Tuesday, March 13, 2007

H.R. 73: License To Kill

While I was doing a little research on the DC Circuit Appeals Court decision on interpretation of the 2nd Amendment (and why I didn’t get any comments on that posting from gun nuts I’ll never figure out) I came across this little gem .

You know, it really surprises me that this wasn't authored by someone from the Texas delegation. It has "Yee-Haw!" written all over it.

The bill has been referred to the US House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Tagged the Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2007, the resolution does two things:

1) It guarantees the right to obtain firearms for security, and,
2) It guarantees the right to use firearms in defense of self, family, or home; enforcement.

Well waitaminute, someone would say, what about the 2nd Amendment?

The answer, I think, is that the resolution is not so much about guaranteeing the right to bear arms (as opposed to arming bears) as the right to use them when you feel threatened. That is, if you shoot someone in self-defense, you can’t be charged with discharging a weapon within city limits or something like that.

But it is interesting, don’t you think, that it also, in the language of the bill “reaffirms” the right:

“(a) Reaffirmation of Right- A person not prohibited from receiving a firearm by Section 922(g) of title 18, United States Code, shall have the right to obtain firearms for security.”

As if, what? As if maybe someday the Supreme Court’s 1939 opinion will someday be enforced and gun ownership will only be allowed to members of a militia? By the way, can you imagine what would happen if that ruling would ever come down? We’d have militias spring up everywhere. Wouldn’t that make America a fun place to live?

What I really hate about this Republican sponsored and co-sponsored (except for 2 Dems) resolution is that there are three conditions stated when one has a right to use firearms in self-defense, two are reasonable: self-defense in the course of commission of a violent felony by another person, defense of a home in the course of commission of a felony by another person. The first is a no-brainer, the second is iffy and conjures up memories of the death of two Scotsmen several years ago in Houston – drunk, they noisily approached a home and were shot to death through the door. But no, here is the objectionable sentence.

“(1) in defense of self or family against a reasonably perceived threat of imminent and unlawful infliction of serious bodily injury”

Emphasis is mine.

The resolution hasn’t a snowball’s chance in the nether regions of passing, but I wanted to wrap up this gun stuff with the observation that the right wing whackos are still among us, and in another alternate universe where Tom DeLay is still our congressman, this bill would be given serious consideration before it got passed and signed by President Cheney.


Don Meaker said...

I suggest you check Title 10, Section 311, which makes every male, over 17 to 45 (and to 65 for those with prior military training) part of the militia, and women if members of the National Guard.

Further, it describes the organized militia (which you may know as the National Guard) and an unorganized militia for persons not enrolled in the militia.

I personnally think it is sexist, and also discriminates unnecessarily by age. I would recommend that the law be amended to consider women and people older than 45 as members of the unorganized militia.

Hal said...

That's the hole Mr. Meaker. The National Guard of each state is armed by statute. Each state is responsible to arm every member of their individual guardsmen.

They are not responsible to arm themselves. The 2nd Amendment is, by this development, irrelevant. States provide the arms. The individual in militias (aka state National Guards) need not maintain an armory.

The language of the amendment is clear as is the Supreme Court opinion of 1939. Individuals do not have the right to keep and bear arms if they are not associated with a militia.

I do not see a provision in the 2nd Amendment for an "unorganized militia". It is not mentioned. That is a later fabrication that is not in case law. Unorganized militias are, by their very nature, destablilizing. No one, in any free and sane society, would agree to the proliferation of unorganized militias.

Mark@C said...

Sorry, Hal.
The National Guard is NOT the militia. That particular argument is beyond dead and buried - it has a stake through its' heart.
You'd be wise to do some original research - beyond the Brady handouts, I mean.
Start with the Miller case - because it doesn't mean what you think it means. The language of the decision is clear. It helps, however, to know what the SC was actually talking about. Taking a couple of lines of the decision out of context will end up embarassing you in the long run.
I'd give you the cliff notes version, but you'd disregard it.
I will give you a hint, though; What was the issue before the court in the Miller case? Surprisingly, it wasn't the second amendment.
(Okay, another hint - think 'Taxes').

bob said...

"The language of the amendment is clear as is the Supreme Court opinion of 1939. Individuals do not have the right to keep and bear arms if they are not associated with a militia."

I suggest you actually _read_ the Miller decision; it does _not_ say what you claim it says. They did not address Miller's association with any militia, they said they had not been presented evidence that the firearm in question was _useful_ to a militia and therefore could/would not say that that _particular_ firearm was protected by the 2nd amendment.

Far from saying that only the militia had a right to arms, the decision actually says that the right to arms is an individual right but that the only arms protected are those useful to the militia. E.g., semi-automatics, sniper rifles, machine guns, etc. All the guns that get the gun bigots all worked up about how noone "needs" such a weapon.

Anonymous said...

Miller is up there with Brown v. Board of education and the Dred Scott decision as one of the most stupid, pandering, chicken shit Supreme Court decisions ever. Miller should be thrown out as the asinine opinion it is.

Read the 2nd ammendment, read the federalist papers, it is very clearly an individual right. A "well regulated militia" is stating the goal of the ammendment, the means is through the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

The right to keep and bear arms is how democracy is preserved against coercion by an armed minority and how rights are preserved when challenged by an oppressive majority.

If a weapon can be reasonably born it is a person's 2nd amendment right to keep it.

Hal said...

The difference between Miller and Brown v. Board is that Brown v. Board is a repudiation of the separate but equal decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, and that decision became national policy. Miller was a decision that irrevocably linked bearing arms and enrollment in a militia, and it has NOT become national policy.

By the way, I try to keep the language clean on this blog but I simply could not resist putting up this post - one which resents both Miller and Brown v. Board.

Anonymous said...

hal, google 'Title 10, Subtitle A, Part I, chapter 13, Sec. 311'
you will find the compsition and classes of the militia, as defined by federal code, or you can cut and past the URL below.

also would you take a close look at what the defence presented to the court when the case was heard, you will notice that there was no defence there at the hearing. that is why you get the ruleing of "In the absence of any evidence..." there was no one there to present any evidence.