2008.09.17

The Right to Bear Arms

Here’s a question, the answer of which I’m still pondering… Does the “right to bear arms” (the 2nd Amendment) have any relevance in a first world country?

I can sort of see it in a third world country, where the rule of law is lax if not non-existent. I can even see it in a second world country in which the government is often corrupt, tyrannical and fluctuating often between types of government. But in the first world? What’s the point?

Understand that I’m not ranting against the 2nd Amendment. This is a philosophical, social and political question that I haven’t yet seen or heard anyone discuss.

6 Comments Categorized: political  rights  thoughts

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6 Responses to “The Right to Bear Arms”

  1. Jordan says  (September 17th, 2008 at 10:29:28 )

    I don’t think there’s much of a point to us urban dwellers, but if you go out into the middle of America, where there are many people who live an hour or more from the closest police station that probably only has one officer on duty, the thought of being in the middle of no where alone with no help is a very real thing.

    I get the need for them to own a weapon to keep the king of England from coming by and shoving them around.

  2. douglas says  (September 17th, 2008 at 13:32:50 )

    I can see that population density would be an issue. I know folks have to technically register their weapons (for the sake of argument let’s assume they do), but maybe the question should then be broadened to personally owned military grade weapons?

  3. Jenner says  (September 17th, 2008 at 21:06:10 )

    Hm, well would the Roman Empire have been considered a first world country? That republic was weakened over time with civil wars, and our own country has already had one of our own where personal arms were a necessity. I dunno, I could see it. You never know I suppose, every government falls at some point.

  4. Nob Hill Ken says  (September 26th, 2008 at 00:09:14 )

    No, I don’t feel first-world countries need the retain the right to bear arms, generally speaking. Take, for example, the United Kingdom, where the right to keep and bear arms has been slowly but almost completely phased-out over the past 40 years. They don’t seem to have gone to pieces or slid into anarchy as a result.

    It would take much longer to accomplish the same thing in the USA, though, between gun-nuts and gangbangers. Maybe a century? Hard to say. But, as someone who’s twice had guns pointed at him by unprovoked wackos, I’d be all for it.

  5. Mookee says  (September 30th, 2008 at 20:44:27 )

    The 2nd amendment was not written to protect us from each other, but rather to protect us from the government. Just because we’re able to (for the most part) talk about our differences and redress our grievances peacefully (mostly) doesn’t mean such will always be the case.

    According to Madison, in Federalist no. 46, European countries (in this case, Britain), don’t trust their citizens with guns. It’s not some high and mighty better understanding of civility.

    The ability to defend oneself from criminals, etc., is an aside that comes along with the amendment, and has nothing to do with why it exists.

  6. Nob Hill Ken says  (October 1st, 2008 at 00:06:57 )

    Yes, the original intent of the 2nd. amendment *was* so that citizens could protect themselves from their government. 200 or so years ago. A pistol (or even a lot of pistols) will most decidedly not protect anyone from Uncle Sam today. Pistols do, however, often end up in the hands of evil, stupid or otherwise unsuitable people.

    I think the Brits are quite right not to trust their citizens with guns, and that the U.S.A. should follow their lead. And yeah, actually, I believe it would be more civil and “evolved” for the government to take the position that the general public should not, in fact, own guns “just in case” of…whatever.

    Then again, I was robbed at gunpoint several years ago by a handgun-wielding junky, so I’m obviously biased. That aside, I’ll never quite understand why Americans get so worked up over their firearms.