The Second Amendment

My recent post about the ridiculous state of Arizona was mostly about a dumb birther bill the Republicans there were using to embarrass themselves, but the article I used also mentioned a gun control issue. As a result, that topic took off more than the birther topic. Here is my take from that comment section.

The Second Amendment was clearly intended for two main purposes. First, as Nate points out, it was meant to allow citizens to have guns should the government become oppressive. Second, it was meant to secure the government against attacks from foreign nations (or insurrection). Given the specific wording of the amendment, it is clear that the latter reason was more the point than anything.

What we have from the Supreme Court over the years are a series of rulings, many of which rely upon preceding rulings. This is common enough, but it is also political enough. What’s more, we have people like Scalia who – despite all the lies claiming the constitution is a static document – will ignore the original intention of the Second Amendment. (Sticking by his beliefs would be inconvenient to his purely political style of ruling.) This debate is not well-grounded in history.

So what we have is an amendment which does not guarantee what those on the right claim it guarantees. Both of the original primary reasons for the amendment are largely irrelevant today. What’s more, if those on the right were honest and took the Second Amendment to its conclusions, then we would be living in a very different world. That is, our Bill of Rights is based upon the idea of natural rights. While we only legally apply them to Americans and those on American soil (with some exceptions), the underlying principle is that it is an inherent right for everyone to bear arms (among our other rights). If that is the case, then it is a right for North Korea to have nuclear weapons. But we stop short of taking the principle that far. Or at least the right does. (The left isn’t operating on ahistorical principles in the first place.) And the same goes for American citizens: If someone argued to the Supreme Court his right to have an atomic weapon, it would never fly. This flagrantly violates the arguments being put forth by the right.

That said, I’m not against gun ownership. As always, we have to take a pragmatic point of view. While much of Europe has overwhelmingly superior statistics to the U.S. when it comes to not dying from guns, it is unlikely America will ever achieve such a state. We have to deal with the fact that there are millions and millions of guns out there, many in the hands of criminals. We should control ridiculous weapons that serve no real purpose outside a military setting (a point, incidentally, where the right will agree with me – when we’re talking about nuclear weapons; the point goes out the window for most other weapons), but it probably isn’t going to help anything if we prevent law-abiding citizens from getting guns. Sure, let’s curb gun show purchases and force waiting periods – that will be effective in keeping guns from some criminals – but complete bans have to be questioned.

So I do favor allowing law-abiding citizens to purchase weapons. It’s just that the Second Amendment does not get us there.

10 Responses

  1. I disagree that the two reasons you list are ‘largely irrelevant.

    The last 100 years are littered with, even democracies, that became oppressive. The other thing is in every one of those cases there was a strong, and armed, underground movement that contributed to the over throw.

    To say it couldn’t happen here is a kind of naive way to go about things I think.

  2. I don’t see how either of those has anything to do with what I have said, Bob.

    Need some new reading glasses?

  3. You said that Europe is no different. This post is a continuation of the other post, as Michael said in the very first line. Do you need better comprehension, Nate?

  4. Europe still has problems with shootings, it’s true. Banning guns hasn’t stopped that, its just made it so the police are the only other armed party, police being in a reactionary role, that might not be the best policy.

    Like I said bob, I admire you for hoping we could create a violence free country or at least fix some problems by taking guns away from the law abiding.

    I just disagree that problems would be solved by disarming, me for example. I’m no threat to anyone and given the crime rate among those with concealed weapons permits (less than 1% are revoked every year) the legally armed population is much more law abiding and safer to be around.

  5. Oh no, someone did something dumb and something bad happened. Why not ban cars as well bob, you haven’t made a good case for it.

  6. More stupid nonsense from Nate who has made no case whatsoever. Oh well, same shit, different day. I made a strong case that Nate ‘disagrees’ with. Wow such a strong case, Nate. Again, you just waste all our time with nothing. Rant away again. I go away laughing.

  7. You haven’t made any case at all, bob. You have said nothing more than this: there are some negatives to having guns around and so they should be banned.

    There are many times more people killed in car crashes, so why would you not wish to ban cars?

    You also said the second amendment refers only to people in the militia having the right to arms. I pointed out that as the militia is defined, only men and only those between the ages of 18 and 45 are part of the militia. You said nothing to this, I guess you agree with that.

    You say that Europe has a better policy on guns. Perhaps they do, but whether that is because of a ban on guns is debatable. They also have lower rates of other kinds of violence, is that because of a ban on hitting other people? I hardly think so. You can take guns away but not violence.

    You are arguing not from fact but from your ideological perspective, once again, I can admire that, but it doesn’t mean that you are in any way correct or that you have made a good case, I’ve heard much better, and still wrong, arguments.

  8. I forgot to mention your claim of the second amendment being the product of “backwoods thinking” and “backwoods realities” or words to that effect. Blatantly untrue, as even the great liberal Michael agreed.

    It was born out of a distrust of a government ever being perfect and un-oppressive. It was to preserve the right of the people to rebel, violently if need be to over throw an oppressive government.

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