The other night I got into a twitter-flamefest with Dylan Ratigan on, you guessed it, guns.
He tweeted something about The Senate and "reasonable" gun control and I went after him. He responded and the game was on. You can back through my timeline (as Tickerguy) and have a look if you want.
The conversation quickly degenerated when he started with the "So you're for private ownership of nukes, right?" crap and "The Second Amendment was written in a time of muskets, so that's what it covers" nonsense.
I retorted with "So the First Amendment is about movable type, paper and ink -- hand-driven -- right?"
Ah, no answer.
Didn't think I'd get one, by the way, so rather than keep hammering that I instead pointed this out the following (and it took three tweets to do it @ 140 characters each):
The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution (no government can give what it does not have)
2A recognizes the fundamental human right to self-defense, irrespective of the attacker's identity.
The Bill of Rights PROTECTS Rights, it does not GRANT them as government NEVER HAD THEM TO GRANT.
This is why we can't have a "reasonable" debate on this point with people on the other side of the debate.
They refuse to recognize these essential facts:
- The Government never possessed a single right, therefore it cannot grant them. Instead, we the people granted a limited set of privileges to Government. That's what a Constitutional Republic is.
- The Second Amendment is formal recognition of your, my, and everyone else's Right to Life. Since the police cannot be everywhere nor do they have a duty to prevent or stop a crime in process (and they cannot be held legally accountable if they fail to do so, never mind that even if they could dead is still dead) you have the right to self-defense which flows from your right to life.
Dylan was looking for a place to insert a wedge because he refused to debate from principle. He wanted to look for a way to play the typical media "gotcha" game but I'm too smart for that as I've been at this for 20+ years as has he. He should know, having dealt with me on the bankster issues, that he wasn't going to get away with that crap but he tried anyway -- and failed.
If you look at principle -- that is, what's embodied in the Declaration of Independence -- then there is nothing difficult in figuring out where the lines are at all. Not here, not on the First Amendment, not on the Fourth or Fifth. All are simple.
And more importantly, all lead to inescapable conclusions for virtually every case, leaving only a few uncommon circumstances to be briefed and argued in a courtroom or legislative chamber.
The First Amendment most-certainly applies to all types of speech, because speech is a component of Liberty. Government didn't give you that right (they never had it to give away), you have it because you are human. You therefore have the right to speak, but not the right to force someone to listen or to pay to amplify your speech for you. This right extends to words printed on paper using movable type, it extends to skywriting, it extends to the Internet and it extends to other forms and means of effecting speech that we have not thought of yet but will in the future. Note that this doesn't mean that you can't face consequences for your speech after the fact -- if you skywrite "Joe Schmoe is a pedophile!" and it's false Joe can sue you to beyond the orbit of Mars.
The Fourth Amendment applies in Boston to the searches of homes and what was done there is blatantly unconstitutional and as a consequence is a crime under 18 USC 242 (and is civilly actionable under 42 USC 1983.) The so-called "law enforcement" people who committed those searches and seizures under duress without a warrant violated the law. Period. This is true irrespective of the means by which such is done because The Fourth Amendment does not grant you the right to be secure in your papers and effects, you have that right because it is an essential element of liberty; the freedom to possess privately-obtained property through the fruits of your labor without it being rifled through or stolen by anyone, including government agents, except under due process of law where probable cause exists to believe you have personally committed a crime. Again, there are logical exceptions -- if a police officer personally sees a fleeing felon he is chasing enter your residence he can follow him onto your property without a warrant. But what he can't do is guess.
The Fifth Amendment likewise attaches to the actions in Boston and also gives rise to criminal liability under 18 USC 242 to the extent that anything was seized, no matter how momentarily, without a warrant. Again, The Fifth Amendment is not a grant from government it is recognition of your fundamental liberty interests that vested in you at birth.
And finally, The Second Amendment protects your right to exercise self-defense against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that could reasonably be expected to attempt to unlawfully deprive you of your life. It is again not a grant from government either of a right or a privilege because government never had this to give.
The Declaration called forth where your right to life came from -- your creator. In other words, you have that right because you're human just like you have the right to liberty and pursuit of (but not guarantee of attainment of) happiness.
All the answers to "where is the line?" come easily and logically when you debate from principle instead of playing games. The Second Amendment therefore protects your right to keep and bear any arms that might be reasonably used in the present time for the purpose of defense of yourself or those in your charge, voluntarily or otherwise, against any reasonable threat of death or serious bodily harm by any reasonably-foreseeable malefactor who would take your life or liberty unlawfully from you.
It is therefore quite clear that you may keep and bear any gun which you are able to carry and deploy as a single individual because murderous marauders sometimes attack in packs, sometimes are jacked up on drugs and often are capable of physically overpowering you. Attackers also often keep coming even when hit in places that ultimately will be fatal; that the assailant will die from acute lead poisoning is of no value to you if he kills you first. Yes, this means you may keep and bear, under The Declaration's statement of your rights, a machine gun. Yes, this includes a gun with a "silencer" (which really doesn't make it silent.) Yes, it includes a gun with a 10, 20, 30 or 100 round magazine -- or ten of them. Yes, it includes a concealed pistol. Yes, 2 guns. Yes, if I (or someone else) invent one, a Star Trek Phasor. Yes, 100 guns and as much ammunition as you care to buy and store should you so choose; although you can only shoot two at a time (unless you're from Mars and have six hands) there may be others in your care, custody or association that could use them in the event of a need of defense when they are in your company.
Now let's look at the "nuke" argument that the left loves to trot out.
Is there a reasonable argument to be made that a person possessing a nuclear device would have reason to use it under any rationally-foreseeable circumstance that would be deemed, in full totality of the circumstance in hindsight, self-defense?
I can't come up with the circumstances under which that would apply, despite putting a fair bit of mental effort into it.
We answered the question with logic, didn't we?
So where's the line?
Let's apply logic and your right to life as the guideposts.
If there are no MS-13 gangs coming into the country with armored vehicles, then I don't need an anti-tank rocket. If there is no permanent Army with tanks on American soil, then I don't need one for the eventuality that our government may go rogue and try to blast me with one. If there are no drones based in, located in, or flying over American cities then I don't need defensive devices that can shoot them down, disable their weapons or jam their communications. And before you say "but the government would never do that" please go ask the question of the 6+ million dead Jews who would beg to differ with you, or if you prefer you may pick on the dead Armenians, Soviets, Chinese, Guatemalans, Ugandans, Cambodians or Rwandans -- and that's just in the last 100 years or thereabouts, totaling something like 80 million people or several times as many as were killed in all the wars of the 20th Century combined.
By the way -- The Constitution prohibits standing Armies -- it prohibits an appropriation spanning more than two years for the purpose of raising an army. On the other hand the Constitution explicitly permits forming and funding a standing Navy.
Guess why? Because that ties in directly to the people's right to life; a Navy is used to protect vessels at sea and the coastline and has by its nature rather limited inland reach.
That our government has wantonly and illegally violated its own founding documents doesn't change a thing. But it does change what's covered by the Second Amendment if you debate from the principles that founded this nation and are embodied in The Declaration, and the items covered by the Second Amendment are directly linked to our government's own voluntarily-taken actions.
All of the other so-called "tough questions" are likewise answered by looking to principle, and at the same time we solve, to a large degree, our crime problems.
Like, for example, this question that left loves to run:
Does a felon have a right to life? Yes, under The Declaration. During the time he or she is incarcerated The State takes responsibility for that life and is duty-bound to protect it. During the time he or she remains under supervision that duty and responsibility remains with The State. However, upon satisfaction of that person's "debt to society" they still have a right to life, which means that no law impairing their ability to defend themselves, post-discharge, is Constitutional!
But what about the bad guys, you ask?
That's simple, but we don't want to talk about it. In particular the liberals don't want to talk about it, because they're largely responsible for the dangerous animals prowling our streets.
If you are dangerous to others, as determined under due process of law, whether by reason of criminal activity or mental defect, the proper place for you is in an institution where your right to life remains but the duty to protect it is transferred to the state. At the same time since you have demonstrated (under due process of law) that you're dangerous to others you must be removed from having the ability to do that harm to others because their right to life trumps your asserted but non-existent right to murder,******or rob.
We could have prevented the shooting in upstate NY of several firefighters if we had not let the shooter out of prison after he killed his grandmother with a hammer. Likewise, most of the other murders are committed by people with violent criminal pasts. Yes, there is the exception, but it's exactly that -- an exception.
In fact, that's the history of "crime reporting" in this nation. The gang-bangers who shoot up people in Chicago literally every day rarely make the news, but the occasional nut is front-page news for weeks, despite the fact that the 20 people the nut kills are surpassed in less than a day by the thugs. Our media doesn't talk about the thugs because if we do we must face that we keep letting them out of prison with full knowledge that they are dangerous predators. Neither the media or politicians want to deal with this fact and so we bury it on page 15 -- if it gets mentioned at all.
How about private property? If I own property I may ban the keeping and bearing of arms upon it. I therefore may post signs demanding that you not bring guns into my store, theater or other place of business. I may also prohibit them in my home. The choice is mine, not yours. But on public property, where the people all have an equal right to be, they also have no obligation to give up their right to defend their life in order to be there. Therefore any peaceable person who wishes to have a firearm with them in a public park, on a beach, in their car on the road or in a public parking lot may do so. If and only if that person commits a crime by threatening others (or worse) is there cause to remove them from the people they are threatening, and the way we do that is by arresting them and charging them with the crime. If this threat is deemed (again, under due process) to be material and ongoing then we imprison them until that is no longer the case.
It's not hard folks. We don't need a National Firearms Act, we don't need a Gun Control Act of 1968 and we don't need a Brady Law. We don't need any of the 20,000+ gun laws now on the books, none of which have stopped gun violence because the definition of a criminal is a person who ignores the law. We can (and should) keep laws that enhance punishment for a crime committed with a firearm, and perhaps even strengthen those laws as they punish conduct, not possession of a device.
I remind everyone that with some 300,000,000 guns in America and about 11,000 homicides a year 0.004% of them are used in a murder annually. In other words 99.996% of the firearms owned are not used to murder someone in a given year.
None of the firearm laws will ever be effective and all of them are direct violations of your rights no matter what a liberal, conservative, cop, mayor, governor, or a man or woman in a black robe says.
They are violations of your rights because The Constitution does not grant rights -- it is incapable of doing so because Government never had any rights to begin with and thus cannot delegate what it never possessed.
There is only one solution to violent people, whether their violence manifests due to malevolence or insanity, and that is to isolate them from society until they either rehabilitate, are no longer insane, or die. That too is a fact and no amount of arguing over this can change reality. Gun prohibition has never and will never stop someone from committing a violent felony because the problem isn't a device, it's the criminal mind.
A person who intends to do harm will find a way; you can murder with a knife, an axe, a hammer, a gallon of gasoline or a Suburban. There are more people killed with hammers, baseball bats and fists than rifles of any sort, including so-called "assault rifles", each and every year. And let us not forget that the Boston Bombers appear to have chosen to use ordinary pressure cookers and fireworks to make their bombs.
Men and women with evil in their hearts are not deterred by laws. They are only deterred by being physically restrained -- that is, locked up.
If people on the other side of this position wish to have a principled debate where one must lay foundations for their positions and questions, tracing them to fundamental rights, then I'm all for it. Bring it on and I'm willing to engage. Contact me. I'm game. Let's do it, in public view.
But if all you've got is the common media game of "gotcha" you're wasting your time among those of us who understand where our rights come from, what limited government is, and what The Constitution actually does -- and doesn't do.
That's the bottom line.