Guest columnist Lee Armstrong: Taking 2nd Amendment to extremes

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Published: 8/21/2023 4:33:57 PM
Modified: 8/21/2023 4:33:46 PM

Those who take a hard right stance on guns claim a never-ending woke effort is to take away, or at least strictly control, their guns. What they want is total elimination of all gun restrictions and controls.

The U.S. Supreme Court decisions of the past couple of years argue that we should go by the contents of the Constitution and its amendments as they were written. The Supreme Court struck down New York state’s system for issuing concealed weapons permits, ruling that the century-old law requiring that applicants demonstrate “proper cause” and “good moral character” violates the Second Amendment.

According to Justice Clarence Thomas: “The Second and 14th Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” and thus the New York law requiring that applicants justify their need for a concealed weapons permit was unconstitutional.

With recent Texas judge actions, that state has now removed almost all restrictions and controls over gun ownership and carrying. No license, no background checks, no training required, and anyone over the age of 18 is OK. And carry it with you wherever you go. Someone will probably argue that the Supreme Court should make this a national ruling, not limited to Texas, especially after that New York verdict.

“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.”  Thus, the Second Amendment gives the right to own and carry guns without any government intervention. If you are going to take the Second Amendment literally (as the Supreme Court implies) there is no mention of age and thus it should apply to everyone, including kids.

Following the logic between this Texas ruling and the decision against New York, it could be argued that the Texas ruling needs to be modified to eliminate any age restriction. Let it be up to the parents to decide if their kids can have a gun or not (of course the kid may legally have it in secret from their parents). An 8-year-old kid can own guns and bring them to school.

Imagine if most of the kids in schools were carrying at least a pistol, but many also having an assault rifle while in class. The amendment is a right “to keep and bear Arms,” but it doesn’t say what kind of arms that might be. Back then it was a musket or sword; today it is all kinds of rifles and pistols.

Part of the problem today is that this includes automatic rifles as used by the military. If these are protected under the Second Amendment, then any other weapon (Arms) should be protected as well. In other words, I should be able to own and carry around an anti-tank missile, as it is an armament. However, if you are going to impose the amendment literally, as most of these cases are implying, then the only arms allowed would be those muskets and swords.

One part of the amendment that never seems to be mentioned is “A well regulated Militia” and what it means. Considering the sentence in its entirety rather than only the last half, it seems that this right applies only to people who are members of a militia. So, if the Proud Boys consider themselves to be a militia, then the amendment applies to them, not to people like you and me.

Lee Armstrong lives in Leeds.


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