Gun Control: The Second Amendment

3 thoughts on “Gun Control: The Second Amendment”

  1. The author states that the words “a well-regulated militia” “are too often forgotten”; on the contrary, the author will learn, over time, that most gun-rights advocates are well-aware of the presence of those words.

    The author’s use of “reinterpretation” is a misnomer; DC v. Heller was a case of first impression for the U.S. Supreme Court and, therefore, an initial interpretation.

    The author states that the result in DC v. Heller “means that more people have the right to keep and bear arms than the Founders intended”. Assuming that the majority opinion is at least partially correct, then the author’s statement is completely incorrect; the determination of the set of persons who have the right (as the Founders intended) was a central issue in the decision.

    The author states that “the Supreme Court interpreted the amendment to give citizens who were not part of a militia the right to own guns”. Again, the author is completely wrong; the determination of the meaning of “militia” was a central issue. As the court stated: “the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service”, which is quite broad. The author may be surprised to learn that the federal statutes define “[t]he militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and …”. Surprise! A significant portion of Deerfield seniors are members of a militia!

  2. The Second Amendment was written about a free state’s need for the security of a well regulated militia, and about the right of the people to keep and bear arms to meet that need. There’s nothing in the amendment about arms for personal missions.

    If the Framers had intended the amendment to declare a personal right to arms, they would have inserted the word “personal,” and the amendment would have read:

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the PERSONAL right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

    But then, of course, the incompatibility of the two clauses in one sentence would have been even more obvious than it already is when the attempt is made to parse the amendment as a personal right.

  3. The Second Amendment is about the need of a free state for a “well rgulated” militia. A well regulated militia was one that was governed by what George Washington called “a well regulated Militia Law.” Militiamen in such a militia were those persons who were qualified physically and by age for service, who were enrolled in a company for training, and who were liable to bear arms when required.

    Pennsylvania’s militia act of 1777 is an example of what Washington called “a well regulated Militia Law.” Its title is “An Act to Rugulate the Milita of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” It is 19 pages long and is full of militia rules and regulations.

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