How fortuitous, that we have this short statement in one of history's most valuable documents. It is included to remind the politicians of the rest of the document and the people also. The Second Amendment is more than just a clause that allows us to hunt and defend the nation in the streets from invaders. It is a built in "reset" button for a Republic and provides hardware for the people to take back the nation and defend the very Constitution itself. No other Constitution written for other Parliamentary States includes this decree. The Second Amendement is one case in point to American Exceptionalism.
Many States within the Union have created obstacles for ownership, transportation and use of firearms. I am not in total disagreement with these ideas. But, as usual, many laws are perverted when it comes to defense of one's home, carrying a concealed weapon in public places, trigger locks, banning certain firearms, even shooting an assailant. A 1982 survey of prison inmates has found that 34% of inmates were scared off by, shot at by, wounded and/or caprured by a civilian who was armed legally. (justfacts.com/guncontrol, James Agresti, Reid Smith, 2010).
Statistics are always used on both sides of the Second Amendment argument to butress a 'for' or 'against' debate. Agresti and Smith point out; "..when statistics are involved, the determination of what constitutes a credible fact (and what does not) can contain elements of personal subjectivity". Every one with a personal story to tell cannot separate themselves from the emotional trauma of a particular event in their lives where a firearm was used. Whether that story be from a victim or a defendant, it is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.
Out of a 2009 US population of roughly 307 million, roughly 45% of households contain firearms (Agresti, Smith). We are an armed nation. It would be wise for our elected to remember this and to act accordingly. In reality they do realize this and have spent many sessions of Congress to disarm the American Citizens. Recent Supreme Court appointees Sotomayer and Kagan have both been involved in handgun cases and are both unsympathetic to Second Amendment Rights. Each have voted in past occasions ,while presiding in lower courts, to deny appeals to legal gun owners who challenged D.C.'s ban on handguns within city limits. One defendant used a handgun in self defense and was sentenced to prison anyway.
While serving as a 'part-time' Senator, then Senator Obama voted against any Judicial Nominee who was a supporter of private gun ownership. One Federal Appeals court in 2002 stated that private citizens can only own guns while in the service of the State (National Guard, Police). James Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers of his concern for having only an armed militia and the possiblility of a military coup. He countered that concern by defending the need for citizens to be armed in challenging such a coup and protecting Liberty. Madison states..
"To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence.
Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
The last part of that statement is key. European Governments do not trust the citizenry to bear arms. In light of the Austerity Measures in place today through out Europe, and the riots we see on TV, I am inclined to agree. Defending a collapsed Socialist system with an armed population scares the shit out of me. Defending a Republic with an armed population from Socialist take over comforts me.
Historically, 18th and 19th Century Europe was quite voilent. Countless times armies invaded neighboring
countries. Revolution in France swept up into an aggressive Empire under Napolean. It was not uncommon for the wealthy to be armed at all times as they travelled and not fear using those arms. Seldom any legal repercussions would ensue. That is not the case today in both Europe and The U.S. Use of a handgun in self defense is a tricky endeavour. A wounded assailant may seek monetary compensation regardless of his/her crime. So be sure to shoot to kill.
In the book Firearms and Violence, A Critical Review editted by Charles Wellford, John V. Pepper, and Carol V. Petrie from the National Academies Press, 2005; people are reluctant to answer questions about use of their firearms, whether they own a firearm legally or illegally. The controversy surrounding the issue is first and foremost in the owner's mind. This should not be the case if you are a lawful gun owner.
"While surveys of firearms acquisitions, possession, and use are of varying quality and scope, they all share common methodological and survey sampling-related problems. The most fundamental of these is the potential for response errors to survey questionnaires. Critics argue that asking people whether they own a firearm, what kind it is, and how it is used may lead to invalid responses because ownership is a controversial matter for one or more reasons: some people may own a firearm illegally, some may own it legally but worry that they may use it illegally, and some may react to the intense public controversy about firearm ownership by becoming less (or even more) likely to admit to ownership (Blackman, 2003).
While in most surveys respondents are provided confidentiality, the concern is still expressed that violations of confidentiality directly or through data mining could lead to the identification of specific respondents in a way that might allow the identification of firearms owners."
For every story of an accidental shooting, there are ten fold examples of safety training, responsible storage and locking of firearms. For every tragic tale of a criminal shooting there are less than 1/10 of 1% examples of a lawful gun owner using said gun in the commission of a crime. Every time there is a sensational news story of a mass shooting spree the perpetrator is almost always in possession of a firearm illegally. Where the real tragedy comes from is that the victims are resricted form carrying their own, legal firearms at the places they are murdered in..
The wisdom of the Second Amendment is that it protects and defends everything held within the Constitution of the United States..
....And That Is The Diatribe....