Confusion: The wording of the Second Amendment

One of the primary arguments of gun advocates in that the Second Amendment guarantees the right for citizens to own and carry guns.  Their argument has been repeated so many times that many progressives or moderates parrot the same line.  Then they offer arguments as to why there should be limitations on gun ownership, such as bans on assault weapons.

There are two problems with the Second Amendment.  First, under any circumstance, it is confusing; something that an English teacher would mark up in red ink and tell the author to redo and clarify.  Secondly, there are actually two versions of the Amendment; The first passed by two-thirds of the members of each house of Congress (the first step for ratifying a constitutional amendment).  A different version passed by three-fourths of the states (the second step for ratifying a constitution amendment).  The primary difference between the two versions are a capitalization and a simple comma.

The version passed by Congress is:

  • 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 version ratified by the states and authenticated by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson reads:

  • 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 difficult to determine the difference between having a capital M and a lower-case m in the word militia.  Generally, a capital letter means a proper noun.  In that case, the upper case M, as in the Congressional version, references a particular militia, that being the armed forces of the United States.  The lower-case m in the second version would refer to a group of individuals who form an ad hoc army, most likely to oppose the armed forces of the United States.  Therefore, it would be okay to keep and bear arms only as part of the official armed forces of the United States.  This argument supports a limited version of the right to bear arms; only when serving in the official armed forces of the United States.

The comma in the first version (between the words Arms and shall) also changes the meaning of the amendment.  The first version with the comma maintains the reference to the official armed forces of the United States.  That is further evidence that the right to bear arms is limited to serving in the official military of the United States.  The lack of a comma (between arms and shall) in the second version, implies that there is equality or parity between bearing arms for the official forces of the United States and for personal use of firearms.  This supports the N.R.A. position on the Second Amendment. as does the lower case m.

The provision for passing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires ratification of the same language by two-thirds of the members of each house of Congress, and the legislatures of three-fourths of the states, as described in Article V of the Constitution. It states:

[shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;]

But in the case of the Second Amendment, the language between the Congressional and state versions have different meanings.

What this does is to throw out either meaning of the Second Amendment. It puts the definition of the right to bear arms in the same category as other items not mentioned in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, such as the right to privacy, the right to reproductive freedom, the right to gay marriage.

Bearing arms is then a legislative issue.  It may be that the policy desired by Congress, the states of the U.S., and most importantly the people, is to permit individuals to own assault weapons.  It also may be to prohibit them.  In any case, the decision should be made on wise policy, without constitutional reference to the Second Amendment.  The Second Amendment should be null and void, because its ratification did not follow the prescribed method for passing an amendment.  This makes it blatantly confusing.

As Fareed Zakaria pointed out in Time, “Congress passed the first set of federal laws regulating, licensing and taxing guns in 1934. The act was challenged and went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1939. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s solicitor general, Robert H. Jackson, said the Second Amendment grants people a right that ‘is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only one which exists where the arms are borne in the militia or some other military organization provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state.’ The court agreed unanimously.”

Let’s continue (or start) the debate and discussion on gun ownership based on sound policy, rather than on the lame and unconstitutional elements of the Second Amendment.

Images by Carol Ruzicka

  • Why would a right (granted by your creator) be written IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS if it was meant for “the army”???????? Back then there WAS NO STANDING ARMY… The “militia” or “Militia” or “MILITIA” or “mILITIA”, was and still is “we the people”. Here are some quotes.

    “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the
    people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
    George Mason

    Co-author of the Second Amendment
    during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

    “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …”
    Richard Henry Lee

    writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic, Letter XVIII, May, 1788.

    “A free people ought … to be armed …” –George Washington

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  • Al Eng

    “lame and unconstitutional elements of the Second Amendment.” How unAmerican is this statement? You can be opposed to guns but your ideology is opposite American belief and Constitutional rights. If you don’t like the 2nd amendment Overturn it. If that’s not good enough move somewhere and create your own world and Constitution.

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  • anabelle kyrie

    “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Congress have no power over or to disarm the militia. Their swords and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American . . . . The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” —
    Tench Coxe The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788

  • Arthur Lieber

    I appreciate your comments. I just think that public safety is much more important than the right of anyone to own a gun. Industrialized countries with fewer guns are safer.

  • anabelle kyrie

    That, Sir is what makes this country so very great. Your RIGHT to disagree and voice that disagreement. I have no problem with your beliefs. It just brings great sorrow to me to see people wanting to take these precious rights that make our country great, away from the people. I would also add that countries that have enacted gun control have also seen their violent crimes, both with and without guns rise after said bans were enacted. Because the criminals will never care about laws, and the law abiding people are left defenseless. God Bless you and America, stay safe.

  • Arthur Lieber

    Anabelle, I too hope that you stay safe. I also agree that the ability to disagree in a civil fashion is one of the strong points of our country. In my mind, the key to an issue like the Second Amendment is balancing our rights. None are absolute; we must compromise when different rights bash into one another. As I said, I favor the right to safety over the right to own a gun. But honest people can disagree.

  • Tyler

    You favor the right to safety over the right to own a gun, even though owning a gun does in fact allow you to safer, to protect yourself, from those who would do you harm? It has been quite a while since I have seen anybody say something that contradicted itself so badly.

  • Ratherdrive

    A standing army was created in Article One, well prior to the BOA.

    Good to see you mentioned the Virginia Convention to Ratify, which is where the debate on the 2A took place. And where private ownership of firearms was not even discussed, it was just assumed.

    Self defense did not come up, either.

    That convention made it very clear that what Virginia, and the rest of the South, did not want infringed by Congress was the practice of using militia as slave patrols in the South. Can’t very well maintain slavery without force, obviously.

  • Ratherdrive

    Tench Coxe was nowhere near Richmond when the Second Amendment was being debated.

  • na

    Who says they are not absolute? You can bring in all the illegals you want and turn a blind eye to their voting, give them drivers license, our social security, let them bring in diseases, basically threatening the efficacy of cities and states, stoke the flames of divide between man and woman, kidnap children and give them to homosexuals, none of which is absolute, as long as we are armed. You know it, we know it. Cowards use pens and hope everyone agrees, men use arms and care not if you agree.

    You can write away whatever you want, but that does not make it so in the hearts and minds of those who hold dear, their right to self defense from any and all who may pose a threat to them, their liberties, and their safety. That is what freedom is. The continual encroachement and degridation, as witnessed over the past 150 years, has nothing to do with abolishing rights at all does it? All rights, which the SC has said cannot be converted into a crime, has been, if you do not want to ask for permission to use them.

    Slavery is the context this fits in, where those who want to live off the public dole create laws legalizing their crimes, while at the same time criminalizing rights where only the strong will contest it.

    ” I favor the right to safety over the right to own a gun. But honest people can disagree”
    Who keeps you safe? I know, the police. Who is keeping Baltimore safe? Who is kept Ferguson safe? Ever see a militia kidnap children? Ever see the militia impose an illegal traffic stop meant to drive revenue?
    Ever seen the militia gun people down who dont want to submit to their unlawful and unconstitutional authority?
    No you have not. Why? Because they are freedom loving patriots doing what they do for free, at no cost to you. Can any other feminist loving assumed authoritorian in a costume say the same thing? Nope!
    I rest my case. The 2nd amendment is an individual right, it has no limits, as none were placed on it.
    All laws which are contrary to the constitution are null and void, and in fact should not even be attempted without a charge of insurrection, treason, and a public hanging.
    I know, to you I sound angry, but Im not. Some of us actually can exist without letting our wittle feelings control our reason.

  • na

    Even if they had the numbers to overturn it, honest and law abiding people will become criminals and you will see a civil war. We do not want to be ruled over. We want government actors to honor their oath to protect and serve, and if they cant, if they cannot control their desire for more power, they should take the honorable road and quit, as well as return all the booty they have plundered under the guise of public programs.

  • Joe M

    This is an old blog/post, but I have to respond.

    US v Miller wasn’t a clear-cut victory for either guns rights supporters or gun controllers. Miller and his lawyers didn’t even present their side of the case in front of SCOTUS. Only one side was presented, so conclusions drawn from that case are sketchy at best. Not that it really matters, but the Second Amendment doesn’t grant any rights. It merely recognizes them. Clearly, Jackson was wrong. SCOTUS settled the individual v. collective right with the Heller and McDonald decisions.

    The 1934 NFA isn’t about “sound policy.” It’s intended to be a revenue generator.

  • JimiJames

    I don’t see the contradiction at all. Statistically speaking, owning a gun makes you less safe. Study after study shows that. So, there’s merit to the idea that not having a gun around makes you safer.

  • Arthur Lieber

    I would certainly agree with you on this.

  • SY Phonik

    the whole idea of the bill of rights, the whole purpose and intent is to declare individual rights & freedoms and also to let the government know where their powers end. The idea that the founding fathers would make the 2nd amendment about protecting the government is absurd. Notice they use “A” militia and not “THE” militia. The militia was the citizens , the people, the framers of the bill just got out of a war with the biggest empire at the time, and they wanted to make sure the civilian populous could raise up with weapons equivalent to the armies of the time to form well regulated, functioning, ad hock militia to fight off any threat , be it foreign or domestic or insurrection from the top down. If you read the rest of the documents they wrote in that time period you can really get a good idea what they were thinking at the time. The framers were rebellious s.o.b’s and regularly talked about it. If you are going to try and dissect the 2nd amendment using your perception from a modern-day standpoint I suggest the author go read their other works and immerse themselves into the language & mindset of the day

  • Dan T

    Arthur I read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I could not find the right to safety. All the rights that i read seemed to do one thing. Protect you FROM the government. Furthermore the Constitution does not Grant you rights. it prevents the government from taking rights from you. It sets the limits of government. If you truly have an interest in what many knowledgable men debated while writing the Constitution then you should read the Federalist Papers. If you want to just to subject others to what you feel would be better, then that is what the Constitution is there to prevent. Regardless which side of the aisle you are from.

  • In the 18th century, “to keep and bear arms” meant “to serve in the military.” It had nothing to do with anyone owning anything.

    When you think about it, it’s really pretty stupid to think the Founding Fathers inserted a plug for a commercial product into the Bill of Rights.

  • Chris

    Where is the proof in that statement? Were you alive at the time to understand the colloquial references and idiomatic syntax that they spoke? Have you done research to back up that statement? Do the actual words to keep and bear arms in any way equate to the term to serve in the military? Banna actually meant apple to our founding fathers is what you are stating.

  • Chris

    NA, Your comments are fantastic and correctly reflect my own beliefs and opinions. Thank you for stating them.

  • jake freeland

    Arthur if you are so concerned about being safe why dont you protect yourself with a weapon?

  • jake freeland

    I’d like to see those statistics.

  • Liberal Fascist

    First the Militia was NOT the continental army not the oldest armed forces in the US, the Marines.
    The CAPITAL M Mitilia was and is CITIZENS who took up their personal arms and fought off the British . does Lexington and Concorde mean anything to the author of this idiocy?
    There was no OFFICIAL armed force of the U.S. at that point. It was shop owners and farmers.
    That’s why it says “the right of the PEOPLE. NOT the right of those serving in the continental army or marines.
    Your 1934 reference was to stop the free sale of MACHINE GUNS, by imposing a 200 tax on the sale of them. The same tax by the way we paid for OUR MACHINE GUNS SITTING IN OUR GUN SAFE. IN 1986 it was rewritten to prevent the sale of new machine guns to civilians. Which was an extension of the 1967 NFA Amnesty act.
    Also you seem to forget that the central government was not designed to be the monstrosity it is today. We were a collection of states with our own laws who would send Militia units to defend the other states if the continental army which was comprised of volunteers from the several States was not sufficient as in 1812.
    Today’s so called comon sense gun laws are neither. It fails to address the FACT that 80% of gun violence is minority on minority but because it’s racist to address that liberals try to rewrite history and take arms from law abiding citizens.
    You also IGNORE that criminals do not follow laws. That’s why they are called criminals. Unless you plan to eliminate a person’s right to protection from search and seizure and go door to door with metal detectors and ground penetrating radar any gun laws will ONLY be followed by those who follow the law to begin with.
    There is a reason the cities with the most draconian gun laws have the highest violent crime and violence rates. That includes Europe with emphasis on England who’s violent crime makes the US look like children since gun ownership was banned.
    In areas where there are open carry and large numbers of cwp holders violent crime rates drop dramatically.
    Yes you have the nuts who open fire on schools, but in China you had a man with a sword kill 16 people in a market.
    My whole family carries including my daughter’s. The reason is simple as it is scary. This needs to be burned into people’s minds.”THE SUPREME COURT RULED. A CITIZEN HAS NO REPEAT NO PRESUMPTION OF PROTECTION BY POLICE.” In other words you are on your own even if a cop is parked on the corner as he does not have to offer any protection to you. Only clean up the mess after the carnage ends

  • Liberal Fascist

    Bullshit. Sorry but look at England and France their violent crime, rape, and robbery are unreal. London s crime rate equals NYC D.C. and Chicago COMBINED

  • Meaningful Discourse

    You make a sound argument. However, if you are going to read the Constitution in terms of what the framers meant at the time of its writing, then by that argument we should limit the right to bear arms to the arms of that time, i.e. muskets. Now if we use this interpretation of the amendment that you put forth, “The framers of the bill just got out of a war with the biggest empire at the time, and they wanted to make sure the civilian populous could raise up with weapons equivalent to the armies of the time ….” that would mean that private citizens today should, if they have the means, be able to “keep and bear” rocket launchers, tanks, fighter jets, drones, and even nuclear warheads because those are weapons equivalent to the armies of the time.

  • SY Phonik

    You can own most of those items save a nuclear weapons but i dont think you could afford one if you wanted.

    The framers didn’t say the right to bear arms as long as it’s a musket

  • SY Phonik

    Good thing your opinion means f**** all when it comes to the bill of rights.

  • SY Phonik

    well said!

    (side note, how many of those people who follow laws, would follow the law if it banned guns? lol not many id venture to guess)

  • SY Phonik

    that is the stupidest thing I’ve read all day. the right to bear arms for the peurpose of a well regulated militia meant keep at home, or be able to carry, and maintain those weapons so if so called upon could form up to protect the continental U.S & the states from attack foreign or domestic.

    they didnt even have a “military” when the formed the U.S, they had the malitia,, which was… a loose group of civilians.

    when you think about it , its pretty smart to think the founding fathers made provisions to protect the right of the people to bear arms to protect themselves and the nation.

  • SY Phonik

    smh, wtf is that guy smoking LOL

    I guess the right of free speech actually meant you had the right to ride a horse.

  • SY Phonik

    you’re not going to because it’s b.s

    there is noway you are less safe by owning a gun LMFAO

  • BJ Van Gundy

    Ahhhhh… and here we have it! The author of the OPINION above, which doesn’t cite ANY historical references to what the Fore Fathers of our Country believed, admits that he wrote what is above for the sole purpose of supporting HIS opinion that fewer guns = safety.

    For the record, Mr. @arthur_lieber:disqus , there are a hundred or more quotes, such as the one that @anabellekyrie:disqus cites, that could be posted here to support the supposition that there is an individual right to bear arms in this Country. Very few, unless taken out of context, that would support your position.

    Additionally. A logical look at the poorly named “Bill of Rights” (they didn’t confer rights at all, but restricted the government’s ability to restrict the Peoples’ rights) would show that your view would require one to believe that 9 of the 10 Amendments were written to restrain the government from violating the Peoples’ rights, but in the single individual case of the Second Amendment the Founding Fathers decided to restrict the rights of the People.

    Is that REALLY what you expect us to believe? I know it is what you want… but please explain to me how this could be.

  • BJ Van Gundy

    Sir. I respectfully request where the right to safety is enumerated, in the Constitution or otherwise. The fact is, you only have a RIGHT to that which you are given by God (or whatever deity you believe in). Safety is most certainly not a RIGHT. However self defense most certainly is.

  • Danny

    The amendment should have been elongated in order explain to future Americans how its applicable to INDIVIDUAL’s. For example if Benjamin Franklin wrote it he might not have been that careful with punctuation and capitalization since he believed there’s different ways of spelling or wasn’t that good at it. Furthermore if a person of average intelligence (at the time) wasn’t wearing there glasses it changes the meaning that significantly ?

  • john jerome lll

    Laser printers and pc’s with their speed enhance the first amendment. Automatic weapons were made to kill as fast as possible and I am sure our FF’s are rolling in their graves at the misinterpretation of the 2nd amendment gone wild.

  • Berkley Townhouse

    and those countries don’t have second amendment right- with people do! Sorry if it bothers you But we do have the right and always will, to keep and bear arms.

  • Berkley Townhouse

    Then Buy a gun! Thats the right you have- if not, stop complaining if you are too scared to defend yourself.

  • Berkley Townhouse

    You conveniently let out, “The right of the people” It doesn’t say the right of a Militia .

  • Berkley Townhouse

    Only if you don’t have- thats the point.

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  • Played Chess Once

    Public safety comes from the public, an armed public!

  • Donnie Johnson

    We are not Bill Clinton ….. we KNOW what is is
    It doesn’t matter if it is lower or upper case M the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed is plain as day …….. SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!

  • Erik Baran

    The key phrase being “properly formed”, or “well regulated”, if you will, not just everyone that’s gone to the local Walmart and purchased a firearm.

  • Xplorer67

    if every citizen without a violent felony was required to carry a gun on them at all times there would be a huge drop in crime, and there would be no mass shootings. criminals will always get guns. Disarming law abiding citizens encourages mass shootings. when a government wants to disarm it’s citizens is the beginning of tyranny.

  • pmoseman

    A well-regulated Militia is the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

    How it is regulated is defined in the Constitution. It has leaders assigned by each state, respectively. They train in a way that will be prescribed by Congress. The weapons can come from either source. The purpose of a Militia is defense of the State and they are governed by each state. There is no reason for confusion ; A militia is not THE people, it is A people (singular), those in a Militia.

    The Constitution makes it abundantly clear what a militia means. The grammar is flawed in one other place in the constitution. Where it talks about The president being a citizen as the time of the Constitution’s adoption. They meant to say the President either natural born or a citizen at the time of the adoption. In this case the lack of a comma made it confusing, but it could still be interpreted correctly despite the grammar; the 2nd A should make sense, likewise, with or without the comma.

    Anyone who wants to argue with me on the following, has a tough hill to climb:

    If we remove the 2nd phrase (necessary for the free state) and the commas, then we are left with…
    “A well-regulated Militia the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    Even without the comma, there is a disconnect by ‘the’. A well regulate militia is a noun, and subject. For this to be a complete sentence it needs some verb or adjective acting on it. The SCOTUS’ recent interpretation says, “A militia, necessary for the free state”, is a complete sentence.

    Firstly, they had semicolons and if you splice the two clauses with a comma then you create a run-on sentence. You would have the splice it with a semicolon, ie A well-regulated Militia; the right of the people… Yet, neither version does so.

    That means, with or without the comma, ‘shall not be infringed’, applies equally to a militia and the people. This can be interpreted correctly with orbwothout the comma, same as the presidential pre-requisite can be figured without the comma.

    In fact, there was a debate, in the past, whether commas are necessary at all in English. Theybrealpy just help the reader. You can write without punctuation, albeit, carefully.

    So now, secondly, if we return to my original concoction:

    “A well-regulated Militia the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    What if I told you, the right of the people to keep and bear arms IS the well-regulated Militia, being necessary for the free state; a buzzer should sound off in your head, because now the phrasing makes sense. The writers who wanted it written this way (Washington, Hamilton, Adams, I would argue) wanted the people to be armed and able, despite not having an army, or against one, to defend themselves. They knew it required more than simply dishing out armament to every man, woman, and child; they knew it would require organization and training to be effective, they also knew the government could not train the whole country. The expense would be too great.

    Now, maybe other people wanted all people armed and envisioned an individual right, but that is not the compromise that was struck, and it does not bare out in logical interpretation.

  • pmoseman

    To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.
    John Adams

    Instead of giving any Assistance in repelling the Enemy, the Militia have not only refused to obey your general Summons and that of their commanding Officers, but I am told exult at the Approach of the Enemy and our late Misfortunes. I beg leave to submit to your Consideration whether such people are to be intrusted with Arms in their Hands?
    George Washington

    But though the scheme of disciplining the whole nation must be abandoned as mischievous or impracticable; 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.
    Alexander Hamilton

  • Erik Baran

    Then shouldn’t firearm owners be in such a militia? Oh, there’s private militias, but show me the well regulated militia we need for a secure and free state. There isn’t one. And if you really want to get technical, the 2nd Amendment should be voided, as it wasn’t legally ratified by the states. Different states voted on differently composed copies of the amendment, and because of that they meant different things. By law they have to have voted on the exact same wording. They didn’t.

  • Erik Baran

    Nicely edited. rme

    ” Tenche Coxe: “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American… The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” – Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette

    Seems we have turned our arms upon ourselves.

  • Erik Baran

    Crimes with guns have increased in countries that have enacted strict gun control legislation? Please show us the site you found that little tidbit of information.

  • Getting tired of this sh!t

    This is the second retarded ass comment I’ve read of yours on this “article” and your other one is seriously the dumbest comment I’ve read in months.

    Will you please please pretty please explain this comment and how you came to this conclusion perry logan? I don’t even want you to site sources.
    “In the 18th century, “to keep and bear arms” meant “to serve in the military.” It had nothing to do with anyone owning anything”

    I also will not go that link about how guns lead to slavery bullshit. But please explain to me, in your own words, how the guns I own will somehow the ability to legally buy you as my slave.
    I’m really looking forward to reading your… your… whatever it’s going to be.

    It’s an ashame that people like Arthur Leiber and perry Logan are not smart enough to ever learn how dumb they are.

  • Matt Seey

    Oh they are rolling alright, but for reasons other than civilians owning semi auto military look alike pea shooters

  • Matt Seey

    Guns with enhanced speed and power enhance the protection of the 2nd… Which whole purpose was to keep government tyranny in check and be the last line of defense against foreign invaders. The bill of rights was not written to protect us “only if we kept using 1800s technology” fucking derp.

  • DanialThom

    This article is simply wrong. A Militia, capitalized or not, is by definition non-professional. “The People” cannot be The Army, because the Army is controlled by the government. And how does “keep” fit into the author’s explanation? Keep implies that you can own, and bear implies that you can carry.

    Since a “militia” is a citizen army, “well regulated” in today’s words meant “well trained”; the intent of the amendment was to guarantee that citizens had the unrestricted right to train without government intervention. Guns were a deterrent to tyranny, so the idea that they government could take away guns was exactly what the amendment was designed to prevent.

  • Bob Blaylock

      The Second Amendment is only “confusing” to those who do not wish for it to be obeyed—to tyrants and criminals and those who take the side of tyrants and criminals against that of honest, decent, law-abiding citizens.

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