He actually said it. NBC’s Chuck Todd gave a heartfelt and impassioned speech on Sunday about mass shootings in the United States. What he probably didn’t intend to do, was shine a floodlight on his party’s often silent but ever-present beliefs on your God-given right to bear arms.
“This current version of the Republican Party is being held hostage by a vocal minority obsessed with an absolute right that does not exist.”
Todd is referring to the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms. The dominant view on the left is a simple Constitutional interpretation. They believe that the words “well regulated militia” in the Second Amendment mean that those weapons should be “well regulated.” That seems logical. In fact, if someone today read only the Second Amendment with no context, they might draw that same conclusion.
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 Democrat interpretation is simple: for the purpose of a well-regulated militia, citizen soldiers must bear arms. Also, those who bear arms will be part of a militia and the government should heavily regulate their behavior. So who should bear arms? They would argue that only the national guard, army, police, and maybe some others should carry, but not common citizens.
If the founders were alive today, I believe they would be very concerned – because the Constitution is clear that the only militias protected by the Second Amendment are “well-regulated” units authorized and controlled by state governments, not a private citizen militia.
They argue that the only militias the second amendment protects are governmental. This is actually partially true. The founding fathers disagreed on much. The Federalists and Anti-Federalists argued vehemently over the effectiveness of an armed populous at protecting liberty. However, they agreed that the federal or state governments should have no power to disarm the populous.
It’s important to understand exactly what militia meant to our founding fathers. These were citizens who owned their own firearms who could be organized into a military if need be. The Founders were uncomfortable with the idea of the nation having a standing army. In Europe, they observed how a standing army too easily enabled a tyrannical central government. While the national and state governments would train militia members, it would not pay them. Each member would also provide their own equipment.
The bottom line is that our founding fathers unanimously believed that the citizenry should be armed. Here is a quotation from Federalist #46 by Alexander Hamilton:
Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes.
There is plenty of room to debate whether or not the founding fathers were right in their judgement. There is plenty of room to debate which schools of thought among the founders should have prevailed. There is however, no basis for the claim that they didn’t believe citizens should be heavily armed. Despite everything, many Democrats even openly admit that they have no respect for the Second Amendment, no matter how it’s interpreted. Many also argue that three key Supreme Court cases have overruled the Second Amendment permanently. We tackle those arguments here.
Regardless, as Chuck Todd has also said, “there are more guns than people in this country.” It would be practically impossible to disarm our populous as this point even if you think it would be beneficial. Moreover, it’s becoming more common that the Democrats’ own voter base constitutes the bulk of new gun owners. Data from February indicates that 90% of new gun owners last year were minorities and women. Read more on that here.
Simply put, the Second Amendment protects your right to keep even military weaponry. That well-regulated militia is meant to be us, the private citizens, with our private arms. Even if the Democrats correctly understood it, they have made it clear that they have no respect for it. At the end of the day, they will try to disarm us, and it’s vital that we do everything in our power to stop them.