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The Right to Bear Arms

GooeyGooey Registered User regular
edited March 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
wildlifeimage04yi1.jpg???

No, silly!
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.

As some of you may have heard, SCOTUS has taken up the first case concerning the scope of the Second Ammendment since 1939, District of Columbia v. Heller. The general background of the case is that D.C. has an outright ban on handguns and highly regulates other firearms. Some residents think that this infringes on their Second Ammendment rights (and right to defend themselves.) SCOTUS heard arguments yesterday, and a decision isn't due out until June, but that doesn't mean we can't talk about it yet! Either way the courts decide will probably end up shaping gun control in the United States for some time. What say you, D&D? What does the Second Ammendment actually mean? Where does the comma go, anyway? And the capitalization? What is a reasonable level of gun control? How far does a city or states rights go to impose gun control? Do bears have the right to arms?


Debate, and discourse! But please, please keep the gunfire to a minimum.

Gooey on
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Posts

  • OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User
    edited March 2008
    :Batshit Libertarian:

    I think that if I can build an atomic bomb out of old smoke detectors and just keep it in the corner of my room, as a conversation starter, by God that's my right as an American!

    Using it is another matter entirely.

    the GOP shouldn't give a rats ass about them since they won't vote for them. If someone won't vote for you they might as well not exist.
  • precisionkprecisionk Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I would like to be able to brandish my weapon in public and let it be like the old west.

  • GorakGorak Registered User
    edited March 2008
    This is the problem with having a constitution - you always end up arguing over what some dead guy meant or didn't mean. If they weren't taking it seriously enough to make sure they were crystal clear when they wrote it, who gives a fuck what they thought?

    Besides, guns are for pussies. A claw-hammer is far more manly!

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    The only reason the right to bear arms exists is because we claimed our independance from a monarchy which we didn't believe in, and wanted to make sure that future generations would have that same right and opportunity in case something went horribly wrong. Seeing as how the chance for a monarchy ever coming back is slim to none, and if it did the right to bear arms would probably be the first thing to go during the new rule, I really don't see a reason for it to still remain.

    However, I do love my guns also, and it would be tough to part with them, but I would be willing to make a deal where I could own the firearm, but not the ammunition, so that I could at least still display them, since some are collectors items.

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Let's be honest, here: if the American government ever decided to go all tyranny on our asses with the support of the military, there's not a goddamn thing we could do about it, regardless of how many guns we might have in the basement.

    Conversely, if the American government ever decided to go all tyranny on our asses without the support of the military, it really wouldn't matter how many guns we have in our basements, because it would be over before it started.

  • chasmchasm Ill-tempered Texan Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Well, it's obvious that D.C.'s stringent anti-gun laws have made it a crime-free utopia.

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    chasm wrote: »
    Well, it's obvious that D.C.'s stringent anti-gun laws have made it a crime-free utopia.
    Yes, and I'm sure it has nothing to do with the redneck free-for-all going on in Virginia.

  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    If they actually take this time to clarify the second ammendment, this lawsuit is worthwhile.

    If they cop out like they usually do, it's just Gun Nuts vs Anti Gun Nuts, round 20,592.

  • deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Is it that hard to say "there can be reasonable restrictions but not absolute bars" on guns?

  • GooeyGooey Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Is it that hard to say "there can be reasonable restrictions but not absolute bars" on guns?

    One of the precise arguments submitted to SCOTUS by one of the lawyers for the D.C. handgun ban was that (paraphrased from what I heard on CSPAN) "an absolute ban on handguns is a resonable restriction."

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  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    In this case, instead of an assault weapons ban (which is always under attack for "what the hell is an assault weapon"), it's banning handguns on the basis that they serve no purpose beyond shooting another person.

    The arguement comes down is "is self defense a reasonable need for a weapon", which sadly doesn't address the horribly worded ammendment.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Is it that hard to say "there can be reasonable restrictions but not absolute bars" on guns?

    Not really. One might even throw around terms like "strict scrutiny." Wiki it. A majority of current gun laws would meet that burden.

    I'd suggest, however, that DC's laws would never meet (or rather, depending how this falls, have met) that burden.
    One of the precise arguments submitted to SCOTUS by one of the lawyers for the D.C. handgun ban was that (paraphrased from what I heard on CSPAN) "an absolute ban on handguns is a resonable restriction."

    If I remember correctly they also argued in some brief or another that an absolute ban on handguns, combined with a requirement that any long guns be either disassembled or locked (even in homes), didn't infringe on somebody's right (assuming it exists) to defend themselves with a firearm.

  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Marching Orders:

    Wang C-SPAN for the oral argument.

  • skippydumptruckskippydumptruck ill-ass lemony snicket Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    kildy wrote: »
    In this case, instead of an assault weapons ban (which is always under attack for "what the hell is an assault weapon"), it's banning handguns on the basis that they serve no purpose beyond shooting another person.

    The arguement comes down is "is self defense a reasonable need for a weapon", which sadly doesn't address the horribly worded ammendment.

    Exactly. I heard one of the lawyers or lawmakers or something on NPR saying that there is no need to have a firearm in a purely urban environment like DC.

    Which makes sense to me, but it's basically an argument on exactly what you said above.

  • KartanKartan Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Well, the way the second amendment looks like from over here (which is somewhat difficult to see, with the atlantic inbetween), I guess a system like Switzerland has it might be workable, i.e. you can own and keep a firearm, but you have to be part of the militia, with regular drills etc. No membership in the militia, no firearm (unless you are a hunter or have other good reasons).

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Thanatos wrote: »
    chasm wrote: »
    Well, it's obvious that D.C.'s stringent anti-gun laws have made it a crime-free utopia.
    Yes, and I'm sure it has nothing to do with the redneck free-for-all going on in Virginia.
    London's not a crime-free utopia, either. And it's pretty far from Virginia.

    Statistics pretty clearly suggest that private gun ownership has positive effects in regards to crime as well as negative.

    People like to dismiss the idea of a gun for home defense because the odds of your house being broken into while you are home are pretty slim. And they are. Yet, at the same time, the odds of this happening in countries where you can't own a gun for home defense seems to be higher...suggesting that perhaps merely being able to own a gun for home defense helps ensure you won't need to use it. Combined with the fact that various violent crimes are highly likely to occur during a burglary if the occupants are home, I'd say this is at least one positive effect of private gun ownership.

    There are negatives as well, to be sure. I'll not be silly enough to deny that. But determining the overall net effect is more like calculus than arithmetic. Throw in the idea that any purely local bans (like that in DC) are bound to be failures (because criminals own cars) and blanket bans like the one in DC don't really make a lot of sense.


    EDIT: Also, regardless of whether you think the second amendment has a place in modern America, it's still there and thus still applies. If you don't like it, then it will take a Constitutional Amendment to do away with it. And please, don't go throwing the first half out as an argument...I'm quite familiar with it. We've gone there before. It's most definitely a statement of purpose, but it's pretty hard to argue that it's an actual restriction. And the right is clearly granted to "the People," not the militia, and blah blah blah. Hopefully the Supreme Court will clarify that one once and for all and we can put that shit to bed anyway.

  • Victor15bVictor15b Registered User
    edited March 2008
    Without going too far off the trail here, I'd like to point out that the violent crime rate in Germany is extremly low.

    I have a theory that this is due to:

    Extremely strict regulations on firearms
    Depenalization of cannabis use
    And legalized prostitution

  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    edit: reread, nm.

  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    kildy wrote: »
    The arguement comes down is "is self defense a reasonable need for a weapon", which sadly doesn't address the horribly worded ammendment.

    No.

    That's like claiming Freedom of Speech doesn't cover [insert speech you dislike here], because it is not a "reasonable need for speech."

  • MedopineMedopine __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2008
    kildy wrote: »
    If they actually take this time to clarify the second ammendment, this lawsuit is worthwhile.

    If they cop out like they usually do, it's just Gun Nuts vs Anti Gun Nuts, round 20,592.

    This case has been pretty carefully framed so that they will have to actually tackle the question.

    Hopefully they don't puss out.

  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    enc0re wrote: »
    kildy wrote: »
    The arguement comes down is "is self defense a reasonable need for a weapon", which sadly doesn't address the horribly worded ammendment.

    No.

    That's like claiming Freedom of Speech doesn't cover [insert speech you dislike here], because it is not a "reasonable need for speech."

    You are aware what Freedom of Speech does and does not cover, right? And that it has documented limitations?

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Victor15b wrote: »
    Without going too far off the trail here, I'd like to point out that the violent crime rate in Germany is extremly low.

    I have a theory that this is due to:

    Extremely strict regulations on firearms
    Depenalization of cannabis use
    And legalized prostitution

    It's nearly impossible to try and compare the effects of firearms laws between countries, because there are generally other significant differences that can effect crime rate as well. Disparity of wealth/income, social welfare programs, effects of other legal trends (yay War on Drugs!), different levels (and styles) of urbanization, etc.

    If I were to suggest that the violent crime rate is much lower in Montana than New Jersey or Maryland, despite easy availability here of any gun your heart might desire, you'd call me an idiot and point out the glaring differences between the two. However there are plenty of differences between Washington, DC and Berlin other than gun control that, while less subtle, can have equally dramatic effects on crime (including violent crime).

    And to be clear, I've lived in a large city (Phoenix), as well as a quasi-rural area of a more urbanized state (central Pennsylvania), have a wife from Los Angeles, and have pretty much traveled coast to coast...so I'm not just basing my viewpoints on the issue from a narrow experience in one part of the country. I only mention it because I've run into plenty of people on both sides who tend to do so. Plenty of folks up here can't imagine that what qualifies as a "reasonable restriction" might vary from Bumfuck, Montana to New York, New York.

  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    kildy wrote: »
    You are aware what Freedom of Speech does and does not cover, right? And that it has documented limitations?

    Yes, on both counts.

    However, as an enumerated right, these restrictions aren't based on "reasonable need," but "strict scrutiny." Which in lawyer-speak makes all the difference in the world.

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2008
    It seems to me that in the original wording it wouldn't apply to individuals these days. It's pretty clear that it applied to militias, which used to be made up of civilians, but now, for lack of a better organization to compare it to, it's the National Guard.

    I mean, try to organize a militia and see how far you get.

  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Doc wrote: »
    I mean, try to organize a militia and see how far you get.

    This far? They have an annual calendar and everything!

    But seriously, I believe under current US law, all males age 18 to 49 are automatically part of the "unorganized militia." Someone who knows this stuff might even be able to tell us the relevant statute.

  • Nova_CNova_C Social Justice Haruspex Beyond The WallRegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Doc wrote: »
    It seems to me that in the original wording it wouldn't apply to individuals these days. It's pretty clear that it applied to militias, which used to be made up of civilians, but now, for lack of a better organization to compare it to, it's the National Guard.

    I mean, try to organize a militia and see how far you get.

    See, that's what I always thought about that amendment. I mean, I know fuck all about the American Constitution, but it always seemed like a leap that it could be interpreted to mean everyone can buy military grade hardware and no one can stop them.

    I've come to the conclusion that Canada has a fairly balanced approach to gun ownership - non-restricted firearms (Long guns and the like) require a basic license that isn't too hard to get, but forces you to go through the motions and get a background check done on you, a restricted license (For pistols) that requires training and then outright prohibited weapons like fully automatic assault rifles.

    I don't understand why it's a bad thing that the people who are allowed to buy guns have at least a cursory look taken at them before they do so.

    The registration thing can kiss my ass though. :P

    As far as violence goes, the availability of guns only changes what tool is used, not the rates. At least, that's how it seems to me. Poverty seems to have a greater effect on violent crime rates than the availability of weapons.

    My blog: www.jonathanirons.net
    My Twitter: IronBorealis
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  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I'd be interested to find any part of the law that flagged us all as part of a militia, just to see when and why it was passed.

    But yes, you're touching on the core debate in the country, the Militia wording, and what the fuck does it actually mean.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    enc0re wrote: »
    Doc wrote: »
    I mean, try to organize a militia and see how far you get.

    This far? They have an annual calendar and everything!

    But seriously, I believe under current US law, all males age 18 to 49 are automatically part of the "unorganized militia." Someone who knows this stuff might even be able to tell us the relevant statute.

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure that statute is still around but I can't remember which it is. Obviously it's outdated, and largely irrelevant, but doesn't mean it isn't the law.

    Regardless, I'd say that every male registered with selective service is (to some extent) part of the "militia." While they will be provided with a weapon when the time comes, I'd say familiarity with firearms and perhaps some skill with their use would be beneficial. You can't really teach all that much in the way of marksmanship in nine weeks of basic training.
    But yes, you're touching on the core debate in the country, the Militia wording, and what the fuck does it actually mean.

    Again, it's pretty clearly a statement of purpose. And as was pointed out last time we did this, it's (I believe) the only amendment in the Bill of Rights that has one. Still, the fact that that purpose has been outdated (assuming it has) doesn't automatically do away with the right. Which is given to the people, not the militia.

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2008
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I don't understand why it's a bad thing that the people who are allowed to buy guns have at least a cursory look taken at them before they do so.

    When you buy a firearm in the US, they do a background check as well.

  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2008
    We know that the second amendment was meant for military use for three reasons: the section that says "a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State" is based upon a Latin grammatical construction which serves to specify the condition in which the statement it is being applied to is true, the word "bear" was, at that time, exclusively used for military contexts (just as "natural born" was never meant to extend to c-sections), and the national government had laws regulating personal use at that time.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Doc wrote: »
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I don't understand why it's a bad thing that the people who are allowed to buy guns have at least a cursory look taken at them before they do so.

    When you buy a firearm in the US, they do a background check as well.

    And really, outside of the most extreme pro-gun folks, nobody seems to have much issue with the idea. I don't see how NCIS checks wouldn't meet the burden of strict scrutiny.

  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    kildy wrote: »
    I'd be interested to find any part of the law that flagged us all as part of a militia, just to see when and why it was passed.

    Wikipedia FTW.

    So apparently it's all males between 17 and 45 that are part of the "reserve militia." I.e. if you are part of the selective service, congratulations you too are a militiaman.

    BTW, the relevant law is the Dick Act (1903). No, I'm not making this up.

  • Nova_CNova_C Social Justice Haruspex Beyond The WallRegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Doc wrote: »
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I don't understand why it's a bad thing that the people who are allowed to buy guns have at least a cursory look taken at them before they do so.

    When you buy a firearm in the US, they do a background check as well.

    And really, outside of the most extreme pro-gun folks, nobody seems to have much issue with the idea. I don't see how NCIS checks wouldn't meet the burden of strict scrutiny.

    Okay, they do a background check, that's pretty cool. I still like the idea of forcing people to be trained on use and maintenance of a firearm if they want to buy something like a pistol. Hell, even the non-restricted license application says you should take a course (I did back when I was 16 - makes it more likely to actually be approved). You have to take a test to be licensed to drive a car and cars are way more ubiquitous that guns.

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  • Knuckle DraggerKnuckle Dragger Explosive Ovine Disposal Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    enc0re wrote: »
    Doc wrote: »
    I mean, try to organize a militia and see how far you get.

    This far? They have an annual calendar and everything!

    But seriously, I believe under current US law, all males age 18 to 49 are automatically part of the "unorganized militia." Someone who knows this stuff might even be able to tell us the relevant statute.

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure that statute is still around but I can't remember which it is. Obviously it's outdated, and largely irrelevant, but doesn't mean it isn't the law.

    Section 311. Militia: composition and classes
    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a
    declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
    (b) The classes of the militia are -
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    The law was updated to this so that while all men were still a part of the militia (as required by law), they were not compelled to serve unless needed for state/national defense.

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  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    We should allow handguns, but ban ammunition.

    So we can all pistol-whip each other! :D

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  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Nova_C wrote: »
    You have to take a test to be licensed to drive a car and cars are way more ubiquitous that guns.

    You only need a license to drive a car on public roads. There is no licensing requirement to drive around on your own property.

    So the analogy fails, because you suggest a required license to keep a firearm on your own property. Almost all states already require a license to carry in public (if they allow it at all).

  • Victor15bVictor15b Registered User
    edited March 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Victor15b wrote: »
    Without going too far off the trail here, I'd like to point out that the violent crime rate in Germany is extremly low.

    I have a theory that this is due to:

    Extremely strict regulations on firearms
    Depenalization of cannabis use
    And legalized prostitution

    It's nearly impossible to try and compare the effects of firearms laws between countries, because there are generally other significant differences that can effect crime rate as well. Disparity of wealth/income, social welfare programs, effects of other legal trends (yay War on Drugs!), different levels (and styles) of urbanization, etc.

    If I were to suggest that the violent crime rate is much lower in Montana than New Jersey or Maryland, despite easy availability here of any gun your heart might desire, you'd call me an idiot and point out the glaring differences between the two. However there are plenty of differences between Washington, DC and Berlin other than gun control that, while less subtle, can have equally dramatic effects on crime (including violent crime).

    And to be clear, I've lived in a large city (Phoenix), as well as a quasi-rural area of a more urbanized state (central Pennsylvania), have a wife from Los Angeles, and have pretty much traveled coast to coast...so I'm not just basing my viewpoints on the issue from a narrow experience in one part of the country. I only mention it because I've run into plenty of people on both sides who tend to do so. Plenty of folks up here can't imagine that what qualifies as a "reasonable restriction" might vary from Bumfuck, Montana to New York, New York.

    Exactly.

    Violent crime in Japan is through the roof, yet they have strict restrictions on firearms just like Germany does.

    But still, I do think that putting heavy restrictions on firearms is still part of the solution (but definately not all) to lowering violent crime.

    Like I said, its just a theory I have.

  • chasmchasm Ill-tempered Texan Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Yes, because criminals who use guns to aid in the commission of crimes always obtain them legally.

    XBL : lJesse Custerl | PSN : lJesseCusterl | Best vid ever. | 2nd best vid ever.
  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    chasm wrote: »
    Yes, because criminals who use guns to aid in the commission of crimes always obtain them legally.

    The argument goes: Wider availability of legal guns leads to wider availability of illegal guns. Naturally, gun control will always affect law-abiding folks more than criminals. The question is, how much more?

  • chasmchasm Ill-tempered Texan Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I was just pointing out the basic flaw inherent in his theory. It's a good thing to think, but it's not the way the world really works.

    XBL : lJesse Custerl | PSN : lJesseCusterl | Best vid ever. | 2nd best vid ever.
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