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Deseret News Letter to the Editor

3682 Views 16 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Jeff Johnson
From Deseret News 11/29/2007

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Obviously the need for a state militia has been replaced by the National Guard and Coast Guard, whereby trained military personnel are entrusted with the defense of this country against domestic enemies. Their weapons are tightly controlled and safeguarded.

The only two reasons for a citizen to own a firearm is for hunting or defense of the household from intruders. In either case, ownership of a handgun, shotgun or rifle is more than adequate to satisfy these purposes. There is absolutely no need for any United States civilian to own any weapon more powerful or sophisticated than these.

Joe Bialek

I'll bet this clown from Cleveland doesn't own a gun so I'm sure he speaks by experience. He got the militia thing wrong as most gun control freaks do. I think there are 3 reasons to own a gun - Hunting, Protection, and pure joy of shooting! Some of the best times I have had with my son and friends are out in the west desert plinking around with the "arsenal". Oh, and I'll be the one to decide if a rubber-band, BB gun, handgun, shotgun, rifle, assault rifle, howitzer, cruise missile, or intercontinental ballistic nuclear weapon is adequate.
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I loved what you said about YOU deciding what is sufficient for your "arsenal". I choose mine also....
I have to admit I'm not sure I'm comfortable with individual ownership of cruise missiles and nuclear weapons. In my mind the line is drawn somewhere between the howitzer and the cruise missile (in terms of knayrb's list). Which is funny, because it goes against my personal philosophy (at least, on face value).

This is one of those "ethical dilemmas" I have been unable to resolve in my own thinking. Maybe someone could shed some light and help me out???
It's a moot point since economics dictates that I can't afford much more than an assault or .50 cal. snipper rifle anyway. :roll: There are also some problems with concealing a howitzer hooked to the back of my truck. Maybe open OC might be more applicable in this situation.

Seriously the point is that I don't want someone else deciding what is adequate for me. A Geo Metro car is not adequate for my needs either yet maybe for someone else (dang thing won't carry my arsenal & ammo).

"If the courts started interpreting the Second Amendment the way they interpret the First, we'd have a right to bear nuclear arms by now." -- Ann Coulter
Oh, and I'll be the one to decide if a rubber-band, BB gun, handgun, shotgun, rifle, assault rifle, howitzer, cruise missile, or intercontinental ballistic nuclear weapon is adequate.
I'm a huge fan of the 2A and carry regularly, but I have to think you are not serious about the cruise or nuclear missiles. I agree the guy in the article is a wacked anti.

To that point, what should our government do if someone started their own military? For example, could a city (even an unrecognized, "not official on the books" one) start an army? I think the constitution is pretty clear that it's the Federal gov'ts responsibility for the military.

But if people started stockpiling serious military weapons, where do you say it isn't or is an army? If an individual or especially group of people started buying military jets, cruise missiles, etc., where would you all draw the line?

A friend of mine's father had a real British war jet that he flew once in a while. A pretty new one, too (not something from WWI). But he never outfitted it with serious weapons.

Where would you draw the line on the 2A?
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knayrb said:
There are also some problems with concealing a howitzer hooked to the back of my truck. Maybe open OC might be more applicable in this situation.
OC with a less conspicuous truck... :D

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Well, since the Utah State Constitution doesn't talk about a National Guard as a Militia perhaps the following may be applicable as pertains to Utah Constitution and Militia:



Section 1. [How constituted.] The militia shall consist of all able-bodied male inhabitants of the State, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, except such as are exempted by law.

Sec. 2. [Organization and equipment.] The Legislature shall provide by law for the organization, equipment and discipline of the militia, which shall conform as nearly as practicable to the regulations for the government of the armies of the United States.

I would assume, if you can pardon an "assumption," that this means that the state of Utah would be able to keep weapons of any type it felt appropriate in order to maintain its Militia force. These I believe would be under normal lock & key and available for use should a need arise where the Militia need to be called forth.
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Sorry for the misunderstanding. I am kidding on owning large military weapons. I suppose on the internet it is harder to express sarcasm because you don't have the ability to hear voice tones and facial expressions nor do others know what a kidder I am.

I am not for citizens owning weapons that are designed for taking out structures or people on a mass basis. I am for allowing us to chose which weapon we need to use to strategically protect us from individuals without harming other innocent bystanders. As a matter of fact I carry a S&W 642-2 with .38 spl +p rounds and only that gun. From my impression on this site and other forums it is one of the smallest choices with the least number of rounds in CC. That's my choice and I have my good reasons. Hey, if a S&W model 500 with an 8.5 inch barrel works for you as a BUG go for it!
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All of this still doesn't get at the root of my question (BTW, knayrb, I did figure you were probably at least HALF kidding about the civ-mil weapons).

For those of you (who I suspect there are a very large # of you here) that, like me, have a strong belief in Individual Rights... I'd like to hear how you address this specific issue of Individual Rights, even if like me you have been unable to rectify the dilemma.

Of course, due to the lack of input thus far, I'm guessing everyone else is in the same quandry as I have been -- just hoping someone had more insight than I do on the subject.

And, for those who maybe are a bit confused about where I'm coming from, let me make some clarifications up-front: 1) Assume we are talking in a context free of any sort of legislation (including the Constitution, 2) Assume we are looking at this issue from the perspective of a brand-new society based on individual Rights and Laissez-Faire (sp?) Capitalism, such as the one that was just forming at the beginning of this Country (and unfortunately has gotten side-tracked to some degree). With the issue of individual Rights (and, of course, Responsibilities and everyone else's individual Rights) trumping all else, owning one's own cruise missile would seem a Right. And yet, most of us would say that common sense would argue against individual ownership of cruise missiles. This is the dilemma I'm referring to. Where is the line in such issues (and how are we finding that line), or if there is no line then why.
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bane said:
Where is the line in such issues (and how are we finding that line), or if there is no line then why.
I think one guiding factor was alluded to by knayrb in the previous post to yours. For me it all has to do with personal defense vs. societal defense. Cruise missiles are not a personal defense weapon. They are a defense for the entire society. A handgun *is* a personal defense weapon.

We have a right to personal defense of ourselves and our families. The government has a right to societal defense on the whole. That's why cops are not (and should not be) bodyguards. They are not tasked with personal defense. That is an individual right. When citizens extend that right beyond their immediate family, they start to cross the line for me.

This still has a lot of gray area in it, but I think it's one guiding principle.
The 2nd Amendment, just as the other 9 Amendments to the Constitution which collectively are known as "The Bill of Rights," was put in place to protect citizens from the government. It has absolutely nothing to do with hunting or the "pure fun of shooting." The people's right to keep and bear arms is the ultimate form of "Checks and Balances." Just as our forefathers used their guns to end tyranny in the form of the Colonial system of government, the founding fathers saw fit to ensure that future generations of Americans would not lose their option to use deadly force to put an end to tyranny again, should the need arise. We are ensured the right to keep and bear arms as a protection against criminals, whether it is the type of criminals that break into houses and hurt people for fun, or the type of criminals that go by names like "Congressman," "Senator," or "President."
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If you read the writings of the Founding Fathers, such as can be found in the Federalist Papers, you can see that they intended that the right of the people to keep and bear their own arms was in part motivated by the need to provide a check against government tyranny. In the ultimate extreme, where the government becomes tyrannical, the people are expected to be able to resist such tyranny with force.

I hope that we never come to that. However, seen in that light, you can see why what the gun-grabbers call reasonable restrictions are nothing short of an attempt to reduce or eliminate the ability of the people to resist tyranny. They can start with a 10-round limit in your magazines, prohibit a pistol grip on a rifle, tell you that you cannot have a flash-suppressor, etc. From there, they will move on to more and more stringent restrictions until the right to keep and bear arms means nothing at all.

I believe that all of the gun-control laws on the books that restrict what type of firearms we can own are unconstitutional, including NFA, GCA & Brady.

Where do you draw the line? I don't know. But I certainly do not believe that weapons of mass destruction are good in any hands, private or government.
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Jeff Johnson said:
Where do you draw the line? I don't know. But I certainly do not believe that weapons of mass destruction are good in any hands, private or government.
I agree with you there, but even that is subject to somebody's interpretation. I've heard the .50 BMG refered to as a WMD by those in favor of banning it. I've read where many things have been refered to as WMDs that certainly don't fit my definition.

Just look at Assault Weapons, that's a definition that defies reason as well. I don't think that the assault weapons ban did anything to further restrict any full-auto or select fire weapons firing an intermediate cartridge. It was just a cosmetic ban for the most part.
Jeff Johnson said:
Where do you draw the line? I don't know. But I certainly do not believe that weapons of mass destruction are good in any hands, private or government.
With regards to restrictions on standard arms, I completely agree with you. I *DO* think individuals should be allowed to own large, powerful firearms... even modern-day "cannons" like we used on the ship to defend us against small-craft attacks.

And while I'm not sure how or where to draw the line on personal ownership of larger mass-destruction style weapons, I'm not sure I totally agree with the idea that a gov't shouldn't be allowed to have them; I mean, in principle I think you are right... mass-destruction = indiscriminate killing and frequently, maybe inevitably, leads to targeting of innocents. But in this modern world with other nations owning weapons of mass destruction it would be national suicide to NOT own them as a counter-balance. And, given the nature of individuals, cultures, and countries, it is probably impossible to imagine a world where EVERYONE agrees to get rid of their WOMD, which necessitates all other sane countries to also own at least some themselves.

On my first ship while I was in the Navy there was a quote by George Washington that was posted on the door to our ship's "War Room" (more accurately called "Command-In-Control" for those who care, or "CIC") -- I searched online for this quote a little bit but didn't find it so this is merely a paraphrase from memory; I'm fairly certain there was a bit more to it and it was more eloquent but this is the gist of it:
The best defense is a strong offense.
I few other quotes that I found that seemed relevant to this thread (if not necessarily relevant to the issue of WOMD):
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the
American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. From the hour
the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies
prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are
equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere
restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's

- George Washington

No man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the
people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to
protect themselves against tyranny in government.

- Thomas Jefferson, June 1776

The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be
properly armed.

- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188

Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no
matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear
arms. ... The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against
arbitrary government, one more safegaurd against the tyranny which now appears
remote in America but which historically has proven to be possible.

- Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (1960)
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The original quote and several subsequent replies all demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of what the second amendment really says.

I am just going to cut and paste something I wrote about this earlier:

It doesn't mater whether we are or are not members of the militia, army, cheesecake foundry, or frogman patrol.

It states clearly the right of the people to keep and bear arms......It says NOTHING about the militias right to do so. It says nothing about us being in a militia. A militia has nothing to do with the second amendment at all. The preamble, if that is an acceptable term, that addresses the militia is there to demonstrate why it is critical that the people be armed.

Let me see if I can demonstrate this.

It had already been conceded that the state could raise an army in the constitution (the finer points of this were heavily argued, many believed we should be able to raise an army in time of need but that a standing army is dangerous to the liberty of the people).

Thus some smart blokes realized that a standing army could be used against the people and the people needed to be able to resist.

Therefore we have "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."

Translation for the slow:

If the state needs an army to ensure the security of the state the people must be armed as a means to oppose the army should it be used against the people by a tyrannical government.

That is it, nothing more nothing less. Any other interpretation is a lie and only furthers the aims of lairs.

Liberalizing the interpretation of the second amendment for any purpose does NOT help us.

Widespread misinterpretation of the meaning of such a simple sentence is derived from one place. Lawyers with and agenda and the sloth of the common man. All to often people rely on others to do their thinking for them. We all do it; there is no shame in economizing your time by trusting the word of an authority in matters we are not expert. Where someone should be critical is in evaluating the authority we are choosing to trust. If the authority doesn't pass the sniff test then one should investigate for themselves.

Anyone with a wit of sense would conclude that the place to turn for answers to this question would be the exhaustive and often much more verbose writing by the men who authored the bill of rights. Rather than turn to the rather suspect and subjective opinions of these dubious so-called scholars of grammar.

BUT we are talking about lawyers here. They can be counted on to lie, obfuscate, and confuse anything that they believe furthers their aim. Of course they know an argument based on commas is absurd; but it is one of the only avenues they can exploit so of course they will. It is what the immoral do; it is their job and from the perspective of a lawyer they have an obligation to do so.

I wish I had a job that would allow me to throw out my morality and replace it with something much easier.
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Eukatae: *EXCELLENT* response... I loved the summary of the 2A... now that I have read it from the perspective you put forth, it makes it hard to read it any other way. The background you gave (regarding the FF's arguments over having a standing army) is spot-on and reinforces your angle immensely. Thanks!

That being said, I am still unsure about the WOMD dilemma I posed.
Oh, don't get me wrong. I don't advocate that the United States should unilaterally get rid of all our nukes while Iran, North Korea, and other states are seeking them as fast as they can. Far from it. If we hadn't had nuclear parity with the Soviets, we would have been fried long ago, although we came VERY close at least once, and probably twice to having the balloon go up.

It's a pipe dream at this point to totally rid the world of nukes and other WMD.
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