I had a letter from Jim at Objectionable Content, asking me what I thought about this post. Some guy in Georgia was apparently arrested for having 600 hand grenades. Yet the 2nd amendment would seem to apply. Jak asks:
Where in that Amendment is the line drawn between, say, a hand gun and 600 hand grenades? Or a ground-to-air missile? How do strict constructionist draw a line? Or do they?
I am no expert, but then I suspect most "experts" would draw the line somewhere around peashooters. To me the intent of the second amendment as written was to make sure that the people could form an army capable of beating the army of the US Government or the several States, if any of those governments turned despotic. Ergo, they need the same weapons as those possessed by the army. The use of a weapon by the army/navy/airforce is therefore defacto evidence that the weapon in question is permitted under the 2nd.

Should that mean that people can have nukes in their garage? The US has nukes, after all. According to a strict 2nd amendment, yes. However, my feeling is that nukes are inherently immoral; nobody should possess a weapon which by its very nature must kill innocent people if it is used. So I would draw the line somewhere between nukes and hand grenades, with the proviso that the government should not be on the other side of the line just as no individual should.

Now that's just me. Practically speaking, in the courts even a fairly strongly interpreted 2nd will end up being watered down considerably. For instance, they will almost certainly interpret it to mean weapons which an individual can "bear", meaning there is no right to possession of tanks, artillery, etc. That still leaves shoulder-launched rockets of various sorts that are fairly dangerous, but I expect that even these the courts will rule are not arms under the second for some reason or another, probably bad. The courts are not likely to uphold right simply based on original intent; they have to believe in them for current, practical purposes. They may well come to believe that armed citizens deter crime, because there is good evidence for that and such evidence will continue to pile up. (Look at poor Britain.) But the courts are arms of the State, and they will never see the utility of overthrowing the state by force of arms. So the 2nd will, practically, never be interpreted as much more than a right to carry around handguns and rifles.

That's enough original intent and construction. Constitutionalism was a great idea, but it has its limits. As I have mentioned before here, one of the nice things about anarchy is that it does not run into the problem of trying to define morality in a document or institutions, and then interpret. Rather it is a set of institutions which necessarily create a social situation with a moral logic. Some protection agencies may well have very strict limits on the weapons they will allow their client to keep and bear. Others may be very loose. Some will may even have nukes. The point is that all of them need not be the same. If you believe in gun control, then you can choose an agency which enforces it and try to avoid going outside the zones of controlled property. You will limit your life somewhat, yes. But that's your right. The law and protection will be created and supplied in response to demand, not via a command organization.

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