Let’s set the stage: The 2nd amendment to the US Constitution says that “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.”
The authoritarians on the left claim that no right is absolute, and that the founders never intended to really prohibit any gun laws from existing. The founders totally would have supported ‘common-sense- gun control’, such as prohibiting anyone other than government agents from owning firearms, and severely limiting the magazine capacity and overall effectiveness of any firearm that a civilian could somehow legally own.
Conservatives generally believe that the founders would not have supported strict gun control, but that some ‘reasonable’ gun laws are acceptable.
Voluntaryists like myself believe that no gun laws are acceptable. Personally, I believe that there are three strong reasons we should oppose all gun laws, and the Constitutional argument may be the weakest of the three.
What anti-freedom individuals are essentially arguing is that the founders were so stupid that they didn’t understand the concept of exceptions or qualifiers. If they did, they certainly would have added the phrase “…unless the government believes that the control of arms could decrease violence or improve society in any other way.”
Is there a way to determine whether the authors of the Constitution were too ignorant to figure out how to add exceptions to an amendment?
After hours of toiling over the Constitution, I finally arrived at the 4th amendment, which could perhaps give us some insight into this dilemma. It states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
This amendment clearly protects innocent individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures UNLESS the government obtains a warrant based on probable cause. So, the authors of the Constitution did know how to use the word ‘unless’! Very interesting!
I then proceeded to the 5th amendment, which makes this point even more clearly: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
In the final sentence, the amendment clearly says that the government cannot seize property from individuals UNLESS it compensates them.
It is clear that if the founders intended for the government to ever have the authority to regulate the weapons owned by citizens, they would have said so in the second amendment. They did not. In fact, they said that the natural right to own and carry weapons can never be violated by government officials. If they believed that any gun control was acceptable, this is what the 2nd amendment would look like:
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but for times of war, or civil runrest, or for matters of public welfare, or for other purposes of national interest.”
The next time that you find yourself in a debate about gun control (so, tomorrow), use this argument and see what the anti-gun authoritarian says!
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Liberty Block or any of its members. We welcome all forms of serious feedback and debate.