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A truly horrible thing happened on Friday the 14th in Newtown CT. It is far past the time to have the discussion about guns

This is important.

"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."

Those are the actual words of the actual 2nd Amendment. For real and for true.

Now, you'll notice that the 3rd word in the amendment is "regulated." That's really important because it presents what you call "context" for a position. We can debate what militia means, because that's changed a lot since the time the Constitution was written and ratified. Professional soldiers, and citizen soldiers both fought in the American Revolution. Militia then was just that; citizens who left private lives to fight in defense of their country, and then returned when the fight was won. They, of course, needed to bear arms in context of being part of a militia in its necessity to provide security. Now there is a standing Army (and Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard) for security of a free state. There has been for a long time. There are also National Guard members, and Reservists in all branches of the military. Don't forget police. So why do people not in the military, or police need guns?

Hunters? Absolutely reasonable Hobbyists? Umm, OK.

Who else? Nobody. That's what regulation is for. That's why the Founders put "well regulated" in the 2nd Amendment. It's there, and it has meaning. The list of people who need non-military firearms is brief, and there is no reasonable argument that either hunters, or hobbyists need assault weapons, fully automatic firearms, high capacity magazines, armor piercing shells, or any other military grade hardware.

If you want a handgun in your house to protect yourself, your family, and property go for it. Odds are it'll hurt someone you love before it hurts a bad guy, but it's your choice. If you hunt, then hunt. If you target shoot, then target shoot. But there is no argument against Congress or a State limiting access to certain types of firearms based on people doing those things legally. None. Zero. And if you think you need an AR-15 to fight off the police when the government goes full tyranny you're in need of a check up. (Interesting how "defense against internal tyranny" becomes a rationale we hear when the President has a "D" in front of his name.)

Some say arm the teachers in response to school shootings. What if a student got the gun? Lock it up. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of it as a deterrent. Arming teachers is a horrible idea. First off the tea-billies don't think they should be trusted to be in a union to collectively bargain working conditions, but hell, give them all guns. That's the response to all shootings; "If everyone had guns then......" That idea is beyond stupid. In 62 mass shootings not one citizen gun owner has made a difference.

It is absolutely reasonable, and appropriate to regulate assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and other military grade hardware. Any measure doing so is not an infringement on a citizen's 2nd Amendment rights. It's not even close.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Dave - Adam has recently posted a diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Darmok, nextstep, johnny wurster

    on this issue. It's well worth reading.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:19:07 AM PST

  •  What the authors of our Constitution (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Statusquomustgo, Sandino, ColoTim

    called a well-regulated militia is now our our state National Guard units.

  •  I could interpret this to mean (0+ / 0-)

    that the right to bear military arms isn't allowed to be infringed upon, since that's the type of weapon a militia should be concerned with.  There would be no right for hunting or hobby weapons to be guaranteed by this amendment.  That's because the framers would never conceive of removing people's ability to hunt, so they never thought it was important to lay that out in the Bill of Rights.  It was self-evident (heh) to all.

    However, that would then require the "well-regulated" and I would maintain that this allows government at any/all levels to define the regulations and there would be no impediment to restricting gun ownership to those in the militia and also no impediment to specifying what would be required of those in the militia (one weekend a month, for example, for drills, training and what-not).  

    This is so far from how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Amendment it's not going to be how things might evolve, but that's how I could see this being interpreted.

    •  The 2nd amendment was a failure. Congress passed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      laws setting guidelines and rules for these well regulated militias. Also Congress dictated that the states provide weapons and ammo and uniforms. The states totally ignored these laws and they were never enforced. And so when it came time to call up the militias for the War of 1812 the militia members were untrained, undisciplined, and useless. The well regulated militia was suppose to allow the US to forgo a standing army which the founders distrusted. But in the middle of the war of 1812 it was decided that the country needed a group of professional soldiers so that at least when conscripts were called up they could be trained.

      The militias were supposed to drill once a month. One weekend a month. Did not happen. They could not be bothered. More important things to do. like see to the farm. Or go to church. Or visit a tavern.

      Scalia in the Heller decision basically ignores the first part and finds a private right in the second. First time that ever happened. Scalia finds a person right where no other court found one. Scalia indulges in a lot of history of the development of guns. And so that is how the 2nd amendment is interpreted today. Oh and the majority also decided that other cases have no bearing or precedent on this case. the Washing v Chicago case then extended this to all the states. So as far as the Supremes are concerned the well regulated militia is meaningless.

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