The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
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.
With the horror of the massacre in Sandy Hook Elementary School still searing raw in the collective consciousness, there may actually be developing some consensus to do something about the carnage routinely occurring in the streets, schools and homes of America. Maybe. Between the extremes — both self-evidently untenable — there must be available some action (or actions) that we can take to reduce the shocking flow of gun-related homicides. Indelicately stated, if there was something that we could have done that might have saved the life of even one of those precious children in Newtown, would we not have deemed it sufficient cause to act?
The gun lobbyists and “right to bear arms” absolutists love to argue that the Second Amendment was intended to protect the citizenry’s right to defend themselves against their own government. Take a deep breath: They are absolutely correct. Better still, the Second Amendment was also enacted to secure the ancient right of a free person to arm and protect themselves, their families and property. These are not “negotiating points.”
But here’s the kicker, folks: Even the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”), no friend to the “gun control” faction, has recognized that the rights granted by the Second Amendment are not “unlimited.” Do I need to say that again? Surely not. Indeed, from the pen of no less a personage than Justice Anton Scalia, writing for the majority in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), comes the following passage (worth repeating in its entirety despite its length) regarding the boundaries of the Second Amendment:
“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. [citations omitted] For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. [citations omitted]. Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.