Second Amendment under assault

The question of the second amendment rights seems to always point to a couple of areas; that of hunting and protecting oneself from would be assailants. There is also an undertone along the idea that weapons of today could not be foreseen and that our forefathers would have done things differently had they known.

With respect to the technological advances in weaponry, it is often mentioned that the only weapons at the time were muskets which were very limited in their ability to do harm. This is not a true statement. There were a number of other weapons available during that era.[1] The blunderbuss, a shotgun of sorts, capable of placing a swath of projectiles into a target area up to 50 yards away. Mortars and cannons were used to deliver  bombs that were powder filled projectiles that exploded on delivery. The cannon was also used with a number of other types of “shot”. Case, container, grape and pineapple shot, which were essentially a way of placing many lead or iron balls into one projectile resulting in a spread much like the blunderbuss but with a range up to 600 yards. Split shot was simply a cannonball split in halve so that it took two paths upon firing. Chain and rod shot was the use of split shot (or two separate cannonballs) joined together by either a chain or a rod, resulting in a device that rotated around its center of mass used to target the mast and rigging of ships or the legs of horses and/or men. Hot shot was iron shot that was heated red hot in a fire and used to deliver fire-causing attacks. In addition to the blunderbuss, mortar and cannon, there were also pistols, and though they were limited in range and accuracy, they were something that could be concealed. And finally, in addition to other weapons being available, though limited in availability, the advent of grooved barrels improved both accuracy and range of the musket and could be considered the technological advancement in weaponry of the time.

Clearly, the other weapons and the technical advancement under way with muskets did not result in restrictions placed on the people’s right to “keep and bear arms” within the second amendment. This is because it was a right that protected the people from government itself and our founding fathers believed that the citizenry would need to be able to match the government’s ability to arm itself. You only need to look to the 1689 English Bill of Rights to see where they got this idea. That document clearly stated that its intent was to keep the Crown from disarming the people in the way that the prior Monarchs had attempted to do.

Today’s arguments to curtail our second amendment rights evade the whole point of that amendment. They try to couch it in an argument about hunting and personal self defense rather than what it is, the ability to protect the people from tyranny. Many people today may see the real intent of the second amendment as a crazy notion, that this would never happen here. You only need to look at what is happening in many parts of the world to see that a governing power that does not have a limit on its power can easily turn into an oppressive tyrannical force.

The supporters of gun control seem to have good intentions, to reduce the occurrence of tragic events such as the mass murders that have taken place in recent years. They believe that controlling the weapons will control the events. This is like thinking that banning the use of hateful language would eliminate all the conflict in society. The problem is not the language, but the conditions that lead to the use of the language. This is the same thing that gun control advocates need to come to realize. The problem is not the guns and even if there were no second amendment, the banning of guns would not eliminate the problem and at best would only present a false sense of relief from it. After all, the largest mass murders in our country’s history did not involve guns. The 9/11 tragedy at the World Trade Center in NYC (box cutters and airplanes), the attack by Timothy McVeigh against the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City (homemade bomb) and as for children in a school, in 1927 38 children were killed at the Bath Consolidated Schools near Lansing Michigan (dynamite/fire). Clearly, the problem is not guns!

There has also been a lot of discussion lately about the influence of violent video games with regard to these mass murders. There is something to be said for the kind of conditioning that these games can result in. This is also true for the influence of movies and music that glorify violence. Once again though, it is not as simple as controlling access to these games, music and/or movies. There are many people that enjoy these forms of entertainment and do not succumb to the influence that so many claim these forms of entertainment have. The problem is not the entertainment and banning or controlling it would not solve the problem. This would only be another false sense of relief from the problem.

Guns and/or entertainment choices are not the problem! The problem is with the individual and limiting the availability of any of these items to all people in general is not the way to address it. If you think it is, then wait until they decide that (insert your favorite activity) leads to some number of people being influenced into doing something wrong because they too partook of that activity. The true problem is a culture that has resulted from the erosion of things like personal responsibility and accountability. A result of telling so many people that no matter what they do, they are equal to all others and deserve the same results. That everyone deserves to win and there are no losers. This has been going on for some time now and has eroded individualism and the desire to excel in all that we do. This practice has also resulted in a culture of dependency and entitlement. This comes from both sides of the political spectrum with the only difference being who they target, individuals or corporations. In both cases, it is the citizenry that suffers in the end. Gun control and or Entertainment control is not the answer. Government control is what is required. We must get government out of the business of social engineering, of defining what is or is not acceptable to individuals, of picking winners and losers. The reason this has lead to the current problems with mass killings is that a side effect of this has been a devaluation of life. When told for so long that you should expect equal results, when you find they are not equal, then this results in a confusion of what is right or wrong and in some cases, a catastrophic realization that blurs all lines of reality.

In conclusion, the solution to this problem of mass murders is not to be found in curtailing any of the rights we have. The best chance we have at eliminating this problem is for the people to exercise their constitutional right to limit our government to the role defined in the constitution which does not grant them the role of selecting winners and losers or defining the culture we must adhere to. Regarding the second amendment, our constitution prohibits much of what is being proposed in the name of gun control. The second amendment is not about hunting or personal protection; it is about the people’s right to protect itself from tyranny. This is best done by protecting each and every citizen’s right by demanding that the government not be allowed to infringe on that right in any way. This means that limiting the ability to purchase weapons or ammunition is not allowed. Limiting the ownership of weapons of certain types to clubs, police, security companies or state militia is not allowed. They can not limit in any way the ability of the citizenry to protect itself from tyranny. Furthermore, this amendment is the only one that states that the right can not be infringed which would seem to indicate that the founding fathers did not want this amendment to be changed or altered in any way.

This, of course, is my view on this matter and various conversations with others has let me know that I am not alone in this view.

[1] http://www.americanrevolution.org/artillery.html

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