Scattered Thoughts on Guns, 2nd Am.

Whenever the government “fails” to pass “common sense” gun control, the same tired tropes are rolled out: it was because of “partisan politics”, “special lobbying”, the NRA who “buys off” Senators.

Never is it because the American people by vast majority do not want more government gun control. Never is it because Americans think guns protect them. Never is it because the 2nd Amendment lists the people’s pre-existing rights and prohibits government instead of the other way around. Never is it because gun control fails to control guns.

The 2nd Amendment reads:

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.

“A well regulated militia,” is a favorite phrase used to claim that guns can only be owned by the military or for police forces. Civilians, therefore, cannot have guns. Further, the guns and their usages must be “well regulated”.

People who argue thus fail to recognize that a militia in the 1700s was neither a standing army nor a police force. The War for Independence was fought by people newly recruited for the purpose, who brought whatever materials they had on hand. Washington complained about lack of supplies quite often, and the founders wrote into the future constitution a stronger defense but did not provide for a standing army. The people had to supply themselves for the fight – for everything in life. (I know this is difficult to imagine in our age where the government provides for everything. In fact, the statist mentality fits perfectly with an anti-gun reading of the 2nd Amendment.) Thus, a “well regulated militia” could be interpreted to mean no more than the formation of a militia by the voluntary recruitment of people with their supplies; not a standing army supplied by forced government taxation.

“being necessary to the security of a free state,” accounts for a pre-Civil War reality; one where states were still considered independent, sovereigns of their own rule, laws, etc. At issue was not hunting, sports, or even personal defense. At issue in this phrase is protecting the entire state, say of Georgia, from unjust laws or invasion by another government or military.


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