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78 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gun Lobby does not want you to read this book!, May 27, 2014
This review is from: The Second Amendment: A Biography (Hardcover)
Waldman has verified what any educated and literate person can logically conclude. That gun ownership was to be in the context of a "militia". It is interesting that the NRA never cites the first part of the 2nd Amendment. They do not want anything that would curtail the money and power going to gun manufactures and munition industries. I predict that in a very short time, the majority view of the public will be represented again in the halls of government and we will return to a sane and civilized role for guns in our society.
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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 28, 2014 10:08:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2014 10:09:04 AM PDT
Gun ownership as to the SECOND AMENDMENT would be in that context.

People also owned guns for individual self-defense and hunting. That was not to be doubted & not the concern the 2A was primarily about.

In time, the 2A was understood to be about personal ownership. Prof. Amar, a moderate legal mind, e.g., cites that understanding in place by the 1860s.

Posted on May 31, 2014 10:12:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 31, 2014 10:37:01 PM PDT
Any educated person will knows that attempt to make the 2nd Amendment about gun ownership solely in a militia is a farce. Time for a little education... read this ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1521.pdf See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller which includes the following information:

Decision
The Supreme Court held:

(1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2-53.
(a) The Amendment's prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause's text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2-22.
(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court's interpretation of the operative clause. The "militia" comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens' militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens' militia would be preserved. Pp. 22-28.
(c) The Court's interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28-30.
(d) The Second Amendment's drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30-32.
(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court's conclusion. Pp. 32-47.
(f) None of the Court's precedents forecloses the Court's interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes.
(2) Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court's opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller's holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those "in common use at the time" finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54-56.
(3) The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District's total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of "arms" that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition - in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute - would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56-64.

In summary, the U.S Supreme Court agrees the 2nd Amendment DOES provide the right to individual gun ownership apart from membership in a militia. END OF STORY. CASE CLOSED. STOP THE WHINING.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2014 8:55:05 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 17, 2014 4:26:02 PM PDT
Doesn't the Ninth Amendment reserve all powers to the people that are not delegated to the Federal Constitution?

Your statement "what any educated and literate person can logically conclude" is a classic example of petitio ad principal (begging the question). Any educated person knows that!

Posted on Jun 22, 2014 5:01:03 AM PDT
Pablo says:
If the right to bear arms was intended to be restricted to the context of militia membership, then that's what the Second Amendment would say. But that isn't what it says. It says the right belongs to the people, not the militia.

As Alex Kozinski said in his dissent in Silveira v. Lockyer (later nullified by Heller):

"The sheer ponderousness of the panel's opinion-the mountain of verbiage it must deploy to explain away these fourteen short words of constitutional text-refutes its thesis far more convincingly than anything I might say. The panel's labored effort to smother the Second Amendment by sheer body weight has all the grace of a sumo wrestler trying to kill a rattlesnake by sitting on it-and is just as likely to succeed."

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2014 2:46:16 PM PDT
The 1935 law was used to prosecute a man (bootlegger) who used a sawed-off shotgun to protect his business.
The Supreme Court did somersaults to claim this was not useful for a "militia".
But what if he used a Tommy gun? That certainly is useful for the militia (or any military).
The book "Tommy Gun" has an interesting history of this now obsolete weapon.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2014 3:11:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2014 3:12:52 AM PDT
Guscat says:
Isn't that kind of what the 2nd Amendment says, I mean being about militias. If the 2nd Amendment was just about protecting the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms, wouldn't it just say that? Why would it need all this junk about militias? Also, if the militia part is so unimportant, why would it open with the militia?

As for Heller, if you read the decision, it's a much more modest victory for gun rights than gun advocates claim as we can see in the recent straw purchase decision. Heller itself says,

"Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court's opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller's holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those "in common use at the time" finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons."

The fact that Heller was decided 5-4 should cast some doubt on the obviousness of certain interpretations of the 2nd Amendment. It should also make one realize the fragility of this decision. Just as many of the 5-4 decisions in which O'Connor cast the deciding vote have been overturned since Alito replaced her, there is no reason to think decisions like Heller won't be overturned if one of the conservative justices is replaced by a liberal one.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2014 3:14:02 AM PDT
Guscat says:
Just as I am sure you have accepted the Roe decision.

Posted on Aug 11, 2014 6:51:49 PM PDT
C. W. Carter says:
Write on, Richard!!! Violence is the foundation of chaos. In the Europe of the 1920s and 1930s there was a reason the Young Fascists in Italy and the Hitler Youth in Germany were given weapons training - it desensitized those children to the violence these weapons were capable of. This is the world championed by the right wing of American politics - A world based on violence, with little or no regulation, with its focus on the prosperity of the individual, rather than the strengthening of the community. Guns are the problem. Guns attract violence. Keep in mind when the United States Constitution was written: in the late 18th century! At that time the British and various American Indian nations were directly on our national border. The Second Amendment was written with this specific condition in mind...Militias were a part of the national defense. THAT is what the Second Amendment is all about. The Second Amendment is NOT about citizens bearing arms, it's about armed citizens creating and maintaining a "Well-regulated Militia" to deal with the specific threats to national security within the context of the late 18th century United States of America. In our time, the Second Amendment itself has become a threat to national security. However, amendments CAN be repealed. Remember the Dred Scott decision? We can and must repeal the Second Amendment. It's killing our children, our future.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2014 2:49:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 18, 2014 2:49:50 PM PDT
Kyle says:
Guscat, the Second Amendment does say that it is about protecting the right of individual citizens. Hence the phrase, "the right of the people." Everywhere else the Constitution uses the phrase "the people," it is understood to be in reference to an individual right. Only in the Second Amendment is it somehow not in reference to an individual right.

As for the militia part, that is a prefatory clause. It states the importance of the right. The operative clause is the part that protects the right. Imagine an amendment written in the following manner:

"A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the preservation of a free society, the right of the people to read and compose books shall not be infringed."

Now clearly, this would not be claiming that only those who meet some government-defined definition of being well-educated have the right to read and write books. It is a prefatory clause that is stating the importance of the right. The operative clause, i.e. "the right of the people to read and compose books shall not be infringed..." is the part that protects the right. The use of prefatory clauses was a common practice at the time.

Also note the language in Article I, Section 8, where it consistently refers to "the Militia." No where does it talk of "the militias." Note also that "the militia" is always referred to as a pre-existing body. No where does it say that Congress has the power to create militias or to create "a" militia, or to call for "the militias." The 5th Amendment also speaks of "the militia."

To believe that the Second Amendment was about a collective right means that one must adhere to the following beliefs:

1) That the phrase "the people" refers to a collective right or the states even though every other place the phrase "the people" is used in the Constitution, it is understood to be in reference to individual rights. But somehow by magical fairy dust, it is to be understood as protecting a collective right in the Second Amendment

2) That despite the fact that whenever the Constitution is referring to states rights, it specifically uses phrases such as "the states," that the phrase "the people" in the Second Amendment refers to states.

3) That despite the fact that the Constitution was written to create the federal government and the Bill of Rights was written explicitly to limit the powers of the federal government, the Second Amendment is somehow (randomly) thrown in as a limitation on the rights of the citizens and not on the government itself.

4) That the Constitution needs to protect a "right" of citizens to possess weapons as part of a formal government-directed force. This would be like saying infantry soldiers in the Army have the "right" to arms or whatnot. It logically makes no sense. If the Second Amendment was about militias, it would not talk about people having any right to arms. Arms would be strictly a privilege. The theory that the 2nd Amendment should be read to discern what the government allows the citizen to own and do, is the 20th century invention.

5) That in addition to all of the above, and the fact that the Second Amendment explicitly says, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," and the Constitution says absolutely nothing about Congress having any power whatsoever to regulate the private possession of arms, that the Second Amendment is somehow granting a power to the government to regulate arms.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2014 1:06:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 1, 2014 3:51:37 AM PDT
g says:
CW carter, US gun murder has plunged to half of the levels of 20 years ago. Of the 1/3 of Americans who support more gun control Pew Research found they virtually all think gun murder is up. Gun control is a flat earth movement, and a luddite one as well if you understand anything about 3d printers.

The idea that the second amendment is a collective right comes from the progressive movement which also gave us alcohol prohibition, racial eugenics, drug illegalization, etc.
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