Pro Gun Or Pro Second Amendment?

Every firearms photographer goes through a shemagh phase. This one is mine.

“I’m Pro-Gun!”

“I support the Second Amendment!”

The two statements are interchangeable, right? On a conversational level, sure. If you’re at a holiday party where the “gun” subject comes up, and the ideological waters feel safe, you can make either statement and people will know what you mean. You’re into guns and you support the right to keep and bear arms. You’ve probably got a 9mm pistol on your hip and an AR-15 somewhere else. Awesome.

However, as I’ve gone over in my podcast - you are tuning in, right? - there’s a need for nuance when discussing “the gun issue”…

Rest assured, if you’re a longtime reader and fan of this blog, you’re probably firmly a Second Amendment Radical aka Pro-2A - even if you use the phrase “pro-gun” a lot. Anyway, on to the nuance…

Pro-Gun Is A Step To Pro-Second Amendment

To break it down, it’s probably appropriate to repost the text of the Second Amendment.

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.

That’s a pretty short statement to acknowledge such an important natural right. The key phrases of course are the beginning, “A Well-Regulated Militia”, and the end - “shall not be infringed”.

Brownells

The Second Amendment Does Not Empower Gun Control

People get hung up on the “well-regulated” part. In the interests of a certain amount of brevity, it’s wise to remember when the Second Amendment was drafted, in the late 18th century. In the context of the time, “well-regulated” meant “properly disciplined” or in a “trained condition”. In other words, the militiaman should know how to use his weapons.

And of course, the last part - “shall not be infringed”, means what it means. The government has no real right to draft and ratify gun control laws.

If the “regulated” part meant what the opposition (gun control fans) thinks it meant, then the whole Amendment would be a contradiction. If something is to not be infringed, how can it be regulated or limited by law?

The other fallback is “militia” - the opposition will argue over the definition of that term, generally by arguing that the National Guard is the militia. Even if this were the case, the Second Amendment would be violated by the very operating nature of the National Guard.

When a National Guard soldier is called up for duty or reports for training, he or she doesn’t bring their own weapon, they show up ostensibly empty-handed and are issued an automatic weapon from the government. By law they cannot keep that weapon at home. Nor can they bring their own AR-15 for service-related tasks.

They are responsible for the government-issued weapon and ammunition while on duty or in training, and have to return the weapon and unused ammo at the conclusion of that period.

The National Guard is a state-controlled military body that can be federalized, i.e. working for the government and being considered part of the regular military. It’s why you see Guard units overseas. Plus, if the guard is ‘called up’ and a Guard soldier decides not to show up, he or she is subject to penalties the same as a regular soldier, i.e. AWOL. So yeah, the Guard is the government.

On the other hand, a militia member has to provide their own armaments. The roots of this concept come from the fact that our nation originally was not to have a standing military. If a force was needed, the government would put out the call, and those who were trained and motivated to fight for the cause would show up, with their own weaponry - ranging from muskets all the way up to fully-armed warships. If militia forces failed to muster and show up, oh well. Better luck next time. Maybe put out a call worth answering.

Anyway, guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms ensured the citizen could equip themselves with the best tools for the job. Back then, it was a musket, a Puckle Gun, a cannon, or again, a fully-equipped warship. Today, it should be an AR-15, an M4, a Javelin missile, or a privately-owned Aegis destroyer. The Second Amendment guarantees citizen parity against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

With regards to the composition of the militia, George Mason put it best - “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials.”

Citizen soldiers, indeed.

Society put the onus on the individual to be ready to fight for their rights and freedoms. Whether the enemy is a foreign invader, a government gone reckless, or an individual threat to your person - the Second Amendment addresses that.

It’s rather counterproductive if the person you’re asking to defend the nation has a limited selection of armaments.

It’s this additude of ‘readiness’ which the Second Amendment endorses and promotes. You are taking the ultimate responsibility for your own life - you recognize the limitations and dangers of government, and are equipping yourself accordingly.

You also recognize that your ability to obtain such weapons, whether it be a rifle, pistol, shotgun, or full-blown automatic weapon, need not be under the government’s authority. Because sometimes (well, a lot of the time…) the government is the biggest threat to your safety and existence.

Primary Arms

Just Being ‘Pro-Gun’ Isn’t Really Enough

Now, as we’ve discussed, the term ‘pro-gun’ is often used interchangeably and casually as a reference to being ‘pro-2A’. While it’s not necessarily a social faux-pa, again, this is where nuance helps push things forward.

In the context of 2020, what with the riots, the ‘rona, and the disputed election, we’ve seen a lot of people go from ‘anti-gun’ to ‘pro-gun’, with some making the final leap to ‘pro-2A’.

I’ve seen some pump the brakes at ‘pro-gun’, though. They get that AR-15, they get that H&K VP9 pistol, they pick up some ammo, learn the Four Rules, and maybe even take a class or three. But, for some reason, they’re OK with the fact that the government, which cares not for them individually, is placing a roadblock to their ability to secure their lives and property. Sure, the NICS inquiry seems like a small price to pay for some vague notion of “safety”, but as history proves, the machinations of gun control is a case of creeping incrementalism.

Had we gone from the pre-1934 norm of machine guns-via-mail-order to today’s “national conversation” of outright bans over the course of a year or two, there would have (rightfully so!) been a civil war. The politicians knew that, and that’s why it’s been a case of boiling the frog slowly, as it were. If you’re stopping at “pro-gun”, just realize that what you went through today to get that rifle or pistol, could be even more cumbersome tomorrow.

That talking head in a cheap suit promising all sorts of “free” services in exchange for your fealty at the voting booth isn’t gonna stand for you being able to say “no” when you finally decide that what he’s threatening your life for is a bridge too far. Again, make no mistake, the gun control ball won’t magically stop on it’s own.

In this case pro-gun really just means you’re someone with a hobby. You enjoy accurately poking holes in paper at the range, and your guns are something you trot out to your friends on the weekends - and maybe you’ll blast the bad guy if he comes through the door at 3 AM uninvited - but when the chips are really down, you won’t hesitate to turn ‘em on in because the creepy mouth-breather on TV said so.

Don’t be that guy. Don’t ask for or expect Daddy Government to help you. If they do show up, the service is guaranteed to be garbage, and the price is always too high.

Don’t merely be pro-gun. Be pro-2A.

I’m far from perfect. I don’t know what I’d do if the rubber really met the road. However, in word and hopefully in deed, I can live up to the pro-2A ethos I promote. Together, it’s far easier. Some talk about “unity” and it’s a sham. Our real unity should be that we can all ensure our individual rights by force of arms. We the people defend the Republic. Not the government.

Be pro-2A. Have a seat at the table of freedom and fun.

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