‘ . . . but in a manner to be prescribed by law.’

Friday, I discussed an excellent point made by a fellow gun rights blogger and oppressed Illinoisan. His point (very briefly) was that if one compares the language of the First and Second Amendments, a stronger case could seemingly be made for applying the Second Amendment to not only the federal government, but to the states as well, than could be made for doing so with the First. That, of course, is not how things currently stand, as aspects of the First Amendment are incorporated, but the Second Amendment (to the extent that it’s recognized at all) is applied only to the federal government.

Now, DW has made an equally astute observation regarding a comparison between the Second and Third Amendments.

What I find terribly interesting about this Amendment are the words “but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

It seems that this oft-forgotten Amendment carries in its text a provision specifying that limitations can be applied to the right by lawmakers.

The First and Second Amendments, in contrast, carry no such provision. I think this is an embarrassment to those that would like to pass laws infringing upon our rights.

The point here is that the citizen disarmament advocates (those who have finally found themselves unable to maintain the fiction that the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right of the individual to keep and bear arms, but instead relates only to some mythical “collective right”) claim that the Second Amendment does not bar the government from imposing “reasonable restrictions” on that right–said restrictions always understood to be a matter of public safety (“For the children!” of course).

The problem with such “logic” is that the Third Amendment would seem to demonstrate that when the Founding Fathers wished to allow “reasonable restrictions,” they damned well said so. They wanted to make a provision that would permit the government to, in time of need, mandate that private citizens quarter troops in their homes, so they put that provision right in the amendment (“. . . but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”).

The Second Amendment, on the other hand, contains no such caveat. Quite the opposite, in fact–as illustrated by the unequivocal statement that the right in question ” . . . shall not be infringed.”

The only reasonable conclusion is that “reasonable restrictions” on the Second Amendment are just as much a myth as the “collective rights” interpretation. “Reasonable restrictions” make exactly as much sense as “reasonable tyranny”–which might make sense to Giuliani, but would, I hope, be seen as an offensive oxymoron by those of us who consider ourselves the custodians of a nation borne of a resolve that demanded “give me liberty or give me death!” “Reasonable restrictions” are no more sensible than “reasonable government usurpation of citizen authority,” and no more acceptable.

Stick your “reasonable restrictions” where the sun don’t shine, or give me death! Alright–I’m clearly no Patrick Henry, but you get the idea.

Be sure to read DW’s piece (here’s the link, again)–I’m basically just repeating it, but less eloquently (and more verbosely–how did I manage that combination?).

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5 Responses to “‘ . . . but in a manner to be prescribed by law.’”

  1. hairy hobbit Says:

    ain’t it amazing what things actually state, given that you;re taught to read in government schools. Should that be manage to learn to read IN SPITE OF government schools?

    great as always Kurt

  2. opaww Says:

    I think people like Giuliani tend to forget is that the Bill of Rights was a bargained agreement between the signers of the Constitution. In order to get the signers to put there name on the Constitution which applies to Laws of Office and not rights of the people, they had to agree to meet and put together a Bill of Personal rights for the people and not the Government. The first 12 amendments that were submitted for approval were reduced to 10 because 2 of them were Government related. (Giving power to the Government)

  3. TJH Says:

    Giuliani and a lot of other people forget where the actual power of government resides. That might be a good question to ask him. The federal government has power to do certain things that keep the union together, and to defend the land. It’s amazing that this service costs four times as much as those rendered by my local government, which arguably renders a higher quality of service and is more responsive.

  4. hairy hobbit Says:

    just asked this on my pathetic blog, but has this or can this be submitted to the court since we have Heller sitting up there right now?

    Since they obviously had no problem adding language to give congress the authority to prescribe ways to alter a right in the third but failed to add that to the second logic would dictate that our mantra of “shall not be infringed” means just that and that ALL arms are fair game.

    Besides the obvious bedwetting of some types in this world, what kind of effect would this have?

  5. 45superman Says:

    Thanks, HH, but don’t talk like that about your blog–you do good work.

    As to your question, I’m the last person to go to for legal opinions, but my guess is that the Cato Institute legal team working this case will use this argument if there is any value in doing so.

    They’re apparently some incredibly sharp guys, and are not shy about rolling up their sleeves and doing all the homework.

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