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California 2nd Amend. Political Discussion & Activism Discuss gun rights activism and 2A related political topics here. All advice given is NOT legal counsel.

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  #1  
Old 12-19-2012, 5:17 PM
Cylarz Cylarz is offline
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Default Response to the strawman

Everyone, of course, is talking about the CT shooting that killed 24 children. As you know, a number of measures are being proposed in response, most notably a revival of the federal assault weapons ban and a number of new laws at the state level.

Of course, we know that such measures will not only be futile in preventing attacks like this, but actually may be counterproductive. A common argument from our side, additionally, is to simply say, "The Second Amendment guarantees private gun rights, as validated by SCOTUS cases in 2008 and 2010." However, if you point this out to a gun-grabber (or even a political moderate) the common response is a strawman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man) consisting of the following or some similar rhetoric:

"Oh, okay. So does that mean the Second Amendment guarantees my right to a bazooka then? Can I mount artillery on my pickup? Do you really think we have an unfettered right to tanks, jet fighters, and battleships as private citizens?"

It's an attempt at boxing us in: the classic Catch-22. If you say yes, you're written off as a loon. If you say no, then you're called a hypocrite and your antagonist then demands to know why the government can't take away everything down to the hobby knives, if it wishes.

Of course, you and I know that's utter nonsense. The conversation isn't about tanks and battleships or even bazookas...it's about small arms and how far government can go in restricting them (if at all). Most of us would say it doesn't matter much, as the cost alone would put mechanized military equipment well out of reach of most of us. (Some people do in fact argue that we have a right to anything the military has, if we can afford it.)

My question to you, however: How do YOU respond when someone says this?

For the record, I have always maintained that all ballistic, non-explosive weaponry should be available for private purchase, including fully-automatic small arms. (It's worked out fine in Switzerland.)

Last edited by Cylarz; 12-19-2012 at 5:23 PM..
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  #2  
Old 12-19-2012, 5:36 PM
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I typically note the logical fallacy and try to circle back to meaningful discussion, or kindly thank them for their time in discussing the matter, then promptly take a dump in their mailbox.
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  #3  
Old 12-19-2012, 5:39 PM
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How do I respond? Any argument with those kinds of people never ends up well. They have their opinions, and anything short of complete agreement with their position will be seen as wrong.

I had someone at work today bring up the Sandy Hook tragedy. They knew I was an owner and felt that it was the right time to let me know that I was partly responsible for the problem because I supported Civil (gun) Rights. What I did was ask if they remembered when the old guy drove his car through the market and killed a bunch of people. Obviously they were at least familiar with the incident and replied as such. My next question was what was done about it. They responded by talking about how restrictions were placed on elderly drivers, driving tests, and educating the public on talking about driving with their elderly relative. I asked if they supported those solutions, and of course they did. I then asked why they were not upset that they did not immediately ban cars because they were dangerous. Their reply was "that's ridiculous, the guy drove the car." I looked them in the eye and said "and the crazy kid pulled the trigger" and walked away.

Needless to say I felt a little better. The look on their face told me that they had never even considered that, but the seed of logic was now planted...
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  #4  
Old 12-19-2012, 5:42 PM
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I think it depends a lot on how the term "arms" is defined, what does it cover, and what the spirit of the amendment indicates. For example, should "explosives" be included under "arms"?

Obviously, I believe there's some flexibility there. And ultimately this flexibility is what is allowing the push for the restriction of the so-called "assault weapons".

I usually respond with the answer that I believe the second amendment refers to small arms that can be carried on a person, and does not guarantee the right to explosives. However, I understand that this definition is still certainly subjective and open to discussion.

Unfortunately, with the media's demonizing of "assault weapons", the entirety of semi-automatics is under attack. I see no way of getting out of this without a supreme court ruling on exactly what does "arms" entail, and where do you draw the line.

Personally, a more irritating statement that I hear all the time from the opposition is the "2A was written by people with muskets over 200 years ago, it does not apply to the modern world."
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Old 12-19-2012, 5:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Extra411 View Post
Personally, a more irritating statement that I hear all the time from the opposition is the "2A was written by people with muskets over 200 years ago, it does not apply to the modern world."
I typically respond with "If that's the case the 1st Amendment only applies to quill and ink, printing presses, and town criers."
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  #6  
Old 12-19-2012, 6:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolo589 View Post
I typically respond with "If that's the case the 1st Amendment only applies to quill and ink, printing presses, and town criers."
And the printing presses can't use electricity
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Old 12-19-2012, 7:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylarz View Post
Everyone, of course, is talking about the CT shooting that killed 24 children. As you know, a number of measures are being proposed in response, most notably a revival of the federal assault weapons ban and a number of new laws at the state level.

Of course, we know that such measures will not only be futile in preventing attacks like this, but actually may be counterproductive. A common argument from our side, additionally, is to simply say, "The Second Amendment guarantees private gun rights, as validated by SCOTUS cases in 2008 and 2010." However, if you point this out to a gun-grabber (or even a political moderate) the common response is a strawman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man) consisting of the following or some similar rhetoric:

"Oh, okay. So does that mean the Second Amendment guarantees my right to a bazooka then? Can I mount artillery on my pickup? Do you really think we have an unfettered right to tanks, jet fighters, and battleships as private citizens?"

It's an attempt at boxing us in: the classic Catch-22. If you say yes, you're written off as a loon. If you say no, then you're called a hypocrite and your antagonist then demands to know why the government can't take away everything down to the hobby knives, if it wishes.

Of course, you and I know that's utter nonsense. The conversation isn't about tanks and battleships or even bazookas...it's about small arms and how far government can go in restricting them (if at all). Most of us would say it doesn't matter much, as the cost alone would put mechanized military equipment well out of reach of most of us. (Some people do in fact argue that we have a right to anything the military has, if we can afford it.)

My question to you, however: How do YOU respond when someone says this?

For the record, I have always maintained that all ballistic, non-explosive weaponry should be available for private purchase, including fully-automatic small arms. (It's worked out fine in Switzerland.)

the 2nd amendment prohibits congress from infringing our right to keep and bear arms. that includes rifles, bazookas and nuclear bombs. if the government wishes to infringe on our right to keep and bear nuclear bombs, bazookas and others arms, it needs to use article 5 to amend the constitution to do so. there is no grey area.
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  #8  
Old 12-19-2012, 7:04 PM
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My response, if I ever talk to anti's, is...

"Absolutely!"

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  #9  
Old 12-19-2012, 7:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolo589 View Post
I typically respond with "If that's the case the 1st Amendment only applies to quill and ink, printing presses, and town criers."
It's a good response, but I noticed that their general opinion of the bill of rights is that, "1A doesn't protect ALL speeches, thus 2A does not cover ALL guns (hints at "AW" here)", and we're back to OP's statement.
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Old 12-19-2012, 7:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Extra411 View Post
It's a good response, but I noticed that their general opinion of the bill of rights is that, "1A doesn't protect ALL speeches, thus 2A does not cover ALL guns (hints at "AW" here)", and we're back to OP's statement.
1A actually protects the vast majority of speech. The quintessential example of shouting "FIRE!" in a crowded theater was actually overturned by a later case (Brandenburg v. Ohio) which loosened the restrictions of speech to only inflammatory speech that is directed to inciting, and is likely to incite, imminent lawless action.

I would argue that the equivalent for firearms would be the already heavily restricted NFA items that are currently restricted. (Not that I necessarily agree with all the items that are NFA items should be restricted.)
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  #11  
Old 12-19-2012, 8:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylarz View Post
Everyone, of course, is talking about the CT shooting that killed 24 children.
Which shooting was that? The murderer in Newtown last week killed 20 children, and six adults, according to news reports. Yes, facts matter.

And to your other point, I have been able to hold rational conversations with people, who are upset and opposed to gun ownership, about the CT shooting. There's still much shock and grief right now, and it takes calm assurance to speak of constitutional rights and the ineffectiveness of previous gun and accessory bans. We need something better than what Lanza's mother provided, to care for those with mental illness and violent tendencies.
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  #12  
Old 12-19-2012, 8:19 PM
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See the links to the Heller and McDonald web sites, below in my signature block.

Open those pages, locate the amicus briefings and the final opinions from SCOTUS.

Download all of those. Read. Bookmark them. Make notes.

And quote from those with references to the filings and the SCOTUS opinions.

Almost all the work and research already exists.
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Last edited by Librarian; 12-19-2012 at 8:26 PM..
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  #13  
Old 12-19-2012, 8:29 PM
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Whenever they bring out the "allowing citizens to buy nukes" strawman, I always respond; "If nukes could be purchased, how many citizens would be able to purchase a weapon that cost millions of dollars? And what obligates the government to sell when they control all means of production of nuclear material?"
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Old 12-19-2012, 8:31 PM
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I had this same discussion (more like a yelling argument) with my girlfriend a couple months ago. She asked me the same thing about a "rocket launcher" (as she called it) and said "why not a grenade"? I felt very boxed in and instantly felt myself losing the strong spot I felt I had. I tried to work around the argument, but I was weakening. Just simply my lack of knowledge on things I suppose. She feels none of us should have the need for any firearm, especially my AR's and AK's. She thinks it excessive, borderline psychotic. she says the police are there to protect us. I sometimes wonder how I am going to make it work with her when we are such polar opposites on things. But 95% of the time, we enjoy each others time and do the norm.

I think we are polar opposites and the argument is pointless. Like trying to have Stephen Hawking and the Pope battle it out and see if one can get the other to switch stances. She is a single Mom who voted for Obama and is extremely excited for Obamacare and while I didn't like any of our republican candidates, I did take the lesser of two evils and vote red.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylarz View Post
Everyone, of course, is talking about the CT shooting that killed 24 children. As you know, a number of measures are being proposed in response, most notably a revival of the federal assault weapons ban and a number of new laws at the state level.

Of course, we know that such measures will not only be futile in preventing attacks like this, but actually may be counterproductive. A common argument from our side, additionally, is to simply say, "The Second Amendment guarantees private gun rights, as validated by SCOTUS cases in 2008 and 2010." However, if you point this out to a gun-grabber (or even a political moderate) the common response is a strawman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man) consisting of the following or some similar rhetoric:

"Oh, okay. So does that mean the Second Amendment guarantees my right to a bazooka then? Can I mount artillery on my pickup? Do you really think we have an unfettered right to tanks, jet fighters, and battleships as private citizens?"

It's an attempt at boxing us in: the classic Catch-22. If you say yes, you're written off as a loon. If you say no, then you're called a hypocrite and your antagonist then demands to know why the government can't take away everything down to the hobby knives, if it wishes.

Of course, you and I know that's utter nonsense. The conversation isn't about tanks and battleships or even bazookas...it's about small arms and how far government can go in restricting them (if at all). Most of us would say it doesn't matter much, as the cost alone would put mechanized military equipment well out of reach of most of us. (Some people do in fact argue that we have a right to anything the military has, if we can afford it.)

My question to you, however: How do YOU respond when someone says this?

For the record, I have always maintained that all ballistic, non-explosive weaponry should be available for private purchase, including fully-automatic small arms. (It's worked out fine in Switzerland.)

Last edited by Agro; 12-19-2012 at 8:34 PM..
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Old 12-19-2012, 8:53 PM
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Tanks make good examples. Simply explain that yes, a private civilian should have the right to own and operate a tank. Consider everything else that goes with tank ownership:
Tanks are expensive to buy. Do you know anyone who could afford one?
Tanks require maintenance. Who's your mechanic?
Tanks are expensive to operate. Fuel is already expensive and tanks use a LOT.
Tanks are heavy. They'll do extensive damage to road and the owner would be responsible for all property damage caused.
Limited availability. Know any good dealers? The 2A doesn't say our government needs to provide them for sale.
That should be a good start.

*edit: Happen to have military channel on. The program just said the Bradly costs $3.1 million and weighs in at 25 tons.

Last edited by Fellblade; 12-19-2012 at 8:59 PM..
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Old 12-19-2012, 8:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylarz View Post
However, if you point this out to a gun-grabber (or even a political moderate) the common response is a strawman

"Oh, okay. So does that mean the Second Amendment guarantees my right to a bazooka then? Can I mount artillery on my pickup? Do you really think we have an unfettered right to tanks, jet fighters, and battleships as private citizens?"
[...]

My question to you, however: How do YOU respond when someone says this?
First, suggest they might read the actual court decisions, as SCOTUS isn't filled with complete ninnies and one might suspect this sort of thing came up.

Second, ask if they believe that, given the first amendment, the legitimacy of a ban on child pornography implies a ban on Mein Kampf also. Point being, no right is so absolute as to be stretched to absurd cases, but limits on fundamental rights are mighty thin on the ground in practical application, even when the exercise of those rights may be dangerous.
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Old 12-19-2012, 9:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Librarian View Post
See the links to the Heller and McDonald web sites, below in my signature block.

Open those pages, locate the amicus briefings and the final opinions from SCOTUS.

Download all of those. Read. Bookmark them. Make notes.

And quote from those with references to the filings and the SCOTUS opinions.

Almost all the work and research already exists.
Thank you, those are tremendously useful.
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Old 12-19-2012, 9:57 PM
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In order to educate myself, I've been looking at the State Constitutions of the original 13 regarding the right of the people to keep and bear arms. I wanted to understand better the climate of the land and the general sentiment of the framers.

Some states neglected the matter all together perhaps because of the U.S. Constitution.

I love Maine's which reads,

"Section 16. To keep and bear arms. Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned."

No ambiguity.

http://www.maine.gov/legis/const/

And, Pennsylvania

XIII. 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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsyl...tution_of_1776

Even Massachusetts

Art. 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.

http://www.nhinet.org/ccs/docs/ma-1780.htm

And Vermont

XV. 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.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/vt01.asp

Rhode Island

17th That the people have a right to keep and bear arms, that a well regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free state; that the militia shall not be subject to martial law except in time of war, rebellion or insurrection; that standing armies in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in cases of necessity; and that at all times the military should be under strict subordination to the civil power; that in time of peace no soldier ought to be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, and in time of war, only by the civil magistrate, in such manner as the law directs.


http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/ratri.asp

North Carolina

17. That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defense of the State; and as standing armies, in 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.

http://www.nhinet.org/ccs/docs/nc-1776.htm
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agro View Post
I had this same discussion (more like a yelling argument) with my girlfriend a couple months ago. She asked me the same thing about a "rocket launcher" (as she called it) and said "why not a grenade"? I felt very boxed in and instantly felt myself losing the strong spot I felt I had. I tried to work around the argument, but I was weakening. Just simply my lack of knowledge on things I suppose. She feels none of us should have the need for any firearm, especially my AR's and AK's. She thinks it excessive, borderline psychotic. she says the police are there to protect us.
Tell her about Castle Rock v Gonzales, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the police do not have a Constitutional duty to protect a person from harm.

As for weapons such as bazookas, hand grenades, etc., the core of the 2nd Amendment is self-defense. Therefore, the government does not have a legitimate interest in banning weapons that can be used for self-defense but which, when used properly in a law-abiding manner, do not present a significant risk of loss of life to the public at large. Firearms are directed weapons. Grenades, bazookas, nuclear weapons, etc., are area effect weapons. The latter present substantial risks to the public at large even when used properly. The former do not.

Even bullets which miss their target present a relatively low risk, as the overall probability that they will hit someone before hitting something that stops them is relatively low. Were this not the case, innocent bystanders would be injured by police fire and self-defense fire much more often than they are.


And that is why the 2nd Amendment provides a much stronger protection of firearms than the other weaponry that is used by RKBA opponents in an effort to discredit the RKBA argument.


That said, I don't believe the more powerful weapons are necessarily entirely unprotected. It depends on the weapon and the danger to the public that would arise from accidents with them. Nuclear weapons are quite clearly off the table precisely because they would present such an extreme danger to the public in the event of an accident. The same is true of any explosive device with a blast radius of more than a couple of meters, or . But by that logic, grenades might be protected as regards ownership, but not as regards carrying in public in a "ready for use in case of confrontation" configuration. Grenades are probably the kind of weapon that is on the dividing line in that respect.

But regardless, firearms are most certainly highly protected because of their effectiveness for self-defense combined with their rather low risk to the public when not misused (missing the bad guy does not count as "misuse" unless the miss was intentional, and certain intentional misses, such as warning shots, might not count either depending on how they're done).


The government does not have the legitimate power to ban firearms just because their misuse presents some amount of danger to the public. Not only does the 2nd Amendment protect them from that action, but firearms play a much greater legitimate defensive role than they play an illegitimate offensive role, as evidenced by the sheer number of times they're used for self-defense in a given year (at the very least hundreds of thousands of times).

Otherwise, one could argue that the government has the legitimate power to ban automobiles simply because of the danger their misuse (accidental or otherwise) presents to the public.

Bottom line: ask if the government can legitimately ban automobiles. When the other side argues that it can't because automobiles have legitimate peaceful uses, you can say that firearms also have legitimate peaceful uses (self-defense, target shooting, competitions, hunting, etc.). That the firearm is designed to kill is not relevant, for that fact is precisely what makes them such effective tools for self-defense.

There would be a legitimate argument for banning firearms if there existed stun guns with the same defensive effectiveness, but we're not yet there technologically (and might never be), and until we are, firearms are off-limits to total bans, and no legitimate argument can be made for banning them outright. For the need for effective self-defense will not disappear if firearms do, and it is self-defense that underpins the right to keep and bear arms.


One last thing: the text of Heller takes the "interest balancing approach" off the table as regards the deliberations of the courts. As the Heller decision said:

Quote:
We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding "interest-balancing" approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government—even the Third Branch of Government—the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges' assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad.
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Last edited by kcbrown; 12-19-2012 at 10:25 PM.. Reason: Ooops. Got the case to cite wrong...
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  #20  
Old 12-19-2012, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fellblade View Post
Tanks make good examples. Simply explain that yes, a private civilian should have the right to own and operate a tank. Consider everything else that goes with tank ownership:
Tanks are expensive to buy. Do you know anyone who could afford one?
Tanks require maintenance. Who's your mechanic?
Tanks are expensive to operate. Fuel is already expensive and tanks use a LOT.
Tanks are heavy. They'll do extensive damage to road and the owner would be responsible for all property damage caused.
Limited availability. Know any good dealers? The 2A doesn't say our government needs to provide them for sale.
That should be a good start.

*edit: Happen to have military channel on. The program just said the Bradly costs $3.1 million and weighs in at 25 tons.
All that being true, there are some rather well-off individuals who own tanks and other armored vehicles here in the US. The other trick is getting the 'destructive device' license for the main guns, and, IIRC, every individual cannon shell/round.

See, for example, http://www.armyjeeps.net/armor1.htm
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:29 PM
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OP here...Thanks for the responses. A lot of food for thought here. I definitely hadn't considered looking at the state constitutions, though I do sometimes refer people to writings of the time (such as the Federalist Papers) when I want to make people understand what our Founders meant when they drafted our Constitution and the original ten Amendments.

My thought is that you have ballistic weapons (all types of small arm, from muzzle loaders to rotating mini-guns)...and then you have just about everything else (RPGs to fighter jets to cruise missiles to nuclear weapons). While I've generally said that people have a right to buy all of the former and none of the latter, I did run across at least one guy who told me that in the late 18th century, some well-to-do private citizens did own cannon and even warships...in other words, the rough equivalent to anything fielded by the Continental Army or Navy of the time. It is difficult for me to extrapolate that to modern military weaponry, simply because 2012 military equipment is many orders of magnitude more powerful than 1787 military equipment. What I resent, however, is when a gun grabber tries to use this observation to force me to concede that I shouldn't have access to a semi-auto AR-15 or AK pattern rifle either.

If I could have a grown-up conversation with one of these people (few and far between, sadly)...I'd tell him that I definitely think the answer to gun violence of the type we've seen recently is an end to "gun free" zones, an expansion of concealed carry, and some thought given to arming the schools (every teacher carries all the time, one loaded firearm locked up somewhere on each campus, or something in between). On that last point, my thought is that if anything it's more important to arm educators than it is mall shoppers or theater goers...simply because a school contains hundreds of minors who (by definition) can't own or use firearms and therefore can't protect themselves like adults in a public place can. (Yes, I know a lot of children and teenagers hunt and/or shoot competitively; never mind that right now. Though yes, I think if you're 18 you should be allowed anything that 21 year olds can have.)

I've run into a lot of people who will concede the argument that the 2nd Amendment does protect an individual right to bear arms (whoopty do since SCOTUS already settled this), but then they'll turn right around and say that all of the legislation aimed at curtailing or infringing upon that right...doesn't. Such as the federal assault weapons ban, or the latest round of ill-considered legislation in the hopper at the state level. (I've become fond of pointing out that all of this was on the way anyway; the gun grabbers in Congress and the Legislature already were planning to reintroduce the AWB and the bullet button ban; this incident merely gave them some extra momentum.)

Classic response from a gun grabber: "Why does anyone need a rifle that holds 30 bullets?" My response is typically along the lines of, "Who are you to make the declaration that nobody 'needs' such a weapon? Are you familiar with every last circumstance in which such a weapon might be used? Are you a gun expert or qualified in any way to assess such needs, or are you just repeating the media's talking points?"

I don't accept such talk even from police officers or members of the military, much less a layperson. I generally don't even get into the "Statistics show, gun-friendly areas are safer...." argument. At that point they usually point to their favorite example, the UK...at which time I point to mine, Switzerland. (Thomas Sowell has a great column out illustrating that Mexico, Russia, and dozens of other places have stricter gun laws than America AND higher per-capita gun violence rates, leading me to suspect the problem is cultural.) But again, I think you need to pick your tactic - are gun grabbers wrong on principle or are they wrong on statistics?

Sometimes I'll add, "Try looking at it from the other direction - what right does government, state or federal, have to tell us what we can or can't have...and by what right does it place any obligation on us to explain ourselves? Isn't it supposed to work the other way around in America....'just consent of the governed' and all that?"

Last edited by Cylarz; 12-19-2012 at 10:47 PM..
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:48 PM
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All that being true, there are some rather well-off individuals who own tanks and other armored vehicles here in the US. The other trick is getting the 'destructive device' license for the main guns, and, IIRC, every individual cannon shell/round.

See, for example, http://www.armyjeeps.net/armor1.htm
Hell yeah. Didn't anyone see the movie "Tank" with James Garner? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088224/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:03 PM
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In order to educate myself, I've been looking at the State Constitutions of the original 13 regarding the right of the people to keep and bear arms. I wanted to understand better the climate of the land and the general sentiment of the framers.

Some states neglected the matter all together perhaps because of the U.S. Constitution.

I love Maine's which reads,

"Section 16. To keep and bear arms. Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned."

No ambiguity.

http://www.maine.gov/legis/const/

And, Pennsylvania

XIII. 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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsyl...tution_of_1776

Even Massachusetts

Art. 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.

http://www.nhinet.org/ccs/docs/ma-1780.htm

And Vermont

XV. 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.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/vt01.asp

Rhode Island

17th That the people have a right to keep and bear arms, that a well regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free state; that the militia shall not be subject to martial law except in time of war, rebellion or insurrection; that standing armies in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in cases of necessity; and that at all times the military should be under strict subordination to the civil power; that in time of peace no soldier ought to be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, and in time of war, only by the civil magistrate, in such manner as the law directs.


http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/ratri.asp

North Carolina

17. That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defense of the State; and as standing armies, in 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.

http://www.nhinet.org/ccs/docs/nc-1776.htm

It's interesting looking at these, however if you look closely and try to divine the intent of the founders you'll see conflicting messages.

Maine is fairly straight forward and Pennsylvania and Vermont explicitly list self-defense as a reasoning for keeping and bearing arms, however all of the other states (listed here anyway) only list "defense of the State" or "common defense". Now, this argument is moot considering the modern Heller interpretation, but I think you might be opening up a can of worms if you try to defend a self-defense interpretation by only referencing original State constitutions. What can be seen from the other States was that "the people" were the militia and thus everyone who lived in the state who could bear arms would be a member of said militia and would need to keep and bear arms.

It could be that at the time of the original writings self-defense was considered such an absolute right it need not be enshrined in the various State's constitutions, however without corroborating evidence that's purely speculation.
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Old 12-20-2012, 4:24 AM
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Put this question in historical context: The purpose of the Second Amendment is to guarantee that the citizenry retains the ability to protect itself from a tyrannical government and its army. Obviously, if there are to be any restrictions on firepower, the Founding Fathers would argue that those restrictions should be placed on what the government can possess, not on what the people can possess.

Also, if the government is truly "Of the people, by the people and for the people," then why is there a division between what the government can possess and what the people can possess anyway?
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Old 12-20-2012, 6:56 AM
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I called in to a local AM radio show Monday afternoon and was met with this exact question. My reply went something like this:

The founder's view and opinion of 'Arms' at the time of the revolution included everything from cannon's down to knives. Our own navy started with civilian owned merchant ships armed with civilian owned cannons mounted on them.

Now, in our own time, I would expect the founders to be completely comfortable with the type of arms used by our war fighters in the sandbox at the platoon level. The 2A was written for self defense and to be able to resist tyranny. Platoon level weapons are certainly within the scope needed to resist tyranny.

The radio host found that to be a good answer and measure.

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Old 12-20-2012, 7:12 AM
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Cylarz, great thread. Really great responses!

I found it really interesting that some state constitutions didn't address the issue at all while others were very clear in their objection to the government retaining any standing army.

To me, that speaks volumes about the distrust many of the framers had regarding central power of government having a military to implement and project that power.

Knowing a bit about the history, I also think it points to the clear divisions that existed at the time and how thin that line was between having a Declaration of Independence and simply an insurrection between some of the colonies and the crown.

Mike
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Old 12-20-2012, 7:16 AM
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Nice response Choprzrul... what show was that? I don't listen to AM very much.
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Old 12-20-2012, 7:19 AM
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Nice response Choprzrul... what show was that? I don't listen to AM very much.
Andy Caldwell out of Santa Maria. 5 Cities is just on the edge of reception, so I doubt that you would get it in SLO.

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Old 12-20-2012, 8:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Cylarz View Post
Everyone, of course, is talking about the CT shooting that killed 24 children. As you know, a number of measures are being proposed in response, most notably a revival of the federal assault weapons ban and a number of new laws at the state level.

Of course, we know that such measures will not only be futile in preventing attacks like this, but actually may be counterproductive. A common argument from our side, additionally, is to simply say, "The Second Amendment guarantees private gun rights, as validated by SCOTUS cases in 2008 and 2010." However, if you point this out to a gun-grabber (or even a political moderate) the common response is a strawman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man) consisting of the following or some similar rhetoric:

"Oh, okay. So does that mean the Second Amendment guarantees my right to a bazooka then? Can I mount artillery on my pickup? Do you really think we have an unfettered right to tanks, jet fighters, and battleships as private citizens?"

It's an attempt at boxing us in: the classic Catch-22. If you say yes, you're written off as a loon. If you say no, then you're called a hypocrite and your antagonist then demands to know why the government can't take away everything down to the hobby knives, if it wishes.

Of course, you and I know that's utter nonsense. The conversation isn't about tanks and battleships or even bazookas...it's about small arms and how far government can go in restricting them (if at all). Most of us would say it doesn't matter much, as the cost alone would put mechanized military equipment well out of reach of most of us. (Some people do in fact argue that we have a right to anything the military has, if we can afford it.)

My question to you, however: How do YOU respond when someone says this?

For the record, I have always maintained that all ballistic, non-explosive weaponry should be available for private purchase, including fully-automatic small arms. (It's worked out fine in Switzerland.)
The way I answer this argument is as follows:

The SCOTUS confirmed that the 2A is a right to individual self-defense. If things actually ever got to the point where full auto firearms, tanks, jet fighters, bazookas & battleships are needed to insure your personal safety in a defensive capacity, then yes, without a doubt, the above should all be allowed.
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Old 12-20-2012, 8:44 AM
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ARMS are defined. I do not recall the size of the projectile but a Bazookas is too big. Something like .72 caliber or something.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:01 AM
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ARMS are defined. I do not recall the size of the projectile but a Bazookas is too big. Something like .72 caliber or something.
I'd love to see a source. Not that I'm doubting you.. I just get asked the "bazookas" question quite a bit and would love to have a source.
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