I'm a constitutionalist and I believe in the second amendment. The only difference is that when I interpret it I don't pick out the sound bite, I view it in context. Now let's see what it says:
"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."
Take into account that the newly formed United States had limited resources for what was then considered a modern army. It relied upon militiamen and privateers to form a bulk of its armed forces and navy.
Were they considering the security of a "free state" in terms of domestic tyranny or the tyranny of a foreign power? Secondly, were they considering the security of an anarchical wild west state or a nation state where our basic and most fundamental human rights can be lived out daily in peace? (I don't consider owning a gun a fundamental human right, it is a mandated right).
Many gun advocates state that the right to keep and bear arms is essential to freedom and liberty and mostly aimed toward a government that seeks to take their rights away, as opposed to a foreign power like Great Britain returning as it did in 1812 to reclaim its wayward colony.
I think a good historical example that doesn't support gun advocates cling to glittering generalities (propaganda) and gives a glimpse of the intended purpose of the 2nd Amendment is the Whiskey Rebellion. Congress levied a tax on farmers who used wheat to make whiskey as part of a solution to pay off wartime debts. These farmers (many veterans) rose up in arms declaring the same revolutionary slogan of "no taxation without representation". The governments response? George Washington marched in with 13,000 militiamen to put down the insurrection and to enforce the tax.
Now this doesn't speak directly to whether or not there should be gun control, but it strikes at one of the major underlying arguments held by gun advocates. In an era of deep mistrust of government and the cultivation of fake news and conspiracy theorys, many gun advocates cling to their guns with fearful eyes planted on the federal government. I point to the Whiskey Rebelliok because I know that many gun advocates hold George Wadhington in high esteem, as do many Americans. I also point it out because it de-romanticizes that period.
One big fear often found mixed in with gun advocacy arguments is the fear of a powerful central government. In the 1790's, those farmers most likely held the same fears as many people today... the fear of a powerful central government. In the Whiskey Rebellion case, those farmers protested against the levying of taxes. Sound familiar? Today, many of those who cling to their guns also cling to deep resentment toward taxes and government in general.
So with that said, in the case of the Whiskey Rebellion, who were the good guys? The central government armed with a well regulated militia marching in to enforce a tax or the whiskey farmers who rose up with arms to resist this "tyranny"?
Now here are some questions for you: Which one was the well regulated militia? Does regulation constitute infringement? If regulation does constitute infringement upon rights, then how does the government fully embrace the 2nd amendment if the purpose of the right to bear arms was to have a well regulated militia?
Click to set custom HTML