Like a lot of Southern men who were once Southern boys, I spent many childhood days with a gun in my hand. If I wasn't out shooting squirrels, doves and raccoons, I was defending my hometown from suspicious bottles, cans and street signs along the dirt roads just outside of town.
And when I didn't have a real gun in my hands, I had a BB gun, doing what small-town boys do when they're bored -- putting holes in things and shooting people's eyes out. If it weren't for me, Jim Bob's Transmission Service and Eye Patches in Possum Holler would have gone out of business a lot earlier.
If I didn't have BBs, then I was armed with a cap gun or a rubber band gun. Or I just made my thumb and finger into the shape of a gun. Neither was effective for killing squirrels and raccoons, but the cap gun was still pretty effective at scaring cats.
My point is that I grew up fairly well-armed, maybe not enough to survive and encounter with Mexican drug lords or Ted Nugent, but good enough to survive a couple decades in Possum Holler.
So I'm kind of caught in the middle of this gun control debate that has swept our nation. I think all normal people should be able to own a normal gun. Of course, 90 percent of people seem a little abnormal to me. And the crazier people seem to be, the more likely they are to hoard multiple powerful guns and take pictures with them as if they're new babies.
The real issue, though, is not whether people should be able to possess shotguns or AR-15s or bazookas but whether any of our founding fathers knew how to use a comma. If they did, we would know whether the Second Amendment gives us a right to assemble a militia or the right to bear arms. Or both. Or neither. Or kinda sorta maybe. Here's the non-sentence that
we know officially as the Second Amendment:
"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."
Say what? How can anyone pretend to know exactly what that ill-conceived statement is supposed to mean? Was Tarzan one of our founding fathers?
I think those founding fathers whom we revere these days despite the fact they were mostly a bunch of whoring sots and slave masters were a little comma crazy. Today's Congress may still be a collection of modern-day whoring sots (although they are not slave masters -- merely slaves to their corporate masters), but at least they would know how to use a comma if they ever passed anything, that is. They may not have any common sense, but they've got comma sense.
I've heard my friends on the left say the amendment doesn't say anything about assault rifles, while my friends on the right say it doesn't say anything about muskets, either. After reading the exact words of the amendment, I'm not sure whether we have the right to assemble a militia or arm ourselves individually. I'm OK with either one and was once in a militia called the Webelos, though we were merely armed with knot-tying expertise, not assault rifles.
I suspect the founding fathers were talking about militias since they started the sentence with that subject, but maybe I do have the right to arm myself as I see fit. I think those who favor some reasonable controls on guns, background checks and ammunition capacity have a good point.
Then again, so do those who say that any restrictions on what kind of arms they can bear simply opens a door to all kinds of restrictions.
Therefore, I've decided to exercise my Second Amendment rights -- unclear as they may be -- to their full extent by organizing a militia AND arming myself as I and not the government sees fit.
By the way, my Margaritaville Militia will meet on Saturday nights, and my nuclear weapon should be ready by June.
-- Chris Johnson is an independent correspondent whose "Best of Chris Johnson" is now available for Kindle for 99 cents. Follow him at Facebook.com/KudzuKidWriting.