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bryden42
Appologies from the outset for any grand sweeping generalisations contained in this post.
1st,2nd,3rd etc ammendment rights seem to be held in a kind of inviolate reverence by Americans.
The reason that I bring this up is the recent shootings and the unwillingness of the American people to address the issue of gun control. The normal response is it is a right to bear arms under the ammendments to the constitution. Surely, as an ammendment, A change if you will, the precedent has been set to further ammend the constitution given circumstances that justify that change.
I'm not saying that America should lose it right to bear arms, or that both recent and not so recent events are justification for a change, I just worry about the inherent contradiction, and to a certain extent hypocrisy, in declaring an already ammended statute as unchangeable.
Thoughts?
pgrmdave
Well, there have been 27 ammendments, and the Constitution is considered a living document because of the ability to change it. However, it is very, very difficult to ammend it. Eleven of the 27 came before 1800, giving a total of 16 ammendments in 207 years. The first ten are generally considered almost sacred due to the American psyche being developed with those in place.

*for those who don't know, an ammendment requires the ammendment to be proposed either by 2/3 majority of Congress or by 2/3 majority of the States. The ammendment then has to be approved by 3/4 of the states in order to take effect.
Moosh
As Dave said, I think there is a difference in the way people view the Bill of Rights (first 10(?) Amendments) to the way they view the rest. If an amendment were to be changed, I think you'd have a lot more trouble altering one of the ones in the Bill of Rights, which does include the right to bear arms.

Aside from that, I would have thought that altering a previous amendment would be easier than making a new one, both legally and psychologically.
gothictheysay
I agree. First 10 amendments = very very big, even if most Americans probably can't name more than two of them. rolleyes.gif I don't think it's hypocritical to repeal them - the constitutions is a living document, etc., and people reconsider. Think of all the Supreme Court cases that have been changed. And we passed one for Prohibition and passed another one repealing Prohibition, so there's an example. That might've happened again, but I admit to not having all 27 down cold.
elphaba2
Also, you generally don't change amendments--you make more. Hence the 18th Amendment (prohibiting alcohol) and then the 21st (overturning Prohibition--yay FDR!) So in order to instill better rules about gun control, one would have to make a 28th amendment. Not likely.

What is likely (to fix our issues with gun control): bills passed at the state and federal level that are cohesive, thorough and enforced. Many states that rely on hunting revenue (though I don't see why; it is not like we are Ghana and needin big game hunters to come kill our antelope) are lenient on gun control because they want the money. States that are traditionally "blue" are often fierce proponents of laxer gun laws. People like guns; they like having them and using them. No amount of campaigning or Al Gore-style preaching is going to change that. Now, legislation on the other hand--now, appropriate interpretation of the constitution given the pressing political context of the time the 2nd was written (come on now folks, we really don't need militias at ALL)--then we might be talking change. Come on, ridiculously conservative, inside-of-Bush's-pocket-Supreme Court! We can do it!

edit: raugh grah gothic beat me to most of the things I just said. Whatever--we'll leave this up cause it looks pretty.
LoLo
Honestly I don't think the people that are preaching out the amendments like they are gospel really are thinking of it in this way. I think what they are doing is saying, "Hey I have the right to do this, right now, and it says it right here see see." Yes the amendments made changes to the constitution and yes they could at some point change, but that doesn't change the fact that they are currently set as laws and allow people certain things. I can stand there and say, "You shouldn't have a gun it's just wrong," and someone on the other side of the opinion could just be, "You may say that I 'shouldn't' have a gun, but this amendment here says that I can have one."

I hope that made sense.
sirdudly
The Bill of Rights didn't establish anything as a right, it simply made certain that the government would not be able to mess with them. To take away any of them would be to take away the people's power over the government.
In any case of tyranny or facism, the first rights to go are things the Founding Fathers deemed necessary to protect in the Bill of Rights.
Mata
Do you actually believe that you have any power over your government? If you formed a militia because you felt that the government was imposing a false will on the American people, do you really think that you wouldn't be destroyed in a heartbeat? If you do then I admire your optimism!
sirdudly
WOLVERINES!
Red Dawn aside, violence is the last means of imposing the will of the people over the government. There are many more civil and peaceful ways to keep Washington in check.
What makes you think any militia I form, for purposes of protecting my constitution, would be crushed in a heartbeat? As long as I can sway influence over enough people, especially veterans, it'd be pretty hard to stop me. Most rational members of the armed forces would have at least some qualms over opening fire against a fellow citizen, especially if he doesn't fire first.
LoLo
QUOTE (sirdudly @ May 3 2007, 05:01 PM) *
WOLVERINES!
Red Dawn aside, violence is the last means of imposing the will of the people over the government. There are many more civil and peaceful ways to keep Washington in check.
What makes you think any militia I form, for purposes of protecting my constitution, would be crushed in a heartbeat? As long as I can sway influence over enough people, especially veterans, it'd be pretty hard to stop me. Most rational members of the armed forces would have at least some qualms over opening fire against a fellow citizen, especially if he doesn't fire first.


Because these days, forming a militia with the intent of over throwing a non-working government is seen as an act of terrorism not an act of patriotism. It's a good way to end up in Guantanimo (sp?) if not dead.
pgrmdave
You know, I used to think that a citizen militia wouldn't have any ability to stand up to the US Armed Forces. However, Iraq has shown that it doesn't necessarily require a lot of firepower, just ingenuity. We might not be able to stand toe-to-toe with the army, but we don't need to if we are trying to overthrow the government. And LoLo, I don't know if it's ever been very different. The American colonists were rebels, as were the confederates. No government has ever really been friendly to a hostile takeover (it's kind of a truism) and the only reason some are remembered differently is because of who won. That's why Civil Wars are won by the government and Revolutions are won by the rebels. History is written by the winners.


As for the second ammendment, I think that it is perhaps outdated, and outlived its usefulness. But it has become so ingrained in the American psyche that I don't think that it will ever be changed. Very few people want a Constitutional ammendment repealing the right to bear arms

QUOTE
In any case of tyranny or facism, the first rights to go are things the Founding Fathers deemed necessary to protect in the Bill of Rights.

Interestingly enough, the first rights to go are usually the ones that we hold most sacred - the first, fourth, and fifth. During times of war, the US has often gone back on these ones in favor of security, and the American people seem all too complicit each time.
Aislinn Faye
whoa there Dave, the government is full of loopholes so to say that they "go back" on these is a little harsh, now if Marshal Law was declared than I'd have to agree with you. But that's like me saying I have to right to free speech "I can say whatever I want (that's the phrase you most often hear) but at the same time I can't slander someone or run into a crowded room and yell "fire". Yeah I'll admit a few things get censored and smudged, but every government is perfect on paper, when you practice it thats when human err comes into play, so cut them a little slack. And yeah, I wouldn't recommend a civilian militia (unless to defend against Zombies).

I think instead of amending the 2nd amendment maybe we should just make it more difficult to obtain guns, and you also have to think that it's not just the governments fault there are shady contracted civilians. And to think about it, thats like saying that America needs crack down on drugs....well the majority of our drugs don't even come from our own country. So we also need to keep that in mind when it comes to gun control.
Mata
QUOTE (pgrmdave @ May 4 2007, 04:26 PM) *
You know, I used to think that a citizen militia wouldn't have any ability to stand up to the US Armed Forces. However, Iraq has shown that it doesn't necessarily require a lot of firepower, just ingenuity.

Iraq has shown that mostly you need a lot of people prepared to die. The insurgents are outgunned, and probably dying in larger numbers than the military, but there is a plentiful supply of them. The situation in the west would have to be very different from how it is now for any militia movement to get sufficient support to gain that kind of loyalty.

The US and UK haven't had a very good recent record of listening to the will of the people, but there seems to be very little more that anyone can do to enforce their ideas. That's one of the flaws with democracy - if you realise that you've voted idiots into power there's not a lot you can do about it until the next election. GW Bush getting a second term in office has got to be the exception to the rule - he's an idiot that people decided to vote for!
sirdudly
QUOTE (Mata @ May 23 2007, 02:56 PM) *
he's an idiot that people decided to vote for!

As opposed to the other idiot they didn't vote for?
pgrmdave
QUOTE (Aislinn Faye)
whoa there Dave, the government is full of loopholes so to say that they "go back" on these is a little harsh, now if Marshal Law was declared than I'd have to agree with you. But that's like me saying I have to right to free speech "I can say whatever I want (that's the phrase you most often hear) but at the same time I can't slander someone or run into a crowded room and yell "fire". Yeah I'll admit a few things get censored and smudged, but every government is perfect on paper, when you practice it thats when human err comes into play, so cut them a little slack. And yeah, I wouldn't recommend a civilian militia (unless to defend against Zombies).


I was thinking specifically of the Alien and Sedition Acts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_and_Sedition_Acts) and Abraham Lincoln's actions during the Civil War:

QUOTE (Wikipedia)
During the Civil War, Lincoln appropriated powers no previous President had wielded: he used his war powers to proclaim a blockade, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, spent money without congressional authorization, and imprisoned 18,000 suspected Confederate sympathizers without trial.
sirdudly
Don't forget FDR's Court Packing Scheme.
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