I believe in the 2nd Amendment. The Founding Fathers designed it not for hunters and not for personal protection. They designed it as the ultimate defense against a tyrannical government. It works just fine for the other stuff too. As an NRA Life Member and Instructor, as a former Police Officer, and Personal Safety Expert, it is clear to me that the presence of trained, armed citizens leads to good, civil behavior and Gun Free Zones lead to disaster.
Not in their wildest imagination did our Founders think it would be necessary to protect firearms for hunting. Most folks ate because they hunted. Nor was the 2nd about personal protection; practically everyone packed heat because the world was a dangerous place. It still is. It was just a matter of logic to be armed and it is silly to contend the Founders foresaw the need to protect personal protection into the future. Personal protection was like rain, or gravity.
Another widespread misconception is that guns kill people. As a Clinical Psychologist, to use a technical term, this is nuts!
People kill people, folks, and they fall into two categories: mentally ill and bad guys. The mentally ill and psychologically wounded are my life’s work. The bottom line is we need a workable and equitable system to screen for and reach out to these citizens. They are not happy campers and help is available. It is deplorable that Political Correctness has in so many cases hindered the early interception of mass shooters. And, that the same progressives who advocate gun control also oppose the involuntary incarceration of mentally ill people. Go figure.
Bad guys need to be arrested and prosecuted and locked up. Bad guys laugh at gun control measures. Bad guys flourish in the absence of armed opposition.
Good guys defend us against bad guys, sometimes killing them. Good guys include our police and armed citizens, who time after time have prevented crimes and assisted law enforcement, including recently here in Maine. Gun Free Zones simply tell bad guys and the mentally ill: “Come on down”.
Where did the 2nd Amendment come from?
Having just defeated the well-equipped British army with a ragtag rabble of incredibly brave, gritty citizens, mostly toting small arms, our Founders were concerned about the dangers of a standing army. Standing armies were viewed as the instrument of tyranny. As a counterbalance, the Founders conceived of "a well regulated Militia” as being “necessary to the security of a free state.” Well regulated meant proficient. Militias were all over the place. They were simply citizens picking up their everyday arms to defend their families and communities against a threat, like an indian or wild animal attack. The Founders wanted to preserve the ability of citizens to resist into the future the possible tyranny of government.
So, do guns have a rightful place in America?
First, it’s the law of the land, and comprehensively re-adjudicated recently in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008). This decision confirmed the right to “keep and bear arms” as an individual right. The decision did indicate there could be some reasonable restrictions on gun ownership, such as by felons and the mentally ill. The prohibition on “dangerous and unusual weapons”—including automatic firearms—fall outside Second Amendment guarantees as well. This seems prudent to me.
Second, there has been no lessening in the needs and wants of our citizens to hunt and to protect themselves. There are plenty of cases where armed citizens have also assisted officers, including just recently at the Walmart in Augusta.
Third, the original reason for armed citizens has not changed: to protect from a tyrannical government.