Re: GUNS: Defensive Use

Michael Lorrey (
Mon, 07 Jul 1997 21:28:03 -0400

Hagbard Celine wrote:
> wrote:
> >
> > It seems to me that the intent of the 2nd ammendment had little or nothing to
> > do with self defense.....or hunting.
> I've done little legislative history concerning the 2nd, but an educated
> guess would be that to get it ratified, the delegates made both of those
> arguments, and more. Hunting for meat and/or the skins trade was pretty
> important both economically and also for an individual's livelihood. And
> self-defense has always been offered as a valid reason for weapons
> proliferation. Unfortunately, the Congress was secret and the only notes
> made were Madison's and Jefferson's (?) so we have a tough time knowing
> what they were really trying to do.

Seeing as they were the main writers, whatever the rest may have thought
it was in the haggling to get it passed is irrelevant...or nearly so,
with the possible exception of B. Franklin.

> What is crucial is that the drafters offered a reason for the Amendment
> within the text itself, "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the
> security of a free state..." However, is this the only reason? And what
> happens when a well-regulated militia no longer becomes necessary?

One bit of interesting point of debate is where the commas belong in the
sentence... putting one after militia makes for an entirely different
meaning than putting it after state.

> Anyway, I personally feel that the legislative intent is irrelevant.
> There are several canons of statutory construction, some placing
> emphasis on the "plain meaning" of the words as written, others
> emphasizing legislative intent, still others ignoring both and opting
> for Constiutional dynamism. I tend to feel that especially where the
> original intent is cloudy, and the plain meaning of words such as
> "militia", "Arms", and "infringed" is unclear, a more suitable line of
> inquiry is "What effect should these words have on our lives today?"
> This is a somewhat distilled version of Constitutional dynamism.

One of the biggest points of debate is over the meaning of the word
People. Liberal authoritarians claim that it refers to the people as a
whole, while libertarians say, and most credible constitutional scholars
agree, to the extreme displeasure of the media, that the use of the word
People in the Constitution consistently refers to individual citizens
rights rather than community rights.

> > Taken in context with the Declaration of Independence...and the Federalist
> > Papers...I would interpret the 2nd ammendment as the ultimate gaurantor of
> > individual rights...or to put it crudely.....when the government gets outa
> > hand...the citizens have the means to slap it down..
> The Framers built-in a self-destruct mechanism. This is an entirely new
> idea to me, and quite interesting.

Rather a mechanism to ensure constant regeneration and clearing away of
the rot of corruption. An important quote, which was recently used
against Timothy McVeigh because he had it on his T-shirt, was of
Jefferson who said after supporting Shay's Rebellion: "a little
rebellion is good for the country"...."we should see a rebellion every
20 years or so".."the tree of liberty, from time to time, must be
replenished with the blood of tyrants and patriots."

I suggest that everyon reread the Declaration of Independence. You'll
notice that the founding fathers supported the idea that men are morally
bound to rebel against and overturn corrupt and tyrannical governments.

> > In that context automatic weapons...not to mention rockets..mortars or pocket
> > nukes seem perfectly acceptable.
> Exactly. The definition of "Arms" as it is used in the 2nd is one of the
> biggest problems.
> Hagbard

I would say that it is one of its biggest strengths. It ensures that the
responsibility for whatever deterrent power is necessary to ensure the
security of the state rests in the individual.

A number of our founding fathers posessed much more than pistols and
muskets. Prior to the expansion of the US Cavalry, most cannon in the US
were privately owned, especially those built for use at sea, as most
Americam merchant ships had to defend themselves against piracy and the
agressive use of force on the part of England, France, the Dutch, and
Spain to enforce protection of trade monopolies.

In fact, several members of the Continental Congress made their livings
as privateers with fast, well armed gunboats. NOTE: a privateer is
notably different from, though sometimes similar to, pirates, in that
they typically practiced smuggling and blockade running rather than
piracy. In this respect, Washington and Jefferson are not much different
from Clinton in hanging out with smugglers...

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------		Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

Mikey's Animatronic Factory My Own Nuclear Espionage Agency (MONEA) MIKEYMAS(tm): The New Internet Holiday Transhumans of New Hampshire (>HNH) ------------------------------------------------------------ #!/usr/local/bin/perl-0777---export-a-crypto-system-sig-RC4-3-lines-PERL @k=unpack('C*',pack('H*',shift));for(@t=@s=0..255){$y=($k[$_%@k]+$s[$x=$_ ]+$y)%256;&S}$x=$y=0;for(unpack('C*',<>)){$x++;$y=($s[$x%=256]+$y)%256; &S;print pack(C,$_^=$s[($s[$x]+$s[$y])%256])}sub S{@s[$x,$y]=@s[$y,$x]}