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Video: Keith Olbermann says Second Amendment doesn’t grant gun ownership rights to Americans

A holstered handgun. (Al Behrman/TNS)
July 16, 2021

In a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday, former ESPN and MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann argued that the Second Amendment doesn’t have the word “own” in it and therefore doesn’t guarantee Americans the right to own firearms.

Commenting on the stash of guns, ammunition and body armor found in a hotel room near the All-Star Game in Denver, Colo. last week, Olberman asked viewers to think about the language of the Second Amendment.

“Consider again the holy Second Amendment to the constitution and ask yourself this question: why doesn’t the Second Amendment have the word ‘own’ in it? Why does it not say the right to own guns or any synonym for own?” Olberman asked. “Why does it just say, ‘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’? Keep and bear. Not own. ‘Keep’ doesn’t mean own. ‘Bear’ doesn’t mean own.”

According to the Denver Post, the FBI said there was no evidence to suggest the suspects arrested in connection with the stash of firearms had planned a mass shooting, nor was there any indication that the group posed a threat to the All-Star Game – a notion that Olberman dismissed.  

“Yet by the same kind of logic that made lots of us breathe sighs of relief because maybe nobody meant to shoot up the fans at the All-Star Game, our nation has been covered neck high in this bullshit that the Second Amendment makes gun ownership not only legal but sacrosanct,” he continued. “One-hundred and three times, the constitution uses words like ownership, value, purchases, receipts, property, private property, but not once does it do so in the Second Amendment because the Second Amendment isn’t about gun ownership, it’s about regulation of state militias.”

“Yet thousands of us die every year buried under this same bullshit. The same bullshit that says if the thousand rounds of ammo in the Denver hotel room wasn’t there to kill baseball fans, that somehow that’s good news,” he concluded.  

Standing in stark contrast to Olberman’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States who helped author the constitution, wrote in The Federalist Papers, “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government,” he continued. Hamilton, a staunch proponent of a strong national government, still recognized the importance of the people’s right to own arms.