General Question

alive's avatar

Can freedom of speech ever peacefully coexisit with our right to bear arms?

Asked by alive (2923 points ) July 6th, 2009

Please read the details before jumping into answering.

Key word being “peacefully” here.

First Amendment vs Second Amendment?

Past: Dr. Martin Luther King exercised his freedom of speech and got shot for it.

Present: George Tiller, (the abortion doctor who got shot and killed) by opting to continue doing his work despite a number of threats and other assaults, was exercising a form of freedom of speech because he was making the statement that he is pro-choice

Do you think you would be scared if you became a leader figure (like obama), knowing that anyone* can carry a gun?

If your life was threatened with a gun would you shut up, or say what you think needed to be said?

*(assuming they meet the state and federal guidelines)

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

55 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Murdering people isn’t covered by the right to bear arms.

mzdesigns's avatar

who wants to start taking bets on how long this thread will go on :p

alive's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic your right. but when has that ever stopped anyone?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@alive So “might makes right” then? That’s not how I roll.

Blondesjon's avatar

It was our forefathers, bearing arms, that won us our freedom of speech.

For the record I am not a gun fan. I am a fan of calling a spade a spade.

fireside's avatar

It can if the people who exercise the second amendment right have respect for the people who exercise the first amendment right.

Almost any disparate ideologies can peacefully coexist if the respect is mutual.

cookieman's avatar

@Blondesjon: Many of our forefathers also held slaves (for example). Just because it was considered acceptable at the time, doesn’t mean it should be now (bearing arms, that is).

Blondesjon's avatar

@cprevite . . .I didn’t say it should. I just pointed out that guns won our freedom of speech.

cookieman's avatar

Oh, and to answer the actual question: @fireside took my answer (but said it better than I could have).

mzdesigns's avatar

when it does , this will be an amazing moment, I hope everyone doesn’t tweet all at once

dannyc's avatar

It can coexist, just must be monitored with care and deep thought. Thus, who can bear arms, must be law-abiding, no past record, and the types of weapons strictly controlled. Perhaps a better government agency, no small retail outlets, with a proper registry and waiting period…with a mandatory educational component.

alive's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic that is not how i roll either… but that is how some people roll. the consequence of jail and/or death penalty have not stopped people from murder, so why make it easy to kill people (i.e. allowing people to have guns), shouldn’t we make it as difficult as possible to kill, instead of as easy as possible?

@Blondesjon but the ‘spade’ now is that no one needs a gun. that law is outdated. it was so that people could form militias to protect themselves from the government let’s face it, if the gov wants you dead, they’ll kill you (pinochet anyone?)

Blondesjon's avatar

@alive . . .I don’t know about that. They never got Fidel…

alive's avatar

@Blondesjon they didn’t have to get him, they knew he’d die cuz he is old and sick, just wait out the clock instead of wasting those bullets

fireside's avatar

@alive – a well armed militia is part of national defense. Since the armed forces are not supposed to operate within our borders, I would say that “no one needs a gun” would have to be globally applied, not just nationally.

But, I am not for gun ownership either.

kenmc's avatar

@Alive Getting rid of guns won’t stop murder…

mzdesigns's avatar

this was and still is the problem “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY”

Blondesjon's avatar

@alive . . .more than fifty years was a long time to wait,

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@alive I can’t live in fear of a criminal killing me in a random act of violence.
It’s much in the same sense that I don’t live in fear of being hit by a car. I’ll only take reasonable steps in an attempt to keep either from happening.

alive's avatar

@fireside not supposed to operate how? they have training bases here. they are used in emergency situations like disasters… can you explain?

@boots i didn’t say stop murder.

@The_Compassionate_Heretic Do you think you would be scared if you became a leader figure (like obama), knowing that anyone* can carry a gun?

If your life was threatened with a gun would you shut up, or say what you think needed to be said?

alive's avatar

@mzdesigns i love that speech. every time i hear it or read it, i just feel so sad that we didn’t take heed. so so sad :(

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@alive I’m not going to change how I live because of someone with a gun.
If I’m to be shot, I’ll be shot.
I would prefer not to be shot, but that’s not entirely up to me.

alive's avatar

gun in your face and you dont change a thing?

alive's avatar

i’d at least beg for him to put it down…

kenmc's avatar

@alive You sure as hell implied it…

[...]the consequence of jail and/or death penalty have not stopped people from murder, so why make it easy to kill people (i.e. allowing people to have guns), shouldn’t we make it as difficult as possible to kill, instead of as easy as possible?

Most of the people that murder with guns obtain them illegally anyways, so making guns illegal won’t stop people from being murdered with guns.

mzdesigns's avatar

all of these posts on this thread just prove its validity.

kenmc's avatar

@mzdesigns we’re all still alive…

mzdesigns's avatar

indeed we are lol

mzdesigns's avatar

proves again fear. and his speech

fireside's avatar

@alive – I was thinking of Posse Comitatus, but it is really meant for domestic issues:

“The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to ensure that any activity (including the provision of any equipment or facility or the assignment or detail of any personnel) under this chapter does not include or permit direct participation by a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps in a search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activity unless participation in such activity by such member is otherwise authorized by law.”

Not that it matters, since the law was revised in 2006:
“Section 1076 is titled “Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies”. It provided that:

“The President may employ the armed forces… to… restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition… the President determines that… domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order… or [to] suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such… a condition… so hinders the execution of the laws… that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law… or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.”

mzdesigns's avatar

military industrial complex..enough said.

alive's avatar

@boots i can see how it seems like i was talking only about murder. and yes that is part of it. but i am also talking about fear. the doctor that got shot in the face was wearing a bullet proof vest. should he really have to walk around every day, EVEN AT HIS CHURCH with a bullet proof vest on???

also, i like that you pointed out that most guns are obtained illegally. yes that is very true, but they are usually stolen from someone who does in fact own it legally.

fireside’s point about respect is probably true, but since when did extremists respect opposing views?

alive's avatar

i just don’t see how people can truly exercise their freedom of speech if their life is in danger/threatened

alive's avatar

@fireside “or other condition”…fuck, that is horrifying. thank you prez bush for “saving” us from ourselves… ?

kenmc's avatar

@alive Fear? Such an abstract concept…

I’m not afraid of guns in and of themselves. I know how to properly use them. I guess that helps.

But if you spend your life being afraid of the possibility of being shot, you may as well never get into a car because you’re more likely to get into a car accident than be shot.

alive's avatar

@boots (but this goes for anyone who says they are not afraid of guns) i am not talking about some kind of crippling fear, where one does not leave the house. i am not even talking about the kind of fear where one would get night sweats every once in a while.

i am talking about looking down the barrel of a gun. and i cannot honestly say to myself that if i was giving a speech about something i am very passionate about that i would continue that speech knowing it would get me killed. am i a coward?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

If you’re looking down the barrel, you’re not giving a speech. You’re diving for cover. That’s perfectly ok! I’m pretty sure Dr. King didn’t see his assailant coming but if he did, he’d have dove out of the way and no one would have thought any less of him.

kenmc's avatar

@alive I’d be just as afraid of looking down the edge of a knife barreling towards me or a baseball bat swinging at my face. Should we make knives illegal? Should baseball be illegal?

bea2345's avatar

The first and second amendments are quite compatible. Perhaps they just should not be in the same constitution.

CMaz's avatar

” Can freedom of speech ever peacefully coexist with our right to bear arms?”
It does.
But, we also have freedom of expression. Some people tend to “express” themselves more liberal then others.
You are using the word peace like as if it can just happen. Peace is a byproduct of conflict. As the saying goes, cant know peace without war.
The sun is a violent lethal ball of energy, so does that make it bad? It is physics, action reaction.
There will always be winners and loosers. Just do your best to be on the right side of the barrel.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

If you’re looking down a barrel then you probably aren’t going to say much at all. Most people train to be able to call up and direct their response actions.

CMaz's avatar

Yes, and that goes for most things. Some more apparent then others.
And, with all the training in the world there will be a percentage of defect and failure.
That is life, and life will go on.

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

ALL of freedoms depend on our right to bear arms.

alive's avatar

@Noel_S_Leitmotiv how do you figure?

bea2345's avatar

Yours is a violent society, and always has been (mine is the same). Guns don’t cause violence, they only make it easier. Perhaps we need more indoctrination in the skills of mediation, listening to each other, etc.

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

@alive: The founding fathers understood that the right for citizens to bear arms was critical for the peoples defence, including against an increasingly oppressive government.

Without the means to protect oneself government is free to remove any other freedoms.

Remember kids, Tyrants prefer unarmed peasants.

CMaz's avatar

And, history is the stories of mans actions. So it is always best to be on you guard.

bea2345's avatar

I am beginning to like the thinking here, @Noel_S_Leitmotiv. As long as your institutions are strong enough to maintain social cohesion, then the guns, of themselves, are not the problem. But something will have to be done about illegal firearms, they are now entangled with the international arms trade, which does much to supply combatants in Colombia, Bolivia, the Congo, the Philippines etc. etc. Not to mention the brisk trade in weapons for purely criminal purposes.

alive's avatar

@Noel_S_Leitmotiv if you think that some civilian citizens with guns can stop a government (esp. a tyrannical government), i believe you are sadly mistaken… do you know what the penalty for assaulting a cop is as compared to assaulting a fellow civilian… your chances are not looking good.

you are right that “Tyrants prefer unarmed peasants.” but the when the US was first formed all those people had military experience. i mean the fought a war to become a country. now-a-days the circumstances could not be further from that. there is no way that the people of the united states could stop the military if it came down to brute force.

bea2345's avatar

@@Noel_S_Leitmotiv – there is no way people of the united states could stop the military if it came down to brute force. I don’t know that. It isn’t as if the American proletariat is your average illiterate peasant.

alive's avatar

@bea2345 yes. you’re right that “it isn’t as if the American proletariat is your average illiterate peasant.” BUT i would argue that an average illiterate peasant is better equipped to fight a military coup than your average target worker, or citigroup ceo…

on a separate subject, i’m pretty sure the US doesn’t really have a proletariat…

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I consider the two rights independent of one another. The right to be armed does not include the right to murder. The cases the questioner cites were criminal acts independent of the Second Amendment.
As for the possibilty of threats of violence affecting my expression of opinion, I have chosen not to permit it. The only thing pointing a weapon at me will elicit is return fire from my own lawfully-carried weapon. I prefer to die rather be silenced. My constitutional and natural rights are more important to me than life itself, a decision I made long ago.

dkranzberg's avatar

The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to guarantee that the people have a way to defend themselves against tyrannical governments seeking to take away the other rights…among which is the right to freedom of speech.

Many seem to mistakenly think of the 2nd Amendment in a criminal centric way, rather than as a guardian right intended as a natural counterweight to overreaching, overarching governments—governments that tend to act as if they are the purveyors of rights. Governments do not grant rights. People are born with rights. Jefferson explained it best when he penned these words in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@alive I think the Libyan rebels would disagree with you about armed citizens not being able to stop a tyrannical government.

The Somali insurgents in Mogadishu did a pretty good job against the US forces, as illustrated in the book and the movie Black Hawk Down.

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