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In the Year of our LORD Jesus Christ
-- As of January 20, 2017
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Peace and Liberty. Semper Fidelis.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Right to Bear Arms - Responsibility versus Leftist Irrationality

The Right to legally and peacefully own a gun is a Second Amendment Constitutional Right that has already been established in the United States Supreme Court in recent memory on June 26, 2008 in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller - 07-290 (2008)
In the Syllabus, we read its summary -
   1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.
      (a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.
      (b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.
       (c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.
      (d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.
      (e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.
      (f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553, nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 264–265, refutes the individual-rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.
   2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose:  For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.
   3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56–64.
478 F. 3d 370, affirmed.
   Scalia, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, JJ., joined. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Breyer, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg, JJ., joined.

Leftist Idiots in Power have no sense when it comes to guns
       On Monday, July 9, 2012, even with some of the most severely restrictive gun control laws in the country, murders are on the rise in Chicago.  Approximately  212 gun related deaths were committed in 2012 Chicago in just a little over 6 complete months, with those gun related deaths in the great majority attributed to those who illegally have guns.  These illegal possessors of firearms, the criminal element, have gotten out of control because the chances of a legally armed private citizen, due to highly restrictive Chicago gun control laws, have been reduced to ridiculously low probability or likelihood. And in response to the increase in gang violence, which is killing children by open street warfare and stray bullets striking down children, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s response was to do what?  End the violence?  Give up the illegally owned guns just like Chicago made so many of its legal gun owning citizens to do?  No.  The Mayor condones violence, as long as you take it to the alley.
Did you get that? The Mayor condones violence, as long as you take it to the alley,  and your stray shots merely kill the homeless or poor or residents who traverse them to access a rear entrance to their home, or the business employees or the trash collectors who work for the city, and anyone else who uses the alley.  That is called reckless indifference or Second Degree Murder, a type of murder set aside for socio-paths,
 which Mayor Emmanuel has absolutely no problem with seeing occur to other innocents beside the children of his city.   Not only this, but what of the innocent people driving by such as mothers and infant children, and the stray bullets then from the alley in a gang-banger shootout piercing a door or window of the passing car or other vehicle?  The alley doesn’t always have two solid walls in Chicago; many are fences and back yards.  And even if they did have two solid walls, what if two buses filled with school children passed at each end of an alley while two gang-bangers did a spray and pray with their illegal firearms that were illegally obtained by whatever means, and 19 rounds in less than 2 seconds took out a total of 8 or 9 kids that otherwise would have never been shot (had never otherwise been in the line of fire) if these gang-bangers had not taken the Mayors advice? 

At 1:45 on the above video, Mayor Emmanuel stated:
"We've got two gangbangers,...one standing next to a kid. Get away from that kid. Take your stuff to the alley. Don't touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don't get near them. And it is about values. As I said then, Scott, who raised you? How were you raised? And I don't buy this case where people say they don't have values. They do have values. They have the wrong values. Don't come near the kids. Don't touch them."

While Arizona has taken a beating on a number of fronts, and been oppressed as well as unjustly harassed by the Obama Administration, when the legendary actor John Wayne was alive, it produced a film which to this day would benefit the education of not only anyone who owns a firearm for the first time, but the clueless Leftists like Mayor Rahm Emmanuel of Chicago, who cannot grasp that bullets don’t stop at just 25, 50, or 100 feet away. 
People kill people, regardless of if they are armed with a gun, a machete, a knife, a Molotov cocktail, a baseball bat, a rock, or their own two hands.  The more we remove Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior from the lives of people, the more we remove the value system of even the 10 Commandments in their consciences, and the more we remove the rights of the Lawful and Peace abiding folks to self-defense, and the ability to use firearms in a legally responsible way as we have done for the last century as a last means of sport (as well as a means of defense of life and property against the lawless in the absence of the presence of Peace Officers), the more violent our society becomes and becomes unhinged to commit more murders and violent acts without fear of consequence.  Morality cannot be preached if you ensure an amoral GODless system that denies GOD, the Savior Jesus Christ, removes forgiveness of sins and even removes the fear of hell so as to unchain any restraint one might morally have toward bad conduct.  There becomes no place left to go except to do as Mayor Emmanuel might as well rephrase as, “Go kill yourselves somewhere else, you have no value, and are to be cast away spoiling trash.” Or words to this effect.   Instead, Jesus the Savior of the World loves all mankind, and faith into Him and what he did at the Cross in atoning for our sins for all time, and faith that He was also raised from the dead and ascended into Heaven and prepares a place for you after this life, even the vilest sinner can be instantly changed and redeemed in a split second moment.  No other faith on Earth can attest to this fact, and instead of telling the gangs that they should go to hell…they should be admonished that Jesus died and rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven for them, and that they need Jesus, who can change their lives to the eternal good, and set them free from the enslavements of a violent life, and the void that leaves them an aching empty hole in their soul where Jesus through the Holy Spirit belongs to come in and dwell within them. 

Some 42 years ago,  the Arizona Game and Fish Department made a film about responsible gun ownership use that was geared for training mostly teenagers.  The seriousness that most trained gun owners take responsibility when it comes to Firearms cannot be under-rated.

And in spite of the fact that stricter gun control begets violence, in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg suggests every police / peace officer in the country should go on strike and essentially –if you follow the line of his irrational and immature, as well as osmotically vacuate version of logical regression -- lay down their arms so as to allow a full blown unbridled wave of violence and wholesale killings, robberies, rapes, arson, rioting, and general mayhem until such a time the people can (after many days, weeks, or perhaps months) convince the legislatures to pass severe gun laws. Mayor Bloomberg’s comments are so irresponsible; they should prompt a recall effort to throw him out of office.  It’s not bad enough he ensures an ordinance against soft drinks over 16oz. as somehow illegal, now he wants the advocating of total anarchy and mass murder added to his claim to fame. 

As with the decision of the United States Supreme Court on June 26, 2008, we see that Gun ownership in the United States of America is a Second Amendment issue, it is a Constitutional Issue.  The Leftists like to use racial divisive language and say with words to this effect, that it is about “whitey Americans clinging to their GOD and their guns” as if gun owners are nothing but a bunch of red-neck hillbillies who also should not have the right to freely worship in Christianity, but should somehow be apostate, agnostics, or choose something else.  Sometimes I wonder if before debating a hard-core Leftist ideologue that I would first have to wait for them to be detoxified in rehab before I could experience a rational conversation coming from them on any number of issues, including this one.  Often times all I have to do is mention the word “Obama”, and a hypnotic glaze comes over their eyes and reasoning processes like I just hit upon some hypnosis “trigger word”.  The wall of irrationality suddenly goes up, and the conversation essentially is over from that point on as far as they are concerned.  No other explanation than hypnotic inducement can explain such mass irrational behavior, and these zealots are no different in their deification worship of Obama than Nazi Germans were of Hitler.  There is NO psychological difference.  NONE.  They are all brainwashed idiots, then in the 1930s and 1940s with Hitler, and now from 2008 to present with Obama.  

Lawful Less Restrictive Legal Gun Ownership Is More Often A Crime Deterrent
One of the growing trends in our society in the past decade has been the home invasion technique, in which criminals simply burst in, dominate, rape and kill.  A legally armed American who happens to be black, in the city of Atlanta, defended a group of his friends inside his apartment during one of these home invasions, and also stopped a rape in progress which probably would have been followed by an execution of all the males in the apartment.  Video is below.

In District of Columbia v. Heller,  the syllabus which I started out citing at the beginning of this post, even Justice Breyer, even as a Leftist confronted by factual statistics that proper legal gun ownership reduces crime rates, even after acknowledging these statistics grappled with an inclination to refuse them based on ideology.  Justice Breyer
 tried to at least acknowledge those stats in his dissent, writing that:
“…since the ban took effect, violent crime in the District has increased, not decreased. See Brief for Criminologists et al. as Amici Curiae 4–8, 3a (hereinafter Criminologists’ Brief); Brief for Congress of Racial Equality as Amicus Curiae 35–36; Brief for National Rifle Assn. et al. as Amici Curiae 28–30 (hereinafter NRA Brief). Indeed, a comparison with 49 other major cities reveals that the District’s homicide rate is actually substantially higher relative to these other cities than it was before the handgun restriction went into effect. See Brief for Academics as Amici Curiae 7–10 (hereinafter Academics’ Brief); see also Criminologists’ Brief 6–9, 3a–4a, 7a. Respondent’s amici report similar results in comparing the District’s homicide rates during that period to that of the neighboring States of Maryland and Virginia (neither of which restricts handguns to the same degree), and to the homicide rate of the Nation as a whole. SeeAcademics’ Brief 11–17; Criminologists’ Brief 6a, 8a.

Second, respondent’s amici point to a statistical analysis that regresses murder rates against the presence or absence of strict gun laws in 20 European nations. See Criminologists’ Brief 23 (citing Kates & Mauser, Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? 30 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol’y 649, 651–694 (2007)). That analysis concludes that strict gun laws are correlated with more murders, not fewer. See Criminologists’ Brief 23;see also id., at 25–28.They also cite domestic studies, based on data from various cities, States, and the Nation as a whole, suggesting that a reduction in the number of guns does not lead to a reduction in the amount of violent crime. See id., at 17–20. They further argue that handgun bans do not reduce suicide rates, see id., at 28–31, 9a, or rates of accidents, even those involving children, see Brief for International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Assn. et al. as Amici Curiae App. 7–15 (hereinafter ILEETA Brief).

    Third, they point to evidence indicating that firearm ownership does have a beneficial self-defense effect. Based on a 1993 survey, the authors of one study estimated that there were 2.2-to-2.5 million defensive uses of guns (mostly brandishing, about a quarter involving the actual firing of a gun) annually. See Kleck & Gertz, Armed Resistance to Crime, 86J. Crim. L. & C. 150, 164 (1995); see also ILEETA Brief App. 1–6 (summarizing studies regarding defensive uses of guns). Another study estimated that for a period of 12 months ending in 1994, there were 503,481 incidents in which a burglar found himself confronted by an armed homeowner, and that in 497,646 (98.8%) of them, the intruder was successfully scared away. See Ikida, Dahlberg, Sacks, Mercy, & Powell, Estimating Intruder-Related Firearms Retrievals in U. S. Households, 12 Violence & Victims 363 (1997). A third study suggests that gun-armed victims are substantially less likely than non-gun-armed victims to be injured in resisting robbery or assault. Barnett & Kates, Under Fire, 45 Emory L. J. 1139, 1243–1244, n. 478 (1996). And additional evidence suggests that criminals are likely to be deterred from burglary and other crimes if they know the victim is likely to have a gun. See Kleck, Crime Control Through the Private Use of Armed Force, 35 Social Problems 1, 15 (1988) (reporting a substantial drop in the burglary rate in an Atlanta suburb that required heads of households to own guns); see also ILEETA Brief 17–18 (describing decrease in sexual assaults in Orlando when women were trained in the use of guns).

    Fourth, respondent’s amici argue that laws criminalizing gun possession are self-defeating, as evidence suggests that they will have the effect only of restricting law-abiding citizens, but not criminals, from acquiring guns. See, e.g., Brief for President Pro Tempore of Senate of Pennsylvania as Amicus Curiae 35, 36, and n. 15. That effect, they argue, will be especially pronounced in the District, whose proximity to Virginia and Maryland will provide criminals with a steady supply of guns. See Brief for Heartland Institute as Amicus Curiae 20.

    In the view of respondent’s amici, this evidence shows that other remedies—such as less restriction on gun ownership, or liberal authorization of law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons—better fit the problem. See, e.g., Criminologists’ Brief 35–37 (advocating easily obtainable gun licenses); Brief for Southeastern Legal Foundation, Inc. et al. as Amici Curiae 15 (hereinafter SLF Brief) (advocating “widespread gun ownership” as a deterrent to crime); see also J. Lott, More Guns, Less Crime (2d ed. 2000). They further suggest that at a minimum the District fails to show that its remedy, the gun ban, bears a reasonable relation to the crime and accident problems that the District seeks to solve. See, e.g., Brief for Respondent 59–61.

    These empirically based arguments may have proved strong enough to convince many legislatures, as a matter of legislative policy, not to adopt total handgun bans.
… The statistics do show a soaring District crime rate. And the District’s crime rate went up after the District adopted its handgun ban.
…What about the fact that foreign nations with strict gun laws have higher crime rates? Which is the cause and which the effect? The proposition that strict gun laws cause crime is harder to accept than the proposition that strict gun laws in part grow out of the fact that a nation already has a higher crime rate. “

In the majority decision of the Court, Justice Scalia wrote:
“1. Operative Clause.
   a. “Right of the People.” The first salient feature of the operative clause is that it codifies a “right of the people.” The unamended Constitution and the Bill of Rights use the phrase “right of the people” two other times, in the First Amendment’s Assembly-and-Petition Clause and in the Fourth Amendment’s Search-and-Seizure Clause. The Ninth Amendment uses very similar terminology (“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”). All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not “collective” rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body.[Footnote 5]
   Three provisions of the Constitution refer to “the people” in a context other than “rights”—the famous preamble (“We the people”), §2 of Article I (providing that “the people” will choose members of the House), and the Tenth Amendment (providing that those powers not given the Federal Government remain with “the States” or “the people”). Those provisions arguably refer to “the people” acting collectively—but they deal with the exercise or reservation of powers, not rights. Nowhere else in the Constitution does a “right” attributed to “the people” refer to anything other than an individual right.[Footnote 6]
   What is more, in all six other provisions of the Constitution that mention “the people,” the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset. As we said in United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U. S. 259, 265 (1990):
“ ‘[T]he people’ seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution… . [Its uses] sugges[t] that ‘the people’ protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community.”
This contrasts markedly with the phrase “the militia” in the prefatory clause. As we will describe below, the “militia” in colonial America consisted of a subset of “the people”—those who were male, able bodied, and within a certain age range. Reading the Second Amendment as protecting only the right to “keep and bear Arms” in an organized militia therefore fits poorly with the operative clause’s description of the holder of that right as “the people.”
   We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.
   b. “Keep and bear Arms.” We move now from the holder of the right—“the people”—to the substance of the right: “to keep and bear Arms.”
   Before addressing the verbs “keep” and “bear,” we interpret their object: “Arms.” The 18th-century meaning is no different from the meaning today. The 1773 edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined “arms” as “weapons of offence, or armour of defence.” 1 Dictionary of the English Language 107 (4th ed.) (hereinafter Johnson). Timothy Cunningham’s important 1771 legal dictionary defined “arms” as “any thing that a man wears for his defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another.” 1 A New and Complete Law Dictionary (1771); see also N. Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) (reprinted 1989) (hereinafter Webster) (similar).
   The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity. For instance, Cunningham’s legal dictionary gave as an example of usage: “Servants and labourers shall use bows and arrows on Sundays, &c. and not bear other arms.” See also, e.g., An Act for the trial of Negroes, 1797 Del. Laws ch. XLIII, §6, p. 104, in 1 First Laws of the State of Delaware 102, 104 (J. Cushing ed. 1981 (pt. 1)); see generally State v. Duke, 42 Tex. 455, 458 (1874) (citing decisions of state courts construing “arms”). Although one founding-era thesaurus limited “arms” (as opposed to “weapons”) to “instruments of offence generally made use of in war,” even that source stated that all firearms constituted “arms.” 1 J. Trusler, The Distinction Between Words Esteemed Synonymous in the English Language 37 (1794) (emphasis added).
   Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not interpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844, 849 (1997), and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 35–36 (2001), the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.
   We turn to the phrases “keep arms” and “bear arms.” Johnson defined “keep” as, most relevantly, “[t]o retain; not to lose,” and “[t]o have in custody.” Johnson 1095. Webster defined it as “[t]o hold; to retain in one’s power or possession.” No party has apprised us of an idiomatic meaning of “keep Arms.” Thus, the most natural reading of “keep Arms” in the Second Amendment is to “have weapons.”
   The phrase “keep arms” was not prevalent in the written documents of the founding period that we have found, but there are a few examples, all of which favor viewing the right to “keep Arms” as an individual right unconnected with militia service. William Blackstone, for example, wrote that Catholics convicted of not attending service in the Church of England suffered certain penalties, one of which was that they were not permitted to “keep arms in their houses.” 4 Commentaries on the Laws of England 55 (1769) (hereinafter Blackstone); see also 1 W. & M., c. 15, §4, in 3 Eng. Stat. at Large 422 (1689) (“[N]o Papist … shall or may have or keep in his House … any Arms … ”); 1 Hawkins, Treatise on the Pleas of the Crown 26 (1771) (similar). Petitioners point to militia laws of the founding period that required militia members to “keep” arms in connection with militia service, and they conclude from this that the phrase “keep Arms” has a militia-related connotation. See Brief for Petitioners 16–17 (citing laws of Delaware, New Jersey, and Virginia). This is rather like saying that, since there are many statutes that authorize aggrieved employees to “file complaints” with federal agencies, the phrase “file complaints” has an employment-related connotation. “Keep arms” was simply a common way of referring to possessing arms, for militiamen and everyone else.[Footnote 7]
   At the time of the founding, as now, to “bear” meant to “carry.” See Johnson 161; Webster; T. Sheridan, A Complete Dictionary of the English Language (1796); 2 Oxford English Dictionary 20 (2d ed. 1989) (hereinafter Oxford). When used with “arms,” however, the term has a meaning that refers to carrying for a particular purpose—confrontation. In Muscarello v. United States, 524 U. S. 125 (1998), in the course of analyzing the meaning of “carries a firearm” in a federal criminal statute, Justice Ginsburg wrote that “[s]urely a most familiar meaning is, as the Constitution’s Second Amendment … indicate[s]: ‘wear, bear, or carry … upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose … of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.’ ” Id., at 143 (dissenting opinion) (quoting Black’s Law Dictionary 214 (6th ed. 1998)). We think that Justice Ginsburg accurately captured the natural meaning of “bear arms.” Although the phrase implies that the carrying of the weapon is for the purpose of “offensive or defensive action,” it in no way connotes participation in a structured military organization.
   From our review of founding-era sources, we conclude that this natural meaning was also the meaning that “bear arms” had in the 18th century. In numerous instances, “bear arms” was unambiguously used to refer to the carrying of weapons outside of an organized militia. The most prominent examples are those most relevant to the Second Amendment: Nine state constitutional provisions written in the 18th century or the first two decades of the 19th, which enshrined a right of citizens to “bear arms in defense of themselves and the state” or “bear arms in defense of himself and the state.” [Footnote 8] It is clear from those formulations that “bear arms” did not refer only to carrying a weapon in an organized military unit. Justice James Wilson interpreted the Pennsylvania Constitution’s arms-bearing right, for example, as a recognition of the natural right of defense “of one’s person or house”—what he called the law of “self preservation.” 2 Collected Works of James Wilson 1142, and n. x (K. Hall & M. Hall eds. 2007) (citing Pa. Const., Art. IX, §21 (1790)); see also T. Walker, Introduction to American Law 198 (1837) (“Thus the right of self-defence [is] guaranteed by the [Ohio] constitution”); see also id., at 157 (equating Second Amendment with that provision of the Ohio Constitution). That was also the interpretation of those state constitutional provisions adopted by pre-Civil War state courts.[Footnote 9] These provisions demonstrate—again, in the most analogous linguistic context—that “bear arms” was not limited to the carrying of arms in a militia.
   The phrase “bear Arms” also had at the time of the founding an idiomatic meaning that was significantly different from its natural meaning: “to serve as a soldier, do military service, fight” or “to wage war.” See Linguists’ Brief 18; post, at 11 (Stevens, J., dissenting). But it unequivocally bore that idiomatic meaning only when followed by the preposition “against,” which was in turn followed by the target of the hostilities. See 2 Oxford 21. (That is how, for example, our Declaration of Independence ¶28, used the phrase: “He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country … .”) Every example given by petitioners’ amici for the idiomatic meaning of “bear arms” from the founding period either includes the preposition “against” or is not clearly idiomatic. See Linguists’ Brief 18–23. Without the preposition, “bear arms” normally meant (as it continues to mean today) what Justice Ginsburg’s opinion in Muscarello said.
   In any event, the meaning of “bear arms” that petitioners and Justice Stevens propose is not even the (sometimes) idiomatic meaning. Rather, they manufacture a hybrid definition, whereby “bear arms” connotes the actual carrying of arms (and therefore is not really an idiom) but only in the service of an organized militia. No dictionary has ever adopted that definition, and we have been apprised of no source that indicates that it carried that meaning at the time of the founding. But it is easy to see why petitioners and the dissent are driven to the hybrid definition. Giving “bear Arms” its idiomatic meaning would cause the protected right to consist of the right to be a soldier or to wage war—an absurdity that no commentator has ever endorsed. See L. Levy, Origins of the Bill of Rights 135 (1999). Worse still, the phrase “keep and bear Arms” would be incoherent. The word “Arms” would have two different meanings at once: “weapons” (as the object of “keep”) and (as the object of “bear”) one-half of an idiom. It would be rather like saying “He filled and kicked the bucket” to mean “He filled the bucket and died.” Grotesque.
   Petitioners justify their limitation of “bear arms” to the military context by pointing out the unremarkable fact that it was often used in that context—the same mistake they made with respect to “keep arms.” It is especially unremarkable that the phrase was often used in a military context in the federal legal sources (such as records of congressional debate) that have been the focus of petitioners’ inquiry. Those sources would have had little occasion to use it except in discussions about the standing army and the militia. And the phrases used primarily in those military discussions include not only “bear arms” but also “carry arms,” “possess arms,” and “have arms”—though no one thinks that those other phrases also had special military meanings. See Barnett, Was the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Conditioned on Service in an Organized Militia?, 83 Tex. L. Rev. 237, 261 (2004). The common references to those “fit to bear arms” in congressional discussions about the militia are matched by use of the same phrase in the few nonmilitary federal contexts where the concept would be relevant. See, e.g., 30 Journals of Continental Congress 349–351 (J. Fitzpatrick ed. 1934). Other legal sources frequently used “bear arms” in nonmilitary contexts.[Footnote 10] Cunningham’s legal dictionary, cited above, gave as an example of its usage a sentence unrelated to military affairs (“Servants and labourers shall use bows and arrows on Sundays, &c. and not bear other arms”). And if one looks beyond legal sources, “bear arms” was frequently used in nonmilitary contexts. See Cramer & Olson, What Did “Bear Arms” Mean in the Second Amendment?, 6 Georgetown J. L. & Pub. Pol’y (forthcoming Sept. 2008), online at http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=1086176 (as visited June 24, 2008, and available in Clerk of Court’s case file) (identifying numerous nonmilitary uses of “bear arms” from the founding period).
   Justice Stevens points to a study by amici supposedly showing that the phrase “bear arms” was most frequently used in the military context. See post, at 12–13, n. 9; Linguists’ Brief 24. Of course, as we have said, the fact that the phrase was commonly used in a particular context does not show that it is limited to that context, and, in any event, we have given many sources where the phrase was used in nonmilitary contexts. Moreover, the study’s collection appears to include (who knows how many times) the idiomatic phrase “bear arms against,” which is irrelevant. The amici also dismiss examples such as “ ‘bear arms … for the purpose of killing game’ ” because those uses are “expressly qualified.” Linguists’ Brief 24. (Justice Stevens uses the same excuse for dismissing the state constitutional provisions analogous to the Second Amendment that identify private-use purposes for which the individual right can be asserted. See post, at 12.) That analysis is faulty. A purposive qualifying phrase that contradicts the word or phrase it modifies is unknown this side of the looking glass (except, apparently, in some courses on Linguistics). If “bear arms” means, as we think, simply the carrying of arms, a modifier can limit the purpose of the carriage (“for the purpose of self-defense” or “to make war against the King”). But if “bear arms” means, as the petitioners and the dissent think, the carrying of arms only for military purposes, one simply cannot add “for the purpose of killing game.” The right “to carry arms in the militia for the purpose of killing game” is worthy of the mad hatter. Thus, these purposive qualifying phrases positively establish that “to bear arms” is not limited to military use.[Footnote 11]
   Justice Stevens places great weight on James Madison’s inclusion of a conscientious-objector clause in his original draft of the Second Amendment: “but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.” Creating the Bill of Rights 12 (H. Veit, K. Bowling, & C. Bickford eds. 1991) (hereinafter Veit). He argues that this clause establishes that the drafters of the Second Amendment intended “bear Arms” to refer only to military service. See post, at 26. It is always perilous to derive the meaning of an adopted provision from another provision deleted in the drafting process.[Footnote 12] In any case, what Justice Stevens would conclude from the deleted provision does not follow. It was not meant to exempt from military service those who objected to going to war but had no scruples about personal gunfights. Quakers opposed the use of arms not just for militia service, but for any violent purpose whatsoever—so much so that Quaker frontiersmen were forbidden to use arms to defend their families, even though “[i]n such circumstances the temptation to seize a hunting rifle or knife in self-defense … must sometimes have been almost overwhelming.” P. Brock, Pacifism in the United States 359 (1968); see M. Hirst, The Quakers in Peace and War 336–339 (1923); 3 T. Clarkson, Portraiture of Quakerism 103–104 (3d ed. 1807). The Pennsylvania Militia Act of 1757 exempted from service those “scrupling the use of arms”—a phrase that no one contends had an idiomatic meaning. See 5 Stat. at Large of Pa. 613 (J. Mitchell & H. Flanders eds. 1898) (emphasis added). Thus, the most natural interpretation of Madison’s deleted text is that those opposed to carrying weapons for potential violent confrontation would not be “compelled to render military service,” in which such carrying would be required.[Footnote 13]
   Finally, Justice Stevens suggests that “keep and bear Arms” was some sort of term of art, presumably akin to “hue and cry” or “cease and desist.” (This suggestion usefully evades the problem that there is no evidence whatsoever to support a military reading of “keep arms.”) Justice Stevens believes that the unitary meaning of “keep and bear Arms” is established by the Second Amendment’s calling it a “right” (singular) rather than “rights” (plural). See post, at 16. There is nothing to this. State constitutions of the founding period routinely grouped multiple (related) guarantees under a singular “right,” and the First Amendment protects the “right [singular] of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” See, e.g., Pa. Declaration of Rights §§IX, XII, XVI, in 5 Thorpe 3083–3084; Ohio Const., Arts. VIII, §§11, 19 (1802), in id., at 2910–2911.[Footnote 14] And even if “keep and bear Arms” were a unitary phrase, we find no evidence that it bore a military meaning. Although the phrase was not at all common (which would be unusual for a term of art), we have found instances of its use with a clearly nonmilitary connotation. In a 1780 debate in the House of Lords, for example, Lord Richmond described an order to disarm private citizens (not militia members) as “a violation of the constitutional right of Protestant subjects to keep and bear arms for their own defense.” 49 The London Magazine or Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer 467 (1780). In response, another member of Parliament referred to “the right of bearing arms for personal defence,” making clear that no special military meaning for “keep and bear arms” was intended in the discussion. Id., at 467–468.[Footnote 15]
   c. Meaning of the Operative Clause. Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed … .”[Footnote 16]
   Between the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution, the Stuart Kings Charles II and James II succeeded in using select militias loyal to them to suppress political dissidents, in part by disarming their opponents. See J. Malcolm, To Keep and Bear Arms 31–53 (1994) (hereinafter Malcolm); L. Schwoerer, The Declaration of Rights, 1689, p. 76 (1981). Under the auspices of the 1671 Game Act, for example, the Catholic James II had ordered general disarmaments of regions home to his Protestant enemies. See Malcolm 103–106. These experiences caused Englishmen to be extremely wary of concentrated military forces run by the state and to be jealous of their arms. They accordingly obtained an assurance from William and Mary, in the Declaration of Right (which was codified as the English Bill of Rights), that Protestants would never be disarmed: “That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law.” 1 W. & M., c. 2, §7, in 3 Eng. Stat. at Large 441 (1689). This right has long been understood to be the predecessor to our Second Amendment. See E. Dumbauld, The Bill of Rights and What It Means Today 51 (1957); W. Rawle, A View of the Constitution of the United States of America 122 (1825) (hereinafter Rawle). It was clearly an individual right, having nothing whatever to do with service in a militia. To be sure, it was an individual right not available to the whole population, given that it was restricted to Protestants, and like all written English rights it was held only against the Crown, not Parliament. See Schwoerer, To Hold and Bear Arms: The English Perspective, in Bogus 207, 218; but see 3 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States §1858 (1833) (hereinafter Story) (contending that the “right to bear arms” is a “limitatio[n] upon the power of parliament” as well). But it was secured to them as individuals, according to “libertarian political principles,” not as members of a fighting force. Schwoerer, Declaration of Rights, at 283; see also id., at 78; G. Jellinek, The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens 49, and n. 7 (1901) (reprinted 1979).
   By the time of the founding, the right to have arms had become fundamental for English subjects. See Malcolm 122–134. Blackstone, whose works, we have said, “constituted the preeminent authority on English law for the founding generation,” Alden v. Maine, 527 U. S. 706, 715 (1999), cited the arms provision of the Bill of Rights as one of the fundamental rights of Englishmen. See 1 Blackstone 136, 139–140 (1765). His description of it cannot possibly be thought to tie it to militia or military service. It was, he said, “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation,” id., at 139, and “the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence,” id., at 140; see also 3 id., at 2–4 (1768). Other contemporary authorities concurred. See G. Sharp, Tracts, Concerning the Ancient and Only True Legal Means of National Defence, by a Free Militia 17–18, 27 (3d ed. 1782); 2 J. de Lolme, The Rise and Progress of the English Constitution 886–887 (1784) (A. Stephens ed. 1838); W. Blizard, Desultory Reflections on Police 59–60 (1785). Thus, the right secured in 1689 as a result of the Stuarts’ abuses was by the time of the founding understood to be an individual right protecting against both public and private violence.
   And, of course, what the Stuarts had tried to do to their political enemies, George III had tried to do to the colonists. In the tumultuous decades of the 1760’s and 1770’s, the Crown began to disarm the inhabitants of the most rebellious areas. That provoked polemical reactions by Americans invoking their rights as Englishmen to keep arms. A New York article of April 1769 said that “[i]t is a natural right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the Bill of Rights, to keep arms for their own defence.” A Journal of the Times: Mar. 17, New York Journal, Supp. 1, Apr. 13, 1769, in Boston Under Military Rule 79 (O. Dickerson ed. 1936); see also, e.g., Shippen, Boston Gazette, Jan. 30, 1769, in 1 The Writings of Samuel Adams 299 (H. Cushing ed. 1968). They understood the right to enable individuals to defend themselves. As the most important early American edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries (by the law professor and former Antifederalist St. George Tucker) made clear in the notes to the description of the arms right, Americans understood the “right of self-preservation” as permitting a citizen to “repe[l] force by force” when “the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury.” 1 Blackstone’s Commentaries 145–146, n. 42 (1803) (hereinafter Tucker’s Blackstone). See also W. Duer, Outlines of the Constitutional Jurisprudence of the United States 31–32 (1833).
   There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms. Of course the right was not unlimited, just as the First Amendment’s right of free speech was not, see, e.g., United States v. Williams, 553 U. S. ___ (2008). Thus, we do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation, just as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the right of citizens to speak for any purpose.  …”

The United States Supreme Court says the United States Constitution confers upon us rights and with those rights – even as John Wayne in the Arizona video on responsible gun ownership explains – and with those rights come responsibility.  Responsibility requires using good sense with a proper understanding and knowledge.  For our purposes, perhaps we should say that the better the training, the more professional the conduct that should be expected of all who legally and peacefully handle a firearm.  In some states like California, you need to take classes for several days in order to show that you know and acknowledge not only your responsibility, but are able to show that you can proficiently handle that responsibility in a way that reduces risk of injury (usually accidental) to yourself or others around you.  And if we simply enforced the laws already on the books, with greater background check proficiency into a national criminal database interconnected with every state so that a mere fingerprint would be scanned and responded to at point of sale within 90 seconds, with a further secondary and third database confirmation of paperwork against pending Court and Police Records, this too would work within the already existing framework under verification. 

Criminals will always have the proclivity to behave like savages...but the lawful and professionally trained civilian exercising his Constitutional Second Amendment Rights to bear arms is always a great incentive for the criminally inclined to cease from violence or to do their acts with less frequency and greater fear.  A properly and responsibly armed moral “we the people” is an asset to help keep criminals at bay and to think twice before committing violent acts.  That is not only how it is, but how it should be.
For those who are responsible felony-free gun owners, I would recommend a two or four day experience at Front Sight.  You can visit www.frontsight.com/  for more information.  I receive nothing in return for this 100% voluntary and free recommendation.

That's my input.

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