Historically, the Second Amendment was never intended to grant an individual right to carry a gun with them wherever they go. I can already sense the blood pressure of many conservatives rising!
Justice Scalia called himself a textualist who would interpret the Constitution as it was understood at the time of writing. History shows us that, at the time of writing, the Second Amendment was meant and understood to provide state’s rights to create a militia to stop a federal government from tyrannical acts. What the Second Amendment was never understood to mean was providing an individual right to carry a gun to the market.
From a fantastic Washington Post piece:
“This idea for a very long time was just laughed at,” said Nelson Lund, the Patrick Henry professor of constitutional law and the Second Amendment at George Mason University, a chair endowed by the National Rifle Association. “A lot of people thought it was preposterous and just propaganda from gun nuts.”
More than 35 years later, no one is laughing. In 2008, the Supreme Court endorsed for the first time an individual’s right to own a gun in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. The 5 to 4 decision rendered ineffective some of the District’s strict gun-control laws.
Prior to the NRA pushing this new agenda on the public and politicians, the Second Amendment was always interpreted to hold a state’s right to keep a militia, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Those wishing to argue the Second Amendment has always meant they have a right to carry a gun to McDonald’s with them should spend a bit of time educating themselves on the actual history of the Second Amendment. Justice Scalia claimed, in writing the majority opinion in Heller, that he was sticking to his originalist roots. However, try as hard as you want, but nowhere does history show us the framers of the Constitution intended to provide an individual right to gun ownership.
Notes made at the time of the debate in drafting the Second Amendment relate to the militia; nothing about individual ownership. Interesting note: the NRA has engraved the text of the Second Amendment in their lobby… without the opening phrase, “A well regulated militia.”
I certainly do not agree with the current interpretation of the Second Amendment. However, I believe the Constitution is a living document and open to interpretation. As a result, I must accept the current interpretation granting an individual right to carry a gun. I don’t have to like it and I will continue the fight to change it, but it is the law and I can accept that, for now.
But, as many gun advocates claim, history has not always been on their side. In fact, it’s only very recent history that has interpreted the Second Amendment in this way. Throughout most of history, the interpretation has been accurate. But now, we have this radical group, the NRA, that has put together an exceptional marketing campaign, grassroots at its core. This campaign has added millions of loud advocates over the decades. It is hard to silence such a loud and outspoken group.
Chief Justice Burger, a conservative, once said the NRA and its campaign to change the meaning of the Second Amendment was “one of the greatest pieces of fraud – I repeat the word ‘fraud’ – on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”
The problem with the group, both the leaders and followers, is that they have been drinking the kool-aid. They repeat the rhetoric they hear being pushed into their impressionable minds. If they just took a moment and actually thought for themselves, they would realize the error of their ways. They would realize they are hurting the country which they claim to love so much. Little do they know the long term damage they are doing to this country.
And now they’re supporting Mr. Trump.