Rebirth of Reason

War for Men's Minds

Right to Keep and Bear Arms
by Joseph Rowlands

Recently, the U.S. federal government has again decided to interpret the Second Amendment as being a right of individuals to keep and bear arms (with a truck full of caveats). The gun control thugs are upset because they wanted to interpret it as a "collective right". They saw what Objectivist have known for awhile. There's no such thing as a "collective right", and its purpose is merely to destroy the individual's right. By claiming the right belongs to the "militia" and not the individuals, the only thing left was to redefine what the militia was.

This is all part of the debate over why the founding fathers started that amendment saying "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state...". Historians are doing a good job of showing what the founding fathers really meant by this phrase. The founding fathers had a slew of quotes showing they meant for everyone to be armed, and had reasons for it. Also, people have worked on showing who exactly the militia is.

“The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except, as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are commissioned officers of the National Guard. The classes of the militia are (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or Naval Militia.” – Title 10, Section 311, United States Code, Armed Forces, as revised September 2, 1958.

There is some progress being made on this front, but any victory will be short-lived. Ultimately, all this arguing is based on the notion that the bill of rights gives us rights. That we have this right because the founding fathers said so, and that the wording of an amendment is all that stands between us and being disarmed. This is the conservative approach to gun rights. We have them because the law says we do. So what happens when someone decides to change the law? Meek surrender.

Rights are not gifts. They are not granted by the powers that be. They are recognized (sometimes). Trying to win freedom through a technicality is short-sighted and ignorant. You may win a battle or two, but you'll be sacrificing the war.

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