There have been several pieces of good news lately relating to 2nd Amendment rights in the United States. By now everyone should be aware of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the 32 year old Washington, D.C. ban on citizens keeping guns in their homes. Florida has a new law which allows gun owners to transport their legally registered guns to work as long as they keep them locked up in their cars. There are exceptions to the law – those who work in schools are still prohibited from bringing their firearms onto school grounds. Lastly, Governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia signed legislation in May that allows the state’s 300,000 concealed weapons permit holders to carry hidden guns on public transit, in state parks and restaurants that serve alcohol. Congratulations to those political leaders in Florida and Georgia and the 5 justices on the Supreme Court that got it right for a change by supporting the Amendment to the Constitution that ensures all the others.
How does the 2nd Amendment ensure that the other nine amendments of the Bill of Rights are honored by the federal government? We consult the Declaration of Independence for that answer:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.
Our Founders knew that historically, government as an institution is prone to abusing power and denying natural rights to its own citizens as well as citizens of other countries. So, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington and their brethren built a two tier system to guarantee that the same would not happen with the government they were instituting. First, Americans would have the ability to “alter” their government through the ballot box. If that option became unavailable to them they could take up arms and “abolish” it. Fortunately, in the United States, we have had a history of regular elections and smooth transitions to power. But, our past is no reason not to be vigilant about protecting 2nd Amendment rights, since a slow steady erosion of gun rights is as dangerous to the health of our republic as a sudden confiscation of the same right.