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I think the laws are good enough, but once again we are trying to pass the blame for the failure of parents on the system. I have quite a few friends who take their children hunting and b/c they teach their children about guns and gun safety at an early age there is no problem.

I don't own a gun b/c I never really had a desire to, but I like the fact that if I did decide to, I can.
Here in New Jersey gun control is way out of control. It's even required to have a gun permit for a bb gun. They have made it nearly impossible for people to get a firearms permit and now they are trying to ban any gun that is not equipped with smart gun technology, a gun can only be fired by it's owner. This technology is new and impractical and it is already being voted into law. I'm all for protecting the public, but these politicans need to realise the guns on the streets doing all the killing were never legally registered.
Interesting article. I didnt know it was that difficult to obtain a firearm in NJ. I do believe in limiting gun sales but not full gun control. People will buy, carry and use guns simply becasue of supply and demand. The black market guns of which I am speaking are the most dangerous kind. I believe that having a reasonable screening process for purchasing Handguns, rifles and shotguns is fine because I am a country boy who hunts. Assault rifles should never be sold because they serve no puropse except needless killing. When I was in Oklahoma, there was a place in a small town where you could purchase an armored personnel carrier with a .50 caliber maachine gun, the same weapon Koresh used against ATF agents in Waco. Some weapons absolutely must be controlled. I still believe that all Americans have the right to legally bear arms.
Speaking of gun control I have started the process of applying for a concealed permit. They are fairly easy to obtain here in Oregon after proof that you can handle the weapon safely. You either do that through a weapons safety course or proof of weapons training from the military.

In case people are wondering the permit is not so much for where we live as it is for when we go to Portland. You know big city, big city crime.
Originally posted by jazzdog:
Speaking of gun control I have started the process of applying for a concealed permit. They are fairly easy to obtain here in Oregon after proof that you can handle the weapon safely. You either do that through a weapons safety course or proof of weapons training from the military.

In case people are wondering the permit is not so much for where we live as it is for when we go to Portland. You know big city, big city crime.

Is Portland really that bad? I have lived in Oakland, CA and in Harlem NY, NY and never had any problems with one exception. Some moron broke into my Accord trying to get my stereo, but the way I had it mounted in there, King Kong could not have ripped it out.

God has told you, O man and woman, what is good; and what does the SOVEREIGN ONE require of you but to do justice, and to be compassionate, and to walk humbly with your God?

I live in Northeast Oregon and for the most part its not bad, of course I live in rural Oregon and around here people really believe in the 2nd amendment and exercising their right to bear arms. Eastern Washington is not too bad either, unless you get up near spokane.

I guess our biggest problem here is the growing influx of drugs up from CA. We have a large migratory population due to this being a large fruit producing region and some of the folks coming up this way are less then honest to say the least.
What I like about the gun issue is that I get to firmly and squarely put on my left-wing liberal hat. The only bad thing is, I hate disagreeing with the Lovely Lea! But oh well...

When I get some time, it'll be my pleasure to show:

1) New Jersey's gun control laws are fine as they are (except that it does suck that it's so hard to get a concealed permit);

2) Lea's ad a few posts above is guilty of Jesse Jackson-style shameless race-hustlerism;

3) The 2nd amendment was never intended to confer the right to own or carry weapons (although this fact doesn't mean that banning guns would be constitutional). In fact, the founders didn't have weapons in mind at all when they adopted the 2nd Amendment.

I'll be back..
Ahh, Vox,

I'll be gentle! Big Grin Wink

The ads I posted just happen to be the ones with black people. Follow the link, and you'll see whites, Asians, and Hispanics pictured as well (they weren't pandering to any specific group, the point was the 2nd Amenmendment)

If the founders didn't intend for people to have arms, what were they meant to use when defending themselves in a well-reg militia? Everyone had guns back then, did they mean for the guns to be confiscated and only let certain people have them?

But I'll wait to see what you mean.
Okay, Lea, what I'm about to share with you, I actually discovered last summer, when for the first time, I took a serious look at one of the most vexing problems with the Constitution: the seemingly "awkward" wording of the 2nd Amendment. In an epic tale of detective work, I discovered that there's actually nothing awkward about the wording at all. The reason for the confusion is that we take the word "arms" as meaning "weapons." But the term "the right to bear arms" historically meant something very different in Europe (and it still does). It had to do with coats-of-arms, not firearms. In England, those who were not "entitled to bear arms," meaning coats-of-arms, were barred from participation in the King's military. This allowed for the maintenance of a "standing army," to be loyal to the King. There was also such a thing as a "yeoman's militia," the Yeomanry being the highest class of citizen NOT entitled to bear heraldic arms. I'm not yet sure what their relationship was to the king's standing army.

But if you read the Congressional debate on the adoption of the wording of the 2nd Amendment, as well as relevant Federalist Papers on the subject, the founders were concerned about preventing the government from raising a standing army. They decided that the best way to raise a militia powerful enough and large enough to keep a standing army from forming is to allow the militia to be broad-based, comprised of the "body of the people," instead of the professional, paid warriors of a standing army. So, unlike in England, the founders created a Constitutional provision barring the government from denying to any able-bodied male the right to provide military service. Especially if you read the congressional debate transcripts, they are clearly using the term "keep and bear arms" interchangeably with terms concerning serving in a military or militia.
So the 2nd Amendment language means, "The fact that a well-regulated militia is necessary to prevent an oppressive government from raising a standing army to usurp liberty from the people, the government may not pass laws saying who can and who can't join the military." That way, the people's militia will always be too big and too broad based to be controlled by the sovereign at the expense of the freedom of the people.

It had nothing to do with private gun ownership. I don't know for sure how this change happened, but it's true that "arms" also meant weapons, so in the absence -- thanks to the 2nd Amendment -- of classes of citizen and heraldic arms, we as a nation somehow lost knowledge the concept. I'll provide you with some links later, but I couldn't wait to share the basic thesis. I know this is a very different interpretation from what you may have heard, but if you look at what they said, there's no way I'm wrong.

Again, though, this doesn't mean that gun ownership can be outlawed. There are general provisions in the Constitution that make it clear that gun ownership can't be banned. The point is, gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment were completely unrelated, as far as the records indicate the founders were concerned.

Ahem... Let 'er rip!!
The Federalist Papers, it's been years since I've read anything from them, but I've been hearing about them lately. Do you have a handy dandy link to recommend?

Now, as for the arms as in heraldry being what's involved here, weren't arms always a matter of nobility? You get a title only from a monarch or a nobleman, right? Now I know I'm missing something here, because if the heraldry part is what matters, why did the Founding Fathers (FFs) spend so much time trying to prevent a nobility here? In Article 1, Section 9 (last paragraph; I feel like a law student!) it even says that the U.S. will grant no such titles, and you can't even have one unless Congress approves first. So why would the FFs even care about the arms (heraldry) matter, when no citizen should have a title to begin with?

There's a link I have to find for you when I return, from a lawyer who spent time on the 2nd Amendment. IANAL, so maybe you can tell me if he's full of it or what (he's pro, but I'll trust your judgement).
Lea, the Founders weren't concerned in the 2nd Amendment with heraldry or trying to prevent a nobility. All the 2nd Amendment aimed to do was prevent Congress from denying to any citizen the right to serve. In the congressional debate transcript, the "right to keep and bear arms" is used synonymously with the right to serve; it doesn't seem to have anything to do, in their minds, with class or heraldry. In Federalist paper #29, Hamilton makes reference to "allowing the yeomanry and all other classes" to "bear arms," but by the time the issue got to Congress, the class issue was probably secondary, at best. Historically, from what I've read, England used nobility and class to deny the right to serve, and that's pobably why the phrase came to mean what the Founders meant by it (per my theory). But if you read my handy-dandy link below (reproduced for your convenience), the main concern in the actual debate on the wording in Congress dealt with the possibility that Congress could use religion -- forget about class -- as a basis for denying the right to serve. So the Amendment is targeting infringements on the right to serve in the military/militia, period, and isn't concerned with class so much. But the historical relationship between the class/heraldry concept and the right to serve is still apparent in the fact that they used the same terminology.

Linguistically, it appears that the term "bear arms" and "the right to bear arms" comes directly from this status/heraldry concept. Also, a soldier was "under arms," and the arms that they were under was the armorial ensign of the military organization.

Anyway, here's the text from the 1789 Annals of Congress. Below that are links that, if nothing else, show that the term "right to bear arms" did have this other meaning in pre-American times.

Annals of Congress Debate on the 2nd Amendment

17, 20 Aug. 1789Annals 1:749--52, 766--67
[17 Aug.]

The House again resolved itself into a committee, Mr. Boudinot in the chair, on the proposed amendments to the constitution. The third clause of the fourth proposition in the report was taken into consideration, being as follows: "A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms."

Mr. Gerry.--This declaration of rights, I take it, is intended to secure the people against the mal-administration of the Government; if we could suppose that, in all cases, the rights of the people would be attended to, the occasion for guards of this kind would be removed. Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution itself. They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous, and prevent them from bearing arms.

What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins. This was actually done by Great Britain at the commencement of the late revolution. They used every means in their power to prevent the establishment of an effective militia to the eastward. The Assembly of Massachusetts, seeing the rapid progress that administration were making to divest them of their inherent privileges, endeavored to counteract them by the organization of the militia; but they were always defeated by the influence of the Crown.

Mr. Seney wished to know what question there was before the committee, in order to ascertain the point upon which the gentleman was speaking.

Mr. Gerry replied that he meant to make a motion, as he disapproved of the words as they read. He then proceeded. No attempts that they made were successful, until they engaged in the struggle which emancipated them at once from their thraldom. Now, if we give a discretionary power to exclude those from militia duty who have religious scruples, we may as well make no provision on this head. For this reason, he wished the words to be altered so as to be confined to persons belonging to a religious sect scrupulous of bearing arms.

Mr. Jackson did not expect that all the people of the United States would turn Quakers or Moravians; consequently, one part would have to defend the other in case of invasion. Now this, in his opinion, was unjust, unless the constitution secured an equivalent: for this reason he moved to amend the clause, by inserting at the end of it, "upon paying an equivalent, to be established by law."

Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, inquired what were the words used by the conventions respecting this amendment. If the gentleman would conform to what was proposed by Virginia and Carolina, he would second him. He thought they were to be excused provided they found a substitute.

Mr. Jackson was willing to accommodate. He thought the expression was, "No one, religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service, in person, upon paying an equivalent."

Mr. Sherman conceived it difficult to modify the clause and make it better. It is well known that those who are religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, are equally scrupulous of getting substitutes or paying an equivalent. Many of them would rather die than do either one or the other; but he did not see an absolute necessity for a clause of this kind. We do not live under an arbitrary Government, said he, and the States, respectively, will have the government of the militia, unless when called into actual service; besides, it would not do to alter it so as to exclude the whole of any sect, because there are men amongst the Quakers who will turn out, notwithstanding the religious principles of the society, and defend the cause of their country. Certainly it will be improper to prevent the exercise of such favorable dispositions, at least whilst it is the practice of nations to determine their contests by the slaughter of their citizens and subjects.

Mr. Vining hoped the clause would be suffered to remain as it stood, because he saw no use in it if it was amended so as to compel a man to find a substitute, which, with respect to the Government, was the same as if the person himself turned out to fight.

Mr. Stone inquired what the words "religiously scrupulous" had reference to: was it of bearing arms? If it was, it ought so to be expressed.

Mr. Benson moved to have the words "but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms," struck out. He would always leave it to the benevolence of the Legislature, for, modify it as you please, it will be impossible to express it in such a manner as to clear it from ambiguity. No man can claim this indulgence of right. It may be a religious persuasion, but it is no natural right, and therefore ought to be left to the discretion of the Government. If this stands part of the constitution, it will be a question before the Judiciary on every regulation you make with respect to the organization of the militia, whether it comports with this declaration or not. It is extremely injudicious to intermix matters of doubt with fundamentals.

I have no reason to believe but the Legislature will always possess humanity enough to indulge this class of citizens in a matter they are so desirous of; but they ought to be left to their discretion.

The motion for striking out the whole clause being seconded, was put, and decided in the negative--22 members voting for it, and 24 against it.

Mr. Gerry objected to the first part of the clause, on account of the uncertainty with which it is expressed. A well regulated militia being the best security of a free State, admitted an idea that a standing army was a secondary one. It ought to read, "a well regulated militia, trained to arms;" in which case it would become the duty of the Government to provide this security, and furnish a greater certainty of its being done.

Mr. Gerry's motion not being seconded, the question was put on the clause as reported; which being adopted,

Mr. Burke proposed to add to the clause just agreed to, an amendment to the following effect: "A standing army of regular troops in time of peace is dangerous to public liberty, and such shall not be raised or kept up in time of peace but from necessity, and for the security of the people, nor then without the consent of two-thirds of the members present of both Houses; and in all cases the military shall be subordinate to the civil authority." This being seconded.

Mr. Vining asked whether this was to be considered as an addition to the last clause, or an amendment by itself. If the former, he would remind the gentleman the clause was decided; if the latter, it was improper to introduce new matter, as the House had referred the report specially to the Committee of the whole.

Mr. Burke feared that, what with being trammelled in rules, and the apparent disposition of the committee, he should not be able to get them to consider any amendment; he submitted to such proceeding because he could not help himself.

Mr. Hartley thought the amendment in order, and was ready to give his opinion on it. He hoped the people of America would always be satisfied with having a majority to govern. He never wished to see two-thirds or three-fourths required, because it might put it in the power of a small minority to govern the whole Union.

[20 Aug.]

Mr. Scott objected to the clause in the sixth amendment, "No person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms." He observed that if this becomes part of the constitution, such persons can neither be called upon for their services, nor can an equivalent be demanded; it is also attended with still further difficulties, for a militia can never be depended upon. This would lead to the violation of another article in the constitution, which secures to the people the right of keeping arms, and in this case recourse must be had to a standing army. I conceive it, said he, to be a legislative right altogether. There are many sects I know, who are religiously scrupulous in this respect; I do not mean to deprive them of any indulgence the law affords; my design is to guard against those who are of no religion. It has been urged that religion is on the decline; if so, the argument is more strong in my favor, for when the time comes that religion shall be discarded, the generality of persons will have recourse to these pretexts to get excused from bearing arms.

Mr. Boudinot thought the provision in the clause, or something similar to it, was necessary. Can any dependence, said he, be placed in men who are conscientious in this respect? or what justice can there be in compelling them to bear arms, when, according to their religious principles, they would rather die than use them? He adverted to several instances of oppression on this point, that occurred during the war. In forming a militia, an effectual defence ought to be calculated, and no characters of this religious description ought to be compelled to take up arms. I hope that in establishing this Government, we may show the world that proper care is taken that the Government may not interfere with the religious sentiments of any person. Now, by striking out the clause, people may be led to believe that there is an intention in the General Government to compel all its citizens to bear arms.

Federalist Paper #29
Rootsweb on "the right to bear arms"

Religious encyclopedia entry
I cannt believe I just typed this long-ass reply and had it vanish because I wasn't signed in (I'm not home). MBM, there should be some kind of protection against that; a pop-up warning to either sign in or create a guest name.

I'll try again, in brief form. Basically, Lea, the Professor makes a really good -- maybe the best possible -- pro-gun 2nd Amendment argument. But all of his arguments assume that "bearing arms" means owning or using firearms. He doesn't even consider that it may mean something else, and that's why his argument is flawed.

He's probably right that the 2nd Amendment confers an individual right. But actually, he's wrong on second thought. Remember, the first 8 amendments don't "confer" anything; the Constitution being a generally natural moralist document, its Bill of Rights doesn't GIVE us rights. It PREVENTS government from infringing on rights that we have naturally. So what the 2nd amd. does is forbids government from restricting the people's natural rights, to the extent that a particular restriction on a given right would unjustly empower government at the expense of the people.

But what I'm saying is that the right that the 2nd amd. is talking about is the right to defend the society and way of life that they have contributed to. And that right is manifested in the right to serve militarily in defense against a threat. The reason for the "well-regulated" language is explicit in the federalist papers: government has to have strong central control over a militia in order for the militia to be effective and protective. It's necessary that it be well-regulated. However, given that the militia must be strongly regulated by government, there is a chance that government could use its control of the military to usurp liberties. In other words, the military could become an arm of the state, just like a standing army. The best (and probably the ONLY) way to guard against that is to make sure that the millions of average Joes of America -- those who would directly suffer if government usurped the people's power -- make up the body from which the military is composed.

And the only reason this was even an issue is because England's class system was used to restrict military service. That way, the miitia were always too small (and frankly, too loyal, because the well-off saw no need to fight the status quo) to pose a threat to the King and his permanent standing army.

As I spent some length discussing in my now vanished post, the Professor makes one immense analytical flaw, which I'll discuss again when I have a minute. But it occurs in the below paragraph, and concerns the mean of the term "capable."... See if you can see what I'm talking about.

And the two clauses of the Amendment are entirely consistent. The second clause guarantees a "right of the people," which is the right of each individual. The first clause explains that this right helps further a "well-regulated militia," a legal term of art that means "the body of the people capable of bearing arms" (here I quote from the New York Ratifying Convention's proposal that eventually became the Second Amendment 4) -- the entire armed citizenry, not some small National Guard-type unit. The current Militia Act, enacted in 1956 and derived from the original 1792 Militia Act, defines the "militia" as including all able-bodied male citizens from 17 to 45; 5 given the Court's sex equality jurisprudence, I feel comfortable saying that every able-bodied citizen from age 17 to 45, male or female, is a member of the militia. This is quite consistent with the second clause's securing an individual right to every person.

Okay, I got you now. Thanks for your opinion on Volokh's testimony.

As for the clause you quote, I am feeling fogheaded right now, but my guess is that the "capable" term could be used to disqualify say, able-bodied senior citizens and handicapped young people from having guns.

Did I guess right, Professor Vox?

About your posts being lost, if you push the reply button at the bottom it lets you do a quick reply where you can come in as a guest. I'm always pushing that one when I mean to log-in, 'cause I'm used to the old way. The way you described, sometimes my posts would get lost, and sometimes it would let me go back and log on, it seemed to depend on the speed of the computer.
Lenin said once "One person with a gun, can control 100 people without guns" we see the results his communist regime killed over 120 million of its own people.(actually there was nothing COMMUNIST about that regime - it was DICTATORSHIP, but thats another topic) Now about registration of guns ... That's what communists did too. First they registered every gun in a country, then passed a law, that it was illegal to own them. And since they knew where each guns was located, they had no trouble collecting them. Some democrats ( or all of them ) wanna first register all guns ... I will let you guess what they might wanna do next... And they will always find and excuse. Like that sniper last fall.

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