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First let me state that I'm Canadian and as such did not grow up around guns.  With respect to guns I am neither an abolitionist nor absolutist.  No guns vs. no restrictions.  However there is something I have never understood when the talk of gun control surfaces.

The 2nd amendment states:

"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."

Suppose there is a shotgun and a pistol on a table and someone wants to exercise their Constitutional rights - they can take one or both weapons.  If before they select I remove the shotgun how is the 2nd amendment violated?  The person can pick up the pistol.

I'm not asking this as a pro-ban/anti-ban question.  I'm just not getting why restrictions violate the Constitution.  If in the scenario I removed both weapons then I can see that as a violation but if a gun exists to be used - what's the problem?

It seems that the people arguing for no restrictions based on the 2nd Amendment imply that because a gun is manufactured/exists they have a Constitutional right to own it.  But even before all the gun control hulabaloo wasn't it illegal to procure foreign made assault weapons?  Can someone own a Tomahawk or Stinger missile?  I don't think so - please correct me if I'm wrong.  To take this to an absurd level - if I made a gun which could level a city - does the 2nd Amendment imply that anyone has a right to own it?

So if the notion of restriction in those cases is ok then why can't the government restrict other types of weapons?

Isn't this really a question of where you draw the line on those restrictions as opposed to a Constitutional crisis?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew C White

    Free speech is not a license to lie.

    by kaplan0562 on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 01:55:14 PM PST

  •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 02:01:28 PM PST

  •  Well see in America if anybody says that (0+ / 0-)

    something is unconstitutional then it automatically is. It really doesn't work that way but for some reason, many think it does.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 02:47:47 PM PST

    •  Wouldn't it be more accurate (0+ / 0-)
      Well see in America if anybody says that something is unconstitutional then it automatically is.
      to say "Well here in the United States" as Canada is part of North AMERICA.

      "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

      by gritsngumbo on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:39:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A good question (0+ / 0-)

    But not an easy one to answer. Try it again, but instead of ‘shotgun’ and ‘pistol’, make it ‘machine gun’ and ‘nerf gun’. In this case if you remove the machinegun, you would say that it has gone from regulation to de facto ban or infringement of the second amendment.

    There is a huge continuum of force involved and different people have different ideas on what the minimum and maximum thresholds are. Few people would decry removing an atomic bomb from the weapons table or call it a violation of the second amendment to do so. But when you get down into the range of rifles and pistols, especially ones with large magazines, there is clearly a lot of disagreement on whether a restriction violates the second amendment.

  •  reductio ad absurdum (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and there always has been a distinction between firearms and armaments.

    I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

    by wretchedhive on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 03:24:04 PM PST

  •  US v Miller (1939) (0+ / 0-)

    In this supreme court case the gun in question was a sawed off shotgun.  The court ruling went as follows.

    "In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument."

    A further explanation of the term 'militia' in the decision

    "The significance attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. 'A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.' And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time."

    The 'common use' portion of that decision was used in the decision of US v Heller recently.  The current view of the supreme court is that if a gun is in 'common use' it is protected by the second amendment.  So both pistols and shotguns would be covered.  Because Tomahawk and Stinger missiles are not commonly used or available they are not.

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