Are you a Second Amendment absolutist? I am. I believe that the Second Amendment prohibits the government from passing ANY law on the right to keep and bear arms. Laws about their use and misuse? Sure. Ownership and carrying? Nope. Not one. If gun control advocates want the government to control guns they need to amend the Second Amendment. Good luck with that. Meanwhile, good luck to my fellow absolutists when it comes to rolling back federal gun control laws, Brady background checks and all. As for as city, town and state governments, them too, as the Second Amendment trumps all. Are you with me? If so, how did you get here?

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207 Responses to DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: Are You A Second Amendment Absolutist?

      • “I believe that the Second Amendment prohibits the government from passing ANY law on the right to keep and bear arms. Laws about their use and misuse? Sure. Ownership and carrying? Nope. Not one.”

        • Yeah, pretty sure you’re taking his stated position to an unreasonable extreme.

          Personally, I believe that anyone that has FULLY paid their debt to society should have all rights restored. No exceptions. Either you’ve paid your debt, or you haven’t. The way it is now, people are perpetually being penalized and it will NEVER end. Until you’re dead. If a felon is out of prison, off of probation, and has met any and all reasonable requirements for restitution, then all rights should be restored. If someone can’t behind that, then I have serious questions as to their morals and values.

    • Hey ROBERT Farago
      your statement about
      ” If gun control advocates want the government to control guns they need to amend the Second Amendment. Good luck with that. ”

      MAYBE everyone of the gun should call the Texas Governor’s Office and strongly encourage him, To REtract HIS REQUEST of the Texas Legislature to call for a “CONSTITUTIONAL CONGRESS” .
      He seems to think we can just put in safeguards(?) to 2A, without truly realizing he could be letting “Pandora” out of her box, and that…. Anything and EVERYTHING could be changed in and of the “CONSTITUTION”!

      He has his head so far up (someplace) as to not see daylight. Maybe well intentioned, but truly misguided!!!!

      “CALLING FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL CONGRESS” is NOT something that expires in so many days. It will accumulate until enough states have called for one. there are only one or two more STATES needed to make it happen.
      Gee, do we really want that is the U.S. Senate shifts even a slight bit to the “LEFT”
      Any protections or (perceived) advantages we ( or they) might have ( Republicans vs. Democrats) is simply an “ELECTION” or two away from potentially changing the bias.

      There have been POWERS since at least the 1970’s that have wanted to “Throw” our CONSTITUTION Away and Start Over With a completely FRESH or Drastically Changed DOCUMENT.

      Texas (people) need to tell the Legislature to “NOT to CALL” for a “Constitutional Congress”!

      The result might be FAR from the intended desire.

      • Many fear a “runaway” convention of the states, like the one that established the current constitution. However, the rules are set to ensure: a) the convention of the states cannot be called unless and until 2/3s of the states apply to congress; b) proposed amendments are approved by 3/4s of the state legislatures. To reach the hurdles means sufficient energy and political will exists to create, then adopt constitutional amendments. There is no power of the convention itself to change anything. (the articles of confederation did not require ratification by the state legislatures, but only by unanimous vote of the members of the congress under the articles; the difference between then and now).

        First 2/3s of the states must agree to petition congress. Second, congress must issue a call for a convention of all the states (there is no time limit on how long congress can contemplate the matter prior to issuing the call to convention. Third, all the states must attend the convention. Fourth, proposed amendments must be published after the conference (again no time limit). Fifth, the amendments must then be ratified by 3/4 of the states. Any attempt to amend the constitution so as to abolish it would be required to be ratified by 3/4s of the states, not 3/4s (or any fraction) of the delegations attending the convention. If, 3/4s of the states decide the current constitution should be abolished, then perhaps it is time to answer to the will of the people.

        • Sam
          your quote “If, 3/4s of the states decide the current constitution should be abolished, then perhaps it is time to answer to the will of the people.”

          Do you really believe that the voice of the “PEOPLE” would be followed or heard. Delegates would be given free Sovereign reign as “if” they are the “voice of the people”. creating and contriving and constructing at ( their) will.

          If you “BELIEVE” That the Delegates would restrain themselves, you truly have been “BLIND” to Government abuse and disregard and arbitrary interpretation of law.

          FROM sweetliberty.org ….letter from Chief Justice Burger Retired
          June 22, 1983

          Chambers of
          Chief Justice Burger
          Retired

          Dear Phyllis:

          I am glad to respond to your inquiry about a proposed Article V Constitutional Convention. I have been asked questions about this topic many times during my news conferences and at college meetings since I became chairman of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, and I have repeatedly replied that such a convention would be a grand waste of time.

          I have also repeatedly given my opinion that there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the convention would obey. After a convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the convention if we don’t like its agenda. The meeting in 1787 ignored the limit placed by the confederation Congress “for the sole and express purpose.”

          With George Washington as chairman, they were able to deliberate in total secrecy, with no press coverage and no leaks. A constitutional Convention today would be a free-for-all for special interest groups, television coverage, and press speculation.

          Our 1787 Constitution was referred to by several of its authors as a “miracle.” Whatever gain might be hoped for from a new Constitutional Convention could not be worth the risks involved. A new convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn, with no assurance that focus would be on the subjects needing attention. I have discouraged the idea of a Constitutional Convention, and I am glad to see states rescinding their previous resolutions requesting a convention. In these bicentennial years, we should be celebrating its long life, not challenging its very existence. Whatever may need repair on our Constitution can be dealt with by specific amendments.

          Cordially,

          (Signature)

          Warren Burger

          Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly
          68 Fairmont
          Alton, IL 62002

        • “Delegates would be given free Sovereign reign as “if” they are the “voice of the people”. creating and contriving and constructing at ( their) will.”

          Exactly. Delegates could do anything they want (providing they act IAW the rules set by congress when “the call” is issued. But even if they attempt to abolish the entire constitution, 3/4s of the state legislatures would be required in order to ratify. Do you seriously think 3/4s of the state legislatures (majority controlled by Republicans, remember?) would ratify radical, abolishment amendments, or other, off-the-wall radical changes? If that happens, then “the will of the people”, as validated by approval of the voting majorities in each state would rule.

          A righteous minority of those voting (and all those righteous voters who do not vote) cannot prevent the dissolution of the nation (if is should come to that). The majority of those voting elect the state legislators, the majority of voting legislators would determine ratification of amendments in a given state. If the majority of the legislatures of 3/4s of the states do not represent the will of the people, then “the people” have nothing left with which to impose the will of the people. In the end, the active or inactive will of the people will prevail. If amendments that overturn the constitution do not energize sufficient voters who would disapprove, what will? Nations get the government they deserve.

        • “Second, congress must issue a call for a convention of all the states (there is no time limit on how long congress can contemplate the matter prior to issuing the call to convention.”

          Actually I think it is a stretch to say there is no time limit. The statement is “The Congress, […] or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention”

          Or shortened. ‘the congress shall’. I see that as saying it must be done immediately, and it seems to me that is the simplest reading of that instruction. If congress waits while such an application is in place, then how can anyone argue that the congress is not doing a ‘shall not’, which is what the constitution instructs them not to do?

          Why is it that all this interpreting is always done by the state to the benefit of the state? Rhetorical of course.

        • Here how it can go:

          Congress receives the final application for a convention of the states.
          Hearings must be held to determine the efficacy of the petitions.
          Hearings must be scheduled.
          Congress (or Speaker of the House) determines when hearings can be scheduled.
          Hearings are initiated.
          Hearings are interrupted for the “regular business” of the congress.
          Hearings are continued.
          Hearings are interrupted.

          The rules of the congress determine the order of business. If the founders had meant that “the call” must go out immediately upon receipt by congressional post office, they would have said so. There is no indication in the constitution that all congressional business must be stopped until “the call” is issued to the states.

    • In the same way you could say that prison is an infringement on someones right to free association or privacy.
      I guess I would be an absolutist for believing that the bill of rights should be followed as written, because people who haven’t committed crimes shouldn’t be treated like prisoners-in-waiting.
      Even after a crime, a citizen who’s paid their debt to society should have their rights restored.

      The better question is why do we let people, who can’t be trusted with a gun, loose on streets where guns were never difficult to obtain. Gun control is based on developing a false sense of security that does us little good.

  1. Yes, I am.

    And the yardstick by which I measure that absolutism is by “abortion rights.”

    eg, the abortionists created the slogan “a right delayed is a right denied!”

    It is the perfect rejoinder to women who get their panties in a twist over my opposition to waiting periods.

    And then the argument over late term abortions is a perfect way to pivot on the “assault weapons” issue. “Well, you want to be able to have an abortion one day before term… and I want an AR-15. If the former isn’t an ‘extreme’ position, then neither is mine.”

    Then the whole issue of licensing and inspecting abortionist clinics for sound medical hygiene and practices vs. zoning gun dealers out of business – same approach there.

    By the time I’m done with my “absolutist” arguments, the (typically) female interlocutor is rather quiet indeed.

    • If abortion rights groups used that maxim, they were cribbing from MLK (“Justice too long delayed is justice denied”), who himself was channeling an age-old truth,

      As for your analogy, have you ever tried it? Does it work? I’m putting money on “No, it’s not the same!”

      • Oh, it does. Especially when it gets to the point that “well, guns were made for killing!”

        My response is: “And so were abortions… so… what was your point, exactly?”

        This is where I can finally make a woman shut up.

        And, yes, I do feel rather smug and victorious when that happens.

        • “…This is where I can finally make a woman shut up.”

          (Singing) “To dream, the impossible dream…” 🙂

        • Excellent Analogy !!!!

          My personal views on those issues are a mixture of both sides that would probably make everyone mad at me.

        • I know you’re too classy to do so, but I would love to see that discussion on video. A master gunsmith spanking a dippy liberal arts major about rights. Added bonus: there’s no right to abortion in the Constitution so one can’t help but wonder where liberal progressives made it up.

    • There’s a difference though. Ownership of a firearm does not guarantee someone’s death. Abortion almost guarantees someone’s death (some rarely survive late term abortions).

  2. I am a constitutional absolutist, the entire constitution is what should be followed.

    And we are way beyond that, look up the videos of senators talking about the constitution regarding the passing of Obamacare. It is clear that these people barely know that there even is a constitution, much less what it says. The no longer care about it, because no one holds them to it.

    I wrote about this earlier on the gunopocalypse thread;

    Why do we even have a constitution? No one pays attention to it. Remember cns news, asking senators about constitutionality of Obamacare:

    Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) “I’m not aware of that, let me put it that way,…It’s not covered in that respect… we’re trying to do, and in this case, we’re trying to help them with their health.”

    • Where in the constitution does it say they can’t. You can argue that heath care effects interstate trade. And a lot more so than some of the other BS that the feds have used the commerce clause for

      • The Tenth Amendment says that they cannot – and they ignore it. They ignore every one of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights except the Second and one portion of the First. I enjoy reading 19th century historical writings because it is so wonderfully nostalgic to pretend I live in a constitutional republic and not a plutocracy.

        • the argument is not about the tenth amendment, it is about the commerce clause. And yes the interpretations regarding it has given the federal goverment way too much power, but you still have not explained why Obama care is not valid using that. (I personally think it is an overreach but you need to defend why it is unconstitutional). Do you think the Federal goverment has the power to tax and regulate interstate trade? What about income Tax. If Obama care was called a tax and tax credit (and to be honest it is) is it unconstitutional? What about social security? What about Medicare?

      • “Where in the constitution does it say they can’t. You can argue that heath care effects interstate trade. And a lot more so than some of the other BS that the feds have used the commerce clause for”

        Well Mike has it right there of course. But even beyond that as you bring in the commerce clause and interstate trade, you cannot just choose one portion of the constitution and use that as a justifications for what you are planning to do with some power or other.

        If you are justifying Obamacare based on the commerce clause, then effectively you have given the state the power to do absolutely anything. What do we do in our lives that does not in some way involve the transfer of money? Even the smallest transaction at some level involves more than one state (and to take this even farther to address the lack of transacting with money… but that’s another discussion).

        So there you go, was the constitution meant to give unlimited and absolute power over the people and the several states? Clearly not, the undeniable underlying intent of the document was meant to limit the power of the state. The commerce clause was meant to facilitate and increase trade among the states, removing complexity and favoritism in states where they put in place arbitrary restrictions and other mechanisms meant to restrict trade thereby giving one state or another advantage in certain areas. The commerce clause was meant to address this and made this trade standardized and fair, to the benefit of all the people, and this is all.

        But this isn’t even my main point. While many on the progressive and statist side of the political spectrum will twist words and meanings to use the constitution to justify their power grabs, we have come to the point where actual senators and representatives do not even understand what the constitution means, they act like it doesn’t even exist. Akaka is the epitome of this, he freely admits that this power is not in the document (you can tell by his speech he is even guessing at this) but that doesn’t matter because his intent is to ‘help people’ and the act of doing good overrides any silly document from 100s of years ago put in place specifically to stop such men from doing what they do.

        This my friend, is tyranny. Obamacare is unconstitutional on many fronts, but it doesn’t matter because some black robed ninny named Roberts said ‘it’s a tax’.

        Come on, how can anyone say with a straight face that this is what the founders had in mind. It’s absurd beyond belief.

        And this is why I believe we need to follow the document absolutely. No state may do things that go against the constitution; there is a process for that, follow it. Otherwise, do what it says, no matter how ‘good’ you are.

        And yes, I know that very few people think this way. Huh. Look how well that has been working out.

        • “If you are justifying Obamacare based on the commerce clause, then effectively you have given the state the power to do absolutely anything.”

          Precisely.

          The founders wrestled mightily with the commerce clause because they understood that the clause could be used to essentially obliterate all other elements of the constitution. It is simply amazing that the leftists and demoncrats have not glommed onto that already.

          Lest we forget (whether you approve or not), the abolishment of the “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” stance of Southern states was accomplished by a toothpick. The feds sued Heart of Dixie Motel over civil rights discrimination because interstate commerce was/is the purview of the federal government, and the toothpicks used at the restaurant of the motel were delivered via interstate transport.

          The commerce clause can be devastatingly destructive if misused. Indeed, the SC has held that refusing to provide products from a farm was interference with the interstate market for those products. The interstate markets were/are served through interstate commerce, thus the feds could compel a farmer to make produce for sale and transport.

  3. RF, did you notice that none of our “rights” are absolute in law? A person can even be compelled to testify against him/herself…if offered or granted total immunity from prosecution. There is no “immunity” exception in the 5th. Only a complete overthrow of the current government can result in any “absolutes” in law, and then only so long as the government does not declare itself immune to restrictions on government.

    @William noted that people in prisons should not have weapons, thus our natural, civil and human right to self defense is “infringed”. Absolute means absolute, no exceptions, no carve outs, no preferences, no clauses. For anyone, ever.

    • The creation of laws by definition means that there will be a means to punish the lawbreakers, and that means prison. To be imprisoned means you forfeit rights that a citizen has. Can you get up on your soapbox in front of city hall while in prison? No, but that doesn’t mean the people do not have the right to freedom of speech.

      This is not a contradiction, although the discussion obviously can become complex.

      • Did you not just justify an exception to “absolute”? Once you start taking the “except for” stance, favoritism takes hold. Any exception can thus be defended, justified and made legal.

        • We have laws, laws must be enforced and taking away rights from lawbreakers does not go against the constitution. I do not see this as an exception, it is a provision in the document.

          I am not going to go back and forth arguing this, if you disagree with me that’s your opinion, however what I stated was very clear; “To be imprisoned means you forfeit rights that a citizen has”.

        • Supreme Court rulings dictate that prisoners have not lost all their constitutional rights. Prisoners retain free speech, right to life, right protest, right to petition for redress, and many more. Nothing in the second amendment provides for forfeiture of the RTKBA, nothing. So, if an enumerated right is absolute on its face, it is absolute, or Humpty Dumpty. In that case, rights are absolute except for….pick your favorite. Even allowing for your “prisoner” carve-out as being integral to the constitution, 2A becomes “absolute, except for prisoners”. Thus “absolute” has no real meaning without modifiers. The term “absolute” is unhelpful.

        • Law has long been a balancing act. In common law, long ago, there was the notion that an outlaw was declared to be ‘outside the law’. By their actions to ignore the law, the protections of the law were withdrawn from an outlaw. It was, in essence, open season all year on outlaws, with no within-the-law repercussions on violating the rights of said outlaw.

        • The designation “outlaw” was useful, beneficial, and sadly cast aside.

          I agree with you comment that law is a balancing act. It is fun to watch “absolutism” under discussion, but at the same time useless. If something is “absolute”, there should be no way to modify it. In the law, something “absolute” would need an absolute authority to which to appeal violations of that authorities sovereign purview. To what do we appeal to enforce an absolute right? The courts refuse the very notion of “absolute”, so where do we go to assert and vindicate our absolute rights? Any legal decision enforcing rights is subject to change at any moment, It seems the only way to enforce absolute rights is for the offended to use direct force against any and all violators.

        • I shouldn’t… but “Supreme Court rulings dictate that prisoners have not lost all their constitutional rights. Prisoners retain free speech, right to life, right protest, right to petition for redress, and many more.”

          The Supreme Court is just a court, it doesn’t make them right. Prisoners have the right to freedom of speech? Fine, let them speak. From their cell. Let em protest, let them petition. Let them live. In their cells.

          You can speak around this all day long, there is no doubt, it cannot be argued, that they give up their rights by committing their crimes, that is why they are imprisoned. They lose even the freedom to move around. Are you trying to argue that they should not be so punished? I don’t think so. I just don’t see the point here of quibbling about absolutist application of the second amendment, we are talking about people who are not prisoners, who have committed no crimes, free citizens. You are just arguing for arguments sake.

        • “You are just arguing for arguments sake.”

          Not at all. I am arguing for the abandonment of the fiction that anything among humans is “absolute”. If words have meaning, then “absolute” can tolerate no restrictions, at all. That leaves us with only discussions of which restrictions on our rights can be tolerated, and by whom.

          The clutching of “absolute” is merely an attempt to place something beyond human interference. A nice idea, but where is the absolute authority that will enforce our absolute rights? If there is no absolute authority that can and will enforce absolute rights, then rights are subject to some sorts of limits, all at the political will of the day (our absolute rights can be cancelled by the amendment process).

          Again, if any of our rights are absolute, where is the enforcing agency? Ourselves, individually? If the majority of those voting decide to overturn the entire Bill of Rights via the amendment process, where do we go to reassert them? Ourselves? When?

          I am arguing for the cessation of discussion of “absolute” rights because there is nothing to be done to make and keep them “absolute”; too many justifiable restrictions.

        • “Sam I Am says:
          May 23, 2016 at 14:19

          “You are just arguing for arguments sake.”

          Not at all. I am arguing for the abandonment of the fiction that anything among humans is “absolute”. If words have meaning, then “absolute” can tolerate no restrictions, at all.”

          Ok then I will take you at your word.

          “The clutching of “absolute” is merely an attempt to place something beyond human interference. A nice idea, but where is the absolute authority that will enforce our absolute rights?”

          I don’t see any argument here, there is no ‘authority’ standing watch over the first amendment. The second amendment states that a right exists, that is all.

          “If there is no absolute authority that can and will enforce absolute rights, then rights are subject to some sorts of limits, all at the political will of the day (our absolute rights can be cancelled by the amendment process).”

          You are speaking philosophically here. The right is written in the document, and it is up to the people to adhere to it. And if the document is amended that process as well is constitutional. You are simply describing a system that is, not some inherent flaw.

          I agree with you that this is a problem, that the state does not adhere to the constitution and there is no way for the people to enforce their compliance… this is definitely an issue and I sure don’t know how to solve it.

          But I *still* have a right to defend myself, my family, my property. An absolute right.

          “I am arguing for the cessation of discussion of “absolute” rights because there is nothing to be done to make and keep them “absolute”; too many justifiable restrictions.”

          This is wordplay. The right exists, nothing needs to be done to keep it. It is outside of the constitution, it comes as part of being a human animal, you have the right to life, you have the right to protect yourself, nothing defends the right, nothing takes it away, however it is possible for people to violate your right to life and harm you, the right still exists.

          Look, we already discussed prisoners and rights, and if you disagree with my assertion that prisoners have given up their rights, that’s fine, that’s your opinion.

          So where else do you see second amendment rights as non-absolute? What are these ‘justifiable restrictions’. I do not think there are any. That is what I mean by absolute.

        • The interesting thing is you may have an “absolute” (whatever that means) right to defend yourself and your family; a right that may be “outside the constitution”. However, if society makes self-defense, and defense of others unconstitutional, you are done. There is no appeal from that (except, maybe, the other-worldly concept that a court can declare a constitutional amendment unconstitutional).

          Since nothing is actually “absolute” regards our political rights, then discussions of which limits are tolerable are perhaps useful, with the understanding you and I can disagree on what is tolerable. Thus, the preferences of pro-gun advocates are equal to the preferences of those who want gun ownership restricted; it is all what one can justify to a majority of those voting.

          BTW, self-defense is all but illegal in the UK, where do the citizens go to find protection of their “absolute” right of self-defense?

  4. If being a “second amendment absolutist” means believing that convicted felons should be allowed to own firearms, or that firearms should be allowed inside sensitive areas such as courthouses and jails then no, I am not a “second amendment absolutist.” It’s all well and good to say “shall not be infringed” means “no restrictions of any kind.” But consider the practical implications of that position…

    • Maybe they shouldn’t own pressure cookers either. Maybe we should legislate that right next to the felon rule. My oh my, whatever did we do before 1968?

      Question. Since you support the no-felon rule, do you support mandatory registration of all firearms and universal background checks necessary to enforce the no-felon rule? Are you conceding that gun control works?

      But consider the practical implications of that position…

      Then why don’t you try to get the amendment revised instead of ignoring what it says.

      • No, I don’t support registration. I also realize that there’s really no way of enforcing the “no felons” rule, and that felons do often wind up with guns. Nevertheless I think it’s good that we have a law on the books that says convicted felons can’t legally own firearms.

        • While likely unenforceable as a primary offence, it can still be enforced as a secondary offence and serves as an aggravating factor in the sentencing phase of any subsequent convictions.

        • Actually, laws regarding felons possessing guns are merely bargaining chips. The punishment for violating anti-possession laws is greater than say, something more easily proven, thus plea bargained. Dangle long prison term for felon in possession in front of a person who can get one or two years copping to a lesser offense, and the gun charge goes away. I don’t have the stats, but over the last 10 years, I don’t remember reading about any convictions for gun possession by a felon. Prosecutors do not really want to go to trial; they want convictions – plea bargains are fast, cheap and big career boosters.

        • And for bonus points (for the prosecutors, that is), if you threaten a sufficiently serious charge, you can actually coerce an innocent to confess in hopes of getting a better deal. And a conviction is a conviction…

          I’ve been getting more and more convinced recently that adversarial justice system is broken in principle, and the only sane approach is for all parties in the court to have the pursuit of truth (rather than the interests of whoever they represent) as their primary goal. I just don’t see how you can have prosecutors (or defenders, really; but prosecutors usually have more power when it comes to your average citizen) behave ethically wrt pursuit of justice in a system where unethical behavior is, at best, not punished, and at worst, rewarded.

    • Might want to be care with that “practical implications” idea. 2Asux still lurks around here. “Practical implications” is just the sort of shoehorn he likes.

      • (1) I am not “2Asux,” and (2) what in hell is wrong with considering the practical implications of the “shall not be infringed means no restrictions of any kind” position? As someone who’s sat in federal court and witnessed criminal sentencing, I can assure you that there’s nothing wrong with laws that prohibit carry into federal courthouses. In my opinion if anyone believes that prohibition is an unconstitutional “infringement,” they are a fool. So no, I am not a “second amendment absolutist” because I recognize that there are certain restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms that are both necessary and proper.

        • Just noting the phrase “practical implications” is a door opener to the anti-gun gang. The rest is just fine.

      • (1) I am not “2Asux,” and (2) what in hell is wrong with considering the practical implications of the “shall not be infringed means no restrictions of any kind” position? As someone who’s say in federal court during criminal sentencing, I can assure you that there’s nothing wrong with laws that prohibit carry into federal courthouses. In my opinion if anyone believes that prohibition is an unconstitutional “infringement,” they are a fool. So no, I am not a “second amendment absolutist” because I recognize that there are certain restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms that are both necessary and proper.

  5. Yes, I am a Second Amendment absolutist, just like I am an absolutist on ALL of the Amendments.

    • Since Stinkeye responded below to what is essentially the same comment, I’ll respond here. For balance.

      +1,000,000

      I have no qualms calling myself a 2A absolutist. The Bill of Rights is pretty clear on this stuff; well, it’s pretty clear to anyone with actual functioning synapses.

  6. My dad was a liberal democratic art history kind of guy in college. Grew up in the big city. Hippie. Later him and his friend were taken hostage by some crazed drug maniacs who were armed with knives and guns. Luckily they didn’t kill him and later let him go after the drugs wore off.

    My dad didn’t like that so later he bought a gun and moved out in the country to get away from all the weirdos. For decades all he had was a small pistol and a shotgun for farm related issues. Later when the ATF murdered a family in Idaho he got upset about it. Then again a few years later the ATF burned down a church in Texas with 80 or so people in it – including little babies. He didn’t like that either and ever onward as he learned to see through the lies of the media and the injustices of federal and state bureaucracies. He understood that government’s purpose had changed. Their goal now is to control every aspect of our lives. Eventually he got pissed off and him and his friends went to the gun show to stock up on SKSs, AKs, ARs, and truck loads of ammo, magazines, and gear. At this point he fully respected the purpose and presence of the 2nd amendment. The 2nd amendment allowed him to make preparations for the worst should they occur.

    And me and my siblings took over where dad left off – A liberal democrat that found out he didn’t have to be a victim.

    • That’s a great story!

      As for the article, I agree! I think anyone can get a hold of anything at anytime to do what they please. Background checks and not selling guns to felons is just going to make people feel all warm and fuzzy like most protectionist laws. NFA laws are the stupidest thing and a waste of tax payer money.

      The antis just want any way to keep this technology out of the hands of as many people that they don’t trust as possible. That’s their end game….

  7. More importantly, I am an absolutist about the fact that those ATF AGENTS should not, I repeat, NOT have the word “POLICE” on the back of their shirts, coats, jackets, vests, or anything else. They are NOT police. They are agents.

    • A lady that perforates a would be rapist just demonstrated she’s willing to use violence. She should be disarmed?

        • I figured, I was trolling. Phrasing.

          I would agree, with the caveat that too dangerous to own a gun = to dangerous to be out of prison.

          Because, even more than most, the gun doesn’t matter to them. They’d use knives, bats, small shrubbery…

        • It’s still “violence” though; you are just willing to give that particular violence the old hunkey dory.

          This is the basic problem with the use of the term “violence” in the context of civil rights discussions. “Violence” not inherently bad. There are many examples of violence that is “good.”

          But, we’ve allowed the other side to set the narrative and create Pavlovian negative emotional responses to certain words and phrases. Violence and gun owner are two examples (for example, how they continually conflate gun owners with criminals).

          More accurately, your original statement should be qualified as “criminal violence” or some such. Otherwise, Peirson makes the proper point.

          But, I gotta say, I still disagree. Past history of bad behavior is not really a better indicator, de facto, of future bad behavior any better than past history of good behavior absolves someone from a crime committed today. We need to be morally consistent.

          Or, are we really comfortable with “once a bad guy, ALWAYS a bad guy” and “No Second Chances” for some folks, but “He deserves a second chance” for others?

        • So the ex-convict has no right to self defense? And let’s be honest – despite being able to defend yourself with a bat or a club or a knife – it’s just not on equal terms with a gun. Someone armed with a gun intent on harming the ex-convict – he is not allowed the right to equal leverage in that defense? If he lives on a farm, he is not allowed the right to defend his family, his property, or livestock? He is not allowed a gun to hunt on his land for him and his family’s food? He has to stick with a bow because a gun is too dangerous but a bow is not dangerous enough to require limitation? Should a foreign entity wage war against us, he is not to have a gun for defense of this nation?

          We entrust the court and jury to determine their punishment. But that isn’t good enough? We have to blanket gun control over all felons regardless of their situation rather than treat it on a case by case basis?

        • @Anonymous

          “We have to blanket gun control over all felons regardless of their situation rather than treat it on a case by case basis?”

          Ever wonder why the US has the world’s largest prison population per capita?

    • And that begs the question, if someone has demonstrated that he/she is violent, why is that person free to roam amongst the rest of us?

      Also, is there no room for those that have changed their ways? Is it appropriate for “felon” to result in a life sentence (a lifetime ban on gun ownership, unable to defend oneself and loved ones, forever at the mercy of the thug)? There should not be a way for the ex-convict to work towards regaining their rights, towards being considered a full citizen? I would suggest that there are none so dangerous as those that have nothing to lose.

      I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind here. I’m just planting seeds for thought.

      • “And that begs the question, if someone has demonstrated that he/she is violent, why is that person free to roam amongst the rest of us?”

        Well, prison colonies sure sound attractive.

        A wall around the burned-out carcass of Baltimore could be a good start…

      • If we want to be absolutist about the bill of rights then we really ought not have prisons. They restrict the criminal’s ability to peaceably assemble and petition the government and their ability to practice their religion as they wish.

        • I actually wonder how long it’ll take before someone mounts a legal challenge along these lines. Possibly not under 1A, but more likely under all those “religious freedom restoration acts” that spread like cancer across the country, and fundamentally amount to being able to declare immunity from most laws and regulations so long as you have a “sincerely held religious belief” that such laws and regulations contradict somehow.

  8. I am not, but at the same time I am no Fudd either. Guns are ultimately an individuals way of defending themselves whether it be from a fellow citizen or an entity such as an unjust government or foreign invader.

    Where I draw the line is criminals with guns. I overall agree with the notion of “if a person can’t own a gun then why are they not in prison still” but the reality is that prosecutors and politicians are sluffing off on this and then trying to pin it on gun ownership.

    Despite the spin and bullshit being pushed out by the progressive media many of these convicted felons are not nice people and their involvement with a firearm should be the thought that honest people carry firearms so they’re not wolves among sheep and therefore think twice or three times about trying to victimize others. An armed society is a polite society.

    • That position has some superficial appeal…but consider what the word “criminal” actually means today. There are a host of felonies that are non-violent, and there are even felonies that don’t involve the “perp” violating anyone’s rights. In fact, many of today’s totally inappropriate (by your standards, not a fully absolutist one) gun control laws make people felons.

      I certainly agree with being able to deprive someone of their gun rights as part of a sentence. (And by the way, parole and probation are parts of the sentence.) I can even see a judge being allowed to explicitly state that gun rights are gone for life–as an explicit part of sentencing, when it is a violent crime. I don’t think, however, that losing gun rights for life should be an automatic feature of any felony conviction.

      • Very rational as it explicitly allows for due process and an appeals process rather than just blanket removal of rights. To add to that a defined process for getting rights back would be a good choice.

      • We need some reforms on what constitutes a felony. Or differentiate between violent felonies and non-violent.

        Carrying a gun should not be a felony. Using a gun to threaten or attack someone should be. Self-defense should never be a felony. As it stands in many locales, you can be exonerated of homicide in self-defense but convicted of a felony for having a weapon. We need change.

        We have allowed (encouraged) lawyers to highjack our justice and legal system. Let’s take it back…..

  9. How did I get there? I read this old piece of paper called the Constitution of the United States. It’s really specific and really clear about that one thing. Then at some point I took some oaths about protecting and upholding it…seems simple enough. Odd so many people have trouble with it.

  10. Absolutist, but not extremist.

    Still it says what it says. People like to try and make it more complicated than it is. Which is frustrating to no end.

  11. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

    “Second Amendment Absolutist” is a phrase straight out of Through the Looking Glass, just like “Commonsense Gun Safety Laws.” Either phrase means nothing or anything, depending on what the speaker wants them to mean.

    If a person doesn’t believe that violent felons currently in custody should have firearms, then he’s carved out an exception to 2A and cannot be considered an absolutist. Unless the word means just what the speaker chose it to mean—neither more nor less.

    So no, I’m not an absolutist, and neither is anyone else.

    • The right of the people. You’d have to first admit that violent felons currently in custody are people.

        • int19h,

          Everyone here is making a ginormous mistake: they are assigning common English to the LEGAL TERMS in the U.S. Constitution (which includes the Bill of Rights via the Constitutional Amendment process).

          There is specific legal significance and meaning to the term “The people”. It does NOT mean all human beings. Rather, it means the human beings who are working together to uphold the nebulous “social contract” and cooperate in our society/nation under Common Law. It explicitly excludes aliens. It also excludes criminals who were convicted through due process and found guilty by a jury of their peers … at least while they are in prison anyway. It excludes them because they have violated the social contract and Common Law and have thus removed themselves from our society/nation.

          So, when the Second Amendment states, “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms …”, the specific legal term “the people” does not refer to prison inmates. Whether or not ex-convicts are part of “we the people” is another question.

        • >> There is specific legal significance and meaning to the term “The people”. It does NOT mean all human beings. Rather, it means the human beings who are working together to uphold the nebulous “social contract” and function as our society/nation under Common Law. It explicitly excludes aliens. It also excludes criminals who were convicted through due process and found guilty by a jury of their peers … at least while they are in prison anyway. It excludes them because they have violated the social contract and Common Law and have thus removed themselves from our society/nation.

          Care to cite the source on that? Especially the part of explicitly excluding aliens, since that would require something in writing?

          And how do you explain, say, the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments, if criminals aren’t “people”?

          Or the fact that courts have repeatedly ruled that aliens do enjoy First, Second, Fourth, Fifth Amendment rights?

          Your interpretation is fundamentally flawed for the reasons I have explained above. If rights can be denied arbitrarily to criminals, then any right can be denied arbitrarily by the legislature, simply by enacting laws that make some widespread activity illegal. Imagine if filing an incorrect tax return would be grounds for rights denial – with due process and all, and we’ll even throw a jury in. How many people in US would lose their rights overnight?

          Finally, think about what the term natural right implies, and what it could possibly have to do with crime (which is non-existent in nature, since crime is defined by law, and law is created by humans, and has no objective standard).

        • Good stuff. Now, we are getting beyond slogans and posturing. Strong ideas about substantive matters. Important things to consider beyond yelling RTKBA; life is not so simple.

        • int19h,

          You bring up some good points. So did I. And I will reiterate that you cannot ascribe common English meaning to legal terms in a legal document, which is exactly what the United States Constitution (which includes the Bill of Rights) is.

          To be totally honest, no one has provided a robust legal definition of “the People” as referenced in the U.S. Constitution. It is such a lightning rod that even the U.S. Supreme Court is loathe to touch it. At most, the U.S. Supreme Court once touched on the definition of “the People” in the dicta of a decision. And, as you should know, while dicta is persuasive it is NOT binding.

          The best, most succinct definition that I can put forward is what I already said. “We the People” refers to the human beings in our nation who agree with the principles of the “social contract”, Common Law, our federal government functioning under the explicit limitations of the United States Constitution, and state governments functioning under the explicit limitations of their respective state constitutions as well as any explicit limitations in the United States Constitution which apply to the states … and who agree to cooperate as a society and nation under the “social contract”, Common Law, and governments limited by their respective constitutions.

          And even this definition has trouble addressing topics such as illegal aliens who, if they are not part of “the people”, government has no legally binding reason to respect any rights at all. Do we really want government to treat illegal aliens as non-human and have free reign to impose cruel and unusual punishment? Clearly, defining “the People” is a work that in progress.

        • The best definition I can offer is “everybody in US jurisdiction”. Which would also coincide with the mundane meaning of the word, and make lawyers unneeded. Anything that results in a net reduction in lawyers is a good thing, so I think I have a strong argument here. ~

    • As 308 stated above, laws imply that a punishment will be administered if broken. If someone is serving their punishment in prison, etc., of course they have no control over their situation and are not “free men” with “rights.”

      • So 2A reads, “the right of free men to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed?” I don’t remember reading that part.

        It’s “the right of the people.” Convicts while in prison are still people. And no, I do not believe that they can keep and bear arms in prison.

        • “Convicts while in prison are still people”

          People? You just called them convicts.

          Are you really going to assert that because we don’t hand out guns to prisoners that there should be all manner of state restrictions on the rights of the people? You know as well as I do that if you give the state an inch, they will take a mile, and an inch.

          Convicts give up their rights when they commit crimes, and which rights they give up are up to us, the jailers, based on law. Not providing them with guns has no bearing on the second amendment or the rights of the people.

        • So 2A reads, “the right of free men to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed?” I don’t remember reading that part.

          Yeah it’s not in there. But prisons, supervised hard labor, and executions existed in 1776. Maybe the founders thought it was obvious that prisoners and slaves (non free men) didn’t have these rights.

          It’s “the right of the people.” Convicts while in prison are still people. And no, I do not believe that they can keep and bear arms in prison.

          I agree they cannot bear arms in prison. We can talk semantics all day, but I believe the originalist view is the situation as presented in 1791. Which is ex-convicts owning guns after their sentences and not during their sentence.

      • Your interpretation essentially allows any right to be taken from any person whatsoever simply by passing a law that they cannot help but infringe. If you subscribe to that, there’s no point in the Constitution.

        • Huh? When you give the state the power to make laws and enforce those laws you give them this power by default.

          Are you saying that convicts all have constitutional rights? Which ones? All of them? Where does it say this?

          “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

          And sure, they have been granted other things by judges here and there – but you cannot deny that by committing their crimes they give up rights, primarily the right to freedom of movement, and in the extreme cases even their lives.

          I am not saying they have no rights, just that using prisoners lack of second amendment protections makes no sense as an argument to restrict the rights of free citizens.

        • >> Huh? When you give the state the power to make laws and enforce those laws you give them this power by default.

          No, you don’t. Indeed, the whole point of the Constitution is to limit the power of state to make and enforce laws (I’m amazed that I have to explain this to an American!).

          >> Are you saying that convicts all have constitutional rights? Which ones? All of them? Where does it say this?

          They do, actually. Subject to limitations, since our standing judicial interpretation of the Constitution is that rights do have limits on them. But it’s not the same as rights being denied outright. For example, convicts still have a constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment (which would be rather pointless if it didn’t apply to them), or against self-incrimination, or the guarantee of due process.

          Where does it say that? In the Constitution.

          >> I am not saying they have no rights, just that using prisoners lack of second amendment protections makes no sense as an argument to restrict the rights of free citizens.

          There is no argument to restrict the rights of free citizens. The point simply is that the plain literal reading of 2A (and, indeed, a bunch of other constitutional passages), which is what is implied by “2A absolutist”, would mean that convicts also have those rights. If you don’t believe that they should have those rights, then you’re not a 2A absolutist, regardless of your stance on the rights of free citizens.

        • I’m a little confused on what your interpretation of my interpretation is. Please tell me what you think my interpretation is, because there is a disconnect between your current statement and what I said. Please explain.

        • “int19h says:
          May 23, 2016 at 16:11

          >> Huh? When you give the state the power to make laws and enforce those laws you give them this power by default.

          No, you don’t. Indeed, the whole point of the Constitution is to limit the power of state to make and enforce laws (I’m amazed that I have to explain this to an American!).”

          Yes I wasn’t very clear there. What I meant to say is that this power is effectively given over to the state by default, that they can take any right they want to by enacting a law that makes the citizen a felon. And we see them using this today. Yes, the constitution is supposed to protect the individual from the state.

          None of this however predicates that the prisoner have the same rights as the free man. Which he does not.

          “>> Are you saying that convicts all have constitutional rights? Which ones? All of them? Where does it say this?

          They do, actually. Subject to limitations”
          — This is what I have said

          “since our standing judicial interpretation of the Constitution is that rights do have limits on them”

          But that’s not why. You are simply stating something that is, not that is causal.

          “Where does it say that? In the Constitution.”

          It doesn’t say anything about second amendment rights for prisoners, you can be sure of that.

          “There is no argument to restrict the rights of free citizens.”

          There most certainly is, the argument is that the 2nd has limits, and you are saying this is proven in that we don’t give guns to prisoners.

          “The point simply is that the plain literal reading of 2A (and, indeed, a bunch of other constitutional passages), which is what is implied by “2A absolutist”, would mean that convicts also have those rights.”

          Again, I do not agree with this, and if it’s a simple matter of semantics then we are using the words differently. Prisoners do not enjoy all the protections of the constitution, their rights are given up when they commit crimes, obviously not all rights…

          Look I think we are talking about the same thing just from different directions. Are prisoners kept from having guns simply by our decision as a society to restrict the second amendment, or do we not give them guns because they have shown that they cannot responsibly use them? I think it’s a lot fairer to say that these people have given their rights up than that we have taken them away.

        • The point simply is that the plain literal reading of 2A (and, indeed, a bunch of other constitutional passages), which is what is implied by “2A absolutist”, would mean that convicts also have those rights.

          This implies that you get to decide what a “2A absolutist” is. Which 2A absolutist, anywhere, supports convicts in prison having gun rights?

          When the founders wrote the constitution and the bill of rights there were some assumptions built in – I’m sure. Murderous convicts with rights wasn’t one of them.

        • There are actually some right here. I recall at least one person seriously stating that, yes, it’s exactly what 2A means in one of the past discussions on this subject.

          And yes, it is semantics, but it’s pretty obvious semantics. “2A absolutism” means that gun rights are absolute – that is, unconditional and superceding everything else. If you believe that something else (like, say, a conviction) can trump RKBA, then you’re not an absolutist, as simple as that. Not saying it’s bad – indeed, I would argue that it is the only sane position – but it is what it is.

          Similarly, if you accept things like copyright and slander & libel laws, national securitylimitations etc, then you’re not an “1A absolutist”.

        • And yes, it is semantics, but it’s pretty obvious semantics. “2A absolutism” means that gun rights are absolute – that is, unconditional and superceding everything else. If you believe that something else (like, say, a conviction) can trump RKBA, then you’re not an absolutist, as simple as that.

          Well. Since you are defining the target principles of this absolutism (which isn’t even what RF believes i’m sure), then pretty much no one meets that.

          The definition of absolutism is:
          the acceptance of or belief in absolute principles in political, philosophical, ethical, or theological matters.

          Now, if the exact literal words in today’s use of the 2A defines 2A absolutism, then no – nobody is going to declare they are such. However, the definition of “absolutism” doesn’t say that one must take the literal exact meaning. It just says “absolute principles.” I personally take the original meaning as the founders intended. Currently, there are discussions today about the meaning of the word “regulation” and what it means now versus what it meant then, and as I stated prior, there are some assumptions the founders apparently built in – i’m sure. “The People” probably didn’t mean warring foreign invaders, even though they are people. It probably didn’t mean prisoners, murderers, rapists, etc, as they are imprisoned with various rights removed. I’m sure they didn’t include these, because they felt it was obvious.

          Perhaps RF should make a new term and define it so we can have a discussion that you and Ralph can relate to “non-literally.”

        • If you want to stick to “what the Founders intended”, there’s a perfectly cromulent word for that already – “originalist”.

          My personal problem with that approach is that using imperfect, fallible human beings as a standard is not a good idea. Also, since we’re not in possession of Necrotelicomnicon, this often veers into conjecture. I’d much rather stick to the words that we have in writing, put there for the explicit purpose of being interpreted in a legal context; and clarifying and amending those words as needed when ambiguities arise.

        • I’d much rather stick to the words that we have in writing, put there for the explicit purpose of being interpreted in a legal context;

          Well, in their current legal interpretation (according to you and Ralph), people in prison, incarcerated, have the right to keep and bear arms. So how can we stick to the words we have in writing?

          .. and clarifying and amending those words as needed when ambiguities arise.

          Well. I tried to clarify them and I think we are all on the same page, except for the above. Make no mistake, they will likely not be amended in our time, despite their lack of exact clear exceptions, that the founders likely thought was obvious. Amending them would be a mistake in my opinion, simply because current freedom hating Marxists in congress would try to make unnecessary, unoriginalist injections of verbiage supportive of their disarmament agenda.

        • >> Well, in their current legal interpretation (according to you and Ralph), people in prison, incarcerated, have the right to keep and bear arms. So how can we stick to the words we have in writing?

          The current legal interpretation is not absolutist, and recognizes that such rights can be denied under some circumstances.

          But, yes, if we were to stick to the words that we have in writing, and nothing but those words, we’d be forced to allow incarcerated people to keep and bear arms. Which is obviously absurd. My point, rather, is that the appropriate way to address this is to add the necessary explicit verbiage to the Constitution, probably similar to what is present in 5A. Then we can stick to those words, and all is good.

          In the meantime, we’re living in an imperfect world. But, well, it’s imperfect in way more aspects than this one, most of them also way more important – so I guess I’ll survive.

  12. The fight for the Supreme Court is a fight for what “shall not be infringed” means. Congress also “shall make no law,” but yet it obviously has, and SCOTUS has said some of those laws are OK (as in, Congress did not make a law that abridges freedom of speech). So when pro-gun people like to defiantly proclaim “what do you think ‘shall not be infringed’ means!?!” My answer is: we don’t know. The First Amendment has years of jurisprudence behind it for what laws abridge speech and what laws do not. The Second Amendment, unfortunately, does not.

  13. If you can be trusted to move freely about society, unsupervised, then there is no reason to deny or restrict ANY rights. Free people arm themselves however they see fit.

    If you can’t be trusted to be armed, then it’s because you should be locked up.

  14. I believe that the Second Amendment prohibits the government from passing ANY law on the right to keep and bear arms. Laws about their use and misuse? Sure. Ownership and carrying?
    ——————————————
    That would mean to be a Second Amendment Absolutist that you think people can carry firearms in prison, or into the White House, or on commercial airplanes.
    So, your definition precludes pretty much everyone, because I doubt you think people in prison should be able to carry a firearm.

  15. Yes. Our founding fathers recognized natural rights, including the right to keep and bear arms. The Bill of Rights is intended to stop the government from infringing on rights that we all have as human beings.

    No right can be absolute. Yelling “fire” in a crowded theater is not protected free speech. Other than that, we should accept very few restrictions on speech. Likewise, infringements on the Second Amendment should be few and far in between.

    • “No right can be absolute. Yelling “fire” in a crowded theater is not protected free speech. Other than that, we should accept very few restrictions on speech. Likewise, infringements on the Second Amendment should be few and far in between.”

      Just remind people that if the logic of gun control laws were followed for the crowded theater scenario, there would be laws written to require people have their tongues surgically removed prior to going to said theater.
      Also, castration would be required of all men since that would remove the ‘tool’ required for them to commit rape.

    • I am unaware of ANY restrictions upon the free exercise of ANY enumerated rights other that gun laws. You certainly are free to use the tools of the 1st Amendment and yell fire in a theatre at any time. Nothing stops you from exercising that right. If said exercise causes harm to others and violates their rights, then certainly laws come into play. Exercising the 2nd should be equally unencumbered. All laws restricting the free exercise of this right are unconstitutional.

      • “I am unaware of ANY restrictions upon the free exercise of ANY enumerated rights other that gun laws.”

        No, prior restraint is a thing. There are circumstances when the gubment can prevent you from exercising your 1st amend rights. We can argue whether your civil rights should be absolute or not, but don’t pretend that the 2A is treated differently in this respect from other amendments.

    • Yelling “fire” in a crowded theater is absolutely protected speech. Because he has the capability of yelling fire in a crowded theater and also – there might be an actual fire in the theater which is a completely valid use.

      You make a invalid comparison. You equate creating injuries and casualties with speech the same as owning and carrying firearms? Owning and carrying a firearm creates no victims. The only restriction to speech is killing, injuring, defaming, libel/slander, etc. Likewise, the 2A doesn’t make an allowance for killing – it only restricts the gov by declaring our right to keep and bear.

  16. To the Founders it was a given that the Federal Government could not regulate arms, it was not one of the enumerated powers. However, the Founders were concerned that the States might regulate arms, thus the preamble to the second amendment, which was originally intended to remove firearm regulation from the list of non-enumerated powers reserved for the states, at least that’s my opinion on it. Regardless, the founders intended for neither the Federal or state governments to have to power infringe on the right to arm one’s self or to be armed.

  17. I am.

    Pretty much been this way my whole life.

    However where I get annoyed is when folks on the right or gun people only care or are only passionate about the Second. They all matter.

  18. Yes but I don’t know where to draw the line. Full auto rifles should be legal with no $200 tax stamp but a RPG should not be. So somewhere between there is a line but I’m not sure where it is.

    • When a line is allowed, it will be moved by the state, to benefit the state.

      The second amendment says nothing about lines. Like it was mentioned above, if there needs to be an adjustment to the second amendment, there is a process for this.

      Seems pretty clear to me.

    • IMHO the line is drawn by the inherent nature of the thing. So, CBR weapons, which are inherently dangerous, may be regulated. LARS, no. F-15 no. M1A1 no. Hand grenades, no. Machine guns, no.

      • Thinking this through a second time, the question really comes down to the definition of the term arms, and I always took this to mean ‘man portable weapons of the type carried by the military’, but is that really correct?

        If you can afford an M1A1, why shouldn’t you have it? Obviously you aren’t going to shoot anyone with it, but it’s your money. F15, same thing.

        Chemical weapons I think are pretty clearly not arms, at least I don’t think you could argue that.

        But these things aren’t realistic as to this question. I think the most interesting one would be regarding FA, like a real M16, clearly arms and clearly things that the citizen wants. And clearly infringed on by the state.

        • Reading the history of the founding, and the writings of the founders, they had zero intention that the central government could restrict any implement of war used by civilians as a last resort to curtailing an out of control government. What we have today is the situation where the entity to be controlled (the goverment and its armies) dictates the type weapons the people may use to control that government.

        • Sam I Am: Ok there you go then. The kind of person who would use CBR weapons really isn’t interested in any silly laws anyway.

        • I am noting that the founders did not intend to put the states (the people) at a military disadvantage to the central government. They would have been appalled at the idea that the people were allowed small arms, but no explosives or artillery. Thus, if 2A is intended to provide for the people to have effective means to wage war against the central government, restrictions on weapons that are impolite, but in the hands of the central government, are impermissible. Nothing about the morality of any weapon.

        • I wasn’t very clear there, I wasn’t talking about morality as much as practicality. Regardless of what laws are put in place regarding CBR weapons, the difficulty with these things is acquiring them and using them – e.g., not killing yourself before you are able to deploy them, etc. Hiding from prosecution is probably the least of their problems.

  19. Give me a break, no one here is. If you were a true 2nd amended absolutist, you would not cherry pick the part you like. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State. The military should primarily rely on citizen soldiers, not “professions” that give an oath to their commander in chief. At the very least we should be on a model similar to Switzerland.

      • Hell, I think every man and woman should own an M-16, and be trained on its use. That we should fulfill the true meaning of the second amendment. The founded father knew what they ware taking about that large standing army were a danger to the freedom of the people. I hear all the times from the anti-gun groups that say “how are you going to fight the Amy”, but the point is the military should not be stronger that the “civilians”

        You all sound like a bunch of pornographers arguing the 1st Amendment. Yes, you should have your porn, but that is not the ONLY reason it is there

        Just as you should be able to own any gun you want, but that is not the ONLY reason why the second amendment is there

    • You are using illogical rhetoric. You are claiming that because a specific military system is in place, and has been in place over 100 years before any of us were even born, that we can’t or don’t hold a specific philosophical belief?

      Get off with that crap.

      I align with what most people consider to be a 2A Absolutist (with a nod to Ralph’s comment about what that might really mean). So, what would you have me do to fix this militia vs standing military issue of yours? Waltz into the Oval Office, demand Obama to disband the military because I say so and for good measure stride over to the Capitol and again…demand…the House defund the whole thing?

      Your comment is nonsense, and please don’t tell me what I do or do not believe about how things should be simply because the reality around me, set in motion a long time ago, contradicts that.

  20. I know a Hungarian guy who thinks concealed carry of weapons should be mandatory. Ha, maybe he’s trying to stretch the Overton window. But if that expands guns rights, I’m all for it (not the mandatory carry part).

  21. Yes.
    How I got there?
    I don’t like being told what to or not to do as long I’m not harming anyone.
    I hated it when my parents did it. I hated it when my teachers did it. I hate it when politicians do it. I’m my own boss because of how much I hate being told what to do.

    After all these years I’m still belong told what to do by people who don’t have my best interests in mind and the reasoning hasn’t evolved beyond “because I said so.” Though now the person saying “because I said so” gets to threaten me with their guns and prisons.

    I’m a liberty absolutist. Anyone trying to tell me what to do can eat a bag of dicks. If I’m not hurting anyone just mind your own business and leave me alone.

    • Lol. The Star Wars absolute is this:

      “You are either with me or against me.”

      Which is not applicable to our topic. We are talking about the ultimate viewpoint on the 2A, which in some circumstances we might agree and others we don’t.

  22. If we 2A advocates fought half as much for 10th amendment as we do for the 2nd, this country would be in a much better state. Sadly, most probably don’t even know what it is. It is odd for a people to be so passionate about how the constitution protects their gun collection and to care so little for everything else it protects.

    • “If we 2A advocates fought half as much for 10th amendment as we do for the 2nd, this country would be in a much better state.”

      Agreed.

      And, I like the ‘much better state’ double entendre there as well.

    • Yeah we should be more involved with all the amendments. I feel I should weep at the atrocities committed taking an end-run around the tenth amendment.

    • Very true. Many 2nd Amendment supporters have sat by in silent support while much of the Bills of Rights has been compromised if not destroyed post 9/11.

    • Also agree.

      But it’s the defense of other amendments around here that usually result in a rousing chorus of “what the hell does this have to do with guns?”

  23. Yeah but a fat lot of good it does me…we will NEVER have everything we want. I could buy an island in the Pacific…

  24. Insofar as people in contact always eventuates in rights in conflict, there’s no such thing as an “absolutist.” There are oversimplifications. There are are underappreciations. There are flat out I-got-mine-so-screw-you-and-yours-ifications. There are, ultimately, resolutions of conflicting rights exercised by different parties in good faith. Absolutists make no allowance for that, so absolutists close their eyes, cover their ears and repeat “I can’t hear you, I can’t see you” to perpetuate the fiction they’ve created for themselves.

    By your mythical absolutist standard, I should be able to provide firearms to intoxicated people or to minors. I should be able to go to the range and point my firearm at your face. What? It’s empty and my finger’s off the trigger (or not). There’s no harm to you. Don’t infringe my right!

    And don’t give me that “you’re threatening me, so that’s different!” b.s.
    Plenty of people feel threatened just by you carrying a holstered firearm. Plenty of people are in physical danger from your negligent discharge. Yet, you tell them to suck it up and not infringe your rights. Well, I’ll muzzle you, hypothetically, and unless I actually fire, let’s just call that my right and you can suck it up, buttercup.

    You can apply this to anything. For example: A $1,000 tax on all new gun sales. Infringement! Perhaps. What about a 10% excise tax on new guns? Infringement of 2A….or legitimate exercise of commerce clause? Conflict! The resolution requires a rejection of the faulty absolutist premise.

    • @Jonathan – Houston, I agree with your basic premise, although we use different methodologies to arrive at the same result.

      I think that people who refer to themselves as Absolutists are confusing the absolute with an expansive reading of the Second Amendment.

      No restriction on 2A rights should be permitted unless the restriction is the least intrusive means available to effectively defend a compelling state interest that is not itself Unconstitutional. Lawyers call it “strict in name, fatal in practice.” And that’s the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, we like it.

    • By your mythical absolutist standard, I should be able to provide firearms to intoxicated people or to minors.

      I can presently and legally do this. How am I to know if they are intoxicated or a minor?

      I should be able to go to the range and point my firearm at your face. What? It’s empty and my finger’s off the trigger (or not). There’s no harm to you. Don’t infringe my right!

      This has nothing to do with “keep and bear.” You can keep and bear without shouldering and pointing a rifle at someone’s face.

      • Besides, the second prevents the government from infringing on the right. It doesn’t say anything about my ability to slap the shit outta someone for sticking their muzzle in my face.

  25. I’m an absolutist because it’s a worthy goal to aim for. Aim small, miss small, as it were.

    The practical side of me sees that NICS & things like MGs being under NFA purview will never go away. But fighting for things like that can mean massive gains in general. Accepting the status quo means it’s easier for the opposition to take away our rights.

  26. Yes, I came around to that way of thinking when I started thinking in terms of natural rights. I had always heard the words to the Declaration of Independence, and while they sounded like fine ideals, did not really think about them in terms of everyday life before. Once I gave some study to those words and the philosophers of the time and earlier that espoused those ideals, it became apparent that the present government has indeed “infringed” and is not content to limit themselves to the current level of infringement. So yeah, give no more ground and fight to take back what was stolen.

  27. Pretty much, yea. I don’t believe that minors should be able to buy or carry guns (their parents can buy for them) but that’s really the only restriction I believe in.

  28. The Constitution and amendments are an agreement (a contract) with the states and the people. Its meaning cannot be changed on a whim by any government employee whether that is a legislator, a President, or a Supreme Court Justice. If anyone needs to know what people understood the 2nd amendment to mean when ratified, all they have to do is visit the Federalist Papers. Regardless if I or anyone likes or dislikes many of the rules and laws around firearms, nearly all of them are unconstitutional. This is a fact no matter how you disguise it. Personally, I certainly do not want a felon to own guns — but unless the Constitution is amended, a felon has a Constitutional right to own and carry a gun. It sucks that the interpretation of the Constitution has been twisted so much that “Constitutional” rights are changing based on the latest political fad.

  29. I’m a Bill of Rights absolutist, because a lot more than the 2nd Amendment is scheduled for the chopping block per the progressive agenda.

  30. Well? I’m not a scholar. I haven’t delved into the intentions and meanings behind the constitution as much as some. I’m probably not qualified. All I can go by is the intent that I have been given and the meaning of the words that I see.

    Given that… certainly not. I have strong support for the second amendment and strong support for gun rights. I don’t believe the government has any business telling Americans a lot of things it tells them. But I’m not so sure the second amendment protects all gun rights.

    If I go by the intention of the second amendment that I have been given by so many people who support the second amendment, then the purpose of the amendment is to give the people their guns in order to hold the government at gunpoint, lest the government hold them at gunpoint.

    That does not include the right to carry a gun for people to carry a gun in public for personal protection. As worthy a reason as personal protection is to own and carry a gun, that isn’t the purpose of the second amendment.

    It could even be argued that the second amendment only protects weapons which would be useful for military purposes, which turns the attempts at assault weapon banning on its head. Handguns, not being key to warfare could be excluded from second amendment protection.

    But, if you really want to look at the intentions and values of the founders, they probably didn’t feel that the government needed to be regulating firearms at all, regardless of the type and purpose for owning it. In fact, they didn’t feel that the government should be regulating much at all. The whole bill of rights was intended to keep the government out of the people’s lives or from over stepping their authority and I find it highly doubtful that any of them would support the modern gun control measures.

    • Please show me where on the constitution it says that arms are only to be used for protection from government and foreign militaries.

      It’s understood that they’re for self-defense, sport, hunting, and all the usual things, and in the extreme, overthrow of a government gone bad.

  31. “Absolutist” is not really a commonly accepted word in constitutional interpretation. I have heard a whole range of people, including gun-grabbers, say they “absolutely” support the Constitution. I even saw Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords lead a panel discussion at the VA statehouse where they were promoting “common-sense gun laws.” Nearly every member of the 20 person panel started their remarks with some version of they absolutely supported 2A and RTKABA and then launched right into their pet proposed infringement. So the word has no meaning.

    Common terms used in constitutional interpretations are “strict constructionism,” “originalism,” “textualism,” founders’ intent” and many more. They all have their pros and cons for gun rights. Scalia was an originalist, BTW.

    I try to not get too caught up in that. I believe that citizens of the US have the absolute right to keep and bear “arms,” up to and including firearms, for self-defense, sport and even for spontaneously forming militias and whatever else. I think CHL’s GFZs and background checks are unconstitutional. I do believe that people in prison should not have guns. I believe violent criminals should not be let out of prison, but if they are, I believe it should be illegal for them to buy guns without some sort of review. I believe private ownership of “arms” should not apply to high-level military weapons, including tanks, fighter jets, attack submarines, surface to air missiles, WMD, etc. The probably makes me not an “absolutist” by your definition, but sorry, that’s where I’m at, I vote and I do political activism for the RTKABA.

    • John,

      If 2A was designed to allow citizens (the people) to keep and use weapons of war in order to control the central government, where is the utility in an amendment that puts the people immediately at a military disadvantage to the central government? As an originalist, one must look at the original intent….overthrowing a tyrannical government. If that government is allowed to restrict the weapons of resistance, what is the point of the protected right? The founders were not protecting hunting, or sport, or IPDA competitions. They were calling-out the right and intent to wage war against the next iteration of tyrannical government.

      • I don’t believe for a minute that “the people” could take control of our constitutionally elected central government in this day and age. Nor do I believe that the founders intended us to overthrow the government they had just built. It’s more than weapons, it’s command, control, intelligence, organization, logistics and training. As a former military officer, I know there is no country in the world that could stand against a determined attack by US forces and most of them have all the kinds of weapons of war I listed and they have those attributes I mentioned. But they are just not as good as us.

        So let’s say we let you own a fighter jet. What are you gonna do with it? Do you know what it even takes to keep one combat ready? I do, and private citizens are not gonna get it done.

        I see the whole militia thing as being what it has always been. A supplement to regular forces to support a constitutionally elected gov’t. In modern times, if there is coup, there will be a split in the military into the forces backing the coup and those loyal to the Constitution. The militia will support the loyalist military. If there is a SHTF situation. there may be all kinds of would-be regional governments (aka gangs) vying for power. The militia will help control that until we can get constitutional control back.

        I get your theory, but if you put WMD in the hands of citizens, it is game over.

        • It is interesting to see an argument for the evolving of 2A from defense against government (you must read the history surrounding the thinking of the founders), to simply nice words to allow people to hunt and shoot skeet.

          The founders were virtually intolerant of a central government (see Articles of Confederation). They did not intend to create a political situation that would result in an overriding central government that made the states mere political subdivisions. And yes, the founders intended the citizens should be able and willing to overthrow a tyrannical government (Jefferson stated that a revolution every twenty years or so would be a good thing).

          At the time of the publication of the constitution, the states considered themselves sovereign inside their borders, including self-defense of the state, towns and cities. The military elements were militias, and they had the latest in individual and crew-served weapons. Not everyone had an artillery piece or bombardment explosives stored at home. These militias were commanded by other citizens, neighbors. Control of community weapons rested in the political and command elements of the states and militias.

          If the founders had intended that the states be militarily deficient compared to the central government, they would have made that very clear (because it would have been completely in opposition to their understanding of the states as separate and sovereign (only a supreme court ruling generations later made the states subjects of the central government). If the founders had intended the RTKBA to apply only to personal safety, sport and good gathering, they would have been explicit in rendering the states subordinate to the central government (the wording of the 10th amendment makes clear that was never their intent…sovereign states granting authority to a subjugated central government).

        • As far as “overthrowing” the central goverment, how long do you relay think the us military would last if everyone was trained to the level of a Swiss conscript?

  32. I’d say yes, I probably am.
    As to the criminal element, if they’ve done something requiring prison time, then the argument doesn’t apply, until they serve their time.
    After that, their rights should be restored. If they’re too dangerous for that, then they should still be in jail

  33. Absolut for

    All Adult (non us people state choose) at 21
    All Felons (that can be rainwater collectors)
    All Public Places
    All Weapon Art that is not abc ammo

    Not Absolut only for mental ill”s and juveniles.

  34. NO. and no one with an IQ over 100 should be either. simply pointing at a piece of paper and saying “i dont have to think because it says ______” is EXACTLY what we criticize religious fanatics for, yet when you do it, its ok. Being intellectually lazy is not something one should be proud of. In fact, it is our continued RATIONAL debates with FANATICAL anti-gunners that demonstrates we will prevail on this issue and not by simply yelling with our hands over our ears ” ITS IN THE CONSTITUTION” at nauseam.

    • The constitution is the culmination of a great many years of debate and philosophy of a great many minds of their day. I agree it is beneficial to provide reasoning rather than just reference the constitution, but many of our reasons, debates, and contemplations brought us to a specific ideal. Robert calls this a 2A absolutist. Without going into great detail on what exactly that is, I believe we are basing it on his prior viewpoints.

      But since you say you are not one and anyone who is one is intellectually below average, maybe you could clarify which points you are having a problem with that apparently is keeping you from going below average?

    • “NO. and no one with an IQ over 100 should be either. “

      Oh, that’s nice. “Agree with me or your IQ is not over 100.”

      Where have I seen that rhetorical style before?

      Oh yes. It’s a common ploy of filthy, stinking, anti-freedom minded progressives.

      Excuse me, but will you kindly toss off with your assertion that the only way a person can be labeled “intelligent” is if they agree with you? Protip: you are not the all-knowing center of the universe.

      Or, maybe my IQ is less than 100 regardless of what the tests have said.

  35. 1) “Government” (in the U.S.) is what we devised because there were things we needed doing collectively.
    2) Government Employees (of every ilk and everywhere you find them) are just your neighbors that needed a job.
    3) All rights recited in the Bill of Rights (there to garner support for the ratification of the Constitution) are freedoms from “Government”.
    4) To gain the “freedom” in #3 above you may have to kill every single “government employee” in #2 above, if they have usurped too much power and get dictatorial.
    5) States should be allowed to enact laws that contradict the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution BUT FIRST THEY NEED TO TAKE A VOTE TO DE-RATIFY THE CONSTITUTION, SO THE REST OF US CAN DECLARE WAR ON THEM.

  36. I don’t think a small child should be able to buy a gun.

    I don’t think a violent felon should be able to mail order a gun to their prison cell.

    I don’t think you should be able to shoot up on heroin then stumble into the corner store and buy a gun while high.

    I guess I’m not an absolutist.

    • I guess I don’t owe it to you to first find you to prove I don’t fit one of those profiles before I procure “arms” should I think I might need them.

      I know I don’t trust you at all to pick the people that I might have to go to, to prove my bona fides in the above situation either.

      I know there is NO TIME WHATSOEVER to come to any other consensus, if one of us is denied arms.

      I guess I’m a syllogistic absolutist.

      • Since laws are enforced with an overwhelming threat of violence backing them, I guess you don’t have to trust me, you just need a bigger army. I think it will be hard to put together an opposing army to overthrow the state in support of violent felons mail ordering guns to their jail cells.

  37. Just throwing this out there from the 14th amendment:

    nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    As my lawyer friends tell me, this is the constitutions way of saying , “yes, we can take your right to own a gun away. But only under due process in a court of law.” Which is served by the felon being found guilty and going to jail. So unless the 14th is contradicting the 2nd, you can be absolutist and take guns from convicted felons.

    its us non-convicted folks that need to point this out more to congress.

    my 2 cents.

    • “Due process” seems more and more to mean “any process”, even one for which there is no review/appeal.

    • 14th applies specifically to the states. So yes, the states can take away your right to life, liberty and property (specifically these three!) with due process of law. But not the feds.

      Also, “due process” is a funny thing these days. Look up “substantive due process” to see what I mean.

      • “So yes, the states can take away your right to life, liberty and property (specifically these three!) with due process of law. But not the feds.”

        Tell that to the people who were transporting large sums of cash and discovered what ‘civil asset forfeiture’ means, specifically as applied to federal drug laws, even when no drugs were found.

        http://dailycaller.com/2015/01/30/the-7-most-egregious-examples-of-civil-asset-forfeiture/

        (If we do get someone besides Hillary, I will be pushing for reforms in that department…)

        • There’s a lot of unconstitutional BS going on federal level, I don’t dispute that.

          I’m not sure whether civil asset forfeiture qualifies in principle, though, since it is technically “due process”.

          If you happen to be one of the guys writing the next Constitution, it’s worth bearing that in mind, and adding a few more checks and balances throughout the system. Mandating due process was very relevant to the Founders, but by now we’ve got several generations of lawyers and politicians who have adapted to the system and learned how to hack it; so it doesn’t cut it anymore – not by itself. Something like “substantive due process”, but properly disambiguated and codified in the Constitution, could be very handy.

  38. Robert, correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re claiming that the 2A guarantees an unlimited individual right to bear arms. How do you get around the militia language in the 2A to come to the conclusion that the right to bear arms is an individual right? You can’t just claim the amendment is clear and “says what it says”; you have to interpret it. If you take the 2A at face value as the reason for your absolutist position, then you also have to be absolute that it only applies in connection with an individual’s service in a militia. You can’t just ignore the language you don’t like.

    I think the Supreme Court properly interpreted it and explained why it IS an indivdual right and also why it is NOT absolute.

    • >> If you take the 2A at face value as the reason for your absolutist position, then you also have to be absolute that it only applies in connection with an individual’s service in a militia.

      If you take 2A at face value and interpret it literally, it doesn’t say anything about the right only applying in connection to militia service. It does list militia service as the rationale for making the right protected, but that is not the same.

      If you want a detailed analysis, read the majority opinion in Heller, as they tackle that issue there much more thoroughly.

      • “If you want a detailed analysis, read the majority opinion in Heller, as they tackle that issue.”

        You prove my point. That’s what I was referring to in the last sentence of my comment. The Supremes interpreted all the language of the 2A so it all means something. The second paragraph of your comment regarding the reference to “militia” is based on the Supreme’s analysis of this issue, not a plain reading of the amendment itself. That same analysis also explains why the individual right to bear arms is not unlimited.

        • I don’t believe that RKBA is unlimited. No right is. So yes, I broadly agree with Heller.

          I disagree that Heller is a non-obvious interpretation, though. To me it is rather the result of a literal reading of the words, as opposed to the common sense reading. Do you remember the old joke about sheep color?

          “A mathematician, a physicist, and an astronomer were travelling north by train. They had just crossed the border into Scotland, when the astronomer looked out of the window and saw a single black sheep in the middle of a field. “All Scottish sheep are black,” he remarked. “No, my friend,” replied the physicist, “Some Scottish sheep are black.” At which point the mathematician looked up from his paper and glanced out the window. After a few second’s thought he said blandly: “In Scotland, there exists at least one field, in which there exists at least one sheep, at least one side of which is black.”

          The Heller majority decision is the last approach, and the usual (collective / militia) interpretation of 2A prior to it is the first. In “common sense” approach, we often treat the word “because” as having an implicit effect on both statements that it conjoins – if I do X because Y, then there’s an implication that I do X only because Y. But that is not true in formal logic – if “I do X because Y” is true, it doesn’t mean that “Y is the only reason why I do X” is true. Thus, in a purely literal reading, “the right to X must not be infringed, because Y” does not imply that the the right to X can be infringed in contexts other than Y – you have to infer that to arrive to such a conclusion.

        • @Int19

          Jesus. I think you should make a “truth table” for it. Put it on a T-shirt. TTAG can sell them.

    • ‘How do you get around the militia language in the 2A to come to the conclusion that the right to bear arms is an individual right?”

      Because it says “the right of the people” not “the right of the militia”.

      You may also know that the militia is… the people anyway.

      Don’t take my word for it, look it up for yourself.

      • “Because it says “the right of the people” not “the right of the militia”.”

        That’s not a good argument to supprt an individual right to bear arms. In fact, that language was used by the losers in Heller as support for their “collective right” interpretation. The issue was whether the right is a collective right or an individual right. The language, “the right of the people,” in isolation, sounds like the language you would use if you wanted to convey it was a collective right. But you don’t interpret words in isolation, which is why the collective rights argument lost.

        • The statist will stop at nothing to parsify and play words around trying to convince a judge or jury that the document means what they want it to mean.

          “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.”

          So you think that if they meant that individuals are being addressed here they should have said ‘the right of each individual person’? If the people is collective, how they are they to keep and bear arms, that is collectively?

          “Amendment IV

          The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers…”

          Again we see ‘the people’ in reference to their persons, houses, etc. If the second amendment it collective, then are all ‘the people’ supposed to live in dormitories of some sort?

          This is absurd and everyone knows what is meant by the people and their arms.

          Reading the Federalist papers as well shows us what they were thinking when this was written.

          On second thought, perhaps in the end the thing is really a tax.

        • “On second thought, perhaps in the end the thing is really a tax.”

          SC prefers and defers to legislation. If it is possible through any mental contortion to construe a legislative act as a tax, SC will rule thus.

    • You do know that about everybody is in the Militia?
      When asked what the Militia was, George Mason, one of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution, said, “Who are the Militia? They consist now of the whole people, except for a few public officers.”

      • “You do know that about everybody is in the Militia?”

        I’m aware of that argument, but that position is not the basis of the current law on the 2A.

        • And why not?

          If the United States were attacked by an invading army, would it or would it not be the responsibility of every citizen of this country to repel that attack?

          Your whole premise from your first post is wrong, and there is not only Heller to demonstrate that.

          A simple grammatical analysis of 2A has “of the people” referring to “the right.” No where in the plain language would any grammatical analysis try to make the case that “the right” is referring to the militia in the introductory clause.

          Further, you can’t use the fact that Congress has in fact “infringed” on the “right of the people” as an argument that the Amendment does not describe a “right of the people.” That’s tautology…a simple “Begging the Question” fallacy.

        • “Your whole premise from your first post is wrong, and there is not only Heller to demonstrate that.”

          My first post IS Heller: (1) the 2A guarantees an indivdual right to keep and bear arms that is not dependent on the individual’s connection to a militia, but (2) that right is not absolute.

          I was taking issue with Robert’s assertion that the 2A should be interpreted as absolute when Heller quite convincingly, I think, explained why it is not. The majority opinion’s analysis of both issues (1) and (2) is based on similar grounds, so I want to know how he (or anyone) justifies accepting (1) but rejecting (2).

          I agree that the opinion does a good bit of sentence diagramming to answer (1), but it also looks to historical practice and interpretation, and does the same for issue (2). The historical practice and interpretation that supports (1) also supports (2). If the justification for accepting that interpretation on (1) but rejecting that same interpretation on (2) is that the Supremes should have just read the 2A without doing all that analysis, then Robert’s absolutist position on the 2A isn’t based on Heller (or any other opinion). That’s fine with me, I just wanted to know. That position is straightforward, but not very convincing.

        • Heller itself does not define the right as “individual.” Rather, Heller affirms that from the clear language of the Amendment.

          You were saying something about “militia” vs “individual.” That’s what I was commenting on.

        • “Heller itself does not define the right as “individual.” Rather, Heller affirms that from the clear language of the Amendment.” Incorrect on both points.

          Heller says this:

          “There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms. Of course the right was not unlimited, just as the First Amendment’s right of free speech was not…”

          Heller DOES define the right as “individual,” and DOES NOT just rely on the “clear language” of the 2A; it relied also on a great deal of historical analysis.

          I just want to hear from other people who share Robert’s view as to why they accept that analysis for purposes of establishing an individual right but not for establishing that the right is limited. The only explanation offered so far (which is, basically, “because that’s what I want the 2A to say”) is not based on Heller at all.

        • The historical context of the Second is critical. Reading the Federalist Papers, and a biography or two about TJ, one must conclude the second amendment was intended to prevent the central government from being militarily superior to the militias of the states. Else, citizens would be unable to overthrow tyranny (which the founders understood better than anyone in the last 100 years). If state militias (“the people”) were to have weapons equal to or better than the government to be resisted and kept in check, then “reasonable restrictions” seem to be an oxymoron. The second amendment was not intended let us have guns, carry guns, shoot guns, hunt. The second amendment was intended to prevent the central government (and its armies) from being what it is today. Over the long history, “the people” became quite comfortable that the central government posed no threat to individual and state liberty, thus “reasonable restrictions” on gun ownership seemed “reasonable”. And today, “the people” are quite content that the central government would never exceed its authority by limiting personal and state liberty. The central government would never need to be resisted and overthrown. This thinking leads directly to the arguments we have today about guns for personal protection, to the exclusion of any other purpose. As a nation, we have conceded that the central government has an unconstitutional right to limit the means for “the people” to overthrow tyranny.

        • I agree with your viewpoint.
          The 2A says what it says. Neither more nor less. The text is written in black and parchment.
          What do those words mean? That is where we ought to direct our attention. What do the words: “the right”; “the People”; “to keep and bear arms”; “not be infringed” mean? The basis for the debate is the accumulated wisdom of scholarly research which has pointed ever more clearly in the past score of years to a liberal – i.e., libertarian – interpretation. By all means, let’s continue this debate.
          Heller is not dispositive albeit very important. Is every word in the Heller opinion Gospel? Of course not! It is simply an opinion of SCOTUS. Heller could be reversed; or, it could be sustained. The outcome is political; whether we will go to the polls and vote for a President and Senators who will see things our way or will trash the Constitution.
          Those of us PotG who attempt to re-write the 2A to read as they wish it were drafted and ratified do us a disservice. The argument that the 2A (or any Amendment) is “absolute” is easily dismissed. Why would we want our arguments to be dismissed?
          If we were the least bit clever we would point out that the 4A speaks of “unreasonable” search and seizure. Where Madison, the 1st Congress and the 13 ratifying States meant to use the term “reasonable” vs. “unreasonable” they did so; they used it in the 4A. Where do we find the word “reasonable” or “unreasonable” in the 2A or any of the others? NO-where! We ought to argue that the gun-grabbers have no textual basis for inserting “reasonable” into the 2A’s text; nor to insert the words “common sense”. If we try to insert the word “absolute” into the text of the 2A we merely invite our opponents to insert whatever language they find politically expedient. Are we crazy?
          What we ought to be working on is an argument that the 2A, its court cases, and the States adoption and revisions of their respective right-to-arms constitutional guarantees all point to a very liberal (i.e., libertarian) construction of: “the right” “of the People” to “keep and bear arms”. This line of reasoning is especially buttressed by the legislative and ratification history of the 14A. That amendment was intended to put a stop to “No Guns for Negros” for a very good reason that survived for another 100 years – i.e., to the complicity of Southern sheriffs and police with the KKK.
          When will we PotG stop shooting ourselves in the foot and start to think strategically?

        • You are trying to show how smart you are by “properly” interpreting Heller for us in the context of…wait for it…NATURE RIGHTS like the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, but you are just spinning your wheels in the mud.

          That you are trying to apply the reference “absolute” in Heller to the “individual” adjective is – interesting. And, I’ll leave it at that.

          Nowhere in stating the “right to KEEP and BEAR arms is not absolute” does the Heller opinion say that the right itself stops being an INDIVIDUAL right.

          Good grief. Think about it this way: an individual right can have restrictions placed on it, but that does not stop it from being an individual right. I’m not sure if you are being purposefully obtuse by conflating these concepts within 2A and Heller, or if you really don’t understand that “individual” is a separate issue from “exercising the right.”

        • Sorry I quoted Heller in a discussion about the 2A. I promise not to be so tricksy anymore.

  39. I think an absolutist position on the Constitution would be much less dangerous than the crap that we have now. We are galloping towards Venezuela.

  40. ” they need to amend the Second Amendment.”

    You seem to think the Bill of Rights grants rights. It doesn’t; it enumerates pre-existing natural rights.

    Changing the Bill of Rights don’t do squat.

  41. I would like to pursue your thinking on this. Are you saying that if the Second Amendment were to be repealed, you would still have the legal right to have a firearm, and that you could not be arrested for possession because you need no recognized legal justification?

    • In terms of the intention of the Framers of the Constitution, no part of the Bill of Rights could be repealed because of their understanding that these were the “inalienable rights” which were referred to in the Declaration of Independence (Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness – the 2nd is to protect the “Life” part of the equation) . That’s the theory. On the other hand, the right of free speech has been massively eroded. The right of due process has been severely handled by the fed, state and even local gov’t confiscation of private property if they even think a crime might have been committed. So real world, if the 2nd were to be repealed or neutered, there’s little doubt that firearms would be confiscated, forceably in many cases. That doesn’t mean it would be legal in terms of the original compact between US citizens and their various governments.

      • Understand.

        Please understand, the founders did not fence-off the Bill of Rights from the amendment process. Nor did they include wording that prohibits any change, limit, interpretation or “compelling government interest” from altering the words or meaning of the BOR.

  42. I’ve been sending out letters to politicians in the primary asking if they support repeal of the NFA and GCA.

    Once I find out who is on the ballots (in Florida the primary also has the general elections for a few state and local positions) as far as judges go, I’ll be asking who thinks those laws are unconstitutional as even if it’s not going to be relevant to their department, I doubt their political aspirations will stop at that office and if they don’t follow the supreme law they won’t follow the normal law.

  43. Yes.

    Long story short, I got here after having my own political awakening in 2010, once I was home from Iraq in 2009. I realized it was all a complete sham and started digging into the reasons why we were there. I haven’t stopped digging since. One thing led to another, then to another, then to another, and I finally realized just how far off the rails our government has really gone. I grew up, in a sense, again; shedding my identity as a hard-core Republican and finally came to my senses as an equally hard-core libertarian. Little did I know that my “for the lulz” vote for Ron Paul in 2008 was actually the right decision after all.

    Who’d’a thunkit?

  44. As much flak as I might catch for it: no.

    People who are straight out crazy and dangerous should not have a gun. My maternal grandmother was a perfect example. She appeared on her surface to be a kindly old woman but was a completely bitter and violent nutcase who had to be locked up due to the fact that she was a danger to my family. She tried repeatedly to kill one or more of us before we could get her locked away due to her “rights” and the fact that when anyone talked to her she came across as “kindly and old”. After a year of dealing with repeated problems she was finally committed when she was caught red-handed by the cops trying to light our family house on fire with a can of gas and a book of matches at 0200. Had the cops happened by a few minutes later they would have found a structure fire.

    When it comes to criminals, if they’ve paid their debt to society they should get their gun rights back. Machine guns should be available at WalMart. Yeah, I’m pretty hardcore about the 2A but there are some people who just shouldn’t have a gun. People like my grandmother fall into that group.

    • The way around your dilemma is, as others have said above better than I, to take the entire Bill of Rights as an Absolute collective whole.

      Don’t cherry pick 2A while ignoring 4,5,6 especially.

      With this more bird’s-eye like view, we see that there ways ‘society’ can deprive people of certain rights…specifically: due process.

      The problem revealed with these “Absolutist 2A” discussions is what is really under attack in the US: presumption of innocence.

      Your example of “really dangerous people” is fine so long as there is an objective and impartial mechanism for making that determination AND that mechanism includes presumption of innocence.

      This is the problem we have now, though: erosion of that due process and socially accepted presumptions of guilt. Thought crime is what it really boils down to.

      The Progressives are in general (not just in context of firearm issues) seeking to further and further erode the concept of fundamental innocence in the US. To them, everyone is guilty – of racism, sexism, homophobia (or the MAJOR crime of “not being a progressive”) – and by extension of that assumption, everyone is a violent criminal waiting to happen.

      If you start with “dangerous people should not have access to guns,” the next step is to create a moving goalpost regarding what is “dangerous.” Corruption in the courts has degraded social faith in “due process,” so how is “too dangerous to own a gun” decided?

      It’s not a far leap to get from there to say, “You know what, you are right. It’d be easier if we just got rid of them completely. No one should have a gun. Problem solved.”

      The counter to this to take an Absolutist approach – the BoR as a whole. This includes the 10th of course, so keep the US President and US Congress the freaky freak out of the discussion completely.

  45. So you’re promising me trouble if I don’t make you King? You sleep somewhere, likely someplace without 60′ high walls. In fact your residence likely has windows, it’s a certainty that your car does. A herd of $15 dollar crack hoes could suffice as an army. Sic whatcha got on me.

    My message is the same to everyone.

    Stand feet shoulder width, in a pair of your biggest footwear and draw a chalk line around the soles of your shoes. The circles, you draw, alone contain the hallowed ground upon which you are king, until, by you, I am made to move my feet.

  46. The issue is one of tactics. Asserting “ABSOLUTE-ism” isn’t great tactics.
    What does the 2A say? The preamble has been interpreted by SCOTUS as not limiting the substantive right. So, that is “off the table”. The substantive right is found in the words: “the right”; “the People”; “to keep and bear arms”; and, “infringed”. That’s it. That’s what the Constitution said and what is says today. It is that and that alone which is our cornerstone Constitutionally.
    Just as the word “reasonable” or the phrase “common sense” does NOT appear in the 2A, nor does the word “absolute” appear in that text. If we insist on introducing some word or phrase such as “absolute” into the debate then we have lost any ground upon which to object to inserting “reasonable” or “common sense” into the debate.
    I suggest we begin with a simple proposition. Did the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” include a
    gentleman bearing a brace of single-fire pistols on the streets of New York City? Can you or I or our esteemed gun-grabber debate partner address this question? Did gentlemen customarily carry a brace of single-fire pistols on the streets of NYC in 1792?
    Having established the answer to such a question, would a lady be at liberty to carry a derringer (double-barreled handgun capable of firing 2 shots without reloading) on the streets of NYC today? Can you, or I or our gun-grabber partner answer this question?
    So, what is wrong here? Where is the disconnect? Why could a gentleman carry a brace of pistols in NYC in 1792 but a lady could not in 2016? (Let’s leave aside that any lady or gentlemen with $10,000 to $18,000 could bribe their way through the NYPD.) What would explain this disconnect?
    Either the explanation is to be found in the words: “the right”; “the People”; “to keep and bear arms”; and, “infringed” – or, in some other explanation.
    Which is it? It’s more likely to be found in some other explanation; e.g., that the Constitution doesn’t mean today what it meant when each provision was ratified. Is that the answer we expect from our gun-grabbing debate partners?
    Very well, then, what do any of the other Constitutional protections mean today? What do the words “cruel and unusual punishment” mean today? What will they mean tomorrow? Textualism and original meaning to the ratifiers is our friend; use THESE.

    • >> So, what is wrong here? Where is the disconnect? Why could a gentleman carry a brace of pistols in NYC in 1792 but a lady could not in 2016?

      It’s not quite as simple as that. I mean, the obvious and straightforward answer to your question is “because the State of New York did not have any gun control laws in 1792”. However, that says nothing about whether NY could have such laws back then. And, indeed, it could, since before the 14th Amendment, the majority opinion on the BoR was that it constrained the federal government only, not the states.

      • An interesting response! I congratulate you.
        Now, then, let’s carry this on. OK, suppose that in 1793 the NY legislature or NYC council adopted a law/ordinance against a gentleman carrying a brace of pistols on the streets of that city. I concede that such a law/ordinance would have been found to be constitutional as-at 1793. That was then, this is now.
        Today, we have the 14A, Heller and McDonald.
        Furthermore, we have 2 centuries of constitutional amendments by the several States to express the will of the People of the respective States as to what they deem the contemporary meaning of “the right” of “the people” “to keep and bear arms”. All these facts serve to inform the meaning of the 2A today.
        We still get back to to the questions I posed. Did “the People” of any of the original 13 States deprive a gentleman of “the right” to bear a brace of pistols on the streets of their jurisdiction? Did they? Could they have done so? Would they have done so? All interesting questions.
        Even so, if they did NOT do so, then what was the original understanding of “the right” of “the People” to “. . . bear arms” as at 1793? If “the right” included a gentleman carrying a brace of pistols on the streets of a city at that time then we need to find a rationale for why a lady must be arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated for carrying a derringer today (without bribing a NYPD officer).
        Here, I think, your insight fails. I concede that NY/NYC could have done so prior to the 14A, Heller and McDnald. They did NOT do so. Today, we HAVE 14A, Heller and McDonald. So, what is the explanation?

        • At this point we’ll have to talk at length about the precise meaning of the 14th Amendment (and especially the Due Process clause, which ended up being the vehicle for incorporation of the Bill of Rights – and not the Equal Protection clause, as the authors of 14A intended; which puts some limits on how incorporation works), then what 2nd Amendment in the context of 14th (i.e. to what extent it is incorporated), and so on. The majority decision in Heller, which explains all these things, is not exactly short.

          >> Did “the People” of any of the original 13 States deprive a gentleman of “the right” to bear a brace of pistols on the streets of their jurisdiction? Did they? Could they have done so? Would they have done so? All interesting questions.

          Indeed! But I’m not sure if we’d like the answers, especially if questions are generalized – e.g. did any of the original 13 states deprive a gentlemen of the right to bear any kind of weapon? I suspect that a couple of colonies might have had prohibitions on daggers, swordsticks, and stuff like that. People often focus on the federal level, Constitution etc, and think this was the ultimate age of freedom and individualism, forgetting that some of the colonies that became states were Puritanical – very regulated and statist in their quest to make people behave “appropriately” by coercing them. I don’t know if they had any weapon bans, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. And 2A is about all weapons (arms), not just about firearms…

  47. “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.”

    Unfortunately, we have stood by for too long, accepting ‘minor’ infringements from prohibitions on blacks owning anything that can be construed as a weapon to Hawaii’s proposed law putting gun owners on a federal ‘watch list’, from begging permission in some states to even purchase a firearm to the hoops some demand before granting ‘permission’ to carry one.

    The question of whether non-violent, convicted felons who have ‘paid their debt’ have the same right to protect themselves and their families is nothing more than questioning whether some citizens have ‘better’ rights than others (current special interest groups notwithstanding)…and the cruel truth is that once you establish criteria for any one group or class of people to be ‘legally’ deprived of their rights, you have laid the groundwork for you to be denied yours when political winds shift.

    As a friend once so aptly put it: “Freedom is messy.” If you truly believe in liberty, and can work through the brainwashing of government schools; of lamestream, drive-by media; of paid hysterical ‘organizations’ or over-the-hill nobodies desperate to become ‘relevant’, then the unalienable right to life includes the right to protect that life, the unalienable right to liberty includes the right to protect that liberty, then yes, within the framework of respecting the rights of everyone as you respect your own and expect everyone to respect them, then yes, the Second Amendment – as well as the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth ARE absolute.

  48. Lot of non-US citizens out there, giving us advice here about our Constitution, and you can all #NaCl.

    Lot’s od evil (D)ems here trying to whip up a Constitutional Convention because The Constitution is what they’re against, and they can’t seem to reach the proper level of frothing feakshow before the election with some of the Constitutional constraints.
    If you live un a blue state, you may be part of the problem. If you have a (D) after your name, are a liberal_progressive_communist, THE PROBLEM IS PART OF YOU. AND YOUR MOM (ONE OF YOUR DADS THAT WEARS THE DRESS MORE OFTEN) OWES US AN ABORTION.

  49. FWIW, the Second has the strongest language on the Bill of Rights. The First says “Congress shall make no law”, which is a limit on Congress. The Second says “shall not be infringed”, which flat puts a limit on every possible entity, not just Congress.

    Sadly, though prior courts have said that “shall not be infringed” is equivalent to “shall make no law”, that has not been followed.

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