Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The right to bear arms

By Libby
Updated below

"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”
Michael Linn Jones in a thoughtful post, tears up an op-ed in the WaPo today written by the mayor and attorney general of DC on the gun ban case currently in the courts. He argues that gun control is fascist and asks:
All right. But tell me this…what difference does it make what the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is if it also says a citizen’s right to own and bear arms shall not be infringed? It could say that in order to provide meat for the table, etc., but the end result remains the same. The second phrase of the amendment is clear enough.

I have to agree and I'd go further. I'm no constitutional scholar but I don't think it takes a academian to put this amendment into historical context and tease out what was on our Founder's minds when they wrote the first phrase.

In those days, everyone owned a gun for hunting and protection. The citizens were the militia, They used their own guns and what the Founders were trying to prevent was the government of England from coming in and disarming the people. It's not a stretch to see their intent was to prevent any government interference in private gun ownership, including perhaps a future despotic president who might seek to disarm the citizenry in order to faciliate his own fascist fantasies.

Guns should be registered for practical reasons and I don't have a problem with gun laws that don't infringe on the right of ownership, but the idea that banning guns prevents crime seems to me to be at best naively optimistic and at worst dangerously restrictive. Criminals and the criminally insane will get guns outside the law anyway or find other ways to cause bodily harm. Your neighbor with the Uzi isn't likely to shoot up your barbecue if his gun is registered. Neither will he be able to save you from a home invasion of armed robbers if he is disarmed himself.

The intent of the Second Amendment is clear. I only hope when this case makes it to SCOTUS that the court doesn't muddy the waters with some half-baked decision or worse yet, uphold a ban. With the current Roberts court, I'm afraid that's pretty much a crap shoot.

Update: The papers have been filed. Scotusblog has links to the documents and the legalese analysis.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

why not let the states decide? let the meth fueled maniacs in ohio and nebraska shoot each other. If that's what they want. let them outlaw abortion too and have bibles in the schools. the flyover states are doomed anyway, lets help them along

12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Because it's a constitutional right Lester and the Bill of Rights has been battered enough by this admin.

The right to bear arms should be involiable.

1:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"including perhaps a future despotic president who might seek to disarm the citizenry in order to faciliate his own fascist fantasies."
This has historic precedence as one of Hitler's first acts once he became chancellor.
He disarmed the populace and then terrorized them with the Gestapo. No one dared to oppose him, so great and all encompassing seemed his power. In a short while, it was true.

2:46:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

"shall not be infringed" is pretty clear. That means not chipped away at, modified, restricted, reduced, Ashcrofted or Gonzalesed.

3:17:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Actually I believe the Germans were disarmed under the Weimar Republic in 1928. The constitution of 1919 had no provision for the right to own firearms. The idea was to prevent an armed revolution, but in actuality it may have aided the unarmed revolution of the Nazis, who did campaign for gun control and extended it in 1938 after they came into power.

As to the hysterical call for gun bans, I've yet to see any correlation between stricter gun control or handgun bans and violent crimes, most of which stem from the lawlessness promoted by our equally as ineffective Drug bans.

When Florida began to issue concealed carry permits a few years back, the Brady people and others became nearly hysterical with predictions of mayhem. The crime rate went down significantly.

I'm far more worried about a government that can choose to ignore the constitution than I am that my neighbor will run amok.

5:17:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Disarming the citizens is a classic tactic of totalitarians Rocky.

As for gun laws on use, I'm a little more leery. I think there's a point where you have to set an appropriate parameter on what constitutes a threat in order to justify use of deadly force to protect yourself. There are hotheaded types that need rules.

But when it comes to possession, I say let them have bazookas and cannons if they want, as long as they're registered.

5:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Capt. you are technically right about German gun control, but the Nazi's exploited the existing laws and took it to new levels.
I cheery picked this from:

"The Nazi Weapons Law of 1938 replaced a Law on Firearms and Ammunition of April 13, 1928. The 1928 law was enacted by a center-right, freely elected German government that wanted to curb "gang activity," violent street fights between Nazi party and Communist party thugs. All firearm owners and their firearms had to be registered. Sound familiar? "Gun control" did not save democracy in Germany. It helped to make sure that the toughest criminals, the Nazis, prevailed.

The Nazis inherited lists of firearm owners and their firearms when they 'lawfully' took over in March 1933. The Nazis used these inherited registration lists to seize privately held firearms from persons who were not "reliable." Knowing exactly who owned which firearms, the Nazis had only to revoke the annual ownership permits or decline to renew them.

In 1938, five years after taking power, the Nazis enhanced the 1928 law. The Nazi Weapons Law introduced handgun control. Firearms ownership was restricted to Nazi party members and other "reliable" people.

The 1938 Nazi law barred Jews from businesses involving firearms. On November 10. 1938 -- one day after the Nazi party terror squads (the SS) savaged thousands of Jews, synagogues and Jewish businesses throughout Germany -- new regulations under the Weapons Law specifically barred Jews from owning any weapons, even clubs or knives."

6:29:00 PM  

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