A Sure-Fire Argument on the Second Amendment
by Rick Lynch, <!– put date below, before tag –>February 18, 2007With the Supreme Court’s decision to examine the constitutionality of D.C.’s gun ban, the nation once again turns to an intense examination of the wording of the Second Amendment. One way to understand an amendment whose words have confused generations is to study its somewhat confusing text. But another way is to examine at whose request the amendment was written. For example, if 200 years from now constitutional scholars are trying to determine whether the Smith Tax Act of 2008 increased or decreased the taxes Social Security recipients paid on their retirement income, knowing that the act came into being as the result of pressure from AARP would pretty much end that debate. This, then, is a vital question when seeking to understand the Second Amendment. For if you know the context in which the Amendment was written, if you know for whom it was written, if you know who was clamoring for it and what were their concerns, then that can help settle any argument of individual rights versus collective rights. The Bill of Rights was written by Congressman James Madison to fulfill a promise made to the Anti-Federalists after pressure from that group had cost him a Senate seat — pressure brought to bear because of his opposition to amending the Constitution with a bill of rights. The Bill of Rights, then, as any history book will confirm, came into being to satisfy the single most suspicious, vociferous, and relentless foes of the new federal government. That is the all-important context in which the Bill of Rights was created. The Anti-Federalists, men filled to varying degrees with fear, mistrust, and loathing of the new federal government, insisted on a bill of rights as additional shackles imposed on that new government. Knowing that alone, knowing that the famous Bill came into existence only to please those most apprehensive of the new government, definitively ends any confusion or debate surrounding the meaning of the Second Amendment. There is simply no way on Earth the Anti-Federalists would have surrendered to the new and mistrusted government the right to own any gun they wanted at any time they wanted in any number they wanted. To believe differently, to believe that the Second Amendment actually gives the federal government the authority to regulate firearms, one must believe the absolutely unbelievable. One must believe that the Anti-Federalists, fearing and loathing federal power, compelled Madison to compose this laundry list of rights, this list of things over which the government was to have no authority and, very near the very top of the list, these people in fear of the federal government desired a clause that reads, “Despite the fact that Article I, Section 8 does not empower you federal government people to infringe our firearms rights, we hereby correct that mistake and surrender to you a right which we previously held, but wish now to give away.” We must further believe that James Madison was such a monumentally incompetent and abysmal writer that, when trying to give the federal government this new authority to regulate the private ownership of firearms, the last fourteen words of the Amendment read, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” We must also believe that revolutionary American history conceals some hitherto unknown and utterly undocumented groundswell of public desire for gun control. Picture in your mind for a moment the rough-and-tumble individualist who gave birth to this nation, a man who had tamed a wilderness, fought Indian wars on and off for 180 years, and successfully faced down the world’s mightiest empire. Hold a picture of that man in your head for a moment and then try to imagine his being told that this new federal government would have the power to regulate his ownership of firearms in any manner it saw fit, including imprisoning him for possession of any firearm for any reason at any time. No honest or serious person could ever claim to believe that any part of the American electorate in the 1700s desired federal gun control, let alone the Anti-Federalists who forced the creation of the Bill of Rights.Rick Lynch is an author living in Virginia. He is finishing a book on constitutional issues entitled They Are Vicious. Send him email.
Archive for February, 2008
A Sure-Fire Argument on the Second Amendment
1974, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) said that the “manufacture and sale of handguns should be terminated. Existing handguns should be acquired by the states.” Since then, Kennedy has been the most anti-handgun member of the Senate, having introduced legislation to ban handguns, register handguns, license handgun owners, ban ammunition, authorize the Consumer Products Safety Commission to prohibit the manufacture of firearms and ammunition, and impose waiting periods on handgun purchases.
As we recently reported, on February 7 this year, ten days after endorsing another handgun ban supporter–Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.)–for president, Kennedy renewed his efforts to ban handguns by introducing S. 2605, a bill that seeks to ban the manufacture, importation, and transfer (sale, etc.) of any semi-automatic pistol that does not possess “a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol . . . etched into the breech face and firing pin of the pistol,” and stamp both sets of characters into the cartridge case of a round of ammunition, when the round is fired. On the same day, Representative Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) introduced an identical bill, H.R. 5266, called the “National Crime Gun Identification Act.”
The Kennedy-Becerra bill is much more severe than the micro-stamping handgun ban passed in California last year. Where the California ban applies only to models of semi-automatic pistols that are produced after January 1, 2010, the Kennedy-Becerra bill would apply to all models of semi-automatic pistols.
Micro-stamping has repeatedly failed in scientific tests. Micro-stampings are easily removed. And most gun crimes cannot be solved by micro-stamping, or do not require micro-stamping to be solved. Additionally, most criminals who use guns get them through unregulated channels, thus micro-stamping may increase gun thefts, home invasions and other burglaries, and expand the black market in guns. Moreover, most guns do not automatically eject fired cartridge cases, only a small percentage of guns will be micro-stamped, and most violent crimes are committed without guns. Finally, micro-stamping would waste money—money that is better spent on traditional crime-fighting and crime-solving efforts.
Mandatory Storage Bill Sent to Senate Appropriations Committee! Senate Bill 49, which requires mandatory storage of all firearms, would force adults to put all their firearms under lock and key or face an undetermined misdemeanor penalty if a firearm is later used in a suicide or crime. This dangerous bill renders homeowners defenseless and gives criminals a clear advantage in home invasions. If passed, SB49 would add to the already cumbersome bureaucracy that affects gun shops, gun shows, or anywhere else firearms are sold, by requiring them to post a sign informing gun owners that they must lock up their guns. Please contact the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and respectfully urge them to defeat this dangerous legislation. Contact information for the Senate Appropriations Committee members can be found here.
2008 COLORADO BIG GAME BROCHURE IS NOW AVAILABLEThe Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) 2008 Big Game Brochure is now available.
Hunters can obtain a hard-copy of the new brochure at license agents and DOW offices throughout the state. A printable version is available online at the DOW Web site (www.wildlife.state.co.us). Hunters who applied for a big game license in 2007 will automatically be mailed a copy of the new regulations.Changes for the 2008 season include the following:
Doe Deer Fees: License fees are reduced for doe deer hunting in specific units in the northwest portion of the state (units 11, 12, 13, 22, 23, 24).
Muzzleloading Restrictions: Electronic and battery-operated devices are illegal during muzzleloading seasons.
Muzzleloader Transport: There are new restrictions for carrying muzzleloaders on motor vehicles. Electronic ignition muzzleloaders may be used during rifle season, but must be unloaded when possessed in a motor vehicle.
Ranching For Wildlife (RFW): Most RFW licenses are now List A, which means you can only have 1 a year. Special population management, youth, mobility-impaired and donation RFW licenses are List C.
Mandatory Bear and Mountain Lion Inspection Changes: Hunters now must make sure their animal is unfrozen at the time of inspection. A new regulation also allows the DOW to extract and retain a premolar tooth for analysis.
White-tailed Deer Hunts: More hunts are offered for white-tailed deer this year in eastern Colorado.
Chronic Wasting Disease Transport Restrictions: Transport restrictions for hunters who harvest animals in CWD units have been eliminated.
Hunters are encouraged to apply for big game licenses online at the DOW Web site. By applying online hunters will save time and money over mailing in their applications. It is also much more difficult to make an error when applying online.
The DOW would like to remind big game hunters who are interested in applying for an elk, deer, pronghorn, moose or bear license that their applications must be postmarked before midnight of April 1.
Hunters who have questions regarding the application process can contact the DOW customer service center at (303) 297-1192
For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.
Gun Owners of America’s Executive Director, Larry Pratt, today
blasted BATFE nominee Michael Sullivan as “unfit for office” –
characterizing him as being “as anti-gun as Ted Kennedy.”In a series of answers to interrogatories submitted by Louisiana
Republican Senator David Vitter, Sullivan revealed that:
* He would not rescind BATFE’s policy of revoking federal licenses
for simple paperwork violations not involving “criminal intent;”
* He would not back down on BATFE’s illegal and abusive policies of
harassing gun show attendees;
* He supports anti-gun legislation by New York Democrat Chuck
Schumer, but opposes pro-gun legislation dealing with interstate
transfers sponsored by conservative Republicans;
* He defends revoking a license of a dealer with a 99.96% accuracy
rate — a rate which is far better than BATFE’s.
In fact, in dozens of responses to questions posed by Vitter,
Sullivan refused to even feign a conciliatory tone.
“I didn’t expect pro-gun conservatism from Sullivan,” said Pratt.
“But you would have thought he would have been less obvious in his
efforts to repeatedly poke Vitter in the eye.”
GOA commended Vitter’s intention to continue to “hold” Sullivan’s
nomination. “If Republicans expect the Second Amendment community to
support their presidential candidate in November,” said Pratt,
may want to reconsider packing a GOP administration with anti-gun
Can you spell “loser?” I knew ya could! Well, here we go again folks.
After nearly 50 years in power, Fidel effectively hands the reins to his younger brother, Raúl Castro.
By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the February 20, 2008 edition
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Mexico City – For the first time in nearly half a century, Fidel Castro has stepped down as president of Cuba.
The announcement caps a year and a half of limbo and speculation since Mr. Castro fell ill and temporarily ceded power to his younger brother, Raúl Castro.
“I will not aspire to nor accept – I repeat, I will not aspire to nor accept – the post of President of the Council of State and Commander in Chief,” read a letter that appeared early Tuesday morning in the Community Party daily Granma.
It is a pivotal moment in the island nation’s history. Castro rose to power on New Year’s Day in 1959, and quickly became a nemesis of the United States as he turned Cuba into a communist country. Throughout the cold war – and since – US presidents have attempted to topple him with no success. Many Cubans have no memory of anyone other than Castro as the head of state. Even when he handed temporary power to his brother in July 2006, there was an expectation that he would return.
“It’s a very big moment; he has governed the country for half of its independent life,” says Philip Peters, a Cuba expert and vice president of the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va.
But beyond the symbolic nature of the move, the impact that his resignation will have on the country remains unclear. Many expected a resignation announcement this weekend, when the new National Assembly meets to choose the country’s new leadership. Castro won a parliamentary seat during elections in January, and will likely be elected to the 31-member Council of State.
Unclear how much will change
Still, many experts say that little will change so long as Castro is alive. “It’s not clear what his continuing hovering presence means for the country,” says Dennis Hays, former official of the Cuban-American National Foundation, an organization dedicated to replacing Castro’s regime with a market-based government. “No one wants to make a move while the ‘jefe’ [boss] is still alive…. If the Cuban government moves in any way that repudiates the ways of [Castro], it undermines the whole legitimacy of the power structure.”
The letter signed by Castro on Tuesday was ambiguous about who would succeed him. Mr. Peters says that the orthodox members of Cuba’s Communist Party could push for Raúl Castro to continue leading the country, since Raúl hails from the older generation of those who fought in the revolution. But Fidel has hinted at the capabilities of the younger generation, too. Carlos Lage, the council’s vice president, could also be a contender. In any case, Peters says that a form of collective leadership will likely emerge, no matter who carries the title.
“I think the most notable thing is that [Castro] is leaving on his own terms,” says Peters. “He is retiring. It was neither invasion, nor covert operations, nor the embargo nor the tightening of sanctions, nor President Bush’s policies that have pushed him out. It is an orderly constitutional succession.”
That, he says, will instill confidence in the populace.
Economic reforms ahead?
But Mr. Hays says the atmosphere could change. Raúl Castro has hinted at economic reforms in the past 18 months. He has said that some of the country’s prohibitions are excessive and some state enterprises dysfunctional. It is unclear at what pace, and how deep, economic reforms could take place under new leadership. “But people are expecting something to change,” says Hays. “And they want things to happen quickly. If [the new leadership] doesn’t show progress, it could be a difficult path.”
Mr. Bush spoke Tuesday about Castro’s announcement from Rwanda, during his five-country trip to Africa. “The international community should work with the Cuban people to begin to build institutions that are necessary for democracy,” said Bush. “Eventually, this transition ought to lead to free and fair elections – and I mean free, and I mean fair – not these kind of staged elections that the Castro brothers try to foist off as true democracy.”
But no one expects any change in terms of the political system. “They have put economic reform on the agenda,” says Peters. “The whole drama of this year is going to be whether they deliver or disappoint.”
And here is yet another reason not to vote for Obama.
This is great stuff! Go there!