Talk:Second Amendment

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Old discussion[edit]

Removed HG's quote-mine from the introduction.--Bob_M (talk) 02:23, 29 July 2007 (CDT)\

Bob, you are wrong. You are the one quote mining (the militia clause). Please do some more research, and try not to let what you think a government's policy on guns should be with what the intent of the second amendment actually was. HeartGoldPreach to somebody not in the choir 02:26, 29 July 2007 (CDT)
I disagree. I am using the whole of the second amendment in context. It seems that you only want to use part of it.--Bob_M (talk) 02:28, 29 July 2007 (CDT)
I know you disagree. Start a debate topic then.
If you want to write an article, you have to ask and answer, "but what is the right?" The other parts of the second amendment are the rational basis for the right. But the right exists, and the only way to get rid of it is to amend the constitution (or brainwash children in swarm education camps also known as the public school system). The fact that a given rational basis has changed since the time the amendment was approved does *not* invalidate the amendment. Some of Bush's henchmen want to apply this sort of thinking to Habeas Corpus, Genevia convention, etc., you realize? Anyway, if you don't like an amendment, you need to amend again. Anything else is subversive. HeartGoldPreach to somebody not in the choir 02:40, 29 July 2007 (CDT)
The amendment starts by talking about an armed militia. It goes on to refer to how it should be staffed. However I'm a Brit and what do I know? So I'll drop this one for now. If your Fellow Americans have points to make I assume they will do so.  :-) Cheers. Have a good Sunday, I'm off to take the dog for a walk.--Bob_M (talk) 03:28, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

some historical context[edit]

First off, I'm not gonna get all over gun rights as an issue. It's not worth it - there are too many guns in the US to "get rid of them", and it's too tough to amend the constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, to think that a solution is down that road.

I just wanted to list a bunch of "factors" in play at the time (1789-91). Hopefully most of this is reasonably accurate.

The United States was a weak, geographically spread out country. It had no strong central government prior to the newly minted Constitution. The government was basically broke, and there was no standing army. On all sides were varyingly hostile neighbors - to the north, French colonies and disaffected English settlers, to the south, Spanish colonies and to the west, unorganized territory as large as the 13 states populated with indigenous locals (who might object at times to US activities), and beyond that, more France and more England. To the east, the ocean was not the placid boundary known today, but the superhighway of the superpowers of the day, who were fully capable of projecting their might if they desired. The only good news on that front is that they were usually too busy fighting each other, or fighting over other territories, to mess with a fledgling republic at the edge of a giant continent.

So, the best and quickest way to ensure some level of territorial integrity was not just to allow, but basically to require, the citizenry to be armed to the teeth. Come an attack from any direction, the able-bodied could meet at the local garrison or powder house, bringing their own rifles, and work together to repel the attack.

And, as much as RW struggles to get over it's "not-CP" identity, the colonies had been putting up with the British army being garrisoned in their houses, and acting essentially as an occupying force. The founders had no idea how long or how well what they were crafting would last, so at least making sure weapons were widespread and readily available would make a lapse into some new form of tyranny less likely.

Now, while circumstances have changed somewhat in 200-odd years (Britannia no longer rules the waves, for instance), the amendment itself has not been changed. So, the "language" must still somehow mean the same thing, even though the referents of the words themselves have changed ("arms" used to be muzzle-loaders and cannon, now they include 3 round-per-second automatic rifles, sixty ton tanks and nuclear-tipped ICBMs). Debate rages over how to interpret the sentence, the words in it, and the intent behind it - in other words, what it means in the modern USA.

The modern reality is that pretty much no matter how well-armed any given citizens become (legally or illegally), they pose no real threat to the power of the federal state, and no real "defensive" posture at the borders.

Just some thoughts for food. humanbe in 17:13, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

Dammit, where the hell are you getting ICBM's, I'm all out, and I'd really rather like to nuke the entire Bible Belt at the moment.... Locke Random 17:17, 29 July 2007 (CDT)
I think Nebraska is the best-defended "country" in the world on that score. Please don't use nukes if you can avoid them, they are bad for water quality. humanbe in 17:20, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

More nonesense[edit]

"The modern reality is that pretty much no matter how well-armed any given citizens become (legally or illegally), they pose no real threat to the power of the federal state, and no real "defensive" posture at the borders." A few points, both having to do with the president or the office of the president. First, the militias that have formed this past year to protect the borders (since the federal government was shirking its responsibility) were deemed "vigilantes" by presient Bush. (See Bush Calls Border Watchers 'Vigilantes'. Second, the office of the president thinks otherwise. The amout of protection necessary for a president who visits a city is unbelievable. Citizens are considered a threat by our government. HeartGoldPreach to somebody not in the choir 17:21, 29 July 2007 (CDT)
Assassination and revolution require vastly different levels of organization and equipment. One person proficient with a rifle can assassinate a head of state. Actually threatening the government is different from threatening the president. That said, a wide enough distribution of small arms in determined hands can bring down more powerful forces, though the guerrillas generally need to acquire some support weapons to be really dangerous to a government.--MountainTiger 17:40, 29 July 2007 (CDT)


Monument built in 1950s, but unarmed college students were slaughtered here in 1989. Please note that unarmed college students were also murdered by government troops at Kent State.

Revolution is not necessary in a nation that fears its citizens.

Isn't that comment meant to refer to political and social power, rather than the fear that the people are going to hunt you down like dogs? Certainly long before the people struck fear into the government they'd be striking fear into each other, which I'm sure would be death for a republic. --Kels 17:44, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

I disagree with your logic. The Chinese government feared its citizens congregating at Tiananmen square in 1989. But it did not fear its citizens. Not only were college students slaughtered at the Monument to the People's Heroes, but everyday citizens minding their own business in their communist era condominiums were slaughtered as the troops fired indiscriminately on their way to Tiananmen square. Also, while modern liberals fear armed citizens, I do not. It sounds more like a disorder on the part of liberals that is probably treatable. HeartGoldPreach to somebody not in the choir 20:37, 29 July 2007 (CDT)
Still brutalizing the innocent political discourse, I see. Well, I guess suffering from a disorder is at least marginally better than being evil. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 03:31, 30 July 2007 (CDT)

Commentary taken out of article....just getting stupid. I will participate in a debate on Gun Control if one is started[edit]

RationalWiki commentary[edit]

The Historical Significance of the Second Amendment.[edit]

It is obvious (to some individuals) that the second amendment refers to

  • The need for a regulated militia which is (this is a parenthetical clause that provides a rational basis for the right).
  • necessary for the security of the state (again, rational basis for the right)
  • and to maintain this militia an armed citizenry is needed and
  • consequently the citizens need to bear arms. (DING DING DING <---the right)

The amendment is frequently quote mined to only include the part which says "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed". (this is in fact the enumerated right.)

The need for an armed militia today.[edit]

With the existence of the heavily-armed National Guard, it is not clear that citizens' militias are still necessary to deter attacks form Mexico and Canada. (Drug running illegal immigrants Don't read this)

The need for a well armed citizenry today[edit]

Revolution is not necessary in a nation that fears its citizens.

Other Commentary[edit]

Of course, in order for this argument to carry any weight, the citizenry must be as well- or better-armed than the government.

'Cos it won't get you anywhere / Fooling with your guns / The British Army is waiting out there / An' it weighs fifteen hundred tons
— Strummer/Jones, "White Man in Hammersmith Palais"

(Last I checked, we won the revolutionary and subsequent wars with the British.)

(Last I checked, Strummer was singing to British kids, not Americans. Substitute "U.S." for British if you're having trouble following along)

(Okay, in the context of the second amendment to the, and here's a clue, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, which was part of the aftermath of a revolutionary war against the British.....nevermind, suffice it to say your quote is out of place and subject to misinterpretation.)

No t even sure where to go...[edit]

I put back the commentary in the article. Your statement that it was getting "stupid" seems to be lacking in rationality. I know you can do better than that, HOG. I reverted your deletions from the article, because many were useful. You want an article on "gun control"? Write it. humanbe in 00:41, 30 July 2007 (CDT)

Zapped parts[edit]

I zapped some of the argument within the article. If anyone wants to put it back please go ahead.--Bob_M (talk) 10:52, 1 September 2007 (CDT)

Abortion analogy[edit]

"If one is opposed to abortion, don't have one. Similarly, opinions vary widely on guns, and if one is opposed to guns, don't own one." When someone can use an aborted fetus to shoot up my college and possibly kill me, then you might have an argument...until then, i don't think you do, here..PFoster 21:39, 31 March 2008 (EDT)

Squirl needs to at least copyedit his "on teh other hand" section. It's all over the map, invokes straw men from other issues, and ends up making less of a point than it might. humanUser talk:Human 21:49, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
The abortion analogy may not be the best one, but my argument has more to do with prohibitionism. Is prohibition and lock-em-up a good solution to something where there is no consensus that the act is inherently wrong (in this case, owning a firearm, not misusing it to commit murder)? Secret Squirrel 21:54, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
The straw man factor there is strong - are people calling for "prohibition", or just "reasonable" limitations? (type of weapon, who can own, where various forms of being armed are appropriate, etc.?) I know the NRA wants every law-bidin' gun owner in the US to think that Janet Reno/HRC is coming for all their guns, but it's simply not true. Any abolitionist movement regarding guns in the US is very, very small. humanUser talk:Human 21:59, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
This is where it gets complicated. "Reasonable" limitations are entirely a matter of subjective opinion. The restrictions in place since 1968 already make gun ownership illegal for some people who really should be allowed to own a firearm. Example: In Pennsylvania, any misdemeanor conviction of any kind (say, for unpaid traffic tickets) carried a potential three year sentence, but under federal law any conviction with a potential sentence of 1 year or more bars somebody from firearm ownership for life. If I were to put in my two cents worth the federal law would be rewritten to bar violent felons and the mentally ill only. In addition I would argue there is indeed an abolitionist movement with regard to handguns and "assault rifles", although not necessarily all types of firearms. Not anywhere near successful at this point, but not "very, very small" either. Then there is the question of a five year mandatory minimum sentence for technical federal gun violations (not their use in a violent crime, but things like forgetting to leave your concealed-carry handgun in the car before going into the post office) - seems a bit extreme under the current law. This is all of course a matter of subjective opinion. Secret Squirrel 22:20, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
I agree that many of these terms are subjective, and the tangle of federal and state laws can result in silly unintended consequences. As far as you Post Office example - anyone who can't remember not to bring their weapon into the PO, IMO, surely does not exemplify the basic sense and smarts needed to have a carry permit. Or perhaps, ever handle weapons again. Hell, I worry when I have four packages and carry two in, then leave and go back to my car (as if I were a bomber, ya know?). If people have to take off their shoes before flying on a plane, I would think carriers should conscientiously disarm before entering a federal building. I am all for "gun courts", by the way, where people who use guns in crimes get fast-tracked to get them off the street (if found guilty). I'm also fine with people enjoying or grocery shopping with their guns responsibly. I live in a very interesting area for this (southern NH), where the gun culture goes way back, but the region has been heavily built up with residential developments. I don't see as many deer on hoods as I used to (though I still see plenty of deer/signs), but we still have temporary signs for the deer cutters in fall. But around here you can't go 1000 feet in most areas without seeing another house. I have a thousand acres or so of conservation land behind my building, which is ringed with houses. Hard to tell how safe it would be to discharge a weapon, especially a nice rifle, in any direction anywhere in there. But I digress :) humanUser talk:Human 22:31, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
Well I don't think people should have to take off their shoes before boarding an airplane either, which is just silly. Not sure if the argument about living in a place with a lot of houses is a good one - people can own firearms and use them at the rifle range or take them hunting, but store them at home. This seems like a straw man argument, which admittedly the abortion analogy is too. Northern Virginia does not have a strong gun culture, but West Virginia and rural Pennsylvania do...part of this goes back to social prejudices. People around here (metro D.C.) think of guns and they think armed robbery and gang violence, and the conclusion drawn by many is restricting guns on the federal level is the solution, and who cares about those hicks out in the sticks even if their conception of guns is very different (guns are seen as useful tools, not instruments of random violence). Secret Squirrel 22:48, 31 March 2008 (EDT)

Mission issues[edit]

There really is no reason for this article. It was born as a jab set up by HOG, as I recall, and has no real point one way or another on RW - all it does is rile folks up over an issue that, as far as I can tell, RW has no reason to take a stand on. Specific loonies may do dumb things with guns, but those belong in their own articles, like Waco. Other people have fun/go grocery shopping with their guns, and hence we have fun:hunting to honor that.

For those who prefer dynamite, we have fun:fishing, of course.

Shall we discuss whether, perhaps, we should move this to the debate space where we don't have to "agree" on an article, but all get to vent our spleens as much as we want? humanUser talk:Human 22:42, 31 March 2008 (EDT)

Incidentally I agree this isn't really a good topic for RW. NRA and Brady propaganda to the contrary, liberals don't really have a strong consensus in favor of gun control in the same way as other issues...I'm agnostic, skeptical, liberal-to-left on most things, but probably a few notches to the right of the NRA on this one issue. I suspect opinions really break down on a rural/urban divide which only correlates with the conservative/liberal divide due to coincidence. Secret Squirrel 22:56, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
Correct... it's also a non-starter as a political issue due to the ubiquity of guns in the US. Shall we move it to a debate: page so it can live on whenever anyone feels like sparring over it? It would be sad to delete it, but I also think it would work better as a debate rather than trying to figure out how to make sense of having it be a mainspace article. humanUser talk:Human 01:08, 1 April 2008 (EDT)
OK.--Bobbing up 03:23, 1 April 2008 (EDT)
Now that I added my opinion, I think this article should be trimmed down to my opinion and nothing more ;) Hehe... Goatspeed! ħumanUser talk:Human 02:31, 19 September 2008 (EDT)
I disagree that this is a poor topic for RW. The Mission of RW is to combat fundamentalism and authoritarianism, and there is plenty of that on both sides of the 2nd Amendment debate. On one side are the fundies that want to ensure that everyone, everywhere has the right to buy machine guns with armor-piercing rounds, and on the other are the fundies who want to eliminate all the guns everywhere. This is the perfer tpoic for rational, realistic heads like us to discuss. Perhaps, as mentioned, it should be moved to the debate space, but it is still fertile ground for fundamentalism to try to exercise control. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 22:49, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Two "fact" tags[edit]

"This could be because liberals tend to gravitate to urban settings [citation needed]"

Ever see the county-by-county voting in the recent Pres. elections? Mostly blue cities surrounded by red suburbs and rural areas.

"Or, conversely, it could be that urban living tends to "liberalize" people due to the intense communal nature of cities [citation needed]"

It might be phrased better, but city living is intensely communal virtually by definition. Squirrel said in an edit comment, "this one is even stupider. cities are places where nobody knows their neighbors. rural living is more communal." I would put a fact tag on that. I've lived in a rural town for 18 years, and I know about 5 neighbors by face and one family by name. The generalization that in cities no one knows their neighbors is unsupported. Anyway, the point is that in cities, the government has to do a lot to keep things working, so people tend towards the "liberal" POV of being "pro-government services", while in rural areas much lower levels of "service" are needed, expected, or wanted. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:36, 5 October 2008 (EDT)

  • I wonder if your last point is true. Certainly rural conservatives talk a good game about self-sufficiency, but a lot of small towns and the like would never have had electricity but for government services (the Rural Electrification Administration), and even now broadband internet has a very poor penetration in those same areas because the US won't subsidize fiber connections the way they did electricity 70 years ago. And most welfare families are in rural areas as well. However, I do agree with your general point (that cities are inherently communal and rural life is inherently isolating, requiring cultural ties such as churches, town government, and shopping to connect people) and will be adding a reference to Dan Savage's Urban Archipelago essay. EVDebs 12:54, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
I saw your edits, thanks! As far as your more subtle point, I doubt rural electrification has produced any "liberal" sentiment in people alive today - maybe a few old timers? Perhaps a TVA for broadband might sway a few people though? I don't have a glib response to your point about welfare family location... ħumanUser talk:Human 15:37, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
You're correct -- it seemingly hasn't, probably because the people who most directly benefited from the REA's initial push are all in their 80s or above. As for glib responses, eh, JFGI. EVDebs 19:08, 6 October 2008 (EDT)

Can we make this less spiteful and ranty before putting it back in, please?[edit]

It is also possible this is just a case of simple social prejudice and bigotry on the part of urban dwellers against rural people, who are stereotyped as uneducated hicks and their culture held in disdain -- a bigotry that comes across loud and clear in the Dan Savage article just cited, an article which is also based on a gross factual inaccuracy; look at that red/blue map he says shows cities as the hotbeds of liberalism, and you will see much of the deep blue in a large area of rural, heavily blue-collar areas like northeast Minnesota, Vermont, Maine, rural northern New Mexico and far southern Texas, the coastal (and very rural) timber country of Washington and Oregon, the southern West Virginia coal fields, and a wide swath of blue across the middle of the deep south and up the Mississippi River. Conclusion: Liberal voting correlates with economic need (especially union membership) more than culture, gun control is not an inherently liberal issue, and Dan Savage is full of shit.

As an aside, SecretSquirrel, you've not failed to wear your own anti-urban prejudices on your sleeve. Deal in good faith or leave; don't even think about starting an edit war. EVDebs 19:08, 6 October 2008 (EDT)

Okay! So on the one side we have a ridiculously anti-rural screed and on the other a ridiculously anti-urban screed? How about we keep both out of the article, since neither seem to be anything but tangentially related to its actual subject? And EVDebs, stop telling people to leave. The Mob doesn't like that. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 19:19, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
As the official Mob interpreter, I must inform you (AK!) that the Mob wants you to make me a cup of tea. New3.pngPink(With biscuits.) 19:21, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
AK, I feel safe in saying a couple of things here. a) Actuarial data will make the pain go away and put us all in a happy place. b) City vs. country is a major complication when it comes to gun policy in the US. c) SecretSquirrel has been supremely uncooperative about politically-hinged issues in the past (see chickenhawk) and IMHO needs to be reminded to play nice. EVDebs 19:29, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
Firstly, while I don't claim to be an expert on US gun policy, that Dan Savage piece fails to convince me of anything. And secondly, I don't want to see people being invited to leave over a content disagreement. If that were the standard here, we'd turn into a ghost town in a matter of hours. Work it out or leave it out. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 19:42, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
AK, I don't think that EVDebs was arguing over content so much as looking at SS's past history. he tends to revert war and stamp his feet when he doesn't get his own way. Ask Trent. SusanG  ContribsTalk 20:10, 6 October 2008 (EDT)

"supremely uncooperative about politically-hinged issues" - translation: does not like heavily politicized articles on things unrelated or at best tangentially related to debunking the anti-science movement. "don't even think about starting an edit war" and "he tends to revert war" - translation: don't even try to balance out the more ridiculous one-sided content with the other side, because we won't tolerate any of it in the article. Double standard much? Secret Squirrel 21:15, 6 October 2008 (EDT)

  • Your mistake is assuming that politics is inherently relative. Believe it or not, objective truth is sometimes possible even in politics, and we don't get to that by inserting inflammatory comments into articles, we do it by discussing on the talk pages if the dispute is sufficiently serious, and we agree to abide by the consensus reached among us, using things such as actuarial data in this case. In light of your disregard of previous consensus on the chickenhawk article and your subsequent edit warring on the issue even when the consensus went against you, I don't think my warnings were in any way out of line. If you'd rather fight on the article page rather than discuss on the talk page, maybe you should find a non-wiki venue for your work. EVDebs 21:42, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
You are flat-out wrong. Politics is inhernetly relative. Objective truth is found in science, not politics. Also, if you thought my changes to the Clinton related articles (what was it, three changes, all different, different articles) is "edit warring", you don't know what edit warring even is. Inflammatory comments? The political articles here are already full of them. Yes, you're way out of line, Debs. You were way out of line on the Clinton thing and you're way out of line here. Secret Squirrel 21:48, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
Consensus, consensus, consensus...since your chief argument against including Clinton in the "chickenhawk" category was there was no consensus, I invited you to do the honors and remove Reagan from the list since there was no consensus to include him either. Since you failed to do so, and I had to do it only to see SirChuckB revert it (and where were you screaming "revert war!" then?), I am safe in assuming you have no real interest in consensus except where it is politically convenient for you. Double standard much? Secret Squirrel 21:53, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
We are talking about a matter in which hard data is available. It is also a matter of much interest when discussing law (and pseudolaw). It is both mission-furthering and can be explored scientifically -- bodies in emergency rooms, circumstances of shootings, overall ownership -- all can be explored dispassionately and used to support or disprove a political assertion in a way that transcends ideology. About the rest, I can only say data or GTFO. I shall be looking for some of my own. EVDebs 22:02, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
"bodies in emergency rooms, circumstances of shootings, overall ownership -- all can be explored dispassionately and used to support or disprove a political assertion in a way that transcends ideology" - nope, because the very fact that you would selectively data mine the data on "bodies in emergency rooms, circumstances of shootings..." in place of the (entirely subjective) question of whether an individual right to firearms ownership exists indicates you have a preconceived agenda in mind. "GTFO" - nice attitude. Secret Squirrel 22:25, 6 October 2008 (EDT)

Finding rhymes and reasons[edit]

You can try to draw analogies, consider ideaologies, and muse about Left and Right switching roles, but there is no logic to it. No sense looking for coherence on this issue, it doesn't exist.

There is in fact no logical reason why Liberals have decided to take the anti-gun side of the issue. What probably happened was one or two prominent and well-respected Leftists took that POV, some on the Right reacted to it, hence it became part of the Liberal kit of beliefs.

Both Left and Right have sets of beliefs which are inconsistent and incoherent -- and so try to rationalize those beliefs by trying to fit them in a theme somehow. It doesn't really work. Those views are hardened and held in place because the enemy camp opposes them. How often those on the Left use, as if it were a valid argument, that a particular view is incorrect because it is one held by Conservatives.

A fitting analogy is an electrical capacitor. It is designed so that two metal plates are in opposition, each one attached to wires that complete a circuit. A current causes electrons to pile up on one plate charging it negative, causing a positive charge on the plate opposite, and those charges tend to hold each other in place. Either plate could have held either charge.

What is truly funny is when Libs and Cons think that their philsophical definitions line up with their politics. I'm not sure it was ever true, but it certainly isn't now. How many Cons do you know that want to conserve, or maintain the status quo? Have we forgotten that Libs used to defend laissez-faire economics? And where does political correctness fit in?

Sides of the gun issue are arbitarily chosen and reflexively held. But please don't let that stop you from trying to find an underlying principle to make it seem logical and fitting.

-- RemBeau 23:04, 6 October 2008 (EDT)

Wow, 99% of the sheeple, pwned once more by the Rumbrindt. Whodathunkit? ħumanUser talk:Human 01:26, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
Human -- are you a sheeple? No way !
It is generous of you, tho, to declare me the pwner, especially without a fight. You know, there is always a chance (slim tho it might be) that i could be wrong -- well, theoretically possible anyhow.
So please don't tip over your king so quickly, the game can't be over without your making a single move. Martial those brain cells ... conjure up a counter-argument, please. If all else fails, there is always one more way to mispell my name, and that counts.
Truth is, i'm wondering if there might not be some way to defend the anti-gun side consistent with a Liberal theme.
-- RemBeau 07:19, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
I see it as pretty straightforward. Socialism is all about society, our role within it and our interactions with our fellow human beings. As such it is based on the concept that we should work together to resolve disputes and not shoot people. If there are those who require shooting it should be done by societies appointed representatives (police and army) and not by random individuals. As such guns should not be owned by private individuals.
Conservatives, on the other hand, emphasise the rights of the individual and suggest that they should be allowed every weapon to protect those rights. As such they naturally favour guns.
So, yes, the underlying philosophies of right and left naturally lead to their positions on gun control. Silver Sloth 08:14, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
Incidentally, I cannot see a reason != There is no reason. Calling my political beliefs inconsistent and incoherent is as insulting as it is pure bollocks. Silver Sloth 08:16, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
Silver -- Now how would i be able to assert what i think are the biggest flaws with a line of thought being discussed if i can't mention it for fear those who hold that view will take it personally? Because i'm in a Liberal crowd i either have to agree with the majority or shut up? Don't be offended if i point out that just isn't logical.
So i was in fact NOT attacking you directly, nor anyone else for that matter, but the argument itself. If it is off limits to disagree with views that happen to coincide with your own for fear that you might take it personally, please warn me and i shall try to work around it. I'm not here to trade insults, except when they are done in fun with like-minded individuals.
Now if i were to impugn your MOTIVES, that would be a different animal. Calling people greedy or selfish, "you've got yours Jack", are intendend to be insulting (usually directed at me concerning free enterprise) -- are attacks on individuals that impugn the motivations rather than address the issues.
If i consider certain views asserted to lack consistency and coherency, i am calling into question the views, NOT the holders of such views. They can simply respond with arguments showing my assertions to be wrong.
-- RemBeau 13:39, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
No, conservatives do not emphasize the rights of the individual. Conservatism is based on the rights of the aristocracy over those of the people: divine right of kings and feudalism during the Middle Ages, voting rights for the landed aristocracy only, maintaining white supremacy in the post-Reconstruction American South, opposing any expansion of the rights of the common people vis-a-vis the rights of the aristocracy, and today, policies benefitting big business and multinational capitalism. And keeping (conserving) the economic and social order in that regard as it is (or returning it to what it was). The rights of the individual -- including the establishment of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, universal suffrage, etc. by the common people as individuals, among which the right of the people (individuals) to keep and bear arms is included -- is a core position of liberalism, not conservatism. Socialism (real socialism, not Marx's pseudo-"scientific" socialism) is all about the question of actively using government to expand the rights and economic standing of the common people. Socialism and libertarianism are both rooted in the same thing: liberalism. Policies which effectively keep guns out of the hands of the common riff-raff and concentrate them in the hands of the aristocracy or state only are congruent with conservatism, not with liberalism nor socialism. Secret Squirrel 08:37, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
Good point and well put, SS. ħumanUser talk:Human 13:55, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
Secret -- It is definitely true that Libertarians support the Second Amendment, and if i read you correctly (and i think i do), you are saying Liberals should too. The right to bear arms should definitely be consistent with Liberalism in my view, certainly the Liberalism derived from the classical view of Liberalism, which Libertarians also claim.
The idea that the right to bear arms adheres only to Aristocrats and cops strikes me as anti-Liberal, in the best sense of the word Liberal.
-- RemBeau 23:02, 7 October 2008 (EDT)

"Some People?"[edit]

I am completely new to wikis, so please bear with me. I'd like to suggest the the following be heavily edited:

"Traditionally interpreted as a statement recognizing the right of state governments to maintain their own militias, a sop to the states for the authority they lost in the transition from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution, the Second Amendment has more recently been interpreted as recognizing an individual right to firearm ownership. An even more radical proposition believed by some people is that residents of the United States have an unconditional right to own the largely defensive weapon of gun."

The idea that the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms for all citizens is not recent at all.

"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." - George Mason 1788

"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves." - Richard Henry Lee 1788

". . . the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms." - Philadelphia Federal Gazette 1789

"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms." - Samuel Adams 1789

"Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." - George Washington

Okay, the last one doesn't specifically mention the 2nd amendment, but I thought it bore mentioning.

Let's also not forget that the Militia Act of 1903, which created the National Guard, also labelled all able-bodied men as "reserve militia" even if they were not members of an organized, state-regulated militia. I'm all for debate, but let's not re-write history. The 2nd amendment has been interpretted as guaranteeing individual rights to firearms since it was written. (talk) 21:09, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Indeed. Thanks for the quotes. The article as it stands is heavily biased in the anti-factual direction. Perhaps it would be best to just simplify and reduce the article in size as suggested elsewhere in this talk page, as the second amendment is outside the scope of RW. Maybe I'll get around to it, but I suspect I'm already too "reality biased" for some people's tastes around here. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 03:12, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm rather new on RW, as in joined today. I suggest paring down the RW commentary, as some colors the entire article in a way that appears to ignore the Militia Act of 1903 and ignores totally the case law history behind all second amendment court cases. I WOULD recommend retaining the bit regarding justification of denying firearms access to the mentally ill though, as that is rather poorly represented in most write-ups on the second amendment. Might also put some of the Militia Act of 1903 information in, ("Sec. 313. Appointments and enlistments: age limitation (a) To be eligible for original enlistment in the National Guard, a person must be at least 17 years of age and under 45, or under 64 years of age and a former member of the Regular Army, Regular Navy, Regular Air Force, or Regular Marine Corps. To be eligible for reenlistment, a person must be under 64 years of age.(b) To be eligible for appointment as an officer of the National Guard, a person must - (1) be a citizen of the United States; and(2) be at least 18 years of age and under 64."

These persons remain members of the militia until age 64. Paragraph (b) further states, "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." Just to put some facts in with the opinions.Wzrd1 (talk) 03:39, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

This United States is not a 'democracy', and the second amendment[edit]

In the article, is states that Americans needs to protect democracy with guns, for some reason, even though democracy is a government run by the people. It does sound stupid. Why would americans need guns to protect a government run by the civilians, like a democracy? Well, unlike what most people think, the United States is not, in ANY way, a true democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic, as in majority rule is tempered by minority rights. If we were a democracy, we can reinstitute slavery with a single majority vote. Well, that cannot happen. We are a nation ruled by law (ie, a Republic) not ruled by peoplr (ie, a Democracy) Now, we do have democratic practices, but this article is pretty inaccurate on alot of things, but this is the one thing that annoys me the most. The United State of America was never, and hopefully, will never be a Democracy. Also, this article rants too much. Although this is better than Conservapedia, it is not a true wiki, since it is a very opinionated website, and needs to be, how do I put it, less ranty and more factual. (sorry for the long comment, I'm not trying to be rude or bitchy, I just want this to look less biased toward a modern liberal view, because the second amendment does state that I have a right to bear arms, with arms being traditionally reference to firearms) --AmericanAtheist (talk) 17:54, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

"it is not a true wiki, since it is a very opinionated website." Please tell me where it says in the Wiki Rulebook that wiki's can't be opinionated. We are NOT an encyclopedia. P-Foster (talk) 18:01, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
So ... if it stated that "Americans needs to protect the Constitutional Republic with guns", would that be correct? (By the way, I've always suspected that the US was not a democracy.)BobSpring is sprung! 18:48, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
I'd actually go with that, Bob.  :) Wzrd1 (talk) 03:40, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
I always love the "America is not a democracy" argument. Honestly, calling anything a "Constitutional Republic" is redundant, like calling something a "two-wheeled bicycle". A republic is a state (using the meaning of "nation") governed by laws, and a constitution is a set of elementary laws that govern the basic makeup of a state. America is better classified as a "Democratically Representative Republic"; we democratically (at large) elect representatives in government, who then democratically vote on proposed legislation (based at least partially on the will of their constiuents), which cannot contradict prior legislation (without repealing said legislation) or the Constitution (without ammending the Constitution). So, while we are not a "true democracy", which would actually be a "mob-acracy" because the mob/majority would make all the rules, we are still essentially a democracy in practice. The major distinction is that the power is taken away from the people at large to ensure things like Jim Crow and California's Prop 8 (laws that negatively impact minority interests unjustly) cannot go into effect without careful deliberation. You can see how well that works in practice though, because many of the "America is not a democracy" people (usually Republicans) tend to support direct democracy when they are in the majority (anti-gay marriage in Alabama), but try to avoid it at all cost when they are in the minority (anti-gun control in New York). Maybe that's a overly-broad brush, but still, anyone who says that America is not a democracy either doesn't understand how our government works, or they are over-generalizing, and mean that it's not a pure, mob-ruled democracy. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 23:38, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Reverend Lucifer, Constitutional Republic vs Charter Republic (e.g., Transitional Federal Charter of the Somali Republic). Different paperwork. -- (talk) 09:30, 4 April 2018 (UTC)
Democracy = "demos" = people. Democracy = rule of the people. The US is one of those. Done. Pascal yuiop (talk) 18:06, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Pascal, A republic protects inalienable rights from government interference, while a democracy is majority-ruled, and can remove inalienable rights if the majority agrees. The US is not a democracy. -- (talk) 09:30, 4 April 2018 (UTC)

Homicide rates[edit]

I'm not a Conservapedia fanatic, but one thing I've been thinking about is the homicide rates. Swiss military forces people serving in them take their assault rifles, and a box of 50 cartridges for emergency use, home when they leave the garrison. Yet Switzerland enjoys a lower homicide rate than Finland (where I reside) which has quite strict gun laws. IIRC they had few more gun homicide incidents per a given number of inhabitants than Finland had, but the other ways of committing a homicide are way higher here (the classical case is a stabbing where both the attacker and victim are drunk). To some extent, if one needs to kill someone another and doesn't have access to a firearm, a knife or an axe will be chosen instead. I'm not insisting that this is the whole truth, just wanting to provide with another view to the topic as I deeply hate groupthink and its consequences. -- (talk) 22:37, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

This probably would be better discussed in the article on gun control rather than in a discussion about the Second Amendment, given the non-application of the amendment outside of United States and its territories. -- Seth Peck (talk) 22:48, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually in Switzerland they are no longer issued ammunition and the sale of ammunition that fits in their rifles is prohibited. It can only be purchased at gun ranges and must be used there. - π 11:16, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

What is meant by "Arms"[edit]

Replying to this insertion of anti-gun rhetoric on the main page.

Warning: I'm all for the rule of law. Where possible, the law should be interpreted according to the "common sense", something like the plain text meaning according to the average expected reader of the law at the time. That is, not literally, but also without obscure hidden code words.

Having said that, the history is overwhelmingly on the side of the intent to guarantee the "pre-existing" right to individually keep for your own purposes firearms and other implements of destruction. I'll leave out justification for that point for now, besides to refer to Scalia's majority opinion in Heller. I think any reasonable person has to recognize that the arms available at the time of the writing of the amendment was nothing like today. Hell, they didn't even have high explosives like TNT - it wasn't invented yet. I am somewhat/largely ignorant of this topic, so please correct me. The best I can do offhand is to wonder how they felt about the gunpowder treason plot. I imagine they would be cool with regulations and certifications required to store large amounts of explosives, as a public safety consideration for accidents and for malicious use. So, there's a curtailment that I think they would be for at the time with the available technology - some prohibitions or regulations and oversight for storing and moving (large amounts of) explosives. So, I'll go with what Scalia said that if the second amendment is to mean anything, it is the right to own a conventional firearm which may be used for home defense (and revolution, repelling foreign invasion, etc. etc. Yes, don't I sound like a gun nut now?) I think this is an issue which has great unforeseen territory because of the advancement of technology and methods of destruction. Of course no sane person wants anyone to have a nuke, and we damn well better have intrusive methods to guarantee that. Similarly, to deny the original explicitly-stated well-understood purpose to guarantee and individual's right to keep and bear a gun is also silly. What do we do now? Meh. I've already ranted for too long. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 03:22, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

The need for a personal firearm to protect oneself from an attack or foreign invasion was much greater in 1790 than it is today — we have a perfectly capable military and hardly any need at all for a "well-regulated Militia." Society has changed tremendously since the Founding Fathers which, in my opinion, renders the Second Amendment way out of date. As for the need for personal firearms for revolution, that could lead to some horrifically violent chaos and is not what citizens should need or use if they want to fundamentally change their country (especially in the US). As nice as it would be to continue following the ideas of the country's founders, when they get out of date we need to write better, more 21st-century-relevant ones. In today's US, the reality is that gun regulation is more about safety than rights. Sam Tally-ho! 04:00, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
I won't disagree with any of that particularly strongly. However, I like rule of law, so if this is the case, then we should amend it, instead of blithely ignoring it and pretending it means something else, or using legislative or judicial fiat to circumvent constitutional protections. Rule of law, bad precedent, etc. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 07:04, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
I think amending it would be a great idea and should be done (and sooner rather than later). But until that's done, circumventing it with more gun control, in my opinion, is better than the status quo. It's true that that could set a poor precedent, but hopefully it can be amended before other constitutional laws are circumvented. Sam Tally-ho! 02:30, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Intelligent commentary. No hope of ever doing this, but intelligent nonetheless. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:46, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

First, you have to consider that when the second amendment was penned, people HAD stockpiles of gunpowder in their homes in rural areas and quite a few had small stockpiles in their homes in the urban areas as well. EVERY male between 16 and 45 was considered militia. Gunpowder isn't the stuff that is fired in firearms today, today, we use smokeless powder, which is largely nitrocellulose. The difference is that smokeless powder burns rapidly and only causes an explosion if it's confined (such as in a pipe (be it a pipe bomb, cylinder of a weapon or heavy walled cartridge). Gunpowder was and is notorious for one thing, it doesn't burn much, it explodes. At the time the second amendment was penned, there was NO regulation, training or licensing for storage of large amounts of gunpowder. Granted, it's not high explosive, but high explosives were unknown at that time. But, it was VERY destructive in and of itself (as you mentioned the gunpowder plot). You also have to consider the Militia Act of 1903, where every able bodied male between the age of 17 and 45 (64 for those with prior service) are considered the militia AND the organized militia (National Guard) and the unorganized militia (the public (males between 17 and 45 (64 if having prior service)). THAT considered, one then considers arms at all. In the US, arms are classified in various ways. Handguns, rifles, shotguns (the latter two being considered "long guns"), short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, destructive weapons (cannon, rocket with explosive warhead, grenades, grenade launchers, etc), fully automatic weapons (machine guns, sub-machine guns, etc) and Any Other Weapon (cane guns, pen guns, etc). The short barreled weapons are treated differently and require a special license and license fee, as well as a thorough background investigation. The automatic weapons require a different special license, extremely thorough background investigation (equal to the investigation for a Top Secret security clearance, as it IS the same investigation), the "blessing" of the local chief of police and a license fee. Handguns can only be possessed by non-substance abusers, those who are sane and over the age of 21. Long guns can only be possessed by non-substance abusers, sane and over the age of 18. Being a felon forfeits the right of possessing a firearm at all for life. That said, felons are rather notorious for not obeying the law, hence they unlawfully acquire a firearm (as I understand it, London is suffering a bit of an increase in firearms related crimes by those not licensed to possess a firearm. Excellent example there). So, with my right to possess firearms (I happen to own 8 firearms, three of which are handguns (one is for my wife, as she has difficulties with operating most handguns) and the remainder being rifles and one shotgun. All are used for sporting purposes, save for two handguns, my wife's being exclusively for personal defense of our home, the others being combination of personal defense or target shooting (I shoot in competitions for prizes), I am able to repel said armed felon. As one who lived for many years in a rather bad neighborhood, I'll suggest to the reader that said weapons HAVE furthered my ability to stay alive on several occasions, while never being used and only brandished once (the felon was kind enough to hand me his weapon and await the arrival of the police, as I was aiming a rather large caliber pistol at his genitals). As for the notion of unseating an unlawful government, it is far from as laughable as many seem to think. Consider how much difficulty ISAF is having with some unpleasant people in Afghanistan. A .50 caliber machine guns is nice, but a good sniper can take down that machine gun every time. Armed civilians give any potential abusive government pause. And consider one OTHER great republic that became an empire by dint of one man arriving with his legions and proclaiming himself emperor and the disbanding of the Senate of Rome. I'd just as soon not consider that repeat of history in a nuclear armed nation or one as well otherwise armed as this one. That said, though I'd pass the security test, the chief of police test and could pay the license fee, I have less than no personal interest in acquiring a destructive weapon, fully automatic weapon or short barreled weapon. I'll stick with semi-automatic, bolt, lever and pump action. It's cheaper than blowing all that ammunition down range in a few seconds. Though I've also watched friends who DO own such firing in competition against the military for prizes, so I'll not begrudge them that right. I HAVE considered acquiring a .50 caliber Barrett system for competition, but I'm getting too old to be picking up 30+ pounds of rifle and shooting at targets between a quarter mile and one mile away.Wzrd1 (talk) 04:13, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

(Moved here from the actual article) Arms are, by nature, military nature weapons. Do NOT accept revisionist historical contexts of reality, rather, accept REALITY in historical context. Arms meant, based on historical context, rocks, sticks, rocks bound to sticks, eventually, metal sharp "rocks", eventually BOTH sharp rocks and sharp metals on sticks (may be either way, rock or metal being sharp on stick in history, but most consider sharp rock on stick before sharp metal, either way, six of one, a half dozen of the other), arrows, arrows with metal points, arrows without bows (aka primitive guns), muskets, rifles, machine guns, ad absurdium. Sharp rocks, rock knives, metal knives, swords, spears, whateverinhell you want that is hand held is arms. My very arms and legs are arms. As are my teeth. The CONTEXT is weapons in common military use. *I* am thankful that thermonuclear arms are not in common usage, considering the historic tendency for "magic nuke" to cure all enemies ills...  :/ Wzrd1 (talk) 01:42, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

well regulated[edit]

One thing that annoys the crap out of me is the complete lack of understanding of the idiomatic expression "well regulated". It's fallen out of use now, but it was in common use when the second amendment was written. "Well regulated" has absolutely nothing to do with government control and government oversight - federal or state. It's a phrase meaning well maintained or being in proper working order. I see many references even on this very talk page that are completely ignorant of this issue. It annoys me. It annoys me greatly. Just see google for all the evidence you'd need on the subject. "The more you know!" LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 09:16, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Not QUITE true. Regulated also implied leadership, training standards and equipment. That was narrowed in the Militia Acts, the latest being the Militia Act of 1903. I learned about that being a member of a historic National Guard unit, who still had an unorganized militia sibling unit in service as revolutionary war re-enactors and civil war re-enactors, as well as amateur historians about all things militia. I learned a lot about our nation's history and old culture from those old guys.  :) Wzrd1 (talk) 04:15, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, an act passed by congress further specified how the militia shall be trained and armed, and how it shall be called up during times of need. However, a law of congress cannot abridge a right guaranteed by the constitution. If you want the true history, you have to go before the founding, and its predecessor laws in England and how the religious monarch there was arming his christian sect while disarming the other christian sect. The people were quite pissy about this subjugation at the hands of the other christian sect militias. Thus the right to keep and bears arms to resist such nonsense. That is the legal heritage of the second amendment. When framed, the federalists were against the bill of rights because they thought it unnecessary. They were believers in inviolable natural rights, that is rights that existed before legal guarantees and apart from legal guarantees. They felt everyone had the right to keep and bear arms apart from the government, just like the rest of the bill of rights, and even the rights not enumerated (9th amendment). (Though the 9th amendment is a whole other discussion, which I feel has been thrown under the bus and completely gutted to an ineffectual amendment instead of a reminder that this was supposed to be a natural rights government, and the courts should be upholding these inviolable natural rights.) The other state constitutions of the time make this abundantly clear, as a lot didn't even reference the militia in their constitution with regards to the individual right to keep and bear arms. Say what you will about Scalia, but he more or less nailed it in DC vs Heller. It goes into all of this and more. The dissenting opinions at first glance are plausible, but when you read them again after reading Scalia's opinion, you realize how pathetic the legal reasoning is, and how they're grasping at straws. (Not everything Scalia said in DC vs Heller is right, and don't expect me to defend it, and Scalia is generally a huge ass, and a tyrant. Ex: I'm not a textualist / originalist / whatever in the sense of Scalia.) LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 05:40, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Incorrect. Article one, section 8, "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;" Hence, an act of congress CAN specify the militia's constituency and organization, but could not eliminate the unorganized militia because of the second amendment. I DO agree partially about the ninth amendment, but frankly, I think a bit worse, it was emasculated! I also agree, Scalia is a mixed bag full of cats, but he's like a broken clock, right twice a day. But, I have to respect SOME of his decisions, based upon the written decisions he placed into the record (though, the press played those decisions like he and the SCOTUS were raving maniacs, not bothering with the reasoning of the decision).Wzrd1 (talk) 04:07, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm confused. Do you agree, disagree, or are undecided on the proposition that at the time of the writing, the second amendment was well understood to codify the individual's right to keep and bear arms irrelevant of training and whether he had a named officer, etc., and that right may not be infringed, especially as occurred recently under the rule of that one British king whose name eludes me, who disarmed the catholics / protestants in favor his sect, the other sect? LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 12:04, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

As every man (only men had the right to vote) of the age of reason and of whole body were members of the militia, in short, the general populace. Hence, every man had the right and for some, a responsibility to possess firearms. That was continued in our constitution, to ensure the nation and populace individually had a last line of defense in the arms of the populace. Religion was only a modest part of the considerations for the second amendment. There was also history of another republic, which became an empire and an imperial system like that of Rome was unacceptable to all who penned our constitution. As for British monarchs, the number who did that, in either favor of Protestants or Roman Catholics was many over many centuries.Wzrd1 (talk) 21:46, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

something posted in the "As viewed from outside the US" section[edit]

To understand the ununderstanble US is to consider one thing: The US constitution. Whilst there is variable consideration on UNIVERSAL RIGHTS, the "Bill of Rights" is essentially "religious", as in overriding many religions in some cases. Add to that, the right to have weapons is a SECOND, only second to religion, free speech and press, do you get the drift? Constitutional rights have been ingrained into the US when rights of ANY sort beyond royalty was present in the majority of Europe. Hence, that is a sense of self and superiority (regardless of REAL facts) of US superiority that is literally historic in nature, hence ingrained in the culture. As a US citizen and retired military member (recently), I consider that a bit of hogwash, as that VIEW can be abused, as it has been many times in our history, to cause ill for all. BUT, I'm ALSO a VERY STRICT constitutionalist, in the middle of the road way, with heavy consideration on the first case law considerations of each article and amendment. I'll even hold with the original intention of citizens owning artillery, though the warheads of such may be licensed heavily, but reasonably for the MOST stable persons. In short, I *AM* a dick. I insist on BOTH the INTENT of the law and SPIRIT of the law be enforced. Lunatics are not welcome to arms.Wzrd1 (talk) 01:36, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Minor nit: I don't think anyone cared that the second amendment was second in the list. The order of the bill of rights was surely incidental. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 05:44, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Actually, no. Jefferson was the originator of the first amendment, all the way from France. From there, others added in essential rights that were originally omitted from the constitution for various reasons (largely, to get the thing actually voted upon and ratified). Still, the second amendment is no more or less valuable or valued than the first. There is no order of operands in the constitution, only delineation of rights and anything not outlined in the constitution or by a state or by a county/municipality falls to the people. Per the constitution. Each delineated right is equal to the other. If I gave an impression otherwise, I apologize for being unclear.Wzrd1 (talk) 03:59, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I didn't see this the first time. Another minor nit: "Whilst there is variable consideration on UNIVERSAL RIGHTS, the "Bill of Rights" is essentially "religious", as in overriding many religions in some cases". I'm sorry - freedom from religion is itself not a religion. Just like not having a stamp collecting hobby is not a stamp collecting hobby. "Religious" is not synonymous with "having values". Religious is synonymous with "having rituals and rites, sacred texts and values, worship of a higher power, etc.", and the constitution does not qualify, and the freedom from religion guaranteed in the constitution does not qualify. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 12:07, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Freedom of religion or FROM religion is freedom of religion in the intent of the first amendment, which was largely written by deists. They wrote of all views in their diaries at some length.Wzrd1 (talk) 21:48, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
You didn't answer my question. Were you wrong when you said the policy of "freedom from religion" is itself religious? LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 22:52, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

The first amendment protection was religious in the sense of protecting ANY religion or atheism, if that makes sense. I'm not calling atheism a religion, but mentioning the novel concept of the time of permitting the common man to believe in whatever said person wished to believe. That was a substantial break from governments of the time, which enforced a particular faith as a matter of state policy. Is that clearer?Wzrd1 (talk) 12:42, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Not really, no. I think the word you are looking for is "revolutionary" or "unique", not "religious". LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 19:35, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Thomas Jefferson was quite upset that religious freedom wasn't initially included in the US Constitution, when he was provided a copy when he was in France. He had sponsored the religious freedom act in Virginia:

" "II. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."

... "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical..." "...our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions ..."Wzrd1 (talk) 14:58, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

Armed Revolt[edit]

The main page contains one bit of falseness that also pisses me off: "The need for a well armed citizenry today - Revolution is not necessary in a government that fears its citizens. Of course, in order for this argument to carry any weight, the citizenry must be as well- or better-armed than the government (and considering the stuff that the US military has access to it pretty much renders that point moot)." This has several IMO faulty assumptions. The first is that you have to participate in symmetrical warfare. That hasn't been true, even since the founding of the US. Specific counter-examples: Iraq, Afghanistan. The second faulty assumption is that the entire US army would side with the government vs the people. Again, specific counter-examples exist; see: Libya, Syria. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 05:54, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Quite correct. Our military derives from the citizenry, not some special class of the population as some nations did in the past. One can also be rather certain that the government wouldn't fire artillery or bomb our own cities, they'd recruit against themselves with that action (not to mention lost productivity from such destruction). That leaves conventional forces in asymmetric warfare, where the advantage of a tank is neutralized, aircraft are of minimal usage in urban terrain and one is left with small force guerilla warfare against any forces that would support an unlawful government. Considering the primary successful actions during the revolutionary war and many, many actions during the civil war being guerilla warfare, there is little reason to assume that such would not occur in any revolt.Wzrd1 (talk) 01:14, 18 October 2012 (UTC)


While I have to agree with HG on the second clause enumerating the right, the first clause is important to understanding the intent behind the amendment (and making a case for repeal or modification of the whole thing). It should be noted, however, that a reasonable argument exists that gives Congress the power to regulate some aspects (in the same way that somewhat limited free speech limits are acceptable) of gun ownership so long as some form of arms bearing is allowed.--MountainTiger 06:31, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

Here is the point I always bring up in these discussion (and bear in mind, I'm pro-2nd Amendment in general): The intent behind the amendment (as interpreted by the wording of the amendment itself), is that the people have the right to own firearms for the express purpose of defense of themselves, their community, and their state As that was the purpose of the militia in colonial days, and defense is mentioned specifically, so it is reasonable to presume that from the wording used, the right was enumerated for the same purpose: defense. However, the amendment specifically references a "well regulated militia," and that the right to bear arms was related directly to this "militia" in question, so there is no reason to presume that regulation of firearms is outside the scope of the amendment. I doubt that the Founding Fathers would like to put guns in the hands of all the crazies of their day (though that is the subject of another debate, if you disagree), and I also doubt that they intended for regular citizens to own cannons or the like, so restrictions on who can possess weapons and what weapons they can posses seem to in no way contradict the intent to ensure a "well regulated militia" that is "necessary to the security of a free state," provided that those restrictions to not restrict without reason. For example, I support universal background checks, restrictions on felons and the mentally ill from owning weapons, registration of both gun owners and their weapons (how else will the "militia" know who is available for the "security of [their] free state"), while I oppose restrictions on semi-automatic weapons with arbitrary cosmetic features (i.e. the "assault weapons" ban), at least partly because there is no conclusive evidence in the studies that have been done showing that the prior ban eliminated gun violence; rather, the guns used to commit the violence changed, and the rates remained largely the same. That said, the Founders also set out the process for changing the constitution, because they understood that the circumstance of their times would not be static, and that future generations would need to be able to adapt the document to the realities of their times. As such, no part of the Constitution was intended to be universal and eternal, though the Founders did try to make it as self-sustaining and timeless as possible. As such, it is perfectly acceptible for us to change any part of the Constitution that is antiquated for our times, including the sacrosanct Bill of Rights, if necessary. As I said above, though, I see no way that regulating firearms is contrary to the 2nd Amendment provided the reasons for the restriction are rational and based in a realistic, scientific understanding of the problems to be solved, and the solution is an actual solution, and not "feel-good" legislation. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 22:14, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
The TL;DR of above is: The amednment says that the militia should be "well regulated," so why are regulations always considered against it? Reverend Lucifer (talk) 22:14, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Quoting Reverend Lucifer: "I also doubt that they intended for regular citizens to own cannons or the like," - Actually, yes they did. Congress has the power to grant letters of marque and reprisal . That is the authorization of private citizens to use their ships of war, cannon and all, to engage in acts of warfare against enemy ships on the high seas. For example, here's a plan presented in good faith by Thomas Paine, one of the founders, for the creation and maintenance of a US navy.

Some method might be fallen on to keep up a naval force in time of peace, if we should judge it necessary to support a constant navy. If premiums were to be given to merchants to build and employ in their service ships mounted with twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty guns (the premiums to be in proportion to the loss of bulk to the merchant), fifty or sixty of those ships, with a few guardships on constant duty, would keep up a sufficient navy, and that without burdening ourselves with the evil so loudly complained of in England, of suffering their fleet in time of peace to lie rotting in the docks. To unite the sinews of commerce and defence is sound policy; for when our strength and our riches play into each other's hand, we need fear no external enemy.

In short, he's talking about paying every civilian merchant ship to keep cannon on board, in order that they might be called up to be a navy. He apparently sees no problems with private citizens owning and operating cannon and ships of war. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 22:40, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Quoting Reverend Lucifer: "registration of both gun owners and their weapons (how else will the "militia" know who is available for the "security of [their] free state")," - This demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the values and positions espoused by the founders. The militia is simply another name for the people. Really. The text of the second amendment is: "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." In today's language, that roughly translates as "A well armed and well trained citizenry are necessary to the security of a free people (including protection against foreign invasion, local tyranny, and immediate self defense). Thus, the right of the citizenry to be armed shall not be infringed." The problem is a change in meaning of some the terms, and a complete misunderstanding of the value positions held by the founders. Yes, it looks alien, but that's what they actually felt. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 22:46, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Could you provide citation in your claim that "militia" meant "people at large"? Even by the broadest definition I can find, "militia" meant the sum total of people available to be called up for military duty, should the need arise (I'm paraphrasing). Under this broad definition, the idea of "militia" is still that they be available for the defense of the state. It was understood during the time period of the Revolution that the local government could call upon members of the local militia in matters pertaining to the safety and security of the state; refusing a call to duty was tantamount to turning your back on your friends and neighbors in a time of need, and was not highly regarded. This is further supported by the fact that it wasn't until well after the writing of the Constitution and Bill of Rights that a standing army was created, so it would be necessary for each state to carry a militia to handle safety and security matters not large enough to warrant the federal government drawing up troops to create an army, and also that the militia would be relied upon to create the basis of that army when the federal government did. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 22:14, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't see a difference between the concepts of "militia" and "people at large" and "sum total of people available to be called up for military duty". IIRC, many of the states around the time of the writing of the constitution had laws on the books that every adult male was required to own a weapon. Of course, to be fair, there was a lot of exemptions by several of the states because this was quite an expensive requirement. Furthermore, I can quote several of the Federalist papers. Forgive the source - I don't know how stupidly biased it is, but it links to several of the relevant Federalist papers. One of the key quotes is the idea that the right of self defense is inherent to the people, as is the right to defend themselves by force against unjust government (and foreign invasion). Imminently tied to this is the right to have weapons. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 10:57, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
As for the cannons on merchant ships, those were the exception, rather than the rule, and parallels can be drawn directly to the current policy of providing the necessary paperwork for citizens to own actual military-grade weapons; you can purchase a tax stamp (with a background check, of course) that will allow you to own a fully-functioning M-16 rifle, complete with automatic fire, if you want to pay for that priviledge. This should not be indicative that the Founders intended for everyone to own M-16s, anymore than Paine's quote is indicative that they wanted everyone to own cannons. Rather, from the quote you provide, it appears that Paine recognized the need for a navy, and suggested renumeration for merchants who would choose to purchase cannons and use their ships for battle, rather than building a navy that would lie useless during times of peace. Paine understood that very few people had the resources available to purchase those types of weapons, but among those would be merchants with fleets of ships just ready to be outfitted for war. However, given that the portion of the American population that had merchant ships was not a significant percentage of the population, this cannot reasonably be construed to mean that he intended every private citizen to be allowed to keep a cannon on hand. It's similar to the concept that led to Blackwater handling security measures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 22:14, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Ok, so we're going into pedantic land. It seems to me that any private civilian could indeed own a cannon at worst assuming they passed a basic background check (if such things existed, har har) and got licensed to own cannon (again, maybe). I guess that is different than the founders wanting everyone to own cannon. They just wanted everyone to be able to buy cannon. However, we can safely state from the laws at the time and the Federalist papers that they did want the people at large to be armed with working rifles. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 10:58, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, to be even more pedantic, those rifles would have been muzzle-loading rifles or smoothbore muskets at the time the founders formed their opinions. Self-loading, multiple shot weapons were unknown to them. Steven Kavanagh (talk) 15:50, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I'd also like to delve into the concept that people assert about the constitution being a perfect framework for a free, democratic republic. The Framers were in no way perfect, and no matter how well-intentioned, they knew that the ideas and values that they espoused were not the end-all-be-all of how to run a nation. These were people who still generally believed that leeches were a viable medical treatment (notwithstanding the fact that they do have limited applicability today) for a variety of illnesses. These were real people trying to do the best they can with the limited knowledge they had (and I mean limited in that they had little idea what the future might bring) to create a document that would guide future generations. It is understandable, then, that we modify this framework if it is found to be flawed, and expound on it through legislation if it is found to be unclear. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 23:57, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

free state[edit]

Finally, all this just goes back to the crux of my argument, which is that we need to attempt to look at the Constitution both from the view of the Framers, and from the current day. We need to understand both the broad and specific reasons the Founders laid it out the way they did, as well as realize that they wrote it in extremely broad terms to allow for interpretation based on the changes in society and provided a means to modify it should the precepts it outlines become contrary to the public good. As a side note, I do appreciate the information, because I was not previously aware the Paine had advocated for the arming of merchant ships rather than forming a standing navy, and that information will allow me to further refine my arguments both for and against various methods of gun-control. And I always enjoy a spirited, yet civil discussion. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 02:44, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
It is my view that legislative power is the power to listen to popular opinion, determine questions of fact, form value judgments, and encode these into laws. Legislative power also must rule by general decree, no bills of attainder. Judicial power in common law countries does do stuff very much like pass laws via precedent. They also determine questions of fact. Sometimes, they even form value judgments. However, if the distinction between legislative power and judicial power is to mean anything at all, it is the idea that judicial power cannot and should not override the clearly stated, clearly understood, heart and soul of a law (except where they find that it is contradicted by a higher law). You may be proposing that the courts or the congress should reevaluate the costs and benefits of the second amendment in today's society and maybe decide that the founders were wrong. I say thee no. They should no more do that then they should decide that blasphemy or hate speech laws are allowed exceptions under the first amendment. The amendments, and the constitution at large, encode several value judgments, some specific, some general. If the second amendment is to mean anything, it is the right of the people to keep weapons for their own defense, from criminals, from tyrants, and from foreign invasion. The courts and the legislature should not decide otherwise. -- If this is a problem, then there is a potential remedy, in the form of passing an amendment. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 10:58, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Interesting points, indeed. Yes, I tend to split hairs over the meanings of words, but that is simply because I find that having a firm, fixed understanding of the definition of a word is essential to having a debate that will get anywhere, so I apologize in advance if I do it again. However, I very much disagree with you on the comparison you made of gun-control legislation and blasphemy laws. Rather, I think an apt comparison would be to laws prohibiting speech that is unduly damaging to another party, for example slander, libel, or the infamous "yelling 'fire' in a crowded building." We have already decided as a nation that these rights are not absolute and without reasonable limits. And I completely agree that the 2nd Amendment carries with it the express purpose of allowing private citizens to own firearms for their own defense. I have no desire to see the rights enumerated within to be watered down to disallow anyone from owning weapons, except where they have demonstrated a prior inability to exercise good judgement (felons and some mentally ill persons). However, when looking at possible legislation to protect the citizens from gun violence, I see no abridging of the right to bear arms simply by requiring the registration of weapons with the government--as the amendment states, it is "necessary to the security of a free state," so the government has a vested interest in knowing who has the guns in the event of an attack that does not allow for prompt military response, or a sudden and extended invasion that renders the draft ineffective to increase our military forces. While I do not foresee that such an event is likely to happen, that is the very way that the militia was run in colonial times; the local leaders knew who had weapons and could be called upon in an emergency. This type of registration ensures that if a firearm is sold, a record of to whom that firearm is sold would have to be produced so that the previous owner was not liable for anything done with the weapon after sale. A special, voluntary registration program for gun owners could supplement the background check system, providing people who plan on buying guns often (for whatever reason they choose) a fast track through the background check system. The seller simply confirms that the registration card is valid, and the person is eligible to purchase without an extended background check, because they use a special system that constantly does checking in the various background check databases. We have now just closed the "gun show" loop-hole for background checks (no waiting period if you choose to register); weapons are tracked so if one is used in a crime, it can be traced back to the last owner (who would be at the very least culpable for failing to register the sale); no specific types of weapons are banned; and the only people who lose the right to own firearms are the same people who already forfeit that right under the current system The weapon registration also ensures that if someone loses the right to own weapons, we already know how many we should be confiscating (and there is nothing preventing the government from placing those weapons back in circulation). Nothing involved fundamentally contradicts the rights enumerated in the amendment, beyond the limits we have already agreed on as being fair and consistent with the intent of the amendment. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 19:34, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
A couple points. This depends heavily on what you mean by gun-control, which specific types. It is my opinion that the first amendment w.r.t. free speech codified Jefferson's understanding (later expounded at length by Mill), which goes more or less "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.". See JS Mill's Harm Principle. The basic idea is that mere offense does not constitute a legitimate harm, and/or it is always outweighed by other considerations. That is (one of) the meanings of free speech. The second amendment codifies the idea that whatever mischief the mass of people may do, it is outweighed by the value and right that they have to defense. So, if you're going to argue that we should greatly and significantly limit access because of some minor harm, such as a few hundred / few thousand gun deaths per year out of a population of 300,000,000, then I think you're pursuing an argument that is already sunk. I think there is regulation that can be employed. We have a right to drive, but that doesn't mean it's unlicensed. A friend and I the other day were throwing around the idea of gun insurance just like driver's insurence. However, I must be against a mandatory global gun registry, because that defeats the purpose of defense of the people against the government. However, your other ideas look good, and not unconstitutional IMHO. I think we should consider a long serious course like driver's ed, except a gun-ed, to get a license to be able to own firearms. I wonder how much that would help. A bit? A lot? EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 20:58, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
National gun registry would also be an exposure in case of foreign invasion. Unlikely in continental USA, but I believe it has happened elsewhere. Where I live now, getting a carry permit (also needed for the purchase of long guns) requires completion of a course on safety and legalities, has done since the late 1980s. I took the course at my local small town police station; it lasted several weeks, and was taught by a senior sergeant. Frau Cogswell is a city girl, and doesn't like guns in the house; I no longer shoot competitively, so they're gone. If need arose, and there was enough lead time, there would be a way to find a suitable piece, but I doubt it will happen soon. FSM willing, it will never happen. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 22:13, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I bantied about the idea of a licensing course like that previously, but my major concern for constitutionality is that if failing the course prohibits you from owning weapons, then it abridges the right to bear arms for that citizen. It would certainly help the problems, and just as point of reference, I have pared back significantly on what I perceive as fair and constitutional gun legislation, simply because I understand the difficulties in attempting to amend the Constitution, especially in the realm of the 2nd Amendment. Also, I've always been torn on the "defense against the government" argument. Being that the US has a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people," using that specific argument is an awful lot like saying that you need protection from yourself. I see it as similar to suing yourself for breach of contract when you fail to maintain your New Year's Resolutions. I can certainly understand the sentiment at the time; Britain's ruling aristocracy had disenfranchised the entirety of the colonies, and was imposing a tyrannical rule where the colonists had no say in the laws and taxes that they were subject to, up to and including instituting royal governors and packing the legislatures of many of the colonies with people sympathetic to the crown. Understanding that our current system is not perfect (I'll actually be getting heavily into non-partisan voting reform once I'm done with my degree), what we have is a far cry from the tyranny experienced during the Revolution. And providing that defense against the government is a significant issue that needs to be protected, I feel that the right is less constrained by mandatory weapon registration than by bans on specific weapons; banning assault weapons means that the citizens would not have access to the types of weapons required to be able to combat a tyrannical government, while registration simply means that the government knows where those weapons are. I think the government would be less likely to over-extend its reach if it knew that 30 million people (PIDOOMA, I just wanted a large number) had AR-15s with 30 round magazines and 1000 rounds of ammo each then if it knew those same 30 million people had hunting rifles with 5 round magazines. This is why, in addition to the proposed limits or requirements on gun ownership, I also would like to see stronger explicit protections on what citizens are allowed to own weapons. I don't suddenly want that prohibition list to include people based on criteria that would not be considered as endangering people, such as atheists or communists; you must show that you are unable to distinguish right from wrong, or that you disregard such considerations (as with the mentally ill and felons) in order to lose such an important right. My ultimate preference is not to curtail gun ownership in order to curtail gun deaths, but rather to impose reasonable institutions to ensure that the guns are only in the hands of people who should not already be disqualified from ownership. I see no real method to enforce this outside gun registration. Otherwise, mandatory backgrounds checks are moot, because if I own a weapon that the government doesn't know about, how will they prevent me from selling that to whomever I choose, background check or not? I don't presume to be a constituional scholar or legal expert, but I try to read a lot of the opinions presented from those that are to understand this issue better, and I really would like to say that I appreciate such a spirited, yet civil discussion on such a volatile issue as this. Each response so far has been well-thought, addressed specific issues or flaws with my reasoning (as perceived by you), and has allowed my views and opinions to evolve and mature. This is why I love RW. Now, I wonder how many cannons I can mount on my canoe, just in case the British come back for seconds.
Quoting Sprocket J Cogswell: "National gun registry would also be an exposure in case of foreign invasion." Do you mean that having a national registry would be a detriment if the enemy got hold of it? Being that this registry would be done under the pretense of national defense (at least in the way I advocate it being implemented), it should be as protected as other military secrets, and would be as detrimental if exposed as any other military secret, such as where our secret nuclear stockpiles are. Worst case, I see it as warning the enemy not to invade Idaho (they have lots of guns) Reverend Lucifer (talk) 22:59, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
[EC]Yes, if an occupying army got hold of the registry, their job would be so much easier, or so that line of thinking goes.
The inventory of US nuclear assets is vanishingly small compared to the number of small arms in civilian hands. Gathering and maintaining a classified database of individual weapons, and keeping the information secure, would need a competent bureaucracy[oxymoron] of such mind-boggling extent that I don't see it happening.
In my state, carry permits are signed off by the local chief of police, and so the ease of getting one varies from town to town. The "gun safety course" has the (likely intended) side effect of serving as an opportunity for local law enforcement to evaluate the applicants face to face over some extended time. There has been plenty of time for challenging that system on constitutional grounds, and it hasn't happened.
As far as Idaho goes, mountainous areas with an armed populace are well-known to be difficult to conquer and hold. They are the sort of place where empires go to die. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 23:55, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I love the "registering guns vs. registering gun owners" dichotomy. It seems to me from the conversations that keeping a registry of guns is verboden, but keeping a registry of gun owners (as is in place for the carry permits) is fine. I'm not specifically saying that the federal government would need to keep the lists, just that if your fear is the list falling into enemy hands or gun round-ups, any type of registration will be a scary prospect. As with all legislation, you have to determine if the good from having the legislation outweighs the good of not having it. I have no problem with those registries being done on the local level, like with the carry licenses. We just need a comprehensive way to track gun sales and gun owners if we want to keep the guns out of the hands of the people that we almost universally agree should have them. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 00:59, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
@Reverend Lucifer, I think any reasonable understanding of constitutional law and natural rights would allow for licensing of the right to keep and bear arms, just like we do with the right to drive a car. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 23:09, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
The problem I always see with that line of reasoning is that driving a car is not generally considered a "right" the same way that owning a gun is a right. Instead, driving a vehicle is typically viewed as a "priviledge" that is earned by completing the necessary training and testing requirements. Now, I agree whole-heartedly that licensing for gun ownership that requires a safety and operation course is a fantastic idea, and I support such a program if it can be deemed to be constitutional, but registering gun owners presents the same issue you brought up when I discussed registering guns themselves; at some point, your name is in a database that shows that you have (or want to have, in this case) guns, which undermines the "defense against the government" excuse for not implementing my idea over yours. Not to say that I agree with the argument that a regisrty runs contrary to the "defense against the government" rationalization for not implementing certain laws, but I wanted to make sure that you were aware of the internal contradictions between your issues with some of my ideas, and the ideas you are presenting yourself. Still good ideas, but it's hard to argue that one form of registration is okay while another is not. To get to the point of that idea though, that was the exact concept I had originally, before I turned it into a voluntary program to expedite the background check process when I became concerned that a mandatory training and licensing system would likely be an infringement on the right. As an aside, I'm always impressed at the mental backbends done by the gun lobby to press for ways to ensure that guns don't fall into the wrong hands (terrorists, gang members, illegal aliens) while decrying any attempt to actually track where those guns are. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 23:39, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Registering guns serves little purpose except to allow a round-up of guns, or convenient finger pointing. I'd assume not much would prevent you from merely reporting to the police that your gun was stolen if you wanted to sell it off the books. Then again, maybe I am wrong on this. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 23:49, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I've heard that argument before, that driving is a privilege, not a right. I truly detest such arguments. They run completely counter to the entire heart of the whole constitution and the American form of government. We don't have a privilege to drive because our government overlords grant us it. We retain all natural rights that we have, and only the rights explicitly ceded to the government are ceded. This is the basis of the 9th amendment to the constitution before it was gutted. This is an entirely autocratic and tyrannical idea of government. -- Of course I recognize that the several states run the DMVs, but similar spirit and intent was definitely present. See the above Jefferson quote about the legitimate powers of government. I don't know if I would win in a modern court - I half expect that I would - but that's the way it should be according to the values of the founding, and the values I want us to embrace today. Fuck that noise that the government grants me the privilege of driving. Fuck anyone who thinks that I have to ask permission, as though the government is my parent or guardian. Instead, our representatives have ceded some small amount of our natural rights in order to greatly preserve others, aka basic social contract theory. Nowhere in basic social contract theory do I have to be a supplicant to "the government" asking for basic rights. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 23:49, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps registering guns would allow for a round-up (again, why I advocate for implementing stronger protections on ownership in addition to registration), but the same can be said of registering gun owners; in either instance the government knows who has the guns. The main difference I see between registering guns and registering gun owners, however, is that by registering guns, it provides a more tangible way to track gun sales and does more to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. And as for reporting it stolen to hide an illegal sale, people will find ways to violate every law on the books if the incentive is high enough, so should we use that as an excuse to fail to pass laws?
Regarding the driving as a "priviledge," again I agree with you. Property rights in common law are very clear; I can use my property in any way I see fit, so long as it is not injurous to others and does not infringe on others' rights. By that basic understanding, it's certainly clear that we have the right to drive a car that we own, but the social contract requires that we prove that we can operate such a vehicle safely to prevent damage from misuse. Amazingly, it's the gun-rights advocates that I see most invoking the "driving is a priviledge" argument when the licensing of drivers is used as an example to advocate for licensing of gun owners. Also, this argument can be used for the registering of guns as well as of gun owners; all states require the vehicle to be registered (though some will allow you to register it in another state), and the sale or transfer of a vehicle requires that documents be filed with the state to show the transfer of ownership, and to ensure the collection of sales tax. If we are going to view driving as a fundamental right (and it appears we share this perspective), albeit with reasonable regulations, I fail to see how we cannot regulate guns and gun ownership in exactly the same way. No one seems to be worried that the government is going to round up their cars, after all. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 00:45, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Meh, utility of cars does not include fighting the government. Guns partly do. Hence the difference. Licensing a gun owner vs registering individual firearms? Meh. I'm open to argument here. As I said, part of me strongly suspects that a gun registry won't do much as long as criminals still have an out of saying "oh, it was stolen", and thus the ulterior motive is to get rid of all guns ala Britain. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 00:59, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
If you don't think that a car is an effective weapon, then you haven't seen those gruesome driver's ed films. *lol* I would hate for us to go the British route with almost blanket bans on firearms; as I said from the get-go, I am a firm 2nd Amendment advocate. I even own guns that I won't be able to sell once the new assault weapons ban goes into effect--if it goes into effect (thank you for grandfathering current owners). Here is my number 1 reason for not fearing a "gun round-up." Given the near-ubiquitousness of gun ownership in America; and given the level of support for the 2nd Amendment in America; and given the rate at which word spreads, especailly now that we have the internet; how long do you think it will take after the government starts taking the first guns away before the citizens revolt? I doubt the government would be able to round-up even 10% of all the privately owned firearms in the nation before gun-owners everywhere begin armed marches on state capitols. And also given that well over half of the states' governments are stacked full of gun-rights advocates, I see the probability of eliminating gun ownership in the US at about 0 without a repeal of the 2nd Amendment, which would also in turn require ratification by 2/3 of the states (fat chance of that happening). The "registration is the first step towards the government taking all the guns away" argument is a red herring, because I cannot fathom a situation where the government could do such a thing. And armed revolt wouldn't even be necessary since the Supreme Court could invalidate any action taken by the government that runs afoul of the constitution. Since the constitution enumerates the powers of the Judicial Branch, and they are independent of the Legislative and Executive Branches, only an armed coup would have any chance of hijacking the government and forcing the need for armed rebellion, which is exactly the situation that the citizens need guns for. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 01:17, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Meh. Maybe. I don't know if I have a strong opinion, because I feel as though I am not well enough informed. EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 01:19, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I have found you very informative. You seem more informed than many people who try to take up sides in this debate. You have a decent understanding of constitutional principles, which is important for framing the debate and understanding the merits and failings of various legislative ideas. I've rather enjoyed my time discussing this with you, and if my passion was mistaken for irritation, I apologize. By many standards, I could be labelled as a "gun nut," and I don't think that would be far off. However, I have tempered the typical "gun nut" distrust of the government with a rational mind on what is and is not possible for the government. This leads me to not be fearful of legislation aimed at tracking guns. However, if we allow specific guns to be banned, that is the slippery slope I see leading to attempts to ban all guns. Ergo: registration-OK; gun bans-not OK. Reverend Lucifer (talk) 02:37, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Naw, you're fine. Thanks too! EnlightenmentLiberal (talk) 02:49, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Repeal rinse[edit]

Maybe we need to scrap it altogether and begin again? Make it a right to bear arms but specify that reasonable regulations are going to be instituted. C®ackeЯ 11:27, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Heh, good luck with that. It was a nightmare to repeal the 18th, and that wasn't part of the original bill of rights, banned the consumption of something the vast majority of the population wanted, had very high support politically, and was the father of American Organized Crime. -- (talk) 11:33, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Maybe they'll do it the other way for this amendment? C®ackeЯ 00:14, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

"Oldest continuous democracy"[edit]

I've modified the wording at the end of one of the sections. The reference to Britain not being truly democratic until the 1880s is true (sort of), but confusing when compared to the claim that the US is the oldest continuously existing democracy in the world. I would argue that Britain wasn't a true democracy until 1918 when women were allowed to vote, the same for the US when it happened there in 1920. The US didn't fully abolish the property requirement until the 1860s and didn't let blacks vote until 1970, whilst Britain only achieved full male suffrage in 1918. I mean, if we're going by "oldest country where you could vote" then Britain would win by miles - it goes all the way back to the 1400s. I should stress, this isn't a "Britain is a better democracy" thing, just wanted to clear up the misleading language. Then it turned into a political history essay. I apologise. Pascal yuiop (talk) 17:43, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

The debate isn't really relevant to the article, and isn't clearly answerable without further criteria. San Marino and the Isle of Man both have claims to be older democracies than England/the UK. But do you count where woman couldn't vote? Property requirements? What about minimum age requirements? Is it enough to have any kind of franchise defined by rules? --Gospatric (talk) 10:18, 4 April 2018 (UTC)


Why does this topic seem to be consistently treated here as if it added a right sewn out of whole cloth rather than enumerating an existing human right and singling it out for protection? Frostbyte (talk) 17:44, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

I don't understand your question (or perhaps your assumptions).Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 14:27, 6 April 2018 (UTC)