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Intent of 2nd Amendment (Right to bear arms) Questioned
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TheWOAT
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Dec 7, 2006, 07:02 PM
 
WUSA9.com - Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a case that could shape firearms laws nationwide, attorneys for the District of Columbia argued Thursday that the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms applies only to militias, not individuals.

The city defended as constitutional its long-standing ban on handguns, a law that some gun opponents have advocated elsewhere. Civil liberties groups and pro-gun organizations say the ban in unconstitutional.

At issue in the case before a federal appeals court is whether the 2nd Amendment right to "keep and bear arms" applies to all people or only to "a well regulated militia." The Bush administration has endorsed individual gun-ownership rights but the Supreme Court has never settled the issue.

If the dispute makes it to the high court, it would be the first case in nearly 70 years to address the amendment's scope. The court disappointed gun owner groups in 2003 when it refused to take up a challenge to California's ban on high-powered weapons.

In the Washington, D.C. case, a lower-court judge told six city residents in 2004 that they did not have a constitutional right to own handguns. The plaintiffs include residents of high-crime neighborhoods who want guns for protection.

Courts have upheld bans on automatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns but this case is unusual because it involves a prohibition on all pistols. Voters passed a similar ban in San Francisco last year but a judge ruled it violated state law. The Washington case is not clouded by state law and hinges directly on the Constitution.
Regardless of the 'framer's' intent, I believe that it IS a right for individuals to bear arms. IMO, this right doesnt extend to machine guns or assault rifles, but your basic run of the mill hand gun or rifle should be covered.
     
voodoo
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Dec 7, 2006, 07:05 PM
 
Since they say militias, they mean militias. However, if you Americans want individuals to carry guns, just change the bloody constitution and end this thing.

It is obvious what that text says. It's not like the constitution is holy or written in stone.

Right now it is militias. Not individuals. If the framer's intent was 'individuals', then change it already.

Silly argument.

V
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Chuckit
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Dec 7, 2006, 07:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Since they say militias, they mean militias. However, if you Americans want individuals to carry guns, just change the bloody constitution and end this thing.

It is obvious what that text says. It's not like the constitution is holy or written in stone.

Right now it is militias. Not individuals. If the framer's intent was 'individuals', then change it already.
No, it does not say the right to bear arms is limited to a militia. It says "the people" have a right to bear arms. ("The people" are also protected from unreasonable searches and seizures, so I hope it means everybody!)
Chuck
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Spliffdaddy
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Dec 7, 2006, 07:28 PM
 
I'd be first in line to storm the White House if my right to bear arms was taken away. Millions of armed southerners would restore that right rather quickly.
     
Doofy
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Dec 7, 2006, 07:30 PM
 
And how exactly do these DC cretins intend to raise a useful militia if the individual cannot bear arms?
     
voodoo
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Dec 7, 2006, 07:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
No, it does not say the right to bear arms is limited to a militia. It says "the people" have a right to bear arms. ("The people" are also protected from unreasonable searches and seizures, so I hope it means everybody!)
"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."

What is "arms" anyway? Could be hands, could be tactical nukes. Make this clearer, with the intents and desires of the people today and stop arguing about this silly thing. This is a constitution, not the Ten Commandments

V
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Spliffdaddy
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Dec 7, 2006, 07:34 PM
 
So every state will simply form a militia. And every firearm owner will join it.
     
voodoo
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Dec 7, 2006, 07:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spliffdaddy View Post
So every state will simply form a militia. And every firearm owner will join it.
Exactly, end of story. Sheesh.

V
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Doofy
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Dec 7, 2006, 07:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
"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."
It does look like it was written by illiterates, doesn't it?
     
voodoo
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Dec 7, 2006, 07:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
It does look like it was written by illiterates, doesn't it?
It does.. It does.

V
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HackManDan
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Dec 7, 2006, 07:57 PM
 
As I recall, the meaning of the Second Amendment has largely been settled by the Supreme Court. I believe that United States v. Miller (1939) and Lewis v. United States (1980) basically state that the Second applies to the regulation of state-armed militia, and not individual citizens.

That's why subsequent challenges of gun-control laws have not relied on Second Amendment arguments in a very long time.
     
GSixZero
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Dec 7, 2006, 08:02 PM
 


Moses says no!

ImpulseResponse
     
nonhuman
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Dec 7, 2006, 08:43 PM
 
Really it depends on how you define militias and what you consider to be the purpose of militias. If you take into account the context in which the Constitution was written, I'm hard pressed to come up with a definition by which militia means anything other than an irregular and informal grouping of private citizens who, by their own leave, own firearms and choose to use them for the good of The People.

Consider that our Revolutionary War was fought largely by militias who were nothing other than regular guys who all owned guns and decided to use them for their cause.
     
BRussell
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Dec 7, 2006, 08:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Consider that our Revolutionary War was fought largely by militias who were nothing other than regular guys who all owned guns and decided to use them for their cause.
Right, and since we no longer use militias to fight wars, and instead have a massive and powerful standing army, isn't the stated justification for the 2nd Amendment anachronistic today?
     
BRussell
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Dec 7, 2006, 08:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spliffdaddy View Post
I'd be first in line to storm the White House if my right to bear arms was taken away. Millions of armed southerners would restore that right rather quickly.
Like they "restored their rights" last time?

(I find it really difficult to argue with you as long as you have that sig.)
     
nonhuman
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Dec 7, 2006, 08:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
Right, and since we no longer use militias to fight wars, and instead have a massive and powerful standing army, isn't the stated justification for the 2nd Amendment anachronistic today?
Won't seem so anachronistic if the US is invaded and the only way left to resist is through private citizens and their private guns. Nor if the US government goes off the deep end and armed rebellion is the only alternative left to us.
     
Spliffdaddy
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Dec 7, 2006, 09:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
Like they "restored their rights" last time?

(I find it really difficult to argue with you as long as you have that sig.)
Hang in there. The sig expires in 10 days
     
TheWOAT  (op)
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Dec 7, 2006, 09:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
Right, and since we no longer use militias to fight wars, and instead have a massive and powerful standing army, isn't the stated justification for the 2nd Amendment anachronistic today?
...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed. "the people" can only mean one thing to me and thats citizens (or residents) of the US, not just people in the militia. The constitution also mentions "soldiers" in the quartering act, so I guess, that the forming of a militia is a right of the people, as is the right to own and bear arms to provide effectiveness to said militia.
After reading all of the arguments on the 'net, I need a beer.
     
vmarks
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Dec 7, 2006, 10:15 PM
 
A) the Constitution is written in stone unless amended.

B) who is the militia? Every able-bodied male.


Just because you feel that it is anachronistic doesn't mean you can ignore it. Instead, you have to pass an amendment repealing it.

The Constitution was written not to delineate all rights the people have available to them, but to enumerate those which are so important that Congress cannot infringe upon them.
     
voodoo
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Dec 7, 2006, 10:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by vmarks View Post
A) the Constitution is written in stone unless amended.
Laws are written in stone too unless amended or changed. Your comment is a paradox.

Change the constitution if this second amendment isn't regarded as clear enough. A law isn't very useful if it isn't crystal clear.

Do you want guns? Then make damn sure it says just that in your constitution. Sometimes I think Americans will bicker over *anything*..

V
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BRussell
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Dec 7, 2006, 11:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Laws are written in stone too unless amended or changed. Your comment is a paradox.

Change the constitution if this second amendment isn't regarded as clear enough. A law isn't very useful if it isn't crystal clear.

Do you want guns? Then make damn sure it says just that in your constitution. Sometimes I think Americans will bicker over *anything*..

V
The problem is that it's too difficult to pass a constitutional amendment over most controversial things like this. So the current meaningless constitutional amendment on it governs. But what the **** does it mean? The Supreme Court will rule on it, but in the end it doesn't matter anyway because no one is seeking to pass strict gun control laws.
     
vmarks
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Dec 7, 2006, 11:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
The problem is that it's too difficult to pass a constitutional amendment over most controversial things like this. So the current meaningless constitutional amendment on it governs. But what the **** does it mean? The Supreme Court will rule on it, but in the end it doesn't matter anyway because no one is seeking to pass strict gun control laws.
That's precisely the matter: The 2nd amendment forbids gun control law.

Congress shall make no law. The rights of the people shall not be infringed.

It doesn't say "Congress shall make only a few small laws about this" or "The rights of the people shall only be infringed a little"

But people want to soften the rule because they wish it weren't so. So they read into it penumberas and emanations and interpretations that they fondly hope for, so that they can change it without having to do the work of passing an amendment.

And that's why it's written in stone until you get an amendment, voodoo - because people need to be reminded that they can't just declare the rules are now changed when they don't like the rules anymore - but they do it with the 2nd amendment with great frequency.

Sure, it isn't easy, BRussell. That's the point. It's supposed to be hard to infringe on the rights of us all.
     
voodoo
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Dec 8, 2006, 12:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by vmarks View Post
Congress shall make no law. The rights of the people shall not be infringed.
Look, your constitution is really rather simple. I don't pretend to know it by heart, but it's short and easy enough to look up on the internet. For some reason I also have it in my Websters dictionary of the English language.

Nowhere is the text above.

It doesn't say "Congress shall make only a few small laws about this" or "The rights of the people shall only be infringed a little"
Nor does it say what you wrote above. I'm sure you don't take me for an illiterate. (?)

But people want to soften the rule because they wish it weren't so. So they read into it penumberas and emanations and interpretations that they fondly hope for, so that they can change it without having to do the work of passing an amendment.
So, the constitution *needs* to be changed to reflect the will of the people *clearly* so you stop bickering about it. If it were worded in a proper unambiguous way we wouldn't be having this 'discussion' or thread. It wouldn't be an issue.

And that's why it's written in stone until you get an amendment, voodoo - because people need to be reminded that they can't just declare the rules are now changed when they don't like the rules anymore - but they do it with the 2nd amendment with great frequency.
I find selective dislexia to be most offending, vmarks. The constitution of most republics are not written in stone. That means simply, that they can be altered. Not that they shouldn't be respected and followed. That's not what the phrase means. 'Written in stone' means unalterable.

Which the constitution is not. As your paradoxic statement implies. "..written in stone until you get an amendment.."

I don't like to go into semantics with you, but if we're not talking about the same thing, we can just drop this matter. The constitution of the USA, like most countries, is not written in stone. I think we can agree on that.

V
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BRussell
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Dec 8, 2006, 12:13 AM
 
vmarks, no serious person believes the 2nd amendment was designed to forbid gun control law. No one who can read thinks it says congress shall make no gun control law. "Keep and bear" doesn't mean "no gun control laws." There are plenty of gun control laws that are perfectly consistent with keeping and bearing, even if you could delete all the militia language.

And I'm a liberal, I reject the conservative strict constructionism that would read our rights away. I like the penumbras and emanations because they interpret our individual rights broadly rather than strictly, unlike conservative jurists who regularly side with government power against individual liberties, whether it's abortion or privacy or the rights of the accused or war-time powers or executive powers and on and on.

But I also believe in truth and facts, and one of those facts is that the 2nd amendment is an anachronism. The stated justification for it, a well-regulated militia, doesn't exist any more. If you're trying to strictly interpret the constitution, as you say you want to do, you can't get around that fact.
     
Spliffdaddy
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Dec 8, 2006, 12:42 AM
 
Sure we have militias. There are at least 100,000,000 Americans that make up our militias. And they're damn well regulated, too.
     
vmarks
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Dec 8, 2006, 01:19 AM
 
Freedom, specifically individual liberty, is the optimal condition of mankind.

The 2nd amendment is one of the guarantors of that.

If it is the anachronism you say that it is, and everyone knows this to be fact, then you should have no trouble at all getting it repealed.

Me, I support conservative strict constructionism readings, because they ensure individual freedom. After all, it is the tenth amendment that guarantees all rights not enumerated as belonging to the states and the people.

The liberal jurists have given away individual liberty in favor of governmental power.

Kelo v. New London.

The Controlled Substances Act, where Justice Thomas illustrated my claim that conservatives do a better job of protecting individual liberties than liberal justices. (This was a case where there was no interstate commerce, but the court decided that it could meddle in the economy of a person or state regardless of whether or not there was a border involved under the commerce clause.)

Hiibell, which ruled that a man who has done nothing wrong can be arrested for the crime of not presenting identification.

See, strict readings are a good thing. The meaning is clear, defined, and not subject to change with the wishy washy feelings of people who need to comfort themselves that they are doing good. For example, the racist affirmative action policy in Grutter, where O'Conner stated "We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today." I'm sorry, it's either right or it's wrong. Not "it's right now but will be wrong in 25 years."

"Rights shall not be infringed" means just that. Gun control means "rights will be infringed, but only a little." Which opens the door for continued infringement until "keep and bear" means you can only have "one Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle BB gun with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time"

As I say, if it's such a fact that the 2nd amendment is a useless relic, then you'll have no trouble getting rid of it. But if there is some utility to it's guarantee that people (every able-bodied person is the militia) shall be armed and able to provide for defense, then I expect you'll find it harder to repeal.
     
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Dec 8, 2006, 01:43 AM
 
‘‘Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’’


Mao Tse Tung: "All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party."
     
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Dec 8, 2006, 06:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
And how exactly do these DC cretins intend to raise a useful militia if the individual cannot bear arms?

I never got how that ever would be needed. Oh wait, if one day the Cubans and Sovjets try to take over...

Regards
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marden
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Dec 8, 2006, 06:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by Powerbook View Post
I never got how that ever would be needed. Oh wait, if one day the Cubans and Sovjets try to take over...

Regards
PB.
Those wacky founding fathers of ours believed that governments that weren't kept honest might somehow, someway, someday turn on it's citizens.

The 2nd Amendment was there to assure that all the other rights would not be taken from the people by the government.

Which is why I can't understand how some of our posters worry about the Government but are ready, willing and anxious to invite any imaginable mischief to be visited upon us from outside with the twisted reasoning, "well, the Islamists can't defeat us."

As soon as they bring chaos to our lives and our streets they have scored a HUGE MAJOR VICTORY.

And they are ready to fight for as long as it takes and they know we will get tired.

(That's why they CHEER the ISG results. It shows them that their tactics are successful.)

End of derail.
     
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Dec 8, 2006, 06:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spliffdaddy View Post
I'd be first in line to storm the White House if my right to bear arms was taken away. Millions of armed southerners would restore that right rather quickly.
They've tried that once, remember?
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Dec 8, 2006, 07:16 AM
 
The Second Amendment has been questioned for years. But all you need to do is read the Federalist papers to see that the "only for militias" argument is complete BS. The line in the Constitution is there to provide additional justification, but it was never intended as the only reason for the law to be there.
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Dec 8, 2006, 10:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by Millennium View Post
The Second Amendment has been questioned for years. But all you need to do is read the Federalist papers to see that the "only for militias" argument is complete BS. The line in the Constitution is there to provide additional justification, but it was never intended as the only reason for the law to be there.
I sadly haven't read these. I know I need to. Isn't the intended gist of the Second Amendment to help check the government against getting uppity with its citizenry?
     
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Dec 8, 2006, 11:00 AM
 


kidding aside, I do support the 2nd amendment and enjoy the rights granted to me by the US Constitution.
     
vmarks
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Dec 8, 2006, 11:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I sadly haven't read these. I know I need to. Isn't the intended gist of the Second Amendment to help check the government against getting uppity with its citizenry?
Here you go:

http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/
     
subego
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Dec 8, 2006, 11:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by vmarks View Post
How am I going to take that into the tub?
     
vmarks
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Dec 8, 2006, 11:21 AM
 
Amazon.com: The Essential Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers: Books: Alexander Hamilton,James Madison,John Jay

Gets you the federalist and anti-federalist papers, so that you can see both arguments. They're a lot like these forums. The federalists printed a paper. The anti-federalists responded. The federalists then published a paper on the incoherency of the anti-federalists' response.
     
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Dec 8, 2006, 11:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Powerbook View Post
I never got how that ever would be needed. Oh wait, if one day the Cubans and Sovjets try to take over...
Have Tony Blair running the place for a few years - they'd soon figure out why they need militias.
     
subego
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Dec 8, 2006, 06:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by vmarks View Post
Amazon.com: The Essential Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers: Books: Alexander Hamilton,James Madison,John Jay

Gets you the federalist and anti-federalist papers, so that you can see both arguments. They're a lot like these forums. The federalists printed a paper. The anti-federalists responded. The federalists then published a paper on the incoherency of the anti-federalists' response.
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Dec 8, 2006, 06:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Since they say militias, they mean militias. However, if you Americans want individuals to carry guns, just change the bloody constitution and end this thing.

It is obvious what that text says. It's not like the constitution is holy or written in stone.

Right now it is militias. Not individuals. If the framer's intent was 'individuals', then change it already.

Silly argument.

V
When the Second Amendment was written (and before), the "militia" was the armed men of the community. The term "well regulated" at the time meant "well trained." Therefore, the second amendment means exactly that the people of the community have the RIGHT to bear arms. The courts have held this to be an INDIVIDUAL right throughout. Further, why would the framers make ALL THE OTHER AMENDMENTS APPLY TO INDIVIDUALS AND NOT THE SECOND AMENDMENT?

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Dec 8, 2006, 09:00 PM
 
The second ensures you always have the first. Always.
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Dec 9, 2006, 01:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by marden View Post
Those wacky founding fathers of ours believed that governments that weren't kept honest might somehow, someway, someday turn on it's citizens.

The 2nd Amendment was there to assure that all the other rights would not be taken from the people by the government.
But they got nukes. We're screwed.
     
Spliffdaddy
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Dec 9, 2006, 01:24 AM
 
I'm not. I live near a cave in a remote part of Kentucky.

After the nukes fall, the yankees will be gone. And the south, as I've promised, will rise again.
     
ebuddy
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Dec 9, 2006, 10:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spliffdaddy View Post
I'm not. I live near a cave in a remote part of Kentucky.

After the nukes fall, the yankees will be gone. And the south, as I've promised, will rise again.
Ain't no nukes falling on corn-country big shooter. Us Yanks will live.
ebuddy
     
Sky Captain
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Dec 9, 2006, 12:27 PM
 
It's been rumored that as soon as the Democrats got back in power, guns would be the first right they take away.
Disarm the people before you declare martial law and a dictatorship.

In any event, should the second admendment become a privilige and not a right, all it will do is give the privilige to the priviiged.
Won't affect the rich. Just the poor. Something else taken from the poor.
Might as well take the first and make it a chargable privilige also.

Hell let's require you need a liquor license to buy alcohol.
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demograph68
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Dec 9, 2006, 02:43 PM
 
lets give everyone a gun. that'll show em governments whose in charge!
     
Sky Captain
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Location: Second star to the right, and straight on till morning
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Dec 9, 2006, 02:47 PM
 
No, let who want to responsibly own one have one.

We continue to let people who can't responsibly use alcohol continue to own and operate automobiles.
Go figure.
All men are created equal, but what they do after that point puts them on a sliding scale.
     
Snow-i
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Dec 10, 2006, 03:12 AM
 
My thing is,

The right to bear arms is relevant durings times in which the government is unable to protect our citizens.

Thats why I want to be able to own a gun.

From home invasions to invasion by another country, the constitution defends my right to defend myself with a firearm. The historical context is mostly irrelevant, since it does not apply to the present or the future.

(1st time poster, long time watcher)
     
marden
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Dec 10, 2006, 04:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
My thing is,

The right to bear arms is relevant durings times in which the government is unable to protect our citizens.

Thats why I want to be able to own a gun.

From home invasions to invasion by another country, the constitution defends my right to defend myself with a firearm. The historical context is mostly irrelevant, since it does not apply to the present or the future.

(1st time poster, long time watcher)
WELCOME!
     
marden
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Dec 10, 2006, 04:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by demograph68 View Post
But they got nukes. We're screwed.
No, the government understands better than some of us here that we lose on or before the day when the streets and sewers run red with blood. Total destruction isn't needed.
     
subego
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Dec 10, 2006, 12:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by demograph68 View Post
lets give everyone a gun. that'll show em governments whose in charge!
Who's "in charge" in Iraq?
     
 
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