Let’s Talk Second Amendment
More specifically, let’s talk about what most people probably don’t know about the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
As said in a previous article Anonymity: The Opiate of Our Masses I mentioned that people love to paraphrase the Amendments to the Constitution rather than recite them verbatim. This serves as a convenience of words and also (sometimes) a convenience of interpretation.
So, let’s get the exact wording out in the open and put “Right To Bear Arms” to rest:
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.
Those in support of a no-strings-attached “right to bear arms” scenario will tell you that “ … our Founding Fathers recognized that the people need the right to be armed as a means of defending themselves against the potential uprising tyranny of our government.”
A little research may surprise (and not delight) those supporters. One of the Founding Fathers(tm; patent pending) — Alexander Hamilton — set the record straight on what “well regulated militia” meant.
Stand by — this may surprise you.
In the year prior to the drafting of the Second Amendment, in Federalist №29 Hamilton wrote the following text. I’ll bold a couple of points people seemingly omit from their defense.
If a well regulated militia be the most natural defence of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security … confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority … [but] reserving to the states … the authority of training the militia … A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss … Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the People at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.
Wow. Let that digest for a minute and then I’ll break it down for you; using some paraphrasing, of course.
Under the regulation and at the disposal of the guardian of the national security and at the direction of the national authority.
I shouldn’t have to spell this out — but this means in service of the government, directed by the government. This is, in fact, the inverse of Second Amendment supporter claims that this was designed to protect the people from the government.
Requires time and practice to create a tolerable expertness in military movements and a day nor even a week is long enough to do that.
How many private citizens that own firearms can honestly fall into “expertness in military movements” or even spend more than a week a year in the pursuit of it? Ask around and see the answer you get.
Without the degree of perfection this would be a grievance to the people and a public inconvenience and loss.
One might say this is why you have little old ladies in Home Depot parking lots taking potshots at shoplifters running out of the store … or homebodies shooting at kids playing down the street.
Assemble them once or twice a year.
I know people that own guns that have fired them once, about a week after they purchased them. I know people that go out to the desert once or twice a year and shoot bottles or cans for a couple of hours. I’m betting you do too.
Are these people meeting the intent of our Founding Fathers? To create expertness in military movements and a degree of perfection? Or are these people part of the public inconvenience and loss that Hamilton speaks of?
Does the concept of arming teachers (so hotly debated) meet with the Founding Fathers’ intent of the Second Amendment?
When serving in the military for seven years I was rated expert with pistol, rifle and shotgun. It was part of my daily job to carry a gun.
I assure you that we received training and certified yearly, and yet we were not meeting the intent of our Founding Fathers — based on Hamilton’s text above. I also assure you that armed teachers will not get the full benefit of the already lacking military training that many of our soldiers and sailors are getting now.
In fact, check out this article — the public servants that we entrust to protect us train roughly twice a year for a total of 15 hours. Holy crap.
Meanwhile, the supporters of the unregulated right to bear arms initiative would like to see everyone have a weapon; teachers, students — your crazy neighbor that yells at your dogs when you put them out to pee. Global gun ownership is the answer.
Personally, I don’t have an issue with gun ownership in our country — not because I believe the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees it, though. You can use a car to kill people. There are plenty of weapons of opportunity laying around I can maim, skewer or decapitate someone with. A gun is a tool — like a hammer or screwdriver.
Yes, a gun is an effective impersonal long range weapon that makes killing very easy — which is why I believe regulations and maybe even a dose of common sense needs to be applied at all levels of the government and even socially.
I have no rights granted to me by the Constitution to own a car. Or a hammer. Or a spear. Guns should be no different in my book.
But we do require regulation on consensus-based Dangerous Things(tm) like driving a car or working with explosives. These are acceptable in my book, too.
More importantly to me? I demand accountability.
I wonder … if gun owners were 100% responsible and accountable for any crime committed with their weapon .. if things would change? After all, advocates of unregulated gun control would have you believe that most guns used in the commission of a crime are legally purchased through regulations already — more laws won’t change that. Right?
Would those “legally purchased” weapons have been accessible for criminal activity if the original owners of those weapons would be charged with the crime — if their son or neighbor picked up their weapon from an end table or unlocked bookcase and shot up a school full of children?
I’m guessing not.
But, accountability isn’t on the table, obviously. As long as the Second Amendment (and its intent) continue to be used as a money-making tool, political puppet and ignorantly thrown around the vernacular — we don’t have to worry about guns being controlled by The People. The right to be as irresponsible as they like are guaranteed.
You may assume I’m anti-gun ownership. If you do, then you’ve missed the entire point of this article. I’m sorry for wasting your time.
While attributed to Voltaire, it actually originates from a May 8, 1793 collection of the decrees made by the French National Convention. Translated into English:
They must consider that great responsibility follows inseparably from great power.
Sometimes we have to dust these things off.