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How do gun owners really feel about gun control?

Members of the National Rifle Association and, say, residents of the Upper West Side of Manhattan might disagree on certain aspects of gun control legislation. But as Republican pollster Frank Luntz tells Need to Know, they’re actually much closer than you think. Luntz surveyed gun owners on their attitudes toward what he calls “common-sense gun legislation” and got some surprising results.

You can find a copy of the poll, which was commissioned by the pro-gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, here.

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  • JerryB

    His language gives away his bias and lack of education.
    To say “believes in” when you mean understand, endorse,or approve is common and ignorant.
    To say that NRA members are not that different from the “average American”, right after asserting that 40% of Americans own a gun shows not just bias, but ignorance of his own bias.

  • Ed

    Watch “Need to Know” on Friday, May 7th to find out how I feel about carrying a gun.

  • ed lepps

    Luntz heads a group called the Word Doctors. They make up stuff and spin the words to match the message. Commone Sense Gun Control is code for give up your guns, either now, or slowly. His study was paid for by gun grabbers.

  • Cathymac

    I’m not convinced that what Luntz found was so extraordinary. Anyone that has been following gun legislation for the past 30 years knows that the advocacy groups such as the NRA and GOA have done an excellent job. These groups have moved states to “shall issue” and have been concentrating on city, county, state and local ordinances that are a hindrance to carrying openly or concealed. We now have 34 states that are “shall issue” – up from 9 states 25 years ago. The education campaign has worked, so public opinion has moved on the topic of gun control.

  • Grape

    “Common sense” gun control is NOT what we want! Luntz is spinning words and phrases into a different realm, trying to blur the fundamental meaning of such thoughts.

    He has NO idea who or what the average NRA member is (he has NO access to membership rolls) therefore his statements regarding the “average NRA member” is a blatant lie. Everything else after that is only somewhat less truthful. The man speaks with a forked tongue.

  • TJ

    The study commissioned by “Mayors Against Illegal Guns?” Yeesh… well it could have been worse.

    Well, we’re featured in there at 1:21 in the video. Come on down to check out our inventory, exercise your second amendment rights, and keep firearms from doing something illegal.

  • Robert

    By arbitrarily terminating questioning of non-NRA members upon reaching 400 in that group the remaining results were off by 31 entries, or 3.725 percent of the total participants. The listed margin of error is only 3.5 percent.

  • ccryder

    This “poll” is payed for by Mayors Against “Illegal” Guns. There is nothing pro-gun about this group. They want all guns to be illegal. They do not believe you have the right to defend yourself or your family. They do not believe the right to self defense is a God given right that precedes the Bill of Rights.

  • coffee12

    I can’t believe that the first segment, in “Need to know” is about a small group of people, who feel the need to carry guns everywhere they go.

    How about what is going on in finanacial reform, Now that’s “Need to Know” I hope the topics greatly improve.

    To JerryB

    Please just simply state your view point on a topic & skip your asinine definition of what costitutes ignorance & bias. Attacking another person personally is the sign of a weak argument.

  • Bill

    If you really want to know what gun control leads to then check Europe out. They have made it impossible to own a gun so now criminals use bombs to threaten folks with. If this is what you want then support the gun grabbing folks here in the U.S. With the economy being in the state it is, the criminal element is by far larger than it was a year ago.

  • JR

    You can have my guns, when you pry them from my cold dead hands.

  • john

    im a nra member. i have my guns to protect my family from these scumbags. without it they wouldve attack my family already.

  • Ed

    I was self mislef by the TAGS under the video.. I see it read: “TAGS: Frank Luntz, National Rifle Association”. What my MIND read was “Frank Luntz, National Rifle Association”. If that was the case, that guy should be fired for mis representing the NRA. While I am a lifetime member of the NRA, grassroots gun rights organizations at the local level are the ones that really help preserve your liberty and freedom. In Virginia, it is the Virginia Citizens Defense League (See
    GUNS Save Lives!

  • Superlite27

    coffee12 wrote:

    “To JerryB

    Please just simply state your view point on a topic & skip your asinine definition of what costitutes ignorance & bias. Attacking another person personally is the sign of a weak argument.”

    I wonder if your superior mind can grasp the irony of belittling a person’s mental capablity for using a personal attack….by using a personal attack?

    Shoot yourself in the foot, much? You wouldn’t be purposefully jumping right into the “ignorance & bias” suit Mr. JerryB has knitted up for you, would you? It fits quite well.

  • Coffee12

    To Superlite27

    Leaving out who has the superior mind, I attacked JerryB’s definition on ignorance & bias.(Do you hold with the idea that if someone uses the term “believes in” that defines them as irgorant & common, Do you not find that to be asinine?)

    I however made no deorgatory commits about him/her as a person, unlike yourself & JerryB. Their is a difference between attacking “The Idea vs. The Person”

  • Superlite27

    Coffee12 wrote:
    “Do you hold with the idea that if someone uses the term “believes in” that defines them as irgorant & common”

    I agree with you to a certain point. I would base my opinion on the belief they espouse rather than the belief system itself. So, while I will agree with you, that basing an assertion that someone is ignorant and common based on the fact that they “believe” instead of “understand” might be less than accurate, I won’t go so far as to discredit it by lableing it “asinine”. (See, we firearms owners are very capable of selective reasoning and are capable of changing our mind based on the truth instead of writing them in stone…..unlike some of our more emotionally based opponents)

    I say “emotional” because you rarely get a fact based argument from anti-gunners. Since the facts are almost completely in our favor, anti’s are relegated to the realm of emotion.

    Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Are these similar to illegal rocks, or illegal sticks? What about illegal hammers? What characteristic of these “illegal” guns makes them different that the “legal” guns the rest of us use? How does one change a “legal” gun similar to the ones police use into an “illegal” gun that a criminal would use? You mean there is no difference other than who’s hands they are in?

    Then why label the inanimate obect instead of the person who uses it? Unless………oh yeah! A biased attempt to demonize an object incapable of making a legal/illegal decision by itself?

    Are there “illegal shoes”? You know…the shoes that a criminal wears while committing crimes? As opposed to “legal shoes” that the rest of us law abiding citizens wear?

  • missingxtension

    There is no intent by anyone to demonize an object.
    There is however an attempt to relate and object as an enabler.
    What uses does a gun have?
    Unless you use the ridgid guns for construction the answer is hurting people and animals.
    Knives and other inanimate objects have other uses, there is no disguising what a guns is used for.
    What about shoes? surely shoes can be used to as weapons, austin powers represented that very well. or maybe you like this shoe that went flying at Bush
    That argument is just as potent as shoe weapons.
    If someone was to say, “well we have wolves that kill our sheep”, obviously you need it to protect your sheep
    Or “there is no law around this town”, then obviously you need to protect yourself from other people in your area who have guns.
    Notice how common sense just seems to make sense?
    Because its common sense.
    When you have a whole fleet of people with guns that their sole purpose is to protect people, that gun arguments gets very watered down.
    Dont get me wrong, any police officer with a gun in my house is a threat to my family.
    The reason, the gun.
    Even an accident can change a life, the person doesn’t need malicious intent.
    By the way, my favorite game is a first person shooter, in the game the psg1 is my favorite weapon, complemented by a spaz and a de.

  • MB

    Grape, you have no access to NRA membership rolls either, so you’re just as full of it as you claim Luntz is. In fact, everyone on this comment thread has no access to NRA member rolls, so if Grape is right, every opinion about NRA sentiment expressed here is a load of ignorant crap.

    Except mine, that is, since I’m not expressing an opinion about the way the NRA membership sees things, since that’s impossible to discern.

  • Lt Col Vaught, USAF, Ret

    Lies as usual and after being in 80 countries and seeing their so-called “gun control” where the govts tell their populations that the police or the military will protect you, I can tell you this: the EU (European Union) has TWO times the murder rate of the US; FIVE times the break-in rate; and THREE times the rape rate; and Russia is lawless. Africa it is a complete joke as life is so cheap the majority of rapes, killings, and break ins are never even reported. Brussels, Belgium isn’t called the break in capitol of the world for nothing as I know having lived there and the police are worthless and that is being kind. Any govt that is so scared of its own people and disarms them, then that govt does not need to exist anymore and after 25 years of serving, I will be damned if I won’t fight tooth and nail against such unconstitutional behavior on the part of our govt and all the radials left wing organizations.

  • Josh K.

    Fear of lawfully armed citizens is the number one deterent of violent crime. GUNS SAVE LIVES! For more info, visit

  • missingxtension

    “Then why label the inanimate obect instead of the person who uses it? Unless………oh yeah! A biased attempt to demonize an object incapable of making a legal/illegal decision by itself? ”

    First off, that is not a good argument.
    There is only one use for guns, there is only one use for bullets.
    Knives at least have a million uses.
    Why arent more people going around killing each other with shoes?
    Austin powers did a pretty good representation of what would happen.
    Imagine if Bush was assassinated by the reporters shoes?
    Or the columbine incident with shoes?
    Iraq war, with rocket propelled shoes, or maybe roadside shoes.

    The fact is you get a person with a gun in a room you put everyone in that room danger.
    Even if it is a police officer, he is still a potential threat to my kids.
    You take the gun out of the equation and the risk goes down substantially.
    Notice they don’t allow gun in jails?
    Its funny people are more worried about the second hand smoke than a gun.
    Are you guys ready for National Smokers Association?
    By the way my favorite pastime is a first person shooter game, my favorite weapon is the psg1, complemented by a spaz and a de.

    and to Lt Col Vaught, USAF, Ret
    “govts tell their populations that the police or the military will protect you”
    Where is the correlation with gun control? There is not one.
    There are several reasons why crime rates in other countries are different.
    But the only way to find out is if you take guns out of the equation and see what happens.
    I also notices you didnt mention japan.
    But yeah you dont wanna mention japan, because then you can cut up your argument and make it into a bolony sandwich.

  • Truth

    This online piece with Luntz does not bode well for quality in this new program, “Need to Know.” Luntz??? Does this mean the program is another promo piece for the Republican Party?

    All Luntz says is that opinions on gun ownership are universal. Yet the poll he bases his opinion on is heavily skewed towards Republican/conservative — just check the poll responses on party membership and poll respondents’ votes in the last presidential election. A significant majority of the respondents voted for McCain! Note, too, there is no information on the polling methods or sampling number.

    What IS noteworthy from the poll are the responses that oppose positions of the NRA. The overwhelming majority of respondents — from NRA members and nonmembers — do NOT want guns sold to anyone on a terrorist watch list. Are you listening, NRA?

    Further, Luntz’ interpretation of universalilty fails on several of the poll’s questions where the difference between NRA members and nonmembers is at least 10 to 17 points.

    Nothing here that I “need to know.”

  • Rob Watson

    “Real gun owners” … 2x in CM. Infringe not.

    If people really don’t like the 2nd amendment then repeal it. Forget about the 1000 cuts and man up.

    “Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth. ” George Washington

    “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” George Washington

    How do you think old GW really feels about it?

  • Jerry H.

    I’m very disappointed, though, alas, not surprised, at tonight’s “Need to Know” segment on guns. Once again, PBS has sponsored a hatchet job on the issue. What else can you call it when they interview Mayor Bloomberg — the most anti-gun mayor in the country, possibly excepting Richard Daley — while not bringing in anyone from the other side to answer his assertions and counter his deceptions? What else can you call it when they show glimpses of thoroughly discredited “advocacy research” studies claiming guns are dangerous, but mention none of the award winning studies showing just the opposite? Or when they show President Obama’s relative inaction on the issue as President, but ignore his history as a state and federal legislator with a 100% record of advocating extreme gun control positions?

    Their assertion that more guns means more gun accidents is particularly egregious. A simple look at the “Vital Statistics” section of the “World Almanac and Book of Facts” (hardly a pawn of the NRA) reveals National Safety Council (likewise) figures that show the accidental firearms death rate has dropped drastically over the past 30 years and now hovers near an all time low of about 750 per year while, during the same period, the number of guns in circulation has grown to nearly 300 million and the number of states with some form of concealed carry law has risen to 48. Someone either didn’t do their homework or didn’t like what it told them, so ignored it.

    Presentations like this are why I stopped supporting Public Television years ago. I simply will not contribute to bias and deception that attacks my rights as a citizen and insults me, my intelligence and my personal integrity in the bargain.

    The bigger problem here is now I can’t trust “Need to Know” on any other subject. If I know they’re biased and deceptive on subjects in which I’m an expert (and guns is only one of them), how can I trust them to be anything else on subjects in which I am not an expert? It seems “Need to Know” really means “What We Want You to Believe.” I will continue to get the information I need to know elsewhere.

  • Bob Bennett

    Thanks for your initial broadcast, but you completely missed the underlying issue(s).

    Question: Why the increase in gun advocates?

    Answer: The failures of the criminal justice system.

    Question: Why has the criminal justice system failed?

    Answer: This answer has several parts; the following 4 parts, while not the full answer, are its major components.

    A. Aside from reading a person his rights, the Miranda decision also required counties provide a public defender to all defendants facing 6 months or more incarceration (Possibly the first of many unfunded mandates). In most states, it now applies to all defendants, including those facing less than 6 months imprisonment.

    Naturally enough, counties looked for ways to avoid the increased costs involved with providing a public defender. The result is the plea bargain system. At first, this system of injustice was used primarily to put pressure on individuals suspected of major crimes, but for which inadequate evidence existed to have a reasonable chance of conviction. (Also, at about the same time police officers lobbied successfully to get paid for appearing in court, which previously they often had to do on their own time.)

    However, by the early 80’s, the plea bargain system was being used for just about everything, including to cover up abuses by police officers. (According to the Criminal Justice profile, published by the State of California; the conviction rate in Los Angeles County rose from 81% in 1981 to 98.6% in 1988. I haven’t tracked this since 1994, when it was at 96%.) While prosecutors touted their high conviction rates as evidence of their tough on crime positions, the plea bargain system actually encourages crime, while increasing the amount of jail time spent by those who believe themselves innocent, or at least had mitigating circumstances.

    B. Starting in the late 60’s individuals who really didn’t belong there began to be released from mental institutions. In the 70’s drugs were found which mitigated the symptoms of mental patients, and many more were released from institutions. In the 80’s, with the election of Ronal Reagan, who believed these individuals should compete with everyone else, both homelessness and the criminalization of the mentally ill began. (My 1992 paper – Honorable Mention from the Pacific Research Institute – on how Mental Health Courts could save communities money while providing better treatments) Mental Health Courts began to reduce this aspect of the problem; although mentally ill individuals still make up abnormally high percentage of prison populations.

    C. Drug laws – Are today’s drug laws the result of J. Edgar Hoover being blackmailed (for being a transvestite) by one or more mafia families? We will probably never know for sure, but we spend way too much money to keep people incarcerated for activities which primarily just injure themselves.

    D. Both major political parties promote greater privileges for their elites. County prosecutors are on the list of the privileged elites for both Republicans and Democrats. This is part of the reason this country is sinking toward dictatorship, which appears to be the favored position of both far left and far right, although each appears to want a different flavor of dictatorship. This helps fuel the increase in gun advocates.

  • OJohn

    Obviously this guy had an agenda. I mean, NRA members vs. ‘average American’ — really? Several of the poll questions seemed carefully crafted to bias response.

    I thought the gun rights segment on the broadcast show was excellent, however. In particular, thanks to PBS for finding an articulate spokesperson for the gun rights mindset (missed the name, the fellow in the flag shirt). I also thought Bloomburg outlined the centrist states-rights position well.

    While my personal ideals may tilt progressive, I like Obama precisely because he is such a centrist, whether he gets credit for it or not. Thank you for producing a show that tries to speak to the ‘passionate moderate.’

    But really, even if you’re just looking for common ground, bad polling is bad polling.

  • FirstCavApache

    missingxtension wrote
    “There is only one use for guns, there is only one use for bullets.
    Knives at least have a million uses.”
    Actually, you’re wrong. Knives have one use and that is to cut. They can cut a million different things sure, but guns can shoot a lot of different things. My whole family target shoots, my wife, son and even my 10 year old daughter. Everyone has been taught how to safely and responsibly handle a firearm. You state when there is a gun in the room, there is a threat to your kids even if it’s a cop. Man you are so paranoid! What is going to happen? Is the evil gun going to jump out of the holster and shoot your kids on it’s own? Guns can be carried and used safely by responsible people to protect themselves from criminals that don’t pay attention to the gun laws. You can put all the gun laws on the books you want. Ban all guns and criminals will still carry guns. The only difference will be that the law abiding citizens would not be able to defend themselves. As free men we have the right to defend ourselves and our families and that includes firearms and deadly force if necessary. I don’t need to get permission from the government for that. Thankfully the Second amendment grants me that right but in reality I have that right as a free man no matter what any government tells me. God bless America, God bless the founding fathers for understanding how important the right to keep and bear arms was, God bless Ronald Reagan(just to piss you liberals off) and God bless our troops

  • Barbara Clark

    One of the persons interviewed stated that his gun was like a fire extinguisher “there when he needed it.” I was a little disappointed when your interviewer didn’t ask to see the guy’s fire extinguisher. I have one in my car and in my home but I don’t carry it into I-HOP.

  • JNagarya

    “TJ” — inform YOURSELF –
    “. . . . It’s past time for the other states to restore our 2nd amendment rights. . . .”

    Shouldn’t you KNOW the INTENT of those who WROTE the Second Amendment BEFORE you decide to adopt the false propaganda pumped out by the gun industry through such private non-profit special-interest fronts as the NRA?

    Inform yourself: the debates of those who WROTE the Second Amendment are in print and readily available: buy and READ them:

    “Crating the Bill of Rights: The Documentary Record from the First Federal Congress” (Baltimore, MD: Tje Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), Edited by Helen E. Veit, et al. Here’s a sample — the first draft of that which would become the Second Amendment. See if you can pick out the “individual right” that was debated concerning same:

    “The right of the people [PLURAL -- it is not, "We the individual," or, "I the people"] to keep and bear arms [in the MILITIA] shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia [NOT "individual"] being the best security of a free country [NOT "individual"]: but no person [INDIVIDUAL] religiously scrupulous of [AGAINST] bearing arms [in the Militia] shall be compelled [INVOLUNTARY, as in DRAFT] to render military service [in the Militia] in person.” “Creating,” at 30.

    Here’s a clue as to the quality of “thinking” for which you are falling: the NRA and its cult constantly cite statistices in support of their claims; and simultaneously disparage and reject the use of statistics when they go against and refute their claims. Even without statistics it stands to reason that the more guns there are, the more “accidents” involving guns will occur.

    As concerns the spurious claims being made about what would have happened if VA Tech. students and faculty had been armed: the problem was weakness in the existing VA law which allowed a mentally ill person to get guns LEGALLY. But there’s the solution, eh? — the way to extinguish a fire is to pour gasoline onto it. Then the claim can be made that if we only had more gasoline fires, there’d be fewer gasoline fires.

    And in the event you haven’t heard: the NRA is working to repeal laws which PROHIBIT those who are mentally ill owning guns. We’ve been there before — which is why it came to be that the mentally ill were prohibited owning guns.

    But that should improve the situation — for those who can’t think, or can’t think straight.

    By contrast: No SANE society leaves dangerous substances and objects lying around unregulated. Why? Because PUBLIC SAFETY trumps “individual right”; that’s why it was illegal, instead of legal, for McVeigh to bomb the Murrah Federal Building in protest against the assault weapons ban.

    Law for Gun-Nuts: The Law of the Second Amendment

    The bottom line is that gun-nuts, when confronted with the actual legal history and law, essentially insist that the way to determine John Doe’s view of a matter is to ask everyone BUT John Doe. Reason and law do not work that way; but irresponsibility and intellectual dishonesty do.

    In priors I listed those materials which are LEGAL AUTHORITY. All else, including “The Federalist”, private opinions in letters and diaries, regardless how famous the authors of them, are

    NOT LAW and have NO legal weight.

    That is what John Adams meant when he said: “A system of laws, and not of men.” The Constitution stipulates (1) that the laws shall be made by CONGRESS; and (2) that the Constitution, which establishes the Federal gov’t, is SUPREME over the states.

    As for “the right to bear arms,” this is the LEGAL history on that issue, which was originally in response to a person making this FALSE assertion:

    “All of the Bill of Rights refer to individual rights. Raving lunatics should read the Federalist Papers for further insight.”

    Concerning the “Federalist Papers”: the CORRECT title of the book is “The Federalist”. As well, “The Federalist,” having been written by private citizens hidden behind pseudonyms, and not having been enacted by a legislature, is both NOT LAW and IRRELEVANT for several reasons.

    First, they were written by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay — only one of whom would later be a member of the first Congress, which WROTE the Bill of Rights, under the newly-ratified Constitution.

    Second, the authors ADMITTED that their purpose was to SELL the CONSTITUTION — which means they were not OBJECTIVE: they were BIASED in FAVOR of ratification.

    Third, and most relevant in this context, as the Constitution was framed, and then ratified, WITHOUT a Bill of Rights, the only mentions of “Bill of Rights” in “The Federalist” are REJECTIONS of the “NEED” for one; see Federalist No. 84, in which is said, as example:

    “I . . . affirm that bills of rights . . . are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. . . .” “The Federalist” (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1961), Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by Jacob E. Cooke, at 579.

    Fourth, “The Federalist” was written by THREE delegates to the Constitutional Convention — out of over FIFTY delegates who agreed on very little. THREE is an INCONSEQUENTIAL MINORITY of that OVER FIFTY. In addition, those three were balanced by THREE delegates on the OPPOSITE end of the political spectrum who OPPOSED ratification of the Constitution, and refused to sign it, because it DIDN’T have a Bill of Rights. One of those was Elbridge Gerry, about whom more below.

    Fifth, with ratification of the Constitution completed, Federalist promotion of that outcome ENDED.

    It was during the ratification process that several states that ratified the Constitution, beginning with the sixth, Massachusetts-Bay, included PROPOSED amendments with their Notices of Ratification.

    This is the chronology:

    1. Completion of ratification of the Constitution occurred on June 21, 1788.

    2. SUBSEQUENTLY, Congress was established/organized under the newly-ratified Constitution.

    3. Congress first “achieved a quorum on 6 April [1789]“. “Creating the Bill of Rights: The Documentary Record from the First Federal Congress” (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), Ed. by Helen E. Veit, et al., at xiv. This volume is the DEBATES — the LEGISLATIVE HISTORY — of those who WROTE the Bill of Rights.

    4. Madison, the ONLY author of “The Federalist” to be a member of that Congress, codified the several states’ PROPOSED amendments into a RESOLUTION which he submitted to Congress for DEBATE on May 4, 1789. Id., at 1.

    5. On May 25, 1789, Madison himself moved to POSTPONE consideration of the proposed amendments until June 8, 1789, which was agreed to by the Congress. Id., at 5.

    6. Debate of the proposed amendments did not begin until August 13, 1789. Id., at 7. That’s how “worried” the Founders/Framers in Congress were about there NOT being a Bill of Rights: they were in no hurry. More pressing were establishing the Executive and Judicial branches of the gov’t, a responsibility that fell to the Congress.

    7. The DEBATES of Madison’s resolution in Congress were OBVIOUSLY conducted by those who WROTE the Bill of Rights: the members of that first Congress.

    8. Unlike “The Federalist” — irrelevant to begin with — the DEBATES of those who WROTE the Bill of Rights are LEGAL AUTHORITY; it is to THOSE we refer when we want to know the intent of those who WROTE the Bill of Rights.

    9. The debate which eventuated in the Second Amendment began with and was EXCLUSIVELY concerned with whether to establish a standing army — the Founders/Framers considered such a “bane of liberty”; a THREAT to the gov’ts they had established — or to instead rely on the alternative: MILITIA. Elbridge Gerry summarized the issue during the debates of that which became the Second Amendment with this statement:

    “What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.” Id., at 182.

    He makes no mention of “individual” because a MILITIA is OBVIOUSLY no more an individual than is an army. As well, and as obvious, PEOPLE is PLURAL, as in, WE THE PEOPLE. It is NOT “We the individual,” or, “I the people”.

    10. That which became the Second Amendment was drawn from MILITIA clauses in the state constitutions/bills of rights of Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. “The Bill of Rights and the States: The Colonial and Revolutionary Origins of American Liberties” (Madison, WI: Madison House, 1992), Edited by Patrick T. Conley and John P. Kaminski, at xviii.

    11. Exactly as with the DEBATES of that which became the Second Amendment, those four MILITIA clauses include the phrase “the right of the people [PLURAL] to keep and bear arms [as MILITIA]“; and that is directly associated with the phrase concerning standing armies being the “bane of liberty”*.

    *The US Constitution incorporates FOUR references to MILITIA. US Con. Art. II., s. 2, c. 1 reads:

    “The President shall be Commander in Chief . . . of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States.”

    And when the militia is not in service to the United States, the commander in chief of it is the states’ governor, as is stipulated in each of the several states’ constitutions.

    The second, US Con. Art. I., s. 8., c. 15, reads in relevant part:

    “Congress shall have the Power To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, [and] SUPPRESS INSURRECTIONS.”

    Obvious conclusion: Neither the President nor a state’s governor is going to call out the militia to “defend against” himself.

    These, in full, are the four state constitution/bills of rights MILITIA clauses from which was drawn the Second Amendment:

    “Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article XVII. The people [PLURAL] have a right to keep and bear arms [as MILITIA] for the COMMON DEFENCE. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the Legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the Civil authority [GOV'T], and be governed by it.”

    “North Carolina Declaration of Rights, Article XVII. That the people [PLURAL] have a right to bear arms [as MILITIA], for the defence OF THE STATE [GOV'T]; and as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power [GOV'T].”

    “Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, Article XIII. That the people [PLURAL] have a right to bear arms [as MILITIA] for the defense of themselves _AND_ THE STATE [GOV'T]; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power [GOV'T].”

    “Vermont Declaration of Rights, Chapter I., Article XV. That the people [PLURAL] have a right to bear arms [as MILITIA] for the defence of themselves _AND_ THE STATE [GOV'T]; and, as standing armies, in the time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power [GOV'T].”

    12. The first draft of that which became the Second Amendment reads as follows, in full, the final clause being the ONLY “individual right” debated concerning that which became the Second Amendment by those who WROTE the Second Amendment:

    “The right of the people [PLURAL] to keep and bear arms [as MILITIA] shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia [NOT "individual"] being the best security of a free country [NOT "individual"]: but no person [INDIVIDUAL] religiously scrupulous of [AGAINST] bearing arms, shall be compelled [INVOLUNTARY] to render military service [in the MILITIA] in person.” “Creating,” at 30.

    And the phrase “well regulated militia” is addressed it the third reference to Militia in the US Constitution, US Con. Art. I., s. 8, c. 16, reads in full:

    “Congress shall have the Power To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers [this done by the states' governor and legislature] and the Authority of training the Militia ACCORDING TO THE DISCIPLINE PRESCRIBED BY CONGRESS.”

    As the Constitution stipulates that Congress shall make the laws, “to regulate” means by means of LAW.

    OBVIOUSLY the final clause of that which became the Second Amendment — “: but no person [INDIVIDUAL] religiously scrupulous of [AGAINST bearing arms, shall be compelled [INVOLUNTARY] to render military service [in the MILITIA] in person.” — was VOTED DOWN by those who WROTE the Amendment. AS OBVIOUSLY, as it is the ONLY “individual right” debated concerning that which became the Second Amendment, that it was VOTED DOWN means that the Second Amendment has NOTHING WHATEVER TO DO WITH “INDIVIDUAL” ANYTHING.

    Asserting NON-law changes NONE of those facts, BEGINNING with the fact that the Congressional debates of those who WROTE the Second Amendment are _THE_ LEGAL AUTHORITY we consult to determine what those who WROTE the Second Amendment MEANT with the Second Amendment. And as unequivocally shown, it is SOLELY concerned with WELL REGULATED MILITIA, and their being UNDER the law. As is also obvious: as the Founders/Framers were opposed to standing armies because THREAT to the gov’ts they established, they DID NOT intend that
    the militia THREATEN the gov’ts they established.

    13. The Bill of Rights, consisting of twelve proposed amendments, was submitted to the states’ legislatures for consideration on September 25, 1789. The first two of the twelve were rejected.

    14. Ratification of the Bill of Rights was completed on December 15, 1791.

    15. The fourth reference to Militia in the US Constitution reads in full:

    “A Well regulated [by CONGRESS] Militia [NOT "individual"], being necessary to the security of a free State [GOV'T -- NOT "individual"], the right of the people [PLURAL] to keep and bear Arms [as that WELL REGULATED MILITIA], shall not be infringed.”

    To underscore those facts: SUBSEQUENTLY, in 1792, Congress enacted the first “Militia Acts” by means of which to regulate the militia by implementing the provisions in the Constitution — including the Second Amendment. These are the captions of the first several of those illustrating the purposes of the militia, and the evolution of the law:

    May 2, 1792: Chap. XXVIII.–An Act to provide for calling fourth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, SUPPRESS INSURRECTIONS and repel invasions.

    May 8, 1792: Chap. XXXIII.–An Act more effectually to provide for the National Defence by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States.

    Especially notable:

    July 6, 1798: Chap. LXV.–An Act providing arms for the Militia throughout the United States.

    March 2, 1803: Chap. XV.–An Act in addition to an Act entitled, “An Act more effectually to provide for the National Defence, by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States.”

    March 3, 1803: Chap. XX.–An Act more effectually to provide for the organizing of the Militia of the District of Columbia.

    April 10, 1806: Chap. XX.–An Act establishing rules and articles for the government of the armies of the United States.

    April 18, 1814: Chap. LXXXII.–An Act in addition to an Act entitled, “An Act for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, SUPPRESS INSURRECTIONS, and to repeal the act now in force for those purposes.”

    April 20, 1816: Chap. LXIV.–An Act concerning field officers of the Militia.

    May 12, 1820: Chap. XCVII.–An Act to establish an uniform mode of discipline and field exercise for the Militia of the United States.

    March 2, 1821: Chap. XIII, sec. 11.–An Act to reduce and fix the military peace establishment of the United States.

    One can either accept those clear and unequivocal facts and that they substantiate — the Second Amendment has nothing whatever to do with “individual” ANYTHING, let alone “defending against” Constitution and rule of law — or continue to talk fake-patriot anti-Constitutional ragtime.

  • Maya Ying

    Just what this country needs…another leftist news program spreading one sided propaganda. I really enjoyed hearing Bloomberg, the mayor of New York stating that all gun laws should be enforced. This from a creep that calls New York a sanctuary city for ILLEGAL aliens! This fool only wants the laws he likes enforced and forget the rest. What a “politically correct” hypocrite!

  • Jeffrey Vasey

    I just watched the segment on the “Open Carry Movement”. I turned off the tv before it was over then got on the internet and joined the NRA. Seriously. I am a liberal democrat, a donor to the Obama campaign,a lifelong union worker, a college graduate, a hunter and a 25 year concealed carry permit holder. I was appalled by the lack of balance in the reporting. Show me the facts. When the CC law was passed in Ohio warnings were given that blood would flow in the streets. Not a drop to be found. When FL passed the “castle law” the doomsayers told us a firefight would ensue. Not yet. Let the Assault Weapons Ban expire and there will be Armageddon. No blood on the beaches so far, only oil. On the other hand my weapon saved me from being mauled by my neighbor’s mastiff when it attacked me on the street. PBS, let’s not be “fair and balanced” like that other network.

  • William C Cook

    I was pretty disgusted to watch your one sided bit of anti gun propaganda on “Need to Know” the other night. You give the pro self-defense side a short blurb and then allow anti-gun fanatic Bloomberg a lengthy monologue. This is not journalism, this is not fair reporting, shame on you PBS! I expected better of you.

  • missingxtension

    Nice of the editorial staff to not publish my comment and make me look like a paranoid.
    Shame on you this is not journalism.
    I will simply take my comments some where else.
    If it does get published, then also shame on you for taking so long to administer.

  • Suzanne

    I want to know why the people who are sure the liberals are going to take away their guns any minute now think it hasn’t happened yet. I heard about how Clinton was going to take everyone’s guns away for 8 years. Now I’ve been hearing for a year and a half how Obama’s going to do it. Hasn’t happened yet. What are they waiting for? Do you really think whatever it is they’re supposedly waiting for will happen if it hasn’t yet?

    If some catastrophe comes along and someone in power (much more likely to be a Repbulican in the vein of Cheney than a Dem, IMO) decides to declare martial law and truly clamp down on our freedoms, I’ll be right there with you in the resistance. Shhhh… ;) But until then, I’m not going to live every day in fear. Life’s too important for that.