Gun Rights AND Gun Control: What If We ACTUALLY FOLLOWED the Second Amendment?

I can start this blog post one of two ways: I can either tell you I’m the proud daughter of a Marine who responsibly owns guns, in which case you’ll think I’m a proponent of Gun Rights, or I can tell you I’m a pacifist Quaker married to a conscientious objector, in which case you’ll think I’m a proponent of Gun Control.

You’d be right.

Yes, I am.

I’m also, quite frankly, BAFFLED by the conversation about guns in the United States of America, and if I could just take one minute to Piss Off All the People, I’d  like to propose a solution.

It’s just, I have this idea, after 1,000 conversations with my gun-toting father who floated it first, and after 1,000 more chats with my peacenik friends… that we could do this RADICAL THING in America and ACTUALLY FOLLOW THE SECOND AMENDMENT.

Usually, public conversations on guns go like this, “I HAVE A RIGHT TO MY GUNS BECAUSE THE CONSTITUTION SAYS SO,” and then, “BUT PEOPLE ARE DYING,” and then, “BUT GUN RIGHTS,” and then, “BUT GUN CONTROL,” and I realize I may be being simplistic here, but the Second Amendment LITERALLY ALREADY SOLVED THIS PROBLEM.

Have you read it recently? The Second Amendment? It’s only 27 words long, but I rarely see it quoted in articles debating gun rights and gun control. It goes like this:

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.

In other words, yes; Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. And yes; that right shall not be infringed. AND ALSO, these rights are to be exercised within the parameters of a well regulated militia. TRAINING, in other words. ORGANIZED. Within a COMMUNITY of people that supervises and monitors the use of said weapons. 

Listen; I get it. I understand that there are Originalists and Textualists constantly debating what Militia means… what well-regulated means… what exactly is “necessary to the security of a free State”… and whether any of those refer to individual rights, community rights, states’ rights or all of the above. But regardless of how you interpret any of those definitions, it remains that our Founders set parameters and presumed some type of coordination, administration and management of our arms-bearing citizens. And it remains that we currently have none.

I’ve heard my friends and I’ve seen the memes that if we did nothing after Sandy Hook, we never will. I’ve felt the same hopelessness watching the innocent die month after month, year after year, and I doubt that today — the day 26 more Americans died in a mass shooting, this time while sitting in church in Texas — will be the reason we finally act. But although I give in to despair for a time, I refuse to dwell there. I refuse to stop talking about it. I refuse to stop pushing for solutions that both protect the fundamental American right to bear arms AND the fundamental human right to basic safety.

Maybe we could start by actually following the Second Amendment. Or maybe that’s far too practical. I’m curious what you think…

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
5 comments
  1. I agree, because the problem with any sort of gun regulations is that criminals don’t follow laws. If someone wants to do evil, they will do evil with whatever substance they want for their purposes despite the regulations. So the regulations only regulate the law abiding citizens. Now, if those same law abiding citizens are drilled and trained, there might be more of a caution to those wanting to do evil if they know the population is trained and won’t let them complete their objective.

  2. We have now created a society that produces such anger, such fear of ‘the other’, such hatred and jealousy of anyone who isn’t us … ie our own particular family, tribe, belief system, that it has trickled down frighteningly fast to the less stable population of the mentally ill, the ‘troubled lone wolf’, the crazy guy/gal. It isn’t guns per se, it is our own diseased society. We have created a monster, and that monster is us. We have lost our moral compass, and now we spin in circles.

  3. I feel like the second amendment is troublesome because, as the gun rights ppl say ” guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. The guns are clearly the problem, but I have to say, isn’t the second amendment in place to protect the American people from a government gone rogue? Isn’t the idea, that if the US gov’t turns on its people (maybe strips their rights, puts the interests of the president and his monied cronies over the needs of Americans, colludes with foreign governments to ensure it’s power, etc, etc), armed Americans can take their country back from a dictatorship? Perhaps the founding fathers didn’t foresee a time when the greatest proponents of 2nd amendment gun ownership, happen to support the dictator and him them. Where is the amendment that addresses complacency and blind self-interest? That’s the one that really needs work.

  4. Oh how wonderful it would be, but I fear the obvious simple solution will get buried under pork and blue verses red push and pull like it has been for so very long. I hear so many people who want just this kind of rational solution but for some reason our lawmakers don’t/won’t/can’t hear and do as we citizens have requested.

  5. That seems far more reasonable than my thought: the only kinds of guns that can be owned by civilians are either antique (pre-WWII) or are the kind used for hunting deer. That’s it. And no one (NO ONE) receives more scrutiny in the licencing process than white males.

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