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What if "Regulated" really means "Regulated"?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by ReadyontheRight, Feb 9, 2004.

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  1. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    I've been thinking about this one for a while.

    "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."

    What if the word "regulated" simply means ... "regulated"?

    Regulated means "subject to regulations of a superior authority". I certainly want the power of any militia to be regulated by a superior authority.

    Who is the superior, ultimate authority in our form of government? The PEOPLE.

    If you look at the analysis of Roy Copperud, a retired professor of journalism at the University of Southern California from the September 13, 1991 issue of GUN WEEK: THE UNABRIDGED SECOND AMENDMENT by J. Neil Schulman at this thread:

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=63764

    Specifically, Professor Copperud analyzes the word "regulated" in the Second Amendment.

    "...[Schulman: (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"?]

    [Copperud:] (5) The phrase means "subject to regulations of a superior authority"; this accords with the desire of the writers for civilian control over the military. ..."

    According to Professor Copperud, the word "regulated" really fits our modern definition of "regulated".

    And -- as described above (and elsewhere in the founding documents), the PEOPLE are the superior authority of any US government or its military.

    Then, the right to keep and bear arms would provide the People with an effective means for civilian control over a corrupt government in control of the military.

    We jump through a lot of hoops defining "militia", "well-regulated", "the people", etc., but looking at it this way makes the 2nd Amendment very straightforward -- the people are armed to control (regulate) the power of the military and keep our free state secure.

    This sure fits with the thinking of the Founding Fathers and supports my view of the value of RKBA, but I've never before seen the 2nd Amendment described this way. Am I missing something?

    What do you think?
     
  2. Mark Tyson

    Mark Tyson Member

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    That's kind of a stretch. The constitution, when it mentions the militia, clearly has a top down chain of command in mind. It says the militia exists to suppress insurrections, not create them. State's appint the militia's officers. Militia members can be called into service of the United States, the President is CINC of the militia, Congress provides for the organizing and arming of the militia, etc.

    The right to revolt exists in theory when a government becomes tyrannical.

    This doesn't mean that the militia is authorized to take over the federal government.
     
  3. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    In countries that supress RKBA, the military has been known to take over the federal government -- it's called a Coup. The authority comes out of the fact that they are the only ones with guns. RKBA is one means to prevent this.
     
  4. Bruce H

    Bruce H Member

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    I've thought that was the proper definition ever since school. The well regulated part is to stop every Tom, Dick, and Harriet from having their own standing armies. Back when the constitution was written there were still several independent feifdoms in Europe. The founders wanted to stop this before it started.
     
  5. MeekandMild

    MeekandMild Member

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    I went so far as to get my public library to borrow me a copy of a dictionary which was used in the 1700's. IMHO the sense of 'regulated' was to train the militia to move and fire together like a 'well regulated' clock. In those days military firepower was all about staying together, moving together, shooting together and reloading together. As Heinlien would say "by the numbers and on the bounce". The higher authority back then was composed of elected officers and whichever local big boy who could afford to support a cannon.
     
  6. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    That makes sense Bruce H.

    I've always thought that without rifles, settling the United States would have required fiefdoms, lords, dukes, etc. to organize and protect regions.

    When each man has a rifle, you don't need a "Lord" to protect you and your land from all but the largest invasions.
     
  7. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    Substitute the proposed definition of "regulated" then place it next to the definition of "infringe" and you get a nonsensical statement.

     
  8. Sam Adams

    Sam Adams Member

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    Ditto, what Waitone said. If something is called a "right," but it can be regulated ad infinitum, then it ISN'T a right - it is a privilege. This CANNOT be what the drafters of the 2nd Amendment could have intended.

    IMHO, backed up by the Federalist papers and other writings contemporary to the adoption of the Constitution and the BOR, the People instituted a government of limited powers. They were very afraid of the potential for tyranny embodied in a powerful central government (like that of England, which they had just bloodily defeated less than a decade before), so they split the government's limited powers into three co-equal and self-interested branches. Further, certain rights (which PRECEDED THE EXISTENCE OF THE COUNTRY) were viewed as being SO IMPORTANT that they were specifically placed outside of the sphere of activities in which the government was permitted/authorized to act. Within those amendments, the Constitutional "reset" button is the 2nd Amendment - which, unlike all of the other amendments, absolutely protects the right in question (...the right of the People to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT be infringed). The objective of its passage was to ensure that the People would ALWAYS possess the actual means by which to sweep away a tyrannical government (and not merely the theoretical right to do so, as was so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence) and start over, should the noble experiment of the Constitution fail to prevent such a tyranny.
     
  9. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    Maybe I'm not making myself clear. I know the traditional defense of the 2nd Amendment and the concept of rights vs. priviledges.

    If you consider the "militia" to mean the US military (the founders did not want a standing army) mustered in times of war, the power of a well-armed populace -- which is a right that shall not be infringed -- would regulate any misuse of that military force.

    So -- if "regulate" means "subject to regulations of a superior authority", It's the military that needs regulating, and a well-armed populace is the only means to do so.

    If we take Militia to mean those between 18-45, can't they then take away our guns when we all turn 45?
     
  10. bjengs

    bjengs Member

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    Try this (modern low brow English):

    "The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. This is largely because a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state."

    That is a correct grammatical reorganization of the second amendment. My reason for pointing this out is that the words "regulated" and "right" do not have any interplay whatsoever.

    As to the definition of "regulated," it has become clear to many (myself included) that it refers to a sense of organization, whether voluntary or by law. This, in turn, refers to both training (per MeekandMild) and structure (to some degree per Bruce H). Thus it was to be a structured organization of commoners who, only in time of homeland defense, would temporarily trade their proverbial plowshares and join their specific squad->platoon->company->battalion etc. (organized per the 2A) with which they had been training (per the 2A) every so often.

    Specifically, NO standing army.
    Specifically, NOT NECESSARILY a branch of government, although its being in the Federal Constitution certainly requires that there be a higher staff level than just State regiments.
    Specifically, though it was mostly to ensure that the militias were maintained, it is a reiteration of the personal right to defend oneself and one's country using one's own means.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2004
  11. grnzbra

    grnzbra Member

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    If a well regulated militia referred to some way to control from the top down, the word "free" wouldn't be necessary. The same statement could apply to any dictatorship in the world. You want a well regulated armed group to keep yourself in power and those under you from removing you from power.

    Keep in mind, that these people had just engaged in the violent overthrow of the duly constituted government of the time. They did this for a reason and it seems to me that the whole purpose of 2A is to guarantee that the people of this country have the ability to do it again, if necessary.
     
  12. greg700

    greg700 Member

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    Actually, I think it is irrelevant.

    It could read "A government controlled and restricted militia...." and it would not make a difference in the right upheld by the second amendment. Of course, the courts wouldn't see it that way....

    The term "well regulated" occurs in the statement of purpose, which was included to help illuminate the reasons why the founding fathers had to make an amendment that read "the right of the people to keep....." A statement of purpose occurs in several other places in the BOR, and the courts have ruled that it is irrelevant to the legal interpretation of the actual amendments with which they are included.

    So legally speaking, what we actually have is a second amendment that reads "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    At least, that's my take, I could be wrong.
     
  13. bjengs

    bjengs Member

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    greg700: Glad we agree.

    The point I did not mention is the one that you did, namely that the bit about "militia" is not part of the law itself. It's like passing a law that makes drunk driving illegal: "The drinking of alcohol being a detriment to one's health, the penalty for driving while inebriated is double the normal vehicle accident penalty." This would not be the same as a law banning alcohol!
     
  14. BowStreetRunner

    BowStreetRunner Member

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    it is my understanding, and i may be wrong, that regulated may have meant (and still may in England) to mean something more like "good working order" or " well armed"
    anyone have a perspective on this??
    BSR
     
  15. Jrob24

    Jrob24 Member

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    I looked up "well regulated" in the oxford english dictionary and the clock example was used for an early 19th century example. Therefore it is fitting that the 2nd Am refers to a "functioning" militia.
     
  16. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Yep. Sorry. The Second Amendment means the federal government shall not infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms—period. No more. No less.
     
  17. LiquidTension

    LiquidTension Member

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    Standing Wolf - you're preaching to the choir. This discussion is more so we can shoot down the anti's flawed interpretation of the 2A, IMO. Oh yeah, and to answer ReadyontheRight's question :)
     
  18. AZRickD

    AZRickD Member

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    Here is what "well-regulated" meant back then...

    From the “General Principles of Constitutional Law†by Thomas Cooley, which was the main text used by law schools in the mid to late 19th century:
    And just in case you think that the Constitution grant the Feds or the States to disarm We the Goodguys...

    William W. Rawle, A View of the Constitution 125 (2d ed. 1829) was the author of "A View of the Constitution of the United States of America." His work was adopted as a constitutional law textbook at West Point. He is quoted by Stephen P. Halbrook in "That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Consitutional Right" as follows.
     
  19. grnzbra

    grnzbra Member

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    So, it's all right for the states to infringe? How about quartering troops? Free speech? Self-incrimination? Is it all right for the states to do those things also?
     
  20. deanf

    deanf Member

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    The problem that many antis fall into is forgetting that the government has only those powers specifically delgated to it by us in the Constitution. The 2A delegates no authority to the government whatsoever, no matter the many definitions of the words in question.

    Even if the 2A was only meant to protect the ability of states to arm militias, the government still has no authority whatsoever to regulate the private use and possession of arms.
     
  21. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    You guys are arguing back with the standard interpretations as if I were an anti. I'm asking you to think about the words in a way I've never seen.

    If it were interpreted this way, I think it would help our cause -- so I'm wondering why it's not interpreted this way.

    Let me try it this way...

    "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    Agreed -- that is the essance of the Second Amendment.

    "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,"

    This is where the anti's think they have us. To them it says that the militia -- or military forces -- is the group that should be allowed to have arms to protect the state. We all agree this is ridiculous -- why would the government tell itself it can have arms for the army in a document that otherwise limits the power of that government?

    So...why is it so important that the people be armed? It's not for hunting, it's not for self-defense from crazed druggies -- it's to stand up to tyranny.

    Tyranny is not imposed by some crazy dictator, it's a crazy dictator or charming committee backed up by a military or police force that imposes its will upon people to turn them into subjects.

    Without a military, no tyrant.

    So any military must be controlled, or regulated to ensure the security of the free state.

    Who better to maintain control over a rogue military than an armed populace?

    This interpretation certainly isn't politically correct, but it fits well with the reason I want me and my countrymen armed - protection from tyrannical rule imposed by a military force. I still can't see why pro-RKBA forces have not interpreted the 2nd Amendment this way.
     
  22. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Nope. All I meant to point out is what the Second Amendment does: prevents the federal government from infringing our right to keep and bear arms. Other amendments and state constitutions—in theory, at least—prevent states from doing so.
     
  23. labgrade

    labgrade Member In Memoriam

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    Every one of the first 10 are a firm restriction on the federal guv to just keep their hands off every bit of what was written - the whole point they were written in the first place.

    Really as simple as that.

    What the antis don't get, or rather choose not to, is that the miltia is, by definition, a (mumble - somebody help me out here) a 1798, or so, law which defined it as so.

    Every intent of the founders was to ensure the federal government didn't get out of control (too much - I know ;) , there's the Federalists & anti-Federalists, etc. arguments, but still, .... ) - the first Big Ten are very firm restrictions on any intervention whatsoever.
     
  24. grnzbra

    grnzbra Member

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    If 2A only limits the actions of the fed, why don't the rest only limit the actions of the fed? Seems to me that 10A limits that actions of the fed to those specifically given to the fed by the constitution (which is why ATF has historically been an agency of the treasury - constitution says it's ok for the fed to impose taxes) and the rest restricted the states, regardless of the states constitutions.

    Nowhere does COTUS give the feds the right to control firearms. Therefore, why do we need 2A to control the fed? It must be a control on the states. (Unless, of course, it is to prevent the fed from taxing private firearms out of existance)
     
  25. AZRickD

    AZRickD Member

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    grnzbra, did you not read my post?

    You wrote: "If 2A only limits the actions of the fed, why don't the rest only limit the actions of the fed?"
     
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