summarily dismissing any information that does not help their cause, while seizing on any bit that seems to support it, no matter how flawed.
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:57PM (#17176172)
    The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, letting the lower court decision stand. In other words, banning handguns does not violate the constitution, if SCOTUS thought the ban was unconstitutional surely they would have taken the case.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2006 @02:59PM (#17176222)
    Christ. Half the problem with this country is American's basic inability to understand the simplest concepts of the US government.


    Yeah, and the other half is people like you who want to take away everyone else's *rights* because you're scared of what they might do with that right. As is usually the case, that fear is irrational. You have absolutely nothing to fear from 99.9999% of *legal* gun owners. Yet you're so afraid of what people who own guns *illegally* might do to you, you'd rather just ban guns altogether (as if that is a solution to the problem of people being able to obtain guns illegally), and you don't care if you destroy a Constitutional right in order to do it.

    It's funny how the anti-gun crowd pretends that they're just trying to interpret the Constitution, and only wish to apply it the way it was meant to be applied. In reality, if you *really* want to know how the 2nd Amendment was intended, you don't have to look very far. Read some of the writings of the people who actually *wrote* the damn thing, and it's obvious. They state explicitly that *individuals* need to be able to own guns. But of course you don't really care how it was intended. That's just a show you put on so that people will think your argument is based on the Constitution, rather than trying to destroy the Constitution.

    In reality, you don't give a rat's ass about the Constitution as a whole. You just want to cherry-pick the parts *you* think are important and discard the rest. And you're sick of hearing everyone heap praise and reverence on the "Founding Fathers" because you think you're smarter than they are, and besides times have changed, etc, etc. It's people like YOU that this country needs to guard against, because in your supreme arrogance, you're willing to destroy the very foundation of our freedom. (not that thousands of people just like you haven't already done so to a large degree. sigh.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:02PM (#17176256)
    The original post is dead-on, not you. As you and that little paragraph (from the *DOJ's website*) say: the Attorney General's opinions are just that: opinions. They are not statements of the law and they have no binding affect on anything.

    Just so you don't confuse anyone: The fact that such advisory opinions can be "admitted in a court of law as evidence of reliance that a person believed they were acting within the law" is only relevant for the (very few) crimes that explicitly require knowledge of the law as part of their mental state.
  • BS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by missing000 (602285) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:03PM (#17176266)
    Unorganized fails the "well regulated" test. The 2nd is talking about the national guard, not the boy scouts.
  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spetiam (671180) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:06PM (#17176306) Journal
    Because (1) gun bans violate essential liberties and (2) gun bans don't work. They don't. Get over it. Guns bans have never been shown to be causally linked to a decrease in murder or violence. If you have some formal evidence to the contrary, I'd be happy see it.
  • by raehl (609729) <raehl311@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:10PM (#17176354) Homepage
    What really angers me about the 'need firearms to protect us from the government' people is that they don't understand what they are really saying. "We need guns so the government doesn't take away our rights" they say.

    That's saying that you don't have to comply with the will over the democratically elected government. It's saying that if you don't like the law, yu're going to become a terrorist. That you would rather just become a terrorist than elect people who are going to protect your rights in the first place.

    The people who scream bloody murder about the government taking away the guns they need to protect their rights from the government tend to the VERY SAME PEOPLE who ELECT OFFICIALS WHO TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHTS!

    How many times have you heard someone say "We need guns to protect our rights!" and then say "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear!"

    How about instead of letting people say "Elect me, and I won't take away your guns!", you elect people who say "Elect me, and I'll repeal the Patriot Act!"

    People who argue that they need guns to protect their rights from the government are just gun nuts. The 'protect us from the government' argument is a red herring. If their RIGHTS were really what is important to them, they'd vote for people who wanted to protect their rights instead of people who wanted to protect their guns.

    But that's not what happens. Search you without a warrant? Listen in to your phone calls? Arrest and detain you, even if you're a US citizen, without access to courts or a lawyer? Torture people? Sure, we'll reelect that guy, as long as he promises we can keep our guns!

    Using the right to bear arms to protect your rights is useless if you're willing to trade away all your other rights just to keep your gun. Then what are you protecting?
  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pascalpp (684288) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:11PM (#17176362) Homepage

    Guns bans have never been shown to be causally linked to a decrease in murder or violence. If you have some formal evidence to the contrary, I'd be happy see it.
    Um, maybe you should check out the WHOLE REST OF THE WORLD.
  • Guns guns guns (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PenGun (794213) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:13PM (#17176374) Homepage
    I guess if you live where everybody is crazy and armed you would need a gun. I give thanks I do not live in such a place.

        PenGun
      The Peace Arch ... That's where South America starts
  • by Pros_n_Cons (535669) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:14PM (#17176398)
    What apparently is happening is that lawyers are trying to convince judges that what Jefferson and the Writers of the constitution meant by "militia" was a national guard type of organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. People can try and twist what was in the constitution all they want but even a moron knows the idea behind the gun law was not to protect people from Russia, or to protect people from theft, or to protect people from gang members.. it was to protect us from our own government. And now these laywers are trying to convince us they meant to _only_ give guns to national organizations such as the National Guard? Take a look at what people in this country are trying to do to the law and you can see just how important things like gun rights really are. As for lil 9mm's being no match for tanks those ppl are right. But where is the logic in saying well 9mm's dont work let them do what they want, might as well give them our guns. Thats a retarded statement I've heard over and over. They dont have a tank for every home. someone has to get out of that tank and knock on my door. Think about how much easier it is for someone to control a society who feels its futile to fight? Thats their goal and people are way too happy to just hand it over.
  • by Entropy (6967) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:29PM (#17176596)
    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?


    The President takes an Oath to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution.

    You say that it is not the executive branch's job to interpret the Constitution.

    But would you rather have someone protecting the Constitution who THINKS about what they are doing, or someone being an automaton?

    Because if THEY don't interpret it, how are they to protect it? Follow someone else's interpretation?

    Now - please show me in the Constitution itself (the supreme law of the US) where exactly it says the Supreme court has sole authority to interpret the Constitution?

    Guess what. You won't find it. They assumed that authority for themselves in Marbury.

    PS: Anyone reading the above as a defense of the current POTUS or his administration quite plainly isn't reading the same things I wrote ..
  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MoneyT (548795) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:31PM (#17176610) Journal
    What do you need most modern technology for? A car? A microwave? A swimming pool? A golf club? A compound bow? A knife? A chain saw? You don't NEED any of these things. You want them because they make a certain task easier and more convenient, but then, so does a gun. Just because a few people don't know how to obey the law is no reason to make my life more difficult.
  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:5, Insightful)

    by soft_guy (534437) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:31PM (#17176614)

    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.
    Even if gun bans worked (which they don't), I would not support them.

    Just like, if torture worked (which it doesn't), I would not support torture.

    Some folks think safety is more important than liberty. I disagree with them. I think that liberty is more important than safety, although I don't even agree that it has to be one or the other.
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:34PM (#17176660)
    So government can not stop you from owning nuclear weapon?

    Now you're catching on!

    Of course if we combine your view of an absolute right with originalist interpretation of the Constitution you only have a right to a musket but not a modern rifle.

    Where in the Second Amendment does it make any mention whatsoever of limitations about the type of arms? Answer: it doesn't. Therefore, any form of armament was allowed then, and any form of armament is allowed now.

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

    by AJWM (19027) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:35PM (#17176670) Homepage
    What doesn't make sense here?

    Your first sentence. I know lots of people with guns who don't kill people. I know of people without guns who do kill people.

    Also your last sentence. Expecting that banning guns will protect people from gun violence is like expecting that declaring your city a "nuclear free zone" (and I've seen the signs at some cities' limits) will protect it in case of nuclear attack.

    The only reason that banning guns could possibly make a difference in protecting people (as you put it, "Black leaders want to protect blacks from gun violence") is if they're a naturally violent society to start with. They may still get into fights but with only less-lethal weapons at hand, they don't kill each other as much. A non-violent society should have no problem with people carrying whatever weapons they want, because they'll only be used in defense against the rare individual who exhibits aberrant violent behaviour.

  • by outz (448278) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:37PM (#17176706)
    "A people can never be deprived of their liberties, while they retain in their own hands, a power sufficient to any other power in the state."
  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spetiam (671180) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:38PM (#17176712) Journal
    Thank you for making this point.

    We could all roll around in bubbles with cameras recording our every move, and I'm sure that would make this a safer society, but that would be...horrible.
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AuMatar (183847) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:39PM (#17176722)
    Not at all. You frequently cite cases from other circuits. Lower courts are not bound by it as precedent, but they are taken into consideration by the judge.
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:50PM (#17176864)
    "You see, lack of gun ownership is very convenient if you want to build a police state."

    You're forgetting the flip-side of that statement: in a country that allows gun ownership, you're expected to be the police. The United States is a country where people are trying to have their cake and eat it too; they want to own a gun, but they often want it as a penis extender, not to use it to secure public safety and promote domestic tranquility. Most gun owners still want the police to be around to get their hands dirty.
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Slugster (635830) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:56PM (#17176926)
    What's interesting is how (in the US)--the easiest way to correlate how much violent crime an area has is not by how many citizens own firearms, but by how many citizens collect welfare payments. In fact, a lot of common social problems seem to follow welfare recipients: unwed births, drug and alcohol addition, petty crime, auto theft, assault, rape, and so on. Has the NAACP ever tried to outlaw welfare programs?

    Also we note,,, -that the World Bank has extended massive amounts of money to various third-world shit holes, and many are still shit holes, 30+ years later. Rampant crime and corruption were the original reason for the loans--and yet those things still occur....

    Could it be that giving money to people who haven't earned it is not the wisest course of action?
    ~
  • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:59PM (#17176948) Homepage Journal

    To quote (from memory) a German commander on the Easter front during WWII: "Each of our tanks could beat five of theirs. We kept meeting six."

    How many tanks do you and your neighbors own?

    Doesn't matter, for multiple reasons:

    1. Tanks are ineffective anti-insurgency weapons. Notice that they were used in the Iraqi invasion, but these days they don't do much other than sit on street corners and look imposing.
    2. Unless they're moving fast and hard, tanks are easy prey for infantry. That's a rather surprising statement to most people who don't know anything about military history and tactics, but ask someone who does. That's why standard tank warfare doctrine accompanies the tanks with screening infantry, because otherwise enemy infantry will destroy the tanks.
    3. The US military has nowhere near enough tanks to deploy them effectively against a large-scale uprising in an area as large and heavily populated as the continental US, even ignoring the questions of what they'd do with them and how they'd protect them.

    Tanks are good for three things: (1) fighting other tanks, (2) smashing through enemy lines to create breaches that can be exploited by infantry and (3) looking scary to unorganized mobs.

    Similarly, much of the rest of the US military's advanced technology, particularly aircraft, isn't useful in scenarios where the enemy is mixed in with non-combatants or is just plain hard to find. Consider the fighting in Iraq, and the trouble the US military has with those insurgents, in spite of the fact that the opposition forces there are truly tiny.

    Finally, I'll just note that whenever this topic comes up, and a bunch of slashdotters declaim the worthlessness of early 20th-century small arms against modern military forces, I have never, ever found anyone among them that claims any military or even police experience. Find me an Air Force pilot, or an Army tanker, or a Marine attack helicopter pilot who argues that hunting rifles, handguns and IEDs couldn't be used to mount an effective insurgency because their hi-tech weapons are just too powerful. Seriously, ask some people who know something about war what they think, and you'll get a very different point of view.

  • amazing (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:00PM (#17176970)
    it is amazing that a lot of the people in this country who think the patriot act is trampling our rights, also think that taking away our right to keep and bear arms is going to make things better.
  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:01PM (#17176994) Homepage Journal
    This is a very interesting observation. Thank you.


    Its not certain exactly what rights this converys to the general population. It has never been tested by the Supreme Court. But it may be that if a state or locality decides to ban firearms, they cannot then create an armed police force. Their right (state or local law enforcement) to bear arms is derived from their right as a member of the general population to do so.


    Well, it doesn't follow that their right "as a member of the general population". In fact it's clear that the police right to bear arms does not in practice flow from any individual right of the officers. They can have their guns taken away, and if they don't have a carry permit they can't walk around armed.

    Let's say we assume that there is no second amendment right to individual firearm posession. The second amendment allows the "people" to be armed; if not as individuals, then this must certainly grant communities to arm chosen memebers of the community. Otherwise, the "people" aren't armed at all. The power exercised over the National Guard by the central government means that the existence of the Guard cannot be used, as many do, to prove that the Second Amdendment can be satisfied with no privately or locally controlled firearms.
  • by molarmass192 (608071) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:09PM (#17177060) Homepage Journal
    Don't forget that if that passes, we will be able to deduct all expenses incurred while potentially making those earnings including monthly fees, ISP costs, electricity costs, cost of the game, hardware, "office" space, training costs in terms of cable bill for receiving G4, plasma TV cost, etc. By treating gaming as an independent "business" they're gonna be promoting a whole lot of deductions that wouldn't otherwise be deductible. Heck ... I hope they go ahead and do it ... I'm looking to claiming my gaming "losses".
  • by buswolley (591500) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:12PM (#17177078) Journal
    Officially, /. is about nerdy news. However, the reality is different. Often the political articles are the most popular on /. and generate the most discussion. Perhaps it will ease your mind to think of it from a different perspective: Nerdy Perspectives about the News. A political discussion by nerds..

    Nerds see themselves as being part of an enlightened and well established subculture. To ignore every discussion which transcends the traditionally geeky however, would be paramount to calling that subculture stupid, out of touch with the world that influences their lives, in a word, unenlightened.

    It is obvious from the popularity of /. articles concerning rights, freedom, politics, and how we've been Bushywhacked for the last six years, implies that nerds care deeply about these issues. It is easy for the enlightened to see that we live in a dangerous world: from terrorism to oppression, from bi0 weapons to outsourcing IT to India, from global warming to bad presidents, surveillance to CowboyNeal's evil twin.

    The point is this: Nerds are smart, and when thy looked up from their code and saw the desperation of the world's people, they saw a world that needed their comments on Slashdot.

  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:16PM (#17177092) Homepage Journal
    There should be mandatory gun training and licencing, such way possibly misusers can be rated as such at earlier ages.

    Then, like with the Marijuana tax act, the government only needs to stop giving the classes to do away with the right.

    LK
  • by Tim C (15259) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:22PM (#17177154)
    The media and anti-gun zealots have tempered the fears of generations of people that think that guns are inherently dangerous.

    Guns *are* inherently dangerous - but so is gas, electricity, and many other things we have in our homes. The only question is whether the benefits outweigh the dangers.
  • by zeux (129034) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:32PM (#17177256)
    In short, if it gets that bad, the weapons will show.
    So why would you need the 2nd amendment in the first place?
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jadavis (473492) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:33PM (#17177268)
    That's the big problem with the gun debate. There are very few people involved capable of a rational argument. They know what side they are on, and emotionally, irrationally argue in support of their position, summarily dismissing any information that does not help their cause, while seizing on any bit that seems to support it, no matter how flawed.

    There are two issues:
    A. Does a government restriction on gun ownership, trade, etc. reduce violence?
    B. Is the ability to own, carry, trade, manufacture, modify, and transport firearms an important right?

    Not surprisingly, this makes for 3 types of people:
    (1) People who don't care much about (A), and want government bans or restrictions.
    (2) People who don't care much about (A), and don't want government bans or restrictions.
    (3) People who can be swayed by (A).

    I am the second type of person. I think these rights are important, and I am willing to pay the costs in terms of risk, if increased risk exists.

    However, I am rational enough to realize that question (A) is an empirical one, and the answer is different in different situations. I personally think that in the U.S., (A) is false overall. However, even if results show that (A) is true, I would not support bans or restrictions.

    I also don't buy for a second the idea that the Second Amendment is meant for anyone other than private citizens. The Second Amendment says "the right of the people" not "the right of the militia". The Constitution is very important, and if you value the other rights listed, you will not dilute the Second Amendment right. If you feel strongly against it, the only way to change it without destroying the Constitution is to Amend the Constitution to repeal the Second Amendment. I'd rather that happened than giving judges the power to re-interpret the Constitution to say whatever they want it to say.

    The Second Amendment is actually written more strongly than the First. The First Amendment merely prohibits Congress, and only with the 14th does it really have as much power as it does.
  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bastard User From He (809248) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:33PM (#17177272)
    http://www.neahin.org/programs/schoolsafety/gunsaf ety/statistics.htm [neahin.org]
    "* 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)"

    Go ahead, and kill your selfs with your stupid guns, so that so-calles "terrorists" don't have to bother.
  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms@@@infamous...net> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:41PM (#17177344) Homepage
    No they don't violate any liberties. Seriously, what do you need a gun for?

    What do you need a book for?

    I don't have to justify my rights to you, that's the nature of rights.

    However, to assist your understanding: Human beings have a need to defend themselves against the small percentage of them who commit violent acts. Using a firearm is an effective way to effect such a defense.

    Of late it's become fashionable in some circles to argue that this defense should be solely collective, that an individual right to self-defense is very limited; that if you are threatened, you only have the right to call a government employee to come help you. (And if that employee arives too late to help - as they usually will if you're being immediately threatened? Well, then that's just too bad.)

    Arugments that the right of self-defense is less individual than the right of free speech are nonsensical. I stand firmly in favor of each person's right to defend themselves, and that has to include access to tools for effective self-defense - for the right to keep and bear arms.

  • by xstonedogx (814876) <xstonedogx@gmail.com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:45PM (#17177390)
    That's saying that you don't have to comply with the will over the democratically elected government.


    No, that's like saying you don't have to comply with the will of a tyrannical government (democratic or otherwise). It is because these people recognize individual sovereignty and know that the government has no natural sovereignty or power.

    It's saying that if you don't like the law, yu're going to become a terrorist. That you would rather just become a terrorist than elect people who are going to protect your rights in the first place.


    No, it's like saying if someone is going to tread on you, you're going to defend yourself. You do realize the difference between attacking civilian targets to influence policy and defending yourself against agents of a tyrannical government, right? For instance, right or wrong, crazy or sane, the Montana Freemen were not terrorists.

    The people who scream bloody murder about the government taking away the guns they need to protect their rights from the government tend to the VERY SAME PEOPLE who ELECT OFFICIALS WHO TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHTS!


    Please show me an elected official who hasn't increased government power at the expense of our rights. Since many people vote on a host of issues and often feel dis-empowered to vote for someone who truly represents them (perhaps a third party) your argument isn't particularly compelling. In fact, if anything, it supports the idea that we need our guns to keep our rights.

    How many times have you heard someone say "We need guns to protect our rights!" and then say "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear!"


    From my mouth? Never. Please don't conflate the small, but voracious neo-con movement with true conservatism as it relates to the power of the government.

    How about instead of letting people say "Elect me, and I won't take away your guns!", you elect people who say "Elect me, and I'll repeal the Patriot Act!"


    The guy I voted for said both. In fact, that's why he got my vote.

    Your position simply makes no sense to me. You seem to be frightened of ignorant mobs but perfectly willing to let those mobs take away your gun before they tear you apart. I completely agree that people should vote out the people who fail to preserve our rights (and have an integral position). I share your anger at those who would take away our rights or empower the same. However, I fail to see why we should give away yet another right just because we've failed to protect others.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:03PM (#17177548)
    I've got an idea, if those 'methods' aren't torture, go to that internet thingie, find yourself an S&M club, walk in there, sign your wavier and say that you only want done to you what the Justice Dept believes 'isn't torture'. If by the end of the day, you don't see those activities as actual torture, you should be there every weekend.
  • by Millenniumman (924859) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:10PM (#17177612)
    Those "virtual" assets are actually worth something. Virtual weapons aren't actually weapons.
  • Why own a gun? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wansu (846) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:13PM (#17177640)


    You should own guns because there are bad people with guns who may use them against you. If you have a gun, you have the option to fight them. If you don't have a gun, you are at their mercy.

    Gun laws are not effective in reducing bad people's access to guns. Many, if not most, bad people aren't supposed to have guns anyway because of previous bad behavior. Banning guns has no effect on them.

    Private citizens in the USA have always had guns. This is a defining characteristic of the USA. It is a big deal. Mao knew what he was talking about when he said all power flows from the barrel of a gun. This is why it is best to distribute this power.

  • by ductonius (705942) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:14PM (#17177646) Homepage

    That's saying that you don't have to comply with the will over the democratically elected government.

    No, you don't if that government is tyrannous. When the machinery of government turns against the voter, the voter has a moral obligation to his fellow citizens to turn against the government. If you have even the faintest knowledge of history you know of at least one tyrannical dictatorship that was voted into power. (which then proceeded to disarm the populace. I wonder why?)

    It's saying that if you don't like the law, yu're going to become a terrorist.

    Because we know there's no middle ground on the continuum of "model citizen ----> terrorist".

    That you would rather just become a terrorist than elect people who are going to protect your rights in the first place.

    You're ignoring that democracy doesn't work perfectly all the time. Voters are not perfectly informed. Candidates are not perfectly honest. If someone gets elected on an 'rights' platform and then turns around and does the exact opposite who's at fault? Not the voters.

    Voters need a means by which gross miscarriages of democracy can be corrected, a means by which they can ultimately hold control over the country. That means is guns. The scarrier and more powerful the better.

    How many times have you heard someone say "We need guns to protect our rights!" and then say "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear!"

    The only time I've heard people say that is in sarcasm when they're trying to characterize thier opponents as ignorant.

    Truly, the people who want to keep their guns for protection against the government are the same people who want to keep the government from being able to find out about their guns.

    How about instead of letting people say "Elect me, and I won't take away your guns!", you elect people who say "Elect me, and I'll repeal the Patriot Act!"

    And if there was a politician who said both of those they'd win in the largest landslide victory ever. However, from what I've seen of US politics, it tends to be either one or the other.

    The logic of voting for the pro-gun candidate is that while repealing the patriot act wont protect anyone from future threats to democracy, keeping guns around will. Furthermore, if the patriot act is used tyrannically, guns can protect the voter from that too. The pro-gun voter is maximizing his options.

    If their RIGHTS were really what is important to them, they'd vote for people who wanted to protect their rights instead of people who wanted to protect their guns.

    One's guns protect one's rights. They are protecting thier rights.

    But that's not what happens. Search you without a warrant? Listen in to your phone calls? Arrest and detain you, even if you're a US citizen, without access to courts or a lawyer? Torture people?

    Do you actually think you weren't already subject to all of those?

    Every government does as it please to a certain extent. If the government wanted to search your house they'd do it. (Where the hell is the Watergate Hotel, anyway?) If the US didn't want to listen to all of your overseas/domestic phone calls they'd ask Canada to do it for them (as a non-Canadian we can do this to you, and vice versa).

    Do you think the CIA's Cold-War-holdover detention centers in Europe were created recently?

    Don't be so naive. Many of the powers GWB is exercising were created by other presidents so they could do what they wanted. And they did. You lived, perfectly happily, through all those administrations because in reality, they didn't care who you were, what you did, where you went, who you screwed or what you said. They held no malice toward you.

    Guns are necessary for the day when a president *does* hold malice toward the US population.

  • by Urza9814 (883915) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:22PM (#17177724)
    What really angers me about the 'need firearms to protect us from the government' people is that they don't understand what they are really saying. "We need guns so the government doesn't take away our rights" they say.

    That's saying that you don't have to comply with the will over the democratically elected government. It's saying that if you don't like the law, yu're going to become a terrorist. That you would rather just become a terrorist than elect people who are going to protect your rights in the first place.


    Germans elected Hitler. One of the first things he did was take guns away from the jews and others he didn't like. Aside from which, just because someone's elected doesn't mean you voted for them or approve of them. If the rest of the country goes insane, it doesn't automatically mean I am too.

    The people who scream bloody murder about the government taking away the guns they need to protect their rights from the government tend to the VERY SAME PEOPLE who ELECT OFFICIALS WHO TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHTS!

    I'm not. You can't say I elected an official who is taking away our rights, Sure, ANY official you elect will take away some rights, but I already am lacking the right to vote, so there's not much I can do about that. Either way, I've heard many a gun nut say that they won't vote because it's simply giving that person the ability to take away your rights. While I don't agree with that, I see their point.

    How many times have you heard someone say "We need guns to protect our rights!" and then say "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear!"

    Never.

    How about instead of letting people say "Elect me, and I won't take away your guns!", you elect people who say "Elect me, and I'll repeal the Patriot Act!"

    As I've already stated, they haven't yet given me the right to vote. And yes, I'm a citizen.

    People who argue that they need guns to protect their rights from the government are just gun nuts. The 'protect us from the government' argument is a red herring. If their RIGHTS were really what is important to them, they'd vote for people who wanted to protect their rights instead of people who wanted to protect their guns.

    We can't all vote, and the person we vote for isn't always elected. It is possible, and has happened, that the people the majority vote for is not the person who is elected.

    But that's not what happens. Search you without a warrant? Listen in to your phone calls? Arrest and detain you, even if you're a US citizen, without access to courts or a lawyer? Torture people? Sure, we'll reelect that guy, as long as he promises we can keep our guns!

    Using the right to bear arms to protect your rights is useless if you're willing to trade away all your other rights just to keep your gun. Then what are you protecting?


    You're making generalizations saying that all gun nuts are republicans. Quite a few of us are libertarians. Aside from which, 49% of America didn't vote for Bush. 49% of us are getting screwed by someone we didn't want. And what happens when someone breaks all their campaign promises? There is absolutely no guarantee that the guy you elect will do what you want.
  • by heypete (60671) <pete@heypete.com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:31PM (#17177816) Homepage
    The long guns in my safe are kept unloaded, with ammo either in magazines or its original boxes nearby (usually either in ammo cans in the safe, or on a shelf immediately outside the safe).

    My bedside pistol, however, is kept loaded with a round chambered (the Springfield XD-45, like most pistols, this is perfectly safe to do, so long as one does not disengage the safeties and pull the trigger). This gun sits in my bedside table drawer and is kept in a holster to prevent accidental actuation of the trigger. In the event of an emergency -- particularly late at night when I'd be disoriented -- it's far easier to grab the grip of the pistol with one hand and grab the holster with the other and pull the two apart than it would be to grab a magazine, ensure it's facing the right way, and insert it into the gun.

    Leaving the slide open is just asking for an accident -- having a slide close on your finger hurts a lot, and could easily interfere with a self-defense scenario.

    In many home defense scenarios, time is of the utmost importance. While in a non-stressed situation, you or I could think clearly enough to insert the magazines, close the slide, and make the gun ready to fire without any trouble, it's much more difficult in a stressful, dark situation where one might have just been awakened. Keeping things simple is key.

    Also, note that many homes that have children and guns may very well have children who are properly trained in the safe use of guns, and won't handle them without adult supervision. For some families, it may be more prudent to have a lockable gun box next to the bed or in the closet to keep their kids from accessing the guns (particularly useful with very young children), but for others it might not be necessary. Remember that "children" is often defined as those under 18 -- I know several people who have teenage offspring who are mature, educated, and better trained in firearms than most people. It's not these people you need to worry about.

    Just my $0.02.
  • by Kingrames (858416) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:35PM (#17177848)
    Contrary to what you may think, there are plenty of "nerds" here who are very concerned about their right to carry a gun in self-defense.

    There are still others eager to hear their opinions.

    Just because you don't associate guns with nerds does not mean that the two are mutually exclusive.

    There are probably plenty of people here on Slashdot who actually DO carry guns for self-defense, considering that they probably aren't as confident in their bow-staff skillz as you apparently are.
  • by xstonedogx (814876) <xstonedogx@gmail.com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:43PM (#17177920)
    On a small scale (a la Kent State), you are probably right, since they can simply choose a commander who is willing.

    On a large scale, officers and soldiers alike would have to decide whether to obey orders. These folks all swore to defend the Constitution. Likely, anyone planning a military coup would be quietly removing those likely to defect from positions of power, so would hold onto the majority of military assets (but probably not all). However, in the event of such a coup, the majority of civilians would almost certainly be on the side of the defectors and could help turn the tide. If the civilian/defectors have moral superiority, defection will probably continue to their side throughout the conflict. (Anyone who sees their friends' head blown off will only have more reason to defect - they'll do it the second they get the chance, even if they obey orders while they're being watched.)

    Heck, we're fighting a war across the world that has resulted in high-ranking officers retiring from service in disgust. Such people would not sit by while a tyrannical government slaughtered and imprisoned American civilians. Likewise, entire states may secede in which case their national guard and any military assets within the states borders would likely fall to the defecting side.

  • by dxlts (1037812) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:56PM (#17178038)
    You're wrong on all counts. The second amendment *isn't* written in a way that limits gun ownership to militias. It's only people like you who misread it that think it says that.

    It says:

    "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".

    But somehow, you managed to read:

    "A well regulated militia blah blah blah bear arms blah blah blah"

    Secondly, you think the government doesn't fear handguns and rifles? Don't you remember watching the Tiennemen Square bloodbath? Now imagine you can rewind that tape, and put a handgun in the hands of each and every one of those protesters. You seriously think it would have just turned out the same? I think not.

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

    by jadavis (473492) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @06:14PM (#17178200)
    In my mind, this safety means:

          1. Safety from fellow citizens, and
          2. Safety from the government.


    Neither of those are, at their heart, rights, nor are either of those the basis for a right. Both of those are still empirical questions, and nothing more. Does freedom of speech increase or decrease the incidence of spontaneous combustion? It doesn't matter, freedom of speech is a right.

    The basis for the right to bear arms is the right to defend yourself. If you depend on the government for all of your safety, then the rest of your rights are meaningless. Consider this: if the government doesn't like you, and you depend on the government for your safety, all they have to do is stop making you safe from people that can harm you. They may release people from prison, or not put someone in prison that they should. Or they just might make it a well-known fact that they will not protect you, and wait for non-governmental citizens to have their way with you.

    Think if you're a black person in the deep south a few decades ago. Perhaps everyone knows that the government won't arrest someone for hurting or stealing from black people. It's a form of passive punishment, and it's very real. It's happened in a million forms throughout history, and the founders knew that. It's a way of passing the buck saying "we didn't kill him" when they just didn't provide the protections necessary such that he wouldn't be killed.

    You can't stop all forms of passive punishment by governments, but allowing citizens to defend themselves closes an important loophole.
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @06:15PM (#17178206) Homepage Journal

    In reality, you don't give a rat's ass about the Constitution as a whole. You just want to cherry-pick the parts *you* think are important and discard the rest. And you're sick of hearing everyone heap praise and reverence on the "Founding Fathers" because you think you're smarter than they are, and besides times have changed, etc, etc. It's people like YOU that this country needs to guard against, because in your supreme arrogance, you're willing to destroy the very foundation of our freedom. (not that thousands of people just like you haven't already done so to a large degree. sigh.)
    I'd just like to say, it's an add-on to the constitution and I don't think that applying a patch would cause the whole thing to be destroyed.

    But I do wish that if people wanted to amend the amendment, they'd be upfront about it (i.e. I think you're right to be upset that they're trying to reinterpret it and to claim it's the original meaning).
  • Re:NAACP and guns (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lordrashmi (167121) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @06:28PM (#17178342)
    If you want to compare licensing guns to licensing cars, then here is a good point.

    The government only licenses cars and drivers for use on public roads. I can go out and buy any vehicle I want, and as long as I only use it on private property, the government doesn't care. I don't need brake lights, airbags or anything else the government requires, as long as I only use the vehicle on private property. It is once I take it onto public roads that the government cares.

    This should be true for guns as well. What I do on my private property on my business, as long as I don't endanger people around me. So in a residential neighborhood I should be able to keep any firearm I like, but not discharge them (as it poses a danger to those around me). However, if I am out in the middle of nowhere (again on private property) I should be able to discharge any firearm I like. However, if I want to carry a loaded weapon with me in public, the state government should be able.

    In my state this is true. If I wanted to carry a concealed handgun, I would have to pass a background check, go through a safety course and pass a test. In addition, once I was issued a license I would be subject to a stricter set of rules when carrying the weapon.
  • by enosys (705759) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @06:36PM (#17178426) Homepage
    I just think it's in the wrong section. It should be in politics [slashdot.org] not YRO [slashdot.org].
  • by dircha (893383) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @06:43PM (#17178504)
    1. If the U.S. founders and revolutionary army had put their fate in the hands of protest songs and peaceful sit-ins rather than armed rebellion, we might very well today still be paying our taxes to the U.K.
    2. Iraq is a vivid demonstration of the effectiveness of armed citizen resistance. The Iraqi people are better armed than us.

    I strongly support liberal social programs, but when it comes to certain essential personal freedoms I find they are hypocritical cowards.

    Western liberals have developed a false sense of security through years of living under impotent administrations permitting open dissent and demonstration. They take this for granted, believing their disssent and peaceful demonstration have secured their rights.

    In reality, we are always one election cycle away from tyranny.

    Bush is no tyrant (*shock*, but hey, this is Slashdot). In fact he's downright moderate compared to some past wartime administrations. But if you doubt the difference a single election cycle can make, look no further than the 2000 elections. Had a statewide recount been conducted in Florida - had all the votes been counted - the world today would be a very different place.

    Think long and hard before you give up the guaranteer of your liberty. Once you have, it is too late.
  • by pavera (320634) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @07:59PM (#17179300) Homepage Journal
    The second amendment has very little to do with "self defense" from crime, or anything like that.

    The second amendment is to protect us from 2 things:
    1) In the event of foreign invasion, the populace has the means to effectively fight.
    2) In the event of a tyrannical (read Bush Administration) government the populace has the ability to overthrow the government.

    The liberals arguing for gun control have been staring at the best reason to allow people to own guns for the last 6 years.
    Anyone who argues that our liberties have been unduly restricted, infringed or otherwise violated should be 100% in favor of gun ownership.
    It is there to give us the means to insure our liberties. It is the final check/balance provided by our constitution. If it all starts to go to hell, well we can revolt and at least have a fighting chance of winning. Without guns, that right is effectively revoked.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2006 @08:09PM (#17179364)
    Officially, /. is about nerdy news. However, the reality is different. Often the political articles are the most popular on /. and generate the most discussion.

    And since I have no interest in those discussions, I explicitly have the Politics section set not to display. Now I get them in YRO as well. It's 'Your Rights Online", not "Your Rights, Online".

  • by leereyno (32197) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @08:25PM (#17179522) Homepage Journal
    News for nerds, stuff that matters?

    As a card carrying member of the NRA, this issue is of course very important to me. What I don't understand is why it is important to the slashdot community. Every year there are countless news stories that slashdot does not cover, surely including ones that are more relevant to a communit defined by its interest in computer technology.

    The tone of the initial post, which says in part "...the right to bear arms only applies to 'a well regulated militia'..." demonstrates the reason why this topic can be found here, which is that this site is run by leftists who have bought into the rhetoric of the left which calls for the disarmament of the people as a pre-requisite of their disempowerment and disenfrancisement.

    All I can say is that I will fight the forces of evil and oppression to my last dying breath. You want my guns? You'll have to kill me first, and I'm ready and willing to take as many of you with me as I can.

  • Cue the gun nuts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by misanthrope101 (253915) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @08:49PM (#17179686)
    The irritating this is, I agree with the gun nuts, only they don't agree with me. I'm largely libertarian, and I largely oppose gun control. But they're still nuts, because they can marshall these cogent, well-reasoned, well-documented arguments against gun control, and tell you why the 2nd Amendment is necessary for freedom, but they consider anyone who supports any of the other nine amendments to be godless liberal hippies who hate America.

    If the gun nuts brought the same passion for freedom, the same skepticism for government intrustion, and the same unflagging vigilance to the other nine amendments as they do to the 2nd one, our country would be a much better place. But try getting them riled up about torture-induced confessions or preventing school-mandated prayer and that skepticism towards government vanishes. They're not really anti-government, but anti-anti-gun. They're very articulate and impressive one-trick ponies. So I give my money to the ACLU. It isn't perfect, but 9/10 is 9 times better than 1/10.

  • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @09:41PM (#17180148) Homepage Journal

    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. What is the likelihood of a significant portion of the military defecting after watching their friend get his head blown off by their commander, with the gun is now pointed directly at them?

    This is based on your own extensive military experience, is it?

    I thought not.

    Let me tell you what would really happen to an officer who shot a man for disobeying an order which most of his men thought wrong and of questionable legality:

    He'd become a casualty. Probably not right away, but soon. Battlefields are dangerous places and deadly accidents happen with great regularity, especially to those who are perceived to be a greater risk than the enemy.

    What's far more *likely* to happen is that the officer would be fully aware that his men are going to be uncomfortable with the order, and in fact he's likely to be at least as uncomfortable with it as they are. Officers are, on average, better educated than the men they lead, and are encouraged to think more deeply about the issues and are more directly responsible for determining what is right and wrong. ALL soldiers are responsible for evaluating the legality and correctness of the orders they're given, but the burden is much heavier on the leaders. A maxim of military leadership is "Never give an order that won't be obeyed". Why? Because giving such an order has no effect other than to undermine your authority to give any orders.

    Given that, what would such an officer actually do, given that his orders require him to give an order that he doesn't like and which his men may well refuse to obey? First he's going to look for any alternative that allows him to accomplish his mission without giving that order. Failing to find any, he may or may not give the order, but if he does and finds it refused, he'll most likely have the man or men who refused the order arrested. Not shot, arrested. Then, at the court martial, when the men say that they refused the order because they could not in good conscience carry it out, the officers of the court will consider very carefully whether or not the order was correct. If they decide it was, the soldier on trial might be executed, though it's more likely that he would just be imprisoned. If this was an isolated case, that would be the end of it. If the refusal were widespread, however, the military leadership would get the message that their forces cannot be used in this way. They would inform the commander in chief that the military was unable to accomplish the mission rather than risk widespread mutiny.

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

    by Yunzil (181064) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @10:52PM (#17180640) Homepage
    I call BS. In this year's rankings, DC is #19, behind cities like Memphis, Trenton, and Kansas City. DC has improved greatly since the handgun ban was passed.

    Yeah, and before women got the vote we didn't have the threat of nuclear war.

    Logical fallacy: post hoc ergo propter hoc

    Just because one thing happens after another thing does not mean the second thing was caused by the first.
  • by Desert_Scarecrow (998677) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @11:29PM (#17180926)
    Dear poster,

    Currently, a bunch of poor, under-educated fighters are beating the U.S. military using propane tanks, styrofoam, gasoline, and an abudnant supply of military ordinance. Most of them are not residents of the country they are doing this in; they are operatives from foreign countries who have been trained on how to establish support from the locals.

    One of their greatest weaknesses is that despite the fact that the country they operate in was, until recently, the 4th most heavily armed country in the world, they have difficulty in aquiring military-grade munitions. Thankfully, they are turning more and more to homemade explosives, indicating that the supply of military-grade is dwindling. I say thankfully because this is my second tour, and it indicates that my third will not be as violent as the first two.

    If you think the U.S. military is invincible you are wrong. If you think that it would be very very hard to beat without munitions, you would be right. Simply choose between legal posession of firearms (which is a habit less dangerous than legal posession of cars, swimming pools, or alcohol) versus the ability of your government to oppress you at any time with no recourse of any kind.

    Thanks,

    A US Servicemember
  • Re:US DOJ says (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DoninIN (115418) <don.middendorf@gmail.com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @11:55PM (#17181114) Homepage
    Moreover, you are absolutely wrong that it makes any difference what the weapon is when the passion to kill arises.

    I call BS!

    I've been stabbed, at close range, by someone who was mad enough to kill me, got a little blood on me and a cool scar to show for it, at that range the same person with even a relatively harmless handgun would have killed me, or at least I would have this long "time I got shot and had surgery" story to tell. I submit it's ridiculous to say easy access to firearms (Handguns or long guns) doesn't aid in the commision of crimes of passion. Example, I have a swiss army knife handy, as well as a stick I saw laying in the yard, there's a .357 locked up in a closet, now if I lose my marbles and decide to go after a family member with murderous intent on my mind, if I get the swiss army knife, or the stick, what are the odds they'll survive? A bit better than if I get the magnum huh?

    Disclaimer, I'm very pro-gun ownership by people qualified to do so, and have no problem with some government regulation of firearms especially those can be easily concealed or that pack tremendous firepower. For whatever reason this sane sounding opinion puts me alone at the lunatic fringe with the anti-gun people thinking I'm a wacko gun-nut and the gun people thinking I'm a gun seizing lib. Strange.....

  • by ancientt (569920) <ancientt@yahoo.com> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @12:26AM (#17181306) Homepage Journal
    Oh the irony! The issue of whether or not non-militia individuals have a right to bear arms is about the comma as well.

    The hand written version does, the version ratified by the states does not. If the comma is to be taken as intended, then the militias have the right to bear arms, but common people don't. If the law is to be taken as written when ratified, then the common people do have the right to bear arms.

    There is solid precident and writing to support either cause but I think it worth considering two pertinant facts.

    1. The democratic rule rose out of a fight against tyranny and the rights were to protect the people from the same problems the drafters of the bill of rights had experienced. The writers were probably very concerned to make sure that the common people always would have a way to fight the government should it exhibit symptoms of tyranny.
    2. The right to bear arms is grouped with other civil liberties and as such, if taken in context, can only be associated with the rights of the common man.
    Funny, AC parent considers the topic to be intended as written and thus not correctly placed. The topic at hand is a debate on whether the amendment should be taken as written or not.
  • by rkcallaghan (858110) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @01:16AM (#17181622)
    Prosecution of a handful of grunts after an embarrassing public picture fiasco doesn't mean shit. Not one of them was of an officer, all enlisted men. Fire some college kids to make the public say "SEE! We prosecuted them!". Again however, prosecution doesn't support your original position that soldiers can and will refuse those orders. All it says at this point is that if you end up on the 6 o'clock news they'll sacrifice some enlisted scapegoats.

    ~Rebecca
  • Re:My proposal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sco08y (615665) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @01:52AM (#17181846)
    Firearms are a problem in major urban centers but not a big problem in rural states. Each state crafts its own rules.

    There simply is no such thing as an urban or rural state, Washington DC being the exception that proves the rule. Every state has urban centers and rural areas so you'd have to push firearms laws down to the county level. This would result in an impossible patchwork of laws.

    Also, from a moral perspective, such a law would ensure that those least able to move would be stuck in areas where they would be prohibited from defending themselves.
  • by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @02:18AM (#17181992) Journal
    You would have discovered the following:

    There are two types of militia, civil milita (unorganized civilians bearing own arms) and state milita (national guard, state troopers, standing forces, whatever is organized for and paid (and bearing arms owned) by the state).

    Well regulated meant only one, and possibly two things. You are reading "regulated" as in today's "regulations".

    Regulated, in the 1787 terminology, refers to only one thing. "Disciplined and officered." No joke, a militia with a set structure, even if self organized, is a "well regulated militia". The irony is that the term can also be read to mean "well equiped, trained and supplied."

    The ratification misdeeds do not even enter into it.

    What I find ironic, is that you are all begging for scraps from the tables of lords and masters with loyalties to anyone but you. Washington DC is a crime capital under a declared "state of crime emergency" since July or August of 2006 (don't remember the exact date). And it isn't just guns, some british guy got knifed and killed in his own driveway, which makes the "protect yourself by staying home" or "don't go into the dangerous parts of DC after dark" completely idiotic.

    Since most of you are socialist "democrats" or so called "liberals" (my how that term stopped meaning what it used to mean in Jefferson's day), perhaps this example comes closest to your hearts. Some time ago, in their home in Germantown (rich part of Wash, DC) Theresa Heinz Kerry got ROBBED while outside of their home. Yep, John Kerry's wife... the ketchup girl. Humorously, the news barely touched on it, presumably for fear that the properties there would stop soaring in price, and also that the DC 30year gun ban would go bust if even the big antigunners are being robbed at screwdriver point (making the gunban worthless, what next, piece of rock and treebranch ban?)

    (Frankly, I didn't know there were any "safe" zones in that DC, I've watched drug deals and "hot merchandise" deals, going on within plain sight of police squad cars (and the cops within them), and it wasn't a sting, nobody got busted AND there were no headlines or sirens/lights the whole day I was there. I left severely perturbed by that sight. I called the cops about it, and got the run around, they took my statement and basically blew me off. Guess if shots weren't fired, or blood spilled, it wasn't worth their time, though how would "shots be fired" in a gun ban city?)

    However, you are correct, the "founders" were two separate camps which are mistaught in history class, one was the rich fascistic overlords known as the "federalists" (a hijacking of the term that has stuck) and the other, the unprepared, populist/agrarian/Jeffersonian group, lead by the very vocal Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams, were the ANTI Federalists (of whom you may hear little or nothing in high school history and if you are fortunate, a tad smidgen from a libertarian professor in college, IF you are lucky). James Madison watered down the actual text, but the states all ratified the text THEY felt was necessary. Do some research while the National Archives are still available to the public. It might open everyone's eyes, especially since we're geeks, we're supposed to be libertarians at heart, seeking knowledge and truth, instead of being gimme gimme beggars and weaklings.
  • Right to Bear Arms (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Z34107 (925136) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @02:43AM (#17182152)

    Perhaps consider the intentions of the framers. Thomas Jefferson said that "a little revolution now and then is a good thing" [wikiquote.org], and the "shot heard 'round the world" was in defense of a private cache of arms about to be confiscated by the British.

    Jefferson, at least, saw revolution as another check against the government and weapons as a way to enable the citizenry to do this.

  • by surfcow (169572) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @03:02AM (#17182228) Homepage
    The US constitution was a best-effort. It was not written by god on a tablet. It's authors said it was deeply flawed and they hoped it would last 20 years. It needs an over-haul.

    Because smart people can't agree on even the most basic intentions of the constitution's authors. Do people have a right to arms or not? What kinds of arms? It there a right to privacy or not? Even from the government? It is NOT CLEAR. And it won't EVER get any clearer.

    Some people say that is the beauty of the document, it's flexibility and ability to be reinterpreted.

    I say bullshit. I don't want to hear about *implied* rights. Spell it out clearly, in contemporary english, with no spin. We don't live in the dark ages, we can examine the ideas of the past and use what is useful.

    I think we need to update the language of the constitution. Maybe we need a constitutional convention every 10 or 20 years as Jefferson suggested, to carefully clarify the language. Baby steps.

    And do we want to add new rights? Should there be a right to euthanasia, a basic job, basic health care, an abortion, basic shelter, a basic education, porn? How about freedom FROM religion? We seem to *effectively* have some of these rights, but not literally. Why not?

    Would someone please get Richard Stallman on this? And Linus Tovalds?

  • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot@kadin.xoxy@net> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @03:07AM (#17182244) Homepage Journal
    The interesting thing about Baltimore being #2, and D.C. #3 or #4 this year is that everyone got bumped down a notch because Memphis came from behind at the last minute to steal the crown as Most Dangerous; D.C. or Baltimore didn't really do anything different.

    Although (and I live right outside DC, FYI) a lot of people here took this as some sort of good thing, it doesn't mean that the District got any safer necessarily, it just means that some other places got dramatically worse.

    Pretty much everybody I know has a "crazy District story" involving close proximity to someone who was being shot/stabbed/mugged, and there has definitely not been any dramatic improvement there lately (in fact, if anything it's gotten worse, with previously 'safe' areas becoming more dangerous). When there is a particularly high-profile incident in a revenue-generating area of the city (Farragut, Georgetown, etc.) there will be a lot of additional police presence there for a while -- classic security theater -- in order to keep people from doing their drinking elsewhere, but nothing really changes. (And if you do get yourself shot, beaten, or stabbed in the District, you can look forward the ineptitude of the EMS service [emsresponder.com]; truly a winning combination.)
  • by RandySC (9804) <SlashDot@Call[ ]ster.Net ['iga' in gap]> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @03:16AM (#17182284)
    The Bill of Rights does not grant rights to individuals. It spells out what government cannot do. The individuals had these rights prior to the creation of government.
  • by IBitOBear (410965) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:17AM (#17183902) Homepage Journal
    I am most amused by this debate. I find it amazing that the whole country rolled over like a good dog when the knife, sword, and club were criminalized despite their clear existence as "arms". If I have common sporting equipment (baseball bat, eppe[sword variant], knife [e.g. dive knife, hunting knife, etc) I can be declared "armed and dangerous" and yet I am somehow not protected by my right to "keep and bare arms".

    Am I just being obtuse?

    Not really.

    Mos forms of legal erosion start way out in the conceptual boondocks. The water of compromise and common consent is forced under the foundation to rip away the necessary supports. One concession at a time we go from "defenders of democracy" to the modern inquisition at Gitmo. We slip gently from "free expression" to "free speech zones". The right to keep and bare arms to getting strip-searched for having nail-clippers or hair-gel in some allegedly sacrosanct setting.

    Rome didn't "fall" it "settled". It was poisoned from within by fear, petty weaknesses, and the inexorable force that is "shifting public policies".

    After careful consideration I would say that the second amendment can be translated into the following modern english:

    Each member of society has the right to be, individually, _at_ _least_ as well armed as any member of the government that claimes to govern them.

    Explicit in that concept is the simple fact that it is fundamentally in line with the founding fathers intent that I, or any other citizen, full well deserve to be able to "out-gun the local police" and so on.

    Lets face it, the "hunting" facade is bull. The automatic weapon exists to facilitate killing a number of people in quick succession. That is it's purpose, and that is _why_ it should be legal.

    In the criminal context, gun violence is an act of cowardliness. These people who go out into public and go "people hunting" or whatever invariably pick environments where there is little-to-no chance of taking return fire. They don't go people hunting at the police station, nor at the local gun-shop. They go to the MacKiddies fast food joint, and they don't do it in Texas. You walk into your local Old People's Buffet in Texas and start shooting, and Gran will haul her hog-leg out of her Granny Great-Purse and school you in manners. The simple logic of cowardliness says that "random" gun violence (as opposed to specific-cause-we're-feuding gun violence) is more likely as the gun carry prohibitions become more strict. It's safer for the gunman, and he knows it.

    In the political sense, the right to keep and bare arms is explicable just from casual perusal of a junior High American History book. When "The Red-Coats" were an occupying force they did a lot of crappy things to the locals, just like we are doing a lot of crappy things to the locals out there in the territory we are occupying. Those crappy things included arresting people for gathering together, or having guns, or printing leaflets; and breaking into people's houses and generally wrecking the place while fishing for _anything_ that might seem suspicious. (etc) Those abuses directly translate into the Bill of Rights.

    The bill of rights _Largely_ exists as a body of law that serves a _SINGLE_ unified purpose: to prevent "American Soil" from ever suffering another Occupying force, be that force Foreign or Domestic. That last word, "Domestic", doesn't just mean your neighbor, it most strenuously and explicitly includes "your president" and "those generals" and "the local sheriff" and "those DEA guys" and "the FBI/CIA/Homeland Security jack-booted thugs."

    If a community is pushed so far as to need to say "Enough!", the constitution exists to make sure that they can do so in whatever language and to whatever degree of stridency they find necessary.

    Which is as it is, because that is as it _should_ be.

    But we have not learned from the past, and so we are beginning to suffer the classically prescribed doom of repetition.
  • by sgtrock (191182) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:38AM (#17184036)
    I call bullshit! Or is Switzerland no longer considered to be a Western country?
  • People are. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:47AM (#17184114) Journal
    People kill. Guns hold NO responsibility. Neither does a kitchen knife hold guilt if some criminal breaks into your home and kills you with it. The criminal is too often absolved of guilt, with it being transfered to the item/weapon.

    Look at London. Now they got themselves a "knife amnesty", because criminals began using knives (naturally silenced, without need for sound suppressors). What is next? Tree branches and rocks are "causing" crushing blows to back of skulls? Steel pipe amnesty?

    If you want to see, go to a gun show. Perfect example of well behaved people, go to self regulated gun ranges, I've been to them all to experience it. Strange that nobody dies, and the few accidents are some idiot who didn't bother to study on the proper usage of the gear he/she is handling.

    While I am not a member of the "gungho" culture, I must say I admire the ones that practice what they preach within that culture (they carry, they're safe, they're responsible, and very few have had "accidents" or committed a crime with them... and worth learning from... unlike the geeks of today, who let those in power tell them what to use, and how to use it, including their bodies.)
  • by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:59AM (#17184232) Journal
    Yeah, you aussies left yourselves disarmed. My great grandparents did that, and 10 years later they died at the hands of communists. I leave it to you, your head is in your hands, until you give it to the state, for they will gladly chop it off for profit.

    By the way, I watch the gun news, since its an interesting "blindness" of our media as well as YOURS. They report "murders" like our "sudden school shooting spree" right before elections (interesting coincidence isn't it?) and it stopped as soon as democrats got elected.

    Get serious fella, I checked the records of both men who did the "shootings" that lead to Rebecca Peters helping you ban your guns. They were both people who should've been behind bars, one even had a pages long record... but instead of prison, he was loose. Why?

    I've been asking this question for ages. I ended up starting to read the NRA news, because at least they did research on the part you don't hear in the actual news "media". You know, that part where they searched the RECORDS of the criminals comitting CRIMES, and asking Why were they not behind bars where they belonged?!

    I'm sure the gun ban freaks would love to ask THAT question. Otherwise expect to die by knife, and expect the news NOT to mention it... after all, it would rescind the gun bans.

    But keep alive that socialist mentality. That way those of us who produce, have to produce for you people too. And I'm sick and tired of writing a check to feed you.

    Maybe I'll quit at suck at the tit as well.
  • by Pyramid (57001) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @01:12PM (#17185286)
    Lets be crystal clear about this point. Guns are tools for killing/wounding, there can be no question about this.

    The real question is, however, under what circumstance is wielding that power justified or even necessary? I believe it is my fundamental right, under clear and limited circumstances to kill another human being. I do not relish this right nor to I wish to ever have to exercise it. However, if in the course of my life I'm called to defend self or loved ones against grievous harm, the kind which justifies taking the life of another human, I want the tool proven most effective at killing. A gun.

    I am not a muscular man nor schooled in hand to hand combat arts. However, I'm perfectly able to operate and maintain a firearm. The Constitution, beyond the 2nd amendment speaks of inalienable human rights (as well as government having no authority over them, enumerated or not). I contend it is my inalienable right to defend myself (and others) from harm, even if that means resorting to lethal force.

    Though guns are specifically designed to kill/wound, they do not cause death/destruction. Simply put, it is the intent of the wielder of the weapon that gives cause to the act. I contend that for every gun related murder reported, thousands, if not millions of guns are responsibly owned and maintained my law abiding citizens with nary a single bullet ever directed towards a human.

    It is already illegal to murder a person, but the crime still occurs. The argument that gun ownership makes it easier or predisposes one to commit murder is bunk. The type of person who considers murder as a viable option under any circumstance is not likely to be swayed by (a lack of) gun ownership. That person is a societal problem laws do not deter. Ban guns and now I, a law abiding citizen have a greatly reduced chance of repelling this person.

    Since we don't live in a world of force fields and phasers, the most effective method/tool of stopping one who is bent on causing me and mine bodily harm is the kill them with a gun.

    Pyramid
  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Monday December 11, 2006 @01:32PM (#17196614)
    Then why doesn't the constitution say trained? They are not synonyms

    Back then, "trained" applied to the direction you were pointing your weapon, not to what we would now consider the proper meaning of "trained".

    Charles II of England, described St. Paul's Cathedral as "Awful, pompous, and artificial". At the time, those words were compliments. Awful being equivalent to modern awesome, pompous to "full of grandeur", and artificial meaning "ingenious and man-made".

    Face it, words change their meaning. After all, "bad" means "good", right? Except when it means "really good". Or "tough". Though we must admit it still means "bad" sometimes.

  • Re:People are. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday December 11, 2006 @03:25PM (#17198292)

    You're forgetting one important point. A steak knife is manufactured to cut a steak though it can also be used to murder someone. On the other hand, a 9mil has no other purpose but to take a life, certainly not cut steak. Handguns are created to fulfill a single purpose (except those who find them useful for hunting).

    Anyone who supports the passage of a law based upon the presumed intent of another has made a fundamental error. How do you know the manufacturer of the steak knife is not creating it with the intent of capturing the murderer market? How do you know that the pistol manufacturer is not targeting the competition shooting market? Even when a pistol manufacturer has stated they are targeting the people killing market, what's the problem? It is legal and in my opinion laudable to kill people in certain circumstances. I just don't buy that banning tools often used for a given purpose works. People will find other tools, or if they plan to break the law they will ignore the other law too. Make murder illegal and there is no reason to make guns illegal. If you want to act proactively to stop crimes like this, target the motivation for the crimes, not the tools often used. (P.S. strangulation is the most common method of murder, go ahead and extrapolate what tool should be banned to stop those.)

There can be no twisted thought without a twisted molecule. -- R. W. Gerard

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