What does the Second Amendment mean and why do we have it?

Whenever there is a tragedy like school shootings and public gatherings being sprayed with bullets, we see two reactions. First, we see the inevitable cries by “gun control” groups pushing for more ways to control (or outright ban) firearms. Then, we see the inevitable backlash by “gun rights” groups pushing for a strict defense of the Constitution. Like most of our political system, we are stuck in the strange land of being presented only binary choices – “gun control” or “no gun control”. But, what does the Second Amendment mean and why do we have it?

A few housekeeping items. In the late 1700s, “militia” had the same common meaning as today – a non-professional fighting force comprised of citizens of a political territory. The term “regulate” has several definitions but the most useful from the 18th century is “to bring into conformity by training to principles and rules.”

Using this housekeeping, the Second Amendment states: “A well (trained fighting force of non-professional citizen soldiers) being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Unlike the rest of the amendments within the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment comes with a clause providing an explanation for it’s inclusion. This is unique to the Second Amendment not found in the rest of the Bill of Rights, which are provided directly and with assumed obvious need of it.

Born from Revolution, the Founders believed that the right of the people to keep and bear arms was fundamental to security from tyranny both foreign and domestic. Remember, the revolution was to throw off the tyranny of their own country and separate from it. An armed citizenry provides a great deterrent to would-be despots and invaders. If the deterrence fails, then we have the Arms to repel the aggressor. And they lived, much as we do now, in a world with aggressive regimes globally. This is also why the word used is Arms – not rifle, not musket, not firearms. All these terms were available in popular speech of the period which enhances the use of the broader term meant for instruments of war and personal protection – Arms.

The founders were tremendously fearful of standing armies and State control of Arms. The Founders embraced the Enlightenment ideal that standing armies are dangerous for many reasons including the high propensity to use it against others. Today, we have limited civilian ownership of Arms while we support a broad military with bases in over 70 countries and soldiers in over 150.

The philosophy of liberty does not come naturally to political leaders. Unfortunately, the use of control through power is nearly universal in government. An armed populace which knows how to use Arms makes those in power think twice about the cost to control citizens through aggression.

In the text, we see the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to keep and bear Arms will not be infringed, subject to being “well-regulated”. I don’t see a libertarian issue with the need to demonstrate training in the use of firearms. The demonstration of those skills needs to be to the citizenry itself and not through State sanctioning. Those lacking the mental temperament to control themselves lack the ability to demonstrate that they can be well-regulated. And lack of this ability to regulate oneself diminishes the ability of the rest to protect liberty through the deterrence effect preserved by the Second Amendment.

How Many Signatures to Get on the Ballot?

If you want to run for US Congress in Ohio District 15, how many validated signatures do you need to collect?

Any Ohioan that wants to run for political office must circulate petitions in their communities to collect signatures from valid registered Ohio voters.
Whether running for Governor, US Congress or local dog catcher, the petitions are a legally binding assertion that those voters agree that the candidate must be allowed on the ballot.

Major Party Candidate
50
Minor Party Candidate
25
Independent Candidate
1% of 336,807 = 3368 [1]

While voters signing a petition face no consequence for filling one out wrong, or not signing their name exactly the same as their voter card, candidates for office are regularly threatened with jail time and excessive fines for what amount to minor clerical errors and voter confusion about using cursive or printing their names.
Validating 50 or 25 voters is of no burden. Validating
several thousand voter signatures is significant burden.
This has left many law abiding and civic minded Ohioans cautious and discouraged from participating in the much needed political discourse that keeps this great state alive at its heart.

Get involved, sign the ballot access petition, donate, run for office, attend meetings, show up and make it happen.



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How Much for Just the Election?

After 4 years of changing the rules, ignoring the Ohio Constitution, dragging their feet, spending an estimated $575,000 on lawyers and legal shenanigans, the Ohio Republican Party has succeeded in thwarting choice at the ballot and discouraging competition.
Ohio voters deserve better than political dynasties and empty promises.
Get the Libertarian Party back on the ballot!
Sign the Minor Party Petition Today!

Why Johnny Can’t Debate.

In 2014 the Republican controlled Ohio legislature passed Senate Bill 193 (amending ORC 3501.38). This bill was designed and timed to prevent the Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO) from appearing on the ballot in 2014. At the same time, the Ohio Republican Party (GOP) spent an estimated $575,000 to represent a “guileless dupe” in challenging the candidate petitions for the Libertarian Governor Candidate. With both avenues for ballot access denied the Libertarian Party of Ohio moved forward with placing our candidate for United States President on the 2016 ballot. Even after achieving better than the required 3% of the general vote the Secretary of State denied LPO Minor Party Status on the grounds that the POTUS candidate did not appear on the ballot as a Libertarian. Taking the matter to the Ohio Supreme Court the LPO was denied justice again, with the dissenting justice, William O’Neill observing that the ruling was “circular reasoning.”
The Libertarian Party of Ohio must now collect 50,000 validated signatures from registered Ohio voters to qualify for Minor Party status and place our candidates on the ballot.

Get involved, sign the ballot access petition, donate, run for office, attend meetings, show up and make it happen. 


Required*
Name: *
Phone:
Email: * Providing a phone number allows us to contact you quicker.
I would like to : * Volunteer for Ballot Access Petitions Circulation
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Johnny Miller answers the Candidate Forum Questions.

Planned Questions for Candidates – Johnny Miller

Ohio Congressional District 15 Candidates Forum this Sunday, March 18th, from 2pm to 4pm.

  1. What do you think can be done realistically to address the epidemic of gun violence in America?
    1. In 2012, 64% of all gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides. Maybe we should focus on mental health a little more
    2. Ostracize media outlets for unscrupulously using bad poll results as accurate depictions of public opinions to push a political agenda
    3. Murder is horrible plain and simple. Let’s stop romanticizing it and start looking at how to actually make people safer instead of just focusing on gun control
  2. What do you think would be the optimal healthcare system for the country?
    1. Free Market
  3. Over 3 million women marched on January 2018 for various reasons. What do you think are the top 3 issues concerning women’s rights? What do you plan to accomplish to address these issues?
    1. The feminist movement as it is today is a blight on women’s rights in America
      1. Education should be a priority here instead of governmental interference
    2. The mental health issues go widely untalked about despite women taking more than twice as many suicide attempts as men with a much lower success rate
      1. Education reform
    3. The concept that wearing a costume shaped like female genitalia is somehow empowering
      1. Let us educate our children to be functioning members of society instead of crying foul every time our feeling get hurt by something someone said
  4. According to some sources, parts of District 15 are being devastated by the opioid addiction epidemic. Do you believe that drugs, particularly opioids, are a problem in the district? If so, should it be addressed at the federal level? If not, what is your perspective?
    1. I don’t believe drugs to be the root of the problem
    2. I do believe that the lack of a regulated drug supply to be A problem but still not THE problem
    3. The descheduling of cannabis at the federal level is the first step in combating the opioid crisis
  5. If your party is in the minority, what can you do to be an effective member of Congress? What issues do you think are available for cooperation between Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, and Green Party representatives?
    1. Present legislation designed to make life better instead of trying to push a political agenda
  6. Do you believe that humans are causing climate change? If so, how would you balance the increasingly imminent concerns of climate change against the energy needs of the economy? What would you be able to accomplish that would move the country toward that policy?
    1. Are we causing it? No…but I would like to get politics out of the scientific community and let them do their thing and find out if we are influencing it
    2. The bias in this question is noteworthy
  7. With competition from natural gas, solar and other forms of energy, the Coal industry is on the decline.  As a significant employer in southern Ohio, including some counties in this District, what is your strategy for addressing the coal industry and employment?  Do you support the expanded subsidies for the coal industry?
    1. I do not support subsidies to push political agendas nor do I support intervention from the government to manipulate the market
  8. Healthcare facilities and providers are difficult to maintain in rural areas. Does the government have a role in shoring up rural healthcare and, if so, what would you advocate?
    1. No, I do not believe the government has a significant place in our healthcare
    2. Yes, I do believe that many if not all of our healthcare woes can be attributed to failed government intervention
  9. What are your three biggest priorities and what tangible ways will this impact the district?
    1. Deschedule cannabis
      1. This would let us create a legitimate business out of an already booming industry
    2. Abolish the IRS
      1. Eliminating the income tax would allow local money to stay local instead of the federal government siphoning money out of small, local, separated economies
    3. Bring the troops home
      1. We are a proud district and bring our troops home would be a great benefit to the morale of the people within the district
  10. What specific methods will you commit to for acquiring input from your constituents? Describe specifically how you will obtain input and provide information on an ongoing basis as well as how you will do so for major legislation that is before the Congress.
    1. Beings that this is the tech age I will have a much more connected approach and while the specifics are not set in stone I will do MUCH more than our current representative
  11. How big of a problem do you think the deficit, and the debt that is growing out of it is? What, if anything, should we do to bring this under control and how would you accomplish that?
    1. The deficit is a huge problem and the $21T in debt will be my generation’s problem…we are spending away our children’s futures for our political fortune and fame
    2. We need to cut spending by more than just a couple percent…
  12. Do you believe we need to strength the Social Security program?  If so, how would you do so? If not, what is the alternative for elderly and disabled Americans?
    1. Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme and needs to be abolished in a manner as to not jeopardize the lives of our elderly and disabled
  13. If your party is the majority in the House, what will your priorities be for legislative action?
    1. Corruption and transparency, ending the ongoing wars, auditing the governmental agencies, enforcing constitutional limitations, etc
  14. The great recession has not ended for the rural areas of our district.  Is it appropriate that Congress help the rural economy recover?  If so, what goals would you have for that effort? If not, what other things would you do as a representative to help these areas?
    1. I would support efforts by local organizations to improve the area…I do not believe federal intervention is necessary or beneficial
  15. What is your position on the minimum wage (and upon what is it based)?
    1. End it…allow people to decide for themselves how much they want to pay employees
  16. What, if anything, do you think that Congress can do about gerrymandering across the country? Would ending partisan gerrymandering help voters? Help other political parties than Democrats and Republicans?
    1. The gerrymandering is a more relevant issue in election manipulation than the incessant Russian probe…but because the DNC is equally at fault, the amount of media coverage it gets is limited to independent outlets or in reports not usually viewed by normal voters
    2. Most voters have no idea what gerrymandering even means
  17. What, if anything, do you like about the new income tax law that was passed at the end of last year? What, if anything, would you change and how would you accomplish that?
    1. I like that it reduced taxes a bit
    2. I would’ve reduced taxes further and along with that defunded many aspects of the federal government
  18. Do you believe that there is a problem with voter fraud in the US? In Ohio? If so, what steps should be implemented to address it? If not, what of the current anti-voter fraud actions do you believe are the most damaging to access to voting?
    1. I have a skeleton plan for implementing a comprehensive voting procedure reform that I will release at a later time
    2. Yes I do believe there is voter fraud and vote manipulation
  19. How will you balance priorities of the different demographics of the rural, suburban, and urban areas in the district? What ties them together and what is unique for specific areas?
    1. We are all Americans, most of us want to have a successful life and are constantly bombarded with legal red tape and the fear of fines
  20. What is your opinion of farm subsidies in their current form? If you think that changes should be made, how would you accomplish them?
    1. I do not support subsidies
  21. What do you think is the best approach to dealing with marijuana in the United States? What would you be able to accomplish that would move the country toward that policy?
    1. I think the most reasonable answer to this is to deschedule it and allow the states and individuals to exercise their 10th amendment rights

Johnny Miller will attend Ohio Congressional District 15 Candidates Forum this Sunday, March 18th

UPDATE: Libertarian candidate Johnny Miller will be attending the Ohio Congressional District 15 Candidates Forum this Sunday, March 18th, from 2pm to 4pm.
Mr Miller will making a short speech and then be available at an event provided table to listen to your concerns and discuss our opportunities in moving Ohio toward liberty.
The organizers of the forum are still declining to allow Mr Miller to participate in the moderated forum. We are disappointed with this and continue to press for inclusion.
Please join us at the event and show Ohio we stand together for a brighter tomorrow.
https://www.facebook.com/events/452759418471622/

Moving from “It’s Complicated” to “It’s Manageable” on 2A

“We have to do something”, “There ought to be a law” and “It’s complicated”; these are clichés that by their actions people are applying to the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. As far as the first one goes, we have far too many instances of applying the wrong solution to a problem and making it worse instead of better. As far as the second, you don’t hear that cliché much anymore; probably for the same reason. “It’s complicated” – now there is a statement that is certainly true in this case, but if you listen to enough ideas (there are plenty of them out there), and think logically about how to apply them while still respecting the 2nd Amendment and our civil liberties, the path becomes clear and the complicated becomes manageable.

The first time I ever shot a rifle, I was about ten or eleven years old. I wasn’t a Boy Scout, at least not literally. This was at church camp! No thought about killing anything crossed my mind. It was all about target practice. It was a lot of fun, just getting better at it. I’ve shot more bullets as ten and eleven year old than I have as an adult.

So why not ban assault weapons? Most of you know the answer to this, so I won’t spend much time on it. The bottom line is, you ask anyone who advocates banning assault weapons to define an assault weapon, and the answer will generally be that it’s a gun that looks mean and scary. The A in AR-15 doesn’t even stand for assault. It stands for Armalite, the original designer of the AR-15. Basically, the AR-15, now manufactured by Colt, is a rifle that is lightweight because it uses lighter alloys. The legal version of the Semi-Automatic AR-15 shoots one bullet for each pull of the trigger. The main reason it has become the most popular rifle is because it is light weight and accurate. Banning the AR-15 would be banning a weapon that most people would find effective, and is pretty much like banning the modern rifle.

Let’s talk first about the 2nd Amendment. One talk show host pointed out the irony that many of his liberal friends who consider Donald Trump an autocrat who could easily become a tyrant, yet they want a gun ban. That is precisely when someone should NOT want a gun ban. The primary reason for the 2nd Amendment is a check on government. If you only look at the second half of the 2nd Amendment, and take it literally, you would think that there is no reasonable regulation on weapons. However, the first part of the 2nd Amendment makes it clear that the purpose behind the Amendment is a check on tyrannical government. “Well-Regulated” implies that the Amendment is not meant for violent anarchists that want to destroy all government. It implies responsibility in gun ownership, and the ability to replace a bad government with a good government. However, you can’t infringe on the right of gun ownership to the point where a tyrannical government can preserve itself at the expense of life and liberty of its opponents. We have a scary government right now. We should be very concerned about preserving this freedom because of that fact.

We live in scary times as well. That is the reason we have gun violence; the guns aren’t the reason. If you take away the means of self-protection, you leave a vulnerable population defenseless. This is not the time for emotional and illogical regulations on gun ownership. “Those calling for gun control have little interest in taking real steps to promote public safety and well-being”, said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, “Instead, they use gun control as a political hammer to … organizations like ours. It’s a disingenuous tactic to do fundraising, but they are doing nothing at all to address real-world problems.”

One “real-world problem” is that “Gun Free Zones” simply invite killers to attack. Killers tend to avoid locations where it is made known that armed personnel are present. Are there any reasonable steps that can be created to protect our children in school? There has been a lot of talk centered on big, expensive government programs that involve police officers, security guards and physical barriers similar to public airports. We may not have any choice but to go this route if we don’t change some of the fundamental issues in our society, but there are a lot of problems with it. For one, it definitely does not seem like a good environment to educate children about civil liberty and a free society. However, Florida has already announced a $500 Million program. We will see this approach tested. Maybe we’ll get used to it.

The second problem is worse: debt. Our state governments are generally in precarious financial position. Our public schools are in worse position. The Federal government is in debt more than at any time in history. This has to be funded at the local level, which means additional property taxes or a drastic cut back in educational opportunities and extracurricular activities. What we are faced with in our very large public school systems is just becoming day care prison for children that provides very weak educational opportunities.

There is another way if a school district and state are willing to embrace self-reliance and individual responsibility. A second talk show host educated us on the fact that First Responder, a term first used by Jimmy Carter, is a misnomer. The real First Responders are those who are already on the scene. Studies have shown that it takes a minimum of four minutes for law enforcement to arrive on the scene of a crime. One of the students of Stoneman Douglas said that his coach, who died in the shooting, would have confronted the gunman had he been able to carry his firearm to school. It has been shown that harm is greatly mitigated when permit holders are allowed to carry concealed firearms in schools.

Many states have been very successful taking this approach. Argyle School Independent School District in Texas decided in 2014 to allow highly trained members of their teachers and staff to carry guns on campus to prevent mass shootings. Sheriff Paul Cairney described the process on MSNBC after the Stoneman shootings. “At Argyle, everyone is a volunteer; no one is forced to carry a weapon. The volunteer has to be approved by the principle. Next, the sheriff conducts a one on one interview with the applicant to determine their mental ability and motivation to carry out the task. Finally, the volunteer gets a psychological evaluation, the same one given to sheriff’s deputies. After passing those checks, the volunteer moves on to 3-5 days of very intense formal weapons training.” The Tom Woods podcast episode 1101 interviews novelist and former firearms instructor Larry Correia, who does a great job explaining the success of similar programs in his home state of Utah.

Ohio also has regulations which allow a school district to authorize teachers to carry weapons. Again, from Dean Reick, “the fact is, gun owners ARE doing something. We’ve been doing something for years.” One program featured on their website, “FASTER Saves Lives” is the obvious example. FASTER provides educators with intensive violence response and trauma first aid training. Classes are provided at no cost to schools, funded through private donations. To date, more than 1,300 teachers and staff from 225 districts across 12 states have received this training, including educators in 76 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Up to 400 additional educators are set to go through training in 2018.” At one point it looked like Governor Kasich was leaning in this direction. It might be a ruse. A politician who thinks they are the only adult in the room is a pretty scary person.

Maybe Washington can do a few things to placate the anti-gun proponents, but it is not promising. Trump asked a logical question. Why are handguns restricted to 21-year-olds but an 18-year-old can buy a rifle like the one that was used in Parkland? Unfortunately, I think he probably has the logic backwards. I believe Trump is implying that any weapon should be restricted for purchase only to 21-year-olds. Someone should ask him right back, why should someone’s 18-year-old daughter, trained in firearm use, who has a restraining order against an abusive ex-boyfriend, not be able to defend herself with a handgun? If Washington passes a law that makes room for younger people to use and train with a weapon, even if they don’t own it, with ability of the parent or guardian to allow them to borrow their weapon, and with shooting ranges allowing weapons to be rented, it may be OK. I’m not sure you should hold your breath. It would be better to get on the phone and call your representatives.

As much as possible, we should leave Washington and the state capitol out of it. This is a problem that should be dealt with on a local basis. If the security of the school where your kids go is not satisfactory, you must find another school or gather parents together who will insist that the current one changes its policies. Find a smaller school where teachers know the students better. Lobby to break up the big school districts. Stoneman Douglas High School has over 3,100 students, a massive school where it would be easy for a disturbed youth to fall through the cracks and go off the deep end. Private schools and home schools where there the teachers and administrators know their students should be much more available. These mass shootings never seem to happen in a private school, and they obviously don’t happen in an on-line school. We need to lobby for a change in the tax laws so that parents can deduct the money spent on private schooling from their local taxes, thereby encouraging the growth and development of small private schools. Private schools are not restricted by separation of church and state. Religious instruction seems to be sorely needed in our country.

This conversation needs to go beyond guns to answer the question of what we are about as a nation and how we lost our way. The same questions need to be asked and answered about our educational system. Another talk show host mentioned the fact that all the first day news coverage of the Parkland shooting spoke about how Nikolas Jacob Cruz was probably the victim of bullying, and grew up in a very troubled young life. Then, that description was dropped because it didn’t fit the media narrative. Why can’t we make changes in curriculum that would encourage and develop understanding and compassion? There is a terrible shortage of trained social workers in this country. Classes in Social Work could pave the way for a job and career, and have the added benefit of teaching the students the scientific causes and cures of destructive behavior. How about other classes that encourage self-respect and actualization in students? Why do we as a nation believe in self-defense? The actor Richard Dreyfus is deeply disturbed by the elimination of civics curriculum in schools. He has formed a non-profit organization called The Dreyfuss Initiative to push for change, and he makes a tremendous case for why this should be done. (See his Ted Talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACYXYaLp6KE ).

Fixing this problem is complicated. There is no easy solution, no one size fits all solution, but there are several good ones. You probably won’t find many of them in Washington. The federal government is one institution that has not earned the right to interfere in this issue. That is also true for our state government, but, unfortunately, state laws can interfere with doing the right thing at the local level so some laws may have to be changed. The educational system needs to be transformed. An industrial age bureaucratic educational system does not work today. At the same time, some curriculum, such as civics, were abandoned and need to be restored. Let’s roll up our sleeves and start the change from the ground up.

More at http://americanactionnews.com/articles/sheriff-who-allows-teachers-to-pack-heat-mops-the-floor-with-msnbc-host#4cBxU5tgEJmpt9Xa.99

John Stewart, Member At-Large
Franklin County Libertarian Executive Committee