Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Is the Second Amendment Outdated? - I say not at all!

Lately I've heard buzz about how the Second Amendment is outdated and should be repealed. Simply put, I think it's silly non-sense and that the Second Amendment is still very relevant in our modern world. I feel that the Second Amendment is one of many of the Amendments needed that outline the auxiliary rights that are fundamental in protecting the three core rights; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Below this paragraph is a explanation of some of, if not all, the reasons I can think of but the following is the basic summary giving the most applicable reason for everyday people as to why the Second Amendment is relevant to them today. The Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own a firearm and not in connection with a Militia. Individuals have a right to self-defense. The firearm is the single most effective and practical tool for self-defense. We still live in a society where violent criminals harm people on a regular basis. Law enforcement and the government CANNOT protect people on an individual level; they just don't have the manpower and resources needed for such a thing. Not everyone can afford full time bodyguards and individualized active security services. With all those points made, the Second Amendment is still relevant because it gives the people the best possible tools for defending themselves, loved ones and property.

The Reasons We Should Keep It

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.

I think there are at least four arguments for why the Second Amendment is relevant today. In my opinion those would be individual self-defense, assistance to rural law enforcement (posse comitatus), wartime low-level national defense (state defense forces) and the "Insurrectionist Theory." I would say the individual self-defense point is the only one that would actually apply on the individual level while the rest apply on local, state or federal government levels.

As I spelled out above, I think the individual self-defense reason is the most immediate and most relevant reason for keeping the Second Amendment today as it applies directly to the people. Barring the people from having immediate access to the best possible tools for self-defense (such as a handgun, short barrel rifle or short barrel shotgun) is a sure-fire way to prevent the people from saving themselves from an attacking criminal(s). No matter how well we clean up and reduce violet crime, we should always have this reason to fall back on. It's the absolute last line of protection against crimes against the people; it's probably the cheapest life insurance policy available.

The next reason I gave was assistance to rural law enforcement or what is referred to as posse comitatus. This idea is old-fashioned and I'm not even sure its still done but it's the idea of a Sheriff or Federal Marshal deputizing individuals for assistance in dealing with a situation. Think Old West movie style posse rounding up the bad guys. Jokes aside, this practice usually requires individuals to utilize privately held arms. It may not be used today but again sometimes you have to pull out and dust off old ways. This applies to localized issues.

The third reason was what I called the wartime low level national defense, a.k.a. state defense force. It applies to the state level government mostly, in my opinion, this is what the Founding Fathers were working toward with the well regulated Militia component. This particular reason has actually been used in the past in the states of Virginia and in Maryland during World War II to defend the shoreline and other vital assets. This principle applies because it gives the states a way to defend its borders and assets. Normally the National Guard of each state guards those assets but during a very significant war (like World War II) the Federal Government will federalize the National Guard and deploy them calling them away from those state assets. In 1903, legislation defined a segment of people that is referred to as the Unorganized Militia, which is all able-bodied persons between the ages of 17 and 45. During times of crisis the states can, however, call upon it's citizens (the Unorganized Militia) to volunteer for militia duty to defend the shoreline, borders, critical installations, transportation lines and other assets that were once guarded by the National Guard. These militianmen weren't expected to be able to fight like regular soldiers but the idea was they could put up enough of a fight to slow down any attackers until regular soldiers could arrive. Virgina and Maryland did this back during World War II when the respective Governors requested residents to volunteer for duty in those states' defense forces. The people they looked for the most were sportsman (gun owners) because they were not just familiar with firearms but those people already OWNED firearms. During times of war, guns and ammunition are typically in high demand and very hard to come by so the states wound up having to rely on the people to bring or borrow privately held arms and ammunition. Look for the histories of the Maryland Defense Force and the Virginia Protective Force/Virginia Defense Force.

The final reason one would find the Second Amendment applicable is in regards to defending from and removing a belligerent local, state or federal government, possibly by force. This is the one that's referred to as the "Insurrectionist Theory." It's said that the Founding Fathers were concerned that a standing army or even a "Select Force" was dangerous to freedom because it could be used by the Federal Government to apply force to states and/or subjugate the people. If you remember that line in National Treasure spoken by Nicolas Cage from our own Declaration of Independence (check the second paragraph of the Preamble) specifically notes a duty to "throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." Nobody talks like that anymore but such an act would surely require privately held arms. Such situations have occurred in this country although usually on a small scale against local governments. Athens, Tennessee had an armed revolution over voter intimidation and government corruption in 1946. Blair Mountain in West Virginia had a full on battle over a worker strike at a coalmine in 1921 and a similar situation in Ludlow, Colorado in 1914; those last two are more related to corporate corruption.  Another big point for privately held arms comes in the form of the Revolutionary war. The battles at Lexington and Concord shows that public/centralized armories were and are dangerous to any war effort as they can be targeted. Those battles were fought because the British were attempting to destroy the guns and other equipment used by the local militia. Additionally, many gun rights groups see the Second Amendment being necessary as a deterrent to the Federal Government should it decide to participate in government sponsored genocide; think crimes committed by governments like what the Nazis did during World War II or Stalin's actions against large numbers of the Russian people. Those groups claim that you are statistically more likely to be killed by your government than any criminal. If you look at the numbers of people killed by such governments (in the tens of millions) you'll quickly see how the number of people killed by criminals pales in comparison to what governments pulled off in the 20th Century.

All in all, you don't have to believe in what some "gun-nuts" say about the Federal Government will do if you ban guns but you can't ignore the individual self-defense and state defense force aspects of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment may seem like an outdated solution to issues that are unlikely to occur but it is the first step and simplest thing the Founding Fathers could give us. It is the base level, the corner stone of a very sophisticated construct we know as life in the United States of America.

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