For Some Reason, Republicans and Gun Fanatics Hate Seeing These Facts About the Second Amendment

Talking about the Constitution is always a tricky thing. While our Bill of Rights was undoubtedly one of the most important documents ever written, it’s basically taboo for anyone to bring up the fact that it’s over 200 years old, composed by men who could never have envisioned what society would become.

To be fair, they set up a process for amending the Constitution to adapt to an ever-changing world. That being said, we began with 13 states and a Congress that consisted of roughly 91 members. That’s a stark contrast from 50 states and 535 elected representatives and senators. Simple math mixed with a little common sense will tell you that getting two-thirds of both the House and the Senate to approve a proposed Amendment, as well as three-fourths of the states to ratify it, was much simpler when we only had 13 states and 91 members of Congress.

Now it’s next to impossible to amend the Constitution, which is why it’s been over a quarter century since an amendment has made it through Congress and been ratified by the states. In fact, we’ve only had two amendments passed since 1971 and six passed since WWII. So there’s clearly a correlation between the difficulty of getting a Constitutional Amendment passed, the size of Congress, and the number of states.

That brings me to our Second Amendment.

This amendment was written during a time of single-shot muskets, and we’re now using it to guide regulations on firearms which our Founding Fathers could never have dreamed would exist. It was also written during a time when society was much different than it is today. Back then we needed local militias to keep us safe. We didn’t have speedy means of transportation to deploy troops, a strong military, or state national guards.

Clearly, times have changed — yet the amendment has not. Nor will it probably ever change considering how difficult, if not outright impossible, it is to get an amendment passed in today’s modern (and much larger) government.

To prove that our original Bill of Rights was written during a much different time by men who could have never predicted what society would become, look no further than the Third Amendment which states:

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Folks, that’s number three.

When was the last time “quartering of soldiers” was an issue in this country? Yet this was apparently such an issue during the late 1700’s that our Founding Fathers felt the need to include that in our original Bill of Rights.

As I said, times have clearly changed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-gun. I actually own a firearm and understand that the vast majority of gun owners are law-abiding citizens.

That being said, laws aren’t put into place because without them the majority of the people would break them. If we suddenly removed laws against murder, the rate of homicides would definitely skyrocket, but the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t suddenly become murderers.

Laws are put into place to protect the people who are decent (the vast majority) against those who are not.

The truth is, if the Founding Fathers didn’t want guns to be “well regulated” — then they wouldn’t have put that at the very beginning of the Second Amendment.

For those out there who like to try to twist what the term “well regulated” means, often implying that at the time it meant something different than it does now, just stop. I’m not a fool, so stop trying to treat me like one. If our Founding Fathers meant for anyone and everyone who wanted a gun to be able to own one (and as many as they wanted) then they could have simply left the first part of the Second Amendment out and written:

Being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

They could have easily written the Second Amendment just like that and it would have sounded perfectly fine if their intent was for no wiggle room on regulations.

But they didn’t, did they?

Not only did they make sure to include the words “A well regulated militia,” but they put those words at the very beginning. That wasn’t by accident.

Just like it wasn’t an accident that not a single reference to Christianity can be found anywhere in our Constitution, either.

These are not random additions or omissions by our Founding Fathers, they were by design.

Oh, and for those who claim that our Second Amendment is meant to arm Americans against a “tyrannical government,” then why does Article 3 Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution say:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t a bunch of random citizens taking arms against the United States government qualify as “levying war against” it? So why would our Founding Fathers write the Second Amendment to give Americans the right to “rise up against the government” — only to call such action treason?

This isn’t about the “right to bear arms,” it’s about those who’ve distorted what our Second Amendment actually means for their own personal agenda, greed, paranoia, or mental instability.

Gun fanatics, with a lot of help from the NRA, have distorted the original intent of the Second Amendment for their own personal agenda. We could expand background checks, increase waiting times, and ban semi-automatic weapons and that wouldn’t prevent a single law-abiding citizen from being able to exercise their Second Amendment right to own shotguns, single-shot rifles, or a revolver to protect themselves or their families, go hunting, or for other sporting purposes.

The truth is, this hasn’t been about common sense self-defense or the right to bear arms for a very long time. It’s been about the gun lobby stoking fear, pushing propaganda, and manipulating people into living in a constant state of fear because there’s a lot of money to made by doing those things.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Facebook to let me know what you think.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • .
    I find the use of commas, and other punctuation, and even Capitalization, in our Constitution, and in our Declaration of Independence, to be inconsistent, and unlike modern use ( which I also find inconsistent, but at least there are a few ad hoc style books in various publishing industries that try to inflict consistency in their fields ).

    The comma in our Second Amendment, a comma that I consider makes Our Second Amendment unresolvably ambiguous, was used by our Supreme Court to interpret

    — the first phrase including a well regulated militia as what is to be regulated,

    — and the second phrase including the right of the people to keep and bear arms to be unregulated.

    It’s difficult to write unambiguously clearly, especially when trying to include two ideas in one sentence or paragraph.

    One way of interpreting the Second Amendment is that folks in an ad hoc on-demand militia defending their residences, businesses, and territory from attack or invasion can keep their weapons at home as personal property …

    … the government will not take them away when troops finally arrive.

    What’s the biggest, deadliest weapon at the time of the founders?

    Did the founder’s expect folks to demand the right to own a canon ( aimed at their neighbor ! ) ?

    Does that mean that today, residents can keep whatever armament they consider necessary for the same protection, including flamethrowers, rocket-propelled grenades, fully automatic rifles with night scopes and laser targeting, and so on …

    … the government will not take them away when troops finally arrive?

    Until we remove the comma in our Second amendment, I see no effective compromise or non-whimsical legally-sustainable regulation for personal possession of any armement.

    • Aaron Johnson

      I don’t really see any compromise in the near future either. BUT, the future is not going to get any better, and eventually, things will come to a head in one way or another, peaceful or not. Also, how can anyone decide if a regulation is “non-whimsical”? According to your thesis, guns are not to be regulated. Obviously, driving an armed Abrams tank down your street probably will never be considered legal, but now we argue bump fire devices and semi-automatic weapons. The line for what should be considered within reason needs to sway more in the favor of citizens who do not own a gun at all. This group of people still, believe it or not, are the majority in this country.

      • .
        Hey, I hear you loud and clear, @disqus_r5jBpy3sdi:disqus, but we are not a majority-rules country, we are a Constitutional democracy, where people can no more referendum away or legislate away Second Amendment protected rights any more than they can vote away Fifth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment protect rights.

        By ‘whimsical’ I mean no automatic arms, for an example, or no sawed-off shotguns, or no plastic guns, or registering bullets.

        If anyone see’s a workable solution, please share.

      • CFjdksl#3 L

        gun owners should have to pass a written and field test. If you don’t know the rules of gun ownership, and can’t get anywhere near the target when you’re shooting, you have no business owning a gun

      • .
        That’s a tough sell, when I can buy a car without needing a driver’s license — an investment piece, perhaps, maybe I’m crippled, but love to look at a Ferrari in my living room, or have my licensed brother drive me on the open road, but it’s MY car, and that’s not even in the Constitution as a protected right.

        Keep at it though, there’s got to be a compromise that’s Constitutional.

    • CFjdksl#3 L

      long story short we need many more restrictions and regulations on guns

      • .
        Okay, no punctuation or capitalization at all.

        Can you explore CONSTITUTIONAL regulations?

  • james brill

    standing armies being a necessary evil,you may not disarm the individual.

    • CFjdksl#3 L

      of course you can, and should, especially if the person is mentally or physically impaired