Sorry, title should say, “How is THE Constitutional Right to Bear Arms So Heavily Infringed Upon?”
Now stay with me here . . .
When you look at the First Amendment, it seems that any law which may impose limitations upon any aspect of it is heavily debated and carefully thought out, and as a society we try to have a philosophical basis which underlines the abridgments we may have on the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, etc. Many of these discussions take place in the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the very next Amendment is another one which seems extremely important to the body politic. There is a special interest organization that spent 5 million dollars in 2017 alone ostensibly to promote Americans’ rights under the Second Amendment. And yet, it seems that as a nation, we are very willing to discuss limitations of the rights of individuals to bear arms.
For starters, it seems that in general we are willing to limit “arms” to small arms/individual weapons (I imagine it’s illegal for any individual to own an anti-aircraft missile, and I’m not sure of the legality of IEDs). Then, individual states have their own limitations, based on an individual’s legal/medical history and the weapon’s magazine size, upon other things. And, from my understanding, there have been only two Supreme Court Cases dealing with Second Amendment.
For an Amendment that many are passionate about and that captures much of the national debate, I find this very surprising. How is this allowed, legally and, for lack of a better word, philosophically? How is this justified?
Imagine if convicted felons or people with mental health conditions were no longer able to speak freely on certain topics, or incendiary speeches could only be of a certain length, or of a certain number. Or in order to start your religious movement, you needed to undergo a background check. Or your dangerous organization, like the KKK, was allowed to meet, but only at a limited frequency . . .
The obvious answer is that we have drastically curtailed the rights of Americans to bear arms because we realize that bearing arms can potentially carry huge, huge consequences, and the only way to responsibly do so is with significant caveats. But in this case, is our right to bear arms truly a Constitutional Right anymore? Haven’t we whittled it down to almost nothing? In the whole world of “arms,” many Americans are only allowed to own personal-use firearms of limited magazine. What is the philosophical basis behind that?
In order to be philosophically consistent, should we either open up the right to bear arms significantly (to the point where the limitations parallel our First Amendment limitations, at least with regard to degree) or repeal the Second Amendment altogether?