Debate on universal background checks is ongoing as I write. As Senator Coburn just said “the Second Amendment isn’t going away.” As if the Senate and House could simply vote away, repeal the Second Amendment. Any amendment or repeal to the Constitution must be ratified or defeated by a three fourths majority vote of the States [Article V]. The likelihood of the repeal of the Second Amendment is nil, less than zero. Still, this is the argument that republicans, the NRA, and avid gun owners are making. We are coming to take their guns away. The government is coming to confiscate everyone’s guns.
It’s in the Constitution” is what a close childhood friend said to me yesterday. I agreed with him, but I stated that isn’t what is being debated in Congress. Just background checks, keep guns out of the hands of criminals. He kept yelling “it’s in the Constitution.” There is no reason a citizen needs an assault weapon. He was incredulous.
“have you forgotten the Second Amendment? That amendment is the one right after the First Amendment, guaranteeing free speech.” I guess he feels our Founding Fathers figured the Second Amendment was pretty important because you can’t “support the First without the Second. Remember, George Washington didn’t defeat the British by talking to them. He shot them. They want to ban all private possession of guns. The primary reason for the Second Amendment was and is to protect citizens from tyrannical government, not to protect hunters. Some say, how can you protect yourself from the state? Well, if you can’t match their firepower, then you lose.” I was beside myself. My evil twin sister was about to show up.
Constitutional rights are not absolute. They never have been. They are limited by the rights of others. The Courts have upheld limitations numerous times. We have freedom of speck, but that is limited by laws against slander and inciting riots and violence. We have freedom of the press, but that is limited by libel laws and laws against false advertising etc. There are , in some cities, limitations banning political signs on public property and how long such signs may be placed on private property.
If taken literally, the Second Amendment give a person the right to bear arms only if he or she is a member of a well-regulated militia, generally considered an arm of the state or federal governments. An argument also could be made that while the amendment gives the right to bear arms, it says nothing about the right to fire those arms. Presumably, that right would come about only if the individual got the command while a member of the aforesaid militia. Uncle Sam wants and needs you.