Having a gun is not sufficient - the bearer of arms must be ready
Justice Ginsberg articulated what "bear arms" means and Justice Scalia* agreed; the bearer is ready to use the firearms in lawful interpersonal conflict.
District of Columbia v. Heller,*author of the majority opinion
At the time of the founding, as now, to “bear” meant to “carry.” See Johnson 161; Webster; T. Sheridan, A Complete Dictionary of the English Language (1796); 2 Oxford English Dictionary 20 (2d ed. 1989) (hereinafter Oxford). When used with “arms,” however, the term has a meaning that refers to carrying for a particular purpose—confrontation. In Muscarello v. United States, 524 U. S. 125 (1998) , in the course of analyzing the meaning of “carries a firearm” in a federal criminal statute, Justice Ginsburg wrote that “[s]urely a most familiar meaning is, as the Constitution’s Second Amendment … indicate[s]: ‘wear, bear, or carry … upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose … of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.’ ” Id., at 143 (dissenting opinion) (quoting Black’s Law Dictionary 214 (6th ed. 1998)). We think that Justice Ginsburg accurately captured the natural meaning of “bear arms.” Although the phrase implies that the carrying of the weapon is for the purpose of “offensive or defensive action,” it in no way connotes participation in a structured military organization.
I'm not a constitutional law scholar. Hell, I'm not even a lawyer. But I believe that the meaning of "bear arms", as articulated by Justices Ginsberg and Scalia, implicitly includes a training requirement. Having a gun, and carrying a gun is not sufficient. The bearer of arms must also be ready.
Let me be clear. I'm not talking about the prefatory clause, "A well-regulated militia being necessary..." I'm talking about the right to keep and bear arms, the individual freedom and responsibility, and the moral hazard of intending to express one's second amendment right to defend oneself with a gun. Firearms in the hands of people who have not been properly trained are hazards both for that person and for others. People who do not have the mental alertness, focus and discipline, create hazards for others when they drop their gun, forget their gun, forget their gun was loaded, or handle their gun when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Unsecured firearms create hazards for the gun owner and for others.
There is no Second Amendment right to create a menace with a gun.
How can a person be ready to use one's own personal firearms for lawful interpersonal conflict without any training? We don't even require a vision test for guns, as we do for driving. How did it ever become "reasonable" to expect that someone who may not necessarily hear or see very well can just shoot in the general direction of a perceived threat, without creating a menace to others?
How can a person be ready to bear arms safely, unless they have passed an adequate course in safety training?
How can a person be ready to bear arms safely, unless they have sufficient attention to detail to notice where the open end of the barrel is pointed at all times.
How can a person be ready to bear arms safely, unless they are proficient in shooting straight and target selection?
How can a person be ready to bear arms lawfully, unless they have studied the lawful use of force and proven that they have mastered core concepts?
I'm talking about licensing.
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