Rule Five Second Amendment Friday

This is a good, thoughtful piece from the American Thinker’s Robert Curry:  How to Defend the Second Amendment.  Excerpt:

On one side of the debate, there is the left.  The Founders’ understanding is certainly not to be found there.  The left rejects the thinking of the Founders and is determined to take the Founders’ republic down.  On the other side, the defenders of the Founders do not even use the language of the Founders – and do not seem to realize how far afield they have wandered.  James Madison, who drafted the Second Amendment, would be astonished by this strange post-constitutional, even post-American, debate.  

How would any of the Founders have made the case for the Second Amendment?  Why, in terms of unalienable rights, of course.  The concept of unalienable rights is the key to understanding the American Founding.  The Declaration of Independence declared that we have unalienable rights.  It went on to declare that securing those rights is the very purpose of government – “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.”  According to the Declaration, any government that deviates from the noble purpose of securing those rights is illegitimate.


Now, let’s consider the First Amendment before moving on to the Second.  Please notice how it begins: Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press[.]”  The very first words of the very first amendment are “Congress shall make no law.”  No rights are here granted to the citizen.  They cannot be because those rights are unalienable, that is, already possessed by the citizen. 

The First Amendment follows the logic of the Constitution as a whole; it restricts what the federal government – in this case, Congress – can do. 

So does the Second: “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  That “shall not be infringed” is strong language and perfectly clear.  To infringe is to trespass, to intrude, to encroach.  “Shall not be infringed” in plain language means “No Trespassing.”  And it is the government that is warned to keep out.

I’ve used practical, utilitarian arguments myself in arguing against various legislatures, city, state and Imperial, wasting their time and my money with gun control laws.  Such laws have been largely ineffective at reducing crime rates or preventing mass-casualty situations; indeed, in the United States the opposite has been shown, as gun ownership and concealed-carry are at all-time highs, while the violent crime rate has dropped to a near-historic low.

But, as Mr. Curry points out, the Second Amendment, which very plainly puts forth the intent of the Founders, should be all the argument we need.  But the argument he makes, and its comparison to the First Amendment, has one flaw:  There are those among the Left who don’t much care for the First Amendment, either.  Take a look at the various “hate speech” proposals, or just take a gander at any left-wing protest and note the “hate speech is not free speech” placards.

We are in a time when basic freedoms and basic rights are very much under attack.  I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better.