Archive for Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Practicality suggests gun compromise

February 13, 2008

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You have no right to read this.

The First Amendment gives me the right to write it, but doesn't necessarily give you the right to read it. Or so I was once told by an attorney. While the right to free speech certainly infers a corresponding right to hear what is being spoken, he said, the First Amendment doesn't explicitly grant such a right. So theoretically, it could be argued that no such right exists.

The key word being "theoretically." As a practical matter, the freedom to read whatever we choose is such an intrinsic part of our national character as to make legal theory superfluous. People would rise in outrage if government ever attempted to proscribe what they read. Theory and reality are often two different things.

I bring up the First Amendment in order to discuss the Second. The Supreme Court is pondering what is expected to be a landmark ruling on that amendment which, for the record, reads as follows: "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."

At issue is whether a District of Columbia law banning handgun ownership is constitutional. The key question is this: does the Second Amendment confer an individual right to gun ownership, or does it refer only to the right of a state to raise a militia? I've always thought the latter, a view buttressed by many legal rulings, including the Supreme Court's when it last weighed in on the subject, nearly 70 years ago.

But in a very real sense, and for reasons similar to those just mentioned, I also think that's beside the point. Whether a right to individual gun ownership can be found in the Second Amendment or not, the perception of that right is so deeply ingrained that legal theory is - here's that word again - superfluous. Do you really think, regardless of what the court rules, it would be possible to ban firearms on a national scale? I think any attempt to do so would lead to uprisings we can scarcely imagine.

What we have here, then, is another case of theory versus reality. It's a confrontation that did not have to happen.

The problem with this debate is that it has always been defined by its most extreme voices, its most uncompromising, ideologically pure voices.

But what if gun control advocates got over the idea that getting the right ruling from the right court would magically make guns disappear? And what if gun advocates got over the notion that every attempt at firearms regulation is a step toward totalitarianism? Where might this debate go then?

What if supporters of gun control could concede that hunting is, for some, an honored tradition? That some people feel it necessary to have a weapon in the home for protection? That some entirely rational folks simply like guns?

Could gun rights people then concede that you don't need an assault weapon to go deer hunting? And that manufacturers who flood poor, violence-prone neighborhoods with cheap handguns ought to be held accountable? And that guys who sell guns from the trunks of their cars are nobody's friend? And that background checks and gun safety classes for new gun owners make us all safer? And that gun registration isn't totalitarianism any more than a driver's license is? And, most of all, that all of us are tired of seeing children shoot children with guns they never should have had access to?

It's called compromise, and no, it would hardly mollify ideological purists. It would not make guns disappear nor acknowledge an individual right to bazooka ownership. What it would do, though, is recognize that ideological purity has its limits. That's a good thing to remember.

When theory confronts reality, put your money on reality every time.

- Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald.

Comments

drake 7 years, 5 months ago

The only compromise suggested in this ridiculous editorial is the futrther erosion of the second amendment.

"if gun control supporters concede that some people hunt and like guns then gun rights supporters can concede that we don't need assult rifles and can now implement gun registration."

What a crock...

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 5 months ago

Yes, there's a radical element in society that wants to take away your guns, make you register them, make you trigger-lock them. You're more easily controlled that way.

bondmen 7 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Pitts, the Second Amendment is not about hunting and sport shooting. It is about free men and women exercising the God given right to protect themselves from a violent neighbor who wishes them harm. In history the violent neighbor can include the burglar, rapist or madman all the way to the rogue government agent and otherwise obvious tyrant intent on taking our freedoms by use of force. Free people own guns Mr. Pitts - subjects register them.

Devon Kissinger 7 years, 5 months ago

Registration is a mandatory step towards confiscation. Worked out pretty well in Nazi Germany.

staff04 7 years, 5 months ago

"God given right"

Funny, I missed the right to bear arms in the Bible...which version is that from?

geniusmannumber1 7 years, 5 months ago

Setting aside the specious logic of that vocal fringe group of pro-gun radicals (and by this, I don't mean those folks that support gun ownership, but the ones who resist any discussion of compromise to the point of irrationality), I find it ironic that so many of these people tend to be (or at least claim to be) support-our-troops, lock-criminals-up-and-throw-away-the-key types of folks, who then turn around and justify their uncompromising views on gun control by saying, in essence, "Well some day, I may need my guns to kill U.S. soldiers, law enforcement officers, and elected officials."

average 7 years, 5 months ago

Gun Control = Abortion. Scare tactics. Obama will no more take your guns than Bush ended abortion. Access will ebb and flow a little, but actually doing anything too severe is out of the mainstream and gets you the door.

Arguably, the best thing to do is to support the Dems that are pretty good on gun rights (Baucus, Tester, Reid, Webb, among others). Likewise, if preserving abortion rights is important, it's important to help pro-choice Republicans. There are plenty of gun-owning Dems in the Senate. Give them enough colleagues to not be cowed and Bob's your uncle.

jonas 7 years, 5 months ago

Surprisingly, an interesting article from Pitts. And then four yahoos in a row, demonstrating the uncompromising, ideologically pure, totally thoughtless extreme views brought up in the article, almost as if to reinforce his point. Fun stuff. I'll contribute.

Ban all guns now! If we enact enough bans, they will totally and magically dissapear. The only reason people ever want guns is to either kill lots of people, or to compensate for their own smallness. Anyone who likes guns or thinks they should have guns is a dangerous element to our society, and they should just be dragged out in the street and shot.

drake 7 years, 5 months ago

jonass- what exactly is the compromise that he suggests for the gun control side? Exactly.........

craigers 7 years, 5 months ago

drake that's what I thought.

How does Pitts expect to hold cheap gun dealers in the "hood" accountable and make the everybody see the guy that sells guns out of his trunk nobody's friend. I don't know anybody that thinks the black market gun dealer is a stand up guy in society.

beatrice 7 years, 5 months ago

I do support Americans' right to own a gun. However, I feel there should be some limits and checks on the liberal flow of guns as we currently have in this country.

A mere mention of even looking at the problem of the many thousand gun deaths in this country a year, and people start acting like Charlton Heston holding a musket above his toupe-covered head screaming "Keep your hands off me, you damn dirty ape." Or something like that.

Why does the right to own a gun mean the right to own an arsenal? Why shouldn't people be required to prove capable of using a firearm before they can own one? Why is requiring registration different than requiring a license to drive a car?

The reason, of course, is the success of the NRA Washington lobbiests. They have shown that throwing a hissy fit at the mention of gun control of any sort works, and their followers do likewise.

This is a good article in pointing out that the gun violence in this country is a problem for all of us, and discussion should be possible on the subject without demonizing either side. Unfortunately, it always come down to the extreme side, much like abortion "discussions."

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 5 months ago

Defender,

When do I reference political parties or their administrations? I am a supporter of conservative values - whichever political party they come wrapped in is irrelevant to me.

jonas 7 years, 5 months ago

"drake (Anonymous) says:

jonass- what exactly is the compromise that he suggests for the gun control side? Exactly:::"

Well, I could point you back up to the article to actually read the thing with comprehension, but I have the idea that it would be like trying to describe blue to a blind man. If you think that there is no continuum between totally unrestricted availability of firearms and totally illegalizing them in the march towards totalitarianism, then there's not much hope for you.

Nice mangle of my name, though. I've only seen that one about 10 times or so by now.

jcook 7 years, 5 months ago

"Could gun rights people then concede that you don't need an assault weapon to go deer hunting?" If you are referring to automatic rifles, they're already illegal. If you are referring to semi-automatic (assault) rifles, most states don't allow you to hunt with one anyway. The only difference between a semi-automatic hunting rifle and a "assault weapon" is cosmetic. Rate of fire, ammunition capacity, etc, is all the same.

"And that manufacturers who flood poor, violence-prone neighborhoods with cheap handguns ought to be held accountable?" Because only affluent people in crime-free neighborhoods should have the ability to defend themselves?

"And that guys who sell guns from the trunks of their cars are nobody's friend?" These type of transactions are already illegal, so what's the point of this comment?

And that background checks and gun safety classes for new gun owners make us all safer?" Background checks are already performed. As for safety classes, I don't see the harm.

"And that gun registration isn't totalitarianism any more than a driver's license is?" The government cannot take away you firearms if they don't know who has them. Ask those in the England who were forced to register their firearms what happened when the government outlawed them. Hi Mr Jones, where are those two guns you have registered.

"And, most of all, that all of us are tired of seeing children shoot children with guns they never should have had access to?" Why place the blame on inanimate objects when the fault lies with a person. Guns do not leave themselves where children can get to them, people do. If someone isn't responsible enough to properly secure a firearm, especially with children around, they shouldn't own one.

bondmen 7 years, 5 months ago

Yes it is extreme to want to preserve one's rights - much like it is extreme to wish to relieve someone else of his rights and or property.

The Declaration speaks of unalienable rights given by our Creator - that's God. Now, if your rights are only permissions afforded by the state (have evolved and are not God given) then the intelligent among us certainly know that what the state gives with one hand it can just as easily take away with the other.

Since you asked, Jesus tells his followers in Matthew 22:36 to sell his garmet and buy a sword. 2,000 years ago the sword was equivalent to the firearm of today - the prevalent weapon of both state and individual.

Now the state as such cannot bear arms. Arms are wielded by persons. The persons in early America who worked together for the common defense were called the militia (the Minutemen).

In America the power of the state comes from permissions granted by the people and is exercised through our elected representatives (this great land is a Constitutional Republic - if you can keep it!). The state holds no power except that which is freely given by the people. It is a shame if this is considered extreme but it is nonetheless true.

drake 7 years, 5 months ago

Jonas- My comprehension is fine thanks.

The reason you can't find any suggestions in the editorial for a compromise on the part of anti-gun people is because he doesn't mention any. His only idea for compromise is further limiting my second amendment rights.

Which was my original point. "Compromise is fine as long as it is only applies to gun rights people."

The typo was an accident, but seeing your previous posts does make me wonder if it really was.

beatrice 7 years, 5 months ago

jcook, good points, especially on the cost/illegal sales.

I do ask, if it is currently illegal to hunt with assault-type, semi- or full-automatic weapons, then why do people need them? The only person I can think of who would need to defend themselves with that type of power would be Al Pacino as Scarface ... and apparently madmike. (Mad, did Obama really have a chance of getting your NRA lovin' vote anyway?)

As far as registration goes, instead of leaping to the confiscation scenario, what about using this as a means to keep guns out of criminals hands. If you are found in posession of a gun and it isn't registered, it is then confiscated. Since criminals won't register, it is at least one step in getting rid of the illegal use of guns. Plus, we could put still penalties like jail terms on owning an unregistered gun, again another step at taking the guns away from the crooks. Would it fix things instantly? No, but over time it would help. How can anyone be against taking guns away from criminals?

"If someone isn't responsible enough to properly secure a firearm, especially with children around, they shouldn't own one." I couldn't agree more. But how can we tell who is and who isn't responsible enough? We can't, until something bad happens. That is why requiring gun safety courses and locks on guns, at least when the owner is away from the home, might make a difference.

If the gun lobbyists would look at things reasonably, a lot could be accomplished and the NRA would have even greater public support.

bondmen: "2,000 years ago the sword was equivalent to the firearm of today - the prevalent weapon of both state and individual." Comparing swords with guns is quite the stretch. This isn't a comparison of apples and oranges, but more like cannons and nuclear weapons. It simply makes no common sense.

jonas 7 years, 5 months ago

"The reason you can't find any suggestions in the editorial for a compromise on the part of anti-gun people is because he doesn't mention any. His only idea for compromise is further limiting my second amendment rights."

Or, it's because it's based on the two seperate ideas of unrestricted access and total prohibition, and then shows multiple examples of middle grounds of one type or another. Middle grounds that upset the ideologues on either side of the issue. Perhaps it will be more informative for you to catalog the proposals that he presents that result in further erosion of the second amendment, as you put it. (With assumptive understanding of what that amendment actually meant, of course) I count two, maybe three conceptual points that could, in the most glaring examination, be counted as such, but no real suggestions for implementation. His real point, it seems, was merely pointing out that the very mention of guns makes reactionary commentary pop up from both sides of the issue that has little concrete point or merit, and which obscure the problems and solutions for pretty much everybody else.

You read all 3600 of my previous posts? That seems like quite an undertaking in order to gain an opinion on my a$$ishness.

jcook 7 years, 5 months ago

beatrice:

Point 1: But the distinction between legal hunting rifle and dangerous assault rifle is significant only to those who wise to get rid of them. Why ban a firearm that has a same capabilities of a legal ones? The only answer is because they "look" more menacing and resemble their military cousins. Sure, you could get rid of them, but if you allow semi-automatic hunting rifles, what's the point.

Point 2: Keeping guns out of criminal's hands is easy. Felons already cannot possess a gun, so arrest them if they are in possession. And someone who just committed a crime with a gun would be arrested anyway. Making possession of an unregistered firearm is a different matter and pointless. I would register my firearms if required but the criminals wouldn't, so why require it. It wouldn't matter either with unknown/never-before-arrested criminals. The unknown criminals without criminal records would be allowed to keep registered guns even if checked. The known criminals, who wouldn't register anyway, would be arrested for possession of a firearm, registered or not. Registration burdens legal gun owners and does nothing to prevent criminals. As for stolen firearms, once you report the missing firearm to police and tell them the serial number, the bad guy when be arrested when found with it.

Point 3: No major objection, just minor ones that don't warrant discussion.

I don't mind a little gun control. I mind gun control that does nothing to effectively prevent criminals from committing crimes and while making legal gun owners foot the majority of the burden.

staff04 7 years, 5 months ago

"Background checks are already performed."

Except that 90% of those adjudicated as mentally ill and 25% of convicted felons (both classes of people who have no legal right to own, possess, transport, exchange, fire, etc. guns) are not in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System--states have not been complying.

jonas 7 years, 5 months ago

"The unknown criminals without criminal records would be allowed to keep registered guns even if checked."

Isn't the point, though, that these people are likely to not have registered their handguns? I was under the impression that a large majority of the guns in the high-crime areas are unregistered and often obtained illigitimately. Just an impression, mind you, as I haven't researched the legitimacy of the claim. In this scenario, registering the guns would allow citizens to continue to purchase, but make black market purchases immediately siezable on search by the police. To be sure, I don't know if there would be any real effect from such a measure, I'm just illustrating a gap in your argument.

jcook 7 years, 5 months ago

"Except that 90% of those adjudicated as mentally ill and 25% of convicted felons (both classes of people who have no legal right to own, possess, transport, exchange, fire, etc. guns) are not in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System-states have not been complying."

Then our first priority should be getting states to enforce the existing laws, not pass new ones. Do you have a cite for those figures?

"Isn't the point, though, that these people are likely to not have registered their handguns? I was under the impression that a large majority of the guns in the high-crime areas are unregistered and often obtained illigitimately."

Let's assume this is true. Who are these people in possession of unregistered, illegitimately obtained guns? Most likely criminals, as why would a law abiding citizen commit a crime by purchasing a gun illegitimately when they could have bought one legally? I guess my argument is that those in possession of these illegitimately (i.e., illegal) guns would already be committing a crime by possessing the gun and could be arrested. It doesn't matter if the gun is registered or not, possession of any gun sends them to jail.

Catbacker 7 years, 5 months ago

Registering my shotguns would be very much like making a farmer register his anhydrous ammonia tank in an effort to eliminate the production of meth...it makes no sense.

beatrice 7 years, 5 months ago

jcook, it sure looks like you have a lot of ways to say no, rather than offering up ways to stem the gun violence in our nation. So what would you think might help?

bondmen 7 years, 5 months ago

Beatrice. Figure a way to take away the violence then the guns will take care of themselves! Punish and keep the proven violent locked up would seem to be be a good start if common sense prevailed. But as long as folks have hate in their hearts and/or a short fuse with a lack of self control, then Americans will need to protect themselves by first staying away from troubled areas where violence is most likely to occur and second, by owning and operating firearms.

A 911 call will, on average, bring a police car to my place in 4.5 minutes. How about to yours? Do you know? Call the PD and find out. Now, tell me, what all can happen in those 4.5 minutes if a violent perp is in control (i.e., if you don't have a gun)?

jcook 7 years, 5 months ago

I don't think gun crime can be separated from "regular" crime. Preventing crime is easy in theory, difficult in to practice. Solve unemployment, give youth a proper education, prevent drug use, harsh punishment for violent criminals, and rehabilitation for minor offenders.

jonas 7 years, 5 months ago

"Figure a way to take away the violence then the guns will take care of themselves!"

Bwawahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!! So your solution, then, is to implement a utopian perfect society? How about we compromise? Register your legal guns for now, and then when you manage to engineer this fairy tale world, we can do away with gun registration. Do we have a deal?

jonas 7 years, 5 months ago

"Who are these people in possession of unregistered, illegitimately obtained guns? Most likely criminals, as why would a law abiding citizen commit a crime by purchasing a gun illegitimately when they could have bought one legally? I guess my argument is that those in possession of these illegitimately (i.e., illegal) guns would already be committing a crime by possessing the gun and could be arrested. It doesn't matter if the gun is registered or not, possession of any gun sends them to jail."

I didn't totally track that last sentence, but ok, it seems like we're operating on more or less the same frame of reference, at least. My point was that, should registration be required, there would be an immediate dichotomy between two types of gun possessors: those that purchased legitimately, and are then registered, and those that purchased illegally, which as you point out are most likely criminals, as law abiding citizens have no reason to go to the black market for illigitimate firearms. I guess, looking at this, is that our disconnect is the second group, which you seem to be implying are composed solely of convicted felons, who are not able to purchase handguns. I don't think this is absolutely to be the case. There would be a second sub-group within composed of people that are not yet convicted, but likely to commit crimes, probably already doing so. They have incentive to go to the black market, to have an untraceable firearm to commit crimes with.

The question, as I see it, is whether this would be a sizable enough demographic to actually make any difference. I have no idea. My primary motive behind believing in registration is to connect the purchase of a gun with training in how to use it responsibly, which I think would provide a great deal of benefit without really infringing on anyone's rights to carry. To date, I have yet to see a reasoned response against this, though I concede that such is likely possible.

jcook 7 years, 5 months ago

"There would be a second sub-group within composed of people that are not yet convicted, but likely to commit crimes, probably already doing so. They have incentive to go to the black market, to have an untraceable firearm to commit crimes with."

In my mind, these people would still be buying legal firearms, as they have no reason to turn to the black market. Because they have no criminal record even though they have committed a crime, the police could stop them with a registered firearm, see that it's registered and that they're not a felon, and they'd be on their way. If these criminals with no criminal records were stopped with an unregistered gun, they would go to jail on that basis alone. And just because a registered firearm is used in a crime doesn't mean the gun can be traced back to the owner. Despite the amazing abilities of Heracio Cane on CSI Miami, real life doesn't always go so well. Firearms are not tested for ballistics before being sold so there would be no bullet to match it up to. Also, the barrel in any semi-automatic handgun can be changed in 30 seconds. Another thing that CSI doesn't mention is that the rifling marks the barrel makes on the bullet changes as the barrel ages. So a bullet fired from the gun when new will have a different rifling pattern after the barrel has been used a bit.

jcook 7 years, 5 months ago

"My primary motive behind believing in registration is to connect the purchase of a gun with training in how to use it responsibly, which I think would provide a great deal of benefit without really infringing on anyone's rights to carry."

I also think that training on how to properly handle a firearm is of great benefit, but I don't see how this would require the registration of a firearm. I could present my training certificate or the like during the purchase without the need to register the firearm. My only criticism of requiring training is what does it do to reduce gun violence? Sure, it promotes gun safety for the law abiding gun owners, but a handgun or rifle isn't that difficult to figure out.

jonas 7 years, 5 months ago

Promoting gun safety is the primary concern. I see no feasible way to stem gun violence in any meaningful way without the complete (and impossible, in our society) eradication of guns. Then, of course, there would just be non-gun violence. Stemming the flow of guns, if feasible, into violence prone areas would make the violent altercations of a smaller and more concentrated scale, I think, and there might be ways that such could occur, but its far too uncertain of a proposition to say it would have benefits with any conviction.

JSpizias 7 years, 5 months ago

Beatrice says: "Why is requiring registration different than requiring a license to drive a car?"

See what Eugene Volokh, Professor of Constitutional Law and and expert in First and Second Amendment law has to say about this question.

http://www.gunscholar.org/data.htm#CARS See also David Kopel, another authority on guns and gun policy on this: http://www.reason.com/news/show/31170.html

JSpizias 7 years, 5 months ago

Eugene Volokh on regulation of guns:

Why Not Regulate Guns Like Cars?

          There are plenty of thoughtful arguments in favor of various restrictions on guns, but one of the oddest arguments from the pro-gun-control forces is "Why not regulate guns like cars?"  The implicit argument here is "Why not require licenses, registration, tests, and so on for gun possession?"

          (See, e.g., Chicago's Million Moms March on Mother's Day, PR Newswire, Apr. 27, 2000, quoting Million March organizer Donna Dees-Thomases as saying "We want Congress to create a meaningful gun policy in this country that treats guns like cars"; Partnership for Prevention's New Report to Congress Recommends Gun Owner Licensing and Gun Registration, U.S. Newswire, Mar. 24, 2000, quoting Handgun Control, Inc. president Michael Barnes as saying "For years now, we have been calling on Congress to treat guns like cars by a system of licensing and registration.").

          This argument is odd because cars are basically regulated as follows:

          1)  No federal licensing or registration.

          2)  Any person may use a car on his own private property without any license or registration.  See, e.g., California Vehicle Code §§ 360, 12500 (driver's license required for driving on "highways," defined as places that are "publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel"); California Vehicle Code § 4000 (same as to registration).

          3)  Any adult may get a license to use a car in public places by passing a fairly simple test that virtually everyone can pass.

          This is pretty much how many gun rights advocates would like to see guns regulated:  No need to register or get a license to have a gun at home, and a simple, routine test through which any law-abiding citizen can get a state license to carry a gun in public.  Gun control advocates would in reality prefer a much more onerous system of regulations for guns than for cars.

          Of course, one can certainly argue that guns should be regulated more heavily than cars; thoughtful gun control advocates do indeed do this.  But then one should candidly admit that one is demanding specially burdensome regulation for guns -- and not claim to be "merely asking that guns be regulated like cars."

          For more on this, see David Kopel's Taking It to the Streets, Reason, Nov. 1999.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 5 months ago

Time to buy some more scary firearms before the prices go up!

Fatty_McButterpants 7 years, 5 months ago

That's it, "bondmen," make a false 911 call to test the PD's response time. That would be a good way to find out about your constitutional rights and the justice system all at the same time.

kansas778 7 years, 5 months ago

I just love it when amateur constitutional scholars like Pitts gets something completely wrong and base an entire argument on that misperception. The Supreme Court has consistently held that the second amendment confers an individual right, and it has mentioned the subject many times in the last 70 years.

For example, in Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 4 (1998)(Stevens, J., dissenting), J. Stevens remarks about the various injuries one suffers when punished for a crime, such as loss of the right to vote, and he specifically mentions losing the "right to bear arms." How can an individual lose a right he does not have?

In Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898, 939 n.2 (1997)(Thomas, J., concurring) in a footnote regarding the nature of the right expressed in the second amendment, and a large number of legal journals that also espouse a similar view that it is a personal right: 2 Marshaling an impressive array of historical evidence, a growing body of scholarly commentary indicates that the "right to keep and bear arms" is, as the Amendment's text suggests, a personal right. See, e.g., J. Malcolm, To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo American Right 162 (1994); S. Halbrook, That Every Man Be Armed, The Evolution of a Constitutional Right (1984); Van Alstyne, The Second Amendment and the Personal Right to Arms, 43 Duke L. J. 1236 (1994); Amar, The Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment, 101 Yale L. J. 1193 (1992); Cottrol & Diamond, The Second Amendment: Toward an Afro Americanist Reconsideration, 80 Geo. L. J. 309 (1991); Levinson, The Embarrassing Second Amendment, 99 Yale L. J. 637 (1989); Kates, Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment, 82 Mich. L. Rev. 204 (1983). Other scholars, however, argue that the Second Amendment does not secure a personal right to keep or to bear arms. See, e.g., Bogus, Race, Riots, and Guns, 66 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1365 (1993); Williams, Civic Republicanism and the Citizen Militia: The Terrifying Second Amendment, 101 Yale L. J. 551 (1991); Brown, Guns, Cowboys, Philadelphia Mayors, and Civic Republicanism: On Sanford Levinson's The Embarrassing Second Amendment, 99 Yale L. J. 661 (1989); Cress, An Armed Community: The Origins and Meaning of the Right to Bear Arms, 71 J. Am. Hist. 22 (1984).

There are several other recent cases where the Court treats the second amendment as a personal right rather than a state right. See United States v. Muscarello, 524 U.S. 125, 139-50 (1998)(Ginsburg, J., dissenting); Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 306-07 (1994)(Stevens, J., dissenting); Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 848-49 (1992); United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez , 494 U.S. 259, 265 (1990).

It is a personal, individual right guaranteed in the constitution. That is why it is not like getting a driver's license; it is a fundamental right like the right to free speech, or the right to life, liberty and property.

kansas778 7 years, 5 months ago

Note that all these references are to concurring and dissenting opinions (and Verdugo was a 14th amendment case in which the majority opinion discusses the second amendment) so this saying that the Supreme Court hasn't mentioned the second amendment comes from the lack of a holding regarding a second amendment case. But the Court certainly has mentioned the right to bear arms many times, doing so with the intention that it is an individual right.

staff04 7 years, 5 months ago

"Do you have a cite for those figures?"

Yeah, the Department of Justice and the FBI. I got the information from a report prepared by Third Way--no I can't provide a link. I read a hard copy. Attack the source if you want, but know that the DOJ and FBI confirmed it.

staff04 7 years, 5 months ago

Actually, just found the online copy. You have to download it...the numbers I pointed to are outlined in the first few pages, and the documents used to determine those numbers are referenced.

Anyone who argues that convicted felons and those adjudicated as mentally ill should own firearms simply lose the argument.

Again, sorry for the third-way source, but if you doubt the numbers, please note that the source of all the numbers are referenced on the last page. If you have a problem or questions, please contact the Bureau of Justice Statistics or the FBI for clarification.

http://www.thirdway.org/products/86

RedwoodCoast 7 years, 5 months ago

Last Call for gun control, Last Call!

Do people seriously believe that people want to take away their guns so that they are defenseless? Really? Honestly, I don't think that is the motive. The motive, in my opinion, is an attempt to reduce gun-related violence. Oh, conservatives and their sex... liberals and their violence... Man, I sure do feel menaced by all the sex that happens out there... Anyone go to school with a person who was constantly drawing knives, weapons, and such in the margins of their notes? That's the kind of guy I want to make sure has a gun.

OK, I admit I don't really have anything substantial to add to this.

staff04 7 years, 5 months ago

"Everyone knows that its white non Liberal people who want their guns."

As usual, Dolly is the first to show its racist views on this thread...big shocker. And you wonder why people think you are a moron...

jonas 7 years, 5 months ago

"justfornow (Anonymous) says:

All Amendments are sacred"

I find this to be an extremely disturbing point of view. That, or you're really underplaying the meaning of the word sacred.

Jim Phillips 7 years, 5 months ago

As much as I hate to confuse the issue with facts, I'll do it anyway. 1. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was a record low 42,636 traffic fatalities in 2004. 2. According to the Left's beloved Brady Organization, there were 26,569 firearms related deaths; 57% or 16,750 were suicides. (www.bradycampaign.org) 3. This means there were 9.819 firearms related homicides in 2004, a little less than one-third of the traffic deaths.

Perhaps we should register cars! Oh, yeah, we do. Sorry. But wait, The National Speed Limit is 70 mph! Why do we need cars that go 100+?

  1. The Bill of Rights was ratified in 1789. This DOES include the Second Amendment.
  2. The first Militia Act was not law until 1792. This means there was no STANDING militia to bear arms until almost two years after the ratification of the Constitution.
  3. For the sake of argument here, we will suppose that the well documented allegation that the phrase "the people" in the Second Amendment is really secret code that actually means the militia, is valid induces the argument that only the "militia" has the rights recognized in the First, Fourth, Ninth, and the Tenth Amendments. The phrase "the people" (the militia) appears in those Amendments as well.
  4. For those who don't know, the Second Amendment is a right not to be infringed. Driving a car is a privilege.

bondmen 7 years, 5 months ago

For all you haters of liberty and fearers of freedom who with your free speech wish to take away our Second Amendment right to own and operate firearms, I say Molon Labe! (mo-lone lah-veh)!

jonas 7 years, 5 months ago

For all you who pollute this issue with your meaningless cliche phrases, I say ni bu yingai chengle yi wei zheme ben de ren.

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