A Little Help from the Gun Nuts, Please

This shit over at Say Uncle just freaks me the fuck out.

Ha, here’s where you guys discover the fatal flaw in my liberalism–I firmly believe that no good can ever come of a person coming to the attention of the government.

Anyway, this makes me realize that I know next to nothing about gun legislation in this country, beyond the fact that it’s illegal to own certain types of guns.

But I’m looking at the Second Amendment and it says, “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.” How has it happened that we can have wording as clear as “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” and have any type of gun regulations?

Is there some kind of gun laws for dummies book y’all can point me to?

I’m naive about this shit, I’ll admit, and I’m confused about how we’ve ended up here. Point me the way, folks.

11 thoughts on “A Little Help from the Gun Nuts, Please

  1. Well, in order to distill decades of anti-gun prejudice in one comment, allow me just to say that there seem to be certain people in this country who are proud of a right to choice. Unless that choice is “what gun should I buy.”

    The waffling comes from the use of the word ‘militia’. Anti Gun folk rationalise control by assuming that the constitution only grants the right to bear arms to an organised fighting force (or members thereof.)

    Pro Gun folk argue that armed citizens are the foundations for any grassroots militia that should rise up.

    In summary:

    Gun Control=If you are part of the militia you can have guns.

    Gun Rights=If you have guns, you can have a militia should you need one.

  2. As kat says, the gun control crowd thinks that ‘militia’ refers to a state’s national guard troops, not to peasants like you and I.
    A lot of the federal gun control comes from a supreme court case from the…30’s, I think. I remember reading the case and it’s total bullshit, but it’s been used as precedent for a ton of laws since then.

  3. That’s a long discussion that I don’t have time for right now. Trying to get my friend out of jail.

    Some other time, i promise


  4. The guns that existed while crafting this nation, although dangerous & lethal, are nothing compared with what is available today. So, I think there are many Gun Control people who don’t deny the 2nd Amendment but also don’t think that it protects private citizens right to own machine guns and grenade launchers.

    Maybe we shouldn’t make the guns themselves illegal to own but make the USE of guns in certain situations illegal. So, if you’re hunting for food, maybe that’s okay. If you’re defending your country (or even ‘home’ in a narrower sense) from an invasion, okay. But not much else. I know, we already have laws and penalties in place that make armed robbery differeny from robbery. But, maybe we should focus more on that place to reduce gun violence and we can still be broadly pro choice and respect the Constitution.

  5. You can own *almost* any kind of firearm, including machine guns, if you get a Class III license. IANAL, but I don’t read the 2nd Amendment as saying that we can’t require registration and/or licensing. As long as it is possible to get the license, are your rights being infringed?

    There are probably some limits to the firearms covered by a Class III. You probably can’t have a Vulcan (incredibly large and fast machine gun), and I don’t know about sawed-off shotguns. Silencers are covered by a Class III.

    I don’t know of any mechanism (aside from being a defense contractor) that allows a private person or company to own artillery pieces, guided missles, or nulcear weapons. Biological ‘agents’ and chemical ‘agents’ that could easily be considered WMDs can often be legally possessed by a company or lab that has a use for such.

  6. The founding fathers had no concept of the internet either, so I guess we should limit free speech on it.

    The second amendment is not in place to protect your right to hunt. It is there to provide the tools to overthrow the government, should it become overly oppressive.

    make the USE of guns in certain situations illegal.
    They already are.

  7. The founding fathers had no concept of the internet either, so I guess we should limit free speech on it.

    We might see the day where you have to have license (and training) to get on the Internet. If that happens, our right to free speech will still not have been infringed, even on the Internet (unless they go further and try to ban certain types of speech). Licensing is not equal to infinging.

    And if we want to be silly, how about this thought: imagine that a new law is passed limiting private firearms ownership to each American being allowed to own up to two .22 caliber revolvers (6-shot). The right to ‘keep and bear arms’ has still not been infringed. This new law explicitly supports your right to ‘keep and bear arms’.

  8. “Licensing is not equal to inf(r)inging.”

    The hell it’s not. If you must petition the government for permission, it’s not a right, it’s a privilege that can be revoked or denied at any time for any (or no) reason.

    So, you’re saying that if the government restricted your free speech rights by not allowing you to criticize the government on pain of inprisonment, that’s not really “infringement” because otherwise your mouth and vocal cords still work?

    “Infringed.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. – Inigo Montoya

    Aunt B, if I may toot my own horn here in answer to your request to “point you the way,” may I recommend a post for your consideration? I answered a similar question by a European gentleman a while back in a post I called The Blog that Ate Poughkeepsie. It’s a bit long, but I think it will address the major part of your question of “How did we get here?”.

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