Guns

Obama's Toothless Second Amendment

The senator defends the right to whatever arms the government decides to allow.

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"What works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne," Barack Obama said after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Washington, D.C., gun ban. The Illinois senator was talking about gun control laws, but he could just as well have been talking about his interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Although the amendment protects an individual right to arms, Obama says, it permits "common-sense" gun control, a category that for him seems to include every existing restriction on the possession and use of firearms. That view not only does not fly in Cheyenne (and in many other places where presidential candidates aspire to win votes); it was decisively rejected by the Supreme Court.

"I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms," Obama said after the ruling was announced, "but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view."

Not quite. The Court concluded that the D.C. gun law, which "bans handgun possession in the home" and "requires that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock at all times, rendering it inoperable," violates the Second Amendment because it effectively prohibits keeping guns for self-defense.

Last November, by contrast, Obama's campaign told the Chicago Tribune "Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional." The candidate was so upset about that misrepresentation of his views that he sought to correct it—seven months later. A few hours before the Supreme Court pronounced the D.C. gun ban unconstitutional, an Obama spokesman told ABC News his campaign's November statement to the contrary "was obviously an inartful attempt to explain the senator's consistent position."

That belated blurification was an inartful attempt to avoid explaining the senator's consistent position, which he has repeatedly confirmed. In a February 12 interview, Leon Harris of WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington, said to Obama, "You support the D.C. handgun ban, and you've said that it's constitutional." Obama nodded, saying, "Right, right." Three days later, at a press conference in Milwaukee, Obama cited the D.C. law as an example of gun control that's consistent with the Second Amendment.

Obama's view is similar to that of Justice Stephen Breyer, who dissented from the Supreme Court's decision. Even if the Second Amendment protects an individual right to armed self-defense, Breyer said, that right has to be weighed against "other important governmental interests." And since a gun law like D.C.'s might reduce violent crime (never mind the lack of evidence that it actually has), the courts should yield to legislators' judgments about how best to strike the balance.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia replied: "We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding 'interest-balancing' approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government…the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges' assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all."

This decision does not bode well for Chicago's handgun ban, which was challenged in federal court the day after the Supreme Court's ruling. Since the Court held that D.C. violated the Second Amendment by banning the sort of gun most people prefer for home defense, the only real question in the Chicago case is whether the amendment applies to state and local governments as well as federal domains such as the District of Columbia.

It seems likely that the right to arms—which, Scalia emphasized, stems from the basic right of self-preservation—will be added to the list of civil liberties that the 14th Amendment compels states and municipalities to respect. If so, Obama's vision of a toothless Second Amendment will not prevail for much longer even in Chicago.

© Copyright 2008 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. That’s the typical clear, cogent statement of firm position we’ve come to expect from Senator Obama.

  2. When can we open discussion to reasonable limitations on the freedom of speech, reasonable warrantless searches, all in the name of public safety and interest?

  3. When can we open discussion to reasonable limitations on the freedom of speech, reasonable warrantless searches, all in the name of public safety and interest?

    Um, that ship sailed a long time ago.

    What the hell do *you* think ‘free speech zones’ are?

  4. Seems he has a wide stance on this one. Copying the GWB Faith Based Initiatives stance is another one I can’t wait to see covered here.

  5. A good column from Chapman, finally. And he wasn’t kissing Obama’s ass for once, either.

    I would be very interested in seeing Obama respond to being grilled about this. However, who knows if that will happen. I mean, the greatest interviewer the world has ever seen, Tim Russert, is dead. Who will step up to the plate and mildly interrogate candidates?

  6. I would be very interested in seeing Obama respond to being grilled about this.

    I imagine he’ll continue to say what he’s been saying (individual right, heavily attenuated by local conditions) which is mightily unfortunate. He can’t really say much else without pissing off the base something fierce. Democrats are approximately as unbelievably stupid on this issue as Republicans are on gay rights.

    His VP pick will be critical for how this issue plays. If he picks Sebelius, for instance, he’s basically saying “gun owners, go fuck yourselves.” On the other hand, if he picks Webb, he’d be saying “OK, we can play ball.”

  7. Episiarch said:

    A good column from Chapman, finally. And he wasn’t kissing Obama’s ass for once, either.

    You might want to recheck the byline there, skippy.

  8. Episiarch,

    A good column from Chapman, finally.

    Oh now, he has had a couple of others since he advocated taking all of our money for his silly pet projects.

    Still keeping hold of my wallet before reading his articles or greeting him in person.

  9. Holy crap!

    My lemming-like following of Episiarch lead me straight to the same incorrect reading of the byline that he made!

  10. You might want to recheck the byline there, skippy.

    I could have sworn that originally said Chapman. Editors, did you change it?

    So scratch the “good one from Chapman” comment. I should have known that we’d never get something like this from him.

  11. SWAG: The whole staff is scouring the NYT article China Inspired Interrogations At Guantanamo by Scott Shane, without bothering to look at FM 2-22.3, and trying to imagine even more scare words and innuendo into the article.

  12. Copying the GWB Faith Based Initiatives stance is another one I can’t wait to see covered here.

    Speaking as an Atheist, let me just say that I couldn’t give a shit what local group is getting the federal grants, so long as they aren’t proselytizing with them. I said as much when DeIulio and Bush proposed this originally eight long years ago.

    That is, I don’t care with the proviso that the program probably shouldn’t exist in the first place; federal role, blah blah blah. We are trapped in an imperfect world.

  13. Editors, did you change it?

    Nope. That one always said Jacob Sullum.

  14. Democrats are approximately as unbelievably stupid on this issue as Republicans are on gay rights.

    Some are. Obama’s problem here is that his more elitist supporters, especially the moneyed donors, all want the redneck peasants to have their guns heavily controlled. If he isn’t for that, they’ll get pissed and may donate less.

  15. Nope. That one always said Jacob Sullum.

    I guess I’m so used to Wednesday blurbs introducing Chapman articles that I just substituted. Bad brain, bad.

  16. the greatest interviewer the world has ever seen, Tim Russert

    Oh, please.

  17. lmnop,

    Speaking as a christian, the faith based initiative stuff bothers me much more than it does you. With the same proviso that the funding shouldnt be happening at all, I really dont want it being done this way. Government mixed with religion screws up religion.

    Thats just how bad governments suck.

  18. Oh, please.

    If you don’t realize that was a total joke, especially considering the following sentence, you have serious humor problems.

  19. If he isn’t for that, they’ll get pissed and may donate less.

    Not likely. Most moneyed guilt-ridden lefties are probably scared shitless at the prospect of a Yosemite Sam presidency. Even the ones who aren’t swooning over Obama because he’s so dreamy will be taking huge cash-dumps on him to keep McCain out of the White House.

  20. Thats just how bad governments suck.

    Oh, so true. Perhaps this experience will reawaken in religious leaders their long forgotten affection for Church/State separation.

    I am of the mind that if competent people ask to be fed poison, they should be given poison. If they suffer discomfort and forswear poison thereafter, so much the better.

    Meanwhile, those programs might help people who need help. I won’t shed so many tears for that.

  21. If Obama is looking to shore up his gun rights bona fides, Ted Strickland is the obvious choice. (A cold chill just ran up my spine.)

  22. On the theoretical Rainbow Puppy Island, federal funding to Faith Based organizations works just fine. However, in reality (believe it or not, different from theory), folks showing up for help get preached at.

    As a Christian, I certainly don’t mind folks showing up for religious messages getting them. However, when they are just showing up for soup I have a problem with religion getting poured down their throat with it.

    Christianity (and other faiths) has plenty of good points to stand on its own without tricking people into hearing it, with or without government funds.

    Short version: if you need a sandwitch, here is one on me. I don’t care if you decide to go to hell or not.

  23. Episiarch,

    Fear not. Yea, though he hath fallen, Saint Russert, who I pray to nightly for intercession with the Lord, shall have the final judgment.

    I’m sorry Russert’s dead, but I got a fresh reminder during his Hagiorama of why I tend to dislike journalists. Present company excepted, of course.

  24. Guy,

    On RPI, there arent enough federal funds in order to send to Faith Based (on any other) organizations.

  25. robc,

    Ooops, sorry, I was thinking of Socialistic Gladhanding Island.

  26. On RPI, most of the puppies starve, and there is too much smog to see the rainbow.

  27. If you don’t realize that was a total joke…

    Fair enough, but I would have done it this way:

    The Greatest Interviewer The World Has Ever Seen?

  28. Christianity (and other faiths) has plenty of good points to stand on its own without tricking people into hearing it, with or without government funds.

    Short version: if you need a sandwitch, here is one on me. I don’t care if you decide to go to hell or not.

    Generally speaking, if you need a sandwich, you generally don’t give a fuck what the guy whose handing you a sandwich is saying. Because you’re too busy eating the sandwich.

  29. On RPI, most of the puppies starve, and there is too much smog to see the rainbow.

    Sometimes you have to kill a few puppies to make a puppy-and-smog-omelet.

  30. But, but, but…joe says he’s very clear on an individual right and really isn’t hostile to gun owners. Right, joe, right? Oh, and semi automatics only mean rifles, right joe?

    The seven month later “oops I said something definitive…erase, erase, erase” pretty much says it all.

  31. The seven month later “oops I said something definitive…erase, erase, erase” pretty much says it all.

    Actually, it says nothing. W. Wilson’s campaign said “He kept us out of war!”. Of course, six weeks after reelection, the US is tits deep in WWI.

    Politicians say all sorts of shit. I lay much more stock in what people who know them say about their personality and the tendencies of their thought. Everyone whose known Obama says he’s deliberate and rational. Everyone whose known McCain says he’s kind of an irritable tool. Those reports generally are closer to the mark than any given statement on the campaign trail.

  32. New, silly, unsubstianted, Sen. Obama rumor: He plans on changing the name of the United States Army to be more friendly and inclusive of all peoples. New name: People’s Liberation Army

  33. Bullshit, again. Politicians do tend to trim their sails to the prevailing winds, but when a politician has consistently been opposed to the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms for 20 years, it’s not a huge leap to take them at their word.

    People for whom that right is important should not, in my judgment, support Obama. Whatever his other faults, I think it’s far more likely that on this issue, the libertarian position will have a more receptive audience from a McCain Administration.

  34. Obama also proposed banning gun sales within five miles of a school or park, which would ban their sale just about everywhere.

    Have no doubt: if this man is elected, gun rights will certainly be restricted.

    Any way he can.

  35. Justice Antonin Scalia replied: “We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach.

    *outright, prolonged, laughter*

  36. Have no doubt: if this man is elected, gun rights will certainly be restricted eliminated.

  37. People for whom that right is important should not, in my judgment, support Obama. Whatever his other faults, I think it’s far more likely that on this issue, the libertarian position will have a more receptive audience from a McCain Administration.

    Tell you what. You find a viable candidate that wants to let gays marry, let people smoke joints, AND let people buy whatever guns they want, and we can go vote for them together!

    It’ll be grand.

  38. On RPI, most of the puppies starve,

    Because your grandma has to live on Puppy Chow!

  39. lmnop,

    You find a viable candidate that wants to let gays marryend government marriage licensing, let people smoke joints, AND let people buy whatever guns they want, and we can go vote for them together!

    FTFY

  40. Have no doubt: if this man is elected, gun rights will certainly be restricted eliminated.

    Yeah! You hit it. Obama is a new form of Dalek, whose orders are to *EXTERMINATE* all sorts of firearms.

    The question is, is he defeated by stairs?

  41. lmnop,

    The question is, is he defeated by stairs?

    Gold coins. Which is why Paul had to be defeated in the GOP primary.

  42. This sort of thing convinces me that more than a viable third party, we need the two major parties each to split in half. Why do socialism, anti-gun-rights, civil liberties and environmental protection need to be lumped together? Similarly, why do free market economics (sort of), hatred of gays and Mexicans, tax-cutting and religious conservatism need to go together? This pretty well guarantees that any major candidate from either party is just about impossible to vote for.

  43. Obama is a new form of Dalek, whose orders are to *EXTERMINATE* all sorts of firearms.

    Yes, but who is Davros? James Ard says it’s Hillary.

  44. Guy Montag | July 2, 2008, 10:34am | #
    Have no doubt: if this man is elected, gun rights will certainly be restricted eliminated.

    Sorry, Guy, I do have some doubt. Seems to me that the worst case is really that it will stay as it is now (not that that is good). In many places, gun rights already have been essentially eliminated, but there are a lot of states with unambiguous constitutional protections of gun rights which I am pretty damn certain are not going to change.

  45. Zeb,

    Yea, go ahead and keep believing that. It is your right afterall.

  46. Where does Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama really stand on the Second Amendment?

    He seemed happy to walk all over it as a legislator here in IL.

  47. I thought the whole idea behind the Second Amendment was that Barak Obama can’t take away our guns even if he wants to. For example, there was this law in D.C. …

  48. I am with Zeb.

    Most state constitutions have much clearer gun rights statements.

    If you are concerned with gun rights in your area, work with your state or local politicians.

    As with most things, the issue is local and not national and the president’s position on it is not really that important.

    I would worry more about Obama vs. McCain on issues that actually directly involve presidential powers. Start with war, foreign relations, judicial appointments, and move on from there.

    Gun control advocates are typically Democrats, Democrats are not typically gun control advocates.

    Bill Richardson would be the VP candidate for the gun crowd.

  49. Lamar, Zeb, and New Mejican are pretty obviously right.

    Bill Richardson would be a good pick, as I’ve been saying for a while now, not only for his Libertarian-lite leanings, but also because of his executive and foreign policy experience.

  50. NM,
    Sure, gun control is not a national issue. All those federal bans on various types of firearms and restrictions on production and sale of firearms don’t really matter. In any case, I’m certain that Barack Obama would be happy to make it a federal issue, if he could get away with it.

  51. doesn’t matter what the states say…the supreme court “pro-gun” guys just said they can make any federal law they damn well want that restricts guns based on licensing, permits, the loosest interpretation of “mental illness”….yet Chapman is trying to make dress this up as being pro gun rights.

    Every young male that has had the public school nurse describe them as ADHD or ADD or bi-polar ortroubled….all those boys will have no gun rights…it is only “reasonable”.

  52. Heh, I like how the liberals on the board declare an enumerated right is not a “national issue” but a local one, whereas things not even mentioned in the Constitution or Bill of Rights like education, retirement, wages, and health care are indeed, “national issues”.

  53. Ravac/economist,

    The second amendment has to do with Federal laws, so, to an extent, you are correct to point out that the gun issue is a national issue.

    However, most gun control is at the local level, and the most restrictive rules are local laws.

    Obama’s position on gun control in the White House won’t change the Chicago laws on gun ownership, for instance.

  54. I like how the liberals on the board declare

    LMNOP is a liberal?

    State a position that the power of the state/local government is more important than that of the central/federal government is liberal?

    Interesting.

  55. Not likely. Most moneyed guilt-ridden lefties are probably scared shitless at the prospect of a Yosemite Sam presidency. Even the ones who aren’t swooning over Obama because he’s so dreamy will be taking leaving huge cash-dumps on him to keep McCain out of the White House.

  56. LMNOP is a liberal?

    One day, long ago. It was a Thursday.

    whereas things not even mentioned in the Constitution or Bill of Rights like education, retirement, wages, and health care are indeed, “national issues”.

    I don’t think any of those are national issues in the sense that the Fed has any business meddling with them. They *are* certainly national issues in the sense that they are issues which occur nation-wide.

    As Neu Mejican said, the presidency should be more concerns with issues in its ballpark (war, foreign relations, appointments, etc.).

  57. So, under the Presidency of Mr. Obama, I will be able to buy a belt fed machine gun without any extra taxes and silly waiting periods?

    If true, sign me up!

  58. When Obama has the courage to stroll the streets of South Central LA at midnight without a weapon or a body guard, he’ll have some credibility as being honest (but dead wrong) on the issue. A gun is there when a cop isn’t, but anyone who is childish enough to think we can talk with radical Islam and it will go away, has to be naive enough to think that the thugs in the hood will listen to sweet talk also.

  59. don,

    Hell, I’d settle for bodyguards without guns.

  60. I wonder when people will realize that putting limits on one constitutional right opens up the government’s ability to put limits on others.

    How do Obama’s apparently moderate comments on gun control sound when you move just one Amendment farther up the page?

    “The ACLU’s beef with Obama: He supports a ban on broadband internet access and on almost all mobile messaging, and a limit on political opinions to one a month.

    Obama says he supports legitimate free speech.

    “I’m a strong supporter of the First Amendment, but I do not think that that precludes local governments being able to provide some kind of common sense speech control laws … that keep radical thoughts out of the hands of children,”

    When (if?) people start to realize that we are talking about Constitutionally guaranteed rights, maybe their eyes will open.

  61. Neu Mejican, I take you do not think Obama will be appointing any judges that might hear future 2nd amendment cases?

  62. When can we open discussion to reasonable limitations on the freedom of speech, reasonable warrantless searches, all in the name of public safety and interest?

    The discussion is open right now by conservatives. Yet liberals, when discussing the second amendment and its perceived limits have this discussion with absolutely no sense of irony whatsoever.

    Tools.

  63. I wonder when people will realize that putting limits on one constitutional right opens up the government’s ability to put limits on others.

    When giving this clear and concise warning to Democrats, it has gone utterly unheeded.

  64. Joel,

    Limits are fine with them when they promote government controlled collectivism. Limiting the promotion of government controlled collectivism is straight out.

  65. I wonder when people will realize that putting limits on one constitutional right opens up the government’s ability to put limits on others.

    1799 is calling, Joel. They want to know if your warning can be sent back in time 240 years.

    Cause if it can’t, you are kind of pissing in the wind on this one. The Alien & Sedition Acts were the first important federal restriction on a right guaranteed by the Constitution, and so if your theory is right, the damage is *way* already done.

    Of course, the powers of government have always existed in dynamic tension with the powers of the people that they govern; this is not new news. And while it is certainly a popular theory among conservatives that taking away everyone’s guns is the vector by which all other rights shall be infringed (as if they really gave a shit about many of those to begin with), it also strikes me as one that historical evidence shows to be covered in crap.

    It turns out to be very easy to abridge someone’s freedom of speech or liberty without taking their guns away; all that is required is a no-knock warrant and men with *bigger* guns.

  66. Most state constitutions have much clearer gun rights statements.

    If you are concerned with gun rights in your area, work with your state or local politicians.

    As with most things, the issue is local and not national and the president’s position on it is not really that important.

    ?!!?!!!

    Right, like abortion. Many states have put in their own specific abortion clauses. It’s local, so quit worrying about the president’s position on such thing. Ignore the fact that he’ll be appointing judges that may or may not hold up the current federal contitutional ruling on abortion.

    Wow… WOW.

    Not getting your constitutional rights? Work with the yahoo who won her city council position on a “Parks and Recreation” platform.

    What ever have we come to?

  67. NM,

    However, most gun control is at the local level, and the most restrictive rules are local laws.

    Obama’s position on gun control in the White House won’t change the Chicago laws on gun ownership, for instance.

    In Chicago sure. But in most of the country (by volume), the most restrictive laws are the federal ones.

  68. lmnop,

    The Alien & Sedition Acts were the first important federal restriction on a right guaranteed by the Constitution, and so if your theory is right, the damage is *way* already done.

    The A&S Acts were found unconstitutional in my state (and VA) via resolution of the state assembly.

  69. Obama’s position on gun control in the White House won’t change the Chicago laws on gun ownership

    Of course not, Obama supports the Chicago laws.

  70. Obama’s position on gun control in the White House won’t change the Chicago laws on gun ownership, for instance.

    No, but the supreme court might as it did in another recent case. One such case comes to mind. It’s on the tip of my tongue.

    Obama could even appoint a judge or two who may have a passing opinion on such matters.

    I even hear-tell there’s a party that gets a’ mighty fired up when certain judges are appointed.

    Heck, one might even get to thinkin’ that such appointments are important.

  71. Did you guys cringe at this: “. . . that right has to be weighed against ‘other important governmental interests'”? That’s not a response as to why a citizen cannot legally own a firearm and keep it in his or her home. You could use the same sentence as an excuse for anything; for instance, the government could say, “You have the right to have sex with your spouse on Tuesdays, but we have deemed that there is altogether too much fluids being passed on these nights, creating it unsafe and unclean for the public even though we know you have sex behind closed doors.” A citizen’s might say, “You just said it was my right. And by the way, this is completely absurd!”

    The response: “that right has to be weighed against ‘other important governmental interests.'”

    And a justice said this? Will someone please give him a wedgie?

  72. To Reason.com: May I suggest an edit function for comments? I’m always making mistakes of grammar and syntax that I don’t catch until after I post. I imagine it’s the same way for many people here.

  73. Why,

    There is an unused preview button to the left of the submit button. I can never find it either, but it is supposedly there.

  74. Paul,

    I think you missed my larger point.

    People put more importance on the presidency than it deserves compared to the political positions in local governments that have a more direct impact on their life. This is true whether you are talking abortion, gun control, education, taxes, or most other issues.

    Someone came up with a maxim…

    All politics are local…something like that.

    If you feel that Obama’s position on gun-control will lead to a judicial appointment that you would be uncomfortable with then I would think that is a good justification for not voting for him. But those who are worried about new laws that actively take away their guns should be looking at local/state level laws.

    robc,

    You are correct, but it doesn’t change the veridicality of my claim. The most restrictive gun laws, if you lined them up along the restrictiveness parameter would be local gun laws. And it is far more likely that a local gun law will be changed in a way that restricts your gun rights than it is that a national level law with substantially change the status quo.

  75. will substantially change…

    Someone said something about a preview button…

  76. Thanks, robs. I have attempted to use it before, but it displays nothing–a blank page–after which I become quite angry, thinking that reason.com is playing a joke on me, as if to say, “You really didn’t say anything, and you have nothing to say! Neener, neener, neener!” The blank page might be appropriate . . .

  77. Funny story for y’all. A friend of mine, who’s never handled a gun in his life, despises them and thinks they should all be banned. Unbeknownst to him, his girlfriend has had a couple of handguns in the house since long before he moved into her place. They were talking about the recent supreme court ruling and he expressed his frustration that these evil devices continue to be legal. So she went to the closet and brought back a real handgun, to show him that they weren’t nearly as scary as he imagined. This weekend she even dragged him to a shooting range to plink off a few rounds. Yesterday he was researching what sort of gun he should buy for himself, but he’s having a hard time deciding since he likes so many of them.

  78. Anecdote man… funny, but I’m finding it difficult to believe.

    But I got one, too.

    I’ve lived around and in communities in which a gun is in every closet. To the last, every gun owner, anti-gun control person I know– to the last– has never pointed a gun, nor fired one in anger.

    I know two people who have both pointed and/or fired a gun in anger. Both are anti-gun people. Make of that what you will.

  79. I’m always making mistakes of grammar and syntax that I don’t catch until after I post. I imagine it’s the same way for many people here.

    Welcome to trying to balance your “career” and workin’ Hit&Run at the same time. Suck it up and learn to convince your employer your working hard and proofread your comments at the same time.

    Hit&Run has taught me one thing: I’m not the only one who considers employment to be an annoying side distraction.

  80. Case in point: convince your employer your working hard

    Should be convince your employre you’re working hard…

    It’s not my fault, my boss was asking where the TPS reports were, and if there were cover sheets on them.

    I’ve been missing a lot of work, lately. Well, actually, I haven’t exactly been missing it…

  81. Oh, and preview works fine, but proofreading with that buzzing sound in your ear sometimes referred to as: “someone in the room trying to ask you why the network feels slow”? Please. Only the most egregious errors will be caught.

  82. I was only trying to say that I don’t think that the gun rights situation will get any worse under Obama. I do think that it is ridiculous that the Heller decision was not 9-0 in favor of an individual right and that there is even any serious discussion on whether the 2nd addresses such a right.

  83. NM,

    And it is far more likely that a local gun law will be changed in a way that restricts your gun rights than it is that a national level law with substantially change the status quo.

    This is provably false, due to my locality being unable to create a gun law – it violates the state constitution. Owensboro tried, the State Supremes shot (heh, pun was unintended) them down.

  84. robc,

    Hence the importance of state constitutions.

  85. NM,

    If the federal one did its job, I wouldnt need a state constitution. Of course, since I dont trust the legislatures in 2/3rds of the states, I like to have my own for protection too. Wouldnt mind a county constitution for that matter.

  86. If the federal one did its job, I wouldnt need a state constitution.

    Only if you believe it is the federal governments job to determine what happens at the state/local level.

    I am not that big a fan of centralized authority.

    Didn’t expect you to be so far to the left of me on this issue.

    %^)

    But seriously, I do think an important part of our system is the checks and balances that occur between state-local level government and federal government. Feds get to step in when the locals get too tyrannical, but feds don’t get to have a whole lot of power at the state-local level. I wouldn’t want to centralize authority over gun laws too much…Heller takes a step in re-asserting that. It will be interesting to see how the litigation it produces ends up helping to clarify the “exceptions” that it allows for.

    Wouldnt mind a county constitution for that matter.

    NM’s counties constitutions are part of the state constitution, but I think some counties have constitutions. So you have options.

  87. Guys,

    you believe that there should be no restrictions on selling guns. Automatic, semi-automatic, shotguns, whatever.

    Does it imply that I theoretically can buy a tank? I have all the money and super-corrupt Ukrainian military official is ready to sell me one. Then I take it to US. I’m not going to ride it, just put it in my yard, yet fully armored and functioning.

    Second Amendment stems from the idea that one can protect life with any possible means. In doing this, is there any difference between a gun and a tank?

    Thanks

  88. Obama simply can not be trusted on anything he says. He will say and do anything to win.

    Once in, we will see that he is a anti-American global socialist.

  89. “What works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne,” Barack Obama said.

    When I said things like that, I was vilified.

  90. Okay, I get it. Obama stinks on guns. Dog bites man.

    But someone needs to explain to me why I should reward anti-gun John McCain by voting for him. The man has received a grade of F- from Gun Owners of America for years.(Of course, GOA doesn’t give extra credit for being a Republican, no matter how anti-gun you are, like the NRA does.) He has been openly hostile to gun rights as long as I can remember. So, why should I signal to the R party that it’s okay to nominate a rabid anti-gunner? The only practical effect of that will be that no pro-gun candidate will ever again be nominated.

    I could never support Obama. But won’t our future R candidates be even worse than McCain if we vote for him?

    Brian Kominsky

  91. I am a relatively liberal Dem from the West and so gun laws are not that big of a deal to me, because there really isn’t many unreasonable laws restricting guns now for 95% of the country and that won’t change with Obama.

    but some of you rightwingers are just dumber than stumps. Scalia acts as if gun ownership was “sacred.” What? Where was it in the 10 Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount? Freedom is sacred and gun ownership was necessary for a free militia and new country on the frontier of genocide against millions of people with bows and arrows, but guns are not sacred.

    We may not have proof that gun laws slowed gun crimes, but we also don’t have proof that gun ownership slows gun crimes. Too many people just are at a 6th grade emotional level when it comes to guns and it is that lack of acting like grown ups that makes the NRA look like idiots.

    I support gun ownership, but don’t tell me that Scalia was being a strict constructionist regarding the 2nd Amendment this time. He chose to ignore the word “militia” as an anachronism. Fair enough, but he can’t pretend that liberal judges are the only ones doing it then.

  92. It could have been chickenshit instead of militia, the infringement part is intact.

  93. “But someone needs to explain to me why I should reward anti-gun John McCain by voting for him.”

    Generally speaking, he’s been pro gun. He voted against the AWB, for example. His main failing is with things like the so-called “gun show loophole”.

    In addition, he’s more likely to nominate judges like Scalia than like Ginsburg.

    “The man has received a grade of F- from Gun Owners of America for years.”

    Yeah, but GOA are over the top. We didn’t win Heller by adhering to a GOA hardline stance. In fact, the argument presented pretty much through out machine guns as protected arms since they are not in common use among civilians (although there is the loophole in the argument that they are not common because they were banned in ’86 and heavly regulated in ’34).

  94. “but some of you rightwingers are just dumber than stumps. Scalia acts as if gun ownership was “sacred.” What? Where was it in the 10 Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount? Freedom is sacred . . . ”

    IMO, my right to self defense and the defense of my family is sacred. And that implies effective weapons, i.e., firearms.

    However, how do you figure that freedom is sacred? Where is it in the 10 Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount?

    “I support gun ownership, but don’t tell me that Scalia was being a strict constructionist regarding the 2nd Amendment this time. He chose to ignore the word “militia” as an anachronism.”

    No, the Second doesn’t say that the right requires a militia. Even if the militia aspect is an anachronism, the right is still there. In fact, you best pray that the militia portion is an anachronism, else we might find out we have a right to machine guns, RPGs, and Stingers . . .

  95. “Even if the Second Amendment protects an individual right to armed self-defense, Breyer said, that right has to be weighed against “other important governmental interests.”
    ___

    ALL rights must be balanced–the old saying is, “Your right to swing your fist stops where my nose begins.” All rights, that is, except the right (actually rather inchoate in the Amendment) to spread a carpet of guns over America. For some reason, my nose is no impediment to your fist in that one instance, and neither is my child’s right to be safe from gun violence in her college.

    Let’s be straight about this. Today’s gun laws are not based on the 2nd Amendment; they are achieved by simple bullying and bribery. The lust to eliminate every possible protection my child may have from gunshot is not for the benefit of anyone, including the motivators of the push (except, of course, gun shop owners). It is so far beyond the purposes of the Second Amendment that citing it in support is ludicrous. It serves no apparent purpose except to place the foot of gun lovers on the neck of the nation.

    If one wants to be intellectually honest, he must admit that while the Second Amendment’s purview has expanded as a result of pressure groups, the First Amendment has shrunken to a relic of its former self as a result of other pressure groups.

    So much for democracy, at least in this country.

  96. I have said since DAY 1 of this race that both Clinton and Obama Bin Laden are under the misconception that it is a race for the office of King or Queen of the nation.

    PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE. And remember that a vote for Obama is a vote for King of the United States of America.

    We are caught between a rock and a hard place this year…. just PLEEEEEEEASE do NOT vote for Clinton/Obama. It will let me say “I told you so” for the next 8 years unless they get impeached first.

    For the first time in my almost retired life my stomache actually turns when I think of the havoc of having a particular candidate in office…. There has always been a choice but to me it has always been “either/or” and don’t lose any sleep. This time out we are in VERY serious trouble. Our nation is on the brink of bankruptcy if not already there. We have a depression (NOT a recession) looming. The anti-gun lobby is looking for ways to take away our second amendment rights (and believe me when I say there are PLENTY of ways… how about letting us have our guns but no ammo?). Pleeeeease – vote for anyone else just don’t vote for Obama. (Sorta narrows it down, right?)

    In God We Trust. God Save Our Souls. SOS.

  97. Oh. One other thing. Notice how close that vote in the Supreme Court of the U.S. was? Pretty close. VERY close. We came within a hair’s breadth of losing our 2A rights if you take a close look.

    Now… vote for Obama.

    Obama sticks a crony or two on the SCOTUS.

    2A rights are challenged again – in whatever way they can get it to the SCOTUS.

    What’s the result this time? A tie of we are lucky…. but if you look at the results of Heller you will conclude logically that Obama’s SCOTUS appointments will sway things to the exact ending that the King of the U.S.A. wants. No guns.

    Let us be very careful about what we have before us and let us make no mistake about what a vote for Obama represents. Anarchy.

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