United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- This past week marked the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States. As a governing document, it has performed brilliantly over the last 232 years, and remains the best framework for governing that has been crafted by human hands and minds.
Second Amendment supporters have much to be thankful for in this document. The Second Amendment, which protects the right to keep and bear arms that pre-existed its enactment in December 1791, is arguably the one most would mention at first, but we should look at some of the other provisions as well.
For starters, we should also be grateful for the First Amendment, which protects out right not just to speak out against anti-Second Amendment legislation, but also the freedom of the press (which is exercised by Ammoland.com), the right to peaceably assemble (to form groups like the NRA to help magnify our voices), and the right to petition for the redress of grievances (to contact lawmakers to oppose efforts to wrongfully infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans).
The purpose of the First Amendment is very clear: It recognizes a series of pre-existing rights regarding our ability to think, pray, and to speak. Or, in other words, to persuade our fellow Americans to support our cause. In some cases, it may be getting a like-minded person to decide to vote or to become a grassroots activist. In other cases, it’s about changing the mind of someone who may support infringements on our rights.
We also owe our rights to some of the institutions established in the document itself. For instance, the composition and workings of the United States Senate have proven to be an outstanding firewall in recent years against legislation that mindlessly punishes millions of innocent people for the acts of a miniscule minority that were borne out of malice or madness. The fact that South Dakota and Arkansas have a legislative body in which their citizens have a voice equal to those of California and New York has kept many schemes that would have wrongfully deprived millions of Americans their God-given rights from being enacted.
Similarly, we can be thankful for the Supreme Court, with its rulings in the Heller and McDonald cases. Those rulings have made clear the truth Second Amendment supporters have long known: That the right to keep and bear arms was a right guaranteed to individual citizens, and that the states could not infringe upon it, either.
The founders knew the purpose of that right: It was to ensure that citizens had the tools to protect themselves and to effectively exercise their right to self-defense. While many Second Amendment supporters recognize the need to be able to defend against tyranny or against those who mean to do harm, the Second Amendment also protects the tools that protect against starvation (what is a more effective tool for hunting than a firearm?) or even the loss of dignity (see the case of David Smith, who received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, but who found a new career via the responsible exercising of his Second Amendment rights).
These days, many in America bemoan how far we have strayed from this document. With regards to the Second Amendment, in some states, the infringements are extremely onerous. For instance, New Jersey’s licensing scheme (see here for a good summary) for handgun purchasing is arguably the worst in the country, requiring you get two other “reputable” citizens to vouch for your right to own a gun. The death of a woman, Carol Bowne, at the hands of her abusive ex-boyfriend, can arguably be laid at the feet of this state’s laws.
California’s laws on modern multi-purpose semi-automatic firearms are also extremely onerous. That state literally requires a person’s heirs to destroy a gun that is passed down to them – unless they can get a permit from the state’s Department of Justice. Nobody who knows the statistics thinks that this law makes any difference, but each year sees more and more anti-Second Amendment legislation in that state.
How do we get back to the original intent of the Founders? First of all, we should recognize that all Second Amendment supporters share that end goal. Second, we need to recognize the need to units, given the high stakes of the 2020 election. Third, we need to work to make progress wherever we can, even if it is one slice at a time. Finally, we need to pass a love of the Constitution down to future generations, so that we may one day return to the intent of those who founded the country.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.