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Thread: Question about our State Constitution regarding bearing arms

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    Question about our State Constitution regarding bearing arms

    Our State Constitution reads: The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.


    What does the "but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men." mean?

    Nothing shall be an authorization for individuals or corporations to employ an armed body of men? Does that mean it's unlawful to maintain an armed body of men? Aren't our National Guard, Police Forces, and even private armed security agencies considered an "armed body of men"?

    Can someone please define this sentence? Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLT View Post
    The National Guard and police forces are not employed by an individual or corporation. The National Guard is under the authority of the State Government. Police Forces are under the authority of municipal governments. Private security, in order to be armed, require licensing by the state.

    Now, I guess one could hire their own unlicensed armed body of women and not be in violation....
    Makes sense.. But considering state law has no restrictions what so ever on a private company hiring their own armed security, without any special licensing or training. Take Boeing, for example. They all have armed security, and don't require any state or local licensing. Same with many other corporations. The Constitution didn't seem very specific about it though. It just said "maintaining or organizing an armed body of men". Didn't say anything about getting them licensed or anything. I wonder what exactly the Supreme Court's opinion was on that.
    Last edited by Aaron1124; 07-25-2010 at 01:25 AM.

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    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    "but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men."
    Our legislature has provided for security guards and of course this does not apply to the State as the Military Reserves and National Guard.
    The restriction is preventing individuals or corporations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    Makes sense.. But considering state law has no restrictions what so ever on a private company hiring their own armed security, without any special licensing or training. Take Boeing, for example. They all have armed security, and don't require any state or local licensing. Same with many other corporations. The Constitution didn't seem very specific about it though. It just said "maintaining or organizing an armed body of men". Didn't say anything about getting them licensed or anything. I wonder what exactly the Supreme Court's opinion was on that.
    RCW 18.170.020
    Exemptions.


    The requirements of this chapter do not apply to:

    (1) A person who is employed exclusively or regularly by one employer and performs the functions of a private security guard solely in connection with the affairs of that employer, if the employer is not a private security company;

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    Campaign Veteran ak56's Avatar
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    I believe it means that an individual or corporations right to maintain an armed body is not constitutionally protected, so the state has reserved the right to regulate it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDave View Post
    RCW 18.170.020
    Exemptions.


    The requirements of this chapter do not apply to:

    (1) A person who is employed exclusively or regularly by one employer and performs the functions of a private security guard solely in connection with the affairs of that employer, if the employer is not a private security company;
    In your opinion, why do you feel the State has mandated licensing for sub contracting agencies and security officers of said agencies, but not security officers whom are exclusively employed by a lone corporation, such as, say, Boeing? What do you feel their logic is behind it?

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    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    In your opinion, why do you feel the State has mandated licensing for sub contracting agencies and security officers of said agencies, but not security officers whom are exclusively employed by a lone corporation, such as, say, Boeing? What do you feel their logic is behind it?
    Boeing!

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    Aye?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    Makes sense.. But considering state law has no restrictions what so ever on a private company hiring their own armed security, without any special licensing or training. Take Boeing, for example. They all have armed security, and don't require any state or local licensing. Same with many other corporations. The Constitution didn't seem very specific about it though. It just said "maintaining or organizing an armed body of men". Didn't say anything about getting them licensed or anything. I wonder what exactly the Supreme Court's opinion was on that.
    unless I am SEVERELY mistaken Boeing is not considered a "private corporation" they are actually a government contractor who supplies top secret airplanes parts and blueprints to the government. Thus all employees who regularly, or have the CHANCE of on occasion come into contact with "sensitive" materials (security guards would fit both of these descriptions) have to be authorized by the FED.

    For those unfamiliar with this process it involves an EXTREMELY lengthy background check that is SUPPOSED to only go back the last 7 years or until you turned 18 whichever is closer. However it is not unheard of investigations going back throught the high school years.

    ANYONE who knew you will be personally questioned, and even asked if anyone else in the area knows you, which leads to them getting questioned as well. All of this forms a good basis for their assessment of your character, or something to that effect.

    Your credit history is examined as well as your Debt to Income ratio. Expunged or sealed juvenile records (they are still maintained by the city or county btw...) are looked into.

    Basically it boils down to if you ever farted on a subway they will find out.

    Perhaps that is why the state does not require them to go through the state required background check?
    Last edited by devildoc5; 07-25-2010 at 05:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLT View Post
    I think it is to protect companies that would use the security agencies. Let's say Bob's Hardware Store wants an armed security guard at night to guard the dog houses for sale in the parking lot. Bob has two choices:

    1. He can hire his own security guard. Bob can screen applications, check references, heck even require the guy to shoot at a gun range. It's totally up to Bob who he hires. Bob doesn't want some nimrod with a gun who will shoot at every shadow that moves because that would be a huge liability risk. Since it is up to Bob whom he hires, the state figures it's Bob's choice and they aren't going to interfere.

    2. Bob could contract with a security company. In this case, Bob is pretty much at the mercy of whom the security company sends out that night. The licensing process is meant to ensure that the person the security company sends out to Bob's property isn't just some nimrod with a gun. Bob would probably still be somewhat liable for what the security company's guy did on his property. Especially if said security company is simply a nimrod with a gun calling him self BillyJoe's Security and Gumshoe Corp.
    Gotcha. That makes sense. And Devildoc, I just used Boeing as an example, because they were the first agency to pop in my mind. There are numerous companies who hire their own security. Many retail stores, for example. Many private property owners with businesses on them hire their own security. I use to work for the Gateway Center Plaza in Federal Way. I was hired directly by the owners of the property. I went through absolutely no training, and they bought me O.C Spray from Blumenthals, and told me I can bring my personal weapons if I wanted, as long as I let them know what I was bringing.
    Last edited by Aaron1124; 07-25-2010 at 11:45 AM.

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak56 View Post
    I believe it means that an individual or corporations right to maintain an armed body is not constitutionally protected, so the state has reserved the right to regulate it.
    This prohibition on private individuals and corporations has it's roots in the groups of armed men that were employed by individuals such as ranchers and corporations such as the railroads in the late 1800's. Cattlemen's associations were known to field their private militias to combat cattle theft. Railroads had their armed thugs that were supposed to deal with anyone that got in their way as they marched across the country. Today they survive in the form of private security firms such as Pinkerton's, Wackenhut, etc, but are highly regulated as to their actions.

    The State Constitution protects Bill Gate's right to "arms" but it prohibits him from raising an private "militia". It's ok for him to maintain an armed body to protect his holdings, he just has to call it "private security". Essentially it's all in the name.
    Last edited by amlevin; 07-25-2010 at 11:46 AM.

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    Regular Member gsx1138's Avatar
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    However, this law leaves us regular folks swinging in the wind if we want to form our own militia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    This prohibition on private individuals and corporations has it's roots in the groups of armed men that were employed by individuals such as ranchers and corporations such as the railroads in the late 1800's. Cattlemen's associations were known to field their private militias to combat cattle theft. Railroads had their armed thugs that were supposed to deal with anyone that got in their way as they marched across the country. Today they survive in the form of private security firms such as Pinkerton's, Wackenhut, etc, but are highly regulated as to their actions.

    The State Constitution protects Bill Gate's right to "arms" but it prohibits him from raising an private "militia". It's ok for him to maintain an armed body to protect his holdings, he just has to call it a "security force". Essentially it's all in the name.
    It is essentially the same thing, which doesn't make sense to me. Sorry if it's gone right over my head, but I'm trying to distinguish the two. Bill Gates has every right to hire an "armed body of men" to protect himself, but he simply can't call them a militia? Does this mean that they are exclusively employed to *him* and only him, and their duties and responsibilities are only to protect him, and only him, rather than being for hire to others?

    If I were leaving on a lengthy vacation, and I hired a few friends, whom I know are proficient in weapons training, to watch over my house, that would essentially be me hiring an "armed body of men" to watch over my property, right? It would just me that I could be civilly liable for their actions if they made a stupid decision, right?
    Last edited by Aaron1124; 07-25-2010 at 11:50 AM.

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    It's pretty simple. It neither allows nor forbids an armed body of men, but says that the right to have an armed body of men is not protected by the right of the individual to keep and bear arms. That is, the legislature may act to limit or control armed bodies of men.

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    It is essentially the same thing, which doesn't make sense to me. Sorry if it's gone right over my head, but I'm trying to distinguish the two. Bill Gates has every right to hire an "armed body of men" to protect himself, but he simply can't call them a militia? Does this mean that they are exclusively employed to *him* and only him, and their duties and responsibilities are only to protect him, and only him, rather than being for hire to others?

    If I were leaving on a lengthy vacation, and I hired a few friends, whom I know are proficient in weapons training, to watch over my house, that would essentially be me hiring an "armed body of men" to watch over my property, right? It would just me that I could be civilly liable for their actions if they made a stupid decision, right?
    If your "armed body" merely protects you and your assets it is then considered "Security". If you send it out patroling your neighborhood or otherwise behaving like a para-military force it would more likely be considered a "militia".

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    Regular Member killchain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsx1138 View Post
    However, this law leaves us regular folks swinging in the wind if we want to form our own militia.
    I think that is exactly what it was written for. To keep "seperatists" from forming militias.

    See, because technically most of us are part of the "unorganized militia" due to Selective Service.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLT View Post
    Now, I guess one could hire their own unlicensed armed body of women and not be in violation....

    Hmmm, we might have something here !

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLT
    Now, I guess one could hire their own unlicensed armed body of women and not be in violation....
    Hire=Wages
    Not many individuals cab afford to hire a bunch of guys just to carry guns.

    The ones that CAN afford to, REALLY CAN!
    Last edited by amlevin; 07-27-2010 at 03:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by killchain View Post
    I think that is exactly what it was written for. To keep "seperatists" from forming militias.

    See, because technically most of us are part of the "unorganized militia" due to Selective Service.
    Sorry KC, but I'm gonna have to call B.S. on that one. At the time the state constitution was written, nobody had any thoughts whatsoever about "separatist militias" even though we'd just gone through a bloody civil war 24 years earlier.

    Amlevin is correct in his assessment. The Constitution does not recognize a "right" to form an armed body of men. Doesn't say you can't, but it is not protected by the constitution if you do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Workman View Post
    Sorry KC, but I'm gonna have to call B.S. on that one. At the time the state constitution was written, nobody had any thoughts whatsoever about "separatist militias" even though we'd just gone through a bloody civil war 24 years earlier.

    Amlevin is correct in his assessment. The Constitution does not recognize a "right" to form an armed body of men. Doesn't say you can't, but it is not protected by the constitution if you do.
    I should rephrase; I was thinking in the context of the civil war. When I said "seperatist militia" that's what was on my mind.

    Hah, we learn things every day. Guess I was wrong.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Workman View Post
    Amlevin is correct in his assessment. The Constitution does not recognize a "right" to form an armed body of men. Doesn't say you can't, but it is not protected by the constitution if you do.
    Dave---

    While I agree with the statement, it was Tawnos, not I that posted it.

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