While I fully support the idea of permitless conceal carry, this insistence that the Second Amendment counts as some kind of gun permit makes me want to stab an icepick through my eardrum. Not only does the idea fundamentally misrepresent the purpose of the Second Amendment, it actually assumes a fundamental change in the American constitutional system that a vast majority of “gun rights” advocates would likely reject wholesale if they really thought about it.
The first problem with the “Second Amendment is my gun permit” mantra lies in the fact that it implies the amendment creates a right.
It does not “give you” the right to keep and bear arms. It merely prohibits the federal government from infringing on a right you already had.
The right to keep and bear arms flows from a more basic right – the right to self-defense. This falls within the umbrella of “natural rights.” You have them “naturally” simply because you exist. The right to defend yourself and your property makes up part of what it means to be human. In other words, it’s natural to human existence.
No government can bestow natural rights – and no government can take them away. But governments can “infringe” on natural rights. Or to put it another way, interfere with them.
St. George Tucker wrote the first systematic commentary on the U.S. Constitution and stood as one of the preeminent constitutional scholars through the 18th century. Tucker called the right of self-defense the “palladium of liberty.”
“The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible.”
The Second Amendment was drafted and ratified to prevent the federal government from doing just that. But it was not meant to apply to the states.