If you’ve had the chance to talk to a real tea partier about gun control, chances are you’ve gotten just about the same response as everyone else. You usually end up with a yelling, screaming TEApublican, foaming at the mouth, shrieking about tyranny, the founding fathers, and probably some hints at a secret government plot to take everyone’s guns away forever. The conversation almost always turns to the second amendment, with the radical right clutching to it just as hard as they clutch to their bibles and anti-gay rights. Here’s the kicker, though: what the conservatives are screaming about the second amendment isn’t true. It just isn’t. Let dive into some facts.
The second amendment read as follows: “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”. The issue we see over and over again is that the conservatives only want to focus on the second part of this. They say that any gun control at all is infringing on their rights to own a firearm. No semi-autos? No clips holding more than 10 rounds? They’ll scream “infringement, infringement, infringement” all the way to the local gun show. What they don’t focus on is the first half, which is INCREDIBLY important.
To break it down, here’s what needs to be looked at. First off, the amendment used the words “well-regulated”. Common sense regulations like the banning of unnecessary weapons and limits on clips are NOT infringements on rights to bear arms. They are simply ways of keeping death tolls down in the event of a tragedy. Think about it: on average, I would say that, every time an assailant has to cock back a hammer in a situation like the Aurora shooting, that’s 1-3 lives the attacker would have otherwise taken with a semi-auto.
Second, the amendment states that a militia is needed to uphold a free state. Regardless of what the Fox News crowd may tell you, this doesn’t mean every jack nobody in the backwoods needs a gun to prevent a government uprising. Even George Washington, in his first annual address to congress, said, “a free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite”. Does this sound to anyone else like he’s talking about arming yourself because you’re paranoid that the guy you didn’t vote for is going to send in a SWAT team for your guns? No? Then congratulations, because you’re using your common sense. We could even take it a step further. Did you know that America had no standing army when the amendment was written? It could be said that this was to protect our freedom against outside forces due to this fact, and perhaps we already have a militia of non-military-appointed fighters. They’re called the national guard.
As a final point, lets look at the ridiculousness of saying that the second amendment somehow gives you the RIGHT to own a semi-auto. The founding father’s had no idea what weapons would be capable of after the amendment came into play. The first semi-auto, the M1 Garand, wasn’t even invented until almost 100 years AFTER the amendment was written. That begs the argument from the right-wing that “even if that’s the case, I need a semi-auto to defend myself against someone who has one”. This argument holds NO water! Other countries have nukes, does that mean that every person in the USA should be allowed a surface to air missile!?
In closing, there is no real way to justify a lack of gun control with the second amendment. We, as a nation, have a right to bear arms, that goes without saying. However, the Republican party in large will try to use any possible gun control to spew their propaganda and paranoia, convincing those who can’t think for themselves that Obama is going to personally show up at their doorstep to take their guns, punch them in the face, and call them ugly. What we need to do is be reasonable. Remember, we have every right to be armed, but that doesn’t also mean we have the right to be armed to the teeth.