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Why can't I own nuclear weapons? The Second Amendment guarantees it! [THREAD THREE]
My work, and the work of Thornwell Simons ^ | 07/12/2001 | Lazamataz

Posted on 04/18/2002 8:59:28 AM PDT by Lazamataz

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This was written in response to ConsistentLibertarian's (or as I like to call him, InconsistentLiberal) repeated use of this particular straw man argument.

His response to me is that he rejects one of the premises on which this argument is based. To quote him:

But since you make an argument based on a premise I don't accept, I need you to say something more about why I should accept that premise. [To wit, ] You're making inferences about the Framers intent based on texts which are not part of the constitution. I need you to say something more about why those inferences matter. For me, the text is all that matters.

My response to him is that we can address this premise right now. This individual (who I suspect is a disruptor, but that is an ad hominum observation and in no way detracts or supports my argument) has stated they reject the premise that one can infer meaning and intended results in the Constitution by examining the writings, speeches, and actions of the persons who wrote it. While this seems like an obvious premise to put forth, I am willing to take him through the logic process point by point, since it is a compound premise and is subject to the possible fallacy of the Complex Question. I will demonstrate it is not.

So therefore, ConsistentLibertarian:

1) Agree or disagree: A person can have a political viewpoint.

1 posted on 04/18/2002 8:59:28 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: ConsistentLibertarian
Awaiting your response to premise 1.

Premise 1) A person can entertain a political viewpoint. Agree or disagree.

2 posted on 04/18/2002 9:00:26 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
Very nice discussion of this topic. Thanks for posting it.
3 posted on 04/18/2002 9:10:19 AM PDT by serinde
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To: Lazamataz
Interesting argument. Please be on notice that nuclear weapons are not allowed on our local shooting range; violators will be ejected and/or suspended for up to 60 days.

Thank you

Rangemaster

4 posted on 04/18/2002 9:11:29 AM PDT by sailor4321
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To: Lazamataz
Just out of curiousity, and immediately before going out to lunch, I'd like to ask you to consider the following question. Thank you for considering my inquiry.

How will a land mine or booby trap, emplaced upon my own property, "violate an innocent persons right of quiet enjoyment of their property"? Consider that I live alone and have no pets, and also that the property is prominently posted "No Tresspasing".

5 posted on 04/18/2002 9:16:43 AM PDT by Chemist_Geek
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To: Chemist_Geek
How will a land mine or booby trap, emplaced upon my own property, "violate an innocent persons right of quiet enjoyment of their property"? Consider that I live alone and have no pets, and also that the property is prominently posted "No Tresspasing".

Human intervention is required in order for any weapon to be considered 'discriminating', since the discrimination must come from someone with the capability to make that discriminative decision. Therefore -- since these two weapons lack human intervention -- discrimination is impossible and they fall into the final catagory of weaponry.

6 posted on 04/18/2002 9:21:23 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
Very nice analysis. Its reasoning is lost, however, on those who blindly seek to disarm and then enslave the citizenry. No amount of logical discourse, historical obeservation, or simple rational use of the English language will dissuade them from their "beliefs". The crux of the gun argument comes to down to who will prevail in the long run, and what level of force will be required to win: those who love liberty, or those who simply have no faith in the basic goodness of humanity,those who think that the law functions because people are afraid of the consequences of breaking those laws, or those who see the law as an extension of what good people view as "right". I have had the latter argument with law school graduates who only see the law as an instrument of force; it is those same people who really think that mankind must be "controlled" or else all havoc will out. Those people are simply what I call The Enemies of Freedom; they will never stop nor will they ever admit that the 2nd means that citizens of the US have what is supposed to be an unfettered right to keep and bear arms. Before this arugument is settled, there are going to be some very ugly times in America. God help the Republic.
7 posted on 04/18/2002 9:23:07 AM PDT by 45Auto
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To: Chemist_Geek
How will a land mine or booby trap, emplaced upon my own property, "violate an innocent persons right of quiet enjoyment of their property"?

Well, suppose the police or fire rescue had to come help you, and accidentally got blowed up real good?

8 posted on 04/18/2002 9:25:57 AM PDT by in_troth
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To: in_troth
Well, suppose the police or fire rescue had to come help you, and accidentally got blowed up real good?

Good point, but it is a subset of the requirement that human intervention is needed for a weapon to be considered 'discriminating'.

9 posted on 04/18/2002 9:29:37 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
they reject the premise

Your opponent's wife probably rejects the premise of the law of gravity. That still doesn't keep her breasts from sagging to the floor ...

10 posted on 04/18/2002 9:30:02 AM PDT by jimkress
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To: Lazamataz
I think that you've drawn a very impressive distinction between discriminate and indiscriminate weapons. Very nicely done.

Is there any evidence that this distinction was relevant to or considered by any of the persons involved in the adoption of the Second Amendment?

11 posted on 04/18/2002 9:30:21 AM PDT by humbletheFiend
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To: sailor4321
I'll tell you why. I can't afford one or else i'd own one. That way I could just rig it up to the door so when someone breaks into my house it goes off.
12 posted on 04/18/2002 9:32:05 AM PDT by Jzen
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To: Lazamataz
I disagree. As far as I am concerned, I can own nuclear weapons. Since all men are equal before God and the law, no man is my master. If man or group is entitled to own nuclear weapons, then I am. As far as the weapon being discriminating, a nuclear weapon can be sufficiently discriminating if it is directed at a tyrannical government which is also armed with nukes. (Think Hillary Clinton, Janet Reno, Waco, etc.)
13 posted on 04/18/2002 9:50:17 AM PDT by HaveGunWillTravel
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To: Lazamataz
Well, until your friend shows up, I just want to say that I think I agree with him (bearing in mind that the only thing I know about his position is what you've told us right here). I agree that the first thing we need to look at when determining the meaning of any law is the text itself, because the whole reason for writing a law down was so that we don't have to keep reinventing the wheel by wondering what it was they "intended" to say (the ol' hanging-chad syndrome). If the text seems inconclusive despite all our efforts, then it would be appropriate to inquire as to the intentions of the authors.
14 posted on 04/18/2002 9:50:27 AM PDT by inquest
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To: HaveGunWillTravel
I disagree. As far as I am concerned, I can own nuclear weapons. Since all men are equal before God and the law, no man is my master. If man or group is entitled to own nuclear weapons, then I am. As far as the weapon being discriminating, a nuclear weapon can be sufficiently discriminating if it is directed at a tyrannical government which is also armed with nukes. (Think Hillary Clinton, Janet Reno, Waco, etc.)

Oh, have you invented a new nuclear weapon that causes people who are aggressing against you to be vaporized, while only gently nudging people who are innocent and happen to be in the blast radius?

Because otherwise, I am seeing you assert that your right of self-protection triumphs other people's right of self-protection. I see you asserting that you are 'more equal' than others.

15 posted on 04/18/2002 10:02:01 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
Therefore -- since these two weapons lack human intervention -- discrimination is impossible and they fall into the final catagory of weaponry.

Human intervention was performed during the siting and emplacement. The person who chose the sites for the mines and traps (presumably) made decisions on where to emplace them with an eye towards self-defense, and didn't just randomly scatter them over the landscaping.

16 posted on 04/18/2002 10:06:39 AM PDT by Chemist_Geek
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To: inquest
Well, until your friend shows up, I just want to say that I think I agree with him (bearing in mind that the only thing I know about his position is what you've told us right here). I agree that the first thing we need to look at when determining the meaning of any law is the text itself, because the whole reason for writing a law down was so that we don't have to keep reinventing the wheel by wondering what it was they "intended" to say (the ol' hanging-chad syndrome). If the text seems inconclusive despite all our efforts, then it would be appropriate to inquire as to the intentions of the authors.

Well, we can rely on the text to a reasonably large degree. There was at least one weapon of mass destruction (e.g., an indiscriminate weapon) in existence in the time of the founders; the introduction of biological agents against a populace. I am not seeing mention of the keeping and bearing of smallpox in the Second Amendment anywhere.

17 posted on 04/18/2002 10:07:35 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
While it is a well reasoned argument I think it fails on the fact that the writers of the constitution did not in fact include any language setting the standard of the weapon as being discriminating. It is also a fact that they did not prohibit any type of weapon , even though non discriminating weapons did exist at that time Ie: trap guns, spring guns, canons w/ grape,chain and other types of loose shot.
A better argument would be that even though it is constitutional to own such weapons, society can have a compelling and overiding reason to ban such weapons, ie based on the magnatude of the damage inflicted. your arguments are very weak when it comes to machine guns,Machine pistols,Small explosive device,Satchel charge, Antitank rocket, Booby traps, land mines, all of these are currently used as standard weapons of war and as such should clearly allowed under the constitution. The deciding factor on using any of these weapons is still the same as to when we use any deadly weapon, was it a reasonable use?
18 posted on 04/18/2002 10:10:06 AM PDT by ghostcat
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To: Lazamataz
Good post Laz. But I'm still in the market for a W88.
19 posted on 04/18/2002 10:11:29 AM PDT by Registered
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To: Lazamataz
As for what the Constitution's position on this is, I have some observations to make:

1. The powers of the federal government are limited to only what is positively given to it. Hence, the second amendment is largely unnecessary (which is why it wasn't part of the original Constitution - not because the Founders didn't think that people had a right to arm themselves). So the feds may not even regulate nuclear weapons ownership, because they were never given that power to begin with.

2. Your arguments regarding the discriminatory capabilities of various weapons make plenty of sense, but they have little or no bearing on what the second amendment says (see my #14). If we want the law to make such distinctions (which weren't a concern in 1791), then we'd have to pass another constitutional amendment.

3. The fact that the feds don't have the direct power to regulate nuclear weapons doesn't mean that they can't be regulated: the states still retain that power. Some might object that the "privileges and immunities" clause of the 14th amendment extends the protections of the Bill of Rights against state governments. I realize that the federal courts have ruled that it does, as they're much more comfortable with restricting the states than restricting the feds, but it should be noted that they didn't start ruling that way until several decades after the amendment was passed. Privileges and immunities don't seem to be the same thing as rights.

20 posted on 04/18/2002 10:12:30 AM PDT by inquest
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To: Chemist_Geek
Human intervention was performed during the siting and emplacement.

Insufficient. The human intervention must occur on the decision to detonate, since some innocent person such as a firefighter may be in the path of the weapon during the legitimate performance of his duties. You may have placed your weapons very safely in your X-Y-Z cartesian coordinate system, but the dimension of t (time) may cause the weapon to be unsafely placed.

Booby traps and land mines are wholely indiscriminate weapons, and cannot fall under the protection of the Second Amendment due to the indiscriminate nature thereof.

21 posted on 04/18/2002 10:14:00 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: ghostcat
While it is a well reasoned argument I think it fails on the fact that the writers of the constitution did not in fact include any language setting the standard of the weapon as being discriminating.

Thats as may be, but are you of the opinion that your rights triumph anothers rights?

To put it more succinctly: The right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.

22 posted on 04/18/2002 10:16:34 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: ghostcat
Your arguments are very weak when it comes to machine guns,Machine pistols,Small explosive device

Not at all. Since they are somewhat less discriminating, I would establish some rules as pertaining to their use: No use when your backdrop is that of a crowded area; an idiot-check to make sure you are not effing nuts, and that is about it. Kinda like Brady Bill for Machine Guns only, and the repeal of the (in my opinion unconstitutional) 1934 National Firearms Act.

23 posted on 04/18/2002 10:19:55 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: inquest
2. Your arguments regarding the discriminatory capabilities of various weapons make plenty of sense, but they have little or no bearing on what the second amendment says (see my #14).

All of our rights are bracketed by the existence of our fellow-citizens rights. (Free speech and yelling fire in a crowded theater, etc etc). This should be self-evident. To argue against that is to argue you have superior rights to everyone else.

24 posted on 04/18/2002 10:23:43 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
If we assume that the text of the Second Amendment does not make a distinction between dicriminating and indiscriminate weapons and if we further assume that none of the persons associated with the adoption of the Second Amendment ever even considered the distinction, can we nevertheless conclude that the Second Amendment protects only discriminating weapons because, if the persons associated with the adoption of amendment had actually thought about the distinction, they would have intended to limit the Second Amendment's protection to discriminating weapons?
25 posted on 04/18/2002 10:23:52 AM PDT by humbletheFiend
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To: Lazamataz
Ya can have a nuke when ya gots a place to safely store it.
26 posted on 04/18/2002 10:24:55 AM PDT by PatrioticAmerican
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To: Lazamataz
Now, Billy, what has your father told you about cats and nukes, huh?
27 posted on 04/18/2002 10:25:29 AM PDT by PatrioticAmerican
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To: Lazamataz
Perhaps. On the other hand, all the people of Japan were not aggressing against the US when we nuked them. Not that what we did was right, but we did what was nessecary to defend ourselves. Any right that men can assert collectively, I believe one man can assert individually. Do we have the right to kill innocents? No, unless to not do so means that we will be killed. West Bank anyone? Anyway, to some extent, people are guilty of the crimes of their leaders. If they are our own leaders, we would be foolish to kill ourselves in an effort to stop them. At some point, it may come down to us vs them. Someone lives, someone doesn't. If I am not the aggressor, and someone innocent has to die, I propose that it not be me. Unequal? If someone who is innocent has to die so another may live, you are correct. It is not equal. The children at Waco were apparently not equal. Then again, its the same government that killed them that wants to disarm us.
28 posted on 04/18/2002 10:30:00 AM PDT by HaveGunWillTravel
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To: Registered;Lazamataz
post #19

Good post Laz. But I'm still in the market for a W88.

Call me I'll cut you a good deal, time is short, and I have several buyers <_/grin_>

29 posted on 04/18/2002 10:34:44 AM PDT by SERE_DOC
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To: humbletheFiend
There was only one known indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction known to the founding fathers at that time: biological agents.

One can reasonably conjecture that if they were interested in including indisriminate weapons, that the Second Amendment would read: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, and to keep and spread Contagious Diseases, shall not be infringed.

30 posted on 04/18/2002 10:34:45 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: HaveGunWillTravel
The argument about nations and the rights they may or may not possess is a different topic. I have only addressed and discussed individual rights.
31 posted on 04/18/2002 10:36:13 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
All of our rights are bracketed by the existence of our fellow-citizens rights.

Morally, that's true. But it's the job of the law to determine when our rights violate the rights of others. To argue otherwise is to argue that we don't need laws at all, other than "just make sure you don't violate anyone else's rights." Sounds beautiful, yes, but I think society might run into a bit of trouble unless its laws got a little more specific than that.

32 posted on 04/18/2002 10:37:16 AM PDT by inquest
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To: HaveGunWillTravel
Any right that men can assert collectively, I believe one man can assert individually.

And I also strenously disagree with this premise, but I am not interested in discussing that on this thread.

33 posted on 04/18/2002 10:37:41 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
I think I agree with some of the others here that it is up to me to discrimate how I use that which I am entitled to own. I am allowed to own my arm. If I hit you in the nose with it, that is separate. Then the question becomes whether or not it was within my rights to do so. I agree that it is hard to avoid trampling someone else's rights with a nuclear weapon. Yet, many people own them. Are they my master?
34 posted on 04/18/2002 10:37:48 AM PDT by HaveGunWillTravel
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To: Lazamataz
"Thats as may be, but are you of the opinion that your rights triumph anothers rights?"
In no way have I said that my rights trump others, that argument is a red herring, I expect better of you than that laz!

To put it more succinctly: The right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.
If your nose walks into my arm as I am swinging while I have taken reasonable percautions against hitting your nose then in fact that is not true. If however I have not taken any reasonable percautions then I might have indeed violated your rights to have an un-hit nose. Rights do not exist in a vacum so that is why intent, and reasonableness of behavior, and degree of responsibility must be considered.

35 posted on 04/18/2002 10:39:49 AM PDT by ghostcat
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To: inquest
Morally, that's true. But it's the job of the law to determine when our rights violate the rights of others. To argue otherwise is to argue that we don't need laws at all, other than "just make sure you don't violate anyone else's rights." Sounds beautiful, yes, but I think society might run into a bit of trouble unless its laws got a little more specific than that.

I think we have come full circle. Since you concede that one mans rights are bracketed by the next mans rights, we need to define arms more specifically, especially since the nature of arms have changed. Thusly, my argument about the bracketing of possession rights of WMD's against the rights of others to quietly enjoy their property.

36 posted on 04/18/2002 10:42:20 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
This topic again? Sigh.... Set 'em straight Laz. I can't believe that someone believes the 2nd Amend. provides for the right to own AND USE nukes...
37 posted on 04/18/2002 10:42:49 AM PDT by Fury
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To: Lazamataz
Lazamataz said: "Oh, have you invented a new nuclear weapon that causes people who are aggressing against you to be vaporized, while only gently nudging people who are innocent and happen to be in the blast radius?"

You must agree then that the sniper rifle used by Lon Horiuchi against Randy Weaver is not protected by the Second Amendment. How else can one explain how Weaver's wife was killed unless you suspect that Horiuchi intended her death.

38 posted on 04/18/2002 10:43:03 AM PDT by William Tell
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To: HaveGunWillTravel
Well, this is a good question Larry. Actually, there is no federal law or state law that would prevent you from owning or operating a nuclear weapon, as long it is outside a school zone. I think congress has never really considered the possibility that someone just might want to own one or purchase one. Of course, if you were thinking of operating a nuclear power plant, thats different. You have to license and regulate that. But nuke weapons are not illegal.
39 posted on 04/18/2002 10:44:11 AM PDT by pepsionice
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To: Lazamataz
Since you concede that one mans rights are bracketed by the next mans rights, we need to define arms more specifically, especially since the nature of arms have changed.

Since you concede that the nature of arms have changed since 1791, we need to pass a new constitutional amendment in order to define arms more specifically.

40 posted on 04/18/2002 10:44:35 AM PDT by inquest
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To: HaveGunWillTravel
Yet, many people own them. Are they my master?

I know of no individual people who own nuclear weapons, but I know of a few nations who do. And the rights of nations versus the rights of individuals is a completely different topic that that which I have written about above: The rights of the various and several individuals, only.

41 posted on 04/18/2002 10:44:54 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: SERE_DOC
Call me I'll cut you a good deal, time is short, and I have several buyers

Funny, I didn't know you were Chinese...
42 posted on 04/18/2002 10:45:44 AM PDT by Registered
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To: Lazamataz
Thank you for your explanations. I will consider them.
43 posted on 04/18/2002 10:46:25 AM PDT by Chemist_Geek
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To: Lazamataz
Lazamataz said: "To put it more succinctly: The right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins."

Not exactly. It also depends on where you put your nose.

44 posted on 04/18/2002 10:46:28 AM PDT by William Tell
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To: inquest
Since you concede that the nature of arms have changed since 1791, we need to pass a new constitutional amendment in order to define arms more specifically.

Maybe, or maybe we can simply use the logic and common sense of the inherent bracketing of rights as I have described them. However, if you were interested in a more precise amendement, I would recommend you use my discrimination arguments above.

The discrimination-test will allow for individual possession of laser, plasma, and other directed-energy small arms that the present interpretation of the amendment may not allow. The courts are likely -- at present -- to deny possession of laser pistols to the common man, and I find this to be an abhorrant future probability.

When lasers are outlawed, only Klingons will have lasers.

45 posted on 04/18/2002 10:48:36 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
"Not at all. Since they are somewhat less discriminating, I would establish some rules as pertaining to their use: No use when your backdrop is that of a crowded area; an idiot-check to make sure you are not effing nuts, and that is about it. Kinda like Brady Bill for Machine Guns only, and the repeal of the (in my opinion unconstitutional) 1934 National Firearms Act" Rules about their use already exist Laz, it's called responsibility, if you fire in a crowded area and you hit someone who was not your intended target then you stand the chance of being tried by a jury of your peers to find out if your actions were reasonable at the time. If they weren't then you are looking at serious jail time. I don't disagree with your intent I however disagree with your method. In a truley constitutional situation it would be up to the government to prove that you are incapable of being trusted.
46 posted on 04/18/2002 10:48:52 AM PDT by ghostcat
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To: Fury
Fury said: "This topic again? Sigh.... Set 'em straight Laz. I can't believe that someone believes the 2nd Amend. provides for the right to own AND USE nukes..."

Then you must believe that the first amendment does not protect writings on the Internet. Please describe how the language of the Constitution protects one but not the other. If one wished to justify as Constitutional the restriction of free speech on the Internet, wouldn't it be necessary to amend the Constitution?

47 posted on 04/18/2002 10:50:37 AM PDT by William Tell
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To: William Tell
You must agree then that the sniper rifle used by Lon Horiuchi against Randy Weaver is not protected by the Second Amendment. How else can one explain how Weaver's wife was killed unless you suspect that Horiuchi intended her death.

I suspect that Horiuchi intended her death. Of all the discrimination available, a trained sniper is the most discriminating possible shooter.

Rogue cops don't detract from my argument, whether or not the government coddles and covers up for the criminal policeman in question.

48 posted on 04/18/2002 10:50:54 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
One can reasonably conjecture that if they were interested in including indisriminate weapons, that the Second Amendment would read: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, and to keep and spread Contagious Diseases, shall not be infringed.

Do you think we can fairly attribute to those who were involved in the adoption of the Second Amendment an intent regarding a distinction between discriminatory and indiscriminate weapons without any clear evidence that any of them ever even thought about the distinction?

49 posted on 04/18/2002 10:54:08 AM PDT by humbletheFiend
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To: ghostcat
In no way have I said that my rights trump others, that argument is a red herring

Then, since nuclear weapons are indiscriminatory, and since you invariably will violate an innocent parties right of quiet enjoyment should you detonate a nuclear weapon, then you will be forced to concede that your possession and use of a nuclear weapon is likely to violate anothers rights. And since you clearly infer you believe your rights do not trump anothers, I expect you would understand and agree with the discrimination test.

50 posted on 04/18/2002 10:54:25 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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