In speaking with many fellow gun-owners, I have come to realize that most people don’t know that the Second Amendment does not give us the right to bear arms. The Second Amendment states that the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed”; it does not confer that right. The Second Amendment is an admonition to government that it may not take away your right to bear arms, which is inherent.
What, then, is the origin of the right to bear arms? While our forefathers had inherited rights and liberties as Englishmen, those rights were curtailed and suppressed, which eventually led to the Revolution. Without the many citizen-soldier militiamen such as the Minutemen, the new United States would not have won the War of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence is thus central to our liberties and our law. The Constitution was implemented to “secure those rights,” not to confer them. Considering the critical involvement of the citizen-soldier in the Revolutionary War, it is clearly evident why the Founding Fathers wrote in 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.
The Englishmen in the American colonies had inherited a right to bear arms from the English, subject to the whims of Parliament, but Jefferson and the Founding Fathers transformed the right to use force to protect yourself and your family into a corollary of the unalienable rights to life and liberty set forth in the Declaration of Independence. These unalienable rights were secured as foundational laws in a new American nation, born of liberty through the midwife of the Revolution.
The problem I see is that if the right to bear arms is considered given to you by the Second Amendment, then that right is a product of the Constitution. If it is a product of the Constitution, then it is subject to interpretation by the “ultimate authority” over the Constitution, the Supreme Court, through the concept of judicial supremacy established by McCullough v. Maryland. It does not help, in your author’s view, if we continue to propagate the myth that the Constitution confers upon us the right to bear arms. It is our inherent, inborn right to protect ourselves and our families, bequeathed to us from our forefathers’ blood and sacrifice in the many battles for liberty. It may not be legislated or interpreted away. It is not in the purview of the Supreme Court (or Congress, for that matter) to abolish the right to bear arms.
Since 1990, we have had the unconstitutional “Gun Free Schools Act.” If we help the false notion live on that the right to bear arms is a creature of the Second Amendment, we invite and empower the black-robed keepers of the Constitution to put the creature in a cage. The fact is that the Second Amendment is a cage for the creatures who want to take away the guns given to you by your fathers, their fathers, and their fathers’ fathers.