Does the Second Amendment Even Exist?

by | Mar 8, 2017

Does the Second Amendment Even Exist?

by | Mar 8, 2017

Gun control was going to be a campaign issue even before the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting back on June 12.

Donald Trump was endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) after he spoke at the group’s convention in May and remarked that “the Second Amendment is under threat like never before” and that “crooked Hillary Clinton is the most anti-gun, anti–Second Amendment candidate ever to run for office.” (This is a change from Trump’s previous position, as articulated in his book The America We Deserve [2000] — support for the “assault weapons” ban then in force and in favor of a “slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”) While speaking the next day at a conference on gun violence hosted by the Trayvon Martin Foundation, Clinton responded that Trump’s position on the issue was “dangerous,” “way out there,” and “no way to keep us safe,” and would lead to “more hatred and violence in our streets.”

Since the mass shooting in California late last year, Democrats in Congress have been pushing “no-fly no-buy” legislation sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would prohibit anyone on the federal “no-fly list” from purchasing firearms. But the ACLU — which is usually in lockstep with the Democrats — opposed the legislation because of “deep concerns”  “about legislative efforts to regulate the use of guns by relying on our nation’s error-prone and unfair watchlisting system.”

Two days before the Orlando shooting, a new gun-control initiative by veterans was announced. Veterans Coalition for Common Sense is led by Navy combat veteran and former astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly and his wife, former U.S. House member Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and seriously wounded during a mass shooting in Arizona in 2011. The advisory committee includes retired three- and four-star generals and admirals, including David Petraeus, Michael Hayden, and Stanley McChrystal. The coalition urges “our elected leaders to close the loopholes in our background check laws that let felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns without a criminal background check.”

After the Orlando shooting, Democrats, immediately and predictably, called for more federal gun- control measures. Barack Obama said he wants to reinstate a national ban on “assault weapons” instituted under Bill Clinton that expired in 2004. House Democrats even staged a “sit-in” over the failure of Republicans in the House to vote on gun-control measures.

The Second Amendment

Does the Second Amendment even exist? Politicians, the news media, and Americans persuaded by them are clamoring for the federal government to “do something” about gun violence. Organizations are urging Congress to pass more gun-control legislation. But everyone is not just ignoring the Second Amendment; they are acting as though it doesn’t even exist.

The Constitution as it was ratified by the states in 1787 and 1788 contained neither the Second Amendment nor any language about guns. The Second Amendment was added to the Constitution as part of the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution), which the requisite number of states approved on December 15, 1791. The twenty-seven words of the Second Amendment read: “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 Second Amendment has no exceptions. It doesn’t say that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed — except when it comes to “military” weapons, unusual weapons, future weapons, powerful weapons, national security, emergencies, “reasonable” regulations, or extenuating circumstances.

Read the rest at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

About Laurence Vance

Laurence M. Vance is a columnist and policy adviser for the Future of Freedom Foundation, an associated scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and a columnist, blogger, and book reviewer at He is also the author of Social Insecurity and The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom. His newest books are War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism and War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy.

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