Question on wording of the Second amendment

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constitution:
AMENDMENT II

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.

Does this truly refer to firearms? In no words are firearms mentioned, just armaments.
Armaments
1. The weapons and supplies of war with which a military unit is equipped.

In no part does it say that citizens are allowed all weapons of the military. Civilians can't purchase a nuclear bomb or a missile. They can't buy chemical weapons.

So why is the assumption that it is guns that are protected? You are allowed weapons.

Armaments could mean swords. It could mean knives. Where in the constitution is the clause that says modern firearms are protected?

And if there needed to be weapons that are suitible for modern use, why not single shot bolt action rifles?

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

I swear to god, it sometimes yanks and their constitutional interpretations remind me of very religious people trying to interpret the bible or the koran, treating the word of some politicians two hundred years ago as if it was the word of whatever god you subscribe too.

I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court has already ruled on such issues, and it is they who decide what is meant by the constitution.

First of all, do we really need another one of these?

Anyway, nuclear weapons are not arms but firearms are. There is no reason to say firearms because firearms are arms (hence the arm part of firearm). It is the same way with the First Amendment. The First Amendment does not define what kind of speech it is referring to and therefore it is referring to all kinds of speech.

As for the militia part of your statement, no. "The right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". It did not say the right of the militia to keep and bear arms. The first part of the 2nd Amendment is simply one justification. The equivalent would be me saying, a car being necessary to get to work I will own a car. The first part does not constrain my use of a car to only driving to work.

taciturnCandid:

constitution:
AMENDMENT II

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.

Does this truly refer to firearms? In no words are firearms mentioned, just armaments.
Armaments
1. The weapons and supplies of war with which a military unit is equipped.

In no part does it say that citizens are allowed all weapons of the military. Civilians can't purchase a nuclear bomb or a missile. They can't buy chemical weapons.

So why is the assumption that it is guns that are protected? You are allowed weapons.

Armaments could mean swords. It could mean knives. Where in the constitution is the clause that says modern firearms are protected?

And if there needed to be weapons that are suitible for modern use, why not single shot bolt action rifles?

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

The founders went into great detail in the federalist papers on the duty of citizens to be armed. The Federalist papers should be considered mandatory reading for American History, and I am not sure why they are not required reading.

They strongly feared a central government or having a standing military would get out of control and then be turned against the people. Considering that is what they just fought against, they wanted to ensure proper failsafes to prevent it from happening again. They actually intended the citizens to be just as armed as the miltary, so they could fight against them if the military was turned against their own people. Now that is a scary thought in this day and age of mass weaponry and crime, so we certainly do not want that to happen due to the high probability that then armed organized groups would then be able to take over portions of the country by force. But yes, that was their original intention, not only was it a right for the citizens to be armed, but they actually considered it a duty to their nation. They went into further detail listing instructions that included at what point the government would be considered a "tyrannical government" and that in the case that those things were to occur, it was no longer their government and it was the duty of the citizens to fight against it. There is no need to reinterpret what was plainly explained in the federalist papers.

Some people take it quite literally and say this refers of firearms, but firearms of the time: Muskets and the like.
As for your last point, it does sound to me to be about militias rather than private citizens, about the people in the sense of "populace" rather than "each and every one of you individual people". They came out of a war against their former rulers and relied heavily on militias. Not to forget that the method of travelling around, of lending federal support etc. was simply incomparable to today.

That said, while all these are in my view valid points, it doesn't really matter now. As far as I know, the Supreme Court has ruled at some point (1970s or something?) that the second amendment means that it applies to each individual person. Whether that was the original intention or not is irrelevant then. Hypothetically, another Supreme Court ruling could change that, I guess, but it's unlikely to restore the original intention, if it differed.

Plus - and here I agree with the clockmaker - it's not really that important what the original intention was. The Founding Fathers may have been smart, but they were far from flawless. A common example of their failing is slavery remaining legal (especially while there were grandious talks of all men being created equally), not to mention the role of women. They were products of their time, as is the constitution. I disagree with the Supreme Court decision, but that doesn't change the fact that I think the constitution needs to be, as some people put it, "living", i.e. adaptable to change and improvement.

taciturnCandid:

constitution:
AMENDMENT II

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.

Does this truly refer to firearms? In no words are firearms mentioned, just armaments.
Armaments
1. The weapons and supplies of war with which a military unit is equipped.

In no part does it say that citizens are allowed all weapons of the military. Civilians can't purchase a nuclear bomb or a missile. They can't buy chemical weapons.

So why is the assumption that it is guns that are protected? You are allowed weapons.

Armaments could mean swords. It could mean knives. Where in the constitution is the clause that says modern firearms are protected?

And if there needed to be weapons that are suitible for modern use, why not single shot bolt action rifles?

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

There are a few Supreme Court Cases that have clarified some things (such as being able to possess a weapon unrelated to a militia, the right of the government/state to lay down regulations on what types of weapons/modifications are legal, regulations for the sale and transport of guns, registrations, etc).

I think the biggest problem we're having now is there is virtually no constitutional basis for the type of debate we are having here. When the second amendment was written, the highest powered "arms" the people could reasonably get ahold of were single-fire muskets. There were some cannons around, but the idea of a citizen getting ahold of a cannon in those days is like the idea of a citizen today getting ahold of an anti-aircraft missile. The SC cases that have occurred have clarified things over the years, but the hard truth is we strayed into unknown territory on this a long time ago. When you come from a time when reloading after a single shot can take upwards of 1-3 minutes, the idea of a weapon that the average citizen can afford and wield that can mow down dozens of people in a matter of seconds is inconceivable.

Anyway, as for our current problems, I don't think there's a single court case, or amendment, or piece of legislation that can accurately sum up what should be done about high-powered firearms. Not only because it's an intricate subject, but also because it's always changing, and the idea of a sweeping law that can stand the test of time is just impossible. Lord knows we'll be having this discussion all over again when phasers go commercial. I think the spirit of the amendment should always be taken into account, but also always brought into the context of the modern world and situation. And we need to be mature and brave enough to accept that there could come a time when we come across a situation the founding fathers didn't plan for, and have the courage to summon up the same kind of wisdom and creativity they had to find a solution in the present.

Lil devils x:

taciturnCandid:

constitution:
AMENDMENT II

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.

Does this truly refer to firearms? In no words are firearms mentioned, just armaments.
Armaments
1. The weapons and supplies of war with which a military unit is equipped.

In no part does it say that citizens are allowed all weapons of the military. Civilians can't purchase a nuclear bomb or a missile. They can't buy chemical weapons.

So why is the assumption that it is guns that are protected? You are allowed weapons.

Armaments could mean swords. It could mean knives. Where in the constitution is the clause that says modern firearms are protected?

And if there needed to be weapons that are suitible for modern use, why not single shot bolt action rifles?

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

The founders went into great detail in the federalist papers on the duty of citizens to be armed. The Federalist papers should be considered mandatory reading for American History, and I am not sure why they are not required reading.

They strongly feared a central government or having a standing military would get out of control and then be turned against the people. Considering that is what they just fought against, they wanted to ensure proper failsafes to prevent it from happening again. They actually intended the citizens to be just as armed as the miltary, so they could fight against them if the military was turned against their own people. Now that is a scary thought in this day and age of mass weaponry and crime, so we certainly do not want that to happen due to the high probability that then armed organized groups would then be able to take over portions of the country by force. But yes, that was their original intention, not only was it a right for the citizens to be armed, but they actually considered it a duty to their nation. They went into further detail listing instructions that included at what point the government would be considered a "tyrannical government" and that in the case that those things were to occur, it was no longer their government and it was the duty of the citizens to fight against it. There is no need to reinterpret what was plainly explained in the federalist papers.

My point is that there really should be an errata to make the federalist papers canon. I mean, the federalist papers were never law. They weren't even written by the entire convention. Only 3 delegate's opinion was put into the paper.

so either errata it in or the federalist papers are irrelevant.

There needs to be better wording and clarification on many things in the constitution. Some people act like it is some holy text, but it was made by people. And people make mistakes.

taciturnCandid:

constitution:
AMENDMENT II

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.

Does this truly refer to firearms? In no words are firearms mentioned, just armaments.
Armaments
1. The weapons and supplies of war with which a military unit is equipped.

In no part does it say that citizens are allowed all weapons of the military. Civilians can't purchase a nuclear bomb or a missile. They can't buy chemical weapons.

So why is the assumption that it is guns that are protected? You are allowed weapons.

Armaments could mean swords. It could mean knives. Where in the constitution is the clause that says modern firearms are protected?

And if there needed to be weapons that are suitible for modern use, why not single shot bolt action rifles?

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

Because how would swords stop the government from abusing it's power? The weapons they were talking about could reasonably be used to defend liberty, a bunch of guys with knives are not gonna be able to defend liberty against a bunch of soldiers with guns. As for if people are allowed to have said weapons well "the right of the people to keep and bear arms".

taciturnCandid:
My point is that there really should be an errata to make the federalist papers canon. I mean, the federalist papers were never law. They weren't even written by the entire convention. Only 3 delegate's opinion was put into the paper.

Fine, here is a challenge. Find me even one constitutional delegate that was not in favor of the right to keep and bear arms.

There needs to be better wording and clarification on many things in the constitution.

Why? It is simple. The government does not have the right to bar the keeping and bearing of arms.

Some people act like it is some holy text, but it was made by people. And people make mistakes.

If you think that is the case then change the fucking law. I am so sick of people saying that we should just reinterpret the law. If you do not like it then change it. But if you just reinterpret it out of existence then you undermine the rule of law.

farson135:

taciturnCandid:
My point is that there really should be an errata to make the federalist papers canon. I mean, the federalist papers were never law. They weren't even written by the entire convention. Only 3 delegate's opinion was put into the paper.

Fine, here is a challenge. Find me even one constitutional delegate that was not in favor of the right to keep and bear arms.

There needs to be better wording and clarification on many things in the constitution.

Why? It is simple. The government does not have the right to bar the keeping and bearing of arms.

Some people act like it is some holy text, but it was made by people. And people make mistakes.

If you think that is the case then change the fucking law. I am so sick of people saying that we should just reinterpret the law. If you do not like it then change it. But if you just reinterpret it out of existence then you undermine the rule of law.

Whoa there tiger.

I was simply stating that all these arguments over reinterpretations shouldn't have to happen if the text is clear.

Bad writing is bad writing. That much is clear.

Would you be happy if they made the amendment read that people have the right to weapons?

I'm not saying remove guns or gun control, just to make the stupid wording better.

farson135:
Why? It is simple. The government does not have the right to bar the keeping and bearing of arms.

If you're going to ignore the obvious implications being made here, then you're just being silly. And because I don't feel like writing it all out again, here is quoting me just about three posts up:

Lilani:
I think the biggest problem we're having now is there is virtually no constitutional basis for the type of debate we are having here. When the second amendment was written, the highest powered "arms" the people could reasonably get ahold of were single-fire muskets. There were some cannons around, but the idea of a citizen getting ahold of a cannon in those days is like the idea of a citizen today getting ahold of an anti-aircraft missile. The SC cases that have occurred have clarified things over the years, but the hard truth is we strayed into unknown territory on this a long time ago. When you come from a time when reloading after a single shot can take upwards of 1-3 minutes, the idea of a weapon that the average citizen can afford and wield that can mow down dozens of people in a matter of seconds is inconceivable.

If you're going to sit here and say we should read the second amendment verbatim, regardless of if the "arms" we're talking about are muskets, pistols, hunting rifles, shotguns, AK-47s, M-16s, anti-aircraft missiles or nuclear bombs then...well...good luck with that. I think you'll have some difficulty seeing much legislation that is to your liking, if not due to US politics, then due to UN sanctions.

Xan Krieger:

taciturnCandid:

constitution:
AMENDMENT II

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.

Does this truly refer to firearms? In no words are firearms mentioned, just armaments.
Armaments
1. The weapons and supplies of war with which a military unit is equipped.

In no part does it say that citizens are allowed all weapons of the military. Civilians can't purchase a nuclear bomb or a missile. They can't buy chemical weapons.

So why is the assumption that it is guns that are protected? You are allowed weapons.

Armaments could mean swords. It could mean knives. Where in the constitution is the clause that says modern firearms are protected?

And if there needed to be weapons that are suitible for modern use, why not single shot bolt action rifles?

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

Because how would swords stop the government from abusing it's power? The weapons they were talking about could reasonably be used to defend liberty, a bunch of guys with knives are not gonna be able to defend liberty against a bunch of soldiers with guns. As for if people are allowed to have said weapons well "the right of the people to keep and bear arms".

If you think that the weapons you have can buy already is going to stop a bunch of soldier you are wrong. The technology in the hands of the soldiers combined with the experience is a huge advantage. Heck, if there is a large enough resistance they can take care of it from thousands of miles away.

The reason why there is a difficulty in Afghanistan and Iraq is because it is occupation. When you don't know who the enemy is, it is hard to find them. And despite this, despite all the people who want to get rid of the US troops and have access to weapons, soldier suicides are more common than deaths.

Let us not forget things like the fact that Iceland did an entire revolution without killing anyone. Without having to use a gun they defended their liberty.

But the main thing is that the wording is unclear and it needs revising for a modern era. Maybe that errata is that all weapons should be available. But just something to make things clear and to stop people fighting over poor wording

taciturnCandid:

Xan Krieger:

taciturnCandid:

Does this truly refer to firearms? In no words are firearms mentioned, just armaments.
Armaments
1. The weapons and supplies of war with which a military unit is equipped.

In no part does it say that citizens are allowed all weapons of the military. Civilians can't purchase a nuclear bomb or a missile. They can't buy chemical weapons.

So why is the assumption that it is guns that are protected? You are allowed weapons.

Armaments could mean swords. It could mean knives. Where in the constitution is the clause that says modern firearms are protected?

And if there needed to be weapons that are suitible for modern use, why not single shot bolt action rifles?

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

Because how would swords stop the government from abusing it's power? The weapons they were talking about could reasonably be used to defend liberty, a bunch of guys with knives are not gonna be able to defend liberty against a bunch of soldiers with guns. As for if people are allowed to have said weapons well "the right of the people to keep and bear arms".

If you think that the weapons you have can buy already is going to stop a bunch of soldier you are wrong. The technology in the hands of the soldiers combined with the experience is a huge advantage. Heck, if there is a large enough resistance they can take care of it from thousands of miles away.

The reason why there is a difficulty in Afghanistan and Iraq is because it is occupation. When you don't know who the enemy is, it is hard to find them. And despite this, despite all the people who want to get rid of the US troops and have access to weapons, soldier suicides are more common than deaths.

Let us not forget things like the fact that Iceland did an entire revolution without killing anyone. Without having to use a gun they defended their liberty.

But the main thing is that the wording is unclear and it needs revising for a modern era. Maybe that errata is that all weapons should be available. But just something to make things clear and to stop people fighting over poor wording

In the event of problem in the US the soldiers won't know who is defending America and who supports the government till after the bullets start flying. It'd be a nightmare for them and it could only be hoped that many of them would do their duty to their country and join the people in the defense of liberty. Not like they could use those stupid drones, those things kill too many innocent people to be practical.

Xan Krieger:
In the event of problem in the US the soldiers won't know who is defending America and who supports the government till after the bullets start flying. It'd be a nightmare for them and it could only be hoped that many of them would do their duty to their country and join the people in the defense of liberty. Not like they could use those stupid drones, those things kill too many innocent people to be practical.

Multiple problems though.

First off, this kind of fighting will make a lot of innocent people die. Unless there is an organized army to combat the current one, then it will just mean innocents gets caught in crossfire after crossfire.

Not to mention that what some people might see as liberties being taken away might not be perceived that way by others. Our last civil war had sides for a reason.

War causes means of productions being destroyed. A civil war destroys the economy.

There are other ways to resolve things, why create a war to resolve it?

farson135:
If you think that is the case then change the fucking law. I am so sick of people saying that we should just reinterpret the law. If you do not like it then change it. But if you just reinterpret it out of existence then you undermine the rule of law.

Sorry, after making my other post I realized I made a grave miscalculation and misunderstood what you were saying. So, you can feel free to ignore that one (or not), as this one will have some more relevance to your overall point.

I think it's pretty obvious why people are making a big deal about "interpreting" it--because that's how the constitution is set up to work. This isn't just any old "law" we're talking about here: it's a constitutional amendment. You need a 2/3 majority between both the House and the Senate to change it if I recall correctly (or 3/4, something like that. I would look it up but I really should go to bed. Either way it's a huge-ass amount that is difficult to accomplish).

Plus, there's judicial review. Pretty much all constitutional amendments are vague in the same way the second one is, so whenever somebody disputes its meaning it goes to court. If the case gets appealed enough and is significant enough, the Supreme Court will have a look at it and make a ruling. They are the highest court of appeals, so their ruling on the amendment's usage is pretty much final.

In theory it's not too bad of a system. You've got your basic rules set, and over time as things change or unexpected cases arise there is a system in place to decide how the situation fits in with those big rules. And it usually works, except when you get those people who are all determined that you should NEVER CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION EVER (which sort of defeats the purpose of having one at all) or NEVER REVIEW THE AMENDMENTS EVER (which doesn't done the shit you need to get done and again defeats the purpose of the system).

So that, my friend, is why people are so caught up in interpretations rather than passing laws and taking names. We've got an outdated and vague amendment that is much more easily adjusted by court cases than by actual amending, and that can't be adjusted by just "passing laws." Well you can pass laws, but if somebody takes it to court and you lose then not only is your law scrapped but there is also then a legal precedent set against anything that is even like your law, so that makes knowing how your law fits in with the amendment in advance kind of a big deal.

Lilani:

taciturnCandid:

constitution:
AMENDMENT II

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.

Does this truly refer to firearms? In no words are firearms mentioned, just armaments.
Armaments
1. The weapons and supplies of war with which a military unit is equipped.

In no part does it say that citizens are allowed all weapons of the military. Civilians can't purchase a nuclear bomb or a missile. They can't buy chemical weapons.

So why is the assumption that it is guns that are protected? You are allowed weapons.

Armaments could mean swords. It could mean knives. Where in the constitution is the clause that says modern firearms are protected?

And if there needed to be weapons that are suitible for modern use, why not single shot bolt action rifles?

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

There are a few Supreme Court Cases that have clarified some things (such as being able to possess a weapon unrelated to a militia, the right of the government/state to lay down regulations on what types of weapons/modifications are legal, regulations for the sale and transport of guns, registrations, etc).

I think the biggest problem we're having now is there is virtually no constitutional basis for the type of debate we are having here. When the second amendment was written, the highest powered "arms" the people could reasonably get ahold of were single-fire muskets. There were some cannons around, but the idea of a citizen getting ahold of a cannon in those days is like the idea of a citizen today getting ahold of an anti-aircraft missile. The SC cases that have occurred have clarified things over the years, but the hard truth is we strayed into unknown territory on this a long time ago. When you come from a time when reloading after a single shot can take upwards of 1-3 minutes, the idea of a weapon that the average citizen can afford and wield that can mow down dozens of people in a matter of seconds is inconceivable.

Anyway, as for our current problems, I don't think there's a single court case, or amendment, or piece of legislation that can accurately sum up what should be done about high-powered firearms. Not only because it's an intricate subject, but also because it's always changing, and the idea of a sweeping law that can stand the test of time is just impossible. Lord knows we'll be having this discussion all over again when phasers go commercial. I think the spirit of the amendment should always be taken into account, but also always brought into the context of the modern world and situation. And we need to be mature and brave enough to accept that there could come a time when we come across a situation the founding fathers didn't plan for, and have the courage to summon up the same kind of wisdom and creativity they had to find a solution in the present.

You'll be wrong, most of the cannons used were civilian owned back in the day. Some were stolen, but civilians did own cannons.

Magenera:
You'll be wrong, most of the cannons used were civilian owned back in the day. Some were stolen, but civilians did own cannons.

Huh, didn't know that. Either way, I think it's safe to say cannons aren't exactly as easily wielded as most auto/semi-automatic weapons, and are usually not as capable of getting the same number of kills per second. In the amount of time it would take to roll the cannon near enough to your target, load, take aim, and fire the person with the AK-47 or whatever will have gone through more than a baker's dozen of magazines. That sort of rapid firepower wasn't in anybody's wildest dreams at the time.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not even particularly anti-gun. I'm just saying that "arms" have changed so much over the years that a line has to be drawn somewhere. The founding fathers didn't realize slavery was going to go out of style less than a century after the constitution was drafted, so why the hell do people think we can pretend they knew assault rifles were coming?

taciturnCandid:

constitution:
AMENDMENT II

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.

Does this truly refer to firearms? In no words are firearms mentioned, just armaments.
Armaments
1. The weapons and supplies of war with which a military unit is equipped.

In no part does it say that citizens are allowed all weapons of the military. Civilians can't purchase a nuclear bomb or a missile. They can't buy chemical weapons.

So why is the assumption that it is guns that are protected? You are allowed weapons.

Armaments could mean swords. It could mean knives. Where in the constitution is the clause that says modern firearms are protected?

And if there needed to be weapons that are suitible for modern use, why not single shot bolt action rifles?

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

The wording and intent seems pretty clear to me. The founding fathers' were establishing the right of the citizenry to maintain the necessary arms to throw of the oppression of tyrants both foreign and domestic. They were about to pit thousands of untrained men against the most well trained and lethal fighting force on the face of the earth and would have fought such a force a thousand times over if it meant liberty in the end.

At the time of its inception, there was no difference between "military" and "civilian" arms. The rifle carried by the colonials at Lexington and Concord were, apart from craftsmanship, fundamentally no different from those carried by the professional forces of the British. Even then, colonial sharpshooters proved time and again that shooter skill and forward thinking proved more effective than just having a better rifle.

Technically speaking we cannot change an amendment but simply make a new one that would repeal or change an old one (e.g. the twenty-first amendment repealing the eighteenth). That being said, using "The second amendment protects all forms of firearm ownership" as an argument against any form of gun control is pointless because it remains entirely possible for an amendment repealing or changing the second amendment to be ratified if all the legal mumbo jumbo involving fractions and conventions works out in it's favor. I, personally, would prefer something that gives citizens the right to some guns and not every kind of gun if they can prove themselves capable of handling them properly, like a driver's license.

the clockmaker:
I swear to god, it sometimes yanks and their constitutional interpretations remind me of very religious people trying to interpret the bible or the koran, treating the word of some politicians two hundred years ago as if it was the word of whatever god you subscribe too.

Yeah, there does seem to be an element of that, and of almost ancestor worship for the US's founding fathers.

...

Anyhoo, I can't see any interpretation of the 2nd Ammendment that the US isn't in breach of in some way.

I don't think it should particularly matter though. What was written centuries ago is not necessarily the best solution to current issues.

The first state constitution made after the Declaration of Independence included this passage under the "Declaration of Rights": That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

Here is the first know draft version of the Second Amendment:

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person."

"The people" were placed in front of the "militia" in this wording.

I would also like to bring into evidence that most militia's at the time legally required men to buy their own guns, and if they couldn't afford it, one would be bought for them.

If they were only talking about "The People" as "The Militia" in this amendment, does that mean the other times it is used in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Is the First Amendment only apply to the Militia having free speech? If A=B and B=B, then A must also equal the second B, simple math.

taciturnCandid:

constitution:
AMENDMENT II

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.

Does this truly refer to firearms? In no words are firearms mentioned, just armaments.
Armaments
1. The weapons and supplies of war with which a military unit is equipped.

In no part does it say that citizens are allowed all weapons of the military. Civilians can't purchase a nuclear bomb or a missile. They can't buy chemical weapons.

So why is the assumption that it is guns that are protected? You are allowed weapons.

Armaments could mean swords. It could mean knives. Where in the constitution is the clause that says modern firearms are protected?

And if there needed to be weapons that are suitible for modern use, why not single shot bolt action rifles?

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

as a non american it sounds like its talking purely about militias ie citizen soldiers which today would be your national guard.

but the way the american idolise guns and people feeling they need military designed weapons to defend their house from someone has never made sense to me

taciturnCandid:
I was simply stating that all these arguments over reinterpretations shouldn't have to happen if the text is clear.

The text is clear. However, the founding fathers were a lot more forward thinking than most-

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
-Samuel Adams

Would you be happy if they made the amendment read that people have the right to weapons?

No, personally I prefer John Ringo's version of the 2nd Amendment-"The right of the people to keep and bear arms for self-defense and defense of the homeland shall never be infringed, limited, rescinded, interfered with or prohibited by any decree of law, or decision of court or policy by the executive branch or any of its agencies. And this time we mean it."

Lilani:
Snip

I think you understood what I meant (after reading your second post) but I will respond anyway so that I am clear.

If you're going to ignore the obvious implications being made here, then you're just being silly.

Tell me, does the fact that the internet did not exist in the time of the founding fathers mean that the government can limit free speech? There are lots of people who claim porn should be banned because it never existed in the 1700s (it did in a different form but point taken). If you think the law should be changed then change it and stop trying to just reinterpret it.

If you're going to sit here and say we should read the second amendment verbatim, regardless of if the "arms" we're talking about are muskets, pistols, hunting rifles, shotguns, AK-47s, M-16s, anti-aircraft missiles or nuclear bombs then...well...good luck with that. I think you'll have some difficulty seeing much legislation that is to your liking, if not due to US politics, then due to UN sanctions.

Either follow the law as it is written or admit that the ALL laws do not have to be followed. If you get to ignore the law then I get to do so as well. So ends the republic.

Lilani:
I think it's pretty obvious why people are making a big deal about "interpreting" it--because that's how the constitution is set up to work.

No it isn't. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed (I can do the same with the First Amendment but since we are talking about the 2nd). That is very clear and leaves no room for interpretation.

This isn't just any old "law" we're talking about here: it's a constitutional amendment. You need a 2/3 majority between both the House and the Senate to change it if I recall correctly (or 3/4, something like that. I would look it up but I really should go to bed. Either way it's a huge-ass amount that is difficult to accomplish).

You need a lot more than that but you get the gist. Yes, it takes a lot. So what? The constitution is the supreme law of the land. If you get to just ignore parts of the constitution out of existence then what does that say for the rule of law?

You know, people attack pro-gunners for being undemocratic. Yet, when push comes to shove the anti-gunners are fine with skipping over the people and doing whatever the fuck they want. If gun control is so damn popular then change the goddamn amendment and stop fucking ignoring it.

Plus, there's judicial review.

Which doesn't exist in the constitution but was made up using Judicial Review (it was a crazy time).

However, judicial review is not the same thing as judicial activism (which is what we have today). Judicial review should have made any attack on the Second Amendment by the Federal Government illegal.

We've got an outdated and vague amendment that is much more easily adjusted by court cases than by actual amending, and that can't be adjusted by just "passing laws."

So let me get this straight. YOU think it is vague and outdated. YOU think it is alright to go over the heads of the people and destroy one of the fundamental rights of the country DESPITE the FACT that there is a perfectly democratic method of changing the right.

What are you so afraid of? Maybe that the people do not actually support your vision as much as you hope they do.

wombat_of_war:
as a non american it sounds like its talking purely about militias ie citizen soldiers which today would be your national guard.

The National Guard was not formed until over 100 years AFTER the 2nd Amendment was written.

Also, if you want to talk about militia. All males between the ages of 17 and 45 who are capable of serving in the military are a part of the US militia (according to the Department of Defense). So, would you argue that only young and middle aged healthy men should be allowed to own firearms? That women and the disabled and the old should be barred from gun ownership? And do you think that was what the founders intended?

but the way the american idolise guns and people feeling they need military designed weapons to defend their house from someone has never made sense to me

You have it backwards. The military did not design the firearms. Civilians did. The military picked them up later on because they work. The US military's primary sniper rifle is a rifle that was originally designed for American hunters. Why did the military want it? The same reason civilians want it. It is very accurate right out of the box, it is very light and portable, and it is cheap to buy. It is the same thing for the Remington 870, which is a shotgun that is used for duck hunting and clearing buildings.

We civilians have designed a majority of the improvements in "military" firearms. Now, you want us to surrender those improvements to the guys who took the design. That sounds fair.

Lilani:

Magenera:
You'll be wrong, most of the cannons used were civilian owned back in the day.

...so why the hell do people think we can pretend they knew assault rifles were coming?

He's saying that if there were assault rifles in the 1700s, civilians would have owned them too and that would have been ok. The point of the amendment is to be able to defend yourself against the military, the police, the government should it go bad.

What they couldn't predict is restricting the ability to defend yourself to be interpreted as only having the bare minimum to go against the common petty street thug of the 20th century. They wanted the people to have what the military had to protect themselves from the government.

While I'm fine with not being able to own A-10 warthogs or predator drones, but if somebody with body armor and assault rifles comes to get me, I would appreciate having more than a wimpy pistol or shotgun.

I feel it makes little difference to a bunch of unarmed victims whether the person who has them trapped in a theatre or classroom has an assault rifle, a pistol, or a shotgun, or a plain old deer rifle with a 10 round magazine. But if you have to go up against other people with assault rifles, it makes all the difference. That's why they want to take them away, not because they're a scourge upon public safety- but because they're the best defense against other people with similar weapons.

That's all it is, that's all this whole thing is.

They could ban all the guns except for bolt action rifles and revolvers, but that would be enough to be almost completely defenseless from people with body armor and assault rifles. Then when someone did go on a rampage using only those weapons and kills a bunch of people, they wouldn't have to through the farce of legislation and public relations campaigns, they would just take the rest because they could- and now you're a slave.

They're going to make people register, then they're going to confiscate. Gun bans are meaningless with 300 million guns out there, millions of assault rifles. The last one didn't work and there is a government study showing that the ban was largely useless when it came to public safety. They won't make the same mistake this time.

What part of firearm is difficult to understand? The firing part or the arm in armament?

Guns became standard in military units before the Revolutionary War and were already advancing quickly. The idea that it's impossible for people of the time to foresee six shots per minute going to sixty, after what they had was a product of more than two centuries of weaponizing such a device, is modern fabrication and just insists the Framers were ignorant.

They were smart enough to predict what's going on right now.

taciturnCandid:

constitution:
AMENDMENT II

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.

Does this truly refer to firearms? In no words are firearms mentioned, just armaments.
Armaments
1. The weapons and supplies of war with which a military unit is equipped.

In no part does it say that citizens are allowed all weapons of the military. Civilians can't purchase a nuclear bomb or a missile. They can't buy chemical weapons.

So why is the assumption that it is guns that are protected? You are allowed weapons.

Armaments could mean swords. It could mean knives. Where in the constitution is the clause that says modern firearms are protected?

And if there needed to be weapons that are suitible for modern use, why not single shot bolt action rifles?

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

I suggest reading the Federalist Papers. Its a group of papers written by some the original writers of the constitution explaining their intentions of parts of the constitution to influence the states to ratify it.

It's full of wonderful tid bits like "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." -- James Madison The Federalist, No. 46

"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
-- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188

And sections on how the public needs to be better armed than any army brought together by the government.

edit: ah sorry, seen this nicely addressed already above.

Yes they meant guns and they meant defense however if the founders could see modern times they would quickly change their words. The founders would have no problem limiting a product and as of now guns are a product with their own market not insurance against Indian invasions or totalitarian politicians. Now we aren't at threat from foreign invasions, we have police officers a phone call away, and yes we are able stable nation despite how divisive we are

Another thing is I think the founders would be pissed the fuck off at how we are so afraid of amending the constitution and trying to revere men that died hundreds of years ago as demi-gods whose alleged opinions over ride any modern thought.

dmase:
The founders would have no problem limiting a product and as of now guns are a product with their own market

Firearms have always been a product. And can you prove that the founders would have had no problem limiting a product?

Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.
- Thomas Jefferson

totalitarian politicians

I suppose you have never heard of the Battle of Athens- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946)

Now we aren't at threat from foreign invasions

Tell that to the people living on the border.

we have police officers a phone call and a 10 minute travel time away

I fixed it for you.

Another thing is I think the founders would be pissed the fuck off at how we are so afraid of amending the constitution

Who is afraid of amending it? I have said for years that people need to stop ignoring the constitution. If you think it is outdated then change it but for the love of Christ do not ignore it. THAT is what people are saying.

trying to revere men that died hundreds of years ago as demi-gods whose alleged opinions over ride any modern thought.

Don't like what they said, then change the laws that they wrote and change the system that they made. Don't want to change our system, then don't complain when we look to the guys who built the system for understanding of how the system is supposed to function.

taciturnCandid:

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

Vagueness and contradiction were built into the Constitution by design. The Founders didn't want a foundation of federal power that was too strong or too inert. The amendment process was put in to allow it to officially change, but all the little nuances(or rather, lack thereof) were there to create a document that more or less fought against itself to keep it from becoming one gigantic hammer someone could wield over others.

farson135:

If you're going to sit here and say we should read the second amendment verbatim, regardless of if the "arms" we're talking about are muskets, pistols, hunting rifles, shotguns, AK-47s, M-16s, anti-aircraft missiles or nuclear bombs then...well...good luck with that. I think you'll have some difficulty seeing much legislation that is to your liking, if not due to US politics, then due to UN sanctions.

Either follow the law as it is written or admit that the ALL laws do not have to be followed. If you get to ignore the law then I get to do so as well. So ends the republic.

If you seriously believe that any citizen with the means to produce or acquire a nuclear bomb should be allowed to own one you are delusional. That is just crazy.

Btw, any firearm you have is not going to stop the US armed forces, not in a million years.

LetalisK:

taciturnCandid:

The constitution really should be amended to make the wording clear. For all we know, it could refer to the ability to form an armed militia and not the ability for individuals to own weapons.

Vagueness and contradiction were built into the Constitution by design. The Founders didn't want a foundation of federal power that was too strong or too inert. The amendment process was put in to allow it to officially change, but all the little nuances(or rather, lack thereof) were there to create a document that more or less fought against itself to keep it from becoming one gigantic hammer someone could wield over others.

There is also this little nugget here:

Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People

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

Which the federal government would like everyone to forget. Actually, it doesn't need to anymore, enough of the public has been brainwashed into believing the fed has absolute authority that its just swallowing everything year after year.

To me it always was basically saying "Since we gotta have delicious Bacon sammiches, everyone will be able to get some bacon".

farson135:
snipped

"Firearms have always been a product. And can you prove that the founders would have had no problem limiting a product?

Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.
- Thomas Jefferson"

Taxes on goods specifically luxury goods, if your fine with putting a tax on specific things because of it's uses your fine prohibiting it. Weapons obviously symbolized some equalizing force, something in common with the military but now we argue at it's benefit for hunting and sport shooting. A gun was a lifeline especially for those in the new world now they are simply products.

"I suppose you have never heard of the Battle of Athens- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946)"

There are numerous instances where the federal government has gone and killed it's populous and in the end things worked out and any corruption should be handled by the courts especially in today's society. We aren't lynch mobs nor should we be, that defeats the purpose of a free society.

"Tell that to the people living on the border."

Oh please the only reason the mexican border is dangerous is because of drugs and guns and the people delivering the guns are american citizens from legal american distributors pretty much all the time. And invasion my ass we have nation guard and constant border patrol along the border along with police officers as you say a 10 minute ride away.

"I fixed it for you."

Oh why thank you, and you still haven't changed the meaning. People in the 1700's did have protection a 10 minute drive away and usually if you received assistance it was in the form of regular american citizens whose experience using firearms where limited... which is my point times are different vastly different.

"Who is afraid of amending it? I have said for years that people need to stop ignoring the constitution. If you think it is outdated then change it but for the love of Christ do not ignore it. THAT is what people are saying."

...Usually conservatives but a lot of people, we should completely reformat the constitution almost from the ground up. That's not gonna happen though because their is an illusion among most americans specifically conservatives that the founding father are infallible.

"Don't like what they said, then change the laws that they wrote and change the system that they made. Don't want to change our system, then don't complain when we look to the guys who built the system for understanding of how the system is supposed to function."

I think that would be a good idea to change if there was a referendum I'd vote for it but due to the previous part that's not going to happen. We have basically changed the way our system works to make it impossible to change the system, flawed statement sure but it cuts to the heart of the matter. Our attitudes regarding the past changed making the threshold necessary to amend a present article impossible to do even with 60% of the populace behind a proposal.(exhibit A gun regulation attempts)

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