As I write, President Obama is about to unveil a set of proposals intended to diminish gun-related violence in the United States. It seemed to me that it might be worthwhile, in that light, to post the text of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which will presumably continue to play a role in discussions on this topic:
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.
I find it worthy of note that the text says nothing whatever about hunters and hunting. In fact, it says nothing about home protection and crime.
It’s talking about national security.
I suppose that one could go in at least two diametrically opposed directions with this:
One could argue that it’s only about institutions like the National Guard, and that private gun ownership for quail shooting and for warding off burglars is, at best, peripherally relevant.
Or one could argue that, since it’s effectively about military concerns, justifications for limitations on, or even bans of, assault rifles and high capacity magazines on the grounds that “hunters don’t need them” are wholly irrelevant to the Second Amendment’s as yet unrepealed declaration that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” and do not overrule it.
It should be noted that I’m not a hunter, and that (though I own a few, and have fired them) I’m not particularly interested in guns. I am, however, somewhat skeptical of many gun control proposals, having doubts about both their constitutionality and their effectiveness.
I may have more to say on this topic.