The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the Second Amendment – again. As you most likely know, the Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
I assume that you are as well versed on the wording of the Second Amendment as I am, and maybe you can quote it better. However, you may be interested in looking at this amendment in a slightly different light. I learned something today that I would like to share with you. It is something that I had never previously considered. I found it in an article published at The American Thinker in which Patrick Jakeway writes the following:
In speaking with many fellow gun-owners, I have come to realize that most people don’t know that the Second Amendment does not give us the right to bear arms. The Second Amendment states that the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed”; it does not confer that right. The Second Amendment is an admonition to government that it may not take away your right to bear arms, which is inherent….
… It is our inherent, inborn right to protect ourselves and our families, bequeathed to us from our forefather’s blood and sacrifice in the many battles for liberty. It may not be legislated or interpreted away. It is not in the purview of the Supreme Court (or Congress, for that matter) to abolish the right to bear arms.
Did you see it? Jakeway points out that the right to “keep and bear arms” is that same inherent right as protecting ourselves and our families. It was written in the Bill of Rights to tell the government to leave this right to self-protection alone. By stating that it is an inherent right, the Founders placed it in the same category as the rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence as follows.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….
Jakeway used inherent while the Declaration of Independence used unalienable, so I did a quick Google search to discern the meanings of the two words. Inherent means “existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.” Its synonyms are: intrinsic, innate, immanent, built-in, indwelling, inborn, ingrained, deep-rooted. Unalienable "(or inalienable – they are interchangeable) means “unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor.” So both definitions state that something that is inherent or unalienable is permanent and unable to be taken away.
In other words, the government cannot take the right to keep and bear arms away from law-abiding Americans because it did not bestow the right in the first place. The Bill of Rights merely says that the government does not have the power to infringe on this inherent right.