woman baring arm

To Bear or Not to Bare Your Arms

Let’s talk about the “right to bear arms,” as opposed to a right to bare arms, which is more about whether one feels buff enough to go sleeveless. Let’s face it, not all men are Arnold, and not all women are Michelle Obama (best bare arms ever).

So, not everyone should bare their arms, nor should every Tom, dick or hairy-armed Neanderthal be strutting around bearing arms. Especially semi-automatic weapons designed for warfare of the military kind.

I’ve touched upon this touchy subject a tad or two in my Other Worldly series, so let’s expound.

First, the definition of arms, because diehard gun fetishists don’t seem to realize it’s not limited to their precious gunmetal. Most dictionaries define arms as “weapons,” not merely guns. If you check out a thesaurus for synonyms of arms, firearms is included, but so are many other incendiary things such as missiles, artillery, battleaxes, bombs, and thermonuclear war.

Wait, what? Do we think the Founding Fathers anticipated the average wannabe GI Joe might decide their personal right to bear arms includes detonation of nuclear weapons?

Second, let’s look at that Second Amendment. What could be the most poorly crafted sentence ever by those who should have known better (then again, they were all men, though I’m sure some will still find a way to blame women for this): 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.

Like a jigsaw puzzle they put together by hacking at the pieces with a battleax and tossing them to land wherever they lay. Prepositional phrases and hapless comma placement in this oh-so-lauded 1791 Constitutional addition is the dastardly culprit for constant misinterpretation.

Responsible for endless argument by those who really aren’t equipped to interpret anything, much less a document designed for judicial oversight. The very same folks who avoid recognition of that inconvenient tidbit about a well-regulated militia, which doesn’t mean their homegrown, ragtag band of overfed, raging misogynist bigots.

Some of these self-styled militiamen like to tout a 2008 Supreme Court decision, DC v. Keller, otherwise known as the DC guns case, crowing about how it gives them a right to an AR-15 for self-defense, which they claim means they can shoot anyone they want, for any reason.

This is why it’s important to note that it’s the Supreme Court’s job to interpret the Constitution, and their decisions should ideally be explained by a Constitutional scholar, as opposed to the NRA or a trigger-happy hatemonger on a social media ego-trip.

To wit, the Court held in Heller that the Second Amendment protects the right of responsible, law-abiding persons to possess a handgun in the home for self-defense. Each word therein is of critical import. Because the Court also held that the individual right to possess a gun for traditionally lawful purposes is not unlimited.

Justice Scalia noted that the right protected by the Second Amendment is not “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Laws banning “dangerous and unusual weapons,” he explained, that were not in common use when the Second Amendment was ratified, are not violative of the right to bear arms.

Did you catch that year of ratification? 1791. It wasn’t a typo. It wasn’t 1971, for all the Twitter-taught constitutional experts out there.

In short, nobody promised you an M4 carbine rifle. And Bonnie-and-Clyde-style machine guns were banned by law in 1934. They still are.

Back to that thermonuclear bomb. What all this ultimately means is that a person can wield a handgun, but not an assault rifle, to protect themselves, but not their personal property or real estate, while in their home. And what constitutes justifiable use of lethal force for self-defense is a whole other bailiwick that was never up to the NRA or freshman members of Congress to decide.

My tongue-in-cheek take on this? I believe in the right to arm bears. Imagine if animals could shoot back against those so inept, they claim to need an AR-15 for recreational hunting.