Second Amendment Thoughts Revisited

I originally posted Second Amendment Thoughts last year around this time, but I thought, in light of the most recent incidents of mass shootings in the United States over the past two weeks, I thought it might be worth revisiting it. I’ve made some changes and updates to the original.

I have perspectives regarding the Second Amendment. In fact, I have strong opinions about whether or not it actually applies to the ownership and use of concealed weapons and assault-style rifles. So let’s talk about what the Second Amendment actually says.

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.

What does it really mean? The opening phrase refers to “a well regulated militia.” What is a militia? According to dictionary.com, a militia is “a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers.”

Merriam-webster.com defines it as “a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency” or “a body of citizens organized for military service.” Using these definitions of “militia,” most Americans are not members of one.

Now what about well regulated? The free dictionary.com defines well regulated as “controlled or supervised to conform to rules, regulations, tradition, etc.” I suggest that, when it comes to gun ownership in America, including concealed weapons, open carry, and semiautomatic assault rifles, the notion of “well regulated” is not even close.

Okay, let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that the framers of the Constitution really did intend for all citizens — well, at least white male citizens — to be armed, should they so choose, regardless of whether they were members of a “well regulated militia.”

But let’s also put this in context of the late 18th Century, when the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written. This was a time when “standing armies” (e.g., the British Redcoats) were seen as a potential threat to freedom and liberty, and when calling out of the militia required individual soldiers to supply their own weapons.

Plus, the “arms” of that era were single-fire muskets, which, by the way, are impossible to carry around concealed, and flint-lock pistols. According to eHow.com, the steps involved in loading and firing a musket are:

  1. Standing up, set the hammer to “half cock” for safety reasons. You’ll be looking down the barrel quite a bit, and you don’t want the hammer on full cock, which if kicked or dropped, might cause the musket to fire.
  2. Grab a charge out of the box or from your ammo pouch. Tear off the top of the charge with your teeth and keep the ball that was on the top in your mouth. Pour the powder down the barrel. Put the ball of lead into the barrel and put the wadding from the package on top.
  3. Take the ramrod and tamp the powder, the ball, and the wadding into the barrel. The wadding is there to make sure that the ball and gunpowder stay put.
  4. Add some gunpowder to the flash pan below the trigger and fully cock the musket.
  5. Aim for the biggest mass you can on the battlefield because this weapon is not very accurate. Once you’ve set your sights on your target, press the trigger and the hammer will come down. This strikes flint against the pan, causing the gunpowder behind the ball to ignite and the weapon to fire.

At best, a highly trained soldier might have been able to pump out two to four musket shots a minute. Now let’s contrast that with an AR-15, today’s semiautomatic weapon of choice. Using 30 round magazines, it can easily fire off 30 to 45 rounds a minute.

Now think about our Founding Fathers back then, sitting around listening to tunes on their iPhones , texting each other, watching the Patriots game on their 65 inch, flat-panel Ultra High Def TV, or checking what their friends were up to on Facebook or Twitter. Can you seriously believe they had military-grade, semiautomatic assault rifles in mind when they drafted the Second Amendment?

Fast forward to today. Do gun rights activists and the NRA genuinely feel that it’s necessary for everyday citizens to be able to arm themselves with these assault weapons that are intended to inflict the maximum fatality potential in order to defend their homes or to hunt defenseless wild game?

Apparently they do. The U.S. has 4% of the world’s population and 42% of its firearms. There are mass shooting nearly every week in this country. In May 2019, 50 New Zealanders were killed in a mass shooting. Six days later the country banned all automatic and semiautomatic firearms sales and there have been no more mass shootings since then. Actions speak louder than words. Way louder than thoughts and prayers. It’s time to take action in this country.

If you look at high-income countries and territories with populations of 10 million or more, the U.S. has the highest gun death rate per 100,000 population than any other such country — by far!

I believe any reasonably thinking human being, even those who support the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, can’t possibly justify the availability and use of such assault weapons by other than members of the military — the professional military.

We need to stop the insanity. Enough is enough. It’s time for Congress to put public health above special interests and politics. Otherwise I’m afraid for the future of our society.

53 thoughts on “Second Amendment Thoughts Revisited

  1. Vic Crain May 27, 2022 / 10:05 am

    Personally, the key point in the argument turns on the phrase, “well regulated.” To me, regulation means the ability to set rules of use for weapons, to give orders and have them obeyed. That basically negates the entire current debate.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. newepicauthor May 27, 2022 / 10:06 am

    How many guns are needed for a reasonable relationship of the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia? When the second amendment was written, things were different, as farmers could be attacked by wild Indians back then, but now guns just cause harm to others.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Vic Crain May 27, 2022 / 10:09 am

    Reblogged this on CRAIN'S COMMENTS and commented:
    What’s missing in the current discussion is any mention of he phrase, “well regulated militia.” This phrase in the Second Amendment to the Constitutiion has been interpreted to assure the right to own weapons, but it also guarantees the right to set rules for their use and have those rules followed. If you take the Amendment literally, it could be argued that the only people entitled to own weapons are members of the National Guard, the modern version of the militia.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Mister Bump UK May 27, 2022 / 10:24 am

    Tell me, is it hypothesised there why mass shootings only began circa 1950? Did shootings happen before, just went unreported? Or was there such an influx of weapons after WW2 that a greater proportion of the population was armed? (I read yesterday that the first acknowledged “mass shooting” was with a German pistol.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango May 27, 2022 / 2:17 pm

      Good question. It may because of the availability of semiautomatic rifles, or maybe the growth of mass media, or the NRA’s growth and influence.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mister Bump UK May 27, 2022 / 10:08 pm

        It’s academic but there certainly *was* a time when guns were available but people did not go around shooting each other.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. slmret May 27, 2022 / 10:35 am

    Very well said — thank you! Unfortunately, too many people stop reading after the Title of the amendment (“Right to. bear arms”). They miss the “well regulated,” and the “militia,” and the other 25 word amendment! Is the amendment itself the real issue, or is it the degradation of the basic values on which the country was founded?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marilyn Armstrong May 27, 2022 / 12:02 pm

      Both. And something that’s uniquely American — a willingness to agree with anything — no matter how ridiculous — as long as it agrees with what we already have decided to believe. We must be the MOST naïve nation on earth.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Fandango May 27, 2022 / 3:03 pm

      I think it’s a few things: through the years the “loose” interpretation of “well regulated militia,” the refusal to acknowledge the evolution of the killing power of fire arms, and the division of partisan politics.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Marilyn Armstrong May 27, 2022 / 12:00 pm

    Our national mottos?

    “Buy your guns here! Nothing to sign, no regulation. Come one, come all!”

    We will never get past it until parents and children get together and BOYCOTT SCHOOLS UNTIL THEY BAN ASSAULT WEAPONS AND REQUIRE FULL INSURANCE FOR EVERY GUN PURCHASED AS WELL AS REGISTRATION — JUST LIKE A CAR!

    I can absolutely guarantee once insurance companies get involved, NO ONE will want to mess with them. They can and will nail your ass to the wall.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. JT Twissel May 27, 2022 / 12:53 pm

    I’m sure the founding fathers would be mortified. I agree with your other readers – gun advocates completely ignore the “well regulated” part of the amendment.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. XingfuMama May 27, 2022 / 2:58 pm

    When you posted this initially I had some back and forth in the comments with someone. From that I subsequently wrote this blog post: https://xingfumama.blog/2021/06/07/swiss-army-knife/. I reread it and it still rings true for me. There is too much knee jerk, false equivalencies and disingenuously misleading nonsense being spouted. We need to recognize that it isn’t 1776 any more. People don’t hunt for food or need to shoot varmint on farms any more. The discussion today is all to often about shooting people.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Richmond Road May 27, 2022 / 3:00 pm

    However Americans are perceived in other parts of the world they are not perceived as illiterate – so it’s fairly clear to everyone else that they CHOOSE to misread the second amendment and refuse to place it in context. Clearly, a mob of good-ole-boys with Russian assault weapons does not constitute a well regulated militia. My understanding is that the original intent was not to deal with external threats but rather potential internal threats. My understanding is that the potential threats that those founding fathers were concerned about was a rogue government of sorts. You have, arguably, the strongest military force on the planet to deal with any external threats and you would think, likewise, together with a highly trained police force, they could probably handle the internal ones as well – if not for the fact that they would BE the internal threat, assuming that the government controls the military. No matter the case, the military will be on one side or the other and there seems little point in arming yourselves against them.
    If all that is true (and please correct me if I am wrong) then the second amendment would seem to be rendered meaningless in the context of the 21st century. Why does any ordinary citizen need a gun? Because the global experience seems to confirm that virtually nobody does.
    There’s an argument to suggest that farmers need guns. There’s an argument to suggest that sporting hunters have a right to guns (though it’s never struck me as very sporting unless you give the deer a gun as well), likewise an argument for gun club enthusiasts and gun collectors and hobbyists (mind you, anyone who collects deadly weapons as a ‘hobby’ would go straight to the top of my list of people who probably shouldn’t have them) …. and there is a place for all these arguments. But please don’t quote the second amendment in support of those arguments because that is not what the second amendment is talking about.
    Obviously restricting the type of guns available is a big step in the right direction, and probably the best anyone can hope for. But I’m not sure that it really addresses the issue. It makes little difference to me if my kids are shot with a weapon capable of killing 40 kids a minute or only 5 kids a minute. The idea that we need to discuss ways of ‘reducing’ my kids chances of getting shot at school strikes me as insane right from the beginning.
    All this said, it would seem that the majority of Americans are calling for change, but that change is difficult to achieve. That amending something that is, in itself, already an amendment can be so difficult seems a bit illogical. When the lives of innocent kids are in danger it’s the sort of thing that can be done virtually overnight elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen May 27, 2022 / 3:52 pm

      I think you’re right that the difficulty in the amendment process is nearly insane (while I think the people are more insane than the procedure). I don’t think we need to change the amendment (the second) before we can get anything done. As you said,

      However Americans are perceived in other parts of the world they are not perceived as illiterate – so it’s fairly clear to everyone else that they CHOOSE to misread the second amendment and refuse to place it in context.

      We are talking about reductions in deaths because America will not do what Australia did. We could talk about whether we should or not, but it’s just not in the cards (outside of some truly miraculous awakening).

      And, finally, I agree, No matter the case, the military will be on one side or the other and there seems little point in arming yourselves against them. (Yet there are private militaries here which could/do rival the government.)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango May 27, 2022 / 4:02 pm

      There have only been 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the last one was proposed by Congress in September 1789 and wasn’t ratified until May 1992. It’s a long, difficult process. So the likelihood of ratifying an amendment to the Second Amendment is remote.

      Like

      • Marleen May 27, 2022 / 4:21 pm

        The plain old legislation requirement is made nearly impossible by the filibuster (not quite as difficult as an amendment), but Biden was happy to solicit the parliamentarian’s opinion to leave it in place (even though it’s not legally required or a feature of the constitution).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Richmond Road May 27, 2022 / 4:30 pm

        Yeah, I know. Which would suggest that the whole system needs to be looked at. But I don’t think the second amendment is really to blame, in itself. It’s the interpretation of it that needs looking at, and that is not as difficult. I think the gun lobby pressed for the original interpretation to be revised to include self-defence as recently as 2008.
        So things CAN be done. It is time, as your president has said, to stand up to the gun lobby and do what everyone knows needs to be done.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Fandango May 27, 2022 / 10:07 pm

          The justices on the Supreme Court, which currently has a 6-3 conservative majority, is unlikely to interpret the Constitution and the Second Amendment differently, as most conservative judges are “strict constructionists” who go by the written words in the Constitution and apply no contemporary perspective to the words. To them, the right to bear arms of almost any type and by any and all citizens is sacrosanct.

          Like

          • Richmond Road May 27, 2022 / 10:43 pm

            I’ll admit that ‘strict constructionist’ is a term I was not previously familiar with but I take it to mean, in this context,

            ‘somebody who decides that all facts can be conveniently interpreted to correspond to his or her existing or desired point of view and that carefully worded documents can thus be made to mean something other than what they actually mean’.

            A more concise definition might be ‘idiot’.

            I did look it up in the dictionary and that’s not, word for word, what the dictionary actually says. But isn’t that the whole point? A dictionary might be there to provide meaning, but it’s entirely up to the individual to decide what that meaning means. Something like that.
            It’s all very clear to me now.
            Are any of these ‘supreme’ judges available for private legal advise? I have an outstanding parking fine based on the photographic evidence that I parked directly under a sign that said, ‘Strictly No Parking’ when, in fact, there was nothing strict at all about the way I parked. I was quite haphazard about it.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Fandango May 27, 2022 / 10:58 pm

              A strict constructionist is someone who believes that the text of the Constitution is not open to interpretation and that the words in the Constitution are literal. I equate them with people who believe that the Bible is the actual word of God and that what is written in the Bible is literally the truth (i.e., the Gospel Truth).

              I agree with you that those who read and interpret either the Constitution or the Bible as literal are idiots.

              Like

            • Richmond Road May 27, 2022 / 11:32 pm

              Yes, a valid comparison. So ‘idiot’ might not be ‘literally’ accurate. ‘Fool’ probably works better.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Richmond Road May 28, 2022 / 12:50 am

              The fact is though, that I find myself not very well aligned with a startling number of US citizens with regard to the bible in that the bit about ‘the existence of God’ is one I find literally ludicrous. So when I find myself at odds with the US Supreme Court in regard to the literal meaning of the word ‘militia’ I suppose that I have to concede that the whole 2nd amendment might, in fact, be about the right arms of well regulated bears.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Fandango May 28, 2022 / 6:44 am

              We share our perspectives on God, and as to the right arms of bears, the ought to be regulated.

              Like

  10. donmatthewspoetry May 27, 2022 / 6:03 pm

    Trump is saying the only way to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun. Crazy……

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gr8BigFun May 27, 2022 / 6:10 pm

      If that were true he’d have been assassinated several times over during his time as the POTUS.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Richmond Road May 28, 2022 / 4:01 am

      Yes. Just the sort of highly original and well thought out logic that we have all come to expect from the great man.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Gr8BigFun May 27, 2022 / 6:26 pm

    It is insanity Fandango. You know I am not American but when it comes to guns we are on the same page. We do have gun controls, some effective, some less so and we have had mass shootings in this country too but the frequency they occur south of the border is alarming and gun deaths overall are substantially lower here. Still the Premier of Ontario needed to weigh in on the debate in the wake of Uvalde. Saying he would not support a handgun ban (barrels shorter than 105mm are already prohibited) in this country “…because we know that ‘ALL GUN CRIME’ is committed with illegal firearms.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen June 3, 2022 / 2:39 pm

      Mom who ran into school during Uvalde, Texas shooting …

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marleen July 19, 2022 / 9:30 am

        Most people believe that the police have a legal duty to help and that they have a motto to protect and serve. But we need to know — despite whatever motto any department or agency might spout — what the law is, not tell ourselves what supposedly is so based on how things should be. I wonder if the mother had heard some inkling of the stories and Supreme Court decisions in the law video below (posted to share on June 3rd). “Due process” is also part of the discussion.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen June 3, 2022 / 2:53 pm

      This is new out today.

      I’ve shared, previously, about the second of the cases in
      precedence herein; I hadn’t known of the first one before.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marleen July 19, 2022 / 12:01 am

        “The Second”: … Racist
        Roots of … Right to Bear Arms

        Liked by 1 person

  12. leigha66 May 28, 2022 / 12:27 am

    A good post to revisit Fandango. Something Has to be done and from what I have heard the last few days… it is not coming anytime soon. 🥺

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango May 28, 2022 / 6:42 am

      No, there’s always an outcry for change after each such incident, but change never happens.

      Like

  13. Nope, Not Pam May 28, 2022 / 3:23 am

    Good old fashioned common sense vs lots and lots of dollars 😡

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lolsy's Library May 28, 2022 / 6:01 am

    I’ve wondered too, when they wrote “well regulated militia” Did they mean a single 18 year old, who killed nearly 20+ children and teachers, in less than however long it took him. I don’t think so.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. jilldennison May 31, 2022 / 2:25 pm

    Well said, my friend. As you know by now, I fully share your views on this subject. No, the gun rights activists and the NRA and our legislators do NOT honestly believe that it’s necessary for everyday citizens (or anyone, for that matter) to arm themselves to the teeth and have military-grade weapons to boot. But it isn’t about guns or lives or safety … it is about one thing and only one thing: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$4

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango July 28, 2022 / 10:43 pm

      It IS crazy, indeed.

      Like

Comments are closed.