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On murderers, laws, guns, and why you should be paying attention.

The Newtown massacre of the innocents has created a storm of headlines. I hope this helps you sort out your own feelings on Freedoms, Responsibility, and our Republic.

On murderers, laws, guns, and why you should be paying attention:

A few headlines:

Connecticut already has an assault weapons ban.

Sec. 53-202c. Possession of assault weapon prohibited. Class D felony. (a) Except as provided in section 53-202e, any person who, within this state, possesses any assault weapon, except as provided in sections 29-37j, 53-202a to 53-202k, inclusive, and 53-202o and subsection (h) of section 53a-46a, shall be guilty of a class D felony and shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of which one year may not be suspended or reduced; except that a first-time violation of this subsection shall be a class A misdemeanor if (1) the person presents proof that he lawfully possessed the assault weapon prior to October 1, 1993, and (2) the person has otherwise possessed the firearm in compliance with subsection (d) of section 53-202d.

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(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to the possession of assault weapons by members or employees of the Department of Public Safety, police departments, the Department of Correction or the military or naval forces of this state or of the United States for use in the discharge of their official duties; nor shall anything in sections 29-37j and 53-202a to 53-202k, inclusive, and subsection (h) of section 53a-46a prohibit the possession or use of assault weapons by sworn members of these agencies when on duty and the use is within the scope of their duties.
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(c) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to the possession of an assault weapon by any person prior to July 1, 1994, if all of the following are applicable:
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(1) The person is eligible under sections 29-37j and 53-202a to 53-202k, inclusive, and subsection (h) of section 53a-46a to apply for a certificate of possession for the assault weapon by July 1, 1994;
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(2) The person lawfully possessed the assault weapon prior to October 1, 1993; and
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(3) The person is otherwise in compliance with sections 29-37j and 53-202a to 53-202k, inclusive, and subsection (h) of section 53a-46a.
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(d) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to a person who is the executor or administrator of an estate that includes an assault weapon for which a certificate of possession has been issued under section 53-202d, if the assault weapon is possessed at a place set forth in subdivision (1) of subsection (d) of section 53-202d or as authorized by the Probate Court.

They've been banned since 1993, with pre-existing guns grandfathered. The assault weapons ban they're pushing in Congress is a moot point. It would have been moot anyway since it wasn't his gun.

A newspaper in New York has received a wave of criticism from its readers after publishing the names and addresses of all of the individuals with handgun or pistol permits in its coverage area.

Hundreds of residents in New York's Westchester and Rockland counties were surprised to find their names and addresses listed on a map posted by The Journal News on Sunday. Users can click any dot on the map to see which of their neighbors has a permit for a gun.

The map sparked more than 500 comments from readers within a day of its appearance on the website, many of them voicing outrage at the paper's decision to make the information public.

"This is CRAZY!! Why in the world would you post every licensed gun owner information?? What do you hope to accomplish by doing this. This is the type of thing you do for sex offenders not law abiding gun owners.

New York: Gov. Cuomo says he'll outline gun proposal next month, states "Confiscation could be an option."

Vietnam-vet-to-lead-dems-gun-control-task-force.

NRA's call for armed cops in schools.

"I am arguing, therefore, that for most gun owners, most of the time, the
ownership of firearms is more symbolic than practical.”

Was Fort Hood Killer On Psychotropic Drugs? Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!

"Crime up 20% in Chicago last year, the murder capitol of the US. Chicago also has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Gun ownership up 73% in Virginia last year and crime goes down 24%.”

Shining The Light On Mental Illness

Following last week’s tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Congressman Murphy has been outspoken on the needs of mental health research and study. With a background in clinical child psychology, Murphy has been publicly urging his colleagues to make sure Congress takes the appropriate action in a thoughtful, willful, determined way, and not jump to quick conclusions or believe simple fixes will prevent this from happening in the future. "We first and foremost must address this as a mental health issue," said Murphy.

In case you missed Daylin's gun control debate with State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, you can listen to it by clicking here. (Daylin is PA State Senator Daylin Leach)

Daylin's gun control priorities are common sense measures that would not impede anyone's 2nd Amendment rights:

  • Limit the number of guns a person can purchase to one per month. To make it difficult for “straw purchasers” to obtain enough guns, which they then sell to criminals or to people who are otherwise unable to buy guns themselves.
  • Requiring people who buy guns legally to report, within 48 hours, if their gun is lost or stolen. When an illegal gun sold to someone by a straw purchaser is found at a crime scene, they claim that the gun was recently lost. If they had to report a gun lost within 48 hours or face a penalty, the criminal would be held accountable.
  • Finally, Daylin has called for limiting the number of bullets fired per minute and the number of bullets in a clip in guns available for ownership by civilians.

Please let us know if you support Daylin's work to implement these measures. It will not be easy, and will mean challenging the powerful pro-gun lobby -- which is why we need to hear from you.

Thank you for being a part of all that we are doing.

In the days since the tragedy in Newtown, Americans from all over the country have called for action to deter mass shootings and reduce gun violence. Hundreds of thousands of you have signed petitions on We the People.

By Bruce Reed, Chief of Staff to Vice President Biden

I'm writing you today to thank you for speaking up, to update you on an important development, and to encourage you to continue engaging with the White House on this critical issue.

First, you should know that President Obama is paying close to attention to the public response to this tragedy. In fact, he sat down to record a message specifically for those of you who have joined the conversation using We the People. Watch it now:

On Wednesday, the President outlined a series of first steps we can take to begin the work of ending this cycle of violence. This is what he said:

 

"We know this is a complex issue that stirs deeply held passions and political divides. And as I said on Sunday night, there's no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. We're going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun. We're going to need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence. And any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our hearts.

But the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can't prevent every act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence, and prevent the very worst violence."

Vice President Biden has been asked to work with members of the Administration, Congress, and the general public to come up with a set of concrete policy proposals by next month -- proposals the President intends to push swiftly. The President asked the Vice President to lead this effort in part because he wrote and passed the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in America. That bill included the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

As the Vice President's Chief of Staff, I'm going to do everything I can to ensure we run a process that includes perspectives from all sides of the issue, which is why I wanted to respond to your petition myself. Two decades ago, as domestic policy adviser in the Clinton White House, I first worked with Joe Biden as he fought to enact the Crime Bill, the assault weapons ban, and the Brady Bill. I will never forget what a key role the voices of concerned citizens like you played in that vital process.

The President called on Congress to pass important legislation "banning the sale of military-style assault weapons," "banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips," and "requiring background checks before all gun purchases, so that criminals can’t take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won’t take the responsibility of doing a background check at all."

An issue this serious and complex isn't going to be resolved with a single legislative proposal or policy prescription. And let's be clear, any action we take will respect the Second Amendment. As the President said:

"Look, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. This country has a strong tradition of gun ownership that's been handed down from generation to generation. Obviously across the country there are regional differences. There are differences between how people feel in urban areas and rural areas. And the fact is the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible -- they buy their guns legally and they use them safely, whether for hunting or sport shooting, collection or protection.

But you know what, I am also betting that the majority -- the vast majority -- of responsible, law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war. I'm willing to bet that they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas -- that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to get his hands on a military-style assault rifle so easily; that in this age of technology, we should be able to check someone's criminal records before he or she can check out at a gun show; that if we work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one in Newtown -- or any of the lesser-known tragedies that visit small towns and big cities all across America every day."


The President said it best: "Ultimately if this effort is to succeed it's going to require the help of the American people -- it's going to require all of you. If we're going to change things, it's going to take a wave of Americans -- mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals -- and, yes, gun owners -- standing up and saying 'enough' on behalf of our kids."

So let's continue this conversation and get something meaningful done. If you have additional ideas and are interested in further engagement with the White House on this issue, please let us know and share your thoughts here:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/share-your-thoughts-reducing-gun-violence

Thank you for speaking out and staying involved.

 

It is time to speak plainly for the good citizens and patriots of this nation who believe unendingly in the Constitution of the United States of America.

Though foreign governments may disarm their subjects, we will not go down that road. We will not disarm and see our freedoms stripped away. The lessons of history are numerous, clear, and bloody.

A disarmed population inevitably becomes an enslaved population. A disarmed population is without power, reduced to childlike obedience to, and dependence upon, the organs of a parental state. A disarmed population will lose, either piecemeal or in one sweeping act, those basic rights for which the citizens of America risked their lives and fortunes over 200 years ago.

We Will Not Disarm.

The right to self-protection, the internal directive of every living creature, be it mouse or man is the most fundamental right of all. It is a right that must be exercised against the predators of the streets, against the predators hidden within agencies of law enforcement, and against the most dangerous predators of all, those to be found in government, whose insidious grasping for power is relentless and never-ending.

We Will Not Disarm.

Not in the face of robbers, rapists and murderers who prey upon our families and friends. Nor in the face of police and bureau agents who would turn a blind eye to the Constitution, who would betray the birthright of their countrymen; nor in the face of politicians of the lowest order, those who pander to the ignorant, the weak, the fearful, the naive; those indebted to a virulent strain of the rich who insulate themselves from the dangers imposed upon other Americans and then preach disarmament.

* We will not surrender our handguns.
* We will not surrender our hunting arms.
* And we will not surrender our firearms of military pattern or military utility, nor their proper furnishings, nor the right to buy, to sell, or to manufacture such items.

Firearms of military utility, which serve well and nobly in times of social disturbance as tools of defense for the law-abiding, serve also in the quiet role of prevention, against both the criminal and the tyrannical. An armed citizenry, the well-regulated militia of the Second Amendment, properly armed with military firearms, is a powerful deterrent, on both conscious and subconscious levels, to those inclined toward governmental usurpation's.

An armed citizenry stands as a constant reminder to those in power that, though they may violate our rights temporarily, they will not do so endlessly and without consequence. And should Americans again be confronted with the necessity of - may God forbid it - throwing off the chains of a tyrannical and suffocating regime, firearms designed to answer the particular demands of warfare will provide the swiftest and most decisive means to this end.

Any law which prohibits or limits a citizen's possession of firearms of military utility or their proper furnishings, provides an open window through which a corrupt government will crawl to steal away the remainder of our firearms and our liberties. Any law which prohibits or limits a citizen's possession of firearms of military utility or their proper furnishings, being directly contrary to the letter and spirit of the Second Amendment, is inimical to the Constitution, to the United States of America, and to its citizens.

Now. Today. We are witnessing the perilous times foreseen by the architects of the Constitution. These are times when our government is demanding (in the guise of measures for the common good) the relinquishment of several rights guaranteed to Americans in the Constitution, foremost among which is the right to keep and bear arms for our own defense. These are times when our government has abdicated its primary responsibility (to provide for the security of its citizens). Swift and sure punishment of outlaws is absent, and in its place is offered the false remedy of disarming the law-abiding. Where this unconstitutional action has been given the force of law, it has failed to provide relief and has produced greater social discord. This discord in turn now serves as the false basis for the demand that we give up other rights, and for the demand for more police, more agents of bureaucratic control to enforce the revocation of these rights.

Legislators, justices and law officers must bear in mind that the foundation of their duties is to uphold the fundamental law of the land - the Constitution. They must bear in mind that the unconstitutional act of disarming one's fellow citizens will also disarm one's parents, spouse, brothers, sisters, children and children's children. They must bear in mind that there are good citizens who, taking heed of George Washington's belief that arms are the liberty teeth of the people, will not passively allow these teeth to be torn out. There are good citizens who, taking heed of Benjamin Franklin's admonition that those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety, will surrender not one of their rights. Those who eat away at our right to own and use firearms are feeding on the roots of a plant over two centuries old, a plant whose blossom is the most free, most powerful nation ever to exist on the face of this planet.

The right to keep and bear arms is the tap root of this plant. All other rights were won at the point of a gun and will endure only at the point of a gun. Could they speak, millions upon millions of this world's dead souls would testify to this truth. Millions upon millions of the living can so testify today. Now - today - is a critical moment in our history.

Will we Americans passively lie down before a government grown disdainful of its best citizens? Or will we again declare:

WE are the government, government functions at our behest, and it may not rescind our sacred rights? Will we place our faith in public servants who behave like our masters? Or will we place our faith in the words and deeds of the daring, far-seeing men and women whose blood, sweat and tears brought forth this great nation?

Will we believe those who assure us that the police officer will shield us from the criminal? Or will we believe our eyes and ears, presented every day with news of our unarmed neighbors falling prey in their homes, on our streets, in our places of work and play?

Will we bow our heads to cowards and fools who will not learn and do not understand the lessons of human history? Or will we stand straight and assume the daily tasks and risks that liberty entails? Will we ignore even the lessons of this present era-which has seen the cruel oppression of millions on the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa and South America-and believe that the continent of North America is immune to such political disease? Or will we wisely accept the realities of this world wisely listen to and make use of the precautions provided by our ancestors?

Will we be deceived by shameless liars who say that disarmament equals safety, helplessness equals strength, and patriotism equals criminality? Or will we mark the words of our forefathers, who wrote in plain language: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed?

Let us make known: We will choose the latter option in every case.

Legislators: Do your duty to your country. Uphold the Constitution as you swore to do. Do not shame yourselves by knocking loose the mighty keystone of this great republic - the right to bear arms.

Justices: Do your duty to your country. Examine the origins of our right to weaponry and uphold the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

Lawmen: Do your duty to your country. Do not be misguided and misused. Your task is to serve and to protect - not to oppress, to disarm and to make helpless your countrymen. To the blind, the ignorant, the apathetic, the safe and sheltered, these may seem to be concerns of another age. They are not. They are as vital as they ever have been through history. For times may change but human nature does not. And it is to protect forever against the evil in human nature that the Founding Fathers set aside certain rights as inviolable.

For these reasons we must now make known:

We will not passively take the path that leads to tyranny. We will not go down that road.
We Will Not Disarm.

Second Amendment Hypocrites: Senators Schumer and Feinstein Pack Heat

By Jim Kouri, CPP

A recent poll conducted by the National Association of Chiefs of Police indicated that almost 64 percent of police commanders and sheriffs favor a law allowing private citizens to carry concealed firearms for protection. Almost 73 percent said that citizens should not be restricted from purchasing more than one weapon, and 96 percent say they believe criminals obtain firearms from illegal sources.

Unfortunately most states - especially those called Blue States due to their Liberal-leanings - continue to prohibit private citizens from carrying concealed handguns.

At the same time, there are outspoken opponents of gun ownership, such as Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who are carrying concealed weapons, according to WABC Radio's Mark Levin. Levin, a recognized constitutional expert, heads the Landmark Legal Foundation. The LLF's goal is to protect American's from unreasonable and illegal government intrusions and violations of the US Constitution, including the Second Amendment.

The mainstream news media have been aware that several antigun proponents are carrying concealed firearms but have failed to expose this hypocrisy. This writer's efforts to discover how many other anti-gunners are also packing heat - a right they wish to deny other citizens - met with limited results.

Not only does Schumer carry a handgun, the New York City Police Department also provides armed escorts for the good senator. In fact, the Government Accounting Office -- the investigative arm of the US Congress -- slammed Schumer's use of police resources for personal protection. It's clear that Schumer believes he's special. He wishes to ban private citizens' ownership of firearms, while he enjoys layers of protection.

"No wonder Chuckie Schumer shoots his mouth off so much - he's able to protect himself," says a 25-year police veteran.

Also, a check of Pistol License records shows that Senator Schumer possesses an "unrestricted" pistol permit, a rarity in New York City. Licenses are distributed in different categories in the Big Apple: Target Permits allow only use of a firearm at a licensed firing range; Premises Permits allow weapons to be kept in a home or apartment; Restricted Permits allow the gun owner to carry their firearms concealed but only within the purview of their job (security, jewelers, armored car guards, etc.). So it's evident that Senator Schumer has two sets of rules -- one for Americans and one for himself.

And then we have Senator Diane Feinstein on the Left Coast who possesses something more rare than a conservative Republican in San Francisco - an unrestricted concealed weapons permit. Apparently without shame, she participated in a citywide gun turn-in program that was intended to create some kind of statue from the donated guns that were to be melted down. One of her police body guards let it slip that she contributed a cheap model for the meltdown, while retaining her .357 magnum revolver for her own personal self-defense.

Hypocrisy is not limited to politicians when it comes to the Second Amendment. For Example, well-known Washington-based columnist, Carl Rowan, often wrote about the ills of firearms ownership. Until, that is, he shot and wounded a teenager who trespassed on his property. The white teenaged boy claimed he wanted to try Rowan's swimming pool. Rowan, an African-American, retaliated with deadly force using a firearm. That's when the news came out that Carl Rowan, gun-control advocate, actually possessed a license to own firearms.

Another example is the loudmouth entertainer, Rosie O'Donnell, who once ran roughshod over conservative actor Tom Selleck because of his stance supporting the Second Amendment. Although Ms. O'Donnell doesn't carry a gun, she has three armed bodyguards who protect her, her wife and her children, something the vast majority of hardworking Americans could never afford. Isn't it comforting to know all these Liberals are looking out for us?

~ About the Author ~

Jim Kouri is a certified protection professional, writer, commentator and contributing editor for Chief of Police Magazine. A former chief at a housing project in New York City's Washington Heights district - dubbed Crack City - he serves as Fifth-Vice President of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He possesses over 25 years of law enforcement and security experience and writes a regular column for KingNewsMedia.Com. He's the author of Crime Talk: Conversations with America's Top Crimefighters and Assume The Position: Police Science for Novelists, Screenwriters and Journalists, and his magazine articles appear in many publications. He's a frequent guest on many TV and radio stations including Fox News, CNN, CBS, ABC, CNBC, and others.

And so, now what?

Yes, the headlines, the sensationalizing of the Newtown tragedy, the calls for disarmament, and the refusals to participate in disarmament go on and on. Behind some of the headlines, particularly the petition to the White House, there exists some degree of misinformation, especially when you consider the reply I quoted was in response to a pro-gun petition. You’d never know it by the answer. And what of outright gun bans? The National Academy of Sciences studied 57 different gun control schemes, and none, according to the best minds in America, worked. The Clinton Gun Ban and the high capacity magazine ban (please, if you’re going to go on and on about firearms, they are magazines, not clips. There is an en-bloc clip used in 40mm Bofors AAA cannons, as well as in the M-1 Garand rifle’s 8 round en-bloc clip) didn’t do a thing, and the unintended consequence of the President’s simplistic “ban the guns” comments are driving customers to gun stores in record numbers to lawfully buy and possess all manner of rifles.

The fastest sellers are not “assault weapons”. By definition, an assault weapon has select fire capability, and for those of you who are not familiar with guns, that means a machine gun or submachine gun. Those have been under intense control since the days of Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde (see the National Firearms Act of 1934). In recent history, the Gun Control Act of 1986 banned the sale to private owners of any fully automatic firearm manufactured after 1986. Let’s get assault weapons off the table. Or, if you prefer, leave the on the table. If someone points a single shot .22 at you, that’s assault. It’s a behavior, not an adjective.

The murder of the innocents in Newtown tugged at everyone’s emotions, and if you didn’t find the breath knocked out of you, you have no soul. Even I, an ardent supporter of the Bill of Rights, refused to publish this until the dead were buried and the birth of the Christ Child celebrated.

I felt a bit alone sitting here holding back both these words, as well as my tears, while I watched such luminaries and moral compasses as Mayor Bloomberg capitalize on the murders within hours. I don’t believe the bodies had yet been removed by the medical examiner. The President was, in a word, presidential, as he comforted the parents and relatives of the dead, but even he could not help but politicize the workings of a madman.

And at the end of the day, the shooter, Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, the editor who published the names of licensed gun owners, and the President were all aboard the same vessel; LAWLESS

For me, it’s obvious that the 4th Amendment is a pesky set of words, and in actuality we are not secure in our papers. The First Amendment has been twisted to “I can say anything”, and the Second Amendment is, as always, under attack. When the words of the Pennsylvania Constitution,  Article I, Section XXI were penned, there was no mention of sword or musket. Indeed, private citizens, “privateers”, in the infancy of this Republic, owned not only cannon, but sailing ships and corvettes. To suggest that the Founding Fathers were not forward looking is absurd.

So, finally, you may peruse those headlines that please you, or you may find succor in roundly criticizing those that do not. I do not propose a solution to the creation of socio-economic stratum that in turn either mainstreams those who should be attending school in a private setting specifically made to meet their means, or on the other hand, creates a problem that spawns gangs, gang warfare, and the illegal possession of arms. The issue of plea bargaining away serious charges also comes to mind, and along with it some terms as “revolving door justice”, and “swallowing the gun.” Our jurists play a heavy role in contributing to Columbine, Aurora, and Newtown, and even more so in the nightly carnage in Chicago, where there is a de-facto ban on firearms.

There are, by some accounts, some 330 million firearms lawfully in private hands, and some 110 million or more lawful gun owners. There are many laws on the books, and only the law abiding follow them. If one proposes to put an end to private ownership of arms, then by extension, Freedom dies.

So, I make my own emotionally charged appeal to you. If you think Freedom is just another word, or a commodity to be traded, will YOU be the one to knock on the door that displays the Gold Star, and tell the mother of the young Marine killed in Afghanistan that his efforts were vain?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

MSgt. John DeLallo January 05, 2013 at 04:05 PM
"The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned."--Pennsylvania Constitution, Article I, Section XXI. Note the lack of any mention of a militia. Pennsylvania's right to bear arms predates the Second Amendment.
JillFromPgh January 05, 2013 at 08:38 PM
I was referring to the support President Reagan gave to the following legislation. Public Law 99-308, the Firearms Owners' Protection Act.which contained a provision banning the ownership of any fully automatic firearms not registered by May 19, 1986. The bill was subsequently passed and signed on May 19, 1986 by President Roland Reagan. In his post-presidency, Reagan cast his support to a pair of critical gun control measures in the 1990s: 1993’s Brady Bill and 1994’s Assault Weapons Ban. The other was the Brady Bill In a 1991 op-ed for the New York Times, Reagan voiced his support for the Brady Bill, saying the 1981 assassination attempt might have never happened if the Brady Bill had been law. Three years later, Congress had passed the Brady Bill and was working on another piece of gun control legislation, a ban on assault weapons. Reagan joined former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in a letter published in the Boston Globe that called on Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons. Later, in a letter Reagan said the limitations proposed by the Assault Weapon Ban “are absolutely necessary” and that it “must be passed.”
Mark Trombetta January 06, 2013 at 12:13 AM
In 1783 "Well regulated" meant well trained; nothing more. Additionally, that clause at the beginning of the Amendment does not imply that this is the right of only a militia. George Mason said that the militia was "the whole of the people". As well, if there are any further questions, which other of the Bill of Rights is a collective right ? The answer is: none. All rights are individual; and not granted by the government.
Mark A. January 06, 2013 at 04:49 AM
I also am glad that so far this is a civil conversation, for a conversation needs to be had. It is also interesting reading. I think Mike's questions above basically come down to, does a right to bear arms mean a right to bear ALL arms? I think thats what he meant by "why is it all or nothing". Couldn't the right to bear arms be upheld but not necessarily mean every weapon under the sun. That is what Mike is getting at. And my response to Mike would be that the problem is simply a difference of opinion, some people see semiautomatic weapons as scary icons, others see them as just objects. But the fact remains that it is that kind of weapon that the controversy is about. Am I wrong in that?
JillFromPgh January 07, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Does the Second Amendment prevent Congress from passing gun-control laws? For more than a hundred years, the federal courts held that the answer was clear, even if the words of the amendment itself were not. The text of the amendment is divided into two clauses. “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 courts had found that the first part, the “militia clause,” trumped the second part, the “bear arms” clause. In other words, according to the Supreme Court, and the lower courts as well, the amendment conferred on state militias a right to bear arms—but did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon. It really started to change with the rise of the modern conservative movement in the ’70s and ’80s. Ronald Reagan, Edwin Meese, who was his attorney general, and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in the Senate and chairman of the judiciary subcommittee, made a very sustained argument that the courts had misunderstood the Second Amendment for hundreds of years. The NRA was an indispensable partner in this moment. And it became the conservative conventional wisdom that the Second Amendment gave an individual the right to bear arms. It is still only an opinion, and the courts could at any time go back to their original interpretation.

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