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January 02, 2013 1:42 PM Stockpiling Arms To Overthrow the Government

By Ed Kilgore

Kudos to National Review’s Kevin Williamson for coming right out and articulating the “conservative” (for once the quote marks are truly necessarily) perspective that is usually left just beneath the surface of the GOP’s and the gun lobby’s position on regulation of firearms:

The purpose of having citizens armed with paramilitary weapons is to allow them to engage in paramilitary actions. The Second Amendment is not about Bambi and burglars — whatever a well-regulated militia is, it is not a hunting party or a sport-clays club. It is remarkable to me that any educated person — let alone a Harvard Law graduate — believes that the second item on the Bill of Rights is a constitutional guarantee of enjoying a recreational activity….
There is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment for military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny.

If this isn’t clear enough, let me explain: Williamson is arguing that the core purpose of the Second Amendment is to enable Americans to stockpile weapons in case they decide it’s prudent to undertake the violent overthrow of the United States government. Sure, he puts it in term of an abstract and hypothetical “tyranny.” But we’re still talking about a very practical right of revolution: the right to shoot and kill police officers and members of the United States military if the gun-bearer chooses to believe they are enforcing “tyrannical” policies. This is particularly disconcerting at a time when a vast number of right-wing gabbers routinely refer to things like the Affordable Care Act of 2010 as examples of liberty-destroying state tyranny and as blatant violations of the U.S. Constitution imposed by anti-American conspirators.

Wonder if gun advocates would be so blithe about asserting this interpretation of the Second Amendment if it were being advanced by, say, black separatists or animal rights ultras or Native Americans demanding their land back? Guess that would be just another excuse to buy some more AK-47s, so “our side” can win in the ultimate firefight the Founders anticipated.

“Well-regulated” militias indeed!

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • martin on January 02, 2013 1:54 PM:

    To be fair, he does say enemies foreign and domestic, so I guess shooting at latinos coming over the border is also cool.

    In all likelihood, a "well regulated militia" going to be firing at American civilians, not the police or national guard. Look at the people who espose this nonsense and see which side they tend to be on.

    As for radical groups on the left espousing this position, the Black Panthers did, and it didn't work out too well for them.

  • Theophylact on January 02, 2013 1:55 PM:

    Short answer to the question

    Wonder if gun advocates would be so blithe about asserting this interpretation of the Second Amendment if it were being advanced by, say, black separatists?
    is "No". That's why Governor Ronald Reagan and the NRA supported strong gun control legislation: the specter of Huey Newton and the Black Panthers with serious weapons.

  • Theophylact on January 02, 2013 1:58 PM:

    Short answer to the question

    Wonder if gun advocates would be so blithe about asserting this interpretation of the Second Amendment if it were being advanced by, say, black separatists?
    is "No". That's why Governor Ronald Reagan and the NRA supported strong gun control legislation: the specter of Huey Newton and the Black Panthers with serious weapons.

  • John on January 02, 2013 2:03 PM:

    As Theophylact points out, the whole "what if it was black people advocating the second amendment" thing has already been tried out with the Black Panthers, and, indeed, conservative white people did not support that argument. Shockingly enough.

  • Josef K on January 02, 2013 2:06 PM:

    I'm half-tempted to write a comment to Williamson and remind him and his readers that what's being articulated is, implicitly, conspiracy to commit terrorism. I'm sure that'd go over real well.

  • boatboy_srq on January 02, 2013 2:09 PM:

    Why is it that none of these people will come out and admit that the "well-regulated militia" they conveniently forget in that amendment was necessary b/c the Founding Fathers were - to a man - vehemently opposed to a permanent standing military? The whole reason the citizenry was encouraged to maintain their own weaponry was because there were no career soldiers - and career sailors were few and far between, and tolerated only because what they do isn't easily learned.

    When the NRA comes out against the DoD as an irrelevance, then I'll believe they're doing it for 2nd Amendment reasons. Until then, they're just demanding license to shoot people.

  • Josef K on January 02, 2013 2:13 PM:

    Guess that would be just another excuse to buy some more AK-47s, so “our side” can win in the ultimate firefight the Founders anticipated.

    The fact that's a Soviet-made assault rifle, the actual '47s having been largely out of production since the late 1950s, just adds to the irony of the observation.

  • mb on January 02, 2013 2:21 PM:

    I wonder if these militia types ever stop to consider the fact that the Constitution designates the President as the commander-in-chief of the "militia." I wonder if they are ready to take orders from Barack Obama.

  • Jimo on January 02, 2013 2:28 PM:

    Who, other than Government, would be doing the regulation of this "well-regulated militia"? Reading the 2nd Amendment as a "traitors' rights" provision does match the reading skills of a ten year old.

  • Quaker in a Basement on January 02, 2013 2:30 PM:

    Protection against invasion and tyrannical government is, indeed, among the arguments the founders made for the right to bear arms. What conservatives often forget to mention is that the people who made these arguments also warned us about the dangers of allowing the government to sustain a standing army. That, the founders asserted, poses the greatest threat to the liberty of states.

    The phrasing of the Second Amendment is peculiar and is rooted in cautions against invasion and tyranny as well. The preliminary modifying statement, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," tells us why the Amendment is given--a free state needs a militia to protect against invasion and insurrection. For that reason, a specific right is declared: "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    In this construction, the right is predicated on the need for individual citizens to provide their own arms in service to the militia, protecting the duly elected government of a "free state" from invasion and insurrection.

    At the time, the "free state" did not support police departments, bureaus of investigation, highway patrols, or national guard units. Today, we have all of those organizations and the government of the "free state" arms their agents. In very few instances do the agents of a state-appointed militia provide their own arms. The expectation that agents of a "well-regulated" militia need to provide their own weapons is an anachronism that has been out of date for at least a century.

  • Grumpy on January 02, 2013 2:33 PM:

    If the 2nd amendment doesn't address recreational firearms or home security, then there's no constitutional bar on limiting those weapons. Sounds OK to me!

  • John Robert BEHRMAN on January 02, 2013 2:45 PM:

    Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic skewers this Randian-Marxist nonsense about a "gun control"/"tyranny" dialectic from a a strictly libertarian standpoint. But, he, too, fails to provide an authentic historical or practical military, or robust political perspective on the gun cult.

    In reverse order:
    The current gun cult is infectious among the Vietnam-era draft dodgers and chickenhawks who could have served in the military but chose not to and could successfully evade the draft. It is also popular with younger people who obsess on military "cos-play". There has been no effort to humiliate and not enough to ridicule these people by those as did serve in the military or who, like police, who need practical gun control and less drug prohibitions. This is a failure of practical politics and another monstrous expression of "security theater" that, in fact, liberals -- pacifists of convenience -- have poured money into and legitimated.

    As a practical military matter, we have rank-inflated, bloated military and police establishments left over from the Great, World, and Cold War plus centuries of race and class war pepetrated by the propertied class on the non-voting classes that consume a lot of money without providing that much common defense or domestic tranquility. The "Hold Harmless" incumbents of both weak political parties are clueless and scared of dealing with this as a matter of partisan deliberation or action. There actually is no political party today with coherent military or economic security policies. The incumbents' and their patrons comforts are about all that matter in Washington. This is the source of what was called a few centuries ago "Whig Tyranny" -- that is all the various sorts of liberals and libertarians really want. Just as they describe yesterday's tax cut for the haut a favor to the "middle class", they neatly avoid the plain fact that a draft is the failure-mode of long-term hire mercenary or feudal ("light cavalry" or fryd) military institutions which a Swiss-Roman ("light infantry" or "landwehr") militia is the very opposite of. In a republic with a militia there is a universal right to vote coupled to a uniform obligation of military or alternative service.

    And, the importance of this is simply that we have some reason to believe that millenia of the constitutional and military-historical consistency of a republic and a well-regulated militia is more stable than the graft of anglophile military and clerical institutions onto "a republic, if you can keep it". Because of slavery, the US never had a well regulated militia except, maybe, for a short time on Rhode Island in the Providence Plantations.


  • Peter C on January 02, 2013 2:55 PM:

    "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state..."

    When the 2nd amendment was written, democracy was still largely an experimental idea. The question of whether it was possible to have a peaceful transfer of power had yet to accumulate much evidence. The 2nd Amendment establishes an ill-defined balance: it has both a 'right to bear arms' AND prescibes 'a well-regulated militia'. The balance was left undetermined because the degree of freedom and the degree of regulation was not obvious at the time. If democracy proved too fragile, more freedom was required to forestall tyrrany. If democracy proved robust, more regulation was possible. But the robustness of democracy was still an open question.

    Yet, can there be any real doubt now? In 2001, the Supreme Court installed an administration on a 5-to-4 vote. In 2008, that administration was cast out in disgrace. Both of these occured without military interference or influence.

    In this context, we can 'afford' to have more rules to flesh-out what 'a well regulated militia' means. The First Amendment protects thought and speech and beliefs. Merely thinking or speaking could not put you afoul of the government. The Second Amendment protects citizens from pre-emptive laws; having the means to commit a crime is not in of itself a crime. So, just 'having' a gun shouldn't be illegal. 'Brandishing' a gun, however, can clearly be 'assault'.

    I think a 'well regulated militia' would have secure methods of weapon storage, clear procedures for 'checking out' and 'returning' a weapon, limits to how and when a weapon could be fired. It would be able to enforce these regulations in order to remain 'well regulated'.

    Our Democracy is pretty robust; we can afford more restrictions to ensure 'a well regulated' stockpiling of the power to foment armed rebellion.

  • tonyroma on January 02, 2013 2:58 PM:

    Until people actually realize that the 2nd Amendment has already been "infringed" upon by current laws and regulations, we will never be able to move beyond our current obsession with "guns" when the amendment itself speaks to "arms" instead. I completely agree with Williamson, but those in his corner ignore the NFA's that have passed constitutional muster by the SCOTUS and effectively regulate specific firearms. I don't think their is a cogent argument that the 2nd Amendment wasn't written with the express intent of making sure the people could counter the arms and troops of a federal military if its leaders exercised tyranny against the populace.

    As time has passed, the military now possesses "arms" that are entirely illegal for private citizens to have, including mortars, rockets, missiles, and sundry other arms all the way up to nuclear weapons. As I read the 2nd Amendment, government has no right to infringe upon the people's right to possess precisely what the government's military does because the people need to have the ability to overcome the military if necessary. Does anyone truly believe this possible in today's world?

    The end is that the 2nd Amendment has already been regulated since its illegal to possess military "arms" in the modern reality of the word, so why do we keep a senseless argument going about "guns" which are merely a subset of specified "arms" in the first place?

  • John Robert BEHRMAN on January 02, 2013 2:59 PM:

    The only practical vestiges of well-regulated reserve-type armed-forces we have today are the Air National Guard, the Merchant Marine, and highly specialized (medical, engineering) components of the Army, Air Force, and Navy Reserve.

    However, these only exist in urban areas. By and large these part-time military and civilian professionsl are on the margin of the agro-military pork barrel and the corporate welfare concessions. It is a shame because (a) the Great World and Cold War ended decades ago and (b) these would provide for a less expensive and more reslient military establishment and civilian mobilization base today.

  • boatboy_srq on January 02, 2013 3:18 PM:

    Reading the 2nd Amendment as a "traitors' rights" provision

    Jimo FTW>

  • BillFromPA on January 02, 2013 3:24 PM:

    What fantasies these clowns have. If the gummint gets tyrannical and calls out the military to spread tyranny, it (the military) will brush these fools aside like so many cobwebs. In the 2 Gulf Wars our very own allies have said that they almost didn't belong on the same battlefield as an American force. Too many Rambo and Red Dawn viewings have rotted tthe 'Bagger's brains.

  • CJColucci on January 02, 2013 3:38 PM:

    Up through WWII, there wasn't a significant, functional difference between the standard arms issued to an ordinary soldier -- I'm not talking about specialized stuff like machine guns, bazookas, and flame throwers --and "civilian" weapons. Only in the last roughly 50+ years has there been a divergence. Even here in NYC I can legally own, after jumping through some hoops, an arsenal comparable to that issued to my father and uncles by the Army and the Marine Corps.

    Maybe what we ought to do is develop a real, well-regulated militia. Everyone would get trained, and be held responsible for the safe storage and use of their weapons. As it stands now, there's a dangerous political imbalance in the number of persons with even modest skills in organized violence. Back in the days of mass drafts, people of diverse political views were so trained. Leaving only one isde with that ability is dangerous.

  • Just Dropping By on January 02, 2013 3:41 PM:

    Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic skewers this Randian-Marxist nonsense about a "gun control"/"tyranny" dialectic from a a strictly libertarian standpoint.

    Can you actually point to anything Ayn Rand ever wrote opposing gun control? Because Rand's description of the state monopoly on the use of force seems to point the complete opposite direction:

    The difference between political power and any other kind of social “power,” between a government and any private organization, is the fact that a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force. This distinction is so important and so seldom recognized today that I must urge you to keep it in mind. Let me repeat it: a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force. * * * No individual or private group or private organization has the legal power to initiate the use of physical force against other individuals or groups and to compel them to act against their own voluntary choice. Only a government holds that power.

    From “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business,”
    Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (emphasis added).

  • Steve P on January 02, 2013 3:46 PM:

    You need only see the reaction of the Founders to an actual unregulated militia--an armed mob--in their own time. The Whiskey Rebellion and Shays' Rebellion were confronted and suppressed by overwhelming state forces--regulated militias--with George Washington at their head.

  • Just Dropping By on January 02, 2013 3:49 PM:

    Adding to my previous challenge to John Robert Behrman:

    The use of physical force—even its retaliatory use—cannot be left at the discretion of individual citizens. Peaceful coexistence is impossible if a man has to live under the constant threat of force to be unleashed against him by any of his neighbors at any moment. * * * The retaliatory use of force requires objective rules of evidence to establish that a crime has been committed and to prove who committed it, as well as objective rules to define punishments and enforcement procedures. Men who attempt to prosecute crimes, without such rules, are a lynch mob. If a society left the retaliatory use of force in the hands of individual citizens, it would degenerate into mob rule, lynch law and an endless series of bloody private feuds or vendettas. * * * If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules. * * * This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government. * * * A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws.

    From "The Nature of Government,” The Virtue of Selfishness (emphasis added).

  • square1 on January 02, 2013 4:15 PM:

    Kilgore's critism seems misplaced. You can believe -- as I do -- that amassing military-grade weapons for a possible armed insurrection against the Federal gov. is an unworkable hedge against tyranny, unpatriotic, and fraught with unintended peril. But that doesn't mean that Williamson is wrong. The truth is that -- love it or hate it -- the 2nd Amend was 100% intended to permit Citizens to place a check on the military power of the Feds at a time when people were far more loyal to their individual states.

  • FlipYrWhig on January 02, 2013 4:53 PM:

    Nothing in what Williamson wrote suggests that it would be inconsistent with the 2nd Amendment to mandate that all arms be kept in secure armories. The text of the Articles of Confederation is clearly envisioning that:

    No vessel of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defense of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgement of the United States in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.

    In case of tyranny, break glass.

    (Source: Avalon Project)

  • boatboy_srq on January 02, 2013 5:22 PM:

    @FlipYrWhig: So much Teahadist rhetoric seems to pine for those wonderful days - before The Holy and Unalterable Constitution - when the Articles of Confederation held the original thirteen together. They forget that those documents were far more restrictive and limiting than they would like.

    Captcha: No./So. ettabln. The Mason/Dixon is edible? Whodathunkit.

  • Richard W. Crews on January 02, 2013 5:39 PM:

    People with guns kill people

    I think the anti-government 2nd Amendment justifications are nonsense. Antiquated nonsense. Fudgin' Branch Dividian Waconess. See how it ends. There ain't a wacko "patriot" in suburbia that has a wife who will live through the toilet not working, much less all dreams held in 401-Ks and equities when your checking account is closed . You think there's someone to shoot at? Tip the couch over in front of the picture window and ... ? March on ??? You and what army?:

    Get real! They will drone your posterior while you're sneaking over to the neighbors for a bucket of water while everything you ever planned on dissolves and the world never even notices.

    You tell me what the Federal Government of the United States Of America has to do that will ever get an organized group of NOT-CRAZY people ( I've been to Tea Party big events) to act in an armed manner.
    Then, after you finally stretch out all logic and history, whatever you put up, I will measure against school massacres.

    I propose that semi-auto pistols be illegal. No ammo magazines over 6 rounds - if you can't take that deer down with 6, give it up.

  • Bobby Goren on January 02, 2013 6:13 PM:

    " The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny."

    I don't know if gun rights advocates will take up arms against the government. However, if it does, I suspect it'll be South Carolinians leading the charge ... just like last time.

    Yet another of the great unresolved issues of our country -- the reasons for the US Civil War. As a good Yankee, I was brought up thinking that rebel = traitor. Living in VA where one can't drive very long without seeing the stars and bars on a car I suspect most here in the South still view the rebels as freedom fighters.

    150 years and not much has changed.

  • Joe Friday on January 02, 2013 6:40 PM:

    Williamson has it exactly backwards. From the original draft of the Second Amendment:

    "That the People have a Right to keep and to bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, composed of the Body of the People, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe Defence of a free State; that Standing Armies in Time of Peace are dangerous to Liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided as far as the Circumstances and Protection of the Community will admit; and that in all Cases, the military should be under strict Subordination to, and governed by the Civil Power."

    So, these arms that the people had the right to bear, were in the context of a well-regulated militia in lieu of a standing army, and of course we have quite a standing army.

    The purpose of allowing people to bear these arms was to DEFEND the state, NOT to defend oneself against the state.

    Given one would be substituting for a standing army, the required training referenced would be far more extensive than the ridiculous so-called training that states utilize for handing out concealed carry permits.

  • jefft452 on January 02, 2013 7:08 PM:

    square1 on January 02, 2013 4:15 PM:
    'The truth is that -- love it or hate it -- the 2nd Amend was 100% intended to permit Citizens to place a check on the military power of the Feds'

    Constitution of the United States, Article 1 Section 8:
    'The Congress shall have Power To …
    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions'

  • Christopher Moses on January 02, 2013 8:31 PM:

    Interesting speculation but the logic is backwards.

    It's not about arming the citizenry to defeat a modern military-industrial state. For '76ers, they feared how easily their rights could be trampled if the crown had a "standing army" (think Boston Masacre) -- this had been a topic of complex controversy in England / Britain for two centuries beforehand.

    The people needed to have the well regulated militia in their hands, rather than the monarch reigning with an enormous and enormously expensive army or, from the vantage point of the late 1700s, a globally supreme navy, able to disrupt trade anywhere in the world. Hence the amendment protecting us from the quartering of soldiers, too.

    There's as much an anti-establishment and anti-aristocratic strain to the amendment as well -- just like they didn't want a state church, like the Church of England. Only the nobility could "bear a coat of arms" -- could posses heraldry and the like.

    The founders wanted no distinction in rank, and hence the focus on a joint militia, rather than an individual liberty to amass guns in a way that could threaten other people property. Indeed, that's a rather radically apposite idea to anything Locke would have argued, for instance.

    weshallbe.blogspot.com

  • FlipYrWhig on January 02, 2013 8:57 PM:

    As far as I know, no political theorist that the American Revolutionary generation would have known ever did figure out a good rule by which to distinguish "insurrection" from "revolution." If the government becomes tyrannical, then the people can legitimately revolt; if it doesn't, then they can't. Of course, that's essentially a tautology. Think about William and Mary invading, at the invitation of some members of Parliament, and kicking out James II. It worked, so it became known as the Glorious Revolution. James's royal family didn't care much for that, and they kept trying wackier and wackier schemes to get back into power. But they kept failing. So those are "uprisings" instead. That's the kind of thing that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution are preoccupied by.

  • square1 on January 02, 2013 9:16 PM:

    @jefft452: The Founders were not planning to have the very federal government that they were establishing to be overthrown. Clearly, they did not support insurrections in the vast majority of cases. Rather they wanted the military might of the nation to be derived from state militias because state militias would be less likely to be improperly used against the citizens. The point is that the 2nd Amendment was intended to strengthen the military power of the states, not to promote hunting or individual self defense.

  • oldswede on January 02, 2013 9:58 PM:

    The Militia Act of 1792 makes the role of the militias clear.
    The first section reads, "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whenever the United States shall be invaded, or be in imminent danger of invasion from any foreign nation or Indian tribe, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, to call forth such number of the militia of the state or states most convenient to the place of danger or scene of action as he may judge necessary to repel such invasion, and to issue his orders for that purpose, to such officer or officers of the militia as he shall think proper; and in case of an insurrection in any state, against the government thereof, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, on application of the legislature of such state, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) to call forth such number of the militia of any other state or states, as may be applied for, or as he may judge sufficient to suppress such insurrection."
    Got that, militias exist to suppress insurrections, among other things.
    What sort of arms was even specified: "That 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. . . ."
    This is the historical document that helps to clarify the Second Amendment.

  • jefft452 on January 02, 2013 11:15 PM:

    square1 on January 02, 2013 9:16 PM:
    ‘Rather they wanted the military might of the nation to be derived from state militias …’

    Constitution of the United States, Article 1 section 8:
    ‘The Congress shall have power To …
    provide for the common defence …
    To raise and support Armies …
    To provide and maintain a Navy …
    make Rules for … and Regulation of the land and naval Forces’

    square1 on January 02, 2013 9:16 PM:
    ‘…because state militias would be less likely to be improperly used against the citizens.’

    See my earlier post, Congress has explicit power to call out the militias of the several states to suppress rebellion against the United States. Any time it does so, it is by definition not unlawful

    Also,
    ‘To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States’

    If Congress wants to hang any member of a state militia who refuses to respond to Congresses call, it is in its power to do so

    Also, too,

    Article 2:

    ‘The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States

  • jefft452 on January 02, 2013 11:51 PM:

    square1 on January 02, 2013 9:16 PM:
    ‘The Founders were not planning to have the very federal government that they were establishing to be overthrown. Clearly, they did not support insurrections in the vast majority of cases’

    You hear this kind of crap from ‘originalists’ and ‘strict constructionists’ all the time

    But the fact remains, the FF gave Congress the power to suppress insurrection

    There is no secret clause written in invisible ink that says “… unless wingnuts think that the rebels are have a good reason”

  • square1 on January 03, 2013 12:24 AM:

    Congratulations, Jefft452, you have stumbled upon a couple of the tensions that exist within our government: the tension between local government and centralized government and the tension between empowering government and protecting the citizens from tyranny. The fact that there appear some arguable inconsistencies between the Constitution as originally drafted and the Bill of Rights should hardly be surprising. The entire purpose of the Bill of Rights was to correct a perceived failure of the original Constitution to clarify what the Federal government could not do.

    To be clear, I point this out not because I am advocating a pro-gun agenda. I do not own guns, have no moral problems with gun regulations, and do not believe that the 2nd Amendment should be interpreted to bar regulation of individuals' rights to own guns. Nor do I believe that it is profitable to look to 18th Century society for guidance on intelligent gun policies.

    However, as Williamson correctly pointed out, it is simply historically inaccurate to argue that the motivation of the 2nd Amendment's proponents was to protect a recreational activity.

  • jefft452 on January 03, 2013 1:13 AM:

    ‘The fact that there appear some arguable inconsistencies between the Constitution as originally drafted and the Bill of Rights should hardly be surprising’

    The inconsistencies are between what you think the delegates really wanted and what they actually put in the Constitution

    You claim that they really wanted the militia to be able to rebel against the federal government
    Yet they gave Congress the power to take over the militia to put down revolts
    Nothing in the BOR takes away that power

    You claim that they really wanted the states to control the military
    Yet they gave Congress the power raise a federal army
    Nothing in the BOR takes away that power

    And nothing, nowhere, in any article or amendment, gives any individual, state government, or any other entity, the right to make war upon the united states because they think it’s being tyrannical

    Quite the opposite in fact

    Article 3
    ‘Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them … The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason’

    What part of the BOR amends that to read “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them unless you think you are fighting against tyranny”?

  • square1 on January 03, 2013 7:06 AM:

    @jefft:

    First, it is a mistake to speak of the Founders as if they spoke in one unified voice and as if the Constitution was written by one person.

    Second, I am not claiming that the purpose was to support armed rebellion. Rather, the Second Amendment was intended by its proponents to make it impractical for the federal government to abuse it's military powers. Read in conjunction with the prohibitition against standing armies, the 2nd Amend was intended to discourage the federal government from the temptation of sending military forces against an unarmed populace.

    Sure, the Constitution pemits the federal government from legitimately regulating and controlling state militias. The point is that the people of a given state did not have to fear tyranny from their own militias. After all, if Congress ordered the Connecticut militia to illegitimately seize the property of Connecticut citizens, then how was Congress going to enforce that order? The Citizens of each state were fearful that a militia from another state -- or a standing army -- could be sent against them...particularly after they were disarmed by a prior Congressional directive.

    I referred to this as a check on federal power. You twisted this into an endorsement of armed rebellion.

    But feel free to offer your alternative thesis. If you think that the Founders were trying to protect the sacred right of quail hunting, by all means make that argument.

  • jefft452 on January 03, 2013 8:45 AM:

    “it is a mistake to speak of the Founders as if they spoke in one unified voice”

    I don’t care how they spoke, I only care what was written into the Constitution and got ratified by the legislators of ¾ of the states

    “Rather, the Second Amendment was intended to discourage the federal government …”

    Again, no hidden text in the USC. If the USC grant powers to the Federal government, then they have the power. There is nothing in there that says “… but don’t abuse it”, or “… only if they use it rarely”

    “the 2nd Amend was intended to discourage the federal government from the temptation of sending military forces against an unarmed populace”

    Daniel Shays says hi

    “Second Amendment was intended by its proponents to make it impractical for the federal government to abuse it's military powers”
    “Sure, the Constitution pemits the federal government from legitimately regulating and controlling state militias”

    Kind of contradictory, aint it?

    “After all, if Congress ordered the Connecticut militia to illegitimately seize the property of Connecticut citizens, then how was Congress going to enforce that order?”

    Really??? Your defending against tyranny by asking how many divisions does the Pope have???
    The Constitution gives Congress the power to give orders to the militia, I does not add “if the militia feels like obeying”

    “I referred to this as a check on federal power”
    And you are wrong, checks on federal power are found in the Constitution, not in the powderhouse of the 4th Connecticut militia regiment

  • SecularAnimist on January 03, 2013 11:23 AM:

    Ed Kilgore wrote: "If this isn’t clear enough, let me explain: Williamson is arguing ..."

    Let me explain and make it even clearer:

    Williamson is not "arguing".

    Williamson is LYING.

    Williamson is FLAT OUT LYING about the intent and history of the Second Amendment.

    Williamson is not presenting an argument, or making a case, or any such thing. He's just telling cynical, bald-faced lies, which other cynical, bald-faced liars -- as well as stupid, gullible dupes -- will repeat.

    And it's appropriate that you placed "conservative" in scare quotes, because Williamson is not a conservative. Like most of his ilk, he's a bought-and-paid-for corporate stooge pretending to be a "conservative", spouting the gun industry's corporate advertising propaganda disguised as "ideology".

  • Jim Keating on January 03, 2013 7:03 PM:

    The militia act of 1903 also know as the Dick act Said:
    all american men are in the militia reserve until the
    age of 40. I wonder if that act is the justification giving
    the 2nd amendment validity.If the Militia act was re-written taking out the reserve obligation would that
    change the meaning of the second amendment?

  • square1 on January 03, 2013 9:59 PM:

    @jeff:

    You still haven't said what you claim the point of the 2nd Amend was.

  • Keats on January 08, 2013 6:52 PM:

    Wow. What a completely and utterly stupid argument. That there was deep thinking Mr. Kilgore. Knew where you were going after the first sentence.

  • It's time on January 26, 2013 2:13 PM:

    There are hundreds of us meeting weekly in discussions to take steps to overthrow our tyrannical government. If this gun ban is passed, we are prepared to intimate our plans....Feinstein goes first....

  • Matheus Grunt on February 27, 2013 4:21 PM:

    Tyranny is alive and well, just like it was in 1775. What we face today is very much like what our ancestors faced then. Not much has changed because the hearts of men still devise evil plans.

    And lastly, to those who say we cannot succeed in overthrowing this tyrannical government, when the time comes, you must not pay much attention to how well our guys in OIF & OEF were getting slaughtered by well less equipped freedom fighters of their respective nations/tribes. Guerrilla warfare, a combination of conventional and non-conventional tactics will do us alot of good in conquering city by city, state by state, capital by capital, until we have beaten down the enemy, and given the tree of liberty our blood, to retake this country. If you want to be against it fine, get out of our way. If you're with us, and you value your liberty & freedom and want a new government that will work for us, then join in. It's not going to be an easy road and it will be hard, but our FF did it before with less advanced weapons & men and they still won. That's America for you! ;)

  • Stupid Peeps R Breeding on April 17, 2013 6:46 PM:

    Think for half a second, my fellow patriotic patriots.
    You have been watching too many movies or FOX NEWS. Or listening to the crazy rants of who knows who. Y'all are gonna defeat our coutry's Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines & National Guard. And the Coast Guard. With that? Your flatulence? Please. Audition for Sat Nite Live.

  • Stupid Peeps R Breeding on April 22, 2013 5:36 PM:

    There are people who say we need guns in case we need to overthrow the "tyranny" of the US government. And they say it with a straight face. Hardcore gun nuts wearing suits and appearing on TV news channels like CNN & MSNBC. Trying to pretend that they're "normal" and "mainstream." We ain't wearing overalls and holding pitchforks! They don't see anything wrong with what they're saying. Makes perfect sense to them.