Letters have appeared in The Reflector recently that feed two myths on gun control and the Second Amendment – one myth stated clearly and the other hinted at. The first is that Democratic Socialists are bent on banning and confiscating all firearms. There may be some extreme Socialists that are advocating for this, but most do not. I have not heard a Democratic candidate advocate for such extreme measures. They are in favor of improved background check methods, red flag laws, and limiting access to rapid-fire “assault” weapons and magazines that allow multiple bullets to be fired in quick succession. To accuse them of being against all weapons and working to confiscate them is a lie.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution states, “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.” The language has created considerable debate regarding its intended scope. What is meant by “well regulated militia” and the “right . . . to keep and bear arms” have been hotly debated. One myth that has circulated is that since the amendment does not stipulate which “arms,” any effort by the government, state or federal, to limit access to any guns violates this right. Following this line of thinking, we should consider what the framers of this amendment meant by “arms.” The arms at that time were flintlock muskets and pistols with a one-round magazine each. The most stilled marksman could only fire three shots per minute. Imagine if we applied their understanding of “arms” today how many mass shootings would be prevented. Also, the amendment was motivated by the fear that a national standing army would be a threat to the states. That fear, I believe, is largely a relic of the 18th dentury even though there are some that still believe the U.S. military might be used to take away a state and individual’s right to defend.
If you have read this far, you might conclude that I am a Socialist Democrat. I am not, but in contrast to the current political and cultural trends, I do not like myths and lies being inflicted against anyone — even those I do not agree with. The truth can stand on its own feet without the support of myths and lies.