Libertarians, Guns, and Federalism

A reply to Richard Epstein's take on the right to keep and bear arms

In McDonald v. Chicago, its landmark 2010 decision striking down that city’s handgun ban, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms applies against state and local governments via the 14th Amendment, which declares: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

If you ask most libertarians, they will probably tell you that McDonald was a great victory for individual rights. But that view isn’t unanimous. Most notably, the distinguished New York University law professor and libertarian legal icon Richard Epstein will tell you that the Supreme Court got it wrong.

In a new essay for the journal Defining Ideas titled “The Libertarian Gun Fallacy,” Epstein argues that most libertarians, including me, make the mistake of ignoring “the key federalism component of the Second Amendment.” As Epstein sees it, the Second Amendment isn’t about individual rights at all. Instead, its purpose is to maintain federalism by keeping “states free and clear of federal oversight on their own internal regulation of the use of firearms.”

Under that interpretation, the Supreme Court should have sided with Chicago and prevented 76-year-old Otis McDonald from getting a legal handgun for self-defense. As Epstein puts it, “It would be very strange indeed if the provision that is intended to preserve state independence from federal control should now be read as an individual right that binds the states as well as the federal government.”

The problem with Epstein's reading is that he seems to give too little weight to the text and history of the 14th Amendment, which was specifically added to the Constitution in order to provide a check on the powers of state governments, including giving federal courts the authority to nullify state and local laws that violate the Bill of Rights. The text of the 14th Amendment, the historical events leading to its ratification, and the statements of purpose made by its framers, supporters, and opponents all testify to the fact that it was created to protect individual rights—including the right of armed self-defense—on the state and local level.

Consider the amendment’s origins. After the conclusion of the Civil War, the former Confederate states began passing various laws that robbed the recently freed slaves (and their white unionist allies) of their political, economic, and civil rights, including the right to arms. Mississippi’s Black Code, for example, declared “that no freedman, free Negro, or mulatto…shall keep or carry firearms of any kind,” while Florida made it illegal for blacks to possess “any bowie-knife, dirk, sword, fire-arms, or ammunition of any kind” without a license. Needless to say, those licenses were not easy to come by.

In response to these violations, the Republican-controlled 39th Congress produced the 14th Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. One of the leaders of this process was Rep. John Bingham of Ohio, who authored the amendment’s first section (which I quoted from above). In a speech before the House of Representatives, Bingham explained that the rights protected by the amendment “are chiefly defined in the first eight amendments to the Constitution.” Similarly, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, who introduced the 14th Amendment in the Senate and then shepherded its passage, declared that its purpose was “to restrain the power of the States and compel them at all times to respect these great fundamental guarantees,” including “the right to keep and to bear arms.”

Opponents of the amendment also shared in this understanding of the new limits it placed on state regulatory power—indeed, that’s basically why they opposed ratifying it in the first place. As one opponent at New Hampshire’s ratification convention argued, the 14th Amendment was “a dangerous infringement upon the rights and independence of the states.” Interior Secretary Orville Browning denounced the amendment in similar terms, arguing in a widely circulated 1866 letter that it would “totally annihilate...the authority and control of the States over matters of purely domestic and local concern.”

Keep in mind that before the 14th Amendment was added to the Constitution, none of the protections in the Bill of Rights were seen as applicable to the states. The First Amendment, which famously begins, “Congress shall make no law,” was quite explicit on that point. So the 14th Amendment altered the federalism component of more than just the Second Amendment. It transformed the entire Bill of Rights into a safeguard against abusive state and federal power.

That doesn’t mean federalism itself was abolished, just that the pre-Civil War federalist system was reconfigured. The federal government is still forbidden (at least on paper) from roaming beyond the confines of its constitutionally delegated powers. What’s different is that the states are now forbidden from infringing on fundamental constitutional rights, specifically including the right to keep and bear arms.

In light of this evidence, I respectfully dissent from Epstein’s judgment.

Damon W. Root is a senior editor at Reason magazine.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    As Epstein sees it, the Second Amendment isn’t about individual rights at all.

    Aaaand, I quit reading. Just the old "collective rights" argument with new lipstick on. Amirite?

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Ehhnn...to be honest, I read through it twice and I am still not following. Epstein asserts that the first clause of the Second Amendment somehow protects a states' right to regulate firearms and ensures the Federal Government won't overreach its powers and regulate (either more stringently or more loosely) firearms in a particular State.

    Anyway, his "evidence" is a whole host of other Constitutional phrases that need to be read together to interpret the First Clause of the Second Amendment, but he doesn't get from "there" to his conclusion, IMHO.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I thought it was more 'the 2nd Amendment only stops the Feds from making a law. If a state wants to restrict firearms, they can.'

  • Apogee||

    But the states can't restrict speech. Why is the 2A open to restriction, where the other rights are not?

    The anti 2A people never say.

  • BakedPenguin||

    In the original 10 Amendments, the 1st is the only one specifying that "Congress shall make no law...", so ironically, there would be a better argument for states having anti-speech laws, at least prior to the 14th amendment.

    (This assumes I've got the argument correct.)

  • ||

    You have it correct.

    2A says "shall not be infringed" that is a unqualified assertion.

    1A says "Congress shall pass no law" that is qualified as to who may not pass a law. It specifically doesn't include the States.

  • LarryA||

    The anti 2A people never say.

    "Guns R Icky"

  • ||

    Well, he's arguing that the 2nd is different because it expressly mentions the states' ability to regulate the militia. Thus he thinks it's "immunized" from incorporation.

    Doesn't hold water as far as I'm concerned, since if you go that route then you have to note that the first amendment expressly places restrictions on Congress, not state legislatures. So if the 2nd is immune to incorporation then so is the 1st.

  • KW6||

    "Well regulated" means "trained and equipped to a regular standard."

  • ||

    "Trained and equipped" means 60% at 25 yards and a .45 cal because they don't make a .46 cal.

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  • Emperess McNastypants||

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  • FatDaddy||

    I detest people in those bilover states.

  • ||

    I have this "well-endowed" friend that I think would be interested. You can contact him at...

    http://www.mittromney.com/

  • ||

    He figures that if it's boring enough most people won't bother following the reasoning in his argument and that people that agree with him are the majority. He's right on the first idea.

  • AlmightyJB||

    New York University law professor.

    And quit reading.

  • ||

    Yep, lipstick on a pig.

  • RoboCain||

    If there were no Federal gun control laws, whether or not there was a "“the key federalism component of the Second Amendment" or that the 14th applies to the 2nd, wouldn't matter much in practical terms.

  • Alex Wagner Quote||

    "Well, I'm going to be pilloried for this. I think get rid of the second Amendment, the right to bear arms. I just think in the grand scheme of the rights that we have; the right of assembly, free speech, I mean, owning a gun does not, it does not tally on the same level as those other Constitutional rights. And being more discreet about who gets to have a firearm and right to kill with a firearm, I think is something that would be in our national interest to revisit that."

  • Alex Wagner's Face||

  • RoboCain||

    Her face is way better than her opinions.

  • ||

    She can come over to my place. I'd be happy to pillory her for an afternoon.

  • fish||

    We care about what spews from those pretty lips....why again? Do you think she would be on MSNBC with the opposite opinion?

  • Trespassers W||

    it does not tally on the same level as those other Constitutional rights

    She's right. It doesn't tally on the same level as those other Constitutional rights, because it's required to defend all of those rights against a government that would violate them.

    And being more discreet about who gets to have a firearm and right to kill with a firearm...

    Because that's all that's lacking. Sufficient discretion.

    What a turd. A cute turd, but a turd nevertheless.

  • ||

    A cute turd. Think she does anal?

  • Muad Dib||

    The second amendment does not mention guns it mentions arms and is meant to guarantee your right to self defense. Further, without the right to self defense your other rights mean literally nothing as the first unscrupulous person could take them from you by force. Also, "and right to kill with a firearm"? Is she talking about local police, federal officers, military etc? What is that supposed to mean? The second amendment does not authorize lethal force to anyone.

    She should stick to looking pretty which is why she is a news anchor person and not a news writer.

  • Paul||

    She should stick to looking pretty which is why she is a news anchor person and not a news writer.

    Someone writes the news? I thought the news sort of... you know... happened.

  • T||

    That's what they want you to think, Paul. The entire mortgage crisis was scripted years in advance by the Pentavirate.

  • H man||

    Great another secret society I have to keep track of.

  • AZ||

    "Right to kill with a firearm"?

    What is this sensationalist horseshit?

  • ||

    That's the 007th Amendment.

  • ||

    Damn, the second amendment grants a license to kill? This Wagner person has a very expansive reading of RKBA.

  • ||

    Alex Wagner assumes that by annulling the second amendment, all firearms will somehow be under lock and key. The notion that without this right we would somehow turn into Utopia is very naive. The fact is that we live in a violent world inhabited by violent people. If Alex Wagner is not willing to stand post in front of my yard to protect my family, then step aside and let me do it... with a very light and accurate piece of machinery know as a Glock 19. I see it as an insurance policy. It sucks that I have to have one, but when it's needed, I'm sure glad I got it.

  • CE||

    You know who else decided which individuals and which groups of individuals weren't allowed to own guns?

  • Max||

  • fish||

    As usual you're a day late! Still every bit as stupid though Max!

  • Max||

    Gee, have Ron Paul's neo-Nazi connections already been covered here?

  • fish||

    The fact that a publication that features race hustler Al Sharpton so prominently couldn't possibly be biased even so slightly! Please tell me you're not this gullible.

  • Max||

    You paultards put the "G" in gullibility. The boring old fuck is a white supremicist neo-Nazi. That explains the racist newsletters. The fake eyebrows, however, remain a msytery.

  • fish||

    What's the big deal Max he isn't going to win. Have a cocktail. And hey....I thought you were never going to post again....what with all the pualtards who hang out here?

  • Max||

    Dec 26, 2011 – Fuck you Pualtards I'm done posting here! ... Max, ol' buddy, you seem to have this sort of 'fixation'. Prolly ought to talk with someone about it, ...

  • Mr. FIFY||

    1. That isn't Max.

    2. Max promised to never post here again. More than once.

    3. Max is a retarded Obama supporter.

  • fish||

    1. That isn't Max.

    Might be. Max isn't nearly entertaining enough to spoof.

    2. Max promised to never post here again. More than once.

    Entirely possible that Max is a pathological liar and he's clearly obsessed with congressman Paul.

    3. Max is a retarded Obama supporter.

    Okay...I got nothing for this one.

  • ||

    'retarded Obama supporter' is redundant.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'm usually adamantly and vehemently against redundancy, but it just kinda flowed out, as if the words just begged to be put together.

  • KW6||

    Yeah, it's not like there's some OTHER Obama. The retarded one is all there is.

  • CE||

    Ron Paul is the anti-Nazi candidate -- no love for the fascist military state, no enhanced interrogation or unlimited detention powers for the fuhrer, no grand quest for national greatness, just an emphasis on individual rights and freedom.

  • ||

    Hard-left, race-bating website hates on Ron Paul.

    Yawn.

    Just what is in the actual documents themselves?

  • ||

    As Epstein sees it, the Second Amendment isn’t about individual rights at all. Instead, its purpose is to maintain federalism by keeping “states free and clear of federal oversight on their own internal regulation of the use of firearms.”

    Under that interpretation, the Supreme Court should have sided with Chicago and prevented 76-year-old Otis McDonald from getting a legal handgun for self-defense. As Epstein puts it, “It would be very strange indeed if the provision that is intended to preserve state independence from federal control should now be read as an individual right that binds the states as well as the federal government.”

    Epstein is obviously an idiot. What is the point of having civil rights if states aren't obligated to recognize them?

  • fish||

    I don't know...do away with all the federal gun laws and you've made real progress! I'd love to watch the exodus from California to Nevada of the real hardcore gun rights types....with their above average incomes (taxable income) and generally low cost to the state from a cost of services standpoint. Time to let people vote with their feet without having to worry that the federal stuff the next state over sucks almost as bad!

  • Len||

    The US constitution was designed for the benefit of the states, not the people. That was to remain with the states, and the federal government to have almost nothing to do with the people.

    I suppose you see it as a good thing to continually centralize power? The USC was not the worst thing...for the size of the population of the US at that time, now such an instrument would be better fitted for a state, with many districts within where they might be more homogeneous communities within those districts, all with the acknowledged right to secede.

  • Apogee||

    The US constitution was designed for the benefit of the states, not the people.

    and

    I suppose you see it as a good thing to continually centralize power?

    Seems like you're all for centralizing power, but just at the state level.

    The US constitution was designed to (hopefully) prevent the abuse of the citizens by government. Making a local government king rather than the federal government doesn't prevent abuse.

    The check on government (Fed, State, Local) is the people, and disarming them because they can't be trusted to exercise proper judgement as to when to overthrow the government means that you most likely don't support any other rights either.

  • Len||

    My point was to merely say that the US constitution can in no way not lead to tyranny when it is used in governance for so large a population. You'll note that I included the right to secede needing to be acknowledged as a means of preventing tyranny. Centralization is not necessarily bad, but it will be when such rights of the people to not participate in a government are not put in place.

  • Apogee||

    the US constitution can in no way not lead to tyranny when it is used in governance for so large a population.

    You seem to have it backwards - The US constitution limits the governance of so large a population. I am far more trusting of a free society than I am the 'angels' that would know 'best' for that society.

  • Sam Grove||

    The US Constitution was designed to create and delimit government. The Bill of Rights was added to prevent government from infringing on people's right and specifically, amendment 10 was added to further limit the federal government.

    The "right of the people" is quite distinct from "the right of the state". If they had meant the 2nd amendment to apply to state governments, the latter text would have been more appropriate.

    I think Epstein is bending meaning to suit his fear of arm citizens.

  • BC||

    Epstein's a smart guy who's right about a lot of things, but he has a serious blind spot when it comes to firearms. The legal and historical arguments he levies on behalf of gun control are just preposterously stupid, and he'd be among the first to eviscerate them in any other context.

  • ||

    What is the point of having civil rights if states aren't obligated to recognize them?

    Ask the people who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    Many of them didn't even want to have a Bill of Rights at all, much less one applicable to the states.

  • LarryA||

    But that was because they thought listing rights would encourage the violation of rights not listed. Discovery of the penumbra ended that fear.

  • ||

    So they can show the Constitution to China and say "This".

  • ||

    China's constitution is pretty good, too. It's just that the interpretation's gone a little awry.

    http://e-chaupak.net/database/.....ingual.htm

    Same with the Soviets. Particularly Chapter 3. Makes you want to live there. Almost.

    http://www.departments.bucknel.....ons01.html

  • Len||

    This whole 14th amendment constitutionality argument is idiotic. The USC was an instrument used to essentially grant agent power to a common entity to act on behalf of multiple parties. This means that those parties had every right to withdraw that power, and the agent and other parties no say in those who would choose to depart from the corporate body of government. Going from there, to say that parties could be forced to remain in a corporate against their will and continue "granting" power to this entity to act on their behalf is one of the more ludicrous statements I can imagine.

    Okay, but let's even then accept the 14th as legitimate. And let's also accept that part of the intent was to make sure that the newly freed slaves would have the means (rightfully so) to defend themselves. So long as their is no unevenness in the state law (favoring a group or ethnicity) then the 14th doesn't apply, as there is no discrimination. Privileges and immunities are not rights, no matter how many people try to argue such.

  • RoboCain||

    Not that I buy your overall argument, but if there is no discrimination, then just try to get CCW in LA as a poor black man. The whole point of "may issue" (and probably won't) is discrimination.

  • Len||

    That's legal sophistry, not codified discrimination.

  • Apogee||

    So long as their is no unevenness in the state law (favoring a group or ethnicity)

    Talk about legal sophistry...
    And who, exactly, will enforce the 'evenness' in state law when it entails removing power from those who both are abusing it and also (thanks to you) solely able to apply deadly force in its defense?

  • Len||

    That's another issue, sorry that you feel a need to conflate, or are unable to parse. To deal with your question, we would then need to delve into the whole matter of legitimacy of "states", or constitutions.

  • Apogee||

    Yes, Len, I'm obviously too stupid to understand your enlightened point.

    Excellent argument.

  • Len||

    Apparently you are, go ahead and think so much of yourself.

  • ||

    He's conflating the equal protection clause and the privileges and immunities clause.

  • Yeah||

    I think that's largely because he's retarded.

  • RoboCain||

    Yeah sure, and what bans on "Saturday Night Specials"?

  • ||

    The poor and minorities can't afford expensive weapons. They remain unarmed. It's win-win. I suppose they never thought about the second-hand market.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Privileges and immunities are not rights ...

    That's legal sophistry ...

    OK, define the distinction between "privileges and immunities" and "rights" - as those terms were understood at the time the 14th Amendment was ratified.

  • ||

    So long as their is no unevenness in the state law (favoring a group or ethnicity) then the 14th doesn't apply, as there is no discrimination.

    So, if I'm following, you think there are no legitimate Constutional impediments to a state barring the use or possession of firearms by every single person in the state?

  • Len||

    Why is this so hard?? I know so many have been trained to see the USC as a national instrument, but it was intended to benefit the state governments in trade and defense, not the people. In the same manner, the federal government was not to make laws touching the people, other than treason, counterfeiting and piracy. It was up to the people to ensure that their state governments protected their liberty.

    It's called the tenth amendment, police powers belonged to the states.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    As indicated in Barron v. Baltimore, the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states before the 14th Amendment. When it came to ratification of the 14th Amendment, however, it was the states themselves that did the ratifying. I agree that the Federal Government should be limited to those powers granted to it by the states. The 14th Amendment represents a willingness of the states to recognize the privileges or immunities of citizens, as well as an agreement not to violate the due process rights or the equal protection rights of any people. The states agree to give up their sovereignty with regard to those specific things when they ratified the 14th Amendment, didn't they?

  • Paul||

    It was up to the people to ensure that their state governments protected their liberty

    So we're truly fucked.

  • ||

    Your understanding is spot-on for the constitution as it stood in 1791 after the first ten amendments.

    However, if you look up the definition of "amend", you'll discover that "amendments" can change the nature of an agreement. If the 14th and 10th amendments are in conflict, the 14th wins. Ask Stephen Hawking.

  • CE||

    If the 18th and 21st Amendments are in conflict, the 21st wins. Speaking of which, what Amendment allowed the feds to ban the manufacture, sale, or transportation of drugs?

  • ||

    ""I know so many have been trained to see the USC as a national instrument, but it was intended to benefit the state governments in trade and defense, not the people.""

    Except where is specifically says "the people".

  • LibertarianBob||

    I was waiting for someone to pint that out. The tenth says to the sates and the people.

  • ||

    Unless, of course, you're policing the world.

  • ||

    So, if I'm following, you think there are no legitimate Constutional impediments to a state barring the use or possession of firearms by every single person in the state?

    Is there a reason you can't answer yes or no?

  • Devil's Advocate||

    So by your theory, Len, the First Amendment provides no protection against state restrictions on speech? As long as everybody's rights are trampled evenly, then nobody's rights are violated?

    Also, just to be clear, the Bill of Rights was not applied against the states using the Privileges or Immunities clause, even though the primary drafters of that amendment seemed to believe that the P or I clause should protect a broad variety of rights. Most of the Bill of Rights has been incorporated by the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.

  • Len||

    Simple answer, no.

    ANd it's not a theory dumbass.

    Again I post the preamble to the Bill of Rights.

    THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution

    Again I point out that the states clearly put the B of R into place to prevent intrusion into their internal policing.

  • Apogee||

    ANd it's not a theory dumbass.

    So it's settled case law, then? Why would Epstein need to complain?

  • Len||

    Settled case law?? Fuck, all that is is the prevailing trend, and rarely actually having anything to do with the USC.

    Again, I hate stupid Americans, particularly those who don't realize it.

  • Apogee||

    Calling names isn't a rebuttal, but it does show a lack of argument.

    Again, if it's not a theory, why does Epstein need to write an essay for a journal. You post the preamble to the BoR as though it proves your point. It does not, as the reading of "government" also applies to the states themselves.

    The wording of the 2A leaves no doubt that the right to keep and bear arms belongs to the people.

    Why is this so hard?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Fuck you, Len, wherever you are. And take your smug superiority complex with you next time you have to take a shit.

  • ||

    A: What part of "no" do you not understand, "n" or "o"?
    B: It's not "no". It's "not".
    A: (muttering) Foiled again.

  • Paul||

    Again I point out that the states clearly put the B of R into place to prevent intrusion into their internal policing.

    "The right of the people" means the FBI is unconstitutional?

  • Devil's Advocate||

    But the concept of an AMENDMENT is that it AMENDS the original document. If the parties to a contract all agree to change the terms of that contract (pursuant to the contract's own terms for amending it), you can't trot out the original document and say that it applies and the amended one should not. The 14th Amendment represented a change in the relative roles of the Fed v. the States. It didn't give the Feds the power to impose positive legislation on the states, but it did give the Feds the power to prevent the states from violating the Bill of Rights.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Why is this so hard??

    ANd it's not a theory dumbass.

    Yeah, that's how you win someone over to your argument. Since you're evidently the smartest guy here, maybe you could enlighten all of us shambling morons without the bullshit invective.

  • ||

    That preamble to the BoR is not part of the Constitution, and even if it were, it would be superceded by later amendments.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    Bingo.

  • Paul||

    See my link below. The Preamble to the Constitution was ratified by the People, not the states, and the BoR was "to protect the States of the Union and the People of the States of the Union from the federal government."

  • Jumbie||

    Okay, but let's even then accept the 14th as legitimate.

    How generous of you :-)

  • Devil's Advocate||

    Also, there is a difference between saying that the states should have a right to withdraw from the compact in question and saying that they should be able to ignore the terms of that compact while they are still subject to it. Once they ratified the 14th Amendment, it became part of the Constitution, and the States were subject to its terms.

  • BullPasture||

    There is no need to go to the 14th amendment. If the framers wanted the 2nd amendment to restrict congress alone they could have said so - like they did with the first amendment.
    Likewise the Commerce Claus doesn't give congress power to regulate firearms. The second amendment came after the Commerce Clause and could have been worded to permit regulation by congress or the states if that was the intent.

    http://bullpasturechronicles.b.....fools.html

  • Apogee||

    It's always the same - enabling political control of the right to self-defense.

    Take that away, and all the other rights are moot. You can't exercise freedom of speech if a political entity can threaten deadly force because they don't like what you're saying.

  • ||

    Doesn't McDonald make Epstein's argument moot?

    I wonder where he stands on 4th and 5th amendments when it comes to the states kicking people around and denying due process.

  • BC||

    Epstein is essentially claiming that McDonald was wrongly decided (albeit on the preposterous grounds that the federalism that's arguably implicit in the Second Amendment trumps the anti-federalism that's inarguably explicit in the Fourteenth).

    So, to answer your question, no.

  • ||

    Who cares what Epstein thinks. What matters is what authority can or can not do.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    People who *think* like Epstein, ARE in authority.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"

    Seriously, how much fucking clearer does it get?

  • Len||

    It's a limit on the federal government, to protect the people of the states from the federal government disarming them. I really hate stupid constitutionally illiterate Americans.

  • Apogee||

    A self hater then? Good to know.

  • ||

    ""It's a limit on the federal government, to protect the people of the states from the federal government disarming them.""

    That arugment that the Bill of Rights applies to only the feds lost long ago.

  • Trespassers W||

    Presumably the first amendment allows California to set up a state religion?

    Let's not give them any ideas.

  • ||

    I think they have one. Rastafarianism, though some Californians are just tokin' Rastafarians.

  • Sam Grove||

    The first amendment specifically prohibits the congress, while the 2nd amendment is quite categorical and absolute.

  • AZ||

    This.
    I'm amazed that the 2nd needed incorporation in McDonald, because the 1st Amendment proved that the Framers has specific language for limitations on the Federal gov't, yet chose to use far more sweeping language for the protection offered by the 2nd. And far more has been made of far smaller choices of Constitutional wording.

  • killazontherun||

    This. If they intended it as Epstein words it, they would have avoided using the phrase 'the people' like the plague, as not to contradict the intent with its opposite.

  • np||

    The Constitution clearly distinguishes between the people and the states.

    All clauses concerning the States explicitly mentions the states. Everything else concerning people regardless of state is referred to as the people.

  • ||

    The 2nd amendment does mention "State" in the singular. Of course, it's unclear whether they mean a state in general (ie, any territory under a single government's jurisdiction) or specifically the 13 states in existence at the time.

  • ||

    God damn you are fucking retarded. That is plain motherfucking English. Do you speak it?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I really hate stupid constitutionally illiterate Americans.

    You're a fucking asswad. What, you think that you are the almighty objective arbiter of exactly what the Constitution means? You have mined and revealed its universal truths, and anyone who does not instantly and wholly agree with your glittering wisdom obviously is an illiterate imbecile?

    It's really too bad, too, because at first, I actually had a little glimmer of hope that you appeared to be capable of intelligent discussion of the meaning of the Constitution, but it turns out you're a self-superior asshole who can't stand the possibility that other people are equally as smart as you and yet don't completely share your understanding of the Constitution.

    Fuck you.

  • Pike||

    Time for a name change ;-)

  • Hugo Longbone||

    Whatever the intent of the Founders, the Civil War generation totally fucked it and, it may have taken 150 years, the Supreme Court finally ruled the 14th Amendment incorporates the 2nd Amendment. Ironically, the 7th Amendment has never been incorporated, I would LOVE to see Cert granted in a case where an employee claims worker's comp. violates the Bill of Rights.

  • BullPasture||

    The first amendment includes a specific limitation on congress. The second does not. What is your basis for contending that the second amendment only limits congress?

  • Len||

    Preamble to the Bill of Rights...

    THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution

    As it says to prevent abuses of the CONSTITUTIONS (US, that is) powers, not the states.

  • Paul||

    The fundamental “purposes” for the Bill of Rights is seen in the first paragraph/sentence of the Preamble:

    “THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

    Fifty-nine words. One sentence. Let’s take it apart, piece by piece:

    • First, who caused the Bill of Rights to be added?

    A: “THE Conventions of a number of States”.

    Note that these “conventions” were not state legislatures, but were instead private “assemblies” of the People of the various States of the Union. These “conventions” took place to ratify the Constitution in A.D. 1787 & 1788.

    The Constitution was ratified by the People, not by the State governments. That tells us that the People were the sovereigns (plural), not the governments of the States of the Union. In essence, the People/sovereigns agreed to ratify the Constitution on condition that a Bill of Right would subsequently be added. (It might be argued that if there’s no Bill of Rights, then there’s no Constitution.)

    The Constitution is the “People’s law”. Statutes are the “government’s law”. The government’s law is intended to be of lower authority than the People’s law.

    • Second, why did the People “desire” these first ten Amendments?

    A: “[T]o prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers.”

    What does the preamble mean by “its powers”? It means the powers of the newly-ratified Constitution.

    Who could misconstrue or abuse the powers of the newly-ratified Constitution? The States of the Union? No. The counties? No. Foreign countries like England, Canada or France? No.

    Insofar as the federal government is the only entity with access to the powers of the Constitution, the only entity that might able to “misconstrue or abuse” the newly-granted powers of the Constitution would be the federal government.

    Thus, the fundamental purpose of the Bill of Rights was to protect the States of the Union and the People of the States of the Union from the federal government.

    http://adask.wordpress.com/201.....of-rights/

  • Paul||

    Moar:

    The People who founded this country expressly demonstrated in the Preamble to the Bill of Rights that the People, quite sensibly, didn’t trust the newly-created federal government as far as they could throw it. They regarded the federal government as a necessary evil and, as George Washington had once warned, at best a “dangerous servant”. Therefore, distrusting the newly-created federal government, the People insisted that the Constitution be amended to include additional protections for the People and against the federal government.
  • Cytotoxic||

    Anne Coulter: stupid bitch, or stupidest bitch?

    Three Cheers for Romneycare: http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2012-02-01.html

  • ||

    What? What is wrong with these people? No more socialism! Team must win, so what was awful is now wonderful!

    Repeal Obamacare. Deregulate and restore some semblance of the free market to medical care and health insurance. Jesus.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Team cheerleading aside, her argument seems to be the same you usually see here. State can mandate, fed cannot.

  • ||

    "...libertarian Ronald Bailey praised mandated private health insurance in Reason magazine, saying that it "could preserve and extend the advantages of a free market with a minimal amount of coercion."

    Oh, how could you, Ron?

  • ||

    Prohibition does not work with drugs and it does not work with guns. Laws preventing felons from owning firearms only apply to "honest" felons. The rest get what they want outside the system. I agree that checks need to be in place to take reasonable precautions to keep guns out of the hands of those who have demonstrated that they are a menace to society, but when it is harder for a man to get a gun honestly than dishonestly, something is wrong. I had to take a class, pay fees, get fingerprinted, submit to multiple state and federal background checks and wait six months. On top of that I still need to ask the sheriff for permission every time I want to add another pistol to my vault.
    If I lived in neighboring Vermont all I would need is a state ID and a hunting licence. Cash and carry. While I see some validity to the states rights arguement, it has left us with a mess. The highest crime areas have the strictest gun control and the most well armed criminals. Screw the second amendment. How about a little common sense?

  • RoboCain||

    I agree, but pragmatism is a separate issue.

  • ||

    Christ, what state are you in?
    I live in Louisiana. When I buy a gun, I walk in pay for the thing and walk out with it. I have to have a DL and they do a background on me by phone. It takes two mins....

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Same here in VA.

  • Paul||

    You know where else you could by a gun and walk out in two minutes?

  • fish||

    The gun store that Ahnoold went into in the first Terminator film?

  • Paul||

    And Ahnold is Austrian. You know who else was Austrian?

  • killazontherun||

    Mozart?

  • ||

    LOL! That was the funniest comment so far! Well, other than Epstein's original essay... :) Thanks!

  • ||

    yes, but laws criminalizing gunz possession by felons do work in imprisoning them when they are caught, for the offense

    personally, i think only a limited subset of felonies should restrict gun rights, and certainly not the extensive list of misdemeanor offenses that do, shouldn't

    the way gun rights are most easily restricted (no due process ) is via the war on DV, though. no crime need be proven AT ALL, let alone beyond a reasonable doubt, merely a protective order, with no right to a jury trial, and no right to an attorney to defend oneself from accusations.

    the war on dv, as i repeatedly say, is far worse in rights restrictions and excesses, ESPECIALLY towards the actual innocents than the war on drugs

  • ||

    If you think illegal drugs cause a violent black market, just wait for the gun ban.

  • JOhnny MAckson||

    I only vote Robotarian.

    Jess

  • RoboCain||

    And we appreciate your vote!

  • killazontherun||

    Epstein's interpretation is absurd. If ensuring federalism was the intent of the 2nd amendment, then why was the language borrowed from state constitutions that originated a dozen years before the Federal, Here is Virginia's from 1776:

    Virginia is one of 44 states that have the right to “bear arms” embedded in their own constitutions. The beginning of Virginia’s reads much like the Second Amendment:

    http://hamptonroads.com/2008/0.....r-arms-too

    “That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; …”

    It didn’t always read that way. That last clause – “therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” – was not part of the original version, enacted in 1776. It was added in 1971.

    There would be no reason for them to include this language to protect a federalism that did not exist at the time! Given that 44 of the states have similar language in their constitutions, Epstein's interpretation is an extreme outlier position.

  • killazontherun||

    An even better example emphasizing the people are a separate concern from the state:

    http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volok.....atecon.htm
    Georgia: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne. Art. I, § 1, ¶ VIII (enacted 1877, art. I, § XXII).

    Georgia: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne. Art. I, § 1, ¶ VIII (enacted 1877, art. I, § XXII).

    Actually, you'll find several examples that negate Epstein's argument on that page.

  • Gojira||

    I don't get that. If you're prescribing the manner in which I may bear the weapons, then my right to bear them has been infringed. If something is a right, then nothing can negate it or qualify it. It's like Citizens United - "but but but that's not protected speech!"

    The way the language reads, there should be no laws restricting gun ownership to legal adults, at all.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    The question always is what is the exact "right" being protected? I.e., it is "the right" to keep and bear arms. That "right" never has been understood as complete, absolute and unfettered from any restriction whatsoever. That is where the debate has long been - what rules or requirements constitute an "infringement" upon that "right"?

    It's not as clean-cut and simple as many on both sides of the argument would have it.

    It is clear that "the right" was intended and understood to protect the rights of individuals and that militia service was not a pre-requisite to have the 2A-protected right to own and carry firearms.

    But it's also clear that there already were restrictions on the carrying of concealed firearms even back then, which supports an argument that certain limitations or rules regarding carrying a concealed gun was not understood to "infringe" on "the right" to keep and bear arms.

  • ||

    What's amusing is the arugment that states could have outlawed gun possession, therefore not contributing to the militia defense.

  • ||

    It sounds similar to the "time, place, and manner" restrictions that SCOTUS says may be placed on exercise of the freedom of speech.

  • ¢||

    Prohibition does not work with drugs and it does not work with guns.

    All laws work. They separate people into those bound by the law, and those not.

    Do you get to steal a car and drunkenly crash it, with your lap and your face full of coke, and not go to prison? Nope. Does Lindsay Lohan? Yep.

    That's the law, workin'.

  • Bobbe Bridge, Wa Supreme Court||

    Do you get to steal a car and drunkenly crash it, with your lap and your face full of coke, and not go to prison? Nope. Does Lindsay Lohan? Yep.

    Present!

  • ||

    she didn't steal a car. she did a DUI hit and run. and got what others, with no priors get in WA state- deferred prosecution and no jail time.

    i've arrested a few hundred DUI's. i have testified scores of times. these are the sentencing standards in king county, the county that includes seattle, and where she committed the offense

  • Max||

    So Ron Paul real is a fucking neo-Nazi.

    http://www.care2.com/causes/an.....-paul.html

  • Fatty Bolger||

    And Obama is a domestic terrorist.

  • ||

    And Romney is a platic RINO.

  • ||

    *Plastic. Dammit. You guys really need an edit feature.

  • killazontherun||

    Take a look at Kristina C. in the comment section. Growl!

  • Yawn||

    Troll trolls.

  • Devil's Advocate||

    For fuck's sake Max, this is pathetic even by your standards. OMG, RP was standing on the same street as a known racist!!!

    The article cited in the link simply says that the idiot neos wanted to take advantage of RP's huge following, and were trying to get in touch with him. It didn't present any evidence that RP or his people reciprocated the interest.

    So yeah, RP believes in freedom, and that includes the freedom to be an asshole. For that you and the neos should all be grateful.

  • ||

    It's not pathetic by his standards. Nothing can be.

  • CE||

    Nazi: more power to the fuhrer/president!
    Ron Paul: less power to the president.

    Nazi: invade Poland! invade France! bomb, bomb Iran!
    Ron Paul: try diplomacy. follow the Golden Rule.

    Nazi: give your all to the collective glory of the Nationalist Socialist state!
    Ron Paul: respect the rights and liberty of all individuals.

    Yep, strong case there Max.

  • Tony||

    Since local gun regulations have existed since the beginning of the country, it would seem that an interpretation that imposes a free-for-all policy on guns is faulty. Not only faulty as constitutional interpretation, but as common sense.

  • ||

    Since local gun regulations whites-only schools have existed since the beginning of the country, it would seem that an interpretation that imposes a free-for-all policy on guns school attendance is faulty.

  • Tony||

    What kind of lunatics would write into a constitution that firearms ought to be totally free from regulation?

  • ||

    There is a list of them, at the bottom of the Constitution.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Why is Tony bitching about shit like this? Grandmothers are being eaten by starving children, dammit!

  • fish||

    What kind of lunatics would write into a constitution that firearms ought to be totally free from regulation?

    My kind of lunatic~!

    OT: Hows your lobbying for a Federal Bureau of Nose and Bottom Wiping progressing?

  • CE||

    Lunatics that just overthrew a tyrannical government, and realized that owning guns (of military usefulness) made it possible?

  • Brother Grimm||

    "What kind of lunatics would write into a constitution that firearms ought to be totally free from regulation?"

    Machiavelli, for one. He pointed out that a disarmed public is dangerous to a state's own interest. "There never was a new prince who has disarmed his subjects; rather when he has found them disarmed he has always armed them, because, by arming them, those arms become yours, those men who were distrusted become faithful, and those who were faithful are kept so, and your subjects become your adherents."

  • ||

    "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"

  • Tony||

    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state..."

  • ||

    This clause:

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state

    does not limit or restrict in any way, this clause:

    the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

  • Tony||

    Sure it does. It explains what the right to keep and bear arms is for. Your interpretation forces us to pretend the first clause doesn't even exist.

  • ||

    the right of the people

    I'm pretty sure RC is one of those.

    Good God man, this is 3rd grade reading comprehension.

    If I told an 8 year old that the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Then asked who does that right belong to, I bet he would have the right answer.

  • Tony||

    You are being obtuse and you know it. That first part of the sentence does exist. What does it mean?

  • ||

    it's a prefatory clause, ENDLESSLY explained. see: the commonsense 2nd amendment by Eugene Volokh for a detailed explanation.

    the 2nd is clear. it says the right belongs to... wait for it... THE PEOPLE.

    the people means exactly that. recognition of an individual right

  • MJ||

    What does the last part of the sentence mean?

  • ||

    Why do you have such a hard-on for guns Tony? What is it to you if the citizenry is armed or not?

    I know the answer, just seeing if you can be honest

  • ||

    Damn, I am out of Vodka and it is time to make a drink. Now I have to wait until I get home to read Tony's fascinating reply.

  • fish||

    Now I have to wait until I get home to read Tony's fascinating reply.

    Nahh...I can help here!

    Ahem...

    "The serious people who know how to generate consensus and ...um....errr!"

    Shit! Can't do it! Sorry Suthen!

  • Tony||

    What possible problem could I have with guns, asks the guy drinking on the job.

  • Spoofey||

    What possible problem could I have with guns, asks the guy drinking on the job.

    While I don't automatically frown on the practice why do you assume that Suthen is at work?

  • ||

    Maybe drinking is required for his job.

  • ||

    Maybe drinking is required for his job.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Liberals mostly hate guns because, should it ever be necessary for liberals to take over and declare martial law, liberals don't want the populace to defend themselves.

  • ||

    ""Liberals mostly hate guns because,""

    It's a love hate relationship. They would cry foul if you tried to take away their ability to get a gun on demand by calling 911.

  • ||

    We're not pretending it doesn't exist, just noticing that it's dicta. The first clause has no effect on the right that's being prescribed.

    The amendment really is poorly written -- the first clause serves absolutely no legal purpose other than to introduce confusion.

    However, if you look at the history of the 4th amendment, it was intended to protect innocent people from government harassment. That doesn't mean that we exclude criminals from its protection.

  • Tony||

    Agreed that it's poorly written, particularly if you retain the final comma. Nevertheless, you can only interpret the 2nd amendment the way you want to if you pretend that half of it doesn't exist. I doubt its intention was to introduce confusion, but as we agree that it does, then we can agree that it's not as clear-cut as people here are claiming, and 2A case law supports that feeling.

  • ||

    it's not poorly written, when you notice that such preferatory clauses were relatively common back in the day. prof. volokh. references several other very good analogies that i have cited before

    in NONE of those cases is the prefatory clause a limitation

    many people, regardless of ideology, see what they want to see.

    what is heartening is that there are many quite liberal legal scholars/professors who readily admit to being totally against RKBA as POLICY and yet admit that the 2nd amendment clearly protects an individual right e.g. larry tribe

    props to them for honesty

  • Tony||

    It protects an individual right... for a specific purpose. Nowhere is it listed that the purpose is for the ability of the people to commit armed treason or to shoot scary black men who step on their lawn. It is for the purpose of securing the right to form well regulated militias to defend against various threats, since standing armies were deemed themselves a threat.

  • BC||

    It protects an individual right... for a specific purpose.

    Do you have to work at being consistently wrong, or are you naturally gifted?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "shoot scary black men"

    Yeah, no one ever shoots scary *white* men when they try to break into your house.

    Just wait for the cops, and hope the ambulance gets there in time to stop the dying process.

  • ||

    "An umbrella being a good thing to have when it's raining, I brought an umbrella to work today."

    Does this sentence mean that it rained today?

  • Paul||

    White slave owners talked funny back then.

  • Sam Grove||

    It also say that the people have that right prior to the amendment and that that right may not be infringed.
    At the time of the creation of the constitution, a militia was understood to include all able bodied men (and they were expected to arm themselves), not soldiers or national "guardsmen".

  • CE||

    No, the "well regulated militia" clause is just one of perhaps many unlisted reasons. the "shall not be infringed" bit doesn't need any of them to be listed.

  • ||

    Perfect. Fucking. Record.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Let us guess:

    "General Welfare" = "any damn fool welfare program we can dream up"

    Am I right? Did I not just sum up Tony's view on THAT subject?

  • ||

    I thought that only applied to Generals.

  • Tony ||

    Applied to the whats, now?

  • ||

    Don't forget the Commerce Clause, Tony.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If the Commerce Clause had a cock, Tony would suck it.

  • ||

    It does and he did.

  • Tony||

    My thought is that any functioning democratic society has the right to make prudent choices for the good of the people, since the people are in charge. Nobody since the invention of society and/or guns, except American gun fanatics, thinks democratic societies should be forbidden from prudently regulating devices whose purpose is to kill people. Or forbidden from pooling resources to create a social safety net, i.e, enact the most basic means to fulfill the entire purpose of living in a civilization.

    The only relevance the constitution has to me here is whether it got it right and the Scalia court got it wrong, or whether it needs to be amended.

  • fish||

    See! Now this is the kind of double talk and nonsense I was trying to vomit up for Suthen upthread! That's some quality nonsense...whatever version of Tony was good enough to comment!

  • CE||

    No one is forbidden from pooling their resources to help people. It's called charity.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "American gun fanatics" = "anyone who isn't a liberal".

  • ||

    Actually, "American gun fanatics" includes a lot of liberals as well--in fact, all but the 15% who hold Tony's fringe views.

  • ||

    If all of the policies and practices Tony advocates were implemented tomorrow, in short order this country would be indistinguishable from the former soviet union.

    I am trying to determine if he is unaware of that, or if he sees that as a good thing.

  • ||

    Who makes up the militias? (Here's a hint, every fucking citizen)

    Just because you think guns are icky doesn't mean you can infringe on my right to keep or bear them.

  • Tony||

    Every citizen? Really?

  • fish||

    With "Dont Ask, Don't Tell" gone there is literally nothing stopping you from donning those fabulous military fashions!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So, if we were invaded, or our government decided to send the jackboots everywhere to self-invade... should we just bend over and take it, or put up a fight?

    I think I know how Tony will answer.

  • ||

    Yes, every citizen. What is so fucking hard to understand about "the people". Jesus tap-dancing christ.

  • ||

    it would seem that an interpretation that imposes a free-for-all policy on guns is faulty.

    That's a nice strawman you got burning there, it would be a shame if someone put it out.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Strawman, thy name is Tony.

    I, for one, am a staunch gun rights advocate and generally subscribe to the original understanding school of constitutional interpretation, but even I don't believe the Second Amendment codifies a "free-for-all policy on guns" that means that all guns are entirely free from any regulation whatsoever.

    It's been clear since the beginning that certain "restrictions" on speech do not violate the First Amendment (libel, slander, time and place restrictions, "fighting words", etc.) - and the SCOTUS has spent over 100 years trying to figure out how that notion applies to society.

    The 2A is no different in that respect. Even the Framers would not have understood a known lunatic or brigand to have the same right to walk around armed as a law-abiding citizen.

  • Tony||

    Well once you start introducing caveats, then we don't disagree on very much. I don't necessarily think guns should be outlawed (again, my standards are reason and prudence), but I think societies should be free to regulate them however they want to. Particularly in a time when we're not just talking about muskets.

    The justification for the second amendment--which I accept entails the right of individuals to own weapons--no longer applies. We have a standing army that possesses weapons nobody thinks should be in the hands of individuals.

    I believe my position is one of more freedom, not less, because it gives people the right to make their own rules about dangerous weapons. Why should a dense urban area be subject to the same gun ethos that exists in a rural area? Why do people have to be forced to accept more gun deaths instead of less?

    Since we don't disagree on the need for certain regulation, perhaps we can also both agree that the NRA has taken gun liberty far, far beyond anything rational or prudent.

  • BC||

    my standards are reason and prudence

    No, your standards are girlish, urine-stained terror.

    I believe my position is one of more freedom, not less

    That's because you're an imbecile.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Girlish Urine-Stained Terror

    That would make a good band name.

  • Nickelback||

    Yeah, we thought about using that name.

  • Creed||

    No way! WE did, too!

  • CE||

    I like the free-for-all policy better myself.

  • Mofo||

    Epstein's argument is remarkably weak, he is essentially reading out the second part of the 2A in favor of the first. Its not even a new argument, a lot of the briefs in heller tried to do the same thing.

    Epstein never once tries to explain why the framers used the words "the people" in the 2A if it was their intent to prevent the feds from disarming the states. Its not like the framers lacked the words or understanding to do so.

    His takedown of the 14th amendment is even weaker, he simply declares that because he is right in his understanding of the 2A, the 14A doesnt apply. I can even really respond to this argument because i dont understand how he even gets there. If anyone can make some sense of his 14thA logic, feel free to enlighten me.

  • ||

    Making sense of any anti-gun argument is an exercise in futility. They are all weak rationalizations to get to a predetermined conclusion.

  • ||

    I liked it better when our porn spam had links.

  • Mofo||

    Seriously. Ill take the time to look at 18 year old gash, but im not going to go looking for it. If you cant be bothered to actually link the product your spamming, then get the fuck out my face.

  • fish||

    ....but im not going to go looking for it.

    Sheesh how hard is it to find? Do a Google search for non-sparking tools and 18 year old gash photos pop up! I don't think you're trying hard enough!

  • Mofo||

    Well, i could just look on my own hard drive if i wanted pr0n. My point is, if you are going to spam for a website that features 18 year old gash, then dont make me search for it, cause i dont need spam to know where to look.

  • ||

    I take issue with the notion that federal laws can supercede state laws but federal rights do not.

  • Max||

    In a document dump that includes private forum messages, emails, organization notes another other information the group found numerous connections between Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul and A3P. According to the documents, all hosted here, Paul himself regularly met with many A3P members, engaged in conference calls with their board of directors and engaged in a “bridging tactic” between A3P and the Ron Paul Revolution.

    Other excerpts show A3P webmaster Jamie Kelso (whose email account was one hacked by the collective) coordinating meeting between Paul and other members of A3P such as corporate lawyer and chairman of the neo-Nazi group Paul. “I’m going to go to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with Bill Johnson,” reads an email to an A3P member dated January 2011. “Bill and I will be meeting with Ron and Ran Paul. I have a teleconference call with Bill (and Ron Paul) tonight. Much more later.

    Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/an.....z1lGn08NrL

  • ||

    So at most, you've proven that white supremacists wanted to meet Ron Paul.

    Within the hour, I could probably find some drug-dealing street gangs that want to meet Barack Obama. So?

  • Ann Coulter||

    I could probably find some drug-dealing street gangs that want to meet Barack Obama.

    See! This is what I've been saying all along!

  • Yeah||

    Someone is present while someone else shows up.

    Wingnut foams at mouth.

    Sad for you Max.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And this has to do with... guns, somehow.

    GodDAMMIT, Max, but you're a stupid fucker with a Ron Paul fetish.

  • ||

    What the fuck is A3P?

  • H man||

    My favorite take on the 2nd admendment.

    http://www.virginiainstitute.o....._const.php

  • Deconstructionists||

    Lets boil that down a bit:

    "We'll type as long as we have to in order to avoid performing any real labor!"

  • John Locke||

    Yep.

  • ||

    I should have thought of that. Damn.

  • MadHatter52||

    Prof. Epstein's view is entitled to his views...even if they are complete nonsense. Given his legal theory about the 2nd Amendment, I would be curious to learn how he explains his "federalist" argument when applied to the other nine amendments of the Bill of Rights. What he's suggesting is that the states have the power to regulate religion, free speech, due process of the law, as well as all of the other fundamental rights that were granted...all without Federal oversight. If that's the case, then what would be the point of a Bill of Rights in the first place? Everything I read from the Founding Fathers expresses the contrary view point.

    As far as I see it, the "key federalist component of the Second Amendment," that he talks about is pretty clearly stated in its second clause: "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It doesn't get any clearer than that.

  • ||

    Thanks to the usa. Humans want to do everything. A lot for harmful ideas. Dont make the libertarians against God. People are raising kids. Notice libertarians, a lot want to be liberal and not caring. A new gentic a new person!!! Say no to abortion. Also dont let the eco systems not have caring such as apple trees, pecans and vegatables at lakesides and woods. The gov refuse to help victims and allow the bull for the large citys. Leaves small citys with out help, be projustice. God helps. Peace in Messiah Lord. Support daughters that are for love not partys and fancy houses and cars. Evil has killed the loving Matthew-golden rule not Hate!! Rev 12:9kjvz Gal3:3 kjvzond. Coward usa agianst aryan and party druggy us.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow.

  • ||

    Holy shit. Did anonbot and o3 and tony just have an orgy?

  • ||

    That's almost a poem. Or rap lyrics.

  • Hooker||

    Humans love to take simple things and make them complicated, especially if it helps their personal agenda. And every political agenda is first personal. What part of "...shall not be infringed." is so hard to understand?

  • ||

    For real libertarians anarchism is merely a thought experiment to test the justification & limitations of state power. www.taxkilla.com

  • BullPasture||

    Epstein dances all around the obvious. The 2nd amendment is not a restriction on congress. It is a restriction on all government. If the framers, and the ratifiers, wanted it simply to restrict congress they would have said so as they did with the first amendment.

    it is a mistake to appeal to the 14th amendment to restrain the states. It is weak and undermines the clear 2nd amendment argument.

    http://bullpasturechronicles.b.....fools.html

  • M||

    In response to these violations, the Republican-controlled 39th Congress produced the 14th Amendment, which was ratified in 1868.

    Except that it was never ratified in accordance with the Constitutions amendment process as described in Article V. But hey, let's not get bogged down in petty details! You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs! Might makes right!

  • That1Guy||

    Well, no. The court chose right because it it recognized the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. The 2nd Amendment is applicable to state and local government because of this.

    It is more important that all governments protect the rights of the individual, not that the state and local governments receive protection to defy individual rights with protection from the federal level.

    The Court DID make the right decision.

  • myfriend||

    nice article.

  • myfriend123||

    Nice article.

  • myfriend123||

    Nice post.

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