Second Amendment not just for military
In yesterday's "Zeitgeist" column, "Welcome to the gun show," Josh Baker argues that the Second Amendment to the Constitution "specifically mentions the maintenance of a well-regulated militia as the reason for the [amendment's] existence." He argues that the right to bear arms is one granted to military forces, but not to the general public. Well, no. Read the words: "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." Note that the word "militia" is not the same as "people." If the authors of the amendment had wanted to ensure a strong military, then the amendment would read, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the militia to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The amendment uses two different words, the people and the militia, for a reason — so that everyone could distinguish these separate rights.
This amendment grants the people the right to keep and bear arms. Contrary to the author's claim, the militia is not the basis for the Second Amendment.
The Founding Fathers' understanding of the amendment differs radically from the author's understanding. They were in favor of ordinary people owning weapons, because they had just fought a war against a tyrannical state militia, which attempted to confiscate their weapons. They knew the time might come again when a militia would try to steal their guns. They wrote the amendment to ensure that no one, not the government or the author, could steal their guns under the law. After all, the United States is a nation of laws, and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.
Despite all this evidence, people like the author would still question the relevance of the Second Amendment in modern America. They argue that it is no longer needed, other than giving gun-owners the right to commit gratuitous acts of violence. He cites many examples of people using guns to do horrible things. However, he does not give one iota of evidence to suggest how these people attained their guns. I would guess that these criminals probably did not buy the guns legally, since they are criminals and criminals tend to break the law. Trying to stop crazy people from doing crazy things by passing crazy laws is crazy. New laws will only stop law-abiding citizens from acquiring guns. Meanwhile, the criminals will still have their guns. We should enforce the laws already on the books before we add more senseless laws to try to stop senseless crimes.
Noah Glyn is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student.