If you listen to the whining and wailing of the National Rifle Association, Obama and his minions on the left are trying to give last rites to our second amendment rights. Ah, the 2nd amendment, so trickily worded, so misunderstood. People read into it whatever they want to, regardless of what it says. Let’s examine the reason for including the 2nd Amendment in our Bill of Rights before we analyze the wording of the amendment itself.
After gaining their independence in the Revolutionary War, the colonies in 1781 formed a very weak government under a document known as the Articles of Confederation. It was exactly the kind of weak government that Tea Party Republicans now yearn for. Only one problem: it was so weak that it didn’t work. The straw that broke the camel’s back came in the form of Shay’s Rebellion in Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787. A weak central government could barely defend itself against a "mob" of disgruntled citizens.
And so it came to be that delegations from each state met in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 to write our present Constitution, a document whose goal was to strengthen the federal government while protecting the liberties of citizens. Those protections came in the form of a Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, designed to secure the new government against another Shay's Rebellion. That amendment reads (with my word mark-ups) as follows:
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Let’s scrutinize the words of this amendment:
· What is the purpose of the “militia”?
o To provide for the "security of a free state."
§ Which free state?
· The state created by this new Constitution, the USA
· Who are the members of this militia?
o “the people” i.e. the citizens of this “free state” created by the Constitution
· Who regulates the militia?
o “the free state” i.e. the government of the Constitution, the USA. The framers must have been a bit leery of the militia they created, because they wanted them, not just regulated, but “well-regulated”.
o Does the word "arms" mean guns?
§ "Arms" includes not only guns, but any weapon, including tanks, bazookas, flamethrowers, grenades, bombs, planes, drones
§ For the Framers, arms were probably limited to muskets, knives and your own two fists
o What does “infringed” mean?
§ It means “limited.”
o Right! So the government can’t limit the amount or types of guns we own.
§ Wrong! It is your “right” to “keep and bear arms” that can’t be infringed or limited. The kinds of arms you have a right to bear can be designated by those who “well regulate” the militia, namely the “free state” which was established by the Constitution. That “free state” is the USA.
o The Supreme Court would consider the banning of any weapon as unconstitutional, a violation of the 2nd amendment.
§ Not so. In the 1930s the Supreme Court validated the government’s ban on machine guns and sawed-off shotguns. Very conservative Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia has stated that the government can ban certain weapons. Banning all weapons would be unconstitutional.
Now let's examine the following gun lobby beliefs:
o Banning assault rifles and large magazine clips won't prevent mass shootings by the mentally unstable.
§ That is true. However, banning these weapons will reduce the number and severity of these shooting events. It is like saying that setting speed limits and imposing mandatory safety items like seatbelts on cars won't prevent fatal accidents. That is also true. However, those very measures reduced the number of accidents and fatalities by almost half.
o We don’t need new gun laws; we just need to enforce the laws we already have.
§ This is truly diabolical. The gun lobby has successfully blocked the appointment of a leader of the ATF, the chief federal enforcement agency for those laws. Moreover, they have held back funding for the agency to the point where they are understaffed. Then they have the audacity to complain about lax in enforcement of current gun laws.
o It is a slippery slope. If one weapon gets banned, before you know it, another weapon will be banned until all guns are banned.
§ This is a deeply held belief of the gun lobby. Banning guns intended for hunting, self-defense, or target shooting would be a violation of the "right" "to keep and bear arms", an infringement that would require changing the Constitution, a very difficult thing to do. The banning of machine guns 75 years ago did not lead to a mass banning of firearms for hunting or self-defense.
o Banning assault rifles won't keep them out of the hands of criminals.
§ True, but it would make them harder to find and more expensive to buy. And it would make it much harder for the mentally unstable to acquire these guns.
o I just love to shoot military weapons. For me, this is recreation. Why deny me this pleasure?
§ Cars that are capable of doing 180 mi. /h are banned from the highway in many places. However, you can go to a racetrack and utilize these cars in a safe environment. We could do the same for military weapons. You go to a safe facility, rent your weapon, do your thing and then return the weapon to the facility, which would be in charge of its safe storage.
Such common sense solutions are difficult to find in times of hysteria. Most hunters I know have no use for an assault rifle and would have no objection to seeing such a weapon banned.
However, this is not the age of common sense in America. Rather, it is the age of hysteria, where reality is replaced by delusion. The government is coming after our guns! Oh my God! A black socialist from Kenya is out to disarm us and take away our freedoms! Hear that! Helicopters! The UN is coming after us!
Buy your guns and ammo now while you can, boys! Stock up on food, the end is near! Nullify federal laws! Secede from the evil US government!
And so the nonsense goes. Home of the brave? Feels more like the home of a bunch of frightened puppies.
May God bless America by spreading a little common sense in the hearts and minds of her people.