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Byron Williams (courtesy

I never tire of exposing the dangerous inanity of “progressive” gun grabbers. Fortunately, they’re not the most daunting debaters. Highlighting their lies and half-truths isn’t difficult—but it’s an endless game of Whack-A-Mole. Again, I’m not complaining. I love my job. I still get almost as much of a thrill uncovering and deconstructing anti-gun agitprop as I do finding a link to Edita Vilkeviciute. Anyway, in today’s installment of Who Wants to Shoot Some Fish in a Barrel, we head over to (where else?) to savor the stupidity on offer by Byron Williams’ Debate over guns focuses on wrong issues . . .

In the aftermath of another senseless shooting spree in Santa Monica last week, the outcry was somewhat subdued. Have we become immune to periodic episodes of violence?

What better time to offer a judicious analysis of the Constitution’s most debated amendment?

The Second Amendment that is housed in the National Archives reads:

“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.”

Whenever people who favor civilian disarmament bring up the Second Amendment you know they’re going to argue about the bit that doesn’t include the word “infringed.” What else could they do? Yeah, OK, he’s going to do that too. But first Williams boldly goes where gun grabbers have gone before: the militia clause.

The part of the Second Amendment debate that seems to fly under the radar is the term “well regulated.” There is no 18th century understanding that differs in the 21st century.

Well regulated meant then as it does now — government has a role in the gun debate. In fact, the original intent was far more intrusive than most gun advocates care to admit today.

Interpreting the Second Amendment’s “well-regulated” clause as meaning anything other than “well-ordered” or “disciplined” requires a complete dedication to historical ignorance. Indeed, one wonders if Mr. Williams has an internet connection. Or a computer. Or access to a library. Or a telephone.

Those who embrace a Jeffersonian/anti-Federalist argument that the militia could conceivably take up arms against the government must also know that debate was settled at Appomattox in 1865.

The right to bear arms in the 18th century was a civic responsibility. There was no standing army. Today, the Department of Defense has no peer globally.

In other words, even if gun rights advocates are right about the Founding Fathers’ belief in an armed populace as a bulwark against government tyranny, you white racist gun- and bible-clinging nut cases lost the Civil War. Get over it.

Surprisingly, pastor (yes pastor) Williams doesn’t have a solid grasp of the definition of a “natural” right. Like all gun grabbers contemplating the clarity of the Second Amendment Williams is forced to deny the timeless principles which the framers sought to protect.

Each generation bears the burden to understand the Constitution through the lens of what was written but also by what it means in their lifetime. Relying solely on the intent of a group of individuals who could not possibly comprehend the world of today is shortsighted at best.

Applying the Second Amendment today is neither a civic duty, as it was when it was originally adopted, nor an unfettered individual right.

There is a right to bear arms in this country; that’s undeniable. But with that right comes responsibility and regulation.

Let’s set aside Williams’ contemptible contempt for the men (and women) upon whose shoulders our Constitutional republic stands. And the HuffPo columnist’s contention that the United States Constitution—a document which our elected leaders swear to uphold and defend—is an anachronism.

In the author’s world view, rights come with responsibility. Government-regulated responsibility. The insidiousness of this concept was not unfamiliar to the people who wrote the Constitution. Hence they included the phrase “shall not be infringed.”

Would it be unreasonable to suggest that any government regulation on, say, the right to free speech, is an infringement upon that right? (Note: you can yell fire in a crowded movie house—provided the speech doesn’t cause physical injury. There is no law against it.) Perhaps regulation is infringement per se.

My point is simply this: Williams and his ilk are both willfully ignorant and dangerously deluded. Trying to re-write the rules of the game without Americans’ consent will only take them so far. And no further.

Click here to hang with TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia in the Free Fire Zone forum

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  1. “That the strength of the Wabash Indians who were principally the object of the resolve of the 21st of July 1787, and the strength of the Creek Indians is very different. That the said Creeks are not only greatly superior in numbers but are more united, better regulated, and headed by a man whose talents appear to have fixed him in their confidence. That from the view of the object your Secretary has been able to take he conceives that the only effectual mode of acting against the said Creeks in case they should persist in their hostilities would be by making an invasion of their country with a powerful body of well regulated troops always ready to combat and able to defeat any combination of force the said Creeks could oppose and to destroy their towns and provisions.”

    We are of course all aware of the bureaucratic superiority of the Creek Indians and how such a force can only be defeated by more comprehensive legislation.

    • Great job pulling a historical reference for context of words that change meaning over time. You’d think a writer for a web site cited as “news” by so many would spend a modicum of effort to do the same. If it’s willful disinformation, then HuffPo should lose their press status and just go back to being a blog. If it’s willful ignorance, well, then they should be lambasted for hiring idiots.

  2. Well regulated meaning, in good working order. Not Government regulated. Is this guy supposed to be an intellectual? Give me a break…

  3. Ahhh yes, the old “The malitia clause is outdates because our armies (meaning the dept of defense) is so great, grand, whatever.

    Here’s a bit of “Judicial” insight Rev. Williams seems to be lacking in his introverted perspective, this being via DC v Heller;

    “Undoubtedly some think the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, … it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

    If not there’s then who?

    The Answer is simple, no collective federal government entity.


    The 9th & 10th Amendments.

  4. Might makes right is the point that Williams was making; because the winners also write the history books.

    This is the basic truth of history and why, in the end; it does not matter how unjust the might that was used against a people might have been. If you can’t back up your right with a well regulated use of a weapon, and a lot of others that feel the same way; you’re enslaved or dead.

  5. What the people like Byron Williams fail to realize is that once 2A is nullified there will be nothing left to protect 1A. Once 1A is gone then the nation will fall to anarchy.

        • If it ever comes to losing the 1st and the 2nd (heck, even only the 2nd), I hope you are correct. I would use the term “revolution” rather than ” anarchy” as you first did. If you are wrong and there were no revolt, given the frightful advantage in technology and resources of our government, for lack of a revolution the people would endure a thousand years of hopeless servitude. Think USSR with drones and data mining.

  6. I love the “couldn’t possibly understand” line. I suppose people 250 years ago were still painting on cave walls and grunting a proto-language. Newsflash, genius: The world may have changed, but people haven’t. They didn’t need know where technology would have gone to know that people would try to create a new tyranny for this nation.

    • Pulatso – your last line, especially the last portion is absolutely right and beautifully written.

      “…to know that people would try to create a new tyranny for this nation.”

    • It’s perfectly reasonable to believe what Williams says. After all, people simply couldn’t predict the future until the 20th century, when the writers of science fiction suddenly became able to predict lasers, phasers, and all manner of future weapons which are now becoming reality. But the Founders simply weren’t gifted thinkers like George Lucas. They just weren’t.

      I mean, how could someone predict that someone could come up with a semiautomatic repeating weapon, even though such weapons, like the Girandoni rifle, which shot over 20 rounds a minute, was pretty darn close in concept to a high capacity “assault weapon”, and was already being issued by the Austrian army by the time the Second Amendment was written? It was simply unfathomable that people could ever shoot more than 20 rounds per minute, because that clearly looked to be the limit in 1780. Not 25 or 30 rounds. Not 30 seconds or 20 or 10 seconds. Just 20 rounds in a minute. That was it! At that time, physics clearly showed that no one would ever shoot more than 20 rounds per minute, so the Founders felt safe including the Second Amendment. Because, at 20 rounds in a minute, people could defend themselves, but the Founders would have thought that 30, 40, or even 100 rounds in a minute was simply too dangerous. If it ever crossed their mind. But, it didn’t.

      I mean, how could it? The Founders, in their wisdom, looking back at history and understanding the advancements that had continually taken place, including the rifled barrel, innovations in powder production, moving from round shot to pointed projectiles, and all of the other progress made in the centuries before, came to the conclusion that the 1780’s was the pinnacle of weapons technology and that no further progress would ever be made. Ever. They just did! Clearly, this is what the Founders assumed! Why would they think weapons would ever get better? They thought people would just stop thinking up ways to make weapons better after the 1780’s and probably work on inventing cotton gins or steam engines or something, because there was simply no money to be made in firearms technology. Probably they thought that most militaries wouldn’t see any advantage to having greater firepower after 1780, so they simply didn’t think guns would become faster and more powerful. That’s what happened!

      Then that evil Mannlicher guy found a way to make guns shoot faster in 1885 and tricked the Founders! At that point, it seems to me that panic would have ensued and measures would have been initiated to repeal the Second Amendment. Although they probably never predicted at that point that anyone would use a semiautomatic gun to murder people. Who could have known that people might use powerful weapons to kill others? There’s simply no historical precedent.

      Let’s face it, Thomas Jefferson was smart, but he clearly couldn’t see more than five minutes into the future. He was no Gene Roddenberry.

  7. “Those who embrace a Jeffersonian/anti-Federalist argument that the militia could conceivably take up arms against the government must also know that debate was settled at Appomattox in 1865.”

    Wow . . . that’s a novel interpretation I’ve never heard. So Lee not only surrendered the Army of North Virginia, but he surrendered the 2nd Amendment as well. Paint me unconvinced that the 2nd Amendment was repealed at Appomattox or in Lee’s ‘Surrender Letters’.

  8. I couldn’t agree with him more, just as the right to vote is very important and should be subject to government regulation.
    I don’t know, maybe a simple test of reading comprehension to ensure that the voter can understand the issues properly?
    Let’s call it a “Literacy Test”

  9. as a fellow African-American, let me help Rev Williams out: Plessy vs Ferguson, the Black Codes, the race riots of the 1920’s, hell, google “Dr. Ossian Sweet” and read up on Blacks having to use guns to defend themselves or the government making a determination at any time and for any damn reason they don’t like someone or some group.

    • hey man, blacks or anyone else don’t need guns any more. didn’t you get the memo? total societal equality and harmony has been reached.

  10. Why does him being a pastor have anything to do with natural rights? There was no notion of natural rights until what, eh, the 1600’s? That’s 1600 of Christianity. But hey, there were no pastors for pretty much that whole time, either. I just don’t get the point.

    • That isn’t true. Prior to the Enlightenment, the Church had long held to a philosophy of natural rights: Kings were born with a natural right to rule, and the serfs had a natural right to eat sh_t and die young. They believed in natural rights, just not equal natural rights.

      Prior to Christianity, though, theories of equal natural rights had already arisen from classical sources, including ancient Greece. Drawing as they did from pagan sources, these ideas had to give way where they entered into conflict with church teachings. It just wasn’t until the European enlightenment that Christian philosophers were able to frame the idea of equal natural rights in terms of Christian theology, thereby making it palatable to western society at the time.

      • Make the connection;

        Falsely controlled Christianity used hierarchical distinctions of class.

        True Faith leads to the paradoxical conclusion to the prior in contorting the truth mis-led. The faith of Brothers & Sisters held each of greater esteem than ones own self-worth; Hence a hierarchical construct be viewed inversely.

      • I’m sorry, but this is wrong. Prior to the Enlightment there was no notion of “rights given by birth to a human being as a human being” Certainly not “inalienable rights.” A serf was a serf due to their social position, a king, by his. Kings could and get booted, and at that point all their rights went out the window. Common people could, under certain circustances, rise in society, and certainly their children could (one may point to William the Conqueror, whose maternal grandfather was a tanner). These are not “natural rights.”

        There were also no “natural rights” in Greece. There were better people and worse people, though that distinction got sliced different ways by different thinkers. The idea that the worse people get the same rights as the better people did not exist.

        • Uh, actually, you are wrong. You seem to be struggling with the difference between legal rights and natural rights (at least as commonly understood). To be clear, you may disagree with the current-day, ethical notion of natural rights if you wish, but to claim that they never existed as a concept prior to the 16th Century or in Greece is just wrong. Try reading some Plato and Aristotle. Read Homer. Then try to understand them, not in a “how can I fit them into what I already know” way, but in a “what are they trying to tell me” way. Christianity’s version of natural rights owes a lot to the Greek understanding. And the Enlightenment ideas owe a debt to Christianity’s understanding. Just because they didn’t call them “natural rights” does not mean the concept did not exist.

  11. There is a difference between operative and explanatory clauses. This distinction is lost on those for whom reality takes a backseat to their own belief system.

    • Exactly.

      As an old English major who works with words for a living, it never ceases to amaze me how so many seemingly erudite individuals manage to forget, all at the same time and in the same way, how the English language actually works.

      If these people interpreted my previous sentence the same way they interpreted the Second Amendment, they’d have me saying that English majors who work with words for a living can arbitrarily change or cancel the rules of grammar for everyone else and prohibit others from using big words.

  12. Once again regulation means drilled not regulated by the government. The “regulation” that is referenced in the Constitution can be found in Baron von Steuben’s
    Blue Book.

  13. it’s been pretty much established that “well regulated militia” is the cause celebre for the right of the people to keep and bear arms. They can regulate or well order or whatever the militia all they want. I’m not in it. I’m not giving one sliver of my Constitutional rights to anybody.

  14. Highlighting their lies and half-truths isn’t difficult—but it’s an endless game of Whack-A-Mole.

    Love that metaphor! Perfect!

    And, Williams’ comment: “Relying solely on the intent of a group of individuals who could not possibly comprehend the world of today is shortsighted at best.”

    Holy crap. Contemptible (utter) contempt is right!

    Basically, his missive is nothing more than regurgitated lies which they believe become more true as the anti-liberty folks chew their delusional cud.

    • Those “individuals” were freakin’ geniuses. Read (and learn) about the history and ratification of the Constitution, and you can’t help thinking these Founding Fathers possessed an intelligence that is almost incomprehensible… nearly divine in magnitude.

      Williams’ (and his ilk’s) inability or unwillingness to actually VET the crap they spew and LEARN FOR THEMSELVES speaks volumes of their intellectually-challenged existence.

      • True. I have some argue they were just above primate level, yet when challenged to read and understand their rightings and intents they simply fail.

        So if their statements are true in their own minds, where does that leave them in refference to the aforementioned primate.

        Indeed the composition of their work speaks to their capabilities to not only comprehend the future, but abstract & non-abstract tools for dealing with it.

  15. I like the other guy better. I much prefer the honest “I don’t understand the subject matter I’m a professor in, so just abolish the amendment!” to the “I’m waaaay smarter than all of you gun rights guys, and noooobody’s ever made the observations that I’m making!”

  16. Williams has a room temperature IQ and the writing ability of a well-regulated ten year old. If I want to read a boatload of condescending sh1t, I’ll read something by Dan Baum. So pardon me while I set my Williams switch to “Ignore.”

  17. “Trying to re-write the rules of the game without Americans’ consent will only take them so far. And no further.”

    It’s already taken them too damn far. Time to start taking back what is ours. 2014.

  18. Wait, you mean to tell me a man who believes a book of Fairy Tales is real is also unable to use facts to form an opinion?


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