Thoughts on the Second Amendment
The “fathers” of our country did a pretty good job in setting up a set of rules to guide us. Our Constitution is the result of the work of many learned men.
A man named Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania was in charge of the committee to draft the final copy of the Constitution. Other men who had much to do with writing the Constitution included John Dickinson, Gouverneur Morris, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Paine, Edmund Randolph, James Madison, Roger Sherman, James Wilson, and George Wythe.
They lived in a different time. A time before movie theaters and 30-round clips. It’s not that these men were not far-sighted, it is just that they were not clairvoyant. They had muzzle loading rifles and muskets. They could get off, maybe, three rounds a minute.
So, we find we have a “Bill of Rights” otherwise known as the first ten amendments to the Constitution, passed by Congress in September 1789 and ratified by the States in December 1791.
But these amendments are not absolute. They have been modified by Supreme Court decisions and by interpretations of other parts of the Constitution.
Example: The first amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Freedom of speech is not absolute. It is essentially referring to ‘political speech.’ Courts have ruled that Freedom of Speech does not allow one to yell, “FIRE” in a crowded theater.
Example: 2nd amendment “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”
Should this be interpreted in light of today’s society or in light of 1790. In light of one round Kentucky long rifles? Or in light of 30-round clips or 100-round ‘drums?’
I would suggest that in 1790 a large part of the population used their rifles to put meat on the table, to feed their family. I would also suggest that in the world of Bushmasters and M-16s, the folks using them are not trying to put food on the family table.
Consequently, I feel that the courts need to look at the meaning of the 2nd amendment when it was written and apply that to the country of today.
A Constitutional ‘originalist’ such as Justice Antonin Scalia might interpret the 2nd amendment differently in that light.