The 2nd Amendment
The 2nd Amendment Protects More Than “Hunting Rights”
Seemingly, after every mass shooting involving a high-powered rifle, gun control advocates call for its possession to be heavily regulated or banned. A frequent reason given is that such a weapon isn’t appropriate for sports hunting, anyway. And when the AR-15 (a semi-automatic version of the military’s M16 fully automatic rifle) is the weapon, they are right.
But that argument misconstrues the 2nd Amendment, the purpose of which was to guarantee the rights of Americans to possess firearms for the defense of themselves and their communities.
Read what it says:
“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 1791, when the Bill of Rights was approved (of which, of course, the 2nd Amendment is a part), Americans had access to muskets and flintlock rifles. Those were the individual firearms of the day.
Today, the AR-15 rifle, a civilian version of its military counterpart, is comparable to the musket of two centuries ago. It can be a very effective self-defense weapon.
To be sure, firearms have always been mis-used for criminal purposes. Obviously a rapid-fire AR-15 has the capacity to inflict far more damage than a flintlock rifle able to be reloaded only a few times a minute. But those are matters of degree. The fact remains that possession of either is a right. And rights are abused.
Society’s appropriate response must be to focus on thwarting the abusers. That may require more security at public schools, including metal detectors and guards, to arming willing school personnel and a heightened awareness of society’s potential violent misfits.