Does the NRA get the Second Amendment all wrong? | The Tylt

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Does the NRA get the Second Amendment all wrong?
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Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, and author of "The Second Amendment: A Biography," says the National Rifle Association essentially rewrote the Second Amendment in the American mind.

Today at the NRA’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, oversized letters on the facade no longer refer to “marksmanship” and “safety.” Instead, the Second Amendment is emblazoned on a wall of the building’s lobby. Visitors might not notice that the text is incomplete.
It reads: “.. the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The first half—the part about the well regulated militia—has been edited out.
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But police officer Sgt. Patrick Hayes says there's a reason why the right to bear arms is included in the Bill of Rights.

Those of us who have spent decades fighting for gun rights have often cursed the “militia” clause. It was, before Heller, the favorite attack point of the liberal anti-gun crowd. They claimed it meant the National Guard and no individual had a right to own a firearm.
That is not what the framers said, that is not what they wrote and we have enough to say that is not even what they thought. They had just finished a war for independence. They feared large authoritarian governments. They were the revolutionaries. This was fresh in their minds when they wrote the Bill of Rights.
The entire Bill of Rights enshrined individual protections from government intrusion. They applied to the people. Why would the Second Amendment not do so as the anti-gun crowd claims?
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Gun-control advocates continue to insist that ignoring the "well-regulated militia" clause completely distorts the intention of the Founders.

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They also point out the fact that the NRA's current zero-tolerance policy against any restrictions on anyone's right to carry any firearm is not some centuries-old struggle, and apocalyptic messaging about taking up arms against a tyrannical government is relatively new.

The NRA was founded by a group of Union officers after the Civil War who, perturbed by their troops’ poor marksmanship, wanted a way to sponsor shooting training and competitions. The group testified in support of the first federal gun law in 1934, which cracked down on the machine guns beloved by Bonnie and Clyde and other bank robbers....its principal focus was hunting and sportsmanship: bagging deer....firearms safety education, marksmanship training, shooting for recreation.
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And in numerous instances, the Supreme Court has taken the side of the NRA—often arguing laws banning guns infringe on constitutional rights. In 2010, the court overturned a Chicago law banning handguns:

In another narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment applies to the states and reaffirmed its ruling under Heller that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right guaranteed by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 
The Court's opinion, written by Justice Alito, argued that the individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense is "deeply rooted" and "fundamental" to the American ideal of liberty, and that handguns were the "quintessential self-defense weapon." 
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The NRA's detractors say the group has distorted the Second Amendment and essentially invented the idea of universal access to any and all weaponry for one purpose—to sell guns. Here's a typical cycle:

  1. Crazy people commit heinous crimes with guns.
  2. Sane people argue for common sense laws to protect safety.
  3. NRA accuses sane people of tyranny, infringing on the right to bear arms, and tells gun owners that the left is coming to take their guns away.
  4. Gun owners become afraid and buy more firearms to protect themselves from anti-gun overlords.
  5. Crazy people commit more heinous crimes with guns.
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"Today's NRA is a virtual subsidiary of the gun industry," said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center. "While the NRA portrays itself as protecting the 'freedom' of individual gun owners, it's actually working to protect the freedom of the gun industry to manufacture and sell virtually any weapon or accessory."
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But others argue the NRA interprets the Second Amendment correctly; the Founders were literally rebels under attack and wanted the American people to be able to take up arms against invaders if necessary.

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And some scholars agree with the NRA that the Second Amendment is the linchpin that ensures the existence of all the other liberties. In 1833, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote:

“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of the republic, since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers, and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
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