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Thread: The Reason To Focus On The Idea

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    From a previous thread that got a bit sidetracked, the discussion got involved in whether we should read the Second Amendment literally, and prevent any form of regulation of arms, or if there should be some context read into the actual wording, and only restrict the bearing of arms when a clear, compelling, and substantiated reason requires it.

    One of the main points, in favor of limitation of rights in extreme cases, that I was trying to make is that if we choose to only focus on the text, and not the principle, then our rights become based in the words. If the words change, then so would our rights...

    And then today, in everyone's favorite Communist newsletter, the Chicago Tribune, this was published:


    Repeal the 2nd Amendment June 27, 2008
    No, we don't suppose that's going to happen any time soon. But it should.

    The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is evidence that, while the founding fathers were brilliant men, they could have used an editor.

    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.

    If the founders had limited themselves to the final 14 words, the amendment would have been an unambiguous declaration of the right to possess firearms. But they didn't, and it isn't. The amendment was intended to protect the authority of the states to organize militias. The inartful wording has left the amendment open to public debate for more than 200 years. But in its last major decision on gun rights, in 1939, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously found that that was the correct interpretation.


    On Tuesday, five members of the court edited the 2nd Amendment. In essence, they said: Scratch the preamble, only 14 words count.

    In doing so, they have curtailed the power of the legislatures and the city councils to protect their citizens.

    The majority opinion in the 5-4 decision to overturn a Washington, D.C., ban on handgun possession goes to great lengths to parse the words of the 2nd Amendment. The opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, spends 111/2 pages just on the meaning of the words "keep and bear arms."

    But as Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in a compelling dissent, the five justices in the majority found no new evidence that the 2nd Amendment was intended to limit the power of government to regulate the use of firearms. They found no new evidence to overturn decades of court precedent.

    They have claimed, Stevens wrote, "a far more active judicial role in making vitally important national policy decisions than was envisioned at any time in the 18th, 19th, or 20th Centuries."


    •••

    It's a relief that the majority didn't go further in its policymaking on gun control.

    The majority opinion states that the D.C. handgun ban and a requirement for trigger locks violate the 2nd Amendment. By virtue of this decision, Chicago's 1982 ban on handguns is not likely to survive a court challenge. A lawsuit seeking to overturn the Chicago ordinance was filed on Thursday by the Illinois State Rifle Association.

    The majority, though, did state that the right under the 2nd Amendment "is not unlimited." So what does that mean? The majority left room for state and local governments to restrict the carrying of concealed weapons in public, to prohibit weapons in "sensitive places such as schools and government buildings," and to regulate the sale of firearms. The majority allowed room for the prohibition of "dangerous and unusual weapons." It did not stipulate what weapons are not "dangerous."

    Lower courts are going to be mighty busy figuring out all of this.

    We can argue about the effectiveness of municipal handgun bans such as those in Washington and Chicago. They have, at best, had limited impact. People don't have to go far beyond the city borders to buy a weapon that's prohibited within the city.

    But neither are these laws overly restrictive. Citizens have had the right to protect themselves in their homes with other weapons, such as shotguns.

    Some view this court decision as an affirmation of individual rights. But the damage in this ruling is that it takes a significant public policy issue out of the hands of citizens. The people of Washington no longer have the authority to decide that, as a matter of public safety, they will prohibit handgun possession within their borders.


    •••

    Chicago and the nation saw a decline in gun violence over the last decade or so, but recent news has been ominous. The murder rate in Chicago has risen 13 percent this year. Guns are still the weapon of choice for mayhem in the U.S. About 68 percent of all murders in 2006 were committed with a firearm, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Repeal the 2nd Amendment? Yes, it's an anachronism.

    We won't repeal the amendment, but at least we can have that debate.

    Want to debate whether crime-staggered cities should prohibit the possession of handguns? The Supreme Court has just said, "forget about it."



    Link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/o...,2350076.story

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    The first words of the Amendment are a statement of purpose, not a dictation. I believe these words are very important. "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state". This proves that the right to keep and bear arms is preserved so that we can preserve the security our freedom in America. The problem comes with the misinterpretation of the word militia. We are the militia. Therefor, to be effective in our role of securing freedom, we must have access to all military weaponry available.

    I would make but one exception, that is for nuclear weaponry. The justification is that a nuke does nothing to help us fight tyranny. I don't believe the government would tyrannize the people with nukes (they would leave themselves with no country to rule), similarly I don't believe that we can effectively use them to combat tyranny (because we would have no country left to be free in).

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    You conflate and confuse the right, with the legal protection of that right. I have the right to life even in an evil government which allows others to kill me without consequence.

    I have the right to be secure in my home and property, even in an evil government that allows for the violation of my home and the theft of my property.

    I have the right to protect my life and those of other innocents by whatever means necessary. They can repeal the second amendment and I still have the right to self-defense.

    Your continued argument for the many ways you think the right should be infringed do not protect that same right in any way. It is, in fact, a contradiction.

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    First, I don't make an argument for "the many ways the right should be infringed."

    As a matter of fact, I clearly stated that there are only RARE times that the right should be infringed.

    I am not here to try to argue each detail, or each example.

    But I will say that the idea of allowing any individual, without any scrutiny, to purchase any form of armament, for any purpose..... smacks of complete and total ignorance of the realities of this world.

    The vast majority of people in this world have no need of a Stinger surface-to-air missile. They have no planes that are threatening them, no fly-over bombers, no rogue attacks by civilian or military aircraft.

    So, when John Q. Public walks into the local firearms store, and asks to buy 4 Stinger missiles, it is most definitely acceptable to require for John Q. Public to declare his intent of his desire to purchase them, and to take due diligence that John's true intent is the same as his stated intent.

    It is a foolish and childish argument you make, that any limitation is as equally infringing as another. There are degrees of severity in this life. In your world, touching a hot stove is just as equally dangerous as covering yourself in gasoline, and striking a match.

    Limiting and questioning access to (and I did not say restricting all access to any) weapons of severe consequence is not the same as forbidding one to openly carry a sidearm. If you can not see a difference, first touch a hot stove, then cover yourself with gasoline, and strike a match. Sometimes experience is the best teacher.

    The Constitution is not a fix-all, a solution to every problem. It is the statement of ideas that should guide us to the solutions.

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    It goes to show that these anti folks have absolutely no attention span at all. The opinion took the entire Amendment apart, nearly word for word, and translated it with simple english. It doesn't get any easier than this!
    95% of the anti comments and other media think that SCOTUS "made policy" and "have unleashed death and a return to the dark ages", and thats just not true. They upheld what humans have known for many millenia, called full bans on classes of firearms unconstitutional, and agreed that most restrictions should be left in place and up to local and state legislatures.
    They're just mad that the vote didn't go the other way. They wanted a full repeal of 2A and nothing less.

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    Phoenixphire wrote:
    First, I don't make an argument for "the many ways the right should be infringed."
    From the previous thread...

    ...fully automatic rifles should require a level of training to be owned. There are reasonable and compelling arguments for these positions, due to the level of force and destruction that these weapons have.
    That is infringement, aka gun control. As I've already stated in the other thread, your "reasonable" restrictions based on "the level of force and destruction" are identical in philosophy to the Brady Bunch. The only difference at all is where you personally draw the line of "reasonable" and "level of force."

    Private citizens owned naval vessels equipped for battle. Private citizens owned cannons and artillery. Private citizens owned sufficient quantity of explosives to manufacture "bombs."

    Your argument fails based on the text of the amendment "shall not be infringed." It fails on the basis of history. Infringement is infringement no matter how "reasonable" it might be to you personally.

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    A minor point on a personal level... I'm not trying to smear you personally by equivocating your reasoning with the Brady Bunch. My point is to illustrate that as soon as you concede that "shall not be infringed" doesn't mean what it says - as soon as you concede that the level of force or damage and the "reasonableness" of infringements is the place for the debate, you've given away everything. You don't have a right anymore, you have a privilege that government may or may not allow you based on the current group of politicians and judges deciding what is "reasonable" to them at that moment, and what is an inappropriate "level of force."

    This is clearly the exact same method the gun-banners use because they don't push for bans on baseball bats even though a bat can be used for murder. Or hammers. They want to ban guns because of the "level of force." Once you've conceded that point to them, then it's simply a matter of semantics and playing the moral high road game...

    If a weapon can kill 1000 people, it should be banned. Well then what if it can only kill 100 people? How about only 10? How about only 1 person? Isn't their life worth enough to protect?

    You've begun the debate that Lot had with God about how many people have to be saved for the damage to be prevented. I, for one, have no interest in giving up my right in favor of a slippery slope of "reasonable" restrictions based on the "level of force."

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    Phoenixphire wrote:
    The vast majority of people in this world have no need of a Stinger surface-to-air missile. They have no planes that are threatening them, no fly-over bombers, no rogue attacks by civilian or military aircraft.
    1. Then one could also make the argument the vast majority of people in the US have no real need for owning firearms because the chances that they will be a victim of violent crime is very, very small. For example, he murder rate in DC in 2006 was only 29.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. What are the chances that it could be you?

    2. Just because military aircraft do not threaten America now does not mean that a Red Dawn-style invasion, UN takeover, or socialist dictatorship could not happen in the future, where privately held Stingers, explosives, and automatic weapons would be needed to restore liberty.

    So, when John Q. Public walks into the local firearms store, and asks to buy 4 Stinger missiles, it is most definitely acceptable to require for John Q. Public to declare his intent of his desire to purchase them, and to take due diligence that John's true intent is the same as his stated intent.
    Stingers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each. There are easier and cheaper ways to bring down civilian airplanes (boxcutters, anyone?)

    The Constitution is not a fix-all, a solution to every problem. It is the statement of ideas that should guide us to the solutions.
    If you have a problem with the Second Amendment allowing private ownership of every kind of weapon under the sun, then you should start a movement to repeal or alter the amendment and replace it with wording that better reflects your views:

    "A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, except if such arms would actually be useful in engaging in modern warfare."

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    Phoenixphire wrote:
    As a matter of fact, I clearly stated that there are only RARE times that the right should be infringed.
    FAIL.

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed means just that. infringement is infringement, and nothing else. First off, Stinger missiles ain't "arms", it's ordinance. secondly I do believe that ordinance should be available to the general militia, as a means of combatting government tyrrany. while John Q. may not be able to go to teh gun shop and buy 4 for sporting purposes, I believe that he should be trained in their use as a part of the general militia, if he so desires. and please don't give me any talk about teh National Guard being the militia, because it isn't.

    Secondly, when we do talk of "arms", being handguns, rifles, shotguns, etc. there is no instance when restriction isn't infringement. what you, and teh rest of the folks who argue against these things forgets is teh historical precedent behind the 2nd ammendment. the 2nd was ratified in 1789, just 6 years after the last British troops left teh United STates. just 6 years after the completion of a war in which the general population were forced to take up arms against the established government in order to preserve their lives, liberties, and their sacred honor. do you REALLY believe that they put that ammendment in so that people could go quail hunting?

    The founders placed teh 2nd into the constitution as a specifically enumerated right. that fact does nopt mean tat they granted teh right to us, it just means that they felt compelled to p[lace that right, by name, into the constitution to be very clear about it. The founders knew, as so many have forgotten, that the right to self preservation is a GOD GIVEN right, not a government given privilege.

    let's put your argument into anotehr perspective, as I have doen so many times before.

    In 1938, the Nazi party passed a series of Gun control Laws that expanded on earlier measuers that were similar in nature. on of the primary differences is the fact that the 1938 legislation specifically prohibited Jews from owning or possessing firearms and ammunition. later that same year, Kristallnacht occured, which was the first Nazi pogrom aimed at the Jewish population. under your philosophy, did the Jews have a right to defend themselves? maybe so, but they didn't have teh ability. that is what your way of thinking does. While Gun control advocates won't come right out and attack our right to preservation, they instead decide to attack the tools which help us excersise that right. Frankly, I don't plan on going into that long night, so I'll keep my weapons thank you...

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    Phoenixphire wrote:
    SNIP One of the main points, in favor of limitation of rights in extreme cases, that I was trying to make is that if we choose to only focus on the text, and not the principle, then our rights become based in the words. If the words change, then so would our rights...

    Great point!

    Realize, though, there is more to the picture.

    Focusing on the principle or the text have only a limited usefulness. They only speak to how to argue. Or settle arguments.

    The simplicity on this point is to just tell folks there is a difference between statutory interpretation and constitutional interpretation. Justice Scalia has a book out on his ideas of constitutional interpretation and discusses the difference briefly. The book is A Matter of Interpretation. Its quite good. I enjoyed it.

    An analogy would be that focusing on the exact wording is an exercise in statutory interpretation. Focusing on the principle is anexercise in constitutional interpretation. Just undercut the whole "text" argument by telling them they might want to avoid looking like fools to people who really know by not applying statutory interpretation to a constitution--any constitution. Most won't know what you're talking about; but they sure won't want to taken for a fool because fools are ignored and they want to be believed. Very much so.

    With regard to more picture, its the educational system that is really screwing things up. How did we get so many people who are willing to think a right, any right,should be nearly abolished? How did we get so many people who don't value rights above almost all but God? Willing to think their opinion de jour is more important? How did anti-gun sentiments get such a foothold in our schools? Colleges taught today's teachers. Today's professors came up through yesterday'sschool system. You get what I mean.

    Thomas Jefferson pointed out the importance of educating people.

    I suspect we'll do better if we focus on re-educating the person in front of uson the importance of all rights. This gets in behind the superficial symptom of their opposition to this right.

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    bobernet wrote:
    A minor point on a personal level... I'm not trying to smear you personally by equivocating your reasoning with the Brady Bunch. My point is to illustrate that as soon as you concede that "shall not be infringed" doesn't mean what it says - as soon as you concede that the level of force or damage and the "reasonableness" of infringements is the place for the debate, you've given away everything. You don't have a right anymore, you have a privilege that government may or may not allow you based on the current group of politicians and judges deciding what is "reasonable" to them at that moment, and what is an inappropriate "level of force."

    This is clearly the exact same method the gun-banners use because they don't push for bans on baseball bats even though a bat can be used for murder. Or hammers. They want to ban guns because of the "level of force." Once you've conceded that point to them, then it's simply a matter of semantics and playing the moral high road game...

    If a weapon can kill 1000 people, it should be banned. Well then what if it can only kill 100 people? How about only 10? How about only 1 person? Isn't their life worth enough to protect?

    You've begun the debate that Lot had with God about how many people have to be saved for the damage to be prevented. I, for one, have no interest in giving up my right in favor of a slippery slope of "reasonable" restrictions based on the "level of force."
    Well said.

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    See, that's just it. I get disgusted every time an anti- brings up the strawman argument: "Well should we just be able to buy nukes? Tanks? How about an A-10? Should John Q. be able to have one of those?". This is a non-issue and here's my opinion of why:


    1. Nukes. First off, where are you going to get the materials? To quote Back to the Future, "I'm sure in 1985 you can just go down to the corner store and buy plutonium, but here in 1955 it's a little hard to come by". Well, he was wrong about 1985. Can you think of somewhere you'd be able to buy plutonium in the amount needed to build a bomb here in 2008? Let's say you do. Do you have the precision machinery needed to mill that plutonium into a precise sphere? Yes? Do you have the intense level of skill needed to actually USE said machinery? Cause if you screw it up you don't get a second shot. You do? Splendid. Alright, do you have the precise amounts of shaped charges needed to compress the core into fusion? Yeah? Do you have the machinery to shape them to exacting specifications? The skills? The math calculations? Yeah? How about the delivery system? How about the BILLIONS of dollars it would take to buy/acquire/learn all that stuff? Assuming anyone would actually sell it to you. Free market and all that.

    2. Tanks/A-10s. Well, can you buy a $30 million aircraft, to start? Wonderful. Can you actually fly it? Those don't run on unleaded you know, and if you think 93 octane isn't cheap, you should try JP-5! But if you have that covered surely you have the tens of thousands of dollars that EACH piece of ordinance costs? And you want to fire that GAU-8 Avenger, eh? If you think a box of .44 magnum is expensive try buying 30mm depleted uranium slugs. Now find a firing range that allows that caliber. Again, assuming any company will actually sell to you without you buying bulk. Hope you brought your wallet.

    Even the smallest of crew-served or vehicle mounted ordinance is absurdly expensive to an individual. It's simple economics. John Q. Badguy can't afford this stuff. Maybe Bill Gates could. But he's too busy making software to want to buy an A-10.
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    Kivuli wrote:
    See, that's just it. I get disgusted every time an anti- brings up the strawman argument: "Well should we just be able to buy nukes? Tanks? How about an A-10? Should John Q. be able to have one of those?". This is a non-issue and here's my opinion of why:


    1. Nukes. First off, where are you going to get the materials? To quote Back to the Future, "I'm sure in 1985 you can just go down to the corner store and buy plutonium, but here in 1955 it's a little hard to come by". Well, he was wrong about 1985. Can you think of somewhere you'd be able to buy plutonium in the amount needed to build a bomb here in 2008? Let's say you do. Do you have the precision machinery needed to mill that plutonium into a precise sphere? Yes? Do you have the intense level of skill needed to actually USE said machinery? Cause if you screw it up you don't get a second shot. You do? Splendid. Alright, do you have the precise amounts of shaped charges needed to compress the core into fusion? Yeah? Do you have the machinery to shape them to exacting specifications? The skills? The math calculations? Yeah? How about the delivery system? How about the BILLIONS of dollars it would take to buy/acquire/learn all that stuff? Assuming anyone would actually sell it to you. Free market and all that.

    2. Tanks/A-10s. Well, can you buy a $30 million aircraft, to start? Wonderful. Can you actually fly it? Those don't run on unleaded you know, and if you think 93 octane isn't cheap, you should try JP-5! But if you have that covered surely you have the tens of thousands of dollars that EACH piece of ordinance costs? And you want to fire that GAU-8 Avenger, eh? If you think a box of .44 magnum is expensive try buying 30mm depleted uranium slugs. Now find a firing range that allows that caliber. Again, assuming any company will actually sell to you without you buying bulk. Hope you brought your wallet.

    Even the smallest of crew-served or vehicle mounted ordinance is absurdly expensive to an individual. It's simple economics. John Q. Badguy can't afford this stuff. Maybe Bill Gates could. But he's too busy making software to want to buy an A-10.
    Well, first, let me point out that I am by no means an anti-gun activist. I am almost as far as one can get from being an anti-gun activist as one can get.

    Where I tend to have a difference of opinion in this subject from some of the others is in the level of permissible regulation.

    There are several here who believe that no regulation of any armament is permissible, under the Constitution. They apply a literal, statutory reading to the text, stating that any regulation of any sort is an infringement (and they are correct), and should be struck down.

    Where I disagree is that the Second Amendment is not a statutory, literal text. Nothing in the Constitution is a literal text. The Constitution was designed to be a living document, and even provides in the Constitution, by means of the Cases and Controversies Clause, that the Supreme Court will have the final say in interpreting the applicability of the text to actual events. The fact that we even have a Supreme Court, in and of itself, is evidence that the text is not a literal text, but rather the presentation of an idea.

    For example, who here thinks that society would benefit from an individual having the right to yell "Oh, God. There is a man with a bomb in here!" in a crowded convention hall? Well, if you choose to read the First Amendment literally, then any law prohibiting such an act would be unconstitutional, as the Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech..."

    The reality is that the First Amendment protects the idea that the individual has the right to present unpopular ideas. The reality is also that the Second Amendment does protects the right of the individual to protect himself, his family, and his community from threats of an individual nature, a mob, a insurrection, an invasion, or a tyrannical government.

    Now, should a person be able to own weapons of mass destruction, or weapons that have a very high capacity for destruction? Possibly. But that individual should be subject to some form of scrutiny from the community, as the community has a vested interest in knowing the intent of possession.

    My point is that there is a difference between a Springfield Arms XD or an AR-15, and a Stinger Surface-To-Air shoulder-fired missle or a "suitcase" tactical nuke.

    To state there is not, is foolish and irresponsible.

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    bobernet wrote:
    They want to ban guns because of the "level of force." Once you've conceded that point to them, then it's simply a matter of semantics and playing the moral high road game...

    If a weapon can kill 1000 people, it should be banned. Well then what if it can only kill 100 people? How about only 10? How about only 1 person? Isn't their life worth enough to protect?

    Great point! Remember this: A baseball bat or a knife never runs out of bullets...
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    Phoenixphire wrote:
    Where I disagree is that the Second Amendment is not a statutory, literal text. Nothing in the Constitution is a literal text. The Constitution was designed to be a living document, and even provides in the Constitution, by means of the Cases and Controversies Clause, that the Supreme Court will have the final say in interpreting the applicability of the text to actual events. The fact that we even have a Supreme Court, in and of itself, is evidence that the text is not a literal text, but rather the presentation of an idea.
    Rather than having the meaning of the words on the paper, the federal Constitution means whatever the Supreme Court thinks it ought to mean at a given time?

    A judicial oligarchy and a meaningless Constitution. That doesn't sound like what Jefferson and Madison had in mind.

    For example, who here thinks that society would benefit from an individual having the right to yell "Oh, God. There is a man with a bomb in here!" in a crowded convention hall? Well, if you choose to read the First Amendment literally, then any law prohibiting such an act would be unconstitutional, as the Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech..."
    That's a property issue, not a speech issue. You can yell "BOMB!" all you want in your own home and property. However, if you're a guest in the convention hall, you are required to follow whatever rules the property owners set (e.g. no yelling, no running, no firearms, whatever.) Yelling "BOMB!" in a crowded convention hall is violating the owner's right to control what goes on in his hall, and you will most likely be kicked out by security/police.

    Now, should a person be able to own weapons of mass destruction, or weapons that have a very high capacity for destruction? Possibly. But that individual should be subject to some form of scrutiny from the community, as the community has a vested interest in knowing the intent of possession.
    Walking around with a bomb strapped to one's chest is not going to make one popular with the locals, that is for sure (unless you live on the West Bank.) But this is a property issue, not a 2A issue. You have a right to own whatever weapons you want on your own property. However, individual property owners and businesses have a right to control their own property, including barring anyone from carrying weapons on that property.

    My point is that there is a difference between a Springfield Arms XD or an AR-15, and a Stinger Surface-To-Air shoulder-fired missle or a "suitcase" tactical nuke.
    Again, if you have a problem with the amendment being too permissive, you should start a campaign to have it altered or replaced with wording that better reflects your beliefs on weapons ownership.

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    When people need to communicate something clearly, they "choose their words carefully."

    Why? Because you convey your meaning by the words you choose. How else can you communicate?

    It's really simple. The words of a text determine its meaning. A text cannot be a "living, breathing document." It's inanimate. It's ink on paper, recording the meaning of the one recording it.

    Once the constitution stopped meaning what it said, it began to mean whatever the Court-du-Jour decided, and that's not a constitutional government. It's an Oligarchy by five justices.

    So that's the situation. We are ruled by five people, and their power is plenary within their jurisdiction. The real problem is that their jurisdiction is virtually unlimited. The federal constitution was, by its text, limited to 18 enumerated powers, which limitation has been wholly ignored by the Supreme Court.

    The federal government was never meant to have jurisdiction over how much my toilet flushes, what kind of washing machine I use, or whether I can sell raw milk.

    It's by the indolence and implicit consent of the governed that this has happened in a country that used to zealously guard its individual liberties.

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    like_the_roman wrote:
    Phoenixphire wrote:
    Where I disagree is that the Second Amendment is not a statutory, literal text. Nothing in the Constitution is a literal text. The Constitution was designed to be a living document, and even provides in the Constitution, by means of the Cases and Controversies Clause, that the Supreme Court will have the final say in interpreting the applicability of the text to actual events. The fact that we even have a Supreme Court, in and of itself, is evidence that the text is not a literal text, but rather the presentation of an idea.
    Rather than having the meaning of the words on the paper, the federal Constitution means whatever the Supreme Court thinks it ought to mean at a given time?

    A judicial oligarchy and a meaningless Constitution. That doesn't sound like what Jefferson and Madison had in mind.

    For example, who here thinks that society would benefit from an individual having the right to yell "Oh, God. There is a man with a bomb in here!" in a crowded convention hall? Well, if you choose to read the First Amendment literally, then any law prohibiting such an act would be unconstitutional, as the Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech..."
    That's a property issue, not a speech issue. You can yell "BOMB!" all you want in your own home and property. However, if you're a guest in the convention hall, you are required to follow whatever rules the property owners set (e.g. no yelling, no running, no firearms, whatever.) Yelling "BOMB!" in a crowded convention hall is violating the owner's right to control what goes on in his hall, and you will most likely be kicked out by security/police.

    Now, should a person be able to own weapons of mass destruction, or weapons that have a very high capacity for destruction? Possibly. But that individual should be subject to some form of scrutiny from the community, as the community has a vested interest in knowing the intent of possession.
    Walking around with a bomb strapped to one's chest is not going to make one popular with the locals, that is for sure (unless you live on the West Bank.) But this is a property issue, not a 2A issue. You have a right to own whatever weapons you want on your own property. However, individual property owners and businesses have a right to control their own property, including barring anyone from carrying weapons on that property.

    My point is that there is a difference between a Springfield Arms XD or an AR-15, and a Stinger Surface-To-Air shoulder-fired missle or a "suitcase" tactical nuke.
    Again, if you have a problem with the amendment being too permissive, you should start a campaign to have it altered or replaced with wording that better reflects your beliefs on weapons ownership.
    Point One: You are correct. The words on the paper convey an idea, not an actual statutory point. This is because the words are to be INTERPRETED, and applied to the CASES where the idea becomes relevant. They are not a literal text.

    Point Two: You are incorrect. Yelling "bomb" in a public gathering is not a "property issue". It is a criminal act, commonly referred to as "inciting a riot or panic" or "criminal negligence." The relevant case law is Schenck vs. United States and Brandenburg vs. Ohio. Again, the point is that our Bill of Rights lays out the ideas essential to liberty. It does not spell out unlimited and absolute rights. For example, I can not kill someone if I claim my religion requires it. There are tons of examples available of legitimate limitations to rights.

    Point Three: Claiming that owning a nuke is fine, as long as you only carry it on your own property, is exactly the kind of limitation you have been arguing against. If the right to keep and bear arms is not to be infringed, literally, that means any armament, any where, any time. Period. So why limit it only to one's property? Why can I not access any public property, with a nuke or Stinger or home-made U-haul truck bomb?

    Point Four: I don't need to change the Second Amendment. It works just fine like it is. The right to protect and defend oneself should not be unduly infringed. Those are not the exact words, but that is how it should be read. Why? Because that is what an intrepretive text means. The Constitution is a "living" document. It isn't literally living, obviously. But it is designed to be flexible. That is why the wording is vague, and broad.

    Now, outside of the nit-pick arguement that this has turned into... I do agree that the rights of the law-abiding citizen are being unduly abridged. Silly laws that deliate where one may or may not carry arms are foolish, and ill-concieved. Each area that is made "gun-free" simply disarms the honest, and empowers the criminal. So, again, I am here to stand with you who know that only the foolish and the corrupt wish to disarm the people. While we may disagree on the level to which caution should be exercised, I think we all agree that we are, as a society, in need of reform on the way we percieve firearms.

    I look forward to helping as I can.



  18. #18
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    Point One: You are correct. The words on the paper convey an idea, not an actual statutory point. This is because the words are to be INTERPRETED, and applied to the CASES where the idea becomes relevant. They are not a literal text.
    I don't know whether to be disgusted or outraged. What you're saying is that the words in the Constitution don't mean anything until nine black robed oligarchs decide it does. If the Constitution doesn't mean anything by itself, then why have a Constitution at all then? Just eliminate the Congress and the executive branch and have a judicial dictatorship a la Judge Dredd.

    If Madison and all those at the Constitutional Convention had really wanted it that way, they wouldn't have gone through all the trouble they did to use very specific language limiting the powers of the federal government. The Constitution means what it means and needs no special interpretive skills beyond a 5th grade reading comprehension level. When it says "shall not be infringed" it means just that, not something else.

    Point Two: You are incorrect. Yelling "bomb" in a public gathering is not a "property issue". It is a criminal act, commonly referred to as "inciting a riot or panic" or "criminal negligence." The relevant case law is Schenck vs. United States and Brandenburg vs. Ohio. Again, the point is that our Bill of Rights lays out the ideas essential to liberty. It does not spell out unlimited and absolute rights. For example, I can not kill someone if I claim my religion requires it. There are tons of examples available of legitimate limitations to rights.
    Either the shouter is the owner of the establishment or he is not. If he is the owner, then he is allowed to do whatever he wants with the property, including yelling "BOMB!" though he would be clearly violating the evident contract which he made with the patrons: to put on a event which the patrons can attend.

    By disturbing this event, he is violating the contract and the patrons should be refunded or reimbursed in case of physical injury.

    If the shouter is not the owner, then he is clearly trespassing on the owner’s property by disturbing the event. He was permitted on that property on the ground that he would peacefully attend the event, a contract which he is obviously violating.

    The false shouter of "BOMB!," therefore, is punishable not because free speech should be restricted, but because he is violating the property rights of the owner.

    Point Three: Claiming that owning a nuke is fine, as long as you only carry it on your own property, is exactly the kind of limitation you have been arguing against. If the right to keep and bear arms is not to be infringed, literally, that means any armament, any where, any time. Period. So why limit it only to one's property? Why can I not access any public property, with a nuke or Stinger or home-made U-haul truck bomb?
    I never said anything about carrying of weapons before that point. I said people should be allowed to purchase and possess whatever they want, but carrying is obviously restricted by private property.

    If you walk into my house carrying a handgun, it is my right as property owner to have you disarm or leave - same thing with stores, restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. The Second Amendment is only a limitation on government restrictions, not on private entities. While we would all like the Second Amendment to be universally recognized, we must recognize the property rights of others first.

    Those are not the exact words, but that is how it should be read. Why? Because that is what an intrepretive text means. The Constitution is a "living" document. It isn't literally living, obviously. But it is designed to be flexible.
    A "living" constitution is no constitution at all. It could mean one thing one day and then something entirely different the next, depending entirely on the whims and emotions of nine unelected people. That's no way to run a government. Imagine that the laws against rape or murder are "living" and open to interpretation by a select few and you see the absurdity of your arguement.

    What if the interpretation went the other way in favor of arming state militias and disarming civilians? Would you give up your rifles and handguns to the nearest police department and join the Brady Bunch, since whatever the Supreme Court says automatically goes?

    That is why the wording is vague, and broad.
    1. "Congress shall make no law..."
    2. "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed..."
    4. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures..."
    5. "No person shall be... compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself."

    Yep! Sounds vague to me! Might need to get me an elementary school education to figure our what that mumbo-jumbo means!

    Now, outside of the nit-pick arguement that this has turned into... I do agree that the rights of the law-abiding citizen are being unduly abridged. Silly laws that deliate where one may or may not carry arms are foolish, and ill-concieved. Each area that is made "gun-free" simply disarms the honest, and empowers the criminal. So, again, I am here to stand with you who know that only the foolish and the corrupt wish to disarm the people. While we may disagree on the level to which caution should be exercised, I think we all agree that we are, as a society, in need of reform on the way we percieve firearms.
    This isn't a nit-pick argument. This is a serious discussion on whether the Constitution actually means what it says, or if it is just a piece of paper to be cast aside whenever it's convenient for the federal government to do so. You obviously fall into the latter camp, and are thus unreliable when it comes to the preservation of liberty against government tyranny, of which the Second Amendment is the most important part.

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    The arguments have all been laid out so I see no point in continuing a debate that's unlikely to change any minds.

    Phoenixphire thinks the Constitution can mean whatever those in power want it to mean and is, thus, in favor of gun control. Many of us are not.


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    bobernet wrote:
    The arguments have all been laid out so I see no point in continuing a debate that's unlikely to change any minds.

    Phoenixphire thinks the Constitution can mean whatever those in power want it to mean and is, thus, in favor of gun control. Many of us are not.
    Agreed.

    Just to clarify, though, the old tired "You can't yell 'Fire!' in a theater" argument relies on abuse of a right. You can possess the ability to free speech, but you are responsible for the consequences of its exercise. To make this analogous to the Second Amendment, you are permitted to own whatever arms you wish, but you are responsible for the consequences of using them. The only restrictions that would be analogous to those on the First are, for example, restrictions on discharge of firearms within city limits. Restrictions on ownership as well as licensing amount to prior restraint.

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    I am frustrated with this discussion.

    I think it is because one view point is of a black and white perspective, and the other is one of shades of grey.

    I have been attacked, with comments that I must be saying the words in the Constitution don't mean anything until nine judges say it does. Really? You think that because I don't think that every person should not have unlimited access to any weapon, that I think the Constitution is pointless?

    It is not a black and white scenario. Nothing in this world is black and white. There are degrees of severity, degrees of risk.

    Stating that I must hate the Constitution, because I respect the fact that the Constitution itself declares that the Supreme Court must decide how the Constitution applies to actual Cases and Controversies that arise, is silly.

    I could imply the same, that you must be evil, as you don't respect the authority of the Supreme Court, those people appointed by elected officials, as dictated in THE CONSTITUTION. I could state that since you think the Constitution is so flawed as to provide the Supreme Court with the authority to decide how the Constitution applies to real events, you should lobby to change it.

    But I don't make these points, simply because they are silly. I don't think that because you don't like the idea of "9 people controlling the rights of the people", that you are evil. I just disagree that that is the case. The Supreme Court can only declare laws unconstitutional, they can not make new ones... So, every law that has infringed on our rights is only partially the responsibility of the Court. The Legislatures and Congress that created them, and the Governors and President that signed them are at fault as well.

    And, I agree that there are many laws currently in place that unduly restrict the right to bear arms. But, this was not the object of the original discussion. The point was that some were saying that ANY restriction, at ANY time, on ANY form of armament was unconstitutional. That was the point on which I disagreed. The premise of my argument was that the text of the Constitution is not a LITERAL TEXT. It is a Constitution, not a law. It lies out IDEAS, not STATUES. That is what no one here seems to understand. The Constitution is designed to be INTERPRETED and APPLIED. Statues are literal text. They are SPECIFIC in nature. When you apply a STATUTORY reading to a CONSTITUTIONAL text, you end up with arguments like this, where people want to declare that there is an ABSOLUTE being declared by the text, when there isn't, but rather a fundamental, core idea. An IDEA that needs to be applied to a real world. And the best thing is: Our Constitution delineates how it should be done. By appointed justices, on a Supreme Court of the land.

    That is why you are wrong when you state that the Constitution is a statutory text, a black and white "it-means-what-it-says". It simply isn't. It is a constitutional text, by its very design in need of interpretation and application.

    The other point I want to make is that one should not think in black and white. This is not a absolute world. We have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burns. We have 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree murder, as well as degrees manslaughter. We have rare, medium rare, medium, done, and well done steaks. We have white, yellow, red, brown, and black people. This world is full of degrees of severity and differentiation.

    Until you see that restricting access to a sidearm is not equal to restricting access to anti-aircraft missiles, you will continue to be one of the ones pointlessly doing this:

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    Phoenixphire wrote:
    I could state that since you think the Constitution is so flawed as to provide the Supreme Court with the authority to decide how the Constitution applies to real events, you should lobby to change it.
    The Constitution does not give that or any authority to the Supreme Court. They gave that authority to themselves in Maybury v. Madison. I don't think our founding fathers were so foolish as to simply replace a king with a judge but in essence allow them the same authority.

    We the people are to enforce the meaning of the Constitution when our government fails to do so, and our power comes from the Second Amendment.

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    The distinction we should be discussing is between a search for an objective meaning of the 2A and a free-wheeling, changing-with-the-times meaning.

    There is in fact an objective way to determine the implicit limitations of the scope of the 2A, and that is by determining what the writers meant by it when it was written. This is what the majority did in Heller.

    What the writers meant by "shall not be infringed" is determined by the context in which it was written, as the majority did, and not by the current state of our culture, as the minority would have us do.

    When the writers drafted the 2A, it was the practice at the time to deny felons and insane persons the right to keep and bear arms within jurisdictions that had already guaranteed a right to keep and bear arms. Therefore there's nothing inconsistent about concluding that "shall not be infringed" is limited by those exceptions.

    What is inconsistent, what we must not do, is bring new limitations to bear on a text that was not meant, by the writers, to be burdened with them. That's where the process of amendment comes in. If we find that a constitutional provision as written no longer serves its purposes because the times have changed, we can't just rewrite the text in the courts -- we have to amend it by the constitutional process for changing the text.

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    The whole point Pheonix, is that you're using the same language as the Brady Bunch and almost all of the Gun Grabbers. I now tend to agree with the others in that if give an inch, another inch is all they're gonna want until they get that one, then they only want 2 more. Slippery slope? Damned straight.

    Personally I see the whole Yelling 'Fire' in a crowded place argument to be non-applicable. This is illegal because you're infringing on the rights of those around you by that action, but simply owning a stinger missle, etc, you're not hurting anyone. The potential is there, sure, but the same can be said of owning a firearm. You COULD go shoot up a school, but that's not the firearm's fault, not the fault of the peaceable gun-owner. Walking around with a gun in your belt doesn't hurt anyone, owning a tactical nuclear weapon doesn't either, untill you use them for misdeeds.

    As everyone else has said, the typical BG isn't going to get his hands on one of these because the cost is far too high, and it's not like he could steal it because the people in charge of such things have them protected very well.

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    LeagueOf1291 wrote:
    [...]
    The federal government was never meant to have jurisdiction over how much my toilet flushes, what kind of washing machine I use, or whether I can sell raw milk.
    [...]
    Don't forget the light bulbs...

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