Is the problem the Constitution or we the people?
As most people know, the Second Amendment says, “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.” In a 1939 case the Supreme Court explained that the Framers included the Second Amendment to ensure the effectiveness of the military. That was not changed until 2008 in a 5-4 decision. The Fifth amendment adds further credence to the thinking of the Militia as an entity to be considered differently when it exempts from grand jury indictment in the case of capital crime, cases arising in land or naval forces or in the militia.
Proponents of unfettered gun possession argue generally using only the last fourteen words of the 2nd amendment and ignore the more relevant rationale presented by Madison, etc. If the last fourteen words were the entire amendment, there would be no room for debate, but that is not the case. And, if we were to take the last fourteen words literally, there would be no way to keep any arms out of the hands of any citizen, but we do have some limits. In 1789 there was no practical distinction between private and military arms for the individual solider or militiamen.
If the words “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” are irrelevant, why were they written as part of the amendment?
I doubt many people would disagree that society and the United States were quite different in 1789; the revolution was barely over, there was a lingering fear of a strong central government, states were fighting to preserve their rights and little thought had been given to a strong military controlled by a federal government.
More than one of the amendments in the Bill of Rights are out of date in 2016, For example, the III, no soldier shall be quartered in any house, the VII, the right of trial by jury where the value of the controversy shall exceed twenty dollars.
Let’s examine the words in dispute; well, regulated, militia and state. Following are dictionary definitions relevant to the topic.
So, in a good and thorough manner provide a standard for the operation of a body of citizens called out periodically for military service … Hence, those citizens being required to provide their own arms for military service shall not be prevented from doing so.
1. in a good or satisfactory manner:
2. thoroughly, carefully, or soundly:
3. with propriety, justice, or reason:
1. direct by a rule, principle, method, etc.:
2. to adjust to some standard or requirement, as amount, degree, etc.:
3. to adjust so as to ensure accuracy of operation:
4. to put in good order.
1. body of citizens enrolled for military service, and called out periodically for drill but serving full-time only in emergencies.
2. a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers.
1. the central civil government or authority.
2. made, maintained, or chartered by or under the authority of one of the commonwealths that make up a federal union
For more of a discussion on this topic I refer you to the Constitution Center
As is the case today, the “militia” is under state control unless specifically called to duty for federal service. I can attest to that having been in the NJ National Guard for four years and then being called to active duty for 22 months more … With my weapon retained in the armory I might add.
Regardless of the position you take on this issue, there is another bigger issue; why are so many Americans obsessed with guns? When there is a hint of new gun control, sales boom, millions of Americans own semi-automatic weapons. And by some estimates there are more guns than people in the U.S.
What does our obsession say about our society? Who is it we fear; our own government, our fellow citizens? Today the excuse in some quarters is terrorists, but that is a phenomenon only relevant in the last fifteen years or so. There is no doubt using a gun provides a sense of power, exhilaration; there is a rush, is that the attraction?
Updated figures are calculated figures by gunpolicy.org. According to the Congressional Research Service, there are roughly twice as many guns per capita in the United States as there were in 1968: more than 300 million guns in all. This computes to 93 guns per 100 people.
In my view we have distorted the intent of our own Constitution and without the unanimous concurrence of the Supreme Court. We are victims of an arms industry not shy about exploiting the young who are influenced by game and entertainment violence.
We decry the violence created by radical Islamists while being the most violent advanced country in the world. What the hell is wrong with us?
Categories: My Opinion