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RPG (courtesy

“This, remember, is a constitutional issue. It is not a political one. Contra the zeitgeist, ‘constitutional’ and ‘unconstitutional’ are not synonyms for ‘things I like’ and ‘things I don’t like,’ but statements of legal fact. If the Constitution does prevent Congress from prohibiting rocket launchers, and if this is deemed by a supermajority to be ridiculous, then the Second Amendment can be changed via the usual channels. Until that time, it remains in force and it must be upheld as it was written.” Charles C. W. Cooke, Pride of Ignorance on Firearms [via]

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  1. i think the 2a allows us to own anything the police can own, and some of what the military can own. not a m16 with a grenade launcher, but an ar-15 with a flare launcher.

    • Why just limit it to that?

      If I can afford a nuclear bomb, I should have one. I should also have the concept of safety as well. Perhaps I shouldn’t store it in my New York apartment and should probably store it in the middle of my 1000000 acres in the barren Nevada landscape.

      I should be able to own an m16 and an m203. I also kind of want a javelin but I know I can’t afford one and can’t fire at anywhere locally safely with the HE tip.

      Many people already own stuff we seem “scary” and “not fit for US citizens” and they do just fine. We even let 18 year old boys have machine guns on bases here in America. What is different other than geography? Does that fatigued uniform and buzz cut suddenly make them any less lethal if they chose to be with that m16? No.

      If you can prove where private ownership of a title 2 firearm has caused a single death, id love to see it.

      • The reality is, if you have enough money and the will to do it, no U.N. sanction or international law is going to prevent you from building a nuclear device. Or for that matter, owning an RPG or Main Battle Tank.

      • “If I can afford a nuclear bomb, I should have one. ”

        No you shouldn’t. This argument is often made by anti’s in response to quite a few different arguments. The problem being, these types of weapons are indiscriminate. The cost benefit ratio far exceeds the limitations of “self defense” as a good cause. To insinuate that a weapon of mass destruction should be available for use, at the (in)discretion of a single individual is madness. The very argument in and of it’s self is an insult. In no way can these weapons be used for personal self defense.

        • Well…funny thing is. I don’t see “self defense” in any of those 41 words of the second amendment.

          The only reason i need to own any weapon I choose to own is

          “Screw you, that’s why.” And that is the PG version.

      • An weapon that can be carried is an “arm” as in firearms. Weapons that are too large to be man portable are ordnance. We have the right to bare arms not own ordnance. I think that is what it means anyway. 🙂

        • Correct. “…the right to keep and bear ARMS shall not be infringed.”

          “Arms” meant something like “man-portable anti-personnel firearms”. For example; rifles, muskets, pistols and other handguns. (It also included bows and arrows, crossbows, and edged weapons of combat like hatchets, knives, daggers, swords, sabers, cutlasses, etc.)
          Rifles today include everything that is held with two hands and fires a projectile down a rifled barrel, including rapid-fire machine guns like the military uses. The muskets of colonial times had non-rifled barrels, and they have been replaced with the modern day shotguns. Pistols and other handguns of today include every firearm that can be fired while holding it with only one hand; everything from a .17 caliber target pistol, to revolvers, to Desert Eagles, and even a MAC-10 and other ‘machine-pistols’.

          “Ordinance”, which is NOT protected under the second amendment, were considered to be weapons that would generally be used only on a battlefield and often required a small group of people to operate them. This included cannons, mortars, missiles, catapults and bombs.
          An anti-aircraft or anti-tank missile would be considered ordinance. Nuclear bombs, also ordinance. I think grenades are also considered ordinance, even though they can be carried and used by a single person.

        • But as far as I know the 2A is the right to revolt against a corrupt government. And if that is the purpose, then its intention would be to allow ownership of any weapon the government could own. Keep in mind that at the time it was written merchants had private warships that rivaled the government ones to protect their property.

      • No, Nuclear weapons are not “Arms.”

        A Nuclear Device is a -Weapon of Mass Destruction.-
        Stop playing into Media Stereotypes. You’re not helping.

    • Please explain to me how a giggle switch make a rifle unfit for civilian ownership in the context of “shall not be infringed”…

  2. As far as I know, an RPG is legal as long as it is registered as a destructive device. Every warhead would also have to be registered as such.

  3. Who would sell us these items? I would register for a few live RPG warheads at cost x plus $200 stamp a pop. Would be super cool.

    Would they need to be stored in a magazine separate from the house?

    As for where to use them at the range I have a few friends with 500 acres and scrap vehicles. Would be fun!

    • You are correct. A storage magazine is required. I don’t have the books with me but something of concrete building no doors with wood roof comes to mind. I also believe it had to be in the middle of some property.

    • You should read more of his stuff. He’s a Brit who writes on many things gun at National Review and it’s all poignant and persuasive.

  4. The militia (private citizens)leading up to the revolution legally owned cannon with explosive rounds.

    The militia was expected to own, maintain and practice with military grade weapons, including explosives.

    It just shows how far down the road to tyranny we are that so many people today freakout on the idea of a full auto rifle let alone the idea of private citizens owning RPG’s, tanks and crew served weapons; (which should be the norm.)

    Once the citizens are no longer the first line of military defense, tyranny soon follows.

    • Tyranny also follows when unvetted militias have unlimited access to heavy weapons. Look at Somalia and Liberia and the former Yugoslavia.

      Colonial militias were established by the local communities following legal guidelines established by colonial and crown officials.

      Who regulates the militias of today?

      • “Who regulates the militias of today?”

        The militias regulate themselves. They train, drill, practice, etc., etc. in order to be ready to do what militias may be called upon to do one day. Always remember that “well regulated” doesn’t mean badgered out of existence by the rules and laws of a hostile government. A lot of Anti-gunners love to point to the “well regulated militia” part of the 2nd Amendment without understanding the meaning of “well regulated”.

        • So the white supremacist militia plotting to set up a white homeland is ok under the constitution? Do the New Black Panthers qualify as a militia? Shall I go on or can we agree that in a 21st century first world country there may be a need to set some rules on militias.

  5. I see nothing in the 2A about “discriminating” weapons. Nor does it say I can only keep arms I can bear.

    • I think the author was trying be sarcastically humorous with that bit…. You can’t bear an arm you can’t keep meaning, I think, that if you can’t pick it up are you really ‘bearing’ arms?

      But what do I know, I am only a mere mortal and not a god-like deity who can understand laws and words and history and all that crap.

  6. It might be fun to think about these things, but if a non gun owner were to read these comments, he would say “OMG, these people are crazy”. The cause of the second amendment in the twenty first century might need to be a little more reality based.

  7. Almost 3 years ago, an upset 18 year old young man almost killed me with a 1988 Chevy Blazer. He was licensed and allowed to legally operate the vehicle. When he decided to operate the vehicle at an illegal speed and run a red light, it became an issue for me and a team of doctors.

    Guns are tools. We all know it.

  8. Do we let them nibble on the edge where noone would complain, like grenade launchers but have a bright line like as someone said above, If cops can have it, so should I?
    Should we work toward that politicaly and keep “shall not be infringed” in our back pocket?
    Do we wait for the wrong Supreme to die and then not have a good case to put before them?
    Because if we open up the 2A right now, what may the masses disaprove of. Dangerous can of worms in this present political environement, no? We may go from a Constitutional Republic to god forbid, a democracy.

    This is a chess match extradinaire.

  9. In reality, none of our Constitutional rights are absolute as the author wishes. Not the freedom of speech, not the freedom of religion, none of them. Since the early days of our nation, the judiciary has defined the scope of each of our freedoms, usually based on the text of the Constitution, but always with caveats and exceptions at the boundries, which change over time. The Second Amendment is no different. That is the current status of all of our Constitutional rights. If we the people don’t like that, then we can try to change that, but it would be up to us to change the status quo of the way our rights currently are defined, through the Constitutional process. The anti-gunners are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They simply want to ignore the Second Amendment and delete it from the Constitution altogether as a historical artifact. That too, would be contrary to the status quo of the way our rights are defined, and has never been done before. The Second Amendment means something and we have some rights to keep and bear arms, and a Constitutional amendment would be required to change that. But our Second Amendment rights are not absolute and at the moment the Supreme Court has already ruled that we don’t have a Constitutional right to arms such as machine guns. (At the moment, though, we do have a statutory right to some military type arms under the NFA, as long as we comply with all the other requirements and ATF’s inccompentcy.) But if you want a rocket launcher as a Constitutional right, you need to start working on a Constitutional amendment.

    • Well, remember up until McDonald the 2A wasn’t even a limitation on state governments. Given the rulings in Heller and McDonald- it really has opened up some issues on types of weapons which can be banned/restricted. Here’s a bit from the DC Court of Appeals upheld by SCOTUS in Heller which was referenced during the oral arguments before SCOTUS:

      The DC Court of Appeals statement defining the intent/scope of 2A:

      “To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment
      protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right
      existed prior to the formation of the new government under the
      Constituti¬on and was premised on the private use of arms for
      activities such as hunting and self-defen¬se, the latter being
      understood as resistance to either private lawlessnes¬s or the
      depredatio¬ns of a tyrannical government (or a threat from
      abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the
      important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the
      citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient
      for the Federalist¬s in the First Congress as it served, in part, to
      placate their Anti-federa¬list opponents. The individual right
      facilitate¬d militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be
      barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth
      for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second
      Amendment’¬s civic purpose, however, the activities it protects
      are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual¬’s
      enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or
      intermitte¬nt enrollment in the militia.”

      Pg 53 (a bit on technology and the constitution)
      The modern handgun—and for that matter the rifle and
      long-barreled shotgun—is undoubtedly quite improved over its
      colonial-era predecessor, but it is, after all, a lineal descendant
      of that founding-era weapon, and it passes Miller’s standards.
      Pistols certainly bear “some reasonable relationship to the
      preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.” They are
      also in “common use” today, and probably far more so than in
      1789. Nevertheless, it has been suggested by some that only
      colonial-era firearms (e.g., single-shot pistols) are covered by
      the Second Amendment. But just as the First Amendment free
      speech clause covers modern communication devices unknown
      to the founding generation, e.g., radio and television, and the
      Fourth Amendment protects telephonic conversation from a
      “search,” the Second Amendment protects the possession of the
      modern-day equivalents of the colonial pistol. See, e.g., Kyllo
      v. United States, 533 U.S. 27, 31-41 (2001) (applying Fourth
      Amendment standards to thermal imaging search).

      SCOTUS orals discussion

      GENERAL CLEMENT: Well, Justice Scalia, I think our principal concern based on the parts of the court of appeals opinion that seemed to adopt a very categorical rule were with respect to machine guns, because I do think that it is difficult — I don’t want to foreclose the possibility of the Government, Federal Government making the argument some day — but I think it is more than a little difficult to say that the one arm that’s not protected by the Second Amendment is that which is the standard issue armament for the National Guard, and that’s what the machine gun is.
      CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: But this law didn’t involve a restriction on machine guns. It involved an absolute ban. It involved an absolute carry prohibition. Why would you think that the opinion striking down an absolute ban would also apply to a narrow one — narrower one directed solely to machine guns?
      GENERAL CLEMENT: I think, Mr. Chief Justice, why one might worry about that is one might read the language of page 53a of the opinion as reproduced in the petition appendix that says once it is an arm, then it is not open to the District to ban it. Now, it seems to me that the District is not strictly a complete ban because it exempts pre-1976 handguns. The Federal ban on machine guns is not, strictly speaking, a ban, because it exempts pre – pre-law machine guns, and there is something like 160,000 of those.

      JUSTICE SCALIA: But that passage doesn’t mean once it’s an arm in the dictionary definition of arms. Once it’s an arm in the specialized sense that the opinion referred to it, which is — which is the type of a weapon that was used in militia, and it is -it is nowadays commonly held.


      JUSTICE SCALIA: If you read it that way, I don’t see why you have a problem.

      GENERAL CLEMENT: Well, I — I hope that you read it that way. But I would also say that I think that whatever the definition that the lower court opinion employed, I do think it’s going to be difficult over time to sustain the notion — I mean, the Court of Appeals also talked about lineal descendants. And it does seem to me that, you know, just as this Court would apply the Fourth Amendment to something like heat imagery, I don’t see why this Court wouldn’t allow the Second Amendment to have the same kind of scope, and then I do think that reasonably machine guns come within the term “arms.”

      • “Well, remember up until McDonald the 2A wasn’t even a limitation on state governments.”

        It may be more correct to say that it wasn’t considered (by many) as a limitation on state governments. I thought I remembered that people have rights, governments have powers. The government powers are not supposed to trample the rights of the people. The federal powers are limited. State powers are subject to the same limitations regarding the people’s rights being the top dog. It seems that one ligitimate role of the federal government is to protect the people’s rights from state governments, like it did for abolishing Jim Crow laws.

  10. Either we are ruled by law or we are ruled by man (or men).

    The highest law in “this” land is the US constitution (IMHO the constitution in the 9th amendment ties us into another important founding document;

    “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…..) ,

    nothing else trumps it, if it says something; that is the law, and no man or group of men can change it or the meaning of it; unless the constitution is followed; which does allow a process of change in article 5.

    That is what is so wrong today; tyranny can be that of one or even the majority if the constitution is not followed.

    To not follow the constitution in one place is to say that it doesn’t need to be followed elsewhere.

    • Either we are ruled by law or we are ruled by man (or men).

      Neither. Like everyone else in this world, we are ruled by uniformed forces with heavy weapons. We are all ruled by force.

      • Ralph you be right;

        “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” George Washington

        And that’s why we need a functioning constitution to keep our fire withing the walls of our fire pit, otherwise the whole country may get consumed with that fire.

        Lets say we don’t try to live by our constitution or to change it as article 5 allows it to be, how do we protect our liberty or contain tyranny; well then that brings another quote to mind;

        “…The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty….And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?….The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure….”
        Thomas Jefferson

      • True, but sadly, most people do consent to this rule by force. The force only comes to bear on the outliers. And most people, left and right, cheer or at least accept the use of state force against people with whom they disagree. For the right, think Occupy, environmental activists, etc. For the left, think militia groups, anti-abortion activists, etc. For all their fake angry white man victimhood bitching, the Tea Party has been treated with kid gloves compared to most other populist political groups.

        Any lefty activist will tell you that the guy in the group saying he can get explosives, or suggesting serious illegal activity (not to be confused with non-violent civil disobedience) is probably the Fed. Same may be true for right wing groups. I know a couple of militia groups have gone down due to informants/provocateurs.

        • Where did we leave the rails of our constitution is an interesting question, some can say Obama, others the Bush’s or Clinton, or then again Ike or FDR, but don’t forget Teddy or WW, how about ole Abe? For myself it started way before; all the way back to at least, at least; the Shores of Tripoli (no matter how much I love that song!).

          TJ was not always right neither was John Adams or James Madison etc etc but there is one thing that our fore fathers understood, the nature of man, and how power corrupts and ultimate power corrupts ultimately, and that is why we needed limited government to at least have a chance at individual freedom.

          As we leave our rails of the constitution we also leave our limitations of government which only gets us closer to tyranny, and every step in that direction is IMHO another step closer to revolution.

          Oh that word revolution how it can mean different things to each of us, some think violence, I know our forefathers did and that is why they gave us a peaceful way, article 5 because if anyone understood the cost of violence, they did!

          I hope as a country we wake up to the fact of where we are headed; for freedom, for liberty to exist, revolution is require; to control those who are in power & drunk with that very same power and their only desire of maintaining it.

          Article 5 is the only peaceful solution (revolution) and I hope it is not too late to make that choice.

          Now to discuss how to implement article 5, and that’s a whole another conversation.

        • The most successful revolutions of the last hundred years or so have been sort of non-violent. Women’s sufferage, Civil Rights movement, India shrugging off the British Empire, etc. No doubt the threat of violence was there, but nonviolence was more effective.

        • While I shan’t get into voting rights or such domestic issues, do realize that Indian independence was quite violent, with many thousands killed.

          The thought that a million unarmed peaceful protestors means anything when confronting a few dozen Ma-Dueces and men with intestinal fortitude (and ammo) is positively laughable.

          Power comes from the barrel of a gun. Period.

  11. So much of the public’s approach to the constitution seems to be about “rooting for our team.” Whatever group is getting what it wants from SCOTUS will laud the court’s wisdom, and the loser will cry “tyranny.”

    I really don’t like Scalia, I think he’s an utterly corrupt corporatist tool, but he has had some good opinions on 4A and 2A lately. One positive outcome of the Obama administration is that conservatives have felt around in their collective pants and discovered amendments other than 2A. I fear as soon as a Repub is elected it will go back to “if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about, hippie scumbag.”

    But understand that so much of the “unitary executive” nonsense built up under Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and now on steroids under Obama is not going away. The executive branch, which seems to be completely run by the Military/National Security complex and their corporate camp followers, will do what it thinks is in its best interest (not yours). They will run roughshod over the Constitution whenever it suits them, Congress will continue it’s endless circle jerk, and SCOTUS will rule years later if at all.

  12. First, rocket launchers, or RPG’s are not just really big bullets, and neither are mortars.
    These are high explosives, and yes, we do tend to regulate who can buy high explosives.
    Second, because these things involve high explosives, there is a heightened danger factor
    that is not present with firearm ammunition. Also, the military, and the makers of military
    weapons that contain HE have special legal protections should any mishap cause the injury
    or death of a soldier. Shit happens. Even with well practiced training and safety protocols
    like you would find in the military. Soldiers do die from weapons systems malfunctions and
    human error when proper procedures are not followed when deploying military weapons.
    Third, because these weapons involve high explosives, you can’t just store these things
    anywhere, or anyway you want. No, your garage or your basement doesn’t qualify as a
    proper secure storage facility. We build special places just to store this shit. Far away
    from populated areas. Outside of a gun safe, no special issues arise from storing your
    basic firearm.
    Lastly, if you have to state up-front, that this isn’t about what “you like” or “don’t like,”
    and is “purely” a constitutional issue, I have serious doubts that the author is being entirely honest with himself, or us, for that matter. How do you know the Fed is going to raise interest rates? They tell you before hand that they have no intention of raising interest rates, that’s how.

    The horrible truth is, we always want what we can’t have, even if deep down, we know there’s a good reason why we can’t have something. It doesn’t just doesn’t make us want
    it any less. This is where the bargaining begins. And boy do we excel at that.

    • Horse puckey. Anyone with the need used to be able to trot down to the local hardware store and buy honest-to-golly dynamite – no license required.

      The world kept turning and there was no real reason for that to change. We should all be able to do it right now.

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