Pages

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Looking Harder at the Second Amendment

I have always felt like I was in a no man’s land on the issue of the right to gun ownership.

From a practical life standpoint I think that disarming the law-abiding citizens while keeping the criminals armed (defacto) is sheer insanity. I would like every criminal who thinks of pulling out a gun to worry that he might get killed - immediately. I have encouraged all my daughters to pursue getting concealed weapons permits as soon as they are old enough (though I don't own and have never owned a gun).

I have always thought that there OUGHT to be a right to private gun ownership for hunting (I am not a hunter myself) and for reasons of legitimate self protection. But I have never been able to read this right into the second amendment.

I have always had the notion that the right to own guns and knives and such was merely assumed by the framers. It seems assumed by the second amendment itself, unless we imagine all these unarmed people showing up for militia duty asking "hey, anybody got a gun?"

I doubt any of the states except maybe Rhode Island would have ratified the Constitution if they had thought there was any doubt about the right to personal or private gun ownership. Again, I think the right was simply assumed.

But I have always thought that that assumption (sadly) didn't make it into the wording of the second amendment.

Anti gun ownership folks look hard at the second amendment to find the right of private/personal gun ownership. They don’t see it.

Pro gun ownership folks look hard at the second amendment to find the right of private/personal gun ownership. They seem to see it clearly.

As for me, I am generally supportive of the idea that individuals ought to be able to own guns, yet I simply have not understood how that right can be read out of the second amendment.

And so, I look forward to reading carefully the majority and minority opinions in the recent ruling on Washington DC’s restrictive gun laws. If Scalia has made a compelling argument, I will be glad.

Thanks to Bubba for posting the link.

No comments: