"There's no unlimited right to bear arms"
An op-ed piece in the LA Times, by historian Joseph J. Ellis. As the comments point out, he has an interesting past. (A friend commented that one should be suspicious of historians who cannot honestly report their personal history).
I find it amusing that he says the 2A is not "an absolute right, like the right to vote or the right to a fair trial."
As to voting, it's a right that only adults can exercise, on one day, generally every two years. It must be exercised at designated locations, between designated hours, involving a choice between candidates who have been chosen by a government-designated procedure, which can involve filing petitions with thousands of signatures by a specific deadline.
As far as fair trial... good luck. If your attorney does not make the right motions, at the right time, you lose, even if the evidence did not prove your guilt, or a biased jury was picked, or evidence was gathered in violation of the Bill of Rights.
It's the standard claim that "a right can sometimes be regulated, this is a regulation, so it is okay." But the fact that we cannot send someone threats, or engage in blackmail (threatening, unless paid, to report a crime) or try to incite a riot, does not establish that a law making it a crime to criticize the president or Congress is perfectly constitutional. (At least that has some historical claim, since Congress did just that in the Sedition Act of 1798, I believe. The Federalist Party pushed it through, and the people destroyed the Federalist Party, showing that the popular understanding of the First Amendment was broader than that held by Congress a mere seven years after the Bill of Rights was ratified).
Thot voting was actually, technically a privilege, since it can only be exercised by electors -- that's why the 14th Amendment protects not rights, but "privileges and immunities."
Not sure about a fair trial being a right; perhaps could make that argument under Natural Law and Natural Rights. Trial must follow due process, correct procedures, and protect certain rights, but only the judge and jury, and the competence of the lawyers as Mr. Hardy points out, can make it fair.
Posted by: Eldon Dickens at September 9, 2013 08:53 PM
There must be a low bar for a "historian" these days, at least when one is busy upholding liberal sacred cows. There is more knowledge about the history of the Second in the Law Review articles posted on this board than was contained in his article. His historical argument boils down to the argument that because one concern of Madison was a standing army, that it was the only concern of his. He ignores every other possible concern or reasons for Madison to write the Second, despite the mountain of evidence that the Founders greatly desired an armed populace for a host of reasons.
The rest of his argument is a horrific attempt at legal scholarship, something clearly outside his realm of expertise.
Posted by: Jeff at September 10, 2013 10:05 AM
The Right to keep and bear Arms devolves from the God-given Right to life and liberty. God gives each life and in return expects that each with preserve his or her life. The Right is absolute overriding ALL governmental authority because the Creator endowed each of us with the Right. Note: Nothing in the wording of the 2nd implies any limitations and in fact explicitly states shall not be infringed.
The concept that Rights, which are endowed by the Creator, are not absolute, and powers which We the People merely allow the government to exercise for our mutual well-being are absolute is BS made up by judges who work to the government, must remain faithful to the government, and owe their existence, poower, and money to the government.
Rights are not privileges or immunities. Rights come ONLY from God. Voting is not a right. Voting is a privilege we each allow each other to exercise. God did not endow the Right to vote. We as people gave each other the privilege. If it comes from man and/or law it is a never a right.
Posted by: fwb at September 10, 2013 12:49 PM
IMO, the biggest problem is that people are mostly sheep who listen to those in authority without thinking that last week the guy in authority was the idiot down the street.
There is not a single clause in the Constitution that cannot be readily understood by someone with a basic education. Nothing is really "deep" or "hidden". When a clause is thought to be ambiguous, the answer lies simply in comparing that clause in question to the rest of the document. The entire Constitution was finalized by three main men so the language is internally consistent. Specific words are used to convey specific information. No one can ever prove intent to any extent because no one has every last ratifier's personal understanding of the Constitution. We surely cannot accept the lies of the federalist papers where the people were being sold a bill of goods that the anti-federalists had warned us about.
And what about subjects which do not appear in the Constitution? Is the N&P really expansive? No, it is restrictive and anyone who can evaluate the relationships of the explicitly granted powers will recognize that there are no implied or inherent powers in the federal government. All that is claimed are lies.
Posted by: fwb at September 10, 2013 12:59 PM
Maybe since the Bellesisles scandal a Historian is like an artist. Nobody can say you aren't one.
Posted by: Windy Wilson at September 10, 2013 04:51 PM
Well, it could have been worse, it could have been a historian with credibility ...
Posted by: SPQR at September 10, 2013 05:23 PM
How does society deal with crime? The way that it has been done throughout history is to punish it with the expectation that punishment would deter crime. Now comes a completely new idea: that society can "prevent" it by making crimes of acts extraneous to the original goal.
Let us consider Holmes' example of a man
shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater. This is adequately handled by punishing the man with prison or flogging. Now we must prevent it, but how?
We could close down all theaters or require the audience to have their mouths taped shut. Maybe the audience should have their tongues cut out or
be rendered unconscious. The issue here is the cost of prevention. If I'm a person who doesn't go to the theater, any of these preventive measures is acceptable. For someone who loves the theater, these are unacceptable. Its
a matter of whose ox is getting gored. This is why our republic puts many policy decisions outside the "democratic" decision process.
Posted by: JBS at September 10, 2013 10:39 PM
The right to a fair trial is limited by society's right to finality and certainty in judgments.
There is something called "reversible error"*, but still that is something that has to be brought to the court's attention within a set time.
Posted by: Windy Wilson at September 18, 2013 04:44 PM