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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.

Interpretation of that pesky 2nd Amendment is a contentious thing for my US chums.

The gun nutty fans of all things lethal insist, insist I tell you, that despite the fact the clause begins with that conditional part "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" the only important part is the next bit "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

They ignore the fact that the 2nd Amendment was written when the US had no real standing army to protect itself from the very real threats from my countrymen both across the seas and just up north of your borders in British North America as it was back then.

They ignore the fact that the 2nd Amendment was written when the US had no regular civilian peace keeping forces or law enforcement bodies such as the police, to protect civilians from internal threats such as criminals and bandits.

They ignore the fact that the 2nd Amendment preamble clause about a "Well Regulated Militia" now is constituted by any sane and reasonable person to be your military, your police, and your National Guard.

They ignore the fact that the 2nd Amendment was also written when the best high tech firearm was a muzzle loading "Kentucky Long Gun" rifle - sort of like the equivalent of a modern high end sports rifle or snipers rifle. A black powder and ball rifle that even in highly trained and proficient hands could be fired at best three times per minute and had an accurate range of around 300 yards.

NO.... the important part is that second bit of the clause: "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The strict interpretation of the wording is what matters above all else.

OK.... I will play the same idiot logic game with you then ye gunne nuttee buckle hattes.

That second bit says "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Do you see any words in there that say AMMUNITION?

I don't. I just see the words KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. That to me means you can own and keep ARMS - guns, swords, axes, maces, morning stars, knives, big bits of wood with a nail in the end, sharpened nail files.... you choose.

But it doesn't say Ammunition now does it?

SO.... if you want to insist on the strict interpretation of those words, I have no problem with that at all. You keep all the guns, swords, axes, maces, morning stars, knives, big bits of wood with a nail in the end, sharpened nail files you want. Bear them with pride till the last sun sets on Mt Rushmore and Satan wears a thick knit sweater if you so choose. That is your right, cos that's what the 2nd says after all.

BUT YOU DON'T GET ANY AMMUNITION.

Still want to play the strict interpretation game Mr Tricorn Hat?

Nah..... thought not.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Also, in 1787 an arm was (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    profewalt, Gooserock, George3

    a musket. A musket for God's sake! Perhaps the NRA interpretation of the Founder's intent was to include all future types of arms, no matter how deadly. Perhaps.

    But then we should turn to the most important fact of all. The Founders were heroes in some ways, but assholes in others. They were racist to the extent that they didn't even think that blacks should have the right to freedom from slavery. And they thought that only landed white men should have the right to vote or participate in governing. Yet we're supposed to sift through the tea leaves to divine the true "intent" of these long-dead men to determine whether we have a permanent right in this country to multiple semiautomatic weapons with 20-round clips?

    •  Every One of Them Would be Unsafe to Hire Today (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      George3

      as a janitor. They'd probably need months in protective custody just to be safely up to date with contemporary cleaning products and appliances. These men all died before we figured out how to build sailing ships frontwards.

      That doesn't bear much on concepts like separation of powers, but for anything technological such as arms, it's highly pertinent.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:39:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yet they rule us from the grave. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        George3

        Even the rules we have to change their rules were written by them! They made sure that a supermajority of both Houses AND the state legislatures were required for us to change one word of their rules.

  •  I was part of a discussion in my Constitutional (0+ / 0-)

    Law class on this matter. The 2nd Amendment does not prohibit regulation; it prohibits outlawing. Too many folks get hung up on"shall not be  infringed" and tend to breeze over "well-regulated militia".

    Militias were composed of citizens and the Framers realized early on they needed to be regulated with rules and training. My argument is that since militias are an anachronism, we should replace "militia" with "citizenry" and impose regulations. When it comes to "infringed" I chose to interpret the meaning as "prohibited" rather than "encroached".

    What the extremists fail to understand is that all rights come with responsibilities and rights come with limitations, including the 2nd. Although we cannot outlaw guns, which is something I don't support, we can regulate them. The trick is getting politicians to fear the majority more than they fear a vocal minority.

    The loudest cries for war come from those who have never seen one.

    by MadGeorgiaDem on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:35:48 AM PST

    •  we can outlaw bullets. (0+ / 0-)

      Why not?

      •  We could, but it would never get through (0+ / 0-)

        Congress; however, I do respect and appreciate the point of view articulated by the diarist.  

        The loudest cries for war come from those who have never seen one.

        by MadGeorgiaDem on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:20:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you sir! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MadGeorgiaDem

          I smile as I write this, as I can imagine you saying that last comment in a lovely warm treacle Southern accent.

          Its a simple bit of false logic reasoning, playing the laughably stupid strict Constitutionalists at their own non-logic "that's what the 2nd says" game.

          Personally, I am under no illusions whatsoever this will be America's Hungerford or Dunblane moment.

          Look either of those up on Wiki and add "massacre" to the name....see what happened in the UK when we had similar attacks.

          •  Thank you for the kind words. (0+ / 0-)

            I enjoyed reading your diary and I believe your ideas have merit and are worthy of debate. I love a good healthy debate of ideas. We are largely in agreement on the ridiculousness of absolutism and the 2nd Amendment. I believe the 2nd has room for looser interpretation, which is the point I was trying to convey upthread, and it appears not too successfully. :-)

            I think we have to start a dialouge on how to reinterpret the 2nd in the context of the 21st century. I believe the country is being held hostage by a vocal minorty clinging to archaic 18th century verbage in order to keep anything, no matter how mild, from being done to abate the bloodbath taking place across the nation.

            As for the Southern accent, I have one, but it's not from Georgia, which in the part where I live is a beautiful dialect. I am a product of the Blue Ridge of western N.C. and being away from there for the past 30 years following a career in the military has done nothing to dilute my hillbilly twang. My writing and my speaking have little in common :-)  Again, thanks for taking the time to write a diary on this very important subject.

            The loudest cries for war come from those who have never seen one.

            by MadGeorgiaDem on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 11:28:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  The Founding Fathers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MadGeorgiaDem

    are rolling over in their graves at the bastardization of the intent of the Second Amendment.  I have no problem with someone who want s to hunt, target shoot or just have a small handgun for personal protection.  I think they should be trained, and registered.  
    No one, and I mean no one needs an asault rifle or automatic weapon. They only exist to kill people.
     It was not the intention of the Founding Fathers to let people mass murder the inoocents of America.
    We regulate cars and people have to be trained to use them, we regulate people with scissors who cut your hair, let us deal with a common sense approach and stop killing our citizens by hiding behind sematics of a long ago written document whose meaning and syntax have been under scrutiny since it was written.

    My Brothers Keeper

    by Reetz on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:37:38 AM PST

  •  Bullets (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2

    I have been saying this for years; regulate the bullets.  Have ALL the guns you want but bullets...um no.  The only bullets you can have are handed out to you at the edge of the forest when you show your proper hunting license at hunting season.  Without the bullets all those fancy guns are just so much decoration.

    •  The bullet industry likes to say (0+ / 0-)

      "Bullets don't kill people. People kill people"

      •  Oh really (0+ / 0-)

        lets test that then shall we?

        Put a gun in a machine that at some random point may or may not load it, and may or may not fire it. The cycle repeats every 5 minutes. The machine itself self activates at sunrise.

        Stand said NRA goof in front of the gun.

        The machine, set in motion by some other than human trigger such as sunrise, at some point loads and fires the gun.

        Now.... what killed the NRA nut?

        The sunrise, the machine, the gun....or that slug of lead that, propelled by the cordite charge, just turned his head into jam?

        I like to play false logic word games....see my punchlines always come with a set of complimentary brass knuckles in the face.

        You should try this more often with the gun nutteees.... its fun to watch their brains melt.

  •  A quick reading of Wiki related will help.. (0+ / 0-)

    A quick reading of the Supreme Court decisons will open you eyes to how the Court rulings have colored gun control. See this

  •  I posted this link on another discussion (0+ / 0-)

    but it fits here too. It's the pdf. of an essay written by a language/grammar expert who has studied this subject in terms of what the Founders would have meant by the language of the Second Amendment.  It was filed as a brief in the last Supreme Court ruling but largely ignored by the Justices.

    http://www.english.illinois.edu/...

  •  It's just filler (0+ / 0-)

    You know so much of the Constitution is just there to add length. We didn't want out Constitution to be shorter than the French Constitution! Hell no! AMERICA!!

    That's why there's that completely extraneous, non-binding, non-illuminating clause about a well-something-military-whatnot. You're just supposed to ignore those little "connector phrases" in the Constitution like that part in the First Amendment about Religion.

  •  The 2nd Amendment doesn't say "guns" (0+ / 0-)

    It says "arms." So we need to drive home the extreme NRA anti-gun control argument is literally incoherent. If the "right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" means no regulation--as the wingnuts claims (& not even the SCOTUS goes that far, I think)--then we can't stop at guns. Each of us has the God-given constitutional right to own RPGs, Shoulder-fired surface to air missles, maybe even an armored personnel carrier for the driveway. After all, a stash of military assault rifles with 100-clip magazines, hollow-point bullets, and night-vision scopes is nice and all, but if you're fighting off Obama's jackbooted thugs and the UN's black helicopters, you need serious firepower.

    Now, I'm sure there are a few loons who would actually agree with that. But the vast majority of the NRA membership & most conservatives probably agree that we shouldn't let ordinary citizens own RPGs & the like. And that's the point. They already admit that it is legal to restrict the ownership of "arms" under the Second Amendment. Gun control laws, therefore, are simply an extension of this control, not the violation of some sacrosanct right--one they tacitly admit doesn't exist.

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