Thursday, November 22, 2007

The 2nd Amendment

The 2nd amendment reads;
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.

What is the plain and literal meaning of the 2nd amendment? We can gain some insight from previous opinions of tax, federal and supreme court decisions. Though these deal with statutes I would think the same logic would apply to the 2nd amendment.

In construing a statute, courts generally seek the plain and literal meaning of its language. See United States v. Locke, 471 U.S. 84, 93, 95-96 (1985); United States v. American Trucking Associations, Inc., 310 U.S. 534, 543 (1940). For that purpose, courts generally assume that Congress uses common words in their popular meaning. See Commissioner v. Groetzinger, 480 U.S. 23, 28 (1987), affg. 771 F.2d 269 (7th Cir. 1985).

In deciding whether the regulation comports with the statute’s plain language, we look to the ordinary usage or settled meanings of the words used in the statute by Congress. See Lynch v. Alworth-Stephens Co., 267 U.S. 364, 370 (1925). There is a strong presumption that Congress expresses its intention through the language it chooses. See INS v. Cardoza- Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 432 n.12 (1987).

A regulation may not contradict the unambiguous language of a statute. See Citizen’s Natl. Bank v. United States, 417 F.2d 675 (5th Cir. 1969); Hefti v. Commissioner, 97 T.C. 180, 189 (1991), affd. 983 F.2d 868 (8th Cir. 1993).

Where the statute’s language is plain, the language is where the interpretive task should end, and the sole function of the courts is to enforce such language according to its terms. United States v. Ron Pair Enters., Inc., 489 U.S. 235, 241 (1989); United States v. Merriam, 263 U.S. 179, 187-188 (1923)(stating that tax statutes are not to be extended by implication beyond the clear import of the language used).

What are the common words in the 2nd amendment? right, people, keep, arms, infringed? Is there any disagreement on what right means?

Infringed - to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another. therefore "shall not infringed" would mean you cannot encroach on the persons stated right which is to keep bear arms.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

In 1776, the only arms people had were long rifles, pistals and some had cannon. I do not see any condition on who could or could not keep and bear arms. I also do not see any condition on the type of arms that could be kept. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state” means what? The colonists were not thrilled with the King’s army and hid their weapons. Keeping this in mind, do you think that any new government would make it a right to keep and bear arms, for those who had buried their weapons prior to the Revolution?

The militia of 1776 did not have a local meeting place or an armory. The citizen solders kept their own weapons’, brought their own lead shot and powder. I support 100% the right of an individual to keep and bear arms.


At 8:21 PM, Blogger Phil Marx said...

Bill, I am copying here my comments that I left on a recent post at Fort Wayne Left "" I don't know if you read that, so I thought I'd direct your attention there.

My opinion regarding gun rights has largely been developed as a result of my experiences living in my current neighborhood.

Last week, I was awakened at five in the morning by the sound of a body being slammed against the side of my house. I went outside and found three drug dealers wrestling in the middle of the street. Several pieces of wood that had been leaning against the side of my house were now strewn along the edge of the street.

I told them to leave. They refused. I told them if they didn't leave now, that I would call the police. They ignored me, so I went in and called the police.

I came back outside, and the drug dealers were walking away from the area. I had to wait now, because I had called the police. When the police arrived, I described the situation. One officer said "I thought we had things settled down over here." I named one of the drug dealers (I'll call him Joe) who had just left. This is a person who is known to every police officer that works this area. I explained how things seem to really get noisy when he's around, and that for the past two weeks he has been very active.

The next morning, I was working outside and Joe returned to the area and began selling drugs from the corner. At one point, he lit (for legal purposes, I'll say what appeared to be) a crack pipe. He was not hidden by any buildings or anything else. This guy was standing out in the open smoking his pipe.

I didn't call the police for two reasons. First, I have observed enough of Joe's behavior over the years to believe that his activities are sanctioned by the police (either the department or certain individuals). You don't act this brazenly as a matter of habit, and get away with it, unless you have someone looking out for you. The second reason was, as happened the previous night, by the time the police arrived, Joe would have been gone. So, the net result would have been to just waste my time. No action would have been taken against the criminal.

Now, as you know, last year the drug dealers attempted to burn down my house. They did this because I had been talking with the police, asking for help with the criminal activities which have been taking place here for many years.

You would not believe how big the problem is. I know the police do take some action on it, but they are going about it in the wrong way. For three years, I had offered to several police officers the use of my house. I would have let them place cameras and officers inside of my home to get at the heart of this problem. Instead of doing this, they continue to play games with the drug dealers and the innocent victims of their criminal activities. The results are that I live in a neighborhood that is controlled by armed drug dealers.

Over the years, I have spoken to other law enforcement agencies about the problem. The county sheriff told me they don't like to act within the city limits. The state police told me they felt confident that FWPD could handle the problem. The Federal DEA told me that I should talk to the FWPD. The county prosecutor only told me her office has no jurisdiction over FWPD.

So, I am living in a neighborhood where the government has effectively abdicated responsibility for the problems here. In this respect, I have no government acting to protect me. I must own a gun, for my own personal defense.

I have often heard people calling for a change to the second amendment. They claim that since this was written during the time of savage Indian attacks and a lawless frontier, it made sense. But now, they claim, our civilized world calls for changes to this amendment. I would like to see those people live in my neighborhood for a while. Then I’d like to hear their opinion on the matter.


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