Strengthening the Second Amendment

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.  (Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution)

Nobody with a brain, or a drop of human blood circulating through their body, could possibly believe that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was meant to uphold the right to do what was done at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last week.

And if they do, they don’t really understand what the Second Amendment means.

Read carefully, it delineates one of the most conditional, hedged-about “rights” that Americans enjoy. It’s not about untrammeled access to any and all kinds of firearms and ammunition.  It’s not about protecting personal property.  It’s not about being able to feed your family from what you shoot.

It’s about the need of a free state to have a well-regulated militia to ensure its security.  Security.  Regulation.  Service to the community.

Those are the things this amendment protects.  Individual use of firearms are secondary to the needs of the state.  Why we separate them is entirely beyond me.

Regulation and security mean that the state (the individual state, or the Federal government) can say what arms non-military personnel may possess.  Those things mean that government and law enforcement know what weapons are in whose hands–and which hands, when arms are borne, endanger the security of a free state.

Those things mean that the government has the right to require proper training and background checks for those who wish to keep firearms in their homes.  They may mean that the government has a right to require recertification, or suspend the license of those who violate regulations, or use those weapons in ways that endanger, rather than ensure, the security and safety of the community.

It means that the government may actually not allow ownership–“keep and bear” do not mean ownership, but conceivably that citizens may use weapons owned by the state, which the state may recall for well-publicized reasons.

The right to “keep and bear arms” is carefully explained–it is not a self-evident right.  The founders understood that firearms were important and useful, when correctly deployed under very limited circumstances.

Keeping and bearing arms may be a right–but it is not a right without obligations and consequences.  The obligation is that anyone exercising the right must also put him or herself at the disposal of the State when the security of that State is threatened–and not to threaten the security of the State by the exercise of the right.

The exercise of the right to keep and bear arms does not mean that the individual doing so is exempt from government “interference”.  It means s/he has invited governmental scrutiny into his or her life on this count.

For the security of a free State.


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