The words “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” seem pretty clear to me. The fact that gun control advocates, judges, police and politicians ignore them would come as no surprise to the Founding Fathers. Nor, I suspect, would they be taken aback by an article in a publication owned by a billionaire politician that claims that they supported gun control. If they’d known the word, they would certainly have credited businessinsider.com with chutzpah for offering the following . . .
The framers and adopters of the Second Amendment were generally ardent supporters of the idea of well-regulated liberty. Without strong governments and effective laws, they believed, liberty inevitably degenerated into licentiousness and eventually anarchy. Diligent students of history, particularly Roman history, the Federalists who wrote the Constitution realized that tyranny more often resulted from anarchy, not strong government.
Well there’s a major WTF from Fordham University law professor and Joyce Foundation fund-sucker Saul Cornell (above). ‘Cause there I was thinking that the Founding Fathers considered a “strong” government the greatest threat to individual liberty — resulting in a constitution that’s almost entirely composed of limitations on that government power.
And down the rabbit hole we go! Here are some relevant excerpts for your dining and dancing pleasure. Rather than fisking them one-by-one, I’ll leave it to TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia to tear Mr. Cornell a new one. Because, I mean, c’mon. Really?
All of the colonies – apart from Quaker-dominated Pennsylvania, the one colony in which religious pacifists blocked the creation of a militia – enrolled local citizens, white men between the ages of 16-60 in state-regulated militias. The colonies and then the newly independent states kept track of these privately owned weapons required for militia service. Men could be fined if they reported to a muster without a well-maintained weapon in working condition.
#2: Public carry
There was no general right of armed travel when the Second Amendment was adopted, and certainly no right to travel with concealed weapons. Such a right first emerged in the United States in the slave South decades after the Second Amendment was adopted. The market revolution of the early 19th century made cheap and reliable hand guns readily available. Southern murder rates soared as a result.
#3: Stand-your-ground laws
Under traditional English common law, one had a duty to retreat, not stand your ground. Deadly force was justified only if no other alternative was possible. One had to retreat, until retreat was no longer possible, before killing an aggressor.
The use of deadly force was justified only in the home, where retreat was not required under the so-called castle doctrine, or the idea that “a man’s home is his castle.” The emergence of a more aggressive view of the right of self-defense in public, standing your ground, emerged slowly in the decades after the Civil War.
#4: Safe storage laws
Although some gun rights advocates attempt to demonize government power, it is important to recognize that one of the most important rights citizens enjoy is the freedom to elect representatives who can enact laws to promote health and public safety. This is the foundation for the idea of ordered liberty. The regulation of gun powder and firearms arises from an exercise of this basic liberty.
In 1786, Boston acted on this legal principle, prohibiting the storage of a loaded firearm in any domestic dwelling in the city. Guns had to be kept unloaded, a practice that made sense since the black powder used in firearms in this period was corrosive. Loaded guns also posed a particular hazard in cases of fire because they might discharge and injure innocent bystanders and those fighting fires.
#5: Loyalty oaths
One of the most common claims one hears in the modern Second Amendment debate is the assertion that the Founders included this provision in the Constitution to make possible a right of revolution. But this claim, too, rests on a serious misunderstanding of the role the right to bear arms played in American constitutional theory.
In fact, the Founders engaged in large-scale disarmament of the civilian population during the American Revolution. The right to bear arms was conditional on swearing a loyalty oath to the government. Individuals who refused to swear such an oath were disarmed.
The notion that the Second Amendment was understood to protect a right to take up arms against the government is absurd. Indeed, the Constitution itself defines such an act as treason.
Gun regulation and gun ownership have always existed side by side in American history. The Second Amendment poses no obstacle to enacting sensible gun laws. The failure to do so is not the Constitution’s fault; it is ours.
That, my friends, is a whole lot of BS. As I said above, I’ll leave it to greater minds than my own to pull the proverbial rug from underneath Mr. Cornell’s metaphorical feet. But I will say this about all that . . .
When the ends justify the means, the irrational becomes rational, and scholars become propagandists. Ipso flipping facto.