A Facebook friend posted a letter she wrote to her Congress person, questioning her Congress person’s stance on the Second Amendment (this Congress person was generally against the Second Amendment). My Facebook friend was somewhat angry by the response received, and I thought I would take a moment to write, essentially an open letter, to those in government who want to infringe upon the Second Amendment. Please take the following as that letter, and feel free to send a copy to your representatives, at the Federal, State, and Local level.
To: <Elected Official Name and Address> Date: <Date>
From: <Sender’s Name and Address>
I think we can all agree on the need for common-sense reforms that will result in safer communities, but I think we differ a great deal in terms of what that means. You want to ‘strike a balance’ between the Second Amendment, and the need to have safer communities, which invariably means that you want to violate the Second Amendment, in the hope of making our communities safer. I view that as reckless, unwarranted, and illegal.
I would suggest that we look for common-sense solutions that do not violate the Second Amendment, and there are a number of things government could do that fit in with the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment does two things. The first is to tie the right to bear arms in with the need for a militia. The militia was, at the time, defined as all able-bodied persons, and as a result, the Second Amendment also provides an inalienable right for individuals to keep and bear arms, and does not allow the government to infringe upon that right.
While clearly the right to bear arms is an individual right, and an inalienable one at that, Article One of the Constitution, Section 8, does provide powers for regulating the militia, as follows:
“8.16 To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;”
This power expressly grants Congress the power to organize and discipline the militia, and since the individual right to bear arms is tied to the militia, this would seem to give Congress the power to, for example, mandate that firearms not in use be stored behind two-lock security, and to mandate that a firearm that is stolen must be reported as such. Training of those who own firearms is also expressly authorized, and I would think that Congress could make someone who owns a firearm responsible for its security, such that if it is stolen and used in a crime, and it was NOT properly secured, the legal owner has some liability.
The government could, if it wanted, also walk down the streets of our inner cities, right now, and arrest anyone with a criminal record who is carrying a firearm, providing they can find probable cause to conduct a search. We all know that inner city gangs carry guns. I would think that the government could end that practice today, if it so desired. The vast majority of gun violence would go away right now if we disarmed criminal gangs.
It is folly to look for ‘balance’ between the Second Amendment, and the need to keep our communities safe. Frankly, any such balance you may think you find will violate the Constitution, and you swore an oath not to do that, so we can take your ‘balance’ argument right off the table. You become a criminal, yourself, if you try to go that route…
As such, the only option you have is to look for solutions, such as those I have mentioned, that work within the framework of your actual constitutional powers.
If this is a matter you still find unclear, I would appreciate the opportunity to publicly debate you, such that I can show your constituents the error of your ways. If you cannot agree to help find common sense solutions that do not violate the Constitution, then you do not belong in public service, and your constituents deserve to know that you are unfit for your office.
Thank you for your time,