A Modest Pro-gun-posal

FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 file photo, The National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, spea
FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 file photo, The National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, speaks during a news conference in response to the Connecticut school shooting in Washington. “Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals,” LaPierre said in his statement prepared for the hearing but released on Tuesday Jan. 29, 2013. “Nor do we believe the government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families.” (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Obama does not believe that the mentally ill count under the Constitution as "people." How else to explain his recent executive orders designed to stop them from getting guns? The supposedly compassionate left, so quick to howl about rights, even ones not mentioned in the Constitution, has callously written people with psychiatric problems out of the explicit terms of the Second Amendment.

Apparently, the folks who want to confiscate our guns have first zeroed in on what they see as an easy target. Allow me to return fire with a modest proposal to construe the amendment strictly as it was written: "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." Sorry, Mr. President, but that means all "the people," not just the sane ones.

As one Congressman protesting Obama's wide-ranging gun control orders put it, that constitutional language is "nonnegotiable." Another rightly blasted the president's offensive as an "attempt to poke holes" in the Constitution. Whatever threats of physical violence may be faced by today's society, we must not lose sight of the paramount importance of preserving the textual integrity of the words drafted by our Founding Fathers. Except, of course, the militia clause.

(You see, James Madison and his buddies just liked to liven up their writing with pointless digressions, notwithstanding what you may hear from soi-disant scholars who cloud the interpretation of a simple constitutional sentence by failing to ignore the first half of it.)

Yes, the Framers of the Constitution created a timeless document for the ages. Especially the amendments. Uncompromising in their egalitarianism, the Framers bestowed gun rights not on certain chosen groups or on 3/5 of the population but simply on "the people." Building on that American-made value, a visionary speaker at last year's annual meeting of the National Rifle Association promoted the Second Amendment as "a human right for every person on the planet."

Some may protest that the mentally ill should not qualify as "people" with the right to bear arms because they do not always act rationally and thus lack the humanity of those whose every action is self-interested, namely, corporations. But erratic behavior is hardly reason to exclude people of unsound mental constitution from the soundly written one. Moreover, considering examples from Germany, Russia, and North Korea, detachment from reality has been a hallmark of the leaders of some of history's most well-regulated militias. Not that there is anything relevant about that.

In fact, who can most effectively protect us all by bearing arms? People who will actually use them. If the feds come knocking to collect an unconstitutional tax, can we trust the response of soccer Moms or average (non-G.I.) Joes? When push comes to shoot, well-adjusted individuals may be reluctant to pull the trigger. After all, without a little help, guns don't kill people.

If we let constitutional revisionists lump the unstable in with the unborn as non-"people," who will be next? Corporations? That ship has sailed. The injustice of how corporations bankroll our political system and yet are themselves denied the right to bear arms has been appallingly overlooked. Progressives have also set their sights on violent felons. Leave it to the left to take away guns from those who best know how to use them.

But the group that has already suffered the most from the rewriting of the Constitution is children. It is not just the first nine months of life that liberals deny; it is almost 19 years. Only when children reach the age of majority do liberals deign to call them gun-worthy "people." Until then, kids are as unarmed as the Venus de Milo, unable to save themselves from slaughter by the likes of Adam Lanza (of Newtown) or Jonathan Swift (of Dublin).

All that can save us from liberalism is literalism in interpreting the Second Amendment. (Well, the second half of it.) The Constitution does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to "lucid people" or "law-abiding people" or "long-lived people." Nor does it refer to restrictions on the types of "Arms." We the People must stick to our AK-47s and insist on strict construction of the clear text that gun control advocates try to twist.

Some of the control freaks are lexical necromancers who conjure up the "spirit" of the dead Framers' words. Others are Orwellian anthropomorphists who cite a "living" Constitution that says what they want it to say. Might there be confusion about whether what we want to keep alive is a document or "the people"? Now that would be crazy.