Mar 04, 2018:
The Second Amendment -- time for a reminder
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a
the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall
not be infringed.
In 18th-century parlance, this word meant "the men of the population who are capable of
bearing arms." It does not mean some kind of particularly organized or supervised group, army or police force made up of
individuals granted superior "rights" or privileges. It means ALL
of "the people" capable of coming out of their houses and businesses and fields and churches to
stand, armed, against a threat to the "security of the free State" (hunting not mentioned.)
Again, in 18-century parlance, this does not mean "subject to some kinds of laws or bureaucratic administrative
rules". "Well regulated" means the same thing vis a vis firearms (or any other
kinds of "arms") as it does as an adjective to "student", "conscience", "habits", "character", "skills",
"conduct", "business" or "mode of speaking". (Get the idea?) It refers to a person or system that is
reliable, functional, self-operating,
responsible, practiced and/or
competent. And the only way to be a well-regulated militiaman, a carrier of arms, is to have them, and
be comfortable and familiar with using them.
"Being necessary to the security of a free State".
In the new United States government, the populations were that of each state. In the event
of an invasion, which was high in the minds of people who had just thrown off the shackles
of the English king, their militia, their men, all should be armed and ready immediately to
stand and fight.
A concern in connection with the new constitution was that the new federal government --
formed for the limited purposes of facilitating commerce between the states, printing money, and
organizing the 13 states into a common defense -- not itself keep a standing federal army
(the people in the former colonies were afraid of the possibility of a federal government turning into
a group of corrupt dictators).
"The right of the people".
A "right" is that which
exists in the absence of government, whether you choose to believe that it is
"God-given" or just something that exists in the absence of someone else telling you what you can or
cannot do. Rights are not granted by any government; they just exist, predating control by an overlord
power, or any "social contract" of a consensual government. The U.S. Constitution recognizes certain rights.
As already implicit in the first line of the new constitution, echoing the concept of individual rights in
the Declaration of Independence, "the people" meant a
collective of individuals retaining their individuality -- not any group or government entity. "The people" -- each and all of them, jointly
and severally -- were the new government. "The people" in the Second Amendment means exactly
what it does in the First Amendment -- INDIVIDUALS.
"To keep and bear arms".
There is no restriction on these arms. Certainly there is no restriction on arms that would
be efficacious to be used in the event of an invasion, whether from England, the Barbary
pirates, or any other hostile force -- INCLUDING a corrupted group of officials in the
federal government who fancied themselves to be carrying on the unconstitutional dictates of an elite overlord or sovereign.
"Shall not be infringed".
The inherent right is recognized and acknowledged as one not to be infringed upon by the government.
This does not mean that a state cannot pass laws against
dangerous acts, define what is criminal, and restrain people -- individuals -- who infringe upon or threaten the rights of others. ("Your right
to swing your arm ends at the tip of my nose.") But no
government, and certainly not the federal government, prospectively can infringe on the
right itself. "Infringe" means to hinder it, block it, denigrate it, diminish it.
A "well regulated militia" is "the right of the people [each individual] to keep and bear arms", and vice versa.
These are one
and the same. "The people" are "the militia". There is no
If there is a problem now that too many people in this country no longer share American values,
and too many are of cruel, dishonest or apathetic character, or are mentally unstable, or hold their highest allegiences to
other countries or codes or identities, or are just ignorant fools, then it's time to address seriously the causes of these maladies.
Apr 06, 2018:
Here's another take, very good -- and no 18th century definition of "militia" even needed -- just literacy and common sense
Imagine that the 2nd Amendment is about something other than firearms. Suppose the amendment said,
"A well-educated electorate being necessary for the functioning of a free republic, the right of the people to read and write books
shall not be infringed."
J.L. Woodruff's article is at American Thinker.