There seems to be three different types of passionate perspectives in America today as it pertains to guns. We have the gun-grabbers, the “common sense” gun control advocates, and the 2nd Amendment “bitter clingers,” as President Obama once dubbed us. There are other perspectives, of course, but when it comes to those passionate for action (or inaction), they normally fall into one of those three categories.
From what I’ve seen in the news and even on conservative forums, guns and abortion seem to be the two issues for which more people are migrating towards the middle. This is a bad thing. The mushy middle will only lead to oblivion for Americans.
I want to address those who seem to be the plurality today. They are the patriotic Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment but who believe that limiting access to certain weapons, high-capacity clips, or high-caliber ammunition is a good idea. On the surface, these types of gun control actions might seem to make sense. There’s one reason they made no sense for Americans in the 18th century and they make even less sense for Americans in the 21st century.
First, let’s wipe out the erroneous notions. The 2nd Amendment is not about hunting. It’s not even about personal protection, though that’s the most common reason for people to want to own a handgun. The benefits of firearms for hunting enthusiasts and personal protection are nice, but they are fringe benefits of living in a country that allows firearm ownership.
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.
For the last four decades, the word “militia” has been systematically demonized by every side of the debate. Liberals have used it as a dog whistle for calling out the crazies on the right who want to overthrow the government. Many militia groups themselves have helped with the demonizing efforts by expressing desires to overthrow the government. The media, pundits, and politicians have associated the concept of a militia as being a danger to the people around them. By making the concept look bad, it becomes easier to disarm when the time comes whether that’s today or in 100 years.
The wording of the 2nd Amendment has created several arguments against it, most notably that militia must be “well regulated” as a mandate of the amendment. This is a perversion of the meaning, whether intentionally or not. It may be easier to understand if we reverse it to show a modernized variation of the amendment’s intent.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed so that if forces within or without the government threaten the security of a free state, a well regulated militia can be rapidly formed to defend it.
The intent of the 2nd Amendment was to protect the people in case the same type of political persecution that they rebelled against with England reared its ugly head again in the future. It empowers the people to fight tyranny regardless of its source.
A recent article on HuffPo called for an update to the 2nd Amendment in a post-musket world.
Someone thought this was amusing and an editor agreed. https://t.co/tmHTm6GeN4?
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) July 8, 2016
This is a ludicrous concept and the satirical article is specifically designed to mock the ideas that bitter clingers espouse. Saul Alinsky would be proud.
Here’s the reality: as the potential for tyranny increases based upon technological advances in weapons, so too does the need for 2nd Amendment protections increase. Guns are bigger, more powerful, more accurate, and can fire faster. These guns can be in the hands of the U.S. government, foreign entities, and criminal elements within the nation. The 2nd Amendment gives us the ability to mobilize if any of these forces threaten the freedom of any group of people. Limiting access to firearms makes the 2nd Amendment impotent because if the people cannot bear arms of similar strength as those who choose to oppress us, we’re at a major disadvantage.
Does that mean that private citizens should own tanks, rocket launchers, and M134 miniguns? Of course not. However, it does mean that responsible law-abiding Americans who want to own an AR-15 with a 30-round clip should have that option available. At least then they would have a realistic chance of defending liberty and fighting tyranny from any source. There should be limits, but the limits to gun ownership are currently too overreaching in many states.
Here’s the biggest problem with the current shift towards “common sense” gun laws. They don’t take the original intent of the 2nd Amendment into account, an intent that is still necessary today. We’ve assigned too much faith in the ability of the U.S. government to defend us and we’ve made the assumption that there’s no chance the government would ever turn against the people. The first fallacy is at least somewhat justifiable; other than a handful of terrorist attacks, they’ve done a fine job of keeping foreign forces from threatening the people. The second fallacy is ludicrous because it doesn’t take into account human nature. When things go south, people in power will be corrupted by the notion that they must take extreme actions to defend their interests. It’s not that they’re inherently authoritarian, but if chaos breaks out, it’s highly probable that attempts to restore order will lead to an abusive response.
It’s the presence of an empowered citizenry that prevents wholesale revocation of liberties. One of the early steps in the formation of any tyrannical government is to disarm the people. “Common sense” dictates that allowing the people to be fully armed is the only way to prevent that from happening. Every step towards disarmament, even baby steps through gun regulations, leads to further action. Unless we halt this trend and defend the 2nd Amendment with everything we’ve got, we will eventually give up the ability to defend any of our freedoms.