By Nick Humez
President Biden has declared that he does not have the power to take away people’s guns. This is strictly true but somewhat disingenuous. As Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution states plainly and unequivocally, “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several states, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”
Put another way, the chain of command for the national armed forces and the state militias (that is, the National Guard) emanates from the White House. And while the president cannot declare war – the Constitution delegates this task to Congress instead – he or she does have the authority to make the tactical and strategic decisions necessary for the prosecution of such a conflict.
To bear arms as part of a well-regulated militia is certainly a constitutional right, as is the right to keep those arms in a safe place where our citizen soldiers who own them can have access to them. (Of course, this applies only to legitimate armed forces and the Guard; bogus wildcat “militias” are mere terrorist organizations.)
Whether certain classes of military-grade armament may be lawfully owned by the individual citizen is a matter for constitutional scholars and the courts. It may be the case that assault rifles, bump stocks, grenade launchers, machine guns and various types of automatic weapons do not fall under the Founders’ intended armament covered by the Second Amendment; we do know that the technology available at that time was largely limited to single-shot muskets and field or gunboat artillery.
In any case, automatic pistols are nowadays routinely issued even to noncombat personnel. But for home defense a revolver, shotgun or deer rifle would probably be sufficient, and automatic weapons superfluous.
An additional consideration our president might wish to take into account when mandating a practical and constitutionally sound Second-Amendment policy is the physiological and mental maturation of the immature gun owner. Brain circuitry, like the knitting together of cranial plates, is only complete by about the age of 26. Before that age, putting firearms of any sort, but especially those designed to cripple or kill the maximum number of other people in the shortest possible time, seems on its face a degree of social recklessness guaranteed to perpetuate our endless litany of mass murders.
That guns kill kids is a self-evident proposition; an obvious remedy is to keep those guns out of the hands of those who are not competent to use them. It won’t stop all instances of gun deaths that should never have happened, but it will at least free up some space in our cemeteries for those of us of advanced age to occupy only when we have had the opportunity to live a full life, as those children in Texas did not. And as noted above, our president does indeed have the authority to mandate this prudent therapy for our national firearms addiction.
Nick Humez lives in Trenton and Painesville, Ohio.