by Michael Schwartz
What has to be understood about guns is it doesn’t matter what polls say or what crime statistics show. If it did matter and it was up to the public, we wouldn’t need an amendment in place to protect gun rights.
The Second Amendment guarantees civilians their right to own and carry guns used by the military. That is the meaning and that is the purpose.
“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.” – Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 1791
“Well regulated” means competent and properly functional. If it were written today it would probably read “well trained and equipped.” “Militia” means a fighting force made of civilians who are not professional soldiers. “Necessary” means today what it meant back then: not an option, but essential. “Security of a free state” means Americans across the country living under the experiment of self-governance. “The right of the people” means the same thing throughout the writings of the documents that formed our country when “rights” and “the people” are used. Rights are unalienable and given by nature or nature’s creator and “the people” are people within the borders of the United States. “Shall not be infringed” means exactly what it says.
Because a trained militia is a requirement of a self-governing nation and because a militia is a military force made up of the country’s civilians, weapons used by our military, law-enforcement, and foreign military is exactly what the Second Amendment protects. That means semi-automatic rifles and pistols with detachable magazines that carry 30 rounds of ammunition.
Make the argument that civilians should no longer have this type of access to arms used by the military and have that discussion. Squirm around and furrow your brow while looking down your nose at all of America telling us that modern society no longer has the need for … blah, blah, etc. But know that getting rid of the Second Amendment means two things: we are truly no longer a “free state,” with the self-governing experiment being over — and it means repealing and/or replacing the Second Amendment. Not violating it as the California legislature does and as President Obama suggests.
Fortunately, public opinion and crime statistics both favor the side of the Second Amendment. But as you debate the subject, be well-versed in the real purpose of the Second Amendment; to ensure that civilians have access to military arms that they can own and carry. Just in case public opinion is swayed by emotion or the misinformation from media or interests groups, there is an amendment protecting that right. It is no more a right to take away a civilian’s ability to own an AR style rifle via state law or presidential decree than it is to take away a woman’s right to vote, or an African American’s freedom, or everyone’s right to worship in the way they see fit.
It is time to stop pussyfooting around. It is time to stop talking about “reasonable restrictions” and “common sense gun laws,” which are both simply code words for “gun ban.” It is time to stop talking about home defense, hunting, and shooting sports. It is time to start pointing out the Constitution and law. I can easily see in Article 5 what it takes to amend the Constitution. Now show me where in Article 2 the executive branch has that same ability.
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Schwartz is a gun rights activist and the head of the Second Amendment Caucus of the Republican Party of San Diego County.