I'm reading a letter from the Solicitor General of the United States of America. It says, including very impressive legal documentation, that the Federal Government has the right to take guns from the people of the United States of America at any time, for any reason. This, because the Second Amendment guarantees the citizenry no right to bear arms. It protects only the right of the Army to keep and bear arms.|
If this point weren't of such elementary importance, I would be rolling on the ground in laughter. It certainly underscores the limitations of both education and power. One can be an extremely well educated, exceedingly powerful, utter imbecile.
Let me try to address this issue in a rational, levelheaded manner. This won't be easy, as my optimistic vision of our future as a free, prosperous country is unmercilessly battered by ongoing examples of liberty annihilating policy from our government.
There are at least four factors that go into an accurate understanding of what the Founders intended in the Constitution. A reasonable grasp of reality and a healthy dose of common sense go a long way in this understanding. A detailed analysis of the text is quite telling. For those, particularly of the highly politicized persuasion who may have difficulty defining what one means by "is"; may find an analysis of the other Amendments and related papers of the Founders as they hashed out the Constitution, helpful in setting the context of that document. Sadly, the most important, but often the most difficult quality to locate in those charged by oath of office to defend the Constitution, is intellectual honesty.
First, the very idea that the right of the Army to keep and bear arms is what the Second Amendment protects is laughable! Armies have no rights, people do. The Bill of Rights wasn't a Bill of Rights for the US Army. It wasn't a listing of guaranteed rights for soldiers. It defines rights for "the people" It's obvious, except to the current crop of legalistic bureaucrats, that the Army wouldn't be an Army if not armed! Look at the roots of the words. Arm | y and arm | s. Common sense anyone?
Thank God the Founding Fathers saw fit to include the right to arm the Army, or we would have returned to British rule in 1812! Perhaps the Army could have splashed the Brits with seawater at Fort McHenry. No rockets red glare, not even an ember. Tally ho, everyone! So much for common sense.
Second, for those of us "common sensically challenged" --the words that make up the Second Amendment give us additional clues. Please keep in mind that I make no claim as a grammarian. That should be obvious in reading this. However, I will attempt to decipher what is, in my view, the true import of this Amendment.
The main clause, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" is fairly easy to break down. A "right" according to the Oxford dictionary is, "a thing one may legally or morally claim; the state of being entitled to a privilege or immunity or authority to act". So there is a moral and/or legal claim, an authority. "People" is defined as (when preceded by the word "the"): "the mass of people in a country etc. not having special rank or position; these considered as an electorate". So - plain old "people" people, potential voters. To "keep" is defined as, "have continuous charge of; retain possession of." By now I have probably lost the President and all Senators. Forgive me. "Bear" means to, "carry, bring, or take (esp. visibly)". "Arms" means, "a weapon." Ahh, a surprise! Not necessarily a firearm. Any kind of weapon. "Infringed" ends this Amendment and is an anchor quite uncomplicated in its meaning, "to act contrary to; violate (a law, an oath, etc.); act in defiance of (another's rights etc.); encroach; trespass". This word places very strict limits on how this right can be dealt with by the Government. Not much room for interpretation there.
Now, let's deal with the clause that gives all who would abolish the Second Amendment their argument. "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State,". Regulated means, "control by rule. subject to restrictions. adaptable to requirements". The word militia seems to be the defining word to those who would have it mean "the Army". An argument can be made for this. However, in light of our exposure of the logical silliness of that argument in a prior paragraph, here's what Oxford says," a military force, esp. one raised from the civil population and supplementing a regular army in an emergency." An army of the civil population, not necessarily the professional Army. In fact Webster says, "An army composed of citizens." Hmmm. Sounds like "people" people to me. Not "soldier" people. "Free" is defined, as it relates to a state, as," (of a state, or its citizens or institutions) subject neither to foreign domination nor to despotic government; having national and civil liberty." No domination from a Government, foreign or domestic! "State" is defined as," an organized political community under one government; a commonwealth; a nation; such a community forming part of a federal republic, esp. the United States of America." A state like that of Arizona. Now I have lost all Congresspersons, their staffs and most of the bureaucrats in Washington. Again I ask your forgiveness.
Let's put this all together: A well controlled, adaptable civilian army, being necessary for the protection against domination by any Government, foreign or domestic, over any of the States in the United States of America; the legal authority and god given moral claim of all regular citizens of no particular class or position to retain possession of and even carry weapons on their person shall not be defied or encroached upon. At this point, I have parted with most Federal Judges, too.
That's not a real efficient use of words. It's certainly not poetic. But very much based on facts and accurately defined words. I hope it's a little clearer to those of us who haven't spent much time thinking about this. It's amazing how effective a dictionary, thesaurus, the Constitution and the Federalist papers can be as weapons of the truth. I better be careful, I may not be able to legally keep and use those weapons much longer, according to the Inspector General.
Third, the Founding Fathers would be saddened that such a detailed analysis would be necessary. The meaning should be quite obvious, given their fight for independence. Have we forgotten what our independence was all about? The Founding Fathers feared domination by an apparently benign government (initially the Monarchy in England, and later the Federal Government) that loses touch and turns against its people. I will not, in the interest of space and time, go into the details of this history. Do your own research. You will see the Founding Fathers were quite concerned about Federal power and how to keep it in check. You may want to look at the other Amendments that pertain to limiting Federal power and the guarantee of God given personal rights.
Finally, I can't control others' intellectual honesty. Admittedly, it is painful being wrong. But it is far more painful staying wrong! I had to embrace being wrong before I was willing to accept what now seems to be the obvious truth.
Those in power have much more to loose than their pride. Their political careers are in the balance. It's those who are sworn to uphold the Constitution that we should fear. It's much easier to redefine the Constitution for political expediency than to uphold its integrity. Particularly when "the people" aren't paying attention.
I can't help thinking of the sad irony of all those poor young patriots throughout history who have given their lives for the Constitution, thus enabling these dishonest, selfish old bastards now to make political careers out of its dismantling.