A Reader Response to “The Right to Bear Arms”

Transpartisan Note #115

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

Our colleague, Rob Gibson, does not see his response to Anthony Picadio’s February 2019 article “The Right to Bear Arms: A Disfavored Right” as transpartisan. He couldn’t be further from the truth. Although his response represents only one voice amongst many contributors to the greater conversation, transpartisan examination of any issue requires both participation and a willingness on the participant’s part to add their point of view to the search for meaningful policies.

In “The Right to Bear Arms” context, we note that the 9th Amendment plays a role in the Supreme Court’s recognizing a right to keep a hand gun for self-defense in your home.  We note that the Supreme Court also recognizes the 9th Amendment as playing a role in the right to privacy on which it has based the right to choice in the abortion issue. How these kinds of issues are integrated offers fertile ground for transpartisan exploration.  Likewise, Rob Gibson’s comment on Anthony Picadio’s Disfavored Right article also seems to us to offer opportunity for similar transpartisan exploration.

We present Rob’s comment below…

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While the [Picadio] piece raises many important issues about the Second Amendment, it seems that what’s missing is an analysis of what the Second Amendment actually protects; how it’s currently exercised; and how those two factors could affect our future. It’s a simple matter to say militia use, in general, is protected. “Well regulated” can be interpreted in various ways. Original interpretations tend to be permissive, I think.

Certainly, the definition of militia is very permissive. Lots of collective action qualifies, but it’s undeniable that militia action starts with folks showing up self-armed. Forget rebellion against tyranny scenarios. Hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, mass power outages, riots, etc., all require and justify collective armed defense, which is why we all need more than one “militia weapon,” since nobody can stay awake 24 hrs. a day.

It amazes me to hear people discuss the issue with the implicit assumption that things can’t go wrong in our lifetime. The above disasters have meant that, probably in a majority of the country, if you dialed 911, there would be no answer or, if there was an answer, a response was days/weeks away.

Two related things interest me: One is the demographics. Our kids are going to inherit a lot of guns that they, in terms of culture and habits, are not really prepared to deal with. I asked my oldest daughter, who is 29, how she felt about this, and keep in mind, she likes guns and shoots very well. But she said, “I don’t really know what I’ll do with them.”

The other is technology. Our guns, well cared for, will last hundreds of years, ammo, at least many decades. But technology that will allow effective defense without killing or seriously injuring the recipient is not that far off. How will we deal with the use of deadly force once deadly force is practically obsolete?

Won’t this add a huge impetus to confiscation arguments? While these may not be Transpartisan issues, they are areas of interest for me around this subject.

– Rob Gibson

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Not only do we encourage you to add your own voice to this conversation by commenting on Rob’s response below, we also invite you to (re)visit the Picadio article and comment there as well. We also invite you to read Anthony’s latest contribution to The Transpartisan Review website, Privacy in the Age of Surveillance.

The above response was shared with us via email as an extemporaneous comment and has been edited for grammar and spelling. The feature image is provided CC BY 2.0 by Fibonacci Blue and features a pro-2nd Amendment rally on the steps of the Minnesota capitol building.

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