Talk:Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

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Former good article Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was one of the Social sciences and society good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Misplaced sentence[edit]

In the Ratification debates section is this sentence:

Rather, the Constitutional delegates altered the language of the Second Amendment several times to emphasize the military context of the amendment[97] and the role of the militia as a force to defend national sovereignty,[98] quell insurrection,[99][100] and protect against tyranny.[101]

The Second Amendment was not debated at the Constitutional Convention, so it does not belong in the section that is about the Constitution's ratification. Should this sentence be moved to another part of the article or should this sentence simply be removed from the article? SMP0328. (talk) 05:55, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Based on the text quoted in the citations, the citations do not support the main claim of the sentence, so I would just remove it. It certainly won't hurt the article to prune back some of these sections which seem to argue how the amendment should be interpreted now that the dust is settling. Celestra (talk) 15:46, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
Done. SMP0328. (talk) 20:28, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 23 May 2014[edit]

Remove: "The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence" and limited the applicability of the Second Amendment to the federal government.

This change should be made because the original text distorts the readers beliefs about the second amendment leading one to believe that the right to bear is not granted by the constitution, when in reality the court never declared that. The courts decision was as followed.

Replace with: "The second and tenth counts are equally defective. The right there specified is that of "bearing arms for a lawful purpose." This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress."

Sorce: "http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9699370891451726349&q=United+States+v.+Cruikshank+right+to+bear+arms&hl=en&as_sdt=6,36&as_vis=1" after number 553 on left side of page. Drevilishman (talk) 13:22, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit semi-protected}} template. The lead of this article has been produced by consensus-building discussions and changes should have some amount of consensus before being implemented. The key point I see in your suggested change is that the quote is not from the original text but from a syllabus of that decision. This gist of the current quote seems valid. Wouldn't it be better to simply correct the quote? Something like:
In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the right to bear arms "is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence" and limited the applicability of the Second Amendment to the federal government.
That would correct the mistake without including an excess of original text which is already summarized in the lead. Older and ... well older (talk) 13:56, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Peruta v. San Diego decision in the Ninth Circuit[edit]

The section "United States Courts of Appeals decisions" should probably include the recent Peruta v. San Diego decision from the Ninth Circuit, in which a three-judge panel "reversed the district court’s summary judgment and held that a responsible, law-abiding citizen has a right under the Second Amendment to carry a firearm in public for self-defense." The decision, which took the time to critique the reasoning behind conflicting decisions from other circuits, also held that "San Diego County’s 'good cause' permitting requirement impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense."

PDF of the appellate decision: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/02/13/10-56971%20web.pdf

Per the Wikipedia page on the decision itself (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peruta_v._San_Diego), "Unless overridden, this decision will force California to become a shall-issue state in regards to concealed carry." I question the conclusion, but the significance is there.

San Diego County has indicated that it does not intend to appeal the decision. The Ninth is currently weighing whether California Attorney General Kamala Harris may intervene along with her request for an en banc review by the full court. Either way -- given the scope of the opinion, the historical questions it raises and precedent it creates, and the hard split it takes with the other appeals circuits -- there's a good chance it's headed to SCOTUS and is thus worthy of inclusion here.--Strongpoint (talk) 21:51, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

This case was discussed earlier this year and the consensus appeared to favor inclusion. So put it in the article if you want. SMP0328. (talk) 22:22, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Didn't see the earlier discussion; mea culpa. I'll try to draft something up — boldly — and see how it flies.--Strongpoint (talk) 01:54, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Factual error[edit]

In Section 2.2 is this sentence:

There was an ongoing debate in the 1780s about "the people" fighting governmental tyranny (as described by Anti-Federalists); or the risk of mob rule of "the people" (as described by the Federalists) related to the ongoing revolution in France.

The French Revolution began in 1789 and the citation (fn. 77) cites a letter from John Adams to his wife Abigail Adams dated 22 December 1793. Therefore, if there is no objection, I am slightly rewording the sentence to make it more accurate, as follows:

There was an ongoing debate beginning in 1789 about "the people" fighting governmental tyranny (as described by Anti-Federalists); or the risk of mob rule of "the people" (as described by the Federalists) related to the increasingly violent French Revolution. American In Brazil (talk) 22:25, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

This does not appear to be factual errors. Instead, you simply have made improvements to the wording of that sentence. I agree with those improvements, but neither version of that sentence was factually incorrect. SMP0328. (talk) 02:00, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Proposed edit/addition[edit]

I would like to propose the following edit/addition under the heading 'Meaning of Well-Regulated'

Source: The general principles of constitutional law in the United States of America

By Thomas McIntyre Cooley (188) at page 298.

http://books.google.com/books?id=7-g9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA298#v=onepage&q&f=false

Text from source:

The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is, that the people, from whom the militia must be taken, shall have the right to keep and bear arms, and they need no permission or regulation of law for the purpose. But this enables the government to have a well regulated militia; for to bear arms implies something more than the mere keeping; it implies the learning to handle and use them in a way that makes those who keep them ready for their efficient use; in other words, it implies the right to meet for voluntary discipline in arms, observing in doing so the laws of public order.

Proposed addition to Wikipedia entry:

Judge Thomas Cooley, perhaps the most widely read constitutional scholar of the nineteenth century, explained the meaning of the term 'well-regulated' within the context of the Second Amendment in his 1880 legal commentaries on the U.S. Constitution. Cooley stated the term inherently implied the individual possession of arms as well learning to handle and use arms efficiently.

"The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is, that the people, from whom the militia must be taken, shall have the right to keep and bear arms, and they need no permission or regulation of law for the purpose. But this enables the government to have a well regulated militia; for to bear arms implies something more than the mere keeping; it implies the learning to handle and use them in a way that makes those who keep them ready for their efficient use; in other words, it implies the right to meet for voluntary discipline in arms, observing in doing so the laws of public order." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Scbugbee (talkcontribs) 14:41, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

That's a really good quote for getting across that view of the meaning. Per WP:PEACOCK, you probably should drop the "perhaps ... century" part, but otherwise I think that would make a good summary. The bigger problem is that the section is already out of balance with two bits explaining this view and one explaining the other. I'd be in favor of replacing one or both of the current "pro-gun" bits with this. What's everybody else think? Older and ... well older (talk) 15:22, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I like the quote and new source too and agree with removal of the WP:PEACOCK. One comment that I'd like to make is that the section lacks much chronological detail. It's a collection of statements and judicial opinions without much context as to when it was said. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (Talk) 16:38, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Removing the WP:PEACOCK language is fine, I just lifted that from an earlier reference to Cooley in the entry. As for replacing one of the current "pro-gun" bits I am uncertain. Being an attorney and a history buff I am aware of the overwhelming consensus that existed regarding the Second Amendment in jurisprudence prior to the late 19th/early 20th Centuries. I could dig up the Arkansas dissent that kicked off the idea that the Second Amendment is a collective/militia-based right rather than an individual right if you like. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Scbugbee (talkcontribs) 17:16, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I think your suggestion of moving to 3:2 has merit if there is a worthwhile quote summarizing the other view, but then I wonder how much of the article should be taken up by this detail. The other, similar sections seem to only have one quote from each side and that seems more reasonable to me. I'm going to bow out of the discussion at this point, though, as I have said my piece and don't feel strongly about any of the remaining choices. Regards, Older and ... well older (talk) 03:43, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Starting article with court interpretation[edit]

First time editing talk here, so patience with me please. I notice that this page opens with the Heller case ruling instead of a summary of the original text. This reads to me as not neutral. The Wikepdia entries of the other amendments do not open this way. This concerns me as some people will take the first line of an entry as gospel. What about putting court interpretation after a summary of the original text? Ricardlion (talk) 20:47, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Welcome Ricardlion. We start the page with a summary of what the amendment means, just as we do all of the other amendments. No amendment article I am aware of actually captures the text in the lead of the article, but there might be some like that which I haven't read. Heller is mentioned because the Supreme Court is the body which decides what the amendment means and Heller was the case in which they made the landmark decision about that meaning. Including other opinions, or including the text and "letting the reader decide", would actually be less NPOV than the current lead since it attempts to obscure the authoritative meaning that some editors disagree with. You should read the talk page archives to see earlier discussions of this same issue. Thanks and, again, welcome, Older and ... well older (talk) 21:56, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Arms[edit]

Some of what is written here, like the attempt to explain the meaning of "Arms" It means basically means small arms. But they try to say it does not refer to arms the military would use. That is flat out wrong. Citizens were allowed to own battleships of the line back in those days. Now I am not saying arms means one can own a fully operational M1 or a Stinger, but to claim a limit when there was no specified limit which is why they used arms and not firearms, or swords. I think that needs to be addressed. I have seen too much politics permeate Wikipedia and in many biographical articles a lot of bias has infected those too. Its at a point now that many schools have bans on the use of Wikipedia. TexasChickStuckInCali — Preceding unsigned comment added by TexasChickStuckInCali (talkcontribs) 13:25, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Welcome and thanks for sharing your feedback about the article. I don't disagree with your other observations, but you should probably stick to discussing this article on this talk page. Was there a specific change you would like to make which you would like to discuss? Regards, Older and ... well older (talk) 17:45, 15 June 2014 (UTC)