I realize the majority of what I post involves practical and/or spiritual themes and the Second Amendment doesn’t seemingly fall under either category. I recognize that, but suffer me anyways.
There has been a lot of heated debate involving the second amendment here lately. But I wonder how many people have developed opinions based on assumptions, or what friends have said, or posts on social media, rather than on their own personal research on the topic. If one thing can be said about me, I definitely encourage people to do their own research and not live solely on the information spoon-fed to them by certain people, despite the position or level of influence of those people. I didn’t become knowledgeable about the Bible by listening to preachers, but rather by reading and studying the Bible for myself.
I wonder how many people have actually read the Second Amendment for themselves. It’s not even that long. Yeah, most people can quote the part about the right of the people to keep and bear arms and that it shall not be infringed, but what about the first half of this very short article within the Bill of Rights?
I’ll provide the amendment in its entirety:
“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.”
There has been debate throughout our history, and there are still debates today, within our political system, as to exactly what this means. In fact, I’ll provide and interesting article here for you to read if you’re interested:
This article from Cornell Law talks about the “collective rights theory” stating that “…the Second Amendment asserts that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.” Those who support this theory come to this conclusion because they believe “…the Framers intended only to restrict Congress from legislating away a state’s right to self-defense.”
I can say for a fact the Second Amendment does not state the people possess an absolute right to bear arms for personal protection no matter what. There is more to it than that. I’m not saying I support the collective rights theory in its entirety, but rather I was providing it to have an opposing interpretation of the amendment to the standard stance of most guns-rights activists.
Probably a better way to approach understanding this amendment is to identify what the statement is trying to say, categorizing the subject and verb, and what words and phrases are modifying the subject. If you divide the statement by the commas, you get four parts. I believe the first part and the last part make up the point the writers intended:
A well regulated Militia shall not be infringed.
This changes the emphasis on what “right” shall not be infringed upon. And if this is the case, then the second phrase would modify or enhance the first phrase, stating why the first statement is important, and the third phrase explains how the first phrase is accomplished. That is to say having a well-regulated Militia is necessary for the security of a free State and therefore this amendment grants the people the right to keep and bear arms for this purpose.
Now, this amendment does not state that only people in the Militia have the right to keep and bear arms, so in a sense, I would say that we do have a right, as citizens, to keep and bear arms. But I write this to emphasize the purpose behind this article in the Bill of Rights, because even though this protects us as citizens of a State from the federal government, it does not protect us as individuals, or as local municipalities, from the State, or us as citizens from other citizens or enemies.
With this in mind, I would like to point out that this amendment does not state we have a right to keep and bear arms for personal protection. That may not mean anything to anyone else, and the distinction may not be of any significance to most, but I felt it necessary to point out that difference.
I wonder if it could be said that we the people have the right to keep and bear arms as long as we are willing to act in defense of the State in a Militia should the need occur.
Now, if the State has the right to a well-regulated Militia, and this is fulfilled by granting the people the right to keep and bear arms, then how could anyone justifiably legislate anything regarding the people’s right to keep and bear arms without infringing on the State’s right to a well-regulated Militia? I guess it would then fall under the State’s responsibility to provide arms for the people of the Militia, were it to be needed. But then why would the framers of this amendment bother with inserting the “keep and bear arms” aspect if arms were to be provided when necessary? Hmm…