Why is the 2nd Amendment sacrosanct, but not any other? -

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Lou’s Biggest Fan

All Hail Blippy, the Fat-Shaming Geiger Counter
kiwifarms.net
nobody with an IQ over 70 does what you're saying, OP

>Guns... keep 'em!
>Abortions... have 'em!
>Opinions... speak 'em!
>Soldiers... don't quarter 'em!

is what all the cool kids think

Then apparently the majority of Trump Cultists have an IQ of 70 or lower because all it takes is a brief skim through any social media during any sort of political discourse and you see countless people saying exactly what OP is saying.
 

sidekek

kiwifarms.net
Then apparently the majority of Trump Cultists have an IQ of 70 or lower because all it takes is a brief skim through any social media during any sort of political discourse and you see countless people saying exactly what OP is saying.
it's probably safe to assume that cultists of any type are not very bright, especially when it's related to partisan politics.
tribalism is one hell of a drug.
 

World's Best Dad

We love our cops, our law enforcement.
kiwifarms.net
It's right there in the ink. ". . .the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." It's written in a way to say "do not ever mess with this." The founding fathers of our country were smart men, who wrote the amendment that way for a reason. All of the rights granted to us by the BoR are considered inalienable, but are rights that these men saw trampled over in the past.

The Second Amendment is their blockade against any government tyranny, for these were men of the opinion that if the citizens are not armed, they will be oppressed. It's their way of securing every other right granted to you by the constitution, in a sense.

TL;DR from my cold, dead hands, you fuck.
 

heyitsmike

The beatings will continue until morale improves.
kiwifarms.net
The second amendment is sacrosanct because it's the only amendment whose protection is in itself.

Freedom of speech can't defend freedom of speech.
Protection against unreasonable searches and seizures can't defend against unreasonable searches and seizures.
But the right to keep and bear arms sure as hell can defend the right to keep and bear arms.
 

FuckedUp

Done with this autism chamber
True & Honest Fan
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A lot of people lack anything in their life that they're proud of, so they grasp their guns like a bunch of rednecks.

I hate to break it to people, but if the army did decide to go full tyrant, your guns aren't gonna do jack shit. And besides, the "anti-tyrant" retards have shown they don't care if there's a tyrant wannabe as they mostly support Trump and his attempt to steal the election
lol
 

Ghostse

Gorilla Channel Executive Producer
kiwifarms.net
I've been wondering this now for a while. Why do the same people who claim their right to bear arms cannot in any way ever be regulated ever ever also in the same breath say protestors should be locked up and certain people shouldn't be able to vote? Why are guns more important than any right we have protected by the constitution?

Read your history and don't be a retard.

The American Revolution happened because the British were unable to disarm the colonists. The Governor of Massachusetts attempted to seize the weapons of pro-Liberty agitators. The people who had their gun & powder seized went to court and got their guns returned because there was no legal reason for them to be seized, and Judge ordered them returned. If the colonial government had been able to disarm the populace, the revolution might have failed.

The Founding Fathers knew how important it was to have a citizenry that were able to vigorously defend their rights against a repressive government, and so they enshrined those rights that allowed them to overthrow the British in the new constitution - essentially the right to overthrow tyrants - so that no future government would be able to unilaterally act against the interests of its citizens.

This is also the less obvious reasoning behind the 3rd amendment, btw. Basically you can't station troops in people's houses to spy on them.

They can't stop us from talking/organizing, they can't disarm us, and we don't have to let the fuckers' lackies into our homes. These were the primary talking points of the politics of the time, everyone could readily agree on them, and that's why they're first.

In summation, if you don't like the 2nd amendment, go back to whereever your ancestors came from and be a serf of their King.
 
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subwaymonkeyhour

This is not the Green Tom Show.
kiwifarms.net
Another way to look at it is like this;

The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. While this tagline, mostly attributed to the NRA, seems cheesy and over simplified, it kind of describes the basic intent of the Second Amendment. The Good Guy With A Gun principle is the principle that the military, police, and law in general is predicated upon.

Police, who protect law and order, are armed in case of violent outlaws. They are by definition designed to be a "Good Guy With A Gun." While there are exceptions of cops taking it wayyyyy too far (hence why BLM and ANTIFA are ruining cities left and right) usually, the Cops are the good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns.

The Military is designed to protect the country and its citizens by stopping bad guys with guns, (the Nazis, Soviets, Al-Qaeda, ISIS) by being, again, good guys with guns.

However, the Government, described by George Washington as a "necessary evil", essentially could turn on a dime and become tyrannical. Suddenly the Cops and the Army are the Bad Guys With Guns. The Founding Fathers knew that the Government, could, at any moment, turn into Bad Guys With Guns, and so they designed an Amendment that would create Good Guys With Guns in the form of an armed citizenry.

The 2nd Amendment isn't "sacrosanct." It's been fucked harder than a backdoor hooker by idiots in Washington with power tripping napoleon complexes who believe in Government being a great alternative to God. It's just more important than all the other Amendments.
 

Techpriest

Praise the Machine Spirits
kiwifarms.net
Another way to look at it is like this;

The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. While this tagline, mostly attributed to the NRA, seems cheesy and over simplified, it kind of describes the basic intent of the Second Amendment. The Good Guy With A Gun principle is the principle that the military, police, and law in general is predicated upon.

Police, who protect law and order, are armed in case of violent outlaws. They are by definition designed to be a "Good Guy With A Gun." While there are exceptions of cops taking it wayyyyy too far (hence why BLM and ANTIFA are ruining cities left and right) usually, the Cops are the good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns.

The Military is designed to protect the country and its citizens by stopping bad guys with guns, (the Nazis, Soviets, Al-Qaeda, ISIS) by being, again, good guys with guns.

However, the Government, described by George Washington as a "necessary evil", essentially could turn on a dime and become tyrannical. Suddenly the Cops and the Army are the Bad Guys With Guns. The Founding Fathers knew that the Government, could, at any moment, turn into Bad Guys With Guns, and so they designed an Amendment that would create Good Guys With Guns in the form of an armed citizenry.

The 2nd Amendment isn't "sacrosanct." It's been fucked harder than a backdoor hooker by idiots in Washington with power tripping napoleon complexes who believe in Government being a great alternative to God. It's just more important than all the other Amendments.
The purpose of the second amendment was not to overthrow the government, you fucking moron. The point of the second amendment was very very much linked to a major issue the nation had at the time: They had a standing army, and didn't like it.

Alright, a little bit of context into this - The US, as it was originally founded, didn't have a standing army. Hell by the time the Constitution was being ratified, the army of the united states was... a single regiment. Of 625 men. On a good day.

Many of the people involved in the revolution (and in the constitutional conventions) loathed and hated the idea of a standing army in a republic. A standing army was the thing of dictators and kings and just not good (Nevermind that they needed to have a standing army to actually fight against the British). Also they knew their history - a standing army let Caesar rise to power. A standing army is also very, very expensive, even in those days. Firstly, you have to pay wages (and the government was pretty fucking broke at the time), you have to have a bunch of people willing to volunteer for a standing army - or you need to press them into service - you need to feed them, to clothe them, to supply them, and to keep them under arms. You have to train them, and that's also not easy or cheap. The American Revolution indicated a tendency in the average American that had plagued the Roman Republic as well - nobody wants to leave their home behind to do any kind of extended campaign. This was a major and thorny issue.

Now, enter the concept of the militia. The militia is essentially self funding, self training, and were something almost every colony had. It's Jimothy And Timbert, who know how to load a gun, fire it... and that's about it. They could have some heavier weaponry like cannons, but not always. Hell, some might have pikes. A lot of their guns are also stored at a central armory in a town, where everyone who is part of the militia will go and form up if called into service - they don't always keep them in their houses if they're in a town. Some own their own firearms, but usually it's a rich guy who foots the bill for a lot of this. The quality of a militia could also vary wildly from town to town, location to location. Theoretically, every adult male is in the militia, though in practice not really. Theoretically, they're all trained, in reality said training might be literally 'here's how to load and fire a gun' if that. Plenty of these militias were basically private armies in all but name (especially in the south), though every state had a public one too.

These militias during the revolution were the foundation of the standing army and had a real tendency to just... go home. Despite this, they were the darlings of the anti-federalists, proof to them the spirit of the revolution was going to always be defended by the citizens. And here was where some of the major issues when drafting the constitution came about. See, there was this thing that happened called 'Shay's Rebellion,' which essentially was a group of people disgruntled with taxes that tried to overthrow the government of Massachusetts. Only about 10 people died, a few hundred were arrested, and central to the forces on each side were local militia forces. The central federal government had no real army as mentioned before to actually do ANYTHING about this, and the anti-federalists saw this as a feature, not a bug. Enter the amendment issues, and the constitutional conventions. There was a massive argument about if the national government could even request troops from the various states, or raise its own army.

Essentially the 2nd amendment is a massive, massive concession to the anti-federalists, while still giving the Federalists the ability to actually have a military . Why? Look at the language. The Anti-Federalists were absolutely fucking terrified of the idea of any centralization of power, and were paranoid as fuck about it. One of the big fears they had was that any army of the United States would mean an end to the militias entirely (Some anti-federalists were also against the idea of any organized militia but these were the real wacky guys of their era, basically ultra libertarians) and Hamilton addresses this in the Federalist papers (number 29) essentially saying that 'hey the militias are fine and we're going to keep your ability to have your little private armies, see this 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 first thing mentioned in the amendment is the militia. This is is by design. The militia question was a massive sticking point during the drafting of the primary constitutional articles. Private militias were something a lot of anti-federalists feared would be simply taken out of the picture. That being said, a bit more details have to be given about all of this, and an examination of the language too. 'Well Regulated' is exactly what it means. Essentially, the 2nd amendment was never a cut and dry 'EVERYONE GETS AS MANY AND ALL TYPES GUNS THEY WANT TO OWN' at all. The amendment mentions militia first, because at the time, the US army is pretty much a thing on paper and not in practice. This would change drastically later, but at the time, everyone knew that to even pretend to be a state with any kind of defensive force, they had to tolerate these militias. "Shall not be infringed" when you consider the rest of the text is a bit clunky, and sort of comes down to the idea of 'yeah sure you can form a militia with an armory that's a protected thing, but the federal government gets a say in what actually constitutes that.' The Anti-Federalists rejoiced because it proved the power of the people and idealism and all that wonderful freedom crying eagles and so on and so forth. An army of the people (people being white land owning men) would defend the rights of the people (white land owning men) and everything would be hunky dory.

There were a lot, and I do mean a lot of implicitly known limitations to the second amendment at the time. Firstly, the phrase well regulated militia was intentionally designed to keep the ability of the various states to regulate who they defined as the militia. This was very important in the south, as every single southern constitutional delegate would have walked right out the fucking door if this amendment applied to all free men. The emphisis on a well regulated milita was by intention, meant to be able to allow the states to exclude whoever they wanted - in the case of the south, free blacks. The biggest use of any militia in the South was at the time, as a deterrent to any kind of slave uprising, and to catch escaped slaves. The second amendment was a massive bone thrown to the south by Madison which isn't too much of a surprise (He was a Virginian). Secondly, the implication of the amendment was also that the federal government would take responsibility to arm and regulate the militia if they wanted, and request or stand them down as needed from the various states. The second also gave the states a bit of an 'out clause' against another part of the constitution, just in case. The fear of government tyranny resulting from having a standing army was alive and well at the time, and the second was certainly meant to assuage the fears that the nation could fall to such an action. Having a large militia and a tiny standing army meant that theoretically, the militias would win.

All this being said, the original language of the amendment is kind of telling: it's basically an amendment meant to allow the US to conscript people as needed. No, really, here's Madison's original submission.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

The right to bear arms in Madison's original version is very much linked to military service. Again, this is to appease the anti-federalists by saying 'Hey we don't need a standing army if we can just make the population an army as needed'. From the start, the second was very much intended as a military thing, and an attempt to have a standing army without actually having a standing army. There's more regulations that then got issued, for example the government tried to standardize the bore of every musket made in the future, and mandate that everyone buy a gun if they were a white man over 18. This... didn't really work out that well, and the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 poked more holes in the idea of using a local militia for an army when again, local militias were flocking to the rebels and others weren't keen on getting involved. This was really a massive problem, but kinda got ignored, as the Anti-Federalists were starting to gain more power and any attempt to change the constitution was not going to be easy anyway - the thing was still quite new and a compromise document in many ways. Besides, what could possibly go wrong with basing our defense around random citizens with guns with little standardization? Nothing at all, surely!

Enter the War of 1812 where said private militias (and the state militias) are the primary forces of the United States. And holy mother of fucking god, does it go horrifically wrong for the United States. The War of 1812 pretty much kills the concept of basing national defense around the state and private militia, which was sort of what the Second Amendment said would be the case. Why? Well for starters, plenty refused to move away from their local communities to you know, actually help their neighbors. Others just showed up, shot a few times, went home. Some stood and fought but well, they had pretty much no training and their ability to actually stand and fight wasn't very good. Well funded private militias didn't do much good either - the brits went 'Hey, free cannons' half the time they faced them, and the other half of the time still usually won. The small standing Continental Army performed very very very well, especially compared to the average militia force. Despite the British not bringing their top tier professional forces, they'd wiped the floor with every militia sent against them, even when out numbered. There were about half a million militia mobilized in the United States during the War of 1812. The British sent originally 5000 men... and then a bit over 50,000, as the US rapidly built up an actual standing army out of necessity.

Despite all this, the second amendment remained unaltered, because nobody bothered to come back and sit down and think 'OK let's take out the militia part of this' or tightening up the language. It had been written down twenty years ago, and might still be relevant in the future - plenty of people were deliberately trying to ignore the complete failure of basing the entire defense of the nation around people who bought their own gear. The start of viewing the constitution as a civic religion also had an impact on this, as any kind of change to the document started to be seen as going against what the founders wanted, Besides, the obvious problems with the original document had been patched up with the 11th and 12th amendments (In 1794 and 1803), and nobody wanted to touch already made amendments. Could you even do that? How? Another amendment? Was that constitutional?

tl;dr: The second amendment has a complicated history and doesn't just boil down to 'BUT BUT MUH GUNZ'

EDIT: The current interpretations focusing on "shall not be infringed" rely heavily on the original draft that Madison had in the amendment, which was quickly altered to have the militia be the first and primary stated purpose of the amendment (though they argue that it isn't the primary but simply the introduction reasoning for the whole right to bear arms shall not be infringed which is playing semantic games about intention that a lot of 'Originalists' like to try and pull to justify whatever they want while claiming the text supports it even if it might not.) Shall not be infringed is hard to interpret because infringement in the sense of the original language was having no weapons what so ever, not not having private weapons... maybe? It's complicated, not very clear, and I don't know if that's intended to give the states a way to circumvent the government and have armies of their own, which isn't an implausible interpretation. The intentions of the founding fathers certainly indicate that they wanted people to be armed, but the reason why is couched firmly in revolutionary ideology for some, for practicality for others, and a wide variety of reasons that really only applied to the odd situation the country was in when the constitution was being written and ratified. The amendment was also written before the War of 1812 - which pretty much shattered Madison's faith in any kind of militia compared to a standing army for the defense of the revolution and nation. Basically, originalists are full of shit because they try and ignore the context to the 2nd Amendment and what was implied about it at the time of its writing. It's dumb, and even dumber still when you consider the Militia Acts, which they like to try and ignore, which firmly defines what the militia is, even if it isn't in the constitution - which gives you an idea of the ACTUAL intent of the Founders when they wrote this, namely the Acts of 1792 - just a year after the Constitution and its amendments were ratified. The first gives the federal government the power to actually call on the militias, something not implicit in the constitution outside of the article involving the feds getting to raise an army. The second goes into detail on the actual regulation of these state level militias, down to what arms they should have, what roles they should have, etc. It already excludes people from the militia (one of the primary arguments used by originalists is that the militia was understood to be everyone in the 2nd amendment, which again, bullshit), and thus from having arms... or from regulation of said arms, if you're feeling spicy.

When combined with the later act of 1903 which established the concept of an organized (the national guard) and unorganized militia (the general population), the idea that the government can regulate what arms the militia has access to isn't out of the question, especially when you consider the government tried to do that just after the 2nd Amendment was ratified. Seriously.
 
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Imperial Citizen

For the Empire!
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Despite all this, the second amendment remained unaltered, because nobody bothered to come back and sit down and think 'OK let's take out the militia part of this' or tightening up the language. It had been written down twenty years ago, and might still be relevant in the future - plenty of people were deliberately trying to ignore the complete failure of basing the entire defense of the nation around people who bought their own gear. The start of viewing the constitution as a civic religion also had an impact on this, as any kind of change to the document started to be seen as going against what the founders wanted, Besides, the obvious problems with the original document had been patched up with the 11th and 12th amendments (In 1794 and 1803), and nobody wanted to touch already made amendments. Could you even do that? How? Another amendment? Was that constitutional?

tl;dr: The second amendment has a complicated history and doesn't just boil down to 'BUT BUT MUH GUNZ'
First of all, fucking brilliant analysis. I honestly did not know how something like well-regulated would have be interpreted back then and I just thought it was just a descriptive word.

On the issue of alterations, technically it has been altered. DC v Heller decided that an individual does have a right to keep and bear arms without being connected to a militia. While that hasn't changed the actual text, it has been precedent so far.
 

draggs

Kyle Avgvstvs, Antifvs Maximvs. AVE KYLE
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I've been wondering this now for a while. Why do the same people who claim their right to bear arms cannot in any way ever be regulated ever ever also in the same breath say protestors should be locked up and certain people shouldn't be able to vote? Why are guns more important than any right we have protected by the constitution?
You should be locked up and proscribed from voting.

Anyone else? Nah.
 

Techpriest

Praise the Machine Spirits
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First of all, fucking brilliant analysis. I honestly did not know how something like well-regulated would have be interpreted back then and I just thought it was just a descriptive word.

On the issue of alterations, technically it has been altered. DC v Heller decided that an individual does have a right to keep and bear arms without being connected to a militia. While that hasn't changed the actual text, it has been precedent so far.
Heller's a bit of an odd duck, because I think it ignores the context of the militia acts of 1903 which define pretty much every one as part of the militia in one form or another. It's kind of a contradiction. Heller didn't actually change the text of the amendment, which is what really needs to be clarified - the concept of a militia in the era of the Revolution is VERY different from what it would be considered in the modern context. For that matter, if you stress shall not be infringed, you have to admit you're going to have to give felons back firearms, and any state law or federal law refusing them the ability to possess firearms violates that part of the amendment - something happily ignored by a lot of originalists and literalists. The right of the citizen to bear arms isn't and shouldn't be in question. The real question is the extent to which the government can do so - and all indications show that the founding fathers had a wide variety of interpretations on that front. Some wanted no regulation. But obviously the government did issue regulations to the militia/general populace regarding firearms and standardization, so it obviously has some ability to do so.

Again, the amendment is complicated, possibly on purpose, possibly just by mistake.

EDIT:

"Well Regulated" also meant an actually drilled and trained force too, with rules, restrictions, standardization, codes of conduct, etc. etc. The US Militias were uh... not very good at this, and the distinction between the state and federal militia line was pretty hazy and complicated too. So you can read it as the idea that "we want an army that owns its own weapons and handles its own training so we don't have to pay for them" - which was probably a good chunk of what a lot of the Federalists sort of wanted. Armies are expensive, and the US was in debt to a lot of people at the time, and having issues with states issuing their own currency and actually getting taxes from people.
 
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pedoguyguykrai

41 percent tranny janny clean up crew
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Because if you take away the rights to bear arms, then you mind as well as drop your pants and prepare your asshole to be fucked by the government.
Currently states have red flag laws, with that anyone who thinks you shouldn't have a gun can go before a judge and make a case to get your guns taken. With little regard to you what the truth may actually be, if they think your a risk EVEN IF YOU HADN'T COMIT A CRIME, then they can take your guns.
The coivd pandemic has made people well aware of the possibility that the currrent order of society can drop and make it for any man for themselves. The best way to protect yourself is a a gun. Also I see how the red flag laws isn't constitutional as well as possibly discrimitory, I live in a state if other people perceive any flaw of mine as severe enough then they can present a case and take my guns with little to no regard of my opinion. Can you possibly imagine for those who may be autistic, of suffer some depression or some other disability have one of their god given rights taken away because an outside party deems it a bad idea?

Guns are a right not a privilege it should only be taken away when you have documented evidence in the form of a criminal conviction not because some karen thinks you shouldn't have them because you may have mild depression.
 

Imperial Citizen

For the Empire!
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Heller's a bit of an odd duck, because I think it ignores the context of the militia acts of 1903 which define pretty much every one as part of the militia in one form or another. It's kind of a contradiction. Heller didn't actually change the text of the amendment, which is what really needs to be clarified - the concept of a militia in the era of the Revolution is VERY different from what it would be considered in the modern context. For that matter, if you stress shall not be infringed, you have to admit you're going to have to give felons back firearms, and any state law or federal law refusing them the ability to possess firearms violates that part of the amendment - something happily ignored by a lot of originalists and literalists. The right of the citizen to bear arms isn't and shouldn't be in question. The real question is the extent to which the government can do so - and all indications show that the founding fathers had a wide variety of interpretations on that front. Some wanted no regulation. But obviously the government did issue regulations to the militia/general populace regarding firearms and standardization, so it obviously has some ability to do so.

Again, the amendment is complicated, possibly on purpose, possibly just by mistake.

EDIT:

"Well Regulated" also meant an actually drilled and trained force too, with rules, restrictions, standardization, codes of conduct, etc. etc. The US Militias were uh... not very good at this, and the distinction between the state and federal militia line was pretty hazy and complicated too. So you can read it as the idea that "we want an army that owns its own weapons and handles its own training so we don't have to pay for them" - which was probably a good chunk of what a lot of the Federalists sort of wanted. Armies are expensive, and the US was in debt to a lot of people at the time, and having issues with states issuing their own currency and actually getting taxes from people.
I'd wager that the amendments were complicated on purpose just to ensure that every state signed onto it. Hell the 10th amendment literally says that all powers not in the Constitution are powers of the state, without describing what the powers are. The only one that can truly be considered the strictest is the 3rd amendment, no quartering of soldiers in peacetime.

And on the current restrictions to guns, the 9th circuit court did just say that the 2nd amendment does not contain the right to open or conceal carry, which I said in A&H is pretty much Mexico's law on gun rights.
 

Techpriest

Praise the Machine Spirits
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I'd wager that the amendments were complicated on purpose just to ensure that every state signed onto it. Hell the 10th amendment literally says that all powers not in the Constitution are powers of the state, without describing what the powers are. The only one that can truly be considered the strictest is the 3rd amendment, no quartering of soldiers in peacetime.

And on the current restrictions to guns, the 9th circuit court did just say that the 2nd amendment does not contain the right to open or conceal carry, which I said in A&H is pretty much Mexico's law on gun rights.
That's pretty much the case with some of them.

Really, people view the 2nd as having way more implicit rights than it actually grants compared to any other amendment aside from the 10th. The second is a nightmare for interpretation because said literally, it invalidates all gun laws, despite the founders making and accepting firearms laws themselves. The drift in intended language also doesn't help with some amendments.
 

draggs

Kyle Avgvstvs, Antifvs Maximvs. AVE KYLE
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The purpose of the second amendment was not to overthrow the government, you fucking moron. The point of the second amendment was very very much linked to a major issue the nation had at the time: They had a standing army, and didn't like it.

Alright, a little bit of context into this - The US, as it was originally founded, didn't have a standing army. Hell by the time the Constitution was being ratified, the army of the united states was... a single regiment. Of 625 men. On a good day.

Many of the people involved in the revolution (and in the constitutional conventions) loathed and hated the idea of a standing army in a republic. A standing army was the thing of dictators and kings and just not good (Nevermind that they needed to have a standing army to actually fight against the British). Also they knew their history - a standing army let Caesar rise to power. A standing army is also very, very expensive, even in those days. Firstly, you have to pay wages (and the government was pretty fucking broke at the time), you have to have a bunch of people willing to volunteer for a standing army - or you need to press them into service - you need to feed them, to clothe them, to supply them, and to keep them under arms. You have to train them, and that's also not easy or cheap. The American Revolution indicated a tendency in the average American that had plagued the Roman Republic as well - nobody wants to leave their home behind to do any kind of extended campaign. This was a major and thorny issue.

Now, enter the concept of the militia. The militia is essentially self funding, self training, and were something almost every colony had. It's Jimothy And Timbert, who know how to load a gun, fire it... and that's about it. They could have some heavier weaponry like cannons, but not always. Hell, some might have pikes. A lot of their guns are also stored at a central armory in a town, where everyone who is part of the militia will go and form up if called into service - they don't always keep them in their houses if they're in a town. Some own their own firearms, but usually it's a rich guy who foots the bill for a lot of this. The quality of a militia could also vary wildly from town to town, location to location. Theoretically, every adult male is in the militia, though in practice not really. Theoretically, they're all trained, in reality said training might be literally 'here's how to load and fire a gun' if that. Plenty of these militias were basically private armies in all but name (especially in the south), though every state had a public one too.

These militias during the revolution were the foundation of the standing army and had a real tendency to just... go home. Despite this, they were the darlings of the anti-federalists, proof to them the spirit of the revolution was going to always be defended by the citizens. And here was where some of the major issues when drafting the constitution came about. See, there was this thing that happened called 'Shay's Rebellion,' which essentially was a group of people disgruntled with taxes that tried to overthrow the government of Massachusetts. Only about 10 people died, a few hundred were arrested, and central to the forces on each side were local militia forces. The central federal government had no real army as mentioned before to actually do ANYTHING about this, and the anti-federalists saw this as a feature, not a bug. Enter the amendment issues, and the constitutional conventions. There was a massive argument about if the national government could even request troops from the various states, or raise its own army.

Essentially the 2nd amendment is a massive, massive concession to the anti-federalists, while still giving the Federalists the ability to actually have a military . Why? Look at the language. The Anti-Federalists were absolutely fucking terrified of the idea of any centralization of power, and were paranoid as fuck about it. One of the big fears they had was that any army of the United States would mean an end to the militias entirely (Some anti-federalists were also against the idea of any organized militia but these were the real wacky guys of their era, basically ultra libertarians) and Hamilton addresses this in the Federalist papers (number 29) essentially saying that 'hey the militias are fine and we're going to keep your ability to have your little private armies, see this amendment.'



The first thing mentioned in the amendment is the militia. This is is by design. The militia question was a massive sticking point during the drafting of the primary constitutional articles. Private militias were something a lot of anti-federalists feared would be simply taken out of the picture. That being said, a bit more details have to be given about all of this, and an examination of the language too. 'Well Regulated' is exactly what it means. Essentially, the 2nd amendment was never a cut and dry 'EVERYONE GETS AS MANY AND ALL TYPES GUNS THEY WANT TO OWN' at all. The amendment mentions militia first, because at the time, the US army is pretty much a thing on paper and not in practice. This would change drastically later, but at the time, everyone knew that to even pretend to be a state with any kind of defensive force, they had to tolerate these militias. "Shall not be infringed" when you consider the rest of the text is a bit clunky, and sort of comes down to the idea of 'yeah sure you can form a militia with an armory that's a protected thing, but the federal government gets a say in what actually constitutes that.' The Anti-Federalists rejoiced because it proved the power of the people and idealism and all that wonderful freedom crying eagles and so on and so forth. An army of the people (people being white land owning men) would defend the rights of the people (white land owning men) and everything would be hunky dory.

There were a lot, and I do mean a lot of implicitly known limitations to the second amendment at the time. Firstly, the phrase well regulated militia was intentionally designed to keep the ability of the various states to regulate who they defined as the militia. This was very important in the south, as every single southern constitutional delegate would have walked right out the fucking door if this amendment applied to all free men. The emphisis on a well regulated milita was by intention, meant to be able to allow the states to exclude whoever they wanted - in the case of the south, free blacks. The biggest use of any militia in the South was at the time, as a deterrent to any kind of slave uprising, and to catch escaped slaves. The second amendment was a massive bone thrown to the south by Madison which isn't too much of a surprise (He was a Virginian). Secondly, the implication of the amendment was also that the federal government would take responsibility to arm and regulate the militia if they wanted, and request or stand them down as needed from the various states. The second also gave the states a bit of an 'out clause' against another part of the constitution, just in case. The fear of government tyranny resulting from having a standing army was alive and well at the time, and the second was certainly meant to assuage the fears that the nation could fall to such an action. Having a large militia and a tiny standing army meant that theoretically, the militias would win.

All this being said, the original language of the amendment is kind of telling: it's basically an amendment meant to allow the US to conscript people as needed. No, really, here's Madison's original submission.



The right to bear arms in Madison's original version is very much linked to military service. Again, this is to appease the anti-federalists by saying 'Hey we don't need a standing army if we can just make the population an army as needed'. From the start, the second was very much intended as a military thing, and an attempt to have a standing army without actually having a standing army. There's more regulations that then got issued, for example the government tried to standardize the bore of every musket made in the future, and mandate that everyone buy a gun if they were a white man over 18. This... didn't really work out that well, and the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 poked more holes in the idea of using a local militia for an army when again, local militias were flocking to the rebels and others weren't keen on getting involved. This was really a massive problem, but kinda got ignored, as the Anti-Federalists were starting to gain more power and any attempt to change the constitution was not going to be easy anyway - the thing was still quite new and a compromise document in many ways. Besides, what could possibly go wrong with basing our defense around random citizens with guns with little standardization? Nothing at all, surely!

Enter the War of 1812 where said private militias (and the state militias) are the primary forces of the United States. And holy mother of fucking god, does it go horrifically wrong for the United States. The War of 1812 pretty much kills the concept of basing national defense around the state and private militia, which was sort of what the Second Amendment said would be the case. Why? Well for starters, plenty refused to move away from their local communities to you know, actually help their neighbors. Others just showed up, shot a few times, went home. Some stood and fought but well, they had pretty much no training and their ability to actually stand and fight wasn't very good. Well funded private militias didn't do much good either - the brits went 'Hey, free cannons' half the time they faced them, and the other half of the time still usually won. The small standing Continental Army performed very very very well, especially compared to the average militia force. Despite the British not bringing their top tier professional forces, they'd wiped the floor with every militia sent against them, even when out numbered. There were about half a million militia mobilized in the United States during the War of 1812. The British sent originally 5000 men... and then a bit over 50,000, as the US rapidly built up an actual standing army out of necessity.

Despite all this, the second amendment remained unaltered, because nobody bothered to come back and sit down and think 'OK let's take out the militia part of this' or tightening up the language. It had been written down twenty years ago, and might still be relevant in the future - plenty of people were deliberately trying to ignore the complete failure of basing the entire defense of the nation around people who bought their own gear. The start of viewing the constitution as a civic religion also had an impact on this, as any kind of change to the document started to be seen as going against what the founders wanted, Besides, the obvious problems with the original document had been patched up with the 11th and 12th amendments (In 1794 and 1803), and nobody wanted to touch already made amendments. Could you even do that? How? Another amendment? Was that constitutional?

tl;dr: The second amendment has a complicated history and doesn't just boil down to 'BUT BUT MUH GUNZ'

EDIT: The current interpretations focusing on "shall not be infringed" rely heavily on the original draft that Madison had in the amendment, which was quickly altered to have the militia be the first and primary stated purpose of the amendment (though they argue that it isn't the primary but simply the introduction reasoning for the whole right to bear arms shall not be infringed which is playing semantic games about intention that a lot of 'Originalists' like to try and pull to justify whatever they want while claiming the text supports it even if it might not.) Shall not be infringed is hard to interpret because infringement in the sense of the original language was having no weapons what so ever, not not having private weapons... maybe? It's complicated, not very clear, and I don't know if that's intended to give the states a way to circumvent the government and have armies of their own, which isn't an implausible interpretation. The intentions of the founding fathers certainly indicate that they wanted people to be armed, but the reason why is couched firmly in revolutionary ideology for some, for practicality for others, and a wide variety of reasons that really only applied to the odd situation the country was in when the constitution was being written and ratified. The amendment was also written before the War of 1812 - which pretty much shattered Madison's faith in any kind of militia compared to a standing army for the defense of the revolution and nation. Basically, originalists are full of shit because they try and ignore the context to the 2nd Amendment and what was implied about it at the time of its writing. It's dumb, and even dumber still when you consider the Militia Acts, which they like to try and ignore, which firmly defines what the militia is, even if it isn't in the constitution - which gives you an idea of the ACTUAL intent of the Founders when they wrote this, namely the Acts of 1792 - just a year after the Constitution and its amendments were ratified. The first gives the federal government the power to actually call on the militias, something not implicit in the constitution outside of the article involving the feds getting to raise an army. The second goes into detail on the actual regulation of these state level militias, down to what arms they should have, what roles they should have, etc. It already excludes people from the militia (one of the primary arguments used by originalists is that the militia was understood to be everyone in the 2nd amendment, which again, bullshit), and thus from having arms... or from regulation of said arms, if you're feeling spicy.

When combined with the later act of 1903 which established the concept of an organized (the national guard) and unorganized militia (the general population), the idea that the government can regulate what arms the militia has access to isn't out of the question, especially when you consider the government tried to do that just after the 2nd Amendment was ratified. Seriously.
That's a very conventional and incorrect tldr argument by implication that the second amendment awkshooally wasn't concerned with protecting firearm ownership by private citizens.

The purpose of the second amendment was not to overthrow the government, no shit. You awkwardly stretch that to it was not purposed to ensure resistance to a tyrannical government would not be so hamstrung as to preclude success.

You regurgitate Bellesile's discredited argument that private firearm ownership in colonial and post-Revolution America was not widespread. It was, independent of any central armories in some communities where arms were stored for the militia, and indeed independent of any militia organization whatsoever. As Madison himself said in Federalist 46:

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.

This comment gets to the heart of things. The people were already armed. This was right and proper. What was necessary was an effective system for transforming them into an effective and controllable military force, if and when necessary.

Then there is this comment, from good old Georgie Wash:

A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactures as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.

These statements, along with many others, taken together with the acknowledged fact that the people were already armed, the meaning of well-regulated militia becomes clear: that governments, local, state, or federal, needed to be able to effectively raise a militia, and maintain and control it after its being raised, for the purpose of resisting invasion, which, it goes without saying, would be an armed invasion. And also for the purpose of resisting rebellion, which it also went without saying would be armed. As did the people themselves. Because foreign armies would obviously be already equipped with arms, as would individuals associating for the purpose of rebellion. And so would domestic forces of tyranny. Again and again in the speeches and writings of the Founders we see recognition of the necessity for a free people to be individually armed, so they could organize themselves without dependence on official organizations that could be the perpetrators of tyranny themselves, and the necessity of effective measures to ensure the people organized themselves into more than a mob, and prevent their being called up and used for tyranny.

There is also the inconvenient meaning of the phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear arms." This was not taken just to mean that the federal government could not unreasonably restrict the ability of local governments to raise militia which would obviously bear arms. It was also taken to mean that the federal government could not unreasonably restrict individuals from keeping and bearing arms, so that militias themselves raised under the auspices of the government could not be transformed into a standing army of any duration that could be used to impose a tyranny on the people without resistance. This extended to state governments, to local governments, and to self appointed rebellious authorities. The idea was that a militia could be organized by the people to resist any attempt at tyranny, regardless of how the force that would implement the tyranny was formed. The people would, ideally, always be able to effectively resist by forming an opposing militia. Which would not be possible if they could be denied individual possession of firearms.

Your argument is simply wrong and cannot be anything but wrong save by ignoring a multitude of remarks and writings of the Founders like a fucking moron. A well-regulated militia, formed for the purpose of defending a free people and a free state, had to have the potential of being formed in any circumstance, and only a populace already armed as individuals could achieve that.
 
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Techpriest

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That's a very conventional and incorrect tldr argument by implication that the second amendment awkshooally wasn't concerned with firearm ownership by private citizens.

The purpose of the second amendment was not to overthrow the government, no shit. You awkwardly stretch that to

You regurgitate Bellesile's discredited argument that private firearm ownership in colonial and post-Revolution America was not widespread. It was, independent of any central armories in some communities where arms were stored for the militia, and indeed independent of any militia organization whatsoever. As Madison himself said in Federalist 46:
You cannot just ignore the militia acts of 1792 because it's convenient when talking about gun rights. If the nature of a militia, as defined in the act is 'All White Males Between the Ages of 18 and 45' and then stipulates that they must buy a certain type of gun, and also mandates what kind of gun should be manufactured for this purpose, and specifies that this gun has to be purchased in the future from here on out, then by extension the government has the right to dictate the sort of arms certain people may purchase. If you define this as infringement, then congrats, you're probably right if this was meant to be fully literally, or not if you consider what the constitution already deemed as people. If the militia is all citizens, then everyone has the right to bear arms. I'm not debating this bit. What I'm talking about here is the 2nd Amendment in the context of its historical nature, which includes actively refusing the ownership of firearms to certain people, the environment it was written in, the various goals it was made to achieve, and some of the purpose of the law itself. The context in which any law is written is very much part of how the law should be analyzed. It was concerned with the ownership by private civilians, but that started first with the militia once everyone had a go with it in the convention. That's the entire argument I'm making here, which again, you ignore. They're part of the same line of thinking, which was the big thing with the Anti-federalists at the time - we don't need a standing army if we're all armed.

Half the point of the second amendment is to leave open the idea of not having a standing army ever for any reason. This, as I pointed out, was an idea they all had in mind that turned out to be completely retarded. There were so, so many problems with relying on the militias for anything. As for the concept of central armories, they existed for militia forces. Yes, lots of them privately owned their firearms, yes, lots of them kept them in their home. But ignoring that it was accepted and part of the nature of some militias to keep a stockpile of arms to be issued as needed as not everyone could afford to own one (along with other supplies such as powder and shot, which by the way was the primary incident that sparked Lexington and Concord, the attempt to seize the militia stockpile of powder) and depending on the area was still expected to contribute to the defense of the community. Gun ownership was not uncommon, but it also wasn't everyone.

There is also the inconvenient meaning of the phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear arms." This was not taken just to mean that the federal government could not unreasonably restrict the ability of local governments to raise militia which would obviously bear arms. It was also taken to mean that the federal government could not unreasonably restrict individuals from keeping and bearing arms, so that militias themselves raised under the auspices of the government could not be transformed into a standing army of any duration that could be used to impose a tyranny on the people without resistance. This extended to state governments, to local governments, and to self appointed rebellious authorities. The idea was that a militia could be organized by the people to resist any attempt at tyranny, regardless of how the force that would implement the tyranny was formed. The people would, ideally, always be able to effectively resist by forming an opposing militia. Which would not be possible if they could be denied individual possession of firearms.

I'm not ignoring that. Holy fuck you're completely missing the point. The point of the second amendment is that the private militias you're talking about can be formed, but also to be able to somewhat reign in these groups when they did form, so you didn't get a fiasco like the Shay Rebellion again. That's the context I'm going for here, and then talking about why things get tricky later on when you look at what happened after the ink was dry. The second amendment was in many ways a concession to ideas of the Anti-Federalists that turned out to be noble in nature and idealistic but complete shit when they were invoked for the first time, 1812 (they also proved to be a big problem in 1794 but that's a whole different bag of worms). The Founders were not infallible, and taking everything they wrote as the literal word of gospel without taking in the context of the time and place they lived doesn't help with understanding what and why they were writing things.

Also I want to focus on this for a second:

It was also taken to mean that the federal government could not unreasonably restrict individuals from keeping and bearing arms

This is the whole fucking crux of the entire 2A argument right here. This single thing. What is a reasonable restriction? Obviously, the founders believed there was such things as reasonable restrictions - otherwise why leave the details of such up to the states in regards to free blacks etc. - but what constitutes a reasonable restriction? Can it vary? Is mandating the militia use a certain type of firearm a restriction? Is that infringement? Was denying free blacks the right to own firearms in the south an infringement? A reasonable restriction?

It's a very, very long and thorny question with a lot of nuance.

But basically, was the second focused around the average citizen having weapons? Yes, but not exclusively, and pretending that it was exclusively about the right to guns is completely missing the ideologies and political theories being thrown at the wall to see what stuck during the early days of the United States. There's more to it than just the words themselves, and a lot more to it than the idea of 'we should be able to resist all tyranny', even if that was one of the thoughts behind it. The 2nd Amendment has a lot more to do with the very very radical ideas running around in the mind of someone like Thomas Jefferson about his ideal society than reducing it to 'it's about guns' does. Holy shit.
 
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