Does/should the Constitution establish the right to possess ALL kinds of arms?


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cjanak
June 12, 2008, 08:31 PM
The 2nd Amendment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution) can be taken to mean that individuals have the right to posses all types of arms (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/arms). I’m not just talking rifles and shotguns, I’m talking bazookas, howitzers… you name it. After all, the phrase used is “…keep and bear arms….” not “keep and bear certain types of arms”.

It seems to me that, if the 2nd amendment is intended to allow the people to protect themselves from government tyranny, than you really must allow the people to posses most any kind of weapon. It’s certainly not realistic to expect the people to protect themselves from a tyrannical government controlling the most advanced military in the world with a bunch of hunting rifles.

If you believe there is some Constitutional basis for limiting the possession of certain types of arms, what is that basis and how does one judge which weapons should be limited and which should not?

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Glockman17366
June 12, 2008, 08:38 PM
The 2nd Amendment doesn't state any limitations on arms..which, means just what it says.
As far as I'm concerned, any firearm (or other weapon) that is available to the government is, by the Constitution, available to any citizen.

Simple as that...

SCPigpen
June 12, 2008, 09:02 PM
We have a winner!!!

I have to agree with Glockman. If you(private citizen)can afford any type of arm, from a pistol up to an aircraftcarrier you should be able to purchase it.

To me, nukes are another ball of wax, due to that pesky radiation stuff.

GearHead_1
June 12, 2008, 09:02 PM
No offense intended and I'm not accusing the OP of anything. It does seem kind of like a Troll type question. With only a few posts under the belt made me feel more so. This seems to be the kind of post where someone says heck no, you can't own a howitzer and then someone says well if no howitzer, why an AK? I'm probably up in the night on this one. My belief is that as a responsible citizen I should be able to have whatever I can safely handle and only I can make that determination. I want an M1, Abrams that is. I can handle it, really I can.

bluestarlizzard
June 12, 2008, 09:06 PM
no limits.

with the exception of true WMD (i.e. that stuff were if someone says 'oppps' everyone in the state is dead)

3KillerBs
June 12, 2008, 09:08 PM
IIRC, the Founding Fathers had a clear idea of the difference between arms and artillery.

Blurring that distinction seems more of a gun-grabber scare tactic than anything else.

Flyboy
June 12, 2008, 09:26 PM
The Constitution establishes no rights.

The Constitution recognizes the right to keep and bear arms, and sets no limits thereupon.

Considering that, at the time it was written, it was perfectly legal--and not uncommon, generally restricted only by one's wealth--for private citizens to own cannons, and even warships, it is unlikely that the Founding Fathers intended anything but for the entire gamut of arms to be protected. Indeed, the recognition of letters of marque and reprisal--and the procedure for granting same--presupposes that the people will be allowed to own heavy weapons.

cjanak
June 12, 2008, 09:27 PM
"This seems to be the kind of post where someone says heck no, you can't own a howitzer and then someone says well if no howitzer, why an AK? I'm probably up in the night on this one."

This is exactly what I'm getting at Gear Head 1. It's an issue that troubles me, so I wanted to see what other people's take was in hopes I might learn a thing or two. It definitely is not my intention to be a troll (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll).

I wouldn't have pictures like these were I anti-hunt or anti gun, right?

Flyboy: You are exactly right; my phrasing was sloppy and incorrect.

Tom Servo
June 12, 2008, 09:50 PM
The Constitution establishes no rights.

The Constitution recognizes the right to keep and bear arms, and sets no limits thereupon.
Actually, neither. It's supposed to affirm and protect those rights.

cjanak, don't worry. It's a valid question. It's not like you posted "2nd aMENDMeNT is teh c00l3st!!# LOL!!!" or something to that effect. We're just wary because when folks start splitting hairs about what kind of arms the 2A guarantees, it sets off alarm bells.

Personally, I think we should be allowed to have whatever we need to preserve our rights and sovereignty. That includes any means our enemies, foreign or domestic, may have.

Deer Hunter
June 12, 2008, 09:53 PM
Flyboy is right.

Why we shouldn't need the second amendment.
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/silveira58.html

The founding fathers were big on "Natural Rights."

mekender
June 12, 2008, 10:08 PM
IIRC, the Founding Fathers had a clear idea of the difference between arms and artillery.

they did indeed, and they also knew that arms included artillery, ships of war etc... private citizens were required to maintain and uphold arms and cannon by the militia act... and private ownership of ships of war didn't stop until well after 1800...

TCB in TN
June 12, 2008, 10:17 PM
IIRC, the Founding Fathers had a clear idea of the difference between arms and artillery.

Blurring that distinction seems more of a gun-grabber scare tactic than anything else.

Mekender beat me to it, but the point can certainly stand repeating. One of the main points of the 2nd was to protect our ability to stand against any and all tyranny, including that of a standing army. BTW do a little research on where the Continental Army got much of its "artillery". You will find that much of it came from private citizens.

husbandofaromanian
June 12, 2008, 10:20 PM
I agree the 2nd protects any arm. If the supreme court interprets correctly, we will be able to own anything. Then they will have no choice but to add an ammendment to the Constitution either cancelling or changing the 2nd. As far as the affectivness of firearms to defend against a tyranical government, just look at what chaos those two idiots caused in the DC snyping incident. Image what a group of real snypers could do in a shtf scenario.

-v-
June 12, 2008, 10:42 PM
If you can buy it, you should be able to own it. Although I too will say that I draw the line at WMDs. I don't think anyone wants to deal with "whoops, accidentally gassed/irradiated/nuked the neighborhood/town/city" scenarios. I think there it should fall under the same law(s) that says that unless you are a registered laboratory with prerequisite biohazard certification, you cannot buy samples of Small-pox.

TAB
June 12, 2008, 10:46 PM
If the supreme court interprets correctly, we will be able to own anything. Then they will have no choice but to add an ammendment to the Constitution either cancelling or changing the 2nd.

The SC can not add ammendments to the cons, that is up to the people.

I do agree, the best thing that could happen to the 2a, its have it stricken and rewritten.

divemedic
June 12, 2008, 10:48 PM
True, private citizens did own mortars, torpedoes (called sea mines now), warships, cannon, grenades, and pretty much any other weapon that the military had.

Before you get on the "nuclear weapons" argument, I would point out that you cannot use nuclear weapons to defend a country against a tyrannical government. They can only be used to destroy the entire country.

I do agree, the best thing that could happen to the 2a, its have it stricken and rewritten.

Right. Do you think the 2A would be included, if the COTUS were written today?

.cheese.
June 12, 2008, 10:49 PM
Somehow I would tend to think the 2A primarily applies to small arms, but honestly, I don't know.

I think if nothing else we should be able to own anything we can personally carry.

Big45
June 12, 2008, 10:51 PM
arms is arms boys. Nukes should be available to all. Don't want anyone to have 'em? Charge a billion bucks for one. Nobody's gonna have one.

TAB
June 12, 2008, 10:59 PM
Right. Do you think the 2A would be included, if the COTUS were written today?

thats a very good question.

I really don't know to tell you the truth. My personal feelings is yes, but I'm just one voice out of several hundred million.

PTK
June 12, 2008, 11:22 PM
To those who say "artillery, etc. shouldn't be included"...


It already is. If you have the cash, you can buy a 155 Howitzer and exploding projectiles. Why should we change that?

Firethorn
June 12, 2008, 11:42 PM
Personally, the larger weapons are more subject to regulation purely from an environmental standpoint. Safety, if you will.

It takes quite a magazine(in the old sense of the word) of smokeless powder to be dangerous.

You start moving into explosive rounds like artillery shells and I can see a certain amount of safety regulations needing to be applied.

Please note, this is no different in my mind than if you propose keeping tanks of gasoline or chlorine, or other substance of hazard in a fire and such.

But, under no circumstances should the requirements for civilian storage exceed the requirements imposed on the military. Yes, if you want to play with 500 pound bombs and such, you should keep a proper bunker for the storage of same.

airforceteacher
June 13, 2008, 12:53 AM
The SC can not add ammendments to the cons, that is up to the people.

I do agree, the best thing that could happen to the 2a, its have it stricken and rewritten.

That's the worst thing that could happen - the demagogues and nanny statists would ensure that once it was stricken it was never readded. "Think of the children" would become the national anthem.

It can never be done without a major constitutional crisis, because amendments must be introduced by federal politicians, and who among them would propose a law that allows us to take power from them?

catfish101
June 13, 2008, 12:56 AM
The limit of what we can own is what allot of the gun grabbers and some media seem to endorse. If that is the case then they should be limited on what letters they can use when practicing their freedom of the press.

TAB
June 13, 2008, 01:01 AM
you can stricken an amendment with part of another amendement.

body of the the amendment.... the 2a is repealed. the other way is just as good.

H088
June 13, 2008, 01:04 AM
I think everyone should get there hands off the constitution.

General Geoff
June 13, 2008, 01:14 AM
I have no objections to the definition of arms including pretty much everything.

Nuclear weapons are an interesting anomaly. Some of the most downright evil people in history had/have access to them, and yet there hasn't been a single use of a nuclear weapon in war since 1945.

To put it bluntly, anyone who is intelligent enough to either build, buy, steal, or otherwise acquire a nuclear weapon, knows that the use of such a weapon may very well mean the end of the world.

In a twisted sort of way, the history of nuclear weapons development and the Cold War arms race demonstrates perfectly why arms are necessary. If nuclear weapons had not been invented, World War II would have dragged on for a considerable time, and the Soviet Union might still be at war with the western world. Hundreds of millions might be dead, if not for advent of nukes.

I guess what I'm getting at is that nuclear weapons (and other true weapons of mass destruction) are so terrible that only a true psycho could possibly ever misuse them. So I suppose that such terrible weapons should be subject to some kind of discretion as to who has access to them (assuming they were to somehow become mass produced and be affordable by private citizens).


I got no problems with private ownership of practically any kind of chemical explosives/ordnance, though.

dmazur
June 13, 2008, 01:14 AM
It's a rather tricky question, as others have noted -

However, I believe there should be no restrictions on ownership of any type of weapon. (For those with a tendency to the far-fetched, yes WMD should be considered in a different category, due to the problems of "oops".)

There may be restrictions on where (or when) you can fire them. By this I mean there could be building codes that control the design of gun ranges, to ensure public safety to the extent possible by design.

Again, in the interest of public safety, I can see a responsible government requiring gun safety training, much like driver education, not as a requirement for ownership, but as a required element of an education program.

So, bring on the 105's. There should be a range, somewhere, that provides for their safe use.

I'd rather see this, even as administered by some state government, than outright bans on ownership.

After all, there's no harm in owning anything. The misuse of objects is what causes harm.

Nolo
June 13, 2008, 01:21 AM
The jury's still out on privately owned nukes.
I think you should be able to own them, but get into serious freakin' trouble if you detonate them and it affects another person's property, which it most certainly will.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 13, 2008, 01:26 AM
Same debate, previously discussed:
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-338366.html

Frankly, it is a pointless debate. You can argue until you are blue in the face about what you think the law should be and "my great-granddaddy had a cannon without any regulation so why can't I"; but the fact of the matter is that no federal or state court is ever going to agree that you have the same right to these items as you do to a handgun (well the 9th Circuit might agree to it since they don't believe you have any right to a handgun either).

From a practical standpoint, there are two ways to look at it. Either arms covers every conceivable weapon - in which case, your fellow citizens would absolutely demand that some weapons be more strictly related based on their perceived danger to society. They would not only demand it, they would have the numbers to amend it if they wanted to. Personally, I don't think either of those outcomes is desirable (laying the foundation for "this weapon can be regulated more strictly because it scares me" or setting up a popular base of support to modify the Second Amendment). Because believe me, the end result won't be that you can own a 500lb bomb if you have the proper storage bunker. It will be that you need licensing, registration and the storage bunker before you can own a brick of .22LR ammo.

The other way to look at it is that arms do not cover every conceivable weapon and that any protection for bombs, tanks, etc. must be found in some other part of the Constitution as the Second only covered individual arms that people were able to bear. Even this provides plenty of room to scare people (RPGs, Machineguns, MANPADS?), which is likely why Heller suggested the additional "and in common use at the time" test from Miller to remove that scare tactic from the Brady Bunch. If you favor the view that the Second is an absolute prohibition on most, if not all regulation - then you should also be championing this approach because only by limiting arms to a smaller group will you ever gain the support you need to remove much of the existing regulation (short of some massive, unforeseen cultural shift).

RP88
June 13, 2008, 02:50 AM
I can certainly agree with ownership of any weapon. Hell, MC Hammer bought an Apche Helicopter before he went bankrupt. However, the safety issues can be very well justified. A nuke? A 500-pound bomb? An AMRAAM missile? Scud missile? These cause legit safety concerns.

Also, there are private companies/citizens that keep such material and other dangerous things as well. However, think about how they run that operation. The transport, security, and storage is thoroughly arranged and monitored, and costs more money than they probably pay for the substance/material/ordinance.

Even if it were to be affirmed that we could keep scuds, how is anyone - save for those in charge of a multi-hundred-million dollar to a billion-dollar company - going to afford the licensing and security/staff for transport, the devices and facilities for proper storage, etc? What the hell are you gonna do? Call MilFed HazMat to hep deliver your plate of LR Phoenix missiles to your local Federal Ordinance License (FOL)?

H088
June 13, 2008, 03:06 AM
The danger of allowing companies to own this type of equipment is pretty big.

There is nothing wrong with the individual owning it but soon you will have companies with miniature armies in the US which could be controlled by foreign powers. Or worse controlled by the all mighty dollar.

So this is what I think should happen, the goverment should allow private citizens ownership of these items, and every citizen who hasn't committed a crime would get military training to use them properly. That includes full-auto firearms, RPG launchers, tanks. Everything.

You should be able to own any fire-arm at your house, the rest of the gear in each town would be stored in a facility that citizens would take turns guarding and practice using.

I think thats fair.

leadcounsel
June 13, 2008, 04:27 AM
I certainly don't want the same analysis used in protecting our 2A right to keep and bear personal arms - handguns, rifles, shotguns, and select fire weapons of homeland defense - muddled with the analysis used to determine whether private citizens can own cannons, artillery and WMDs.

These need to be clear and distinctly different analysis. As to personal weapons, the SCOTUS is likely going to say yes, the 2A recognizes and protects individual rights to Keep and Bear Arms. This is a no-brainer.

As to the heavy weaponry - while it may have been common in that time period - I think that even most pro-gun and pro-2A folks would be hard pressed to believe or even want your neighbor (or some large corporation) to be buying destructive devises, artillery, mortars, tanks, and WMDs.

Here's the bottom line. US citizens can clearly own personal weapons to SUPPRESS a tyrannical government. And frankly our experiences with the lowly Beltway shooters (which held the east coast captive for a week), ingenuity of the 9/11 attacks (bringing the US to its knees without firing a single shot from a traditional weapon), and harassing insurgents in the middle east with simple technology somewhat effectively combatting a world power military (through military and media) shows that traditional arms can be effective, especially when coupled with tactics.

However, anything above traditional arms may not be used for SUPPRESSING tyranny, but instead PROVOKING attacks on the government from within. Individual citizens with too much firepower can have the converse effect of threatening democracy.

I'll paint this scenario. A radical law abiding group of anti-US government citizens pools their funds and arms themselves with arms AND tanks, mortars, artillary, etc. and parks it all around the white house. Is this a threat to democracy? Absolutely! Now imagine what would happen if this irresponsible group launched an effective attack on the US from within the US.

One of the first acts the President would take would be an emergency executive order to OUTLAW ALL PERSONAL ARMS and declare martial law. The previously peaceful nation would suddenly be in a state of turmoil.

As we all know, with absolute rights comes absolute responsibility. Yes I want our neighbors owning personal arms, including full auto weapons. This serves as effective deterant to foreign and domestic tyranny as the 2A intended. But do we REALLY want our neighbors with nukes? A 2A that endorses nukes will likely fail.

Deanimator
June 13, 2008, 08:29 AM
The Bill of Rights PROTECTS.

It doesn't "establish".

sprithitler
June 13, 2008, 09:11 AM
The way i understand the US constitution and history you should be able to own any weapon you can afford and the government is able to own.
Regarding handling and storing of said weapons it should be possible to charge those that store them in a not safe enough manner with endangerment or something, that way making any licensing unnecessary.
Storing a Brick of .22lr in the kitchen cupboard is pretty safe, storing 155mm howitzer grenades in the same manner is endangering your own family and any neighbours within a couple of kilometers.
Storing your loaded shotgun beside the bed is pretty safe unless you have toddlers in the house, storing your M1 with full loads of ammo and the keys in the ignition on your driveway in the ghetto is not quite that safe.
Expect people to handle their ruger .22s or their Carrier groups with common sense.

Treo
June 13, 2008, 11:58 AM
This discussion has been done to death. This is the best answer I have heard , I apollogize for not being able to properly credit it.

The second ammendment recognizes BOTH an individual and a collective right to bear arms. it allowed individuals to be armed as riflemen ( I.E. if it's on the TO&E for an 11 Bravo you can have one). Crew served weapons & up ( think M2 ) were collectively owned by the local militia, which was made up of the local citizenry ( Think state defense force NOT the national guard) . Citizens were required to drill W/ the local militia, there by enabling a force that could be called to battle for civil defense against all enemies, foreign and domestic, on very short notice.

EDIT
The guy who originally posted this idea didn't specify the following but I would add it.

Service in a local militia compulsory .

Service in the standing army or any reserve component voluntary (with pay)

Local militia restricted to defense of the continental United States, no international projection of force.
Not sure about Hawi'i & Alaska can probably take care of her self

Orange_Magnum
June 13, 2008, 02:32 PM
If the Cuban military come ashore, what kind of fire arms do you want the people of Florida to own should Obama take a nap in the White House after having eaten too much of bakeries with his family?

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 13, 2008, 02:36 PM
Personally, I think that it's implicitly meaning "small arms" - capable of being humped by a grunt and shoulder fired. Basically anything up to a .50 caliber or thereabouts. But I can't say that others are wrong who say that it's not so limited.

Treo
June 13, 2008, 02:39 PM
If the Cuban Military came ashore in Florida I'd grant all 15 of them political asylum.

EDIT
Ok if you want a serious answer I need to ask some questions

1. How did the cuban army get here W/out the Navy, the USCG, Radar , or the DEA picking it up?

2.Why weren't fighters dispatched from McDill AFB?

3. Why did Cuba decide to invade the United States( do they want Gloria Estefan & Marilynn Milan back) ?

goon
June 13, 2008, 03:11 PM
I think of it in terms of what was available to the average guy at the time.
Obviously, individual small arms are covered - muskets, handguns, and rifles could be owned by anyone who could afford them.
Hand grenades, mortars, and artillery are covered - if you could afford them no one would have stopped you from owning one. That leads me to believe that modern "equivalents" like hand grenades, howitzers, mortars, and rocket propelled grenades would be covered under the Second Ammendment.
At the time, if you could afford a ship it was only common sense to have some cannon on board for defense. If armed ships were covered then, why not an APC, tank, or Helocopter gunship now?

One thing I don't see as being covered - Nukes. Maybe the founders would have said "This is great! It can kill everyone on earth! Lets all get one!". Maybe they wouldn't have.
At the time though, there wasn't anything even remotely eqivalent for them to consider.

Josh Aston
June 13, 2008, 04:47 PM
Anti gunners look at the gun movement and say

"oh no. Anyone can buy one of those .50 caliber machine guns online for only $29.95. And then they can get all kinds of evil assault rifles at the corner store without any kind of wait."

Sound ridiculous? That's because it is. But what's even more ridiculous is when gun owner that know what the actual system is and how much that .50 cal machine gun really costs apply the same logic to other weapons.

"Yeah, people should be able to buy heavy machine guns and stuff like that if they want. But bombs? Rockets? Nukes? Why should they be able to get those? If we make those legal then people will just be able to go to the cornerstore and get them, or buy them on the internet for $29.95."

Come on people, get real! Like others have already pointed out, howitzers, bombs, etc. are already legal for civilian ownership. Do you see people using them to blow up their next door neighbor on a regular basis? No! Terrorist don't use those kinds of things either. Why not? Cost. That stuff is expensive. Why use a howitzer when it's so much easier and cheaper just to buy a plane ticket and then hijack the aircraft and fly it into your target? Most of the big guns that gun owners are scared of becoming so common place and used in crimes if they are made legal are already legal. There is no reason to pass a law prohibiting howitzers, they are already prohibited by their cost. Quit drawing a line. If you draw the line at one point one day then someone else will try to draw it somewhere you don't like later on.

bruss01
June 13, 2008, 05:46 PM
I think discussions like this get downright silly sometimes. Yes, we all want and deserve our "rights" but no right is absolute - for instance, my right to blithely swing my fist around in the air ends where the other fella's nose begins. He has a right to not get hit for no reason, minding his own business.

IMHO there is a boundary between weapons that can be used on very specific targets, and weapons that can easily affect innocent bystanders. With most "militia" type weapons, you aim at a target, you fire, and the target is affected. You are not typically affecting whole crowds of people or neighborhoods or huge pieces of infrastructure. IMHO if you're going to operate a weapon that is capable of indiscriminate damage if handled improperly or any kind of widespread damage (taking out a bridge, for example) that's going to be something that needs to happen on the say-so of more than just one person, acting on his own authority.

I would class pistols, rifles, shotguns all as militia-class weaponry. They are designed to be operated by an individual, with very specific results typically. They do not require a lot of training to be able to operate and maintain properly. You put the sights on target, pull trigger, the target is affected and rarely anything else. If the individual is in error (crazy guy off his meds, etc) then he is easily brought down by an armed response from the citizenry (or should be, if the citizenry were also properly armed).

Things like grenades, missiles, nerve gas, bio-weapons, and nuclear warheads obviously can affect more than just the intended target and the potential for collateral damage is high. Those are a class of weapon that I think most folks (including our founders) would agree require the sign-off of more than just one individual who woke up in a nasty mood one morning. I don't think any one individual can claim a "right" that potentially adversely affects his friends and neighbors as well as his enemies. Crazy guy off his meds with a canister of nerve gas, not so easily taken out of action before hundereds are killed. You get the picture.

Grey area is crew served weaponry such as belt-feds etc. That will take a keener legal mind than mine to resolve. At least they would require consent of multiple individuals to bring into operation. I could fathom there being a permit system in place for such things. Or the "collective ownership" mentioned above, by local militia groups. That might be a practical application.

WinchesterAA
June 13, 2008, 05:52 PM
An abrams would make rush hour so much more enjoyable..

"Wee, only a couple miles to the gallon, but nobody's gunna honk at me, that's for sure."

qwert65
June 13, 2008, 07:43 PM
I think we should be allowed militia weapons I don't think just because people had cannons they were called arms. I think they were called ordanance. There were no laws forbiding the sale of cannons so you could get one just as there were no laws forbidding the saleof cyanide
Further, I think if you read the federalist papers you get the idea that the fathers pictured the citizens forming up to defend the country with their personal weapons. not one guy towing a howitzer another driving a tank.

I also can see restrictions times change, in the original constitution black men weren't the equal of white men. this has changed. I think standard infantry primary arms are ok maybe even grenades(not sure grenades with them a nut can cause a lot of damage) I think we'll be fine with a SAW just my opinion

Owen
June 13, 2008, 07:48 PM
Considering that most Navies were heavily fortified with privately owned warships at the time, I'd say the field is wide open.

"Nobody could have foreseen ironclads!!'

Telumehtar
June 13, 2008, 08:06 PM
New to this forum, and while I am a 2nd Amendment supporter, I do question the wisdom of it encompassing all weapons. Now you can argue I'm questioning the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and that's fine, I have no problem with that, as they were just like anyone else, mere mortals capable of the same follies as any man. I do not hold the Founders as being some sort of indisputed sacred fount of wisdom, rather I look at them as revolutionaries with unorthodox ideas that require experimentation to prove out whether these ideas are a more perfect form of governing. And 200+ years is not enough experimentation to make that determination yet, in my opinion.

Anyhow, with that said, the question I would like to pose to the Founding Fathers(and unfortunately I can't) is, "Are Nukes, Biological agents, Aircraft Carriers, the Metalstorm weapon system, man portable artillery, machine guns, or six shooters, what you intended to include when you stated that people had the right to keep and bear arms?"

I would ask this because reality colors our philosophy and it colors the way we perceive things. The Founding Fathers just got done beating the World's Super Power with essentially a rag tag group of men, farmers weapons, a few military grade weapons, and essentially an Ocean. The fact that they accomplished so much with so little I am sure colored their perspective. Further the lack of knowledge about the future of weapons also places them in a perspective that I am unsure that any modern man can appreciate fully.

Natural Rights stem from the idea that an individual has Freedoms until it infringes upon another's Freedoms. Traditionally(and I'm thinking up until about the last 60 to 110 years), the mere ownership of weapons of any class did not infringe upon another's freedom to mow their lawn, or go swimming or farm their fields. Only until you use that weapon either directly by shooting/stabbing them or indirectly by threatening to shoot them does a weapon bearer then become the tyrant denying freedom to another. The principle of gun ownership for citizens was to allow a reciprocal response, an ability to counter if you will, those citizens or governments intent on using force to deny rights.

In the case of Nukes or Biological Agents (taking the most extreme cases for purely devil's advocation :evil: ), the nuke/bio-agent itself is not the only weapon gained from ownership. The projection of Fear is a secondary, and very functional weapon at the owner's disposal by being in possession of said device. Is that ability to project fear a legitimate reason to deny private ownership of said weapons?

Granted this can be a slippery slope as one could say a neighbor owning a gun could create the same sense of fear, however in that case I would say it is reasonable that neighbors could react by acquiring their own arms thus ensuring a balance of power and thus constructing a guarantee of rights by virtue of mutual respect and power. Nukes/bio-agents however are not going to secure this mutual respect/power on an individual level. Using a nuke/bio-agent to defend oneself is almost as suicidal as allowing the attacker to use one to assault you with thus an aggressor with these weapons has an advantage irregardless of whether or not the defender also has them.

And here is the crux of why I think WMDs should not be included in the traditional definition of arms. The offensive properties of WMDs are so over bearing and uncontrollable that they cannot serve a defensive purpose without also reasonable consideration that by using them the bearer will be denying the rights of other innocent people. In our current reality (the world in which we live) if the attempt to use such a device in a defensive posture was ever committed, the collateral damage would be so uncontrollable that the user could not use one to eliminate an aggressor without also eliminating or harming non-aggressors, thus making the defender into a tyrant in that he is denying the rights of others(specifically Life in this case) in order to safe guard his own(or at least attempt to do so).

And that is where I think the line can be drawn. Weapons in which there is a level of control that allows the user to inflict harm upon an aggressor with a reasonable assuredness of avoiding harm to innocents are weapons that should be included as protected by fundamental individual rights. Thus I would say that Aircraft carriers, C-130s, M1 tanks are capable of this level of control, as in each case the weapon if used in skilled hands can hit desired targets with no collateral and uncontrollable damage. Nukes, Biological agents and certain chemical compounds become uncontrollable when used, and thus become a threat to other Right imbued individuals by nature of their use.

Put more simply, your right to defend yourself ends when you harm a non-aggressor, which WMDs can reasonably be assumed to do. In the future if conditions to our reality change it could be that situations would arise that these weapons find a theatre in which their controlled use could also be assured to prevent collateral denial of rights. Far fetched, but ship to ship warfare in space might be a theatre in which private ship owners would use nukes as a defensive weapon with reasonable assuredness of not infringing upon other innocents' rights.

And for those that take exception to my use of "reasonable", consider that "reasonable" was used in much of the early law of this country and only through a slow but sure process have the courts and legislature tried to abolish the right's of citizens to use a "reasonable man" judgement while on the jury.

Treo
June 13, 2008, 08:20 PM
That was good first post welcome to THR

deanf
June 13, 2008, 09:40 PM
Via The Constitution, we the people delegate certain limited and sharply defined powers to the government. These powers include the authority to form and equip a military. Of course part of equipping is arming.

It follows that all powers delegated are also retained, thus it also follows that we the people retain the power to equip ourselves with "every terrible implement of the soldier."

Drail
June 13, 2008, 10:03 PM
I think what must be considered here is that if the citizens allow the government to state that the government may use and possess anything including nuclear weapons, but you governed people are not permitted anything over .50 caliber then we have wandered off of the path the founding fathers placed us on. We the people should be placing limits on what government is allowed to have and how they use it.

lamazza
June 13, 2008, 10:40 PM
Deer Hunter that is a fantastic little article that you posted from BlackwoodsHome. Thank you.

Crunker1337
June 13, 2008, 10:44 PM
If the founding fathers wanted to guarantee the right to own weapons that are not man portable, they'd have used another word beside "arms". They'd have used "guns" or "artillery" or "cannons".

In my opinion, the Second Amendment only applies to small arms. Reasonable restrictions on artillery and other non man-portable weaponry is Constitutional.

benEzra
June 13, 2008, 10:45 PM
If you can bear (carry) a howitzer, then you may not need a gun after all...

The 2ndA refers specifically to individual weapons, IMO--arms that can be "kept and borne" by an individual. That has long been understood as meaning small arms, not crew-served weapons.

divemedic
June 13, 2008, 11:12 PM
Really? Then where did the Washington's militia get their cannon?

What was the battle of Lexington and Concord about?

goon
June 14, 2008, 02:20 AM
So what would have been the procedure for a guy who was rich enough to own a ship if he wanted protection against pirates?
What kind of waiting period would have been required to purchase a cannon if you were alive in 1798?
I'd bet that if a guy had the money, he could have had cannon just about as fast as they could be cranked out. IMO, the only issue with a crew served weapon would have been whether or not you had enough money to pay the crew.
But I will admit that I am not as educated on history or the Constitution as some.

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