Saturday, October 16, 2010

Second Amendment Ruh-Roh

Recently the trend among law scholars is to "start taking the Second Amendment Seriously." This Wisconsin decision touching of a right to concealed carry might be a case in which a state judge took the right to bear arms a little too seriously.

The case involves a man carrying a concealed knife, and that should be about where the analysis ends. Depending on whom you ask, the Second Amendment was a protection of the citizens' rights to self defense, as a bulwark against federal tyranny, or the basis of self-sufficiency on the frontier. None of these objectives is achieved with a knife. The crucial difference between a knife and firearm is that a knife cannot be deployed as a weapon which might preempt, thus defend against, an encroachment. It is not a revolutionary tool in the nightmare scenario in which a colony must rebel against its sovereign. And it does not provide a means to hunt. A knife is not likely to end a physical altercation, but to wound both participants more deeply than if it did not appear. There is no traditional interpretation of the Second Amendment which would defend the covert carrying of a knife in public and to public establishments.

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