You might notice President Joe Biden repeatedly mentions deer hunting when pushing for firearm and magazine bans. It shows yet another item on a long list of important things he doesn’t seem to understand about American freedom. What is it? Simply, the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting. Contemporary Second Amendment misunderstandings continually ignore gun rights center instead on defense.
Joe Biden and Deer Hunting
Biden gave his speech to Congress last week calling for a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. He said, “Talk to most responsible gun owners, most hunters. They’ll tell you there’s no possible justification for having 100 rounds — 100 bullets — in a weapon.”
He then lamely quipped, “What do you think: Are deer wearing Kevlar vests?”
While such a statement is disingenuous on its face since Biden actually wants to limit magazine capacity to 10 — far less than the 100 he likes to use as an example — the fact that he somehow seems to think that the Second Amendment was written to protect hunters is ludicrous. So, I’ll try to explain it where even Biden and whoever is writing his speeches might be able to understand.
For perspective, you have to think all the way back to the founding of our nation. Think back to the political climate present at that time. Robert Tracinski summed up the topic quite well in a 2018 article at thefederalist.com. He said: “The Founding Fathers didn’t ask why it was necessary to provide the people the means to resist a tyrannical central government. It was a problem they had very recently encountered in real life, in the form of thousands of Redcoats sent across the Atlantic by a distant central government to suspend civil rights and enforce oppressive laws. So when they drafted their own system of central government and provided it sufficient military force to repel or deter foreign threats, they were profoundly concerned that this new national government would not be able to turn its power back against its own citizens.”
Founders Feared Rise of Oppressive Government, Not Deer
In fact, the founders said as much in somewhat different words. James Madison put it simply. He said: “Americans need never fear their government because of the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.”
Tench Cox, a delegate to the Continental Congress for Pennsylvania and Madison ally, expanded on that thought. He said: “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”
Noah Webster, a textbook pioneer and political writer of the time, arguably put it best. “The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword, because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops,” Wester wrote.
Second Amendment Misunderstandings Ignore Intent
Attorney and constitutional scholar Dave Kopel made another great point about the Second Amendment and Hubert Humphrey. Humphrey was a former Democratic Vice President and Minnesota State Senator. He was also a congressional leader of the civil rights movement. However, he understood the Second Amendment’s true importance as recently as six decades ago.
Kopel wrote about Humphrey’s stance in an analysis at vox.com. He wrote: “Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms,” Humphrey wrote in 1960. “This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.”
With that tyranny seeming less remote by the day, an understanding of the true meaning of 2A is more important now than ever. Interestingly, Biden likely knows the actual purpose behind the writing of the Second Amendment. But the severity of his gun control schemes makes it impossible for him and other advocates to admit the truth.