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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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The inconvenient consequences of bad gun bills...

This post is cross-posted at Media Matters Gun Facts

The gun lobby rarely thinks about the consequences to public safety of their support for bad gun laws. Their extremist leaders (and I am talking here about the NRA) have convinced their members and politicians that common sense doesn't matter any more regarding gun policy. In the case of getting bad gun bills passed, anything goes. Thus we end up with problems such as this one in Indiana. Here is the original story about the Indiana family man who decided to flaunt his openly carried gun at a local zoo.

I sometimes go to the zoo with my grandchildren to enjoy the animals and watching the kids interact with and learn about animal life. My husband and I had a chance to do just that at the Minnesota Zoo in August with all 4 of our grandchildren. We all have great memories of being together as a family since 2 of my grandchildren live out of state and were in Minnesota for a visit. Had we seen a man carrying a loaded gun in his holster around the zoo, it would have affected our enjoyment. Really, wouldn't you rather look at the animals than the gun nuts walking around with guns in their holsters? Perhaps a tee shirt like this one would be more appropriate at the zoo. Arming bears just might be safer than gun nuts bearing arms.

The NRA extremists want the public to get comfortable with people carrying loaded guns around in public places. Plain and simply, the public does not want to see people with loaded guns in places like zoos, churches, schools, soccer games, family restaurants, etc. I have written way too many times on this blog about accidental discharges when concealed or openly carried guns have fired as they were dropped or misused. Guns are dangerous weapons designed to kill people. I just don't get the need to display a loaded gun in public. There is a voyeurism or a macho thing or flaunting of authority here that is pervading the gun rights movement. It may be backfiring. The pro gun writer in the first linked article above misses the point when he writes this:
But now, here we have folks who are planning on going to our local zoo and city parks to stage an“open carry party.” This is no game. Do they have any idea of how quickly they can unravel hard work, late nights and early mornings, I mean early, in getting SB 292 passed? Where were they when we needed them to call and come to our meetings? They were too busy, they had parties to go to, movies to see, ball games to attend and dinner dates. 
Yes, this is no game. Carrying loaded guns around in public ( at ball games, movies and dinner dates) is no game. It's serious business. Those legislators in Indiana should have thought through their support for the NRA when they voted to pass this bad bill. How did they think this would turn out? One legislator is now having second thoughts as well he should. But all they are thinking about is that they can't vote against the NRA or else... or else what? What happens to legislators who have the nerve to speak up for what's right in the first place? What bad things happen to those in Congress who have the nerve to stand up for common sense?. The NRA would have us believe that there are consequences for voting one's conscience and voting with the majority of Americans who don't want guns in public places. Are they right? In fact, see this article as proof that one can win office by being in favor of sensible gun laws. Kudos to politicians willing to speak the truth.


Carrying loaded guns at zoos will be coming to a state near you if Congress votes to allow gun permit holders to "exercise their rights" wherever they go in this country (H.R. 822). They want people in my state to be comfortable with people who don't have the same permitting requirements in their own states, to carry guns anywhere. We would be in a "race to the bottom" as New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg writes in this piece. Is this what we want in our country? The NRA wants people in states where "open carry" is not allowed to be comfortable with people with holsters strapped to their hips. Is this what we want in our country? Do these guys know that even in the Wild West, people had to check their holsters at the city limits? " "Leave Your Revolvers At Police Headquarters, and Get a Check."" This quote from Adam Winkler's book, Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, is just one of many revealing the myths perpetrated by the media about guns in America. Is the Wild West myth still alive in this country? Some gun rights extremists seem to think so. Constitutional carry is an example of gun rights advocates going too far. Few want these bills but we get them anyway. I don't think most elected leaders want them either but they vote for them anyway. There are exceptions, of course, as some of our nation's Governors, Senators and Representatives carry loaded guns with them in public places and support laws that allow these dangerous policies.


So, just remember that when NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre famously said, "Our founding fathers understood that the guys with the guns make the rules", he wasn't kidding. Take heed America. The guys with the guns are not only making the rules, they are flaunting the rules and flaunting their guns in public places. I don't believe this is good public policy for our country. Our elected leaders owe the public the courage and decency to make sure they are protecting us from harm in public places. As long as the NRA gets its' way, that will not happen.


(This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program. The fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.)

24 comments:

  1. Yes, the NRA's constant effort to push more guns for more people in more places, until no place is safe. Flawed thinking, and poll after poll have shown that the majority of people are against the idea. Our leaders need to pay attention to common sense and the people's concerns, not to a handful of extremists.

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  2. What, exactly, was the problem with the gentleman at the zoo? What statute was he violating? By what authority did LEO's require him to conceal or be removed?

    Seems to me the only "problem" here was by those who don't know how to mind their own business. Whether I carry a firearm is no one's business but mine, until such time as I violate the law. It puts no one at risk, costs no one a single dime, and limits no one else's choices. And while I understand you have a right to enjoy a day at the zoo, so do others, and you do NOT have the right to tell others whether they may or may not carry a weapon, or how, as long as they are within the law.

    Your particular phobias are not his problem, any more than his particular phobias are yours. In short, your "rights" do not trump his.

    So - what was the problem? Had the cops done their job properly - i.e., check the gentleman, and once determined he was legal, let him go on his way - there would not have been a "problem" at all.



    Do these guys know that even in the Wild West, people had to check their holsters at the city limits? "

    You do understand, don't you, that such laws were intended only to disarm "undesirables" such as blacks and Indians, and were routinely ignored for "respectable" persons. The racist roots of much of modern gun control legislation is well documented. NY's Sullivan law has similar roots.

    You would have us go back to that? Really?

    (Sigh)

    Some people never learn.

    As to T-shirts, I like this one: http://www.zazzle.com/our_forefathers_would_be_shooting_by_now_tshirt-235274610566213899

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  3. The laws in the old West applied to everyone.

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  4. japete writes:
    "Carrying loaded guns at zoos will be coming to a state near you if Congress votes to allow gun permit holders to "exercise their rights" wherever they go in this country (H.R. 822). They want people in my state to be comfortable with people who don't have the same permitting requirements in their own states, to carry guns anywhere."

    [...]

    "The NRA wants people in states where "open carry" is not allowed to be comfortable with people with holsters strapped to their hips. Is this what we want in our country?"

    This is not at all an accurate representation of what's in HR822.

    HR822 would allow individuals licensed to carry a firearm in one state to carry in another state. While carrying in that state, they would still be subject to the same laws and restrictions as a permit holder in that state.

    In other words, if you take a state where open carry is prohibited - a permit holder from Minnesota (where open carry is perfectly legal) would have to abide by that state's laws and not open carry.

    Specifically, section (b) of HR822 states:
    "(b) A person carrying a concealed handgun under this section shall be permitted to carry a handgun subject to the same conditions or limitations that apply to residents of the State who have permits issued by the State or are otherwise lawfully allowed to do so by the State."

    The other issue you (and others) raise is that states with lower permit standards would be able to carry in places like Minnesota, and therefore we should not support this bill.

    Let's take a look at a couple examples:

    1) States like Massachusetts which have "may issue" rather than "shall issue" laws - and in my mind have a more stringent process than Minnesota. Massachusetts permits aren't recognized in Minnesota - shouldn't they be?

    2) I'm not aware of any statistical evidence (in the aggregate) showing that states with different or "lower" permitting standards have a higher rate of crime or other incidents involving permit holders than states that have "tougher" permitting standards. Do you have such evidence to support your claims around this issue?

    b

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  5. REally Bryan? Arizona has one of, if not the highest, number of gun deaths in the country. And your assertion is just not right. The whole idea of this law is to allow anyone who has a permit anywhere to carry their guns in any state. That means that someone from Arizona which doesn't even require a permit could carry in Minnesota. That would not be following Minnesota's laws. What would be the purpose of the law if it just does the same thing we have now where states recognize only those permit holders from states that have similar laws? Explain to me how this would work. Would that visitor from Arizona now have to get a Minnesota permit and go through all of the training requirements in Minnesota? Would that person be allowed to carry in any other state?

    " Excluding the home state exception, even the strictest jurisdictions would be required to honor permits from the most lax. While the bill explicitly references the 14th amendment on due process and equal protection grounds, it also makes references to interstate commerce, stating that any qualifying citizen could:

    “Carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, in any State, other than the State of residence of the person.”
    The bill also states that:

    “The Congress finds that preventing the lawful carrying of firearms by individuals who are traveling outside their home State interferes with the constitutional right of interstate travel, and harms interstate commerce.”
    The authors of this bill appear to be accepting one interpretation of states’ rights (home state regulations will be respected) while drawing on the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution to allow travelers the right of self-defense while moving between states." from http://www.theblaze.com/stories/concealed-carry-reciprocity-advocates-could-get-major-win-with-new-house-bill/

    What you see is hardly ever what you get with gun bills. The gun rights advocates know what they are doing. This bill will allow anyone to carry in any state. You guys wouldn't be pushing it if it didn't allow for that.

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  6. japete writes:
    "This bill will allow anyone to carry in any state"

    Incorrect. See section (a) of HR 822.

    You can carry in another state, if you:
    a) Have a permit to carry from another state AND
    b) The state that you are presently in issues permits to residents of that state AND
    c) The state that you are presently in "does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes"

    In addition, while in that state, the following applies:

    "A person carrying a concealed handgun under this section shall be permitted to carry a handgun subject to the same conditions or limitations that apply to residents of the State who have permits issued by the State or are otherwise lawfully allowed to do so by the State."

    AND

    "In a State that allows the issuing authority for licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms to impose restrictions on the carrying of firearms by individual holders of such licenses or permits, a firearm shall be carried according to the same terms authorized by an unrestricted license or permit issued to a resident of the State."

    The quoted sections above taken word for word from the current version of HR822 posted at the house.gov website.

    In other words, as a holder of a MN Permit to Carry, I could lawfully carry in Massachusetts under HR 822 (if passed and signed into law) under the same guidelines as the holder of a Massachusetts Class A (Unrestricted) Permit to Carry - which means no open carry, etc. I would have to follow *all other restrictions* currently outlined in Massachusetts law.

    japete writes:
    "That means that someone from Arizona which doesn't even require a permit could carry in Minnesota."

    Also incorrect. To carry in another state, they must have a permit to carry issued by a state. See HR 822, section (a) which requires the person to have a permit from another state.

    By the way, out of state residents can obtain a MN Permit to Carry by completing the training requirement and filing with any county sheriff's office in Minnesota.

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  7. "That means that someone from Arizona which doesn't even require a permit could carry in Minnesota."

    That is untrue. H.R. 822 specifically states that there must be a permit. Read the applicable section below. Every state which has constitutional carry except Vermont has a permitting provision that allows a citizen to get a permit to allow carry in states that allow reciprocity. Minnesota recognizes the permits of 2 of the 4 of those states.




    ...who is carrying a government-issued photographic identification document and a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a State and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm, may carry a concealed handgun (other than a machinegun or destructive device) that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, in any State, other than the State of residence of the person, that--

    ‘(1) has a statute that allows residents of the State to obtain licenses or permits to carry concealed firearms; or

    ‘(2) does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms by residents of the State for lawful purposes.

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  8. HR822 allows holders of a permit to carry a concealed handgun to carry in any State that allows the concealed carry of a handgun. This does not apply to all states. Illinois, for example, does not allow the carrying of firearms, open or concealed. No permit-holder from any state will be able to legally carry in Illinois, even if HR822 passes, unless IL lawmakers pass legislation allowing concealed carry.

    Permit-holders also have to abide by the regulations of the State they're in. In Texas, "printing," or revealing in any way that you are carrying, permit or not, is a citable offense, and still will be if HR822 passes. In Ohio, if an armed permit-holder is involved in a traffic stop, he/she must "promptly" notify the officer that he/she is a permit-holder and is carrying. That won't change. California has strict guidelines as to what models of handguns are allowed and what models are banned. A permit-holder can't legally carry a banned model in CA, even if it's legal in their home state.

    "Constitutional carry" may be legal in Arizona, but to carry in Minnesota (your example), the AZ resident still has to have a permit from somewhere, because "Constitutional carry" isn't legal in MN. That won't change.

    I agree with you that what you see is rarely what you get with gun bills. This is generally true with bills introduced on both sides, but HR822 is remarkably simple and straightforward. It grants permit reciprocity to residents of other states, just like we already honor with driver's licenses. And just like with driver's licenses, we'd have to abide by the rules of the state we're in. Idaho's highway speed limit may be 75, but in Oregon it's 65, whether the driver is from Oregon or Idaho (or any other state).

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  9. So if this is the case, Bryan, why do we need this law?

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  10. Arizona is in the top 10 states for rates of gun deaths per 100,000- http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=113&cat=2

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  11. From the NRA's Sept. 23rd press release about H.R. 822:
    "This critically important bill, introduced earlier this year by Congressmen Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and cosponsored by more than 240 of their colleagues, would enable millions of permit holders to exercise their right to self-defense while traveling outside their home states.

    There is currently only one remaining state (Illinois) that has no clear legal way for individuals to carry concealed firearms for self-defense. Forty states have permit systems that make it possible for any law-abiding person to obtain a permit, while most of the others have discretionary permit systems. (Vermont has never required a permit.)

    H.R. 822 would mark a major step forward for gun owners' rights by significantly expanding where those permits are recognized. [NRA release, 9/23/11]"

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  12. I have a Utah permit. Idaho has reciprocity with Utah, but Oregon does not. When i travel to visit family in oregon, I can keep my gun concealed through Idaho, but once I get to Oregon, it's illegal for me to conceal it. So I open carry it in Oregon, except that there are a few cities that ban open carry. In those cities, I have to the gun in the car, which makes me nervous, because cars can easily get broken into. I don't like the idea of leaving my gun unattended. Plus, while open carrying, I need to be prepared to answer people's questions, and that's stressful because I don't know how people will react.

    Then you also get situations where states change their rules. Recently Nevada and new Mexico decided that they didn't want to recognize utah's permit anymore, so I now have the same dilemma in those states that I didn't have when I got the permit. Or there is California which doesn't recognize anybody's permit, and now is very close to banning open carry, so I'm effectively going to be denied the ability to effectively defend myself if I ever travel to California.

    It would easier for everyone if I could just keep my firearm concealed. I would always have it within my control, and the public wouldn't be disturbed at the sight of a gun in the open, and police wouldn't waste time responding to calls on me while I'm at the beach with my wife and kids. And I would feel free to travel anywhere in the country, except for Illinois and d.c., but that's ok, because we all know there is no violent crime in those places right? After they have strict gun control laws.

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  13. "From the NRA's Sept. 23rd press release about H.R. 822:"

    Not sure what point you are trying to make here. If it is "H.R. 822 would mark a major step forward for gun owners' rights by significantly expanding where those permits are recognized." then yes. Currently my Texas permit is recognized in 32 of the 40 "shall issue" states. It is not recognized in some of the others for various reasons and is not recognized in any of the "May issue" but probably won't states. Some states don't recognize my permit but will let me have one of their permits if I send a copy of my permit and money. This would indicate that it is a revenue matter. Some states have the method in place to recognize other states permits but the bureaucrat in charge of that process won't do it because he or she is anti-gun.

    Texas recognizes the permit of several states that do not reciprocate currently. What would happen if this bill is passed is that my permit would be recognized in the 17 states that allow carry but don't currently recognize my permit.

    That would benefit not only me and the permit holders but the states that are drawn into the 21st century. Currently I wouldn't spend a dime in a state that doesn't recognize my permit.

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  14. "Had we seen a man carrying a loaded gun in his holster around the zoo, it would have affected our enjoyment. Really, wouldn't you rather look at the animals than the gun nuts walking around with guns in their holsters?"

    Let me say first that I almost never open carry. I do, however, understand why some people do as a way to make a point. That point being that a RIGHT that you cannot exercise is no right at all.

    Police open carry and I assume that doesn't bother you, so can't be the visible gun in a holster that bothers you but something else. Perhaps it's that you are just not used to being around armed citizens and you worry that they are going to do something stupid. People open carrying do, I'm sure, but it's very rare in the big scheme of things.

    I really don't want to put words into you mouth here, I'm just wondering if it's just a matter of conditioning.

    Since open carry is legal I would think that the more people exercised the right the less attention it would draw and thus it would not seem like it's some "gun nut" making a point and just more of an everyday thing. (I know that's a horror for you, but to me it's nothing more than someone standing on the corner exercising free speech..)

    You can always try and have the law changed, but until then it is something you are going to encounter now and then. The good news is that people wearing their gun's in holster and in plain sight are most likely not looking to harm people and, depending on you point of view, are more likely to attack a REAL bad guy (deal with them first) or simply be left alone..

    I was on the way back from the range a week or so ago and had to stop by the grocery for supplies. I had been practicing from a "open" holster and normally carry so I didn't bother to switch back to concealed.

    I dropped by the store on the way home and didn't give a second thought to the fact I had a firearm on my side when I went in.

    I wasn't making a political statement, I just didn't want to go through the whole lock box ritual in the middle of a parking lot in the rain, change belts, move the firearm to a concealed holster etc..

    No panic ensued. I bought my french toast makings and left.

    I think if it was as normal as that, then people would no longer stare or call the police when they see an open carry gun.

    Like I said at the start, I don't normally open carry, but I see no reason to alter my totally LEGAL behavior because someone may gawk or not know the law.

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  15. Conditioning won't help. Would you like me to go therapy of some sort so I will suddenly agree with all of the hair brained ideas you guys have? No, I am opposed to it on principal. The second amendment, the last time I checked, doesn't mention anything about open carrying of guns in spite of what you gun nuts would like to believe. So no, it is not your right to carry openly or wherever you want. It happens to be the law in some places, but a right? Not so much.

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  16. P- apparently you didn't get the message about commenting on this blog. Demeaning, ridiculing, name calling and just being plain annoying, childish, and acting like a jerk means you are not welcome on this blog. Please do not send me any more comments. They will not be read by me or published.

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  17. @ 18Echo: "I do, however, understand why some people do as a way to make a point. That point being that a RIGHT that you cannot exercise is no right at all."

    No, it's not your right. As the 2A is currently interpreted by the Supreme Court, you have the right to own a gun in your home. That's it. There's nothing there about a right to carry in public. Pretend all you want that you can stretch the 2A to match your desires, but that won't make it correct.

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  18. actually I do not think they ruled on the second amendment but the case that was brought before them. Once a case is accepted by them concerning CCW they would rule on that 822 may be your case if a state decided to press the matter.

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  19. No, it's not your right. As the 2A is currently interpreted by the Supreme Court, you have the right to own a gun in your home. That's it. There's nothing there about a right to carry in public. Pretend all you want that you can stretch the 2A to match your desires, but that won't make it correct.

    Apparantly, Baldr, you need to read Heller again. Try to read it all this time.

    As a matter of SCOTUS law, 18Echo is correct.

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  20. You guys always assume you are correct even when you're not.

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  21. "The right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances; to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures; in all criminal prosecutions, to be confronted with the witness against them; to be publicly tried by an impartial jury; and to have the assistance of counsel for their defence, is as perfect under the State as the national legislature, and cannot be violated by either.

    Nor is the right involved in this discussion less
    comprehensive or valuable: "The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed;" The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and hear arms of every description, not merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is, that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right, originally belonging to our forefathers, trampled under foot by Charles I. and his two wicked sons and successors, reestablished by the revolution of 1688, conveyed to this land of liberty by the colonists, and finally incorporated conspicuously in our own Magna Charta!"

    - Nunn v. State, 1 Kelly 243 (Ga. 1846)

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  22. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,...."

    It's interesting that the first half of the second amendment is always left off by your side. Can you pick which half you believe in, follow, and defend? There is only a comma separating the 2 equal halfs.

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  23. It's NOT "two equal halfs." It's simple english

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State"
    has absolutely NO meaning, is not even a complete sentence and is an incomplete thought, at best.

    (by Robert Greenslade)

    It contains a dependent clause and an independent clause. A dependent clause is a subordinate clause while an independent clause is the main clause. This triggers a question concerning the structure of the Amendment: does a State militia depend on the existence of the right of the people to keep and bear arms or does the right to keep and bears clause depend on the existence of a State militia? The Second Amendment reads as follows:

    "Article II. 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."

    Standing alone, "[a] well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," is an incomplete thought. By itself, it does not express an idea and needs additional information to give it meaning. This part of the Amendment is the dependent or subordinate clause. Thus, the militia clause depends on the existence of the right of the people to keep and bears arms.

    In the alternative, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed," standing alone, is a complete thought. This part of the Amendment is the independent or main clause. By itself, it does express an idea and does not need any qualifying information to give it meaning. Thus, the right of the people to keep and bear arms does not depend on the existence of a State militia.

    I won't comment beyond this because it will reduce itself to absurdity as people try to dance around the RULES of English grammar.

    Also, it's settled law.

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  24. Nice 18 Echo. Thanks for the grammar lesson. Otherwise we would have been clueless.

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