Senator Says None of our [Constitutional] Rights are Absolute

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At the Feinstein Gun Ban hearings Senator Ted Cruz of Texas asked Feinstein about the constitutionality of her gun ban and the idea that Congress can tell Americans what arms they can bare . At the end of the video at the below link Senator Dick Durbin makes the statement that ‘Rights Are Not Absolute’.
So are our rights absolute?
According to Dick Durban and presumably most if not all of the Federal Government the answer is NO. The Constitution, that ‘pain in the butt of the Federal Government’ document however says they are.
According to the Merrian-Webster Dictionary the definition of
Inalienable - incapable of being alienated, surrendered or transferred.
Absolute – (2) being, governed by, or characteristic of a ruler or authority completely free from constitutional or other restraint

While the claim that Senator Durbin does not speak for all of the Senate can be made and I imagine that at least one debunker will or would have made that debunking claim, but we all know that this attitude of Durbin is not unique to Durban. Most of all 3 branches of government believe that they dictate to the rest of us what we can and can not do and they consider the Bill Of Rights and Constitution as recommendations and as Durbin has said, not absolute.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSTw0TCcFcY
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
So according your reading, we should be allowed to own slaves, women and non whites should not be allowed to vote and so forth?

The Constitution is amendable, it CHANGES. It is NOT a Religious document. (When folks do, I keep being reminded of Star Trek's 'Omega Glory' episode

Inalienable rights are in the Declaration of Independence not the Consitution
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
He's quite right, none of them are absolute, they all have limits. The Supreme Court has upheld this again and again. Most recently in McDonald v. Chicago, page 12, by Justice Scalia

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary...another-Supreme-Court-landmark-ruling-on-guns
Page 23, Justice Stevens:
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Since LIFE and Liberty are listed, then why do have the death penalty and prisons?
 

MikeC

Closed Account
The constitution can be changed - the means of doing so are enshrined within it, and every amendment since it was written was a change to the constitution.

One amendment (prohibition - 18th amendment) has been revoked by a subsequent amendment (21st) - the constitution is not ACTUALLY set in stone. Although it is very difficult to change - it can be done.

As has been pointed out even liberty and life are not guaranteed despite nice words saying they are given by god!
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Cruz was not talking about changing the constitution though, he was talking about limits on the rights, like Freedom of Speech does not mean you can yell fire in a crowded theater. The right to bear arms does not mean you can take a flame thrower to a party. The rights are not absolute.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Or shoot up a school. Or a mall. Or a place of worship.

Not really the same thing. Murder is fundamentally illegal, but restricting murder does not restrict your right to bear arms, or the other way around.

However even with something not previously illegal like owning flamethrowers, municipalities have the right to make laws restricting flamethrowers, even though the simply act of owning a flamethrower is quite harmless and not breaking any current law. The restriction is not prevented by the second amendment. The right is not absolute.
 

Met Watch

Moderator
Not really the same thing. Murder is fundamentally illegal, but restricting murder does not restrict your right to bear arms, or the other way around.

However even with something not previously illegal like owning flamethrowers, municipalities have the right to make laws restricting flamethrowers, even though the simply act of owning a flamethrower is quite harmless and not breaking any current law. The restriction is not prevented by the second amendment. The right is not absolute.

Thanks for clarifying.
 

JeffreyNotGeoffrey

Active Member
The right to vote isn't even absolute. Just ask felons. A better point is that your rights end where others' safety or freedom are concerned.
 

abeeftec

New Member
Cruz was not talking about changing the constitution though, he was talking about limits on the rights, like Freedom of Speech does not mean you can yell fire in a crowded theater. The right to bear arms does not mean you can take a flame thrower to a party. The rights are not absolute.

Actually you can yell fire in a crowded theater if the theater is on fire. But lets not get caught up in that.
That really has nothing to do with free speech. Free Speech means that we have the right to speak freely ideologically. It has nothing to do with speaking with the purpose of inflicting harm on others and it never has! The one caveat to every Amendment in the Constitution is a one question reality, "Does it harm someone else Physically or Financially?"
Me speaking ideologically can never get me arrested in this Country. It can never harm anyone physically or financially!

But if I tell someone under my authority to kill someone else that speech is not protected under the 1st Amendment. I would get charged with murder. This is really common sense stuff that our Government has slowly eroded with nonsense clichés

The Constitution was written to constrain the Government, but they have so turned it around on us in most of our thinking it makes me sick really.

Don't you all think we have been manipulated out of our rights long enough in this Country by an elected body of ignorance?

And YES we do have the right to walk into a party with a flame thrower. UNLESS the people running the part say no! Then you don't have the right to go into their party without putting down your flame thrower.

In this country, before the gun laws started we were always allowed to pack a gun. It started with the Automatics. Once they got their foot in the door then they started coming at us with all this "Common Sense" nonsense. They use that term because they know they will fool you with it!

What is wrong with me walking into a Dicks Sporting goods with my weapon holstered to buy ammo? OH, the idiot thinkers want you to believe that someone might get hurt. Well, Someone may get hit by a damned car in the parking lot but that doesn't stop us from driving! And driving is a privilege!

Do you realize that they have "common sense" nonsensed us right out of our INHERENT Rights?

The founders made it clear that the Bill of Rights was ABSOLUTE!! All you need to do is read them! And it isn't outdated. And if you think it is then call a states convention and change it. But don't try to dictate that our rights aren't absolute when they are by pretending that these little cliché type sayings are wise enough or common sense enough to talk us out of our Constitution! Because as soon as you start justifying these nonsense comments they will start making more to take MORE of our rights until one day you wonder why the Government has all this damned power and people are calling them our LEADERS instead of elected officials.... Like Today! You do realize the purpose of the Declaration of Independence had a lot to do with equalizing government and citizen right?
Then the Constitution made our Government a CITIZEN Government. But that is all screwed up today. Today it looks more like a Royalty/Subject proposition because they slowly removed our rights and then once they did they started exempting themselves from things they pass against us common folk.

Wouldn't you know it started with "COMMON SENSE" nonsense Legislation?


If you can tell me what is the danger of walking into a party with a flame thrower then you will have made sense.
Now, if you mean you cant walk into a party with a flame thrower with the trigger pulled then I get you! But that doesn't fall under the 2nd Amendment, that falls under laws against harming others.
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member.
Basically one's rights are always limited by how one's actions impact the rights of others. So , no , you cannot yell 'fire' in a theatre, etc.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
Basically one's rights are always limited by how one's actions impact the rights of others. So , no , you cannot yell 'fire' in a theatre, etc.
Although that's not the only deciding factor though.
Drugs are illegal (different kinds in different states).
Suicide is even illegal in some states.

Your rights are also limited simply based on what our collective government agrees on. Even if most people don't agree.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
My experience with a lot of gun enthusiasts is that they are absolute in their desire to have the first half of the 2nd Amendment not taken absolutely…in fact, the NRA often implies that their favorite amendment actually begins after the first 13 words :rolleyes:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,
the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 6.46.20 PM.png
 

Bill

Senior Member.
My experience with a lot of gun enthusiasts is that they are absolute in their desire to have the first half of the 2nd Amendment not taken absolutely…in fact, the NRA often implies that their favorite amendment actually begins after the first 13 words :rolleyes:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,
the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 6.46.20 PM.png
It's not just gun enthusiast. Different special interest groups focus on different amendments and treat them like they are sacred text. I'm not aware of any part of the political spectrum that is innocent of this behavior. I've heard people point out that the constitution is a living document meant to be changed to adapt to the changing times and in the next sentence defend parts of the constitution as if they are excluded from change. I've also seen strict constructionist use implied meanings like "The founders made it clear that the Bill of Rights was ABSOLUTE!!" to defend their arguments. This attitude and its accompanying hypocrisy seems to bridge the political spectrum. It's similar to people using select passages from the bible to defend their politics or their particular brand of bigotry.

Edit: I shouldn't type at 3:30 in the morning. I wonder if I could work change into that one sentence a few more times?
 
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WeedWhacker

Senior Member
I've heard people point out that the constitution is a living document meant to be changed to adapt to the changing times and in the next sentence defend parts of the constitution as if they are excluded from change.

Yes indeed....reminds me of the adage, "Do as I say, not as I do".
 

Melbury's Brick

Senior Member.
http://famguardian.org/Subjects/Politics/thomasjefferson/jeff1000.htm

 

Rroval

Member
I think within the original context of any documents like the Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc were written by and for Land/Bond owners (who are the bourgeoisie) not the proletariat which still applies today hence our capitalist system.
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member.
I think within the original context of any documents like the Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc were written by and for Land/Bond owners (who are the bourgeoisie) not the proletariat which still applies today hence our capitalist system.
Actually such things have been moving further from being made for the ruling class since the Magna Carta.
 

AB Hammer

New Member
The second amendment is stated a lot but no one wants to state the meaning of infringed.

infringe
1. actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc)

2. act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on.

" his legal rights are being are being infringed "

So to make laws to change people's wrights, to what they can have and to limit what they can have are being infringed as long as the constitution stands as it is. You can own a machine gun if you wish but you have to pass a security check and pay a tax stamp to have them. They are called a class 3 weapon. This is the only compromise I see as a practical one and it is in question as the constitution is written.
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member.
The second amendment is stated a lot but no one wants to state the meaning of infringed.

infringe
1. actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc)

2. act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on.

" his legal rights are being are being infringed "

So to make laws to change people's wrights, to what they can have and to limit what they can have are being infringed as long as the constitution stands as it is. You can own a machine gun if you wish but you have to pass a security check and pay a tax stamp to have them. They are called a class 3 weapon. This is the only compromise I see as a practical one and it is in question as the constitution is written.
I would add that, given the great propensity of such a weapon to cause widespread harm to the community of citizens( infringe on the rights of others) in the proximity of a person in charge of such a weapon, that not only a security check be required but also a safety and competency test be administered and passed with a high threshold for a passing grade.
 
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JeffreyNotGeoffrey

Active Member
Can I have an ICBM with a MIRV tip and a payload of VX gas. I have rights! I NEED these weapons to protect my home! All I really need is either a silo or a launching pad. Neighbors shouldn't mind right?
 
J

Joe

Guest
Surely the arms in question are muskets? Not assault rifles, napalm and a suitcase full of anthrax.
I think it would be the weapon that is used by everyone else . So assault rifle would be fine but a AR-15 is just a Semiautomatic rifle . Muskets would be a pain to load if someone was breaking into your house . Plus if we did have to rid ourselves of a corrupt government a musket wouldn't be the weapon of choice .
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Of course they shouldn't - urban planning laws are a clear violation of your rights to do whatever you want with your property!!

:)
 

Melbury's Brick

Senior Member.
I think it would be the weapon that is used by everyone else . So assault rifle would be fine but a AR-15 is just a Semiautomatic rifle . Muskets would be a pain to load if someone was breaking into your house . Plus if we did have to rid ourselves of a corrupt government a musket wouldn't be the weapon of choice .
It was the weapon of choice when the legislation was laid down. There's probably nothing in the Constitution to define which side of the road you should drive on, so I guess you can take your pick. (Some people seem to do just that).
 

Melbury's Brick

Senior Member.
Does this mean I can keep my bombard?
Sure. Just as long as it's as part of a well regulated militia....whatever that means. Let's hope it's not regulated by my kids, if the way they regulate my heating is any kind of yardstick.
 
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George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
The right of the citizen to own weapons, it seems to me, is based on the need for free men to maintain a balance of power with whatever governing power that could possibly wrench inappropriate control and impose tyrannical control over them. This is no doubt a slippery slope, because of all the abuse possible from either side. It was no doubt thought necessary (in the USA) at our beginning, based on the frontier nature of the the country in the 1700s and the fear that traditional powers (England, France, & Spain) could foment rebellion within our fledgling nation. Is this need still present? Are credible weapons owned by citizens still needed to persuade/convince the authorities they do not have total control and power over the governed? Other nations seem to operate without such armed citizens, yet, we also know tyrants seek to disarm their citizens to keep them powerless as well. Examples of this can be historically found from both extremes. I don't like crazy people and super zealots being armed but I would rather live in the US, Switzerland, Israel, etc. than North Korea, Nazi Germany, and other nations where one had no right to maintain lethal weapons.

I like the idea the authorities must fear and cautiously impose their will on its citizens. It is like fences make good neighbors or respecting each other in a good marriage, or mutually assured destruction that kept us from nuclear war for decades. Simply stated a rattle snake gets much more respect than a gecko!

So is the right to bear arms absolute? I would say: as in the right to a credible self-defense and as in a rudimentary ability to inhibit tyrants, I would say most assuredly! The definition of the types of weapons allowed to assure the above is IMO the debate.
 
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Melbury's Brick

Senior Member.
I have no real axe to grind. Where I live, guns are, and pretty much always have been, heavily restricted. Suits me fine. Pro gun folk in the USA often cite the 2nd Amendment usually re. self defence against tyrants. I'm not sure that that's uppermost in the minds of those who own firearms. Do people really scoot down to the gun store and say "I wanna buy a weapon so that I can be part of a well regulated militia."
 
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