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Comment of the Day: Let's Talk Second Amendment

Posted on October 3 2009 8:29 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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m60 machine gun

From marineseabee on Claude Cartaginese’s post from yesterday:

“the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” To me, this means that ANY law telling us what firearm we can and cannot buy, own, use for self defense, use for hunting, and use in target practice, is one law too many. Having said that, if a law abiding citizen can buy a semi automatic rifle, he/she should be able to buy, own, and shoot a fully automatic weapon.
I realize that cetain people in the country (convicted felons and the mentally unstable) should not be able to perform any of the above listed applications of any firearm.
Because the person I met at a gunshow in 1989, who was selling an M-60 machinegun on a tripod and with 1000 rounds of ammo, did not accept credit cards, I would have owned that since then. All I would have had to pay extra was the federal tax stamp in order to own an automatic weapon. I contend that having to pay that tax is the same as a gun control law.

I responded in brief:

Does the 2nd amendment include nuclear weapons and VX poison gas?

And let me follow that up by saying that I consider myself a staunch defender of the second amendment — and have been even when I was a leftist. It’s important for citizens to have the right to bear arms (for all the usual reasons that gun rights advocates give.) But an absolutist interpretation of the second amendment does have its problems. When the Founding Fathers wrote the constitution I’m not sure they had M-60 machine guns in mind. Though, that’s not to say that a citizen should not be able to own such a weapon. I open the subject up for discussion and debate. How far does the Right to Bear Arms go?

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