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March 18, 2013

Should NRA care more about gun rights for non-violent felons or those accused of domestic violence?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this lengthy new front-page New York Times article headlined "Ruled a Threat to Family, but Allowed to Keep Guns." Here is an excerpts from the first part of the article:

[I]n one of a handful of states, the protection order would have forced [an abusive husband] to relinquish his firearms.  But that is not the case in Washington and most of the country, in large part because of the influence of the National Rifle Association and its allies.

Advocates for domestic violence victims have long called for stricter laws governing firearms and protective orders.  Their argument is rooted in a grim statistic: when women die at the hand of an intimate partner, that hand is more often than not holding a gun.  In these most volatile of human dramas, they contend, the right to bear arms must give ground to the need to protect a woman’s life.

In statehouses across the country, though, the N.R.A. and other gun-rights groups have beaten back legislation mandating the surrender of firearms in domestic violence situations.  They argue that gun ownership, as a fundamental constitutional right, should not be stripped away for anything less serious than a felony conviction — and certainly not, as an N.R.A. lobbyist in Washington State put it to legislators, for the “mere issuance of court orders.”

That resistance is being tested anew in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., as proposals on the mandatory surrender of firearms are included in gun control legislation being debated in several states.

Among them is Washington, where current law gives judges issuing civil protection orders the discretion to require the surrender of firearms if, for example, they find a “serious and imminent threat” to public health.  But records and interviews show that they rarely do so, making the state a useful laboratory for examining the consequences, as well as the politics, of this standoff over the limits of Second Amendment rights.

By analyzing a number of Washington databases, The New York Times identified scores of gun-related crimes committed by people subject to recently issued civil protection orders, including murder, attempted murder and kidnapping.  In at least five instances over the last decade, women were shot to death less than a month after obtaining protection orders. In at least a half-dozen other killings, the victim was not the person being protected but someone else.  There were dozens of gun-related assaults like the one Ms. Holten endured.

The analysis — which crosschecked protective orders against arrest and conviction data, along with fatality lists compiled by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence — represents at best a partial accounting of such situations because of limitations in the data.  The databases were missing some orders that have expired or been terminated.  They also did not flag the use of firearms in specific crimes, so identifying cases required combing through court records....

In some instances, of course, laws mandating the surrender of firearms might have done nothing to prevent an attack.  Sometimes the gun used was not the one cited in the petition. In other cases, no mention of guns was ever made.  But in many cases, upon close scrutiny, stricter laws governing protective orders and firearms might very well have made a difference.

As long-time readers know, I find puzzling and troubling that the NRA or others are quick to assert or assume that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, if it really is about protecting a truly fundamental constitutional right, that it can be permanently stripped away for any and every felony conviction, even very-long-ago, indisputably non-violent drug possession or white-collar offenses.  This new article reinforces my sense that the NRA's advocacy policies, as well as existing gun laws and practices, are crude and problematic tools now often used to deny gun rights to persons who are not obviously dangerous while sometimes preserving gun rights for persons who are obviously dangerous.

Some related Second Amendment and gun policy posts:

March 18, 2013 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

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"Should NRA care more about gun rights for non-violent felons or those accused of domestic violence?"

Should liberals care more about gun rights for non-violent felons or guns rights for everyone, which their contingent in Congress is trying to whittle away?

Or, to put it another way, should we care more about gun rights for bad actors of one sort or another or for the average Joe?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 18, 2013 11:55:47 AM

U.S. v. Emerson is relevant to this discussion. Here is one analysis (fyi ... it is not meant to be an endorsement ... etc.)

http://www.burger.com/gunemera.htm

Since fundamental rights are being removed in a broad sense, some due process must be followed in this context. Protective orders burden various rights -- e.g., freedom to travel -- but total removal in this sense can be more broad than, e.g., limiting the right to travel or association.

But, I think there is a way to balance things here without blocking things as broadly as noted in the article. The OP also provides a comment as to the NRA's troublesome views from a libertarian perspective. As a believer in the RKBA, the NRA does not seem to be the best advocate. They are doing the movement much favors with some of their current rhetoric either. Various gun owners, some NRA members, have been turned off by such things.

BTW, I'm all for supporting the average Joe.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 18, 2013 12:24:22 PM

Very funny, Joe.

I'll rephrase and see if you'll answer.

Should we care more about gun rights for bad actors or for the average person?

The reason I ask is that there has been a concerted campaign on this blog to get gun rights for felons -- a campaign run, with stunning hypocrisy, by preciesly those who think Heller was wrongly decided, and wanted (or still want, I strongly suspect (see, e.g., Mayor Bloomberg)) to restrict gun rights for EVERYONE. But, now that, over their objections, we have the Heller decision, only felons get spoken up for.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 18, 2013 12:47:15 PM

I think Heller was rightly decided though would have gone about it somewhat differently. We can call this the Levinson/Amar/Tribe/Balkin approach.

My comment really was an answer. Seriously, the average Joe should get the most respect. Everyone has rights, but you know, "bad actors" tend to have less in some fashion at the end of the day. Devil in the details.

I don't know much about the felon campaign. Doug Berman has shown some concern over the matter. "Felon" in this day and age covers so much that it seems overinclusive. Don't want that. But, the average Joe does matter more to me.

As to the bills up in Congress, most seem to be acceptable under Heller -- the typical background checks, funding measures and so forth. The problematic one would be the 'assault weapon' ban, realistically not likely to pass. Heller allows bans on some types of 'dangerous and usual' weapons but what that means is debatable. The bill very well might be over-inclusive, but again, not likely to pass anyway. OTOH, e.g., by junior senator with a Republican supports a gun trafficking bill that appears to be constitutionally acceptable though there might be some debate on details.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 18, 2013 1:05:05 PM

Try again bill! stop the lies!

"The reason I ask is that there has been a concerted campaign on this blog to get gun rights for felons"

That should be EX felons!

You know American Citizens who have paid thier court ordered debt to society and are now according to the Constitution Still an American Citizens just as much as you are!

I will have you know that in situations like this is talking about "protection orders" i have no problem allowed the temporary removal of any weapons from BOTH parties till it can all be sorted out with the requirement that once the order is removed ALL weapons must be returned to both parties with a statutary punishment in place that can be used against the removing agency if said weapons are not both returned and in the same condition as when taken.

But you will alwasy lose the part about ex felons at least till you can rewrite the constitution and add a new amendment that automatically strips citizenship for any felony conviction.

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 18, 2013 2:56:57 PM

rodsmith --

Your beef is with liberals, not me. I want more gun rights than they do or did -- and I wanted them before Heller, not just afterward.

P.S. As I'm using the word (which I believe is standard usage) a "felon" is simply a person who committed a felony.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 18, 2013 4:00:54 PM

It was fear of felons that won Heller, not fear of the government. So the NRA needs felons to justify its guns and cannot back down on that now. If domestic violence was a felony, what then? It's the take-their-rights-not-mine syndrome that is all-too-pervasive nowadays.

I've argued for years that the NRA was painting itself into a corner and there it is.

By the publication of concealed carry permit names we also learned the majority are law enforcement linked, so what is boils down to is law enforcement wants to be able to commit domestic violence and still keep his/her gun and job. What about the victims? Is his/her gun rights more important than the victims'? "Criminals have all the rights and victims have none." What that boils down to is that the patriarchal society at the founding was too stupid to know about crime victims and the proper balance of rights.

Posted by: George | Mar 18, 2013 4:03:37 PM

George --

"It was fear of felons that won Heller, not fear of the government."

Actually it was an analysis of the historical context of the Second Amendment. Both Scalia and Stevens argued from that perspective. Scalia just got one more vote.

If a point be made of it, however, people are well advised to fear felons. I wish, for example, that Dr. Petit had had a gun and used it on the felons who invaded his house and raped and killed his daughters (and wife). I also wish some teacher at Sandy Hook had had a gun and blown Adam Lanze into the next world before he killed as many kiddies as he did. Don't you?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 18, 2013 4:23:51 PM

Mr. Bill, you me got too scared to type an answer. I must look out my window to see if they are there laying in wait. Or maybe I'll go to the library now.

Posted by: George | Mar 18, 2013 4:30:28 PM

Bill, what makes you think I think Heller was wrongly decided? I can/will readily assert that I want felons --- especially after they have served their time and seek to re-enter society --- to have all the civil rights that non-felons have (subject to reasonable restrictions). That is why I support the right of felons to vote, and to go to church, and to write op-eds, and to have a lawyer in their defense, and to not have property taken without due process or just compensation, and so on.

What seems wrong to me about Heller/McDonald is the curious effort to assert that gun rights are fundamental and/or tied to a natural right to self defense, but then to say Martha Stewart or Scooter Libby could be sent to federal prison for a decade for exercising these rights. As I have said before and will say again, what makes "rights" different than a privilege is that even people we do not like get to have them. I am still trying to figure out whether the NRA or others really sees gun rights as fundamental in these terms.

Posted by: Doug B. | Mar 18, 2013 4:30:36 PM

George --

Do you really think you're doing yourself any good by being so dismissive of the Petit and Sandy Hook atrocities?

P.S. There are thousands of murders each year. If you want to blame people for wanting to protect themselves, feel free. I will not be joining you.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 18, 2013 5:00:57 PM

Doug --

I don't think I said that you thought Heller was wrongly decided. I said liberals (by-and-large) do. You tend to be more open minded than most liberals, in my experience anyway. But just look at what's going on in Congress to see who wants to cut back on, and who wants to preserve, gun rights.

As to substance: I'm afraid you're outvoted on the Supreme Court. The five Justice majority went along with (what has turned out to be) the controlling dicta, and the four Justice minority would not even have allowed gun rights to non-felons, much less to felons.

In other words, I can't spot a single vote on the Court to support your legal position. Certainly all four of the liberal appointees are more hostile to it than I am.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 18, 2013 5:10:48 PM

Mr. Bill, I do not equate your straw men with atrocities. They are not the same thing at all. I am merely pointing out that for the NRA to be consistent it would have to support gun regulation in the name of public safety. For one example, guns kill far more children every year than sex offenders do.

I happen to think the #1 purpose of government is the protection the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. That is what the oath to office always is. While public safety is important from a social contract perspective, the NRA thinks its public safety should trump other constitutional rights. Inconsistent.

I know nothing about the Petit case and ask you to imagine going into that Sandy Hook classroom. Imagine the bullet holes in those little kid's eyes and faces and arms and bodies and thick blood all over the floor. Imagine having to walk in there. I couldn't even do it. It is not rhetorical blood. On the other hand, Michele Moore wants to release and publish the photos of that crime scene. You seem to agree, and I would agree that would pretty much end the debate. But then I think one purpose of law enforcement is to serve as a buffer between victims and the public to help prevent us from destroying our own rights out of revulsion.

Posted by: George | Mar 18, 2013 6:50:01 PM

Bill, I was not in this post asking about SCOTUS views, but the NRA's. And, especially because you wrote an op-ed concerning Scooter Libby's sentencing, I wonder if you share my disappointment that the NRA seems more interested in the gun rights of violent wife-beaters than of Libby or other non-violent offenders who have a felony conviction but seem far less likely than wife-beaters to use a gun for ill.

The reason I focus so much on this issue is because, at least for me, it serves as a good test of the commitment of gun RIGHTS advocates. So many folks want to assert that gun ownership is a right, not a privilege, but then they treat it so much more like a privilege in this context.

If you or others are prepared to say that we are really just dealing here with an important privilege rather than a fundamental right, then I see no problem. But I continue to find curious the ways in which this supposedly fundamental right gets compromised for mere expedience (which, to sound like a broken record, makes it seem as though this is not really a true right --- and really not at all like the other rights s in the Bill of Rights, none of which are forever lost upon any felony conviction).

Posted by: Doug B. | Mar 18, 2013 10:03:20 PM

George, "Mr. Bill" is a play doh character on the show Saturday Night Live.

"Bill Otis" a character too, but of a different kind. The average "liberal" these days supports gun rights. Bloomberg like Stevens, Souter and (Chief Justice) Burger is either a Republican, or someone who helped them out a lot.

There is a left leaning minority that oppose Heller, but one thing about Heller is that the basic core of it is fairly uncontroversial though you might get some complaints when dealing with handguns in certain urban areas, areas in the past thought to be regulated in that fashion. See, e.g., certain Westerns (acts of fiction, but a signal of our understanding of the past, not too much different than some law office history) where guns are collected outside of town.

As to Doug's concerns, sadly, the law has long been that felons lose rights, even once they leave prison, and might be more appropriately deemed "ex-felons." Liberals often were the ones really concerned about that sort of thing, conservatives at times less so. I agree Heller draws too abrupt of a line there though "subject to reasonable restrictions" suggests even Mr. Berman accepts some degree of differentiation, even if RIGHTS are involved.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 18, 2013 11:32:57 PM

Doug --

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a member of or contributor to the NRA, nor do I own or wish to own a gun. Thus, for one thing, I think I have no business telling the NRA, a private organization, what they should believe or whether they should emphasize one part of their agenda over other parts. I also don't give advice to the NACDL or the National Lawyers Guild.

To your question: Second Amendment rights are both fundamental and personal, in my opinion. I thus disagree on this issue with the liberal bloc on SCOTUS, and with the majority of liberals throughout the country, who were, to coin a phrase, against gun rights before they were for them (at least for felons).

But that's not the end of the story. I also believe that First Amendment rights are fundamental, but I have no problem putting people in jail for perjury (pure speech), or including, in some corrupt union boss's sentence, that he is to have no associaton with mob figures, ever (freedom of association). I believe that the Sixth Amendment is also a fundamental right, but I don't believe a defendant has the right to a lawyer not licensed to practice in his jurisdiction, or one who has been kicked out of the bar for faking evidence (see Charles Daum).

In other words, I believe, as almost every sensate person does, that fundamental Constitutional rights are subject to qualification.

If I am correct about that, then the only question is where the line should be drawn. The law now draws the line for Second Amendment rights at a felony conviction. That is a broad brush, to be sure, but is sufficiently related to a compelling state interest to stand up, as it uniformly has in post-Heller cases.

If I were to give the NRA advice, which as noted I am not, I would say that the better position is to oppose gun rights for BOTH felons and adjudicated violent people (I am not wedded just to wife beaters). I also oppose gun rights for children and the insane, although the Constitution reads the same way for them as to the rest of us.

As to Scooter Libby: I thought that his sentence should not include prison time. I never said that he should be pardoned. I never said the fine should be rescinded, and I never said beans about civil rights restoration.

He was convicted on sufficient evidence of lying to a grand jury. People who do that (and commit similar offenses of deceit, like Martha Stewart) bring it on themselves. The courts and Congress have correctly, in my view, refused to re-arrange the law for people who assumed a known risk when they broke it.

P. S. There may be children mature enough to be trusted with firearms (indeed there are almost certainly tens of thousands of them), and there may be insane people whose particular defect would not make them untrustworthy with firearms either. But Congress has never been required to draw a line that fine in this area. Same deal with felons.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 18, 2013 11:48:38 PM

I believe there are a few misconceptions/red herrings/false premises at work in this thread.

@ George-You seem to be under the false impression that the backbone of gun support from gun owners and the NRA is "self-defense." You are grossly incorrect. Even if we lived in a country with absolutely zero crime and no need for self-defense, the NRA would exist as long as liberals wanted to take away guns.

@ Professor Berman-I will not entirely argue against your claim regarding the inconsistency behind the NRA's position with felons. However, as a gun owner and NRA member, I do not believe its stated position is its first choice. Personally, I believe anyone not currently incarcerated or under current sanction (probation/parole)for a felony should be able to exercise their right. In other words, commit any crime and go to jail or on probation, lose your gun until you are off sanction. Once you are released, get your guns back. I believe this is how the founders would have seen this issue as well.

But for the liberal fascination with "incarceration nation", I believe this would be the NRA position as well. If you are too dangerous to own a gun, you should be in prison. (This is why I do not support sex offender registries either. If they are dangerous enough to be registered, keep them in prison). Unfortunately, we live in a society where liberals rule with false compassion and dangerous people will be in public. This creates a need for a fallback position for the NRA.

@ Bill No guns for kids? They share equally in the right to own a firearm, with the permission of their parents of course. My 7 year old owns a compound bow and will be getting a .22/20 gauge over/under this summer. With adequate supervision, there is absolutely no reason why he should not be able to exercise his rights as his father and mother do.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Mar 19, 2013 9:45:47 AM

i'm with TarlsQtr1 here especially on this!


"However, as a gun owner and NRA member, I do not believe its stated position is its first choice. Personally, I believe anyone not currently incarcerated or under current sanction (probation/parole)for a felony should be able to exercise their right. In other words, commit any crime and go to jail or on probation, lose your gun until you are off sanction. Once you are released, get your guns back. I believe this is how the founders would have seen this issue as well."

Since that was pretty much the law of the land till the mid 1960's and and JFK killing. So for pretty much 200 years THAT WAS THE LAW. Funny i don't remember any Constutitional Amendment after that covering guns!

So as far as i'm concerned no matter what those fucktards on the High Court say. It is legally STILL the law!

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 19, 2013 3:34:48 PM

Prof. Berman is concerned about the rights of "felons" and some note the problem of "liberals" wanting to take guns away. The "felon" line is found in the majority of Heller. Not a "liberal" among the majority though Kennedy is a honorary member on certain issues. But, "liberals" and "Democrats" are a concern of some here and apparently the NRA would exist just because they are so scary. Meanwhile, the President Pro Tempore (D) has a gun range in his front yard.

The "Martha" article cited above notes that federal law set forth a "crime of violence" line in the 1930s. If there be a line, and even there, it should at best be temporary generally speaking, that makes more sense. This would incorporate non-felon domestic violence. Overall, this suggests the value of full review of such questions, instead of the advisory opinion character of Heller on various exceptions. The ruling should imho have remanded the handgun issue itself, instead of its quickie paragraph or two on that.

But, "the law" is not what I think it means, but what the justices have held, even if we want to call them bad names. And, five conservatives clouded the issue in a ruling that focused on self-defense. Others, however, might wish to make this a partisan issue while many of the Dems clean their guns or hunt or whatever while Warren Burger turns over in his grave given the result of Heller.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 19, 2013 5:56:32 PM

Joe --

Yup, enough Senate Dems had the sense to side with the Republicans that Sen. Feinstein put up the white flag today. But you can't possibly be denying that the decided majority of Congressional Dems favor more gun control, and the decided majority of Congressional Republicans opposed it.

Are you denying that?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 19, 2013 6:17:18 PM

TarlsQtr1 --

I support the main platform of the NRA, which was to win Heller and make that win stick despite the efforts of Mayor Emanuel and other anti-gun Dems to turn it into a dead letter.

The liberals that Joe coos over have all manner of glowing respect for the civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights -- except, that is, for the civil liberties protected by the Second Amendment, which get to sit in the back of The Liberal Bus along with such other troglodyte ideas like self-reliance, national solvency and executing child killers.

Children are not emancipated and thus do not enjoy the same rights at law that adults do. Children can't drive, drink, smoke or enter into contracts. They can be subject to truancy and curfew laws that cannot apply to adults.

In the end, though, you and I would probably disagree only about the age at which children can be trusted with guns. I would say that, for a four year-old, the answer is never. The older you get, the closer the question becomes.

As for your son, I agree that he should receive firearms training now, so that he'll be more familiar with weaponry when he becomes CIC after the '44 election.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 19, 2013 6:31:28 PM

ahh but your wrong here Joe!

"But, "the law" is not what I think it means, but what the justices have held, even if we want to call them bad names."

Sorry but i don't remember God coming down out of the moutains to appoint them...therefore they are just as liable to be wrong and fuckup as anyone else.

As far as i'm concerned they went to the head of the total fuckups and ignore list in 2002 when they managed to "creatively" interpet "NO expost" to SURE!

So as far as i'm concerned nobody has to listen to shit they have to say and no decision they make is even close to legal!

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 19, 2013 11:28:20 PM

joe: "And, five conservatives clouded the issue in a ruling that focused on self-defense"

me: it wasn't a cloud of the issue at all - finding a pre-Constitutional right to self defense was the only way they could reach the result they wanted to. Which would be a perfectly reasonable if they based Heller upon the 9th Amendment (which they ultimately did in finding a preexisting right to engage in self defense). But for obvious (birth control) political (abortion) reasons (sodomy) they couldn't acknowlege a personal right to have handguns for self defense under the 9th Amendment because some enterprising person would point out the obvious inconsistency between their ruling there and their ruling in other 9th Amendment based cases (specifically the right to be left alone by the government in one's intimate sexual activities). Thus they had to claim that the Second Amendment protected an individual right despite the fact that the plain language (which Scalia in every other case believes is controlling for better or worse) as well as the bulk of the historical evidence of the Second Amendment makes it clear that it was intended to protect the state militias. If there was a pre-Constitutional right to self defense which was so self evident that it doesn't need to be written down then the 9th Amendment would protect it and the 2nd Amendment protection of the right would be unnecessary.

Of course, the Supreme Court didn't explicitly find a 9th Amendment right to self defense which includes a private ownership right of guns. Instead they created a historical and linguistically dubious claim of a 2nd Amendment right while denying that they were in fact finding a 9th Amendment right. Probably to keep people from asking "and how is this is different from Roe v. Wade?" Although more appropriately it should be how is this different from Griswold v. Connecticut a case which many on the right think was wrongly decided even if they really cannot go against the result (birth control for married couples being way less controversial than abortion). From my perspective, Heller was probably the right decision for what was definitely the wrong reason. The right reason for the Heller decision was to base the case on the right to privacy based cases (which is to say Griswold, Roe v. Wade, and the Texas Sodomy case) - both the right to self defense and the right to privacy are clearly protected by the 9th Amendment being clearly pre-Constitutional rights which are so obvious as to not require enumeration.

Ironically as a 9th Amendment right, the right to own guns for self defense is probably stronger than an individual right under the Second Amendment because the Second Amendment specifically calls for regulation of the "militia" - that seems to give the government a lot more leeway in regulation than a 9th Amendment right to self defense would have. Probably an additional reason why they took the twists and turns to fit an individual right on the Second Amendment where it was never intended to go. That way gave the green light for "regulation" of the individual "right to bare arms" such as banning even non-violent felons from having guns. While a 9th Amendment right to self defense may not be so limited. Hence the historical abomination that is Heller is likely as much based on the Supreme Court finding a way to keep the guns out of the hands of those scary felons as much as getting guns in the hands of a nice trusted government employee like Dick Heller.

Erika :)

Posted by: Erika | Mar 20, 2013 9:30:01 AM

Erika --

Do you think Congress can, consistently with the Constitution, designate classes of people (felons, the mentally disturbed, what have you) who can be barred from possessing guns?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 20, 2013 9:38:54 AM

Hate to break it to you Erika! But there was no such thing as a "state militia" recruited and equiped by the state at that time. The militia as you call it was made up of citizen volunteers who brought their own guns from HOME!

That fact and the fact that our future new government was an experiment is why the 2nd amendment exists!

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 20, 2013 11:13:38 AM

Bill of course i do - personally i believe that we would be better off as a society if all handguns were turned into plowshares and that dogs, burglar alarms, and exterior lighting are better for personal protection at home than guns :)

i don't think there is any question that regardless of what Constitutional theory you use (and obviously if you believe that there is no individual right to possess firearms Congress can even pass a total ban (obviously politically unrealistic) for everyone) that Congress and the states have the power to pass a bar on owning or possessing firearms by dangerous persons - and clearly those convicted of violent felonies (non-violent felonies is a much closer issue), domestic violence, under protective orders, and found to be a danger to self and others due to mental illness would qualify

Posted by: Erika | Mar 20, 2013 11:22:11 AM

Erika --

OK, fair enough. Thank you for your response.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 20, 2013 11:32:59 AM

Interesting that in the arguments given, either, for, against, or anything in between, not fundamental argument was given for the main focal point behind the reason for the 2nd Amendment. That reason was for citizens to repel its own government if the government failed to cede its authority to the constitution. A "well-regulated militia" was not just about national defense of external enemies, but internal ones as well. Obviously, in the 230+ years we have evolved to a point where a "well-regulated militia" cannot realistically defend itself against the government being that nukes, tanks, and stealth bombers aren't available at local gun shows.

But nevertheless, the point is that the 2nd Amendment was created as a guarantor of the 1st Amendment; without either, the entire Constitution would be vapid.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Mar 21, 2013 5:07:59 AM

BINGO! Eric you hit it right on the head. Those who want to limit the 2nd refuse to admit the only reason that documetn and the other 9 plus the original constitution was even written was all those citizens had their own damn guns and were willing to use them on a govt that had went rogue!

pity current american citizens don't have the same balls!

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 21, 2013 11:31:07 AM

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