Published: Tuesday, April 9 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT
I just have one question, what does the first part of the second amendment mean
to the pro-gun absolutists? It seems that they thinks it is just a little
literary flourish which means absolutely nothing. Someone please tell me.
Well regulated means well behaved. A father (for example) who defends his family
after a natural disaster from looters or is a militia of one. If he is well
behaved, i.e. obeys the law in doing this and acts responsibly in all respects,
then he is a well regulated militia of one, (self regulated, but regulated
nonetheless.Were he to cooperate with neighbors in doing this, he
would be part of a neighborhood militia. Assuming they behave properly, they are
a well well regulated militia.
Lynn,In the context of the second amendment, “well regulated”
means trained and competent, not restricted. Try substituting “trained
and competent” for “well regulated”, then try substituting
“restricted” for "well regulated", and see which one makes
more sense when talking about the security of a free state.
Yes, there is the militia part. But there is also the people part - "the
right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."One part talks of militia. The other part talks of people. This is why we
are still battling this out. It has two parts which (in today's context of
military preparedness) are now disjoint.So (from how I understand
the courts) we can "regulate" but not "infringe". Now there is
a delicate dance.
What a great reminder that communities would be well served by creating and
training a community militia to deal with emergencies and to deter tragedies.
The DN just had an article on overcoming complacency regarding potential
disasters. With a well regulated militia communities would be better prepared
for such things, and loony shooters would choose an alternate, easier target.The real solution is an armed citizenry and a local militia everywhere,
just like the 2nd amendment says.
While we're busy parsing, let me add that 'to bear arms' meant,
in the 18th century, to serve in the armed forces of your country. Since
America had no standing army back then, militias were the closest thing to
formal military service we had. But if you read the literature of the period,
there is essentially never an instance where 'to bear arms' means
'to privately own a firearm.' It always means 'to join the
The Meaning of 'WELL REGULATED'Well regulated .. means
well behaved. So that the meaning is more clear, you can substitute the words
'well behaved' each time you see the words 'well
regulated'.Its important to keep in mind, in the 2nd Ammendment
it isn't militia members that are given the right to keep and bear arms, it
is the people. The founders wanted the people to have access to guns so they
could act in defense of themselves, their families, their neighbors and their
countrymen when the need arises. And it does arise, government militias (police
and the military) can't be everywhere on time when they are needed
(remember hurricane Katrina)?, This is why our constitution provides for people
militias in addition to the government militias it provides for.
"self regulated, but regulated nonetheless."We don't
need posted speed limits. But I know how fast I can safely drive. = self
regulatedPitch the DUI laws. I know how much I can drink and still
drive safely. = self regulatedI know that girl was only 12, but she
was very mature for her age. = self regulated.That chemical is OK to
dump in the river. No one drinks that water = self regulated.Sorry,
but "self regulated" does not necessarily mean "well-behaved"
The SCOTUS says the second amendment means YOU, as an American citizen, may
possess firearms! What part of that do you not understand?
Eric Samulesen is exactly right. I've been reading the biography of
Alexander Hamilton and guess what the revolution was staffed with voulnteers who
brought their own guns to the fight. The nation provided weaponry as best as
possible but if the citizens had not only brought their own guns but in addition
had not sacraficed their personal silver and lead to melt into bulletts
we'd all be singing God save the queen. What a scary twist of
words and thoughts to say that the second amendment provides for neighborhood
militias in addition to an army, navy etc. and the national guards. I think the
pharse is "a" well regulated militia, not well regulated
"militias".Sorry cjb regulated primarily means to bring
under the control of law or the constitued authority.
Mountanman - Thank you for bringing up SCOTUS. They are the ones tasked by the
Founders with interpreting the Constitution. I've posted this a dozen
times on this page before but it's so important that I can't help
myself.Justice Scalia, certainly a conservative, wrote this in his
majority opinion which turned over the District of Columbia's band on
owning guns. But he felt it important to add these words:"The
Second Amendment right is not a right to keep and carry any weapon in any manner
and for any purpose. The Court has upheld gun control legislation including
prohibitions on concealed weapons and possession of firearms by felons and the
mentally ill, laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such
as schools and government buildings, and laws imposing conditions and
qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. The historical tradition of
prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons supports the holding
in United States v. Miller that the sorts of weapons protected are those in
common use at the time."This debate is not about banning guns,
but regulating them. Justice Scalia has told us that regulations are
JoeBlowPlease give an example where the difference between
'well regulated' and 'well behaved' are sufficiently
different that 'well behaved' shouldn't be substituted in for
well regulated.Why do you resist this? The founders clearly wanted
militias to be well behaved.
Eric,Perhaps a bit too much parsing. The full phrase is "to
keep and bear arms". Also, I think "bear" means more than just to
join a military group but rather to take them up for use. So, it is to be able
to keep (own) and bear (use).
Absolutely correct. "The SCOTUS says the second amendment means YOU, as an
American citizen, may possess firearms!"However, do not forget
that the SCOTUS has also said that various restrictions are also legal,
including, WHO - Court said it is ok to deny convicted felons the
right to carry a gun.WHERE - Courts have said that it is legal to restrict
where guns can be carried.HOW - Courts have ruled that restrictions on gun
sales is allowedamong other restrictions.Many people tout the
SCOTUS rulings when they agree but want to ignore the rulings that they dislike.
When the SCOTUS rules, it becomes law. Those screaming "shall
not be infringed" to mean any gun, anywhere are ignoring the LAW set forth
by SCOTUS rulings.
Excellent point. The extremism about guns is unreasonable and actually
Twin Lights,Well, perhaps, but again, always within the context of formal
military service. As for private firearm possession, it's worth noting
that 18th century US had no domestic firearms manufacturers. If you wanted to
own a musket, you had to buy it from a foreign source. Some people did that,
others relied on community armories.
Eric and Pragmatist,I thought you knew US history better than to claim
"America had no standing army back then, militias were the closest thing to
formal military service we had."The Continental Army never
existed? What did George Washginton command? It certainly was NOT a band
militias. Militias may have provided the initial members, but we certainly DID
have and army!Washington won more than a battle when he crossed the
Delaware into Trenton, he kept his ARMY together when many of the SOLDIERS (not
militiamen) were reaching the end of their ENLISTMENTS.c'mon
guys, we rarely agree, but please stop using untruths to further your positions.
The entire bill of rights was added to protect the citizens against their new
government. Period. Read, in that context, things look a little different to a
truly objective reader. I own no guns, but have no problem with anyone who
does as long as they don't use them to harm others. Oh, and I have been
shot by one so I kind of "get it" in that special way which only
experience teaches you... "shall not be infringed" trumps the control
side people in my view, but then again I'm not the SCOTUS. I'm also
in favor of the death penalty for crimes committed with a firearm - all of them.
If you abuse the right to bear arms with deadly force, you should soon
experience it yourself. And removing firearms from the mentally unstable is
just common sense, like not licensing the blind to drive vehicles.
Eric,The British tried to keep the industrial revolution from
migrating to the US. I would imagine that (given a less than fully cooperative
set of colonials) that extended to firearms manufacturing as well. Why help arm
your potentially revolutionary colonies? Note that there were small makers.
Just no larger scale manufacturers.
Commas placed as punctuation in a sentance are generally meant to separate
ideas. The well regulated militia one idea, the right to keep and bear arms is
one idea, shall not be infringed is another idea. Read the Federalist Papers
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