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

Discussion in 'Legal' started by LDL707, Oct 22, 2006.

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  1. LDL707

    LDL707 Member

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

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

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

    Solo Member

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    Offhand, I'd say its because nukes aren't firearms.
     
  3. real_name

    real_name member

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    [​IMG]

    ?
     
  4. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Member

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    Simple:

    The spirit of the 2A is that civilians are allowed the sames SMALL arms as the military of the time. In 1776 that was a musket, in 2006, that is a selectfire rifle.
     
  5. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Member

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    a nuke isnt a gun. same reason why the majority of guns are legal and majority of explosives arnt

    now go away troll :barf:

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

    bombs, not so much
     
  6. dragongoddess

    dragongoddess member

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

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



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


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

    SoCalShooter Member

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    That's for me to know and not you!
    Small arms to me is a W55 thermonuclear weapon.:neener:

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

    carpediem Member

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

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

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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

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

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

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

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

    carpediem Member

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

    Edit - I just noticed that the original poster said rhetoric question. I think they meant rhetorical question.
     
  11. LDL707

    LDL707 Member

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    The problem is, the 2nd amendment doesn't say "small arms" or "firearms" or "guns." It says "arms."

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

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

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

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

    And, no, I'm not trolling.
     
  12. Maxwell

    Maxwell Member

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

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

    ilbob Member

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

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

    Creeping Incrementalism Member

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

    I believe that all personal man-portable precision weapons (not including suitcase nukes) shoulud be included in the definition of arms. The purpose of the militia, among other things, is to fight wars, and they would need tools such as anti-tank rockets. I believe the Swiss militia keeps a few privately-owned weapons like those, in addition to their assault rifles.
     
  15. the 22 junkie

    the 22 junkie Member

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    Small-arms, discriminate. Trident SSBM's, indiscriminate. Problem solved.
     
  16. G36-UK

    G36-UK Member

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    Wouldn't nukes come under "ordnance" and not "arms"? Just wondering.
     
  17. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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

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

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

    taliv Moderator

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    winchester white-box nukes at wally world?
     
  19. ctdonath

    ctdonath Member

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

    Paraphrased for inclusiveness...

    1. ALL WEAPONS ARE IN THEIR MOST DANGEROUS STATE.

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

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

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

    Linear vs. volume area of effect.

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

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

    4. BE SURE OF WHAT THE WEAPON IS COVERING.

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



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

    Of course, all of this presumes consistenly reasonable and moral use thereof.
    The risk of having one sociopath, or one mistake, activate it is too high.
     
  20. Glockfan.45

    Glockfan.45 member

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    "The right to bear arms"? I have grappled with this one myself. I dont advocate civilians owning nukes, artillery, grenades, of anything else aside from firearms. The arms I believe the constitution speaks of are small arms. Just my take on it.
     
  21. ctdonath

    ctdonath Member

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    One might make a better argument that "bear" is more akin to "transport and use". The people who wrote the 2nd Amendment had gone thru a major war, where many/most of the heavy weapons (like cannons and battleships) were privately owned. Just because the owner couldn't literally carry them in no way indicates they shouldn't have owned, transported & used them.

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

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

    jlbraun Member

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    I seem to recall that the Founders had private citizens with their own battleships and artillery - hence the "letters of marque" in the Constitution.

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

    crazed_ss Member

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

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

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

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

    carpediem Member

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

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

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

    carpediem Member

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    Warship/Artillery folk:

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