As we mentioned yesterday, the Framers of the Constitution (which included most of the Founding Fathers, plus Ronald Reagan, Jesus, Moses and a utility infielder picked up on waivers from the Cleveland Indians), realized almost immediately after the Constitution was adopted that they had forgotten to put in a lot of stuff. Thus, they came up with the Bill of Rights, which is what they named the first 10 amendments.

In their defense, it is understandable that they forgot this stuff because, hey, have you ever looked at the Constitution? It’s like illegible! They wrote this thing long hand on brown butcher paper and the substituted f’s for t’s and vice versa. I ain’t naming names but someone should have been held back in penmanship class!

Anyway, today we’re going to talk about the Second Amendment which is one of the most fun and controversial of all the amendments! Let’s goooooo!

The Second Amendment says: 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.

Scholars and crackpots have long debated the meaning of each word in this seemingly simple sentence. For example, what does the term “well regulated” mean? Does it mean a militia that has is carefully regulated by laws? Does it mean a militia that eats prunes daily and is thus “regular”? And what does “free State” mean? Or how about “militia”? These are hard questions!

After 235 years of debate, careful consideration and thoughtful discussion, the Republican Party, in its guise as the National Rifle Organization, believes this sentence means, “It’s perfectly OK for total nutjobs to have unlimited access to automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of belted ammunition because who knows when the Democrats or minorities are going to break into your home and deny you your freedom and liberty? Huh?”

Democrats, on the other hand, believe that most people should not be able to carry guns. This, of course, would include felons, crazy people and fringe elements who are quite likely to abide docilely by gun control laws. Let’s just say there’s disagreement.

There is also lots of sloganeering. For example, gun advocates say, “Guns don’t kill people.” I agree! Guns don’t kill people! Hunks of lead shot at incredibly high rates of speed kill people! Duh!

And as former NRA head Charlton Heston, whom we met as Moses earlier in this series, used to say, “You’ll have to pry my gun from my cold dead fingers!” But wait! He was cremated and thus deprived us of that very opportunity.

It is also interesting to consider the historical context of the Second Amendment. When the Amendment was written in 1789, the weapon of choice was the flintlock musket. This single-shot weapon was seven feet long, weighed about 30 pounds, took about two minutes to load* and was wildly inaccurate beyond 15 yards. The Founding Fathers were probably pretty confident that even a drunken crazy man couldn’t hold an entire junior high school hostage with a flintlock.

Since then, weapons have become more sophisticated. Why? Because criminals and liberals have become more sophisticated. As our society has changed, so have the weapons needs of our citizenry. If not for the unflinching grit of men like Charlton Heston, American patriots would have no doubt been denied access to weapons like this folding machine gun (keep yourself safe when you walk the dog after dark!) or this fine weapon that will come in handy in case you need to protect your home and family against an intruder a mile and a half away.

Tomorrow: I’ve decided we’ll skip the Third Amendment, since it deals with Protection from forced quartering of troops, although the friend of mine who found his 17 year old daughter in bed with a guy home on leave might want to ask a lawyer about this. Instead, we’ll skip ahead to the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Should be a laugh riot!

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* From Wikipedia:

In the 18th century, as typified by the English Brown Bess musket, loading and firing was done in the following way:


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