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Posted: 5/10/2002 9:49:58 PM EST
This was copied from a letter to the editor at The Los Angeles Times:

Thank you for printing the text of the 2nd Amendment, a careful reading of which resolves all controversy as to its meaning. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's interpretation mistakenly focuses solely on the second half of the amendment ("the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed") and completely ignores the first half, which sets a clear condition upon that right ("A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State").

The structure of the complete amendment makes clear that if the condition that is set out first is not met, then the consequent right has no foundation and ceases to exist; otherwise, why refer to a militia at all? Today, that condition is not met: a "well regulated militia" is no longer "necessary to the security" of a state, as we have a professional standing army. Since the amendment's "right of the people to keep and bear arms" is conditioned upon the need for a militia to maintain security, the fact that no such need any longer exists means that the right of the people to bear arms no longer exists, either.

I'm sure the NRA won't be persuaded; but then I'd like to know why its members believe the authors of the amendment commenced it with that reference to a militia "being necessary," instead of going straight to the right itself? Sloppy writing?

Michael Hickey

Palm Springs


That letter above is clear to the point which the writer makes in an intelligent manner, However, he has to be wrong because the Right was never intended by the founders of the Constitution to become non-existent. Just as we go from war to peace and back to war, how can we ever say that an armed populace, necessary to the security of a free state, will ever be no longer needed even though the "professional" army is always maintained?
Link Posted: 5/10/2002 9:56:51 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/10/2002 10:34:34 PM EST
What an idiot. A professor of english that did an analysis of the structure of the 2nd amendment came to the conclusion that "A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free State" is a clause dependent upon the "right of the people to keep and bear arms". I have the link to the article somewhere.
Link Posted: 5/10/2002 10:46:49 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/10/2002 11:03:58 PM EST
Even making the dubious assumption that the need for a militia has been supplanted by the fact of a standing army, the author mistakes reasoning for a requirement.  The amendment clearly reserves a power to the people, not the government. The amendment does not say, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, [b]so long as[/b] a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state."  The right of the people is not conditioned on the need for a militia.  The need for a militia provides a good reason for the right of the people, but it is not a requirement.  And, while it is arguable that the change in times and the fact we now have a standing army may obviate the need for a militia (a point which I do not necessarily concede), the change in the structure of the armed forces does not make the right any less effective.  Take the third amendment, for example.  While many scholars would argue that it is no longer enforceable and a historical artifact, it is only because of the structure of the armed forces today that makes it irrelevant.  It is still quite enforceable should the army decide to quarter troops on your lawn.  It is just never used because of the structure of the armed forces today; the right, however, still exists.  

In fact, had this mindless doofus done his homework, he would have realized the entire BoR are protections against the federal government.  It would have been sloppy writing indeed if the Founding Fathers had provided ten amendments, nine of which (and in no particular order) were to protect the people and the states against the powers of the federal gov't.  Additionally, while we do have a standing army today, any male of proper age can be drafted, not unlike calling forth the militia in 1791.  Thus, every able bodied person who could be subject to the draft can be thought of as a "reserve" part of the standing army, or the militia.

Link Posted: 5/11/2002 3:05:40 AM EST
Well, I don't think it matters how [b]they[/b] see it, because after all we have the guns and they don't. They just have to deal with it as best they can, because private gun ownership isn't going away anytime soon.

Perhaps we need to make everyone who feels that the 2nd amendment doesn't guarantee the individual RKBA to you, me, or anyone else confiscate a gun from someone who knows that it [b]does[/b] guarantee the RKBA to individuals. It's real easy to say something when you know you won't be the one getting shot trying to do it.

The way I read it, he has it ack-basswards - the primary clause ("the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed") qualifies the dependent clause ("A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state.") In other words, the armed population exists so that we might have a well-regulated militia - we don't have a militia to determine who may be armed.

(edited because I did a bit of doofus-style writing myself!)
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 5:21:43 AM EST
[url=http://www.saf.org/journal/4_Schulman.html] Grammatical Analysis of the 2nd Amendment[/url]
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 1:01:29 PM EST
Tapper Man, thanks for the link.

Pro-gun control people see the Second Amendment as an anachronism and have images of muskets, Redcoats, and Paul Revere in mind when they regard this unappealing (to them) right that is contained in the Bill of Rights. Now, they say, we have a modern army and police who will protect us.

Wrong, how would they view this right if this were Israel? That, my friends, is the modern reality. It could happen here!

Need I say more?

Link Posted: 5/11/2002 1:05:32 PM EST
Thanks TapperMan.

I, too, had read that article somewhere. But now I have it saved for future reference.

Thanks again.
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 1:10:53 PM EST
Best case scenario: The militia are those who act when the police are unable to protect the citizenry. Remember the Korean shop owners defending their stores with AR15s and deer rifles?

Worst case scenario: The militia are those who will act when the police are a threat to the citizenry. [url=www.jpfo.org/athens.htm]The Battle of Athens, TN[/url]
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 1:22:18 PM EST
Wrong, how would they view this right if this were Israel? That, my friends, is the modern reality. It could happen here!

Need I say more?

View Quote

Excellent point!  I'll bet WHEN we start seeing suicide bombers in our shopping malls, bus stations, ect., that the applications for CCW will go through the roof!  Or, even worse, when crazies go after our children on the playground, they might not mind seeing teachers packing AR-15's protecting them-just like in Israel.  

Someone ought to write down the above opinions and send them to the LA Times as a response to the letter  mentioned above?
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 7:15:30 PM EST
Mr. Hickey, the letters author, also lives in the People's Republic of California. As we all know, thanks to the wonderful Senators of that state, there is no more gun crime there. Unless of course you're a gun owner, which makes you the criminal.
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