The Second Amendment _ What Does It Mean? _ An Open Thread

The anti-gun crowd wasted no time in making their feelings known after the terrible tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. No surprise there So, I thought it might be worthwhile for we conservatives and supporters of the Second Amendment right to bear arms to discuss in an open thread what, if any, limits we believe there should be on the right to bear arms. [I don’t know it an open thread will work the way i would like on a small traffic blog like this, but we shall see. Also, If anyone can explain to me how to use a “sticky” to keep this post at the top for a couple of days, i would very much appreciate the advice.]

Yesterday I watched a Fox News video clip where Senator Diane Fienstein argued for renewal of her assault weapons ban and Senator Ron Johnson, Wis., was there to defend the Second Amendment. Senator Fienstein was agast that the Aurora shooter had an assault weapon with a 100 round barrel clip. She argued that this type of weapon was good for only one thing: killing people. She claimed there was no justification for a citizen to need an arm with a 100 round clip; that this type of weapon was not needed for hunting. Frankly, the good Senator from Wisconsin was less than brilliant in rebutting Senator Fienstein. He basically said that the constitution gives citizens the right to bear arms and he supports and defends the constitution.

My first reaction upon listening to Senator Fienstein was, since it was known that the shooter, James Holmes had knowledge of bombs and in fact had supposedly left his apartment booby trapped with bombs, if she would have been happier if, instead of automatic rifles, he had come with bombs and killed hundreds rather than a dozen. Upon thinking about her argument further, I was able to imagine a scenario where civil order had broken down in some part of the country and mobs were looting and destroying property that a person very well be glad to have an automatic weapon with a hundred round clip to protect his family and property.  I also asked myself if Senator Fienstein thought the Second Amendment existed for the only reason that citizens should be able to hunt? Then I asked myself:  What limit would I or any conservative or any supporter of the Second Amendment put on a citizen’s right to bear arms? Let’s start by looking at what the Second Amendment says:

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.

I would read that to mean that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed because it may be necessary for a free state to call up a citizen militia to defend the state from all enemies foreign or domestic.

One definition of “arms” is:

Implements of war, weapons, munitions, and weapon systems.

In the time of our founding, arms amounted basically to muskets and cannon, Our Founders saw the need for a navy to keep the sea lanes open and protected from pirates. But, our Founders did not foresee a need for a standing army. But, we live in a much different world today. We do have a standing army. Today arms run the gamut from weapons of mass destruction to smart bombs and guided missiles and grenade launchers and ground to air missiles and an incredible array of artillery and much, much more. Would our founders, if they could visit the future of today, argue that citizens had the right to bear any of todays “arms” they so desired? I doubt it. I doubt that any sane supporter of the Second Amendment would argue that a citizen had the right to bear a weapon of mass destruction. Possibly some extreme supporter of the right to bear arms might argue that an ex-fighter pilot should have the right to possess a fighter jet armed with all the weapons he was trained to use.

I think you see where I am going with this. So, here is my open thread question to supporters of the Second Amendment:

Between the extremes of a totally disarmed citizenry and the right to possess weapons of mass destruction, what limits would you put on our right to bear arms?

I will be very interested your responses.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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27 thoughts on “The Second Amendment _ What Does It Mean? _ An Open Thread

  1. I just saw Silverfiddle’s post about gun control and crime. Check it out!

    As for Holmes, well, I want to know what his parents knew and when did they know it. My reason: the Hinckleys knew that their son was wacko; yet they financed him. There are other similar cases.

  2. First of all, check your email. I sent you a message about making this a sticky post.

    You have asked an important question and raise some good points. Obviously, there has to be some limits on the kinds of weapons we are allowed to have. There are the obvious limits, like the weapons of mass destruction you have listed, but there are also some that are not so obvious.

    We have been having a discussion about the high-capacity clip used by James Holmes. Even though there are gun clubs that specialize in AR-15 type rifles with just such a clip, I wouldn’t necessarily be against banning them. I wouldn’t want one myself, as they would serve no purpose for me. (I used to have a 50 round clip for my Ruger 10-22 and it was useless. It always jammed after a few rounds.)

    The concern I have about banning something like that is the way liberals are good about chipping away at something until they erode it completely. That is my fear, so any laws that would ban the clips, or any other “reasonable” weapon, would have to be accompanied by guarantees that the anti-gun crows would not be able to expand the ban until it was no longer recognizable.

    I am also interested in hearing the opinions of your other readers.

  3. Everyone know the arguments against Gun Control. Lets vote accordingly. I get tired of repeating then same ideas over and over again. There is no reason for gun control period.

  4. They couldnt even wait three hours till that nutso from NYC had to spout his mouth. Meanwhile, Fast and Furious which has and is killing far more people get no attention

  5. ‘My first reaction upon listening to Senator Fienstein was, since it was known that the shooter, James Holmes had knowledge of bombs and in fact had supposedly left his apartment booby trapped with bombs, if she would have been happier if, instead of automatic rifles, he had come with bombs and killed hundreds rather than a dozen.”
    Exactly.

    1. Actually, James Holmes did not use an automatic weapon. Those are already banned from private ownership, unless you have a special license. His primary weapon was an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

  6. Here is my take…
    We have a standing army and no longer need a militia, but I don’t see any reason to change the 2nd Amendment in any way. I wholehearted believe that guns don’t kill people… people kill people.

    However, I see nothing wrong with registering all guns as long as it does not restrict gun ownership to anyone except criminals legally banned from owning them. Registration data can help in finding the bad guys when they get used in crimes.

    I agree 100% with those who say that a determined killer like Holmes are gonna find a means toward their end no matter what. I haven’t heard this on the news, but I suspect that Holmes legally obtained the weapons he used in the shooting.

    Assault weapons fall into the category of weapons of mass destruction as far as I am concerned. As such, I see nothing wrong with banning them from private ownership. The only exception to my mind is fully disabled weapons for collectors to have. Most other military hardware designed for war fit into that category to.

    The easy availability of large magazines is questionable in my mind as well.

    Determined killers like Holmes can’t be prevented. But if we can slow them down a little we just might help save some lives.

    1. The problem I have with an outright ban on assault rifles is that it wouldn’t work. The last ban we had was easily circumvented by the way they defined assault rifles. The weapons manufacturers changed some minor details, which did not affect the functionality of the weapons, and went right on selling them. The misnomer is that rifles such as the semi-automatic AR-15 are assault rifles. In reality, it is not. The fully automatic version is a different story.

    2. Oh… I might add that guns are often used in crimes of passion like fights, temporary fits of rage and drive by shootings. Its those crimes where gun restrictions are most valuable.

      An assault rifle or gun with a large magazine clip used in a temporary fit of rage is far more lethal than a regular handgun and results in far more innocent victims.

      1. AZ, you might want to look up violent crime statistics in Venezuela where guns are theoretically illegal. Trust me, where guns are outlawed, only the government and the criminals have guns.

  7. “She claimed there was no justification …

    That’s because we don’t have to justify the free exercise of our God-given rights to the politburo, madam senator!

    Great post, Jim, and you point on bomb-making is well-taken. I’ve made the same argument myself. There are many ways to kill a roomful of people, and shooting them one at a time is not very efficient, and an AR-15, as LD pointed out, is not an automatic weapon.

    I disagree with AZ about registering firearms. No way! That is a confiscation list.

    I have no problem with making any potential gun owner take a basic firearms safety course, but anything past that turns into a slippery slope.

    Stated can and do regulate firearm ownership, but the Supremes have stepped in and told them they go too far when they tell someone they cannot have a firearm in their home to defend themselves.

  8. As I have said before, arguing about guns and gun control is like a religious argument. Nobody wins, nobody will compromise, and nobody is going to change their minds.

    I don’t believe we should allow the Second Amendment to be changed in any way. We fought a six year war for the right to bear arms. The framers of the Constitution had endured that war, and certainly knew the value of citizenry having their own arms. If the Colonists had not had their own arms, the outcome of the Revolutionary War would have been different.

    Do we need arms, now? I would say, yes. The Constitution is timeless. If we ever have a government that operates outside of the will of the people, we should have the right to use our arms to make things right.

    Feinstein and others try to use the guns for hunting, only, argument. We know that fallacy. Our forefathers were smart men, and had been punished by a self-serving government. They knew the value of individual arms, and shooting the Thanksgiving turkey was the last reason on the list.

    On principle, I don’t want any restrictions on the number or types of arms we can own. If a jet jockey can afford an F22 complete with laser guided bombs, that’s fine. It is an easy thing to control. Just let him fly it in only certain places, and let him shoot up testing ranges for a fee. If he can afford the 100 million for the plane, he can afford to pay for the rest of the package.

    It is an interesting thing to me that mass murderers in countries with strict gun controls seem to get all the guns they want. So, it doesn’t make sense to control guns. That’s the reality of it.

    Guns. If you ain’t got one, get one.

  9. I don’t have a problem with reasonable gun laws, but where is the line drawn? That is a tough question.I understand we cannot own military style weapons of grenades and the like, but the problem is once the liberals get a toe hold they will only pass more and more restrictive laws.
    I also don’t have a problem with state or local governments passing resaonable laws as the constitution only prohibits the feds from doing so. And in a private business, such as this movie theater, gun policy should be left to the owner of the business. I don’t agree with the gun free zone, but that is up to the person who owns the business.

    1. Steve, I can’t think of a reasonable law restricting the ownership or makeup of guns. Why shouldn’t we all be allowed to own full automatic weapons? Is there any data that shows more people would die as the result of the legal use of these weapons? I think that’s the crux of the matter. You cannot keep criminals from getting any gun they want in any country in the world. Legal restrictions apply only to those who intend to use them, legally.

      So, what’s makeup of the “reasonable” laws you would be willing to support, and would they make any difference, whatsoever?

      I agree that a private business has the right to prohibit the possession of firearms on their premises.

      As an aside, I knew a guy in Texas that had the opinion that we could get rid of many of the criminals and tough guys simply by issuing each patron guns at certain bars in town. We could let the problem guys take care of each other.

      1. I don’t know the answer to your questions Bob, what I consider reasonable others might find unreasonable and what liberals find reasonable I know I will most likely find unreasonable.

  10. The fact is this country is being destroyed from within,it is up to the citizens of this country to see that the government is just and fair and if not we fix the problem,does this ring a bell,,,,,,,a civilian police force a million man strong and as strong as the military,,,,,,,,we heard that in 2008 and in the 1930s,,,,,if we loose our right to bear arms there will be nothing to stop them from finishing off this country.30,000 armed drones flying against the population,checkpoints right now across america ,our very existance is directly tied to our right to bear arms,the point in time that willdetermine this countries real future is near,i know which side i fall on,god bless america,and the constitution.

  11. Good discussion. Maybe the line should be drawn between the military and the police. In other words, the military has weapons for use against enemy states. Thus, individual Americans should not have military weapons: A-bombs, etc.

    However, the police have weapons for use against American citizens. I’d say individual American citizens should be able to have the same firepower and types of weapons police have. Local police forces now have automatic assault weapons, drones and tanks. Law abiding citizens should be able to have the same.

  12. Allowing liberals to control guns is guaranteeing yourself a reserved space on the wrong side of a body bag. One well-placed and timely head shot in Aurora might well have prevented the worst of this latest tragedy.

    1. I am a convicted felon,if someone can please find anywhere in our constitution where it states
      that a convicted felon should not have a firearm,please do so..I can vote,i can sit on a jury,i can hold public office,i also pay taxes ..it has been 15 years since i was convicted of crimes,i served my time i paid my debt,i am a freeman…..They used to release convicts from jail with a firearm because they knew you had to protect yourself..so now i have a wife and two daughters.How do i protect them,i own my own company and work in bad areas of cleveland where people pay me in cash,how do i protect my self in those areas?I actually had a police officer in east cleveland tell me i need a firearm and to leave the job untill i had one.so what firearms restriction should there be..the people should be able to defened themselves from attack if it be from another man or from our goverment,and if its from the goverment well then how can we do that if we cant have what they have.the second amendment was put in there so we could protect ourselves from taxation without representation..(england)….
      but we should not have weopons of mass destruction those are not meant to protect you they were meant to devestate you….but every free man or woman should have the right to protect thereselves and there familys from attack or goverment tyranny……

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