Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Do you think the 2nd Amendment was meant to allow carrying loaded firearms anywhere you wish?

Asked by ETpro (34428points) December 9th, 2011

Two students of Plymouth State University in Plymouth NH plan to carry firearms to class to challenge the school policy against firearms on campus. They claim the school’s policy violates their 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Here is the exact wording of the 2nd Amendment, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Wikipedia has a solid article on the Amendment, its early drafts and how it was modified before ratification, as well as the thought process that went behind it.

What do you think the framers meant by “A well ordered militia being necessary…”? Did they really mean that the people needed to be able to carry loaded firearms anywhere and everywhere. What about visiting the White House or attending a speech of a controversial politician who has faced death threats? Should concealed or open carry be allowed there? How do you feel about concealed carry on a college campus. How about high school or grade school? How about in bars? Just what does “well ordered militia” entail?

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51 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

We are all militias of one, orderly enough to be more than jiggling, gelatinous pools of protoplasm.~

john65pennington's avatar

Only to keep firearms for protection of ones property and personal safety at home, not in public.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’d be afraid of the kind of person who would WANT to carry a gun with them everywhere they go.

zenvelo's avatar

The problem with this question is that my opinion has been found wanting by the US Supreme Court. I believe the operative words in the second amendment are “well-regulated’. It implicitly states that there can be regulations.

Given what happened to the policeman yesterday at Virginia Tech, I feel students who think they should be able to carry guns on campus should be ashamed of themselves, and explain to the widow and her five children why they think guns are okay at schools.

Coloma's avatar

Maybe back in 1785 when marauding grizzly bears, cougars and wolves were lurking around one’s door or “savages” were on the prowl, or, one needed to protect their gold claim from pilfering, but… not these days, no, I don’t.
My feelings are that firearms end up in the wrong hands more often than the right ones, and pairing a weapon with a trigger happy and emotionally unstable type will, literally, lead to a smoking gun.

I have commented on this issue before, living in a rural mountain community for the past 20 years I have had more negative encounters with gun totin’ individuals than I have seen responsible behavior.

I’ve shared that I have had crack shots drop branches on my head on my own property, fended off drunken bubbas that wanted to chase a deer onto my property and became irate when I said ” no.”
I have been shot at by a bow hunter on trail with my horse. Had my dogs leg blown open by a 30–06 when a rancher caught him chasing cattle BACK onto their property from escaping onto my acreage.

One can only see the gravity of guns in the wrong hands in any inner city environment, let alone reckless hunters in the woods.

My feeling is that for every mentally stable and responsible gun owner there are 5 that are not.
The ratio doesn’t work out favorably IMO.

Blackberry's avatar

I agree with @john65pennington, unless you go to VA tech…..

Edit: I just realized how bad that sounded. Sorry.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When we move to the country, I’ll probably buy a rifle…which will be under strict lock and key. To be used against marauding cougars. Thanks a lot @Coloma. Now you got me paranoid!

TexasDude's avatar

This is how I see it, and it’s all I’m going to say about it, because I’m not going to embroil myself in another 300+ response gun control argument on here when I have finals and all that jazz going on:

Guns are already forbidden at VT, but it didn’t stop this guy from going there and shooting the cop and himself. It didn’t stop Cho either. It hasn’t done much to stop anyone who is determined to kill. With that in mind, I believe that lawfully armed people should at least be given a fighting chance. A vast majority of states allow citizens to get concealed carry permits and guess what? Blood isn’t flowing freely in the streets and violent crime rates have been consistently dropping, even with more and more people legally carrying guns. Here is a visual illustration of what I am saying for people who like to think in pictures.

To address the question directly, I’m going to very briefly break down my interpretation of the 2nd Amendment in a historical and linguistic context.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

In 18th century English, “well-regulated” more or less meant “ready to be mustered at a moments notice.” Not “restricted.” “Arms” referred to man-portable weapons that did not include artillery. Like the rest of the bill of rights, the 2nd amendment is a limitation on the power of government and simultaneously an affirmation of the innate rights of the people who live under said government. Technically, every able-bodied male is the “militia” by default, and this militia is necessary to defend against tyranny (according to the 2A and most of the Founders). The “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is a separate clause from the militia clause. The Supreme Court has ruled that it is an individual right. In short, what the 2A says is that citizens have the right to be armed, as part of the militia, with man-portable weapons to maintain the security of the free state. In regards to this question, I don’t care if a private entity bans firearms on their property. That’s their business, and I reserve the right to not patronize them if I so choose. As for the public sphere (political rallies and whatnot, as mentioned in the question), my opinions are mixed.

Now I’m going to go study. If you want to talk about this with me specifically, PM me because I’m unsubscribing from all of my fluther threads in order to focus on school.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have to ask…WHY would anyone WANT to carry a loaded gun?

TexasDude's avatar

Ok, I lied. One more response before homework time.

@Dutchess_III, because people like Cho, and Harris & Klebold, and Jared Loughner, and rednecks who fuck with @Coloma‘s house, and a whole array of other nameless miscreants who engage in violent thuggery exist, and these types of people will continue to exist for as long as our mental healthcare system sucks and poverty is an issue, and these kinds of people will continue to be a potential threat to regular, law-abiding, sane people like me and you. Are we extremely likely to ever deal with someone like this? Probably not, but just because something is unlikely to happen, doesn’t mean it won’t. Since I can’t carry a cop or a soldier around on my back everywhere I go to protect me, I’d like to be able to have a fighting chance in that 1 in a million chance that I bump into a Cho or a Loughner. It’s not about being paranoid, or living in fear, or because I have a small penis, or whatever common platitude the armchair philosophers and psychiatrists will claim. It’s simply about being prepared, because I value my life. Does that answer your question?

wonderingwhy's avatar

How much suffering is society willing to bear due to those who act immorally and how do we encourage more responsible behavior. Is it acceptable, and if so at what point should that determination be made, to strip the rights from a society because a minority of individuals within it act contrary to that societies accepted moral view. Essentially saying, as a member of society you can not have this right because so many individuals are not “mature” enough to maintain it responsibly, that it is now to societies detriment.

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard that’s what everyone says! just one more, then I swear I’ll get to work! Good luck with your finals.

Coloma's avatar


I can agree with that, but, you’re the needle of nobility in the haystack of horseshit humanity. haha

TexasDude's avatar

@Coloma even with how you feel about guns, I’d still marry you and bathe in the glow of your mountain dwelling ways with your happy geese, thanks to statements such as that. If you ever need a gentleman sniper security guard to defend you against the hordes of wayward hunters who encroach upon your property, you know where to find me.

Oh, and I forgot to add “not because I want to be a cowboy” to my list of gun-toter misconceptions in my response to @Dutchess_III. I’m already a cowboy.

Coloma's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard You’re hired my fine young man!
It’s not the guns, it’s the nutcases that shoot ‘em. haha, I totally respect the right to bear arms, as long as my arms aren’t shot off by wayward warriors. lol

TexasDude's avatar

@Coloma I can deal with that, yo.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Ummm…Is it too late to apply for that security guard position? I have a concealed carry permit and almost always carry when I am in the woods. It’s concealed so you’d never know.

TexasDude's avatar

@worriedguy I’m sorry, but @Coloma claimed me long ago. Too late. This whole thread is just a formality. A confirmation, if you will.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Sigh… I understand… sob…. Who wouldn’t prefer a nice young buck to a prostateless elder?

TexasDude's avatar

@worriedguy that actually made me kind of sad. :-(

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Don’t be. It’s just a ploy. Shhh…don’t tell anyone.

Coloma's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard @worriedguy

Hey, theres plenty of room in my stable for young colts and old studs. lolol

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

In the case of Cho Seung-Hui, a view students interviewed after the fact said they had arms and was well versed in using them, but they could not have them in class; they were way back in the dorm. They said, had they had it, Cho would have had something more to contend with, than hunting students. Life is not fun when the rabbit got the gun. They said they would have returned fire, causing Cho to have to fight for HIS survival.

The Constitution, is the Constitution. At what point do we stop whittling away at it? Do we stop at search and seizure anytime the authorities want? Do we stop at not being able to face your accuser in court, not having bail for any crime, getting a confession tortured out of you, where are we willing to stop tinkering with the Constitution? Freedom in Libya didn’t come without arms, and freedom here has not been preserved without arms.

You give ‘em hell Freddie!!

ETpro's avatar

Thanks to all who have chimed in. Whether I agree or disagree, I have handed out Lurve to all. I asked for opinions, and thank you for giving them.

Now to my opinion.

@wundayatta Checking the definition of “militia” in Merriam Webster, I find this:

1   a : a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in
    b : a body of citizens organized for military service

2   : the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service

I see nothing in that definition suggesting that a single person is a well regulated militia. If every single individual person is a “well regulated militia” then the gunman who murdered the police officer on the Virginia Tech campus yesterday simply because the officer was doing his job was a well regulated militia. Pushing that idea is an extremely hard sell. By that standard, known homicidal maniacs are well regulated militias and must be allowed to carry loaded weapons wherever they wish. They cannot be intefered with in any way till they actually open fire on innocent people.

@john65pennington I tend to think that’s what the Framers were really getting at. In the late 1700s, it is likely that many citizens walked about with a sidearm. It was necessary to survival. But I am confident that the Framers, if aware of today’s complex, contentions and often insane society, would not want rouge maniacs able to pack heat legally; and only subject to censure after they start randomly killing people.

@Dutchess_III There is certainly truth to that. Paranoid schizophrenics are likely to be the first in line to carry a loaded weapon at all times, certain that their lives are in imminent threat of destruction form all the dark forces (in their tortured minds) conspiring against them

@zenvelo I don’t think we have a Supreme Court any longer. We instead have a Supreme Corporatocracy that decides cases strictly on the basis of what’s best for the corporate interests that paid so much to pack the court. The gun lobby clearly wants to sell as many weapons as possible. They would love an arms race where each American tried to outdo the firepower of everyone else. The Supreme Corporatocracy’s job is to find some wild rationale whereby, with generous spin. the Constitution justifies what they want to do for the profit of their benefactors. The Constitution itself be damned.

@Coloma Well said. Those examples hardly sound like a “well regulated militia”.

@Blackberry The Virginia Tech shooting is certainly a sore point right now. What @john65pennington said would have not allowed that nut-case to legally have a loaded firearm in his car. That’s not to say that a criminal would never break the law—just that when they break reasonable gun control regulations and get caught, they are stopped before killing a bunch of innocent people.

@Dutchess_III I would be armed in the country too, but not to pack heat everywhere I went. I’d go for a 5-shot repeating shotgun. For home defense, it’s second only to a full-automatic assault rifle or machine gun.

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I understand full well what you are saying. I do not agree that almost all able bodied males are sane and cool headed enough to carry a loaded weapon and pose no threat except to those who directly threaten them. Yes, with restrictions, criminals can carry weapons into controlled zones and oepn fire. It happens—as it has twice now at Virginia Tech. But far more often they are caught with an illegal weapon and stopped before they are able to kill with it.

And what ever happened to your committeemen to only post one thought? :-)

@wonderingwhy That’s a pretty good synopsis of the debate. Thanks

@LuckyGuy Why concealed when you are in the woods?

@Hypocrisy_Central The question is not about what you want the Constitution to say, it is about what it * actually* says. We can selectively roll out anecdotes to prove both sides of the debate. But that, again, isn’t the question. The question is what is meant by the actual wording of the 2nd Amendment.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Stupid arguments abound…

Reality check: crazy motherfuckers already carry guns. Laws don’t stop them. They only stop law abiding citizens.

I don’t really give a shit what the amendment was designed for originally. It’s ridiculous for the state to tell someone they can’t take reasonable means to defend themselves if they think they need to. And plenty of people do need to.

ETpro's avatar

@incendiary_dan That’s true. But laws do allow the police to stop crazy people who illegally carry. When everyone can carry, there is no filter allowing law enforcement to sort between who is a law abiding citizen and who is crazy and carrying a gun to do something like the nut-case did in Los Angeles today.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@ETpro When everyone can carry, there is no filter allowing law enforcement to sort between who is a law abiding citizen and who is crazy and carrying a gun to do something like the nut-case did in Los Angeles today. Politicians are very good at loopholes, they can let everyone have their arms, as the Constitution say, but make you pass a psych test to buy bullets to use in them. Problem solved.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@ETpro Yes, but more often they allow them to hassle perfectly nice people who they happen to dislike or the state has decided is a target. Police do not typically find someone carrying a concealed weapon unless they’re committing a crime.

ETpro's avatar

@incendiary_dan Politicians are often the target of nut-cases carrying guns. They have no vested interenst in ensuring that maniacs and assassins be allowed to carry loaded weapons to event where they meet the votersl.

@Hypocrisy_Central & @incendiary_dan I cannot imagine how the Framers wanted maniacs, violent felons, assassins and such to be considered individually as being a well regulated militia.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@ETpro Do you not want to address how maniacs don’t follow the law? How police rarely stop them regardless of law?

ETpro's avatar

@incendiary_dan Let me clarify. I am not against the right to a concealed carry permit for anyone who is sane and passes a stringent background check. What I am against is the notion that every person should be allowed to carry, open or concealed, wherever they go. That nut that started shooting at people passing by in cars on Sunset Blvd. in LA. He hid the pistol till cars were right on him, then pulled it out and fired. In all likelihood, even if you had been there and armed to the teeth, he would have gotten off the first round. Fortunately, it seems he wasn’t a very good shot. He seriously wounded one driver, but just left holes in the sheet metal of the other cars he targeted.

But I definitely hear you when you mention how long it can take the police to respond. I listened to one 911 tape in which several people died in a home invasion after calling 911 and reporting that someone was trying to break down their front door. It took police almost an hour to arrive, and by then, the entire family had been robbed and shot, and two were dead.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@ETpro You’re not responding to my point. Psychos intent on hurting and killing people do it anyway. The requirements for permits don’t stop them. They never have.

And, as I’ve said numerous times on other threads of this sort, those sanity standards can (and probably are) used as a form of political censorship. Many psychologists are being taught to classify certain types of political dissenters as suffering from mental illness. Many people of color are barred from being able to defend themselves because of the vagueries of the process in certain states. The state is not fit to judge who can and can’t carry weapons to defend themselves!

ETpro's avatar

@incendiary_dan To put it very plainly, I do not believe that an America where everyone went everywhere with a sidearm or rifle in hand would be less violent or dangerous than one with the regulations we currently have in place. No, background checks don’t catch every unstable person. The LA shooter likely bought his gun legally. He lost it over a nasty breakup, and what he actually did appears to be suicide by cops. He wanted to be killed. But background checks stop a lot of people who have no business carrying a firearm. Police alos bust a great number of gang bangers for illegal weapons charges.

Everybody who can get their hands on one has an SK-47 or better in Somalia, and that has not led to a peaceful, law abiding nation. It is one of the most violent, lawless lands on earth and roving bands of thugs under this or that warlord rape and pillage for a living.

Nut-cases like the LA shooter and the recent one on the Virginia Tech campus make the headlines. But they represent a tiny fraction of the murder rate in the US. Most gun crimes are committed by gun owners in a fit of rage. A local police officer here just shot his wife and two children to death, then ran into the woods and shot himself to death as well. Just about every day, some domestic violence shooting is on the air. Most households here do not have a gun in them. Those that do appear to be at far greater danger from the residents of the home than those that do not are in danger of criminals or madmen invading the home and shooting them.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Fuck this, I don’t waste effort on people who don’t respond to what I said and use rampant straw man arguments.

JLeslie's avatar

My comment is a little late to this Q. I think the second Amendment was created so citizens could protect themselves and property primarily from foreign governments, but also from their own. I always wonder if more people had guns in Germany, if more Jews would have lived. At the same time, I think a policy of no guns leads to a safer country, especially those countries that are very diverse, not only in population, but social class. Countries all over the world have less gun crime if the country has fewer people who have guns. There are countries like Switzerland I think? Hope I have the country right, that many of the citizens do have guns, but that would bring me back to the homogenous, socio-economically fairly equal population.

Living in the Memphis area now, I see why people want to have a gun. There is so much gun crime, you feel like you need to protect yourself with your own gun. Living in FL, NY, MD, and MI, I never felt like that, because it was not a gun culture. It’s kind of like once people more and more start to have guns, you need your own, but if we never let it get to that point to begin with, it seems ridiculous to want or have a gun.

As an aside, hunting and self protection from wild animals is a completely separate topic to me. I think it is perfectly fine for people who live in places where wild animals are common to carry a weapon.

Just to be devils advocate a little. On Halloween this year the daughter of smeone I know was attaked by a dog. They tried to get the dog off of the young girl, the adults were hurt as well, but not nearly as badly as the young child. The man who was helping the girl and her mom was an off duty policeman and had a firearm on him, his own, not the one issued by the force, and he shot that dog dead. That was ok with me. I don’t know if it was necessary. I don’t know if the dog was already off of her or what.

wundayatta's avatar

Oh my gosh, @ETpro! Are you saying I’m not my own militia??? Oh. Whatever shall I do? I’ve got all these uniforms and everything. I commissioned a marching tune and hired a fife and drum corp to play it. I was going to march on my own parade grounds and was even thinking of joining the Patriot’s Day parade.

But you sure rained on that parade! Where do you get off telling my I can’t be my own militia? You…. you…. you scrooge you!

I think you missed the ~ at the end of my first post.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Where do people get the idea that we have to protect ourselves from our own government?? This isn’t Nazi Germany. What kind of paranoid scenario do those people have in their minds??

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Because Germany was a civilized, democratic, country before they elected in that idiot Hitler and followed along with his crazy hatred. Jews were in all parts of society, and strongly identified with Germany. If it happened there, why not anywhere? It was not that long ago.

In America 9 black children just 50 years ago were not allowed to enter schools in Little Rock (and other cities). The Governor of Arkansas reinforced it by sending in the Arkansas national guard to keep them out. The fed by order of the president had do go down and allow the children safe entry.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie First of all, I don’t think Hitler could happen again in a civilized country. Back then countries were able to move under darkness, and were able to control the amount of information coming out of their country. Not any more. In fact, Dictatorships are being overthrown left and right because the average person in other countries now have access to the internet, etc. and know that there is a better way. I just don’t think it could happen again, and certainly not here.

Even if it did, what good would a couple of bubbas with a rifle do against a massive governmental army? Would we all arm ourselves and go about shooting every government official we can find?

Re: The discrimination issue. The most important part of that issue was that it was corrected. So was slavery. So were women’s rights. etc.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III But, if your dead before they straighten it out, what does it matter for you?

I agree times are different, but there is still ridiculous stuff that goes on due to hatred.

Personally, I prefer a society without guns, but I can see the argument for protecting oneself. I don’t think of it in terms of a mugger on the street, although, living in Memphis that does occur to me more, but in terms of a whole movement that might put me in jeopardy. Call it paranoid, but hey, I’m Jewish, I grow up knowing there are people in the world who hate me, who don’t even know me. The house down the street has a confederate flag waving out there for all to see. A couple hours away some nut jobs set fire to a Mosque.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Everybody has to die sometime, @JLeslie. If my fight results in a better world for my children, grandchildren, whomever, then I don’t care if I die before I see the results.

I agree with protecting oneself from nut-case individuals. But I don’t hold with the theory that we will ever be in a position to have to protect ourselves from our own government.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Who is talking about a fight for a cause? I am talking about trying to preserve my life if some idiot cop feels like he hates Jews or blacks or Hispanics or whatever, and allows a violent act to happen or does it by his own hand.

Maybe you are thinking federal government? I am thinking of the term in a much broader usage.

I think anything can happen. I really do. I don’t think anything like Nazi Germany is going to happen in the western world any time soon, but in the furture who knows. I see my governement, and parts of it scares me. You probably have seen me talk about how the Mayor one town over from me posted on his facebook during the Presidential race a few years ago that we should go back to only giving the vote to land owners can. Wrote that crazy racist southern shit on his facebook for all to see. I don’t think he is personally going to go out and kill black people or take away their rights, but he might look the other way if some citizens did something.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So…now we’re talking about individual rogue cops? And one individual mayor? Neither of them would last long if anything happened. Our government would see to that.

JLeslie's avatar

I guess I am talking about all of it. All I meant is I was not talking about fighting for a cause, only fighting for my life.

I said way above, not sure you saw it, that most paces I lived we never thought about guns, having a gun, we didn’t want a gun. That really is how I prefer it, and ignore any potential for a rnadom crazy person, or even parts of our government doing the wrong thing. My husband is from a very dangerous city, and he also has a hard time wrapping his brain around people owning and carrying guns.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I was coming from a standpoint of Americans, all of us, having to fight our own government. That would be a “cause.” There are people out there that seem to think that that is a viable possibility. It’s another form of mindless fundamentalism.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Why do you think people make holocaust movies, think it is important to never forget? To honor the dead? No, mostly it is to ensure that can never happen again to any group.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I see. Yeah, we were coming from different perspectives.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Of course it’s important not to forget.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oops! I just stepped on your toes! Sorry @JLeslie!

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III How? I don’t feel stepped on.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We were posting over each other!

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