Protecting the Second
CTN body text:In 1787, after a terrible American Revolution was fought and won, our Forefathers began deliberations in a Constitutional Convention to create a plan detailing how the US government would operate. These Founding Fathers were people from all walks of life with the admiration of those they represented. Ordinary respected people in extraordinary times created a masterpiece and the future greatest nation on earth.
They took lessons from history; from English and French philosophers, lawyers, politicians, statesmen, and the Iroquois nation. The colonists’ experiences with repression were considered. Several of the Bill of Rights’ Amendments were a direct response to tyrannical actions ordered by King George.
Our Forefathers understood that their Revolution was only successful because the common people owned weapons equal with the British soldiers they fought. If our Forefathers had fought England using crossbows or matchlock muskets, we might still be under English rule today. Our Forefathers felt so strongly about this guard against tyranny that they enshrined this guarantee for future generations as the Second Amendment to the Constitution. “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 US Supreme Court agreed with this interpretation in 1939 with United States v. Miller (307 U.S. 174). Miller was charged with violating the National Firearms Act of 1934 with a shotgun with barrel length less than 18 inches. The government prosecutor’s argument stated:
- The Second Amendment protects only the ownership of military-type weapons appropriate for use in an organized militia.
- A “shotgun having a barrel less than 18 inches” was never used in any militia organization.
The Supreme Court interpreted the Second Amendment as an individual’s right to bear arms of military-type: “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.”
The wording of the Second Amendment, the government’s argument, and the US Supreme Court’s decision agree with the individual’s right to bear arms of “military-type” which today would include assault rifles and high capacity magazines.
With the current Administration’s push against this Second Amendment interpretation, I wrote to our Senators and Representatives. Senator Shaheen showed a lack of understanding of what it’s about:
“I am a strong supporter of an individual’s right to bear arms for hunting and self-defense, and I believe our tradition of gun ownership can be respected while also ensuring that our cities and towns, schools and public buildings remain safe. I have supported these rights throughout my career, and I will continue to be an advocate for responsible firearm use while a member of the U.S. Senate.”
The Second Amendment IS NOT about hunting or personal self-defense. It’s recognition of the people’s right to defend their freedom against tyranny with military-type arms. Shouldn’t a Senator understand this? The Senatorial Oath of Office states:
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”
While she may feel that the US no longer needs a militia of citizens equipped with military-type arms, this is still the highest Law of the Land. However, there is a mechanism within the Constitution such that she can uphold her Oath while pursuing her goals and the desires of her voters.
The Constitution can be changed. Creating a law ignoring an Amendment is an illegitimate answer. Constitutional change requires a proposed Amendment be passed by a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Congress. Then, the proposed Amendment is put to the individual states. Once three quarters of the states pass it, it becomes the Law of the Land.
This isn’t easy. It’s meant to be difficult. But it’s been accomplished twenty-seven times. Decisions to change the foundation of our country should not be taken lightly in reaction to individual events or a short term trend. They should be pondered and discussed long and hard, both at the conference table and at the kitchen table.
An assault weapons ban law is an attack on the US Constitution. Subverting the Constitution with a simple majority vote of Congress and no direct input by the people is unlawful. Elected officials pursuing such are neither supporting nor defending the Constitution; they’re violating their sworn Oath of Office by attacking it.
CTN body text bold:David Carter