WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

POLITICO: A history of the 2nd Amendment

POLITICO Magazine offers a history of the 2nd Amendment. The author argues the Founding Fathers never intended nor envisioned today's expansive interpretation of gun rights. If that is so, we have the paradox that some of the very same Americans who profess to discern and honor the "intent" of the Founding Fathers - without extrapolation - have done the very thing they accuse liberals / progressives of doing.



Posted at 7:48am on May 20, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Tue, May 20, 2014 10:21am
Is Politico a Left-leaning group? That will probably be the spin from the TEA folks who believe any and all people should be able to own a gun, even folks with mental issues.

So the N.R.A. and TEA folks will close ranks on this interpretation of the Constitution saying its wrong.

Different topic:

Saw this music news story this morning and thought you all would be interested.

Led Zeppelin is being sued by the survivor of Spirit over “Stairway to Heaven”. At the bottom of the news story, they have both Zeppelins’ “Stairway” and Spirits’ “Taurus” via YouTube so you can listen and compare.

They are very similar, but the chords are not exactly the same, so my guess is there’s enough difference so no copyright violation, but it will be interesting to see what the court decides.


Allan Loudell
Tue, May 20, 2014 10:47am
Mike from Delaware,

Albritton Communications owns POLITICO, and the rap on Albritton was that it was Right-leaning, not Left; and some saw that ideological bent in Albritton's sale of TV stations to Sinclair Broadcasting, which is definitely Right-wing. (Although to which company you sell some of your properties might be completely unrelated to ideology; just which company was interested in buying, and willing to put up the money)

For what it's worth, the current Albritton CEO is a Trustee of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum.

Still, I'd love for someone to respond specifically to the historic arguments in this piece.

I've found POLITICO to offer articles from both Right and Left.

Yeah... I had read the Led Zeppelin story.

But, although I enjoy Led Zeppelin - especially the "Houses of the Holy" album - the group is not among my top ten favorites of all time. My favorite group of all time is YES, which has generally avoided controversy at all levels over five decades.

Allan Loudell

Tue, May 20, 2014 10:50am
Sadly, I'm sure Mike is right. While I found it an interesting read that backed-up some of my own thoughts and theories on the subject, no one actually listens to the other side of an argument anymore. No matter what facts Politico offers, Tea Party-ers and Libertarians will just write this article off as a "Liberal smear job" by the "Lame Stream Media".

And it also supports one of my favorite hypocrisies in today's political world. It's funny to me that anytime a judge hands down a ruling with which you agree, his/her decision is intelligent and Constitution-based. When you don't like that ruling, they're "activist judges legislating from the bench." And that's exactly what we have with how the gun-rights arguments have fallen... conservatives cheer the ruling (even though there was no precedent for it), and liberals complain about legislating from the bench. Yet they're on complete opposite sides of that point-of-view on recent gay marriage rulings. Can't have it both ways, people. You win some; you lose some.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, May 20, 2014 11:49am
Allan: I'm writing this quickly don't have time to edit or proofread. Didn't mean to give your topic short-shrift, but I've had numerous discussions elsewhere with TEA/Conservatives and they, with the N.R.A., want none, nada, zilch changes, to the gun laws. Even when asked about folks who take serious Mental meds each day to function [who often stop taking those mental meds and spiral back into their looney-tune world] should be allowed to own a gun, who are out and about in society, whose medical info is NOT allowed to be shared in obtaining a gun permit. Every one of the TEA folks [EarlGrey may be the one exception] are OK with that, and believe those folks should be allowed to own as many guns as they'd like.

So having a serious discussion on this is difficult, in my opinion, if we can't get past that barrier I just mentioned.

Tue, May 20, 2014 12:34pm
“A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

1. As with other "rights" written into the Bill of Rights...the 2nd Amendment is listed as a right.

2. A militia is composed of ordinary citizens... not the military or national guard.

3. The Founding Fathers did not trust government; they went as far as to say that the government should fear the citizens because they (the government) are supposed to work for and represent the best interests of the citizens of this country.

4. The N.R.A. is (as far as I know) only in favor of legal firearm possession, and wants those who commit crimes with illegal firearms (or possess illegal firearms) to be prosecuted to the highest extent of the law.

5. POLITICO is not a right-leaning paper/magazine by any stretch of the imagination.

Mike: You are correct. I agree with you that anyone with serious mental issues should not be able to own a firearm. In reality, that same person should also not be able to own/operate a car or multiple other resources that could be used as dangerous weapons in their hands.

Tue, May 20, 2014 1:51pm
Earl: Thanks for those insights. Out of curiosity, did you actually read Allan's article, or are you just eternally spouting Tea/NRA talking points? There are some interesting thoughts in there about what a militia is, what "bear arms" means, and so on.

Tue, May 20, 2014 1:54pm
Shawn: Yep, I read the article and read their interpretations of bearing arms and militias...but I didn't see anything I have not seen/read before.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, May 20, 2014 2:05pm
EarlGrey: If more people with your views and attitude, etc, were the one's running the TEA party, I would be far more interested in it and possibly joining. But sadly, my experience shows me people like you are a minority within the TEA party ranks.

Allan, that is a rather long article, probably why none have commented. You might want to consider writing an "Executive Summary" on future long articles to get a response. I finally read it during my lunch break. It is a very interesting article. Some interesting history.

EarlGrey when you get a chance, you might find that article worth the time to read [about 3700 words roughly 10 printed pages of type] very interesting and may cause you to reconsider some ideas.

The NRA's stated mission on the front of their headquarters in the late 1950's said its purpose was to promote firearms safety education marksmanship training, and shooting for recreation [I took an NRA class in 1962 with my Dad tried to find one a few years ago to do with one of my sons, none exist that I could find].

Today on their headquarters their stated mission is: The rights of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. The first half about a well regulated militia had been edited out of their mission statement.

That's just one small part of the article.

As far as an "official" definition of militia, from the dictionary:

mi·li·tia noun \mə-ˈli-shə\ : a group of people who are not part of the armed forces of a country but are trained like soldiers

Full Definition of MILITIA

1a : a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency b : a body of citizens organized for military service
2: the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service

Origin of MILITIA

Latin, military service, from milit-, miles
First Known Use: 1625

militia noun (Concise Encyclopedia)

Military organization of citizens with limited military training who are available for emergency service, usually for local defense. In many countries the militia is of ancient origin. The Anglo-Saxons required every able-bodied free male to serve.

In colonial America it was the only defense against hostile Indians when regular British forces were not available. In the American Revolution the militia, called the Minutemen, provided the bulk of the American forces.

Militias played a similar role in the War of 1812 and the American Civil War. State-controlled volunteer militias in the U.S. became the National Guard. British militia units, begun in the 16th century for home defense and answerable to the county sheriff or lord lieutenant, were absorbed into the regular army in the 20th century. Today various paramilitary organizations, from U.S. white supremacists to revolutionaries in the developing world, use the term militia to accentuate their populist origins.


Tue, May 20, 2014 2:08pm
Ok then, Earl... so if you've seen all of this before, what are your responses to their descriptions of militia and bearing arms?

Tue, May 20, 2014 2:36pm
Since you asked...

"If one delves into the claims these scholars were making, a startling number of them crumble. Historian Jack Rakove, whose Pulitzer-Prize winning book Original Meanings explored the founders’ myriad views, notes, “It is one thing to ransack the sources for a set of useful quotations, another to weigh their interpretive authority. … There are, in fact, only a handful of sources from the period of constitutional formation that bear directly on the questions that lie at the heart of our current controversies about the regulation of privately owned firearms. If Americans has indeed been concerned with the impact of the Constitution on this right … the proponents of individual right theory would not have to recycle the same handful of references … or to rip promising snippets of quotations from the texts and speeches in which they are embedded.”~Waldman/POLITICO

Historian Jack Rakove must have missed the quotes from George Mason (Founding Father and co-author of the Second Amendment).

”To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them ”~George Mason

"...a well regulated Militia, composed of the Gentlemen, Freeholders, and other Freemen, is the natural Strength and only safe & stable security of a free Government, & that such Militia will relieve our Mother Country from any Expense in our Protection and Defence, will obviate the Pretence of a necessity for taxing us on that account, and render it unnecessary to keep any standing Army (ever dangerous to liberty)."~George Mason

He and other Founding Fathers saw what happened to the citizens of Boston when the British illegally confiscated their weapons in 1770 (the Boston Massacre).

Shown below are the current state Constitutions from Massachusetts and Delaware for a bit more information on each state's interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Massachusetts State Constitution:
”The people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defense. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.”(1780)

Delaware State Constitution:
”A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.”(1987)

Mike from Delaware
Tue, May 20, 2014 3:25pm
So let's assume that yes, the Founding Fathers' intent was to allow folks to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home, and State, and for hunting and recreational use.

Does that mean even folks with mental illness issues who need meds to keep from hearing voices, etc., etc., should be allowed to own a gun/rifle??? I don't think so.

THAT is the real issue today. The N.R.A. and TEA Party say yes, that's OK, if some person who's hearing voices and needs strong mental health meds to keep sane should be allowed to buy and own guns, sure, why not?

The State doesn't just allow anyone to drive a car; that person has to pass a test. Some medical conditions [Epilepsy, for example] can keep folks from getting a driver's license, so why not for owning a gun?

Most, if not all, of these shootings in schools, churches, malls, etc., were not done by criminals, but by folks with some sort of mental issue... [the wheels of the trolley came off the track, so to speak]. But due to privacy laws, that sort of info isn't made available to whomever approves gun permits. That is what needs to change, yet the TEA / N.R.A. forces say NO, so nothing changes.

The NRA and TEA party are wrong on this specific issue.

Tue, May 20, 2014 8:05pm
I think we need to consult "Dr. Utopia" and get his opinion.

Wed, May 21, 2014 7:04am
In other news, that sure was a bizarre accident they had on the northbound ramp from 896 to 95, where a rig full of bees (millions of them!) overturned and released swarms of them into the atmosphere. I was driving home and was wondering why there was a traffic watch van and a channel 3 news crew in the area, so I went to WDEL.com when I got home and read about it (good reporting job by Tom Lehman).

I think to address this problem, we need to build a "bee pipeline" so they can be more safely transported as opposed to trucking them over our highways. Could you imagine if this had been a whole train full of bees and it derailed? Why, that would have released enough bees to possibly take over the whole world!

Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 21, 2014 8:50am
EarlGrey and Mrpizza: Here is the latest poll showing folks losing interest in TEA party. Having a leader makes a difference.


The other thing is maybe Republican primary voters have smartened up, learning from their Delaware and Nevada counterparts who lost moderate Republicans seats from Congress to end up with liberal DEMS instead because they listened to TEA folks and nominated TEA extremists like Christine O'Donnell and Sharon Ingle [I believer this is her name]. Moderate Republican Mitch McConnell won the KY primary. To add insult to injury, they may also realize that had the seats lost in that election to DEMS had stayed Republican that might have kept Obamacare from being passed. Elections do matter.


Again, I believe people want a real vision they can have a reason to vote for someone, rather than vote against. The angry TEA thing has gotten old, like Sean Hannity [he's always agitated and angry a real turn off]. The no compromise attitude turns off people. No group is correct 100% of the time, but TEA extremists, just like the Bill Maher Liberal extremists think they are correct 100% of the time and you better be in lock step with them or you're the enemy. Has that USSR/Nazi Germany feel to it, that most Americans aren't interested in, so they'll vote for the other person rather than have some demogouge ranting at them dictating what they're going to do.

Newt Gingrich is correct, the TEA folks need to create a Contract for America TEA party edition, to give folks a plan for what the TEA party actually wants to accomplish. However, it may be too late as many Republicans may realize better the moderate who can win the actual election than the "fire and brimstone" ranter who the TEA faithful love to hear who'll lose the election.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 21, 2014 10:28am
Mrpizza: Here is a 30-minute program that explains far better than I am capable, the problems with the "Properity Gospel". This is a program from 2011 on Lutheran Public Radio. As we say in Lutheranism, it's not all about you, it's all about what Jesus did for you.


Wed, May 21, 2014 7:04pm
MFD: We agree. It's all about what Jesus did. That's what I've been trying to tell you all along.

Wed, May 21, 2014 7:07pm
Additionally, it's also about what Jesus WANTS to do for us and most importantly, through us. The "Prosperity Gospel", as you and your leaders call it, is for the benefit of "the least of these".

Wed, May 21, 2014 8:07pm
Oh, and I almost forgot, we should ask "Dr. Utopia" what he thinks of the Prosperity Gospel.

Wed, May 21, 2014 9:06pm
We've all heard it said that "the proof is in the pudding". Well, Victory Christian Fellowship, which is one of those "Prosperity Gospel" churches, has 15% of the total foster-care families in the state of Delaware. Now if those families were poor rather than prosperous, I doubt they'd even qualify to take in all those children. Yeah, the state pays a stipend for each child, but I know the people in that church have enough integrity not to take in children just to get the money.

Now Mike, do you and your Lutheran leaders want to dare trash Pastor Gary Whetstone the way you trash Joel Osteen and the other TV folks?

Thu, May 22, 2014 7:01am
The only "problem" with the Prosperity Gospel is that the religious establishment cannot comprehend it with their carnal minds, so they go around spouting off unbelief.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, May 22, 2014 8:22am
mrpizza: Did you listen to the program? We Lutherans don't bash Osteen or others like him. We just don't agree with their interpretation of Scriptures. Yes, we believe that Osteen is preaching untruth, which was brought out clearly in that Lutheran Public Radio broadcast, just as you and Osteen believe we Lutherans are teaching untruth.

I've been to Whetstones' church. Different strokes for different folks. It was like a 3-ring circus in there and so loud and the room [can't really call it a sanctuary] was full of chaos. I truly expected Whetstone to come out in a red blazer and black top hat shouting: In the center ring tonight, we'll proclaim the message of Prosperity !!! He didn't go quite that far. Different strokes for different folks. If it is where God has planted you, then that's where you need to be, but God has planted me in a far different setting, Lutheranism. So I'll serve my Lord and his church from there until he puts it on my heart that I need to be somewhere else.

I've said it here many times in YOUR defense, when you've been attacked by others here for your ultra-rightwing conservative version of Christianity, that we all are brothers and sisters in the Risen Christ. We all worship the same Jesus, but are at different places in our understanding of his holy word the Bible. Because I don't agree with you, Osteen, or Whetstone doesn't mean I hate any of you; I just don't agree with any of you on the "Prosperty Gospel". You folks don't agree with some of the beliefs we Lutheran Christians have. Again, we see through dark-colored glass and won't see clearly until the perfect comes.

I only presented you that LPR program, because he explains our problems with the Prosperity Gospel far better than me, so I wanted you to at least get to hear someone explain it well. So if you took the 30 minutes to listen, thank you, I appreciate you taking the time to hear what he had to say.

Be at peace, my fellow brother in Christ.

Thu, May 22, 2014 7:07pm
MFD: Fair enough.

Thu, May 22, 2014 9:45pm
Sorry, but if I'm to take Dr. Jones at face value, then I may as well toss all my bibles into the trash because they sure won't do me any good here, and we're not going to need them up there. Yeah, he means well, but he doesn't have a clue.

The prosperity message is not for selfish and immature Christians. If taking up your cross and following Jesus isn't your primary motivation, then it ain't gonna work for ya anyway.

I think every western Christian should visit Africa or Eastern Europe at least once in their lives, because you'll never get a clear picture of the truth if all you're exposed to is western materialism. There is a difference.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, May 22, 2014 11:02pm
Mrpizza: We don't take up the Cross of Christ so that we can have heaven on earth. We take up the Cross to follow Christ, to be used by him to reach others. It's not about us; it's about serving others as Christ did. The blessings we get are spiritual, not physical. Sure, God can bless us with physical blessings too, but that's not our motivation; it's about reaching the lost for Christ, not filling our barns with more.

Thanks for listening to the program. I think we've beat this dead horse enough. We just see it differently. Go & be what God has called you to be, just as I'll do the same. Be at peace, my brother in The Lord. Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

Fri, May 23, 2014 9:03pm
Well Mike, the problem here is that you and the Lutheran establishment are saying that these teachers said things that they never actually said, or read too much into what they said. You believe the prosperity teachers promote self-exaltation. Well, if that were true, I sure wouldn't be involved in it. But you all have your minds made up to believe whatever suits the religious mindset.

A similar analogy would be to believe that Sarah Palin said she could look out her window and see Russia just because Tina Fey portraying Sarah Palin on SNL said it. So, if Tina said it, then Sarah HAD to have said it. Therefore, Joel Osteen MUST be promoting self-exaltation.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, May 24, 2014 6:32am
Mrpizza: you have your understanding of the scripture and we have ours. Be at peace.

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