Does the Second Amendment Still Apply to Modern Firearms?
If you’re going to argue that the Second Amendment should only apply to weaponry that was available at the time the Constitution was written, you have to be logically consistent and apply the same argument to other Constitutional rights. If you do this, though, you end up with some major problems.
Using the logic of gun control advocates who say the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to modern weaponry, the First Amendment would not apply to modern forms of communication. In other words, in a world where the Constitution only applied to the technology of the time it was written, the government could legally arrest you for something you posted on the internet or said on television.
The problems don’t end there, though. Since vehicles weren’t invented when the Constitution was written, the Fourth Amendment – which protects against warrantless searches – would not apply to warrantless searches of your vehicle. And since electricity wasn’t invented when the Constitution was written, you can’t classify electrocution as a form of cruel and unusual punishment.
Of course, none of this is at all the logical reality of the Constitution. The truth is that the founding fathers knew that times would change even if they could not foresee how and always intended the Constitution to apply to past, present, and future realities in America.
Weaponry of the Past
Gun control advocates who say that the founding fathers would not have written the Second Amendment the way they did if they could have foreseen the destructive capabilities of modern firearms do not fully understand the reality of the weapons that were available at the time.
In 1791 – the date the Second Amendment was written – there was much more available than just muskets. This is a point that NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch brought up when presented with the “Second Amendment should only apply to muskets” argument on CNN’s recent town hall. In addition to muskets, weaponry at the time included primitive hand grenades, cannons capable of launching explosive rounds as well as grapeshot which could easily kill an entire crowd of people, mortars, and more.
Interestingly enough, many of these weapons are illegal today but were not illegal at the time the Second Amendment was written. Suffice it to say that the founding fathers were well aware of the destructive capabilities of weaponry and chose to include the Second Amendment in the Constitution regardless.
The True Purpose of the Second Amendment
Those who argue that modern weaponry should not be covered under the Second Amendment do not understand the Second Amendment’s true purpose. The founding fathers were not all that concerned about an individual’s ability to hunt for food, or even an individual’s ability to defend themselves from an intruder. What they were very concerned about, though, is the ability of the American people to rise up against a tyrannical government.
Having just defeated a tyrannical government in the Revolutionary War, the founding fathers were terrified that the country they were founding would eventually devolve into a tyrannical country like the one they had rebelled against. The Second Amendment was intended to be a safeguard against this.
With this being the case, it is essential that the militia – defined as the whole of the American population – be armed with weaponry that gives them a fighting chance against a tyrannical government. If anything, the founding fathers would likely be concerned that the weaponry available to the American people today is not powerful enough in comparison to the weaponry available to the American government rather than being concerned that modern firearms have become too powerful for citizens to own.
The argument that the Second Amendment should only apply to muskets is one that holds little water, however, it still persists among the highest ranks of the gun control crowd. Hopefully, the next time you hear this faulty reasoning you will be armed with the information necessary to dismiss it.
~ National Gun Network