Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The value of the Second Amendment

I don't do big political posts here. I'd rather not stir the hornet's nest, but readers here undoubtedly know how I feel. As a preparedness guy, I'd be remiss not to weigh in on the arguments going around. Here's my piece, take it for what it is.

Why is there a Second Amendment - This is the crux of the problem. We often hear people state that "no one will take away your hunting guns". But 2A isn't about hunting. It's about allowing the people to resist a tyrannical government. Period. That's the first thing we need to be clear on. With that in mind, let's look at the arguments made against the current state of gun ownership in the US.

The Founding Fathers couldn't have foreseen what guns would be like in 200 years
First off, this is a non-argument. The 2nd Amendment doesn't include "unless technology advances".
Secondly, these were men who were the bright minds of their day. Many were inventors, authors, great thinkers. Some saw advances to firearms within their lifetime in the form of the percussion cap. They were one, maybe 2 generations removed from the heavy use of matchlock muskets. Rifling became more prevalent during the late 18th century and was used by them to good effect during the revolution. In fact, the rifle has changed less in the past 100 years than it did in the 100 before that. To state that they couldn't imagine advances to guns beyond their current experience is to assume, as so many do, that people used to be less intelligent than we are today. Certainly they wouldn't know the exact form, but they knew things would advance.
Finally, the intent was to allow the citizenry to resist an oppressive government. I doubt they expected more than civilians having the same firearms as the common soldier. Today that is a select-fire M4 rifle and an M9 semi-automatic pistol. Already we are prevented from owning select fire weapons, so the civilian is less armed than intended. And no, no one is saying folks should have more than a common soldier, no rocket launchers or flame throwers

Civilians can't fight the US military. They have tanks, jets, and bombs
That this argument is even made in the face of over a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq is astounding. The insurgency in those countries, a very small portion of the population, did an awful lot of damage being very outgunned by the US military.
When our Revolution began, the rebels were very outgunned. There were a few cannons in private hands, but very few. The budding country had no warships to call on and no control of forts. The first shots were fired by militia against trained and professional soldiers. Yet they managed, over many years, to turn the tides against the largest army in the world. Even in the modern age, there are methods used to fight against advanced technology.
There is also the fact that a large portion of the military and/or police force would have difficulty carrying out attacks on US citizens. Small groups of wackos are one thing, but a concerted uprising against a government deemed to be in violation of the Constitutional rights of a citizenry is completely different. Military oaths are sworn to uphold the constitution, not the current US government.

The constitution can be amended to remove the 2nd Amendment
Yes, it can. We've done it before for good reason. We've also done it for bad reasons, like Prohibition. That didn't work out by well for us, as banning something often makes it more desirable.
To me, the bigger problem is that the amendment in question is one of the first 10, the Bill of Rights. If we change or remove the 2nd one, what prevents us from messing with the other 9? Already the government has made inroads on our privacy and our right to a speedy trial through long term detention. Free speech comes under attack regularly. Once one falls, can we honestly say others won't?
Yes, this is the slippery slope argument, and one that has been had since the country started. Take away the 2nd Amendment, though, and you remove the last recourse afforded us when we were founded.

We already have a militia in the National Guard:
Without arguing the wording of the "right of the people" portion of the Amendment, the Guard when formed was done so as a formal militia, with the intent that the people made up an informal militia. Should the need arise, every citizen could be called upon to defend the nation. In recent years, the idea that our Guard is strictly a militia has been proven false. Regular deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan prove that they are treated as a wing of the military and not for defending the borders of the state and country to which they belong. This defies the idea that they are strictly a defensive force.

We're more advanced, we don't have to defend ourselves against the government
Yes, I have heard this. Recent history is full of examples where this has proven untrue. Iraq, Afghanistan, numerous Central and South American nations, Kosovo...the list goes on and on. The "it can't happen here" argument is never a good one. It is nothing shy of conceit to think we're better or different than other people on this planet. In the USA we love to claim we're #1, but our history is chock full of horrible things we've done to our own people.

That's my $.02, feel free to weigh in with your thoughts, arguments, etc. Preferably right here below and keep them polite. Thanks!