08 October 2008

Barak and the 2nd Amendment

I have a fairly rigid position on the Second Amendment. It has nothing to do with anything but this:

The Constitution of the United States of America says:
"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."

Shall Not Be Infringed.

This is a codification of the pre-existing right that all free men had and have to defend themselves, their families, their property, their community, and their society at large. It also serves as a check on governmental ambition, the natural inclination of political 'elites' to adopt a paternalist attitude and enact schemes they see fit, regardless of the will of the body politic.

This explains why many Democrats disapprove of the Second Amendment.

Barak Hussein Obama would like you, the conservative or moderate individual who owns a firearm (or three) to believe that he supports your right to own and bear your firearm. Or at least, that's what his current story is.

Check out his campaign website's "Sportsmen for Obama."

“He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting.”

Ummm. . . Wow. I don't give a flying fuck about hunting or target shooting, and that has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. Nice twist.

Let's hop in the way-back machine, and let's talk about the Joyce Foundation.

The junior senator from Illinois does NOT want you to know how far his current statements and his historical actions diverge.

Obama spent eight years on the board of the Joyce Foundation, which paid him more than $70,000. During that time he and the rest of the board met quarterly to award grants. $2.7 million dollars went to groups dedicated to opposing the Second Amendment, including Ban Handguns Now and the Violence Policy Center.

"As the most aggressive group in the gun control movement, the VPC has a record of policy successes on the federal, state, and local levels—including first revealing the threat posed by gun shows, drastically reducing the number of gun dealers, banning the possession of guns by domestic violence offenders, and exposing gun industry marketing to women and even children."

Push the Fast Forward to 1996. Barack Obama is running for State Senator. His campaign is given a survey by a liberal political action group. Here are his answers. They are all enlightening about what Mr. Obama believes when under minimal media scrutiny and running for an office where his constituents will be largely rich liberal just like him. But the relevant questions are:

Do you support state legislation to:
a. ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns? Yes.
b. ban assault weapons? Yes.
c. mandatory waiting periods and background checks? Yes.

There is some discussion on this survey -- Mr. Obama has since claimed that it was filled out by a staffer. There is also some evidence he is prevaricating.

“I always believed those to be his views,” she said, adding some members of the board argued that Obama’s 1996 answers were “what he really believes in, and he’s tailoring it now to make himself more palatable as a nationwide candidate.” -- Aviva Patt, IVI-IPO treasurer.

Once he was elected:

He voted to permit retired police officers to concealed carry:
"I didn't find that [vote] surprising. I am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry. This was a narrow exception in an exceptional circumstance where a retired police officer might find himself vulnerable as a consequence of the work he has previously done--and had been trained extensively in the proper use of firearms."

2004 Debate:
"Let's be honest. Mr. Keyes does not believe in common gun control measures like the assault weapons bill. Mr. Keyes does not believe in any limits from what I can tell with respect to the possession of guns, including assault weapons that have only one purpose, to kill people. I think it is a scandal that this president did not authorize a renewal of the assault weapons ban."

SB 2165:
He also opposed letting people use a self-defense argument if charged with violating local handgun bans by using weapons in their homes. The bill was a reaction to a Chicago-area man who, after shooting an intruder, was charged with a handgun violation.

Principles that Obama supports on gun issues:
Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons.
Increase state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms.
-- 1998 IL State Legislative National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Audacity of Hope:
"I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manfuacturer's lobby."

In the US Senate:
Voted Against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; Bill S 397 ; vote number 2005-219 on Jul 29, 2005

He voted to ban nearly all rifle ammunition:
A bill that on the surface seems harmless, but only if you don't understand firearms.
``(iii) a projectile that may be used in a handgun and that the Attorney General determines, under section 926(d), to be capable of penetrating body armor; or

A projectile that MAY be used in a handgun. There's no inherent objection to chambering pistols for what is normally rifle ammunition--provided that the handgun is big enough or the rifle round is small enough. There's a significant market for 5.56mm handguns, and that round will definitely penetrate Level I body armor. It's a back door to be used to bludgeon ammunition makers into shutting up shop. Thank God it didn't pass.

In His Own Words:



Nice Tapdance

For more, check out:
gunowners.org
ontheissues.org
snubnoseinfo
Buckeye Firearms Association
The NRA

15 Comments:

Anonymous Bill McD said...

Minor point, but a relevant one:

ARTICLE V:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.


You'll notice that the President has no part in the proceedings. And the Supreme Court isn't going to take away gun ownership rights anytime in the next generation. So I don't see why it's worth getting upset about. Any law passed can be challenged. The recent SCOTUS decision that the Second bestows individual rights pretty much kills just about any gun control law that you'd like to challenge under it.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Bill, the recent SCOTUS decision was by a 5-4 vote. BO, if elected, will be appointing at least one and possibly three USSC judges. Enough to swing the court, IOW.

It is very much worth getting upset about.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

I'm not so sure. Say what you like, but liberal != anti-gun. For many of us, it's a measure of how much of a role you feel government has an obligation to play in meeting the needs of the populace.

Firearms laws, to many of us, are redundant and foolish: the acts of violence are criminal acts regardless of what implement is used. We can only solve the problem on the enforcement end, not the legislation end.

The rub is, the enforcement solution requires we maintain high standards to our law enforcement, not just more warm bodies.

But despite the high-profile loudness of many of the professional rabble-rousers, many of us on the left believe that gun control means hitting what you aim at.

10:35 PM  
Blogger cmad said...

As a German who lived in Switzerland and the USA for a while, I see the wisdom of not infringing on people's right to keep and bear arms, even though I would find some sort of competency test, comparable to a driver's license, not too unreasonable (but then, driving is a privilege, not a right, which is something that I have an issue with).

But anyhow, the Bill of Rights comprises a few more amendments, notably:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.


and the current Republican administration has quite a track record messing with those. I'd be more concerned that you'll get more of the same there than that you'll have to pass a background check or have your gun registered when you buy it.

As you correctly pointed out, if the US government was out to get you, you'd be outgunned no matter what you carry.

cMAD

1:56 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Hell, cmad, we've had quite a track record stomping on those other amendments for, oh, the last 60 years. Don't blame Bush for the imperial presidency. That goes all the way back to FDR. And a lot of what Bush is doing on that front, was initiated by Clinton.

7:38 PM  
Blogger cmad said...

The administration in place had 7 years and a half to take initiative and make a difference. And it did, as can be seen now (it's a rather expensive insight).
Not sure whether I'd want to blame Bush personally ... the Republican Party has a tendency to nominate figureheads that look nice, but whose other qualifications are, to put it mildly, questionable.

Blaming Clinton gets so old that it's ridiculous.

The most blatant attack on Amendments IV-VI are the prisons that bypass regular court procdures, first and foremost Guantanamo.

I associate something quite different, and much more harmless, with Bill Clinton and Cuba.

cMAD

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Ryan Gill said...

Cmad, the areas of contention are quite clear. The hazard we face isn't that the 2nd amendment was viewed as having some limit of where it overlaps with federal or state powers, rather the hazard was that the 2nd amendment has NO authority what so ever to restrict federal or state laws at all. The trend and direction that Obama and the rest of the Joyce foundation is trying to go is that the 2nd amendment is dead letter, it means nothing. Restrictions can be utterly absolute and utterly total and not violate the constitution at all.

You also utterly ignore the fact that in the effort to control gun crime, liberals ahve been just fine with violation of the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments in their efforts to get the job done. The best example is the house to house searches in Chicago in their projects. Police would go door to door searching for firearms. No warrant, no probable cause, nothing. But it was for a good thing right? That was their argument. It was utter bollox but they still did it.

Witness the confiscation of firearms in New Orleans. A blanket statement that NO FIREARMS may be displayed when the police were utterly absent from their jobs. So, they confiscated firearms from people who were more or less on their own. They even tried denying that they had done so, despite video evidence to the contrary. Taking someone's firearm like that isn't just a violation of their 2nd amendment rights but also their rights of protection against illegal search and seizure.

More recently, we have the Obama campaign's use of police/district attorneys as part of their truth squad in Missouri and threats to have broad cast license pulled from stations which aired the NRA ads showing Obama's gun control stance.

I suggest you look at some modern case law, modern issues and review some real details as to how all this really works out. It's a lot worse than you make out.

SEriously, why would Obama say a ban on handguns in DC was constitutional and then flip around and say he was 100% in agreement with the court decision saying the ban was utterly unconstitutional. That's not just a flip flop, that's a snake eating it's tail.

7:18 PM  
Blogger cmad said...

Ok, the Joyce Foundation is in favor of doing whatever it takes to reduce gun violence. Including restriction of gun ownership. And Obama, while representing Chicago in his state legislature, supported the Joyce Foundation.
To me, as someone from Europe, this looks entirely normal and reasonable.

Thinking carefully about the idea behind the 2nd Amendment, I see some wisdom in giving citziens (and legal residents) the right to keep & bear arms. In fact, I changed my opinion.

Apparently, so did Obama.
Which is actually what you would want to see in a politician as the constituency he represents, or their opinion, changes.
Lack of adaptation to a changing reality by a politician in charge could be pretty disastrous ... you mentioned New Orleans.

As I'm actually considering to get myself one of these toys that go "boom" (and where I live, a handgun isn't much more, because I couldn't even seriously expect to shoot my way from here across the border to the next German consul in Mexico, if the need arose), I've looked up the firearm laws applicable for San Diego. Lots of laws and regulations to find a compromise between the Constitutional guarantee and the practical issue of keeping a densely and diversely populated area reasonably safe. Obviously, San Diego isn't Spitzbergen or the northern part of Alaska, where it's mandatory to carry a gun whenever you go outside because of the polar bears.

Come to think of it, guns become an important and appropriate method of conflict resolution in a big city only after government has failed in some big way ... you mentioned New Orleans.
The first step of restoring law & order was to bring in armed forces (the well regulated militia) and impose a curfew, including a ban to display firearms. Recently, regular army units start getting trained in restoring law and order in places where government has broken down temporarily.
It seems that y'all have a lot of military background. So, while you serve in a well regulated unit in the armed forces, what rules and regulations apply to the issue and handling of firearms and ammunition? What is the purpose of these rules??

I think you'll find that a well regulated access to firearms is a necessity, and that it's particularly important in densely populated areas, such as Chicago, Washington DC, and San Diego.


Anyway, I don't understand your fixation on the 2nd Amendment. I tends to make you overlook that there is still a realistic chance to prevent government from continuing to fail so spectacularly that in the end, you're really on your own, shooting it out with the tribe/gang/warlord next door, like in Afghanistan or Somalia.

What it takes, for a change, is to elect people into government who are actually competent and willing to govern. You've tried the alternative for the last 7 years.

cMAD

9:43 PM  
Blogger cmad said...

This discussion made me think at considerable length about the issue of the RKBA and the purpose thereof.

There's considerable irony in your position:

I have a fairly rigid position on the Second Amendment. It has nothing to do with anything but this:

The Constitution of the United States of America says:
"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."

Shall Not Be Infringed.

This is a codification of the pre-existing right that all free men had and have to defend themselves, their families, their property, their community, and their society at large. It also serves as a check on governmental ambition, the natural inclination of political 'elites' to adopt a paternalist attitude and enact schemes they see fit, regardless of the will of the body politic.


because you're stubbornly supporting an idea that the Founding Fathers of the US and A came up with under the impression of an occupying force (British and assorted mercenaries) that they wanted to drive out of their country.

If your claim that you personally killed people in combat can be taken seriously, it was men who defended themselves, their families, their property, their community, and their society at large against the natural inclination of political 'elites' to adopt a paternalist attitude and enact schemes they see fit, regardless of the will of the body politic.

So, while you profess to uphold ideals conceived by men who fought against the madness of King George and his troops occupying barely civilized overseas colonies, in real life you are killing people who live by these ideals and fight against the madness of President George and his troops occupying barely civilized overseas countries, like Bosnia or Iraq.

Nothing principally wrong with your positions - but they would be more beneficial if you tried to adapt them to the Here and Now, and live by them as good as possible in real life, not just in escapist venues like war games and the SCA - or at least refrain from killing others who actually live by the ideals you claim to uphold, who just happen not to be USAmericans.
That, of course, takes looking at some unpleasant realities and making compromises, or even tough decisions, accordingly.

cMAD

12:00 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Bill -

President signs legislation or vetoes it, which is relevant if an anti-2nd Amendment Democratic Party is going to be running Congress. He also appoints judges, and not just the Supremes. His opinion is relevant. I'm also less interested in the opinion of "liberals" in general or you personally than in the individual the liberal segment of America has selected as their candidate for President.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

cmad-

I don't particularly object to Iraqis owning weapons. Just to them using them on me and mine. :)

Compare Sons of Iraq vs. AQI.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

cmad, you said:

because you're stubbornly supporting an idea that the Founding Fathers of the US and A came up with under the impression of an occupying force (British and assorted mercenaries) that they wanted to drive out of their country.

Unfortunately, that's not quite the case. In fact, when the Bill of Rights was written, the British Empire had recognized the existence of the United States for just over four years. The Articles of Confederation had already been tried and failed, and the Founders were taking their second whack at this 'making a government' thing. Another thing to consider: any occupying force wouldn't really care what the laws of the country they were occupying were at that point in history.

So, while it's certainly true that they came up with this idea as a means to provide a citizen-soldiery in case of invasion, it really wouldn't hold up well against occupation. If anything, it's far more suggestive of just how little these men trusted the idea of central government to begin with, which leads us to the thought that in fact, the intent is specifically to provide the citizenry with the capability to resist tyranny from sources foreign or domestic.

Also, you've said:
Come to think of it, guns become an important and appropriate method of conflict resolution in a big city only after government has failed in some big way ... you mentioned New Orleans.
The first step of restoring law & order was to bring in armed forces (the well regulated militia)


Unfortunately, the National Guard is a very far cry from the kind of militia the Second envisioned. A militia does not have to be run under the auspices of the State in order to be well-regulated, nor does it require a paycheck. A well-ordered, disciplined group of private members would certainly fit the requirements. (In fact, the Constitution specifically prohibits the States from maintaining troops in peacetime w/out Congressional approval.)

Unfortunately, the Congress has slowly but consistently done what any central government would do: It has made small, but constant, bites at the rights of private citizens to organize and maintain an effective militia with the capability of actually opposing the military forces of even the plantain-iest of banana republics. It has continually consolidated access to this sort of measure as the province of the Federal Government only, and it has done so under both parties.


Dec:

As far as the legislation goes, I really don't think you're going to see enough support for that sort of thing, even in a Democratic Congress. When push comes to shove, yes, frustrated and embittered Americans *do* cling to our guns. And our axes. And our chainsaws. And our automobiles, which are no less deadly when misused properly. The Assault Weapons Ban (what a furking STUPID piece of trash that was) wasn't even fought for when it expired. I doubt highly if you'll see a repeat of it.

As for judges... the vast majority of these issues are going to come down to State Courts, not the federal court system. By the time they do get to the federal circuits, cases of gun control challenges are going all the way up the chain, regardless of each level's decisions.

What I see as the real problem with all of it is that our system of two-party, winner-take-all politics (one party or the other will control each House of Congress, the White House, the Court, period) is that it denies us our opportunities to really have a nuanced, intelligent government that actually discusses issues instead of simply drawing lines in the sand, be they 'party v party' or 'Legislature v Executive'. Each party plops itself down on one ideological axis, and then publically panders to the most extreme elements of that axis, knowing that the moderate members of the party will see the other party's pandering as a far greater offense.

And frankly, it's growing as obsolete as the parties themselves. We no longer live in a time where people need to have local electors to vote for whose opinions they trust in the national election. We no longer live in a time where advertisement and media coverage is limited to local events, necessitating the staggering of primaries so that each candidate has time to spend in each area to get his/her message out.

If anything, the archaic holdovers we have (like staggered primaries) corrupt the system: Instead of people voting their preference, they vote for the primary candidate that balances their preference against who the previous primaries have indicated can win the nomination. Edwards, for example, loses votes in later primaries because Obama has the better chance of beating Clinton, or because Clinton has the better chance to beat Obama.

The technology of information has changed radically. Democracy is limited primarily by the efficiency of its communications, and the amount of time the populace can afford to devote to matters of governance. If I really thought we had a chance of assembling a group of folks as intelligent and sincere as the Constitutional Convention again, I'd advocate trying to take the concepts and principles that the Constitution enshrines and design a new government around them... but given my general opinion of most of humanity... we'd get something far, far worse.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2008/10/re-barak-and-2nd-amendment.html

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Laserlight said...

cmad said:
"Thinking carefully about the idea behind the 2nd Amendment...I changed my opinion. Apparently, so did Obama. Which is actually what you would want to see."

Er....no. Of someone running for President, I actually want to see that his opinion has been, and continues to be, consistent with the Constitution.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

good to read your perspective over at Orthodixie..

1:42 AM  

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