Thursday, February 10, 2011
What Does the Second Amendment Mean? English Comprehension Lessons for the Ill Informed.
I was looking the Knoxnews site today and saw that they've had a couple of letters about whether we need to repeal the Second Amendment or not. ONe commenter struck me, and while I replied to his comment there, the 3000 character limit hamstrung me a bit, so I'm going to expand a bit here.
First, his comment
I won't get into the argument but I will say that there seems to be a lot of confusion over what appears to be a rather simple sentence: '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.'
Does everyone assume that the drafters of this simple sentence were total idiots unused to the English language? If not, why is all import placed upon the last 14 words and none at all on the first 13? Did they just add those extra words because they looked pretty? Maybe they didn't actually know what a militia is. Or maybe their 18th-century word processor did a bad search and replace...
And now my reply:
I'm really glad you brought this up, because it is important to look at the sentence structure to determine the true meaning.
"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."
First, the sentence has two clauses, a dependent clause leading the way, followed by an independent clause. Basic grammar tells us that the independent clause carries the main thought, while the dependent clause explains or modifies it, so right away, we know that the key part of this Amendment is indeed the second clause, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
When a dependent clause follows the independent clause, it tends to be used to modify or limit the independent clause. On the other hand, when the dependent clause precedes the main thought, it tends to be used to explain the goal to be achieved.
Therefore, the basic structure of the sentence reveals that the intent of the statement is to affirm that because the Federal government recognized that a militia was necessary for security, the people had an individual right the right to keep, that is own, and bear, that is, carry, firearms.
Continuing, we can look at the key words in the sentence to make sure that our basic understanding is correct. Specifically, we have to answer the following questions:
1. What does regulated mean?
2. What is the militia?
3. What constitutes infringement?
In the usage of the day, regulate didn't simply mean restricted; it also meant equipped, supplied, and functioning properly. In this context, there is no conflict between a well regulated militia and an individual right to bear arms. The latter was seen as essential in achieving the former.
The militia is fairly simple to define. The militia was made up of "the body of the people".
The tougher nut to crack is infringement. What constitutes permissible regulation and what crosses the line into infringement? Now we're wandering into the realm of lawyers, and since they use English in a way totally unrelated to the language we commonly speak, I'm not going to even try to navigate those murky waters, except to offer a simple, common sense approach. The Second Amendment was written to recognize an individual right to keep and bear arms; therefore any regulation that acts to eliminate that right would fail to pass muster under the Constitution. So an outright gun ownership ban would be unconstitutional.
On the other hand, restrictions on types pf arms and/or amounts may not be, as long as the government could demonstrate that the restrictions did not act to effectively disarm the populace, and that the restrictions were necessary to achieve other Constitutionally mandated government roles.
So, to sum up, you are exactly right; we do have to look at the entire construction of the sentence to glean the full meaning, and when we do, we find, just like the Supreme Court, that the Second Amendment does indeed recognize an individual right to keep and bear arms.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Handgun Carry in a Restaurant
Lissa and I ate at Carrabas last weekend and noticed that they have posted a sign regarding handguns. Basically the sign says that they respect the rights of gun owners, but their policy is that guns are not allowed in the restaurant.
Question: Does this sign meet the requirements of Tennessee Law for banning handguns? IN other words, if I carry there, am I in violation of the law?
Answer: No, their sign does not meet the requirements of the law
, which states:
(b)(1) Notice of the prohibition permitted by subsection (a) shall be accomplished by displaying one (1) or both of the notices described in subdivision (3) in prominent locations, including all entrances primarily used by persons entering the property, building, or portion of the property or building where weapon possession is prohibited. Either form of notice used shall be of a size that is plainly visible to the average person entering the building, property, or portion of the building or property, posted.
(2) The notice required by this section shall be in English, but a duplicate notice may also be posted in any language used by patrons, customers or persons who frequent the place where weapon possession is prohibited.
(3)(A) If a sign is used as the method of posting, it shall contain language substantially similar to the following:
AS AUTHORIZED BY TCA § 39-17-1359, POSSESSION OF A WEAPON ON POSTED PROPERTY OR IN A POSTED BUILDING IS PROHIBITED AND IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.
(B) As used in this section, "language substantially similar to" means the sign contains language plainly stating that:
(i) The property is posted under authority of Tennessee law;
(ii) Weapons or firearms are prohibited on the property, in the building, or on the portion of the property or building that is posted; and
(iii) Possessing a weapon in an area that has been posted is a criminal offense.
Since the Carrabas sign states that it is their policy, not the law, and fails to state that violation of their policy is a criminal offense, their sign does not meet the standard imposed by the law and I would not be in violation if I chose to carry there while eating.
And that brings up the question: If your sign does not meet the requirements of the law, then why post it? My guess is that the management wants to coddle the gun fearing crowd while relying on the fact that those of us who carry are more familiar with the law and will recognize that the sign is basically meaningless.
Nice try, but no dice Carrabas. Just like the places that still have the old signage posted in a similar attempt to ease the groundless fears of the ignorant, you are signalling that you don't want my business.
And I am happy to comply. There are plenty of restaurants that do acknowledge the fact that I am an intelligent, law abiding person with rights that must be respected in deed, not just in words.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Lissa and I went to the range for a blogshoot last week, and I got a chance to shoot SayUncle's AR-15 with the .22 conversion kit in it. In a word, sweet!
Lissa shot my AR a couple of times, but the recoil really bothered her neck and shoulder, but shooting Uncle's conversion didn't bother her a bit. While the recoil didn't bother me, My head kept saying "There goes 30 cents" every time I pulled the trigger.
Putting those two things together, it wasn't a hard decision to order a CMMG, Inc ARC-22 AR Conversion Kit
, along with a spare magazine.
Installing the conversion is easy, even for a neophyte like me. All you do is remove the rear pin holding the upper to the lower, pull back on the charging handle about halfway, and remove the bolt assembly from the rifle. Slide the conversion bolt assembly in, push the charging handle forward, and then pin the upper and lower together again. It's actually faster to do it than to type about it. After that, load the conversion mag with .22 rounds, and away you go. One of the things I like about the conversion is that it is so fast and easy to swap back and forth, and since I have to use different magazines, that means my defense loads are always ready to go, unlike when I shoot the XDm.
I tested the conversion out with some high velocity ammo, American Eagle 38 grain High Velocity hollow points to be exact, and shot through 2 magazines with no issues at all. The rifle was just as accurate, and my head was much happier saying "There goes a nickel" with each shot. I paid $180 for the conversion kit, and $25 for the spare magazine, so if I save 25 cents per shot, in 820 rounds, the kit will have paid for itself.
As fun as this thing is to shoot, I should do that by next Friday.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
A Question About TN New Restaurant Carry Law
When Gov. Bredesen's veto is overridden next week and the new law goes into effect, TN HCP holders will be able to keep their guns securely in their possession instea of leaving them in the car when they go get dinner at a restaurant. Restaurant owners have the right to opt out of the provision by posting a sign indicating that guns aren't permitted. The signage does not have to comply with existing law regarding other types of businesses. And that brings me to my question.
Does the new relaxed signage requirement affect all businesses, or just restaurants that serve alcohol?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Why I Got a Gun Permit
The news yesterday said that Handgun Carry Permits in Tennessee are way up, and that the city of Knoxville is the most heavily armed city in the state.
Finally, we're number one in a category we can be proud of!
I have an HCP, as does my wife, my brother-in-law, and my mother. My pastor, his secretary, and several members of the church board, as well as a substantial portion of the congregation all have HCPs.
Why do we all feel the need to carry a gun? Well, while I can't speak for all of them, I can tell you why I got a permit, and why I carry pretty much everywhere I go.
First, as a man, a husband, and a father, it is my duty to protect my family. And before you ask, no, it isn't the job of the police. Police don't prevent crime, they respond to it. Police come after the burglary, robbery, rape or murder, gather evidence and try to catch the guy who did it.
That's too late.
My job is to make sure the son of a bitch can't murder, rob, or rape any member of my family, and I will use any tool available to do so. While I agree with my non violent friends that evasion, distraction, and other less lethal means should be part of any defensive plan, I believe that it is also necessary to have offensive tools must also be a part of any strategy, and that includes weapons.
I have an HCP because while openly carrying a long gun is legal, it's bound to get you talked about. A handgun can be carried discreetly, which is not only a tactical advantage, but helps keep the sheep calm.
Second, if you read the second amendment, and place it into context, what it says is that not only do we have the right to arm ourselves, we have a duty to do so. When the Constitution was written, we had no standing army. The militia was the primary defensive force of the States, and was composed of all able-bodied male citizens. Members of the militia were expected to arm and equip, AKA regulate, themselves.
While I can and have armed myself with long guns, hand guns are an essential part of the package, as are various other weapons.
Third, one of the ironies of life is that an armed and prepared man is less likely to be attacked than an unarmed, unprepared man. The two walk differently, and carry themselves differently. Predators recognize victims; anyone who has gone to the trouble of arming themselves, and learning how to defend themselves no longer walks like a victim. Criminals will choose easier targets.
Finally, I have the right to defend myself. I was working the back shift in a Maryville convenience store when I was robbed by a guy with a gun. As I handed him the $40 in the register, all that kept going through my mind was that my life was in his hands, the hands of a doped-up two-bit thug.
Folks, that's not a happy realization.
Now there are some who would focus their fear on the gun, but I'm smarter than that. The gun was just the tool; the threat was the zombie behind the gun.Fortunately for me, whatever passed for a brain in this guy's head forgot how to pull the trigger, and he stumbled off into the night, leaving me with an empty register and full britches.
Needless to say, I left that job.
And the britches.
I didn't get a carry permit right away, but I knew I would never allow myself to get into a position where some random thug could hold my life in his hands.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Things You Need to Know Before Assembling an AR-15
- Bullets aren't the only projectiles launched from the AR. Springs will fly out of place with great velocity if you aren't careful. Sometimes even if you are careful.
- Having an experienced friend help with the assembly is no guarantee that nothing will go wrong, but it does mean that you will have somebody to share the laughter.
- Some pieces will go in either way. Some won't. The ones that won't are the ones you will try to put in the wrong way.
- Three hands are better than two. Four hands are too many, except when playing bridge.
- When going to your friends house to assemble your rifle, make sure you go to the right house. Showing up on a random stranger's front porch with a scary black gun will get you talked about, even if it isn't fully assembled.
- Iron sights are all you need for an effective rifle, but electric sights are way cool. And expensive.
- The wife who is happy to let you build your rifle for $XXXX will be somewhat less happy to allow you to purchase electric sights for $XXX, unless there are a significant number of pairs of shoes involved.
- Assembling a lower for yourself helps you to understand exactly how the rifle functions. You pull the trigger and the gun goes bang. The bang pushes the bullet out of the barrel into the bad guy, and pushed the thing that holds the bullet back so a new bullet is loaded. Repeat as needed.
- Was that last tip too technical?
- You need to know the difference between a magazine and a clip. A magazine is the thing you read in the bathroom. A clip is what holds your money in your pocket. You can see where the confusion arises.
- You can't sight in an AR while standing on your back porch in the dark while it's raining. Don't let that stop you from trying.
- Some neighbors will hear you trying to sight in your rifle in the dark and rain and call the police. My neighbors come over to shoot with me.
- Cows are more afraid of a barking dog than a booming gun, which explains their position on the food chain.
- While there are several guides on the internet to building an AR-15, mine is the best. Of course, I haven't written it yet, but it's still true.
I want to thank SayUncle
for walking me through the assembly process, and by "walking me through" I mean doing most of it while explaining what he was doing, and for letting me shoot his silenced .22 Walther. I've never heard the sound of bullets hitting the dirt before.
I'll have pictures up later.
Next purchase will be a sling.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Self Defense and Christianity: Are They Compatible?
This is a question that I struggled with for a long time. I did a lot of reading and praying about it. How does a handgun carry permit jibe with "Love your enemies?"
It always seemed to me that loving my enemy was one thing; allowing him to hurt my wife or kids was another, but I wanted a Bible based answer, not just my own selfish interest.
Fortunately, I'm not the first one to ask this question, and I found a great answer at Biblical Self Defense
You should go read the whole entry, because he does an excellent job of backing up every point he makes with Scripture and he takes the time to provide the context of his quotes. In essence, his search shows that there is a Biblical duty to defend the weak and innocent from the strong, and that killing in the defense of others is not murder. On the other hand, killing to defend property might be. Going even deeper, he notes that even a justifiable killing can affect your standing in the eyes of God. You won't be punished for doing what you had to do, but there are avenues and ministries which are closed to the defender/warrior.
There's also a price to pay. We're all familiar with Matt 26:52 which tells us that all who take up the sword will die by the sword. This warning is echoed in Revelation, but there's some translation difficulties.
Rev 13:10 is translated like this in the King James Version:
He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
But like this in the ESV:
If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
There's quite a difference between the two. The context is the rise of the first beast, who will be given power over all the nations and tribes, and will make war on the saints and defeat them. The ESV version, which is more literal, suggests that if the saints are destined for capture or death, then they will be captured or killed and must therefore endure with patience and faith. The KJV version suggests that the saints shouldn't even fight, but depend on the power of God to reverse their defeat.
In either case, we have to remember that death is not a bad thing if you are saved. Heaven still waits.
So killing another man, even in self defense or defense of another, is a very serious thing according to the Bible (of course, I knew that already) but it is not automatically the wrong thing to do. There are times and circumstances where it is both necessary and right to do so.
Like I said, go read it for yourself.
Evil Black Rifle Update
All the parts have arrived. Now all I have to do is assemble them, with assistance from my friend SayUncle
Here are the parts I wound up with:
SI Defense stripped lower receiver
DPMS Lower Receiver Parts Kit
BCM M4 Milspec Stock kit
MI rear BUIS
1X9 Chromed flatop 16" barreled upper
I wanted to build a no-frills rifle for my first project and then shoot it for awhile to figure out what extras to buy. I foresee an Aimpoint in my near future and a weapon light. Other than that, I don't know. Assembly will be Thursday, so unless I run into problems, I should be shooting this weekend.
Thanks to everyone for the comments and the help.
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
I Need Input
I hesitate to ask this, particularly after my last post, because believe me, there is absolutely no connection between the two, but I've decided it's time for me to build an evil black rifle, also known as an AR-15. I've been reading the forums at AR-15.com, and watching the videos at Brownells, and I'm comfortable that I have the skills and patience to do it right. What I need is advice.
Who are the good vendors?
.223 or 5.56? One works in both but one doesn't. Are there advantages to either?
What tips and tricks do I need to know before I start?
I've seen prices on stripped lowers from $89 to $200 and up. What's up with that?
I know that I have to go through an FFL to get the lower. Do I buy it first and then set up delivery or the other way around?
I'm expecting a total cost of somewhere near $1000, not including optics, which I'll do later. I've pretty much settled on an M4 configuration, but if you think there's a better way to go, I'm open minded. I'm not in a huge hurry; I'd rather take my time, and get good quality parts than hurry and settle for OK parts. On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of spending money on a name.
So, give me the benefit of your experience. Tell me what traps to avoid.
Les and Uncle, you can expect many emails and phone calls for the duration of this project.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman has apparently concluded that expecting people to know the difference between a restaurant and a bar is expecting just a bit too much from the average Tennessean. In a related development, Bonnyman confessed that she still has difficulties telling shit from shinola, but can tell her ass from a hole in the ground. Of course she has a guide to follow; her head is rarely up a hole in the ground.
This is the language
she condemned as "ambiguous:"
(B) As used in this subdivision (c)(3), “restaurant” means any public place kept, used, maintained, advertised and held out to the public as a place where meals are served and where meals are actually and regularly served, such place being provided with adequate and sanitary kitchen and dining room equipment, having employed therein a sufficient number and kind of employees to prepare, cook and serve suitable food for its guests. At least one (1) meal per day shall be served at least five (5) days a week, with the exception of holidays, vacations and periods of redecorating, and the serving of such meals shall be the principal business conducted.
Yeah, that's tough to understand alright. I'm not sure whether Calhoun's prepares what I would call suitable food.
I just wonder if all the papers who reported so breathlessly about any potential violence stemming from the new law will be just as eager to report when the first waitress is killed on her way to her car after working a closing shift.
Probably not. That's not news. That's just life in the city.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Why We Follow All Four Rules for Gun Safety
The four rules
- The gun is always loaded
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target
- Be sure of your target - and what is beyond it
Tam posted about loaded chamber indicators
on guns and why she thinks they are a bad idea.
Its very existence betrays a bad mindset to have around guns, which is the idea that "This one's loaded, so I'll treat it with extra special caution!" The problem is thinking that way implies the unwritten corollary that "I don't think this one's loaded, so I can handle it sloppily," which almost unfailingly comes back to bite the unwary in the arse and leave bullet holes in things better left unpunctured.
I had just finished adding a stock to my Mossberg 500, and I'd gone out to the back porch to try it out. I fired three or four shells, and then the phone rang, interrupting me. After the phone call, it was time to make dinner, so I used the manufacturer's process for unloading the shotgun. This is my first pump shotgun, so I was unfamiliar with the unloading procedure. I had walked through it when I first got the gun, but I followed the instructions anyway. I removed the shell from the chamber, then released all the remaining shells from the tube, and put the gun aside to make dinner.
After dinner, I went back to get the shotgun for cleaning. When I racked the slide to open the chamber, a nice fat live shotgun shell came flipping out of the "unloaded" shotgun.
Fortunately, I had already gone to the bathroom before dinner, so I avoided any embarrassing laundry problems, but my heart rate immediately went well into the triple digits. The safety was on, and my finger never went near the trigger, so there was no real danger of an ND, but at the same time, I was carrying a loaded gun that I thought was unloaded. It's like finding out the snake you were just handling was a coral snake instead of a king snake.
I made sure that the shotgun was completely unloaded, and then sat down until the shakes went away. After I calmed down, I went through the unloading process and found my mistake and corrected it. I practiced unloading and loading several timed before I cleaned the gun, just to make sure I had it down cold. Then I cleaned the shotgun, loaded it with my defensive loads, and stowed it in a safe, accessible place.
The point is this: Tam is right. If you handle a gun differently when it's loaded than you do when it is empty, you are asking for trouble because when you make a, mistake, you will become another in a long line of statistics. Because I followed all four rules, all I have is an embarrassing story. If I skipped a couple, it could have been much worse.
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