"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."
I'll keep this short and sweet. The 2nd Ammendment gives us a right AND a responsibility.
We have the right to bear arms. That means we have the individual right to own firearms and defend our homesteads. We are not limited to those arms that effectively defend our homesteads.
However, we have a COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY to follow the government's regulation of the collective population of American firearm owners to defend the state as a "well regulated militia". As such, the nation-state can regulate our collective behavior with firearms.
I dismiss the argument that the 2nd amendment gives us the right to forcibly resist "government tyranny". It's not like we don't have government tyranny. The law preventing people from crossing the street in New York City while talking on their cell phones may be a tyrannical limitation of our personal freedom. However, if a New York Policeman were to give me a ticket for doing so, it would be the height of immorality to draw a firearm and shoot the policeman who is merely doing his/her job. Americans still have the means to confront this tyranny without violence. YOUR personal definition of "government tyranny" does not give you a right to use force to confront it.
I used to ridicule the argument that the 2nd amendment gives us the right to forcibly resist "government tyranny". Proponents of this argument pointed out that some of our founding fathers commented that this was the purpose of the amendment. I don't care! If the founding fathers who proposed this thesis held a prevailing view, the 2nd amendment would would have contained such language. It doesn't. Therefore, I dismiss the argument, but I no longer ridicule it. The reason is that the 2nd Amendment is part of the BILL OF RIGHTS, a collection of amendments ratified to guarantee our freedom. Therefore, while the 2nd Amendment does NOT give us the right to resist whatever we as individuals perceive as "government tyranny", it was fully reasoned that the right to bear arms was a necessary right to insure the freedom of Americans for generations to come.
As a "well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state", it is impractical to regulate a one-man militia. The Supreme Court has limited certain types of arms available to the public. Fully automatic firearms have long been banned. Furthermore, the government does not allow individuals to own their own F-16, Abrams Tank, and other armaments that would allow an individual to function as an un-regulated one-man militia. This is a reasonable restriction under the "well regulated militia" definition
So what I'm saying is that the 2nd Amendment cannot be interpreted by commentary of one or more "founding fathers". The founding fathers who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights did not agree on everything. Rather, the 2nd Amendment should be interpreted word-for-word. That is how I interpret it.
I'm a strong believer in the 2nd Amendment. It should NOT be eroded by those seeking to control firearms. Firearm ownership is a guaranteed American right; one the founding fathers found necessary to include in the Bill of Rights.
The term "assault weapon" is a loaded term. A molotov cocktail is an assault weapon. I don't see the government regulating gasoline sales anytime soon. Let us not get Orwellian about the words "assault weapon". A semi-automatic firearm is not an "assault weapon" A group of people using semi-automatic firearms to take the law into their own hands is an un-regulated militia. Street gangs and organized crime are a fine example of this. Banning semi-automatic firearms leaves the individual American powerless to defend the homestead and empowers organized criminals who would not likely comply with such a ban.
The loan crazy with a gun is an easy news item that the popular media likes to milk for weeks on end. Yet the fact remains, a competent, law-abiding citizen, on-site, with a firearm, will stop a crazy individual with a gun faster than the police. The police must be summoned and respond in a timely manner before there are numerous gunshot victims. In such a situation summoning the police is very difficult. Timely police response before there are victims, is unlikely.
Last but not least, if you want to see strangers being unusually polite toward one another, go to your local public firearms range. Everybody there has a firearm in their possession and commits themselves to lawful and safe operation of them. My personal observation is that a population of armed citizens is remarkably polite and friendly.
America needs the 2nd Amendment. We need it today as much as we needed it in 1791 when it was ratified. We just need to keep it in perspective. You may not like "guns" but that's your personal preference. One size does not fit all. The 2nd Amendment was ratified in 1791 and part of a group of amendments that were required to preserve our freedom. Without the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution could not be ratified. The 2nd Amendment was ratified by 3/4 of the states; an overwhelming majority.
So let's get past these sensationalistic news stories pushed on us by advocacy journalists. The 2nd Amendment is a Constitutional freedom; the supreme law of the land. If you want to reduce crimes committed with firearms, figure another way to do it.
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