There has been a new ruling on the right to keep and bear arms. It was this past week in a supreme court case, McDonald v. Chicago, involving a suit filed against a gun ban law in Chicago. The court ruled by a slim 5-4 decision that their last ruling against a federal gun ban in Washington D.C. also applied to state and local governments. So this would be received by most second amendment supporters, including myself, as good news. And it is good news. It keeps alive and continues to strengthen the correct belief that ownership and bearing firearms is a Constitutional right.
BUT there is something un-mysteriously missing from the entire debate. And that is an indepth discussion about what the second amendment is really about. Over and over, we hear from gun rights groups that the right to keep and bear arms is about personal safety and defence. They also like to throw in hunting as a legitimate reason why the 2nd amendment cannot be overruled or expunged. Really? Is that what the second amendment is trying protect? Is that why it is positioned in the second spot right after the right to free speech and to assemble? And why would the Founders position an amendment which decrees that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed directly after the first amendment? The answers in order are no, no, no, and the reason for its positioning is that the second amendment PROTECTS the first. And who does the second amendment protect the first from? Why it is blatantly obvious. It protects the first from those who would seek to stamp it out, who would seek to curtail it, who would seek to make it history. I ask you. Would that group threatening the first amendment be street criminals or even organized crime? When in the history of the Republic has a political gathering or any other mass protest or event been driven out by common criminals? Perhaps the renegade deer and bear are the hidden threat to our rights to speech and organization.
No friend, the threat to the first amendment that the second defends against is the government. It is the government, at all levels, federal, state, and local that has ALWAYS been the threat, the interested party in curtailing our rights. And it will ALWAYS be the threat. It is the government who intrudes and regulates what we can say or write and when and where we can say it. It requires permits to organize. It sends battalions of police to ensure order and to intimidate when people decide to gather for any purpose, political or otherwise. It prevents the people from protesting at the organized rallies of the elite, witness the recent political conventions of both parties in 2008. It prosecutes those whose speech steps out of line with what the latest perimeters of the day are. It is time that those would speak out on the second amendment inject some truth and courage into their basis of argument.
What these so called guns rights groups actually do, when they invoke the pedestrian side benefits of gun ownership to validate the second amendment, is cheapen it. Indeed, the idea of listing hunting as any part of the second amendment is a fool’s ranting. Hunting? We have a Constitutional right to hunt? What writings can these people point to in the Founders’ work that invoke the reasoning of home defence and hunting as the activity at stake in the second amendment? These shallow excuses allow the enemies of the Constitution to essentially laugh at the second amendment. What fool would spend hours of their daily life, donate hundreds of dollars annually, attend large rallies and conventions, and vote for the leadership of the Republic based on a right to have the means to hunt? These worthless arguments do nothing more than undermine its profound utility in the order of natural rights. They deny its philosophical derivations that date back to the Magna Carte. And that is that a free man MUST BE ARMED. To be free a nation must be armed. There is no alternative. A nation disarmed is nation of slaves. The Constitutional rights listed are there to offer protection to our NATURAL RIGHTS to LIFE, LIBERTY, and PROPERTY. And the second amendment stands alone as the guarantor of everything above it.
The right to keep and bear arms is the right TO BE ABLE to destroy the government. Do you understand that? Read it again if you must. The ownership of weaponry gives the PEOPLE the right to be able to reform the state. It does not confer the automatic right to attack the state, but it gives the people the right to be and remain an everpresent threat to a government. This understanding was dramatically underscored in a supreme court case from 1939, Miller v US. In this decision the court wrote the following as the basis for upholding the conviction of Mr. Miller for transporting 2 sawed off shotguns for sale across state lines:
“In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a “shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length” at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.”
What Chief Justice McReynolds is saying that only weaponry used by the states militia or the military of the day are protected by the second amendment. That is that the infantry weapon of the time is precisely the weapon that is the subject of second amendment. Unfortunately for Miller, what the supreme court was unaware of, due the defence failing to offer any rebuttal, is that the US Army had made the short barrel shotgun a standard military issue weapon since WW1, some 30000-40000 were sent to the troops for guarding of German POWs. The majority of subsequent court decisions have erroniously misinterpreted this ruling as only protecting the right of the state militia to own firearms. It takes quite a willful misreading of the text to arrive at that conclusion, but nevertheless it is what has occurred.
So the only case to seriously investigate the meaning of the second amendment, without referring to stare decisis as a crutch, determined that the weapons of war are the protected class of firearm by the second amendment. It is the M-16 and the AK-47 that are foremost protected for civilian ownership and much less the 9mm handgun. They are the weapons that allow the people to stand and defeat the state when that day comes. And this precisely validates what the Founders envisioned to be the basis for the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The people must retain the capability to throw down a corrupt state when they determine by mass consensus that the state has ceased to be a net positive. When the state has overgrown and metastisized to an ungovernable entity, tyranny is the result. A nation disarmed has no recourse for this.
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” – T. Jefferson
The guns rights groups are not as ignorant as we may want to believe. The NRA and its leader LaPierre know exactly what the second amendment is. They are simply afraid to put what they know is right out on the table. They fear that the public will not accept such radical ideas. But this is a false rationalization. It is time for the gun rights groups to stand unabashed at what the significance of the second amendment really is. At what it truly protects. And against whom it guarantees recourse. To fail in this will allow the enemies of an armed people to enact ever more regulation and restriction on the basis that the “right” to hunt deer or defend against a street thug is outweighed by the domestic risks of mass gun ownership. And that the most vital weaponry for the people to maintain liberty, the assault rifle, can be restricted as being necessary for neither.