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What Does the 2nd Amendment Really Say About Gun Rights?

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What does the 2nd Amendment Really Say About Gun Rights? By Paul Roden

According to the Bill of Rights, this is what the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says:

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" 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 ."

 

That is what it says in the copy that is in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.   But what was the real meaning and intent of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?   What did the framers of the Constitution meeting in 1787 in Philadelphia really mean by this amendment?   And if we believe in sane gun safety regulations, what do we do and say now?

After fighting off the largest and most powerful military empire on Earth at the time, I am sure that the Founders and Framers where leery of both having a large standing army and being prepared if the British or someone else came to take power away from us.   They were also scared of infractions with the original residents of the Colonies, the Native tribes and Nations of the continent.   They also saw the necessity for individuals to hunt for food and protection of their family.

But from the pure linguistic intent of what is written in the 2nd Amendment, it seems to me that the intent was for the collective right of local militia having the right to bear arms, not the right of individuals have an individual right.   Now in the recent Supreme Court ruling by Justice Anthony Scalia, overturning the gun safety laws of Chicago has a different interpretation of the 2nd Amendment indicating his belief that it was indeed the original intent of the framers of the Second Amendment that individuals had the right to own firearms.   His opinion also stated that it was okay for the government to enact reasonable regulations on the sale, ownership and use of firearms.

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I am not so afraid of my government that I think that private individuals should have the right to own semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition clip magazines.   I think that the Tunisians and the Egyptians proved that people power if they maintain collective discipline can nonviolent resist overwhelming police and military force using automatic, semiautomatic and sniper weapons.   This is the 21st century, we should be learning ways to nonviolent wage and resolve disputes, not revert back to earlier century's like the days of the wild, wild west.

The only people in our society that should have access to semi-automatic and assault style weapons with large ammunition clips above 10 rounds are the members of law enforcement, the military and TV/Hollywood props departments for shows and movies.   We need better screening and treatment for people with mental health problems.   We need to be trained to wage and resolve disputes without the use of force.   Everyone who wants to own a firearm should have a background check, no matter where they purchase it from.   They should be required to have training on how to use it.   That is the type of gun safety legislation and regulations that we should support.

Now, I am sure the NRA, the Gun Owners of America, would not approve of these gun safety proposals that I support.   They are absolutist in their defense of their 2nd Amendment rights and opposition to any regulation of firearms.   But if you are a sportsman or enjoy target shooting, why do you need a semi-automatic firearm?   What is left of your animal or target after shooting it 30-50 times?   The only purpose of semi-automatic and automatic weapons with large ammo magazines is to kill other human beings.   So why should they not be regulated?

Arming teachers, private security guards or placing more police at our schools to guard our children is not the solution to our violent society.   That is not the kind of world that I want to live in.   That will not make me feel safe or fear less for innocent children and school personnel's safety.   We need to look at the violence in our TV shows, movies and video games.   I think this numbs us all to the amount of violence we tolerate and accept.

We need to teach better ways for resolving conflicts with our fellow human beings.   We need to remove the underlining issues that cause people to resort to violence, hunger, poverty, oppression, discrimination, racism and intolerance of people who look, dress or practice a different religion or no religion of our own.

As se lobby, use our First Amendment Rights of "free speech the right and to petition our government for the redress of grievances," for better enforcement and gun safety legislation, let us remember what kind of world we want to live in, a world where the only conceivable use that I can see for guns is hunting for food.   Or at least in   a world where people who want to own guns, do so in a safe and sane manner.   How can the NRA be against gun safety?   I always thought that was one of the things that they advocated.

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Paul Roden is a long time activist DFA & PDA member working for progressive change in America. I am also the point of organizer for PDA, the Progressive Democrats of America in Lower Bucks County. I am a "Neighborhood Leader" or "Victory Precinct (more...)
 

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