The Los Angeles Times editorial board is upset.
They don’t like the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia vs Heller, and are furious that an appellate court’s mixed response in what has been dubbed “Heller III” struck down four of the ten gun laws challenged.
They clearly prefer their fantasy version of the Second Amendment.
…This page believes the Supreme Court erred in the initial Heller decision by upending an interpretation of the 2nd Amendment that had been embraced for half a century — that the amendment’s reference to a “well-regulated militia” limits the right to keep and bear arms to organized military units, such as the National Guard. Although that decision is the law of the land, so is the government’s right to regulate ownership. As the courts continue to define what that means, they should — as the D.C. Circuit sought to do — put public safety ahead of misguided notions of an armed nation.
I assure you that the Founding Fathers would laugh directly in the faces of the editors of the Times for their frequently debunked mid-20th century liberal conceit.
The notion that the “well-regulated militia” refers to the National Guard (federalized in 1903 by the Dick Act) is so historically ignorant as to be laughable.
The Founders left behind government documents, personal letters, speeches, and editorials clearly proclaiming both what “well-regulated” meant in the context of militia service, and what the militia was. Further, modern U.S. code recognizes two classes of militia, which the times studiously avoids mentioning.
Let’s start by defining “well-regulated” for them, yet again:
…the Founders used the phrase “well-regulated” to denote that militia forces should be skilled with arms of contemporary military utility and relevant military tactics, so that they can serve in the defense of Republic against both foreign invaders and the threat of domestic tyrants commanding a national army against the liberty of the citizenry.
While few of us like to think in these terms, the Founders were adamant that the citizens retain not just weapons of contemporary utility, but the ability to use these weapons effectively in defense of the nation from both internal and external threats. Put another way, the right of the people to keep and bear arms is conjoined with the responsibility to use those arms effectively, and the Founders wanted us to be able to serve in militias… which they studiously avoided defining, as Mr. Schultz noted above.
“Well-regulated militia” may therefore apply to individual riflemen who have drilled to be competent with firearms of contemporary military utility, such as many of today’s most popular semi-automatic magazine-fed rifles with their standard-capacity magazines. It can also apply to more advanced groups learning the small unit tactics that are the building block of modern infantry units, or most kinds of shooting sports competitions.
“Well-regulated” has always meant just one thing: that the militia be well-trained with their weapons. Today, that would commonly be accepted to mean AR-15s, AKMs, and similar small arms of military origin.
And who are the militia?
They are not just the National Guard and Reserves (a 20th century invention), but are the people themselves, as the Founders made clear again and again and again.
From Tenche Cox to Thomas Jefferson to James Madison to George Washington and Ben Franklin and beyond, the Founding Fathers uniformly expressed that the right to bear arms was an individual right.
10 U.S. Code § 311 – Militia: composition and classes likewise recognizes the National Guard as a small part of the overall militia, along with the much larger unorganized militia that is the American people.
The Times is appealing to a fantasy Second Amendment that was manufactured by liberal academics in the past half century, because the real history of the Second Amendment guts their arguments entirely.
We are all the well-regulated militia, even in a city rules largely by making fantasies seem real.