Show of HandsShow of Hands

Whichendisup December 10th, 2015 5:45pm

Do you understand the 2nd Amendment to be, at its core, *more* about a right to defend oneself or a right to own weapons?

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12/11/15 12:01 pm

You can't separate the two. Keep AND bear...They're both in there

mac Oregon
12/10/15 10:48 pm

Defend, with weapons!

abusara i drink and i know things
12/10/15 7:48 pm

The answers aren't mutually exclusive.

sammibo Nevada
12/10/15 5:45 pm

2nd Amendment: "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."

Zod Above Pugetropolis
12/10/15 4:07 pm

Keep and bear, no suggestion that their use be limited to personal defense. Especially considering at the time it was written, for many, if you didn't hunt or know someone who did, you didn't eat.

Liberty 4,032,064
12/10/15 4:05 pm

The former is just the reason given for not violating the latter.

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 3:43 pm

Thank you Rosebud, and thanks for the share. 😊

lcamino Florida and Georgia
12/10/15 1:56 pm

It is clearly both. "The right to keep and bear arms" is straightforward, and only misunderstood by people who don't agree with it.

Ebola1 Florida
12/10/15 1:54 pm

It refers to an individual right to own and bear arms. This has been the ruling in every single case on the 2nd before SCOTUS.

12/10/15 2:21 pm

In a trained militia, with a weapon that shoots a ball bearing!

Ebola1 Florida
12/10/15 2:25 pm

Nope. SCOTUS has ruled it as an individual right, not connected to any militia. In one ruling they didn't rule out reasonable restrictions. That's why we can't buy bazookas or automatic weapons.

Highlander1 Iowa
12/11/15 7:55 am

The amendment mentions the militia and the state. I would like to point out that the state is referring to the people of America.

palindrome California
12/10/15 1:35 pm

It's not about owning weapons for the hell of it. The text is pretty explicit what it's intended aim is for, and the people who included it in the BoR also expressed it very clearly: militia for defense against foreign invasion and worst case scenario against govt.

It's not a property right

Ebola1 Florida
12/10/15 1:58 pm

SCOTUS would disagree and has done so in every single ruling it has ever made on the 2nd over the last 200 years. They explicitly stated that it refers to the individual's right to own and bear arms.

12/10/15 12:21 pm

Self defense was understood as a natural right, which didn't need to be specifically enumerated. Bearing arms is the step beyond that, and required protection, as it was specifically prohibited by the government they just revolted against- specifically, the king enacted the 1774 import ban on firearms and gunpowder, the 1774-75 confiscations of firearms and gunpowder, and authorized the use of violence to enforce these laws.

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 12:37 pm

Blackstone specifically spoke to that point. He described the right to keep and bear arms as an ancillary to the right of self-defense in context of England's prohibition.

Interesting stuff.

KAnne Atlantic City, NJ
12/10/15 12:04 pm

I see it as defense. Especially considering life at the time.

lightsabr2 The Big Sky
12/10/15 11:36 am

"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."

I read that as the right of the people to keep and bear weapons in the defense of themselves and their communities. Really both ideas are at the core of the second.

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 11:58 am

I think the tool used for defense could be argued as a sign of the times. If this had been written today, I could see other avenues of power and influence possibly codified.

lightsabr2 The Big Sky
12/10/15 12:04 pm

What are you getting at? That when violence comes to your doorstep there's a better defense tool than a purpose-built firearm?

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 12:08 pm

I'm not getting at anything. It's meant to spark thought and discussion.

Nowadays, a person with fat checkbook can have more power (and far more influence over many aspects of life) than a person with a gun. This is in general, obviously not with respect with having a gun drawn on you.

12/10/15 12:23 pm

Guns are a great equalizer between people, then and now. This amendment is about equalizing the potential use of force between the government and the population.
Am I understanding you to say that wealth redistribution would be the topic of the second amendment if it were written in modern times?

12/10/15 12:26 pm

And while you're talking about abstract forms of power, when the shit hits the fan, the only force left is the type that can be affected by individuals. That's guns. It used to be swords. One day it might be some other form of weapon used for self defense. But today it's definitely guns.

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 12:44 pm

Milk, as I said, this isn't about those specific instances where a gun beats the checkbook. And no, I don't think wealth redistribution would be written into the constitution - that's crazy talk sir. 😁

When I came across this idea, I started pondering how we can defend ourselves and when a gun is useful and when it isn't. For most of us, we will never find ourselves in a position where we would need to defend ourselves with a gun. However, i could see many wanting to feel capable of defending themselves against political, economic or social policy they feel is unjust.

lightsabr2 The Big Sky
12/10/15 12:58 pm

"However, i could see many wanting to feel capable of defending themselves against political, economic or social policy they feel is unjust."

The threat of force and the use of force through the means outlined in the 2nd are the historical safeguards against those abuses. That's an extreme case, but the 1st amendment addresses less extreme means of abuse prevention through speech, media, and assembly.

12/10/15 1:04 pm

I think you're mixing up various threats their associated protections.
Raw force- second amendment
Political force- vote, freedom of speech
Economic force- freedom to move, courts
I think we get into trouble when we try to use the wrong defense against the particular types of force.

lightsabr2 The Big Sky
12/10/15 1:07 pm

That's a good point, and a good example of why various protections are appropriate.

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 1:14 pm

Milk- i see raw, political and economic force as all part of a free state and hence my expanded view of self-defense. I understand why some and possibly many won't see it that way though.

12/10/15 1:39 pm

So what other "avenues of power" are you proposing be codified?

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 1:53 pm

Lol, I'm not proposing anything be codified. I'm saying I could see others being codified.

With regard to political force, removing the increased influence of money, possibly something that equates one voice with one vote. Reducing the ability of lobbyists to influence policy, making them more sources of information rather than those that say what the end result of that policy should be since their interests don't necessarily coincide with that of the public.

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 1:55 pm

Imo, that would be a form of offensive self-defense, a preventative measure to be sure but one that is meant to protect the political power of the individual against those that would coop it.

12/10/15 2:00 pm

It's impossible to legislate something like that, though, because no deterrent is powerful enough to discourage people from seeking political influence.
And where do you draw the line? If the individual vote really does become the heavyweight of our political system lobbyists will simply target individual voters. Do you think Pharma ads are bad? Just wait until lobbyists try to get our attention.

12/10/15 2:02 pm

The only laws that really last are those that give people more power and more freedom, where the existence of the law itself is the incentive for following that law. That's why the first and second amendments have persisted and are still extremely strong today.
Laws that restrict freedom are just waiting to be broken.

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 2:04 pm

I don't believe it is impossible to legislate, damned difficult - yes.

And if the lobbyists turn their attention to the public, I'm fine with that (though I grant you it would by incredibly annoying). At least then the public would be the ones ultimately with the voice that say yay/nay. They wouldn't be kept in the dark by the secret deals and promises made by the people they elected to serve them, not the lobbyists.

12/10/15 2:07 pm

Most of the public still wouldn't know what's really happening behind the scenes or what they're really voting for. Politicos already use misinformation to keep the public from figuring out what is really in their best interests. That would only get worse if they depended on our votes for every issue.

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 2:12 pm

I'm also not suggesting we vote on every issue, that sort of infrastructure isn't feasible, yet - but perhaps someday.

But see, you've made my point - the influence of those in the shadows. I could see an attempt to fight that in a similar manner (though along a different path) as the fear of a tyrannical gov't using force through weaponry back at the beginning of the country.

12/10/15 2:15 pm

My point is that you'd have to fight it by securing some right for some group, not by limiting some right for some other group.
If you create a law banning lobbyists, for example, you'll just drive lobbyists underground. They won't stop.
You'd have to make a law that empowers some group so much that lobbyists just don't make any sense anymore.
Good luck πŸ˜•

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 2:22 pm

I didn't say it would be easy! πŸ˜‰

In general, it's a high standard I hope we, as a country, will strive for someday - that the public's interests and needs will be placed on the same footing as those of the economically advantaged. That ordinary persons have an equal say, not a muted say.

12/10/15 2:23 pm

The civilian weapons manufacturers are raking in the cash! Be afraid, be very afraid😱

12/10/15 2:34 pm

Afraid of what?

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 10:55 am


Amazing! 12 votes and it was down voted 3 times. So pathetic.

12/10/15 11:34 am

Upvoted :)

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 11:53 am

Thanks, it seems to be on the upswing. I just find it hysterical since this is such an unbiased question! Def one of my better worded ones.

OhTheIrony Learning from you
12/10/15 10:54 am

Great question.

I don't think it has much to do with defending oneself at all.

Guns are a part of the conservative identity. They are a fundamental part of our individualistic culture and they reflect the enduring American dream (or perhaps the illusion of it).

When you tell conservatives that you want to restrict their gun rights, you are attacking a part of who they are. In a way, you're assaulting their core values and saying that they can't be who they are.

I believe this is why the outrage from the right is so fervent. I also believe these are valid concerns and that we must take them into account when drafting holistic gun legislation.

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 11:03 am

OTI, do you reject the general consensus that a "well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state" refers to the threat of a tyrannical gov't as opposed to a threat from an outside force?

OhTheIrony Learning from you
12/10/15 11:14 am

No, I do not reject it. The second amendment, as it was drafted over 200 years ago, is very clearly intended to prevent a tyrannical government. By allowing militias to bear arms, you allow for countermeasures that allow the populace to rise up against injustice.

The first amendment is much the same way. It has the freedom of speech and assembly. Why? Because these two freedoms allow dissidence and make it easier to revolt.

That being said, the founding fathers were gravely concerned about the US turning into a dictatorship/monarchy. This was a long, long time ago and the document needs an update.

The modern era requires a different set of rights when it comes to guns because we have different risk factors. We need to be willing, as a nation, to have a second look at our gun rights.

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 11:17 am

That's all fine and well and I agree, but to my thinking then self-defense shouldn't be completely excluding from what it was about regardless of what it may mean today.

Maj Worth Economist
12/10/15 10:47 am

I read a fascinating thing the other day that talked about the second amendment and how it was a concession to the slave holders.

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 10:51 am

I'm sure there were many contributory ideas & needs that were juggled to come up with the constitution and its amendments.

If you are able, a link to that would be interesting to read.

Maj Worth Economist
12/10/15 10:56 am

I will have to find it when I get home. It was really something.

SupremeDolphin They.them
12/10/15 11:06 am

Just commenting so I can get the notification for the link, sounds interesting.

palindrome California
12/10/15 1:37 pm

Yeah, to provide a force that can react quickly to quell slave revolts. I've read about that as well

Maj Worth Economist
12/10/15 2:45 pm

Here it is:

I don't know how much credence to give it, but it certainly seem plausible.

Maj Worth Economist
12/10/15 2:53 pm

And here's another link supporting that notion:

(Note: the professor's name is Bogus, not the theory being put forth.)

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/11/15 1:40 pm

Maj, thank you (forgot to do that yesterday!)

Interesting stuff, it does make sense. But I'm hesitant to go along with the idea that this is a primary or even a strong reason for a constitutional amendment - just doesn't seem to click and I'm having a hard time articulating exactly what seems off about it.

But I appreciate the info!

Whichendisup uniquely unoriginal
12/10/15 10:47 am

Inspired by something I stumbled upon: "Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England - Book the First - Chapter the First: Of the Absolute Rights of Individuals, page 139"