What do YOU think the Second Amendment means?


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Sandshooter
January 1, 2013, 09:12 PM
I want to hear from law abiding gun owners what the Second Amendment actually means to them. I asked that question to a group at my shooting club and I couldn't believe the replies I received! Remember, we are in the fight of our lives when it comes to owning firearms.

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JVaughn
January 1, 2013, 09:18 PM
It means shall not be infringed. No restrictions, no limitations, no exceptions.

bigfatdave
January 1, 2013, 09:34 PM
it isn't complicated

The founders recognized the rights of the citizenry to arm themselves as they pleased, and recognized that a well-armed citizenry made for a powerful militia.

BigRugerLover
January 1, 2013, 09:34 PM
Each citizen is responsible to participate in our collective defense; each citizen has a right to provide for his personal defense.

22-rimfire
January 1, 2013, 09:36 PM
It's pretty simple. The Founders were concerned about a tryannical government and they believe that stating that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed was important to a free nation that they envisioned. They felt the freedom of speech and religion etc was very important, hence Amendment #1, and Arms.... #2. That doesn't necessarily mean that our current politicians respect that or a majority of them.

Honestly, I think most do respect that and we'll see what develops in the gun control legislation paths.

Prophet
January 1, 2013, 09:47 PM
To me, it doesn't really matter what I think it means. I do care about and agree with what the founders had to say about it though. Those quotes are numerous and available. It is apparent and obvious that the 2A was instituted not for hunting, and really not even for self-defense. These were assumed. Who in their right mind wouldn't defend or provide food for their family? The Second Amendment was instituted as a means to ensure that the citizenry would have a fighting chance against a tyrannical government.

And for the record; you're right, we're in the fight of our time for 2A rights. There's not a person I know nor a "friend" on any of my social networking pages that's gonna have an excuse in the world if things take a turn for the worse.

Trad Archer
January 1, 2013, 09:56 PM
It means I shouldn't need a conceal carry permit.

bayesian
January 1, 2013, 10:01 PM
So, I've been reading a book by Craig Whitney called "Living with Guns", and he gives a pretty good historical perspective on the roots of the 2nd Amendment and it is one that I find pretty persuasive.

Basically - it's complicated. Founders really couldn't imagine a situation where a large portion of the population didn't have guns. I mean, you needed to hunt, and for those city dwellers, the bigger problem was that laws *requiring* people to have gun were ignored by too many people to make it difficult to muster decent sized militias.

Individual states sometimes (but often didn't) talk about the issue of personal defense, more often it was a matter of 'common defense' as in an organized militia.

So, I (meaning my opinion) is that the interpretation is necessarily dependent upon how our society has evolved over the last 220 odd years, and we can't rely on solely the words any more than we can rely on the original constitution to define black people as 2/5 of a person.

As pointed out, there is this notion of checking the power of a tyrannical gov't, although I have to say that until the FAA allows me to own drones, I think I'm likely to be outgunned no matter what I have.

But, the constitution carves out a wide zone of individual freedom that reserves a large amount of power for self determination for an individual and I think part of that is the ability to have, use, and be judged for the application of force where it is seen as necessary. For this country, this has traditionally included a very wide latitude for self defense and while we can be judged for it, we, as a society, believe that it is better to judge this after the fact than to remove such power a priori.

So, that's what it means for me. The 2nd is not an absolute, the founders weren't prescient, or divinely inspired, but it is part of the fabric of our society and we collectively need to figure this out as we go.

Onward Allusion
January 1, 2013, 10:01 PM
It ain't about hunting, target sports, or collecting and THAT's what scares some.

4thHorseman
January 1, 2013, 10:15 PM
see my signature below

Kim
January 1, 2013, 10:39 PM
I agree with Justice Alex Kozinski as above. I wish he had real Statesmen and Women and Courts that felt the same.

JRH6856
January 1, 2013, 11:20 PM
Before discussing what the 2nd Amendment means, One must understand what the Constitution means. I saw a New York Times editorial the other day that stated that contrary to DC v Heller, the text of the 2nd Amendment "does not create a personal right to be armed." Well, Duh!. There is no text anywhere in the Constitution that creates any personal rights of any kind.

What the Constitution does is delegate limited power to the federal government and prohibits the federal government from interfering in the exercise of certain specific rights. These protected rights are listed in the Bill of Rights. The 10th Amendment further states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The 14th Amendment prohibits the states from interfering with the individual rights of US citizens which are specifically protected by the US Constitution.

So what all of this means to me is that there is no government that has the authority to interfere with my personal right to keep and bear whatever arms I choose.

But, I do not want everyone to have that right. I would prefer that violent felons, the mentally deranged, and people I just don't trust to act responsibly not have that right. There are many in this country with a similar preference, and this extends to other rights as well. Limiting personal rights for the common good is why we have governments, but it should be by common consent.

In governing, the government can and does do just about anything it is not specifically prohibited from doing. And government is constantly testing the prohibitions. Our governments, federal or state, can not grant rights to anyone. Government can only take them away. And if government is allowed to restrict the rights of one person, it will eventually seek to extend that restriction to every person

There is no such thing as a Constitutional guarantee of any right, only a theoretical protection. But like copyrights and trademarks, any right not defended is surrendered and lost. We can only retain the remaining rights protected by the Constitution by defending those rights whenever they are threatened.

Isaac-1
January 2, 2013, 12:21 AM
While it is true that the men that wrote the Bill of Rights could not imagine a number of the aspects of the world we have today, when it comes to the 2a portion, it really is very simple. The right of the people (meaning individual people, you and me) to keep and bear arms (to have and use guns), shall not (Don't even think about it) be infringed. It really is not all that complicated, not some long drawn out legal document, one sentence with a preamble that is not needed to read the key part. It does not place a limit on arms, does not say hunting rifle, as ownership of small cannon was common in the era. Now it seems that these men had seen improvements in firearms in their own times, and could invision the potential for further improvement to a degree, so I would say anything roughly resembling those things that they knew as arms including crew served weapons should be allowed for private ownership by the general public. What should probably not be allowed are those things that may be considered true weapons of mass destruction, maybe even over the horizon fire and forget weapons, so no private ownership of nuclear warheads, or cruise missles. M1 Abrams main battle tank, sure if you can afford it as it is not that different from a horse drawn crew serviced cannon.

Inebriated
January 2, 2013, 12:38 AM
The Second Amendment has one glaring purpose, and that is defense against a tyrannical government.

With firearms, you can hunt, defend yourself or your home from criminals, you can go do some shooting sports and competitions, but none of those are the purpose of the Second Amendment. Only a by-product.

bldsmith
January 2, 2013, 12:57 AM
the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It does not say the right of the states, the right of the militia or military, the right of the government or any other entity. The right of the people is plain to me.

2RCO
January 2, 2013, 01:02 AM
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security
of a free State, the right of the People to keep and
bear arms, shall not be infringed."
I don't really see anything too difficult about interpretation of this.

JFtheGR8
January 2, 2013, 01:11 AM
Each citizen is responsible to participate in our collective defense; each citizen is responsible for his personal defense.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This, and much more. The second amendment recognizes that there may be a time when an elitist minority will try to rule over a silent majority. The right to keep and bear arms keeps the balance of power in check.


Posted from Thehighroad.org App for Android

JEB
January 2, 2013, 01:13 AM
it means that the citizens of the United States has the right to own and bear arms without any interference from the govt. wheather state or federal. as far as i'm concerned every "gun law" is a direct violation of my constitutional rights.

Alaska444
January 2, 2013, 01:32 AM
God gave us rights, the constitution restrains the governments of men from taking those rights away from us at the federal level. The right to self defense and to form militias is a God given right that shall not be infringed. That was the original intent of the 2A.

mastiffhound
January 2, 2013, 01:41 AM
Determining a meaning is dangerous. That is why we are in the situation we are in now. We have let others in power determine what it means. It is a right, regardless of what those currently in power say it means. I have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Trying to make rights mean something is what dirtbag gun-grabbers argue over. They are the ones that need definitions for what it means. These people need a solid definition so they can, if need be, change it to their liking. Getting into other peoples business, bedrooms, hobbies, minds, and gun safes is what they are about. What does this all add up to? Control.

The sheep can't be trusted to defened themselves, even though they have significant numbers. They could turn on each other, lets pull their teeth and chop off their hooves. We are doing it for your own good, we will make you a more cohesive flock. You shouldn't have to fear one another or us for that matter. We will deal with shearing, processing, selling of your wool, and your defense from the wolves! We will even think for you, you are far to simple minded. We can do it better than you. You need us. But don't worry, we are suffering just as much as you are. It just doesn't look like it.

Sorry guys, I was bored and remembered a book from childhood earlier and reread it. Read Animal Farm by George Orwell. If it doesn't sound familiar read it twice. I had no idea when I was a kid it was really about something else (I was only 7 at the time and had no idea what an allegory was) but I know now. The ending isn't a happy one. The pigs tell us that traitors are in our midst, and all around us. They say they are just doing what is in our best interest, not theirs. The pigs are now laughing at the rest of us animals with the other farm owners (starts with a N, ends with an O, and has AT in the middle) this very second. If you have some time watch V for Vendetta, another good only mildly fictitious story of how you can't be trusted with your own safety or thoughts.

Alaska444
January 2, 2013, 02:07 AM
We don't have to determine the meaning, the founders already did this. But we must go back to the Declaration of Independence, remember July 4th 1776 is when we became a nation. The Constitution of 1789 did not in any manner abrogate the Declaration of Independence. Instead, it affirms it.

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.

The articles of confederation were not able to secure these God given rights and that is why they turned to the Constitution to form a stronger federal government to be strong enough to secure the rights, but not infringe them as well. The Bill of Rights added further SECURITY to the God given rights in 1791. Once again, go to the Declaration of Independence and what follows in the Constitution and the Bill of rights is simply the means by which the founders limited governmental powers and kept our individual God given rights intact and SECURE.

What is most at risk in America is not political or judicial activism, but instead that a growing majority of people do not believe that these rights are God given. Somehow today, people believe that it is the government that gives us our rights. That is plain and simply backwards.

Review the Federalist papers and quotes and reviews of the 2A by our founding fathers and that is the reason for all of these documents.

JRH6856
January 2, 2013, 03:21 AM
What is most at risk in America is not political or judicial activism, but instead that a growing majority of people do not believe that these rights are God given. Somehow today, people believe that it is the government that gives us our rights. That is plain and simply backwards.


This.

And it is really not surprising. Almost everyone speaks of "Constitutional rights" as if the rights come from the Constitution, so the assumption that this is so is easily made and constantly reinforced. We don't have any Constitutional rights, we have Constitutionally protected rights.

mnrivrat
January 2, 2013, 04:09 AM
For those who try to convice us that only certain types of guns should be in the hands of the people - read my signiture line !

What part of "shall not be infringed" is not understandable to some.

CharlieDeltaJuliet
January 2, 2013, 09:01 AM
I have to agree with Onward. The second amendment was not about hunting. Hunting was an everyday part of life, if you did not hunt you did not eat. The 2nd is more about protection from a government that no longer has it's people best intrests at heart. So when the anti's say " to protect hunters and target shooters", they are full of it. It has nothing to do with the 2nd amendment.

rdhood
January 2, 2013, 09:25 AM
First... 2nd is not about hunting. Just as they would not pass an amendment permitting someone to eat/sleep/drink/wipe butt, they would not pass an amendment to hunt with guns. Hunting with guns was a necessity of life, and there is no reason that they would have mentioned it separately in an amendment. The 2nd is about keeping and bearing firearms for personal and communal self defense. The colonists recognized the ammunition grab of King George's army for what it was... and attempt to subdue the colonists. And for folks who say "the 2nd is not for uprising against the government", then what is the 3rd amendment for? Hint: it is to keep government troops from being housed in our private HOMES. When you consider they created an amendment to keep the government from housing military troops in our private homes, why is it so far fetched that they would pass an amendment to ensure that the citizenry had access to firearms, if necessary, for the purpose of fighting against that same military?


In fact, ALL of the first 10 amendments are individual rights of the people AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. The 3rd amendment makes it so obvious that the only way to look at the 2nd is the securing of firearms for an individual against a future tyrannical government.

Mp7
January 2, 2013, 09:29 AM
That every citizen of the newly founded country should keep arms ... in case the British show up again.


While im pro RKBA .. im pro modernization as well.



...the US election laws are up for modernization, too.
Its about time.


(Now, burn me :-) )

mcdonl
January 2, 2013, 09:54 AM
The most recent (2008) Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate there are 593,000 local police in the US.

There are people 300 million or so people in the US

There were 668,800 people arrested in 2011

Given these quickly thrown together the criminals who were caught out numbered the police.

And, regular citizens outnumber the police 300 to 1

THIS is why we need to be able to protect ourselves from the bad guys and we should be able to use the same tools the police do.

Franco2shoot
January 2, 2013, 10:18 AM
All very nice.... but not linked to reality... The current government is beyond adhering to the U.S. Constitution. Where does the constitution allow the creation of Czars? "Shall not infringe" is pretty straight forward... A read of the Federalist Papers provides good insight into the thinking of the day, and Security alluded to in the first part of the 2nd amendment is more to allow individuals in one area protection from citizens of neighboring states, not duck hunting. Its clear to me that the founders couldn't envision a person "NOT Being Armed". And they wanted groups (Militia's) to be able to form up and forcibly take on any other group, be they civilian or military.

KKKKFL

stonecutter2
January 2, 2013, 11:17 AM
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security
of a free State, the right of the People to keep and
bear arms, shall not be infringed."
I don't really see anything too difficult about interpretation of this.

Okay, so what is necessary to do is to harken back to our revolutionary days, to understand partly what the 2nd amendment meant then, and what it means to me now.

Back in the colonial days each town had a militia. And it wasn't dedicated militia men, they were NOT soldiers hired to be soldiers. It was the town blacksmith, cooper, cobbler, innkeeper. Regular Joes. The responsibility of defending the town was left to the town's inhabitants...and the militia they formed for such defense. They conducted drills, and each member provided his own arms (powder was at times a shared commodity for the good of the militia). These are the men who fired the first shots at Lexington and Concord.

The British army was not well regulated - even though by most accounts the British army was the most formidable and strictest in their day. They were ordered to not harm civilians, or their property, when they were told to march and take the gun powder at Lexington. They disobeyed, looted, and burned houses, and that escalated existing tensions. Oh and of course they shot up our militia defending our towns. Our revolution ensued.

So...if you take away the arms, you take away the ability of the towns to have a militia and defend themselves, just as they had to against the British.

The spirit of the 2nd amendment holds true now as much as it did when our country was founded...to keep the powers that be in check by always affording the American citizen the right to keep and bear arms, and form a well regulated militia for the security of a free State.

I know that it is not the 1700's. The people are now vastly outgunned to defend themselves if necessary against a tyrannical government or invader intent on harm.

The answer is not to throw away that which our founders granted us, the answer is to protect what is left of our ability to stand guard at our homes and defend that which God has blessed us with.

stonecutter2
January 2, 2013, 11:23 AM
All very nice.... but not linked to reality... The current government is beyond adhering to the U.S. Constitution. Where does the constitution allow the creation of Czars?

There is no official creation of a Czar. It's a media term for someone in charge of overseeing some policy. This was done for the purposes of making government positions easier for the American public to understand and discuss.

Report on the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Population Affairs, and the average person tunes out and stares at you like you're talking another language. Say "The birth control czar met with the President today" and suddenly people want to know what's going on.

There is no need to have a Constitutional ability as a President to create someone who can help you oversee your various responsibilities. Delegating authority can help effectively manage a lot of responsibility - although it most certainly does have its drawbacks and pitfalls.

gym
January 2, 2013, 11:29 AM
It means exactlly what it says. Our Government is a system of checks and balances. this is a safety valve should one branch seek to invoke it's ,will ,on the country by using legislative, executive, or judicial power,s to try and take away the rights of the common man.
When that happens we have the right to throw them out and put those in place that will do their job as it was meant to be done, for the will of the people, not the will of the few.
It does this with a simple statment, the right to keep and bear arms.

MasterSergeantA
January 2, 2013, 11:31 AM
This.

And it is really not surprising. Almost everyone speaks of "Constitutional rights" as if the rights come from the Constitution, so the assumption that this is so is easily made and constantly reinforced. We don't have any Constitutional rights, we have Constitutionally protected rights.
I have not heard that more well stated in a long time.

gego
January 2, 2013, 11:57 AM
Throughout most of civilization the political arrangements have been characterized by ruler and those ruled. Those in power were always torn between wanting to have their subjects armed to support the rulers and disarmed for fear of revolt. When swords were the technology of the day there were occasions when ownership by common people was prohibited.

The idea of rights has taken a long time to become ingrained in the minds of people. We like to think they come from God or Nature, but the reality is that the concept of rights is something that societies invent and agree upon; you only really have the rights that your and your neighbors agree you all have. It is a sort of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" idea. We all value our own lives, so it makes a lot of sense to all agree that we each have a right to live, and to defend that life, and it is out of that concept that we believe we have a right to use good tools, guns, to exercise that right.

If you look at the times when the 2nd amendment was written, guns were seen as a very valuable tool in a hostile world. Defense against the native Indian population had been and still was a significant issue; hunting was very important for survival; and we had just fought a war against the British monarchy and the ruler/ruled system the King headed. Indeed, the British troops who were met at Lexington for the initial battle of the Revolutionary War were marching to Concord to confiscate arms stored in a warehouse by the Massachusetts Militia. Rights were on the minds of the Framers of the Constitution, and obviously they considered life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as rights of humans.

The 2nd amendment to me was their recognition of the value of arms in the defense of life and liberty. If you read what the Founding Fathers had to say, they recognized that arms were of value in defending against any government that might threaten us, both foreign governments or our own. The political reason for recognizing the right to keep and bear arms was for defense against aggressors including individual aggressors or aggression by governments. The Constitution, after all, is a political document, not a manual on hunting or target shooting.

There are a considerable number of fearful people today who want to redefine the right of other people to live. They want everyone to not be adequately able to defend our own lives. I say this is a form of insanity, but since the anti-gun view is widespread, it is just considered a political opinion.

0to60
January 3, 2013, 10:51 AM
Most people are saying that the 2A is so that we can protect ourselves from tyranny. Where exactly does it say that? If we just look at the wording alone, it says nothing about the intent. It simply says this is a right that shall not be infringed. Any more than that is a subjective interpretation, no?

Skribs
January 3, 2013, 11:15 AM
Whether you want to look at the issue specified in the second amendment (essentially a defense against tyranny) or the intent behind it based on similar clauses in state constitutions at the time (defense against tyranny, personal defense, hunting) or the current belief (sporting purposes, hunting, personal defense), it all means that our rights shouldn't be infringed.

If you look at it literally, for defense against tyranny, that means that as patriots we should feel obligated to have as good of weaponry as our military. Yeah, maybe we won't have F-22s parked in our back yard or a yacht quite as big as an Admiral has, but we should still not be limitted because "that's for military only." That flies in the face of a literal interpretation of the second amendment.

A historical interpretation of the second amendment adds in hunting and personal defense. With few exceptions, choice of platform has little effect on whether the weapon is good for hunting. An AR with hunting bullets is just as good as a .223 bolt action with hunting bullets. The exceptions are fairly obvious - hunting with a grenade launcher, a belt-fed machine gun, or hunting small game with a safari rifle is probably not going to yield a cost-effective amount of meat. Regardless, the government shouldn't regulate what they consider to be enough to protect myself or my household, especially if police (who operate in trained, coordinated groups against the same criminals) have no restrictions. And again, I bring up the point that our weaponry should be as good as our military to prevent the military from taking over.

Going to what most laymen on the other side of the fence believe, well I've already covered hunting and personal defense. So what about sporting purposes? Well, "sniper rifles" have a sporting purpose in target shooting. "Assault weapons" have a sporting purpose in action shooting. I'm sure there are sports for about every type of firearm, so saying that a firearm has no "legitimate sporting purpose" is to declare those sports illegitimate. Should we say that contact sports are the same and ban football?

You know, it doesn't really matter how I read the second amendment. I keep coming back to the same conclusion: no matter what purpose you feel it covers, there is no legit reason to restrict it.

ETA: 0to60,

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The militia is what fought off the Brits and granted us our Independence. This bill basically says that in order to be free, we need the ability to defend against a tyrannical government. It doesn't specifically say tyranny, but with a little bit of understanding in history, it's pretty obvious what they are talking about.

Tommygunn
January 3, 2013, 11:17 AM
Most people are saying that the 2A is so that we can protect ourselves from tyranny. Where exactly does it say that? If we just look at the wording alone, it says nothing about the intent. It simply says this is a right that shall not be infringed. Any more than that is a subjective interpretation, no?

The founders didn't weigh down the 2nd amendment with a great deal of extraneous reasoning, not unlike the 9 others in the B.O.R.s.
A "hint" is the existance of the phrase "A well regulated militia being necessary ....."
The militia system was their version of first-responders. They would be equipped equally to the army and if the fedgov became a tyranny the militias would resist.
There are references in letters the founders wrote and in works like "The Federalist Papers" that provide further clarification of their intent.
Some libtards would have heart attacks if they were to read some of what the founders wrote . . . .

Skribs
January 3, 2013, 11:43 AM
And Tommy, that right was exercised in Athens, TN (I think it was TN) right after WW2 to deal with a corrupt city government. So it is an important right.

0to60
January 3, 2013, 12:19 PM
Alright, next question. What is a "well regulated" militia?

goldie
January 3, 2013, 01:05 PM
This is from wikipedia; In a dissent, joined by Justices Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, Justice Stevens said:

The Amendment's text does justify a different limitation: the "right to keep and bear arms" protects only a right to possess and use firearms in connection with service in a state-organized militia. Had the Framers wished to expand the meaning of the phrase "bear arms" to encompass civilian possession and use, they could have done so by the addition of phrases such as "for the defense of themselves". So it kind of sounds like you had the right to keep & bear arms if you were in a militia,or citizen trained army, not just a private citizen;on the other side, guns were used privately for hunting & survival,& later for protection against indians & the push west,& there is & never was any mention against it.Private ownership & use just seemed to get blended in with the original interpretation.I dont think any regulations on guns even started untill around prohibition.Criminal idiots screwing it up for the rest of us.....

beatledog7
January 3, 2013, 01:24 PM
The problem is in the question: what does it mean?

All that matters is what it says and what those words prohibit. We're far too focused on trying to glean meanings from simple words. What else can anyone rationally argue that "...shall not be infringed" could possibly mean beyond exactly what it says.

Yes, words have meaning, but in our effort to over think their meaning we lose touch with the words themselves. Consider this simple word:

STOP

We see it every day on those familiar red octagonal signs, and we know exactly what to do when we see it. Every policeman in the US--and in most of the world--knows what drivers are supposed to do when they encounter this sign, and they're all empowered to ticket us when we don't do it.

And what is that? It's STOP.

Not roll by slowly, not yield, not check to see who's watching and proceed at speed...simply, STOP.

The Second Amendment, as all of the Constitution, needs to be read in exactly that way. The Federal government is obligated to do everything the Constitution says it must do, and it is equally forbidden from doing anything that the document doesn't specifically say it can do.

That's all the meaning anybody needs.

HOOfan_1
January 3, 2013, 01:25 PM
Consider this phrase from the Virginia Constitution, which before it, this phrase was included in the Virginia Declaration of Rights from 1776.

Consider that the Bill of Rights was in part based on the Virginia Declaration of Rights

Consider that many of those who introduced and debated the amendments in the Bill of Rights were also instrumental in the authoring and passing of the Virginia Constitution

That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; 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.


Note, that a well regulated militia is composed of the body of the people.

Thomas Jefferson wrote at one time "...the militia of the State, that is to say, of every man in it able to bear arms."

Note that it says the armed body of the people are a safe defense for a FREE state.

Note that it states a standing army in times of peace are dangerous to liberty.


Only the ignorant would state that our founding fathers did not mean for the people to bear arms in order to protect themselves from the government, or that our standing army and National Guard make the second amendment obsolete.

Ignorance is excusable. Willful ignorance, or obfuscation of facts is inexcusable.

gc70
January 3, 2013, 02:19 PM
I want to hear from law abiding gun owners what the Second Amendment actually means to them. I asked that question to a group at my shooting club and I couldn't believe the replies I received!

Let's start with what the Second Amendment was written to mean - no restrictions, no limitations, no exceptions. No, I'm not a wacko; that is really what the Founding Fathers meant, although you have to consider the purpose of the Constitution and Bill of Rights to appreciate the truth of that conclusion.

The Constitution is a pact between the States that created a national government with specific, limited powers. To ensure that the national government did not try to extend to areas in which it was not granted any power, the Bill of Rights was adopted to specifically prohibit the national government from exercising any power in certain areas. With that backdrop, it is easy to see that the Founding Fathers really meant for the Second Amendment to be an absolute and total prohibition on the national government trying to exercise power or authority over the RKBA. The national government was totally prohibited from anything involving the RKBA because the States retained power and authority over the RKBA.

Having covered what the Second Amendment meant when it was written, what does it mean today? Today it means whatever the Supreme Court says it means. Faithfully applying the Second Amendment to the States would mean that neither the national or state governments would have any power over the RKBA, which would be an impossibility that would wipe out 225 years of state-based control and regulation. So the Supreme Court, in applying the Second Amendment to both the national and state governments, has tortured the concept and language of the Second Amendment to mean what they want it to mean.

Skribs
January 3, 2013, 02:21 PM
HOOfan, that was an excellent post.

I really like this gem in particular: Ignorance is excusable. Willful ignorance, or obfuscation of facts is inexcusable.

PedalBiker
January 3, 2013, 02:23 PM
Having covered what the Second Amendment meant when it was written, what does it mean today? Today it means whatever the Supreme Court says it means.

Which makes me wonder what our Alice in Wonderland government will come up with next.

Zardaia
January 3, 2013, 02:37 PM
Even if you agreed withe the argument that the founders couldn't imagine modern arms, they did provide a means to alter/amend the constitution over time to keep up with then unforseeable issues. Until such time as a large enough majority exists to amend 2A, it means exactly what it says. Shall not be infringed.

Skribs
January 3, 2013, 02:46 PM
Very good point Zardaia.

If we as a society ever do vote to remove that "shall not be infringed" from the amendment, it will be like the line from the terrible prequel Star Wars trilogy: "This is the sound of the end of our freedom; thunderous applause." (Not sure if that is the exact quote, I only memorized the good movies).

Tommygunn
January 3, 2013, 03:06 PM
Alright, next question. What is a "well regulated" militia?


That is usually taken to mean it is well-trained, supplied, and are able to work coherently together.
During the pre-and revolutionary war days, professionals like George Washington were shocked at the people showing up for militia service. They'd arrive with broken guns, without guns, drunk, unprepared, et cetera and so forth. The militias would often acompany British regulars against the Indians when they became violent. The British barely tolerated them because they would usually run when the real shooting started.
Although our founders valued the concept of the militia system, they were not stupid and realized that kind of thing just wouldn't work.
Therefor they provided for their belief that an unqualified militia was useless. They debated and ratified the term "well-regulated."

Baba Louie
January 3, 2013, 03:08 PM
Sad to say this really... It does not MATTER what any individual citizen or subject thinks it means.

It means whatever the politically appointed Justices to the Supreme Court of this Nation's Government says it means.

End. Of. Story.

"Shall not be infringed" obviously means "Reasonable Regulations apply" and even then 4 out of the 9 do not agree one iota about that interpretation. :rolleyes:

Incorporated? No. Yes. Maybe. Does that matter?

Arms suitable for Militia? No. Yes. Maybe. Does that matter?

We all know what the words mean now and what they meant when drafted.

We all know the history of the article, the who, what, where, when, why.

We've all seen it turned inside out three to nine times over with legal expenses none of us could ever afford to pay to hear it argued in court with findings used by both sides to interpret whatever they think said findings mean.

We've all heard politicians say they're not going to take our duck or deer hunting guns away when they know darned well what is at stake.

Power. Maybe THE Power. When "words fail" Power. Power to keep check and balance in the hands of those who foot the bill and shed the blood.

Sad, how wise were the men who formed the words, that they had to incorporate those words into a binding agreement that even then, even THEN, not all of the States would agree to ratify.

So it is. The words mean only what THEY say they mean.

I suppose that is a good thing.

HOOfan_1
January 3, 2013, 03:16 PM
Even if you agreed withe the argument that the founders couldn't imagine modern arms, they did provide a means to alter/amend the constitution over time to keep up with then unforseeable issues. Until such time as a large enough majority exists to amend 2A, it means exactly what it says. Shall not be infringed.

We could point out that several of our founding fathers were inventors, and students of former Rennaisance men such as Leonardo da Vinci (a designer of weapons). To mention, that these people were very learned and were not prone to short sightedness.

They knew technology would advance. However, they lived in a time when people were held accountable for their own actions. Objects were not blamed for the actions of a person.

We could argue that, but it would still fall of deaf ears.

HOOfan, that was an excellent post.

I really like this gem in particular: Ignorance is excusable. Willful ignorance, or obfuscation of facts is inexcusable.

Thank you very much. I have read a lot of willful ignorance from the antis in the past few weeks. I have read/heard it from the media. The problem therein lies, that those who are truly ignorant, will gain their information from the willfully ignorant.

radiotom
January 3, 2013, 09:37 PM
Does the 2nd amendment allow the people to have nuclear weapons?

MICHAEL T
January 3, 2013, 09:42 PM
The hunting and sporting part was from 1968 gun bill They were trying to outlaw them back then. What we now called assualt rifles G-3 FN FAL etc. even back then. It was to be the way to decide if we needed or or not . These attacks nothing new.

Curator
January 3, 2013, 09:49 PM
Read the Federalist Papers. They were written by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and the others who actually wrote the Constitution. They meant the 2nd Amendment to "enumerate" (not grant) the God-given right for Americans to have firearms for the defense of their home, community, and State, against both foreign invasion and domestic unrest, as well as to defend against tyranny imposed by our government. There are multiple explanations in the papers which were used to rally support for the ratification of the new Constitution by various State legislatures. This is historical fact, not some kind of spin created by the ACLU or other liberal Lawyers.

pendennis
January 3, 2013, 10:01 PM
This is from wikipedia; In a dissent, joined by Justices Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, Justice Stevens said:

The Amendment's text does justify a different limitation: the "right to keep and bear arms" protects only a right to possess and use firearms in connection with service in a state-organized militia. Had the Framers wished to expand the meaning of the phrase "bear arms" to encompass civilian possession and use, they could have done so by the addition of phrases such as "for the defense of themselves". So it kind of sounds like you had the right to keep & bear arms if you were in a militia,or citizen trained army, not just a private citizen;on the other side, guns were used privately for hunting & survival,& later for protection against indians & the push west,& there is & never was any mention against it.Private ownership & use just seemed to get blended in with the original interpretation.I dont think any regulations on guns even started untill around prohibition.Criminal idiots screwing it up for the rest of us.....
The problem with their interpretation, is that the term "state-organized militia" doesn't appear in the 2nd Amendment; only the term "well-regulated militia", and that term has been defined many times as "well equipped".

HOOfan_1
January 3, 2013, 10:26 PM
Read the Federalist Papers. They were written by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and the others who actually wrote the Constitution.

Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay actually.

Hamilton and Jay eventually became bitter political rivals of Jefferson and Madison.

beatledog7
January 3, 2013, 10:30 PM
Does the 2nd amendment allow the people to have nuclear weapons?

Of course it does. But no civilian I know has the resources and know-how to acquire and maintain one. Funny how market forces and the naturally high price of low-supply, highly technically complex items manages to keep us from owning nukes without the need for a law.

BlueBronco
January 3, 2013, 10:39 PM
Of course it does. But no civilian I know has the resources and know-how to acquire and maintain one. Funny how market forces and the naturally high price of low-supply, highly technically complex items manages to keep us from owning nukes without the need for a law.

On top of that, if I have someone busting in on me at 3 am or in a post-Katrina situation, I would like to actually survive. :evil:

Frogomatik
January 3, 2013, 11:49 PM
I'm of the opinion that the 2nd is in place to be one of the Checks & Balances that prevent any one person or branch of the government from gaining too much power. And in that respect, we citizens need to be at least as well armed and well practiced as those we are meant to be a check against.

Trent
January 4, 2013, 02:11 AM
Arms provide us the responsibility, duty, and right to overthrow a Government which oversteps it's bounds and renders itself a BURDEN instead of a SERVANT of the People.

One could argue that over a trillion dollars a year in overspending ... is quite a burden. Our forefathers couldn't comprehend how twisted and misshapen and bloated our government of the people, for the people, and by the people, could eventually become.

Everyone keeps saying "oh my goodness they're going to take away X/Y/Z and we won't be a free people anymore"

I'm sorry, but that train departed the station a long time ago.

The government cannot get ITSELF in check. It cannot spend responsibly. It cannot legislate responsibly. It cannot engage in foreign affairs responsibly. It cannot promote our freedom, our way of life, effectively and is viewed as "an evil empire" or "an empire of greed"....

To which, yes, that IS what we've become.

Our Government is a cancer, grown out of control.

The only remaining question is how many wheelbarrows you'll need to use to haul the cash to buy your loaf of bread in 20 years when all of these bonds come due. They've borrowed an extension, an artificial extension, to our vaulted "Golden Age" on the backs of our Children and Grand Children... the future generations pay for our sloth, our greed, our consumption without replenishment, our need to satiate desires instantaneously on the backs of foreign slave labor (even if it's just economic slavery; still slavery, off shored).

No, this country is broke, in many ways, and getting more broke by the year. When our current system of government FAILS...

These guns I own make sure I have a say in how it's reconstituted.

bigfatdave
January 4, 2013, 07:17 AM
Does the 2nd amendment allow the people to have nuclear weapons?
This silliness again?

It isn't specific about "arms"
At the time of the revolution, privately owned cannon weren't uncommon. Privately-owned armed ships weren't either.

Could you be trusted with a nuclear weapon? Just the warhead or the launch vehicle?

radiotom
January 4, 2013, 07:39 AM
This silliness again?

It isn't specific about "arms"
At the time of the revolution, privately owned cannon weren't uncommon. Privately-owned armed ships weren't either.

Could you be trusted with a nuclear weapon? Just the warhead or the launch vehicle?
There is nothing silly about my question. Clearly it protects all arms, but this is something I've never heard anybody else ask.

If people don't like the 2nd amendment allowing for nuclear weapons then they should make an amendment to the Constitution instead of going through the courts and having some fascist judges rewrite it or legislators making unconstitutional laws.

Trent
January 4, 2013, 10:58 AM
There is nothing silly about my question. Clearly it protects all arms, but this is something I've never heard anybody else ask.


Seriously? I have heard the "2nd amendment doesn't allow nuclear weapons" argument for over 20 years now.

Yes, it does allow nuclear weapons, as written.

Yes, it allows tanks, and artillery, and jet fighters, and bombers, as written.

Also; where is the law that says nuclear weapons are prohibited from private possession? I think the notion is so absurd no one has ever actually sat down to WRITE a law about it. The materials to make the weapons are regulated, the technology to make them is prohibitively expensive. And storage? Man, I like my teeth, and eyeballs, and genitals. (Especially my genitals!)

beatledog7
January 4, 2013, 12:24 PM
Imagine you're a private citizen with the resources to acquire and deploy tanks, jet fighters, or a nuke. Imagine further that you have an intense desire to actually do this, killing hundreds or thousands of people.

Now imagine that you decide not to because it's against the law.

See how absurd that is.

JustinJ
January 4, 2013, 01:03 PM
Imagine you're a private citizen with the resources to acquire and deploy tanks, jet fighters, or a nuke. Imagine further that you have an intense desire to actually do this, killing hundreds or thousands of people.

Now imagine that you decide not to because it's against the law.

See how absurd that is.

The only reason it is not extremely easy to manufacture non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction is the law. In addition to necessary parts and materials being tightly regulated there is active investigation of anybody detected trying to acquire said materials.

To own a nuke today one does not need the ability to refine fissionable material. Such weapons could be acquired from the black market LE did not actively limit such opportunities.

It is entirely plausible that a group of extremist with vast funds from an outside government could acquire such a weapon, import it and detonate in a large city if laws did not enable the government to prevent such things. The same could be said of any other weapon of mass destruction. Of course laws can not guarantee such an event will never occur but no rational argument can be made against efforts to prevent it.

Also, one does not need vast resources to create an extremely destructive dirty bomb. Should hospitals not be prohibited from selling their radioactive waste on the open market per the 2nd amendment? Such a position is completely absurd and out of touch with reality.

Such a broad definition of the second amendment, so as to allow any WMD, is a far greater risk to liberty than any the regulation of such materials. What many seem to forget is that arms can and have been used by certain segments of a civilian population to impose tyranny as well. The bolsheviks did not take power through kind words. They used weapons.

History has shown time and time again that the most effective way for a government to pass further restrictions on liberty is in response to a catastrophic attack.

We can talk all day about what the 2nd amendment should or should not allow but there must be some level of common sense with practical application in the real world.

Skribs
January 4, 2013, 01:24 PM
Trent, I figure that it would fall under the category of Destructive Device under the NFA. So pardon my lack of NFA legal knowledge...would that be a $200 tax stamp? I'm curious to see the "justification" present there...

Civilian ability to own modern calvary (i.e. tanks, jets) would be severely restricted by cost and training availability. How many people can afford $150M for an F-22 AND have the capability to fly one? How about $107M for F-35? Let's go cheaper...$15-18M for F-16?
Driving a tank is easier, they let enlisted do that. It's also cheaper, $6-8 million per unit.

Something tells me that if Lockheed opened up sales to the public, and there was no government restrictions on the products, there would only be a small handful of civilians with the equipment. Between the cost of the jet, the fuel, the hangar, secure storage for the munitions, maintenance, a runway, and either a pilot or some very extensive lessons (and all of the upkeep there), there is a whole lot of cost for not much benefit.

Hokkmike
January 4, 2013, 01:25 PM
It means that we do not need to explain or give reason our "betters" or any "masters" the need for owning and using a firearm.

yokel
January 4, 2013, 04:02 PM
Alexander Hamilton wrote, If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defence."

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the issue."

Benjamin Franklin's words are still very much a part of reality.

The Second Amendment guarantees people power, not state power.

It ought to be very, very clear that an unarmed minority of virtually any stripe will not have access to liberty, freedom, and the "pursuit of happiness" without the permission and/or indulgence of the majority. It should also be clear that an armed minority -- even an armed elite -- can rule tyrannically if the majority is unarmed. Or if the majority is just stupid and uninformed.

Without guns in the households -- a lot of guns in the households -- an out-of-control, runaway government, seeking power via fear, and looking for Enemy Combatants in every closet (and without a search warrant) will have nothing to fear in carrying out its unconstitutional agenda.

The only security of a free state is when the people can defend themselves. Period.

The fact that it may not be enough is sad, but does not reduce the fact that an armed citizenry will hopefully at least make tyrants hesitate.

1911 guy
January 4, 2013, 04:07 PM
When comparing the Constitution to the other documents of the period written by the same authors, it is conclusive that they intended parity between the populace and any standing army. Thus, the Second Amendment was intentionally broad in scope, making no delineation between allowable and non-allowable arms. The only implied limit was that of the pocketbook.

Skribs
January 4, 2013, 04:09 PM
Yokel, I love that lamb quote.

chucknbach
January 4, 2013, 06:29 PM
Arms provide us the responsibility, duty, and right to overthrow a Government which oversteps it's bounds and renders itself a BURDEN instead of a SERVANT of the People.

One could argue that over a trillion dollars a year in overspending ... is quite a burden. Our forefathers couldn't comprehend how twisted and misshapen and bloated our government of the people, for the people, and by the people, could eventually become.

Everyone keeps saying "oh my goodness they're going to take away X/Y/Z and we won't be a free people anymore"

I'm sorry, but that train departed the station a long time ago.

The government cannot get ITSELF in check. It cannot spend responsibly. It cannot legislate responsibly. It cannot engage in foreign affairs responsibly. It cannot promote our freedom, our way of life, effectively and is viewed as "an evil empire" or "an empire of greed"....

To which, yes, that IS what we've become.

Our Government is a cancer, grown out of control.

The only remaining question is how many wheelbarrows you'll need to use to haul the cash to buy your loaf of bread in 20 years when all of these bonds come due. They've borrowed an extension, an artificial extension, to our vaulted "Golden Age" on the backs of our Children and Grand Children... the future generations pay for our sloth, our greed, our consumption without replenishment, our need to satiate desires instantaneously on the backs of foreign slave labor (even if it's just economic slavery; still slavery, off shored).

No, this country is broke, in many ways, and getting more broke by the year. When our current system of government FAILS...

These guns I own make sure I have a say in how it's reconstituted.
__________________



Amen! but will disagree on taking 20 years till you need a wheel barrow. It's closer than you think.

JustinJ
January 4, 2013, 06:44 PM
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the issue."

Benjamin Franklin's words are still very much a part of reality.

Except Franklin never said any such thing. This is another internet myth.

SuperNaut
January 4, 2013, 06:55 PM
Yep, that gem is from James Bovard, a Libertarian.

beatledog7
January 4, 2013, 07:00 PM
Such a broad definition of the second amendment, so as to allow any WMD, is a far greater risk to liberty than any the regulation of such materials.

If you advocate narrowing the definition of what kinds of arms 2A allows based on your sensitivities, then you give the antis exactly what they want. Any argument you can make for disallowing a nuke can be parlayed into an argument for disallowing an AR or a >10-round magazine. And from there any semi-auto, and from there a >6 round capacity, and so on...[/B]

SSN Vet
January 4, 2013, 08:08 PM
IMO, 2A is the cornerstone of liberty! It's about an absolute limit on government power over the populace.

chucknbach
January 4, 2013, 08:36 PM
IMO, 2A is the cornerstone of liberty! It's about an absolute limit on government power over the populace.
And the one that holds all the other liberties in place.

barnbwt
January 4, 2013, 09:46 PM
The Amendment's text does justify a different limitation: the "right to keep and bear arms" protects only a right to possess and use firearms in connection with service in a State-organized militia.
*Emphasis mine. Seems unlikely a populace who had just overthrown a "state-organized militia" in the name of individual liberty would enshrine all military power into another state institution. Even when they're reaching, SCOTUS arguments usually make more sense to me than this one. At any rate, I'm sure we or the Constitution have evolved beyond the original meaning or need since it was written :rolleyes:. But I'm pretty sure the authors meant well-regulated when they wrote "well-regulated," and not state-regulated:banghead:

Criminal idiots screwing it up for the rest of us...
Ya-don't say? :rolleyes: I'm sure there were no criminal idiots with guns prior to prohibition times!:banghead: No, the State just hadn't granted itself massively expanded police powers in the name of security concerns (that it's own stupid laws had caused) until that point*

*unless you count the various Sedition Acts during wartime up to that point

TCB

Our forefathers couldn't comprehend how twisted and misshapen and bloated our government of the people, for the people, and by the people, could eventually become.

On the contrary...

Trent
January 5, 2013, 11:30 AM
Amen! but will disagree on taking 20 years till you need a wheel barrow. It's closer than you think.

I'm an optimist, what can I say.

BulletArc47
January 5, 2013, 11:38 AM
It's a law for the common-man; to protect him/her from government tyranny, and predatory men; it's also a warming bell. I guarantee if the 2nd amendment goes then the entire Bill of Rights, and the Constitution will soon follow.

jim243
January 5, 2013, 12:25 PM
This is a question for Consitutional scholars. There is no question as to the language of the 2nd amendment, but much questioning of the intent of those that wrote it.

When it was adopted there was no Federal Government, but a collection of individual governments that represented the people within their boundries, that is why we are called the "United States of America". There was no permanent "standing army" but a collection of individual milita that provided for their communities self-defense.

The question of that time was what was the powers of the federal government and what where the powers of the people living within each individual State. To make things more uniform throughout the States the federal consitution was seen as a unbrela to cover all the States in the Union with the same rights and laws. And these rights and freedoms were extended over all the citizens of the whole country which is still made up of individual States, just 50 of them instead of 13.

It was and is seen that during a time of crisis the "people" (We the people of these United States) do have the right to "keep and bare arms" for the protection of our liberties and freedoms. To what extent is the question. I am sure that if you can afford one, a tank or jet fighter is allowable as long as it does not become a threat or danger to your neighbors. (And yes, they are legal to own, just too expensive for most people.)

So there we stand, this has been debated for the last 200 years and will be so for the next 200 years or so.

Jim

beatledog7
January 5, 2013, 12:41 PM
This is a question for Consitutional scholars.

I disagree. The document starts out in really big letters, "We the People," not "we the lawyers and professors."

jim243
January 5, 2013, 12:59 PM
The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Let's keep it that way.

Jim

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