Common sense and weapons

In the United States the second amendment to the constitution creates a dilemma because it makes a very broad and clear statement that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”, which seems to preclude any laws restricting the matter, but such laws and regulations are essential for public safety. Should prisoners be allowed to keep and bear arms? Suspects detained in jail? Are police allowed to separate suspects from their firearms when responding to a crime report? Are kids allowed to bring firearms into schools? Are patients in a mental institution allowed to keep and bear arms?

There just seem to be a lot of situations in which there should be some common sense limits to the second amendment, but due to the way it’s written there’s always someone who thinks there can never be limits.

It seems a lot of people just ignore the first part of the second amendment, “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state”. This first part gives meaning and context to the second part that is most often quotes — the reason for the right to keep and bear arms is to be able to participate in a well regulated militia.

We can paint a completely different reality with the same second amendment text we already have: if someone isn’t participating in a well regulated militia — prisoners, crime suspects, school children, the mentally ill, just to reiterate the earlier examples — that person does not have the right to keep and bear arms. Part of participating in a well regulated militia is following the rules so if someone who is participating breaks those rules and is disciplined by the militia, they may also lose their right to keep and bear arms. Everyone else who is not participating doesn’t have a right to keep and bear arms, but they may have a privilege of doing so and the government may regulate the possession and use of firearms to apply some common sense for public safety.

However, it might be time to just hit the reset button and propose an amendment to the second amendment: the right to a well-regulated militia.

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