The Second Amendment: A Commentary

US flagThose who know me know that my support of the Second Amendment goes without saying.  Few things are more uniquely American than our right to keep and bear arms.  What exactly does that mean though? Who shall keep and bear arms? What defines “arms”? What did our founders mean by militia? So few words seem to spark such debate, but it all seems really straightforward to me.

In my opinion, there’s nothing ambiguous about the Second Amendment.  What’s unclear about “shall not be infringed”? And if our founders didn’t mean “the people”, why did they use those words? After all, there were some pretty smart people involved in the creation of that document.  If they didn’t mean “the people”, then I’m certain they would have found the right words to express their intent.

Fortunately though, it wasn’t left up to us to guess.  In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to keep and bear arms extends to the individual.  Now, that didn’t surprise me.  After all, the right of “the people . . . shall not be infringed” seems darned clear to me.

When our country was first founded, every man was expected to keep and maintain a weapon that could be used in defense of his country.  Everyone had guns then.  You didn’t eat if you didn’t have a gun.  You couldn’t call 911 if someone was trying to rob you or do you harm.  Despite that though, I don’t think every American should own a gun.  Just don’t infringe MY rights to keep and bear arms.

So what does “arms” mean anyway? Rest assured, our founders didn’t mean that we should all keep chemical weapons or tanks or nuclear bombs.  Historically, they intended for us to arm ourselves with the same kinds of weapons that could be used in defense of our country as well as the provision of food and protection from those who don’t follow the law.

I’m so tired of hearing folks say, “You don’t need THOSE guns to hunt or protect yourself.” The fact of the matter is, people who say that kind of stuff are just uneducated when it comes to guns.  Tens of thousands of folks in this country hunt large game with larger caliber weapons than those “scary”, “assault rifles”.  And why is it that semi-auto is fine for a handgun, but when you have that option on a rifle, it’s a whole different story?

The folks who’re pushing for stricter gun control don’t seem to understand one fundamental fact.  Laws only apply to those who respect the law.  In other words, if we take guns away from law-abiding citizens, we’re shifting the balance of power so that the criminals have the upper hand.  Does New York honestly think that the bad guys are suddenly going to stop using forbidden guns and higher-capacity magazines? Drugs are illegal, but we still have a drug problem.  Why would anyone think that disarming law-abiding citizens is part of the solution?

Unfortunately, this is a polarizing issue.  What concerns me though is that once one set of rights gets shredded, anything is fair game.  Many folks today seem to view the Constitution as some old, irrelevant document that has little bearing on current affairs.  The slippery slope is here, folks.  Our First Amendment rights have already been infringed.  Our Second Amendment rights are being infringed.  Where do we draw the line? At what point do we say, “You’ve come this far, but come no further!”?

Remember that what we do matters! As citizen sentinels, we have a duty to protect ALL the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution, even when it’s not particularly comfortable or convenient.  Let us all do the right thing.  Let us all protect our liberty and defend our Constitution!

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