The recent mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado led the president to say this during a speech at the National Urban League:
“I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. I think we recognize the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation, that hunting and shooting are part of a national heritage… But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals; that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.” [emphasis mine]
I can almost agree with Obama; why would anyone want an AK-47 when they could pick up one of the newer, more accurate Ruger Mini-14 or Kel-Tec SU-16C…?
I’ll get into the Second Amendment to our Constitution further below, but I want to point out four things from the start. First, the Second Amendment doesn’t have a damn thing to do with hunting. Second, as a former lecturer on Constitutional law at University of Chicago Law School, Obama ought to know that. This is especially true if he believes the first part of his own statement. Third, the bold portion above provides several great examples of logical fallacies (a few are appeal to belief, appeal to common practice, appeal to emotion, appeal to fear, bandwagon, red herring, questionable cause, etc.). Along those lines, how many is “a lot” of gun owners? Five? A hundred? Ten thousand? That sort of statement is crap. Finally, Obama is probably a liar.
It’s unclear why Obama singled out the AK-47, since the Aurora shooter that likely promoted Obama to speak about firearms used an AR-15. The shooting and the president’s statement prompted some opinion pieces (like this one at CNN) that no doubt got and will get wide readership among America’s left, and probably caused more to read articles (like this one in the New Yorker) that also are part of the lefts smoke-and-mirrors treatment of the Second Amendment.
The New Yorker article in particular basically makes the claim that the Second Amendment was ignored for over a century and only lately has the individual right been brought up. It ignores the context of the language from the time it was written, and appeals to emotion and attempts to muddy the waters by making various claims (true or not) about the NRA. It stands as a modern example of yellow journalism – but those leaning to the left will accept it as Gospel.
Let’s look at the text of the Second Amendment, and some legal and historical information on the context and meaning of the language:
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.
A simplistic view, and favorable to those who want to take away our right to bear arms, would be to read this amendment as allowing firearms ownership restricted only to a very regulated militia. However, putting the words in the context of who was writing it, when, word usage at the time, and the background (e.g. The Federalist Papers), shows this was in fact not the meaning.
According to this site dedicated to our Constitution, the phrase “well-regulated” at that time and for about a century after that time referred to something being in proper working order. That is, something that was “well-regulated” if it was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected, and so on. “Establishing government oversight of the people’s arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.”
The case summary brief for the Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller provides an excellent legal/historical explanation of the actual meaning of the Second Amendment. Paraphrased and in bullet format:
- “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” is a prepatory clause that announces a purpose of the amendment and does not limit or expand the scope of the operative clause.
- The operative clause, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.
- The militia consisted of all males capable of acting together for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable citizen militias, thereby enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The Antifederalists therefore sought to preserve the citizens’ militia by denying Congress the power to abridge the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. (this part a direct quote from the brief)
- This interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights adopted in state constitutions immediately preceding and following the Second Amendment. Furthermore, the drafting history reveals three proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts, and legislators from ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s interpretation. (this part a direct quote from the brief)
Although this is lawyer-speak and subject to change should Obama get a second term and thereby have the opportunity to appoint leftist Supreme Court justices, this interpretation is consistent with the historical information I have read. Again, the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting or sporting. In the context of the Constitution and those who wrote it, it clearly is meant as for the defense of the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
While I’m not crazy about Romney, the current president does not have our best interests in mind, is probably a liar, and cannot be trusted.