The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. There are rights, and there are regulations of those rights for the protection and common good. You have the “right” to travel, and technically have the “right” to stroll across an eight lane freeway during rush hour, however there are regulations governing that “right”‘ for your protection, and that of the motorists in the freeway. All the rights in the Bill of Rights are fundamental, and easily understood, but are continually measured against a changing society with different understandings and needs. The world view of 1776 is vastly different from 2015, yet the fundamental intent of the Bill of Rights remain the same. Do you think that men, intelligent enough to craft the Constitution, would not see that events, innovation, and society itself, would not change the understanding of the words, yet knew that the intent, the spirit, was always there?
The understanding of what a militia is has changed from what the founding fathers knew it to be to what the modern perception is. At the time of the first congress militias were everywhere. George Washington signed a law mandating that all (white) MEN between the ages of sixteen and sixty purchase their own gun, and stand at the ready to serve in the militia at any given time. This was the reasoning behind the initial phrase of the Second Amendment referencing militias. There are arguments trying to qualify the word “people” with the term “militia,” somehow implying that the people aren’t the people at all, but a term incorporated into militia, nullifying the very individuality of persons into an all-inclusive term. This argument is challenged by the use of the word, “people” all through the Bill of Rights where militia is nowhere to be found. The underlying truth of the constitution was all PEOPLE had a right to live, be free, and pursue their dreams, whatever that dream may be. The government had no right to meddle in the personal affairs of the people so long as those affairs didn’t endanger the public at large. Yeah, I know what I just implied, deal with it! All “people” could not be restricted in the bearing of arms, indeed were expected to bear such arms because the wisdom of the day was in the event of calamity these “people” would form a “well regulated” militia, and march off in defense of the state. Since women, blacks, and children didn’t count as voting “people” this in effect addressed only the “people” who counted. The reason the very word “militia” was included in the Second Amendment was simple. Everybody knew you needed a gun for hunting and personal self-defense. You needed to BRING that gun when called to duty to defend the country. You couldn’t put harsh restrictions on gun ownership because militia needed guns and the government had no intention of buying them. It was understood that the PEOPLE would bear that expense. Otherwise they would no longer be a militia, but a Masonic Lodge! The fundamental question of who OWNED the guns was understood.
The world evolved and the reliability upon militia and the concept of the people’s army died in the ashes of the White House in 1812. It became apparent that in the event of a full scale war a bit more was needed than some farmers armed with grandpa’s shotgun to repel a mercenary force sporting whatever a well-funded government could provide, but with the expansion of the governmental role of PROVIDING such weapons the basic question of private ownership of weapons was never brought to the table, and while militias still existed, the burden fell upon standing armies with guns that individuals could ill afford. The type of weaponry was never an issue. There is a line of reasoning that states that the founding fathers were restricted to muskets, and had no earthly idea about the types of weapons we have today. This line of reasoning failed the very moment Flint was replaced with percussion caps. Then came the Winchester. That “Damn Yankee rifle you could load on Sunday and fire all week.” The first “assault” rifle! With the role of the militia being diminished the right of the people took precedence and the defense of the state became the defense of person. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. This is an important concept that would eventually bring the understanding of militia full circle. Militia meaning a group of PEOPLE for common defense in whatever discernment this may entail. Even though a man was not expected to automatically serve in a militia he most certainly had the right to preserve his own life independent to that of the state, and he most certainly was entitled to be with likeminded fellows. .
There are theories and then there is common sense. In theory the citizenry should bear arms to resist a tyrannical government. The overreach of a Federalist government weighed heavily on the minds of the delegates to that Congress. Common sense tells us that AR-15’s aren’t worth a flip against a Drone. The best defense against a tyrannical government is a well-informed Congress. Three equally strong branches of government, each watching the other to keep the ship of state on an even keel. Still, we do have the right of self-preservation, and in that element society, and militia has changed. Enemies both foreign and DOMESTIC! Remember that phrase there will be a quiz later.
Liberal thought tells us that while the Second Amendment addressed muskets that the innovation of newer, more deadly weapons has nullified all this and is out of the scope of the amendment and that it was never intended to address this issue. This is a misunderstanding. As I have said, previous, guns have changed, but so has society, and the underlying need for guns. I have spent some time looking through the Internet, and even in the so-called “Wild Wild West” I can find no occurrences of a cowboy charging into a saloon and shooting indiscriminately at the patrons drinking and playing cards. This is now a common event in modern America. The perpetrators almost always shoot between ten and twenty people they never met, are on drugs that didn’t exist fifty years ago, and usually save the state a lot of money by making themselves the last victim. This is a modern phenomenon. Al Capone didn’t do this. Billy the Kid didn’t do this. This was unheard of. I know a man who survived the mass shooting at Luby’s. He told me when the killer shot the first man he shouted, “Was it worth it?” My friend was an old time Texan, and frankly thought that was one wife the man being shot should have left alone. The man who killed Wild Bill Hickok shot no one else that day, nor did he intend to. This is a modern phenomenon.
Accelerated levels of violence are seen all over the world, not just in America. The English make a lot of hay railing about guns in America while they cower under their beds hoping the “Bobby” gets there before the killer gets IN! The public consciousness is very adaptive. When confronted by a new threat you will see that a new concept, or fix always comes about. Emperor bans swords, monks invent Kung Fu. Hitler invades France, the Resistance is born. Active shooters become the norm, the public starts carrying guns with or without permission. While the understanding of the verbiage of the Second has been debated the spirit has remained the same. The right of citizens to defend their very lives is a natural right, and instinct. What seemed to tie into militia quickly adapts to the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Even a good dog has a right to bite.
There are indisputable facts. One such fact is you will not stop gun violence by disarming the victims. That’s like curbing rape by blaming pretty girls. Gun laws governing the ownership of weapons fail. The Charleston shooter had a felony record AND a gun. Gee! I never saw THAT coming. That is the reason for another natural law; Force must be met with equal force. If active shooters continue to prowl the land the public must at least have the free choice of defense of itself. This fact in and of itself will begin to turn the tide of the mass shootings. Gun free zones are like a screen door in a submarine. Even the most deranged person must be made to take into account the possibility that his little rampage may end up with a body count of one, him! The thug stalking a lady going to her car after work must understand that her hand may be in her purse for a reason. Lawless men commit atrocities unheard of except for war on a daily basis. This is the new focus of the Second Amendment, not the overthrow of the government, but the preservation of society, and that preservation has caused the definition of “militia” to evolve. .
Regulations of guns have been on the books almost before the ink dried on the constitution, and no responsible gun owner should object. Background checks, education, and stiff penalties for those who chose to endanger society should not be cause for concern, but the legal possession of guns should never be in question. Licensing should be done away with. To license is infringement. To be free to purchase a gun, but beg permission to carry it is an oxymoron. There are two very important words in the amendment that stand out. “Keep” and “bear!” You have the right to purchase a gun, but what good is a gun if you can’t have it with you? Guns don’t kill people, DOCTORS do! Practically every active shooter was hyped up on some pill that John Lennon would have given his eye teeth to have. Doctors should be held responsible for dispensing drugs that not only do not help, but hurt, and endanger society by doing so. Cowboys routinely checked their guns with the sheriff on the way to the saloon to get drunk, Just saying.
There are a lot of people in this country. Will some slip through the cracks? You betcha! Will there still be deaths from drunk drivers, crashed airplanes and tainted green beans? You’ll see them all the time. Life comes with risks, but one of those risks should not hanging on hold with the police while some guy kills everything insight because he can’t get a date.
Not everyone will want a gun, but the sons of anarchy need to understand that we are an armed “society” and they’ll never know when, or where, unless, of course there is one of those little signs with a picture of a gun with a ban circle over it. Don’t eat there! Eat somewhere else. A Biker Bar is safer than that. Well, everywhere but Waco. Note to self: Never invite a bunch of cops to a beer party. The concept of militia has changed, but then again, has remained the same. The militia of old fought governments, the modern militia fights enemies more “domestic,” and I guess, when you look at it like that, we are all part of that new militia. The right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall NOT be infringed.
Simple Ol’ Boy From Austin