It is always an affront to intelligence to see those who think the Constitution gives them an unlimited right to own firearms misquote the Second Amendment in much the same way that religious fanatics misquote the Bible to justify any and all acts, including murder.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution, as in most amendments from that period of American history, dealt with what the framers of the document saw as a potential need to protect certain rights in times of threat to sovereignty of the nation.
That amendment, adopted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights, was created in a time when the founders envisioned an America controlled solely by white male landowners. Blacks were still slaves, women had no rights and the right to bear arms was considered necessary for allow citizens to raise arms in defense of a nation — nothing more.
The forefathers never envisioned an Americans where blacks were free, women had the right to vote or hold office and certainly never saw an America where mega industries got rich peddling dangerous weapons to racial hate groups, psychotics or those who would use such devices to kill loved ones.
America’s founders never saw a country where mercenary wannabes would fill gun safes with assault style weapons and employ loopholes to own and use automatic weapons to rob, main and kill.
Our forefathers never saw a nation where hate-mongering groups like the National Rifle Association would unleash a tidal wave of lying propaganda to misquote and misuse the Second Amendment to further the profit-grubbing motives of a gun industry that thrives on hate and violence in America.
Thankfully, much of America has changed since the original Constitution and Bill of Rights promoted slavery and other intolerance. Many of those denied rights by those original documents now have those freedoms rightfully restored.
Yet the ancient rhetoric of the Second Amendment stays in place, even in the light of a number of Supreme Court decisions that limits the applications of that often-misquoted amendment.
Even those who penned the Second Amendment saw it as a provision for self-defense of a nation, not an unlimited license to arm the population. Based on English Common Law, the drafters of the Second Amendment declared it to be “an auxiliary right, supporting the natural rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state.”
In 1875, the Supreme Court ruled that “the right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.”
In 1939, the Supreme Court ruled the amendment protects arms that had a reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.” Nothing more.
As recently as 2008, the Supreme ruled that “the right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” The Court also found that many longstanding prohibitions and restrictions on firearms possession are consistent with the Second Amendment.
In other words, the Second Amendment has limits and those limits can, at any time, be broadened by law.
Which is the way it should be and it doesn’t matter what the gun-toting cowards who misquote the Second Amendment thing or say in their rabid and often misuse of the amendment to try and support a right that does not exist.
© 2013 Capitol Hill Blue