The Second Amendment

January 23, 2013

It is true: The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is part of our U.S. Bill of Rights.

Historians tell us that our Second Amendment was adopted in December 1791 along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.

The text of the Second Amendment is very simple: “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.”

It is so simple that it has caused 200+ years of discussion, debate and diatribe.

It is widely accepted that our Second Amendment was informed by the English Bill of Rights (1689).

Each seems to illuminate and continue an existing right at the time they were adopted.

The English Bill of Rights is slightly more expansive and specific than our Second Amendment.

One phrase from England jumps out as they describe a definition of “Arms”: “…That the Subjects …may have Arms for their Defence (sic) suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.”

Our friends from across the pond may have been prescient.

However, it is unlikely they knew back in the 17th Century that the category of Arms would expand in the future to include: Gatling Guns; Machine Guns; Nuclear Arms; Howitzers; Bazookas; Anti-Tank and Anti-Aircraft guns; Sawed-off shotguns; Military Assault Weapons; and Semi-Automatic Hand Guns.

It would seem that in their effort to be brief and succinct, our U.S. Fore Fathers may have sold us short.

Now, let the Walrus be first to acknowledge: We do have rules and laws in the U.S. which generally prohibit ownership of some of these categories by people for home defense, target shooting and hunting.– including Nuclear Arms, Howitzers and Bazookas.

In 2013, those of us who feel the need to keep and bear arms are currently limited by some regulations on the types of arms which we are able to own, possess and use.

New York State recently passed some regulations which limit possession, ownership and use of certain semi-automatic rifles and high capacity magazines.

The hue and cry from the margin is huge. What has been categorized as “passionate opposition” to defining which weapons and accessories are inappropriate appears to be emotionally informed.

In a January 16, 2013 poll by Sienna College, banning assault weapons and magazine clips of more than seven bullets in NYS was supported by a margin of 73% to 26%.

Did NYS Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature violate the purpose and intent of our Second Amendment?

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