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View Diary: Memo to NRA: You had your chance (307 comments)

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  •  There's 2 different versions of the 2nd amendment (1+ / 0-)
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    trumpeter

    The one you quoted, which was sent to the states to ratify, and the one that the congress passed, which said
    "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"

    Those pesky commas have the main thrust of the meaning of the congressional version is "A well regulated militia shall not be infringed". The other stuff is subordinate clauses.

    These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

    by HugoDog on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 11:13:10 AM PST

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    •  as a linguist I have to interject (2+ / 0-)
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      Quicklund, happymisanthropy

      that HugoDog, you are not correct--- there is no plausible grammatical analysis whereby "a well-regulated militia" is the subject of "shall not be infringed".

      There is more detail here at the languagelog blog.  

      It is well-known that writers then often put a comma between a subject and its predicate.  They also capitalized common nouns in the sentence when they wanted to highlight them (like the words "Militia, State, and Arms" in the 2nd amendment).

      There are two clauses:

      1) A well-regulated Militia(,) being necessary to the security of a free State,

      which is an absolute clause expressing the motivation for the second, main clause:

      2) the right to keep and bear Arms(,) shall not be infringed

      There are many good constitutional arguments for gun control or removal laws, but the one you suggest ain't one of 'em.  

      Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

      by nominalize on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 01:27:21 PM PST

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      •  obviously I'm not a linguist, but (2+ / 0-)
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        p gorden lippy, kharma

        at the the link you posted there is this (something which the author labels as "an extraordinary example of analytic incompetence")

        In a 2001 Fifth Circuit case, a group of anti-gun academics submitted an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief arguing that the “unusual” commas of the Second Amendment support the collective rights interpretation. According to these amici, the founders’ use of commas reveals that what they really meant to say was “a well-regulated militia ... shall not be infringed.”
        and
        The first unusual comma --between "Militia" and "being" -- forces the reader to search for a verb for which "Militia" is the subject. That verb does not appear until "shall not be infringed" near the end of the Amendment. The second unusual comma -- between "Arms" and "shall" -- sets off the verb phrase "shall not be infringed" from the preceding language; it suggests that the subject for this verb phrase is not simply "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms." The grammatical effect of these two unusual commas is to link "A well regulated Militia" to "shall not be infringed" to emphasize, in other words, that the goal of the Amendment is to protect the militia against federal interference. The Constitution was drafted with great care, and (unlike much legal writing from the Founding period) its use of punctuation generally conforms to modern conventions, suggesting that the commas in the Second Amendment are not haphazard but rather deserve scrupulous attention.

        These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

        by HugoDog on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 01:57:07 PM PST

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    •  but even so (0+ / 0-)

      does the inclusion in the constitution of the phrase
      "right of the people to keep and bear arms"
      not imply that a right to keep and bear arms exists?

      "The Taibbi article is a defense of status quo" -- citizen k

      by happymisanthropy on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:10:56 PM PST

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