Those words, ending the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, have been lauded, cursed, and examined to such a degree that one might think they were in some exotic language. The complete text of that 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.” The language is not flowery, there aren’t any foreign phrases in it, and in 27 words it’s laid out for all the world to see.
We must read the whole Second Amendment. We must give effect to all of its words — not just the ones we like — to understand what the Amendment means.
Many firearm shops in Illinois are being forced to close because of a hot-button law that ensures state-level gun licensing. Some of the details of the law are that it would instruct state police to issue gun shops their certifications based on a sliding fee that could range from $300 all the way to $40,000. It would also force the shops to clear several new hurdles such as using a gun storage plan and permit law officers to hold inspections. Whether or not the inspections would be scheduled or “pop-ups” is not spelled out. Small gun shops might be forced out of business through oversight by anti-gun appointees or being priced out of business.
Rare is the independent gun store that can compete with the big box stores. I know because I’m a gun owner and an ammunition buyer. One such owner lamented, “I’m just going to retire, I guess,” when he shared he would close his shop after 40 years of business. It’s more than a shame that hard-working and law-abiding Americans are being punished in such a fashion. Not only the owners but the customer who depend on them for the arms that keep them safe.
Now, if you’re thinking that Illinois might be the rarity among the states, let’s correct that right now… they’re not. Not by a long shot. Let’s take a look at Pennsylvania. Back in March of this year a bill(HB0768) was introduced and would establish a gun registry forcing every gun owner to register every firearm they own with the state. Not only that, but the bill would require gun owners to re-register their collection every single year. The fee would be ten dollars for each gun they own… and if that wasn’t bad enough, the bill requires a new background check for each firearms being registered! The title tells you everything you need to know it’s known as the Firearms Registration Act, and if you substitute “Confiscation” for “Registration” you’ll be pretty close to the true intention of the bill. now that’s not all, you have to also give the Pennsylvania State Police your home address, your work address, your telephone number, your social security number, your date of birth, your age sex and citizenship… most of which they should already have anyway from the process of you getting your permit if you were approved to buy the gun. Then you submit for the registry and for whatever reason the background check denies you, you are now a criminal if you don’t hand your brand new gun over to the state police for them to destroy it. You won’t be allowed to sell the gun, either. If it is rejected for the registry, it is now illegal. You can’t sell or transfer it. Ready for this now? The police can deny you for any reason, too. They don’t have to prove anything or even tell you why.
We’re going back a few years for this one, but it’s valuable, too. In March of 2013 it was reported that people on both sides of the Second Amendment have been making claims that, in some cases, are not exactly the truth. One example should suffice to prove that the debate has become hysterical: Second Amendment supporters, one prominent but less than articulate member of Congress alleges, have become “enablers of mass murder.” That is patently untrue. No member of Congress that I know of, would endorse mass murder, by any means, much less by firearms. Special hatred, if you will, has been directed against so-called assault rifles. These are semi-automatic, not automatic weapons — the latter have been illegal under federal law since the 1930s — because they require a trigger pull for every round fired. Some semi-automatic firearms, to be sure, can be fitted with large-capacity magazines. But what inspires the ire of gun control advocates seems to be their menacing look — somehow they don’t appear fit for polite society. No law-abiding citizen could possibly need such a weapon, we are told — after all, how many rounds from a high-powered rifle are needed to kill a deer? And we are assured that these weapons are not well-adapted for self-defense — that only the military and the police need to have them. Semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 are extremely well-adapted for home defense, especially against a crime that is becoming more and more popular among criminals, the home invasion. In Chicago, a high-crime by firearm area, “assault rifles” fall by the wayside compared to handguns. So, throw that business about the AR’s right out the window.
Parting shot: Treasure your rights, if they’re taken from you, you may never get them back.