The Second Amendment Emperor Is Naked: He Doesn’t “OWN” Anything!

It’s not a hard ask. All I want is for someone to point to the word “own” anywhere in the Second Amendment. I’ve been putting this idea out there now for a couple of weeks and the only argument that comes back – other than I’m an idiot (for pointing out a true thing) – are longwinded explanations for what “keep” meant back in Colonial America (as if “keep” meant something then it doesn’t mean now). Frankly, it’s hilarious how many people throw down the words “keep and bear” as if it was self evident that “keep and bear” are synonymous with ownership. They aren’t. One can keep a rental car, for instance – and “bear it” all around town! But, at the end of your contract, you better turn that car back into its owner, the rental car company. If you don’t, they’ll come after you with the Law (and the local law) on their side. Yes, “keep” is related to “own” but in a “law” sense? It can’t replace “own”. Not in a contract, not in law.

If the law says I can’t own something then clearly, it can’t be legal to sell it to me. This is how we can put a moratorium on gun sales right here, right now. And all we have to do is read the damned amendment and realize we’ve been having the wrong argument about guns the whole time courtesy of the gun manufacturers and their bitch – the NRA. The NRA has us talking about “how many” guns we can have since “well regulated” means “in good working order” which just leaves the militia floating out there. But no one in the NRA can create “own” where it doesn’t exist.

Even Antonin Scalia didn’t dare cross that line. In “Heller”, the SCOTUS decision everyone seems to think was the last word on gun rights in America, Tony Scalia’s main point was that no one had to be part of any militia in order to “keep and bear” arms. He wanted us to believe that because of the placement of that first comma (after the word “militia”), we should interpret Madison’s words as the basis for a guns-and-ammo free-for-all. Cos “militia!” And, yet, when he got to his summation – Scalia wrote the majority opinion – Even Tony S couldn’t make the leap from “keep and bear arms” to “own arms”. He stopped the bus at “possess”.

For the record, “possess” doesn’t get you any closer to “own” than “keep and bear”. Look em up. One definition of “own” is “possess”. But one can possess things one doesn’t own. Actual “ownership is the legal right to use, possess, and give away a thing. It’s the “legal right” part that presents the problem for those who want the Second Amendment to say “have all the guns ya want!”

So, why didn’t Scalia end all doubt as to what the founders “really meant”? Because, Scalia knew, to do that would open a can of worms he wanted no part of. In order to add “own” to the mix, Scalia knew he’d first have to explain why Madison didn’t put it there to begin with when he first wrote the Second Amendment. That would have been an impossible task fraught with peril.

In order to put “own” on the table, Scalia first would have had to address the fact that “own” wasn’t there to begin with. He’d have had to openly parse his way from “keep and bear” – via “possess” – to “own” – exactly the way everyone’s doing with me now. Tony didn’t do it because it’s rubbish as an argument (otherwise, he’d have done it!). I’d love to see everyone throwing it down try and use it in a contract dispute.

I bet the judge would double the court costs just for wasting her time.

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