As a gun owner, it would be best to have a few fast facts in your back pocket when it comes to your right to own and/or carry a weapon.
The original body of the Constitution of the United States consisted of 7 Articles (or sections) that set up the basic functions of government offices, such as Executive functions like taxation, roads, post offices, commercial regulations, armed forces, states rights, elections, etc. Try not to yawn here. Hold on, it gets better!
This document was signed by those fellas, sometimes referred to as the Founding Fathers, all gun owners, on September 17, 1787. George Washington, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton were some of the notables that signed it before it went to the states to agree upon it. To them, owning and carrying a gun was as natural of a right as any they outlined in the Constitution. The opening sentence that begins with “We the People…” is a beautiful piece of enlightened thinking; the actual document reads like a ho-hum laundry list of rules. But the Bill of Rights portion of the Constitution is where we get into our personal rights.
Endless buried regulations, restrictions, and registrations cannot counter the simple and timeless words, “keep and bear arms.” That ranks right up there with freedom of religion or speech. You just can’t mess with those simple words.
Some people, at that time, felt that the Constitution did not fully protect “the people” or individuals or individual rights. The citizens of the new country wanted to be sure that an elite class of a bully king, and their legislative rhetoric, could never again infringe on their newly declared rights as American citizens. Taking away the right for people to own arms, and to have a free press and free speech are the first steps on the journey to a Monarchy or Dictatorship. For this and other reasons, The Bill of Rights was brought to life by the first congress and fully ratified by the states by December 15, 1791. The original ten amendments protect a variety of personal rights, and among these rights the Second Amendment guarantees to you the right to keep and bear arms.
“…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The Second Amendment appears in the Bill of Rights among the amendments securing individual rights, a placement that indicates that the right of the people to keep and bear arms belongs to individuals. The Amendment secures to “the people” the right to keep and to bear arms owned by them, not the National Guard. It secures the right for citizens to be able to use their own firearms in time of invasion of home, family, or country. These arms were used for hunting, and personal protection.
To “bear” means to carry. “I come bearing gifts” does not mean I have to leave them at home! Not only was the right to keep them guaranteed, but also to carry them from place to place.
David Ramsay, a state legislator of the era, asked, “What European power will dare to attack us, when it is known that the yeomanry of the country uniformly armed and disciplined, may on any emergency be called out to our defense.
John Locke (1632-1704)
“Whereas by supposing they have given up themselves to the absolute arbitrary power and will of a legislator, they have disarmed themselves, and armed him to make a prey of them when he pleases…”
Did the image of people from flooded homes desperately waving helpless hands in the air to be lifted to safely, or the image of businesses being looted bring home the fact that personal safely is each person’s responsibility? The Constitution does not guarantee your personal safety or your family’s safety; that’s your job, and the Second Amendment is the tool that guarantees you the right to carry out your responsibility. We must not fall victim to the vague laws proposed, written by legislators designed to subvert the true spirit of our Constitution. Endless buried regulations, restrictions, and registrations cannot counter the simple and timeless words, “keep and bear arms.” That ranks right up there with freedom of religion or speech. You just can’t mess with those simple words. It is what it is.
The Second Amendment is part of an armory, both philosophical and physical, that can be used to defend your freedom and the American way of life.
[ Alexa H. Madison, a collector of fun historical facts and stories. Concordia University Graduate—History. Madison traveled the Western U.S. for 20 years before settling in the Wisconsin area. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ]