The Second Amendment – Again

The Uvalde school shooting was a terrible and emotional event for a great many people. In the heat of the moment, I came to feel and state that the Second Amendment must be repealed. Having been a gun owner and hunter over most of my life, this was not an easy change to put forward. However, I didn’t see then how we work our way out of our gun violence problem with the Second Amendment in place. Today the Supreme Court decision on the New York law strengthens my opinion.

The Supreme Court in today’s decision broadens citizens rights to concealed carry, witch is certainly one narrow way to define 2nd Amendment rights. Frankly, this is the problem with the amendment, you can define it in so many different ways, you can parse it word for word or section by section ignoring certain parts while reenforcing other parts. Here is the amendment in its original language. 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.

Most people today focus on the last half of the amendment and argue “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. However, it is fair to interpret the amendment from the beginning. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” is the opening clause and provides the context for what follows. It is a neat trick to take parts of a statement out of context in order to bolster an argument, and it works. It is a fairly common practice which tends to put those in opposition to your position on the defensive. We see this today where people shout out their support of their rights “to keep and bear Arms” as if that were the only statement made by the 2nd Amendment. This argument back and forth can go on forever without resolution.

This is the reason I think the Second Amendment needs to be repealed. We have no way to actually fix our gun violence problems as long as a person can argue they have the Constitutional right to keep and bear Arms. How do we control guns if we have a Constitutional right to own and carry guns? It is clear the Supreme Court will eventually block all State and local restrictions on guns based on the wording of the 2nd Amendment.

It seems to me that what we will see more and more people choose to carry guns in public. I think that more guns on the street does not make for a safer society. Public safety is not individual enforcement of the rule of law or even the norms of society. Public safety is when we the people establish the rules for safe society, establish the guardrails on behavior that keeps us all safe in our person.