Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Second Amendment

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.
Why the right to bear arms? BECAUSE the security of a free state requires a well regulated militia. Things are not as simple as they seem, as court cases and interpretations over the years have shown. The Wikipedia page on this has details and a good discussion. Of particular interest to me is this:
In a dissent, joined by Justices SouterGinsburg, and Breyer, Justice Stevens said:
The Amendment’s text does justify a different limitation: the “right to keep and bear arms” protects only a right to possess and use firearms in connection with service in a state-organized militia. Had the Framers wished to expand the meaning of the phrase “bear arms” to encompass civilian possession and use, they could have done so by the addition of phrases such as “for the defense of themselves”.[117]
Although a minority view in the case at hand, this makes sense to me. Why mention the militia at all unless it is mentioned to clarify the Founders' meaning?

So the gun regulation debate can get pretty hairy pretty quickly. And many of the participants will not be the smartest folks on the planet, believe me. Ah, there I go, revealing my elitism again. As if knowledge matters.

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