Please disseminate widely, thank you! This does not give permission to alter or claim credit for this re-mixed work, for which I retain all copyrights. The original illustration is in the public domain.
If you disagree with the views expressed here, please be sure to read my Policy Statement BEFORE you post: [link]
I realize my position on this issue is going to offend many. Before you start ranting however, do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to read some history about why the Framers wrote the Second Amendment the way they did and why they were so concerned that average people have unfettered access to military-style weapons. Stephen Halbrook has an excellent history of the pre-Revolutionary events that led to the framing of the Second Amendment here: [link]
If any class of personal firearms is deserving of and is in fact Constitutionally protected, it is semi-automatic rifles including civilian versions of the military M-14, M-16, and M-4 rifles; in other words, the A-15. Indeed, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Miller (1939) that a sawed-off shotgun was not to be protected under the Second Amendment because "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."
Thus, by extension, military-style semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15 are protected precisely because they do have such a reasonable relationship to the preservation of a well-regulated militia.
The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting. It is not even wholly about personal self-defense. It is about every able-bodied citizen being (1) well-trained in the use of firearms and (2) in personal possession of same (this is the meaning of "well-regulated") should they be called upon to provide for the common defense in times of insurrection, invasion, or other national emergencies. And most of all, the Second Amendment was included because the Founders explicitly desired to assure that the people could resist assaults upon their liberty from a government that had turned against its own citizens. This was their experience with the British -- an escalating pattern of warrantless searches and seizures of persons and things at and away from their homes culminating in the British attempt to seize the personal weapons stored in the homes of some 30 colonists in Lexington, Massachusetts. We all remember how that particular infringement worked out for our British friends.
Many people are fond of quoting V's famous line, "People should not fear their governments; governments should fear their people." The Second Amendment is the guarantor of that ideal.
I do not feel that we have descended into tyranny quite yet. Yet, if you think about what has happened in this country in recent years -- NDAA, rendition, organized and officially sanctioned torture, H.R. 347, CISPA, illegal surveillance, warrantless intercepts of telephone and email, the militarization of local police forces, and, claims by the President of his right to assassinate American citizens (and his actually doing so), to unilaterally strip them of their citizenship and deport or rendition them, one cannot help but wonder about the wisdom of denying people access to the very weapons that one day may have to be called upon to defend their liberty. Although it is fashionable for progressives to poo-poo this line of thought as paranoid, both our own history and the history of Western democracy from the time of Magna Carta teach the lesson that liberty is best safeguarded by an armed populace that can serve as a counterweight to the State's claim to a monopoly on the sanctioned use of violence to achieve political ends.
Having said all of this, I want everyone to understand that I was horrified by the events in Newtown, Connecticut. However, none of the specific proposals put forth by Senator Feinstein, the White House, and the anti-gun lobby -- a ban on "assault weapons," restrictions on magazine capacity, and closing the so-called "gun show loophole" -- would have prevented the tragedy in Newtown. And further, understand that even if those proposals become law they will do nothing to remove the literally millions of these weapons and the high capacity magazines that have already been lawfully manufactured. Those would be grandfathered in and would remain legal. Only manufacture or importation after the effective date of the proposed legislation would be prohibited.
The NRA is right: properly trained armed security might have prevented what new gun laws cannot. That's why armed security is already present at one-third of America's schools. Mr. LaPierre was not talking about deploying untrained amateurs. The NRA, with 11,000 professional police firearms trainers, does most of the firearms training for police today. Mr. LaPierre proposed deploying them to train people with appropriate backgrounds for these volunteer assignments.
One other thing would have prevented Adam Lanza's rampage -- a gun safe. That his mother chose to keep firearms and ammunition unsecured in a home where a developmentally disabled and possibly mentally ill young adult also lived strikes me as the soul of irresponsibility. If she was concerned enough to tell a babysitter "don't turn your back on him," and was apparently considering committing him to a psychiatric facility, shouldn't common sense have dictated that she keep her weapons under lock and key?
"The right of self-defense is the first law of nature . . . . Wherever . . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."
-- St. George Tucker, American Patriot