View Poll Results: Does the original intent still matter when discussing the Constitution?

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  • Yes. We should strictly follow both the letter and spirit of the original intent.

    28 35.90%
  • Yes. We should follow the original principles and then apply them as new issues arise.

    21 26.92%
  • Yes. The original intent of the Constition is important, but other factors must be considered.

    15 19.23%
  • No. The Constitution is a guiding set of principles that we can interrpret to fit our current needs.

    10 12.82%
  • Other

    4 5.13%
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Thread: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

  1. #201
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    Why should the military have them?
    I don't really think they "should", but in a world where every country competes for military supremacy, they more or less need to in order to compete with other militaries. Certainly, if I could wave a magic wand and suddenly have the winner of every war in the world be determined by who was able to save the most species from extinction or make the prettiest flower garden or something, that'd be the way to go, but I don't think that's on the table Until then, the military is going to continue on it's race to create the most deadly soldier possible.

    That doesn't mean we also need to have a race to make the most deadly psychopaths, mass murderers, terrorists, and drug addicts possible.

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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    I don't really think they "should", but in a world where every country competes for military supremacy, they more or less need to in order to compete with other militaries. Certainly, if I could wave a magic wand and suddenly have the winner of every war in the world be determined by who was able to save the most species from extinction or make the prettiest flower garden or something, that'd be the way to go, but I don't think that's on the table Until then, the military is going to continue on it's race to create the most deadly soldier possible.

    That doesn't mean we also need to have a race to make the most deadly psychopaths, mass murderers, terrorists, and drug addicts possible.
    This is what liberals think about law abiding citizens.
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  3. #203
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    This is what liberals think about law abiding citizens.
    What do you mean? Obviously most folks are good law abiding folks. But there are 311 million people in this country. There are psychopaths, mass murderers, terrorists, drug addicts, nazis, mentally ill people, cults, white supremacists, black supremacists, conspiracy nuts, extortionists, theives, gangs, organized crime, and assasins amongst those 311 million. Whatever law we make for the law abiding folks also determines what kind of weaponry those folks have access to.
    Last edited by teamosil; 10-23-09 at 08:49 PM.

  4. #204
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    I disagree with that. If you believe that, work through my scenario with the phaser. Imagine that in 50 years soldiers are issued some new high tech phaser that can destroy an entire stadium and kill everybody inside in a matter of seconds. Would you support those phasers being sold to whoever wanted them? .
    You are postulating about an imaginary and improbable sci-fi-fantasy weapon that might exist some time in the relatively distant future...or it might not. There is not presently even any theory in physics to account for a handheld "phaser" that had that kind of destructive power... yet you are using this fantasy weapon as an argument against the present established principle of what is "arms".

    This is as silly as if I were to argue about restrictions to free speech on the basis of "what if in the future they can give you a pill and you develop mental telepathy, what about free speech then huh? Can't have people going around broadcasting into everyone's brain!!"

    This is a red herring, you are basing an argument on a fantasy technology that may never exist.

    Let's get back to the real world shall we? And we'll let the far future worry about it's own problems as they actually develop.

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil
    What do you mean? Obviously most folks are good law abiding folks. But there are 311 million people in this country. There are psychopaths, mass murderers, terrorists, drug addicts, nazis, mentally ill people, cults, white supremacists, black supremacists, conspiracy nuts, extortionists, theives, gangs, organized crime, and assasins amongst those 311 million. Whatever law we make for the law abiding folks also determines what kind of weaponry those folks have access to.
    Your premise here is patently flawed; in fact it is flatly false.

    The nuts and scumbags outlined in bold print, who commit felonies with weapons, do not typically obtain those weapons legally; do not register them or concern themselves with whether those weapons are legal; in short they do not obey the law.

    The part of your quote I underlined is totally fallacious. The restrictions imposed on law-abiding folk most obviously DO NOT APPLY TO OUTLAWS. There are already places in this country where it is almost impossible for lawful citizens to own most sorts of firearms, yet criminals get them anyway.

    You might argue that they get them from other states with fewer restrictions. Yes, right now they do. If the entire USA labored under such restrictions as Chicago does, guess what? Weapons would be smuggled in from overseas, constructed in black-market machine shops, and criminals and crazies would still have access to them. AK47's can be built in a small machine shop, so can revolvers... citizens already manufacture their own ammo. Not to mention the estimated 220 million-plus guns already in private hands in the USA...and I believe that number to be low.

    We can't keep pot and cocaine out of the country, despite draconian anti-drug laws and a huge DEA anti-smuggling organization... what in the world makes you think we could keep people from smuggling in guns or manufacturing them illegally?

    All you'd accomplish would be to disarm law-abiding citizens....IF you didn't trigger an armed revolt instead. It is an ineffective solution because the approach focuses on the tool and not the behavior.

    Thinking that gun control prevents crime is like thinking that laws regulating pencils will prevent paperwork errors. What we need is criminal control, not inanimate object control.
    Last edited by Goshin; 10-23-09 at 10:01 PM.

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  5. #205
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    I don't like tying the standard to what soldiers carry because that basically means that the bar will rise steadily over time as to how much destructive force we allow civilians to have.
    Since the intent of the Second Amendment was to ensure the citizen had parity with the soldier in the employ of a would be tyrant, why shouldn't the standards rise as technology improves?

  6. #206
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    You are postulating about an imaginary and improbable sci-fi-fantasy weapon that might exist some time in the relatively distant future...or it might not. There is not presently even any theory in physics to account for a handheld "phaser" that had that kind of destructive power... yet you are using this fantasy weapon as an argument against the present established principle of what is "arms".
    I disagree. If you compare an AK47 to a musket, we've already made that sort of leap once. So, if we're going to apply the logic that was created to deal with muskets to AK47s, my question is, where is the line? Something twice as deadly as an AK? Four times? If the right to bear arms is to be treated as an absolute right, we need to define exactly what the boundaries of that right are. The alternative is what we're doing now- to allow the legislature and courts to define the boundaries of the rights as we go along. If you're cool with that, then that's all good. If you're not, then you need a clear cut, objective, line where you believe the right to bear arms is limited.

    If you want to contend that it is an absolute right which cannot be infringed, you need to define that right in a way that will always be applicable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Your premise here is patently flawed; in fact it is flatly false.

    The nuts and scumbags outlined in bold print, who commit felonies with weapons, do not obtain those weapons legally; do not register them or concern themselves with whether those weapons are legal; in short they do not obey the law.
    The two largest sources of guns used in crimes, by far, are guns which were either legally purchased by the perpetrator and guns which were stolen from somebody who legally purchased them. If a gun can't be sold legally, the supply of that kind of gun in the US is radically curtailed. Thats why in countries with far stricter gun laws you don't see nearly so many gun related crimes. Certainly, once the guns are out there, we can't get them back. But I'm not proposing making any guns currently legal illegal. I'm just talking about where the line is for you for what sorts of gun not currently legal, or guns not yet invented, where you would say that they are too deadly to be sold to the general population.

  7. #207
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow Akhbar View Post
    Since the intent of the Second Amendment was to ensure the citizen had parity with the soldier in the employ of a would be tyrant, why shouldn't the standards rise as technology improves?
    Because as those weapons that a soldier carries become more and more deadly, the negative impacts of allowing the public to have those guns increase. So, just to way over simplify it, say that the benefit of citizens being able to take on soliers is a 7. The downside of psychopaths having easy access to muskets is maybe a 2 because they really just aren't that deadly. Maybe the downside of psychopaths having modern rifles and handguns is a 5. Maybe the downside of psychopaths having easy access to fully automatic weapons is an 8. And maybe the downside of psychopaths in the future having easy access to some kind of super deadly future weapon in 100 years is a 10, in 500 years maybe it's a 18, and so on. See what I'm saying? The benefit of being able to overthrow the government doesn't increase, but the disadvantage of having civilians equipped like soldiers increases as those weapons get more and more dangerous. Somebody might argue that handgun technology has already reached the point where the disadvantages outweigh the advantage Somebody else might argue that handguns today are below that line, but that machine guns are over that line. Or, somebody might argue that machine guns are below that line, but that some kind of future weapon that could kill 500 people in a minute would be over the line. No sane person can say that we'll never hit the line though. So, I'm asking you guys where you would mark the line where the disadvantage would outweigh the advantage. How much destructive force in the hands of individuals would be too much for it be balanced out by the remote possiblity of some militia rising up and overthrowing the government?

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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    What do you mean? Obviously most folks are good law abiding folks. But there are 311 million people in this country. There are psychopaths, mass murderers, terrorists, drug addicts, nazis, mentally ill people, cults, white supremacists, black supremacists, conspiracy nuts, extortionists, theives, gangs, organized crime, and assasins amongst those 311 million. Whatever law we make for the law abiding folks also determines what kind of weaponry those folks have access to.
    Spare me the socialist rhetoric. You would delete the 2nd Amendment, like the good socialist you are.
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    Spare me the socialist rhetoric. You would delete the 2nd Amendment, like the good socialist you are.
    Hmm, I was looking for some input on how to read the issue, but instead I just get an angry concession from you... Ah well. Maybe some of the other guys have a better grasp on the subject.

  10. #210
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    I disagree. If you compare an AK47 to a musket, we've already made that sort of leap once. So, if we're going to apply the logic that was created to deal with muskets to AK47s, my question is, where is the line?
    Your "phaser" line of argument remains fallacious and filled with error.

    Tell me, how much do you know about firearms, actually?

    A musket fired a bullet...technically a lead ball. An AK47 fires bullets. While the AK47 is a more advanced weapon in type, it remains essentially the same in character: like the musket, it fires bullets. The destructive power of a bullet is to make a small hole, just like the musket ball.

    The flintlock musket was invented in the 1500s...the AK47 in the 20th century. Over 400 years and firearms, though much improved, still fire bullets.

    You are postulating that in 50 years some technology for which there is not even a theory ("a [man portable] phaser than can melt a stadium and kill everyone in it in seconds") and using it as an argument against the current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.

    Do you see how preposterous this is? In order to have the energy to "melt a stadium", your not-even-hypothetical "phaser" would have to have an energy storage capacity approaching that of a tactical nuclear weapon. There is no reason to believe this will be feasible in 50 years, and it is a stretch to believe it will be feasible in 500 years. Energy density is a tricky thing and not so easily manipulated.

    Let the far future deal with this situation IF it ever arises, and let's deal with the present and the near-term future.... which is quite a handful by itself.

    It is likely that within our lifetime, guns will continue to fire bullets. They will probably do so more accurately, which is a good thing... accurate shots hit their intended target, not innocent bystanders... and some will fire larger quantities of bullets at higher velocities.

    Let's get back to what you actually know about firearms. Do you know there are selective-fire AK47's, and there are semi-auto AK47's? Do you understand those terms? Do you know how the two types are regulated differently under present law?

    Are you aware that even a full-auto AK47 is actually not a "machine gun"? It is not something that can very effectively be used to spray bullets "like a garden hose" with any accuracy. If you try it you'll be lucky to hit the broad side of a barn. Have you ever fired automatic weapons before? The usual method, taught by the military because it is the most effective, is to fire short bursts of AIMED fire at a single target, typically in bursts of 2-4 rounds. This gives 2-4 chances to hit the target.

    Hosing full-auto around is also known as "spray and pray", because of its ineffectiveness. Recoil results in muzzle-climb and tends to take the stream of bullets off the target quickly unless it is a heavy mounted weapon.

    It is not the same as, say an M60 belt-fed LMG.

    Many people have an exaggerated idea of the "power" of the AK47. The fact is it is a highly reliable weapon, but uses an intermediate-power cartridge intended for modest range and modest accuracy.

    A Remington 700 bolt-action 30-06 is actually a deadlier weapon using a far more powerful cartridge. People don't freak about Rem700's because they don't "look evil".

    I don't have a problem with law-abiding citizens owning AK47's, or AR-15's, M4's or similar weapons. These are not the "weapons of mass destruction" antigunners make them out to be.


    If the right to bear arms is to be treated as an absolute right, we need to define exactly what the boundaries of that right are. The alternative is what we're doing now- to allow the legislature and courts to define the boundaries of the rights as we go along. If you're cool with that, then that's all good. If you're not, then you need a clear cut, objective, line where you believe the right to bear arms is limited.
    If you want to contend that it is an absolute right which cannot be infringed, you need to define that right in a way that will always be applicable.
    I've defined it before on this forum, thus:

    1. Any weapon suitable for use in militia service, specifically a weapon defined as a "small arm", suitable for infantry use as a soldier's personal weapon.
    2. Any other weapon useable for self-defense, sport, or other lawful purposes.

    A weapon capable of "melting a stadium" would probably fall under the headings of support weapons or artillery, if not WMDs, and in any future that I or my kids or grandkids will see would probably not be an infantry small-arm/personal weapon.





    The two largest sources of guns used in crimes, by far, are guns which were either legally purchased by the perpetrator and guns which were stolen from somebody who legally purchased them.
    The bolded quote is bull.

    Firearms as Used in Crime
    Annual Criminal Abuse of Firearms Nationally: Less than 0.2% of all firearms, and less than 0.4% of all handguns. More than 99.8% of all guns, and 99.6% of all handguns are NOT used in criminal activity in any given year.(BATF, FBI)
    Nationally convictions for 'attempt to purchase' by disqualified individuals under Brady now total 7 since early 1994. There are now in excess of 20,000 federal, state and local gun laws on the books, yet few if any have proven clearly effective in reducing violence or a criminal's access to firearms. Some 93% of firearms used in crime are reported as stolen or come from some other uncontrollable source.(DPS/BCI, US DoJ, BATF)
    On to another point:

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil
    If a gun can't be sold legally, the supply of that kind of gun in the US is radically curtailed. Thats why in countries with far stricter gun laws you don't see nearly so many gun related crimes.
    In Britain, most beloved of places to admire by gun-control advocates, gun crime increased after draconian gun control was enacted. Violent crime in general is a serious problem in Britain, and a huge subject of debate among Brits. Accusations against the government and police of "cooking down" stats on violent and property crime have been flying for years. Severe curtailment of citizens right to effective self-defense has emboldened criminals, along with wishy-washy punishements for criminals caught.
    Britain is an island nation, btw, that never had anywhere near as many guns in private hands as the US does...it is also a country that even back when there was hardly any gun control, it had less violent crime and less gun crime than many other nations, indicating that cultural factors are also an issue. As mentioned though, violent crime is on the rise and a serious problem there, according to many.

    Comparing the US to other nations on this subject is comparing apples and oranges...conditions are too different.

    If a gun couldn't be sold legally in the US, it could be smuggled in from other countries just as easily as dope is. The only reason this isn't done more already is because presently there is no need. If you can't keep criminals from getting imported dope, you aren't going to keep criminals from getting illegal guns. By far, gun control laws impact and impair law-abiding citizens by causing them to be less well-armed than the criminals that prey on them.


    Certainly, once the guns are out there, we can't get them back. But I'm not proposing making any guns currently legal illegal. I'm just talking about where the line is for you for what sorts of gun not currently legal, or guns not yet invented, where you would say that they are too deadly to be sold to the general population.
    When they do not meet the criteria I noted above. I will not address highly-improbable fantasy weapons like handheld "phasers" with the power to "melt a stadium", such arguments are red herrings.

    G.
    Last edited by Goshin; 10-23-09 at 11:38 PM.

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