On Fox News the arrogant and imitable Bill O’Reilly often states, “I am just a simple man…” in a pseudo-neotenous attempt to lull his witness into saying or divulging what O’Reilly wants him or her to say. O’Reilly is a Harvard-educated man who lives on some pretty exclusive real estate on Long Island. He is far from being a simple man.
I, on the other hand, am a most uneducated man. In high school I was pretty much a B and C student. In junior college—which I never completed—I was an even worse student, easily distracted from educational discipline by the allure of extra-curricular activities. So when I say, “I am a simple man…,” there’s some bonafidie to backup that statement. However, I do fancy myself as having some skills in critical thinking, i.e. If a and b are true, it implies that c is also true.
This brings us to the Constitution of the United States of America—more specifically, the Second Amendment. It 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.” The first part of this statement establishes the validity of the second.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it establish a militia. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, militia is: “1. a. a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency; b. a body of citizens organized for military service [and/or] 2. the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service”
In other words, there is no standing militia—or group of male citizens—established by the government outside of the standing military. A militia is a gathering of able-bodied men called upon to defend their community or country in an emergency as an addition to the normal standing army. It is not the National Guard nor any reserve personnel in the other military branches.
The second clause of the Second Amendment states, “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” I am no lawyer, nor do I make any claims to being a Constitutional scholar. However, that does appear to me to be a rather simple declarative sentence. I see no wiggle room in it. Nowhere does it does state the government can restrict ownership, possession or purchasing a firearm in any way. There is nothing in this amendment that says the government can restrict ownership, possession or purchasing a firearm based upon its unilateral declaration of it being in the interest of public safety, nor does it anywhere mention anything about so-called “common sense” gun control.
So if the previous is all true, that means the National Firearms Act of 1934; the Gun Control Acts of 1968 and 1986, as well as state laws restricting firearms possession have no foundation within the Constitution whatsoever and are therefore illegal. That would also include the local ordinances that iconic western lawmen like Wyatt Earp enforced.
However, relatively few of these laws and ordinances have been challenged in court; even fewer have been overturned. And so these laws remain because “that’s just the way it has been” for decades. Even though they may be outside the Constitutional framework, they remain and continue to be enforced because time has given them the gravitas and inertia to remain valid in the country’s mindset.
As Waylon Jennings said in “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” “We need to change.”