Archived Story

A commentary on the 2nd Amendment [UPDATED]

Published 10:03am Thursday, January 24, 2013 Updated 12:07pm Thursday, January 24, 2013

Everyone with a sense of humanity detests seeing families destroyed, and innocent children sacrificed as we witnessed at Sandy Hook School. The argument that reducing the number of guns produces a safer society beguiles the public, promotes politicians and fails to hold wicked people accountable for their actions.

While gun rights supporters assert that the Constitutional Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bears arms is an inalienable individual right just as freedom of speech or religion, and confirmed by the our Supreme Court. Gun opponents assert this right pertains only to collective bodies such as the militia, the military, police or National Guard.

The Washington Post states: “[T]he sale, manufacture, and possession of handguns ought to be banned…[W]e do not believe the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep them.

Gun opponents frequently utilize highly-publicized, tragic instances of violence to fortify their confiscation argument saying that guns should be left only in the hands of ‘professionals’. California Senator Diane Feinstein (D) is preparing legislation to outlaw 120 firearms. The ACLU, supports Senator Feinstein, and has stated “[T]he individual’s right to bear arms applies only to the preservation or efficiency of a ‘well-regulated militia.’” Except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected.”

Yet, disarming innocent people does not make innocent people safer.

Cabinet Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, even prefers to abandon our Constitution, stating in a speech given at a Washington DC elementary school that “We have common values that go far beyond the Constitutional right to bear arms.”

The Founders of this nation understood that there exists individual inalienable rights and our American government was formed with the sole purpose of safeguarding those inalienable rights. As a nation we are unique in this purpose for government, and the Founders demanded that all office holders swear an oath to ‘protect and defend’ these rights enumerated in our Constitution.

Opponents confuse the Founders original intent to argue that they never intended to allow citizens to be armed with semi-automatic rifles. This common error in constitutional interpretation is failing to examine the Constitution according to its original meaning.

James Wilson, one of only six founders to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, was nominated by President George Washington as an original Justice on the Supreme Court, exhorted: “The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.”

The Founders framed the Second Amendment as a certification to protect what was frequently called “the first law of nature”—the right of self-protection, an inalienable right—guaranteed to every citizen individually.

Understanding the Second Amendment’s intention that secures the right “to keep and bear arms,” it is important to establish the source of inalienable rights constitutionally. Constitution signer John Dickenson, like many of the others in his day, defined an inalienable right as a right “which God gave to you and which no inferior power has a right to take away.”

Our Founders believed that it was the duty of government (an inferior power) to protect inalienable rights from encroachment or usurpation. This was made clear by Justice Wilson, while a serving Justice on the Supreme Court; he taught his law students that the specific protections found in our government documents did not create new rights, rather secured old rights – that our documents were merely “…to acquire a new security for the possession or the recovery of those rights…which we were previously entitled by the immediate gift or by the unerring law of our all-wise and all-beneficent Creator.”

Justice Wilson asserted that “…every government which has not this in view as its principal object is not a government of the legitimate kind.”

The Founders understood the basic concept that government is not the source of rights; that self defense is an inalienable right the Second Amendment guarantees; that each citizen is guaranteed the tools necessary to defend their life, family, or property from aggression, whether from an individual or a government.


Richard D. Skidmore is a professor at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif. He may be contacted at

  • Richard Olson

    Mine, Mine, Mine, I’ve got mine and you don’t matter. That’s what I took away from this screed.

    But that shouldn’t surprise anyone when you realize just who Professor Skidmore is. Professor Skidmore is also the author of a thesis that President Obama is not and can not be President because he is not a “natural born citizen”

    Professor Skidmore made that determination by his reading of the same Constitution he used to support his position on the second amendment.

    It’s also helpful to know that Professor Skidmore is a writer for “Freedom Outpost” an organization dedicated to the proposition that everyone is out to get them and everything they don’t like is a conspiracy.

  • Walt Henry

    Sole means only. I take pleasure in pointing out errors of our professors. There are very few, I can think of zero, things that are created for only one purpose or that do not at the will of the participants acquire multiple purposes over time–the Constitution being no exception. “Nothing is more certain than the necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever or wherever it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers.” The FIRST Chief Justice of the Supreme Court–John Jay.

  • Jake Krohn

    Arguably, granting the average citizen the the “tools necessary to defend their life, family, or property from aggression” was a winning idea when the United States was a fledgling country perched on the edge of a (rightfully) hostile territory of native settlers, full of doubt about the power of government and its possibility to overstep its bounds, and the latest and greatest in firearm technology was single-shot muzzleloaders, but I fail to see how the same unfettered access to modern mass killing machines is doing us any good.

    One can remain hopeful that a national consensus will emerge that runs counter to the corporatism of the gun lobby and its allies, but it’s awfully hard to counter an organization that has so successfully bought its way into the good graces of those entrusted to govern. Despite evidence to the contrary (Australia, anyone?), we remain firm in our American exceptionalism, sure that the ultimate answer to violence is simply more violence.

  • Richard Olson

    A few nights ago I watched as Wayne LaPierre the spokesman for the NRA and the gun manufacturers reacted to the Presidents inaugural speech

    To support his reactionary position LaPierre quoted a Supreme Court Justice. No it wasn’t Anton Scalia because Scalia, a conservative does not support LaPierre’s position on his absolute interpretation of the second amendment. No, LaPierre quoted liberal Justice Hugo Black, Wayne’s audience of lap dogs for the gun manufacturers ate it up.

    The problem is that Wayne LaPierre took a few of Hugo Blacks words out of a longer speech where Hugo Black said exactly the opposite of what Wayne LaPierre said he said. It doesn’t matter that LaPierre was lying through his teeth, his speech was picked up by Fox News and broadcast as Gods own truth to an ill-read audience of hillbillies who will gather at Skitters Bar and grab the straps of their bib overalls and say, “even them thar libberls agree wit us”. And before you know it Jerome Mullins will show up here spouting the same claptrap as if it were handed down from Moses, only to be followed by Ginny congratulating Jerome on his revelation. Then they will feign all manner of outrage when someone knowledgeable disagrees with them.

    • camobabe

      Great to see a cogent commentary about the latest attempt by the liberal know it all tyrants who see the right to arm oneself as a major hindrance to their desired dictatorship.

      No surprise the libs are in a tizzy over the comments.

      • Richard Olson

        Yes, that’s exactly right, all of us liberals just live for the day when we can all live under the thumb of a dictator. I personally hope that I can be beat within an inch of my life then thrown in prison without a trial for expressing my opinion.

        We long for the time when we can have all of our personal property confiscated then forced to live 30 in a one bedroom apartment with no heat or electricity.

        Those will be the days when we can skip joyfully down Highway 210 to the vast government fields where we can toil for days on end with no food, water or potty breaks. Won’t that be fun?

        I can hardly wait. I don’t think I can stand another moment of this freedom of expression.

        • BWD

          Richard – Hitler’s SS would have accommodated you quite well at one of their many ‘Resorts’….Even Hunting weapons were taken away. You would have enjoyed the many festivities offered at the Camps….

          Oh yes, these ‘camps’ were loved by Stalin and he used the same idea, full gun control and a Secret Police to round up anyone who was suspect of anything…

          That is why we have a 2nd Amendment. It not for Hunting, or even use as a member of some Militia, but for protection against the Government.

          You need to be more careful Richard not to confuse your hedonistic vices with Constitutional Freedoms.

          • Richard Olson

            Dave, you really should read a little world history sometime. Hitler expanded gun ownership and rules in Nazi Germany for everyone, except the Jews. Just the opposite of what you said and apparently believe.
            A consequence of watching Fox News no doubt.

            The history of the second amendment is what it is. Facts aren’t going to change your mind. So I’m not going to waste my time and effort repeating something you think is just another conspiracy to defraud you of your guns.

  • J. Anderson

    How does the ring through your nose and the controlling rope feel subject Olson? If that’s what you want then you are welcome to it. Let the federal government take over everything for you so you don’t even have to think anymore. There are 80 million gun owners that say your misguided view of the 2nd amendment is wrong. I’ll stand with them because without the 2nd amendment, there won’t be a 1st amendment to protect your liberal drivel. I do not own an assault rifle, I own a defense rifle. My weapons must be broken because they have never assaulted anyone.

    • Walt Henry

      Mr. Anderson– to what well regulated militia do you belong and does it advocate treasonous acts? How big is your night stand that you could keep a loaded assault rifle next to you for your night time protection? Be reasonable.

    • Richard Olson

      Jeff Anderson, was it your assault rifle that assaulted your sense of humor and your ability to recognize satire? Lighten up, everyone is not out to get you or your precious assault manhood. When you get your news from Fox news it’s no wonder you believe everyone of those 80 million gun owners takes your absolutist view of the second amendment. I certainly don’t and I own three firearms, neither does Antonin Scalia. I’ll take it for granted you know who he is.

      When you’re not looking under your bed for some secret government agent trying to steal your guns, you might consider getting out of your dugout and talk to the rest of society who is sick and tired of you gun freaks and the NRA setting the agenda for what society must abide just so you can play with your guns and act like some tough guy. You people have had your chance to act like adults and accept reasonable gun safety measurers for years. And for years you have refused to make even the slightest accommodation during which one massacre after another has happened because you and the NRA placed your ease and convenience above the lives of some Americans including children. Just because a limit may be placed on the number of bullets in a magazine doesn’t mean anyone is taking your guns. Making people produce identification and pass a background check at gun shows and internet purchases doesn’t mean Joe Stalin is coming to get your ammo and limiting your gun purchases to 10 or 20 per week doesn’t mean you’ve lost any of the protection the second amendment affords you. Just ask Antonin Scalia, he’ll tell you I’m right.

  • Walt Henry

    Sorry folks but when someone says something silly I sometimes can’t help myself.

    • J. Anderson

      Do you, Mr. Erickson, even know what a “militia” consists of ? Average citizens that are willing to fight to defend what they believe in. If for one minute you believe that more gun control and limiting the amount of rounds in a magazine will stop any criminal from committing an act of violence that they really want to commit then you sir are more of a fool than I thought. And furthermore, it won’t stop there. Once the government gets what they want this time, they will keep trying until the second amendment is repealed and then I guarantee you the rest of the Constitution will eventually fall.

      • Richard Olson

        Jeff Anderson: Tell me the name of the person who said limiting the number of rounds in a magazine will stop criminals from committing a crime…..waiting….waiting. The fact is no one has said that. You bring that silly statement up to pretend that it is actually the position of people who want gun safety.

        Now here is what people have really said…”Limiting the number of rounds is a magazine or drum will slow shooters down and when they have to stop and change magazines that may be enough time for someone in the crowd to stop the shooter by tackling him. Which is exactly what happened in one of the shootings.”

        By the way Jeff Anderson, the Militia today is the National Guard. Are you in the National Guard? If not why not? It seems to me that an individual as paranoid as you profess to be would want to be in the National Guard when the hordes of leftist constitution hating Socialist come for your guns.

      • Walt Henry

        I used to read the comic section of the morning Tribune; now I read the comment section of the Daily Journal.
        Same effect.
        What can we learn from American history that might be useful? When the nation wide ban on fully automatics went into effect in the 1930′s it stopped the “tommy gun” from being the favorite weapon of choice of the crime families. It did not stop duck hunting in Ottertail County. It also did not stop crime families from killing each other; gun bans likely wouldn’t do that either. What I would like to see stop is the careless way gun owners store their guns, the thought some gun owners have they are not men if not armed, the idea they are safer if they sleep with a loaded assault rifle in their night stand or that the “government” has some secret desire to take over our lives. (We, collectively, ARE the “government.”)
        Mr.Anderson, to suggest my neighbor’s house would burn down if I roast a marshmallow in my fireplace is too funny!!!

Editor's Picks

2 Knights take podium: Nohre takes 2nd, Crow finishes 6th

ST. PAUL — Three days of single-leg takedowns, pins and grappling culminated Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center as the 2015 Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament ... Read more

Fergus polar plunge team raises funds [UPDATED]

Local team raises $6,300 for Special Olympics Business, school and community teams raised a lot of money and good tidings Sunday at the Polar Plunge ... Read more

City Admin interviewing in Bemidji: Mark Sievert has family in area

Fergus Falls City Administrator Mark Sievert is one of five candidates who will interview for the vacant city manager position in Bemidji. Sievert sent an ... Read more

Hurricanes to show off skills in Fergus

The Moorhead-based sports program for disabled children and young adults Hope Inc. will make a pit stop in Fergus Falls before their Hurricanes sled hockey ... Read more