What Does the Second Amendment Really Mean? Ask the Experts…Leave a comment
February 18, 2018 by JImbo
If we want to know what the Second Amendment “really means”… why not starting by asking those who WROTE the Constitution and the Bill of Rights… debating and finally approving them? They surely knew what they meant. They were far from quiet about it either if you take the time to read their words.
The Founding Fathers on The Right to Bear Arms
“Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”
First President of the United States
“I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
Co-author of the Second Amendment
during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
– James Madison (founder)
The Constitution shall never be construed … to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.
– Samuel Adams (founder)
“The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.”
Elliot’s Debates, vol. 3 “The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution.”
“The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.”
“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
Richard Henry Lee
American Statesman, 1788
“Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?”
“The great object is that every man be armed.” and “Everyone who is able may have a gun.”
“We should not forget that the spark which ignited the American Revolution was caused by the British attempt to confiscate the firearms of the colonists.”
“The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that … it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; … “
letter to Justice John Cartwright, June 5, 1824. ME 16:45.
“A strong body makes a strong mind. As to the species of exercise I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion of your walks.”
“The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that… it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.” –
-Thomas Jefferson (founder)
“The best we can help for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”
The Federalist Papers at 184-8
Other Perspectives on the Topic
“A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.”
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca, c. 4BC – 65AD.
“Switzerland is a land where crime is virtually unknown, yet most Swiss males are required by law to keep in their homes what amounts to a portable, personal machine gun.”
–Tom Clancy (writer)
“Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.”
– John F. Kennedy (US President)
“The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.”
– Report of the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 97th Congress, Second Session (February 1982)
“The usual road to slavery is that first they take away your guns, then they take away your property, then last of all they tell you to shut up and say you are enjoying it.” – James A. Donald (writer)
“After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”
– William S. Burroughs (writer)
“When they took the 4th Amendment, I was quiet because I didn’t deal drugs.
When they took the 6th Amendment, I was quiet because I am innocent.
When they took the 2nd Amendment, I was quiet because I don’t own a gun.
Now they have taken the 1st Amendment, and I can only be quiet.”
– Lyle Myhr
“Suppose the Second amendment said “A well-educated electorate being necessary for self-governance in a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed.” Is there anyone who would suggest that means only registered voters have a right to read?”
– Robert Levy, Georgetown University professor
“Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.”
– Mahatma Gandhi, in Gandhi, An Autobiography, p. 446
“…the right to defend one’s home and one’s person when attacked has been guaranteed through the ages by common law.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Pro Gun Control Voices
“Gun control? It’s the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I’m a bad guy, I’m always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I’ll pull the trigger. We’ll see who wins.”
– Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, whose testimony convicted John Gotti
“Our main agenda is to have all guns banned. We must use whatever means possible. It doesn’t matter if you have to distort the facts or even lie. Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed.”
Chairman, Handgun Control Inc, to Senator Howard Metzenbaum
The National Educator, January 1994, Page 3.
“This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”
Chancellor, Germany, 1933
“If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses, you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things.”
My Two Cents
It’s pretty simple. The Bill of Rights is a list of INDIVIDUAL rights. It would be insane to think any of them were meant for the GOVERNMENT to use. If you think that the 2nd Amendment is to “create the National Guard” then how do you apply the other amendments?
Is the 1st Amendment the GOVERNMENT’S right to Freedom of Speech?
The GOVERNMENT’S right to religion?
Is the 4th Amendment the GOVERNMENT’S right to Privacy?
That’s silly. The Bill of Rights is about PERSONAL rights of the INDIVIDUAL.
Any other interpretation makes no logical sense.
Right in the 2nd Amendment it says “Shall not be infringed.”
Another word for “infringed” is “encroached” and they can be used interchangeably.
Check out the definition:
This would include abnormal regulations meant to artificially limit access to or restrict your use of your own private property. Registering a land deed for example makes sense. It shows you bought the property. Perhaps there’s a fee to file a deed with the County Clerk. That’s “usual and proper limits.”
However, telling you you can’t buy TOO MUCH land is an arbitrary restriction. Telling you what you can do on your land is a restriction. Telling you that if someone else doesn’t like the color of your house, you have to change it is unfair.
The “usual and proper limits” includes any use of property in the “public sphere.” So, you don’t shoot people on the road. Sounds fair. You don’t run into people on the road either.
Insurance is a possibility. That sounds fair. After all, you have car insurance in case you have an accident. Gun insurance would make sense if you have an accident. However, it can’t be excessive or beyond the usual limits. You can’t require an insane amount of coverage like a billion dollars for example in order to make it impossible for anyone to have a gun.
If the worse you can do with a car is kill someone… and car insurance can cover that… then it stands to reason the worst you can do with a gun is kill someone. So, gun insurance shouldn’t be any more expensive than car insurance.
In fact guns are MUCH SAFER than cars, so it would really be cheap. There’s a far lower chance of being shot than in a car accident. And of course guns rarely do much collateral damage.
A million dollar “gun insurance” policy can be had today for about $30 a month and that includes a lot of bells and whistles. That seems reasonable.
Also like a car, if you don’t regularly USE your gun then you shouln’t carry insurance on it. If a car sits in your driveway, you don’t have to have insurance on it right? You just can’t USE it off your property.
The same would be true of your gun. You’d keep it at home unless you put insurance on it. If you have insurance, you just carry an insurance card to prove it just like your car. And then of course if you use it and don’t have insurance…well that’s on you (just like a car.)
In this way you aren’t paying to OWN a gun. You are paying to carry it in public around other people. The same way you are paying to use the road.
It’s not perfect freedom, but the Constitution is all about compromise between perfect freedom and the rights of others. As with most things, the 2nd Amendment is a 90% freedom solution.
You have a right to carry a gun. They have a right to not be harmed by it. This gives the protection of a million dollars of coverage if an accident does happen.
Also, having a permit isn’t unreasonable (provided it’s easy to get with simple rules like a drivers license) On top of that, a safety course would be a good idea as most states already have. Those make you safe using your property around others (and again you shouldn’t need to just OWN them… but to USE/CARRY them in public)
What WOULD be infringing on rights is to ban any gun.
What WOULD be infringing on rights is to make it impossible to get a permit.
What WOULD be infringing on rights is to impose stricter penalties or to make insurance insanely expensive. Anything that goes beyond the basic rule of providing against “accidents.”
After all, an intentional criminal act is already against both law and morality. It’s a violation of another person’s rights to steal from, rape or kill them. The tool doesn’t matter. You can run them over with a car. You can poison them with cleaning products. You can stab them with a knife.
You can use your bare hands.
So, that’s my take on things. We are in a 90% freedom society under the US Constitution. I to want “common sense” solutions. However, I wouldn’t call them “gun control”… I’d simply apply the normal standards of any other private property and interactions between individuals.
However, that also means that any OTHER rights should LIKEWISE be viewed in this light. You can’t use your Freedom of Speech to harm people. You can’t use 4th Amendment right of privacy to hide a crime. Regulating VOTING should be just as strict as any rules on cars or guns.
It’s one of the most potentially harmful things we can do as citizens.
Think about it… If I have to have a background check and a mental health check to drive or own a gun…then how much MORE important is it to make sure I’m sane enough to VOTE?
Consider that 130 million people decided the 2016 elections. They decided the representatives who will pass a budget. That means that each of those 130 million people had a hand in deciding the fate of this country by determining its leadership.
That 40% that voted is deciding for the 60% that didn’t vote. That’s a big responsibility. It’s the same sort of responsibility you show when you as a driver of a 4,000 lb car have to be trusted to NOT run over pedestrians who aren’t driving. It’s the same responsibility you show when you carry a gun to defend other people who are unarmed and don’t use it to commit a crime yourself.
See how that works? A responsible adult is a responsible adult. Not just in one narrow area. Not just sometimes. You either are a fully mature adult able to make ALL your life decisions as an independent human being, or you can’t be trusted.
That then should be our measure. You are assumed to be a responsible adult until your actions prove you otherwise. If you commit felonies, if you go nuts, if you HARM someone…then it’s an action you took. You proved your inability to refrain from harming others.
On the other hand, even if you DO something bad, perhaps there needs to be a way to prove you are better. Maybe you get a mental evaluation. Maybe 10-20 years as a felon and no more crimes and you’re cleared. It can’t just be one strike and you’re no longer an adult. That too would be unfair.
So, that’s my basic test.
Are you a responsible adult?
Can you be trusted not hurt other people? (including not shooting them or running them over with a car accidentally)
Then off you go!
It really is as simple as that.
If we had simply FOLLOWED that rule in the first place this Parkland, Florida shooting wouldn’t have happened. We don’t need NEW laws. Just enforce the EXISTING ones.
The guy had the cops at his house 39 times for criminal activity. They were at the school often… all THREE schools he was expelled from. For what?
Well take your pick:
-Threatening students with weapons
-Torturing small animals
-Shooting at pets/livestock (yes by itself discharging firearms near a residence is a crime…)
-Terroristic threats of violence
The list goes on. Any of these would be enough to send him to jail. They should have gotten him help too…but at LEAST pressed charges. Not a peep. NOTHING showed up on his record.
So how do you do a “background check” if he was never charged with anything? According to the legal system, despite all the witnesses and police calls nothing shows up. Blank slate. Never charged with a crime.
It still boggles my mind that all of that could be ignored, but it sounds like no one wanted to bother with charges and just wanted it to be “someone else’s problem.”
That and the neighbors and witnesses said they just “didn’t want to make him look like a bad kid.”
MAKE HIM LOOK BAD?
Or maybe they were scared of him?
My point is that on top of all this local activity, the FBI was called… TWICE with specific threats to the school. They never bothered to investigate very far.
So you can’t blame a “system” that has NEVER USED in his case. No one ever PUT him in the system to find. Whether it was intentional willful ignorance or simple incompetence, the “system” didn’t fail.
We need to stop looking to “the system” to solve all our problems. It’s made of people anyway, and people are imperfect.
So why is a “system” full of fallible humans any better than YOU as a fallible human to solve your problems? The Founders intended for most issues to be solved at the lowest level possible. That’s the individual ideally. You only go higher if you are unable to do it on your own.
We as people are the cause of our own problems… but also the best solution.