The MYTHS SURROUNDING THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT.
“I confess that I do not entirely approve of this Constitution at present, but Sir, I am not sure I shall never approve of it…” Benjamin Franklin ‘s speech at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention.
‘The Second Amendment: a biography’ by Michael Waldman intends the Founders intent has been misunderstood, says, “At this moment, there is a widely accepted misconception about the history of the amendment and its purpose within American society. When the founding fathers implemented Second Amendment the main idea behind it was to provide citizens with a way to oppose possible tyrannical government. However, today it is widely believed that the Second Amendment is there to provide you with a way to protect yourself from other individuals. The debate is also present over whether the Second Amendment provides for collective or individual rights. “..
David C. Williams said in his intro, the following, “The American constitutional tradition offers an answer to that question.(what constitutes a revolution, and how is it different from a Rebellion?)..…that answer can be reduced to two claims, which together constitute the thesis of this book.
First, the BODY OF THE PEOPLE (his emphasis) and revolution are terms that are rich in historical meaning. The Body of the People refers not to Unaffiliated individuals but to the People as a WHOLE, assembled in a universal militia and united by a ‘common culture’ concerning the proper use of political violence. This universal body has the RIGHT to make a Revolution, defined as a political uprising made by the People ‘as a whole’ for the good of whole.” (Not just disconnected, and disparate ‘militia’ or’patriot’ groups, or Libertarians, Statists or other Outgroups with no support by the body of the people).
He later refers to ‘unaffiliated’ examples, such as Timothy McVeigh, and supporting, groups and such ‘Militia’ today, which are self promoting, and NOT called upon by any ‘state’, thus not consistent with the wording of the Second Amendment’s, ‘Militia’.
He then states, “Second, Congress, as the …representative of the Body of the People, has the right to maintain forces to ‘suppress’ rebellions (e.g. Washington against the Whiskey rebellion), defined as political uprisings made by the ‘faction’ for the selfish good of that ‘faction’. In common…George Washington made a revolution as a leader of a free and united people; Timothy McVeigh committed an act of rebellion by murdering fellow Americans.” (end quote)
A reasonable understanding of the problem with today’s Militia minded groups and a failure to understand some pretty straightforward facts about the intent of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and specifically the Second amendment… Below I quote from PoliticsUSA online article, as just one example of this.
” Gun-fanatics (his term) and rebellion-minded conservatives cannot comprehend that the U.S. government is not a foreign power, or that the Declaration of Independence was American colonists’ official separation notice from Great Britain. (Sheriff David A.) Clarke and revolution-minded NRA traitors (his term) also fail to acknowledge is there have been no attempts whatsoever to disarm people; law-abiding or otherwise. In fact, there have been no new gun safety measures* in America since 1994′s Assault Weapons Ban passed by a Republican Congress during the Clinton Administration. Clarke knew he was inciting NRA anti-government gun-zealots to rebellion against the government that the NRA has advertised for five years while a Black man has been in the Oval Office.” Link: “Another Right Wing Sheriff Threatens America With Armed Rebellion”in PoliticsUsa, (The latest sheriff to threaten America with armed rebellion is Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr who addressed the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting last week and…http://www.politicususa.com/2014/04/30/wing-sheriff-threatens-america-armed-rebellion.html)
Williams divides his treatise into ‘groups’ , their viewpoints and their failure as misinterpreted ‘myths’ about the Second Amendment”.
Williams, perhaps, differently than some, naming them, ‘Anti revolutionists’ (statists to some), ‘Libertarians and Populists’, ‘The Militia movement’ and members of more recent, ‘outgroups’ (Jews, African-Americans, etc.).
…these outgroup myths are myths of DisUnity rather than Unity. They presume that Some Americans will kill others, and the only question is , who will fit onto each category”(1)
He equates the Problem (and I mostly agree with him), is that…”..with all the myths in this part is not just that they do not square with the Framer’s visioin. The deeper problem is that they offer a false hope that we can tame violence by arming the RIGHT people (my emphasis) against the WRONG people.”… He supposes such an end an ultimate ‘collapse’. And he, as I, would, wish to “…create a political culture that binds us together.” He abhors, as do I, by emphasizing, Hostility, “…they encourage distrust and anger as ‘constitutionally’ sanctioned attitudes.”
An example from the Militia viewpoint is, (Williams), that the 27 words in the 2nd amendment, “… is absolute. Unequivocal, inalienable right of the ‘people’ to be armed, needs no interpretation.”
But he then quotes (James ) Madison, “Do not separate text from historical background. ..you will have perverted and subverted the constitution, which can only end in distorted, bastardized from of illegitimate government” He thus says, of the ‘Militia’ movement (as with all the groups herein) that their, “..Theory of the Second Amendment is thus an exaggeration of themes present in more mainstream populism”.(p. 218)
Nocera also says, “In time, of course, the militia idea died out, replaced by a professionalized armed service. Most gun regulation took place at the state and city level. The judiciary mostly stayed out of the way. In 1939, the Supreme Court upheld the nation’s first national gun law, the National Firearms Act, which put onerous limits on sawed-off shotguns and machine guns ” precisely because the guns had no reasonable relation to a well-regulated militia.”
Then, what IS the correct historical and present intent of the 2nd Amendment… I will go into that more in the next section. A short preview is in Williams’ words, “In every case, these stories fruitlessly pit one segment of the population against another in hopes that if the right people have the guns all will be well”. (p. 261)
(* this before several state initiatives after the Sandy Hook mass killings in CT.)
“. – (1)(David C. Williamson MYTHIC MEANINGS OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT. P 101)