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US 2nd Amendment 'Right to bear arms'

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Haighus View Post

    I've been meaning to reply to this for a few days.

    I understand the concept of "well regulated" meaning "in working order" in the 18th century.

    However, I don't think it therefore follows that that only refers to the equipment used being in working order, and not also referencing the militiamen wielding them. I do not think it is a stretch to consider that if a person was incapable of safely and effectively operating their firearm, they would not be considered to be "in working order".

    After all, many (most?) of the founding fathers and early US politicians didn't think blacks were capable of contributing to the militia, so presumably they did not consider them to be "well regulated". I also highly doubt anyone at the time would have thought it reasonable to consider inpatients at psychiatric institutions (asylums) as "well regulated" either and arm them as part of the militia.

    Now, of course it is possible to disconnect the two halfs of the sentence in the amendment to separate the militia from the people (it shouldn't be, because they used a comma where they should've just started a new sentence or maybe used a semi colon, but grammar was looser then), but those ratifying the amendment did not intend it to be a universal, inalienable right or they would have allowed guns to those excluded groups above. With that in mind, why disconnect the two halves of the sentence?
    Well, let's look at some alternate wordings that were placed in the state constitutions at the same time:

    Pennsylvania: Article 13. 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

    Virginia: Section 13. That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

    Massachusetts: Chapter 1. Article XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority and be governed by it.

    Vermont: Section XVIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of the 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.

    So, anyone doubt that the people supposed to have guns were 'the People' and not 'the militia'?

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by BaronIveagh View Post

      Well, let's look at some alternate wordings that were placed in the state constitutions at the same time:

      Pennsylvania: Article 13. 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

      Virginia: Section 13. That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

      Massachusetts: Chapter 1. Article XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority and be governed by it.

      Vermont: Section XVIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of the 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.

      So, anyone doubt that the people supposed to have guns were 'the People' and not 'the militia'?
      I wasn't arguing against your last line. What I was saying is that they clearly didn't think "the people" was without exception when considered worthy of being in the militia and requiring arms. Mainly demonstrated by the way many groups were systematically denied the right to arm themselves.

      Interestingly, there are substantial variations between those. Virginia specifically calls out that a militia should be "trained to arms", but doesn't mention the people having a right to arms for self defense. Massachusetts likewise seems only to suggest arms are for the "common defense", suggesting they were not seen as a general right for self defense (I'm not saying that wasn't accepted, just not the stated goal). Pennsylvania and Vermont, however, both specifically list state and self defense.

      I'd be interested to see if the difference between Virginia and the others holds true across other southern vs northern states.

      Also, how is literally every one of those better written than the Second Amendment?! Who the hell asked the intern to write the federal one?

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      • #48
        Also how does a founding fathers/constitution-worshipping nation like the US have a larger standing military than the rest of the world combined with state constitutions like that?

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        • #49
          Originally posted by feeder View Post
          Also how does a founding fathers/constitution-worshipping nation like the US have a larger standing military than the rest of the world combined with state constitutions like that?
          The Civil War. Also, WW2 and the Military Industrial Complex. Otherwise we'd probably be more like Switzerland.

          Originally posted by Haighus View Post
          Also, how is literally every one of those better written than the Second Amendment?! Who the hell asked the intern to write the federal one?
          New York has a really elaborate one where they can tax you for not being a member of the militia. As far as the Federal one, it's a compromise between the pro and anti Federalist sides of the aisle. Not a very well written one
          Last edited by BaronIveagh; 07-19-2021, 10:29 PM.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by SilverbackWookie View Post
            If a person was incapable of safely and effectively operate their firearms, then they wouldn't be in the regular militia, ie the National Guard.

            But, that doesn't preclude that individual from owning/operating a firearm privately.

            Incorrect.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa...olutionary_War
            I really do not see how this invalidates my statement. This occurred prior to the formation of the USA, for obvious reasons, and the page even includes a section on how militia rights were immediately rolled back by the southern states after the war, before being rolled back elsewhere by 1830. I said that many of the early politicians of the US did not think blacks should have firearms. The actions of southern states appears entirely compatible with this.

            Under what justification would they be able to claim such were not able to bear arms if the right is supposed to apply to every member of the population without infringement?

            Also mentions nothing of the other group I pointed out. I highly doubt that a mental asylum inpatient would be granted the right to bear arms even if they'd somehow been able to get a case up to the Supreme Court.

            You're trying to rule-lawyer you way through this. It's much easier to study the history and cases. These are great resources to review:
            https://constitutioncenter.org/inter...-ii/interps/99
            https://www.britannica.com/topic/Second-Amendment
            Well, this is all literal rules lawyering! I just find the idea that so much of modern US political discourse on this subject relies on interpreting a badly-worded legal phrase written over 200 years ago to be absurd. Especially when it is pretty clear that many of those endorsing it had no intention of universal ownership of firearms.

            I'll read through those later though, thanks.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by BaronIveagh View Post

              The Civil War. Also, WW2 and the Military Industrial Complex. Otherwise we'd probably be more like Switzerland.
              Probably also the colonisation of the "Wild West" contributed a lot, seeing as that was essentially a massive, sustained, state-funded campaign to appropriate land.

              New York has a really elaborate one where they can tax you for not being a member of the militia. As far as the Federal one, it's a compromise between the pro and anti Federalist sides of the aisle. Not a very well written one
              What was the pro-Federalist aspect of it? It mainly looks like a shit version of those state ones.

              The New York tax thing sounds similar to noble feudal obligations where they could sometimes pay their way out of fighting directly, or at least pay others to fight in lieu.

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by SilverbackWookie View Post
                It's much easier to study the history and cases. These are great resources to review:
                https://constitutioncenter.org/inter...-ii/interps/99
                https://www.britannica.com/topic/Second-Amendment
                Those links do clear up some things. I didn't know it limited specifically the Federal government, which explains why States were happily able to restrict the right as they wished, because the purpose of the Second Amendment is purely to protect against Federal military oppression, not, well, for anything else.

                However, the overall historical context is not any clearer, and I think this is supported by the fact the two key decisions of the last 20 years were both 5-4 splits in the Supreme court. The idea of bearing arms and not being in the local militia doesn't seem to be prevalent in the early US, the two are intrinsically linked culturally, which is probably a lot of the reason it wasn't controversial then (plus the fact the States could do as they liked).

                Which suggests the possible interpretation that the Federal government could only restrict firearms rights for those not active in a local militia. This could've ended up being an amusing way to foster community spirit by forcing those who want guns to muster with the militia every so often in a sort of Swiss style gun culture.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Haighus View Post
                  Which suggests the possible interpretation that the Federal government could only restrict firearms rights for those not active in a local militia. This could've ended up being an amusing way to foster community spirit by forcing those who want guns to muster with the militia every so often in a sort of Swiss style gun culture.
                  Under Federal law, unless you're specifically exempted, you're automatically a member of the militia.

                  Originally posted by Haighus View Post
                  What was the pro-Federalist aspect of it? It mainly looks like a shit version of those state ones.
                  It doesn't renounce having a standing military.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Haighus View Post
                    Which suggests the possible interpretation that the Federal government could only restrict firearms rights for those not active in a local militia. This could've ended up being an amusing way to foster community spirit by forcing those who want guns to muster with the militia every so often in a sort of Swiss style gun culture.
                    That would solve most of the problems with gun ownership; you're free to own one as long as you attend a militia day once every 6 months for some training / practice. Throw in some pizza and beer and you've got a proper day out.

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                    • #55
                      Pacific

                      I read somewhere that that happened in Iraq after the toppling of Sadam. Loads of soldiery (some 300k +) got sent home with their AK-47s. It contributed massively to the internecine violence that took place afterwards (and probably continues to this day)
                      That's a bit of an oversimplification in the context.
                      The iraqi army, an army that was a political army insofar as it was used as an tool to enforce the political will of the dictator, which had Combat experience just got dismanteled got sent home indeed. Home insofar as a country that just completely destablised.
                      these people already were capable of terrorising locals , indeed the majority of their job was doing preciscly just that. Otoh, they were also not paid anymore and they had just a foreign army topple the last vestiges of order.

                      Of course such an armament rate is not beneficial in such a societal downturn, but access to weapons has never been required for people to be cruel to no end to each other in similar situations.

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