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A Serious Discussion on the Second Amendment

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posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 04:12 AM
This thread is being started to address a topic that has divided people for the past 150 years. That topic, as can be evidenced by the title, is the 2nd Amendment. It is hoped that, through the very enlightening discourse that will undoubtedly be had here, there can be a better understanding of what the truth is surrounding this Amendment, and how it has evolved to it's current state.

Before any discussion can begin, however, there needs to be an argument made. This argument is central to the rest of the discussion. It is the understanding of many Citizens that the 2nd Amendment explicitly gives the RIGHT to the individual People of the United States "to keep and bear arms".

To prove this, let us first take a quick look at the Amendment, in it's entirety:

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.


Next, lets look into the definition of the word "infringed". According to, the definition is as follows:

• conflict: go against, as of rules and laws; "He ran afoul of the law"; "This behavior conflicts with our rules"
• encroach: advance beyond the usual limit

This shows that to infringe upon something, such as a right, is to break that law, as in the first definition. What’s been stated here, along with what will be shown, will without a doubt show how the US Citizen’s right to “keep and bear arms” has in fact been infringed upon.

But, before that can happen, one more very important piece of information is required to understand it fully. You see, Article VI of the US Constitution outlines what the job of ALL government employees is, and more importantly, it establishes that the Constitution is "the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND", as can be evidenced by the following excerpt:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

So, this means that each Representative, Senator, or Judge, both state and federal, has to swear an oath to serve the "SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND", and to obey ALL of it's laws. This means that all laws made by the states are subject to The Constitution and it's laws. How then can a state make a law that "infringes" upon the rights of the Free People, as defined in the Constitution?

The first step to understanding the nature of how things got to the point they are now is to take the time to understand the intent of the writers of the amendment. For this, we need to look at the collaborative writings of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, commonly referred to as The Federalist Papers, for guidance. In it, they debate the myriad of reasons for the laws that are being proposed, and discuss at length the need for each. When it comes to the Second Amendment, they debate the many reasons for each state having a militia, and what their purpose is. One of the most relevant quotes to come from the debate was from James Madison, in the Federalist Papers, No. 46, in which he makes the following statement:

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.

This quote cements the right to keep and bear arms firmly within the hands of the individual citizens of the US, and not in a select group of people, as some have laid claim to. The above quote also suggests another reason for the People being allowed to have arms, which is widely excused by legislators and judges alike. This reason being the purpose of protecting the People from a tyrannical government taking control of the nation, and ruling over the People as the King of England had before the Revolution took place. This notion is supported by Alexander Hamilton in a statement made by him in the Federalist Papers, No. 28, in which he states:

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.

Emphasis mine for clarity

Can there be any mistake as to what the Founders really meant when they wrote the 2nd Amendment? I think not. It is this question with which I open this thread.


posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 05:59 AM
A word of advice from a friendly ATS member this topic has been done to death . Here is a sampling of past threads from the Search Function .

Cheers xpert11 .

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:22 AM
reply to post by TheBorg

I wholeheartedly agree.

It is my opinion that we should empty out every police station and armory in this country; and distribute the weapons to the public, as to their perceived need.

Seriously. We paid for them. There are certainly enough veterans and experts to operate the larger ones, like tanks and missiles, should the need arise.

We could even re-hire the "standing army" to provide training in their use.

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:34 AM
reply to post by Dogdish

The original intent, as best as can be gathered from documents of that period, was that the populace would all have arms, and be fluent enough with their use to thwart any attempt by anyone to usurp the People's sovereignty.

The militia, as it was designed then, was to be assembled of the already-armed People themselves. Saying that we should take all weapons out of the police's hands and arm the whole of the populace would be a major mistake, as there would be no local magistrates to help with the local defense, unless we call upon the militias to be full-time employees of their local municipalities as well.

The 2nd Amendment was originally designed as a way to allow those that wanted to "keep and bear arms" the ability to with no restrictions, save their not being a felon.

Of course I do agree with your statement that we should re-institute the militias in each state as they were, as that would better insure our safety. Some would argue that the National Guard is the militia, but that's not true, as the militia's SOLE job was supposed to be to safeguard the nation from foreign or domestic invasion.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. More on that later.

Now that the intent of the document has been outlined, the next step is to delve into the judicial history, and how trial judgments affected the application of the amendment over the course of time.


[edit on 19-1-2010 by TheBorg]

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 07:21 AM
How many ATS'ers view the regulation of weapons, such as requirement of Class 3 license and prohibitive taxes on silencers and full auto firearms as an infringement? I do. My possession of a threaded barrel on a firearm makes me a criminal if it isn't licensed and registered? Why?

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 07:44 AM
thank you for your post Borg.

First, can you provide examples of what you mean by the State's infringing on the people's right to bear arms?

Second, what limitations do you think would be proper under the second amendment? Example: no-one should own automatic weapons. etc.

I'm sure we probably share a similar view about this issue. I'm pretty much a strict Constitutionalist and believe in the people having the maximum amount of freedom possible. Freedom can be problematic at times but that was what the great American experiment was supposed to be about.

I'm interested to hear what else you have to say on this issue.

I wanted to add that I also believe the 2nd Amendment's purpose is to ensure that the people are armed sufficiently to defend or overthrow any invasions or usurpations of power.

[edit on 19-1-2010 by Asktheanimals]

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 08:41 AM
The 2nd amendment doesn't give any rights to anyone.

God does.

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 09:24 AM
My question . . .

I am 100% Constitution . . .

But doesn't going against the government (insurrection/mutiny/rebellion whatever) go against what the founding documents say?

They seem to be contradictory.

posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 03:46 AM

Originally posted by Asktheanimals
First, can you provide examples of what you mean by the State's infringing on the people's right to bear arms?

They make all citizens pay money for a license to do the very thing that the US Constitution gives each citizen the RIGHT to do.

They restrict places that it can and cannot go, which is also in breach of the 2nd Amendment. What purpose does keeping and bearing arms have if it cannot be carried anywhere?

Second, what limitations do you think would be proper under the second amendment? Example: no-one should own automatic weapons. etc.

I think that the ONLY limitation that should be placed on owning a gun of any kind is that the citizen attempting to attain one should not be a felon, as this was originally the way that the law was intended to be.

Guns were carried everywhere, including into government buildings and schools, even hospitals. You name it, guns were there. It's all about being a responsible person with the weapons. That comes from training by handling them.

Originally posted by Lemon.Fresh
But doesn't going against the government (insurrection/mutiny/rebellion whatever) go against what the founding documents say?

They seem to be contradictory.

Quite the contrary. If we look at the Declaration of Independence, we read the following paragraph:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

How can there be any question as to what's being done here? The facts speak for themselves in this regard.


I will be providing Case information in the coming posts, as they show how the Judicial system has slowly eroded the right right out from under our collective noses. Keep eyes on this!! It's about to get really interesting!


[edit on 20-1-2010 by TheBorg]

posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 05:41 AM
reply to post by TheBorg

I think that the ONLY limitation that should be placed on owning a gun of any kind is that the citizen attempting to attain one should not be a felon,

Only one problem I see with that logic is the laws of today pretty much make J walking a felony. Well not really but I think you get my point.

posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 05:53 AM
Good post, TheBorg. For me it is very simple and the liberals try to spin the 2nd in that it only applies to militia, when in fact if you read it correctly it is a two part right in one sentence.

"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."

So if you read up to "free state" it is saying that militias are necessary to keep the country free from invaders and if need be those within the government themselves if they step too far beyond their bounds.

After "free state" it goes on to assert that the right of the individual or the People to keep and bear arms.

[edit on 20-1-2010 by av8r007]

posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 06:27 AM
Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms.
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.

--- it says ARMS, not guns. ARMS is ANYTHING that can be used as a weapon. From knife to nukes, they knew full well about bombs – cannons – they SAID “ARMS” - shall not be infringed - IT HAS BEEN Infringed

go get the definition for ARMS in that context. btw wake up, we are already at war.

posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 08:59 AM
reply to post by TheBorg

I understand that, but the Constitution protects against insurrections.

The documents seem to be pitted against each other.

Do not get me wrong. If we need an armed revolution, I am all for it. I do believe that it is our right to take back our government, even by force if necessary.

This part has always confused me, though.

posted on Jan, 26 2010 @ 07:12 AM
I'd like to begin by apologizing for my slow response to this thread. I've been busy with research, and have been in contact with some prominent officials that will help to give us valuable insight on the nature of this very important debate. Because of this contact with officials, I will be changing how I'm going to present the evidence for this thread.

The new method of presentation will be in the form of correspondence between myself and each of the officials. It is hoped by me that this will help to break things down in such a way that there can be NO MISTAKING what's being said, so that we can all get closer to the truth. When I contacted them, I informed them that any correspondence would be posted online for all to see, in the hopes of educating the People.

Just for clarity, I'm in the State of Washington, and most of my correspondence will probably be with people from here. That being said, let me explain what I've done.

I sent an email to each of my State and US Congressmen/women, and to the Chief Justices of both my state and the US Supreme Courts. By my state representatives, I mean those that are in my district, and not every single state rep. That would take way too long, and would make for a very long series of emails, and would most likely be redundant.

So, lets get into the replies, shall we?


From my State Senator

Thanks for sending me an e-mail expressing your opposition to SB 6396 that would limit the right to bear arms. I appreciate you taking time to contact me on this important issue.

Article I, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution states, "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired....". I fully support our Constitution and the right to bear arms.

Again, I appreciate you contacting me. Please let me know if I can be of additional service.


Tracey J. Eide
Senator Tracey J. Eide
Majority Floor Leader
30th Legislative District

From my US Congressman

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding the Second Amendment. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

Allow me to begin by saying that I support the Second Amendment and believe that individuals have the right to own guns, whether it be for recreation or self-defense. With that said, I also support reasonable laws to ensure guns do not get in the hands of criminals or children. To this end I believe that this is an issue that is best monitored and controlled on the state and local level.

Preserving Second Amendment rights is very important to me. While I support preserving these rights for law-abiding citizens, I believe that we must make an effort to keep guns away from violent criminals, children, and the mentally ill, or in other words, people who do not have the right to possess a gun. However, our efforts to keep guns away from such people should never infringe on the rights of others to own a gun. Throughout my tenure in Congress I have voted accordingly.

Of interest to many parties engaged in Second Amendment issues, Congressman Bobby Rush introduced H.R. 45, the Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009, on January 6, 2009. As you are aware, this legislation prohibits a person from possessing a handgun or various types of long firearms without a gun license issued by a state or the federal government. Additionally, this legislation places new restrictions and licensing requirements on the transfer and receipt of guns, and institutes new firearms reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Currently this legislation has been referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in the House Judiciary Committee. Although I do not sit on this Subcommittee, and will not have an opportunity to vote on it unless it comes before the full House of Representatives, I have been monitoring H.R. 45 closely. I oppose this legislation and believe that any law that requires a license to own a firearm is a violation of a person's Second Amendment rights.

Again, thank you for contacting me in support of Second Amendment Rights. I look forward to continuing to advocate on behalf of the rights of the many gun owners in the 9th District and to ensure the federal firearms policy strikes an appropriate balance between liberty and safety that does not unduly infringe upon the rights of those who choose to lawfully own firearms.


Adam Smith

Member of Congress

From my State's Chief Justice

Thank you for your community service. As you know, judges are not permitted to take positions on issues that are likely to come before the court. However, I am providing a list of published cases that may assist you:

State v. Radan, 143 Wn.2d 323, 21 P.3d 255 (2001)

State v. Williams, 158 Wn.2d 904, 148 P.3d 993 (2006)

State v. Brown, 162 Wn.2d 422, 173 P.3d 245 (2007)

State v. Gregory, 158 Wn.2d 759, 147 P.3d 1201 (2006)

State v. Gurske, 155 Wn.2d 134, 118 P.3d 333 (2005)

State v. Schmidt, 143 Wn.2d 658, 23 P.3d 462 (2001)

State v. Walsh, 123 Wn.2d 741, 870 P.2d 974 (1994)

I hope the above cases will give you the background and answers you are seeking.

Barbara Madsen

For quick reference, below are links to each of those trial decisions:

State v. Radan

State v. Williams

State v. Brown

State v. Gregory

State v. Gurske

State v. Schmidt

State v. Walsh

A thorough analysis of these, along with thei impacts on the 2nd Amendment are forthcoming. Consider this the proverbial "tip of the iceberg".

Questions or comments are welcome, of course.


posted on Jan, 26 2010 @ 07:38 AM

Originally posted by mnemeth1
The 2nd amendment doesn't give any rights to anyone.

God does.

That right there is the most important yet most overlooked concept in America.

No document or government or man grants you any rights. All of the rights you have you were born with. All any document, man or government can do is pose a barrier to your rights.

It freaks me out more than a little to think so many people believe their natural born rights are held up in some piece of paper and that should that piece of paper be re-written or lost those rights are lost with it.

Asking for rights is absurd. We all have them. We all have the same natural born rights. If anyone comes by wishing to inhibit those rights it is your right to put them down.

What did Malcolm X say? Something like: Nobody can give you freedom. If you're a man you take it.

posted on Jan, 26 2010 @ 07:48 AM
Thanks Borg for this thread, but I would also like to echo the assertion made by mnemeth and thisgyuyrightthere. The 2nd Amendment does not give any right it acknowledges that the government has a right to regulate militias and acknowledges that the people have the right to keep and bear arms. If the 2nd Amendment or any other in the Bill of Rights actually deigned to give those rights then it would have been worded to indicate it as such, for example; The people shall have the right to keep and bear arms.

The 2nd Amendment is worded the way it is because those who crafted it understood that governments have no authority to give rights, and the only authority they have is to protect and serve those rights.

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