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Daily Kos: Why liberals should love the Second Amendment


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For once I agree with the Kos

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/7/4/881431/-Why-liberals-should-love-the-Second-Amendment

Liberals love the Constitution.

Ask anyone on the street. They'll tell you the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a liberal organization. During the dark days of the Bush Administration, membership doubled because so many Americans feared increasing restrictions on their civil liberties. If you were to ask liberals to list their top five complaints about the Bush Administration, and they would invariably say the words "shredding" and "Constitution" in the same sentence. They might also add "Fourth Amendment" and "due process." It's possible they'll talk about "free speech zones" and "habeus corpus."

There's a good chance they will mention, probably in combination with several FCC-prohibited adjectives, former Attorney Generals John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales.

And while liberals certainly do not argue for lawlessness, and will acknowledge the necessity of certain restrictions, it is generally understood that liberals fight to broadly interpret and expand our rights and to question the necessity and wisdom of any restrictions of them.

Liberals can quote legal precedent, news reports, and exhaustive studies. They can talk about the intentions of the Founders. They can argue at length against the tyranny of the government. And they will, almost without exception, conclude the necessity of respecting, and not restricting, civil liberties.

Except for one: the right to keep and bear arms.

When it comes to discussing the Second Amendment, liberals check rational thought at the door. They dismiss approximately 40% of American households that own one or more guns, and those who fight to protect the Second Amendment, as "gun nuts." They argue for greater restrictions. And they pursue these policies at the risk of alienating voters who might otherwise vote for Democrats.

And they do so in a way that is wholly inconsistent with their approach to all of our other civil liberties.

Those who fight against Second Amendment rights cite statistics about gun violence, as if such numbers are evidence enough that our rights should be restricted. But Chicago and Washington DC, the two cities from which came the most recent Supreme Court decisions on Second Amendment rights, had some of the most restrictive laws in the nation, and also some of the highest rates of violent crime. Clearly, such restrictions do not correlate with preventing crime.

So rather than continuing to fight for greater restrictions on Second Amendment rights, it is time for liberals to defend Second Amendment rights as vigorously as they fight to protect all of our other rights. Because it is by fighting to protect each right that we protect all rights.

And this is why:

Click link for rest

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Maybe it's because those "liberals" don't think the 2nd amendment says what others think it says?

edit - specifically, since it's the only amendment with a prefatory clause to begin it - perhaps they don't interpret it the same way that the later courts have?

So rather than continuing to fight for greater restrictions on Second Amendment rights, it is time for liberals to defend Second Amendment rights as vigorously as they fight to protect all of our other rights.

Sure. When non "liberals" fight to protect the other rights as hard as they do the 2nd amendment.

;)

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Maybe it's because those "liberals" don't think the 2nd amendment says what others think it says?

No. 1: The Bill of Rights protects individual rights.

If you've read the Bill of Rights -- and who among us hasn't? -- you will notice a phrase that appears in nearly all of them: "the people."

First Amendment:

...the right of
the people
peaceably to assemble

Second Amendment:

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.

Fourth Amendment:

The right of
the people
to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects...

Ninth Amendment:

...shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by
the people

Tenth Amendment:

...are reserved to the states respectively, or to
the people
.

Certainly, no good liberal would argue that any of these rights are collective rights, and not individual rights. We believe that the First Amendment is an individual right to criticize our government.

We would not condone a state-regulated news organization. We certainly would not condone state regulation of religion. We talk about "separation of church and state," although there is no mention of "separation of church and state" in the First Amendment.

But we know what they meant. The anti-Federalists refused to ratify the Constitution without a Bill of Rights; they intended for our rights to be interpreted expansively.

We believe the Founders intended for us to be able to say damn near anything we want, protest damn near anything we want, print damn near anything we want, and believe damn near anything we want. Individually, without the interference or regulation of government.

And yet, despite the recent Heller and McDonald decisions, liberals stumble at the idea of the Second Amendment as an individual right. They take the position that the Founders intended an entirely different meaning by the phrase "the right of the people" in the Second Amendment, even though they are so positively clear about what that phrase means in the First Amendment.

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I guess it depends on if you feel that the rights of the people need armed protection (i.e. "a well regulated militia") against encroachment by the federal government.

I don't.

It doesn't matter what you think the founders thought so and it's there in the constitution. :pfft:

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I guess it depends on if you feel that the rights of the people need armed protection (i.e. "a well regulated militia") against encroachment by the federal government.

I don't.

well what about that pesky part that states "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"

who are the "people"? If they are the same as the "militia," then there is no need to call them by any other name than the militia.

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well what about that pesky part that states "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"

who are the "people"? If they are the same as the "militia," then there is no need to call them by any other name than the militia.

Because some people interpret the first clause, "a well regulated militia", as a precondition for the later clauses in the amendment.

Later court decisions have not agreed with this interpretation - but it still has some support.

As an aside, what was the point of having "a well regulated militia", lead off the 2nd amendment? Why not just have the later clauses (i.e. have the 2nd amendment state, "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.")?

Why word it so clumsily if that's the intent of the amendment?

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Because some people interpret the first clause, "a well regulated militia", as a precondition for the later clauses in the amendment.

Later court decisions have not agreed with this interpretation - but it still has some support.

but again, that doesn't demonstrate the need for the second part of the amendment regarding the "people." Why doesn't the amendment just stop with a "well regulated militia." If that is the precondition for the "people" to be able to keep arms. There is no need anything further. Right?

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but again, that doesn't demonstrate the need for the second part of the amendment regarding the "people." Why doesn't the amendment just stop with a "well regulated militia." If that is the precondition for the "people" to be able to keep arms. There is no need anything further. Right?

Why not word it to begin with, "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.", if that's the original intent? Why the need for a prefatory clause?

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I'm sure h_h will be along any moment now to complain about the unfair lumping together of all "liberals".

The article paints with overly-broad brushes. I think everyone acknowledges that rights not only can be, but also should be subject to some reasonable restriction in certain circumstances. If there are certain restrictions on speech, for example, it stands to reason that ALL of our rights could be subject to exception in some circumstance, and should be looked at on a case by case basis.

I don't think most "liberals" want handgun laws as strict as those in DC or Chicago were. Nor do we think that everyone who has a gun in their home is a "gun nut." But there are areas for common-sense regulations and restrictions. Assault weapons for example ("real" ones, not getting into the definitions debate that plagued the ban). That's where the "gun nuts" start showing up. The people who think that even the most basic restriction on the most dangerous weapons around is just the first domino toward the govt knocking on the door and confiscating each and every firearm. If Congress wanted to pass a law that says you can't possess an RPG within 20 miles of an airport, I'm pretty sure the NRA would fight it.

Personally, I also think a certain minimum number of hours of training should be a prerequisite to ownership in any state. A readily available license for a safety and best practices course you could finish in a weekend. But that's just the government trying to get your name on the list so they know who all the gun owners are, right?

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The article itself makes the case for some restrictions on the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, such as restrictions on our First Amendment rights like, "You can't shout "Fire!" in a crowd. You can't threaten to kill the president. You can't publish someone else's words as your own. We have copyright laws and libel laws and slander laws. We have the FCC to regulate our radio and television content."

But the First Amendment isn't vague. It says that "Congress shall make NO LAW ... abridging the freedom of speech." (Emphasis obviously added).

So obviously there's equivocation on the language contained within the BOR, not just the 2nd Amendment. Blindly saying "THAT'S WHAT THE FOUNDING FATHERS INTENDED" when arguing for the right to bear arms is short-sighted and incorrect when we're perfectly comfortable making those restrictions elsewhere.

Sure, the article may have a point that liberals seeking restriction on the 2nd Amendment might need to do some soul-searching, but the same is true for non-liberals seeking the strict construction of that same Amendment and then having no problems restricting the rights guaranteed by other amendments as well.

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Why not word it to begin with, "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.", if that's the original intent? Why the need for a prefatory clause?

because the ammendment is speaking to two different things.

1. "a well regulated militia" shall be maintained...

2. and the individuals right "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"

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Personally, I also think a certain minimum number of hours of training should be a prerequisite to ownership in any state. A readily available license for a safety and best practices course you could finish in a weekend. But that's just the government trying to get your name on the list so they know who all the gun owners are, right?

Personally I think there should be a minmum standard of education and training to be allowed to vote.

Also, a course, which you pay for, which you could finish in a weekend, to vote.

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I agree with Kos and TEG in that ALL civil liberties should be respected.

I agree with this quote. I'm absolutely pro-second amendment/pro-gun rights and if you want to call me a "gun nut" go ahead - I don't even own a gun, but I like having the right to own one should I choose to do so.

All that being said, don't lump me in with the crowd that like to talk "armed militia" while waiving their guns in the air...those people are _____ crazy.

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i have a couple issues with that article. for one thing, the article says liberals think 40% of all americans are "gun nuts". not so. we don't consider every gun owner a "gun nut" ... just the ones who are "gun nuts". there are undoubtedly millions of sane, responsible gun owners.

the following is intended to be real question, not a snarky rhetorical one. responses from gun nuts are welcome:

i need something explained to me. how come the words "well regulated" don't seem to allow, in many peoples' minds, for reasonable regulation of firearms?

as an aside -- let us please limit the discussion to a reasonable definition of the word "reasonable". the position that any regulation of any kind is unreasonable is not in itself reasonable, it's just dogma. every other amendment is subject to reasonable practical limitations (you can't yell fire in a crowded theatre, you can't practice your religion if it means sacraficing a virgin, etc).

at parties, if i express the opinion that handguns are fine, and weapons that are reasonable for hunting purposes are fine, but weapons designed to mow down enemy troops should probably be reserved for actual military personnel, then inevitably someone starts talking to me about how the first thing any fascist does is confiscate the guns, and vaguely imply that posession of automatic weapons is the only way they could hope to participate in an armed conflict with the Federal government.

this strikes me as somewhat divorced from reality. not to mention it implies that the person expects ownership of an object whose only valid purpose is to violently combat the federal government to be condoned by that same government.

edit: a lot of this was addressed by posts submitted while i was typing this :/

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I'm a liberal, I love the 2nd amendment, and I like guns, but i can understand why other liberals see widespread gun ownership as am impediment to a free and law abiding society

why would anyone see widespread gun ownership as an impediment to a free and law abiding society? That make no sense at all.

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Personally I think there should be a minmum standard of education and training to be allowed to vote.

Also, a course, which you pay for, which you could finish in a weekend, to vote.

Wow. How clever of you :rolleyes:

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why would anyone see widespread gun ownership as an impediment to a free and law abiding society? That make no sense at all.

agreed. The gun owning people are the most free people on earth. You can not be any more free, than having the ability to defend yourself against aggressive behavior.

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why would anyone see widespread gun ownership as an impediment to a free and law abiding society? That make no sense at all.

it does make sense

the primary reason that laws exist is to give people an orderly and non-violent route to resolve conflicts. As societies get larger and more complex the ability of people to reasonably resolve disputes gets increasingly less potent. So we have to give up our own individual power to enforce justice to a reasonable and impartial arbiter (the law/police/courts etc).

The coercive power of guns returns that power to the people. Guns give people the ability to "take the law into their own hands" and that is why some people see them as a threat to society.

And ultimately a law abiding society is more free because it can better resolve conflicts that threaten people's freedom.

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