Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Right of the People to Own Guns

We're talking about the Second Amendment today.

And when I say "Second Amendment" I'm not talking about sound-bites from either side that says "it means this!" or "it really means that!" What it actually does say is this:

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.

Twenty-seven words.

There is also another official version that has another comma in the phrase immediately after the word "militia." In my opinion, that comma really doesn't make any difference. You see, the whole sentence is terribly written regardless! Let me break it down and analyze it with you.

On first reading "A well regulated militia" appears to be the subject of the sentence. The subject appears to be followed by an adjectival phrase describing the "militia." If this was high school grammar you would then have to have a verb. Then it would mean, "A militia, because it is necessary, must/has to/should/shall....".

Obviously, that is not what it says.

So what if the "militia" part is not the subject? That makes it a badly-written adjectival phrase meaning: "Because the well-armed militia is necessary....the right to bear arms is guaranteed."

So in my opinion, the amendment clearly (?) links the militia to the right to bear arms. With me so far?

So what the hell is a "militia" anyway? American Heritage Dictionary says this:
an army composed of citizens rather than professional soldiers, on call for service in an emergency. 

Okay, we don't really have that any more. If we are calling The National Guard (the descendant of all of those great Revolutionary Militias) a "militia," know that since 1903 they have been officially part of the Department of the Defense. That isn't the same thing as a group of citizen-soldiers, in my opinion. But okay, let's assume for the sake of argument that The National Guard is the equivalent of "the militia."

However, if the National Guard is the equivalent of "the militia," how does that allow for individual gun-ownership? Do National Guards use automatic and semi-automatic weapons in their work? They don't use hand-guns or deer rifles, I'm pretty sure. I suppose they *could*, but the point I'm trying to make is that in the USA today there IS no militia.

So what if the amendment means to imply that if/when a militia is required, the already armed people of this great country can form and create one? I call this the "Red Dawn" theory. It may sound like I am making light of this idea, but I am not. I actually believe this is very close to what our founding fathers were thinking when they wrote the amendment. They knew that dictatorship could sprout at any time, AND they were just over a well-fought battle for their own independence. So my guess is that what the amendment is really saying is: "we need to allow arms to be available in case the people ever want to overthrow their government."  

Which brings us to the actual verbs in the amendment: keeping, bearing, and infringing.

I think we all understand what "to keep" and "to bear" mean. How about "to infringe"?

Again from American Heritage Dictionary, "infringe" is defined as:
(1) to transgress, violate (2) to encroach; trespass

That doesn't really help; what the hell is "transgress" or "encroach," right? Back to the dictionary:
transgress: to go beyond or over (a limit)
encroach: to take another's possessions or rights gradually or stealthily

NOW we're getting somewhere. I have heard many people say that if we try to write up any gun control legislature it would begin "the slippery slope" towards total gun control, meaning gun prohibition. And you know who was all for gun control, right? Adolf Hitler. Yada yada yada.

HOWEVER, let's look at this logically and not emotionally. If you want to follow the above train of thought to its extreme conclusion, the gun makers should be GIVING AWAY weapons. If I'm an American and I want a gun, who are you to tell me I can't have one? That's encroaching on my Second Amendment rights!! 

I hope everyone understands that I am being a bit extreme there. My point is this: CONTROL is not SUPPRESSION.

The best example I can think of is this: you are free to own/drive a car.
You have to be 18.
You have to have the money to purchase the car.
You have to have and keep a valid driver's license.
You have to register your car with the state where you live.
In some states you have to have auto insurance.
You have to make sure the car is in good working order.
Etcetera, et cetera, etcetera!! 

Are these regulations encroaching on your right to own a car? Some people may say so, but I hope the majority of people understand that these regulations are in place to CONTROL the number and ability of drivers  out on the road. This is not automobile prohibition: it is automobile control.

So why can't we ask for a little bit more "CONTROL" of firearms?
Actual, true registration.
A license to buy bullets.
A lock on every gun so kids can't accidentally shoot their own brains out.
Punishment by fees or by suspending a license if a firearm is used illegally or improperly.
Just as examples off the top of my head.

My suggestion is simple: look at all the regulations for cars or motorcycles or power tools or something similar and cross out the word "motorcycle" and write in the word "firearm." 

Sure, the paranoid people out there are going to go bat-shit crazy. But if you really DO own your rifle/pistol/handgun legally, what is the problem? If you are NOT legal, then you SHOULD be in trouble.

I am in no way standing here saying we should take away the rights given us by the Second Amendment. If you've read this whole thing and still think that is what I am saying, you need to stop visiting my site, thanks! I am a pragmatist who is sick and tired of reading about crazy people with guns or little children killing themselves with Daddy's gun. What I am saying is that the situation as is is *broken.* A little more regulation and licensing I think would help. It certainly wouldn't hurt.

What do *you* think?


  1. Your reply box is broke I tried posting 774 words and it said there was over 4096. Might want to check it

  2. I looked at the settings and they seem okay. If you tried to post a link maybe it just didn't work? Try again without the hyperlink. Sorry!