Comments about ‘Second Amendment: History's lesson and warning’

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Published: Tuesday, April 2 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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omni scent
taylorsville, UT

Well I think we learned a lot today.

We learned that an AR15 will totally defend you from a government with F-22's and Reaper Drones

We learned the 2nd ammendment says "The rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"
...and there is nothing before that statement.

We learned that "shall not be infringed" means the rights of ALL people (Convicted Felons, loons) to own any type of arms (Machine Guns, RPG's) "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED"

And we learned Scalia is a "Liberal"

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Americans can own any kind of firearm they want; almost. The FEDERAL government does not BAN any type of firearm, but they do put strict controls on them.
States ban or restrict certain firearms like machineguns, cannons, silencers and short barreled rifles or shotguns.

The federal government divides firearms into two categories; title 1 and title 2.
Title 1 guns are ordinary rifles, handguns and shotguns.
Title 2 guns are machineguns, silencers, shortbarreled guns, and destructive devices (greater than ½” bore, and bombs). The National Firearms Act of 1934 controls the possession of machineguns and other title 2 firearms.

Title 2 guns are NOT banned, but in order for a person to buy them, they must submit the required registration forms to the ATF. There are hefty fines ($500,000) and jailtime (25 years) for those who do not comply.
In May of 1986 REAGAN signed a bill into law that prohibited the registration of new machine guns for civilian use. Machine guns can now only be sold to licensed dealers or government agencies (FBI, US Army etc). Machineguns registered before May 1986 can be sold to anyone that lives in a state where they not banned.

Murray, UT

It is great to see so many posters supporting Senator Lee, and justly so. He articulated the issue so well, and he is on the correct side of this, and so many other issues.

Yeah all the regulars are here, with their usual dribble, but all the new or rare posters, you give me hope that there are still masses who care about freedom.

Nice work Senator Lee! Keep it up!

Chattanooga, TN

Government at all levels has diligently tried to eradicate the knowledge that, in the U.S., ALL government powers were granted to them by WE THE PEOPLE . It is ENTIRELY up to WE THE PEOPLE whether or not WE choose to let government retain it power OR establish governments more in keeping with OUR beliefs.


"Some believe that the Amendment's phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" creates an individual right for U.S. citizens. Under this "individual right theory," the Constitution restricts legislative bodies from prohibiting firearm possession, or renders prohibitory and restrictive regulation presumptively unconstitutional. Other scholars point to the prefatory language "a well regulated Militia" to argue that the Framers intended to restrict Congress from legislating away a state's right to self-defense. Scholars have come to call this theory "the collective rights theory." A collective rights theory asserts that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.

In 1939 the U.S. Supreme Court considered the matter in U.S. v. Miller. The Court adopted a collective rights approach in this case, determining that Congress could regulate a sawed-off shotgun under the National Firearms Act of 1934. The Court explained that the Framers included the Second Amendment to ensure the effectiveness of the military.
This precedent stood for nearly 70 years until 2008, D.C. v Heller."
(Cornell Law School)

The Sensible Middle
Bountiful, UT

The problem with todays attempts at gun control, is that people believe their rights of self defense are being put at risk because of the misdeeds of other people. People are generally willing to pay for their own misdeeds, but to be asked to give up a basic human right because of what others have done is something most people would resist amd rightfully so.

If those offended by gun violence would go back to square one, brain storm of ways to accomplish their goal, without holding innocent law abiding people responsible for the misdeeds of others, progress could be made.

I won't list specifics here of what could be done, people own ideas more when they feel they originated them.

Pheonix, AZ

"I still think Utah needs a comprehensive overhaul of it's reading comprehension program. The constitution guarantees the 'right' to [keep and] bear arms, and says that 'right' will not be infringed."

So far, so good...

"It doesn't prevent the government from restricting or regulating what guns are owned or even produced for public consumption, and it surely doesn't guarantee a completely unregulated process of gun ownership and use."

Think of it this way... under your theory, the government could legislate the right to keep and bear arms down to a simple, harmless pea shooter toy... without peas, not less.

The fact that the right to keep and bear arms is in the Constitution is so that the government couldn't fiddle with it... as governments are wont to do.

"As long as a restriction or regulation doesn't diminish the overall 'right to bear arms' it's constitutional..."

If the Constitution writers wanted the government to modify the 'right' they would've made provision. They didn't. Because they knew how governments like to strip rights away. They must've envisioned Hitler's day.

The proper action for the government is to amend the Amendment.

Provo, UT

Senator Lee: Thank you for that concise, well-written and spot-on commentary on the Second Amendment, what it means, and what those who attack and oppose it are all about. Your words ought to be cast in bronze and set for all to see in the National Archives. And, thank you for your courage in the face of constant criticism from those who oppose your commitment to defend the Constitution- no matter what. And thank you for your sacrifice, your time, your fortune, your sacred honor and your strength to stand up for what you believe, and for what those of us who comprise the majority in the state of Utah believe, and that is that America was founded on principles of freedom and liberty, and you defend those principles against all odds. May you continue to have the strength to stand and fight, even when it may seem that all is lost. All is not lost, even if you are the last man standing. Let us help you stand, because you continue to work for what you promised the voters of Utah that you would do, and you are doing just that

Stephenville, TX

All of you commenting on how government is only seeking to curtail gun violence by passing universal background checks need to read some history. Study up on how the income tax was passed and where we are now, study social security and what its status is now and study what Obama said about the "affordable care act" and what it is already costing us without full implementation. Adam Lanza murdered his mother and stole guns. Go to Chicago and see how many of those guns used in the 500 murders were purchased legally, NONE! So how is limiting the rights of law abiding citizens going to stop one more incident like these. Evil will always carry out its desire. Criminals dont obey laws so making up one more or a thousand more will not stop evil. Murder has been illegal since the dawn of time, to use the words of Hilary what difference does it make what tool was used to accomplish it. Our forefathers new exactly what they were doing when they created the 2nd amendment, it was created for this time in history when a government bent on tyranny would come to power!

Concord, CA

There are only two questions to this debate.

1. How many legally owned guns are used by their legal owner to harm someone? A legal owner is someone who has met their state's requirements to own a firearm.
2. How many illegally possessed guns are used to harm someone?

If the number in question one is the greater number, we need more gun control. If the number in question two is greater, we need more effective enforcement of existing laws.

If this country spends more on making new laws when it can't enforce existing ones, we have a problem. With prisons that are overcrowded, criminals are being let out without serving their full sentences, the police on the streets can't respond in time to many crimes in progress, emphasis needs to be placed on fixing those glaring problems.

Most people don't realize that about the same number of people are killed on average in the US in school bus accidents as those killed in mass shootings every year....

Roberts, ID

To Ronald Keyser & er al,
For your information criminals do not buy guns at guns shows or any other legal source. They buy them on the black market and steal them. Just last month a friend in San Diego had his home burgled while he was out of town. The thieves stole his gun safe with several rifles, shotguns and handguns securely locked away. There are also many people who will satisfy the demand for guns by illegally selling guns to criminals and would be criminals knowingly that the guns will be used in criminal activity.

We have drug laws and prisons full of drug offenders and there are more drugs on the street than ever before and it is obvious that law enforcement can't control something that is far more destructive than guns.

Something that all mass murderers have in common is mental instability and most, if not all, have been prescribed psychotropic drugs. Guns don't kill people, deranged people kill people.

Roberts, ID

It would be nice if you learned how to use "spell check". Also "gerrymander" does not apply to Senators because they are elected by state wide elections, with exception of those Democrat controlled states that bus in outsiders to vote for their candidate.

The Scientist
Provo, UT

"All of you commenting on how government is only seeking to curtail gun violence by passing universal background checks need to read some history...income tax...social security...affordable care act..."

Yes, let's look at history. Conservatives are so confused.

The most vocal moral crusaders of today are Christian conservatives, who deploy government power against all sorts of perceived wrongs: sexual trafficking, AIDS in Africa, gay unions, poor parenting, teen sex, indecent television, abortion, and euthanasia, etc.

Conservatives see nothing wrong with channeling $2 billion of public money to religious charities, as the Bush administration boasted.

They have no problem spending government money to promote sexual abstinence, or with telling parents in government literature that a gay child probably needs therapy. They disparage Science, question the teaching of evolution, and pharmacists are allowed to refuse prescriptions for contraception on "religious grounds."

Bismarck in Germany ("social security") and Disraeli in Britain are their "conservative" examples from the 19th century, using imperial foreign policy, domestic paternalism, and religious piety to cement new majorities to get elected at all cost. In America, it was the abolitionist/temperance campaigns, Jim Crow laws, and a Constitutional Amendment to forbid drinking alcohol!

North Beach, MD

It seems like very little root cause analysis was done by politicians to determine the causes of gun violence. If you take away the guns, the killers still remain. These people who do not respect human life may suffer from mental illness, poor role-models or lack of values training during childhood, etc., and nothing is being done to combat these problems. Politicians who attempt to enforce gun control are using bad medicine to treat a symptom of the cancer while ignoring the 80lb tumor causing the sickness. Since many murders occur in poverty stricken areas where unemployment and single-parent household numbers are high, it would seem that building strong family units, creating a favorable environment for job creation and having available high-quality medical care would do more for Americans' safety and well-being than limiting which firearms they are allowed to purchase.

Columbia, SC

Senator Lee has issued a concise summary on the meaning of our Constitution's 2nd Amendment. It is a beautifully written piece. Of course we see many writing about what gun control means to American citizens but Senator Lee has given it a fresh touch that brings it to life. He covers the basic points we all must study and know by heart and treats the issue with what is an evident respect for the founders intent. We have all grieved over the tragedies of Sandy Hook and Aurora but those who understand history's lessons know that in attempting to rectify these tragedies we must not risk endangering liberty.

Saint George, UT

The Scientist: You can call me whatever you want, but if a conservative means all the things you said they were for, then I am not a conservative. I am not a libertarian either. I believe in exactly what the founders wrote the constitution to mean, protection for me in my individual rights and a limited government. I have always considered myself conservative and I have never stood for the federal government's involvement in the issues you stated. As far as I'm concerned the democrats and republicans, you name the issue, have thrown in with big government. What imaginary colossus or politically correct issue can you bring up next?

Farmington, UT

The Deseret News reader comments are invaluable. Without them I wouldn't have realized that the readers know more about the Constitution than Sen. Mike Lee, who was elected on the false premise that he knows a great deal about constitutional law from his background as a constitutional lawyer in Utah and Washington DC and as a law clerk for current U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sammy Alito. His late father, Rex Lee, founder of the BYU law school and former Solicitor General of our nation, obviously did a poor job of passing on his knowledge to son Mikey. Thank you, dear readers, for enlightening me on this.

I should also point out my support for universal background checks for anybody who wishes to express their freedom of the press or freedom of speech. Since the pen is mightier than the sword (or the keyboard mightier than the AR15), it's incumbent upon us a nation to ensure that people who brandish weapons of words verify their capability to employ logic as well as certify their knowledge of history and current events.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

“....the Constitution was not written to maximize the convenience of the government. It was written to protect the liberty of the people....”

We're in trouble if that’s an example of the perceptive insight from a sitting Senator touted as a world class authority on American history and the Constitution. If Senator Lee was half the authority some in here wish to believe he is, he would know that the Constitution is a framework for a strong central government without provision for liberty and that the Bill of Rights was tacked on as an afterthought several months after adjournment of the Philadelphia convention by a Congress desperate to win ratification.

Senator Lee’s only obvious familiarity with the concept of liberty seems to be the liberty he takes in interpreting history in this shrill alarmist diatribe.

Mickey Kovars
Tampa, FL

The critical and missing element here is trust. Obama says his proposals are not intended to violate the right to keep and bear arms under the 2nd Amendment. Why should we believe him? He has squandered his credibility on a host of issues. His attorney general made a speech back in the '90s where he said he'd like to put guns into the same category as cigarettes -- taxed and shamed out of existence. He is close to Mayor Bloomberg and numerous others who want guns gone -- period. I don't trust Obama on any issue any more -- why should anyone else?

Andy Gundersen
Sandy, UT

It offends me that the politicians in Utah continue to pander to the wayward fringe of their base that is not part of, nor represents mainstream America. All things in our society have limits, mostly based on common sense. With every aspect of freedom, comes responsibility. I have no qualms with those that want to own guns. I do, however, have a problem with those citizens, especially politicians, that use a very literal and outdated interpretation of the 2nd Amendment as a means of perpetuating a culture based on no limits. Mike Lee's stance on gun control is a political prop used to create fear and paranoia by waging a huge information campaign. Nobody is coming to take your guns away. The majority of Americans just want common sense restrictions and regulations in place to keep gun ownership exclusive to those that are responsible enough to bear that right. And Senator Lee's continual criticism of the federal government seems a bit hypocritical, considering that he is an integral part of it.

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