The 2nd amendment to the US constitution reads: “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.” I don’t know what this means exactly, but I think any reasonable interpretation has to be communal in spirit, rather than the more self-serving propaganda we get from the National Rifle Association.
I support the right to bear arms, but it’s low on my list of concerns. The NRA’s agenda seems misguided in our modern age. There are plenty of guns, and yet the world is no safer. Violence begets violence. Guns are tools of violence. There are too many guns. The access to obtaining a gun is too easy, largely thanks to the NRA.
The NRA lacks the courage to have an honest conversation about gun control. They’d rather push the falsehood of the Federal government conspiring to take away guns, or promote racial prejudices and class war, or stoke fears about an inevitable apocalypse. The people buying into all this are not freedom warriors or heroes. They are simply good for the gun business.
To experience freedom, one has to want to be free. Freedom doesn’t mean living in fear. The NRA doesn’t resemble a free society to me. They look like a reactionary and frightful group of Debbie Downers; constantly fretting about losing liberties while banking on the anxiety and paranoia of chicken little gun consumers.
As for the words of the 2nd Amendment… There is no mention of a right to build an arsenal in anticipation of the apocalypse. The NRA doesn’t seem orientated around the concept of a well-regulated militia either, seeing as they are resistant to any suggestion of REGULATIONS. The definition of “Arms” has evolved mightily since the genesis of the 2nd Amendment too.
All the amendments have limits based upon reasonable interpretation. For instance, the 1st Amendment grants the right to free speech, but you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater. You can’t incite a riot. The 3rd Amendment restricts the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the homeowner’s consent. Who even thinks about the 3rd amendment?
I would argue that the root fears underlying the prominence of the 2nd Amendment should apply equally to the 3rd Amendment. Both amendments were written in the spirit of mitigating governmental overreach. But the context behind these amendments was much different in the late 1700s.
The Bill of Rights was created in a less habitable time for democracy. The young US government lacked institutional framework and legislative precedence. There was a standing army left over from the Revolutionary War that no one quite knew what to do with. Times have changed since then and the idea that US government will squat on your land willy-nilly is absurd. This is why no one talks about the 3rd Amendment.
The government isn’t looking to take away guns either. The reason why the 3rd Amendment is in the background of consciousness, while the 2nd Amendment is front and center is because the 3rd Amendment doesn’t sell guns (or anything else for that matter). The best arguments for the 2nd amendment condone responsible, qualified gun ownership. The worst - and more prevalent - arguments are self-serving: being armed in defense against other citizens.
To cut to the chase: the main reason people have guns is because it gets them off. It has nothing to do with being a hero. So be it. But, in consideration of a weapon’s violence and random potential to harm others, the access to entry should resemble that which would make a good soldier and a good citizen. The process should be transparent. Beyond that, guns are basically a security blanket for adults, psychologically appeasing perhaps, but not sensible.