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March 29, 2018

DAVID HARSANYI: You Can Try To Repeal The Second Amendment, But You Can’t Repeal History.

Whether repeal of the Second Amendment is feasible or not, historical revisionism is meant to mangle its meaning into irrelevancy. [Former Justice John Paul] Stevens claims that his conception of gun rights is “uniformly understood,” yet offers no legal precedent to back the contention up. Stevens claims the Second Amendment’s explicit mention of “the right of the people” does not create an “individual right” despite the inconvenient fact that other times the term is mentioned — in the Fourth, Ninth, and 10th Amendments — they have been found to do exactly that.

Now, I’m not a legal scholar, but the idea, as the former justice argues, that the Founders wanted no limits on the ability of federal or state authorities to take weapons from law-abiding citizens conflicts with the historical record. Never once in the founding debate did a lawmaker rise to argue that gun ownership should be limited. Most state constitutions already featured language to protect that right. A number states demanded that the national constitution include such a provision, as well.

The debate over the Second Amendment centered on a dispute over who should control the militia, the federal or state governments. Everyone understood that a militia consisted of free individuals who would almost always grab their own firearms — the ones they used in their everyday existence — to engage in concerted efforts to protect themselves, their community, or their country (sometimes from their own government.)

This might surprise some, but the Minutemen did not return their muskets after Lexington.

Well, yeah — Lexington was fought over an attempted gun grab by the British, and the Minutemen were no dummies.

And former Justice Stevens is counting on the historical ignorance of his fellow Americans.