How far does the right to Bear Arms Extend?by Don Lacey on Jan. 21, 2013, under AZ Politics, Critical Thinking, Ethics, Freethought, Government, Guns, Logic, Question of the Day!, Reason, Responsible Government, Sanity, Supreme Court
I know a few anti-gun zealots who would like the populace to be completely unarmed. I cannot help but completely disagree with them. Like most Americans I think law abiding people should be free to have guns, knives, swords, and etcetera for the purposes of self-defense, hunting, and peaceful recreation.
At the same time so many of my fellow American’s are happy to point the Second Amendment of the Constitution and declare it to be absolute and scream at the mere suggestion that we restrict people’s ability to buy assault weapons or high capacity ammunition magazine. I’m put off by both sides in the gun debate as more often than not absolutist gun nuts and gun abolitionist both seem to be driven more by ideological rigidity than a willingness to examine the issue.
I recognize that in practice the Second Amendment is not considered absolute by the majority of people on either side. Most gun rights advocates will not argue that the Second Amendment does not grant ordinary Americans the right to own ground-to-air missiles, weaponized anthrax, rocket propelled grenades, Apache helicopters, or nuclear bombs. For better or worse, most actually see it as a good thing that the government maintains a monopoly on these arms and they are not often accused of being inconsistent. There seems to be some sort of unspoken agreement that the line between what weapons we do or don’t have the right to own needs to be drawn somewhere. The question is, how do we determine where?
Perhaps it is the case that things like assault rifles are close to the line that is to be drawn. Or perhaps there is no line and we really should allow ordinary people to run around with tanks and cruise missiles. One friend of mine suggested that we will inevitably draw the line where the Supreme Court justice with the best persuasive skills says we should. So I’ll ask our readers, “How far does the right to bear arms extend?”