Thursday, October 18, 2007


Amendment II - "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."

One of the most controversial amendments in the Constitution and one that the Framers deemed important enough to establish in the Bill of Rights immediately following our freedoms of religion, speech, the press and petitioning grievances against the Government as found in the first Amendment, is our right as citizens to keep and bear Arms.

One extreme misconception about this right finds its basis in the wording of the Amendment itself. The right for citizens to, "keep and bear Arms, " directly follows the right of all States to have a , " well regulated Militia." Many who are gun control advocates use this wording to express that the Framers intended the right to bear arms for the use of state Militias only and not for individuals in the protection of their families, homes or for recreational or food provision use in hunting etc.

Before I continue though I would like to clarify my thoughts on the second Amendment with this. I am not a gun owner, because I choose not to be. I am not a hunter and just have never had an interest in guns so what I write is not based on an opposition to gun control because of being a gun owner. It is based upon the reasons the Framers established the right to bear Arms for the citizens of this country and though our society has changed the fundamental reasoning for this right are just as viable today as when written into the Bill of Rights.

When the Constitution was established and the Bill of Rights added this nation was young and still remembered the oppression that was posed by the British which brought about the Revolution. The first of the second Amendment which establishes a well regulated state Militia was to allow each individual state protection from any possibility of forced control by the central government to prevent any state from suffering the oppression that the British forced on the original Colonies. Also state Militias allowed for any state to protect its borders from expansion from another state or invasion from within or without. The Militias were also available to combine for a united force in protection of the nation as a whole.

While a Militia is still a right for each state the idea has become somewhat obsolete from its original intent and establishment in the fact that each state now had a state National Guard, (which has replaced the state Militia), consisting of citizen soldiers from within that state who provide both security and also aid in time of disaster for that state. Each National Guard Unit is also used as reserve in time of war for The United States military at the discretion of the Commander in Chief.

The latter portion of the second Amendment the right, "to keep and bear arms, " is often confused as referring only to Militias and not to individuals, which is not the case. Again when the Bill of Rights was established we were only slightly removed from the control of Great Britain and the taking of fundamental rights that took place in the original Colonies.

The British upon attempting to quell the growing anger and opposition to the Crown took private property, both business and homestead for billeting and confiscation as punishment. Additionally if a Colonist dared openly oppose the British they were subject to imprisonment or worse. Arms were confiscated to prevent armed rebellion and the organizing of Militia.This and other actions by the British also brought about the establishment of the third and fourth Amendments protecting citizens from unlawful quartering by soldiers and unreasonable search and seizure.

The Framers understood that we as citizens of a free nation have the fundamental right to defend our family, our property and our livelihood from any form of illegal taking whether from invasion or a thief who intends harm. Thus the right to bear Arms was established to allow citizens individual protection.While law enforcement is one line of defense against our homes, families and properties the Framers also understood that law enforcement could not be everywhere at once, so the right for self protection by bearing Arms is established in the Bill of Rights as our first line of personal defense.

This also requires responsibility in bearing Arms. It does not mean that every citizen will own an UZI for example which is one argument that gun control advocates use to force restrictive legislation on Arms. Whether strict gun control laws are in effect or not those of the criminal element will find guns from a myriad of illegal sources and that becomes the responsibility of law enforcement and allowing them the capability to arrest and confiscate criminal use of arms.

The misconception of the second Amendment and the right to bear Arms also has created legislation in some states that gives permission to citizens for what is already a Constitutional right. For instance the state of Texas has passed legislation allowing its citizens to use deadly force in protecting themselves at home, in their cars or workplaces as long as that citizen is not provoking the confrontation. The use of deadly force is already a right when one protects themselves as established in the right to bear Arms.

The second Amendment does not establish the right for citizens to use armed force as a means of control or oppression by force of their neighbor or anyone else. This illusion has been created by many gun control advocates to scare people and out law Arms. The second Amendment right to, " keep and bear arms, " is for the responsible use of citizens in protecting themselves if necessary and the use of arms for provision of food or in today's society the recreational sport of hunting.

Ken Taylor