Isn't Self-Defense Common Sense?

Barack Obama's Second Amendment is all about hunting and target shooting.

Under the Second Amendment, Barack Obama says, "There is an individual right to bear arms, but it is subject to common-sense regulation, just like most of our rights are subject to common-sense regulation." The leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination thus seems to be on the same wavelength as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which in a decision last March said "the protections of the Second Amendment are subject to the same sort of reasonable restrictions that have been recognized as limiting, for instance, the First Amendment."

But there is a crucial difference between these superficially similar formulations: The appeals court meant what it said, and Obama doesn't. Although the Illinois senator has learned to pay lip service to the Second Amendment, the details of his past and present positions on gun control suggest he neither understands nor respects the right to keep and bear arms.

In last year's ruling, which the U.S. Supreme Court will soon review, the D.C. Circuit overturned a Washington, D.C., gun law that bans possession of handguns in the home and requires that rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock." The law thereby effectively bars city residents from using firearms for self-defense in their own homes.

Obama evidently considers that de facto prohibition a "common-sense regulation," since he recently cited Washington's law as an example of constitutionally permissible gun control. "The notion that somehow local jurisdictions can't initiate gun safety laws to deal with gangbangers and random shootings on the street isn't borne out by our Constitution," he said.

The D.C. gun law, passed in 1975, isn't really about gangbangers, which it has not exactly disarmed, or random shootings on the street, which it has not noticeably curbed. In effect if not intent, it is about disarming law-abiding residents who might want to protect themselves from gangbangers and other violent criminals.

It's not surprising that Obama sees nothing unconstitutional about this situation, since he does not acknowledge that the Second Amendment has anything to do with self-defense. "As a former constitutional law professor, Barack Obama understands and believes in the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms," his website claims. "He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting" (emphasis added).

This is the only substantive discussion of the Second Amendment on Obama's website. It's part of a document that lists "Protecting Gun Rights" as a subcategory of "Supporting the Rights and Traditions of Sportsmen," which is like listing "Protecting Freedom of Speech" as a subcategory of "Supporting the Rights and Traditions of Auctioneers."

It's true that hunting—at the time an important source of sustenance, as opposed to the hobby it has become for most Americans—was one of the gun uses the Framers had in mind when they guaranteed the right to arms. But as the D.C. Circuit emphasized when it found Washington's gun law unconstitutional, "the people's right to arms was auxiliary to the natural right of self-preservation," which was "understood as the right to defend oneself against attacks by lawless individuals, or, if absolutely necessary, to resist and throw off a tyrannical government."

Because Obama ignores these aspects of the Second Amendment, he sees no constitutional barrier to a complete ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns, which he supported when he ran for the Illinois Senate in 1996. Two years later he said he favored a ban on the sale or transfer of all semiautomatic firearms, which would cover not only most handguns but many hunting rifles and shotguns as well.

Responding to criticism that Obama has since changed his position on gun control, his campaign declares that "Obama has been consistent." If so, consistent civil libertarians—the ones who do not mentally skip from the First Amendment to the Fourth—should be worried.

© Copyright 2008 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  • jim||

    so... i grew up with guns. hunting, target shooting and all that... no problem with guns here, but i do have a problem with the person that demands that they have a NEED for the extended clip semi-automatic handgun to defend their home... oh, the suburbs are dangerous places!!

    yes, i worked with a dude that claimed that he needed all those semi and full automatic handguns, while living in a completely tame suburban neighborhood. he even complained that he should be able to bring one to work.

    people like THAT is the problem with the second amendment. they wrap themselves in the amendment, claiming a god given right, while they are simply itching to shoot someone.

    the second amendment text:
    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.

    unless i misunderstand, this was written so that people can defend their country at a time when the militia consisted of the citizens. so, in my opinion, if you want a big ass gun, then you should be in the military, defending our country.

    so, i will now let you all respond with the argument that you have to defend your home against terrorists!!

  • ||

    In order to protect yourself from a rogue government, we must have access to the weaponry that the government has. I'm not talking about missles, bombs, I'm refering to firearms and large clips. If a cop can have a banana clip I can too.

  • Taktix®||

    so, i will now let you all respond with the argument that you have to defend your home against terrorists!!

    The it's not all about home invasions and hunting, it's about the violent overthrow of the federal government.

    When the "terrorists" are your own government, you'll need the extra rounds...

  • C||

    "so... i grew up with guns. hunting, target shooting and all that..."

    The only thing worse than an appeal to authority is an appeal to authority when you don't actually have any.

  • ||

    I find the 'regulation of rights' a false premise.All anyone needs to know is your rights stop when they violate the rights of others.No regulations needed.It then becomes a matter for the courts.This does cut out grandstanding pols,though I think that was the purpose.

  • ||

    "unless i misunderstand, this was written so that people can defend their country at a time when the militia consisted of the citizens"

    I think you do misunderstand. You may have missed this in history class, but the colonists did not use their weapons to defend their country, as their country was England. The government maintains the army, the people make up the militia.

  • ||

    There are a lot of dumber-than-usual posters in these gun threads. Did some liberal board link here or something?

  • Taktix®||

    I think Penn and Teller said this, but...

    Why is it that the 2nd Amendment is the only amendment argued to be poorly worded? So the founding fathers carefully edited every other word in the constitution except these?

    I guess they gave the 2nd Amendment's writing duties to Jefferson's retarded half-brother Paco, just so he could contribute.

    the right of the People to keep and bear Arms

    There it is, in black and white, no commas...

  • Mike||

    What people like me have to weigh: is his horrible record on guns balanced out by the fact that he would get us out of Iraq. Even with his feel good policies to insure a few kids, getting us out of the biggest boondoggle of the century would at least have the effect of considerably lowering the defecit.

    He's also not too bad on non-2nd Amendment civil liberties.

    So does this balance out for me? I don't know. I do think it would be political suicide for congress to pass any laws banning semi-autos, CCW's, etc.

  • jim||

    ah, dumber-than-usual... thanks! great response. no comment except to call someone dumb.

    again, guns are fine. but when you argue that you have a right to a 50 calibre cannon in your back yard because you need to protect your family, then i think it's absurd. call me dumb, liberal (i'm independent, jackass) whatever you like.
    i think that people use this amendment to defend their love of big ass weapons that kill PEOPLE.

    but, again... i am dumber than usual, so disregard my opinion completely.

  • ||

    Jim,a 50cal. is not a cannon.Here in Ohio we hunt deer with shot gun slugs.Much bigger that a .50[1 ounce of lead and up]and more deadly.That's the problem,people talking about guns yet knowing nothing about ballistics.

  • ||

    Title 10, Section 311. Militia: composition and classes

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

    (b) The classes of the militia are -
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard
    and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of
    the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the
    Naval Militia.

  • Chromepulse||

    I heard they used a 50 calibre cannon to shoot down that satellite.

  • ||

    Mike -- there ought to be a rule that nobody can use the "this century" trope until a majority of the century has passed. Seriously, we're not even 1/10 of the way through this century and if you believe that the pissant war in Iraq is going to be "he biggest boondoggle of the century" I think you're a raging optimist.

    Now, if you are trying to say "the last 100 years" (i.e. from now back to 1908) ummm, no. Lessee, WWI and every battle in it that cost more lives in days then Iraq cost in 5 years, the asinine treaty of Versailles, the failure to enforce the asinine treaty of Versailles that allowed a pissed off Germany to rebuild, allowing the Russians to occupy Eastern Europe, the Balfour Declaration, the New Deal, not tying SSI to life expectancy, the dependence on petroleum, the failure to pursue nuclear power on a large scale, Korea, Vietnam.

    Hyperbole or an example of absolute ignorance of history?

    There are somewhere between 150K-2.5 million defensive uses of guns in the US each year (pick your poison, pick your study). Frankly that's a hell of a lot more important to me than a war that has cost less than 4K american lives in 5 years. YMMV.

    And don't try the "but it's killed so many more Iraqis" defense. It's very clear that immediately pulling out of Iraq will cause mass killings, possibly ethnic cleansing +/- an invasion by Iran. Those in favor of a pullout IN SPITE of that can only be interested in protecting American lives and money. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it is clearly a selfish reason and not a humanitarian one.

  • ||

    And he taught constitutional law? How did the Bill of Rights get so lawyered up in the first place?

    I agree with the above poster referencing the Penn and Teller piece..Funny stuff.

    I can't wait for them to apply reasonable regulation to all the other amendments in the Bill of Rights.

  • Taktix®||

    but when you argue that you have a right to a 50 calibre[sic] cannon in your back yard because you need to protect your family, then i think it's absurd

    1) The 50 caliber cannon is for the overthrow of a tyrannical government, not to "protect your family" from robbers or conservatives or some such.

    2) What you "think" is absurd is not written in the Constitution, as opposed to the 2nd Amendment.

    I can't wait for them to apply reasonable regulation to all the other amendments in the Bill of Rights.

    What do you mean by "wait"?

  • ||

    I do think it would be political suicide for congress to pass any laws banning semi-autos, CCW's, etc.

    I was pretty young back then, but it seems to me that the 1994 AWB was what pissed off conservative voters into voting out Democrats in droves. I half-expect something similar to happen under President Obama.

    jim, are you a canuck, a limey, or a bad speller?

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Sullum on Obama:

    It's not surprising that Obama sees nothing unconstitutional about this situation, since he does not acknowledge that the Second Amendment has anything to do with self-defense.



    Obama on guns:

    "There's been a long standing argument among constitutional scholars about whether the 2nd Amendment referred simply to militias or whether it spoke to an individual right to possess arms," Obama said. "I think the latter is the better argument. There is an individual right to bear arms, but it is subject to common-sense regulation just like most of our rights are subject to common-sense regulation."


    link

    "I'm a strong believer in the rights of hunters and sportsmen to have firearms. I'm a believer in homeowners having a firearm to protect their home and their family. It's hard for me to find a rationale for having a 17-clip semiautomatic."


    link

    Emphasis mine.
    Hey, he's not good on the second amendment (though as has been said, he's so far been decent on other civil liberties issues), but let's not pretend that he's of the "only for hunting" variety. He doesn't seem to recognize the proper use of guns in one's defense from one's own government, but he does at least recognize (regardless of his poor policy in favor of insanely broad restrictions on Second Amendment Rights) the right of self defense and how guns play into that. There's enough here to point out his problems second amendment-wise without pretending he's a "hunters and sportsmen" guy.

  • Mike C||

    BladeDoc-
    I don't think that a comparison of Iraq to WWI or II is a fair comparison. Those were the closest things to "just" wars that we've had recently. And when I speak of the cost I am not talking about the 4k soldiers. I am talking about a future tax burden that will be imposed on me.

    Hopefully (but not likely) SCOTUS will come out with a strong Pro-2A ruling this summer and Barack's plans, whatever they may be, will be made pre-emptively unconstitutional. I still don't think that a strong gun control policy could ever make it through Congress.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    By saying Obama's been decent on other civil liberties issues, I'm not saying he's been as good as Paul, Dodd, or Kucinich, or even that he's been really tetsted, but he at least talks the talk. Pretty faint praise, I admit.

  • ||

    Mike C,I don't consider WW1 and 'just war'.It was the last of the colonial wars and we should have stayed out.We were used to help win the war for the 'ALLIES' yet frozen out of the peace.They went about carving up the world in a fashion we are still paying for.As for Korea,it turned out well.Compare the south to the north or Vietnam.Fact is,the Iraq war[ and I'm not a supporter] is the least bloody war in our history.

  • Russ 2000||

    i think that people use this amendment to defend their love of big ass weapons that kill PEOPLE.

    No, ya stupid jackass. Nobody here is arguing against "unlawful use" laws. We're arguing against the possession laws. I should be able to have a 20-ton bomb if I want, it's my USE of it that should be regulated. If I use it to kill an intruder, that's A-OK; if my use of it kills people minding their own business, then you can throw the book at me.

  • ||

    17-clip semiautomatic

    I have no idea what this phrase could possibly mean.

  • Chromepulse||

    jim,
    Please explain how the kinetic energy of a 700gr bullet traveling at 2930fps is more dangerous than a 6,000lb SUV at 75mph.

    For bonus points, compare the number of people in the U.S. killed or maimed by each!

  • shecky||


    Why is it that the 2nd Amendment is the only amendment argued to be poorly worded?


    Because it is...?

  • Mr. X||

    Does anyone here think Obama would be stupid enough to push for substantive gun control laws? We all know how well the Assault Weapons ban worked out for Bill Clinton.

  • C||

    "but when you argue that you have a right to a 50 calibre cannon in your back yard because you need to protect your family, then i think it's absurd."

    The guns that I own, and the reasons I have for owning them, are no more your business than the car I drive, the books I read, or the kind of sex I prefer.

    In other words, thanks for sharing your stupid opinion. Now go bother someone else.

  • robc||

    getting us out of the biggest boondoggle of the century

    The new medicare plan? Really? Obama will get rid of it?

  • robc||

    I posted above before I saw BladeDoc/MikeC arguing over the biggest boondoggle. I stick with the medicare plan being the biggest of this century (so far). It will cost more monay and more American lives than Iraq.

  • ||

    he needed all those semi and full automatic handguns



    'Taint no such legal thing here in the USA, even as a Class III item.

    Have you ever actually seen a gun?

    Also, if you compare the number of hunting licenses sold in the USA with the number of gun owners, you'll quickly come to the conclusion that gun ownership is only ~5% about hunting. Most gun owners don't hunt. Myself, for example.

    It isn't about hunting or target shooting. It's about power. Your philosophy on the legitimacy of civilian firearm ownership is a consequence of your philosophy regarding who holds the power in a society: the government or the governed? Are the people the legitimate source of power, and that which the government possesses only given on loan, or does the government rule the people?

    This is the reason it is the left that hates firearms, not the right. If it were about the use of firearms to overthrow the status quo and empower the revolutionaries, the left would be the advocates for the second amendment. They're the ones who idolize Che Guevara after all.

    Possession of a gun is a repudiation of statism. It is a declaration of personal sovereignty, an admission that you and only you are responsible for your failures, your successes, and your safety. It is fundamentally incompatible with the leftist vision of the nanny state as the great provider and protector.

    This is why the left hates guns, and continually tries to redefine the gun in non-political terms, as something about hunting, target shooting, or "tradition".

  • ||

    Chromeplus, your question requires context:

    Please explain the utility of a 700gr bullet traveling at 2930fps versus the utility of a 6,000lb SUV at 75mph.

    Utility = (number of users times number of uses multiplied by a weighting factor consisting of personal/societal advantage per use vice the likelihood of unintended death/injury per use).

    Then let's talk kinetic energy.

  • ||

    Full auto handguns do exist, Kap. The Glock 18, for example.

  • ||

    This is why the left hates guns, and continually tries to redefine the gun in non-political terms, as something about hunting, target shooting, or "tradition".

    We don't hate guns, we just think they are too dangerous to be in the hands of civilians. It is not needed for self defense, the police are there to defend you. If you are being robbed, you should call the police. If you have a gun, there is a far greater chance it will acidentialy kill you or someone else than successfully kill a criminal, and if you kill a criminal you are going to jail, unless they are armed.

  • ||

    Actually, the police are not there to defend you in any way, shape, or form.

    ". . . a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen."--Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App.181)

    "Law enforcement agencies and personnel have no duty to protect individuals from the criminal acts of others; instead their duty is to preserve the peace and arrest law breakers for the protection of the general public." (Lynch v. NC Dept. Justice)

    You can neither sue them for protection, nor may your dependents sue them for failure to protect. Nor may you demand that protection if, for whatever reason, you are disarmed by action of law, preventing your self-defense entirely.
    See also:
    Riss v. New York New York Court of Appeals, 1968 22 N.Y.2d 579, 240 N.E.2d 860, 293 N.Y.S.2d 897.
    Hartzler v. City of San Jose, 46 Cal. App. 3d 6 (1st Dist. 1975).
    DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services (109 S.Ct. 998, 1989)
    Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Department. (901 F.2d 696 9th Cir. 1990)
    Zinermon v. Burch (110 S.Ct. 975, 984 1990

    You have no recourse whatsoever should the police fail to respond.

  • ||

    Warty,they are not legal thought.Same with other machine pistols.The accuracy of firing on full auto is terrible.The most dangerous person takes time,aims and spaces his shots.You must adjust for barrel lift.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Paul:

    We don't hate guns, we just think they are too dangerous to be in the hands of civilians. It is not needed for self defense, the police are there to defend you. If you are being robbed, you should call the police.



    I think they're too dangerous to be in the hands of the police. The police never defend anyone. Even when they actually do their jobs correctly and aren't breaking down the doors of little old ladies, running down people in the street while in high-speed pursuits, or whatever, their jobs are cleaning up after a crime has been committed, not stopping crimes in progress. They try to catch who killed you and your family after the fact, they don't keep you from being murdered in the first place.

    If you have a gun, there is a far greater chance it will acidentialy kill you or someone else than successfully kill a criminal, and if you kill a criminal you are going to jail, unless they are armed.



    and if a cop kills you when you're unarmed, they'll be high fived.

    seriously, Fuck tha Police.

  • ||

    Full auto handguns do exist, Kap. The Glock 18, for example.



    I said there's no such legal thing, here in America. Also, the VP-70 (note lack of Z), if I need to demonstrate my bona fides. Both of those wouldn't be importable per the "sporting purposes" point system in GCA 68, even before the FOPA 85 ban, so they never would have made it into the country even as class III.

    Of course, the police can own them, because you know there is a pressing need for such toys in legitimate policework. /snark.

    It is not needed for self defense, the police are there to defend you.



    You are aware that the police have no legal obligation to defend you, right? That if you were awoken by the sound of breaking glass, called 911, and the operator said "good luck with that" and hung up, you would have absolutely no legal recourse? This is not my opinion, it is settled case law here in the USA and most other western countries.

    if you kill a criminal you are going to jail, unless they are armed.



    Also untrue, in pretty much all of the US. You can legally defend yourself with deadly force if you have a reasonable belief that your safety is in jeopardy, or if a forcible felony is about to be committed. Do you think a 100 lb woman can't defend herself from an unarmed 250 lb man attacking her?

  • ||

    It is not needed for self defense, the police are there to defend you.

    Someone never listened to Public Enemy.

    911 is a joke

  • ||

    The real contemporary value of the 2d Amendment is maintaining the possibility that a local militia may seize several Minuteman missile silos in Wyoming and deliver a barrage of 475kt W-88 warheads on Washington, preferably during a State of the Union Message, thus killing the federal Hydra in one swell foop.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Warty,

    I prefer my NWA reference, but props anyway.

  • Mike C||

    ROBC - agree that medicare is the biggest boondoggle our government has come up with in terms of expenditures. However, at present time its a lot easier (and politically possible) to pull our troops out of Iraq than take away health insurance from little old ladies.

    What expenditures do you see McCain cutting that would compare to the Iraq war?

  • ||

    john, do you by chance have a newsletter?

  • ||

    Can you scream "fire" in a crowded theater? No. But if you read 1A there is nothing there that says you shouldn't be able to. Is this what Obama is talking about vis a vis 2A? Guns for sport, guns for hunting, guns for self defense, but not machine guns, not 30 round clips. Doesn't seem so bad compared to Democrats like Kennedy or what was proposed last decade. Bush's DOJ brief on Heller is more dangerous to 2A then what Obama is saying.

    Now, this thread is full of people arguing whether you need the 30 round clip to overthrow the Gov't. Possibly, but why do libertarians use this crazy hypothetical to ask for purity on 2A, then use that as an excuse to exclusively vote Republican? Obama might limit clips to 10 rounds (I doubt anyone would even spend political capital on something so marginal), but has anyone been seeing what the Republicans are doing to the other amendments in the Bill of Rights?

    A 30 round clip versus unwarranted eavesdropping on all your phone calls. A 30 round clip versus the ability of POTUS to single you out, ship you to Gitma, torture you, and then leave you there indefinitely or until they can arrange a kangaroo court and a death sentence?

    I'm for 2A, but I'm surprised how many people want to flush the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th over extreme purity on the 2nd.

  • ||

    Payrick, I think the difference is that gun controls are tangible and affect a lot of people. Most people aren't directly affected by wiretapping, warrantless searches, torture, etc., etc., etc. (or at least they don't realize they are), so it's easier to ignore.

    And, please, please, everyone, stop saying clip when you mean magazine. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard to pedantic gun-nerds like me.

  • robc||

    MikeC,

    McCain, WTF does he have to do with this discussion? The topic is Obama.

    Whoever I end up voting for will be willing to chop huge portions of the budget. That wont be Clinton, Obama, or McCain.

    You would think on this website people would see things as more than a 2 choice either/or.

  • robc||

    why do libertarians use this crazy hypothetical to ask for purity on 2A, then use that as an excuse to exclusively vote Republican?

    What the fuck are you talking about? I havent voted for a republican (for president) in 20 years. And I only made that mistake once.

    See my previous post about idiots with a 2 choice only view on things.

  • ||

    Doesn't seem so bad compared to Democrats like Kennedy or what was proposed last decade.



    Obama has publicly stated that handguns should be banned - and confiscated - and that all semiautomatic firearms should be banned and confiscated as well. I believe he is also on record suggesting the federal government should outlaw concealed carry.

    This would have a profound objective impact upon my life and the lives of ~100M gun owners and ~3M concealed carry license holders.

    the ability of POTUS to single you out, ship you to Gitma, torture you



    Nobody here is a fan of the current administration. We hate them as much as we hate the Dems.

    However, if the Reps stay in power, I am probably not personally going to be shipped to Gitmo and tortured. I apparently will however lose my guns and CHL.

    And don't lecture me on the Dems respect for the other BOR amendments. See e.g. "hate speech" regulations vs the 1st and eminent domain abuse vs the 3rd and 4th.

  • JohnD||

    As usual, this forum meets my expectations for entertainment value.

    There seems to be a fairly large number of airheads that are fodder for the more reasonable, better informed crowd.

    Example for clarification: Joe is not in the reasonable, better informed group.

  • ||

    i think that people use this amendment to defend their love of big ass weapons that kill PEOPLE.

    OK jim, you're a jackass. You can't name a single use of a .50 in crime, period. Yet you denigrate anyone owning one that gets used for recreational shooting. Betcha you're afraid they'll use it to shoot down an airplane you're on, yuk, yuk, yuk.

    And only a gun hating idiot describes people that want to defend themselves with a gun as "itching to kill someone".

  • Mike C||

    robc - Sure you have more than 2 choices on your ballot, but when it comes down to it, there are generally only 2 that have a chance at winning. Since I live in a swing state, I'd rather vote for the least damaging of the 2 who are actually in the running. Hopefully one day we will have a viable third party, right now we don't and I don't see that changing at the national level anytime soon.

    Also, McCain has a lot to do with this issue. If you see where the discussion has been going, should we base our vote on one amendment or multiple? I am a big supporter of the 2nd amendment, but I won't vote for a candidate who would throw away the other 9 in the bill of rights. Obama probably supports more of these rights than McCain when all is said and done. I am not a fan of Obama's stance on gun control. But McCain will make the government bigger than Obama will.

  • ||

    Can you scream "fire" in a crowded theater? No. But if you read 1A there is nothing there that says you shouldn't be able to. Is this what Obama is talking about vis a vis 2A?

    Yes, but it's flawed logic. My rights are absolute until they infringe on the rights of another individual, such as shouting "fire" or engaging in libel etc. My owning any weapon whatsoever in no way harms another individual, and thus can not be constitutionally regulated in the ways Obama thinks.

  • robc||

    MikeC,

    Sure you have more than 2 choices on your ballot, but when it comes down to it, there are generally only 2 that have a chance at winning.

    Not true. Generally, only 1 has a chance of winning. in 1996, Dole had zero chance of winning. Ditto Gore and Kerry in 2000 and 2004. Therefore, voting for any of them was just as much a wasted voted as my vote for the LP. And, I would argue, voting for Clinton/Bush was even more of a wasted vote.

    The only way to get what I want is to vote for what I want. I wont vote for someone who opposed ANY of my rights, especially the one that allows me to shoot back.

  • ||

    call me dumb, liberal (i'm independent, jackass) whatever you like.

    I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T Do you know what that means? She got her own house, she got her own car. Two Jobs, work hard, you a bad brawd...

  • ||

    I can't believe people are worried about clip size in a semi-automatic weapon. With no practice it takes ~2 sec to replace a clip in a handgun. ~3 sec in a semi-auto rifle. Do any rational people doubt that the Va Tech and NIU shooters had opportunitiy to replace clips as often as they wanted/needed?

    Think a bit before you post, please.

  • robc||

    But McCain will make the government bigger than Obama will.

    I have trouble believing this to be true. Both will grow it. But, Im not sure Obama's vision of a perfect government is smaller than McCain's. In fact, Im sure its bigger overall. Whether he can achieve that is another question. And he may do it while keeping many of our rights intact, except the right to keep our own money. For one thing, we are slightly less likely to end up with universal health care with McCain.

    Not an endorsement of McCain by any means. Just me anti-endorsement of Obama. And I refuse to vote for McCain just because he is slightly less evil.

  • Mike C||

    ROBC -
    I would not say that Gore had a 0 chance of winning. I believe the final margin of victory in FL was 537 votes.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Why is it that the 2nd Amendment is the only amendment argued to be poorly worded?

    Because it is...?


    Seconded...

    Obama seems to be working with the Standard Model...A good article on the issue (yep Wayne, I am citing your fav...):
    http://www.guncite.com/journals/reycrit.html

    This means that the right to arms does not extend to minors, so that the "Gun Free School Zones Act" overturned in United States v. Lopez,[89] does not violate the Second Amendment, at least as applied to schoolchildren. Nor does the right extend to felons or the insane.[90] Furthermore, licensing laws, background checks, and waiting periods--so long as all are reasonable and not simply covert efforts at restricting the availability of guns to those who qualify[91] --do not violate the right, arguments of overzealous gun enthusiasts to the contrary notwithstanding. After all, the "well regulated militia" of which every citizen was presumed a part included the necessity of showing up occasionally in person to prove that one possessed the necessary weapons and knew how to use them.[92] If that could be required, then it is hard to argue that citizens cannot be required to fill out a form or two.[93] Similarly, laws regulating the wearing of arms are generally regarded as acceptable under the Standard Model, although there is some (p.482)dispute on this subject.[94] The more popular view is that the term "keep" refers to owning arms that are kept in one's household; the term "bear" refers to the bearing of arms while actually taking part in militia duties.[95] Thus,

    [t]he amendment's language was apparently intended to protect the possession of firearms for all legitimate purposes, but to guarantee the right to carry them outside the home only in the course of militia service. Outside that context the only carrying of firearms which the amendment appears to protect is such transportation as is implicit in the concept of a right to possess--e.g., transporting them between the purchaser or owner's premises and a shooting range, or a gun store or gunsmith and so on.[96]

    In this light, whatever the asserted benefits of laws that allow citizens to carry weapons freely, the Standard Model stresses that there is no Second Amendment right to do so--though there may, of course, be Fourteenth Amendment rights not to be discriminated against in the granting of any such licenses a state may choose to permit.[97]

  • robc||

    MikeC,

    So your one vote, even assuming you were in Florida, would have changed Gore's chance of winning from 0% to? Thats right: 0%.

    As that election made clear, 1 vote really doesnt matter. If its that close the courts decide.

    Only the winner has a chance of winning, everyone else didnt get enough votes to have a chance. Gore supportes who call Nader a spoiler should realize that Gore spoiled Naders presidency too. If ALL the Gore voters had voted for Nader instead, we would have had a president Nader.

  • robc||

    Why is it that the 2nd Amendment is the only amendment argued to be poorly worded?

    Because it is...?

    Seconded...


    I would argue the 14th is poorly worded. Also, although they seem clear to me, the 9th and 10th must be poorly worded based on people's inability to apply what they read.

  • LarryA||

    "He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting"

    Like saying Freedom of the Press protects advertising (helps you hunt for stuff) and the sports section (recreation), but not the news. (helps you protect yourself, particularly against criminals and government)

    Obama: "But I don't know of any self-respecting hunter that needs 19 rounds of anything. You don't shoot 19 rounds at a deer, and if you do, you shouldn't be hunting."

    Obviously he's never hunted for feral hogs, and scared up a pack of the mean little critters.

    Obama: "I'm a believer in homeowners having a firearm to protect their home and their family."

    If so, then he needs to speak against the Washington, D.C. gun laws that prevent exactly that. While he's at it, he can also mention the laws in his hometown, Chicago, which have the same effect.

    unless i misunderstand, this was written so that people can defend their country at a time when the militia consisted of the citizens. so, in my opinion, if you want a big ass gun, then you should be in the military, defending our country.

    You probably won't take my word to the contrary, even though I served in the military. But how about information presented by people in charge of the military? From the retired military officers' brief in Heller: (PDF)

    In particular, banning personal firearm possession eliminates an important deterrent to those who might attack the homeland. This country profits from our enemies' recognition that an attack on the United States would be met with force by not only our armed forces, but also by a body politic fully capable of defending itself from foreign aggression. Moreover, private ownership of firearms makes for a more effective fighting force. Military recruits with previous firearms experience and training are generally better marksmen, and accordingly, better soldiers. In short, experience has taught that individual ownership of firearms is an indispensable element of national security. Amici therefore submit this brief in support of respondent and urge affirmance of the decision below.

    Does that last part ring a bell? We need a military to protect the state, therefore we need an individual right to keep and bear arms to have an effective military. Sort of sound like the Second Amendment?

    The brief even discusses why handgun possession and training is preferable to rifle in crowded cities like Washington, D.C.

    Here's where you can find all the briefs, pro and con.

    why do libertarians use this crazy hypothetical to ask for purity on 2A, then use that as an excuse to exclusively vote Republican?

    If you actually go look at the National Rifle Association and Texas State Rifle Association candidate rankings, you will find lots of A-rated Democrats. And some C-rated (or worse) Republicans.

    Can you scream "fire" in a crowded theater? No.

    1. You can if you smell smoke.
    2. You don't have to have your vocal cords removed to enter a theater. You don't even have to register them, or provide a voice print for comparison.
    3. Even if your neighbor is using her voice in a way that totally annoys everyone else in the theater, the cops won't arrest her.

    The First Amendment has a long way to go before it's as regulated as the Second, and SCOTUS would cut off anyone who tried at the knees before they got close to passing the bullshit laws we have to contend with.

    I was on Cheapter Than Dirt ordering a new belt pouch when an alert popped. It turns out it's illegal for them to ship to California any holster for a handgun less than 6.5 inches long.

  • robc||

    MikeC,

    Anyway, my point is, you dont win a bonus prize for happening to vote for the winner. Or 2nd place. Also, since 1 vote in a presidential election really doesnt matter, you might as well cast it for the person on the ballot you would most want to be president, even if they only get 12 votes in your state.

    Strategic voting MIGHT matter in a local race in which close elections will actually be decided by counting the actual votes cast.

  • ||

    Payrick - "I'm for 2A, but I'm surprised how many people want to flush the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th over extreme purity on the 2nd."

    The 2nd amendment is the ONLY one which even offers you the chance of salvaging the other rights that get trampled when it comes time to retool the government thugs. Without the 2nd do you think the others would last long at all considering the current rate of infringement going on by our government?

    This is why is the 2nd one and not way down last on the list. 1st Free Speech, 2nd Right to Bear Arms to insure the 1st is not taken away and to protect all the rights that come afterwards.

    Again I ask who is going to collect the guns if outlawed? If a president is worried about assasination and a black president would be really worried about it IMO. Then to think a black POTUS who wants to disarm everyone is just begging to have a shot taken at him.

    As for the Car vs 50 Cal.. Cars win hands down in numbers of foks killed each year. As for the energy levels.

    .50 Caliber
    2930*2930 fps = 8584900*700g = 6009430000/450240 = 13347 foot pounds energy at the muzzle.

    SUV

    75mph*5283' = 396225'/3600 seconds = 110 feet per second

    6000 lbs * 7000gr = 42000000gr

    110fps*110fps = 12100*42000000 = 508200000000/450240 = 1128731 Foot Pounds of Energy at the bumper.

    1128731/13347 = 85 Times more energy in the SUV versus the .50 cal bullet. I think these calcs are correct you can check them if you like :)

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    I would argue the 14th is poorly worded. Also, although they seem clear to me, the 9th and 10th must be poorly worded based on people's inability to apply what they read.

    Okay, I move to amend the previous assertion...

    The 2nd is the most poorly worded.

    The 9th and 10th seem quite clear to me.

    What is vague is the concept of "rights" as a concept. Once everyone agrees on what a right is, then the 9th and 10th work beautifully.

  • robc||

    NM,

    10 doesnt depend on the concept of "rights". In fact, that word isnt mentioned. Only powers. And it is very, very, very, very, very clear that those powers specifically granted to the United States are the only powers it has. That shouldnt be that hard to understand at all. Whether the remaining powers belong to the states or to the people isnt clarified, but thats okay, thats what state constitutions are for.

  • ||

    I'm sorry, Jim, but I just don't understand your fear of ammunition magazines that hold more than ten rounds.

    You honestly believe that mere possession of these items represent such a great threat to you that you're willing to throw people in jail simply for owning them?

  • Paul||

    yes, i worked with a dude that claimed that he needed all those semi and full automatic handguns, while living in a completely tame suburban neighborhood. he even complained that he should be able to bring one to work.

    people like THAT is the problem with the second amendment. they wrap themselves in the amendment, claiming a god given right, while they are simply itching to shoot someone.


    jim, I take it this person is a criminal who used his guns to commit crimes? He's in jail, right?

    so, i will now let you all respond with the argument that you have to defend your home against terrorists!!

    jim, this is about restrictions on handguns for self defense. How many times do we have to smack down the "vibrant sporting" industry claims of the second amendment.

  • dave||

    ...they have a NEED for the extended clip semi-automatic handgun to defend their home...

    How do you know he doesn't need that many rounds? Maybe he's using a 9mm.

  • Paul||

    again, guns are fine. but when you argue that you have a right to a 50 calibre cannon in your back yard because you need to protect your family, then i think it's absurd. call me dumb, liberal (i'm independent, jackass) whatever you like.

    Jesus H Christ how did we get on this? This straw man shit is getting on my nerves. .50 Caliber machine guns are illegal already. This is about whether the 2nd amendment caters to a vibrant sporting and hunting industry, or whether a handgun (concealed or not) is a reasonable weapon for an INDIVIDUAL to own (not JUST A HOMEOWNER) to carry for purposes of self defense.

  • ||

    I find it amusing that Jim, nor any of the other anti-gun sockpuppets have felt the need to respond.

  • ||

    From Wikipedia:


    As a state legislator in Illinois, Obama supported banning the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic firearms, increasing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms and requiring manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms.[89] He has also supported a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.[90] He sponsored a bill in 2000 limiting handgun purchases to one per month. He also voted against a 2004 measure allowing a self-defense exception for people charged with violating local weapons bans by using a gun in their home.[91] Although out of line with most of his anti-gun voting history, in 1999, Obama voted "present" on SB 759, a bill that required mandatory adult prosecution for firing a gun on or near school grounds. The bill passed the state Senate 52-1.[92] Illinois allows lawmakers to abstain from issues by voting present instead of yes or no.

    Obama was also a board member[93] of the Joyce Foundation which funds and maintains several gun control organizations in the United States.

    He supported several gun control measures, including restricting the purchase of firearms at gun shows and the reauthorization of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.[94] While in the US Senate, Obama has voted against legislation protecting firearm manufacturers from liability.[95] Obama did vote in favor of the 2006 Vitter Amendment to prohibit the confiscation of lawful firearms during an emergency or major disaster, which passed 84-16.[96]

    During a February 15, 2008 press conference, Obama stated, "I think there is an individual right to bear arms, but it's subject to commonsense regulation."[97] He voiced support for the District of Columbia's ban on handguns, which is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court next month in the landmark case D.C. v. Heller.[97]



    Barack Obama has a very anti-gun record. And it is absurd for him to say that he supports the Second Amendment while also supporting the DC ban, which bans ALL handguns and ALL FUNCTIONAL FIREARMS in the home. He may as well argue that he supports the right of 65-year old women to have abortions. It would be about as honest.

  • Jennifer||

    I do support one stringent gun-control measure: the bodyguards of any anti-gun politician are henceforth forbidden to carry guns for the protection of their boss. And that goes for the Secret Service, too.

  • Paul||

    A 30 round clip versus unwarranted eavesdropping on all your phone calls. A 30 round clip versus the ability of POTUS to single you out, ship you to Gitma, torture you, and then leave you there indefinitely or until they can arrange a kangaroo court and a death sentence?

    I'm for 2A, but I'm surprised how many people want to flush the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th over extreme purity on the 2nd.


    Ooooh, pick me! Pick me! It's funny you mention this, Payrick. Allow me to retort.

    First of all, you're on a libertarian board, so be real careful when you suggest that we want to flush other amendments in favor of "extreme purity" on the 2nd. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, some of us see the Bill of Rights, not as a set of amendments, segmented and isolated, but a flowing of thought which create a hollistic view of the freedoms we (endeavor to) enjoy.

    The first amendment, protecting our right to freedom of speech (funny how liberals want to gut the first, second amendment and fifth amendments but bitch non-stop about this administration violating the fourth-- I can play that game, too) is followed by the second. I don't see this as an accident:

    1. You can speak freely in society.
    2. If you can no longer speak freely, violence may be your only recourse.

    We've lost the first in the most egregious way vis. McCain-Feingold where speech was declared money. This administration has shown itself hostile to the fourth (obviously), Democrats have done a battering ram on the fifth, the ninth was forgotten years ago by both conservatives and liberals. I can go on.

    What I find fascinating is this utter and total disconnect with liberals and the second amendment. They scream bloody effing murder when they find out that some yahoo at the justice department might be listening to their banal phone conversations, but don't have any problems handing over their firearms to that same justice department official.

    Please, explain to me where this disconnect occurs because I have to admit, I don't get it.

    It's a complete enigma as to why one particular group which holds certain philosophies are completely dedicated to larger, more intrusive government, the elimination (democratization) of property rights, regulated political speech, a completely invasive government (but only for good, eg. liberal viewpoints on the last census controversy), and yet they have no problem whatsoever giving over the one right which allows us to defend ourselves physically from not only thuggish fellow citizens, but possibly a thuggish government.

  • ||

    I find it amusing that Jim, nor any of the other anti-gun sockpuppets have felt the need to respond.

    I think I hurt his feelings. jim, if you come back, I sell a device that cleans sand out of vaginas. You may be interested.

    this is about whether the 2nd amendment caters to a vibrant sporting and hunting industry, or whether a handgun (concealed or not) is a reasonable weapon for an INDIVIDUAL to own (not JUST A HOMEOWNER) to carry for purposes of self defense.

    Irrelevant but yes, yes (yes and yes), yes, yes, and yes. I think I covered all the questions in there.

    Also, what the fuck is with the homeowner distinction?

  • Paul||

    Also, what the fuck is with the homeowner distinction?

    I made the homeowner distinction because I believe in a right to carry not just a right to have one in the attic of your home. Meaning that only allowing someone to have a gun within the home is an unreasonable limit on the right to bear arms.

    See all the comments from Obama et. al. discussing the right of 'homeowners' to own a gun. Ultimately, I see that they're drawing a "distinction" and it's one that makes me increasingly uncomfortable. You know, sort of like everytime a politician looks at a piece of hardware he couldn't fucking possibly understand and quips: I don't see a valid sporting purpose for this.

  • ||

    I mean, what is up with Obama making it? It's a disingenuous and false distinction.

  • ||

    Please, explain to me where this disconnect occurs because I have to admit, I don't get it.

    I too am perplexed at how Liberals come to be against 2A. I can only think it is a lack of first hand experience with guns. If all your gun info comes from TV, you will have a skewed idea of the things. Now, since Democrats seem to be becoming the party of empirical evidence and Republicans becoming the party of ideological based reality (contrast this to 1979), this anti-2A will have to go. The scientific evidence on gun laws is that they don't work. I do think some of this has sunk in and Obama is probably less militant on guns than when he ran for Illinois State office a decade ago.

    Certainly there are Authoritarian Liberals and Libertarian Liberals. Many Democrats, especially those that are still around from the 80s and 90s, are the former (but not all). Some of the newer ones, especially from the West, are the latter. Obama is recent and from the Midwest, but I think a lot of the quotes cited here are from when he was running in Chicago. This goes back to my first guess, the people with no positive contact with guns are in cities and tend to be the most anti-2A. To get their votes, politicians do what politicians do, pander.

    I do think things are changing. I don't think gun control is at all a priority for Obama or Democrats. But I do think restoring Habeus, ending torture, and putting judges back in the loop on searches is a priority for Obama (but maybe not all Democrats judging by the Senate). I will personally try and listen to what he is saying about the subject now, and not base so much on what he was saying 12 years ago. I don't hold it against politicians that change their mind, if they change it to the right answer LOL

  • Redhawk||

    Americans need to wake up and see Osamobama as well as Hillary is a threat to all Americans personal safety and individual liberty.

    One doesn't leave out the right of self defense, and possession of the tools thereof, and then claim they support civil rights unless there is something sinister going on. What is sinister here is that BOTH of these individuals want to disarm Americans, which will leave all except criminals in a gun free zone. We know how successful these have been.

  • ||

    "First of all, you're on a libertarian board, so be real careful..."

    Paul, you are an idiot.

  • ||

    Obama says, "There is an individual right to bear arms, but it is subject to common-sense regulation, just like most of our rights are subject to common-sense regulation."

    This has me thinking about how I have always felt those on welfare should not be allowed to vote. There in an individual right to vote, but it is (or should be) subject to common-sense regulation.

    To me common-sense regulation of voting would mean that those who are nothing but leaches on tax payers and who exist soley by suckling the tit of government should not be allowed to vote until such time as they return to a productive existence. After all why should someone who does nothing have the same vote as those that pay for their expenses. You should not be allowed to vote for someone bacause they promise to keep giving you more and more for doing nothing.

    It would be amazing to see election results if the people on welfare bused to the polls every election were not allowed a say in things.

    Those that pay should be those that say and no one else. If you want a say in things get a job and contribute. Seems like common sense regulation to me but then again I am one of those paying and I do not think my vote and a welfare queens vote should be equal.

  • Paul||

    "First of all, you're on a libertarian board, so be real careful..."

    Paul, you are an idiot.

    Your well-articulated rebuttal has been noted. And found wanting.

  • Daniel Reeves||

    We don't hate guns, we just think they are too dangerous to be in the hands of civilians. It is not needed for self defense, the police are there to defend you. If you are being robbed, you should call the police.



    Why should anybody wait minutes when only seconds count? The police are not gods. They are fallible and sloppy and there are too many times when simply nothing can be done except self-defense. "Call the police..." how myopic.

    If you have a gun, there is a far greater chance it will acidentialy kill you


    So? That's the risk you take when you're handling a gun.

    or someone else than successfully kill a criminal,


    Not all guns are used to kill criminals. Even just the thought of someone potentially owning a gun is enough to deter crime, as we see in England, where crime has risen since the ban and more and more thefts are taking place when the victims are at home.

    and if you kill a criminal you are going to jail, unless they are armed.


    Again, so? This really means nothing.

  • Daniel Reeves||

    Can you scream "fire" in a crowded theater? No. But if you read 1A there is nothing there that says you shouldn't be able to.


    Sigh...

    The founding fathers saw property rights as the guardian of all other rights. If I can't enforce my property-- my estate, my capital, and myself-- then I have no rights.

    Theaters are private property, and thus the owners should have the right to enforce private property. All this for the same reason I can't go shouting whatever I want in your living room.

    Tell ya what, if I own a theater, I'll let you shout "fire" in it all you want.

    I conclude:

    "Freedom of speech means freedom from interference, suppression or punitive action by the government-and nothing else. ... Freedom of speech includes the freedom not to agree, not to listen and not to support one's own antagonists. A "right" does not include the material implementation of that right by other men; it includes only the freedom to earn that implementation by one's own effort."
    -- something from some Ayn Rand Column

  • ||

    Longer Paul:

    "You are trespassing in OUR echo chamber and you may not express ideas not already approved by us."

    Sheesh Paul, express your ideas, and get off the "you're in the wrong place my friend" shtick.

  • Paul||

    x:

    You fucked up and showed your hand.

    That's not even close to what I meant. Not even in the ballpark.

    The original quote, with context:

    First of all, you're on a libertarian board, so be real careful when you suggest that we want to flush other amendments in favor of "extreme purity" on the 2nd. This could not be further from the truth.



    My point (which seeminlgy flew way, way over your head) was that when one suggests to libertarians that we want to "flush" other amendments in favor of an ideal, one would be sorely mistaken. Considering that 'flushing' select amendments is the exclusive domain of the two major political parties.

    Reading comprehension skills. Get some.

  • ||

    Sorry Paul, I didn't realize you spoke for everyone. I stand corrected.

  • Paul||

    Sorry Paul, I didn't realize you spoke for everyone. I stand corrected.

    You do stand corrected, but not for the reasons you think. You stand corrected for attempting to speak for me. Something for which you are supremely unqualified, re: your 4:59 post.

  • ||

    The 2nd Ammendment was put there to protect the citizens' right to overthrow tyrannical government. Period end of arguement. If you agree write-in Ron Paul in November. If you don't agree say goodbye to all the rest of the ammendments because they won't be there in a few years.

  • ||

    Well Paul, maybe you could share your thoughts about why you stand corrected.

    As to the 4:59 post, do you really not perceive the difference between stating a persuasive argument and invoking the overwhelming power of the local groupthink? I just think the phrase "be real carefull" doesn't go well in an environment where the idea exchange is supposed to be free and open.

  • ||

    Wait, is the local groupthink that we're all a bunch of 2nd amendment absolutists who are willing to do away with the rest of the Bill of Rights, or is it that we believe in all of the liberties enshrined in the B.O.R.?

  • Robert||

    Your philosophy on the legitimacy of civilian firearm ownership is a consequence of your philosophy regarding who holds the power in a society: the government or the governed? Are the people the legitimate source of power, and that which the government possesses only given on loan, or does the government rule the people?

    This is the reason it is the left that hates firearms, not the right. If it were about the use of firearms to overthrow the status quo and empower the revolutionaries, the left would be the advocates for the second amendment. They're the ones who idolize Che Guevara after all.

    Possession of a gun is a repudiation of statism. It is a declaration of personal sovereignty, an admission that you and only you are responsible for your failures, your successes, and your safety. It is fundamentally incompatible with the leftist vision of the nanny state as the great provider and protector.

    This is why the left hates guns, and continually tries to redefine the gun in non-political terms, as something about hunting, target shooting, or "tradition".


    Sorry, doesn't explain why the non-libertarian traditionalist "right" is also pro-gun.

    No, I think it's that today's "left" is opposed to overt violence and symbols and reminders of same. I think there'd be a strong positive correlation between animus to firearms and animus to fireworks.

    Robert

  • ||

    As a libertarian-leaning Democrat, I believe in an individual rights application of all provisions of the Bill of Rights and a broad construction thereof in favor of liberty, including the Second Amendment and the taking clause of the Fifth Amendment. The bottom line as to presidential politics is, which candidate is more likely to appoint judges who are protective of individual liberties.

    Senator McCain has emphasized that "activist" judges should not legislate from the bench and should defer to the legislative branch of government. This is probably speaking in code for nominating judges who will: (1) preserve McCain-Feingold restrictions on campaign money despite the abridgement of First Amendment freedoms, and (2) uphold restrictions on abortion rights. (McCain has called for Roe v. Wade to be overruled and the question of imposing criminal penalties for abortion to thereby be returned to the states.) Does anyone doubt that McCain would use McCain-Feingold as a de facto litmus test when nominating judges?

    Regulation of gun rights is an area of politics in which the proponents of individual liberty have done rather well in the legislative arena. Advocates of individual rights have done less well as to express First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment freedoms and the substantive due process and equal protection components of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

    The federal judiciary has been steadily eroding contitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and statutory provisions which protect citizens' right of access to federal courts where individual rights have been violated, both as to liberty and property rights.

    As a practical matter, a law-abiding citizen is far more likely to encounter abridgement of First and Fourth Amendment rights than he is to have his firearms confiscated.

    Appointment of the federal judiciary is the most consequential peacetime act that any president performs. That is not to denigrate the presidential role in the legislative process--would we rather have a President Obama or a President McCain consider revisions to the so-called Patriot Act or FISA?--but the consequences of a bad judge serving for life last longer than the consequences of one Congress passing bad legislation which the next congress can repeal or modify.

    In view of the current Supreme Court's hostility to individual rights and the likelihood that the next few retirements are more likely to include the justices most likely to support the individual vis-a-vis the government, I find it difficult to understand why a libertarian would support Senator McCain (or, for that matter, any other Republican presidential candidate).

  • ||

    Mediageek,

    Does the local groupthink rule, or do you express your own ideas and seek to persuade?

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    At least the third amendment is doing fine.

  • ||

    If the Republicans could think of a way to curtail Third Amendment rights, they would.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    John in Nashville:
    True enough.

  • ||

    If Obama is serious about his support for the Second Amendment he would drop the nonsense about hunting and targeting shooting and actually read the Constitution which is about KEEPING and BEARING arms. We have the right to self-defense just like we all have the right to freedom of religion and peaceful assembly. Gun registration, waiting periods, and bans on certain types of guns based upon cosmetic features all violate the Bill of Rights. It is time that true Americans demand their politicians to respect the Bill of Rights for how it was written; as a guarantee against tyranny and the final check against the power of The State.

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    10 doesnt depend on the concept of "rights".

    I would disagree. Just because it doesn't use the word doesn't mean the concept isn't pivotal to the meaning of the 10th amendment. Both a power and a right are a legitimate claim to X. Powers are only different in that they imply that X involves restricting or compelling someone else from doing something. Property rights entail certain powers, for instance.

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

    Powers reserved to the people are, then, intimately tied up with their rights.

    I notice no one decided to step up and refute the assertion that Obama is working within the Standard Model interpretation of the 2nd amendment...a model which says the 2nd doesn't restrict the government from requiring registration or waiting periods as long as they are reasonable...etc...

  • ||

    a model which says the 2nd doesn't restrict the government from requiring registration or waiting periods as long as they are reasonable...etc...

    As pointless as registration would be, I agree that there is nothing intrinsically unconstitutional about it (provided we are talking state and not federal). Waiting periods are another matter, both from a constitutional perspective and the practical. The 'cooling off' period ranks right up there with "anyone wanting to use a gun in self defense is just itching to kill someone" in the thin air of nebulous arguments. And you know there is no way in the world that a 72 hr cooling off period on abortion would be tolerated as reasonable and not causing undue burden. So why would it be so for buying a gun?

  • Neu Mejican||

    And you know there is no way in the world that a 72 hr cooling off period on abortion would be tolerated as reasonable and not causing undue burden. So why would it be so for buying a gun?

    Cuz the gun doesn't continue to develop in your womb perhaps...

    As far as the waiting period goes, it only passes muster, I think, if it is tied to a back-ground check to assure that you are not in the class of citizen that isn't covered by the 2nd in the Standard Model...e.g., felon, insane, a child.

  • E. David Quammen||

    Apparently Obama DOESN'T know the meaning of "shall NOT be infringed". There can be NO Constitutionally legal "common sense" 'control' on it PERIOD. Only punishments can legally be provided for abuse or misuse. It is an INALIENABLE Right:

    The following explains our God-given, Inherent and Inalienable Natural Right as it was INTENDED by the men whom framed our Constitution:

    "If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government . . . The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms..."

    - Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #28.
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/FederalistPapers/FedNo28.html

    "The opinion of the Federalist has always been considered as of great authority. It is a complete commentary on our Constitution; and is appealed to by all parties in the questions to which that instrument has given birth. Its intrinsic merit entitles it to this high rank; and the part two of its authors performed in framing the constitution, put it very much in their power to explain the views with which it was framed..."

    - Chief Justice John Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court, Cohens v. Virginia (1821).
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALaw/CohensvVirginia.html

    "Also, the conditions and circumstances of the period require a finding that while the stated purpose of the right to arms was to secure a well-regulated militia, the right to self-defense was assumed by the Framers."

    - John Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice. [As quoted in Nunn v. State, 1 Ga. 243, 251 (1846); State v. Dawson, 272 N.C. 535, 159 S.E.2d 1, 9 (1968).]
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/AfterTheFact/NunnVsState.html

    "Afforded us by God & Nature"
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/AffordedGodNature.html

    "Agreed to found our Rights upon the Laws of Nature...."
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALaw/LawsofNature.html

    "...Which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them..."
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALaw/God&Nature.html

    Life, Liberty and Property
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALaw/LifeLibertyProperty.html

    George Washington: Concerning Arms in the hands of the People
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/SecondAmend/GeorgeWashingtonArms.html

    "the overruling law of self preservation"
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/SelfPreservation.html

    'for the common defence' (?)
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Precedent/SenateJournal09091789.html

    "Rights of the citizen declared to be --"
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/CitizensRight.html

    "The Right to Self Defense"
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/AfterTheFact/RightofDefense.html

    "The right of self-defence never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals."

    - President James Monroe, Nov. 16, 1818 message to the U.S. House and Senate. [Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, November 17th, 1818.]
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/AfterTheFact/Senate11171818.html

    Right to Keep and Bear Arms - Historical Directories:

    Origins
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Origins.html

    Precedent
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Origins&Precedent.html

    After The Fact
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/AfterTheFact/Contents.html

    Amendment II and the Law
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALaw/Contents.html

    "No, surely, No! they meant to drive us into what they termed rebellion, that they might be furnished with a pretext to disarm and then strip us of the rights and privileges of Englishmen and Citizens."

    - George Washington, March 1, 1778 letter to Bryan Fairfax, Valley forge.

  • E. David Quammen||

    A CHARGE to the GRAND JURIES, "Thus the will of individuals is still left free; the abuse only of that free will is the subject of legal punishment", 1799
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/AfterTheFact/LibertySpeechPress1799.html

    "Shall NOT be infringed" means PRECISELY that which was written:

    The REAL ORIGINAL INTENT behind the Second Amendment:

    The Shay's Insurrection, "These the Legislature could not infringe, without bringing upon themselves the detestation of mankind, and the frowns of Heaven", Jan. 12, 1787
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Precedent/ShaysInsurrection01121787.html

    Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "and shall obtain an order for the re-delivery of such arms", Feb. 16, 1787
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Precedent/CommonwealthOfMass02161787.html

    Journals of the Continental Congress, "...impolitic and not to be reconciled with the genius of free Govts...", Feb. 19. 1787
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Precedent/ContCongress02191787.html

    Letters of Delegates to Congress, "...An Act to disarm and Disfranchise for three years...", Feb. 27th, 1787
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Precedent/AnActToDisarm02271787.html

    Letters of Delegates to Congress, "...this act has created more universal disgust than any other of Government...", March 6, 1787
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Precedent/IrvineToWilson03061787.html

    Journals of the Continental Congress, "That a large body of armed insurgents, did make their appearance...", March 13, 1787
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Precedent/ContCongress03131787.html

    James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, "a great proportion of the offenders chuse rather to risk the consequences of their treason, than submit to the conditions annexed to the amnesty", March 19, 1787
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Precedent/MadisonToJefferson03191787.html

    A Proclamation, "and of being again renewed to the arms of their country, and once more enjoying the rights of free citizens of the Commonwealth", June 15, 1787
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/AProclamation06151787.html

    The Debates in the Federal Convention, "...let the citizens of Massachusetts be disarmed. . . . It would be regarded as a system of despotism.", Aug. 23, 1787
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Precedent/FedDebates08231787.html

    James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, "A constitutional negative on the laws of the States seems equally necessary to secure individuals agst. encroachments on their rights", Oct. 24, 1787
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Precedent/MadisonToJefferson10241787.html

    "The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independent 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order. I hope in God this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted."

    - Thomas Jefferson, Nov. 13, 1787 letter to William S. Smith.
    http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Precedent/JeffersonToSmith11131787.html

    That's RIGHT people, it was intended to SECURE the God-given, Natural, Inherent and Inalienable Right of those that HAD transgressed the law. ALL 'gun control laws' are REPUGNANT to the U.S. Constitution.

  • Ben||

    Oh. Man. The degree of dimwittery here is... just astounding. Heres's a gem:

    "We don't hate guns, we just think they are too dangerous to be in the hands of civilians. It is not needed for self defense, the police are there to defend you."

    To you, I hand this truism: "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away."

    ...and *that* is just the death blow for the whole "police" argument. The real reason that the citizens should own guns is, of course, that which the founders discussed, that is, the need to face down a government out of control.

    Obama is a disgrace as a constitutional anything; his stretch to reach the middle ground is a travesty in the face of the uncompromising words of the 2nd: "...shall not be infringed." "Subject to reasonable regulation", my aching, tired back.

    What a shame Americans are so indoctrinated on the one hand, and so poorly educated on the other, that they do not know, much less respect, the actual liberties that were so hard-won. It literally brings tears to my eyes.

  • E. David Quammen||

    The amendment, like most other provisions in the Constitution, has a history. It was adopted with some modification and enlargement from the English Bill of Rights of 1688, where it stood as a protest against arbitrary action of the overturned dynasty in disarming the people, and as a pledge of the new rulers that this tyrannical action should cease. The right declared was meant to be a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers, and as a necessary and efficient means of regaining rights when temporarily overturned by usurpation.[1]

    The Right is General. - It may be supposed from the phraseology of this provision that the right to keep and bear arms was only guaranteed to the militia; but this would be an interpretation not warranted by the intent. The militia, as has been elsewhere explained, consists of those persons who, under the law, are liable to the performance of military duty, and are officered and enrolled for service when called upon. But the law may make provision for the enrolment of all who are fit to perform military duty, or of a small number only, or it may wholly omit to make any provision at all; and if the right were limited to those enrolled, the purpose of this guaranty might be defeated altogether by the action or neglect to act of the government it was meant to hold in check. The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is, that the people, from whom the militia must be taken, shall have the right to keep and bear arms, and THEY NEED NO PERMISSION OR REGULATION OF LAW FOR THE PURPOSE. But this enables the government to have a well regulated militia; for to bear arms implies something more than the mere keeping; it implies the learning to handle and use them in a way that makes those who keep them ready for their efficient use; in other words, it implies the right to meet for voluntary discipline in arms, observing in doing so the laws of public order.

    Standing Army. - A further purpose of this amend-[1] 1 Tuck. Bl. Com., App. 300.

    - - Thomas M. Cooley, LL.D., THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA [1880], FOURTH EDITION EDITED BY JON ROLAND, (Constitution Society), 2002.
    (Mr. Cooley was Dean of the University of Michigan's Law School, Michigan Supreme Court justice, and a nationally recognized scholar. And, was one of the authorities quoted in the recent D.C. decision).

  • E. David Quammen||

    Consider the PRE-EXISTENT NATURAL RIGHT of the British-American 'subject', as explained by a very knowledgeable and well known authority;

    "The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defense, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute I W. & M. st.2. c.2. and is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression."

    - William Blackstone, 1 Commentaries on the Laws of England 136, 1765-1769.

    Then, let us give our attention to how the new American Citizen's Right was dramatically improved;

    "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government...."

    "....This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty....The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Whenever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."

    "...In America we may reasonably hope that the people will never cease to regard the right of keeping and bearing arms as the surest pledge of their liberty..."

    - St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries, (1803).

  • ||

    The 2nd Amendment is our most important right. It allows us the ability to protect the rest of our constitution. As an Independent I say NO on OBAMA. Vote Ron Paul

  • ||

    What baffles me is this - those people in most dire need to be able to legally protect themselves - for the most part poor, inner city black people - are the people specifically prevented from doing so by gun control legislation. Those who have no regard for the law (the gang bangers)are unaffected by any gun ban. Those law abiding citizens most at risk from these people are the people the law disarms. The fact is, gun control in the US has its root deeply embedded in racism and the first gun control laws were put in place to disarm black people in the south specifically so they could not protect themselves from the violent effects of racism. And somehow the left misses the fact that among the very first steps taken by every totalitarian regime in history was to disarm the populace. It is a fundamental strategy of every oppressive regime - to make the people defenseless. It is not the job of the police to protect you - this has been legally affirmed - and they could not do it if they tried. They arrive after the crime has been committed.

  • Neu Mejican||

    And somehow the left misses the fact that among the very first steps taken by every totalitarian regime in history was to disarm the populace. It is a fundamental strategy of every oppressive regime -

    Who is this left of which you speak.

    Defined, I believe, as those who miss your obvious point.

    I hate it when people on my side of an issue make lame arguments/adhom nonsense about the other side of the issue.

    One can reasonably believe in limitations such as registration and waiting periods without having the goal of disarming the citizenry. There is a middle ground. Many laws go past this middle ground and should be vigorously opposed (think DC...).

  • Neu Mejican||

    To be clear...

    Those laws the go past the middle ground should be vigorously opposed. Those in the middle ground should be debated and shaped to provide for the lowest level of burden on gun ownership while satisfying the constituency on the other side.

  • ||

    One can reasonably believe in limitations such as registration and waiting periods without having the goal of disarming the citizenry.



    Except that, more often than not, once guns are registered they are confiscated.

    There is no compelling reason for the government to have a list of what guns I, or any other law-abiding citizen, owns.

  • E. David Quammen||

    "A system of licensing and registration, is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie."

    - Vladimir Lenin

    "The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist
    program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." -- Norman Thomas (1884-1968) six-time U.S. Presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America Source: 1948 - from an interview during the presidential campaign,

    [Ed. note: Norman Thomas and Gus Hall, the U.S. Communist Party Candidate, both quit American politics, agreeing that the Republican and Democratic parties by 1970 had adopted every plank on the Communist/Socialist and they no longer had an alternate party platform
    on which to run.]
    http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Norman.Thomas.Quote.FFB1

  • ||

    Cuz the gun doesn't continue to develop in your womb perhaps...

    As far as the waiting period goes, it only passes muster


    A 72 hr waiting period on abortion is no more intrusive [/sarcasm] then it is for a gun to be purchased.

    The waiting period justification is not about the background check - it's all about "cooling off". Which is a sack of shit argument no matter how much someone insists it smells of roses.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "If the Republicans could think of a way to curtail Third Amendment rights, they would."

    1. Why do you think that only Republicans would? Democrats like Charlie Rangel are the only ones who've advocated reinstating the draft and other compulsory military service measures - often on the idea that everyone should be sharing the burden... so what's to assume they wouldn't be the ones to extend that burden into 3rd amendment territory?

    2. It occurs to me that I wrote a lengthy blog about just this a few months back... Interesting how the only amendment not actively trampled on is the 3rd, and that's pretty much just because it's kind of antiquated.

  • ||

    "As a former constitutional law professor, Barack Obama understands and believes in the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms," his website claims..."

    Obama was NOT a professor at the University of Chicago. His title was "Senior Lecturer," which you can verify by proper Googling.

    Actual University of Chicago professors, of whom my wife is one, note this distinction with pride.

    A Lecturer or Researcher, no matter how Senior, even if simultaneously a Federal Judge, is NOT a professor.

  • responsiblelib||

    Really hard to take a biased hit-piece like this seriously. When you start saying that the intent behind handgun bans is to screw over law abiding citizens and help gangbangers, you lose all credibility. No, the intent is to crack down on the gangbangers... that's why every police and law enforcement organization in the country supports tough gun restrictions (especially assault weapons bans). You can argue all you want about the effects but your intent argument is just ludicrous.

    And while you are arguing about the importance of guns for self-defense, keep in mind 1) despite the fact that 50% of households own guns, guns are only used in self-defense in less than 1% of all crimes (hey maybe if we instituted a law mandating everyone owned a gun we could double the self defense rate to 2%!); 2) guns in the home are WAY more likely to be used against a family member in an accident or crime of passion than against an intruder.

  • ||

    call me dumb, liberal (i'm independent, jackass) whatever you like.

    How come most liberals I know call themselves "independent," while conservatives usually have no problem calling themselves "conservative"?

  • ||

    This is why is the 2nd one and not way down last on the list. 1st Free Speech, 2nd Right to Bear Arms to insure the 1st is not taken away and to protect all the rights that come afterwards.


    A common misconception (re the first and the second amendments).

    The original Bill of Rights had 12 amendments; speech etc. was the 3rd, and guns was the 4th. The original first amendment was not ratified, and the original second amendment was ratified as the 27th amendment in 1992.

  • ||

    Really hard to take a biased hit-piece like this seriously. When you start saying that the intent behind handgun bans is to screw over law abiding citizens and help gangbangers, you lose all credibility. No, the intent is to crack down on the gangbangers... that's why every police and law enforcement organization in the country supports tough gun restrictions (especially assault weapons bans).

    Have you been paying attention to Balko's work?

  • ||

    Probably wasting my time writing any comment this far down, but the whole 2nd Amendment defense which is commonly used is BLATANTLY WRONG.

    The 2nd Amendment is NOT ABOUT SELF DEFENSE -- at least not from CRIME. It's about maintaining control of your government.

    That was the expressly stated purpose of "the militia" in Federalist #46 (to wit: "...To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands...").

    Do you really, really want to try to take issue with the same military that has done what it has done in Iraq and Afghanistan -- with knives and pitchforks?

    I personally hope to God we never need to do such a thing -- but I don't presume that Americans, decent as they basically are, are utterly immune to the same failures that other governments throughout history have been subject to -- fear and hunger and desperation leading to a foolish weakness to willingly submit to the exhortations of someone claiming they will "protect and rescue" us in our time of distress.

    Post-WWI Germany was an essentially decent people -- yet between 1920 and 1935 -- only fifteen years -- they managed to be well on their way to slaughtering millions of Jews and attempting to conquer Europe.

    I do not PRESUME that Americans are so special that they, too, are immune to such errors. I hope they are, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

    Guns represent the power of the people over their government -- the ability to say "This stops NOW" and place the exclamation point on the command.

    It represents the requirement that the member-representatives of the government RESPECT the people over whom they have been granted authority --

    "Among other things, being disarmed causes you to be despised."
    - Machiavelli -

    Don't allow the liberals to frame this as a "safety" issue -- or even a "crime" issue -- it is NOT. It is about maintainig control of the Federal Government -- Nothing less... And with what is inarguably the most potent military machine in human history, it is essential that it be kept under control.

    Further, the simple fact that the people of the USA have guns massively reduces even the THOUGHT that such an effort -- to impose their will on the people as a whole -- can possibly succeed.

    Remember -- you don't, ideally, give an officer of the Law a gun with the desire that he shoot people with it -- you give him the gun specifically hoping that its presence in his holster will save him from ever having to draw it. It represents, for the officer, what one hopes is a last-resort reference to his authority to enforce the law.

    Guns -- in the hands of the citizenry -- perform the same. They are not there because we expect the people to need to use them to reign in the government -- but are there so that the subject (i.e., the government) will realize that they are there when the officer (i.e., the citizenry) say "Cease and Desist! Now!" to the subject, and the subject will, in fact, do exactly that without needing to resort to the actual use of the weapon... Just because It Is There.

  • Nike Dunk Low||

    is good

  • sacs birkin hermes||

    The appeals court meant what it said, and Obama doesn't.

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