“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” – The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The above sentence would seem, at least to most people, is pretty straightforward. However, the opening clause to the amendment has caused no end of grief for Second Amendment advocates. After all, it says “militia” and today, that means the national guard, at least in some people’s minds. Of course, that’s not what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the amendment. They were distrustful of standing armies and wanted to make sure the citizens of this new nation could rise up and overthrow the government should it become tyrannical.
After more than two centuries, we’ve kind of lucked out, all things considered. We probably should have had a lot more civil wars, but the fact that we haven’t can probably be ascribed to the fact that citizens have guns.
However, there is gun control out there. Way too much, based on the plain text of the Second Amendment.
In Missouri, they’re talking about essentially turning the entire state into a Second Amendment sanctuary state. That’s a good thing. Yet one writer seems to disagree, and in so doing makes the most idiotic claim that simply has to be addressed.
push legislation to bar enforcement in Missouri of any federal firearms laws that they view as infringing on Second Amendment rights. In addition to reopening an argument about federalism that was settled a century and a half ago, this tone-deaf measure is an affront to all the St. Louis gun victims who’ve died because those same legislators refuse to allow even the most commonsense regulation of firearms. Luckily, the urgency of the coronavirus pandemic sidetracked their efforts — for now.The Second Amendment’s defense of the right to bear arms is specifically predicated on the necessity of “a well-regulated Militia” for “the security of a free state.” Taken at face value, then, Missouri’s so-called Second Amendment Preservation Act would seem to be unnecessary — since, last we heard, the federal government wasn’t trying to disband the Missouri National Guard.Of course, the gun culture warriors pushing this measure conveniently ignore half the wording of the amendment they claim to cherish. It’s unfortunate that the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 did exactly that, ruling that the “militia” language somehow enshrines individual gun rights. Still, even that deeply flawed decision specified that government has a right to regulate guns for public safety. That caveat, too, is conveniently ignored by the gun crowd, which seems to operate on a principle of cherry-picking what it likes from founding documents and court opinions.
Except, we don’t ignore anything. We just understand the wording, which the writer clearly doesn’t.
You see, the term “militia” pops up in the introductory clause to the amendment. It’s not the substantive portion of the Second Amendment, which reads, “the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” If you take that portion alone, the sentence still makes sense. Take the introductory clause alone and…not so much.
Further, let’s understand just who the militia was at the time of the Second Amendment being written. At that time, the militia consisted of all free men between certain ages who were capable of carrying arms. That’s why the term “militia” is included in the first place. To them, “the militia” and “the people” were, in essence, one and the same.
But yes, now we have the National Guard.
Nothing against the Guard, but they’re not the militia as our Founding Fathers envisioned. They’re part of the Department of the Army (or Air Force in the case of the Air National Guard). While they’re answerable to the governor at certain times, they’re also answerable to the president at others. They’re citizen soldiers, sure, but they’re not the same thing as the militia.
And, frankly, only a complete idiot would think the Second Amendment would only apply to the National Guard anyway. At no point does the government need to protect their own right to have guns, yet that’s what this writer is trying to argue. It’s baffling.
Further, at no other point in the Constitution–either in the original document or any of the amendments added later–does the phrase “the people” refer to anyone but the individual citizens of this great nation. Why in the world should we just accept that the exact same phrase suddenly represents a collective right enshrined in a governmental entity like the National Guard when it doesn’t anywhere else?
Honestly, it’s a semantical argument that represents nothing but a dull mind. It’s a vain attempt to undermine the Second Amendment’s text by reading meanings into it that never existed before, and not even a particularly clever one.
But it is an argument that needs to be bludgeoned every time someone utters this insane nonsense.