Let’s talk honestly about the Second Amendment. It’s hundreds of years old, and yet the Supreme Court still claims not to understand it yet. Why? Because it’s an insane little piece of legislation, given the realities of the technology developed in the last hundred years, that’s why.
Have you ever actually read the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America? Here’s what it 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.”
The word “gun” never appears in the Second Amendment. The word that the Constitution refers to is “Arms”. That means weapons. It refers to knives as much as it refers to guns, and it does not offer a restriction on the right to keep and bear Arms, except for the possible limitation of belonging to a “Militia”.
Don’t believe that the Second Amendment restricts Arms-bearing rights to militia members? You insist on accepting the phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” literally?
Okay, then, you must be in favor of allowing people to take knives and guns on board commercial airplanes. You also must be in favor of ordinary Americans keeping intercontinental nuclear missiles in silos their backyards, ready to fly off and annihilate an entire city of people on a moment’s whim.
After all, the Second Amendment doesn’t say “except if they’re really big Arms”, or “within reason”. Right?
So, I’m going to go off and build some nuclear suitcase bombs to keep in my closet, next to my canisters of mustard gas, okay?
The people in the late 18th century didn’t have sufficient imagination to write a constitutional amendment that would make exceptions for weapons larger than cannons. They didn’t anticipate sarin nerve gas, or nuclear missiles. They couldn’t imagine airplanes being flown, as weapons, into buildings half a mile tall.
That was fine for the late 18th century, but it isn’t fine now. It’s not the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that needs to be fixed. It’s the Second Amendment that needs repair.