However, the constitutional right that the correspondents lean on as crutch of first and last resort is not quite as it seems. Ratified in 1791, the famous amendment (one of ten that make up the Bill of Rights) that Blighty’s correspondents refer to so readily and with apparent thorough knowledge reads as follows: “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.” In the case of the highly-paid correspondent the right to ignorance “shall not be infringed” - and it hasn’t, and doesn’t look like being so.
Now, how many a correspondent, apparently so knowledgeable about the U.S. constitution, has read it and its amendments? About none would be my considered calculation. One would imagine that at least one of the motley crew would find a few seconds to quote the famous second amendment. That at least would wake the sonorous: “…what… what…Militia?”
A literal reading of the seldom read, frequently incorrectly quoted amendment would suggest - demand? - that only a “well regulated Militia” has the right to “keep and bear Arms”, and that it is not an individual right.
The NRA, of course, disputes this. Interestingly, they refuse to state the amendment in its entirety, in fear of the truth, no doubt. There is a lively debate in the U.S. around this issue, not that you would be so informed by the scores of lucky correspondents who have made it across the pond to the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Not being particularly well-acquainted with the intricacies of how this clear stipulation has been ignored and that almost anyone with the urge to buy an assault rifle being allowed to do so is evidently a shortcoming. Perhaps the Supreme Court has ruled - or rather overruled, if you see my meaning - that the right applies to individuals, not to the state Militias entrusted to keep freedom alive. If anyone knows, drop me a line.
Although it is dangerous to try to read into what those who ratified the amendment in 1791 had in mind, I do not think these chaps had assault rifles in mind (operative word: assault). Since the forces of the nation state are now so overwhelming, one would be inclined to suggest that no individual has the capacity to counter F-15 jets and “Daisy Cutters”. Therefore the “freedom” argument melts away, unless, that is, U.S. citizens should have access to awesome military firepower. Best not give the NRA any ideas.