2nd Amendment clarification

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Discus: College Confidential Café: 2004 Archive: 2nd Amendment clarification
By Thermodude (Thermodude) on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 11:57 pm: Edit

I was just looking at the Bill of Rights (in my gov + politics book)...and here is a direct quote of the second amendment:

"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."

This essentially means that for the security of the nations, individuals IN "A well regulated Militia", will be able to bear arms.

However, since state militia's disappeared after the Civil War, and also that guns aren't the best national defense measure (I'd say maybe F-16's and Patriot Missles work better)...isn't this admentment outdated? Besides, it specificaly states that only those in a "well-regulated militia" will not have their right to bear arms infringed. Since I don't think anyone today is in a "well-regulated militia", could somebody please clarify why many gun-advocates use the 2nd amendmemt as an argument?

By Averagemathgeek (Averagemathgeek) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 12:39 am: Edit

The question you are asking is at the heart of the gun control issue. Here is what I think. A militia is a voluntary union of people that come together when trouble happens. This group is not controlled or funded by the government. The 2nd Amendment is saying that people must have the right to bear arms to be able to form a militia and defend themselves.

The gun-advocates use the 2nd Amendment because it is the 2nd Amendment. That is, it is the Supreme Law of the Land and can only be over-riden by another amendment. The 2nd Amendment should preempt all other laws on issue.

By Yugekorb (Yugekorb) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 05:53 am: Edit

Many people say that we need guns to protect us from criminals, but the 2nd Amendment only says that militias should protect us for the security of the State. I don't think that people who break into your house are trying to take control of the state.

The government is supposed to protect us. If the Army, Navy, and Air Force aren't able to protect us with F-16's and tanks, then I don't think a semi-automatic Kalishnikov or M-16 is going to do too much good.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 08:15 am: Edit

I would think twice about invading a country in which large numbers of its citizens were armed with assault rifles and other easily transportable weaponry.

George W. Bush didn't think twice (or even once) about it----and our soldiers are not exactly having a cake walk in spite of their vastly superior weapons systems.

By Pkpat2000 (Pkpat2000) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 02:03 pm: Edit

I agree with Morgantruce.

By Vancat (Vancat) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 03:14 pm: Edit

Good point Morgantruce. Switzerland is another example of a armed society; i believe it has the highest gun ownership rates in the world, and many LESS restrictions on assault rifles than America.

As another point, take the current insurgency in Iraq for example. No matter how you look at it, the US completely outclasses the insurgents in training and weaponry. On paper, the US would destroy the insurgency within weeks, but obviously that has not happened.

And back when the 2amendemnt was drafted, a "well-regulated militia" did NOT mean a force like the National Guard (which might i add is a federally funded, trained, and equipped force and was invented in the 20th century). Nor did it refer to any other organized state or national force. The "well-regulated militia" refered to the citizens themselves, who were able to take up arms against oppresion and crime.

Another point, it is a drastically flawed assumption to believe that the safety of the citizens should rest in the hands of only the military and police force. That would be taking the US government for granted and would be assuming that it would never somehow collapse. (it happens to the greatest of them; Rome, England, Egypt) and can very likely happen again.

By Vancat (Vancat) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 03:14 pm: Edit

any more questions I'll be happy to answer them.

By Vancat (Vancat) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 03:27 pm: Edit

"any people say that we need guns to protect us from criminals, but the 2nd Amendment only says that militias should protect us for the security of the State. I don't think that people who break into your house are trying to take control of the state. "

Yugekorb, the 2A does not only refer to protection against people who "only want to control the state." If you read the amendment, it says " being necessary to the security of a free State." A "free State" is a country free of crime, oppresion, and violence. the 2A protects these rights, allows the citizen to protect himself against an oppresive government, and allows the people to defend their homeland (if god forbid necessary) considering our military and security forces cannot possibly defend our entire country at once.

By Yugekorb (Yugekorb) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 05:20 pm: Edit

So then if you're trying to create a state without crime and violence, why would you let people have automatic weapons? Seems like it would just be feeding the problem, but that just might be me.

By Vancat (Vancat) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 05:36 pm: Edit

The main problem is the Hollywoodeology invasion of rational thought. First off, "automatic weapons" i.e. machine guns have been regulated VERy strictly under the National Firearms Act of 1934. Automatic weapons have always been legal, you just need registration, background checks, and the authorization of your local police chief to get your Class III license. Semi-automatic weapons, which constitute the majority of guns in the US, have been readily available for many decades. And don't even get me started on the availability of bolt-action guns.

And its fact that guns are used for self defence and protection MUCH more often than criminal offenses. Now, if criminals bought their guns from gun stores and legal sellers, maybe gun control would work. but unfortunately, they DON'T. Thats the reason why stricter standards on gun control in the past have not worked. They restrict law-abiding owners from protecting themselves, while doing squat against criminal use.

By Kluge (Kluge) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 06:13 pm: Edit

Vancat - where does the phrase "well regulated" fit into your analysis?

By Vancat (Vancat) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 06:32 pm: Edit

"well-regulated" refers to groups of citizens who are readily able to go into action if the situation calls for it. it does NOT refer to a standing national force, or anything like that. "Well-regulated" means they have their own arms and are able to carry out actions quickly and effectively without the excessive bureaucracy and logistics support necessary for national and police forces.

By Vancat (Vancat) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 06:35 pm: Edit

you have to remember that back then,the citizens were the BEST defense against government oppression, threats of insurrection, and violence.

To this day, the armed citizen is STILL the best defense against these possibilities.

By Vancat (Vancat) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 06:39 pm: Edit

I really hate having to debate this for the THIRD time. It's cutting into my college app quality.

By Hayden (Hayden) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 10:20 pm: Edit

Actually, the Alps have proved a better defense over time than guns. Thus we have Switzerland, Monaco, Andorra, and Luxemburg. All the little mountain countries.

Perhaps we should amend the Constitution to read "a well regulated mountain being necessary to the security of a free State" ?

By Vancat (Vancat) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 10:25 pm: Edit

actually not. The Alps have played a role in preventing invaders, but it is the fact that the Swiss are an armed society that has kept it safe and low in crime. Also, it is an relatively unknown fact, but in WW2, the Nazis did not choose to go through Switzerland primarily because the swiss were quite heavily armed and the germans did NOt want to get bogged down in a guerrila war.

By Hayden (Hayden) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 10:39 pm: Edit

If they were standing out on a plain, such as the Castillian plain, then all the guns in the world wouldn't have stopped the Germans (airplanes could have taken them all out). The reason it would have been a guerrilla war is that the caves and crevices of the mountains have been the perfect hideout for centuries. You are quite right that the Swiss are powerful fighters, but geography is everything for such little countries. It's the same with Luxembourg, where the population retreated to high caves, and had the huge advantage of defense position. Guns just aren't the reason for their independence since it begs the question of why so many European countries rose and fell before guns were invented, and little Switzerland, Andorra, et.al. just kept tootling along independently. By the way, I'm not arguing the 2nd amendment, I'm just arguing history.

By Hayden (Hayden) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 10:42 pm: Edit

PS - forgot to add that one of the other reasons the Germans didn't go through Switzerland during WWII is that they didn't want to make trouble for their bankers. The geography was more of an issue for WWI

By Vancat (Vancat) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 10:46 pm: Edit

I know you are correct about the mountains being a formidable defense against invasion. That is undisputed history.

However, the mountains were certainly not the ONLY thing preventing the swiss from being invaded. And I never said the fact that they were armed was the complete reason for their independence, but is HAS certainly helped them in preserving their freedom and a peaceful way of life.

Also going back to your previous post; "Perhaps we should amend the Constitution to read "a well regulated mountain being necessary to the security of a free State"?"

Thats a good one. The next time I am robbed at gunpoint, it will all be OK cause we got the mountains. Next time burglars break in, its OK cause we got the mountains.

Lifes cool...lifes swell...lifes a doozy...cause we got da mountains!

[Joke btw]

By Thermodude (Thermodude) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 11:11 pm: Edit

Vancat, you do have to take into consideration that the 2nd amendment was ratified during the 18th century. During this time period, the musketeer dominated the battlefield. Thus, if the nation were attacked, a group of well-regulated militia men could very well defend their country, as they possessed the weapons nessasary to defend themselves. This trend very well continued into the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, during the past few decades, military technology has significantly increased. If enemies were to attack us with Stealth fighters, an AK-47 would provide no defense what so ever. That goes the same for missles. Frankly, I find it very unlikely that in our age of technology, citizens armed with AK-47's would make any difference in national defense, given the fact that F-16's and missles are now in existence.

By Vancat (Vancat) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 11:27 pm: Edit

nope. That is somewhat incorrect.

First off, take the Iraq insurgency for example. On paper, we should have destroyed them within weeks and utterly crushed them considering their poor training and weaponry. Why has that not occured. it is because of organized and resilient guerrila action that no amount of high-tech whiz-bang weaponry can fight effectively.

If, heaven forbid, something happens to our own government and the military is used to opress us (happens to the best of them), it is not entirely unreasonable to think that armed civilians can bring about change by fighting against the military. After all, citizen's rebellions have brought about change throughout history. Just because we do not have the high-tech vehicles the military has does not mean it is useless or futile to fight an oppresive government.

You are thinking that in order to protect against opression by our own government, we have to defeat them COMPLETELY on a military sense. That is false. organized and effective resistance, *somewhat* like the Iraq situation (though different circumstances), can and will bring about change.

By Taffy (Taffy) on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 11:37 pm: Edit

note: if you were to outlaw guns, only the responsible gunowners would turn theirs in.

By Socalnick (Socalnick) on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 12:27 am: Edit

when are some people gonna understand that you cannot invade a country with missles. you could send all the cruze missles(non nuclear) you want into iraq but all that will do is damage them. if you want to control a country you need infantry which in gurilla war and ak47 would help. in the hopefully unlikely case where someone would decide to invade the united states, weapons could be used for protection and resistance to the invaders. owning a gun is a triditional american right, that if banned would disarm the people who need guns.

By Taffy (Taffy) on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 12:29 am: Edit

^ yeah. i forget who said it, but it was the final words on some History Channel special, but it was something like:

"no matter how far we get with technology, we are still going to need the little man with the gun to drag the enemy out of their foxhole."

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