Talk:Second Amendment to the United States Constitution/Archive 26

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Is Kenosis and Salty Boatr the same person - you decide

As shown on the link above, I post a message (bottom of page) to Kenosis asking

Aren't you capable of clicking on a link and LOOKING?

Salty Boatr, who was not a part of the thread before this responds with

I am capable of looking, and I looked

Now why would SaltyBoatr respond to a question directed at Kenosis as if he was Kenosis?

Am I dreaming or does it look like he was a bit confused which sockpuppet he was using at the time? (talk) 03:39, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

SaltyBoatr and Kenosis continue to act like two faces of the same person. The term two faced occurs. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 14:18, 4 November 2009 (UTC).

Back to my original complaint of 3 weeks ago

When I first showed up here I was uncomfortable with this sentence in the article

The meaning of the Pennsylvania dissent of the minority is even more hotly disputed. Historians have also noted that this text, written by the Anti-Federalist minority of a single state, was hastily written and never emulated by any other ratification convention.

and particularly the phrase "hastily written".

Since it is uncertain WHO wrote the Minority Report, with some historians citing "Centinel" and other citing Robert Whitehill, I can't see how one can know whether that unknown author wrote it "in haste".

As to whether the text of the Penn Minority Report was emulated, that should be plain. The Minority Report was a proposal for a number of Constitutional Amendments including a Bill of Rights. A number of states ratified the Constitution only under the condition that it contain a Bill of Rights and those states did so AFTER the Penn Minority Report was printed. Many of those states included proposed amendments as part of that ratification. Other states flatly refused to even consider ratification unless a Bill of Rights was included.

Pennsylvania was only the second state to ratify the US Constitution.

This report was therefore "emulated" and that emulation consisted of Constitutional Amendments and a requirement for a Bill of Rights.

Instead of removing the term "hastily written" which I originally complained about, I will be deleting that whole sentence. (talk) 15:30, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

That sentence is reliably sourced and is necessary to comply with our obligation to present a proper balance of points of views. We must include both the points of view we believe in and the points of view we disagree with. Your complaint appears to be personal, and not based on what you are reading in the balance of reliable sourcing on this topic. This article cannot become a soap box for your personal hypothesis. SaltyBoatr (talk) 16:33, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Elliot's Debates shows that Robert Whitehill and over 30 other delegates worked on Amendments to the US Constitution as early as Sept 3, 1788. The final version of the Penn Minority Report was finalized after 3 months. see pages 542 and onwards. Amendmentsstart at page 545.

Elliot's Debates vol 2


Harrisburg, Sept. 3, 1788.

Agreeably to a Circular letter which originated in the county of Cumberland, inviting to a conference such of the citizens of this state who conceive that a revision of the federal system, lately proposed for the government of these United States, is necessary,--a number of gentlemen from the city of Philadelphia, and counties of Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, Cumberland, Berks, Northumberland, Bedford, Fayette, Washington, Franklin, Dauphin, and Huntingdon, assembled at this place for the said purpose, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:40, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

AFAICT Kenosis can't count.

The Penn Minority Report contains FOURTEEN proposed amendments to the US Constitution.

Not 13 as his citations cite an not a 15 point bill of rights as he himself states.

Why is it that those who favor gun control can't seem to count?

All of those proposed amendments are even numbered for easy reference - here is number 14. There is no number 15.

Fourteenth. That the judiciary power of the United States shall be confined to cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more states--between a state and citizens of different states --between citizens claiming lands under grants of different states; and between a state or the citizens thereof and foreign states; and in criminal cases to such only as are expressly enumerated in the constitution, and that the United States in Congress assembled, shall not have power to enact laws, which shall alter the laws of descents and distribution of the effects of deceased persons, the titles of land or goods, or the regulation of contracts in the individual states. (talk) 14:15, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Whitehill's proposed Amendment 15:

"That the sovereignty, freedom and independency of the several States shall be retained, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not by this constitution expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled."

The whole 15-amendment "bill of rights" was denied by a 2/3 majority to be read into the minutes, though it's recorded in other reliable sources of the day and in a number of reliable secondary sources. Even the avowed anti-federalist Samuel Bryan omitted this one when he published the "Dissent" (the reason for which might be evident upon reading it closely), which is why there are 14 in that publication. The "13" I mentioned earlier was a typo. But whatever the number was, it's wholly irrelevant to this topic and vastly beyond the scope of this article. ... Kenosis (talk) 00:25, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
YOU originally said the number of Amendments was 13. Remember when you added THIS to the article and REPEATEDLY fought to keep it in

Whitehill's thirteen-article "bill of rights" was published by fellow anti-federalist Samuel Bryan as part of a compilation of dissenting material which never reached the convention floor in Pennsylvania.

and it's' FUNNY how it is always irrelevant when YOU are wrong. (talk) 12:35, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
My mistake in transcribing from my accumulation of talk page material to the article space after I submitted to repeated insistences to include the three "Dissent" paragraphs verbatim in the article. As you should also have noted here were you not so bent on cherrypicking data to advance your position, after introducing it here with material from the talk page, I proceeded to make a long series of minor corrections and copyedits, correcting this issue later the same day here, with an intentional note of acknowledgment to you in the edit summary (hopping IPs as you are in the Boston area it's pretty obvious you're presently blocked user (talk). Unfortunately this sort of mistake upon a mistake very easily happens when we're not able to copy and paste directly from scanned sources such as in Google books (e.g. the Wills source and others) but rather typing it out as was the case early in this unexpected little background research project here. Which is why we proceed to try to correct it when we or someone else notices such an error.
..... In the event you or anyone else was planning on using the material in a paper or website or some such thing, here's an arguably more important talk-page mistake I made that I haven't yet corrected: The original proposed Amendment 15 turns out to have been incorporated into Amendment 11 in Bryan's "Dissent". Which explains why some sources say 15 and others say 14. So Bryan evidently merely incorporated it into an already existing article proposing to reduce the federal government's power to less than that in the Articles of Confederation, and being faithful to Whitehill's intent and/or every bit as radical anti-federalist as Whitehill, included it instead in his amendment 11 (partly reproduced in the WP article at present because it pertains to guns). The unfortunate thing about this Amendment 15 turned latter-part-of-Amendment-11 is that it proposes, when taken together with the other part of Amendment 11, to essentially invalidate the Constitution and to keep the 13 colonies as sovereign states, like 13 little countries. Imagine that.
..... Again, this is yet another of countless reasons why we're directed by WP policy not to be doing original research and original synthesis that advances a position, and to rely on secondary reliable sources. It's been interesting researching this to sort through some of the misinformation widely seen on the web, but again, it's also significantly outside the relevant scope of this article, as at least one other established WP user has also pointed out on this page. Offhand I'd think we ought be pretty much done with this issue for the present. Take care, OK? ... Kenosis (talk) 16:24, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Explanation of removal of Virginia paragraph

I recently removed[1] the "Virginia" paragraph because it was entirely sourced to primary documents, and included several synthesized statements of what these men meant. With all the editorial interpreted statements leaning towards one side of the POV, "arms are required to secure rights and freedoms" etc.. This synthesis is a form of original research and is not allowed. The paragraph may be revised and restored as long as it complies with policy, by using third party reliable sourcing and as long as it conforms with the WP:NPOV policy by including both sides of the POV. SaltyBoatr (talk) 15:22, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

I see that Trasel reverted[2] without any discussion. Could we discuss this please instead of unexplained reverts? I am sure there is a compromise to be found here, my concerns are that the selective quotations from speeches by Patrick Henry are WP:SYN carefully chosen to push one POV. The balanced way, required per policy, would be to include discussions from both antifederalists and federalists, and to use third party sourcing. Indeed this whole subsection gives undue weight to the opinions of antifederalists. SaltyBoatr (talk) 02:00, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

I have restored that material. I have no objection to a compromise being found, but I don't like such a large amount of material being removed from the article. If you feel wording changes are needed, propose them. It's simply excessive to remove all of that material. SMP0328. (talk) 02:10, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I see SatyBoatr deleted without any discussion. Can you say two faced loser? (talk) 14:06, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I understand SaltyBoatr's concerns about WP:PSTS and WP:SYN, since there were a broad range of demands for a bill of rights ranging from moderate to radical anti-federalist, with the Virginia paragraph having picked out only some of the more vehement objections. IMO it's reasonable and quite prudent to briefly mention Patrick Henry and George Mason, as their insistence on a bill of rights is legendary and was quite influential. I think what's lacking here is that an inline WP template hasn't yet been developed calling for secondary sources (Elliot's Debates being essentially a primary source in this context from which one could pick and choose any of a wide variety of quotes from the voluminous debates). Don't have any secondary cites handy at the moment, but with a bit of patience I imagine there's a fairly expedient way through this issue. ... Kenosis (talk) 14:09, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Why don't you add one or more Madison's comments that a Bill of Rights was not needed instead of deleting comments from two of Virginia's foremost Founding Fathers. (talk) 14:16, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Madison's role is already concisely stated in the article text leading up to the subsection on state ratification convention debates (Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Drafting_and_adoption). ... Kenosis (talk) 14:45, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

"Big picture" w.r.t. ratification-debate subsection

Can we discuss the big picture problem with this subsection? It only discussed the opposition, the anti-federalist POV. Where if we were balanced, we would not favor this one POV over the opposite POV. We are required by policy to give a balance to the various POV's. Here the minority POV is given emphasis and the majority POV held by the federalists is ignored. SaltyBoatr (talk) 15:43, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
True, there's presently a substantial WP:WEIGHT issue in that section. ... Kenosis (talk) 16:02, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
This entire section seems written in context (and for the purpose) of the modern advocacy of gun politics favoring originalism & insurrectionist theory, and then by selecting quotes from anti-federalists and framing these quotes with reverence for founding fathers. This mirrors the structure of innumerable pro-gun blogs. Objectively, the political power of the anti-federalists were in serious decline during that decade and they were quite marginalized in 1788. At the least, this subsection should lead with that line of thought. Though I favor deleting the subsection in its entirety. Or, we must remove the WP:SYN and rewrite to correct the illusion that the thought of the anti-federalists were popular at the time, and by implication carry more weight that they deserve. SaltyBoatr (talk) 18:56, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Can we continue discussion of this problem? Presently this section has WP:UNDUE and WP:SYN problems, both of which are policy, which are "non-negotiable and expected of all articles and all editors". SaltyBoatr (talk) 15:40, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
It is also worth mentioning the other problems with this subsection. It opens with a statement about the opinions of anti-federalists, stated as fact, which is sourced to a blog run by two students from Trumbull High School which plainly fails to meet reliable sourcing standards appropriate for a high quality article like the 2A. Followed by an unsourced claim that this objection was "raised frequently". That is followed by a paragraph of quotes selectively drawn from a primary document synthesized to advance one point of view. Following that is an overly detailed description (albeit well sourced) of one isolated controversy in Pennsylvania favored by a fringe POV, which is given undue weight. SaltyBoatr (talk) 18:55, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
I've added the ratification statements (all of majorities, not small minorities as in PA) of the five states that appended statements requesting or demanding that Congress include a bill of rights. As of this revision, it's more NPOV w.r.t. WP:WEIGHT, but quite arguably much too lengthy. On the other hand, if we're to keep the PA material so as to shed light on the topic of the PA minority view widely quoted on the web today, the additional material from other states (perhaps further edited by other users, of course) is IMO needed to keep the section in perspective and reasonably balanced. ... Kenosis (talk) 21:35, 7 November 2009 (UTC) ... Here is an updated revision of this section as of 8 November 2009. ... Kenosis (talk) 18:45, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
I will give this more attention in detail in the coming days. It is much improved. I do think it misses the 'big picture' which is the sequence of events where: First, the country decided to abandon the Articles of Confederation and then they decided to create a Constitution System to replace the failed Confederation System. Secondly, a minority of people (like the strident Patrick Henry), objected to this shift in governmental structure. So third, as a compromise, it was decided to include a "bill of rights", one of which was the 2A. Presently this subsection, leading with the sentence "The prefatory clause..." jumps in at the third phase, and it is confusing to the readers to omit the sequence of the first and second phases. SaltyBoatr (talk) 21:35, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
RE 'the country decided to abandon the Articles of Confederation ... ": This may just be a semantic issue, but the way I remember the basic history is that the confederation was seen by the federalists as inadequate to serve the common interests of the states and the decision was to discuss and resolve the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. What the Constitution did was essentially change the classification of "state" from one of a loose-knit confederation of sovereign states or nation states to a unified country with federated states that would retain strong influence over their respective local issues, with the Bill of Rights serving to codify the latter concern. ... Kenosis (talk) 11:52, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
Rather than discuss the way I see it and the way you see it, lets look at a mainstream academic source like this text book[3]. The reasons and the opinions were varied in 1787, but the consensus then was to abandon the confederation and create a federalism. 80 years later the southern among them created another confederation, but that is a different article. The main sequence was 1) Abandoning the confederation, 2) Initiating a federalist consitution, 3) Writing a bill of rights (of which the 2A was part). This section of the article should convey that timeline. Yes, they tried and failed to fix the confederation prior to this and that could also be mentioned. Though in 1787, except for some strident anti-federalists like Patrick Henry, I think the WP:RS shows that the consensus was to abandon the old system that didn't work and start anew. SaltyBoatr (talk) 15:13, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
The provided source refers to "the need for revision of the Articles" and "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation", with the latter quote in the following context:

"When those who favored a weak central government realized that the [ Philadelphia Convention ] would actually take place, they endorsed the convention. They made sure, however, that the convention would be summoned for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation. Those in favor of a stronger national government had different ideas."

The authors of American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials then proceed with brief subsections about "Who Were the Delegates?", "The Working Environment", "Factions Among the Delegates", followed by a more lengthy subsection on "Politics and Compromise" and another more lengthy subsection on "Working Toward Final Agreement", and a short subsection on "the Final Document", after which they summarize "The Difficult Road to Ratification". The authors summarize separation of powers, checks and balances, etc. etc.
.....It appears to me the authors are saying the federalists were bent not on merely discarding the Articles of Confederation and finding out what happened next, but rather on replacing them with an entirely different and much more federalized approach that would behave more like a country than a loose-knit confederation. Of course one can read into this that the federalists were advocating "rip 'em up and throw 'em out", but so too were the most extreme anti-federalists, while the moderate federalists would appear to have wanted merely to revise the existing Articles of Confederation. The difference between the extreme camps, of course, was that after ripping them up, the federalists wanted to replace the Articles with a whole new approach.
..... So I'd want to recommend being cautious about delineating this as "1) Abandoning the confederation, 2) Initiating a federalist consitution, 3) Writing a bill of rights (of which the 2A was part)", because the sequence of #s 1 and 2 is very debatable. ... Kenosis (talk) 01:03, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

reqesting specific quote

"In Virginia, anti-federalist Patrick Henry stated during the opening debates of the Virginia Ratifying Convention that arms are required to secure rights and freedoms from those who would take them away.[56] ^ Elliot, Debates of the Several State Conventions 3:45, 3:47, 3:169"

The opening sentence (posted above) of the section recently restored[4] by SMP0328 is unclear what exactly Patrick Henry said in Elliot's Debate. Instead the article paraphrases Patrick Henry, telling us what he meant to say. This is a classic case of WP:SYN, selecting out quotes from primary documents and editorializing to advance a POV. We are not allowed to do this per WP:NOR policy. In this case it serves to advance the 'insurrectionist theory' of the Second Amendment as fact, when we should be presenting the insurrectionist theory as just one theory. SaltyBoatr (talk) 16:10, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Try reading the cite
  1. ^ Elliot's Debates, Vol. 3, p. 47: "My great objection to this government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights, or of waging war against tyrants."
  2. ^ Elliot's Debates, Vol. 3 page 51: "The honorable gentleman who presides told us that, to prevent abuses in our government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical, no longer a democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all? You read of a riot act in a country which is called one of the freest in the world, where a few neighbors cannot assemble without the risk of being shot by a hired soldiery, the engines of despotism. We may see such an act in America." (talk) 16:48, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
If its STILL unclear why not ADD the quotes themselves to the article. Should make it clearer. (talk) 16:51, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
You are describing the quotes from footnotes 57 and 58. My question is about footnote 56. Also, there remains open questions about the selective selection of these quotes from all the available quotes being violation of WP:SYN. Additionally, I question whether we are giving proper balance, as this entire subsection treats the 'insurrectionary theory' of the Second Amendment a presumed "fact". Instead we should describe the insurrectionist theory as one of the multiple theorys. SaltyBoatr (talk) 18:45, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Who don't you look it up? The volume and page numbers are provided. (talk) 19:14, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I tried to look it up and did not find it confirmed. What I see instead is editorial synthesis of a primary source, not allowed per WP:NOR policy. I am removing that one problematic "footnote 56" sentence. Should reliable third party sourcing be found, and if anti-federalist WP:UNDUE problems in that subsection are fixed, it can be restored. SaltyBoatr (talk) 18:31, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

"...delegates in some of the states insisted that the Constitution include a bill of rights. "

Can we improve the precision of the unsourced clause "..delegates in some of the states insisted that the Constitution include a bill of rights." which is presently in the article. With the heavy emphasis on quotes from Patrick Henry a reader of this article could think that Virginia insisted on a bill of rights conditional on their approval of the Constitution. Where the contrary actually occurred, the majority of the Virginia ratification delegation voted to approve the Constitution without "insisting the Constitution include a bill of rights". SaltyBoatr (talk) 16:54, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

trouble with the recently restored paragraph.

The recently restored[5] paragraph contains four sentences. The first two make claims that are not confirmed in the linked ref. The second set of two sentences have no referencing at all. Also, the first two uses weasel words that five states made 'explicit requests or demands'. This seems a POV push as, if I am not mistaken, only one state made demands and the other four actually were giving recommendations or instructions to their own congressmen. Also the last sentence is imprecise saying four states did this or did that. In any case this entire paragraph has problems with WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:POV. This needs fixing, citing, or removal. SaltyBoatr (talk) 03:34, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

It's a summary paragraph of the material that follows, which is well within our discretion at WP editors. All the material is referenced for each state that attached explicit requests (or in the case of NC, a demand upon which ratification was contingent). Click on the links in the footnotes for each state's material, and you'll see those states' ratification documents reproduced verbatim. ... Kenosis (talk) 11:40, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
OK, fine. I have revised some of the wording trying to make the paragraph more "summary" and less editorial, plus I removed the incongruous reference pointing to the SAF website which has unclear reliability. I am a bit uncomfortable relying on our editorial interpretation of the meanings of the primary documents of "each state's material", as we should be using third party sources. Feel free to tweak this wording towards an acceptable compromise. SaltyBoatr (talk) 17:11, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
All reasonable, and goes towards a better article in the end. To be candid, I'm not delighted we've needed to include as much material as is presently in the section of state ratification debates, but WP:Summary style is a guideline, while WP:NPOV and in particular WP:WEIGHT are core policy. If the proposed language of one state's minority are to be included, the proposed language of other states' majorities quite plainly must also be included in that section. ... Kenosis (talk) 20:55, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree, the larger WP:UNDUE problem I think is that we are giving emphasis to the minority opinions, without giving enough weight and in some cases without giving any weight to the majority opinions. SaltyBoatr (talk) 21:03, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Removed sentence

I've removed the following sentence:

"And, also of deep concern to many antifederalists, was Clause 16 which removed power from the states to "provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining" the militia because of a fear of a risk that the state militia could be rendered ineffective if or when the federal congress might chose not to fund the arming of the militia."

It repeats the material which is presently quoted in the article as "from Clause 15". If the point about "because of a fear of a risk that the state militia could be rendered ineffective if or when the federal congress might chose not to fund the arming of the militia" is deemed to be necessary in this WP article 2A, section 3 "Drafting and adoption of the Constitution", then OK, but please try to make it concise? Myself, I don't think it's needed because the following sentence already says

"These proposed new federal powers encountered strong distrust among a minority of people who were concerned about the risks inherent in centralized power, and they sought protection against these risks. A debate about this conflict ensued."

Also, there's no need to quote book, chapter and verse in the article, when the "Article X, Section Y, Clause Z" of the Constitution can quite readily be subsumed into the footnotes, merely quoting the relevant passages without violation of any WP editorial policy of which I'm presently aware. Moreover, it's material that belongs somewhere else than the point in the article's narrative that leads into the debate between federalists, antifederalists, and moderate bill of rights advocates. ... Kenosis (talk) 02:39, 16 November 2009 (UTC) ... May I suggest trying a concise rendering of the language of the then-proposed Constitution after the debate at the Philadelphia Convention after the conclusion of the paragraph about the debate between the federalists, outright antifederalists and moderate bill-of-rights advocates? ... Kenosis (talk) 03:21, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

After Kenosis' recent deletion[6], there are several important POV balancing points now suppressed. First it seems that this discussion belongs here in the article and not elsewhere as the elephant in the room in 1789 was the Constitution, immediately preceding and being the reason for the debate about needing a Bill of Rights. And central to that issue was the new militia clauses and the army clause in Article One of the Constitution. A modern 'individual rights' viewpoint favors surpressing discussion of those clauses, jumping directly to the Bill of Rights. (Favoring instead selective quotes from antifederalists published back then. This entire subsection presently is overweighted with those quotes.)
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights go hand in hand. The 1789 debate was about the Constitution shifting who controlled the military, (states' militia and federal army). This article emphasizes unduly on the arming of people causes bias towards the modern 'individual rights' viewpoint. We must also give a balanced coverage to the controversy over federal control of the military, standing army and state militia, which was arguable the center focus at that time. A 'modern individual rights' viewpoint prefers to gloss that the three clauses of the Constitution (12, 15 & 16) established federal control of the military (militia and army), and the compromise of the 2A in the bill of rights did little to mitigate the federal power shift. Ditto for the issue of debate over federal control of the funding the militia, which before and after the 2A remained to be federal. Suppression of this central aspect of the 1789 controversy is favored by the modern individual rights viewpoint as being too militia centric. We have a duty to represent both the individual rights viewpoint and the militia based viewpoint and the article suffers from removal of these sentences. In a nutshell, we must also present the big picture of the federal power shift that occurred at this time involved interplay of the militia clauses and army clause of the Constitution in juxtaposition to the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights. SaltyBoatr (talk) 17:56, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
Come to think of it, you're right, and probably had it in the right place in the article too. I just didn't know how to clean up the existing text, which read confusingly to me. How about putting it back in the second paragraph of [[7]] after the first sentence which reads:

"It quickly became apparent that the solution to the first problem, security from invasion and security from interstate conflict and insurrections, would require shifting control of the state militia to the federal congress and giving power to the federal congress to raise a standing army. "

with only a straightforward quotation of the two important clauses the Convention put into the Constitution to attempt to achieve the objective described in that first sentence. E.g. "This became codified in Article 1, Section 8, as follows: [insert quoted clauses]" If presented as quotations, it would create the functional equivalent of a new paragraph at "These proposed new federal powers encountered strong distrust among a minority of people who were concerned about the risks ... " and probably be a good bit less confusing to read. IMO. ... Kenosis (talk) 00:05, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
I will give it a shot, though I am also liking your earlier suggestion of putting at least some of the detailed wording down in 'quote=' parameter of the <ref> footnote at the bottom. You were right about my attempt at inserting this text being worded clumsily and confusing. The idea should be worded more clearly but it is difficult to distill these complex ideas into simply wording. SaltyBoatr (talk) 16:22, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Also, it was the series of clauses (Article 1, Section 8, clauses 12-16?) that addressed the issue that led to the Convention (difficulties in organizing to suppress an insurrection as had just occurred in Massachusetts, and a presumed inability to suppress a foreign invasion and/or deal with interstate conflict):

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Maybe it might be reasonable to refer to it as Article 1, Section 8, and just string the first four clauses of the group into one quoted paragraph separated only by semicolons, and the last in a separate paragraph just to keep things as simply formatted as possible, leaving further details to a footnote? ... Kenosis (talk) 19:18, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
If it's to be presented verbatim from the Constitution, here's one possible way of doing it:
It quickly became apparent that the solution to the first problem, security from invasion and security from interstate conflict and insurrections, would require shifting control of the state militia to the federal congress and giving power to the federal congress to raise a standing army. This became codified on Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution:

The Congress shall have power to ... provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; ... (12) To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years; (13) To provide and maintain a navy; (14) To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces; (15) To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions; (16) To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.

These proposed new federal powers encountered strong distrust among a minority of people who were concerned about the risks inherent in centralized power, and they sought protection against these risks. A debate about this conflict ensued. Federalists such as James Madison initially argued that a bill of rights was unnecessary, asserting that the federal government could never raise a standing army powerful enough to overcome a militia.[1] Similarly, Federalist Noah Webster argued that an armed populace would have no trouble resisting the potential threat to liberty of a standing army.[2][3] Madison would later become a leading advocate for the United States Bill of Rights.

Anti-Federalists supported a proposal to amend the Constitution with clearly defined and enumerated rights to provide further constraints on the new government and to protect against a risk of the new federal government disarming the state militias, while proponents felt shifting power over the militias to the federal was prudent and that by listing only certain rights, other unlisted rights would fail to be protected. Amidst this debate, a compromise was reached, and James Madison drafted what ultimately became the United States Bill of Rights, which was proposed to the Congress on June 8, 1789.

IMO, anything more detailed than this should be done with a "see-also" or "main article"... Kenosis (talk) 00:10, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
This summary section is looking much better now. I am looking at each of the state subsections just below and am wondering what are the reason(s) for inclusion, and what are the main point(s) to make. And, do those state subsections properly balance the POV's. It seems that these state summaries must strike a proportional balance between federalist viewpoints and antifederalist viewpoints, in proportion to the miniority-majority balance ratio. Presently it seems to disproportionately focus on the minority antifederalist viewpoints in the selection of which states to include and within states included. SaltyBoatr (talk) 18:29, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

"Similar language appears in many Revolutionary Era state constitutions." sourcing???

I think we need to fact check the sentence: "Similar language appears in many Revolutionary Era state constitutions.". Firstly, it probably is improper to call the Virginia Declaration of Rights a constitution. And, what is important is how many state constitutions were precedent to the federal Constitution, and of these how many has this precedent language. I don't know off the top of my head, but I am guessing that this language (which does exist in quite a few subsequent state constitutions) was not actually precedent to the federal Bill of Rights in "many". In any case, we should quantify "many" and get this sentence fact checked based on reliable sourcing, and presently it is not. SaltyBoatr (talk) 19:32, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

That passage in the article definitely needs to be cited to a reliable source. Similarly with the statement that the prefatory clause is a shortened version of the arms-related passage of the VA Declaration of Rights, because it's not universally agreed to be merely a prefatory clause in the 2A, and also because the article hasn't yet introduced the debate about the function of the first clause. I'd stopped short of removing it per WP:PRESERVE. Either way, I'm not sure this statement about the Declaration being a precedent to the Second Amendment is needed in the context of the VA subsection of the section on state ratification convention debates. ... Kenosis (talk) 19:55, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
And the tangential question, what is the point of these 'State Constitutional ratifying debates' subsections? In Virginia, the ratification 1788 debate was about the 1788 Constitution, not about the earlier 1776 Virginia declaration of rights, nor about the later federal Bill of Rights debates which were separate and distinct. Indeed, the debate over the ratification of the Constitution was distinct from the debate over the ratification of the federal Bill of Rights amendments. This whole section is sloppy and blurs the distinction, giving instead emphasis to antifederalist 'pro-gun' snippet quotes, which are too often trumpeted out of context to bolster an modern gun rights agenda based on fuzzy originalism fabricated from carefully selective quoting of out of context snippets of 'founding fatherisms' cut from the gun rights advocacy blogs and gun show pamphlets. We should do better than that by avoiding the selective WP:SYN quoting from primary documents, sticking with high quality third party reliable sourcing. SaltyBoatr (talk) 20:16, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, some ways back someone started a section on the ratifying convention debates and it remained a short subsection until recently, when the Pennsylvania minority material was added amidst a great deal of wild argument, a move supported by User:Trasel and perhaps others. (The PA minority material has been widely circulated on the web in support of the position of proponents of individual gun rights with the implication that it has some weight of authority.) Now it is part of the article unless a consensus can be reached to remove it. The majority proposals of the other five states for the language of the bill of rights relating to arms have since been included so as to achieve WP:NPOV. ... Kenosis (talk) 20:34, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Except, it has been established here that the so called Pennsylvanian minority material was not actually part of the formal Constitutional ratification debate. It might belong elsewhere in the article, perhaps in a new section making comparison between federalist and antifederalist opinions, but it is improper to call it part of any formal ratification debate. And, the five other states' material you added appear entirely drawn from primary documents and as such really shouldn't be included in an article because, without reliable third party sourcing, it would violate WP:NOR policy. SaltyBoatr (talk) 21:45, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
W.r.t. WP:PSTS (part of WP:NOR) the inclusion of the quotations from various states in that section doesn't go against the policy.:

"Primary sources that have been reliably published (for example, by a university press or mainstream newspaper) may be used in Wikipedia, but only with care, because it is easy to misuse them. Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation. Without a secondary source, a primary source may be used only to make descriptive claims, the accuracy of which is verifiable by a reasonable, educated person without specialist knowledge. For example, an article about a novel may cite passages from the novel to describe the plot, but any interpretation of those passages needs a secondary source. Do not make analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims about information found in a primary source."

Nonetheless if there's a potential consensus to remove that whole section on ratifying convention debates and place the first paragraph into the section on Drafting and adoption of the Constitution, I'd certainly not complain. ... Kenosis (talk) 22:54, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
It may have been inadvertent. But, I believe that by selecting just the antifederalist quotes that pertain to (individual) arms, and by not selecting the quotes of the federalist opinions that favored taking federal control over the militias and establishing a federal standing army; you have synthesized. Objectively, the majority opinion at that time (by virtue of the result, majority ratification of Article 1, Section 8) we can safely conclude that the majority favored a standing army and a strong federally funded and centrally controlled militia. Yet, reading the the article with the quotes you chose to select, (and not the federalist you omitted), a reader gets the impression that the antifederalist viewpoint was the dominant viewpoint. SaltyBoatr (talk) 23:49, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Those last five states to ratify--New Hampshire, Virginia, New York which followed the Massachusetts example but with written proposals for language in the Bill of Rights, plus North Carolina which made its ratification contingent on a Bill of Rights, and Rhode Island which ratified after the Bill already passed Congress--are the only official written statements on the issue that emanated from any of the states. It has little to do with federalist vs. anti-federalists, because in the end even the majority of federalists supported a bill of rights, otherwise Congress wouldn't have passed the Bill. So I stand by my position-- if the PA minority is in there, so should be the other states' majority proposals for language of what ultimately became the Second Amendment. On the other hand, if there are other official statements that arose from the ratifying conventions, I'd sure support their reproduction in the article.
..... Lacking a consensus to remove this mass of advisory material from the state conventions, which primarily serves to help clarify the widespread usage of the words "keep and bear arms" in that day, and does little or nothing to help clarify any other debates of today such as whether it's only a state's right or is also an individual right, I'd think it might be time to start a daughter article and just link to it. Care to do the honors? ... Kenosis (talk) 01:14, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

[outdent] I don't understand the reasoning for calling this "debates" then, when you are not writing of debates, but rather limiting it to "written statements" of just the states in opposition. As to the so called "Pennsylvania minority" it was not part of the formal debate, I don't think it should be in the article, in this "ratification debate" subsection at least. I disagree that your selection of quotes serves to clarify the words "keep and bear arms", why do you think that is the case? There is already exhaustive coverage of the various meanings of that term, using reliable secondary sourcing so your use of primary sources is unneeded. And, I don't volunteer to start any daughter article based just on quotes from primary sources.

If we are to actually have this cover the "ratification debates" we should do so, and base it on reliable sourcing. May I suggest the excellent summary written by the historian Isaac Kramnick, the 30 page introduction to the 1987 reprint of the Federalist Papers? (search for ISBN 9780140444957) For instance, per that sourcing; a major issue at the debate was the widespread contempt for the weakness and failures of the existing state legislatures. Also per that sourcing, a key central issue was the ineptitude and failure to quickly suppress Shays Insurrection, and that revolt was about relief of debt. We can do better if we delete the WP:OR primary document selective quotes and start over using third party sourcing. SaltyBoatr (talk) 02:58, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

I've given my own best shot today at trying to reorganize the recently developed bloat in a series of edits starting from this edit through this edit. while removing extremely little of the existing material. TBH, I think it's time to gut this section about "State ratifying convention debates" and put it here on Talk in case it's useful in starting a new article that could potentially be linked from this article. ... Kenosis (talk) 03:35, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
What you have just done is a significant improvement, though I would like to sleep on it. I am of mixed opinion about gutting it or fixing it. On one hand, I can hear arguments that it is relevant to the origin of the 2A, but on the other hand it is troubling that the passage lacks better third party sourcing. Also, it is troubling that it gives the impression that the Bill of Rights was dominant in the ratification deliberations, nines states were needed to ratify, and nine states ratified without recommending a Bill of Rights. Virginia, the tenth, was the first to recommended a Bill of Rights (and the subsequent states). SaltyBoatr (talk) 03:50, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Based on several time-consuming attempts at keeping in accord both with the core content policies such as WP:NPOV, WP:WEIGHT and guidelines such as WP:Summary style, in accordance with the guideline WP:BOLD and in violation of no policies I can think of, I've removed the whole bloated section on "State ratifying convention debates" and am placing it here in case it's useful in a separate article, e.g., State convention statements in the United States relating to the Second Amendment, or some such title. Here's the existing material, which might help to encourage other established WP users to participate in arriving at a consensus on this (not that I'm holding my breath):
===State Constitutional ratifying debates===
In order for the Constitution to be declared as ratified, nine of the thirteen states were needed to vote in favor; though as a practical matter "a viable Union would be unthinkable without New York and Virginia—two states where Antifederalism was strong and demand for a bill of rights was widespread."[4] Almost immediately, five states—Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut—voted to ratify without conditions, solidly supporting the new Constitution. Massachusetts, the second largest state at the time, was divided and after three weeks of debate it was agreed it would ratify the Constitution without conditions, but it would require its Representatives to seek Congressional passage of a bill a rights at the First Congress. Following the Massachusetts example, six of the remaining seven also voted to approve the Constitution without conditions, while requiring their respective Representatives to seek the Congressional passage of a bill of rights at the First Congress. Two states postponed final action on the Constitution until after the Bill of Rights was submitted to the states for ratification.[5]
====Pennsylvania minority proposal====
During the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention (it was the first state to begin its convention and the second state to officially ratify) a leader of the opposing minority named Robert Whitehill prepared a document that included two proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution relating to bearing arms and the militia.[6] The proposal, which never reached the floor of the Pennsylvania convention, advocated reducing the federal government's power to organize and command a militia to less than it was in the already existing Articles of Confederation:[7]

"That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game, and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to and be governed by the civil powers."

"That the power of organizing, arming and disciplining the militia (the manner of disciplining the militia to be prescribed by Congress) remain with the individual states, and that Congress shall not have authority to call or march any of the militia out of their own state, without the consent of such state, and for such length of time only as such state shall agree.[8]

This dissenting material in Pennsylvania represented an anti-federalist view which proposed to remove the federal government's power to organize and command a militia and instead return the right to the states to decide when and where troops from the individual states would bear arms for national defense.[9] After the convention adjourned, Whitehill's "bill of rights" was published by fellow anti-federalist Samuel Bryan as part of a compilation of dissenting material which never reached the convention floor in Pennsylvania.[10][11][12][13][14]
====Majority proposals for specific language by the last states to ratify====
The ratifying conventions in four of the last five states among the original thirteen included written requests to the Congress in their ratification documents, and one state explicitly demanded that the Constitution protect state-based rights of the people to keep and bear arms. Four of these states—New Hampshire, Virginia, New York and Rhode Island—attached proposals to the new Congress for suggested bills of rights to be added to the Constitution. North Carolina refused to ratify the Constitution until after the Congress had passed a bill of rights and submitted it to the states for ratification. Four of these states also mentioned that a well-regulated militia consists of "the body of the people trained to arms" or "the body of the people capable of bearing arms".
=====New Hampshire=====
New Hampshire's ratification document, dated June 23, 1788, ratified the Constitution without modification, though it recommended twelve alterations in order to "remove the fears & quiet the apprehensions of many of the good People of this State".[15] The document contained two provisions relating to arms which recommended to Congress:

"That no Standing Army shall be Kept up in Time of Peace, unless with the consent of three fourths of the Members of each branch of Congress nor shall Soldiers in Time of Peace be Quartered upon private Houses without the Consent of the Owners."

"Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion "[16]

The opening clause of the Second Amendment ("A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State," ) is a shortened version of language found in the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights.

"That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power."[17]

During the opening debates of the Virginia Ratifying Convention, anti-federalist Patrick Henry asked how the people could resist tyrants if their arms had been taken from them by this new federal power system created by a federal Constitution replacing the existing state based power system of the Articles of Confederation.[18][19] Many delegates who were in generally in favor of the Constitution were concerned that it did not contain a list of guaranteed rights. George Mason proposed a bill of rights similar to the Virginia Declaration of Rights, of which he had been the principal author.[20][21] Virginia's final ratification document, dated June 26, 1788, included a statement that "recommended to the consideration" of the first assembled Congress a "declaration or bill of rights".[22] The paragraph relating to arms reads as follows:

"That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power."[23][24]

=====New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island=====
New York was the last state to ratify the Constitution without condition prior to actual passage of the Bill of Rights. Its recommendation to Congress relating to bearing arms, dated July 26, 1788, reads as follows:

"That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state."[25]

North Carolina refused to ratify the Constitution and submitted a bill of "unalienable rights of the people" that must be protected before they would sign.[26] After the Congress approved the Bill of Rights and submitted it to the states for ratification, North Carolina ratified the Constitution in 1789. The state convention's proposed article relating to arms, dated August 1, 1788, reads as follows:

"That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power."[27]

Rhode Island held its Constitutional ratification convention in 1790, after Congress had already passed the Bill of Rights but prior to the Bill's ratification. Included in its recommendations to Congress were three paragraphs relating to bearing arms:

"As standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in cases of necessity, and as, at all times, the military should be under strict subordination to the civil power, that, therefore, no standing army or regular troops shall be raised or kept up in time of peace.

"That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well- regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that the militia shall not be subject to martial law, except in time of war, rebellion, or insurrection; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in cases of necessity; and that, at all times, the military should be under strict subordination to the civil power; that, in time of peace, no soldier ought to be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, and in time of war only by the civil magistrates, in such manner as the law directs."

"That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead."[28]

There's the material. Hopefully it's useful elsewhere. ... Kenosis (talk) 04:24, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
I a OK with this shift of text to the talk page, as I think that meticulously sticking with the core WP:Policies is paramount and prudent. I recognize that this is hard work and judging from the readily apparent improvements in the quality of the article, the results of this hard work are appreciated. SaltyBoatr (talk) 16:06, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

some glarring errors in the article

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The article is rife with errors and some are so obvious I can't quite believe that they are in a wiki article.

For instance, Alexander Hamilton is listed as being from Virginia - He was from NY

The comment that the Founding Fathers favored "democratic government" per the quote "deterring undemocratic government;" is laughable to anyone who has read some history. The Founding Fathers despised "democracy", some probably more then they despised "tyranny" since they considered it "rule of the mob". Hamilton who supported a strong central government probably fell into that camp.

James Madison, the writer of the Constitution, for instance states

Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would at the same time be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”

Hamilton's state of origin needs to be corrected from Virginia to NY and the statement deterring undemocratic governmentneeds to be changed to something like deterring tyrannical government" (talk) 14:40, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

while the reference to Hamilton being from Virginia has been fixed, the "undemocratic" comment remains and needs to be fixed. (talk) 23:47, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

i think th is is all good info —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:24, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

This also seems wrong - As a result, these Patriots established independent colonial legislatures to create their own militias which excluded the Loyalists and then sought out to stock up independent armories for their militias. - My memory of high school history is that George Washington fought in the French and Indian Wars, as a member of the Virginia Militia. The militias were not created by the legislatures but were pre-existing as a carryover from English practices and for protection against Indian raids, French attacks and even possible attacks by pirate and freebooters not above raiding a town for its valuables or even for food and drink. Also, I have no memory of anything that states that the Battles of Lexington and Concord were fought by one of two militias defending those towns or that one of those militias joined and fought with the British troops. (talk) 14:58, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

changed "undemocratic" to "tyrranical" myself

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only to run into interference.

Anyone who objects to that change should try to find favorable comments by any of the founding fathers for democracy. They are at most few and far between. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:01, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Also think that "slave control" was not much of an issue at the time. I have never heard of it as an issue prior to reading this article. (talk) 17:04, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

As noted in the edit summary by the editor who reverted you:

The source says "undemocratic", not: "'tyrannical"

A similar note was left by me on your talk page. Please do not engage in original research or synthesis. --4wajzkd02 (talk) 17:46, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations/ and User_talk:Tedder/Archive_4#Multiple_IP_.22socks.22_at_Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution. --4wajzkd02 (talk) 19:35, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Straw Purchase

The article states A "straw purchase" occurs when someone eligible to purchase a firearm buys one for an ineligible person.

According to Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, ATF P 5300.4 - Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide 2005 (Revised - 9/05)] Page 165. a "straw purchase" is when the purchaser of the gun on the Form 4473 is not the actual buyer, whether the gun is bought for an ineligible or eligible person, with one exception: when the purchaser is buying the gun in good faith as a bona fide gift for an eligible person. Courts have inconsistently ruled that it is not a "straw purchase" to buy a gun for someone who could legally buy the gun themselves (that the intent of Congress was to prevent someone eligible to purchase a firearm from buying one for an ineligible person) but that is not how ATF enforces the law, and testing the ATF's interpretation at the appeals court level is expensive. Naaman Brown (talk) 21:11, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

The direct quote from the cite UCLA Law Review Paper (pg 15) is: "Individuals charged with making illegal “straw” purchases—whereby someone eligible to purchase a firearm buys one for an ineligible person—have raised unsuccessful Second Amendment challenges,..." And, the point is that in the post-Heller era, that challenges to federal straw purchase law based on Heller precedence have been denied, specifically with the case United States v. Bledsoe. I am guessing that you are thinking of court cases that precede Heller? The point being made here is that the Heller ruling did not affect the constitutionality of the "straw purchase" vis a vis the law specifically challenged by Bledsoe. SaltyBoatr (talk) 21:50, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

United States v. Skoien

I have removed the reference to United States v. Skoien in the Judicial interpretations section's Federal circuit court cases after Heller subsection, because the Seventh Circuit has decided to rehear that case en banc. This results in the panel decision formally referenced in that subsection being vacated and so that panel decision is void. Source SMP0328. (talk) 22:53, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Recent IP edits has made several edits today which are troubling. First, they added yet another argument to the troubled Meaning of "to keep and bear arms" section. That section is already an example of participating in the dispute rather than describing the dispute; another "no, it doesn't" is not needed. Next, the editor collapsed the list at the beginning of the Experience in America prior to the U.S. Constitution section which was the result of so much discussion last year. That change also removed cited content, broke named references and left a closing tag visible. Now, the editor appears to be edit warring over the removal of cited content at the end of the English history and common law section. All of these changes have been without explanation. Does any of this improve the article? Celestra (talk) 20:48, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

These proposed edits should really be discussed here on the talk page instead of being a source of an edit war. Glancing at the page history it appears that the AnonIP has made five reverts in roughly 24 hours, including one made ten minutes after a warning on his/her talk page. That probably warrants inviting an administrator from the WP:AN3 to review this matter. SaltyBoatr (talk) 20:55, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I only count three reverts; the other diffs appear to be new changes. Celestra (talk) 21:31, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

District of Columbia v. Heller

"The dissenting justices were unpersuaded by this argument.[163]"

What the F&^k is this? If the dissenting justices were persuaded, then they wouldn't have been dissenting justices. It's trash like this, included only to try to strengthen one side of an argument, that gives Wikipedia a bad name. In fact nearly all the references in this section are of the dissenting opinion. Why? This was the minority opinion and thus, should not be given weight over the majority.

How stupid do we think Wikipedia users are? The dissenting justices are always unpersuaded by the majorities argument. Are we going to add this little footnote to every section referencing every supreme court case? And please don't give me that "but It's cited" B.S, being cited doesn't make it valid information.

Let's remove at least this stupid line that only serves to try to weaken the validity of the majority opinion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:26, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

English Common Law DID permit the general populace to bear arms! (contrary to recent edits and one source)

I see that a recent edit by User:SaltyBoatr has added a claim that English common law did NOT permit the general populace to bear arms. Clearly we have ONE claim (sourced to an American writer St. George Tucker, who states

"Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction. In England, the people have been disarmed, generally, under the specious pretext of preserving the game: a never failing lure to bring over the landed aristocracy to support any measure, under that mask, though calculated for very different purposes. True it is, their bill of rights seems at first view to counteract this policy: but the right of bearing arms is confined to protestants, and the words suitable to their condition and degree, have been interpreted to authorise the prohibition of keeping a gun or other engine for the destruction of game, to any farmer, or inferior tradesman, or other person not qualified to kill game. So that not one man in five hundred can keep a gun in his house without being subject to a penalty"

This is somewhat troubling for several reasons.

Here we have ONE OBSERVER (a lawyer in Virginia as it happens) making a comment about the situation he believes is extant in England. He claims that the Bill of Rights only gives right to Protestants and is CONFINED TO THEM. Technically speaking the first statement is true. The second statement is not true. he Bill of Rights was a settlement with a king which was intended for the King to recognize the rights of protestants to arm themselves (the protestants having been under the threat of a re-assertment of Roman Catholicism with the fear that this might be imposed. The Bill of Rights DID NOT take away the rights of anyone else to bear arms. People at the time already had the right to bear arms to defend themselves and some had an obligation to defend the king (and due to the stripping of the powers of the King in the Bill of Rights, this was beginning to transfer to Parliament in the name of the King).

His second troubling claim is that prohibitions on certain gaming activities led to an interpretation that there were prohibitions on the use of guns and other weapons to kill game. The situation regarding gaming and the use of guns and dogs was quite problematic in England because there was a general right to use a weapon to kill game but there was no right of pursuit onto private proprty to retrieve it. This led to a great deal of disputes between gamers and those poachers who retrieved game from land other than their own. The situation is quite well summarized in the 1911 Enclopaedia Britannia. See As soon as parliament started passing laws regarding gun licensing in the late 19th and early 20th century that the common law right to keep forearms began to be restricted. As soon as THESE laws were passed, the common law right was replaced with permissions. Tucker seemingly writing in 1803, many years before the system of licencing was introduced so it is very hard to know what he was referring to when he states "not one man in five hundred can keep a gun in his house without being subject to a penalty". My guess is either that this was in a later edition or else Tucker was simply wrong. IN ANY CASE, ANY WORDS. SUCH AS THOSE ADDED TODAY THAT INDICATE THAT ONLY SOME PEOPLE IN ENGLAND HAD A COMMON LAW RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS IS SIMPLY UNTRUE until the licencing laws extinguished the common law right. There certainly was such a right at the time of the adoption of the second amendment and for many years afterwards.

I think we must stick to the wording of English laws when stating what is and what is not the law of England. The words of one man, lawyer or not, writing in Virginia many thousands of miles away is not authoritative on the laws of England. This may have been in Blackstones but it is in a minor note and clearly seems to express opinion without reference to sources.--Hauskalainen (talk) 18:17, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

There must me a misunderstanding. I think you are describing text in the article that has existed in a stable state for approximately two years. This text I think generally matches the book ISBN 0-674-89307-7 by Joyce Lee Malcolm, which in my opinion, and the opinion of many neutral observers is the paramount scholarly work on the history of the English right to bear arms. Professor Malcolm is generally viewed as holding a roughly neutral point of view, leaning slightly towards the "individual right" viewpoint. Regarding the issue of arms use for "killing game" I recommend reading the Joyce book, and also the book by Alexander DeConde ISBN 1-55553-486-4, I believe it fair to describe both these books as examining the prohibitions, and resistance towards the use of arms and gunpowder laws in attempts to control poaching on royal land. SaltyBoatr (talk) 18:54, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Whether the text has been in the article for 2 years or not, it has to meet the test of verifiability. You refer me to the Joyce book which is not accessible to me. That should not be important because Joyce herself must have sources for any claims she makes. A law regarding poaching is not a law prohibiting the possession of weapons generally for one's one defense. Tucker gives no source for his assertions. What about Joyce Malcolm? And what makes you think that a prohibition on the use of firearms on royal land constitutes a general prohibition on the right to weapons. English common law would permit anyone to have a weapon until it became prohibited. And my understanding is that did not start to happen until the 19th century and not in a major way until the 20th century. For the assertions you inserted to be true it would have to be an order of the king in medieval times and by order of parliament after the glorious revolution. Which is it? And what in particular happened to remove the general right to bear arms if it happened before the period I have indicated? It must be verifiable.--Hauskalainen (talk) 21:09, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
The book should be available at a library. That is access. Some book citations also have a convenience link, but that is not required to satisfy verifiability of this reliable source. Your suggestion about the sources Joye used for the book suggest a misunderstanding of verifiability; we do not need to, nor are we permitted to, go back to those sources to see if we agree with the conclusions Joyce reached. That would be OR. We just have to refer to a portion of that reliable source to include the claim which Joyce made. Celestra (talk) 21:33, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Hauskalainen, I can tell that you have a deep interest and pay close attention to the issue of the right to bear arms. I encourage you to look up and read the Joyce Lee Malcolm book as you will find it to be carefully researched and intriguing. Also, I recommend that you take a look at the book by Alexander DeConde because it also includes much fascinating detail and analysis about the history of the right of the right to bear arms. Both of these books are meticulously researched and are excellent resources for the history behind the topic of this article. SaltyBoatr (talk) 22:12, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

(outdent). @SaltyBoatr Clearly you have access to this book, I do not. If you have the text available, then all you need to do to assuage the rest of us is to let us know what it says on this point. What are the references? She is an academic. She must have given references. Similarly with the DeConde book. I am fairly sure that the common law right to bear arms for personal defense within Great Britain did not begin to be diminished until the early 1800s when certain persons deemed to be "vagabonds" and found to have been carrying a weapon were deemed to have committed an offence. As far as I know this was the first encroachment into the right to bear arms. If there is an earlier act or acts then what are they? --Hauskalainen (talk) 12:55, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

WP:V does not insist that a source must be available online, and AFAIK never has. Of course if a citation to a book lacks page numbers, it might be useful to insist on a page number. We're not obliged to page through an entire book to find a questioned passage. The relevant policy is at Wikipedia:V#Burden_of_evidence. ... Kenosis (talk) 16:35, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

@Celestra. I am well aware of WP policy regarding sources. All I am asking is how the texts support the claim. The text is written by an academic and would have given an original source. If she did that is fine. If she did not, then the claim has to be open to question until someone else can provide a substantial basis for it. I am not asking for the Joyce reference to replaced with an earlier source; just for the basis of the claim made that some persons in Great Britain did not have the right to bear arms at the time the second amendment was written. If that is in Joyce, what is it based on? We have it from Tucker that not one person in five in England could possess a gun without fear of a penalty. If that assertion is true it has to be founded on something. What is it? If nobody can point to what it is, then it puts Tucker's own assertions in doubt. Royal proclamations and laws passed by parliament are pretty well documented. If the claim is capable of being substantiated it has to be based on official records and not the claim of a single lawyer thousands of miles away in Virginia. --Hauskalainen (talk) 12:55, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with the policy which allows an editor to question the basis for claims made in reliable sources. The only valid concerns are whether the book is a reliable source and whether the content in the article correctly represents the claims in the source. I'm willing to assume good faith that the content is supported, but you are welcome to obtain a copy of the book and test that assumption if you'd like. Arguments around what she based her claims on are moot. If you think she is mistaken, you would need to find an equally reliable source which has a conflicting claim and we would have to decide how to capture both claims in the article. And remember, you are asking an editor to defend content which was restored after its unexplained removal. There is no burden to support restoral; the burden would be on the editor who wants to remove the content to establish a new consensus that the content is no longer required. Celestra (talk) 13:53, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
My primary question is about what the source actually says. It is either in the source (in which case the person with access to the source ought to be able to point out to us what is actually says, where it says it, and what is the basis for the author's assertion), or else it is not in the source. I am not at this point able to examine the veracity of a claim that exists in Wikipedia. I don't really mind who it is who supplied the information in the first place. I am not "getting at" SaltyBoatr if that is what you mean. If nobody has access to the source then it cannot be substantiated. And if no editor is able to substantiate the source for a text in the encylopedia then frankly the content which it underpins should not be included either. Just for clarity, the issue at stake here at this stage is WP:VER and not WP:RS --Hauskalainen (talk) 14:21, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

The book by Professor Malcolm is easily available to view online via Google Books, and it is available in many local libraries, and it easily and cheaply available for purchase from online used book vendors[8]. I think it fair to say that she writes that a personal right to weapons did not exist in common law prior to the establishment of the right for certain Protestants circa 1689. Prior to that there was a duty to be armed for service to the crown, but not a right. SaltyBoatr (talk) 15:01, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I just removed the text describing "ancient liberties to hold arms"[9] because it needs some improvement on sourcing. Bear in mind that during most of this 'ancient period' the concept of personal liberties were quite restricted due to serfdom, which was a form of slavery. It wasn't until the period of the Enlightenment that a concept of personal liberties came into being in Britain. SaltyBoatr (talk) 15:28, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I get the feeling that the problem is getting to be WP:ICAN'THEARYOU. The source, a book, is accessible. If you want to test the assumption of good faith that the original editor faithfully captured the claim, you can go get a copy of the book. If SB were adding this content, it _might_ be reasonable to ask for a quote, but that isn't the case here. Even if it were, we are not allowed to explore "the basis for the author's assertion." If you want to establish a consensus for removing this cited content, the burden is on you to show that the source is unreliable or does not make the claim. I'm not accusing you of "getting at" SB, just misunderstanding who has the burden of proof about this. Celestra (talk) 15:39, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

NMo, this is not a case of "I don't hear you" and as it happens I have been reading the relevant chapter via Google Books and it still does not support the claim which Salty makes. See the new section I have added about Joyce Lee Malcolm's writings. I actually agree with most of what she says. She does not explicitly claim that there were no such rights prior to the English Bill of Rights at all. What she says in two places confers that this was a guarantee of rights, though she does rather confusingly refer to "since 1689" in relation to the right which I agree implies that the right was not extant, which is not true. If there was no right before this time, some law or decree would have made it so. This is not the case to the best of my knowledge. The slip she made is an easy one to make in the context of a history of written constitutions and explicitly written rights. Though it is true that the right had not been written down, the Common Law provides that everything is lawful unless it is has been previously made unlawful. That no law or decree prior to the 1800s had restricted the right of access to arms for self defense means that there was already a comman law right to arms, irrespective of the wording in the English Bill of Rights.--Hauskalainen (talk) 16:25, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps we could go forward with this discussion if you were to identify the sourcing of your belief that "Common Law provides that everything is lawful unless it is has been previously made unlawful.". This may be true now in the 21st Century, but I would be surprised it was true prior to the Age of Enlightenment, (and the genesis of the concept of personal liberty) and that is the time period being being discussed in the article section. SaltyBoatr (talk) 19:38, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

See my comments at the end of the next section. I do now accept that Parliament passed a gaming preservation law which did indeed restrict gun ownership to restrict game hunting in England to those with a land interest or else employed to enforce that interest. I was clearly not previously aware of this. In practice of course this did restrict the ownership of a gun for self defense, but it would not have restricted the general right of all persons in common law to use arms for self defense (albeit in practice it meant that certain persons would not have had ready access to a gun for that purpose). I am on fairly certain grounds about the Common Law and I do not see any benefit in discussing the Age of Enlightment in this context as it has no relevance (unless Salty wishes to pursue his claim). --Hauskalainen (talk) 22:44, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Primary Sources and Original Research

Primary sources may only be used descriptively; they may not be used as a basis for a broader claim. You are pointing at one set of laws and claiming that reference supports a broad conclusion. It is equivalent to my pointing at a single law having a certain penalty and concluding that penalty is due to that law. Please leave the research and drawing of conclusions to the secondary sources and capture those sources' conclusions. Celestra (talk) 16:30, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Firstly thanks for restoring the text that I accidentally deleted. I had been editing with a friend's i-phone and the damn thing accidently dropped half the text. That never happens when I edit with my Nokia!
Secondly, the problem I have with your text is that it is misleading and false. It states that some persons in England at the time of the writing of the Second Amendment had no right to bear arms. That is completely false. Here is why.
In England at the time there was (as there still is today) in common law,
"auxiliary right of the fubject, ...(being).. that of having arms for their defence, fuitable to their condition and degree, and fuch as are allowed by law. Which is alfo declared by the fame ftatute 1 W. & M. ft. 2. c. 2. and is indeed a public allowance, under due reftrictions, of the natural right of refiftance and felf-prefervation, when the fanctions of fociety and laws are found infufficient to reftrain the violence of oppreffion. " (Blackstone 1765, Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book the First - Chapter the First : Of the Absolute Rights of Individuals)
That right is qualified as being those arms "suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law." Those laws being at the time ones restricting access to certain classes of arms (towit guns) for the landed classes only and their authorized gamekeepers for the preservation of their gaming rights; and earlier preventing certain Catholics from holding firearms (lest they be used to usurp the authority of parliament- thought the latter was a temporary scare which

did not last long).

The basic rule is that there is a common law right to have arms but the rule is qualified by law. As I see it that is the case in the U.S. with law today. Is it not the case that the right to bear arms in the U.S. is not absolute but qualified by law on the suitabilty of the person and the suitabilty of the arm? I am fairly sure I would not be allowed to run around Ohio with a dirty bomb under my arm (suitable for their condition or degree) or be permitted to carry a gun if I was a former felon who had used firearms to commit an offense (as restricted by state licensing laws). The only difference is that the U.S. drafters of the constitution (wisely or unwisely depending on your point of view) wrote the English Comon Law right into the Second Amendment and an appointed Supreme Court has allowed States to set conditions by law over that right. In England it is the elected Parliament that has modified the Common Law rights.
The Common law of England, just as with the Constitution of the United States, protects a person's right to bear arms to defend himself and his property. Only the laws amending that right differ by degree. --Hauskalainen (talk) 21:37, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Could we start by identifying your sources? I believe that your interpretation of the Blackstone Commentary from 1765 is a form of original research. Have you had a chance to read the Harvard University Press book, ISBN 0-674-89307-7, by Professor Malcolm? SaltyBoatr (talk) 20:13, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm having a little trouble following exactly which edits are the source of the debate here, except for [10] that removal, which is appropriate (drawing some conclusions from the old law). The addition of the term "common law" to the header isn't a problem--what Blackstone refers to in the quote is the English "natural right", in contrast to the statutory rights of the English Bill of Rights or the other statutes--but it's not entirely accurate either. The statutory rights referred to are not common law rights.
Could someone point out the more specific diffs for what's at issue here (assuming that's necessary). Shadowjams (talk) 21:33, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Deleting paragraph of substandard material

The following paragraph seems to refer to material no longer in this section or which has been mover to other sections.

Historian Jack Rakove, in an amicus brief signed by a dozen leading historians filed in District of Columbia. v. Heller,[110] identifies several problems with the Kates and Blodgett-Ford argument. Coxe's reference describes the ownership of weapons, not the purpose for which the weapons were owned. Thus, privately owned weapons were state mandated as a means of meeting one's legal obligation to contribute to public defense. Other historians have noted that the Second Amendment was as much a civic obligation as it was a right in the modern sense.[111] The meaning of the Pennsylvania dissent of the minority is even more hotly disputed. Historians have also noted that this text, written by the Anti-Federalist minority of a single state, was hastily written, never actually reached the floor of the convention, and was never emulated by any other ratification convention.[111][112][113][114][115]

The above paragraph either needs to be totally deleted or the language substantially reworked.


1)The Ravoke Brief was in support the District of Columbia which lost the case. The brief therefore seems to had little or no influence on Supreme Court thinking. There were dozens of briefs filed in that case. Why is one from the losing side referenced without material one on the winning side? Isn't that biased?

2)The paragraph makes references to Kates, Blodgett-Ford and Coxe which make no sense. My guess is that additional material by Kates, Blodgett Ford and Coxe previously appeared in this article which has since been deleted. Statements in opposition to positions no longer existing in the article just lead to confusion. If other wiki authors believe that the material should be retained then the Kates, Blodgett-Ford and Coxe positions/arguments/statements (whatever the hell they were) should be reinstated so that a reader knows what the hell Ravoke is objecting to.

3)The other historians sentence seems confused. The Second Amendment protects a right and not a civic obligation. It does not FORCE the people to buy personal arms so that they could perform their civic duties, it protected their right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of their state and the United states. And I am puzzled by the reference to a "right in the modern sense"? What is difference about a right today then a right over 200 years ago?

4)The section starting with "The Meaning of the Pennsylvania...." seems out of place. It seems to refer to previously deleted material no longer in this section.

5)The last part of the paragraph seems to be unusually demeaning of the dissent, a historical document that served a a template for later objections to the lack of a Bill of Rights within the US Constitution and was used as one of the source documents for the Amendments which later became the Bill of Rights

See the following language from the US Senate publication The Rights to Keep and Bear Arms

When the first Congress convened for the purpose of drafting a Bill of Rights, it delegated the task to James Madison. Madison did not write upon a blank tablet. Instead, he obtained a pamphlet listing the State proposals for a Bill of Rights and sought to produce a briefer version incorporating all the vital proposals of these. His purpose was to incorporate, not distinguish by technical changes, proposals such as that of the Pennsylvania minority, Sam Adams, and the New Hampshire delegates. (talk) 15:01, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

It makes sense to keep the consensus passage in the article until a new consensus is reached. Addressing your points above... 1) It is not at all clear who "won" and who "lost" Heller, neither is that important. The citation is about background historical information. Indeed, now that the dust is settling on the Heller decision with the "longstanding prohibitions" clause becoming the operative clause, it is arguably the true that proponents of reasonable gun regulations prevailed. 2) The Kates, Blodgett-Ford and Coxe are merely references to footnotes 108,109 immediately seen in the text above. 3) The "Civic obligation" interpretation is well known significant interpretation, and regardless of whether you personally agree with that interpretation, we are obligated to give it coverage in this article per WP:NPOV policy here. 4) The Pennsylvanian minority passage could be given improved wording, but it also is important because it is addressing a relatively well known colonial era quotation indicative of the individual rights viewpoint. 5) This sentence continues discussion of this same colonial era quotation, and which gives appropriate context per the previous talk page consensus. (and check the archives, I recall many 100K of words of discussion working out that prior consensus wording) We should not be casually changing this consensus wording at whim because one editor holds a difference personal opinion. That consensus wording was written to describe a neutral-POV balance point independent of personal editor opinions. SaltyBoatr get wet 15:47, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

1)Heller got his gun, DC wasn't allowed to prevent him from getting it. The Supreme Court decided in favor of Heller. By any reasonable interpretation, Heller got what he wanted and therefore won. DC didn't get what it wanted and therefore lost. 2) What kind of sense does it make to respond to footnotes in the text? and what were the problems Ravoke found? Blodgett-Ford is presented as quoting text, and her conclusions from that text are not presented. As it currently stands the language is useless. Blodgett-Ford came to some unknown conclusion and Rovoke found unknown problems with it. That sort of language can be replaced with "She said" and "He said" without loosing any information. Both versions are pretty darn useless and uninformative. "She said" and "He said" has the advantage of being short. Additionally there is no reference at all to what Coxe was talking about, just that Ravoke objected to it. That can be replaced with a single "He said" without loss. In other words that language is also useless and uninformative. 3) If that viewpoint is significant, then the US Supreme Court probably considered it in Heller. Are you aware if it was? At a minimum it should have been mentioned in one of the dozens of briefs submitted in the case. Do you know if it was? 4) I have no objection to changing the wording as long as it makes some kind of sense. Currently the whole paragraph seems disjointed and out of place, possibly because other material may have been deleted. 5)The last part seems biased and disparaging. Source documents used to prepare the Bill of Rights should not be treated in that manner. (talk) 17:40, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Did you get a chance to read the volumes of prior talk page negotiations about this article passage? The hashing over of this paragraph's wording took weeks and was exhaustive. I am reluctant to re-write answers to your questions being asked today when you can read the answers which have been previously provided in the talk page archives here. SaltyBoatr get wet 18:01, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
I am reluctant to look through a bazillion prior posts for what to me seems a simple matter of leftovers from previous edits. The "Coxe" sentence for instance is indicative. A word search of the article shows only that one reference to Coxe. Nowhere does it say what his opinions were, what the objections to his opinions were, or even indicates who he was. Assuming that is his last name (assuming he is male), what is his first so we can at least let people know who he was? See below for a list of problems with just is one sentence

Coxe's reference describes the ownership of weapons, not the purpose for which the weapons were owned.

1) Who was Coxe

2) what reference?

3) In what document did he make whatever statement/conclusion he is supposed to have made made, that was referenced, or did he himself make the reference to a prior document?

4) What was that reference/statement/conclusion?

5) Wouldn't a link to that document be nice?

All in all, by itself this sentence is useless.

and looking through the references I am quite disturbed by the following

^ Ref 112 Merkel, William G.; Uviller, H. Richard (2002). "this "minority report" turns out to be no more than the collected ramblings of a single embittered eccentric who departed the convention in disgust"

To disparage a document used by Madison as source material for the US Bill of Rights in the manner done by Merkel and Uviller, seems unprofessional and even unamerican. (talk) 18:53, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Any Idea if this is the Coxe referenced

His wiki article shows he was in favor of the right to have and use private arms and includes this quote

As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms. — Tench Coxe (1755-1824), writing as "A Pennsylvanian," in "Remarks On The First Part Of The Amendments To The Federal Constitution," in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, p. 2 col. 1

Also per that wiki article, although not a familiar name(at least to me) among the Founding Fathers, he seems to have been a high government official at various points in his life.

He next became a Federalist.[2][1] A proponent of industrialization during the early years of the United States, Coxe co-authored the famous Report on Manufactures (1791) with Alexander Hamilton and provided much of the statistical data. He had been appointed Assistant Secretary of the Treasury on September 11, 1789 under Alexander Hamilton when Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasury.

If you wish to keep the Coxe sentence do you have any objection to including the above quote so readers can at least know what Ravoke was objecting to? (talk) 19:05, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

The answers to your questions could be found if you read the footnotes, but in any case I have added names to the sentences to increase the clarity of who is talking about whom. SaltyBoatr get wet 19:57, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
I believe I mentioned that Coxe shows up only once in a word search of the document. (talk) 19:59, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Since you seem to want to keep the material in question, I find this sentence strange and unclear

Thus, privately owned weapons were state mandated as a means of meeting one's legal obligation to contribute to public defense.

While I don't doubt there were a number of laws listing what arms and equipment were required of militia members, I hardly think that a person over the age limit for the militia would be deprived of his private arms and denied the ability to defend himself just because he was now too old to be a member of the militia. Do you have any evidence that once a person became too old to be a member of the militia, his gun(s) were taken from him? Since, by law, every able bodied male was (and still is) a member of the militia, and (per Ravoke) would be state mandated to own PRIVATELY owned weapons, when he became too old, either he would keep his weapons or the state would have to pay him for them. There IS a section in the Constitution requiring compensation for deprivation of private property. Are you aware of any transactions where the state purchases privately owned weapons after a militia member becomes too old? If no such transactions exist, and Ravoke believes that this is the ONLY reason that private arms were available then the sentence should be changed as this is most likely a minority opinion. I'm not objecting to the inclusion of that opinion, but I would like that opinion tied to Ravoke

Any idea which of the viewpoints below is the most accurate representation of Ravoke's views? The first is a pretty darn narrow viewpoint

Ravoke believes (or concludes) from his research that ALL privately owned weapons were state mandated, ONLY as a means of meeting one's legal obligation to contribute to public defense.

Ravoke believes (or concludes) from his research that SOME (or the majority, or the minority) of privately owned weapons were state mandated, as a means of meeting one's legal obligation to contribute to public defense. (talk) 21:04, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Have you read the Rakove paper? (footnote 109). Also, the article " A well-regulated militia:..." (footnote 110) provides answers to your questions. SaltyBoatr get wet 21:41, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
I have now done an overview of the Heller Brief (footnote 109) by Rakove and others, to see if it sheds any light. Those historians wrote in support of DC and the "collective rights" view, which was discredited by the Supreme Court in Heller, but there is nothing in the brief that indicates that the primary reason for weapons ownership was a "state mandate". The word "mandate does not even appear in the brief. It looks like someone inserted a personal opinion into the article. No question, however that one of the reasons for owning weapons was community defense. Another, of course being self-defense. I did not check footnote 110 as it is not online and I don't have the book. That book under footnote 110 was also not authored by Rakove.

Nitpicking here but "Other historians have noted that the Second Amendment was as much a civic obligation as it was a right in the modern sense." also has issues. The second amendment is part of the US Constitution and thus the highest law of the land. While the law may describe a civic obligation or duty, it is itself not a civic obligation or duty. A change to the following would be an improvement

Other historians have noted that the Second Amendment describes a civic obligation or duty and not an individual right.

Still don't understand what the difference is between a right in the modern sense and a right 200 plus years ago. There is of course the modern saying that goes something like , "you have all the rights you will ever need! Unless you try to use them!". Hell, with the passage of the Obamanation health bill, you don't even have the right to spend your money for stuff YOU want. Big Brother knows best, and Big Brother wants you to BUY that broccoli, even if you never plan on eating it. Broccoli growers being the second highest contributors to a life of ease and luxury for our Senators and Congressman. The first being Wall street. (talk) 22:34, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Footnote 110 describes the "civic model" viewpoint you are asking about. Remember, the task at hand here is to see that the article fairly and accurately matches each of the various viewpoints seen in the reliable sourcing. We are not here to express our personal disagreements with any of these sources. The passage you are questioning previously has been thoroughly vetted though a very extensive collaboration of many editors in an intensive process that took several weeks, see talk page archives. This article talk page is not a forum for general discussions of personal opinions about this topic. If you have questions about the topic of this article, please direct your questions to Wikipedia:Reference desk. SaltyBoatr get wet 15:53, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Are you sure that it has been vetted? No offense intended, but stating that the Second Amendment "IS" a civic obligation, as opposed to "possibly" describing one, seems to be a glaring oversight. "possibly" because as of Heller the Supreme Court ruled that it describes an individual right, not a collective right and not a civic obligation. Also per above there is no mention of anything like a "state mandate" in the Heller Brief (footnote 109) by assorted Historians. That portion seems to be unsupported by the footnote and is likely someones personal opinion.
I continue to be unhappy with the derogatory handling of a source document for the US Bill of Rights. If you wish to keep the language I will be adding balancing material, to the effect that Madison used that document as source material for language to the US Bill of Rights, referencing a US Senate publication for backup.

See the following language from the US Senate publication The Rights to Keep and Bear Arms

When the first Congress convened for the purpose of drafting a Bill of Rights, it delegated the task to James Madison. Madison did not write upon a blank tablet. Instead, he obtained a pamphlet listing the State proposals for a Bill of Rights and sought to produce a briefer version incorporating all the vital proposals of these. His purpose was to incorporate, not distinguish by technical changes, proposals such as that of the Pennsylvania minority, Sam Adams, and the New Hampshire delegates. (talk) 15:01, 5 May 2010 (UTC) (talk) 18:36, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Did you get a chance to read the footnote 110 source? Also, remember that at Wikipedia we must include all significant points of view fairly, including those with which we personally may disagree. It appears your problem is that you disagree personally. Please read the referenced sourcing. SaltyBoatr get wet 20:27, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
I reviewed the footnote as pointed out above. You have not responded to my complaint on language as to whether the second Amendment "IS" a civic obligation or describes that obligation. Also you have not responded on the derogatory treatment of a historically important document. As you say above wikipedia must include all significant points of view. The US Senate's view of this document is significant. Do you have any objections to including that view? (talk) 13:56, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
The article doesn't say the "the second Amendment "IS" a civic obligation", so your complaint is baseless. The fact that reliable sources describe the minority report in that way was determined to be important per editor consensus during some very intensive discussion, see the talk page archive. I recall that the discussion revolved around the fact that various points of views (like yours) see that minority report as "historically important" and some see it as not historically important. You are asking that the article be re-written to more closely match your personal point of view. That is inappropriate, see WP:NPOV. We should be very slow to overturn the consensus version of the article which was thoroughly vetted, again, see talk page archive. The viewpoints described in the 1982 Strom Thurman/Orrin Hatch report are already represented in the article now, so your complaint that these views are not included is baseless. SaltyBoatr get wet 15:36, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Also, it is worth mentioning that the link mentioned above is a link to the personal website of Jon Roland. The abridged version of the 1982 subcommittee report on Jon Roland's website is not the complete report, in that Jon Roland has edited out and omitted the portions of the report that don't agree with his personal point of view. At Wikipedia, we must include all significant points of view, including also POV's that Jon Roland might disagree with. SaltyBoatr get wet 18:28, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
The US Senate's view is more important than any pretty much any view outside of the US Supreme Court. The views of the House and the views of the presidents office would be equal in importance. Why do you object to the inclusion of that view? I have no objection to citing a full version of that report or one that exists at another website,if you believe can show that the language cited is not straight out of the original publication.
Look at Jon Roland's version of those Senate hearings, it ends with the phrase "[Other sections omitted.]". When you check the 1982 printed version, I see excised portions of the report that don't appear to agree with his personal politics. The 1982 hearings included testimony about the Second Amendment given by the National Coalition to Ban Handguns among others. SaltyBoatr get wet 15:58, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
Lastly: Are you sure you read the language I am questioning - which is

Other historians have noted that the Second Amendment was as much a civic obligation as it was a right in the modern sense.

If the Second Amendment "WAS" a civic obligation per the source, what is it now? I personally believe that the Second Amendment is language on a legal document that DESCRIBES something and is not itself that something. How about you? Is the Second Amendment a civic obligation or a right or whatever it is, or is it words on a page of paper describing something? I have to warn you, choose wrong and you will look like an idiot. (talk) 22:59, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
That sentence starts with the words "Other historians have noted...". Point of fact. Also, this article talk page is not the appropriate place to discuss what you believe or what I believe. I do see your point about the "describes" wording. SaltyBoatr get wet 15:58, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
If you see the point, do you agree that the current language looks idiotic and that it needs to be changed? No offense intended, but anyone that thinks that the Second Amendment "IS" a protected right or obligation versus describing such, is short a few screws. "Other Historians" included. As for your other comment above, I am pointing out that the only opinion showing on a significant historical document is derogatory. As you yourself pointed out, wiki should show all all major points of view and having only a derogatory reference is contrary to what you yourself stated is wiki policy. Can we agree to either, 1) include the positive viewpoint of the US Senate as a counterpoint to the current derogatory language, or 2) the removal of the the derogatory language (removal being my preference)? (talk) 17:39, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps you missed it, but the ambiguous language of that sentence was recently fixed[11]. Also, favorable coverage of the "Pennsylvania minority report" that mirrors the 1982 Orin Hatch hearing is presently included in the article, following the words "Per Sayoko Blodgett-Ford..." (ref footnote 108). Regarding your opinion that the NPOV balance wording is derogatory, that wording is taken nearly verbatim from the sourcing. Indeed, there are five high quality sources (see footnotes 111-116)that hotly dispute the significance given to that minority report. There were weeks of hard work and discussion hammering out the consensus wording for this article passage, look at the talk page archives to see this discussion. SaltyBoatr get wet 21:22, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
So you have 5 negative sources on that document and only 1 positive reference. Lopsided to say the least. The positive references need to be increased to restore balance. Any objections to including Supreme Court language on that document in addition to the Senate reference to that document. The following references appear in the Heller opinion

But so was the highly influential minority proposal in Pennsylvania, yet that proposal, with its reference to hunting, plainly referred to an individual right. See 2 Documentary Hist. 624. (talk) 16:15, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

There are problems with using snippets of quotes from orbiter dictum of primary court opinions like you suggest. Your snippet quote skews the meaning by truncating the words in the court opinion that immediately follow which are: "Other than that erroneous point..." Those omitted words negate your assertion. Reasonable people disagree on this point. The NPOV balance point of this article passage contains roughly equal treatment of text, the Kates and Blodgett-Ford assertions followed by a rebuttal. The count of the footnotes is unequal, but it is the text of the article which matters. That text is appropriately equal as determined by editor consensus, established after extensive consensus building work that took several weeks, see talk page archives. I am quite reluctant to now revisit and overturn that hard earned consensus building. SaltyBoatr get wet 16:43, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
The point, which you are dancing around, is that the Supreme Court considers this document "highly influential". Do you have an issue with adding this Supreme Court viewpoint to the article? The quote being directly from a document authored by the very same people whose viewpoint is quite a bit more important that the viewpoint of a bunch historians, who filed a brief with the US Supreme Court in Heller pushing a discredited viewpoint, and whose viewpoint was promptly ignored by that same Supreme Court. Also Blodgett-Ford only cites the document, she does not praise it. Those authors actually insult it and its author. There is no question as to the negative bias of the article toward this document. (talk) 19:41, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

    In the convention he resorted to every device to delay and defeat ratification. He insisted that there were inadequate safeguards against a tyranny and on the day of ratification attempted, without avail, to have fifteen articles incorporated as a bill of rights.[fn2, cited to "Whitehill, Robert," in Dictionary of American Biography, vol. 10, edited by Dumas Malone (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936), pp. 104-105]

    The items on the list were never discussed in the convention, which went on to approve the Constitution. Five days after that vote, Samuel Bryan, who had not been a delegate in the convention, assembled some quickly obtained and miscellaneous objections to the Constitution--including Whitehill's list, along with some things that contradicted it--and published this under the misleading title The Dissent of the Minority of the Convention (R 2.617-49) ..."
    *At p254: "[The last of Whitehill's proposed amendments relating to arms, article 11] would have invalidated the constitutional provision for federalizing the militia (Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 and 16). In fact, Whitehill's phrasing exactly reverses and cancels that of Clause 16, which gives Congress (not the states) the power 'to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia."