I have been engaged recently in discussions on Vermont gun boards, in response to the recent treason (S.55) from the legislature and the governor, banning bump stocks, implementing so-called "universal background checks", raising the age for gun purchases to twenty-one, and banning the transfer of rifle magazines larger than ten rounds and handgun magazines larger than fifteen. Those discussions have reminded me that gun owners still don't understand one important part of the Second Amendment. This short essay is intended to help fix that problem.
Many anti-gunners, and members of Congress, say things about hunting when you mention the Second Amendment. Gun owners know that 2A has nothing whatsoever to do with hunting. Yes, you have a right to use your guns to hunt, but that's a Ninth or Tenth Amendment issue, not 2A. The Second Amendment exists to ensure that the militia, that's every able-bodied male, and nowadays many females, equipped with his own, personal military-style weapons (including machine guns, hand grenades, and shoulder-mounted heat-seeking missiles), are practiced (well regulated) and ready to defend their locality from all threats, foreign or domestic.
The foreign threats are pretty easy to recognize, and most have no problem shooting an invading Chinese or Russian force. If you believe the likely-misattributed quote from Isoroku Yamamoto during WWII, and I think it's a correct idea, even if that Japanese admiral didn't actually say it, 2A is an effective deterent to foreign military invasion.
"You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass."
Domestic threats are more dicey. The idea is that 2A allows us to defend ourselves from tyranny in our own government. I believe it does, but the details are hard for many gun owners to swallow. Which tyrants exactly would we shoot, should it become necessary? Would it be the likes of Vermont's Representative Martin LaLonde, who was instrumental in adding much of the victim disarmament language to S.55, or Governor Phil Scott, who signed it into law? Probably not. If they're even still in office when SHTF, they'll be sitting in chairs in Montpelier, talking about the next infringement, or more likely something totally unrelated. They will never actually DO anything to enforce their tyrannical pronouncements.
The person who will kidnap you and start the process of caging you for a year for possessing that now-illegal piece of folded sheet metal will be Officer Friendly of your local police or sheriff's department, someone you may know, a nice guy, just doing his job. HE's the first guy you're going to have to shoot.
Even talking about shooting a cop turns most Republicans red with rage. But, like it or not, that's what will have to be done, and that's a big part of why the Second Amendment exists.
Bill St. Clair
13 April, 2018