In the discussion thread: The "Well Regulated Militia" clause in plain English and other liberal Constitutional musings [View all]
Response to appal_jack (Original post)
Tue Jul 24, 2012, 10:35 PM
DirkGently (10,069 posts)
49. The entire Amendment follows the word "militia." Of which we have none.
The pro-gun take on the Second Amendment is self-contradictory. It claims to rest on strict construction and "plain meaning," and then promptly ignores the fact that the entire Amendment deals with militias. Which were important when America didn't have a standing Army, and now are irrelevant.
So much for strict construction and plain meaning. We'll take out the first half, and focus on "bear." We'll ignore the fact that self-defense weapons were something our forebears kept in their homes and barns. We'll pretend the intention was for people to bring guns to courthouses and parks and schoolyards. We'll pretend that nothing is different about modern weaponry and modern living that the Founding Fathers could not have conceived, that "armed society is polite society."
And it's all delivered with a pseudo-rationalist tone and airy declarations that people simply don't understand how gun violence has nothing at all to do with guns. People would simply commit drive-by knifings and schoolyard chainsawings and mass baseball battings, you see.
There's no reasonable question about the fact the Second Amendment was intended to protect American's ability to be prepared to fight wars and keep the peace, at a time when local militias were the only means to do that. We don't live in that world anymore. Our militias have become police departments and the military. That's where our citizens "bear arms."
There was never any intention in the Second Amendment for Americans to walk around ready to shoot each other in the supermarket should they feel threatened. There was no intention that rightwingers be prepared to fight it out with the United States government if it got out of line.
The American gun lobby has carefully constructed a dense mythology around the Constitution and the role of firearms and firearm violence. It was never anyone's intention that everyday citizens walk around on the lookout for crime, or dispatch criminals to protect property. To go on armed "neighborhood watch." It has a silly catchphrase or garbled statistic or a disingenuous bit of illogic for every situation. Now we're told that the fact the ATF can't keep American guns out of Mexico because 99% of the process is protected by our own laws is actually a secret plot by President Obama to make people THINK we need better gun laws.
The legal reality is that our shiny new ultra-conservative Supreme Court has since found an individual right to bear arms, so there we are. The word "militia" has been erased. Thank you, NRA. But it's not where we started.
And the argument that we "can't" change gun laws because it's politically problematic is another gun lobby red herring. We can't until we do. We all understand why gun proponents want to wait until the latest in the endless line of American mass shootings fades away to talk about it. But the intervals are getting shorter, and the blood is getting deeper, and it's getting harder to pretend that keeping our country brimming with easily bought and sold firearms of every description has nothing to do with it.
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|Tuesday Afternoon||Jul 2012||#15|
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|Lizzie Poppet||Jul 2012||#37|
|Lizzie Poppet||Jul 2012||#36|
|Jeff In Milwaukee||Jul 2012||#41|
|Jeff In Milwaukee||Jul 2012||#54|
The entire Amendment follows the word "militia." Of which we have none.
|Hell Hath No Fury||Jul 2012||#60|
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