USING THE SECOND AMENDMENT TO REGULATE GUNS
After every mass shooting, the same things happen
Gun sales go way up, which is good for gun manufacturers.
Republican Senators and Representatives turn into a mob of grifters, falling over each other to get to media people who will promote their bogus claims that Democrats are going to politicize the killings and pass legislation that will take away all guns, and asking for money to help them protect the Constitutional or Second Amendment rights of those who want no limitations on buying, keeping, and carrying any and all guns.
Democrats, not wanting to get in a fight or not wanting to hurt anyones feelings, talk a little and then do nothing, ignoring two simple facts. One is that people who do not want to be killed or who do not like to see other people being killed also have Constitutional rights. The other is that there is no Constitutional or Second Amendment right to buy, keep, and bear arms.
The only thing Republicans say that makes any sense is that gun violence is a mental health issue, a fact that is proven to be true by listening to the Republican excuses and justifications that, in a rational world, would have all of them locked up in rubber rooms.
In other words, gun manufacturers and Republican politicians make big money from mass shootings, which means they have no interest in preventing them.
Of course, anyone who wants to claim he or she has a Constitutional or Second Amendment right to buy, keep, and carry any kind of guns they want, should be required to show where that right exists in the Constitution. And they can’t, because it is not there.
The Second Amendment, as written, does not give anyone the right to keep and bear arms without infringements (regulations).
The Second Amendment is a conditional statement. It clearly states that, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” And because a well regulated Militia is no longer necessary to the security of a free State, according to the Constitution, the people’s right to keep and bear arms can be infringed upon with regulations, bans, and even confiscation.
That is not the opinion of an economist, it is a fact made clear by Justice Scalia when he wrote the majority opinion in the 2008 decision (the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA et al. v. HELLER) that overturned the District’s ban on handgun possession and trigger-lock requirements in the home.
In order to maintain the appearance that the Second Amendment protects gun rights, knowing that because a militia is no longer necessary to the security of a free state, the Second Amendment, as written, does not support any gun rights, certainly not the unlimited rights claimed by the NRA and individual gun guys, Scalia replaced the no longer true need for a militia with the need for self defense. Which means Scalia (as well as the majority of the Court) read the second amendment the same way any intelligent person reads it, which is that the Second Amendment does not give anyone the right to keep and bear arms without having that right infringed upon, including the possible confiscation of some or all guns.
But Scalia did more. He also addressed the limitations on the rights protected under the newly revised Second Amendment when he wrote: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those ‘in common use at the time’ finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”
There is no doubt the Supreme Court knew exactly what the Second Amendment says when it rewrote the Second Amendment in 2008, first by falsely claiming a prefatory conditional clause does not limit the scope of an operative clause, secondly by saying the right to keep and bear arms should not be limited to those who are members of a state regulated militia, and thirdly by replacing the “security of a free State” with the new idea of individual self defense,
In other words, Scalia’s majority opinion on the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned particular regulations includes his belief that the Constitution supports regulating the people’s right to keep and bear arms; regulations he said include restrictions on who should be allowed to keep and bear arms and prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
It is also clear to anyone who can read that the second amendment, as written, does not give anyone the right to buy arms. In other words, even if a militia were still necessary to the security of a free state, which it is not, the operative clause does not include the right to buy arms, only to keep and bear arms. This is not a trivial or frivolous opinion. It is a fact that neither the Constitution itself, nor the Second Amendment, nor any Supreme Court decision defending the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms, including the 2008 decision, has ever included the right to buy guns.
Why does the Second Amendment not include the right to buy arms? Because the Second Amendment is not a stand-alone document. Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, which gives Congress the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;…”, says Congress is “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” In other words, according to the Constitution, Congress would organize, arm, and discipline the militia, which meant there was no need or reason to give individuals a Constitutional right to buy arms.
Why didn’t the Supreme Court add “buy” or “purchase” to “keep and bear arms” in its 2008 decision? Possibly because the gun-rights members of the Court were afraid it might not stand, given that it would be such an obvious and major rewrite of the Constitution. And if they raised the issue, it would then be absolutely clear to everyone that neither the Constitution nor the Second Amendment gives anyone a Constitutional right to buy guns. So they may have left it out hoping no one would notice.
All of which means we should, given Scalia’s 2008 majority opinion, begin all discussions regarding gun regulations, including exactly which guns can be sold, who can sell them, who can buy them, where they can be carried, and what the definition of self-defense should be, knowing that the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision limited the use of guns for self-defense to within the home, and that the discussion cannot be aborted by those who want to claim they have a Constitutional or Second Amendment right to keep and bear any and all guns or to buy any and all guns. They do not.
In the end, given that the Second Amendment, as written, does not give anyone a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms or to buy guns, Justice Scalia’s stated restrictions on owning and carrying guns, as described in his majority opinion, could be used as the basis of a gun regulation bill.
A more recent (2022) Supreme Court decision said judges should no longer consider whether gun regulations or laws serve public interests, such as public safety, but must look back into history to show the law is consistent with the country’s “historical tradition of firearm regulation”.
This is the same argument the Court used to overturn Roe v. Wade, claiming abortion was not mentioned in the Constitution.
But if historical tradition, not the public interest, is to be the standard, then it can be argued that the keep and bear arms clause limits guns to those that existed when the Second Amendment was written.