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View Diary: RKBA: Why I think its a liberal position (283 comments)

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  •  I think the 2nd amdt is quite interesting (9+ / 0-)

    And in particular, how our understanding of it has evolved.

    In short, does it provide a blanket right to Americans to possess the arms necessary to defend oneself from the government? Or, does it speak to a limited subset of arms, a subset which the government is at liberty to define? The word gun isn't even in the Constitution.

    20th century warfare pretty much obliterated the concept of a citizen militia. In a world of tanks and fighter jets and electronic eavesdropping - not to mention anthrax and cluster bombs and landmines and nukes - exactly which arms does a citizen have the right to possess? Who determines the criteria?

    I believe in the 2d amendment. I think its an individual right, in a list of other individual rights. I think the Founding Fathers put it 2d because they thought it was important. If you don't like it, change it (Good luck!) but for now its the law of the land.

    That's what I find so interesting. It's on the books, so to speak. But we have so many laws limiting access to military hardware, what does it mean? The law of the land, one might say, both legislatively and judicially, is massive government regulation of arms. You can find yourself on the wrong end of the government's guns simply for trafficking in information about arms, nevermind the arms themselves.

    And personally, I don't think that's a bad thing. I actually advocate, for the sake of being clearer about our Constitutional guidance, to change it - get rid of the second amendment and replace it with language that is relevant today. But as you say, good luck. Our preferred approach, like with many issues, is to pretend there's no underlying conflict and go about our business.

    •  Thanks for a thoughtful response. (7+ / 0-)

      It'd make an interesting diary for this series.

      Read or *listen to* my SF novel for free. (-7.13/-7.33)

      by Shadan7 on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:53:03 AM PDT

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      •  You've had me beat by like 1 minute for quite (7+ / 0-)

        a few comments today. Knock it off.

        We need another Huey P. Long and federal funding for abortion. -9.00, -4.05

        by KVoimakas on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:54:18 AM PDT

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      •  hey, thanks (6+ / 0-)

        If there's a whole series about this, I'd be happy to put together some thoughts at some point down the road. Basically, I don't think gun rights are 'rights'; I think cities should be free to restrict pretty much anything related to weapons, and I think we need some fairly comprehensive federal regulations on 'military grade' stuff - but embedded in even that approach is the central assumption that the government should have the monopoly of force, that the threats of annihilation from proliferation are greater than the threats of tyranny from government. And it doesn't address the Constitutional questions: what does it currently mean, and what would be a better way of saying it?

        Having said that, I think politically there's no value for us to demonize guns or try to outright ban them. I'd suggest framing along the lines of:

        1. We all agree some restrictions on weapons are beneficial to the public good; the questions to grapple with center around what kinds of restrictions and who gets to make them.
        1. We all agree that the Constitution valued the concept of the people bearing arms. What does that mean in a 21st century context?
        1. So, a good compromise is to say that cities should have the right to regulate weapons as they best see fit, to shift the debate from federal regulations to local control.

        For political soundbites, 3 is where we harp about hunters being free to pursue their sport and the importance of local control and so forth. I am open that my approach is not conducive to the perspective of guns as individual rights - and I want to amend the Constitution to be clear about that. I think the biggest assault we make on the Constitution is when we treat parts of it like we treat the second amendment, by basically ignoring the text rather than dealing with it. That approach is at the heart of our assault on all rights in the Constitution (my personal pet peeve is the 4th amendment, and I'm certainly aware that its fate is not dissimilar from #2).

        However, I hope what I outline might be similar enough to some of the specific goals of gun rights proponents that there is room for dialogue there. I don't really care what goes on more than a few miles away. I just don't want my neighbor to be stockpiling firearms; I like being able to call in the ATF about that.

    •  Rec'ed for the thoughtful comment. (7+ / 0-)

      Thanks for joining the conversation.

      We need another Huey P. Long and federal funding for abortion. -9.00, -4.05

      by KVoimakas on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:53:52 AM PDT

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