An acquaintance of mine, who presently works at an agency I used to work for, posted something on Facebook the other day, one that was so blatant in its inaccuracy that I felt compelled to respond. Later that day, he posted this, an Open Letter to the NRA and said, “HOW ‘BOUT THIS ONE?”
So, here is my response.
A Treatise on the Second Amendment
I will ask a question requiring critical thought at the end regarding this. Be prepared.
Before we begin, let us ask ourselves, “Why is there a Second Amendment in the first place? What and why is it there?”
In order to answer that, we must go and take a look at history. Just about any American child knows that on July 4th, 1776, the American Continental Congress drafted a Declaration of Independence , to declare the American Colonies separate from British rule. Please follow the link to it and refresh yourself of it. Go ahead, I’ll be here when you’re done.
Read it? Good. Now, just because the Colonies said “We’re through with you, Britain!” doesn’t mean that George III gave up right there. No, what ensued was 1,933 days of fighting before Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown and ended the struggle. A new nation was born.
And we all know that George Washington was elected President at this time, and everyone was happy, right? Nope. We had another constitution before our present Constitution, known as the Articles of Confederation. That was created in 1777, ratified in 1781 and replaced by our present Constitution in 1789. The Bill of Rights was proposed as Amendments to the Constitution in 1789 and added in 1791.
Now that we know the book learning, why did our Founding Fathers put those there? Look at what they had been through. They had been oppressed for years by George III, and had fought a War of Independence. These men were determined that their children, and their children’s children should never have to experience what they were forced to undergo.
Now, Just so you know, only one-third of the population actually took up arms against British Rule. One-third was neutral, and the last third were still loyal to the Crown and were known as “Tories.”
There were two basic types of rebels. You had the Regular Army, who were trained, disciplined and were usually paid for their efforts. The other type was the Minutemen, or militia. They were called Minutemen because they could be “ready to fight in a minute.” They kept their musket, powder horn and bag of musket balls hanging from their mantle, ready to fight whatever or whoever threatened the household.
Now, the militia were generally private armies, usually financed by well-to-do individuals. It was also legal, and not unknown in those times, to have private ownership of cannon, otherwise known as artillery. Try buying a 105mm Howitzer today and see how far you get.
The militia were as well armed as the regular soldiers they fought beside and against. The citizen had the current state of the art military equipment.
So, when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were drafted, the Founding Fathers realized that the power and authority of the government came from the consent of the governed. They also realized that governments, without appropriate checks and balances, would become oppressive towards the People, if the People did not have the ability to actively resist the oppression. They wanted to make sure that the Citizens have the ability to band together and fight an oppressive government.
The Second Amendment, therefore, is not about “Sporting,” or “Hunting.” It is about having the ability to tell the government, “No.” Here are the twenty-seven words of the Second Amendment: “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 take a look at that Amendment, and break it down so we can put it together in the way the Founding Fathers intended.
“A well regulated militia” – When the Founding Fathers wrote the term “well regulated,” they meant was “disciplined.” As in being able to use their arms effectively. What does the term “militia” mean? George Mason said this: “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.”
“…being necessary to the security of a free state…” Our Founding Fathers set us on a path unheard of in their time. A path where the concept was that the government was subservient to the People, not the other way around. The SA stands as a bulwark against the state becoming oppressive towards the people.
“…the right of the people to keep and bear arms…” The term “the people” appears in the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments. In each of these, the Founding Fathers meant the individual free person. For those who push for gun control, they try to twist the meaning in the SA to mean the National Guard. Too bad the NG was started over a hundred years after the Constitution.
“…shall not be infringed.” I think this is pretty clear. It means any law that curtails this Right is unconstitutional on its face. Granted, there can be “reasonable” restrictions. Currently, if you have a Felony conviction, or if you have been committed against your will to a mental institution, you are prohibited from owning a firearm. The current laws are not stopping criminals from possessing firearms, so why would more laws, unenforced as the current ones are, change their minds? Laws affect only those who intend on following them. Criminals disobey laws, that’s why they’re criminals!
A lot of opponents to the SA front the argument, “Our Founding Fathers could not conceive of semi-automatic weapons with 30 round magazines.” I only have to point to the First Amendment, when state-of-the-art printing technology was the printing press which was already 300+ years old by that time. The Founding Fathers had no conception of the computer, or the Internet, yet we extend the First Amendment to these things. So, perceptions evolve as technology advances. Remember, the citizen should be as well armed as an individual infantry soldier.
A strawman argument is “firearms are designed to kill.” That is incorrect. Firearms are designed to forcibly eject a projectile at high speed from the muzzle of the barrel in a consistent manner, so the projectile follows a predictable ballistic path. What the person wielding the firearm decides to do with the projectile is up to the person.
In America alone, 4 Billion rounds of ammunition are fired by civilians annually. 99.999%+ of those are used to punch holes in paper targets, bust clays or harvest animals. 0.000125% of those rounds are involved in the death of another human being, if you assume that it takes 10 rounds to kill one person. Over 300 Million firearms are in private hands, and 99.975% of those are used for lawful purposes.
Granted, guns were used in 8,875 homicides in the U.S. in 2010. Gun control advocates like to “enhance” this number by throwing suicides and accidental shootings into that total. I want to say for the record that people who are intent on killing themselves, they will find a way, even if firearms are outlawed. Accidental shootings comprise less than 2% of that total number of homicides, suicides and accidental deaths.
What gun control advocates don’t talk about are the DGU’s, or Defensive Gun Uses. Depending on what study you use, the number varies, but it shows an average of about 1 million DGUs a year. That’s about 112 times a firearm saves a life or prevents a crime for every homicide. In 90%+ of those DGU’s, all the prospective victim had to do was show the firearm. So, are you willing to endure a corresponding 112x rise in crime ? Because a criminal who wants to be armed, will be armed. Bruce Lee couldn’t stand up to five guys armed with 2×4′s, what makes you think you can, unless you have a firearm?
As far as banning certain type of firearms, remember it was the intent of the Founding Fathers that the citizen be as well equipped as the soldier. On this side, you have 15 law enforcement officers, all armed with semi-automatic weapons loaded with 30 round magazines. Over here, you have one citizen defending himself from those 15 armed LEOs with a single shot muzzle loading musket. Not a very equal fight, right? But let the citizen be as well armed as the law enforcement, and things became a little more equal.
Final thought. Critical thinking time. The big test question. Let’s just say, as a mental exercise, the President, Congress and three-fourths of the states pass an Amendment that gets rid of the Second Amendment. Gone. Kaput. Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in. Private ownership of any kind of firearms is outlawed. The American populace is disarmed. Now what?
What stops the government at that point from outlawing free speech? From getting rid of the Fourth Amendment? Or just getting rid of the Constitution entirely, replacing it with a dictatorship? What are you going to do about that? Spit at them? You assemble with your fellow citizens to protest and are gunned down by the government. Slaughtered to a person. Don’t think it can’t happen here. It has happened too many times in history for it not to happen again.
So the next time you want to surrender a right, think about how you might need it in the future. It is so much better to have and not need, than to need and not have. You never think about the oxygen in the air you breathe until it is gone.