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Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the invest-in-crossbows dept.

United States 1633

CanHasDIY (1672858) writes "In his yet-to-be-released book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, John Paul Stevens, who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court for 35 years, believes he has the key to stopping the seeming recent spate of mass killings — amend the Constitution to exclude private citizens from armament ownership. Specifically, he recommends adding 5 words to the 2nd Amendment, so that it would read as follows: 'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.'

What I find interesting is how Stevens maintains that the Amendment only protects armament ownership for those actively serving in a state or federal military unit, in spite of the fact that the Amendment specifically names 'the People' as a benefactor (just like the First, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth) and of course, ignoring the traditional definition of the term militia. I'm personally curious about his other 5 suggested changes, but I guess we'll have to wait until the end of April to find out."

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Militia, then vs now (2, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 months ago | (#46767725)

When the constitution was ratified, the militia was the only defense that the United States had, and all able bodied men were expected to be ready to serve.

Now, whether the militia is the intent of the second amendment is a question that we have been asking for a long time now. The wording of the second amendment is not particularly clear on that.

And yes, I know that this opinion is not popular on a site as conservative as slashdot. That is why we see this as a front page story bashing the person proposing the re-examination of the second amendment.

Re:Militia, then vs now (5, Insightful)

fche (36607) | about 6 months ago | (#46767797)

It's not a "re-examination". It's a butchering.

Re:Militia, then vs now (1, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46767859)

At the time there were limited arms (you took about 2 minutes to reload) vs able to empty a couple clips in that same amount of time, now.

Further, rifle, cannon and naval mines were about all there were. The most literal interpretation of that 2nd amendment means I could possess nuclear weapons, bacterial weapons, chemical weapons, and were I wealthy enough, my own tanks, APCs, fighter jets, bombers, etc. In short, the 2nd amendment favors the rich because they can arm themselves to the hilt, should they wish. Not very equal, is it?

Re:Militia, then vs now (-1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 6 months ago | (#46767943)

You. Can't just arm yourself to the hilt. Look at the branch dividians in Waco. What they were doing was illegal, and the FBI had to step in to stop it.

Re:Militia, then vs now (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46768091)

Well, yeah, raping children and giving them drugs, it's pretty illegal, but has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment.

Re:Militia, then vs now (3, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | about 6 months ago | (#46767967)

In short, the 2nd amendment favors the rich because they can arm themselves to the hilt, should they wish. Not very equal, is it?

Did you just make a "life isn't fair" argument?

How less available for purchase is law enforcement, as opposed to guns? Or do you deny that the rich get different treatment than the poor under the law?

Seriously, you just made a 'money exists' argument as though that was removed by retooling the 2nd amendment.

Re:Militia, then vs now (0)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46768101)

In short, the 2nd amendment favors the rich because they can arm themselves to the hilt, should they wish. Not very equal, is it?

Did you just make a "life isn't fair" argument?

Nope. I didn't. Read it again.

Re:Militia, then vs now (0, Troll)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 6 months ago | (#46768001)

By this argument, we need to strengthen our right to openly carry swords and nunchaku.

Re:Militia, then vs now (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46768131)

By this argument, we need to strengthen our right to openly carry swords and nunchaku.

I need my own navy of laser appointed sharks, sirrah!

Re:Militia, then vs now (5, Insightful)

cbraescu1 (180267) | about 6 months ago | (#46768011)

At the time there were limited arms (you took about 2 minutes to reload) vs able to empty a couple clips in that same amount of time, now.

At the time the press was literally a mechanical device that took between 1 to 3 hours to print the first sheet of paper (I'm counting from before having the letters put in place).

Based on your cretinous logic, freedom of the press today should be limited to the technological limits 200 years ago.

Re:Militia, then vs now (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46768121)

Since Guns kill people, and modern guns kill a lot of people easily and are far easier to use, it's not a fair comparison to the press.

You are using a strawman, stop it.

Re:Militia, then vs now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46768041)

I don't see the point you're trying to make. The amendments are not designed to make everyone financially equal, just equal under the law.

Re:Militia, then vs now (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767903)

It deserves to be butchered. It's an anachronism. People should not have a *right* to bear arms. It should be a privilege, for those who can show that they are responsible enough to own a weapon that makes killing people really easy.

Re:Militia, then vs now (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 months ago | (#46768005)

I'd say the mere fact that this ex-justice feels the need to add words to the Second Amendment to specifically alter and limit its context says to me he knows full well what the Founders intended. Now one can certainly debate whether the Second Amendment is still useful or desirable or however you want to frame it, but whatever side of the gun debate you sit on, to pretend that the Founders meant anything other than general gun ownership is revisionism of the most extreme kind.

Re:Militia, then vs now (0, Troll)

saihung (19097) | about 6 months ago | (#46768007)

You're supposed to butcher a dead animal. The 2nd Amendment as it is currently understood is dead. It serves no purpose except to satisfy gun nuts. You're living in a developed country with a standing army, police forces, and all of the evidence makes plain that owning a gun is more of a threat to the gun owner and his family than it is to any criminals or gubmint agents. People who are obsessed with gun ownership are unhinged and we should stop taking them seriously. Get something else to prove to the world how big your reproductive organs are, something that isn't used to kill.

This amendment needs to go away, and the huge numbers of guns among the populace need to be destroyed. There's no reason for Americans to be armed to the teeth. Australia did it, so can we.

Re:Militia, then vs now (4, Insightful)

fche (36607) | about 6 months ago | (#46768115)

"all of the evidence makes plain that owning a gun is more of a threat to the gun owner and his family"

Can you imagine a situation where you would accept contrary evidence? Would such acceptance require you to completely flip around as your penile / psycho jokes and maybe even apologize?

Do you accept that lethal self-defence is sometimes necessary? Are you prepared to sacrifice the lives of these people?

Re:Militia, then vs now (4, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 months ago | (#46767813)

When the constitution was ratified, the militia was the only defense that the United States had, and all able bodied men were expected to be ready to serve.

The Marine Corps was founded 10 November 1775. The consitution was signed 17 September 1787.

Re:Militia, then vs now (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 6 months ago | (#46767849)

Also, the US Army was officially created on 3 June 1784, but they trace their date of inception to 14 June 1775 when the Continental Army was formed. Likewise, the Navy was formed 13 October 1775.

Re:Militia, then vs now (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46768071)

I'm not an expert at US history (obviously, being a European) but isn't it true that the taxation was vastly smaller back then, essentially meaning that whatever standing army or navy the US could have financed was incomparable to our day and age? If that's the case, it would make sense why they were so persistent about militia back then.

(Wikipedia says that in the First Barbary War, a whopping 54 Marines detachment partook in the fights, alongside the hundreds of crew of like twenty five ships or so, and all the hired mercenaries. The Battle of Derne - 10 Marines, 500 hired mercenaries...)

Have you seen some of those State militias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767925)

Virginia law actually bars them from arms.
"Are members of the Virginia Defense Force armed?
          The Code of Virginia states that "members of the Virginia State Defense Force shall not be armed with firearms during the performance of training duty or state active duty, except under circumstances and in instances authorized by the Governor." ( 44.54.12)"
-www.vdf.virginia.gov/vsdffaqs.html

Re:Militia, then vs now (0, Troll)

plopez (54068) | about 6 months ago | (#46767931)

In addition the weapons industry did not have a rich and powerful lobbying group called the "NRA" working for them.

Re:Militia, then vs now (4, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 6 months ago | (#46767989)

This is why I want a new constitution dictating that all bills must have a mission defined in English, Latin, and Ancient Greek. The law must be consistent with the Mission; anything outside the Mission--anything not consistent in all three versions--is invalid. The Mission specifies goal (why the law exists) and scope (what the law will do to achieve the goal), while the text of the law specifies method (how the law will achieve the goal). If you start throwing in irrelevant earmarks, altering other criminal laws, or adding taxes where the Mission doesn't cover those activities, those parts of the law are legally invalid. If you arrest someone for violating the law and it can be shown in court that their actions are disconnected from the Mission, then the law was not made to police them in this scenario and they have committed no crime.

We can't even decide what the second amendment actually says. We need stronger definitions with multi-way consistency checking. Use two dead languages for parity.

Re:Militia, then vs now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767991)

And yes, I know that this opinion is not popular on a site as conservative as slashdot.

The ambiguity of the amendment, and history of that ambiguity causing a constant conflict between legislative bodies and the people and the courts, are a simple fact, beyond anyone's conservative/liberal leanings. Any person who says the confusion doesn't exist, is neither a liberal nor a conservative; they're merely living under a rock.

It's how to repair it (what is OUR intent, as opposed to completely useless questions about the framers' intent?), that merits discussion, and where people can legitimately stake out sides and possibly label those positions as "liberal" or "conservative."

Re:Militia, then vs now (3, Insightful)

lonOtter (3587393) | about 6 months ago | (#46768021)

All of this is irrelevant. We should not be sacrificing freedoms for safety in this way. Collective punishment (punishing everyone because of some people who abuse some freedom or privilege) is disgusting and should only ever be considered in cases where mass destruction (i.e. nukes or other powerful bombs) are possible in each individual abuse, which eliminates the possibility of banning normal guns. We're supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, not the land of the unfree and the home of the coward. But then again, we allow the TSA, the NSA surveillance, free speech zones, stop-and-frisk, copyright, patents, unjust wars, unchecked border searches, constitution-free zones, anti-gun laws, mass government surveillance of public places, no-fly lists, anti-privacy policies, etc. to exist, so I doubt we were ever "the land of the free and the home of the brave" to begin with.

Re:Militia, then vs now (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 6 months ago | (#46768095)

And a well-armed citizenry has prevented precisely none of those abuses.

Re:Militia, then vs now (1)

flintmecha (1134937) | about 6 months ago | (#46768093)

There's something sort of romantic about the idea of the citizenry being able to arm themselves to defend against sudden government tyranny, but I have to wonder if a modern "militia" could really stand up against things like tanks and missile strikes. This isn't the 18th century anymore, so I'm not sure that the spirit behind the 2nd ammendment is all that relevant these days. That said, I'm not really opposed to people being free to defend their home/property/family or to engage in sport like hunting, but let's call a spade a spade and stop acting like we're defending ourselves from the red coats.

Re:Militia, then vs now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46768111)

When the constitution was ratified, the militia was the only defense that the United States had, and all able bodied men were expected to be ready to serve.

Now, whether the militia is the intent of the second amendment is a question that we have been asking for a long time now. The wording of the second amendment is not particularly clear on that.

And yes, I know that this opinion is not popular on a site as conservative as slashdot. That is why we see this as a front page story bashing the person proposing the re-examination of the second amendment.

Uhmmm, that's not true at all. The constitution specifically identifies the Army, Navy and the Militia. Article 1: The Army and Navy being established and supported by Congress.

What is going to happen here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767739)

I predict nothing but good things from this "discussion." (John Paul Stevens - professional troll.)

ACLU (1, Insightful)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 6 months ago | (#46767743)

This is the same view the ACLU has, and it's why they don't dive into 2nd Amendment cases because it's basically a radical view in today's world.

Re:ACLU (1, Insightful)

drakaan (688386) | about 6 months ago | (#46767959)

Why don't we just add those five words to all of the other amendments in the same manner and at the same time?

I don't want to have amendments that apply to citizens unequally on purpose...that's a pretty stupid way for a present or past supreme court justice to think about "fixing" a constitutional amendment.

But what is a militia? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767751)

All a state would have to do is amend their constitution to proclaim that all their able bodied citizens are members of the state militia for defense of their lives, property, and the state if mustered into action. What can the feds do then?

Re:But what is a militia? (5, Informative)

emag (4640) | about 6 months ago | (#46767929)

It's already part of 10 US Code 311 - Militia: composition and classes [cornell.edu] , last passed in December 2013 by the House and March 2014 by the Senate...

Re:But what is a militia? (2)

plopez (54068) | about 6 months ago | (#46767975)

Would they be provided with uniforms, food, pay, and medical care at least while on duty? Hey, you may have solved the problem of poverty and income inequality as well. To pay for it we could define tax dodging as treason.

Re:But what is a militia? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 months ago | (#46768027)

I think the amendment is intended delegate responsibility for gun control to the states. If a state wanted to they could simply pass no law, or if the populace felt strongly enough, add a second amendment style clause to their state constitution.

Re:But what is a militia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46768105)

All a state would have to do is amend their constitution to proclaim that all their able bodied citizens are members of the state militia for defense of their lives, property, and the state if mustered into action. What can the feds do then?

Perhaps let the batshit crazy states who want all their residents to be armed and dangerous do so, and put up with the consequences? Let the states brave enough to limit gun ownership receive the benefit of less homicide/suicide.

Mod hell, next stop.

p.s. fuck off if your response involves any thing similar to "but x city banned guns and look at how many murders there are?!?" since you clearly know precisely jack and shit about this subject.

No. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767759)

No. Fuck you. As a supreme court judge, your job is (was) to defend the constitution, not undermine it. Don't you think we've had enough of our constitutional rights taken away? Does it ever stop?

Oh, and since your reasoning for this BS is the claim that murders are on the rise, how about you stop fucking watching FOX news and actually get educated on what is really happening? I won't even bother with the logical fallacy that having weapons available supposedly makes everybody frantic murderers.

Re:No. (1, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46767827)

I won't even bother with the logical fallacy that having weapons available supposedly makes everybody frantic murderers.

Did anyone say that? But one thing's true, it makes murderers more efficient. Strangling people is exhausting.

Re:No. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46767861)

... ummm, or so I've been told.

Re:No. (4, Interesting)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 6 months ago | (#46767883)

Bombs are probably the most efficient way to kill lots of people, and they can be improvised from various things that we need to have to function as a society.

Re:No. (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 6 months ago | (#46767977)

I haste to say this for fear of giving people ideas, but the easiest way to kill a whole bunch of high school students in one fell swoop is to going the boiler room and sabotage it.

Re: Yes, Yes they do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46768035)

Yes, there are people who say that "having weapons available supposedly makes everybody frantic murderers".

This is in the Main Stream Media and I frequently hear this sentiment in conversations that people have. Most people don't even know that background checks are performed before a gun can be purchased from a dealer and before a gun carry permit can be obtained. All the people with Class 3 weapons are checked by the Federal Government before the tax stamp is issued.

Listen to the Anti-Gun nuts and you will find a lot of people who think a gun in the hand makes a person a crazy and frantic murderer.

Please try to keep up.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767853)

Exactly! Fuck him and the fucking horse he road in on! They've stripped away every other fucking part of the bill of rights except for the 2nd, 3rd, and parts of the 7th dealing with civil suit. All the other amendments are essentially null and void anymore thanks to the fucking feds. This is the fucking shit that the bill of rights was designed and written to stop!

Re:No. (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 6 months ago | (#46767997)

As long as we still have third amendment protections, the republic is OK. As soon as they try to quarter troops. In my home, I'm fucking out of here.

Flaw in the slaw (0)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 6 months ago | (#46767761)

What happens when the militia itself needs disposing of?
Nuff said.

Because only civilians are dangerous (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767763)

It's as if he is choosing to ignore the recent killings at Ft. Hood in 2009 and 2014 because clearly no one 'serving in the militia' could ever do anything like that. It must be just those dangerous civilians out there and couldn't possibly be related to an individual's mental health or motivations.

No advocating banning guns (2)

Albanach (527650) | about 6 months ago | (#46767767)

It might be helpful to note that he's not proposing a ban on gun ownership, rather that the individual states should be allowed to regulate such ownership more than is currently allowed.

Re:No advocating banning guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767911)

Considering the already wide latitude we have today, where some state's legislatures currently choose to allow their (non-felon )citizens any non-NFA controlled firearm, while other state's legislators choose to ban ownership of firearms based on name, model, function, or capacity...

How much more do you think states *can* regulate such ownership more then is currently allowed?

Re:No advocating banning guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46768049)

Before DC V HELLER and McDonald v. Chicago the states could regulate guns as they saw fit up to and including banning them. The 2nd amendment restricts the feds not states. It only applies to the states via the 14th amendment.

Re:No advocating banning guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767947)

It may not be a ban, but it's a stepping stone to that end. This is exactly how you end up in an oppressive regime -- not by large sweeping changes but by small incremental changes that, individually, seem innocuous but as a whole destroy all your freedom -- and you never noticed it happening. Just like in Animal Farm if you remember. This is why it is vital to stay constantly vigilant against any small changes like this -- they're like an infection or virus. If you don't take care of they right away, it's really hard to get rid of later, and eventually lead to horrible shit. And this is an important one too, because there is absolutely nothing more important to a country than giving The People the power to overthrow their government with force if it should become tyrannical. And that is exactly what the 2nd amendment gives us.

really slashdot? (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 months ago | (#46767773)

not news for nerds
not stuff that matters
however it does drive click revenue to feature a hot button culture war issue.

Re:really slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46768085)

right, because nerds don't care about protecting their freedoms. and freedom certainly doesn't matter.

The Canadian Exodus.... (5, Funny)

beheaderaswp (549877) | about 6 months ago | (#46767801)

I'm not conservative by any stretch of the imagination... However...

Everyone should be armed. Assuming you're not a felon, a weapon should be in every single citizen's possession. Period. No loopholes.

Gun safety should be taught in public school, along with the inferred rights and responsibilities involved.

The reason? So that normal citizens like you and me can defend ourselves on the way to the Canadian border. Because when these idiot libs and cons start really shooting at each other... the Klondike might be our only hope.

And then you get arrested crossing the border (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767867)

And then you get arrested crossing the border with your firearm. Welcome to Canada!

Re:The Canadian Exodus.... (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 6 months ago | (#46767881)

"Assuming you're not a felon, a weapon should be in every single citizen's possession."

Even then, there's plenty of non-violent felons that I would be ok with owning guns.

Re:The Canadian Exodus.... (4, Funny)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 6 months ago | (#46768099)

I don't know, the idea of Martha Stewart wielding a gun... probably with a Thanksgiving themed decorative gun-cosy. It's terrifying.

Re:The Canadian Exodus.... (1)

cruff (171569) | about 6 months ago | (#46767905)

So that normal citizens like you and me can defend ourselves on the way to the Canadian border. Because when these idiot libs and cons start really shooting at each other... the Klondike might be our only hope.

What makes you so sure that Canada is willing to let you in with your firearms?

Re:The Canadian Exodus.... (1)

cbraescu1 (180267) | about 6 months ago | (#46768119)

What makes you so sure that Canada is willing to let you in with your firearms?

Which part of "on the way to the Canadian border" was somehow unclear to you?

Re:The Canadian Exodus.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767969)

...I think we're gonna need a bigger fence.

Re:The Canadian Exodus.... (5, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 months ago | (#46768039)

Everyone should be armed.

This is how Switzerland [antiwar.com] does it. They haven't been in a foreign war in two hundred years. Even Hitler decided not to try it.

Their crime rate is very low and they actually have a civil defense plan that doesn't involve people hiding in closets and hoping somebody shows up to save them. Plus, obviously they don't need to incur all the costs of foreign wars, so they can run data centers, banking platforms, and ski resorts instead.

Re:The Canadian Exodus.... (2)

lonOtter (3587393) | about 6 months ago | (#46768123)

Where in the second amendment does it say felons can't own guns? Why are certain modern weapons banned? If we accept that the second amendment allows people to own modern weaponry (and countless people, including myself, do), then why do we allow the government to violate it by keeping guns out of the hands of felons, or disallowing certain weapons?

It's crap (5, Insightful)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 6 months ago | (#46767805)

The whole point is for the citizens to be able to form a militia in order to defend themselves from their own government. Those words would effectively decimate the whole reason for the second amendment.

Re:It's crap (3, Insightful)

Darth Muffin (781947) | about 6 months ago | (#46767973)

+1 to this! It makes us subjects, not citizens, since we would then have rights only when the government says so. That's not a right. This is the bill of rights, not the bill of benefits. "When serving in a militia" is pretty much all the time since all able-bodied men and women make up the militia.

Re:It's crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767979)

Agreed, google "Cliven Bundy"

Re:It's crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46768023)

Decimate = kill one in 10. You need a different word

Re:It's crap (0)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 6 months ago | (#46768059)

What? Militias aren't some Libertarian fantasy force. Militias are what countries with limited resources used in lieu of a standing military. They're also all but obsolete in a world where military technology has advanced to the point that private citizens can't be expected to field their own effective arms (at least no one I know owns a Javelin "just in case...".

Re:It's crap (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 months ago | (#46768087)

It's not likely to be very effective. Have you seen the weapons the government has? The only way to succeed in a revolution is be to make sure the majority of the army is on your side or at least neutral, in which case, weapons are irrelevant.

Easy Militia States (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 6 months ago | (#46767809)

States that want lax gun laws would just create State Militias that were mostly unreguluated. These would be sepperate from the national guard. These would basically be gun clubs. In places like Kentucky a 14 year old would be able to join. The only service requirement would be taking a NRA gun class. I guess you would also need to say the pledge of allegiance.

Re:Easy Militia States (1)

Isca (550291) | about 6 months ago | (#46767941)

Mod parent up. This would be very easy to get around.

Re:Easy Militia States (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 6 months ago | (#46768053)

It would be hard in places like Chicago or New York. Basically you would need to break the law or move if you want a gun for self protection.

Clickbait (1)

Carcass666 (539381) | about 6 months ago | (#46767821)

That is all.

I for one . . . (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767825)

I for one am just grateful that a liberal jurist has finally acknowledged that it would take a constitutional amendment to do that. Most of them seem to think that the Constitution already reads that way.

"Ignoring the traditional definition of the term"? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46767829)

I don't see how this is "ignoring the traditional definition of the term militia". Not wearing the militiaman hat all the time seems to be working for the Swiss just fine, BTW.

Swiss gun laws are nothing like the US (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46768061)

In Swiss law use, storage and transport of weapons is VERY heavily regulated. Everyone is armed, but you don't get to walk down the street with your SIG 550 or leave it propped up in your hall closet. There are insane rules on ownership, storage and transfer, and the penalties are incredibly severe. There is no comparing the US and Swiss systems. Anything but bolt-action or single-shot weapons (beyond your militia-issued weapon) require special permits.

It's an odd phrase (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767835)

The problem is that it starts off talking about a well regulated militia, and then stops, if you interpret it to be talking about two separate things. So the question is, what about a well regulated militia?

That is why there is such a divide. Is the 2nd talking about the right of the people to form well regulated, armed militias not to be infringed? Or is the individual's right to keep and bear arms OR the right to be part of a well regulated militia?

If if it's all about personal arms liberty, why mention militias at all? My guess is that they wanted to differentiate between militias organized for civil protection/defence, and merely an armed rabble.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767839)

Any able bodied male 18-40 is automatically in the militia and is always considered "serving". This guy needs to find out what the definition of these words are.

"What I find interesting is how..." (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767847)

What you *should* find interesting is that this guy knows a metric crap-ton more than you do about the history of the Constitution, and maybe your opinion is like a second grader giving advice to NASA about how to construct their next heavy lift vehicle.

I do not oppose personal ownership of firearms, but I find it really arrogant for armchair legal history scholars (read: ignoramuses) to try to foist their particular skew on history.

Let the real scholars hash out what it's supposed to mean. We can then decide whether we want to amend that.

Re:"What I find interesting is how..." (4, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | about 6 months ago | (#46767963)

Your opinion is so wrong, it's not funny. America is not about the masses sitting at the feet of a former Supreme Court justice to learn how to interpret the Constitution. It has been the expectation for all of our country's existence that all of us will be educated in our civil liberties and have a good understanding of them. Something as basic as the 2nd Amendment is ABSOLUTELY NOT above our heads. So get out of here, doofus, because you're making me mad.

wont help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767855)

someone who wants to go on a mass killing spree doesn't need a gun to do it.

Actually the correct fix is far fewer words (1)

ageoffri (723674) | about 6 months ago | (#46767863)

'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, and the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.' Instead of applying revisionist views that have no Constitutional basis.

Re:Actually the correct fix is far fewer words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46768025)

What the heck is that supposed to mean? The whole point of revising the Constitution is that you are making a new "Constitutional basis"

Re:Actually the correct fix is far fewer words (2)

blueg3 (192743) | about 6 months ago | (#46768103)

Why do you want to add a grammatical error to the Constitution? It's apparently hard enough to interpret as it is.

Of course, Stevens is looney. (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 6 months ago | (#46767865)

Does he really think curtailing guns will stop mass killings?
Try banning stupidity like this:
  strange stoy on anti-tea party site, since I expect there are more like this on tea party sites.
Maybe then there will be less anger.
Of course he won't speak out against that because in his wacked out state that would violate first amendment rights. So instead he proposed to flush the second amendment down the toilet.

Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46768073)

Stop mass killings? Debatable. Prevent mass shootings? Likely.

Bad suggestion (4, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | about 6 months ago | (#46767907)

Since Stevens' change has the purpose of exactly contradicting the original intent, it seems shoddy and absurd to just change one little phrase in it. For example, the "of a free state" part becomes a joke, or at least a meaningless window dressing, once this amendment ceases to be about guaranteeing a specific freedom to the people. In other words, Stevens' modified amendment is capable of fitting in very nicely with the goals of a tyranny, and has nothing to do with increasing the power of the people to prevent a powerful government from taking away their freedoms. But maybe Mr. Stevens really anticipates his suggestion going mainstream, and supposes that by leaving the form of the original in place, 2nd Amendment supporters will be unable to effectively oppose the change?

Regardless, I personally smell a rat.

Re:Bad suggestion (0)

Nick Eden (3618775) | about 6 months ago | (#46768137)

To a European, used to being able to walk down the street without being threatened by guns, it actually seems to support the original. I have huge trouble believing that the original intent was actually "'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, any damned fool should be able to have whatever weapons he wants without anyone else having any say in the matter". Why would you even mention a Well Regulated Militia if there was no expectation of there being a militia and it being well regulated?

Attn: americans (-1, Flamebait)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 6 months ago | (#46767909)

The constitution is just some stuff some dudes wrote. It is not literally the holy word from Gods in human form that once were gracious enough to walk the earth. There is no reason to treat it with the status it has.

haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767915)

...and this moron was a Supreme Court Judge??

LMAO!

People v. Persons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46767919)

People: "body of persons comprising a community". It is a singular noun. "Peoples is the plural." "People" is not the plural of "person" - that is "persons". The second amendment does not refer to the right of any individual person to keep and bear arms outside of membership in a militia. The language is already there, but almost everyone, including members of Supreme Court regularly misinterprets it.

My revision: (1, Interesting)

IMarvinTPA (104941) | about 6 months ago | (#46767921)

My suggested new text:
"The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Laws limiting weapons in any way are prohibited, including but not limited to background checks, registration lists, and places where they can carried. All governments, foreign and domestic, should be afraid of the armed populous."

If a gun can be anywhere, everywhere can be defended quickly.

(Did you know that a convicted felon is not required to register his guns since that would violate his 5th ammendment right to not self-incriminate? Look it up!)

IMarv

Hey, I dream of shit that's never gonna happen too (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 6 months ago | (#46767937)

I want chocolate milk to spew forth from all the water fountains at work. And my dream has a much better chance of becoming reality than Stevens' dream.

five words (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 6 months ago | (#46767945)

You can change any amendment with only five words and completely change its meaning.
For example, try tacking this onto any of them - for only white land owners.

Thank you for your input. (1)

INT_QRK (1043164) | about 6 months ago | (#46767951)

...now take please your meds...

I'll give you six amendments: (5, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about 6 months ago | (#46767983)

Here are six amendments (not in any form of airtight legalese) that would be useful:

1: Campaign donations are forbidden. Each candidate for an elected office will get an equivalent place to state their platform. Advertising anything election related on a commercial (paid) basis will be a crime.

2: Similar to Article 9 of the Mexican Constitution: Only US citizens can influence the politics of the nation.

3: A "no confidence" vote can be done on Congress, forcing a complete re-election with no incumbents allowed in for the next term (but can run after that.)

4: Same as Article 23 of the Mexican Constitution. No double jeopardy, and after three trials, the defendant is now absolved of charges.

5: Same as Article 10 of the German Constitution, guaranteeing privacy.

6: The right to a firearm is guaranteed. However, part of school education is firearms training, from elementary school to high school. The purpose of this is to "un-Hollywoodize" firearms, and make them perceived as a tool (similar to a chainsaw or weed whacker), and no more. If packing becomes pedestrian or gauche, the gun control problem will go away by itself.

These are not perfect, but they will go a ways to address critical issues.

Re:I'll give you six amendments: (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 6 months ago | (#46768069)

Not that I'm opposed to any of those necessarily, but #3 is unworkable. Who calls for the No Confidence vote?

subverting the intention (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 months ago | (#46767985)

the intention was a check of power: that the people would rise up and fight a corrupt government and take it back.

what this assclown wants is even MORE power to the government.

I say we reverse this. arm every citizen and actually make it ILLEGAL for the government to ever rise up against its own people. like that pussy at davis, the 'seargent pepper-spray' asshole, he should have been locked up for the rest of his life for abusing his authority against actual peaceful citizens who were simply exercising their RIGHT to protest the government.

we have a system where the police (in various forms) exist only to keep the powerful in power. anything left over after that is just a token to throw to the masses to keep them in check.

I'd like to see revolts against any government org that uses lethal force against its own people.

of course, it won't ever happen. we have lost our ability to keep our government afraid of us, the people. we lost. I wonder if we forever lost that?

Going further on the context of the 2nd (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 6 months ago | (#46767987)

Guns were regulated or prohibited in some cities/states so however we interpret the 2nd the founders didn't think it implied some absolute right to "arms." And, really, "arms" applies to a whole range of weapons. It means I can have a suitcase nuke camp out under a flight path with a Stinger on my roof, or whizz around the airport with a fully loaded Russian surplus MiG.

Of course the "originalist" Scalia should know this and agree with gun rights limitations (snark).

Good News (2)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 6 months ago | (#46767999)

The good part of this that I see is that he is advocating changing the constitution and not just ignoring it. The constitution can and should be amended to account for changing values, changing technology and different external influences. Once you start ignoring the constitution, then what rules do the government need to follow? Change the constitution to what it "should" say, then we all know what we're doing, what's expected of us, and where to go next.

dumb idea (1, Insightful)

Xicor (2738029) | about 6 months ago | (#46768043)

guns dont cause mass shootings... people who break the law do. guess what is in common with people who break the law in one way and people who break the law in another? they tend to break laws. making it illegal to own guns does just a little to them as making it illegal to kill people. we dont need to stop people from owning guns, we need to find better ways to stop mass shootings... even if that means putting in boxes of 'in case of terrorist, break glass'. as far as schools go, i think we should give teachers the ability to have handguns in locked safes in their classrooms, and allow them to take it out it the case of a shooting situation.(of course, they would need to be trained for it as well).

"Fix" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46768075)

The word you're looking for is "get the fuck rid of that shit". There's a reason they're called amendments; stuff gets added to the constitution and it can get removed. And it's high time this piece of bullshit did.
While you're at it, charge those nutcases in Nevada with domestic terrorism and jail them - those who survive arrest, that is.

Is this a first-world country or fucking Somalia?

Dear Stevens (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 6 months ago | (#46768139)

Enact this, and as a former serviceman who swore an oath, I am obligated to stop you at all costs.

***
Your argument would
a) do nothing to reduce crime or mass killings
b) furthermore, since we have no militia, it is a de facto nullification of a primal right (and no, the National Guard is not a militia, sorry, you don't send a militia abroad to foriegn wars)
c) with the increasing breaches of American civil liberties, we need our guns now, more than ever...

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