Interpreting the Second Amendment
the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
By Jeff Knox
It has been famously said and often repeated that the Constitution means what the Supreme Court says it means. While this statement is generally true, it is incomplete. Regardless of what the Supreme Court says, the Constitution ultimately means what the People believe it to mean.
So far in our history the Supreme Court has refrained from any interpretation of the Constitution that was so flagrantly at odds with the beliefs of the People that a serious, violent uprising ensued. But they may have come perilously close in last year's decision in DC v. Heller. In that case the Court unanimously agreed that the Second Amendment refers to an individual right to arms, but disagreed in a 5 – 4 split as to whether the District of Columbia's virtual ban on handguns violated that individual right. Even in the prevailing opinion, the justices expressed positions which are completely at odds with the understanding of those of us in the Second Amendment community.
The Second Amendment exists to ensure that the government does not trample the rights of the People under color of law. There are some 90 million gunowners in the U.S. and at least one third of those maintain a relatively purist understanding of the Second Amendment; meaning that at least 30 million citizens would strenuously object to any interpretation of the Second Amendment supporting the banning of any type of commonly held firearm or the mandatory registration of firearms or licensing of firearm owners. That's 30 million people – with guns – rejecting unconstitutional laws, regardless of what the Supreme Court might approve.
That is not to say that 30 million gunowners would rise up in armed revolt at the passage of an "assault weapon" ban or a registration scheme; we would not. A fair number of us would however roundly refuse to comply with such laws and thus, officially become criminals. If even a third of those Second Amendment fundamentalists refused do comply with an unconstitutional ban, the results would be disastrous. Any attempt to apprehend and punish any of those 30 million, otherwise law-abiding citizens, for the crime of disobeying an unconstitutional law would undoubtedly escalate tensions and could lead to some very serious consequences.
This is not Great Britain or Australia; American gunowners are not just hunters, collectors, and hobbyists; we are patriots and see our firearms as part of our patriotic duty. We are the heirs of liberty and we see it as a sacred obligation to protect and defend the rights ensconced in the Constitution. We see our firearms, along with our convictions, as the final guarantors of liberty and protections for the Constitution.
It matters not one whit what hoplophobic politicians and radical anti-rights activists – or even the majority on the Supreme Court – might think is reasonable and acceptable; there are at least 30 million of us who Know what the Second Amendment means and we are not going to be swayed by hollow arguments about "public safety," "terrorist threats," or "the greater good." We Know that we are the good guys and that we are right. We Know that we are no threat to anyone except, criminals, tyrants, and jack-booted thugs. We Know that attacking our Constitutional Rights – whether by regulation, legislation, or court order – is attacking our nation and our way of life and we will not simply roll over and surrender the Constitution.
The American people need to understand that what the hoplophobes and gun prohibitionists are suggesting with their gun bans and licensing schemes is that the government declare me and millions of other patriotic, law-abiding citizens to be criminals. They are advocating that if I do not comply with their unconstitutional orders I should be hunted down, and either incarcerated or killed! Killed because I believe the Constitution means what it says and I choose to safely own firearms which scare them.
Perhaps part of gun grabbers' plan is to push gun control far enough to drive the most extreme of our number to push back with violence and thus justify the need to disarm the rest of us. So the most dedicated of the Second Amendment purists might actually play into the strategies of any of our opponents, but I honestly wouldn't put it past some of them. That's why it is so critical that we go on the political offense and remain steadfastly on the civil defense. If the enemies of the Second Amendment can provokd a violent action they can convince a broad majority of Americans that gunowners are a greater threat than unchecked government power; at that point there would be little possibility for peaceful resolution.
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