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Common Sense and the 2nd Amendment

Essay By: Larry Donnell Fowler
Editorial and opinion



The tragedy in Connecticut once again will spark debate about the balance between gun contol and gun rights. Perhaps the founders actually did leave us the answers so many claim is evident in the constitution and perhaps we have been hearing the founders incorrectly.


Submitted:Dec 15, 2012    Reads: 43    Comments: 4    Likes: 2   


I am so sick of people acting as if America is now or even was at in 1787 some wild west OK Corral. The Constitutional drafters and signers didn't have anything even close in concept to an assault rifle or semi-automatic handgun. The guns those who were "packing" back in the day would made it next to impossible to carry out the kind of senseless violent carnage we are seeing all too often in American cities, towns at malls and schools.

Despite what the learned Supreme Court Justices say about "original intent" and "strict interpretation" of the US Constitution, it cannot be known with any certainty, absent clairvoyance, exactly what the founders meant by the second amendment. Here is what is clear to me. The founders were only ten years removed from a revolution. Many were still fearful of a great empire (Britain) that they believed, rightly, might attack again (War of 1812). Some, having lived under the tyranny of the British crown, were deeply distrustful of too powerful a federal government. Some, as evident by the slow and often contentious ratification processes were even uncertain the experiment called the United Sates would endure, and as we learned by the American Civil War, it almost didn't.

However, with all that fear, distrust and uncertainty the second amendment doesn't say: "Every American Citizen that wants any type of weapon available cannot be prohibited in anyway by the state from having it. Here is a little civics lesson for those who have NEVER read the U.S. Constitution and/or anything about how it came to its final draft.

The House voted on September 21, 1789 to accept the changes made by the Senate, but the amendment as finally entered into the House journal contained the additional words "necessary to":

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.

This final verbiage came about after several revisions by both houses of congress which began with James Madison's initial proposal for a bill of rights was brought to the floor of the House of Representatives on June 8, 1789, during the first session of Congress. The initial proposed passage relating to arms was:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

I am a defender of the 2nd amendment, as I am of the 1st amendment, but I don't defend anyone's right to yell fire in a crowded movie theater that isn't ablaze. Common sense is what I am talking not confiscation or prohibition of all guns. We will never get to common sense so long as we have gun advocates using the 2nd amendment as a shield to common sense; the kind of common sense that the founders shrouded in fear, distrust and uncertainty would have wished for their maturing nation.I am so sick of people acting as if America is now, or was in 1787, some wild west OK Corral. The Constitutional drafters and signers didn't have anything even close to an assault rifle or semi-automatic handgun. The guns those who were "packing" back in the day would have made it next to impossible to carry out the kind of senseless violent carnage we are seeing all too often all across American.

Despite what the learned Supreme Court Justices say about "original intent" and "strict interpretation" of the U.S. Constitution, it cannot be known with any certainty, absent clairvoyance, exactly what the founders meant by the second amendment. Here is what is clear to me. The founders were only ten years removed from a revolution. Many were still fearful of a great empire (Britain) that they believed, rightly, might attack again (War of 1812). Some, having lived under the tyranny of the British Crown, were deeply distrustful of too powerful a federal government. Still others, as evident by the slow and often contentious ratification processes, were even uncertain the experiment called the United States would endure, and as we learned by the American Civil War, it almost didn't.

However, with all that fear, distrust and uncertainty the second amendment doesn't say: "Every American Citizen that wants any type of weapon available cannot be prohibited in anyway by the state from having it." Here is a little civics lesson for those who have NEVER read the U.S.. Constitution and/or anything about how it came to its final draft.

The House voted on September 21, 1789 to accept the changes made by the Senate, but the amendment as finally entered into the House journal contained the additional words "necessary to":

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.

This final verbiage came about after several revisions by both houses of congress which began with James Madison's initial proposal for a bill of rights was brought to the floor of the House of Representatives on June 8, 1789, during the first session of Congress. The initial proposed passage relating to arms was:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

I am a defender of the 2nd amendment, as I am of the 1st amendment, but I don't defend anyone's right to yell "fire" in a crowded movie theater that isn't ablaze. Common sense is what I am talking about, not confiscation or prohibition of all guns. We will never get to common sense so long as we have gun advocates using the 2nd amendment as a shield to common sense; the kind of common sense that the founders, even confronted with fear, distrust and uncertainty would have wished for their maturing nation.





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