The MTHS SURROUNDING THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT.
by Robert J Dorn
Joe Nocera in his May 2014 OpEd in the New York Times states…
“He is after something else. He wants to understand how it came to be that the Second Amendment, long assumed to mean one thing, has come to mean something else entirely. To put it another way: Why are we, as a society, willing to put up with mass shootings as the price we must pay for the right to carry a gun?…Sadly, that is what we have now, as we saw over the weekend. Elliot Rodger’s individual right to bear arms trumped the public good. Eight people were shot as a result.”
Today there is hardly a more controversial discussion in American life than Gun rights, Gun Safety with the ever increasing, almost weekly mass shootings, in schools or public places. The NRA and the Gun Lobby their supporters flame up , it seems at the mention of any further or increased gun safety legislation, though it has already passed in many states, including most of those surrounding Connecticutt and the 2012 Newtown school shootings (and many more). On the other hand, it’s just as volatile a discussion from those groups and individuals attempting to push any new legislation and who demonize (correctly or not) the Corporate and money behind the NRA and other Pro Gun lobbyists, Militia groups and others.
What I have discovered in reading certain scholarly books on this topic in the past few months, is that NO ONE has or owns the rights to the Only interpretation of the 2nd Amendment or any of the Bill of rights… Courts, including the Supreme, have gone back n forth, changed viewpoints, and the tide in the past conservative Era have changed it once again.
Fact: there have always been gun safety or gun restrictions throughout our nation’s history, regardless of the short line called the 2nd Amendment..
While most of us regular Americans would consider upon reflection, the First Amendment the most important, regarding freedom OF and freedom FROM religion, freedom of speech, reads as such: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion ….etc.. etc…’ (recently negated by the recent Hobby Lobby Supreme court case).
Many throw their whole bag of oats into the Second Amendment, even claiming, it’s some ‘Natural’, or ‘God given’ right…(not according to the writers of the Bill of Rights). There have been and still persist various Theoretical viewpoints regarding the phrasing and meaning of the Second Amendment. Two recent books, both best sellers, going into deep analysis and historical ‘exegesis’, if you will (to use a Theological term)…. These folk are now and have traditionally been categorized as “Originalist’ readers of the Constitution (about 5 of the current Supreme Justices are so)..verses those who are of more inclined to a ‘living’ Constitution, noting the Amendments and the need and possibility of such. But the arguments and understandings go deeper.
(More to come)