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1 Obdicut  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 12:27:04pm

You're using a very specialized definition of militia that does not fit the general usage, nor, indeed, the usage during the founder's times. Militias were organized, they trained together, they knew each other. They were not vigilante gangs spontaneously forming on the spot.

The 2nd amendment was written with, in part, a mind to armed resistance against oppressive government. That is one of the major reasons why it was in there, both from states-rights aficionados who feared a federal takeover of the states, and from those who simply thought that, this who revolution and starting a new country thing was kind of new, it might be necessary.

Some 2nd amendment supporters these days still support that rationale for the 2nd amendment. The majority of them, being sensible and rational folk, don't. Nonetheless, that is part of the original intention of the 2nd amendment, along with the support for the militias.

The 2nd amendment is also written for the protection of the state, against outside aggressors or insurrectionists. Most of the founders did not like the idea of a standing army.

Nowhere in the 2nd amendment is it written that arms are permissible in self-defense, because it barely needs to be said. The carrying and using of weapons used to be the privilege of the aristocracy, but Revolution changes things, and going about armed was the right of every citizen-- except, of course, for black people. Gun control was already in place even in pre-Revolutionary America, preventing free blacks from owning guns, for the very honest reason of preventing insurrection by blacks. By laws like this, both before and after the Revolution, we can see that using arms in self-defense was not at all a contentious issue for the founders.

So, we can see that the 2nd amendment was crafted against a certain set of historical situations, most of which are now totally archaic and no longer relevant-- much like the 3rd amendment which deals with a situation that simply doesn't arise.

I would really rather conversation about gun control not fall back to appeals to the 2nd amendment, but to the basic rights of people to be safe and secure in their persons and use reasonable means to defend themselves. Things have changed since the revolution. Guns have changed. Society has changed. The needs of the state for a militia have changed, and the needs of a citizenry to have a militia have changed.

2 Political Atheist  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 12:37:24pm

re: #1 Obdicut

You're using a very specialized definition of militia that does not fit the general usage, nor, indeed, the usage during the founder's times. Militias were organized, they trained together, they knew each other. They were not vigilante gangs spontaneously forming on the spot.

Yes I use what in my view is a modern definition that can work, dynamic enough to be contemporary, yet regulated for public safety.

I would really rather conversation about gun control not fall back to appeals to the 2nd amendment, but to the basic rights of people to be safe and secure in their persons and use reasonable means to defend themselves. Things have changed since the revolution. Guns have changed. Society has changed. The needs of the state for a militia have changed, and the needs of a citizenry to have a militia have changed.

I'd be happy to get into gun control, I intend to get into that next. But my context will be with the 2nd as now an individual right as settled law. With or without the militia. Not sure that's best characterized as falling back. It's important to acknowledge the powerful ruling whether one agrees or not.

3 Obdicut  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 12:46:08pm

re: #2 Political Atheist

Yes I use what in my view is a modern definition that can work, dynamic enough to be contemporary, yet regulated for public safety.

It doesn't work for me. It seems like a really awkward shoehorn so that an appeal to the original text to the 2nd amendment can be made, instead of admitting how much has changed since then.

I'd be happy to get into gun control, I intend to get into that next. But my context will be with the 2nd as now an individual right as settled law. With or without the militia. Not sure that's best characterized as falling back. It's important to acknowledge the powerful ruling whether one agrees or not.

It's like you just ignored what I wrote. Never mind.

4 Political Atheist  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 12:55:54pm

re: #3 Obdicut

It doesn't work for me. It seems like a really awkward shoehorn so that an appeal to the original text to the 2nd amendment can be made, instead of admitting how much has changed since then.

The paragraph beginning with " Like the 1st amendment..." and the next paragraph specifically address the fact of changes since.

It's like you just ignored what I wrote. Never mind.

Not at all. I just see a lot of that differently. A lot of what you wrote was obviated by the recent ruling. I respect not agreeing with that, but my context is with the post decision circumstances. The decision dispensed with past views. It's an updated view. I get it many will not agree. Many at this forum are quite unhappy with the ruling.

5 Political Atheist  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 1:32:39pm

Perhaps I was remiss in not including the decision itself.

Decision

The Supreme Court held:[43]

(1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.

(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.

(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.

(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.

(d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.

(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.

(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.

(2) Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.

6 Dark_Falcon  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 4:10:14pm

Good column, RWC, but I must tell you that less-lethal ammo for shotguns is commercially available. I don't know if its legal in California, though it is legal in Illinois (I checked for Illinois).

7 Charles Johnson  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 4:29:06pm

There's an elephant in the room, and it was extremely obvious in the last thread too: the prevalence of extreme far right fanatics on the pro-gun side, people who are much too quick to pull out the character assassination tactics against their perceived enemies (like Donne Trotter, who is NOT "anti-gun"), and who push laws that are frankly nuts.

And this starts with the NRA. Wayne LaPierre's speeches are completely batshit insane, full of Bircher-style fantasies about UN gun-grabbers, thinly disguised nativism and racism, and fear-mongering.

8 Political Atheist  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 4:51:34pm

re: #7 Charles Johnson

Sure there are people like that. Is it really on me to answer for all their statements? Maybe one in that last thread, hopefully not this one. I made no links or references to the NRA who I left long ago in favor of a less radical group. Nothing I said above is based on Wayne LaPierre or the NRA or any far right source. The point intended here is we now have an individual right to bear arms that needs sorting out properly.

My skepticism about legislators in places where the right was violated for so long is not character assassination.

There are sometimes radical proponents of certain civil rights. Then there are the rest of us. Like ASPCA instead of PETA for animal lovers. I certainly can't stop the NRA. I can only support the above as best I can, personally and with some legal help like when I get a favorable decision.

So I'll say it strongly. I have nothing for the NRA rhetoric. I'm no longer certified by them to instruct self defense as I used to be. I have my own opinions and advocacy. I can only hope nobody will lump me in because there is some overlap in common in the basics. I hope to discuss/debate legislation to deal with the right. I started a bit up above with a comment about how the castle doctrine was not designed for public areas. That has to be better legislated as well.

I hope that's welcome if not I'll leave it be. I'm not here to annoy you or press unwelcome topics.

9 Political Atheist  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 4:52:51pm

re: #6 Dark_Falcon

Good column, RWC, but I must tell you that less-lethal ammo for shotguns is commercially available. I don't know if its legal in California, though it is legal in Illinois (I checked for Illinois).

Yes, California is different. Good for you guys I'd switch out my primary for a gun with those rounds at home.

10 Political Atheist  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 4:58:42pm

re: #7 Charles Johnson

Open to suggestion here, if the subject is welcome...
Apart from not sourcing far right, how might I best present my case for legislation unburdened of the radicals?

11 Charles Johnson  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 5:05:27pm

The subject's not unwelcome, but one of the reasons why I've moved to a more pro-gun control position in recent years is that I've learned how untrustworthy a lot of the information put out by the pro-gun side is. And I believe that this infographic illustrates a serious problem:

Image: GunOwnership-lg.jpg

If more guns make us more safe, why does America still have one of the highest murder and gun-related crime rates in the industrialized world?

12 Political Atheist  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 5:22:44pm

re: #11 Charles Johnson
Glad to hear the topic is ok to continue & I thank you.
That is a very serious problem. Some say it's not enough gun controls. I do think one big factor is our gun fueled origins from the expansion of the country. I also think many of the gun control rules have been poorly made and or applied.

One lesson from the guns gone walking bogus scandal was that we need better enforcement of laws we do have like straw men laws. A blog straw man is an intellectual foul. A real one gets people killed. Those guys need long jail time.

Another factor is where my side has abjectly failed along with law enforcement and our legislators. That factor is criminal possession and use of guns. The stalkers you and others have to think about, the robbers that may someday come to my work to rob the place and so on. Our culture is really violent. I look at MMA pay per view and feel nausea. Prize fighting repels me.

Here is where I am really annoyed with the NRA. They spend so much time fighting for gun rights they fail to lobby for the laws that impede criminal use.

I want gun controls. The kind that really hit the bad guys and the irresponsible. With a caveat-Leave room for the law abiding responsible person to possess and carry as necessary.

13 Charles Johnson  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 5:39:06pm

And then, there are stories like this one from today: Father Accidentally Kills Son, 7, Outside Gun Store, Police Say.

A father shot and killed his 7-year-old son Saturday morning outside a Pennsylvania gun store in what police described as a tragic accident, authorities said.

The Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the death as an accidental shooting and are awaiting the results of the results of an autopsy.

"It's just a tragedy -- it's terrible," State Trooper Robert Perrine told the Los Angeles Times He declined to comment further.  

The shooting occurred Saturday morning in the parking lot of Twigs Reloading Den in Mercer. Police said the gun fired as Joseph Loughrey, 44, and his son Craig were entering their vehicle.  

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Loughrey told police he had emptied the magazine of his 9-millimeter Taurus handgun, and he didn't know there was a bullet in the chamber. The gun discharged and his son was struck in the chest.

State police said Loughrey was cooperative and distraught during questioning, the newspaper reported.

"I know that little kid was everything to him," Mark McLaughlin, Loughrey's friend and co-worker, told the newspaper.

14 Political Atheist  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 5:55:45pm

re: #13 Charles Johnson
That's horrible. It puts the burden on everyone with a gun to do everything necessary to not have an accident. No bull, no comparisons to pools or cars. Screw all that. Every gun owner has it on him or her as the most serious responsibility. Personally, daily. The words for adequate emphasis escape me.

15 Political Atheist  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 6:57:13pm

How might we reduce the number of guns and gun accidents as Charles rightly points out?

Maybe a worthy option would be to allow less lethal tools for responsible trained people. Tough issue, these things could be abused more easily than guns. Worthy trade off? Different Page sometime maybe.

16 Dark_Falcon  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 7:09:00pm

re: #14 Political Atheist

That's horrible. It puts the burden on everyone with a gun to do everything necessary to not have an accident. No bull, no comparisons to pools or cars. Screw all that. Every gun owner has it on him or her as the most serious responsibility. Personally, daily. The words for adequate emphasis escape me.

You've said it just fine. You stated the need without equivocation or vacillation. But I need to add something to that:

Given the presence of evil in the world, there is no blood free path where firearms policy is concerned. Whatever policy is chosen, people will die as a result of that policy. Kid gets shot by accident because a gun was improperly stored, or a woman gets murdered by a stalker because she did not have a gun to protect herself (and if she does have the gun the stalker may be the one who dies. And while his death would be justifiable, but he is still dead.) No matter what path we choose, there will be blood on that path's stones. What matters is whose blood and how much, as well as the preservation of the rights of free people.

17 Holidays are Family Fun Time  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 10:37:09pm

IIRC, the point in history when gun crime became an issue was the 1960's. Well, it was an issue after the civil war and in the 1930's and gun control laws at that time were passed specifically to restrict the use of firearms for poor and minorities.

When the Civil Rights Issues melded with Free Love and the Vietnam war it seemed everybody went bat-shit insane about crime, guns and the "American Way."

It is also when the draft was ended. Young men who previously received rigorous training in firearms from old military men no longer received it. People (I'll admit, probably mostly mothers) became very anti-gun. The combination of rights without training and uneducated fear of the weapon has gotten us to where we are.

I've never understood why we educate our children about drugs, strangers and running into the street, but NOT about guns. I know women who are so afraid, they won't even talk about guns. They get verbally belligerent when I try to discuss the subject.

For all I am not happy with the NRA, they are the only organization I know of that does have a well thought out program for teaching gun safety to young children. For we know very well, that telling them NOT TO TOUCH isn't enough. They get curious and we hear how a child died from "examining" a forbidden firearm in the home. Then having the firearm in the home is blamed.

I grew up with guns in the home, have friends who fathers were police officers. We watched our fathers clean their guns, leave to go hunting or to work with their firearms and were always allowed to examine or learn about the firearm when our fathers were there to explain things to us. We knew that privilege would go away, along with the promise to take us to the shooting range when we were older if we ever violated the rule.

For all the problems we have with firearms, I don't understand how instilling fear is going to help. I have to wonder how many crimes are committed by perpetrators using painted over children's toy guns or starter pistols, or guns without ammunition in them. Many of the women I know would certainly submit to a rape or a car theft at even the glimpse of ANYTHING that looked like a gun.

Ignorance and fear put us at risk from criminals as much as possession of the weapons do. This frustrates me a great deal.

Marksmanship is an Olympic Sport for Bob's sake!

18 Holidays are Family Fun Time  Sat, Dec 8, 2012 10:45:13pm

re: #13 Charles Johnson

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Loughrey told police he had emptied the magazine of his 9-millimeter Taurus handgun, and he didn't know there was a bullet in the chamber.

The gun is always loaded.

I can't tell you how many times Ive heard that. We weren't even allowed to point toy guns at people or pets.

Perhaps I just have to accept that there is a small group of people who are not easy to identify that will always be ultra-responsible with their firearms --and those that won't.

Even so, a trainer I took a safety class from said that there are two kind of people: Those that have had an accidental discharge and those that haven't YET.

I don't know the answer. The fear of only requiring those who have training to possess firearms is because it gives authority to those who may feel they can decide who can own and who can't. I used to think that was a very paranoid way of thinking.

The more I learn about the Vice of Power, the more I wonder. I think we've seen examples of people who would unilaterally deny liberty to whole groups of people in this country based on arbitrary reasons.


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