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The Second Amendment – A Near Miss?

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This is the complete text of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

“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 read with interest the results of the recent Supreme Court decision, confirming the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms by a 5-4 vote.  As a fan of the Constitution in general and of the Second Amendment in particular, I was gratified by the decision but disappointed by the margin.

The meaning of the Second Amendment seems pretty clear to me.  “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”, viewed in the context of how the armed citizens of the Colonies helped General Washington defeat the British, plainly is describing an armed citizenry.  “The right of the people to keep and bear arms” clearly indicates that citizens have a right to own firearms.  “Shall not be infringed” also clearly forbids the government from materially getting in the way of that right.  Seems simple to me; maybe four of the Justices need glasses.

Here is the story of the Supreme Court case.  An elderly gentleman in Chicago lived in a tough neighborhood, and his home had been burglarized numerous times.  Chicago law prevented him from owning a handgun for protection.  He requested a license to have one, and was denied.  He felt his Constitutional rights were being violated by the city of Chicago, and he sued.  The case worked its way up to the Supreme Court, and the Court agreed with him, by that pesky vote of 5-4.  The fact that four Justices felt this man did not deserve the right to protect himself, and voted against the clear meaning of the Constitution, is deeply disturbing. It should have been 9-0.

I know some people are uncomfortable around handguns.  They feel guns are dangerous.  I understand that; guns are designed to blow holes in things: they are dangerous, if mishandled.  The great thing about America is our freedom.  If someone feels uncomfortable around firearms, they don’t have to own one or keep one in their home.  I personally don’t feel comfortable around Speedo swimsuits, and I am thankful that I have the freedom not to be forced to own any, or worse, wear them.

As I said, the narrow 5-4 vote on one of the most important amendments to the Constitution is what bothers me.  Are we that close to losing our liberty?  Our freedoms really depend on the Second Amendment, as the Founders put this in to protect the citizens not only from ordinary dangers, but also from an oppressive government.

Imagine a 5-4 vote on supporting the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote.  Do you think there would be an uproar?  In the words of Sarah Palin, “you betcha!”  Or a 5-4 vote on upholding the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery.  Would not the dissenting Justices face a firestorm?  Yes, and deservedly so.  Yet the news that nearly a majority of Supreme Court Justices believe that the Second Amendment doesn’t mean what it says is greeted with a yawn.  That bothers me.

The subject of the Supreme Court can be boring, but the Justices can be some of the most consequential people in the country.  Last week, a nominee to fill an empty seat on the Supreme Court was before a Senate subcommittee.  She answered few questions, but many believe she is a radical progressive, with views far to the left of the mainstream.  She is a relatively young woman; she could serve 40 years on the Court, overturning many of the basic principles of our nation, and few are paying any attention.  The consensus is that she will be confirmed easily. Time to worry?  I’m not sure, but it sure is time to be concerned.  Remember that 5-4 decision.

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Larry Bertolino

Larry Bertolino

Owner at myLocalPCpro
Larry Bertolino is a 31 year old, U.S Navy Veteran and currently sitting on the board of Directors for the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce, as well as Harrison County Rural Transit.
Larry Bertolino
Larry Bertolino

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Posted by on July 15, 2010, 8:59 pm. Filed under Featured, John Lovejoy, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry