Posted by Charity on August 30th, 2006

I don’t have time to write anything right now, so I thought I would post up something I wrote in response to a comment left on this post on Burlington Pol.

Nat Kinney said…
The Second Amendment does not say that every yahoo has the right to own any weapon he or she wants.

It says:”A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State … “

Within the context of a well regulated Militia, there exists the right to bear arms. The NRA types want us to ignore this part of the constitution and for us to think that anyone should be able to carry an uzi into any school, church, hospital or mall — no questions asked.

My response from that comments thread is below. I am not accustomed to arguing for the Second Amendment, but it is as important as any other, so I figured I would give it a shot.

“Within the context of a well regulated Militia, there exists the right to bear arms.”

That is not what it says. It says, “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.”

Meaning, that since a well regulated Militia is necessary for the security of a free State, we shall have the right to bear arms. Well regulated in this sense does not mean government regulated, as we have come to know it in the age of big government. By examining contemporaneous documents, it is clear that well regulated, means well trained and organized.

A Militia is not just an arm of the government. Sometimes the people who are threatening the security of the free State are the government. The Second Amendment is there to allow us the ability to always keep our freedom, even in the light of an oppressive government.

You have to remember, these guys just came from fighting an oppressive government for their freedom. They know that sometimes the people must rise up against the government and they wanted the right to bear arms protected.

The right shall not be infringed. Period. That is what it says. It does not say, “the right of the Militia men to keep and bear Arms.” It says “the people.” If, as you said, it was only in the context of the Militia, it would say so.

And, just so you know, I am not an “NRA type.” I hate guns. Just the same, I am not comfortable with the only people who own guns being the government and the criminals.

I do know that many of history’s dictators started their reign by banning guns, leaving the people helpless to stop them, and I sleep better knowing that there are gun owners in this country willing to die fighting for our freedom should it ever come to that.

So there you have it, my first attempt at defending the Second Amendment. Feel free to tear it apart. It’s the only way I will learn.

43 Responses to “The Second Amendment”

  1. Charity,

    Love the new look to the site . . . very soothing, in the midst of the flame wars.

    Philip
    VDB

  2. Me too, Charity…

  3. Sounds like all the liberals love the new look! Uh-oh… better throw some pictures of Newt in the background or sumthin…

    Actually we’re all just getting a contact buzz from all the pot leaves.

  4. Charity:

    So what does a “well regulated militia” mean in your mind?

    Why did they put that part in?

    -NK

  5. Well Odum,

    Charity has said she just might be “crunchy con,” you know…

  6. Hey Charity: It feels like Snarky Boy’s trying to get on your good side with his latest post. It’s another spoof on liberals. Here’s the link.

  7. Nat,

    That’s an interesting question. As I said, I am not an expert in Second Amendment issues, but I will give it my best try.

    A well regulated militia, I believe, means an organized and trained militia. I think they specified “well regulated” because in order to be well regulated, with the meaning I used, the members must have access to arms at all times.

    At a minimum, they meant that the states had a right to form militias to protect against the federal government violating their rights and therefore the federal government could not infringe upon the right to bear arms.

    At a minimum, any federal gun control, no matter how “common sense,” would be unconstitutional.

    There are also non-government militias, formed to protect against the government at all levels violating our rights. In order for them to be organized, trained, and functional, their right to bear arms must be intact.

    If the Second Amendment was meant to apply to non-government militias, then the right to bear arms extends to everyone.

    If the Second Amendment was meant to apply only to the right of militia men to bear arms, then why does it use the statement “the right of the people”? It seems like they would have been more specific, like “the right of the militia men.” It seems to me that by using the general term “people,” they intended for us all to be able to be armed to fight against any future abusive government. That cannot happen if the government is restricting our right to possess arms.

    It makes no difference to me, in the sense that I will probably never own a gun, but it is just as important to protect the Second Amendment as any other. If the government can violate one, it can violate another.

  8. Hey, thanks guys for the compliments on my new template. I like it much better than the pink one.

    And those are not pot leaves, for Pete’s sake. Bob the Optimizer said the same thing. What is it with you burn outs?

    Funny you brought up the crunchy con thing, Vermonter. I am trying to find the time to do a post on that topic. Interesting stuff.

    (PS Bob the Optimizer is not really a burn out.)

  9. Yeah, ok – but what’s with all the pot leaves? (heh)

  10. A well regulated militia, I believe, means an organized and trained militia. I think they specified “well regulated” because in order to be well regulated, with the meaning I used, the members must have access to arms at all times.

    That’s a pretty radical reading of the amendment to me. Well regulated means under some form of control. In a democratic system that would seem to default to the duly elected government, and not the guys with the biggest guns. Who are they protecting themselves against? a government run amok? I expect we’ll be seeing them any day now marching on DC.

    as you say There are also non-government militias, formed to protect against the government at all levels violating our rights. In order for them to be organized, trained, and functional, their right to bear arms must be intact.

    That seems a pretty broad reach. If they are formed to protect against Govt infringement on ther rights, on what basis are they formed, and how, beyond their own perceived notions of right and wrong, are they ‘well regulated?’ Disagreeing with the fed govt, which I wholeheartedly do just now, does not entitle me to arm myself to the teeth and start shooting people who I feel are infringing on my rights. What if someone disagreed with you? What if they think you are infringing on their rights? How big is your gun?

    You are staring down a reallllly slippery slope here, and I would think that the default position of an elected representative body would be a better bet.
    I’m not suggesting that the current state of affairs in the state or Fed govt is working well, due in large part to the influence of groups such as the NRA who use your interpretations of the 2nd ammend as their battle cry, but the road to murderous anarchy is paved with not-so-well regulated but well armed militias.

    If you are looking for something to protect, you could start with the entire f*****g constitution. Thte NRA’s best friends in govt. are destroying faster than a speeding bullet.

  11. Having guns does very little to protect you from the government. Just ask David Koresh and the Branch Davidians- except you can’t because Janet Reno killed them all.

  12. You know, Haik, you have a great point. Thinking that guns can protect us from the government is 18th century thinking.

    I still think that is why the Second Amendment is there. These guys did rise up and fight the government. And it was the 18th century.

    pwapvt –

    You said: “Well regulated means under some form of control.”

    Not the kind of control you are thinking – government control.

    The people writing the constitution did not envision an America under the heavy government regulation that it is today.

    Well regulated in this context means trained and organized.

    I am not talking about anarchy in the streets; I am talking about the means to have another Revolution, if it is ever needed. You have to remember what these guys went through to form this country. They knew that men must be armed in order for that kind of revolution to take place.

    Another point, the entire Bill of Rights was added at the insistence of some who felt the people’s rights needed stronger protection in the constitution. All of the amendments protect the people’s rights, yet some now interpret the Second Amendment as only protecting the rights of the government-run militia? Makes no sense. It would be redundant to say that the government can arm its own militia. Yeah, no duh! This was important enough to make the second amendment.

  13. Regulated and trained are not the same thing. Yes the founding fathers fought and died for the rights that we enjoy today. They set up a system of checks and balances to keep that system in place. Elections are a part of that. There are more than one way to have a revolution. Ghandi? MLK JR?

    Regulated is the root word of regulatuion. Regulation suggests laws. laws are created by the elected, (selected), representatives of the larger community.
    Do each of us get to determine what’s right and wrong, and then address our own greivances at the point of a gun? That’s anarchy in the streets.

    For the people by the people, suggests an agreement, if only in some cases to disagree. Respectful discussion ends when the guns come out. If I disagree with the other guy, and they have guns, then am I forced, by your logic, to also arm myself? And what would that accomplish?

    Well regulated in this context means trained and organized.

    By who and for what? By themselves for them themselves? Is another “papa knows best” scenario what we really want? Look at Somalia, warlords, with their own well regulated militias, running around killing those who they disagree with, and their families, and villages, and religions. Is the solution really more guns and killing?

    Violence begets violence.

    yet some now interpret the Second Amendment as only protecting the rights of the government-run militia?

    Who are those famous some?

    I do not pretend to interpret the second ammend in any way. It is not clear to me, by your arguments, that unfettered access to arms, by private individuals, organized into “well regulated” militias, is a good idea.

    I am not talking about anarchy in the streets; I am talking about the means to have another Revolution, if it is ever needed.

    And I am saying that the problem with that statment is that a revolution staged by those with the most arms is a bad thing. To have some sort of goverment control over the military, and working against the private militia idea is a good thing. unfettered, unregulated, heavily armed groups running around is a BAD thing.

    We the people

    not

    Me and my people

  14. You are using a 2006 definition for regulate, suggesting that it means regulation. I am not going to keep going in circles with this. Another meaning of regulate is “to bring order, method, or uniformity to”, as in “regulate one’s habits.” At the time the constitution was written, the word regulated was used to describe a militia that is organized and trained, not just one under government control.

    You keep insisting that I mean anyone who feels wronged can just go off half-cocked and start shooting. I am talking about the ability for the people to rise up if the government becomes tyrannical. Funny you said “selected” regarding our government. What if every year, a group of people disregarded the elective process and took power? What if they controlled the armies? What if they were violating our constitutional rights? Should the people have the right to form a militia to check the government’s power? That is what I am talking about. That is what the founders were talking about. That is what the Second Amendment is about.

    As I said before, it would be redundant to spell out in the Second Amendment that the government has the right to arm the government militia. Can you find anything else as pointless in the Bill of Rights?

    We the people

    not

    Me and my people”

    Give me a break, I do not even own a gun. As I said before, I do not base my opinions solely on what is going to benefit me. All rights guaranteed by the Constitution deserve to be defended

  15. Recommended reading:

    http://www.firearmsandliberty......d.2nd.html

    ‘[Schulman:] “(3) Is the right of the people to keep and bear arms conditioned upon whether or not a well regulated militia, is, in fact necessary to the security of a free State, and if that condition is not existing, is the statement ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed’ null and void?”

    [Copperud:] “(3) No such condition is expressed or implied. The right to keep and bear arms is not said by the amendment to depend on the existence of a militia. No condition is stated or implied as to the relation of the right to keep and bear arms and to the necessity of a well-regulated militia as a requisite to the security of a free state. The right to keep and bear arms is deemed unconditional by the entire sentence.” ‘

    And:

    http://www.guncite.com/journals/reycrit.html

    too long to excerpt. Regards.

    -SayUncle

  16. Just a thought in passing: sometimes, in trying to interpret the Constitution, it’s useful to go back to what states’ own laws said at the time the Constitution was passed. The Supreme Court did that in US v. Miller (1939), and discovered that several of the original states not only permitted but required all able-bodied men to purchase, at their own expense, a firearm with ammunition and kit.

    If you read the Supreme Court’s three seminal gun-rights cases — that’s US v. Cruikshank, Presser v. Illinois, and US v. Miller, all available on FindLaw — three conclusions seem obvious: first, that “the militia” referred to in the Second Amendment consists of all able-bodied adult men; second, that it was always expected they would arm themselves out of their own resources, so their firearms would be their private property, not government-issued; and third, that (as with all the other rights listed in the Bill of Rights) there’s a difference between regulation and prohibition. Based on US v. Miller, one could even argue that the military-style “assault weapons” that some people want to ban are explicitly protected by the Second Amendment, while hunting-type firearms and personal-defense handguns are not.

  17. A couple of key point about US vs Miller: Miller, the defendent, was killed before the case was argued before the Supreme Court. Also, the defense team wasn’t there to argue it’s case. Thus, the attorney arguing for the government claimed that the firearm in question, and shotgun with a barrel under the required length required by the 1934 NFA, was not used by the US Government at that time, which is a patent lie. And there was nobody there to argue that yes, in fact, the US Military does, in fact, use short barrel shotguns.

    The Supreme Court has been ducking 2nd Amendment cases ever since.

  18. What if every year, a group of people disregarded the elective process and took power? What if they controlled the armies? What if they were violating our constitutional rights? Should the people have the right to form a militia to check the government’s power?

    Sure I think that’s reasonable but the problem remains who decides what the correction looks like? That’s what I mean. It could be very easily argued that the condition that you suggest needs correcting by use of arms exists right now, in america. But who decides what is right and wrong, and how are they basing that decision. It may very well come to armed insurrection in america, I pray that it never does.

    I don’t feel like I’m going round & round. You are putting forth a position that seems pretty radical to me. A very dangerous position.

    And if I’m using the 2006 definition it cause, well it’s 2006. It makes very little sense to me to try to divine what the founding fathers were saying. You can read it any way you want, and often texts like the constution are interpreted in a way that supports a position already taken.

    it would be redundant to spell out in the Second Amendment that the government has the right to arm the government militia. Can you find anything else as pointless in the Bill of Rights?

    I never said that. I said that armed miltias outside of any sort of democratic governmental structure can be, and have been, a very dangerous element in our society.

    I think your position: the rights to bear arms is inherently required in order to overthrow the government is radical and dangerous. To link the the right to bear arms to this hypothetical cause is a blank check. Like my buying a tank, just in case I need to blow up town hall.

    Who regulates the militia, what constitues a militia?

    Your missing the point. Well regulated is different than well armed. Well regulated means that they are answerable to someone other than themselves.

    Your road leads to anarchy.

    I’ve got it, I might as well use it.

  19. I have read some of the comments here and find issue with the fact that many of the arguments that build the foundation of the Second Amendment have been passed by in favor of minor discussions about which color the window shades ought to be, without realizing the house itself is subsiding.

    The right of self defense is an inherent right of humans, and by the collection of the powers in society, represented by the state, so to does the state have a right of self defense. This right is not one that can be legislated away, as it exists previous to and outside of any legislation. Therefore any restriction of the right to bear arms is noxious to the ideals of the republican form . We may bring the words of various and sundry experts to the field of debate, but the fact still remains that with or without such an amendment the right of the people, individually and collectively, to bear arms can stand no infringement.

    More practically it is found that in times of armed conflict, those with the greatest experience with arms whether it be in individual marksmanship alone or in the rehearsed drills of a citizen militia is more effective than an army with no such experience pushed into the service of the nation. That the people may hold the tools and have the capability of making themselves skillfull with the tools of armed warfare is usefull to the defense of any nation, state or country. The government of such a nation finds itself with a large market of skillfull marksmen, who need only be taught the common drills of the current methods of combat.

    We can see that despite the public opinions on the meaning of the Second Amendment by scholars of differing repute that the true meaning implied or intended is that there can be no restriction on the keeping and bearing of arms by the state of a nation against the citizens of that nation. This concept is support not only by consideration of the rights of individuals, but of the usefulness of the concept.

  20. “It makes very little sense to me to try to divine what the founding fathers were saying.”

    Well that seems like foolishness. Rather than do research to figure out what the men who wrote the Bill of Rights actually meant, you’d rather interpret the Bill of Rights as you see fit.

    Most historians are in agreement these days that the 2nd amendment does indeed refer to an individual right to keep and bear arms (even academics like Saul Cornell who still argue for gun control).

    http://www.guncite.com/gc2ndmea.html provides numerous examples of the Founding Fathers using the phrase “well regulated” with the same meaning that Charity articulated.

    The text of the 2nd amendment actually has only one comma, btw. “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.” It’s pretty clear really. If we were re-writing the Bill of Rights in today’s language, it would go something like this: “Since an armed and trained populace is necessary to keep our country free, we will not infringe upon the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms.”

  21. It makes very little sense to me to try to divine what the founding fathers were saying.”

    Well that seems like foolishness. Rather than do research to figure out what the men who wrote the Bill of Rights actually meant, you’d rather interpret the Bill of Rights as you see fit.

    as I note above. You can interpret it your way & I can interpret it mine. You read your books & i’ll read mine & I bet we can still come up on the opposite side of this. As a practical matter, in the interest of peacful coexistance within the commnuity at large, militias outside of the control of some form oversite, agreed upon by community at large, is dangerous. Is that so radical?

    Since an armed and trained populace is necessary to keep our country free, we will not infringe upon the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms.”

    so I am required then to bear arms and be a the beck and call of who? Whoever I happen to agree with at the time of the uprising, provided I live through the initial bloodshed?

    You want to bear arms in defense of Democracy? Join the Army.

  22. Good discussion. Many good points, such as the original meaning of “regulated”, have been made above.

    So only a couple added points:

    If we allow the words of the Second Ammendment to be twisted so that “the people’ become “the government”, then:

    Only governmnetally approved protests, (assemblies), or petitions may be made. (First Amendment).

    Only government offices, property and officials have any garantee of security from search, the rest of us can just remove our locks and shades right now. (Fourth Amendment)

    All rights are retained by the government, not us. (Ninth Amendment).

    All rights not delegated to the government are reserved to the government. (Tenth Amendment).

    I suggest that reading “the people” to mena “the government” makes no sense at all when the above are considered.

    In addition, there is the oft-overlooked, (or studiously ignored), PREAMBLE to the Bil of Rights:

    “THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

    So the entire B.o.R. is a RESTRICTION on government, not a grant TO the government.

    All of these can be found online at the National Archives site.

  23. Oh, and pretty as the leaves are, they are not pot.

    These leaves have seven lobes, and look like a species of Maple.

    Pot has seven lobes.

    Leaves of three, let it be, leaves of five, let it thrive, leaves of seven goes to heaven.

  24. As a practical matter, in the interest of peacful coexistance within the commnuity at large, militias outside of the control of some form oversite, agreed upon by community at large, is dangerous. Is that so radical?

    Yet more practically, it is so radical. As I have previously mentioned, being armed is a human right. Also, more dangerous than armed citizens is the community at large. Note the endless cases in history of direct democracies that caused more problems than they have solved.

    so I am required then to bear arms and be a the beck and call of who?

    The second amendment, nor the right is based on, include a requirement to bear arms. This was a practice in some places at some times, but is not currently so. I think that keeping and bearing arms would be more of a sensible measure than something that must be required.

    You want to bear arms in defense of Democracy? Join the Army.

    Many do, however, to defend the republic, as a democracy is an an aberation that can be left undefended. However, many do not, yet can be of aid to their nation in times of need.

  25. I’m not an expert in the Constitution in any stretch, but here’s my thoughts.

    In a situation where the government is absent [Katrina] or negligent [the Civil Rights era in the South], who protects lives and liberties?

    Whether from looters during a disaster, or from an organized group such as the Klan, who is watching your back when law enforcement is unable or unwilling?

  26. Pwap,

    Laziness is no excuse for a poor argument. I’ve provided a link for you to see for yourself the context in which the founding fathers used the phrase “well regulated”. If you choose to ignore it then I’ll just consider that part of your argument moot.

    As for your statement that militias outside the control of some government are dangerous… would you feel better if we substituted the phrase “Neighborhood Watch” or “Gun Club”?

    In New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina, a group of residents took to patrolling the streets while armed. They called themselves the Algiers Point (for the neighborhood in which they lived) Militia. Were they dangerous? Not at all… unless you were breaking the law.

    I don’t think it’s a radical notion to suggest that a group of armed citizens outside the control of the government is dangerous. I just think it’s sad and narrowminded.

  27. As I have previously mentioned, being armed is a human right Based on?

    If we allow the words of the Second Ammendment to be twisted so that “the people’ become “the government”,

    Which I have not done.

    Whether from looters during a disaster, or from an organized group such as the Klan, who is watching your back when law enforcement is unable or unwilling?

    Good point. But who do they serve? Blackwater Security was also in New Orleans, (a city I lived in and love) in clear violation of the national govt’s orders for non-relief workers to NOT be in the city. Who were they working for? Who would they have answered to had there been a killing? The guys that hired them?

    As for your statement that militias outside the control of some government are dangerous… would you feel better if we substituted the phrase “Neighborhood Watch” or “Gun Club”?
    Call them what you will. Names mean what you want them to mean. Groups of armed people accountable to only themselves is dangerous.
    the algiers group had a purpose, beyong Charity’s original argument, (that the right to bear arms should not be in fringed, just in case) Members of a community were working together, kinda like a democratic system, to ensure the public safety.

  28. Groups of armed people accountable to only themselves is dangerous.
    the algiers group had a purpose, beyond Charity’s original argument, (that the right to bear arms should not be infringed, just in case) Members of a community were working together, kinda like a democratic system, to ensure the public safety.

    I’m sorry, PwapVT, but you just made Charity’s case, as far as I’m concerned.
    The Algiers Point Militia were accountable only to themselves, at the time. Katrina was an excellent example of Charity’s just in case and ensuring that the members of a community could work together to insure the public safety, by force of arms if necessary, was the Founding Fathers intent in composing the 2nd Amendment.

    You have to decide, is it never a good idea to have armed citizens or is it sometimes, in some cases, a very good idea?
    If you grant that an armed citizenry can indeed be necessary to insure public safety, how can you also support disarming them?

  29. Oddly the 2nd does not protect a militia it protects the ARMS of the militia and who are the militia? Why we are the militia.

    Where the heck is my select fire assault weapon?

    Now you know why the scotus refuses to revisit the 2nd.

    The definition of ‘well regulated’ has been fully explained.

    But what of ‘Keep and Bear’?

    Keep has a civilian conotation, keep is the peoples right to have arms.

    Bear has a military connotation and protects the right of the people to BE IN a militia.

  30. I happened across this blog from Alphecca, a gun rights blog, and I would like to offer http://www.guncite.com/ as an excellent source for intent and purpose of the 2nd Amendment.

    There you will find a defintion of “Keep and bear” as well as related documents which support that intent and meaning.

    Here are some additional sites for addressing gun myths and popular misconceptions which serve as the basis for gun control:

    http://www.john-ross.net/mistakes.htm

    http://www.gunfacts.info/

  31. I have only one point to make.

    If “the people” in the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 9th amendments to the constitution are me and you then “the people” in the second must be as well.

    I know this is too simple for some of you, but it is still correct.

  32. To give an example, look to history. While everyone knows Paul Revere rode to warn that the British were coming (and some even know that he didn’t do the long leg of the trip), what many don’t acknowledge was that the British were coming to take possession of guns, knives, and powder.

    There was no National Guard or ‘organized militia’, not for over two hundred and fifty more years. There wouldn’t even be a standing army until late in the War of 1812! The Minutemen weren’t soldiers. Most had trained only by hunting and to dress and arm themselves in less than a minute. Their weapons were provided by their own money, as were whatever uniforms they wore.

    It was in terms of these individuals, and the attempts (and sometimes successes) by the British to steal their weapons that the second amendment was written.

    How well regulated were they? Not at all, by today’s definition : they signed no names on papers, very seldom ordered by the government, and had little or no regulations other than to have a gun. But they were well-trained, and this matches texts and speeches by the founding fathers.
    Because these individuals are so important to the country, the ability of anyone to have a weapon is well worth the risks.

    This isn’t a ’state right’. The government has no rights, only things we people allow it to do. It’s a right for the same people that the first amendment protects.

  33. You want to bear arms in defense of Democracy? Join the Army.

    The obvious flaw with this statement is that the Army is controlled by the government. When we go to war, who makes the decision? Congress in conjunction with the President. The Army is not a well-regulated militia, it’s a standing army funded, organized, and under the power of the government. What if the government decided that people and their pesky rights were getting in the way of them getting what they wanted, and decided that they would use the armed forces against them? Who is left to defend the people? The militia.

    For the current U.S. definition(s) of militia, go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/usc.....-000-.html

    There is no evidence in the definitions of “regulated” at the time that indicate it means the object being regulated is under any kind of authority.

  34. We, the pro-gun side, are not going to convince the feeling types like PwapVt with a logical argument. I don’t say this to denigrate either side, it’s just that there are a large percentage of people who let emotion guide their opinions and their actions and they will never be convinced by reason. He reads his books and we read ours because they speak to us in our language, his language is emotion, ours is reason. The logical argument against gun control and for self defense and personal responsibility triumphed years ago, but we are still losing the war because the logical are the minority.
    So stop using logic and start talking to our opponents in their language.
    I believe Oleg Volk has the right idea and is doing a good job. Check out:
    http://www.a-human-right.com/
    and browse through some of his posters/photos on his main website:
    http://www.olegvolk.net/
    and
    http://www.olegvolk.net/gallery/technology/arms/
    He’s passionate about the right to self defense, and it shows in the images he creates.
    I like this one:
    http://www.olegvolk.net/galler.....m.jpg.html
    and this one:
    http://www.olegvolk.net/galler.....y.jpg.html
    and
    http://www.olegvolk.net/galler.....t.jpg.html

  35. “Well Regulated” comes from the same word as “regular army.”

    Has to do with both equipment and training. At least in the vernacular of 1780.

    Words do change their meaning slightly over time…. Or didn’t you have to read any litereature in high school?

    Every mention of the word “People” in the constitution and the bill of rights refers to the individual citizens. Read the entire set of the first 10 Amendments. There are 3 major entities: The federal government (the various bits are also mentioned – Congress, the Courts, etc), the states and the people.

    I know they don’t teach children to diagram sentences any more, but from a strictly English-langugage perspective, the second amendment is what is know as a complex sentence. Strictly different from a compound sentence that some of you may have learned about on school-house rock. In a complex sentence there is one independent clause (that clause forms a well formed sentence on its own) and a dependent clause that modifies or amplifes the independent clause. It does not for a sentence on its own. According to the rules of the English language – which the framers understood much more than most Americans do today – the Independent clause ALWAYS carries the meainging of the sentence. Hence the 2nd Amendment does refer to the right of the PEOPLE to be armed.

  36. Those that ‘feel’ that guns are dangerous and don’t belong in the hands of the average citizen will never admit that the 2nd Amendment is not about a standing army or the national guard. They will walk through the entire discussion with blinders on because of that mindset.

    The truth is that because the King of England ordered Lord General Thomas Gage to enter certain communities and seize arms and powder, the colonists knew that this was a pre-cursor to oppression. An unarmed populace is defenseless at the whims of a tyrant. The Second Amendment is a direct result of that episode. The framers of the constitution believed that it was a natural right for all freemen to be armed at all times. Not confined to just being IN a militia, or to be a member of a state military force, but for self defense as well as common defense.

    There is absolutely no logic to attribute ‘well regulated’ to mean that it is regulated by the government when the founders distrusted big government and standing armies. ‘Well regulated’ meant, and still means in England, to be well trained and proficient in arms and martial skills.

  37. I’ve seen it asserted that “regulated” in this context meant “timed” in the sense that the octagonal railroad wall clock now used as a decorative piece was known as a “Regulator”. Timed volley fire was essential in those days, and was the function of the little drummer boy. The invention of the cartridge breechloader and the repeater rendered regulation in that sense obsolete. The more important word meaning is of course that “state” in this context means “condition”.

    It should be noted that twice during the 1990s the SCOTUS stated clearly that the second amendment identified an individual right. This was in the course of clarifying “individual right” in fourth amendment cases.

    It should also be noted that the last time a body of citizens took up arms to restore democracy in the face of an oppresive government in this country happened in 1946, locally in Athens Tennessee.

  38. I might suggest my article, “The Second Amendment and the Historiography of the Bill of Rights,” 4 Journ. of Law & Politics 1 (1987), online at http://www.hardylaw.net/historiography.html.

    In it, I suggest that the two clauses of the amendment had two different purposes, and were meant to satisfy two different constituencies. One wanted an individual right to arms, the other wanted recognition of the militia as a system. To give effect to the amendment’s two clauses, we have to read them as having independent effects, and not read the right to arms as militia-limited.

    It makes no sense to talk of a “right” in the context of militia service — militia service was a duty, enforced by court martial. One might as well speak of a “right” to drafted. The right to arms clause guarantees that a citzen has the right to choose what arms he owns. The militia clause recognizes that “none” is the wrong answer (at least if Congress or the states want to enforce it).

    BTW, some comments seem to be keying on the very modern use of “militias” to mean “large paramilitary bands not under government control.” That usage has only come about in the last 15 yrs or so. In the Framers’ day, the militia was the armed citizenry, like the present Swiss army. Every male was required to be enrolled. Officers were elected up to a certain level, above that they were chosen by the governor. Technically, federal law (10 US Code sec. 311) still makes all males 17-45 members of the militia of the US.

    All rights of course have some limits — that doesn’t stop them from being recognized. One might as well argue we can’t have freedom of speech because that would permit using a loudspeaker at midnight in a residential area, or writing threatening letters, or holding a demonstration that blocks the road. Or argue we can’t have freedom of religion because that would mean allowing churches to be built anywhere or permitting human sacrifice.

  39. What they meant by the term “well
    regulated” was all males aged 17 to
    45yrs. should be armed and trained
    in the use of a rifle. Very simple.
    Militia means a group of males that
    meet that spec. Another thing to ponder. When the 2nd was written, it meant arms of the times with no
    restrictions. Any other thing thats
    read into it is just BS. As it goes
    the gun fearing people are trying to kill the 2nd with a death of a
    100 cuts.

  40. This document makes for very interesting reading. http://www.guncite.com/journals/rk-exp.html BTW, I don’t own any guns and don’t hunt.

  41. Quote:
    ————-
    The majority falls prey to the delusion—popular in some circles – that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth – born of experience – is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people.

    All too many of the other great tragedies of history – Stalin’s atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few – were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars.

    My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed – where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

    Judge Alex Kozinski

  42. Michael Z. Williamson
    September 23rd, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    “Well regulated” means “subject to order.” There is a procedure for the militia to be recalled in federal law and military regs. (In case of attack or invasion.)

    “Militia” means “Armed citizenry” and is defined in federal law.

    “Free state” refers to a political entity not being held by political force to another power.

    “People” refers the people of the United States, as it does everywhere else in the Constitution.

    “Keep and Bear Arms” refers to owning and carrying.

    “Infringed” refers to limited, taxed or otherwise hindered.

    It’s pretty self explanatory.

    Of course, those RADICAL LIBERAL (for their time) founders were already making outrageous statements, like free speech, and no state religion, and letting common people vote.

    Of course, a lot of people are getting uncomfortable with those ideas, too.

    Which is why we are supposed to have a militia.

  43. Michael Z. Williamson
    September 23rd, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    Oh, yes: if you are a “regulated” member of the militia (in training, with membership in an organization that hosts competitions), the US Government will be happy to sell you a government surplus weapon and ammo as part of outfitting you for the militia.

    http://www.odcmp.com