Fund Your Utopia Without Me.™

14 March 2013

Senator Dianne Feinstein: "I'm Not a Sixth Grader"

You're right, SenDiFi!  I've yet to meet a 6th grader, who believes that it is "legal to hunt humans."

Now, let's look at the argument that you and Senators Leahy and Durbin made that rights are not absolute.  First, no one has argued that the Second Amendment stands for the proposition that people can have any type of arm on the planet.  "Bear arms" had a specific meaning in English common law before the founding of the United States and the drafting/ratification of the Bill of Rights, namely, it referred to a firearm that could be carried easily by one individual.  So, no one, except those lacking historical knowledge of the term and the reasons the Second Amendment was drafted, would conceivably argue, however implausibly, that private citizens or organisations have an unqualified right to own tanks, cannons, biological weapons, or nuclear weapons.  We recognise that, like the First Amendment (human sacrifice, snuff films, incitement to riot, defamation, obscene materials, threats, etc), the Second Amendment can reasonably be read not to confer the "right to bear" an armed drone or weaponised botulinum toxin.

Secondly, although the Second Amendment may seem to be the one amendment that specifically envisions some sort of regulation on its face, it is actually the opposite.

 Page 21 of 755,

While common law has long maintained the position that "punctuation is no part of statute," Hammock v. Farmers Loan & Trust Co, 105 U.S. 77, (1881), citing references from the late 18th and early 19th century), it does help us in two ways:  1) It helps divine intent; and 2) it shows how those with agendas are willing to even change the actual punctuation of the Constitution to further their agenda.  It is important to pay attention to punctuation because the version that was ratified wis not actually the version frequently quoted today. 

The Second Amendment, as oft-stated today:

"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."

This formulation makes it appear that only those people in a "well-regulated" Militia (you'll also notice that milita is capitalised meaning that it must be a state-sponsored "Militia" like the National Guard) have the right to keep and bear arms - a right, which shall not be infringed.  With regard to "the people," "shall not be infringed" almost becomes an afterthought in this version.   But, about whom are we talking?  Who would infringe upon the "right" of the people in the "Militia"?  

Since it would be state-sponsored, that would have to be the Federal government.  Yet, such an answer only raises another question.  Why would the Framers have given the states a specific right in the Second when they intended that the states have all "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the the people"?  Nowhere in the Bill of Rights are the states given specific rights.  Indeed, states are given no rights in the first nine whatsoever.  In the first nine amendments to the Constitution- even if we ignore the Second for the sake of argument - the rights recognised belong not to a government, but to citizens or people. 

Apart from being grammatically incorrect, this version simply doesn't make any sense.  Either people have a right, which shall not be infringed, or they do not.  
According to both the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office, the Second Amendment, as ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, only had one comma and reads 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 shall not be infringed."

“Well-regulated” modifies the word “militia.” It doesn’t apply to arms. The “right” of people to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed."

The Framers were giving a reason why people should have a right to bear arms, i.e., the security of a free state relied on a “well-regulated militia.” If they had wanted to do so – and, perhaps, they should have – they could have easily have dropped the modifying clause “a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state.” Now, I do understand why the states or even corporate (not necessarily in the way that the word is defined today) entities may have wanted a defined right to bear arms and have a well-regulated - meaning well-equipped, well-disciplined, well-organised - militia considering the recent history at the time of the Second Amendment's drafting.  So, the incorporation of the "well-regulated militia" clause in the amendment certainly has a solid legal and historical basis, but it has no bearing on the right of people, as individuals, to bear arms.  The Tenth Amendment could certainly have protected the states' rights to have "well-regulated militias" and the Second Amendment would have still protected the rights of "corporate entities" to bear arms, along with the assemblage protection of the First. Nevertheless, the intent of the Founders was clear, if one reads the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, and the correspondence and other writings of the Framers.  They intended for a free people's natural right to bear arms to not be infringed upon by government.

The Heller decision said that “dangerous and unusual weapons which are not in the common usage” can be regulated or banned by the government. It said that there was an individual right to bear arms; the Second Amendment “extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding,” (p 8); the handgun bans “amounted to a prohibition of an ENTIRE CLASS OF ‘ARMS’ that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose.”

Thus it ruled invalid the District’s requirement “that firearms in the home be rendered and kept inoperable at all times,” noting that doing so “makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.” (The holding in Heller was applied to the states in McDonald v City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010).)


The AR-15 is the #1 rifle sold in the United States. It is no more dangerous than handguns. In fact, it kills FAR less. In 2011, 72.5% of all gun-related homicides were committed using handguns. In 2011, 3.8% (323) of ALL gun-related homicides in 2011 committed with rifles of ALL KINDS, INCLUDING “ASSAULT RIFLES” LIKE AR-15s.


There is NOTHING unusual about AR-15-style rifles…unless one is afraid of black, skeery, plastic thingies.

Don’t believe me? Then, look at the pictures of these two guns and ask yourself, “Does one really look that much more ‘dangerous, unusual and uncommon’ than the other?”

Not banned under the 1994 AWB

Banned under the 1994 AWB

Both are AR-15-pattern rifles that came off the same assembly line, fire the exact same ammunition, and use the same magazines....BUT the rifle on the bottom has a small bit of metal under the front sight to which a bayonet could attach and a small vented tube on the end of the barrel that redirects unburned gases.


Really? AR-15s are uncommon? Since when?

In 2009, it was estimated that there were 3,261,725 of AR-15s – alone, not just AR-15-style – in the United States…and the homicide rate was 5.0.

In contrast, in 1994 when the original Assault Weapons Ban went into effect, there were approximately 1.5 million AR-15s in the United States and the homicide rate was 9.0.

Feinstein, Scarborough, and Mitchell should really go back and read the Heller decision. Cruz knows it…since he was one of the attorneys that won it before the Supreme Court.

By the numbers:

Number of United States Supreme Court Justices clerked for:

Feinstein: 0

Cruz: 1, the CHIEF JUSTICE, in fact.

Number of briefs filed with the Supreme Court of the United States personally authored:

Feinstein: 0

Cruz: 80+

Number of oral arguments made before Courts of Appeal:

Feinstein: 0

Cruz: 43

Oral arguments made before the United States Supreme Court:

Feinstein: 0

Cruz: 9

Number of victories at the Supreme Court of the United States of America:

Feinstein: 0

Cruz: 6

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