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Friday, January 07, 2005

[+/-]
 The push to expand the 2nd Amendment

"This is a Justice Department with a blatantly political agenda which sees its task as translating right-wing ideology into proposed constitutional law."

That is the opinion of Robert Post, a constitutional-law professor at Yale Law School, on the Bush Cartel's 109-page memorandum aiming to prove that the Second Amendment grants individuals nearly unrestricted access to firearms.

The memorandum, requested by Attorney General John Ashcroft, was completed in August but made public only last month:
[T]he memorandum represents the administration's latest legal salvo to overturn judicial interpretations that have prevailed since the Supreme Court last spoke on the Second Amendment, in 1939. Although scholars long have noted the ambiguity of the 27-word amendment, courts generally have interpreted the right to "keep and bear arms" as applying not to individuals but rather to the "well-regulated militia" maintained by each state.

Agree? Disagree?

3 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

I think it is important to read the document in the order it was written, and in order to maintain a well regulated militia was the reason to not infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms. With that said, I don't think the average person needs to have an AK47 or AR15, that is being handled pretty well by the state now. But if you want it to continue to be a free state, and you fear the state may take your rights away, you may be required to fight for them, as the founders were. You cannot equate the word people in the document to mean state unless you do it throughout the document and it just doesn't hold water. I have to come down on the side of individuals to own fire arms (some regulation). It's logical and I am libertarian and I prefer freedom. Some here like to point out what Hitler did, one of the first things was to have everyone register their firearms, step two...take them away, we all know step three.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Here Electro and I agree, you have to look at the order of phrases in the sentence, and at which ones are subordinate. "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." Everything before "the right of the people" is a subordinate idea, an example, if you will. The well-regulated Militia can easily be interpreted as a group that can be called together at the last minute, one made up of citizens, who would be the "people" granted the right to keep and bear arms. It would be difficult to turn this sentence into meaning a state militia, but the controversy often turns on the idea of "well-regulated." I also agree that it does not have to include such firearms as communities find unacceptable, like assault weapons. Did you ever shoot an assoult weapon? I have and they are cheaply constructed and inaccurate--not at all for hunting, for example.

[I am an English professor, but won't parse the sentence as that has been done for centuries. Pardon my casual references to how the sentence is constructed.]

On the ideology of the Bush political agenda, though, I do agree with the post that there is a disturbing sense that Bush, et al is aiming to turn the Constitution into its own Ten Commanments. And I thought the Reagan years would be hard to reverse--we still hadn't accomplished that and here we go again--farther.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

And let me add here, as a liberal/radical, feminist, Democrat, that when there comes that knock on the door in the middle of the night, a few of us might do well to have a few guns. I dont' want to see the day when the only people with guns are right-wing Republicans. Is that chilling? Good.

6:58 AM  

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