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Is it unconstitutional to ban certain weapons and/or accessories?
I am primarily talking about hadgun bans in certain cities, assault rifle bans, and magazine capacity legislation.
There probably has to be some trade-off between constitutional and practical. For example, it might be constitutional in terms of the right to bear arms for my neighbor to park a 105mm Howitzer on his driveway. From a practical standpoint, it seems to have no basis. The same could be said for an Abrams tank parked along the front curb. I make that point not from an anti-gun perspective as I am an active member of the NRA. I make the point to say that there are certainly plenty of guns on the street which have no practical application. There are accessories also available which make some of these weapons very dangerous in the wrong hands. I think we have to look at the spirit of the Constitution in terms of the practical aspects of bearing arms. In the day the document was written, the considerations were few...you either had a musket or ball and cap pistol or maybe you didn't...not so complicated. Today the choices are considerably more complex are range far beyond the aspect of personal protection, hunting, or sport. In that respect, then in today's environment, we must conclude that not only does a citizen have the right to bear arms under the Constitution, he/she has the right to create and maintain an arsenal of guns without limitation or practicality. Given the right to bear arms, what is the practical limit? I don't profess to have the answer. WB
I think one's view on whether or not the banning of certain weapons is constitutional is dependent upon what that individual believes the purpose of the Second Amendment is. There have been arguments made that it was perfectly lawful to privately own a fully functional cannon until just a few decades ago.
If you believe that the Second Amendment is there to allow citizens to have some sort of defense against a tyrannical government, then you probably are of the opinion that at least some weapons which are commonly considered "military" should be allowed. If you believe it is there to allow a citizen to protect their self from home invasions and to defend their home, or hunt with, then you probably see no point in owning larger or more powerful weapons.
My personal opinion is that if the weapon is incapable of killing and/or injuring more than five unfortunate souls with one discharge (a shotgun with scattershot for instance) during its average usage, then it should be allowed to be privately owned. Something more powerful should not be allowed because the average citizen would not be able to protect their self against such a weapon (maybe 1 in a 100 would have the resources to buy such a weapon), and it would be giving too much power to any one person or group.
Then again, I am also one who is of the opinion that if someone is intelligent enough to manufacture something on their own, there isn't much point in outlawing the ownership of it (sales yes, ownership no). The fact of the matter is, that if they want it bad enough, and they have the mental capacity to make it as well as the resources, they are going to have it. How do you stop that? You can't!
I agree with Wayne that the spirt of the times have changed. Since the Founding Fathers didn't know that a few terrorists with WMDs or nukes could take out a whole city folk like Wayne and myself understand that the old-fashioned 1st Amendment with that freedom of religion thingie has to go... and the 4th? Forget about it. Search them all. No one has a right to keep silent about their no-goodnik activities when millions of lives are at stake either. The 5th and 8th Amendments have no relationship to todays world.
I am not here to debate anyone's opinion. Just so everyone is aware, the 5th Amendment grants the right to trial by Grand Jury, protection against jouble jeopardy, the right to due process, and just compensation for any property taken by government. The 8th Amendment protects us against excessive bail and/or fines, and cruel and unusual punishment. If anyone truly willing to give up these rights, along with the 1st and 4th Amendments, I can't help you. However, I have noticed that people often say "they" when referring to those who don't deserve rights. These apply to everyone and if revoked, are lost to everyone.
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