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The Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution

What the historical evidence says about the Second Amendment and individual rights.

In 1803 a distinguished Virginia jurist named St. George Tucker published the first extended analysis and commentary on the recently adopted U.S. Constitution. Though it is mostly forgotten today, Tucker's View of the Constitution of the United States was a major work in its time. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, generations of lawyers and scholars would reach for Tucker's View as a go-to constitutional law textbook.

I was reminded of Tucker's dusty tome in recent days after reading one liberal pundit after another smugly assert that the original meaning of the Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with individual rights. Slate's Dahlia Lithwick, for example, denounced the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment as a "a hoax" peddled in recent years by the conniving National Rifle Association. Likewise, Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson complained that "the NRA's politicking has warped the Constitution itself" by tricking the Supreme Court into "recast[ing] the Second Amendment as a guarantee of individual gun rights."

Old St. George Tucker never encountered any "politicking" by the NRA. A veteran of the Revolutionary war and a one-time colleague of James Madison, Tucker watched in real time as Americans publicly debated whether or not to ratify the Constitution, and then watched again as Americans debated whether or not to amend the Constitution by adopting the Bill of Rights. Afterwards Tucker sat down and wrote the country's first major constitutional treatise. And as far Tucker was concerned, there was simply no doubt that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to arms. "This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty," Tucker wrote of the Second Amendment. "The right of self-defense is the first law of nature."

The individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment was widely held during the founding era. How do we know this? Because the historical evidence overwhelmingly points in that direction. For example, consider the historical context in which the Second Amendment was first adopted.

When the Constitution was ratified in 1789 it lacked the Bill of Rights. Those first 10 amendments came along a few years later, added to the Constitution in response to objections made during ratification by the Anti-Federalists, who wanted to see some explicit protections added in order to safeguard key individual rights. As the pseudonymous Anti-Federalist pamphleteer "John DeWitt" put it, "the want of a Bill of Rights to accompany this proposed system, is a solid objection to it."

Library of CongressLibrary of CongressJames Madison, the primary architect of the new Constitution, took seriously such Anti-Federalist objections. "The great mass of the people who opposed [the Constitution]," Madison told Congress in 1789, "dislike it because it did not contain effectual provision against encroachments on particular rights." To remove such objections, Madison said, supporters of the Constitution should compromise and agree to include "such amendments in the constitution as will secure those rights, which [the Anti-Federalists] consider as not sufficiently guarded." Madison then proposed the batch of amendments that would eventually become the Bill of Rights.

What "particular rights" did the Anti-Federalists consider to be "not sufficiently guarded" by the new Constitution? One right that the Anti-Federalists brought up again and again was the individual right to arms.

For example, Anti-Federalists at the New Hampshire ratification convention wanted it made clear that, "Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion." Anti-Federalists at the Massachusetts ratification convention wanted the Constitution to "be never construed...to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable, from keeping their own arms."

Meanwhile, in the Anti-Federalist stronghold of Pennsylvania, critics at that state's ratification convention wanted the Constitution to declare, "that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own State, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals."

One of the central purposes of the Second Amendment was to mollify such concerns by enshrining the individual right to arms squarely within the text of the Constitution. Just as the First Amendment was added to address fears of government censorship, the Second Amendment was added to address fears about government bans on private gun ownership.

Like it or not, the idea that the Second Amendment protects an individual right is as old as the Second Amendment itself.

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  • Jay Dubya||

    Its difficult to find a modern political debate as obviously dishonest as the call to disarm Americans. I will never understand how otherwise intelligent people put themself through the mental gymnastics needed to turn the Constitution into the basis of an authoritarian police state.

  • ||

    turn the Constitution into the basis of an authoritarian police state.

    There's over a hundred years of legal precedent for that. It's all about the legal process now, not about the actual constitution. Talmud vs. Torah.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    The idea that ANY of the Bill of Rights would enumerate a government right to keep and bear arms speaks only of the speaker's moral bankruptcy.

  • josh||

    i read somewhere recently where the author quoted alexander hamilton, and then subsequently just kept referring to the founders, as if hamilton's statement spoke for everyone. it's not hard to find a founder or statement that might back up the gun control argument. the hard part is thinking that somehow represents the larger constitutional effort.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    Actually it is hard, there is not one Founding era document that records such a sentiment.

    Don't know what statement by Hamilton is referred to here but I'm certain he didn't disparage the individual right either.

    He probably was talking about the militia and the author you refer to interprets that as supporting the "collective" right.

  • bpuharic||

    The police state metality is shown in the gun cult's insistence that gun control is gun confiscation. That's a paranoid lie.

  • Hannibal Smith||

    If gun control isn't confiscating or preventing guns from at least some people, then how could you claim it would have any affect on anything at all?

    The boldness of people who spend all their time complaining about how widespread guns are in America and how less guns=less crime and how their solutions will result in less crime, who then call others paranoid for suggesting they might be calling for fewer guns is astounding.

  • JoeNCA||

    If more guns = less crime, the United States has the most guns.

    Why don't we have the least crime?

  • Diane Merriam||

    The United States as a country has almost NO operative federal gun laws. We have 50 states, each with their own set of laws on what you can and can't have and where and how you can and can't carry them. When you look at a state by state basis you find that some states with almost no gun regulation have the lowest crime rates and some states with a lot of regulation still have very high crime rates.

    Casting it on a national basis is disingenuous at best.

  • tommhan||

    That is really simple Joe. It is the violent gangs and population of our large cities and not the majority of America that commit most violent crime. I would bet if you took out large cities our crime rate would match many others. Problem is how do we solve inner city crime?

  • timbo||

    It is not paranoia at all. The naivite of those who cannot foresee that this is the strategy toward the slippery slope are choosing to ignore all other activities of bureaucrats and power mongers. The ultimate goal has always been to alleviate the last threat to ultimate power by politicians.

  • DesigNate||

    Wait, you don't think we live in a police state?

    Are you fucking retarded?

  • John DeWitt||

    I think it's awesome how disjointed the arguments are.

    A) The 2nd amendment only protects your right to bear arms in order to be part of a militia.
    - This article a pretty good retort to that one.

    B) The founders never intended for folks to have military grade weapons.
    - So the militia was't supposed to have military grade weapons?

  • Hank Phillips||

    What I can't figure out is why Damon uses the word "liberal" the way national socialists taught republicans to use it after they got beat in 1932.

  • Drake_Burrwood||

    Because you see they are not looking at their feet or around them. Their eyes are on the horizon building the glorious societies city they see in their dreams.

  • Thymirus||

    The sorts of journalists you cite employ the historical ignorance and moral defectiveness of their audiences to promote prohibitionism. Were these people taught even the most rudimentary variant of their nation's past, and had infixed within their minds the inexcusability of enchaining their countrymen in such ways, as better men once had, then unscrupulous hoplophobes would be proponing their retarded claptrap to no more than imaginary friends and mirrors.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" are clearly the sole province of government officials, bureaucrats, and other sundry official functionaries. The proles can bow down and like it.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Well, as long as we're talking about "original intentions", then yeah, they "clearly the sole province" of white cis-het men, preferably wealthy.

    There's a reason "original intent" isn't the game-winner some people think it should be. Especially when you can find "experts" to argue any position from "original intent".

  • Johnimo||

    Even in colonial times, women had constitutional rights. They were allowed to own property and manage their own affairs to the degree that they were able. It MAY have been inferred, but there is no reference in the constitution which defines "citizen" or the "people" by race or sex. In most western States, for instance, women were voting before the 19th Amendment, and in several cases (Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Washington) they had voting rights even before Statehood. There was no prohibition -- at the federal level -- against women voting and otherwise having equality before the law.

    Even "Standing Bear" was judged to be a "man," per the terms of the Constitution, at an early date in the US. See "Standing Bear vs. The United States," decided in favor of Standing Bear in 1879. The judge found that "Standing Bear was a person within the meaning of the law."

    You have a point, but the framers of the constitution did not use gender and race specific terms when speaking of the "Liberties and rights of man." I'm pretty sure they used "man" to mean "mankind." It was .... intentionally or not ... language which included everyone. Did they make a compromise with the devil regarding Southern slave? Yes, they did! It was the only way they could form the nation, initially. It later cost about 650,000 lives in the Civil War to undo the compromise.

  • ShayneM||

    The original phrase was to be "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Property". Many of the founding fathers objected to the term "Property" because they felt it would legalize slavery forever. Many of them were already dreaming of a day when slavery would be banned, and that ALL people would be free. So "original intent" was to include ALL people, and not only white, wealthy males.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    DC v Heller was a 5-4 decision. It's very widely known that the NRA never sought to argue that the Second Amendment guarantees a right of self defense because it felt the Supreme Court would reject that interpretation. The historical sources that Mr. Root cites are "inconclusive" at best. Scalia's majority decision is a masterpiece of result-determined jurisprudence, finding a constitutional right to handgun (in the home) without overturning any previous decisions allowing gun restrictions. I was particularly impressed by Scalia's grounds for amputating the infamous introductory clause to the amendment, citing as authority a British case decided in the nineteenth century!*

    *Rex v. Marks, 3 East, 157, 165 (K. B. 1802)

  • tarran||

    Mr Vanneman, I have a qquestion.

    When you were a high school student, what was your opinion of people who craft mendacious arguments like the one you just did? Did you hold them in contempt? Or did you aspire to be like them, finding them clever and exciting?

    What would 16 year old Alan think of the man you have become?

  • Thymirus||

    Que?

  • Overt||

    The historical sources that Mr. Root cites are "inconclusive" at best.

    Only because you are afraid to take the evidence to its conclusion.

    There is no doubt that all the contemporary text of the time assumed that the right to bear arms was secured at the individual level. The second amendment is nestled right there with all the other "individual" rights. You have the text that was referred to above. Various state legislatures enshrined variants of the same language in their state constitutions which cannot be misconstrued as some sort of collective right.

    So I can only assume you are intentionally being obtuse here, for which you have my sympathies.

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    You're in the wrong part of town, son.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    So, you have historical sources proving that the Second Amendment protects an oxymoron called a "collective right"? Do share them with us.

  • Calidissident||

    When SCOTUS makes a 5-4 decision that progressives like, then it's "settled law." When they make a 5-4 decision progressives don't like, then it's a horrible failure that threatens our democracy and must be overturned as soon as possible.

  • ||

    That's because they're intellectually immature.

  • Mark6||

    as well as emotionally immature

  • CE||

    No, it's because they're playing a game. You like the rules, you bow down to the rules and ask everyone else to do likewise. You don't like the rules, you point out that they need to be fixed, for obvious reasons.

    Conservatives like rules and defer to them. Progressives want to make new rules. It's in their nature.

  • DesigNate||

    It's a horrible decision in that it should have been a 9-0 slam dunk seeing as how the plain language of the amendment is crystal fucking clear.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    and it was 9-0 as regards the militia,

    Stevens and the other 3 dissenters did not argue that the militia clause controlled the right,

    almost his opening words were "the right can be enforced by individuals".

  • Catatafish & Woodchips||

    Sure you wanna quit playing, Jack? The game's always between you and getting called a cunt.

  • OldMexican Trained Philosopher||

    Anal Vanneman,

    DC v Heller was a 5-4 decision.


    Irrelevant.

    It's very widely known [...]


    Anal Vanneman can read minds. Be the first to know it here.

    The historical sources that Mr. Root cites are "inconclusive" at best.


    This is Anal Vanneman's Speak for "I wasn't aware of St. George Tucker's work but I am going to obfuscate because I already made up my mind the Second Amendment means something else completely different from what is expressed in it in Plain English. So there, bitches."

    I was particularly impressed by Scalia's grounds for amputating the infamous introductory clause to the amendment, citing as authority a British case decided in the nineteenth century!


    Irrelevant.

    By the way, and by no means I am a native English speaker, that introductory 'clause' is only meant to be an explanation why the right it seeks to protect is given so special a treatment, and that reason is because the defense of the land requires that people know how to operate their weapons with proficiency. That much is CLEAR by the term 'well-regulated'. You can't call up a militia that is unable to shoot straight.

  • Diane Merriam||

    Yes, defending the individual's right to keep and bear arms was so important they went out of their way to emphasize why it was also in the government's best interests to do so.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    calia's majority decision is a masterpiece of result-determined jurisprudence, finding a constitutional right to handgun (in the home) without overturning any previous decisions allowing gun restrictions

    Scalia didn't have to "find" such a right in the Constitution; the Constitution grants no rights to citizens at all. The Constitution grants limited, enumerated powers to government.

    Where exactly does the Constitution grant the power to government to restrict gun ownership? If you can't find such a power in the Constitution, government lacks that power.

  • Diane Merriam||

    That was the argument that Hamilton pressed in Federalist 84 as to why a Bill of Rights was a bad idea. that it could, in his words,

    "I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colourable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority, which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it, was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights."

  • mpercy||

    Often see this sort of argument...'Since you folks claim to be be interested in your so-called Constitutional rights... please tell me why you ignore the "well regulated militia" part of the 2nd Amendment.'

    We don't. We simply accept the notion that the language of "well-regulated" means "well-practiced", which is a very consistent usage at the time, and completely in line with the explanation given by the Founders during their debate and later.

    We fully understand that "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," was written right after the States had used militia and regular army to overthrow King George's government control--to provide a free State.

    And that the militia is all of the people, or nearly all, again as per common usage at the time and in fact, as is consistent with the current US Code (10 U.S. Code § 311 - Militia: composition and classes).

    And one simply needs to read the various verbiage proposed at the time to see.

    For example:

    17, 20 Aug. 1789Annals 1:749--52, 766--67

    The House again resolved itself into a committee...on the proposed amendments to the constitution. The third clause of the fourth proposition in the report was taken into consideration, being as follows: "A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms."

  • mpercy||

    [continued]

    Mr. Gerry.--This declaration of rights, I take it, is intended to secure the people against the mal-administration of the Government; if we could suppose that, in all cases, the rights of the people would be attended to, the occasion for guards of this kind would be removed. Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution itself. They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous, and prevent them from bearing arms.

    What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary.

    Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.

    This was actually done by Great Britain at the commencement of the late revolution. They used every means in their power to prevent the establishment of an effective militia to the eastward. The Assembly of Massachusetts, seeing the rapid progress that administration were making to divest them of their inherent privileges, endeavored to counteract them by the organization of the militia; but they were always defeated by the influence of the Crown.

  • mpercy||

    10 U.S. Code § 311 - Militia: composition and classes

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

    (b) The classes of the militia are—
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

  • Drake_Burrwood||

    What you may find intresting is the version before this included the active duty federal armed forces. This was of doubtful constitutionality as the Militia is required to be trained to Union Congress standards, but by the States.

  • Diane Merriam||

    The phrase "Well-Regulated" is so long out of use that dictionaries no longer cover it as a phrase. Since the word "regulated," in common usage today requires an external regulator, many people assume that a well regulated militia requires an outside regulator, i.e. the government.

    However here are examples of it in usage at the time which gives us, in a way, an even better definition.

    * If a liberal Education has formed in us well-regulated Appetites and worthy Inclinations.
    * A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Mayor.
    * It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding.
    * The advantage of living a well-regulated life was never better illustrated than in the person of his brother Andrew
    * He has led a well-regulated life, but his virtues are narrow and petty
    * Lord Byron's mind was as well regulated as it was powerful
    * And the one I ran across while reading Mary Wollstonecraft's "A Vindication Of The Rights Of Women" — … the harmonious propriety that attunes the passions of a well-regulated mind, that I blush …

    It referred to something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was functioning as expected. Arms under the control of the militia (which was the entire body of the populace capable of bearing arms) is what was necessary to keep government under control, not the other way around.

  • The Grinch||

    Feinstein and Manchin must have gone to law school together. If we go down the route of depriving people's constitutional rights without due process, we'll be in deep shit. Just look at how they've abused asset forfeiture.

  • The Grinch||

    Damnit, I meant to post this in the Feinstein thread. Herpity derpity.

  • Mark6||

    well, since you included an example of depriving people's rights w/o due process you could modify your comment to declare we already are in deep shit!

  • Zeb||

    I heard some of this crap over the weekend. It occurred to me that the individual right to own and use guns probably wasn't addressed by courts for the first 150 years or so was that for the most part it was generally understood that people had that right and there weren't many states trying to curtail that right. If it's not controversial that regular people own and use guns, of course you don't get much court precedent on the question.

  • Mainer2||

    Exactly right. This is why the first gun control laws were Jim Crow laws. Couldn't let the freed slaves have the rights of citizen, which obviously included the right to carry a gun.

  • R C Dean||

    Bingo bongo. The squawking about how there isn't an unbroken string of cases from the ratification on is mostly a reflection of how absurd such cases would have been, until recently.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    WELL THEN ONLY MUSKETS.

  • ||

    No Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventist, Baha'i, Jehovah's Witness, because the Founders didn't contemplate these religions in the 18th century so 1A doesn't apply to them.

  • CE||

    No Jedi either?

  • IceTrey||

    Only hand set one sheet printing presses too.

  • Glide||

    Troops won't be quartered in your house, but if you have a condo you're SOL.

  • mpercy||

    So, no 1st amendment protects for the output of high speed printing presses, radio, TV, Internet, movies, videotape, audio recordings...?

    No 4th or 5th amendment right to cell-phone or email privacy?

  • AZ Gunowner||

    well then ONLY quill pens!

  • DaveH||

    If I recall, the second amendment refers to the right to bear arms. Not firearms, just arms.

    If the second amendment becomes meaningless, how long before we will also be required to surrender kitchen knives, baseball bats, and our bare hands?

  • Zeb||

    There are people in the UK and some other places who want to ban pointy kitchen knives because they are too stabby.

    If the second amendment becomes meaningless, it would be a terrible thing, but there are a lot of states that have even stronger gun right guarantees in their constitutions and I doubt that Congress would be able to pass anything that effectively disarms people in such states even if the courts basically kill the second. So that's something if you live in a state that protects gun rights.

  • ||

    Guns for show. Knives for a pro.

    -English proverb

  • Ron||

    close enough to stab close enough to shoot

  • R C Dean||

    Zeb, if Congress passes a law outlawing firearms and its upheld, those state constitutions will be overridden by federal law. Sorry.

  • ||

    You're ignoring the defiance at the state, local, street, house and room that would happen if the Feds tried to pull this bullshit. I honestly think there would be a rebellion.

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    Waco was a gun control action…

  • AZ Gunowner||

    Yeah and 4 Feds died the first day because they didn't actually expect resistance.

    There will be a lot more Feds dead if the Congress actually tries to go down that route.

  • CE||

    Texas hasn't even seceded yet. (This time.) No one is going to rebel. They're just going to complain on Facebook and Twitter. They won't even vote third party.

  • Drake_Burrwood||

    Already am voting third party have done for over a decade.

  • 1775||

    They will never outlaw firearms. It's not that they can't, they could have already many times. The first two years of Obama for example.

    They won't because then it comes right down to it, they really don't want to. It's a constant carrot to dangle in front of the uninformed, "if you just vote for our side, we'll finally be able to do something about all these damned guns."

    The promise to do it keeps them in power, actually DOING it would ruin their platform as people saw it not make a damned bit of difference in crime rates.

  • Diane Merriam||

    They just keep finding ways to nibble at it, like every other progressive government. They're in it for the long haul. Present something outrageous and then "compromise" on something not quite as bad. Rinse and repeat.

  • mpercy||

    And they use the same verbiage "No one needs a chef knife, except for professional chefs."

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4581871.stm

    "The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all.

    They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen."

  • See.More||

    Save a Life, Surrender Your Knife
    UK Bans Samurai Swords


    Sure, that's the United Kingdom... but, I'm afraid, we're not far behind.

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    No CCTV recording? :-D

  • CE||

    Maybe they have a zombie army they're planning to unleash, and they don't want Michonne messing with their plans.

  • Drake_Burrwood||

    Lets hope that things don't get bad enough that they create the walking dead.

  • Jack_||

    "kitchen knives"

    Already happened here in the UK. Carrying even a knife for self protection is illegal here. Surrender your rights at your own peril, America.

  • Ron||

    In California it is already illegal to have a baseball bat in your car unless you are traveling to a game. A friend got busted in LA for that as a concealed weapon, it was behind the seat of his pickup therefore hidden never mind thats where everyone puts things when they are driving

  • ||

    California is an insane shithole where local bureaucrats in urban areas can't seem to recognize rights.

    And FWIW, when I lived there (Woodlake, represent) I routinely walked down the road with a rifle strapped to my back...and every cop that drove by asked me if I'd killed anything today. And in another instance a cop came to my door and asked if they could go search my outbuildings for a potential murder suspect (first murder there in well over a decade). I said "sure, let me grab my gun and we'll do it together" to which the cop waited the 30 seconds it took me to get my gun and boots on.

    So Country California can be civilized. City California is fucked.

  • Zeb||

    Guns is really an issue where there is a big urban/rural divide. Where I live, even most reliable liberal Demorcratic voters mostly get it because they know so many people who own and use guns.

  • Catatafish & Woodchips||

    It's an urban issue because city politicians need a bogeyman to point to in order to distract from their other policy failures and the uncomfortable racial components. Urban violence has nothing to do with shitty schools, dysfunctional families, corrupt police forces, etc., so GUNZ!

  • Zeb||

    In addition to that it's a lot easier to remain ignorant about guns and how they are used by the vat majority of people in a urban area. In a rural place you are likely to hear gunshots on a nice afternoon and it's no big deal. In a city, hearing gunshots outdoors is usually going to indicate something bad going on (whether it's a crime, someone being reckless or someone acting in self defense).

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    Don't forget the War on Drugs.

  • DarrenM||

    How about a tire iron?

  • Mark6||

    only if your car is a hybrid

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Those first 10 amendments came along a few years later, added to the Constitution in response to objections made during ratification by the Anti-Federalists, who wanted to see some explicit protections added in order to safeguard key individual rights.

    And the Anti-Federalists were right. I have no doubt that we would be living under a totalitarian police state by now if it weren't for the BoR. It's at least slowed the prog-tards down a little bit.

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    The Bill of Rights didn't slow down Woodrow Wilson's attempt to turn the US into a police state.

  • Mark6||

    nor Barry O's

  • bpuharic||

    The racist hatred of Obama is stong with the gun cult. They lied about Obama in 2008, 2012 and 2015. Enraged by the fact they stampede like sheep, they keep telling us he's coming for our guns.

    He'd have to confiscate them at 1000 guns a minute 24 hours a day. But the panicky gun cultiists have their myths

  • Hannibal Smith||

    Are these "racist stampeding sheep" the kind of people that other people can see or that for some reason only show up in your head?

  • block30||

    Obama was nominate for a Nobel prize in about the first 12 days of his FIRST term. Talk about stampeding sheep.

  • DesigNate||

    Hmmm, which of the regulars are you? I mean, going straight for the racism card is tipping your hand a little early.

  • Atanarjuat||

    I went over to a Huffington Post article full of gun banning comments. To make a long story short, they're stunningly misinformed. I posted the following.

    I'd like to ask a question of those in favor of gun control... France's strict gun laws didn't stop the deadly shooting at the nightclub recently. How would the US enacting similar laws stop such an attack here?

    No one replied.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Oh, add in the shooting of the British politician and see them ignore you.

    Facts about gun control not working to stop gun violence just makes their heads explode.

  • Mark6||

    facts about anything contrary to their narrative makes their heads explode

  • ||

    I go on there and post pretty regularly as well. My response is usually "Come And Take It".

    I rarely have anybody say how they plan on doing so, but I do get a lot of "you're what's wrong with America" claptrap.

    Fuck those cowards. They don't have the balls to come take our guns and the Feds would have a revolt here if they tried to send local cops to do their bidding.

  • B.P.||

    To that end, you may enjoy the last couple of paragraphs form this Charles Cooke rant on the subject:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....ent-repeal

    (PS ~ Not an endorsement of the Charles Cooke for President campaign)

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    A good read. It's true, though: when the rubber hits the road, the gun banners want full confiscation. Confiscation means going house-to-house. Needless to say, not everyone is going to go along quietly, but even if they did think of the manpower you'd need to accomplish this in a reasonable amount of time. Now, think if, say, every fifth gun owner was willing to resist with force. Well, now you need SWAT to do the confiscations, because you can't know ahead of time who's willing to take a cop or two with him.

    So, now you've got Boston, except it's nationwide. How many clips of a full SWAT team kicking down a door and shooting the inhabitants will it take before you get open rebellion?

  • Mark6||

    Right Ceci, but the ones issuing the orders know they're safe because they're not the ones doing the confiscating, their minions are.

  • Red Rocks Okey-Dokein||

    Right Ceci, but the ones issuing the orders know they're safe because they're not the ones doing the confiscating, their minions are.

    If it comes to that, the people who would resist (because they have nothing more to lose by doing so) won't wait for the cops or the military to come take their weapons. The more proactive ones will go after the people and institutions who've been pushing these policies first. We're talking more Charlie Hebdos and Virginia Techs, total chaos as the media and college campuses become targets for people who've decided that if they're going to be treated like criminals, they're going to act like criminals. The ones with families and more to lose will either hide their guns or sell them off rather than risk some John Q. Law slaughtering their loved ones.

    And that's the weakness that progressives exploit, and what makes them evil--they use the love that people have for their family and safety against them. Progressives are not your fellow citizens, they are the enemy, plain and simple.

  • Paulpemb||

    "And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward."
    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  • EscherEnigma||

    Hrm... if I actually wanted to "come and take it" (I don't), I'd propose the following.

    Step 1) Start with a ban on the sale of new guns to private citizens. The only people able to purchase new guns in the US would be government entities.

    Step 2) Encourage people to turn over firearms. So a recurring annual buy-back program, possibly with an accompanying tax credit. Best to time it in March so people can consider it right before tax season.

    Step 3) Discourage criminals from using firearms with more sentence-rider laws for committing crimes with guns. Preferably done in such a way that the rider can only be activated if there is a punishable crime first.

    I think that would be much more effective then a complete seizure or confiscation. Responsible gun owners can continue being responsible gun owners, acquiring new guns would start off being mostly unchanged with the increase in prices and rarity being a slow (but steady) thing such that by the time it's nearly impossible to buy a gun people will have become acclimated to the new reality.

    As long as the gov can tramp down on smuggling, I think it would work. Not fast, mind you, but it's a marathon, not a sprint.

    That said, I don't think the government should do any of that. But it's not hard to imagine ways to go from "USA: more guns then people" to "USA: fewer guns then people" that doesn't require mass confiscations.

  • Catatafish & Woodchips||

    You occasionally will get the "if it saves just one life!" response but nothing that resembles actual, cogent thought.

  • Don Escaped Texas||

    I try to share the larger accounting: disarmed folk will eventually be murdered by their neighbors or their own government sooner or later, so it never saves a net life; full accounting shows that disarming costs lives. Anyone who wants to do the accounting on gun control should run the figures on Germany over the past century and let me know what number he arrives at bottom line.

  • DarrenM||

    It's not about preventing preplanned killing sprees. That's going to happen anyway. It's about getting guns out of the hands of all those psychotics out there. You know. Whoever the Left disagrees with.

  • bpuharic||

    The reply is that the guns were purchased in gun friendly Belgium, showing once again lax gun laws support terrorism

  • Hannibal Smith||

    Yeah, that's the lesson a sane person takes from that.

  • EscherEnigma||

    It's easy.

    No "gun control" law, from universal background checks, waiting periods, all the way to strict bans on everything, are intended to stop all attacks, mass-shootings, murders and so-on. Quite simply, it is impossible to completetly stop anything.

    So that such things can still happen even in "disarmed" countries does not prove they are ineffective.

    The intent is to reduce the frequency and magnitude of such events. And in that regard, the record is pretty conclusive. In places with serious gun control (no state in America has serious gun control), we see lower rates of murder, assault and so-on. When things do happen, they tend to have fewer victims and those victims are more likely to survive.

    So yeah, sometimes things still happen. We can't stop everything. But we can reduce the frequency and severity.

    All that said, I think gun-control laws in America are a waste of time. But straw-manning them is a service to no one.

  • ||

    No legitimate government would deny it citizenz the right to self defense. We do not live with such a legitimate federal government.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    As stated in the article, only disarming those in "active rebellion" was deemed constitutional.

    ALL restrictions on firearms are unconstitutional and any judge who tries to wiggle out of it should be impeached.
    1) No background checks
    2) No records on firearms purchases
    3) No serial number requirements
    4) No restrictions on automatic weapons
    5) No restrictions on ex-felons and ex-mental health cases possessing firearms
    6) No Semi-automatic rifle bans (Taxifornia)
    7) No CCW permits needed because very state would allow open or concealed carry (Constitutional carry)

    Every possessor of firearms would be responsible for their own actions and liability if they hurt someone.

    Any politician or government official who makes any law restricting firearms possession is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    Any politician wishing to amend the Constitution and the protections under the 2nd Amendment, feel free to try.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    France's strict gun laws didn't stop the deadly shooting at the nightclub recently. How would the US enacting similar laws stop such an attack here?

    "Well we have to do SOMETHING. And besides, if we sweep a few innocents into the net, it's no big deal. It's not like they're gay."

  • albo||

    1.We must do something
    2.This is something
    3.Therefore, we must do this

  • mpercy||

    The pattern is: government policy and poor regulation cause a crisis. The government publicly and violently searches for culprits, aided by the MSM, and names the wrong parties--usually in the private sector. The government then rolls out a massive new law and its regulatory children to "fix" the problem as they defined it. The new lawdoesn't solve the real problem, costs a lot, and has massive unintended consequences, including setting the stage for the next crisis, which will be bigger and more damaging.

    Memory of the past crisis fades and everybody reluctantly adjusts to the massive new regulatory overhead. A new criris occurs. The government publicly and violently searches for the culprits, aided by the MSM--looking exclusively in the business community...and so it goes.

  • Rational Exuberance||

  • Red Rocks Okey-Dokein||

    Slate's Dahlia Lithwick, for example, denounced the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment as a "a hoax" peddled in recent years by the conniving National Rifle Association.

    Lithwick's just parroting the recent revisionist history by left-wing legal scholars trying to justify increasing restrictions on gun ownership, using the 1977 NRA convention as the turning point where "individual ownership" supposedly became sacrosanct. They've been running this line since "Arming America" came out--if you can demonstrate that not very many people owned guns and that no one considered the right to bear arms to be that important, you can use appeals to authority to justify eventual confiscation (the media's response to Orlando shows that the "no one wants to take your guns!" line has no credibility anymore).

  • Red Rocks Okey-Dokein||

    Of course, it's a hell of a lot more complicated than that, in that not only was gun ownership a lot more common back then than it is today (the actual percentage of firearm owners has dropped compared to 50-60 years ago), but public attitudes about gun control were typically related to perceptions of total crime. The laws of the early 20th century were passed in response to Prohibition-era violence in the cities, while rising crime levels and social breakdown in the same places in the 70s and 80s increased the public's desire to loosen gun restrictions. It's a lot harder to convince people that gun control is needed when the data shows that gun violence has been on the downswing for 20 years, so you sensationalize mass shootings (which causes a feedback loop for imitators) and appeal to prejudice by singling out certain types of rifles, which are actually used in a minuscule percentage of murders and crimes in general.

    That's really why the gun control debate is at a standstill--no one on the side of gun owners believes that people on the gun control side don't want to ban firearms completely, because the gun control side uses deceptive propaganda, cherry-picked stats, and special pleading to push their agenda.

  • CE||

    The left-wing loony conspiracy nuts see the NRA and Koch brothers behind every boulder. The NRA isn't bribing Congress critters to ignore the will of the people. People in most states want the Second Amendment defended, not ignored.

  • Homple||

    Chatter away about gun rights all you like, but after two or three Hillary-appointed Supreme Court justices, the Second Amendment will be as deader than the Fourth is now. In a generation, or at most two, they will be confiscating firearms, perfectly content to pry them from your cold, dead hands.

  • Zeb||

    It's easy to make predictions about things that will happen after we are all dead.

    Maybe I'm too optimistic, but I bet we dont' see that in my lifetime. Maybe in some states, but in most states, significant gun restrictions are still a big loser politically and I don't really see that changing in most places.

  • Homple||

    The media, the education system (gnawed pop tart zero tolerance) and the entire government bureaucratic apparatus are on the side of the confiscators. They play the long game and time is on their side.

    I wonder in what direction the median age of NRA members is trending. Does anyone know?

  • Zeb||

    I don't know. They pissed me off enough with their aggressive fundraising and love for cops that I stopped giving to them.

  • Homple||

    I think your experience might be common.

  • Mark6||

    it is

  • Diane Merriam||

    Same here ... especially when they joined the "common sense regulations" bandwagon.

  • Don Escaped Texas||

    I quit when they started endorsing candidates with a history of restriction. If the NRA isn't about endorsing the freedom candidate, even if he's a third-party guy, they get none of my money.

  • Euphemisandry||

    People went bat-shit crazy about how we HAVE to enact new gun controls, ban assault weapons, and throw out due process, all because of one shitheel in Orlando. Not just the normal hoplophobes - people who are normally pro-2A were doing this.

    They hit a few more mass shootings, and the American public will line up to volunteer to disarm the "gun nuts" holding America hostage to endless violence and death with their outdated views on the Killing Machines of War.

  • albo||

    This is what the anti-gunners can't process. They keep thinking that the bill of rights is the rights the government gives to us, instead of the existing rights possessed by all humans and just recognized by the constitution.

  • Homple||

    They keep thinking that and the judiciary has been steadily coming around to their view for a century.

  • ||

    The BoR were added precisely because the Constitution didn't go far enough in protecting individual rights.

    There is no question, to me, the 2A means what it says. That is, the right to bear arms is the natural right of humans to protect their lot.

    Thinking otherwise makes no sense because A) they would have written it and B) they were not exactly predisposed to give the benefit of doubt to government. Their whole exercise was to curtail tyranny and it's hard to believe they didn't grasp the idea of an unarmed citizenry being as anything but contradictory to their beliefs.

    The only wretched ignorance I see stems from the left on this issue. They read like they've never actually read anything except snippets here and there while playing with sparkles.

  • ||

    ^^This.

    The Bill of Rights were put there as an enumerated list of specific things the federal government was not allowed to do.

    Jefferson, I believe, was against adding the BoR specifically because he was worried that it would allow the gov to reach into things not specified. The original intent was that the fed could only do what was specifically granted in Constitution; therefore the BoR was unnecessary.

  • Diane Merriam||

    It was Hamilton who pressed that argument in Federalist 84.

    "I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colourable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority, which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it, was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights."

  • Deli-bro||

    Reading the debates on ratifying the constitution and im struck by the different language used. Back then, the constitution "secured" or "protected" rights. Nowadays, language has evolved to the constitution "granting" rights.

  • OBEY||

    Struck me as well... I also noted that "state" seemed to take on the context of the citizens more so than the generic government entity that it seems to represent today.

    Ultimately, I don't think the language or wording really matters. A fundamental right to defend yourself is as natural as it gets. It is mental gymnastics and indoctrination to think otherwise.

  • Animal||

    How do you give blowjobs to johns in a filthy alley "on your laptop?"

  • ||

    Euphemisms...

  • Rational Exuberance||

    It probably takes a lot of flexibility.

  • The Real Woodchipper||

    But..But Bellesiles!

  • Muzzle of Bees||

    "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them."

    "A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves...and include all men capable of bearing arms."
    - Richard Henry Lee

    "Every able bodied freeman, between the ages of sixteen and fifty, is enrolled in the militia… The law requires every militia-man to provide himself with the arms usual in the regular service."
    - Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, Query IX

    "Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."
    - Tenche Coxe, 1788

    "... It is always dangerous to the liberties of the people to have an army stationed among them, over which they have no control ... The Militia is composed of free Citizens. There is therefore no Danger of their making use of their power to the destruction of their own Rights, or suffering others to invade them."
    - Samuel Adams

    "I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers."
    - George Mason

  • DarrenM||

    Check out the Federals #29 and the Militia Acts of 1792. I think these give a more formal sense of what the militia was considered to be. However, the right to bear arms was considered necessary to support the existence of a competent militia. It was certainly NOT the case the this right was conditioned on even the existence any kind of militia.

  • ||

    Skynet is having a stroke?

  • Chili Dogg||

    I read another Slate article that concluded that we have no individual right to bear arms. The author, who has a law degree, judged the 2nd Amendment with no reference to the text of the Constitution or the thoughts of the Founding Fathers. Instead, he focused largely on court cases from decades later. He was likely taught that approach in law school. As Randy Barnett has pointed out, it's a convenient way to get the results you want without having to be honest and come out publicly against the Constitution, which would cause blow-back.

  • DarrenM||

    I'd recently been reading about this with regard to a "well regulated militia" and the Federalist Papers #29 and the Militia Acts of 1792. It seems to me that a militia was intended to be an organized unit and could correspond to the National Guard of today. However, the phrase "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," was the primary reason for the right to bear arms (the rest of the text). However, this was only one justification for the right. This did not at all circumscribe that right nor restrict it. If no militias of any kind were required or did not exist, that right would not be affected. The right exists in part to support a militia. This does not mean the right ceases to exist if militias ceased to exist. It's basic logic. "If A is required for B" does not imply "if not B, then not A".

  • Glide||

    Right, it's kind of like saying that the Constitution is invalid because it started with "in order to form a more perfect union" and our union is imperfect.

  • Micu5||

    And if the militia is BYOG, well, there you go.

  • Diane Merriam||

    In United States v. Cruikshank (1875), the Justices ruled that the Second Amendment only restricts the power of the national government in taking away rights and that the right to keep and bear arms exists apart from the Constitution, not because of it, stating "This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence."

    Unfortunately, many of the gun grabbers take it out of context and say that it meant there was no individual right to protect intended.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: The Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution
    What the historical evidence says about the Second Amendment and individual rights.

    Disarming law abiding citizens is always a good idea.
    This way our kind and benevolent socialist slavers and their wonderful cronies in the secret police departments across Amerika can enslave the unwashed masses much more easily.
    Isn't that what we all really want in our hearts?

  • nubwaxer||

    well-regulated militia. i don't think it means what you think it means. after 30 years of scalia, limbaugh, reagan the country is beginning to swing back toward progressive policies. your guns can't stop that even if that's how you interpret the 2nd.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Regulated = Trained.
    Hint: Double-barreled shotguns are "regulated" for their point of impact.

  • Diane Merriam||

    "Well regulated" = working properly, as intended.

    That's the meaning of the phrase as it was used at the time, not the current interpretation that regulation implies an external regulator.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    You might not want to so gleefully look forward to that - we're not going to go quietly, and you may not be able to avoid the blow-back from the policies you advocate.

  • Real American||

    Why would leftists, who've invented so many fake new "rights" and government powers through judicial fiat give a fat flying shit whether the 2nd amendment actually was written to protect an individual right to bear arms? Answer is that they wouldn't and they don't. Leftists want power and people with guns are a threat to their power. As soon as leftists take over the Supreme Court they will nullify this right without a care in the world. The Constitution is outdated and a lie, they'll argue and it will be true because the Constitution as written is a myth, or it no longer exists, if it ever did. The Constitution as the Supreme Court writes it is the only thing that matters.

  • EscherEnigma||

    "Why would leftists, who've invented so many fake new "rights" and government powers through judicial fiat [...]"
    I'm glad you brought this up.

    Something I see repeated over and over 'round here is that the Constitution and Bill of Rights don't grant rights, they just enumerate rights we already have. Isn't finding a right to privacy perfectly in-line with that rhetoric?

  • CE||

    For example, Anti-Federalists at the New Hampshire ratification convention wanted it made clear that, "Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion."

    So much for the "last bulwark against tyranny" argument. Anyone rebelling against an actual tyrant can be disarmed, no problem.

    ...Pennsylvania critics... wanted... to declare, "that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own State, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals."

    I imagine if this language had been used, we would be sitting here arguing about the "Real Danger" clause progressives would be using to justify gun grabs.

  • josh||

    i used to be one of those people that thought the 2nd amendment was obsolete. people can change.

  • Hank Phillips||

    People learn.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    When you've lost Lawrence Tribe, you're pretty much on your own.

  • bpuharic||

    Which is why it should be repealed

  • RodgerMitchell||

    And yet, we do prohibit people from defending themselves with machine guns, bazookas, rocket launchers, poison gas, cannons and all sorts of really good defensive weapons.

    If personal defense were the sole criterion, as the author implies, all those weapons should be legally owned by the public.

    But they aren't. Why?

    Because the public at large cannot be trusted with those weapons.

    Perhaps that is why the authors of the 2nd Amendment included the phrase, "A well-regulated militia. . . "

    Perhaps the authors were much smarter than the NRA, the gun lobby and the right-wing Supreme Court.

  • The Grinch||

    God fucking damn, how many times do you stupid motherfuckers need to be told? "Regulated" during the founding fathers' time didn't mean what it means now. Feel free to look it up, although I'm sure you won't bother. For fuck's sake, don't imply someone lacks intelligence if you can't get the definition correct.

  • Derp Diggler||

    Perhaps Rodger Mitchell is mentally challenged.

    Perhaps he is attempting to set up a straw man argument.

    Perhaps he is a statist asshole trying to pass himself off as intellectual.

    Perhaps he lacks the cognitive and moral clarity to understand "shall not be infringed."

  • DesigNate||

    No, they aren't legal because progtarded fascist like you don't trust yourselves to not open fire on your political enemies.

  • Jickerson||

    But they aren't. Why?

    Because the government routinely ignores the Constitution.

  • ranrod||

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

  • Shit Pyrate||

  • Shit Pyrate||

    Anarchy under the rule of Law is dead.
    Embrace the new Dark Age.
    The soil is rich.
    Plant your seeds of Liberty.
    Eternal.
    The cycle of Enlightenment.

  • Shit Pyrate||

  • Shit Pyrate||

    Damn your Laws. Damn your Articles. Damn your Constitutions. Damn your taxes, and Damn your so called "Democratic" mandate. Damn your "Republic" for good measure.
    Damn your God, and Damn your Atheism.
    God Damn you all.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hlob75PqeSw

  • Maani||

    The writer is NOT a lawyer, but a historian. (This is observation, not ad hominem.) And he only has a B.A. in THAT subject. In this regard, there is as much research out there suggesting that, while SOME may have argued for the S.A. as an "individual right," OTHERS argued for something more akin to a "collective right."

    In fact, whatever may have been argued at the time, the wording that the drafters ultimately ended up with expresses the "individual right" ONLY in the context of the "collective right":

    "A well-regulated militia..." Here it is, plain as day: the "collective right." Remember that we did not have a "standing army" at the time, so "militias" would have been necessary to protect the GROUP (municipality, State or country). And "well-regulated" does NOT imply that everyone knows how to use their weapon. It means that the group comprising the (volunteer) militia is "well-regulated" by the municipality or State; that it works AS a group, with a "chain of command" structure, or something similar.

    "...being necessary to the security of a free state..." Once again, the "collective right," NOT the "individual right." It is about the security of the GROUP, NOT the individual.

    "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Thus, the ONLY reference to an "individual right" comes AFTER TWO SEPARATE references to the "collective right," and is "subsumed" within them.

  • DesigNate||

    If you believe in "collective rights", I have some ocean front property I'd like to sell you.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    "Collective right" is an oxymoron. A government (at whatever level) does not have rights. It has delegated authority. Only individuals have rights.

  • Diane Merriam||

    There is no such thing as a collective right. Only individuals have rights. Collectives can have powers, but not rights.

    The introductory clause is the reason why it's in the best interest of the government itself to protect this individual right. If anything, it shows that this was the most important one of all since for the rest of the individual rights listed (and the catchall 9th) they didn't feel the need to give the government extra reasons to protect them.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    cont from below

    But Madison didn't incorporate any of those proposals regarding standing armies, the militia, and Congress, all he proposed were amendments to protect (not "create", not "grant") individual rights that the Colonists already believed existed.

    All the anti-Federalists got regards the Congress, standing armies, the States, and the militia was a nod – a statement that militias were "necessary to the security of a free state". And no one has ever made the argument that the 2A changed in any way the Federal gov'ts power to raise a standing army or to organize the militia. The Congress has never passed a law about the militia, or the National Guard (created in 1906) which cited the 2A as the basis for the law. All such laws have cited the militia clauses of the Constitution proper as their justification.
    Now the Congress has cited the 2A as justification when for example they passed the 1986 Gun Owners Protection Act, which rolled back some of the worst provisions of the 1968 Gun Control Act. But they've never cited it when dealing with the militia. Because all of their power over the militia comes from the Constitution not the 2A.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    What was the purpose of the "well-regulated" clause of the Second Amendment?

    It was a consolation prize to the anti-Federalists who had lost the battle to prevent the adoption of the Constitution and subsequently to amend it to restrict the power of the new gov't to raise a standing army and give more power over their militias back to the states (under the Constitution the Congress has the power to organize the militia, States can only appoint the officers).

    During the ratification process most of the states passed resolutions requesting amendments to the new Constitution (mostly as a result of anti-Federalist opposition in the State legislatures). Several even made their ratification contingent upon the 1st Congress adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution. As a result, Madison (a FEDERALIST, he and Hamilton wrote most of the FEDERALIST papers – arguments in favor of the new Constitution) who didn't believe a Bill of Rights was necessary because the new gov't was of LIMITED POWERS, took it upon himself to propose a Bill of Rights in the 1st Congress.

    Now, the states had proposed some 280 amendments (many of the bill of rights proposals of course over-lapped) and some of those proposals would have changed the relationship between the new Congress, standing armies, the States, and the militia.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    cont from below

    That's it. That's what the 2A is about. The first clause reminds us that "militias are necessary to the security of a free state" (because they won't oppress their own people – the militia are the people – and Federal "standing armies" are more dangerous) and the main clause protects the "Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms" from infringement.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Yay! A good article with actual facts. Yay!

  • John DeWitt||

    As the pseudonymous Anti-Federalist pamphleteer "John DeWitt" put it, "the want of a Bill of Rights to accompany this proposed system, is a solid objection to it."

    You're welcome.

  • onebornfree||

    "Dream On"?:

    ".....In your dream, the constitution was not a scam,
    In your dream, the Supreme court is not a scam,........"

    Lyrics excerpted from "Dreams [Anarchist Blues]":
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMXtoUtXrTU

    Regards,onebornfree.

  • Abu Nudnik||

    A mild objection. The point of the first amendment is only partly to do with censorship. We must consider the position of the first clause of the First to be meaningful: "Congress shall pass no law respecting a religion," and then, the second clause: "of the free exercise thereof."

    They didn't want Congress to tell anyone Whom to worship, whether or not to worship, or how to worship.

    Interestingly, this leaves the door open to the establishment of a state religion in, say, Michigan, and then fighting it out in court (or more violently) over the limitation of "free exercise."

    It may be in anticipation of such possibilities that gun grabbers have worked toward a kindergarten public protected by a loving parent in Washington.

  • EscherEnigma||

    True. It was many many years before it was ruled that the Bill of Rights applied to states. And some states did choose a state religion.

    So with that context in mind, it's entirely fitting with "original intent" that while the Fed cannot restrict guns, the states can.

    Things like this are why many people find "original intent" not very persuasive.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The Second Amendment destroyed the Soviet Empire when their Dem-Party imitators tried to strangle the Strategic Defense Initiative. In the letters section of Physics Today the debate went that Article II of the main body of the document grants the President the power to make treaties (Section 2, clause 2), and it is also true that these treaties "shall be the supreme Law of the Land" (Article VI, paragraph 2), it is nowhere stated that this treaty-making power shall override the Bill of Rights or the main body of the Constitution. In fact, Article VI, paragraph 2, specifies only that the treaty-making power takes precedence over "anything in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding." Furthermore, the very last clause of Section 10 in Article I allows the states to defend themselves if "actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay." Ergo, Texas' Confederate Air Force can outfit neutron-bomb-tipped ABM interceptors and there ain't a thang Manifesto Plank 2 worshippers can do about it.

  • Tony Cr||

    As many have pointed out, back when the 2nd amendment was written everybody had single-shot muskets. If a "well-regulated militia" member went to a night club intent on killing people, he might get one before being ground into the pavement.

    Anyone that thinks the idea of everybody being armed "for protection" is a good thing should head out to the local bar on Friday night when all the drunks have guns. You think 50 dead in one night was bad? Wait until you see the national statistics for gun deaths if that happens!

  • AZ Gunowner||

    care to provide some examples of that happening?

    other than of course - A MUSLIM terrorist shooting up a bar!

  • AZ Gunowner||

    the "well-regulated" clause of the 2A was a consolation prize to the anti-Federalist who had lost the battle to prohibit the Congress from being able to raise a standing army.

    other than that the clause has no effect on anything.

  • Goatea||

    "that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own State, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals

    (Or real danger of public injury from individuals) this would seem to cover assault weapons no?

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