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Michael Rivest (courtesy

“The challenge for Constitutional scholars, as with Biblical ones, is to discern what a document written in another time is saying, from what it only seems to be saying. These days, those who tenaciously cling to a strict constructionist understanding of the Constitution can sound like a religious fundamentalist quoting Leviticus 19 as ‘proof’ that tattoos are evil.” – Michael Rivest in Guns (part 3) [via]


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  1. The only challenge in interpreting the shortest amendment to the constitution is redefining the word “infringe”.

    • It all depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is. – William J Clinton

      • Okay, second shortest. Substantively, the point stands. The Ninth Circuit just cutely danced around the fact that for huge numbers of California residents both methods of bearing arms are effectively impossible, with open carry outright banned and concealed carry administratively vetoed. But they looked back in history, saw concealed carry bans (ignoring the fact that these were always as opposed to open carry) and ruled there’s no right to concealed carry. Therefore, no right to bear arms in California.

        • Actually, it’s fourth or so, though I agree that isn’t the point. I only commented on it because it’s counterproductive to cite a document in support of a point while demonstrating unfamiliarity with it. Doing is something many religious zealots and gun rights advocates have in common.

  2. I’m not very religious, and I’m certainly not a biblical scholar, but the Second Amendment is about as difficult to parse as “Jesus wept.”

  3. Except that there is plenty written in the federalist papers to know exactly what the founders meant.

    • the Federalist papers were written before the ratification of the Constitution in support of said Constitution and against the idea of a need for any sort of Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was adopted AFTER the ratification of the Constitution, ironically the process of creating the Bill of Rights was begun by James Madison (one of the authors of the Federalist Papers).

  4. I believe the arguments are well documented in the Federalist Papers, it is just that people who do not like the Constitution simply wish to ignore the arguments.

    I will argue it is not gun rights supporters that are religious zealots, but rather people especially on the left who have thrown out religion have turn to political parties as their new church and politicians as their priests. And, many politician exploit that to the max.

    In addition, we now have tribes versus a society.

    Gun rights supports are simply trying to hold everyone back before more of their rights are taken away. If they wish to call us zealots in defending our rights, then so be it.

    • “… people especially on the left who have thrown out religion have turn to political parties as their new church and politicians as their priests. And, many politician exploit that to the max.”

      Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!!! We have a winner!!!

    • There are plenty of people that have “thrown out religion” and are also vehemently pro-gun. Some of us even have tattoos. Some of us are instructors, military, etc.

      On the other side of the coin, there are plenty of religious people who are anti-gun as well.

      • Exactly. The bible thumpers around here always think their mythology is what separates the PotG from everyone else. So sorry, not how that works. I’m as strong a gun rights supporter as any of them & I want jack-all to do with their god. We believe in the laws of the Constitution whereas anti-gunners, quite simply, don’t.

        • Heh. Don’t accuse them of lumping everyone together by lumping them together. 😉

          Its a point well, made. I do think there’s some truth in pointing out the hypocrisy of someone claiming you have religious zeal for something when they clearly have religious zeal against it, too, though.

        • Hang together or hang alone? Your libtard brethren only care that you have a gun they aren’t interested that you worship the church of yourself as they do.

        • Well, you gun thumpers aren’t perfect, either. But what is important is that we follow the Left’s direction and continue to divide ourselves into smaller and smaller “identities”.

          /sarc, if you didn’t get it.

  5. Back to demonization and vilification I see.

    If you want to exchange horrible comparisons, I could counter that anti gunners talking about pro gun rights supporters sound like Joseph Goebbels talking about Jews in the 1930s and early 1940s.

  6. I like how every concealed carry holder has no training and carries a “useless” .380, and shits themselves at the first hint of a fight, while all cops are highly trained, and never miss (just ask the NYPD). False assumptions with zero research. Got it.

    • Indeed. He’s wrong on all counts, at least for me. I’ve never carried a .380. I’ve never owned a .380. Hell, I’ve never even SHOT a .380 though I think I did hold one once at a gun shop to see how easy it was to rack the slide for someone I know who has little upper body strength.

  7. What a putz (Michael Rivest): Leviticus 19 is NOT saying that tattoos in-and-of-themselves are evil. What Leviticus is saying is that tattoos “deface” a human body which is God’s work of art — and God doesn’t want that. It is analogous to a law that says, “Do not paint graffiti on the beautiful bronze sculpture in the public square.”

    Of course such a position only impacts people who believe in the Almighty God who created the universe. If you believe in God, then don’t get tattoos. If you do NOT believe in God, then go and get as many tattoos as you want.

    At any rate, it should not surprise us that this putz who cannot make a coherent statement about a simple Bible verse cannot make a coherent statement about the U.S. Constitution either.

  8. I have a very easy rebuttal to his statement. Approximately 176 million people were murdered by tyrannical governments in just the 20th century.

    Most of those governments either had strict gun laws already, or they registered and confiscated the guns first.

    All they want are background checks??? They will want a registry next, because without it background checks are unenforceable.

    Anyone who thinks the United States government would never turn evil is either ignorant or in denial of all the dictatorships the US government has supported.

    They supported Ferdinand Marcos in the Phillippines (who also took the guns when he became a dictator), and the CIA even helped Marcos find and assassinate Filipinos in the US who were critical of his regime.

    • The history of the US, when it comes to doing bad things to groups of people that those in power decided to scapegoat, is not pretty. Look at what they did to the Cherokee and what they did to the Japanese Americans in World War II for examples. So gun owners have plenty of examples of the “benevolent paternalism” of the DC establishment, who only want the best for their serfs.

    • They might have a scrap of plausibility with “all they want” if not for the existence of California, New Jersey, etc. The slippery slope is not theoretical, it’s not paranoid. It’s a straightforward reading of history of what they do when they get what they want. The ultimate goal is total and complete disarmament, nothing less. If they’re asking for something short of that at the moment, it’s a short term tactical move.

  9. He tells you to read Parts 1 and 2, but Part 3 is so poorly researched and relies on so many debunked theories about police, guns, concealed carry, and the Second Amendment, it’s just not even a worthy piece to take seriously. Well, I guess it is if you are a progessive trying to rehash some of the same gun control arguments I heard 25 years ago. Then it makes perfect sense.

  10. Religion is faith without proof or verifiable facts. (if you could prove your religious belief, it would cease to be religion and would become science)

    Therefore, it’s the knee jerk gun grabbers who are comparable to the religious.

    • well my proof of God is verifiable. it is the land and nation of Israel. I cannot deny the fact that the OT says it would come back and be born again in one day (2000 year old dead sea scroll of Isaiah proves it wasn’t a new addition). Then they fought wars in which they SHOULD NOT have won. but they did (proving Amos 9 correct). these are not some generalized horoscope prophecies either, but detailed and specific. You choose not to believe in God, that’s on you, but you cannot say there is no proof.

      • The victors in WWII created a lot of “states.” There is no Biblical evidence that the modern state of Israel shares anything with the Israel of pre- AD 70 except a name, which proves nothing. Modern Israel may be only a Tower of Babel. There is no evidence for or against it.

        Enough of the threadjack.

    • Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 KJV)

  11. As an American of Jewish descent, I will bitterly cling to my Old Testament and my Walther PPK (and my Bersa cc and CZ 75)
    I had no idea I was a Zealot
    I think I need a Smith and Wesson Shield for Father’s Day

    • I am Jewish, and I’m with you. Just bought an Uzi parts kit to convert, so I have something made in Israel for Israel. Love the Hebrew markings on it!
      Also, I have a S&W Shield- It’s a quality pistol, and I heartily recommend it.

  12. I read the other parts. He gives gun rights and gun control and pretty even approach. While I don’t agree with him, I give him props for calling out the SAFE Act and liberals hatred of the AR-15 as a waste. He seems to understand the gun pretty well and says laws like the SAFE act are like driving laws being written by people who neither drive or ride in cars, but see accidents from thier home.

    I think he is pretty even handed in his approach. For not being completely anti-gun, I applaud him.

  13. While I will probably incur no less wrath for saying that tattoos are heathen rather than evil, I bemoan how inked society has become and how acceptable they are. While once the purvey mainly of sailors, criminals, and slaves, they still today convey the idea of ownership–albeit, of the heart. For those who care to think this through and not respond immediately with vitriol, there is a correlation between an increase of tattoos and the acceptance of what once was considered immoral behavior.

    How does this apply to guns? As society becomes more immoral, you lose your freedoms and liberties and those things that help keep you free. Government becomes more despotic as there are no moral restraints on the depraved nature of man. To maintain their power, they must disarm the masses under the guise of “safety.” In fact, this can be seen full blown in the democrat party–create a society full of inturpitude through abortion, drugs, homosexuality, etc and you have a society perfect for control–a society that will lose all their God-given rights including the right to keep and bear arms. Tattoos are a symptom of a greater societal ill.

  14. If you don’t believe in God and that the Bible is the word of God, then ignore it. If you consider reverence for the Bible but sad devotion to an ancient religion, then blow it off. You never signed up, aren’t bound by it, and nobody’s attempting to force you to. Nobody’s coming to take your tattoos away, anyway.

    The Constitution, on the other hand, is the Supreme law of the land. It defines the structure of the government and the rights/powers balance between feds, states and the people. It’s a contract with built-in modification processes. Yes, you’re bound by it, but you have an opportunity to modify it and update it. These people don’t want to do that, because they know the legal attempt would fail. So they lie, deny and besmirch the Constitution and the Framers. They hope to infect others with their contempt to gain their acquiescence in ignoring the Constitution.

    • “The Constitution, on the other hand, is the Supreme law of the land…It’s a contract with built-in modification processes. Yes, you’re bound by it, but you have an opportunity to modify it and update it.”

      Not only that, but if you REALLY don’t agree you have the freedom to leave this country and choose another more to your liking (if they will have you).

      • To those who want nothing to do with God, then accept the fact that the enumerated Constitutional right are man-given. If man-given, they can be man-TAKEN. Remove the Christian God and sow the wind. Be ready to reap the whirlwind.

        • Those aren’t actually the only two alternatives. John Locke, for instance, was of two minds concerning the origin of equal natural rights. One was dependent on a Creator: that since all were created in God’s image, all were equally due the respect owed towards an image of the Creator. The other theory, however, was not dependent on a Creator, that being the fundamental equality of man in a state of nature. Take away the trappings of society, alone on a desert island for instance, and there’s nothing that fundamentally makes a king the superior of a peasant.

        • David B. makes an important point here, though possibly incomplete. Regardless one’s justification for or presumed origin of rights, whether God-given or agnostic and natural, what matters is that rejecting all universal justifications leaves only Man as the source of our rights. That’s a flimsy and fickle foundation upon which to build a human rights construct, one with an atrocious track record.

          Even if one does not agree with the concept of God-given rights, you ought to run with it, anyway. Think of it in terms of, if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

    • “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”

      Truer words were never spoken.

  15. Nobody asked for interpretation. SCOTUS, and ALL other Circuit or other benches ARE NOT OUR FOUNDING FATHERS. Neither are the people that appointed them.

  16. And those clinging to the “living document” lie sound like those turning back toward Gomhorra and… salt or something? Whatever, the point is I dismiss you back, Mr. Analytical Scowl.

  17. The good Michael Rivest claims that “ There is a way out of this dilemma, and one that will give reasonable people on both sides exactly what they want. But first, we must stop shouting and talk to each other.”

    But Rivest ignores the reality that what the gun banners want is total gun confiscation. Under NO circumstances will gun banners be satisfied until all guns are held ONLY by our benevolent Government overlords.

    And we as lawful gun owners, users and collectors want to “talk about this” WHY??
    To the Michael Rivest’s of the world I say MOLON LABE!!!
    Senior Gun Owner 1950

  18. So according to this idiot murder and stealing laws from the Bible shouldnt apply to todays modern “progressive” culture, I take it

  19. Of course, religion is the new boogey-man, it has been under steady and constant attack for decades, and used to paint people rejecting bigger government and less freedom as religious zealots with no credibility. Same tactic used in everything from global warming, trans-sex bathrooms, vaccines, ect, ect, ect, the list is almost endless. People supporting the 2A will absolutely be painted in the same manner as all those others who believe in individual liberties.

  20. No, citing Leviticus (which if you actually read the bible Jesus dissolves the covenant that makes the rules there) is like citing the 18th amendment while ignoring the 21st.

  21. What do tats have to do with anything? Sorry but I’ll cling to my bible and my guns.

  22. Except we have things like the Federalist Papers and personal letters / papers written by the men who wrote the Constitution explaining what their intent was and why they did what they did. So no, it’s not like that at all.

  23. We are free to clarify anything we like about the U S constitution through ammendments and the associated politics.

    The country has done so many times, including expanding rights and franchise through the pose-Civil War amendments, repealing the ill-concieved prohibition of alcohol, and cleaning up the presidential succession in event of incapacity.

    The anti- folk could, and should resolve their frustrations at any time through amendment.

    The problem is, they want what they want, and though they can’t get it made the general law, they want to inflict it on everybody else, whatever that takes. Sadly for them, to the folks who disagree with them on policy are now added the folks who dislike how they’ve gone about it, and the folks who simply don’t trust them.

    They’re abusive and they cheat. Why would anyone give them the greater political power that comes from a win?

    At this point, any anti- who wants to have a conversation on the merits needs to convince me they’re not Couricing, not gunning for “us and them” laws like D C guy, and hasn’t already dismissed me as some bitter clinger. Across the board, they don’t bother because they think they’ve already won, and you / we don’t matter anyway.

  24. This country was founded by religious “zealots” with guns. As such, I fail to understand his so-called “point.”

  25. BS. We’re much more rational than religious zealots such as feminists, antitheists, socialists, or Abrahamic fundamentalists (granted there are some very fundamentalist Christians who like guns, the vast majority of us still don’t go around blowing up abortion clinics or lynching homosexuals). Our love of guns comes not from some “faith” but from a factual understanding good people keeping defensive weapons around is the greatest possible deterrent to crime and tyranny.

  26. The existence or not of God is not the question. If not God, then who? The Big Bang? Having decided late in life to actually study the Bible so I could get a grasp of biblical principles, I eventually learned the fundamentals. One is (Jesus) “If you love me you will obey my Commandments”, and “then the dragon went off to make war against…those who obey God’s Commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus”. Jesus intended in no way to remove any of the Old Testament “not a jot or a tittle”. The reward for obedience is an afterlife in Heaven, the reward for disobedience is a swim in the lake of eternal fire. Which you choose is up to you.

    In regard to firearms, they are simply tools to provide food for the table, and to protect life and limb against predators. They ensure that we protect others from disobeying God’s Commandments if we are in a position to do so. A well-armed society tends to be a polite one, although there are some parts of the world where the prevalence of guns is matched with drugs, criminality and intergenerational feuding.

    Our modern humanistic atheistic society has no moral bedrock, so that people are easily swayed by demagogues and liars. The big lie that society will protect you, has been told for centuries. It is not society’s job to protect you, that’s your own responsibility. What tools you use to do this should be your own choice, though walking around with a flamethrower should be discouraged. The Second Amendment is the best protection anyone could ever need. Anyone contemplating removing that protection should be arrested for treason.

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