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