Tuesday, July 1, 2008

To Heller in a handbasket

U.S. Constitution: Second Amendment
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.

The ill-considered, Constitutionally inconsistent, downright nonsensical rantings of the lunatic statists, particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court's Heller decision on the D.C. gun ban, prompted me to collect some of my thoughts on their various hysteri-- er... historical arguments:

** There was no such contemporary thing as firearm registration or licensure at the time of the Revolution. Such infringements on inherent rights would have been considered "unreasonable" restrictions had they even occured to the Founders. Indeed, they would likely have precipitated a revolution.

** The Bill of Rights' exclusive intent was to protect individual rights (considered to be necessary because the States expected the concepts addressed in the 9th and 10th [arguably the one expanded exception, but we'll get to that in a moment] Amendments to be ignored even then), by enumerating merely a few unalienable examples.

** Everywhere else it's used in the BoR (1st, 4th, 9th, 10th), "the people" refers to individuals, not to "the collective." Indeed, the 10th Amendment draws a very clear distinction between government (explicitly broken down even further into federal and state) and "the people." "The people" is most decidedly not "the state."

** "The militia" referred to all able-bodied men & boys, not to government military, the reiteration of whose authority was not the subject of the BoR, anyway (being instead the province of the Constitution proper).

** The subordinate clause concedes that since a free society needs occasional defending to remain so -- perhaps even against its own government, the government now claimed to somehow have a "right" to superior arms -- it's indeed in that society's best interest of securing said freedom that its citizens are not forcibly disarmed for the eventuality that their participation is needed. It's offered, yet unnecessary justification for the expressed right, even for the nominal statist.

** What part of the declarative "shall not be infringed" is unclear to even the public school-trained rational mind?

** A total ban has not improved, e.g., D.C.'s violent crime rate. To attempt to argue that to revert to relatively Constitutional pre-prohibition access would somehow result in worse statistics than ever -- without evidence, no less -- is, to be kind, ineffective.

** Perhaps most significantly, the notion that the 2nd Amendment intends that government's right to arms "shall not be infringed" is simply beyond ludicrous. The BoR addresses limitations on government, not authorizations. Additionally, government is expressly granted only "authority" (again, in the Constitution proper, not the BoR). It does not enjoy "rights," let alone of a "protected" variety. Specific, enumerated (oh, if only...) powers are granted to government by "the people," and any of them may be rescinded through the conveniently provided Amendment process (assuming they are, in fact, legitimately granted in the first place, of course, and not simply commandeered, in which case...). So "shall not be infringed" does not -- CANNOT -- refer to government. Any strained alternate interpretation of the 2nd Amendment turns this intended concept on its head, and leaves its advocate wide open to charges of inconsistent reading comprehension. Or a profound preference for unlimited, unopposable government. Just be honest. That's all I'm asking. Well, it's all I can hope for...

** The 2nd Amendment limits the "allowed" relevant tools to those available contemporary with the Constitution as much as does the 1st Amendment. I.e., no cable news free speech, no internet free speech, no religious freedom for Jehovah's Witness, no on-line assembly, no electronic or on-demand publishing. In fact, no electricity.

Better get your Gutenberg press revved up if you wanna keep pontificatin' there, Keith. And somehow I bet you'd be singing a different tune were King George to declare martial law. I can hope, anyway... (btw, between his Heller tirade and his flip-flop on FISA just because Obama did, late June, 2008 is when Olbermann officially jumped the shark as a self-proclaimed defender of the Constitution)

NH State Constitution: Part First, Article 2-a
All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.

Really. How much clearer can it get?

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