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The Daily Kos Firearms Law and Policy group was founded last month by LilithGardener, OregonOak, Glen the Plumber, and Joy of Fishes. Some of us have been using firearms for many years while others have never owned or handled a gun. We published a Glossary of Resources to make it easier for everyone to find answers to their questions and support their opinions with primary sources of firearms law and policy research. If you find gun jargon confusing you are not alone. This Glossary of Gun Terminology from Handgun Law may help you find the right words.

Firearms Law and Policy Digest September 6, 2013 by Joy of Fishes will publish today at 6PM CDT. To add our diaries in your stream, go to our group blog Firearms Law and Policy and click on the little heart. To join us send us a Kosmail.

We hope that diaries covering different aspects of firearms law will help us to understand which laws are in effect where we live, and how they came to be what they are. Diaries about hunting, shooting sports, and "gun culture" may help us to bridge the urban/rural divide that seems impassable at times. See BadKitties diary Nature vs. Nurture: Are Guns in the Blood? and share your thoughts on one mother's dilemma. Most firearms laws are passed and enforced at the state level. Currently, if responsible gun owners want to take their guns with them when they travel across state lines, it can be quite challenging to remain in compliance with the law. Our goal is to study and discuss gun laws and regulations, in this post-Heller environment. We want to understand what restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms are consistent with the current Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Introduction: Why the First Amendment comes before the Second

Consider an excerpt from Jeffrey Feldman's 2008 diary on the Heller decision and why the First Amendment comes before the Second.

"Weapons In Case Of Confrontation"

For those who do not realize it, all rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution flow from the 1st Amendment which is about 'freedom of expression.'  As the Constitution is the basis of our system of government, the Bill of Rights is the core description of what it means to be a citizen.

Right one:  freedom of expression--speech, assembly, and so forth.  Without that right guaranteed by the 1st Amendment, there is no need to continue the conversation because citizens are not free unless they have those rights.   No free citizens, no free society, no Democracy.  Hence, when the Framers created the Bill of Rights, they put the most important right on which the entire system depended first--not second, not third,  not tenth, but first.

I make this point, which may seem obvious to most, because if you listen to those who supposedly argue in favor of an 'individual rights' interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, they argue a very different vision.  What they argue is that the most fundamental right of our entire Constitution is not the 1st Amendment, but the 2nd Amendment.  Without the 2nd Amendment's guarantee of individuals the use guns to defend themselves in case of confrontation, there is no free society and nothing else in the Constitution--no other rights--have any meaning.

Let me repeat that.  

The Bill of Rights puts freedom of speech first and the right of the people to bear arms second. The NRA and its advocates reverse that mode, insisting that the right to bear arms is the first fundamental right in the American system, and everything else is second.

In that argument are the seeds of a fundamental change in what it means to be an American citizen--what it means to be a free person.  On the one hand, we have a vision of the world where one is free by virtue of the right to express oneself.  On the other hand, we have a vision of the world where one is free by virtue of the right to shoot a potential attacker.

The Framers of the Constitution set up a system that defined freedom in one way, not the other.  The DC v. Heller majority opinion reversed that.

According to the court, we now live in a world where the freedom to use a gun in moments of confrontation--albeit with some limits--is a fundamental right above all else.

A note from the founders about our profile statement: We want to be informed citizens. Our goal is to reduce confusion and enable readers of Daily Kos to peruse and study primary documents for themselves. None of us are experts on constitutional law. Most of us are not even lawyers. Thank you poco, for asking us about our profile and prompting an excellent discussion. We will update our profile as soon as we reach a consensus on what we really meant to say.
  Dear LilithGardener, (10+ / 0-)

I really appreciate this group and its ethos and purposes.

But (and this may not be the ideal venue for discussing this) I am loathe to join, only because of this:

We will discuss firearms law and policy with an emphasis on the many historical ethics and ideals of Western Civilization, as opposed to what are currently known as "Libertarian" ideals.
And this is where I cavil. Like Gandhi, I think that Western Civilization "would be a good idea," but the term used non-ironically raises all my hackles. The ethics and ideals of Western civilization are as relevant and great as the ethics and ideals of Eastern civilization; making this demarcation seems to be just a hollow patting oneself on the back.

What about humanitarian ideals? Or universal/global ethics?

I understand that the phrase may have been chosen for certain specific political purposes, but the usage of this phrase has ramifications that go beyond this specific purpose. It (inadvertently, I am sure) makes all of us who do not belong to Western Civilization feel uncivilized and savage, which (I am sure) is not the intent of your group.

It's Gandhi, not Ghandi

by poco on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:42:21 PM PDT

Welcome to our first open thread.

Originally posted to Firearms Law and Policy on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by notRKBA and Shut Down the NRA.

Poll

What is your experience with firearms?

6%3 votes
0%0 votes
16%7 votes
11%5 votes
4%2 votes
13%6 votes
6%3 votes
2%1 votes
4%2 votes
2%1 votes
2%1 votes
4%2 votes
6%3 votes
13%6 votes
2%1 votes

| 43 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for civil discourse (13+ / 0-)

    Please argue your case the way Wee Mamma illustrated in her excellent diary, Make Your Case , attempt to win over your opponent the way akadjian laid out here, and join us for collaborative discussions like this and this.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 11:31:55 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for the promo, Lilith! (7+ / 0-)

    Make that 6:00 pm central time for the first Firearms Law and Policy Digest.  :)

  •  I voted other (6+ / 0-)

    My husband purchased a gun because he does business in some dangerous places with high levels of robbery, kidnapping, etc.  He felt the need to protect himself.

    Since there was a gun in the house (hidden, locked, disassembled, ammo in another location, hidden and locked) I felt that I should learn to use it.  We've been going to shooting ranges so I can practice and become familiar with it.

    I would never use a gun in a confrontation, even within my own home.  Unless you are 100% confident that you will use the gun, use it properly, and shoot to kill, it shouldn't be part of the equation, and I have no confidence in any of those things.  I keep a heavy fire poker by my bed.  I find it much more reassuring than a gun.

    Anyway, I've said in multiple places that in the end guns are a cultural issue and until we speak to it that way, until we make an effort to change gun culture rather than gun law, we may be butting our heads against the wall for a long time.

    Gun culture used to be different in this country.  Guns were seen as tools, and sometimes the recreation and utility of guns overlapped and there is nothing wrong with that.

    But now we glorify guns.  We want every expanding collections of guns, we like to show them off to our friends.  While they may be used in a responsible way as a tool, the recreational uses of guns far outweigh their utility.

    Guns are tools, not toys.  That is my mantra.  Cigarette smoking used to be cool, now it is not.  For many years there were legal battles over cigarrette regulation, but in the end it was a cultural shift that is dismantling big tobacco.

    The same needs to happen with guns.

    There's my two cents.  I love this new group, and hope to see many more diaries in the future.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:48:07 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, please stop by our diary @ 5pm STDD (7+ / 0-)




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      STDD to repeal SYG laws.
    • Support the Dream Defenders is a community of Kossacks. We are an action group dedicated to supporting the passage of Trayvon's Law in Florida. Each of us is opposed to the Stand Your Ground law in Florida. We do not need to debate the merits of SYG laws or 2nd Amendment issues in our action diaries. If you want to argue, go start your own DK group and/or go write your own diary.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:32:11 PM PDT

  •  The First Amendment - deliberate guarantor (7+ / 0-)

    of liberty?

    Hence, when the Framers created the Bill of Rights, they put the most important right on which the entire system depended first--not second, not third,  not tenth, but first.
    The First Amendment, isn't the First Article of the proposed Amendments, it's third.  Third/Fourth in the House version.

    Thus the above statement is incorrect.  Neither was it adopted "first" and all others ratified piecemeal thereafter.

    From usconstitution.net:

    Representative James Madison, who was so instrumental in the creation of the Constitution in the first place, drafted a bill of rights. Though he originally opposed the idea, by the time he ran for a seat in the House, he used the creation of a bill as part of his campaign. He introduced the bill into the House, which debated it at length and approved 17 articles of amendment. The Senate took up the bill and reduced the number to 12, by combining some and rejecting others. The House accepted the Senate's changes, voting on September 24th and 25th, 1789; twelve articles of amendment were sent to the states for ratification.
    House version as-published: (antiquarian site)
    http://www.sethkaller.com/...(SOLD)

    Senate Version as-sent to the respective States for ratification:
    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/...

    The salient details:

    Art. I. After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than one hundred representatives, nor less than one representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of representatives shall amount to two hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred representatives, nor more than one representative for every fifty thousand.

    Art. II. No law varying the compensation for services of the senators and representatives shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

    Art. III. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Art. IV. 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.

    Art. V. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner prescribed by law.

    Art. VI. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue, but upon principal cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Art. VII. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service, in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject, for the same offence, to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

    Art. VIII. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right of a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law; and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

    Art. IX. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reëxamined, in any court of the United States, than according to the rules in common law.

    Art. X. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    Art. XI. The enumeration, in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Art. XII. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.

    The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.” ~ Joseph Heller, Catch-22

    by 43north on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:34:42 PM PDT

    •  That's interesting - I did not know (4+ / 0-)

      Is our question then about whether the first drafts matter more than the order of the finished draft reconciled by the House and Senate?

       

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:46:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your question should be: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener, Kasoru, oldpunk, notrouble

        Do the Rights embodied in the Bill of Rights, pertain first and foremost to Freemen, usually white men; and then on down the line until male persons of color, then eventually women, have a voice, a right, a vote?

        As each Amendment enfranchised more of the American populace, albeit in order of ratification, thus in order of importance.

        Or is that all patent bullshit, and you have equal say and equal right, to any man, of any color, in these United States?

        I know my answer.

        The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.” ~ Joseph Heller, Catch-22

        by 43north on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:47:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting that you mention patents (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero, poco, 43north

          Patent rights are in the constitution, and are heavily regulated. If you think gun law is complicated the rulebook for our government to grant a property right in exchange for innovation is 4000 pages!

          "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

          by LilithGardener on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:54:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Smart alec, I know, but I couldn't resist (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero, poco

          That's a compelling summary right, 44North.

          We certainly don't enjoy equal access under the law, equal right vote, equal freedom to be free from spurious search and seizure. One of the disturbing aspects of the mortgage mess is the systematic erosion of complete chain of custody in title to land.

          Frightening mess.

          "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

          by LilithGardener on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:56:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was 44North (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LilithGardener, KVoimakas

            when I lived in Maine.  I've slipped a bit in old age.

            The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.” ~ Joseph Heller, Catch-22

            by 43north on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 05:05:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  LOL (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KVoimakas

              I was an excellent map reader when I was in the military. But my proof reading skills seem to be a little ahem short of a certain standard when it comes to pressing "post."

              Preview is my [neglected] friend!

              "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

              by LilithGardener on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 05:34:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The First Amendment is certainly the most impor- (6+ / 0-)

    tant of the Bill of Rights as without it none of the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights mean much. Lots of good that owning a gun will do if we are not allowed to express ourselves; we wouldn't have much confidence in the 4th if we could not even express ourselves (how could we tell anyone that the police has no right to search our home without a warrant if we could not express ourselves?); and so on with the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights.

    “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it … we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    by DefendOurConstitution on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:47:33 PM PDT

  •  I think Feldman's piece is an odd conflation (5+ / 0-)

    and doesn't really make much sense; I don't think the Bill of Rights or the whole Constitution flow from the 1st, or the 2nd, amendments...they may be related to others in some way, but I think parties claiming either/or are wrong. I also think that setting the 1st and 2nd somehow against each other or in a match of 'who's the better' isn't constructive and divides rather than enjoins. Just my 2 cents.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:04:44 PM PDT

    •  Is the whole Bill of Rights on an equal footing? (4+ / 0-)

      I like to think of the entire Bill of Rights being on equal footing, but I'm not sure that's true, or even that it's necessary.

      I'm not a constitutional scholar and haven't studied the founding documents, so I'm not sure what I think about Feldman's argument.

      Thank you for dropping.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:10:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I must disagree... (7+ / 0-)
    [snip] if you listen to those who supposedly argue in favor of an 'individual rights' interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, they argue a very different vision.  What they argue is that the most fundamental right of our entire Constitution is not the 1st Amendment, but the 2nd Amendment. [snip]
    I think most reasonable RKBA members recognize the inherent importance of the 1st Amendment. It's just that we see the 2nd being just as much a personal right as the 1st, or the 4th.

    Do you have anyone in mind on Dkos who argues that the 2nd is the most fundamental?

    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 Sep 06, 2013 at 03:56:12 PM PDT

    •  Nice to see you, notrouble (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      notrouble

      Thanks for stopping by. I don't have anyone in mind. When I was searching for diaries about Heller written around the time of the decision it was just one that I thought posed a qood question about how we understand citizenship.

      I excerpted it here to break the ice. As a conversation starter, so to speak. I posted up thread that I haven't studied the founding documents and am not sure what I think about Feldman's argument. I like to think of the whole Bill of Rights being on equal footing, but I'm not sure that's true, or even that it's necessary.

      (I'm a scientist and hope that our readers will forgive me for skimping on my humanities courses. I'm intending to fill in my deficits in that regard.)

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 04:41:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not sure I'd place one amendment over others (8+ / 0-)

    or that the first or the second is more important than the others. I'll take them all.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 04:03:34 PM PDT

  •  The BoR lists the rights that the government (4+ / 0-)

    shouldn't infringe upon or infringe upon the least. For me they are equal, each is as important as any and all should pretty much be left alone.

    You eat a lot of acid, Miller, back in the hippie days?

    by oldpunk on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 04:31:03 PM PDT

    •  Hello oldpunk, thanks for weighing in (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kasoru, coquiero, oldpunk

      I think there is a lot of confusion arising from the Heller decision. It may take some time to shake out.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 04:43:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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