Talk of the Town: Meaning of Second Amendment has changed
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun pundits glamorize guns. Here is what the Second Amendment, adopted on Dec. 15, 1791, 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.”
In my opinion, it means, “a free state needs an armed, well-regulated militia.” At the time of its writing, almost every white man had a black powder weapon for hunting or protection or both and had served in the Revolutionary War, so they were the well-regulated militia, and their right to keep their weapons was not to be limited. The United States had just finished fighting the war for independence and required an armed force that would be available at a moment’s notice, which became necessary, for example, for the War of 1812.
Today, we have many well-regulated militias, the Army, Marines, National Guard and Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against having a gun, but I would not own an AR-15 or AK-47 or similar assault-style weapon, which were designed to kill or murder as many people as possible using their large-capacity clips.
When I belonged to the NRA, it had a magazine called The American Rifleman. It had interesting articles on hunting and being in the outdoors, and when it mentioned hunting, it was for sport or food, using a 30-06 or .270 or 30-30. These weapons had a five-shot clip or magazine, and the kill was with a single shot. Semi-automatic or full automatics were never mentioned. I quit the NRA when it became political.
All these Second Amendment pundits don’t seem to think about the other amendments or the rest of the Constitution, just the Second Amendment. However, we have a document that came before the Constitution, where the signees put their lives on the line if caught. It’s called the “Declaration of Independence,” which mentions “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It seems that staunch, rigid supporters of gun rights are not willing to consider the rights of the rest of us to go about our daily lives without fearing being gunned down by angry, violent men in our places of worship, in our schools, at our jobsites, and at entertainment venues.
It seems to me that there is a contradiction between today’s NRA and gun pundits. The NRA and the lawmakers they have bought off want more and more guns in the public, claiming it is their right. Because of this, our homegrown terrorists are able to kill all kinds of people, especially students, because they got angry with someone or something and easily bought an assault rifle with multiple large capacity magazines and became a mass murderer. No background checks required because the NRA and the lawmakers did not want extensive background checks or any kind of checks at all.
So, the dead were robbed of their opportunity to enjoy that which was endowed by their Creator, certain unalienable Rights, specifically, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
You can thank the NRA and the lawmakers.
I am not suggesting that the government take away guns. I am merely asking our lawmakers to establish reasonable gun control laws, primarily thorough background checks and a ban on the sale of weapons of war.
Jim Rubin is a retired design engineer. He has a BA in Political Science, an MBA and enjoys lifelong learning reading about history. He has lived in Prescott since 2013. He purchased his first revolver at 18 and had to wait 10 days for his background check to clear.