RKBA... Civil Right or Civil Liberty?


January 16, 2009, 12:44 PM
Or both?

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January 16, 2009, 12:51 PM
I'd say the Second Amendment is a Civil Liberty.

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a "God given" right, pre-existing any government.

The Second Amendment is a Civil Liberty, protecting people from a government that might try to infringe on that pre-existing right in the vein of the Locke "social contract".

In that contract we the people give the government permission to act on our behalf. Violate that contract and we may remove said government from power any time we wish.

Liberty being as John Stuart Mill defined it: freedom to act, absence of coercion.
Right, a legal or moral entitlement. In the case of RKBA, recognized by the founders as an entitlement, given by God to man to defend life and freedom.

It's pretty heavy stuff which is why so many anti's can't grasp the concept. They can't grasp the concept, as our founders DID, that "we the people" should always have the ability to pick up our shotguns, "assault weapons", .50 caliber "sniper rifles" with our "cop killer bullets" and remove, by force if necessary, a government gone out of control. It is that always present possibility, our founders believed, that would keep government from going out of control in the first place. It is still a valid concept, and Scalia's writings in Heller talk about it being still valid.

That's a scary concept, maybe not even practical, but it is core belief on which the Constitution was founded, that the people wield absolute power and the only way to keep it that way is for us to be able to fight back if necessary.

Jorg Nysgerrig
January 16, 2009, 12:51 PM
You need to define the terms as they are used interchangeably in many cases.

January 16, 2009, 12:57 PM
Well, based on what I'm reading, people say there is a difference don't readily define it. Civil liberty is well defined but Civil right lesser so. It seems to be a civil liberty.

January 16, 2009, 12:57 PM
A distinction without a difference.

January 16, 2009, 01:22 PM
The Bill Of Rights is a list of things that are recognized as being inherently possessed by people prior to the formation of government. They are unique in regards to the rest of the constitution in that they are simply things the government recognizes as being pre-existing and therefore incapable of being infringed upon by (a legitimate) government.

January 16, 2009, 02:37 PM
Liberties are manifestations.

Rights are intrinsic.

January 16, 2009, 03:23 PM
More broadly, it is one of the limits of our consent to be governed.

"You, the government, have this much permission, but no more."

By Jefferson's logic in the Declaration, once a government goes beyond the consent of the governed, the governed have the duty to abolish it, and replace it with a government that will stay within the limits of their consent. That duty can be expressed peacefully, if possible, or violently, if necessary.

Remember, too, that the violent route is only "right" if you win. If you lose, you're likely to hang by the neck until you are dead, dead, dead. I think Ben Franklin had something to say about that. (As well as about the pulchritude of rich, young French women.)


January 16, 2009, 03:50 PM
Neither - it is a pre-existing God given right. Our Constitution recognizes it as so. The Bill of Rights did not grant rights - it only recognizes them. In fact, the 9th and 10th amendments allude to other rights not expressly stated. Even if Congress passes laws eliminating the recognition of those rights, they still exist.

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