Badnarik wrote:Finally, I will respond to one question I recently received via eMail. I am asked this question on a regular basis, to wit:
I have a question about the second amendment. I have the right to bear arms which cannot be infringed. Does that mean I can have a semi-automatic?
If so, then what about an automatic?
If so, what about a tank?
If so, what about a scud missle system?
If so, what about biological weapons?
If so, what about chemical weapons?
If so, what about nuclear weapons?
Is there a line and if so where is it?
This is an excellent question. It is most easily answered by analyzing a person wearing a revolver in a holster - a very low-tech choice of self-defense. Does a person have a right to wear the holster? Yes - of course. Does a person have a right to extract the revolver from the holster? Yes - assuming that they do not subsequently try to make an "unauthorized withdrawal" from a bank or someone's wallet. Assuming you were minding your own business in the first place, does a person have the right to point their revolver at you? No - absolutely not. You are not required to wait until another person shoots at you before you take action to defend your life or property. The line that has been crossed is known as a "clear and present danger", and it exists when there would be no opportunity to react if and when the person decides to pull the trigger.
This answer will not satisfy many people (such as Rosie O'Donnell or Diane Feinstein) because a "clear and present danger", like beauty, is in the mind of the beholder. It depends on WHO has extracted the revolver from the holster, and how much of a threat the person doing the evaluation feels at the moment. I think it would be GREAT to live next door to a neighbor with a functioning army tank, however I would want to be REALLY CLOSE FRIENDS with anyone who had any form of nuclear capability. It is very much like sexual harassment. I am pleased to report that there are still women in my circle of friends to whom I can say, "Hey there, Gorgeous! C'mere and give me a hug and a kiss." There are others - many of whom I knew in California - who would interpret that remark as grounds for a lawsuit. What we fail to remember in today's society is that everyone is DIFFERENT, and every situation must be evaluated on a case by case basis. One size does NOT fit all, which is why is it immoral (and unconstitutional) to establish uniform rules against "assault rifles", "Saturday night specials", and "cop killer bullets". It is interesting to note that it is an "assault rifle" if I am holding it, and an "anti-assault rifle" if I hand it to a police officer. And what the heck is a "cop killer bullet", anyway? A person with a 22 caliber target pistol that is sufficiently close to his/her target can kill anyone - whether or not they are wearing a badge. Therefore terminology such as these are created by those who wish to convert your rights into privileges by playing on the emotions of the uneducated.
In the implausible event that anyone is still uncertain what my position is on the Second Amendment, I hold that all 20,000+ gun laws in the United States are UNCONSTITUTIONAL because they infringe significantly on your RIGHT to self defense. Should I be lucky enough to actually WIN the election for President, my first official act will be to inform the agents of the entire executive branch of government that they will be dismissed from duty and prosecuted if they make any attempt to deprive anyone of any weapon, unless that person is in the process of committing a crime at that precise moment. MY idea of "Homeland Security" is for all 285 million Americans to purchase a gun if they don't already have one. If our country is exposed to a terrorist threat - I will hold a press conference and tell you how you can help to suppress the attack.
Will a libertarian step up and say "Yes, he's a nutcase, and it pisses me off because it discredits libertarianism." Or maybe you believe that the 2nd amendment grants the right for private citizens to own nukes? And that the nukes can only be taken away if the person is committing a crime "at that precise moment"?
(What if they commited a crime a couple of hours earlier? Then could we take away the criminal's nukes?)