The 2020 presidential campaigns have just begun, but on the issue of gun control, we’re already hearing a common refrain from numerous candidates: The Second Amendment does not protect anyone’s right to own, as they put it, “weapons of war”…
But of course, as the linked essay accurately points out, this point of view is absolutely and categorically incorrect. In fact, it is 180° false and wrong-headed. It is precisely ownership of “weapons of war” that the Second Amendment does protect! As Mark Houser, author of this essay, puts it,
“The Second Amendment unambiguously protects our right to own ‘weapons of war.’ That is, weapons suitable not just for sport, but for combat.
“Many people find this obvious. It’s hard to imagine what else the Second Amendment could possibly be intended to do. James Madison wrote the Second Amendment in the aftermath of a bloody war for independence from a tyrannical empire. The first shots of that war were fired to resist disarmament. Can anyone truly believe that Madison wrote the Second Amendment with, say, hunting or target shooting in mind? It’s a preposterous notion.”
And he also correctly notes that
“Gun control proponents are quick to point out that Madison and his contemporaries didn’t imagine the sort of weapons that exist today. That’s probably true, but it’s irrelevant to the question at hand.
“We don’t say that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to typed or online publications simply because the Framers did not imagine typewriters or the internet. We don’t say that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to search and surveillance capabilities that the Framers did not imagine, such as GPS tracking.”
The Anglophilic Anglican adds: although that will be next, if we lose the 2nd Amendment – the one that guarantees all the others. Or maybe the 1st Amendment will be the next victim. By that point, it hardly matters… At any rate, Houser continues:
“Technological development doesn’t change the fundamental nature of the rights that the Bill of Rights seeks to secure.”
Amen. Read the whole thing. It’s worth it. We need to understand these matters, and be clear about them when it comes to political discourse! For too long we have let the Left define the terms of the argument. That needs to change.