Thursday, February 02, 2006

What Do The ACLU And NRA Have In Common?

They are both host to DBK, from Blanton's and Ashton's. Apparently the NRA's gun safety policies sold DBK (why did he change from frogsdong??), who believes in the right to bear arms. Well, that's not a particularly surprising statement, even from a liberal. Indeed, a commenter from Cynical Nation even said that he too belonged to both the ACLU and the NRA. I guess what it made me realize is that anti-gun liberals never seem to take on the gun issue with as much vigor as they could. Not even the most left leaning congressmen from the most anti-gun districts challenge the right to bear arms.

Maybe that's because the 2nd ammendment clearly states that the right to bear arms will not be infringed. But what about the first two clauses of that sentence? A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state... The word that sticks out to me is regulate. This ties into Section 8, Clause 16 of the Constitution, which gives Congress the duty of organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia.

So the 2nd ammendment says that a well regulated militia is necessary for a safe nation. And the same piece of legislation clearly defines congress as the regulatory authority on the manner. So if congress decides that BB-Guns are sufficient arms for the men of the nation, who will make up the militia in times of war, so be it.


At 2:13 PM, Blogger DBK said...

Well, that's nice, but not realistic? All you've done is define what is clearly an attempt at an end-run on the Constitution. Even a liberal court would recognize it as bogus and not a good faith attempt at regulation under the Second Amendment.

I am well aware of the "well-regulated militia" piece, but it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference either to the people or the courts, so that argument is kind of a dead letter based on the way things now run. Understand that I don't object to, and in fact support, sensible regulations. I find the NRA extreme in the gun freedom it touts, but I also don't think I can change the NRA by standing on the outside and yelling them. On the other hand, I can join them and vote for my own positions and encourage people of like mind to join them and vote the same way.

A lot of people have a great fear of guns and that feeds into their desire to see them eliminated. I'm not saying you are afraid of them Jack, but some people are very afraid. I'm comfortable with them.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Jack said...

I don't think it's a bogus argument. Because put yourself in the shoes of an 18th century revolutionary. You want a military, which the government is in charge of, and furthermore, you want every man of age in the nation to be armed to fight in the military if necessary. My point is that I don't think it would be unreasonable for congress to prohibit the ownership of handguns for non-military personnel.

- Jersey Perspective

At 8:52 PM, Blogger DBK said...

Yeah, that argument is not new and has been tried and it doesn't fly. The meaning of a militia is not what it was then. For an originalist, a militia is a group of citizens who gather as needed to fight for the common defense. The sort of standing military we have now wasn't what they had in mind back then. If you want to use the 18th century concepts as the basis for your understanding, then your militia not military as we understand it today.

Anyway, I was referring to your notion of defining guns as BB guns as an end-run. I haev no idea where you get the idea that Congress is a regulatory authority in the statute. My copy says "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." That is pretty absolute. That right shall not be infringed. Not by Congress, not by any government institution. I don't think "well regulated Militia" means what you think it means. The militia, not its armament, is to be well regulated. That sentence right after the "well regulated Militia" part pretty much makes it clear where the Founding Fathers stood on gun possession.

If we put this in historical context you will see just how far off the mark the notion of Congressional regulation of armaments is. At the time, the Constitution was framed by people who were extremely leary of the powers of the state. (The Constitution always refers to the state's "powers" and the people's "rights"; rights cannot be taken away from you, or so it was supposed to be.) The Framers fought a war against oppressive state power. They feared state power. These are not people who would have taken guns out of the hands of the ordinary citizen. They wanted citizens to be able to protect their freedoms. Those Framers had no intention of letting any government authority take away the people's guns, since then the people would be easier to oppress.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Ken Adams said...


Understand you are referring to the main body of the Constitution, and the power granted (by the People) to Congress to organize and arm the militia. The problem is, you seem to want to divorce Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 from the rest of the Consitution. The 2nd Amendment restricts the ability of Congress to do what you suggest, regardless of how much you read into the militia clause. They could certainly choose to arm the militia under that clause, but they cannot disarm us under it.


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