Another View of the Second Amendment

I certainly do not want to make light of the tragedies that have happened at schools and elsewhere lately. But I can’t believe that our best solution is to have Joe Biden and other sit in a room and deliberate. For a number of reasons.

So far, the solutions seem to be do a background check before people can buy guns, restrict the ability of people to acquire assault-looking weapons, install police at schools, and create an atmosphere where law-abiding citizens won’t want to own weapons. Have I just about covered it, or have I missed the retread of a worn-out idea?

As far as I can tell, doing background checks on people who want to buy weapons, who then pass the checks and are allowed to purchase those weapons, but then have those weapons stolen from them and used in a crime, really does not accomplish the goal of not having that crime committed with a weapon. The only thing background checks accomplish is not allowing people to purchase weapons legally. Criminals, the people who would fail a background check, apparently do not feel terribly constrained by the law, and are the just the sort of people who would be willing to violate another law in order to obtain the weapons they want. How about we think up some totally new solutions that might actually have some effect on the results, that will buy us some time to figure out what the problem is in the first place.

Here’s a thought: instead of installing police at schools, malls, or wherever, install revolving doors. I had never considered it before I saw a program on Modern Marvels or such-like, but revolving doors keep people out, if you don’t want them in. Install sensors, and the door will not continue on its path if what you are carrying is not on the approved list of items allowed in that place. It will, instead, push you back out, or hold you until the appropriate authorities arrive. It’s automatic, effective, and it doesn’t require human intervention and escalation of the problem.

With all of the talk and the hullabaloo that, in the end analysis, does not solve the actual problem of how to keep people from getting killed, it almost seems as though the powers-that-be have another agenda in mind. Why is not their first suggestion to teach people to defend themselves? There is no greater threat to a potential lawbreaker than a victim who will fight back effectively. Yet, this simple idea is never even floated, let alone acted on.

I can think of only one reason that this occurs: the powers-that-be do not want people to be in the habit of defending themselves, and their rights. The powers-that-be want citizens to always look to their government as the first, and only, line of defense. That way, more incidents require more intervention and more regulation.

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.

We’ve all seen those words, time and again. Discussed their meaning, argued their import. But I heard a new interpretation the other day, one that makes more sense to me than any other. The drafters of the Constitution had just survived a terrible war against their Sovereign, one in which they were always the underdogs, were given little chance of success. They had attempted to set up a weak federal government, to hold together their confederation of states, but that hadn’t worked.

Now they were faced with having to increase the power of the federal government, vis-a-vis those sovereign states. They had just divested themselves of a overweening sovereign—they were in no mood to install another. They must have been very loathe to invest the government with much power, as can be seen by the system of checks and balances that thread through each section of the Constitution. Under this (new to me) interpretation, the Second Amendment is yet another check on the power of the federal government:

Since we, the United States, must defend ourselves against foreign powers that would crush us and take us over if they could, we must have a standing army, or militia. Knowing the tendency of government to increase its power at the expense of its citizens’ rights, we therefore acknowledge each citizen’s right to arm himself, a right that comes not from government, but is a natural right of each human being to protect himself. This right of the citizens to keep and bear Arms operates to inhibit the tendency of those in power to try to over-extend their reach. The power of militia is thereby checked by citizens’ ability to protect themselves.

The Founding Fathers merely condensed that sentiment into one sentence.

Under this interpretation, the citizens are not armed so that they can be a part of a militia. They are not told that they can stand down, and give up their weapons, now that a standing army has been ordained. The armed citizens are instead the keepers of the militia—the restraint that keeps the army in line. Under this scenario, the citizens do not look to the powers-that-be for protection. They protect themselves from the powers-that-be, and in doing so, have the opportunity to also protect themselves from criminals.


Filed under Critical Thinking, Politics

2 responses to “Another View of the Second Amendment

  1. Jim Schweder

    This is so wrong on so many levels. Destroy all the current weapons then let anyone who wants a gun give them a musket.

  2. I believe that over 90% of the time when a gun is used to kill someone it was either stolen or obtained off the black market…

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