We need nuclear weapons.
Not we as a nation, you understand. I mean we as a bunch of people who might someday have the need to vaporize city hall.
The Second Amendment guarantees us this right.
No, really. Trust me. It does. I have read enough National Rifle Association pamphlets to be something of a constitutional scholar.
Our founding fathers were wise. They knew some whack jobs might someday take over the government and try taking away our basic freedoms.
They knew government must always have a healthy fear of the governed. Without our guns, we would have no hope of standing up to an oppressive regime.
The Second Amendment is the amendment that ensures all the others. Charlton Heston, an even greater constitutional authority than me, said so himself.
That makes so much sense.
I see only one teeny-weeny problem. The Second Amendment was passed back in 1791. Back in those days, a bunch of good ol' boys could cast off the yoke of an oppression at the barrel of a musket.
(Having the French and their navy on our side didn't hurt either.)
Nowadays, the government has everything from massive ships to fighter jets equipped with nuclear weapons. Plus, it has tanks, rocket launchers and generally more firepower than a Jerry Bruckheimer movie.
If the government decides to get nasty, I'm not sure my .22-caliber rifle is up to the task of defending my basic freedoms.
We might want to go to Plan B.
Fortunately for us all, I have one. Ask yourself. Why is it the government doesn't want private citizens to own tactical nuclear weapons?
The answer is simple. It's the same reason it doesn't want us to have armor-piercing bullets. We might use them.
What good is standing up to tyrants if you can't even pierce their armor? By the same token, how can you confront a modern industrialized nuclear nation if you are unable to respond in kind?
Prof. Heston has said it over and over and over. The Second Amendment rests on the principle of the American people's right to defend themselves against their own government.
Unless government officials know their constituents might kill them for stepping over the line, they will step over that line time and again.
That threat is useless unless the people have access to advanced modern weaponry.
Musket against musket worked fine in 1791. But rifle against nuclear aircraft carrier? I don't care for those odds.
I think the Second Amendment must be broadened at least to the point where every law-abiding, conscientious sportsman can at least have his own rocket launcher.
Then if a bunch of government goons try to take away his right to peaceably assembly, he can do some not-so-peaceably disassembling.
If you know what I mean.
But you know what I find really strange? The government often tries to take away our basic freedoms.
The people who oppose them, like the American Civil Liberties Union, are just as often called traitors. Often by the people who own guns.
I thought the whole point of having guns -- aside from decorating your den with the occasional dead animal head -- was to protect our basic freedoms.
You would think NRA members would want to form the militant wing of the ACLU. But members of both groups seem openly hostile toward each other.
Well, the ACLU types are a little less hostile. I mean, after all, the NRA members have guns.
The point of all this? Given the changing times, I suggest the wording of the Second Amendment be changed slightly. Something like:
"Armed citizens with no particular training being necessary to maintaining a free state, the right of the people to own weapons of mass destruction shall not be infringed."
Just one caveat.
Most people killed by guns in this country are killed by friends and relatives. So if your eccentric Uncle Bill buys himself a stealth bomber under the revised amendment, you might want to be a little nicer to him.
Otherwise, they can have my nukes when they pry them from my glowing dead hand.
(Tom Henderson is the managing editor of the Itemizer-Observer. And no. He does not seriously suggest private citizens own weapons of mass destruction. So please stop yelling. You will only give yourself a headache.)