Your Mind

Let’s Talk About The Second Amendment, Shall We?

By October 8, 2015 1

“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.” 

That is the Second Amendment, written by James Madison, ratified by 3/4 of the States on December 15, 1791.

Let’s start this off with the facts in front of us: ratified by 3/4 of the States. On December 15, 1791 there was 14 states that made up the United States of America. FOURTEEN. That means it took at least 11 states to agree on the Constitution and henceforth pass the second amendment along with the Bill of Rights. To ratify something today it would take about 38 states to agree on something in order to have the 3/4 method the Framers (James Madison and co. who wrote the Constitution) used in 1791.

So let’s keep in mind that all gun control debates come down to an amendment that about 11 of the states in this country agreed on. If we only needed 11 states to agree on anything for the U.S. to pass bills now a days, every bill would pass and the next day another bill would counter act that bill and it would be an endless cycle.

Now as for 1791:

Monarchy rule was still fresh in everyone’s minds. Revolutions were fresh in everyone’s minds. Westward expansion was on everyone’s minds and attack by Native Americans were the concern for most.

The second amendment was written in because the anti-Federalists wanted states to have more power so to appease everyone the Framers wrote the second amendment so it allowed the people to have the right to bear arms in order to combat the possibility of tyrannical rule once again.

As the Native Americans were pushed out, most retaliated and fought back. Attack in the West was imminent and self defense was a must. Once they were in the West people hunted for their own food. Man needed guns to find their food and kill it.

Fast forward to 2015:

America isn’t constantly on edge worrying a new monarch will take over. We’re not frightened President Obama will become a tyrant (regardless of your political affiliation we can at least agree he is not a dictator) that we would have to revolt against.

The people are out West. Or so I’ve heard, quite frankly I’ve never traveled to the West but word on the street is it is quite populated now. People aren’t out there traveling by wagon scared for their lives and scared of attacks by Native Americans. The only Native American retaliation that is out there right now is the Redskins football team, but the only thing they’re probably hurting is the Fantasy Football drafts of American boys.

Also I would argue that the people don’t hunt for survival anymore. If anyone can point out to me one guy that’s needed to shoot a buffalo for survival in the past 50 years I’ll back out of this second amendment argument hands down. But unfortunately the only hunting for survival humans do now a days is the hunting of a Chipotle with a line that isn’t wrapped outside the door.

Now onto the guns themselves:

The right to bear arms. Let’s discuss the logistics of these arms. First of in the 1790’s they had muskets and rifles, both of which used loose gun powder and had to be ignited by a spark. Most of these were single-shot weapons but though it is fact that there were some guns in this time period that could shoot off more than one, they were minimal and strictly for the militia.

Try to imagine Tony Montana walking in with a couple of these bad boys: “Say hello to my little friend!! …Hold on let me re load my little friends.. wait have to light them, okay got it… where did everyone go?” Not exactly the same effect as a machine gun, which leads me to my next point.

In the U.S. it is legal to purchase machine guns that are considered “transferable” which means they were registered as machine guns before May 1986. What constitutes as a transferable machine gun? Basically any gun that looks like it belongs in a modern day war movie, except they’re legal for all civilians to buy because they were registered before 1986.

A machine gun by definition is “Any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger” and the U.S. is one of the few countries in the world that allow for Tony Montana guns to be legally bought by any civilian.

Now this isn’t an argument to repel the second amendment and take away everyone’s guns. You have the right to bear arms. You have the right to protect your home and your family for whatever danger you foresee, but wouldn’t a shotgun be enough? Doesn’t a shotgun say “I’ll protect my home but i’m not trying to take out 40 people with one trigger”?

My point is the second amendment is outdated. The first thing they look for when you buy a gun is to make sure you are sane of mind (which really they don’t do a very good job of analyzing.. but that’s a different argument for a different day) but shouldn’t just wanting to own a gun that could fire off rounds in a second and kill multiple humans at once when you’re a civilian not fighting in Iraq say more about your mental stability than any documentation?

Why do you NEED IT? There’s no buffalo anymore. There are no Westward expansion fears. There’s no fear of a tyrannical takeover. But even if these fears were still here the only thing you really need is a shot gun just like in 1791 they only needed a rifle.

I imagine the ghost of James Madison is screaming at Congressional hearings “JUST CHANGE THE DAMN AMENDMENT WHAT ARE YOU DOING THOSE ARE NOT THE GUNS I SAID PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO WHY ARE YOU GIVING EVERYONE FREE REIGN TO MURDER HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE?!!!!!!” But unfortunately, no one can hear the ghost of James Madison over the NRA.


  • Turner

    The puckle gun, pepperbox revolver, and girandoni air rifle all existed during and before the American revolution so the idea that it was written only for muskets is immediately ruled out. And strictly for militia is also untrue, James Madison (who you seem to think had no idea technology would advance over time) wrote a letter of Marque and Reprisal to allow a private ship to carry cannons (a.k.a. artillery).

    Secondly no civilian can purchase a “machine gun” as you so lovingly phrase it (thanks for not using the phrase “assault weapon” that’s just getting old). The fact is you already have to have a Class 3 gun license to sell “fully automatic” weapons and even then the likelihood of finding such a store is highly unlikely. I shop at a number of military surplus stores that don’t have a class 3 license.

    You talked about not needing to hunt to survive but I speak from experience when I say plenty of us still do. I grew up dirt poor and the fact of the matter is a .270 round is a lot cheaper than the meat it provides. I can say without doubt my family would have gone hungry a lot more often if we hadn’t been putting meat on the table ourselves.

    Back to the facts though fully automatic weapons are practically never used for criminal activity in modern America. Most of that gun crime is carried out with handguns that fire one bullet each time you pull the trigger (those of us who own guns know that as “semi-automatic). Many of the shotguns that you mentioned can also fire once each time you pull the trigger but they actually tend to spray multiple projectiles at once.

    The fact is most of the “automatic” weapons people tend to freak out about shoot at the same speed (if not slower) than a handgun. More people are stabbed with knives than are killed with any of the scary rifles CNN said were evil.

    The point of the second amendment was that we never had to fear tyrannical takeover. If we give up our ability to defend against that then we open the door for someone to try. See, oddly enough, it’s kind of hard to get weapons to defend against the tyrant when they’ve already taken over.