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Second Amendment not absolute

By       Message P. A. Triot       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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By P. A. Triot

The authority and purpose of the 225-year-old U.S. Constitution is stated in the Preamble, which reads:

"We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish the Constitution of the United States of America."

The first 10 amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights, were all adopted in 1789, two years after the Constitution itself was ratified.

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Subsequently, that august document has been amended 16 times (26 counting the first 10)

Through the years, the U. S. Supreme Court has interpreted the document and amendments to suit the nation's political needs.

What we have discovered is that no right in the Bill of Rights is absolute. Freedom of speech does not include such things as shouting fire in a theatre causing widespread panic. Nor does it include inciting a mob to riot.

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Freedom of the press does not protect a publisher from libel. Freedom of religion does not include turning religion into a partisan political organization.

The Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, cannot be absolute any more than any of right secured by the Constitution.

Unfortunately, the zealots running the National Rifle Association (NRA) are unable to see a world in which the right to bear arms is not absolute.

These are the guys who believe that automatic assault rifles that are loaded clips containing 100 rounds of armor-piercing ammunition is okay.

The one-sentence Second Amendment reads:

"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."

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Given that each state in the union has its own "well regulated" militia in the form of the each state's National Guards, all of which are under the command of each state's governor. Those National Guard units are there to provide necessary security of the free states. So that aspect of the Second Amendment is fulfilled.

Of course in 1789, members of the militia were required to provide their own firearms----usually black powder, flintlock, muzzle loaded rifles.

Nowadays, the states, with the assistance of the federal government, equip their respective militias with all necessary firearms and store those firearm in armories under lock and key. In other words, militia soldiers do not have to provide their own guns.

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P. A. Triot is the pen name of a retired journalist.

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