Does the 2nd amendment allow people to have machines built for nothing but the killing of people? Does the 2nd Amendment allow people to have fully automatic suppresed rifles?
This seems to be the question that has been debated for some time. How does one read the second amendment? Generally, whenever you discuss this topic you are going to anger some people if your views don't line up exactly with theirs. I generally believe that education and logic trump raw emotion and outrage, and so I think the best way to approach it is through study. Many people, pro gun and pro gun control are educated on the topic of the second amendment to the level of about a second grader. The last time most of them have opened a book shelved in non-fiction was probably back in school. This is directed at everyone by the way, so that statement is not inflamatory to one side or the other. Both sides react with raw emotion, but no education. I will no doubt be called a right wing nut job for delivering some facts. Many who say it will not even read the whole article, their emotions will kick in right about HERE and they will go straight to the comments. The same people who have roughly 0 books on their book shelf regarding American history and the founding fathers will dispute what I lay out here. This is American history 101. So how do we read the 2nd amendment. To begin to read and fully understand anything in our constitution, we must first adopt the proper spirit. For this I always invoke Thomas Jeffersons words of wisdom.
"On every occasion [of Constitutional interpretation] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying [to force] what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, [instead let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
- Thomas Jefferson
When our founding fathers framed the constitution, to include the bill of rights, they did not just slap some words on paper. There was a great deal of debate and disscussion. We can be happy for this, because it leaves us with a huge amount of information regarding what the true intent was of what they wrote, and not just from one of them, but from many of them.
"A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
- George Washington
"Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier are the birthright of Americans. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments but where, I trust in God, it will always remain, in the hands of the people."
That is a powerfull one and people are going to deny it was ever said, so I am going to nip that one in the butt real fast and source it. Source is: The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
Washington and Coxe were very specific regarding what the people should have access to. The colonials just finished fighting a war against an oppresive government. Remember, the colonists were British rebels/terrorists/traitors before they were American. The founding fathers feared more than anything that a government could one day overstep its limits again, and they wanted to be sure that the American people had the ability to fight again. "But Jack, the founding fathers could not have foreseen weapons of such destruction when they wrote that". Maybe, maybe not. Luckily their writings do not address the types of weapons, they address the nature of the people in regards to their government. "Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier" and "Sufficient arms and ammunition" are very general. It is addressing an idea. One that says the people should be on equal ground with their government.
So what is a militia? There seems to be a great deal of confusion when we read the second amendment on who the militia is.
"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)
"The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops."
- Noah Webster
"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty .... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."
- Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts
The last issue to address is the concern of safety. I have my own feelings on this debate, but here we are discussing strictly historical evidence, so I will refrain from sharing them. "Jack, there must be restrictions, we must look after our safety". Like pyschics who could see into the future, this topic was also addressed.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin
"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery."
- Thomas Jefferson
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
- William Pitt
It is true that our founding fathers could see into the future. Study up on Thomas Jefferson. JFK once said of Thomas Jefferson ""the White House hasn't seen this concentration of sheer human genius since Thomas Jefferson dined here...alone."
Our founding fathers were historians. What they have given us in the constitution and bill of rights does not address the issues of the day, rather it addresses the issues of human nature. The bill of rights looks at history, and what a government must do to oppress its people. The constitution and bill of rights is in place to protect its people. It is a shield, a barrier, a line that government can not cross.
So does the second amendment allow for that fully automatic suppressed rifle? I do no have a need for one, nor do I own one. I would argue however that it does indeed allow for it. "Jack, I don't like that, you nut job. Your crazy and deplorable for saying that... blah blah blah, enter insults". Hey, before everyone gets started, their words, not mine. If you want to trash something because you disagree you can go deface Mt. Rushmore. Jeffersons face is there. You can go deface some momnuments, plenty of our founders have monuments. These are not my thoughts, these are the thoughts of our founders, I just happen to agree with them.
If we want gun control or restrictions, we need to repeal the 2nd amendment. Until that day, any laws put into effect will never be seen as valid laws by a majority of the conservatives in this country. This has already been displayed by 14 states who refuse to enforce any federal laws that further restrict weapons. Many have already discussed this topic and how "we can force them to obey". Again, as a student of history, bad things happen when you try to force a state, especially 14 states to do anything. Again, we can have an emotional response, or we can accept that historical study can lead us to that conclusion.
I hope that what I have written here today challenges you. I would never ask anyone to agree with my views, but then again, this is less about my views and more a bit of history regarding our bill of rights. God bless everyone here, and God Bless America.