Symantics of the Second Amendment - Opinions?


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bad_dad_brad
September 19, 2004, 12:58 AM
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."

Now for a moment let us break this sentence structure down. It is a list.

1. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.

2. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms.

The Law:

Shall not be infringed.

I think these words describe two distinct rights, the only thing missing between the list is the modern word - and.

States have the right to have a militia.

The people have the right to keep and bear arms.

Opinions?

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1911Ron
September 19, 2004, 01:20 AM
If i remember right every one exept for the clergy,infirm and certain political types were in the miltia. Those in the miltia had to provide their own firearm, some units had requirements for caliber for supply purposes. Take that all into context and you can see why they wrote the Second Amendment the way they did, and remember that the miltias were around before the revolution, they were set up to protect the comunity from Indians. I don't have the book at hand but it talks about what their thinking was regarding the Second amendment, wish i could remember the title.

GD
September 19, 2004, 10:13 AM
The first part is the reason, the second part the right. The founding fathers thought it necessary for defense of the country that there be an armed citizenry. They did not want much, if any, of a standing army.

Antis today state that the founding fathers were thinking about the National Guard. That is ridiculous as the National Guard was still over 100 years in the future. Also when examining the 2nd amendment with the other bill of rights, it is obvious that this is refering to an individual right. Why would the founding fathers think it necessary to write in the bill of rights a right to arm the federal government?

Of course why would I think that liberal antis use logic?

Tory
September 19, 2004, 10:48 AM
I think there is another flaw in your logic: That the Second Amendment to the Constitution expressly provides for individual state militias.

The term "state" may well refer to the NATION, not its component states. As only national governments wage war, and as the militia is designed primarily for defense in time of war, it would logically follow that the militia was to serve the national interests of defense and preservation.

As the Militia Act of 1792, now codified as 10 USC 311, specifically distinguishes between the organized militia (National Guard) and the unorganized militia, with the latter being the common citizenry, it would seem that Federal law further reinforces the interpretation that the term "free State" - not "States" - means the national government.

Net result: ZERO basis for the "state militia" rationalization for the abridgement of an INDIVIDUAL right. :scrutiny:

Cool Hand Luke 22:36
September 19, 2004, 01:16 PM
Section 311. Militia: composition and classes

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied
males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section
313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a
declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States
and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the
National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are -
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard
and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of
the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the
Naval Militia.

It appears that only women who are members of the National Guard are included in the definition of Militia.

So therefore, based on the argument that the preamble to the 2nd Amendment sets the scope of the classes of people included in the RKBA, only female members of the National Guard have the RKBA under the 2nd.

All other women have no 2nd Amendment rights at all. :D

Hutch
September 19, 2004, 01:50 PM
Not sure in is directly applicable, but I love this parsing analogy. Let's suppose there was an Amendment the in BOR that read: "A well-educated electorate, being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and read books will not be infringed." A similar construction to the 2nd, I think most would agree.

Put this in front of an Anti, and ask:
Does this amendment mean that only voters have a right to read?
Does it mean that the Feds can restrict the type, number, and content of books to protect the public?
Does it mean that the Feds can require books to be kept in a library, and only read there?
Does it permit the Feds to make readers pass a background check before reading?

If you remove the emotionalism and cognitive dissonance that many feel regarding firearms, the meaning of the 2nd isn't very hard to discern at all.

sendec
September 19, 2004, 01:52 PM
Not allowing women to be members of the milita is most likely unconstitutional.

boofus
September 19, 2004, 01:57 PM
Women are not automatically counted as members of the militia unless they volunteer but still have 2A rights. It is the 'right of the people' to keep and bear arms not the right of the militia.

Women are the people as are blacks, Jews, gays, and everyone else.

Firethorn
September 19, 2004, 01:58 PM
So add them in!

And watch the feminazis scream!

*Note: My definition of a feminazi is the extreme feminists who seem to want all the "privilages" of men without any of the penalties.

DesertEagle613
September 19, 2004, 02:00 PM
Here's a thought.

Maybe we could get a friendly congresscritter to propose a bill amending the definition of "militia" to include women. It would have two benefits: first, it would increase awareness about what exactly constitutes the militia (i.e. it would start shooting holes in the anti arguments), and second, it would explicitly align RKBA advocates with women's rights. The anti's would have a fit :D

Edit: oops, Firethorn beat me to it...

cratz2
September 19, 2004, 02:08 PM
I personally believe it is in the best interest of states and the nation as a whole to have as many legally armed citizens as possible... Furthermore, I don't believe that many criminal offenses should stop folks from being legally able to have a firearm.

For conversations sake, the only part of the ammendment ment I think can be argued is the 'well regulated' phrase. I don't buy into the fact that the militia in question refers to the national guard but I might be convinced that this could refer to an even more local group, but one that keeps their guns locked up when not needed... Say, like an older sheriffs department.

Purely my own belief, but I don't believe that the militia would be government sponsered in any way.

One of Many
September 19, 2004, 02:23 PM
While you are updating the definition of "Militia" to eliminate bias and discrimination, why not also remove upper age restrictions. Leave the able-bodied/able-minded (and non-criminal) aspects in the definition, since they are non discriminatory, and leave the lower age restriction to protect children.

There are many older shooters, that are valuable assets to a militia, that can train the younger people to hit the intended target. One of the biggest problems with any military force is people that can't hit what they shoot at, which is a huge waste of ammo.

The older people may not be able to keep up with the twenty-somethings in the field, but they can fill support roles, and perform security duties.

Coltdriver
September 19, 2004, 02:50 PM
Here is the unambiguous, definitive answer. One thing is very clear, the founding fathers had a much better grasp of the English Language than the average American of today.

THE TEXT OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT
By J. Neil Schulman
J. Neil Schulman is the founder and president of SoftServ Publishing.
If you wanted to know all about the Big Bang, you'd ring up Carl Sagan, right? And if you wanted to know about desert warfare, the man to call would be Norman Schwartzkopf, no question about it. But who would you call if you wanted the top expert on American usage to tell you the meaning of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution?
That was the question I asked A.C. Brocki, editorial coordinator of the Los Angeles Unified School District and formerly senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Publishers -- who himself had been recommended to me as the foremost expert on English usage in the Los Angeles school system. Mr. Brocki told me to get in touch with Roy Copperud, a retired professor of journalism at the University of Southern California and the author of American Usage and Style. The Consensus.

A little research lent support to Brocki's opinion of Professor Copperud's expertise.

Roy Copperud was a newspaper writer on major dailies for over three decades before embarking on a distinguished seventeen-year career teaching journalism at USC. Since 1952, Copperud has been writing a column dealing with the professional aspects of journalism for Editor and Publisher, a weekly magazine focusing on the journalism field.
He's on the usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and Merriam Webster's Usage Dictionary frequently cites him as an expert. Copperud's fifth book on usage, American Usage and Style: The Consensus, has been in continuous print since 1981, and is the winner of the Association of American Publisher's Humanities Award.

That sounds like an expert to me.

After a brief telephone call to Professor Copperud in which I introduced myself but did not give him any indication of why I was interested, I sent the following letter:

"I am writing you to ask you for your professional opinion as an expert in English usage, to analyze the text of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and extract the intent from the text.

"The text of the Second Amendment 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 debate over this amendment has been whether the first part of the sentence, 'A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,' is a restrictive clause or a subordinate clause, with respect to the independent clause containing the subject of the sentence, 'the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.'

"I would request that your analysis of this sentence not take into consideration issues of political impact or public policy, but be restricted entirely to a linguistic analysis of its meaning and intent. Further, since your professional analysis will likely become part of litigation regarding the consequences of the Second Amendment, I ask that whatever analysis you make be a professional opinion that you would be willing to stand behind with your reputation, and even be willing to testify under oath to support, if necessary."

My letter framed several questions about the text of the Second Amendment, then concluded:

"I realize that I am asking you to take on a major responsibility and task with this letter. I am doing so because, as a citizen, I believe it is vitally important to extract the actual meaning of the Second Amendment. While I ask that your analysis not be affected by the political importance of its results, I ask that you do this because of that importance."

Questions and Answers

After several more letters and phone calls, in which we discussed terms for his doing such an analysis, but in which we never discussed either of our opinions regarding the Second Amendment, gun control, or any other political subject, Professor Copperud sent me the following analysis (into which I have it italicized my questions for the sake of clarity):
The words "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state," contrary to the interpretation cited in your letter of July 26, 1991, constitutes a present participle, rather than a clause. It is used as an adjective, modifying "militia," which is followed by the main clause of the sentence (subject "the right," verb "shall"). The right to keep and bear arms is asserted as essential for maintaining a militia.
In reply to your numbered questions:

(1) Can the sentence be interpreted to grant the right to keep and bear arms solely to "a well-regulated militia"?
The sentence does not restrict the right to keep and bear arms, nor does it state or imply possession of the right elsewhere or by others than the people; it simply makes a positive statement with respect to a right of the people.

(2) Is "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" granted by the words of the Second Amendment, or does the Second Amendment assume a pre-existing right of the people to keep and bear arms, and merely state that such right "shall not be infringed"?
The right is not granted by the amendment; its existence is assumed. The thrust of the sentence is that the right shall be preserved inviolate for the sake of ensuring a militia.

(3) Is the right of the people to keep and bear arms conditioned upon whether or not a well-regulated militia, is, in fact, necessary to the security of a free State, and if that condition is not existing, is the statement "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" null and void?

No such condition is expressed or implied. The right to keep and bear arms is not said by the amendment to depend on the existence of a militia. No condition is stated or implied as to the relation of the right to keep and bear arms and to the necessity of a well-regulated militia as a requisite to the security of a free state. The right to keep and bear arms is deemed unconditional by the entire sentence.

(4) Does the clause 'A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, " grant a right to the government to place conditions on the "right of the people to keep and bear arms, " or is such right deemed unconditional by the meaning of the entire sentence?
The right is assumed to exist and to be unconditional, as previously stated. It is invoked here specifically for the sake of the militia.

(5) Which of the following does the phrase "well-regulated militia" mean: "well-equipped, " "well-organized, " "well-drilled, " "well-educated, " or "subject to regulations of a superior authority"?
The phrase means "subject to regulations of a superior authority;" this accords with the desire of the writers for civilian control over the military.

(6) If at all possible, I would ask you to take into account the changed meanings of words, or usage, since that sentence was written two-hundred years ago, but not take into account historical interpretations of the intents of the authors, unless those issues cannot be clearly separated.
To the best of my knowledge, there has been no change in the meaning of words or in usage that would affect the meaning of the amendment. If it were written today, it might be put: "Since 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 abridged."

(7) As a "scientific control" on this analysis, I would also appreciate it if you could compare your analysis of the text of the Second Amendment to the following sentence:

"A well-schooled electorate, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and read Books, shall not be infringed."

My questions for the usage analysis of this sentence would be,
(A) Is the grammatical structure and usage of this sentence and the way the words modify each other identical to the Second Amendment's sentence?; and
(B) Could this sentence be interpreted to restrict "the right of the people to keep and read Books" only to "a well-educated electorate" -- for example, registered voters with a high-school diploma?
(A) Your "scientific control" sentence precisely parallels the amendment in grammatical structure.
(B) There is nothing in your sentence that either indicates or implies the possibility of a restricted interpretation.

Concluding Comment

Professor Copperud had only one additional comment, which he placed in his cover letter: "With well-known human curiosity, I made some speculative efforts to decide how the material might be used, but was unable to reach any conclusion."

So now we have been told by one of the top experts on American usage what many knew all along: the Constitution of the United States unconditionally protects the people's right to keep and bear arms, forbidding all governments formed under the Constitution from abridging that right.

As I write this, the attempted coup against constitutional government in the Soviet Union has failed, apparently because the will of the people in that part of the world to be free from capricious tyranny is stronger than the old guard's desire to maintain a monopoly on dictatorial power.
And here in the United States, elected lawmakers, judges, and appointed officials who are pledged to defend the Constitution of the United States ignore, marginalize, or prevaricate about the Second Amendment routinely. American citizens are put in American prisons for carrying arms, owning arms of forbidden sorts, or failing to satisfy bureaucratic requirements regarding the owning and carrying of firearms -- all of which is an abridgement of the unconditional right of the people to keep and bear arms, guaranteed by the Constitution. Even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), staunch defender of the rest of the Bill of Rights, stands by and does nothing.

It seems it is up to those who believe in the right to keep and bear arms to preserve that right. No one else will. No one else can. Will we beg our elected representatives not to take away our rights, and continue regarding them as representing us if they do? Will we continue obeying judges who decide that the Second Amendment doesn't mean what it says it means but means whatever they say it means in their Orwellian doublespeak?

Or will we simply keep and bear the arms of our choice, as the Constitution of the United States promises us we can, and pledge that we will defend that promise with our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor?

ilcylic
September 19, 2004, 04:39 PM
I dunno, but I sure wish the FF had predicted how stupid people would become in 200 years, and had made it so thoroughly unambiguous that no-one could doubt.

"A well armed citizenry being necessary to guard against encroaching tyranny on the part of the State, no person shall be denied the ownership of any weapon, of any military or sporting use."

Or something like that.

-Ogre

jefnvk
September 20, 2004, 01:35 AM
The first part is the reason, the second part the right. The founding fathers thought it necessary for defense of the country that there be an armed citizenry. They did not want much, if any, of a standing army.

Bingo!

My definition of a feminazi is the extreme feminists who seem to want all the "privilages" of men without any of the penalties.

Bingo!

Tharg
September 20, 2004, 05:59 AM
Man - when we gonna put the '34 ban on trial then.. rofl

if there is one thing i'm tired of - its the "its for your safety" arguments.

I bet russia's communism was "for the safety of the masses" whilst they (the ruling classes) enjoyed thier freedom and extravegance.

Just like in OUR society - the have's and have not's... I'd be willing to bet if Kerry thought he was in danger and is a hunter as he claims that there wouldn't have been a few handguns etc around the house before he had a security detail assigned to him...

bleh - Rossie as well - the two facedness of the crap is amazing... MY life is ok to defend, but YOUR's is not... because you can't afford trained bodyguards, and we just can't allow normal joes to own guns.

makes ya wonder how we got here. I think to myself in dealing w/ gf's kid and hearing other parents stories of kids gone wild how we ended up here... when a scant 25 years ago it was my ASS to look at my pops and tell him to shut the F up... now adays we are supposed to do time outs... and boy... can YOU tell the effectiveness of it?

The gf's son has threatened and destroyed and been basicly the <insert explicative> that you'd not want to waste a bullet on cause it would cost too much.... yet the law is on the kids side... and the schools are on the kids side.. and the counselors are on the kids side... and the hospitals are on the kids side... by the time yer through - yer using cash to defend yourself for your actions reguarding your own flesh and blood and wondering how exactly this mess happened - since you were trying to dicipline your son....

so tired of what america has turned into... because of PC peopel who think of many ways to stop the "harm" but fail to recognize the responsibility of thier wants... fail to recognize how a kid will play the system, how unwed mothers just maybe SHOULDN"T be raising a kid at 15, etc etc... the moral high road... isn't allways the right road to take... sometimes practical experience/traditional old ways of learning from one's mistakes is SO much better.

J/Tharg!

MP5
September 20, 2004, 08:09 AM
http://www.guncite.com/gc2ndmea.html

And this article http://www.guncite.com/journals/shalideo.html offers some insight into the thinking behind the amendment.

Lots of interesting info on GunCite.

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