Bill of Rights, checks and balances, citizen-soldier, counterbalances, Federalist 46, gun control, James Madison, limited powers, militia act, Militia Act of 1903, national guard, natural rights, second amendment, sovereignty of the people, state militias, states rights, U.S. Constitution, usurpation of powers
The following post discusses the original intent behind the Second Amendment. Readers should hold their assumptions, read carefully, and check their conclusion jumping until the end.
The rhetoric over gun control legislation is heating up, yet from no corner of the political spectrum do we hear discussed the underlying constitutional crisis that precipitated this ongoing debate, one that America has lived with for over a century. Unfortunately, the accusations and aspersions thrown from either side towards the other generates more heat than light, and it is nigh time to investigate the original intent of the Second Amendment. Although many alleged constitutional authorities have waxed obliquely on the reasons behind the insertion of this amendment, James Madison left little doubt as to why the arming of citizens was a critical civil liberty. His reasoning can be found in The Federalist No. 46.
I find, however, that far too many Americans do not understand the intent of the Bill of Rights, much less the intent of the Second Amendment, and so it is here I must begin. I suspect this reality arises more from the degraded state of our high-school education in civics than from anything else. For those who are comfortable with their understanding of the Bill of Rights, you can safely skip to the next section. Continue reading