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Old November 20, 2012, 11:23 AM   #26
Mike Irwin
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People seem to look at the Constitution and think that it is the beginning and end of US law. I submit that the Constitution is not the law of the land, but the framework our platform for the law of the land, which is is the US Code and its various titles.

The Constitution gives de facto taxing power to the Government, and many courts at the various levels have recognized the right of the government to levy taxes even on rights that are enumerated by the Constitution.

The concept of' natural rights' being somehow free of taxes is an interesting theory, but has no foundation under any legal precedent with which I am familiar.
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Old November 20, 2012, 11:26 AM   #27
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I disagree. I definately believe there is no right to violently overthrow the government. True, it has been done in other places but it's never a good idea. The American Revolution was a colonial war. The government of Great Britain was not overthrown. That had happened there but they quickly tired of the consequences. So if that's what you're thinking of, please think twice.

I'm not sure if I believe the 2nd amendment has a singlular purpose or not (never thought of it that way) but I don't believe overthrowing the government is one of them. In fact, I wish to go on record as not wanting the government (any government) to be overthrown by violent means. I have said this before (and people have disagreed), the end result will invariably be worse. The central government after the revolution was stronger than any single state government before the revolution. And it was even stronger still after the constitution was adopted (to form a more perfect union). But perhaps you want a strong central government!
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Old November 20, 2012, 11:31 AM   #28
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I wish to go on record as not wanting the government (any government)
to be overthrown by violent means....
That flies in the face of logic, the Federalist papers, and consent of the governed under just rule.

Other than that, I have no strong opinion.

Last edited by mehavey; November 20, 2012 at 12:11 PM.
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Old November 20, 2012, 11:32 AM   #29
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No reasonable person wants our government, as it stands today, to be overthrown.

But the founders DID specifically include that "Doomsday Scenario" in much of their personal writings. It is clear that it WAS (and IS) one of the several intended purposes for the 2A.

Today's government, violent overthrow? No.

If I was in Syria today? Yes.

The People, irrespective of our constitution or any other, have the right to do what the Syrian people are doing today. Doomsday.

Should our government go down that path, we have the same right, also irrespective of the constitution. Our right is simply codified, with particular intent, I believe it's obvious, to head off just such an event by having the people legally armed.

Peace through strength, as it were.
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Old November 20, 2012, 01:47 PM   #30
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Forgive me for reading into some of these posts something that no one has said but it sure sounds to me like some think (but none of the previous ten contributors to this thread) that good and sufficient reason to overthrow the government is simply disliking the government that was legally and democratically elected. In any case, I'm sure we're all conservative here and overthrowing the governent is a pretty radical thing, you know.
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Old November 20, 2012, 01:59 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by BT
In any case, I'm sure we're all conservative here and overthrowing the governent is a pretty radical thing, you know.
Yet, that is what a conservative group of english landowners did when denied their rights as subjects and subjected to taxes so low they would make Ron Paul giddy.

I concur with Brian Pfleuger. You don't need to agree on a lone rationale for the right to recognise that it is a legitimate right.

Legal and democratic elections aren't the sole standard for legitimacy and desirability. Recall how releived the world was when Musharref took control of Pakistan and effectively voided an election.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; November 20, 2012 at 02:09 PM. Reason: Spelling my name ;-)
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Old November 20, 2012, 02:13 PM   #32
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Forgive me for reading into some of these posts something that no one has said but it sure sounds to me like some think that good and sufficient reason to overthrow the government is simply disliking the government that was legally and democratically elected.
Some folks think that way. Usually, those folks are living a fantasy that they'll be heroes and ultimately rulers of the New World that will magically appear in the wake of horrific, disruptive violence.

We have the option of using force to stop government tyranny, but we're a long way from having the need to do so.

Now, back to the original point of this thread: is taxing a right lawful?
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Old November 20, 2012, 04:48 PM   #33
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Laws that do so are upheld, the answer is obviously yes. Our opinions on whether it is a just thing to do is irrelevant. They have codified it, and handed down judgements in the courts, so it is without doubt technically "lawful". Jim crow was "lawful", Sharia is "lawful", the individual mandate is "lawful". All that really means is that every moral and just man is a criminal IMO.
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Old November 20, 2012, 07:28 PM   #34
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1. Congress has the power to tax (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 US Constitution)
2. All States have the power to tax (innumerable state Constitutions)
3. All Rights "can be" regulated. (Supreme Court increasingly ad nauseum)
4. Taxes are one means of "regulating" (US history forever ad nauseum)
5. The 2A is a "Right"
6. All 2A Rights can be taxed.
qed

7. (not to be forgotten...) The power to tax is the power to destroy. See again McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819) op cit
8. Any "rights" assumed under 2A can be effectively destroyed without ever directly addressing the central issue.
qed again
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Old November 20, 2012, 10:01 PM   #35
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Interesting discussion...

But some of the points raised, and terms used make me wonder if we are missing a point, on that might be important to theory, if not in practice.

The 2nd Amendment gives us NO rights. None of the Bill of Rights gives us any rights. We have those, irrespective of any written list. The whole Bill of Rights is a list of restrictions for the government, things they are not allowed to do to certain enumerated rights. And the listing of those rights is intentionally incomplete. It is stated so in the 10th Amendment.

I know we often talk of rights "granted" by the Constitution, but that is no more true than the belief that the US is a democracy. We are a democratic constitutional republic, and while democracy is a part of our system it is not all of it.

as to our "right" to over throw the government, I suggest a careful reading of the entire Declaration of Independence.

And, getting back to the question of "is it legal to tax a right", the simplest answer is that it is legal if the govt says it is. We may disagree on moral grounds, but the actual legality is determined by those who make, and interperet the law. There are many things that people hold to be moraly "right" but are illegal under current law. And many things that are legal under current law that some people hold to be morally wrong.

Historically, our govt has, and is taxing or regulating lots of rights. And, to date, I haven't heard of any successful challenges. So, I'd guess its pretty much a done deal. Nice to dream, though...
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Old November 21, 2012, 04:56 AM   #36
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The 2nd Amendment gives us NO rights. None of the Bill of Rights gives us any rights. We have those, irrespective of any written list.
I see this quite differently in the sense that the BOR defined for us some specific rights that indeed have to be written down because they would not otherwise be recognized as rights and were not being recognized as rights.

When rights are not recognized by the government, they don't exist as legal rights or rights in practice, but are instead rights in theory.
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Old November 21, 2012, 05:11 AM   #37
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No it is not. Because your ability to exercise that right hinges on your willingness or ability to pay the tax. If you don't pay the tax they you cannot exercise the right. Therefore it follows that it is no longer a right but a privilege that the government can take from you.
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Old November 21, 2012, 05:13 AM   #38
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Double Naught..the BoR enumerated certain rights. It granted none. Nor did it limit us to just those few rights. That was made clear in the 10th Amendment.
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Old November 21, 2012, 07:59 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by njoelhickson
No it is not. Because your ability to exercise that right hinges on your willingness or ability to pay the tax. If you don't pay the tax they you cannot exercise the right. Therefore it follows that it is no longer a right but a privilege that the government can take from you.
If you and I want to hand out leaflets about the 2d Am. and we have 2000 printed up at Kinkos, and we can't have them without paying a sales tax, has our freedom of speech been abridged?
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Old November 21, 2012, 08:53 AM   #40
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There is nothing stopping me from verbally speaking about the second amendment and the rights of gun owners. However...if was told that I needed to buy a permit in order to do that, I would consider such a thing to be a violation of my right to free speech. Because that is directly related to the exercise of the right.

But a tax such as you are talking about is not applied SPECIFICALLY with my right to speech in mind. In that instance, the tax applied to the buying or printing of the leaflets in merely incidental.
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Old November 21, 2012, 09:29 AM   #41
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There is nothing stopping me from verbally speaking about the second amendment and the rights of gun owners. However...if was told that I needed to buy a permit in order to do that, I would consider such a thing to be a violation of my right to free speech. Because that is directly related to the exercise of the right.
I think we would agree that your free speech right isn't limited to the sounds you make when you open your mouth. It applies to publishing your speech as well, right?

The production of leaflets is a method of publishing our speech.

Quote:
But a tax such as you are talking about is not applied SPECIFICALLY with my right to speech in mind. In that instance, the tax applied to the buying or printing of the leaflets in merely incidental.
It sounds as if you are working toward a test in which the exercise of a right may be taxed, but not if the purpose or effect of the tax is to abridge the exercise of the right. I would guess that this is about how things should work out.

What level of taxation we will consider incidental and what we will see as enforced for the purpose of abridging a right seems very politically and context dependent. Poll taxes seem strictly forbidden, but the freedom to [profitably] contract seems open to limitless taxation.
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Old November 21, 2012, 02:51 PM   #42
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If you and I want to hand out leaflets about the 2d Am. and we have 2000 printed up at Kinkos, and we can't have them without paying a sales tax, has our freedom of speech been abridged?
No.

Because you are not paying the sales tax on your speech, you are paying it on the buying of the leaflets. No matter what the leaflets said, you pay the same tax. Not a free speech issue.

Now, if you were taxed specifically because of the content of the leaflets, that would be a free speech issue. Pay sales tax on the purchase of leaflets for a bake sale, fine. Pay the same sales tax for gun rights leaflets, fine. Pay any tax only because they are gun rights leaflets, that would be infringment of your free speech rights.

Note also, your printer could charge you a special fee for printing gun rights material, since he's not the govt, he's not infringing your rights by doing that. You are free to go elsewhere with your business. It wouldn't be smart business for him to do that, but he's not violating your rights, if he does. He's just being a stupid jerk.....there might be some business laws he could be violating I don't know about that, but it wouldn't be a First Amendment issue.
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Old November 21, 2012, 03:52 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by 44 AMP
No.

Because you are not paying the sales tax on your speech, you are paying it on the buying of the leaflets. No matter what the leaflets said, you pay the same tax. Not a free speech issue.

Now, if you were taxed specifically because of the content of the leaflets, that would be a free speech issue.
While not disagreeing with your conclusion or reasoning, this may show up part of the imperfection of reasoning by analogy. Certainly what you describe would be a free speech issue because it would be a content restriction, but that is something peculiar to that specific right.

What if there were a $100 tax on sheets of paper and all emails without respect to content? Do you think that difference might abridge the right?
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Old November 22, 2012, 10:03 AM   #44
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What if there were a $100 tax on sheets of paper and all emails without respect to content?
Hmmmmm........
Stamp Act anyone?
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Old November 22, 2012, 10:35 AM   #45
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Taxing a right is unconstitutional. Whether the courts will rule that way is a different story.

There are two types of taxes: direct and indirect. Direct taxes apply only to slaves and land. Indirect taxes are privilege taxes and the tax can be avoided by not engaging in the activity. Such taxes cannot be applied to rights, though there seems to be a push to apply such taxes via abuses of the Commerce Clause.

The basis for firearms regulation comes from corruption of the Commerce Clause that started in the 1930's. The Federal government has decided that the Commerce Clause can be used to nullify and/or control rights and expand Congressional power beyond the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution. The first line of the Gun Control Act of 1968 reads:

Quote:
An Act to amend title 18, United States Code, to provide for better control of the interstate traffic in firearms.*

Here is what cracks me up:

TITLE I - STATE FIREARMS CONTROL ASSISTANCE
PURPOSE
Sec. 101. The Congress hereby declares that the purpose of this title is to provide support to Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials in their fight against crime and violence, and it is not the purpose of this title to place any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms appropriate to the purpose of hunting, trapshooting, target shooting, personal protection, or any other lawful activity, and that this title is not intended to discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, or provide for the imposition by Federal regulations of any procedures or requirements other than those reasonably necessary to implement and effectuate the provisions of this title.

And, yet, it does place restrictions upon law abiding citizens. Citizens in various Federal territories, including the District of Columbia, find it nearly impossible to acquire firearms because of the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Back to taxation: if it's not a right, then it is a privilege. If it is a privilege, then it can be taxed as an indirect tax. People can avoid the tax by not engaging in the activity. Therefore, one cannot be taxed for arms and ammunition if one does not have any arms or ammunition.

I do not doubt this is their goal. The state of Illinois just floated this idea in its legislature. The tax can start out at 0.000000000001%, but the very next day the legislature can raise the tax to 100%, 1000% or any level they so desire. This was the intent of the $200 NFA tax because that amount of money at the time the law was passed was obscene. It effectively destroyed private ownership of fully automatic firearms.

So, yes, taxation of firearms and ammunition is to be avoided at all costs.

* Citation: Gun Control Act of 1968

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Old November 22, 2012, 10:44 AM   #46
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I'm not a hunter but don't you have to buy stamps sometime for hunting?

In any event, the Stamp Act was in no way intended to restrict any right. It was intended to raise money, as all taxes are. Often taxes are designed in such a way, so to say, that it has little effect on residents in the taxing district but instead tends to tax visitors. Hotel taxes are like that. Other taxes are just the opposite. They are designed to capitalize on what might be called premium or highly desirable, luxary items. Those include excise taxes. Around here in Northern Virginia, property taxes are higher along Route 28, that runs north from Centreville to Route 7, if you know the area. That is hardly designed to prevent people, mostly all businesses, from locating along Rt. 28 but merely to pay for the road and the maintenance of it. It's a sort of special use tax, you might say. It's listed separately on the real estate tax bill.

So basically, the Stamp Act, which was clearly controversial and unpopular (can't think of any popular tax) and also one of the underlying causes of the revolution, is not a good example. In the case of a special tax on firearm and ammunition purchases, it becomes a question of does the tax really amount to a real restriction on the right or not, depending entirely on how much the tax actually is.

The poll tax was not exactly all that unpopular where it existed, except among those who couldn't pay it. I suppose that's a better example but I don't know how much the tax actually was. Some people have trouble paying their property taxes (ours is about $100 a week, paid twice a year) and you don't receive any particular privilege for having paid the tax either. In the case of the poll tax, effectively, it meant that mostly well-off people paid the tax, elected the officials and pretty much ran the county, but they paid for everything, too.
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Old November 22, 2012, 11:37 AM   #47
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In any event, the Stamp Act was in no way intended to restrict any right.
But it still sowed the seeds of Revolution, no?

Taxes of whatever kind/on whatever element are legitimized by consent of the governed (those taxed)
That said, Rights & Taxes are orthogonal -- not in diametric opposition to each other.
They can coexist.

But either one, taken in excess, are seeds of discontent -- and Revolution.

I would offer that taxes to raise revenue for public expense are one thing.
Taxes to "shape" society are quite another.
It is the latter that have been increasingly abused for the last half century

Last edited by mehavey; November 22, 2012 at 11:43 AM.
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Old November 22, 2012, 06:23 PM   #48
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Excellent point. The real problems we are dealing with are due to the fact that politicians have subscribed to the ideology of social behavior modification through taxation. It has nothing to do with raising money and should never be a government function in a free society. The United States of America is NOT a free society.
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Old November 22, 2012, 09:30 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by klyph3
The United States of America is NOT a free society.
If that is so, then every other nation on earth is a tyranny, in comparison. Where ya gonna go?

We are the most free nation on this little ball of dirt. No other peoples enjoy the amount of freedom we do.

Are we over regulated? IMNSHO, yes. So we work on it. But to baldly say the above is pure ignorance of the conditions the rest of this planets peoples live under.
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Old November 23, 2012, 01:28 AM   #50
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Al, I think you feel too kindly towards your politicians in Washington.
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