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The Founders on the 2nd Amendment and the Right to Bear Arms

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posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 07:52 PM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian
The Founders did intend civilian political control of the military. They also believed in the 1780's that the federal government would only need to maintain a small regular army because the states themselves would provide militias. The militia was indeed composed of ordinary citizens but under the control and authority of the states and most importantly, trained and armed by the states.


The Militia was expected to provide its own arms, each citizen provided and maintained his own weapon.


Here again we have the states maintaining militias, in the service of the United States, under the control of Congress and the President, as well as a navy maintained by the federal government. I'm not sure that your hypothesis about the intention that the public be armed and of equal parity with the US military finds much support outside select quotes.


The portion preceding this was, in my opinion, agreeing with what I posted. Your premise above is based on the misplaced beleif that because, even at that early stage, the government chose to erode the 2nd Amendment by creating a standing army our contemporary rights must continue to be abridged. I again leave the message to Jefferson who said that the Constitution must be interpreted in the mindset of when it was written.


We could now go into what a rousing success the state militias proved NOT to be. St. Clair's defeat, The Battle of Bladensburg and the Burning of Washington during the War of 1812, etc etc. or how the states neglected their duty to maintain the militias and through subsequent wars, it was proven time and time again that the regular army was infinitely superior to state militias.


The success or failure of the militia is irrelevant and the basis of our rights do not have a qualifier in this regard. It does not read '...shall not be infringed unless the Militia is a blundering bunch of idiots'.


I don't think it should be necessary to pretend that we need guns to fight our own armed forces in order to justify gun ownership. That's the sort of notion that leads one to believe that the average citizen is in an arms race with the US military. What you're actually proposing, if taken to it's logical extreme, is the ability for individuals to form their own private armies. There's no support for this ANYWHERE. In fact, there is no explicit language stating that the militias were to protect the people from the government (in practical terms, the US military). If you want to point to the modern day equivalent to what started as colonial militias, you wouldn't be looking at the public at large, but rather the National Guard.


Pretend? That was precisely the spirit of the Amendment as displayed by the thoughts of the men quoted in the Original Post. I propose the individual is the armed forces, one which is charged, by the Founders, to reassert the will of the people in the instance of a tyrannical government.




posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 07:57 PM
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originally posted by: Indigo5
"All natural rights may be abridged or modified in their exercise by law." --Thomas Jefferson: Official Opinion, 1790.


What Jefferson was referring to was that there are laws governing our gihts as dileneated in the Constitution and that total freedom is akin to anarchy, not that the government can curtail them as they see fit to accomodate the whims of popular sentiment. Only the People can alter the Constitution.



posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 08:35 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

While I appreciate your OP and research on the issue, the debate is easier than that. Just look at the way that it's written, the militia has absolutely nothing to do with the right to bear arms.

The second amendment states: "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."

Now let's do a little swapping and see what we get.

A vibrant economy, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to seek jobs, shall not be infringed.

The above does not require a vibrant economy to preserve the right to seek jobs, just as the second amendment doesn't require militia membership to keep and bear arms. It's simply the reasoning for the right to not be infringed. The militia statement is not a qualifier, and as such doesnt require any interperetation.


edit on 24-6-2014 by Dfairlite because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 08:39 PM
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originally posted by: Dfairlite
The militia statement is not a qualifier, and as such doesnt require any interperetation.


I will take that one step further and say to you, replace 'militia' with 'citizens'. That, to me, is the essence of the 2nd Amendment.



posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 10:04 PM
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I ask you sir, who are the militia?

Answer: They are the people!

They are you and I sir, we are the militia...



posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 10:04 PM
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All true, but regardless of how one splits the "militia" hair, it all boils down to the word, "people", in the text.
Not soldier, not member, not able bodied men...PEOPLE!



posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 11:40 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

If that is the reasoning for the constitution then it is mute. Even the people armed are no match for the military anymore..



posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 11:54 PM
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originally posted by: purplemer
a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

If that is the reasoning for the constitution then it is mute. Even the people armed are no match for the military anymore..



Ha!Tell that to the VietCong and the Taliban!The word is MOOT not mute!



posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 12:06 AM
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originally posted by: purplemer
a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

If that is the reasoning for the constitution then it is mute. Even the people armed are no match for the military anymore..


Then I guess we need access to purchase RPG's, Full Auto's, etc.



posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 01:20 AM
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a reply to: Dfairlite
The problem is, english classes suck balls these days. Hell, they did even when I was a kid, over 10 years ago. I had to do my own research to learn these type of things, and how to understand what shaekspear was actually saying in his work etc etc.

edit on Wed, 25 Jun 2014 01:21:28 -0500 by TKDRL because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 01:47 AM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus


The Militia was expected to provide its own arms, each citizen provided and maintained his own weapon.


The Militia Act of 1792, which of course came after the 2nd Amendment, did conscript all white males aged 18-45 who weren't in certain professions into the Militia and required them to provide a firearm, a bayonet, etc of their own. It also gave the President the power to use the state militias to suppress insurrection. There's nothing in there about "equal parity" with the US military which if I'm not mistaken, is what you are trying to promote in this thread?


The portion preceding this was, in my opinion, agreeing with what I posted. Your premise above is based on the misplaced beleif that because, even at that early stage, the government chose to erode the 2nd Amendment by creating a standing army our contemporary rights must continue to be abridged. I again leave the message to Jefferson who said that the Constitution must be interpreted in the mindset of when it was written.


I made a few points but that wasn't necessarily one of them but hey, when in doubt, just name drop Jefferson some more. I'm a fan myself so I'll leave this message from a letter from Jefferson to James Madison in 1787:

The question Whether one generation of men has a right to bind another, seems never to have been started either on this or our side of the water. Yet it is a question of such consequences as not only to merit decision, but place also, among the fundamental principles of every government. The course of reflection in which we are immersed here on the elementary principles of society has presented this question to my mind; and that no such obligation can be so transmitted I think very capable of proof.--I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, "that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living": that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it.


The success or failure of the militia is irrelevant and the basis of our rights do not have a qualifier in this regard. It does not read '...shall not be infringed unless the Militia is a blundering bunch of idiots'.


That's because you chose to ignore the real world role of the Militia system because it doesn't have any relevance to your argument. The Militia was used to quell insurrection and against the natives and foreign enemies. Choosing the Militia over a large standing army was to a large extent about distributing military power (and expense) but it's primary purposes were quite clear.


Pretend? That was precisely the spirit of the Amendment as displayed by the thoughts of the men quoted in the Original Post. I propose the individual is the armed forces, one which is charged, by the Founders, to reassert the will of the people in the instance of a tyrannical government.


Except that's not what the 2nd Amendment states and the relevant text was itself taken right from the Articles of Confederation. Nor is there any mention in the Militia Act of 1792, the 1795 revision, the Militia Act of 1862 or the Militia Act of 1903. Maybe it would have said something different if Jefferson wasn't in Paris at the time it was drafted. What these documents do say comports exactly with the function the Militia served.

I don't disagree that the Founders believed in the inherit right of the people to act with force against tyranny or that there was a great mistrust of large standing armies. The key thing to remember is that the militias had structure, training, a chain of command, rules of discipline, regulations, oversight, etc — and were under the authority of the states and the President.
edit on 2014-6-25 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 04:05 AM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian
a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

The Founders were certainly intelligent and thoughtful men. However, the constitution was written 225 years ago in a time when being on parity with the military meant something entirely different than it does now. I'm not for disarming people but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that it's practical for the public to possess military weaponry.

Fighter jets?
Bombers?
Drones?
Tanks?
Nukes?

The Constitution creates the foundation for an extensible framework, it's not equatable to something intended to be immutable like the Ten Commandments.


Why exactly not?

Why do you hold so much trust in the same government that lies cheats and steals at every turn?

I trust the people with all of these things much more than the obviously corrupt and inept government.

You think some religious text is immutable, but not the US Constitution?



posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 06:17 AM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian
There's nothing in there about "equal parity" with the US military which if I'm not mistaken, is what you are trying to promote in this thread?


As there was no epxectation in that time that there would be a standing army, the citizens were the army, why would there be reference to such?



I made a few points but that wasn't necessarily one of them but hey, when in doubt, just name drop Jefferson some more. I'm a fan myself so I'll leave this message from a letter from Jefferson to James Madison in 1787:


The phrase has nothing to do with a generational interpretation of the Consititution but as an admonishment against abuse of the land:


The legal concept of usufruct can be traced back at least as far as ancient Roman law and has changed little over the centuries. In Jefferson's time, as now, "usufruct" referred to "the right to make all the use and profit of a thing that can be made without injuring the substance of the thing itself." It was a term used to describe the rights and responsibilities of tenants, trustees, or other parties temporarily entrusted with the use of an asset -- usually land.

...

For Jefferson, "eating up the usufruct" means extinguishing the next generation's ability to share equitably in the benefits of a natural resource. No individual or society has authority to cause such extinction, whatever personal or collective rights they may allege. Source





That's because you chose to ignore the real world role of the Militia system because it doesn't have any relevance to your argument. The Militia was used to quell insurrection and against the natives and foreign enemies. Choosing the Militia over a large standing army was to a large extent about distributing military power (and expense) but it's primary purposes were quite clear.


And what was the role of the milita in regards the previous government and its military? Why would this mission suddenly become defunct under a new regime? The charge to the citizens was to overthrow their government if it became tyrannical.



Except that's not what the 2nd Amendment states and the relevant text was itself taken right from the Articles of Confederation. Nor is there any mention in the Militia Act of 1792, the 1795 revision, the Militia Act of 1862 or the Militia Act of 1903. Maybe it would have said something different if Jefferson wasn't in Paris at the time it was drafted. What these documents do say comports exactly with the function the Militia served.


Why does the 2nd Amendment need to get into specifics on actions the People shoul or should not take when the other Rights enumerated in the Constitution have no such qualifiers? It is not like the Constitution reads, 'Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech except if the Prseident gets pissy about what the citizens say about him'.



I don't disagree that the Founders believed in the inherit right of the people to act with force against tyranny or that there was a great mistrust of large standing armies. The key thing to remember is that the militias had structure, training, a chain of command, rules of discipline, regulations, oversight, etc — and were under the authority of the states and the President.


I am glad we agree on your first premise, I do however disagree with the remainder of the paragraph. The term 'well regulated militia' meant that the militia should always be free of control from the government. How could it possibly overthrow said government if it was under direct command?

A widely reprinted article by Tench Coxe, an ally and correspondent of James Madison, described the 2nd Amendment's overriding goal as a check upon the national government's standing army: As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.

Thus, the well regulated militia necessary to the security of a free state was a militia that might someday fight against a standing army raised and supported by a tyrannical national government. Obviously, for that reason, the Framers did not say "A Militia well regulated by the Congress, being necessary to the security of a free State", because a militia so regulated might not be separate enough from, or free enough from, the national government, in the sense of both physical and operational control, to preserve the "security of a free State."

This comparison of the Framers' use of the term "well regulated" in the 2nd Amendment, and the words "regulate" and "regulation" elsewhere in the Constitution, clarifies the meaning of that term in reference to its object, namely, the Militia. There is no doubt the Framers understood that the term "militia" had multiple meanings. First, the Framers understood all of the people to be part of the unorganized militia. The unorganized militia members, "the people," had the right to keep and bear arms. They could, individually, or in concert, "well regulate" themselves; that is, they could train to shoot accurately and to learn the basics of military tactics.

This interpretation is in keeping with English usage of the time, which included within the meaning of the verb "regulate" the concept of self- regulation or self-control (as it does still to this day). The concept that the people retained the right to self-regulate their local militia groups (or regulate themselves as individual militia members) is entirely consistent with the Framers' use of the indefinite article "a" in the phrase "A well regulated Militia."



posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 06:31 AM
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I am embarrassed for people that feel they are qualified to articulately and definitively interpret the intent and meaning of 18th century politicians and bureaucrats as a means to justify their own personal verion of history.

The painfully ridiculous mental gymnastics required to match the articles of the constitution to their own bizarre beliefs is beyond credible.

Deifying the Founding Fathers means taking everything they said without question. If that is true, you have to square your beliefs with EVERYTHING they believed.
edit on 25-6-2014 by Leonidas because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 06:53 AM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus


I think we should prevent the militarization of our Police departments and lessen the need we feel to arm ourselves against them. I do believe the militarization of Police forces is something we should defend ourselves against. How to do that is the question. Peacefully would be nice.



posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 06:59 AM
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originally posted by: Loveaduck
I think we should prevent the militarization of our Police departments and lessen the need we feel to arm ourselves against them. I do believe the militarization of Police forces is something we should defend ourselves against. How to do that is the question. Peacefully would be nice.


Activism at the local or municipal level is one of the easiest methods of combating government. If you feel the need to alter the course of your locality become more involved with your town's Council, School Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board, etcetera.



posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 08:38 AM
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originally posted by: Indigo5


No...I am implying that people with demonstrated and diagnosed mental disorders that warranted an institutional stay due to them being a danger to themselves and others should not be allowed to own guns. Ditto for people with criminal convictions of a violent nature.



ANYONE is capable of "direct harm to others". Some people have repeatedly proven it without remorse and those people should not own guns.


Well, whatever you meant to say, that's not what you said. I don't necessarily disagree with you--goes along the same lines as people with certain mental disorders shouldnt, say, operate a crane. But the point originally made was about causing direct harm to others, not the capability or liklihood of a certain type of person causing harm--maybe that's symantics, but it's the point I was making.

But this is a pointless sub-argument--and while I agree that certain people of certain mental diabilities should not own guns, I'm not certain that it's the state's responsibility to become overly intrusive in background checks in order to seek these people out. Sure, if there's already a diagnosis, that's fine, but if anyone were to advocate any sort of mental-health test in order to purchase weapons, I'd have to be opposed. (I know that's a tangent, but felt it needed clarified)



posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 08:43 AM
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originally posted by: kruphix


Maybe it was fine and necessary at that time to own and carry around a gun...maybe that is no longer the case.

At the very least, a discussion is necessary.


AS deemed by you?? For actions within the US by a Non-US citizen?



posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 08:49 AM
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a reply to: Indigo5

You going to answer the question or just cherry-pick?

originally posted by: macman
a reply to: Indigo5

So, then a landowner can own any Arm, so long as it remains on their land?




posted on Jun, 25 2014 @ 09:04 AM
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originally posted by: GoOfYFoOt



The difference is that those in the military who have access to weapons of war, have been trained to use them to kill! Period.



Those in the police forces (S.W.A.T. and similar teams) that have access to the same type of weapons have supposedly been trained to use them in defense, but while committing an offensive act, for the most part.



Civilians do not readily have access to the same types of weapons, but the weapons that we can acquire (after jumping through the same hoops over and over) are used for defense, ONLY!


This is actually not an accurate statement. Civilians DO have access to the same weapons, for the most part, it just takes a lot longer to get licensed to be able to purchase some of them (legally, of course). But, having been in the military, the AR-15 (at the time I was in) on which we trained were pretty much a standard semi-auto 5.56 AR, but had the capability of "burst" (firing three rounds per pull of the trigger). THAT is what most are trained on, or a similar weapon these days. Civilians can purchase these, sans the "burst" setting, at any gun shop.

Civilians also can purchase weapons for target practice, competition shooting, hunting, etc., so your assertion that they "are used for defense, ONLY" is absurd.




Is gun safety and public defense taught along side of accuracy and tactics? How long does this training take? Weeks? Days? Hours? Are they really any different than the hundreds of thousands of civilians who regularly train with their weapons?


Yes and no--law enforcement and military training isn't just a single course, but it spans the course of an entire career. But, the initial training is often shorter than one would expect, but that's because not a lot needs taught--gun safety is easy to teach, as are shooting fundamentals and tactical training. Where the main difference comes in is that these occupations necessitate upkeep and bettering of skills throughout the career, whereas the average civilian, even a well-trained one, does not have access to the same type of training facilities nor the same amount of time with which to hone their skills. Also, the average civilian generally doesn't train in high-stress situations, which really does prepare someone for an actual confronation in which a firearm must be drawn and possibly used.

I'm a better-than-average shot with my carry pistols, but that's at a target, in a controlled environment, without any innocent bystanders or adrenaline coursing through my body. Obviously, real-life situations would hold something different entirely for me physiologically, and that's where military/leo training prepares them where the average civilian is not.




I propose that those men and women who populate our military and law enforcement, are identical to those men and women who constitute the civilian populace. They have the same dreams. They persue the same goals. They abide by the same laws. Why does the average gun-grabber trust those folks over their neighbor or a stranger who lives in another town? It can't be the training! I can post statistics until my fingers bleed, that prove that they are not trained any better in firearms and weapons defense than the average civilian shooter.


I'd be interested in seeing the statistics, because logic tells me otherwise...and remember, you're saying "the average civilian shooter." And it should be in a real-world situation, not just target-practice accuracy. Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree that civilians are capable of being just as good--like you said, it does all come from within--but without access to the same caliber and frequencey and necessity of the training, you're not going to have the same quality of real-world-scenario shooter (on average).



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