[Kooler]: gun advocacy again
Paul G. Allen
pgallen at randomlogic.com
Wed Mar 22 11:17:09 PST 2000
John Oliver wrote:
> Jason Shelton wrote:
> > I don't mean to ruffle feathers on this one (believe it or not), but I think
> > that anyone should be welcome to own a firearm, but be required to have a
> > license for them. It should be very similar to vehicle drivers licenses,
> > different classes for different sorts of firearms with training and testing
> > involved in order to recieve said license.
> > I believe that the only people that would suffer under this sort of system
> > would be the ones who shouldn't have a gun in the first place. Of course
> > that's merely my opinion, and I'm not even allowed to own a firearm right
> > now anyway.
> While I agree with you in principle (if we require people to show a
> certain degree of proficiency to drive a car, it kinda makes sense that
> we make sure they know how to use a firearm safely and properly!), I
> must disagree in practice. Any such licensing scheme could (and would)
> be quickly subverted to make sure only the "right" people own firearms.
> Who the "right" people are would, of course, be determined by Bill
> Clinton and Janet Reno. Are you frightened yet?
> We come back to a couple of simple, inescapable facts. The right to
> posses firearms (that's a *right*, not a privilege... big difference) is
> guaranteed to us in the Constitution. The only reason that the Second
> Amendment is the Second and not the First is because our Founding
> Fathers realized that "the pen is mightier than the sword". The primary
> freedom we have is our right to express ourselves. The next freedom is
> the ability to pick up a weapon when an oppresive government tries to
> shut us up. All other freedoma and rights are dependant on these first
> two... what good is a protection against unreasonable search and seizure
> or double jeopardy if you aren't *free* to begin with?
I wasn't going to become a part of this thread, but something in me will not
allow me to ignore it.
On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves
back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit
manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed
out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, 12 June 1823
To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional
questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us
under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and
not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and
the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare
jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more
dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other
functionaries are, to the elective control.
The constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to
whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members
would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and
co-sovereign within themselves.
--Thomas Jefferson to W. Jarvis, 1820.
No free 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, Proposal Virginia Constitution, June 1776 1
Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C. J. Boyd,
The bottom line is this. The Bill of Rights 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.
Everywhere in the Constitution and other documents of the time, we find that the
word "people" refers to every free citizen of the United States. In addition,
the militia is defined as:
The right of the people to keep and bear... arms shall not be infringed. A well
regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the
best and most natural defense of a free country...
-- James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, 8 June 1789
Have we the means of resisting disciplined armies, when our only defense, the
militia, is put in the hands of Congress?
-- Patrick Henry
The signification attributed to the term, Militia, appear from the debates in
the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the
writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia
comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common
defense... And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were
expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of a kind in common
use at the time.
--US Supreme Court, US v Miller
It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms
constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States
as well as of the States.
-- US Supreme Court, Presser v. Illinois
If we allow government to infringe on our right to keep and bear arms, even in
the tiniest little nit, what's to stop them from going all the way and
eliminating the right altogether? Many US court battles are based upon
precedent. This means that by allowing one law to be passed, or a legal decision
to be made, other more stringent laws/decisions can follow using the former
decision/law as precedence for the new decision/law.
Our forefathers knew this, they knew how important it was for the people of the
United States to keep themselves armed in order to ensure their continued
freedom. They knew that even one small seemingly insignificant step to remove
this right from a free citizen would eventually spell disaster for the freedom
of the people of the United States.
Now I'll gracefully try to back out of this debate before there are 200 posts on
the subject. :)
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