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Old November 12, 2011, 03:06 PM   #15
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,766
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
I remain of the opinion that the entire concept of "reasonable" regulation, as applied to the 2nd Amendment, is a modern construct that is totally at odds with the language of the Constitution itself....
Whether the notion of reasonable regulation as applied to the 2nd Amendment is at odds with the language of the Constitution is one thing, but the notion of regulation in connection with the RKBA is hardly modern (Heller, majority opinion, pp 38 - 40, emphasis added):
...Many early 19th-century state cases indicated that the Second Amendment right to bear arms was an individual right unconnected to militia service, though subject to certain restrictions. A Virginia case in 1824 holding that the Constitution did not extend to free blacks explained that “numerous restrictions imposed on [blacks] in our Statute Book, many of which are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, both of this State and of the United States as respects the free whites, demonstrate, that, here, those instruments have not been considered to extend equally to both classes of our population. We will only instance the restriction upon the migration of free blacks into this State, and upon their right to bear arms.” Aldridge v. Commonwealth, 2 Va. Cas. 447, 449 (Gen. Ct.). The claim was obviously not that blacks were prevented from carrying guns in the militia....See also Waters v. State, 1 Gill 302, 309 (Md. 1843) (because free blacks were treated as a “dangerous population,” “laws have been passed to prevent their migration into this State; to make it unlawful for them to bear arms; to guard even their religious assemblages with peculiar watchfulness”). An 1829 decision by the Supreme Court of Michigan said: “The constitution of the United States also grants to the citizen the right to keep and bear arms. But the grant of this privilege cannot be construed into the right in him who keeps a gun to destroy his neighbor. No rights are intended to be granted by the constitution for an unlawful or unjustifiable purpose.” United States v. Sheldon, in 5 Transactions of the Supreme Court of the Territory of Michigan 337, 346 (W. Blume ed. 1940) (hereinafter Blume). It is not possible to read this as discussing anything other than an individual right unconnected to militia service. If it did have to do with militia service, the limitation upon it would not be any “unlawful or unjustifiable purpose,” but any nonmilitary purpose whatsoever.

In Nunn v. State, 1 Ga. 243, 251 (1846), the Georgia Supreme Court construed the Second Amendment as protecting the “natural right of self-defence” and therefore struck down a ban on carrying pistols openly. Its opinion perfectly captured the way in which the operative clause of the Second Amendment furthers the purpose announcedin the prefatory clause, in continuity with the English right:
“The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is, that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right, originally belonging to our forefathers, trampled under foot by Charles I. and his two wicked sons and successors, re-established by the revolution of 1688, conveyed to this land of liberty by the colonists, and finally incorporated conspicuously in our own Magna Charta!”
Likewise, in State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann. 489, 490 (1850), the Louisiana Supreme Court held that citizens had a right to carry arms openly: “This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.”...
Originally Posted by secret_agent_man
...Public safety via weaponry is a modern day issue...
It's hardly a modern issue in connection with RKBA issues. Consider the 1859 decision of the Supreme Court of Texas upholding a state law treating criminal homicide more severely if committed with a Bowie knife or dagger rather than another weapon (Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394 (1859), pp 402 - 403, emphasis added):
....The right to carry a bowie-knife for lawful defense is secured, and must be admitted. It is an exceeding destructive weapon. It is difficult to defend against it, by any degree of bravery, or any amount of skill. The gun or pistol may miss its aim, and when discharged, its dangerous character is lost, or diminished at least. The sword may be parried. With these weapons men fight for the sake of the combat, to satisfy the laws of honor, not necessarily with the intention to kill, or with a certainty of killing, when the intention exists. The bowie-knife differs from these in its device and design; it is the instrument of almost certain death. He who carries such a weapon, for lawful defense, as he may, makes himself more dangerous to the rights of others, considering the frailties of human nature, than if he carried a less dangerous weapon....
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