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John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

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John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby Detritus » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:44 pm

Justice Stevens wrote a piece suggesting five words that could "fix" the Second Amendment to say:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.

His reasoning is based on the original intent of the amendment, on the sovereignty of states, and the misunderstanding of the scope of the right to self-defense.

Full piece here.

Personally, I would rather see the Second Amendment go the way of Prohibition, but I find his discussion interesting.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:57 pm

Trouble is, some want a very expansive definition of militia. Just ask DMan.

Here is an example of that definition gone amok: Armed Right-Wing Militia Members Descend On Nevada To Help Rancher Defy Court Order
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby Mad Howler » Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:48 pm

I am no legal scholar - but I believe the notion of the second amendment suggests many more creative moves to argue toward our ideals of justice and freedom.
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.

I find it, understandably, odd that WE continue to miss this.
CALL ME 'CRAZY'
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby snoqueen » Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:43 pm

I read the same article earlier today and also found it interesting. I am probably among those who agree the second amendment is as unsuited to twenty first century society as prohibition was to the twentieth. We have little leverage so the next option is revising the thing so at least the wording is less ambiguous.

Unfortunately I think while retired Justice Stevens makes sense in legal terms and historical terms, he is not taking into account the level of crazy we are experiencing nationally with regard to the Second.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby Mad Howler » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:33 am

snoqueen wrote:I am probably among those who agree the second amendment is as unsuited to twenty first century society as prohibition was to the twentieth. We have little leverage so the next option is revising the thing so at least the wording is less ambiguous.

Oh! I think you miss-under-estimate your relavance to this discussion.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:16 am

Henry Vilas wrote:Trouble is, some want a very expansive definition of militia. Just ask DMan.

Here is an example of that definition gone amok: Armed Right-Wing Militia Members Descend On Nevada To Help Rancher Defy Court Order


If going back to the original intent, the militia was every able bodied free man. Not sure that really does much for us either. It's also a bit of a pipe dream.

Even if somehow the government convinced registered legal gun owners to turn in their firearms without violence, that's still going to leave millions of unregistered weapons available. Which means the same people who are involved in the majority of gun violence would still be armed. And with the rate 3D printing is evolving, those numbers are going to go up, not down.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:32 pm

The self=proclaimed Nevada militia is getting more brazen.

Supporters, some of them armed, rallied Saturday around Cliven Bundy in his showdown with U.S. rangers over cattle grazing on federal land, forcing a temporary shutdown of northbound lanes of Interstate 15 near his ranch, the Nevada Highway Patrol said Saturday.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby SombreroFallout » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:48 pm

Detritus wrote:Personally, I would rather see the Second Amendment go the way of Prohibition, but I find his discussion interesting.

Allow me to gently suggest that Prohibition of guns will be just as effective as Prohibition of alcohol.

While I agree with your sentiment, there's a bit of a contradiction in terms embedded in your statement. If you'd like to see a wild west black market, exacerbate the current defensiveness in the stance of virulently pro-gun folks, and drive market activity further underground, by all means outlaw guns.

Politically, embracing the Constitution as written is a no-brainer. For example, Al Gore lost Tennessee and West Virginia because 2 key districts in Tennessee swung to Bush when Gore refused to express moderate and reasonable support for the Second Amendment, costing him the entire state. Same scenario in West Virginia. Had he won either state, Florida and the vote count there would've been rendered moot.

Viewed through a non-ideological lens, there is much common ground to be had, and political headway to be made, simply by embracing the Bill of Rights in its entirety. It's only the basis of the American body politic, after all, and whether we agree with Tea Party politics or not, voices from that quarter increasingly identify the same concerns as civil libertarians on the supposed other end of the political 'spectrum'.

For the record, I don't own a gun and never will. For family, ethnic-historical and religious reasons.

Don't get me wrong, I've been a big John Paul Stevens fan ever since I first heard the bass line on 'Ramble On'.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby Detritus » Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:28 am

SombreroFallout wrote:
Detritus wrote:Personally, I would rather see the Second Amendment go the way of Prohibition, but I find his discussion interesting.

Allow me to gently suggest that Prohibition of guns will be just as effective as Prohibition of alcohol.

I see why you read my comment that way, but there is a reason that I capitalized Prohibition. I mean that, like the 18th Amendment, the Second should be repealed. Whatever its original purpose and value, it has brought great harm to our society, especially since the NRA became astroturf for the gun industry. I'm not in favor of prohibiting the ownership and use of firearms. I am against elevating the ownership and use of firearms to a fundamental right equal to freedom of speech or freedom of (from) religion. We manage to own and use thousands of objects without having specific constitutional amendments supporting our right to do so. Guns should be no different, and they should be regulated appropriate to the hazards they pose both user and bystander, just as we routinely do with everything from cell phones to car batteries.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby snoqueen » Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:59 am

For my part, I agree and would add the founders' notion the power of the government could be constrained by minimally organized individuals with guns has been rendered nonsensical. (Look at what happens when people bomb the Boston Marathon for an example.) In a way, keeping the Second as it is on the basis that you're providing people a meaningful counter-governmental option is almost a taunt. It doesn't hold up in the 21st century. If what you want is the opportunity to create anarchy or revolt, those opportunities aren't conferred (or protected) by laws in the first place.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby Huckleby » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:04 am

I read that article and found JPS's proposal about the most batty idea I've ever heard. It effectively would repeal the 2nd amendment. The notion that this is a useful strategy in our political world is senile.

I've actually been arguing this issue with some gun people in the mosh pit (comments section) of the WashPost. The original intent of the founders is not at all clear, there is confusing and conflicting evidence.

The issue of gun control has zero to do with the 2nd amendment. There is plenty of constitutional space to implement gun control, that is established, despite the ravings of the right wing. The issue turns 100% on politics.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby Huckleby » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:22 am

If you want to get into the original intent game, you have to confront the arguments from the gun advocates:
http://www.capitalisminstitute.org/second-amendment/

Yet when I peruse the history of the Supreme Court decisions, they have taken a different view, even at one time ruling that the 2nd amendment only applies to militias:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Ame ... nstitution

For sure, that militia clause is bizarre and ambiguous.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby Ned Flanders » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:55 am

No.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby wack wack » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:09 pm

Ned Flanders wrote:No.


Spoken like a true toddler.
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Re: John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment

Postby Igor » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:48 pm

The questions I always have about this subject are:

Alcohol has been around for 2500 years plus. Firearms for 700 plus. Why will prohibiting 700 year old technology be any more successful that prohibiting alcohol manufacture? (Not *all* states or municipalities would ban guns totally, but clearly some would)

Which rights are you willing to restrict that would allow authorities to confiscate guns?
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