Commentary by Gary Kopycinski
Editor & Publisher
Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Wildly liberal interpretations of the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution must end, forthwith. We must embrace a smart, conservative interpretation of this amendment if we truly cherish freedom.
The 2nd Amendment is very simple:
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.
This amendment is not a free-for-all, nor was it intended to be a free-for-all. The 2nd Amendment does not suggest that anyone can carry a gun anywhere, at any time. Nor was it intended to allow that.
A fraud on the American public.” That’s how former Chief Justice Warren Burger described the idea that the Second Amendment gives an unfettered individual right to a gun. When he spoke these words to PBS in 1990, the rock-ribbed conservative appointed by Richard Nixon was expressing the longtime consensus of historians and judges across the political spectrum. (Politico)
The word you want to remember is Heller, as in District of Columbia v. Heller, and it’s recent. Very recent.
2nd Amendment Post-2008
In fact, “the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t rule that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to own a gun until 2008 when District of Columbia v. Heller struck down the capital’s law effectively banning handguns in the home. In fact, every other time the court had ruled previously, it had ruled otherwise.”
What did the Second Amendment mean to the Founders? Read a good history of the Revolutionary War — I strongly recommend Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life – and you will see how General George Washington struggled to keep an army together. Indeed, while Washington desired a strong federal government, the Anti-Federalists were wary. Washington repeatedly, with grace and caution, made certain he received approval from the Continental Congress every step of the way in his battles against the British. He desired and worked for a standing army, even as he watched men abandon the fight.
And he did not treat deserters lightly. In the field, he was often judge, jury, and executioner.
Some argue that the primary aim of the Second Amendment was “to prevent the United States from needing a standing army.” The purpose was not to prevent the United States from having a standing army. In this sense, our local police would qualify as the “well regulated Militia” of which the Second Amendment speaks.
The Founders certainly did not want a standing army policing our citizens. In fact, our standing army, our military, does not police the populace.
The Founders were very concerned about who should and who should not be armed. In particular, there was a prevailing belief that African Americans, slave or free, should not be armed:
Laws rarely allowed free blacks to have weapons. It was even rarer for African Americans living in slavery to be allowed them. In slave states, militias inspected slave quarters and confiscated weapons they found. (There were also laws against selling firearms to Native Americans, although these were more ambiguous.)
These restrictions were no mere footnote to the gun politics of 18th-century America. White Americans were armed so that they could maintain control over nonwhites. Nonwhites were disarmed so that they would not pose a threat to white control of American society.
The restrictions underscore a key point about militias: They were more effective as domestic police forces than they were on the battlefield against enemy nations; and they were most effective when they were policing the African American population.
And this appears still to be the case. There has been far more argument made that whites should be able to possess guns, but African Americans should not. Noah Shusterman writes in The Washington Post, “California’s gun-control laws, for instance, began as a reaction to the Black Panthers’ armed patrols and open carry. Yet, when self-proclaimed militiamen engaged in armed resistance to law enforcement at the Bundy ranch in 2014, there was no similar call for new gun laws, and a significant portion of the American political establishment initially expressed support for their actions.”
How many times have you heard it said by some desiring more gun control that if we really wanted to see the NRA call out for a more conservative interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, then let African Americans begin to purchase guns en masse. Just like California reacting to the Black Panthers, the NRA would begin campaigns to restrict gun sales.
But only to some people, no doubt.
As it stands, it was only with the District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 that we began to see more and more radical liberal interpretations of the Second Amendment. The NRA pushed relentlessly through the years for laxer, more liberal gun ownership laws, arguing that bump stocks should not be banned, that semi-automatic weapons are somehow necessary for the home.
Even when these semi-automatic weapons, now legally bought, show up in schools in the hands of the unstable, and our children are slaughtered.
Again and again and again and again and again.
There is no more nuance, no more
These radically liberal interpretations of the 2nd Amendment must be scaled back, clawed back. The 2nd Amendment was never meant to allow for a free-for-all proliferation of guns everywhere.
And if we wish to remain free, we will work to scale back that Amendment.