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Old January 1, 2013, 03:29 AM   #101
gc70
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Originally Posted by dorc-1
If military style weapons had never been allowed in this country I would be perfectly happy to have a bolt action, shotgun, or a revolver.
You might be a perfectly happy British subject had military weapons never been allowed in this country, but that is a different discussion. The colonists did not fight the Revolution with crippled weapons that just had the appearance of what the military used; the colonists fought with the same weapons as the British troops or sometime superior weapons.

If military weapons had never been allowed, bolt action rifles and revolvers would have never entered the civilian armory. The good news is that if military weapons had never been allowed, break-action shotguns or rifles might be permitted. Ah, the joys of a single-shot, O/U or SXS.
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Old January 1, 2013, 04:24 AM   #102
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Did they actually envision the types of weapons we have today? I'd have to say that they did not as the things we have today are very much ahead of their time.

It's like if someone asked you what should be done about a (Star Trek Reference) Phaser 200 years from now.

Having said all of that I don't think they wanted citizens to be unarmed with whatever constitutes a current day weapon into perpetuity.

I will leave one caveat though, for sake of argument, the authors of the Constitution also made provisions that the document may be changed to meet current day, or future day, needs of society. I mean even in the "Old West" days, towns apparently had the power to dictate whether carrying a gun on ones person was legal or not based on town rules. Seems nobody had a problem with it back then so I would have to guess that this was somehow not Unconstitutional. I can't explain it, it's just a little 'aside' thought.

If you are asking me personally, I think they did intend for us to be armed with whatever constitutes current day firearms that may be available. Doesn't matter if they could envision todays firearms or not.
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Old January 1, 2013, 07:17 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by No1der
I will leave one caveat though, for sake of argument, the authors of the Constitution also made provisions that the document may be changed to meet current day, or future day, needs of society. I mean even in the "Old West" days, towns apparently had the power to dictate whether carrying a gun on ones person was legal or not based on town rules. Seems nobody had a problem with it back then so I would have to guess that this was somehow not Unconstitutional. I can't explain it, it's just a little 'aside' thought.
Any time that three-fourths of the states vote in favor of a proposal, the Constitution can be changed - and rightfully so since it would reflect the will of an overwhelming majority of the public.

The Constitution defines the powers of the federal government and the Bill of Rights contained extra prohibitions for the federal government to stay out of specific areas in which it was not granted any power. The "Old West" laws were not unconstitutional because they were not federal laws; each state's constitution and laws determined the extent of the RKBA and permissible regulations in the respective states. The very recent incorporation of the 2nd Amendment against the states makes the legal landscape ... more interesting.
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Old January 1, 2013, 08:43 AM   #104
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Those who find comfort in military style weapons as a way to fight back against our own military or police if and when some sort of gov't repression tale comes true are in for a rude awakening.
I'm sure they will be. So will the military and police. A modern day civil war will make Afghanistan or Iraq look like a walk in the park. This is why a balance of power is important- so it never happens.
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Old January 1, 2013, 09:01 AM   #105
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Yes. They saw the progression of guns in their own time as well as the progression of all types of tools and devices. They were, many of them, inventors and thinkers of grand proportions and forethought. They would have known all things would change. The Bill of Rights is proof of that.
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Old January 1, 2013, 11:43 AM   #106
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The means to amend the Constitution and the Supreme Court are what the Founders gave us to adapt our most fundamental laws to changing times and changing social and cultural evolution (or regression).

What they intended with all that they wrote and ratified as the basis of our system of laws (the Bill of Rights) were directed at the recent history of the colonies and the issues the country faced in 1791.

If asked whether they believed their interpretation of the Bill of Rights was written in stone and was meant to remain unaltered forever, they'd look at the questioners with raised eyebrows and with disdain remind them of the means they provided in the Constitution to amend the Constitution (and therefore amend the Bill of Rights); and the Supreme Court, whose interpretations of the Constitution are made by people of the times the questions come up in and are without means of being appealed except by amendment.

That process has worked since the beginning. For example: The First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech and a free press. Those were entirely the freedom of the use of words so that the people could govern themselves by consensus. No other means of expression, such as the graphic arts were included, because they weren't necessary for governance by the people. As time passed the decisions of the Supreme Court expanded those freedoms to become the freedom of expression, a word not used in the original First Amendment. Since Supreme Court decisions have the weight of law, the freedom of expression became our First Amendment right, and any form of expression is protected within constraints that are continuously being edited by the Supreme Court.

So if asked whether today's civilians have the right to modern combat weapons without any restrictions, they'd say that that issue ought to have been brought up before the Supreme Court of these days for their interpretation of the 2A based on the culture, the society and the obligation of the Federal government to serve its citizens in today's world. They'd say, don't ask us, think for yourselves and use what we gave you to govern yourselves, and be guided by the words and intentions of the Preamble to the Constitution:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
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Old January 1, 2013, 12:13 PM   #107
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yes yes yes

This is why they said,

the sword and EVERY other implement of war is the birth right of every American citizen .
in those days you could go to town and buy a cannon hook it to you wagon and put it on your porch with out a tax stamp or even a waiting period.
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Old January 1, 2013, 12:19 PM   #108
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From Noah Webster

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”
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Old January 1, 2013, 02:03 PM   #109
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Any time that three-fourths of the states vote in favor of a proposal, the Constitution can be changed - and rightfully so since it would reflect the will of an overwhelming majority of the public.

The Constitution defines the powers of the federal government and the Bill of Rights contained extra prohibitions for the federal government to stay out of specific areas in which it was not granted any power. The "Old West" laws were not unconstitutional because they were not federal laws; each state's constitution and laws determined the extent of the RKBA and permissible regulations in the respective states. The very recent incorporation of the 2nd Amendment against the states makes the legal landscape ... more interesting.
That's it, yeah that makes perfect sense. Very well thought out post and certainly better than my Eggnog soaked brain could have done.
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Old January 1, 2013, 02:17 PM   #110
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Lets steer this discussion to the here and now.

What constitutional grounds can we argue for arming ourselves in present day?
The conditions in which we find ourselves: protection of oneself and property, hunting and sport.

The tyrannical government argument, however true, won't wash with the antis. The militia argument won't fly either. Flying either one of those flags is not going to help our cause, might as well go turn in the guns now.
Okay give up if you want to but 500 dead from gunshot wounds in Chicago where in spite of the last supreme court cases its still very difficult for a law abiding citizen to get a gun and it can be taken from him under the slightest pretext. Outlaws and tyrannical government.

New Orleans, looters shooting at rescue helicopters and the police with the assistance of a few ignorant national guard units response is to beat up law abiding people in their home and confiscate their guns or to disarm citizens as they attempted to evacuate New Orleans. You would have cheerfully given up your guns to the racist black mayor and his corrupt police force, congratulations? Why don't you change your name to Baa, Baa in keeping with your philosophy.

My constitution says my rights to bear arms shall not be infringed. What part of that are you having trouble comprehending. I introduced you to the Federalist papers to give you an idea of exactly what the founding fathers meant by the bill of rights as a whole and the second amendment in particular and you just dismiss them as being out dated and irrelevant. It's bone headed attitudes like that which gives the anti-gunners their strength. When gun owners don;t stand squarely shoulder to shoulder but are willing to dissemble and compromise and equivocate you are in the enemies camp and not on the side of free Americans who would cherish their freedom and do what it takes to stay free.
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Old January 1, 2013, 02:37 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by No1der
I will leave one caveat though, for sake of argument, the authors of the Constitution also made provisions that the document may be changed to meet current day, or future day, needs of society. I mean even in the "Old West" days, towns apparently had the power to dictate whether carrying a gun on ones person was legal or not based on town rules. Seems nobody had a problem with it back then so I would have to guess that this was somehow not Unconstitutional. I can't explain it, it's just a little 'aside' thought.
Do you have any idea how difficult it would have been for someone in, say, Wichita, Kansas, in the 1800s to file and pursue a lawsuit against a town ordinance prohibiting the wearing of a sidearm? The fact that no such case made it as far as the Supreme Court in no way demonstrates that such "town rules" weren't unconstitutional.

However, also keep in mind that in many cases the town rules to which you refer pre-dated the 14th Amendment. Even so, it wasn't until the McDonald lawsuit in Chicago that it was finally determined by the SCOTUS that the 2nd Amendment is (by virtue of the 14th Amendment) binding on state and lower governments as well as on the Federal government.
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Old January 1, 2013, 02:43 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by Tom Servo
Do you disagree with Black's doctrine of Incorporation, or with the idea that the BoR applies to the states?
I don't believe that any portion of the COTUS applies to the states. It is an agreement between the people and a National government.

The states all have their own constitutions. The state constitutions are the standard by which state laws should be judged. Federal laws should be judged by the COTUS.

If the COTUS applies to the states, what would be the purpose of the state consitutions, asks I, somewhat rhetorically.
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Old January 1, 2013, 03:02 PM   #113
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If the COTUS applies to the states, what would be the purpose of the state consitutions, asks I, somewhat rhetorically.
Good point, but Madison himself did intend for the BoR to apply against the states, worrying that individual states could inflict harm upon the rights of their citizens. The 14th Amendment was meant to reinforce that idea.

Black's doctrine of "incorporation" is an artificial and clumsy doctrine, but I'd argue it was a necessary one to counter the drubbing that the Chase and Taney courts gave to the idea.
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Old January 1, 2013, 03:08 PM   #114
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From what I've read some fathers expected the people to favor the federal government over states in the future. I could have misunderstood though.
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Old January 1, 2013, 03:22 PM   #115
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Our founders weren't concerned with types of weapons. They were concerned with a centralized government having a monopoly on the use of force.

This is from an article I read recently:


A people cannot simultaneously live free and be bound to any human master or man-made institution, especially to politicians, judges, bureaucrats and faceless government agencies. The Second Amendment along with the other nine amendments of the Bill of Rights was designed to prevent individuals' enslavement to government, not just to guarantee people the right to hunt squirrels or sport shoot at targets, nor was it included in the Bill of Rights just to guarantee individuals the right to defend themselves against robbers, rapers and lunatics, or to make sure the states could raise a militia quick, on the cheap to defend against a foreign invader or domestic unrest.

The Second Amendment was designed to ensure that individuals retained the right and means to defend themselves against any illegitimate attempt to do them harm, be it an attempt by a private outlaw or government agents violating their trust under the color of law. The Second Amendment was meant to guarantee individuals the right to protect themselves against government as much as against private bad guys and gangs.

That is why the gun grabbers' assault on firearms is not only, not even primarily an attack merely on the means of self-defense but more fundamentally, the gun grabbers are engaged in a blatant attack on the very legitimacy of self-defense itself. It's not really about the guns; it is about the government's ability to demand submission of the people. Gun control is part and parcel of the ongoing collectivist effort to eviscerate individual sovereignty and replace it with dependence upon and allegiance to the state.

Americans provisionally delegated a limited amount of power over themselves to government, retaining their individual sovereignty in every respect and reserving to themselves the power not delegated to government, most importantly the right and power to abolish or replace any government that becomes destructive of the ends for which it was created. The Bill of Rights, especially the Second and Ninth Amendments, can only be properly understood and rightly interpreted in this context.

Politicians who insist on despoiling the Constitution just a little bit for some greater good (gun control for "collective security") are like a blackguard who lies to an innocent that she can yield to his advances, retain her virtue and risk getting only just a little bit pregnant--a seducer's lie. The people either have the right to own and bear arms, or they don't, and to the extent legislators, judges and bureaucrats disparage that right, they are violating the U.S. Constitution as it was originally conceived, and as it is currently amended. To those who would pretend the Second Amendment doesn't exist or insist it doesn't mean what it says, there is only one legitimate response: "If you don't like the Second Amendment, you may try to repeal it but short of that you may not disparage and usurp it, even a little bit, as long as it remains a part of the Constitution, no exceptions, no conniving revisions, no fabricated judicial balancing acts."

Gun control advocates attempt to avoid the real issue of gun rights--why the Founders felt so strongly about gun rights that they singled them out for special protection in the Bill of Rights--by demanding that individual rights be balanced against a counterfeit collective right to "security" from things that go bump in the night. But, the Bill of Rights was not a Bill of Entitlements that people had a right to demand from government; it was a Bill of Protections against the government itself. The Founders understood that the right to own and bear laws is as fundamental and as essential to maintaining liberty as are the rights of free speech, a free press, freedom of religion and the other protections against government encroachments on liberty delineated in the Bill of Rights.

That is why the most egregious of the fallacious arguments used to justify gun control are designed to short-arm the citizenry (e.g., banning so-called "assault rifles") by restricting the application of the Second Amendment to apply only to arms that do not pose a threat to the government's self-proclaimed monopoly on the use of force. To that end, the gun grabbers first must bamboozle people into believing the Second Amendment does not really protect an individual's right to own and bear firearms.

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Old January 2, 2013, 10:19 AM   #116
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The purpose of a constituion, any constituion, is to set up the framework for government or other organization. It is a necessary document, at least in modern times, along with "bylaws" for a functional organiztion. I don't think it implies restrictions so much as it simply says, "it works like this." The amendments, some of them, do set up restrictions on the power of the government, as well as other things.

Remember also that we are supposed to have a government of the people and by the people. It works a little better if you don't view the system as us and them.
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Old January 2, 2013, 10:34 AM   #117
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BT, when politicians exempt themselves from restrictions they apply to the rest of us...

Examples: some state legislatures allow members to carry in their legislative buildings and sessions; members of Congress keep their health benefits, instead of participating in AHCA; you get the idea...

or: the Journal News in Westchester County, NY, having taken an anti stance and having published a list of the addresses of all firearm owners and/or concealed carriers in their area, has now hired armed security...

It isn't the common man making things into Us and Them.
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Old January 2, 2013, 10:41 AM   #118
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It works a little better if you don't view the system as us and them.
That's a two way street, friend.

It's hard to to see "us" as part of the system when those in working in the system play by different rules, and even refer to "us" as "civilians" to distinquish themselves from us .....

The "system" is at odds with the document that set it up and is supposed to govern it. If the Constitution does not mean what is was written to mean, and is instead a "Living Document", subject to contemprary interpretation, then the government is not "governed" by that framework, but by fallible men (and women)...... and we are not governed, but ruled. That is the road to perdition.
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Old January 2, 2013, 10:50 AM   #119
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I don't think it makes one bit of difference if they had specifics in mind or not when they crafted the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Had they had specifics in mind, they would have written them down.

I sincerely doubt that they had computers in mind when they wrote the First Amendment, but here we are.
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Old January 2, 2013, 11:12 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by BlueTrain
Remember also that we are supposed to have a government of the people and by the people. It works a little better if you don't view the system as us and them.
Got to disagree with that... the founders were very clear that they GREATLY distrusted government. The COTUS was certainly never a gentlemen's agreement as part of the "Good Ole Boys Club". Like, hey, this is how we'll do it but just so's it's in writin'...

The deep distrust of government power has proven itself wise over and over again.

While the individuals that make up the government may be part of the "we", they do not operate in full-scale as part of the we. The full-scale is like a black-hole. Feeding on everything that it can suck in and never being satisfied. It just grows and grows and would do so without limit, if not for the "Agreement" between it and the people, and the people's ability, in some way shape or form, to enforce that agreement.

Government is the ultimate example of a necessary evil. Absolutely necessary for a civilized society and absolutely not to be trusted, ever.
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Old January 2, 2013, 02:37 PM   #121
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It was and is a tug of war between the Federalists and the anti-Federalists, Every single line of the constitution and bill of rights was argued over incessantly by men locked in a hot stuffy meeting room in the heat of summer while wearing wool clothing and every single word is a compromise. The rights given to the Federal government was powerful but limited and to the states broad and far reaching and it was deliberately done that way. Since then the Federal government has encroached on states rights and we let them get away with it but the line stops at the bill of rights. Those rights were rights all citizens have when they are born or become citizens and to encroach on them by Federal or State government is wrong.

Do not infringe on the second because when it's gone the first is gone and then we are subjects not citizens.
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Old January 3, 2013, 01:56 PM   #122
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It is funny that the writers of the constituion distrusted the government, which was in large part made up of themselves. There just has to be a little irony in there somewhere. In any case, I still haven't the slightest idea how anyone here would do things any differently. Some even wanted to make Washington a king. Were we the first country to have a president? Do you suppose the government would be any more trustworthy were the members of this forum, myself naturally excluded (because I am not your friend), a part of the government, aside from those who already are?
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Old January 3, 2013, 02:44 PM   #123
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Do things differently?

I'd do things differently by doing them the way they were intended to be done.

The COTUS is a fine document just as it's written. The interpretation and re-interpretation is the problem.

Many, many issues that are not appropriate for national level control or influence are under national control today. Incorporation against the states is a disaster. Finding ideas that aren't there is a disaster.

Start with the basis of the Revolution. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Now, the founders weren't perfect, they were a product of their times to a certain extent, after all, but they had this line right, if not the application.

"Men" is "HUman". We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mankind is created equal.

Start there and apply the COTUS as it was meant to be applied, against the National government and not where it wasn't, the states.

Get rid of "reading between the lines" nonsense. It says what it says and doesn't say what it doesn't. Everything not there is left to the people and to the states.

The National government is an out of control monster. Far too big, far too powerful, far too influential, far too involved.

The entire COTUS is something like 8 (rather large) pages. What would it be on standard size paper? 20? 25 pages? How do we have a National government that passes laws of such breadth and force that they constitute THOUSANDS of pages?

How do we have like a dozen National level agencies that regulate salmon fishing? TSA, anyone? The Patriot Act? The Lacey Act? National laws against farmers selling "raw" milk to their neighbors? Federal investigators sent to investigate decedents of Hemingway's cats?

How would we do things differently? We'd start by NOT DOING a whole darn lot and by taking the document for what it SAYS!
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Old January 3, 2013, 03:35 PM   #124
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Brian you are right, however, we need to look forward. We need to figure out how we reduce the size and power of the federal govt and restore power to the states. That is no easy path, the legislature empowers themselves and virtually everyone we send to dc becomes tainted with their own self interest. I believe we to provide incentives for our reps to do what is in OUR best interest, those incentives are term limits. We need a strong grass roots group to educate people on why its important for the states to gain power back.
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Old January 3, 2013, 03:43 PM   #125
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I second the notion of the constitution as a literal document. Each of the founding fathers may have intentions influenced by differing opinions. The final document, I'm sure, is a product of compromises. I agree with Brian that there's way too much reading between the lines.

The second amendment is 27 words, yet we have page after page of debate on what the founders may have had in mind. In the end, it really matters not what they were thinking, what matters is what was put in the final document.

About my earlier posts about defense against tyranny... I made a poor attempt at demonstrating the fact that John Q. Public isn't receptive of that argument. It very well seems to be what the founders had in mind, it is not looked upon favorably by the populace.
If a sworn officer of the law wants to disarm me, I will comply. If members of the military are under orders to disarm me, I will comply. Tyranny it may be, I'll have to sort it out later.
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