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Thread: I woke up this morning...

  1. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    Automatic weapons have a relatively niche use in warfare. I'd argue that it should be challenged, as they really aren't very lethal and they don't have much purpose beyond a collector's toy or as part of an organized military force. Technically though, they aren't banned. You just have to buy one made or imported before 1986.
    Are you saying it should have been challenged because it was unconstitutional, or because you disagree with it?

  2. #162
    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    You realize that target shooting is an Olympic sport right? And hunting is one of the most popular outdoor activites in the US? And that many people buy military firearms as collector's items? I would guess that the wide majority of firearms purchased are not primarily intended for self-defense.
    "Stamp collecting being boring, and recreational shooting, being necessary for fun in a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
    Last edited by Eversor; 01-10-2017 at 09:59 AM.

  3. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Are you saying it should have been challenged because it was unconstitutional, or because you disagree with it?
    I think that under the most natural reading of the constitution, they should be constitutionally protected. Certainly more so than hand guns, though I think hand guns should be also legal. In practice, judges will find a way of looking at it that matches their ideological leanings.


    "Stamp collecting being boring, and recreational shooting, being necessary for fun in a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
    Your original argument was that guns are ontologically killing devices. I pointed out that that is not true. It doesn't really have anything to do with whether they are or should be protected by the constitution. A thing doesn't have to be constitutionally protected for us to allow it.
    Last edited by Obi_Kwiet; 01-10-2017 at 12:08 PM.

  4. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    I think that under the most natural reading of the constitution, they should be constitutionally protected. Certainly more so than hand guns, though I think hand guns should be also legal. In practice, judges will find a way of looking at it that matches their ideological leanings.
    What is "the most natural reading", and how does it differ from your personal opinion about the subject?

  5. #165
    (Still) On 13 week vacation
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    Martial arts, which can be practiced alone, is a recreationally enjoyable form of totally not fighting other people.
    >>untie shoes

  6. #166
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    What is "the most natural reading", and how does it differ from your personal opinion about the subject?
    Well, the 2and amendment reads like this: "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 part provides context, but the actual right is, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.". So it seems like the author believed that people should be able to keep and bear arms, at least in large part because private ownership of arms is pretty important if you want to set up a militia. For example, if a nation invaded, it's going to be very difficult to make progress if they has access to a large decentralized stock of weapons. You can pull up a fighting force of some kind from anywhere there is a population center without having to source firearms and ammo. That's a pretty huge deal, especially back then.

    Now, that particular justification is somewhat obsolete, but the right is simply to keep and bear arms, and people today value it for reasons beyond the one originally given. I suspect that that may have always been the case. Imagine if the first amendment had read, "A honest and diligent press, being necessary to the accountability of the government, the right to free speech, shall not be infringed." You would obviously be able to tell that the author felt that freedom of the press was a key motivation for freedom of speech, but that doesn't mean that it was the only motivation for it, nor that it should be restricted in all other circumstances. I'd interpret the law as, "You have a right to this thing, but it's especially important that it be interpreted to facilitate this particular application."

    Going back to the first example, the militia prevents an interpretation that allows weapons suitable only for self defense. For example, a prohibition on all guns except hand guns.

    The second amendment has never been interpreted as a total prohibition on any kind of weapons legislation, but I think machine guns are pretty reasonable for people to own, given that they aren't particularly dangerous relatively speaking, and have a military application. The Heller decision upholding handgun ownership isn't totally out of line, but it is more of a stretch, because the amendment doesn't specifically hold up personal defense as a primary motivation.

    You can complain that the idea of a militia is out of date, but there is a legal process to correct that. It's called passing a constitutional amendment. It's a terrible idea to end run around that by simply hand waving away laws that we don't like. Constitutional amendments are hard to pass on purpose. The idea is that the entire country needs to be in strong agreement that this is the right way to go. If you don't have that level agreement, than you we shouldn't be changing aspects of the law that are that fundamental.
    Last edited by Obi_Kwiet; 01-10-2017 at 10:11 PM.

  7. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antony View Post
    Martial arts, which can be practiced alone, is a recreationally enjoyable form of totally not fighting other people.
    It's interesting you use that example because a LOT of martial arts are completely miserable training for a real fight. What's competitive for a fight with specific rules is often useless in a real right where you are trying to hurt someone and have no ref.

    For example, in fencing it became popular to flick the blade of the foil onto the shoulder of your opponent. This counted as a legal touch, but if you tried that in a real sword fight, your opponent would be more than happy to trade a scratch on his shoulder for your guts.

  8. #168
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    Well, the 2and amendment reads like this: "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 part provides context, but the actual right is, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.". So it seems like the author believed that people should be able to keep and bear arms, at least in large part because private ownership of arms is pretty important if you want to set up a militia. For example, if a nation invaded, it's going to be very difficult to make progress if they has access to a large decentralized stock of weapons. You can pull up a fighting force of some kind from anywhere there is a population center without having to source firearms and ammo. That's a pretty huge deal, especially back then.

    Now, that particular justification is somewhat obsolete, but the right is simply to keep and bear arms, and people today value it for reasons beyond the one originally given. I suspect that that may have always been the case. Imagine if the first amendment had read, "A honest and diligent press, being necessary to the accountability of the government, the right to free speech, shall not be infringed." You would obviously be able to tell that the author felt that freedom of the press was a key motivation for freedom of speech, but that doesn't mean that it was the only motivation for it, nor that it should be restricted in all other circumstances. I'd interpret the law as, "You have a right to this thing, but it's especially important that it be interpreted to facilitate this particular application."

    Going back to the first example, the militia prevents an interpretation that allows weapons suitable only for self defense. For example, a prohibition on all guns except hand guns.

    The second amendment has never been interpreted as a total prohibition on any kind of weapons legislation, but I think machine guns are pretty reasonable for people to own, given that they aren't particularly dangerous relatively speaking, and have a military application. The Heller decision upholding handgun ownership isn't totally out of line, but it is more of a stretch, because the amendment doesn't specifically hold up personal defense as a primary motivation.

    You can complain that the idea of a militia is out of date, but there is a legal process to correct that. It's called passing a constitutional amendment. It's a terrible idea to end run around that by simply hand waving away laws that we don't like. Constitutional amendments are hard to pass on purpose. The idea is that the entire country needs to be in strong agreement that this is the right way to go. If you don't have that level agreement, than you we shouldn't be changing aspects of the law that are that fundamental.
    That didn't answer my question at all.

    I'm not arguing the merits of the Second Amendment or how it should be interpreted. I'm pointing out that it is a vaguely written law which is interpreted in wildly different ways by Americans with different ideologies, all of whom believe they alone are 100% correct and that everybody else is an amoral simpleton for likewise favorably interpreting the rule in the context of their pre-existing beliefs. The fact that you believe in a "most natural reading" - which just happens to coincide with your personal beliefs - is literally what I'm talking about.

    Very few people would choose to interpret the Second Amendment in the manner you have chosen, and certainly no legislators, but you're convinced that a shockingly specific interpretation (which allows automatic firearms, perhaps disallows pistols, and protects commerce in addition to ownership rights) is supposed to be the objective "most natural reading"?
    Last edited by Jon`C; 01-10-2017 at 11:25 PM.

  9. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    That didn't answer my question at all.

    I'm not arguing the merits of the Second Amendment or how it should be interpreted. I'm pointing out that it is a vaguely written law which is interpreted in wildly different ways by Americans with different ideologies, all of whom believe they alone are 100% correct and that everybody else is an amoral simpleton for likewise favorably interpreting the rule in the context of their pre-existing beliefs. The fact that you believe in a "most natural reading" - which just happens to coincide with your personal beliefs - is literally what I'm talking about.

    Very few people would choose to interpret the Second Amendment in the manner you have chosen, and certainly no legislators, but you're convinced that a shockingly specific interpretation (which allows automatic firearms, perhaps disallows pistols, and protects commerce in addition to ownership rights) is supposed to be the objective "most natural reading"?
    I told you how I would interpret it. You'll notice that I actually made a few distinctions between how I would interpret the law and what I thought should be legal.

    I understand that there is going to be some room for interpretation when it comes to specifics like the Heller decision, or automatic weapons. However, that being said, the law and all case law hitherto says that the first amendment does give citizens a right to bear arms. If you start accepting interpretations of laws that contradict the clear reading of the text and all historical understanding of the text, you've made the idea of the law meaningless. The law is supposed to be above everyone. The judiciary shouldn't be a panel of people who find stupid justifications for turning the law into the agenda of whatever administration appointed them.

    You might as well claim that the idea of freedom of speech is vague, or that "due process" or "cruel and unusual" is vague. Of course they are somewhat vague. It's a law intended to serve as the foundation for all other laws passed for hundreds of years. You can't get into specifics, because you don't know what they will be. But that certainly doesn't make them meaningless. It's not uniquely a problem for the second amendment just because you don't like it.

  10. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    I told you how I would interpret it. You'll notice that I actually made a few distinctions between how I would interpret the law and what I thought should be legal.

    I understand that there is going to be some room for interpretation when it comes to specifics like the Heller decision, or automatic weapons. However, that being said, the law and all case law hitherto says that the first amendment does give citizens a right to bear arms. If you start accepting interpretations of laws that contradict the clear reading of the text and all historical understanding of the text, you've made the idea of the law meaningless. The law is supposed to be above everyone. The judiciary shouldn't be a panel of people who find stupid justifications for turning the law into the agenda of whatever administration appointed them.

    You might as well claim that the idea of freedom of speech is vague, or that "due process" or "cruel and unusual" is vague. Of course they are somewhat vague. It's a law intended to serve as the foundation for all other laws passed for hundreds of years. You can't get into specifics, because you don't know what they will be. But that certainly doesn't make them meaningless. It's not uniquely a problem for the second amendment just because you don't like it.
    I neither said it was uniquely a problem for the second amendment, nor did I say that I disliked the idea of constitutionally protected firearm possession.

    Free speech is a great example, and I'm glad you keep bringing it up, because free speech has many limitations. For example, in the US incitement to commit a crime is not constitutionally protected speech, neither is mens rea libel, or copyright infringement. Prior restraint is legal for the purposes of national security and judicial impartiality. Die hard First Amendment fanatics, of course, think that literally anything you say or do should be constitutionally protected speech, because in their understanding of the constitution, that is what it says. Most people and legislators, though, recognize that there must be sensible limits under certain situations.

    If the First Amendment can be so limited, so might the Second. And the fact that different people understand the First Amendment or the Second Amendment to allow for such limitations does not mean they are wrong.

  11. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    It's interesting you use that example because a LOT of martial arts are completely miserable training for a real fight. What's competitive for a fight with specific rules is often useless in a real right where you are trying to hurt someone and have no ref. For example, in fencing it became popular to flick the blade of the foil onto the shoulder of your opponent. This counted as a legal touch, but if you tried that in a real sword fight, your opponent would be more than happy to trade a scratch on his shoulder for your guts.
    Nearly all martial arts have something that'd be useful in an actual fight. This is why you're beginning to see a resurgence of skilled karate practitioners in mixed martial arts (Conor McGregor, Stephen Thompson, etc.) after years of good grapplers with mediocre striking technique. Granted, this new generation of strikers had to broaden their game by learning grappling, & that took awhile, but now that they're catching up, we're seeing fighters with traditional martial arts backgrounds (Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, etc.) doing well.

    Either way, intent matters, & most martial arts were created as a means of committing violence, regardless of how else they may be used, or how ineffective they are at certain tasks. As a former practitioner, I can assure you that though we primary point sparred, used kata (including weapons) for show, we're never under the impression that we're not practicing something that was created for violence. Thus the term "martial". This is why the alternative use argument is a poor one. Just because someone learns to do a dance with guns or primarily uses them to shoot at targets for sport, doesn't change the fact that these objects were designed as weapons.
    ? :)

  12. #172
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Those arguments run the gamut: what it means to infringe upon the rights to keep and bear arms; how the amendment extends to the acquisition, transfer, and operation of firearms; how firearm should be interpreted in a modern context, and what that means for specific firearms, ammunition, and accessories; how the government can accomplish social goals while satisfying this constitutional obligation.
    So I already, albeit briefly, responded to this but it is so connected to the next part I wanted to flesh out a better answer. If context and intent are important we have to at least assume that as an individual right, people are allowed weapons the same or similar as the contemporary military versions. The second amendment has nothing to do with hunting, recreational shooting, or self-defense as none of those activities are have anything to do with militias or the security of a free State. Social goals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Because the Second Amendment doesn't say anything about acquisition or operation of arms, or states that some necessary variety of arms must be made available for purchase. The Second Amendment only says that the government must not prohibit you from owning some sort of firearm. You are reading more into the text than is actually there. The fact that you don't understand this was my whole point.
    Oh I understand it but it says a tad more, or a tad less I guess you could say, than "must not prohibit ... some sort of firearm".

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    It's worth saying that legislators from neither side have interest in treating it as an "anything goes" rule, as suggested by your supposedly obvious interpretation .
    Of course not. An amendment is required and I've offered a suggestion that would bar many undesirables from owning weapons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Free speech is a great example, and I'm glad you keep bringing it up, because free speech has many limitations. For example, in the US incitement to commit a crime is not constitutionally protected speech, neither is mens rea libel, or copyright infringement. Prior restraint is legal for the purposes of national security and judicial impartiality. Die hard First Amendment fanatics, of course, think that literally anything you say or do should be constitutionally protected speech, because in their understanding of the constitution, that is what it says. Most people and legislators, though, recognize that there must be sensible limits under certain situations.

    If the First Amendment can be so limited, so might the Second. And the fact that different people understand the First Amendment or the Second Amendment to allow for such limitations does not mean they are wrong.
    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

    "Hardcore" First Amendment supporters would argue against broadened interpretation that has expanded the scope of the amendment. It clearly says Congress can not do those things which of course means that the federal government cannot pass laws contrary to the amendment. In the spirit of the Bill of Rights, it follows that States and people can make their own laws on those topics and I'm sure many states have similar protections in their respective constitutions. Another example of Supreme Court meddling. Anyway, the two amendments seem to stand in stark contrast to one another. Amendment One specifically restricts congress while the Second Amendment specifically protects a single right from infringement.

    On that, I'm going to retire from the #2A discussion. It's an old topic here. It has been interesting though.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  13. #173
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    Why is it that nobody "retires" from a discussion without trying to get the last word?

  14. #174
    Quote Originally Posted by T.S. Eliot
    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    "I'm right because I say so" is a likely place to end if it was also where you started.

    (Not saying this applies here!)

  15. #175
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Why is it that nobody "retires" from a discussion without trying to get the last word?
    I don't care about having the last word, I just wanted to respond to you. We're all pretty much repeating ourselves or each other on the topic anyway. I got something out of it so I'm happy.

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