Montana: Wrong Heller Decision Would Violate Its Compact with the United States

An interesting wrinkle in the gun-rights controversy: Various Montana politicians have signed a resolution arguing that anything other than an individual-right interpretation of the Second Amendment (at issue in the forthcoming Supreme Court case Heller v. D.C.) would violate the compact between Montana and the U.S.

Excerpts from the resolution:

WHEREAS, when the Court determines in Heller whether or not the Second Amendment secures an individual right, the Court will establish precedent that will affect the State of Montana and the political rights of the citizens of Montana;

WHEREAS, when Montana entered into statehood in 1889, that entrance was accomplished by a contract between Montana and the several states, a contract known as The Compact With The United States (Compact), found today as Article I of the Montana Constitution;

WHEREAS, with authority from Congress acting as agent for the several states, President Benjamin Harrison approved the Montana Constitution in 1889, which secured the right of "any person" to bear arms, clearly intended as an individual right and an individual right deemed consistent then with the Second Amendment by the parties to the contract;

............
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the undersigned members of the 60th Montana Legislature as follows:

1. That any form of "collective rights" holding by the Court in Heller will offend the Compact; and.........4. Montana reserves all usual rights and remedies under historic contract law if its Compact should be violated by any "collective rights" holding in Heller.

A longer explanation of their "contract argument."

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  • tarran||

    OK, I don't get this; Congress is not imposing a restrictive fire-arms law on Montana that would be supported by a pro-government ruling on the part of the Supreme Court.

    Nor are federal laws about background checks and the like at issue.

    Thus, isn't this so much hot air?

  • robc||

    Good for Montana. I like states with cajones. Im still waiting for some governor (Im looking at you Arnie) to call up his state national guard to protect a state certified medical marijuana distributor from a federal raid.

  • robc||

    tarran,

    Thus, isn't this so much hot air?

    Somewhat. But, they are saying that the compact was under the agreement that Amendment 2 guaranteed an individual right. If it rules otherwise, it has violated the compact, even if congress doesnt actually pass a law or do anything to change Montana's laws.

  • Sledge Hammer!||

    Now, your stereotypical donut is nothing but dough and sugar fried in fat, am I right? Now that fat gums up your arteries and goes to your brain, and you turn liberal. And the next thing you know, Barry Manilow is on the turn-table and you're not going to work and you're voting for gun control. You see what I'm saying? You see the connection? That's why I eat granola.

  • Ali||

    Good for Montana. This is a good reminder that we are still in the United States of America and not in the United State of America (at least not quite yet).

  • G. Hamid||

    That's nice, but I prefer the resolution that begins:

    "When, in the course of human events..."

  • tarran||

    Yes, but so what?

    The government already does not respect that individual right. Look at the laws curtailing ownership of automatic weapons and the outlawing of the private ownership of artilery.*

    It's not like Montana is going to actually leave the union, is it? The feds own what, 30% of the land in Montana? You think they'll actually let them leave?

  • tarran||

    Wups, hit submit prematurely.

    * Remember: the incident that triggered the fighting phase of the U.S. revolution was the attempt of the British to confiscate artillery pieces belonging to the colonists that were stored in Concord, and that for the first half of the 19th century, the SUpreme Court held that the second amendment only protected the right of the people to own military grade weaponry.

    The verbiage hasn't changed, but peoples' interpretations sure have...

  • robc||

    tarran,

    If they did leave, Montana could "nationize" the land the US government owns.

    Look, this is just a PR move. But so were the Ky and Va resolutions, really. Didnt mean they didnt work.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Im looking at you Arnie

    Don't hold your breath, you'll end up looking like the Blue Boy.

  • Jacob T. Levy||

    I'll take "arguments that are complete non-starters" for $100, Alex.

    1) In the judicial self-understanding, questions of constitutional interpretation aren't discretionary acts; they're accounts of underlying constitutional truth. If a collective rights interpretation is the correct interpretation of the Second Amendment, the court can't just decide to reject it. And the Constitution, not the Montana compact, is the supreme law of the land. The Montana compact can't dictate constitutional interpretation.

    2) It can't even offer evidence as to the correct interpretation. For originalists, the Montana compact comes 100 years too late to indicate anything about the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. For textualists, the Montana compact uses different, expressly individualistic, words-- allowing the response "if the framers had meant 'persons' rather than 'the people,' they could have said so."

    3) There's no conflict between a state constitution that embeds a more expansive right and a federal constitution with a less expansive right or no protected right whatsoever. A collective rights interpretation of 2A wouldn't at all impair Montana's ability to be governed by the compact language that was incorporated into the Montana constitution that protects an individual right.

    4) This one I'm least sure of-- but I'm under the impression that these pre-statehood documents, especially with states that were U.S. territories first (as opposed to, say, Texas) have been held to be legal nullities. Once in the union, every state is equally a state, and the agreements between Congress and an incipient state weren't treaties. IIRC, this has been examined in the Utah case.

  • Episiarch||

    Now, your stereotypical donut is nothing but dough and sugar fried in fat, am I right? Now that fat gums up your arteries and goes to your brain, and you turn liberal. And the next thing you know, Barry Manilow is on the turn-table and you're not going to work and you're voting for gun control. You see what I'm saying? You see the connection? That's why I eat granola.

    Don't confuse me.

    Trust me, I know what I'm doing.

  • ||

    Good for Montana.

  • ||

    A secession leader named Beauregard is setting up defensive positions along the Little Bighorn
    River right now.

  • ||

    Good for Montana.

    Fuckin' A rights. I live in this incredible state, where we have a medical marijuana law, where even the staunchest liberal has a nice gun collection, where the governor and our two senators are both NRA-endorsed Democrats, and where Ron Paul -- at least in Missoula, where I live -- won the fucking Republican caucuses.
    Suck my dick, the rest of the United States.

  • ||

    The feds own what, 30% of the land in Montana?

    That's exactly correct.

  • Neu Mejican||

    What Jacob T Levy said.

    Gun owners need to concentrate their fight at a local level if they are unhappy with the state of gun laws in the land. Move to a state that guarantees your individual right. Problem solved.

    The language of the 2nd ain't ever gonna get less ambiguous.

  • alan||

    The idea of a collective right to bear arms rests on some rather lazy, anthropomorphically unsound argumentation. The people have no physical means of support, and the framers would not have used such a phrase dependent on the actions of individuals as 'bear arms' if the collective right was intended.

  • ||

    Gun owners need to concentrate their fight at a local level if they are unhappy with the state of gun laws in the land.



    This is what the pro-rights movement has been doing for the last decade plus.

    Hence the spread of state-based programs issuing or allowing concealed carry.

    Now, if the feds would come to the same conclusion, revoke the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act, and let states determine if they will impose extra regulations on legitimate gun dealers and owners, I'd be just all kinds of alright with that.

  • Roger Maltz||

    Don't expect New Hampshire to do any similar posturing with this post-2006 legislature.

  • ||

    Jamie, my cousins live there and if this shit gets any worse, I might be joining you, and I don't even own a gun (yet).

    One question though, what is the religious situation there? In your face, or leave you alone?

  • ||

    So is this nullification all over again?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Alan,

    That language is clear to everyone.

    Problem is that half the people agree with you and half (including the Supreme Court) don't.

    The 2nd was originally written as an anti-conscription clause.

  • ||

    In the judicial self-understanding, questions of constitutional interpretation aren't discretionary acts; they're accounts of underlying constitutional truth. If a collective rights interpretation is the correct interpretation of the Second Amendment, the court can't just decide to reject it. And the Constitution, not the Montana compact, is the supreme law of the land. The Montana compact can't dictate constitutional interpretation.

    Sure, sure. Lets take all this as given. Try this, though:

    Montana can still argue that its Compact is voided by a collective rights interpretation. It entered into the Compact in reliance on the representation by the US that the 2A protected an individual right. If SCOTUS says, no it doesn't, and it never did, then back in the day the US misrepresented what the 2A protected; ergo, the Compact was fraudulently obtained and may be voided by the victim of the fraud.

  • ||

    Stupid html code. Only the first paragraph should be italicized.

    This place needs a preview button.

  • ||

    One question though, what is the religious situation there? In your face, or leave you alone?

    It's by and large laissez-faire when it comes to religion in these here parts.
    The east is far more conservative. The further you head west -- Bozeman, Missoula, the more liberal it gets. Missoula is basically a mini-Berkeley, but with a redneck streak. Crunchy granola.
    There are lots of leftist Christians here, do-gooders and peace activists who are more likely to annoy you with their emotional politics than their proselityzing.
    Still, it's a freakin' cool town. Come drink in Missoula with me, and I'll show you a good time!

  • Neu Mejican||

    Alan,

    You may know this, but

    The original text of the Second Amendment was:

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

    This clause is clearer, and seems on its face to be primarily about two things 1) the right to defend the country by forming a militia and 2) the right of individuals to be free from compulsory service.

    Do we look to this clause for the "original intent" of the 2nd?

    No.

    But it, imho, identifies the source of the collective rights interpretation...the fact that the 2nd was introduced as a collective right. Then, through group editing during debate the text turned into something less clear. Arguments ensued.

    States, fortunately, are typically much clearer on the language they use to protect your right to own a gun for individual protection.

    The beauty of a federation.

  • ||

    Nick, I've been living in MT for a little over a year now (in a small town called Philipsburg) and I haven't had any problems with bible thumpers, especially compared to living in Texas. There are quite a few Seventh Day Adventists, but they generally keep to themselves. About the only strange thing that does here is that almost everything is closed on Saturday but open on Sunday.

    While I may end up back in Texas should things head south, Montana would definitely be my number two.

  • ||

    When I lived in Minneapolis, I drove to Wyoming to see the sites--the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, etc. On the way back, I drove part of the way through southern Montana. I'm not sure how fast I was going, but it was probably more than Warp 6. In any case, I had no problems in Montana, but I got a ticket the minute I crossed back into Wyoming. Don't know what that means, but that's my Montana story. Should've gone to Glacier.

    It's magnificent country out there, wherever you go, so I highly recommend a visit or two. If I'm ever stupid rich, I might buy a house in the Republic of Montana for summer visits. Hope getting a visa won't be much trouble.

  • ||

    Stupid html code. Only the first paragraph should be italicized.

    This place needs a preview button.


    This place needs some buttons to insert tags. Seriously, mods, look at how Fark does it. It's not very hard. Srsly.

  • ||

    sed s/mods/webmaster

  • ||

    R C Dean, the Preview button is just to the left of the Submit Comment button. ;)

    I often regret my decision not to take that job in Bozeman.

  • ||

    I want to be able to post in blinking text.

  • ||

    If I'm ever stupid rich, I might buy a house in the Republic of Montana for summer visits.

    Beware the wrath of the old-timers, if you do such a thing. Get rid of your California or East Coast license plates pronto. Shake hands with your neighbors.
    Just a warning.

  • ||

    Compact theory? What is this, 1832?

  • Ali||

    Montana is the best state I've ever been to. In your face NH! "Liver Free or Die" my...

  • shecky||

    Beware the wrath of the old-timers, if you do such a thing. Get rid of your California or East Coast license plates pronto. Shake hands with your neighbors.
    Just a warning.


    IOW, Montana is full of jerks just like anywhere else.

  • ||

    "Liver Free or Die"

    That could be Montana's state motto, given how much we drink here.

  • ||

    IOW, Montana is full of jerks just like anywhere else.

    Yep. Protective jerks.
    But hey, they're pretty nice as long as you blend into the landscape.
    In other words, don't have a bumper sticker that reads, "I'm rich, I hate logging, and I'm here to take your guns."
    That'll get ya shot.

  • Neu Mejican||

    That could be Montana's state motto, given how much we drink here and drive?

  • ||

    Seth, did you write that correctly, things are closed on Saturdays, but open Sundays? Never heard that before.

    Best state I've ever been to is Alaska, but I can't live there for two reasons.

    1) Wife doesn't want it to be dark outside for that long in the winter.

    2) No DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket.

    Not in that order. If they toss another satellite up for AK, I might be able to convince her.

    Is Montana Open Carry? Or is that just on TV?

  • Ali||

    IOW, Montana is full of jerks just like anywhere else.

    No, in any free society, people are jerks everywhere.

  • robc||

    Is Montana Open Carry?

    I would hope so. KY is open carry.

  • Ali||

    Let me reword that:

    No, in any free society, people will seem like jerks everywhere.

  • robc||

    I think the correct version is:

    If any society, free or not, all people are jerks.

  • Taktix®||

    R C Dean, the Preview button is just to the left of the Submit Comment button. ;)

    And the Fox News links are to the right!

    Woka woka woka...

  • ||

    No, in any free society, people are jerks everywhere.

    But they are easiest to find in the government.

  • Ali||

    robc: I guess that will always make people seem like jerks. Or are they just jerks, period?

  • IF||

    If they are trying to construe the compact to modify the constitution then the compact would have needed to meet the requirements of constitutional modification. If it did not meet these requirements then the compact was never adopted as the conditions of agreement (those equalling the amendment of the constitutional) were never met.

    Why are these people arguing that Montana isn't a state?

  • ||

    I want to be able to post in blinking text.

    I, of course, want subscripts so my handle can be properly displayed. And a pony.

  • ||

    I want to be able to post images. This blog needs more porn-spam.

  • ||

    If Montana's posturing decides in favor of an individual right, I don't give a crap if it makes any legal sense. Since when to judges, even SCOTUS judges, decide things based on the facts, or logic, or anything else smart people like to use to win arguments?

  • ||

    I want to be able to post in blinking text.



    No *blink* you *blink* don't. *blink*

  • ||

    J³ is available.

  • ||

    mediageek,

    Too late. I used the blink tag at Urkobold. With impunity and with a total disregard for natural law.

  • NoStar||

    I've attended High Schools in Montana, I've worked there, and I've vacationed there. It has everything (except an ocean) that Washington state has including wet and dry sides. I love Montana, but the sky ain't any bigger there than anywhere else.

  • ||

    I am not quite sure I follow how they would ever collect all these guns if they should get the balls up to ban them. Who is going to sign up for this job exactly?

    Job Description - Go around door to door disarming law abiding citizens of their firearms. Must be able to handle irate citizens, guns pointed in your face or death itself.

    Good luck getting ANYONE to take up this job. It would seem like a sure death sentence to me even OSHA couldn't help you stay safe doing this for a living.

    When they come for the guns the revolution will have begun.

    Really though the government tells us on one hand they can get rid of drugs and jail many of our citizens in the name of the WoD. Yet on the other hand they say that it would be impossible to round up 20 million illegal aliens. So you can't find 20 million non citizens who are breaking the law but you are certain you can find the 20+ million drug users legally here in the US and incarcerate them to end drug use. Fucking amazing.

    Go collect the guns, it will be very entertaining for the short time it is attempted. Talk about a high turn over rate.

  • lunchstealer||

    Sledge FTW

  • T||

    Man, I love Montana. I should get up there more. Why don't I?

    Oh, yeah. It's fucking cold in the wintertime, roughly defined as August through June.

    Still, good on the elected officials for signing this one.

  • LarryA||

    There are also 31 states, led by Texas, that have filed a brief in favor of individual rights.

    But it, imho, identifies the source of the collective rights interpretation...the fact that the 2nd was introduced as a collective right.

    Really? Or is it saying you need an individual right to have an effective militia?

    Consider the following from the military officers' brief:

    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.

    It's worth a read-through. I learned stuff, and I've been following the gun control issue since 1968.

  • ||


    For textualists, the Montana compact uses different, expressly individualistic, words-- allowing the response "if the framers had meant 'persons' rather than 'the people,' they could have said so."


    Said textualists are either fools or liars, because that response implies that "the people" in the 2nd Amendment are somehow different from "the people" in the 4th Amendment. Are "textualists" seriously arguing that the 4th Amendment is not an individual right?

  • Neu Mejican||

    LarryA,

    The point, of course, is that even the clearer original text contains the ambiguous language. The final version got rid of the restrictive clauses that framed the ambiguous language, making it even more ambiguous.

    The fact that two supporters of an individual's right (you and I) to carry can read the same text and interpret it differently is why there is a controversy.

    If the 2nd had been written like this.

    "Each individual will have the right to own arms to protect himself and his property,"

    there would be no controversy.

  • Neu Mejican||

    At least not over the basic meaning.

    Of course "arms" might leave room for interpretation.

  • ||


    But it, imho, identifies the source of the collective rights interpretation...the fact that the 2nd was introduced as a collective right.


    No, it wasn't. Nobody using standard English grammar could possibly conclude that. The bit about militias does not condition or restrict the right of the people. It's a justifying clause, not a restricting clause.

  • ||

    Speaking of compacts, I seem to recall reading somewhere that Texas retains the right to subdivide itself into five states. What an opportunity to influence the Electoral College.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Bob Smith,

    Nobody using standard English grammar could possibly conclude that

    A couple hundred years of history invalidate that claim.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Bob Smith, c.f., for the first half of the 19th century, the SUpreme Court held that the second amendment only protected the right of the people to own military grade weaponry

    The supreme court seems to have thought the militia argument restricted interpretation of the term "bear arms."

  • Neu Mejican||

    It's a justifying clause, not a restricting clause.

    The clause regarding conscription in the orginal, also has to be considered for its effect on the meaning of the whole.

    When all the clauses of the original are read together they say...

    The community has the right to defend itself and a militia is a good way to do that, so the federal government will not restrict the right of the community to form this militia (bear arms), but communities may not force members to participate if they have moral objections.

    The only phrase clearly about individuals is the one about conscription.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Bob Smith,

    Please note the contrast between "the people" in one clause and "no person" in the other.

  • ||

    I've attended High Schools in Montana, I've worked there, and I've vacationed there. It has everything (except an ocean) that Washington state has including wet and dry sides.

    Washington state has cheep rural land and expensive homes and home lots.

    Montana has expensive rural lands and cheap homes and home lots.

    Joe will tell you this is because of the amenities of the Ocean (with no explanation as to why this would effect the east half of the state)...logic will tell that its because of Washington states GMA and land planners restricting the supply of buildable lots.

  • Robert||

    Wow, is that really Alan Spencer commenting here? The guy who had the best fiction on ABC TV until "Lost"?

  • SRC||

    Grew up in MT, and damn I love that place...I will return.

  • LarryA||

    Neu Mejican,

    Did you read the brief? If not, I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree.

  • LarryA||

    Gun owners need to concentrate their fight at a local level if they are unhappy with the state of gun laws in the land. Move to a state that guarantees your individual right. Problem solved.

    Given that in Heller pleadings thirty states have joined with Texas to support gun rights, and five states, (NY, HI, MD, MA, NJ) and Puerto Rico have come down on the gun control side, I'd say it would be up to the anti-gun folks to move.

  • JPL||

    I'm moving to Montana

  • Neu Mejican||

    LarryA,

    The link don't work for me for some reason.

    But....

    I am not sure how yet another opinion about what the ambiguous language means will clear up whether or not that language is, indeed, ambiguous.

    A tit for tat war of historians and judicial rulings only demonstrates my major point...that point being that the language in the 2nd fails to protect your individual right to own a gun for self-protection NO MATTER WHAT THE ORIGINAL INTENT WAS.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I'd say it would be up to the anti-gun folks to move.

    It is actually just up to the folks who live in a state with laws that the disagree with to either 1) work to change those laws at the state level, or 2) move to a state with laws they are more comfortable with no matter what their position is (pro or anti).

    The 3rd option, of course, is to decide there are more important issues for deciding whether or not you like living where you live and just deal with the regulations in the locale that pleases you for other reasons.

    I suspect that most Americans don't think about gun laws for more than a few minutes a year.

  • ||

    Bush signed off on Kosovo's independence...he has obviously set precedent for Montana...I bet Serbia and Russia would assist...

  • ||

    for the first half of the 19th century, the SUpreme Court held that the second amendment only protected the right of the people to own military grade weaponry.

    So, a howitzer is OK, and a handgun isn't?

    Sorry, I can't quite get behind that policy.

    -jcr

  • ||

    It's a justifying clause, not a restricting clause.

    More to the point, the amendment does not grant a right, it acknowledges a right and prohibits the government from infringing on it.

    -jcr

  • ||

    NM sez Please note the contrast between "the people" in one clause and "no person" in the other.

    Apparently SCotUS hasn't bought into THAT parsing - see Verdugo-Urquidez. "The people" isn't as ambiguous as you seem to think.

  • ||


    The community has the right to defend itself and a militia is a good way to do that, so the federal government will not restrict the right of the community to form this militia (bear arms), but communities may not force members to participate if they have moral objections.


    I see where you went wrong. You assumed that when the 2nd says "keep and bear arms" it meant "form a militia". I, on the other hand, believe that when the 2nd says "keep and bear arms" it means "keep and bear arms". The 2nd is not "the right of the people to form militias". The fact that the reason for prohibiting the government from infringing on this right is forming militias does not restrict the right.

  • ||

    Nick, Montana is open carry. Hell, I can walk down the street with my RPK and not even get a funny look. Even better, you only need a concealed weapons permit if you are withing city limits!! Also, concealed weapons licenses are extremely easy to get... so long as you have a bit of common sense.

    I'll warn you now, MT can have quite a bit of darkness, but the sunlight until almost 10 pm more than makes up for it. You can even get pretty much all your sports stuff as well.

    My suggestion, live someplace like Missoula, big enough to have just about everything to need, but still small enough to be really relaxed.

  • ||

    Finally!!!! A State that understands the Constitution. The Constitution is nothing but a contract between the individual States. The federal government is the agent of the States and was created to perform limited functions that would be difficult for the States to perform individually. Maybe there is still hope for constitutional government!!

  • ||

    RE; Tarran says,
    "It's not like Montana is going to actually leave the union, is it? The feds own what, 30% of the land in Montana? You think they'll actually let them leave?"

    Possession is 9/10ths of the Law.
    Montana's Possession of it, that Is.

  • ||

    I'll tell you what scares Me.
    Under the New Federal Military Authorisation Act.
    President Bush can order any States Governor to release all or some of Their States Guard units out of the State. Leaving That State defenseless, except for the Armed citizenry. Now if you have No armed citizenry. And No Guard. What have You? A Bunch of sitting Ducks.

  • ||

    One more thing you might want to ponder is.
    If the President(Federal Authority) can order out all a states Guard units leaving the State near defenseless. What protection is left but the peoples own.
    But what one might want to consider/ponder even more is what is the Governor left with?
    The State and Local police.
    They call it a Police State.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I see where you went wrong. You assumed that when the 2nd says "keep and bear arms" it meant "form a militia". I, on the other hand, believe that when the 2nd says "keep and bear arms" it means "keep and bear arms".

    No.

    You just lack a sense of history.

    Americans are deeply divided over the Second Amendment. Some assert that the Amendment protects an individual's right to own guns. Others, that it does no more than protect the right of states to maintain militias. This book gives a history of this bitter controversy. It shows that the Founders understood the right to bear arms as neither an individual nor a collective right, but as a civic right - an obligation citizens owed to the state to arm themselves so that they could participate in a well regulated militia. The book shows how the modern "collective right" view of the Second Amendment, the one federal courts have accepted for over a hundred years, owes more to Anti-Federalists than the Founders. Likewise, the modern "individual right" view emerged only in the 19th century. The modern debate, the book argues, has its roots in the 19th century, during America's first and now largely forgotten gun violence crisis, when the earliest gun control laws were passed and the first cases on the right to bear arms came before the courts. Equally important, it describes how the gun control battle took on a new urgency during Reconstruction, when Republicans and Democrats clashed over the meaning of the right to bear arms and its connection to the Fourteenth Amendment. When the Democrats defeated the Republicans, it elevated the "collective rights" theory to preeminence and set the terms for constitutional debate for the next century. The book aims to provide a clear historical road map that charts how America has arrived at its current impasse over guns.

    http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/oso/public/content/history/9780195147865/toc.html

    If things were as plain as you want them to be, this guys book wouldn't have needed writing.

    And there wouldn't be a need for this extensive wikipedia entry on the history and various usages of the term

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_bear_arms#Definitions_of_.22to_bear_arms.22

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term to bear arms as: "to serve as a soldier, do military service, fight," dating to about the year 1330.

    Again, I will emphasize that I think individual's have an individual right, but the framer's purpose for including that right seemed more about militia's than anything else.

    Whatever that intention, currently, your state constitution is a better protector of your right than the 2nd amendment.

  • Neu Mejican||

    For Bob Smith,

    The short version.

    Where you went wrong: when the text says the "right to bear arms" it means the "right to fight for and defend your country" (i.e., to bear arms).

    FWIW, This clearly included protecting your country from tyranny as a motivation of the central concept.

  • ||

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

    This clause is clearer, and seems on its face to be primarily about two things 1) the right to defend the country by forming a militia and 2) the right of individuals to be free from compulsory service.


    Uhhh, NM, you apparently missed the very first clause in your citation of the first edition of 2A, to wit: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed;"

    Even if I agreed with your analysis, which I don't, it seems to me you would have to say it is "primarily about three things.

  • ||

    All you need to know about the second amendment: http://www.guncite.com/journals/reycrit.html

    Relatively long (a few thousand words), but worth the effort.

  • ||

    [To deny that the right protected is one enforceable by individuals] the following set of propositions must be accepted: (1) when the first Congress drafted the Bill of Rights it used "right of the people" in the first amendment to denote a right of individuals (assembly); (2) then, some sixteen words later, it used the same phrase in the second amendment to denote a right belonging exclusively to the states; (3) but then, forty-six words later, the fourth amendment's "right of the people" had reverted to its normal individual right meaning; (4) "right of the people" was again used in the natural sense in the ninth amendment; and (5) finally, in the tenth amendment the first Congress specifically distinguished "the states" from "the people," although it had failed to do so in the second amendment.[20]


    http://www.guncite.com/journals/reycrit.html

  • ||

    Influential nineteenth-century scholar Thomas Cooley made the same point:

    The right of the people to bear arms in their own defence, and to form and drill military organizations in defence of the State, may not be very important in this country, but it is significant as having been reserved by the people as a possible and necessary resort for the protection of self-government against usurpation, and against any attempt on the part of those who may for the time be in possession of State authority or resources to set aside the constitution and substitute their own rule for that of the people. Should the contingency ever arise when it would be necessary for the people to make use of the arms in their hands for the protection of constitutional liberty, the proceeding, so far from being revolutionary, would be in strict accord with popular right and duty.[38]

    This point is the key underpinning of the standard model's approach. The right to keep and bear arms exists in the people because it is their for their own protection. Note Cooley's distinction between the people's "own (p.471)defence" and the "defence of the state." This distinction carries with it the clear implication that "the people" and "the state" are not the same thing.



    http://www.guncite.com/journals/reycrit.html

  • ||

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term to bear arms as: "to serve as a soldier, do military service, fight," dating to about the year 1330.


    The phrase "bear arms" is also defined as
    a. to carry weapons.

    If "the people" are to resist the tyranny of an illegal government then they need to have weapons at their disposal, hence the only logical reading of 2A is that it defines an individual right.

  • ||

    NM,

    For somebody who claims to think 2A defines an individual right, you sure jump through a lot of ridiculous rhetorical hoops to define away that individual right.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wayne,

    I never claimed the 2a defines an individual right, or that it was intended to define an individual right.

    I claimed that the poor choice of language in the 2nd fails to sufficiently define the right it is attempting to protect. Your typical state constitution does a better job with the language.

    Are you saying that your rights flow from government documents?

    A couple of points:
    I did not miss the import of the first clause. As I was discussing, it is the meaning of the phrase "keep and bear arms" that causes much modern confusion. Although the current usage of the term includes the meaning "to carry weapons" its meaning in the 18th century was commonly that involving military service.

    Again, the wiki on this one is extensive (as is typical with controversial subjects).

    "In late-eighteenth-century parlance, bearing arms was a term of art with an obvious military and legal connotation. . . . As a review of the Library of Congress's data base of congressional proceedings in the revolutionary and early national periods reveals, the thirty uses of 'bear arms' and 'bearing arms' in bills, statutes, and debates of the Continental, Confederation, and United States' Congresses between 1774 and 1821 invariably occur in a context exclusively focused on the army or the militia."

    The phrase "bear arms" is even used to mean "military service" in the Declaration of Independence.

    Saul Cornell's book (see link above) provides a reasoned discussion of the controversy.

    (1) when the first Congress drafted the Bill of Rights it used "right of the people" in the first amendment to denote a right of individuals (assembly)

    The right of the assembly is clearly a right of groups of people (an individual can not assemble in any meaningful sense). If that phrase is being used to support an individual interpretation of the same phrase in the 2nd, it provides weak support.

    The "militia was the main point argument" (see Cornell) is that the right of the people to form a militia (to bear arms) is inherent on the citizens, and does not require the involvement of the state, can not be hindered by the state, and is not a function of the state, but of the citizenry.

    This distinction carries with it the clear implication that "the people" and "the state" are not the same thing.


    This is accurate. The people and the state are not the same thing. However, the people are a collection, a plural, a group. Conceptually separate from the state, but still a group.

    I would say that the wording of the original draft of the 2nd indicates that it was introduced to define this right of the citizenry to form non-state militia, and the right of individuals to be free from conscription in those non-state militia. Clearly, as can be seen by the various re-writes of that original draft, there was some debate and disagreement about the issue at the time.

    The result, as is often the case in group writing, was an ambiguous wording that has resulted in considerable disagreement over the years.

    To claim that the controversy results from an unwillingness by those that disagree with you to just read the words of the 2nd is disingenuous at best (rhetorical hoops my ass).

    There exists a controversy because the language is not clear.

  • ||

    "There exists a controversy because the language is not clear."

    No, there exists a controversy because a fair number don't like what 2A means.


    http://www.guncite.com/journals/reycrit.html

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wayne,

    You should get your information from more than one source.

    Broaden your horizons.

    If the language of the 2nd had been clear (see my suggested language above), the people who don't like what it means would be involved in attempts to overturn it outright.

    But since the language of the 2nd allows for the "it was primarily about militia" interpretation, they don't have to oppose it outright. They can just point to the large body of history and judicial interpretation that agrees with their position.

    It changes the controversy about whether their should be a right for individuals to carry arms in self-defense (as opposed to carrying them as part of a militia), to a controversy about what the framers meant by the 2nd.

  • Neu Mejican||

    "there should be", that is

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wayne,

    In other words...arguing about the original intent of the 2nd is a losing proposition if you want to advocate for your right to own a gun.

    Work within your state to change your state constitution if it does not protect your right.

    Work to oppose state and local laws that infringe upon that right.

    Don't waste your energy trying to convince others that an ambiguous amendment to the federal constitution is not ambiguous.

  • ||

    The rights of Montana's gun owners have ALREADY been infringd by the Feds. The BATF has already banned many 12 and 20 gauge shotguns without even PASSING a law! As a Jewess in the US, may I remind everyone that America wasn't won with a registered gun, and that criminals are stopped by FIREARMS, not by talk? That is why all REAL Americans put our 2nd Amendment FIRST!!

  • ||

    I have a lot of respect for the leadership in Montana. They were one of the few states that had the forthright to stand up and against the Real ID act.

  • ||


    The result, as is often the case in group writing, was an ambiguous wording that has resulted in considerable disagreement over the years.

    To claim that the controversy results from an unwillingness by those that disagree with you to just read the words of the 2nd is disingenuous at best (rhetorical hoops my ass).

    There exists a controversy because the language is not clear.


    The language is entirely clear. The 2nd does not say "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but only during a term of service in the militia'. The Constitution does not say 'the people in the 2nd are a collective, but in the 4th the people are individuals'.

    Imagine this phrase: "A right to life in one's home being necessary to the security of a free state, murder shall be illegal". The grammatical structure is the same as the 2nd Amendment. Your absurd interpretation would mean that murder would be made illegal only if done in a home.

    Even if I grant your ambiguity argument, fortunately for us the founders left more than the Constitution itself. They left the Federalist Papers, wherein they tell us what they meant by the various parts of the Constitution. Not one claims the 2nd to be anything other than an individual right to own and carry weapons.

  • ||

    NM,

    You should read the source I cited.

    2A means what I think it means. You are wrong.

  • ||

    I Understand it.
    The US Constitution was a restriction upon Government and set Governments Limits of POWER!
    The Bill of Rights were the known rights of the people that must be retained to keep Government in Check and within the Constitutional limitations set Upon IT!

    Read the Federalist Papers!
    Our Founders explain explicitly they were founding a Government for the People(So they could live out their Freedom/Liberty without over burden of Government). Not for themselves to regain some kind of forceful power over them.
    They had just went through That with King George!
    Why would a Body of People who just fought a Revolution give Up their right to bears arms as an individual right. When Kingly Power(Government) taking their arms was the reason they went to War with England?
    You have to KNOW the History to understand the 2nd amendment correctly!

  • ||

    If the above were not Truthful and correct.
    Then it wouldn't of been assigned as it was under the Bill of Rights
    Did they call it, "The Bill of Government Powers?" NO they did not!
    If We are to assume that the Bill of rights would set a limitation on the peoples rights.
    I'm sure it would of read something like this.

    The Government maintains all authority over the people to retain arms or form militias.And may set limitations upon Them.

  • ||

    The term people is defined by the Constitution in the first three words of the preamble.

    We, the people.
    The people means we. We includes you, I, and everyone else.

    I might call it a collective right, but I would argue that a collective right applies to every individual. I would see it as a violation of the collective to alienate individual members. A right can not be given to only some members of the collective and still be collective in concept.

  • ||

    Miltias helped fight the war. If the founding fathers intended the 2nd Amendment to apply only to the militias, it would have said "the right of the militias shall not be infringed."

  • ||

    South Carolina is with you Montana.

    To maintain the ascendancy of the Constitution over the lawmaking majority is the great and essential point on which the success of the [American] system must depend; unless that ascendancy can be preserved, the necessary consequence must be that the laws will supersede the Constitution; and, finally, the will of the Executive, by influence of its patronage, will supersede the laws ~John C. Calhoun

  • ||

    Mediageek: Montana's US Rep Denny Rehberg speaks in blinking text, BLINK BLINK BLINK. Open carry and must issue CWP. Jerks here just like everywhere else. Like everywhere else, one can easily idetify the jerks by their "Bush/Cheney" bumperstickers.

  • ||

    Anyone know the number of a good realtor and someone willing to sell 100 acres?

  • ||

    I too am from Montana, and this is the best state ever.

  • ||

    Bye, Montana.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wayne/Bob Smith,

    I see.

    So let me get this straight:
    I claim the language is ambiguous (meaning likely to be interpreted differently by different people).

    I cite:
    *many people over the years have understood the meaning of the 2A in a very different way than your preferred interpretation,

    *a long history of controversy over the meaning

    *authorities on the subject that disagree,

    *judicial rulings have varied regarding that interpretation,

    *the textual history of the various revisions it went through before being adopted which seem to all include some discussion of militia (making 2A what I call "mostly about militia" and Cornell calls "a civic right")

    And your refutation of the ambiguity claims consists of.

    "No its not. It clearly only has one possible interpretation and it means what I say it means."

    [yawn]

    Bob Smith,
    "A right to life in one's home being necessary to the security of a free state, murder shall be illegal".

    That was poorly formed.
    You would do better with this version:

    "The right of the people to keep and bear arms be free from murder in their home shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia a living citizenry being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms watching their neighbor's back shall be compelled to render military service confront a murderer in person.

    The problem with your syntactic argument is it misses the source of the ambiguity-the semantics of key phrases in the original text.

    "keep and bear arms" can mean either a) carry arms, or b) fight as part of a militia. The fact that the second clause is all about militia helps to motivate interpretation b...some will disagree, of course, in support of my claim.

    The 2nd as passed:

    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.

    Has, of course, a different syntactic structure.

    It could be considered equivalent grammatically to "Because a well regulated militia is necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    Again, this seems to be primarily about the importance of a militia. It does not seem to be about your right to have a gun to defend yourself from a mugger.

    "The people," fwiw, is not ambiguous, as TrickyVic points out...it refers to the collective also referred to as the citizenry...it is an inclusive term.

    But the "right to assembly" and the "right to form militia" seem very parallel to me in how they are phrased and conceptualized. It is the right of citizens to get together to do things...something that can only occur when there is more than one person...a collective if you will.

  • JT||

    All the Montana legislators who advocate such an action are doing is abdicating their authority.

    The "Compact With The United States" allowed the territories to become states. If Montana were to claim that the agreement is no longer valid, that would not be the same as seceeding. All it would do, if it were upheld, is revert them back to territorial status.

    That would mean no more congressional representation, and maybe an appointed governor.

  • Neu Mejican||

    And Wayne,

    No I'm not, you are...nyah, nyah, nyah.

    /;^)

    Here's a random selection from your linked article:

    To modern readers, at least, these words are not particularly clear.

    ...
    One commonplace assertion ...This is clearly wrong.
    ...

    Another argument frequently heard...
    ...

    Unlike others who work within the Standard Model, however, Williams does not see ...Second, Williams argues that the ideal of the militia was founded on notions of public service and widespread virtue [I'll note that Williams is working with something close to my interpretation, minus the lack of modern virtue]

    But there is another view.

    Of course, nowadays many believe

    we are left with the question of what it covers and who can invoke it. Unfortunately, there is really only one Supreme Court case offering much guidance on that subject.

    I could go on.
    All of these are included to emphasize that your expert agrees with me. In that he recognizes that there are many interpretations, and that people disagree about the meaning (despite the existence of his "standard model")

    I will end with his support for my assertion that it is "mainly about militia"

    The Standard Model stresses the role of an armed populace as a protection against a tyrannical government.

  • Steve||

    Seriously,

    It would be great if Montana left the Union. I live in California and I think we should secede!

    You can have the 2nd Amendment, and a Carry law.

    We can have the 1st and 4th Amendments restored.

    My rights to substantive free expression and protection against unreasonable search & seizure have been revoked by a central government that's driven a lot of yahoos in the Heartland (wherever that is) into such a tizzy that they've aided and abetted in destroying the Constitution. I'm sick of those freaks!

    Moreover, I'm sick of my Federal taxes paying for B.S. faith-based services (read: megachurch construction) that violate the separation of Church and State.

    I'm sure a lot of you in Montana are tired of your Federal taxes subsidizing policies in which you don't believe.

    Let's leave together!

  • ||

    We have a little saying in Here in Montana, that has held true through the last hundred years or so. You don't mess with Montana. It holds true in almost every aspect.
    We have had our share of "gangbangers" promptly run out by weather or "good ole boys". We had the rich son of a bitch oil mongers head for the Rocky Mountain front, we pushed them out and closed the land off to oil rigging. We had a huge Meth problem and fixed it without the help of "outsiders" In fact the national Meth project started as the Montana Meth project, we helped our own get free from addictions. We own guns but most of our violent crimes are assaults with things like knives (not that it's any better but are they going to outlaw guns and baseball bats?)
    We help our neighbors, we speak our minds, we are not afraid to stand up for what is ours and that includes standing up to the government.
    There are no "real" big cities in Montana and for a reason, we won't allow our people to be crushed by big industry and silly morals.
    Theres a reason why we are still the last best place. That will never change. We will always stand up for what is ours.
    And while the feds can claim rights to the land of the reservations. We all know who that land really belongs to. The chippewa, the cree, The crow, the Confederated Salish & Kootenai, the Assiniboine and Sioux and the Northern Cheyenne. The feds don't take care of those lands enough anyway. I for one would love to see Montana as an independent.

  • Neu Mejican||

    FWIW,

    I will say again that I agree with the "standard model" presented in Wayne's article.

    There are some features of this Standard Model that are problematic for many who oppose gun-control laws.

    To whit, the Standard Model has no problem incorporating gun registration, restriction on certain types of weapons, and restrictions on concealed carry...

  • Hmmmm||

    Go Montana ")

  • Metatron||

    I'm in Alberta (just north of Montana) and all I can say is, Go Montana!

  • Serene||

    I was born, raised and will die in this beautiful state...all I can say, is just let them try!!

  • ||

    The wording of the 2nd amendment "keep and bear arms" does indeed give the citizen the right to own and use an arm if needed. The term "bear" means "to exert influence or force" or from the middle English, of which much of the language of the time period was based, "bring forth".

    James Madison was responsible for proposing the Second Amendment and was one of three authors of the Federalist Papers, a group of essays published in newspapers to explain and lobby for ratification of the Constitution.

    In Federalist Paper 46, James Madison argued that a standing federal army could not be capable of conducting a coup to take over the nation. He estimated that based on the country's population at the time, a federal standing army could not field more than 25,000 - 30,000 men. He wrote:

    Quote:
    "To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence."

    "Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
    The above means that not only was the 2nd amendment created to assure that the citizenry would be armed if called upon as a militia and to provide personal protection which, was a given in those times, the citizens needed to be armed so they could rise against the government if the government got out of hand.

    Thomas Jefferson, the author of The Declaration of Independence wrote:

    Quote:
    To William Stephens Smith, 1787
    "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."

    Quote:
    To Peter Carr, 1785
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks."

    Quote:
    To John Cartwright, 1824
    "The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves in all cases to which they think themselves competent..., or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press."

    Quote:
    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution (1776).

    Quote:
    "False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crime."--Cesare Beccaria, quoted by Thomas Jefferson

    Some further quotes that support the 2nd amendment:

    Quote:
    "A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms .To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms . . . " Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters From the Federal Farmer 53 (1788).

    Quote:
    "I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." George Mason, during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution (1788).

    Quote:
    "THE POWERS OF THE SWORD ARE IN THE HANDS OF THE YEOMANRY OF AMERICA FROM SIXTEEN TO SIXTY....Who are the militia? are they not ourselves?...Congress have no power to disarm the militia....Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth right of an American. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people. --- Tench Coxe Pennsylvania Gazette February 20,1788

    Quote:
    "Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used at individual discretion...in private self-defense..." (John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of the Government of the USA, 471 (1788))

    The quotes above are just a sampling of the thinking of the men that were our founding fathers. Their thoughts and position on the ownership and use of arms is clear.

  • ||

    """But the "right to assembly" and the "right to form militia" seem very parallel to me in how they are phrased and conceptualized. It is the right of citizens to get together to do things...something that can only occur when there is more than one person...a collective if you will.""

    So two people standing next to each other have a right to carry a gun, but as soon as they seperate the right disolves? But you wouldn't have a right to carry a gun to meet up with a friend. If I live alone I don't have the right but as soon as I get a roommate, I have the right, except when my roommate leaves me by myself, then I don't have the right anymore. Well unless another friend or relative shows up before my roommate leaves. Is that how a collective gun right would work?

    By definition, an assembly requires more than one person by definition, same with militia. But the right does not go to the militia, it goes to the people, which is different than assembly or militia with respects to being a collective.

    Why the people have the right, something a reasoning clause may define, is not as important as the right its self.

  • Jimbo||

    Hasn't the US already fought one war when states rights were held to be greater than those of the Union? My recollection is that states rights weren't the winner...

  • ||

    The Constitution does not explicitly protect our right to breathe air, drink water, eat food, or mate. Therefore, we don't have the right to do those things, according to a modern interpretation of the Constitution.

    Why do people assume that the only rights we have as human beings are spelled out in the Constitution? Probably because the government has taken away so many of our rights and freedoms that we have grown accustomed to having very few guaranteed rights. Had the pesky second amendment not been written, you can bet that no one would own guns at all today because the government would have taken that right from us and transferred it exclusively to itself.

    It's ironic that all of the rights the government has taken or wants to take from the individual citizen are rights that it will not give up entirely - it always retains those rights for its own use.

  • ||

    Okay, fine. So what's Montana going to do, join Canada? Talk about your out of the frying pan and into the fire moment. Or be independent? Well, Montana, then you'd better start planning where to come up with 46% of your budget.

    http://www.mtstandard.com/articles/2005/03/08/newslegislature_top/hjjejgjhjbgghd.txt

  • Neu Mejican||

    TrickyVic,

    So two people standing next to each other have a right to carry a gun, but as soon as they seperate the right disolves? But you wouldn't have a right to carry a gun to meet up with a friend. If I live alone I don't have the right but as soon as I get a roommate, I have the right, except when my roommate leaves me by myself, then I don't have the right anymore. Well unless another friend or relative shows up before my roommate leaves. Is that how a collective gun right would work?

    That's just a bunch of tangential jibberish.

    A right to assembly says that the federal government can not restrict our right to gather together as a collective for a purpose (however trivial).

    This is parallel to the militia. The government can not infringe upon our right to gather together as a collective for a purpose, to bear arms in defense of our community.

    It is reasonable to read the intent of the framers in writing the 2nd as an extension of the right to assemble, to assure that the federal government did not infringe upon the rights of people to assemble with arms as a militia.

  • ||

    NM,

    You are like Joe, minus the wit.

    The whole point of my citation was that it presented both points of view and concluded that the "standard model" was the correct interpretation of 2A. The opposing interpretation, more or less your interpretation, was dismantled as an absurdity.

    2A means what I think it means. You are wrong.

  • SimienV2||

    Unfortunately, we are no longer the country we were 200 years ago. The balance of power the populous had over the government has eroded over the years.

    And the current despot, and the political leadership in tow from both parties, mocks your attempts to regain the individual rights. It is clear to see our current government does not fear the power of the people.

    A revolution will be necessary to restore the original rights guaranteed by our constitution.

    "Its not a party until something gets broken!"

  • ||

    Montana gets a PASS.

    I have never understood the difficulty people have understanding the 2nd Amendment. It is very simple.

    The 2nd does protect the people from ANY infringement upon their right to keep or bear arms, AND the 2nd does protect from ANY infringement upon maintenance of a well regulated militia to secure a free state.

    Any argument against this definition is an obvious attempt to infringe and must be protected against!

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wayne,

    I recognize that the author of the article you cite draws a conclusion that agrees with your preferred interpretation.

    However, I am not convinced that he makes a convincing case that the language is unambiguous (he actually makes much of the fact that the language is ambiguous to modern readers and attempt to explain why their is controversy over the meaning).

    Read the Cornell book.
    He knows as much about the issue as Reynolds and comes to a different conclusion.

    This is why, of course, appeals to authority are unconvincing. One side can always find an expert that agrees with their point of view.

    I will, of course, reiterate, since you didn't seem to get it any of the other times I stated it...I essentially agree with the Standard Model, which says that the 2nd is primarily about militia. I am unconvinced, however, that self-defense was on the minds of the framers as they debated the issue. They had just gone through a struggle to overthrow tyranny. I think they were concentrating on the value of a militia for protecting against tyranny.

    The evidence that they all thought you have a right to arm yourself for self-defense is orthogonal to the 2nd (it is covered in the 9th, however). I think the proper framing of the 2nd is an specification/extension of the right to assembly.

    What good is it to say that the people can gather to protest their government, if the government can infringe their right to assemble as a militia to oppose tyranny?

    So no Wayne, the 2nd doesn't mean what you think it means. You are wrong.

    =/;^p

  • ||

    The second amendment is only ambiguous if you choose which commas to read between. If you read the whole thing it very, very obviously has nothing to do with any psycho carrying a gun. After serving in the armed forces and seeing how very well trained individuals handle guns I don't think anyone is really responsible enough to have one.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Congress shall make no law ...abridging ...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 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.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wayne,

    Ambiguous language evidence keeps piling up...see Jeff's comment. He doesn't seem to agree with you, but he sees the language as clear also.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I will note that I find Wayne's belief in objective truth adorable.

  • Neu Mejican||

    http://atheism.about.com/od/philosophyepistemology/a/Intersubjective.htm

  • ||

    Didn't we already have a Civil War that settled this issue? You might remember that the United States won the war over the Confederate States and thus reaffirmed the the constitutional mandate that Federal law always supersedes state law and contracts. A recent set of Supreme Court rulings confirm that stance. Any attempt to succeed from the United States can be considered an act of treason and this hot air the Montana politicians are blowing can come back to them in a hard way.

  • ||

    A collective right is a government right yet governments don't have rights only powers.

    Are the right of the people in the first, fourth, fifth, ninth and tenth also collective and thus government rights?

  • ||

    NM,

    Jeff stated an opinion about his distaste for guns. Good for him, and you and anybody else who dislikes guns. Your dislike for guns, however, has nothing to do with 2A; at least not until you garner the support of enough states to repeal it. Until that time you can torture logic all you like, but you will not prevail because the language of 2A is clear.

  • ||

    As regards the constitution, the States are the principles, The federal government, The United States, is the agent. Let's keep it that way.

  • Dougy||

    Actually the feds own all the land, they only rent out 70% of it in Montana then.

  • dougy||

    thats why we pay taxes, or rent money...

  • ||

    """TrickyVic,

    So two people standing next to each other have a right to carry a gun, but as soon as they seperate the right disolves? But you wouldn't have a right to carry a gun to meet up with a friend. If I live alone I don't have the right but as soon as I get a roommate, I have the right, except when my roommate leaves me by myself, then I don't have the right anymore. Well unless another friend or relative shows up before my roommate leaves. Is that how a collective gun right would work?

    That's just a bunch of tangential jibberish. """

    jibberish???

    Then please explain how a collective gun right works.

    """as a collective for a purpose (however trivial).

    This is parallel to the militia. The government can not infringe upon our right to gather together as a collective for a purpose, to bear arms in defense of our community.

    It is reasonable to read the intent of the framers in writing the 2nd as an extension of the right to assemble, to assure that the federal government did not infringe upon the rights of people to assemble with arms as a militia."""

    Now that's jibberish because the right to gun ownership goes to the people, not the militia.

  • ||

    "It's by and large laissez-faire when it comes to religion in these here parts.
    The east is far more conservative. The further you head west -- Bozeman, Missoula, the more liberal it gets. Missoula is basically a mini-Berkeley, but with a redneck streak. Crunchy granola.
    There are lots of leftist Christians here, do-gooders and peace activists who are more likely to annoy you with their emotional politics than their proselityzing.
    Still, it's a freakin' cool town. Come drink in Missoula with me, and I'll show you a good time!"

    I calls 'em Skippies, Scary-Hippies :)
    A lot of oregon and washington (outside of seattle) is similar.

  • ||

    For the sake of argument, if Montana left the Union, do you really think:

    A. The military would invade them?

    or

    B. The public would support such an invasion?

    Neither A nor B are remotely possible.

  • Bob||

    If Montana seceeds, I will move there.

  • ||

    When Obambi implements his protective dictum along with his general happiness doctrine and fully installs his nanny state, I'm sure firearms will no longer be authorized. At that point, succession sounds reasonable and should be seriously considered by every sovereign state.

  • mtnmn||

    I'd love to see Montana seceed. As for the 46% of the budget, did someone forget that we pay federal taxes? Plus we are the 7th smartest state http://www.morganquitno.com/edrank.htm so we'd be smarter on average than the rest of the remaining America.

    As for the jerks, Montanans are great people. We just don't like Californians or East coasters for obvious reasons. Who does like them? Montana is the way it is because of the people who live there. The trustifarians move in to try to "save" what doesn't need saving and end up destroying what we have worked hard to preserve. If they hadn't come and brought thier children and house keepers etc. with them none of the problems would have followed. On the other hand if you want to come to Montana and learn why we live the way we do and join us you are likely to be welcomed.

  • ||

    If Montana is the 7th smartest state, all I can say is that the high I.Q.s are not well represented here. Uncle Fed pays 46% of your state's bills and you want to secede? Please, go for it. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, either.

    Not that it'll happen. Look at your speed limits. You reimposed them when the federal government threatened to cut off just your highway money. Now imagine if they decided to cut off everything else, too.

    No one's going to take away your guns, either. You know and I know it, and everyone else knows it.

  • ||

    By the way, who the hell wants to live in Montana, where the men are men and the sheep are nervous? Sure, parts of it are beautiful but that's true in all 50 states. Meantime, it's freezing cold half the time, it's full of oddballs with guns who'd hate you if you did move there, and it's a 100-mile drive to the grocery store.

    And no, I'm not a Californian. Whose money you most certainly don't hate, if I might be so bold as to have noticed. Enjoy them guns, rednecks, and see if the rest of us really care.

  • Neu Mejican||

    TrickyVic,

    Now that's jibberish because the right to gun ownership goes to the people, not the militia.

    Well, the point is that the 2nd doesn't say anything about gun ownership...it talks about the right "to keep and bear arms." If that describes a right to form a militia, the ownership of the guns is an organizational detail. If a corporation can own something, so, logically, can a militia.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I will say again, that I think you have an individual right to own a gun for self-defense.

    My opinions on the 2nd have to do with why I think the language does not provide firm protection for that right.

    I think the source of that is the intent of the framers...they wanted to protect the right of the people to assemble with arms as a militia.

    The topic of personal gun ownership for self-defense was not on their minds when they wrote the 2nd, militia was...

  • ||

    If things were as plain as you want them to be, this guys book wouldn't have needed writing.

    I suppose the same could have been said for Bellesiles book. Cornell doesn't stoop THAT low, but he's definitely got a perspective/agenda.

    Read the Cornell book.
    He knows as much about the issue as Reynolds and comes to a different conclusion.


    Do you mean the author of U.S. v. Miller - McReynolds? If so, that is certainly damning Cornell with faint praise.

    I am unconvinced, however, that self-defense was on the minds of the framers as they debated the issue.

    I'd agree with that - it wouldn't even have occurred to them to consider the necessity of securing that right. Who in their right mind would challenge the notion?

    I think the proper framing of the 2nd is an specification/extension of the right to assembly.

    And yet SCotUS rejected that very argument in Presser. Oops!

  • Neu Mejican||

    Juris,

    Well, me and the SCotUS don't always agree.

    Their opinion does matter more, however.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Juris,

    Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Associate Professor of Law, University of Tennessee, and Wayne's bff4ever.
    http://www.law.utk.edu/FACULTY/facultyreynolds.htm

  • ||

    I will say again, that I think you have an individual right to own a gun for self-defense.


    How can you make this claim given your interpretation of 2A stated above?

  • Doug Beatty||

    It's a big deal for Montana because that state feels that an armed citizenry is a big part of their security. As do the majority of states.

    Thus a ruling that the Second Amendment is only for government rights to have weapons causes a dramatic shift in principle.

    Nobody understood the second Amendment to be collective Until the age of television. Once Americans saw the riots of 1968 on television we got the Nazi Laws translated into English as the Gun Control Act of 1968.

    After that Nazi Law brought to us by Senator Dodd (his son serves today) we started hearing about sporting use and other Nazi Ideas.

    This is not about people from Montana or any group of angry white men. Read the amici briefs in the case. It's women, jews, blacks, homosexuals and transgendered citizens, disabled citizens, law enforcement, prosecutors, thirty one states, scholars, and gun rights groups, as well as a contract issue.

    Only media conditioning can make a person believe that society is better off without arms in private hands. Along with the media conditioning the conditions of denial, projection, and a few other quirks - which are common in humans - are needed.

    I worked in D.C. as a Special Police Officer in public housing. I have seen the evil of victim disarmament first hand. The people of Montana are enlightened enough not to need such a graphic example. Wish I could say I was that smart. It took graphic proof to convince me of the folly of "gun control".

  • ||

    I might be movin' to Montana soon
    Just to raise me up a crop of Dental Floss Raisin' it up
    Waxen it down
    In a little white box
    I can sell uptown
    By myself I wouldn't
    Have no boss,
    But I'd be raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
    Raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
    Well I just might grow me some bees
    But I'd leave the sweet stuff
    For somebody else...
    but then, on the other hand
    I'd Keep the wax N' melt it down
    Pluck some Floss N' swish it aroun'
    I'd have me a crop
    An' it'd be on top

    (that's why I'M movin' to Montana)

    Movin' to Montana soon
    Gonna be a Dental Floss tycoon
    (yes I am)
    Movin' to Montana soon
    Gonna be a mennil-toss flykune
    I'm pluckin' the ol' Dennil Floss
    That's growin' on the prairie
    Pluckin' the floss!
    I plucked all day an' all nite an' all Afternoon...
    I'm ridin' a small tiny hoss
    (His name is MIGHTY LITTLE)
    He's a good hoss
    Even though He's a bit dinky to strap a big saddle or
    Blanket on anyway
    He's a bit dinky to strap a big saddle or
    Blanket on anyway
    Any way I'm pluckin' the ol' Dennil Floss
    Even if you think it is a little silly, folks
    I don't care if you think it's silly, folks
    I don't care if you think it's silly, folks
    I'm gonna find me a horse
    Just about this big
    An' ride him all along the border line
    With a Pair of heavy-duty
    Zircon-encrusted tweezers in my hand
    Every other wrangler would say
    I was mighty grand
    By myself I wouldn't
    Have no boss
    But I'd be raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
    Raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
    Raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
    Well I might Ride along the border
    With my tweezers gleamin'
    In the moon-lighty night
    And then I'd Get a cuppa cawfee
    N' give my foot a push...
    Just me 'n the pymgy pony
    Over the Dennil Floss Bush
    N' then I might just Jumb back on
    An' ride Like a cowboy
    Into the dawn to Montana
    Movin' to Montana soon

    (Yippy-Ty-O-Ty-Ay)

    Movin' to Montana soon

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wayne,

    How can you make this claim given your interpretation of 2A stated above?

    A couple of reasons(both already stated up thread).

    1) Rights don't flow from the government.
    2) the 9th amendment.

    I know you want to orchestrate some sort of gotcha here, but you are gonna need to try harder.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wayne,

    Your dislike for guns, however, has nothing to do with 2A

    Why do you assume that I don't like guns?

    You seem to have me confused with someone else.

  • ||

    """Well, the point is that the 2nd doesn't say anything about gun ownership...it talks about the right "to keep and bear arms." If that describes a right to form a militia, the ownership of the guns is an organizational detail. If a corporation can own something, so, logically, can a militia. """

    So who owns the guns that I can keep and bear? You still have not explained the mechanics of how a collective right works.

    Also, show me a militia that does not allow the individual to keep the weapon in their house or possession.

    The 2nd Amendment says you have a right to keep and bear because militas are necessary to being free. Militia membership requires individual gun ownership. Therefore individuals have a right to keep and bear arms. This is necessary in a militia. The amendment does not restrict my gun use to militia only.

    Off road access is necessary for a free state, the right of the people to keep and drive a 4-wheel drive vehicle will not be infringed.

    That statement would give you the right to a 4-wheel drive vehicle but it does not say that the owner can ONLY drive it off road. It's a reason, not a restriction. Same with the reasoning clause in the 2nd. It doesn't restrict gun

  • Neu Mejican||

    TrickyVic,

    The 2nd amendment doesn't restrict the people's rights at all...that is why I called you jibberish jibberish earlier.

    The bill of rights restricts the range of allowable behavior for the government, not the people.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Militia membership requires individual gun ownership.

    Nah.
    I don't buy that argument for a second.

  • perldog007||

    tarran,

    It's not about congress, it's about a contract between the Feds and Montana. The Supreme court in holding that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right could violate that contract.

    It's not hot air, it's a contract. We aren't talking about background checks, we are talking about the Supreme court ruling on the constitutionality of a gun ban.

  • Joe||

    The definition of militia as acknowledged by the Supreme and many other lower courts throughout history is that body of armed, male citizens between the ages of 17-45. So you don't have to buy any argument. The courts have a long standing precedent of upholding this truth.

  • ||

    It's about time a state take a stand and say "If our agreement isn't being held up on the federal level, it is null and void." The Constitution is a CONTRACT between the several states and any federal government, they can't come back 232 years after the fact and say all those generations of gun owners NEVER had the right to individually own a firearm.

    Good for Montana. I hope this goes somewhere.

  • ||

    "The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." -Thomas Jefferson



    The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.-Thomas Jefferson

  • ||

    I live in Washington DC. I can't wait to use the power of the Federal government to destroy Montana if it tries to secede. It will be fun to march through Montana and burn Helena and every other town we can find to the ground.

    The constitution is a compact between the people and the federal government that's why it begins with "we the people" not "we the states." Whatever agreement between Montana and the Federal government is non-binding. Montana can't just leave because it doesn't like a ruling. Quit being babies about it, you're lucky we even allow you two Senators. The issue of secession was settled at Appomattox.

  • ||

    If Montana wants to void its statehood, then it will revert back to a territory of the US and lose its representation in congress. Sorry but this isn't 1860 and Montana isn't South Carolina. Montana isn't going anywhere.

  • ||

    A couple of BOGUS Jefferson quotes:

    "The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." -Thomas Jefferson


    The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.-Thomas Jefferson

    They're both laughable and made up. So many bogus quotes attributed to the Sage of Monticello by gun nuts and zealots.

  • Jimbob||

    I submit to your further evidence that secession is illegal and the federal government is the supreme law of the land. If you don't believe me, then see the US v. the Confederate States of America.

    Preamble:
    We the PEOPLE of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Article VI
    This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

    Amendment XIV
    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. 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; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

  • ||

    " A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. "

    The militia clause in the sentence has no power. It is simply clutter. Suppose the second amendment said,

    " My friend Alex, being upset that his coffee has gotten cold, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. "

    means the same thing.


    Suppose a king gives out the following order:

    " Because John killed my brother, I order John be executed. "

    Even if John did NOT kill the king's brother, it is still true that John has been ordered executed.


    Now for my threat:

    I will kill the next person who can't understand English then post about how the second amendment means something other than what it says.

  • ||

    It's funny that these insane comments, especially the fabricated Jefferson quotations, are posted in a thread at "Reason" magazine.

  • ||

    you better not be talking about my comment, boy, or crunchy blacks gonna put yo body in a fill

  • ||

    The 2nd amendment guarantees a way for citizens to be heard and protected from a radically imposing government. We know through history that these government actions trigger revolutions. Firearms owned by citizens are constitutionally granted strictly because this Nation was produced by such a revolution, and you have your head up your ass if you think it can't happen again.

  • Mike M||

    For those of you arguing for a collective rights interpretation of the 2nd Amendment - you need to go back and read your Madison and all of the early commentaries on the Constitutuion. The consensus then was 100% indiviual right... and as led and participated in the debates and discussion leading up to the final ratification of the 2nd Amendment - I tend to trust what they say...

  • ||

    As a law student, I have a few of problems with this argument.

    First, I understand Montana is construing their acceptance into the Union as a contract. My knee jerk reaction to this proposition is that it doesn't hold water. Based on my readings of Calhoun, who advanced nullification prior to the Civil War, and the response it received, the admission of a state into the union does not constitute a contract. It especially does not avail contract remedies to the states when there is a conflict between the understanding of the Constitution and state constitutions. For example, a case I read for my Property II class today had a conflict between CA's constitution and the United States constitution. In this case, just as in all other cases, the United States constitution won due to the Supremacy Clause. If you then say that the understanding of the constitution the court offered was invalid because it does not agree with what the old understanding was, then I direct you to Cooper v. Aaron, in which the Supreme Court stated that whatever it says the Constitution is, it is. This has been generally accepted despite the lack of Constitutional language giving the court this Judicial Supremacy or even that of Judicial Review.

    Secondly, if it is a contract, they are not always taken to mean exactly what was intended by parties at the time of the agreement. I would agree that, generally speaking, the subjective intent of the parties to create a contract with this specific provision is important when determining what that term means. However, there is an equally valid form of contract interpretation (one that has gained general acceptance as contract law has developed in the United States) that applies a reasonable person standard. The same conclusion can be drawn under either paradigm. It is important to note though that the reasonable person standard does provide more leeway for a different understanding of the "Compact".

    Third, as to the 'living document' argument that the author of the linked essay dismissed with no evidence, this methodology warrants serious consideration. I personally don't care for it, but that does not mean it is not a valid form of constitutional interpretation.

    I will leave my complaints at that, although there are several formal and informal logical fallacies committed by the author. I hope this was helpful.

  • ||

    For those that think the Jefferson quotes that I posted are fabricated then check these. Most have been verified.

    What the Framers said about our Second Amendment Rights to Keep and Bear Arms

    * "I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."
    - George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788

    * "Whereas civil-rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as military forces, which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms."
    -- Tench Coxe, in Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution

    * "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
    -- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188

    * If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual State. In a single State, if the persons entrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.
    -- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28

    * "That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms ... "
    -- Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Pierce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850)

    * "[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
    --James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46

    * "To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws."
    --John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of the United States 475 (1787-1788)

    * "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive."
    --Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).

    * "Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."
    --Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

    * "Whereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it."
    --Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

    * "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."
    -- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787. ME 6:373, Papers 12:356

    * "No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J. Boyd, Ed., 1950]

    * "The right of the people to keep and bear ... arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country ..."
    -- James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789

    * "What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty .... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."
    -- Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789

    * " ... to disarm the people - that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
    -- George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380

    * " ... but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights ..."
    -- Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist 29

    * "Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?"
    -- Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836

    * "The great object is, that every man be armed ... Every one who is able may have a gun."
    -- Patrick Henry, Elliot, p.3:386

    * "O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone ..."
    -- Patrick Henry, Elliot p. 3:50-53, in Virginia Ratifying Convention demanding a guarantee of the right to bear arms

    * "The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them."
    -- Zacharia Johnson, delegate to Virginia Ratifying Convention, Elliot, 3:645-6

    * "Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms ... The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard, against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible."
    -- Hubert H. Humphrey, Senator, Vice President, 22 October 1959

    * "The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpation of power by rulers. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally ... enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
    -- Joseph Story, Supreme Court Justice, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, p. 3:746-7, 1833

    * " ... most attractive to Americans, the possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave, it being the ultimate means by which freedom was to be preserved."
    -- James Burgh, 18th century English Libertarian writer, Shalhope, The Ideological Origins of the Second Amendment, p.604

    * "The right [to bear arms] 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 explained elsewhere, consists of those persons who, under the laws, are liable to the performance of military duty, and are officered and enrolled for service when called upon.... [I]f the right were limited to those enrolled, the purpose of the guarantee might be defeated altogether by the action or the 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 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 so doing the laws of public order."
    -- Thomas M. Cooley, General Principles of Constitutional Law, Third Edition [1898]

    * "And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress ... to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.... "
    --Samuel Adams

  • ||

    Government actually working for people and their freedoms is becoming a less commom event all the time. Good for Montana, they have exellent freedom laws there. Been to Montana once, hiked up trapper peek, beautiful place. If Montana leaves the New socialist empire, I will move there :)

  • TJ||

    In the words of Ronnie Van Zant

    Hand guns are made for killin'
    Ain't no good for nothin' else

    Even if the 2nd amendment is ruled to be a collective right, no one is taking your guns away, chill the f' out.

    Besides Montana is too dependent on the Federales. It's a welfare state. For every dollar in taxes it gives, Montana receives $1.48 back in federal spendng. Montana is a leech state. It can go join Canada if it wants, but methinks it will fall in line.

  • Konrad Haskins||

    I love Montana and I'm the two time state BBQ champ. I'd love to open a restaurant in Montana. Problem is the beer license for my restaurant in WA cost $200. Montana the cost is $100,000 :(

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  • دردشه||

    You'll need your tin foil to keep your prozac in

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