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NRA -are they Serious?!?

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There's "rights" and then there's other rights. Something is wrong when the citizenry is "required" to arm itself for protection against other citizens. Do the 2nd amendment fans have the "right" to structure the system such that it is easy for the crackpots to possess guns to the detriment of the rest of us to be secure in our blessing of liberty? I think I have the right to not be worried about getting shot by my paranoid neighbor, or worry that his minimally secured arsenal will not be stolen, or that he is not going to sell his old style AR to some crackpot who will use it in a way not intended by the writers of the 2nd amendment.

 

As I see it, the 2nd amendment fans have a responsibility here to figure out some methods by which they can have their rights, and at the same time prevent innocent citizens including school kids from getting killed.

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Something is wrong when the citizenry is "required" to arm itself for protection against other citizens.

 

Yes, you are absolutely correct.

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Given that the men (and women) in uniform can't be in all places at all times, a well-regulated (in the historical sense of the term) militia made up of armed citizens is a wise and timeless practice that does indeed protect the security of a free state and its inhabitants.

 

What yeh have to face up to with arguments like that, Brewmeister, is two things.

 

First, there are a heck of a lot of free states and their inhabitants around the world who are doin' just fine without militias of armed citizens. In fact, most of da rest of da free world! They live in stable, free, democratic societies and apparently they do so without da worry that they have to arm themselves against their fellow citizens (or any other boogeymen).

 

Second, a well-regulated militia in the historical sense of the term was a fairly specific thing, eh? It didn't mean individuals stocking up with weapons and ammo on their own, or carrying around town for "defense" except when an imminent threat was about.

 

A colonial militia was expected to muster and train together on a regular basis, usually monthly. They did not act independently in defense, but were "called up" as a group when needed, often for tours of duty for a period of three months. By the time of da Revolution, they mostly did not actually fight or use weapons (and when they did they typically did very poorly; George Washington found them to be nearly useless). Instead, when called up they were used as an auxiliary for the regular army. Guarding food or prisoners, schlepping supplies, ditch-digging, that sort of thing. In some cases, they were used on da frontier as a defense against Indians so that da regular soldiers could be freed up, or in other relatively safe defensive establishments to free up regular soldiers.

 

Their other role in da revolution was to harass and suppress da loyalists among da population, and particularly in da south to serve as tax collectors, takin' supplies from da well-to-do and redistributiin' it to support da revolutionaries and the poor.

 

So yeh see there were some defining characteristics which are not present now, eh? Militia trained regularly, and they trained together. Militia had a local chain of command. Militia were called up for service, and stood to posts assigned to them by military and civilian superiors. Militia were compensated, and could draw a military pension. Most importantly, there was a filter on who was allowed to be a militiaman, based on da evaluation of their fellow citizens as to their character and reliability.

 

Even then, folks like Nathaniel Greene still mostly felt they were cowards, who if they were ever confronted with a real fight were likely to run or behave foolishly.

 

So yah, I reckon if some state like Utah wants to construct a civil militia as a police auxiliary in order to guard schools, that would be typical of da use at the time of the founders. They would have to be trained, and train regularly. They would have to have a chain of command, with a sense for military discipline. They'd be called up for a term of service to which they were obliged. Not everybody could be one; they'd be evaluated for fitness and reliability. Da work would be mostly that of REMFs - scut work for da school under the direction of da school and police authorities. Da police would probably consider 'em to be a bunch of ninnies who would be mostly unreliable in an actual confrontation, but fine to stick in low-risk support positions so real cops could do their jobs and not waste their time defending schools that are fundamentally safe.

 

Intimidating fellow citizens they disagreed with or assisting in redistributing wealth would, I suppose, be optional. :)

 

Beavah

 

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Where you are wrong of course is that your argument presupposes that the GOVERNMENT must organize and control the "militia." That flies in the face of everything the founders feared about a government-organized military force, standing or otherwise.

 

In contrast, a well-regulated (meaning, "properly functioning") militia made up of THE BODY OF CITIZENS is essential to the security of a free state.

 

Law professor David Vandercoy of Valparaiso concludes this point better than I could:

 

The check on all government, not simply the federal government, was the armed population, the militia. Government would not be accorded the power to create a select militia since such a body would become the government's instrument. The whole of the population would comprise the militia. As the constitutional debates prove, the framers recognized that the common public purpose of preserving freedom would be served by protecting each individual's right to arms, thus empowering the people to resist tyranny and preserve the republic. The intent was not to create a right for other governments, the individual states; it was to preserve the people's right to a free state, just as it says.

 

I can already hear the caterwauling from those who will say that this purpose is no longer relevant in a day when we have a standing army and where our puny pistols and rifles would be no match for a heavy artillery or air assault. Perhaps. (But would muskets be a match for cannons and calvary?) Anyhoo, if it is no longer relevant, the answer is to amend the constitution by the process outlined within it, not to claim it says something it does not and was never intended to.

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Yeh know da Tea Party crowd is gettin' really desperate when they start quotin' university professors. :) I reckon it's no surprise that da ones they quote are particularly daft, and writin' outside their area of practice and expertise.

 

OK, new homework for yeh Brewmeister. History of da Whiskey Rebellion.

 

Test question: Which was da real militia? The local folks with guns who all got together to stave off da evil guvmint, or da well-regulated state militias called up by the governors of Virginia and Pennsylvania to put down all the local folks with guns who didn't want any form of tax?

 

I'll give yeh a hint. At least a couple of da folks bearin' arms "to resist tyranny" were convicted of treason.

 

Professor Vandercoy's thesis doesn't even hold up in da very first years of da Republic.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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As I recall, it's not "security of a free state" - it's "security of a free State". The difference? State is capitalized ang given it's location in the sentence, that means something. It means the amendment is talking about the security of the States. The folks who wrote the Bill of Rights were very much concerned that the States themselves were protected, not only from the Federal Government, but more importantly, their neighboring States. There was quite a bit of fear that some of the States might try to take over other States, or parts of States. Back when the Bill of Rights were written, boundary issues weren't yet settled, and there were still occasional armed skirmishes. Like the Federal Government, States were prohibited from having a standing army - the Second Amendment provided for individual gun ownership so that the States would have a body of citizens it could call upon to create a militia in order to defend the States.

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There is much evidence that the term "well regulated militia" does not refer to the rights of a state or federal government to form an armed militia. Instead, it refers to the need to control, or "regulate" any governmental militia.

 

The founders were quite concerned about the potential possibilty of a need for another insurrection. We must remember the Revolution did not start with colonial militias. It was bands of citizens who decided thay had had enough. Remember the Boston Tea Party?

 

So, the 2nd Amendment may actually refer to the right of the individual people to not have fear of any state or federal militia. They had the right to bear arms against any militia. And that would call for weapons of the same capability as the militia carried. Yes, the people have the right to forcibly overthrow their own government if need be.

 

To me, that is a wonderful check and balance system you will find nowhere else in the world. The founders were warning themselves and future elected leaders that they had better pay mind to the will of the citizens, or some nasty things might happen.

 

Alexander Hamilton wrote quite a bit regarding this in 1788. It is an interesting take on what the founders real intent might have been for the 2nd Amendment.

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There are arguments to be made either way. Even the Supreme Court has been deeply divided coming to a decision on the intent and meaning. Many would agree it is poorly worded, inviting multiple interpretations, perhaps intentionally so.

 

Your thought about paying attention to the will of the citizenry under threat of nastiness has possibilites. You think we could get all the gun folks to march up to the capitol building and demand our legislature start doing their jobs? Exercise your 2nd amendment rights as was intended!

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Beavah,

 

In the Whiskey Rebellion or any other uprising, the winner defines those roles. We should all remember that our country was founded by people organizing to rid themselves of their government. Had they lost, the would have been hung as traitors and we would learn about them as murderous traitors to the king. If the country was under the kind of gun laws that the left wishes, there would never have been an American Revolution. The founding fathers realized that the government could once again become oppressive and require extreme measures. The Second Amendment was written to guarantee that the citizens would have the ability to do so. If the citizens believe that the Amendment is no longer needed or that the rights need to be changed, then repeal the Amendment and replace it with a revised set of rights or get rid of gun ownership all together. Quit trying to restrict rights. We do not require taxes on Speech, Religion, or the Press (which is why newspapers are not taxed - it would be the government trying to restrict a right by price).

With freedom comes risks and responsibilities. We cannot be free without some level of personal risk.

 

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Thankfully, we are not now anywhere near a need for insurrection. But we only need to look back to our Civil War to see where citizens took just such action. Obviously, the Confederacy was, in the end, unsuccessful. But it was surely a fair percentage of Americans saying "We don't like the way things are going, and we are going to do something about it".

 

I think the Founders were brilliant to give such power to the everyday citizen over the federal and state governments. They saw a need for the government to have as little power as possible. Rights belong to the people and never to the government.

 

The First and Second Amendments are very strong warnings to our elected officials that they need to be very careful about any actions they take. Unfortunately, Americans have grown fat and lazy as citizens. Most are happy to be sheep and be taken care of and told how to live. Such a life takes no thought, no consideration, and no responsibility.

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Well I think we are as close as we have ever been since the civil war for a new civil war. I don't put much stock in the succession petitions given they are signed by people in and our of the state in question and even with that only are signed by a fraction of what is in that state.. But we are very polarized.

 

Still we don't have any militia, just a group of unorganized people with guns, half who are responsible and reasonable, and half who are paranoid, angry, and trigger happy.

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Quit trying to restrict rights.

 

The Supreme Court recognizes there are restrictions to rights and properly so. Amendments dont automatically come with any provision against regulation.

 

The Court's majority opinion in the Heller case (2008) found that:

Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Courts opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

 

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"Well I think we are as close as we have ever been since the civil war for a new civil war."

Where were you in the 1950's and 60's while the South was reacting to the Civil Rights movement?

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Sorry Packsaddle - I was about 5 years old when JFK was shot, and not very thrilled with political news at the time.

 

I do know that there was alot of anger during that period, and the south was big on blocking and protesting the opposite side of the arguement.. It was still pretty North .vs. south on the issue. But, with JFK the Democratic (southern party), president pushing the civil rights agenda I saw it more of the south feeling totally betrayed by one of their own party members. From what I read of history they were sort of in disarray, so not very organized about how to protest except in angry mobs. But, I could be wrong, perhaps by the 60's they had picked themselves up enough to organize. Did the South vote or petition for secession? Were the parties so polarized? When JFK did a turn-face, I would think you had some Democrats voting against their Democratic President, some Republicans voting with him and some of each party not sure whether to vote with him or against him. But, you most certainly could be right Packsaddle.

 

It seemed that up North here we had our own fights about civil rights. Not as bad though, I really don't remember much kickback until they wanted to bus kids all over the place in the early 70's to acheive more equally mixed ratios. There were others, but it was more of a grumble, shuffling feet to modify, and your occasion person who really resisted. Again, I wasn't too big in watching the political news until High school during Watergate and that was slightly so I at least could talk about the current news.(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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An interesting read on the purpose of the 2nd amendment.

 

http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/336529

 

Regulating the Militia

 

By Kevin D. Williamson

 

December 28, 2012 4:00 A.M.

 

My friend Brett Joshpe has published an uncharacteristically soft-headed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle arguing that in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook, conservatives and Republicans should support what he calls sensible gun-control laws. It begins with a subtext of self-congratulation (As a conservative and a Republican, I can no longer remain silent . . . Some will consider it heresy, etc.), casts aspersions of intellectual dishonesty (arguments for preserving our traditional rights are disingenuous), advances into ex homine (noting he has family in Sandy Hook, as though that confers special status on his preferences), fundamentally misunderstands the argument for the right to keep and bear arms, deputizes the electorate, and cites the presence of teddy bears as evidence for his case.

 

Brett, like practically every other person seeking to diminish our constitutional rights, either does not understand the purpose of the Second Amendment or refuses to address it, writing, Gun advocates will be hard-pressed to explain why the average American citizen needs an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine other than for recreational purposes. The answer to this question is straightforward: The purpose of having citizens armed with paramilitary weapons is to allow them to engage in paramilitary actions. The Second Amendment is not about Bambi and burglars whatever a well-regulated militia is, it is not a hunting party or a sport-clays club. It is remarkable to me that any educated person let alone a Harvard Law graduate believes that the second item on the Bill of Rights is a constitutional guarantee of enjoying a recreational activity.

 

There is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment for military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny........

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