Saturday, September 16, 2006

What's the Second Amendment REALLY There For?

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a debate!

From Where I Sit and P-Mac sorta-kinda-like Open Knowledge of Gun Ownership.

The NRA, Sensenbrenner, and I stand opposed, at least in some regards.

Much of the discussion is about utilization of registration data. P-Mac:

What this is really is an argument about is how gun-trace data can be used. Sensenbrenner backs a bill that generally limits federal gun-tracking data to law-enforcement use, strictly defined, while his critics say the data should be more widely available. Personally, I find merit on both sides, though I lean toward letting the federal data be more accessible rather than more restricted

Elliot/From Where:

I think we should do a much better job of tracking guns in this country. Just like I think we should be able to tell exactly who’s voting, I think we should be able to tell exactly who is responsible for any particular gun.

Currently, under Federal law, people who purchase handguns and long-guns (rifles) have to register their purchase with the dealer. (There's a myth that "gun shows" are a "loophole" to this requirement. The myth is perpetrated successfully on the wilfully ignorant...)

At any rate, the registration data is supposed to remain confidential--and removed from Federal records--after a period of time.

There have been problems. Rogue cops, rogue Mayors, and various do-gooder-crusaders have been able to get their hands on the data and have blatantly mis-used the stuff for various nefarious purposes. BATF agents have also been overly exuberant in "enforcement" of regulations. On the other hand, there have been successes (see Chisholm's story on McIlheran's blog entry.)

But the debate misses a larger point.

The Second Amendment was not written exclusively for deer-hunters, nor exclusively for those who wish to be armed as a matter of self-defense against criminals.

It was written for better reasons: the defense of the Country and the defense of the States against the Country (if necessary.) Recall that the Bill of Rights was added at the demand of various States and is largely concerned with "What the Feds Cannot Do." This list of "cannots" was facilitated at the point of a gun (as it were) by inclusion of the 2nd Amendment.

Finally, by implication, the 2nd was written to allow the citizens self-protection against not ONLY a rogue Federal Government, but also against rogue State Government(s.) In other words, the 2nd empowers responsible citizens with arms.

I am not among those who think that there is an imminent threat from the Feds, nor from the State, to establish some sort of Fascism.

But then, neither were the Jews of Germany and Poland in the 1920's. Nor were scores of settlers and natives in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe in the 1960's. Nor citizens of Cambodia just before Pol Pot.

Acton's words about power and Absolute power are worth remembering in this debate, as is the REAL purpose of the 2nd.

1 comment:

Billiam said...

Well said, Dad. You are spot on. Also, the thought that cities could sue gun manufacturers is plain dumb. The gun is a TOOL. It's good or ill defined by the user. Anti-gun folks drive me nuts, as well as show their ignorance when they try to ascribe evil intent to a gun. Well said, sir!