Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Aim1, Mar 28, 2018.
That part I agree with.
As a practical matter, the Supreme Court is not going to rule that individuals have a right to a machine gun, militia clause or not unless the conditions in this country change radically. They are as much a policy court as a legal one.
Warning, long tedious post ahead on RKBA. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
Regarding the militia clause in the 2A--it is a descriptive phrase that provides an example of why the right exists--but it does not define it. Regarding the constitutional history, Stephen Halbrook, a gentleman and an excellent legal historian/scholar, comes down pretty definitively as that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual one, not a collective. From what I've read and researched including moldy sources in English law that predates the colonies, that is correct. Properly speaking, the right to keep and bear arms exists primarily to allow the primordial natural right of self defense. Even some of the meanest tyrannies in history allowed some form of self defense in preservation of one's life from criminals, beasts, etc. However, self-defense is not mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. There is a reason and it comes from how the Framers felt about rights.
Many of the original attendees of the Constitutional Convention felt that the national government was one of limited powers that could not exercise such rights as creating a national church nor taking people's weapons. The contra argument, coming from George Mason is exemplified in his 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights which is, "Section 13. 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; 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." However the 1689 English Bill of Rights was still considered binding on the colonies upon Independence as defining the "Rights of the Englishmen" mentioned in the Continental Congress's debates and resolutions as well as colonial legislatures and assemblies. It reads, "That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;" Even today, in a recent court case, in determining the parameters of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, the U.S. Supreme Court still employs analysis of the "rights of Englishmen" as defined by key parliamentary actions before Independence. During the interim between the 1776 Declaration and the Framing, there are a considerable number of court cases that relied on whether a particular action was protected as a "right of an Englishman" that preexisted the Framing. Even after the Framing, Blackstone and Coke were key readings on the English sources of individual rights and used in court along with English Court decisions as precedent.
NOW FOLLOWS A LOT OF DIRECT QUOTATIONS--
We see that Massachussetts in its 1780 Constitution, uses this form in its Bill of Rights, "
"XVII.--The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as in time of peace armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it."
Pennsylvania uses this form in their 1776 Constitution and Declaration of Rights,
"XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power."
Delaware followed Pennsylvania in 1776 but did not declare an individual right to arms, Maryland is similar to Delaware in its declarations.
" Sect. 18. That a well regulated militia is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free government.
Sect. 19. That standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up without the consent of the Legislature.
Sect. 20. That in all cases and at all times the military ought to be under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power."
The only mention of arms is that a person objecting to carrying arms cannot be made to do so in service of the state.
Vermont which was the first state admitted after the original colonies,
"Article 16th. Right to bear arms; standing armies; military power subordinate to civil
That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State - and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power."
and North Carolina
"17. That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power."
4 new states had no Bill of Rights at all and the others avoided specifying the right to keep and bear arms. However, at the Framing, no state banned its citizens from having firearms and as far as I have researched during the 1776-87 period, no general bans on firearms existed.
States calling for amendments at state ratifying conventions to the new Constitution in 1788 included VA,
"17th. That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free state. That standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power."
Similar state ratification debates over the right to bear arms can be found here,
At the Framing, the idea of the militia was closely tied with the worry about a standing army which is also mentioned in the English Bill of Rights. As an Island nation, England depended on its navy for protection and raised armies periodically to make wars as expeditionary forces. It was against custom for a king to keep a large standing army in England proper as a threat against other nobles or the people. It was considered expensive and that it allowed a king to become a tyrant overawing all. Charles I flouting prohibitions and later Stuarts doing the same was part of the causes of the English Civil War and the subsequent Glorious Revolution. Attempts by Charles to quarter troops in private homes to circumvent Parliamentary refusal to pay for an army's upkeep made things worse.
For colonists and early states, if there was no standing army for protection from invasion, then some sort of alternative must be available which was a militia, voluntary or not, that could be called to serve for protection of society. Thus, for a militia to exist, it must have arms, some sort of training and records, command structure, disciplinary rules, etc. which is where the well-regulated militia wording comes from. These were to be specified by the state (and later by Congress after the Framing). The worry at the Convention in Philadelphia and the recognition of the uneven performance of militias during the Revolution and subsequently, led Congress to gain the power to create an army and navy. The Whisky rebellion and other problems such as Shay's Rebellion, persuaded Congress that a small standing army was preferable but states kept their militias due to the vast expanse of territory, the greater speed of assembly for local versus the time for a national army to arrive, and that militias might more easily enforce martial law upon riots and uprisings within a state. There was some fear that the new national government would become a tyrant so a state's ability to resist tyranny provided another reason to buttress that right constitutionally.
However, imho, J. Scalia did get it right--the right to bear arms is an individual right that can serve collectively in the defense of a state.
We see this stated even more clearly in the ratification debates over the 13th-15th Amendments that overturned both Barron v. Baltimore (Bill of Rights did not apply to the states) and Dred Scott (Taney used the inclusion of blacks in rights to bear arms as an excuse for why they could not be considered citizens of the U.S.). Many slave states at the time restricted firearm ownership to whites and denied access to firearms to both slaves and free blacks in order to prevent uprisings thus turning natural rights theory on its head. The context of the 14th Amendment has been extensively documented by Stephen Halbrook to include the individual right to own firearms as a part of the rights of the newly freed slaves and free blacks. At that time, many southern states adopted the individual interpretation of the right in their constitutions if they did not already have that provision in their state constitutions. The trickier ones reserved the right to regulate carry and created the modern permitting system where you had to be the right sort to "carry" in public apart from hunting, etc. This led later the notorious Sullivan acts in New York state and indicates the racist and ethnic bigotry that underlay much of today's firearm regulations in quite a few states. Some have thankfully gotten rid of this. At this time, you see a virtual disappearance of the idea of a militia as justification for firearm possession.
Miller's case is really obiter dicta writ extreme written by one of the least respected justices in history. The question on point was whether the NFA was constitutional and thus J. Sutherland spoke to the nature of sawed off shotguns being used or not in military service. The rather slovenly opinion about the suitability for a weapon being dependent on military use, the strange way that the case came to court, etc. makes this decision rank with Cruikshank (which held that depriving people of firearms was not depriving them of a right protected by the U.S. Constitution) as embarrassments to the Court. Hopefully soon, I would like to see Justice Clarence Thomas as opinion author, who will give the final dispatch to some of these lousy opinions and specifically overrule them.
YOU still dont get it.
You're quoting Aim1, not me. I didn't say it.
I don't owe you or anyone else a defense of what someone else said.
I voted in my first Presidential election in 1976. I almost voted for Jimmy Carter until my Dad showed me the Playboy interview with him.
I purchased my first handgun on my 21st birthday in 1977.
Why do I share this? To show that even though I was mature enough to own and use firearms at age 12, looking back I now see that I wasn't mature enough to exercise the vote under the age of 21. I could have been much more dangerous with the vote than I ever was with firearms.
Yes, I made that mistake. But it still makes no sense for you to ask me to explain something I never said either?
There was a joke I learned many years ago about that. It said that "Under 18, protected by law. Over 70, protected by age. Everything in between is 'fair game' !"
I don't know about other states but in Illinois, you can't get a driver's license until you are 18 unless you take a "driver's ed" class, usually in high school. Then you can get your license at 16.
If you can vote at 18 and you can purchase a gun at 18, then you should be able to do 2 years of military or some other active civil service for your country at 18.
No, I don't mean you may be required to, I mean you shall be required to.
Everyone wants the freedom but nobody wants the responsibility.
If you are so dead set on your rights at 18 why not advocate some responsibility along with those rights, like becoming a member of the National Guard or doing some military service time?
Or do you just want everything for free?
In 1791, nobody disputed the individual right of armed self defense. Therefore, it was unnecessary to put it into the Constitution.
The 2nd Amendment is all about a civic right: that the people (a collective made up of individuals) should be able to effectively resist the potential depredations of a standing army. (It also had a lot to do with the balance between the state and federal governments, and civilian control of the military.) The unavoidable implication is that civilians are to be as well armed as soldiers.
That's looking at it from the perspective of 1791, and the governing philosophy of the Founders. Obviously a lot of history has taken place since then, but if one is to be an "originalist," as Scalia claimed to be, one has to give priority to 1791 over later developments.
And it could also be argued that "all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age" should be enrolled in the militia. What ever you want to call the modern day militia it would have to be an organized military force like the Nat'l Guard or reserve. It isn't Joe and 10 of his buddies with AR-15's.
So if we are going to dismiss the militia as a dead concept, which it is as you pointed out, then the 17 age requirement has to be thrown out with it. You can't really have one without the other. No compulsory draft, no guns at 18 or even 20. Old white guys just changed it and it's going to stick..
No one is going to advocate for the rights of 18 year olds to purchase firearms except maybe the NRA. I'm certainly not having been around some people under 21. I'm not saying they're all irresponsible but an alarming number of them are. I know several who don't have jobs, aren't in school and are still living at home. I think even the NRA will come to realize that's a loser in time.
The course has already been set. The only thing that remains is the schedule. We aren't going back to a draft even tho a person is required to register. A lot of them don't and nobody is ever prosecuted because they don't. A draft just isn't going to happen because there is no need for it. Gone is the draft and gone is the rights of 18 year old's. They never had any rights to begin with. Their rights had to be spelled out by congressional action. Short of that they are at the mercy of the states.
It wasn't exactly voluntary as you suggest it may have been. If that had been the case it would have been much like the military we have today. This is an important consideration. If you pass a law like this...
you are requiring an individual to keep and bear arms thru a congressional act.
Probably why many people feel that 2A does in fact regulate the purpose of bearing arms solely for the defense of the country.
I don't agree with that but the fact that the militia was even cited in 2A causes a lot of disagreement about why 2A even exists. A reason was cited. It may not have been the only reason, or even the primary reason, but it happened to be the only one cited. If you start citing reasons you better cite the primary reason and not just the secondary reason because it diminishes, and does not enhance Individual rights.
It also may well be that 2A was ratified because the militia was cited in the wording. As you say, it's impossible to know. The fact that many felt that the BOR wasn't even necessary, that the states would be able to decide for themselves how the militia was to be regulated. 2A was ratified to control the federal gov't, not the states, as was made more than perfectly clear in 10A. The signators didn't want nor like standing army's for a very good reason.
Militias, at the time 2A was ratified, were controlled by the states. As you suggest, the federal Gov't didn't have the money for a standing army so there was no need to even address it. They didn't even have a navy (except for a few ships) until after the war of 1812.
I'm asking for you to explain why you think its a false equivalence
That is something you said and I am quoting the right person, you.
If you cant explain or don't want to, just say so.
You are trying to argue what is the "intention" of the Framers. That approach is problematic because you are trying to get in the "head" of those long dead. Furthermore, all that is in common is the text that was voted upon--not their individual definitions of what it meant to them. Thus, an objective standard is necessary. During the congressional debates about the 2nd Amendment, btw, your approach regarding the 2nd as protection against standing armies was specifically defeated in the House debates on the 2nd Amendment see 188.8.131.52 Motion by Burke in the House, August 17, 1789. Similar motions repeatedly failed in the Senate, See 184.108.40.206. Source: The Complete Bill of Rights,: The Drafts, Debates, Sources, and Origins. Edited by Neil H. Cogan.
I am sorry but I disagree with you as a matter of history and of law. BTW, Scalia was an originalist that was a textualist, not an intentionalist, which means he is deciphering what the meaning of the phrase was in the common vernacular of 1791. The objective approach is what was commonly understood by most people at the time serves to define the language. As seen below, the usage of the term people in the Bill of Rights never refers anywhere as a collective right in those amendments in the Bill of Rights, it is also contrary to the rules of grammar at the time as the militia clause is offset by commas (they did not use parentheses at the time) as understood at the time. This leaves aside the scrivener's error in submitting the amendment to the states with an omitted comma. There was a fear that the central or a state government would take away individual weapons as Bostonians and others were disarmed as individuals by British and these weapons were clearly not used for militia purposes within Boston. Seizures of weapons and other items were common during the Revolution.
In a 1990 case that dealt with the definition of the "People" in constitutional language,
"United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez 494 U.S. 259 (1990) - A case dealing with nonresident aliens and the Fourth Amendment, but led to a discussion of who are "the People" when referred to in the Constitution:
"[C.J. Rehnquist for the majority],[T]he people' seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution. The Preamble declares that the Constitution is ordained and established by 'the people of the United States.' The Second Amendment protects 'the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,' and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments provide that certain rights and powers are retained by and reserved to 'the people.' See also U.S. Const., Amdt. 1 ('Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . . the right of the people peaceably to assemble') (emphasis added); Art. I, 2, cl. 1 ('The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the people of the several States') (emphasis added). While this textual exegesis is by no means conclusive, it suggests that 'the people' protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community."
Blackstone, in Book 1 which considers the rights of persons, indicates on pages 126 and 129 (facsimile of the 1st Edition) about how the right to life is paramount for the state to protect. Similar to Locke's prescription of life, liberty, and property, Blackstone provides that it is a natural right so important that the state may excuse homicide in defense of one's self (along with banning suicide btw). However, it was a principle of English law that no right can exist without some means of facilitating it. To that end, when Blackstone discusses the right to keep and bear arms on pages 139-141, he indicates that this right is necessary for protection of both the individual and collective society subject to regulation by the state. Part of the breach between England and the colonies was the insistence that Parliament was sovereign and thus could not be bound--thus rights were often couched in precatory phrases rather than declaratory. Colonists rejected this view and adopted Lord Coke's contrary position in Dr. Bonham's case where natural law trumped Parliamentary sovereignty. However, we see this older style of wording in Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights and the slightly later North Carolina Declarations in 1776 that indicate these rights ought not to be violated by the state. John Adams in Massachusetts and probably James Wilson in Pennsylvania changed the subsequent forms to declaratory phrases that command the state not to violate these rights. Part of the confusion also came from equating the right to bear arms with the right to challenge a tyrannical government for a breach of the social contract. There is every indication that at the Framing, these were viewed as separate items.
Joseph Story, who was not a Framer, is probably the source of most interpretations of the 2nd Amendment as collective, in his Commentaries on the Constitution, 3:§§ 1890--91, he claims that fear of a standing army and the idea of a state militia was the primary reason for the 2nd Amendment. http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendIIs10.html Somehow, this also got conflated with Rousseau's explicit argument in the Social Contract that the "people" had a right to overturn regimes and reconstruct them to their liking whenever they were collectively oppressed--this implies some means of doing so must be preserved--e.g. militias. The problem is that the Social Contract had very little influence on early political thought during the framing, John Adams was one of the few to obtain it and basically thought of it as of little use. Locke, on the other hand, was very persuasive along the Blackstone, Lord Coke, and the practice of self government through charters and Parliamentary declarations of rights.
However, a contemporary of Story, Justice Lumpkin, persuasively argues about the 2nd Amendment in 1846,
"Nor is the right involved in this discussion less comprehensive or valuable: "The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed." The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is, that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right, originally belonging to our forefathers, trampled under foot by Charles I. and his two wicked sons and successors, reestablished by the revolution of 1688, conveyed to this land of liberty by the colonists, and finally incorporated conspicuously in our own Magna Charta!" Nunn v. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243 (1846). Nunn was simply trodding the ground that the Kentucky Supreme Court did in Bliss v. Commonwealth, 12 KY. (2 LITT.) 90 (Kentucky 1822). Cases that arose because of state guarantees, actually give a better definition of what the "people" felt was the definition of the right during the early republic. Obviously, very few, if any cases arose due to militia languages in these state courts, but many did regarding state limits on individual rights to bear arms.
The actual jurisprudence and subsequent language of rights was developed first in the cradle of state liberties and through Congress rather than that of the federal judiciary. Even the 1st Amendment, was not protected by the court from federal incursion until Schenk in 1919. Frankly, most of the early SCOTUS decision regarding the rights of individuals stunk both in reasoning and as a matter of interpretation--see Dred Scott for one of the more notorious decisions distorting the individual's right of property beyond any historical or judicial justification. The 1886 Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252 (1886) decision, specifically indicates that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right that does not confer upon individuals the implied right to join together in private militias or policing organizations. This is why Congressional ideas about the scope of the right during the Reconstruction matter--they were trying to restore the law and protection of rights before the demands of slavery distorted individual rights jurisprudence. Their knowledge of American legal history regarding rights was certainly superior to that of Justice Stevens who continues to embarrass himself on the subject.
To sum up,
A textualist differs from an intentionalist as textualist argue that it is impossible to know what each of the member of Congress intended on voting for the 2A. The only commonality is the text itself and that text itself was what ratifying legislators in states voted upon. It is an individual right that CAN serve a collective purpose but that is not exhaustive of the right, the militia phrase explains one of the purposes but not all. If you want a friendly introduction to the subject, I suggest Stephan Halbrook's The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms.
To the relief of everyone reading this thread, peace out.
Because they are both rights. Also, someone under the age of 18 can serve in the armed forces and die for their country.
IF this were to be upheld ,then why not raise the age of voting to 21.
And the age of military service to 21,after all if you cannot own a gun legally .
Stands to LOGIC & REASON that you should not be given REALLY big guns and explosives etc .
How about getting married,if you cannot drink or own a gun.
Just think of all the things that SHOULD change,especially now that the idiot governor of NYS wants and actually HAS raised the age of a criminal action to 19 !.
Sounds more than reasonable that if you cannot own a gun,or drink = WHY do you drive ,vote ,get married .
The list can go on,or not !
Sure, it’s easy. Voting and owning guns are not related in any way that would make the same age for both an obvious choice. Different knowledge bases required. Different education required. Different maturity required. Not the same. They are just two rights that you can confound with each other for no good reason.
When and where I was a teen, driving age was 15. I could have said that voting age should have been 15 too. But that would have been a similar false equivalence between driving and voting. It is false that they are equivalent, I.e. it is true that they are not the same.
I would say that the problem is that most people, apparently including former Supreme Court Justice Stevens are not really taught the history of the time and schools typically sanitize it.
A militia interpretation of the 2A doesn't bear up because it does not match what the states were doing at the time nor the common understanding of the Second Amendment. I remember a similar argument was made for the constitutionality of the individual mandate for the PPACA based on a 1790's U.S. law requiring ship owners to pay for the medical care of their crew.
Far too many people focus on the actions of the federal government but ignore the concurrent actions of the states. All of the states had militia laws on the books but they were poorly enforced, ensured no commonality between states on matters such as rank, discipline, equipment, etc., and so forth. The American Revolution was nearly lost under such conditions. The national army was one regiment (understrength) and one artillery battery at West Point. Soldiers could not be spared even to protect the "federal armory" at Springfield, MA from Shay's Rebellion. Instead, Mass had to rely on paid mercenaries to put down Daniel Shay's army/mob.
After constituting the government and creating basic structures in 1789-1790, the federal government became aware of national security threats. By 1791, Europe turned ominous with the French Revolution becoming hot by late 1791 and the British still stirring up the Native Americans from posts that were supposed to be vacated under the Treaty of Paris in the Northwest Frontier among other areas. By May of 1792, Washington and others feared that an army would soon be needed and thus the first and second Militia acts passed Congress days apart that month (See George Washington: Anguish and Farewell 1793-1799, James Thomas Flexner pp. 160-192.) As the situation in Europe worsened, the 1792 Acts were re-enacted as new law in 1795 by a new Militia act. The War of 1812 should have spurred a revision due to the continued poor performance of state militias but did not.
The 1791-94 controversy over the new Whisky tax and the poor performance of state militias called to federal service coupled with the defeat of St. Clair's regulars in 1791 was why this act and a subsequent one was passed. The militia acts did not arm the militiamen, it assumed that they already had them or that the state would provide them for indigents. At that time, the federal government neither had much money nor the ability to field a large standing army anyway. It had to rely on the militia but was wary of their poor performance in the past. What Washington and others felt was needed is some standard of rolls of men able to serve, disciplinary standards, arrangement for payment during federal service, and so forth under federal law to produce a minimum of effectiveness when called out. This plus ensuring those on militia rolls were mandated to provide their own equipment were primarily the purpose of the Militia acts in the 1790's. What regular army existed, was at the frontiers dealing with Native Americans under Generals St. Clair and after a shattering defeat, by "Mad" Anthony Wayne.
Given Congress has the power to create an army and the Supreme Court has indicated that it allows someone to be drafted to federal service against their will, (which happened to fill the militias in the Whisky rebellion btw), Congress has almost plenary power to create an army and constitute and regulate state militias when they are in federal service. It is this power that makes the idea of state militias being the counterbalance of the federal army problematic in the Constitution and interpretation of the 2nd Amendment--Congress under the Constitution always had the power to federalize (place under federal order) the state militias due to invasion or rebellion. It would be more the fear that individuals form ad hoc groups to resist tyranny rather than a state declaring war on perhaps its fellow states and the federal government for tyranny. That sort of thinking seemed to come later after 1820's from what I have seen in the political histories of the time as the concept of the South as a distinct political region with common interests arose.
Federalists, in general, had little patience with the argument of the people's "right to revolt" that was raised in Daniel Shay's Rebellion and the later Whisky Rebellion. Some Democrat Republicans became its advocates due to perceived Federalist "tyranny" such as the Alien and Sedition acts and the later XYZ Affair that threatened war with France under President Adams. That talk ended with Democratic Republican victory in 1800 and Aaron Burr was tried for treason for attempting something like creating an independent republic in the Mississippi Valley. Later, the War of 1812 could have led to an earlier breakup of the U.S. had not timely victories occurred (see the Hartford Convention). As slavery became entrenched in the South, the fear of slave rebellions such as the 1803 Revolution in Haiti, made the South an armed camp with regular quasi-military patrols to enforce slave codes and as the language between the North and South became harsher over slavery from the 1820's until the Civil War, we see the language of states using armed force to resist the federal government tyranny rise again.
Indeed, an 18 year old with a voter registration card is certainly more dangerous than one with a firearm.
Perhaps more important than the physical disarmament is the moral disarmament that accompanies it. If we accept the view that citizens under 21 years of age cannot be trusted with the material objects necessary to defend their liberty, we will surely accept as well the view that they cannot be trusted with liberty itself. Why should a people who can't be trusted to refrain from murder and mayhem be trusted with the much more difficult and morally subtle task of choosing their leaders responsibly?
In your example though, you're comparing a Right and and Privledge.
Voting and the 2A are both Rights and therefor his example is much more valid than yours because Rights and Privledges are in completely different leagues... universes, in fact.
I also don't agree much with your 1st paragraph because the logic falls apart pretty quick for a variety of reasons.
1 of which is that you're trying to assign or associate a knowledge base, education, and maturity that is worthy of deserving various Constitutional Rights. Pretty sad, really, imo.
Should there also be those same requirements in order to have a fair trial?
Should someone not be allowed to have a particular faith because they aren't educated or very mature?
Or how about banning you from voting because you haven't proven yourself to having an adequate government approved knowledge base?
Last I remember is that those BOR are inalienable Rights, until proven otherwise.
There is no knowledge base test, education test, and maturity test to pass in order to gain the inalienable BOR.
In earlier American history, young adults were always considered to have Second Amendment rights.
The Militia Act of 1792 required all "free able-bodied white male citizens" between the ages of 18 and 45 to own a gun.
Tench Coxe, the founding father who wrote most about the Second Ammendment, explicitly stated that the militia service and the right to keep and bear arms belonged to persons as young as sixteen:
The power of the sword, say the minority..., is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for The powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier are the birthright of Americans.
Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
While the unorganized militia is no longer required to own guns, it still exists under US law, and includes all able bodied males of 17 years and up:
It is absolutely repulsive to see a whole class of law abiding adults being deprived to their constitutional rights because of the actions of a madman.
The NRA is absolutely right to challenge this. Will they win? If the court gives a damn about the history of the Second Amendment they will. So, probably not, I am afraid to say.
What about the handgun ban for people under 21? That is unconstitutional also. The NRA challenged this, and lost, but the principle is the same. Using one violation of the constitution to justify another is obscene.
In case anyone is wondering, did the 1968 ban on buying a gun from an FFL decrease crime? Gary Kleck studied this and found there was no effect; read his study here:
In 1994, Congress banned people under 18 from owning a handgun. Thomas Marvell studied it, and found it had no effect. Read the study here:
What other constitutional rights would some of you like to see stripped away from young adults?
I expect it to as well because it has for handguns.
Separate names with a comma.