The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution of 1789, ratified on December 15, 1791, reads as follows:
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.
In 2008, the US Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller, held that the Second Amendment allows individual not associated with a militia to keep and bear firearms.
Fine, I have no problem with that. But in light of gun-caused deaths that happen in America several times a day on average, and mass shootings with legally-possessed firearms in places like Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Chardon High School, the Aurora Mall Theater, and now Sandy Hook Elementary School, I think it’s high time to take a very conservative, strict constructionist approach to the Second Amendment.
When it was ratified, it was literally impossible for an Adam Lantz to go into any place where large numbers of people were gathered and murder dozens of them because semi-automatic and automatic weapons did not exist. The Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, knew only about muzzle-loaded firearms, which a well trained individual can fire about once a minute. A would-be mass murderer with a firearm in 1791 would get off one shot, two max, in any place with a bunch of people before being wrestled to the ground or being knifed or even neutralized with something like a sword.
So, in the spirit of strict constructionism, let’s apply that to the Second Amendment. Individuals can stock up on all the muzzleloaders, crossbows, longbows, swords, pikes, and battle-axes they want, but any weapon more advanced than what was available in 1791 can be banned by local authorities. Furthermore, in keeping with that strict constructionist interpretation, violators can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and sentenced to very lengthy prison terms.
Repeat offenders, at least at first, may unfortunately have to be hanged just to get the point across that We The People are serious about this. Recidivism would thus be low after awhile.
This way, the people’s right to keep and bear arms is NOT infringed, and the people’s right to send their kids to school or to the movies without fear of being mowed down by automatic weapons is likewise not infringed.
What’s so unreasonable about that? I’m sure most of the Founding Fathers would approve.
Cross-posted from Voices on the Square
Photo by Mike_tn under Creative Commons license.