In my experience, most discussions of the 2nd amendment weigh the rights of hunters, home protectors, and gun hobbyists against the effort to reduce the likelihood that a criminal, a political or Islamic radical, or a madman can obtain a gun.
But the original intent of the second amendment looms quietly. A letter to the editor in a July 24, 2016 newspaper interrupted the silence. Heidi Smith wrote, “Every U.S. citizen is the organized militia. It is our responsibility to take up arms against any force that would try to dismantle the Constitution. …[I]f we ever do need to rise up, remember this: our enemy won’t be using pop guns; they’ll be using AK’s and AR’s.”
That may explain opposition to compromises that outlaw AK’s and AR’s. The Second Amendment begins “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State ….” A “militia” is an army of citizens, not professional soldiers, called upon in an emergency.
Joseph Story, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, wrote in a law textbook, in 1833, that “the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms”… is a safeguard “of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpations and arbitrary power of rulers; and it will … enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
I take that to mean that if a second American Revolution is needed, U.S. citizens should have sufficient firepower, including AK’s and AR’s, to threaten the professional army. Which collection of modern citizens do we trust to stockpile such weapons?
Compare current conditions to 1776. Are “the liberties of the republic” less infringed today than then? Have we witnessed or can we envision upcoming “usurpations and arbitrary power of rulers?”
I can think of previous attempts to resist and triumph over “arbitrary power of rulers.” The Whiskey Rebellion was squelched by an army led by George Washington. In recent time attacks upon police by individuals and groups have been widely approved. Our prominent attempt to resist and triumph over a federal government’s usurpation and arbitrary power was the Civil War.
Those who hint of readiness for another American revolution need to remember the Civil War and ask “Am I ready for that?”
I think highly of the U.S. Constitution. I regret its progressive deterioration. But responsibility for its dismantling will not belong to one president, one congress, or one Supreme Court. The undermining of the Constitution has been and will be the work of many judges, educated in American law schools, appointed by presidents elected and often re-elected by U.S. citizens. The process has been widely approved by citizen communicators, teachers, business leaders, and lobbyists.
To initiate a war because another straw is laid on the camel’s back hardly seems prudent. Furthermore, if the constitution loyalists are out-numbered and out-weighed, they would probably lose the war. If they were not out-numbered and out-weighed, the deterioration would not have occurred.
Do I think the situation is hopeless? Yes and No
No, because widespread rejection of violent entertainment on television, movies, and computer games would change our culture. There would be fewer criminals, radicals, and madmen. And those that existed would be less acclimated to violence.
Yes, because I don’t think Americans will make the change.
So do I intend to emigrate? No, I don’t for at least three reasons. One, where would I go? Two, the people to whom I am attached live here. Three, I’ve decided to willfully own the pledge which I was led to repeat before I understood. I pledged allegiance to the American republic: one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. If need be I can argue that that nation has ceased to exist. We no longer are characteristically “under God, with liberty and justice for all.” Such religion, liberty, and justice for Christians are eroding.
Let me explain my claim to be a patriot. My loyalty to the United States is not contingent on it being the greatest nation on earth. Even if it is, that may change. My loyalty is not contingent on a history of righteousness. Our treatment of “native Americans” and others whose property we desired, our status as a leader in the dissemination of pornography, and our market for harmful drugs are among the facts making that claim shaky. My loyalty is not dependent upon my agreement with our founding values. I am not convinced that our perception of oppression by the British justified violating Biblically prescribed submission to “the authorities that exist.”
There is much about the United States, historically and currently, that is noble. But the most important reason for my patriotism, for my sense of responsibility to the United States is simply because it is my home. My loyalty and sense of responsibility to my family is not dependent upon its members being the greatest, most noble, or most anything. The bottom line is they are my family. And the United States is my country.