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October 21, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Amendment isn’t about individuals

Another view?

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Why is there no leadership or courage among the media to take on the idiocy that the Second Amendment was specifically enacted to protect individual gun rights?

Every family owned guns in the 1700s to procure food and protect themselves from thieves or animals.

Why would the framers of the Constitution feel the need to protect something they already took for granted?

They didn’t.

The purpose of the amendment was to assure the 13 colonies that if the newly formed government did not prove to be favorable to some, they could break away, form their own militia and become an independent state.

Above all, these men who started our country were enlightened individuals.

If they came to the present time, looked around and saw all of the modernity — stores stocked with food, multiple methods of transportation and communication advances — they would quite simply ask: “Why do you need guns?”

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  1. Letter writer: The answer to the colonists' question is very simple: Wars. Starting with the American Revolution AND the War of 1812, really the colonists' second war of independence. Nothing to do with just eating.

    CarmineD

  2. There is another archaic and irrelevant amendment in the Bill of Rights, besides the 2nd amendment. It is the 3rd amendment which involves soldiers living in someone's private residence. It, like the 2nd amendment, addresses the times when James Madison wrote it.

    Having said that, I see no evidence that anyone is even suggesting the removal of the 2nd amendment or any other amendment to the Constitution. The NRA preaches this alarmist "the sky is falling" rhetoric to squeeze more money out of it's members, who swallow it all hook, line and sinker.

  3. "[E]ach and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia...[and] every citizen so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball: or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear, so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise, or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack."

    Act of Congress May 1792.

  4. The 2nd amendment as well as the entire Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791. Long after the Revolutionary War was over.

  5. I think the Founders also took for granted Free Speech, the Right to be secure in your own home, Freedom to honor, or not, the God of your choice, etc., yet they wisely took the time to put those freedoms down on paper. No difference with the Right to protect oneself from intruders, be they felons or bureaucrats acting in the name of the law. I'll go with the Founders, not the cranks who wish to disarm honest, hard-working, law-abiding citizens!

  6. Steve, where have you been? Home invasions where homeowners had to kill for their safety. Assaults on the streets. Car jackings. Where have you been?

  7. Wow this has all been informative. Now we can really understand what the laws were meant to be. If I can recap what we have learned, all members of a state militia can have a rifle so long as they are white and male. That surely has to put us more at ease I would think. Virtually none of those crazy kid killers were members of their armed state militia so we can keep guns away from their kind. On the other hand, it is sort of troubling that none of them were female so banning them doesn't buy us much.
    O.D.Nelson

  8. "Why is there no leadership or courage among the media to take on the idiocy that the Second Amendment was specifically enacted to protect individual gun rights?"

    Orton -- your opinion is ignorant and short-sighted. As both the Heller and McDonald cases determined, the Second Amendment is as relevant today as it was then.

    "There is another archaic and irrelevant amendment in the Bill of Rights, besides the 2nd amendment. It is the 3rd amendment which involves soldiers living in someone's private residence."

    ressince 73 -- it's not just in the federal constitution, and it's not "archaic and irrelevant." See http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Const/NVConst...

    "I'll go with the Founders, not the cranks who wish to disarm honest, hard-working, law-abiding citizens!"

    lvfacts -- excellent post!

    "Steve, where have you been? Home invasions where homeowners had to kill for their safety....."

    Roslenda -- your post is a good reminder of the reality some of us have to live by. None of us should have to face the prospect of having our liberties eroded just because someone like Orton can't imagine the kind of world our Founders so wisely provided for.

    "If I can recap what we have learned, all members of a state militia can have a rifle so long as they are white and male."

    ODNelson -- exactly where did you get that factoid? Otherwise stop trying to sound clever -- it isn't working.

    "It's impossible to have a rational debate with people completely ignorant of history...."

    Doc -- excellent post, excellent reminder!

    "1. Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes." -- Nevada Constitution, Article 1, Section 11

  9. People own guns because they like guns. It has nothing to do with the Constitution or self-defense. Americans love guns, ethical pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs as well as 6000lb pickup trucks. This holds true for Republicans, Democrats and everything in between.

    We NEED very little of the above but spend hundreds of billions of dollars on it nonetheless.

  10. In some of the frontier towns gun violence interfered with commerce. Guns were banned within city limits. Gangsters were blowing the hell out of each other from one end of the United States to the next with fully automatic and selective fire weapons. Restrictions were placed on those weapons. In addition restrictions have been put on silenced weapons, short barreled weapons as well as explosive and armor piercing ammunition.There are laws precluding convicted felons and the mentally ill from owning guns. If assault rifle mass killings continue you will see restrictions on those.

    In addition thousands of gun laws have been put into place around the United States. Many have been imprisoned for violating those laws.

    The above is also part of American history.

  11. "The answer to the colonists' question is very simple: Wars. Starting with the American Revolution AND the War of 1812, really the colonists' second war of independence. Nothing to do with just eating.

    CarmineD"

    To expound on my post, the current boundaries of the US were delineated in large part to warfare, using guns, with Native American Indians. Like it or not, it is what it is.

    CarmineD

  12. Remembering where our rights come from. It is commonly believed that the rights of the American people come from the Constitution. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Throughout history, the standard belief was that people were unconditionally subject to the commands of their government. If the king ordered a person to leave his family to fight in a war thousands of miles away, that person would have to obey. The king could control and regulate both lives and property because he was sovereign and supreme, and the citizens, as subjects, were subordinate and inferior. When the king commanded, people obeyed.

    Gradually, people began questioning the notion of the king having unrestricted control over their lives and fortunes. For example, in 1215, with Magna Carta, the king was forced to admit that his powers over the citizenry were limited.

    It was in 1776, however, with the publication of the Declaration of Independence that the historical concept of sovereignty got turned upside down. Government wasn't sovereign and supreme, Jefferson declared to the world. Individuals are. And government officials are subordinate and inferior to the citizenry.

    The Declaration emphasizes that human kind has been endowed with certain fundamental
    and inherent rights that preexist government. In other words, one's rights don't come from
    the king or from any other government official. Rights such as life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness exist independently of government, not because of government.

    It also emphasizes that the reason people call government into existence is to protect the exercise of these rights. That is, in the absence of government, antisocial people such as murderers, rapists and thieves would make life quite miserable for everyone else. Therefore, government is needed to arrest, prosecute and punish these types of people.

    What happens when government transgresses its rightful duty of protection and becomes more destructive than what would be the case in the absence of government? The Declaration tells us that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that government and to implement a new government that is designed to protect, not destroy, the exercise of man's natural or God-given rights.

    cont -

  13. The quandary, of course, that our Founders faced was whether it was possible to bring a government into existence that would remain limited to an inferior and subordinate role rather than attempt to assume the more traditional sovereign and supreme role.

    In 1787, the Founders attempted to solve the problem by writing a Constitution that called the federal government into existence. The result was historically significant: The Constitution made it clear that this government, unlike others in history, would not be one of unlimited powers. Instead, by the express terms of the Constitution itself, the federal government would be one of limited,
    enumerated powers. For example, the powers of Congress are limited to those enumerated in
    Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

    Thus the correct question is not, "What rights does the Constitution give to the American people?" but rather, "What powers does the Constitution grant to the government?" If a certain power is not enumerated, the government is not permitted to exercise it.

    Not trusting government officials, however--even democratically elected ones--the American people ensured the passage of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. These should more appropriately have been called the "Bill of Prohibitions" than the Bill of Rights. Why? Because a careful examination reveals that they are express restrictions on government powers rather than a grant of rights to the citizenry.

    Some people argued that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary because government's powers were already limited to those enumerated in the Constitution itself. Since the government has not been given the power to regulate speech, for example, there was no reason to have an express prohibition against the regulation of speech.

    Fearful, however, of the propensity of government to move toward dominance and control, the people felt safer with express restrictions on the power to interfere with rights that they believed
    were of the utmost importance. Playing it safe, they included the Ninth Amendment, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

    So the next time someone refers to your "constitutional rights," remind him or her that people's rights don't come from the Constitution. And if you really want to stimulate thinking, ask him or her whether he or she believes that today the federal government is destructive of the very rights it was designed to protect.

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  14. A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you. -- Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General, New York Times, 10/02/77

    Arms are the only true badge of liberty. The possession of arms is the distinction of a free man from a slave. -- Andrew Fletcher 1698

    Gun bans don't disarm criminals, gun bans attract them. -- Walter Mondale

    Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins. -- Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, whose testimony convicted John Gotti

    The police can't stop an intruder, mugger, or stalker from hurting you. They can pursue him only after he has hurt or killed you. Protecting yourself from harm is your responsibility, and you are far less likely to be hurt in a neighborhood of gun-owners than in one of disarmed citizens -- even if you don't own a gun yourself. -- Harry Browne

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  15. Steve Horton speaks with an intelligent voice. The world changes daily and it amazes me that people refuse to understand that and change with it. The Constitution, like any document or law, was written based on the situation and circumstances of the time. Why so many people want to take us back to the wild west days is incomprehensible to me. Guns are not needed in our world. What fools really believe if all handguns and assault style weapons are taken away our government is going to dictate to us any more than they do now? That is simply ridiculous thinking.

  16. People spend a lot of time talking about all the rights given to us by the Constitution, yet we have the largest prison population in the world and we shoot each other by the millions.. Fantastic!!!!

  17. Stanelle,

    You asked "What fools really believe if all handguns and assault style weapons are taken away our government is going to dictate to us any more than they do now?"

    You may place me squarely among the fools who you described.

    Purgatory

  18. You have to get rid of that pesky 1st amendment first.

  19. nez212,

    Get rid of the Third Amendment and the First or any other won't be a problem.

  20. Hey, all of you pro-gun people.......how come you all ignored Pisces41 (Jim Webber's) comment regarding the Act of Congress from 1792 ?

    Jim posted an excerpt from the Militia Act of 1792, which confirms what many of us have been saying; that the true purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to provide support for the State Militias.

    Thanks for posting this Jim. I wasn't aware of it until you posted it, but I will sure refer to it in the future.