The Second Amendment
Public opinion splits The Second Amendment in two; you are either for or against individual gun rights. You either think the Second Amendments grants you, as an individual, certain gun rights or you think it has more to do with state’s rights and The National Guard.
Dealing with The Second Amendment demonstrates one of the issues we face in this country; Americans have a love-hate relationship with history. We basically love to hate studying history. I’ve never understood why. The past always has held the keys to the future in anything I have ever studied.
History is important when you are trying to understand The Second Amendment. You need to know what the times were like back then, how people thought, and why they thought that way. Trying to understand The Second Amendment in today’s terms is not only foolish but only helps opponents of individual gun rights to create a false narrative. There are some dots you can’t connect no matter how creative you are or how hard you try. Facts trump bullshit every time.
The Argument Against Doesn’t Make Sense
One of the main arguments against individual gun rights centers around The Second Amendment’s use of the term militia. In George Washington’s time, militias were considered part of the very fabric that kept our young nation intact. In the beginning, every male between the ages of 16 and 60, were considered part of the militia. They were required to have a weapon and enough supplies on hand, in the case of a call to arms. Many states still have a version of the original militias but call them volunteer state guard (formerly known as state defense forces) instead. Every state has one, it’s just a question of whether they remain active. For example, in my home state of Florida, the Florida State Guard was disbanded in 1947 but remains on the law books. In theory, the governor can start the program again with a flick of his pen and signature.
Historically speaking, the militia represented the people and I see no reason (or evidence) to think otherwise now. For example, even with the creation of a standing army during the revolutionary war, the concept of the militia was never abandoned. Every household was expected to have a firearm, and the ability to use it.
If The Second Amendment is viewed in this historical light, that the militia and the people are meant to be one and the same, then the argument for individual gun rights become clear. If you discount that assumption, there are still other things to think about. For example, there is no language in the Constitution about limiting firearms to hunting or that infringes on one’s right to defend oneself. Opponents of The Second Amendment would have you think otherwise. They use terms that confuse and cloud the issue like assault weapon; there is no such term before 1989.
Turning Our Backs On History
We tend to turn our backs on history unless it’s convenient. You will never hear the anti-gun lobby remind you that it was the British gun control program forced upon the colonies that started the shooting war and not the issue of taxation. In 1774, the British Crown enacted an import ban on firearms and gunpowder. Continuing the ban in 1774 and into 1775, they also started confiscating firearms and gunpowder by force. If you look at this and other background historical facts, The Second Amendment was written purposefully so that our government could never turn on us again. We the people meant something to the founding fathers. We the people should mean something to us all.
The next time you get into an argument about The Second Amendment and the term militia, remind the person of this little talked about fact from Title 10—ARMED FORCES :
246. Militia: composition and classes
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
So What Does That Mean
So what does that mean? According to federal law, every able-bodied man between the ages of 17 and 45, not on active duty, in the reserve, or in the National Guard, is already a member of the unorganized militia. Females serving in the National Guard are also members of the militia. The law was updated in 2016 so it can’t be considered one of those seldom used archaic laws. Boom…we the people are the militia.
Update to the original post:
I recently found out about Prager University. Prager University is the creation of conservative syndicated columnist Dennis Prager. It consists of many five minute videos explaining facts and the history around the topics that concern us as citizens. One such video is called “Is Gun Ownership a Right?” It explains why it certainly is, including a talking point on the militia and what it means. It’s narrated and endorsed by a professor of law at UCLA. It’s well worth your time viewing it and will certainly give you the information you need to debate anyone who thinks we don’t have the right to bear arms. Here is the link:
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