A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

A Layman’s Explanation of the Second Amendment

The Supreme Court recently struck down the Washington DC ban on handgun ownership. It was a law in place for many years and it’s a small miracle that it lasted this long. The Court used the age-old reasoning that the law was unconstitutional; or, in other words, something in the Constitution didn’t agree with the law itself.

That something that disagreed with the law is known as the Second Amendment, which officially reads:

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.

However most Americans would quote it like this:

Blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah a blah blah, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

That part about a well regulated militia – forget about it! All people know is that they can arm themselves, use their weapons to sustain this right, and use said weapons on anyone or anything that they perceive to be a threat. The problem is too many people let their imaginations run away with them and use their weapons indiscriminately. Oh yeah, there are also laws against murder and homicide, but that hasn’t stopped anyone yet.

People are very passionate about their gun ownership – and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the understatement of the year. If you don’t believe me, just try to take someone’s gun away from them. I’ll be more than happy to notify your next of kin.

Many Americans believe that gun ownership is a God-given right. Well, sit down American gun owners, because I’ve got some bad news. I have yet to see any documentation that God appeared before the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and, with a dramatic flair of a bolt of lightning that would have made Cecil B. DeMille proud, personally wrote this amendment into the document.

This amendment is not written in stone, unlike the Ten Commandments. The amendment can be – and here many will accuse me of heresy – repealed. The framers of the Constitution placed a mechanism in the document to allow us to get rid of laws that may be determined inapplicable, inappropriate, obsolete, or just plain bad for the republic. We have already repealed at least one law in our nation’s history, and we can all drink to that! Chances are we may do it again. However, given the strong emotions that the Second Amendment inspires, I doubt that it will be repealed anytime soon. I’m just saying that it can be done.

As Americans, we cherry pick what laws we want to follow and what we don’t. If you ask us we’ll say, “Yes, the laws are meant for everyone,” but in private we might answer differently. In the case of the Second Amendment, we have a strict interpretation of the gun ownership part and ignore the militia part. Taken together, the amendment might actually have been intended as a directive not to disarm state sponsored military groups (i.e., The National Guard).

We may never know if this was the Founding Fathers intention. Our collective interpretation won’t allow it. In this environment of picking and choosing bits and pieces of information to suit our wants, then it’s no wonder the Bush administration has behaved the way it has during the last seven years. In this respect, the American people got the government that they deserved.

Please bear in mind that my interpretation is not based on any legal arguments; I’ve never studied law. I am basing my observations solely on the merits of the amendment's semantics. Many people may feel that this does not qualify me to offer an opinion. Well, excuse me, but as an American citizen I am qualified to say something about it. That right was covered in the First Amendment. Thank God the Founding Fathers settled on that one before they began handing out guns to everyone.


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