“People Who Cherish the Second Amendment”

Student-led protests this past weekend have helped to renew calls for gun control. Speaking louder than these students, however, is the NRA and its lobbying and political power. The only thing that will work, I think, is when politicians start losing elections because of their blanket support of the NRA. Voters have to hold these politicians accountable, and people, especially the young, have to get off their duffs and vote.

Even so, gun control measures are only part of the solution. Our society is saturated in violence, and guns are everywhere. (Just watch “coming attractions” to TV/Cable shows and movies and count the number of guns you see, especially the number of people threatened by guns.) As the HBO series “Westworld” intoned, “these violent delights have violent ends.” We need as a society to stop reveling in violence.

Finally, an observation. It pains me to say that when I was a college professor teaching in rural Pennsylvania, my students’ knowledge of the Bill of Rights often began and ended with the 2nd Amendment. We need to do a much better job of teaching our youth what freedom really means. Freedom doesn’t begin and end with the right to keep and bear arms. Sadly, some of these same students believed in unchecked government surveillance, using the rationale “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve nothing to hide.” Thus they freely relinquished their 4th Amendment right to privacy even as they fought vigorously to defend gun rights.

It’s a stunning achievement by the NRA to have defined “freedom” mainly in terms of buying and shooting lots of guns. We need to do better.

Bracing Views

dirty-harry Worthy of being cherished?

W.J. Astore

The U.S. Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights is the foundation of our democracy.  If you had to pick a right to celebrate, perhaps even to cherish, which would it be?  There are so many important ones, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, our right to privacy (the fourth amendment), and so on. There are other amendments that righted old wrongs, including prohibitions against slavery and the granting of the vote to Blacks and women.

Yet which right/amendment is the best known in U.S. politics today?  The second amendment, or the right to bear arms, which Mike Pence referred to yesterday when he noted, “people who cherish the Second Amendment have a very clear choice in this election.”

Uneducated Voters

OK, I’ve owned guns and enjoy shooting, but I hardly “cherish” my right to spend thousands…

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8 thoughts on ““People Who Cherish the Second Amendment”

  1. My Dad was what you would a sportsman. He was a hunter and fisherman. As a young-teen (early 1960’s) he took me hunting for rabbits, pheasants and quail, with his buddies. Since Vietnam I have had no desire to shoot a firearm.

    Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly all have limits on them. There are laws against libel and slander. There are laws that forbid false advertising. There are laws concerning Truth in Lending, Truth in Advertising and public corporations are expected to follow laws concerning their financial documents.

    Freedom of assembly is limited most if not all cities and towns require some form of parade permit to use public streets. If 500 people decided to peacefully assemble on an interstate highway they would be arrested.

    When the Second Amendment was adopted the only firearms available were single shot muskets and pistols. By the time the Civil War ended in 1865 single shot muskets were still the primary weapon of the infantryman. I read once where I good Civil War Soldier to get off two to three rounds per minute with a musket.

    By the end of WW 2 the machine gun, sub-machine gun, carbine and assault rifles (semi-automatic and automatic) had been invented. These weapons were designed for military use. The purpose of the weapons was to kill other human beings. At least when I was in the Army the expectation was intensive training was required to use them.

    Some people today want to shrink-wrap, bubble-wrap and place the Second Amendment in a Styrofoam box and not allow limitations to it.

    My own personal opinion is no civilian should own a machine gun, sub-machine gun or an assault rifle (semi-automatic and automatic) bump stock. We could have an immediate ban on selling these types of weapons and buy back program for those that are out there. I would not confiscate any. The money for the buy-back could come from the bloated defense budget. I would think mandatory federal registration for all firearms, plus background checks would be needed.

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    1. “I would think mandatory federal registration for all firearms, plus background checks would be needed.”

      I would suggest enforcing the entire text of the Second Amendment, not just the last part of it. For example:

      A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the purchase of any firearm will automatically enlist the buyer in the state militia, at the rank of private, with the obligation to train and drill one weekend a month and two weeks each summer, with all costs of weapon, food, uniform, and transportation borne by the individual gun-purchaser. The purchase of any additional weapons after the first will add an additional week of mandatory military training per year for each, plus mandatory deployments abroad for selected imperial crusades not to exceed three per each five-year period.

      Something like that.

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    2. Yes. The original intent of the 2nd Amendment was to allow households to keep rifles or muskets available for militia service (the Minuteman ideal). Hunting and home protection on the frontier were also factors. Guns were single-shot with a low rate of fire. They were not that accurate; indeed, Ben Franklin argued with considerable logic for the return of bows and arrows, as detailed here https://allthingsliberty.com/2013/09/bows-and-arrows-pikes-and-spears/

      Jumping ahead to more recent days, gun control in the 1970s mainly focused on crude pistols, so-called Saturday Night Specials, which were being used in street crimes in cities.

      But then assault rifles came along — and they became wildly popular and enormously profitable for guns and ammo makers. The NRA embraced them. Profit is driving this, as well as a strange fetish some men have for wanting military weapons (especially if they haven’t served in the military).

      It makes sense to ban assault weapons and to start a voluntary buy-back program.

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  2. Sorry, but our rights were not prescribed by those wealthy white guys who wrote the Constitution a couple hundred plus years ago. Our rights are inherent, we were born with them.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, . . .”

    Yes some of our inherent rights are emphasized in the Constitution’s first ten amendments, because they are important, but they are not all-inclusive. Article [IX] (Amendment 9 – Unenumerated Rights) — The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Example: Chief Judge Rogers has said there’s no right to abortion in the Constitution. He’s right. There’s also no right to live with whomever we want, or to smoke whatever we want, or even the right to live . . . these rights are inherent. So let’s get the “Constitutional right” thing in perspective. The foundation of our democracy, which the government is supposed to protect, via the Constitution, is our inherent right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness that we were born with. The gunners threaten that inherent right.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. DonBacon says it all and clearly. The founding fathers assumed inherent rights and as a given, didn’t think it needed further elaboration.

      A local chain store that sells everything from diapers to assault rifles, recently pulled assault rifles and refused to sell to anyone under 21. Yet they still sell semi-auto rifles requiring ammo clips. Clearly the issues attributable to assault weapons versus other semi-autos are not understood by most of the public.

      Bottom line is, that we’re are not going to put the genie back in the box. And careful what you wish for.

      I’m a supporter of the second amendment and inherent rights.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It didn’t occur to me that my beliefs are in fact libertarian in this regard, but apparently they are. From the Cato Institute:
        Individual Rights. Because individuals are moral agents, they have a right to be secure in their life, liberty, and property. These rights are not granted by government or by society; they are inherent in the nature of human beings. It is intuitively right that individuals enjoy the security of such rights; the burden of explanation should lie with those who would take rights away.

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  3. As a European whose only encounters in all of her nearly 70 years with ‘civilian’ guns of any kind were in movies, I will never understand the US obsession with guns. The ludicrous (except maybe in extremely remote and lonely places) claim that they are necessary ‘to protect one’s family’ deserves to be answered with ‘you do not need a machinegun to do that, no matter whether it is fully- half- or whatever else automatic’. So there is no objective need for selling these to ordinary citizens.
    And unless one is Roy Rogers or some other movie cowboy who can shoot with two hands at the same time – one forward, the other one blindly over one’s shoulder – a full arsenal of handguns is not necessary either. This apart from the countless examples of people getting killed accidentally by guns, rather than actual criminals by self-defending family fathers.

    One of the reactions to the N-before-latest school schooting (in Florida) was a shock : major companies stopped giving discounts to NRA members. The shock obviously not being the fact that they stopped doing it, but that they had ever done it in the first place! I tried to find some logical (financial) cause & effect chain but I don’t get it and will be grateful for some insight here.
    The arms producers and the politicians who keep the gun laws the way they are, that is a pretty straightforward link. But how do all those discounting corporations – from banks to civilian airlines – fit into this chain? They must be getting something in return for their largesse. Surely not mere customer fidelity. Let alone the hightened risk of an armed bank robbery or plane high-jacking. Are they shareholders in arms manufacture and desperate to secure high returns?
    Does the NRA compensate such companies for the discounts because they motivate people to become/remain NRA members? And the NRA coffers in turn are supplied by the arms manufacturers? Or are there so many NRA members, that their sheer number using the company’s service makes up for the loss of the discount? Do such companies also give discounts to members of other unexpected social groups, such as cinema goers, mountain climbers or members of the national federation of bridge clubs?

    I understand that shooting can be fun when aiming at a cardboard target or a clay pidgeon. I once won breakfast in bed at a fun fair when shooting better than my boyfriend expected. But to pull the trigger while aiming at a human being, is beyond my comprehension.
    As for movies, rather than the current ones full of (machine) guns, I just watched on YouTube an old Thin Man : rivers of alcohol and countless cigarettes for potential self-destruction, but only the one bullet necessary to kill the victim without whom there would be no film.

    Liked by 1 person

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