The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Second Amendment

I submit the Second Amendment protects my right to keep and bear arms so that I may protect myself from an oppressive government.

Bill suggests that I am therefore advancing the argument that I have a right to keep and store nuclear weapons in my garage.

I submit that it is not necessary for me to have nukes, since the U.S. would not logically use them against me. It is necessary for me to have the right to keep small arms in case the government comes door-to-door to collect oppressive taxes and guns, or to arrest me for not voting their way.

The Second Amendment was written to assure future governments that the people they serve are armed and that should they decide to cease serving them and start oppressing them, there would be likely be dire consequences.

Fleming's note: Well, not exactly my point, Mike, but close enough for discussion. My real point is that the meaning of these things changes over time as our times and circumstances change. I also think it would be good to have the language of the Amendment here where we can study it.

"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."


Bill Fleming said...

So, Mike, how does the "Security of a free State" equate to you not wanting to pay your taxes?

Thad Wasson said...

In my opinion, having to give 40% of your paycheck (property) to the federal goverenment is oppressive.

caheidelberger said...

Bill's point stands, Michael. You draw an arbitrary line on the level of force you feel authorized to use against oppression. If I'm the government and I want to arrest you, and you stock up with a couple high-powered rifles, I will come with armor and bigger rifles. If you want to truly protect yourself, you can't tell me that your acquisition of arms stops at a certain caliber, because I will then come to get you with that caliber times two.

Have you seen the gear SWAT teams and Army guys carry? If the government really wants to oppress us, we don't stand a chance with our buckshot.

Thad helps make a bigger point: what is oppression? Are you going to shoot me when I come to collect the 40% or 20% or 5% income tax you owe? Or maybe when I come with my Census hat to ask how many people and toilets you have in your house?

The Second Amendment is grossly outdated. Save your country with blogs, not bullets!

David Newquist said...

We live in an age where one political party considers the opposing party oppressive because it has been elected into office. And I mean by election, not by decree of the Supreme Court.
There is a huge Constitutional difference between trying to provide health-care to people whose financial inequalities deny them that service, a government which tries to rectify economic predation and provide the 95% of people who have only 5% of the wealth some equity in the marketplace, and a government which tries to clean up an environment that endangers the future of all civilization and a government which engages in illegal wiretaps, torture, and contrives phony wars to cow the populace into a submissive fear.

The Second Amendment is conditioned upon maintaining a well-regulated militia not a bunch of gunslingers who want to threaten the government when it acts Constitutionally. The Second Amendment is not the only part of the Constitution that defines those matters:

"Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

"Amendment XVI

""The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

"To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

"To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress..."

I can't find any suggestion in that pesky document which gives me the right to consider any lawful action of government that gives me the right to blow the heads and asses off of any representative of government when its actions displease me. I believe such protest is dealt with through those provisions dealing with the ballot box.

But I am probably wrong, as I have been proven wrong the last 9 months in what I thought this country was all about.

Steve Sibson said...


Liberty means a God-given right to pursuit of happiness. That is basic property rights, including money. The federal government is to protect those rights, not take property from one person and give it to antoher. Redistribution is unconstitutional.

Today, we have generational theft. Taking from future generations so we can pursue happiness today. The "Security of the State" has been diminished will the huge amount of debt we have created.

And I don't care if it is devisive, I have pointed out a major reason why we have less taxpayers today than what we could have in another thread. Time for the not so true Americans to get their heads out of the sand.

Bill Fleming said...

Steve, the first part your argument is anti-Constitutional as it pertains to paying taxes. Read Newquist's excellent review of key articles (the post above yours) to see why.

And worse, the second half of your argument simply contradicts your first "not so American" part. How would having more people who shouldn't have to pay taxes solve anything?

I guess having your head "in the sand" is one way to put it, Sibby. But when it comes to arguments like yours, I'm thinking "the sand" would be a lot better place for your head than where it currently appears to be.

Maybe you need a vacation?

Bob Newland said...

caheidelberger says:"If the government really wants to oppress us...."

If? IF?

The current oppressions of government are legion. It is able to implement them by maintaining a level of terror. The ONLY thing stopping it from totalitarianism is the fact that a good many of us have firearms.

I don't have any, incidentally, because the terrorists in power have threatened me with many years in prison if I get caught with one. I'll borrow one or two when I have nothing left to lose.

Oppression? I am distrained from possessing an implement of self-protection because I possessed a vegetable. Oppression? I don't see no stinking oppression.

Anonymous said...

ca wrote:
"Have you seen the gear SWAT teams and Army guys carry? If the government really wants to oppress us, we don't stand a chance with our buckshot."

Horsecrap. Tell that to the Chinese who threw-out the Japanese and then Chang Kai Shek. Tell that to the Viet Cong. Tell that to the Iraqis. Tell that to the Taliban. Tell that to the patriots who stood up against the strongest military in the world - the British empire and their lobsterbacks.

The 2d Amendment is not grossly outdated; however it is slightly mitigated by the emergence and rising of civil disobedience. Ghandi, Mandela, and others affected political change without resorting to Buda's Wagon. The civil disobedience path takes generations to affect change and it's questionable whether it could be done in our era of massive electronic eavesdropping. So it is very useful to have the 2d Amendment.

Prof N: The Modern Militia Act, 10 U.S.C. §311(b), provides that the militia comprises "all able-bodied males" at least 17 years old and less than 45 years old who are (or have declared their intent to become) citizens and all female citizens who are members of the National Guard. The act goes on to define two classes of militia: "the organized militia," which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia, and "the unorganized militia," which consists of everybody else.

The unorganized militia becomes "well regulated" when it is called by the community, given a chain of command, requirements for arms, drill, reporting, etc. The militia applied to INDIVIDUALS, not state governments. That application to INDIVIDUALS is what gives the 2d Amendment in the Bill of Rights its impetus.

Steve Sibson said...

"nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation"


That is taken right from he 5th Amendment. Using the taxing authority of the federal government to take property away from one, without just compensation, in order to give it to another is unconstitutional...even when you argue the public use doctrine.

That is why it took a constitutional amendment to put in an income tax. A move that should not have been made by true Americans. That was during Woodrow Wilson's move to "Progressivism" wasn't it?

Michael Sanborn said...

I pay my taxes. It has little to do with taxes. I understand taxes and accept them.

The Second Amendment is about oppression. Thad has a point that having the government take 40 cents on a dollar. But that's just one point.

The Second Amendment isn't necessarily about protecting myself from my own government. It is not out of the realm of possibility that a foreign government may try to oppress me.

This goes to caheidelberger's argument, which also seems to be that I am keeping arms to protect myself against my own government. That's part of it. But, if the time comes that my government is overtaken by a hostile force, and my government call upon me to join a the militia in opposition, I'm able.

And, caheidelberger, my deer rifle is a 7.65 Argentine Mauser made more than 100 years ago, and shoots very accurately with iron sights up to about 200 yards, and less accurately up to 1500 yards.

It isn't about the caliber of the cartridge, it's about the caliber of the shooter. Wars have been won with inferior weapons.

I have not said here, David or Cory or Bill, that if my taxes cross some arbitrary line that I consider to be too high, I'm gonna start shootin'.

I may not be the rootinest tootinest blogger this side of the Pecos, but I get that Obama won the election. I get that health care needs reform. I get that the tax burden will not be equitable. I get it.

My position, and the reason for this thread, is that health care and Second Amendment rights are separate issues. The Second Amendment creeped into the health care thread, and now health care is creeping into this one.

If you guys think its okay for the government to come and take my guns, you are free to think that, and I'm free to disagree. Take away everyone's guns and nobody will be free to think anything.

Bill Fleming said...

For the record, I've not taken any position on gun control.

I'm just trying to understand what the real position of those who have taken a position is.

And true, the 2nd amendment and health care may not be related at first blush, but if push comes to shove, comes to fisticuffs, then pistols over health care reform, there could be a little crossover of issues in the crossfire, don't you think?

I also think the moron who showed up at an Obama speaking engagement with what looked to me like an assault weapon strapped to his leg was pushing the line a little.

He's lucky he didn't end up having to file a few claims with his insurance company if you ask me.

caheidelberger said...

Like Bill, I have taken no position on gun control here. I simply contend that the possession of a gun stops none of the harms Michael contends they can. Bob's point is well taken: oppression already takes place. All those guns in our closets didn't stop the Patriot Act. And our guns won't stop the Chinese from foreclosing on our loans. There are much easier ways for countries to dominate each other, without ever firing a shot. Putting your faith in guns for freedom is an extension of rootin'-tootin' boyhood fantasies that ignore the reality of 21st-century policy and problems.

The only way guns have helped with any of our significant national problems is the slight economic stimulus Obama's victory provided to our local gun shops.