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Lots of people seem to agree that the Newtown, Connecticut shootings are the last straw, so let the American gun policy wars begin.

There are going to be a lot of suggestions put forward: amend the Constitution; add more hoops to acquiring certain kinds of guns; eliminate the loopholes that exist, etc.

I suggest we do something very simple:  As of an arbitrary date in the future, say, January 1, 2014, we simply enforce the Second Amendment.

What do I mean by that?

Continued below the gnoccho d'oro...

The complete text of the Second Amendment is this:

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.
It's about that subordinate clause having to do with the "well regulated militia."  

If every gun owner were required to be a member of a well-regulated militia, do you think we would have MORE gun owners or FEWER?

It would be a new day for the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, blueoasis, Linda1961, ExStr8, howabout, quill

    There's nothing wrong with the Republican Party that a direct hit by an asteroid wouldn't fix.

    by PDX Dem on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:03:13 AM PST

  •  SCOTUS held that the clause informs but (5+ / 0-)

    doesn't restrict the scope of the right.  conditioning the exercise of a right on military service would be an unconstitutional burden on that right.

    •  And important to note that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster, meagert, PavePusher

      the framers intended the Bill Of Rights to enumerate rights they believed pre-existed the writing of the Constitution.
      What indication is there that "the right of the people" doesn't mean the same thing in the Second Amendment as it does in the Fourth?

      •  Kestrel - The 1792 Militia Act: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        True North, lazybum, Beetwasher, quill

        That law REQUIRED every able bodied (white) man to purchase a firearm and appurtenances at his own expense and to be enrolled in his state's militia. All the men were hypothetically under military discipline and could be court martialed for not meeting the requirements.
           Since most of the Founders were active in government at that time, I have reached the radical conclusion that THIS is what the Founders meant by a well regulated militia.
           As to the language of the 2nd Amendment - I had several years of Latin in high school. The Founders, if you recall, studied Latin and Greek in their education. Latin is full of misplaced dependent clauses, just like the 2nd Amendment.
           I'm pretty sure that what the Founders meant was: "Because a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
           That's also the way the Supreme Court has interpreted it historically, until the Heller decision. In that case, in order to justify activist judicial lawmaking, the Court pretended that one part of the sentence was irrelevant to the other part.

    •  Is there any limit on 'arms'? (4+ / 0-)

      Because i think it is tolerable for civilians to have handguns, revolvers only. And possibly a blot action hunting rifle. Both constitute arms.

      But arms are also AH-64 helicopter gunships armed with 50 calibler cannons and hellfire missles. Is it also a right to own own one of those?

      What about a ballistic missile?

      What constitutes arms is certainly vague, and therefore within the powers of Congress to restrict. And a restriction on high powered assault rifles and other high powered weaponry being restricted to the military and law enforcement is not unreasonable.

    •  This particular court (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blicero, HamdenRice, quill

      with some of its particular (some might suggest, perverted) members, at this particular time, drew that conclusion, as no other U.S. Supreme Court had, for the first time in this nation's history.

      I personally don't think that stupid, dangerous, and harmful interpretation will have a very long lifespan. Which is why the 2012 election was so important.  2016 also will be very, very important.

    •  SCOTUS Held that corp.s are persons (0+ / 0-)

      and that persons can be property. Its infallibility is well understood.  

  •  .. the right to keep and bear MUSKETS shall not be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    That's what the framers were talking about in the 1700's.  If Scalia wasn't a hypocrite, he would have voted to ban assault weapons.

  •  Then we could abolish the military! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is an interesting case of balancing the well-being of our own people against that of the rest of the world.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:06:34 AM PST

  •  Not only "militia" but "people" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, Sandino, armd

    The words "the people" often have a specific non-intuitive meaning in law.

    "The people" are not the same as "persons." The most common use of "the people" is in the captioning of criminal law cases in certain states.

    For example, "People v. Smith," doesn't mean people in general; it means the state government.

    Different states caption cases by the state against a person or individual differently. Some use the name of the state, "Georgia v. Smith," or some formal description of the state, like "Commonwealth v. Smith." The People is just another variation.

    "The People" therefore means "the state government."

    Combined with "a well regulated militia," it is obvious that the Second Amendment means that because a well "regulated" (a synonym for "trained" at the time) militia is crucial to the security of a "free state" (a state government), the right of the people (ie the state government) to bear arms shall not be infringed by the federal government.

    It's so obvious -- it's a plain language reading question -- no matter what Scalia says.

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