The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

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Following the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Florida much attention has been given to the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. One of the most basic of the Bill of Rights the Second Amendment has become a rallying cry of conservatives who are afraid that “liberals” will take away the guns from law-abiding citizens. Let’s look at what the words are and analyze what they really mean.

 Article [II] (Amendment 2 – Bearing Arms)

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.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free StateDuring the period when our Constitution was written and adopted the United States did not have a large, full-time, military force. The defense of our new nation was dependent on volunteer militiamen. These patriots were ready to defend our new nation on a moment’s notice from enemies, both foreign and domestic. One of the most basic concepts in this phrase is “well regulated”. All-to-often today defenders of the Second Amendment rights take words out of context and apply them to suit their own situation. Many forget to include the phrase “well regulated”. Even at the time these words were adopted murder was an unlawful act. Guns – “arms” – were intended for defensive situations not for acts of aggression and for hunting wild game to feed their families.

the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed – Our founding fathers intended to expressly provide that the citizens of the United States have an expressed right to keep and bear arms and at the same time these wise men modified that right be stating the purpose was to have a well regulated Militia. Today there are very few, if any, who would deny that Members of our Armed Forces should be well armed. National defense is crucial to our survival. At the same time those same Members of our Armed Forces will tell anyone who asks that there are very specific and strict rules and regulations about the use of the arms that have been provided for their use. It is imperative that when we look at the words of the Second Amendment that we look at those words in their entirety and not as we might want to select to suit a particular argument.

The national debate on gun ownership is taking on a new fury in the same type vein as the #MeToo movement. Young people in Parkland, Florida have dedicated themselves to bringing the debate on gum ownership to the forefront. As this debate moves forward the passions on both side of the issue are heating up. It is never easy, and rarely productive, to have a meaningful debate when reasonable thought is clouded by enraged passion.

The Alabama Legislature, the gun debate and school safety – After the events of February 14, 2018 there have been a number of Bills introduced to address the same type of potential event in Alabama:

  • HB 434 – Prohibits the sale of assault weapons to anyone under the age of 21
  • HB 435 – Authorizes teachers and other school personnel to carry weapons on school premises. Proscribes training and other requirements
  • HB 442 – Prohibits carrying a firearm on school grounds regardless of intent
  • HB 447 – Creates the Alabama Task Force on School Safety and Security
  • HB 449 – Formation of trained volunteer school emergency security force at public K-12 schools

While the intent of all of these pieces of legislation is laudable the devil is in the details. We all need to urge the Legislature to very carefully consider and debate these Bills rather than pass something in the vacuum of emotion. Considered action rather than emotional reaction should be the action of the day.

The Alabama House will reconvene at 1:00pm on Tuesday, February 27, 2018

 The Alabama Senate will reconvene at 2:00pm Tuesday, February 27, 2018

 

The views and opinions contained in this report do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the clients of Public Strategies, LLC.