"Being necessary to the security of a free State..."


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Shootin' Buddy
May 12, 2003, 11:43 PM
A flashbulb exploded in my mind. Any of you willing to help me develop the picture?

I was contemplating the language of the second ammendment and got stuck on the phrase "being necessary to the security of a free State." Then I began thinking about the people and circumstances surrounding the second ammendment. Here are a collection of representatives from different states worried about signing a document that bears and empowers an overarching government. They have concerns, they are not sure if it is a good idea, they are looking for ways to bind this monster they are about to unleash -- and the ammendment says "being necessary to the security of a free State."

Before I've always read this and allowed my innerbrainlanguageinterpreter to translate "state" into "country" or "nation" assuming that our founding fathers were concerned with regulating a militia to protect our "nation" against the Russias and the Chinas and the Iraqs and the Japans of the world. But perhaps that's not what they were thinking, or at least, not all they were thinking. The ammendment reads "being necessary to the security of a free State" and they were getting ready to unleash a grand federal government. Dare the lion tamer enter the cage without a gun?

Your thoughts?

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Chris Rhines
May 13, 2003, 12:06 AM
My thoughts? You're dead on. The second amendment, FWIW, was intended to insure that the people would always have sufficent arms to use against politicians and government agents.

Sadly, the same Constitution that enumerated our right to bear arms also granted the government the powers of taxation, conscription, and monopoly of arbitration. Thanks, Alex!!!

- Chris

pax
May 13, 2003, 12:16 AM
Chris,

I don't think that's what Buddy said. I think he said that the Founders were concerned with insuring that the states would always have the ability to fight back if the feds got too big for their britches -- that the Founders weren't just enabling but positively encouraging a future secession should the federal get too big to feed.

Not sure if this interpretation is an accurate one. Certainly it is an interesting question.

Does the word "State" in the 2nd amendment mean "government-in-general," or does it specifically mean any one of the several states of the new union?

pax

A state can no more give up part of her sovereignty than a lady can give up part of her virtue. -- John Randolph

Fortyfied
May 13, 2003, 12:21 AM
As the states go so goes the nation?

The following list gives some idea of the relationship between state militia and the nation.

The US Congress has the power to specify a mandatory militia training program.
The states have the power to appoint militia officers.
The Congress may call up the militia to enforce laws, suppress rebellion and repel invasions.
Once Congress calls up the militia, the president may exercise his authority as Commander in Chief.
State constitutions define local authority to call up and exercise command over the militia.

Al Norris
May 13, 2003, 01:59 AM
Let me clue you in. In writing the Constitution and the Amendments, if the word is being used to describe a state as opposed to the nation, the word is capitalized.

Hence, "...being necessary to the security of a free State,..." is in fact referring to the individual States and not the States United. You will note that when referring to the whole of the country, the term is United States and is properly capitalized.

tyme
May 13, 2003, 02:14 AM
Certainly "State" is capitalized when referring to one of the United States, but If you're implying that "State" must mean one of the several States United, that's false. "State" (capitalized) is used to describe a foreign nation in Article 3, section 2, clause 1.

(consequently, capitalization of the term does not matter in Constitutional context)

Al Norris
May 13, 2003, 07:14 AM
I can certainly understand why you would think that way, tyme. Especially as the sovereignty of the States have not been taught in decades.

A group of people comprising the government of a sovereign state; the body politic; the commonweal; the territory occupied by that sovereign, all describe not only each individual State but those foreign States the the Constitution refers to.

The Founders recognized not only those foreign States as independent from the United States, but also that each of the States were in fact a sovereign in its own right. That is the sole meaning behind the 10th amendment.

The only difference in foreign States and the individual States of America were that the individual States were united under a common compact, exclusive of the rest of the world.

The word "State" in the 2nd refers to the individual States sovereignty.

tyme
May 13, 2003, 11:15 AM
What does this have to do with State sovereignity? States in the Union are not sovereign. They did not and certainly do not today have free will. Remember the Civil War? Besides historical intoleration of secession, the Constitution even provides that no State can split itself up, short of a U.S. Constitutional amendment. There are a wide variety of powers withheld from the states. How you can claim that the individual states are or were sovereign at any time after the formation of the Union is a mystery to me.

What I was saying is that I don't think you can exclude the meaning of State, that of a State outside the Union, based on some notion of capitalization or lack thereof - simply because State with a capital S is used to mean both things. And the context seems to suggest that they meant States in general, not just States in the Union. In the vein of the previous paragraph, it would be easy to exclude the State-as-one-of-the-United-States interpretation based solely on the fact that such States are not really free.

Regardless, in the modern sense, States in the Union are much different than foreign States, so it makes more sense, IMHO, to treat "States" in that context to mean foreign States. To the degree State independence has been eroded, that clause looses force if you treat it as referring to a State in the Union. There are many people who'd have trouble with the concept of defending yourself against that which you depend upon. That's certainly the case with modern States.

Al Norris
May 13, 2003, 02:09 PM
No tyme, you are both right and wrong at the very same time.

Originally, that is, the way it was viewed at the founding of this country, States were sovereign. They gave up some powers and authority when they entered into the compact of the U.S. Constitution; the Articles of Confederation before that.

With the Louisiana Purchase, the Feds began usrping their powrers. The States lost that sovereignty completely with the civil war.

If you're gonna get all mushy and interpret the Constitution in today's word usage, then everything we wish to work for is for naught. It's a "living" document, donchya know!?

Why is it that we even have a Bill of Rights? Why include the 10th in a list of rights recognized as belonging to the people, if the States weren't sovereign to begin with?

braindead0
May 13, 2003, 02:27 PM
And lets not forget the expansion of the Federal Governments taxation ability by liberal interpretations of 'intrastate commerce'. Once they managed to tax particular items (drugs, guns, you name it) they gained the ability to control these things.

There was a SC case that struck down one of the first attempts for exactly that reason, I guess they just snuck it on through.

What we should be fighting is unconstitutional taxation, and a whole lot of 'bans' would fall.

tyme
May 13, 2003, 02:29 PM
Originally, that is, the way it was viewed at the founding of this country, States were sovereign. They gave up some powers and authority when they entered into the compact of the U.S. Constitution; the Articles of Confederation before that.
Hence they are not sovereign. Perhaps States could have been considered sovereign under the Articles, but that experiment didn't work and their sovereignity, if they had it, was lost with the ratification of the Constitution.

Just because states have some freedom doesn't mean they are sovereign. "...; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby [to the national Constitution], any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding." (Article 6). That's not sovereignty.

El Tejon
May 13, 2003, 02:36 PM
brain, you're talking about the NRA being struck down and then the Filburn case (the Ohio wheat farmer). A switch in time saved nine.:(

The commerce clause has become the Big Hammer of Unlimited Government.

DRC
May 13, 2003, 02:59 PM
(What a suprise) :D

"State" is the operative word in the Second Amendment and to prove it I'll use this analogy. The founding fathers came from countries that had monarchy type governing bodies with total control over every person life. In forming a free nation they wanted to make sure this never happened again and that men would be free without worry of oppresion from totalitarianism. Pretty tall order to fill here. They knew what it was like to live under these conditions and without a voice in the matter.

To form a central government was a scary thing, but by design it was never meant to become what it is today. This is why you have individual state governments and district as well as regional representation. State rights can and do supercede Federal rights for this reason. States having the power to negate Federal rights is a way in which to keep the central government from becoming a Juggernought of central control. For those nay sayers out there think back as far as the 2000 election and Florida. The Supreme Court of Florida superceded Federal election law and it was legal (unethical, yes but legal nonetheless)

There are many things on the Federal roster that are not implemented in every state. Ask yourself why that is and your picture is painted in a Nagel fashion. Individual states were given more power than the central government so that representation was not lost. When people realize this once again more changes for the better can and will be made. The central government needs to be deprived of the amount of money it gets presently to restrict its ability to strangle the rest of us with inappropriate legislation and division of power. It has become too powerful and is in a position to be exactly what it was never designed to be.

Yup, states have the power but have succombed to the powers that be in our central governement and crater under the pressures put on them by the central government.

I hope this helps you develope that picture.

DRC

Shootin' Buddy
May 14, 2003, 04:44 PM
Well, I've been doing a bunch of research. Turns out I'm sorta right, but mostly wrong. However I was suprised to discover in what way I was wrong.

My thoughts? You're dead on. The second amendment, FWIW, was intended to insure that the people would always have sufficent arms to use against politicians and government agents.

Not exactly. Turns out the original intention was a bit different. I'm going to start a new post. :evil:

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