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Keeping in mind that the 2nd Amendment says "arms," which is a considerably broader term than "guns"...

I have several friends who insist the 2nd Amendment means they should be allowed to have any weapon they want and can afford, up to and including nuclear bombs, since the Founders' intent was for "We the People" to be capable of overthrowing the government and that kind of weaponry is what it would take.

I get that, but at the same time, I highly doubt the Founders foresaw nukes, or that they would support just any old crackpot being able to get hold of that kind of destructive power.

And yet, this does seem like an area where the "slippery slope" line of reasoning seems reasonable. If citizens can't have certain categories of modern military arms, then where does the line get drawn?

I'd be interested in other perspectives on this, since I'm personally not sure where I stand (although I grant it's largely academic at this point.)

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A nuclear bomb is not an "arm" so it is not covered by the 2A. For clarification, a nuclear bomb is ordinance.

As I understand it, a weapon must be both "arms" and be capable of being carried to be protect under the 2A.

Trevor
 

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A nuclear bomb is not an "arm" so it is not covered by the 2A. For clarification, a nuclear bomb is ordinance.

As I understand it, a weapon must be both "arms" and be capable of being carried to be protect under the 2A.

Trevor
Well, the capable of being carried thing was a later definition, I would think. Letters of Marque (if I'm remembering correctly) from the early days of our country mention cannons also being protected. If were going to look into definitions of the 2A, we need to look at context of the day as well for the meanings. Unfortunately, it's come to the point where perceived public good can trump rights, which lands us here with all the crazy restrictions and ATF letters of opinion being law.
 

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As a simple matter of reality, you certainly can't (as an individual) bear an arm that you cannot physically carry.

Trevor
 

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At the time of its writing, an "arm" was a weapon that could be carried on or about the person. This phrase still appears in my state's statute law and has been law since 1607. When the term arms is used in a broader context, such as the military, there is no limit to its meaning, hence nuclear weapons. In that context, at the time of the American Revolution arms did include field artillery and explosives as well as arms carried on or about the person. And of course during that conflict, militia units did make use of those weapons, too.

In more modern times, the difference in the language of arms has evolved into "small arms" versus the more general "arms" term. Can be quite confusing and does tend to spawn arguments.
 
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I think it was written in the general spirit of what a minute-man would present when called to arms. A personal and individual kit as you will... not planes and tanks.
 

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In modern context, small arms are generally those arms that are bearable (in the US this is generally understood to by 1 person, however, under the small arms treaty it is 2 people) and ordinance is those things that explode or detonates. That is, a tank is an arm but it is not a small arms (but a machine-guns on a tank, like the M-2HB on top of an M-1A2, generally is considered "small arms"). Additionally, a 81mm mortar is considered "small arms" because it can be carried by a person (a 4.2" or 120mm is not) but a HE mortar shell is ordinance as it explodes- it could be argued that the 2A protects the private ownership of small mortar tubes but not explosive ammo it uses (flares would be another matter).

It is well understood that the founders thought common people should own cannons (as argued to and by privateers during the war of 1812), however, the specific words in the 2A are about the right to "keep AND bear arms" linguistically meaning the protected arms must be both keep-able and bearable and as bearable is the main criterea defined "small arms" the 2A, in effect, only protects such arms. However, the founders also intended that all things were legal under federal law unless they were both made illegal by Congress AND that the federal actually had a grant of power from the people/states to weigh in on the matter. I have not seen any grant of power to the federal government that allows them to regulate the ownership or possession of arms (or even ordinance) and without such an enumerated grant of power in the COTUS any such regulation are a usurpation of the people's sovereign powers and are illegitimate.

On the other hand, under the framework of the United States, individual states can still regulate non specifically protected objects and behaviors (as protected under incorporation of specific COTUS protections by the 14A) under their general policing powers. A state can ban the possession/ownership of Nukes but the feds cannot.
 

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Today's concept of our 2nd amendment right can only be construed as now just an individual right or freedom. But one we must hang on to just as we cherish our first amendment rights. However, no longer can we stand by the intent of our founding fathers since its fairly unlikely that a civilian "militia" could overtake an oppressive federal gov't. If martial law was invoked and door knocking began to confiscate our arms we'd never stand a chance against such force. So, hopefully, we can hang onto whatever rights we still have in whatever state of the union we happen to live in. Good luck to us all!
 

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Today's concept of our 2nd amendment right can only be construed as now just an individual right or freedom. But one we must hang on to just as we cherish our first amendment rights. However, no longer can we stand by the intent of our founding fathers since its fairly unlikely that a civilian "militia" could overtake an oppressive federal gov't. If martial law was invoked and door knocking began to confiscate our arms we'd never stand a chance against such force. So, hopefully, we can hang onto whatever rights we still have in whatever state of the union we happen to live in. Good luck to us all!
I will respectively disagree. I belive we would stand a pretty good chance, hoping that most in the military now would not follow those orders to kill or disarm it's own civilians that it is sworn to protect. I'm sure there would be some especially since Obama has put minions into are army to do nothing but take orders from him. Or he would need the help from the NWO. still pretty sure we the people would stand a very good chance...and if they want the big city's they can have them!!
 

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I will respectively disagree. I belive we would stand a pretty good chance, hoping that most in the military now would not follow those orders to kill or disarm it's own civilians that it is sworn to protect. I'm sure there would be some especially since Obama has put minions into are army to do nothing but take orders from him. Or he would need the help from the NWO. still pretty sure we the people would stand a very good chance...and if they want the big city's they can have them!!
I sincerely hope you are right. And I for one refuse to live like a slave to my gov't since I am a student of history and know, as Hitler once said, to take over a nation you must first disarm its people. Every successful dictator has deployed troops and police to confiscate arms. Of course, it begins as a "registration." I will not voluntarily relinquish my firearms. "Come take it."
 

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I sincerely hope you are right. And I for one refuse to live like a slave to my gov't since I am a student of history and know, as Hitler once said, to take over a nation you must first disarm its people. Every successful dictator has deployed troops and police to confiscate arms. Of course, it begins as a "registration." I will not voluntarily relinquish my firearms. "Come take it."
This topic came up during both friendly conversations in combat arms battalion barracks rooms and during informal conversations in the field. The bottom line is that troops (both officer and enlisted) that would be asked to do the actual dirty work routinely think about this topic and I am confident that any blatant order to confiscate arms or otherwise oppress the populace would not be well received by them.

Generals may be compelled to issue tyrannical orders by their political bosses but NCOs would be needed to carry those orders out and the NCO corps generally wants no part of such orders. Only an absolute fool would issue such orders especially knowing that they might not be obeyed.

Now, those same troops would likely follow orders allowing creeping tyranny until they figured out how slippery the slope they're sliding down has become.
 

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If the Feds would get it together, I could carry a suitcase nuke.

IMG_0397.jpg
 
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A nuclear bomb is not an "arm" so it is not covered by the 2A. For clarification, a nuclear bomb is ordinance.

As I understand it, a weapon must be both "arms" and be capable of being carried to be protect under the 2A.

Trevor
Nukes are indeed "arms," as witnessed by the fact that any treaties dealing with them are called "nuclear arms treaties." "Ordnance" (without the "i") is defined as "military supplies including weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles, and maintenance tools and equipment."

So a suitcase nuke would meet the definition of a "small arm."
 

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Today's concept of our 2nd amendment right can only be construed as now just an individual right or freedom. But one we must hang on to just as we cherish our first amendment rights. However, no longer can we stand by the intent of our founding fathers since its fairly unlikely that a civilian "militia" could overtake an oppressive federal gov't. If martial law was invoked and door knocking began to confiscate our arms we'd never stand a chance against such force. So, hopefully, we can hang onto whatever rights we still have in whatever state of the union we happen to live in. Good luck to us all!
Two thoughts on this:
  1. I don't think anyone had in mind the militia fighting a traditional war against and oppressive government. Even our Revolution was as much guerrilla warfare as traditional. Look at Afghanistan. The Mujaheddin gave the Soviets hell on their own. Once they got American aid, they kicked the Soviets out and the Soviets at the time were the second most powerful military in the world! Look at the IRA in Northern Ireland. Look at ISIS now in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. In this country, a guerrilla war could go on forever. Look at all these mass shootings and attacks against cops. They are often done by one person and they are really hard to defend against. Imagine those kinds of attacks by well coordinated squads of guerrilla fighters.
  2. If a part of the government tries to blatantly violate the Constitution, they could only get away with it long term through a coup. Essentially a members of a part of the government would try to overthrow the government itself. When that happens in any country during a coup, is the power gets split. There will be loyalists (in this case, loyal to the Constitution) and revolutionaries (seeking to create a new order). The militia would be on the side of the loyalists, but they would not be alone. They would be joined by members of the police and military who were also loyalists. Look at the recent coup attempt in Turkey. The military tried to take over the country and even with all their tanks against a mostly disarmed populace, they failed.
 
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