Monday, June 3, 2013

The Second Amendment, Concealed Carry, and Truth

The debate over the Second Amendment is seemingly an endless one. Even though there are those who try to make it mean something other than what it says, it is really not difficult to understand.
 
“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.”
 
I once heard a talk show host explain the meaning as follows:  “If someone is a member of the military, he or she has the right to bear arms while on duty.” This is quite obviously an absurd interpretation of the text of the amendment, because it reverses the actual meaning, and it makes the Second Amendment different from the rest of the Bill of Rights, which is a listing of the individual rights of citizens. The Supreme Court has ruled the obvious:  the Second Amendment is an individual right. The amendment clearly means that the people have a right to keep (own) and bear (carry) arms, because it can be necessary to form a militia (made up of people bringing their own arms) in order to secure freedom. That’s what it says. That’s what it means.
 
A year ago, my wife and I moved from California to Colorado, a free state. Yes, I am aware that a number of those in positions of authority in Colorado are attacking gun rights in many ways. All too often, those who opine the loudest, and also those who make the laws, are those who know nothing about guns. Vice President Joe Biden has offered advice, specifically for women,  that a shotgun is much easier to handle than an AR-15. Check out this video to see how ridiculous this advice is.
 
Some of the things our politicians are attempting to do are clearly motivated by politics rather than reality, such as declaring “gun-free zones” in certain places. Anyone with any measure of common sense knows that another name for a “gun-free zone” is a “shooting gallery.” Most mass shootings occur in “gun-free zones.” One does not have to be the proverbial “rocket scientist” in order to know that criminals do not, by definition, obey laws, and anyone who wants to shoot a bunch of people is going to find a soft target area where there is little, if any, chance that anyone will shoot back. One Colorado lawmaker even said that if “high capacity magazines” are outlawed, those who own such magazines will shoot all of the bullets out of them, and then they will be worthless and will have to be thrown away. That has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. That’s like saying that a car has to be scrapped after it runs out of gas. I guess we’d better plan on really big gas tanks. Of course, the new regulations concerning magazines have accomplished nothing other than driving a highly successful business, along with its hundreds of jobs, out of the state.
 
Regardless of the politically-driven naivety (or perhaps “lunacy” is a better word) of some lawmakers, Colorado is still a breath of fresh air (in more ways than one) compared to California. In Colorado, one may carry a handgun openly or inside a vehicle with no permit, and concealed carry permits are not difficult to obtain, since Colorado issues permits on a “shall issue” basis. In California it was nearly impossible to keep one’s constitutional rights and obtain a concealed carry permit. Of course, not too many criminals buy guns legally or bother to get concealed carry permits, so the oppressive laws only work against those whose lifestyle is such that they obey the laws. In Colorado, a concealed carry permit cannot be denied unless a background check proves someone is a felon, so almost everyone who applies is granted a permit. Regardless of the paranoia some have about guns, it is a much more secure feeling to know that almost anywhere we go, there are very likely quite a few armed citizens present. This is security, not danger. Statistics bear out that more guns do not make the situation more dangerous, regardless of what some politicians try to say. We need to remember that many politicians are agenda-driven and couldn’t care less about truth, reality, facts, or statistics.
 
In reality, even a concealed carry permit is an “infringement” on the Second Amendment. By getting the permit, we are getting permission to exercise that which is already our constitutional right. Notice that the Second Amendment does not say “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be taken away,” but rather that it shall not even be “infringed” upon. I have great respect for the few “constitutional carry” states, where the Second Amendment is the only gun permit a citizen needs. This is as it should be everywhere in the country. The following states have adopted constitutional carry:  Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, Arkansas, parts of Idaho, and parts of Montana. Several other states are considering it. Regardless of the infringements on the Second Amendment that exist in various places, I still consider myself blessed to live in the United States of America, where freedom was purchased at a dear price, even the freedom of those who oppose the very tools that brought about that freedom.
 
There is no doubt that the Bible fully justifies defense of self and the helpless. That is another topic for another time, but it does not take long to find the many passages that teach this. Several years ago, I knew someone who said he would never own a firearm, and that if someone broke into his house with intent to do harm to him or his family, he would talk to them and convince them not to do anything foolish. This is just a bit na├»ve. As long as we live in a world occupied by sinners – that’s all of us – there will be a necessity to be aware that some will allow evil to run their lives, and such people will harm others. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

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