Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Second Amendment rights and responsibilities

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.
In an alternate universe, where legislators and supporters of the US gun lobby took the Second Amendment to the US Constitution seriously (as opposed to cherry picking the right to wave big guns around, without taking on the responsibility of joining a properly regulated citizen army / gendarmerie), this is how you'd expect the modern United States to look:
Gun politics in the United States are unique in the Americas. The USA does not have a standing army, instead opting for a people's militia for its national defense. The vast majority of citizens between the ages of 20 and 30 are conscripted into the militia and undergo military training, including weapons training. The personal weapons of the militia are kept at home as part of the military obligations; the United States thus has the highest gun ownership rate in the world.
Back in the real world, the security of 21st Century US citizens is overwhemingly looked after by professionals, working at state and federal levels.* So here's a question for die-hard Second Amendment fans. If you like it so much, why don't you go live in Switzerland?**

The irrelevance of the Second Amendment to the security of the actually existing USA and its constituent states, and the inconsistency of its most passionate defenders, are things that bug me as much as the Second Amendment's murky origins as a guarantor of a state's freedom that was also used to suppress the most basic freedoms of much of the population.

*i.e. the regular armed forces and local police departments, along with security-related organisations like the CIA, FBI, NSA, TSA, FDA and all those other other TLAs.  Sure, the USA has a National Guard, but plenty of other countries maintain reserve forces without having anything like the Second Amendment.

** A possible answer to that one is that the sort of people who can't even express their pro-gun arguments coherently in one language would never survive in a polyglot society, even one that looked like a gun-lovers' Utopia.

Hat tip


Update: The phrase 'The vast majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30', as cut 'n pasted from the original Wikipedia article, has been amended to 'The vast majority of citizens between the ages of 20 and 30' to avoid any unintentional sexism.