An Updated Second Amendment

Constitution Heading*Re-posted from News and Views by Daniel Defoe | An Updated Second Amendment

It is time to stop treating the Constitution like it is the Bible or written in stone like the Ten Commandments. It needs to be updated and clarified and the best place to start is with the 2nd amendment. The way it is written now is like reading a Nostradamus prophesy.

“Sitting alone at night in secret study;
it is placed on the brass tripod.
A slight flame comes out of the emptiness and
makes successful that which should not be believed in vain.”—NostradamusCentury I, Quatrain 1: 1555 Lyon Bonhomme edition. Just what exactly was he babbling about? Well…it’s kind of up to interpretation. 


“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.”—The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Just what is meant by “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state” or “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” the 2nd is in conflict and like NostradamusCentury I, Quatrain 1, it is up to the interpreter to decide just what its core meaning is. 

In United States versus Cruikshank. The Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment only restricts the power of the national government in taking away rights and that the right to keep and bear arms exists apart from the Constitution, not because of it, stating “This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence”. 

In United States versus Miller. The Supreme Court decided if a firearm does not have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia. the 2nd Amendment does not guarantee the right to keep and bear said firearm.

In District of Columbia v. Heller the Supreme Court ruled, The Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Handgun bans and the trigger-lock requirements as applied to self-defense violate the Second Amendment. 

In McDonald versus Chicago. The Supreme Court ruled, The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for self defense in one’s home is fully applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. What the WHAT?! 

Interpretation should not be in the least part involved in such a critical part of our lives. It appears to be each interpretation changes with the beliefs of the person making said interpretation.

Change the 2nd Amendment to the following:

“The citizens of the United States of America have the right keep to arms in their homes. With the exception of those prohibited by federal law and those reserved for the exclusive use of the Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard. Federal law will determine the cases, conditions, requirements, and places in which the carrying of arms will be authorized to the inhabitants.”

There should be only four ways private citizens may lawfully purchase, register, own and keep firearms in the home:

1: For hunting  
2: For target practice  
3: For shooting sport competition  
4: For collection  

Private citizens wishing to acquire a firearm and ammunition should be required by law to do the following:

Apply for a firearm acquisition permit in person by submitting the following: 
a: Certified birth certificate.
b: Proof of income by submitting original employment letter stating position, time of employment and salary. If self-employed or retired, proof of such status.
c: Criminal FBI background check showing no convictions, for every sale of and gifting of firearms.
d: Copy of proof of address 
e: Copy of government-issued photo identification
f: If firearms are requested for shooting or hunting. The purchaser must submit copy of hunting and or shooting club membership card, indicating day, month and year of the beginning and end of validation.
g: Written justification for the type of firearm the applicant wants to own
h: Proof of firearm safety class participation and passing.
i:  Citizens should only be allowed to keep a total of 10 registered firearms nine long guns, one handgun per household.

Anticipation of killing another person a.k.a. self defense as a reason for owning a gun is an antiquated thought process. To qualify for a handgun license, you must either be a licensed collector or belong to and regularly attend a target shooting club. If you live in an area without clubs? Create one. Anything in life worth possessing never comes easy and possessing a lethal tool should not come easy either.

When giving written notice as to what type of firearm you plan purchase, if you say you plan to use it to hunt squirrels, your license doesn’t allow you to a high-powered rifle. If you already have firearms suitable for hunting squirrels, it becomes increasingly difficult to give a reasonable justification to own more. Sensible gun purchasing would help prevent the acquisition of private arsenals. 

I am not advocating for the banning of guns. Hunting and shooting can still exist. By adopting laws that give priority to public safety, we can save tens of thousands of lives. Sure you can try to throw Chicago in my face. The facts are with greater restrictions on a persons ability to straw purchase firearms the less likely a “legally” purchased firearm will end up in the hands of those who have no right to own a firearm. 

If the United States were to enact the plan I have laid out here and enforce laws that are currently on the books. Death by gun would drop drastically in this country.

http://mrdanieldefoe.blogspot.com/2014/04/an-updated-second-amendment.html

3 thoughts on “An Updated Second Amendment

  1. “Just what is meant by ‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state’ or ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’ the 2nd is in conflict and …it is up to the interpreter to decide just what its core meaning is.”

    Then you quote a number of Supreme Court cases.

    Unfortunately justices in the highest court have not always worked from a point of view of a strict interpretation of the Constitution and have apparently have either not been thoroughly aquainted with the motivations of the Founders, or more likely they did know but felt they knew better and therefore “interpreted” the Constitution along what they felt was a better idea. This is what some have accurately called “legislating from the bench.” Therefore looking at court cases does not necessarily tell you what the Founders intended.

    However the 2nd Amendment is neither in “conflict” nor is it difficult to understand the clear intent, unless of course you blatantly disagree with that intent and are trying to come up with some semi-plausible rationalization to ignore that content.

    The 2nd Amendment has two parts:

    1. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    That is a very clear and direct statement.

    2. A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state

    J. Neil Schulman sought an opinion on the grammar of the above from the late Roy Copperud, a nationally renowned expert on language and grammar. Schulman asked Copperud the following:

    “The debate over this amendment has been whether the first part of the sentence, ‘A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State’, is a restrictive clause or a subordinate clause, with respect to the independent clause containing the subject of the sentence, ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’

    -end quote-

    Here is a snippet of the discussion:

    [Copperud:] “The words ‘A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,’ contrary to the interpretation cited in your letter of July 26, 1991, constitutes a present participle, rather than a clause. It is used as an adjective, modifying ‘militia,’ which is followed by the main clause of the sentence (subject ‘the right’, verb ‘shall’). The to keep and bear arms is asserted as an essential for maintaining a militia.

    “In reply to your numbered questions:

    [Schulman:] “(1) Can the sentence be interpreted to grant the right to keep and bear arms solely to ‘a well-regulated militia’?”

    [Copperud:] “(1) The sentence does not restrict the right to keep and bear arms, nor does it state or imply possession of the right elsewhere or by others than the people; it simply makes a positive statement with respect to a right of the people.”

    [Schulman:] “(2) Is ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms’ granted by the words of the Second Amendment, or does the Second Amendment assume a preexisting right of the people to keep and bear arms, and merely state that such right ‘shall not be infringed’?”

    –end quote–

    You can read the whole thing here:

    The Unabridged Second Amendment

    by J. Neil Schulman

    http://www.constitution.org/2ll/schol/2amd_grammar.htm

    That is a fairly authoritative answer as to the grammatical content of the 2nd Amendment.

    However that in itself is not entirely necessary. Any reasonably educated person should be able to see that the 2nd Amendment is a clear statement about Americans owning firearms and that it also contains an explanation of why. If you have any doubt about the “why” you only need to read Federalist Paper #46 by James Madison. Then one can no longer claim ignrorance.

    The “why” was that at the time the Constitution was written it was perfectly plausible that American citizens with firearms could overthrow a Federal government if it became tyrannical. The Founders imagined that would happen with individual states organizing their _state_ militias and by sheer weight of numbers defeating a small Federal army (note: there was no “Federal” militia in existence at the time – all militias were state organizations).

    In the late 18th century that was not at all implausible. It is very clear reading Madison that the Founders intended to protect a right of Americans to own weapons with direct military usefulness. If there is _any_ firearm today that the 2nd Amendment was designed to protect it is the so-called “assault weapons” that some want to ban.

    I will not argue with you at this point that what the Founders intended is still plausible today. That is a different discussion.

    What I am telling you though is that to claim that the 2nd Amendment is somehow hard to understand or poorly written is just plain nonsense from people who don’t like what it says.

    regards,

    lwk

    p.s. If you go to my blog free2beinamerica2 and search on “2nd Amendment” I have written quite a bit on this subject and the history the militia.

    • I will go a bit further that the Founders did anticipate that if usurpers did take over the federal government they may be too powerful for The People to be able to defeat this tyranny; however, the founders, namely Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 28, said that even in this case… they should still try. This is also validated the claim that the amendment was solely created to combat tyrannical government, which the founders feared, and is a shame there are those that would attempt to quiet such reason.

      In Hamilton’s words from the Federalist N. 28

      “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair. The usurpers, clothed with the forms of legal authority, can too often crush the opposition in embryo. The smaller the extent of the territory, the more difficult will it be for the people to form a regular or systematic plan of opposition, and the more easy will it be to defeat their early efforts. Intelligence can be more speedily obtained of their preparations and movements, and the military force in the possession of the usurpers can be more rapidly directed against the part where the opposition has begun. In this situation there must be a peculiar coincidence of circumstances to insure success to the popular resistance.”

      This is the importance of studying the actual words of the founders. For example, The Federalist Papers, which is an explanation of the constitution, as well as energetic federal government as whole as it means in American government so that one can have the ability to fully grasp what the founders intents were with the words they put in the founding of Republican government which honors order and law above all else. The constitution is this law, so in respect, instead of attempting to bypass the law with pseudo interpretation of the documents, if one feels that the amendment should change there are proper channels within in the document to repeal certain aspects of it or change it. The issue at hand here is that 38 states must ratify this change, good luck…haha, so it’s much easier to try hoodwink the minds of the masses.

  2. On a different subject than the 2nd Amendment:

    “Anticipation of killing another person a.k.a. self defense as a reason for owning a gun is an antiquated thought process.”

    Last time I checked we still have FBI statistics in this country that refute the idea that a citizen is “immune” from violent people and violent criminals. You may be lucky, but some day your luck may run out.

    “To qualify for a handgun license, you must either be a licensed collector or belong to and regularly attend a target shooting club.”

    In Texas I carry a loaded handgun in public just about every day. Texas has its opinion as to my qualifications and quite frankly Americans as a whole think your ideas are antiquated. You only have to look at state after state that has approved “shall issue” concealed carry laws and the millions of Americans, like myself, who routinely carried concealed handguns in public (which has been going on for quite a while now with none of the dire consequences folks like you predicted).

    regards,

    lwk

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