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Bowcephalus
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Post by Bowcephalus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:04 pm

James......This should be a start......"On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." (Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p. 322)

"The whole of the Bill (of Rights) is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals.... It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of." (Albert Gallatin of the New York Historical Society, October 7, 1789)

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms has been recognized by the General Government; but the best security of that right after all is, the military spirit, that taste for martial exercises, which has always distinguished the free citizens of these States....Such men form the best barrier to the liberties of America" - (Gazette of the United States, October 14, 1789.)

"No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." (Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J.Boyd, Ed., 1950])

"The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country..." (James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789])

"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves...and include all men capable of bearing arms." (Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788) at 169)

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment [ I Annals of Congress at 750 {August 17, 1789}])

"...to disarm the people - that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them." (George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380)

"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46 at 243-244)

"the ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone," (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper #46.)

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of 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 bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States" (Noah Webster in `An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution', 1787, a pamphlet aimed at swaying Pennsylvania toward ratification, in Paul Ford, ed., Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, at 56(New York, 1888))

"...if raised, whether they could subdue a Nation of freemen, who know how to prize liberty, and who have arms in their hands?" (Delegate Sedgwick, during the Massachusetts Convention, rhetorically asking if an oppressive standing army could prevail, Johnathan Elliot, ed., Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol.2 at 97 (2d ed., 1888))

"...but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights..." (Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist 29.)

"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation. . . Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper No. 46.)

"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms." (Tench Coxe in `Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution' under the Pseudonym `A Pennsylvanian' in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 col. 1)

"Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people" (Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788)

"The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to Congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both." [William Rawle, A View of the Constitution 125-6 (2nd ed. 1829)

"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials." (George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426)

"The Constitution shall never be construed....to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms" (Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87)

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them." (Richard Henry Lee, 1788, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights, Walter Bennett, ed., Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican, at 21,22,124 (Univ. of Alabama Press,1975)..)

"The great object is that every man be armed" and "everyone who is able may have a gun." (Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution. Debates and other Proceedings of the Convention of Virginia,...taken in shorthand by David Robertson of Petersburg, at 271, 275 2d ed. Richmond, 1805. Also 3 Elliot, Debates at 386)

"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them." (Zachariah Johnson, 3 Elliot, Debates at 646)

"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" (Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836)

"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8)

"That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of The United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms..." (Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Peirce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850))

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms....The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants" (Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William S. Smith in 1787. Taken from Jefferson, On Democracy 20, S. Padover ed., 1939)

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined" (Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836)

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- (Thomas Jefferson)

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence ... From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that is good" (George Washington)

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks. (Thomas Jefferson, Encyclopedia of T. Jefferson, 318 [Foley, Ed., reissued 1967])

"The supposed quietude of a good mans allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside...Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them..." (Thomas Paine, I Writings of Thomas Paine at 56 [1894])

"...the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms" (from article in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette June 18, 1789 at 2, col.2,)

"Those, who have the command of the arms in a country are masters of the state, and have it in their power to make what revolutions they please. [Thus,] there is no end to observations on the difference between the measures likely to be pursued by a minister backed by a standing army, and those of a court awed by the fear of an armed people." (Aristotle, as quoted by John Trenchard and Water Moyle, An Argument Shewing, That a Standing Army Is Inconsistent with a Free Government, and Absolutely Destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarchy [London, 1697])

"No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion." (James Burgh, Political Disquisitions: Or, an Enquiry into Public Errors, Defects, and Abuses [London, 1774-1775])

"Men that are above all Fear, soon grow above all Shame." (John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, Cato's Letters: Or, Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious, and Other Important Subjects [London, 1755])

"The difficulty here has been to persuade the citizens to keep arms, not to prevent them from being employed for violent purposes." (Dwight, Travels in New-England)

"What country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms." (Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Dec. 20, 1787, in Papers of Jefferson, ed. Boyd et al.)

(The American Colonies were) "all democratic governments, where the power is in the hands of the people and where there is not the least difficulty or jealousy about putting arms into the hands of every man in the country. (European countries should not) be ignorant of the strength and the force of such a form of government and how strenuously and almost wonderfully people living under one have sometimes exerted themselves in defence of their rights and liberties and how fatally it has ended with many a man and many a state who have entered into quarrels, wars and contests with them." [George Mason, "Remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company" in The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792, ed Robert A. Rutland (Chapel Hill, 1970)]

"To trust arms in the hands of the people at large has, in Europe, been believed...to be an experiment fraught only with danger. Here by a long trial it has been proved to be perfectly harmless...If the government be equitable; if it be reasonable in its exactions; if proper attention be paid to the education of children in knowledge and religion, few men will be disposed to use arms, unless for their amusement, and for the defence of themselves and their country." (Timothy Dwight, Travels in New England and NewYork [London 1823]

"It is not certain that with this aid alone [possession of arms], they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to posses the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will, and direct the national force; and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned, in spite of the legions which surround it." (James Madison, "Federalist No. 46")

"The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burthens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights." (Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States; With a Preliminary Review of the Constitutional History of the Colonies and States before the Adoption of the Constitution [Boston, 1833])

"The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military. The hired servants of our rulers. Only the government-and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws." (Edward Abbey, "The Right to Arms," Abbey's Road [New York, 1979])

"You are bound to meet misfortune if you are unarmed because, among other reasons, people despise you....There is simply no comparison between a man who is armed and one who is not. It is unreasonable to expect that an armed man should obey one who is unarmed, or that an unarmed man should remain safe and secure when his servants are armed. In the latter case, there will be suspicion on the one hand and contempt on the other, making cooperation impossible." (Niccolo Machiavelli in "The Prince")

"You must understand, therefore, that there are two ways of fighting: by law or by force. The first way is natural to men, and the second to beasts. But as the first way often proves inadequate one must needs have recourse to the second." (Niccolo Machiavelli in "The Prince")

"As much as I oppose the average person's having a gun, I recognize that some people have a legitimate need to own one. A wealthy corporate executive who fears his family might get kidnapped is one such person. A Hollywood celebrity who has to protect himself from kooks is another. If Sharon Tate had had access to a gun during the Manson killings, some innocent lives might have been saved." [Joseph D. McNamara (San Jose, CA Police Chief), in his book, Safe and Sane, (c) 1984, p. 71-72.]

"To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege." [Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, at 560, 34 Am. Rep. 52, at 54 (1878)]

For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution." [Bliss vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822)]

" `The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' 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 milita, 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." [Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251 (1846)]

"The provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is a limitation upon the power of the Legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be made subject to the will of the sheriff." [People vs. Zerillo, 219 Mich. 635, 189 N.W. 927, at 928 (1922)]

"The maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions." [State vs. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. 222, at 224 (1921)]

"The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the "high powers" delegated directly to the citizen, and `is excepted out of the general powers of government.' A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power." [Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402 (1859)]

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Bowcephalus
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Post by Bowcephalus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:17 pm

James, if upon reading each of my quoted sources you still fail to put my two and two together, I will have to consider any further debate by me with you on this subject pointless......As for how others who frequent here will judge the validity of each of our own arguements, that's for their own minds to decide......

bleedingface
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Post by bleedingface » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:39 pm

I've always considered the second amendment debate targeted incorrectly in most cases. The point is, as I think can be inferred from some of the quotes above, that there remains martial power in the people to stand up against a foreign force or their own government. So yes, guns that are used to kill people are covered and in fact exactly the kind of guns we are talking about. The right to eat meat is less clearly spelled out in the US Constitution.

I think this can be seen in the words of the second amendment as well.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The right is affirmed as inalienable to "the people," not to the well regulated Militia.

All of that said, I think keeping a handgun in the house is a grave decision that should not be taken lightly. And I think its entirely reasonable to NOT own a gun for many of the reasons already discussed in this thread.

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Bowcephalus
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Post by Bowcephalus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:42 pm

Bleed.....We agree again......Reading the founders one cannot help but notice "hunting" or "sport" or "type of firearm" not being their primary justifying consideration.......The Militia by it's very definition is NOT the National Guard........

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AncientOne
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Post by AncientOne » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:59 pm

DEF wrote:Thanks, James. I see your point; I just don't relate to it personally, since the only reason I would have an arm of any sort would be for lethal force in a self defense situation. I realize that I'm not looking past the end of my own nose on the issue.

If we set aside the debate, there are some good technical issues raised in this thread, which I think was the intent of the original posting. Sorry if I took the thread too much off topic.

Regards,
Doug
Don't be sorry at all! You provided a very healthy discussion on an issue. I welcome discussion with you anytime.
James

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Post by AncientOne » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:25 pm

Bowcephalus, you need to learn about context. Quotes can be given all day long on any number of issues to make any point, but the fact remains that context has to be used, and I am afraid you don't understand that. You have quoted a few sentences, which I and any historically knowledgeable person are aware of, without providing the context of the quotes. It's not terribly difficult to find a quote to support just about any interpretation of the Constitution. The plain fact is that these men were mindful of what they put into the Constitution. In some places they were very specific, in some places they were vague. The opinions that they offer at some other moment, in some unknown context aren't nearly as meaningful as what they deliberately placed in the document.

Again, in the 2nd amendment, people is used in the collective sense. It is the establishing of the right of States to have militia’s independent of the federal government. As I have already said, you guys seem to think that the Constitution was written with our current handgun problems in mind. It is utterly ridiculous to think that. Given that they had recently finished fighting a war with militia as their main source of manpower (they did not have a professional, standing army as we do today) and that a good many people had to hunt in order to feed themselves, I would say that philosophical ideas most definitely took a back seat to practical issues.
You're perverting the meaning due to change because you seem to lack the ability to put things in the context of the time. I didn't say the state militia at the time was the National guard, I said it served a function much like the National Guard does today. You really need to start reading instead of putting words into my mouth because you don't understand simple concepts.

The Constitution itself provides the framework for both preventing an unjust government, and redressing an unjust government. Those involve an active, engaged citizenry--not an armed and rebellious citizenry.
I suppose you’re going to tell me you need those handguns to protect you from a tyrannical government too, eh?
James

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Lionhearted
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Post by Lionhearted » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:48 pm

The Supreme Court on Nov. 20, 2007, accepted a case to rule once more on the right of individuals to bear arms. The court in its own words said:

"The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to the following question: Whether the following provisions, D.C. Code §§ 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02, violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?"

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in March 2008 and announce its decision in the summer of 2008.

As the law stands today the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a firearm ban and interpreted the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right to firearms for private use.

Richard

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Post by ScottS » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:52 pm

Lionhearted wrote:
The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in March 2008 and announce its decision in the summer of 2008.

As the law stands today the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a firearm ban and interpreted the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right to firearms for private use.

Richard
A fine point. I think that both sides of the issue can take the lasting court involvement over the last few decades as a sure sign that the issue is not cut and dried, though.

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AncientOne
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Post by AncientOne » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:53 pm

Lionhearted wrote:The Supreme Court on Nov. 20, 2007, accepted a case to rule once more on the right of individuals to bear arms. The court in its own words said:

"The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to the following question: Whether the following provisions, D.C. Code §§ 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02, violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?"

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in March 2008 and announce its decision in the summer of 2008.

As the law stands today the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a firearm ban and interpreted the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right to firearms for private use.

Richard
I am well aware of this, Richard...my profession requires it, but I happen to think they are wrong. The Supreme Court has been wrong about a number of things in the past. Remember, they used to endorse slavery as well. Dread Scott, anyone? So, just because the Supreme Court interprets something a particular way doesn’t make it so. Again, it’s all about context.
James

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Post by bleedingface » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:58 pm

I can't resist to provide more context... After another round, I might be inclined to agree to disagree.

One of Bow's quotes is from the Federalist Papers. The text surrounding the quotes provides adequate historical and philosophical context.

"The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition. The reasonings contained in these papers must have been employed to little purpose indeed, if it could be necessary now to disprove the reality of this danger. That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm, and continue to supply the materials, until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads, must appear to every one more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism. Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it."

So there is an aspect to state and local governments as an organizing force for an ad-hoc militia. However, I think it is pretty clear that at least Madison, who wrote the Bill of Rights, believed that the right of individuals to bear arms was crucial to the security of the state and to repel potential tyrants.

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Post by Lionhearted » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:22 pm

AncientOne wrote:The Supreme Court has been wrong about a number of things in the past. Remember, they used to endorse slavery as well. Dread Scott, anyone? So, just because the Supreme Court interprets something a particular way doesn’t make it so. Again, it’s all about context.
The only Constitution we have in the United States is the majority opinion of nine old men which can be, and often is, based on personal whim. The written Constitution is a symbol taken literally only by the naive.

"The words of the Constitution are so unrestricted by their intrinsic meaning or by their history or by tradition or by prior decisions that they leave the individual Justice free, if indeed they do not compel him, to gather meaning not from reading the Constitution but from reading life."
—Justice Felix Frankfurter, U.S. Supreme Court, 1939-1962

What the Supreme Court interprets makes it so backed up by the full power of the United States including the military. President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock to uphold the rulings of the Supreme Court.

My great-grandfather was a major general in the Confederate Army (and a slave owner). The context then was the same as it is today — local government vs. federal government. Today the majority of the people of Missouri want the right to own a handgun but the majority of the American people want to refuse them that right. Of course, it's not just Missouri — the people in rural states want handguns while people in urban states don't.

Richard

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Post by Bowcephalus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:31 pm

As you have proven Bleed with your detailed specific expansion,the meaning is unchanged by the additional words......The context was given clear enough after each quote.....Clear enough for most that is......Surely one is not required to here give word for word every discourse on the history of human experience to establish such simple common sense understanding.....A bit more than the bandwidth here or the patience of most reasonable frequenters of this discussion would allow.......Concerning the Supreme Court and it's own history in the context of this discussion,"Men in Black" is a great read.

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Bowcephalus
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Post by Bowcephalus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:54 pm

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence ... From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that is good" (George Washington)

Hardly deficient of intent of interpretaion on grounds of lack of "context".......Note "rifle and pistol".......

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ScottS
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Post by ScottS » Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:23 am

Lionhearted wrote:Today the majority of the people of Missouri want the right to own a handgun but the majority of the American people want to refuse them that right
It bothers me when people argue on the pro about the Constitutional aspects of handgun ownership as they watch the erosion of other protected rights and the separation of powers. It makes the arguments ring a little hollow.

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Post by ScottS » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:15 am

Lionhearted wrote:Missouri recently passed a law allowing the use of deadly force against intruders inside a dwelling or vehicle with criminal and civil actions barred.
Texas has a "castle doctrine" law that's currently being tested by an interesting case. According to http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/13/us/13texas.html a guy saw his neighbors place being broken into, called 911, grabbed his shotgun, and went out and shot and killed the two lawbreakers.

The audiotape of the 911 call shows the following dialog:
One vital piece of evidence is certain to be the audiotape of Mr. Horn’s 911 calls. In a low, calm and steady voice, he said he saw the men breaking in and asked: “I’ve got a shotgun; do you want me to stop them?”

The Pasadena emergency operator responded: “Nope. Don’t do that. Ain’t no property worth shooting somebody over, O.K.?”

Mr. Horn said: “But hurry up, man. Catch these guys will you? Cause, I ain’t going to let them go.”

Mr. Horn then said he would get his shotgun.

The operator said, “No, no.” But Mr. Horn said: “I can’t take a chance of getting killed over this, O.K.? I’m going to shoot.”

The operator told him not to go out with a gun because officers would be arriving.

“O.K.,” Mr. Horn said. “But I have a right to protect myself too, sir,” adding, “The laws have been changed in this country since September the first, and you know it.”

The operator said, “You’re going to get yourself shot.” But Mr. Horn replied, “You want to make a bet? I’m going to kill them.”

Moments later he said, “Well here it goes, buddy. You hear the shotgun clicking and I’m going.”

Then he said: “Move, you’re dead.”

There were two quick explosions, then a third, and the 911 call ended.
The grand jury's decision should prove quite interesting.
Last edited by ScottS on Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by AncientOne » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:16 am

ScottS wrote:
Lionhearted wrote:Today the majority of the people of Missouri want the right to own a handgun but the majority of the American people want to refuse them that right
It bothers me when people argue on the pro about the Constitutional aspects of handgun ownership as they watch the erosion of other protected rights and the separation of powers. It makes the arguments ring a little hollow.
Indeed...
James

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Post by AncientOne » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:40 am

Lionhearted wrote:The only Constitution we have in the United States is the majority opinion of nine old men which can be, and often is, based on personal whim. The written Constitution is a symbol taken literally only by the naive.
If you had actually read my previous statements, you would know that I half agree with you. The Supreme Court is the interpreter of the Constitution, yes, but it doesn't make them right. The Constitution wasn't designed to be all-encompassing, but rather to provide a framework of government that would be adaptable to future needs while intrinsically protecting and implementing the values of the men that wrote it. Legislation and regulation flesh out the framework provided by the Constitution; not just the Supreme Court. You also need to recognize that the Constitution should evolve, just as it was intended to. To freeze the document in time is the equivalent of killing it. Our forefathers couldn't envision the future, and that is why they gave us the power of amendment. They also made amendments difficult to enact, so that the power wouldn't be misused.
My great-grandfather was a major general in the Confederate Army (and a slave owner). The context then was the same as it is today — local government vs. federal government.
The Civil War dealt primarily with states' rights, specifically with whether or not they had the right to leave the Union. At its core, however, that is NOT what is going on now. The guise of states' rights vs. federal government is used as the vehicle, but it is still about some redneck thinking he is going to have his guns taken away...whether by the federal government or the state.
Last edited by AncientOne on Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
James

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Post by AncientOne » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:45 am

Bowcephalus wrote:"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence ... From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that is good" (George Washington)

Hardly deficient of intent of interpretaion on grounds of lack of "context".......Note "rifle and pistol".......
You just don't get it do you? You honestly think constantly posting quotes are going to make your case? You say I'm lying because you don't like what I say. The only way you refute it is by posting quotes that someone else said (God for bid you have your own words to say), and citing the "lie" itself as fact. You've been had. I have tried to place things here for you to consider, and while I agree with you on certain points, you choose only to cherry-pick that which fits your world view instead of being willing to see things from a different perspective. What you lack is the ability to consider input from anybody outside your contrived sphere of influence. People tend to pretend that the bit about a well-regulated militia doesn't exist. That's an important part of the amendment.
Last edited by AncientOne on Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
James

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Post by AncientOne » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:50 am

ScottS wrote:
Lionhearted wrote:Missouri recently passed a law allowing the use of deadly force against intruders inside a dwelling or vehicle with criminal and civil actions barred.
Texas has a "castle doctrine" law that's currently being tested by an interesting case. According to http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/13/us/13texas.html, a guy saw his neighbors place being broken into, called 911, grabbed his shotgun, and went out and shot and killed the two lawbreakers.

The audiotape of the 911 call shows the following dialog:
One vital piece of evidence is certain to be the audiotape of Mr. Horn’s 911 calls. In a low, calm and steady voice, he said he saw the men breaking in and asked: “I’ve got a shotgun; do you want me to stop them?”

The Pasadena emergency operator responded: “Nope. Don’t do that. Ain’t no property worth shooting somebody over, O.K.?”

Mr. Horn said: “But hurry up, man. Catch these guys will you? Cause, I ain’t going to let them go.”

Mr. Horn then said he would get his shotgun.

The operator said, “No, no.” But Mr. Horn said: “I can’t take a chance of getting killed over this, O.K.? I’m going to shoot.”

The operator told him not to go out with a gun because officers would be arriving.

“O.K.,” Mr. Horn said. “But I have a right to protect myself too, sir,” adding, “The laws have been changed in this country since September the first, and you know it.”

The operator said, “You’re going to get yourself shot.” But Mr. Horn replied, “You want to make a bet? I’m going to kill them.”

Moments later he said, “Well here it goes, buddy. You hear the shotgun clicking and I’m going.”

Then he said: “Move, you’re dead.”

There were two quick explosions, then a third, and the 911 call ended.
The grand jury's decision should prove quite interesting.
This will be interesting. The issue is this: Based on Texas law, he had every right to shoot those individuals. The statute clearly states that you can defend your property or the property of a neighbor. Had that been the case (the 911 call will be his undoing if they don't let the good ole' bo system seep in), I would say legally this man was on solid ground. The problem is the 911 tape. He clearly says on it, "I’m going to kill them.” Now he has screwed up, because that indicates that this is no longer about defending your property, but about him intending to kill them with forethought and malice. Any second year law student could tear this up in court on that statement alone.
James

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Post by ScottS » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:01 am

AncientOne wrote: The issue is this: Based on Texas law, he had every right to shoot those individuals. The statute clearly states that you can defend your property or the property of a neighbor.
No, the property of a neighbor is not covered, I think. The whole justification of the "castle doctrine" self defense laws is that when a person breaks into your home, you have a reasonable presumption that the person is there to do you harm. This doesn't seem to apply here. Here, as a matter of fact, the guy was told by the dispatcher to keep out of it. It would have served him right if he were shot by the police. My wife works for an alarm company, and when they call the police, they're very careful to give complete descriptions of any non-offenders that are on the scene so police have less of a chance of accidentally shooting them. It's a dangerous place to be.

The guy was a cowboy, went out to do something he wasn't trained to do as the pros were on their way, and shot and killed two people, apparently in the back.

I'm not worried that he's covered by the self defense laws, but I'm curious as to how the grand jury finds a way to let this guy go.

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