Monday, September 06, 2004

Packing Heat?

Is it ever appropriate to carry a gun while cycling? Is it appropriate to ever carry a gun? Never mind, forget I asked.

18 comments:

CTClink said...

This is a personal desicion. It is your right to carry a gun, but realize that it probably doesn't make you safer from other people. If you know that you cannot defend yourself (not carrying a gun), I believe that you will be more likely to avoid problems. It is easier to back down and let the other person win than to live with having actually fired a gun and and the consequences.
Then, there is the issue of a rabid dog or truly insane person. There are certain rare situations where a gun would be the only way to protect one's self. I haven't been in this situation for 53 years and hope I never am.

ChrisWil said...

Dont even get into that BS about how the second amendment has anything to do with an INDIVIDUALS right to a gun, it does not. If you have ever seen 'American Fliers' you know that wild dogs make you faster and help to form close bonds to your long lost brother. And I would bet that many of those crazy people we see on Kmart bikes riding all over town could kick our ass given a good bike and hot meal.

Hammer Tillubleed said...

I don't have a problem with carrying a gun while cycling, it's firing one while while cycling that might not be appropriate, especially on a group ride. (The concealed-weapons-permit-and-lycra joke is probably too obvious, no?)

alltoowell said...

RE: Second Ammendment -- I'm sure the authors of the bill of rights felt it was necessary to state, second only to the right of free speech, that it was okay for the government to have guns.

alltoowell said...

Ammmmmendment... So, I can't spell either!
Anyway, carrying a gun while cycling can lead to flats
due to increased tire pressure resulting from the
greater energy dissipation required to decelerate the additional mass of the gun. It's even more of a problem when going downhill.

ChrisWil said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ChrisWil said...

I should say I am sorry for the last few lines of my last entry.

ChrisWil said...

I think maybe I should say I am sorry for the last few lines, I did not mean to go that low.

Hammer Tillubleed said...

Would the author of the previous comment please provide the citation to the referenced case in Blue Book format, I would like to read the case. Thank you.

alltoowell said...

Okay, I don't really believe it. But I'm curious, if "the right of the people" in the 2nd Amendment means 'state governments', does that mean that state governments can peaceably assemble (1st A) and that
state governments are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures (4th A)?

velogirl said...

I think that carrying a gun while biking is fine. I have never done it, since I have spent so much money to keep the weight of my bikes down, I feel it defeats the purpose. I also figure that when I crash, it might accidentally go off and shoot me! I do feel it necessary to carry a gun when I travel and camp(especially alone).

Hammer Tillubleed said...

Unlike the response by ChrisWil at 4:13 pm, which is condescending at best, and insulting at worst, I would like to offer for consideration my argument in favor of the proposition that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees to individuals the right to keep and bear arms. I disagree with the conclusion drawn by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in that decision, primarily because when the Constitution grants some authority to the States, it uses the word "State". I invite everyone's attention to U.S. v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001), cert. denied, 536 U.S. 122 (2002), in which the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals engaged in a comprehensive discussion and analysis of the Second Amendment and concluded that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual, not a collective right. A direct quotation from the text of the Emerson opinion follows immediately at the end of this post.

[Note: I wrote the following before reading ChrisWil's comment and reference to U.S. v. Warin, 530 F.2d 103 (6th Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 426 U.S. 948 (1976), which prompted me to research relevant caselaw on this topic. (I admit that my research is not exhaustive on the subject, but this is only a blog.)]

For the purposes of this discussion, and to avoid any confusion, the full text of the Second Amendment is as follows: "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."

It is a well established principle of statutory construction that whenever possible, words are to be given their plain meaning, and only when there is an ambiguity will a court look to legislative intent to discern the true meaning of those words.

When looking at the operative phrase in the Second Amendment: "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed", the meaning is clear and unambiguous. It is the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It is not the right of the government to keep and bear arms, nor is it the right of the Militia to keep and bear arms. In fact the government, by the the authority granted to it by the Constitution, only has powers -- not rights.

Furthermore, the phrase "shall not be infringed" would make little sense if it did not relate back to the "right of the people" immediately preceding it. If it was the intent of the drafters to prohibit infringement of the government's "right" to keep and bear arms, such an interpretation would imply that it is the people who are to be prohibited from infringing on the government's rights or powers in this regard -- a result antithetical to the principles embodied in the Constitution. Additionally, such an interpretation of the Second Amendment would be granting a power to the government that it already has, to wit, the power "[t]o raise and support Armies...). See, Article I, Section 8.

It is the words "[a] well regulated Militia" that those in favor of gun control apparently rely on in support of their position that people do not have an unqualified individual right to own firearms.

Such reliance fails for several reasons. First, the phrase "[a] well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," can only be read as a declarative statement. It does not carry any operative weight or effect (i.e. it merely states a fact or proposition) and can only make sense when read in conjunction with the second part of the Amendment. Second, the word "Militia" does not refer to a government sponsored army. The American Heritage Dictionary (3rd ed. at p.1145) defines militia as "1. An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers. 2. A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency. 3. The whole body of physically fit civilans eligible by law for military service." Emphasis added. Article I, Section 8 specifically distiguishes between the "Militia" and the "Army", thereby giving each its own identity. Therefore, a militia can only be composed of ordinary citizens, or "people", who have the express right to "keep and bear Arms". Third, the word "regulated" can only be interpreted as referring to the Militia itself. Because a militia is composed of civilians, the Amendment cannot be reasonably interpreted to mean that the civilians are to be regulated (i.e. their ability to own firearms controlled) while simultaneously being guaranteed that their right to keep and bear arms are free from infringement. Such an interpretation would be mutually exclusive and nonsensical.

Perhaps it would be useful to consider an analogous hypothetical situation. Suppose a cycling club has been formed and bylaws have been adopted. One of the sections of the bylaws states "a well regulated cycling club, being necessary for the enjoyment of the membership, the right of the members to keep and be equipped with bicylces, shall not be interfered with." Would it not be a violation of these bylaws if the board of directors decided and distributed a notice that members are prohibited from owning and riding titanium bikes and from owning and using carbon fiber seatposts or handlebars on any bike, even when not participating in club rides or events, or when riding alone? The bylaws do not grant the authority to the board of directors to designate or restrict what type of frame or specific components can be used by the members at all times. The Board's decision is a clear violation of the club's bylaws. Furthermore, unless the club is supplying the bikes and components to the members, it would be difficult to argue that the club has the authority to dictate what bikes its members can own, or use when not participating on club rides.

Therefore, in consideration of the foregoing, I respectfully submit that Amendment II of the Constitution refers to an individual's right to keep and bear arms, and that any claim to the contrary is without merit.

I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks in the future.

***
"The states rights model requires the word "people" to be read as though it were "States" or "States respectively." This would also require a corresponding change in the balance of the text to something like "to provide for the militia to keep and bear arms." That is not only far removed from the actual wording of the Second Amendment, but also would be in substantial tension with Art. 1, § 8, Cl. 16 (Congress has the power "To provide for . . . arming . . . the militia. . ."). For the sophisticated collective rights model to be viable, the word "people" must be read as the words "members of a select militia".(23) The individual rights model, of course, does not require that any special or unique meaning be attributed to the word "people." It gives the same meaning to the words "the people" as used in the Second Amendment phrase "the right of the people" as when used in the exact same phrase in the contemporaneously submitted and ratified First and Fourth Amendments.
"There is no evidence in the text of the Second Amendment, or any other part of the Constitution, that the words "the people" have a different connotation within the Second Amendment than when employed elsewhere in the Constitution. In fact, the text of the Constitution, as a whole, strongly suggests that the words "the people" have precisely the same meaning within the Second Amendment as without. And, as used throughout the Constitution, "the people" have "rights" and "powers," but federal and state governments only have "powers" or "authority", never "rights." Moreover, the Constitution's text likewise recognizes not only the difference between the "militia" and "the people" but also between the "militia" which has not been "call[ed] forth" and "the militia, when in actual service."
"Our view of the meaning of "the people," as used in the Constitution, is in harmony with the United States Supreme Court's pronouncement in United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 110 S.Ct. 1056, 1060-61 (1990), that:
"'[T]he people' seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution. The Preamble declares that the Constitution is ordained and established by 'the People of the United States.' The Second Amendment protects 'the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,' and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments provide that certain rights and powers are retained by and reserved to 'the people.' While this textual exegesis is by no means conclusive, it suggests that 'the people' protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of people who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community". (citations omitted in original). (Footnotes ommitted). U.S. v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001), cert. denied, 536 U.S. 122 (2002).
***

alltoowell said...

What was the question ?

ChrisWil said...

I am with alltowell, I did not see a question in all that (OK I only read the first three pages). Also I would rather get to bed so I can work out in the AM than reseach and write a resonce to something that some guy in part cut and pased into some blog that Liz asked me to read and write on.

To close I would like to quote the late and still great jonny cash "dont take your guns to town". Just replace 'to town' with 'on a bike ride.'

alltoowell said...

I know this started out asking about guns, but what are the real (non accidental) threats, and what are some alternatives for protection?
I've seen people spray water bottles at aggressive dogs while riding which startled the dogs enough for them to ride away unbitten. I have sprayed dogs with pepper gas on at least two occasions and found it to be ineffective on dogs. I've generally found it works pretty well on people though. It's much lighter than a gun & I've seen people velcro it to their handlebars so it's readily available. (I like the 'Punch II' brand, which can be a little hard to find unless you're a cop).
Has anyone out there been bitten by a dog in recent years while riding, or know someone who has? (I'm sure it happens, but I'm looking for firsthand insight here.) Does anyone out there know someone who's actually been attacked by a person while riding their bike around here (other than people hitting cyclists with their cars)?

Liz Schleeper said...

To answer the last post's question: I do know of a situation which called for a weapon. A few of us were at foot of Love Gap on the Sherando Lake side, throwing bikes into 39-27ish to climb the 4 mile climb up Love Gap from Rt. 250 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. JF and JD were the fastest of the group and they were tarrying a bit at the bottom as the rest of us plodded up. A few minutes into this roughly 15 min climb, I heard a gunshot. Not unusual since there is hunting in the woods on right hand side of Love Gap. At the top, we learned that a loose dog was chasing JF and JD up the hill, and an oncoming descending car hit the dog. The dog was very injured but not dead (I did not get all the details) and the driver, JF and JD all knew it was best to put it out of its misery. The driver had a gun. Of course if us cyclists had been descending this very steep grade (10-15% I think) and the dog had chased then, the gun may have served a different purpose. Anyway, the gun was needed but I am not sure anyone would want to lug anything extra up Love Gap.

alltoowell said...

I guess it's harder to outrun a dog in the mountains if you're going uphill. I'd hate to have to shoot a dog. I guess I'd have to turn around or something.
I doubt I'd consider carrying a gun in the mountains due to the extra weight.
Love Gap is tough enough without 3 extra pounds.

alltoowell said...

I guess it's harder to outrun a dog in the mountains if you're going uphill. I'd hate to have to shoot a dog. I guess I'd have to turn around or something.
I doubt I'd consider carrying a gun in the mountains due to the extra weight.
Love Gap is tough enough without 3 extra pounds.