Ten Thoughts on the Second Amendment and Gun Control
By Laurence M. Vance
I recently spoke on a panel at the Florida Liberty Summit in Orlando, Florida, about the Second Amendment and gun control. Because I have written many articles on these topics for Campaign for Liberty, the Tenth Amendment Center, LewRockwell.com, and the Future of Freedom Foundation, I thought it might be a good idea to reread them in order to be mentally prepared for any questions I would be asked by the moderator or the audience at the conference. In going through the articles, I came up with ten themes on the Second Amendment and gun control that summarize my thoughts on these matters.
1. Criminals aren’t deterred by gun-control laws.
If you are going to commit armed robbery or murder, the last thing on your mind is concern about violating some gun-control law. Gun-control laws infringe upon the freedom of law-abiding Americans.
2. The Heller and McDonald Supreme Court decisions did not institute gun freedom.
The Heller case (2008) acknowledged that the Second Amendment protects “an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes.” The McDonald case (2010) affirmed that opinion. The cases did not invalidate a single federal gun-control law or regulation. Justice Scalia said that there are “undoubtedly” limits to the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
3. The Second Amendment has no exceptions.
The Second Amendment reads: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The Second Amendment doesn’t read: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed except: when it comes to dangerous or unusual weapons, automatic weapons, weapons not envisioned at the time the Second Amendment was written, national security, emergencies, reasonable regulations, or extenuating circumstances.
4. The Second Amendment is irrelevant.
The Second Amendment recognizes a natural right that already exists. It grants no rights. The Bill of Rights was designed to protect Americans’ rights from infringement by the new and powerful central government under the Constitution. People misconstrue the nature of the Second Amendment. If the Second Amendment didn’t exist, Americans would still have the natural and moral right to keep and bear arms for any purpose. Even if the Second Amendment only applied to the states’ ability to maintain a militia, like many liberals say, this would still not affect Americans’ right to keep and bear arms. In Article I, section 8, of the Constitution, no grant of power is given to the federal government to make any gun-control laws.
5. The right to keep and bear arms is a private property issue.
It is just as wrong for the government to mandate that a business must permit “open carry” or “concealed carry” on its property as it is for the government to mandate that a business must not permit “open carry” or “concealed carry” on its property. And any American has the natural right to possess any weapon on his own property or the property of anyone else that allows such weapons.
6. The Constitution authorizes no federal gun laws whatsoever.
This means no National Firearms Act of 1934, no Gun Control Act of 1968, no Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, no Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1994, and no laws or regulations regarding handguns, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, grenades, bazookas, ammunition, magazines, tanks, background checks, or barrel lengths. Anyone who supports federal laws or regulations concerning any of these things is an enemy of the Constitution.
7. The ATF should not exist.
The Bureau of Alcohol, tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has no constitutional authority whatsoever. None of its almost 5,000 employees should have a job and none of its annual budget of over a billion dollars should be spent. The federal government has no business taxing or regulating alcohol, tobacco, firearms, or explosives.
8. The Second Amendment hasn’t prevented a single gun-control law from being passed.
The federal government is out of control. The Constitution has utterly failed to restrain the federal government. The Second Amendment hasn’t prevented the federal government from infringing upon gun rights and instituting hundreds of federal gun control laws. In light of this, the fact that the McDonald case said that the Second Amendment now applies to the states means absolutely nothing. The Constitution and the Second Amendment only mean what the Supreme Court say they mean.
9. Most Republicans are enemies of the Constitution and the Second Amendment.
Republicans may claim that they revere and follow the Constitution. Republicans may claim to believe in the Second Amendment. Yet, they continue to fund the ATF, support the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), support federal licensing of gun dealers, and support federal gun laws. When Republicans had an absolute majority in Congress and a Republican president (George W. Bush) for over four years they did nothing to roll back federal gun laws.
10. The answer is gun freedom.
In a free society (and we don’t live in a free society right now), there would be real gun freedom. Guns would be advertised, bought, and sold just like any other product. There would be no government restrictions of any kind on gun shows, gun sales, gun manufacturing, or gun dealers. There would be no special taxes on guns or ammunition. There would be no mandatory waiting periods or background checks.
Please read in full my articles on the Second Amendment and gun control for further expansion of these themes.