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How the Second Amendment Helped Civil Rights Activists Resist Jim Crow

A response to New York Times columnist Bret Stephens and his call to “repeal the Second Amendment.”

Conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens says he has "never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment" and now favors a radical change to our constitutional system. "Repeal the Second Amendment," he declares today.

As part of his case, Stephens explicitly rejects the "personal liberty" argument for gun rights. "The idea that an armed citizenry is the ultimate check on the ambitions and encroachments of government power is curious," he writes. "The Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, the New York draft riots of 1863, the coal miners' rebellion of 1921, the Brink's robbery of 1981—does any serious conservative think of these as great moments in Second Amendment activism?"

Perhaps Stephens should widen his gaze to include the struggle for civil rights and racial justice in the Jim Crow South, in which the Second Amendment played a noble role on the side of personal liberty.

"I'm alive today because of the Second Amendment and the natural right to keep and bear arms," declared John R. Salter Jr., the civil rights leader who helped to organize the famous sit-ins against segregated lunch counters in Jackson, Mississippi. "Like a martyred friend of mine, NAACP staffer Medgar W. Evers, I, too, was on many Klan death lists and I, too, traveled armed: a .38 special Smith and Wesson revolver and a 44/40 Winchester carbine," Salter recalled. "The knowledge that I had these weapons and was willing to use them kept enemies at bay."

Salter knew perfectly well many state and local officials were either indifferent to his well-being or were themselves affiliated with the domestic terror groups that wanted to harm him. By exercising his Second Amendment rights, Salter was able to safeguard his life and liberty in face of government malfeasance and criminality.

Library of CongressLibrary of CongressThe same thing can be said of Mississippi civil rights activist T.RM. Howard. In 1955, Howard correctly recognized that state officials had zero interest in conducting a thorough investigation into the lynching and murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. So Howard, a successful doctor and entrepreneur, launched his own private investigation. He located, interviewed, and kept safe a number of important witnesses, stashing them in his own house.

One of those witnesses was Till's mother, Mamie Bradley. Her testimony was crucial because it contradicted that of Tallahatchie County Sheriff Henry Clarence Strider, who insisted that the body pulled from the river was not that of Till, but was instead that of someone else "as white as I am." The sheriff, a well-known racist, was lying in the hopes of bolstering the defense's claim that outside "agitators" had faked the crime in order to stir up trouble.

Before Bradley and the other witnesses could participate in the trial, they had to get there unscathed. That's where the Second Amendment came in. To use a modern expression, Howard was a "gun nut." He slept with a Thompson submachine gun at the foot of his bed and walked around with a pistol at his waist. To keep Bradley and the others safe from hostile racist attacks—including attacks by those who wore government uniforms and wielded government power—Howard led an armed caravan to and from the courthouse.

The examples of John Salter and T.R.M. Howard are not unusual. Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a conceal-carry permit (denied by the government) and declared, "the principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi." According to civil rights hero Fannie Lou Hammer, "I keep a shotgun in every corner of my bedroom." Rosa Parks once described her dinner table "covered with guns" while activists met in her home to plot strategy.

And, of course, the idea of the Second Amendment guarding personal liberty against racist government encroachment goes back even further than the era of Jim Crow. As the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass liked to say, "the true remedy for the Fugitive Slave Bill" is a "good revolver."

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    "A man's rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, jury box and the cartridge box" - Frederick Douglass

  • creech||

    And the soap box.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Isn't that about woman's rights to make sure the laundry is clean?

  • Teddy Pump||

    How about the "Safe Space" Box?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Amen.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    "The Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, the New York draft riots of 1863, the coal miners' rebellion of 1921, the Brink's robbery of 1981—does any serious conservative think of these as great moments in Second Amendment activism?"
    Typical hack Bret Stephens does not care to know history but he recites the leftist narrative anyway. None of these armed insurrections were about the 2nd Amendment but he tries to link them.

    Whisky rebellion involved about 500 farmers in Western Pennsylvania. Taxes on all alcohol but largely affected popular whiskey producers on the frontier. 500 men in one state- hardly a national armed revolt.

    The NY draft riots were more like a race riots based on unconstitutionally forcing people to serve in a military and allowing wealthier people to pay $300 to avoid service.

    The brink's robbery was criminal, so mentioning that was just stupid.

  • Brother Kyfho||

    Wasn't it to finance an armed rebellion? I recall the white supremes were into such things.

  • David Nolan||

    Wasn't it to finance an armed rebellion?

    Actually, the Black Liberation Army wanted the money to provide day care and food banks in the ghettos. And you're so impolite to stomp on bis bullshift without warning.

  • David Nolan||

    None of these armed insurrections were about the 2nd Amendment but he tries to link them.

    One need not agree with Stephens to note that you either missed the point or purposely distorted it..

    .500 men in one state- hardly a national armed revolt.

    Nobody said it was There is a pattern here.

    The NY draft riots were more like a race riots based on unconstitutionally forcing people to serve in a military and allowing wealthier people to pay $300 to avoid service.

    You seem intent on proving his point. There were 120 dead and over 600 injured. By pea shooters?

    The brink's robbery was criminal, so mentioning that was just stupid.

    The Vegas shooting was also criminal, so -- stupid? You proven Brett 1000% correct about the authoritarian right.

    What about the authoritarian left? Sadly, there is now virtually no libertarian voice at Reason, which would note how the authoritarian right and authoritarian left are each exploiting tragedy for tribal partisan gain. Again.

    Left - Right = Zero
    .

    .

  • Bob Meyer||

    The Irish gangs who began the riots were thugs and murderers long before the war broke out. They also burned a black orphanage to the ground after looting it so I suppose that they really wanted was better jobs in the Fire Department.

    The Irish and German mobs were virulently pro-slavery and the New York Democratic Party of the time fanned the flames of bigotry claiming that freed blacks would take jobs from white people. Anyone sympathetic to blacks was subjected to everything from assault to murder.

    Most of the violence was direct hand to hand including clubs and knives. Corpses were mutilated. Anyone who thinks that gun control would have prevented these killings is an idiot.

  • David Nolan||

    Anyone who thinks that gun control would have prevented these killings is an idiot.

    True. But that's not the issue. It's the exact opposite. But I read Stephens and saw that Root missed the point entirely. Indeed your comments here support Stephens' premise quite well Did you read him?

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/10.....nt_6990065

    His journalistic discipline and background shine like a beacon, regardless of his conclusion. He's even a Pulitzer winner. Example -- He said Democrat arguments are "dumb" on gun control and called out three lies - which is nowhere near the column depicted here, is it?

  • Jerryskids||

    Repeal the Second all you want, it doesn't change the basic fact that your rights don't come from the Constitution or the government and therefore your right to keep and bear arms cannot be repealed. What kind of conservative is it that doesn't understand this? The Second, as with the other original ten, specifically states that these rights cannot be infringed with no suggestion that these rights are given to you, a tacit acknowledgement that these rights precede the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence suggests that you are endowed by your Creator with certain inalienable rights and that governments exist to secure these rights, I would suggest the Bill of Rights is a good start to answering the question of just what inalienable rights you're endowed with.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    What kind of conservative is it that doesn't understand this?

    The conservative kind.

  • WakaWaka||

    A 'New York Times conservative'.

  • Jerryskids||

    IOW - Fuck off, slaver. This asshole seems to think all rights come from the government and therefore what the Lord giveth the Lord may take away. Worship government all you want, I'll kill your fucking ass if you come around here demanding I worship your God, too.

  • sarcasmic||

    There is a logical and moral case to be made for natural rights vs government endowed rights. No god or God needed.

    Rights that require no force are natural rights.

    No force is required for either of us to arm ourselves in the case that someone attempts to use force against us.

    No force is necessary for someone to speak their mind or print something on paper.

    Force only comes into play when some asshole who thinks guns are icky decides that only men who use force for a living should be trusted with guns.

    Force only comes into play when that asshole is offended and wants men who use force for a living to shut you up.

    Thing is, there are a lot of assholes out there who gleefully use men who use force for a living as a weapon against whatever they don't like, never imagining that they could be the next target.

  • Chip the Chipper||

    What is funny is that some of the Framers didn't want to include the Bill of Rights because they just assumed that those rights were logical to people.

    http://dailysignal.com/2013/12.....ll-rights/

  • Citizen X - #6||

    They also assumed that the Constitution they'd written would provide a firm and lasting check against the growth of government power. Whoops.

  • David Nolan||

    Indeed, look at your own authoritarianism.

    Jefferson knew that each generation SHOULD create its own constitution, or go through a rewrite. Unlike you, he knew the constitution is merely the Supreme Law of the Land .. but subordinate to individual liberty.
    A just government can only reflect the consent of the governed, reflecting the will of the people.

    He was obviously correct. Today, the authoritarian right ranks authority over liberty. FUCK THE PEOPLE.
    The authoritarian left would keep the same constitution, but "interpret" it as a "living" document. FUCK THE PEOPLE

    They both ignore the purpose of ratifying a constitution. The entire process is how a society COMMITS to a constitution. You defend -- not commitment -- but obedience to what is now no different than mandates from above.

  • David Nolan||

    What kind of conservative is it that doesn't understand this?

    Well, the authoritarian right has been eagerly brainwashed to believe THEIR pet rights are absolute -- just as the authoritarian left thinks THEIR pet rights are absolute -- when the Founders clearly hoped to enshrine the principle that rights are unalienable ... which MEANS none can be absolute. (For any retards, right or left, if all fundamental rights are each absolute, then neither can be absolute to any other. DUH.

    So liberty is drowned out by screeching between two competing tribes, both shitting on the unalienable rights they claim to be defending, These goobers are now seen as the only choice by the endangered majority, because the pro-libetry libertarian voice was snuffed out by the same anti-government libertarians and American Taliban that destroyed the GOP - the GOP now being just just the flip side of the statist coin (versus the New Deal side), .

    But they're cute when they bellow.

  • David Nolan||

    Jerryskids, like every fascist and authoritarian ... lies.

    The Declaration of Independence suggests that you are endowed by your Creator with certain inalienable rights and that governments exist to secure these rights

    What did he leave out?
    Consent of the governed. Why?
    He thinks his gun is superior to that.

    And his authoritarian bullying and shouting.

    Fuck off, slaver. I'll kill your fucking ass if you come around here demanding I worship your God, too.

    See? (lol)
    What the FUCK is he talking about?
    His gun is superior to consent of the governed.
    Hear him roar!

    This asshole seems to think all rights come from the government and therefore what the Lord giveth the Lord may take away.

    Nobody said that. Back to my first sentence!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The government has an army and nuclear weapons. You can't fight them. The Second Amendment is for hunting and we have tofu burgers for that.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It's easy - you lecture the deer about how everyone should eat tofu burgers until it kills itself.

  • Old Mexican's Speedos||

    That usually works, unless the deer is armed with an AR-15. Then it goes on a rampage the likes of which makes Diane Feinstein want to weigh in, which drives the rest of us to suicide.

  • politicalmenace||

    Now that's funny right there.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    "You can't fight them" -- so all should surrender their weapons and submit mindlessly to the vast coercive power of the state. Something about "I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees" (Zapata said that -- liberals used to think that was a great credo). But hate to destroy your so carefully constructed but delusional conclusion, the Second Amendment arose directly from the experience of the colonial armies against the British (and I assure you there were many who preached "you can't fight them" too)

    I am sure you have an expansionist reading of the "living" Constitution, but I would be very interested in how you managed to extract a "this is for hunting" clause out of the Second Amendment at all. I won't be holding my breath

  • sarcasmic||

    I sense that your sarcasmeter needs recalibration.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You have to read between the superfluous commas.

  • Chip the Chipper||

    The constitution is a living document in my view. It has a way built into it to change it. So good luck getting support on repealing the Second Amendment libs.

  • Chip the Chipper||

    Also, the Federalist papers clearly state what the Founders meant. This isn't rocket science.

  • David Nolan||

    Also, the Federalist papers clearly state what the Founders meant.

    If it's not rocket science, then how do they explain the second amendment, explicitly?

  • Chip the Chipper||

    So let me ask you this, every dictator in the last century that has killed in mass has either greatly controlled guns or disarmed its citizens. Soldiers and armies in the last century had weapons that were much more advanced than the average citizenry. So why would these dictators disarm the public before slaughtering them?

    Is it because it is easier to kill an unarmed person than an armed one?

  • David Nolan||

    Is it because it is easier to kill an unarmed person than an armed one?

    When has that ever been an issue?
    Might criminals have guns because we do?

  • KevinP||

    I agree completely! This is why the Soviet Union won in Afghanistan, and the US won decisively in Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Oh, wait.

    Guerilla warfare is always asymmetric. A small number of resistance fighters is capable of harassing and tying down a larger more cohesive force. The Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto held out against the Nazis for longer than the organized armies of Poland and France in 1939 and 1940. The entire armed forces of the Nazi regime peaked at about 9 million in 1943. 6 million armed and resisting Jews distributed across Europe would have derailed much of the Holocaust.

    The Warsaw ghetto uprising: Armed Jews vs. Nazis


    Quotes:
    During World War II, 30,000 Jewish partisans fought in Eastern Europe, in their own combat units…. One of the most successful battles of the Jewish resistance was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Nearly every Jew who participated was eventually killed — but they were going to be killed anyway… The Germans had to spend more time subduing the Warsaw Ghetto than they did conquering the entire nations of Poland or France.
  • Chip the Chipper||

    Not to mention we used Guerilla Warfare during the American Revolution and it was used by the South in the civil war. Both of those wars were expected to be over very quickly. Neither were.

  • politicalmenace||

    Good points.

  • David Nolan||

    The Second Amendment is for hunting

    Rightwing goobers be confused easily..
    Scalia's Heller ruling did not say the Second Amendment is for hunting. Only that it protects what we NOW call hunting rifles ... those weapons in common use at the time, that citizens brought to militia duty.

    Justice Scalia's ruling in Heller. (Supreme Court website)

    "We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. 'Miller' said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those 'in common use at the time.' 307 U.S., at 179, 59 S.Ct. 816. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of 'dangerous and unusual weapons.'"

    .... as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment's ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty..... But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.

    Scalia was, of course, defending a "living constitution."
    Or did you?

  • ||

    He should read up on Dr. Ossian Sweet and might try This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible, by Charles E. Cobb Jr. Just to start.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Don't forget the Deacons for Self-Defense. Some of the bravest people I can think of.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If the Democrats made repealing the Second Amendment a campaign issue, the Republicans would win every swing state.

    If the Democrats made repealing the Second Amendment a campaign issue, the Republicans would control so many state legislatures outright, they could propose constitutional amendments and ratify them without any input from Democrats whatsoever.

    http://tinyurl.com/y8hlnrs3

  • David Nolan||

    If the Republicans campaigned that the second amendment protects an absolute right, they'd lose a lot more than swing states -- perhaps on Scalia's Heller ruling alone.
    .

  • WakaWaka||

    All stripes of libertarians can agree on guns.

    In the 60's in California they tried to impose new gun control because they were afraid of the Black Panthers who publicly armed themselves. Gun control has always been a guise to disenfranchise people

  • David Nolan||

    All stripes of libertarians can agree on guns.

    Except the authoritarian wing, aka goobers,. Like the authoritarian left, they shit all over the principle of unalienable rights. Or. cannot grasp the simple concept that all fundamental rights are precisely co-equal. By definition!.

    If each fundamental right is an absolute in itself --- the meaning of unalienable -- then NONE can be superior to ANY of the orthees, 12-year old school children can grasp that. But it gets goobers bellowing and blustering like the blowhards they are -- in both tribes, left and right. "MY rights are superior to YOUR rights"
    ,
    Still true. Left - Right = Zero

  • Lily Bulero||

    "Conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens says he has "never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment""

    Ah, yes, a New York Times "conservative," i. e., a castrato.

  • David Nolan||

    Your own fetish for ignoring .... consent of the governed.
    Jefferson knew.

  • David Nolan||

    Ah, yes, a New York Times "conservative," i. e., a castrato.

    He was a columnist for several decades at the Wall Street Journal .. and a well-known contributor to many publicans on the right ... but you never heard of him? He was not published at Breitbart, WND or Infowars..

    Do you have any idea what he wrote here?

  • Curt||

    This article isn't an argument in favor of letting people own guns. That's a ridiculous conclusion. The article is an argument in favor of replacing backwards ass politicians with sufficiently woke leaders. Once we've successfully gotten them in place, we won't have to ever worry about going backwards to people who aren't woke. And, no one will ever have a need to protect themselves from our righteous, benevolent superiors.

    -derp

  • David Nolan||

    What about all the brainwashed goobers who believe the Second Amendment defends an absolute and unlimited right? It can't be absolute, because NO fundamental right can be absolute to any other, , , because they're all unalienable!

    And only proggies whine about a "living constitution." The ultimate originalist, Justice Scalia's Heller ruling, affirmed that the ONLY weapons protected are those in common use at the time... ., brought from home by citizens ... BECAUSE it says the purpose was to arm a militia at the time. .But, that's only what the Founder's believed.

  • Old Mexican's Speedos||

    And, of course, the idea of the Second Amendment guarding personal liberty against racist government encroachment goes back even further than the era of Jim Crow. As the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass liked to say, "the true remedy for the Fugitive Slave Bill" is a "good revolver."


    You can also dovetail this argument with another argument that the left is fond of repeating ad nauseam: that this is still a racist nation and that there's still institutional racism permeating all levels of government and the state. One can use this to impugn the intentions of people like Michael Moore and others who want the 2nd Amendment repealed due to obsolescence. I can perfectly come after them by calling them out for their racist rhetoric as it is clear they want to take the guns out of black people's hands in order to have a better opportunity to lynch them. It's an exceptionally extreme argument, over the top, but then again how can they answer it?

  • sarcasmic||

    It's an exceptionally extreme argument, over the top, but then again how can they answer it?

    Take guns away from white people and they can't act on their racism.

  • Thomas O.||

    But that still leaves the cops. And a lot of these gun grabbers are perfectly OK with only law enforcement being able to possess guns. Try telling that to the Black Lives Matter activists. "They eat their own", indeed.

  • sarcasmic||

    People tend to trust the cops until they ask them for help. But most people don't ever ask the cops for help. By the time they do, and discover that asking the cops for help is asking to be treated like a criminal, it's too late.

  • sarcasmic||

    Show me a lynching and I'll show you a bunch of white people standing around with rifles and pistols. Take those guns away and there will never be a lynching again. Duh.

  • Chip the Chipper||

    Also, they think Trump (and honestly every Republican) is a fascist. Why would you want to disarm yourself if a fascist was in power? The last true fascist guy worked out so well....

  • David Nolan||

    Yeah, but that's a side issue (rant) On the crte issue, so many make total asses of themselves by claiming 2A protests an unlimited right to bear arms, which is impossible. As we learned in high school, all fundamental rights are precisely co-equal -- the definition of unalienable, Hardly rocket science.

  • Rhywun||

    The writers here could tag team and each put up a post demolishing one of the cornerstones of that ridiculous article.

  • David Nolan||

    Yeah, Damon Root really fucked up here.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    There is more than that. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had an express policy that people in the field must be armed. Cars were often equipped with shotguns under the dashboard (what H.Rap Brown famously referred to as "Cracker Guns". It was entirely ordinary for civil rights field workers in the South in the 60s and 70s to carry. The threat was real. At the time, liberal civil rights supporters fawned over the policy, especially in the wake of the Chaney-Goodman-Schweney and Viola Liuzzo murders.

  • Brian||

    "Does any serious conservative think of these as great moments in Second Amendment activism?"

    Well, not conservative, but...yeah.

    I'm rather fond of the Whiskey Rebellion. If the government wants to tax, they should at least do a little work for it.

  • Lily Bulero||

    Don't forget the Fries Rebellion (Fries was the rebel leader, not the fast food).

    "In 1798, President John Adams signed a bill to levy the first direct federal tax on private property. John Fries of Pennsylvania used the popular discontent over the tax to encourage armed resistance to federal tax assessors and collectors. When government officers came to measure houses to calculate the "window tax," armed companies of citizens imprisoned them. General William McPherson was put in command of federal troops to enforce the revenue laws, and Fries was arrested and charged with high treason. On May 21, 1800, Adams pardoned Fries and two others who had been sentenced to death for their part in the rebellion."

  • Lily Bulero||

    And it was a graduated ("progressive") tax, but instead of shrugging it off because it mainly impacted "the rich," the rebel farmers thought a bad principle was being established, so they rebelled.

  • RG||

    Fun fact, I live right by John Fries Highway and the local pub Fries Rebellion.

  • Lily Bulero||

    "Huh, huh, you want Fries with that?"

  • David Nolan||

    How is that relevant here? Stephens was rather explicit about NOT banning gun ownership. He mentions Britain, as two very different approaches to NOT banning guns, there are many others.

  • David Nolan||

    Edit -- that's Britain and Australia as two different approaches cited..

  • ||

    Does it surprise anyone they would start for calls to repeal the 2A?

    So much for 'common sense gun control' and 'no one wants to take your guns away'.

    The so-called 'paranoids' were right all along. That's exactly what progressives want to do: Confiscate guns. And if it means starting the process of making noise on repealing the 2A so be it.

    They're fucken liars in other words and no one should accept the NYT writer's line of logic. If you can call it that.

  • Chip the Chipper||

    Fucking Duh. Every regulation to them is "a good start." It doesn't stop. They won't stop at background checks. They always say, it is the least we can do. I'm not worried about the least you can do, I'm worried at the most you want to do.

  • ||

    Slippery slope.

    I keep bringing this up. In the 1980s people who warned that the anti-smoking campaign was getting over zealous and would eventually trample on people's rights including outlawing smoking in homes and cars were chested and called 'paranoid'.

    Same thing here.

    Fight for the 1A and 2A to the death I say.

  • David Nolan||

    Precious snowflakes of the right.

    Deluded and brainwashed to believe the Second Amendment protects an absolute right. But no rights can possibly be absolute. Not unless one shits on the the core principle of unalienable rights. If NO fundamental right can be denied or disparaged, the how can ANY be inferior to any other/ And if so, who decides which one trumps the other?
    Full stop.

  • Karl Hungus||

    For all their talk about institutional racism and systemic injustice, the Left still craves a society where the state in unquestionably in charge, with the citizenry unquestioningly beholden to the state's will. An armed populace upsets this natural order, and that's something the Left simply cannot abide. And that's what gun control is all about, not crime or mass shootings.

  • Chip the Chipper||

    Well, we are out of control!!! How dare 99.9% of us not commit a crime? Owning a gun should be a crime.

  • Warren||

    As part of his case, Stephens explicitly rejects the "personal liberty" argument for gun rights. "The idea that an armed citizenry is the ultimate check on the ambitions and encroachments of government power is curious," he writes. "The Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, the New York draft riots of 1863, the coal miners' rebellion of 1921, the Brink's robbery of 1981—does any serious conservative think of these as great moments in Second Amendment activism?"

    The Brinks robbery aside, the problem with the Whiskey Rebellion and the NY draft riots, is the wrong side won. Perhaps if The People were better armed then, we'd be a better country today.

    The miners' rebellion was a blood on all hands situation.

  • David Nolan||

    And Root's "argument" misses the point, thus conforming Stephens' distrust of the right.

  • nychotpilot||

    " "The knowledge that I had these weapons and was willing to use them kept enemies at bay." Right. Every member of the JAB crew had a gun on stage in LV. They did not go for them as they feared they " might have been mistaken for accomplices of the shooter by cops on the scene".

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    One of the reasons behind the 14th-A was the systematic stripping of rights of Freedmen in the South during and after Reconstruction by local governments. One organization that pushed hard for the 14th-A was a newly formed National Rifle Association.

  • David Nolan||

    Ratified 1865 - 13th Amendment ended slavery (14th passed House and Senate 6 months later.)

    Ratified 1868 - 14th Amendment mostly added citizenship to ex-slaves, restricted states from (what they did anyhow)

    Founded 1871 - NRA founded in New York as a "gun club" to teach marksmanship -- which Britain's NRA was already doing - founded by ex military officers who'd been appalled by the poor marksmanship of their soldiers,

    The 13th took 11 months to be ratified by the states, The 14th took 23 months Guess why!

  • Number 2||

    Stephens misstates the "personal liberty" rationale behind the Second Amendment. As the Supreme Court explained in Heller, the Amendment protects our right to defend ourselves and our property from those who would threaten us with violence, given that the police cannot be everywhere at all times.

  • David Nolan||

    Number 2 mistakes liberty entirely, and decides on his own which parts of Heller to follow and which to ignore. Heller also explains -- it was Scalia -- that the Second Amendment guarantee is limited, and why it has been ruled so since 1939. The "prefatory clause" establishes the purpose and the limits. The purpose is to maintain a citizen's militia .. at the time. Thus, the right applies to only "weapons in common use at the time," that citizens brought from their homes. Essentially, what we now call hunting rifles. Scalia, the originalist

    Then there's the larger limitation on all rights, within the cote principle of unalienable rights. No fundamental right can be absolute over any other, because they are each absolute in themselves. Fundamental rights can conflict with each other. And since neither is superior to the other, only SCOTUS is empowered to resolve the conflict -- as a check against the other two powers creating such a conflict.

    And SCOTUS is obliged to provide a solution that best defends both rights equally -- as it has for abortion, where extremists on each side bellow that their own favorite right allows violating the rights of the other sides, when the fetal child and woman BOTH have unalienable rights, which are precisely co-equal. So there will ALWAYS be tribal partisans disagreeing over ANY solution. Which is why we have the Rule of Law.

  • Jacks61||

    It's hard to be reasonable in times like this, because all the moderates get shouted down or setup. One side says "you'll get my gun from cold dead fingers". The other side says "you don't need all those guns".

    In the outrage of these violent and senseless acts, we are faced with a stark reality. Something must be done. Any way you look at this, there is not one element of the 2nd amendment that applies. Not one.

    So does this mean we ban all guns? No fucking way. In an event that some may consider insane, having the ability to form an armed militia at a moments notice is paramount in these troubling times. HOWEVER, brandishing an assault in public for any other reason has to be stopped. There is absolutely no need .

    Moderation is a lost art these days. It's all about poking someone's fucking eye out just because they stand on one side or another. It starts at the top.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    So does this mean we ban all guns? No fucking way. In an event that some may consider insane, having the ability to form an armed militia at a moments notice is paramount in these troubling times. HOWEVER, brandishing an assault in public for any other reason has to be stopped. There is absolutely no need .

    How do you suggest stopping that when the people who do go out and shoot up a crowd of people turn the gun on themselves rather than face the penalty for whatever law they break? What law do you think will prevent someone with no criminal history or record of mental instability from legally buying a gun, and (if Congress caves and makes bump stocks illegal) modifying it for under $50 to do the same thing?

  • David Nolan||

    (if Congress caves and makes bump stocks illegal)

    Your treasonous betrayal of liberty is appalling. They've been unconstitutional since 1939, affirmed most recently in the Heller ruling by that liberal pussy, Antonin Scalia.

    And, in what planet do you live, where making something illegal means it never happens again. By your "logic" we'd repeal all of criminal law. Does theft still exist? Murder? There is NO reason to keep them illegal.
    By your "logic."

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Bump stocks have been "unconstitutional" since 1939? And where did I suggest that making something illegal means it will never happen again? And what planet do you live on in which other people live in planets? Are you trying to take the crown of Most Incoherent Rants away from Mike Hihn?

  • David Nolan||

    Bump stocks have been "unconstitutional" since 1939?

    Yeah,. the first ruling that the amendment protects only the sort of "weapons in common use at time" -- that militia members brought from home. The quote marks are a recent affirmation, the DC v Heller ruling written by Scalia. It's called originalism.

    And where did I suggest that making something illegal means it will never happen again?>

    When you applied it to gun regulations, that making guns illegal won't stop the killing. (I see now that my phrasing can be taken either way)

    Has theft stopped? Fraud? Anything else illegal? Why are guns any different? (Would have been better to phrase that.)

    And what planet do you live on in which other people live in planets?

    It's been a fairly common figure of speech for several decades.

    Are you trying to take the crown of Most Incoherent Rants away from Mike Hihn?

    You just won the crown! Congratulations!

    The relevant pats of Heller are elsewhere on this page.
    http://reason.com/blog/2017/10.....nt_6989751

    Anything else I can help you with?

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Yeah.

    No. No item or object is unconstitutional. The Constitution doesn't expressly forbid anyone from having any item, therefore no item can be unconstitutional; the document pertains to rights and the powers the federal government has and can never have.

    When you applied it to gun regulations, that making guns illegal won't stop the killing. (I see now that my phrasing can be taken either way)

    Has theft stopped? Fraud? Anything else illegal? Why are guns any different? (Would have been better to phrase that.)

    In this we agree. Look at the War on Drugs and Prohibition for examples of how counterproductive it is to try to make items illegal. You create black markets, which spawns violent crime and harms more people than the original item was. I wasn't applying anything to gun regulations, I was asking someone who thought gun control was a good idea what sort of laws he expected would be effective, and I expected to give that person the same answer as what I quoted from you above.

    It's been a fairly common figure of speech for several decades.

    No, it's an example of the continuing degradation of the English language, right along with people typing "could of" instead of "could've".

  • David Nolan||

    the document pertains to rights and the powers the federal government has and can never have

    Precisely. Unconstitutional is when government violates the constitution, claiming or exercising a power it doe not have.

    e Has theft stopped? Fraud? Anything else illegal? Why are guns any different? (Would have been better to phrase that.)

    In this we agree.

    So glad I corrected myself.

    Look at the War on Drugs

    I've been working for legalization since the 60s.

    I was asking someone who thought gun control was a good idea what sort of laws he expected would be effective

    Sorry, I just assumed the argument that we agree is dumb -- assumed because I hear it SO often.

    It's been a fairly common figure of speech for several decades.

    No, it's an example of the continuing degradation of the English language, right along with people typing "could of" instead of "could've".

    BOTH of those are degredation for could HAVE. Now I'm in a box. If you don't know the humor content of "planets" it might sound like a put down,

    It means whatever one says is not true ... anywhere on planet earth.
    "Most people would gladly commit suicide if they run out of toothpaste."
    "Not on this planet."

    Variants include: "How many moons circle YOUR planet" (which traces to maybe the 50s), and the one I used..

  • p3orion||

    It surprises me how many of the people who call Trump a fascist, a Nazi, or a dictator, nevertheless want to eliminate the ultimate means of resisting him (or others to follow.)

    It's understandable that the NRA soft-pedals the point, but the Second Amendment is not about shooting at targets, hunting deer, or even exclusively about home- or self-defense. It's about ensuring the means, if necessary, to stave off a tyrannical government which WILL always have arms, and denying them a monopoly on the use of force.

  • David Nolan||

    It's about ensuring the means, if necessary, to stave off a tyrannical government which WILL always have arms, and denying them a monopoly on the use of force

    You'd have a hard time proving that, since it's bullshit The amendment SAYS it's for arming a militia. But the Founders "soft-pedaled" the point, like (you say) the NRA does today? You have no argument.

    The "gun right" has been limited to those weapons "in common use at the time," that citizens brought from home - in the late 1700s. That was most recently affirmed by Justice Scalia in his Heller ruling.. When even Scalia says you're wrong.

    If you think you can overthrow the government with a semi-automatic rifle ......

  • XM||

    The "militia" at the time wasn't limited to some makeshift military organization. It was a more broad term used to describe citizens who gather arms and come together to repel the Brits or other enemies.

    Scalia

    "Nowhere else in the Constitution does a 'right' attributed to 'the people' refer to anything other than an individual right. What is more, in all six other provisions of the Constitution that mention 'the people,' the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset."

    Even handguns nowadays are more powerful and versatile than whatever muskets that existed at the time, which weren't always accurate and had to be lined up for maximum effect. We no longer have to load after each shot, and yet modern guns are covered by the second amendment.

    We can't own tanks and real military style weapons. The founders probably imagined a family out in the wilderness with a a handful of muskets ready to defend their supplies against Indians or thieves. Or possibly come to the aid of the nation in wartime. "Militia". That vision consistent with a woman living in a dangerous neighborhood who sleeps close to a semi automatic weapon.

    Sure you can overthrow a government with semi automatic rifle. One guy killed 58 people. Vietnam showed us that a persistent resistance can eat away at the superpower even as they win all the battles. If America ever went Third Reich most soldiers would defect to the other side.

  • David Nolan||

    Part 1 of 2

    The "militia" at the time wasn't limited to some makeshift military organization.

    Has anyone ever said it was?? I'm confused by not a shred of relevance throughout this.

    (Scalia quote)

    I did mention the Heller ruling, but you've posted the wrong section, so .... relevance?. I'll post the proper.section as a reply to this, labeled Part 2

    yet modern guns are covered by the second amendment.

    See Heller. The relevant part, which I must post separately.,

    The founders probably imagined a family out in the wilderness with a a handful of muskets ready to defend their supplies against Indians or thieves. Or possibly come to the aid of the nation in wartime. "Militia". That vision consistent with a woman living in a dangerous neighborhood who sleeps close to a semi automatic weapon.

    Again no relevance? But GREAT satire!

    Sure you can overthrow a government with semi automatic rifle.

    I said the government, which means one. And it would be that pesky word again -- relevant. --our federal.

    One guy killed 58 people.

    Relevance?

    Vietnam showed us ....

    Relevance?

    If America ever went Third Reich...

    Relevance?.

  • David Nolan||

    This is the relevant section in Heller ... my emphasis,... with a link to confirm. It's on page 58.

    Justice Scalia's ruling in Heller. (Supreme Court website)

    "We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. 'Miller' said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those 'in common use at the time.' 307 U.S., at 179, 59 S.Ct. 816. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of 'dangerous and unusual weapons.'"

    .... as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment's ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty..... But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.

    Anything else? No offense intended but PLEASE be relevant.

  • Bob Meyer||

    Scalia was constrained by precedent most importantly, the 1873 Slaughterhouse cases that eviscerated the 14th Amendment. When one of the plaintiffs lawyers attempted to argue that the "Privileges and Immunities" clause covered things beyond the enumerated rights Scalia cut him down citing the number of previous decisions that would have to be reconsidered. Thomas, on the other hand, went deep into the history and importance of the clause.

    Damon Root, on the other hand, is not constrained by precedent and his book "Overruled" describes the Heller and McDonald decisions clearly and very well.

  • David Nolan||

    Scalia was constrained by precedent most importantly, the 1873 Slaughterhouse cases

    Miller is clearly more relevant.

    Damon Root, on the other hand, is not constrained by precedent

    It's not precedent that causes one to (falsely) believe the 2nd Amendment protects an absolute right .. or that any rights can possibly be absolute ... (how I read him) unless one believes that Jefferson and the Founders were illiterate on the meaning of unalienable.

    Root, who I've admired for years, perhaps decades, was almost shameful here in stacking the deck and misrepresenting Stephens. -- who was vastly superior on describing BOTH sides of current law.
    I posted more detail, with a link to confirm my depiction of Stephens' piece, here.

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/10.....nt_6990065

  • David Nolan||

    Stephens makes the better case, but argues the wrong solution. Root mostly does the pandering that mystifies Stephens, and admits dealing with only part of the issue.
    .

    As part of his case, Stephens explicitly rejects the "personal liberty" argument for gun rights. "The idea that an armed citizenry is the ultimate check on the ambitions and encroachments of government power is curious," he writes

    The rest of Stephens' case demolishes Root's rebuttal to his one sentence, for those with the guts to read it. (gasp)

    Stephens is more honest regarding the issue. His error is assuming the 2nd Amendment is an absolute right, the same rightwing jabber he opposes. tt's not absolute, on two levels. First, NO right can be absolute. Fundamental rights are "unalienable," which means absolute. Thus, neither is superior to any other.

    Second, the Amendment is limited to weapons that militia members brought from hone, in the 1700s. Even, Scalia, the ultimate originalist, agreed, in his Heller ruling If Scalia says you're wrong, who's left, Alex Jones? Repeal need not be the solution. Perhaps he believes Republicans are incapable of honest discussion on 2A – quite likely from the comments here.

    Root trots out the typical horror stories, proving Stephens correct, ignoring overall rights in a libertarian publication, and ignoring the REAL core of Stephens' case.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Right, in a time when private individuals owned warships armed with cannons, the Founders penned the Second Amendment limiting the public to the right to own single shot muskets, knowing full well that the government would eventually have machine guns, tanks, and stealth bombers so soon enough the right to armed self defense would be meaningless when it came to defense against a tyrannical government ... like the one from which they had just rebelled.

    DERP!

  • David Nolan||

    DERP! (He awarded a DERP to Justice Scalia's Heller ruling!!)

    Right, in a time when private individuals owned warships armed with cannons,

    You said that in public?

    You accuse me of lying about Scalia's Heller ruling .. which you've OBVIOUSLY NEVER READ?
    The relevant portion is on this page.
    http://reason.com/blog/2017/10.....nt_6989751

    THAT is linked to the actual ruling, at the Supreme Court website. That part is on page 58. Educate yourself,

    Anything else I can help you with?

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    You think private individuals didn't own warships of the day at the time of the Constitution? To whom do you think the Founders expected to issue Letters of Marque, as specified in the Constitution Article 1, Section 8, in times of war? Have you ever heard of the term privateer?

  • David Nolan||

    You think private individuals didn't own warships of the day at the time of the Constitution?

    You think somebody is trying to outlaw the practice? Or that it's even close to being relevant?

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    No, and yes.

    Anything else I can help you with?

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Furthermore, dullard, the Founders could naturally only be referring to weapons common in use at the time they were alive because none of them were seers who could peer into the future and see technological advances a few centuries after their deaths. That they intended the Second Amendment to only apply to those weapons and not those common in use at any future time is as ridiculous as saying that freedom of speech and the press only applies to the spoken word in public and the written word on paper, as things like radio, television, computers, and the internet hadn't been invented and are therefore not part of the original intent of the First Amendment.

  • David Nolan||

    Attacking the messenger is what authoritarians do. You stalk and attack ME for a ruling by SCALIA.
    A ruling you obviously STILL have not read, even when I give you a link.
    .
    You're pissed at a ruling, by the most renowned judge of his day, on original intent. But you know better.
    You lost. An authoritarian, now PISSED that you didn't get your.own way.
    In your rage, you attack the messenger,... for informing the readers ... with proof,

    You lost.
    LEARN to accept it
    And stop stalking me.
    My patience has expired.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    I read the ruling, and the part you quoted is on p. 55 of your link, not page 58 like you said. And yes, I disagree with that part of it, much as I disagree with the ruling in Wickard v. Filburn, or the ruling that claimed the 'separate but equal' doctrine was constitutional. The notion that rights are limited by the technology of the day is patently ludicrous, unless you believe speech on the internet is not protected by the First Amendment. Do you believe that?

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    I should clarify: The notion that rights are limited by the technology of the day on which the pertaining Amendment was written is patently ludicrous.

  • David Nolan||

    The notion that rights are limited by the technology of the day on which the pertaining Amendment was written is patently ludicrous.

    Thanks, but everyone knew that when you spewed it. .
    And that ONLY bullies "shoot the messenger."
    It's their only way to feel manly.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Oh, hi Michael.

  • PAKman||

    You should have also mentioned the NYT opinion piece about how it's the "rule of law" that is the "bulwark against tyrrany", not guns -- it is part of their serial analysis, building the argument. (link is too long to paste into the comment)

    Every instance you cited, above, about civil rights is a perfect example of why guns are the protection for when the rule of law (inevitably) breaks down. How can you have a system run by humans that doesn't, at least occasionally, break down?

  • XM||

    Gee I never realized the second amendment allowed for armed insurrection.

  • Bob Meyer||

    Only when considered along side of the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments. Those amendments let people say what they want, protect arms caches from discovery and disallow torture of suspects.

  • Bob Meyer||

    Face it, we'll never be safe while rights are protected.

  • David Nolan||

    ... with semi-automatic rifles! Perhaps some tiny other country, but not here!!.

  • sudon't||

    "...Bret Stephens says he has "never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment"

    The conservative fetish for the second amendment is rather recent. Gun rights were traditionally a liberal cause, and this only changed in the eighties. In fact, every gun-control law proposed or passed in this country, through the 1970s, came from conservatives, and was mainly intended to keep guns out of the hands of blacks. I can understand his confusion since we now have conservatives advocating for more liberal gun laws, and liberals advocating for more conservative gun laws. It certainly confuses me.

  • David Nolan||

    Thanks. I had forgotten that. reversal. There was another reversal, sadly all too brief, when the tolerance of Goldwater, Reagan and Buckley prevailed. They even defended homosexuals .. in the 70s! ... two decades before Clinton signed DOMA and DADT ... and three decades before Obama "evolved."

    Goldwater defended gays in the military, including his famous suggestion that all good Christians give Jerry Falwell "a kick in the ass."

    Reagan defended gay school teachers, was instrumental a in defeating a CA ballot initiative to ban them, famously saying gay teachers are no threat a to our children, because homosexuality is not communicable, "like measles!"
    It was the first defeat for the nationwide anti-gay Anita Bryant Crusade , which soon collapsed ... brought down by a conservative.

    That was long ago. When we had small government conservatives --- on both fiscal and personal issues.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    In fact, every gun-control law proposed or passed in this country, through the 1970s, came from conservatives,

    Why do you post something so easily demonstrable as false?

    1837
    Georgia passes a law banning handguns. The law is ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court and is thrown out.

    1865
    In a reaction to emancipation, several southern states adopt "black codes" which, among other things, forbid black persons from possessing firearms.

    Democrats were in charge of the southern states in the 19th century. The same ones who created the KKK.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    1934
    The National Firearms Act of 1934, regulating the manufacture, sale and possession of fully automatic firearms like sub-machine guns is approved by Congress.

    1938
    The Federal Firearms Act of 1938 places the first limitations on selling ordinary firearms. Persons selling guns are required to obtain a Federal Firearms License, at an annual cost of $1, and to maintain records of the name and address of persons to whom firearms are sold. Gun sales to persons convicted of violent felonies were prohibited.

    1968
    The Gun Control Act of 1968 - was enacted for the purpose of "keeping firearms out of the hands of those not legally entitled to possess them because of age, criminal background, or incompetence." The Act regulates imported guns, expands the gun-dealer licensing and record keeping requirements, and places specific limitations on the sale of handguns. The list of persons banned from buying guns is expanded to include persons convicted of any non-business related felony, persons found to be mentally incompetent, and users of illegal drugs.

    Noted conservative icon FDR signed the first two bills, and far-right conservative LBJ signed the third bill.

  • rhkennerly||

    http://bibliotikus.net/post_1403990024.html

    Recommend reading: this nonviolence stuff will get you killed, by Charles Cobb

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