The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.

In no particular order, early American settlers viewed the right to arms and/or the right to bear arms and/or state militias as important for one or more of these purposes:

deterring tyrannical government;
repelling invasion;
suppressing insurrection;
facilitating a natural right of self-defense;
participating in law enforcement;
enabling the people to organize militia systems.

OK, lets start with the top of this list, “deterring tyrannical government.”

Many, many of those (crazies) say they need assault weapons, to overthrow a tyrannical government. Alright, let’s put this into a more precise scenario.
Let’s say that a large number of people are completely dissatisfied with our government. In the 21st century, what is the best way to change a government that the people feel is tyrannical? The vote, of course. I think the first step is to define tyranny.
So let’s assume we have done so, now what?
The assault weapons advocates say, or seem to think, that their weapons will be adequate in deterring the most powerful military in the world.
So let’s take a look at what the military has at it’s disposal. Supersonic fighter jets armed with Hellfire missiles, 20 mm cannons, mini-guns modeled after the old Indian War Gatling guns. Our modern version fires about 2,000 rounds per minute! That’s two THOUSAND bullets fired, every minute. Let’s look at shoulder fired rockets that have a range of nearly one mile or more and are packed with high explosives. Let’s look at the Apache Attack Helicopters. They too are equipped with missiles and mini-guns, and some with 20mm cannons. Then there are massive tanks that can hit a target over three miles away. Then we have artillery that can hit a target nearly 20 miles away. We also have a navy, consisting of aircraft carriers with enough fire power to wipe out a small country. We have submarines that can stay submerged for six months at a time. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

The crazies invariably chime in and say, that many in the military would defect and fight against the country and constitution that they swore to defend. The talk of civil war is really ludicrous.
In the American Civil war, there were free states and slave states, providing a clear distinction as to who the enemy were.
There are no slave states, or a confederacy that exists any longer. This means that each of the fifty sates would have to have their own mini-civil wars. Who would “win,” and what states would “lose,” is simply unimaginable.
OK, so much for the defenders of liberty (as they perceive themselves to be)

I guess I covered the “crazies,” among the gun nuts who insist on possessing assault weapons.
Assault weapons are not needed for home defense. A high powered revolver is really all that is needed. Assault weapons are not needed for hunting. Hunting is not only a means for obtaining food, it is also considered a sport. How sportsman-like is it to have a 30 round magazine in a weapon that fires rapid fire, in a very little amount of time?
In the final analysis, no civilian needs an assault weapon or the high capacity magazines that can be used with such weapons.
When Jared Loughner was finally taken down, after so much carnage, it was when he tried to put another magazine into hie weapon. That’s when the brave people on the scene attacked him and subdued him. So yes, the size of the magazine does make a big difference.

The Social Compact

The First Principle of the Social Compact recognizes that governments are instituted by the people and derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. So, I believe there are a majority of Americans who would like to see these killing machines gotten rid of.

The Declaration of Independence recognizes as a self-evident truth that “governments are instituted among men/women, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . . .” There are two aspects to this First Principle of the Social Compact. First, that legitimate governments are instituted among the people; second, that the just powers of the government are derived from the consent of the people. The Founding Fathers derived much of their understanding of this First Principle from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and other like-minded philosophers.

The Founding Fathers believed that because conflict is inevitable in a state of nature, individuals united in civil societies and established government to secure the peace. James Madison reflected that “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” But men are not angels, Alexander Hamilton noted, and government becomes necessary to restrain “the passions of men/women.” Thus, paradoxically, legal restraints are necessary to preserve liberty. The alternative is vigilantism – which Hobbes aptly termed a “war of every one against every one.”

The second aspect of the Social Compact is that the people must consent to give the government its authority. Robert Bates, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, explained that “In every free government, the people must give their assent to the laws by which they are governed. This is the true criterion between a free government and an arbitrary one.”

Indeed, the American Revolution was strongly motivated by a defense of this First Principle. The cry of “no taxation without representation” was directly derived from the Social Compact.

The Social Compact is an indispensable First Principle of American freedom.

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KT, many apologies for the fact that it has taken me six days to get to the comments section on your excellent article. What is it about the holidays that telescopes time — apparently more so every year?!

I actually had read the article days ago, but was pulled away to do something else before I could comment on it. In the meantime Piers Morgan interviewed a pro-gun advocate (whose name escapes me at the moment) and really, seriously challenged him on gun control. This was followed by a flurry of petitions requesting that the federal government deport Morgan (!!?!!). Just the mere mention of the fact that these rapid-fire, high powered weapons be banned produced that frantic reaction! Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

I do hope that now that the fiscal cliff vote is behind us, the President pushes forward — hard — on gun control.

Because I can feel the mists of memory loss swirling in already. The forgetting is already beginning regarding Newtown. If we don’t act soon another moment in which to do something meaningful will have slipped away.

Thanks so much for all the research and hard work that went into this article, KT. In the words of the President speaking on gun violence: Enough.


KT, very interesting and factual article. I only have to say one thing, when you stated: “The Declaration of Independence recognizes as a self-evident truth that “governments are instituted among men/women, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . . .”, our Founding Fathers did not think of women. You do as we have grown to accept that. Nor did they think of the slaves as a whole person. Our Founding Fathers were great but they were not perfect. Words had different meanings in those days and weapons were no way as powerful as those of today. They did not or could not cover everything as time changes many things. But, I do think that even our Founding Fathers would think that civilians with semi automatic weapons are not a necessity of survival in everyday life. (And, Abigail Adams would be very proud of you for remembering the women!) 🙂


If people were prosecuted for committing a crime with a gun and jailed for a long time, maybe fewer crimes would be committed. We could make room in the jails by making pot legal and letting pot users out of jail.
The idea seems to me to be a win win situation.


Hear hear!
“died of a theory”. So said Jefferson Davis. It fits those individuals who go on about ‘fighting tyrannical govt’. Take a hard look at what they would be up against. It would not work.
Assault weapons would not work in resistance to tyrannical govt; and, they, most certainly, are neither sporting weapons nor hunting weapons. They are military weapons.

The Social Compact is one of the key ideas that serve as a foundation of our Society.

Some elements of tyranny: no civil/legal rights that are respected ( no rule of law); govt officials cannot be held accountable by those who are ruled by them; ‘laws’ are capricious and are enforced by caprice; no real right to privacy. And, so on.


Molly Ivins defined it well. She said Americans today cannot tell the diffeence between tyranny and inconvenience. Tim McVeigh’s buddies, the Nichols brothers, railed against the tyranny of government in making them get drivers’ licenses and register their car. Inconvenience. Not tyranny. BTW – the Nichols brothers accepted farm subsidies. Just saying…

Americans have had instance of government intrusion and injustice. Shay’s Rebellion was one when farmers and all people were abruptly forced to pay all debt in specie – but had none. This was a radical intrusion in people’s sovereignty over their interactions with one another, and they resisted. And were quashed.

Slavery, labor bondage, exclusion acts and internments – all things that could easily have generated uprisings but did not.

So today’s “Second Amendment remedy” people are claiming their “freedoms” are being taken away – and have yet, after 8 years under Clinton and 4 under Obama, to be able to define WHAT freedoms they have lost. They can define inconveniences they think are the same, but they cannot define a single right of which they have been deprived.

So much for logic.