The Myth of Second Amendment Exceptionalism

We make tradeoffs in personal liberties all the time. Why is gun control any different?

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Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Organized by the Second Amendment March group, about 500 pro-gun demonstrators rally near the Washington Monument April 19, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

It’s a familiar drill for millions of travelers: bare feet shuffling on a cold floor, belt off, emptied pockets, personal effects exposed for maximum humiliation. This surely constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause, explicitly prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. Yet we cede this constitutional right to the executive authority that controls our borders millions of times every day.

When it comes to protecting freedom, Americans, including those on the Supreme Court, recognize that personal liberties must often be modified for the safety and protection of others. Yet today’s gun rights advocates routinely cite the Second Amendment of the constitution—the right to bear arms—when threatened by commonsense proposals to limit, but not eliminate, modern-day weaponry. Constitutionally protected freedoms are routinely curtailed in the name of public safety, morality, or even convenience. Our right to free speech is routinely regulated through obscenity laws. Slander, libel, pornography; we’re muzzled all the time. So, too, are our rights to assembly and religion compromised. You can’t stage a protest at noon in the middle of Times Square. A parent can’t deny a child lifesaving medical care or education.

(MORE: Viewpoint: If We Want Gun Control, We’ll Need to Compromise)

We’re also willing to cede our more prosaic rights — to drive at maniacal speeds, pollute our waterways, blow cigarette smoke in people’s faces, not wear seat belts or helmets, and on and on — because, mostly, we hold the sensible view that our right to freedom is tempered by someone else’s right to be free from our injurious, costly escapades. But while our current reverence for the Second Amendment seems to go back to the founding fathers, it’s actually evolved over time and reflects cultural norms honed over several decades by lobbying and public relations groups.

As reported in The Atlantic‘s “Secret History of Guns”, in the 1930s, the National Rifle Association’s president Karl Frederick believed the right to own guns was found “in an enlightened public sentiment and in intelligent legislative action. It is not to be found in the Constitution. In the 1960s, in the wake of race riots, Republican governor Ronald Reagan saw, “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” As recently as 1991, former Chief Justice Warren Burger, a conservative Republican and strict judicial constructionist, said that the concept of a constitutionally-protected individual right to bear arms was “one of the biggest pieces of fraud—and I repeat the word fraud—on the American public by a special interest group that I have seen in my lifetime.” Less than twenty years later, in 2008, the work of those special interest groups was rewarded when the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s gun control law.

Today, guns seem almost as American as apple pie. In my adopted state of Vermont, for example, a place widely held to be on the liberal fringe, hunters still have the right to use firearms on privately owned land without the property owner’s permission. Homeowners who don’t want strangers shooting in their backyards must register at the Town Hall, at their own expense and inconvenience, and post fliers on their land at regular intervals specifying that firearms are not permitted. We’ve imbued the Second Amendment with such disproportionate magnitude compared to other judicial protections that in 1982, a respected Senator, Orrin Hatch, could proclaim, apparently without irony, that the right to bear arms is the right “most valued by free men.”

(MORE: In the Shadow of Sandy Hook, a Powerful Pro-Gun Organization Stays Silent)

Like so many other rights, is possible to imagine curtailing this one without giving it up. The “slippery slope” argument against doing so is specious. Regulating the right to bear arms will not lead inexorably to its abandonment, just as raising the drinking age from 18 to 21 did not result in increased calls for prohibition. Instead, a tradeoff was made between the right of a 19- or 20-year-old to buy a bottle of vodka and the right of our society not to bear the costs of mayhem at the hands of a younger adolescent with a new driver’s license and an immature frontal lobe.

We make these compromises every day, and somehow the sky does not fall. But gun activists want an exemption from the cost of citizenry. Why should we pay such a high price for their freedoms if they wish to pay no price for ours? Last Friday in Connecticut, the bill came due, and it’s time for the NRA to pay.

MORE: How Guns Won

135 comments
whlanteigne
whlanteigne

There is a middle ground, but the discussion has become too polarized for sensible debate. The pro-gun lobby has relied on the Second Amendment, which 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."


The phrase "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State" is ambiguous at best. "Militia" isn't clearly defined except perhaps as a volunteer military force, acting in concert with regular government forces (presumably local and/or state forces, but could also be presumed to be aligned with national forces, as well). "Well regulated," in 18th century definition, can be interpreted to mean "well-equipped," but can also mean "disciplined" or "organized" or "competently led." There is bitter disagreement as to whether a volunteer military force is necessary to repel foreign invaders or hostile aboriginal indigents in the 21st century;  some self-annointed "militias" have regular meetings and exercises, "playing Army" as children did in my youth, but they have no official status as a volunteer military force that government forces would call upon in the event of a military crisis. The "well-regulated militia" phrase does not legitimize armed insurrection.


In 1875 the Supreme Court ruled "the right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendments means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government."


In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment "codified a pre-existing right" and that it "protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home" but also stated that "the right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose".


The key phrases are "the right is not unlimited," and that it "protects an individual right to possess a firearm ...for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home." Further, "It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner..." 


I believe that means that some types of firearms that do not have a "traditionally lawful purpose" may be controlled or regulated or even banned for civilian use. It may also mean that magazine capacity can be limited to those normally used for "lawful purposes." I believe it also implies that the government has the right to check to see that firearms will not be used for unlawful purposes by conducting background checks.


It's disappointing that the background check legislation has stalled in the Senate.


However, I believe there is another approach that might actually be more effective, and avoid conflict with the 2nd Amendment right to "keep and bear arms." 


First, I believe it should be a Federal crime to commit any felony with firearms of any kind: a minimum sentence of five years for a first offense, the sentence doubling for repeated offenses (ten years for a second offense, twenty years for a third offense, forty years for a fourth offense; eighty years [effectively, life] for a fifth offense). 


Second, I propose enacting a federal law that requires proof of "financial responsibility" in the form of a "firearms liability insurance policy" presented at point-of-sale for the purchase of ammunition and/or ammunition making supplies, making it a Federal crime for anyone (including private citizens) to sell ammunition to an entity that does not have the required liability insurance (such liability insurance is already available to NRA members for a reasonable price, and may be offered by other entities as well; for example, a "personal liability" clause that covers the use of firearms in a homeowners insurance policy).


The law should stipulate that convicted felons and persons determined by a psychiatrist and/or a judge to be mentally incompetent to possess or use dangerous weapons shall be prohibited from acquiring said insurance, thus prohibited from purchasing ammunition or the means to make ammunition. The insurance provider would be authorized by law to make appropriate inquiries into the criminal and mental health histories of persons applying for said liability insurance.


Black powder and percussion caps may be exempt from the liability insurance requirement.


I think it should be at the discretion of the insurance company to terminate policies for policyholders who purchase ammunition or ammunition-making supplies and subsequently sell, or attempt to sell to entities that do not have said liability insurance, thus circumventing the law; and to determine what amount of ammunition is appropriate to buy on a monthly basis and to impose a limit on the quantity of ammunition the policyholder may purchase, to discourage policyholders from paying a month's premium and cancelling after stockpiling large amounts of ammunition. 


The policyholder would be protected from lawsuits arising from shooting incidents or accidents, as well as being protected from lawsuits arising from misuse of his weapons if they fall into the wrong hands. Insurance to cover loss or theft of firearms would not be required by this law but could be part of the same policy.


An exception to the firearms liability insurance requirement could be granted by the ATF if the purchaser agrees in writing to submit to a background check (for each purchase) to be completed by the ATF within a period of no less than seven days nor more than thirty days.  The application for exception should list the amount and type of ammunition requested and the intended use. Only one such exception should be granted per calendar month, and the ATF may impose a limit on the amount of ammunition purchased.


If sensible laws can't be passed, it may be time to repeal the Second Amendment.

RoccoJohnson
RoccoJohnson

The sad fact is that this debate has been waged for too long by extremists, on both sides. It's the common sense people whose message has largely been unheard. 

I'm a gun owner and I enjoy shooting, but I'm far from a gun freak. It makes sense to me that there is plenty of middle ground on this issue. Should assault weapons be banned, I believe the answer is yes, it makes perfect sense, and, in fact, they were banned until relatively recently. Should enhanced background checks be mandatory, absolutely. Should mental illness preclude one from owning a weapon, probably, depending on the nature and degree of the mental illness, and the person's prior history.

It is sad to me that reasonable people cannot sit down together and work for common ground legislation on this issue.


Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

"one man's freedom ends where another's begins."

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

"Senator, Orrin Hatch, could proclaim, apparently without irony, that the right to bear arms is the right “most valued by free men.”

Hatch is dead wrong -- the right of free speech is the most valued.

jefnvk
jefnvk

Except all rights are curtailed on an airplane.  Try speaking the word bomb see what happens, and yes, second amendment rights are also restricted there.  It is an area we have set up as controlled, where one has no rights.  Your example would hold a lot more validity were everyone in public forced to undergo searches before leaving home.

You act as if there are no restrictions on firearms.  Our argument is they are already very much so restricted.

Would you support federal laws prohibiting the insult of the Prophet Mohammed, under the knowledge that such an action will cause death and destruction?

ghstwrtrx7
ghstwrtrx7

It's interesting that the vast majority of those who cry foul at commonsense gun control, citing government interference with their constitutional rights and civil liberties are the very same people who fully supported the implementation of the Patriot Acts.

PhilBurns
PhilBurns

It is pathetic beyond the point of humor that the author uses a fallacious revisionist attack from The Atlantic as the authoritative basis in an incredibly weak attempt to counter the authority and factual basis of the 200 page Senate Judicial Committee report which was researched for months by a 9 member subcommittee and carefully documented the historical basis for the meaning of the Second Amendment, not just in Colonial times but throughout the entire history of the United States.  Furthermore, their findings were completely validated and seconded by the Supreme Court in Heller.  

And the author supposes that it should be disregarded based on a hit-piece article by a biased publication.  Laughable.

The author's other ludicrous claim is that firearm owners refuse to allow any regulation of firearms, just like all the other enlightened people submit to regulations of their rights and primarily of their privileges (as if a privilege can be equated to a right).  The author insidiously fails to disclose or enumerate the extensive regulation to which firearms are already subjected both at a Federal level, a State level and a local level with over thousands of laws broadly across the US, 6 major pieces of Federal regulation and multiple SCOTUS rulings.  There are significantly MORE regulations for the Second Amendment than any other of the enumerated rights although it is the only one bearing the assertion that it shall not be infringed.  

Yet the author asserts that further regulation is necessary because THIS time, we're going to use so-called "Common Sense" which upon factual analysis is demonstrably false.  Common Sense approaches can be validated with facts while emotive, fear based, knee-jerk reactions (which the proposed firearm regulations of the last month are) cannot and are far from "Common Sense".  

There is no factual basis presented for any of the proposed additional regulations because there is none to support it.  The specious claim that further firearm regulation will "keep children safe" has such a mountain of evidence against it that proponents can only deal with it by completely ignoring it and using straw man and ad hominem attacks.  Meanwhile, the stated problem goes on un-addressed, assuring that it will occur again unabated.

It is difficult to find a shred of truth in this factually and emotionally manipulative literary mess.  I suppose we could settle on the publication date being accurate and call it substantiated.

D.a.Bailey
D.a.Bailey

I hate that you open an article trying to persuade people to accept more gun control by justifying illegal and unnecessary TSA searches. The TSA hasn't stopped any terrorist attacks and studies suggest that they now make crowded airports more likely targets of attack than the planes they're trying to protect. That's a huge fail.

lpsg435
lpsg435

In 1776 the Flintlock Musket was the AR-15 of it's age and everybody had one! Thank God for our well armed founding fathers!

grayfox9x
grayfox9x

The 2nd Amendment says :

"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."

Why are individuals allowed to carry weapons ?  They should be allowed only within the local militia / guard / etc ..

OK, it is fine to have a single shot hunting rifle for those pesky coyotes and such, but nothing else ..

If I wrote something like this :

"Thin apple slices, being necessary to the composition of the baking, the pie must be put in the oven and baked at 350 degrees".

Would anybody think I talking about cherry pie ?


DevinBlagbrough
DevinBlagbrough

Pointing out other illegal invasions of my privacy and rights that I do NOT cede to the government, does NOT prove why you should be taking away more rights.   You don't offer anything valuable with your offerings here, just more nonsense and jiberish that attempts to confuse the issue - clear headed thinking people can see right through this foolishness.  

AngieAltmann
AngieAltmann

Passengers have a Second Amendment right to carry guns on airplanes in order to protect themselves, don't they?

What? They don't?

Never mind...

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

Religion can still be invoked for the suffering of others... Note the Amish forcing their children into an incomplete education to preserve their Theocracy of living in the 18th century... 

Some cry this should not be stopped for sake of 'cultural diversity  but they do not pay for this diversity... Children indoctrinated into faith's absurdity pay for it.

newsmama
newsmama

I'm technically from the "other side". Every time I travel and am "frisked" by the TSA, I think this is nuts. Only certain groups will bomb planes. Why treat all of use like criminals? I've never seen a gun flying through the air, jjust shooting people. There is usually someone holding it. There were always boundaries with many things, including so-called "free speech". Free speech was intended to complain against the government without fear of repurcussion, not exploit children. I'm very happy for all the liberals who feel they are on some moral high road. But you are falling off. The school was a "no gun" zone. Even    if you ban all guns. the only ones who will give them up are those who abide by the law. The bad people will always have guns. Or homemade bombs, or drive their SUVs into groups of people standing ont he corner. You can't legislate away evil. We all have that ppotential. Your liberal viewpoint will not harness but unleash it because you have extremely skewed viewpoints and extremely flawed thought processes. 

dontn123
dontn123

"On December 17, 2012, Senator Feinstein announced the key provisions of the bill she intends to introduce. The proposed legislation will ban the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of over 100 specific firearms. Also banned will be certain named semiautomatic rifles, handguns and shotguns that can use a detachable magazine, as well as fixed magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.

The sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of other ammunition feeding devices that can accept more than 10 rounds will also be banned."

http://www.decodedscience.com/new-assault-weapons-ban-no-gun-seizure/22871

You better read it and read it well for more then 100 different guns Many Many Many More then just AR15.....it is hand guns, shot guns, and rifles, so on.... Wake Up

147greenmullet
147greenmullet


Dear Ms. Christakis,

I appreciated reading your article posted on Time Ideas on December 18. I agree with your stance that citizens and residents should compromise their right to have guns to protect everyone's safety. Gun regulations should be more strict in our country because, as shown in Connecticut, we are living in a potentially unsafe land.
I agree that putting more restrictions on who can get a gun and where they should be used and kept will not necessarily lead to the banning of firearms in our nation. The “slippery slope argument” you mention is a bit of an exaggeration, and I, along with many others, feel that guns should be allowed in safe, private environments and should not leave those places.
I also agree that the laws in Vermont are disproportionate. Homeowners should never involuntarily have dangerous weapons being used on their property. This could also propose several dangers to those homeowners with pets, children, and others running around unaware of the firearms present. I feel that this constitutional right is being taken for granted, and restrictions should be added to the social contract that Americans make with their government.
I found it very interesting that you began your article with a description of the compromise we make with airport security. This was very effective because it placed a new perspective on the gun issue that many people may have not considered, that the two are more or less the same. I also found it somewhat ironic. I've noticed that many pro-gun advocates are also quick to go against terrorism and completely support the searches without cause at airports. I feel everyone involved with freedom in America should make compromises to “insure domestic tranquility.”
Thank you for writing an article that helped reinforce my opinion and learn about others' opinions.

Katya Mullet
Sophomore,
Worthington Kilbourne High School
Columbus, OH 43235

timmyjonce
timmyjonce

In my opinion the main threat and form of oppression comes now from our corporate run media. Millions of Americans turn on the news and watch blatantly skewed information.. Our pop culture generates movies, music, TV and Video games that promote unkind behavior.  Look back in time to our parents time and their time, before all of this TV, pop culture violence.  People had far more freedom and liberties and acted more civil and polite to one another, they had respect, dignity and morals.  There has always been some gun control, primarily in the larger towns and cities where there was law and order.  If you lived someplace where there was no law and order or limited, You had to provide you're own security as such. This holds true today, there are some cities in our country that have a high crime rate due less in part from to many guns but more of a social issues, hunger, poverty, economics, drug addiction. You should provide for your own security if the public officials are unable. Our constitution is a charter of "negative rights" it was written to limit the rights of the Government over the people. Our founding Fathers saw a distinct difference  between a government "Of the people, by the people and for the people" as opposed to the kingdoms from which they fled where they had been considered "disloyal subjects" and marked for death.

The constitution is a sacred document, this last few years we have heard a lot of rhetoric about the oppression caused by the wealthy and when is too much money enough  right?  The 1% issue.. can we not apply the same philosophy to our Government?  The deregulation of Wall street that caused our economic down turn, then flip it and look at it as the deregulation of our constitution.. The moral corruption of our society that now needs to be regulated based on the 1%'s use of the 1st amendments right of free speech to produce irresponsible  pop culture for the sole purpose of making money. 

When something bad happens, the 1% runs and hides while their puppets point fingers everywhere, posting blame. The media, who has been reporting  gory crime's every minute detail, while following car chases on live TV getting rich of the miscues of society now jump onto the "feel good" bandwagon promoting laws to limit the peoples rights. Misdirecting millions of people away from the real issues.

So when the corporate media and the Government press you for gun control, remember that for the 1%   are greedy for more money and more power . Consider these Historical facts from the 20th century, feel free to Google them. 

 In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. >From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated
In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated
Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.
You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.

People will say, That could never happen here, or they will say that those people didn't stand a chance with regular guns against the military grade weapons .. on the first statement - FASE . The second one TRUE. But after the civil war our lawmakers worried about our military becoming politicized enacted Posse Comitatus. This act prohibits the use of our military to enforce laws on our native soil with the exception of the National Guard and the Coast Guard, during times of national emergency . So this would leave any corrupt corporations and politicians the daunting task of corrupting hundreds of thousands of police officers and then turn them loose onto a society of 300 million of which 100 million have some form of firearm no matter how antique.  It would be like you're local swat team trying to invade china ..

Whew right? The miltary can't enforce our laws and we will never have to fight them to restore our rights. "False" Due to a 1%er  GW Bush we now have the patriot act that eviscerated  Posse Comitatus.  it gets worse tho.   November 29th 2011, the Senate voted on a bill that allows the US military to imprison civilians with no formal charges and hold them indefinitely with no trial.  The Levin-McCain National Defense Act

What it means: It's shocking to learn that the majority of representatives and senators have replaced our civil liberties with a de facto military dictatorship while no one is watching. How is the Levin-McCain provision different from Patriot Act laws? If an American citizen is seen as a threat to the government, that citizen will be denied his/her constitutional rights of protection,  "The provision would give the President the power to use the military to intern anyone - including American citizens - indefinitely, and hold them without charges or trial, anywhere in the world, including on American soil. The provision repeals the longstanding Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the military from engaging in law enforcement on US territory - the greatest fear of the Founders."


We are one bad, power hungry politician away from suffering the fate of millions 

LabOn64
LabOn64

Let me get this straight.  The main arguments that guns should not be regulated are:

1) Potential oppression by government.

2) More rights is always better.

3) The constitution is some kind of sacred document.

4) Bad guys will still be able to get guns so the common person should be at least as well armed (self defense).

5) Financial costs of such regulations.

6) Guns are fun (for sport, collecting, etc.).

If I am missing any major logical points, feel free to respond.  I am open to hearing good, well-reasoned points as to why further regulations are a bad idea.  I think the article dealt quite well with argument 2 and to some extent argument 3.  Argument 5 is a matter of application.  Argument 1 is interesting but unconvincing since if the USA wanted to oppress us, no amount of small arms will prevent it from doing that. Many minorities (illegal immigrants, poor communities, gays) currently feel (and are) oppressed by our government and the most effective groups at overcoming this oppression (eg. gays and lesbians) have done so non-violently while the ones who use guns (eg. many poor black communities) only see further oppression in the form of half the male youth going to jail.  Argument 4 is reasonable for some situations such as those who live in rural areas.  Still, a proper licensing law should have minimal impact on such a situation.  Finally, argument 6 is one that cannot be refuted other than to say that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.  However, I would be the first to point out that this is not a proper argument against it because it does not directly refute or counter the argument, only redirects it to a separate topic.  I would have to agree that bigger guns are more fun and regulation will cut down on the ability to enjoy this American pastime.  All I can do is ask for your help.  Will you give up your current right to some aspects of this enjoyment for the hope of a brighter future for all of our children?  

dontn123
dontn123

Wanna do something good???? Let's get rid of the Patriot ACT and TSA.  Let;s Create Peace in the Middle East and make ISRAEL go to the Peace Table once and for all or they GET NOTHING ELSE from Our Yearly Fiscal Budgets. 

I will keep an eye out for SANTA and the EASTER BUNNY. 

FrankFC
FrankFC

Reading all the letters from the gun lovers here has to be good for all those like me who favour gun control. Their letters like their thinking is whacky. Whacky thinking will lose in the end.

Leftonomous
Leftonomous

I find it ironic this writer uses the word myth to describe the second amendment when the only real myth here is her own suppposed knowledge of US history. I have one question for you writer and all the other gun control advocates out there: Do you really think for a second that our founding fathers gave us the right to bear arms simply for hunting? I would hope the answer is no because if not then you truly are that delusional and need to take HIS 101 again. We have so many essential protected rights in place to allow the American people the opportunity to do the same thing our founding fathers did should the need ever arise. Others may say that thinking about a possible revolution ever in our future is radical, but is it really? I imagine our founding fathers and historians would disagree. The moment we give up our guns is the moment that we give up every right to ever fight the government if they were to overstep their powers. That seems unimaginable in today's world, but what about 20 years down the line, how about 30? History has shown us that every civilization in the history of humankind is destined to despotism and totalitarianism yet when our founding fathers had the forethought to provide us with a backup plan for that occurrence we are willing to throw it away in a knee jerk reaction. Every person who is among that group trying to restrict our right to "bear" arms is an insult to the very founding ideals of our nation. I am ashamed to even call these people americans and even more so for the so called "journalists" that spout their blatantly biased and misguided opionions.  

Trey
Trey

Will you compromise and also support "common sense laws for unborn children" something like finding the youngest preemie to survive and make that the last date for an abortion, as it is now proved that babies that young are viable. I some what doubt you will support that due to the slippery slope you would now be standing on. We the people that believe the founders meant for us to have effective arms feel the same way .. first "assault weapons" then it will be "easily hidden" then well you get the idea I think.



The US Supreme court has fond in our favor as well as the weapons protected by the 2nd are those in "common use" by any measure the self loading rifle with standard size magazines is in common use.

DC v Heller

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-290.ZO.html

Search for "common use"


Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/12/17/viewpoint-if-we-want-gun-control-well-need-to-compromise/#ixzz2FiAHN2Kd 

rectidude
rectidude

We have a constitutional right to bear arms.  That right, like those granted in the other amendments that comprise the bill of rights, is subject to reasonable limitations. 

The judicial standard that is applied to legislation deemed to infringe on these rights is "Strict Scrutiny" which requires that the government demonstrate a "compelling interest" that cannot be achieved through less obtrusive means and is appropriately focused (tailored) to the public policy issue it is intended to address.

I'm betting the prevention of mass murder provides standing for the state to assert a compelling interest. Likewise sensible limitation on the types of weapons including restrictions on semi-automatics (to those with higher classifications of permit) as well as imposting limited magazine capacities on all weapons would pass this level of review. 

Gene/Canada
Gene/Canada

Can someone explain to me why so many Americans refuse to look at the experience in other countries?  I live in Canada where moderately strict gun control laws are ONE reason why we have about 50 gun murders a year.  I know a fair number of people who hunt, a couple who are marksmen:  they don't seem to hampered by a reasonable level of gun control.

TOTALLYdisgusted
TOTALLYdisgusted

GUN CONTROL IS A JOKE! All we will do is take the guns away from law abiding citizens, because those people are the ONLY ones that will abide by the law. DRUGS are illegal & supposably trying to be controlled, look how well that fight is going and not to mention the huge burden of expense on all of us... With all the millions if not billions of guns in the world you think "gun control" will stop the criminals & crazies to obtain them? IF SO, I have a bridge to sell you!!! Go ahead and ban assault riffles, surely these crazies & criminals wont think to use ANYTHING else to kill people or implement their agenda!

If this is the road we plan to take, then why not control booze & cars? Drunk drivers kill many more people then guns do each year! And while we are at it we might as well ban matches & lighters too so we can control all the arsonists!!! 

BTW, Hitler did gun control too against their citizens and look how well that turned out.... YOU NEED TO USE YOUR BRAIN PEOPLE, not just leap before you look!!!

ONE LAST THOUGHT, we are already bankrupt HOW do you suggest we pay for this gun reform? Print more money???

StephenHurty
StephenHurty

  The writer of this article is a natural born leader and would fit in well with the other leaders that thought gun control was the answer. Leaders like Hitler, Pol pot , Castro, Mussolini, Stalin and Mao Tse Tung just to mention a few. Interesting how so many in the teaching profession are either ignorant of history or worse choose to ignore some things and teach there version of history. They lie and say we are paranoid and our benevolent government wouldn't do anything to us haha tell that to the bonus marchers , to those involved in the draft riots in new York and to those wacky followers of david Koresh in Waco texas

Z-Qubed
Z-Qubed

You say, "gun activists want an exemption from the cost of citizenry. Why should we pay such a high price for their freedoms if they wish to pay no price for ours," but I'm not sure you understand the underlying facts of what gives a U.S. Citizen "citizenry."  

You talk about compromise.  You talk about compromise as it relates to a specific right/freedom of the American people.  You fail to acknowledge that pretty much everything you cite is a specific example of "taking the easy way out."  You fail to acknowlege that such a mentality is the exact problem at the root of the decline of the United States of America.  We have lost our dominance in education, technology, infrastructure, and even socially.  You keep calling for what is easy for you to call for.  In this case, limiting our right to bear arms.

Your supporters point to the word "arms" and claim this supports the claims of the anti-gun establishment, but you fail to understand why that word was specifically chosen.  As is typical with those that follow your position and similar stances, you fail to take the time to dig down to the roots of what you are opposing.  

You seem to think that my owning a firearm somehow makes you less free.  I fail to understand the correlation there.  You support a government that is hellbent on taking away our rights.  As you state, they search us unreasonably, they limit our ability to speak out, they tax us relentlessly to fund their idiotic spending, they are making us bankrupt!  

You are too narrowminded to understand the broader picture here.  The second amendment is a direct result of the ability of the PEOPLE to gain FREEDOM from those whom they felt OPPRESSED them by forming a WELL REGULATED MILITA.  So here's a little logic for you.  If the people could not "BEAR ARMS," there would have been no ability to form a well-regulated militia to oppose oppresion.  The word "ARMS" was chosen for a reason.  If the government has "arms" the people likewise must have "arms" in order to give the government at least some pause before they think about taking our "FREEDOMS."  You see, we have already compromised greatly!  We cannot own tanks, RPGs, grenades, predator drones, automatic weapons, etc.  Now, do we need them, maybe not.  Would I want one, nope.  But that compromise already makes it very difficult for us to oppose the govermnent when the likes of you gives them enough to believe they can finalize taking our rights.  Already police forces are planning on using predator drones, we are already under surveilance, etc., all in the name of "safety."  

What you should ask is, why do we need all this protection?  We should ask what we are allowing our government to do to make people so pissed off at us that they would fly planes into the WTC, to bomb a building in Oklahoma City, to organize groups specifically to destroy us?  Ask yourselves why it is that China has so much control over us.  Ask yourself what exactly you do to contribute to processed foods that cause us to be the most unhealthy nation in this country.  Ask why it is that people are worked to death.  Ask why it is that we have today a country more divided than ever before.  Ask yourself why people are more and more violent.  Ask yourself why you seem to want to make everything acceptable, except of course, self-protection.  

You have already taken so much from those of us who are logical, intelligent, responsible.  You do it claiming it makes you, or the country, virtuous, but in fact all you are doing is promoting the decline of our society.  You are doing it in exactly the same way that it has been done before.  You, the un-informed, the illogical, the liberal, have failed to learn from history, and so, it repeats itself every minute of every day and will continue to do so until we are no longer the greatest country in the world.

QuartBernstein
QuartBernstein

It's truth that one not being able to defend him or herself will lead to bullying. It's an attractant.

State's and countries with strong restriction's have more gun violence. Go read up on Mexico. It'll just be handing the gun's to bad people, who will have an upper hand.

You can't make all the gun's disappear. And even if so, a person has to defend him or herself from bad people and potentially the government. And added to that, neither can we have the police everywhere. It would lead to the obvious case of police bullying.

No offense, but people from the city know little about personal liberty. More technology is going to be introduced, and there's no way we can defend ourselves with steak knives when other people have assault rifle's and atomic bomb's. Until a gun can only be carried by the owner and otherwise tasered by anyone else, we are going to have to live with the reality that our best protection is I.

It's a balance of power between the mafioso's, police, and yourself. Many state's in the midwest get personal liberties because there's not enough people to pay for a huge police force and neither to influence the mafioso's gain. Many people there can and will defend themselves. But we gotta make a choice on who we want in power: bad people, the government, or the people.

Something as simple as knowing how to defend oneself and the act of being trained, same as the marine's, is a force that actually unite's people working toward a common goal. I know this seem's radical, but our country has focused too much on mental and spiritual pursuit's, when it's the body that we all have in common. Bonding has been on a serious down low. The only way a person can know who to trust is by instinct, so see the issue?

I recommend that military service be a requirement even if only a month so that people know how to properly defend themselves. In all these case's, the person commit's suicide in the end, why? Choosing their own fate. These bad people aren't going to pick these hot spot's and easy target's if they know every man and woman could and have the full right to defend him or herself.

On a final note, i'm not proposing assault rifle's carrying. Carrying an assault rifle can be such a dangerous gun and bound to make more mistake's. And in the same capacity a trained individual wouldn't require one. In a threatening scenario a rifle actually prove's itself more accurate than any other gun. However, these hasty decision's are absolutely unwise and a sign of instability. Violence will alway's exist. It's not what the police, government, or the mafioso's can do; but what can you do to stop it?

Will it take a revolution for this requirement to take hold, so the citizen (common man and woman) can rule again?

PSK2355
PSK2355

The NRA is for 2A rights for non-criminal law abiding responsible American citizens.  The NRA has nothing to do with the shooting in Connecticut nor advocates the tragedy in any way.  Many law enforcenment, military, veterans, and responsible citizens are members of the NRA.  How many of these tragedies were caused by members of the NRA - none.  These tragedies are caused by criminals or the mentally ill.  In America we have freedom and choices - it makes this country special, when you take away rights from 2A rights from law abiding citizens it is not only un-constitutional, but very socialistic.  We need to make the debate about mental heath, stricter background checks, and firearms storage - which is nothing new, but not enforced.  I am not saying everyone needs a handgun or "military style rifle", but if you are sane, responsible, safe and follow the laws - then yes Americans can and should have the ability to own these weapons. True life examples of this are Canada, Swtitzerland, and Israel - Canada has an AWB, but you still can get AR it is just highly regulated.

RichardReed
RichardReed

Show me in the  Constitution where it says muskets.

fionah
fionah

BobB: cars did not exist when the constitution was written - and neither did automatic and semi-automatic weapons. You show me where the constitution gives us a right to use them! I will gladly allow you to keep your musket, if that will make you happy.

billiejean7
billiejean7

The cost of citizenry has nothing to do with changing the constitution (it was created exactly as it was, very carefully by our founding fathers, to prevent such things as tyranny and other atrocities). Get the guns away from criminals and away from our government, and let law-abiding citizens decide! It's too bad that Charlton Heston passed away, because then nobody would touch the NRA!!

BobB
BobB

In your article you seem to confuse rights with privileges. Rights are guaranteed us by the Constitution and at many times are argued due to wording. Legal scholars have extensively argued phrasing of these words. Since we do not have the writers of our Constitution available to tells us what they meant we will have to continue to disagree.

Please show me in the Constitution where it states you have the right to drive a car, yet thousands of people are killed annually in automobile "accidents".

djcstuff
djcstuff

Agreed! And if one considers the marketing by the #NRA, you're not an 'authentic' man w/out your man-card from NRA and your manhood, and now, womanhood, is measured by your weapon(s)... 

JohnGaspardo
JohnGaspardo

@grngeekgirl  The TSA has already expressed their desire to molest us at the bus and train stations as well. When will it be enough? When they have a guard at every store and checkpoints on every road? I don't know what you call such an invasion of privacy but I like to call it what it is: Fascism. Will it still be voluntary when they have a camera in every room of your home? Well you can choose not to walk into your own kitchen so I guess that makes it voluntary right? You make me sick. "Those who would trade necessary freedom for temporary security deserve neither." -Ben Franklin

elotrolado8
elotrolado8

There are many easy things that can be done to lower the incidence of gun related injuries and death in the US, which is #1 in this category among 1st world nations.  The Gun Lobby fights every single one of them.  Now is the time to implement these reasonable restrictions that will not take a musket out of anyone's hands, but simply disallow weapons and weapons parts designed for mass destruction of human lives.

grngeekgirl
grngeekgirl

Um, while I agree that the second amendment isn't exactly "ALL GUNS ALL THE TIME", I don't think being searched before we get on a plane is a violation of the fourth amendment. It's something that we do voluntarily so that we can ride planes, which means we also have full control over what is, and is not, submitted to be searched, which I think is extremely reasonable. (The full body scan, maybe not so reasonable...) If we don't want to submit to a search, we could take various other methods of transportation that do not include being searched.

Definition of search, from Katz v. United States: "the Supreme Court ruled that a search occurs when 1) a person expects privacy in the thing searched and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable." We do not expect privacy when we go to the airport; we're fully aware that a search will be taking place.

So, after that, I had a hard time reading the rest of this article and taking it seriously.

Iridium24
Iridium24

Wrong, true freedom is NOT tempered by someone else’s right to be free from our "injurious, costly escapades"

 What we have become is a nation of cowering wimps, like sheep we bleat about wearing our seat belts and being deathly afraid of second hand tobacco smoke, while we sit at our outdoor BBQs in  the "cancer causing" sun. 

 Instead of pulling a gun and walking tword the active shooter killing people in a mall, we cower in a corner like scared little sheep. 

 Nothing to be proud of there. 

Most of us gun owners are responsable. Most of us gun owners have security in place so guns dont get into the wrong hands, Most of us have taken multiple classes, training, and submitted to background checks as well as sumbitted fingerprints to the FBI to get our consealed carry permits.  

We just happen to like guns, we are not "gun nuts",  we simply like to own firearms as OUR means of self defense.  Many of us are very much like you. A gun is a tool, it is not a magic talisman that makes us all killers.