The Instigator
Oxymoron
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
malcolmxy
Con (against)
Losing
14 Points

U.S. Ctizens Have And Ought To Have The Right To Bear And Keep Arms

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
Oxymoron
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,818 times Debate No: 28060
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (135)
Votes (7)

 

Oxymoron

Pro

In this debate, my opponent and I will argue the accuracy of the resolution (The people of the United States have and ought to have the right to bear and keep arms) as it relates to U.S. law.

Rules:
1.) The first round for Con is: acceptance and a positive argument.

2.) As I am the holder of the burden of proof, it stands to reason that Con will not make any positive arguments (one that builds Con’s case, rather than countering mine) in the last round, as I would have no chance to answer them.


Important definitions:
1.) Right to bear and keep arms: an enumerated right of a U.S. citizen for the personal ownership and use of a firearm. Of course, this is exactly what Con and I will dispute, but for now, this definition will simply give clarity to the meaning of the resolution and the intended result of my argument as Pro (I.e. to prove this definition).

2.) Firearm: A weapon (in this debate, it will be restricted to handguns, long guns, and automatic rifles) capable of firing a lethal projectile and using an explosive charge as a propellant. [1]


Sources:
(1) www.thefreedictionary.com
malcolmxy

Con

1. Should you choose to have me, I will accept your challenge.

2. I do not know what you mean by positive argument as each and every one of these I've looked at (and I've looked at many) simply have an acceptance of the debate in round one and the arguments begin in round 2. However, if this is explained to me, hopefully my response in this round can be erased and I can post a new one.
Debate Round No. 1
Oxymoron

Pro


Due to some confusion, the first round will be for acceptance only. I will proceed to give my argument:


The Second Amendment:
“Because a well-regulated state militia is necessary for the security of a free people, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed by the federal government.” [1]

This amendment, even among conservatives, has been commonly isolated from the original intent and meaning. Does this provision guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms without interference of the government? To determine this we ought to (1) look at what the authors had to say, (2) look at what the authors' contemporaries had to say, (3) look at what the courts, during that time period, had to say, (4) and determine the historical context of the words used within the Second Amendment.


The Founders Support This View:

The Founders definitely made their views apparent:

1. Richard Henry Lee: “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” [2]

2. Samuel Adams: “The said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to … prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” [3]

3. Patrick Henry: “the great object is that every man be armed…. Everyone who is able may have a gun.” [4]

4. In the Virginia Convention, George Mason drafter of the Virginian Bill of Rights said that “to disarm the people -- that was the best and most effective way to enslave them.”

5. James Madison, the father of the constitution, makes clear in Federalist No. 46 that the fact that Americans are armed, is an advantage that America has over every other nation. [5]


Early Commentaries Support This View:

The earliest American constitutional commentaries concur with the ideas of the founders and the sentiments of the true meaning of the Second Amendment.

1. Joseph Story in his “Commentaries on the Constitution”, an extremely important and influential work, considered the Second Amendment “the palladium of the liberties of the republic,”.

2. William Rawle’s “View of the Constitution” published in 1825 expounded the intention of the Second Amendment when he said, “The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by a rule of construction be conceived to give Congress a power to disarm the people.”


Early Congress Supports This View:

Subsequent legislation in the Second Congress supports the interpretation that the Second Amendment creates an individual right, rather than a “select militia“. In the Militia Act of 1792, the second Congress defined the “militia of the United States” to include almost every free adult male in the United States. In light of this, there can be little doubt that when Congress and the people of that era spoke of “militia”, they spoke of the traditional concept of an armed populace - one where every citizen was capable of bearing arms, not to any formal group, such as the National Guard. It is from this militia - an armed citizenry - that appropriate measures might create a “well regulated militia” of individuals trained in their duties and responsibilities as citizen owners of firearms.


Early Courts Support This View:

In Nunn v. State, the 1837 Georgia Supreme Court held that Georgia’s ban on the sale of pistols was unconstitutional as the Second Amendment provided “ the right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not merely such as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in on, in the slightest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying of a well regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free state”. This State Supreme Court decision enforces, among many other examples, my contention that a “well regulated militia” was a consequence of allowing the populace of America to be armed.


Conclusion:

In conclusion, the individual rights interpretation of the Founders, the First and Second Congresses, the Courts, and the early constitutional commentaries gives full meaning to the words of the Second Amendment. The framers of the Bill of Rights consistently used the words “right of the people” (as found in the Second Amendment) to reflect individual rights of American citizens - just as the “right of the people” to peaceably assemble and the “right of the people” against unreasonable searches, etc. If the Second Amendment was intended as anything but a right given to the people, then the Framers, in effort to remain consistent, would have distinguished this, in the same way they did in the Tenth Amendment. As discussed earlier, the “militia” itself referred to a concept of universally armed citizenry, not to any specifically organized unit. When the framers referred to an organized unit they consistently used terms like “select militia” and distinguished this from the universal, citizen based “militia” [7] Entities like the National Guard are specifically set apart from the constitutional militia, as recognized by 10 U.S.C. § 331(a).



The argument is usually made that the first clause of the amendment (“Because a well-regulated state militia is necessary for the security of a free people“) means that the intention was to keep arms into a specialized reserve corps - something like the National Guard. This is simply not true. Today the state militia is the body of citizens which, under U.S. Code Title 10, section 31, includes “all able-bodied males at least of 17 years of age and under 45 years of age who have [made] a declaration of intent to become citizens.”



The Right To Bear Arms Is A Necessary Bulwark Against Tyranny:

The power of an armed citizenry has been the bane of tyrants since the beginning of man. As James Madison pointed out, corrupt governments fear a well-armed populace. This is seen in our own country’s history. When British troops seized a militia arsenal (out of fear, I might add) in September 1774, 60,000 citizens took up arms against the tyranny of the British monarchy - and, thus the American Revolution was born. The American Revolution is the prime historical example of (1) how a revolution ought to be handled and (2) the power of armed citizens. The American Revolution was not won by a disarmed and docile people, it was won by the strength of its citizens, the power of their black powder muskets, and the grace of God.


Sources:

[1] The U.S. Constitution
[2] The Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a report from the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, February 1982) p.5
[3] Ibid., pg. 6
[4] Ibid., pg. 5
[5] The Federalist Papers
[6] ] The Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a report from the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, February 1982)
[7] Richard Henry Lee, in his pamphlet “Letters from the Federal farmer to the Republican”, Lee states: The Constitution ought to “guard against a select militia,” (notice the wording of select militia).

malcolmxy

Con

First, thank you for forgiving my ignorance of this process and for allowing me to participate in this little soiree. For the sake of the voters, and because it is not necessary to be otherwise, I shall do all I can to exercise brevity in my rebuttal.

The Second Amendment

As you already posted this US Constitutional afterthought in its entirety, I will refrain from doing likewise and instead thank you for supporting my argument.

The Second Amendment is quite specific in its purpose - protection of life, liberty and so forth through the individual state's ability to form and regulate militias when necessary.

Here's the problem with your position - the states lost this ability with the formation of The National Guard, which is a joint venture of The Department of Defense (Federal), US Army (Federal) and US Air Force (Federal). While each of the 54 individual organizations which comprise The National Guard are called militias, are paid by the state or territory to which they belong, and can be called by the executive branch of that state or territory into service in the event of a natural disaster, they are, in every other way, under the purview and control of the US Federal Government, and thus comprise a large-scale, centrally controlled standing army with their affiliated brethren in the US Army, US Air Force, et al.

Also, as a side note, and one which illustrates that the Second Amendment to the US Constitution no longer applies, there is not one single member of The US National Guard who uses their personal firearm in service of the country, and this is because that practice is prohibited.

The Founders WOULD NOT Support This:

Y
ou are correct that the founders were all very much supportive of white land owners possessing arms. In fact, it was less of a right than it was a responsibility of every able bodied, white male land owner between the ages of 16 and 60 to not only own a firearm, but also to be proficient in its use.

What you failed to note, however, was the original intent of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, or more precisely, it was the specific intent that you failed to mention. The Founding Fathers, both those in the Anti-Federalist and Federalist contingents, feared two forces for tyranny more than any others - Large, Private Banks and Large, Centrally Controlled Standing Armies.

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution was specifically designed to prevent the latter from ever developing, but as I have already noted above, a Large, Centrally Controlled Standing Army is exactly what this country finds itself with, and therefore the Second Amendment has completely failed in its original intent, and has been constantly failing in that intent since the end of WWII when the Department of War was replaced with the Department of Defense and The National Guard was established as being under Federal Control.

Don't take my word for it, though. Instead, let's go to the person who wrote the 2nd Amendment, and the rest of the 1st 10 Amendments to the US Constitution more commonly known as "The Bill of Rights" for his take on the subject:

The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people. - James Madison (in a speech to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, 1787)

Madison further expounds on this precept in The Federalist Papers #41, in which he writes on how to use the appropriations process to limit the possibility of a standing military force, and in Federalist #46, he discusses specifically how an armed citizenry will be an even greater force to this effect:

...but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist.

The US Constitution is a social contract, and like any other contract, there must be a meeting of the minds for it to be valid. Because we are no longer using the 2nd Amendment for its intended purpose, and both sides to this part of the contract are in breach, the amendment should be immediately repealed and a new US policy on firearms ownership should be added as the 28th Amendment to the US Constitution to replace it.

Early Commentaries Only Support Your View for the Purposes I Have Stated Above

Is there any escape from a large standing army, but in a well disciplined militia? - Justice Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States)

What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts (spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment [ I Annals of Congress at 750 {August 17, 1789}])

Early Congress Also Only Supports Your View Under The Purpose I Have Stated

No need to add anything to what you wrote, as you made my argument for me in that section.

Like All Rights, They Are Not Absolute, And The Courts Were Often Times Split On Gun Control Issues

Presserr v. Illinois (1886)
This is one of the two post-Civil War 19th Cent. cases addressing the 2nd amendment, and one which directly supports my position. In this case Presser was part of a citizen militia group, (the Lehr und Wehr Verein) and was caught parading through Chicago with a group of other men, carrying guns. He was convicted of violating an Illinois law making it a crime to be a part of an armed unit parading or existing w/o a permit from the Governor. (Presser got a $10 fine). He claimed the law violated his rights under the 2nd amendment, among other things. The court disagreed, and upheld the law and his conviction. Basically they decided that the 2nd amendment was not a right to form or be part of a militia. It related to people (individuals, it seems) bearing arms for the use of the US government, and as part of the militia as called up by the government.

Conclusion:

The right of the Citizens of the United States to bear arms, unencumbered by laws from the legislature, has one purpose, and one purpose only - National Defense. Since no private citizen uses, or has used since the early 1950s, the firearms they purchase, personally, for the purpose of defending our great nation, the 2nd Amendment serves no legitimate purpose and the rights enumerated within it are therefore, naturally, void.

Sources

All noted above
Debate Round No. 2
Oxymoron

Pro


Con Misunderstands The Second Amendment: “The Second Amendment is quite specific in its purpose - protection of life, liberty and so forth through the individual state's ability to form and regulate militias when necessary.”

As I read this sentence, I immediately saw that its construction was crafted (intentionally or unintentionally) to give false justification for the rest of Con’s argument.

The Second Amendment IS NOT protecting liberty of the people through state’s right to form and regulate select militias (probably because the states don‘t have that right), but in the individual right of the people to bear and keep arms. To protect life, liberty, and property, we must allow the people to keep firearms. The Second Amendment is the protection of the individual rights of American citizens, not the individual rights of the states. It is through the power of the People that Corruption is checked, not the states.

As Joseph Story correctly said, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms had justly been, as the palladium of the Liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpations and arbitrary power of rulers;”. [1]


Con Misunderstands State Authority:
“Because a well-regulated state militia is necessary for the security of a free people,”. With this clause in mind, Con said the Second Amendment allows “…the individual state's ability to form and regulate militias when necessary.”

This is simply not true. States haven’t been given much authority over militias since the ratification of the Constitution

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution reads: Congress shall have power “to provide organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.”

As you can see, Con’s argument for the Second Amendment (that it supports State’s rights to control the regulation of the state militias) is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founders’ understanding of the Second Amendment.

Therefore, The National Guard is not an usurpation of state rights nor the Second Amendment. It is completely in line with the constitutional powers of Congress and recognizes the true authority (or lack of authority) of the States.


Blame The Student, Not The Pencil: “a Large, Centrally Controlled Standing Army is exactly what this country finds itself with, and therefore the Second Amendment has completely failed in its original intent, and has been constantly failing in that intent…”
In following Con’s logic, people in the 1820’s could have said that the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that a person shall not “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” had failed in its intentions because of the existence of slavery. And just as Con is concluding now, they could have said that since “we are no longer using the [Fifth Amendment] for its intended purpose, and [multiple] sides to this part of the contract are in breach, the amendment should be immediately repealed.”

Let’s get this straightened out: (1) A standing army is allowed by the Constitution, (2) In allowing a standing army in peace time, the Second Amendment has not failed us, it is the Federal government. In allowing slaves to be unjustly deprived of live, liberty, or property, the Fifth Amendment did not fail, it was the Federal government. Don’t blame the pencil for failing in the test, blame the student. The Constitution (the pencil in the analogy) is merely a parchment barrier between Liberty and Tyranny. It is up to the people and the other branches of government (the Student) to keep within the parameters of the Constitution (to pass the test).

Even more absurd is his conclusion: “the amendment should be immediately repealed.”
The Federal government has endangered the public with a standing army during peace time, this however does not mean you throw out the people’s right to bear arms (or redefine it). The problem isn’t the Second Amendment, nor is it the freedom espoused by it - it is the irresponsible actions of the Federal government.


Con Has Yet To Make A Valid Case Against The Universal Militia:

It is interesting to note that Con has made virtually no contention against the fact that U.S. citizens have the right to bear and keep arms, but rather has focused on an odd view of nullification of the people’s rights supposedly justified through the abuse of the Federal government.

Contrary to Con’s “Early Commentaries Only Support Your View for the Purposes I Have Stated Above” would like to suggest, Joseph Story and the like, support both our views on the Second Amendment. Namely, that it is primarily a protection on the individual rights of the people to bear and keep firearms. The natural consequence of the Second Amendment is a bulwark against tyranny (including a standing army in peace time).

Con Confuses Consequences of The Second Amendment With Its Purpose:

It is easily to confuse the consequence of the Second Amendment with the purpose. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the right of the people to bear and keep arms from infringement. The natural consequence of allowing the citizenry to be armed is an Universal Militia or general militia. The purpose (In actuality, it is really the purpose of the consequence) of such militias is stated clearly by a man you quoted yourself:

What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.…” - Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts

Con Is Factually Wrong On The Court Decision Of
Presserr v. Illinois:

Con has wrongly said that the court decision of Presserr v. Illinois states:
“…that the 2nd amendment was not a right to form or be part of a militia. It related to people (individuals, it seems) bearing arms for the use of the US government, and as part of the militia as called up by the government”

He did not give us a direct quote here for a reason. I, however, will give a direct quote from the court decision:

“It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the states” [2]

The court is, quite obviously, in direct contradiction to what Con has said. The court “undoubtedly” confirmed that all citizens had a right of bearing arms (the direct result of the Second Amendment) and constitute a reserved militia (the consequence of the Second Amendment).


Con’s Conclusion Is Ludicrous:

The right of the Citizens of the United States to bear arms, unencumbered by laws from the legislature, has one purpose, and one purpose only - National Defense.” Again, Con attempts to unjustly simplify the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment’s purpose is personal liberty
. One of the many consequences of the Second Amendment is National Defense found in the strength of free men and women.

“Since no private citizen uses, or has used since the early 1950s, the firearms they purchase, personally, for the purpose of defending our great nation, the 2nd Amendment serves no legitimate purpose and the rights enumerated within it are therefore, naturally, void.” This is one of the absurd consequences of believing the Second Amendment is solely for National Defense.

The Second Amendment’s “legitimate purpose” is to protect the natural rights of man, and its “legitimate” consequence is the prevention of tyranny. The Second Amendment has also allowed personal protection from home invasions and the like. Therefore, the Second Amendment is meeting its purpose - to keep people free and to allow them to protect themselves and the people they love.

Sources:
[1]: Joseph Story: The Constitution of the United States.
[2] http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...
malcolmxy

Con

Well, Pro's latest round was certainly entertaining. It made absolutely no logical sense whatsoever, but ya can't blame a guy for trying. Mercifully, for the voters, this should be quick.

Learning How To Read...The Second Amendment

Now, I really didn't want to have to post text that had already been posted, but since Pro apparently lacks the ability to effectively read single sentences when they are in a non-standard sentence structure, I feel that I must break down and re-post the text 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.

OR, to put it in a more standard format that Pro can understand:

The rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed [upon, because] it is necessary to the security of a free state [to have] a well regulated militia.

Now, as I'm sure Pro will be dying to point out after he reads my juxtaposed version of the 2nd Amendment, I am well aware the word, "because", doesn't exist in the original text, but it is obviously implied, much like when someone exclaims, "Sit Down!", there is a [You] implied.

This is what we in the biz call, "sub-text", and while it is nuanced and difficult for the uninitiated to the language we call "English" to detect, it is there nonetheless, and just because this very obvious fact has escaped Pro's ability to comprehend, doesn't make it any less real.

Now, as I have already stated, when interpreting contracts, the INTENT of that contract is paramount to determining the outcome of any dispute. Since the intent here is quite obvious (see my previous round re: Madison's further writings in Federalist #46 for more information), and since it is impossible to fulfill the stated purpose of the amendment, the means with which to fulfill that purpose also no longer apply.

To state it more simply, I will use an example I just used to explain this concept to another person. Just for fun, let write it in the style of the Second Amendment.

A healthy ficus, being necessary to the stability of my marriage, the rights of Pro to enter my home shall not be infringed.

Obviously, the only reason I am allowing Pro to enter my home, in this case, is for the purpose of watering my ficus plant (because I am much too lazy to do it myself). And, sure, I have added no provision that states Pro can't drink the beer out of my fridge, or sit down and enjoy my giant-screen TV from the comfort of my Barcalounger, but he damn well better water that stupid ficus, because that's the only reason I've given him unfettered access to my home in the first place, and that fact is quite obvious from our contract, but even if it weren't, I've written several blog posts on Wordpress.com which explain all of this, and I know that Pro has read them (like Madison's Federalist Papers).

Fast forward to 3 years from now. My wife left me, and she took the ficus with her. Does it make sense to anyone reading this why Con should still have unrestricted access to my home?

Then, since we no longer have the ability to form state militias in this country, why in the hell would any rational person think that gun rights should be retained?

A State's Authority Over A Militia

I am well aware that recently the states' ability to form and control their own militias has been completely compromised by the US Federal Government, but that has not always been the case, and it truly shouldn't be the case today. For authority, let's take a peek into the Indiana State Constitution, Article 12 (shout out to Chuz-Life):

Section 1. A militia shall be provided and shall consist of all persons over the age of seventeen (17) years, except those persons who may be exempted by the laws of the United States or of this state. The militia may be divided into active and inactive classes and consist of such military organizations as may be provided by law.
(History: As Amended November 3, 1936; November 5, 1974).

Section 2. The Governor is Commander-in-Chief of the militia and other military forces of this state.
(History: As Amended November 5, 1974).

Section 3. There shall be an Adjutant General, who shall be appointed by the Governor.
(History: As Amended November 5, 1974).

Section 4. No person, conscientiously opposed to bearing arms, shall be compelled to do so in the militia.
(History: As Amended November 5, 1974).

Well, geez. I have no idea where Pro got the idea that states haven't had "much authority over militias" since the ratification of the Constitution. Or, perhaps someone simply failed to relay this information to the people who wrote the Constitution for the Great State of Indiana.

More Information About How To Read...The Constitution

Article 1, Section 8 of The United States Constitution outlines and enumerates ALL powers of the legislature. What Pro failed to do with his out of context quote of this section was to note the powers enumerated just before the one he pulled out (again, of context):

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

The intent of that provision is obviously only applicable to war time and any time in which the Federal Government should declare Marshall Law, and anyone who reads it in context should be intelligent enough to understand that.

If You Don't Stand For Something, You'll Fall For Anything

A standing army is actually NOT allowed by the Constitution, and here's why (going back to Pro's beloved Article 1, Section 8):

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

First of all, note the word, "Armies". It's not "ARMY", it's "Armies". The reason for this is because an army is supposed to be specific to a war (see my previous round re: Federalist #41). Thus, should we engage in multiple wars, we would, at that time, have multiple armies (or, multiple wars over the course of our entire history as a country, which any country, even of the size ours was at the time the Constitution was written, would). Once a war is over, the army used in that war is supposed to be disbanded. I know this, because I know the definition of the word "appropriation".

The root of "appropriation" is proper. Proper means, "for an occasion". Once that occasion (a war, in this instance) ends, one may no longer appropriate funds to an army, because by definition, one is misappropriating funds to that army. (again, Madison explains this in Federalist #41, and since he wrote the 2nd Amendment, I think he knows what he meant when he wrote it...again - INTENT).

I am, once again, filled with sorrow that my opponent doesn't comprehend the English language, but, also once again, that doesn't make the meaning of the words any different than they are simply because he fails to understand them, and fails to understand them in context.

Conclusion

I am not even bothering to address the remainder of Pro's arguments, because they are fallacies, straw man, or restatements of previous fallacies and straw man.

It should be obvious to anyone reading this, who is also in possession of half a brain (a quarter, even), that the purpose behind why the rights in the Second Amendment were granted to the people of the United States is no longer achievable. Therefore, the right itself is not only no longer necessary to have, and it should also either be immediately revoked, or comprehensively amended to account for the fact we have taken a complete 180 from the intended national security provisions of our country's origins.

Sources

5th Grade English Class (word up, Mrs. Fieldler)

The US Constitution

The Indiana State Constitution

Federalist Numbers 41 and 46 (James Madison, author)
Debate Round No. 3
Oxymoron

Pro

Con’s third round response is quite patronizing. I find it slightly ironic that this patronization is coming from the same person that completely screwed up the first round and the structure of the debate. I hope the users of DDO show Con that toleration and grace is the way to go - not patronization and attacks directly aimed at people's intelligence.


What Is The Militia?
George Mason: “I ask, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people….” [1]
Corbin: “Who are the militia? Are we not militia?” [2]

The militia is the people - by the people, for the people. For the founders, a militia, composed of a “people numerous and armed,” was the ultimate guard of Liberty.

As long as States have a citizenry that is armed, they have a militia and are thus protecting the States and Liberty - meeting the asserted contract in the Second Amendment. If the people remain armed, we can still water that damned ficus of Con’s and save his marriage.


Contention I: “the only reason I am allowing Pro to enter my home, in this case, is for the purpose of watering my ficus plant”

The only reason the government “allows” us to keep arms is to maintain a well regulated Militia (keeping a healthy ficus)? Really? The idea that rights come from the government is in complete contradiction to what the founder’s had to say [3]. Rights spawn from self-evident truths, not the arbitrary whims of government. (1) Firearms are property - therefore we have an unalienable right to it as long as it does not conflict with the principles of Life and Liberty; (2) Con cannot provide any evidence (from the founders or others) that the people’s rights to firearms are contingent on the existence of well regulated Militia. That is to say, Con cannot give evidence that if, in the absence of a regulated Militia, the Founders explicitly state that our right to arms are void. Why? Because the government does not give rights. They merely enumerate them.


A Few Words From Mr. Madison:
That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm, and continue to supply the materials, until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads,…. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government;” [4]

And yet, this is exactly what has happened! The National guard is a regular standing army - a fixed plan of the extensions of the military establishment fully under the command of the federal government. Under Con’s argument, a regular army would necessarily lead Madison (and founders like him) to conclude that the Second Amendment has failed in its purpose and thus the people don’t have a right to bear arms . Does Madison conclude this? Let’s see:

“Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. “ [5]

Here Madison supports the view that, even in the face of a corrupt, abusive government, that has established a standing army, the people will still have the right to bear arms and, as consequence, the tyranny of the government can be thrown off the backs of the people. This flies in the face of Con’s contention that if Second Amendment fails in its intention to protect from a standing army, we ought to repeal it. Obviously, Con and the Founders are on two different pages.


Contention II: “…but he damn well better water that stupid ficus,”

As long as the people have firearms, the States will have a militia. And if the States have a universal militia, then your ficus is being watered - your marriage saved.


Contention III
: “since we no longer have the ability to form state militias in this country, why in the hell would any rational person think that gun rights should be retained?”

The assertion, that states have lost their ability to form state militias, cannot be backed up. And, in fact, is disproved by U.S. code.

Under U.S.C TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART I > CHAPTER 13 > § 311

a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States

(b) The classes of the militia are-

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia. (State Militias).....

Conclusion:

1.
Con has withheld a source/justification for his assertion that the mere existence of entities like the National Guard terminates the states’ right to form and regulate militias. Contentions given with out proper justification will, sadly for Con, be disregarded. Even if, DDO forbid, he goes against the rules in the next round and gives a positive argument, he would still have to explain to all of us how U.S. Code , regarding the “unorganized” militia, is invalid or dooes not apply.

2.
Madison ( a favorite of Con’s) has given unmistakably clear evidence that the Second Amendment would not be failing, even when the government has a standing army. In Madison’s eyes, as long as the people of the United States are armed, the Second Amendment is doing its job just fine.

3. Con has made a critical error in arbitrarily writing off arguments “as straw man” or “fallacies”. Why the Wizard of Con didn’t think it necessary to give the voters any reason to think they are straw men or fallacies, is hard to judge. These arbitrary assertions aren’t going to be passed on as arguments - they are simply vacuous.


Sources:
[1]: Elliot 2:425.
[2] Ibid. 3:113.
[3] The Declaration Of Independence. I also hold that John Locke’s proofs are self-evident: Life: everyone is entitled to live once they are created. Liberty: everyone is entitled to do anything they want to so long as it doesn't conflict with the first right. Estate: everyone is entitled to own all they create or gain through gift or trade so long as it doesn't conflict with the first two rights.
[4] The Federalist Papers No. 46.
[5] Ibid.
malcolmxy

Con

I wouldn't need to be so patronizing if Pro's arguments weren't so stupid. Since his last argument is a disorganized mess of misstatements and out of context quotes, I am choosing to make a new, final set of assertions which support my argument, and directly refute many of the points he made outside of his formal contentions:

Guns are property - So what?

So is heroin. So are slaves. So are nuclear weapons and materials. The fact that something is property, even property that was previously quite legal to posses in America, like heroin and slaves, has no bearing on the right to posses it.

This may sound like an offensive set of statements to some, but if there was any property that guns were meant to protect at the onset of The US Constitution, or I should say, protect against, it was slaves.[4]

Since keeping slaves is no longer legal in The US, and the only property protection considered in the formation of the 2nd Amendment was slaves, and also because, as shown above, property right are not absolute, the basis of the right to own a gun as property, or to protect property, does not exist, in and of itself.

People with OR WITHOUT firearms may form a militia - a poorly regulated militia, not a well regulated one

Pro cites U.S.C. Title 10, as well as Mason and Corbin, in stating that we're all already in a militia. Great. 53% of us in this militia don't own guns.[1] Why are guns necessary again?

Of course, what Pro was talking about here, and what he even went further to call out was what is defined as the "unorganized militia". The 2nd amendment doesn't say, "A disorganized, clusterf*ck of a militia, being necessary to the security of a free state...". It says a well regulated one is.

And, as 14 states found out recently when they tried to form their own, armed militias (unarmed, organized state militias are permitted currently) and had each of their governors threatened with prosecution for treason, a well-regulated, ARMED militia is no longer within the realm of possibility.[3]

Because that singular legitimate purpose, the only one enumerated in the 2nd Amendment, is no longer possible, the reason for the right to bear arms also no longer exists, and therefore the right no longer exist (no longer should exist).

The right to bear...false witness

In another portion of his argument, Pro states that it is a natural right to be able to posses all property which doesn't unnecessarily interfere with the life and/or liberty of others. Well guess what? It is the purpose of a gun to interfere with life. When used properly, in fact, it is its purpose to permanently interfere with life. I guess Pro thinks this is reasonable. There are (or, were) 20 children in Connecticut whom I believe might disagree.

2/3 of all homicides in The US are committed with a firearm[1]
Over 1/2 of all suicides in The US are committed with a firearm[1]
And, a full 100% of all accidental gun deaths in The US involve a firearm[1]
The US has more firearms, and more firearms per capita, than any other nation on the planet...BY FAR[1]

Among industrialized nations, The US has, by far the highest murder rate, surpassing the next closest nation by over 50%, and surpassing others by between 200% and over 800%. Ironically, our assault rate is quite low, but fear of assault is quite high. Why is this? It is because assaults in The US typically involve guns, and guns are scary (assaults which lead to homicides are reclassified as murders)[2]

Being in fear is an assault on liberty. Being murdered is an assault on life. Since guns serve no legitimate purpose, as intended by the framers, I don't think it's in any way unreasonable to assert that because of this, Americans' right to posses firearms is long overdue for repeal.

A final thought on James Madison

I only called out Madison to show his intentions when he wrote the 2nd amendment, because HE WROTE THE 2ND AMENDMENT. As I have already shown, intent is paramount to a contract, and this is where Madison's importance in this argument starts and ends.

As it turns out, Madison was unable to time travel 200 years into the future to see the technological advancements which make his assumption about a civilian force being, at all times, more powerful than the central government, absolutely wrong.

Remote controlled missiles, remote controlled bombs and bombs with the capability to destroy entire populations of a state with the push of a button render this prediction by Madison not only incorrect, but completely ludicrous.

Firearms, as defined for this argument, offer no protection against this kind tyranny, nor any other, and from this point forward, they never will. Madison lived in a time when the private citizen could own weapons of a power to equal the weapons of the government. That time has long since passed.

He was wrong, and since the only purpose guns serve are exactly the antithesis of the purpose he thought they would serve, they should be, immediately, outlawed.

Conclusions

1. As I have shown, there is no absolute right to own, or protect, property, and especially not one which includes firearms.
2. The one true purpose of owning firearms is no longer possible to achieve.
3. Guns offer no protection against tyranny, nor do they have any appreciable affect in the promotion of life and/or liberty.
4. To the contrary, guns take away so much from the life and liberty of others that the right to possess them, since it no longer exists, should be immediately repealed.

Sources

[1] http://www.gunpolicy.org...
[2] http://www.nysun.com...
[3] http://www.infowars.com...
Debate Round No. 4
135 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by lifebeyondselfnik 4 years ago
lifebeyondselfnik
I feel that the debate started off with very intriguing points on both sides. However, with that being said, I think it is obvious that Cons emotions started to interfere with her arguments, and as a result I give this debate to Pro.
Posted by malcolmxy 4 years ago
malcolmxy
But, it wasn't until the 14th amendment, that former slaves became citizens. They were still second class citizens without it (and even with it), and not subject to many of the rights of the rich, white land owners (their former owners).

Plus, economics killed slavery, not the 13th amendment. Ending slavery was the biggest boon to the southern economy since the cotton gin...which, ironically, is what made slavery no longer economically feasible.
Posted by stealspell 4 years ago
stealspell
Aned, The Thirteenth Amendment took care of "slavery" and "involuntary servitude". But that was not a modification, as you wrote earlier. That was the addition of a whole new amendment.

"So, if at the time the constitution was written Blacks were not considered "people," how come the second amendment applies to Blacks, too?"

In what instance did the 2nd amendment apply to blacks?
Posted by malcolmxy 4 years ago
malcolmxy
Blacks were the reason for the 2nd amendment. Of course, they were always supposed to be facing the business end of the weapon, but that's a minor detail...these idiots say that gun ownership is a natural right (despite all the evidence around the world to the contrary), so it must be. I mean, they say so. What could be more natural than that?
Posted by Aned 4 years ago
Aned
So, if at the time the constitution was written Blacks were not considered "people," how come the second amendment applies to Blacks, too? As far as I know, Blacks were called "interests" by the Founding Fathers. Is there any document addressing this issue?
Posted by Aned 4 years ago
Aned
So, if at the time the constitution was written Blacks were not considered "people," how come the second amendment applies to Blacks, too? As far as I know, Blacks were called "interests" by the Founding Fathers? Is there any document addressing this issue?
Posted by malcolmxy 4 years ago
malcolmxy
Stealspell -

Corporations were also supposed to be temporary. That's why their employees/officers are able to enjoy the liability free status they do in all but the most extreme (Tyco, Enron, etc) cases. The original purpose of the corporation was to endeavor in projects of large scale capital that the government either didn't have the resources or will to take on itself, but were agreed would be of an overall benefit to society. Coca Cola was never supposed to be a corporation (at least not an S-Corporation).

The case in the late 1800s that changed everything was the 1886 Santa Clara Railroad decision. The decision itself flew in the face of established law at the time, but it was necessary for a weak federal government to flex a little muscle against the states (California, specifically, in this case), and was probably a good decision if it could have been isolated...unfortunately, there's the whole stare decisis thing as a part of English Common Law (which our laws are more based on than our own constitution, frankly) that made Citizens United a quite proper and legally correct free speech decision by the court (even the dissenting opinion noted this, but also cited the yelling movie in a crowded firehouse exception).

Our constitution is so outdated, that America, the center of the free world, does not see its constitution used as the template for emerging democracies. That honor now belongs to, of all countries, South Africa.

We need a new Constitutional Convention, and we need it NOW!!!
Posted by stealspell 4 years ago
stealspell
Aned, I was just pointing out that truth-wise, nothing can be concluded if either clause is negated. It's not like an if-then statement. True, because is not in the original amendment.

But you said the amendment needs to be fixed because of its ambiguity. To the contrary. The second amendment doesn't need to be fixed at all. The amendments are written in quite a genius way actually. They can be considered, in a way, "universal declarations" like the ten commandments. You have to understand the mindset and background of the framers and how they thought about writing the law of the land. If-then, creates conditions. That's a big no-no because anyone can construe conditions either way. "Because" doesn't mean anything logically. So, no, the amendment is just fine the way it is.
Posted by malcolmxy 4 years ago
malcolmxy
Thanks, man... I'm a he, though. I just like Connie Stevens.
Posted by Aned 4 years ago
Aned
Stealspell, "Because" is a subordinating conjunction that connects a subordinate clause to its main (independent) clause. Therefore, Pro was CHEATING when she altered the second amendment without letting the audience know about it.

On the other hand, Con always informed us every time she explain the 2nd amendment and its different ways of presenting it. Con's work was fantastic! And it was very explicit.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 4 years ago
iamnotwhoiam
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Con was convincing on the point that the right to bear arms was for the purpose of a state militia. Conduct to Pro for Con's misplaced sarcasm and for posting a positive argument in the last round.
Vote Placed by miketheman1200 4 years ago
miketheman1200
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Reasons for voting decision: Con loses conduct point for the direct insults against pro having stupid arguments and the like. Both had adequate sources. Both debated very well and had well structered arguments. Pro, though, convinced me even more so with his points about states not having the right to control the militia. Even before hand i was aware of the difference between people and militia. Even back in the days of the founders the militias were much different, mostly consisting of citizen leadership and separate from any federal military. I'm giving Con a point for the great effort.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter.
Vote Placed by bergeneric63 4 years ago
bergeneric63
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Reasons for voting decision: Good debate but Pro still won my vote because he ha better grammar and in general a better argument...
Vote Placed by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
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Reasons for voting decision: Con was rude and offensive. Conduct to Pro. Pro argued based on the plain meaning of the second amendment, which says that X shall not be infringed, and gives a reason. Con tried to construe that as meaning X may be infringed if he doesn't like the reason. That doesn't work. Persuasion to Pro.
Vote Placed by Chuz-Life 4 years ago
Chuz-Life
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Reasons for voting decision: Con argues from a false premise when he says "The Second Amendment is quite specific in its purpose - protection of life, liberty and so forth through the individual state's ability to form and regulate militias when necessary." Pro does a good job (IMHO) of sourcing the framers original intent that it is the people who have the right to keep and bear and not something left to the State. Good job to both pro and Con on a civil and informative debate. This is one for the archives.
Vote Placed by UltimateSkeptic 4 years ago
UltimateSkeptic
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Reasons for voting decision: Con shed light on the illegitimacy of the 2nd amendment, Pro was never able to fully recover because his arguments were based on whether or not we should bear arms solely for the sake of the amendment.