More than a few proponents of gun rights view the Second Amendment as a way to protect this country from enemies, foreign and domestic. Yet the ratification debates surrounding the adoption of the 1789 Constitution were not so simple-minded.
A criticism of the hotly debated proposed new constitution was that the states would be unable to defend themselves from attack because the new basic document effectively surrendered all military power to the national government. Ratification proponents promised the Second Amendment as a way to dispel fears of states' rights opponents by providing for well-regulated state militias. Today, however, there is little doubt that the central government is equal to the national defense challenge.
What we are left with are dubious claims that our leaders are up to no good. We are told that the Second Amendment will protect us from tyranny without specifying the particulars. Are we to cede the decision to take up arms against our government to the ill-informed demagogues and pundits who pollute our national airwaves? Perhaps, they really mean to leave the decision to delusional and paranoid people who happen to possess weapons or who are members of paramilitary organizations.
As they contemplate armed insurrection against the government, let those who stockpile guns and ammunition contemplate state and federal criminal codes and the treason clause of the U.S. Constitution. We need to free ourselves from the false ideology of Second Amendment advocates and understand finally that violence is the antithesis of freedom and liberty.
Albert P. Melone