Friday, September 15, 2006

The Second Amendment

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.

The phrase “…the right of the people…” is not a new sentence and it is tied by punctuation and the lack of a capital letter to the front end of the sentence which begins "A well regulated militia...". It clearly shows the framers intent. This phrase is about a militia and the security of a free state – it is disingenuous to read just the part that suits your political agenda. This is the same disingenuous tactic used by the NRA. Everyone please in the future read the whole phrase and include the punctuation … if the often quoted …or rather mis-quoted right to bear arms was the sole intention of the framers it would have gotten its own amendment and started off with a capital t. This amendment is talking about state’s rights and the ability to raise a militia in the face of tyranny from a centralized government. That is the issue much dearer to the hearts of the framers than arming every citizen in the public square. How people got their food was not the intention of this amendment.

Let's get it right citizens!

2 comments:

fastkelly said...

The 3 comma version you refer to in this blog shows up in only one official copy, the original parchment under glass at the Library of Congress. This version was never certified. The version certified by Congress in 1804, also stored at the Library of Congress, has only one comma after the word “state”. This certified version, which disappeared out of our books and documents around 1910, changes the meaning of the phrase into two separate statements.
1. A well regulated militia is necessary for the security of a free state.

2. And the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.

As you can see the quote below from Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Paper No. 29, he expresses his concerns of the people’s rights that the Bill Of Rights indeed defines above.

“…….yet it is a matter of the utmost importance that a well-digested plan should, as soon as possible, be adopted for the proper establishment of the militia. The attention of the government ought particularly to be directed to the formation of a select corps of moderate extent, upon such principles as will really fit them for service in case of need. By thus circumscribing the plan, it will be possible to have an excellent body of well-trained militia, ready to take the field whenever the defense of the State shall require it. This will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist."

Paul Burke said...

Washington had such a hard time raising an army and his untrained forces were horribly mis-matched against the red coats - this was the mind set and historical context that lead to this amendment and from which Hamilton writes.

I notice you capitalize the "a" in #2, and you set the second thought apart not only with a capital but several "hard returns". If the framers had intended for that sentence to stand alone they would have seperated it out as you do and started a new sentence as you do with a capital letter. This is not how they wrote it.

Think about it these men deliberated behind closed doors in the heat of the summer all summer long. You are responding in 5 minutes to an email. It's your intent to have it read right...to bear arms...not infringed.

If that was their intent - don't you think they would have done the same thing. They deliberated on this for months. Certainly if they were concerned that every citizen be armed to defend their property or go hunting and this was their main concern - they would have stated it as such. These were learned men who exercised international treaties and business contracts their whole lives. They didn't just slap the document together or misworded their original intent. They tried to be very clear. To that end the right...to bear arms clause would have come first. But again that's not what the second amendment is about.

They did not haphazardly join separate thoughts together and spent the entire summer parsing out the Amendments and Constitution. They certainly paid attention to how each word-let alone sentence was written out and where the punctuation was. Believe me I negotiate contracts for a living - they paid attention to all the detail.

Regardless of the number of commas the version you site - still has a comma and not a period. It's not separated (as you have done) into two distinct ideas.

This amendment has been and always will be defined by the first subject and object of the sentence "a well regulated militia". In addition Hamilton's comments are about the same (a well regulated militia) that even might stand up to a national army gone amok in regards to our freedoms and liberties. The second amendment more than anything is a States right clause to form Militias to defend against foreign attacks even by our very own centralized government - thus the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.

The right to bear arms is by virtue of it's placement in the sentence a subordinate right dependent on the first object of the sentence.

Again arming random citizens so they could brandish guns in the town square with impunity or defend themselves against the Native Americans or hunt for dinner, or pleasure was not what this amendment was about and may not have even been an issue(as it is today because of its abuse)because at the time it was already accepted common practice. It was probably no more an issue than the right to bear a fishing rod or the right to bear a bow and arrow.

The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed applies in this instance to a well regulated "state" militia.

Nowhere is it implied or stated in the second amendment that sensible gun laws are unconstitutional.

That the NRA leans so heavily on this amendment to thwart the common sense management of the 21st century realities is laughable, disingenuous and ill-conceived.

Child safety locks are fought because of this amendment by the gun lobbyist, the loophole in the trade shows against criminal background checks is also fought using this amendment.

The second amendment was not intended to let criminals have guns or encouraging the abandonment of risk reduction regarding children.

So let's stop bastardizing the intent of the Second amendment - manage our realities of the 21st century and provide for law abiding citizens to own guns for protection of property, hunting for game and in forming State militias. We can do both. Outlawing guns is not the answer and neither is reckless gun promoting, manufacturing, selling and distribution practices presently flaunted.

Semi automatics, AK-47's this crap doesn't belong in the hands of law abiding citizens, state militias in order to defend against modern armies and supervised and controlled by each state should have access to them.

Hunting rifles and hand guns are the only weapons necessary to defend your home against break in or used to go hunting. No one under eighteen should own or operate a hand gun (much like drinking and driving or going off to war)

Guns are a big industry along with cigarettes, pesticides, chemical, nuclear and oil (to name a few) that have abused their inherent obligation to the nation and states not to harm it's citizens. Hiding behind the second amendment by virtue of word play doesn't change that reality at all.