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Not the BS, "let me take a few words out of this and proclaim it to be the 2nd Amendment." But the whole thing as written.

The gun nuts today are out in force with their faux "concern" about these poor, innocent children who endured ungodly terror and pain as they were slaughtered, and it is time to make clear: To hell with you people. We talk. NOW.

And the first thing to make clear is that we who want regulated guns support ALL of the 2nd Amendment.

The 2nd Amendment is, unfortunately, the worst written of the Bill of Rights -- in fact, it is almost incomprehensible. If submitted on a grammar test, it would be given an F:

"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."

Since it is not a sentence, we have to parse this. Words are intended to flow one to another. In other words, if I say, "I want to have dinner, let's have steak,'' I am saying I want to have steak for dinner.

Why does this matter? Look at the first three words: A WELL REGULATED militia. This is the ONLY part of the Constitution that mentions regulations. It doesn't say "free for all." It says well-regulated.

I understand the concept - as archaic as it now is -- that people needed to be able to be armed so that a citizen militia could fight back against invaders. So, if the gun nuts want the last part (right to bear arms shall not be infringed), it has to be in the context of the first. They are armed so they can be a militia. And they are a militia that MUST be well-regulated.

When we see the bodies of children, the bodies of seniors, of shoppers, of worshippers, of movie-goers, of members of congress...scattered everywhere, we do not have a well-regulated militia.

I know the SC has tried to separate these two concepts, but only through the terms of Common Law, not through the express words of the Amendment. The debate in the constitutiional convention was about the people having the power to confront an army -- an impossibility today unless they have the right to fighter jets and the like. Making it even more narrow, Robert Whitehill, a delegate from Pennsylvania, sought to clarify the draft Constitution with a bill of rights explicitly granting individuals the right to hunt on their own land in season. I dont think that is what they meant.

HOWEVER, whenever a gun nut throws the 2nd Amendment at us, I have my new chant: "Well-regulated? I AGREE!!!"

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Comment Preferences

  •  Join the militia, take instruction, pass tests, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katiec, PeterHug, Angie in WA State

    get a license for the arms--a renewable license
    which requires weekly drills on the village green
    and frequent skills test.

    Sure, that would work for everyone.

    And, btw, the Second Amendment is a complete
    sentence... just has a misplaced comma after Arms.

    Stonewall was a RIOT!

    by ExStr8 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 02:30:24 PM PST

  •  I have no problem with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the ideas you express, but for the record, that's not what the 2nd Amendment means by "well regulated militia".  "Well regulated" actually means well equipped.

    "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Goethe

    by jlynne on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 02:33:35 PM PST

    •  I'd imagine that it means well equipped to be a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ExStr8, Angie in WA State

      viable militia, in every way.

      That would include being well regulated, ie, trained, knows  how to use a gun, emotionally well regulated, etc...

    •  The meaning of the words in the 2nd Amendment? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Well Regulated

      The Random House College Dictionary (1980) gives four definitions for the word "regulate," which were all in use during the Colonial period and one more definition dating from 1690 (Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 1989). They are:

      1) To control or direct by a rule, principle, method, etc.
      2) To adjust to some standard or requirement as for amount, degree, etc.

      3) To adjust so as to ensure accuracy of operation.

      4) To put in good order.

      [obsolete sense]
      b. Of troops: Properly disciplined. Obs. rare-1.

      Also, from the link above:
      1690 Lond. Gaz. No. 2568/3
         We hear likewise that the French are in a great Allarm in Dauphine and Bresse, not having at present 1500 Men of regulated Troops on that side.
         We can begin to deduce what well-regulated meant from Alexander Hamilton's words in Federalist Paper No. 29:

         The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, nor a week nor even a month, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry and of the other classes of the citizens to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people and a serious public inconvenience and loss.
              --- The Federalist Papers, No. 29.

      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

      by Angie in WA State on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 05:55:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It also says... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buddabelly, Pete Cortez, nextstep, ExStr8


  •  We used to be a nation of farmers. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State

    Independent, family farmers that lived far from concentrated regions of people, away from federal power, away from military bases, away from any kind of government sponsored, organized help.

    Talking about the second amendment in the context of today's post-industrial nation doesn't make any sense at all, and really, both anti and pro gun people get this thing way wrong.

    As far as I can tell, the second amendment was about being able to defend your farm from native people, and against other people who had access to guns.  It was a practical concern, letting the private citizens take defense into their own hands, organizing armed groups to defend against outsiders, defend themselves, etc...  It was a practical thing.

    Most of all, it doesn't matter what the founders wanted.  What matters is what we have, and whether or not we want it.

    I'm not in the habit of letting long-dead people rule my life or decide my politics.  Something makes me think That's What The Founders Wanted.

    •  What it meant was (0+ / 0-)

      citizens needed to be armed to fight off invading armies from hostile countries. Or their own government if the need arose (remember they had just ended the Revolutionary War).
      Which, as you said, isn't really relevant in the 21st Century. A few automatics and a handgun won't match the firepower of the US Army.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 03:33:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually the 2nd Amendment (5+ / 0-)

    is very clear, and easy to understand.

    It's an obvious conditional statement .... the right of the people to keep and bear arms is conditional on the need for a well-regulated militia.

    Not only is the English easy, the circumstances at the time (no standing army or militia), makes the meaning crystal clear.

    It's not my fault that five Supreme Court Justices can't read.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 04:16:50 PM PST

  •  What disturbs me about the 2nd Amendment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State

    Is that on its basis laws that restrict gun ownership by people who have nothing whatsoever to do with a well-regulated militia (read: National Guard) are overturned as unconstitutional.  This is established SCOTUS precedent.

    What troubles me about this is that this implies that the "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state..." beginning of the 2nd Amendment has no meaning whatsoever; that it is pure fluff.  This part has been chosen by the SCOTUS to mean nothing at all - so using this precedent, what part of the Constitution can be deemed pure fluff next and on what basis can an objection be made?

    The common individualist interpretation of the 2nd Amendment logically leads to the lack of restriction on the powers of government in the United States.

    Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

    by GeoffT on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 04:38:40 PM PST

  •  I agree with all you say, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but I don't know if the "gun nut" terminology is helpful. I've used the phrase myself, though, so I can't really fault it.

    The simple facts regarding the peculiar interpretation of the Second Amendment, as set forth by Justice Scalia, are that 1) individual gun owners are NOT members of well-regulated militias, whether "well-regulated" means "well-equipped" or not and 2) individual gun owners do not contribute to the security of a Free State.

    All other arguments about what the Constitution means, whether "People" actually refers to an individual's rights, whether Arms refer to military-grade weaponry, whether the Second Amendment deals with the rights of citizens to hunt with firearms, whether "head axes" would be considered legal under the Amendment...none of that is material when compared to the lack of a well-regulated Militia and the lack of contribution to the security of a Free State.

    Without meeting those conditions, people are simply brandishing firearms willy-nilly and that, regardless of Justice Scalia or certain folks on this Website, is NOT legal.


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