Founding Fathers Would Have Allowed Restrictions on Guns

This is a discussion on Founding Fathers Would Have Allowed Restrictions on Guns within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; For those of you that expressed thoughts along the line of Breyer I would suggest you find a copy of " That Every Man Be ...

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  1. #61
    Ex Member Array F350's Avatar
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    For those of you that expressed thoughts along the line of Breyer I would suggest you find a copy of "That Every Man Be Armed" by Stephen P Halbrook. Also a reading of "The Federalist Papers" specifically #28, especially #29, 46 & 60 is in order. Also a little perusing here http://www.guncite.com/journals/index.html wouldn't hut you either, there are 10 articles by Stephen Halbook as well

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  3. #62
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    So, Breyer not only sits on the highest court in the land, but he also has the ability to channel the thoughts of Founding Fathers

    I guess after he retires he can get a job on the Sci-Fi Channel as a clairvoyant!

  4. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Alte View Post
    After years of reading, I have come to the conclusion that the 2nd Amendment was established for only one purpose and that is to protect the people from the government. Thats probably the reason so many of the liberals are against the 2nd. Without individuals owning firearms you would be at the mercy of a tyrannical government.
    I think you hit the nail on the head. That, and the fact it is #2 in a list implies that "protection of the people from the government" was possibly a major factor driving force in the mindset over 200 years ago. I don't know for sure obviously. But it seems to make sense.

    -Al

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    "shall not be infringed" sounds pretty clear to me and as others have mentioned a major concern for including the 2nd Amendment in the BOR was concern regarding a tyrannical government. This appears only to be a mystery and item of debate among revisionist historians while honest historians view it as the inconvenient 2nd Amendment.
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  6. #65
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    As Thomas Jefferson wrote, "On every question of construction (of the Constitution), carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or INVENTED AGAINST IT, conform to the probably one in which it was passed."

    OR -- given that we were in a war against a tyrannical government who wanted to suppress citizen's ownership of weapons, the 2nd Amendment explicitly guaranteed that such a thing shall not happen.

    "Shall not be infringed" isn't vague at all -- and leaves no room for different interpretation.

  7. #66
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    [QUOTE=Hopyard;182699 ...

    Anyway, you missed the point. Founders were not willing to tolerate rebellion, and that is clear evidence that whatever 2A meant, it wasn't there to protect any supposed right of the people to rebel. Later The Union was not about to tolerate rebellion either, and didn't.

    You want to rebel, run for office and filibuster on the Senate floor for 8 hours.[/QUOTE] ------------------------

    Don't know much about the Whiskey rebellion, but there's a difference between "rebellion", as you seem to use the term, and the right of a people to defend themselves against tyranny and corruption. (Of course, a government may be inclined to call any resistance "rebellion", and rebels may be inclined to call their government tyrannical, but that just provides spin and twist.)

    You also seem to suggest that events that were not part of the debates, and were separate from them, tell the original intent of the Second better than the history of the debates themselves. There's a logical problem, there.

    The main problem, though, is that your idea seems to require us to avoid comparing events, or doing any factual evaluation, and assume (!) that any resistance to any government is the same as any other. Good start for some classroom philosophy discussion, I guess, but not a good place to stop the analysis.

    Also, FWIW, in those events Washington was not acting as a regular citizen, and he was not writing any amendments. What he did then was a function of the government.
    Last edited by dugo; July 1st, 2011 at 11:19 PM.

  8. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by dugo View Post
    ------------------------

    Don't know much about the Whiskey revellion, but there's a difference between "rebellion", as you seem to use the term, and the right of a people to defend themselves against tyranny and corruption.
    From the opening description at Wikipedia, "The Whiskey Rebellion, less commonly known as the Whiskey Insurrection, was a resistance movement in what was the western part of the United States in the 1790s, during the presidency of George Washington. The conflict was rooted in western dissatisfaction with various policies of the eastern-based national government. "

    I do not understand the distinction you are attempting to draw between rebellion and defense against a supposed tyranny or corruption.

    President Washington, himself no stranger to rebellion having led a successful one, understood that a government can not tolerate rebellion and survive. He used Federalized forces to uphold the laws of the new government and put the rebellion down.

    Based on this historical incident, which occurred in the earliest days of our country, arguments that 2A was put in place to allow for rebellion look rather silly.

    Surely GW, the various governors of the day, the Congress Critters of the time, and The Supremes of the time, would have impeached GW if they thought 2A was in our constitution to allow for a rebellion, or that GW was unconstitutionally suppressing the rebels.

    Its been famously said that our constitution isn't a suicide pact. Interpretations of 2A which claim citizen rights to rebel are highly misguided. No government can or will allow for armed resistance or rebellion against it.

    2A makes sense if it is viewed as a right to keep arms for lawful purposes; rebellion of course by its nature is unlawful.

    Folks as us who are in favor of gun owner rights do ourselves a huge disservice when we make the claim that 2A allows for rebellion. The claim makes us look both foolish and dangerous in the eyes of others, and is therefore counterproductive to our goals.

  9. #68
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    Hoppy=

    Everread Federalist #46?? If please explain you interpretation of ...

    The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition. The reasonings contained in these papers must have been employed to little purpose indeed, if it could be necessary now to disprove the reality of this danger. That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm, and continue to supply the materials, until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads, must appear to every one more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism. Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. 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. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, 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. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.

  10. #69
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    I got lost after the first few sentences. Look, The Federalist Papers are conversations and editorials; they aren't constitution or law.

    The question at hand appears to be whether of not the founders (to whatever extent there may have been some generally accepted understanding) viewed 2A as permitting (even sanctioning for a supposed cause of freedom) rebellion. The answer is rather obviously NO. The founders held no such view because if they had, George Washington would have been impeached for using the military to suppress the Whiskey rebellion. Nor was the Whiskey rebellion the first and only rebellion the US government dealt with harshly; but it was the first one after the adoption of our present constitution and the dissolution of The Articles of Confederation.

    Again, we do ourselves a huge disservice when we promote the idea that 2A is there to enable armed resistance against our government. We look foolish and dangerous to others when we say things as that, and the idea is clearly wrong based on factual history and practicality.

  11. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    From the opening description at Wikipedia, "The Whiskey Rebellion, less commonly known as the Whiskey Insurrection, was a resistance movement in what was the western part of the United States in the 1790s, during the presidency of George Washington. The conflict was rooted in western dissatisfaction with various policies of the eastern-based national government. "

    I do not understand the distinction you are attempting to draw between rebellion and defense against a supposed tyranny or corruption.

    President Washington, himself no stranger to rebellion having led a successful one, understood that a government can not tolerate rebellion and survive. He used Federalized forces to uphold the laws of the new government and put the rebellion down.

    Based on this historical incident, which occurred in the earliest days of our country, arguments that 2A was put in place to allow for rebellion look rather silly.

    Surely GW, the various governors of the day, the Congress Critters of the time, and The Supremes of the time, would have impeached GW if they thought 2A was in our constitution to allow for a rebellion, or that GW was unconstitutionally suppressing the rebels.

    Its been famously said that our constitution isn't a suicide pact. Interpretations of 2A which claim citizen rights to rebel are highly misguided. No government can or will allow for armed resistance or rebellion against it.

    2A makes sense if it is viewed as a right to keep arms for lawful purposes; rebellion of course by its nature is unlawful.

    Folks as us who are in favor of gun owner rights do ourselves a huge disservice when we make the claim that 2A allows for rebellion. The claim makes us look both foolish and dangerous in the eyes of others, and is therefore counterproductive to our goals.


    When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.
    Thomas Jefferson

    The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.
    Thomas Jefferson


    The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
    Thomas Jefferson
    Always remember that others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.
    Richard M Nixon
    Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.”
    Jeff Cooper

  12. #71
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    Again, we do ourselves a huge disservice when we promote the idea that 2A is there to enable armed resistance against our government. We look foolish and dangerous to others when we say things as that, and the idea is clearly wrong based on factual history and practicality.
    Seems like there was a rebellion over this very question once that resulted in over 500,000 Americans dying over it. The North said NO, the South did it.

    It wasnt settled then really, and I doubt it will ever be settled now as there are two camps on it. One says citizens have the right of rebellion and one dont.

    The beauty of it is, as long as we do retain the right to bear arms, it keeps the Government in check, even if its nothing but the possibilty of rebellion. It doesnt always have to happen to be effective, just the thought of it can change things.

    If you do a study on all the writings back then, it becomes painfully obvious that the Founders of this nation clearly understood that the private ownership of arms was not only for personal security, but also as a final check against a government run amok. When all else failed and every peaceful means were exhausted, then the shooting started.
    The First Government that we had understood that tyrants understand force and only force. Its a sad fact of life that some people need to be shot to prevent the greater harm.

    It is no different today than it was then.
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  13. #72
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    HOPYARD: Let me try to say this another way. Your perspective is wrong. You are narrowly focussed on what is important to the government; but, the needs and survival of the government -- even though they were vitally important, and at that time were at risk -- were still considered largely secondary to the needs and survival of the people.

    The Second amendment in specific was never about what the government could or could not tolerate or allow from the people. It was about the freedom of the people and what they could or could not tolerate or allow from their government.

    Regarding language, my post did not say, as yours implies, that there was a "distinction" between "rebellion and defense against a supposed tyranny", etc. My post said there is a difference between "rebellion, as you seem to use the term, and the right to defense against tyranny..." This semingly small difference in language carries certain implications. Did you intend this as a "spin"?

    Also, aong those same lines, you repeat several times that folks claim the Second "allows for rebellion". I agree that people who repeat that may do gun owners a disservice, as it may be inflamatory and misleading. More constructive -- and accurate -- language would recognize the concerns of the time for personal defense and defense of a "free state". (Since they had recently thrown off what they considered a tyrannical and corrupt government, however, it is not plausible to claim that they didn't consider that as a possibility.)
    Last edited by dugo; July 2nd, 2011 at 01:29 AM.

  14. #73
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    As implied earlier, another way to consider your (Hopyard's) position might be to focus on the different functions, or roles, that individuals (like Washington) were fulfilling at each time in question, rather than focussing on the individuals only. An analogy from today might be the attorney who works as a prosecutor for a while, then in a different case works as a defense attorney. On certain issues, the functions he serves require different answers to the same question.

    (For example, as a prosecutor, he might give the defense attorney all the information he has, especially if it is helpful to the defendant. As a defense attorney, he does much the opposite. He may try to avoid revealing a witness or deliberately fail to give over certain evidence. Each position might seem "right", according to the role the lawyer is serving at the time; and, to switch this around would be "wrong." It would be a fallacy to look at the lawyer and try to claim that because as a prosecutor he revealed all evidence, it means that he thinks all defense attornies must do the same.)

    At the time of the American Revolution, Washington was trying to help throw off an oppressive government. Later, as President, he was trying to preserve the Union. These two are not the same thing, so it is not logical (even if it seems plausible on the surface) to equate them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kccad View Post
    If you look at the values and the historical record, you will see that the Founding Fathers never intended guns to go unregulated, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer contended Sunday.

    Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Breyer said history stands with the dissenters in the court's decision to overturn a Washington, D.C., handgun ban in the 2008 case "D.C. v. Heller."

    Breyer wrote the dissent and was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He said historians would side with him in the case because they have concluded that Founding Father James Madison was more worried that the Constitution may not be ratified than he was about granting individuals the right to bear arms.

    Madison "was worried about opponents who would think Congress would call up state militias and nationalize them. 'That can't happen,' said Madison," said Breyer, adding that historians characterize Madison's priority as, "I've got to get this document ratified."

    Therefore, Madison included the Second Amendment to appease the states, Breyer said.



    Read more: Breyer: Founding Fathers Would Have Allowed Restrictions on Guns - FoxNews.com
    Of course they would. The Founders set up a system of checks and balances to all, including to the will of one group within the population or to the population as a whole in any one collective desire of the moment. What came out was a country of moderation with relative individual freedom within the larger society of many other individuals. In this way everyone's freedom was protected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Seems like there was a rebellion over this very question once that resulted in over 500,000 Americans dying over it. The North said NO, the South did it.

    It wasnt settled then really, and I doubt it will ever be settled now as there are two camps on it. One says citizens have the right of rebellion and one dont.
    HG, earlier in this thread QK posted this :

    "Constitution of Pennsylvania - ratified September 28, 1776

    XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state;"

    Please note the PA tied a right to bear arms to both defense of the individual and to defense of the state. PA, in 1776, did not
    grant its citizens any right of rebellion; and neither does the US Constitution.

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