Cold Iron - 237
June 30, 2022
Cold Iron – 237
"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."
It's time to repeal the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
For those who regard such a proposal as blasphemy, you need to understand how repeal would be a win-win for both the anti-gun and pro-gun factions.
You also need to understand how badly the amendment has been misinterpreted.
For example, although the notion of a 'militia' has been widely-debated over the years – whether one thinks of it as an organized army or a gathering of citizen soldiers – it is clear that we do not need one today in order to ensure our security. Our military, from our formal branches of service to the reserves on down to the National Guard, is more than adequate to that task, and they are more than adequately armed.
Since the right of the people to keep and bear arms is conditioned upon the need for a militia, and that need is satisfied by our military, it is simply empty to talk about the non-military populace having some right to arm themselves. Frankly the amendment is, in any practical sense, simply irrelevant today.
I also find it interesting how those who view the amendment as forbidding virtually any kind of laws restricting the use and possession of firearms conveniently ignore the phrase "well-regulated." If you're regulating your militia – whether it's citizens or soldiers – you're certainly going to regulate their uniforms, their training, their food, and their possession and use of firearms.
But – back to the blasphemy.
The common scenario would have it that if the Second Amendment were repealed all of our firearms would be taken from us and we would be defenseless in our homes and schools and churches and supermarkets. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Consider, first, that there is nothing in the repeal of the amendment that would involve a prohibition of firearms, let alone some sort of forceful taking of all firearms by the government. All that would happen is that the manufacture, sale, use, and regulation of firearms would no longer be subject to any kind of federal (constitutional) judgment.
All of those processes would simply revert back to the states, much in the way that abortion restrictions will revert to the states now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. If a state wanted to have minimal background checks, closed carry/open carry, no age limitations for firearms purchase or possession, etc., they could do so. If they wanted to arm teachers or supermarket employees or crossing guards they could do that. If they wanted to send every first-grader to school with a holstered Glock they could do that, too.
So what's the benefit, then, of repealing the amendment?
We could call it choice, for one thing, or even pro-life. States that are sick and tired of mass shootings, armed carjackings, freeway shootings, or even hunting (scandalous!) would be free to set such legislation that they think would fix their particular problem. It could be small, such as banning one particular type of weapon, or it could be major such as a prohibition on all types of firearms. States that respect human life can make such choices as they need without fear that the Constitution is going to bump them out of the hopper.
There's some theory behind this, of course. Since opinion polls indicate that somewhere short of ninety percent of Americans favor some sort of increased regulation of firearms, it's not unreasonable to suppose that a good number of states would opt for some fairly heavy restrictions – restrictions that could not be overturned on constitutional grounds. Those states could also give such authority to the various county and municipal governments. Illinois, for example, could require little more than background checks for the purchase of a firearm, whereas Chicago (and other municipalities) could be allowed to ban firearms completely, or implement less drastic steps if they chose to.
Similarly, as mentioned above, other states might opt for few or no regulations restricting firearms.
Longer term questions would of course arise. One could imagine some population shifts as individuals/families/businesses opted for life in either a restrictive or non-restrictive state. One could theorize, too, that, if incidents of firearm mayhem were significantly higher in the "free and easy" states compared with the more restrictive states, then those states might, indeed, opt for some degree of increased regulation. Overall, incidents of gun violence will decrease – hopefully significantly.
It's time to bring some degree of good sense to bear on the extreme horror we're currently tolerating. The Second Amendment is like having a parent looking over an unruly child but being totally forbidden to do anything about it.
It's time for it to go.
G.K. Wuori © 2022
Photoillustration by the author