About the second amendment.....

Jan 14, 2006
Central Mass
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I've been reading the Isaacson Biography of Ben Franklin and in it there is mention of Franklin's actions in Pennsylvania during the mid 1700s relative to forming private, non government sponsored/controlled militia to provide protection to the people because the largely Quaker government of the time were pacifists and refused to authorize the taking of arms to thwart French and Indian raids against private property owners.

Franklin recognized that the government could not always be counted on to do what was right by the citizenry. However, if able to defend themselves he felt the citizenry had the ability, and the right, to act in their own best interest.

Within weeks of Franklin's pleas, over 10,000 citizens had organized themselves into 100 separate, self governing militias and they stopped the threat of raids from the north.

Franklin was of the opinon that "the middling people" needed to have the ability to protect themselves separate and distinct from the government.

When I read the second amendment as written:

"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."

I ask myself "Is it mere coincidence that immediately after the right of free speech the framers sought to deal directly with the necessity of people arming themselves?" Absolutely not, it flows directly from the experience and wisdom of our founding fathers. Specifically, in this instance, Ben Franklin. The keystone to the 2nd Amendment are these words - "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed"

Many may obsess all day over what a "well regulated militia" is, but the fact remains that those words are merely a preamble to the main point - SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED". However, looking at the actions of Franklin specifically we can conclude that the framers view of militia meant something outside of the government.

I now have a totally different concept of what the framers were getting at. Knowing the historic context makes it very clear that "well regulated" militia can only be formed when common people have the means to participate, which means they must be allowed to bear arms. (Franklin asked that all militia elect their own officers and see to their own organization - does that not define "well regulated" and distinguish it from "angry mob"?)

Nowhere in the second amendment does it say "government sponsored or controlled" militia.

I also read McCullough's historic novel 1776 recently. In it the role of federal and state rights are revealed in practice. In those days our government was an affiliated band of 13 colonies who sent volunteer militia to fight. These men came as loosely organized militia from their own towns, and signed enlistments to fight for freedom on behalf of the governing body in Philadelphia. The enlistees never gave up their rights and when their enlistments were over they were free to take their weapons and return to their homes and militia.

I've heard many antigun folks raise the the claim that the term "militia" was used differently in the days of the constitution and did not mean that individuals should possess firearms (though nearly all did during colonial times). Balderdash!

Reading the historical background regarding gun ownership and the rights of the people to arm and protect themselves simply reinforces the fact that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (as well as many other jurisdictions) is severely compromising our constitutional rights regarding gun ownership.

Shame on us and all other freedom loving citizens for allowing our elected officials to transform our constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms into a "bestowed privilege".
A bit earlier, Jonathon Swift opined on the same issue in "Gulliver's Travels", using the King of the Brobdingnag as his spokesperson:

Above all, he was amazed to hear me talk of a mercenary standing army, in the midst of peace, and among a free people. He said, "if we were governed by our own consent, in the persons of our representatives, he could not imagine of whom we were afraid, or against whom we were to fight; and would hear my opinion, whether a private man's house might not be better defended by himself, his children, and family, than by half-a-dozen rascals, picked up at a venture in the streets for small wages, who might get a hundred times more by cutting their throats?"


I also read McCullough's historic novel 1776 recently.

I have 1776 also and think that you err in calling it a novel. It's more of a historic narrative because it relates actual people and events, albeit in a very readable style.

The big issue of militia vs a standing army came about from the individual states' failure to provide long-term enlistees early in the war. Washington was almost continually faced with his soldiers coming up on the end of their enlistments. Most people seemed to think that the war would end quickly and misjudgeg England's perseverance in trying to squash the rebellion and bring the thirteen colonies back under Crown rule. It was as if Washington alone realized that this war would last a long time and would be won not with a huge military victory, but by wearing down the English resolve.
I've always read it and understood it like this, with some wording taken from Penn and Teller's Bullsh** interpretation too:

"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."

Break it down:

"A well regulated Militia,"

What we know as the modern day army

"being necessary to the security of a free State,"

Yup. If you wish to stay free, then you must have a willing army ready to serve and protect this fine country/states.

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

But even though we'll have an army to remain free, the right of us schmucks at the bottom to own weapons will remain true.

Because every now and then we may just have to fight our own government... Just as we did.

So as a new country. We would need our own army/militia/what have you. So that by owning weapons, we could always keep our government in check.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

Anyhow... One person's take on it
That is an interesting interpretation; that the right of the people to bear arms is specifically to counteract the formal military. I don't know if it is the original intent, but it makes a lot of sense.
Remeber this there is only 3 places in the constitution and bill of rights where the words "THE RIGHT OF" and "THE PEOPLE" are worded together..the 1st,2cnd and 4th ammendments..so next time a liberal tells you the 2cnd is a collective right show them that.Its also why the report from the US department of justice after an 80 page report last year came to the conclusion the second ammendment is an individual right.Some people say the national guard is the militia..it is not.Militias were expected to report with a weapon,ammunition and equipment in common use at the time..self supplied..the guard is funded and equiped by the federal government making them a governmental entity not a militia entity..wich in my book is the solution to the home land security problem namely the untapped resource of THE ARMED AMERICAN.When the Japanese were considering invading the continental united states wasnt it To Jo who said."there would be a rifle waiting behind every blade of grass"the second ammendment I beleive deterred a possible invasion.So when liberals say the 2nd is a "collective"right remind them how its worded...just like the 1st and 4th and liberals dont consider those rights by their own admission collective.

Amendment 1.Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,or prohibiting the free excercise thereof;or abridging the freedom of speach,or the press;or THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE peaceably to assemble,and to petiton the government for a redress of greivences.

Amendment 2.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.

Amendment 4.THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE to be secure in their persons,houses,papers and effects,against unreasonable searches and seizures,shall not be violated,and no warrants shall issue,but upon probable cause,supported by oath or affirmation,and particulary describing the place to be searched,and the person or thing to be seized.

The preamble of the constitution says..WE THE PEOPLE..and we know what that refers to..us each and every american..so when you combine 1 and 2 we ahve the right to peaceably assemble armed..thats a militia becasue WE THE PEOPLE can excercise our rights.Also when liberals say amendments can be changed they are right..just not the first 10 as these are our charter rights,our garunteed rights...our INALIENABLE rights and when the government becomes destructive of these ends as we create governments to protect our INALIENABLE rights,its THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE to alter or abolish said government....by force if necesary.Thats what the constitution and bill of rights mean to me.
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Big Dave - that's one argument I've used when folks say it means the military. "Oh...so "the right of the people" doesn't mean us? Gee....then I guess in the other sections where this term is used, that also means the military? Hmmm"

They usually look at me like they just missed something important but dont' want to ask what it was. <Derek, we need a "roll eyes" emoticon [smile] )
Definately an infringement.....good news though I only have to put up with massachusetts 2 more years..the wife and I have decided to make a move to Texas[smile]
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