The Second Amendment---Broken down

Discussion in 'The Constitutional & RKBA Forum' started by PharmrJohn, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. PharmrJohn

    PharmrJohn New Member

    Jun 15, 2009
    Western Washington
    I have a question. It is in regard to the second amendment, the rights of the people vs. the State and all that hoopla. Belercous has brought forth some good points and some compelling arguements regarding the 2nd. I almost addressed it in the ACLU thread, but reconsidered after realizing I would dilute the topic at hand.

    Now....the 2nd Amendment in it's brief and powerful entirety:

    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 don't understand. IMO, the State is really mentioned in passing and really isn't necessary in the body to define the amendment. I read the amendment to say two things by the placement of commas in the sentence.

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, shall not be infringed AND
    The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    To me, the 2nd amendment is really a two-fer.

    I just don't see the court's decision to give the nod to the State rather than the People ITO the right to bear arms.

    Now I realize that I am anything but an expert in law, but it seems pretty straight forward to me.........

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  2. Last edited: Oct 27, 2009

  3. Marlin T

    Marlin T Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    New Mexico

    The books that our founding fathers read. NATURAL RIGHTS anybody?
  4. topper

    topper New Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    deep in the woods
    It's amazing how the spin doctors nowadays can turn and twist even the simplest statement into a mass of gibberish. IMO, ALL of the amendments are fairly straightforward and have a clear meaning.
  5. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    Binghamton, NY
    I do not believe that it is a two-fer. The whole trouble with the 2nd ammendment is that there is more than one "official" version of it. The one that sits in the archives is written differently than the other versions that the states themselves signed. The difference lies in the placement of the commas. These commas change the whole meaning of the ammendment. One version makes it seem like the government militias (by their standard today that would mean our standing Army, Marine Corp, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard) has the right to bear arms. The other versions like one in the Archives has the placement of the commas such that because "the governments need a military, the citizenry has the right to bear arms as a means to protect itself from a potentially corrupt government.

    Through the means of my infinite common-sense, through what our founding fathers have written, and judging by what they were fighting they meant the latter. Of course they meant it as a means for the citizenry to protect ourselves from a corrupt and tyranical government such as the one they fought. Not only that, why would they write the ten ammendments and include one, and only one, guarranteeing the national gov't a right to bear arms when the one it follows guarrantees our right to free speech and the ones after it garantee our legal rights (the fifth) and such. Obviously, any one with a brain understands that the intention of the second ammendment is to protect ourselves from a government. It all falls back the INTENT of the law, rather than the letter of the law. Laws are normally written for a reason. Not just to have it's letters followed.

    They knew that technological advences were going to happen. They didn't know to what degree. They did not know that the ruthlessly efficient machine would be invented so soon after their passing. But they knew the secound ammendment guarranteed us the right to the same weaponry to protect ourselves from those [government officials]who wish to institute their power and will over us. That is why we are guarranteed the right to bear arms WITHOUT INFRINGEMENT. This is also why every single gun control law in this country is illegal. This is also why if the BATF comes a knocking, I'll be a shooting because nothing good will be happening in out country after the first moment someone gets that first knock to enforce an outright ban.

    Our corrupt politicians [that people seem to want to revote in every chance that they have, do not have good plans for us judging by the ethics of almost every single representative and senator (lets face it they all have a track record of outright corruption, in fact I defy anyone to point a a legitamately honest politician in congress)] do have plans of living lives of pure luxurious leisure at our expense.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  6. belercous

    belercous Former Guest

    Aug 7, 2009
    Our founders were not comfortable with standing armies. The 2nd Amen. was to insure the states had a means of defense against any enemies or tryants. This, implicitly included the newly formed federal gov. The 2nd Amen. was not about hunting or "putting food on the table." Those who depended on the land for their sustenance primarily relied upon trapping for their meat. It was a more productive use of their time
    The militia system was the prefered means of defense back then, although the revolutionary war highlighted the problems with such a system. Militias tended to go home if the conditions were harsh, and they didn't seem to take much interest in fighting in areas far from home. Don't get me wrong, militias greatly helped our fight for independence, but the continental army won the war for us.
    Militias had the advantage of not being susceptible to the whim of a dictator, standing armies were. Militias were to be a check/balance on/to our federal army.
    No record exists of the congressional debates surrounding the 2nd Amen. Can anyone truly divine the Founders intent on this amendment? No, but we can get reasonably close.
    Did the Founders intend to gaurantee each individual the right to own a gun free of gov. regulation? Most certainly not, and nobody with even a modicum of knowledge about our constitution could make the argument they did.
    The Bill of Rights did not originaly grant everyone the freedom of speech, the right to a trial by jury, the right to be free of unreasonable searches & siezures, etc. The Bill of Rights only gauranteed that the federal gov. could not do these things. State governments were not bound by these restrictions, although most of them granted their citizens these rights, or at least white males. The Bill of Rights did not become applicable to the states until the passage of the 14th Amen. And then, not every right in the Bill of Rights applies to the states, even now. This is what is refered to as the "incorporation controversy." (The 3rd Amen. has not been incorporated, primarily because no case has come up under it. The 9th & 10th Amens. aren't applicable to individuals, and the 2nd Amen. is being hashed out right now.)
    Now, if the 2nd Amen. becomes incorporated (and its a coin toss right now), I will have to agree, mostly, with GMFWoodchuck on our gun laws being invalid. They would be uncustitutional, not illegal. They certainly are legal as they were enacted in accordance with the law. Many laws have been found to be lawful, although they are unconstituional. Unconstitutional laws are invalid and cannot be enforced. The Constitution trumps law, the Const. is the supreme law and no law or treaty can superceed it. I would not recommend shooting at the ATF&E as you will certainly lose, even if they are acting uncostitutionaly. You might be right, but you'd be dead-right, and I don't know about ya'll, but I got things to do tommorrow.
    The reason the Supreme Court has not given the right to own guns to the people is that, to date, the 2nd Amen. has always been held by the court to be a collective right of the people, a right given to each state. Like the 3rd Amen. Admittedly, the wording of the 2nd. Amen. could be clearer. If it were this would have been hashed out a long time ago. It seems the trouble with interpreting the 2nd Amen. as an individual right has to do with its preamble "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state.." Militias are not the same as me or you owning guns. Militias back then required certain responsibilities of their members, such as attendance at "musters." We have nothing like this in America today, but the Swiss model of militias are close to what our founders understanding of "militia" meant. The "security of a free state" part gives problems because it implies the right to own guns is granted for the benefit of the state, not individuals. The argument goes that if the Founding Fathers intended for individuals to own guns, they would have said so, but they didn't. They knew how to use words, they were the best, brightest and most edcuated people in America at that time.
    "Bearing" arms meant, in 1789, carrying arms, as one would do at a militia muster. "Keeping" arms meant just that, keeping or owning them. The 2 words are not synonomous. The Founders (or so the prevailing wisdom of constituional scholars holds) did not put extraneous verbiage in the Constitution, every word has a meaning and no word is unneeded.
    The case before the Court right now, McDonald v. Chicago (or something similar, I'm going by memory) will determine if the 2nd Amen. gets incorporated to apply to the states. As I said before, its a coin-toss. The Heller decision was very narrowly drawn. S.C. justices are hesitant to overturn precedent (stare-decisis, it is called, and the doctrine is there to give continuity to the law.) and all previous S.C. cases have said the 2nd Amen. was a right granted to the states, not indiviuals. The reason the court has taken the case (and the S.C. doesn't have to take very many cases, they do so to clarify the law when they grant cert.) is because there is a split among jurisdictions. This means, in this instance, that two Circuits (appellate court division, right above the federal district courts) have conflicting opinions as to the 2nd Amen. One circuit (again, I'm going from memory so I'm not sure which but I believe it is the one covering D.C.) holds that the 2nd Amen. applies to individuals, whereas another holds that it does not. In order to have a continuity of law the S.C. will make the final ruling on the subject. We can't very well have the Const. mean one thing here and something else in a different part of the country. Lower (District) courts are bound by the precedent established by their appellate (Circuit) court, so in order to get every court on the same page, the S.C. will rule on the case.
    Again, keep your fingers crossed and pray for an "activist" court. This is something that conservatives dearly hate, but it is our only chance at getting the 2nd Amen. incorporated. Thomas and Scalia have no problem throwing out precedent, they'll be with us. As much as Scalia propounds to hate judicail activism, he has no problem engaging in it himself, and this won't be te first time for him. Ditto for Thomas. Roberts and Alito are likely votes for us too, Alito moreso than Roberts, but I think (hope) both will be with us. The vote to go after is Kennedey's, he's the swing vote on the Court now.
    O.k., I've prattled on for too long once again. I really need to work on brevity.
  7. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    Printers in those days took great liberties with the punctuation of the written matter they received for processing. The original document written to be presented to the States did not have so many commas. There is evidence that the Amendments presented to the States were punctuated differently, comparing one State's to another's. In those days, this did not cause much comment, as they were accustomed to thinking for themselves and drawing out the meaning and intent of the documents as presented. Each State had in place people who were involved in the writing of the original document. Thus they had witness testimony of what the true meaning of the amendment was in the minds and intent of the authors.

    Read the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers for insight as to the intent of the authors. It is a real eye-opener.

  8. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    Binghamton, NY
    While I would still probably lose, though it has been shown that not always the case. Look at Randy Weaver.

    If I do not have the ability to defend myself, then what good am I? The things I would have to do the next day would only be to serve your would-be masters. I will not be one of those "who has something better to do."
    My principles supercede anything else I do in life. Without my principles, I am nothing. I dare anyone to take my guns away. They will only fail as I will never give my rights away. Why pretend to care about your natural rights if you do not intend to act on them?

    Lose or not, I will not give anything that is rightfully mine away for free. If they want my guns, they will work for them. What happens after that depends on the will of the population. If it's weak, it will flounder and do whatever it's leaders tell them to do. Just as Hitler's, Stalin's, and Pol Pot's followers did. I will not partake in saying "I have better things to do tommorrow." The only important thing I have for tommorrow is my principles. Without them I am nothing. We are nothing without principles.

    Our principles are what makes this a great country. Every single other country on this earth has been through dozens of corrupt governments while ours sustained has principle and the fear of its own citizenry. Right now we have a president who is blatantly attempting to circumvent the freedom of speech. Right now we have a president who thinks he can do a better job than you. Right now we have a president who think you shouldn't defend yourself. Right now we have a president who thinks it's okay to kill babies after they've been born and surviving an abortion attempt. Right now we have a president who thinks that war veterans are terrorists. Right now we have a president who thinks you are a terrorist. Right now is not the time to say "I have things to do tommorrow." Right now is the time to make a stand. Right now is the time to think about what will be handed to your decendents.

    My father, grandfather, uncles, many other family members, and too many friends have fought in foreign wars protecting the rights of people they do not know. I will NOT sit idly by as ours are taken. Law or not, no bureaucrat will take my natural rights away.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  9. Gun Geezer

    Gun Geezer Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Central Florida
    The only thing that kept me from jumping up and applauding GMFWoodchuck was hitting my head on the ceiling fan. Well said!

    I don't carry a gun because of my state or constitutional right. I carry a gun because I don't feel safe any more. I believe the police will basically respond in time to find evidence and make reports. There are too many bad people out there who are driven by greed, lack of morality, lack of conscience, drug and alcohol addiction and a lack of respect for laws and common decency. This I will not abide. I will not be victimized, I won't be intimidated and I refuse to live in fear. I will not wait until it's too late to find out the police went to the wrong address or didn't want their coffee to get cold or their donut to get stale. I refuse to be victimized by criminals who repeatedly navigate through the justice system as if it were a revolving door. As we get older, we have to make harder decisions. Many times these decisions involve the life or death of ourselves or a loved one. It never gets easier, but at least I hope to live to get older!
    I will not stand by and willingly see myself or my family led to a gas chamber at the whim of a Government in whom I have lost all respect and trust. The only thing I possess that will bring any sort of fear to anyone are my guns. When I can no longer speak for myself, they will speak for me and some day they will have to listen!
  10. :D Ditto! though I mearly have a short celing, rather than a fan.;)

  11. belercous

    belercous Former Guest

    Aug 7, 2009
    GMFWoodchuck: You're right, but Randy Weaver was about the only one I know of that not only survived a gunfight with the ATF, but did not go to prison for it. Of course his wife, child and dog died. I was just sayin' its not generally a good idea to shoot at anyone with the the government, the odds are not on your side.
    If you are willing to die for your principles, I applaud you. Most people say they will make a stand on their principles, but few actually do when it comes down to it. I've never been in a situation such as you describe (few have) but I'd let them take the guns, they certainly aren't worth my dying over. I'd fight using the legal & political systems we have in place. My principled stands have been few, probably cuz I usually follow the law. Some laws I do violate. I've had 3 tickets for not wearing a seat belt. I've never lost. I told the prosecutor that I'm ready for trial, lets go. They always dismiss the charge. I got a ticket for riding my 4 wheeler on a nature preserve 2 last year. I knew it was a nature preserve, but it wasn't marked as such (it only had been for 2 years.) Once again, the prosecutor dropped the charge when he seen I was prepared to go to trial. I did not use an attorney (why would I?), but I was serious about my position. Now I realize this is small potatoes compared to the ATF, but my point is that I'm not intimidated by those in power. Except when those in power have guns, then I will be pragmatic, or will be so until I have a terminal illness.

    N.B.; Apparently my father also is willing to stand up to the authorites. A few years ago he was caught in a raid in Ark. for cock-fighting. He was one of the few who would not take a plea and demanded a trial. They dismissed all charges. Google "Kenny Ebert+animal cruelty" for more details, it was the biggest raid on cock-fighting in U.S. history. The ATF&E was there with black rifles, along with Egads of other federal & state officers. I do not condone cock-fighting, but I see both sides of the argument.

    Also, if the gov. were to confiscate all guns (and there is a better chance of being struck by lightning in your basement before that happens) you would be compensated for them, you would be paid for them. See the 5th Amen. Oh, and before anyone chimes in about New Orleans, please note that what the N.O.P.D. did was found to be illegal and they had to give them back.

    Also, Obama did nothing to offend the freedom of speech from a constitutional view. Obviously, you do not know what the 1st Amen. means in making such an outrageous claim. Same with war veterans (wtf?) or me (as a gun owner I assume) being terrorists. You are taking things out of context and touting them as truth. I maybe wrong, but it certainly seems that you are simply parroting others opinions. As far as "killing babies" outside of the womb, I think you have a valid viewpoint. It might be a bit simplistic without the full context of the debate, but could reasonably be summated as such. I'm not sure what you mean about not being able to defend one's self, so will not comment on that.

    Armed and Safe makes a good point. Not every version of the Constitution or the proposed amendments back then contained the same punctuation. There were variations between the bills ratifed by the states. But here, i'm not so sure that punctuation would have made much difference, niether in meaning or ratification.

    But hey, I thought this thread was about the 2nd Amen., it seems we have gotten a bit off point.
  12. Hardballer

    Hardballer New Member

    Buuull Pucky! Even a casual perusal of letters between statesmen or letters to the editor at the time, overwhelmingly indicate a vigorous support for the individual right to bear arms was at hand. There was a debate at hand over the subject of the 2nd Amendment alright, .

    I know you're just baiting us here but really and truly, if you want to be taken credibly, do the research yourself. Just because you say a thing does not make it true.

    Actually, most scholars would vehemently disagree with you. In fact many who once held your position. You sir are in the extreme minority here and in the general public.

    This can't even be truly labeled an American only right. This was discussed throughout the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe and England. Any student of American History and the language at the time, unless mentally impaired, is aware of the fact that the Constitution is written as common law. It is not written in legalese nor is it in Latin.

    The Framers were well aware of there heritage and historical background with European and British Common law. They made every effort to write in plain simple English used at the time.

    Thomas Jefferson, by no means an imprecise thinker, wrote, "On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adapted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning can be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one which was passed."

    A simple test here is to look at the phrase "A well regulated". In 1776, This meant 'A well functioning". Two very different meanings and one the liberals use as a bludgeon. Taking regulated to mean strangled with laws and regulations until meaningless.

    I'm not sure if you are just ignoring the bulk of evidence to the contrary of your claims or you just are too . . . .

    I can see my dander is up, I am not going to continue here but rather leave it at this. . . .

    Do your own dang research instead of parroting the pablum of the left. The left being the socialist, communist, fascist, globalist, Soros Koolaid drinking left.

    No where does it reference military only, or National Guard only or the Militia as an organized group but rather, the individual being prepared to defend his state or country with his personal firearm.

    Want to know the truth? click here.
    Want to know more? click here.

    Two thumbs up for woodchuck ^ and bcj1755 V
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  13. That has got to be the most illogical post I have ever read. You say that if the feds violate the 2nd Amendment and confiscate guns that they will compensate us because the 5th Amendment tells them they have to?! So they would throw one amendment right out the window but follow another while doing so:confused::confused: You would willingly lay down for an ILLEGAL gun confiscation, and then try to go through the COURTS for redress?! Last time I checked, the gov't controlled the courts. And if the federal gov't throws the 2nd in the trash to illegally take guns, you really think that you could still fight them in court by that time?! I mean really, if the feds violate the 2nd, you really expect them to compensate people under the 5th?!?!:rolleyes:

    Oh, yes, Mr. Constitutional Scholar. You seem to be forgetting one small point about the 5th Amendment. Here it is
    I highlighted the pertinent portion. The 5th says the gov't must compensate people for private property that is taken for PUBLIC use. So you really think that if the feds VIOLATE the 2nd and take peoples' guns, that they will be taking them for PUBLIC use? Under your "logic," then the police must compensate people when they sieze their property used in selling drugs or the commission of other crimes. Man, if you went to law school, it must have been the suckiest law school in the country. From your apparent knowledge (or lack thereof) of the Constitution, you must have attended the same law classes as Obama:rolleyes: Now I see how you supposedly retired before you were 30. You're obviously selling some good hardcore stuff and partaking of it at the same time:rolleyes:

    And as for this... this The section entitled "Disgruntled Military Veterans" is quite telling. This "report" came straight from Homeland Security. Nepolitano never denied that it was real. She just said that some of the wording should have been changed:rolleyes:
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  14. Marlin T

    Marlin T Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    New Mexico
    Really? REALLY?!

    Did he really just say that?

    You said in another thread,
    Really, your not? I guess it shows here with your statement above.

    Me, I vote for those that have a record of supporting the Bill of Rights as a prime requisite, then we'll move on to my next important issue.

    You vote for those that seek to destroy the Constitution, good job.:mad:

    When was the last time you read up on our Natural Rights?
  15. JohnBrainard

    JohnBrainard New Member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Gilbert, AZ
    So, the government wouldn't do something because it's illegal, but a government organization was found in violation of the law for doing something that's illegal? Did you steal that from a comedian?
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