By now I’m sure you are well aware of what has happened in Ferguson, Missouri over the last week.
Countless articles have been written examining the situation from just about every angle you could imagine. But we shouldn’t forget that there’s a Constitutional lesson to be learned here as well.
As KTVI in St. Louis reports, during the looting some business owners took action to defend their stores from further damage:
This situation gives us a perfect opportunity to put the Second Amendment in context.
As we’re searching for the meaning of the Second Amendment, it’s not about trying to come up with clever arguments for what the words could possibly mean. It’s about figuring out what the people who wrote and ratified the Second Amendment honestly intended it to mean and what effect they intended it to have.
As I discussed recently on TheBlaze (here and here), a lot of people claim that the Second Amendment only protects the rights of people in a militia to own a gun and only for militia-related purposes. Let’s look at that claim in the context of the looting in Ferguson.
Based on the interview above, the police made it clear that they were not going to be able to help these business owners out. According to the “militia only” interpretation of the Second Amendment, that means the business owners are expected to sit back helplessly and allow looters to destroy their stores.
The QuikTrip in 9400 block of W. Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo. burns after being looted by rioters on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. The riots were sparked after community protests over a fatal officer involved shooting in Ferguson the day before. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson)
It is just outside the realm of possibility that that is what the Framers of the Second Amendment intended the amendment to do. These were people who were dedicated to the protection of individual rights. They were also people who lived in a time when Americans who lived on the western frontier of the country faced all kinds of personal threats; everything from wild animals to attacks from Native Americans.
It’s just not realistic to believe that those same Second Amendment Framers wanted to give the federal government the power to deny American citizens the ability to protect themselves and their property.
Try to imagine what would happen if somehow influential Founders like James Madison, George Washington, and Roger Sherman were able to come back from the beyond and watch the interview with those business owners. Do you honestly think their first reaction would be, “Oh my gosh, those citizens have guns!! Are they in a militia?!”
Of course not. Their first reaction would be, “Holy crap, this television thingy is so awesome!!”
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Seriously though, it is very hard to believe that those Founders would have supported the idea that the federal government should have the power to prevent those business owners from defending their rights. In fact, Roger Sherman believed that it was:
“the privilege of every citizen, and one of his most essential rights, to bear arms, and to resist every attack upon his liberty or property, by whomsoever made.”
In other words, what Roger Sherman would have seen in that interview was this group of Ferguson business owners exercising one of their “most essential rights.”
When you look at a situation like this and keep in mind who the Founders actually were, it’s very easy to see how silly it is to argue that they would have supported disarming these men.
That tells you pretty much all you need to know about the Second Amendment. It protects the right of individual citizens to own personal firearms for the purpose of defending their liberty and property from anyone who might attack them.
I’ll be discussing this issue this upcoming Saturday during my Constitution Revolution segment on TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show as well. Don’t miss it!
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