A Rant: Replacing The 2nd Amendment For Modern Times

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.

I believe in gun control. I’m not opposed to the benefits that guns provide (especially to many people in remote areas who use guns to hunt for food or protection), but I think the negatives far outweigh the positives. This country needs sweeping gun control reform.

One of my absolute biggest pet peeves is when someone uses the Second Amendment as an argument for guns. Saying, “because it’s in our constitution” is, in my opinion, perhaps the most naive pro-gun argument. To be sure, our country’s forefathers were a smart and sophisticated group of individuals (however, they were by no means perfect; see: slavery, women’s rights, and so on). But using this argument is to say that intent has no merit or place in a rational discussion on modern day gun control.

Bringing the intent of the authors of the Constitution into light, it is immediately clear that it is all about providing another check-and-balance against the government. At a time when the most powerful weapon that existed was a gun, allowing individuals to carry guns meant that the government would have a hard time oppressing its citizens with force.

Of course, that’s no longer the case today. If we wanted to be equal in terms of military power with the government, we’d say that every individual should have the opportunity to hold nuclear weapons. I don’t see anyone out there arguing this, for obvious reasons.

But the intent of our forefathers ensuring another check-and-balance against our government remains. In fact, it may be more important today than it was over 200 years ago.

The biggest threat to citizens being oppressed by the government today comes in the form of technology. I’m far more worried about this government (including the Obama administration, of which I have been a supporter) taking away my liberties through the use of computers than I am with military might. The news about PRISM (which I think we all knew, but didn’t want to freely admit) way oversteps boundaries I am comfortable with from my government and my right to privacy.

If we really want to embrace the Second Amendment, we need to worry less about access to guns and more about how to appropriately add checks-and-balances against the government abusing power and oppressing citizens through the use of modern technology.

Friday, June 7, 2013   ()