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The Second Amendment was passed on December 15, 1791 without debate as follows:

“On motion to amend article the fifth [the numerical position of the Second Amendment at that time] by inserting these words – ‘for the common defense’ – next to the words ‘bear arms’ it passed in the negative.”

“On motion, on article the fifth, to strike out the word ‘fifth’ after ‘article the’ and insert ‘fourth’ and to amend the article to read as follows: ‘a well-regulated militia being the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'”

In 1825, William Rawle published View of the Constitution and wrote:

“The corollary, from the first position, is, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

“The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.”

So, please, anti-gunners. Tell me by what right the government can take away our Second Amendment rights?

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        Now excuse me I’ve got an appointment with Planned Parenthood later today


          One child of a nice family.
          One child of a family in a nice neighborhood.
          One child of a family sending their children to nice, safe schools.
          One child who isn’t from “da ‘hood”.
          One child from south of the border.

  1. On December 15, 1791, Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve 10 of the 12 amendments, thus giving the Bill of Rights the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it legal. Of the two amendments not ratified, the first concerned the population system of representation, while the second prohibited laws varying the payment of congressional members from taking effect until an election intervened. The first of these two amendments was never ratified, while the second was finally ratified more than 200 years later, in 1992.

  2. You would think… but it’s already happened in terms of tax stamps, registries, paperwork when moving with NfA items, extended background checks and forms… those all infringe but were accepted as federal rule… so watcha gonna do when they come for you?

    Instead of us whining I wish someone could come up with a practical plan for voters on how to fix all of this in the next 5-10 years, I.e. vote for A and tell him/her that if this bill isn’t pushed for we will vote for B next election etc… and we all stick to our.. guns?

    • The real bite in the ass is that the solution is really obvious, yet impossible. Because the answer is to pass a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing our right to keep and bear arms. But we already have that, what good would ANOTHER do? Other than that, the only answer I can see is for everyone to simply ignore the laws, and dare the government to attempt to prosecute millions of people. Armed people.

      • We could add another amendment that says “All firearms and their accessories and parts are legal and cannot be made illegal by any act of the Legislative, Judicial, or Executive branch” and then Congress would pass a law that basically nullifies that and the SCOTUS would uphold it anyway.

        That’s the point where the people have to say that public officials are violating the law of the land and we rebel, but we should have rebelled decades ago.

      • I agree with you and like your idea but unfortunately History has proven your idea has never worked. When a power mad government makes the penalty severe enough (such as the current 10,000 dollar find in Vermont passed by a Republican Governor for owning a high capacity magazines) the majority of the people comply with the law and turn in what has been banned. Self interest is necessary for their economic survival and personal freedom not to go to jail. Other examples like the gun turn in for melt down in Australia also proved it

        • First of all, has a single “high-capacity” magazine been turned in yet? Even one of those 30-rounders magpul GAVE away in Vermont before this so-called law went into effect? Compliance with NewYork’s SAFE act has yet to reach 5%. How about the large-cap mag ban in Colorado? Because as far as I know, NOT ONE magazine has been turned in, and there has yet to even be a prosecution of anyone violating said ban.
          Second of all, we’re not Australians, and they never had a second amendment or anything like it. Not to mention even Australia has yet to reach even 40% compliance, even after multiple amnesty turn-in offers.
          All gun laws after-the-fact are basically unenforceable, and only serve to add-on charges for something else entirely while driving a natural right underground… until the revolution occurs.
          ARs are the modern pitchforks, and the streets will run red with the blood of the non-believers!
          To arms! To arms, I say!

  3. Governments don’t have rights, they have powers. The important thing is to insure that governments don’t have the po wer to disarm their citizens.

      • I might be picking nits here, but I think you’re confusing pow er with authority. The federal, state and local governments don’t have any authority that’s not delegated by the people, however that doesn’t mean they don’t have the pow er. Take for instance the New Orleans gun grab after Katrina – the police did not have the authority to seize everyone’s guns but they did it anyway because they had the pow er. Or on a personal level, you don’t have the authority to kill your wife, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the pow er. If pow er and authority were the same we wouldn’t need police, courts and prisons.

        A good example of the government having the authority to seize weapons but not the pow er is the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

        • Governor,

          You are correct.

          I was lazy and using the word “power” rather than “authority”. At times they are the same thing and at other times they are not as you described.

        • True, they are often interchanged but in my first comment I specifically meant pow er, not authority.

  4. The power of ignorance. We stopped teaching the real meaning of The Bill of Rights. For example now, the 1st amendment means you can be any religion you want long as it’s atheist, you can say anything you want long as it doesn’t offend anyone anywhere, and the press can print whatever they want long as it agrees with what people want to read. The 2nd amendment means only the Army, National Guard, and Reserves can have guns the normal people well you get what we allow and you like it. the 4th amendment only applies until you’re suspected of a crime. We stopped teaching the real meaning of the amendments and we gave too many short cuts around them to those in power because it made us feel safer, made their jobs easier, or just didn’t care enough to get off our ass and study the law. The government we see now, the massive over reach, the abuse of power, the deep state all of that is testament to the powers of ignorance and laziness.

  5. “Tell me by what right the government can take away our Second Amendment rights?”

    This is becoming like the caliber wars; keeps coming up, no matter what.

    What right of government? Really?

    Uuuhhhhmmm, like, uuuhhhh “compelling government interest”, tradition, history, precedent, rational scrutiny. Governments are all powerful. Write any covenant you want, but without enforcement of that covenant, government will assert its natural power to rule over the people.

    Waco. Ruby Ridge. Bundy I & II. Government exercising its natural power. And the people slumber. There are more important things in our lives than being vigilant about controlling government. Our elected representatives are doing just what they were elected for. We happily trade freedom and liberty for peace and safety…just a little bit at a time.

  6. Not exactly true! There’s the “Suspension Clause” of 24 September 1789 (i.e. Article I, Section 9, clause 2), in the United States Constitution and the Proclamation 104 (i.e. Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus Throughout the United States) of 24 September 1862…

  7. They absolutely do have the power. All they have to do is pass a law that the SCOTUS will uphold as constitutional (an extremely low bar), and a standing army of cops who are just doing their jobs and who just want to make it home at night will be out to get every single one of us.

    Power is one thing – they absolutely do have the power – but authority is another. Nobody – no congress critter, cop, legislator, judge or clerk – has any true authority over you. It’s all just abuse of power cloaked in flags, anthems, and gaslighting like “consent of the governed.”

    • People overlook that there are actually four branches if US Government, with the last three being granted their authority from the original first branch…the people. It means nothing for the last three to agree on anything if the first branch does not also agree; that’s what the 2nd Amendment is actually about.

  8. The liberals are becoming (lol) argumentative over the 2A like never before. I recently sold a holster to a “gentleman”. Thinking it was a fellow 2A believer, I happily made the exchange & engaged in some general conversation. Somehow we got on the subject of licensing & he made the statement that he believed everyone needed to be licensed, just as with a DL. Before I could check myself (I was making a sale, not a speech), I said well, except driving is a privilege, not a right. He quickly rebutted.
    “Actually, it’s not a right to own a gun.”, to which the look that came over my face, made it clear I disagreed…but he continued. “The 2A was written to supply the militia with arms…& not the kind we have today but those at that time. I studied law, so I’ve looked into this deeply”. So much to work with from that statement but I was there to sell a holster, not educate the dumbass but it just flew out & I asked him who were “the people” mentioned AFTER the militia…the ones that have the right that “shall not be infringed?” After he said he was a liberal but still carried (he showed me that fact. Awareness level jumped a thousand percent) I tuned him out, looked for an exit to the convo & left.
    The point is, pick your battles. “I studied law”, to me says, “I looked stuff up on a liberal website for arguing points when talking to a gun advocate.”. It’s going to be a long, wearisome battle against these self educated leftist bastards on the 2A. More so with those with “power”.

    • I really hate when people do that. It’s up there with meeting someone in a public area to buy something and having them wave the damned thing around for all to see. Private sales are perfectly legal in my state, but I always feel like some bystander is going to get triggered and I’m going to find myself dealing with the cops because of someone else’s lack of discretion.

  9. We need to distinguish between Authority and Power. Congress does not have the Authority to take our guns, but they certainly have the Power to do so. This has been demonstrated many times.

    • “We need to distinguish between Authority and Power. ”

      You end up with a distinction without a difference. Power is its own authority. Especially the power over life and death. “We don’t need no stinking badges” is more instructive than it seems.

      But let’s take your claim to its conclusion: When an entity lacks authority to commit acts of power, where is the appeal to be lodged? When the appellate entity determines it has both power and authority, where do you appeal when that entity creates power and authority out of “reasoning”, rather than direct citation? Government claims both power and authority to temper the constitution with phrases such as “compelling government interest”, and the court system certifies such power and authority, where does one go next?

      A tractor-trailer has power. A cop has authority to command that rig to stop. The driver of the rig refuses, and squashes the cop; power meets authority, and authority loses. Does the discourse about power and authority matter to the squished cop? Where does he/she/it appeal the outcome? To put it in gun terms, you are standing at an ATM, and someone comes along and shoots you dead? Since you committed no crime, where was the authority for the attacker to shoot you? Power equals authority. Where do you appeal that conclusion?

      • Individually, we lack both power and authority. Get enough people together in agreement on the same ideals and course of action…aye, but there’s the rub.

        • “Individually, we lack both power and authority. Get enough people together in agreement on the same ideals and course of action…aye, but there’s the rub.”


    • “We need to distinguish between Authority and Power. Congress does not have the Authority to take our guns, but they certainly have the Power to do so. This has been demonstrated many times.”

      The problem with your thought process is the scale. There is no way the government could succeed in enforcing such a law. They would have to first spend decades successfully demonizing gun owners, which looking at the continued rate of expansion of concealed carry is failing miserably. Then they would need to outlaw various types of firearms a little at a time. What was the percent of people who registered their “assault weapons” in NY and CT? Tiny even in those blue states.

      If they passed such a law you would have massive failure to comply, are they going to arrest all those who refuse to turn in their guns? Even if people didn’t resist, where would they put all those people? Feed them? Guard them from walking away? What if just a quarter of the gun owners decided to violently resist in an organized fashion?

      No, the anti-gunners will continue to try to restrict our rights, but they will continue to fail, because even where they succeed people will resist. I hope our resistance never comes to open warfare, because good people and bad (Democrat politicians, and their minions and surrogates) will die.

      • The problem with your thought process is the scale. There is no way the government could succeed in enforcing such a law.

        Given the absolute dearth of suppressors and full-auto firearms in private hands, I would say that our government is succeeding quite spectacularly at enforcing the Nation Firearms Act of 1934 and the Hughes Amendment of 1986. Sadly, even the local cops end up enforcing it those federal laws.

  10. We should have a constitutional amendment.
    We should pass a new 2nd amendment without that pesky first clause.
    It should read “The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed “
    Makes much better sense in modern English.

    • “It should read “The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed “ ”

      “The right of the people to bear arms, of any type, material, power, anywhere, anytime, shall not be infringed, denied, restricted, curtailed or regulated in any manner whatsoever, under any condition, real or imagined. This right is not subject to judicial review of any kind, ever. Infringement, alteration, or impediment to this right shall result in criminal charges being brought against the perpetrator, whether individual, corporate or government/government agency, local, state or federal. This right is not repeal-able, nor amendable.”

      • This IS what the 2nd Amendment, as written, was supposed to accomplish. We the people have an unlimited, un-infringed right to own weapons of any and every kind — as we ARE (we were supposed to be, and in reality, still are) the defenders of this country and the Constitution).

        How much clearer could it be said than ‘shall not be infringed’? Lawyers add phrases and clauses and commas and periods and semi-colons, all of which are open to ‘interpretation.’

        As Bill Clinton actually argued, ‘It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.’ This is lawyer bullshit talk.

        What does the meaning of ‘shall not’ mean, Bill?

        What does ‘shall not be infringed’ mean? There are no exceptions, caveats, ‘unless’, ‘for this period of time,’ etc.

        It had to be intended this way — that we could and should own any and all weapons needed or wanted — or how could we overthrow the tyrannical government that we now have? The intention never, obviously, was to give the elected officials more power than we the people.

        • “This IS what the 2nd Amendment, as written, was supposed to accomplish.”

          That was back then, when the people, legislatures, jurists asked, “What does the written law state?” For at least 60 years, the people, legislatures, jurists ask, “What can I make it mean?” Thus, a more extensive, plain-language, amendment is probably needed, else we all stay mired in equivocation and dissembling of the politicians.

          COS aficionados, good luck with that.

      • It already says that in one word…unalienable.
        It’s just that the tyrannical left doesn’t seem to understand that word, or its implications to the 2A…among others.This isn’t a right that was “granted” by the Constitution but rather, enforceable by it. Even our so-called conservative representatives that campaign on supporting our RTKBA seem to forget that denying these “unalienable rights”, no matter if it’s the first, second, fourth, fifth, tenth or fourteenth amendments, is an act of treason & punishable by…shall we say…severe penalties. The second is the one attacked so often because it defines the remedy to attacks on the others. If OUR representatives can’t grow some balls & start enforcing these infringements, we need to at the very least…I repeat, AT THE VERY LEAST…vote them out with so much prejudice that the next one would think hard before making empty supportive statements for campaign purposes. It’s already too late for the left to comply.

    • As far as I’m aware, federal gun laws all stem from gross misuse of the commerce clause, so rewriting the 2A won’t do much to help. Then again, I don’t think anything written will at this point. Criminals ignore the law to do what they want – politicians just re-write or reinterpret it to get the same result.

        • Bingo. Written words, as others have said, mean nothing to these people. ‘Studies’ mean nothing. ‘Studies show the more armed citizens there are, the fewer violent crimes there are.’ The logic, the statistics, mean nothing. Their goal IS to disarm us. These politicians are criminals, traitors, and communists.

          Re-write the 2nd all we want, they’re coming for our guns. No written words, in the end, are going to stop them. It’s all, of course, incremental. Bans on mag capacity … keep it in a safe … gotta be locked … etc. 15-round mags banned? Oh, now 10-round … oh, now you ‘need’ only single-shot .22’s … no, you don’t need that. Etc.

          We are governed by, as you said, criminals. And I add ‘traitors.’ The fundamental purpose of the 2nd Amendment being to retain, and use, arms in order to toss them out — and something tells me it will never happen peacefully or through voting booths.

  11. One of the main disputed points about Gun Rights vs Gun Control is whether the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is an individual right or whether it is a right or privilege only while serving in the military or State sanctioned militia.
    Another factor when discussing the 2nd Amendment, many fail to remember that the Bill of Rights was written to put further restrictions on the new federal government, not the States.

    However, that being said, I would like the 2nd Amendment to be rewritten to expressly say that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is not only for serving in a militia, but to also expressly say that that right is and Individual Right for Defense.
    Pennsylvannia’s original constitution says that the People’s Right to Keep and Bear Arms is for Defense of Themselves and the State.

    • Militia is already defined by US law.

      100 U.S.Code 246 :
      (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
      (b) The classes of the militia are—
      (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
      (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

  12. Just as laws don’t stop criminals, the Constitution does not stop politicians or the State.

    That’s what the guns are for.

    • The fundamental point we must remember, and the fundamental reason for the 2nd Amendment.

      The ‘problem’ which that presents is that the continued existence of traitors in our government falls on US. The solution falls on us. And the solution just doesn’t seem likely to come through the voting every couple of years. Thus far, voting in what is essentially a one-party system, has gotten us to precisely where we are.

  13. All men are created equal.: “Get off my land you redskin savage, and get to back to work you black slave.” Words on a piece of paper didn’t do much for them.

  14. I’ve researched this topic for years and believe that Congress does not have the power to disarm the people. I agree with Mr. Rawle and disagree with the Gov. above. Other than the argument presented there is Article 1, section 9, clause 3, of the U.S. Constitution, the no passing of ex post facto law clause. THE Gove. might want to argue it’s relevance but that is the clause that probably irritates the left because it is why the banning of things requires that supposedly kindly phrase of “Grandfathering” the items already in someone’s possession.

    • An “ex post facto” law is one making criminal an action that was legal in the past, and a person who conducted that action in the past can be charged with a crime, regardless of their actions (or non-actions) after the law is passed.

      An ex post facto law is not a law that merely makes it a crime going forward to commit acts that were legal prior to passage of the law. In the mid-1970s, the national speed limit was lowered to 55mph. This law did not make people guilty of violating the law when they drove over 55mph in the past; only if they drove above 55mph going forward.

    • But if the abused rattler only rattles a bit and is too nice to ever bite, you may forget he has fangs. You may even get under impression that he will hold still for defanging. For the children.

  15. When the authorities show up with overwhelming force the person will be disarmed. He can seek satisfaction in the courts.

    See how that works out.

  16. Lately everyone wants to rely on District of Columbia v. Heller and argue about what “in common use” means.

    Time to take a closer look at the earlier United States v. Miller where SCOTUS gave more emphasis to the ‘militia clause’ in deciding that the government could regulate SOME arms. The critical part is which arms the court said the government could regulate — basically it said the government could regulate arms that were NOT useful to a militia. When you look at the language, the logic, and the decision in United States v. Miller, you will quickly see that the military weapons are what the court said the government could NOT regulate. Even if you accept the pretense that a tax is not a ban, by closing the registry, the government has de facto banned both new machine guns and and additional older machine guns that might surface. Meanwhile any so-called Assault Weapon Ban based on the idea that certain weapons are too military for civilians would also be unconstitutional under the logic of United States v. Miller.

    If we accept that the court was correct in both Heller and Miller, then we have an individual right to both common weapons which may or may not be useful to the militia, and specifically to military grade weapons like machine guns, short barrel rifles (the standard US military individual weapon today is a short barreled machine gun) and even most weapons now classified as Destructive Devices.

    • “Lately everyone wants to rely on District of Columbia v. Heller and argue about what “in common use” means.”

      Sen. Blumenthal settled that question in the Kavanaugh hearings. Blumenthal declared that AR/AK type guns were indeed in common use, common use to kill large numbers of people at close quarters. Obviously, that sort of common use does not justify trying to use the Second Amendment to protect guns that are commonly only so far as they are used in murders (the only purpose for which AK/AR rifles are made.

      See how that works?

  17. They won’t have to take them. You’ll give them up. Pretty sure I read this previously on TTAG. It goes something like this: They tell you to turn your guns in. You don’t. They revoke your license. You still dont. They freeze your bank account. You appeal for help online. They disconnect your utilities. You still don’t. They declare you a danger to your children, take them out of school and put them into foster care. You still wont. They declare you a danger to yourself and send in a SWAT team for your protection. In the end they get your guns one way or the other.

    • By “They” I assume you mean Federal, state, & local law enforcement. By what authority do they carry out all these assaults on the individual citizen? Hasty legislation? Executive orders? Katrina style state of emergency?

      For eight years Obama tried and failed to move toward his ultimate goal of confiscation (“Citizens shouldn’t have guns”) is a direct quote. He complained repeatedly that the pesky Constitution impeded his ability to rule by EO.

      Right now the biggest threat to gun rights are the blue states’ Red Flag laws recently passed in the wake of Parkland. Confiscation one citizen at a time. Outside that, there’s plenty of intent but little of capability. Schumer, Feinstein, and Swalwell are impotent failures when it comes to gun control.

      Several states already mandate “assault weapon” registration. Deadlines have passed with noncompliance around 90 percent and governors have yet to send out their flying monkeys to start banging on doors. They fear armed resistance. Their cops want to go home at night and not have to say goodbye to their families at the start of each day.

      The chain of events you describe is in my opinion unlikely. If a city or state did go rogue and declared simple possession of firearms a crime, the news would spread at light speed and the pro-rights backlash would be enormous.

  18. Agree with your assertion that we the people have failed, and continue to fail, in making our representatives adhere to the constitution as written. Dropped into the current, political fraud, no new changes to the constitution will escape the same degradation of the original we see.

  19. Nor Do The States Have the Power to Disarm the People.

    McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), found that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms,” as protected under the Second Amendment, is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment against the states.

  20. Back in 1791, it was perfectly legal for a American citizen to own a cannon. If we apply that principle today, it should be legal to own an F-15 Strike Eagle loaded with cluster bombs, sidewinder missiles and a Vulcan 20mm rotary cannon. I may have some trouble fitting one in my two car garage though.

  21. Congress has the power to legislate gun laws.
    It’s fantasy to suppose otherwise.
    The internet has been disastrous to the constitutional analysis discussion, since it’s made every partisan an overnight constitutional scholar.
    Let’s get back to the real world, people, not the world we imagine we would like.

  22. Both Washington and Lincoln said that the citizen has a du6y and responsibility to discard an ‘out of control’ government!
    Line 21 of Lincoln’s Inaugural Speech says it clearly and a very good place for it to be said!
    Government IS OUT OF CONTROL AT EVERY LEVEL! It IS past time to remove it, beginning with Congress-critters that think they have right to be elected career criminals! Upper management of the alphabet agencies need to go! Political appointees need to be gone!

  23. It boils down to any attempt to block the right of the people to have and bear arms will be met with armed resistance.

    • “It boils down to any attempt to block the right of the people to have and bear arms will be met with armed resistance.”

      Or not.

      Just look around.

  24. We would do well to remember that the government DOES NOT HAVE RIGHTS! Only authority given it by consent of the governed. They do not have the authority under the constitution to disarm the people and the founders were adamant in their wording that modern politicians refuse to accept.

    It is NOT about saving children, if that were so, there would be laws against private swimming pools, bicycles for minors and 5 gallon buckets children drown in every year. That is simply emotion heartstring plucking to get you to give up your rights and power.

    Politicians crave power over all else and your privately owned gun is a small amount of political power they covet. Once they have that, they have you. It is as simple as that!

    Remember what Mao Tse Tung said, ” Political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The Party must control the gun so the gun will not control the Party.” Of course, he was talking of the Communist Party in China. After gaining power, his policies lead to the death of MILLIONS of his fellow countryman. LEARN FROM HISTORY!

  25. It is as I have always said, every law ever passed that puts restraints on the citizens of this country to own any firearm of their choice is illegal. The Second Amendment is not for those of us who like to hunt or plink,, it is a matter of National Security. The Thompson Submachine Gun was once marketed as a personal defense arm for home, farm and ranch. One add showed a cowboy standing on the front porch of a ranch house holding a Thompson 1927 with drum magazine. There was a time you could actually go down to your neighborhood hardware store and purchase a Thompson with no paperwork. They were displayed right there next to the Model 97 and Model 12 Winchester shotguns and the Marlin and Winchester deer rifles. If we really want to solve the problems of this society maybe we ought to take national security out of the hands of the politicians and put it back into the hands of the military and law enforcement.

  26. The Government does not understand nor like the phrase ” Shall not be infringed ” It is meant to tie the hands of all who would attempt to remove or modify the amendment.

  27. Apparently they don’t care if they have power or not. Our Government(s) have been passing unconstitutional laws regarding guns for many years.

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