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Old 02-01-2011, 06:30 PM  
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Originally Posted by Brian View Post
So even after serving time in prison and making restitution, you can be released back into society with fewer rights than everyone else? That's certainly the way it works, but I'd argue that's not the way it's supposed to work.
We can argue back and forth about whether it's supposed to be this way or not. If convicted of a serious crime, I see no reason why certain rights shouldn't be permanently forfeited, even if incarceration is only warranted for a certain period of time.
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Right, a judge must sign off on sending someone for a psych eval even if they don't want one.
No. Police and medical personnel can order a limited psych hold (typically 24 hours) without a court order. A judge need not be involved in this.
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But even if the person is deemed sane and no threat, they can still be denied the right to procure firearms as a result of that forced eval.
No. A temporary evaluation alone is NOT sufficient to do what you claim. A court order is required to legally deprive someone of their rights. If you have experienced otherwise, I suggest you speak to a civil rights attorney, as your rights may have been violated.
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Should someone, at significant personal expense, have to hire a lawyer and go through a long legal process to fight to get his or her rights acknowledged again by the state?
If they have been adjudicated as mentally deficient with regards to firearm ownership, yes. Adjudication means that a formal hearing was held, and a judge has signed an order stating that a person is mentally deficient.

Granted, a judge can abuse his power, but there are other safeguards in place - such as the right to appeal to a higher court - to help prevent such abuse.
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Presumably, someone with a DD has done the time for whatever crime s/he committed.
Presumably, a lifetime prohibition on firearm ownership was part of the "time" for whatever crime was committed, as was a prohibition on voting, etc.
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In a round-about fashion, you're right. The purpose of the BoR is to secure rights, not provide means for the federal government to step on them. Yes, due process is important and more often than not the legal system implements it. However, nowhere does the constitution say that even after having been judged guilty of a crime should a person forever be denied any rights.
No, but it does speak of cruel and unusual punishments. The courts have held that denying a convicted felon the right to bear arms or vote is neither cruel nor unusual. Should the people disagree, they have the option to create law that permits released felons to obtain firearms.
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I'm not trying to stick up for criminals; but our system of dealing with them is broken. Violent felons whose cases have solid proof (DNA, witnesses, video, etc.) should be executed, not released back onto the streets.
My opinion on the death penalty is a bit convoluted. The ONLY use of the death penalty is as a deterrent to other would-be criminals, yet executions are conducted years after the fact, in closed rooms with no cameras. We're executing people as far away from public view as we can get. This isn't right. If we're going to use the death penalty for its deterrent effect, each execution should be conducted during prime-time, broadcast live on CSPAN, and available to all the networks. Split-screen should show evidence photos of the victims, and the criminal should suffer as much as his victims did. If as a society, we are unwilling to subject criminals to such an execution, we have no business executing anybody. As such, I can go either way on the death penalty, the only thing I can say right now is that we're not doing it right.
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While in prison, rights are suspended. But once released, ex-cons should enjoy all the rights and freedoms of anyone else.

Voting rights is another example. Where in the constitution is the federal government authorized to bar felons (who have been released from prison) from voting?
Again, these arguments presume that prison is the only punishment for the crime. It's not. I'm failing to see the problem with including a lifelong ban on firearm ownership as part of the punishment following a felony conviction.
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Well, that's one interpretation.
It's an essential interpretation. If you cannot reasonably safeguard your firearms - whether a .22 short revolver, a 155mm howitzer, or a thermonuclear weapon, you don't have the right to own them. Every state has explicit laws about negligently storing weapons, based on the danger a firearm can present when it is in the wrong hands. Being the victim of a crime doesn't automatically eliminate one's responsibility. It may be illegal to trespass on someone's property, but you would still be negligent if a trespasser stole your unsupervised gun from your front porch.
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Many militia groups around the country (these aren't the supremacist nuts the media likes to portray as "militias") are made up of or run by former military personnel and they train hard often over the course of years. I'd be surprised if many of these groups weren't effective fighting forces.
Per US code, the militia consists of all able-bodied male citizens (and those who have declared an intent to become citizens) between the ages of 17 and 45, as well as all female members of the National Guard. The militia is subdivided into "Organized" groups (members of the National Guard) and "unorganized" groups (everyone else). "Militia groups" would seem to be groups comprised primarily of members of the unorganized militia.

You say that they train hard, tell me: How much training do members of these "militia groups" conduct in supersonic aircraft?

A professional military pilot is held to a set of standards. We can quantify his capabilities, and determine the likelihood that he can complete the mission assigned to him. He is a professional. For that matter, he can be compelled to obey orders! The same can be said of any soldier, sailor, airman, or marine. This does not hold true for unaffiliated militia groups and their members.

No matter how well-trained and effective a militia group can be, it can't produce a well-trained fighter pilot, and even if it could, a centralized training program could do it faster and cheaper. This is the nature of a large number of military roles and responsibilities.

My point is that local control of military units, outside the influence of a unified command structure, would give us a far more expensive and far less capable military force.



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My point was that placing the vast majority of the nation's military power in the control of the federal government was something the Framers wanted to avoid. Looking back on history, this can be a bad thing when combined with draconian gun control laws.
The framers were human, not some sort of divinely inspired creators. The work they did was brilliant, but not without flaw. For instance, they tolerated slavery, an institution we have long since rejected. They planned that the runner-up to the president should be the vice president. Just because they never planned for a federal-level military doesn't mean it's a bad idea.

There is a danger to having so much authority concentrated among a few people. But again, there is significant oversight from various levels and branches of our government "of the people, for the people, and by the people".

Perhaps the most important, if seldomly realized check in this power is that the military is comprised of American citizens, sworn to protect and defend the constitution, not the government. We demand that our troops obey only lawful and moral orders. We punish our troops for obeying unlawful orders. This creates a situation where our military readiness falls apart as soon as leadership steps out of line with the will of the people.
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Old 02-02-2011, 05:00 AM  
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Rochester, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
We can argue back and forth about whether it's supposed to be this way or not. If convicted of a serious crime, I see no reason why certain rights shouldn't be permanently forfeited, even if incarceration is only warranted for a certain period of time.
I haven't yet dug into this, but it certainly seems anathema to our system to have multiple classes of citizen: some with rights, some without. You may not have a problem with it. I do; it doesn't lead anywhere good. If someone can't be trusted to vote or own a firearm, they probably shouldn't be out in society.

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Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
No. A temporary evaluation alone is NOT sufficient to do what you claim. A court order is required to legally deprive someone of their rights. If you have experienced otherwise, I suggest you speak to a civil rights attorney, as your rights may have been violated.
From the FBI's NICS site: A person adjudicated mental defective or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or incompetent to handle own affairs, including dispositions to criminal charges of found not guilty by reason of insanity or found incompetent to stand trial.

What is not clear is how long a person must be committed to an institution or whether s/he must be found mentally defective there.

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Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
No, but it does speak of cruel and unusual punishments. The courts have held that denying a convicted felon the right to bear arms or vote is neither cruel nor unusual.
Can you throw some cases my way? This is interesting and I'd like to read up on it.

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Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
Again, these arguments presume that prison is the only punishment for the crime. It's not. I'm failing to see the problem with including a lifelong ban on firearm ownership as part of the punishment following a felony conviction.
Why deny a white-collar non-violent criminal the right to own firearms once he does his prison time? Where's the logic in that? Why would we ever release a violent felon back into society rather than execute him?

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Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
It's an essential interpretation. If you cannot reasonably safeguard your firearms - whether a .22 short revolver, a 155mm howitzer, or a thermonuclear weapon, you don't have the right to own them.
Who gets to determine what "reasonable" means? In Australia, firearms must be unloaded and locked in a gun cabinet. Ammunition must be locked in a separate cabinet. That's pretty goofy.

I agree that if you leave your firearms unattended on your front porch or your back deck or whatever and they get stolen and used in a crime, you might be up for some charges. But if firearms are inside my home and my home is secured such that someone must force a lock or break a window to get in, I should not be held responsible if one of my firearms is stolen and used in a crime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
Every state has explicit laws about negligently storing weapons, based on the danger a firearm can present when it is in the wrong hands.
True enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
Per US code, the militia consists of all able-bodied male citizens (and those who have declared an intent to become citizens) between the ages of 17 and 45, as well as all female members of the National Guard. The militia is subdivided into "Organized" groups (members of the National Guard) and "unorganized" groups (everyone else). "Militia groups" would seem to be groups comprised primarily of members of the unorganized militia.
Correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
You say that they train hard, tell me: How much training do members of these "militia groups" conduct in supersonic aircraft?

A professional military pilot is held to a set of standards. We can quantify his capabilities, and determine the likelihood that he can complete the mission assigned to him. He is a professional. For that matter, he can be compelled to obey orders! The same can be said of any soldier, sailor, airman, or marine. This does not hold true for unaffiliated militia groups and their members.

No matter how well-trained and effective a militia group can be, it can't produce a well-trained fighter pilot, and even if it could, a centralized training program could do it faster and cheaper. This is the nature of a large number of military roles and responsibilities.

My point is that local control of military units, outside the influence of a unified command structure, would give us a far more expensive and far less capable military force.
I don't disagree with any of this. Prioritizing an effective government-run fighting force over a fighting force comprised of the people is how things have been run for a while in this country.

Certainly, I don't mean to imply that we should disband our military and turn the hardware over to paint-ball enthusiasts.

I'm suggesting there is probably a way to return the power of the military to the people while retaining the effectiveness of our military as it is today.

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Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
The framers were human, not some sort of divinely inspired creators.
One can be human and divinely inspired.

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Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
The work they did was brilliant, but not without flaw. For instance, they tolerated slavery, an institution we have long since rejected.
Yes. And we tolerate slavery (elsewhere in the world) today. We tolerate brutal dictators and totalitarian regimes and do business with them. What will we be thought of?

Slavery was integral into many economic systems. It was recognized as wrong, but a solution had not yet been devised. I don't consider that a flaw so much as a condition of the times in which they lived.

That said, of course they had their foibles. No one's perfect, and our constitution isn't perfect. But it's awfully damn good! And those who had a hand in writing it were highly intelligent and students of history and human nature. Their understanding of the past helped them draft a document that might help us avoid making many mistakes of the past.

By ignoring the constitution or reinterpreting it to suit the mood of the day, we can easily find ourselves where the framers tried to prevent us from ever going. A strong central government with control over individuals and a powerful standing military were exactly what they wanted to avoid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
They planned that the runner-up to the president should be the vice president. Just because they never planned for a federal-level military doesn't mean it's a bad idea.
No, it's not that they didn't plan for a standing federal military. The constitution specifically says congress may raise an army for not longer than two years with the idea that there wouldn't be a standing army for an extended period (wars are another matter).

Quote:
Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
There is a danger to having so much authority concentrated among a few people. But again, there is significant oversight from various levels and branches of our government "of the people, for the people, and by the people".
Yes, and that has worked reasonably well for decades. However, we are seeing signs of corruption in bureaucracies and within all branches of government (and in all political parties). We see new bureaucracies and new legislation designed to "protect" us from one evil by taking away our liberty which is itself evil.

Trust for government is not exactly at its all-time high, and there are many legitimate reasons for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
Perhaps the most important, if seldomly realized check in this power is that the military is comprised of American citizens, sworn to protect and defend the constitution, not the government. We demand that our troops obey only lawful and moral orders. We punish our troops for obeying unlawful orders. This creates a situation where our military readiness falls apart as soon as leadership steps out of line with the will of the people.
Yes, that's true and that's very important to note. Many would refuse to fire on American citizens. The ranks of Oath Keepers is climbing steadily which is good to see.

But you don't need to travel too far back in time to see evidence that LEOs, those in the Guard and those in the military HAVE obeyed unlawful orders. Give a shout if you want examples.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:38 AM  
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Kent, Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
I haven't yet dug into this, but it certainly seems anathema to our system to have multiple classes of citizen: some with rights, some without. You may not have a problem with it. I do; it doesn't lead anywhere good. If someone can't be trusted to vote or own a firearm, they probably shouldn't be out in society.
Do you have a problem with probation and/or parole, a situation where convicted criminals punishment involves restriction and forfeiture of MANY rights but does not include incarceration?
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From the FBI's NICS site: A person adjudicated mental defective or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or incompetent to handle own affairs, including dispositions to criminal charges of found not guilty by reason of insanity or found incompetent to stand trial.

What is not clear is how long a person must be committed to an institution or whether s/he must be found mentally defective there.
Fair enough, BUT, there is a long standing legal principle that everyone is entitled to Due Process. If you are aware of situations where a person was admitted to a hospital or institution for psychiatric evaluation, determined to be sane, and then denied their right to bear arms, have the victim speak to a civil rights attorney. If this kind of abuse is going on, it needs to be stopped.
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Can you throw some cases my way? This is interesting and I'd like to read up on it.
Google can do a better job, but here is a release about a federal case out of Washington state regarding felons voting rights:
Ninth Circuit upholds Washington

This report out of Michigan refers to DC v. Heller and several state-level rulings to uphold the state law denying firearms rights to felons.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504383_1...01-504383.html
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Who gets to determine what "reasonable" means?
A jury of one's peers. And/or, a legislature with appropriate jurisdiction
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I'm suggesting there is probably a way to return the power of the military to the people while retaining the effectiveness of our military as it is today.
You're suggesting that military power today has been stripped from the people. Last I heard, this power was held by the duly elected officials in our government of the people, for the people, and by the people. How can we retrieve this authority we already hold?
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One can be human and divinely inspired.
Irrelevant, in that their work, while brilliant, was not without error. The smartest thing they did was recognize the potential flaws at any level and create means for correcting them.
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That said, of course they had their foibles. No one's perfect, and our constitution isn't perfect. But it's awfully damn good! And those who had a hand in writing it were highly intelligent and students of history and human nature. Their understanding of the past helped them draft a document that might help us avoid making many mistakes of the past.

By ignoring the constitution or reinterpreting it to suit the mood of the day, we can easily find ourselves where the framers tried to prevent us from ever going. A strong central government with control over individuals and a powerful standing military were exactly what they wanted to avoid.

No, it's not that they didn't plan for a standing federal military. The constitution specifically says congress may raise an army for not longer than two years with the idea that there wouldn't be a standing army for an extended period (wars are another matter).
I think you're confusing a garrisoned military with a standing military. In garrison, our troops are training. They are effectively a component of the organized militia, waiting to be called into duty. They have no authority over civilians.

A standing military would be the national guard, called in to protect black students as they entered desegregated schools. When the crisis was over, these soldiers returned to their own homes, their own, civilian jobs.

A standing military would be the national guard, called in to quell riots at Kent State University. Here, we can see the danger to life and liberty that a standing military can have.
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Yes, and that has worked reasonably well for decades. However, we are seeing signs of corruption in bureaucracies and within all branches of government (and in all political parties). We see new bureaucracies and new legislation designed to "protect" us from one evil by taking away our liberty which is itself evil.
You think this is a new phenomenon?! The very reason for having multiple branches and multiple levels of government was a response to the likelihood of corruption!
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Trust for government is not exactly at its all-time high, and there are many legitimate reasons for that.
The problem is that a lack of faith in the system is the chief cause of the perceived problems. It IS a government of the people, for the people, and by the people, but it does not represent the people who don't participate.
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Yes, that's true and that's very important to note. Many would refuse to fire on American citizens. The ranks of Oath Keepers is climbing steadily which is good to see.

But you don't need to travel too far back in time to see evidence that LEOs, those in the Guard and those in the military HAVE obeyed unlawful orders. Give a shout if you want examples.
Yes, they have. Yes, there are mistakes being made, yes there are abuses. And yes, there are systems in place to correct these mistakes and abuses. Just as we rarely think about the transmission in our cars, except to periodically check fluid levels, we never hear about our government when it is operating correctly, except to periodically refill it with new elected officials. It's only when a failure inconveniences us that we even think about them, and in a system as large as our entire government - from our town treasurer's secretary to the President of the United States - there are bound to be frequent failures that cast doubt on the stability of the whole.
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