I generally try to avoid controversy on my blog, but it’s often not possible. Today, I decided to read the actual text of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which is the subject of much debate in the wake of too many mass shootings in this country.
The actual text reads as follows:
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 is important to note that the text is constructed as a single sentence. The implication, then, as I understand it from a grammatical perspective, is that all the clauses that comprise the sentence are inherently connected to each other.
“A well regulated Militia” is for me the key to this amendment and is most often glossed over. The purpose of individuals being guaranteed the right to “keep and bear Arms” is solely for the purpose of maintaining a state militia, not for personal use. Also, the text clearly states that the bearing of arms should be “well regulated.” Unfortunately, I do not see anything that even vaguely resembles “well regulated” restrictions applied to the ownership of firearms. It seems to me that common sense legislation requiring proper licensing, training, and registration should be the very least in meeting the constitutional requirement of being “well regulated.”
I’m sure that many people will disagree with my interpretation, and that’s fine. In a democracy, vigorous debate is not only encouraged but required. But debate also implies compromise. It’s my hope that both sides can come together and agree on some common-sense changes to current policy that is in line with the Second Amendment but also serves to protect the citizens of this country, because isn’t that the ultimate goal of the US Constitution, to protect the citizens?
3 responses to “Second Amendment to the US Constitution”
Excellent post, dear Jeff…
I am thinking that “well regulated.” is a ost important point here as many mass shootings and rampages might been avoided if that expression should be taken in consideration…Merry Christmas and all my best wishes to you. Aquileana 🎄
You are so right, Aquileana! It seems so obvious, doesn’t it?
I also hope you have a wonderful holiday. May you and your family be showered with joy and blessings.
The framers were not illiterate, Had they wanted to qualify the right of the people to keep and bear arms they certainly could have. Instead they combined two independent clauses of Madison’s original draft into the final version of the amendment by rewriting the “well-regulated militia…” language as an Absolute.
The dependent clause (“a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state”) provides a rationale for the non-infringement of the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but it does not qualify the subject (the right…) of the independent clause, that is not the function of absolute construction. Nor does the dependent clause specify that the security of a free state is the sole reason for non-infringement of the right of the people to keep and bear arms.