Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Second Amendment History...

A brief Historical account of our Second Amendment:
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The call for a bill of rights had been the anti-Federalists' most powerful weapon. Attacking the proposed Constitution for its vagueness and lack of specific protection against tyranny, Patrick Henry asked the Virginia convention, "What can avail your specious, imaginary balances, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances." The anti-Federalists, demanding a more concise, unequivocal Constitution, one that laid out for all to see the right of the people and limitations of the power of government, claimed that the brevity of the document only revealed its inferior nature. Richard Henry Lee despaired at the lack of provisions to protect "those essential rights of mankind without which liberty cannot exist." Trading the old government for the new without such a bill of rights, Lee argued, would be trading Scylla for Charybdis.
- Quoted from A More Perfect Union: The Creation of the U.S. Constitution
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The Contended Amendment
There are a great many people whom assert that the right of a person to be armed, is a natural one. It is clear that rights are granted by God and NOT by man. The Founders of our Country held to this belief, as indicated by the following excerpt from The Declaration of Independence; "We hold these truths to be self-evident...that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights". As the author of GunShowOnTheNet.com, this is my personal belief as well.
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There is a multitude of evidence available, much of which can be found on the pages of this website. Which clearly support the contention outlined above. It should be clear, to anyone having even a slight knowledge of the past. That violence has been a major problem throughout the recorded history of mankind. There have been countless vain attempts at disarmament, in efforts to stop the violence. Some for altruistic motives, and many more for sinister purposes. Taking the FACTS into consideration, it can reasonably be asserted, that disarmament is NOT an effective solution. And, in fact, has been proven to be directly responsible for the deaths of millions.
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Believe the assertion, as indicated above, has merit if only based upon the example found in nature itself. It should be readily apparent, that the God of nature has granted each creature a built-in self-defense mechanism of one kind or another. It would seem, therefore, that the God of nature, the same which made man, would deem that man be able to defend him or herself. Just as the other creatures in nature have been enabled to defend themselves. Thus, making the Right, to Keep and Bear Arms for defense - a Natural one. And not subject to the will of government. But rather, that it is each person's own choice to arm themselves for defense, or not.
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For even the courts have ruled that it is not the governments responsibility to protect each individual citizen. Their duty is to provide for the 'common' defense - not individual. Logic would thusly dictate, that this would then make it an absolute necessity for the citizen to provide their own means of defense. Especially, in light of the propensity of their fellow man in committing acts of horror. The police are merely an investigative arm of government. Their duty is to gather facts as evidence to determine if a crime has been committed. Or to make an immediate arrest if they have knowledge of a crime having been committed. Whether through witnessing it themselves or by others attesting to the criminal act. The facts are then submitted to the court for a ruling.
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Bearing the aforementioned in mind. A Natural Right is therefore beyond the control of a government entity. Each person should be able to exersize their Natural Right as they themselves see fit. And retain that right, unless the person violates the laws of the land. (Which laws, are in place to ensure the domestic tranquility of all). In which case, government would have just cause to exercise delegated authority. As it is the enumerated duty of government to uphold the laws of the land.
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And while a person, who has violated the law, is imprisoned. They have, through their own actions, given up that natural right. When they have paid their debt, for the violation committed, their right is restored. Prior restraint, regardless of the justification for its use, is not within the realm of the enumerated powers of our government. As indicated by our Second Amendment:
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The Second Amendment to The United States Constitution
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In early 1789 it had not become clear as to whether or not The U.S. Constitution would be Amended by the addition of The Bill of Rights. For there was serious contention about the validity of enumerated rights. One school of thought, was that The Constitution appeared to sufficiently outline the powers of the government. But, it seemed not to provide clarity as to the rights of the people of, by and for whom the government was to be instituted. There seemed to be two, distinctly differing, schools of thought on The Bill. One side held that, by enumerating the rights of the people, it would ensure restriction on the government in gathering to much power to itself. While the other side held, that by enumerating specific rights, it might be construed that those were the only 'rights' held by the people.
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It was during this 'contention', as outlined above, that James Madison wrote what ultimately became known as The Bill of Rights. Following is the 2nd Amendment to The Bill of Rights, as originally introduced on June 8, 1789, on the floor at the U.S. Congress;
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"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person."
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The debate, over a Bill of Rights, resumed the rest of the 8th day of June. The matter did not surface again, until raised by Madison on July 21st. At which time, Madison proposed that a committee be formed to report on the Amendment. This was voted on and agreed to. The committee returned to Congress on July 28th, with a reworded version of the Amendment. That version was not placed into the jounal until August 17th, and read as follows;
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"A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms."
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The debate ensued yet again, and the Second Amendment was modified in Congress on the 17th and 20th days of August. The "religiously scrupulous" clause, was the matter contested for the most part. The fear, by some, was that the government could declare people to be religiously scrupulous, and thus disarm them against their will. More modification was made, and on August 24th the House sent the Senate the following;
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"A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person."
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The following day, August 25th, the House sent the Amendment to the Senate and it was entered into the Senate Journal. During transcription, the semicolon in the Amendments religious exemption portion, was changed by the scribe to a comma:
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"A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person."
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(At these two junctures, directly above, it is very apparent what the intentions of congress were. There was more concern, shown by them, for the people who did NOT want to bear arms. Rather than concern about the people as a whole bearing arms! It is CRYSTAL CLEAR THE MEANING OF JUST 'WHO' THE PEOPLE WERE - THE WHOLE BODY OF THE PEOPLE, NO STIPULATIONS, Other than the 'religiously scrupulous'!)
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The Senate voted, on September 4th, to alter the language of the Amendment. The definition of militia was removed, as well as the religiously scrupulous portion. And, this is how it appears, (much as it is today):
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"A well regulated militia, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed"
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The Amendment was returned for the final time to the Senate on Sept. 9th. At which time, it was again given slight mofications. And, was passed by them, to now appear as:
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"A well regulated militia being the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
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The House voted on September 21st, to accept the changes made in the senate. That version was then sent to the states for ratification. The wording of the Amendment, as entered into the House journal, however, contained the additional words "necessary to". As shown:
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"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."
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On October 2, 1789, President Washington sent to each of the states a copy of the 12 amendments adopted by the Congress in September.
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By December 15, 1791, three-fourths of the states had ratified the 10 amendments now so familiar to Americans as the "Bill of Rights."
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Of particular interest, is the FACT that ONE clause of the Amendment REMAINED UNCHANGED throughout the whole process. EVERY OTHER CLAUSE of the original had received alterations EXCEPT for this ONE; the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. Now, why do you suppose THAT would be?
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Based upon various writings, by the men instumental in the Framing of the Constitution with the Bill of Rights. It can be readily determined what their intent and meaning was. Buttress this FACT with the historical records of the time, (they had just fought a long and bloody war to secure their Freedom), and there can be to mistake about the conclusion;
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In order for a state or people to be FREE, they MUST keep and bear arms for their own defense! And, given the historical propensity for governments to gather power beyond that which is rightful or due it. ( Absolute Power Corrupts, Absolutely!) The RIGHT of People to keep and bear arms is paramount to ALL others! It gives those in power a good reason to keep themselves in check. For Self-Preservation is the strongest natural defense mechanism placed in man.
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Second Amendment Resources;
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Special Thanks to Brent D. Turrin at Rutgers.
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2 Comments:

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous straightarrow said...

very good

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger E. David Quammen said...

Thanks bud!

 

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