The debate over the 2nd amendment is inherently flawed because, in my opinion, both pro and anti positions miss the original intent of the amendments inclusion. In fact, the leftist ideological argument made by most democrats is the actual force against which the 2nd amendment is designed to combat should the ideology gain the backing of government men with guns. Observe that the first amendment guarantees our right to free speech whereby we can talk through our issues and resolve to stay fair, free, honest and “on brand” with Americanism. Should that fail, however, and the ideological talk becomes enforceable law at the point of a gun, then there’s the second amendment to help us out.
“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.” Amendment II, United States Constitution, 1789
Let’s paraphrase for 21st Century language…
“Our government needs an organized, trained and disciplined military in order to ensure our National Security. The government’s job is to use the military to protect citizens and their liberties. However, since governments can become tyrannical, this clause will preclude the government from enacting any law that would remove or limit the natural right of citizens to arm themselves in defense against such tyranny.”
So, the armed citizen is NOT part of the well-regulated militia, rather, the armed citizenry is the reset button on a tyrannical government. This is not an individual liberty GRANTED by the Constitution, it is a God-given, natural right PRESERVED by the Constitution. No law shall be passed or action taken that would disarm the American citizenry. In my opinion, this does not mean that individual rights and liberties cannot be abridged through due process of law (i.e., convicted felons, mental defectives, etc.).
It was incredibly difficult for the founding fathers to secede the kingdom of Great Britain. Their entire lives, they had considered themselves free men, subjects of the British crown and recipient citizens of the English Bill of Rights (1689). So what was so devastating to impel these loyal British subjects to secede from their country, fight a war for independence and then on the heels of that write their own Bill of Rights? There are 27 reasons identified in the Declaration of Independence. King George III committed criminal acts against the colonies and was aided and abetted by Parliament. Further, this tyranny was enforced by the finest armed forces of the day at the point of a gun and on pain of death. So, at the hands of the Great British Empire, the founding fathers were confronted with the inability to speak and be heard, the incredulity of overburdensome taxation and a general repression of what then Colonists had a right to, where such rights had been given to them as free men by God. So the first opportunity they got to codify law, they made sure to give themselves plenty of room to maneuver should this “grand American experiment” fail.
While the content of the 2nd amendment is the right to keep and bear arms, the essence of the 2nd amendment is the right to remain free from tyranny, where tyranny is defined as the priority of the group usurping the rights of the individual. This is most easily evidenced by the regulation of individual behavior by the will of the collective government on pain of ones life. We must first seek to use our rights to free speech to declare the requirements of personal liberty. Second, we must use our speech to protest any infringement of our personal liberty. Then we must use our freedom of speech to argue for redress of liberty aggrieved and we have rights to remedy. Should those rights of the 1st amendment prove insufficient to protect personal liberty because we are threatened by a tyrannical government seeking to impinge or negate our individual liberties at the point of a well-regulated armed force, then we will thank God for our 2nd amendment right to fight against that tyranny by meeting our enemy with a superior armed force. This sentiment is completely plausible in a post-colonial world where freedom has just been secured by only 3% of the population; certainly the remaining 97% should prevail if they are adequately armed, supplied and prepared.
Sic vis pacem, para bellum.