Given that the current Supreme Court of the United States prides itself on being “originalist” or true to the intent of the Constitution as written and understood by the Founding Fathers, I would like to suggest going back to the Origins of the Second Amendment.
“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,” is the original text, adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the bill of rights. The Supreme Court visited the amendment three times – in 1876, 1886 and 1939 – each time ruling that the people had the right to bear arms, only within the militia.
Where does this so-called “individual” right to bear arms come from? It came from the right-wing National Rifle Association public relations disguised as dodgy scholarship and materialized with Judge Antonin Sciala, who wrote 5-4 decisions in Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010). It’s brought us fabulous profits for gun manufacturers, NRA influence with Republicans and blood-soaked classrooms, grocery stores, movie theaters and a level of carnage unheard of outside the areas of war and civil wars.
Individual gun rights are anything but “well regulated” and certainly do not lend themselves to “the security of a free state”. Murders, domestic violence, suicides and gun violence are just bloody chaos.
Former Chief Justice Warren Burger said the Second Amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest frauds, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have never seen in my life.”
I would like to see individual states, and perhaps Congress, pass legislation that designates all gun owners as members of a state militia, subordinate to each state’s National Guard. Depending on the number and lethality of citizen-owned firearms, one could have varying degrees of regulation overseen by the National Guard. A full inventory would be in order, as would safety inspections on gun storage, safety training, liability insurance, and target practice. A household with an old .22 in the closet would have light regulations, while a household with dozens of guns – especially assault rifles – would have higher safety and training standards.
The Second Amendment is not a scripture. The status quo is killing us.