Until Midterm Elections...

Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Second Amendment and Suspected Terrorists

One thing that conservatives often attack liberals on is the “being soft on terrorism” issue. The consistent claim is that liberals are putting America in danger by being soft on terror.

These claims have been made often, especially on the issue of accused terrorists being tried in civilian courts. Charles Krauthammer has been hard on liberals when it comes to Miranda-izing suspected terrorists, even though Attorney General Holder has recently embraced a new Miranda policy endorsed by the conservative columnist.

The Obama administration has further been criticized by many Republicans for having followed the rules about how long you can question a terror suspect before you read him his rights. These objections have been particularly loud since the arrest of Faisal Shahzad in the attempted Times Square bombing.



If you listened to the conservatives, you’d believe they have saved, and if put back into power will save, America from these terrorists threats while the liberals continue to put America in danger by allowing terrorists too many Constitutionally-protected rights.

However, upon closer look, it seems as if conservatives might be living in glass houses when it comes to the treatment of suspected terrorists.

It seems that the Republican Party is fighting for the right of accused terrorists to purchase a – get this –

GUN!!!!!

Seems like the Second Amendment is the most important and can never, ever, be compromised. Other Amendments? Phooey.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Terrorists and Guns: The Nature of the Threat and Proposed Reforms,” concerned a modest bill sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.

This bill would allow the government to stop gun sales to people on the FBI terror watch list the same way it does people who have felony convictions.

Because Congress - due to the resistance of Senate Rublicans - has repeatedly rejected this idea, 1,119 people on the watch list have been able to purchase weapons over the last six years. One of them bought 50 pounds of military grade explosives. Legally.

“I think you’re going too far here,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina at the hearing in reference to the proposed gun restriction.

Senators who are perfectly happy to let the government wiretap phones go nuts when the government wants to keep track of weapons permits. A guy who stands up in the House and defends the torture of terror suspects will nearly faint with horror at the prospect of depriving someone on the watch list of the right to purchase a pistol.

It seems the National Rifle Association is behind this. The NRA, the fiercest lobby in Washington, grades every member of Congress on how well they toe the NRA line. Lawmakers with heavily rural districts would rather vote to legalize carrying concealed weapons in kindergarten than risk getting less than 100 percent.

The NRA recently sent a memo indicating a possible reduction in a lawmaker’s grade if they supported the proposed ban on handgun purchases by those on the terror watchlist.

Lautenberg’s bill has been moldering in committee, and that is not going to change.

“Let me emphasize that none of us wants a terrorist to be able to purchase a gun,” said Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who nevertheless went on to argue against allowing the government to use the terrorist watch list to keep anyone from being able to purchase, um, a gun.

“Some of the people pushing this idea are also pushing the idea of banning handguns,” said Graham, darkly. “I don’t think banning handguns makes me safer.”

The terrorist watch list is huge, and some of the names on it are undoubtedly there in error. The bill would allow anyone denied the right to purchase a firearm an appeal process, but that would deprive the would-be purchaser some precious gun-owning time.

Before we subject innocent Americans on the watch list to have “to go into court and pay the cost of going to court to get their gun rights back, I want to slow down and think about this,” said Graham.

So let’s see if I understand the conservative stance on terrorists and their rights. We shouldn’t give suspected terrorists Fourth Amendment protection. We shouldn’t give suspected terrorists any due process rights in civilian courts. We shouldn’t give suspected terrorists their Miranda warnings.

These things have been pushed by liberals and criticized by conservatives.

When it comes to the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of torture (okay, cruel punishment), the suspected terrorist rights are ignored by conservatives.

However, don’t touch the Second Amendment so that THE SUSPECTED TERRORISTS CAN BUY GUNS??????

Someone, anyone, please help me understand this logic.

34 comments:

  1. I'd like to start of with a joke "A gun rack... a gun rack. Shyeah, Right! I don't even own A gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do... with a gun rack?"

    Anyway, this may be difficult to follow and I only have a short amount of time to type so I want to be quick.

    Premise: Conservatives in both the issue of torture and gun rights are aiming to do the greater good.

    The greater good in torture. A while ago you, had a post that I think implied being pro-torture is anti-christian. And while the bible does say do onto others as you would want done on to you or something like that, what it comes down to for me is which choice leads to the greater preservation of life.

    I personally would absolutely advocate doing wrong on to one in order to save two or more. Obviously one could argue such an action may not save two or more and that action only served to do harm to the one, but what it comes down to for me is which choice is the GREATER good.

    The greater good in gun rights. When a former West student was shot last year by her baby's daddy, I said to my roommate, I think it should be more difficult for people capable of that kind of act to purchase a gun, he had a decent response.
    While I wasn't proposing a limit to the type or number of firearms an individual could have, I was proposing a restriction to types of individuals allowed to carry a gun. So yeah I was suggesting we encroach on some peoples right to bear arms for what in my mind was the greater good. He countered with the notion that if everyone was armed, people would be more detered from that type of action (A logical conclusion)

    The simple fact is we all have a right to bear arms, some of us chose not to bear arms and its our own fault that we end up in situations where someone else is armed and we are not.
    The greater good in some peoples eyes is to allow unstable people to bear arms instead of encrouching on or nations right to bear arms.

    It's my understanding the Time Square guy was a US citizen and obviously has all his constitutional rights.

    While one person may see these viewpoints as a contradiction on the viewpoint of terrorism, another person may see this as a reaffirmation of the same viewpoint to do the greater good.

    I know this post is highly speculative on the intentions of others, and I offer no quotes or examples to make this anything more than a "Strawman arguement". It's another way to look at it, and you can accept it as a logical premise or not, but I only plan to debate the logic, not track down any he said she said examples. By the way my name is Andy and I graduate from West in 2002.

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  2. Okay Andy - you make a few fair points.

    Yes - the right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution. Yes - the Times Square guy was a citizen. However, we have restrictions on citizens who can buy guns already (i.e. felons).

    On another note - you can't point out a straw man fallacy and then commit a non-sequitor as you do.

    You argue that conservatives can torture, deny writs of habeus corpus, and wiretap without a warrant in the name of saving a greater number of lives and then deny my argument on the same lines - it does not follow.

    Sure - your roomate arues that if everyone has guns, then a deterrance effect occurs. Okay - while I can argue against that statistically, for the sake of argumentation, I'll grant you that premise.

    If the goal of the terrorist is to surprise, kill and accept being killed themselves, then there is no deterrance if all 300 million Americans carried a gun. The terrorist just shoots until several are killed before a "conceal and carry" person can react.

    Therefore, it would save lives, which is the argument you put forth as to why it is okay to torture, deny civilian trials and wiretap without a warrant.

    If we can set aside the Constitution for conservatives to carry out their war on terror, then liberals should be allowed to do so as well.

    Taking guns out of the terrorists hands will save lives. That does follow.

    Denying an attempt to make America safer by keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists - that does not follow.

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  3. No time to research now but I find it hard to believe this bill only bans terrorists from getting guns. What kind of other random stuff is in it? Have you read it?

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  4. Correct me if I'm wrong Scott J, but I believe this is the bill in question (PROTECT Act of 2009):

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s111-2820

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  5. As far as I can tell...

    The following is being repealed from five public laws and new language is going to be added.

    Repeal:
    (2) any system to implement subsection 922(t) of title 18, United States Code, that does not require and result in the destruction of any identifying information submitted by or on
    behalf of any person who has been determined not to be prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm no more than 24 hours after the system advises a Federal firearms licensee that possession or receipt of a firearm by the prospective transferee would not violate subsection (g) or (n) of section 922 of title 18, United States Code, or State law.

    New Language:
    ‘(7) If the national criminal background check system indicates that a person attempting to purchase a firearm or applying for a State permit to possess, acquire, or carry a firearm is identified as a known or suspected member of a terrorist organization in records maintained by the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security, including the Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File, or records maintained by the Intelligence Community, including records maintained under section 343 of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (50 U.S.C. 404n-2), all records generated in the course of the check of the national criminal background check system, including the ATF Form 4473, that are obtained by Federal and State officials shall be retained for a minimum of 10 years.’

    Now, as a disclaimer, I can't freaking understand what the hell they're talking about or what exactly is happening but it for damn sure doesn't sound like they're lobbying for terrorists to be able to buy guns.

    Comon man, is this a joke?

    This is the best you can come up with for an argument against liberals being soft on terrorism?

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  6. Wardo - that is exactly what the bill is to do. Keep those on the terror watchlist from buying guns. That is why it reads that way. However, it is the Republicans keeping this proposed change from actually becoming law.

    Not a joke. Unfortunately. This is a good bill and would be good law. However, the gun lobby wants to protect the Second Amendment even it means terrorists can buy guns. That is the joke.

    Dem 735 - yes.

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  7. By the way Wardo - yes I read the bill before I posted. I even read some of the transcript of the judiciary committee hearing. I know you find it hard to believe, but a liberal can do research.

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  8. Alrighty. I'm gonna need an explaination. When I read it to me it says:

    "We are going to keep the records around for 10 years"

    not

    "It is illegal for terrorists to buy guns"

    Now, if it is supposed to mean the latter can you please explain what language is the part that comes from. Like I said, it is so gibberishy that it makes it nearly impossible to read and understand it. Thanks.

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  9. Wardo - I believe you are right. The Bill I originally linked to was specific to keeping records. After a bit of searching, I believe the restriction is a seperate bill.... I found the following Bill by the same Senator Lautenberg, that was brought up June 2009.

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s1317/text

    There may be more bills that Scott J is referencing, and perhaps this isn't even the right one (or only one), but it looks like this one deals with the no fly list and all that jazz, and places the responsibility on the Attorney General to actually restrict the purchase. But, to be honest, I haven't yet read all 18 pages, I just wanted to try to find the appropriate Bill so that we could all be on the same page.

    Hopefully, that helps.

    And again, if I am providing links to different Bills than those this post is talking about, I apologize, and feel free to correct me :)

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  10. Scott can you post some links?

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  11. I looked at the bill for a bit and it seems to be, on the surface, well-intentioned. However, the main concern that opponents have is the broadly-defined "domestic terrorist" or "suspected domestic terrorist".

    Remember, it wasn't too long ago that "right wing militia groups" were a target of condemnations from Janet Napolitano and others in the administration. People that were veterans were said to be likely targets for recruitment efforts.

    Essentially, the problem is with the total authority of the AG to decide who is "suspected" of being a terrorist.

    Felons can't buy guns, but they've already been convicted. Just because you hit some factors that the AG deems might make you dangerous is not strong enough to deny someone their right to own a gun.

    Again, the bill seems like a no-brainer, but the problem is with the loose definition of "suspected terrorist".

    And Scott, I'm pretty sure the NRA plays second fiddle to the SEIU up there in Congress and especially, the White House.

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  12. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s111-2820

    http://lautenberg.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=320300&

    http://www.govit.com/vote/congress.aspx?bill=2009-s-2820

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/05/17/critics-deride-designed-weapons-terrorists-hands/


    Again - the point of the post is to show the inconsistency in the Republican Party's War on Terrorism.

    All of sudden Republican are up in arms (pun intended) over the loose language of "suspected terrorist," but had no problem with the phrase "intensive interrogation techniques." President Bush authorizes his AG (without Congressional approval) to wiretap as well as develop a "susptected terrorist" list to be shared among the agencies charged with keeping Amreica safe, but now Republicans have have a concern when President Obama and the Congress do the same thing (and more within the bounds of the Constitution's Articles I and II than the previous administration).

    As far as the right-wing groups being targeted by the administration, it seems that conservatives have a short memory on this. From 2002-2009, left wing radical groups have been put on the watchlist without due process and now conservatives have a problem with militia groups and other right wing groups on the list. Come on.

    http://newsmine.org/content.php?ol=security/criminalizing-dissent/left-wing-groups-put-on-terrorist-watchlist.txt

    Scott - the NRA might play second fiddle with the Democrats, buts its influence on the Republican Party remains stronger than ever.

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  13. Ok, so Andy and I were looking at the right bill.

    "Again - the point of the post is to show the inconsistency in the Republican Party's War on Terrorism."

    Again -

    "We are going to keep the records around for 10 years"

    not

    "It is illegal for terrorists to buy guns"

    ??????????????????????

    Sounds like this could all be cleaned up really really fast by defining what is meant to be a suspected terrorist.

    "As far as the right-wing groups being targeted by the administration, it seems that conservatives have a short memory on this. From 2002-2009, left wing radical groups have been put on the watchlist without due process and now conservatives have a problem with militia groups and other right wing groups on the list. Come on."

    And this statement, Jones, is EXACTLY why this bill isn't just a slam dunk! Comon! You said it right here! We can't even freaking decide who is actually a terrorist! Weak, weak argument.

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  14. Wardo --

    I believe you were looking at one of the right bills, but not all of them. "It is illegal for terrorist to buy guns", while not exactly correct, is, I believe, the intended purpose of the 2nd bill I posted above - given that Scott J provided the Foxnews link which was specifically about "The Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009" which is the exact title of the bill from June 09 that I linked.

    Here is the link (again) to said bill: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s1317/text

    which provides the text to the "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009".

    Now, that being said, while some may (legitimately) worry about he criteria for deciding who is and who is not a terrorist, the first bill, regarding storing the background check information, I certainly think would qualify as a slam dunk. What harm does it do to keep the records for 10 years for those who trigger a flag during the background check? and keeping the records for 180 days, rather than 24 hours for everyone else certainly doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

    I also think the overall point of the post isn't so much the "slam dunk" nature of the bill(s), but rather, the obvious inconsistencies between the GOPs position on the immutable nature of certain amendments (i.e. the right to bear arms) and the flexible nature of others (cruel and unusual punishment, warrantless wiretaps, miranda warnings).

    For the record, I too would like it if "Someone, anyone, [would] please help me understand this logic." Or, more to the point, how the hell you can argue that some of those rights are flexible when dealing with suspected terrorists, while others aren't.

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  15. Dem - thanks for getting the discussion back on track. That is exactly the point of the post. Why is the Second Amendment so sacred while the GOP had no problem running roughshod over the other amendments designed to keep the government from becoming too powerful in the area of criminal justice.

    I've heard no coherent (i.e. logical) explanation for this coming from the "we're tough on terror" side.

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  18. I absolutely think that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase guns. If this would be able to stop terrorist activities, suicides, etc. I don't understand why it would even be an option for a potential terrorist or someone on the terrorist watch list to even have the option to be able to purchase firearms. It is absolutely absurd. We should not be trying to protect them and give them the same rights as everyone else, they have lost their rights. Because we have so much terrorism going on, if their suspected, just don't give them the rights. If they want to fight let them fight it in court. It is not worth it to our society and our country to let terrorists carry guns, end of discussion.

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  19. I haven't got a lot of time to sit here and write out an airtight dissertation explaining my views on this issue, but let me try something quick.

    Warrantlessly wiretapping suspected terrorists and monitoring their phonecalls to people overseas in an attempt to foil plots to strike against this nation is very different from explicitly denying a citizen the right to lawfully purchase a firearm.

    I'm not talking (as was implied by parts of Jourdan's post) about allowing convicted or known terrorists to buy a firearm. The problem lies in the naming of someone "suspected terrorist". My concern is that bureaucrats in government will start throwing around the term "suspected terrorist" without any evidence, as was the case last year when folks who had NEVER protested anything in their lives finally took to the townhalls and tea parties and in so doing, earned themselves a national security memo deriding them as a danger to the country.

    The whole warrantless wiretapping thing has been going on for decades - Clinton did it before Bush and I'm sure Bush and Reagan did it before Clinton. In fact, it would have been foolish not to - basic intel gathering is a very critical function of the executive branch. I suppose this is one of those "gray areas" where I'll grant a tiny bit of my privacy rights to help fight against the spread of islamic (or otherwise) terror.

    Speaking of which, its strange to me, SJ, how in a world where you see so many shades of gray, when it comes to the apparent SACRED RIGHT TO PRIVACY, there is only black and white. We can't pass anti-abortion bills because it violates a woman's right to privacy in her medical decisions. We can't have the government wiretapping a terrorist's cellphone without a warrant because it violates his right to privacy in his effects.

    But if one person (Janet Napolitano) decrees that I'm to be known as a suspected terrorist because I'm a conservative blogger and I attend a tea party now and again and as such I am disallowed my 2nd amendment rights to purchase a firearm, that's okay.

    It seems you want it both ways as well.

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  20. Scott L, you once said something to the affect of 'ones rights stop when they step on one others rights'. I'm sure you said it better but I thought it was a good rule, so I made a point to remember.

    To be clear I don't think suspected terrorist should be allowed to buy guns, but that is based soley on what I think is best for peoples safety.

    It would seem from your last post that you would deny suspected terrorist the right to buy firearms if they were properly identified under the same shade of gray you would allow their phone calls to be tapped without a warrant.

    However, following the rule mentioned above the governments right to deny an individual the right to bear arms or the right to privacy STOPS when it interferes with an individuals right to bear arms or right to privacy. And in your arguements on other political issues pertaining to governments power you seem to abide by the rule mentioned above, as well as the letter or the constitution.

    Bottomline, Why do you allow shades of gray in the scope of government's power in national security, but not in public welfare?

    If I put words in your mouth about the governments right to deny 'suspected terrorists' the right to bear arms, I apologize, but it seemed you were concerned with who would be deemed a 'suspected terrorist' not them being denied the right to bear arms.

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  21. "Bottomline, Why do you allow shades of gray in the scope of government's power in national security, but not in public welfare?"

    Say I attend a tea party...

    If someone wants to listen to my phone calls and hear me asking Scott what time softball is next Thursday, no problem.

    If I'm not allowed to buy a gun because I'm a "suspected terrorist," problem.

    Like I said before, sounds like this could all be cleaned up really really fast by defining what is meant to be a suspected terrorist. And it's not left wing or right wing protesters, it's people who want to kill us because we're Americans.

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  22. Ok. I agree with what you said. If the government was listening in on my phone calls it would be no big deal cause I have nothing to hide.

    But, it seems like you only have a problem if what the government is doing has a negative impact on you. In other words you don't have a problem with them violating one right (privacy), but you do the other (right to bear arms).

    A conservatives stance of limited government, is centered around the notion of not violating peoples constitutional rights, and not taking liberties of power beyond the scope of the letter of the constitution.

    So, as Scott J. sort of asked why is it okay to infringe on one constitutional right but not the other? If the founders felt there are conditions where the Bill of Rights now longer applied and we could ignore those rights they would have wrote it into it.

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  23. I'd rather them listen in on a phone conversation than take away my right to buy a gun just because I was at a tea party. If things get violent at any American protest, the people who get arrested can go on the list. Just because a party is being threatened politically gives them no right to be labeled "suspected terrorists."

    I don't even think we'd have this problem if we called the people that are ACTUALLY the terrorists, TERRORISTS! These pansys in government have to be so politically correct it's a freakin joke!

    Call me a hipocrite if you want but I'd rather the government listen to my phone conversations and find out that I'm not going to attack our country than just take away my right to own a gun because some bureaucrat thinks I'm a terrorist because he's scared of losing his power.

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  24. I guess these are philosophical arguments only. Who is a terrorist? One who acts against our people, or people different from us that are not citizens that act against us? Who will act against us with a gun? Who will walk into a retailer and purchase with a permit? It is the misuse or unintended use of that gun and hatred or unstability that cause a person to act as a terrorist, even one from our own country. Your argument assumes gun purchasing through legal means. Some of the instances, like Va Tech were retail purchases. My point is that a terrorist may find it easy to buy today through legal means but all the purchases are not going to be legal weapons purchasing. Do you believe the removal of the right for a felon to buy a gun works? It makes them turn to a different method of purchasing. The right to own a gun is not something the NRA would give up--ever, it is their right, just ask them. A militia is not what we have today and that is what right was promised. The arguments here ignore common knowledge concepts.

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  25. What comes to mind is who or what makes up a terrorist? Is it someone foreign or your next door neighbor. The Second Admendment states, " A well regulated militia, being necessary to the the security of a free state, the right of people to keep and bare arms should not be infringed". What the hell is a well regulated militia. We all have the right to own a gun but with what circumstances if they regulated every little thing when purchasing a gun. This topic will always be up in the air and will always be under the heat of who or what can get a gun.

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  26. How do you decide who is a terrorist and who isnt? It is a difficult thing to do, however it still is a great law and it should be passed. I firmly believe that we should have stronger laws pertaining to guns. Maybe then so many people would not get shot and killed every day. Erich stated above exactly what the Second Amendment says, and if we were reading that literally would'nt it mean that only a "well regulated militia" is able to carry a gun. I would take that as any branch of the military or police officers, but not everyday average people. So if we read the amendment that way then we would not have these problems, however this will be an ongoing debate forever.

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  27. I understand that these restrictions against terrorists does not comply with the Second Amendment but I feel that for the safety of our country it is only logical for us to ban weapons from terrorists. Defining who is a "real" terrorist is going to be the hardest part of passing this bill. Not every terrorist has been a terrorist their entire lives and if this bill does pass they (the terrorists) will find people without a background to perform their outbursts against innocent people.

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  28. "Erich stated above exactly what the Second Amendment says, and if we were reading that literally would'nt it mean that only a "well regulated militia" is able to carry a gun."

    If it said the right of the militia to keep an bare arms should not be infringed, ok, but it says the right of people to keep and bare arms.

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  29. Firstly, welcome to all the new readers! Glad to have you reading and engaging in debate.

    @Maggie - I agree that we don't really have a true militia anymore. The closest thing is the National Guard, but even that is federally controlled. Its not really doing much to ensure a free state as its not controlled by the people. However, I'd suggest that the "militia" was something that was much more present in the minds of the founders due to the ever present reality that foreign invaders were imminent.

    That being said, I believe, as does the SCOTUS it would appear, that the 2nd amendment specifically guarantees the right to own a firearm to all law-abiding citizens. The well-regulated militia would imply a natural right to self-defense. I'm of the opinion that if we can infer a right to privacy from a combination of various amendments, then we can infer a right to self-defense from the statement that we can own firearms and have a militia.

    The question of national security is something that must be balanced against this right. Clearly, if you are a convicted felon, you have sacrificed the "law abiding citizen" status. We all agree on that.

    The question then comes to what do you do regarding this right and national security when you are talking about suspected terrorists.

    What is a "suspected terrorist"? Maggie asked that, and its a good question. Can we deny the right to purchase a firearm just because someone thinks a person might be a terrorist? Does there need to be some burden of proof to be listed as a "suspected terrorist"? For example, would membership in CAIR - an unindicted co-conspirator in the 9/11/2001 attacks - qualify one to be considered a "suspected terrorist"? Would CIA-known links to al-Qaida qualify one?
    Would posting America hating messages on an internet blog qualify one as a suspected terrorist? How do you get listed?

    We're in effect, denying a right to someone because of a hunch.

    I know the counterargument would be made that warrentlessly wiretapping suspected terrorists denies the right to privacy, however, it causes no harm to the party if he is innocent. As Jon pointed out, if Obama listens in to my phonecall with him discussing the latest Cardinal's game the only thing that happens is Obama wastes some time when he should be pursuing terrorists. However, if I am denied the right to buy a gun just because Janet Napolitano decides that I'm a possible threat due to my political views and the fact that I share them even if I am NOT a threat - I am harmed. I am denied a right that will help me maintain my safety.

    How's that for an argument?

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  30. @Jrowan I used to agree with your viewpoint but my roommate made a valid counterarguement. As a law-abiding citizen you are completely within your rights to choose to protect yourself with a gun. If YOU choose not to purchase a gun it was your choice to allow yourself to be at a disadvantage to someone with a gun. Dangerous people, who should not have guns, will break into a house or find someother means of obtaining them. I no longer feel stricter gun laws would save a significant number of lives.

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  31. Who is your roommate!? I'd like to shake his hand for sharing with you his visionary wisdom.

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  32. I can see where you guys are coming from... so what if there were a compromise in the situation...

    for example:

    If you are on the "Terrorist Watch List" then you can apply for a gun permit like normal. You are then either (a) provided with the appropriate license allowing you to own a guy or (b) provided with a hearing, within like, i dunno, 90 days of the application, in which, if the state wishes to deny your application, they must provide a valid reason for your position on the terrorist watch list.

    what I mean by "a valid reason", is something I am open to compromise on, but just to throw an idea out there, how about the state must provide "clear and convincing evidence" as to why you are on the Terrorist Watch List, and the threat you pose which justifies the application rejection. (i personally think it should be a jury trial, but this is getting a lot more specific than I had intended ... i also thought if the state does not win the case to reject the license, then you're name should be removed from the list... but again, i'm getting way more specific that i really mean to :) )


    Just to throw this out there... I was looking for the actual text of the 2nd amendment, and so i googled it, and at the top, naturally, was wikipedia. it gave some really cool stuff about how that sentence changed throughout the different committees... it also, to me, emphasized that the "militia" was real focal point of the amendment.

    According to the dreaded wikipedia, James Madison's initial proposition went like this:

    "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"

    Which definitely stressed, to me, the fact that the whole thing is about Militia's/Military service. I mean, Madison isn't end all be all or anything, and it went through a bunch of committee's before the wording was the way they really wanted it (and approved it)... but it kinda make me think about gun ownership being primarily about a groups right to unite together to fight off foreign oppressors... but i'm just throwing that out there because I thought it was interesting to read about how it changed from its original text... i'm not really trying to draw any big theory out of it, though I did throw in a few personal thoughts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Conflict_and_compromise_in_Congress_produce_the_Bill_of_Rights

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  33. "If you are on the "Terrorist Watch List" then you can apply for a gun permit like normal. You are then either (a) provided with the appropriate license allowing you to own a guy or (b) provided with a hearing, within like, i dunno, 90 days of the application, in which, if the state wishes to deny your application, they must provide a valid reason for your position on the terrorist watch list."

    Simply put, sounds good.

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  34. In principle, at a high level, this idea seems reasonable. I would put a stipulation that the state has at maximum 90 days to have a hearing and provide their reason - otherwise the simple dragging of bureaucratic feet would be enough to prevent people from being able to buy a gun if they truly did not represent a threat.

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