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Response to Llewlladdwr (Reply #167)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 02:12 AM

169. In the context of the complete sentence it means



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.



'the people' being the group that comprises the Militia that the ammendment refers to.

It is a plural noun reflecting the group of people who will comprise the defense of the people.

What it does not refer to is to 'individual' rights of people to carry arms for individual reasons.

In studying historical documents one of the most important tools is the tool of redation criticism. You compare it to other similar sentences. For example the first ammendment;


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


It is written with absolute clarity and with absolute terms. If those passing the 2nd ammendment to speak unambigiously to individual rights of gun ownership they would have used decisive and clear language, they did not choose to do so.

But we have much more clarity because we have all of the various versions before it was ratified;




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
Conflict and compromise in Congress produce the Bill of Rights

James Madison's initial proposal for a bill of rights was brought to the floor of the House of Representatives on June 8, 1789, during the first session of Congress. The initial proposed passage relating to arms was:


The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.[81]


On July 21, Madison again raised the issue of his Bill and proposed a select committee be created to report on it. The House voted in favor of Madison's motion,[82] and the Bill of Rights entered committee for review. The committee returned to the House a reworded version of the Second Amendment on July 28.[83] On August 17, that version was read into the Journal:


A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.[84]


The Second Amendment was debated and modified during sessions of the House on in late August 1789. These debates revolved primarily around risk of "mal-administration of the government" using the "religiously scrupulous" clause to destroy the militia as Great Britain had attempted to destroy the militia at the commencement of the American Revolution. These concerns were addressed by modifying the final clause, and on August 24, the House sent the following version to the Senate:


A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.


The next day, August 25, the Senate received the Amendment from the House and entered it into the Senate Journal. When the Amendment was transcribed, the semicolon in the religious exemption portion was changed to a comma by the Senate scribe:


A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.[85]


By this time, the proposed right to keep and bear arms was in a separate amendment, instead of being in a single amendment together with other proposed rights such as the due process right. As a Representative explained, this change allowed each amendment to "be passed upon distinctly by the States."[86] On September 4, the Senate voted to change the language of the Second Amendment by removing the definition of militia, and striking the conscientious objector clause:


A well regulated militia, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.[87]

The Senate returned to this amendment for a final time on September 9. A proposal to insert the words "for the common defence" next to the words "bear arms" was defeated.[88] The Senate then slightly modified the language and voted to return the Bill of Rights to the House. The final version passed by the Senate was:


A well regulated militia being the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.


The House voted on September 21, 1789 to accept the changes made by the Senate, but the amendment as finally entered into the House journal contained the additional words "necessary to":


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.[89]




Clearly the ammendment was aimed at providing a means for individual citizens to gather for 'the common defence' in the nature of a citizens military force. You are free to join the national guard to continue that tradition.

Even though that is clearly the case I concede that it is fair to conclude that the individual right is among a vast number of other rights that could be fairly implied in the constitution.

So;

Even though I agreed that there was a constitutional basis for the right to own your gun that wasn't enough for you. We can conclude the following;

Your devotion to a particular (and clearly misleading) reading of the 2nd ammendment reaches a religious level. You have bought the myth and even when someone tries to agree in general principle you want to pick a fight on specific interpretation. Do you have any idea how fucking pathetic that is? Do you also realize that even the most ardent gun enthusiast in Europe, even the CEO of the German company that makes guns, even the British representative of that firm who sells munitions to governments consider your position to be psychotic and the fact that you are more devoted to your idea of your gun, your idea of your right to own as many guns as you can house and all of the other strange attributes of the radical American gun culture to be psychotic?

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