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View Diary: How do we interpret the Second Amendment? (117 comments)

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  •  Have ALWAYS thought (5+ / 0-)

    the second amendment was passed in the context of a government which could not afford a standing army and depended on citizen militias for the countries defence. The founders also dreaded standing armies in light of European history.
    The arming of a populace against its own representative government was a distant concern.
    The gun culture that enriches arms makers is carefully cultivated.

    The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time. Collette

    by barnowl on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 07:04:17 AM PST

    •  country's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh

      The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time. Collette

      by barnowl on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 07:04:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Standing armies were specifically prohibited (0+ / 0-)

      under English law and the Constitution grants Congress the authority to raise and provide for an army, but only for a period of two years. It does grant Congress authority to arm and call forth state militias to execute the laws of the Union. Militias in England were under the control of barons and under control of the colonies here. The peculiar wording of the second amendment may in fact be an endorsement of the prevalent militia system in which private citizens had their own arms and a rejection of that portion of the English Bill of Right of 1689 that allowed Protestant citizens to bear arms, but not Catholics, due to the excesses of the late King James. Hence the phrase "shall not be infinged" in the wording of the amendment. In other words, Congress could show no preference in the granting of this right. The English Bill of Rights reads:

      That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law.

      The right to bear arms was variously granted, restricted, and/or denied to various groups throughout British history. Even the phrase "suitable to their conditions" seems arbitrary. In adopting the second amendment, I believe that Congress wished to avoid the vagaries of the British right to bear arms.

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