Do we still need the Second Amendment?

Aaron Helmbrecht

To be clear, I love guns. I own all the Rambo movies. If it weren’t such an expensive and impractical hobby, I would probably own lots of guns. What I’m not crazy about is being shot by people with guns. And I find little comfort in laws that promise strict penalties against people who commit gun violence. After all, it won’t make me any less dead.

Gun ownership is a part of American culture for many people. Some kids learn how to shoot before learning how to ride a bike. As such, the right for law-abiding and mentally competent citizens to keep and bear arms for sport, self defense, or any other reason that does not result in the death of innocent people should be upheld by law. But the Supreme Court’s perverted and expansionist view on this issue shows how the vestigial Second Amendment, much like the appendix, has outlived its usefulness, only waiting to one day explode in our guts without warning.

If you’re thinking the Second Amendment gives you the right to keep and bear arms to defend your family and property, it doesn’t. The Bill of Rights does not protect you from your neighbor. It only protects you from the government.

In 1787, it was logical to assume a well-armed public would forever be an effective check against governmental power. Throughout history, empires and tyrants have fallen by way of civil revolt. Brave Americans picking up their personal arms and forming militias to expel our British occupiers won our own independence. The Second Amendment remained a bedrock foundation of our liberty against the possibility of a tyrannical government up until Sept. 18, 1947 with the establishment of the U.S. Air Force.

Even if a militia the size of Spartacus’ were armed to the teeth, without air support the U.S. military would mow them down like grass. That’s not to say people haven’t tried. In 1993, cult leader David Koresh and the Branch Davidians exercised their Second Amendment right to fight back against the “tyrannical” government by murdering four ATF agents who were attempting to execute a search warrant of their ranch. Two years later, militia movement sympathizer Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, all in an effort to ignite a revolution against our “tyrannical” government.  Even today, anti-government militias are expanding at a rate unprecedented in recent history.

So if the violent overthrow of the government by the public is impossible, why exactly do we need the Second Amendment? It currently serves only to make it difficult to restrict arms sales to criminals and the insane (because of the off chance they may need a weapon to fight a tyrannical government) and to deny the authority of states and local communities to pass their own weapons laws tailored to their community’s needs.

It’s time for the Second Amendment to go. It’s time to empower our states and communities to make decisions on this issue that are crucial to our security.