The Second Amendment

The Second Amendment

by Rick Donaldson

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.

A simple, yet profound sentence, one which has meant and still means the most to the United States and Freedom from Tyranny throughout two hundred plus years as a Country.

The Second Amendment was ratified on December 17, 1791, along with the other nine amendments that make up the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment protects that entire Constitution, and all the other Rights.

The phrasing seems to upset those who hate guns because they can not fathom things in any terms other than the “here and now”, or understand times of old, equating everything they read with current technology. But, “guns” are not what that Amendment was written about anyway. Read on.

There have been debates for at least two decades on the meaning of the word militia. The phrase has been bandied about by Right, Left, Center, Libertarians, Progressives, Democrats, Republicans and many others. All of them have tried to convince others what the word “militia” means, or that the phrasing precludes or includes things it does or doesn’t.

People have made comments about this or that “clause” and how the words work together, or don’t work. Or work differently than we are led to believe.

What ALL have failed to do is understand the time period, the history and the men and women of that time period.

In the 18th Century, England and other countries, while many had standing armies, also all had militias. The United States’ Colonists had “militias”. They did not have a “standing Army”. In fact, there was NO ARMY when the Revolutionary War began. There were militia groups and some more organized groups ended up becoming the Army we know today. The US Army, as we know it today didn’t come into being until 1796. Five YEARS after the Constitution was ratified. There was no “National Guard”. There were only militias. Militias are explained later.

In those times, and today, codified into US Code, a militia is defined as all able-bodied males between the ages of 16 and 45 years of age. And no, we’re not forgetting the ladies either, (US Code states 17 – 45):

10 U.S.C. § 311 – U.S. Code – Unannotated Title 10. Armed Forces § 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.

Militias

In 1776, there was no standing Army. The states didn’t want a standing Army. George Washington was against a Standing Army as were many other of the Founding Fathers.

Even so, the MILITIA consisted of well-regulated young and older men.

Each town or jurisdiction, usually counties, had their own militia, made up of able-bodied men and boys who showed up on a regular schedule to the “Town Square” or some other handy location to practice shooting and some limited tactics. These groups were everywhere and they answered to some person, in general a male, who was their “local commander”. He might be a blacksmith, or a tailor, or even the mayor of the town.

The phrase “well-regulated” simply meant “Trained”. It didn’t mean “governed by the government”.

So the phrasing of the Second Amendment is actually quite simple, not complex, and it’s not hard to understand. No “interpretation” is required.

The PEOPLE made up the militia, so, “A well trained militia is necessary and being made up of the PEOPLE, their right to keep and bear arms WILL NEVER be infringed.”

The militia was then, and is now, the people. The people are the militia, and the government is constrained from touching rights to keep and bear arms. Period.

National Guard

The National Guard did not come into being officially until 1933. So, it was NOT the “National Guard” of which they spoke. It was NOT a standing Army, which they did not want.

Technology

Fire arms were muskets. But other weapons were not. Swords are weapons, and while there were no AR15s, no technological requirements for or against any sorts of weapons are found in the Amendment.

Instead we find the word ARMS. Not FIREARMS. Not Swords. Not guns. Not cannons. Just the word “Arms”.

Arms are ANY and ALL weapons that are known to mankind able to be picked up and used as offensive or defensive weapons. These are not limited to handguns, or rifles.

The Second Amendment doesn’t mention sports rifles, doesn’t mention hand guns. Thus arms are not LIMITED by this definition. Even if you want it to be. It’s simply not.

Weapons of war, weapons of any sort, including pitch forks, shovels, hammers, knives, swords, ballistas, catapults, bows and arrows, slingshots, firearms and “you name it” are included in this definition.

Infringement

Infringed – means “changed, removed, taken away, watered down” and you SHALL NOT INFRINGE. Shall and Shall not are special words. Shall is an IMPERATIVE word. Meaning MUST. When placed with NOT, it changes the imperative to the opposite. If you SHALL do something, you MUST do it. It you SHALL NOT do something, you must NEVER do it.

Thus, another way to say this is, “A well trained militia is necessary since militias are made up of the PEOPLE, their right to keep and bear arms WILL NEVER be infringed.”

Literacy

This is so simple, even a literate child in the 1700s could understand it. Perhaps that is because they were literate and those who wish to limit or ban, or infringe up on the right to keep and bear arms work themselves through many gyrations to do so. Or perhaps they are simply illiterate?

Today, everyone wants to change the meaning, adding in complications to the phrasing, instead of boiling it down completely. English majors, writers and professors have all weighed into the Second Amendment, and nearly all of them trained in Liberal Arts colleges will attempt to change the meaning of the Second Amendment to meet their personal opinions.

It just doesn’t work this way.

Simply put, the Right of the People of the United States SHALL NOT have their Right to Keep and Bear Arms infringed. The US Government, and the STATES may NOT touch that right. Ever.

Read it now, knowing what has been explained, and see for yourself just how simple this phrase is, and know that it’s meaning was to convey to us 243 years later, the exact, same meaning it conveyed in 1776 through 2019.

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.

Men and women of the United States, Citizens, and those who have stated their intent to become citizens make up the militia, organized, unorganized and in some cases, the “disorganized militias” and you have an absolute right to keep and bear any Arm you wish, be it a rifle, a handgun, a musket or a cannon.

This writer will proudly bear both his rifles and swords, in addition to his Pen, of which is sometimes been stated to be “mightier than the sword”.

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