Our 2nd Amendment

Every time an eminence gets shot or some Columbine or “Batman” happens, the hue and cry goes up to regulate guns. Never mind, that cities and countries that have the most restrictive gun laws have some of the most violent attacks on citizens. Think Chicago, Washington D.C., Mexico!

We have a right guaranteed by our Constitution to bear arms following a British tradition of the right to bear arms. We have that right, according to Wikipedia, for a variety of reasons:

In no particular order, early American settlers viewed the right to arms and/or the right to bear arms and/or state militias as important for one or more of these purposes:

  • deterring tyrannical government;
  • repelling invasion;
  • suppressing insurrection;
  • facilitating a natural right of self-defense;
  • participating in law enforcement;
  • enabling the people to organize a militia system.

Which of these considerations they thought were most important, which of these considerations they were most alarmed about, and the extent to which each of these considerations ultimately found expression in the Second Amendment is disputed. Some of these purposes were explicitly mentioned in early state constitutions; for example, the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 asserted that, “the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state”.

Please note the first reason: deterring tyrannical government. I contend that our Founding Fathers were trying to protect us from government, because they feared the power of government and tried to find ways Constitutionally to limit government’s power. You doubt me? Read the first few lines again of the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Then there’s the question: Who needs an assault weapon? Since 1934, you can’t own an assault weapon defined as a weapon that fires as long as you hold down the trigger, unless you pay a $200 Tax then you can own one, if and only if it was registered before 1986. Any made after 1986 cannot be owned by civilians. You can own semi-automatic weapons that fire every time you pull the trigger.

4 Responses to “Our 2nd Amendment”

  1. Felipe Calderón, President of a country with an amazingly high rate of homicide (to say nothing of the corruption levels) calls for US Congress to “review its mistaken legislation on guns”. Maybe he should consider taking care of things in his own country, first. It’s not like he has hordes of Americans flooding across his northern border.

    Yesterday was the anniversary of Anders Behring Breivik’s Norway massacre; one year ago. He killed 77 and injured 319. Was Felipe twittering advice to Norway? Why not? Were there calls for Norway to add more restrictions to gun ownership? Not that I recall.

    Moreover, if memory serves, the ban on handguns at Virginia Tech was reversed following the shootings there.

  2. Excellent points Max!

  3. Some historians believe the second amendment was deliberately placed as as #2 to protect the rights of the first amendment.

  4. I just happened to be looking up the band group The Who this morning and came across the “Concert Stampede” in Cincinnati, Ohio on Dec. 3, 1979. Eleven people were killed and dozens were injured.

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