Guns and Self-defense

“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.”

– Second Ammendment of the U.S. Constitution 

“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”

― George Washington

“[T]he Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution confers an individual right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes such as self-defense.”

– U.S. Supreme Court, June 26, 2008, District of Columbia v. Heller

Everybody has an opinion on guns and what the Constitution says about who should have them – what constitutes “the people”? 

Our first president believed that guns were only for the state/nation (comprised of “free people”) to be used by the military to defend itself against other nations. (And, of course, in his day, the nation had no national, standing army with its own guns, just “well regulated” [disciplined] state militias of conscripted [drafted] citizens who brought their own.)

Our Supreme Court has disagreed, deciding on a literalist interpretation that “the people” means just that, individual people. They have also ruled that states may make certain restrictions on what kinds of guns are illegal for citizens to possess (e.g., machine guns) and prohibitions against certain categories of persons who may possess any kind of gun (e.g., felons), but overall, the right of citizens “shall not be infringed” (denied) to possess and use a gun in self-defense against bad people who don’t pay any attention to the law and obtain guns and use them.

Maybe their decision was because of the phethora of guns in our society and their abundant use by criminal or just plain crazy people against innocent people.

The decision – regardless if it is an accurate interpretation of the Constitution and its intent at the time it was written, or not –  it makes sense for our times today (just follow the daily news).

Even the Dalai Lama (XIV), an otherwise iconic proponent of nonviolence, has said, “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” 

So if you own a gun for self-defense, you have the legal and moral “right” to use it, if necessary.

If you don’t already, does this make you anymore inclined to get one?

–  Bill

 

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