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home : opinions : letters April 15, 2014


2/3/2013 9:54:00 PM
Letter: Second Amendment contains no gray areas

EDITOR:

Ron Woerner's Jan. 28 letter re-writes history and reality. It is wrong at all points.

Chronologically: Our rights are, in fact, "endowed by our Creator" specifically so that government cannot change them at will. The founders had just won precious independence from a mercurial tyrant and were not about to let new tyrants rule by whim. The USSR had lots of "rights;" they came and went annually and saw six complete re-writes of their constitution in 70 years, before Soviet socialism collapsed.

The Second Amendment has no "relative phrase" that "modifies" the law. Like all laws, its preamble ("A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state") offers one possible reason for the law; in this case, "security," i.e. defense. "Well regulated" means "practiced and responsible" (for safety and effectiveness). Second Amendment author George Mason wrote "the militia" is "the whole people." To claim that the newly-freed founders wanted literal, governmental "chains of command" is just senseless. Finally, a preamble does not change the meaning of its law.

The law is, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." This means, "the God-given, inviolate privilege of the people to own and carry a variety of weapons shall not be interfered with." Mason chose the non-limiting term "arms" rather than "musket" (or the superior, civilian, Pennsylvania rifle) specifically to ensure parity with the infantry of any potential usurper.

No one endorses WMDs in the hands of civilians in neighborhoods. But limiting the rifles, shotguns and pistols that the people may choose, or the ammunition that they can prepare, is clearly an infringement. Usurpers know that without ammo, a rifle is just a stick. Both Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook were committed with pistols using low- and standard-capacity magazines. Those and all recent shooters chose "gun-free zones" to avoid any armed resistance.

Woerner's ideals, "Government... limiting the size, power and number... of arms" and "for the Government to pass... limits on... your arms...," precisely define "infringed."

Curtis Allen

Prescott Valley





Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, February 07, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Alan Whitney- It is definitely true that nothing can modify the laws set forth in the Constitution except amending the Constitution. But, as the existence of a Supreme Court affirms, it is subject to interpretation.

It is a good point about the felons though. I have never understood where the Constitution says that felons cannot vote or own guns, yet this has been the case longer than I have been alive.


Posted: Thursday, February 07, 2013
Article comment by: @ Alan Whitney

You "not addressing me directly" has NOTHING to do with the name I have picked, and EVERYTHING to do with the FACT that you CAN NOT refute my comments.

Case in point:

In your post you said: "If, for instance, "Assault Weapons" were made illegal, that would be a fundamental CHANGE to the Second Amendment"

I countered with: "how do you explain the National Firearms Act of 1934? What about Title 18, Section 922(g) of the U.S. Code which specifically prohibits anyone with a felony conviction from owning or possessing a firearm? Are these not examples of laws that are 'a fundamental CHANGE to the Second Amendment'?"

Then you come back with (directed to another's questions): "I said, I'm no Constitutional Scholar" (No, Duh!) and "Again, like Clinton's "Assault Weapon Ban," the law banned nothing… It only TAXED certain types of firearms, and made them a bit more difficult to possess" (you know since the 2nd Amendment does not allow for ANY type of limitations –they called it “infringe” - on the “arms” that the “people” can own – isn’t your argument flawed?)

And, you didn’t even touch my second example, Title 18, Section 922(g) of the U.S. Code – which blatantly restricts the right (they called it “infringe”) of a certain demographic of “people” to “keep and bear arms”.

But, you will simply - "not address me directly" (translation - I have no legitimate answer)...p.s. The "people" reading these posts also know the truth Alan baby!


Posted: Thursday, February 07, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Dear Attentive,

Well, as I said, I'm no Constitutional Scholar.

But another poster, who I will no longer address directly, brought up the National Firearms act of 1934, as an example of a law which "Changed the Second Amendment."

Again, like Clinton's "Assault Weapon Ban," the law banned nothing. (Except "Destructive Devises?" Or was that the 1968 law?) It only TAXED certain types of firearms, and made them a bit more difficult to possess.

I think you will have to look very hard to find that anything in the original Constitution has been negated -- officially, that is. However, much of the Constitution has been IGNORED, to our detriment.


Posted: Thursday, February 07, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Alan Whitney- I think you are mistaken on this matter, because we already have amendments both rescinding other amendments (21st) and changing the structure and procedures outlined in the main body (12th and 17th), yet the article V constitutional convention process to propose amendments has never been used.

Btw- Tried to respond to your question last week, but the Courier would not post even after several revisions and attempts. Don't know why.


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: @ Alan Whitney

So I changed my name and you have my comments removed because you didn't like it.

Guess I will just have to find one more pleasing.


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Of course they won't confiscate. I don't think any country confiscated. I think England and Australia bought back (handguns) but I don't know what else. Crime data from semiautos was only tracked/reported for the first year after the law. That was a loophole in the law put in by the NRA. But later stats showed that crimes involving semiautos went down wherever local police depts kept track, and went up after the law ended.

Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Alan and JK sittin in a tree...

You two should get a room.

Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Quaker Sam

By religion, I am a pacifist. I have never owned a gun, nor have I ever handled or shot a weapon. However the government should spend more effort on insuring guns do not fall into the hands of individuals who are not qualifed. The individuals who utilize guns in the intended manner, should not be punished for the actions of those who should not possess any form of offensive weaponary.

Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: J K

Alan. I loved it. Coming from you, it is music to my ears. Guess your silence on citing the passage in the Constitution restricting what can be changed can only mean one thing.
Thanks for the exchange Alan.


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Dear J K,

Alas!

Your ignorance is a deep well, and amp'ly charged.

(I penned that just for you. Like it?)

Your Pal,
Alan


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Dear Mr Hoo,

You wrote:

"... Congress already made assault weapons illegal in 1994..."

Hm. That's funny, I don't recall the Feds confiscating anything in 1994...

OH! That's RIGHT! They banned the SALE of certain things...

Sorry, Hooty, wrong again!


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

@ Alan Whitney: Hello! FYI Congress already made assault weapons illegal in 1994, and guess what: NOBODY CHALLENGED IT IN COURT. So ipso facto a priori baby, doing it again cannot be considered unconstutional. End of story.

Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: J K

@alan w. Nice try Alan. The question is whether or not the Constitution could be considered a living document. The evidence I present is my attempt to demonstrate that it is.The fact is the 17 th amendment did change the basic document. It actually changed the way in which members of the Senate are chosen.
At no time did I suggest that the 2nd amendment be changed. It doesn't need to be.
Having said that, maybe you can point out where in the Constitution that it says it cannot be changed. It ( the second amendment) could be changed or even eliminated if the governed ( we the people) decided to do it in my opinion. I have no expectation or desire that it be done. Our forefathers gave us a priceless gift when they created the constitution. I suspect even they would encourage us to adapt it to our needs should we find it necessary.


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: @ Alan Whitney

Dear Mr. Alan Whitney,

If as you said, "If, for instance, "Assault Weapons" were made illegal, that would be a fundamental CHANGE to the Second Amendment", is indeed true. Then how do you explain the National Firearms Act of 1934? What about Title 18, Section 922(g) of the U.S. Code which specifically prohibits anyone with a felony conviction from owning or possessing a firearm? Are these not examples of laws that are "a fundamental CHANGE to the Second Amendment"? Yet, it both have been upheld by the Supreme Court - hmmm, it seems your skill as a Constitutional Law expert is lacking.


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Really .

@ Hooty Hoo:

I'm on the side that refuses to deal in absolutes. Reality just doesn't work like that.


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Nice try, J K.

The 17th Amendment MODIFIES Article 1, Section 3.

It does not do away, for instance, with the Senate -- it only modifies the way Senators are chosen.

Nor does it change the QUALIFICATIONS for being a Senator.

If, for instance, "Assault Weapons" were made illegal, that would be a fundamental CHANGE to the Second Amendment. It would be like saying "No red-headed man may serve as a United States Senator."

Unconstitutional, on it's face.


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: J K

@alan w. I believe you to be the one being obtuse. The amendments to the constitution have the same weight as the original document in my opinion. If it weren't so, the 17th amendment would not have been able to change article one section three.

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

J K

"...The very fact that the 21st amendment rescinded the 18th amendment demonstrates that the Constitution is indeed a living document..."

I see. You are being deliberately obtuse.

What do Amendment 18 and 21 have to do with the original document?







Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: An American

@ One of.... But we do own those, politicians don't drive tanks or fly war planes..... I think it would play out quite well.

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: a bc

"Second Amendment contains no gray areas"
Exactly! Thank you Captain Obvious. It's so crystal clear. I mean, look at how we have such total agreement right here in this forum. It's like saying "the sky is blue", obvious right, except when it isn't (partly cloudy, overcast, smog, when wearing sunglasses, well, you get the point).
I think the Constitution was written to be amendable, to change with the times. This was the framer's true genius. It's written on paper, not in stone.


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

@ Really: For the life of me I can't tell which side you're on. Are you a gun nut or a gun controller? If I had to bet I'd bet gun nut but I would bet a lot.

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: One of...

"So with that in mind, how does one defend themselves if you are not allowed the right to own equal or greater tools than your oppressor?"

So, exactly who is your oppressor? If you are talking the Government, then, unless you have tanks, cruise missiles, aircraft, chemical and biological weapons, and nuclear capabilities, then your "oppressor" has been "out gunning" you for decades now.


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Really .

Our rights are, in fact, "endowed by our Creator" specifically so that government cannot change them at will.

This opinion has little validity to anyone beyond a specific demographic. You're simply parroting the highly debatable political theory of natural law. Not everyone subscribes to said theory, as some do not think that we were ever 'endowed by a Creator.' The latter phrase in itself is open to even further interpretations. Your entire argument falls flat due to your own preconceived bias in the second sentence.

"Well regulated" means "practiced and responsible" (for safety and effectiveness)."

Wrong. 'Regulate' is: To control or direct according to rule, principle, or law. I don't care what interpretations you want to make up and sell to your like-minded ilk, but you're flat out incorrect. Well regulated means well controlled.

"No one endorses WMDs in the hands of civilians in neighborhoods. But limiting the rifles, shotguns and pistols that the people may choose, or the ammunition that they can prepare, is clearly an infringement."

Gun nuts seem to want it both ways, but they can't have it. THIS is what people like you continuously fail to comprehend. The gun obsessed see things in black/white right/wrong on just about every other issue except for this one. When the fanatics deal with this issue, the words in the Bill or Rights suddenly become more 'open to interpretation.'

First, you must define 'WMD.' Here is a hint: it's a completely subjective term. Next, try convincing us how your interpretation of your 2nd Amendment right is so vastly different from our right to 'WMDs.'


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: JP Beaumont

TO: A. Paula Gize,

I see you skirted the real issue and didn't address the crux of my comment.

Shall I infer your tacit approval with my comment or were you just too anxious to verbally spar about nonsense (like most women) that you became distracted?


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Paula Gize @ Hooty Hoo

You're right, I was reacting inappropriately to a similar insult from that poster(J.P.Beaumont) in a previous entry. My bad.




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