The American Militia
Repeal the Second Amendment ?
This essay is inspired by the simple statement of another, in
response to some crazy comments following the Virginia Tech Incident.
"The Amendment, itself, forbids it".
The Second Amendment, indeed all of the Bill of Rights, places
limits on the U.S. Government. The Constitution says what Government
can do, and implying by omission what it is NOT authorized to do.
The Bill of Rights was added to clarify some of the most obvious
implied restrictions, using language like, "Congress shall make no
law" and "Shall not be infringed" to set the tone. The first ten
amendments of the constitution prohibit the U.S. Government
(Congress) from doing certain things. It is an illustrative but not
all inclusive list.
What is the prospect of Repealing the Second Amendment, or for that
matter, any of the Ten Amendments in the Bill of Rights?
First it appears that the language in those amendments will strictly
PROHIBIT such an action. The action of repeal would "infringe" or
"make a law" removing a right, just the action prohibited by the Bill
Second, The Bill of Rights Does NOT grant any right to an individual.
It was added over the objections of some of the founders so as to
enumerate several, but not all, of the natural rights of individuals.
Why would someone, our founders for example, object to such a common
sense statement of rights? There are several very good reasons to
One is that the Constitution, as written and understood, does not
permit the government to enact any law to disable any citizens in
these Rights, in the areas of speech and liberty and private
property. Therefore a statement of rights is not needed, it is
redundant. Congress is not authorized in the Constitution to
infringe individual rights. But; You´ve seen where the last two
centuries have got us, Congress takes more and more liberty in law-
making, primarily through the Interstate Commerce Clause, to regulate
and outlaw what was once individual liberty.
A Second reason to object to the Bill of Rights is that, if
individual rights were enumerated in the Bill of Rights, then it was
feared that those rights NOT enumerated COULD then be restricted.
Remember, this is just a statement of several pre-existing rights and
the Tenth Amendment was added to cover all those left out.
Related to this last point is the concept that repealing any of the
Bill of Rights could remove that right. Following the second concern
cited above, if a Right were not specifically mentioned in the Bill
of Rights, then it could be argued that it did not exist (ignoring
for the moment that pesky Tenth Amendment). Being mentioned in the
Bill of Rights causes some to think that the Right is somehow CREATED
or GRANTED by the Bill of Rights.
They have got it backward.
The individual rights in the Bill of Rights, and all those others
covered by the Tenth Amendment and not specifically affected by the
powers granted in the Constitution, are natural rights of
individuals. They existed long before the Constitution was drafted.
Serious effort was put into creating a document which grants
governmental power to officials chosen by the bulk of the citizens,
those to be governed, so as to limit the extent and growth of
The Rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights (and others) exist as a
function of "being" for each citizen. They are not Granted by any
act of government and they can not be Taken Away; they just exist.
Over the years these Rights have been spoken of as many things; God
given rights, rights of man (mankind), inalienable rights (not
capable of being taken away or given away), human rights, and others.
Some speak of rights, such as the "right to vote", or they expand the
First Amendment Right of speech to cover art, or non-political
protest or perhaps some objectionable action or language or art as an
expression of speech and thus a right. These are NOT the human
rights, in the Bill of Rights context, discussed above. Some confuse
preferential actions or privileges with essential Rights, which they
are not. You do not have a Right to drive a car, but it can be
argued that you have a natural Right of Free Passage. You have a
privilege to travel by automobile, but not a Right.
Applying the term Right to many mundane things cheapens the natural
Right and we loose sight of its value and its importance. We loose
sight of the cost spent to acquire and hold it. Does the Right in
question aid the individual in securing Life, Liberty and the Pursuit
of Happiness? If so it is a fundamental Right, not a personal
preference "right". To summarize, it can be argued you have both a
Right to be left alone and a right to sleep late on Saturday morning,
though they are of different basis.
So what would change if the Second Amendment were repealed? Nothing
from the standpoint of inalienable Rights and everything from the
standpoint of future freedom. If the Second Amendment were to fall,
what Right would be lost next? How soon would be the Revolution
begin and at what cost? The basic lesson here is that the Rights
covered by the Bill of Rights exist whether or not any listing or
enumeration or attempt to repeal them is made.
The Declaration of Independence outlined basic rights as those of
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness (note that it does not say
a right to happiness, only that you are free to pursue it). Those
basic Rights are protected from infringement by the Federal
Government, established by our Constitution, by the very limited
nature of the powers granted to the government by the citizens it
governs through that Constitution. As an afterthought, some basic
civil Rights that may be exercised are enumerated in the Bill of
Rights and others are left unstated but reserved to the citizens and
Clearly there have been some Rights transgressed and some liberties
taken by government over the years which were neither contemplated
nor allowed by the Constitution. Time has cemented some
transgressions in place quite solidly and it will take a bit of
citizen hammering to free up those lost rights. First Amendment
freedom of speech will be the preferred course of action to redress
those grievances . It took decades to get into some of this mess and
it will take as long to slowly work freedom loose from the grip of
excessive government. The civic duty and Rights implied in the
Second Amendment, the requirement to defend freedom, still stands
ready, if necessary, to defend all the other rights of freedom, to
enforce the First Amendment demands to restore Constitutional
freedom. The American Militia knows this.
For now the Soap Box, the Ballot Box and the Jury Box suffice to turn
back the hand of excessive government intrusion. The soft conflict
is at hand, we have time yet to slowly correct our course. The hard
conflict is to be avoided if possible. Sudden changes come with
serious cost. A country immersed in internal conflict or confusion
will be a weak and easy target for attack from those outside. Second
Amendment freedom stands ready, and always will, it can not be
The American Militia knows this.
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