Rhetoric question...why should machine guns be okay, but not nukes?


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LDL707
October 22, 2006, 09:51 PM
Often times I hear the argument made that the government lacks the right to tell us what firearms we may own--including fully automatic weapons.

I doubt that many people would advocate arming everyone with nukes, so where is the logical line between FA weapons and nuclear weapons? How can one reconcile the positions that one ought to be allowed to own a machine gun, but not be allowed to own a nuclear weapon?

My logic keeps failing at this point. Does anybody have a good response?

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Solo
October 22, 2006, 09:57 PM
Offhand, I'd say its because nukes aren't firearms.

real_name
October 22, 2006, 09:57 PM
Does anybody have a good response?

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b223/doggone1/thread%20photos/troll-alert-elevated.png

?

ID_shooting
October 22, 2006, 10:01 PM
Simple:

The spirit of the 2A is that civilians are allowed the sames SMALL arms as the military of the time. In 1776 that was a musket, in 2006, that is a selectfire rifle.

Hoppy590
October 22, 2006, 10:03 PM
a nuke isnt a gun. same reason why the majority of guns are legal and majority of explosives arnt

now go away troll :barf:

guns kill only those you point it it. its a controlled weapon ( even if some peopledont control it. aka gangbanger drive bys)

bombs, not so much

dragongoddess
October 22, 2006, 10:03 PM
If you really wish to understand the meaning of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States you need look no further than the Declaration of Independence. When you read it you are left with the profound realization that it is your Civic Duty as a Citizen of the United States to overthrow your own government by whatever means possible if it reaches such a state. Some passages from that great document.

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States."



If the American Citizen is not allowed to bear Arms as provided in the 2nd Amendment then we cannot fulfill our Solemn Civic Duty as laid down in our Declaration of Independence .


Stop and think.
Had our Forefathers not had Arms where would we be today.
__________________

SoCalShooter
October 22, 2006, 10:10 PM
Small arms to me is a W55 thermonuclear weapon.:neener:

Back on track however my own interpretation of the 2a means small arms, a machine gun qualifies as small arms...of course I would qualify a howitzer that way too anything is small arms compared to a nuke.

carpediem
October 22, 2006, 10:11 PM
Had our Forefathers not had Arms where would we be today.

The short answer is England. Then again, it might be New France, or East Russia, or New Germany :neener:

In all seriousness, I completely agree. Let's not forget how the Revolutionary War really got started.

TexasRifleman
October 22, 2006, 10:12 PM
I doubt that many people would advocate arming everyone with nukes, so where is the logical line between FA weapons and nuclear weapons?

The logical line is clear to those that have actually seen a "machine gun" in use and are familiar with their use and the fact that the Second Amendment is not the only source of this. You need to read other documents written around the time of the Constitution to see the intent. "Taking up arms" against an enemy was common talk for using small arms. Militia, being "of the people" would not be expected to show up with cannon in tow when the enemy attacks.

It's far from a "weapon of mass destruction"...... they only work that well in movies and video games. Watch the famous "Hollywood Bank Shootout" again. Notice how little the machine gun actually HITS. It keeps the cops heads down, but actual hits are rare.

You're more likely to do damage with a good semi auto rifle and well aimed shots than a machine gun. They just are not that effective at taking down large numbers of targets, nor were they designed to do that.

And oh yes, maybe a troll question, but hopefully the troller will get it through their head that WE are clear thinking folk, understanding of the weapons we collect, use, and discuss rather than panic stricken individuals with an unnatural fear of inanimate objects.

Edited: The OP swears its' not a troll post, so I'll retract my comment, for the time being.

carpediem
October 22, 2006, 10:15 PM
Even though the Founders arguably meant 'arms' to apply to any weapons, I think a more concrete definition would mean any handheld/man portable melee weapons or firearms intended to be operated and transported by one individual on their own volition (e.g. driving a 68-ton tank doesn't count as transporting).

Edit - I just noticed that the original poster said rhetoric question. I think they meant rhetorical question.

LDL707
October 22, 2006, 10:26 PM
The problem is, the 2nd amendment doesn't say "small arms" or "firearms" or "guns." It says "arms."

According to the Webster's dictionary, arms means "a means (as a weapon) of offense or defense." That doesn't really specify that "arms" means "small arms" either.

guns kill only those you point it it. its a controlled weapon ( even if some peopledont control it. aka gangbanger drive bys)

bombs, not so much

That's the best argument I can come up with, too...but it seems somehow lacking.

Is there any historical basis for assuming that when the Framers wrote "arms" that they meant only small arms?

I just noticed that the original poster said rhetoric question. I think they meant rhetorical question.

Actually, I didn't. I meant that I have a question relating to the field of rhetoric...I actually do want answers to this.

And, no, I'm not trolling.

Maxwell
October 22, 2006, 10:27 PM
I recall there was a quote that went "any terrible impliment of man"... reguardless, even if it was legal to own a nuke with no strings attached where would you get it?
Very few entities can make them, with fewer still that would even consider selling one or components for one to the random passer buy.

Banning machine guns because someone could get a nuke is like banning learjets to prevent terrorists from owning moon rockets. A pointless arugment at best.
Even if it was a problem, I'd bet the most pro-2a voices would probly conceed that large yield destructive devices are not an acceptable militia weapon by any standard.

ilbob
October 22, 2006, 10:32 PM
The problem is, the 2nd amendment doesn't say "small arms" or "firearms" or "guns." It says "arms."

It also says keep and bear. Not keep or bear.

One might make an argument that an arm that cannot be borne by an individual is not protected.

Creeping Incrementalism
October 22, 2006, 10:33 PM
Even though the Founders arguably meant 'arms' to apply to any weapons,

I actually checked out the definition of "arms" in the Oxford English Dictionary, which shows how the definitions of words change over time. In the 18th century, arms meant hand-held wepaons. That is why they are called arms. They weren't just talking about firearms, but polearms, knives, swords, etc. Since then, the definition of arms has changed to be synonomous with all military weapons.

I believe that all personal man-portable precision weapons (not including suitcase nukes) shoulud be included in the definition of arms. The purpose of the militia, among other things, is to fight wars, and they would need tools such as anti-tank rockets. I believe the Swiss militia keeps a few privately-owned weapons like those, in addition to their assault rifles.

the 22 junkie
October 22, 2006, 10:36 PM
Small-arms, discriminate. Trident SSBM's, indiscriminate. Problem solved.

G36-UK
October 22, 2006, 10:39 PM
Wouldn't nukes come under "ordnance" and not "arms"? Just wondering.

beerslurpy
October 22, 2006, 10:40 PM
Things like the old Davey Crockett micronuke only had a range of about 1-2 miles and a yield of a few tons of TNT. It was basically a recoilless rifle for blasting soviet tank columns. It had a kill radius of about 1/4 mile. I think that, generally speaking, the wealth of individuals that can purchase such multimillion/billion dollar toys would deter negligent behavior. Still, I think this would be a generally bad idea.

I think the main problem with nukes is that they have very limited self defense use and enormous potential for mischief, not to mention very significant side effects- radiation clouds and flash damage for example. We dont want disgruntled citizens loading nukes on boats and setting them off in Havana or Mexico City. This would create enormous diplomatic problems for the US once arguably insane individual citizens are making its diplomatic choices for it. Also, the last thing we need is al queda being able to tap into a secondary market for nukes. Once the genie is out of the bottle, I think we would have trouble putting it back in.

I am perfectly OK with machine guns because they are generally no worse than ordinary rifles in terms of the capacity for mischief and death-dealing. Generally speaking, they are less efficient in their use of ammo and more likely to indirectly inform local law enforcement that something is awry. Loud and wasteful. Also, making them is realtively easy, so almost any wrongdoer that wants one can get one already.

taliv
October 22, 2006, 10:42 PM
winchester white-box nukes at wally world?

ctdonath
October 22, 2006, 10:47 PM
Because nukes inherently cause the owner to violate Cooper's Four Rules (save for extreme situations).

Paraphrased for inclusiveness...

1. ALL WEAPONS ARE IN THEIR MOST DANGEROUS STATE.

That's the starting presumption. "It's safe" is usually an indication it's not.

2. NEVER LET THE WEAPON COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

You can "not" point a gun at something.
Everything within range of a nuke is, well, in range. Unless you store it in extreme rank wilderness that you have total access control over, you can't be sure that nobody/nothing is undesireable in range.

Linear vs. volume area of effect.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL THE TARGET, AND ONLY THE TARGET, IS COVERED.

Like #2.
A gun can be deliberately pointed at something to the exclusion of other things.
Nukes will take out evertything in range, whether it is an intended target or not.

4. BE SURE OF WHAT THE WEAPON IS COVERING.

Again...
You can be reasonably sure of your target with a gun - and be reasonably sure you're not pointing at something you don't want to destroy.
A nuke covers, and thus will likely destroy when activated, everything withinin something on the order of a mile.



If you somehow could know everything in destructive range, and judge accordingly, nukes could be acceptable for ownership - but since you can't know, there is simply no point in having one.

Of course, all of this presumes consistenly reasonable and moral use thereof.
The risk of having one sociopath, or one mistake, activate it is too high.

Glockfan.45
October 22, 2006, 10:49 PM
"The right to bear arms"? I have grappled with this one myself. I dont advocate civilians owning nukes, artillery, grenades, of anything else aside from firearms. The arms I believe the constitution speaks of are small arms. Just my take on it.

ctdonath
October 22, 2006, 10:52 PM
One might make an argument that an arm that cannot be borne by an individual is not protected.One might make a better argument that "bear" is more akin to "transport and use". The people who wrote the 2nd Amendment had gone thru a major war, where many/most of the heavy weapons (like cannons and battleships) were privately owned. Just because the owner couldn't literally carry them in no way indicates they shouldn't have owned, transported & used them.

Remember: the original ideal premise was that the general population, being sufficiently self-armed, would constitute the military. The concept of "government owned weapons" was highly undesireable.
The arms I believe the constitution speaks of are small arms.Care to give a single shred of reasoning to back that up?

The Constitution grants Congress the power to grant "Letters of Marque" - which presume the recipient already owns a battleship or similarly heavily-armed boat.

jlbraun
October 22, 2006, 10:52 PM
I seem to recall that the Founders had private citizens with their own battleships and artillery - hence the "letters of marque" in the Constitution.

'Twould seem to indicate that "arms" meant more than just hand weapons.

crazed_ss
October 22, 2006, 10:56 PM
Often times I hear the argument made that the government lacks the right to tell us what firearms we may own--including fully automatic weapons.

I doubt that many people would advocate arming everyone with nukes, so where is the logical line between FA weapons and nuclear weapons? How can one reconcile the positions that one ought to be allowed to own a machine gun, but not be allowed to own a nuclear weapon?

My logic keeps failing at this point. Does anybody have a good response?



This is the answer I used when I giving a speech on gun control in my Communications class. Bear with me because my views arent extreme as some gun owners.

I believe we should allow citizens to own any weapons they want, but we also need to recognize the risk to society when it comes to extremely destructive arms. So my answer is we should be able to own any arms that do not pose an extreme risk to society.

One nutjob with a gun can be stopped without doing major damage to society.

One nutjob with a nuke could deal a crushing blow to the entire country.

carpediem
October 22, 2006, 10:57 PM
The real issue is the lack of effective weapons utilizing explosives in the Founders' day...bombardment rockets, kegs of gunpowder, or cannonballs filled w/ black powder was pretty much it. Not particularly effective.

Fast forward to the present, where there are advanced and powerful explosives such as thermobaric weapons, nukes, C4, etc. Any of which will have some form that is man-portable.

Kind of hard to address a contingency that won't exist until 200+ years later.

carpediem
October 22, 2006, 11:02 PM
Warship/Artillery folk:

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but consider this: when they used to call "To Arms", I doubt seriously they were talking about field artillery or warships. The usage of "arms" in that era generally indicated hand-held weapons. No specific sources, but an examination of the term in most (perhaps all) period literature will support this assertion.

beerslurpy
October 22, 2006, 11:08 PM
One nutjob with a gun can be stopped without doing major damage to society.

One nutjob with a nuke could deal a crushing blow to the entire country.

That was basically my argument above, only mine was more convoluted.

JohnKSa
October 22, 2006, 11:08 PM
Is there any historical basis for assuming that when the Framers wrote "arms" that they meant only small arms?None that I'm aware of.

This is one of those "fun" questions that everyone really knows the answer to but finds surprisingly difficult to write down in a thousand words or less.

When you're tired of being entertained with this topic, start a thread about the definition of "quality". ;)

DerringerUser
October 22, 2006, 11:24 PM
Because you dont know who's gonna die in a nuke attack, but you do if you're shooting a gun.

Web
October 22, 2006, 11:37 PM
Everyone should be limited to 400 nukes.

A nuclear armed neighborhood is a polite neighborhood.

ksnecktieman
October 22, 2006, 11:52 PM
Can we work on the definition of the first amendment too?

If a printing press is four tons, and requires a crew of three to feed it paper and ink , and keep it running? Is it still protected speech?

If any citizen, at home can type anything he wants to, and it travel around the country, or around the world instantly we need the means to control that equipment. It is a devicce of mass disinformation.

Do these amendments mean what they say? I think so.

Firethorn
October 23, 2006, 12:26 AM
As I understand it, 'Arms' back then was the personal weapons of a soldier, not something requiring a crew to operate/move. Swords, muskets, rifles, pikes, knives, etc...

Today there's a distinction between 'munitions' and 'arms'. A bomb is a munition, it's typically not considered part of an individual soldier's kit. It's also incapable of being used discriminately against distinct targets, unlike a rifle. And that especially includes nuclear bombs, even ones small enough to be carted around by an individual.

22-rimfire
October 23, 2006, 12:32 AM
With the present laws, you can own a full auto and you can own a tank. But you can't own or shoot exploding ordanance.

ksnecktieman
October 23, 2006, 12:33 AM
firethorn?
By that logic, do you consider the founders first amendment concerns to protect only the quill pen, and the unamplified spoken word?

ilbob
October 23, 2006, 12:36 AM
I don't necessarily disagree with you, but consider this: when they used to call "To Arms", I doubt seriously they were talking about field artillery or warships. The usage of "arms" in that era generally indicated hand-held weapons. No specific sources, but an examination of the term in most (perhaps all) period literature will support this assertion.

The problem with this kind of "original intent" reading is that the framers clearly only knew about muzzle loaders of various types, and edged weapons. A clever liberal might argue that only muzzle loading arms are covered, to include ML artillery, since clearly that was the arms of which the writes of the 2A were referring to.

It is somewhat of a non-starter as arguments go if one is intellectually honest, but abortion was de-criminalized on a much more tenuous basis. One never knows what kind of argument will be accepted by judges these days.

LDL707
October 23, 2006, 12:51 AM
It also says keep and bear. Not keep or bear.

I think that just defines that it's two distinct rights. I have the right to keep arms, and I have the right to bear them. I don't believe that it's necessary to be able to bear an arm in order to keep it.

I actually checked out the definition of "arms" in the Oxford English Dictionary, which shows how the definitions of words change over time. In the 18th century, arms meant hand-held wepaons. That is why they are called arms. They weren't just talking about firearms, but polearms, knives, swords, etc.

I believe that all personal man-portable precision weapons (not including suitcase nukes) shoulud be included in the definition of arms. The purpose of the militia, among other things, is to fight wars, and they would need tools such as anti-tank rockets. I believe the Swiss militia keeps a few privately-owned weapons like those, in addition to their assault rifles.

Why not suitcase nukes? They certainly have a legitimate military use, don't they?

Small-arms, discriminate. Trident SSBM's, indiscriminate. Problem solved.

This is irrelevant. First of all, the Second Amendment doesn't say we have the right to keep and bear "discriminating" arms. Second, of course, small arms do not discriminate. The user discriminates--or doesn't.

I think the main problem with nukes is that they have very limited self defense use and enormous potential for mischief, not to mention very significant side effects- radiation clouds and flash damage for example. We dont want disgruntled citizens loading nukes on boats and setting them off in Havana or Mexico City. This would create enormous diplomatic problems for the US once arguably insane individual citizens are making its diplomatic choices for it.

One could argue that FA weapons have limited use for self defense, as well. You even argue that machine guns are less efficient than semi-autos.

It doesn't really matter, though, because the Second Amendment isn't dependant upon defense, or any other factor. Whether a weapon can be used for self-defense, or mischief, or causing diplomatic problems doesn't invalidate the fact that "the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Because nukes inherently cause the owner to violate Cooper's Four Rules (save for extreme situations).


This also is a good point, but it also seems irrelevant. I like Col. Cooper as much as anybody, but I find it hard to believe that my rights somehow depend on his rules.

Hoppy590
October 23, 2006, 12:57 AM
your either a troll waiting to strike or an extremely reasonable person ( willing to seek and accept both sides of an arguement.)

my hat off to you if it is the latter

crazed_ss
October 23, 2006, 01:00 AM
Ok.. I hate to sound like an anti here, but I seriously doubt the founding fathers intended for citizens to own weapons which could distablize the entire world. Let's use a little common sense.

This is another reason why it's hard to get people over to the RKBA cause. I mentioned the speech I gave in my Communications class. It was supposed to be a debate, but ended up becoming a learning and information session. Most of the kids in the class were unfamilar with gun laws and how guns work.. after I explained things to them, not one even try to challenge me on Assault Weapons, Concealed Carry, or Anything..

Now if I had went in there trying to convince them that we should be allowed to have aircraft carriers and nukes, Im pretty sure no one would have taken me seriously as I'd come off as an extremist.

LDL707
October 23, 2006, 01:03 AM
your either a troll waiting to strike or an extremely reasonable person ( willing to seek and accept both sides of an arguement.)

my hat off to you if it is the latter

Actually, I'm very pro-gun.

I was debating the issue with a friend the other day, and mentioned that we should be able to own fully automatic weapons. He asked why we shouldn't be able to own nukes...

and I had no reasonable answer for him.

I'm mildly afraid that this inconsistency somehow invalidates my argument, so I'm trying to find a logical solution.

The problem that crazed_ss brings up is exactly my problem. It's difficult enough arguing that we should be allowed to own FA weapons without restriction. It becomes a lot harder if you have to argue that we should be allowed to keep nukes in order to stay intellectually honest.

I'm trying to find a way to argue that we should be allowed machine guns and not be allowed nukes, without cheating from a logical point of view.

JohnKSa
October 23, 2006, 01:17 AM
Ok, I'll risk a serious response.

The people who wrote the constitution and the amendments to it had no concept of a weapon that could obliterate an area larger than the largest city that any of them had ever seen, kill and maim over a larger area, cause disease over yet a larger area, and make an even larger area unsafe for human habitation for decades, perhaps even centuries afterwards. Nor did they have any reason to believe, nor even an inkling that anything like that could ever exist.

Pretty much any other weapon (including machine guns, tanks, handguns, cannons, etc. but excluding other WMDs) that we have today is a logical extension/evolution/technological progression of things/concepts they knew about and implicitly included when they said that a person had the right to keep and bear arms.

That's a complicated answer.

A simpler answer would be to ask him if he knows of anyone who has difficulty defining the difference between a WMD and a non-WMD. Then ask him if there are ANY governments today that treat WMDs identically to non-WMDs. Then ask him why he thinks that the founding fathers would be different.

ksnecktieman
October 23, 2006, 01:28 AM
ldl?
Do you think the framers would have exempted nukes,, if they could comprehend the future possibilities?
Do you think they would have exempted the Wall Street Journal, or USA Today, from instant worldwide distribution, if they could have comprehended the possibility.
Do you think they would have excluded the internet, if they could comprehend us sitting here, stupid, and/or drinking, and sending our thoughts to thousands, or millions of people?

I do not think they would envision any restrictions on either one as exceptable.
Just My Humble Opinion, of course.

taliv
October 23, 2006, 01:30 AM
i know i'll get flamed for this, but it's not unreasonable to suggest the 2A is a little out-dated. I know it's not politically feasible, or even worth discussing, but IMHO, the right thing to do would be to use the tools the constitution gives us; namely, an amendment that clarifies UNAMBIGUOUSLY the right to self-defense, and excludes WMDs.

until then, i believe the unbiased, everyday-joe reading of the constitution would say the 2A covers any arms reasonable for a militia to own (and this was the opinion in US vs MILLER as I understand it, despite their classifying SBS as a non-militia-type weapon) and that would to my way of thinking NOT include nuclear weapons, but it COULD include some pretty friggin nasty chemical and biological weapons.

Outlaws
October 23, 2006, 01:31 AM
IMO, the major reason FA was banned was because of mobsters and bank robbers. But back then forensic evidence was a finger print or the visual identification of a witness.

IMO also, the reason guns are not used so often anymore is because anyone who has seen the television in the last 10 years knows that they can trace bullets to the gun, lift fabric off somewhere you wouldn't think it would get to, and there is a ton of video cameras everywhere that you are bound to cross in your entrance or exit of the near by vicinity. Plus there is the fact that most people have a cell phone so your get away headstart is hampered extremely badly.

For that reason, I do no think FA would pose the same risk it did in the 1920's and 30's.


Also, in order to obtain a FA, I would not object to there being a background check that checks your previous criminal background, you financial situation in terms of outstanding debts greater than X% of your income so you don't rob a bank, and also finger printing so that you are not already a fugative who just hasn't been caught yet. Then I believe that a special license should be given to you stating you are okay to own the FA. No secret government record that you are one the SS should come get before/during a time of "fear". Also, you cannot transfer the firearm to anyone with going to a dealer to have the said process undertaken for the prospective buyer.

That I believe to be both representative of our rights to bear arms, and also logical in protecting the LIFE, and LIBERTY of those not possessing.

LDL707
October 23, 2006, 01:47 AM
The people who wrote the constitution and the amendments to it had no concept of a weapon that could obliterate an area larger than the largest city that any of them had ever seen, kill and maim over a larger area, cause disease over yet a larger area, and make an even larger area unsafe for human habitation for decades, perhaps even centuries afterwards. Nor did they have any reason to believe, nor even an inkling that anything like that could ever exist.
i know i'll get flamed for this, but it's not unreasonable to suggest the 2A is a little out-dated.

The Framers clearly couldn't have envisioned nukes. They also probably couldn't have envisioned the internet, or, it could be argued, fully automatic weapons. There are literally thousands of things that we take for granted that the Framers probably didn't envision. That doesn't in any way change the fact that they said that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom...of the press" or the fact that they said "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The beauty of the Constitution is that it doesn't lay out what we are allowed to do. It lays out what the government is allowed to do. It clearly prohibits the government from abridging our rights.

My reading of the Constitution tends to allign fairly closely with ksnecktieman's.

That being said, I would be a lot happier if I could come up with a logically consistent argument that would prohibit us from owning nukes.

Fully automatic weapons are difficult enough to argue for without sounding like a right-wing nutjob. It's going to be a lot worse if I also have to argue that nukes should be allowed.

ConstitutionCowboy
October 23, 2006, 02:01 AM
Rhetoric question...why should machine guns be okay, but not nukes?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Often times I hear the argument made that the government lacks the right to tell us what firearms we may own--including fully automatic weapons.

I doubt that many people would advocate arming everyone with nukes, so where is the logical line between FA weapons and nuclear weapons? How can one reconcile the positions that one ought to be allowed to own a machine gun, but not be allowed to own a nuclear weapon?

My logic keeps failing at this point. Does anybody have a good response?

Point One: The "government" has no right to tell us anything. "Government" only has powers. It only has that power to to tell us what we specifically give it the power to tell us. (Drive on the right side of the road, don't commit murder, etc.)

As for arming everyone with nukes, Article I, Section 8, Clause (16), actually grants power to Congress to do just that. If you can afford it, you needn't wait upon Congress. Any law to the contrary is unconstitutional.

There is no line between full automatic firearms and nukes in the Constitution. There is no line between keeping a rock in your pocket and keeping an asteroid in orbit to crash upon your enemy, either.

Lastly, no one needs to be allowed to keep and bear any weapon. It is a right. Laws only forbid things, not grant permission or allow certain things.

Woody

Look at your rights and freedoms as what would be required to survive and be free as if there were no government - for in the beginning, there was no government, and as governments come and go, people and their rights live on. B.E.Wood

ksnecktieman
October 23, 2006, 02:01 AM
Taliv???? I not only accept your opinion,,, but I approve of it... IF we can get an amendment to eliminate nukes, I would approve..... NOW if you or I draw the line,,,, where do we want it??????? Can you have a hand grenade? Can you buy dynamite to remove tree stumps? Can you buy a shoulder fired antiaircraft rocket launcher?,,,,,,
After you consider those easy questions, I have a tough one for you....... CAN I HAVE THEM TOO?
SO? now you want a background check, and a criminal history check, and a phsych evaluation???? freedomn is not taking, it is giving. to ALL with no restrictions.

LDL707
October 23, 2006, 02:24 AM
There is no line between full automatic firearms and nukes in the Constitution.

Technically, there's no line in the Constitution between saying "vote for Bush" and yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre, either. I think most people would argue, though, that the latter is legitimately restricted.

It seems to me that--ideally--there should probably be a similar line somewhere short of nuclear weapons. I just don't know where it should go, or why it should be there, Constitutionally speaking.

ksnecktieman
October 23, 2006, 02:40 AM
Thank you LDL... It is tough sitting on this limb, with all the chain saws running around here. Even here, in a gun forum it seems to me that everyone believes that gun control is good, as long as it applies to someone else, or to guns they do not want.

gunsmith
October 23, 2006, 03:16 AM
The Unlimited Power of the Sword'

by Vin Suprynowicz


A couple of loyal readers asked me, in response to my recent evisceration of the discredited "militia clause" argument, "But Vin, do you think the Founders would have written the Second Amendment that way if they'd known we'd have Uzis"?

Leaving aside the fact that it takes extraordinary dedication and commitment (and loot) for a "civilian" of average means to legally acquire a fully automatic Israeli machine pistol in America today, the answer is, "Yes."

The Founders had every opportunity to add "except for bombs, mortars, artillery and other devices that can kill more than one person at a time" – all of which were well-known by 1787. They did not. Quite to the contrary, Tench Coxe, noted federalist and friend of James Madison, wrote in defense of the proposed Constitution, in the Pennsylvania Gazette of Feb. 20, 1788: "Their swords, and every other terrible instrument of the soldier, are the birth right of an American. ... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or the state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."

Note "unlimited." Note "every terrible instrument."

Under the form of government that we're told Americans still enjoy, the government can exercise only those powers that are delegated to it by the people. You cannot delegate a right or power that you do not already possess. Therefore, if members of the U.S. Army have legitimate authority to "keep and bear" Uzis and nuclear weapons, they can only have gotten that right from the individual Americans who delegated it to them.

It doesn't matter whether you "think this is a good idea." If you want to contend we now have a form of government in which our rulers start with all rights and powers, and allow to the peasantry only those lesser included liberties as they see fit, say so out loud now, please. And tell me when the original Constitution was voided, and by what legal process.

Nor do we usually or necessarily abdicate a right when we delegate it: We delegate to police the duty to chase down fleeing felons, but each citizen retains the right to go ahead and do this himself if circumstances dictate.

Similarly, the Second and 14th amendments guarantee that we have not given up our private, individual right to keep and bear howitzers and really big machine guns just because we have also delegated this right to the Army.

Of particular interest is the fact that several of my questioners work in the newspaper business. How would they respond, I wonder, to the proposition that the First Amendment protects only the freedom to use old-fashioned hand presses – that the Founders can't possibly have meant to authorize unrestricted use of today's far more dangerous, high-speed electrical presses, with their ability to spread lies and seditious, anti-government propaganda hundreds of times faster than Ben Franklin or James Madison could ever have imagined?

Speaking of my (necessarily brief) summary of the inquiries that have gutted the tired old "militia clause" arguments, noted Alabama constitutional attorney Larry Becraft writes in:

"Vin, You did not mention: www.usdoj.gov/olc/secondamendment2.htm."

Frankly, I'm cautious about using Department of Justice filings, because they're inherently political and could easily shift under some future Hillaryesque administration. Nonetheless, Larry does offer up an official DOJ memorandum of opinion, dated Aug. 24, 2004, which finds:

"The Second Amendment secures a right of individuals generally, not a right of States or a right restricted to persons serving in militias. ... As developed in the analysis below, we conclude that the Second Amendment secures a personal right of individuals, not a collective right that may only be invoked by a State or a quasi-collective right restricted to those persons who serve in organized militia units.

"The Amendment's prefatory clause, considered under proper rules of interpretation, could not negate the individual right recognized in the clear language of the operative clause. In any event, the prefatory clause – particularly its reference to the 'Militia,' which was understood at the Founding to encompass all able-bodied male citizens, who were required to be enrolled for service – is fully consistent with an individual-right reading of the operative language."

gunsmith
October 23, 2006, 03:21 AM
More On nuclear weapons and the 'well-regulated militia'

by Vin Suprynowicz
Vin_Suprynowicz@lvrj.com

In our ongoing dialogue on "Nuclear weapons and the Second Amendment," an attorney who has subscribed to this list responded to Vin Suprynowicz today:

Hi Vin,

Just read your piece "On nuclear weapons and the 'well-regulated militia'" and had a question for you:

If Joe citizen exercises his right to build a nuclear device, and turns out to be an agent of an enemy power, aren't we just providing free delivery?

Seems to me all the Chinese or North Koreans or whatever would have to do is line up a 100 folks, plus or minus, have them assemble bombs at various locations around the country, set the timers to all go off at once and leave the continent. No one could do anything about it until the molten slag had cooled - and by then bringing the perps to justice might be a moot point (with a few hundred million crispy-fried citizens rotting in the burned-out cities and waiting to be buried.)

The cops couldn't touch any of the treacherous 100 before the bombs blew because of the "Constitutional Right" to build nukes.

I'm with you in saying that citizens should not be restricted in ownership of militia arms (rifles, pistols, shotguns, machine guns, possibly even bazookas, grenades and mortars) but I generally think of militia arms as weapons that can be carried and operated by a single person - localized tactical weapons, not strategic nuclear weapons.

To gain the "respect" of the Reno crowd, a Quad 50 or a mini gun would probably have sufficed. And a mortar would have ruined their day.

Thoughts?

K.A., J.D.

# # #

Vin responded:

Hi, K.A. --

My "thought" is that neither you nor I nor David Koresh are being allowed to possess quad 50s (in any pragmatic way -- yes, yes, we can get finrgerprinted and wait a year for approval and pay $50,000 for one of the few that ever managed to get "registered" before the import ban took effect, if my Class 3 Dealer can FIND one ...) precisely because so many folks who CLAIMED to be champions of the Second Amendment have spent the past 70 years taking one big step after another BACKWARDS, conceding, "Well, OK, it wouldn't be PRACTICAL for me to argue I should be "allowed" to exercise some "right" to own an armored car or a machine gun ..."

All based on theoretical hobgoblins, from whom we are assured only a massive police state can ever keep us safe.

Where in the Second Amendment do you find this "which can be carried and used by a single man" crap? Are you really contending Washington had no right to employ FIELDPIECES at Princeton or Yorktown? His army was a militia army, unauthorized by the crown. Did Washington's army have a right (a right which can only be the birthright of every American -- he certainly didn't gain it in any charter from King George) to use the biggest cannon it could lay hands on, or not? If you had it in your power to go back in time and deprive him of fieldpieces, would you do so? Do you BELIEVE in these "restrictive principles" which you're tossing about like pieces on a child's board game, or not?

You start out, "If Joe citizen exercises his right to build a nuclear device ..."

Thanks for conceding he has that right.

You then say "I generally think of militia arms as weapons that can be carried and operated by a single person -- localized tactical weapons, not strategic nuclear weapons."

Fine. You have every right to think that, and no one can require you to take up, learn to use, or possess any other kind of weapon if you don't want to. Others may "think" their ideal and only militia weapon should be a black powder muzzle-loader. Fine with me.

I, on the other hand, think a perfect militia weapon -- one which I'd like to save up and buy at surplus and store in the side yard -- would be a six-wheeled self-propelled 155mm cannon, with a few thousand live rounds for practice, out in the desert.

What's your point -- that someone shouldn't "allow" me to buy, own, or drive around in my self-propelled gun, because I hypothetically "might be" a Red Chinese agent? That "thinking" nuclear devices are inappropriate tactical weapons will keep bad guys from ever using one against you and yours?

That you and I might join in to a "voluntary pact" that neither of us will ever buy or build a neutron bomb? To what purpose? Someone else will -- many others already have. This is like arguing that it would really be better if rattlesnakes didn't have fangs. You haven't told me what you propose to do about it, besides which you're trying to convince the wrong guy. If you think you can talk the snake out of his fangs, or the Pentagon out of their warheads, go and try. Let me now how you do.

Or are you saying you would vote for a politician who would throw me in prison for attempting to buy the same weapons owned and operated on a daily basis by that politician's uniformed agents -- that you would cooperate in jailing me for violating the government's MONOPOLY ON ARMED FORCE, just as prevailed in the Ukraine in 1933, in Germany in 1940, in Red China under Mao, in Cambodia under Pol Pot? If so, why don't you just COME OUT AND SAY SO?

I know for a FACT the Special Operations Command down in Florida has thousands of trained "shooters" and scores of "back-pack nukes" available, which they could infiltrate into China (or Idaho) and detonate next month, if they wanted to. Welcome to the nuclear age. Just how severe a police state would you be willing to submit to, if they could "guarantee" you none of your neighbors will ever own a "prohibited weapon" ... while the government retains all it wants?

Only thing is, don't delude yourself that YOU'LL get to make the final call on which weapons are "prohibited" to us peasants.

Uncle Sam has ALREADY effectively banned those "Quad 50s and mini guns and mortars" which you discuss as though I could go down and buy one at Wal-Mart this afternoon. They'll want all the handguns and "sniper rifles" next. Look at once-free England and Australia.

There are only two sides here. Are you going to join with me -- and the Founding Fathers -- in declaring it's the birthright of every American to possess "every terrible weapon of the soldier"? Or are you going to join the parade of yellow-bellied compromisers, selling away my birthright as well as your own, whining, "Well OK, we certainly don't want to be called UNREASONABLE, so I'm willing to sell my neighbor's right to bear certain really DANGEROUS WEAPONS, along with my own, for the chimercial bowl of porridge you call 'security.' Where do I sign on to support your latest 'reasonable gun control' bill? ..."

CAN YOU GET THE GOVERNMENT TO GIVE UP THEIRS? DO YOU BELIEVE NO GOVERNMENT WILL EVER AGAIN MURDER ITS OWN CITIZENS? It was Thomas Paine who wrote (I may be paraphrasing) "It would be a more peaceful world if all men would lay down their arms. But because there are evil men who WILL not give up their arms, therefore men of good will DARE not give up their arms, or the evil would run among the good as wolves among sheep."

If we stopped meddling in the affairs of foreign nations, why would they want to go to the trouble of destroying us? Do you spend all your days aching for a chance to nuke Iraq or Bosnia? With folks successfully smuggling tons of cocaine and marijuana into this country every WEEK, do you really think they couldn't smuggle in a nuke -- or a couple drums of Sarin gas -- right now, if they had adequate motivation?

It's the ambitious, imperialist, meddling socialist "world police" leaders in place in Washington today -- who insist on a MONOPOLY in such armed force -- who are the folks most likely to DRAG us into such a conflict. The very people to whom you would grant an unchallenged MONOPOLY on such force are the ones who are most likely to do mischief with it. The Founders knew the best way to curtail such ambitions was to make sure such men faced, here at home, a citizen militia well enough armed to overthrow them the moment they usurped a SINGLE power not properly delegated to them.

Has Washington not usurped such undelegated powers, droves of them, for at least the past 90 years, through sheerest chicanery and threats of brute force? Do they no longer live in fear of us armed citizens? Why not? Because 70 years of compromise have reduced us to laughable windbags with deer rifles, of course.

Just how many of your rights -- and mine -- are you willing to trade away in exchange for someone lulling you to sleep with lullabye promises that they can thereby PROTECT YOU FROM EVERY DANGER?

# # #

Another reader today sent me Andrew Fletcher's 1698 "A Discourse of Government with Relation to Militias," familiar to all the Founders, wherein he coined the very term "well-regulated militia" which is so much under discussion today (albeit by people would probably wouldn't bother to read the phrase at its source if you set it in front of them.)

Find Fletcher's essay at

http://www.2ndlawlib.org/history/foreign/fletdisc.html

I'll close with just a portion:

"A good militia is of such importance to a nation, that it is the chief part of the constitution of any free government. For though as to other things, the constitution be never so slight, a good militia will always preserve the public liberty. But in the best constitution that ever was, as to all other parts of government, if the militia be not upon a right foot, the liberty of that people must perish. The militia of ancient Rome, the best that ever was in any government, made her mistress of the world: but standing armies enslaved that great people, and their excellent militia and freedom perished together. The Lacedemonians continued eight hundred years free, and in great honour, because they had a good militia. The Swisses at this day are the freest, happiest, and the people of all Europe who can best defend themselves, because they have the best militia. ...

"And I cannot see why arms should be denied to any man who is not a slave, since they are the only true badges of liberty; and ought never, but in times of utmost necessity, to be put into the hands of mercenaries or slaves: neither can I understand why any man that has arms should not be taught the use of them. ...

"Is it not a shame that any man who possesses an estate, and is at the same time healthful and young, should not fit himself by all means for the defence of that, and his country, rather than to pay taxes to maintain a mercenary, who though he may defend Mm during a war, will be sure to insult and enslave him in time of peace. Men must not think that any country can be in a constant posture of defence, without some trouble and charge; but certainly it is better to undergo this, and to preserve our liberty with honour, than to be subjected to heavy taxes, and yet have it insolently ravished from us, to our present oppression, and the lasting misery of our posterity. ..."

V.S.

johnster999
October 23, 2006, 03:53 AM
The starting point for this discussion has to be:
The founders very clearly intended for us to always be able to possess and carry AT LEAST small arms such as firearms and blades, equivalents of which were available at that time. Also, clearly an auto rifle is still just a rifle with a minor mechanical difference.

Above this level of armament, it could be argued that the courts can determine reasonable limits.

LDL707
October 23, 2006, 04:02 AM
Under the form of government that we're told Americans still enjoy, the government can exercise only those powers that are delegated to it by the people. You cannot delegate a right or power that you do not already possess. Therefore, if members of the U.S. Army have legitimate authority to "keep and bear" Uzis and nuclear weapons, they can only have gotten that right from the individual Americans who delegated it to them.

I think this is one of the more interesting things I've read on this topic.

Unfortunately...it supports the position I'm trying to argue against. :D

strambo
October 23, 2006, 04:17 AM
A ND with a machine gun is, in the big picture, no big deal...a "runaway gun" sear malfunction...break the belt. A ND with a Nuke or just its high explosive charge would be a bit more..."problematic".:uhoh:

taliv
October 23, 2006, 12:58 PM
ksnecktie, i agree that the particulars are complex, but i'm not suggesting i can have things you can't.

hugh damright
October 23, 2006, 12:59 PM
Under the form of government that we're told Americans still enjoy, the government can exercise only those powers that are delegated to it by the people. You cannot delegate a right or power that you do not already possess. Therefore, if members of the U.S. Army have legitimate authority to "keep and bear" Uzis and nuclear weapons, they can only have gotten that right from the individual Americans who delegated it to them.
A free State is empowered by the people, not by the person. There is no personal right to pass laws, to lay and collect taxes, to declare war, to raise and support armies, or to possess a nuclear weapon ... yet the people empower government to do these things.

Take for instance the idea of legislation ... I don't see how there could be an individual power to legislate (unless that individual happens to be the King). I suppose that if there were no government that we could all pass laws that apply on our own property ... and then if people formed a State and passed State laws we might say that each individual delegated such a power ... but that would not mean that every individual originally had the power to pass State legislation which bound others on their own property.

ConstitutionCowboy
October 23, 2006, 01:34 PM
LDL707

Technically, there's no line in the Constitution between saying "vote for Bush" and yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre, either. I think most people would argue, though, that the latter is legitimately restricted.

It seems to me that--ideally--there should probably be a similar line somewhere short of nuclear weapons. I just don't know where it should go, or why it should be there, Constitutionally speaking.

As far as "vote for Bush" and yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, you are addressing the USE of something(speech, language). As for that line that isn't there, we are strictly talking "keep" and "bear". Neither of those two aspects concerns use. The RKBA is absolute and inalienable. Another absolute and inalienable right would be the right to learn a language and communicate. Though that right isn't enumerated in the Constitution, the greater aspects of it's USES are enumerated and protected. See the difference?




johnster999

The starting point for this discussion has to be:

The founders very clearly intended for us to always be able to possess and carry AT LEAST small arms such as firearms and blades, equivalents of which were available at that time. Also, clearly an auto rifle is still just a rifle with a minor mechanical difference.

Above this level of armament, it could be argued that the courts can determine reasonable limits.

This won't work either. The Courts have no power to set limits. That is in the purview of Congress. Congress sets limits, and the Court adjudicates each case according to those limits. But, since Congress is prohibited to infringe upon the RKBA, there is no way to even draw that line you want without amending the Constitution. Anything short of that is a usurpation of power and is dishonest - just as dishonest and unconstitutional as the acts perpetrated by those in government who wrote, passed, and approved, and those there now who will not remove, that infringing law.

hugh damright

I've legislated. You may not spit on my lawn. You may not pontificate on my lawn. legislate vi to make or pass laws.

I'm fortunate that as an individual, I only need to make(legislate) law on my property, The state must pass law - the other aspect of "legislate". I am King on my property. I'm sovereign on my property. My forefathers delegated some of that power to legislate to Congress, the several states, counties, cities, and towns. I haven't taken any of that power back, but some in government have taken more than has been given. That is the crux of the matter.

Woody

"There is nothing to fear in this country from free people. But, when freedom is usurped, there is something to fear for people will revolt to remain free. To all usurpers, do the math. But don't wonder the outcome when you miscalculate." B.E.Wood

ctdonath
October 23, 2006, 01:35 PM
So, to summarize the "RKBA and nukes" issue:
- The Founding Fathers actively opposed limiting the rights of individuals, and actively supported weapons ownership.
- The 2nd Amendment indicates no limitation on weapons whatsoever.
- The 2nd Amendment was written by people who owned "superweapons" of the era.
- The 2nd Amendment was written shortly after an armed populace used the full spectrum of weapons to defeat the world's reigning superpower.
- Nukes remain a hypothetical, as you can't buy one even if you had the cash + desire (as some do).
- A prohibition on nuke ownership won't stop someone who wants one and has the cash to buy one (thanks Vin).
- The Constitution presumes private ownership of battleships per the "Letters of Marque" clause, destroying the "no crew-served weapons" argument.
- Nukes cannot be used appropriately (per Cooper's Four Rules) as the operator cannot know for certain who is/isn't in range.
- Anyone exhibiting/threatening inappropriate weapon use can be forcibly disarmed by others.


Linguistic gymnastics on individual words (meaning of "keep", "bear", "arms"), and "they couldn't have imagined" arguments, all fail as the Founding Fathers were abundantly clear on the subjects. Being intelligent and literate, they meant what they said, with axioms well known. Being informed and educated, they understood what may change - and what may not. They did know of comparably-scaled technologies. They defended citizens owning "unlimited...terrible weapons of the soldier". They owned battleships and artillery. Small crews wiping out populations indiscriminately was not new or unknown (heck, it's downright Old Testament). Machineguns (or comparable) were known, albeit expensive and hard to manufacture. Explosives were known. They were firmly opposed to the notion of a soveriegn government telling citizens "you can't". The scale of terrible capabilities is not all that different from what we're arguing over, as populations & perceptions were proportional to today.


The only viable argument against nuke ownership is: inherent grave uncertainty of casualties.

ctdonath
October 23, 2006, 01:48 PM
A free State is empowered by the people, not by the person."The people" is an aggregate of multiple persons.
"The people" is the sum total of the persons forming the group.
If persons do not have something, "the people" do not have it either.

As woodcdi notes, _I_ make the rules for _my_ property.
I make rules (laws) thereon. My whim is law there.
I levy taxes thereon (you want to use my property, you pay).
I may declare war insofar as I may forcibly remove or detain trespassers.
I arm and organize those who live thereon (army).
I choose the weaponry present thereon.
Nothing in the Constitution contravines this position (or a better statement thereof, being I whipped that off during a headache).

Anything government does which contradicts the above is unconstitutional (go look before you disagree), and superceeds my home rule only by threat of sheer force of arms acting outside powers granted by the Constitution.

progunner1957
October 23, 2006, 02:30 PM
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Life will not last long without the means to protect it.
Liberty will not long endure without the means to defend it.
Happiness will not ensue when living under autocratic, arbitrary rule.

The right to arms for the common man is the foundation to ensuring Life, Liberty and Happiness.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...

...But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Which is why the some politicians despise the idea of an armed citizenry: Paranoia and fear fills the guilty mind and heart.

DigitalWarrior
October 23, 2006, 02:41 PM
I believed that nuke are specifically allowed by the 2a.

I would support ammending the 2a to prevent it from being applied to Nuclear or Biological Weapons. Nuclear Weapons are too polluting. No person can expect to be able to discharge a weapon and pollute a hemisphere. Biological Weapons are incapable of being "aimed".

I strongly support Civilians owning RPGs. They are currently the most effective weapon of War, and they make a militia effective against superior technology.

DW

hugh damright
October 23, 2006, 02:48 PM
"The people" is an aggregate of multiple persons.
"The people" is the sum total of the persons forming the group.
If persons do not have something, "the people" do not have it either.
Of course a people are a collective of persons. But you are mistaken that a people cannot have a collective right unless each individual also has that right. That is simply not the nature of it.

As woodcdi notes, _I_ make the rules for _my_ property.
I make rules (laws) thereon. My whim is law there.
I levy taxes thereon (you want to use my property, you pay).
I may declare war insofar as I may forcibly remove or detain trespassers.
I arm and organize those who live thereon (army).
I choose the weaponry present thereon.
Nothing in the Constitution contravines this position (or a better statement thereof, being I whipped that off during a headache).
No, you do not make the rules on your property and no your whim is not law. Can you legalize prostitution on your property? Can you legalize drugs? I can't make any sense out of your statement.

Running off tresspassers is not "war". You cannot draft me and make me participate. You cannot organize an army on your own property. You do not choose what weapons you can have on your own property. I just can't make any sense out of what you're saying.

The collective has powers beyond that of any individual. You cannot force me to pay you taxes on my property, my income, or anything of that nature, but the government can. You cannot raise an army, but the government can. You cannot draft me, but the government can. To say that you can charge me a cover fee or arm your family or run me off for trespassing is completely removed from the power to declare war, raise an army, and levy taxes. You do have the right to run off trespassers, to arm your family, and to charge a cover fee ... but you do not have the right to declare war, to raise an army, or to levy taxes.

Gordon Fink
October 23, 2006, 03:30 PM
That we have a right to nuclear arms is self-evident. Lots of folks have them these days. However, it’s arguable that the right is more civil than natural, as the manufacture, deployment, and maintenance of nuclear weapons require a great deal of cooperation.

That said, if an individual can do these things without harming anyone else, then he is free to do so.

~G. Fink

Travis Lee
October 23, 2006, 03:35 PM
230 years ago, the most powerful weapons of the time would have been a ship equipped with cannons and marines. Individual citizens did in fact own such weapons, weapons platforms and pay for such armed men. How is this functionally different from Bill Gates excercising the right to own and maintain an Nuclear Aircraft carrier and missiles with nuclear warheads?

Of course if he ever lit one off in Seattle, I have no doubt that the criminal charges, the civil suits, and the lynch mobs would be an effective deterrent to the next lunatic billionaire.

The State's legitimate authority to wage a just war is simply an extension of an individual's right to self defense.

--Travis--

mbt2001
October 23, 2006, 04:26 PM
Nukes are a Public Health Hazard. Unless properly stored and maintained they can GO OFF acidentally and kill millions. It is the same with Bio Weapons and Chemical Weapons.

So, while owning a full auto weapon or other "military" weapons SHOULD be allowed under the 2nd Amendment, the owning of a nuke, bio weapon or chemical weapon could still be curtailed with the understanding that it is a hazard to the public health and commerce.

Crosshair
October 23, 2006, 04:54 PM
Personaly, my ruler is "Can it be used responsibly and not phisicly harm anyone."

Machine guns = Yes
M203 = Yes
RPG-7 = Yes
TOW missle = Yes
120mm mortar = Yes
155mm artillery = Yes

If you have the money and a range that will let you use them, all these weapons can be used safely for plinking and shooting targets. However a nuke is a different ball game. Even if I burried it underground and set it off, others will still be harmed by the radiation and the mini-earthquake it will cause.

progunner1957
October 23, 2006, 04:55 PM
Nukes are a Public Health Hazard. Unless properly stored and maintained they can GO OFF acidentally and kill millions.
Substitute the word "guns" for the word "nukes" and you have what some of the antigun bigots seem to think.:rolleyes:

Sistema1927
October 23, 2006, 05:04 PM
I seem to recall that the Founders had private citizens with their own battleships and artillery - hence the "letters of marque" in the Constitution.

It was quite common for ordinary citizens to own artillery at least as good, if not better, as that fielded by most armies. It was equally common for ordinary citizens to own warships at least as good, if not better, as that controlled by most navies.

When the Constitution was written , there were those private citizens who owned ships with the capability of shelling New York, Boston, or Charleston. I think that these would have been construed as "weapons of mass destruction".

I have not quite wrapped my mind around the "private ownership of nuclear weapons" issue, but I don't think that I need to contemplate it too much prior to the opening of the first local "Nukes R Us" store.

I would, however, like to own a towed 105mm howitzer to go along with a suppressed H&K MP5, and might one day want to arm a yacht with a couple of 8 pounder guns. I don't believe that the Founding Fathers would have any problems with any of the items on that list.

m0ntels
October 23, 2006, 05:05 PM
An AK-47 is no more powerful than a bolt action Ruger 77 or Winchester 70. One just happens to cycle faster than the other. A MP5 isnt much more potent that a S&W 39. Full auto doesnt make anything more deadly. Full autos dont hurt anything any more besides the owner's wallet. Other than that, they are the same as what you can buy now...why not let people buy them?

Randy

Alex45ACP
October 23, 2006, 05:14 PM
I actually checked out the definition of "arms" in the Oxford English Dictionary, which shows how the definitions of words change over time. In the 18th century, arms meant hand-held wepaons. That is why they are called arms. They weren't just talking about firearms, but polearms, knives, swords, etc. Since then, the definition of arms has changed to be synonomous with all military weapons.

+1

Also back then, the term "well regulated" didn't mean lots and lots of laws. It meant well trained and well equipped.

squarooticus
October 23, 2006, 06:19 PM
I think we're muddying the issue: the OP presupposes that possessing and maintaining nukes would be a rational thing for a person to do in a society in which such things were allowed. I assert that it wouldn't be: it simply would not be allowed in our top-down society, where the state has a virtual monopoly on force in a (misguided) trade for protection; and in an ideal society (IMO Rothbard/Hoppe private property anarchy) people would be discouraged from aggression by market forces, so there would be no reasons beyond interest (backed up by a lot of money) or insanity (also backed up by a lot of money) to possess such weapons.

Given the potential liability posed by such weapons and, unlike private ownership of firearms, lacking any demonstrable defensive purpose rewarding their possession, no rational insurance company/security contractor would agree to insure a person who was known to possess such a thing. It would either (a) be quickly found out as the possessor bragged about it, potentially leading to his being uninsured and/or expelled from his community, exposing him to strong-man predators, or (b) be hidden out-of-reach of anyone but the owner, at which point the question of what effect it has on others is moot.

It is at least possible that some large security contractors would possess nuclear weapons as a deterrent to aggression by outside forces (e.g., state actors that make a business out of aggression), but it's more likely that this level of force would be covered by reinsurers making use of economies of scale rather than by local private security firms.

I should also point out that in such a world, all property is privately owned, and most owners will have an incentive to keep things like this off their property. Under such a system, you could expect better and more effective (and yet less intrusive) detection of prohibited materials at property boundaries. There would be no public roads as such through which to smuggle things across long distances without being caught.

Cheers,
Kyle

ConstitutionCowboy
October 23, 2006, 06:25 PM
hugh damright

No, you do not make the rules on your property and no your whim is not law. Can you legalize prostitution on your property? Can you legalize drugs? I can't make any sense out of your statement. Confusion on your part is not from a lack of clarity on my part. Laws do not make things legal. Laws make things illegal. Prostitution is already made illegal in the state I live in, therefore, I don't need to make it illegal on my property. Same with drug abuse. My whim IS the law on my property. I can forbid you to do anything I want to do on my property. I don't have to make a law to allow you to walk on my property, but I can forbid you to trespass.

Running off tresspassers is not "war". You cannot draft me and make me participate. You cannot organize an army on your own property. You do not choose what weapons you can have on your own property. I just can't make any sense out of what you're saying. Confusion on your part is not from a lack of clarity on my part. Running off trespassers is no different than sending foreign nationals that are here back home. I can't draft you to defend my property. But, if you want to live on my property, I can certainly require you to defend it. I can organize an army if I so choose. Only the several state have been forbidden to keep an army(without permission from Congress). Only the several states have been forbidden to declare war(without permission from Congress).

You cannot force me to pay you taxes on my property, my income, or anything of that nature, but the government can. Yeah, so? It isn't MY property if it is yours, correct?

The collective has powers beyond that of any individual. The way you are using "collective" here is communism, pure and simple. I suggest you look up the word "collective" and use it accordingly, as everyone else does.

You cannot draft me, but the government can.Does repeating something make it more valid(or invalid)?

To say that you can charge me a cover fee or arm your family or run me off for trespassing is completely removed from the power to declare war, raise an army, and levy taxes. So what if some of those things are removed from each other. I can still do all "five" on my property. Levying taxes is the same as charging you a fee to step upon my property.

Woody

"The right protected by the Second Amendment is absolute. Learn it, live it, love it and be armed in the defense of freedom, our rights, and our sovereignty. If we refuse infringement to our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, we will never be burdened by tyranny, dictatorship, or subjugation - other than to bury those who attempt it.

jlbraun
October 23, 2006, 06:46 PM
Gents, I submit to you the one, the only, one-person nuclear power ever to grace the pages of fiction: Dmitri "Raven" Ravinoff, from the novel Snow Crash!

From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash)

An Aleut native who works as a mercenary. His preferred weapons are glass knives—undetectable by security systems and reputed to be molecule-thin at the edges—and throwing spears. He travels on a motorcycle whose sidecar has been replaced with a hydrogen bomb that will automatically detonate if his heart stops beating. Raven has the phrase "POOR IMPULSE CONTROL" tattooed on his forehead, a sign of being arrested for some violent crime at least once in his life. His stated goal in life is to "nuke America." The combination of his fighting ability, conscienceless killing, and personal nuclear umbrella prompt Stephenson to refer to Raven in his introduction as "the baddest $^#*&(%^% in the world."

Based on this, I think that if you want to be nuclear-armed, so be it - but then you've entered the realm of a "one-person state" because of the massive power you have. You wield power and authority on par with a state, so expect to be dealt with as a state, not a person. You have a right to possess a nuke, but that means that no country will likely want anything to do with you or want you in their borders at all. Sort of like, "Yes, you have the right ot have a nuke, but we also have the right to not let you in our country."

squarooticus
October 23, 2006, 07:04 PM
Based on this, I think that if you want to be nuclear-armed, so be it - but then you've entered the realm of a "one-person state" because of the massive power you have. You wield power and authority on par with a state, so expect to be dealt with as a state, not a person. You have a right to possess a nuke, but that means that no country will likely want anything to do with you or want you in their borders at all. Sort of like, "Yes, you have the right ot have a nuke, but we also have the right to not let you in our country."

This was exactly the point I was trying to make, in a much more readable way. Good job. :)

Kyle

jlbraun
October 23, 2006, 08:22 PM
Corollary to "being dealt with as a state" is that you're now subject to politics at an entirely different level. International politics among nuclear nations is, at best, a nasty, tribalistic, anarchic mess interspersed with nuclear brinksmanship, assassination, and economic warfare. To become a one-person country by possessing a nuke in this environment is to interact with whole nations in their environment of pure anarchy and utter paranoia. Even if they can't touch you because of your deadman switch, you're going to have to interact with someone to get water or food, and that gives other nations leverage over you.

Interacting and surviving as a one-person state is to pull back the veil that exposes the simple unblinking naked force that is international nuclear politics. Surviving in such an environment would demand 24/7 vigiliance and ice water in your veins.

That said, it's entirely possible for one person nuclear states to exist, but it's not likely that they'll exist as truly independent entities, but rather be subservient to one national interest or another for their physical security and subsistence.

Dmack_901
October 23, 2006, 08:29 PM
Like people have said, nukes are not firearms.

It is the same reason why booby-traps are illegal.

It is not aimed or controlled.

ConstitutionCowboy
October 23, 2006, 09:23 PM
We had no problem aiming them at Nagasaki and Hiroshima...

Woody

As the Court said in Boyd v. United States:

"It may be that it is the obnoxious thing in its mildest and least repulsive form; but illegitimate and unconstitutional practices get their first footing in that way, namely, by silent approaches and slight deviations from legal modes of procedure. This can only be obviated by adhering to the rule that constitutional provisions for the security of person and property should be liberally construed. A close and literal construction deprives them of half their efficacy, and leads to gradual depreciation of the right, as if it consisted more in sound than in substance. It is the duty of courts to be watchful for the constitutional rights of the citizen, and against any stealthy encroachments thereon."

We should not wait solely upon the Court to protect our rights for us, but should take an active part in protecting them as well.

Scottmkiv
October 23, 2006, 09:27 PM
Groups of people don't have any rights that individuals don't. If it is immoral for a single man to do, then it is immoral for a group, no matter how large, to do.

In the time of the founding of the country, this meant that heavily armed warships were lawfully owned by individuals (and in fact the constitution provides the option of issuing letters of marque and letting these individuals effectively wage a private war against an enemy country. Today it means that individuals or corporations should be allowed to own, and even use in certain contexts, nuclear bombs.

ctdonath
October 23, 2006, 09:46 PM
you are mistaken that a people cannot have a collective right unless each individual also has that right. That is simply not the nature of it.How? Collectives are merely abstract psychological constructs. Individuals are real.

Can you legalize prostitution on your property? Can you legalize drugs? I can't make any sense out of your statement.Of course you can't. You are a collectivist; your principles are based on the faulty notion of collective > individual.

It is not that I can legalize prostitution or drugs, it is that other people have - under threat of force - deemed them punishable. Such a power is NOT granted by the Constitution to the collective. If I am wrong, please specifically detail how.

Running off tresspassers is not "war".What is the difference? Others invade defined property - whether that boundary is an individuals' or a group of individuals'.

You cannot draft me and make me participate.Of course - you are not part of my "collective" (my family). I can't draft you any more than the USA can draft Swiss.

You cannot organize an army on your own property.Too late. Me, my wife, and my dog - small a group as we are - are armed, coordinated, and ready to defend ourselves and our property.

You do not choose what weapons you can have on your own property.Um...yeah I do. And yes I do.
Importation is occasionally a problem, though - but that's an issue between my micro-nation (so to speak) and other collectives.

The collective has powers beyond that of any individual.Show me such in the Constitution. The collective only has powers granted by the sum of individuals in cooperation. The total may be greater than the sum of the parts - but only because individual rights multiply when joined.

I just can't make any sense out of what you're saying.Of course you can't. You axiomatically hold that the collective - an abstract construct - has "rights" which individuals don't. I disagree; I hold axiomatically that individuals have rights, and groups of individuals have powers mutually delegated from their rights.

So long as you don't recognize axioms which our Founding Fathers held as fundamental, you won't understand me or the Constitution or the nature of individual rights.

jlbraun
October 23, 2006, 10:12 PM
In short, my position is: "Want to own a nuke like a nation-state? Then expect to be treated like one."

Just like you have the right as a private property owner to restrict what people do on your property, expect that a nation will have a problem if you ride up to their border with a nuke in your trunk an expect them to grant you safe passage. Of course, you have the inalienable right to own such a weapon. I'm not going to step on your right - that is, as long as you don't try to get it over my border. You can make as many big booms as you like, just don't do it here, please.

I get certain protections from living in the USA, and part of that contract is that I don't own nuclear weapons. This seems like a reasonable trade to me. I have delegated my right to own nukes to my government. If you don't similarly delegate your right to own one just like the rest of us upon entering our polity, that means that you're not part of our collective, because you didn't delegate your right to own nukes, and don't get the same protections as the rest of us. You still have your rights, understand - we're just not going to protect them for you. And because a nuke is so very powerful, you give up damn near every protection you ever had if you decide to own one. You're taking back the protection of all of your rights from the state that you originally delegated that protection to, and if an actor decides to violate your rights, say, by killing your whole family in some horrible manner, the state will do nothing for you, because you have not delegated to them the ability to do so under a social contract.

If someone decides to exercise their right to own a nuke, no gov't in the world will take them in and protect their rights for them. They have to do it themselves - and that's a very lonely, dangerous, and brutal way to live.

Like it or not, you have to give up something to the state in order to get its protection. Ownership of nukes means you are a state, because that's the highest level of force a state can wield. The whole point of a republic is that no one individual can hold the power to destroy the state, it has to be a supermajority of people acting in concert in order to be politically legitimate. You have to make it such that millions of people have to be politically dissatisfied enough to rise up to take the government back, not just ten guys with 10Mt of BOOM in the trunk. You've got to have just enough force in the hands of the people such that the number of individuals needed to overthrow an existing government comprises a supermajority of the public, and not just a few people.

ctdonath
October 23, 2006, 11:09 PM
Nicely put, jlbraun.

Sure you can own a nuke. Go ahead. So long as you bring it in range of me or my property (or I reasonably expect you will), I'm gonna darn well do something about it - along with everyone else I can scare up who is also equally threatened.

Foot-pounds? Googling...
The energy released by the complete combustion of one kiloton, of TNT is 3.1x10^12 foot-poundsThere's something on the order of 12M gov't employees, so your weapon power cut-off theory is about 24 billion ft-lbs. Not accounting for problems of efficient application (most of a nuke's energy is, to be stupidly picky, wasted), a 1kT bomb is about 1000 times more powerful than a vaguely reasonable cutoff for individual physical power.

Theory needs much refining, but is interesting from the beginning.

jlbraun
October 23, 2006, 11:09 PM
(moved to a separate post)

Consider that it takes about 2000ft-lbs of energy to put a human down reliably (think deer rifle) Take the size of your government X, multiply by 2000ft-lbs, and that's the energy threshold of a single-shot weapon that an individual can't exercise the right to possess under that government. The US has 300 million people, of which 122 million voted in the last presidential election. Technically, that's our government - those that showed up to vote. Times 2000 ft-lbs, and that's 244 gigafootpounds of energy, or about 79 tons of TNT.

That's your limit. No individual citizen of the United States shall own a weapon with a yield greater than 79 tons of TNT.

Let it be so. :)

jlbraun
October 23, 2006, 11:15 PM
Also consider that setting the threshold for individual weapons at "that needed to kill the entire government" means that in a dictatorship... you necessarily must restrict all weapons capable of killing just one guy - ie. citizens can't own firearms!

Secondly, that means that in a democracy - the government IS the entire voting public, so we can own pretty damn powerful weapons without each one of us individually being able to topple the government.

Suddenly, this theory of mine is starting to make sense...

JohnKSa
October 24, 2006, 01:10 AM
They also probably couldn't have envisioned the internet, or, it could be argued, fully automatic weapons. There are literally thousands of things that we take for granted that the Framers probably didn't envision.There's a difference between technological evolution/logical progression of existing items and the jump between owning a gun vs owning an item that can convert small amounts of matter into unthinkable amounts energy.

You can argue there isn't to extend the discussion, but the second simpler response in my post that you conveniently ignored really cuts to the quick of it.

jlbraun
October 24, 2006, 02:06 AM
@ctdonath

What I'm trying to get at is that there has to be SOME cutoff for individual physical power within a state - you have to make some sort of compromise with the state in order for it to protect some of your rights for you. If you want to exercise your right to use weapons that are on par with the most powerful a nation-state can wield, then of what use is a state to you at all? You ARE a state.

Saying that "everyone should be able to own and use a nuclear weapon while still being a citizen of a given country" invalidates the social contract that allows us to form governments in the first place.

Zen21Tao
October 24, 2006, 02:34 AM
The problem is, the 2nd amendment doesn't say "small arms" or "firearms" or "guns." It says "arms."

According to the Webster's dictionary, arms means "a means (as a weapon) of offense or defense." That doesn't really specify that "arms" means "small arms" either.

In interpreting Constitutional rights you have to look at the original INTENT of the text. You can’t do so by applying today’s definitions to historical text of the past. You have to use other writings (most common being The Federal Papers) by the original authors to determine what they meant by the text they used.


The first thing to note is that the 2nd doesn’t bestow a right it limits the governments authority to infringe upon a (what was believed to be) God given right. The original intent of the 2nd was to insure that Citizens retained the ability to keep the government “in check” and from becoming tyrannical and oppressive like the government they had just won their freedom from. To accomplish this, citizens need to have access to the same degree of weaponry that the government has.

The argument isn’t over whether this was the original intent of the 2nd it is whether or not this intent is still needed today. Hence the (rediculous) “living breathing” interpretation of the Constitution held by the left today.

Koobuh
October 24, 2006, 02:37 AM
"I seem to recall that the Founders had private citizens with their own battleships and artillery - hence the "letters of marque" in the Constitution.

'Twould seem to indicate that "arms" meant more than just hand weapons."

Indeed. Arms are arms; each and every of the terrible implements of war, from Liberator pistols to MIRV mounted hydrogen bombs.
It's awfully generous of you people to say 'oh sure, small arms, because that's what I have'. Because of course small arms are sooo vital to war. :rolleyes:
Even at the time of the Revolution small arms were secondary pieces, which while necessary, were not the deciding factor in battles. Who has more maneuverability, and who has more field pieces (not just blackpowder cannons today- aircraft and WMD also are in the mix); these are what determine the outcome of a battle.

Arms means ARMS. Artillery, and counter-artillery. Tanks, and anti-tank weapons. Warplanes, and anti-aircraft weapons. Warships, and anti-warship missiles. Atomic weaponry, and their respective countermeasures.

Small arms are nice, and cheap, and fun, and flexible. But they are not 'terrible implements of war'. They alone will not win a battle against a trained military.
It was the intention of the founders that Americans be not only belligerent and suspicious of government, but at least as well armed, hopefully better on a collective basis.

Remember, nuclear weapons are a massively expensive, incredibly complex, and insanely dangerous weapons system, yet we seem to decide that nation states, as unpredictable and pathological as nation states always are, are the only entities 'responsible' enough to own these items.
Nation states are only beholden to the will of others by means of threat-of-force- the balance of power. That balance has shifted completely in favor of the government vs. the citizen since WWII.
This is not exactly a recipe for happy things.

Yes, individuals or corporate entities should be able to own nukes. These weapons are too expensive and complex to be used in an act of passion or eccentricity- rather they are the trump card of a responsible, pragmatic citizenry against the ultimate recourse of their government.
The founders didn't promise us complete safety; only the means to secure our liberty.

crazed_ss
October 24, 2006, 02:41 AM
Nuclear Weapons in the hands of random citizens if a threat to liberty.

strambo
October 24, 2006, 02:51 AM
These weapons are too expensive and complex to be used in an act of passion or eccentricity-They are? How much did the 9/11 operation cost Al Queda from start to finish? Over a million I bet.

That statement tries to align logical limitations with illogical emotional and/or mentally pathalogical motivations.

To accomplish this, citizens need to have access to the same degree of weaponry that the government has.
No they don't, a government can be toppled without nukes and those nuke won't stop it. Where, and on whom would the govt. target them? Are the 22nd Century (I hope nothing happens before this:uhoh: ) revolutionary "geniuses" gonna mass formations conveniently for that? Maybe take over entire cities with just a large percentage of revolutionaries in them?

You don't "kill everyone in the govt" to overthrow it. Heck, we never came close to that in Iraq or Afghanistan and they're small. You just get rid of the guys at the top...then for everyone else in govt. they flee or it's "meet the new boss, same as the old boss".

44AMP
October 24, 2006, 04:20 AM
of your post, as I read it, is that you are looking for a good sounding argument to use, for a situation where an anti escalates to nukes when you talk machineguns.

Certainly no one would want just anybody to have a nuke. We have way to many unstable people for that. Unfortunately, I happen to fall into the camp that says, (technically) the Second Amentment allows nukes.

However, the Govt can prohibit us from owning nukes (legally) without using any laws which infringe on our rights. Bear with me.

1) Govt can prohibit importation of nuclear devices. So, to buy a foreign made nuke would be a crime. Govt has this authority. Can't be challenged.

2) No US made nuclear device is (or has ever been) available for sale. Therefore, if you had one, it would be stolen property. A crime.

3) You could build your own. But, the material needed for the nuclear part is already regulated under law. (Atomic energy act, IIRC), and as an ordinary citizen you can't legally posess more than trace amounts. Plus, while the science behind a nuclear weapon is rather simple physics, the engineering of the bomb to get it to work is quite complex. And since you can't legally possess enough U or Pu to make it work, if you had one that could work, it would be a crime.

So, unless you are willing to commit a crime, there is no way a private citizen could have a nuke. There, that settles it!

As to the "arms" argument, my opinion is to include howitzers and tanks. These guns are operated by men. Things that shoot. I would put bombs in a different category.

And, while there has been quite a lot of developement with "tactical nuclear weapons", none have ever been used, nor put up for sale in a legal market. AND if one were to go on the block, it is ilegal for a US citizen to get one (see above).

The reality is that (because of the way mankind views nuclear weapons) they are strategic weapons. It doesn't matter if the weapon name has the word tactical in it, use of any nuclear weapon has strategic consequences.

And that it why machine guns are ok and nukes aren't, nukes are strategic weapons, machine guns aren't.

goosegunner
October 24, 2006, 07:00 AM
From the revolution viewpoint, who is ,as I understand, the driving force behind creating the 2nd. A, the meaningful arms for the people to keep will change with time. The Govt have nukes, aircraft, tanks, infantry, poison gas etc. and will always be stronger than You, the people, in material resourses. Hence will private aircrafts, tanks, artillery etc. be of little or no use. Look to the current war/insurgency/police action in Iraq: what is causing you problems? Tanks, (heavy)artillery, infantry and aircrafts was fast and effectively eliminated whithin days or weeks after the invation. The same would have happened in a revolution on american soil, any (if exsistent) larger troop consentration, tank formations or aircrafts would be destroyed pretty fast.
What a revolutionary force needs is counter measures to the Govt. weapons. They don't need tanks, they need RPG's and mines. They don't need battleships, but a hellfire missile battrey would be nice . They don't need helicopters, but AA missiles.

If the possibility for a successful revolution is the force behind the 2nd A, times have changed since privately owned battleships had any point.

Fosbery
October 24, 2006, 08:12 AM
I think the 2A does cover all arms, including nuclear arms.

But the constitution isn't always 100% right, let's be honest.

Nukes have no real use for individuals unless you take things to silly extremes. You cannot topple your own government with nukes, nor defend yourself from domestic attackers (muggers, rapists, looters etc). It would be virtually impossible for an individual to use a nuclear weapon recreationally without causing massive enviromental damage. Using a nuclear weapon against an attacking nation is questionable at best given that it would be virtually impossible to avoid massive civillian casualties.

So, there's no reason to have one other than "Just because". But we all say that we should be able to own arms because they are our private property. You would never use a minigun to defend yourself and I can't imagine anyone seriously using it to overthrow the government, yet I am sure most of us would say we should be able to own miniguns. Revolver carbines are pretty useless, but why should you be denied one?

The difference with nukes, for me, is that there is no security. They are unique really. It only takes one accident, one drunken moment of stupidity, one terrorist or one suicidal maniac to wipe out a city. With guns, they'll probably just kill themselves, if anything, or kill a couple of people before being gunned down themselves (assuming everyone carried in public). Nukes are just on a whole other level compared to anything else.

I strongly believe in the individual's right to do whatever they like, just so long as it does not hurt anyone else. Well, owning a nuke isn't hurting anyone else but somehow I just couldn't subscribe to a law allowing people to own nukes.

Lucky
October 24, 2006, 09:17 AM
Sounds like most people are wrestling with the morality of nuclear weapons existing at all, and trying to shrug it off by limiting the availability to individuals. It's almost funny how the standard gun-grabber slogans are suddenly being brushed off and re-cycled, but it's not funny.

HighRoadPoster:"A psycho with a bomb could do much more damage than one with a gun."

Gun-Grabber:"A psycho with a gun could do much more damage than one with a knife."

And then yet others are suggesting that individuals shouldn't even be allowed anything except rifles, not cannons or ships or airplanes or hand grenades. Even though there's ample historical evidence against it... I'm not even American and I know about the importance of private cannons used by the South during the civil war.

Might I suggest an alternative solution, that would soothe the consciences of those 'nuke grabbers'? I'd suggest that if you allow your government to own and use weapons, then the 2nd amendment automatically grants civilians to own those same weapons, in fact the civilians are supposed to be BETTER armed than your government. In theory you should be debating whether the FBI should be allowed to use 'citizen-killer hollow-point bullets', and what magazine capacity they really need.


Look at it another way, would it be OK if you bought a nuclear weapon, but hired a specialist to look after it for you? You and your neighbour, owning and operating a nuke between the two of you. If that's not OK then it's not OK for you to contribute to a group fund, and do the same thing on a much larger scale.


...Government of the people, by the people, for the people... And you think that it's OK for THEM to own and use nukes, but not 'the people'.

Sigh, gun grabber mentality might simply be limited by personal prejudices:(

crazed_ss
October 24, 2006, 09:40 AM
Great discussion.. it looks like we're stuck with two camps here.
People should be able to own anything, up to and including nuclear weapons
Perhaps, there should be some limits on what citizens can own.

IMO, some people take the "shall not be infringed" part too literally. I mean the 1st Amendment says Free Speech can't be abridged, yet you can be sued/arrested for slander or libel or for making threats. There are limits on free speech and it is feasible that there can be limits on some arms that doesnt automatically lead to banning and confiscation of all arms.

Lucky
October 24, 2006, 09:59 AM
Is your government made of robots? Of the People, by the People, for the People. They're People. It's People in the buildings and it's People in the silos. People people people.

I agree that there could be catastrophic consequences from nuclear proliferation, but there's two ways to deal with that. #1)The gov't renounces nukes, and that would suggest that they are not suitable as arms. #2)You get the 2/3 vote, amend the constitution, and be done with it. Specify just what doesn't count as 'arms'. Or just as easily, specify what does, that won't be abused, right? Or maybe delete the 2nd all-together, because if one psycho gets ahold of some weapon out there, they could hurt people, so for that reason no-one should be allowed to have weapons.

Hell in this very thread one person already honestly said that his opinion is that you have the right to keep arms, as long as they're on your person at all times (meaning no gun-safe collections for you), while a majority agree that no larger calibres than rifles (let's call them 'destructive devices') are really needed by honest men.

Lol, it's just the hypocrisy that I find amusing, and depressing, how quickly so many renounce the core aspect of this very forum.:( I don't have this right you do, in my country, and I see so many people so willing to throw it away:(

glummer
October 24, 2006, 10:05 AM
Interesting thread. I like the "one-man State" argument.

How about this?
It is impossible, as a practical matter, to USE a nuke without harming innocent people (poisoning the air, soil, & water, at the least - many collateral damage deaths also likely.)
Therefore, mere POSSESSION of a nuke, is a form of assault; i.e., a threat of violence against innocent people. Sort of a super-brandishing. Which is generally recognized as something which can legitimately be restricted/criminalized.
This would also apply to most forms of WMD.

(Note that this argument would NOT apply to firearms, since they CAN be used without harm to innocents. Or, put another way, in a world where EVERY gunshot harmed innocent people, the 2A would never be written.)

Otherguy Overby
October 24, 2006, 10:06 AM
Seems to me that if we dug up the founders, revivified them and showed them what politicians in DC had done to the country they created, they'd be appalled. If we then told them about nuclear weapons, they'd want to be the first to push the button to nuke DC. :cuss:

Sistema1927
October 24, 2006, 10:21 AM
One of the most thoughtful posts thus far has been Lucky's (#91).

He touches on something that I have been grappling with, and that is this: Is there some knowledge that we would be better off without possessing?

Please bear with me as I try to string my rambling thoughts together.

The nuclear genie is out of the bottle, and it is never going back. Yes, we saw that the use of the Atom bomb in WWII might have saved millions of lives, both Allied and Japanese, at the end of that terrible war. At the same time, if we had not developed the A bomb, would German scientists have finally developed one and used it against us? We have seen advances in nuclear medicine, and the generation of electricity from nuclear power plants. There have been many advances coming out of the Manhattan project, but we have also paid a great price for those, possibly will still pay in unimagineable ways in the future.

Yet, at the end of the day, we need to note that nuclear weapons do exist, and they are not going away. Who are the "governments" that we trust with these weapons? Are they not us, the citizens of this Republic? Our government has no rights, it only has powers granted by those possessing the rights. In other words, if it is OK for our nation to possess nukes, then it is OK for us to possess them. If it is not OK for us to possess them, then it is not OK for our government to possess them.

Some knowledge might prove too dangerous to possess. IIRC, there were some physicists in the Manhattan project who feared that the splitting of the first atom might lead to a catestrophic chain reaction that would annihilate the planet. Yet, they persisted and unleashed the terrible power with which we now have to contend.

We can not undo the past, we can not forget nuclear weapons technology. We must live with it, and pray that we have not bitten off more from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil than we can handle.

jlbraun
October 24, 2006, 10:34 AM
I think that glummer lands closest to the mark.

Nukes are strategic weapons. They're big, messy, and polluting WAY outside of any "private range" you as an individual could construct to set one off "recreationally". Basically, you have to have a range big enough to set one off without infringing on others' property rights. Is it possible for an average individual to own property where you can light off machineguns, mortars, explosives, and artillery safely? Absolutely.

What about a range safe enough to set off a nuke? You need an evac area hundreds of miles on a side, the radioactive plume will drift far beyond that, and you're probably still going to EMP someone's heart monitor somewhere. Is it possible for someone to own a range this big as an individual, within the bounds of an existing country. I think not.

And if you just happen to have nukes, as well as a range hundreds of miles on a side - well lookit that - you're a government!

For those who are saying that "If the state can own nukes, so can I", I still stand by my statement that you have to delegate some of your unfettered freedom as an individual to a government so that you don't have to exist in a state of nature (ie. tooth and claw). If you don't delegate to the government your right to own nuclear weapons (the most powerful weapon in existence currently), then you preclude even forming a state at all.

(FWIW, the total yield of all the bombs dropped on both sides total in WWII is about 2 megatons, which is a merely average nuclear device.)

And there is literally no such thing as "knowledge we're better off not possessing". Knowledge is value-neutral.

kfranz
October 24, 2006, 10:36 AM
I mean the 1st Amendment says Free Speech can't be abridged, yet you can be sued/arrested for slander or libel or for making threats.

The constitution doesn't grant authority to arrest for making threats. Slander/libel are after the fact situations, not preventative measures.

RealGun
October 24, 2006, 10:47 AM
You can't own nukes legally, because they aren't a commercial product, sold as surplus, or legal to import. The government very appropriately keeps all that as secret information or secured rights to the design. It is tiresome to see this subject continually come up. It is rhetorical, because one couldn't buy one if they wanted to.

The difference with machine guns is that one might realistically go up against police or military with full auto guns and should have the right to own the same weapons. It was no different when the Henry rifle was introduced, and the military obtained the Winchester version of the lever action, repeating rifle. I am not sure of the history of the Gatling gun, but there may be some parallels.

Lucky
October 24, 2006, 10:59 AM
Good points. Maybe a better title for the thread would be "If you were to amend the constitution to exclude WMDs, how would you do it?"

That's obviously assuming that your constitution can't simply be ignored and side-step the issue.

jlbraun
October 24, 2006, 11:06 AM
@Lucky

I wouldn't exclude WMD's, because that opens the door to further infringment, and limits the lifetime of the document.

I see it as perfectly reasonable to have nuclear weapons as a private citizen, but only if you're, say, an interplanetary trader, privateer, or asteroid miner.

glummer
October 24, 2006, 12:29 PM
I think we must also remember that it’s not just whether you can own X, but also how you use it. Your right to move your fist stops where my nose begins, as the saying goes.
Your right to handle a gun stops when you point it at innocent people.
When your employment of weapon X is a threat to me, your right hits a limit.
The right to self-defense includes the right to defend against a THREAT of violence (as determined by a "reasonable man" standard.) Mere possession of a nuke by a private citizen would generally BE such a threat, and therefore, would justify deadly force (by the authorities, or private citizens) to neutralize the threat.
To own a nuke without being a clear threat to others, you would have to prove, in effect, that you were safe to do so. Which is, basically, what you have to do now, to run a nuclear plant, for instance.

Fosbery
October 24, 2006, 01:14 PM
I have to agree totally with glummer.

hugh damright
October 24, 2006, 02:03 PM
When the King had a standing army here, we did not respond by declaring that every person should have his own standing army ... what we declared was that any military power must be subordinate to the civil power.

I think the idea of an individual right to check/alter/abolish government is completely antithetical to the idea of free government. It is the people, the majority, that have a right to alter or to abolish government. An individual with a personal nuclear weapon is not controlled by the majority, and so he is a threat to free government.

Gordon Fink
October 24, 2006, 02:51 PM
[sigh] Five pages, and most of you still haven’t recognized that it’s not the object but the behavior we have to be concerned about. Rocks, guns, or nukes, it makes no difference.

~G. Fink

jlbraun
October 24, 2006, 03:11 PM
@Gordon Fink

I don't think you're getting it. This isn't about objects, this is about capacity to project force as it relates to political legitimacy. An individual with a machine gun, artillery, or even a tank cannot directly threaten a government. Even if you had a company of tanks, you still wouldn't stand a chance by yourself. A nuke gives you the unilateral power to destroy the lives of millions in an instant. That is cubic MILES of dead bodies.

No machine gun, tank, or artillery has that ability.

In order to threaten a government, you need millions of other people to also bring their guns, tanks, IED's, and artillery and have an honest go at taking the government. If you have a nuke, you alone can decide to destroy the government or hold it hostage - exceeding your political or moral legitimacy to do so. Millions of people rising up and taking over the government is politically legitimate. One person detonating a nuke and taking over is not politically legitimate.

Makes me glad the founders put that "militia" bit in there. Basically, it means that you possess the inalienable right to bear arms of any kind, BUT AS A CITIZEN OF THE USA you can bear them only up to the point that it begins to exceed your political legitimacy as a member of the militia. A nuke clearly exceeds individual political legitimacy - while machine guns, tanks, and even battleships do not.

Igloodude
October 24, 2006, 03:30 PM
I pretty much fall with crazed_ss' original post - the single use of a machine gun, tank, howitzer, etc do not threaten society - lots of individuals yes, but not the fabric of civil order, which in turn prevents the government from assisting me in defending my civil rights.

That's the difference between a 'WMD' and a big gun - what is accomplished with a single use of the weapon.

Edit: and jlbraun puts it extremely well.

ksnecktieman
October 24, 2006, 03:43 PM
Glummer? Am I less of a threat to you if I walk into a room wearing or carrying a gun, than if I live in the area and own a nuke?

I only see two sides to this question. Either you believe gun control laws. Or you do not

Who will decide after the next election what items should be illegal to possess?

If we are going to control, the second amendment should be changed, or abolished.

squarooticus
October 24, 2006, 04:13 PM
In order to threaten a government, you need millions of other people to also bring their guns, tanks, IED's, and artillery and have an honest go at taking the government. If you have a nuke, you alone can decide to destroy the government or hold it hostage - exceeding your political or moral legitimacy to do so. Millions of people rising up and taking over the government is politically legitimate. One person detonating a nuke and taking over is not politically legitimate.
(Edit: disregarding "taking over") I disagree.

Theoretically, if a government strips you of your rights in a way you consider unjust, you should have the power to nullify that judgment unilaterally. E.g., if the government decides you are no longer a fit person and considers you stripped of you of your right to keep and bear arms, or to speak out against the government, or to subject your body to foreign substances, etc., at that point you will need the amount of force required to defend that right and defend yourself against the consequential damage of having defended the original right: an ever-increasing amount of force will inevitably be arrayed against you so the establishment monopoly on force can maintain the legitimacy of that monopoly.

If the amount of force required to defend your rights is sufficient to destroy the entire apparatus of government, then so be it: you are entitled to do whatever it takes to defend your rights against an aggressor, no matter whether that aggressor is the thug next door or the thug elected by a majority of the citizens.

Ideally, you would be able to hire a private security firm to defend you against the unjust actions of government; but this would make government just another force among many, which would result in a complete loss of its ability to tax compulsorily, leading the whole deck of cards to collapse. It wouldn't require anywhere near a majority of the citizens to engage their own state-level force (even if by contract with a private firm) for the state to lose legitimacy.

Legitimacy is the very reason government must maintain a monopoly on force, and why I reject that entire notion.

Cheers,
Kyle

Gordon Fink
October 24, 2006, 04:29 PM
An individual with a machine gun, artillery, or even a tank cannot directly threaten a government.…

Nor can he do so with one or even several nuclear devices. Give me a dozen or so nukes, and then maybe I can start to push Uruguay around. If, in fact, I did such, Uruguay and her friends would be quite justified in putting me back in my place.

Can you see where this is going?

~G. Fink

glummer
October 24, 2006, 04:34 PM
ksnectieman

Glummer? Am I less of a threat to you if I walk into a room wearing or carrying a gun, than if I live in the area and own a nuke?
Hell, yes. By orders of magnitude. There are thousands of people with guns living within a few miles of me. I enter the same room with dozens of them every week at the gun club. And the possible threat is very low.
If that same number of people had suitcase nukes at home, (and the usual number of teenagers in the neighborhood,) the whole state would be a radioactive desert by now.

crunker
October 24, 2006, 04:46 PM
Large arms such as nukes are uncontrolled devices. They are too deadly to be used on earth for anyone's benefit. They're only worth keeping as scare weapons.

2A rights protect small arms, which means anything manportable. This may include some light howitzers and certainly applies to miniguns.

However, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons are not controllable by the user and will wipe out everyone within a gigantic radius. Therefore these are not protected by the Second Amendment.

jlbraun
October 24, 2006, 05:07 PM
@Gordon Fink

No, I don't see where this is going. Help me out.

squarooticus
October 24, 2006, 06:35 PM
2A rights protect small arms... However, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons are not controllable by the user and will wipe out everyone within a gigantic radius. Therefore these are not protected by the Second Amendment.
Is this in theory or in practice? Because you'd be wrong in both cases.

In practice, the 2nd amendment protects nothing. The mere fact that I need a license to carry issued on the basis of some arbitrary criteria not mentioned in the 2nd amendment is a pretty clear indication to me that the 2nd amendment doesn't protect Jack Schidt.

In theory, the 2nd amendment says nothing about the type of arms, but implies (based on my reading of the founders' own words) that citizens should have access to the same level of force as the state, specifically to keep the state from growing too powerful for the good of the people.

So, what you are asserting is, in fact, just your opinion and has nothing to do with either theory or practice. You should preface similar statements in the future with, "I think that..." or "It should be the case that...".

Cheers,
Kyle

Gordon Fink
October 24, 2006, 07:23 PM
No, I don’t see where this is going. Help me out.

In circles.

If I don’t have a right to nuclear arms, then my nation-state doesn’t have that right either. If my nation doesn’t have a right to nuclear arms, then it doesn’t have a right to firearms, Bibles, or other potentially dangerous objects. If it doesn’t have a right to firearms, Bibles, or other dangerous objects, then neither do I.

The scales may be different, but the principles are the same.

~G. Fink

jlbraun
October 24, 2006, 07:40 PM
Gordon,

You're absolutely right, and I have been agreeing with you. One absolutely does have the right to own nuclear arms as a private citizen, and attempt to keep a W55 in one's garage if desired. My comments about one's "political legitimacy" don't imply that one doesn't have the right to own one in any form. What I meant was that while you possess the inalienable right to a nuclear weapon, you owning one is incompatible with your existence under any reasonable social contract in a representative republic composed of beings that take a mere 2000 ft-lbs to wipe from existence and happen to live near each other. Were we instead spread out over interplanetary distances or our bodies thousands of times more resilent, things would be different. One committed to exercising their right to own a nuke should not be surprised when the polity they're a member of boots them out of the back door.

I find no logical inconsistency in the fact that that a body such as the USA can declare machine guns and tanks are suitable for citizens to own, but nukes are not, and make this a precondition from them joining the polity in the first place.

If one can find a polity - or form one - that not only recognizes the human right to own a nuke but is committed to protecting it under a social contract, well, that's different.
I'm in the process of writing a book about the notion of nuclear-armed microstates, I'd be interested in your comments when I finish it.

Fosbery
October 24, 2006, 07:43 PM
How many negligent dischargess and accidental discharges have there been in the US over the past year? Thousands and thousands I'll bet. Very few people were hurt by these I'll wager since the chance of a bullet actually finding you, when not aimed, is pretty small. None the less, people were undoubtedly killed due to NDs and ADs but this is a price we pay for gun ownership and a price worth paying. Convert thouse thousands of NDs and ADs into nuclear explosions. Well, there'd be nobody left in the country and anybody who came looking would find a barren wasteland.

Maybe, in principal we should be able to own nukes but if keeping principal means ever person in the country dieing, I say it's worth giving up. It's just common sense.

ctdonath
October 24, 2006, 08:17 PM
There's a difference between technological evolution/logical progression of existing items and the jump between owning a gun vs owning an item that can convert small amounts of matter into unthinkable amounts energy.Yes, there's the issue of evolutionary vs. revolutionary technical advancements.
Better analogy:
- Evolutionary: a 1 cubic foot bomb improved from going "boom" to "BBBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM". The Founding Fathers knew of explosives; nukes are just more powerful/efficient explosives. The scale of change is startling, but the idea is the same.
- Revolutionary: the first bomb. No "boom" to "boom".

As "Click-N-Clack" once put it: the difference between two headlights and one headlight is a lot less than the difference between one headlight and no headlight.

If you want to exercise your right to use weapons that are on par with the most powerful a nation-state can wield, then of what use is a state to you at all? You ARE a state.Interestingly put.

Random thoughts to no particular conclusion:

Were some US citizens in, say, 1780 "states" because they owned battleships?
The Constitution says "No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, ... keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, ...".
The US Militia was intended as the primary source of national defense ... with that militia self-armed.
Nothing in the Constitution indicates limiting what weapons individuals could own, axiomatically because the nation would depend on those individuals bringing those weapons.

Avoid splitting the government from the people into an "us vs. them". The Constitution intended to empower the government as an extention of "us" the people.
The theory of "cannot have weapons matching the power of a state" must consider that the state is an aggregate of individuals, each of whom may have that power ... to wit: if you have sum weaponry of power X, so can other individuals, who then acting together can have sum weaponry of power N*X.
While it is abstractly conceivable that Bill Gates could buy a nuke, so could Warren Buffet and George Soros and ...; the chance of any one US citizen having a weapon so powerful as to match or exceed the sum total firepower of the rest of us combined is vanishingly small.

To continue the foot-pounds theory...
About 16,000,000 Americans go deer hunting each year. At a rough guess, they possess some 3.2 trillion ft-lbs of energy (assuming a conservative 100 rounds of .308 each average) - about equal to the 1kT TNT noted earlier.
Any other thoughts on calculating the total firepower available? (Note the difference between efficient linear-effect energy (bullets) vs. inefficient volume-effect energy (explosives).)

Nuclear Weapons in the hands of random citizens is a threat to liberty.I think we all agree on that.

All this discussion is more about intellectual analysis of "why".
We should operate upon reasoned principles, not just gut feeling of "X is bad".

oringinal intent of your post, as I read it, is that you are looking for a good sounding argument to use, for a situation where an anti escalates to nukes when you talk machineguns.Yes. To get back on track, and as I've tried to articulate before:
One may exercise RKBA with any weapon insofar as they can do so safely (that includes exercising lethal force upon someone upon whom lethal force use is warranted).
Machineguns can be used safely (you can choose to apply it only to lethally violent assailants).
Conventional explosives can be used safely (you can thoroughly check the area for unintended would-be casualties).
Nukes, indiscriminately putting everyone within a mile or so at risk of instant death, inherently cannot be used safely (use thereof will most likely kill lots of innocents/noncombatants).

Lucky,
It's not so much hypocricy as people trying to reasonably define lines in a large region which has no clear lines. Most agree that X is ok and Y is not, but finding the division therebetween is not always easy.

hugh damright
October 24, 2006, 08:27 PM
Theoretically, if a government strips you of your rights in a way you consider unjust, you should have the power to nullify that judgment unilaterally. E.g., if the government decides you are no longer a fit person and considers you stripped of you of your right to keep and bear arms, or to speak out against the government, or to subject your body to foreign substances, etc., at that point you will need the amount of force required to defend that right

The way I understand it, in a free State there is an individual right to expatriation. If you feel that your government is unjust, you have a right to move to another State ... but you do not have a right to attack your government for not abiding by your personal will. If the majority thinks that their government is unjust, they have a right to alter or abolish it, but an individual has no such right.

squarooticus
October 24, 2006, 10:04 PM
The way I understand it, in a free State there is an individual right to expatriation. If you feel that your government is unjust, you have a right to move to another State ... but you do not have a right to attack your government for not abiding by your personal will. If the majority thinks that their government is unjust, they have a right to alter or abolish it, but an individual has no such right.
Two responses:


Try committing an act contrary to legislation you don't agree with. Then, when you get arrested, try asking the government to expatriate you instead of imprisoning you. Let me get my earplugs before they start laughing, though. ;)

Why isn't going back on my property sufficient means of expatriation? It's my property,* not theirs, and I'm perfectly happy to do without their protection (such as it is) if I can contract for an alternate means of security. And if my home abuts the property of someone else who agrees to give me passage, and the property of someone else who agrees to the same, ad nauseam... I might have no problems suriviving, working, or even travelling long distances without ever stepping foot on government-owned land.


Kyle

* Ostensibly. In reality, however, private property rights do not exist in the US anymore: everything belongs to the government (starting at withholding but extending to your entire estate), and is leased to you for the duration of your lifetime or until they decide to take it from you, whichever comes first.

gezzer
October 24, 2006, 10:09 PM
How about because it is a Bomb and not a Firearm? Duh!

Question is typical ANTI-GUN rhetoric We have heard in arguments for years, gets old..

The Deer Hunter
October 24, 2006, 10:30 PM
what would you do with a nuke?


seriously you really couldnt target practice with it seeing as how you only have one but even if you did miss you would hit it.

Firethorn
October 24, 2006, 10:32 PM
firethorn?
By that logic, do you consider the founders first amendment concerns to protect only the quill pen, and the unamplified spoken word?

Sorry for the delay, but no.

I hope that you didn't take my point to mean that I only think that the 'arms' protected by the constitution are muskets/polearms/etc... I meant the individual arms used by a soldier. Today that would be M-16/M-4 type rifles. Even stuff used by other militaries such as the AK-47 and G-36.

Today the normal methods of communication, the spread of speech is email, electronic, automated printing press, television, radio, etc...

It's just that I draw a difference between an 'arm' like a rifle of whatever sort, and a 'munition' like a 2,000 pound bomb or especially a nuke.

If it can be moved and used in a discriminatory* fashion by an individual, citizens should be allowed to own it.

*So no NBC, though I suppose you could fit hand grenades and claymores in there somehow.

JohnKSa
October 25, 2006, 12:47 AM
nukes are just more powerful/efficient explosives.No, that's not true and I explained why.

Explosives do not cause birth defects, cancer and genetic damage to people and animals for hundreds of miles around depending on the way the wind blows. Explosives do not render miles and miles of land unlivable for decades or longer. Explosives do not damage electronics over a range that far exceeds the blast damage. Explosives do not kill and maim beyond the range of the blast damage.

It's entirely possible that NO ONE has the right to own nuclear weapons or other WMDs, INCLUDING governments, but that's beside the point.

The line between WMDs and conventional weapons is not hard to understand, and it is NOT simply a matter of scale or efficiency. I don't see that it's logical to say that the 2nd protects something that fits into a totally different category from any weapons that existed at the time anymore than it is logical to say that the first amendment would protect the right to implant one's thoughts directly into someone else's brain telepathically (had that technology been invented in the 40s instead of atomics).

Travis Lee
October 25, 2006, 10:19 AM
The problem I have with even this hypothetical debate is that this is EXACTLY the baiting that antis engage in, so as to back you up rhetorically, until you concede that cannons, machine guns, rifles, handguns, finally even a BB gun is an EVIL EVIL THING which has no purpose whatsoever than to "hurt people", and thus you really have NO SUCH RIGHT to keep and bear arms, after all.

I have NEVER heard anybody employ Reductio ad absurdum re: private possesion of nukes, who isn't playing that game.

It's all trickery and bafflegab.

NUTS! I refuse to cede even the most absurd theoretical point. That way I don't have to re-justify my principle on machine guns and scoped rifles tomorrow.

--Travis--

Lucky
October 25, 2006, 10:57 AM
ctdonath I felt it was hypcrisy because the exact same arguments people hate hearing against firearms ownership were reversed. I'm not sure if it scares me that their logic might be right, or angers me because their logic is wrong, but either was I didn't like it.

I fully agree with those espousing the irreconcilable affronts you would do to others if you detonated a nuclear weapon. But several sticking points remain:

A)what if you could detonate it WITHOUT doing harm to others. If you have a pure plutonium bomb them there is no gamma radiation, for instance.

B)The fact is that gov'ts of the people DO have bombs, and DID detonate them, causing the side-effects you mention. I know of an entire film crew that suffered deadly radiation poisoning filiming a movie in the Nevada deserts. It is irreconcilable that it can be absolutely wrong to own and detonate nukes, but at the same time you contribute money to build them and detonate them, and elect representatives to give the orders to do so. You HAVE to make a choice, which side of the fence you want to be on.

C)If you disagree on point A), then I have to ask why explosives of any sort would be allowed, in theory. Your only options would be to either limit the tonnage of explosives allowable to own, or to ban them altogether. In practice history shows that whatever choice is made a total ban is inevitable.

Fosbery
October 25, 2006, 11:01 AM
How about this:

Every person has the right to own private property, including weapons of any kind, including weapons of mass destruction (with some restrictions on the insane, those in prison etc).

However, seperate to the above, it would be reasonable for a government to pass a law that made it illegal to POSESS a weapon of mass destruction close enough to the planet earth (or any other area inhabited by any form of life or owned by any intelligent life form) so as that it could cause any kind of damage, injury, death or degradation of the enviroment or atmosphere, were it to be detonated, launched or otherwise activated, delivered or used.

Would that be acceptable?

My thinking goes along the lines of health and safety. Banning explosives won't stop terrorists getting them and banning nukes won't stop terrorists getting them eventually (up until now it's worked because of the scientific and practical problems with obtaining or building a nuke but it can be done and probably will in the future). However, a huge bomb or WMD is a massive risk, even in the hands of the most trustworthy individual. Ownership should be legal, but it should need to be stored in such a way that it is no danger to anyone.

Sistema1927
October 25, 2006, 11:12 AM
However, seperate to the above, it would be reasonable for a government to pass a law that made it illegal to POSESS a weapon of mass destruction close enough to the planet earth (or any other area inhabited by any form of life or owned by any intelligent life form) so as that it could cause any kind of damage, injury, death or degradation of the enviroment or atmosphere, were it to be detonated, launched or otherwise activated, delivered or used.

It has already been tried. You can own a firearm, but can't POSSESS it within 1,000 feet of a school. We wouldn't want to "cause any kind of damage, injury, death" were "it to be ... activated, delivered or used". It is for the children, don't ya know?

As has been earlier stated, once you start to concede the concessions grow and grow.

ConstitutionCowboy
October 25, 2006, 11:17 AM
My thinking goes along the lines of health and safety. Banning explosives won't stop terrorists getting them and banning nukes won't stop terrorists getting them eventually (up until now it's worked because of the scientific and practical problems with obtaining or building a nuke but it can be done and probably will in the future). However, a huge bomb or WMD is a massive risk, even in the hands of the most trustworthy individual. Ownership should be legal, but it should need to be stored in such a way that it is no danger to anyone.

The feds store them "safely" now. What makes you think a citizen couldn't do the same, by the same means the feds use?

Woody

"Peace, Prosperity, and Freedom: Magic elixirs of life brought to you courtesy of the Constitution for the United States of America." B.E.Wood

Fosbery
October 25, 2006, 11:36 AM
Have you ever been to a nuclear facility? They're not exactly garden sheds. If you can safely store a nuke, that's fine by me but I doubt any private individual could do it (at least not until the far future). That's what I'm saying. If you can meet the same safety standards as the government, that's ok, but otherwise you'd need to be out in the middle of space or something.

ksnecktieman
October 25, 2006, 12:07 PM
Thank you travis mcgee, I will stand with you and argue the same. for the same reason.
To the ones that want to control nukes, you are on a slippery slope of admitting that the second amendment does not really mean "shall not be infringed", as it is written. I say that nukes are protected under the second amendment as it is written. If controls are needed ( like the ten people in this country that could pay for such a device really need to or can be restricted), then it is time to amend the constitution.
To me it is ridiculous to want to own a machine gun, or a fifty caliber, or a hand gernade. BUT I can not accept controls on your weapon of choice, without knowing that some day you will accept a ban on my plastic keltec .32

So can anyone tell me where you want to draw this line, for today? Am I to be allowed a fighter airplane? Am I only allowed to own an obsolete one? A b52 or similar bomber? A 20 mm vulcan with a delivery rate of 3,000 rounds a minute? A warship, or a submarine? A .22 caliber ink pen?

If this does not mean what it says we should change it.

Fosbery
October 25, 2006, 12:55 PM
Nothing needs changing. "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" does not include "keeping and bearing" a gun pointed at the head of an innocent person or "keeping and bearing" a gun in prison. That's just common sense. Carrying a a loaded, cocked pistol with no safety with your finger on the trigger and swaggering about in a crowded street is stupidly dangerous and I'm sure no one would think it wrong for that person to be required to handle his gun safely. I don't exactly see Thoman Jefferson coming to that person's defence :uhoh:

Equally, I think it is simply common sense that owners of nukes be expected to keep them safe. Deep underground in secure facilities with the detonators removed, something like that. Is that really invalidating the 2a?

Want to own a B52 bomber? Sure, just keep the bay doors shut when flying over cities. See what I'm saying?

jlbraun
October 25, 2006, 01:03 PM
@ksnecktieman

I actually am in agreement with you - if a person is able to show that they are a responsible human, they should be able to own one. Whether the state wants to protect that right is up to the state to decide.

I'm writing a book regarding the certainty of nuclear-armed corporations and persons in the medium-term future (30-50 years), in order to secure their freedoms to do particular kinds of research and finance.

I think that in the future we're going to be forced to reconsider our position of "only governments should own nukes".

ConstitutionCowboy
October 25, 2006, 01:07 PM
What you are talking about is USE. There is nothing in the Constitution forbidding Congress to pass law prohibiting improper use of arms.

Woody

"For every power usurped by government, a right of the People suffers." B.E.Wood

ksnecktieman
October 25, 2006, 01:22 PM
fosbury? You are allowed to own a pistuol, but you are not allowed to use it on another (except special defensive situations). ownership is ok, using it is not ok, in a safe place.

Underground with detonators removed? Next we will want it totally disassembled, and then we will make it illegal to own the components.

Do you like the safe storage laws that require all firearms to be locked in a safe, with trigger locks or firing pins removed?

On this issue, I see us all as standing on a line in the sand. There is no middle ground. Either we want our rights infringed or we don't. If we allow them to be infringed we will have to take a step back when the line is moved to more control, and history shows us it will move that way.

Compare us as gun owners, to a rabbit, and the gun grabbers to a coyote. We as the rabbit only get to lose one time. If the coyote loses, it was just dinner, and he will find another soon. ( I do not remember where I stole that line, so thanks to whoever wrote it the first time.)

Fosbery
October 25, 2006, 01:30 PM
Consider this:

You never point a gun at something unless you are willing to destroy it, unless you have proven the gun to be unloaded.

Why do we follow this rule? Because guns can go off and kill someone if they are pointed at them.

Nukes can kill not just someone, but millions of people, no matter where they are pointing. In effect, they point in all directions at once. Would it not be reasonable to expect them to be 'proved' unloaded i.e. detonator removed or similar at all times (unless you are willing to destroy the entire area)?

Just follow the four rules with all weapons.

glummer
October 25, 2006, 01:31 PM
ksnectieman
You are allowed to own a pistuol, but you are not allowed to use it on another (except special defensive situations). ownership is ok, using it is not ok, in a safe place.
I can't follow your logic here. Are you saying that self-defense laws infringe your RKBA?

Lucky
October 25, 2006, 01:43 PM
Fosbery - How about you just define how many tons (maybe only pounds) of explosives should be allowed to be owned?:evil:

jlbraun
October 25, 2006, 02:20 PM
@Lucky

I defined it above. Between 8 and 80 tons of TNT equivalent is too much for an individual to own. 8 tons is theoretically enough to kill every gov't employee, and 80 tons is theoretically enough to kill every member of the voting public.

I think that this is an acceptable upper limit on individual physical force.

glummer
October 25, 2006, 02:25 PM
8 tons is theoretically enough to kill every gov't employee, and 80 tons is theoretically enough to kill every member of the voting public.
And what are the theoretical limits on killing with a well-made knife?
Or a good solid chunk of rock?

Listen closely to the pin; you can hear the angels dancing.

jlbraun
October 25, 2006, 02:41 PM
@glummer

Started out as a thought experiment, but started to make sense. But that's all it is, a thought experiment.

The last thought experiment that I'm going to make is that posessing nukes is by definition using them. That's how the doctrine of MAD (mutually assured destruction) got us through the Cold War. It's impossible to have a nuke and not be "using" it as leverage, whether you intend to or not. All of your words and deeds automatically have nuclear force behinnd them, whether you like it or not. The doctrine of possessing nukes is NOT to conceal them and then only pull them out when threatened, it's to let the whole damn world know that you're a nuclear power, because the leverage that gets you is so advantageous. In this vein, I kind of agree that owning a nuke is kind of a "super-brandishing" as an individual.

Lucky
October 25, 2006, 02:53 PM
Sorry jlbraun. I missed it. Now I can skip straight to phase 2 of my question:

Knowing the limits on quantity of explosive posession and why, what would be the limit on quantity of ammunition possession, using the same principles?


jlbraun

The last thought experiment that I'm going to make is that posessing nukes is by definition using them.


Now I believe you have good intentions, but that's just a little too George Orwellian for me. Peace is war, and all that.


It's impossible to have a nuke and not be "using" it as leverage, whether you intend to or not. All of your words and deeds automatically have nuclear force behind them, whether you like it or not.

The policy of MAD did not exist for most of the cold war. To clear things up, levers are for leverage, nukes are for blowing things up. If people hesitate to assault police officers because they are armed, you shouldn't describe it as 'the police officer using his gun on people'.


The doctrine of possessing nukes is NOT to conceal them and then only pull them out when threatened, it's to let the whole damn world know that you're a nuclear power, because the leverage that gets you is so advantageous.

Not really substantiated by real-world experience, either. Israel comes to mind, Cuba, DPRK, Iraq (official US story), etc.


In this vein, I kind of agree that owning a nuke is kind of a "super-brandishing" as an individual.
That is why people shouldn't have weapons. When they are armed it is like they're rubbing your nose in it - how you will now be injured if you attack them. Very disrespectful.

hugh damright
October 25, 2006, 03:12 PM
Some of y'all keep pretending that you cannot discriminate between a rifle and a nuclear bomb, saying that if a person shouldn't have a nuclear bomb then a person shouldn't have a rifle. Is it really so hard to put things into a context of free government?

Certain things are a danger to free government: banning guns would be a danger to free government; and personal nuclear weapons would also be a danger to free government.

The RKBA is not the ends, it is the means. I see no point in pretending that a rifle and a nuclear weapon are the same thing, and pretending that we made a declaration of a RKBA which goes beyond rationality. The objective is free government i.e. "majority rule" (at the State level of course).

squarooticus
October 25, 2006, 03:27 PM
Certain things are a danger to free government: banning guns would be a danger to free government; and personal nuclear weapons would also be a danger to free government.
What the eff is "free government"?

The the second amendment exists precisely to make sure the people have ready access to the level of force required to put down the government when (not if; WHEN) it begins to infringe on personal liberty. It isn't to defend government, it's to destroy government when it gets too powerful!

What kind of crap are they teaching in schools these days?

Kyle

hugh damright
October 25, 2006, 03:54 PM
What the eff is "free government"?

The second amendment ... isn't to defend government, it's to destroy government when it gets too powerful!

What kind of crap are they teaching in schools these days?

Now we're getting somewhere ... you don't know what the eff free government is.

Free government is a form of government where sovereignty resides in the body of Citizens. They are not ruled by a King or an Aristocracy, they are ruled only by laws which are consented to by the majority or by their representatives. And it is this form of government which the Second Amendment is intended to secure.

squarooticus
October 25, 2006, 04:17 PM
Free government is a form of government where sovereignty resides in the body of Citizens. They are not ruled by a King or an Aristocracy, they are ruled only by laws which are consented to by the majority or by their representatives. And it is this form of government which the Second Amendment is intended to secure.
I think you made this definition up, because I've never heard the term before, anywhere. It is an oxymoron, as far as I am concerned. In this day and age, when most people don't know what "freedom" and "liberty" really are, the term "free government" might actually make sense in a warped way; but it simply illustrates to me that civics education is practically nonexistent today.

"Freedom" is the exact opposite of what government provides. Government---even elected democratic government---can do nothing but restrict the rights of the people subject to that government's whims. By this I mean that in a state of nature, the strong rule the weak by force. As a result, government was developed as one way to protect the rights that the vast majority of people in common hold dear---that is, life, liberty (that doesn't infringe on others' rights), and property... but inevitably government goes too far and starts to regulate behaviors that have nothing to do with protecting these rights.

This is the situation we have in the US today: the drug war (what business is it of yours if someone shoots him/herself up with heroin?), legislation restricting human cloning (what business is it of yours if someone wants to clone him/herself?), outlawing suicide (what business is it of yours if someone kills him/herself?), taking property for any purpose (if it's so important, make me an offer!), etc. These things are all the result of democracy. Please tell me how these have anything to do with protecting the aforementioned rights. Please tell me how they serve to enhance freedom.

Just because 51% (or 60%, or 90%, or 99%) of the people think it's a good idea to do something doesn't make it right. And it certainly doesn't make you any more free if you happen to be on the losing side of the argument.

So, please stop perpetuating the myth that democracy is equivalent to freedom. It isn't. As Mr. Franklin said, democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner, and liberty is a well-armed lamb. What you are referring to is "democracy" or, in our specific case, "democratic republicanism", and has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom.

Kyle

glummer
October 25, 2006, 04:19 PM
Lucky
Not really substantiated by real-world experience, either. Israel comes to mind, Cuba, DPRK, Iraq (official US story), etc.
How do you figure that? Israel (and now DPRK) have great leverage from actually possessing nuclear capabilities. Either might not exist without the nuclear threat. And Cuba and Iraq paid dearly for NOT having the leverage.

That is why people shouldn't have weapons. When they are armed it is like they're rubbing your nose in it - how you will now be injured if you attack them. Very disrespectful. The sticky part is the innocent bystanders, who had no intention of attacking you, until you decided to "rub their noses" in the likelihood of death you intend to inflict with your totally indiscriminate weapon. That's more than disrespectful - it fits the normal standards for justifiable homicide.

Gordon Fink
October 25, 2006, 05:08 PM
You’re absolutely right, and I have been agreeing with you. One absolutely does have the right to own nuclear arms as a private citizen, and attempt to keep a W55 in one’s garage if desired.…

I find no logical inconsistency in the fact that that a body such as the USA can declare machine guns and tanks are suitable for citizens to own, but nukes are not.…

Honestly, I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or serious. :) Clearly, I can’t keep or use nuclear weaponry in a normal suburban environment. The law already reflects this fact without specifically forbidding me from owning a nuke. I am justly prohibited from discharging a firearm under the wrong circumstances for much the same reason, but that doesn’t infringe upon my right to own and use one.

Governing entities, such as the United States, have already declared machine guns, high explosives, and battle tanks unsuitable for common subjects to own. Freely granting them the power to also bar nuclear weapons will do nothing to stop them from prohibiting sniper rifles, riot shotguns, or concealable handguns. I shall continue to argue the higher principles, rather than capitulating to the irrational fear surrounding all things nuclear.

~G. Fink

Lucky
October 25, 2006, 05:19 PM
Glummer we'll have to start operating in theory, with 2 possiblities, 1)no bystanders killed 2)bystanders killed. It's pretty clear that kiling innocents is always wrong, so afaic 2) ends there. But if we pursue the idea assuming 1) to be true, it's interesting.


As for 'leverage', Israel doesn't claim to have them, Cuba didn't once mention that they had missiles armed with warheads fuelled up and ready to launch, Iraq claimed quite strenuously that they didn't have any, and there's a lot of educated suspicion that DPRK has had crude devices since the 1970's. The purpose of bombs is to explode, foreign relations is done by diplomats.

hugh damright
October 25, 2006, 05:24 PM
I think you made this definition up, because I've never heard the term ["free government"] before, anywhere. It is an oxymoron, as far as I am concerned. In this day and age, when most people don't know what "freedom" and "liberty" really are, the term "free government" might actually make sense in a warped way; but it simply illustrates to me that civics education is practically nonexistent today.
I most certainly did not make up the term "free government". Why would you just assume that if you haven't heard of a term then I must have just made it up or I must have a poor education or something of that nature? I don't see how you're ever going to learn anything with an attitude like that. Did I make up Antifederalist #1?

"In every free government, the people must give their assent to the laws by which they are governed. This is the true criterion between a free government and an arbitrary one. The former are ruled by the will of the whole, expressed in any manner they may agree upon; the latter by the will of one, or a few."

Does the Virginia State Constitution exist only in my mind?

"That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles."

Or the Constitution of Maryland?

"That a well regulated Militia is the proper and natural defence of a free Government."


So, please stop perpetuating the myth that democracy is equivalent to freedom. It isn't. As Mr. Franklin said, democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner, and liberty is a well-armed lamb. What you are referring to is "democracy" or, in our specific case, "democratic republicanism", and has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom.

I am not saying that free government is libertarianism, I am saying that free government provides a better environment for personal liberties than any other form of government which has yet been conceived. The State Constitutions frame free governments, and the States formed the US and requested the Second Amendment to secure their free governments ... and you've never even heard of free government!

ksnecktieman
October 25, 2006, 05:54 PM
Hugh dam right? Your post indicates that you know where to draw the line? Your previous posts have shown us all that you sneer at the second amendment, and think the gun control laws in this country are acceptable. So if you have the power to draw the line? Where do you put it. What will you allow, and not allow. to whom will you allow it?

I am asking for your opinion, and your reasoning, on what you wil allow some of the rest of us to own.

Will you allow the next person in line to decide what you can own, five years from now?

My opinion is written below.

squarooticus
October 25, 2006, 06:45 PM
I most certainly did not make up the term "free government".
I stand corrected. I still consider the term to be an oxymoron. Furthermore, it's imprecise: governments are not free, people are. But your point is taken.

I am not saying that free government is libertarianism, I am saying that free government provides a better environment for personal liberties than any other form of government which has yet been conceived.
This assertion has been challenged on numerous occasions, most notably by Hans-Hermann Hoppe in his book "Democracy: The God That Failed." In this book, he very convincingly illustrates that total government (that is, the intrusion of government into what is properly the private affairs of individuals) has legitimacy only in democracies. Seemingly everything is regulated, from where and how you may install lights and outlets in your house, to how much MSG may be in foods you buy, to how and what you must educate your children, etc. Tax burdens in the western world are about 50%, and show no signs of going down.

Monarchies, by contrast, historically recognized the separation between private and public affairs: the phrase "A man's home is his castle" actually had literal meaning under most monarchies, and was recognized as being the natural law by both nobles and peasants. Few monarchies ever managed to increase tax burdens beyond 5-8%, and those that did didn't last long.

One of the primary problems with democracy is that it gives people the illusion that they are in control, and thus creates a self-perpetuating legitimacy for a government of such absurdly intrusive character that were some despot to have unilaterally established all of these rules, he would have been marched out into the street by a mob of millions, drawn, quartered, and been burned in a plasma fire to make sure his very essence never infected any other living thing again!

Never mind how we got here: just look at what things look like now and tell me I'm insane to think that the level of control exercised over my life and your life by people who have absolutely no business controlling us is absurd.

Cheers,
Kyle

hugh damright
October 25, 2006, 07:07 PM
Is it your assertion that you prefer monarchy over free government and that at the same time you have respect for the Second Amendment??

Wakejefe
October 25, 2006, 09:41 PM
If you have the money you should be able to buy one.

Nukes dont kill people, people who detonate nukes kill people.

Regardless of the inanimate object (pistol, FA, howitzer, etc), they do not have a mind of their own.

Regards,
Jefe

ConstitutionCowboy
October 26, 2006, 01:11 AM
Before I begin, know that the word "people" is the plural of "person". "Person" is one who is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties. No such distinction is applicable to any collection of persons(people). Rights exist only at the personal level.

Centinel #1 (Antifederalist)
A republican, or free government, can only exist where the body of the people are virtuous, and where property is pretty equally divided; in such a government the people are the sovereign and their sense or opinion is the criterion of every public measure; for when this ceases to be the case, the nature of the government is changed, and an aristocracy, monarchy or despotism will rise on its ruin. This is hardly a "Collective". "...the people(plural of "person") are the sovereign...

Federal Farmer #1 (Antifederalist)


There are three different forms of free government under which the United States may exist as one nation; and now is, perhaps, the time to determine to which we will direct our views.If there are THREE forms of "free government" it certainly cannot be construed to be A collective!

Brutis #1 (Antifederalist) (With the term "free government" used in full context)


In a free republic, although all laws are derived from the consent of the people, yet the people(plural of "person") do not declare their consent by themselves in person, but by representatives, chosen by them, who are supposed to know the minds of their constituents, and to be possessed of integrity to declare this mind.

In every free government, the people(plural of "person") must give their assent to the laws by which they are governed. This is the true criterion between a free government and an arbitrary one. The former are ruled by the will of the whole, expressed in any manner they may agree upon; the latter by the will of one, or a few. If the people(plural of "person") are to give their assent to the laws, by persons chosen and appointed by them, the manner of the choice and the number chosen, must be such, as to possess, be disposed, and consequently qualified to declare the sentiments of the people(plural of "person") ; for if they do not know, or are not disposed to speak the sentiments of the people(plural of "person") , the people(plural of "person") do not govern, but the sovereignty is in a few. Now, in a large extended country, it is impossible to have a representation, possessing the sentiments, and of integrity, to declare the minds of the people(plural of "person"), without having it so numerous and unwieldly, as to be subject in great measure to the inconveniency of a democratic government.This passage is more concerned with the advantages of a republican form of government over a democratic form of government and not at all any treatise on "collective" government.

From Law.com Use of the term "free government" today (Same as in the 1780's)

privileges and immunities
n. the fundamental rights that people(individuals) enjoy in free governments, protected by the U.S. Constitution in Article IV: "The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities in the several States," and specifically to be protected against state action by the Constitution's 14th Amendment (1868): "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." The definition of "privileges and immunities" was first spelled out by Supreme Court Justice Bushrod Washington in 1823: "protection by the government, with the right to acquire and possess property of every kind, and to pursue and obtain happiness and safety, subject, nevertheless, to such restraints as the government may prescribe for the general good of the whole." However, the exact nature of privileges and immunities which the state governments could limit has long been in dispute, with the U.S. Supreme Court gradually tipping toward protecting the individual rights of citizens against state statutes that might impinge on constitutional rights.(Text in italics is mine.)

hugh damright (Collectivist) His definition of "Free Government":

Free government is a form of government where sovereignty resides in the body of Citizens. They are not ruled by a King or an Aristocracy, they are ruled only by laws which are consented to by the majority or by their representatives. And it is this form of government which the Second Amendment is intended to secure.

Seems that "free government" means a government where the rights and freedoms of the individual are paramount, not those of any supposed "body of Citizens", not those of a king, oligarchy, or other NON-REPRESENTATIVE from of government, and certainly not of a "collective". And, THE SECOND AMENDMENT PROTECTS A RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE, not any form of government. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is not dependent upon or relative to any form of government. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms of each and every individual came with the inception of the human race LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG before there was any form of government. We could be living in a monarchy and we would still have the The Right to Keep and Bear Arms and we could have something similar to the Second Amendment as an agreement with our king(or queen) as a condition of allowing him(or her) to rule.

Woody

There is perspective and there is pretense. No amount of bombast or emotion can truthfully equate the two. One does not add validity to the other. Bombast and emotion added to pretense does not equal perspective. Reason, fact, and logic? That's a different matter. That will net you perspective every time. B.E.Wood

Igloodude
October 26, 2006, 08:53 AM
We're all about preventing tyranny here, right? No one person can tell everyone what to do? A single voter cannot make policy, only elected representatives (or their appointees) can?

Why then, would you give a single individual the power to remove that government? That's what privately-held WMDs do. Any other weapon - truckloads of automatic rifles, tanks, artillery, battleships, MOABs - can do large amounts of damage, but individual use of them does not truly threaten civil society or its government. One citizen with a nuke can, and I cede certain amounts of sovereignty to a democratic majority, but I cede nothing to a single neighbor.

squarooticus
October 26, 2006, 09:41 AM
@hugh damright:
Is it your assertion that you prefer monarchy over free government and that at the same time you have respect for the Second Amendment??
The first part of your statement is correct insofar as history supports the notion that monarchy is much less intrusive in the private lives and liberties of individuals than democracy has been. As far as I am concerned, this is self-evident, but I invite you to investigate further to either verify or refute this claim. Hoppe's book is a good place to start.

The second part of your statement is not correct. I have repeatedly said that the constitution means nothing and the 2nd amendment is worth Jack Schidt. The constitution is a pretty piece of paper that has almost no bearing on how the federal government conducts its affairs today. The American experiment has failed miserably, as evidenced by the situation we are in today, and the only thing holding it together is the shared momentum of people who neither know what liberty is nor care enough to distract them from their day-to-day pleasures.

@Igloodude:
We're all about preventing tyranny here, right? No one person can tell everyone what to do? A single voter cannot make policy, only elected representatives (or their appointees) can?
Yes, we're talking about preventing tyranny here. Including tyranny of the majority. Only if everyone is armed equally can we prevent the most powerful from imposing their will on the weakest. The .45 long colt was long known as the "great equalizer". Well, I argue that this title applies to all arms, and only with the private ownership of force can we restore liberty to all men and women and reinforce the right of every person to life, liberty, and property.

Cheers,
Kyle

hugh damright
October 26, 2006, 10:14 AM
This thread really brings out the anarchists and monarchists. My ignore list has tripled in size, so if I seem to be ignoring anyone, I probably am.

The thing is ... if we ask why personal machine guns are OK and personal nukes are not, the question seems to assume that personal semiauto guns are OK and personal nukes are not. I'd call that solid ground, common sense, rational, sane, etc.

I tend to think that this question, this question of where machine guns fit in, may be one of those things that is properly left up to each State to decide for itself, such that machine guns might be banned in one State and perfectly legal in another ... I don't see why people need to argue about what values to force on every State against their will.

ksnecktieman
October 26, 2006, 10:42 AM
I think Hugh damright told me he is ignoring me, so would someone tell me where they would like to draw this line?

The thing is ... if we ask why personal machine guns are OK and personal nukes are not, the question seems to assume that personal semiauto guns are OK and personal nukes are not. I'd call that solid ground, common sense, rational, sane, etc.

What do you consider reasonable? How about anyone else? Someone has to decide, if we permit and approve of limitations, where do you want the line drawn on allowed, and not allowed? And you have to realize that we will have a new set of politicians in a few years, that will want to modify it.

Just_a_dude_with_a_gun
October 26, 2006, 10:58 AM
Silly thread.

You can't use a nuke on only one person.

duh.

Gordon Fink
October 26, 2006, 12:18 PM
Why then, would you give a single individual the power to remove that government? That’s what privately-held WMDs do.…

They do no such thing. In the United States, it would take dozens if not hundreds of nukes to destroy just the federal government, but it would only take a handful of rifles to paralyze it.

~G. Fink

Lucky
October 26, 2006, 02:11 PM
ksnecktieman

That's just it, some people seem not to realize that it's not the specifics of anti-gun arguments that is wrong, but the principles! So really, if an anti says "I'm OK with bolt-action hunting rifles but not semi-autos." It's really the same thing as Hugh saying, "It's OK to have semi-auto rifles, but not machine guns." or "It's OK to have 1 pound of explosive but not 10." of "It's OK to have 100 cartridges, but not 1000."

Is there a problem with nuclear proliferation? Yes, of course there is. But using the anti mentality of 'ban it' shows that they're really NO different than any other anti, simply having slightly different comfort levels. And once they start banning, they do not stop until they have banned everything.

Gordon Fink
October 26, 2006, 02:53 PM
Lawfully owned weapons are no threat to a just government. Illegal weapons are a threat to any government.

That said, for obvious reasons, it will always be more difficult to lawfully own and use nuclear explosives than conventional firearms.

~G. Fink

Gordon Fink
October 26, 2006, 04:03 PM
The so-called nuclear-weapons paradox illustrates the entire debate on the right to arms. If we allow that nuclear arms may be outlawed, then we must logically allow that single-shot, small-bore rifles may also be outlawed.

Again, even though the scales are vastly different, the principle is exactly the same.

~G. Fink

romma
October 26, 2006, 04:04 PM
Who says I don't want a Nuke? :evil:

hugh damright
October 26, 2006, 04:53 PM
That's just it, some people seem not to realize that it's not the specifics of anti-gun arguments that is wrong, but the principles!

What principles? There is no principle which says that individuals have a right to alter or to abolish government, or a right to nukes, or anything of that nature. There is no principle which says that a pointy stick, a rifle, and a nuclear bomb must be treated the same. The Bill of Rights declares principles of free government and federal government, not principles of absurdity.

Fosbery
October 26, 2006, 05:16 PM
^That is completely incorrect. I know that and I don't even live in the country :uhoh:

LDL707
October 26, 2006, 05:30 PM
Wow. What a can of worms I seemed to have opened up.

Response to follow...after I hack through the last few days' responses.

Sistema1927
October 26, 2006, 05:35 PM
There is no principle which says that individuals have a right to alter or to abolish government...

I guess that those guys who wrote the Declaration of Independence had it all wrong then. They seemed to think that it was not only a right but a responsibility to alter or abolish bad governments.

Thanks for setting me straight. I wouldn't want Thomas Jefferson's ignorance to cloud my thinking.

Gordon Fink
October 26, 2006, 05:56 PM
There is no principle which says that a pointy stick, a rifle, and a nuclear bomb must be treated the same.…

Why shouldn’t they be treated the same? Don’t fire a rifle indiscriminately in a populated area, and don’t detonate a nuke indiscriminately in a populated area.

~G. Fink

ksnecktieman
October 26, 2006, 06:49 PM
I know that hugh is not interested in facts, but consider this quote, it comes from the second paragragh of the Declaration of Independence.



"that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government,

Gordon Fink
October 26, 2006, 08:13 PM
I doubt that he isn’t interested in the facts. Like many others, he just has trouble seeing through his emotional reaction to the thought of nuclear warfare.

~G. Fink

hugh damright
October 26, 2006, 08:23 PM
I guess that those guys who wrote the Declaration of Independence had it all wrong then. They seemed to think that it was not only a right but a responsibility to alter or abolish bad governments.

A collective right, not an individual right. How could you not know that? :banghead:

hugh damright
October 26, 2006, 08:28 PM
I am a foreigner, but that seems completely incorrect to me.
I do not believe that it is possible that I am "completely incorrect" in my assertion that a BOR declares principles of free government. I have read the original Bills of Rights of the original States, and in most instances they declare principles of free government. When Madison proposed the USBOR to Congress, he said that one of the things they do is to "lay down dogmatic maxims with respect to the construction of the government".

Take, for example, the idea of framing a legislative body in a free government. The principles involved would be things of this nature (from the Maryland and Pennsylvania State Constitutions):

"That the right in the people to participate in the Legislature is the best security of liberty, and the foundation of all free government;"

"That freedom of speech and debates, or proceedings in the Legislature, ought not to be impeached in any other court or judicature."

"That the people have a right to assemble together, to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the legislature for redress of grievances, by address, petition, or remonstrance."

I see these principles in the US First Amendment when it says that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging freedom of speech" ... and "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances". I see principles of free government.

Another principle of free government regards the proper defense. As Virginia put it in 1776:

"That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. "

And I see these principles in the US Second Amendment when it says that "a well regulated militia [is] necessary to the security of a free State", and "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".

I do not believe that it is possible that I am "completely incorrect" in my assertion that a Bill of Rights declares principles of free government.

jlbraun
October 26, 2006, 08:46 PM
@ctdonath, hugh damright, gordon fink

I think that I finally have a handle on an argument ya'll may find interesting. It encompasses the fact that individuals have the indubitable right to own nukes under the 2a, but still demonstrates how owning them is incompatible with being a member of a community that holds the Constitution as its highest law.

Do you all know what "sandbagging" in competitive sports is? It's overstating your handicap so you get to play in a division where you can easily whomp other players, instead of playing in the division you truly qualify for. Think of a Division I football team going up against a Division III team - or even a junior high team.

To me, an individual owning a nuke - or several - while still wanting all the protection being a citizen gets you is "sandbagging" in the geopolitical sense. One might have the right to do it, but it's bad form. Why isn't that individual out there playing with the big boys?

Additionally, one's state is now liable for all the damage caused by a citizens' new "recreational" nuclear device. No, there's no level of personal or corporate financial capacity even remotely enough to cover the accidental use of a nuclear weapon - just the physical damage would be immense, but think of the effect on financial markets. The buck has to stop somewhere, someone with deep pockets. No one but a state has deep enough pockets to be financially liable for accidental use of a nuke.

ConstitutionCowboy
October 26, 2006, 11:37 PM
What principles? There is no principle which says that individuals have a right to alter or to abolish government, or a right to nukes, or anything of that nature. There is no principle which says that a pointy stick, a rifle, and a nuclear bomb must be treated the same. The Bill of Rights declares principles of free government and federal government, not principles of absurdity.
I do not believe that it is possible that I am "completely incorrect" in my assertion that a BOR declares principles of free government. I have read the original Bills of Rights of the original States, and in most instances they declare principles of free government. When Madison proposed the USBOR to Congress, he said that one of the things they do is to "lay down dogmatic maxims with respect to the construction of the government". The "Bill of Rights" - the first ten amendments to the Constitution - limit, prohibit, and/or specify specific powers granted , and duties assigned, to those of us elected or appointed to fill specific positions of authority and duty in our union's three governing bodies, and of those occupying similar positions in the several states.


The "Bill of Rights" doesn't declare principles, it engaged them as maxims into government. Seems you still don't get this even after quoting what Madison said!


I tend to think that this question, this question of where machine guns fit in, may be one of those things that is properly left up to each State to decide for itself, such that machine guns might be banned in one State and perfectly legal in another ... I don't see why people need to argue about what values to force on every State against their will. The Second Amendment is not a value forced upon a state. It is a prohibition on the state to infringe upon the right of each citizen.



And these:
A collective right, not an individual right. How could you not know that?
I think the idea of an individual right to check/alter/abolish government is completely antithetical to the idea of free government. It is the people, the majority, that have a right to alter or to abolish government. An individual with a personal nuclear weapon is not controlled by the majority, and so he is a threat to free government. Does that mean a citizen with a rock in his pocket, not controlled by that same majority, is a threat as well? A person(law abiding citizen) with a nuclear weapon is not a threat to those in government unless those in government pose a threat to him. It's the same with the rock. As long as our government is staffed with law abiding citizens who are aware of and recognize the power of the people to alter or abolish the form of government, all is well.

The arms - from the rock to the nuke - is only for when government is staffed with usurpers, tyrants, or dictators who will not step down when we alter or abolish that form of government. The power of the body of citizens to alter or overthrow our form of government comes from the right of each individual to choose to alter or abolish our form of government. On the same token, the power of the body of citizens to keep our form of government also comes from the right of each individual to so choose. The group with the most power(the majority) will get their way. The arms each individual has assures they are able to achieve their end.

Note that arms kept in the hands of the state is antithetical to this. With the state keeping and bearing the arms, the majority who have chosen to alter or abolish the form of government lack the means to enforce their choice, and if that armed government - now in the minority - wishes to stay in power, it's tough doo-doo for the majority. I don't think you could count on that government to hand over the proper portion of it's store of arms to that majority in opposition to it. Bottom line, it is about the right of each individual to choose, and not some supposed right of a collective. When enough individuals make the choice, the body of citizens acquires the power.



Constitution of Maryland
Article 1.
That all Government of right originates from the People, is founded in compact only, and instituted solely for the good of the whole; and they have, at all times, the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their Form of Government in such manner as they may deem expedient.

I'm glad hugh damright isn't in charge.


As for owning a nuke, I'm already part way there. So is everyone else, it seems. The US has a count of them somewhere in the low five digits. Guessing at 30,000 nukes, with 300,000,000 people in this country, I own about .01% of a nuke. I don't mind sharing it with my 10,000 closest friends!(I hope it's a big one!)

Woody

A law that says you cannot fire your gun in the middle of downtown unless in self defense is not unconstitutional. Laws that prohibit brandishing except in self defense or handling your gun in a threatening or unsafe manner would not be unconstitutional. Laws can be written that govern some of the uses of guns. No law can be written that infringes upon buying, keeping, storing, carrying, limiting caliber, limiting capacity, limiting quantity, limiting action, or any other limit that would infringe upon the keeping or bearing of arms. That is the truth and simple reality of the limits placed upon government by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. B.E.Wood

LDL707
October 27, 2006, 07:59 AM
If I were to respond to everything I want to respond to in this thread, I would be typing for a week. Rather, as there seem to be several distinct schools of thought, I’m going to address each camp as a whole.

If you don’t feel like reading through all of this, please take a look at the last couple of lines at least. I developed a possible argument against nukes that might still be intellectually consistent with my argument in favor of FA weapons.

On to my responses:

The “nukes are too dangerous for people to own” camp:

This category includes all the people who claimed that a nuclear ND would kill a lot of people, the people who said that a nuke has too high an uncertainty of casualties, the people who argued that mere possession of a nuke is a threat, and those who argued that nukes are too dangerous because it’s difficult to safely store them.

These arguments sure sound a lot like the arguments that the anti-gun crowd use against us. By arguing these points, you are ceding that there are weapons too dangerous for a person to be trusted with. Once you do this, it opens the door for someone to argue that a machine gun is too dangerous for a person to be trusted with. And then a semi-automatic weapon. And then a knife…

I especially enjoy the comments about safely storing nukes. Maybe it should be okay to keep them as long as we put trigger locks on them and keep them locked up so small children can’t get to them? Doesn’t this argument sound familiar to you?

The “nukes are not arms” camp:

This category includes those who said that a nuke isn’t covered by the 2nd Amendment because nukes can’t be used without hurting anyone, those who claimed that there is no proper use for a nuke, those who said that nukes aren’t arms because they’re un-aimed and uncontrollable, and my favorite in this camp, and the poster who argued that a nuke can’t just kill one person.

I apologize for starting this thread. If only I knew how simple the answer was! I missed the fine print that the Framers tucked into the 2nd Amendment. If you get out your magnifying glass, you can clearly see that it says “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms (that can be used without hurting people, that have a “proper” use, that are aim-able and controllable, and that can be used to kill only one person at a time) shall not be infringed.”

Silly me.

The bottom line is, the Constitution doesn’t define “arms.” I am certainly going to reject the definitions that you arbitrarily came up with.

The “this is a stupid thread” camp:

Thank you all for setting me straight. Also, thank you for your concise, well-reasoned, intellectually consistent argument that ended this debate leaving everyone satisfied.
Oh…wait. Nobody offered one of those.

This debate is critical to the debate over our gun rights. How can you claim to support your rights to keep and bear arms if you haven’t given the issue any serious thought? Think critically, post a response, and debate it with people. Maybe you’ll see that your opinions aren’t really very sound…or maybe you’ll come up with the solution to the problem.

And, finally, the “miscellaneous” camp:

This includes those who argued that the fact that a person couldn’t possibly be able to cover his liability for using a nuke, those who held that it’s okay to ban importation and manufacture, those who said that society would ostracize one who owns a nuke, those who claimed that environmental damage from a nuke would make it okay to prohibit them, and the people who asked what one needs a nuke for.

I don’t see how any of these are really relevant. Liability and being ostracized by society are important concerns, but they don’t address whether the Constitution guarantees our right to own a nuke or not.

To the people who said that we can simply control the supply of nukes by banning importation and not selling off any of the ones that are currently in existence…well, would it be okay with you if the government decided to do the same with guns?

The environmental damage concern is another issue that seems to be lacking. One could argue the same about guns. Lead is bad for us. Does that justify limiting Constitutionally protected rights?

Someone even asked what somebody could need a nuke for. Are you kidding me? I don’t get how people can recycle the anti-gunners’ arguments and not even notice it.

Moving on…

When I started this thread, I was looking for a good argument against nukes. We really should have one that is intellectually consistent with the rest of our argument. Even if you believe that people should be allowed, under the Constitution, to own nukes, pragmatically speaking, we can’t go arguing that out in public. We have enough of an image problem as it is by wanting to have fully automatic weapons. It probably isn’t a good PR move to go advocating private ownership of nuclear weapons.

If you were a judge, and this issue came into your court, how would write your decision?

I think I may have an argument that would almost satisfy my original question. Please let me know what you think:

As the Constitution was written, it would seem as though the Framers would have wanted us to be able to own nukes. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, without limiting the kind of arms. Thus, I have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to own a nuclear weapon.

However, I also have a natural right to self-defense. It is probably the most basic right that human beings have. If someone comes at me with a weapon, I can defend myself.

If someone were to attack me with a nuclear weapon, however, I would not have the ability to defend myself. Another person could kill me with a nuclear weapon without my even knowing that he’s there. Furthermore, even if I knew he was there, he could kill me, and I would be unable to offer any kind of defense.

Thus, a nuclear weapon is incompatible with my natural right to self-defense, and may thus be regulated.

Please poke holes in that.

ETA: jlbraun, I'd be interested in reading your book when you get it finished

Lucky
October 27, 2006, 11:32 AM
If they hit you over the head with a baseball bat while you sleep you don't defend yourself either. I don't think that's a good reason to 'pre-emptively defend yourself' and confiscate all baseball bats.

Nice summation of the thread so far though.

I still think people should simply state, ver batim, the alterations they would make to your constitution, rather than explaining why nukes are bad. Instead of trying to convince us WHY they shouldn't be considered as arms, when they are in every aspect referred to as arms (nuclear dis-ARMament, etc), it would be preferable to hear HOW the constitution should read to solve this dilemna.

Gordon Fink
October 27, 2006, 12:30 PM
The buck has to stop somewhere, someone with deep pockets. No one but a state has deep enough pockets to be financially liable for accidental use of a nuke.

There are a few wealthy individuals and large corporations who could probably manage it, but there is little utility in the proposition. However, the argument you are really making is that even states can’t own and use nuclear weapons responsibly. Of course, that argument can easily be scaled all the way back to one man and a pointy stick.

This is a frustrating job. How can we sell the undecided—let alone the anti-gunners—on the right to arms, when we can’t even sell the gun owners and firearms enthusiasts on it?

Have I not demonstrated that the private ownership of nuclear weapons, however impractical, is not at all incompatible with the intellectual concept of a right to arms or even with the Second Amendment?

There simply is no nuclear paradox.

~G. Fink

JohnKSa
October 28, 2006, 02:51 AM
There simply is no nuclear paradox.I agree though I get to that destination via a different path.

Lucky
October 28, 2006, 05:03 AM
I think Gordon was pretty tight in his logic, and it disproved most other arguments at the same time. It's not easy to accept, and I personally see problems with nuclear proliferation, but thats subsequent.

Fosbery
October 28, 2006, 10:02 AM
I stick to what I said earlier. Everyone has the right to own nuclear weapons. But with that right (and every right) comes responsibility. In this case, the responsibility is to take reasonable steps to ensure you don't accidentally or negligently kill anyone (i.e. following the four rules). I don't see how that could possibly be a problem. Don't leave a loaded gun pointing at your kid, don't leave a 'loaded' nuke in the middle of a city. Same thing to me.

JShirley
October 28, 2006, 10:47 AM
Everyone does not have a right to nuclear arms.

The Constitution placed restrictions on the most powerful weapon of the day (Article 1, Section 10), the ship of war, whereas no restrictions were placed on militia weapons. From this, it can be easily extrapolated that modern squad-level ("militia") weapons are specifically protected by the Constitution, but instruments of national policy (bombers, warships, nukes) are not. Further, it is the Congress which is charged to "provide for the common Defence" (common meaning National, of course; Art 1, sec 8). Nuclear devices are, yes, Virginia, instruments of national defense, and so out of the purview of the individual.

Anyone who can read and carefully extrapolate the Constitution honestly should come to a similar conclusion. Here's a link for y'all: http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/constitution_transcript.html

John

JShirley
October 28, 2006, 10:56 AM
The Constitution says "No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, ... keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, ...".
...Nothing in the Constitution indicates limiting what weapons individuals could own

You're contradicting yourself, Carl. A ship of war= weapon.

Fosbery
October 28, 2006, 11:07 AM
That says a state, not an individual.

Personally, I don't care what the constitution says. I'm talking about human rights to private property, not the paticular rights specifically laid out in the bill of rights.

ConstitutionCowboy
October 28, 2006, 11:12 AM
I beg to differ with you. The Constitution did not place restrictions on the most powerful weapon of the day in Article 1, Section 10, - the ship of war - it placed the restriction upon the the several states. It also said a state could not keep troops(without the consent of Congress). It said(and says to this day) nothing about restricting the ownership of the "most powerful weapon of the day" from the people.

Then, of course, there is this "...unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay." Those ships of war had to be able to come from some where during an invasion. Cant build them over night! They came from the people who owned them, and the troops would have come from the militia at that point, too, and employed by the state.

Woody

"The right protected by the Second Amendment is absolute. Learn it, live it, love it and be armed in the defense of freedom, our rights, and our sovereignty. If we refuse infringement to our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, we will never be burdened by tyranny, dictatorship, or subjugation - other than to bury those who attempt it. B.E.Wood

ksnecktieman
October 28, 2006, 11:12 AM
I wish to disagree, Jshirley. Article one, section ten specifically restricts the individual states. Not the individual citizen. The United States government is permitted to issue "letters of mark, and reprisal". If I understand that properly it is to allow privately owned warships to be used in the service of the United States. I think implicit in the meaning of that is the right to own personally, a warship.

Excerpt from article one, section ten

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace,

JShirley
October 28, 2006, 11:18 AM
Exactly. Ships of war were under congressional control.

But I notice no-one addressed the Congressional obligation to provide for the national defense in Article 1, Section 8.

LAK
October 28, 2006, 11:23 AM
"Their swords, and every other terrible instrument of the soldier, are the birth right of an American. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or the state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." - Tench Coxe - as published the Pennsylvania Gazette, February 20, 1788

--------------------------------------------

http://ussliberty.org
http://ssunitedstates.org

jlbraun
October 28, 2006, 11:44 AM
What about the Federalist Papers? Is there anything in there that would indicate what they thought?

Lucky
October 28, 2006, 12:08 PM
JShirley I think they're saying the the States were under Congressional control, not their citizens, the state governments. So a citizen of a Rhode Island could own a warship, but the government of Rhode Island could not.

hugh damright
October 28, 2006, 12:20 PM
There was a time when it was understood that the federal government operated upon States and not upon individuals. So if the US wanted to prohibit ships of war, the only thing within their power was to prohibit the States from having ships of war. And then it would be up to each State to prohibit individual ships of war.

Lucky
October 28, 2006, 12:26 PM
But if a corporation is an individual under law, then each shipping convoy has the right to self defence!

JohnKSa
October 28, 2006, 12:45 PM
So if the US wanted to prohibit ships of war, the only thing within their power was to prohibit the States from having ships of war.Correct.

JShirley
October 28, 2006, 02:39 PM
There was a time when it was understood that the federal government operated upon States and not upon individuals

If this was the case...I guess there wouldn't have been any point in defining the individual definition of treason, would there have been? :D

Can't have it both ways, guys.

LDL707
October 28, 2006, 06:15 PM
Everyone does not have a right to nuclear arms.

The Constitution placed restrictions on the most powerful weapon of the day (Article 1, Section 10), the ship of war, whereas no restrictions were placed on militia weapons. From this, it can be easily extrapolated that modern squad-level ("militia") weapons are specifically protected by the Constitution, but instruments of national policy (bombers, warships, nukes) are not. Further, it is the Congress which is charged to "provide for the common Defence" (common meaning National, of course; Art 1, sec 8). Nuclear devices are, yes, Virginia, instruments of national defense, and so out of the purview of the individual.

This is patently inaccurate. As others have mentioned, the Constitution places this restriction on the states, not on the individual.

Exactly. Ships of war were under congressional control.

But I notice no-one addressed the Congressional obligation to provide for the national defense in Article 1, Section 8.

The Congress is required to provide for the common defense. But that doesn't mean that nobody else is allowed to.

An Army is an "instrument of national defense" too, but you'll notice that the Constitution allows Congress to call up the militia. Where do you get the idea that a militia staffed by private citizens and armed with private weapons is okay, but a private navy, staffed by private citizens and armed with private weapons is not?

scout26
October 29, 2006, 01:21 AM
To veer this thread slightly off course. Here's my take of why individuals can't/shouldn't own nukes. Call it "Scout26's Swinging Arms Theory". You can take your ordinary firearm, even machine gun out and use it on your property/local range/shooting area. You are only liable if you do something unsafe and/or cause harm to someone else, either on or off that property. And when you are done shooting, I have not suffered any ill effects from you "Swinging your Arms. However if you choose to play with your nuke (unless you have an extremely large underground test factility), there's a pretty good chance you will spread radioactive material beyond the confines of your property and/or deny me the use of that public area where you choose to set off your nuke. You have then swung your arms and connected with my nose. Since there is no way you can safely use your nuke (unless once again you have that underground test facility.) Your rights ended at my nose. Yep you guessed it, your Gamma rays enter my body and I'm calling El Tejon.


(I won't even go into the "Hey Jim Bob, hold my beer, while I light the fuse on this thing." factor. :neener: )

We now return you to the regularly scheduled serious discussion of this issue.

ConstitutionCowboy
October 29, 2006, 01:31 AM
The Congress is required to provide for the common defense. But that doesn't mean that nobody else is allowed to.

Exactly right! Article I, Section 8 starts: Congress shall have power: Not "congress shall have THE power:", but Congress shall have power:

When we gave power to Congress, we didn't relinquish any of our power. We didn't DELEGATE power to Congress, we SHARE our power with Congress.

Woody

"The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the 'High Powers' delegated directly to the citizen by the United States Constitution, Amendment II....A law cannot be passed to infringe upon it or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the law-making power." - Texas Supreme Court Decision, Cockrum vs State of Texas, ---- 1859. Don't tell me that the states never considered the Second Amendment applicable to them. And at this point in time, there was no Fourteenth Amendment!

ConstitutionCowboy
October 29, 2006, 01:48 AM
To veer this thread slightly off course. Here's my take of why individuals can't/shouldn't own nukes. Call it "Scout26's Swinging Arms Theory". You can take your ordinary firearm, even machine gun out and use it on your property/local range/shooting area. You are only liable if you do something unsafe and/or cause harm to someone else, either on or off that property. And when you are done shooting, I have not suffered any ill effects from you "Swinging your Arms. However if you choose to play with your nuke (unless you have an extremely large underground test factility), there's a pretty good chance you will spread radioactive material beyond the confines of your property and/or deny me the use of that public area where you choose to set off your nuke. You have then swung your arms and connected with my nose. Since there is no way you can safely use your nuke (unless once again you have that underground test facility.) Your rights ended at my nose. Yep you guessed it, your Gamma rays enter my body and I'm calling El Tejon.

You bring up a good point. It leads right into the solution:

The Second Amendment only protects the keeping and bearing of arms. How they are used is open for Congress to govern. There is no problem with a law forbidding the use of a nuke, be it for training or just to celebrate the 4th of July, including for how it may be used in defense of the nation. It's no different for a law that says you may not fire your gun in the middle of downtown except in self defense, etc. Note that if those in government decide to enslave us, all bets are off, and you'll be glad you were able to keep one in your back yard bunker.

Woody

As the Court said in Boyd v. United States:

"It may be that it is the obnoxious thing in its mildest and least repulsive form; but illegitimate and unconstitutional practices get their first footing in that way, namely, by silent approaches and slight deviations from legal modes of procedure. This can only be obviated by adhering to the rule that constitutional provisions for the security of person and property should be liberally construed. A close and literal construction deprives them of half their efficacy, and leads to gradual depreciation of the right, as if it consisted more in sound than in substance. It is the duty of courts to be watchful for the constitutional rights of the citizen, and against any stealthy encroachments thereon." ...And I would add all those blatant and obvious encroachments as well!

We should not wait solely upon the Court to protect our rights for us, but should take an active part in protecting them as well. [/p]

Lucky
October 29, 2006, 07:16 AM
Scout 26 the problem is that nukes have been used quite a bit, already. If you allowed your government to do it then you did it. When a government conducts tests, how can that be acceptible while a private party doing the same is wrong?

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 08:54 AM
redundant post

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 08:56 AM
redundant post

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 08:58 AM
redundant post

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 09:00 AM
redundant post

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 09:07 AM
redundant post

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 09:08 AM
redundant post

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 09:12 AM
redundant post

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 09:13 AM
redundant post

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 09:37 AM
redundant post

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 09:55 AM
sheesh

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 12:16 PM
If this was the case...I guess there wouldn't have been any point in defining the individual definition of treason, would there have been?:D

Well of course the US has power over individuals that commit federal crimes and thus come into federal jurisdiction. They have power over individuals that commit treason against the US, pirates, counterfeiters, etc. But these are exceptions to the rule. The feds do not have a general power to act directly upon individuals. Maybe if you stopped grinning so hard and opened your eyes you could see things with more clarity. (:D )

Fosbery
October 29, 2006, 01:00 PM
:what: Eleven consecutive posts. That's got to be a record or something.

hugh damright
October 29, 2006, 01:15 PM
Yeah, sorry about that. I would try to post and it wouldn't show, and I'd try again ... they're doing some kind of maintenance ... finally I got word that the problem was fixed and tried to post again, and then every attempt I made to post today showed up at once.

Scottmkiv
October 29, 2006, 08:41 PM
I just wanted to add some legitimate, non-violent uses for nuclear weapons in private hands.

Nuclear bomb powered spaceflight looks to me like the only option that will ever be commercially viable on a meaningful scale. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_pulse_propulsion

I can also imagine small nuclear bombs being useful for mining, and other earth-moving projects, both on earth and in space.

Lucky
October 29, 2006, 11:27 PM
Scott it's also the way we will beat the Fitp!

Gifted
October 29, 2006, 11:50 PM
I can also imagine small nuclear bombs being useful for mining, and other earth-moving projects, both on earth and in space.While I can understand nuclear propulsion, I don't see Orion engines making it over other methods. As for the rest, look up Operation Plowshare.

ksnecktieman
October 30, 2006, 12:03 AM
Hugh is not reading me any more, but for the ones that are, If you think the federal government does not legally control and effect civilians, go to your nearest military base, and run a stop sign in front of an MP. You will soon know that it was a federal offence. You willl also find out that the federal government DOES NOT forget, It will be a federal record when you die.

The list of crimes the feds can involve themselves in is enormous, and growing daily, and We The People are accepting it.

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