Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - Bill of Rights

"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."

Preservation and Proposition

Our mission is to document the pivotal Second Amendment events that occurred in Frontier Mercersburg, and its environs, and to heighten awareness of the importance of these events in the founding of our Nation.

We are dedicated to the preservation of the place where the Second Amendment was "born" and to the proposition that the Second Amendment (the "right to bear arms") is the keystone of our Liberty and the Republic.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Buddhist's view of killing, guns and 2nd Amendment

By Glenn Hughes

Notwithstanding Congress, the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment, believe it or not, there are some of us who would like to ban all kinds of guns completely and stop the hunting and killing of both people and animals.

Buddhism is consistent with most of the world’s religions in its prohibition against killing. This commandment and precept, however, is sometimes as unclear as is the constitutional right to bear arms and kill, as is deemed acceptable by the individual and by law. Most religious or even nonreligious followers make exceptions to the prohibition, although the commandment or precept doesn’t make any.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is similarly open for further explanation and intention. Not just Congress, but the people need and deserve a definitive meaning of the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.
In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment “codified a pre-existing right” but also stated that “the right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

That interpretation stands as “the law of the land” but it still doesn’t conclude what weapons “arms” includes. The time has come to clarify “arms” clearly, then change or redefine the Constitution to better reflect their control or even ban.

Without further deliberation on one’s right to bear arms, let’s consider the desirability of limitation, and even outright outlawing, of gun use and ownership by individuals. Both people and animals would benefit.

The use of guns and killing as a sport is considered cruel, not only by Buddhists, but also by most of mankind. Shouldn’t such cruelty be outlawed as were the lethal games of ancient Rome and the Aztecs, and the killing of endangered animal species?

What right do humans possess that permits them to harm and/or to end an individual’s or another species’ reflection of life? Is there such a thing as a right to kill? To the contrary, isn’t being compassionate toward all life forms desirable?

Buddhists join those who accept the commandment and precept of no killing and don’t limit it to humans. Notwithstanding the continuing existence of ignorance and cruelty, there is a growing enlightened thinking going on among many who have outgrown the primitive reasons for and actions of killing. It’s a slow evolution, but it’s continuous.

As indications, consider our Native Americans who killed animals not for sport, but for food, although at the same time they killed human enemies mainly for retribution or self-interest.

At least two countries I know of, Costa Rica and Switzerland, do not even have an army. The ritual killing of animals sanctioned by many religions either now or in the past has already been banned by the Netherlands and Poland. In England and Australia not even cops carry guns.

Talk about slow; kids are still shooting and killing birds for fun with BB guns and 22s, as they were when I was a kid. The cruel treatment of cattle and chickens before killing them for food, despite laws against it, continues.

While there are more vegetarians now than there were a decade ago, there’s not much momentum. The NRA is still a strong force, Congress is mixed and gun ownership and “legitimate” killing of humans and animals is still prominent.

All of the above indicates we’re not soon to realize much change in our contradictory, paradoxical, confused, unrealistic, discompassionate and unenlightened approach to the bearing of arms or legitimate killing, either of humans or animals.

But, as we Buddhists affirm, change is coming. Nothing remains the same forever; all things are impermanent. Buddhists, along with most people in the world, don’t want war; they are against killing humans, and most are against at least the cruelty of animals.

If we truly agree with the commandment and precept of no killing, the rule of doing unto others as we want others to do unto us, which is the same for Christians and others, as well as Buddhist, and if we really believe that loving kindness and compassion are desirable, then why not devote some effort toward changing our religious and philosophical regimens, our laws and our basic approach to life.

Maybe we should begin with changing the Second Amendment.

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