The Second Amendment

Columbine, 1999
Virginia Tech, 2007
Sandy Hook, 2012
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 2018

I have surely missed a lot more.

Believe it or not, I agree with the National Rifle Association (NRA) when its representatives endlessly pontificate that the Second Amendment gives every U.S. citizen the right to keep and bear arms:

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.
—December 15, 1791

Apparently the NRA also believes, and I guess very sincerely, that this includes and guarantees the right to keep (i.e., own) and use such modern weapons as an AR-15, which is capable of firing .223 caliber bullets as fast as you can pull the trigger. (And fully automatic if you want to spend a few more bucks for the attachment.) But I cannot but wonder why or whether one of these days, the NRA doesn’t suddenly decide that the Second Amendment also grants me the right to keep (i.e., own) more modern arms (weapons) such as an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade launcher], a flamethrower, a drone carrying a ballistic missile, or even a surplus M-1 tank. Those would certainly come in handy if I were ever to decide to carry out whatever deep and crazy resentments I had toward my neighborhood school, library, doctor’s office, government office, or the local delicatessen (for the funny way the guy looked at me).

So here’s my proposal regarding the NRA, the Second Amendment, and all those people who absolutely need to own an AR-15 simply because the U.S. Constitution says they have the right to do so. By the way, I believe that I also have the constitutional right to own a D-8 bulldozer, 60 pounds of ammonium nitrate, a retired F-101 fighter jet, and a surplus mine-sweeper. I have never exercised that right because I could never justify my absolute need for such things.

Let’s literally interpret the Second Amendment to mean what I believe the framers intended it to mean.

Yes, you can keep and bear arms — but they must conform to the standards of the kind of arms that were readily available to all American citizens in 1791. I believe that was some crude one-shot .60 caliber (!) rifles and some sort of unwieldy and cumbersome flint-lock pistols.

I would surely like to see this come before the Supreme Court as a test case.


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