Published Saturday, December 29, 2012
“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” — Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Second Amendment is more complex than the mere “right to bear arms” it’s often quoted as being. So why was it worded like that, and what’s the meaning of those first two clauses?
Life in early America could be as brutally violent as it all too frequently is today. As such, the states needed militias of volunteers who could be called up at a moment’s notice for any number of reasons including but not limited to: Indian unrest, domestic rebellions, foreign invasions and slave insurrections. You see, back then the U.S. didn’t have a large standing army, therefore the country’s defense relied on citizen soldiers -- basically your average Joe with a gun.
The amendment survives today just as it was in 1789, yet the country has undergone dramatic transformations. Today, America’s military, community police forces and state troopers have taken over the role of providing security to the states, which was once the domain of militias.
The Second Amendment guarantees individual Americans the right to own guns. However, the language of the Constitution says gun rights are predicated upon a “well regulated” militia system that has been supplanted by various branches of the armed forces. Any Americans should be able to use assault rifles, grenade launches, flame-throwers, mortars, rockets, etc. — if they’ve doing so in the service of their country.
Proliferating military weaponry among civilians has been a dubious affair. Responsible gun owners feel the maximum level of security and freedom. Yet psychopaths are enabled to act out deranged fantasies, as evidenced by an escalating trend of massacres. Maintaining the status quo will not end this trend.
Buck Alford, Newnan