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Doug Saunders (courtesy

“The idea clearly did not exist in the minds of Thomas Jefferson or any of the other framers of the Constitution; the individual right to own a gun was not mentioned anywhere in the Constitutional Convention, in the House of Representatives when it ratified the Second Amendment, in the state legislatures that debated it or generally in the correspondence of those involved with its creation.” – Doug Saunders in How U.S. gun ownership became a ‘right,’ and why it isn’t [via]

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  1. So, there was no discussion of this? Then why was it put in in the first place? Also, why were the MILITIA and the PEOPLE different? It’s not that the militia has the right to bear arms, the people do.

      • I was astonished both the rest of the article and by the comments.

        Isn’t the first step of a modern journalist to check the Wikipedia page on a topic before they spout off about it? Even if he just read the intro section, he would know that the right predates the US constitution and is founded in English common law.

        Plus to his argument about it protecting the states rights to have a state militia (Now nat’l guard according to him), if that’s the case why do many of the states have similar provisions in their state constitutions? Perhaps the political sub-districts of the states (counties and cities) each have the right to form their own militias as well. And perhaps you could keep going with that train of thought… county, town, postal district, family, family member, aka the political sub-division commonly referred to as the individual.

        • What? you expect a journalist to do thorough research? naaaa they only do enough to find sources that support their point of view

        • Not to mention that Thomas Jefferson was not a “framer of the Constitution,” as he was off in Paris at the time busy being our Ambassador to France.

    • The author obviously has never read the Federalist Papers, because he could never make this argument if he had actually read the Framers own words. Another great example of opinion and personal desire mimicking journalism.

        • Here’s one, I was reading the Federalist Papers as early as 1980, regular installments in Shotgun News.

        • Yeah, my grandpa has them all compiled in book form with an index to search by topic. I’ve read much of them and everything I could find related to bearing arms and such. Quite the opposite of what this author claims, there was significant discussion about this topic before, during, and after the writing of the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights. And not only in the Federalist Papers. It was discussed roundly, and the Bill of Rights added to the U.S. Constitution was created after a handful of states already had their Constitutions and Bill of Rights ratified, so there were examples and debate on what to carry over from some of those states into the Federal version. The right to keep and bear arms included.

        • Federalist Papers?

          I’ve got a copy that I refer to from time to time. The Federalist papers were also a regular topic in my 8th-grade Civics class.

          That was old-school 8th grade in 1968 – equivalent to Junior college of the snowflake generation.

      • The USSC also infamously stated in the mid eighteen hundreds in the Dredd Scott decision that another reason to not free the blacks was because as free men, they would have the freedom to carry firearms where ever they may go, as all free white men did. (Another example of why the USSC should have the final say of what is constitutional.) sarc.

        So just another lie that says the USSC never acknowledged the right of free peoples, (not militias), to KABA. As all progressives/statists lie, because the “ends justify the means”.

      • Yeah, read The Federalist Papers (and the anti-Federalist papers).

        They are remarkable because they frame the US Constitution as a kind of operating manual, for how to assemble power to be wielded federally, while preserving some checks on centralized federal power.

        Also because they are an extended, public argument for exactly how the authorities and procedures in the proposed constitution are anticipated to work, and what they will do. Exactly as if what a law does matters. Exactly as if the people to be governed by the law can understand what it will do, and their own interest. Exactly as if the people to be governed under that law have to agree. Exactly as if the case for having the law is what it does for the people governed by it.

        When I finally read The Federalist Papers during the ’08 campaign season, the contrast between the reasoning and presentation in my reading and the concurrent campaign was astonishing.

    • So we had to have a specific provision to ensure that the “Militias” had access to arms? Really? For one, I sleep more soundly knowing my Guard and Reserve won’t be limited to sandbagging operations and traffic control.
      I’m always grateful when a British twit explains my Constitution. It reminds me of being 16 and getting a lecture on dating habits from the Old Man.
      AEF = After England Failed.

      • I’ve always wondered the same.
        The people pushing the militia argument are basically saying that the Constitution guarantees the right of the government to arm its troops. As if the government wouldn’t have that power otherwise?
        Do they really think people are that dumb?

    • Doug Sanders statement is lifted right from Orwell’s 1984. Say the opposite of the truth and it becomes the new “truth”.

    • Why the gun grabbers fail to admit is that the militia would apply to all free men of age in the country anyway. There is no way to separate the “militia” from the adult population.

    • Take a look at the FIRST Founding document and legal precedent of the United States: the Declaration of Independence. Written by the same folks who wrote the Constitution. These were revolutionaries, people, and they described quite a few RIGHTS in the Declaration of Independence, but ONLY ONE DUTY:

      “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, IT IS THEIR DUTY, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

      The 2nd Amendment ain’t about hunting, pilgrim – it is about revolution.

  2. What???? This guy is a box of fries, a burger and a drink short of a happy meal, leaving just the fruit.

  3. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution mentions that Congress is responsible for organizing, arming, and disciplining the MILITIA. The Second Amendment, only written a couple of years later, says “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.” Sounds to me like the writers, right there, differentiated between “the militia” and “the people”. The people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed BECAUSE there was a well-regulated militia, necessary for security against other countries, but controlled by the government, that could be turned against their own people. It had happened just a few years before…

    • without a doubt the writers, right there, differentiated between “the militia” and “the people” , thats why the “commas” are used in the 2nd A.
      He just needs to learn about what “commas” are for in the English language & he may be alright after that.

      • Let’s not forget that the Militia was considered a subset of the posse comitatus. An armed civilian population is actually presumed (rather than assumed). That simply makes your case stronger.

    • Ooh, I like that way of explaining it. That is a subtle and ginormously important distinction.

      • Also see:
        10 U.S. Code § 311 – Militia: composition and classes

        “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.”

    • Moreover, the fact Article I, Section 8 empowers Congress to arm the militia puts Saunders’ narrative in a bit of a pickle. It means that he would have us believe the Framers of the Constitution, immediately after its ratification, felt the need to insert an amendment, in between a bunch of others devoted to limiting government power and protecting individual rights, to reiterate the profoundly uncontroversial principle that the government had the power to arm its own troops.

  4. They didn’t debate whether the sky was above them either.
    Some things, like the right of a human person to defend his or her life by the most effective means available, just are.

    • ^ This.
      There was no debate over such obvious things. They didn’t waste time on subjects where there was already unanimous agreement.

      • For the same reason, the second amendment almost wasn’t included. It was considered so obvious that the right was never questioned. Hell, up until the end of the 19th century, a convict, upon his release from prison, was given back his gun and holster and often some money to get him started on a new, hopefully law-abiding, life.

        • And sadly, breathing was not enumerated as a right.
          The way things are going, I fully expect New York and California to enact legislation restricting breathing: a ban on fully automatic breathing, restrictions on breathing capacity, and limitations on the number of breaths that may be taken per day.

  5. Another lying revisionist from the left.

    What the hell does he think “the people” means, anyway?

  6. So enlightening when a foreigner translates our country and our rights to stupid Americans.

    Bravo sir. Now go pound sand.

  7. The words, “the people” appear several places in our Constitution, both in the original body and in several amendments.

    In order to concur with this wack job, you have to believe that “the people” means something different in the Second Amendment than it means everywhere else in the document.

    • Yes & clearly when they were referring to people IN the militia they said that as they did here:
      No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces,

      or IN THE MILITIA,

      when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

      • 10 U.S. Code § 311 – Militia: composition and classes

        “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.”

  8. Actually, the guy is correct in his observation: the Constitution does NOT state that anyone – the militia or the people – has the right to keep and bear arms. Likewise, it does not say that the people have the right to free speech or freedom of religion.

    The Constituion does not enumerate rights. It defines the limits of the State in abridging those rights, which the founders knew as natural rights. They of course believed that those rights flow from God to man. Basically, whether you believe in God or not, every individual has those rights simply because the individual exists as a person.

    This is a concept that is almost impossible for statists or collectivists to understand because in their view, individual rights flow from the State to the individual. So this writer got an Obama-sized tingle when he had the flash of inspiration – which is neither brilliant nor original – to poke at the entire concept of natural rights as an argument against the individual right to keep and bear arms.

    From the history of all governments, the seminal issue has always – and will always be – the rights and responsibility of the individual vs. the rights and responsibilities of the State.

    Sorry Doug, but that tingle you got from the thesis of your article was not a sign of your rhetorical or logical brilliance, but from your poor knowledge of American history and 18th century political thought. Got to watch those tingles – sometimes they are pointing out when you are being an idiot.

    • 505markf,

      As much as I like your comment, I have to point out that the Bill of Rights are legal amendments to the United States Constitution and thus ARE part of the Constitution. They are of course not part of the original Constitution. Nevertheless, the Amendments have full legal force on government just as Article 1 has full legal force on government.

      • Agreed. My point is not that the BORs don’t carry the full weight of the Constitution, but rather that they don’t actually “issue” rights in the first ten amendments. Those rights being understood to simply exist independent to the Constitution itself. This is what the writer misses, or ignores. The founders were quite careful in making sure they did not enumerate what people can do but rather what government cannot.

        This is something that is antithetical to those of a more European political philosophy. For example, I understand the document chartering the European Union numbers many – 23,000? – pages because they have to say what people are allowed to do. Saying what governments must not do results in a much shorter document.

        • Correct. Just read 2A one more time! It clearly *acknowledges* the RKBA on the path to *prohibiting* any infringement upon it. It grants no rights to anyone.

        • To amplify Larry,

          It reads that the right shall not be infringed…as if the right were already there and they were merely forbidding someone from stomping on it. It does not read as if it’s granting a previously non-existent right.

          This was not a mistake.

        • Paying close attention to the concluding statement in the Second Amendment, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” You see the use of the phrasing reference “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms..” clearly is meant to reference an absolute, individual and collective right that existed before the Second Amendment was written and so worded, exists whether mentioned in the Constitution or not, exists despite being referenced by the Constitution, and would exist if the Constitution was never written and enacted, or even if the Constitution was revoked or abandoned.
          Even if there was no such thing as “Arms”, or “Armaments” aka “tools with which to defend oneself”, either individually or collectively, Humans have the right to defend themselves in order to preserve their own life, the lives of others and their other rights as free beings. This is a core concept of what it means to be a free individual.

    • The concept is also impossible for Canadians (or anyone else who shows deference to royalty) to understand. They’re still so deluded that they think that supreme executive power is derived from some moistened bint lobbing a scimitar at some snaggle-toothed, jug-eared, inbred idiot in tights.

  9. Right to bear arms.

    None are excluded nor can they be as a matter of constitutional law.

    Bill of rights was demanded by the people as a check against government overreach.

    Thomas Jefferson was not a part of the constitutional convention. He was in France at the time. A true history scholar would know that.

    What the sheep do to seek security from the fear of evil purple omnicorns only leads them to be blindly herded by the wolves.

    The wolves run the government. The sheep blindly follow.

  10. Because it was so blatantly obvious that everyone would have one. None of the 10 original rights were initially included in the Constitution because they were so obvious that nobody – Jefferson included – didn’t think it was necessary to include them. The Bill of Rights was only included to satisfy the delegates of New Jersey, who refused to sign unless they were included. The rest of the Constitutional Congress figured “Seems like a waste of time but it can’t hurt to add them as a Bill of Rights.”

    Remember the time period – settlers were pushing south and west and encountering Indian tribes that were hostile to them. The British were still in Canada, the Spaniards in Florida. There was plenty of reason for everyone to be armed.

    • “The Bill of Rights was only included to satisfy the delegates of New Jersey, who refused to sign unless they were included.”

      In less than 230 years NJ legislators, at every opportunity, working to end that right.

    • [i]The rest of the Constitutional Congress figured “Seems like a waste of time but it can’t hurt to add them as a Bill of Rights.”[/i]
      I’ve worked in New Jersey. This, adding superfluous verbiage, seems very much in line with the New Jersey management style. Somethings never change.

    • It was proposed at the end of the Philadelphia convention that a Bill of Rights be added. It was voted down on Sept 12, 1787. The delegates wanted to go home and didn’t want any more debates.

  11. I’m a decade and more removed from my last civics-related course, but I’d guess the Constitution lacks similar discussions on houses, and yet the third amendment does not seem to cause any confusion about the individual right to own a house.

    I’m sure there are many things that the Constitution does not mention, nor its authors discuss, because they were so obvious as to not need mentioning.

    I’m reminded of the scene in A Few Good Men where Tom Cruise’s character asks a Marine in court to show him in his USMC manual where the mess hall is. When he says it’s not in there, he is asked, “You mean in all the time at Gitmo, you’ve never had a meal?”

    Agree with previous commentators – I do not need a foreigner telling me what my rights as a citizen are; my parents came too far and worked too hard to get away from tyranny, hard or soft.

  12. ““judges overwhelmingly concluded that the amendment authorized states to form militias, what we now call the National Guard,” and did not contain any individual right to own firearms.”

    The BoR defines individual rights. Why would they insert a states right in there? They didn’t.

    • And according to Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, congress provides for the organizing, arming, and disciplining of the militia, so provisions for the militia (or national guard) having arms is already in place. There’s no reason to do that in the Second Amendment. The whole point of the Second Amendment is that BECAUSE the militia is armed (provided for by congress), the PEOPLE’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

  13. Fascinating to me how the Canadian and English commentators are so hung up on US gun rights. Their dislike feels a lot like justifying their jealousy.

    • Not unreminiscent of the way they all were urging us to socialize our medicine… it was of greater concern to them, it seems, than it was to many of us.

  14. The anti-federalists that had a long drawn out meeting in a house of stone before ratification would have disagreed sharply, so would the authors of Anti-Federalist #29 and a number of the founders of the country. It’s an interesting fact that there were several versions of 2A which gradually refined the meaning from a military bent to an individual AND SPECIFICALLY civilian bent. As a matter of fact, the idea that individuals should be armed appears based more on the prediction made in the first part of AF29 which basically says that standing armies are the death blow in waiting for their own nations. The constitution created 2 things that hadn’t been around before, a standing army and a president (a political figure if you will) that commands them. That linked the politics of the nation with its military might which has always been known as a danger to individual liberty. Some counter force was necessary to prevent tyranny from being nearly immediate and that was the second amendment. If people want to rattle on about things they might want to read them.

  15. That’s because it is such a fundamentally obvious proposition to anyone of a normal intellect that it needs no explanation. Is there any controversy over the proposition that free exercise of religion is personal? Can anyone doubt that the right to exercise free speech is personal? Of course not. The right to keep and bear arms is just as personal as any of these rights. People who contend otherwise lack ordinary intelligence or are deliberately being obtuse because they have a malicious intent and agenda.

    These days, it is even odds whether they’re stupid or malicious. The bare prospect that such attacks are malicious, however, and in such quantity that they appear orchestrated, should be very chilling for lovers of freedom.

    • The replies on that website are astonishing in their ignorance. Many of those people seem to have no grasp on reality.

      • They’re Canadians. They’ve been able to live in their silly land with only one road, drive on cars with square wheels and yap their flappy little heads off about how great their health care system is solely because they have us as a neighbor.

        In effect, they were born on third base and they think they’ve hit a home run.

  16. We he was kinda funny in his role on Will & Grace-although I couldnt get into that show-but he knows nothing about what commas are used for in the English language.

  17. I bet if you were to put this guy and Piers Morgan in a room together, the sexual tension would be palpable.

  18. Nice use of tautology and ex hoc ergo propter hoc. Just because an idea allegedly doesn’t appear in a particular set of written documents does not prove that said idea was not considered or held by the authors of those documents.

    The idea that the people have an inherent, unalienable right to keep and bear arms did not need to be debated, because the idea was – and is – beyond debate.

    Of course, as others have pointed out: the premise itself is wrong. Someone needs to read a bit more.

  19. I’m no scholar, but I’ve heard of the Federalist Papers. I’ve even read some of them. Maybe this guy isn’t aware, but they provide valuable insight into the minds of the framers and the ratification process.

    The right to keep and bear arms already belongs to us. The framers’ intentions were to restrict the government from attempting to take these inalienable rights away. Every free human on the planet has this right. We are just fortunate enough to live in a country where it is not a crime (well, for the most part).

    Unfortunately, our freedom loving founders saw Africans as property. They also used to duel in the street and brawl on the floor of congress. This is why I think there has to be a paradigm shift when it comes to defending our gun rights. Let’s call it a civil right or a human right. Of course, it’s guaranteed by the 2nd.

    I’ll stand by for my beating. After all I’ve committed sacrilege for my criticism of the founders.

    • Slingblade,

      I don’t see any reason at all to beat on you … you stated historical facts that are easily verifiable.

      Your comment simply shows that politicians are quite fallible. The disconnect: politicians at our nation’s founding knew they were fallible and provided countermeasures in our U.S. Constitution — today’s politicians are convinced that they are infallible and desire to abrogate the U.S. Constitution.

    • I must have missed the Amendment or Article which guarantees the right to own Africans, or to duel in the street. Those objections are no more than deliberate distractions from the simple and obvious truth which is 2A.

  20. Not mentioned is that the Bill of Rights to the Constitution was directly inspired by the Bill of Rights each state had at the time. The Constitution was the direct result of the Articles of Confederation having failed because they restrained the centralized government they’d just created to the point it couldn’t function. (Keep in mind that we’d just one our freedom and everyone jealously guarded it) Part of the reason, the Constitution took so long to ratify is largely because we spent so long arguing the contents and wording of the Bill of Rights. It’s well documented that each of the newly formed 13 states supplied the inspiration, content and language for what would ultimately become the Federal Bill of Rights. Fortunately, we can go back and read the language in those as context, in which you’ll find that several had actually worded the right to bear arms as an individual right, whereas the rest referenced the militia. There’s additional surviving transcript, news articles of the time and even legislation that makes fairly clear what was meant. Militia referred to a state of readiness as it was clear at the state level via legislation and understood at the social level who made up the body of the militia, with the term more having to do with describing the legal expectation that they have a serviceable firearm and the basic training to be able to wield it effectively. It wasn’t until much later after the assassination of JFK, that the meaning of the word militia was evolved as a response to the gun control push of that era.

    Suggest reading the books by David Young, one of which is a compilation of transcripts of every reference to the second amendment and what lead to it, going back to something like the 1600s.

  21. Why do Progressives always have to lie? I have a library full of books written on the original documents and I have tons of history books that show us that our forefathers acted in a way to support an individual right to own arms. It is a fact that the Constitution would not have been ratified until the Constitution was amended to include the Bill of Rights…and that includes the 2nd amendment. People did not trust that a new government would not take away those rights unless it was explicitly called out in the Constitution.

    • Your library may have that information, but you should visit a local public library sometime. All you’ll find is revisionist history. No old books or contrary narratives to be found. The progressives have successfully supplanted all narratives but their own.

  22. It takes a special kind of ignorance to decide the founding fathers never wanted anyone to keep and bear arms. I might need to go back and re-read some, but arms may not have been brought up at the original Constitutional Convention in 1787. They also didn’t bring up matters like free speech, quartering of soldiers, enumerated rights, etc. if that’s the case. The constitution mostly outlines how the government is intended to work, the Bill of Rights was added later on to protect the God-given rights of man– something they didn’t consider originally.

    Is he right in saying they didn’t talk about arms at the original convention? Probably. Is he right in his implication the founding fathers never intended people to keep and bear arms? Not on your life, they wrote about it in the Federalist Papers, not to mention that whole Bill of Rights they ratified.

    His sick perversion of history not just makes him a nit-wit, but un-American as well.

  23. The “Founding Fathers” assumed anyone in future generations would be educated enough to read and understand The Constitution. They were wrong.

    • I honestly think these people are just in denial. You can make ANYthing true if you start from a false premise.

  24. Having read the minutes of the several states ratifying conventions concerning the proposed amendments, I can say that he is categorically wrong.

  25. idiot…read Mr. Halbrook’s “The Founders’ Second Amendment” and come back when you want to have an intelligent discussion, for which I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  26. Do they teach “journalists” how to do research in school anymore? If this guy knew how to do basic research, he would know what the founds said about the RKBA. In actuality, he is probably ignoring anything except the ultra wrong leftist talking points on the RKBA.

  27. Mr. Saunders seems to be missing the point of the second amendment. Of course there is no specific mention of the individual right to keep and bear arms, the founders didnt see any reason to debate that; that is not why the second amendment was written. It was included to curtail government infringement upon the RKBA that they all felt was an understood given. But hey, that’s just the way I see it.

    • “Promote the general welfare”

      Yes, that’s asinine, but they DO cite it.

      The more sophisticated ones will realize this doesn’t mean “welfare checks” but will claim that “promoting the general welfare” lets them do anything that will, you know, help out society.

      • Of course the flaw in their logic, should we choose to mention it to them, is that wealth redistribution is not good for the general society.

        (1) It does not help those from whom the money was stolen.

        (2) It certainly does not help those to whom it is given. We have a few generations of real world testing for evidence on this one now.

        So, it’s just another “wrong” for their entire worldview.

        Them being “wrong” so much and so often helps clarify that these issues are not really about what they purport them to be about. At stake is control.

        It’s the claim of social utility in welfare | guns | education | finance | whatever that provides the hook that is used to grab control.

        • that wealth redistribution is not good for the general society

          Oh but that’s the beauty of it. If “society”‘s interests are paramount… some individual still has to decide just what society’s interests are, and judge what’s good for it.

          Hence the “dictatorship of the proletariat” (by whatever name it hides under now) necessarily means some small group of people get to decide everything, seeing as how there are millions of people in the group they claim to be the vanguard of.

  28. Quoting an infographic I like to use:
    “A well-balanced breakfast being necessary for the start of a healthy day, the right of the people to keep and eat food shall not be infringed.”
    “Who has the right to food? A well-balanced breakfast, or the people?”


    The 2nd Amendment language is nearly a word-for-word copy of the Virginia Bill of Rights (one of the reasons the Rights are written in such a form).
    Virginia Declaration of Rights “Section 13;” “That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty: and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, civil power.” [ rights_transcript.html

    E X C E P T
    The U.S. Bill of Rights was written to be weighted even more towards the sovereignty of each individual.




  31. It appears the author has not read in detail or chooses to ignore the majority opinion in Heller. The majority opinion very clearly lays out a dissection of both the language, the intent of the Founding Fathers and the historical perspective on the right to bear arms for self-defense dating back to the Colonies’ English heritage and law at the time.

    Sadly, UK law seems to no longer acknowledge a persons right to self-defense.

  32. “Isn’t that special….” to quote the church lady. Really getting a bellyful of these bloviating, utopian progressives trying to rewrite history and put us all into a nationwide gun free zone. F#ck ’em all!

  33. MEH. 90 million gun owners and 350million guns-You’re just jealous ’cause you live in a bow to the queen country.

  34. “[T]he phenomenon of mass shootings did not exist a generation ago.”

    Is Saunders unfamiliar with the UT Clock Tower incident?

    “Until 2002, every U.S. president and government had declared that the Constitution’s Second Amendment did not provide any individual right for ordinary citizens to own firearms. Rather, it meant whats its text clearly states: that firearms shall be held by ‘the People’ – a collective, not individual right – insofar as they are in service of ‘a well-regulated militia.'”

    False. A Congressional report in 1866 found that Southern States were unlawfully disarming freedmen. This report, cited in DC v. Heller, states that “[s]uch conduct is in direct violation of their personal rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, which declares that ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'” As a result, Congress passed the Freedmen’s Bureau Act on July 16, 1866. This act stated in part, “[T]he right . . . to have full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings concerning personal liberty . . . including the constitutional right to bear arms, shall be secured to and enjoyed by all the citizens.” Furthermore, in the Bill of Rights, the phrase “right of the people” is used in two other instances: 1A’s Assembly-and-Petition Clause and 4A’s Search-and-Seizure Clause. Both of those are unquestionably INDIVIDUAL rights. The Second Amendment is no different.

    “The U.S. Supreme Court had never, until 2008, suggested even once that there was any such right.”

    False. One of the most controversial cases in U.S. Supreme Court history, the Dred Scott Decision, states that slaves could not be citizens. Why is that relevant to this discussion? Simple. If slaves were citizens, then they would have gained access to the entire Bill of Rights, including the right “to keep and carry arms wherever they went.” Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393, 417.

    “The individual right to bear arms is only a few years old, and based on nothing; its fall could be as quick as its rise.”

    Tell that to the state of Vermont, among others, which has protected an INDIVIDUAL right to keep AND bear arms from the very beginning.

    “Once the Supreme Court has two more appointments by Democratic presidents, it will eventually provide a correct interpretation of the amendment, the interpretation Americans knew and respected for 217 years.”

    Voters take note! If you value individual rights, it is your duty to elect a candidate who will stand up for them. Not a single Democratic presidential candidate in this cycle will do that.

  35. In modern language: “because we may have to form militias to defend and keep states free, the government has no authority to restrict ownership of arms by the people.”

  36. “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined…”
    – George Washington, First Annual Address, to both House of Congress, January 8, 1790

    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776

    “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

    “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787

    No,no mention whatsoever. Even though I got 314,000 results(including the ones above) in (0.64 seconds) with a google search.
    So the evidence shows that we just have another libtard making up his ‘facts’ as the whim strikes him. Must be nice to have a high paying job where the only requisite skill is extreme stupidity.
    No, I take that back. Such a job would drive me nuts in short order. Its not worth it. I guess I value my brain cells more than the mainstream press does.

  37. Historically devoid statement: Thomas Jefferson was not a framer, he was the US ambassador to France when the Constitution was drafted. Then there is all of that evidence in the Federalist Papers . . .

  38. Gun control advocates love pointing to the wording of the 2A. Language and writing do change as time goes by and it seems they pounce on that fact to confuse/convince people that individual RKBA are non-existent. It fails to take into account that the BofR are God-given, meaning the govt can’t give you permission to have those rights, b/c it is not the govt’s to give or take away. Typically the simplest explanation is the correct one. And simply put, the 2A as written gives individuals the RKBA. Trying to complicate that is villainous.

    Furthermore, I typically enjoy a sporting dialogue with folks from other nations regarding civilian ownership of guns. However when the dialogue becomes a proclamation from an ivory tower (as so often is the case with elitist, pretentious gun control advocates), that is when they can shove it!

  39. Arguing the use of the word “people” means it’s a collective right is one of the most asinine things I’ve ever seen. Does that mean the Fourth Amendment is also collective, because it’s “the right of the People” that’s protected against unreasonable search and seizures? Or are any rights covered by the Ninth Amendment automatically collective?

    If those rights are individual, then why is the Second Amendment collective? The simple answer is it’s not. “The people” is another formulation for “the citizens, as opposed to the government”. Saying “the people” is quicker.

  40. What a crock. You don’t have to read anything but the bill of rights to understand that the idea of an individual right is the intention. “Right of the People” is clearly explained in DC v Heller to mean an individual right.

    He doesn’t understand this because he doesn’t want to understand it.

    From Page 5 of DC v Heller:

    1. Operative Clause.
    “Right of the People.” The first salient feature of the operative clause is that it codifies a “right of the people.” The unamended Constitution and the Bill of Rights use the phrase “right of the people” two other times, in the First Amendment’s Assembly-and-Petition Clause and in the Fourth Amendment’s Search-and-Seizure Clause. The Ninth Amendment uses very similar terminology (“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”). All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not “collective” rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body.

    It continues on with more examples/justification.

  41. My name is Doug Saunders and this is my best attempt at emulating speech utilizing the lower orifice more commonly known as the rectum. Thank you.

  42. Canada is very different from the United States. Notably, there is no First Amendment. What does that mean? It means that Canada was formed without much emphasis on the individual and his or her rights. That being the case, one can see why he chooses to write what he does. He’s another collectivist.

    As for the position of this article, Heller very clearly stated how the Second is an individual right. Saunders addressed none of Heller’s points, the best that he could do was call Scalia “fringe.” Thus is Saunders’ commitment to serious argumentation shown to be lacking.

    In other news, Saunders published a book in 2012 which stated that Muslim immigration to Europe will have no effect upon the continent and that fears of an effect were identical to fears of other immigrations.

    • In other words, he’s another Paul Ehrlich–a “prognosticator” who gets it wrong over and over, but still expects people to take him seriously.

  43. Take a look at the FIRST Founding document and legal precedent of the United States: the Declaration of Independence. Written by the same folks who wrote the Constitution. These were revolutionaries, people, and they described quite a few RIGHTS in the Declaration of Independence, but ONLY ONE DUTY:

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, IT IS THEIR DUTY, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    The Second Amendment ain’t about hunting, pilgrim – it is about revolution, and it was written by revolutionaries. And the muzzleloading smoothbore musket (Brown Bess and Charleville muskets) were the English/French and then American “assault weapon” issued to the regular infantry troops – complete with bayonet.

  44. That’s a fail, Mr. Saunders. Please review Federalist No. 46 (James Madison) and No. 28 (Alexander Hamilton). You’ll find explicit discussion of the need for individual gun ownership rights, with individuals being the basic unit to form a militia to protect the people from the great foreseeable evil the Founding Fathers feared most – a tyrannical quashing of individual liberties. This is known as “legislative intent”.

    Mr. Saunders, please don the dunce cap and take a seat on the stool in the corner of the classroom. And remember to read your homework before next opening your mouth.

  45. It is “the right of the people”, not a right of the militia.

    “well regulated” applies to the militia, not “the right of the people”.

    Membership in a militia is neither a requirement nor a prerequisite to exercise the Right, through simple grammar, history, legal precedent or intent of the authors.

    P.S. The militia still very much exists.

    When called up, you can regulate the hell out of it. (And we do so.)

    Also, SCOTUS has a 240-year history of defining it as an individual Right.

    And “the people” has NEVER been interpreted to have a ‘collective’ meaning or intent in U.S. Constitutional law.

  46. This is the same Doug Saunders who claims we really needn’t worry about Islam because it’s really all about peace.

  47. Federalist 46 explicitly states that the Second Amend about resisting tyranny. Also explicitly states that America is the only country that trusts the PEOPLE with arms:
    Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.

  48. As A Hitler said, tell a big lie and tell it often enough and people will start to believe it. This man is no reporter, just someone with a word processor and not skill.

  49. The right to individual self-defense very much existed in the minds of Jefferson and the Founders. Jefferson said that the most influential political philosophers in the writing of the Declaration were Aristotle, Cicero, Algernon Sidney, and John Locke. All four believed in the right to resist tyranny and at least three, Cicero, Sidney, and Locke, argued explicitly for an individual right to self-defense. So the guy knows not what he speaks of.

  50. the individual right to own a gun was not mentioned anywhere in the Constitutional Convention,
    To be consistent, the rest of the Bill Of Rights should be interpreted as collective rights as well.
    One really has to ask themselves why the founding fathers would create a Bill of Individual Rights where the Constitution grants the government the collective right to bear arms? Most if not all governments naturally have weapons.

    • The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
      This might be a collective right of a State, but it does explicitly mention States.

      • are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
        Notice here, that the authors do differentiate between States (government) and the people (individuals).

    • A well equipped and drilled State Militia, being necessary to the security of a State, the right of the State and its subjective militaries to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
      If we are going with the National Guard theory then the above would be more accurate.

      the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
      If we are going with the people of the State, then we are referring to individuals carrying weapons.

  51. The Washington Constitution is a little harder to spin:

    “SECTION 24 RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”

  52. Number one, you guys have to understand the sources of this article.
    The Globe and Canadian is a LIBERAL RAG.
    The author of the article quoted from a book that has been discredited.

    The book he drules over is
    Michael Waldman’s book The Second Amendment: A Biography.
    The author of the article says,
    “There had not, up to that point, been much ambiguity about this. “For 218 years,” legal scholar Michael Waldman writes in his book The Second Amendment: A Biography, “judges overwhelmingly concluded that the amendment authorized states to form militias,”

    Well, if the Waldman says “the 2nd authorized the states to form militias”, then Waldman is a liar.
    The states did not need the 2nd Amendment, nor the Bill of Rights, nor the US constitution the
    authorization to form militias.
    They already had that right.

    The states were the entities that created the federal government and they didn’t need any authorization from the federal government to form any militias or possess and of their rights.

    “we don’t need no stinking badges”.

    Before the US constitution was written the States themselves (at least some of them) even wrote it in their State Constitutions that the right to keep and bear arms had a dual purpose or that it was a dual right.
    For the right to keep and bear arms was for the protection of themselves and the state.

    The US constitution is not the end-all source for the rights of the individual.
    As a matter of fact the 9th Amendment says that enumerated rights were not the only personal rights.

    So even if there never was a 2nd Amendment, the people (and includes all the individuals) had that right.

    Eugene Volokh has put together a pretty good piece on the chronological list of what the State Constitutions had to say about the individual and collective right to keep and bear arms.

    State Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms by EUGENE VOLOKH

    Third, the author of the article said,
    “Until 2002, every U.S. president and government had declared that the Constitution’s Second Amendment did not provide any individual right for ordinary citizens to own firearms.”

    He is correct. The constitution did NOT “provide” the individual right.
    The Bill of Rights did not “provide” any rights.
    God did.

    Don’t get your dander up some Canadian who knows nothing about American history, the American constitution, or the State Constitutions.

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