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Posted: 2007 Nov 21 13:36
by Wise One
The 2nd amendment seems crystal clear to me, in preserving a right for state militias to exist.

The "people", when the Constitution was written, lived in sovereign states not yet unified by the formal instrument of the Constitution. Reading the language, and understanding the historical context, one is compelled by reason to believe that both point toward a desire by the framers,fearing over-centralized federal power, to preserve a right for states to keep militias and, lest they run amok, keep them well-regulated.

But I'm deeply pessimistic, fearing that Bush's new right wing Court will, again, simply vote ideology over law and reason. Righties claim to be against "activist judges" but then proceed with their own activist judges to trample established law with cockamamie ideologies.

NYTimes Editorial today wrote:The Court and the Second Amendment
By agreeing yesterday to rule on whether provisions of the District of Columbia’s stringent gun control law violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the Supreme Court has inserted itself into a roiling public controversy with large ramifications for public safety. The court’s move sowed hope and fear among supporters of reasonable gun control, and it ratcheted up the suspense surrounding the court’s current term.

The hope, which we share, is that the court will rise above the hard-right ideology of some justices to render a decision respectful of the Constitution’s text and the violent consequences of denying government broad room to regulate guns. The fear is that it will not.

At issue is a 2-to-1 ruling last March by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that found unconstitutional a law barring handguns in homes and requiring that shotguns and rifles be stored with trigger locks or disassembled. The ruling upheld a radical decision by a federal trial judge, who struck down the 31-year-old gun control law on spurious grounds that conform with the agenda of the anti-gun control lobby but cry out for rejection by the Supreme Court.

Much hinges on how the justices interpret the Second Amendment, which 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.”

Opponents of gun control sometimes claim a constitutional prohibition on any serious regulation of individual gun ownership. The court last weighed in on the amendment in 1939, concluding, correctly in our view, that the only absolute right conferred on individuals is for the private ownership of guns that has “some reasonable relationship to the preservation of efficiency of a well-regulated militia.” The federal, state and local governments may impose restrictions on other uses — like the trigger guards — or outright bans on types of weapons. Appellate courts followed that interpretation, until last spring’s departure.

A lot has changed since the nation’s founding, when people kept muskets to be ready for militia service. What has not changed is the actual language of the Constitution. To get past the first limiting clauses of the Second Amendment to find an unalienable individual right to bear arms seems to require creative editing.

Beyond grappling with fairly esoteric arguments about the Second Amendment, the justices need to responsibly confront modern-day reality. A decision that upends needed gun controls currently in place around the country would imperil the lives of Americans.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Nov 29 16:15
by Pro Bono
Wow! Wise one this is a hot topic. Seems no one wanted to add their 2 cents worth (odd for this forum).

Actually I'm scared to death of MY beloved 2nd amendment being tweaked or even looked at by the Supreme Court. Gun ownership is a right but also a responsibility. Scares me the people that do own guns, that I know of. But the 2nd allows it. The idiots that are driving cars scare me also. But I'm a gun collector and target shooter. Nope not a hunter. I don't kill it unless I'm going to eat it. Wild game isn't that tasty ( exception Quail). I enjoy the history of guns and their place in our young country's history.

I guess the real question the Supremes are going to ponder is Militia. I'm a NRA member( wow they are really pushing hard for money now). Is the NRA a nation wide Militia ? Or just a bunch of gun crazed men who must own a weapon to feel like a man?

I have lived in large cities ( Miami ) and small villages (Rupert WV). Guns have totally different meanings in each place. One a gun must be in your bedside table and car for protection and survival and the other Yep, that's Grand Dad's double barrel over the fireplace. Tweaking any part of the Constitution scares me. Guess I may start looking for places to hide my guns if they come for them.

You had mentioned Bush's boys in the Supreme Court. You will be very surprised as to whose boys those Judges are. There not there for the money, that's for sure. Everyone one of them is an expert in Constitutional law. And I'm glad to have those old codgers sitting on the bench. Because that's all we have.

You also mentioned ideology over law in the Supreme Court decision. Well, isn't law ideology? OK I'm stepping down off my soapbox now. I was taught to never discuss religion and politics. The Constitution protects religion and politics. Well this will be a interesting decision the by the Black Robed, should only take about two years for a decision. IF they decide to even hear the case. Wise One thanks for bringing up a topic that no one wanted to sound off on.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Nov 30 07:29
by Anonymoose
OK, here goes on a topic that goes beyond sound bites to get a good grasp on. But, at risk of painting a complex issue with a large brush, it sounds like potential for another civil war. The federal government wants to review states' rights to establish their own gun control laws, is that it? If so, it goes against all the previous efforts of the federal government to encourage states to govern themselves, and pay for it themselves. Federal government pulls out the funding, but keeps the mandates. And, on this issue, it seems, and I hate to put a republican face on it, but it seems the right is trying to strengthen the gun-rights base as the republican party is otherwise moving to the center on other important and divisive issues. Unbridled gun rights is the issue most conservatives can support until they are faced with an April 16, Columbine, or the murder of a loved-one or acquaintance. I think the answer to gun control lies in the middle, but we know how hard that is for some partisans on either side to get their heads around. And, unfortunately, will probably require many of these costly constitutional challenges to happen, if ever.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Nov 30 10:48
by Pro Bono
I was wrong this last Tue. the Supreme Court decided to hear this case, in March and hand down a decision in June.I really hate to see political parties brought into this. But it will be, and will influence the Presidential election.Just imagine every gun owner and his/her family voting Republican so they can keep thier guns in their homes.Yes,times have changed and so has crime since the 2nd was written.I was real happy to have the right to own a gun after hurricane Andrew in Miami. Looting was bad,homes had spray painted "you loot we shoot" on them. You watched you neighbor's home and your's as they left to find water and ice. There were no Police to call,there were no phones. Their was a neighhood MIlitia. As I wrote before guns have a different use and need in every area of this country.The right for D.C. residents not to be able to have a gun in their homes,does violate their 2nd. No question about it. It's right there in the 2nd. But that's D.C. with crack smoking mayors and high crime.Now it becomes our problem and the 2nd gets a real hard look at. Just thought about renting a back hoe to dig a place in the backyard for a gun safe to hide my guns or should I start shopping for assault weapons with high capacity clips? What will the blessed Robed Ones decide ?

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Nov 30 17:28
by Pro Bono
Stone Wall I saw your suggestion that I receive a Avatar. I kinda didn't think I deserved one at this point due to my participation. I recently came back from Central America and almost checked this forum at my hotel in Costa Rica. But trying not to be a computer addict, I didn't. I have enjoyed this Forum, as it is a slice of American life from what seems from many latitudes and attitudes. But if I am to given the honor of a Avatar it would be the Scales of Justice in honor of my Father the Judge ( 17 years). Who once said "it is the little man that counts" And unfortunately said "Justice is Money". By age 10 I knew what Pro Bono meant. By age 14 I was clerking for the Judge after school. Scales of Justice would make Dad happy. Thanks for the Avatar.

I would like too kick up some discussion on the 2nd. Come on how many of you have a gun in your home? And do you want too turn in your Grandfathers shotgun or give up your Glock. Good God Miss Molly (James Brown) don't wait until it's too late. Protect your 2nd ! Don't wait until your going to the sheriff's office with your guns/ammo to turn in.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Nov 30 17:35
by Trend Setter
Pro Bono wrote:times have changed and so has crime since the 2nd was written.
Well, that's the conventional wisdom. Will somebody please check the actual stats? I'm guessing that we only think things are worse because everything gets reported now and almost nothing got reported then. Sometimes I think we're a nation of scaredycats with an upside down sense of what is dangerous and safe.

Pro Bono wrote:The right for D.C. residents not to be able to have a gun in their homes,does violate their 2nd. No question about it. It's right there in the 2nd.
Now hold on there, I thought you were a lawyer. This thing's going to the Supremes because a knucklehead judge held exactly as you say, which is a reversal of existing precedent. In this Supreme Court decision, the last time they looked at it, they explicitly refuted your position. If the Bushie Supremes reverse this, it will be a rejection, by activist judges, of precedent and established law.

I just read the 2nd and I agree that it says that the people of the states can have a well regulated militia, not that individuals have unlimited rights to guns.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Nov 30 22:03
by Pro Bono
Trend, My opinion is of a Gun owner, not a Atty. I'm just a regular guy who wants to keep his guns/sport out of the Supreme court. But I'm glad to see your opinion.

Unfortunately this will come down to the Supremes pondering what is a Militia? And it's relevance to the 2nd in todays world. I hope in June my gun ownership and sport isn't gone. Everyone keeps drifting to the Bushies and the Supremes. The Supremes will be there for the next Pres and the next and the next. They either retire which causes havoc, die, or sleep their way thru the motions and ask their clerks what was said later after their nap. The real issue is the word Militia and it's relevance to today's world.

We could have Pandora's Box open up on us in June. I would sure hate taking my grandfathers 45 from WWI to be melted down. I think the Robes will throw this whole issue of gun ownership back to the individual State, and turn and walk away. Other wise it could be a history changing decision. Funny thing how D. C. is always causing problems. Thanks for your input. Wise One sets the bait and then watches the debate. The odd thing is the whole issue is revolving around one word Militia.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 01 10:31
by fangz1956
What bothers me most about this issue is watching the demise of another personal liberty. I speak as a person who has never owned a gun and would not allow them in the house when my children were young. My son, who is now 22 hunts and enjoys it immensely. Almost every male I know owns guns for sport and some own guns for personal protection.

I don't like the looks of what is about to happen here. It seems we have all the makings in place for the coming of a police state powered by a corrupt all levels. I think it comes down the government trumping the big fear card once again......keep the rabbits running and the sheep in line. I trust the Supreme Court just about as far as I can throw it.

When the day comes that we awake to the absence of Liberty, what will our defense be? Baseball bats? Knives? Rocks and sticks?

Like good ole Ben once said, people who are willing to sacrifice Liberty for security deserve neither.


Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 03 10:32
by Juggler
All about the guy who started it.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 03 22:39
by Anonymoose
Oh good gawd. Could we just cut to the chase and argue that a person should be allowed to own as many guns as he/she could use AT ONE TIME to defend themselves? If you're good, you could shoot one competently, if you're real good, two. Or, maybe two guns per adult per household? Of course one gun is too many for a thug. But, we can't deny people the rights to own guns, only the numbers and types that they own. Or, we could set up gun clearinghouses in each state so that when/if the federal guv tried to take our guns, the states would each have a big arsenal with which to retaliate.

The sky is falling. If I have enough guns, I can prevent that. Different areas do have different needs. They should be allowed to enact laws that address those needs. And, states like ours that have previously been very accommodating to the illegal gun trade should address that as well.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 03 23:46
by Pro Bono
OUT STANDING Anonymoose ! Great Closing Argument. Took the political yak out and got to the point. We are Americans, it's our Country and OUR Constitution.

Let's not blame political parties or Bushies nor be screeeded of the Supremes. We all VOTE! But we sit on our butts, until we have to have the Supremes decide what we can Constitutionally have in our homes and "may" start to tweak our 2nd. Due too high crime/murder rate in a crime infested city. D. C. has always had a high murder rate (same as New Orleans), everyone clears out at sunset, they head for VA or Maryland. Then some young looking for fame Atty's decide to change our lives.

I hate too say it, but the NRA is financing this so that a "security guard" in D. C. can take his gun home with him after work ( this is the case). He could get a job in VA. or Maryland, or maybe he could become a police officer and take his pistol home after work. Maybe Andy in Mayberry will call him and give him a job and 1 bullet. This is a showdown from the NRA for payback for the Brady Act. And yep, I am a NRA member (my gun range requires it), every month I get letters pleading for mo, mo, mo Money. Just pray in June that the Supremes are gun owners also.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 10 21:42
by Anonymoose
Speaking of guns, I'm just sitting here half-way listening to Larry King interview the female security officer who intervened in one of the church shootings out in Colorado and apparently deterred, disabled or killed the gunman? I said, I'm half-way listening, so I don't know all the details. But, what a great example of someone highly trained and disciplined, with a gun, at the right place and right time to make a difference. Not everyone with a gun would have the composure to do that, but apparently she did, and prevented more deaths. What the heck is going on, though, when we need concealed weapons in our churches? We have to acknowledge how our relationship with guns has been important in our history, and also detrimental, and how we're having to deal with it. It's a real Catch-22 for this country.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 11 07:22
by Pro Bono
Your right it is a Catch 22 . She was a former Police Officer.She said "I took cover,Identifeid myself and took him down" CNN this morning. Some people shouldn't own guns but some shouldn't drive cars. But this is our beloved America we all have our rights regardless of our mental status.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 11 10:42
by Wise One
Now hold on there, esteemed Pro Bono. :naughty:

This was not a case of finding a savior in a 2nd amendment nutcase, all afire with zeal born of NRA propaganda, stepping out from among armed hordes of unwashed, armed civilians to save the day. The shooter may fit that bill, but the security guard does not.

This was one of 15-20 security officers specifically activated by the church in response to the news of a similar event nearby, which turned out to be the same shooter. In other words, it was an appropriate response by a disciplined group of trained and qualified security guards regulated by the church that activated them.

So when we arm every Tom, Dick & Harry with guns beyond number and power, with no intelligent regulation, we'll get many more attacks and deaths from shooters like this guy who are variously crazy, drunk or hopped up on drugs, or pure evil. It's better to prevent the disease than to hope to cure it after the shooting starts and people are already dying.

:tongue3: Let's replace the word "arms" with the phrase "nerf bats" in the second amendment. :tongue3:

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 11 17:11
by fangz1956
Wise One.......

Am I reading you right? Do you seriously believe that outrageous gun control laws will deter crime or diminish the crime rate? Did it do D.C. any good in that regard? NOPE........that is one scary place to be in some areas, especially after dark. Outrageous gun control laws will NOT prevent the raving lunatics from going on rampages and killing innocent citizens. Ted Bundy didn't need a gun......nor did Jeffrey Dahmer. Hmmmmm........and I do believe the weapons of choice for the Manson family happened to be knives (along with a well-placed fork or two).

Following the logic of rabid gun control fanatics, we should also outlaw knives, clubs, baseball bats, whips, chains, rocks, chainsaws, hatchets, axes and any and all other blunt or sharp objects that spring to mind. Hmmmmm.......will this new kind of mindset allow us to cut off the hands of domestic partners who beat their wives and girlfriends or people who beat their children senseless? After all, fists are some of the deadliest weapons known to man and they are not sold in any store and everybody has two of them.


Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 11 17:51
by Pro Bono
Wise, First, I must write that I was flattered to referred to as "esteemed" by anyone.I have been called lots of names but never esteemed.Best chuckle I had today. Made me feel like a Supreme. I got up dusted off my law degree and wiped down my 45 cal. I stand corrected,I was loosing track of details of all the recent shootings. When watching CNN this morning I saw a rather attractive lady being called a hero. I did not know she was a hired gun /security guard, Actually she stated she was a former police officer. I assumed ( bad thing to do assume) that she was a pistol packing church member,whom light of recent church shootings was carrying her gun for the safety of the congregation. And that's why she was being praised as a hero. If she was a armed security guard she was not a hero she was just doing her job.My personal opinion is gun owners should all have a pych exam and show proficiency with a weapon. How do we find the weeds in the grass when weeds are allowed to grow.

How do we get the alcoholic drivers off our highways ? But, should by some freak event in June we slowly state by state must surrender our weapons, I can always buy a AK 47 from the crack dealer down in the ghetto.Gun smuggling will be along side drug smuggling. And who's going to own the illegal weapons? We arm ourselves with baseball bats ? But were those (15-20) security guards that were hired by the church a Militia? Militia the big question. And only one guard shot him? He should have had 100 holes in him. But as stated before I wasn't aware of all the facts.

Probably only reason I watched it on CNN was that it was a attractive blond and she didn't look like the type to to empty a few rounds into a mans chest.It really upsets me is the responsible gun owners,hunters,target shooters,collectors in this country will be the ones to suffer. Just imagine if they banned Golf Clubs. Riots in the streets.If I was still in Rupert WV or Lewisberg WV. I wouldn't feel the need for a gun at my bedside.I was in Central America in Oct. I never saw so many armed guards ( even at ATMs) in my life. They don't complain down there, but they also have swift justice. BANG. Thanks for your input Wise One.Next time I will pay more attention to the dialoge instead of the blonde.

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 11 20:47
by Pro Bono
To all that have contibuted to "Bang" My compliments to all and your opinions.It has made me proud to see participation on this subject, your views and even political stance. ROCK ON ! Pro

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 12 16:34
by Wise One
And today, we have yet another one. It just goes on and on.

I'm both mystified and saddened by the ideological "2nd amendment" nonsense that most everybody in these parts seems to have swallowed. This belief is new and, by historical standards, peculiar. Before the NRA began its incredibly successful propaganda campaign, coupled with the exercise of raw political muscle and big money, the general populace just didn't believe this claptrap.

The 2nd amendment simply does not say what propagandists say it says -- not my conclusion, but that of the Supreme Court directly. There is a chance that Bush's loaded Court will reverse this long-standing legal precedent, but I surely hope it doesn't happen.

Fearful "what if" testimonials are unconvincing to me, as are most allegations of safety provided by a nearby gun. The public health perspective is very important. If you drop irrational fear, what-ifs, exaggerations, etc., it is very clear that those societies with more guns per capita mostly have higher overall assault injuries and deaths than those with lower number of guns per capita.

All societies have criminals, rage cases, nutcases and homicidal maniacs as a small percentage of the population. Those societies that make guns easily available to such people, or to family members they steal them from, pay for that poor judgment in blood and lives. And families/friends with guns near at hand tend to shoot each other, a lot.

When I was a kid, there were frequent stories about car accident victims surviving because they were "thrown clear" of the wreck. Of course, it was bullshit -- but many people believed it. Reality, backed by real statistics, and education, persuaded us to adopt seat belts and we've saved thousands of lives. We need to consult similar, rational and data-based analysis, to set public policy respecting gun regulation. I'm not talking about phonied-up "statistics" by the gun lobby, but real verifiable epidemiological data taken and analyzed by public health professionals.

:hum: We are the most fearful people on the planet. Fear itself (sorry, FDR) is killing and bankrupting us. :hum:

Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 12 20:10
by fangz1956
How about clarifying "public health perspective". I am not sure that I see the line you are trying to draw between public health and gun control. Seat belts are NOT a "public health" issue but rather a "safety" issue. Are you speaking of mental health issues as in the situation surrounding the VT killing spree in April of this year? Are you speaking of background checks for firearms purposes that would include a full disclosure of the prospective buyer's mental health history?

If you are speaking from a mental health standpoint, then we must bear in mind that ANYONE who has ever entered drug and alcohol rehab has a "mental health history". Would this effectively bar all recovering alkies and addicts from owning firearms? it is certainly something that warrants consideration as treatment for substance abuse is considered a mental health issue by the medical community and the insurance carriers. Where would the line be drawn here? There are a number of reason folks seek counseling and professional help but those reasons do not necessarily mean that said person is mentally ill or incapable of rational thought and action. And how would we effectively eliminate the stringent privacy laws that protect those same records from falling into the wrong hands? There is a very valid reason for the laws governing those records to be in place.

So who gets to decide and who gets to draw the line? Could we be effectively opening a Pandora's box that has the potential to lead to more litigation in an already overburdened judicial system?

Sorry......but your post was just way too vague and just opened the door to more questions. The things you refer to as fear are more likely anger and despair over the potential vanishing of yet another liberty under the Bush regime.


Re: BANG !

Posted: 2007 Dec 12 23:33
by Wise One
Thanks for your reply -- good questions. And if my writing raises more questions than it answers, then maybe I need to work on clarifying my language.

By "public health" I'm trying to convey the concept that gun deaths and violence are a statistical outcome of exposure to certain conditions in the general population. Yes, you're right, it's also sometimes safety, and many of the data gathering and analytical techniques used by public health professionals in examining disease, are also used in examining public safety. For example, if a drunken husband shoots his wife, it seems less a safety issue than a public health issue - he momentarily means to shoot her and would not do so under more healthy conditions, that is, no gun in the house or no liquor under the belt.

Few people who are exposed to e coli bacteria get sick, and few people exposed to firearms are shot, but in both cases there is elevated hazard, in a statistical sense. The American mindset is so over-focused on right vs. wrong, crime, retribution, fear, etc., that rational weighing of firearms hazard per se is excluded.

People who think they are buying safety by keeping a gun in the house against home invaders, ignore the statistically greater danger to themselves, their friends and their family from having a gun at hand. If the number people owning guns were to double, the number of firearms deaths would absolutely certainly rise. It's a statistical outcome predicted by epidemiologists, just as they would predict increased incidence of disease from increased exposure to e coli.

:tongue3: Now come the bogus "statistics" from the gun lobby about how more guns mean less danger. :tongue3: