Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

What do you believe "Second Amendment remedies" are?

Here's another question I asked on my blog post, "Where there is an open mind...". What do you believe are the Second Amendment remedies proposed by Tea Party Nevada Senate Candidate Sharron Angle. I will list some of the responses below after I first ask my readers to check out this frightening report in Time Magazine's current issue. This one made the hair on my arms stand up. I have written before about militia groups and the rise of same since the election of President Obama. Some folks are scared out of their wits that President Obama is going to take away something (often vague and unnamed) from them. Is it power? Is it their gun rights? Is it their religion? What are they really scared of? These are guys with lots of guns of all kinds and other military equipment. These are guys who run around in the woods with their military style assault rifles and uniforms. These are guys who dress as Revolutionary War figures. These are guys who are lying in wait for some "enemy" to show up at their doors so they can shoot. These are guys who are home grown terrorists who even attempt to make "dirty bombs". These are guys who have hatched assassination plots against the President and some of his staff. These are guys who have hyped up the fear about our President being a Muslim, or an "other"- not born in the U.S. These are scary guys everyone. Are these "second amendment remedies"?

So back to the Second Amendment remedies that I started with on this post. Second Amendment remedies to me, mean that people who believe in such are ready to shoot to kill if necessary, an "enemy"- real or perceived. So here are some of the responses to my question. Oh, I also asked if the responders believed that if they didn't agree with what someone was doing or saying, second amendment remedies should be applied. Comments, below:
  • The question isn't what the remedy is, but rather what is it a solution for? I don't know the exact line, but it is when democratic processes have been substantially perverted. Not minor things like butterfly ballots, or electing someone I don't like, but suspending elections, or widespread vote tampering."
  • "  The basic theory works like this. There are 4 boxes upon which your liberties rest. The first, and most commonly used, is the Soap Box. This represents your God given right to speak against things you don’t like. The second box is the Ballot Box. It is difficult to repress people who make their own laws and elect their own representatives. The third box is the Jury Box. This is when you, as a jury member, refuse to convict a person for violating laws you believe are unjust. The fourth and final box is the Cartridge Box. This is the “Second Amendment Remedies” you are asking about. The proper time to use this box is carefully laid out in the Declaration of Independence. “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”"
  • Shooting someone over mere speech is disgraceful behavior and should be punished. As for what they are doing, it really depends on what they are doing. Typically the only reasonable justification for deadly force is in self defense to prevent serious bodily injury or death. It is perfectly reasonable to tell the government that you will not comply with their unjust laws. If someone shows up prepared to use force to require you to comply, they you have a reasonable case for fighting back. The beauty of this is that those who might be tempted to oppress you will think twice about oppressing you enough to cause a violent backlash. No matter how many cops and troops, there are many more armed citizens. "
  • First, 2nd Amendment remedies are only to be used when the government has lost legitimacy. Do you feel the current system of governance is no longer legitimate? I don't think that.
    Only if that action violates the Constitution and no other remedy has worked."
  • In specific I would disagree with any violence but in general I think the the right to revolution is justly held by all people.
    I don't think violence is an acceptable remedy for any kind of speech other than speech as a part of a crime. But some actions such as restricting freedom of speech are acceptable causes for violent opposition."
  • "  I'm disturbed that so many people seem to think we've transcended history into permanent stability and freedom for all time, and that the American Revolution was a one-time deal that can never be legitimately repeated. It tends to be tied up in the equally disturbing attitude that voting is all the remedy we could ever need for any government abuse. I don't believe now is the time for revolution, and I hope that time doesn't come in my life. Revolutions are terrible, terrible affairs in which there's no guarantee of success, no guarantee that the new system will be better than the old, and however it turns out, lots of good people die. They're to be avoided whenever possible.
    But when you have a government that routinely and casually ignores the legal restrictions on its power, and is constantly entrenching more and more of its excesses in ways that are difficult to dislodge through elections... Well, again, I think a person would be a fool not to look ahead to what might be necessary in the future if we keep going down that road. There are simply things worth fighting for."
  • "  Shoot somebody in a disagreement over a parking space? Obviously not. Shoot somebody in a disagreement over whether I should get on the train to be relocated to a government farm? Obviously yes. As with so many things in life, principle is a matter of drawing lines in the gray space between the extremes. I can't come up with an example of a justified shooting over protected speech, but most reasonable states allow deadly force in response to credible threats of murder or serious assault. "
  • "  The Declaration of Independence defines the conditions our founding fathers considered acceptable to rationalize an armed rebellion, and the standard is very, very high. There is nothing a legitimately elected leadership can do to make such acts acceptable, because the way to fix an elected government is in an election, not a violent rebellion. That's why we are a democracy in the first place, to settle political differences non-violently. Duh."
  • " Sharron Angle is, apparently, part of the small, but growing portion of Americans who are preparing for what they see as an inevitable circumstance where violent, unprovoked (they would claim it was provoked), armed action is warranted. This is not unheard of in American history, as I am sure you're aware. We are taught from a very young age that the appropriate response to 'tyranny' in the American definition is armed resistance. It is not surprising that, when circumstances become unusually 'tyrannical' (again, by the American definition, i.e., unusual taxation, waste, and general dissatisfaction with the government), some people start thinking more and more about initiating violent action, and more people start realizing that the relative civility and calm we enjoy today might not exist in the future"
These are a good sampling of the comments left on my blog. Some people chose to blog their comments on their own blogs. I looked at some of these and not others. A few comments were not published by me because they were more extreme and inappropriate than those I have quoted here. My readers can judge for themselves if they think these commenters believe that second amendment remedies are legitimate and defensible. There were only a few who responded that they didn't know what the "remedies" were or thought that they were a bad idea.

If you read the entire linked Time Magazine article, you will be frightened, as well you should be. The article suggests that it is not unbelievable that a lone sniper or crazed militia member would take matters into his/her own hands and shoot elected leaders or create a bomb or some other way of terrorizing the country. Perhaps a few cogent questions of your elected leaders and/or their opponents would help to define the concern and how the country can talk about home grown terrorists and what we can do about them. You might want to ask what they believe "second amendment remedies" are and perhaps if they think this is what the framers of the Constitution had in mind in the writing of the Second Amendment.

23 comments:

  1. Please don’t take the extremist as the view or the core.
    I am a law abiding citizen who sees the rough edges of our society as an EMT and I do believe in defending the constitution not attacking those I disagree with.
    I also believe in defending myself and loved ones but I will walk away first if I can.
    there would have to be some wild events to make me raise arms against the government, but if some in Germany had maybe Hitler would have been stopped earlier

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  2. I'm very interested in what YOU think the framers had in mind when they wrote the second amendment. Why did they include it and what does it protect? Do you think that the gun restrictions that you want are constitutional, and if they are, what restrictions would be unconstitutional?

    Or do you think the second amendment is outdated and should be repealed?

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  3. It's not surprising that "There were only a few who responded that they didn't know what the 'remedies' were or thought that they were a bad idea."

    The whole country was founded on "Second Amendment Remedies." It was called the "Revolution."

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  4. Even the Supreme Court Justices could not agree about what the Second Amendment means. The majority in the Heller case determined that the interpretation was that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. The minority's interpretation went more with the idea in the militia view- that the right meant that people were given the right to bear arms to be used for the purpose of forming a militia, if needed. I have always said that people have the right to own guns for their own self protection in their homes and for hunting and recreational use. I believe, as does Justice Scalia, that reasonable restrictions are constitutional. And no, I don't believe it should be repealed. It's the law of the land.

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  5. Your interpretation of the Heller decision is incorrent. In Heller all 9 justices rejected the "collective rights" interpretation. The minority just said that the right could be limited by banning handguns. Check it out.

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  6. I think the 2nd Amendment is totally anachronistic and needs to be understood in those terms. Gun laws should not have to qualify as to what's a resonable restriction and what's not. They should be based on common sense and current needs.

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  7. Sean- Both Stevens and Bryers continued the Civic/Collective right interpretation of the Second Amendment.

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  8. Sevesteen- we've covered that ground many times over- no sense "beating a dead horse."

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  9. I think the question has been asked, but I do not recall an answer with any specificity. This isn't limited to you, it is gun control advocates in general. I strongly suspect a tactical problem--if you draw the line too close to a total ban you can't keep claiming "we don't want to ban guns, just the really bad ones"--but a line farther out won't let you campaign for things you really want.

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  10. Suspect away. I am speaking for myself on my blog unless I indicate otherwise.

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  11. Yup- I'm certainly scared of the people in the article I linked and am pretty certain that most sane people feel the same.

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  12. Why are you scared of them? I'm just curious. If you understood the militia movement better, you'd be more amused by it than frightened by it. One of the best papers I've read on the topic can be found here:

    http://www.constitution.org/2ll/2ndschol/96will.pdf

    The author is not ideologically sympathetic to the movement, but took the time to understand it in detail. I am not ideologically sympathetic to militia groups either, but I don't understand the fear. What's scary about a bunch of guys going out in the woods and playing army?

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  13. We will have to differ about this one. Remember Timothy McVeigh? Some of these people have potential to be homegrown terrorists.

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  14. Sebastian is playing the disingenuous role here. I'd bet he understands very well why sane people would be frightened by the militia movements.

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  15. Both Stevens and Bryers continued the Civic/Collective right interpretation of the Second Amendment.

    That statement is patently false.

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  16. " JUSTICE BREYER, with whom JUSTICE STEVENS, JUSTICE SOUTER, and JUSTICE GINSBURG join, dissenting.
    We must decide whether a District of Columbia law that prohibits the possession of handguns in the home violates the Second Amendment. The majority, relying upon its view that the Second Amendment seeks to protect a right of personal self-defense, holds that this law violates that Amendment. In my view, it does not.

    The majority’s conclusion is wrong for two independent reasons. The first reason is that set forth by JUSTICE STEVENS namely, that the Second Amendment protects militia-related, not self-defense-related, interests. These two interests are sometimes intertwined. To assure 18th century citizens that they could keep arms for militia purposes would necessarily have allowed them to keep arms that they could have used for self-defense as well. But self-defense alone, detached from any militia-related objective, is not the Amendment’s concern.
    The second independent reason is that the protection the Amendment provides is not absolute. The Amendment permits government to regulate the interests that it serves. Thus, irrespective of what those interests are whether they do or do not include an independent interest in self-defense the majority’s view cannot be correct unless it can show that the District’s regulation is unreasonable or inappropriate in Second Amendment terms. This the majority cannot do."

    My readers can decide whose statements are "patently false."

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  17. DOn't forget the first three paragraphs of Stevens's dissent:

    JUSTICE STEVENS , with whom JUSTICE SOUTER , JUSTICE GINSBURG , and JUSTICE BREYER join, dissenting.
    The question presented by this case is not whether the Second Amendment protects a “collective right” or an “individual right.” Surely it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals. But a conclusion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right does not tell us anything about the scope of that right.
    Guns are used to hunt, for self-defense, to commit crimes, for sporting activities, and to perform military duties. The Second Amendment plainly does not protect the right to use a gun to rob a bank; it is equally clear that it does encompass the right to use weapons for certain military purposes. Whether it also protects the right to possess and use guns for nonmilitary purposes like hunting and personal self-defense is the question presented by this case. The text of the Amendment, its history, and our decision in United States v. Miller , 307 U. S. 174 (1939), provide a clear answer to that question.
    The Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. It was a response to concerns raised during the ratification of the Constitution that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several States. Neither the text of the Amendment nor the arguments advanced by its proponents evidenced the slightest interest in limiting any legislature’s authority to regulate private civilian uses of firearms. Specifically, there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.

    Justice Stevens, and three other justices dissented using that the Civic Right interpretation for the Second Amendment.

    If Liunoge actually read Justices Breyer's and Stevens's dissents he would find what he says is patently false.

    Although Linoge appears to believe that in cases of major discrepancy between reality and the world in his mind: it's always reality that's got it wrong.

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  18. No, it's not a matter of me thinking fear of militias is crazy, just that it's not rational. There's plenty of radicalizing ideologies out there for unbalanced people like Timothy McVeigh's to latch on to. Even so, his connections to militias was short lived, probably because McVeigh was interesting in doing rather than talking. The militia groups are preparing for what they think will be an eventual breakdown of our Republic, which is conveniently always just around the corner. If I had to pick a rally cry which I think represents the movement, it would be "We'll stand up for the founders' Constitution, with our rifles if we have to! But that'll be next year boys! Next year!"

    Read the Williams paper. I think he pretty much gets it right, unlike most other people that have studied and written about the issue. I certainly don't consider fear of militia groups to be crazy, at least no crazier than people on the right who fear Islam. Can Islam, like the philosophy of the militia group be twisted to destructive ends? Yes. But I think the solution to both radical Islam and the militia philosophy is to challenging its philosophical foundations, offering alternatives, and ultimately, to persuade, resorting to force only to stop and punish those who take the ideas to the point of violence, or threatening violence.

    The problem with fear is that it prevents the understanding necessary to do those things.

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  19. My readers can decide whose statements are "patently false."

    Indeed they can:

    Justice Stevens, with whom Justice Souter, Justice Ginsburg, and Justice Breyer join, dissenting.

    The question presented by this case is not whether the Second Amendment protects a “collective right” or an “individual right.” Surely it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals.


    And:

    Justice Breyer, with whom Justice Stevens, Justice Souter, and Justice Ginsburg join, dissenting.

    [...]

    The Second Amendment says that: “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.” In interpreting and applying this Amendment, I take as a starting point the following four propositions, based on our precedent and today’s opinions, to which I believe the entire Court subscribes:

    (1) The Amendment protects an “individual” right—i.e., one that is separately possessed, and may be separately enforced, by each person on whom it is conferred. See, e.g., ante, at 22 (opinion of the Court); ante, at 1 (Stevens, J., dissenting).


    So, as I said, your above comment is patently false. Amusingly, I am far from the only person to acknowledge the simple fact that all nine then-seated Supreme Court Justices agreed that the Second Amendment protects an individual, non-collective right. See:

    Interestingly, on the narrow technical question of whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right, it would appear that all nine Justices agree.

    And (which also notes Stevens' numerous logical inconsistencies):

    ...Breyer claims that, even if the amendment does protect an individual right, D.C.'s laws -- which effectively banned handguns, and required that long guns be stored in non-functioning states -- constituted "reasonable" regulations.

    Stevens's dissent is the more substantive, though it does contain some rather embarrassing factual errors. Stevens concedes the amendment "can be enforced by individuals" and "protects an individual right" before going on to argue around what he just theoretically conceded.


    And:

    I'M WRITING A SHORT PIECE ON HELLER FOR NORTHWESTERN, and something became clear to me as soon as I started writing: What's most striking about Heller is that absolutely everybody -- majority and dissents -- says the Second Amendment protects an individual right.

    And:

    Thanks to District of Columbia v. Heller, we now have unanimous agreement that the "collective rights" theory of the Second Amendment is incorrect. All nine Justices agreed that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right; the Justices simply disagreed about the scope of the individual right. Nothing in the dissent claims that there is now, or even has been, a scintilla of evidence from the Founding Era, or from Supreme Court precedent, in support of the "collective right."

    And:

    Kleinfeld also explains that the phrase “the right of the people”—which Reinhardt “simply skips over”—refers to an individual right in the usage of the Bill of Rights.

    In June 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, all nine justices reject Reinhardt’s position (even as they split 5-4 on the scope of the individual Second Amendment right).


    As the saying goes, it is there in plain English.

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  20. Clicking on "see", this is the website I found where the quotes must have come from ( above) --- " "Radicals in Their Own Time: Four Hundred Years of Struggle for Liberty and Equal Justice in America""

    Is this a credible source?

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  21. You're right japete, Linoge has bombarded you with a series of links to like-minded pro-gun extremists, anything but credible sources. The first link, "patently false," linked to himself.

    I wish you good luck. You're gonna need it to spar with him.

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  22. Definition of UNANIMOUS
    , unan·i·mous adj \yu̇-ˈna-nə-məs\
    1: being of one mind : agreeing
    2: formed with or indicating unanimity : having the agreement and consent of all


    How about something incredibly simple, the above definition.

    By definition, any opinion which features a dissent cannot be unanimous. Bothe Heller and McDonald were 5-4 decisions, which means they CANNOT be unanimous.

    An actual read of the decisions shows that both Breyer and Stevens used the Collective-Civic Right interpretation. Quoting dishonest secondary sources do not change this FACT.

    Linoge again demonstrates where reality and his imagination conflict: reality is incorrect.

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  23. Linoge neglects that I quoted the entire opening of Stevens's dissent, as opposed to his selective use of the first paragraph. Stevens contradicts Linoge's assertions in the next two paragraphs, especially in this paragraph:

    The Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. It was a response to concerns raised during the ratification of the Constitution that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several States. Neither the text of the Amendment nor the arguments advanced by its proponents evidenced the slightest interest in limiting any legislature’s authority to regulate private civilian uses of firearms. Specifically, there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.

    Also, Linoge shows his dishonesty by quoting only the first of Breyer's four propositions since the other four directly contradict Linoge's assertion:

    I take as a starting point the following four propositions, based on our precedent and today’s opinions, to which I believe the entire Court subscribes:
    (1) The Amendment protects an “individual” right­i.e., one that is separately possessed, and may be separately enforced, by each person on whom it is conferred. See, e.g., ante, at 22 (opinion of the Court); ante, at 1 (STEVENS, J., dissenting).
    (2) As evidenced by its preamble, the Amendment was adopted “[w]ith obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of [militia] forces.”
    United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, 178 (1939); see ante, at 26 (opinion of the Court); ante, at 1 (STEVENS, J., dissenting).
    (3) The Amendment “must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.” Miller, supra, at 178.

    (4) The right protected by the Second Amendment is not absolute, but instead is subject to government regulation. See Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 U. S. 275, 281–282 (1897); ante, at 22, 54 (opinion of the Court).”


    Linoge is directly contradicted by an actual reading of the two dissents.

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