The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what does it say and what was its intent?
The Constitution of the United States was finalized, signed, and forwarded to Congress by the members of the Constitutional Congress in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. It became effective after ratification on March 4, 1789. It didn't take long before becoming clear that more was needed to explain and guarantee the rights of both citizens and non-citizens. On December 15,1791 the first ten Amendments to the Constitution, or Bill of Rights, was ratified. The Second Amendment as passed by the House and Senate (as Article the fourth) read:
"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."
Both the capitalization and the punctuation as ratified by the states read slightly differently and as follows:
"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."
With that being said, what does the Second Amendment mean and what was the intended purpose? Hopefully you know that it guarantees the right of "the People" to keep and bear arms. To keep means to own and to bear means to possess. It should be as simple as that, but it isn't. I really wish it was but then as now writers of legal documents didn't seem to be able to say what they meant in simple and straightforward terms. Because they didn't we will continue to fight this battle until we are disarmed or until another amendment with greater clarification is written, passed, and ratified. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to happen in light of how infested with leftism this country has become.
The first point of contention comes from the used of the word "regulated". In the context of the period it would have been obvious to the masses but today the average dolt is easily convinced that gun ownership should be regulated, or restricted by the government. And why not, that certainly seems plausible to them. However, I trust that you have the capacity to understand that the Amendment exists for the purpose of guaranteeing that "the People" will be free from government tyranny, and insuring that could never include letting those that it intended to keep us free from choose what we can have that would allow us to maintain that freedom. For most enemies of gun ownership it is neither confusion nor ignorance but an intentional desire to undermine the intent of the Second Amendment. Instead of it being seen as a guarantor of freedom it is seen by many on the extreme left as something that can be used in its modern context for the advancement of their destructive agenda. That even seems to be the case for a number of people that have taken an oath to defend the Constitution, specifically the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. Unfortunately they will never be brought to justice and punished for their deliberate attempt to violate it.
The next problem comes from the choosing of the word "militia". Hindsight would dictate that "citizenry" or something synonymous would have been a better choice. A free standing militia would have been a sufficient counter two hundred years ago but things have changed and today and any organized militia resembling a paramilitary group would be dismantled or destroyed by the U.S. government. Many opponents contending that we no longer need private citizens armed in order to keep government from becoming tyrannical state that the National Guard has taken the role of the militia. Who do they think they're kidding? The National Guard is a product of the U.S. Army, which is a product of the U.S. government. It isn't close to being the same thing as la Garde nationale, its namesake from the French Revolution and which was apart from, and not part of the government.
How does this all apply to gun ownership in the 21st century and beyond? If the majority of the population is ignorant to the past and doesn't realize how the 2nd Amendment affects their freedom they won't feel obligated to protect it. I am constantly amazed by how many people in the United States are thoroughly convinced that they will never be oppressed by our government in spite of the fact that given the opportunity every government as evolved into one of oppression on some level for as long as civilization has been governed. Through misinformation and socialist indoctrination throughout much of our public education system a shockingly high number of Americans have been taught that they should be willing to give up freedom and personal responsibility for a false promise of security from their government. It is unfortunate that we have allowed this to happen but I cite this as all the more reason why it is imperative that those of us that choose to be armed continue to fight for that right.
What does the Second Amendment have to do with hunting? Actually, not a thing. You have absolutely no right to hunt that can't be taken away by either your local, state, or federal government at any time. You have no constitutional right to hunt, period. You do have a constitutional right to be armed for the purpose of defending yourself from forces outside of and within this country. Don't allow yourself to be convinced that you only need a gun for hunting, or that only guns that serve a "sporting purpose" have a place in society and should be legal. If you allow that to be the guideline you will allow yourself to be disarmed through restrictions and/or bans on hunting. It has happened in other countries and it will happen here. If certain groups with clout and bad intentions in this country think disarming the population is as easy as banning or severely restricting hunting they will do it. Don't give them the incentive to do so.
So, whether you own guns that are used for hunting, target shooting, or protection, what are you doing to protect the rights to own firearms? I hope you are doing something. Many people over the last two hundred-plus years have fought and died for the freedom that we have today and if some of those people hadn't also been fighting for your right to own a firearm you wouldn't own one today. It ought to be obvious that gun owners face opponents that are dedicated to taking away our right to keep and bear arms and they have to be stopped. You might not like the idea of lobbyists, gun advocacy groups, or even being aligned with organizations that are portrayed as extremist by the leftists in the media and other sources. That is understandable but you had better also understand that those gun groups are powerful and effective and that is why they are despised by anti-gunners. I can also assure you that those same opponents of gun-ownership have no problem using whatever lies, propaganda, and over the top dramatization that they can to advance their cause and strip you of your right to own a gun, and I mean any gun. How ironic it is that the television and print media which owes its existence to the right to freedom of speech (as guaranteed in Article the third in the Bill of Rights) has shown themselves to be dedicated to the undermining of the Constitution and the effective if not literal abolishment of the Second Amendment. Don't allow them to be effective in oppressing you by their attempt to paint you as some zealot because you are willing to join others in fighting for your constitutional rights. To do so is to play right into the anti-gunner's hands.
Who is fighting for our Second Amendment right? Not all groups claiming to be fighting on behalf of gun owners really are. The one that has by far been the most successful is the National Rifle Association. They have been fighting for nearly one hundred-fifty years and they have been the most successful at thwarting the efforts of the gun grabbers. They haven't won every battle but in all likelihood they are the only reason you are still able to freely use your gun today. Without them gun ownership would likely be an underground activity with all commerce being illegal. If you never belong to another gun or hunting group I strongly encourage you to join and support the NRA. I have been a member for thirty years and appreciate what they have done with everything from training law enforcement to firearms safety instruction.
Gun Owners of America is another group that is fighting for our Second Amendment right. I am not a member of this longstanding group but I recognize their effort in the fight to preserve our right to keep and bear arms. I encourage you to visit their website. They have a host of links to other supporters of the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms are other pro-gun groups that are tied to each other. Each performs a different function and the separation is one of legality. This is another organization that I am not a member of but I am familiar with both the name and the fact that they have been around for at least a couple of decades.
At the other end of the spectrum is a "Hunters and Shooters" association that touts itself as being a mainstream coalition of hunters and shooters. This group is a fraud and their primary objective is obvious. Their efforts are aimed at attacking the NRA while being a political tool for an anti-gun political candidates. Don't be fooled by this trojan horse. I have no desire to promote this dishonest propaganda machine so their name will not be mentioned. You will know them when you see them. They are every bit as much of a threat to gun owners as any anti-gun group. In fact, because they can be used as a source by the leftist media as speaking on behalf of gun owners they have the potential to be more dangerous.
I ask that as a gun owner you get involved in defending your right to own guns. The never-ending assault on gun ownership affects you whether you are participating in our fight or not. If you have been letting other gun owners carry your burden for you it is time you take responsibility and start supporting pro-gun ownership groups. Don't let anti-gunners let you think they are only after guns they label as assault rifles, Saturday night specials, or anything else. Those are nothing more than terms designed to divide gun owners and make us choose a side amongst ourselves. From a function standpoint an "assault rifle" is no different than your Remington, Browning, or Beretta shotgun. A menacing sounding label can be attached to any firearm and if gun owners allow it to become an effective strategy every gun will have one. Make no mistake that there are politically powerful factions in this country that have the desire to ban all guns regardless of blatant lies they make to the contrary. Every time they are able to infringe on guns ownership rights through legislation or litigation it further emboldens them to seek additional restrictions. They are incrementally pecking away at the one thing that guarantees your freedom and security and they will never stop until all guns are banned. I hope you are already a member of the NRA and/or other pro-gun ownership group but if you aren't there is no better time to join than today.