Dec 15 2012
08:13 am

Amendment II

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.

We have quite a bit of controversy about what this sentence means.

Most of the controversy stems from a poor education system that no longer emphasizes the proper use of tense and punctuation within the confines of teaching our national language.

It is fed by the acceptance of only a shallow cursory teaching of the history of our nation.

It is tempered by an independent philosophy totally removed from the original intent and the actual words of our constitution designed to bastardize what our founding fathers envisioned and turn our country into a corporately owned hellhole where armed anarchists kept the population in line by instilling fear in the citizens to conduct everyday business. THERE IS NO RIGHT TO BE AN INDIVIDUAL ARMED TERRORIST WRITTEN INTO OUR CONSTITUTION. I know i'm yelling. But be clear, if things are to change, they will change because rational people calmly examine what we have become and decide to change it.

First lets examine the sentence it self. It has a double subject. What that means is that both subjects are tied to the predicate by a common thread. We have the right to form and arm Militias within our society in order to secure our freedom. The second point about the subject that always seems to get lost is this. It is plural. A militia is a group of people, not a disgruntled individual. "The people" is just that, people, more than one. It does not give you or I the right to own a weapon, except in the context of our involvement with a militia to defend our freedom. The structures of the militias themselves are left to state and local governments, per the U.S. Constitution. The city of Knoxville has the right to opt out of the state militia as a conscientious objector and ban some weapons and regulate others within the city limits. The Supreme Court has ruled on it. That's the way it's written and that's the way it is.

Within the structure of a sentence the first subject listed in a sentence with multiple subjects is considered dominant and given preference. In other words a"well regulated Militia" would have dominance over "the right of the people". The folks running the militia, in Tennessee that's the National Guard, have the duty to regulate the weaponry within their jurisdiction, in such a manner that it best insures the ongoing security of a free state. If we reach the point where we, both as individuals and as a group, are less secure in our freedom with unrestricted gun laws, then our local and state governments are constitutionally mandated to regulate guns, not to ensure that every whacko walking the streets has access to one. It is the state of Tennessee's duty to regulate its own militia.

Finally, I have a pet peeve about handgun regulation. Sidearms are for officers and war zones. Unless one has a recognized aptitude for leading a group of men within a military structure,specifically our state militia, your right to own a handgun does not exist, even in a theoretical sense. Again, it's about what this stuff says, not what the gun nuts want to pretend it means.

Over the course of the last fifty years, Americans have distanced themselves from the harsh reality that freedom entails responsibility. It is this way with wealth and armaments. We are moving in that direction with education. I will conclude with this observation. The 8th grade ACTs came back this week. My son had perfect scores in math and english usage. He was in the 97% percentile for science and the 94% for reading comprehension. His career path report that came with it said he should be a waiter. The same sort of thinking that goes toward that kind of idiotic conclusion has built a series of gun laws that favor the criminal element and access to arms for the mentally ill, over the law abiding citizen. When one has to arm oneself in order to reasonably function, one lives in a war zone. It is time for realistic, reasonable gun regulation.

R. Neal's picture

Good rant. But, the Supreme

Good rant. But, the Supreme Court says a) 2nd amendment conveys an individual right, and b) local governments (well, at least the District of Columbia, which is a sort of nebulous jurisdiction) may regulate but not ban firearms.


fischbobber's picture

Handgun ban in Illinois

The court also gave a township in Illinois the right to ban handguns.

Knoxville's position is somewhat unique (and I might add untested in the courts) because the Tennessee constitution defines fairly precisely the state militia (it can be reasonably argued that unless one is a conscientious objector one there is an expectation from the state that one is armed) as well as the terms of being a conscientious objector.

Because of our unique position as home of the state's land grant university as well as our being a major provider of medical services for the region our local government would likely be recognized and possibly granted additional powers of regulation should it opt out of the state militia system. This, of course is a hypothetical argument, as I doubt the will exists in council or commission to propose such a thing.

D.C.'s power to regulate would fall, at least partly to congress, and I'm not sure how exactly that would relate to Tennessee. It's hard to extend a D.C. ruling across the nation because of the unique governing circumstances surrounding its existence.

That all being said here is a partial list of 2nd amendment rulings.


Much like the Bible, one can stroll through the various rulings and make many different conclusions. If I get a wild hair I'll look through my notes on my old radio show and see If I can find the various cases that I brought to the table then.

When I tried to google the handgun ban in Illinois Supreme Court ruling , all I got was the new case on concealed weapons that hasn't been heard yet. As I said, the key to change is opening a rational debate, so I wouldn't actually call the essay a rant. Granted, it's been about twelve years since I visited the topic at an in depth level, but it's a far deeper topic at a constitutional level than your basic gun nut would lead you to believe.

fischbobber's picture

Point of correction on my post.

I was thinking of the Illinois ruling banning handguns from a township near Chicago, but you would be correct, I think, that a gun ban, would likely not extend to all citizens or weapons.

I've corrected my original post to indicate thus.

fischbobber's picture

"2nd amendment conveys an individual right,"

It does not give you or I the right to own a weapon, except in the context of our involvement with a militia to defend our freedom.

This a point gun nuts pound on. The constitution does not give you the right to target shoot. It does not give you the right to hunt. It does not give you the right to participate in sporting clays competition. And it does not give you the right to own the gun as an individual for an individual purpose.

It gives an individual the right to own a weapon as a part of a militia in order to secure his or her collective group's freedom.

In Tennessee, all citizens , except conscientious objectors, are recognized as part of our state's militia. As a result, there is a reasonable expectation by the state, and it's citizens, that all citizens are armed. Perhaps it's time to broaden those disqualified by the state, and regulate their access.

R. Neal's picture

Like it or not, I'm pretty

Like it or not, I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court disagreed.

fischbobber's picture

D.C. /Heller

It will be interesting to see how this ruling holds as the court changes and state's rather than the District's.

If Hillary is elected in 2016, I would look to this ruling to be reviewed and , at least, narrowed considerably. The court ruled independently. It did not adhere to the constitution.

You are correct though. In my defense, I last argued this topic in an in depth manner over a decade ago, before the ruling. It just goes to show how quickly stacking a court can change the landscape of a nation.

R. Neal's picture

It just goes to show how

It just goes to show how quickly stacking a court can change the landscape of a nation.

Yep, for good or ill.

fischbobber's picture

The decision

I'm reading Scalia's opinion now


And the more I read, the harder it is for me to believe that it will hold in the long run. It appears that he took it upon himself to make a broad sweeping change in the landscape of this amendment far beyond the scope of the original lawsuit. In other words,this is not likely to be another U.S. vs. Cruikshank et al. .

What Scalia's opinion in Heller did, was legitimize, indeed guarantee that killers such as the one recently in Connecticut had access to both weapons and victims.

He did so by cross referencing texts from 150 years of academic treatise with a bit here and a piece there to support an opinion that defies logic and reason. It doesn't hold if you apply reference in a consistent manner from one part of his argument to another. In other words, this decision is a blatant abuse of power consistent with the courts recent history of nonsensical decisions based on a political philosophy rather than the rule of law.

Pam Strickland's picture

Since I am the only person on

Since I am the only person on this forum who knows Hillary, please listen when I saw that if she says she has no intention to run in 2016 that she indeed has no intention to run in 2016. Take her word for it. I'm not the only person who has know her for 30+ years who believes this, I'm just the only one y'all know. Also check out recent writings by Ron Fournier of National Journal, who has covered her since early 1980s, first for Arkansas Democrat, then for Associated Press, then National Journal.

Anonymous Name Dropper's picture

Are you best buddies with

Are you best buddies with her? Do you two chat over coffee in the morning about world politics and her future plans? Do you swap xmas presents? Im so excited that I know someone ..."who knows her..."!

Are you delusional?

Do you feel an overwhelming need to brag and make up stories in hopes of being accepted by strangers on the intertubes?

Do you have an overinflated sense of self worth?

fischbobber's picture

A gentle reminder

This is meant as a civil discussion. It is extremely difficult after an event like the one that occurred Friday to have an intellectual discussion about the rules and morays of a society in which senseless violence has become commonplace.

If Ms. Clinton chooses to put personal desire above civic duty she has certainly earned that right.

Who am I, or you, to judge who she shares that information with?

Thank you for your co-operation.

Pam Strickland's picture

I am not delusional. However,

I am not delusional. However, I do know her and conversed with her regularly from 1983-1992. And both she and Bill and I have sent messages back and forth through mutual friends and relations since then.

I know her well enough to have a sense of who she is and how she reacts to matters. No, I'm not trying to be important. Frankly, I've just grown weary of people saying that she's going to run in 2016, when all of her indications are otherwise. Listen to her. That's all. I'm giving you reasons why I think you should pay attention to her.

Average Guy's picture


Maybe not delusional, but seemingly over nostalgic.

EconGal's picture

6 degrees of Hillary

Since I am the only person on this forum who knows Hillary,

I am confident this statement is incorrect. 100 percent.

Pam Strickland's picture

In my frustration with the

In my frustration with the folks who are overly eager for her to run in 2016, I broke the hedge-your-bets rule.

How's this: Since I am probably the only person on this forum...

In the six-degrees game, however, I usually win because for seven years of my life, I badgered Bill Clinton almost daily. For personal reasons, the timing wasn't best for me to go to DC.

vernon's picture

Is it possible that the lack

Is it possible that the lack of mental health care is an issue here,all these tragedies are connected by people with no basic emotion,do we have deranged people wandering around waiting to go off?What can be done to get to these people before they snap.I m not trying to defend guns,if banning these assault weapons is the solution-do it,but to focus solely on guns would be to ignore a large part of the problem,which seems to be lack of mental health care.Something must change after this.

fischbobber's picture

Lack of mental health care

Lack of mental health care is a huge part of the issue, and every bit the conundrum that gun control is. For instance, "How do we identify the mentally ill that are a threat to society without violating their HIPPA right?"

The key to change is first instigating a rational civil discourse.

reform4's picture

The same way we regulate NFA weapons

If the National Firearms Act doesn't violate the Second Amendment, then any other restrictions we place on, say, assault weapons extra capacity magazines, etc would be constitutional as well. Don't write laws that affect every kind of gun.

Allow for, say, owner ship of a handgun, a bolt-action (hunting) rifle, and a shotgun to any individual without restriction. Want an AR-15? Want a 33-round mag for that Glock? Want a bulletproof vest? Well, now you fall into a new category, where a mandatory psych evaluation is performed before purchase and annually thereafter. And you get to pay for the psych evaluation, by the way. Got other adults in your home? They need to pass evaluations as well, unless you prove you have a gun safe and certify that you lock up the guns every day.

This isn't that hard, folks. If the NRA and Faux News wants to make the issue about mental health, fine, let's weld the mental health issue to gun licensing.

fischbobber's picture


I'm not sure how the National Firearms Act would fare under this court. McDonald and Heller both appear to defy logic and make huge presumptive jumps from what is written in the constitution and previous rulings and what this court wants this stuff to say and mean.

It's scary.

R. Neal's picture

to focus solely on guns would

to focus solely on guns would be to ignore a large part of the problem,which seems to be lack of mental health care.

Yes. Even focusing on the type of guns and accessories (assault weapons, large-capacity magazines, etc.) won't prevent gun violence. It might reduce the body count, but one is too many so it is probably worthwhile anyway.

vernon's picture

seems obvious that this is a

seems obvious that this is a chemical problem-I d love to see the correlation between the explosion of antidepressant medications and rise of suicide and/or mayhem type mass murder.

fischbobber's picture

More specifically

I'd like to see the killer's chemical dependence and use histories. The bigger picture that we may be becoming a society whose behavior is controlled by pharmaceutical companies is valid in general and certainly valid when considering an individuals right to own a firearm.

Obviously D.C. vs. Heller will have to be revisited.

fischbobber's picture


If what you mean is that, "Often anti-depressants appear to show positive short term results and should receive cautious consideration as a course of monitored treatment after detailed diagnosis." I would tend to agree with you.

I think they are over-prescibed and often only monitored after negative side effects begin to show. This is probably a discussion more suited for a health care thread though.

Pam Strickland's picture

I'm with you on this one,

I'm with you on this one, Toby. The mentally ill have been given the ability to function with these medications. And with proper supervision they can live normal life. It is when they are given to people who don't have true mental illness that there is a problem, in my humble opinion.

fischbobber's picture


That being said, I found that in the course of breaking tobacco addiction that various drugs have powerful side effects. Given the proper circumstances, they may well have positive results, but there are quite a few doctors writing prescriptions on a trial and error basis.

Many are also easily obtained via the internet. I do not advocate withholding these drugs from those that need them, indeed, I would submit that people not having access to these drugs is likely as big a problem, if not bigger, than their over-presciption, I would venture that their misuse can be traced to anti-social behavior.

Frankly, it's all the more reason to have a universal health-care system.

vernon's picture


R. Neal's picture

Another interesting wrinkle

Another interesting wrinkle re. jurisdiction. Federal law relies on the constitutional regulation of interstate commerce to regulate firearms. Gun fetishists are testing a theory that guns produced in a state and purchased in that state by a resident of the state are therefore not subject to federal regulation. In fact, I believe someone introduced legislation in Tennessee saying as much, on behalf of a gun manufacturer in the state if I'm not mistaken. Don't recall if it passed or not.

fischbobber's picture

And just for the record......


I agree with Justice Stevens.

barkers's picture

supreme court decisions

The truly relevant Supreme Court decision wasn't Heller, which only applied to federal laws. It was McDonald v. Chicago in 2010. It was that decision that "incorporated" the 2nd Amendment. Prior to McDonald, the 2nd Amendment did not apply to the states (despite the rhetoric from some quarters). McDonald established that the 2nd Amendment does apply to the states (most, if not all of which, have the right to bear arms listed in their own constitutions anyway). And it established (or recognized) self-defense as a basic right. McDonald does allow reasonable gun control laws, but state and local governments cannot violate the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms.

fischbobber's picture

McDonald vs. Chicago


Here's a link to that ruling. You make an interesting point that McDonald is more relevant than Hellers, but upon perusal of the McDonald decision, it appears that the courts wasted no time in changing the constitutional view of which weapons individuals access to and the variety of legitimate purposes they were allowed for based upon building upon the Heller ruling.(pardon my sentence structure. I've been reading Alito.)

The more I read, the more disturbing I find the Supreme Courts active role in placing guns in the hands of lunatics. These rulings have become an undoing of years of common sense rulings that recognized that there needed to be certain common sense regulations when dealing with gun ownership. This current Supreme Court has taken it upon themselves, in a series of 5-4 ruling to literally rewrite the constitution to fit their own version of what they want the U.S. to be. (See Scalia's opinion in Heller).

I had no idea until today of the real damage this court was doing to the fabric of American rule of law. Their actions were nothing but a pre-facto endorsement of future gun crimes by anyone not previously convicted of a crime. Their rulings effectively prevent any regulation of firearms relating to the future commission of violence. Our entire national and local policy now boils down to, "Make sure you can shoot back."

barkers's picture

Heller and McDonald

If you will forgive the analogy, Heller was the warning shot; McDonald was the one that hit the target. McDonald fundamentally changed how the 2nd Amendment is applied to gun control laws all across the country. I predict its impact on state and local gun laws will be similar to the impact of Roe v. Wade on state abortion statutes. Still, in McDonald the court said state and local governments could pass reasonable gun control laws. Defining "reasonable," of course, will require more legal decisions. Funny thing is, it is a decision rooted in the "living constitution" philosophy of law, not the "original intent" camp.

fischbobber's picture

Irony here

These rulings effectively destroy the concept of a local militia defense system since, without the ability to regulate and discipline within its ranks, there is no militia. It is only a bunch of anarchists with a grudging agreement not to open fire on each other. In his attempt to redefine the constitution, Scalia is effectively destroying it.

michael kaplan's picture

Sorry to change the subject,

Sorry to change the subject, but as Michael Moore effectively (IMO) argued in Bowling for Columbine, it's not about guns. It's about the alienation built into the political/economic system. Chomsky said it (again) this week. I've never considered him a socialist, but logic leads him to the following conclusion, just as logic led MLK Jr. to criticize the Vietnam war.

I like what (Paul Krugman's) doing and I think what he's proposing is fine, but it's not going to overcome the fundamental defects. That's only one defect of market systems. Another one is what it does to people. I mean, market systems turn you into a sociopath - you're out there for yourself, and you don't give a damn about anyone else. That's a market system. That itself is destructive.

michael kaplan's picture

Michael Moore on violence

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, who won that award for his 2002 documentary, Bowling for Columbine, about gun violence in the United States. On Friday night, Michael Moore appeared at the Bring Leonard Peltier Home 2012 event at the Beacon Theatre here in New York City, speaking just hours after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

MICHAEL MOORE: Earlier today, a crazy man went to an elementary school and attacked 22 children in China. A few hours before Connecticut, an elementary school was attacked in China by an insane man, and 22 children were his victims. But all he had was a knife. Total number of dead in the Chinese elementary school? Zero.

I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to just say a few words about what happened today, because I’ve been concerned about this issue for a long time. Yes, we need more gun control. Yes, we need free mental health services in this country. But I really believe that even if we had better gun control laws and better mental health, that we would still be the sort of sick and twisted, violent people that we’ve been for hundreds of years, that it’s something that’s just in our craw, just in our DNA. And to get that out of our DNA is going to take a lot more than passing a bill in Albany or D.C. That’s not going to do it.

And, you know, other countries, I mean, they have their crazy people, and they have people that—there have been shootings and killings in Norway, in France and in Germany. But there haven’t been 61 mass killings like there have been in this country just since Columbine. Sixty-one mass shootings in this country. I like to say that I sort of agree with the NRA when they say, "Guns don’t kill people, people kill people," except I would just modify that a bit and say, "Guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people," because that’s what we do. We invade countries. We send drones in to kill civilians. We’ve got five wars going on right now where our soldiers are killing people—I mean, five that we know of. We are on the short list of illustrious countries who have the death penalty. We believe it’s OK to kill you when you’ve committed a crime.

And then we have all the other forms of violence in this country that we don’t really call violence, but they are acts of violence. When you—when you make sure that 50 million people don’t have health insurance in your country and that, according to the congressional study that was done, 44,000 people a year die in America for the simple reason that they don’t have health insurance, that’s a form of murder. That murder is being committed by the insurance companies. When you evict millions of peoples—millions of people from their homes, that’s an act of violence. That’s called a home invasion.

All the wrong people are in prison in this country. I can’t believe we’re just standing blocks away from the biggest criminal operation that this country has ever seen, right down that street, and not one of them has gone to prison for what they’ve done. When you have eliminated so many millions of jobs, when you’ve ruined communities like mine, Flint, Michigan, you have killed people, because—because having seen firsthand the effects of these corporate decisions—the alcoholism, the drug abuse, divorce, suicide, all the social problems that go along with this act of violence—but we don’t call it violence, and no one’s ever arrested for it—I think it’s a real shame. And frankly, as an American, this is not how I want to be remembered.

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Moore, the Oscar-winning filmmaker, won the Academy Award for Bowling for Columbine after the Columbine massacre, speaking on Friday night just hours after the—after the massacre in Connecticut. Special thanks to filmmaker Lorna Tucker, who’s currently working on a documentary with the working title Leonard Peltier: An American Prisoner.

fischbobber's picture

Changing subjects

I think Chomsky's remark is apropos, especially in light of Scalia's rulings and opinions.

"We have met the enemy and he is us."- Pogo

Bbeanster's picture

I've been amazed to see the

I've been amazed to see the gun lovers introducing the Chinese knife attack into this discussion to bolster the tired old "guns don't kill people" argument, ignoring the fact that none of the Chinese children were killed.

And the next time somebody tells me this isn't the time to discuss doing something about gun violence I will probably puke.

fischbobber's picture


What got me was the inference that because he didn't go beyond the limited scope of the case in front of him, Scalia had left all other gun laws on the books and there was order within our justice department.

After reading the two rulings I'm convinced that Scalia's intent and purpose is to remove all semblance of order and rule of law from gun ownership.

He just needs a bit of time to work his magic.

Bbeanster's picture

Scalia, Thomas, Alito and

Scalia, Thomas, Alito and probably Roberts are going to make history as the most "activist" justices ever – putting Douglas, Marshall and anybody Roosevelt appointed in the shade. Corporations are people, my friend, and Sheldon Adelson was simply exercising his right to free speech.

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