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Guns and the Constitution - Is the Second Amendment an individual, or collective, right?
OpinionJournal.com ^ | November 24, 2007 | The Editors

Posted on 11/24/2007 12:34:43 AM PST by gpapa

In recent decades, the Supreme Court has discovered any number of new rights not in the explicit text of the Constitution. Now it has the opportunity to validate a right that resides in plain sight--"the right of the people to keep and bear arms" in the Second Amendment.

This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. In March, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declared unconstitutional the District's near-total ban on handgun possession. That 2-1 ruling, written by Judge Laurence Silberman, found that when the Second Amendment spoke of the "right of the people," it meant the right of "individuals," and not some "collective right" held only by state governments or the National Guard.

That stirring conclusion was enough to prompt the D.C. government to declare Judge Silberman outside "the mainstream of American jurisprudence" in its petition to the Supreme Court. We've certainly come to an interesting legal place if asserting principles that appear nowhere in the Constitution is considered normal, but it's beyond the pale to interpret the words that are in the Constitution to mean what they say.

(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2ndamendment; dc; guns; supremecourt
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1 posted on 11/24/2007 12:34:47 AM PST by gpapa
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To: gpapa
Is the Second Amendment an individual, or collective, right?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

What a dweeb question.Its not "OR".

The second amendment is BOTH an individual and a collective right.

Lets rephrase this liberal spin question to what it should be:

Is the Second Amendment an individual, and a collective, right?

Answer: YES!!!!!!

2 posted on 11/24/2007 12:40:58 AM PST by Candor7 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Baghdad_(1258))
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To: Candor7

Funny how the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights undoubtedly refer to rights of an individual (though there are also collective aspects), yet these nitwits somehow see the 2nd amendment as being limited to a collective right. Idiots...


3 posted on 11/24/2007 12:51:50 AM PST by awelliott
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To: Candor7

How is “the right to keep and bear arms” a collective right?


4 posted on 11/24/2007 12:56:17 AM PST by gpapa
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To: gpapa

I have guns, but am not currently a member of a “well regulated militia.”

Am I nevertheless in compliance with the 2nd Amendment?


5 posted on 11/24/2007 1:08:21 AM PST by truth_seeker
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To: truth_seeker

Most of the men at the time this was written were probably not in a militia either, but could be called up when needed. And I would imagine that you would be in compliance if you are able to maintain your guns in good condition and are proficient in their use and can hit what you aim for (”well regulated” in the 18th century vernacular).


6 posted on 11/24/2007 1:16:12 AM PST by geopyg (Don't wish for peace, pray for Victory.)
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To: Candor7

What, pray tell, is “collective right?”


7 posted on 11/24/2007 2:48:31 AM PST by Misterioso
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To: gpapa

“The main plank in the National Socialist program is to abolish the liberalistic concept of the individual and the Marxist concept of humanity and to substitute for them the folk community, rooted in the soil and bound together by the bond of its common blood.” [Adolph Hitler, quoted in Hitler, A Study in Tyranny, by Alan Bullock (Harper Collins, NY)]

“It is thus necessary that the individual should come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of his nation; that the position of the individual ego is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole ... that above all the unity of a nation’s spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and will of an individual. .... This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the community, is really the first premise for every truly human culture .... we understand only the individual’s capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow man.” [Adolph Hitler, 1933]

There is the great, silent, continuous struggle: the struggle between the State and the Individual; between the State which demands and the individual who attempts to evade such demands. Because the individual, left to himself, unless he be a saint or hero, always refuses to pay taxes, obey laws, or go to war. [Benito Mussolini]

Fascist ethics begin ... with the acknowledgment that it is not the individual who confers a meaning upon society, but it is, instead, the existence of a human society which determines the human character of the individual. According to Fascism, a true, a great spiritual life cannot take place unless the State has risen to a position of pre-eminence in the world of man. The curtailment of liberty thus becomes justified at once, and this need of rising the State to its rightful position. [Mario Palmieri, “The Philosophy of Fascism” 1936]

“Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all.” [Nikita Khrushchev , February 25, 1956 20th Congress of the Communist Party]

“All our lives we fought against exalting the individual, against the elevation of the single person, and long ago we were over and done with the business of a hero, and here it comes up again: the glorification of one personality. This is not good at all.” [Vladimir Lenin, as quoted in Not by Politics Alone]

“We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society.” [Hillary Clinton, 1993]

“We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans ...” [President Bill Clinton, ‘USA Today’ March 11, 1993: Page 2A]

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” [Ayn Rand]

When will the world learn that a million men are of no importance compared with one man? [Henry David Thoreau]


8 posted on 11/24/2007 2:52:36 AM PST by ovrtaxt (You're a destiny that God wrapped a body around.)
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To: gpapa

“How is “the right to keep and bear arms” a collective right?”

I guess that covers the crew-served weapons of the militia.

And I’m not really joking.


9 posted on 11/24/2007 2:58:27 AM PST by PLMerite ("Unarmed, one can only flee from Evil. But Evil isn't overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper)
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To: truth_seeker

“I have guns, but am not currently a member of a “well regulated militia.””

According to federal law, you are. The law says that the militia consists of the organized militia (National Guard and Reserves) and the un-organized militia (all others capable of bearing arms.)


10 posted on 11/24/2007 2:59:02 AM PST by DugwayDuke (Ron Paul - building a bridge to the 19th century.)
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To: PLMerite

http://www.lewrockwell.com/lind/lind72.html


11 posted on 11/24/2007 3:20:38 AM PST by gpapa
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To: gpapa
Let's just hope the people don't have to kick their "collective" arses to regain our "individual rights" when this is all said and done.
12 posted on 11/24/2007 4:07:10 AM PST by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: gpapa

The entire Bill Of Rights, of which the Second Amendment is one, places limits and restrictions on government; it does not grant rights to the People, but rather it protects the rights the People inherently have. Thus, rights are an individual thing, and a collective can only possess powers, not rights. Thus, since the Bill Of Rights exists to protect the rights of the People, the Second Amendment must refer to an individual right and cannot be a “collective right” of the government to form a militia, as the government has no rights at all, only powers.


13 posted on 11/24/2007 4:47:17 AM PST by ought-six ("Give me liberty, or give me death!")
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To: truth_seeker
I have guns, but am not currently a member of a “well regulated militia.”

Yes, you are a member of a 'well regulated militia'-the American people!

14 posted on 11/24/2007 4:55:30 AM PST by fortheDeclaration (We must beat the Democrats or the country will be ruined! - Lincoln)
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To: gpapa
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.

As many here seem to want to pick apart the amendment, taken on the whole, it seems to me the amendment is both a Right AND a citizenry Responsibility.

Yes, we have a responsibility to be trained to be able to secure our free state. This position will totally set a modern liberal on his head when he fully realizes he holds a responsibility to defend the United States. The amendment virtually creates an unending 'draft' if you will of every capable citizen.

Which when one considers the frontier type environment of a newly formed nation, it makes perfect sense that every person be made capable. And every capable person used to help defend the new nation, the expansion, etc. It wasn't just a Right, there is an expectation that comes with it.

15 posted on 11/24/2007 5:00:31 AM PST by EBH (Loose lips sink ships.)
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To: Caipirabob
Let's just hope the people don't have to kick their "collective" arses to regain our "individual rights" when this is all said and done.

that is what sparked the American revolution, the Brits also thought that having weapons was a 'collective right'.

What is interesting about this discussion is that most people do view the 2nd Amendment as a individual right.

When some athletes were busted with weapons, even the liberal sports commentators were saying that they had a right to have those weapons under the 2nd amendment.

16 posted on 11/24/2007 5:01:50 AM PST by fortheDeclaration (We must beat the Democrats or the country will be ruined! - Lincoln)
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To: gpapa

17 posted on 11/24/2007 5:04:25 AM PST by DocRock (All they that TAKE the sword shall perish with the sword. Matthew 26:52 Gun grabbers beware.)
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To: gpapa

Response emailed to the above:

The idea that Americans would rush, Minuteman -
like, to the defense of their country only seems
quaint to people who disregard recent history.
Hurricane Andrew, the Rodney King riots, and the
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are vivid examples
of citizens defending themselves with firearms.

We can ignore concealed handgun laws, stand your
ground laws, and castle doctrine laws and still
see dramatic evidence of the need for people to be
able to defend themselves in dire circumstances.
In all three of the incidents I listed, people
did not form lines and attack invaders. They
stood guard over what was theirs, while
representative government totally failed. Agents of the
government in Louisiana contributed not to the
protection, but to the thefts.

It is not quaint to believe that citizens will
use firearms in their own, best defense. It is a
painful lesson of history.


18 posted on 11/24/2007 5:08:59 AM PST by sig226 (New additions to the list of democrat criminals - see my profile)
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To: gpapa

“The gun has been called the great equalizer, meaning that a small person with a gun is equal to a large person, but it is a great equalizer in another way, too. It insures that the people are the equal of their government whenever that government forgets that it is servant and not master of the governed. When the British forgot that they got a revolution.
And, as a result, we Americans got a Constitution; a Constitution that, as those who wrote it were determined, would keep men free. If we give up part of that Constitution we give up part of our freedom and increase the chance that we will lose it all. I am not ready to take that risk. I believe that the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms must not be infringed if liberty in America is to survive.” -—Ronald Reagan


19 posted on 11/24/2007 5:11:47 AM PST by XtreMarine
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To: Candor7
Is the Second Amendment an individual, and a collective, right?

I really don't understand why so many folks have such a hard time with this. What part of "...the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." do they not understand?

The SCOTUS and the rest of the Federal gubmint is in for a very rude awakening if those in black robes rule any other way than reading the 2nd Amendment as the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. If the Supremes try to tie gun ownership solely to state regulated militias, there will be riots. I guarantee it.

20 posted on 11/24/2007 5:23:04 AM PST by Thermalseeker (Thinking of voting Democrat? Wake up and smell the Socialism!)
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To: gpapa

agreed! the framers of the constitution went out of their way to make sure the entire text was framed under the principle of individual rights. Collective rights doesn’t really exist.


21 posted on 11/24/2007 5:52:18 AM PST by bubman
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To: bubman

So nine of the 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights are for the individual, but the 2nd one?!? It’s specific to the government which is supposed to based on individual rights.


22 posted on 11/24/2007 6:27:48 AM PST by Mean Daddy
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To: gpapa
Is the Second Amendment an individual, or collective, right?

Gee, that's a toughie?!? I collect guns (BATF 03 License) but I don't think that's what 'they' mean by 'collective right'. Hmmmm, let's go to some of the 'constitutional experts' and see what they have to say...

Oh and then there was this old dead white guy too ... George Mason: "Who are the militia? They consist of the whole people, except a few public officers."

Okay, I think that pretty much clears it up - problem solved. Individual Right, next.

23 posted on 11/24/2007 6:28:56 AM PST by Condor51 (Rudy has more baggage than Samsonite)
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To: DugwayDuke

[ (all others capable of bearing arms.)]

I’m not sure if this is an exact quote but it is the crux of the issue! I just hope the s’premes are smart enough to not be bulldozed by the commie left.


24 posted on 11/24/2007 6:56:01 AM PST by dbacks (Taglines for sale or rent.)
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To: gpapa

I don’t have to have a JD in constitutional law to know this. Answer this simple question:

If the right to bear arms was not intended as an individual right, why didn’t the Federal government start taking up the guns of the citizens right after the Bill of Rights were adopted???

It is time to slap the aspiring totalitarians and globalists who are for gun control back into irrelevant oblivion where they belong once and for all.


25 posted on 11/24/2007 8:57:31 AM PST by RatRipper
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To: gpapa
Gun prohibition is so unpopular in America that only three jurisdictions have it: Washington D.C, Chicago and San Francisco. And in all three cases, elite liberal opinion could impose it knowing the electorate had no means of overturning it. Americans don't mind common sense gun regulation but telling them they can't keep a gun meets with nearly universal resistance. Let's hope the SCOTUS considers that as it takes up Heller next year.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

26 posted on 11/24/2007 9:06:17 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: truth_seeker
I believe so yes.

Because of the placement of commas in the 2nd Amendment, I believe that the people's right to bear arms should not be infringed upon.

27 posted on 11/24/2007 11:04:32 AM PST by do the dhue (They've got us surrounded again. The poor bastards. General Creighton Abrams)
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To: Condor51

HEAR HEAR

great post!


28 posted on 11/24/2007 11:07:02 AM PST by do the dhue (They've got us surrounded again. The poor bastards. General Creighton Abrams)
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To: do the dhue
Thanks
Here's the link for those quotes...

The 2nd Amendment *The Right to Bare Arms*

It has other info/data too. (just in case you want to bookmark)

29 posted on 11/24/2007 11:24:42 AM PST by Condor51 (Rudy has more baggage than Samsonite)
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To: Condor51

bookmarked and thank you!


30 posted on 11/24/2007 11:27:59 AM PST by do the dhue (They've got us surrounded again. The poor bastards. General Creighton Abrams)
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To: goldstategop
goldstategop said: "Gun prohibition is so unpopular in America that only three jurisdictions have it: Washington D.C, Chicago and San Francisco."

I don't believe that San Francisco has any gun prohibition more serious than the entire state of Kalifornia. If they have passed some recently, it will meet the same fate; being struck down since there is pre-emption regarding gun laws in Kalifornia. Only the Kalifornia legislature and governor are allowed to infringe the right to keep and bear arms.

31 posted on 11/24/2007 12:53:08 PM PST by William Tell (RKBA for California (rkba.members.sonic.net) - Volunteer by contacting Dave at rkba@sonic.net)
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To: PLMerite

Insightful answer.


32 posted on 11/24/2007 1:23:52 PM PST by ctdonath2 (The color blue tastes like the square root of 0?)
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To: truth_seeker
I have guns, but am not currently a member of a “well regulated militia.”

Are you an able-bodied male aged 17-45, registered with the Selective Service System, familiar with the weapons you already own, and trained to whatever degree* the state & federal governments see fit? Yes? then you fit the "militia clause" of the 2nd Amendment.

* - that the gov't chooses to not train you does not squelch your 2nd Amendment right and compliance.

33 posted on 11/24/2007 1:26:49 PM PST by ctdonath2 (The color blue tastes like the square root of 0?)
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To: DugwayDuke
National Guard and Reserves

Perhaps you can tell me how the Founders knew about an organization created by the Militia Act of 1903?
34 posted on 11/24/2007 1:32:58 PM PST by Beckwith (dhimmicrats and the liberal media have .chosen sides -- Islamofascism)
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To: gpapa

Here’s what I taught my high school students when I taught American history.

The Constitution was written and designed to maintain individual freedom and thwart tyranny. There are a variety of methods to do this in the Constitution; as a last recourse, people have guns and can use those guns to create a new government or fight efforts to take away their freedom.

I guess I’m just too stupid to be a member of the District of Columbia government and legal team, though.


35 posted on 11/24/2007 1:37:29 PM PST by redpoll
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To: Thermalseeker
I really don't understand why so many folks have such a hard time with this.

They don't.

They simply don't approve of what it says, and deal with it by simply denying the plain meaning of words - and while you get all wound up with trying to explain what they don't want explained, they simply continue ignoring what it plainly says.

36 posted on 11/24/2007 1:40:35 PM PST by ctdonath2 (The color blue tastes like the square root of 0?)
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To: Candor7; Travis McGee; GulfBreeze

The answer is “yes”???

Tell me you are not kidding there???

It is NOT a collective or fundamantal right...YOU leave a door open for that kind of incorrect interpretation for our government to exploit and YOU’VE just screwed us from here to Christmas!!!

It is an inalienable indivudual right for us to keep and bear arms...Period!

We can go and look at basic English law (Black’s reference), Federalist papers, and scores of academic references that prove it is just that...INDIVIDUAL!

None of the other first ten Amendments to the Constitution strayed from the intent that the individual is to be held in higher regard than the government...Some people must believe that the Bill of Rights is some form of guideline that the people need to adhere to or use as a template to structure our place in the bigger scheme of things...Well its NOT! It is a template that creates the boundaries and regulations/restrictions upon the elected government in this country...Somehow that reversal seems to be a brain-fart that has somehow permiated the minds of some elected officials and others who believe the BOR’s is their ticket to govern...

The “militia” (by definition wayyyyyyy, after this all was put on paper) and these government and collective rights interpreters are hacks that are dumber than bags full of hammers on this one little thing...

People need to start thinking a bit more, and stop buying into this garbage being put out by this agenda...

What is going to win the grassroots, and keep the conservative voting block to gether is going to be that one candidate that does nothing but talk about the ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION PROBLEM, and this SECOND AMENDMENT OPINION coming up by the Supreme Court of this country...

That candidate will solidify and bring to the vote in November the very people that they DO NOT want to come and vote, and want them to be jaded and not participate in any of the process...

Everything else is going to fall into place just fine if people stick to their guns, pardon the pun...And of course, repel boarders!


37 posted on 11/24/2007 1:48:30 PM PST by stevie_d_64 (Houston Area Texans (I've always been hated))
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To: ovrtaxt

Good post!!!


38 posted on 11/24/2007 1:50:14 PM PST by stevie_d_64 (Houston Area Texans (I've always been hated))
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To: RatRipper

(You) “...time to slap...”


(Me) “...beat into loving admission of their shortsightedness, and hopefully to never, ever to think this was a good idea ever again...”


Slaps don’t leave permanent reminders...


39 posted on 11/24/2007 1:54:48 PM PST by stevie_d_64 (Houston Area Texans (I've always been hated))
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To: ctdonath2

“Are you an able-bodied male aged 17-45, registered with the Selective Service System, familiar with the weapons you already own, and trained to whatever degree* the state & federal governments see fit? Yes? then you fit the “militia clause” of the 2nd Amendment.

* - that the gov’t chooses to not train you does not squelch your 2nd Amendment right and compliance.”

Where do I find these criteria? Are you making stuff up?

I am a 59 yr. old Army veteran. So I WAS trained, but I don’t meet your criteria because I am too old, although I remain able bodied. Once registered with Selective Service, I completed my service requirement.

According to what you wrote, only males 17-45 should have firearms?


40 posted on 11/24/2007 2:34:56 PM PST by truth_seeker
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To: gpapa
Is the Second Amendment an individual, or collective, right?

Who would even ask such a constitutionally pointless question, and why?

The Bill of Rights does not grant individual or collective rights. The Bill of Rights protects inherent rights from interference by the government.

Anyone asking that question one would have first taken the position that a state would call upon unarmed men to make up a militia. I fear only constitutionally corrupted courts would entertain answering constitutionally corrupted questions.

41 posted on 11/24/2007 2:53:20 PM PST by MosesKnows
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To: gpapa
I understand what people think they mean by the phrase "collective right" but I don't think that there is any such thing in truth. It isn't as if George and Jack and Jane possess any rights as a group that they do not possess as individuals. Even for them to form a corporation that "collective" possesses an individual (if somewhat fictive) legal identity and is treated in the courts as such. A labor union, to cite another example, does not possess a collective "right" to bargain, its members possess a right to form such a union in pursuit of it.

This gets even more curious when the argument is made that a State may possess the "right" to a militia and hence to arm it. States do not actually possess rights at all, they are accorded powers within the construct of the federal Constitution and their own State Constitutions. Opinions on the nature and distribution of these may differ (we had a Civil War about that) but not whether that sort of power is the same thing as a right accorded an individual. It isn't. The Constitution delineates powers and recognizes rights.

It is a little difficult to fathom how an honest individual could possibly confuse the two. It is not at all difficult to imagine a dishonest individual attempting to conflate the two in order to manipulate the credulous.

42 posted on 11/24/2007 3:22:28 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: stevie_d_64

thanks- I stole it from Neal Boortz.


43 posted on 11/24/2007 3:31:23 PM PST by ovrtaxt (You're a destiny that God wrapped a body around.)
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To: truth_seeker

The reason for your right is spelled out. Why didn’t they say “The right for a militia to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” ??


44 posted on 11/24/2007 3:35:02 PM PST by eyedigress
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To: gpapa

It’s an individual right - “being necessary for the free state...” can only mean that it’s an individual right, free from government regulation. You cannot ensure a free state while regulating the very tools needed to do so.


45 posted on 11/24/2007 3:37:15 PM PST by meyer (Illegal Immigration - The profits are privatized, the costs are socialized.)
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To: meyer

Exactly, Every right under the Bill of Rights is individual.


46 posted on 11/24/2007 3:39:37 PM PST by eyedigress
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To: gpapa

A better question, define Bill of Rights. The answer is in there if you look.


47 posted on 11/24/2007 3:40:02 PM PST by Tarpon
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To: Beckwith

“Perhaps you can tell me how the Founders knew about an organization created by the Militia Act of 1903?”

A very good question and one I have often posed to gun grabbers. The standard answer is that times have changed and what may have then been a citizens militia is now the NG. As far as their concerned it’s one of those ‘living Constitution’ thingies.


48 posted on 11/24/2007 4:05:10 PM PST by DugwayDuke (Ron Paul - building a bridge to the 19th century.)
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To: Misterioso

“What, pray tell, is “collective right?”

The right of the state to take all your money and control all your actions, for the children.


49 posted on 11/24/2007 6:14:58 PM PST by Jim Verdolini
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To: gpapa
How is “the right to keep and bear arms” a collective right?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

militia.

50 posted on 11/24/2007 6:33:09 PM PST by Candor7 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Baghdad_(1258))
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