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On the Second Amendment

Dateline: 06/27/99

The Second Amendment to the Constitution really has nothing to do with the current gun control debate. To America's Founding Fathers, "gun control" meant "being a good shot." Yet, including the words, "...the right to keep and bear arms,..." in the Bill of Rights must  have been important to them. Why?

The 2nd Amendment says...

"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."

Question: Does the 2nd Amendment grants us an unlimited right to own and use firearms?

None of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights, including the Second, grants us any rights at all. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to guarantee that the rights we already have cannot be taken from us. These are the rights the Declaration of Independence calls, "...certain unalienable Rights,..." which no government can bestow upon, only deny or take away from otherwise free people.

Question: Since we no longer have a "militia," is the 2nd Amendment still valid?

The Founding Fathers were tired of watching English Kings use the mighty British Army to enforce civil law and preferred that America have a volunteer militia rather than a standing army. ("HE  has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures." -- The Declaration of Independence) Given the outcome of the Revolutionary War, little reason then existed to doubt the effectiveness of a civilian militia.

The fact that early America's citizen militia has been effectively replaced by a professional military in no way diminishes or alters the meaning of the effective words in the 2nd Amendment which are, "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Question: What if the 2nd Amendment were simply repealed?

The Bill of Rights is too important to tamper with. It must not be taken as a list of individual laws from which we can pick and choose. The Bill of Rights serves as both a promise and a warning. A promise to the American People that we will remain free to govern ourselves and a warning to all others that we are fully empowered to do so. A warning that for over 200 years has told tyrant, conqueror, and dictator that as long as one American lives, so does Liberty.

In Conclusion
We have the right to own and use both guns and cars. Either can be deadly weapons, yet few people argue the necessity of our many laws controlling how we get and use cars. We also have volumes of existing federal, state, and local laws controlling how we get and use guns. Who's fault is it if these laws are not working? If ending the senseless violence in our society cannot be done by politicians, who can do the job? How about "We the People?"

Related Linksfrom_about.gif (913 bytes)
The Constitution of the United States of America
The Bill of Rights
The Declaration of Independence
Typical Regulations At a Gun Show
Proposed New Gun Control Laws

External Links
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
Federal Agency that enforces existing firearms control laws.
Title 18, Chapter 44, US Code
Current laws regarding firearms.
Title 18, Section 923 of the US Code
Laws regarding the sale or transfer of guns, components and ammunition.
Title 18, Section 922 of the US Code
Unlawful Acts involving the use, sale, and possession of firearms.

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