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Repeal The 2nd Amendment - an opinion piece written by Bill Smart

"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."

 - U.S. Constitution, Amendment II adopted December 15, 1791

Amendment II to the U.S. Constitution was part of the first ten amendments known as The Bill of Rights, all of which were ratified four years after the ratification of the Constitution and two years after it went into effect.  The accepted purpose of this amendment was to guarantee the right of the people to form militias and bear arms for the following purposes, most of which were inspired by the important role the people's Minutemen Militia played during the Revolutionary War against the British:File:Statue in Minute Man National Historical Park.jpg

  • "deterring undemocratic government;

  • repelling invasion;

  • suppressing insurrection;

  • facilitating a natural right of self-defense;

  • participating in law enforcement;

  • enabling the people to organize a militia system"

~ Source -

This is the purpose of the amendment.  It was not to provide arms for hunting.  It's main purpose was to provide arms for a "well regulated Militia" - a people's paramilitary force.  It also says "the right to keep an bear arms shall not be infringed."  "Infringe" means to "to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another" ~ Merriam-Webster Online.

Since this is the case, I cannot understand why the courts have allowed the Federal and various state and local governments to regulate the acquisition and specify the allowable types of arms a citizen may acquire.    Certainly, these laws regulating "the right to keep and bear arms" such as assault weapons, automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, flame-throwers, surface-to-air missiles, and all other manner of arms that could conceivably be necessary to enable a "well regulated Militia" to discourage or deter an undemocratic government, repel invasion, and suppress insurrection are all an infringement of the Second Amendment and are unconstitutional.  

I am certainly not in favor of allowing citizens to be able to "keep and bear" such arms as these; but the current practice of slowly restricting and completely reinterpreting the intention of this or any item in the U.S. Constriction is, in my opinion, much more problematic.  If we allow the legislature, courts, or the executive branch to go forward with these kinds of reinterpretation and infringement of the rights granted by this amendment, they could do it with any other part of the Constitution.  If  restrictions can be placed on the Second Amendment, they could also be placed on the First Amendment which guarantees:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." ~ U.S. Constitution, Amendment I

I, for one, would certainly not take kindly to our legislatures or courts slowly eroding the rights guaranteed here.  Some examples of possible laws diluting our First Amendment rights that would be similar to previously enacted or proposed gun control laws which dilute our Second Amendment rights are:

  • Producing a list of "acceptable" religions

  •  Prohibiting free speech on a list of certain "dangerous" or "divisive" topics

  • Restricting freedom of assembly to specific places, times and setting a limit on the number of people who could be present

 Many in fact believe that much of our civil rights have already been severely diluted by such laws as the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2012. 

The better course of action is to revisit the Second Amendment and determine its applicability today.  If the same conditions exist now that caused this amendment to be written and adopted, then it should remain wholly intact and no laws allowed that would infringe upon this right.  If conditions have changed, and I certainly think they have, then we need to reconsider what we now believe is "...necessary to the security of a free State...".  This exercise will hopefully result in the repeal* of the Second Amendment which would allow Federal, state and local governments to impose whatever restrictions they feel is appropriate on the people's privilege to keep and bear arms.  Once the act of keeping and bearing arms is reclassified as a privilege it could be treated in much the same way as the privilege of driving a car.  The prospective gun owner should not only be subject to background and psychological reviews, but also required to pass a test to show that he/she knows all the laws and regulations pertaining to gun ownership .  The owner could then be issued a license that would only be applicable to the class of weapon on which he/she was tested.  This license should expire after a number of years requiring the owner to be re-qualified periodically.  Just as the car in driving, the weapon also would be licensed and subject to inspection and testing for safety and other required features such as facilities for storage such as a locked container or cabinet.

Upon the repeal of the Second Amendment, and if the majority of people still believe we need assurances which would assist us in discouraging or resisting a tyrannical government, it could be replaced with an amendment which guarantees the people's right to unrestricted, uncensored and unabridged access to information through public media such as the internet which is now, instead of arms, what is "...necessary to the security of a free State...".

* A new amendment is required to repeal an existing amendment. 

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Copyright © 2012 Bill Smart.  All rights reserved.  Reproductions permitted.