Article on the history of gun laws in America

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1,746
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Rochester, NY
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/the-secret-history-of-guns/308608/ In my opinion, the 2nd Amendment is a bit vague, probably on purpose:
Quote:
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.
People use it to argue all sorts of things (both pro-gun and anti-gun), so I was looking for some history on the topic. This article was very interesting, and it seemed fairly moderate.
 
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USA
I love how <span style="font-style: italic">{removed political party}</span> say the militia refers to the Military, however those who wrote the DOI CLEARLY mentioned militia and military as 2 separate entities. I am unsure how one can be an American AND vote to have our constitutional rights revoked. It is insane and disturbing.
 
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Wisconsin USA
If you want to understand the Founder's intent regarding the 2nd Amendment, forget The Atlantic and begin with Federalist Papers No. 28, No. 29, and No. 46. The first two are by Alexander Hamilton and No. 46 is by James Madison. This will provide the reasoning behind the intent and wording of the amendment by two of the men who authored it.
 
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Dana Point, CA
I have a signed copy of the writer's book mentioned in the article, Gun Fight: The Battle Over The Right To Bear Arms in America. He's a sharp UCLA law professor. My father was on the UCLA Rifle Team (earned a Varsity letter) in '53. Used to ride the bus to and from the rifle range -with his gear!- as a youngster, too. Things have changed. smile
 
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Central IA
"Why would we need an amendment in the bill of rights that says the military can have guns?" That is why I often say to people that say the militia is the military in the second amendment. My favorite founding father quote comes from George Mason, often considered the father of the bill of rights. "I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
 
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Minnesota
As a younger fella in 1968, I sold firearms at a downtown Minneapolis hardware store-most of the Mpls cops bought their S+W revolvers there. I've been aware of the 'gun law' discussion since that time. Also in doing research of US Korean dead for a local war memorial, I came across a number of news articles about drunk driving. In both cases, the dates and times may change, but the story is much the same as history repeats and repeats.
 
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Atlanta,GA
Good article. This is another great example of history showing that politics revolves more around the moment than the past. Our drug laws took a similar route (Opium Wars).
 
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Ohio
The article’s last few paragraphs were of the most interest to me. I remember reading Justice Scalia’s words the day the Opinion was issued. While many were cheering victory, I was deeply disturbed by the Justice’s words quoted in the article. I found his legislating from the bench appalling and I lost a huge amount of respect for Justice Scalia that day.
 
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Santa Barbara, CA
Militia Webster's 1913 Dictionary Mi`li´tia n. 1. 1. In the widest sense, the whole military force of a nation, including both those engaged in military service as a business, and those competent and available for such service; specifically, the body of citizens enrolled for military instruction and discipline, but not subject to be called into actual service except in emergencies. The king's captains and soldiers fight his battles, and yet . . . the power of the militia is he. - Jer. Taylor. 2. Military service; warfare. WordNet Dictionary Noun 1. militia - civilians trained as soldiers but not part of the regular army Synonyms: reserves 2. militia - the entire body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service; "their troops were untrained militia"; "Congress shall have power to provide for calling forth the militia"--United States Constitution militia Military organization of citizens with limited military training who are available for emergency service, usually for local defense. In many countries the militia is of ancient origin. The Anglo-Saxons required every able-bodied free male to serve. In colonial America it was the only defense against hostile Indians when regular British forces were not available. In the American Revolution the militia, called the Minutemen, provided the bulk of the American forces. Militias played a similar role in the War of 1812 and the American Civil War. State-controlled volunteer militias in the U.S. became the National Guard. British militia units, begun in the 16th century for home defense and answerable to the county sheriff or lord lieutenant, were absorbed into the regular army in the 20th century. Today various paramilitary organizations, from U.S. white supremacists to revolutionaries in the developing world, use the term militia to accentuate their populist origins. This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. I see no mention of individual in any of the militia definitions. shrug
 
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Florida
Originally Posted By: surfstar
I see no mention of individual in any of the militia definitions. shrug
Civilians = individuals.
 
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Santa Barbara, CA
Originally Posted By: hatt
Originally Posted By: surfstar
I see no mention of individual in any of the militia definitions. shrug
Civilians = individuals.
So, individual gun owners are coordinating their efforts and training together to be able to defend against... Indians? The British? In the past few decades if you were part of a trained militia, you were the ones who wanted to take over the current government and were preparing for such on your BFN compound. The wording of the second Amendment does not imply that a individual can own a gun for no reason. It implies that it must be as part of a militia to defend the state. shrug
 
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Florida
Originally Posted By: surfstar
The wording of the second Amendment does not imply that a individual can own a gun for no reason. It implies that it must be as part of a militia to defend the state. shrug
You're correct. It doesn't imply people can own a gun for no reason. It explicitly states the reason for the people to own guns.
 
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19,686
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Sunny Florida
Originally Posted By: Robenstein
"Why would we need an amendment in the bill of rights that says the military can have guns?" That is why I often say to people that say the militia is the military in the second amendment. My favorite founding father quote comes from George Mason, often considered the father of the bill of rights. "I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
Thank you. Your insight into history is appreciated. Love the quote! The second amendment is clear. And the reasoning behind it is simple. The FF knew that this noble experiment could take a wrong turn and they fully intended for the citizenry to be armed and dangerous to tyrannical government!
 
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CA
The interpretation that matters is the Supreme Courts in DC vs Heller 2008. In that, even the majority accepted that restrictions for reasonable use are allowable. This amendment needs updating rather than constant interpreting. Think about it. Back when it was written, citizens arming themselves with reasonable weapons of the day could organize and be reasonably strong. Today, what exactly do you need if the government decides to get tyrannical on you? You'd need armor piercing rockets against their tanks, land mines, maybe chemicals. In other words weapons that are unusual or dangerous which all supreme court judges agree are not required for self defense.
 
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Florida
Originally Posted By: Apollo14
The interpretation that matters is the Supreme Courts in DC vs Heller 2008. In that, even the majority accepted that restrictions for reasonable use are allowable. This amendment needs updating rather than constant interpreting. Think about it. Back when it was written, citizens arming themselves with reasonable weapons of the day could organize and be reasonably strong. Today, what exactly do you need if the government decides to get tyrannical on you? You'd need armor piercing rockets against their tanks, land mines, maybe chemicals. In other words weapons that are unusual or dangerous which all supreme court judges agree are not required for self defense.
Insurgents all over the world create a lot of damage with carbines and improvised weapons.
 
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884
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CA
^ we should definitely be worried about US based sleeper terrorists having unlimited access to weapons for "self defense" against a potentially tyrannical government. As I said, even the majority judges in DC vs Heller reiterated limitations are reasonable:
Originally Posted By: Majority Opinion DC vs Heller
2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller's holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those "in common use at the time" finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
Unfortunately some believe it is their right to have whatever they want wherever they want and that this is all about a tyrannical government. They are oblivious to the fact that others see them as the potential tyranny. This is why this amendment needs to be updated with what the people believe is reasonable for this day and age. Sure some people may still argue but it would be far preferable to the discussions about what the intent was when the world was radically different.
 
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CA
Don't think you're understanding this. Never did I say that this is up to me. The supreme court said that there is a longstanding history of there being rules on what is reasonable to own and how it is carried. They don't disagree with that at all. This free for all idea is a recent phenomenon. I will repeat this from the majority Supreme Court opinion:
Originally Posted By: Majority Opinion DC vs Heller
2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited.
 
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