I’d like to start a discussion about the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. After the many mass shooting tragedies I think most of the country has decided it’s time to take a serious look at gun ownership in the United States (I am a gun owners as well).
What this thread is: In this topic, I want to take the Second Amendment down to the studs and examine its relevance to modern day citizenship in the US and in the world. I want to explore the philosophical underpinning of the Amendment, not its specific interpretation.
What this thread is not: This is not a discussion about specific implementations of gun control. This is not a discussion about statistics. I’ll assume that everyone here is educated and savvy enough to find statistics to support their opinions. Appeals to emotion don’t move the discussion forward.
So, that being said, let’s start with an interpretation of the motivation for the Second Amendment and the philosophy behind it.
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.
I believe that the motivation for this amendment was to grant citizens the right to have the means to violently overthrow their government, to serve as a deterrent against tyrrany.
However, this is not to say I think every American has the right to own a gun, since it may be the case that private gun ownership is not sufficient means to overthrow the government, or that there are means of overthrow that don’t pose such a collateral hazard to the people.
So, to this end, I pose two questions for discussion:
Ought citizens of a State be granted the right to the means to overthrow that state?
In my opinion, yes. It should be a natural born right of a person to be able to participate in an overthrow of their government, at their own peril, but where there is a nontrivial probability of success.
In present-day America, is private gun ownership a feasible means of overthrow? If not, then what is?
This is what I’m not sure of. I used to think yes, a gun in every home keeps the government in check. But after watching events over the years, like the Arab Spring as an example, I’ve seen that it’s possible to overthrow a government without significant bloodshead, but rather with the dissemination of information. Twitter may be more powerful than a squadron of fighter jets, Facebook more powerful than an army.
However, as we have seen over the years with the Syrian rebellion…it is far different. It’s a bloody battle. This is where my philosophical understanding of the Second Amendment breaks down.