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IEDs. Are improvised explosive devices covered by the right to bear arms?

On that horrible day last December, I walked into a grocery store in Connecticut, found everyone, staff, customers, delivery people, crying without pause and learned what happened in the nearby town of Newtown. Since then, I've been really troubled about the scope and logic of the second amendment and its zealous advocates. Since more people died from gun violence and gun accidents the day of the Boston Marathon, or today, or tomorrow, than died from the Boston blast. I don't want to call my discussions with my Second firster friends abstract or philosophical, but I have been troubled wondering about the semantics of "bearing arms." I used as my example: Say a few of us mounted the RPG things on top of pickups, like the pictures we used to see of Afghanistan during the Russian occupation or the Taliban period, and parked them in front of a state capitol building, let's say Madison, Wisconsin, just for discussion.

Is this covered by our Second amendment rights? Do they have to be concealed? Do I need a special permit? If I buy this on the internet, do I need a background check? Nobody had answers.

Then, way, way, way less abstractly, is an IED covered by "arms"? If so, is it ok then to carry one as a concealed weapon, maybe in a backpack, as long as the person carrying it (I was going to use I there, but thought better of it) has no intent to use it?

I'm sure this community will have lots of guidance on this topic, but maybe, with Boston in mind, today would be a good day to see what Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Antonin Scalia, Lamar Alexander, Mitch McConnell and that whole crew have to say?  

I really fear for my country, my loved ones, and all my fellow citizens if the answer here is yes.

Originally posted to voicemail on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 06:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  good question, (6+ / 0-)

    I share your fear and wonder what the answer is myself.

    My only quibble ... Antonin Scalia, not Anthony

    Otherwise, tipped and rec'd

    "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

    by gravlax on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 06:21:49 PM PDT

  •  What those others would think? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom, Joy of Fishes

    Their minds would start with "" and after five minutes of this lose their concentration, forget what they were considering and go on to something else.

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 06:45:31 PM PDT

  •  Once upon a time (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Lujane, Avila, Joy of Fishes

    a legislator, i.e., "statesman," would vote to do what's right and hope for the best at the polls.  Does that sound like today's politicians, even remotely?

    Democratic Senators voting against background checks?  How the hell did we ever have an assault-weapons ban?

    Guns don't kill people but there's always one there at the time of death.

    by john07801 on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 06:53:31 PM PDT

    •  Because There Was Not Yet Citizens United, and (7+ / 0-)

      because while the transfer of the people's wealth into the hands of the rich had begun in the 70's, it didn't explode until around the time the AWB passed. The people were orders of magnitude more powerful relative to the rich and the enterprises of the rich at that time, and so our politicians needed to represent the people much more than the rich, than is the case today.

      The Assault Weapons Ban passed in late 1994. Look at this chart of family net worth and see how much smaller the spread between the 99% and the Forbes 400 richest was in 94 than when the chart ends in 2000. And of course, there's been a huge leap even more wealth difference starting with Bush II.

      Concentrated wealth funds elections. The wealth of the 99%, well the bottom 80% at least, is almost all spent on living expenses and modest pension & savings.

      Image Hosted by

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 07:09:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Once upon a time" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, a2nite

      is the opening to a fairy story, which is what your comment is. The original Party of No was the Federalists passing the Alien and Sedition Acts in opposition to Thomas Jefferson, with the claim that he planned that his first act as President would be to burn down all of the churches, and worse.

      Then we got the Slavers vs. the Abolitionists, and the Jim Crow "Redeemer" Democrats vs. the Lincoln-type Republicans, then the corporate Republicans vs. the Progressives, then the Red-Baiting Republicans, then the Southern Strategy Republicans, and now the War on Everybody Republicans. There has never been a time when legislators routinely looked beyond the narrowly-defined interests of their voting bloc, although Progressives have at times held majorities and the Presidency.

      I Diaried several of these episodes in Godless, Gritless Liberals, Then and Now, several years ago.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:09:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  With a little research (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, FrankRose

    it would be clear that under the law IEDs are NOT considered arms. Bombs are illegal to possess without the proper licensing (they have many good uses -- away from people.) Clearly you hate guns, but don't try and tie the 2nd to the bombing at the Boston marathon. It is almost as offensive as the nutters running around saying sarcastically, "see, we should ban pressure cookers."

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by notrouble on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 08:11:39 PM PDT

  •  There is a consistent place to draw the line. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shamash, oldpunk, noway2, FrankRose

    One that, I think, would pass the kind of scrutiny regime I favor for 2nd Amendment rights... broadly similar to the doctrines surrounding the 1st Amendment. That is, laws impacting the core of the right, who can be armed, and with what, subject to strict scrutiny analysis, with lesser concerns, (training requirements for carry permits, where those permits are valid, lawful use of force doctrines, etc,) subject to intermediate scrutiny. (Commercial speech, ie advertising, is an analog.)

    For the question "does the 2nd Amendment protect the right to own weapon X?", the test is this:

    Does the simple possession of that weapon, without regard to human actions in using it, present a danger to those near the weapon?

    For explosives, let alone chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, the answer is clearly "yes." If you're making bombs in your garage, and I live next door, your are putting me in danger in a way that you are not with any cartridge-firing arm you may own. Regardless of its rate of fire, or the size of the bullet it shoots, any gun is just a hunk of metal without a human operator. The thing itself is not a hazard. This cannot be said of a homemade bomb.

    This essential difference provides all the support required for the law to treat the two cases differently, even under the most rigorous analysis by the courts.

    And, yes, that would mean that the 2nd Amendment protects the ability of citizes to own fully automatic weapons. I have no problem with the existence of the 1934 NFA, either. I don't see a constitutional issue with the existence of a special legal regime around automatic weapons... with two caveats.

    1) I don't think that States and lesser governments can seperately ban them. If the right extends that far, and I think it does, then the fact that the right is incorporated binds lower-level governments. They should not restrict liberties that the Federal government is reqired to respect


    2) The registry must be reopened to post-1986 firearms. Closing the registry has, by the inexorable law of supply and demand, turned the ownership of automatic firarms into something that only rich people are allowed to do. I don't support regulating rights based on personal wealth. If rich people can do it, everybody else should be able to as well. (This is a liberal principle. I shouldn't need to point that out, but in this context, it's probably necessary.)


    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
    "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

    by Leftie Gunner on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 08:21:41 PM PDT

    •  why ever (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes

      would you need or want a fully automatic weapon?

      i'm serious.  i understand self-defense.  i understand hunting.  i don't understand why anyone needs a clip or magazine that can kill twenty children in less than ten minutes.

      •  Why is need relevant? (5+ / 0-)

        I am old enough to know that no one on Earth needs a cell phone, personal computer or internet connection. And I could make an argument that coordination of the 9/11 attacks used all of these, so banning them would save lives.

        Fortunately, I'm not some narrow-minded fool who views what is allowable for other people to do, say or own only through a set of inconsistently applied personal ideological filters.

        What I think you need is irrelevant. Being afraid of you because of the actions of someone else would be profiling and bigotry, and as a liberal I try not to go there. When you as an individual do something I need to worry about, that's why we have the law.

        •  I'm learning (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The line between doing and having is a good one, but some things you can't do with if you don't have. Your last sentence is a headspin: once you as an individual do something I need to worry about, it's nice to have the law, but too late. When you as an individual do something we need to worry about, we need to worry about why we need somethings.  

          •  You miss the point of the law (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The law by its very nature is reactive. It can only do something after it is violated. A speed limit does not stop you from speeding, nor does it prevent you from owning a fast car. It just gives the police a way to penalize the individual who violates that law...after the fact.

            But I can't imagine you making the argument you are making to justify the ban of any car that can go faster than say 45mph. But clearly, no civilian "needs" to drive faster than that, so why not ban them? Think of the lives that would be saved!

            A law against owning a gun with a large magazine is like a law saying you can only buy booze in those tiny little sampler bottles. You are presuming the misconduct before it happens. If I said you needed a 24/7/365 government tap on all your mail, your phone calls and your internet use "just in case" you are surfing kiddie porn, torrenting movies, cheating on your spouse, embezzling from your employer or planning another 9/11, you might be a bit offended that I want the law to treat you as that sort of person based solely on the rare misconduct of people with no similarity to you other than in the ownership of a particular inanimate object.

            And you know, I sympathize with that. I get kind of tired of being patronized with "if you were a responsible gun owner you wouldn't mind these new laws". It has never occurred to these dolts that it is because I am a responsible gun owner that they've never had a problem with me in the first place.

            I have no problem with reform of some of our gun laws. Is it that onerous to ask that these reforms be directed at the people who are the problem, rather than assuming that I should also be penalized/restricted by the law just because I share the characteristic of being a gay muslim black hispanic gun owner?

            There are things that can be done. Using the car analogy, I can own a smoky old clunker, but new cars come with emission controls and airbags and such. Could we require that new guns be sold with trigger locks? Could we require competency-based exams for firearm licenses? Can we close the gun show loophole? As a gun owner and RKBA supporter I think we could and probably should do all three of those (among other things). And they would be more effective measures to reduce firearms misuse automotive fatalities than banning the sale of guns cars with pistol grips mag wheels and big magazines big engines.

            •  I'm not sure I said anything about guns (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Or about cars, but I really don't need a lecture on my missing the point of the law.  The law says you can't sell cars without seatbelts. Law enforcement is likely, by it's very nature, reactive, but so what? Keep your guns. Keep your responsibility.  New cars don't come with airbags and emission controls by accident.

              I surely won't patronize you about being responsible; I don't know the first thing about you. I got your coulds, and shoulds. I've never been sure if the cars = guns analogy is something people really believe, but I'm sure, because the rest of your comment is quite sharp, that you probably don't, as a responsible gun and car owner.

              They probably screening all of our email anyway. Thanks for responding, I learned wihat the RKBA subgroup is and that counts for something.  

              •  Learning (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                I learned what the RKBA subgroup is and that counts for something.
                Presumably you learned that at least some of us are about knowlege, logic, consistent application of liberal principles and daring to presume, sometimes in a pointed way, that these are superior to ignorance, irrationality and double standards. We support everyone's rights, not just "everyone but those people."
        •  this is about fear (0+ / 0-)


          is there a specific fear that requires a magazine or clip to ensure your safety?  regular bullet will not work?  

          cell phones, as far as i know, don't kill people, nor do bathtubs, the other popular analogy here.

    •  Interesting way of describing (0+ / 0-)

      what applies to the 2nd and why.

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