Unclear on guns? Read the Constitution
by Tom Maloy
Columnist
February 20, 2013 12:00 AM | 1420 views | 8 8 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states “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.”

When James Madison penned this Amendment, he did not specify hunting or hobby shooting. Instead he made it clear that individual gun ownership was primarily for security and self-defense. But defense against what? In those days Indian attacks were still a threat, as were wild animals. That isn’t a huge problem anymore.

The Founding Fathers also felt that free men and women had a right to defend themselves against the potential emergence of a tyrannical government. This idea is tendered in Federalist Papers Numbers 28, 29 and 46. In FP-28 Alexander Hamilton, a perennial proponent of big government suggested that if a too-powerful government became tyrannical, the people would have no choice but to exercise their right to self-defense. In FP-29 he further posited that an armed citizenry was the best defense against a national army becoming oppressive. James Madison, in FP-46, suggested that people have the authority and right to resist an overreaching government.

Bear in mind the Founding Fathers had just fought a bloody war to free America from just such an overreaching and tyrannical government.

While it is prudent to remain vigilant for such a danger, many citizens are more concerned about criminal threats, against which they should have a right to defend themselves.

Those who wish to restrict Second Amendment rights are quick to point out that since law enforcement is responsible for our protection, owning a gun is superfluous.

This brings to mind a young woman’s response when asked, “With all the tax money spent to hire police officers, why do you need to carry a gun?” She replied, “Because I’m not strong enough to carry a police officer.” Her point, of course, is that even though the police do a magnificent job protecting lives and property, it is unlikely that a law officer will be present every time a criminal or psychopath decides to harm innocent people.

In a broader sense, American gun ownership may have been one of the reasons Japan never attacked the U.S. mainland during World War II. Imperial Japanese Navy Commander-in-Chief, Isoroku Yamamoto, aware of our Second Amendment, reportedly said, “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”

But wait. The Second Amendment talks about keeping arms in relation to a “well-regulated Militia.” Doesn’t that imply federal control? No. In his effort to placate the anti-federalists who feared the power of the president to field a large army that could go against the people, James Madison in Federalist Papers 46, opined that any army fielded by the federal government would be offset by an armed militia of more than a half million men. At the time, that number included all the households in the existing United States; thus the militia included all citizens, and, according to the second Amendment, “their right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The word “infringed” has a very precise meaning and was used intentionally to hamper restrictions by the federal government.

The Second Amendment affords to every American citizen the essential right to own firearms to defend against threats to life and property that may come from criminals, foreign enemies or (God forbid) government. In this regard it is unequivocal. It is a right that protects all other rights.

Rather than falling prey to emotional rants designed to incrementally disarm honest, responsible citizens, reasonable people should study the Constitution and read the Federalist Papers to discover what the Founders of this country truly intended.

Tom Maloy of Powder Springs is a retired businessman and a member of the Georgia Tea Party board of directors.
Comments
(8)
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threatened
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February 21, 2013
Foley is like all the rest of the democrats, resents anyone who doesn't agree with the party line. scary.
Kevin Foley
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February 21, 2013
@ threatened (whoever you are) - and you're like all the rest of the reactionaries, resenting inconvenient facts when they conflict with your narrow prejudices and ill informed opinions.
@easily understood
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February 20, 2013
I think you were wrong--"I don't think even Kevin Foley should be",.

Kevin, whoever you are--go away!
Kevin Foley
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February 20, 2013
The Supreme Court has already weighed in. The justices dissected the Second Amendment and concluded in the Heller and MacDonald cases, yes, citizens have a right to possess guns.

Writing for the majority in Heller, Justice Scalia added the Court had no problem with “laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Devlin Adams
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February 20, 2013
Foley, the key words are "commerical sale of arms.

Commercial - does not include private sales.

Sale - does not include manufacture or ownership.

Arms - does not include ammunition, magazines, clips, slings, bayonets or any other device which is attached to the weapon after the fact.

Conditions and qualifiactions - does not include prohibition.
Easily understood
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February 20, 2013
One of the best articles I have read on the Second Amendment. Even Kevin Foley should be able to understand that just because they want to, the democrats cannot take our Constitutional rights away.
Kevin Foley
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February 20, 2013
@ Understood - I understand that the Federalist Papers aren't the Constitution. So does Scalia. See above.
FROM TEXAS
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February 20, 2013
Law enforcement isn’t responsible for your protection you can sue your local law enforcement when you get mugged or robbed they only react to calls and respond to calls. If we give up our second amendment it’s no longer the United States of America it than becomes the Peoples Socialist States of America. Tom is right and this is a right worth dying for if we have to; the states need to move to bring more gun and ammo manufacturing to their states like Idaho has!!
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