Monday, December 15, 2008

The Bill of Rights

I learned on that today is the day in 1791 that the Bill of Rights was ratified.

The Bill of Rights is commonly viewed as consisting of the first ten articles of Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America. But it is the specific guarantees of individual liberties in the first eight amendments that the public normally regards as the Bill of Rights.
It seems like I hear more about the 2nd Amendment than any of the others, of course that could be due to what I'm reading. The whole thing seems a bit antiquated to me, I must admit. Haven't many of these Amendments been variously interpreted through the years? There are ones about the nature of an accusation, about the “assistance of counsel” for the defense, the right to a trial by jury in civil cases, and the Amendment which protects individuals from punishments that are too harsh and fines and bail that are too high. Haven't these rights been treated in an extremely flexible manner throughout the centuries?

Why then is the 2nd Amendment spoken of with such reverence, as if it were an untouchable right, certainly not something up for interpretation or even discussion?

In 18th Century America weren't there a number of laws that have since been changed or actually repealed? Why would the 2nd Amendment be considered inviolate? Why do I so often here about the "Founders," as if that should lend weight or credibility? Aren't they the same guys who had slaves and denied women basic human rights? How does that work?

I'm sure these simple questions have been asked and answered, but indulge me if you would.


  1. "The whole thing seems a bit antiquated to me, I must admit. Haven't many of these Amendments been variously interpreted through the years?"

    Yes, but they seem to be MORE encompassing rather than less. My freedom of speech extends now to the words I type here, to my cellphone conversations, all things that didn't exist in 1791.

    (also things like phone conversations are covered under the 4th as well...also people can't search the content of my computer without a warrant)

    Generally the bill of rights holds very firm today, and with the exception of towns requiring permits to "Peaceably assemble" generally the rules are interpreted broader on the scale of individual liberty...except the 2nd which is very often spoken in terms of being repealed.

    Hell NOBODY remembers the 3rd Amendment, but nobody is calling for its repeal, nor any others. The 2nd is the Amendment constantly under assault.

    As for laws being repealed, local, state and federal laws are quite a bit different than Amendments to the Constitution, and of the original 10, none have been repealed.

    Also, with your nature of sympathy to criminals, I'm sure you read just as much about the 4th Amendment. And your recent concern for OJ Simpson, I'm sure if you were more of a constitutional scholar you could have invoked the 5th.

    Also you read a lot about the 2nd Amendment because you make calls for such things as "Reduce the number of total guns in America by half."

    So you're calling out for it.

  2. Mike,

    Why do I so often here about the "Founders," as if that should lend weight or credibility?

    I don't know how much you've read of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers or if you've even have studied the Constitution. If you had, you would recognize what a remarkable document it is.

    At the time it was written, there was no government where the people had a right to govern themselves, to have a government with power divided-not unified. For thousands of years, battles were fought, wars waged to consolidate power, not dissipate it. Here were the heroes of the land, the leaders of an epic struggle and they wrote a document that limited their power, unheard of at the time.

    The Constitution was/is a flawed document, it has to be because there is no perfect form of government. Yes, the founders were also flawed, allowing slavery to continue. Resolving that argument would have doomed the fledgling nation, only 100 years later it almost did. In order to understand how remarkable the Constitution is, a person needs to study the Articles of Confederacy and see how that document failed.

    As far as the other amendments, again I think you've missed the arguments. Honestly Mike, a little more discussion or questions in the comments some of these points would be made clear. How much time have we argued against the War on some Drugs, against the death penalty (cruel & unusual), heck, even the right to vote for ex-pats. Read the posts again, look for all the times we've defended the other rights.

    As for as the reverence of the 2nd amendment, I dare you to come up with another amendment that is a clear in its declaration of limits. SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED, is the clearest, most direct statement possible.

  3. Mike,

    Want to find out if Gunnies only think of the 2nd?

    Make a run of the gun blogs, see how many are posting about today being a holiday--"Bill of Rights Day".

  4. the entire constitution, amendments and main text both, have been treated extremely flexibly these two centuries past. i go back and forth with myself over why that is; perhaps because it was all written as a massive political compromise between people who just barely managed to agree on a text as fuzzily written as this is, or perhaps because it hasn't been revised in all those years since and we've had to shoehorn an old text to fit changing circumstances too much.

    (really, why hasn't the federal constitution been revised top to bottom? most state constitutions have, many of them more than once. my state's one dates from only the 1960's, now. maybe the process was made too hard to complete back then?)

    a lot of the interpretations that've been done have been repugnant to the plain text of the constitution, no matter how necessary they were. we likely do need a stronger, more active federal government than the text technically allows for; but we've got it in large part by "interpreting" the interstate commerce clause and the eminent domain clause to cover things they obviously were never meant to. as well as by flatly ignoring the ninth and tenth amendments, which were not put in there to be ignored.

    in a sense the fuzziness of the original compromise text is good, because it allows for logical extensions like the ones Weerd mentioned. when you're writing a meta-law (which is what constitutions are), flexibility like that is probably what you should be striving for. that's something the folks still trying to write a constitution for the EU are failing to appreciate, i think. but in another sense, it can backfire on you, too.

    for a long time, folks thought we needed very stringent gun control, and it was got by "interpreting" the second amendment to mean things that nobody literate in English could have swallowed without doing violent harm to their reading comprehension faculties. the ACLU still shames themselves by hewing to this nonsense. well, it turns out that we don't really need gun control all that strict, so we can start reading that text a bit more naturally now.

    ...when you think about it, the amendment process is well and good, but when you have an amendment in there for no other purpose but to nullify an earlier amendment, maybe it's past time to rewrite the thing to let the dross cancel itself out and fold the amendments into the main body of the text. be a bit clearer on some stuff too, like perhaps explicitly spelling out the fact that the section which details the rights of the citizens ("the people") does not include any rights of the government. because even back in the 1790's, folks knew about the importance of context.

  5. Mike,

    You've said you are preparing a post on the 2nd amendment, anyway to get you to consider a point/counterpoint debate on the subject?

    Pick a person, Weer'd, Nomen, Tom, myself, etc. Ask one of us to prepare a post on the subject. Maybe even exchange the posts by email once or twice to allow rebutal, points the other didn't consider, then have upload both commentaries as a single post?

    I realize this is your blog and you've been very open about the comments, just something to consider.

  6. I believe that the constitution, and especially the bill of rights has stood the test of time amazingly well. One of the problems I have with politicians is that too many seem to pick and choose which articles and amendments they support.

    The meaning of the second is pretty plain, and there isn't much wiggle room for alternate interpretation. Most that I have seen wind up something like "The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed without some sort of lame excuse".

    Can you think of an alternate interpretation of the second that still leaves something worthwhile protected?

  7. i've just now heard of a proposal titled the American Freedom Agenda Act. rather than talk about it myself before i've had time to read the proposed bill entirely, i'll let Ed Brayton convince you of it.

  8. The only thing wrong with the Bill of Rights is it did not impose the Death Penalty by Public Flogging on people who violate the natural rights of men as detailed in the document.

    They are not privileges, they are RIGHTS.

    Madison whiffed on that one.

  9. i have no answer for you on that score... i've asked the same thing myself many time...

  10. Wow, Nomen, that's a GREAT bill.

    I'm going to toss that link up on my blog, and probably send out some emails tommrow!

  11. Tom Sends Mikeb302000 to


    to maybe learn some things he missed in school either from poor teachers or being distracted looking out the window or looking at some girls bum seated in front of him.


  12. But, Tom, don't I get any credit from you for posting about the Second National Holiday? In fact, because of my time zone, my post was one of the first.

    Now, what about that ambiguity in the wording of the 2nd Amendment? Hasn't it been understood to not so much refer to "individuals" as to "individuals who make up a militia?"

  13. Mike,

    The ambiguity of the 2nd amendment is a manufactured issue.

    Please tell me how you can have a citizen army (militia) ready to defend the country from enemies foreign or domestic, IF THOSE VERY CITIZENS don't have their own arms and aren't knowledgeable in the use of arms?

    Please tell me how in every other use of the word individual the Bill of Rights refers to the exercise of a right by a single person(s) but not in the 2nd?

    The right of free speech isn't just for groups is it? The right of a person to be free from unreasonable search and seizure doesn't exist only if that person is a member of a union, church, political body does it?

    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

    Here is an example of the government not doing its job and the individual people stepping up

    The aftermath of the hurricane has featured prominent stories of citizens legitimately defending lives and property. New Orleans lies on the north side of the Mississippi River, and the city of Algiers is on the south. The Times-Picayune detailed how dozens of neighbors in one part of Algiers had formed a militia. After a car-jacking and an attack on a home by looters, the neighborhood recognized the need for a common defense; they shared firearms, took turns on patrol, and guarded the elderly. Although the initial looting had resulted in a gun battle, once the patrols began, the militia never had to fire a shot. Likewise, the Garden District of New Orleans, one of the city's top tourist attractions, was protected by armed residents.

    Now, if the people, individual people, don't have a right to own firearms; after reading that story tell me how they were to defend themselves?

  14. it's been misread that way, mike, but that's a load of absurdist nonsense. the bill of rights were all meant to safeguard the rights of individual citizens as against the government. that's the plain reading (and the normal judicial understanding) of all the other ones; that's why the anti-federalists insisted on them.

    pretending that this one time when an amendment in the bill of rights uses the term "the people", it doesn't mean individual citizens, yet all the other times it does, even against the historical background of the bill of rights having been all about the rights of individual citizens --- quit torturing your own reading comprehension, mike, that "interpretation" is nonsense.

  15. If the president or legislature can restrict who a right applies to without changing the constitution, is it still a right?

    Can the government redefine "journalist" or "press" to include only those that the government approves of? "The founding fathers didn't foresee electronic communication, so unless you use a printing press, you aren't a journalist. Assault presses capable of more than 100 pages per minute will be licensed and regulated".

    The militia act of 1903 defines the "unorganized militia" as "every able-bodied man of at least 17 and under 45 years of age who are not members of the National Guard or Naval Militia."

    Does this mean my wife doesn't have the same gun rights as me?

    I lose my rights if I'm handicapped, or when I get old?

    I'm about 40 pounds too fat for the army--Do I have to give my guns up or can I still keep them until I turn 45?

    If 17 year olds are part of the militia, why can't they buy guns?

  16. Just for giggles, you might care to know:

    THE FOUNDERS' SECOND AMENDMENT: Origins of the Rights to Bear Arms, by Independent Institute Research Fellow Stephen P. Halbrook, has skyrocketed to the following rankings at

    #1: Law
    #1: Civil Rights and Liberties
    #1: Constitutions
    #1: Constitutional Law
    #1: Revolutionary and Founding History
    #12: History
    #11: Professional and Technical
    #26: Nonfiction (all)

    The book has soared to an overall ranking of #140 at and #105 at Barnes & (With the enormous response, temporarily sold out of the book and is now being restocked.)

    So some people actually care about this "Bill Of Rights" crap. :-)

    It's a good book too, I've got one of the first copies printed.

  17. The Other Mike posted this:

    Read this over and over again until you regain your reading comprehension.

    Then we'll talk again about Constitutional issues. Deal?

  18. In one final hammering of the day at the deaf:

    In the North American Review, 1911, Horace H. Lurton wrote, "The contention that…the Constitution is to be disregarded if it stands in the way of that which is deemed of the public advantage…is destructive of the whole theory upon which our American Commonwealths have been founded."

  19. I lied.


    case of Westbrook v. Mihaly, 2 Cal. 3d 756, the Supreme Court ruled, "Constitutional rights may not be infringed simply because the majority of the people choose that they be."


    Let us make it an Even 20 posts for now?

    Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has taken upon itself the role of interpreters of the ‘intent’ of the Constitution rather than the guardians of it. This goes against what both Jefferson, “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.” Madison, “I acknowledge, in the ordinary course of government, that the exposition of the laws and Constitution devolves upon the judicial; but I beg to know upon what principle it can be contended that any one department draws from the Constitution greater powers than another, in marking out the limits of the powers of the several departments. The Constitution is the charter of the people in the government; it specifies certain great powers as absolutely granted, and marks out the departments to exercise them. If the constitutional boundary of either be brought into question, I do not see that any one of these independent departments has more right than another to declare their sentiments on that point.” and Hamilton, “In the first place, there is not a syllable in the plan under consideration which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution, or which gives them any greater latitude in this respect than may be claimed by the courts of every State.”

    Shame that a purported "American Citizen" has to learn his American History from a poster on his blog.

  21. Thanks for the schooling, Tom.

    The idea that they are all "individual" rights makes sense to me. I guess what we disagree on is whether there really is the need for a "militia." On Weer'd's blog, he said I'm the one living in a fantasy world. Maybe so.

  22. Simple question, Mike. Why WOULDN'T we need a Citizen Militia?

  23. actually, i agree that there's currently no need for a citizen militia. but the second amendment doesn't go away just because the militia did.

    the founders thought a militia was necessary; because of that belief, they wanted every individual citizen to have the right to own weapons. the first half of the amendment is explanation of their thinking, the second half bears the legal weight of declaring what the right of the people is to be.

    but the linkage there is explanatory, not conditional. the amendment doesn't say, "as long as a militia is necessary..."; it says "a well regulated militia being necessary..." --- that first part is some kind of political bone, thrown in as part of the compromising process or left over from wrangling with some earlier, wordier compromise. you'd have to torment your reading comprehension to read it as a necessary condition on the second part.

    well, the founders were wrong about a militia being necessary. we've got a (mostly) free and secure state without one right now. but that doesn't make the second half of the amendment void; the people still have a right to weapons, even if the reasoning originally used for why they ought to have that right no longer applies. no conditional in that language, after all.

    and, to be honest, i think the mere fact that the sky isn't falling and our nation isn't under dire threat because of our privately held guns should be reason enough to let us keep them. there is no compelling government interest in any gun ban; such a ban would do no good, and would possibly do some evil. if that's not good enough reason to allow us to keep our property, what ever could be?

  24. Sorry Mike & Nomen,

    But the need for a militia still exists, if nothing the federal & state government response to Katrina showed that.

    There was looting in the city of New Orleans after the hurricane, did the cops stop it? Not entirely, in some cases the COPS JOINED IN ON IT. Think about that, you are a shop owner, people are looting your store, they very people that Mike says should be the only ones with the guns are also LOOTING.

    The very fact that in other parts of the area people joined together, patrolled their neighborhoods and prevented any further problems is proof the concept, the reality of a militia still exists.

    Also, you are correct in that a militia isn't needed- most of the times. We have many, way too many if you ask me, layers of law enforcement that prevents crime from getting out of control most of the need for a militia.

    But a militia isn't called out unless there are problems so it's a catch-22; If we say we don't need a militia when we really need a militia it won't be there.

    Mike, you are always highlighting out of control cops (for even more see David Codrea's War On Guns blog), what is the last check on their behavior if it isn't an armed citizenry?

  25. There IS "A NEED FOR A MILITIA" MORE POWERFUL IN ARMS THAN THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT to have the Constitutional Republic that was intended. Otherwise the public servants turn their masters into their slaves as has happened with the growth of a standing Army.

    Hamilton said in as many words :The French and Germans don't need a militia as they have mercenary soldiers to guard their borders that are quite capable of the task. They are protected from threats from outside their country by them but are at the same time OPPRESSED WITHIN THEIR COUNTRIES BORDERS by the same mercenaries at the whims of their rulers. Such is not the sort of Republic we desire.

  26. "actually, i agree that there's currently no need for a citizen militia."

    I agree too. I also agree that there is currently no need for the gun in my pocket, the seatbelt or airbags in my truck, the fire alarms and prevention systems in the building ect ect.

    Not having a need "RIGHT NOW" is a pretty stupid reason to get rid of somthing.

    As Bob points out there have been several instances when a citizen militia is needed because militay and law enforcement are unavailable, or unwilling to do their duty....and of course there have been contless times in history when police and military are exactly the people who are out to do you harm.

    Such events are not happening right now....but we would be fools to think they can't happen ever again.

    Like Nomen and Bob's (and my) mantra about CCW, its not the likelyhood its the stakes.

    Mike, with his distrust of Police should be the first to admit that giving them the monopoly of force is pure stupidity.

    This is why the 2nd Amendment in all it's functions is alive and well.

  27. Not having a need "RIGHT NOW" is a pretty stupid reason to get rid of somthing.

    well hey, don't blame me, i didn't go and abolish the militia. i don't even want to see that formally done. i'm just stating the fact that, currently, there is no well organized, regularly trained citizen militia in the USA. hasn't been for a very long time, in fact.

    whether or not there should be is something i haven't made up my mind about yet. most other countries seem to do well without such a thing, but that's not to say it couldn't be useful anyway. there's a real concern that, in times of chaos or societal breakdown, the difference between "militia" and "lynch mob" might become too thin for comfort. arguments on both sides, and me stuck somewhere in between so far...

  28. Nomen,

    Here is the actual law concerning the militia.

    TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART I > CHAPTER 13 > § 311
    Prev | Next
    § 311. Militia: composition and classes
    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
    (b) The classes of the militia are—
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    I would argue even against the "untrained" aspect of the militia.

    There are many veterans who have passed their enlistment periods who have been trained. A little known fact to many is that each person enlists for a period of active duty and also a period of inactive duty. During that time frame they are subject to recall to active duty. After that inactive period is up, those people would be available to for a core of the militia.

    There are also re-enactors; from Civil War, WWI, WWII, etc; that are trained in the tactics, equipment and military concepts.

    Also to consider are the vast number of sport shooters from disciplines like the IPSA, IPDA, etc. Those people could also be considered to be trained...shooting and moving from concealment like many of those do is excellent training for urban combat.

    Then even people with CCW licenses can be considered trained.

    Reserve and auxiliary law enforcement units, ROTC (at high school and college level), heck one could even list the Scouts as a trained units. I don't know of too many boys that don't have rifle and shotgun training.

    So, contrary to popular myth the militia hasn't been abolished despite the attempts of many gun-grabbers.

  29. Nomen:

    There are actually quite a few organized and well trained militias in the US. We just fly under the radar these days except for some mouthy bastards like Mike, David, Chris, and I.

    If you were going to pick a poster on this board who was warned by the FiBBers "if you and your friends keep buying bulk military ammunition and holding exercises in the woods we will try to find some way to charge you as potential 'domestic insurrectionists'" can you guess who that poster might be?

    People notice when you buy 25,000 rounds of 5.56 IMI at a time and play war games in the woods. So the militias have become quieter and more cautious, but they're still there!

    Read this from my buddy Mike's writing:

    The great thing about gun shows is that they are the last bastion, the last gathering place, of a free people. You meet people there, chat with them, argue sometimes, shake hands and then you won't see them until the next time. Gradually, over the years, you grow a group of friends that you otherwise wouldn't have met.

    And the thing about them, the thing that sets them above most of the rest of the folks you meet day-to-day is that they're FREE, and they don't give a hoot in hell what anybody thinks about them.

    I ran into two such friends at the last gun show here in Birmingham. One, a longtime "pragmatist" that I had known for 15 years while fighting in the political trenches together (and with whom I had argued frequently with) came up to me and shook my hand. After the pleasantries he said: "You know, Mike, I always thought you were full of sh-t. The way you used to rave back when Clinton was in, you used to scare the hell outta me. Now, well, now I see you were dead right. We're going to have to fight these bastards." I nodded, shook his hand again, and said, "Welcome to the fight."

    The other fellow I ran into was a retired Army officer who has a background of training indigenous troops overseas. We chatted a bit, musing on the political scene. Looking around at all the obvious newbies packing the show, he said, "I've trained troops on four continents, I guess I can train dumb Alabama rednecks. They're goin' to be comin' down out of the hills in a few months lookin' for someone to show 'em the difference between a muzzle and a buttplate." We both laughed.

    I commented that neither he nor his buddies were overburdened with packages, unlike the rest of the folks at the busy show. "Hell, Mike," he said, "we're ready. We've been ready. We're just waitin' for the bastards to kill YOU." He threw back his head and roared. And after a moment, so did I.
    --Mike Vanderboegh


    Theodore Roosevelt said, “In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American.”

    When you decided to go expat and against the supreme laws of the land of your birth, did you choose to "un-assimilate"????

  31. "The great thing about gun shows is that they are the last bastion, the last gathering place, of a free people."

    Tom, Please tell me you don't believe that literally. Please tell me that you read that as a statement of hyperbole. Otherwise it's laughable, even more so because you accuse me of being naive and having my head in the sand.

  32. Mike,

    How do you feel about the need for a militia now that you've read a few replies?

    Also, how about the need for your other rights? For example, in your daily life, if we aren't committing crimes we don't 'need' a governmental limit on unreasonable search and seizure until the government overreaches, then it's too late.

    Do you not feel the government has trampled many of the limitations in the Bill of Rights?

    Also, something to consider, people have a right to self defense. People have had that right long before the Constitution and will have it regardless of changes to the Constitution. Even the Supreme Court agrees with that:
    U.S. v. Cruikshank involved members of the Ku Klux Klan depriving black victims of their basic rights such as freedom of assembly and to bear arms. The court decided that neither the First nor Second Amendments applied to the states, but were limitations on Congress. Thus the federal government had no power to correct these violations, rather the citizens had to rely on the police power of the states for their protection from private individuals.

    This case is often misunderstood or quoted out of context by claiming Cruikshank held the Second Amendment does not grant a right to keep and bear arms. However, the court also said this about the First Amendment. The court explained that these rights weren't granted or created by the Constitution, they existed prior to the Constitution.

  33. Tom was quoting Mike Vanderboegh on that "last bastion" statement. now, while i did once earlier laud mr. Vanderboegh's abilities as a fiction writer, based on what i've seen of his sayings and writings so far, i would forgive a person for thinking every last word he writes was over-the-top fiction... he's one of those fiction authors whose politics one has to read around to get to the interesting storyline.

    i think mr. Vanderboegh probably believes that statement literally, which does not paint him in the best possible light to my eyes. i won't speak for Tom.

  34. I was quoting a person other than me. Nomen called it properly. Gun shows are not by any means free, there are agents everywhere snooping around. But you do run into old friends and people from our RKBA resistance movement on a regular basis.

    It was the latter half of the story that was of import, and I believe such conversations likely did occur knowing Mike and knowing our mutual friends.

    Nobody speaks for Tom but Tom.

  35. The bit about being warned by FBI agents about playing games in the woods, legal that they were, is entirely true.

    I'd swear to it in court and I've got the exact agent who came to visit my friends and I's name in my filing cabinet in the FASCIST ENCOUNTERS folder.

    The militias are still around. Life is simpler if you don't spend part of your life having BATFE and FBI agents trying to entrap you so people became quieter. They didn't quit.

    And it's true, in this massive rush to buy guns and ammunition since Obama got elected, outside of some large purchases of primers, not a single one of my social circle bought Evil Black Rifle one. We already have owned them for years.

    Hell, if it wasn't for development by people like us, the serving US Military troops would still have a jam-happy and not very versatile rifle. The Federal government should thank us for that one. In the days before the assault rifle ban, everybody bought Ruger Mini-14s in .223 because AR-15/M-16 rifles were jam happy and had ergonomic problems. Then we all bought a couple an started playing with them and turned it into the LEGO of reliable weapon's systems that runs reliably in everything from .22LR to .500 Beowulf and everything in-between.

    After all that work and no governmental thanks, you think any of us are going to hand them in to a central government?

    Most people in my social circles own more than 20 firearms and have reloading equipment and at least 500 rounds if not 5,000 on hand for every firearm they own.

    This goes back to before Clinton. Reagan was the one that signed the bill that took away new-manufacture machine gun transfers to civilians among other things.

  36. Mike,

    I just realized that you've steadfastly refused to answer or respond (in case I've missed it, I apologize).

    I personally think all of the rights listed are equally important. That is why I've consistently have asked if you would support the same purposed 2nd amendment restrictions for the other constitutionally protected rights.

    I mean, really come on, who really NEEDS a blog. You can speak your mind in the privacy of your own home. So, let's have the government approve who can blog.

    How about freedom to assemble? With modern technology (which makes it easier for the government to tap), nobody needs to meet in person. Too many of those peaceable gatherings are being misused to plan frauds, commit assaults, etc?
    {Hey, would rapes stop completely if we passed a law that said even two people couldn't assemble without government permission?}

    Simple fact of the matter is those rights exist prior to the Constitution, repealing even one of them doesn't change that. It simply allows the government to tyrannize the people easier.

  37. Tom, I realize you were quoting someone else. I asked if you believe that stuff literally. That's all.

    Bob, You say, "I just realized that you've steadfastly refused to answer or respond." Very often your questions are more like statements. The device of rhetorical question is very effective in making your points. That's all it is. If you want to know really if I'd be willing to give up my 1st Amendment rights to free speech, the answer is no.

  38. Mike,

    If you want to know really if I'd be willing to give up my 1st Amendment rights to free speech, the answer is no.

    If you aren't willing to give up your right to free speech because occasionally someone misuses it; then why are you asking those of us to give up our 2nd amendment rights because others misuse firearms?

  39. Mike,
    In a way it's true about gun shows being a pretty free place to talk about things. If you talk right to keep and bear arms issues at a RKBA froup meeting or a militia meeting there's going to be at least one federal informant. If you do it at a gunshow, there's so many people to watch, your individual odds of being monitored are lessened.

    Gun show equivalent of conspirators against governments meeting in the kind of noisy night clubs where even the barmaids have trouble hearing orders from the patrons. Even if anybody is wearing a wire, the wire is useless, as would be most any bugs.

  40. Bob asked, "If you aren't willing to give up your right to free speech because occasionally someone misuses it; then why are you asking those of us to give up our 2nd amendment rights because others misuse firearms?"

    There must be legal and philosophical ways to describe the difference between these two things, but I don't know them or care to look them up. But, I imagine it's something like this. The Right to Free Speech is an intangible freedom to do something. The right to Bear Arms is the right to own something tangible. Isn't this comparing apples and oranges? The right guaranteed in the 1st has nothing to do with an inanimate object that can (or perhaps is designed to) harm people. You shouldn't even talk about these two together they're so different. Only the word "right" binds them together.

  41. Mike,

    Sorry but try again. The 1st amendment has been used to include the right to publish news (printing presses), the right to post a blog(computers), the right to speak to large groups (speakers, microphone, amplifiers).

    So the exercise of the 1st amendment can and often does involve inanimate objects.

    Don't like that comparison? How about the 4th amendment?

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Again a right that clearly includes inanimate objects. I realize that must people don't see how much of our 4th amendment rights we've lost, but do you want to give up the rest of it?

    The concept or idea behind the amendments is what really matters, thus we have (rightfully) decisions saying that free speech extends to the internet, something never conceived or dreamed of by the founders.

    Isn't the concept or idea behind the 2nd the limitation of the government's power to interfere with our rights of self defense?

    How does that change because it is an inanimate object? Common military/militia arms included bladed instruments: knives, bayonets, swords. Those should be just as protected as well as firearms.

    What ties the two together isn't the word right but the word - FREEDOM.