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.
The Second Amendment was designed to eliminate the need for a standing army by creating a militia force made up of citizens. It did not, according to the framers of the United States Constitution, give an individual rights to own any form of arms desired. It is based on the English Bill of Rights of 1689, which included provisions designed to prevent the King from forcing his religion onto the population, and is a result of the turmoil of the Glorious Revolution. The portion of the English Bill of Rights cited by the Supreme Court in United States vs Keller is this one:
Whereas the late King James the Second by the Assistance of diverse evill Councellors Judges and Ministers imployed by him did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant Religion and the Lawes and Liberties of this Kingdome (list of grievances including) … by causing severall good Subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when Papists were both Armed and Imployed contrary to Law, (Recital regarding the change of monarch) … thereupon the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons pursuant to their respective Letters and Elections being now assembled in a full and free Representative of this Nation takeing into their most serious Consideration the best meanes for attaining the Ends aforesaid Doe in the first place (as their Auncestors in like Case have usually done) for the Vindicating and Asserting their ancient Rights and Liberties, Declare (list of rights including) … That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.
Now, some have interpreted this to mean that an individual has the rights to own any arms desired, but as the United Kingdom has passed strict which are in compliance with their Bill of Rights, this appears not to be the case.
Some have claimed that the amendment is obsolete, referring to a Militia and then making a further jump to claim that the United States no longer has a militia force. This is patently false. After the Spanish-American War demonstrated the shortcomings of the decentralized militia structure, the United States Congress decided that there needed a federal command structure for the state militias. The Militia Act of 1903 restructured the disorganized state militias under a new federal structure, named the National Guard. Over the years, further acts refined the National Guard, which continues to this day to remain the oldest defense force in the United States. The oldest provision of the National Guard is the North, South and East Regiments of the Massachusetts Bay Colony Militia, established on December 13, 1648, making it currently 364 years old.
So where did the idea of the amendment establishing the National Guard instead becoming a personal right instead of a collective come from? PBS’s Frontline interviewed Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker magazine and author of The Oath, discussing what he terms as “the conservative re-casting of the Second Amendment.” He discusses how until the 1980’s, it was accepted under strict Constitutional interpretations that the Second Amendment did not apply to individuals. You can go over constitutional scholarly work from sources as old as “Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States” by Justice Story, published in 1833 and they are unified in this interpretation of the Second Amendment.
One of the first commentaries to challenge this view was “The Right To Keep And Bear Arms, a report to the subcommittee on the Constitution by Senator Orrin Hatch. In it, he declared 195 years of Constitutional scholarship wrong, and established the narrative that the Second Amendment was an individual right. He, and his compatriots, were so successful in pushing this narrative that, simply, the Democratic party gave up on fighting it.
Now, the pushback has begun. With Senator Feinstein’s intent to introduce new gun control legislation, and the position reversal of previously pro-massacre politicians, it is time to begin the discussion. Do we wish to be strict Constitutionalists, and accept that the Second Amendment applies to the National Guard, or do we want to be Constitutional revisionists, like the activist judges Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas who wish to overturn the US Constitution and turn the United States into a dystopia straight out of the works of Ayn Rand.
It is time to stop agreeing with those who wish to demolish this nation, by twisting the intent and framework of the United States in order to convince and empower anti-intellectuals and know-nothings. By doing so they aim to hold on to power, regardless of the damage it does to the nation as a whole. A wise man one said “With great power comes great responsibility.” The lunatics which have co-opted the right-wing for their own agenda wants all of the power, and none of the responsibility. Their pro-massacre positions stem from that, they don’t want any of the responsibility for firearm ownership, they just want the power of the firearms themselves. Those of us with any love of the United States, its Constitution, or even common sense, must not give it to them.