Fantasies and guns

The Baltimore Sun

One difficulty in talking about the Second Amendment and laws regulating firearms is the degree to which some of the parties have become captivated by fantasies. 

I have seen a citizen interpret the Second Amendment to be a guarantee that when the people find their government oppressive, they are entitled to possess weaponry to rise up against it. (This is not as uncommon a belief as you might think.) 

It is an interesting government that would write into its founding document a provision for armed insurrection against itself. 

If you were curious about what the Founders would have thought of such a view, you might consider the Whiskey Rebellion. In 1791, farmers in western Pennsylvania rose up in resistance to a new tax on whiskey, which they found onerous and oppressive. 

The response: President Washington himself rode into western Pennsylvania at the head of a force of 13,000, the militia(!) provided for in the Second Amendment, to suppress the rebellion. 

Let me suggest that the Red Dawn, black-helicopter interpretation of the Second Amendment will not contribute useful political discourse. 


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