In the rhetoric that followed the Newtown tragedy, the gun-control crowd repeatedly tipped its hand, offering clues as to where the "debate" is headed.
For instance, I heard a radio commentator say that she believes the Second Amendment applies only to "militias," not to individuals, and "that raises the question of just what is a militia."
She went on to opine that a militia is a trained military force, like the National Guard. Only those who belong to such organizations should have access to weapons, and then only in the performance of their duties.
Now here is what the Second Amendment actually says, as ratified by the states in 1791: "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."
Most rational people would interpret that passage to mean that, because a state must be able to raise a militia when necessary, individual citizens should be able to have and carry guns. The language specifically addresses "the right of the people to keep and bear arms," not the right of the government or some government-affiliated organization.
However, those of us who love freedom and support the Second Amendment as written must recognize that we are not necessarily dealing with rational people -- not where guns are concerned.
The radical left hates the fact that private citizens in this country can own guns, because it flies in the face of their fundamental belief that such power should reside only with government and because it makes it harder for them to impose their statist agenda, which is contrary to the will and values of most Americans. They're looking to disarm us, by any means necessary, and they think they might be onto something with this idea that only "militias" should have weapons.
Of course that's ridiculous, but OK, fine. If that's where this argument is going, there's an easy way to head it off. States like Georgia simply need to create standing militias (note that the amendment implies this is a state, not a federal, responsibility), consisting of all adult citizens who want to join and who are not criminals or mentally ill.
Obviously members would have to provide their own weapons -- no money in state budgets for that -- and perhaps pay nominal yearly dues (maybe $50) to offset any bureaucratic costs. Local leaders could be appointed by state representatives or local governments, and they could hold annual or semi-annual meetings, perhaps even occasional drills or training courses. Other details could be worked out by state legislators.
Not only would a standing militia provide all the justification citizens need to exercise their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, but it would also create a powerful force of armed patriots should the state ever need to defend itself -- against enemies foreign or domestic.
Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and the author of "Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility." Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter@rjenkinsgdp, and visit www.familymanthebook.com.