Welcome to the Liberal Conservative’s look at the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution better known as the Bill of Rights, part 2 of 10!
“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.”
Oh boy. Here we go. The infamous Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Loved by the far right. Despised by the far left. A topic so sure to start a firestorm that this author can’t wait for all the hits he gets as a direct result of it. We’ve all heard the arguments for and against the 2nd Amendment. We’ve all also grown sick and tired of hearing them. Therefore, they won’t be directly discussed here; though, they may come up throughout the following ramblings.
Ah, to hell with it!
Can’t help it, have to say this: if the U.S. Government wanted to rule with an iron fist, then they could. It really wouldn’t matter how many angry rednecks are marching toward the White House carrying fully automatic AK-47s and M16s. Pretty sure what the U.S. military has at their disposal could easily win the fight against your silly, little, rag-tag group of Wolverine wannabes. In other words, the precious right-wing argument that keeping and holding weapons is for protection against government tyranny is laughable. That may have been true in the days of the Founding Fathers when everybody was armed with 18th century weaponry which managed one round every six or seven hours or so.
Times change. People change. Needs change. Thomas Jefferson knew that very well.
“Every Constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of nineteen years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right.”
What he was saying here is rather simple. He suggested that the U.S. Constitution be redrafted approximately once every generation. Why? Because most people who were alive when the Constitution was first drafted ended up dead not too long after, because that’s what happens to people when they get old. The wants, the needs, the necessities of a nation change from generation to generation. What was needed then – arms for protection from invading forces and, yes, protection against tyranny from this brand new and fragile nation’s then unproven government – may not be necessary now. We still have militias – namely the National Guard – so the people can rest easy.
And that’s an important reality that we must all face and accept: the militias mentioned in the 2nd Amendment text directly refer to state-sponsored militias like the National Guard. That’s why it’s called the National Guard. Because, they guard the nation much like a – GASP – militia does.
Here’s the part where somebody inevitably brings up the District Of Columbia vs. Heller Supreme Court case. They’ll claim that DCxHeller says that the people do not have to be a part of a militia to own a weapon; and, they’re right…to an extent.
On a superficial level: yes. When you actually read the case you’ll find, however, that the Supreme Court ruled that while a person doesn’t have to be in a militia to own a weapon the weapons they do end up owning should be used for traditionally lawful purposes like protection within the home. But, what about concealed carry permits?
Here’s where we get into the same debacle we got with the 1st Amendment where a few state governments have outlawed Atheists from holding public office. That’s a case of state law openly conflicting with federal law and nothing being done about it. That’s what we have with concealed carry permits: state law & government openly conflicting with federal law & government and nothing being done about it. Why isn’t anything being done about it? Well…that’s another piece for another time.
Now don’t get me wrong, my Republican friends. I’m pro-2nd Amendment. You wouldn’t know it, because I actually want the law enforced the right way. I think concealed carry permits should be allowed in conjunction with pistol permits. And only pistol permits. You may ask me: “Mr. Jonathan, if you’re for concealed carry permits, then why are you arguing against them here?” First of all, I’m not arguing against them. I’m giving you the facts as they presently stand, Jack. However, I would like to see an amendment proposed to allow them as I previously discussed just a few statements ago: introduce a bill to allow concealed carry permits in conjunction with pistol permits. Heck, it couldn’t even be an extra source of revenue for the States and the Fed!
Moving along, there is no reasonable excuse for owning an automatic rifle. I already debunked the silly “government tyranny” argument earlier and if you try telling me that you need a fully automatic assault weapon for hunting I’m going to take the deer away from you on account of your complete transformation into a modern Elmer Fudd. As my father often says: “If you can’t take a deer down with a .22, then you shouldn’t be in the woods.” Fully automatic assault weapons shouldn’t be legal to own in the United States. Period. And before you can say, “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns,” you should stop and think about that argument for a moment. Why? Because, by that logic meth, heroine, cocaine, crack, and LSD should all be legal, because only outlaws sell, buy, and use them. By that logic rape, assault, and murder should be legal, because only outlaws rape, assault, and murder. By that logic no law should exist because only outlaws break them. The “outlaw” argument is by far the worst argument put forth by far-right gun activists and it has to be put on the shelf for good.
And before I move on, let me bring up another argument. The “assault weapon” argument. You’ve seen the images on Facebook where people talk about how hammers, knives, tire irons, etc. are used to kill people, but yet firearms are referred to as “assault weapons”. There’s a reason for this, people. Hammers, knives, tire irons, cars: these are tools whose primary purpose helps with the daily routine of the average American. Hammers help build things, knives are used for carving things – such as crafts and dinner, tire irons are for auto repair, and cars are used for transportation. Guns only exist for one purpose: extinguishing life. The argument that limiting access to firearms is akin to limiting access to household tools and modes of transportation is just another sign of the blatant disregard for long-term, critical thought currently running rampant throughout the Tea Party.
One last argument destroyer. “…shall not infringed.” Gun advocates love that part of the 2nd Amendment text. They suggest that this proves that the government cannot limit their access to firearms. Think again; because, if you’re rights couldn’t be infringed upon, then it would still be legal for you to own another human being. So shut your half-educated face.
So, if this author is so “pro-2nd Amendment”, then why is he bashing the 2nd Amendment?
Because it – like most things American – is broken and needs repair.
I’ve already mentioned that school shootings are a borderline epidemic in this country and we just had yet another one this week. It’s an issue and it requires attention. Mental healthcare, anti-bullying rallies, education, common sense gun control; these things can help the problem while keeping firearms legal.
So, How Does This Amendment Apply To Modern America?
The right to bear arms if one of those basic rights we enjoy here in the U.S. After all, people in this country hunt and statistically we’re one of the most violent nations on Earth so protection remains a viable argument – as sad as that may be. That being said, the law is laughably broken. Again, we remain one of the most violent industrialized nations on Earth. That’s a pretty serious problem.
So, as it currently stands the 2nd Amendment doesn’t fit in with modern America. Pure and simple, it doesn’t fit. However, with some updating and a little common sense – which I admit our elected officials often refuse to exercise – it can be reformed to fit our nation perfectly. Let’s give mental healthcare some much needed attention, let’s start truly educating youngsters on the dangers of even the most necessary firearms, let’s start fighting as hard as we can against bullying both in schools and on the web, and let’s start working on our ability to grasp common sense and maybe – just maybe – the 2nd Amendment will stand as a statement of American maturity and responsibility.
Edited/Published by: SB