Second Amendment fanatics (distinguished from Second Amendment scholars) often claim a right to overthrow the U.S. government by force, and use that as justification for complete, unbridled rights to own guns and threaten neighbors, city governments, state governments and federal government with violence.
Regardless the history of the Second Amendment and what it was intended to say, no scholar I can find argues that it vitiates or even touches Article III’s provisions against insurrection and violence against the government and government officers.
It may be good simply to review what that clause says.
Article III, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
No commentary I can find suggests the Second Amendment confers a right to rebellion, a right to revolution, or any exemption from Article III treason.
What do you think? Comments open.
- Annenberg Classroom explanation of the text of Article III Section 3
- “Should Citizens Have a Right to Rebel?” The Atlantic, Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez Jun 6, 2014
Where do you think you get a pass on treason? Nothing in the Constitution, nothing in the Declaration of Independence, nothing in the law, nothing in the debates leading up to the Constitution or any law, suggest you have a right to arm yourself against the government.
Washington took the nooses to hang people who armed themselves against the government. You may want to study history, and not rely on erroneous assumptions. Absolutists? Washington was in many ways. He thought anyone who committed treason deserved to hang.
And he thought those who take up arms against the government, short of outright treason, criminals who also probably deserved to hang.
Our government is designed to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. If you wish to defend freedom, you’ll defend that. Otherwise, you’re fighting against freedom, and that is treason in spirit as well as deed.
Article III section 3 is not touched by the Second Amendment.
Removing the American Citizens right to bear SUFFICIENT arms to combat tyranny by foreign and DOMESTIC enemies WOULD be TREASON…What about that is so confusing to so many?
Washington would’ve possibly had men hanged who mentioned the removal of freedoms and Franklin would’ve agreed that by trying to obtain a “little liberty and safety” at the cost of continued freedom without federal government infringement, you effectively deserve neither.
They didn’t operate on our 21st century, watered down standards. They were absolutists, as constitutionalists remain to this present day. Washington declared war for LESS.
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