I’m really tired of talking about gun control and whether the Second Amendment is still relevant. This “conversation” shouldn’t be a conversation at all. It’s the law of the land, not only a part of the Constitution, but an amendment deemed on a par with the first, the freedom of speech, an important pillar in that document’s foundation, the Bill of Rights. Let’s stop talking about it. Doing so implies Patriots acknowledge the legitimacy of removing, or dramatically changing its position in the Constitution. Remember, the Constitution is not a list of things the government can do, but instead a very clear set of rules about what the government can’t do. The Second Amendment states:
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.
According to Wikipedia, this wording is the one ratified by the States, and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, then Attorney-General of the United States.
The important words in this perfectly clear sentence is shall not be infringed. When we spend precious time and energy debating what was meant by “well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,” we are assuming the former section is to support the latter, we are wasting those resources. For one, the “shall not be infringed” should be interpreted as instruction to future generations that if we are to continue to live in a nation governed by this document, this Amendment should be considered written in stone. Secondly, and more importantly, I believe the intention of the founders isn’t that the freedom to keep and bear arms isn’t in order to provide the government with privately armed soldiers when needed, but rather to make sure the government isn’t tempted to use that well regulated militia against the American people. A well-armed populace is not a tempting target for despots and those who would steal our treasure and freedom.
If I may be so bold to paraphrase Jefferson, in today’s world, I believe he would write “Since it’s necessary to have a standing army, we know the Government will have a well-armed Military. Therefore, that Government will enact no law that limits the right of citizens to possess their guns, so there’s no temptation to use that military against its own citizens.”
I know this interpretation isn’t one recognized by the mainstream, but remember, Thomas Jefferson and the other authors of the Constitution were very intelligent, well-read and educated people. They only used twenty-seven words in this Amendment. It is short, precise and to the point. Read it again and tell me that’s not Jefferson’s intention.
Switzerland wasn’t invaded in either of the two World Wars of the 20th Century, mainly because of a national culture that encourages, and even requires gun ownership for all men past the age of 21. There’s a well-told story of high-ranking German officers touring Switzerland in the years before World War Two and being treated to an impressive demonstration of Swiss marksmanship by both men and women, along with an explanation of the country’s gun-owning philosophy. The Germans realized that if they invaded the country, they would face an entire population of talented and trained snipers, operating in the Swiss mountains and forests. They knew that those citizen soldier/snipers would be targeting not just individual German soldiers, but mostly, officers. These demonstrations were a big part of what caused the Nazis to lose their taste for prosecuting a war on Switzerland. Though I haven’t seen accounts of similar tours conducted for the benefit of Allied officers, I have no doubt they too were exposed to what we would face crossing Swiss borders.
Jefferson, in writing the Second Amendment, wasn’t outlining how the citizenry would provide a self-armed military, but was helping to ensure no future government would consider acting against the people because in doing so, the government would be facing an armed populace. Remember, the purpose of the Constitution isn’t to outline all the things the Government will do for us, but rather to list all the things it can’t legally do. Those who believe the Second Amendment is in the Constitution merely for the purpose of creating a “well-regulated militia,” is saying this document, brilliant in its formulation and presentation, written largely by one of the greatest minds of human history, has one sentence stuck in there that is completely different from the rest in terms of tone, purpose and intended audience. To read the Second as the anti-gun crowd reads it, is almost as if Albert Einstein, almost finished with his paper on the Theory of Relativity, asks Sugarbear, from that Honey Boo Boo show to write a quick paragraph on the influence of gravity on time. Hey, I’m a fan of Sugarbear, but I don’t think he’d be the best guy to collaborate with on a physics paper.
So, let’s stop talking about the pros and cons of gun control. Our statement to those who want to take our guns away need to understand that the Second Amendment is the law of the land, and this is NOT going to change.