July 01, 2006

Horse 581 - I Say, Still Repeal the Second

All the way back on 20th January 2005 I commented in Horse 280 about a report in which Chicago had overtaken Washington as the murder capital of the world. My general comment about this was that if gun ownership wasn't seen as a constitutional right and if less people had them, then people wouldn't be using them to kill each other.

I find about 3 days ago that a pro-gun person who is intent on having an argument, has provided an incoherant set of statements and then asked me to provide a reply... this is that reply.

First, let's revisit the Second Amendment shall we?

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. - 2nd Amendment

As with all documents, you need to look at the intent of the legislation and also the character of the language as it would have been used.

A well regulated Militia - this is fairly straighforward. A Militia is basically a small unit of troops be they organised by the state, freemercenaries or on a contract or hire basis. If you bear in mind the simple fact that the USA was borne from a war and could not have provided a standing military immediately then this makes sense.

being necessary to the security of a free State - again this refers to the nation and its ability to defend itself. The straw that finally broke the camel's back as it were was the specific imposition of taxes on the 13 colonies. Despite several key players actually having fought for the British against the French (George Washington etc) the 13 colonies wanted to show themselves as distinct, ie a Free State.

the right of the people to keep and bear Arms - This is a collective statement and talks about the people as a group. Also keep in mind that the document was intended to be presented to the parliament of the United Kingdom, "the people" in context refers to the nation and not the individual.
Also, "bearing Arms" in general parlance of the late 18th century generally meant that one was going to fight in the army. Whilst it may be true that arms can be borne by brother against brother, yet again this is meant as an external document.

shall not be infringed - What is an infringement? An infringement is not a transgression of the law but rather a violation of something or when something as been exceeded. Do we therefore take it to mean that the right shall not be exceeded or violated? Yes!

The arguments that are always put forward in these arguments are threefold. Self-Defence, prevention against tyranny and the actual right are always held up.

Self-Defence - A gun is an instrument who's sole purpose is to either maim or kill people. Nobody EVER has the right to do either.
Prevention Against Tyranny - Would a small group of individuals be able to stop a tyrannical government with a modern mechanised army with a show of force? Of course not, to think otherwise is delusional.
The Actual Right - As stated above the right was intended in the defence of the nation not licence for people to own instruments of war. Used improperly the law is a dangerous thing with ramifications that were never intended.

I honestly think that the Second Amendment was intended for a limited time until the proper facilities of government were installed. As an 18th century stop-gap it worked very well but in a modern context is a dangerous thing.

1 comment:

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