The Bill of Rights Matters

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.

From time to time in America, there is a growing debate about what these words mean. And exactly how important they are. Piers Morgan feels that the constitution is inherently flawed (as well as the Bible). Others don’t feel that the 2nd amendment should be free of any “common sense” regulations. Some feel that any regulation framework sets up a slippery slope. For the record, I fully believe the slippery slope argument. Matt Lewis put it well:

The following cycle should sound familiar to anyone paying attention: 1.) The agitators ask for a lot, 2. they settle for less (a common sense compromise!), and 3.) they come back for more at the most opportune time (they never let a crisis go to waste.)

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That is Saul Alinsky doctrine 101. And this just helps, not set up compromise, but set up two mountains of ideology with a large valley in the middle. Truth be known, both ideological sides believe in the slippery slope. (Just ask NARAL and their staunch opposition to partial birth abortion).

BUT, what does it all mean?

As I am prone to do, I asked my followers on Facebook to weigh in: There are two opposing viewpoints on the 2nd amendment. 1. It only ensured that Americans can hunt and own a gun. 2. The 2nd Amendment was a safeguard against tyranny, therefore ensured Americans can possess the same weapons that police and the military have. Which do you support? And Why?

As happens because most of my followers are friends and family…only one person weighed in:

Mike Neitzke For starters I don’t know that I would call them opposing viewpoints. Believing in one does not negate the other. As such I support both. My two cents is that it is fairly clear in reading the second ammendment that it’s intent was to be a safegaurd against tyranny. As such the citizenry needs to be able to have the same firepower as those who may come to deprive them of their rights. I don’t see much of any evidence that it was written because the framers recognized a need for an efficient means for people to kill their food. That said, if we have the right to have them to protect oourselves, our property and our liberty we may as well be able to use them to hunt.

I understand Mike’s assertion and I agree for the most part.

Again…what does it mean? In my opinion, the 2nd amendment was intended to allow the citizenry to possess a means of protecting themselves against those who could take away their rights and power. But, as a commenter noted:

…in the words of Jason Whitlock, ‘when will we realize the right to bear arms doesn’t protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?’

True. But does it make it any less important for the citizenry to protect themselves from other-than-governement forces who actively seek to steal their rights to life, liberty, or property?

I believe strongly that any American who has a claim to the Bill of Right’s protections should be allowed invoke the 2nd amendment on their behalf. The question becomes…is this inconvenient sometimes? Yes. But sometimes, the Bill of Rights can be rather inconvenient. And for Christians, sometimes it allows people to do things that go against our basic beliefs.

Did the founding fathers every envision a world with AK47s and AR15s? Probably not, but they knew that weaponry would change. Did they every envision rap CDs or violent video games? Probably not, but they knew that speech would change too.

Do I believe that someone “needs” an AR15? Doesn’t matter. I don’t believe that someone “needs” Call of Duty Black Ops 2…but I believe the first amendment protects their right to make it. I don’t believe that someone “needs” to have a mosque…but I believe the first amendment protects their right to build one.

That said, I believe that communities have the right to regulate certain aspects of both the first and second amendments. For example, if a community doesn’t wish to have a porn shop in their city, they have a right to restrict whether one is placed there. If I don’t want to have a strip joint or gun shop in town, I through my city council can restrict that.

The problem with America today is that there are too few grown-ups. I am going to hate on some of my people in this. Let’s take gambling. Here is what happens. Cleveland, OH wants to build a casino. Instead of being grown-ups and saying…if the people of Cleveland want to be the Las Vegas of Ohio…let them. As long as they don’t expect the state to fund the additional police they may have, go for it. We pass a constitutional amendment banning gambling in all of Ohio. Which is…in a word…just sour grapes because you can’t convince people of Cleveland to agree with your viewpoint. Instead of fighting online poker state by state…let’s pass a national law banning online gaming. You see how this escalates? All because we can’t stop being sore losers at the local level. The same thing goes for liberals…instead of fighting for the rights of abortion city by city…they pitch a fit and force their viewpoint on all Americans regardless. Listen, if Chicago wants to ban guns…let them. If you can’t fight it at the local level and win…move to Nebraska or another city in Illinois that will let you carry your handgun. We have this all or nothing policy mindset that tries to solve every problem we have at the Federal level.

And that is why I think the conservative philosophy of state’s rights and local control have largely failed. Because EVERYONE’s philosophy is one of Federal policy. This is why I supported DOMA. It stated, in part, if you get married in Hawaii…whatever. But you are going to use the full faith and credit clause to force that on Nebraskans. As a conservative, we have to be able to win small policy battles all over. This is how our national movement was built. Now, we have too many national conservative organizations that focus just on what is happening in Washington, DC and have no idea what is going on in Shelby, OH or Norfolk, NE.

But, I digress. The second amendment should be a local fight and a local right. If Montana wants to allow their citizens to carry whatever weapons they want…gravy. If New York wants to heavily regulate gun use, let them.

What we don’t need is another national law. What we don’t need is both sides thinking that they can be lazy and just pay lobbyists in the district instead of fighting for their values on the ground. That is why we are in the mess we are in.

7 Responses to “The Bill of Rights Matters”

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