Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What's So Hard to Understand About the Right to Bear Arms? (Wilt Alston)

Wilt Alston explains the 2nd Amendment in clear terms:

Wilt Alston“Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act of depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.”
~ Mohandas Gandhi, from An Autobiography

When Mohandas Gandhi can be quoted in favor of an armed citizenry, I’d reckon the issue should be closed, once and for all, but of course, it’s probably not. This essay is my attempt to put another log on that fire.

Now, as a dyed-in-the-wool anarchist, I could really care less about what a specific document declares regarding my rights, but nevertheless, whenever one talks about rights in the United States , the Constitution is bound to come up. At that point, the debate will most often descend into a rabbit-hole, debating the point-of-view of the Founders, what they really meant, what they believed, how they really lived, and probably where they shopped as well. Who cares?

For the record, I think the Constitution is a fine document; however, one absolute fact about the Constitution should preclude any such discussion for our purposes here. That fact is: the portion of the U.S. Constitution referred to as The Bill of Rights is an exposition, not a bestowal. Whatever “well-organized militia” meant to someone in 1776 or to anyone this week is irrelevant since the clause is explaining what exists already, not what the document provides to a lucky citizen. One of two things is true: a human being has the right to protect and defend himself or he does not.

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