"To keep and to BEAR"
I've debated the second amendment with a local newspaper columnist who is anti (although claims he is not) for years. He contends that he is not against the 2A because he thinks it indicates people should be able to own guns, but he contends that it does not mean they should be able to carry them in public.
I contend that the wording of the 2A contradicts his position. The founding fathers intentionally used both words "to keep and to BEAR" arms. My position is that to keep means you can own them, to bear means you can carry them and possess them with you when you are mobile. We've debated the definitions of "bear" as a verb, what it means now versus what it meant then, the whole "all they had were muskets" debate, etc. I still come back to if all they meant was you can own them in your home, then why use both terms? There was a deliberate purpose in including both terms or it would have been redudnant. You would not use two words meaning the same thing in a document with such legal importance. There had to be a reason for each word.
As you would expect, he doesn't agree with my take on it but he hasn't been able to provide any evidence to the contrary. He also hasn't been able to provide any logical reason why these two words were used if, as he contends, they meant the same thing.
I just thought I would share my thoughts on the different view of "to keep AND to bear." What do you think? Difference in meaning? If so or not, what is your take? I'm just looking for more perspectives to hone my debating skills on this subject. Thanks.
My take is that "bear" means to carry on your person for possible use of such.
A gun that you dont have on your person to "bear" when you need it isnt going to do you much good.
Liberals and Politicians excell at making words mean what they want them to mean and they like to argue with people that know what they mean.
The founders of this country were well educated men. They understood what they wrote and they wrote it for a reason. This crap of "it dosent mean what it really means" is a liberal fabrication that has been picking up speed lately.
bear - 2. To carry from one place to another; transport.
From Dictionary - Yahoo! Education
With that definition in mind HotGuns nailed it.
From NC. He'd have a hard time making his argument.
We concede the full force of the ingenious argument made by counsel upon this point, but cannot admit its application to the statute in question. The distinction between the "right to keep and bear arms," and "the practice of carrying concealed weapons" is plainly observed in the constitution of this state. The first, it is declared, shall not be infringed, while the latter may be prohibited. Art. I, sec. 24.
As to the surest inhibition that could be put upon this practice deemed so hurtful as to be the subject of express mention in the organic law of the state, the legislature has seen fit to enact that at no time, and under no circumstances, except when upon his own premises, shall any person carry a deadly weapon concealed about his person, and it is the strict duty of the courts, whenever an occasion offers, to uphold a law thus sanctioned and approved. But without any constitutional provision whatever on the subject, can it be doubted that the legislature might by law regulate this right to bear arms--as they do all other rights whether inherent or otherwise--and require it to be exercised in a manner conducive to the peace and safety of the public? This is as far as this statute assumes to go. It does not say that a citizen when beset with danger shall not provide for his security by wearing such arms as may be essential to that end; but simply that if he does do so, he must wear them openly, and so as to be seen by those with whom he may come in contact.
State vs LR Speller
The Constitution of this state, section 24, art. 1, which is entitled, "Declaration of Rights," provides, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," adding, "nothing herein contained shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons or prevent the Legislature from enacting penal statutes against said practice." This exception indicates the extent to which the right of the people to bear arms can be restricted; that is, the Legislature can prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons but no further. This constitutional guaranty was construed in State v. Speller, 86 N.C. 697, in which it was held that the distinction was between the "right to keep and bear arms" and the "practice of carrying concealed weapons." The former is a sacred right based upon the experience of the ages in order that the people may be accustomed to bear arms and ready to use them for the protection of their liberties or their country when occasion serves. The provision against carrying them concealed was to prevent assassinations or advantages taken by the lawless; i.e., against the abuse of the privilege.
State v Kerner
I am tempted to start carrying my AR15 fully cocked and locked with my Aimpoint powered on to the Grocery store to shop just to see what people say haha..
But I wont because that is NOT something you see and they WILL call the cops. And I do not want to be harrassed while just having fun with a social experiment. But hey it would be interesting non the less.
Bug Dude....while I applaud your efforts, Dan Casey is an idiot. I gave up arguing with him several years ago.
Just like they do with the Bible, instead of willfully disobeying the law, people will bend and interpret it to suit their own desires. The second amendment seems abundantly clear in it's wording, and stands on it's own.
Good thread, hopefully it'll lead to some thoughtful conversation and not devolve into, well, I won't put the first drop in the bucket . . . :ziplip: :biggrin2: At any rate, here's something else to chew on: what do we make of the first portion of the 2nd Amendment?
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State . . . "
Seems like a basic rule of statutory/constitutional construction that a drafter wouldn't include something unless it was intended to have meaning. As such, the 2nd Amendment could certainly (and arguably more clearly according to HotGuns' post) be read to mean that the right of the people to keep and bear arms exists for the purpose of keeping a well regulated militia, i.e. to keep government in check should it become tyrannical.
The problem with saying "the founders of this country were well educated men" and "understood what they wrote and they wrote it for a reason" is that not everything they wrote necessarily bodes well for my, your, or any other single person's point of view. I mean, if you read the entire 2nd Amendment there seems to be a clear understanding that the right to bear arms exists for the purposes of a well regulated militia (in other words, to defend against governmental tyranny and foreign invasion), not necessarily for self defense and personal protection against other individuals. And yet there are also cues from convention debates and other writings suggesting that at least in the minds of some folks, personal protection was on the radar as well. But it didn't seem to make it into the text for some reason.
Unfortunately at the end of the day, it's not that simple to just say "it says what it says." Remember, as brilliant as the founding fathers were and as thankful as we should all be to them for laying the groundwork of this great nation, they were still politicians too. And with that comes the compromising, "selling out," consensus building, and all the other positive and negative characteristics of politics that have existed since the days of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Sometimes an answer to a question only partly answers said question and raises a whole bunch of new ones too.
A well regulated militia;
In other words, a well trained populace.
Tell him to check out a copy of the original Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776.
A DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE COMMONWEALTH, OR STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
Then have him check out the fact that (count em) 8 of the signers of the U.S. Constitution were residents of Pennsylvania.
Morris, Gouverneur, PA ~ Morris, Robert, PA ~ Wilson, James, PA ~ Mifflin, Thomas, PA ~ Clymer, George, PA ~ FitzSimons, Thomas, PA ~ Ingersoll, Jared, PA
Later the PA Constitution was changed to:
Right to Bear Arms. ~ Section 21.
The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.
Arguing with him is like debating any faith based issue. Agree to disagree and move on.
All legal text aside, without the right to own and carry arms, we are reduced from free men to subjects.
Thus making us dependent on the mercies of those having a greater power of force over us.
ChiefJason and ChrisMIA have good points here... I still recommend reading A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America by Saul Cornell
As to discussing with antis, I have found it akin to attempting to turn an ocean liner around.. It takes a lot of sea space and a bit of time... There are a few tricks you can use to force them to admit they would pull the trigger themselves, or at least provide a weapon to someone who needs to be defended... They absolutely HATE it when you can do that...
As to the they only had muskets BS... tell him they only had quill pens and a virtually non-existent post office and type setting by hand... and tell him he should restrict his writing in the same manner in the press... get off the interwebby thing... write with a quill pen... send in your work or hand deliver it, or pay to have it couriered... and then hand set the type, and print it page by page... and distribute it by boys on street corners... Then let's see if his word is deemed worth the bother to print by a decent editor...
"Keep" and "bear" are very different words. Keep implies storing away, under cover. Bear means to carry upon your person, or in your arms.
The anti-gunners are right in that the original intent of the Second Amendment was to arm a populace incapable of voting against Britain or depending upon a standing army to defend them from their oppressors, and was written in a very different time, when the citizens were more apt to join together for a common defense than spend so much time infighting.
However, as times have changed, the Supreme Court has responded with rulings that further expand and explain the original amendment.
Trying to figure out the spirit and intent of men we can really never know could provide years of debate, much like trying to figure out what the authors of the Bible "really meant." But regardless, in this day and age, it would be foolish not to be as well-armed as the potential "bad guys."
The whole "they only had muskets" argument does not hold water. It would be more accurate and honest to say that they possessed the most powerful weapons known to man at the time.
To keep and bear arms means exactly what it says. The government has decided that it has the power to change the Constitution,without asking the people or the States, to mean something other than what it says.