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Clear definitions

February 2, 2013

The debate about gun control would be less emotional and far more productive if we had clear definitions upon which to base this debate. For example, in DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA et al. v....

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Feb-04-13 9:49 AM

Carl, thanks for the reply and I certainly agree about the need to know meanings. Now, to help me understand in today's world how this applies, please give me an example of a weapon that would not be included in the definition of "arms". Or, not to put words in your mouth, but, would you include all "arms" that a single person can carry and operate to be protected by the 2nd Amendment? Thanks.

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Feb-04-13 8:21 AM

From Blackstone

arms n 1: weapons considered collectively [syn: weaponry, implements of war, weapons system, munition]

weapon n 1: instrument used in fighting or hunting; "he was licensed to carry a weapon"

WEAPON Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Edition on November 7, 2011

An instrument used in fighting ; an instrument of offensive or defensive combat. The term is chiefly used, in law, in the statutes prohibiting the carrying of”concealed” or “deadly” weapons. See those titles.

ARMS By Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Edition on November 4, 2011

Anything that a man wears for his defense, or takes in his hands, or uses in his anger, to cast at or strike at another. Co. Litt. 1616, 162a; State v. Buzzard, 4 Ark. 18. This term, as it Is used in the constitution, relative to the right of citizens to bear arms, refers to [...]

In law all words have meanings, you must know the meanings to know your rights. That is why it is stated that ignorance of the law is no ex

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Feb-03-13 9:20 AM

According to the Supreme Court decision I referenced in the letter, at the time the Constitution was written, the definition of arms did not apply to those specifically designed for military use. It applied to those weapons used by ordinary citizens. Read that decision and see how the definition of arms was seen at the time of the writing of the Constitution. But, putting that idea aside, I am still curious to know how Enigma and Carl define "arms". For example, do you include rocket propelled grenade launchers? I guess another way to ask it is, What weapons are not "arms" in your opinion?

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Feb-03-13 8:28 AM

Those who believe that the 2nd amendment states what it states and means what it states are arguing gun-control utilizing constitutionally protected and inherent rights arguments with those who only understand administrative privilege (socialism- rights only come from government). Till one understands the government at any level has no constitutional right to hinder the possession of arms (any arms that you may afford) and moves to prevent that interference they will continue with the administrative progression of attempting to nullify your individual right.

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Feb-02-13 9:48 PM

Francine, good point. How do you feel about the laws restricting the ability to carry "arms" in public places?

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Feb-02-13 8:36 PM

Another question, Enigma. Does the 2nd Amendment also give you the right to take your "arms" with you when you leave your residence?

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Feb-02-13 7:02 PM

Enigma, I see what you are saying about the limit being preemptive. That is different than the limits on free speech and assembly. Just so I am clear. In what way, if any, do you feel the word "arms" be defined?

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Feb-02-13 4:38 PM

Get real David. The only restictions on any of those is where your free practice of them would interfere with the rights of another. My owning any weapon does not interfere with anyone's rights. If I used it on you that would, but that is already illegal and I have no complaint about that. Any right that can be limited at the governments discretion is not a right at all.

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Feb-02-13 3:58 PM

The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." And yet, there are limits on free speech, assembly, and the practicing of religion. I really don't think the 2nd Amendment is uniquely the subject of limitations.

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Feb-02-13 3:36 PM

Zephyr,"The 2nd amendment does not guarantee the public access to any arms they want, and as far as I know it has never been interpreted that way."

That's how it was interpreted when it was written...But what did the founders know about the Constitution.

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Feb-02-13 3:34 PM

Why do you think that the 2nd amendment is open to this kind of interpretation. None of the other amendments are. Should we open the debate on what kinds of speech shouldn't be allowed, or what kinds of religion we will outlaw? Maybe we should discuss what kind of home doesn't require a warrant to be searched, or under what circumstances you can be compelled to testify against yourself. Let's talk about who does and doesn't get a jury trial or when you can be tried twice for the same crime. We never hear anyone talk about how we can limit these rights, but the right to keep and bear arms is open for any kind of discussion or interpretation. You are all a bunch of hypocrites.

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Feb-02-13 2:13 PM

The supreme court is ultimately responsible for interpreting what the 2nd amendment means. The 2nd amendment does not guarantee the public access to any arms they want, and as far as I know it has never been interpreted that way. Most would agree it does not guarantee civilians access to nuclear arms.

Reopening the debate on where the line needs to be drawn between weapons that should be available to the public and those that should not does not violate anyone's 2nd amendment rights.

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Feb-02-13 1:32 PM

Then enigma you just changed the Constitution and you did not do it with a new amendment.

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Feb-02-13 10:58 AM

I agree that when the government wants to violate the Constitution, they should be very specific about it, but that's just he reason they can't be. They need to leave the door open for additional violations building on the ones they already have. The only Constitutional way to limit the Second Amendment is with another amendment specifying exactly what the limitations would be. They won't go that route because it does not leave openings for further limitations. The Supreme Court does not have the authority to change the meaning of the Constitution, only the people have that authority and we haven't.

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Feb-02-13 8:11 AM

Good letter David.

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Feb-02-13 7:15 AM

I'm glad someone else actually read this case. I think the Court ruled precisely on the issue that was before them.There will be an expanded opinion when any new law is ultimately appealed'

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