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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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To: Lazamataz
Laz,

Where does the idea of contemporenous construction of the constitution fit in? That is the idea that if it was permissible at the time of ratification, it should be ok today. I am especially interested in Letters of Marque and Reprisal which permit private warships. A private cruiser would be quite a defensive weapon for those on the coast.

This is a good natured inquiry from a firearm owning soverign individual who supports the RKBA and JPFO.

Brady Campbell

Richmond, Virginia

51 posted on 04/18/2002 10:55:31 AM PDT by society-by-contract
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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"
That they didn't can also be reasonably construed as meaning that they didn't want to define what they meant by arms!! It can be further argued that they felt that the misuse of any arms would be better covered in another arena ie: Criminal law, definning criminal behavior. This would be a more reasonable interpitation in my opinion based on the way teh constitution deals with other areas
52 posted on 04/18/2002 10:56:54 AM PDT by ghostcat
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To: Lazamataz
Maybe, or maybe we can simply use the logic and common sense of the inherent bracketing of rights as I have described them.

The only problem I have with that idea is that I don't trust the courts to make "common-sense" modifications of the law, any further than I can throw them (all of them). As it is, they're already quite happy to rearrange the law to their aesthetic sensibilities; I don't want to encourage them any further.

And like I said earlier, even if an amendment isn't passed, the states still have all the sovereign powers they need to protect our legitimate rights.

53 posted on 04/18/2002 10:56:57 AM PDT by inquest
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To: Lazamataz
Hey, wait a minute, I am a veteran of the Nuclear National Guard. I served with the 'atomic' artillery back in the '70s. My experience with the 155 and 8" guns tells me that these weapons are anything but indiscriminate. We could usually drop a round in the box from miles away.

Regardless, since I was trained in the use of nuclear rounds with these howitzers, that should satisfy even a California liberal. In effect, the Government gave me a license.

I want my howitzer and my nuke projectiles, it's my right!

BTW, nice article

54 posted on 04/18/2002 10:59:21 AM PDT by TC Rider
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To: humbletheFiend
To expect them to think about the absurd assertion that biological agent possession and use being a protected right is silly, of course. These sort of thoughts are dismissed out-of-hand in any sane persons mind.

So the only test that they intended indiscriminate weapons to be included would be the clause in the second amendment that specifically protected the right of the people to keep and spread contagious diseases -- which, as I have pointed out, is the only indiscriminate WMD available to the founders at that time.

Absent that clause, I reasonably assume they had no intent to INCLUDE the possession and use of indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction.

55 posted on 04/18/2002 11:02:45 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: inquest
The only problem I have with that idea is that I don't trust the courts to make "common-sense" modifications of the law

Neither do I, so I am satisfied with the status quo and the analysis I have done, with an eye towards perhaps freeing up the restrictions on fully automatic guns somewhat for civilian ownership, based on my discrimination argument.

56 posted on 04/18/2002 11:04:40 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: society-by-contract
Where does the idea of contemporenous construction of the constitution fit in? That is the idea that if it was permissible at the time of ratification, it should be ok today. I am especially interested in Letters of Marque and Reprisal which permit private warships.

Private warships fire upon other aggressive or hostile warships in an area where collateral damage is highly unlikely.

Private warships satisified the discrimination test well, in those open seas.

57 posted on 04/18/2002 11:06:18 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
Not being an historian, forgive my shallow understanding of the issue.The Constitution authorizes letters of marque which authorized/commissionied privately owned battleships to engage the enemy on behalf of the US. Obviously privately owned ships cannot be commissioned if they do not exist, yet the Second Amenment does not specifically address ships as arms.

What prevents Ross Perot or Steve Forbes from owning a private battleship? What prevents them from having NBC capabilities on that ship? Wouldn't that fall under private ownership? Since nothing prevents 'indescriminate' use of HE shells, why draw the disntinction for NBC?

58 posted on 04/18/2002 11:08:15 AM PDT by Eagle Eye
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To: Lazamataz
"And since you clearly infer you believe your rights do not trump anothers, I expect you would understand and agree with the discrimination test."

I do not automatically have to agree with the discrimination test, that is a false choice, it is not an either or arguement. I believe that the standard was set a long time ago, and that standard is was the USE reasonable, not wheter the ownership is resonable.

59 posted on 04/18/2002 11:10:46 AM PDT by ghostcat
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To: Lazamataz
BTW, great discussion.
60 posted on 04/18/2002 11:14:39 AM PDT by ghostcat
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To: Lazamataz
suitcase nukes, dictators, servants of the people. Whoever has control of the nuke owns it for all practical purposes. This can certainly be an individual. We rely on that individuals discretion and respect for the rest of us. That individual may as well be me.
61 posted on 04/18/2002 11:17:10 AM PDT by HaveGunWillTravel
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To: Lazamataz
But don't you see the hole that you're digging yourself into by doing that? When you encourage the courts to go off the board with regard to what the law says, then you're riding a wild horse; you can't really control them after that. "Whoopee! We don't have to hold ourselves to the law!" Do you really think that they're going to use the power that you've encouraged them to grab, in the manner that you'd want them to? The only way to keep these jokers under control is to demand of them a strict fealty to the law. Then, if you want to change how the law is applied, then you'd have to change the law itself. That's the bargain we made 200 years ago. We need to make it stick again.
62 posted on 04/18/2002 11:18:27 AM PDT by inquest
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To: Lazamataz
Good post Laz.
63 posted on 04/18/2002 11:20:15 AM PDT by Rodney King
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To: HaveGunWillTravel
Whoever has control of the nuke owns it for all practical purposes.

Absent your knowledge of nuclear fire controls and chains of command, I do not see how you can reasonably assert that.

64 posted on 04/18/2002 11:21:11 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
Private warships could, did and do engage in ship-to-shore bombardment. By the way you have a facility, as witnessed in other posts and other threads, to convey your ideas effectivly through the use of humor.

Brady

65 posted on 04/18/2002 11:21:33 AM PDT by society-by-contract
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To: Lazamataz
Thread 3? Where is 1 and 2?
66 posted on 04/18/2002 11:22:06 AM PDT by Khepera
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To: Lazamataz
Here's my own essay in response to the "second amendment nukes" argument -- I wrote this years ago:
Subject: Yes, 2nd amendment protects nukes

People often ask, "well, if the second amendment to the US Constitution protects the private ownership of arms, then does that mean you have the right to own a nuclear weapon?"

Most respondents approach this issue with something to the effect that this can be resolved by interpreting "arms" as meaning "personal arms" (i.e. those which can be carried and used by an individual against another individual). Others "resolve" it by saying that this issue "obviously" shows that the Constitution must be allowed to be re-interpreted to accord with "common sense".

However, I think this misses the point. First, the writings of the people who wrote and ratified the second amendment give the clear impression that they meant *all* arms, including cannon and privateer ships. Second, it's as wrong to "creatively interpret" the second amendment in order to say that these days it should apply only to personal arms as it is to say that it now applies only to the National Guard, or even to say that it's entirely outmoded and can be totally ignored. Any of these is an arbitrary selective interpretation, and all are equally unsupportable, as would be any attempt to limit the first amendment protection of free speech only to, say, distribution methods reaching only a limited number of people.

In short, I think the proper approach is to say that yes, the second amendment was written to protect all arms, and thus nuclear weapons are indeed covered by it. Now before anyone has a heart attack, let me point out that I, too, think it is a good idea that individuals not own nuclear weapons.

So what's the solution? Why, to follow the procedure that the Constitution itself provides for modifying a provision of the Constitution to adapt to changing times -- amend it following the procedures in Article V. The people who wrote the constitution did not intend for it to be selectively interpreted in order to fit changing conditions. They planned that if conditions *did* change enough to warrant an alteration in the provisions of the Constitution, it should be done with due care and consideration, and only upon the agreement of two thirds of each house of congress, and three fourths of the legislatures of the states.

If times have indeed significantly changed since the day the second amendment was ratified to protect the right to keep and bear all arms, then it should be a simple matter to get the congress and the states to agree upon the issue of which weapons are too dangerous for individual ownership, and an amendment listing those arms exempted from the protections of the second amendment should be ratified.

*This* is the proper way to react to changing times -- not arbitrary decisions, whether they be personal, legislative, executive, or judicial.

The second amendment protects all arms. If you don't like that, try to amend it. For some arms, it will be easy to get the majority opinion required to ratify that exemption, and you will then have the blessing of the Constitution itself. For other arms, you might find it more difficult to acquire a consensus, and you'll have to live with the fact that not enough people agree with you.


67 posted on 04/18/2002 11:22:52 AM PDT by Dan Day
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To: inquest
But don't you see the hole that you're digging yourself into by doing that? When you encourage the courts to go off the board with regard to what the law says, then you're riding a wild horse;

The charged term "to go off the board with regard to what the law says" should be replaced with the more neutral term "interpret the law". And as to that, a gentle hint: The courts already do this. :o)

The Supreme Court of the United States is singlemindedly preoccupied with the meaning of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

68 posted on 04/18/2002 11:23:49 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Khepera
I started at thread three to make people believe this thread is more popular than it is. :o)
69 posted on 04/18/2002 11:25:22 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
Cannon shooting ball shot

I think you're overestimating your skill as an artellerist. Put that in group two.

70 posted on 04/18/2002 11:27:30 AM PDT by Pistias
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To: Pistias
I think you're overestimating your skill as an artellerist. Put that in group two.

Awwww comon dad, I promise I won't shoot Joey's eye out....!

71 posted on 04/18/2002 11:28:22 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
"Interpreting" the law isn't the same thing as re-writing the law, which is essentially what you're asking them to do, no matter how well-intentionedly. And yes, as I pointed out earlier, I'm plenty aware that the courts do this already. And I want to stop it, not encourage them further.
72 posted on 04/18/2002 11:29:05 AM PDT by inquest
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To: Lazamataz
Booby trap

And what is this doing in three? A booby trap in my yard isn't hurting anyone that should be there. What, are we talking a claymore setup with flechettes?

73 posted on 04/18/2002 11:29:09 AM PDT by Pistias
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To: Dan Day
Needless to say, we disagree because of the reasons I relayed in the article and the related assertion that my rights are bracketed by your rights.
74 posted on 04/18/2002 11:29:29 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
I'm sure that for the most part, there are very few single individuals who could single handedly cause a weapon of mass destruction to be activated. I do believe, though, that there are single individuals who exercise that control. People who possess suitcase nukes, Saddam Hussien, airline pilots when the co-pilot is in the bathroom, etc. I think the question comes down to possession vs discretion of use. I don't think its fair for some to own while others are prohibited. If we aren't all equally entitled to own what we will, then might is right. In which case owning a weapon gives you the right to.
75 posted on 04/18/2002 11:31:39 AM PDT by HaveGunWillTravel
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To: Lazamataz
And what about a death ray? One with a really, really narrow beam? Flamethrower? Flash grenades? A four-alarm chili fart?
76 posted on 04/18/2002 11:35:48 AM PDT by Pistias
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To: Lazamataz
Absent that clause, I reasonably assume they had no intent to INCLUDE the possession and use of indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction.

Well, I understand your argument to be that, from their mere failure to expressly include in the Second Amendment protection for the one indiscriminate weapon that you believe they had (contagious diseases), we are at liberty to assume that that omission represented a conscious decision on their part to exclude from the protections of the Second Amendment any and all indiscriminate weapons that might be invented or discovered in the future. I think that I might be more comfortable with your argument if there was some historical evidence linking their probably unconscious failure to expressly include contagious diseases with a conscious design on their part to exclude all indiscriminate weapons from the amendment's protection. Moreover, I think that the most reasonable inference to draw from the absence of such evidence is that those associated with the adoption of the Second Amendment never even thought about the distinction between discriminatory and indiscriminate weapons.

I do like the idea. I think that the discriminatory/indiscriminate distinction that you're making has a lot of value, but not as a constitutional tool.

BTW, if anyone anyone charges you with being a strict constructionist, I'll be happy to defend you.

;-)

77 posted on 04/18/2002 11:38:05 AM PDT by humbletheFiend
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To: Lazamataz
lol
78 posted on 04/18/2002 11:38:30 AM PDT by Khepera
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To: Lazamataz
Thanks for the post, Laz. Many excellent points were made. I would only comment that sometimes a statement is made which takes the opponent's argument to its logical conclusion rather than being a 'strawman' argument used to discredit offhandedly.
79 posted on 04/18/2002 11:42:43 AM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: Pistias
A four-alarm chili fart?

Weapon of mass destruction.

80 posted on 04/18/2002 11:44:06 AM PDT by inquest
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To: Lazamataz
FWIW, in South Africa a person can booby-trap their vehicle to protect against theft. But here in America we can't. :o(

Anyone can own a nuke. Nowhere does the Constitution deny the individual the possession of ANY weapon, or in any way limit them. The 10th Amendment guarantees that the rights not delegated to the federal government, nor prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states OR people. Until the Constitution is amended to limit the private ownership of nukes, anything else is unconstitutional.

81 posted on 04/18/2002 11:49:34 AM PDT by 4CJ
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To: Lazamataz
I think a strong argument to support your position would be the Founding Fathers reluctance to keep up standing armies. To paraphrase a part of the Maryland Constitution:

...standing armies are dangerous to liberty and ought not be kept up...

I don't think it is too hard to argue that a nuclear bomb (even a small one) essentially makes you a one-man army.

82 posted on 04/18/2002 12:20:51 PM PDT by Ranxerox
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
FWIW, in South Africa a person can booby-trap their vehicle to protect against theft. But here in America we can't. :o(

I agree with the American decision. I do not favor the possession or use of indiscriminate weapons.

Anyone can own a nuke. Nowhere does the Constitution deny the individual the possession of ANY weapon, or in any way limit them. The 10th Amendment guarantees that the rights not delegated to the federal government, nor prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states OR people. Until the Constitution is amended to limit the private ownership of nukes, anything else is unconstitutional.

I have made my argument above. Please show me exactly where I am wrong within the confines of my argument.

83 posted on 04/18/2002 12:24:43 PM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: humbletheFiend
Well, I understand your argument to be that, from their mere failure to expressly include in the Second Amendment protection for the one indiscriminate weapon that you believe they had (contagious diseases), we are at liberty to assume that that omission represented a conscious decision on their part to exclude from the protections of the Second Amendment any and all indiscriminate weapons that might be invented or discovered in the future. I think that I might be more comfortable with your argument if there was some historical evidence linking their probably unconscious failure to expressly include contagious diseases with a conscious design on their part to exclude all indiscriminate weapons from the amendment's protection. Moreover, I think that the most reasonable inference to draw from the absence of such evidence is that those associated with the adoption of the Second Amendment never even thought about the distinction between discriminatory and indiscriminate weapons.

I view the founding fathers as reasonable and sensible men, and that if one of them even briefly considered the idea that smallpox was a weapon they were protecting, they would shrug off the thought quickly as the one of brief crazy thoughts that enters any of our minds. Of course they did not debate the concept of inclusion of weapons of mass destruction -- in their time frame, only one such weapon existed, which is biological agents -- because the first person who raised the concept would have been laughed out of the convention.

The Founding Fathers were quite clear as to what they meant by arms, and that included shoulder-fired and hand weapons, as well as cannonry. There are even mentions of swords. All of these share the distinction of being discriminating weapons. The person who wishes to include indiscriminate weapons bears the responsibilty of showing me that the Founding Fathers meant for these weapons to be included in the definition of Arms as it exists in the Second Amendment.

The people who wish to adhere only to the exact text of the Second Amendment without any discussion of context and intent are mistaken, because an unreasonable man could look at the text of the Second Amendment and conclude that the right to keep and bear arms refers merely to appendages. In other words, this strict constructionist who made no effort to understand the context and intent of the Amendment could conclude that this right means you have the right not to become a double-amputee. This is a perfectly reasonable reading of the Second Amendment if you discard all common sense, and refuse to consider the writings and speeches of the Founding Fathers.

84 posted on 04/18/2002 12:40:53 PM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
You still are not addressing the authorization of private vessels of war and the armament that they may deploy.

Sorry, you do not get to narrow down the definition of 'private ownership' to exclude those actually wealthy enough to procure, maintain, and properly deploy systems that you are classifying as 'indescriminate weapons'. The Constitution doesn't make that distinction and many of us won't recognize it as a defining point at which one may or may not own a certain weapon or weapon system.

85 posted on 04/18/2002 12:43:28 PM PDT by Eagle Eye
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To: 4ConservativeJustices
I don't think its fair for some to own while others are prohibited. If we aren't all equally entitled to own what we will, then might is right. In which case owning a weapon gives you the right to.

You are crossing into National rights again. As an agent of the government, they are not exercising individual rights when they are under color of duty and possessing government property -- they are exercising national rights, which is a topic I am not presently discussing.

Not one individual on this planet is confirmed to own a nuclear weapon.

86 posted on 04/18/2002 12:44:04 PM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Eagle Eye
You still are not addressing the authorization of private vessels of war and the armament that they may deploy.

I did, search the thread.

87 posted on 04/18/2002 12:44:41 PM 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.

88 posted on 04/18/2002 12:46:49 PM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz
Missed your resonse while composing my question. Sorry.

Private warships satisified the discrimination test well, in those open seas.

Where is a warship limited to open sea use or of using only conventional weapons? Even then a warship could threaten a land-based fort or port and there was nothing then that prevented shelling from killing non-combatants or the such.

Chivalry, honor, rules of engagement, honor etc. may have prevented or limited the use or effect of some weapons systems then but I see nothing in the Constitution that prevents them. Machine guns and artillery are only as discriminating as the operators and the ammo used.

The Constitution does not have a threshold for discrimination and neither you nor the author of the article can insert one.

89 posted on 04/18/2002 12:56:13 PM PDT by Eagle Eye
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To: Eagle Eye
Then I take it you hold the position that releasing smallpox against your attacker and causing an pandemic that eliminates 200,000,000 Americans is perfectly Constitutional.

I guess you and I will have to agree to disagree.

90 posted on 04/18/2002 1:04:44 PM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: HaveGunWillTravel
Perhaps. On the other hand, all the people of Japan were not aggressing against the US when we nuked them.

I disagree: While the US was planning an invasion of Japan, it was well known and documented that the Japanese civilian population (including women and children) were training with spears and swords to defend the Island against the invading forces of the US. This made them combatants...

Mark

91 posted on 04/18/2002 1:10:50 PM PDT by MarkL
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To: society-by-contract
Private warships could, did and do engage in ship-to-shore bombardment. By the way you have a facility, as witnessed in other posts and other threads, to convey your ideas effectivly through the use of humor.

You're right on the money here: I've got a friend with a lakehouse, and one of their boats has this giant water balloon sling shot... They can sit off shore, and drop water balloons on your head from 50-75 yards out! Suprised the hell out of a bunch of us once.

Mark

92 posted on 04/18/2002 1:16:48 PM PDT by MarkL
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To: Lazamataz
Then I take it you hold the position that releasing smallpox against your attacker and causing an pandemic that eliminates 200,000,000 Americans is perfectly Constitutional.

I don't appreciate you trying to frame my thoughts. Was the nuking of Hiroshima perfectly COnstitutional? What if the A bomb had been developed by private research and the only means of deployment was privately owned?

The use of small pax as a US GOVERNMENT POLICY was probably Constitutional since I cannot see any Constitutional prohibition.

Now was it moral or ethical? Looking back in retrospect it is easy to say that no, it wasn't.

Does the Constitution prevent Ross Perot or Bill Gates from owning private vessels of war? No.

Does the Constitution prescribe what weapons thoe privately owned vessels of war may or may not use? No. commissioned by the US government? No.

93 posted on 04/18/2002 1:21:46 PM PDT by Eagle Eye
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To: Lazamataz
:Not one individual on this planet is confirmed to own a nuclear weapon.

Groups cannot and do not have any rights individuals do not have.

Brady

94 posted on 04/18/2002 1:27:09 PM PDT by society-by-contract
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To: Lazamataz
In post number 49, I raised the following question:

"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?"

As you might guess, the more general version of this question - can we sensibly discuss whether someone had an "intention" regarding something he never thought about? - has been kicked around for literally thousands of years and has always been a source of controversy in the area of statutory construction. To avoid the problem, some have looked to the language of the statute and the circumstances surrounding its enactment in an effort to discover a legislative "purpose" that may be broader than and independent of the particular subjective intentions and thought processes of the particular persons who enacted it. Of course, this approach should be used with a great deal of caution because it greatly expands the range of options available to the person who is doing the interpreting.

95 posted on 04/18/2002 1:31:47 PM PDT by humbletheFiend
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To: Eagle Eye
I'm sorry you are offended by your own conclusions, but you have stated that there is no consideration of the discrimination of a weapon in the Consitution (to wit: "The Constitution does not have a threshold for discrimination and neither you nor the author of the article can insert one").

This means that any weapon, regardless of discrimination, can be kept and borne. Ergo, the most indiscriminate of all possible weapons -- biological agents -- may be kept and borne by any private citizen.

These are your conclusions, and I disagree with them.

96 posted on 04/18/2002 1:34:37 PM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz

You posted an excellent example of taking the opponent's view to its logical conclusion. It wasn't a strawman argument at all.

97 posted on 04/18/2002 1:37:20 PM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: Lazamataz
Lazamataz said: "Then I take it you hold the position that releasing smallpox against your attacker and causing an pandemic that eliminates 200,000,000 Americans is perfectly Constitutional."

The germ theory of disease was not well understood several hundred years ago. The word "malaria" means "bad air" and derives from the thinking that it was caused by odors or gas in the environment. This would complicate matters for our Founders since they would not be able to conceive of the control mechanism for inflicting injury at all, let alone selectively.

I have read of sieges during which the carcasses of dead horses would be catapulted across barriers to encourage disease among the besieged. I don't know for sure if this practice was used in post-Colonial America.

Cities during both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War would come under siege and would be bombarded with heated shot with the sole intention of starting fires to drive the occupants out. This seems pretty indiscriminate to me and yet it would have the desired effect of defeating an enemy.

98 posted on 04/18/2002 1:42:58 PM PDT by William Tell
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To: Lazamataz
You have yet to show where the Constitution prohibits ANY weapon or weapons systems, and in the process, your tone is deterioriating.

Do you agree that the Constitution provides for privateers?

If so, what Constitutionally imposed restrictions are there on what weapons may be deployed.

Do not try to make this into a discussion of you trying to corner me into advocating NBC use, especially first strike use because that isn't the issue.

You are acting as an advocate of 'common sense' arms control, and being such, you want to impose 'reasonable' restrictions on what other people may own. Obviously the Founders never considered automatic weapons or long-range rifles.

Does this sound familiar? Your desire to restrict other based upon what you don't think someone else needs is no different in principle than HCI, just not as restricitve.

My position that the Constitution does not deny the individual the right to own any weapon does not imply approval of any improper use of that weapon, be it a nuke or a slingshot.

99 posted on 04/18/2002 2:01:16 PM PDT by Eagle Eye
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To: Lazamataz
My friend, I'm not arguing that individuals should own such weapons, only that as written, the Constitution does not have any limitation as to what "arms" may be used.

Consideriing that the people were the "militia" of their state, and that Madison and Hamilton both argued in the Federalist Papers that the militia (people) could be used against the national army, it obviously stood to reason that they advocated equal armament capabilities.

"Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American ... [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."
Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, 20 Feb 1788.

"[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights."
Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers, Federalist No. 29, "Concerning the Militia", 10 Jan 1788.

"Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. ... To these would be opposed a militia ... officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops."
James Madison, Federalist Papers, Federalist No. 46, "The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared", 29 Jan 1788.

I don't think that limiting the weapons used was what they had in mind. They wanted a well-armed people to be a barrier to tyrants.
100 posted on 04/18/2002 2:08:52 PM PDT by 4CJ
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