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(KHOU Houston) NewsFlash Guns Are Keeping Us Safe 2013 tour makes a visit to Lone Star College   ( divider line
    More: NewsFlash, Lone Star College, Ben Taub General Hospital, Texas Medical Center, Intercontinental Airport, precincts  
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2013-01-22 03:29:28 PM  
5 votes:
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In the coming months, as the nation begins a serious discussion about gun regulation, the meaning of the Second Amendment - the statement that "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" - will be much discussed.

It is vital that Americans separate myths from realities, because what many of us seem to have forgotten is that, in the vision of the founders of the United States of America, the right to bear arms carries with it enormous burdens and responsibilities.

In fact, if we restored the Second Amendment to its original meaning, it would be the NRA's worst nightmare. Invoking the Second Amendment ought to be a more effective argument for increased regulation than it is against it.

In 2008, a closely divided Supreme Court abandoned more than 70 years of precedent and for the first time in American history affirmed that the Second Amendment is about a right to have a handgun in the home for self-defense. Lost in most of the commentary then and now is that this is almost the exactly opposite of what James Madison, the primary architect of the amendment, intended, and is hard to reconcile with the way most ordinary Americans would have read it in 1791.

In 1776, most of the original state constitutions did not even include an arms-bearing provision. The few states that did usually also included a clause protecting the right not to bear arms. Why? Because, in contrast to other cherished rights such as freedom of speech or religion, the state could not compel you to speak or pray. It could force you to bear arms.

The founders had a simple reason for curbing this right: Quakers and other religious pacifists were opposed to bearing arms, and wished to be exempt from an obligation that could be made incumbent on all male citizens at the time.

When the Second Amendment is discussed today, we tend to think of those "militias" as just a bunch of ordinary guys with guns, empowering themselves to resist authority when and if necessary. Nothing could be further from the founders' vision.

Militias were tightly controlled organizations legally defined and regulated by the individual colonies before the Revolution and, after independence, by the individual states. Militia laws ran on for pages and were some of the lengthiest pieces of legislation in the statute books. States kept track of who had guns, had the right to inspect them in private homes and could fine citizens for failing to report to a muster.

These laws also defined what type of guns you had to buy - a form of taxation levied on individual households. Yes, long before Obamacare, the state made you buy something, even if you did not want to purchase it. (The guns required by law were muskets, not pistols. The only exceptions to this general rule were the horsemen's pistols that dragoons and other mounted units needed.)

The founders had a word for a bunch of farmers marching with guns without government sanction: a mob. One of the reasons we have a Constitution is the founders were worried about the danger posed by individuals acting like a militia without legal authority. This was precisely what happened during Shays' Rebellion, an insurrection in western Massachusetts that persuaded many Americans that we needed a stronger central government to avert anarchy.

Many people think that we have the Second Amendment so that we can take up arms against the government if it overreaches its authority. If that interpretation were correct, it would mean that the Second Amendment had repealed the Constitution's treason clause, which defines this crime as taking up arms against the government. In reality, in the first decade after the Constitution, the government put down several rebellions similar to Shays - and nobody claimed that they were merely asserting their Second Amendment rights.

So if the Second Amendment does not have much to do about owning a pistol for self-defense, does that mean the founders did not esteem this right? Obviously the answer to that question is no. Not every right valued by Americans was expressly protected by a constitutional provision. The right of self-defense was part of the common law, a long tradition of rights defined by the English courts over a period of centuries.

But rather than invoke the Second Amendment in the coming months, Americans need to learn something about the historical origins of this part of our constitutional tradition. The bottom line is simple: the Second Amendment requires more gun regulation, not less.

Cornell is the Paul and Diane Guenther Chair in American History at Fordham University.

2013-01-22 01:59:53 PM  
5 votes:
This has to be a lie.  There are laws about bringing guns onto school grounds.  And we all know that gun control laws work.
2013-01-22 02:03:59 PM  
4 votes:
If only we could set up some sort of Gun-Free area or zone where criminals would not be allowed to bring their weapons
2013-01-22 02:05:23 PM  
3 votes:

netizencain: If only we could set up some sort of Gun-Free area or zone where criminals would not be allowed to bring their weapons

Agreed. Maybe we should make some laws against randomly shooting people as well.
2013-01-22 02:04:03 PM  
3 votes:

GAT_00: Two more people got some glorious 2nd Amendment freedom today.

Or more accurately they got to see first hand how well Gun-Control laws really work.
2013-01-22 02:07:54 PM  
2 votes:

Fark It: Elzar: *checks watch*

Nope, still not the time to talk...

Well, we don't know who did the shooting and why, or with what kind of weapon. It's too early to even blame gun owners and the NRA, let alone have a discussion.

But clearly not too early for you to start defending the NRA from being the victim in all of this.
2013-01-22 02:07:07 PM  
2 votes:

Callous: GAT_00: Two more people got some glorious 2nd Amendment freedom today.

Or more accurately they got to see first hand how well Gun-Control laws really work.

Really?  You know what the three victims now were shot by?  You know that it wasn't bought legally?  Because if you know that much detail, the police probably need to talk to you because you clearly know the shooter and knew his plans, so you're an accomplice.
2013-01-22 03:34:18 PM  
1 vote:

JesusJuice: This is what you voted for, Texans. No sympathy.

You realize this school was a "gun free zone", not sure what Texas guns laws have to do with this shooting. I guess any excuse to make fun of Texas. Who cares about the people who got shot, you have political points to score! No sympathy? Wow, you're a bad person.
2013-01-22 03:28:34 PM  
1 vote:
Are the Modmins trolling us?
2013-01-22 03:26:39 PM  
1 vote:

Callous: GAT_00: Two more people got some glorious 2nd Amendment freedom today.

Or more accurately they got to see first hand how well Gun-Control laws really work.

In Texas? What a joke, dickhead.
2013-01-22 03:25:07 PM  
1 vote:

GodLovesBeer: A: Handgungs
B: Black or Hispanic
C:Most defiantly voted for Obama
D: All of the above

Any takers?

I'll take "Things an idiot would say" for 500, Alex.

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2013-01-22 03:23:05 PM  
1 vote:
Why do we need another greenlit thread about this? The other thread's derp level isn't full yet.
2013-01-22 03:22:36 PM  
1 vote:
Keep this up and there will be more threads than victims.
2013-01-22 02:27:09 PM  
1 vote:

Weaver95: Kit Fister: GAT_00: Two more people got some glorious 2nd Amendment freedom today.

So, instead ban guns so we can biatch about stabbings instead?

in the end, there can be only one.


/sorry.  just trying to lighten the mood.  this sort of news story depresses the hell outta me.

I'm afraid that until we can fix the whole goddamn human race, people are always going to kill each other.
2013-01-22 02:13:48 PM  
1 vote:
the 24 hour news chatter on this is silly.

***breaking news*** students seen leaving the library

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