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A Well Regulated Militia...

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.

2nd Amendment, US Constitution


The facts about the 2nd Amendment
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Last update: September 22, 2006 – 6:36 PM

Editorial: The Constitution's gun-control pledge
History lesson: Second Amendment requires regulation.

First, a calming caveat: Saul Cornell doesn't want to take away your guns. He's neither antigun nor progun. He really isn't a gun guy at all. His thing is history.

Cornell, a professor at Ohio State University, passed through town the other day with much to say about regulating guns. Yet his aim isn't to take sides in the modern gun-control debate — a squabble he thinks has strayed rather off-topic. It's far more interesting, he thinks, to look back to learn what this country's founders actually thought about gun regulation.

They couldn't imagine life without it, says Cornell. That's the point of his new book, "A Well Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America." In it, Cornell excavates the foundations of the Second Amendment and offers some startling conclusions.

"As long as we've had guns in America," says Cornell, "we've had gun regulation." In fact, the Second Amendment's chief purpose is to assure such regulation. Without it, the founders feared, anarchy might take hold.

The amendment was born of the founders' desire for "a well-regulated militia." Having opted against a standing army, the Constitution's cobblers determined that every able-bodied man would serve as a member of a local militia — prepared to respond in unison against invasion.

"It would have been impossible to muster the militia without a scheme of regulation," says Cornell — and the early Americans had one. "Muster rolls" kept track of militia members and their firearms. And every hamlet in the land had its own de facto gun registrar: the local gunsmith, who knew every gun and gun-owner in town.

There's one right the Second Amendment wasn't written to confer: an entitlement to take up arms against the government. "The founding fathers drew a distinction between a well-regulated militia, which operates under the authority of the state, and an armed mob," says Cornell. History couldn't be clearer about this point: "Once you have constitutional government," Cornell points out, "you have no right of revolution anymore."

Indeed, "All these things that the gun-rights community has championed in the name of the founding fathers — opposition to registration, promotion of concealed-carry and stand-your-ground laws, the notion that individuals have a right to take up arms against their government — are antithetical to the original understanding of the Second Amendment."

They also contradict today's legal understanding of the amendment. "The reason the high court hasn't heard a case regarding the meaning of the Second Amendment in so long," says Cornell, "is that it's considered one of the most settled issues in American law." In other words, laws meant to curb gun violence are usually ruled constitutional.

What Cornell wishes people would understand is that our tradition of gun ownership grew up alongside gun regulation. When this country was young, Cornell notes, the Second Amendment created a climate in which "gun ownership wasn't driven by antipathy toward the government or one's neighbors. It was part of an ethic that knit the community together and bound it to government."

Why, wonders the historian, can't Americans embrace that ethic today?

©2006 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

Courts limit 2nd amendment
One argument tried by gun lovers is that the Supreme Court has never ruled on the 2nd Amendment. Wrong. From an excellent overview of The Myth of the Second Amendment:

As a matter of law, the meaning of the Second Amendment has been settled since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). In that case, the Court ruled that the "obvious purpose" of the Second Amendment was to "assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness" of the state militia.

Since the Miller decision, lower federal and state courts have addressed the meaning of the Second Amendment in more than thirty cases. In every case, up until March of 1999, the courts decided that the Second Amendment refers to the right to keep and bear arms only in connection with a state militia.

What about all the lower federal and state rulings, which have the force of law unless they're overturned? One correspondent's analysis:

The issue of whether gun nuts have a constitutional right to run loose with their guns has been argued many times in the courts. The courts are unanimous in ruling that laws regulating the ownership of guns do not violate the Second Amendment.

Here's some of what the judges have said:


Since the Second Amendment right "to keep and bear arms" applies only to the right of the State to maintain a militia and not to the individual's right to bear arms, there can be no serious claim to any express constitutional right of an individual to possess a firearm. . .

—United States v. Warin, 530 F.2d 103.


An examination of the way other states have construed their constitutional right to bear arms statutes further supports the belief that no fundamental right to possess an assault weapon exists.

—Robertson v. City & County of Denver, 874 P.2d 325.


The [Second] amendment is a limitation only upon the power of Congress, and not upon that of the States.

—Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252


It is abundantly clear both from the discussions of this amendment contemporaneous with its proposal and those of learned writers since that this amendment, unlike those providing for free speech and freedom of religion, was not adopted with individual rights in mind, but as a protection for the States in the maintenance of their militia organizations against possible encroachments by the federal power.

—Tot v. United States, 131 F. 261


Under the controlling authority of Miller we conclude that the right to keep and bear handguns is not guaranteed by the second amendment.

—Quilici v. Morton Grove, 695 F.2d 261


To apply the amendment so as to guarantee Oakes' right to keep an unregistered firearm which has not been shown to have any connection to the militia, merely because he is technically a member of the Kansas militia, would be unjustifiable in terms of either logic or policy.

—United States v. Oakes, 564 F.2d 384.


[I]t is well settled that the restrictions of these amendments operate only upon the Federal power, and have no reference whatever to proceedings in state courts.

—Miller v. Texas, 153 U.S. 535.


It must be remembered that the right to keep and bear arms is not a right given by the United States Constitution.

— Eckert v. City of Philadelphia, 477 F.2d 610


A fundamental right to keep and bear arms has not been the law for 100 years...Cases have analyzed the second amendment purely in terms of protecting state militias rather than individual rights.

—United States v. Nelsen, 859 F.2d 1318


The courts have consistently held that the second amendment only confers a collective right of keeping and bearing arms which must bear "a reasonable relationship to a well-regulated militia."

—U.S. v. Johnson, 497 F.2d 548


In short, the Second Amendment does not imply any general constitutional right for individuals to bear arms and form private armies.

—Vietnamese Fishermen's Association v. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 543 F. Supp. 198


It is not sufficient to prove that the *weapon* in question was susceptible to military use. It is evident that Hale's weapons were of a military nature and possessed the capability of killing and maiming groups of persons. Rather, the claimant of Second Amendment protection must prove that his or her *possession* of the weapon was reasonably related to a well regulated militia.

—United States v. Wilbur Hale, 978 F.2d 1016.


An individual has no private right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.

—United States v. Pencak, 872 F. Supp. 410


The right to keep and bear arms for the common defence does not include the right to associate together as a military organization, or to drill and parade with arms in cities and towns, unless authorized to do so by law.

—Commonwealth v. Murphy, 166 Mass. 171, 44 N.E. 138


The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the Second Amendment was not adopted to guarantee the right of the individual to bear arms, but rather to protect the states in the maintenance of their militia organizations against possible encroachments by federal power.

—Eckert v. State of Pennsylvania, 331 F. Supp. 361


The National Guard is the modern Militia reserved to the States by Art I, Sec 8, cl 15, 16, of the Constitution.

—Maryland v. United States, 381 U.S. 41


The right of the people to keep and bear arms for their security is preserved, and the manner of bearing them for such purpose is clearly indicated to be as a member of a well- regulated militia, or some other military organization provided for by law.

—Blaksley v. City of Salina, 72 Kan. Rpt. 230


With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such [militia] forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.

—United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174.


The question has been faced by several states. State constitutions which provide to the 'people' the right to keep and bear arms for the common defence do not necessarily grant individuals that same right. The right is not directed to guaranteeing individual ownership or possession of weapons.

—Rabbit v. Leonard, 413 A. 2d 489


These legislative restrictions [the Omnibus Crime Control Act] on the use of firearms are neither based upon constitutionally suspect criteria, nor do they trench upon any constitutionally protected liberties. See United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, 178 (1939) (the Second Amendment guarantees no right to keep and bear a firearm that does not have "some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia").

—Lewis v. United States, 445 U.S. 55


There is nothing in the language of our state constitution or in the history of the right to "bear arms", as protected by the federal and various state constitutions, which lends any credence whatsoever to the claim that there is a constitutional right to carry a firearm into a drinking establishment.

—Second Amendment Foundation v. City of Renton, 668 P.2d 596


Most students of the subject would undoubtedly express agreement with the substance of the currently expressed view that "the term 'well-regulated militia' must be taken to mean the active, organized militia of each state, which today is characterized as the state National Guard."

—Burton v. Sills, 248 A. 2d 521


These decisions signify, and history supports the position, that the amendment was drafted not with the primary purpose of guaranteeing the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms but, rather, to allow Americans to possess arms to ensure the preservation of a militia.

—Arnold v. City of Cleveland, 67 Ohio St. 3d 35


Even as against the United States, furthermore, the Second Amendment protects not an individual right but a collective right, in the people as a group, to serve as a militia.

—In Re Application of Atkinson, 291 N.W.2d 396


This court is unaware of a single case which has upheld a right to bear arms under the Second Amendment to the Constitution, outside of the context of a militia.

—Thompson v. Dereta, 549 F. Supp. 297

The courts aren't quite unanimous since the 1999 Cummings ruling. But the Miller decision allowing gun regulation is still the law of the land. And if a few courts rule individuals have some right to bear arms, or even every right to bear arms, it doesn't change the meta-message.

The meta-message is that the 2nd Amendment is subject to interpretation, and the democratic majority will interpret it as it sees fit. If gun nuts don't like it, they can get the hell out of the country. "Love it or leave it" is the only choice "We the People" are offering them.

And from The Myth of the Second Amendment:

Even if one believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms, does that mean that all gun control laws are unconstitutional? Of course not. In fact, several states have clauses in their state constitutions which explicitly guarantee an individual right to keep and bear arms, yet not a single gun control law has been overturned in those states for violating that clause.

The rights guaranteed by the Constitution have never been absolute. The First Amendment protects the freedom of the press, yet libel laws prevent newspapers from printing malicious lies about a person. The First Amendment also protects free speech, yet one cannot yell "Fire" in a crowded theatre.

Update 2008
In June 2008, the Supreme Court ruled on the scope of the 2nd Amendment for the first time since 1939. This ruling established that the 2nd Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms.

Unfortunately for gun nuts, the ruling was 5-4 by a notoriously conservative court. That means the arguments weren't convincing to anyone except one moderately conservative and four arch-conservative judges. If a future president replaces one of these conservatives with a liberal, the next ruling may be 5-4 against the individual right to bear arms.

Here's how arbitrary the decision was:

October 21, 2008

Ruling on Guns Elicits Rebuke From the Right


WASHINGTON — Four months after the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess guns, its decision is under assault — from the right.

Two prominent federal appeals court judges say that Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion in the case, District of Columbia v. Heller, is illegitimate, activist, poorly reasoned and fueled by politics rather than principle. The 5-to-4 decision in Heller struck down parts of a District of Columbia gun control law.

The judges used what in conservative legal circles are the ultimate fighting words: They said the gun ruling was a right-wing version of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that identified a constitutional right to abortion. Justice Scalia has said that Roe had no basis in the Constitution and amounted to a judicial imposition of a value judgment that should have been left to state legislatures.

Comparisons of the two decisions, then, seemed calculated to sting.

"The Roe and Heller courts are guilty of the same sins," one of the two appeals court judges, J. Harvie Wilkinson III, wrote in an article to be published in the spring in The Virginia Law Review.

Similarly, Judge Richard A. Posner, in an article in The New Republic in August, wrote that Heller's failure to allow the political process to work out varying approaches to gun control that were suited to local conditions "was the mistake that the Supreme Court made when it nationalized abortion rights in Roe v. Wade."

More to the point, the ruling outlawed only a complete ban on guns such as the District of Columbia's. It explicitly noted the legality of gun-control regulations as long as they're not too extreme. So we're exactly where we were before. Regardless of what the 2nd Amendment says about the individual's right to bear arms, it's clear about the government's right to regulate such arms.

More on the Supreme Court ruling
Court bolsters gun nuts

The so-called right
Failing to make their case based on actual court rulings, gun nuts try to tell us the Founding Fathers' original intent. Even if that were relevant—it isn't, because the Constitution gives us the right to interpret the Constitution's meaning—the so-called original intent doesn't address the issue of regulation.

A typical gun nut tries to prove the Founders' intent:

>> I'd suggest reading the Federalist Papers, authored by the framers of the constitution. This issue is dealt with at length. <<

I've read them. I suggest you read them. They do not deal at length with guns or the right to bear arms.

>> The framers of the constitution DID know that superior firepower could exist, since they had it at the time over the British Army. <<

The Americans had more firepower than the British did? I thought the redcoats outmanned and outgunned the minutemen.

Please quote the part where Hamilton, Madison, or Jay talks specifically about superior firepower.

I hope you're not talking about Federalist Nos. 3-5. In those papers, Jay writes about the dangers of bigger and more disciplined armies, not arms. He uses the existence of those armies to argue for a central government, to protect Americans from the British or from each other.

And I hope you're not talking about Federalist No. 29, which Hamilton devotes to regulating militias:

If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security.

And I really hope you're not talking about Federalist No. 46. Here's what one bogus commentary said about that:

When it comes to interpreting the Second Amendment accurately, John Ashcroft appears to stand in pretty good company.

During his confirmation hearing testimony, Sen. Ashcroft stated, "In Federalist No. 46, James Madison, who later drafted the Second Amendment, argued that the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possessed over the people of almost every other nation, would deter the new central government from tyranny."

That's nice. Ashcroft's paraphrase of Madison says nothing about whether the government can regulate those armed people or not, so it's irrelevant to this debate.

More misinterpretations of Madison

James Madison, unlike many of his contemporaries, did not fear allowing the central government to maintain an army in time of peace, writing that if the government attempted "to extend its power beyond the due limits, the (States) would still have the advantage in the means of defeating such encroachments (because) the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand."

Madison did not advocate violence as the first response to despotism. His countrymen, he said, would respond to illegitimate acts of government first with "disquietude," "repugnance," civil disobedience and legislative impediments at the state level. Only after discussing a multitude of non-violent means of resistance did Madison come to explore "trial by force" and the armed citizenry.

Seems to me Madison was minimizing Americans' need to bear arms. And there's still nothing about whether the government can regulate those arms or not.

Considering the variety of means of protecting freedom available to Americans, Madison concluded Federalist No. 46 with the words paraphrased by Sen. Ashcroft: "Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of."

So "subordinate governments" are the protection against a government that goes out of control. Not a few pseudo-patriots brandishing their assault rifles, but more government. Madison doesn't put his faith in gun-loving individuals, but in citizens acting collectively as militias or governments.

Also, Madison didn't "conclude" No. 46 with the words cited. He concluded the mere 20 or so lines he spent on arms, in the middle of No. 46, with those words. That's maybe a tenth of the long paper (seven pages in my edition). So Madison didn't devote even one whole paper to the subject of arms; he devoted a fraction of one, in passing. That reinforces how tangential the issue was to him.

So does the point about the "variety of means" Americans had to protect their freedom. Again that suggests guns weren't central to the framers' thinking. And there's still nothing about whether the government can regulate arms or not, which is the only issue in question.

Ashcroft proved a remarkable ability to dissemble about his past. His opinion here is equally phony. When someone argues for confiscating all guns, Ashcroft and his ilk may well have something to say. But Federalist No. 46 is irrelevant to the question of regulating guns.

My edition of the Federalist Papers has something useful called an index. It helpfully notes that only Federalist No. 29 (and one word in Federalist No. 56) speak of regulating militias. So Hamilton's is the definitive Founders' position on the issue.

While we're at it, let's note that the Federalist Papers barely mention the Bill of Rights, which was passed years after the Constitution. I don't think the Papers mention the specific "right to keep and bear arms" either. My book's index doesn't say anything about it.

But in Federalist No. 84 Hamilton reviews the general need for a Bill of Rights:

I go further and affirm that bill of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution but would even be dangerous.

Hamilton, Federalist No. 84

So Hamilton, the Constitution's leading proponent, thought the Bill of Rights was unnecessary. He reviewed several rights in this essay and didn't list the "right to bear arms" among them. For this advocate, apparently, the right to bear arms was inconsequential.

Here are more quotes from Hamilton and other sources proving the Founders regarded regulation as normal and customary. Read 'em and weep.

Tough question for gun nuts
We've seen that court rulings support gun laws and the framers had little or nothing to say about them. No one except a few loonies support an absolute right to bear arms. But let's give them a shot at defending their made-up interpretation.

Consider the words gun nuts love to quote out of context: "...the right keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Is this right unlimited?

That is, does the right to bear arms extend to bearing nuclear bombs, poisonous gas, anthrax, and similar weapons? If you don't believe someone has the right to build a nuke next door to you, you're admitting there's a limit to the Second Amendment. Then the only question is where the limit is, not whether the limit exists.

I've never heard a gun lover address this point—at least, not successfully. If someone has a valid answer, he or she can be the first. Good luck.

Here's one poor soul's attempt:

>> Weapons of mass destruction DO NOT fall under the second Amendment. <<

Says who? Do you expect us to take your word for it? Take my word for it instead: They do fall under the Second Amendment.

Better yet, check the dictionary definition of "arms," then tell us how it doesn't apply to nuclear arms. My dictionary says an "arm" is a "weapon of offense or defense." That clearly does include nukes.

If you can interpret the meaning of "arms," so can anyone. Likewise, anyone can interpret the meaning of "militia," regardless of the definitions passed decades or centuries ago. Either all interpretations are valid or none are. No one gets to choose which words get read literally and which get interpreted.

"Well regulated" means well regulated
If the Founders defined a "militia" as all citizens, they also made it clear a militia could be "well regulated." That's all the present laws do—regulate the people's "militia" well. That makes gun laws perfectly constitutional.

Let's reiterate this point. The framers could've written "An UNregulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...." Instead, they explicitly wrote "A WELL REGULATED militia...." Unless you think they were incompetent, they knew exactly what they were saying. The right to bear arms shall not be infringed...within the context of a well regulated militia.

That's how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Second Amendment because the Second Amendment's wording is clear. A well regulated militia, not an unregulated militia, is what the Constitution authorizes. How we define "militia" is a detail since "well regulated" is incontrovertible.

Our poor soul tries one more time:

>> Chemical and nuclear agents fall, among other things, under the Geneva Convention and other warfare treaties approved by 2/3 of the Legislature. <<

So what? Are you saying the UN is sovereign over the United States? That a treaty passed by some Commie/socialist/liberal/One World/Trilateral Commission can invalidate the Constitution? Answer that question and then we'll proceed.

Conservatives who defend the right to bear arms are quick to deny the validity of international laws and treaties. If you're saying we can now refer to UN declarations and conventions when interpreting our constitutional rights...wow, that's a novel position. When the first gun lover agrees that our "rights" include the right to be free of hunger, poverty, and racism—as guaranteed in the UN's Declaration of Rights—be sure to let us know. Then we can start passing laws to guarantee these rights and undo the conservative-led decades of neglect.

Students learn the truth
Even kids have better information at their command than John Ashcroft and his ilk. From the letters to the LA Times, 5/30/01:

It is disturbing to see that Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft gave incorrect advice to the NRA about the 2nd Amendment, saying it gives individuals the right to own guns (May 23). Although the NRA consistently tries to mislead the public by promoting this erroneous interpretation, its members should look at what a conservative Republican, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger, had to say. He was incensed by the NRA misrepresentation of the 2nd Amendment, and on Dec. 16, 1991, on TV, he stated, "[The 2nd Amendment] has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word 'fraud,' on the American public."

The NRA keeps pouring millions of dollars into support of GOP candidates, and together they keep promoting this nonexistent "right," no matter how many people die. We deserve an attorney general who tells it straight, rather than saying only what is politically opportune.


So Ashcroft believes that there are gun rights for the individual in the Constitution? He is dead wrong and needs to do his homework. According to our seventh-grade civics textbook, the Supreme Court and lower courts have consistently ruled that the Constitution only guarantees the right of states to keep militia, now known as National Guard units. In other words, the courts have declared that individual citizens do not have a constitutional right to possess guns.

Maybe Ashcroft is ignoring the truth because he is just paying back the NRA for contributing over $350,000 for his failed 2000 Senate bid.

Kidz Voice-L.A., Studio City

The gun nuts' "solution"
Gun nuts can't and won't get their way on the 2nd Amendment because the words "well regulated" are crystal-clear. But suppose they did get their way. Is their much-touted "solution"—to enforce existing laws—a real answer?

No, not really. Here's an editorial from the LA Times, 5/16/01:

Think Outside the NRA Box

It's hard to argue with the underlying goal of the gun plan that President Bush announced this week: to hammer criminals with the full force of federal law. But no one should be surprised that his proposal bears a striking resemblance to the plan the National Rifle Assn. supports.

Even a gung-ho NRA member who truly believes that such an approach is all it will take to slow the gun-related death rate would be well advised to look at reported problems with the Richmond, Va., project upon which the Bush plan is based.

The president wants to spend $15 million to hire 113 more assistant U.S. attorneys to prosecute gun charges and an additional $550 million over two years to help states crack down on gun crimes. His approach is modeled after Project Exile, launched with much fanfare four years ago in Richmond. Project Exile made gun crimes a federal offense and imposed the toughest sentences possible on those convicted of illegal gun possession or use.

But an analysis in this week's U.S. News & World Report finds that the vaunted project has had mixed results. During the first year, federal prosecutors in Richmond aggressively targeted every gun offender they could find. But indictments and convictions have fallen off by almost half since 1997, and many suspects are now being released before trial. Federal judges are grumbling over dockets clogged with gun crimes. And federal prisons near Richmond are jammed with felons who would otherwise be locked up in state prisons.

Enforcement of existing laws is an important but incomplete solution to gun violence. And it's expensive.

In his statement Monday, Bush said nothing about saner, more cost-effective measures to keep gun crimes from happening in the first place. Nothing about closing the loophole allowing buyers at gun shows to evade background checks, nothing about licensing gun owners or limiting purchases.

If the Exile approach can be put back on track, it will be a good step forward for a national gun plan. But it won't be enough. If Bush is serious about reducing gun-related crime, he'll need to think outside the NRA box.

Copyright © 2001 Los Angeles Times

Note the key word "expensive." When conservative/libertarians actually vote for the taxes necessary to pay for the expensive "solutions" they want—more law enforcement, more court trials, more prison sentences—then you'll know they're sincere. Until then, their "solutions" are as full of hot air, as devoid of content, as Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign. They're worthless slogans masquerading as ideas.

If you need more evidence that gun fanatics don't care the slightest about cracking down on crime, consider the debates over creating national databases. For instance, the "Debate over Gun Markings Database" reported by MSNBC.com, 10/14/02. This has everything to do with catching crooks and nothing to do with preventing citizens from legally owning guns. The fanatics can't even begin to explain how a system meant to identify guns used in criminal acts would infringe on their right to bear arms.

The only thing gun nuts care about is their extremist definition of the 2nd Amendment, which they think lets them build a bomb or send anthrax spores to "defend" themselves against "evil" government.

Related links
Some arguments for gun control
The Founders' original intent
Libertarianism = anarchy
Right-wing extremists:  the enemy within

Readers respond
"If you think guns should be Banned/Regulated then your an Idiot."
"All able bodied males between the ages of 17 and 45 not serving in the armed forces or state national guard units are considered the unorganized militia."
"The term 'well-regulated' in 1787 refers to being in working order not regulation by law, like 'a well-regulated watch'."
"It is exactly your position on the right to keep and bear arms that allowed 9/11/01 to occur."
"For far too long, the United States has been subjected to staggering carnage, thanks to an entrenched gun lobby."
"[T]he very suggestion that a Government of Law is subject to interpretation is incredibly STUPID."
Liberal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment keeps man with 16 guns from blowing George W. Bush away.
"What part of the Constitution don't you understand? Oh yea, the part YOU don't like."
"[T]he 2nd amendment means every Lawful citizen, in every age, who chooses to take up his preferred weapon."
"If you're ever in Idaho,...I'd love to take you shooting...to introduce you to the world of firearms."
Barnett:  "The general militia...successfully prevented Flight 93 from reaching its intended target."
"Everyone who wants a gun should have one, whether he's a terrorist or not."
"What would you do if the Republicans went fascist?"
Jefferson:  "No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms" [and similar quotes].
"Every town, state, or country that has gone to more restrictive gun laws has had a significant increase in violent crime."

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