Sunday, December 10, 2017

The 2nd Amendment Doesn't Mean What Gun Owners Say It Does


The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States reads:
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.
 The Bill of Rights, which includes the 2nd Amendment, was written for a definite purpose. The prevailing narrative spewed by many gun owners and the NRA has turned the 2nd Amendment's purpose inside out, upside down and backwards. They contend that the 2nd Amendment's function is to empower the American people against their own government.

Conservative self-styled "patriots" continuously repeat the falsehood that the Founding Fathers inserted the 2nd Amendment into the Bill of Rights to enable the people to resist their government should it become tyrannical. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Robert Parry of Consortium News wrote:

The reality was that the Framers wrote the Constitution and added the 2nd Amendment with the goal of creating a strong central government with a citizens-based military force capable of putting down insurrections, not to enable or encourage uprisings.

The key Framers, after all, were mostly men of means with a huge stake in an orderly society, the likes of George Washington and James Madison.

The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 weren't precursors to France's Robespierre or Russia's Leon Trotsky, believers in perpetual revolutions. In fact, their work on the Constitution was influenced by the experience of Shays' Rebellion in western Massachusetts in 1786, a populist uprising that the weak federal government, under the Articles of Confederation, lacked an army to defeat.

In short, the 2nd Amendment was crafted to ensure a strong central government response at a time when the U.S. government had no official standing army to resist aggression. It was not crafted to foment internal revolution because someone doesn't like what the government decides.

The foundation of the militant gun lobby's argument is based on emotion: whites (mostly male) are afraid of losing their presumed privileged status in American culture. They view the rapidly changing demographics of America as a threat. They feel the government is out to "get them".

The NRA equates firearms to freedom from imaginary government tyranny, then people flock to gun stores to buy all the freedom they can afford. When a mass shooting occurs, the NRA says that if everyone had been armed it could have been avoided. More people buy guns. Rinse and repeat.

Gun control does not equal gun confiscation. When the Democrats are running things in Washington D.C., and the topic of gun control comes up, the militant gun lobby immediately goes into crisis mode and the campaign of fear begins: They're coming to take all your guns!

NBC News reported that eighty-two percent of the firearms used in mass shootings over the last thirty years were obtained legally. It is reasonable to believe that most of those shootings could have been avoided with common-sense firearms legislation, a waiting period, and broader, deeper, background checks.

No one with the power to actually make it happen has ever suggested mass confiscation as a solution to the gun violence problem in the United States. Confiscation isn't constitutionally legal. That doesn't stop gun fanatics from obsessing over it.

In almost any conversation about new gun laws in response to a mass shooting, if there is a gun zealot present, you'll get the standard admonition: "We won't give up our guns!"

This is their way of shutting down any productive discussion about restructuring firearms regulations to avert mass shootings - which, more times than not, are committed by people that should never have been in possession of a firearm, let alone high-powered automatic weapons.

1 comment:

  1. wise words Don. Intelligently written and expressed. I'm with you 100%,-Brian Hobbs

    ReplyDelete

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