Here is the 2nd Amendment, it’s pretty short.
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.
Most gun owners I have talked to usually leave off the first part and invoke the 2nd Amendment as a “right to defend oneself” which is not the case. But that is understandable. Who wants to put in the work of joining a militia these days… all those meetings.
But the well researched and educated gun owners I talk to also are missing the point. Taking it one step back, the intent of the 2nd Amendment is to allow the citizenry to be a check on the other branches of government. In 1791, that check meant arming the citizens with rifles and muskets. Those were the effective tools of the revolution back then. But since we started rolling tanks, bombers, and aircraft carries off the assembly lines, the citizens ability to match power with our potentially “tyrannical” government is nil. With a literal reading of the 2nd Amendment, it’s clear it has lost it’s teeth.
But “arms” can mean many things. Today, in 2012 we have much more effective weapons against our government. The internet. In 2012 our government tried to pass some “tyrannical” legislation in SOPA and PIPA. Did the government listen to us because we have fully loaded assault rifles? No. It was because the citizenry used the internet to lobby and shame the government, and it worked.
The internet is the greatest “arms” we US citizens have and should the Founding Fathers be around today, I think they would recognize this an opt to protect a free internet over guns, which haven’t been effective tools against our government since the Civil War. And in a twisted irony, gun owners are currently using the internet as their most effective weapon in defending their right to own guns. Think of the power our populace would have if these patriots embraced their greatest weapon and we refused to give up our internet until you pry it from our cold, dead hands.
opinionated mom i couldn’t agree more. every American family should save their pennies and buy tanks and rockets to go along with their artillery. their right to bare arms.the Second Amendment served a purpose in the time it was written.. nowadays it really makes no sense. the average American has no real need/or/purpose to own guns. of course their are exceptions to every rule.. but why should the suburban Father of 5, need weapons that can cause such destruction, death, living in his bungalow safe and sound?Not only are the gun laws of the US lacking, they leave something to the imagination. i don’t think the forefathers had the current state of American’s ‘right to bare arms’ in mind, when they wrote the second Amendment of the Constitution.great post Jess!
alexWhat about personal nuclear arsenal. Hell if they have tanks you want something better.
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Rational OptimistWholeheartedly agree that the pen is mightier than the sword.But consider Warren vs District of Columbia or Castle Rock vs Gonzalez. It’s pretty clear that state and federal judiciary bodies have ruled that the onus of self-protection lies with the individual, and not the policeSo although I agree that an AK-47 won’t do much against a tank, I’d argue that your suburban father of 5 has the right to protect his family how he sees fit, to include owning a pistol or rifle should he so choose.
http://byJess.net/ Jess BachmanI agree as well, with the caveat of proper licensing, training, and background checks. Untrained and uneducated gun owners REDUCE the safety of their families and those around them. We require as much for vehicles, also highly lethal. Hell you even need insurance to drive a car.
http://xeric-front-yard.tumblr.com/ Tim ThomasThat was a pretty bad decision, but it’s a good reason for gun control advocates to work on rolling back the 2nd amendment completely as the 28th amendment to the constitution. Then we can hash out actual gun control through the legislative process. Realistically having your constitution talk about any technology (guns or otherwise) is a pretty bad idea since you’re making an absolute law about a fast moving target.
opinionated mom my suburban Father of 5, does not take shooting lessons, has no idea how to properly clean his gun, and only bought the gun, when he got his new security system as a last resort, should his pretty bungalow be broken into.it’s after midnight, he and his wife downed a bottle of merlot with dinner..he’s still feeling a little drunk.. but..someone just broke into his house and he thinks, is trying to steal his big screen tv.
the security system fails and he loads his weapon.
he runs down the stairs pistol blazing and…shoots his teenaged son in the face, it’s dark, he couldn’t see, he thought it was a robber… his son’s supposed to be in bed.when he realizes what he’s done, he shoots himself.should my suburban Father of 5 had that gun in his possession?the US needs better gun laws. mental evaluation’s on anyone owning a gun, military or otherwise. and some type of policy that is against the purchase of semi-automatic weapons..Pennsylvania the week after Sandy Hook.. Robert Bales in the US..my suburban Father of 5.. all prime examples as to “why” they need such.
opinionated mom or let’s try another scenario:suburban father of 5, does NOT lock his gun away. But takes it out to show his ‘friends’ on Sunday when they come to watch the football game and eat his wives homemade cheese dip. His ‘friends’ think it’s “sooo cool” and “badass”.. his 5 year old son, see’s the men in the house excited by the weapon in his Father’s possession.. when the men turn their attention back to the game.. the 5 year old takes the gun and runs to his room with it. in his room, are his Father’ friends children.. they’re playing Call of Duty with his older brother whose 12.. gun in hand he runs into the room. pulling the trigger, not realizing his Suburban Father has it loaded.. he shoots his brother and all the other children. by mistake.His Father flies up the stairs, the Father’ of the other children follow.. the massacre they see when they open the door is beyond anything any of them can believe. the 5 year old is standing over the body of his 12 year old brother saying “wake up”….should the suburban Father of 5 had that gun? bet he wishes he didn’t now.you get my point.
Your militia argument doesn’t hold water. The Supreme Court says so.
Thanks.. good reading.
PC Don’t let your facts get in the way of her political grandstanding.
The Internet is protected by amendments 1, 4, and 5, as well as private property rights. The Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms, and the preamble to this amendment does not require membership in an organized militia. It merely explains the purpose of the amendment.Regarding the efficacy of an armed citizenry against a government with tanks, bombers, etc., haven’t the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan given the US military a lot of trouble despite the fact that they mostly have just small arms and improvised explosives?
Agreed, the post is less about expanding the 2nd Amendment to cover the internet than highlighting the in effectiveness of guns as a tool against the government.
tjg1984 Well, I agree that the Internet is a great tool, and I’ve seen others advocate non-violent resistance as more effective than violence, but guns can still be effective against the government. Again, haven’t US troops had a lot of difficulty with insurgents with small arms, even in countries much smaller and less populated than the US?
http://byJess.net/ Jess BachmanThat is a good point too.
Anon“But since we started rolling tanks, bombers, and aircraft carries off the assembly lines, the citizens ability to match power with our potentially “tyrannical” government is nil.”We have been bogged down in a war for over 10 years in Afghanistan against men with AK-47s and small arms, have we won? Lookup “Asymmetric warfare”.“But “arms” can mean many things.” No, not in the context of the 2nd amendment. “Today, in 2012 we have much more effective weapons against our government. The internet. ”Today, until an incident is politicized to effectively limit that weapon via censorship.
CaliforniaDemocratI would ask that you rethink the idea that the US Government could suppress a rebellion of say 75% of the people through military means. State military forces are great for fighting state military forces. Fighting against millions of random unpredictable citizens mixed in with non-combatant citizens, armed with rifles and home-made explosives, with the US military being asked to kill US citizens (a task that would at least over time take its toll), I highly doubt that if a true tyrannical US Government would undertake such an exercise that it would survive. It would be an absolute nightmare for everyone involved, but if you think 1-2 hundred million angry Americans with a culture of violence couldn’t defeat their own military in domestic combat, I believe you are mistaken. I for one hope this sad fate never befalls our nation, but I subscribe to the ideas of our founders that we must play our role as citizens and guardians of our nation. Also, consider that by virtue of federal law, all males aged 18-45 *are* in fact members of the federal reserve militia which is why you are required to register for Selective Service, and by that same law, you are actually required to independently acquire and keep arms in case you are called into service. Adult men aren’t required to join any other sort of militia to be considered militiamen. – Signed a California born and raised Democrat who owns no firearms.
Not equivalentThe problem with elevating the power of the internet above that of the gun is that a government can turn the internet off at will by seizing a small number of service providers and/or jamming cell service. If the government wants to take guns, it actually requires having a military or police force willing to take them. There are 300 million guns in the US. Let’s assume that we banned them completely. Let’s further assume that 90% of them were turned in immediately. Let’s assume further than another 90% of the remaining were turned in after substantial threats of prosecution. That still leaves us with 3 million firearms that we’d have to take by force. Given that we seem to want to remove guns from our society in order to save lives, it seems odd that we’d take steps towards forcing a confrontation with the 1% of gun owners who won’t willingly give them up. The cure sounds bloodier than the disease.
http://peter.voorhe.es Peter VoorheesThe literal reading of the second amendment is: “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.” You are right, the point of the 2nd amendment is to allow the citizenry to check gov’t power among other things. No matter the time and place, it is conceivable that a gov’t will turn against its people, and seek only additional power for itself. Personal arms are still a very effective response to a modern army. This is why there is still a military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade after invading.
No matter the time and place, people who are determined to hurt others will not obey the law. Criminals will not respect laws restricting gun ownership, and do not think you can stop making them. Someone, somewhere will make them. The single best response to an armed and determined assailant is an armed and determined protector. These things have always been true and will (for the foreseeable future) continue to be true. The founding fathers saw that truth. The second amendment has not lost its teeth, it is absolutely relevant. It is the guardian of this country, which makes democracy possible. It is the fact that our voices are backed by force which makes our government listen to us.
Thinking about the argument…You are correct in that on a normal day, most Americans have no need of a gun. They may never need a gun, just like they may never need car insurance, home insurance, or insurance for their bank account (aka FDIC). But most of us pay for insurance because you can’t predict the future.The government today is open and tolerant enough that Americans don’t need to rise up against it, but can you say that will always be the case? Will the police always be around to help you? Will you “tweet” or post on your blog if you are attacked in your home? How can free speech protect you from an immediate physical threat?Business owners had to fend for themselves and protect their businesses by themselves in Louisiana for a period of time after Katrina. Which places did looters steal from?If the need arises, why be defeatest about it? Yes, the average citizen would be completely outgunned if he only had an assault rifle, but Americans were outgunned when they fought the Revolutionary War. The militia at that time were the guys in the local area who had guns, and _then_ joined into a militia when needed. Not the other way around. They were not a standing army.I trust my fellow citizens to be responsible with their weapons, all of them in fact. From knives, to bows, to swords, to 6-shot revolvers, to AK-47s with 30 rounds per clip – I trust my fellow Americans. I don’t necessarily trust my fellow American when it comes to driving…Firearm deaths (2000-2008): 86,112
Occupational deaths (2000-2008): 51,153
Auto accident deaths (2000-2008): 377,030
Obesity deaths (for just one year!!!): over 300,000
… for 9 years: about 2.7 million… 2.7 million :^OWhy hasn’t there been a public outcry for better driver education?
Why hasn’t there been a public outcry for physical exams for drivers over 65?We are horrified by gun violence because it is tragic and sudden, but it is a irrational, knee-jerk reaction to say “citizens shouldn’t have guns”.As a parent I will be teaching my children to eat right, how to drive safely, be safe when handling power tools and electricity, and when they’re old enough, I will teach them how to properly handle firearms.
http://xeric-front-yard.tumblr.com/ Tim ThomasActually the knee-jerk reaction is to summarize all arguments you don’t agree with as “citizens shouldn’t have guns”. There’s a huge space between “citizens should have all the guns they want all the time and be able to do anything with them”, and “citizens shouldn’t have guns”.But hey, a fair number of citizens have proven they shouldn’t have guns. So if the only two solutions are “all guns” or “no guns”. Then I’ll push for no guns. The onus is on you as a gun owner to come up with a practical solution.
http://byJess.net/ Jess BachmanBetter driver education would be great. I don’t trust my fellow citizens to be responsible with their weapons. Why would it, you can buy these lethal tools with no training or licence requirements in many states or on the internet. I believe all guns should be legal, with proper training and licence requirements. And now that I think of it, accidental victim in insurance might be a good idea.
Tuck1724If you going to quote the 2nd Amendent please do so completely. You missed a comma that makes a difference in the way it reads. I realize that was your intention!Here the 2nd Amendment quote correctly:“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.”
CainhookDo you mean bolt-action hunting (sniper) rifles, semi-auto ar-15 and IED’s can’t stymie a great power? Damn I guess Irag and Afghanistan don’t exist in YOUR dream world.
MarvstewartA good liberal NEVER lets the facts get in the way of their posturing!!