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.
A story: Imagine that you live in a dangerous neighborhood, where robberies, burglaries, and other attacks are common.
So you buy a big rottweiler, or a pit bull, or some other kind of “attack” dog. And everywhere you go, you keep this dog with you for protection.
You take your dog for licensed obedience training because that is your town’s new law. And you keep your dog on a leash because that also is your town’s new law:
“A licensed, well-trained, supervised, and leashed dog, being necessary to the security of a town resident, the right of the people to keep and walk dogs, shall not be infringed.”
And indeed, should you fail to take your dog for licensed, obedience training, and should you fail to keep your dog on a leash, you could be arrested, fined, and your dog taken from you.
As a result of the new “dog law,” you and many other good people of your town buy licensed, trained dogs, which always are kept on leashes, and the incidence of robberies, burglaries, and other attacks declines.
It is true that some bad people in your town buy unlicensed, untrained dogs, which are not kept on leashes. And these dogs have attacked people.
But, there always are law-breakers in every town, and that fact is no reason not to have laws.
On balance, the registered-training, control, and leash laws have helped protect the community.
Sadly, in your town, the local, conservative, “originalist” judges rule that in the law, the words, “A licensed, well-trained, controlled, and leashed dog, being necessary to the security of a town resident” have no meaning.
So now, anyone can own vicious, untrained attack dogs, and let them out unleashed and unsupervised.
And as could be expected, the number of dog attacks — including attacks by multiple dogs — increases dramatically. Many people are terribly injured. Many people die.
Which brings me to this article:
The Second Amendment has failed America
By, Joel Mathis
Enough. No more. Stop.
The gun massacres in America are now coming so quickly, one after another, that it’s impossible to process our grief and anger before the next one occurs.
There is a sickness in our land, and it cries out for an immediate, righteous, and even radical response.
And we can start by understanding and declaring that the Second Amendment is a failure.
It’s not just a failure because guns are used so widely, and to such ill effect. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is a failure because the right to bear arms — the right it so famously defends — is supposed to protect Americans from violence. Instead, it endangers them.
As the conservative National Review noted last year, “supporters of a right to bear arms have rooted their arguments in a murky pre-constitutional right to self-defense.”
The right to bear arms is based on an old understanding in English common law: If somebody attacks you, you have the right to protect yourself.
There’s nothing controversial about that, is there?
The language of self-defense was made explicit in D.C. vs Heller, the 2008 Supreme Court ruling cementing individual gun rights.
“The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
We interrupt Mathis’s article to explain that Scalia was a self-described “originalist.” That means he claimed to believe:
The interpretation of a written constitution or law should be based on what reasonable persons living at the time of its adoption would have understood the ordinary meaning of the text to be.
For two hundred years, the 2nd Amendment was interpreted to mean exactly what the framers said (“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state . . .)
During WWII, we used to have well-regulated militias in the United States. My father belonged to one. He didn’t own a gun himself, but the militia owned them.
The purpose of those militias was to back up the army in protecting the nation, not as “defense within the home,” which is the job of the local police.
(The irony and falsity of the “home defense” theory is that statistically, if you have a gun in your home, you are more likely to be shot than if you don’t.)
Then in 2008, the conservative arm of the Supreme Court, led by self-annointed “originalist” and famous gun lover, Justice Antonin Scalia, decided that though the framers explicitly referenced “a well-regulated militia,” they really didn’t mean it.
And they really didn’t mean “the security of a free state,” either. Scalia and the other originalists decided that what the framers really said had nothing to do with a militia or a free state.
Rather, what they supposedly meant is: “Any boob who can fog a mirror has the right not only to own guns in his home, but to carry them in the streets. No regulated militia or security of the free state is necessary.“
(One wonders why the framers were not wise enough to say it that way.)
The result of this decision has been mayhem, with not just daily shootings, but daily mass shootings.
I suggest Scalia’s tombstone be engraved:
“Here lies Antonin Gregory Scalia, who has abetted the mass murder of thousands, which continues to this day.”
Continuing Mathis’s article:
But in reality, guns are used far more often on offense, by bad guys who have easy access to deadly firepower in unthinkable quantities.
On balance, guns do more harm in America than good. The damages are easily measured, while the benefits are mostly theoretical and rare.
This means the Second Amendment, as currently observed, doesn’t actually work under the terms of its own logic.
In recognizing this, America doesn’t have to throw away a formal right to self-defense, or eliminate guns entirely.
But it’s time to reexamine Second Amendment rights with a bigger emphasis on the amendment’s underlying justification, which is to help Americans be and feel safe, and less emphasis on the right to carry a deadly weapon.
Despite Scalia and his conservative accomplices, we do have a few laws about guns. We disallow fully automatic guns. (Why? Where is that in the 2nd Amendment?)
And we disallow felons from having guns. And we require a minimal amount of licensing. (Where does the Constitution state those restrictions?).
At any rate, the stated purpose of the 2nd Amendment is not “to help Americans feel and be safe,” but rather to protect the “free state,” i.e to protect America.
Now that a disingenuous Supreme Court has completely perverted the meaning and purpose of the 2nd Amendment, where do we go from here?
It probably is too late to start over. The above-mentioned boobs already have millions of guns.
But if the right wing Supreme Court would allow, we could follow the entire 2nd Amendment, not just the last few words.
Perhaps the state National Guards could function as the militia, and they could dole out guns only as needed for the security of America — just as the 2nd Amendment says.
Additionally, two possibilities are these laws:
1. Any person who commits a felony while carrying a gun, shall be sentenced to a prison term of 20 years to life, in addition to the term for the felony itself.
2. Any provider of a gun that is used in a felony shall have the same criminal and civil liability as the actual perpetrator of the felony. (This latter is similar to the “dram shop” laws for liquor.)
At a minimum, we should stop pretending that the 2nd Amendment says what it clearly doesn’t and allow communities to enact laws that will reduce the killing.
See: Do guns really kill people?
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Search #monetarysovereigntyFacebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the richer and the poorer.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
2. Federally funded Medicare — parts a, b & d, plus long-term care — for everyone
3. Provide a monthly economic bonus to every man, woman and child in America (similar to social security for all)
4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
5. Salary for attending school
6. Eliminate federal taxes on business
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually.
8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.
9. Federal ownership of all banks
10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9%
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.
4 thoughts on “Unleashing the guard dog: The misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment.”
Scalia’s “gun in home” hypothesis simply is wrong:
Now Republican Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy have begun to blame the mass shootings on video games rather than on gun proliferation.
News flash: Every other country in the world has video games, but the U.S. has the most mass shootings of any nation. It also has the most guns.
Get real Republicans. Guns kill and more guns kill more. People are dying and you Republicans are complicit.
I wrote about this way back in 2012. See: “Actually, the 2nd Amendment doesn’t legalize private gun ownership, but so what? There is a solution to gun violence”
Nothing has changed, since.