The right to bare arms

I am a strong believer in and supporter of the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution . . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

The Second Amendment was based partially on the right to keep and bear arms in English common-law and was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. The notion was that citizens had the right of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to defend the state.

In 1876, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, “The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution.

In 1939, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government and the states could limit any weapon types not having a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”

It wasn’t till 2008, that the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that held the amendment protects an individual’s right to possess and carry firearms.

This 2008 decision, arrived at by a conservative Supreme Court, is interesting. Conservative justices have always justified their decisions by claiming they were trying to remain true to the intents of our forefathers who wrote the Constitution. Yet, in 2008, the Supreme Court’s decision ignored this very same intent when applied to the 2nd Amendment.

The original intent of the 2nd Amendment was to ensure that the citizens maintained an armed militia that could take action to rebel against an oppressive government. There is no mention of the right of every individual to carry firearms. There is no mention that any citizen should have the right to stand his/her ground and shoot and/or kill another whom they perceive as threatening. The 2nd Amendment does not mention the right of individuals to carry assault weapons which have only one purpose . . . to kill.

Yet, the conservative Supreme Court bastardized the original intent of this amendment by claiming all Americans had the right to bear arms. Could the influence of the NRA be behind this decision? Of course not, the Supreme Court is not a political institution. DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT?

There appears to be a current problem with this issue in the great state of Illinois, the home of Abraham Lincoln, our great emancipator.

Illinois passed a Concealed Carry Permit law last year. This means that if the state of Illinois grants any of its citizens such a permit, that person can carry a concealed gun. As a result, a large number of people in Illinois have applied for this permit, including many African-Americans.

The requirements for this permit are, thankfully, very strict and applicants are required to complete a firearms training course, they are fingerprinted for a background check to ensure they do not have criminal records, etc.

But, lo and behold, a large number (hundreds) of African-Americans found that they were being denied such permits despite the fact that they qualified.

The decisions regarding the granting of these permits is made by an anonymous board that meets secretly. Evidently, their decisions are final, no reasons for rejections are given, and applicants cannot appeal their decisions.

It is interesting to note that few white folks who applied for these permits were denied.

A large group of those rejected have decided to file a lawsuit against the state police. Lawyers involved in the cases say, “There are law-abiding citizens in the state of Illinois who are fully eligible to carry, and they are denied the right and not given any notice as to why. We want a process established that gives people notice of what evidence the state used to make the determination . . . and an opportunity to rebut by putting in their own evidence.”

So, here we see a perfect example that there are certain conditions for the right to bear arms, one of them clearly indicating that if your bare arms are too dark, you forfeit that right.

I have said on several occasions that if you are really serious about gun control laws restricting the availability of guns, organize African-Americans nationally to apply for gun permits and you will find Congress mobilizing to establish gun control legislation ASAP.


Dave Alpert has masters degrees in social work, educational administration, and psychology. He spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents.

One Response to The right to bare arms

  1. An effort to reduce gun ownership in this country will end up with the same success as was achieved in suppressing cannabis or liquor. May I point out once again that Canada, who has approximately the same percentage of gun ownership (except pistols) has a small fraction of the gun fatalities that occur in the USA. The difference is that a Canadian with a severe mental health problem is likely to find professional help and reliable continuous care and medication through their single payer public medical system, a sign of a civilized nation. One might mention also the unregulated aggressive mass-marketing of psychoactive drugs by American pharmaceutical companies that have dangerous side-effects upon many.