Saturday, October 17, 2009

Definitions of the second

I've never had a satisfactory explanation on what the second amendment means to an anti gunner. Instead of logic, there's something like "Of course I support the constitution, but the second is a collective right, and only applies to militia service, and doesn't actually mean your right to keep guns is protected".

Questions I'd like their answers to:

What does "collective right" mean?

Exactly whose 'right to bear arms" is it that "shall not be infringed"?

Under your theory of actual meaning, what would constitute a violation or infringement?

If your theory is that it is obsolete, what made it obsolete? How did that change the law? What other laws or constitutional provisions no longer apply due to the passage of time?


  1. This always seemed a bit... _underconsidered_ to me, too. Do they honestly believe the founding fathers were terrified that the government would disenfranchise citizens by refusing to let them enlist in the army?

  2. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but what Henigan and Sunstein say makes sense to me. Of course you don't like that, but I really don't see why. Without the supposed Constitutional protection, do you really think you'd have to give up the guns. I don't. There'd be restrictions and inconveniences, hopefully ones which would help the gun violence problem, but I believe confiscations are a paranoid fantasy.

  3. Without the supposed Constitutional protection, do you really think you'd have to give up the guns

    That's not the main point to me--The governments (at all levels, not just federal) obeying the constitution is vital, and far more important than whether or not I personally am allowed to have guns. Gun rights are a symptom rather than the main problem.

    Can you say in simple terms what Henigan and Sunstein claim, and what would constitute an infringement under that interpretation?

  4. I'm not sure but I think the idea is that the 2nd Amendment is an archaic concept that has no relevance in today's society. I think that's what Berger meant by fraud. And I'll bet there are more who feel that way, I just haven't discovered them yet.

    By the way, the last books I ordered which haven't arrived yet are by Kleck and Lott. I've read some stuff on the internet, but those'll be the first pro-gun books I'll have had the chance to look at.

    I thought maybe you had the impression I only read the one type.

  5. The idea that we no longer need the second is plausible, although I of course disagree. The idea that the rights it guarantees are gone without a change to the constitution, merely because some think they no longer matter is a troubling theory.

  6. I plan on doing something about "collective" and "individual" right.

    Basic gist: the right is better defined as a civic right in that it requires a "reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia" that is the body organised under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16 of the Constitution.

    The test is does it contribute to the common defense?

    I am sorry that I have not been able to answer your question about whose rights and what exactly are the rights that are being violated to your satisfaction.

    Seriously, the military budget and use of National guard troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are violations of the Second Amendment under this interpretation.

    You seem intelligent and open. Far more intelligent and open than the usual dogmatic crowd.

    Anyway, I will try to keep my discussion of this topic reigned in.

  7. BTW, you need to think of how the military establishment was conceived at the time of the Constitution was a system similar to that of Switzerland with a small professional military (the Army) that served as trainers and a large, body of citizen soldiers that would make the actual defense force.

    The Second Amendment was to protect the Militia that belonged to the States and ensure that Federal Regular Army would not become a large force.

    In other words, the Feds with their power to arm the militia would not abuse that power to the detriment of the militia.

    Also, the militia is a defense force (the Swiss example is bang on), not to be used for aggressive purposes.

    Does that make any sense?

  8. elmo_iscariot, you don't understand, it's not the army which is being disarmed.

    The Feds have a professional army
    The States have the citizen soldier militia.

    The fear was that the feds would support the army and fail to support the militia.

    Does that make sense to you?

  9. So the second amendment is to prevent the federal governement from disarming the individual state governments, and incorporation doesn't apply?

  10. Laci,

    I think your statement is incomplete

    The Feds have a professional army
    The States have the citizen soldier militia.

    The states have two sections of the militia: organized and unorganized.

    Only the organized portion is supplied with arms; the unorganized portion is expected to supply their own. Arms which are protected for self defense and can be used for militia purposes.

    In fact, your argument makes the current restrictions less constitutional. Automatic arms are a main component of military use and should be allowed for individual use with less restrictions.