The Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 margin that the Founding Fathers weren’t really a collection of intellectual defectives incapable of understanding what they intended to say when they wrote; “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.”
For more than 160 years, the right of a citizen to bears arms was unquestioned. Until, as part of its ruling in the 1939 U.S. v. Miller case, the Supreme Court declared that the Second Amendment only protected ownership of military weapons “appropriate to an organized militia.”
From that 1939 ruling evolved the currently accepted premise that the Second Amendment’s intent was to grant the government the inalienable right to bear arms. That this interpretation is absurd on its face was no barrier to reams of subsequent arguments based on that premise.
It is absurd because the fundamental power of a sovereign state is rooted in the responsibility of a government to protect its borders from invasion and to “provide for the common defense.”
The current crop of liberal loonies might have convinced themselves that freedom is the product of negotiated settlements, but the Founding Fathers had just pledged “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” to the armed rebellion against Great Britain.
The Founding Fathers didn’t intend to give the government the right to bear arms. The government, by definition, already had that right. The purpose of the Second Amendment was to give the people the right to bear arms for the specific purpose of restricting the power of the government.
Which is why, for 160 years until the U.S. v. Miller decision, the right to bear arms has been historically as unquestioned as was the now-similarly jeopardized rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech before. But then came the onslaught of liberal academia and their liberal media and political protégés in the mid-20th century.
As men of peace but tempered by war their vision for peace was inspired by the Swiss. Like the Americans, the Swiss earned their independence in a war fought by an armed citizenry.
Richard Henry Lee, who first proposed independence at the Continental Congress of 1776, warned, “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
Learning to use a gun has been a rite of passage for young Swiss men for centuries. By law, Swiss citizens were required to keep and bear arms, forming the basis for the famous Swiss armed neutrality policy that has remained in place since 1515.
Under Swiss law, all men must serve in the military, they must learn to shoot, and they are required to keep a weapon and 50 rounds of ammunition in their home. As far back as 1532, Machiavelli commented in his book “The Prince,” “The Swiss are well armed and enjoy great freedom.”
There is a story told among the Swiss about a visit from Kaiser Wilhelm at the turn of the century to view the Swiss militia in training. The Kaiser asked the Swiss commander how many men he had under arms. The commander said, “1 million,” referring to the male Swiss population.
The Kaiser then asked what would happen if 5 million German soldiers crossed the Swiss border tomorrow. The commander answered, “Each of my men would fire five shots and go home.”
During both World Wars, the Germans went around neutral Switzerland – they never set foot inside its borders without permission.
The Founding Fathers understood what guaranteed Swiss neutrality – and Switzerland’s tradition of peace – when they wrote the Second Amendment. They even referenced 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.” This isn’t difficult to understand. What was difficult to understand was that anybody ever found it difficult to understand.
But on Thursday, June 26, 2008, five justices on the Supreme Court ruled the Constitution means the same thing that it did when it was enacted on Dec. 15, 1791.
The Second Amendment gives American citizens the right to keep and bear arms. Perhaps, soon, the Supreme Court will rediscover the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If they did that, perhaps having an armed population wouldn’t make them so nervous.