Defender of Freedom
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” – The Second Amendment to the US Constitution
What more needs to be said? Aren’t the words of the Second Amendment (2A) crystal clear?
The 27 words are clear to me; their meaning needs no clarification. But, many others have a different interpretation of American gun rights.
Like many other issues in our country today, there’s a great divide between two factions on gun rights, with two extreme positions, and many variations in the middle. Millions of gun owners believe the right to own any type of guns, without restrictions, is a natural right, guaranteed by the 2A. A large number of people would be happy if all guns were confiscated and destroyed.
But, there are millions of citizens—including many who do not own a gun—who support the right of citizens to own guns, use them for hunting, sport shooting, and self-defense.
It’s amazing there are so many interpretations and opinions of the Second Amendment. There’s an old saying that one should not discuss politics or religion in polite company. Those subjects are bound to cause serious disagreement, or worse. It also may be wise to avoid conflict by not discussing abortion, gay marriage or gun rights. Those topics also draw very emotional responses. Is there anything citizens CAN discuss, in polite company?
Yes, there’s lots we can talk about! I’ll avoid most of those hot-button issues, but this monthly blog WILL provide a “discussion” about Second Amendment (gun) rights.
Future entries to this “blog” (web log) will discuss history of the 2A and it’s legal interpretations. I’ll highlight continued efforts at “gun control” legislation, which gets re-invigorated each time an idiot commits mass murder with a gun (Even the gun-haters usually agree the crime would not have been prevented with more laws—but they push for more “gun control” laws anyway!).
It’s ironic that Illinois and California–states which have always heavily restricted gun ownership and concealed carry—are recently loosening their restrictions on concealed carry. Yet, Connecticut and New York, the historical home of many gun manufacturers, are on a crusade to limit gun rights, even confiscating guns from otherwise law-abiding owners. Since the Sandy Hook school massacre, nothing makes sense.
Crime—both committed with guns, and crimes prevented by citizens with guns, is worthy of discussion in this venue. It’s interesting that Great Britain confiscated nearly all guns from it’s citizens in 1997, but murders increased each of the following five years. Since 1980, the average number of homicides has changed little. Gun confiscation didn’t eliminate the killing—though it made people resort to knives and baseball bats as murder weapons. The US territory of Puerto Rico has very restrictive gun laws, yet has a murder rate more than five times that of the USA.
I’ll discuss the explosion of gun and ammunition sales in the past five years (President Obama wins the award for “Gun Salesman of the Year” five-years and counting!). Did you know, in the last five years, there have been 85-MILLION federal background checks done on gun buyers (in addition to the many rifles and shotguns sold privately, without background checks). Americans love their guns, and when faced with a government which wants to restrict guns, they buy even more.
The huge numbers of citizens carrying concealed pistols is another subject with lots of potential, to illuminate as well as educate. As of spring 2014, there are nearly 450,000 Michigan citizens licensed to carry a concealed pistol—nearly twice the number just five years ago! How do you feel knowing that one out of every 23 people you pass in the grocery store may be armed? Gun-haters claimed violent crime would skyrocket after Michigan became a “shall issue” state in 2001, but state violent crime rates have gone down significantly.
The never-ending controversy over so-called “gun-free zones”–including schools and colleges, post offices, movie theaters, shopping malls, military bases, and other places–which have all experienced mass killings in recent years, is worthy of discussion in this blog. Many believe such “gun-free zones” invite those intent on mass murder, knowing there will be no “good guys” to shoot back.
There’s so much to talk about. To get started, let’s begin a discussion of why we have the Second Amendment, and what it means to citizens today. The Constitution was drafted to provide structure for the government of our new country. But, it failed to sufficiently limit powers of government. After only a couple years, many realized it must be amended to guarantee power lies with individual citizens and states, instead of federal authority. The Bill of Rights was written by James Madison and others, and ratified on December 15, 1791.
The Bill of Rights limited powers of the federal government. The first of it’s 10 amendments is the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech, a free press, and limits government intrusion into religion. The Second Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to own guns. Both were intended as powerful checks against government abuses.
Though all amendments are very important, I believe there’s a reason why the first two are at the top of the list. Those who assembled at the constitutional convention surely had a reason for the order they wrote the amendments. (I can imagine the arguments over which Amendment should be first).
The First Amendment is important in allowing citizens to criticize the government, whether on a soapbox in the park, or with an investigative report about government corruption, published in the newspaper or internet. It also keeps government out of religion.
The role of a free press as a means to inform the citizens about government corruption or abuse was paramount, enshrined in the very FIRST Amendment. Unfortunately, over many years, much of the “press” seems to embrace expanding government power. Journalists are supposed to be on the front lines as protectors against government growth, abuse and intrusion into our lives. But nearly all in the journalism profession are liberals, who support larger government, and support Democrats over Republicans. Most journalists have abdicated their role as defenders of our freedom. (If not for FOX News and conservative talk radio, there would be almost no “balance” in the media.
The failure of journalism leaves us with the Second Amendment, as a more important protection against a tyrannical government. Armed citizens and organized militias were able to resist British control. Like it or not, guns made all the difference. Without citizens “keeping and bearing arms” we may all be speaking with a British accent.
Thus, fearing the imposition of a large federal government on states, as well as upon American citizens, Madison and others recognized he ability to own guns—both as individuals and as organized militias—would prevent those in the new federal government from taking control.
Those who claim to support the Second Amendment, but only for the purposes of hunting and sport shooting, do not understand its purpose. The Second Amendment is mostly about the natural right of self-defense, as well as a means to resist a tyrannical government.
I look forward to your feedback, and suggestions for future blog entries.