: : : Don: A federal court HAS upheld it as an individal right. The Emerson case, which the feds just appealed.
: : *OK, fair enough. But it'll be interesting to see if the judge was right or not.
: : : Don: Numerious other federal court decisions have held that the right to keep and bear arms is an individal right, including a number of Supreme Court decisions. These have not struck down gun control laws, but they have indeed indicated that gun ownership is an individal right. There has NEVER been a US Supreme Court decision that held the Second is not an individual right.
: : *Well actually the 1939 ruling on the US v. Miller was a unanimous decision that the second amendment did NOT guarantee an individual right. This was mentioned at the site you referred me to. Come on, keep up.
: Don: Where in Miller does it say that? In Miller, the SC argues that sawed off shotguns are not of a class of arms protected by the Second Amendment, they do NOT argue that it is not an individual right.
*So what's the dividing line between a sawn off shotgun and any other gun? Their specific purpose is to kill people is it not?
: : : Don: Further, the vast majority of Constitutional scholarship agrees that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right.
: : *Did you do a survey? I didn't find any evidence to support your statement. It was mentioned that some scholars agree with you and some do not. This is the way it's always been.
: Don: Here is an outtake from an article called "A Right to Keep and Bear Arms? The State of the Debate":
: "During the preparation of this article, I contacted the NRA and HCI for information. Both organizations gave assurances that their positions were strongly supported by contemporary independent legal scholarship, and they sent bibliographies of supporting material.
: The NRA bibliography was limited to law review articles and full-length books. It contained 53 articles published since 1960. Thirty-one were written in the last ten years, and only a small proportion (four) were written by NRA staff. There were four full-length books included, the latest published by Harvard University Press.
: In contrast, the HCI bibliography contained material from law reviews and other legal publications down to pieces that were little more than letters to the editor: 13 pieces all-told, dating back to 1915.
: Apparently, HCI is increasingly dependent on paid staffers to argue its position. In the last ten years, HCI identifies only six articles from law reviews and other legal publications that HCI claims support its position. Four of the six were written or co-authored by the head of the HCI legal staff. One of the two independently written articles should not have been included because it does not argue that there is no individual right.
: In this article, I have concentrated on articles written in the last ten years and eliminated any that are written by paid staff of HCI or the NRA or which do not argue the question of whether there is an individual right. I was left with 27 articles and four books that argue that there is an individual right and one that argues that there is not."
*OK, you win. I don't really have the time or the inclination to debate this. It's obviously been a labour of love for you and I can't compete with that at this stage. But even if what you say is true, that doesn't make the right right. Right?
: : A recent example is the opinion of Laurance Tribe, of Harverd.
: : *So Laurence went to Harvard. Good for him.
: Don: An 8/27/99 USA Today article titled "Scholar's shift in thinking angers liberals" calls him: "probably the most influential living American constitutional scholar". The article goes on to say: "Earlier editions of Tribe's treatise have been quoted more than 50 times in Supreme Court opinions - by liberal and conservative justices - and by the top courts of India, Germany, Russia and Canada, among others." How many times have YOU been quoted in SC opinions?
*Not very many times as it happens. You?
: : :
: : : : Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you. Of course, it doesn't mean that they are either.
: : : : Sheesh. You crazy Americans...
: : : Don: It sure is funny how the violent crime rate down under has gone up after banning all those nasty semi-automatics. Maybe you guys can place some more restrictions on law abiding citizens while increasing your crime rate.
: : And it sure is funny that violent crime rates in the US have hit a thirty year low while gun laws have never been tougher. You can contemplate this while you wait for another outcast to start popping off his school chums.
: Don: The US violent crime rate is way above what it was before passage of the 1968 Gun Control Act. We were much safer back when we could buy semiautomatic handguns mail order. The recent minor drop in crime has nothing to due with gun control: crime was falling BEFORE Brady was enacted, and "assault weapons" were never used in a statistically significant percentage of homicides.
: : The world isn't as simple as you might think.
: Don: On the contrary, the world isn't as simple as YOU think. After all, YOU are the one offering simplistic solutions.
*Don't be so silly. At no point have I claimed that reducing crime is as simple as harsh gun laws. I mentioned the crime rate only as a counterpoint to your statement in an effort to show you how simplistic it is. The importance of social context of the guns will usually outweigh their mere existence.
At the end of all of these debates I can never help but think that the only factor which should preclude the right to own a gun is the desire to do so. Gun ownership should be a hard won privelege, not a right.