the second amendment
Liberal Gun Owners has a two-fold approach as it relates to the Second Amendment: our community approach and our organizational approach.
The LGO COmmunity approach to the second amendment
The LGO community approach to the Second Amendment embraces the right of our social media members to their own intellectual freedom. Of course, members of the LGO community support the Second Amendment. After all, we are a gun community, and a gun organization, with a gun-related mission. So, nurturing gun ownership and belief in gun rights is our business. However, we are not absolutists. We do not demonize or ostracize members for having any approach to gun regulation that falls upon a wider spectrum. When it is all said and done, we support the differences in our member's conclusions and have faith that they will use the information, discussion, and debate on LGO's forums to educate themselves. We expect that our members will use this educational influence to make more informed decisions as they relate to the Second Amendment.
The LGO organizational approach to the second amendment
LGO's organizational view is different. We have an organizational responsibility to invest in deep consideration of the role of firearms in society. We, of course, have our own conclusions on the matter. At the foundation, our organizational view on the Second Amendment goes deeper than Positive Law itself. It travels to the root of self-preservation, human survival, and concepts related to Natural Law. However, we must begin on the level of Positive Law and work towards the depths. When we approach the top crust, Liberal Gun Owners observes that the wording of the Second Amendment is too vague for the eyes of the average citizen. In consideration of American culture-at-large, we do not believe the wording of the Second Amendment, in and of itself, to be adequate. Of course, this may seem preposterous to the shall-not-be-infringed-literalists, and to those more educated in law and in history. To Liberal Gun Owners, the issue only begins to clarify as one takes a deeper look at the Bill of Rights; its spirit, context, and language.
POSITIVE LAW AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS
It is our view that true accuracy can only be achieved when the Second Amendment is taken in the context of the Bill of Rights in its entirety. It has to be viewed within the framework of the spirit and reasoning for the Bill of Rights itself. The Bill Of Rights is a list of strict prohibitions against governmental abuse that serve as a preserving structure for natural rights. However, viewed within a lens that can give greater understanding to the Second Amendment, the Bill Of Rights is also a list of rules that, if were once respected by the British Crown, would have ostensibly prevented the American Revolution. It is the critical disrespect of these boundaries that served as the catalyst for the creation of The United States. Simply put, these rules are: no silencing citizens, disarming citizens, quartering soldiers with citizens, searching/detaining citizens, stealing from citizens, jailing citizens, capricious legal matters for citizens, torturing citizens, misconstruing of the constitution as denying rights to citizens, or usurping rights from the states. The entire spirit of this list speaks to the strict prohibition of the powers of government to partake in activity that engages citizens in a manner that disregards the list. Most importantly, in the context of the Bill of Rights, the underlying spirit speaks to these prohibitions for all time - not just the time of muskets and oil lamps. The Bill of Rights outlines the prohibitions of governmental abuse of natural rights for all time.
As it relates to the Second Amendment, confusion frequently arises as the result of both: a misunderstanding of the total spirit of the Bill of Rights and a lack of understanding as it pertains to the characteristic language used to draft it. Many of the amendments use the adequate term, "Congress shall make no law" - which presents a certain spirit and effect. In contrast, the authors of the Bill Of Rights go out of their way to highlight the strictness and importance of both the Fourth Amendment and the Second Amendment by using the terms, "The right of the people...shall not be violated" and "The right of the people...shall not be infringed", respectively. The spirit in the wording of these amendments sets them apart. Their importance and application to all citizens are purposefully highlighted. Again, without a robust effort to look past a simple, literal reading of the Second Amendment, there's no real opportunity to gain a mature understanding.
A third aspect of confusion arises, in a similar fashion, as it relates to the prefatory language in the Second Amendment. This includes the concept of the militia. Of course, we believe that the purposeful accentuation, outlined above, adequately displays the intention of the Second Amendment as applying to all citizens for all time. However, the concept of the militia has an obvious and important bearing. Before the existence of a standing army, just prior to the civil war, “the militia” was commonly understood as every able-bodied male. It needs to be highlighted that this was culturally and commonly understood. The prospect of a foreign invasion was entirely plausible and all able males operated under the understanding that they would be the ones to fight the war.
In the current era, American citizens understand the national defense as the primary responsibility of the Armed Forces. Indeed, that has become our reality. However, Liberal Gun Owners does not believe that the presence of a standing army, even the most powerful in the world, eternally negates the responsibility of the able-bodied citizen to ostensibly act as the last ditch in an effort to defend the country. In our opinion, the fact that our country is advanced and comfortable, the fact that we enjoy allies worldwide, and the fact that we possess an extensive nuclear arsenal, does not completely erase the plausible need for non-military citizens to act in defense of the country. We do not make this statement as an extension of paranoia. We understand the comical and unstable appearance in which modern "militia" based efforts manifest. We also understand that every decision made by the federal government, decisions which might result in foreign powers coming to our shores, may not be righteous or constitutional - which complicates the matter of national defense.
We draw our conclusion on the concept of militia, through the modern lens, from a reasonable consideration and are presenting that in philosophy. The chances that such a thing would ever transpire are slim. However, not so slim as to disregard the possibility for all time. As such, we conclude that the Second Amendment, both in its reference to the militia and in its use of the phrase, "the right of the people" directly outlines the right and need of all current, able-bodied and willing Americans to own and to have the ability to properly operate firearms. These firearms need not only be adequate for the uses of self-defense and enjoyment, but also adequate in any plausible scenario where citizens, acting as the unorganized militia, could be organized in the last ditch effort to defend The United States. Let it be known, also, before the critics equate this statement as analogous to belt-fed machine guns for the masses, that our criteria is: modern semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifles - 30 round magazines. Let it also be clear that, despite our cultural problem with violence and despite the use of semi-automatic rifles in mass-shootings, Liberal Gun Owners stands by this criteria. To give balance to this, in the modern lens, it is important to state that we also stand by background checks and improved enforcement of existing gun regulation. We do not, however, stand by the degree to which California has approached gun regulation. For right now, you will have to accept this as our stance on modern gun regulation. We will be addressing gun regulation, and all of the technical aspects in a later work.
Liberal Gun Owners has also worked towards its conclusion as it relates to defense against domestic, governmental tyranny. While it is grievous to ponder that the government of The United States could become so toxic, (as to force its citizens to run headlong towards an iteration of our own armed forces) we cannot ignore that we have been strongly warned against allowing an irredeemable, tyrannical government to manifest. For the most part, considering a minute percentage of poorly conditioned Americans engaging the Air Force with store-bought AR-15s brings us hours of laughter and merriment. Liberal Gun Owners would rather just stick with the ability to effectively vote untoward, governmental power addicts into the abyss. However, while the current political culture does not yet appear to be irredeemably toxic, we are adequately alarmed by the current state of our government. Let it be clear, this means both sides of our government.
Do we conclude that the citizens of the United States need to make-ready to arm themselves in the attempt to thwart our own government? No. However, the current state of the federal government of The United States gives us no clear signal that it deserves trust from Americans. As such, day by day, Liberal Gun Owners is forced into a clearer understanding of why the founders admonished us to not accept tyranny, and also, to not get rid of our firearms, nor allow them to be taken.
It is very clear to us that the Second Amendment will be challenged, whether or not people seek to understand its deeper meaning. We have concluded, as with many other things in life, that gun ownership will never be a phenomenon nor a passion for everyone. When we look deeply into the Bill Of Rights and our history, it is clear to us that firearms have an essential and necessary place in the hands of modern Americans. There are reasons for its inclusion in the considerations of Positive Law. Due to our still valid responsibility to act as both a plausible civilian force of national defense and as a plausible bulwark against an irredeemable tyranny, Liberal Gun Owners concludes that firearms, and the pursuits of their mastery, are not only currently valid, but critical.
Finally, Liberal Gun Owners sees that firearms have an even deeper role with humanity. Before humans had the law, they had a raw and essential relationship with the patterns of nature. The consideration of the Bill of Rights is only the most modern form of support for humans having a relationship to firearms and/or weapons themselves. It is our opinion that the comforts and insulation provided by modernity have not adequately mitigated the need for humans to possess and maintain weaponry. As such, Liberal Gun Owners considers Natural Law as the dominant justification for owning and using firearms.
To put it succinctly: in nature, no individual, nor group of individuals has the right to dictate to another the reasonable methods that one may choose to ensure self-preservation. If essential aspects of an individual's right to self-preservation are challenged in nature, they can rightfully be met with resistance. Obviously, self-defense is a critical aspect of self-preservation. The most reasonable and effective tool of self-defense for the modern human is the firearm. The fact that most modern Americans enjoy the insulation provided by a standing army, police organizations, socio-economic walls, and technology holds no ultimate or truthful claim against the ownership and use of firearms for anyone in the world, let alone for Americans.
Some have called the instinct towards self-preservation the first natural law. Natural Law is not a concept that belongs only to the religious (within their consideration of a creator and creation), or to western culture. Natural Law is also not a concept that belongs only to Americans. It is a concept of existence that applies to all of humanity. As it was stated by the philosopher Aristotle, Natural Law is:
" That which all men, by a natural intuition, feel to be common right and wrong, even if they have no common association and no covenant with one another. "
In the context of perception, Natural Law can be discerned by both human reason and primal intuition. It describes for people the intersection of the human psyche with patterns in nature. Without the ability to palpate Natural Law (as it relates to activities essential to survival), humans would not be present on the Earth. Prior to the drafting of The Bill Of Rights, human beings have an archaeologically documented relationship with weaponry that spans, approximately, 400,000 years. Not only is this a cultural relationship, it is a deeply ingrained genetic relationship. It is a relationship woven with the threads of Natural Law and the human desire for self-preservation. For someone to understand the phenomenon of gun ownership in the modern era, one must understand the way in which humans are inextricably bound to nature, existence on a natural planet, and whether it pleases you or not, weapons.
Liberal Gun Owners observes that modern psychological insulation, (provided mostly by urban, first-world culture) often serves to skew the perception of ultimate reality and disconnect people's psyches from understanding fundamental, ever-present human attributes. Evil, violence, abuse, and reckless hate are still everyday players inside of human existence. Activity in America is also consistently driven by primitive urges and shadow-play. Perhaps, in some people, the natural reaction to this is to avoid consideration, or to hope and trust that established structures will serve to perfectly protect human life. What about the percentage of people who don't have this reaction? What about the percentage of people whose primal, and valid reaction to danger is to take it upon themselves to be adequately tooled for self-defense? Are these people primitive and anachronistic for having such impulses in their blood?
Generally speaking, we strongly agree with rural, conservative America on the point where the modern urban liberal often possesses the spoiled intellectual audacity to conclude that only brutish, unintelligent people will possess impulses to continue a relationship with weaponry in everyday life. It is unfortunate when liberal culture corroborates stereotypes by its actions. When it comes to firearms, it happens too often. In our opinion, human beings who feel the need for implements of self-defense do so righteously, naturally, and have merely not allowed the effects of modern society to clamp off 400,000 years of a necessary relationship to weapons. Liberal Gun Owners observes that those who tend to argue the hardest for the obsolescence of personal defense weapons do so because they enjoy an insulation in life that is derived from privilege.
Gun ownership is not for everyone. Liberal Gun Owners will never take the stance that it should be. Understanding the passion and need involved in gun ownership should not be expected across the board. Even amongst gun owners, not everyone is aware of the true roots of their desires - nor does everyone have the same level of desire. Beyond self-preservation, firearms are enjoyable: their collection, the pursuit of their mastery, their design, and their historical impacts. Equally as enjoyable are the friendships and family bonding that legitimately occur as the result of gun ownership. Of course, as stated, this is the primary reason for the existence of Liberal Gun Owners. These aspects of gun ownership are aspects that people outside of gun culture should be thanking their lucky stars over. We do not live on a planet where the end of weaponry is anywhere in sight. Despite the efforts of Positive Law, human beings, good and bad, will forge and own weapons. They will do it legally and illegally. We are better served in a world where this relationship with weaponry is accepted, and the culture around it filled with knowledgeable and compassionate people. The more that we can educate humans on the usage and traditions related to weapons like the firearm, the more we will be empowered to offset their negative aspects.
Liberal Gun Owners does not possess all of the answers, nor do we possess special knowledge. We understand that there has to be a balance between gun ownership and public safety. However, we have concluded that the best way to deal with firearms in society is to not waste our time getting caught up in the popular distractions. Our primary solution to any issue that is connected to firearms is to directly improve gun culture itself. Relationships built on firearms enthusiasm is our primary purpose. It is also our goal to develop, educate, and support more intelligent and sensible gun owners, so that gun culture can grow in wisdom. These are the ways in which we have chosen to increase our happiness and self-preservation. These are the ways that we have chosen to deal with the realities of firearms in society.