Monday, March 4, 2019

Where is the Pope in the Bible?

The words below were posted by me in a facebook conversation. There are some references to other posts, which I leave in for context, but the crux of the post is why the papacy (and Apostolic succession) is Biblical.

I made my previous comments ("Protestantism is the epitome of un-Biblical") intentionally provocative because although Protestants are always accusing Catholics of not being “Biblical” but I can show you passages in the Bible to support everything Catholics believe. The same is, ironically, not true for Protestant beliefs. I do not say this to denigrate Protestants. They are trying to follow what they believe to be the truth, and some of them are living a more loving and moral life than I am for sure. But they are following the traditions of men, as set down by Luther, Calvin, etc.

But as I noted, all of this comes down to authority. For instance you quoted Matthew 26:26- as “proof” that the Eucharist is symbolic. I use the same exact same words as “proof” that the Eucharist is NOT symbolic. Your objections are that eating human flesh is a curse (the same issue the disciples struggled with) and if it were meant to by physical wouldn’t the NT have clearly stated/clarified such? Well, Jesus DID state/clarify in John 6, and the disciples would not accept it and left.

It all depends on your interpretation. Sorry, but the Bible does not “interpret itself.” If it did we would not have this division of Christians, as we would all be able to understand the Bible in the same way. As it is, the Bible contains many passages that appear contradictory, even in light of the entirety of scripture. If our understanding of the Bible differs, how can we decide who is right and who is wrong? You say “well that’s wrong because of ‘X’” and I equally vehemently say “you’re wrong because of ‘Y’”. We can point fingers and say "you're not reading it right" but in the end it’s either all opinion, or there is some authority we can look to.

The Bible says the authority for disputes between Christians is the church (Matthew 18:15-18). And not some invisible communion of all believers, as it would be hard to “tell it to” a community of all believers and have them make a definitive judgement. In Acts 15 we see the church, as a visible body of bishops deriving authority from the Holy Spirit, make a declaration on just such a question (more on that later).

So I thought a good place to start, to cut to the heart of the matter, is apostolic authority and succession.

You claimed, in your post that the Bible says nothing about Apostolic succession. The Bible does, in fact, say a great deal about Apostolic succession. First, let’s cover the specific example of Papal authority and succession, which will lead into the more general case of apostolic succession.

Even if this does not convince you that Catholics are “right” on this topic, I hope it convinces you that Catholicism is not un-Biblical. That is, you can say “I disagree with that interpretation” but the words and verses are there to support the Catholic position, which takes them exactly as written.

There is lots of evidence in the New Testament that Peter was first in authority among the apostles. Here’s a brief summary:

• Peter is mentioned more than all the other Apostles combined.
• Whenever the Apostles are named, Peter is listed first, even though he was not the first Apostle to follow Jesus (Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13).
• Sometimes the apostles are referred to as "Peter and those who were with him" (Luke 9:32).
• Peter generally speaks for the apostles (Matthew 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:68-69), and even speaks for Jesus (Matthew 17:24).
• It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32).
• Peter is given Christ’s flock to shepherd (John 21:17).
• An angel was sent to announce the resurrection to Peter (Mark 16:7).
• John waits for Peter to go into the tomb (John 20:4).
• The risen Christ first appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34).
• On Pentecost Peter was the first to preach to the crowds (Acts 2:14-40). Peter worked the first healing in the Church age (Acts 3:6-7).
• Peter led the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26).
• Peter received the first converts (Acts 2:41).
• Peter declared the first punishment (Acts 5:1-11)
• Peter excommunicated the first heretic (Acts 8:18-23).
• Peter received the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians (Acts 10:46-48).
• Peter led the first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15).
• Peter announced the first dogmatic decision (Acts 15:7-11).

And I haven’t even mentioned the one test you thought I would (Matthew 16). So let’s look at why Peter should be so prominent.

Name

When Simon joins Jesus, Jesus renames him “Peter” (Petros or Kepha) which means “Rock” (John 1:42). This is not just a nickname, this becomes the name by which he is known. Why Rock? Aside from Abraham, who is referred to as a rock one time (Isaiah 51:1-2) only God is known as a rock, and in neither of those cases is rock a proper name. In fact “rock” was never used as a proper name in those days. Clearly something is going on. Jesus changes Simon’s name to a new name that Jesus invented. As you well know, a name change in the Bible signifies a change in the person’s role. Abram becomes Abraham, Sarai becomes Sarah, Jacob becomes Israel and Simon becomes Peter. You may also note Jesus calls James and John Boanerges, but that is a nickname applied to both, not a replacement for their names; they are still called James and John.

Later (Matthew 16) Jesus would reiterate this name change. The place where he does this is Caesarea Phillipi, which was located near a giant wall of rock. The location wold have been chosen to emphasize the importance of the name change. It was there Peter made his profession of faith: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Jesus told him that this truth was specially revealed to him, and then he reiterated: "And I tell you, you are Peter" (Matthew 16:18). To this was added the promise that the Church would be founded, in some way, on Peter (Matthew 16:18).

Office

Let’s look at Matthew 16:16-18:
Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Now take a look at Isaiah 22:15,20-23:
Thus says the Lord God of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: …
In that day I will call my servant Eli′akim the son of Hilki′ah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house.
Jesus’ words in Matthew are clearly referring to the office of “Al Biet” (he who is “over the household”) in Isaiah. This was an office similar to Prime Minister or Viceroy in the Davidic Kingdom. Nor is this the only instance in the Bible where such an office was held. Consider Joseph in Genesis 41:40-44:
You shall be over my household, and all my people will obey your command. Only in respect to the throne will I outrank you.” ... “I am Pharaoh,” he told Joseph, “but without your approval no one shall lift hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
The person who held this office had the authority to speak in the king’s name, to make rules and judge in the king’s name, and to be a steward of the kingdom when the king was away. The symbol of this authority in the Davidic kingdom was possession of the keys of the kingdom. Jesus is assigning this role to Peter. He gives Peter the keys of the kingdom and gives him the power to bind (shut) and loose (open), not just on earth, but in the heaven! This is a big deal!

Note that this person shall be a father (aka pope) to the people and shall be a peg in a sure place (e.g. the one who holds the others together). Note also that this is an office, not a one time thing. In Isaiah the office is transferred from Shebna to Eliakim. It does not end with Shebna.

This is also demonstrated multiple times throughout the New Testament. For instance, in Matthew 17:24-27 Peter speaks to the Pharisees for Jesus. Jesus informs Peter that “the sons are free” but not to give offense they will pay anyway… then pays for himself and Peter. In other words, not only Jesus, but Peter is exempt as being part of the household of the king.

In Luke 22:31-2 Jesus says:
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”
In verse 31 “you is plural (Satan demands to have you (plural) that he might sift you (plural)” but in 32 it is singular “I have prayed for you (Peter) that your (Peter’s) faith may not fail; and when you (Peter) have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” Jesus shows that Peter has a special role among the Apostles. It is Peter who will not fail, and who will, after the turns back, support the others… kind of like… a rock.

In John 21:15-17 Jesus asks Peter “do you love me more than these?” (meaning the Apostles). He then reminds Peter that he is to “feed my sheep” and “tend my lambs.” Jesus is delegating his responsibility as shepherd to Peter.

Thus we have Jesus assigning Peter to an office (Al Biet) which is to be passed down from one to another. The office is holy in that it is assigned by God, and the person who holds that office is to be a father. Hence we call the Pope (pope is from papa, or father) “the holy father” not because the Pope is especially holy, but because his office is holy and that of a father.

Acts

In the interests of brevity I will skip a bunch of stuff, but note some examples of how Peter exercises his authority.
Acts 1:15-20:
In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said, “Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus…. 
For it is written in the book of Psalms,
‘Let his habitation become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it’;
and
‘His office let another take.’
Peter leads the group (of 120 people) to choose another bishop. They all understand that the office of bishop does not end with the death of the person holding the office, but that new ones are chosen as successors.

In Acts 2:14 ff. Peter again speaks for all the Apostles, addressing the crowd. Peter instructs them to repent and be Baptized. In Acts 5:1-11 Peter condemns two people to death (exercising his authority that whatever he binds is bound in heaven).

In Acts 15 Peter leads the Council of Jerusalem, where the church makes its first doctrinal declaration. Note that the council of bishops and priests (aka Apostles and elders) frames their decision as: “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials...” - the church council speaks with the authority of the Holy Spirit.

So we see a visible church body, with offices of Pope (Al Biet), bishop (episkopos) and priest (presbyteros), which appoints new members to its offices, which claims the authority to make doctrinal and pastoral decisions in the name of the Holy Spirit.

For other examples of apostolic succession see 1 Timothy 1:6 and 4:14, where Paul reminds Timothy that the office of bishop had been conferred on him through the laying on of hands. Notice in 1 Timothy 5:22 that Paul advises Timothy not to be hasty in handing on this authority to others. This, of course, assume apostolic succession as a rule.

For more evidence we can turn to extra-Biblical sources. While these do not have the weight of Scripture, they are at least historical evidence that apostolic succession was practiced by the Apostles and by those on whom they conferred their authority. Here there are dozens and dozens of documents I could cite, but just to pick two:

Pope Clement I:
"Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier... Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry" (Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3 [A.D. 80]).
St. Augustine:
“If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church’... [Matt. 16:18]. Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement, Clement by Anacletus, Anacletus by Evaristus...” (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412])
I could go on, but this, I think, is good evidence that both the Bible and history agree that Apostolic authority and succession are Biblical, and practices by the first Christians, and Papal authority and succession are Biblical, and practiced by the first Christians.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Opposite guns

More from the Opposites files:

Too dangerous for kids to have - causes them to commit violence.


Totally OK for kids to play - not violent at all.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Charity and Doonesbury

When I was young there was a hymn with that title, loosely based on "Ubi Caritas". The lyrics go like this:
Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found; Brought here together by Christ’s love, by love are we thus bound.
With grateful joy and holy fear His charity we learn; Let us with heart and mind and soul now love him in return.
Forgive we now each other’s faults as we our faults confess; And let us love each other well in Christian holiness.
Let strife among us be unknown, let all contention cease; Be His the glory that we seek, be ours His holy peace.
Let us recall that in our midst dwells God’s begotten Son; As members of His body joined, we are in Him made one.
No race or creed can love exclude, if honored be God’s name; Our family embraces all whose Father is the same. 
So I opened this morning's comics and read today's Doonesbury, which is all about a conservative family attacking a member who says "Happy Holidays". I don't normally read Doonesbury, and this is why. In a world where people lose their jobs for saying "Merry Christmas" this cartoon turns it around and depicts the Christian as the aggressor, forbidding his family members to say "Happy Holidays."

To me, one of the most divisive, hateful thing in the world today is the inability to assume the good will of others. This is the time of year when you will be sitting down to table with people who have different political and world views from yourself. There are two ways the world suggests you respond - either push these people out of your life, or fight with them.

I'd like to suggest a third way, and it's something radical in today's world. It's called dialogue. So your brother-in-law wants to fund Trump's wall. Did you ever consider tat maybe he is not a racist who hates immigrants, but rather he wants to shut down the "coyotes" who extort families and sexually abuse women and children to smuggle them into the US. Or perhaps your sister thinks Obamacare is God's gift to the US. Did you ever consider that maybe she wants to create a world where everyone can afford to get treatment for whatever ails them?

Did you ever consider that the ill-dressed person casually consuming Christ at mass is not being disrespectful, but is, in fact, leading a more Christ-centric life than you? Or that the lesbian couple on the next block are devout believers and pray a lot more (and more sincerely) than you do?

Then again, maybe your brother-in-law is just a jerk. The point is, you don't know what's in a person's heart. On every socio-policial issue there are two sides. Let's assume the people on the other side aren't doing it because they are evil, but because they want the good. We live in a fallen world, and we are all seeing "through a glass, dimly" so it's no wonder that people come up with imperfect solutions to a problem.

Let's be open to family and friends, and even strangers. If we're not willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, why should we expect others to do so for us. This is my Christmas meditation:
Let us recall that in our midst dwells God’s begotten Son; As members of His body joined, we are in Him made one.
No race or creed can love exclude, if honored be God’s name; Our family embraces all whose Father is the same.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

No Words

I am surprised and dismayed about the extent of the abuse scandal in PA, and the lies of the bishops of the USCCB. I guess I sholdn't be, looking around me. You see, we can point at the priests who did these horrible things, and the bishops who excused them or even supported them, but the fact is, the priests and laity all around us are looking excusing and supporting this as well.

Consider Fr. Feelgood, who every week gives a "Guido Sarducci" style homily "God loves you" and "Love your neighbor." There is no preaching of the Gospel. He's happy to ignore the couples cohabitation, committing adultery, contracepting, aborting, abusing themselves, each other and their children. Do you think there's a moral difference between abusing a child by rape and abusing a child by abortion, or simply neglect? He's happy to ignore the people who put Sunday games above the rightful worship due the creator of the universe. He makes football jokes off the altar, and the laity laugh, and come to mass dressing their favorite team's jerseys.

Does Fr. Feelgood even believe we need to worship the creator of the universe? He says so, but he doesn't act that way. He complains about having to say mass, and says as few as possible. He is more concerned with the appearances of holiness in shows of philanthropy than actually cultivating prayer and penance in himself and in his parishioners.

And we the laity sit in the pews and accept all this. We don't expect to hear (and are complacent not to ever hear) a homily that makes us uncomfortable. Truly uncomfortable. Oh we'll listen to the "love your neighbor" homily and realize we fall short of that, but how many times do we hear a homily on hell, sin, immorality that makes us uncomfortable? Never. And we like it that way.

When we are engaging in sterile, immoral, illicit, secret sex, and excusing it in ourselves and others, why are we surprised to find that others (including our priests and bishops) are doing the same? When we regularly violate our marriage vows, why are we surprised that our priests and bishops violate theirs as well?

The bishops are trying to rile up the people to righteously oppose immigration laws and the death penalty, when by their own actions they are keeping people out of the church and killing the innocence of those in the church.
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe to the world for temptations to sin. For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the man by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire."

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Fully Semiautomatic

This week's "Chicken Little" rant is by Chuck Schumer. According to Schumer, the decision that the first amendment allowed for someone to post schematics for a 3D printable gun makes the United States "a lot less safe." Not to be left out, NJ Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal sent a “cease and desist” letter to Defense Distributed saying that they must stop because their plans could be used to make assault weapons that are illegal in NJ.

So, what's the brouhaha all about? Should we all be hiding under our desks?

The Company

According to their wed site, Defense Distributed is a non-profit, private defense firm principally engaged in the research, design, development, and manufacture of products and services for the benefit of the American rifleman. Since 2012, DD has been headquartered in Austin, Texas.

The principle is this: the United States has always recognized the rights of the people to keep and bear arms. That has always meant that you could defend yourself without the government's permission. The best way to ensure that the government cannot abrogate these rights is to have the means of production in the hands of private citizens. To put it in geek speak, you can't stop the signal. The same principle as youtube, google, social media, etc. supposedly espouse.

To that end, Defense Distributed has two "products." One is DEFCAD, which unfortunately results in this for me.
Thanks Mr. Grewal, or whoever. However, Wikipedia says this about it:
DEFCAD, Inc. is an Austin-based startup that has created a search engine and web portal for designers and hobbyists to find and develop 3D printable and other CAD models online launched by Defense Distributed.
The other is GhostGunner, which takes its name from the term CA state senator Kevin DeLeon used in his infamous nonsensical rant on "untraceable" guns. GhostGunner is a CNC mill that can be used to machine a firearm out of a preformed metal billet. [Update: upon further research the GhostGunner can only perform the last few steps of machining - it requires what is known as an "80% lower" - a gun part which is mostly machines but requires a few holes to be drilled/milled in order to make it operational.]

What Does This Mean?

So, what does this technology give people that they didn't have before? Well, to patriots, this means their government can no longer complete stop the means of self defense, unless they block the web sites, and make it illegal to manufacture a firearm, like they have in New Jersey. But to the rest of the country, where it is already legal to make an item for personal use for lawful self defense, this is a boon, and makes lawful self defense more accessible and safer for people.

But what about criminals? Couldm't they now use this to make "untraceable" guns? Well, there are two parts to that. First off, why is it important to be bale to "trace" guns? Maryland, for instance, considered it so important that they created a "gun fingerprint" database to track every gun in the state so it could be easily "traced" to solve crimes. After 15 years using the database police were able to use it to solve... zero crimes. That's right, the ability to trace firearms did not change the outcome of a single criminal investigation in 15 years. The database was eventually scrapped as a waste of money. So forgive me if I yawn when we hear that untraceable guns will enable criminals.

The second part is, does this technology make it easier for criminals to make "untraceable" guns? Emphatically no. If you were a criminal, and wanted to make an "untraceable" gun under the mistaken impression that somehow you would be able to get away with crimes because of it, you can either: buy a GhostGunner CNC platform, download plans for a gun, purchase the appropriate types and grades of metal, fabricate the frame of the gun (which is the serialized part), purchase all the other parts you need (barrel, grips, trigger and trigger mechanism, slide, firing pin, springs, safeties, etc.), then assemble them all and hand tune the parts to make a working gun, all for a cost of about $1,500 to $2,000; OR buy an existing gun on the streets for $200, buy a file for $5 and file off the serial number.

While it is feasible to do the former, and stay within federal law (filing off a serial number is illegal), I would bet a criminal would choose the latter method, or if he is smart, not care about the gun being "traceable" because that won't affect him in any way.

So, if you really want to stop "untraceable" guns (and why you'd want to do that is questionable), the thing to ban is not the 3D printer, but the thing pictured at the top of this post.



Sunday, June 24, 2018

Not the Same

By White House [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
To all the people comparing the expulsion of Sarah Sanders from a restaurant to the refusal of Jack Phillips to bake a cake, they are not the same. Here's why.

Jack Phillips did not refuse to serve David Mullins and Charlie Craig, he refused to make a product that was against his religious beliefs to make. Mullins and Craig were welcome to purchase any product that Phillips made, this was jut not a product he was willing to make. Furthermore, Mullins and Craig were not asked to leave the premises, but were welcome in the store. According to the rules of ethics and morality, had Phillips baked the cake he would be guilty of "material cooperation with evil" in that he would have been producing a product that directly contributed to the wedding celebration. Thus, he had a moral responsibility to refrain from baking the cake, given his beliefs on marriage.

Stephanie Wilkinson refused to serve Sarah Sanders a product that she was happy to serve others - the difference between Sanders and other customers was that she didn't like Sanders. Sanders was not welcome to receive any service. Under the rules of ethics and morality she had no grounds to deny Sanders because her product was not related to any evil Sanders might commit. For that matter, Sanders is not the instigator nor does she have any control over that evil.

In other words, Phillips took no action against a person, but refused to perform an action that he legitimately had to refuse to do because of his beliefs.

Wilkinson took an action against a person, refusing to perform her normal service, with no justification other than her personal feelings.

Yet Phillips has been demonized for standing firm to his legitimate conscience objection, and Wilkinson is lauded for her bullying.

While I believe any business has a right to deny service to a customer, the reasons given by Wilkinson are petty, and her insistence that she did it out of a spirit of "compassion" is laughable. It is, in fact, intolerance, bullying, virtue signalling, pettiness, looking for her 15 minutes of fame. She should be ashamed of herself, and so should we.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Thoughts on gun violence Part 7: The Second Amendment

There are an endless supply of other solutions to the "gun violence" problem, such as age limits, mental health requirements, etc. but there are two important points that have been ignored. First off, there is no gun control law that has ever been implemented that has shows to be effective in reducing crime. The star in the crown of the anti-gunners' argument is "Australia." Australia banned guns and there has been no mass shooting, crime is low, etc.  The fact is, crime in Australia was already low, before guns were banned. When the gun ban went into effect, the crime rate went up. Likewise for the UK and every other place where guns have been banned. And Australia has had mass shootings since their gun ban, such as the Wright St. Bikie Murders in 1999, the Monash University shooting in 200, the Hunt murders and Wedderburn shootings in 2014.

The US has the highest rate of gun murders, except it doesn't when compared to all other countries, instead of the hand picked ones used in anti-gun propaganda. It has the highest number of mass shootings, except it doesn't have the highest rate.

Nobody needs an AR-15, it can't be used for hunting (except it is) and can't be used for home defense (except it is great for that). In fact , the government considers the M4 (the full auto version of the AR-15 that's not available to civilians) a "personal defense weapon".

In fact, the answer to every anti-gun argument is the same - "that's not true." Every single "fact" used to ban guns is the result of guesswork, emotion and cherry picked data.

But let's suppose for a minute it's true, that we could save thousands of lives guaranteed if we ban all guns. Can we? I think the answer to that question has two parts. First off, can we logistically pull it off? And secondly, can we legally/morally do it?

For the first part, consider that perhaps one in three Americans owns a gun. That's over 100 million people, who own an estimated 450 million guns. Let's say we want to buy back all the guns (this is America, you can't just seize private property without compensation). Let's assume fair market value is $500 per gun. That's almost a quarter of a trillion dollars to be spent, not counting overhead of running the program (this is, after all, a government program). Now consider that some Americans may not want to sell their guns to the government. Let's assume 3% of gun owners believe it is their right to keep and bear arms (where would they get that idea?). That's 3 million armed citizens who will shoot back when the SWAT team comes to break down their door. That is 2.5x the size of the entire US armed forces. The casualties would far outweigh any savings of lives the gun ban would accomplish.

For the second part, consider the second amendment. It states:
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.
You can claim it means anything but a grammatical analysis, as well as the clear words of the founders indicates that it means that the people have the right to keep and bear arms, and that its purpose was to support a militia of the people in order to resist an army, either foreign or domestic. I can provide links to this, but that would be a series of posts in itself. Suffice it to say that the Supreme court has ruled that it is an individual right and it protects specifically the right to bear arms suitable for use in serving in a militia. And that it protects arms commonly in use.

Since the AR-15 is the most common rifle in the US (as noted earlier it may account for up to 20% of all the rifles in the US), it certainly should be protected under the second amendment. And since anti-gunners claim it is a military weapon, again it should be protected (it is not a military weapon, but the full auto version, the M4 is, and if you really want to go down that route then the M4 should be available to civilians).

In fact, none of the proposed "common sense" gun control laws meets constitutional scrutiny, each of them violating one or more of the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, or tenth amendments.

What other Constitutional right can be abrogated without demonstrating a proportionate need? The right to vote has arguably resulted in more deaths than the right to bear arms, yet we consider even asking for ID to vote being too much of an infringement to allow. Free speech and the right to assemble can result in deaths, looting, riots, and yet we would not allow limits on the right to assembly or what books we can read or what we can say.

The fact is, if we create a "loophole" where the legislature or the courts can stifle the second amendment , what recourse do we have when the legislature or courts decide to stifle a different Constitutional right? Especially since, at that point, the government will be armed, and the people will not. The second amendment is truly the guarantor of the entire Constitution.

I could go on with other arguments, more data (and I probably will in the future), but for now, think about that last bit.