By Victor Sayre
Much debate has surrounded this amendment and its meaning yet the words are plain and easy to understand. The mandate “shall not be infringed” is an absolute prohibition against Government interference with one of our fundamental Rights.
As stated in the Declaration of Independence, our Creator endowed us with certain unalienable Rights: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Your Right to Life presumes you have the Arms to defend it.
Like any Right, if an individual demonstrates through their actions that they have abused it, it can be infringed upon. A violent criminal endangers the Right to Life of others, therefore waives his own Right to Liberty, ending up behind bars, and likely loses legal access to weaponry having demonstrated ill intent toward others. That is good and sensible.
However, Governments have historically disarmed their good and honest people in order to cement their own Dominance of Force. They can then abuse the citizenry without fear of retaliation. With this in mind, our Founders worded the 2nd Amendment to prohibit Government from infringing upon your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Is the “shall not be infringed” mandate directed only against the Federal Government? The 1st Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law” - clearly a prohibition against only the Federal Government. Yet, the 2nd has no such limitation and therefore is universal. This makes sense given the purpose of the 2nd Amendment.
The defense of a free state by the people requires they be well regulated (equipped and trained) for armed combat and that they appear with modern military arms when called upon in a crisis. The Founders were clear on the notion that external threats to Liberty are bad yet internal threats are worse, for the halls of Government attract the most power hungry and corrupt.
Domestic military forces could not be trusted to defend individual Rights because they would be at the command of Government. Therefore, our Founders considered it the duty of The People to defend themselves - even against their own government's forces gone bad.
An example of this is the Battle of Athens, Tennessee (1946), in which the people of that town, having determined the ballot boxes were stuffed by crooked politicians and receiving no relief from the State or Federal Governments, took up arms and forcefully corrected the problem. Rebellion against corrupt politicians, to restore the Rule of Law, is one purpose for which the 2nd Amendment was crafted.
Let's be clear on the meaning of 'Arms'. They are not “sporting” firearms nor is the intent of the 2nd Amendment to protect a Right to hunt ducks and bunnies. When you see a politician pose in a hunting costume with a shotgun proclaiming, “I believe in the Second Amendment, I'm a hunter too,” you are observing a professional liar and deceiver who knows better. Or, worse, that posturing politician does not know better and is therefore unqualified for any job that requires an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.
What about “assault weapons”? The term applies to modern arms that may be suitable for self defense. Those are, in fact, the 'Arms' at the crux of the matter. Any government interference with your right to own and bear them is Constitutionally prohibited.
This matter was examined in the Supreme Court case United States vs. Miller (1939), in which the defendant asserted a Right to keep and bear a short-barreled shotgun under the 2nd Amendment. The defendant, Miller, was found shot to death prior to a ruling, having been deprived of his means of self-defense. No verdict could be rendered for the deceased, yet the court did issue a unanimous opinion on the matter:
"In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument." -- Supreme Court
Notice the litmus test applied – if the weapon could be shown to be useful for militia purposes (combat), then the Court could rule that the Right to keep and bear it would be guaranteed. The evidence was not presented to the court, due to Miller's death, but that style of weapon has been used repeatedly by armed forces in trench warfare and other situations. If such evidence had been presented, Miller's Rights would have been upheld.
Where do we stand today? In the wake of a tragic shooting in Arizona, in which no armed person was present and prepared to defend the innocent – a disturbing and repeated pattern - many Federal and State bureaucrats are making noise about new gun control laws. Any politician voting in favor of restrictive gun laws is in violation of his or her Oath of Office and is directly attacking the Free State as well as our Constitution. Further oppression of our Right to armed self defense leads to fewer armed defenders and more massacres of innocents. The Columbine massacre, on school property, came after passage of Bill Clinton's “Gun Free School Zones” law.
Let's not be fooled by the notion that more laws will prevent criminal aggression, even with guns. A “street gun” is as easy to get as a bag of cocaine. Laws are ignored by criminal aggressors and politicians know this. The real target of these Constitutionally illegal laws is you, the law-abiding Citizen.
You are 'the people' whose absolute Right to keep and bear combat arms is protected by the 2nd Amendment so that, in a time of crisis, you can be called upon to join the Militia prepared to do your duty as a Citizen – or can defend yourself and your loved ones against predatory criminals and politicians.
Think about it.