“They Killed Bambi, Didn’t They?”
If I had to explain the “American Experiment” purely from a constitutional perspective, I would identify it as the rights of individual citizens to exercise their natural, God given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without all but the most unavoidable and yes, often necessary actions of government sponsored interference.
Further, our natural rights are inalienable and any laws or actions taken by the government that seeking to unjustly burden, impinge the free exercise of, or in the extreme, deny these rights to the average citizen in their entirety, are unconstitutional infringements upon our personal and societal rights as Americans many of which are identified in the Bill of Rights (BOR). And this is where it gets a bit tricky at times.
If we assume the existence of natural rights, then no king, queen, much less a piece of paper can give you any rights. You are born with them plain and simple. That is why the US Constitution is written in the negative. Notice how the First Amendment begins with “Congress shall make no law…”
How does that give you any rights? It tells you what the government cannot do as making laws interfering with your rights to free speech, press, exercise of religion, establishment or endorsement of any one religion over another, or right to assemble and petition would be all subject to review and remedy as potential individualized and identified unconstitutional infringements upon our natural rights, again, there are only three, life, liberty and the pursuit (not attainment) of happiness.
I would further add that none of our rights are absolute. Why do I know this? Because the word absolute doesn’t appear in the Constitution. The closest we get to words promoting “without reasonable limits” would be “shall and shall not”, which we all are for the most part old and wise enough to recognize does not include an “absolute” right to be free and clear of all limitations placed upon individuals in and must, at times give way to public policy legislation and enforcement in the interest of maintaining and promoting at times the public good.
Also, We, the People cannot use our rights to infringe upon the rights of our fellow citizens, you know Americans, and that is why we have the guarantees of Due Process and Equal Protection Clause. In short, we as a nation, including those in the “majority” as opposed to those in the “minority” must treat each other and everyone with fundamental fairness when interacting with our government and, each other.
That is why my interpretation of “Constitutional Rights” (again, a misnomer in and of itself) and possible unconstitutional infringements, always starts with a basic and far simpler test before getting into the swamp, muck and weeds of 250 + years of constitutional analysis by the Supreme Court, an entity that history has already shown us on numerous times often get it “wrong”, that I call it the one, two, three test, keeping in mind it is not an all or nothing, or even two out of three with no one element being dispositive of the underlying controversy at hand.
1. Is it about life? 2. Liberty? Or, 3. The pursuit of happiness? With this in mind, let’s analyze, not through the clutter of legislation and case law often obscuring if not obliterating the plain directives under the Constitution, but through the eyes of one who understand the promises contained in the Declaration of Independence, at the Second Amendment.
“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
So, if you have been following my logic so far, our first step must be to identify the right that is being subject to government/constitutional/societal limitation.
Fortunately, the Founders made this one rather easy. It’s the individual right to keep and bear arms. Step two, is this a function of protecting, starting with number one, Life? Liberty or the pursuit of happiness? Life being the most important of the three, for if you do not have life, the other two become rather irrelevant, wouldn’t you say?
Let me ask you a question. Do you believe the average American in 1787 had the right to obtain and keep a weapon for the protection of home and family? I would say yes. Or, perhaps to hunt with? Not recreational or for sport, but for food? Again, I would say yes and this is borne out that under the prevailing common law of the time, owning and keeping a weapon, arms including a musket if you could afford one for protection and food was clearly permitted.
So, to summarize even further, would it be fair to say that the right to own and keep arms in defense of and to sustain one’s home and family would be part and parcel of the right to bear arms. In fact, seems rather reasonable when we put it that way. America was still a rural land. Most persons were isolated on the farm, there was no 9–1–1 to call and there were no grocery stores in malls within walking distance.
This might lead one to conclude that gun ownership is reflective of our right to life and if you did so, I would not say you were wrong. However, as stated earlier, all rights, natural or otherwise are not in their very nature absolute and subject to government limitation.
This is where we can look a look at the structure and words of the Second Amendment. Firstly, please note the Second Amendment is the only Amendment that starts with a qualification, namely that it is for Constitutional purposes, only related to well regulated militias.
Since the Constitution is concerned with governance, I would argue that as America did not have a standing army until the 19th Century, the Amendment was most likely a limitation placed upon the States, who were to maintain militias in case war broke out possibly with a foreign enemy (of which we had and still do many) to come together as one under the President, aka civilian Commander in Chief.
Notice the words Militia, State and Arms are capitalized and taken together would not lead one to believe the Amendment is applicable to the average person, or persons trying to defend themselves, the property and their loved ones, much less someone who is hunting for food.
In other words, the 2nd Amendment, in validating the existence of the underlying common law natural right to defend and feed one’s self, does not seem in any way “absolute” does it, and as I have explained above, it never was and never will be as no rights are absolute, none.
In black letter fact, the Amendment by its own words limits it to the government function of national defense, a be ready for war (to “bear arms” was a common phrase related to the right to wage war) if it comes our way thereby making any allusion to an absolute right to own any and as many weapons you want because the Second Amendment “says so” seems disingenuous, self-serving and today, mostly related to the sale of guns, ammo and political contributions at best.
So, how is it we have as a nation extended this right of life to include any person, including the mentally ill, have a right to buy without a waiting period and virtually without a valid background check to buy an assault weapon, to protect one’s own life or to hunt seems farfetched at best and patently illogical from the start.
Let me ask you this, how is it possible that the Second Amendment in any way allows anyone at any time to own an assault rifle when from the time of common law the weapon of one’s choice was to be used in defense and if anything, the continuation of life through consumption of animal flesh?
For instance, you don’t have to know squat beyond the AK- part to know that this weapon, designed to be a weapon of offense is constitutionally permitted in our neighborhoods and on our streets for the protection of one’s individual self?
When it comes to open carry laws, what are the chances someone in the Piggly Wiggly, Walmart (maybe I should have said Target), or 7–11 has an assault weapon that you need to protect yourself? It would seem to me the persons who most need protecting would be from you and not you. And then it gets worse.
More guns, means more ammo. Arithmetic (remember that) tells us the more bullets ready and available to fly will result in more deaths, including those of the innocent.
And what of the rights of those who do not wish to carry a fire arm in open public? Does a minority of quite frankly openly capable of violence as a solution and paranoid to boot individuals who call themselves “patriots”, are their rights to life greater than yours or mine?
If you are like me, unarmed, hope to diffuse any potential tragedy and/or catastrophe without resorting to the taking of a life? Any life? And then it gets worse.
Do you know why the mentally ill attack schools? Assuming we can know anything as to the motivations of such a shooter, I can guarantee you they are counting on most of or all their victims, young, old, it doesn’t matter, to be unarmed. What about their rights to life?
The very fact that the gun nuts among us can refer to Sandy Hook or unbelievably at times their own children as expendable “collateral damage” in their fight for “freedom” is beyond my understanding and in my estimation a very dangerous sign we are all living in a sick society that needs to change, fast. Like now. One down two to go.
Liberty? Why does anyone need an assault rifle to remain at liberty, except someone who suspects their liberty might be taken away, probably by the “deep state” or whatever democrat is in office so they can kidnap and eat your children with impunity while you wait in your own self-made lack of liberty prisoner in your mind dystopia for the storm that will never come. Two down, one to go.
The Pursuit of Happiness? On top of being the third and least “valuable” of the DOI big three, if your pursuit of happiness depends on you with the small dick carrying around a big shiny assault rifle or similar offensive weapon to find “happiness” even though you know as a matter of math, your antics are far more likely to produce the loss of life, that statistics tell us, includes accidental deaths within the family, then you, my micro penis and probable cuckold friend, are one deeply sick and disgusting puppy.
If you want to know about life, then get one. That goes for you too, all the members of government who continue to take money from the NRA and now we know Russians who would like nothing better than to disrupt and scare us into buying more guns and then use the Second Amendment as your shield? All the while knowing you are perpetuating a lie that shall result in the death and dying of those who you have sworn to protect? Shame on you. Shame on you all and I hope you rot in hell.