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The Purpose of the Second Amendment

I wanted to clear the air in regards to some things that have come up lately.  For one, I am not rejecting one of the key purposes of the second amendment, which is to act as a final check on governmental power, and ultimately make it possible for the people to withdraw their consent to be governed.  Nor am I suggesting that this become a taboo topic, to be locked up in the attic like a crazy aunt, never to be talked about or acknowledged.

Michael Bane, in the comments brought up the eloquent dissent from Judge Alex Kozinski in Silveria:

The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees*. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

Let us contrast that with what I critisized:

There are some of us “cold dead hands” types, perhaps 3 percent of gun owners, who would kill anyone who tried to further restrict our God-given liberty. Don’t extrapolate from your own cowardice and assume that just because you would do anything the government told you to do that we would.

Maybe I’m more sensitive about how you say things than most, but there’s a big difference between talking to the public about why the second amendment is important, and saying if you get a political result you don’t like, you’re going to start shooting, without first exhausting the political and legal processes as a means of redressing your grievance.  Kozinski speaks of the second amendment as a doomsday provision, which it is.  I think the public can understand and accept it in that light.

I think the nut of the argument here, between myself, and the people who agree with me, and Mike V. and the people who agree with him, is that I don’t think we’re close to needing to use that doomsday provision, and I suspect many of them think we are.

4 Responses to “The Purpose of the Second Amendment”

  1. Kozinski speaks of the firstsecond amendment as a doomsday provision, which it is.

    Fixed that for you.

  2. CorbinKale says:

    Maybe we have 1000 years, or maybe 100 days. I hope that people would take advantage of this time we have been provided by the 2nd Amendment to prepare. If you wait until you REALLY need it, it will likely be too late to order that case of rounds you have been considering.

    Contemplate the many millions of citizens who have been murdered by their own governments in just the past century. They never thought it would happen, either. They died incredulous, thinking, “If only…”. I am hoping that never happens in the U.S., but I am preparing, just in case. If nothing ever happens, I lose nothing by being prepared, for I just rotate my ammo stocks, but if the worst happens and I am NOT prepared, it costs me everything. Hell, I buy car insurance, but not because I INTEND to crash my car.

  3. Sebastian says:

    Thanks. I fixed it.

  4. Maybe I’m more sensitive about how you say things than most, but there’s a big difference between talking to the public about why the second amendment is important, and saying if you get a political result you don’t like, you’re going to start shooting, without first exhausting the political and legal processes as a means of redressing your grievance. Kozinski speaks of the second amendment as a doomsday provision, which it is. I think the public can understand and accept it in that light.

    To say, ” . . . if you get a political result you don’t like . . . kind of trivializes the ramifications of moves designed to render moot a Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right, does it not? I mean, every use of violence by people against their government, whether justified or not, is provoked by “a political result [they didn’t] like.”

    I’ll also point out that although I certainly agree with Judge Kozinski, when you think of the Second Amendment as the last ditch defense of liberty (and I think we all, including the Judge, do think of it that way), then we have to consider that attempts to render it meaningless would be the precursor to the nightmare scenarios he discusses–a would-be tyrant doesn’t refuse to stand for reelection before disarming the people, he disarms them first, so he doesn’t have to answer to them.

    Once RKBA is sufficiently watered down, we can’t count on there being a political process to fix it.

    That, I submit, is why we need to be clear that one way or another, we’re keeping our “assault weapons,” we’re not registering them, they won’t have to be “smart,” or microstamp the cartridge brass (and ammo won’t have to be microstamped), etc.

    III

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