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K-Mac

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

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The primary reason I own a gun (the first and foremost reason) is for personal protection. The fundamental reason for the right to keep and bear arms in the Constitution, is to protect men from government.

....

I'm dumbfounded that this thread is so controversial.

Actually you've put your finger on it right here. I am completely opposed to people owning guns in the US as it exists for the purpose of armed insurrection against the government. I am completely opposed to any infringement of the right of citizens to own guns. The discussion here is clearly not about whether a person has the right to own guns which we all recognize, it is about whether a individual should in fact exercise that unquestioned right. Supposing you had no hunting or defense-against-criminals reasons for being armed, I maintain that it is irrational for a person to exercise that right to bear arms only on the mythical presumption that the government will come to get you. Of course, if you actually believe that that is gonna happen, then it's not an irrational choice (but then we could probe into the rationality of the assumption that the government will be gunning for you soon, but not tonight).

Now here, you're attempting to link the right to own guns to the specifics of the US Constitution. But that is not the proper derivation of the right to bear arms. The right to bear arms flows from the right of a man to live according to his values, respecting the rights of others.

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So you disagree with the Founding Fathers? It's a good thing they didn't think the way you did, or I'd be drinking over-taxed, hot tea instead of this nice, refreshing glass of iced tea I've got here. :thumbsup:

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Founders or Framers? You quoted from both, but they are ideologically distinct groups, with different beliefs and different intents.

~Q

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I don't wish to put words in her mouth, but that's not what she means. We all know that such rights were simply enumerated in the constitution.

Re: your concern here:

Actually you've put your finger on it right here. I am completely opposed to people owning guns in the US as it exists for the purpose of armed insurrection against the government.

The key here being as it exists. That is not the purpose that any of us here have for keeping them, i.e., overthrowing the legitimite government on a whim. Recall these words from the Declaration of Independance: "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

Personal arms are multi-functional tools, and one of those functions is to keep tyranny in check. At this point in time, they are not yet needed to fufill that purpose.

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The key here being as it exists. That is not the purpose that any of us here have for keeping them, i.e., overthrowing the legitimite government on a whim.
The numbers on that question aren't clear to me. I don't think anybody is suggesting overthrowing Bush / Obama on a whim, but I would like to know what exactly Sanjavalen has in mind to use his guns for. But it's getting to be about time to listen to The News. There does appear to be a belief that the US has descended far enough into fascism to the point that armed insurrection is probably necessary within a lifetime, even if it's not necessary today. Well, let me check The News to see if I'm mistaken about it not being necessary.

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AP Associated Press

Supreme Court strikes down D.C. handgun ban

By MARK SHERMAN – 5 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices' first definitive pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

Edited by Old Toad

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And K-mac never said that guns alone ensure freedom.

Not explicitly, no. But she explicitly disagreed with my statement that the right to own a gun will not protect any individual from the most significant destructive ideological forces in the United States. The objective of my subsequent commentary was not an insinuation on what I thought K-mac said or what I perceived she was thinking. Instead, it was a corroboration of my initial statement.

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If I understand correctly, I think David’s and DW’s point is that for a domestic government (as opposed to a foreign conqueror), the government is going to be a reflection of the dominant philosophy among the people. There may be some inertia from the past as the dominant philosophy changes, of course. We can see this in the United States, which is now holding some lines on a few fundamental freedoms largely based on tradition.

When it comes to armed resistance against an oppressive domestic government, I think it would be very unlikely to be able to accomplish anything more than the substitution of one particular form of government for another, e.g., changing one despot for another, unless the armed resistance is motivated by a rising popularity of a more rational philosophy. Otherwise any substitution would be essentially a matter of form - not substance - and like as not it would be a change for the worse. The new government would reflect the dominant – or at least the rising – philosophy among the people.

Of course self-defense is legitimate, including against a despotic government, but how can a tiny percentage of people physically defend themselves against the vast majority? It would at least require tremendous dedication to the preparation for an organized defense and probably also a huge technological advantage. We have neither.

But maybe it’s just that I have not been invited to Galt’s Gulch?

Note:

Edited to delete an inchoate comment re today's SCOTUS opinion.

Edited by Old Toad

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First of all, it should be pointed out that in view of the growth of the state and the decline of individual liberty over the past 50 years there is no reason to be overly optimistic about the "limited" nature of our government. To take just one indicator, government spending is double what it was in 1960 and 14 times its level in 1900, even with adjusting for inflation. Government spending, financed by theft and inflation, eats away at private property, which is a prerequisite of freedom.

Secondly, the purpose of a well-armed populace need not be to battle an imminent threat but a potential one. Consider, by comparison, the nation’s arsenal of nuclear weapons. On a percentage scale of 0% to 100%, what is the likelihood that the U.S. is going to deploy any significant portion of its 10.000+ nuclear weapons this summer? Does the logic of probable necessity dictate that we get rid of all those weapons we won’t be using in the next year or so?

Finally, and this point cannot be emphasized enough: the mere presence of guns and ammo in millions of American homes serves as a deterrent against tyranny. See the human cost of gun control laws here: http://www.jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/deathgc.htm#dgc

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It's not that hard, people. I'm not talking about defending ideas or philosophy. I'm not talking about going psycho, forming a militia of crazies that hate all authority and attacking the government for no good reason. I'm talking about defending your life. (Which the people of Zimbabwe are helpless to do right now.) I'm talking about when a person or entity physically confronts you and intends to do you harm or kill you, you have the right to defend yourself. A gun is the most effective way to do that. That's it. You all sure know how to get off track from the original post. :wacko:

And for those of you cheering today's SCOTUS decision, don't get too excited. The Court left plenty of wiggle room for other unnecessary and unwarranted restrictions to be put in place, such as a registry, banning certain types of guns, parts and/or ammunition, etc. They did not stand up in defense of the Second Amendment. They even suggested that, like the First Amendment, it's not unlimited. :P

And finally, thank you to the few of you who seem to understand what I'm getting at. It's nice to know there are others out there who get it. For the rest of you, when the government is out of control and physically attacking people (as in Zimbabwe), don't expect your neighbors to rush to your rescue. We've probably only got enough guns and ammo for our own households. If you and everyone else who think guns aren't important had enough for your own households, the government would be no physical threat to us at all in 5, 10, 50 or 100 or more years. If you don't think the government restricting our right to keep and bear arms in any way, shape or form isn't going down a slippery slope, I think you're wrong and it will be very difficult for you to convince me otherwise. History has many fine examples that discredit your ignorant optimism.

A few more good quotes I found...

"Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA - ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State."

Heinrich Himmler

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."

Mahatma Gandhi

Edited by K-Mac

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Suppose that 30% of Americans understand what individual rights are and are ready to institute a government that will uphold them. However, they are consistently out-voted in elections and are subjected to increasing violations of their rights by the government. Suppose further that the pro-freedom 30% have a good chance of winning should a civil war break out, and can expect most of the nation's military to join their side in the case of such a conflict. Under such a scenario, should the freedom-lovers submit obediently to the ever-growing depredations of the majority--or should they respond to force with force, defeat their oppressors, and establish a capitalist government?

I don't think America is very far from this scenario being a reality.

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Suppose that 30% of Americans understand what individual rights are and are ready to institute a government that will uphold them.

I don't think America is very far from this scenario being a reality.

30% is wildly optimistic. When I look at my neighbors and the folk I work with, I cannot come anywhere close to that number.

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I don't think America is very far from this scenario being a reality.

I think that might depend on how tyranical an Obama presidency might be.

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How close we are to absolute dictatorship is worth debating but difficult to measure with any certainty. But the relevant points for this discussion are:

1. Gun ownership is insurance, albeit partial, against death or enslavement by government thugs.

2. Gun ownership is a warning to would-be despots not to try to pull a fast one.

Edited by Unknown Idealist

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It's not that hard, people. I'm not talking about defending ideas or philosophy. I'm talking about defending your life. (Which the people of Zimbabwe are helpless to do right now.)
That's quite true, it is not hard at all. Here's another fact that is not at all hard to grasp: this is not Zimbabwe, and drawing analogies between the US and Zimbabwe is completely in error. Zimbabwe is an actual, factual oppressive dictatorship; the US is by far the freest nation in the world. No two governments could be more different. The one and only valid and applicable defense-type reason for having a gun in the US is to defend yourself against an assailant. And yet, the right to bear arms combined with the fact that you morally should not have weapons solely for the purpose of overthrowing the government does not mean that one has to justify having a gun.

I'm just saying that if you rationalize gun ownership (to yourself) on the grounds that the US is on the verge of becoming a fascist dictatorship, then you are evading reality. The US still has freedom of speech, open elections and the rule of law, and armed insurrection is not necessary. If there were evidence of a US dictatorship, of course you should start stockpiling arms (and pray that the replacement government that you impose was not worse than the one you overthrew). Just because you have a legal right does not mean you are morally obligated to exercise it, and in my opinion, stockpiling arms out of fear of fascism in America is not rational.

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I never said the current state of the US is the same as the current state of Zimbabwe. Never.

If you wait until there is evidence of a dictatorship, as history has shown time and time again, it's too late. One of the common denominators of dictatorships is the government's systematic disarming of its people, which the Supreme Court nearly did in it's 5/4 Heller decision. In addition, an armed citizenry that is aware of is rights and willing to fight for them, if need be, will be feared by its government, thus preventing a dictatorship, or any evidence of one.

I'm all about preventative medicine. Of course, I learned that the hard way. I was robbed in my own home before I wised up and bought a gun for personal protection. Do you really want to wait for evidence that a physical confrontation may occur before obtaining a means to protect yourself? By the time there was evidence of my robbery (a drug addict kicking in my back door) it was a bit late to run out and buy a handgun. I didn't even have time to fire off a call to 9-1-1.

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Suppose that 30% of Americans understand what individual rights are and are ready to institute a government that will uphold them. ...

I agree with SoftwareNerd, 30% seems wildly optimistic. Maybe 3%. Maybe.

For a tiny percentage of the population to seek to defend themselves against the government? (Not as it is now, of course, but if it heads toward totalitarianism.) Just for example, I found this photo of the SWAT team of the Sheriff's department in the Florida Keys, and found others like it for various sheriff's and small police departments accross the country, let alone those of a big city or the Feds:

P2092200.jpg

Santiago, I think you're gonna need a lot more guns. It may be possible to reason with these guys, but good luck in a firefight against them. :thumbsup:

Edited by Old Toad

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There are one million people in the army (and I'm quite sure a good number of those would turn and fight with civilians in the case of a dictatorship in America.) There are 300 some odd million citizens in the US. If the general population were reasonably armed, as it used to be and as it should be, I don't think the government and the military stand a chance against the rest of us; however, the point is, the government and military would be far less likely to get to that point, if they know everyone is armed and willing to defend their rights.

Also, taking what Rand said from the second to last or last essay in PWNI, I think America's sense of life is what can still save her. As liberal and idiotic as some of our citizens seem, they still have that American sense of life stuck inside of them down deep. Most Americans are moderates, not crazy left and right wingers. I think you'd be surprised how many people would push back once pushed too far. So perhaps the 30% mentioned by CF is too high and 3% is about right for now, but maybe in 10 years when things are worse, that 3% will have swelled to 30%?? I don't know, just a thought. Maybe I'm too optimistic. :thumbsup:

Edited by K-Mac

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It's not that hard, people. I'm not talking about defending ideas or philosophy. I'm not talking about going psycho, forming a militia of crazies that hate all authority and attacking the government for no good reason.

But that sounds so fun.

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I can almost guarantee, having spent eight years in the U.S. Army, that our military would not allow the civilian government to turn despotic. The Constitution is ingrained upon the cerebral cortex of our military officers, particularly the Marines. Our police forces likewise would not go along with the program. The armed forces of this country is our greatest asset and friend, make no mistake.

Edited by Maximus

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... I don't think the government and the military stand a chance against the rest of us; ...

I think this is where we are miscommunicating.

Who is "the rest of us" that would stand up to fight for individual rights? The "rest of us" voting for Obama? The "rest of us" voting for McCain? The "rest of us" voting for higher and higher taxes on the rich (i.e., anyone who makes more than the median income) to redistribute their wealth to the poor of the whole world? The "rest of us" voting for “eminent domain” to build a mall for the public benefit? The "rest of us" voting for socialized medicine for the children? And the elderly? And everybody? The "rest of us" voting for drug control? The “rest of us” voting for fat control? The "rest of us" voting for gun control?

Is democracy even recognized as a tyranny of the majority? The loss of our freedoms will not take place overnight, but gradually one vote at a time, like how one boils a toad.

Ayn Rand once wrote something to the effect that the difference between communism and socialism is the difference between murder and suicide.

Edited by Old Toad

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30% is wildly optimistic. When I look at my neighbors and the folk I work with, I cannot come anywhere close to that number.

Oh, I didn't say America is there right now. But we are moving in that direction. The government is getting more and more statist, while Atlas Shrugged continues to be the most widely-read book other than the Bible and an increasing number of ARI op-eds and letters to the editor get published in the national media.

There are not many people who fully understand individual rights at the moment and stand up for them on principle, but there is a majority of voters that understand individual rights well enough to oppose statist encroachments such as ... gun control, for example. The Messiah himself has just delivered evidence of this when he flipped his position on gun control as soon as the Supreme Court decision came out. It's not that he has stopped lusting to confiscate weapons from individuals--it's only that he has come to realize that he has to pretend otherwise if he wants to be elected.

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