The Second Amendment is meant to protect individual rights
This is a rebuttal to the Community View article March 1 submitted by J’aime Morgaine titled “It is not a gun control vs. Second Amendment argument.”
J’aime Morgaine’s opinion about the National Rifle Association subverting the Second Amendment to the US Constitution by lobbying for legislative support of only one part of the second amendment (the right of the people to keep and bear arms) is misleading. She leaves out the most important part of the sentence; “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Ms. Morgaine then accuses the NRA of vilifying the other part of the Second Amendment – about a well-regulated militia – which reads in its entirety “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.”
So what is the use of the militia mentioned in the second amendment?
According to Eldridge Gerry, vice president under James Madison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence as well as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, “it is to prevent the establishment of a standing army.”
And what is the militia?
James Madison and Alexander Hamilton argued the points that “It is the localized civilian-citizen nature of the militia would secure its loyalty to the rights of the people.” The people otherwise possessed a right to keep and bear arms – which Congress was given no power whatsoever to regulate or forbid. American statesman George Mason, also a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, said “the militia consist now of the whole people, except for a few public officers.”
The right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, not a collective right just as we possess in the First, Fourth, Sixth and Seventh amendments to the original Bill of Rights. It is not the states collective right to form a select militia that might become the equivalent of a standing army. In other words, the militia is the armed body of local citizens in each community.
It is quite clear that the Second Amendment was added to protect an individual’s right to own guns free from government interference be it state or federal. This was recently reaffirmed in the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court, District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. The NRA supports and lobbies for the entire Second Amendment and has been consistent in doing so.
As J’aime Morgaine mentions, no one wants gun violence or mass shootings. I would also agree that those convicted of domestic violence and the mentally disabled should be excluded from those individuals possessing firearms.
I do take exception to the words “gun violence” though. Cars kill more people than guns do every year but no one calls it “car violence.” We call it what it is: impaired, distracted or reckless drivers, terrorists, etc. The same with guns, it is the individual, not the gun we should be addressing.
The old cliché it takes a good guy with a gun to kill a bad guy with a gun is just as true today as it was back then.