Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Poli-Sci/History Lesson RE: Weapons

Columnists / News Columnists / J.D. Mullane
Even blue states love guns

Bucks County Courier Times
It didn't take the gun guys long to spot me wandering among the tables at the Gun and Knife Show in Bristol Township.
Once confronted, I was certain I would be bounced from the place. To them, I am “the media.”
Gun-rights defenders feel toward media the same way a blue-stater feels toward George Bush.
Yet, they let me stay.
“Write whatever you want,” said Bob Sarb, a show organizer. “But we never feel we get a fair shake from you people.”
I spent a half-hour among 200 tables of guns and ammo, as well as knives and long blades that appeared capable of cleanly lopping off the head of your common infidel.
I made my way back to Sarb, who was selling raffle tickets for a Harley motorcycle and a .50-caliber gun signed by Ted Nugent.
We chatted about law, order and gun rights. I told him I had been to Washington, D.C., last week to see the swearing in of the Congress and was in the company of many happy Democrats. Two were engaged in a lively discussion of gun rights.
The pair concluded that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee any Joe Six-pack the right to keep or bear arms. They agreed the Second Amendment is really about arming militias, that is, the government armed forces.
Sarb chuckled.
“They should look at Pennsylvania's Constitution and what it says about guns, because it is clear what we are guaranteed,” he said.
He quoted from article 21 of the Commonwealth's Constitution, which was drafted in 1790 when most of the Founding Fathers were still living: “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”
“Shall ... not ... be ... questioned,” Sarb repeated to me.

I was unaware that the right to gun ownership in this state was so unambiguous. What, are we gun nuts? Or just plain-spoken on the matter?
It made me wonder what other state constitutions ring as clear. I checked. Here's the red state of Texas:
“Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.”
Texas aims to “regulate” arms? I thought they were all shoot-em-up cowboys down there.
What of the constitutions of the blue New England states? Certainly they would be as regulatory as Texas.
Maine, Art. 1, sec. 16: “Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.”
Vermont, Ch. I, Art. 16: “That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State. ... ”
New Hampshire, Part I, Article 2a: “All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.”
Connecticut, Art. I, sec. 15: “Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”
Rhode Island, Art. I, sec. 22: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Massachusetts, Pt. I, article 17: “The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence.”
What, are they all gun nuts up there? Or are they just —well, you get it.

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